« Distance – Physical and Cultural | Main | Posted without comment »

July 12, 2017


Dude, righteous.

So can we get rid of all the NBA, MLB and NFL all-star games? What's the point again?

How many days until punters and kickers report?

Just to clarify (also from the LA Times article:

With about 100 growers in operation across Nevada, there is plenty of wholesale marijuana. The crisis has to do with distribution and state rules over who is allowed to transport marijuana.
So the solution is in Nevada's own hands. If they want to fix it.

And on the StarTrek lives! front, this from the BBC

speaking of space, and franchises...

That involvement of state rules about transport reminds me of a situation back when I lived a bit north of Milwaukee, on Lake Michigan.

Someone up the road started to build a jetty (out of massive amounts of fill) in an attempt to stop erosion on his property. Because of the way sediment moves along that shore, properties south of him then started getting increased erosion. (The "jetty" was huge, a small peninsula.)

The neighbors banded together to try to stop the construction, but it was complicated. Although my memory is hazy as to the details 30+ years later, it went something like this:

The Feds (Army Corps of Engineers) were involved because Lake Michigan is a navigable waterway.

The state was involved because the state regulates the lake bed to a certain distance away from the shore.

The county was involved ... I forget why, but they were.

The town was involved because the town was in charge of whether trucks loaded with fill could drive over its streets.

It happened that this mess was just heating up when I moved back to Boston with a newborn, so I never did hear how it all evolved.


It's interesting that Nevada has already budgeted all that tax revenue from marijuana....


And on the StarTrek lives! front, this from the BBC

So what you're saying is that, if I could somehow get rid of my rest-mass, I could be teleported, too?

And how is it that I copied and pasted the link - as a link - without doing any HTML?

So what you're saying is that, if I could somehow get rid of my rest-mass, I could be teleported, too?

Just remember that we could bounce radar off the moon for some time before we could get a man there and back again. Baby steps.

They were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when they ran out of weed.

"As your lawyer, I advise you to stop near Vegas and score some drugs."

“We can't stop here, this is bat country!”

Okay, but have they also run out of munchies? Cause if they replenish the dope supply without having enough snacks on hand, they're just going to have another emergency.

"We're going to Vegas... to croak a scag baron named Savage Henry.


And you know what that means. Savage Henry has cashed his check.


we're gonna rip his lungs out. And eat them..."

This made my day:

Andy Serkis Reading President Trump's Tweets as Gollum is a Bit Too Perfect

Also, too, the gollum-trump twitter account:


there is plenty of wholesale marijuana. The crisis has to do with distribution and state rules over who is allowed to transport marijuana.

I suspect some bogarting is involved.

The old-timers & celebrities slow-pitch softball game was kind of fun to watch. Andre Dawson jacked one that almost made it over the baseball left field fence (344ft. down the line).

Can you picture something like that a decade ago?

Not exactly.

But I do distinctly remember the annual "dry season", back in the '70s, during which none was available from the usual sources, and which inspired Freewheelin' Franklin's famous mot about getting through times of no money.

So what you're saying is that, if I could somehow get rid of my rest-mass, I could be teleported, too?

Quantum teleportation involves the transfer of information, and has already been demonstrated with particles having non-zero rest mass. But it's just information. The problem is that given a sufficiently detailed description of the state of hairshirt, assembling a physical duplicate from the atoms up is... difficult.

Myself, I'm inclined to think that we are more likely to develop a software substrate that can run an emulation of hairshirt's mind and transfer that data. If you can bounce up to orbit, or the moon, or Mars, do you really care that "you" are executing on an android?

The practical questions are hard. Is extracting a copy of "hairshirt" as data (including code) a one-way street? Ie, can we load the modified "hairshirt" back into an organic brain? The legal questions are harder. If "hairshirt" as software is transferred to an android body on Mars, is that a new legal entity? Does the copy on Earth have to be destroyed once the second copy is running?

And how is it that I copied and pasted the link - as a link - without doing any HTML?

RTFM, or at least the text under the comment box: "URLs automatically linked." You only have to resort to HTML if you want to hide the link itself behind text.

One of the things that I've observed is that for the URL to be successfully hidden, you have to write fully conformant anchor tags. If you leave out the quotes, an oversight that all browsers will handle so long as the values have no embedded blanks, the site software doesn't recognize things properly.

Just a little something in homage to the Count:

Michael Cain, I read a story on the very question you raise at the end of your penultimate comment, and then saw a play based on it. The story was, I think (I am on my phone so cannot check properly), in this very excellent book, by a neuropsychologist much influenced by Oliver Sacks, and which I highly recommend:


URLs automatically linked

Somehow, I never noticed that, or at least didn't process it. Was it always that way? Sometimes I'll post a link that is just the URL, but I use the tags around the URL with the URL also inside the quotes of the first tag. All of which is to say that, in those cases, I've been wasting my time.

Thanks for the info, MC.

OK, being in bed on phone means I screwed up the link. The book is called Into the Silent Land and it's by Paul Broks.

Fixed the link. I think.

GftNC, that looks fascinating. Wish-listed it.

In the UK, amidst the chaos of Brexit (this week: Euratom! Leaving it would be stupid! But we are! Are we? Who knows!), a gay man has won the right for his husband to benefit fully from his pension after his death:


10 years ago, gay people had barely gotten civil partnership rights in the UK.

It's just a matter of time until the eGOP wakes up to polyamorous het/bi/gay marriage, meaning that they can all join into a great big steamy fuster-cluck and legally avoid testifying against each other.

It's that last part that will put it over the edge.

2016-7 proves that all that 'traditional values' crap is just a convenient bludgeon for implementing Cleek's law.

Thanks JanieM.

This is a 2005 interview with the director of the play which deals with the problem posited by Michael Cain. Reading it will, I think, make clear why I was so underwhelmed by The Real Problem, by Tom Stoppard (I rather thought Stoppard must have seen the earlier play), which seemed superficial compared, at least on a philosophical level, not to mention suffering from his frequent problem of cypher-like characters.


Or maybe it was The Hard Problem....

I'm writing this from my parents' place in northeastern Connecticut.

My father had a stroke Monday at 2am. Fortunately they were both awake at the time, so he was being seen by EMTS within 20 minutes, then on the way to Hartford Hospital (40min-1hr away).

He's got Broca's aphasia, fairly restricted as these things go: he was soon saying words again, and is now up to sentence fragments and even full sentences/paragraphs. He goes to the rehab center today.

I drove up Tuesday to be with my mom, be her driver, intercept phone calls, etc. Everything is VERY emotionally exhausting, but I am as hopeful as one could be about a 90-year-old parent with a stroke, and a 92-y.o. trying to deal with it.

Maybe I'll distract myself with writing about the Hugos, maybe I won't.

To refresh our collective memory, here's our discussion of The Hard Problem from Jan. 2016. I could have sworn it was longer ago than that: living in Interesting Times has really distorted my sense of time.

Doc -- sending good thoughts your way. I hope things go smoothly for your parents (and you) from here on out.

Yes, Doc, hoping for the best possible outcome. Speaking as someone whose 82 year old father had a terrible stroke in 1995, it was so frustrating to find from the NEJM that shortly afterwards they developed medication protocols which, in many cases, mean there is little or no long-term damage (particularly if it's caused by a clot). Hopefully, this will work in your Dad's favour, and the speed with which he was seen, and the speed of improvement you report sound very encouraging. Fingers, and everything else, crossed for you all.

(I will now look at your link, and see how much I remembered of our previous exchange).

The Trump administration gets a lot of bad press here. So it's worth acknowledging when the (eventually) get something right:

It was never obvious how a bunch of Afghan girls constituted a threat. (Well, except to the Taliban's worldview, of course.) But at least we now have figured out that they don't

wj: as long as they don't build a digital clock or something equally nefarious.

It's far worse than a digital clock. They built a robot!!!

Think of the children! Oh, wait.... They are.

From this article, which is mostly about new Russia revelations, but including the quoted paragraph below that jumped out at me:


And, as the Washington Post points out, Trump isn’t exactly selling the GOP agenda to voters. “Trump’s sporadic salesmanship on the bills and ambitions lingering on Capitol Hill has become a defining characteristic of the complicated relationship between the president and congressional Republicans. Although Trump routinely proclaims his desire for political victories, he has yet to make a full-throated case to the country about legislation that Congress is pursuing and has spent a modest amount of time attempting to twist arms in the House or Senate.”

The dude has no clue what being the president is. He's doing the "fake it 'till you make it" thing, possibly without even realizing it.

Trump wasn't even in charge on The Apprentice.


According to one former competitor on the “Celebrity Apprentice,” Trump didn’t actually decide when to fire a contestant.

“He didn’t make those decisions, he didn’t fire those people,” said Clay Aiken, 38, who competed on the show in 2012 and was also a contestant on “American Idol.”

The show’s producers from NBC made those calls, giving Trump instructions through a teleprompter on his desk that looked like a phone, Aiken said in an interview on Domecast, a podcast from the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., his hometown.

It isn’t the first time the veracity of “The Apprentice” has been questioned. As The Post has reported, Trump frequently offered to give away thousands of his own dollars, often to console a fired or upset celebrity. The Post examined all of the “personal” gifts that Trump promised during 83 episodes and seven seasons, and could not confirm a single case in which Trump actually sent a gift out of his own pocket.

he's a fraud, through and through.

This from the Chicago Tribune on the death of the GOP operative who was seeking Clinton emails from Russian hackers:
Suicide with a bag over his head attached to a source of helium. Really??? Who does that? Who even has easy access to a "source of helium"?

Queue the Vice Foster conspiracy theorists.

Suicide with a bag over his head attached to a source of helium. Really??? Who does that?

turns out, more than you'd think.

From cleek's wiki link:

Suicide bags were first used during the 1990s. The method was mainly developed in North America.

Uh, thanks wikipedia?

Also, too, I can't decide if "Cleek's wiki link" sounds dirty or would be a good band name. Probably both.

For whatever reason, wiki used to be a micro-sociolectic term for the pot among one of my circles back in the day.

"Cleek's wiki link"

so much yummy assonance

Trump bringing people together:


And what they said sounds like a stream of zingers at Trump and his behavior, even though they never mentioned his name once.

Who even has easy access to a "source of helium"?

All Target stores in my area are shown to have small helium tanks in stock. Walmart will deliver larger tanks to my door. Most good-sized welding supply stores can provide tanks of helium (also argon and dry nitrogen, which are equally effective). The welding supply tanks will require a regulator, which they gladly rent/sell to you.

So, pretty much everyone.

When I worked at a lab that used large tanks of dry nitrogen I had to go through a couple of hours of training materials on safe handling. As I recall, nitrogen is the "most dangerous" industrial gas in the US in terms of deaths, almost all due to accidental asphyxiation.

The "wins" just keep on coming:

Apparently grandparents are family after all. (Until and unless the grandparents on the Supreme Court can be convinced to explicitly rule otherwise.)

Definitely need to watch the videos accompanying this story. Make ur own Trump joke too


holy crap

Between the slime eels and Andy Serkis reading a Trump tweet in Gollum's voice, I'm good.

Slime eel pileup is the new dumpster fire

Or something.

Someone was 'draining the swamp' and had an oopsie, I guess.

Snarki, what would we all do without you?

That's something you'll never have to find out; not as long as I'm around.

Best news I've heard for a long while.

Since it's an open thread: just saw the trailer for A Wrinkle in Time (one of the significant books of my childhood), and delighted to see that Meg and Charles Wallace are from a family of colour. But looking on Wikipedia, it seems that I was unaware of a) follow-up books, and b) a previous film. I will now investigate the sequels, unless advised otherwise....

GftNC -- A Wrinkle in Time was a big one for me when I was a child too, and I did read the sequels, probably more than once. (I'm a big re-reader.) But that was decades ago. The sequels are nowhere as vivid in my mind as the first one, but I remember liking them well enough. It will be interesting to hear what you think.

It's spelled "color," GftNC. Where did you learn English, anyway?

Just watched the trailer, then poked around and realized that there were actually more sequels. I had remembered it as a trilogy. Since the books were very spread out, it's no wonder I'm confused.


I never read the fifth; and I read the fourth so long after the other three that I barely connect them in my mind. On the other hand, there are some passages in Many Waters (the 4th book) that are good enough to have made it into my quote-saving docs, e.g.:

Alarid's wings quivered. "Part of doing something is listening. We are listening. To the sun. To the stars. To the wind."
Dennys felt chastened. He had not paused to listen, not for days. "They don't tell you anything?"
"To continue to listen."

This reminds me of a friend of mine, now gone, who was a Native American adopted into and raised by a white family. She discovered her heritage late, but then explored it for many years. She was once asked to be on the board of a local rights-related non-profit. Her reply -- or so she told me later on -- was that she couldn't do it. "Someone," she said, "has to stay at home and watch the clouds."

JanieM, lovely quotations, especially what your friend said. I'll check out the sequels and report back in due course. I thought the trailer looked inappropriately glitzy, but then we all create our own visuals, and it is (I assume) a Hollywood movie. To the bemusement of some of my friends (and certainly my husband) I never stopped reading and rereading certain children's books, among much else, so when the Harry Potter phase hit, I was never one of those adults who had to read them with adult covers. But I am nervous of sequels, they are so often disappointing. We shall see.

hsh, if my -our/or spelling gets to you, my English ise instead of ize must drive you crazy!

Wow. The John Birch Society is making a comeback:

I'd only ever heard of them via an old Chad Mitchell Trio CD....


What next, the HUAC ?

In an era when nutty conspiracy theories are all the rage, why would a revival of the Birchers be a surprise?

So the Birchers are okay with collaborating with Russia now?

Strange times, indeed.

why, it's almost as if opposing liberals is the whole point.

Since no one else has mentioned it, McConnell has had to put off the motion to proceed on the BCRA until Sen. McCain is able to return to Washington after surgery. Two weeks is the estimate I've seen. Given Arizona's retiree population, and that two-thirds of the people in nursing homes there depend on Medicaid, I've been a bit surprised that McCain hasn't been more outspoken on the cuts.

Sometimes, a beautiful summary turn up in the comments on a newspaper column:

Trump ends up like a cheap movie that becomes a cult classic. Most are content to see it once if at all. But there are a few who never tire. They will dress up in costume and play the parts. Trump is the same. He could be impeached and thrown out of office and go out and hold a big rally. The attendees would do all the chants of "lock her up" and "build the wall" along with some new one attacking those who impeached him. Those people will never tire.

The trouble for the GOP is the voters in the Trump cult are square in the GOP base.
"Cult movie" is not an metaphor for Trump that I have encountered before. But it definitely resonates.

Michael Cain, it also says that McConnell has no hope for two GOP senators, since without McCain he can't hold a vote. There's been speculation that he might manage to buy off Rand or Collins if he had two, but apparently he knows better.

So, do we think McCain's operation is tactical? If so, it seems cowardly but effective.

GftNC, assuming the docs' description is accurate, I don't believe anyone plays games around the timing for removing a 5cm clot/tumor from their head.

Ah, I read "a clot above his eye", which could be susceptible of several interpretations, including something quite superficial. However, I think you're probably right - and if so, he's safe from any such insinuations.

The other day there was discussion of highways and scenery in the US West. I mentioned that it was time for the North American Monsoon to start. Unfortunately, the down side of the monsoon killed seven in Arizona today when a flash flood hit a popular swimming area in one of the national forests.


JanieM, lovely quotations, especially what your friend said.

In light of that, you might enjoy Annie Dillard's essay "Teaching a Stone to Talk" -- if you don't know it already.

It's the title essay of a small collection. (That's an Amazon UK link and the cheapest price that came up. I couldn't find an online copy of the whole essay.)

"Cult movie" is not an metaphor for Trump that I have encountered before. But it definitely resonates.

I hadn't seen the cult movie comparison before either, but certainly the whole phenomenon has seemed cult-like for a long time now. It's hard not to think of North Korea and the dear leader....

Thanks JanieM. The extraordinary poeticism of the Native American view of the world is incredibly seductive, but sometimes almost too much so. It's maybe been debased by mass consumption hippy-lite stuff (Desiderata etc), and so I sometimes feel resistant to it (but not in the case of actual, reported speech like your friend's). However, it seems to still be very much a part of the living culture: I recently read (can't remember where, or many details) a famous war photographer/journalist saying that he had been with some US troops just about to engage in an extremely dangerous, almost suicidal operation, and that a Native American soldier had turned to him and said "It's a beautiful day to die." Under those circumstances, it's impossible to view it as a cliche.

GftNC, I recommend Ian Frazier's On the Rez. Frazier is a humorist and I got to him though a book called Coyote v Acme, a hilarious book, then read the book Dating your Mom, all pieces that appeared in the New Yorker and here is the precis for the epynomous essay in that last book

Writer adopts style of the sex manual to explain the advantages of dating your mom. Since you are thrown together naturally, there is none of that tension that accompanies courtship. Many guys suffer from guilt over their dads, but dad just has to realize that women prefer sons to husbands. Dating is the inevitable outcome of 9 months of close physical contact. Dad should have dated his own mom. Writer describes his dates with mom. She pushes him in a motorized stroller. He keeps his typewriter on the tray and gets a lot of work done. He'd like someone to burp him when he's had too much beer, but Mom would have to be 19 or 20 feet tall to fulfill all his desires. Making her work out with weights is asking too much.

On the Rez is not funny (though there are funny bits), but it reinforces my opinion that only people with an enormous sense of humor can write about Native Americans in any way that is understandable to the rest of us.

Local boy makes good.

You're a legend, buddy!

Cleek is the secret master, pulling the strings of conservatives, it's true.

No other explanation fits.

holy crap!

i'm a one hit wonder!

i'll take it.

Not just a legend, but you've got your own day! How many legends can say that?

it's actually my sister's birthday, so it really can't be mine.

Thanks lj, have ordered it. Meanwhile, I'm going to recommend again, as I have recommended before, Ghost Riders: Travels with American Nomads by Richard Grant. I think it is a terrific book; it doesn't just deal with Native Americans of course, but also with various other types of American nomadic experience, going back to conquistador types as well as Scots-Irish frontier-extenders (the story of the greatest of these is completely fascinating and very moving). So much of it is good, and interesting, that I almost don't know where to start, but essentially the part about Native Americans is marvellous, and a real, iconoclastic eye-opener to anyone with a hackneyed view of the culture of the various peoples.


The American nomads owned all they could see as far as they could see. And nothing.

CharlesWT: "The American nomads owned all they could see as far as they could see. And nothing."

Let us not be silly. The only real American nomads were the Great Plains tribes. As best we can reconstruct the history, "ownership" by the different groups was very much a thing, with regular fighting over it. At the end, to pick one example, the various subsets of the Sioux were perfectly willing to give away land that "belonged" to other Sioux. Which left the expanding US with some sort of claim to almost everything, and the non-nomadic resources to enforce that.

"He's dead, Jim."

This just in:

Two more Senate Republicans have declared their opposition to the latest effort to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, potentially ending a months-long effort to make good on a GOP promise that has defined the party for nearly a decade and been a signature priority for President Trump.

Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) issued statements declaring that they would not vote for the revamped measure.

So, does McConnell reinstate the full August vacation?

Or, radical thought, start work on the next (and real) deadline in prospect: the debt ceiling. Of course that one will almost certainly require him to work with (shudder) Democrats....

and now they're off to simple "repeal" !

their bullheaded determination to take people off health insurance is impressive.

Well, some of them (lead, unsurprisingly, by Trump, who is desperate for a "win") are calling for that. But it seems unlikely that it will be possible to get that thru either. Certainly the more moderate Senators are not going to buy McConnell's "Oh, we'll get around to replace eventually."

Huh, I could have sworn that when I used to see posters of Desiderata on the walls of (fellow-) hippies it was attributed to Black Elk, or some other famous font of Native American wisdom. But I see now it was written by Max Ehrmann in 1927. So maybe it was some other piece of cod-Native Americana, because I remember its purported source being debunked at some stage. Sorry to have misled....

As Senate health bill collapses, Trump takes credit for winning over most Republicans: “would have been 48-4. impressive by any standard”

i take great pride in the fact that my party opposes this clown.

...and three GOP women Senators step up to kill the repeal bill.

i can haz No Confidence vote?

When Trump says: "impressive by any standard" he is quite correct. Of course, he doesn't comprehend that it's a negative impression...

Steve Bannon missed his calling:

How about the time Bannon raged at Speaker Paul Ryan as “a limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation”?

It's pretty clear what Bannon's main contribution is: next to him, Trump almost looks like a decent human being.

Hmmm: out of the mouths of creeps and scoundrels comes occasional wisdom....

On twitter a while back someone remarked that in the movie about the Trump administration the part of Steve Bannon would be played by a burlap sack of maggots.

Seems about right.

cod-Native Americana

Is this a typo, or some idiom from that other English that I happen never to have run across?


I'm going to see if the library has Ghost Riders; if not, I'll order it. It sounds great.

JanieM: look down to cod2:


I'll be so interested to hear what you think of Ghost Riders (although in the US it might have been released as American Nomads). I've ordered a single volume of the Wrinkle in Time quintet, but it's coming from the States so will be a few weeks before I can get to it. I've also ordered On the Rez (ditto coming from the US) as recommended by lj, although I am utterly enchanted by the idea of Coyote v Acme, so will no doubt end up getting that as well!

Learn something new every day!

The comments to this entry are closed.