Re: Master Of The Universe

1

If he's a scientologist, won't Xenu spare him? If not, what's the point of joining the cult?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:52 AM
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I think Xenu's the enemy -- it's like preparing for war against the Antichrist, not expecting him to spare you because you're Christian. I could be wrong, though, I'm not all that up on Scientologist theology.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:53 AM
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So deliciously crazy. Please let it be true, Xenu.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:57 AM
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It's so unfair that assholes like him get to build underground bunkers on the basis of their whackjob theories and I don't get to build them on the basis of mine.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:58 AM
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2 is correct.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 11:58 AM
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4: Surely you remember Reagan's civil defense czar? All you need is a shovel and a couple of old doors to make your very own backyard bunker.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:00 PM
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I have to wonder about the architects and builders and contractors and other sane people who would necessarily have to be involved with this scheme. How do you keep a straight face while talking about, say, what kind of alarm system provides the best security against an evil, galactic ruler?


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:04 PM
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4 is correct.

Although it's somewhat disappointing he didn't go for the hollowed out volcano model, which, as any fule kno, is the lair of choice.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:05 PM
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Whenever I read stories like this I always think of the contractors who actually build this shit, and wonder what they think of it or how they are managed by whatever factotum Cruise has in charge of it. I suppose it's possible that they're all shipped in from Clearwater as well.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:06 PM
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6: What? And soil my delicate, eccentric hands?

8: Maybe an old missile silo?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:07 PM
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Duck and cover -- Xenu's coming!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:07 PM
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7, 9: I suspect they deal with it by focusing on the huge piles of money they're getting to do it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:08 PM
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7- Then you get to tell people at cocktail parties about your cool job.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:11 PM
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There's a real sekrit underground base in Wiltshire that was up for sale, I believe, recently.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/wiltshire/content/articles/2005/12/14/burlington_nuclear_bunker_feature.shtml

It's HUGE. Get enough people together, Unfogged could have it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:13 PM
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15
an internal Lamson Tube system that could relay messages, using compressed air, throughout the complex.

WANT.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:16 PM
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"an internal Lamson Tube system"
That alone is worth the price of admission.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:17 PM
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pwned- I must have sent my comment via compressed air tube.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:18 PM
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re: 15

I'm pretty sure there's one of them in the building I work in. Not used, though. There are 'secret' tunnels connecting that building to others in oxford, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:19 PM
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I started reading and was sure you were going to say "grotto." Not that a bunker wouldn't also be fun...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:21 PM
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16: pretty sure you still have one closer at hand, LB.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:25 PM
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I always think of the contractors

One of my wife's relatives had a job like this, working on some bizarre, constantly changing vanity project for a local plutocrat (and especially his wife) for nearly 10 years. He spent all his time drinking and talking about the stoopid shit they did. Unfortunately, when it was called off, still not finished, due to divorce, he was unable to ever find real work again.


Posted by: cw | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:26 PM
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20--
sure; the internet is just a series of lamson tubes.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:27 PM
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16: pretty sure you still have one closer at hand, LB.

Even better.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:29 PM
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8: Maybe an old missile silo?

You'd better hurry. They're going fast.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:29 PM
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I'm sure Tom Cruise would only hire the finest Scientologist contractors for a project like this. They're probably doing it pro bono just to experience the presence of a real Operating Thetan VII.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:30 PM
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If I ever got my hands on an old missile silo I'd feel almost obligated to start making a shitload of acid.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:33 PM
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27

And yet, anyone's who's slept successively with Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes is doing something correctly. Cute baby, too.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:34 PM
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This story is clearly bullshit; Xenu isn't coming back, he's locked up forever behind a force-field inside a mountain, as any OT-III can tell you. Jesus, people, start talking sense for once.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:36 PM
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27: Oh darling, you don't honestly believe he's straight, do you?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:36 PM
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The story linked in 14 is great.

Over a kilometre in length, and boasting over 60 miles of roads, the underground site was designed not only to accommodate the than Conservative Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, but the entire Cabinet Office, civil servants and an army of domestic support staff.

I like the implication that it was customized specifically for MacMillan. I suppose the next Prime Minister did extensive remodelling of the place to suit his particular tastes, like when that Japanese rock star bought Shaquille O'Neal's house.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:40 PM
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20: I actually fell for the one in the NY Public Library main branch as a teenager -- I'm not sure if they still use it, I haven't been there for years. You'd ask for a book, they'd tuck the slip into a little metal capsule, and whizz, thunk, off it went to the bowels of the earth where the pit-ponies would retrieve your book.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:40 PM
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You'd ask for a book, they'd tuck the slip into a little metal capsule, and whizz, thunk, off it went to the bowels of the earth where the pit-ponies would retrieve your book.

It's amazing how this process has been miniaturized in the e-book readers. The ponies are smaller than dust mites.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:42 PM
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31--
damn. that explains the teeth-marks on my books, as well as that really pungent odor of hay and manure.

splains what they feed the lions, too.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:44 PM
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The ponies are smaller than dust mites.

Leading to some terrifying interactions if your ebook reader isn't kept scrupulously dust-free.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:44 PM
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35

I, for one, am not interested in some freakshow nanoponies grazing me apart from the inside out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:45 PM
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re: 31

Where I work, the book retrieval process isn't far off that. There are conveyor belts that run through tunnels between three main buildings, under the streets of central Oxford. The stack elves retrieve the books and load them into little metal boxes which then get carried through the bowels by the belt. The belt even runs up inside the building and carries the books up to various floors through a shaft.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:46 PM
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Elves? Ponies? What whimsical places libraries are these days! "Just one minute and the reference unicorn will have that for you."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:48 PM
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re: 37

It's Harry Potter, you know. Once the first film was released every self-respecting head librarian had to order them. Although I've heard some places cheat and have continued to use smaller-statured under-graduate but they make them wear pointy ears.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:51 PM
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37--
what, you don't use gringott's library?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:51 PM
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35: Whereas I would find that fascinating. Disturbing, but fascinating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:51 PM
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41

Speaking of books, a couple of days ago I picked up my roommate's copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance with the thought, "Oh, here's something I'd like to have an informed opinion on." Then I got to a bizarrely confused discussion of the status of "the law of gravity" prior to Newton, and almost threw the book away in disgust. Does anyone know if this is an accurate impression of the book as a whole?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:52 PM
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42

Could "Speaking of books," be history's most commonly used segue?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:53 PM
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41: I really liked it, although I haven't read it since undergrad, and it may be dumber than I remembered. The many-years-later sequel, on the other hand, I encountered when I was in Samoa and very bored, and it's the only book I've ever heavily annotated with commentary on how incredibly silly and wrong it is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:55 PM
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41: up there with Rand at the top level of Undergrad Lit, along with other authors who I'm perhaps wrong about (like Robbins). I always assumed Pirsig was insane.

From Wikipedia:

hile doing biochemical lab work, Pirsig was greatly bothered by the fact that there was always more than one workable hypothesis to explain a given phenomenon, and that the number of such hypotheses seemed almost unlimited. He could not think of any way around this, and to him it seemed that the whole scientific endeavor had been brought to a halt, in some sense.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:56 PM
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Spalding Gray (sp?) had a nice riff on the brain-as-contorted-library analogy. Not original, but well done.

At the main Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, the stacks are actually open to the public, but don't look like it - you're in this fancy, Main Library-ish space (recently spiffed-up), you step through a small, nondescript doorway, and there's hundreds of linear feet of cast iron shelves lining aisles with glass floors (to allow more light in). Awesome.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:57 PM
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re: gringott's library

There's talk of me moving offices, I'd be in the little door on the lower left of this:

http://www.pbase.com/image/49513363.jpg


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 12:59 PM
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I really think that modern tech should revitalize the pneumatic tube business. Slap bar codes on the tubes, plot a route through some dispatch devices (we've got reserved-capacity multiplexed circuit-switching down cold), and I can have my burritos delivered remotely!


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:01 PM
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have to agree with counterfly in 44.
i read it when it first came out in '74, and we were all pretty taken by it, which isn't too surprising because we were all pretty stupid back then. now that the life of the mind has moved beyond frantically trying to stick it to the man, i don't think pirsig wears well.

actually, i have heard people recommend it incidentally for its more roman a clef qualities as a depiction of u chicago grad school under mckeon. but when i read it i didn't know about that stuff, and since i've learned about that stuff i haven't reread it.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:02 PM
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I think having any kind of formal education in philosophy sort of spoils a lot of 'philosophical' fiction. You spend your entire time thinking 'fucking idiot'. I imagine physicists feel that way about a lot of science fiction.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:03 PM
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If Cruise were a master of the universe, he'd be well-advised to outfit his underground lair with slime vats to prevent Evil-Lyn and Hordak from dragging Katie off to the Forsaken Realm.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:06 PM
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There is a lot of good philosophical fiction out there. I would put Coetzee in that category.

Of course, you can't read *popular* philosophical fiction like Rand or Pirsig, but this is less a matter of having it spoiled for you than simply seeing its true face.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:06 PM
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At the main Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, the stacks are actually open to the public, but don't look like it - you're in this fancy, Main Library-ish space (recently spiffed-up), you step through a small, nondescript doorway, and there's hundreds of linear feet of cast iron shelves lining aisles with glass floors (to allow more light in). Awesome.

Seems normal to me. It's really almost identical to the Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre except about five times bigger.

Also, the books sorted under the Dewey system are in a separate set of stacks, which I don't think patrons have access to. In my experience this means any book more than 40 years old.

What percentage of hundred-year-old US libraries have glass floors in the stacks? I've never seen floors like that anywhere else.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:07 PM
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I'm trying to remember what I liked about it, and I'm thinking the descriptions of pedagogy, and the literal motorcycle-fixing bits. But I'm very fond of drifty, essay-type writing.

Of course he was insane, though, the book's about his being insane.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:08 PM
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54

At Columbia, didn't Ahmadinejad say that the Xenu's volcano massacre never happened?


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:08 PM
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46--
cool! which college is that?
(not balliol; not lincoln; certainly not keble; not st. annes; not all souls; that leaves only four dozen or so)


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:09 PM
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41 -- I heard snippets about Pirzig when I went to MSU, although he'd be gone 20 years. Nothing favorable. From the book it's clear enough that he had serious mental health issues at various points. In fact, I think he says so. I haven't read the book in 25 years, and have never suggested to anyone else that they ought to do so.

Can't deny that many people have found it thought provoking.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:09 PM
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I just had a bunch of students today speak highly of Rand. I wanted to yell "Noo! Stay away! It's a trap! She's appealing to your adolescent fantasies to draw you into her evil cult!"

I figured that this wouldn't come off right, though. So I stuck with saying that she is not respected by academic philosophers.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:09 PM
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Off-topic but I just liked the phrase Buddhist psyops, then. How cool is that?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:09 PM
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53--
really? i thought it was only phaedrus who was insane.
oh well. should have read more carefully, i guess.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:10 PM
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re: 55

It's not a college, it's the entrance to the B/odleian L/ibrary viewed from the inside of the library quad.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:10 PM
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There is a lot of good philosophical fiction out there. I would put Coetzee in that category.

I took an undergraduate course, "Philosophy in the American Short Story", which I'm sure the prof just threw together so she would get to read some fun fiction in an intro-level class. Discussion was, unsurprisingly, not on a terribly high level, but it introduced me to Tobias Woolf.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:11 PM
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shoulda thoughta that.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:11 PM
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63

Wolff, damn it.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:11 PM
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Woolff


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:12 PM
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Oh, I know he was crazy IRL. It just ruined my ability to enjoy the book as anything more than rambling. Having fellow undergrads tell me he had changed their life (a year after Rand changed their lives) was pretty annoying, too.

I imagine physicists feel that way about a lot of science fiction.

Surprisingly it's not that bad, as long as Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is never, ever invoked unless the author is a physicist. Blatant speculation is mostly fine; it's the misuse of existing discoveries and concepts that can be painful to read.

For example, several sf authors have used the idea that BECs and so-called "atom lasers" could eventually be used as weapons; matter-wave equivalents of lasers. To someone in the business, it's utterly far-fetched but not ludicrous per se; more an error of placing it in the 2100s rather than the 3100s. Which is fine to read about if you've got time to kill.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:12 PM
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65--
right--heisenberg is always cringe-inducing.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:16 PM
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46: See 15.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:19 PM
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68

$10 million buys a lot of duct tape.


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:23 PM
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67--
what, doesn't your building in nyc look like that?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:23 PM
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What whimsical places libraries are these days! "Just one minute and the reference unicorn will have that for you."

Unfortunately, a severe virgin shortage has resulted in unicorns being largely replaced by ogres.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:27 PM
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severe virgin shortage

Librarians aren't what they used to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:28 PM
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I was amused by the one major appearance of Heisenberg uncertainty in Star Trek. Someone complained in the original show that the transporters were impossible because Heisenberg uncertainty meant that you couldn't know the positions a person's atoms well enough to reproduce them at the next location. The creators of Star Trek Next Generation responded by including something called "The Heisenberg Compensators" in the transporter mechanism and explaining it no further.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:31 PM
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I want to see a science fiction story written currently that uses deliberately archaic science, like the engines of the Enterprise are filled with phlogiston and subspace is replaced by the luminiferous ether.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:33 PM
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67: Nah, you probably don't. In my experience, those offices and dorm rooms have lots of drafts to wipe out any heat provided by the feeble radiator. We soft Americans are too used to central heating for such places. Best to leave them to Scots, whose thick chitinous shell renders them impervious to chill and general clamminess.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:34 PM
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75

Idea, free to good home: "Schroedinger's Catfight".


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:35 PM
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I'll bet you it's been done -- Poul Anderson? maybe? has some short stories about a bunch of medieval knights getting picked up by a spaceship, going on Crusade, and converting the galaxy to Christianity by the sword. While I don't remember the language used to describe space travel particularly, it would have made sense for it to have been as you described.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:36 PM
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#71. No, things just haven't been the same since The Great Hipster Plague.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:36 PM
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73 - In that theme, but using older archaic science, is Richard Garfinkle's Celestial Matters.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:36 PM
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79

Schroedinger's Catfight

Now taking place at the Moebius Strip Show


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:37 PM
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a severe virgin shortage

Sorry about that


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:38 PM
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Have you been deflowering librarians again? Bad commenter. No biscuit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:39 PM
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w/d I read it when I was 16 or 17....I liked it a lot back then, and I can remember a few good things about it. I can also remember a lot of odd stuff. If you keep reading, he makes out an inability do precisely define "quality" to be of absolutely monumental importance, when really it's....well, not.

ttam: what an office!!


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:43 PM
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(more direclty, w/d, I doubt you'll like it)


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:44 PM
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81. it's its own reward


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:49 PM
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So if I were Tyler Cowen I'd definitely stop reading it at this point. But I'm still in the habit of considering a book started and unfinished a failure, and don't know if I can break it. But I appreciate all the feedback, by lowering my expectations it makes it more likely that I'll find parts enjoyable.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:53 PM
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Going gay would be a small price to pay to sleep with Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, and Katie Holmes in quick succession.

The story in the post is clearly false, because experience has taught me that God does not love me that much. The weird thing about Scientology is that procrastinating Internet users have a more detailed knowledge of the theology than rank-and-file members do. I once ran into two Scientologists in a bar, and asked them what they thought of Xenu. They clearly had no idea what I was talking about.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:53 PM
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I think Xenu's a secret until you're really advanced. Heretics blew the secret to silly people like us, but if you're a practicing Scientologist, you're getting the straight dope from official sources, rather than researching online, and they don't give that bit out to the rank and file.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:56 PM
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85: Seriously, if you don't like rambling essay kind of stuff, put it down. The actual intellectual value is pretty darn low.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:57 PM
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Yeah, I read it at the same time I was taking a freshman-level philosophy course. It didn't hold up particularly well against Aristotle, and I hear that there may be other philosophers who also have more interesting stuff to say than Pirsig does.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 1:59 PM
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I'm still in the habit of considering a book started and unfinished a failure

This is the wisdom that comes with age: it's really not.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:01 PM
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What's amazing is that it's so easy to find. If you type "Scientology" into Google, the Wikipedia page is the third hit, Xenu is right there. (I suppose that explains why Scientologists are supposed to download special software that blocks offending sites.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:13 PM
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But you've got to figure that being the sort of person who researches Scientology online has got to make you terribly unlikely to later become a Scientologist -- they must do most of their recruitment among the naive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:14 PM
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Yeah, I read it at the same time I was taking a freshman-level philosophy course. It didn't hold up particularly well against Aristotle

It is a shame that Aristotle's treatise on small engine motorcycle repair is forever lost to us.


Posted by: Joeo | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:18 PM
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I got a special Scientologist massage last year. That's all I can say.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:18 PM
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I'm not sure naïve is precisely right. I mean, there are areas of my life (and I presume everyone else's) where I don't bother to do research and just stick with what I can learn passively, it's just where people decide to focus.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:20 PM
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Oh yeah, if his 28 hp bike can go 95 miles per hour with one adult and one child on board, how light is it?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:21 PM
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93--
you're referring to Book II, on motorcycle repair.
Book I, on lawnmower tune-ups, is extant in an armenian translation.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:21 PM
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I'm not sure naïve is precisely right. I mean, there are areas of my life (and I presume everyone else's) where I don't bother to do research and just stick with what I can learn passively, it's just where people decide to focus.

I have a friend who deliberately contrived to fall in with some scientologists because she was curious (in a horrified kind of way) about the whole thing.

She didn't get very far because they seemed onto her game. They questioned her in ways that made it apparent that her background (academic accomplishment, inquisitive mind, etc.) made her suspect in their eyes.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:25 PM
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So what do you guys want in your underground lairs?

I was thinking of putting in a big room with a conference table and a huge electronic map of the world where information would stream in from all of my operatives over the globe. Then, as the aliens attack the screens for each operative would go dead, until ominously, the whole map is dark. That would be great.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:29 PM
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100

S'mores.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:30 PM
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99: Would your big board have RCA jacks? If so I've got a Wii. Rah and I make great roommates.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:31 PM
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I want to see an odd-couple type sitcom about Dick Cheney & Tom Cruise (& their respective hangers on) trying to share one underground bunker.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:32 PM
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I got a special Scientologist massage last year. That's all I can say.

Is that the one where they keep telling you that the happy end will come with the next stage, which will cost you only $900, and then every time you pay there's still one more stage to go?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:36 PM
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"I know bunkers, Dick. I've studied bunkers."
[Cruise grasps at his throat, unable to breathe, slowly crumpling to the ground as Cheney looks on, impassive.]


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:36 PM
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101: Definitely. I also want computers that use large reels of magnetic tape. They also should print out their answers on little rolls of cash register tape, like Computer in Space 1999.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:37 PM
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So what do you guys want in your underground lairs?

72 virgins. And a gravity bong.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:41 PM
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Pirsig was at least a whole lot better than Castenada. I am a Zen kinda guy though, and consider incoherence and internal contradiction irrefutable arguments. But you probably knew that already.

But y'all may not realize how seriously I mean it. I'm not sure myself.

Pirsig made me cry. There is a personal story there of a man, the terror of madness and letting go, and the love for his son that gets thru the bullshit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:43 PM
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I want to see an odd-couple type sitcom about Dick Cheney & Tom Cruise (& their respective hangers on) trying to share one underground bunker.

The subplot involving a never-quite-consummated flirtation between David Addington and Kirstie Allie should be quite a draw.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:43 PM
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So what do you guys want in your underground lairs?

I just want an end to the persecution, to all the betrayals and the lying. And for the voices to go away. After that, a laboooratry where academically accomplished servants with inquisitive minds and just a hint of a switch in their gait will be grown in vats.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:44 PM
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Oscilloscopes galore, for me. And a telephoto monocle that I can focus with my mind.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:46 PM
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102 is genius.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:47 PM
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a telephoto monocle that I can focus with my mind Good one!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:48 PM
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Every electronic or mechanical device should have an oscilloscope as a readout.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:50 PM
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I want someone who knows how to play the Theremin. I actually own one, but have never managed to learn to play the damn thing, mostly because it is really hard, and I never had the time. I can't even get a good tone out of it. I mostly get the AM radio sound, rather than the clearer tones you hear on Good Vibrations and the old sci fi movies.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:51 PM
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112--
but it has a really unfortunate side-effect:
when ever you try to run fast, a cheesy theme-song starts playing, and you run *really, really* slow.
like, molasses slow.
good thing the villains do, too.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:52 PM
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I would also have a flock of grackles trained to remove and hang up the coats and hats of my visitors. But that would be merely the least sinister of their duties...


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:54 PM
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Also, lots of giant Ron Mueck sculptures and a pinball machine. I think I'm aiming for a different underground lair theme than the rest of you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:54 PM
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There is a lot of good philosophical fiction out there. I would put Coetzee in that category.

Or The Recognitions! The last christian novel, they say. I just can't get enough.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:56 PM
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Bob, I realized 107 was yours just before "But you probably knew that already.", so apparently I did know that.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:57 PM
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I just can't get enough.

Christians?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:57 PM
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Sadly, the brilliant villainsupply.com is now defunct

They had an entire real estate section with various lairs for sale.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:58 PM
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I want two hundred and forty dollars worth of pudding!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:59 PM
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I actually want to combine the mad scientist lab and hedonist sex grotto themes. The Muek sculptures would work well in both.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 2:59 PM
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120: that strikes me as odd, because I've had enough of those guys.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:00 PM
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I want to see a science fiction story written currently that uses deliberately archaic science

Isn't that just "steampunk"? (A genre for which I have little love, I should add.) The other thing that springs to mind: John Clute's Appleseed. It's sometimes difficult to tell what's going on at all, but it's deliberately archaic at points. Culturally, Adam Robert's Land of the Headless is archaic, even if the technology isn't. (FD: I edited it.)

I want someone who knows how to play the Theremin.

I help rob day continues: I'm married to someone who used to know how to play it. Claims to be rusty, but she also claimed that about the guitar, immediately before picking one up and playing with a band for three hours, so I don't buy it.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:07 PM
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Further proof that SEK is married to an actual Renaissance woman. We'll definitely need her in the lair.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:14 PM
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(1) Poul Anderson? maybe? has some short stories about a bunch of medieval knights getting picked up by a spaceship, going on Crusade, and converting the galaxy to Christianity by the sword

--The High Crusade, a title which suggests a much different, more amusing book.

Or The Recognitions! The last christian novel, they say. I just can't get enough.

WTF? The one where the preacher cures his boy by converting to Mithraism?


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:15 PM
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125: Whaddya got against steampunk, SEK? It bugs me just a teensy bit too, and I can't put my finger on why--something about kitsch and wishful thinking and an idea that if you could live "in history" you would see history objectified before your very eyes, instead of just blundering along in a blur as we do in the now.

Although I think class plays into it somehow; all those radically stylized subcultures seem to draw very heavily from deskilled white collar/lower-middle-class mileux. And in general, I'm sympathetic to radical self-stylization.

China Mieville is not entirely unlike steampunk, and it's his steampunkier inventions that please me least.

I am, I admit, a complete sucker for the goggles-airshipes-and-implausible-objects-with-gears aesthetic.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:22 PM
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That's the one, Anderson. Later the preacher gets crucified.

Gaddis himself has said that at some time during its composition he thought it would be the last christian novel. (The Clementine Recognitions, whence its title, is accounted the first.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:23 PM
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Actually, that's not how he cures his son; he cures his son by bringing a monkey into his room and then sacrificing it. His conversion to Mithraism comes later.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:23 PM
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Quick, somebody redirect the thread toward perl scripts or swimming!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:25 PM
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The lady thereminist in Barbez is a totally cute cutie. Squeaky voice, though.

I have read passing little steampunk fiction but I liked what I understand to be the steampunky elements of final fantasy 6. And, I guess, seven. There, I said it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:25 PM
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114: There is no theremin on Good Vibrations. That is a different instrument, easier to play, that sounds a lot like one.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:26 PM
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I can see that a laptop and wireless is going to do wonders for my productivity.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:27 PM
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It is a shame that Aristotle's treatise on small engine motorcycle repair is forever lost to us.

You know there's a work attributed to Aristotle sometimes entitled "Mechanical Problems." You might want to try there.


Posted by: Zippy | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:29 PM
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133:Mellotron? I thought it was a theremin, although Lothar hung out far from the surfers. Must...refute...w-lfs-n.

Watched a documentary on Moog the other night. It was really boring, especially with guest spots from Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:31 PM
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All three of Gaddis' large books are wonderful. A Frolic of his Own is heavy with legal musing.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:32 PM
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Actually, that's not how he cures his son; he cures his son by bringing a monkey into his room and then sacrificing it.

Ah, yes; I wasn't clear whether that was a Mithraic thing or not. Decidedly non-Christian, anyway.

Maybe he meant "last Christian novel" in the sense of "last novel to depict characters who take Christianity seriously."

I need to read that one again ... after I finish the Penguin Proust ... I'm in the Valley of the Shadow of Albertine right now.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:32 PM
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A Frolic of his Own is heavy with legal musing.

Does the title come from the phrase "Frolic and Detour"?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:33 PM
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Whaddya got against steampunk, SEK? It bugs me just a teensy bit too, and I can't put my finger on why--something about kitsch and wishful thinking and an idea that if you could live "in history" you would see history objectified before your very eyes, instead of just blundering along in a blur as we do in the now.

I think what bothers me is all that's left out. It's not the obsession with archaic gadgetry -- I like Crowley and Alexander Theroux -- it's the boyishness of the obsession, and the manliness of the steampunk world. So, to take a classic steampunk work -- one I like -- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: I like it because it's not all about the gadgets, but the world too, complete with its racism/sexism/&c. I can't remember the particular steampunk novel that annoyed me, but it over-brimmed with "Ha ha dead prostitutes how very nineteenth century ha ha!" moments. It's not like, say, Connecticut Yankee, in which Twain's obviously pointing both to past and present inequities, and doing so wittily (until it turns, well, exceedingly gruesome).

In short, let me think about it more; because I love Mieville, but he's less steampunk, more "culture of reclamation" to my mind.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:34 PM
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The Difference Engine was pretty neat, to my recollection, but I haven't read it since it came out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:36 PM
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It's a tannerin, which, while not a theremin, still isn't easy to play.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:36 PM
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"The distinctive "woo woo" sound in the choruses and at the end of the record was created with an electro-theremin, played by Paul Tanner. First used by Wilson on the track "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times", the device effectively creates a sonic representation of those mysterious vibrations of the title." ...Wiki

Oughter know better than challenge w-lfs-n.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:37 PM
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I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in high school and don't remember it well. It's not a book I'd reread. There's some stuff in there about grading that was interesting to me as a high schooler. I guess in one class he graded everything but didn't reveal the grades before the term ended. Quite a few students believed they were doing worse than they were and worked harder to improve; the overall grades ended up being higher than usual that term.

Or maybe I'm remembering that completely wrong. But I do remember thinking about it when I got assigned Weber's Protestant Ethic and got to the part about confession.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:39 PM
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73: Howard Waldrup wrote a story or two like that.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:42 PM
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Keith Emerson: no relation!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:45 PM
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The coot migration is in full force on Lake Wobegon. Just saw about 5000 of them in a 2 1/2 hr bike ride around the lake.

Coot jokes are invited.

"Coot" is the polite name. Informally they're called mudhens.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:49 PM
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Steampunk, aha!

I'd heard the term, but did not know that it referred to this other thing I had daydreamed about. I guess I did know the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which wasn't quite the same thing. Mostly I was enjoying the image of Scotty talking about phlogiston rather than anti-matter. I guess this means I have the boyish like for archaic gadgetry that SEK abhors. Hopefully his wife will still teach me to play theremin one day.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:49 PM
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I thought RH-C was specifically talking about an alternate universe in which technology was based on science that has been debunked in our universe but reflected reality in the alternate universe. Not just archaic technology.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:50 PM
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And a Tannerin! Everything makes more sense now. The sound on Good Vibrations was obviously much cleaner, which I see now comes from the fact that it produces a pure sine wave. The keyboard markings makes it look much easier to play, too.

On the other hand, the page says that Spellbound and The Day the Earth Stood Still soundtracks use real theremins and I also recall them having a purer sound that I was able to get. Perhaps I just need to listen to them again.

This really has been a helpful thread.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:53 PM
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149: Yes that was the idea. Like at some point in the future, they just discovered that Lavoisier was wrong about this oxygen stuff. I still got the impression that there is some of that in steampunk.

League of Extraordinary Gentlmen and the Difference Engine were not quite what I was thinking of. They both move elements of contemporary fantastic fiction, superheros and cyberpunk, to the 19th century, which is cool, but different than moving 18th century science into the 30th century.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:56 PM
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Rob what kind of theremin do you have? Those probably used Moog Theremins, but if you have e.g. the kit from PAIA the electronics might not be as good. Also, the shape of your timbre hand is very important to the tone you get.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:56 PM
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151: The Diamond Age does approximately that, but I think it's kind of stupid, so, uh, so yeah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:57 PM
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Also, the shape of your timbre hand is very important to the tone you get.

I demand that a theremin be designed for those of us with hooks for hands.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 3:59 PM
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Actually, none of this matters, because I do not have the time to read for pleasure or play music. I don't even really have the time to talk about doing these things on Unfogged.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:00 PM
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154: I bet you could make some damn cool noises with a theremin and a hook. I know people that'll play them with whisks and forks and other oddly shaped metal things.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:02 PM
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But you're a tenure-track academic! Doesn't that mean you loll all day while undergraduate interns feed you grapes?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:02 PM
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LB, that was the kinkiest photo I ever saw.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:04 PM
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156: Man. You know multiple people who not only play theremins, but develop innovative means of playing them. I (in an entirely reconciled to my own drabness, I don't actually enjoy fun as such, kind of way) totally envy you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:04 PM
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You lead a sheltered life out there on the prairie, man.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:06 PM
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157: that's only after you actually GET tenure.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:06 PM
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Tenure *track*, little Lizard. No one feeds you grapes until after tenure review.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:07 PM
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Back on the veldt, there were no sheltering prairies.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:08 PM
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Na, you were androgonous and of unknown age. Someone might think, "Cute!" and then realize that their whole life was at risk of crashing around their ears.

I mean, Playboy and Hustler are white bread now, you know.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:08 PM
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But eventually, there's lolling, right? Don't kill all my dreams about the pleasures of academia.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:08 PM
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164: Possibly this explains my lack of romantic success at that age -- possible partners simply feared arrest.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:10 PM
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On the masturbating to dead people track, I have nude pictures of my 57 year old sister when she was three. No actual child is involved any more. Nevertheless.....


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:10 PM
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The most eligible partners may have been in jail already.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:11 PM
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165: lol after tenure, cat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:11 PM
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Beach Pneumatic Transit.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:12 PM
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165: Rob wants the coeds all to himself. Keep your grubby hands to yourself.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:12 PM
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170: Pneumatic tubes were used where I worked to deliver medical specimens and paperwork across the one-mile campus. After calculating how much of their time our highly-paid doctors spend walking the halls, I suggested a pneumatic doctor-delivery system.

No one thought it was real funny because our supposedly functioning tube system was down about 1/3 of the time. We'd have ended up with doctors trapped in the tube for 2 hours until the repairman showed up.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:16 PM
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If he wants the sharks with laser beams on their heads, it's gonna cost him a lot more than $10m.

These things always run over budget, you know.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:16 PM
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But eventually, there's lolling, right?

Sure. At the emeritus stage. Then there's also drooling, and pooping yourself.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:18 PM
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I thought emeritus meant undead. They can't keep away from the BRAINS.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:22 PM
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But eventually, there's lolling, right?

Prior to the rofling, yes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:23 PM
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172: rickshaws! If only there was a way to make the patients provide the motive power...


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:27 PM
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177: what's wrong with whips?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:29 PM
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My friend works at a large chemical plant in Texas. Each of the employees has a company-supplied beach cruiser used to cross the expansive campus. I get a kick out of the mental image of all these engineers cruising around, ringing their bike bells, streamers flowing from the ends of the handlebars.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:36 PM
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Requires too much effort on the part of the riding doctor, who really should be looking at charts or something. Also, this would only accelerate the trend of doctors moving from socially useful areas like geriatric and neonatal care into those fields full of healthy rickshaw-pullers such as breast augmentation and treating attention deficit disorders.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:37 PM
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I'd have a theremin in my secret lair, definitely.* With a 'play like Clara Rockmore in 10 days or less' book. Maybe an ondes martinot. A collection of vintage archtop guitars and valve amps would fit nicely, too.

A decent stereo, obviously. With some of those old-school gigantic speakers that were all the rage at one time before they invented acoustic suspension designs.

Once I stopped thinking about music, it'd be Art Deco furniture and Louise Brooks/Gene Tierney fembots all round.

* I'd love a theremin, for real.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:38 PM
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They're not that expensive, if you know how to solder.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:40 PM
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I'm so glad that link didn't go to a fembot kit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:41 PM
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Were it not for feeling like the kid really ought to stay in school for a while yet, I could get into some lair-building about now. I don't even need an alien invasion to worry about. My fellow humans are more than enough.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:41 PM
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Plenty of volcanoes out in your neck of the woods, DaveL...


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:42 PM
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183: not sold as a kit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:44 PM
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185: "Volcanoes" s/b "overpopulated rocks", which is more in the "problem" column than the "solution" column.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:49 PM
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re: 182

I used to work in a job (when I was 17) that required a fair bit of soldering. Technically, I have some vocational qualification [the sort of thing an apprentice would do] that says I can solder. These days it's just swapping guitar pickups and that sort of thing, but I'm sure I could build a kit theremin.

Those linked theremins are beautiful.

I see cheap modern theremins for under $100 on ebay.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 4:49 PM
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They both move elements of contemporary fantastic fiction, superheros and cyberpunk, to the 19th century, which is cool, but different than moving 18th century science into the 30th century.

There's always post-apocalyptic fiction, rob: Walter Michael's Canticles of Leibwitz comes to mind. Also, Octavia Butler's Patternmaster series, but that's not making the old new so much as making the magic scientific.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:13 PM
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"Walter Michael's" s/b "Walter Miller," and anyone who knows me can have a laugh at my expense now.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:48 PM
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I hate to say it, SEK, but Canticle of Leibwitz s/b A Canticle for Leibowitz.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:51 PM
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No need to worry: apparently, I'm having another one of those days.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 5:53 PM
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Not unless there's some unauthorized sexual activity you're not telling us about.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:15 PM
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I have other sorts of days too, Dave.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:31 PM
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189 - There's K.W. Jeter's Infernal Devices, but I'm hard pressed to think of anything contemporary which takes 19th century science as fact and moves it forward into the future. Waldrop's "Black as the Pit, from Pole to Pole", f'rinstance, is a Victorian pastiche, as are most of the other names I'm thinking of. (The Difference Engine takes 19th century technology and advances it, but that's not the same.) Things like some of Gene Wolfe's stuff or Walter Jon Williams' Metropolitan aren't right.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:42 PM
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194: Yes, but they're a lot less fun. Although I have to admit that is one hell of a sentence.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:45 PM
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195: I can't believe I forgot Gene Wolfe. (smacks forehead) Infernal Devices is one of those books I've been meaning to read for years now. Damn it, I want to start lolling already, please, thank you very much.

196: Granted. As for that sentence, I now dream my prose is littered with them, but that I can't see them, nor can anyone else ... except my adviser, who promptly fails me out of life.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 6:48 PM
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Waldrop's ... The World as We Know't" fits the phlogiston bill and was pretty good. Some of his stuff is pastiche. I wouldn't say that this was.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:48 PM
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Failure to close tags. 5 demerits.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-26-07 7:50 PM
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114. Rob, my sister was trying to learn the Theremin (she has a Moog). I'll ask her how she's getting on if you like.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 1:43 AM
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So what do you guys want in your underground lairs?

TV's Frank, naturally.

A friend of mine owns a theremin. Enormously fun to play with, but I've never gotten anything but noise out of it myself.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-27-07 8:59 AM
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