Re: There Was Old Advice?

1

But a problem for the Obama administration is how to spread the word without seeming alarmist about a subject that few politicians care to consider, let alone discuss.

How about, "Since John Kyl feels the need to spend weeks with his family before and after Christmas day rather than take care of national security, we felt it an opportune time to bring you the following public service announcement. Have a Merry Christmas."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 5:59 AM
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As for *old* advice, another opportunity to link to one of my favorite places on the web: Conelrad. This post on the Greenbrier congressional "bunker" is a hoot.

Mr. Bugas confirmed that there was a limited amount of alcohol stocked in the bunker. He recalled for CONELRAD that there was a case of bourbon and at least one case of wine. When asked the vintage of the refreshments, Bugas stated 1962 - the year the bunker opened. He explained that the booze was kept onsite in case someone entering the bunker was an alcoholic and needed to be tapered off during their residency.
Apparently no condoms, however. Also, due to relative geographical proximity, I'm curious if a certain hobo railroad consultant knew anything of this in his youth.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:08 AM
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As I recall the old advice contemplated staying in a shelter for more like two weeks. A terrorist attack with a single low yield explosion is a bit different scenario than a war with thousands of high yield detonations.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:16 AM
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Good thinking.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:31 AM
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4 => 2


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:32 AM
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The advice I got was to strip naked, slather myself with barbecue sauce, and stand out in the open.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:32 AM
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2.2: well, duh, they'd have to repopulate the earth afterwards, wouldn't they? As long as the other people in the bunker were of a sufficiently... highly stimulating nature.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:33 AM
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The old advice as I remember it was to adopt the crash position, put your head between your legs and kiss your arse goodbye.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:34 AM
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I think the old advice included something along the lines of "get under the table and kiss your ass goodbye."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:34 AM
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9 owned by 8


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:35 AM
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As long as the other people in the bunker were of a sufficiently... highly stimulating nature.

In a bunker full of American Congresspeople? you wish!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:41 AM
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The advice I got was to strip naked, slather myself with barbecue sauce, and stand out in the open.

So that's the best your defense attorney could come up with, is it? You were doing a preparedness drill for nuclear war?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:41 AM
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I did a college paper on fallout shelters. The government (back in the 60s) made and distributed a bunch of plans for ways to built you own fallout shelter. Most of them were simple things you could do with your basement instead of putting in a ping pong table like the parents who liked their kids.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:42 AM
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11 pwned by Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern and Peter Sellers.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:47 AM
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11, 14: Hmm, do we have some maner of Mineshaft gap?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:53 AM
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Whether any precautions will help or not depends entirely on distance. Essentially anything involving an explosion, heat/light/ionizing radiation scales with the inverse square of the distance. So obviously, you wouldn't benefit at ground zero, but if you're 5 miles away in the 'burbs, you might not die as a result, or if you're 15 miles away, could make the difference between going blind and not going blind.

I mean, wouldn't it be fucking tiresome to be the guy who got pointlessly killed by a falling joist if Al-Qa'ida managed a 2kt fizzle (in their dreams) when you might have got away with it?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:55 AM
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If you want to get killed by a falling joist, you should try the regular ways (tornado, shitty contractor) before outsourcing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:59 AM
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To know more about the issues raised in 16, use your handy online Nuclear Weapon Effects Calculator. Not yet, as far as I know, available as an iPhone app.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:18 AM
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How do you tell whether you've been hit by a joist or a girder?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:19 AM
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That calculator has Lincoln Nebraska, but not NYC? Cool, we must be safe here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:20 AM
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The first one's Irish and the second one's German.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:21 AM
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Canonically, one wrote Faust and the other wrote Ulysses, but yes.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:22 AM
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21 to 19.

20: my abiding memory of training for nuclear warfighting is the instructor, a heavily-moustached Glaswegian, explaining in detail how to react to and protect against different types of weapon effect, before concluding "But realistically, youse guys are aw fucked onywye".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:23 AM
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I tried writing a long novel about the struggles of a young Inverness poet, who idolised the great German Romantics, in an increasingly callous and unadventurous world. It was called "Made in Scotland from Goethe".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:24 AM
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#23:

my abiding memory of training for nuclear warfighting

strange, I thought I knew most of the prominent game theorists and I can't think of any heavily-mustached Glaswegians.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:28 AM
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Anyone else remember the Reagan-Thatcher era film that depicted a British couple attempting to follow the civil defense advice propounded by the government for the event of a nuclear attack, juxtaposed with simulations of their horrible deaths (incinerated in the closet under the stairs, crushed beneath the collapsing house, etc.)?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:31 AM
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25: he was more on the practical than the theoretical side of things.

24: in the sequel, after much heartbreak, he abandons poetry and joins the family boiled sweet business. It's called "The Sorrows of Young Werther's Originals".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:31 AM
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26: this one is also rather good:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_the_Wind_Blows_%28film%29


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:32 AM
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26: No. I do remember Damnation Alley.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:33 AM
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A fine, fine movie.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:35 AM
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I always confused the drills for earthquakes and nuclear attacks. In both cases, at school, you were supposed to scurry under your desk, but in the event of a nuclear attack, a doorframe wouldn't be much help.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:36 AM
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We were supposed to sit in the school hallways in case of nuclear attack, and were left to our own resourcefulness for earthquakes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:38 AM
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I can't recall any nuclear or earthquake drills. We just did fire (walk out of the building) and tornado (open the windows and go to the basement).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:40 AM
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In both cases, at school, you were supposed to scurry under your desk

There's some debate about that.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:41 AM
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But, the basement did have one of those "Fallout Shelter" signs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:41 AM
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36

My musical called "The Song Of Bernadette Nolan" didn't even get a sniff of interest.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:42 AM
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Did you try putting a bit of vanilla behind its ears?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:43 AM
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And don't even talk to me about the reception for the 1920s Irish transvestite novel "The Portrait of a Lady as a Young Man".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:44 AM
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39

I don't think that British schools ever did nuclear attack drills. It wouldn't have done much good in my case, given that we were earmarked for four 500kt airbursts about half a mile away, and another four just over the water.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:47 AM
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I have a question about usage. In the US we just call everyone behind a bar a "bartender". I hear that in Britain you use the word "barmaid" for lady bartenders. What would I call a 60-ish lady bartender? Is she still a barmaid, or does the "maid" imply nubility?

|>


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:48 AM
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Remember, If you are Vin Diesel, yell really loud". (I'm sure these have been linked here before, but I have not seen them for years.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:48 AM
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26: Threads


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:49 AM
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20: Mom and dad are safe up to 450KT, but my poor sister would be in trouble.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:51 AM
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40: Barmatron.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:51 AM
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45

44: Sorry, I think you're confused. That's what you call a robot bartender from the future.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:53 AM
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40: still a barmaid. If a man, barman. The exception is if the person behind the bar is the owner of the pub, in which case "landlord" or "landlady".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:55 AM
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47

I suppose it's because of the hills, but Pittsburgh could take 1MT downtown before it would get my house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:59 AM
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48

Americans are often disappointed to find that calling the bartender the landlady doesn't mean they can stay overnight.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:59 AM
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46: You could also use publican. Nobody who owns a pub and sells it ever goes back into business to avoid being re-publican.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:01 AM
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50

"Pot-boy" is, sadly, no longer used.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:05 AM
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50: The life of the aging submissive is often harsh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:12 AM
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As a youngster in Reagan's America, I remember being quite pleased that I lived very near a naval weapons base, since I figured that meant we'd all go right quick.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:15 AM
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53

Living in Manhattan gave me a similarly pleasantly secure feeling: aftermath of nuclear war? Not my problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:18 AM
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54

As a youngster in Reagan's America, I was mainly happy about the free cheese.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:20 AM
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55

What about "barkeeper" or "barkeep"? Is that dated slang?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:22 AM
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No, it's hep.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:23 AM
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55: it's not really slang of any kind in Britain. In the US, I cannot say.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:24 AM
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58

Pe/ter Be/rg/en, a fellow at the Ne/w Ame/rica Foun/dation and New York University's Cen/ter on Law and Se/curity quite drunkenly hit on me at a party while telling Chris/topher Hitch/ens that I was a hero for working in the labor movement.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:28 AM
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re: 39

Yeah, living a couple of miles from BP/ICI at Grangemouth, I expect where I lived would have been a smoking hole in the ground. I don't know if it appeared on any official list of targets but I can't imagine a whacking great oil refinery would have missed the list.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:28 AM
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45: Long about the time someone tried, briefly, to make "waitron" happen a friend of mine was studying Buddhism as an undergraduate and learned of Mara the Tempter, a figure who is sometimes presented as a female, Mara the Temptress. So of course we couldn't resist "Mara the Temptron."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:28 AM
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58: Your life sounds immensely more entertaining than mine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:30 AM
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58: "Would you like to come up and see my etchings monograph on surviving a nuclear war?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:33 AM
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61: I fell in with a group of lefty writers when I lived in D.C., which led to a series of otherwise unlikely encounters with semi-famous people, most of which, naturally, involved significant quantities of alcohol. My life has since returned to its unexciting resting state.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:36 AM
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My life has since returned to its unexciting resting state.

Me also. If only I could get hit my a photon again.


Posted by: Opinionated Electron | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:37 AM
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living a couple of miles from BP/ICI at Grangemouth, I expect where I lived would have been a smoking hole in the ground.

You must have been rather looking forward to it.

/embra snark


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:41 AM
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re: 65

I suppose the residents of Falkirk might not have noticed, or just brushed it off [in the manner of the early Viz 'Skinheid' cartoon].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:44 AM
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I am reminded by the concept of Grangemouth being turned into a smoking hole, of the Gilbert & Ellis Isles (now Kiribati), home to the world's largest mined-out guano deposits, and thus the one place in the world where old-timers sigh nostagically and remind themselves of the good old days when the place they live used to be a massive great pile of shit.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:47 AM
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68

Heh.

"I remember when it was all toxins and fire round here ...."


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:52 AM
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69

On the topic of Hitchens, may I say how tired I am of articles with the stunning news that Hitchens! is still! an atheist! even though! he's dying!

(I inadvertently typed "drying" at first, which certainly isn't the case.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:54 AM
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The CDC has lowered estimates of how many people get sick from tainted food by nearly 40%. I stopped eating at Taco Bell for nothing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:56 AM
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69: He had a line somewhere about how, look, he's dying, somewhere in the process he might lose his mind and say he's found God, but it won't mean he's right. I kind of liked that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:59 AM
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Speaking of drills in school, did the rest of you do the "madman with a gun is roaming the halls" drill? I remember having one of those sometime in elementary school, and having nightmares because of it.

I think we had more tornado drills than anything else, although earthquake drills were really popular the year that a big one was "predicted" by a local meteorologist or something stupid like that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:59 AM
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On the topic of Hitchens, may I say how tired I am of articles with the stunning news that Hitchens! is still! an atheist! even though! he's dying!

But not in a foxhole, you see.

I wonder what proportion of the canonical stories about atheists catching religion on their deathbeds are true? I'd guess around 1% (increase that to 5% to include people gaming Pascal).


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:01 AM
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Speaking of drills in school, did the rest of you do the "madman with a gun is roaming the halls" drill?

No, but we all liked the custodian.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:01 AM
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And he wasn't really roaming so much as sweeping.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:02 AM
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Speaking of drills in school, did the rest of you do the "madman with a gun is roaming the halls" drill?

Never. It was a real shame. If one of us wanted to go mad and roam the halls with a gun, he just had to improvise.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:06 AM
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My life has since returned to its unexciting resting state.

You could probably find another group of lefty writers, you know. I don't think The Mineshaft counts, if that's why you've been commenting here, though we'd hate to see you trade up.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:07 AM
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78

We were taught how to present arms. Does that count?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:08 AM
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72: Yep, we're from the same place and about the same age. I remember the sudden onset of earthquake drills when the New Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid) Fault was supposed to kill us all at any moment.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:12 AM
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We (quite sensibly, as there were earthquakes that actually happened) had earthquake drills, but I had the vague sense that nuclear war drills were risible and that no one had done them since about 1960.

We also had lots of visits from LAPD kids spokesanimal "Officer Bird," a trained parrot who could skateboard and club minorities.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:17 AM
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I'm sorry, that's Officer Byrd. And now I'll leave off reminiscing about the sworn peace officer/blue macaw who would teach you about bike safety and respect for the thin blue line. "Don't be a nerd, listen to Officer Byrd."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:24 AM
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I don't remember a single war-related drill from my elementary school days. But, you know, Travis already drew that line, and anyone who wanted to leave already did.

That and Carswell AFB (which had bombers) and the adjacent General Dynamics plant (we saw a lot of B-58s) meant we were all goners anyway.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:25 AM
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58: Did he work the fact that he has met Osama bin Laden, like, personally, face to face, into his pickup technique in any way?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:26 AM
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79: Wikipedia says the prediction was made by a business consultant. I remembered it wasn't an actual expert. Sounds like the guy was kind of a crackpot.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:27 AM
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85

72, 79: Likewise. It was some nut with a theory about planetary alignments, I think.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:27 AM
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Way late, but I must say: I initially misread 25 to say that ajay is heavily mustached, and everything changed for a moment. Then I read again, and was vaguely disappointed.

On the topic of Hitchens

He has an article apparently on the Tea Party and R/oss Dou/that here which I tried to read last night but didn't. Maybe today, though the sidebar story photos remain distracting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:28 AM
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Pwned by 84. From Browning's wikipedia entry:
He believed that volcanic activity can be triggered by land tidal forces caused by the Moon, Earth's elliptical orbit of the Sun, and the alignment of these three bodies.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:29 AM
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My primary school years were in pretty low natural-disaster zones. Besides fire drills, the only safety-related thing I recall was a presentation on the dangers of playing with blasting caps (which was filmed in my classroom for use across the county).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:29 AM
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79. Your school was put on alert by De/nn/is Mar//kuze?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:30 AM
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It was some nut with a theory about planetary alignments, I think.

That's what they said about Keppler.



Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:34 AM
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including the Reagan administration's priceless "Dig a hole in the back yard, covered with an old door and a couple of feet of dirt."

With Enough Shovels

VERY late one autumn night in 1981, Thomas K. Jones, the man Ronald Reagan had appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Strategic and Theater Nuclear Forces, told me that the United States could fully recover from an all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union in just two to four years. T.K., as he prefers to be known, added that nuclear war was not nearly as devastating as we had been led to believe. He said, "If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody's going to make it." The shovels were for digging holes in the ground, which would be covered somehow or other with a couple of doors and with three feet of dirt thrown on top, thereby providing adequate fallout shelters for the millions who had been evacuated from America's cities to the countryside. "It's the dirt that does it," he said.

...

Reagan's nuclear arms buildup follows from the idea that the United States is vulnerable to Soviet nuclear weapons, an idea that rests in part on calculations made by this same T. K. Jones before he joined the government, when he worked for the Boeing Company. It was Jones's estimates of the efficacy of Soviet civil defense that provided much of the statistical justification for the view that the Soviets could reasonably expect to survive and win a nuclear war while we ourselves, without a comparable civil defense program, would necessarily lose.

In case anybody didn't believe LB.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:35 AM
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88: Because your school was littered with blasting caps and one-handed students?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:36 AM
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In March, 2003, when the invasion of Iraq was beginning, my office manager called a meeting to discuss what we would do if there was a chemical weapon attack on our fair city.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:36 AM
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Was Officer Byrd related to Richard Byrd, the controversy over whose Antarctic expedition (according to most historians, the first to reach the South Pole by air; this claim was disputed by aviators of the time who thought it impossible) is admirably summarised in the verse:

You must have heard
Of Admiral Byrd
Who found a pole called South

He flew all the way
From the U S of A
So shut your fucking mouth


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:37 AM
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But... if you go inside the shelter to be safe, how do you shovel the dirt on top afterwards?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:37 AM
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95: Self-sacrificing minority group member.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:39 AM
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95: Some of us would have to make the ultimate sacrifice so that others could survive under the dirt we shovelled.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:41 AM
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Heh, my Dad used to be an ambulance driver and they had a big drill where there was supposed to have been a bromine leak.

"So, how soon can you make it to Grangemouth?"
"I'll be driving the other way really fucking fast."
"I don't think you are taking this drill seriously."
"Look, if I drive anywhere near the place, I'd be dead, so fuck off."
"Yeah, but, for the purposes of the drill ..."
"For the purposes of the drill you should have picked another chemical..."


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:41 AM
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The shovels were for digging holes in the ground, which would be covered somehow or other with a couple of doors and with three feet of dirt thrown on top, thereby providing adequate fallout shelters for the millions who had been evacuated from America's cities to the countryside. "It's the dirt that does it," he said.

I think you'll find it's the cholera outbreaks and mass starvation/dehydration that do it.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:46 AM
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96 & 97 are similar beyond the possiblity of coincidence. I think I will need to put something metal around my head to prevent Moby from stealing my thoughts in the future.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:47 AM
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You think 96 and 97 are too similar?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:50 AM
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94: I think Byrd's South Pole claim is fairly robust. It's his North Pole claim that's wobbly - like Cook's and Peary's, for that matter.
There does seem to be something about the Poles that makes American explorers go a bit odd. Look at Adolphus Greely. He ended up putting one of his own men under arrest for mutiny. In the absence of a prison in the middle of the Arctic icecap, he compromised and said that the man was to "consider himself under arrest". He executed another one, IIRC.
Peary behaved so abominably that the local Inuit referred to him as "The Tormentor", Cook went pretty much off his rocker, DeLong was convinced that the Arctic got warmer the further north you went (in his defence, not the only person to think so), Symmes thought there was a hole that led into the Hollow Earth, Wilkes invented an entirely new continent that no one's seen since... not that other nations' explorers didn't screw up fairly regularly, but for sheer detachment from reality that lot did fairly well. The oddest the Royal Navy ever got in the lands of perpetual ice was the occasional drag act.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:52 AM
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101: Likewise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:56 AM
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I think you'll find it's the cholera outbreaks and mass starvation/dehydration that do it.

In which case, not to be too blunt about it, having a lot of shovels handy to dig holes with would also be a good thing.

I initially misread 25 to say that ajay is heavily mustached, and everything changed for a moment.

I'm slightly disturbed that parsimon is so invested in my clean-shavenness.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:56 AM
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39. I don't remember any drills. My grammar school had a talk by a doctor active in CND about the pathetically inadequate preparations for nuclear attack. Much better.


Posted by: ptl | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:58 AM
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101, 103: Yes, but the rest of you are all just one very bored retiree in a basement, right?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:58 AM
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Symmes thought there was a hole that led into the Hollow Earth

I can get from there to Godwin in one easy move.

How in the name of elementary physics would the temperature rise as you got further north (unless you overshot and inadvertently headed south again)?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 9:59 AM
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I may be balding, but 47 is a little young to retire, don't you think?


Posted by: Basement Guy | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:02 AM
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104.last: One has mental pictures of commenters; suffice it to say that you are, as far as I'm concerned, somewhat sprightly, and yes, clean-shaven. You youngster you.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:03 AM
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107.last: North is up and heat rises. Science.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:04 AM
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How in the name of elementary physics would the temperature rise as you got further north (unless you overshot and inadvertently headed south again)?

I believe the idea is that the openings into the center of the earth are up there.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:05 AM
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The oddest the Royal Navy ever got in the lands of perpetualoccasional ice was the occasionalperpetual drag act.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:09 AM
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I think Byrd's South Pole claim is fairly robust. It's his North Pole claim that's wobbly

yeah, but that doesn't rhyme.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:11 AM
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North is up and heat rises. Science.

I am trying to remember the Victorian satire of inventors which includes one pitching a railway to the top of Mount Everest, with associated land development opportunities.
"But isn't it very cold up there?"
"Nonsense! Five miles up is five miles closer to the sun! I promise, you won't be complaining of the cold once you've been up there for a bit."

They believed in the Open Polar Sea theory, which was very popular among mad 19th century American explorers like the ones listed above, and also Elisha Kane and Isaac Hayes*.
Partly, people thought that warm currents like the Gulf Stream just kept going north, only deeper, and might come back to the surface at the pole; also they thought that ice only formed near land, and there wasn't any land in the arctic. And it's sunny all the time in the summer, and sun melts ice, right?

*A different one.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:15 AM
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79: when the New Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid) Fault was supposed to kill us all at any moment.

That particular prediction was nutty, but the general concern remains. Timely as the first several in what was a actually series of quakes over the period of a few months struck on December 16th (although next year is the bicentennial).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:19 AM
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114: promise, you won't be complaining of the cold once you've been up there for a bit.

Which reminds of this rather grim but fascinating pictorial essay on those who've "been up there for a bit".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:23 AM
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Was Officer Byrd related to Richard Byrd, the controversy over whose Antarctic expedition

Officer Byrd was a blue macaw parrot, so unless Admiral Richard Byrd had a penchant for avian bestiality (n.b. -- do not attempt avian bestiality until you have passed the advanced mammalian bestiality course), probably not.

The oddest the Royal Navy ever got in the lands of perpetual ice was the occasional drag act.

Yes, other than the whole "not actually reaching either pole first despite repeated attempts" and the "our ship got stuck in the ice and now we're munching on our shipmate's leg for supper" things, you guys were awesome at polar exploration. Nice work!



Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:24 AM
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A rather detailed history of the Fallout Shelter Sign. I was surprised to learn they only first appeared in 1961. A compilation of appearances of the sign in films and on TV.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:27 AM
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In elementary school we filed out into the central hall for tornado/nuclear drills and leaned against the lockers with heads bowed and hands clasped behind our necks. Two to a locker, though, so two rows. We assumed it was a communist plot.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:32 AM
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117.2: you'll notice phrases like "not that other nations' explorers didn't screw up fairly regularly" in my comment above; you'll also notice that I'm talking about oddness rather than incompetence; the Brits had more than their fair share of the latter. (Nares, Franklin, good grief.)

First definite overland to the North Pole, incidentally, was Wally Herbert. First to set foot there was Aleksandr Kuznetsov and his party, who flew there in 1948.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:42 AM
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||

I ... do not want to cast a pall on the proceedings, but this keeps coming back to me. We've been talking about Wikileaks a lot, and we know that the principal leaker for the most recent leaks has been one Private Bradley Manning; I've wondered myself why we haven't heard much about, or from, him.

It turns out this is why: he's in solitary confinement 23 out of every 24 hours per day.

h/t John Cole, who links to and quotes from Greenwald. Unfunny stuff.

Hey, it's holiday season. Enough with the grim already. But I read that yesterday evening and lost my composure, had to walk away. On the other hand, perhaps everyone is aware of Manning's circumstances, being more on top of Wikileaks related information than I have been.

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 10:50 AM
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|| Someone please tell me what to buy 6 and 8 year old boys? Pretty please? For the older boy, are there any series of nerd books (assuming nerditude based on genetics) that are appropriate? They're Canuckistani, but their grandmother is trying very much to make them British, much as she did with her own Canuckistani children. (The walls full of Biggles, etc., in our house are the fruits of this.) |>


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:07 AM
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122: Sally liked The Mysterious Benedict Society et seq. Gregor the Underlander and the following books were a hit with Newt, as were Garth Nix's The Keys to the Kingdom (seven books with days of the week in the title.)

121: Horrifying. I saw that and have been thinking about blogging it, but what do you say?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:12 AM
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On the other hand, perhaps everyone is aware of Manning's circumstances

I wasn't and am now appalled. That's depressing and surprising, though perhaps it shouldn't be.

For the older boy, are there any series of nerd books

Matthew Looney? I don't remember them well enough to know if their politics are objectionable (they were written in the 60s/70s so I'm sure that gender roles are somewhat questionable) but I remember enjoying them around that age.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:12 AM
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122: fireworks, duh.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:15 AM
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122: Blasting caps!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:16 AM
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It's horrifying, and I'm wondering what responses one can give to arguments of the form "solitary confinement is necessary because the information contained in his brain is too dangerous".


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:18 AM
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116 Then there is the comment thread. The people comparing it to walking by a dying man on a street are silly, but it's the ones who indicate their enthusiasm for going up there that are really nuts.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:18 AM
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121: Once we did this (Jose Padilla) and 'got away" with it, you knew it would be hard to turn back.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:22 AM
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¡Chimichanga! Tee hee.


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:23 AM
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123.last: I saw that and have been thinking about blogging it, but what do you say?

I don't know what to say. Put it up as a blog post if you like, either as I wrote 121 or otherwise. We don't really need to derail this thread. But I feel like this should be discussed. You can disagree. It is the holidays.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:24 AM
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Haven't read the thread, but I'm way more prepared for nuclear attack then everyone else, by virtue of having grown up next to a nuclear power plant. We had drills every year in school. (They mostly seemed to be about learning how to get into the bus to be evacuated, and then dying of radiation poisoning while trapped on the freeway.) But we also had to do home drills and know where the iodide pills were and all that.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:30 AM
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As a youngster in Reagan's America, I remember being quite pleased that I lived very near a naval weapons base, since I figured that meant we'd all go right quick.

I made similar calculations about growing up next to a major air force base. It was also my theory that, should we be attacked by a non-nuclear power, they should just bomb our nuclear power plant with conventional weapons and hope to set off something really awesome. (NB: I was like 10, and this probably doesn't work physically, and I also completely neglected to think about the fact that I grew up in what the NYT once described as a rural area (though personally I'd call it suburban).)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:34 AM
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Joey is 5 1/2, and completely addicted to all things Bakugan. This is also going to be a Lego-intensive Christmas for us. Nerd-wise, dinosaur books are always a safe bet.

But you really should consult with the parents, particularly to find out what Branded Content he's cottoned on to. Its pretty much bound to be something, unless they are raising him in a plastic bubble. Any toy that matches his brand preference will be a big hit with him, if not his parents.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:35 AM
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122: Lego!


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:37 AM
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132: One of my favorite beaches from my short time in Southern California.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:38 AM
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grown up next to a nuclear power plant

A nuclear power plant located right on a major earthquake-prone fault, if I'm not mistaken.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:46 AM
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136 and 137 NUCLEAR PLANT BATTLE!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:48 AM
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122: For the older boy, are there any series of nerd books (assuming nerditude based on genetics) that are appropriate?

It may be a bit early depending on reading level, but if you are willing to go retro (and ignore some social attitudes in the books that come in with that) I'd say The Mad Scientist's Club and the Henry Reed books.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:51 AM
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I am buying presents for a 6 yr-old boy, an 8 yr-old girl, and a 10 yr-old boy. They are all getting art supplies: colored pencils, watercolors, and spiffy technical pens, respectively.

On the other side, for a 4 yr-old boy and a 6 yr-old boy, a matched set of goofy umbrellas.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:52 AM
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84: I was in sixth grade and our science teacher rearranged the schedule a bit so we could be taking a test on earthquakes on the predicted day.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:55 AM
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And now I'll leave off reminiscing about the sworn peace officer/blue macaw who would teach you about bike safety and respect for the thin blue line. "Don't be a nerd, listen to Officer Byrd."

Screw that, just the other day I was telling my kids of the awesomeness of Officer Byrd.

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


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:57 AM
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You are all best. These kids' preferred branded materials are Spiderman and Cars. I think. Spiderman I can do, but man oh man, all the Cars stuff is so stupid. I should get over caring, but there it is.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 11:59 AM
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142 was I. My department needs a cool mascot.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:00 PM
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121: Sweet Christ, some of the comments to that post. I know, never read the comments. But fucking hell.

122: At this point we should have book recommendations, at least, for every age group, but I'm always at a loss. Something for a 13-year-old ballet-nut girl? 11-year-old boy and girl whose father responded to my request for suggestions with "hookers and blow"? Any effort to compile previous suggestions would be worthy of an orange-titled post.

Also, NMM to Blake Edwards, but 10, well, have at it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:00 PM
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Oh hey, gift idea/cool thing I get to go to! Volume 1 of Axe Cop comes out next week, and there's a signing here on Saturday.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:02 PM
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We go out of our way not to reinforce any preferences for Cars.

Marvel makes some wonderful pop-up books for all of their major titles, using original art from the debut of the series. We have the Spider-man one and like it a lot.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:05 PM
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145.1: Yes. Balloon Juice has lost itself comments-wise. Cole has begun to bitch about it constantly. He/they (the fellow frontpagers) have a problem.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:05 PM
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11-year-old boy and girl whose father responded to my request for suggestions with "hookers and blow"?

Isn't it always best to listen to the parent?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:05 PM
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Cars? The Pixar movie or the mode of transport?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:06 PM
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This thread has reminded me exactly how many horrible impending deaths I was worried about as a kid. Obvs The Day After ruined my childhood, but also we lived near an army depot with fucking nerve gas we heard about a lot, and the New Madrid Fault, and fortunately once I was old enough for sex to take my mind off things, it turned out that sex just happened to lead to inevitable awful lingering death. And, it goes without saying, killer bees. It's too bad Peak Bee didn't get us after all, might've been sort of a nice bookend effect.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:14 PM
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Something for a 13-year-old ballet-nut girl?

Books or dvds on awesome modern dance! Just the age to start suggesting that maybe puberty will be okay and that there *are* other dance forms out there.

Here's Martha from the Criterion Collection.

Here's an Alvin Ailey dvd. (Ailey is usually comprehensible to even ballet-snobs because the technique is so athletic.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:16 PM
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My 12 and 14 year old girls are getting a lot of zombie stuff - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (book and calendar), A Zombie Ate my Cupcake (recipe book), Zombie Felties (make little stuffed toys).

Lego of course is always good. Even though I have put a ban on more lego, I may have to sneak a couple of minifigs in.

Geeky British books for youngish kids - George's Secret Key to the Universe by Stephen Hawking and his daughter, and its sequel. The Number Devil (not British; German) also went down ridiculously well here a while ago, but would work for a wide age range.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:17 PM
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it turned out that sex just happened to lead to inevitable awful lingering death

When I was a freshman, there were always the stories about "rebellious girl who graduated last year" or "guy you'd never expect it of but went wild at college." If you went to live to someplace dangerous (like Omaha), there would be a rumor that you were now dying of AIDS.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:18 PM
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My elementary school was built directly above the most dangerous fault in the nation (at least). We got the same head-under-the-desk treatment as everybody else, because, unless you're prepared to do something drastic like build a new, non-death trap school, there's fuck all to be done.

10 year olds should receive copies of Foundation.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:19 PM
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10 year olds should receive copies of Foundation.

You know, I was kind of looking forward to giving my kids all the dopey old SF I enjoyed as a kid and teenager. I figured that even in the seventies and eighties, I was enjoying stuff written in the thirties through sixties, why would it have dated any further? But on looking back at things like Foundation, they really do seem unreadably dated now, in a way that they weren't when I was reading them.

I blame the Internet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:22 PM
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My elementary school was built directly above the most dangerous fault in the nation (at least).

My parents' home and all of my schools until college were smack dab on the Hayward Fault. Were you San Andreas?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:23 PM
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My 10 year old wrote a letter to Santa, asking for an assorted cheeseboard (with cheese included please) and pyjamas. He may also get a chess set (because Santa can't read good).


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:23 PM
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Thanks, JM. Excellent suggestions.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:26 PM
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I recommend the children's book A Billion For Boris, the follow-up to Freaky Friday. It was written in 1976 and when I read it a mere 15 years later than that, it was really hard to understand what was going on, which somehow made it more interesting. Who knows what today's kids will make of it. It'll certainly be new to them.

The plot completely hinges on two mysterious and unexplained topics: "Roger Mudd" and "the OTB".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:28 PM
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Books or dvds on awesome modern dance! Just the age to start suggesting that maybe puberty will be okay and that there *are* other dance forms out there.

So probably not a copy of http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040725/ (Powell)?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:28 PM
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Err, "The Red Shoes" (HTML Fail)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:29 PM
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Or read foreign books, for added incomprehensibility. I was probably about 20 by the time I worked out what bangs were.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:32 PM
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153: Even though I have put a ban on more lego

Is there an English version of Child Protective Services I could call about this?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:32 PM
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150: Pixar.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:33 PM
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156 Much too dated. Not sure what SF I'd get a kid these days, but certainly not Asimov.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:38 PM
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H.G. Wells might be so dated that it isn't dated.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:41 PM
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122: but their grandmother is trying very much to make them British

Books:
Rosemary Sutcliff (Knight's Fee, Mark of the Horse Lord, Warrior Scarlet, The Eagle of the Ninth)
Dianna Wynne Jones (Chrestomanci, Tale of Time City)
David Macaulay (Castle)
Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising, The Boggart)
Helen Creswell (The Bagthorpe Saga)

Also, the second volume of Linda Medley's Castle Waiting comic is now in hardbacked edition. Excellent choice for 8 and up. (Get the first volume too, of course.)

Also,


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:42 PM
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165: Thanks! I ask so many inane rhetorical questions, I wondered if anybody noticed that I was actually asking a serious question that time.

I hadn't realized that the Cars movie was still a merchandising force. I guess that is why they are making a sequel -- or maybe I'm confusing the cause and effect.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:43 PM
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um. I don't know what also. More LEGO!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:43 PM
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151: crouching under a desk not being as effective as one might hope at preventing HIV infection.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:45 PM
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169: There is a website with a game where you can sign-up and race around with 500 million other little boys.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:45 PM
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167: May be old-fashioned but will still get dated.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:45 PM
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171: Now you're just bragging about your desk size.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:45 PM
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once I was old enough for sex to take my mind off things, it turned out that sex just happened to lead to inevitable awful lingering death.

You probably fit the formal definition of a member of Generation X.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:46 PM
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168: Despite a general lack of interest in sci-fi/fantasy, I adore Dianna Wynne-Jones. I just reread The Homeward Bounders, which is...not a genre I like, not aimed at a reader my age, but quite un-put-downable.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:49 PM
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175: Yeah, I always felt pretty well pegged by the Gen X label. I was actually kind of thinking of Coupland anyway because one of his books I didn't get through, I think Life After God talks about this other generational thing of spending one's teen or preteen years waiting to look out the window and see a mushroom cloud. For years it triggered a little jolt of fear to hear a plane flying over. Jeez.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:53 PM
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156: But on looking back at things like Foundation, they really do seem unreadably dated now, in a way that they weren't when I was reading them.

I've had this, but then I realized that a lot of classic period was SciFi was literally a sold for my kids as H G Wells was for me. I will say though that my kids all loved the Foundation trilogy, all though they all read it at an earlier age than I originally did. And I suspect we are not sufficiently deconvolving but our adulthood and having already read the books from the experience of a youngster encountering them for the first time.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 12:59 PM
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"a sold" s/b "as old"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:00 PM
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178: What language are you speaking there, JP?

a lot of classic period was SciFi was literally a sold for my kids as H G Wells was for me

I suspect we are not sufficiently deconvolving but our adulthood and having already read the books

Are you distracted, maybe?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:04 PM
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Is the Obama Administration re-releasing this information because there is fuck all they can do to stop Iran from going nuclear? Or has Dear Leader Kim sold a nuke to OBL and San Diego will go kablooie in the near future? Oh, and have any of you seen where I left my tinfoil hat?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:05 PM
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Just teasing, in any case. I'm distracted myself.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:06 PM
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Oh, and have any of you seen where I left my tinfoil hat?

I unrolled it and put it in the bottom of the oven because the baked-on cheese was getting to be too much.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:12 PM
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"tinfoil hat"! That was the phrase I couldn't remember when I was writing 100.

Thanks, TLL! Also, what are you talking about? Did I miss something in the news?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:16 PM
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||

A co-worker just came in excitedly talking about research that, on googling, turned out to have been co-authored (at least, some of the relevant papers were) by an unfogged commenter. Huh!

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:23 PM
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... wait, actually, the unfogged commenter worked with the primary author on previous papers, not the one that got my co-worker all excited. The thrill is gone.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:27 PM
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Someone has been productive? Root 'em out!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:27 PM
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Close call.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:28 PM
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180: Are you distracted, maybe?

Yes, that too.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:29 PM
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185: Did it contain the phrase "I SMOKE CRACK ROCKS"?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:29 PM
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187: Someone has been productive?

I counted birds yesterday.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:30 PM
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I counted birds yesterday.

It's not productive unless you multiplied.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:33 PM
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Is there an English version of Child Protective Services I could call about this [Lego ban]?

Trust me, we don't have a shortage.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 1:48 PM
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157: Hayward, also. IANAS, but it's supposed to be worse than the San Andreas because a)the rate of stress relief from slippage is so low and b)the mean population within x km of the fault is so high.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 2:06 PM
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I second all of Natilo's suggestions in 168.

The danger with giving a kid Foundation is that it's a known gateway drug to neoclassical economics.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 2:14 PM
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157, 194: Building along the Hayward Fault: A Case Study in Earthquake Hazard perception. Maps of relationship to schools and hospitals etc. near the back.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 2:37 PM
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I thought the giant oil spill in the gulf was Hayward's fault. Now we're blaming him for earthquakes?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 2:38 PM
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193: I guess that might be enough. For awhile. But you couldn't build anything really special with just that many.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 2:41 PM
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The danger with giving a kid Foundation is that it's a known gateway drug to neoclassical economics.

Well, it apparently encouraged Krugman to take up economics - which may or may not be a good thing - but the main parallel with neoclassical economics is that about half of the trilogy is about an elderly and highly respected academic making confident predictions that completely fail to bear any resemblance to reality, because he missed a very important tail risk event out of his model.
And at the end it turns out that the only reason any of his predictions have come true at all is that there's a secret cabal of his followers manipulating events behind the scenes to make sure that they match up to the model.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 2:43 PM
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199.last : When I read it I was cheering for The Mule over those fuckheads.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 2:55 PM
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OT: Ouch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 2:59 PM
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It turns out this is why: he's in solitary confinement 23 out of every 24 hours per day.

Yes, this contributed to my not getting out of bed yesterday. (Self-imposed solitary, in solidarity!--ah, humor.)

Two years ago or so I read this wonderful, wonderful book--ever since then, I've been unable to think about the USA's widespread use of solitary confinement without paralyzing horror. I very much recommend the book (also available as DRM-free ebook! Note: it's book 2 of a 5-book anarchofeminist sf series.), but only if you're okay with a novel making you weep with despair and sadness.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 3:07 PM
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Someone has been productive? Root 'em out!

Samuel Coleridge would not have been a fan of Unfogged:

For as to the devotees of the circulating libraries, I dare not compliment their pass-time, or rather kill-time, with the name of reading. Call it rather a sort of beggarly day-dreaming, during which the mind of the dreamer furnishes for itself nothing but laziness and a little mawkish sensibility; ... We should therefore transfer this species of amusement, ... from the genus, reading, to that comprehensive class characterized by the power of reconciling the two contrary yet co-existing propensities of human nature, namely; indulgence of sloth, and hatred of vacancy. ... In addition to novels and tales of chivalry in prose or rhyme, (by which last I mean neither rhythm nor metre) this genus comprizes as its species, gaming, swinging, or swaying on a chair or gate; spitting over a bridge; smoking; snuff-taking; tete a tete quarrels after dinner between husband and wife; conning word by word all the advertisements of the daily advertizer in a public house on a rainy day, &c. &c. &c.

Apologies if this has already been linked in ages past.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 3:12 PM
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I heart 199.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 3:13 PM
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201: They should really have addressed whether the nipple can be reattached.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 3:16 PM
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203: Sir, I would probably take that criticism to heart if it didn't come from England's most notorious pothead laudanum drinker!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 3:22 PM
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205: I had to stop reading, but it sounded like the reattachment was in progress.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 3:27 PM
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196.--Very cool. Yes, we all in the East Bay grew up on the Hayward, basically. It creeps in some places more than others, but a good jolt would probably screw us all, so.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 3:29 PM
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Further: My understanding, based on the traumatic experience of watching The Girl Next Door (Christine Fugate, 1999), is that nipples get detached and reattached with some regularity in the process of breast implant surgery. So hopefully it wasn't too big a deal.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 3:30 PM
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...indulgence of sloth....

I felt the most unusual sensation -- as though someone were reading Coleridge over my grave.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 3:34 PM
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198 - compared to this family it's a pathetic amount. If I had more space, I'd be quite happy to have more - it gets played with all the time.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 3:46 PM
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I love how it took the woman hours to decide whether she wanted to go to the hospital or not. If we had UHC we wouldn't have poor people doing cost benefit analysis on getting a nipple re-attached.

The trial on this could be awesome. Assuming it was in my jurisdiction it wouldn't quit rise to mayhem.

76-5-105. Mayhem.
(1) Every person who unlawfully and intentionally deprives a human being of a member of his body, or disables or renders it useless, or who cuts out or disables the tongue, puts out an eye, or slits the nose, ear, or lip, is guilty of mayhem.

So does the nipple loss get us to felony assault? The crux in Utah would be whether violent loss of a nipple constitutes "serious" or "substantial" bodily injury.

76-5-103. Aggravated assault.
(1) A person commits aggravated assault if the person commits assault as defined in Section 76-5-102 and uses:
(a) a dangerous weapon as defined in Section 76-1-601; or
(b) other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.
(2) (a) A violation of Subsection (1) is a third degree felony, except under Subsection (2)(b).
(b) A violation of Subsection (1) that results in serious bodily injury is a second degree felony.

(11) "Serious bodily injury" means bodily injury that creates or causes serious permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or creates a substantial risk of death.
(12) "Substantial bodily injury" means bodily injury, not amounting to serious bodily injury, that creates or causes protracted physical pain, temporary disfigurement, or temporary loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 4:11 PM
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compared to this family it's a pathetic amount. If I had more space, I'd be quite happy to have more - it gets played with all the time.

Are you talking about a nipple?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 4:25 PM
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212: How is member defined? Does it have to be a finger, arm, leg, etc.? I seem to remember mayhem in general requiring something like the loss of an arm.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 4:29 PM
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202: only if you're okay with a novel making you weep with despair and sadness.

I have a goto for that, but it's not for the faint of heart, and it's not about (official) US torture policy. I've excerpted this here before, I think. Sorry for any mixed-up formatting.

From the opening pages of a book called A Language Older than Words by one Derrick Jensen:

"Silencing"


There is a language older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of bodies, of body on body, wind on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone. It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory. We have forgotten this language. We do not even remember that it exists.

In order for us to maintain our way of living, we must, in a broad sense, tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves. It is not necessary that the lies be particularly believable. The lies act as barriers to truth. These barriers to truth are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities. Truth must at all costs be avoided. When we do allow self-evident truths to percolate past our defenses and into our consciousness, they are treated like so many hand grenades rolling across the dance floor of an improbably macabre party. We try to stay out of harm's way, afraid they will go off, shatter our delusions, and leave us exposed to what we have done to the world and to ourselves, exposed as the hollow people we have become. And so we avoid these truths, these self-evident truths, and continue the dance of world destruction.

As is true for most children, when I was young I heard the world speak. Stars sang. Stones had preferences. Trees had bad days. Toads held lively discussions, crowed over a good day's catch. Like static on a radio, schooling and other forms of socialization began to interfere with my perception of the animate world, and for a number of years I almost believed that only humans spoke. The gap between what I experienced and what I almost believed confused me deeply. It wasn't until later that I began to understand the personal, political, social, ecological, and economic implications of living in a silenced world.

This silencing is central to the workings of our culture. ...


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 4:52 PM
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protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ,

Can't nurse without nipples, can you? I'd call that loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 5:09 PM
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My nipples are impaired.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 5:13 PM
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Okay, since you've all been clamoring for it so piteously, I now present you with:
Natilo Paennim's Guide to Producing Anglophiles

First, obtain your child. Ensure that you have a solid grasp of the basic tropes of Anglophilia yourself before you begin molding the child. A degree in English literature is helpful, but not absolutely necessary. However you should definitely be well-read in substantial sections of the canon.
From the child's earliest moments, make sure that you place him or her near a radio whenever your local public radio station is broadcasting the BBC World Service, as this will familiarize the child with English and other British accents. Make sure that your child is always present for the annual reading of "A Child's Christmas In Wales".
When you read to your child, it will help to have a variety of British accents available to differentiate the characters in Watership Down, The Hobbit, and Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain.
If possible, raise your child in a mainline Protestant denomination that has substantial connections to English denominations, as well as several wealthy members who can be counted on to travel to Britain on occasion and regale the child with exotic tales of that ancient realm.
When your child is old enough to read by themselves, maintain a steady supply of E. Nesbit, Beatrix Potter and other children's authors. At the first sign of precocity, make available to them Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Dorothy Sayers, P.G. Wodehouse and Dickens books.
When watching television, keep the channel on PBS so that 30 or 40 percent of the media they absorb will be BBC comedies, Dr. Who and David Attenborough specials. Become a member of your local station, so that you will receive mountains of catalogs featuring twee British-themed bric-a-brac and box sets of Jeeves and Wooster.
In terms of music, children should be raised with a broad knowledge of the Beatles' discography. If possible, contrive to let them discover The Clash and CRASS on their own, and make sniffy noises when you hear it emerging from their headphones.
In this way, you will have a budding Anglophile in no more than 15 or 16 years.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 5:58 PM
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It seems I have not been following the thread.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:09 PM
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How is member defined? Does it have to be a finger, arm, leg, etc.?

I've never seen a formal written definition. I'm pretty sure it's basically your list and I imagine a Bobbitt style attack would also get a mayhem charge.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:20 PM
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Here's a gift idea I learned about today from an in-flight magazine.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 6:30 PM
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221: RTA!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:04 PM
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Dammit.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:06 PM
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+F


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:06 PM
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Right, read the archives, flyboy.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:09 PM
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Also, don't read in-flight magazines.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:11 PM
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I counted birds yesterday.

I'm missing our CBC. Sigh.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 7:43 PM
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227: I might get to another one here in town on New Year's. This was out in the ridges, pretty snowy and cold, our territory sucked and we suck. But still pretty fun*.

*For me at least. I'm in damage control with my daughter, the count is centered on a bird research center and over half the participants were birding professionals and the rest were locals who have staked out where specific good birds have been. She takes suckage more seriously than I, plus in the past there were other relative newbs like us, but not this year. But I learn a lot every time I go. (And we were one of only two groups that got a brown creeper--otherwise mostly fuckloads of chickadees.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:02 PM
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228: Can't you just "see" whatever you want?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:04 PM
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Says the guy who calls every smallish, brown bird a sparrow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:06 PM
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I saw dead people, but couldn't find them on the list.


Posted by: Cole Sear | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:11 PM
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Hm. Mr., um, Hick, is it? Yes. Great. Fantastic. Really appreciate your enthusiasm, by the by. The dirndl, too. I mean, wow. What an outfit.

Anyhoo, it says here you reported seeing seventeen Captains Jack Sparrow? Can you, um, explain?


Posted by: Local CBC Organizer | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:12 PM
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228: Brown creepers are so adorable. I really like chickadees but I suspect part of that is because they aren't so common around here. I saw some mountain chickadees in a local cemetery* recently that had moved down from the mountains because of the snow and I loved watching them.

I'm missing mine because I don't feel confident enough in my skills to do it alone and my birding partner is out of town. However, there's a chance I'll be able to do two others - one with my parents on the Carrizo Plain on the 1st and a more local one a bit later.

*Cemeteries almost always have fantastic birds.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:15 PM
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raise your child in a mainline Protestant denomination that has substantial connections to English denominations,

as opposed to transsubstantial connections?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:18 PM
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233.last: That was one of our disappointments, we had past success at an little old cemetery tucked away up on back road, but when we got there it was snowing and blowing a mile a minute and we saw zilch. But we did see a pileated (our 2nd) in the deeper woods on way to it (and even got a crappy picture). Not that uncommon, but I still get a thrill every time I see one.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:23 PM
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I have never seen one. I understand that they're a bit more common on the east coast but here they seem to like to hide out in areas I don't spend a lot of time in (aka, the mountains). However, this year I hit my goal of 200 birds, so yay. (I'm at 207; I expect to get some more pelagic birds when I go home for the holidays, so woo!)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:31 PM
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(Yeah, I just bragged about how many birds I've seen this year. That's right. Nerdtastic.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:31 PM
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I've seen like 600 pileateds.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:33 PM
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I once got pileated in a Burger King bathroom.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:37 PM
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That'll happen if the mayo wasn't stored right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-16-10 8:44 PM
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