Re: TAL

1

I quite like the TAL presenting style, possibly becaue it's not very common in the UK, even on Radio 4. It is very distinctive though. A comedy podcast I listen to gets listeners to send in bumpers, and the other day someone did a pitch perfect TAL-style one. You could tell what they were going for within the first few seconds.

Radiolab's presenting style, on the other hand, does grate. Not enough to dissuade me from listening, but certainly enough for me to wish they'd lay off.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 4:51 AM
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Haha. The most grating of radiolab folks is a cousin.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 5:20 AM
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Radiolab is a Morning Zoo NPR-style. Despite this its still really compelling.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 5:35 AM
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I haven't listened to much TAL. What's-his-name always seemed disingenuous.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 6:37 AM
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This parody of TAL is dead on and very funny:

http://kasperhauser.com/podcasts/tal


And the "spicy pony head" sketch from the same group is one of my favorites:

http://www.kasperhauser.com/player/961



Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 7:02 AM
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How about TTBOOK? Jim Fleming's voice is very pleasant to the ears. (Anne Strainchamps' and Steve Paulson's are not bad, either). The overall production value and content quality are also much better than TAL's, IMO.


Posted by: carrotflowers | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 7:04 AM
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Also, if you have the mindset of a 12 year old like I do, you get to giggle every time they say "titty book".


Posted by: carrotflowers | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 7:06 AM
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Yeah, Radiolab has just too much bloop and bleep and cutesy sound effect madness. CHILL OUT, RADIOLAB.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 7:31 AM
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Really, when Planet Money turned out to be evil it kind of killed the whole TAL universe for me. But yes, the voices and style and (perhaps increasing?) air of disingenuousness has made it increasingly less appealing. I also wonder if the general story format -- here's a fascinating personal story with a twist -- is more familiar because it's so common on the Internet. I remember in 2004 or so it seemed much more unique.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 7:38 AM
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"This week on This American Life, some banal idiocy, set to jazz breaks" TLP


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 8:17 AM
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Don't they just talk in normal NPR cadence? I.e. the most annoying fucking way of talking known to man?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 8:28 AM
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I wouldn't know, because I prefer the gritty dramas, monologues, and radio verité of J. Frank.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 8:30 AM
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I loved This American Lufe in the 90's when it started, and I still like their policy episodes. There was a good one on post 9/11 detention.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 8:32 AM
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Despair that does not know it is despair compared with living in Glendale.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 8:32 AM
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Radiolab is the worst. I cannot listen to it. They play a contextless clip from an interview, and someone says, "Hold on, who is this we're listening to?" "Oh yeah, this is Dr. Jill Peters, from the London School of Economics." "Oh that makes sense. OK. What does she mean by..." Like they forgot to tell us. But of course they didn't. They're just doing the Blues Clues version of TAL.

I have loved much of TAL. The last show wasn't great--it's an important story, but holy shit that was boring radio. "So then we sent another letter. And you won't believe what we got back. Nothing." Etc.

Can't listen to most NPR without hives because of the weird WASPy NPR accent.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 8:58 AM
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TAL is like the mostly-Jewish version of the NPR accent.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 9:00 AM
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||
My new neighbors have a car with a bumper sticker that encourages people to "HONK IF YOU HAVE TO POOP." When I saw it, I thought, wow, I really don't know why anyone would want that on their car. Their car sits outside. This morning I was woken by a series of cars all stopping at the stop sign next to their driveway and honking. Some kids came by on foot, read it, and yelled, since they didn't have a horn. What a delight.
|>


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 9:03 AM
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It may be unfair, but because it is locally scheduled next to Being, I have TTBOOK filed as "People talking about spirituality in breathy voices".


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 9:05 AM
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When I saw it, I thought, wow, I really don't know why anyone would want that on their car.

Really?!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 9:29 AM
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18: Like "Speaking of Faith?"


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 9:30 AM
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Sorry, I meant On Being, which turns out to be the same show as Speaking of Faith.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 9:34 AM
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19: I am pretty square, it turns out.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 9:36 AM
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Wouldn't you put those stickers on other peoples' cars?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 10:12 AM
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Radiolab is the worst. I cannot listen to it. They play a contextless clip from an interview, and someone says, "Hold on, who is this we're listening to?" "Oh yeah, this is Dr. Jill Peters, from the London School of Economics." "Oh that makes sense. OK. What does she mean by..." Like they forgot to tell us. But of course they didn't.

Exactly. The subject matter and the interviewees are usually really, really interesting, though.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 10:22 AM
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Charlie Stross' new book (which is good, but not his best) starts with an epigraph from David Graeber's Debt. I saw it and wondered if Brad Delong's head would explode. He is a Stross fan and as for him & Graeber, nuff said.

(Early digression allowed by way of the US-variant holiday rules in Mornington Crescent.)

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Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 10:31 AM
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A friend of mine recently submitted a story to TAL, and it was selected for production. She doesn't have an unusually animated or distinctive speaking style, but the producers kept telling her to dial everything way, way, way down, so that her affect was completely deadened. When the story finally aired, it didn't sound like her at all, but like any other TAL storyteller, completely listless and xanaxed out.

It makes sense to me -- the storyteller recedes into the background, and the words themselves take the stage. I like it, anyway.

I can't bear to listen to Radiolab.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 11:01 AM
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Radiolab is awesome. The unusual production helps tell the stories.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 11:35 AM
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Radiolab is coming soon to my local public radio station; I've actually never heard it before.

Can't listen to most NPR without hives because of the weird WASPy NPR accent.

I find most of the voice modulation on NPR unobjectionable. Exceptions for Kai what's-his-name on Marketplace (which is actually PRI, not NPR, but wevs), and the TAL Ira Glass thing, which really does put me off.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 12:08 PM
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Radiolab is coming soon to my local public radio station; I've actually never heard it before.

They do a podcast too.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 12:11 PM
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Marketplace also features far too many young women reporters who speak awfully, with a sort of faux-stupid, nasally twang -- I haven't been able to pinpoint what it is, but very many of them adopt it.

I wouldn't care, since it's just one show, Marketplace, but some of these nascent reporters are venturing into a wider market, and I must say: nooooo. No, no, please don't spread that speaking style around.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 12:13 PM
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29: I know. But now I'll be able to listen to it live, as it were, and either add it my list of things to turn the radio off over,* or things to be pleased about.

* Others on that list: "Wait, wait, don't tell me", "What do you know", and often, TAL and Fresh Air.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 12:17 PM
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With Fresh Air I just knuckle under and abide Terry Gross's annoying interview style, because she books so many interesting guests.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 12:37 PM
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But she mangles the interview so often. I could barely forgive her for her interview of Jon Stewart, in which she basically giggled her way through, when he was trying to be actually serious.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 12:50 PM
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29: I know. But now I'll be able to listen to it live, as it were, and either add it my list of things to turn the radio off over,* or things to be pleased about.

I just have a bunch of podcasts I'm pleased to listen to all the time. Live radio is for suckers.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:10 PM
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Forgive me for going on about this, but I really do have questions about the objection to a perceived weird WASPy NPR accent

Maybe we're not hearing the same NPR. I hear Sylvia Po-johhh-li (Poggioli) reporting from Rome and covering Italy and Greece and southern and eastern Europe in general. I hear Louisa Lim, who clearly speaks Chinese, and whose English accent sounds vaguely Scottish or something; she seems to have a mild speech impediment.

I understand the main speakers on Morning Edition or the evening news thing have a carefully modulated tone, but I'm not sure what alternative is desired.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:21 PM
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Live radio is for suckers.

HEY!


Posted by: OPINIONATED EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL TAL LISTENER | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:22 PM
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Live radio is for suckers.

Pish. You're not likely to hear anything new and different and surprising if you only listen to pre-selected things.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:24 PM
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36 made me laugh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:24 PM
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You're not likely to hear anything new and different and surprising if you only listen to pre-selected things.

INDEED.


Posted by: OPINIONATED NSA ANALYST | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:27 PM
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Back in its heyday live radio as done by the likes of Bob Fass, who invented free-form radio, was magical and a real art form of its own. Live guests in the studio, a half a dozen or more callers on the line at once and that deep sonorous voice presiding over it all. You might have a show about some half forgotten but long since deceased folkie and then half way through the show, around 2 in the morning, her son, visiting NYC for the week, calls in. Then later an old lover and a former musical partner. I used to hear shows like that all the time when I was growing up and listening to NYC's Pacifica affiliate WBAI. But those days are long gone.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:28 PM
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Their like will not be seen again, in truth.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:29 PM
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33: There is one Terry Gross interview I remember enjoying - but that was because Stephen Sondheim was in take-no-prisoners mode; I feel as though he openly corrected nearly every question.

I wouldn't want every interviewee to behave that way - politicos especially need not apply - but Sondheim improved his session immeasurably.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:30 PM
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40: Diane Rehm still does a show like that. I still do hear that sort of thing on my local public radio station, though the segment is usually not more than 15 minutes long. Actually Tavis Smiley does a radio show like that as well.

It's not the same as it once was, no doubt, but those kinds of programs do continue to exist.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:41 PM
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43: truly, when I hear "deep sonorous voice," the very last person on my mind is Diane Rehm.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:45 PM
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Not Tiny Tim?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:48 PM
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28: Kai ryssdal? Sure he definitely has a radio voice. OTOH, marketplace is like nine times worse than planet money when it comes to malefactors.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:49 PM
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45: have you heard Diane Rehm?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:50 PM
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I didn't think the deep sonorous voice part was important. I thought it more important that when Rehm had Grover Norquist on, at one point she interrupted him to say that she would not abide the sort of language he'd just been using regarding liberals. Later a caller spoke to say that he found Norquist utterly disgusting, and Rehm just said, "How do you respond to that?"

Rehm had Barry Manilow, of all people, on the other day, and some guy named Clarence called in to say that he knew Barry from back in the day, when Clarence had been working as session musician with Dionne Warwick. That seems like a decent approximation of what's described in 40.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:54 PM
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49

47: No.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:55 PM
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What I'm trying to say here is that there are still live call-in shows, and they don't suck.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 1:57 PM
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You're not likely to hear anything new and different and surprising if you only listen to pre-selected things.

I was being facetious, obviously, but I do have to disagree on this point. Just like non-fiction books, one podcast leads you to another. I've added five new subscriptions in the last week alone.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:01 PM
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I didn't think the deep sonorous voice part was important.

It wasn't. Well, it is a bit, if you are listening.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:08 PM
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49: give her a listen. I usually can't, because her voice turns my spine into a column of glass.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:09 PM
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"The Diane Rehm Show" as "free form radio" isn't the most wrong thing Parsimon has ever said, but holy crap is it ever wrong.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:10 PM
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I should say I've grown to like Diane Rehm a lot, though. Yes her voice is almost literally (but not quite!) unlistenable, but that's kind of the point, and the odd breathing and speaking style really allows her to get a lot out of the guests, because they are forced to actually listen to her questions. Also unlike almost all media interviewers she's good at the most important thing, which is follow up questions.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:15 PM
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55: Thanks. I think Rehm is pretty good a lot of the time as well. She fails sometimes, and man is that annoying, but I wouldn't want her off the air. Wouldn't want NPR off the air either.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:20 PM
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Charlie Stross' new book (which is good, but not his best)

Is it worth reading the book it's a sequel to, Saturn's Children? I'm intrigued but the cover is a huge turnoff.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:20 PM
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"WASPy" may not be the best way to describe it, but I definitely know what neb and AWB mean about the standard NPR cadence and how annoying it is.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:22 PM
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Radio stations in rural Alaska have programs that are basically just people calling in to send messages to their friends and relatives in other villages. It's kind of cool to listen to.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:23 PM
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It's a common sentiment in TFA that Parks & Recreation gets better in the second season - how feasible would it be to skip the first season? Would I need to read some synopses first?

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Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:33 PM
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Is it worth reading the book it's a sequel to, Saturn's Children? I'm intrigued but the cover is a huge turnoff.

If you like gratuitous fan-service, endless first-person infodumping, and a plot that makes no sense, go for it.


Posted by: Gareth Rees | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:37 PM
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53: Deeper and more sonorous than Tiny Tim, but my first thought was to wonder why the recording kept skipping.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 2:42 PM
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55: She's a decent interviewer, but goddamn. How do you have a voice like that and decide "clearly, radio is the career for me!" Really!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 3:29 PM
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60: it is one of my favorite shows but I have never watched the first season. Totally not necessary.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 3:31 PM
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I mostly like NRP for the structured and calm delivery. Outliers are their offensive morning zoo of
the Bryant Park Takeaway and NPR youth radio, which is like some king of diversion program for
younguns who failed elocation class.

52: Bob Garfield called out lesser speakers for their vulgar, creaky voices.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 3:40 PM
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63: The career started first, the spasmodic dysphonia came later.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 3:48 PM
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I didn't like Rehm's voice before her illness. So there!

(And I don't even own a radio! Well, not if you don't count the car...or the one in the bathroom.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 4:10 PM
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As a follow up to my 40 there's a really good documentary about Bob Fass that came out last year called "Radio Unnameable" after the name of his radio show. Definitely worth a viewing.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 4:12 PM
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Is it worth reading the book it's a sequel to, Saturn's Children? I'm intrigued but the cover is a huge turnoff.

If you like gratuitous fan-service, endless first-person infodumping, and a plot that makes no sense, go for it.

Yeah, the cover is bad. I think the UK version is better and I recall that Stross wasn't thrilled by it either.

I mostly agree with Gareth's comments about Saturn's Children. And yet, I enjoyed it. It is consciously modeled on Heinlein. Noticeably, his new book has more info dumps than I'd like and too much of the plot felt warmed-over.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 4:16 PM
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It doesn't sound like this is all he's said about it, but for the record Stross' remarks about that cover include, on his blog, "I'd already played my author objects to cover card the previous year, and was overruled. I'm still conflicted about this cover. On the plus side, it's undeniably striking (and highly likely to get men of a certain age to pick it up). On the minus side, I've had mail from readers who bought a British copy, imported at great expense, because they were afraid of their partner's likely response."


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 4:52 PM
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A link for the above is probably called for. It's part of a much longer post asserting that authors are generally denied exclusive control of elements such as cover art.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 4:55 PM
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64: Thanks!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 4:57 PM
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71: That's what I've heard from the DE. She was once married to R/ick St/ern/bach and was his agent then. (And apparently he was somewhat unusual in that he would read a book before doing the commissioned artwork).


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 6:17 PM
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60: I've been watching a fair amount of that show lately, skipping around freely without losing much. The first season is pretty lackluster and I skipped a lot of it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 6:18 PM
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61 is probably right and it's also intentionally pornish in non-hot ways (which I suppose is the Heinlein) but I didn't think it was awful or anything, certaintly entertaining in parts. The cover is definitely bad. Anyway, I don't think missing out on the backstory there could possibly make a differnce.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 6:24 PM
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On the new Stross book, some of the humor jarred. The usual puns and such weren't a problem (I think Stanley & Moby Hick are funny, YMMV), but the Crimson Permanent Assurance showing up was a bit of a speed bump.

(Also he never delivered on the setup for a message to you, Rudi. He did set it up and I kept waiting for it.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 6:52 PM
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ONE SOLUTION: REVOLUTION!

Brits out!

Stop BBC censorship!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 7:58 PM
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76 - So what you're saying is that "Rudi" can fail?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 8:39 PM
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I had recently started listening to TAL again, but was forced to stop by my annoyance over Ira Glass's voice. The Story with Dick Gordon, however, remains my favorite radio show/podcast of all time.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 9:07 PM
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78. It wasn't very special. It clashed with my expectations.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07- 4-13 10:06 PM
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AKA a failure.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 5:56 AM
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I can't deal with any of these things except the warm reassuring tones of bob boilen on all songs considered. and his co-hosts/esses


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:06 AM
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Dear England-dwellers,
I'm going to be in London next week. I have a conference Wednesday-Saturday, but I could hang out Monday, Tuesday, or Sunday. (July 8, 9, 14). What are you guys doing?
|>


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:11 AM
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I tried, but I can't manage to use the radio for anything but really stupid pop music and weather emergencies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:12 AM
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Dear England-dwellers,
I'm going to be in London next week. I have a conference Wednesday-Saturday, but I could hang out Monday, Tuesday, or Sunday. (July 8, 9, 14). What are you guys doing?

On those dates, not a lot.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:24 AM
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Great! Want to drink a beer with me?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 6:29 AM
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Why not. The Monday works best for me as I have a work party on Wednesday and would rather not be hungover for that.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 7:21 AM
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60, 74: It's a sitcom. You could probably watch them in a completely random order and not miss anything, except for who's a couple when and why. I don't remember much specifically about the first season but I do remember liking it OK and then when the second season started suddenly it was awesome.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 7:29 AM
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Okay! I don't really know where I'm staying now that I think about it. (with friends. somewhere in London). Maybe near UCL? I will find out.

Anyway if you have ideas about times or places you should say them, because I don't.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 7:58 AM
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"just around the corner from Seven Sisters tube station" is where I'll be.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 8:24 AM
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Best pub near UCL is probably the Lamb by Great Ormond Street hospital. At least if you like Young's. Or if you want cheap but not great beer in lovely old-fashioned surroundings, there's the Princess Louise.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 8:33 AM
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On the other hand, I live in North London too, so maybe it might make snese to go somewhere there. The Mucky Pup is a great pub that's kind of equidistant between Seven Sisters and Kentish Town. On the other hand it's not super convenient for either of them.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 8:39 AM
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I'm assuming "not super convenient" means you have to knife-fight your way in and back out again.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 10:20 AM
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91/92- I will defer to you because I have no idea about anything. I don't have any need/reason to be at UCL until Wednesday so north-er somewhere is probably good? But whatever seems easy to you is fine with me.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 11:46 AM
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This is my conference. There are going to be a lot of signed languages happening all at the same time. I always get really distracted by watching the game-of-telephone interpreting process and forget to pay attention to what people are actually saying.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 11:48 AM
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79: God, I can't stand Dick Gordon. I loved the combination of Mary McGrath and Chris Lydon live on the Connection. I was in mourning after they left, and he's not the same on his own. Dick Gordon was so bland.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 2:13 PM
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82: Carl Castle's voice wax pretty good, and Bob Edwards was a pleasure to wake up to.


Posted by: Boatoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 2:33 PM
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I'm assuming "not super convenient" means you have to knife-fight your way in and back out again.

It's more that, with walking time, it probably takes about as long to get to the Mucky Pup as it does to get to anywhere near UCL from Seven Sisters or Kentish Town. But it is a really good pub.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 5-13 4:02 PM
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The Mucky Pup is fine with me. What time?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 5:45 AM
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Here's my email address in case you (or anyone else, I suppose) need it.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07- 6-13 5:47 AM
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About 7.30-8ish? I'm not sure exactly when I'll be finishing work Monday.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-13 11:46 AM
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Okay I am planning to be there around 7:30. Anyone else in the vicinity is obviously invited too.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 07- 8-13 7:28 AM
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