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Edith Piaf: Behind the Music

Suddenly you can't walk two steps without bumping into someone talking about Edith Piaf. She's the queen of YouTube. There's a new biopic out, "La Vie En Rose," reputedly not great but good enough. The movie triggered a Piaf craze in France in synch with the soul-searching during the French presidential elections. The New Yorker has a long article [no link available] on Piaf in the issue that landed yesterday. Piafmania! Who saw that coming?

The Piaf story fits perfectly into the Behind The Music formula of low-life beginnings, sudden pop-music success, subsequent debauchery and eventual dissipation -- only it's all more extreme with Piaf, who grew up in a brothel and as a child sang for money on streetcorners as the warmup act for her contortionist father. [Who doesn't relate to that?] She mastered all the various arts of self-destruction, ranging from drug abuse to car crashes. She had a lot of brutal lovers. She was a 56-inch-tall disaster on two legs. The New Yorker reports that she died in 1963, at age 47, "ravaged by malnutrition, alcoholism, morphine addiction, ulcers, tuberculosis, pancreatitis, hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and, ultimately, cancer." [Answers to the name "Lucky."]

But what a voice: "No one can belt out 'La Marseillaise' as stirringly as she. Her name, figure, accent, and legend -- even her backstage hobby, knitting for her men -- embody an ideal of heroic-underdog populism sacred to students and bohemians. Everything about Piaf is pungently French..."

[This is making me feel competitive. Where's the Elvis movie?]

--

I'm starting to feel solstitial again. It comes on suddenly, like food poisoning, only it's a good feeling, because it usually is associated with the decision to avoid wearing long pants. I've been slightly annoyed with long pants ever since I was...well, you know, in short pants. Since about 1969.

Anyway, there's a lot of solstitiality in the air, a sense of the astronomical signifiers everywhere, like that nice alignment of the moon and Venus the other day, and the passage of the space station overhead at dusk a couple of weeks ago. Fireflies are abundant, but the skeeters for some reason haven't been nearly as bad this year. They say this submarine weather will blow out later in the day. Tonight I'll fire up the grill as inevitably as if it were a nervous tic. When you're feeling solstitial you spend a lot of time thinking: Meat or seafood? And the answer is usually: Both.

Who was the genius who invented the concept of surf-n-turf?

--

Went to the public library yesterday. Bulletin: They let you take the books home. For free. It's incredible. Anyway, I'm working on a piece for Outlook that requires me to do a little crash-course in philosophy. Here's what I checked out:

The Oxford History of Western Philosophy, edited by Anthony Kenny

The Trial of Socrates, by I. F. Stone

A Stroll With William James, by Jacques Barzun

[Early report: "Knowledge" is a lot squishier stuff than you think. Everything's arguable. Maybe.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 20, 2007; 7:17 AM ET
 
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Next: Hillary and Me

Comments

First?

Posted by: Raysmom | June 20, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Second?

Perhaps the Boodle could offer to test-drive this at the next BPH??? :-)

http://www.boston.com/ae/food/articles/2007/06/20/with_new_design_foam_follows_function/

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 20, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Glad that some enjoyed my Costco tune yesterday, but after posting I noticed a rhyming error (a word shouldn't rhyme with itself, duh!) that bugged me no end. Below is a correction, again to the tune of The Rainbow Connection.

Why are there so many pallets of mayo,
Kleenex and unscented Tide?
Staples are needed, but not in quantities
That would turn Fred's car on its side
But we've been told that we need to consume stuff
Where to store it is the key
Someday we'll find it, the Costco connection,
The CDs, the dog food and me.


Posted by: Raysmom | June 20, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"The grill will be place in action"?
What the bleep does that suppose to mean?

Posted by: Tom fan | June 20, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

My father-in-law was a block of a man of French/Spanish Basque ancestry. He was 75% disabled after six tours of duty in 'Nam as a Green Beret. He had an ancient cabinet style record player that only ever seemed to have two artists queued up, Barry Sadler and Edith Piaf.

I never actually witnessed him listening to either, but my wife says it usually happened late at night with a wine bottle in his hand and a tear in his eye.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

JA -- I heartily recommend F.J. Copplestone's multi-volume history of philosophy. VERY READABLE. AND, he has chapters and section heads and tables of contents, etc.
More later: off to drill holes into unsuspecting peeps' heads and pour in some Aristotle stuff. Joy!

Posted by: College Parkian | June 20, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

If you are going with overviews of philosophy, you have to start with Will Durant and Bertrand Russell. Mortimer Adler's "Six Great Ideas" would be a good idea as well.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I fixed the grill.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 20, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Just remember to take that admonition to wait five seconds before attempting to re-light seriously.

Won't make that mistake again.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

*note to self -- DO NOT mention today's "Brevity" comic strip to 'Mudge*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 20, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Piaf? Didn't they name a kind of rice about her? I am such a philistine. In fact, I am frequently embarrassed to be seen in my own presence.

Truly there is something delightful about this time of year. If you sit very still in a backyard swing you can almost feel yourself more squarely face the sun. And then there is the added exuberance that comes from the presence of school-aged children.

The sudden freedom of Summer Vacation reveals the high spirits previously submerged under homework and stress.

And even though we wage slaves can only experience this joy through memory, it is still infectious.

I envy those who can work at home.

And Joel, I look forward to your piece on philosophy. As has been recorded here, I am a fan of the topic, if for no other reason than it illustrates that we live in but one of many possible worlds. It teaches us to examine the innumerable unspoken assumptions upon which we daily act. And although an unexamined life may well be worth living, especially when the sun is out, I think an examined life is even more precious to experience.

Especially when equipped with a working grill.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

Scotty... the resemblance is uncanny -- even without a blue bottom and tin foil thong. ;-)

Trying to enjoy a lazy morning here since this afternoon/evening is going to be insane.

Peace out...

(2)

Posted by: martooni | June 20, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

It was today's Fusco Brothers that had me scratching my head.

http://www.gocomics.com/thefuscobrothers/2007/06/20/

I've heard that (unattributed) quote around here plenty, but there's not any punchline in this strip.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh do I feel dumb. Fortunately I'm used to that. I see now that Joel's grill comment was in reference to a typo, not a clogged manifold or something.

Silly Rabbit.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Yellojkt - My take on the strip is that this particular Sagan quote is not exactly what one would call pithy. So it was, you know, one of those irony things.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

RD, you made me think of an old joke with the punchline, "Silly Rabbi, kicks are for Trids." Can't remember the joke, though.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 20, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Is it original to Sagan or is he just the person that popularized it?

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Hi, guys. Just a quick check-in before the fertilizer interacts with the ocillator. Didn't get out of here till 10 last night (yawn!). Looks like the sprinkles are moving out and the promised cooler, drier air is moving in. Re: Feeling solstitial--just remember that after tomorrow its all down hill.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 20, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Ah, I.F. Stone -- I once saw him (at least I think it was him) waiting at a bus stop on Connecticut Avenue. I passed him, I stopped, pondered whether I should approach him and gush, but I ultimately did not, which I regret. I don't think it was long afterwards when I read that he had died.

What a guy!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 20, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom;

This joke?

A Rabbi is selected for the space program and is sent to a distant planet populated by a race of small beings called Trids. The Rabbi sets up shop and begins observing the locals. One day, a Giant arrives and starts smashing the Trids' homes and kicking them far and wide, but ignores the Rabbit. The Rabbi, happy to be spared but shocked at the Giant's behavior, calls up to the Giant, "Why are you doing such cruel things???"

The Giant replies with the aforementioned punch line.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 20, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Silly 't' key...

SCC: ignores the Rabbi

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 20, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Yello- although the notion behind it doubtless predates Sagan (indeed I think it predates Aristotle) I have never seen that particular quote attributed to anybody but Carl.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Also what's the deal with "fireflies" vice "lightning bugs." Is this a regional thing like "soda" and "pop"?

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Check this out: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/swanson1.html for that Sagan quote. There's a funny bit at the bottom of the page for yello

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I have to admit I still have a hard time listneing to Piaf on the radio. However I admit to a certain affinity to Sophie Milman's version of 'La Vie en Rose'. Speaking of which, Sophie Milman has a new album out with her take on 'Fever' and old Peggy Lee standard.

Yoki, you mentioned jazz, and I must say I don't have an ear for the 50's/60's over jazzed stuff, but if it comes from the blues, if its source is the purtiy and simplicity of the blues, then its a whole other story. I am developing a thing for Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. I love the elemental purity of the blues, the heart of it.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

firebugs and lightningflies

http://www.agelesslove.com/boards/archive/index.php/t-12138.html

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to sleep through the solstice this year, even if it technically happens in the work day, and skeeters? So that where all these millions of extra mosquitoes come from. We can hardly leave the house for the hordes. You could take a walk, but you'd have to chew through them.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

from what I read on that link: New England, California and Ontario calls them fireflys, everyone else the less romantic lightningbug. Of course all us here know that in space it's Firefly...

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the word "Firefly" does fill some of us with Serenity.

Ouch.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Just caught up with the boodle, but not the links, just doesn't pay to take a day off the boodle. Yello interesting experiment, I remembered someone mentioning they were interested in what would happen, but couldn't remember who.

Martooni, good for you for being honest.

I would call them fireflies but have heard the term lightning bugs as well.

Just saw this interesting article on the EU attempts to keep creationism out of the schools.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070620.wcreate0620/BNStory/International/home

Posted by: dmd | June 20, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

omni,
That was part of my problem. There is no way I could mount such an eloquent defense of Ron Paul with a straight face.

Wikipedia cites Marcello Truzzi as coiner of the "extraordinary claims" quote and traces it back to the Principle of Laplace. Now who came up with "bill-yuns and bill-yuns"?

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, how did I know that you'd know that joke? Thanks.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 20, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Ron Paul is not my man. Nor is John McCain. However, in voting for a Democratic opponent, I would be making a positive choice -- I wouldn't be voting against these men, I would be voting for a candidate whose positions I support. I could vote against Paul or McCain with respect, and respect the outcome if one of them were to win the election instead of my chosen candidate. Their Republican colleagues, however -- them, I'd just be voting against. Those guys are dangerous.

Mike Gravel is a little worrisome, too.

Posted by: Tim | June 20, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

It would have been me or 'Mudge or bc or StorytellerTim or somebody, Raysmom. De nada.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 20, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Gotta admit I've always thought the French have the hands-down best national anthem. What's that? You don't agree? Try this- watch "Casablanca" and when you reach the nightclub scene when they have the hootenanny between the Frenchies belting out "La Marseillaise" and the Krauts growling about "Deutscheland Uber Alles," turn down the sound and sing our national anthem, the "Star Spangled Banner." Case closed.
And for those who think "bombs bursting in air" is too violent, try these lyrics on for size-

Let's go children of the fatherland,
The day of glory has arrived!
Against us tyranny's
Bloody flag is raised! (repeat)
In the countryside, do you hear
The roaring of these fierce soldiers?
They come right to our arms
To slit the throats of our sons, our friends!

Refrain

Grab your weapons, citizens!
Form your batallions!
Let us march! Let us march!
May impure blood
Water our fields!

Nice, huh? All warm and fuzzy except for the throat cutting and water the fields with blood parts. I'll admit I liked it better when I didn't know what they were singing.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | June 20, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of women who age well: Happy b-day to Nicole Kidman who turns 40 today...

Also a shout out to Audie Murphy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audie_Murphy#Medal_of_Honor_citation

And another to West Virginia (montani semper liberi): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Virginia_Day

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Sagan himself credits "Billions and Billions" to Johnny Carson and his writers. He claims he never actually said it.

What Truzzi said was "The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness." Although this is, clearly, pretty much the same thing as what Sagan is saying, there is something especially musical about the phrase "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Proof" that belongs to Carl alone.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I should have known that I wasn't the only one looking at that Moon/Venus conjunction the other night, or those nifty north/south passes of the ISS/Shuttle combo last week, easily visible in the evening.

Philosophy has always been tricky for me, seeing how it's tied up with, well, everything.

RD, to your comment about how we live in "but one of many possible worlds," there's the point of view that each of us carry around a world -
*our world* - in our heads, based our own relative perception of the universe (in some cases, some of us may carry around more than one). As we interface with others' points of view through communcation, and we interact with the phyical universe (and it interacts with us), we humans process all this information to assemble a Quilt of Reality that we wrap ourselves in, keeping ourselves warm in a cold universe. But since we're borrowing pieces from others and from the physical universe, all of those Quilts are connected to a greater or lesser degree.

That big Quilting Bee makes up a Fabric of the Human Universe (Humiverse? You heard it here first). Unforuntately, the Human Quilt is but a very very small section of the Great Cosmic Comforter (or Discomforter, depending on your point of view). And it's *way* too big for us to see in its entirety.

Follwing that questionable metaphor, we're all in the Big Quilting Bee whether we like it or not. Make sure you like the Quilt you're making, and that there are sections to share with those you love. And don't forget to tell good stories when you're making them.

See how philosophy gets me into trouble?

bc

Posted by: bc | June 20, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Hey Omni
Thanks for the shout out for West(by God) Virginia day. I have my state flag out flying all week.

It is also my parents anniversary 65 years.
I usually spend time with my Mom, since this is a tough day for her since my dad passed in 1999. She is doing good today. we had a few laughs and a nice chat.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 20, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Scotty, I'd heard that joke before.

Such a jape calls Asimov's short, "Death of a Foy" to mind.

bc

Posted by: bc | June 20, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Heck bc, it's no wonder CP is into knitting.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

dr, yes to the blues!

I really like the new Kit, Joel.

Oh, just back boodled. The Wallace Shawn quote is achingly funny.

This quip from a fellow in last week's Observer Magazine cracked me up. I just don't think I'll share it with Himself, as I fear he might see only the simple truth.

"I'm surprised my wife doesn't have a perpetual nosebleed. There must be such a lack of oxygen on the moral high ground."

Posted by: Yoki | June 20, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Your welcome green. I knew someone was West Virginian, but my memory is...

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Humans iz da CWAAAAYZIEST peepuls!!

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/06/20/kitten.rescue.ap/index.html

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 20, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Scotty
I'm glad they didn't use the big shop vac.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 20, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The lolcats have finally made it over to the Boodle. I guess it was only a matter of time.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

One more thought about libraries. Although they are wondrous places where you can take the books home for free, you still need to bring them back. If you forget and leave, say, a dozen or so sitting on your bedroom floor eventually the Library Lady will call your mother to complain.

The memory haunts me still.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, thanks for the Audie Murphy link. I had been only vaguely aware of him before this. That Medal of Honor citation is incredible.

Posted by: Tim | June 20, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

A woman in Ontario was sent to jail for unpaid library overdue charges, RD. I'd say you got off easy.

Posted by: Yoki | June 20, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm STILL very conflicted over how to respond to this article...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/19/AR2007061902170.html?hpid=moreheadlines

*Tim, 'twas omni that had the Audie Murphy link, and yes, an incredible citation.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 20, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Oops! Sorry, omni.

Posted by: Tim | June 20, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

There's an excellent Medal of Honor memorial in Indianapolis (bill everything, have you been?). Audie Murphy was one of the few names I recognized.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 20, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Boom! BOOM! C-C-C-c-r-r-aaaaa-c-c-k-k-kK!
KaBOOM! Bam! Bam!
Splish. Splish. Splash. SPLASH!
Dddddddddddddddddrrrrrrriiiiippppp.
Pppllllssshhhhhhhhhhhh!

Drippy. Drippy. Drippy. Drop.
Drop. Drop. Drop. Drop.
Pppllllssshhhhhhhhhhhh!

This is your onomatopoeiatic weather report for south Texas.

They're a-splishing and a-splashing, reelin' with the feelin'
Moving and a-grooving, rocking and a-rolling, yeah

I was a rolling and a-strolling, reeling with the feeling
Moving and a-groovin', splishing and a-splashing, yeah

Yes, I was a-splishing and a-splashing, I was a-rolling and a-strolling
Yeah, I was a-moving and a-grooving, we was a-reeling with the feeling
We was a-rolling and a-strolling, moving with the grooving
Splish splash, yeah!

Posted by: Loomis | June 20, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

That's OK *Tim, I knew Scotty would eventually straighten you out.

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Bloomberg? He's no longer Republican (something he did so he could run for mayor of NYC. I guess the Democrats wouldn't have nominated him, or would have made useless allies).

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 20, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Joel, another philosophy resource to consider: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -- http://plato.stanford.edu/. Collaboratively produced by experts in the field.

Posted by: untethered | June 20, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, next week, you will be mowing with the growing.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

BC -- thank you for another way to view the universe. Metaphors help us make sense of the un-sensible.

(Unfinished dissertation on the uses of metaphor by scientists to communicate...sigh....sigh...sigh)

Knitting cleanses the palate from too much thinking. Knitting also yields a concrete product. Knitting can be done while conversing with others. Knitting is portable. Knitting is nerdy-cool because of math, patterns, counting, etc. Knitting is a domestic art, which I see as love in action. Knitting is a substitute for fidgeting, nail biting, and perhaps smoking. Knitting is not fattening. Knitting does not cause cancer. Knitting is relatively safe. Knitting keeps away strange men in bars. Knitting is ancient. Knitting -- aka spinning -- is prescribed by Gandhi.

Back to pouring Aristotle into semi-willing skulls.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 20, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Madame Defarge, knitting, knitting, knitting."

When I saw Julia Roberts in "Three Days of Rain" she knitted on stage in character.

There. You have exhausted my pop culture familiarity with knitting.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

In the list of dramatic events in Piaf's life we should add that the boxing champion Marcel Cerdan died in a plane crash while they were dating. I've seen it as "La Môme" (a nickname bestowed on her meaning the female kid, lassie if you wish)and the New Yorker is right, it's a good but not great film. But I fell in love with Marion Cotillard, who is playing Piaf in the movie. What a great performance. She should be nominated at the Oscars IMOO.
It reminds me of another great performance, Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham, telling Tim Robbins that the "Mexican singer" is Edith Piaf while 'Je ne regrette rien' plays in the background.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | June 20, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Oy, what a day. Staff meeting, safety briefing (hah! what a joke that was) on building evacuation procedures, drafting a help-desk ticket to get my group's e-mail mailboxes enlarged (we deal with graphics files, so routinely handle massive files that clog up the normally alloted mailboxes), writing a memo to a scientist on why I'm right and he's wrong about "data" being a proper collective singular instead of plural (as he and other 19th century types insist), catching up on e-mails, and then of course, back-Boodling to see where the hell we are.

Yes, "Brevity" was good. That was indeed me, drafting a memo on why "caveman" was one word and not "cave man" and was also preferable to "cave individual."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh, if anybody's interested, this is a really well-written 1st-person account of a Navy pilot's very first night carrier landing. A pretty good read.

http://www.flyingmag.com/article.asp?section_id=13&article_id=811

The best thing about knitting is this: it keeps my tootsies warm.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Forget Socrates, try the trial of Giordano Bruno. That seems more in the achenspirit.

Yes, in re. the mentioners of multiple layers of latex, it's true enough. I remind all that despite all the non-wearing-of-latex warnings, they are STILL only considering giving the girls the HPV vaccine. Granted, they are the ones who die from it, but still. I am outraged no one but me has thought the boys should also get this vaccine. Outraged, I say!

Personally, I wear two layers of latex ALL THE TIME, except when the time is right, I TAKE ONE OFF.

Posted by: Jumper | June 20, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

We'll take your word for it, Jumper. :)

Quite the story, Mudge. You definitely have to be underage to have that kind of dexterity and focus.

Oh, and thank you for assuring me that *data* is singular.

I nominate these folks for a Darwin award:

http://www.charlotte.com/205/story/166902.html

Posted by: Slyness | June 20, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I always refer to "data sets." This muddles the issue enough to prevent giving offense to either faction.

Cause I don't wanna get whacked over this or nothing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Are you commenting on the same article here?

Posted by: KS Huffman | June 20, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I missed the latex thread. Entirely. I thought the word of the day was knitting.

Oh joy! Edith Piaf, the little sparrow, knitted. So, I am connected to the kit topic-wise

Posted by: College Parkain | June 20, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Yes we are. It's a subtle linkage.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I completely understand shrieking's affection: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/76/Agoodyearpic.jpg

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The phrase "data point" is also useful as a defacto synonym for the traditional "datum." It sounds much less prissy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I second the nomination, Slyness!!! *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 20, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"La Vie En Rose" sure sounds like the a subtitled remake of that Bette Midler movie.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

When the camel corps was stationed in Camp Verde, Texas, someone collected some camel hair (not sure of the methodology or if the hair is coarse or soft), someone (not sure who) kitted some socks out of the hair, and who ended up with at least one one pair of knitted camel hair socks? This obscure story is fairly commonly obscure around these parts--one has to be a camel aficianado to be in the know.

Why, President Franklin Pierce. No idea where they are today, if he wore them or wore them out, or if they're catalogued in some gigantic warehouse or museum in Washington, D.C.

I am familiar with stories abnout knitting with soft dog hair, particularly sheltie hair. I think NPR had a program about it.

Posted by: Loomis | June 20, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The camels came from Tunisia so they were most likely Bactrian camels. Bactrian camels have two coats the warm inner coat of down and a rough outer coat which is long and hairy.

Major Henry C. Wayne gave some camel hair to the mother of Pauline Shirley (don't her name), who made knitted socks she then sent to President Pierce.

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Ah cr@p:SCC: don't know the mother's name...

Posted by: omni | June 20, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

<om>

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Requiem for a Sock PUPPET (cross posted at yello's blog)

http://raincoaster.com/2007/05/09/bohemian-rhapsody-in-scottish-hebridean-rhapsody/

Posted by: frostbitten | June 20, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. So, if I accidentally typed "howdy" in the name box, as I almost just did, you'd know it was me, right?

Hi Pat! I lurked a little on the mommyblog this week and enjoyed some of your comments. Those folks are just too mean for me, though.

Hi kurosawaguy! You go, Martooni!

So sorry, Loomis. We had those large & evil storms here last night. At least I didn't lose any trees (as far as I know).

I am working from home today. Had to wrangle a meeting between the alarm and telephone reps about why I couldn't have full alarm protection and a working phone. With both of them here, the issue was amicably resolved. Also, the plumber came in to fix some bathroom equipment problems. To our surprise that ended up with a minor flood; he mopped it up and I re-mopped with bleach. Lovely morning.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 20, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the philosophy quest, Joel: I read I.F. Stone's "Trial of Socrates" shortly after completing all the course work for a philosophy degree one year (don't try this at home). Although I respected his other pursuits, I remember feeling absolute scorn, as only the young can, for his take on Socrates. At this remove I don't know whether it was my arrogance or his.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 20, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

One last comment on the Kit, then I'll be quiet. Partly due to that solsticial feeling, and partly due to pervasive Boodle influence, I finally got the Boy's telescope re-functioning. Of course, it has been overcast ever since.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 20, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Interesting piece by Seymour Hersh
The General's Report
How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties.
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/06/25/070625fa_fact_hersh?currentPage=1

It should be noted that it is commonly understood at the General Officer (GO) level that retirement paperwork is prepared with nothing left to fill in but the effective date, essentially making their service "at the pleasure of the president." Still, there are things that are the normal course of events (the Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs is a two term deal unless he screws the pooch)and things that aren't (forcing someone out because you don't like the result of an investigation).

Posted by: frostbitten | June 20, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, were those Bactrian socks camel toe socks?

"...one has to be a camel aficianado to be in the know."

Indeed.

bc

PS If this thread isn't a flare for *Tim to slide down his *Timpole into the Boodle, I don't know what is.

Posted by: bc | June 20, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, I read your mea culpa but can't figure out how to comment (no mad skilz here!) there, so here you go. I thought your experiment was interesting. I actually found Pop Socket the Sock Puppet kind of funny. I suspected its lack of true troll nature because it couldn't quite sustain the single-minded umbrage necessary, and was becoming trainable.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 20, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

When I was a boy, my parents were big fans of Edith Piaf. I used to listen over and over to a set of 78 rpm records they had of her songs. I enjoyed listening to the songs even though I could not understand a word of them! This article brings back memories. Of course, I knew nothing at the time about her troubled life.

Posted by: Charlie Gies | June 20, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

This blog has the info about the NPR program and the book about knitted dog hair. Kniited dog hair, I've dicovered, is also called chiengora.

http://www.fragmentsfromfloyd.com/archives/2004_05.html

Putting on the Dog...
Or, My Dog Has Fleece: And I thought I was kidding about making garments from our abundant natural resource, dog hair.

It's been done. A book has been written. There's even an NPR audio program with Barbara Bogaev that describes the long history of (Pyrenees) dog-hair garments and dicusses the fine nuances of difference between the breeds and which make good gloves, or a vest, or a beret (from a poodle, of course).

I particularly like the subtitle of the book: Better A Sweater From A Dog You Know and Love Than From A Sheep You'll Never Meet.

This website shows the variety of apparel that can be made from knitted dog hair--I do like the sable collie vest, and the golden retriever sweater looks cozy:

http://www.mdnpd.com/pd/make.htm

Posted by: Loomis | June 20, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Is it dead, Jim?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Crowdsourcing -- outsourcing a knowledge question democratically through the digitosphere and then reposting an amalgamated response

Here is a Boodle-inspired blog entry on the plant that could -- in a long growing season -- eat NYC.

http://minxterbloom.squarespace.com/

The pastword is:
Gunnera

Posted by: College Parkian | June 20, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Ignore my 3:43; we're having major connectivity issues here and I thought the Boodle was dead for more than an hour.

Joel, you can stop writing all those silly, hysterical global warming crisis articles; Bush has found the solution (according to The Onion, anyway):

Addressing Climate Crisis, Bush Calls For Development Of National Air Conditioner

June 20, 2007 | Issue 43•25

WASHINGTON, DC--In a nationally televised address reminiscent of President Kennedy's historic 1961 speech pledging to put a man on the moon, President Bush responded to the global warming crisis Monday by calling for the construction of a giant national air conditioner by the year 2015.

"Climate change is real and it demands a real solution," Bush said.
"Therefore, I am committed to dedicating all of the technology, all of the brainpower, and all of the resources we need in order to keep America cool and comfortable well into the 21st century."

The National Air Conditioner Initiative is expected to be the largest public works project in the nation's history. Because technology capable of creating an air conditioner that can fulfill the cooling needs of a continental land mass does not presently exist, the president estimated that research and development alone will require at least $100 trillion in both federal and private sector funds.

"The challenge of building an air conditioner for all Americans will be the greatest we have ever faced," Bush said. "But we must face it. We must act now to ensure that our children and our children's children can live in a world where they don't get sweaty and have to change their shirts all the time."

While Bush's speech left many questions unanswered, such as whether the one-touch cooling settings would be under federal or state jurisdiction, reaction from congressional Democrats and Republicans has been largely favorable.

"I applaud the administration for finally taking this issue seriously,"
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. "Such a giant apparatus means that Americans from all walks of life, not just the wealthy and privileged, will be able to get relief from the rise in the Earth's surface temperature. And it will create a great many jobs. Just removing and rinsing out the huge filter will require tens of thousands of seasonal laborers."

Petrochemical industry leaders voiced early support of the plan, which would stimulate additional exploration and production of oil and gas to satisfy the machine's staggering energy needs.

Some fiscal conservatives, however, decry the cost of the project and the gargantuan electric bills that would result, saying that a series of mile-high oscillating fans stationed in the Pacific Northwest and blowing in the direction of the jet stream would accomplish essentially the same thing and save billions. Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan expressed his concern that illegal aliens would benefit unfairly from the air conditioner, since many of them work outside, and questioned President Bush's ability to "seal the nation's borders in order to keep the cool air in."

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have taken a tough stance on the president's plan, demanding it contain legally binding language that ensures the air conditioner will be switched to a special energy-conserving "sleep" setting when the country cools off at night.
The White House has shown interest in an "economy mode" option that could be used in the event of a budgetary crisis, but it is still unknown whether such a massive unit would qualify for an Energy Star certification, let alone accommodate built-in money-saving features.

The strongest opposition to the plan has come from Canada. Because the proposed National Air Conditioner would cover 90 percent of the state of North Dakota and face south, the U.S.'s northern neighbor would be directly in the path of superheated air expelled from the machine's back vents. Though Prime Minister Stephen Harper said this would create drought conditions and devastate their farmlands, most believe Canada lacks the clout to halt Bush's air-conditioning agenda.

American air conditioner manufacturers, with whom President Bush reportedly consulted extensively prior to announcing the initiative, will soon be awarded tens of trillions of dollars to design and build the components necessary for the giant unit. Industry leader Lennox is expected to receive at least $30 trillion, including a massive installation fee, while  the Carrier Corporation, Trane, and Amana are all jockeying for the next largest contracts.

"Global warming threatens us all, whether we're mowing our lawns, rafting down a river in a national park, or driving to the end of the driveway to get our mail," Bush said. "The task that lies ahead is undeniably hard. But if we do not succeed, we will be profoundly inconvenienced. And I promise you: America will not let that happen."

Speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Monday night, Al Gore said that now that Bush has taken up the cause of global warming, the former vice president and environmental activist will redirect his energies toward developing a personal spacecraft capable of transporting a family of four to a distant planet.

------------

My only quibble with the article is that it neglects to mention that the contract to build the National AC unit will be a sole-source no-bid contract that will be given to Halliburton.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

(in nine short books)
1 Summary of contents
o 1.1 Volume 1: Greece and Rome
o 1.2 Volume 2: Augustine to Scotus
o 1.3 Volume 3: Ockham to Suarez
o 1.4 Volume 4: Descartes to Leibniz
o 1.5 Volume 5: Hobbes to Hume
o 1.7 Volume 7: Fichte to Nietzsche
o 1.9 Volume 9: Maine de Biran to Sartre

See more at this Wikientry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_History_of_Philosophy_(Copleston)

Concise and clear, even if the concept is murky. I use a selection from Kant, followed by F. Copleston's summary of the concept in lessons on writing clarity.

Besides, FC lived into his 90s and wore PURPLE high top Converse Chucks, under a black Jesuit cassock. How can you NOT read a philsopher with that sartorial garb?

Posted by: College Parkian | June 20, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

In the college world series, bottom of the ninth with two outs, Carolina 6, Rice 1 ... the heat is on!

Posted by: Slyness | June 20, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. Lost the beginning of the post.
Frederick Copleston's nine volume History of Philosophy._

Off to swim. Perchance to burn calories from assorted rhubarb events. Pat, are you listening? Rhubarb MUST be put into a sauce with some sweetening stuff. You bit into nature's extreme Sour Patch Kids on steroids....who-eey. Try again with rhubarb sauce.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 20, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

My fear is that the National AC Unit would need stem cells to operate.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy--The best and the funniest.

Posted by: StRick-9 | June 20, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey, yello, maybe you and Lamb Chop can get to speck out the system.

Over in the opinions/faith (hate that division) section James Carroll has a thumbsucker on monotheism as the root of all eveil. The piece isn't too bad, but what is hilarious are the collection of pathological ravings in the comments section below it. There aren't enough straitjackets for these people. http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2007/06/is_god_the_root_of_all_evil.html

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of philosophy, I found a book of Arab philosophy at the super used book store the other day. "Thoughts and Meditations" by Kahlil Gibran, and translated from the Arabic by Anthony R. Ferris. It consists of poems, like "Communion of Spirits" and "In the Dark Night", and like "The Silver Plated Turd". Fairly interesting. But not really epiphanic. (word?)

Posted by: Breugel | June 20, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I second StRick-9's suggestion. That Bloomsbury crowd is a hoot. Russell's history is lucid and comprehensive.

Bertie and Al were doing great on that mathematical proof of reality until Godel came along and made all of Principia Mathematica irrelevant.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Pat, if you're out there, the recommended serving suggestion by kids since time immemorial is to eat raw rhubarb by dipping one end in a bowl of sugar. Warning: likelihood of cootie/double dip: extreme.

Rhubarb: it's epiphantastic.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 20, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, your auditory report on the storm made me laugh.

Yello, your flog of your self-flog on your blog made me remember I still have a blog.

Boodle, you still have oodles of silliness. Keep it up.

I updated it with a self-portrait and a link to the needlesandthings blog.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

If I remember right, Loomis, somebody (Yoki?) mentioned that before you knit with puppy fuzz, you better wash the pup AND the fuzz before plucking and spinning it.
Otherwise you'll smell of wet dog when it rains or sumptin'.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry... I forgot to link to my blog. If you forget to link and read it, it's okay too.

http://wilbrodthegnome.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

SoC, the solution is to offer individual sugar bowls for dipping the rhubarb. Suddenly I have a craving for my Mom's strawberry/rhubarb crumb, and also the jam.

Posted by: dmd | June 20, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

My mom is muttering about some kind of apricot-rhubarb-peach jello recipe with seven-up, hold the vodka.

I think I misunderstood her; anybody care to take a guess on this recipe?



Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Nooooooooooooooo! Okay, Carolina, you beat the Owls today, but we'll win tomorrow. Hoot hoot.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 20, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm making a scratch red sauce for spaghetti (working from home, remember?). I just checked it and was compelled to add a splash of red wine and, oddly, a good-size pinch of sugar. Am I crazy? Padouk? Mudge? bc? Other Italian-type cooks?

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 20, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, it is said that the sugar cuts the acidity of the tomatoes. No idea if that is true, but I always add it.

Posted by: nellie | June 20, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

This was posted at that link, Mudge.

"Religion has nothing to do with war. Men go to war for power!

Or, dare I add some levity, to have some peace and quiet away from their wives."

Posted June 20, 2007 12:00 PM

There is hope.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - Sugar is usually added to either calm a sauce that is too spicy or balance out the flavor of a sauce that is too acidic. Let your taste buds be your guide.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I would like to help, but I fear I simply cannot hold the vodka as well as I did when I was a younger man.

Two drinks and I'm ready for a nap.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I am verkelmpt. You linked me, you really linked me.

Yes, Ivansmom on the sugar, though I prefer a small glob of corn syrup (I know). However recall this Blog entry, and my later inclusion into the Kit.

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/achenblog/2006/11/the_walnuts_disaster_of_2006.html

I'm not sure that you should take my advice. I'm pretty sure that you should run from any advice I might give you.

Posted by: dr | June 20, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

A final comment to help clarify my position on a vital issue raised by Curmudgeon.

I speak, of course, of the great data/datum controversy known to all pointy-headed science types in the English speaking world.

Although I am philosophically sympathetic to the traditionalists, I must admit that the phrases "These data are" and "This datum is" come across in a real scientific setting as being something of an affectation. In fact, they seem precious to the point of being prissy.

Yet to say "This data is" is confusing. Does one mean a single value or the conglomerate? This is why I cheat and say "This data set is" to refer to aggregate values, and "This data point is" to indicate a single value.

Although this is not a grammatically pure solution, it seems to keep the violent rumblings from both sides at bay.

There. I feel much better now.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, no, you're not at all crazy. I always put a little sugar or a tablespoon of honey in my spaghetti sauce, and also a half cup or so of red wine. As nellie said, it cuts the acidity a bit, and normally no one can even tell it's in there. I often add about 2 tablespoons of A-1 steak sauce, too, and a schmutz of worcestershire sauce to give it a little character. (Did I mention the whole chopped onion, the chopped half a green pepper, and the 5-6 chopped garlic cloves, all sauted in oil oil in the bottom of the pot before all the tomatoes are added? And the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and considerable Italian seasoning/poultry seasoning, thyme, oregano, etc.?)

Jeez, I'm making myself delirious with hunger. If I describe the meatballs I may pass out. Gotta go eat dinner now. Back anon.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

And eventually it'll be "Dat set shows...." And "Dis set shows..."

I prefer the plural, but I can understand why dat's not everybody's set of data.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "Oil oil" of course translates as olive oil, preferably containing an extreme or perhaps excessive amount of virginity. This is one of the few times I preach abstinence: I want my olive oil to be unsullied and pure of pit. A little harmless necking (approved kissing), sure, why not, and maybe even, oh, second base. But no further!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

The phrase "This set of data is" also works well, and is actually more correct as the word "data" is plural while one can still say "is."

I'm telling you, some people get pretty steamed up over this stuff.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge, what happens between you and your cooking supplies is, like, none of our business. Just as long as the acronym "E-V-O-O" is not involved. I have issues with this unfortunate Rayism because I think it sounds dopey. Besides, I find it much harder to say than "extravirginoliveoil"

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

But "data" isn't plural, Padouk. It is a singular mass count noun, like coal or wheat, or oil. You can never apply a number to data, such as "I have 15 data and I have 15 coal." One says, "I have data" the same as one says "I have wheat."

And except for geographers and surveyors, no one ever uses "datum," the alleged singular. Nobody.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, sugar goes in darn near every hommade tomoato sauce I've ever made.

Not odd at all.

On another note, about a year ago, I'd written about some slighly larger heat exchangers than the one in the Onion, and not only to address Global Warming, but the Heat Death of the Universe.:

http://www.10thcircle.com/10/?p=74

I'm particularly happy with the Photoshop job in that one.

bc

Posted by: bc | June 20, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "tomato".

Feh, now I'm hungry, too.

bc

Posted by: bc | June 20, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you may be right, but there are many who still say "15 data." In fact, some even say "15 datums."

I've seen such things with mine own eyes.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Interesting datum: a search for "Datum" on Yahoo yields 132,000,000 hits. That's an awful lot of geographers and surveyors out there, ya think?

1,160,000,000 for "data".

The singular only has 11% of the total hits for "data", but that's not insignificant. It's statistically relevant, I think. RD should abide by what gets him the least snarking.

By the way, Wiki says Data is not a mass noun.

..."The Latin plural data is also used as a plural in English, but it is perhaps more commonly treated as a mass noun and used in the singular, at least in day-to-day usage. For example, "This is all the data from the experiment". This usage is inconsistent with the rules of Latin grammar, which would suggest, "These are all the data from the experiment" instead; each measurement or result is a single datum. Many (perhaps most) academic, scientific, and professional style guides (e.g., see page 43 of the World Health Organization Style Guide) request that authors treat data as a plural noun."

WHO says data is plural? Then in a report to an agency such as WHO, RD should use data as a plural. Simple as that.

In science, you simply can't be writing "data" as a mass noun.

Direct descendants of Cierco will be reading that report, you know, and they're going to say, "Data est obliviar que plurirum data sunt."

(She is given to forgetting that Data is a plural).

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, y'all. It tasted pretty good, so it must have worked. I had sauteed onion & garlic (with olive oil, Mudge), fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary & basil, tomato paste, and a can of tomatoes. The wine & sugar seemed to cut it well. This is what happens when I run out of jar sauce.

Nobody has wheat. I grow wheat. I sell wheat. I harvest wheat. My armyworms eat wheat. My wheat is drowned. All good sentences, but never, "I have wheat."

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 20, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I've been quiet about data. but for me it comes down to this:

In the real world you use it anyway you damn well please to describe anything from one result to an entire conglomeration of databases with any manner of other connectors.

Reasonable uses are "The data shows..." and "According to the data" and "notice this one data point indicates" and the like.

Anyone who makes a stink about it during a meeting of any import gets a Vulcan eyebrow. Anyone who uses "datum" is not invited to lunch.

That's the private sector approach. Your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 20, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I used to have corns. But that's kinda different.

In a topic tangential to this tangent, I am starting Simon Winchester's most recent book about the OED, "The Meaning of Everything." It is fascinating in that rambling way that Winchester does so well.

One of the themes is that English, in contrast to French and Italian, has no official body that prescribes the rules and composition of the language. It evolves and changes (or becomes polluted and degrades, depending on one's opinion) over time.

That's what makes it so interesting.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

RD, u r right change is good dde. there r so many changes 2 think about in the time of txting. kids with cells and net talking to eachother mindlessly- no escape! well that wuz da boy bomb and that bomb has g2g xplode now!!!!! CYAS

[As you can tell, RD, I asked the Boy to help me with that comment.]

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 20, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

And I think that is often a good thing that we do not have an Academy of English.

However, it does mean there may be considerable drift between the jargons of respective fields.

Error Flynn works with databases, which basically does treat data en masse.

Mudge works with various mysterious documents with stupefyingly dull titles. It's probably easier for him to edit data his way than re-educate every idiot he works with.

RD apparently works with ahem, "difficult people".

And meanwhile, I sigh at the lost beauty of our language since Churchill. When did "Eye" become a verb?

Someday we WILL see "Congress ears bill." I know it. Why bother with "hears?"


Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I use microplaned or pureed carrot to sweeten my sauce.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 20, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, even more than the databases I work with document imaging where we have buffers full of info on the image and do all sorts of magic to make sense of it. The statisticians have a field day with this stuff, I mostly use it to make sure we're accurately capturing data.

Oops, I said "data". There we go again. That would be the stuff on the page. Nevermind.


Posted by: Error Flynn | June 20, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, friends. Just wanted to check in and see what's flying. Singing, tomato sauce, data, and a whole bunch of stuff. I will not try to address all these issues, too tired and too sleepy.

Up real early treading to the local hospital for that blood work, and back this afternoon for the doppler. Should have the results soon.


Still doing Vacation Bible School and loving every minute of it. Just had double duty today, so a little tired.

Ivansmom, I wish I was close by, that menu sounds real good.

Mudge and Scotty, great job this morning. Martooni, hang in there.

Can't talk long, going to bed. Has the mother been found that was nine months pregnant? Slyness, I saw the news about the fire fighters, that is so sad.

I wish someone would tell me, can the Middle East get any worse? I wonder if people in that part of world have any idea about the concept of peace? Do they know anything about peace, have they ever experienced peace? As a teenager I can only remember the people of the Middle East as fighting and killing. If I eat one kind of food all the time, I get tired of it, but these folks never seem to loose their taste for blood. Of course, they are definitely not on that island alone.

I hope your dreams are sweet, and if not, at least pleasant. I've missed you guys, but think about you everyday. Good night.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ. Peace.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 20, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, another insight I gleaned from an earlier book is that children are a major driver of linguistic change. That is, when kids communicate in novel ways, such as with new vocabulary or non-standard syntax, they grow into adults who accept this as normal. Eventually these changes become codified into the language.

This scare me. As IM sure it does U2.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra S. I hope your dreams are sweet. Certainly your goodwill is like a wash of warm sunshine on a snowy day, to me.

I'm not so sure about the sugar and sugar substitutes. A tiny teaspoonful of sugar in carmelized onions makes them more beautiful, but (as a lover of spice and sour flavours) I don't think it improves or tempers the flavour one bit. I think it just improves the colour.

I myself think that the classical imperative to add sugar to acidic foods is not to *sweeten* them, but to add the calories that are craved by every peasant (my family) eating peasant cuisine (which iswhat I admire and love and would, if I could, eat every day).

I would be more likely to add a pinch of chopped chilis or a teaspoonful of tabasco, to temper any dish, because I want flavour! And heat. Have you ever ingested just a wee too much wasabi, and had tears in your nose and eyes, and wanted to say "Yes! Yes!"

And given that we use "pasturized honey" or "refined white sugar" or even "refined brown sugar" (or, dare I say, high-fructose corn syrup) in our cooking, it cannot possibly add any flavour or subtle flavouring to anything; it is just calories, pure and simple.

Posted by: Yoki | June 20, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

RD -- you may love that book. I surely did. Language lives. We "vote" on usuage and eventually the living, breathing creature mutates.

i must tell u that IMspeak is hre whter u LION
LION = like it or not.

Students write to me in IM vocabules all the time. But recently, I added a clause to my syllabus saying that I will count email communication grammar and syntax toward a final grade....I detect some improvement.

I do like this emoticon, which stands for a sideways heart, as in love:

<3


My darling two dots (21 and 23) close email to me thusly and I sigh in that parental pleasure way.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 20, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Pardon the Irish intrusion into Italian saucemaking,but my mother tempered the tang with pureed carrots.

You may issue me a red card, if you must.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 20, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

That reminds me, CP! Thank you. Another good tempering medium is grated sweet potatoes. Not so high in sugar (glycemic index) as carrots, and if finely enough grated sweet potatoes will melt, on simmering, into every stew-ish-type dish.

Well done! But remember folks, we are talking about real yellow sweet potatoes and not sugary orange yams.

Posted by: Yoki | June 20, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse


We have IM at work, and it took me a long time to figure out why them young kids kept signing off with "np" whenever I asked them to do something. Eventually I asked one, who laughed and told me it meant "no problem."

I may have gained knowledge, but I fear I lost face.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I *never* loose the "data" argument at work. First (and pre-emptively), the GPO Stylebook, which we use, has it as a mass count noun, in rule 5.10 on page 69. Also, the NY Times Stylebook agrees. As the lawyers say, this is usually "dispositive."

Then, when people get testy, I use the "nuclear option." It's long, crushing, and in two parts. The first part is a series of grafs with citations. The second part is an essay by Prof. Norman Gray, an astronomer and physicist.

No one has ever survived the nuclear option. No one. Here it is:

Data--singular or plural:

http [colon] //www [dot] askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutgrammar/data?view=uk :

"Strictly speaking, data is the plural of datum, and should be used with a plural verb (like facts). However, there has been a growing tendency to use it as an equivalent to the uncountable noun information, followed by a singular verb. This is now regarded as generally acceptable in American use, and in the context of information technology. The traditional usage is still preferable, at least in Britain, [i.e., not here] but it may soon become a lost cause."

http [colon] //www [dot] biostat.wustl.edu/archives/html/s-news/2000-11/msg00114.html :

"Whether the word is singular or plural, when a statistician speaks of
'data' it really is (or should be) a singular concept. We think of data as
the full set of information on which an analysis is based, logically a
seamless whole that has to be handled in toto, not as a collection of
loosely linked entities from which pieces can be selected more-or-less at
will for analysis (as some clients or even colleagues often want us to do).
I think this is very important to keep in mind."

"The other point that strikes me as strange is the usage 'data analysis.'
When we use a noun as an adjective in English it is usually (and as far as
I am concerned, always) the singular form. It's 'a horse doctor' not 'a
horses doctor' and "a mouse plague,' not 'a mice plague,' even though
presumably the doctor can tend more than one animal and one mouse does not
make much of a plague. Does anyone want to change and start calling it
'datum analysis'? Might be fun."

http [colon] //www [dot]tiscali.co.uk/reference/dictionaries/English/data/d0081867.html :

"Strictly speaking, data is the plural of datum, and means 'a fact,' 'a piece of information.' It is often used as another word for information, followed by a singular verb: Data is stored on the computer. This is now regarded as acceptable, especially in American English and in the language of information technology.
By far the most general pronunciation is [day-ter], though a few people prefer the traditional Latin pronunciation [dar-ter]."
© From the Hutchinson Encyclopaedia.
Helicon Publishing LTD 2000.
All rights reserved.

http[colon] //www [dot]cbc.ca/news/indepth/words/plurals.html :

"Data, on the other hand, is now viewed exclusively as a collective singular by many English authorities who choke on awkward-sounding sentences like 'the data are almost ready for analysis.' Why? Unlike a specific medium or criterion, we rarely think about an individual datum (the figure 12.378, for instance.)
"Instead, such numbers are gathered and stored like grains of rice in a jar until statisticians cook up something they hope we'll be able to digest. So we end up with phrases like 'the data is incomplete' and 'the data supports the theory.'
"As Bill Bryson puts it in his Dictionary of Troublesome Words, 'The shift is clearly in the direction of treating data as a singular, and a generation from now anyone who says "The data are here" may seem as fussy as the nineteenth-century newspaper editor who sent one of his reporters a telegram asking "Are there any news?" (to which reportedly came the reply: "No, not a single damn new").'"

http [colon] //webster [dot] commnet.edu/grammar/plurals.htm :

"Many careful writers insist that the words data and media are Latin plurals and must, therefore, be used as plural words. The singular Latin forms of these words, however, are seldom used: datum as a single bit of information or medium as a single means of communication. Many authorities nowadays approve sentences like 'My data is lost' and 'The media is out to get the President.' Even textbooks in computer science are beginning to use 'data' as a singular."

http [colon] //en [dot] wikipedia v[dot]org/wiki/Data :

"Usage in English
"In English, the word datum is still used in the general sense of 'something given,' and more specifically in cartography, geography, geology, and Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing to mean a reference point, reference line, or reference surface. The Latin plural data is also used as a plural in English, but it is also commonly treated as a mass noun and used in the singular. For example, 'This is all the data from the experiment.' This usage is inconsistent with the rules of Latin grammar, which would suggest 'These are the data ...,' each measurement or result being a single datum. However, given the variety and irregularity of English plural constructions, there seem to be no grounds for arguing that data is incorrect as a singular mass noun in English.

http [colon]//www [dot] bartleby.com/64/C003/088.html :

§ 88. data
The word data is the plural of Latin datum, "something given," but does that mean you should treat it as a plural noun in English? Not always. The plural usage is still common enough, as this headline from the New York Times attests: Data Are Elusive on the Homeless. Sometimes scientists think of data as plural, as in These data do not support the conclusions. But more often scientists and researchers think of data as a singular mass entity like information, and most people now follow this in general usage. Sixty percent of the Usage Panel accepts the use of data with a singular verb and pronoun in the sentence Once the data is in, we can begin to analyze it. A still larger number, 77 percent, accepts the sentence We have very little data on the efficacy of such programs, where the quantifier very little, which is not used with similar plural nouns such as facts or results, implies that data here is indeed singular. 1
When plural, data has the unusual characteristic of not being capable of modification by cardinal numbers. You may have various data but you will never have five or ten data.
-------------

now, the piece by Professor Norman Gray, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, Scotland

from http [colon] //www [dot] astro.gla.ac.uk/users/norman/note/2005/singular-data/ :

"Can we just clear this up now: the word `data,' in English, is a singular mass noun. It is thus a grammatical and stylistic error to use it as a plural. Plural use is barbaric: it is a deliberate archaism, and thus a symptom of bad writing."

"Latin
"The Latin word data (pronounced `dah-tah') is the neuter plural past participle of the verb dare, `to give' (it's actually also the feminine singular past participle, but that's even more irrelevant than the rest of this section). The English word `data' (pronounced `dah-tah' or `day-tah') is a noun referring variously to measurements, observations, images, and the other raw materials of scientific enquiry. In this sense it originated in the physical sciences and computing in the mid-20th century, and is busily and cheerfully spreading into other areas. The two words are, not surprisingly, etymologically related.
As a past participle, Latin data is precisely analogous to the English word `given,' as in `I have given.' In Latin as in English, past participles can be used as adjectives -- `...accomplishing a given end' (this example, like most of the others in this note, along with essentially all of the history, comes from the OED) -- and even as nouns -- ` ``The English language''...from the point of view of any individual speaker...is a ``given,'' it is not something he creates for himself', though this is more common in Latin than in English. Similarly, you might imagine `Given ten goats...' as the preamble to a rather tedious algebra problem.
"Still keeping up?

"English
"Latin data appears to have made its way into English in the mid 17th century (according to the OED, again), with English `data' making an appearance in the 1646 sentence `From all this heap of data it would not follow that it was necessary,' illustrating the OED's sense 1a: "A thing given or granted; something known or assumed as fact, and made the basis of reasoning or calculation; an assumption or premise from which inferences are drawn." Datum -- the neuter singular past participle -- makes its first appearance almost a hundred years later, in the same sense. Sense 2, for the OED, is "Facts, esp. numerical facts, collected together for reference or information," first sighted in 1899. `Data' as a computing term is first spotted in 1946, in the Annals of the Computation Laboratory, Harvard University: `Two card feeds for supplying the machine with empirical or other data'. Interestingly, this is listed as sense 1d, meaning that the OED editors think this usage is closer in meaning to the `thing given or granted' of sense 1a, than to the more scientific sense of sense 2: I'm not sure I would agree.
"That 1646 quotation doesn't suggest that the word was a particularly novel one, so that it will likely have had some prehistory amongst English-speakers. But that prehistory was as likely in Latin as in English: it was in the 17th century that intellectuals across Europe were remaking science, and doing it, radically, in English, French and other vernaculars, rather than Latin. As they remade science, they remade, reworked, and simply invented their technical vocabularies, against the background of the substantial technical vocabularies of the late Latin in which they had been educated, and this is when words like English `data' appear.
"What that means is that was almost certainly no Latin word for the concept that we now identify by the English word `data,' and that to the extent that data was a technical term in late Latin, and hence in early modern English, it surely meant nothing, or nothing much, beyond the slightly specialized mathematical meaning of the English word `given.'
Put another way, that means that the word `data,' as a technical term referring to the ore of observations, from which knowledge can be reduced, is not a Latin word at all. It's a native English word with a Latin past, which means, bluntly, that we get to choose how to use it, and if its meaning changes over time -- as it has -- then its grammatical analysis can reasonably and properly migrate also.
"Put yet another way, this whole section is redundant. Etymology can satisfy our curiosity about our language, or give color, texture and ripeness to the words we use, but it can do no more than suggest how we actually use the words, when we do use them, ourselves, now.

"Usage
"Other `Latin' plurals
English includes many words originally press-ganged from Latin, which have changed their grammatical type.
`Stamina' and `agenda' are two well-known ones, and `media' is apparently becoming one. Separately from its botanical sense, a `stamen' was the warp of a fabric, or figuratively some essential element of a thing; the word `stamina' now refers to a completely different concept, which has no need, and no room, for a singular form -- it makes no sense to speak of one of the things of which stamina is the plural. We can even watch the word changing its grammatical `number', from plural to singular. In the list of OED usages for this sense (3a) of `stamina' -- from `her stamina could not last much longer' (the earliest, in 1726) to `his stamina is gone entirely' (1834) -- we see a century or so where the word is used in contexts where its number is ambiguous; and in the first case in this list where its number is clear, it is clearly singular, and the word is being used in its modern sense. The OED's last spotting of the relevant sense of `stamen' used as a singular is in 1794.
"`Agendum' isn't quite obsolete yet, but if the chairman of a meeting talks of `moving on to the next agendum', she is being deliberately and unattractively pompous, or facetious, and if she asks `how many agenda are still to be discussed?', she should be thrown bodily from the room. In any case, `agenda' no longer means just a collection of `agendums': it now refers to the list of agendums as a separate notion, and that meaning has expanded (unattractively and unnecessarily in my opinion) to refer to secret and probably malevolent aspirations, as in `I don't trust X -- she has a personal agenda.'
Using `agenda' or `stamina' as a plural is now a grammatical error in English. This isn't being prescriptive, but descriptive, in the sense that native English speakers do not naturally use these words as plurals, and detect them as a mistake when they hear or read them thus used.
"`Media' is edging the same way, in the sense that the word has accumulated at least one meaning beyond the simple plural of `medium'. This is arguably a good thing, though I wouldn't go to the stake for it, as it makes a nice distinction possible. If you're told `the media are outside', you know that radio and TV have turned up -- how nice: you should tell your mother to watch the evening news. If, on the other hand, you're told `the media is outside', you brace yourself to bodycharge a mob of slavering hacks asking if you've stopped beating your wife, photographing what cleavage they can, and demanding that Something Must Be Done about the lurid crimes they've so lovingly described.
"Using `phenomena', `criteria' or `strata' as singulars is a grammatical no-no -- these are simply irregular plurals of useful and still-current words.
"In this spectrum (not `spectra,' of course), `data' is clearly located near `agenda.' The difference is that, though I know what an `agendum' is (and have very certain opinions about folk who use the word), I really have very little clue what a `datum' is -- it's certainly not one of the things that makes up data.

"Using `data'
"The strongest argument against plural `data' is that plural `data' looks weird; thus it is distracting; thus it is bad writing.
"When you read in the middle of a sentence `...the data are analysed by...,' you stumble: your subconscious grammatical consistency checks raise an alarm! -- you have misparsed them (yes, like that). You automatically go back to the beginning for another go, more carefully this time, but realize, too late, that you are simply reading the work of an author in his weddings-and-funerals suit, writing as he would never speak. You re-gather your concentration, and press on.
"Because almost no one does speak like that. This is not an argument about formal versus informal use, but about the distinction between usage and prescription. The majority of writers who would dutifully pluralize `data' in writing naturally and consistently use it as a mass noun in conversation: they ask how much data an instrument produces, not how many; they talk of how data is archived, not how they are archived; they talk of less data rather than fewer; and they always talk of data with units, saying they have a megabyte of data, or 10 CDs, or three nights, and never saying `I have 1000 data' and expecting to be understood.
"If challenged, they will respond (with a slightly nervous smugness) that `data is a Latin plural.' Agree to this, for the sake of professional harmony, and carry on the conversation, making sure to mention that `the telescope has data many odd images tonight' (it's a past participle, remember), suggest `looking at the data raw images' (...or an adjective) and that you both `examine the datorum variance' (surely they recall the genitive plural) before `redoing the analysis with the normalized datis' (...and the dative). If they object, ask them to explain their sentimental attachment to the nominative plural, that they would use that in all cases, in brute defiance of good Latin grammar (...on a good day, you'll have them run screaming from the room).
"Isn't it lucky English is now genderless, making `data' neuter, else we'd have to memorize masculine dati (dati dati datos datorum datis datis) and feminine datae (whatever...), too? Isn't it simpler just to speak English?

"There's no such thing as a `datum'
"As we saw above, the word `stamina' was used ambiguously for a century or so, until the word of which it was the plural -- `stamen' -- lots its relevant meaning. Exactly similarly, the OED's quotations for `data' in the computer sense are ambiguous as to number in 1946 (twice), 1958, 1960, and 1967, unambiguously singular in 1964 and 1970 (twice), and unambiguously plural in 1969. Its `numerical facts' sense has seven quotations from 1899 to 1971, of which only two, in 1946 and 1958, are clearly plural. After 1807 there are precisely zero uses of `datum' in the relevant senses 1a, 1d or 2 (sense 1b is the combinative sense, as in `datum-line', sense 1c is a technical sense in philosophy, and sense 3 is the combinative sense of `database', `data processing', and the like).
"That obviously doesn't mean that the word `datum' hasn't been used in these senses after 1807, but it does rather suggest that the word is going the way of non-botanical `stamen', being a word for an idea that is evaporating from our language.
"Ask a scientist or engineer how many data she has (go on, try it). She'll tell you how many gigabytes she has, or how many datapoints, or how many observations, or how many photocopied articles. No, no, you say, how many `datums'? She will look at you, I guarantee, in A Funny Way. What on earth are you asking? No one knows, because the word `datum' has lost any useful meaning (for everyone except surveyors and geologists, and other folk who need datum-lines, datum-marks, datum-planes and other datum-combinations). On those occasions when you need to refer to some indivisible atom of data, you talk of bytes, or datapoints or observations as appropriate. But never of a datum.
"The word `datum' is still in use by surveyors, and other folk who need datum-lines, datum-marks, datum-planes and miscellaneous datum-combinations. In precise geodesy, for example, a `datum' is the term for one of several models of the shape of the earth, relative to which the heights of mountains and the positions of telescopes are measured. This usage, which has nothing to do with our atom of data, has the perfectly regular plural `datums,' so that in texts which discuss these things, we can read sentences like `Frequently, users or creators of geospatial data are unaware or unsure of the projection or datum geospatial data are in.' This is effectively the OED's sense 1b, but not in a combinative sense. Can you imagine the confusion in this context if data's putative singular were still a live word?
"This disappearance of the word of which `data' is purportedly the plural means two things. First, passively, it creates a linguistic space into which `data' can drop -- there is no ambiguity in using `data' in a singular sense. Secondly, and more importantly, if `datum' has effectively disappeared, it tells us that `data' cannot be simply its plural; unanchored, it has moved away from this simply derived meaning, to a distinct and independent meaning of its own. It has accordingly accreted usage rules of its own, unencumbered by any Latin past.
"`Data' no longer means just one datum after another. Twentieth-century `data' refers to a mass of raw information, which we measure rather than count. This universal perception of data as measured rather than counted puts the word firmly and unambiguously in the same grammatical category as `coal,' `wheat,' and `ore,' which is that of the mass, or aggregate, noun. As such, it is always and unavoidably grammatically singular. We would never ask `how many wheat do you have?' or say that `the ore are in the train' if we wished to be thought a competent speaker of English; in the same way, and to the same extent, we may not ask `how many data do you have?' or say `the data are in the file' without committing a grammatical error.


"Other versions of the same argument
"Now here I am obviously being at least a little prescriptive. But more descriptive than it might at first appear: native speakers naturally use `data' as a singular noun until someone in authority tells them not to, whether that is a journal style guide or someone with the `Latin plural' schtick. Thus the plural usage is maintained in the language only artificially, as a status marker -- it will soon die.
"As far as dictionaries go, the OED stigmatizes the singular construction as (delightfully) `catachrestic and erroneous', in the teeth of all their evidence I've adduced above. They rather cheekily include in their quotations illustrating this wickedness a bald and authoritative 1965 statement that `Incidentally, by general usage data is now accepted as a singular collective noun.' Oddly, the OED marks `datum' as a `not naturalized, alien' noun, but doesn't so mark `data' -- I feel this rather proves the point than undermines it. Oxford's askoxford.com is generally good (it has the correct opinion of split infinitives), but still cleaves doughtily to the `data is Latin' cause.
"Looking at online dictionaries, the American Heritage Book of English Usage is rather evasive, and ends with the extraordinary remark that `When plural, data has the unusual characteristic of not being capable of modification by cardinal numbers. You may have various data but you will never have five or ten data.' This has the unusual characteristic of indicating squarely that it's not a plural at all.
Merriam-Webster Online has a nice note on usage, saying `Data leads a life of its own quite independent of datum, of which it was originally the plural' (indeed), and ending with a resigned sigh, `The plural construction is more common in print, evidently because the house style of several publishers mandates it.'
There's a general consensus amongst those who care enough to post about it. I suppose I'm not surprised the topic has been much blogged: entries I found include pieces by John Quiggin, John August and Kevin Drum. Though I saw these after writing this piece, there's a fair overlap in arguments and examples.
This piece also draws in spirit, and in some examples, from the chapter on `Data' in Philip Howard's excellently entertaining Weasel Words (Corgi, 1978, now apparently out of print).
I can't find any sources which argue unashamedly that `data' is a plural, beyond the authors' ritual incantation that `data is a Latin plural', which they seem to feel is argument enough, and the world-weary suggestion that they hear, in singular `data,' the hordes battering at the gates.
The data is in: it is massive, and it is singular.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Well, all I will say is that I much prefer lemonademade with lemons *and* sugar to lemonade made just with the lemons.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

That's why the Achenblog exists. You have no face to lose by asking.

I've learned more deviant slang than I ever imagined existed here, and apparently the average age of the boodlers here is 42.


Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm taller than Edith Piaf! Unfortunately, I weigh twice as much as she did. My sister studied French and had albums by Piaf and Charles Aznavour and Jacques Brel. Since Milord has been running through my head all day, I must have listened to that one a lot.

Mais oui, dansez, Milord!
La-la-la... Bravo Milord!
La-la-la... Encore Milord!... La-la-la...

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 20, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Returned from Tampa this evening to a very solsticial land. Wild asters glow in the nearly endless twilight. Shasta daisies aren't quite hardy here so these daisy like wildflowers will have to do for tempering the delphinium. After some truly miserable weather in FL it is nice to have windows open and temps on the way down to 45 or so overnight. Best of all, there are flowers on my tomato plants!

On the other hand, leaving Mr. F and Frostdottir truly sucks. What ever made me think I needed to start my life of public service before Mr. F finished his?

Posted by: frostbitten | June 20, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - I'm not disagreeing. I merely point out that I work with a number of people who use data as plural and datum as singular, and they ain't changing for the likes of anyone. So to be safe I use my "set of data" and "data point" formalism. It works for me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 20, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Just stepped outside to watch the shuttle and the space station go by. While waiting, "S" said, "oh look a lightning bug." I said it was a firefly, that's what we here in the northeast call it, the Boodle said so. It was cool to see the two spacecraft, one chasing the other across the sky.

I always thought a pinch of sugar took the acid-ness out of the tomato sauce, but carrots are probably a healthier sweetner. Too sticky here to think about hot food.

Cassandra, I miss you in the mornings but you are doing good work that you love and that is more important.

Read the Edith Piaf article in The New Yorker. What a short sad life she had. The Seymour Hersch Abu Ghraib article is depressing. We need more generals with strong principles like Taguba. But this administration doesn't value strong principles. I've said it before, but I really want to live long enough to see at least some of the bigwigs punished for what they've done to this country.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | June 20, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

>I *never* loose the "data" argument at work.

Well Mudge, one thing you don't want to do with data, either singular or plural, covered by any citation, is "loose" it.

You don't want all that data running around on the streets.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 20, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I'm afraid I'm going to sound really persnicketty here, but databases generally do not treat data en masse. Queries just spit it back out looking that way.

With the exception of blob fields or things like images, everything is put in fields of specific types, lengths, and normalized to within an inch of its data life (i.e., you don't want the same piece of data residing in several different tables on the database). There is a place for everything, and everything is in its place, and it's all separated like little cells on a spreadsheet.

Or at least it was when I checked out my servers before I left work today.

Posted by: dbG | June 20, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, re: Medal of Honor. We are very war friendly in Indianapolis. Though the American Legion has an office in D.C. they also claim a headquarters here.

We have a poor man's version of the mall here with various tributes to our wonderful wars (quite a good one to WWI I will admit).

The first time I ever was in "the District" was in 1987, not long after the Vietnam War memorial had been installed. I found it very moving.

What are we going to do for an Iraq War memorial? Rumsfeld with his thumb up his butt?

Posted by: Raysmom | June 20, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

SORRY. That was me not Raysmom, of course. Geez, back to the day job.

Posted by: bill everything | June 20, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm sorry too, but I don't shout out how sorry I am. Which is very very sorry. Time for a break.

Posted by: Yoki | June 20, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

sorry for the all caps; it won't happen again!

Posted by: bill everything | June 20, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Pop Socket's legacy.

Posted by: dbG | June 20, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Yoki -- I adore white sweet potatos but hate yams. A variety I sometimes find is Boniato.....or Boniata...fleshy but cooks up fluffy. Lovely with a splash of butter and chives.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 20, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

All this talk about data reminds me that Brent Spiner, the actor who played Data on Star Trek: CSI, once released an album of old jazz/popular music standards, the cover of which featured him made up in character but wearing a very snazzy suit.

The album was called "Old Yellow Eyes Is Back."

Posted by: byoolin | June 20, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I assume the nuclear option exists as a word processing document. I would hate to think that you typed that whole thing out for us.

Yes, Cassandra, what happened in Charleston is devastating. I can tell you now, from my experience, that what led to these deaths was a series of stupid mistakes that could have been prevented. That is ALWAYS the case.

Mr. T (to give my husband the name I use for him) looks forward to the NIOSH report, which will lay out the incident in complete detail. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has an initiative to cut firefighter deaths in half in ten years, starting three years ago. This isn't going to help. Approximately a hundred firefighters die in the line of duty every year; about 40 percent die of heart attacks and about 30 percent in vehicle wrecks. Firefighter deaths in fire suppression operations get the most publicity but are not as common as other causes.

Okay, now that I've shared more data than anyone cared to know, I'll say goodnight.

Posted by: Slyness | June 20, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

me: //it's all separated like little cells on a spreadsheet.//

SCC: Speaking virtually, of course. And blobs and images also are contained in fields, just reaaallllly big ones.

Posted by: dbG | June 20, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Is *Dances with Labs* taken as a boodle handle? That Wolves movie is on.

Posted by: dbG | June 20, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Scroll down to find the Haupia-Purple Sweet Potato Pie.

Sorry, Frosti for you to have the prairie lights garden and no beloveds near.

Cassandra -- I think of you each time I drive past a VBS sign on the local churches. Your joy is clear between the lines.

Slyness, Did I tell you that I am related to the Halligan bar inventor? Some relie in Iowa has an early version of that essential firefighter tool.

I took a flashlight on my walk to look at lilies I don't have time to see during the day. A person, owner of the yard of lilies, came out on the porch and asked me what the bleep I was doing looking at his lilies with a flashlight. No answer save this: Just admiring how lovely they are in the dark and by flashlight.

He thinks I am insane, of course. I rather think he envies me my most excellent flashlight: large black maglite.

Eccentric and tired. Take care,night boodlers. The moon is a thick sliver and will wax gibbous soon.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 20, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I got a call last night from a good friend. Her nephew is with the Phila. Fire Department, and she'd caught a newscrawl that mentioned the tragedy, but not where, and *news at 11.* She's computer-illiterate and wanted to know if I could *somehow* find the complete news because she needed to know right then.

Telling her it wasn't here didn't make it any better.

Posted by: Dances with Labs | June 20, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Yes, slyness, it was a Word document. The only thing I had to do with it was change the periods to [dots] because the filter wouldn't allow all those links. I keep it handy in my copy editing and style book folder, for times when I've got to nuke a problematic scientist or engineer (maybe three or four times a year). Then I paint a little silouette of a fried scientist on the outside wall of my cubby just behind the nose turret.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 20, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Whoopsie daisy:
http://maona.net/archives/recipes/

This link contains the Haupia Sweet Potato pie.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 20, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I should say my friend teaches 1st graders with serious problems and when she says she's having a "Hit, Spit & S%#t" day, it's literal. Computers are not important in her world, but firemen are.

Posted by: dbG | June 20, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

This has probably been settled already (I haven't finished reading) but a datum is a mathematical model of the earth as a sort-of-sphere, not one or many observations of some phenomenon. It's singular, and not closely related to data as observations (one or many, where the confusion enters).

Posted by: LTL-CA | June 20, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

As they are for all of us.

Okay, I'm babbling, and on my way to bed. Night, boodle!

Posted by: dbG | June 20, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

A little sugar, and maybe also a very little prepared mustard (from a jar, not strong), in most red sauces and/or similar braises like Swiss steak. I don't notice their presence, but I notice their absence.

Posted by: LTL-CA | June 20, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Data's cat was named Spot.

"im in yr warpcoorz, eatin' all yr dylitheeyumz"

Posted by: yellojkt | June 20, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

>I use microplaned or pureed carrot to sweeten my sauce.

Parsnips are sweeter in general, IMHO. Carrots are especially sweet with lamb, for some reason. Anybody know why?

Posted by: LTL-CA | June 20, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

So your authority is the GPO and the NY Times?

Well, that's certainly going to convince the British and half of the scientific world right there of the supremacy of New York City and Washington, DC. in dictating the entire English language.

I'm sure Ron Paul and Pop Socket would start using "the data are" just to give the raised back-V to Big Rbother.

I'm not gonna argue it for your job, why are you arguing it for my and RD's job?

I googled it and I see 3,630,000 hits for "the data are" vs 7,670,000 for "the data is". "The data's" has only 170,000 hits.

Hardly a ringing indicator of an universal usage of "the data is" outside non-GPO authorized documents and people following the NY Times handbook (Hands up who has this at home-- not you, Mudge. Down, boy).

I can tell that you have a THING about this.

But the fact is, if you want to change nonstandard plurals, you should be arguing oxen should be oxes...

And also that mouse should never be mice, because the plural of computer mouse is computer mouses, and that's the mouse that people most commonly use in their house.


Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Mostlylurking, Milord usually fades out after a day or two.

Posted by: LTL-CA | June 20, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Let me make the following comparison:

Data = Information

No one talks about "one information" "Datum" is an out-moded nod to Latin. Time to relax.

Quit trying to make the confounding aspects of fording English grammar comport with logic.

QED Dude
Geez.

Posted by: bill everything | June 20, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it's a surprisingly emotional subject isn't it?

And we weren't even debating evolution vs creationism.


Posted by: Wilbrod | June 20, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

bill everything:

spent some time finding the ISO, your wife, etc.

And then found (perhaps) your name.

But I thought you were giving us a picture!

Posted by: nellie | June 20, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I want to insert a certain Irish exclamation here, but won't. Or not much.

I just love dbG and TBG and dmd (see a pattern here?). dbG, you crack me up.

Posted by: Yoki | June 20, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Cough, cough...

I wish to mention that a certain superbly trained dog is up for adoption in the DC area and has his Dogster site up too. Fortunately-- it's not me.

This black dude is a Tigger in personality, if not in looks.

You could have "Dances with Tiggers" as a boodle name with this chap!

http://www.dogster.com/dogs/568034

Posted by: Wilbrodog | June 21, 2007 1:12 AM | Report abuse

I occasionally throw a "datum" into something I'm writing, just to show that I can. But usually, I just stick with data as plural (when I am addressing a subset of a larger data set), and as a singular collective when I am addressing the whole pile o' measurements. As in "I have a lovely bunch of data." And, "These data are bull[hockey]!" (The last one is a quote).

Cassandra, it could get worse in the Middle East -- all we have to say is "It can't get any worse than this!" and we will soon be proven wrong. What we need is to declare "I'm sure it couldn't be any better than this." The nice thing about pessimism is that one can be free to be happily surprised.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 21, 2007 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Like Tim, I occasionally use "data" as a plural ("those data are...") [and I still insist upon using "media" plurally every now and then, and referring to television newcasts as an example of a "medium!"], and toss in a "datum" here and there. But accepted standard usage is what it is, and there you go.

The prescriptive - vs - descriptive war was decided long ago. Just ask the 'Académie française' folks how well prescription's worked out for them in Quebec, where they have some actual law on their side (let alone Port-au-Prince or Paris, where they got nothin' much more than moral suasion working for 'em)! Or all of the Latin speakers who... ooops, they're badly outnumbered nowadays, eh?

Sigh.... For whatever reason, speakers of languages love to play around with usage, and those changes tend to stick around and accumulate!

Posted by: Bob S. | June 21, 2007 2:32 AM | Report abuse

I think this data discussion is a good illustration of what Joel said at the bottom of the Kit:

"Everything's arguable. Maybe."

(For what it's worth, I'm a member of the "data are" crowd -- an inclination I picked up whilst editing medical journals.)

As for pessimism, I like this quote from Wayne Dyer: "We don't know enough to be pessimistic." (I guess you could say, We don't have enough data . . .)

Posted by: Dreamer | June 21, 2007 2:56 AM | Report abuse

Morning all!! *Grover waves inna bathing suit*

Dangit, got here too late to introduce that not-really-jaundiced Lt. Cmdr into the whole "data" discussion... *L*

Should I be worried that birds are already singing outside the window, or are they just warming up for the solsticial festivities???

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 21, 2007 4:41 AM | Report abuse

Scotty

I do believe the birds have been up all night. I know this bird has been...Yikes!!

I saved last years Christmas tree for my summer soltice fire.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 21, 2007 4:50 AM | Report abuse

Morning all.

I'm thoroughly confused over the usage of the word "data" now (not that I know how to use it before). But fortunately, over here, we often butcher the English language beyond recognition so I don't have to worry about rules that much.

Posted by: rain forest | June 21, 2007 4:54 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon's post on data, etc. makes me hope my flowers' stamens have stamina. The coonties' microsporangia in their slender little cones, too.

I managed to spend the night working on a "literature cited" for a document under review. It was my first stab at using modern software that integrates itself into Word. Utterly awful getting the whole thing set up. First run required a few stops to make corrections. Making a few more corrections was easy. And so to bed.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | June 21, 2007 5:03 AM | Report abuse

Now THAT's recycling, greenwithenvy!!! *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 21, 2007 5:18 AM | Report abuse

Recycling anything is always good, but I also enjoy any excuse to use my fire pit.

Posted by: greeenwithenvy | June 21, 2007 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

No time to Boodle at the moment, I'll check back in later.

bc

Posted by: bc | June 21, 2007 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. Cassandra, I hope you have a wonderful day in Bible School. Ours is this week also. My excuse for not volunteering is that I'm trying to be flexible to help my niece as she takes care of my brother, who is in Hospice care.

"Hit, spit, and s@#t day." dbG, I can sooo identify with that!

Another hot, dry day in the Carolinas. Ivansmom, Loomis, if you all have too much rain, we will be delighted for you to send some this way.

Posted by: Slyness | June 21, 2007 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Here's some sad commentary:

Just spoke to a senior staffer here who's retiring after more than 30 years of service...

Because of worries about not having enough income to put two kids through college.

*SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 21, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

I think SciTim and EF both captured the spirit of folks who actually use "data" on a daily basis. There is a conglomeration of uses including Mudge's collective noun interpretation, the old-school plural, and the adjective side-step often used by slackers like myself. Whatever "sounds" best.

Let's not even get into the phrase, "data space."

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 21, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - Around here it is not uncommon to give someone a big "retirement" party and then see them around the building a few weeks later doing pretty much the same job as a contractor.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 21, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Blues note, in a good way. I adopted a number of Cornflower seedlings from a neighbor. She thought the flower a mix: blue, pale pink, maroon. Her flowers opened last week, with not a blue one in sight. My four plants, taken at random by her hand, now betray that they are all blue. The blue is true cyan-blue: Centaurea cyanus. She frenvies me these blooms.

The slim grey wanded foliage is a perfect foil to the blue. See here:
http://wildflowerinformation.org/Wildflower.asp?ID=36

Do you recall classic Corningware with the blue graphic? Cornflower, stylized!

Can I connect this to EP? Sort of: her songs are blue but the rose that is the signature image in her signature song can never be blue, naturally. But scientists are at work on that grail: blue roses.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 21, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I've always wondered about the symbolism of "blue roses." Is that what you would give when you love someone but are really sad about it?

And this is the first time I've heard the term "frenvies." I like it.

English is, like, such a stokingly malleable language.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 21, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Lotsa rehired annuitants here too, RDP. But it's still sad to think a top-shelf civil service income isn't enough for today's college costs. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 21, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

The Red Roses for a Blue Lady mashes into that idea, I think. Bobby Darin? Mel Torme?

But blue roses is a conversation device in The Glass Menagarie by Tennesee Williams. "Blue roses" was what tragic Laura heard when she had pleuresy as a child.

My middle dot thought for years that we lived in "Pee Gee" county...rhymes with squeegee. There is a blue-ish hydrangea called Pee Gee...and I should start the beautification campaign next week.

Words. Fun. Also used to sell paint colors. Would you rather have Dingy White or Morning Fawn on your walls?

Posted by: College Parkian | June 21, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Contest:
select a "paintable"shade and develop two names
1) name to enhance sales
2) name to de-hance sales

Ex:
forest lichen
cowpie splat

Off to pour more Aristotle into brains. Will also raise the case of data/datum. Thank you, Mudge for the lecture notes.

One practical hint to y'll. How about be consistent in a document on the treatment? How about settle on a style convention for the office?

Sometimes, all we have is reasonable consistency.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Self-Reliance," Essays, First Series (1841).

Posted by: College Parkian | June 21, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

"Red Roses for a Blue Lady" was one of Bobby Vinton's hits, IIRC...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 21, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Jeepers Scottynuke, I sure hope it's enough for at least one college education...

Posted by: RD PAdouk | June 21, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of foolish consistency, here's it's evil twin:

"Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical -- and it is not the only option before us."
- G.W. Bush, "President Bush Discusses Stem Cell Veto and Executive Order," June 20, 2007.


"The President strongly supports the death penalty, because he believes, ultimately, it helps save innocent lives."
- Scott McClellan, Press Briefing, December 2, 2005.

Posted by: byoolin | June 21, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of foolish consistency, here's its evil twin:

"Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical -- and it is not the only option before us."
- G.W. Bush, "President Bush Discusses Stem Cell Veto and Executive Order," June 20, 2007.


"The President strongly supports the death penalty, because he believes, ultimately, it helps save innocent lives."
- Scott McClellan, Press Briefing, December 2, 2005.

Posted by: byoolin | June 21, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I *can* say that again. (Think of it as another datum point.)

Posted by: byoolin | June 21, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

I second (or third) the Bertrand Russell recommendation. It's been a while since I've read him (should probably remedy that), but I remember enjoying his essays -- accessible, very witty and almost jovial, yet seriously brilliant. I particularly liked his essays on society and government. He was very good at making you think and laugh at the same time.

Got a fun morning lined up [holds up "sarcasm" placard]. I've been trying to remove an extremely stubborn 46mm axle nut for over a week now so I can fix Stella's brakes. I've soaked the bugger in penetrating oil, tried a torch, busted a 1/2 inch drive breaker bar, resorted to a 3/4 inch breaker bar (with 4 foot extension) and got nuttin'. But it's coming off today one way or another. Bought a special tool yesterday made specifically to remove these things -- basically a stubby cast iron box wrench with a flat extension you whack with a ten pound sledge. If that doesn't break it loose, I'm getting out the angle grinder and a chisel.

But the fun doesn't end there. I also get to replace the blade I mangled on our mower yesterday. It's never been off the mower (I sharpen it in place), so I'm sure it's going to be just as stubborn a nut to crack as the one on Stella.

Assuming I can get these little bits of metal to cooperate, the rest of the day should be a breeze (he foolishly says knowing that a plumbing job is on the schedule).

Peace out...

(3)

Posted by: martooni | June 21, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

May I just say that today's "Style on the Go" page is particularly disturbing???

I mean, a guy with 5 o'clock shadow, in a blue bunny suit and what looks like 5-inch semi-spike heels? Eeeeep!

:-O

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 21, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

byoolin,
You have hit upon the major hypocrisy that I see in the "pro-life" movement. The Catholic Church has an internally consistent belief whether you agree with it or not. But in practice I doubt the folks picketing the Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade Day are the same ones trying get people off death row.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 21, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all! I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger. Repetitive motion soreness from caulking and painting have me on a breakfast regimen of caffeine and asprin. Went to camp with my son last week. The place was in the mountains, com-plete with a spring fed lake at the balmy temperature of 65F. The first thing Mac wanted to do was canoeing, for which I needed to take a swim test. Now I know how it feels to be in the neighbourhood of hypothermia, but I was awarded a bracelet for my troubles and thus the credentials to go canoeing. As soon as we left the dock, Mac reconsidered and wanted to turn around. Harumph. We had a great time. We haven't seen our eldest daughter for two weeks, as she's been busy with two separate out of town activities. Her sibs couldn't be happier, that is, until she arrives home this evening. On a philosophical note, no sensible man would launch his craft onto an already crowded lake.

Posted by: jack | June 21, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Jack... I've found that Vitamin B taken with "Doan's Back Pills" does wonders for that rep-motion pain.

Byoolin... I thought the same thing about Bush's announcement yesterday. If he hadn't presided as governor over so many executions or sacrificed well over 3000 soldiers in an elective (and election season) war, he just might have the moral ground to stand on.

Posted by: martooni | June 21, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

And to keep the sci-fi thread going...

http://tv.msn.com/tv/bestscifi-1

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 21, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, martooni. Off to sand and shellac the floor. Our family room transformation is nearly complete...

Posted by: jack | June 21, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm such a dunce...In the previous boodle when Pat said he took a bite of what he thought was celery that turned out to be rhubarb I thought 'what???' Then I remembered...

http://www.hort.cornell.edu/4hplants/Vegetables/Images/Rhubarb-23.jpg

Sure looks like some kind of midget mega-fauna

Posted by: omni | June 21, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, the Pentagon's own data show 65-72000 Iraqi civilians reported killed as well. That's a lot for an elective war that was supposed to be a walk in the park. Arbusto doesn't seem to see the emergency to stop this killing.

Adding sugar to kill off excess acidity is necessary when using regular canned tomatoes. This is because the varieties used for canning are highly productive, disease and bug resistant, one-crop hybrids. Such tomatoes are typically very acidic, as the low pH helps repell fungi and bugs. When using imported Italian plum tomatoes or your own sweet heirloom tomatoes such as Mr. Stripey the sweetener may be ignored.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | June 21, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I would never use a Mr. Stripey for a tomato sauce. They are far too neurotic.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 21, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

>They are far too neurotic.

Well, if you knew YOU were going to be sliced up and salted for a sandwich you might be a little nervous too.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 21, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I have been known to add a teaspoon of baking soda to a pot of tomato sauce to kill the acidity. (And the chemical reaction looks cool, too.)

As a kid, I hated rhubarb. But recently, I had a small portion of rhubarb sause that wouldn't fit into the freezer container. So I tasted it--and loved the sweet/sour contrast of it. Sort of like a good Sauvignon Blanc.

Scotty, the guy in the blue bunny suit is named Scott. I took a close look at the picture to make sure it wasn't you. For a moment, though, I thought you may have some strange alter ego.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 21, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Morning boodle, though I feel like such a slacker for checking in so late. The cats began their solsticial celebrations at sunrise demanding canned food and a frolic on the screened porch at 4:15. It will be quite light until after 10:00PM so no maglites are required for garden viewing here.

Martooni-admire both your 3 and your mechanical tenacity. I did not have time to sharpen our Tampa mower blade before departing and Mr. F cannot be counted on to sharpen rather than replace.

CP has it right with regard to data/datum. Internal consistency is at least as important as slavish devotion to one view or the other. I'd love to strike a blow for data as a plural but I'm too busy waging the lost war for differentiating between fewer and less. Mudge I envy any editor who doesn't have to change "could of" and "should of" to "could have" and "should have" all day long.

Tangential rant:
Here's what I think about the burden of illegal immigration on schools. Teaching English language learners is a breeze after teaching kids who've grown up speaking/writing English as if it were a second language.

Posted by: frostbitten | June 21, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm about to head out the door to return a library book, so thought I'd post this...

Our county (Bexar, Texas) tax rate is .081250. To add a 1/8 cent sales tax to fund our libraries or not--that's the question...the question currently before the mayor and council. And should library fines go back to the library budget or go into the general fund, as they do here--the $900,000 collected annually in overdue book charges isn't exactly chump change?

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/citycouncil/stories/MYSA062107.8B.LibraryDistrict.2f36dea.html

Ranking near the bottom among Texas' six largest cities in the amount of per-capita funding it receives, San Antonio's library system is in dire straits, with $17 million worth of maintenance needs it can't afford, the City Council was told Wednesday. ...

"No matter how much its needs, it is never going to be able to compete with fire, police, streets and drainage, which accounts for 90 percent of the city budget," the mayor said, adding he backs creating the taxing district. ...

Martinez said the city's $13-per-capita spending per year for library services ranks it fifth of the six largest cities in Texas. He noted the San Antonio figure is about half the national average.

Martinez stunned the council when he compared the money other cities spend on their library systems with San Antonio's. For example, the local system's $21 million yearly operating expense is $173 million less than what is spent in Cleveland.

Posted by: Loomis | June 21, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

This morning when I woke, the clock said 3:35. It seemed really light outside the window, and I thought ah well, it is summer solstice.

I thought I'd go do fun stuff for a while, and I went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. The kitchen clock said 4:30. The power had been out and my alarm clock time was wrong. Sure explained that really early morning light.

Posted by: dr | June 21, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Getting back to "feeling solstitial." As befits my hardscrabble youth (we shall overlook the fact that my father was an industrial engineer for the Boeing Corporation) I spent most summer days up the street from my home picking raspberries at a small farm owned by a charismatic Welshman named Jack. (Jack, a diminutive impish man, used to flirt outrageously with the teenaged girls in an attempt, as he put it, to increase productivity.) Raspberry picking was a common way for kids to earn money, and our scarlet-stained hands became something of a badge of honor.

We would start early in the morning when it was cool. With the sounds of Elton John, the Doobie Brothers, and America coming from the AM radios attached to our carts, we would fill flat after flat with fragrant red berries until the afternoon heat became too oppressive. To this day I cannot hear "Daisy Jane" without flashing back to brilliantly blue skies, a daylight moon, and the smell of warm berries, dust, and Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion.

When not engaged in the fields we used to hang out at the Elk's Pool and take incredibly long hot showers afterwards because there was nobody to scold us for wasting water. We would eat Popsicles and Vanilla Drumsticks while glancing furtively at the female lifeguard whose skimpy bikini scandalized the pool mothers.

Lacking air conditioning, we would sometimes abandon our upstairs bedrooms to sleep on army surplus cots in the back yard. We would listen to radio rebroadcasts of "Theater of the Mind" while gazing up at the incredibly bright stars. Every now and then we would spot a satellite, but far more attention was given to the scores of high-altitude aircraft on their way to SeaTac international airport.

When I look back, I realize that these memories comprise, at most, a dozen weeks per year. I am amazed that we crammed so many vibrant memories into so short a time. I guess that's how it is when you are young. Everything is new and novel, and even the smell of hot blacktop becomes lodged forever in your brain. Memories that creep back when you are feeling solstitial.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 21, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Here in Jackson county in Southern Oregon, All 12 of the new libaries were just shut down because they used to operate on a federal grant that was not renewed in this year's federal budget. The grant was in lieu of fees that used to be collected on timber harvested on federal land. (More than half the land here is federal, hence not much tax base.) The grants were substituted for the fees lost due to cuts backs in timber harvest due to the spotted owl. Ironically all the libraries were just newly constructed from a property tax bond issue. A special election to pass a property increase tax averaging $9/mo to fund the libraries operation just failed.

Posted by: bh | June 21, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

SCC Libary's operation

Posted by: bh | June 21, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom;

Don't you know by now that purple's my color???


:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 21, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog, thanks for posting Tigger's info. Unfortunately, we live too far away to be allowed to adopt him. He looks great.

You inspired dbG, however, who has made inquiries about this guy. People can't tell us apart now, how will they do it with 3 black labs?

http://search.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=8534899

Posted by: dbG's dogz | June 21, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | June 21, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse


Note that the "Piaf" was in the Midle Ages a person who wanted to be seen, considered, admired.

After that the meaning of the term Piaf morphed, in popular (french) slang, to mean a bird or more precisely a sparrow, because he can't stop singing.

Now you understand better, I hope, why Edith Giovanna Gassion was effectively one of our greatest Piaf !

Bye

Olivier Stable (Marseille - France)

Posted by: Olivier Stable | June 21, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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