Re: In Sickness And In Health

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Damn. That first one (about the paralyzed partner) is touching for sure, and it hits home. My mom got in a bad wreck (rear-ended by a truck) a few months back. She's physically pretty okay, but mentally here and there. (I mean, she's pursuing a Ph.D. in Education Something or Other, but she ends up spotty on random details: "I thought you were in DC this weekend?" when in fact "No, Mom, that was last month, but it was very fun"—that sort of thing.)

And my dad is great with the whole situation. He'll tell me, "Yeah, sometimes you just gotta say something two or three times, spaced-out-like. Then it sticks."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-22-09 11:14 PM
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i dont know how i oculd stay in a relationship like that (on either side). not that i could leave either, i suppose some sort of passive-agressive suicide like not eating. maybe i cannot really love.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 12:33 AM
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OK, one of those is pretty good, but the Alzheimer's piece? Break me a fucking give.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:26 AM
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dittoes for 3: paralyzed one is genuinely touching, the Alzheimers one is exactly the sort of thing that gets ML a bad name.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 2:38 AM
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I have to agree with the emerging consensus.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 5:50 AM
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3, 4 and apparently 5: I respectfully disagree. The Alzheimer's one was sweet, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 6:49 AM
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maybe i cannot really love.

You're on your way to your own ML column!


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 7:04 AM
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He'll tell me, "Yeah, sometimes you just gotta say something two or three times, spaced-out-like. Then it sticks."

Shit, that's how people have to get me to remember things, and I don't even have brain damage.

Maybe I'm retarded and everyone is just too nice to tell me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 7:41 AM
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||

Bwwaaaaaahhhhaaaahahaha...

Notice a relationship to a certain Flickr photo group icon?

(SFW)
|>


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 7:41 AM
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Maybe I'm retarded and everyone is just too nice to tell me.

You've got a great personality, Rob.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 8:04 AM
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You've got a great personality, Rob.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 8:27 AM
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YOU'VE GOT A GREAT PERSONALITY, ROB.


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 8:29 AM
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Space it out, you guys. He's slow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 8:32 AM
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Y     o     u     '     v     e          g     o     t          a          g     r     e     a     t          p     e     r     s     o     n     a     l     i     t     y     ,          R     o     b     .


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 8:42 AM
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Raivo Pommer
raimo1@hot.ee

90 Millionen Eurohilf

Die vom anhaltenden Preisverfall bei Milch schwer gebeutelten deutschen Milchbauern können mit 90 Millionen Euro aus dem EU-Konjunkturprogramm rechnen. Bundesagrarministerin Ilse Aigner (CSU) sagte am Montag in Brüssel, sie werde dies bei einem Treffen mit ihren Länderkollegen am Donnerstag und Freitag in Magdeburg beraten. Die Staats- und Regierungschefs der 27 EU-Länder hatten sich bei ihrem Treffen vergangene Woche auf ein 5 Milliarden Euro schweres EU-Konjunkturprogramm geeinigt. Ein Fünftel davon soll in den Ausbau des Breitbandnetzes sowie Umwelt- oder Klimaschutzmaßnahmen - im EU-Jargon «neue Herausforderungen» - fließen. Deutschland setzte sich während der Verhandlungen dafür ein, dass darunter auch Hilfsmaßnahmen für die Milchbauern wie etwa Fördergelder bei Stallneubauten fallen können. Auf die Bundesrepublik entfallen insgesamt etwa 90 Millionen Euro. Wieviel davon in den Milchsektor fließt, muss gemeinsam mit den Bundesländern entschieden werden.


Posted by: raivo pommer-eesti | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 8:56 AM
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Raivo Pommer
raimo1@hot.ee

90 Millionen Eurohilf

Die vom anhaltenden Preisverfall bei Milch schwer gebeutelten deutschen Milchbauern können mit 90 Millionen Euro aus dem EU-Konjunkturprogramm rechnen. Bundesagrarministerin Ilse Aigner (CSU) sagte am Montag in Brüssel, sie werde dies bei einem Treffen mit ihren Länderkollegen am Donnerstag und Freitag in Magdeburg beraten. Die Staats- und Regierungschefs der 27 EU-Länder hatten sich bei ihrem Treffen vergangene Woche auf ein 5 Milliarden Euro schweres EU-Konjunkturprogramm geeinigt. Ein Fünftel davon soll in den Ausbau des Breitbandnetzes sowie Umwelt- oder Klimaschutzmaßnahmen - im EU-Jargon «neue Herausforderungen» - fließen. Deutschland setzte sich während der Verhandlungen dafür ein, dass darunter auch Hilfsmaßnahmen für die Milchbauern wie etwa Fördergelder bei Stallneubauten fallen können. Auf die Bundesrepublik entfallen insgesamt etwa 90 Millionen Euro. Wieviel davon in den Milchsektor fließt, muss gemeinsam mit den Bundesländern entschieden werden.


Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 8:57 AM
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What bizarre spam!


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 8:58 AM
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17: There has been a slow but steady drumbeat of this very stuff Bérubé's place the lasdt few weeks.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:00 AM
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But even I don't give a shit about that kind of stuff, and I live in the EU. You could understand it if there was a link to something, but it's just bandwidth.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:08 AM
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It has shown up here before, too.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:08 AM
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About half of the comments at "John and Belle Have a Blog" are by Raivo Pommer.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:10 AM
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Oh well, I suppose it's an encrypted message to the CIA guys monitoring the site. If one of the main page posters goes AWOL, we'll know who they were after.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:12 AM
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If one of the main page posters goes AWOL,

One? One? OFE, being a main page poster here is tantamount to a cruise-ticket through the Bermuda Triangle. No one knows what happened to Bob -- the last anyone saw of him was a half-eaten Vietnamese hoagie.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:50 AM
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You've got a great personality, Raivo.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:55 AM
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23: Racist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:56 AM
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Bob didn't lose, he just withdrew from the Vietnamese hoagie.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:57 AM
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"In den Milchsektor" is the new "at the Mineshaft".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:58 AM
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I'll go further than "not sucky" and say that they were both terrific. Modern Love or not. The paralysis one was truly moving, the Alzheimer's one had lots of interesting observations.

Maybe they have a new editor. In any case, they seem less focused on the travails of whiny narcisstic literati.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:58 AM
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Hey! I didn't post 16. My good name has been smeared.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:04 AM
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Huh. The Alzheimer's one seemed sort of horribly cold-blooded: "Mom's much easier to deal now that she's lost her mind; we never liked her much, so having her lose her memory is win-win!" Sort of like having a family brought together by the death of a family member everyone hated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:06 AM
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29. But for all I know (or care), 16 may be right.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:07 AM
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Well, and that Grandma finds life happier now that she's been liberated from her demons.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:07 AM
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31: But I don't speak that language, so I don't even know what I that cold imposter said.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:08 AM
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My good name has been smeared.

Heebie is her good name. Geebie is her bad name.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:08 AM
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I play good cop-bad cop with myself all day long.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:09 AM
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Heebie is her good name. Geebie is her bad name.

Ms. Geebie if you're nasty.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:10 AM
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29: It got better as the article went on, but there was more than a touch of typical Modern Love writer disease about the first few paragraph. Grandma lost her memory, and we found reasons to love her!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:11 AM
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Also the exploitative element was there in full flow "She was such a cranky old diva, I'll tell you what she was like ... put it this way, I'd never have dared to talk like this about her to her face, or write something like this until she lost her faculties! But now she has a serene and joyful lack of awareness of the way we all laugh at her behind her back." FFS.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:18 AM
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Who makes money off 15 and 16, or gets any other kind of benefit? There's so much spam out there, with so little purpose, that I think some of it must be exceeding its original intent.

For example, you know how sometimes innocent peoples' computers get hijacked by viruses or worms and used to send spam or overwhelm servers and stuff? Suppose the virus responsible for that had a glitch itself - and why wouldn't it? - and interacted badly with something about the computer. New version of operating system, say. It still infects other computers to propogate itself, but now, instead of sending out the canned Via/gra ad, it sends out the oldest document in the My Documents folder.

15 and 16 might be evidence of an artificial intelligence learning and growing before our eyes.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:19 AM
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In any case, they seem less focused on the travails of whiny narcisstic literati.

But that's exactly what the Alzheimer's piece is doing. "I parachuted in to visit Grandma now and then, and here's what I learned about life and love." It's all about the writer's own issues.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:23 AM
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I really enjoyed the paralyzed partner piece.

Somewhat related, I have often told BR, "Are you sure that you want to sign up with the potential lifetime care of my daughter?"

I am certain that my ex and I will go first, and BR and my daughter will be stuck together until they are 100.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 10:56 AM
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38: Someone is forging DD's signature, since no one was called a "cunt" in that comment.

I dunno, I thought there was a good deal of respect in how she was described. I've seen that kind of situation, where the person becomes much sunnier upon getting Alzheimers and their kids are sort of left flat-footed with all the grievances from earlier in life.

40: he wasn't whining about it though.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:05 AM
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33. Neither do I, but oddly enough you can get a sense of it with the google translator. It's about EU milk subsidies in German agriculture. Fascinating - I could almost learn a new language to read stuff like that.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:09 AM
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It's all about the writer's own issues.

Is it possible to write about love without this being the case? I'm sure I could cobble together an ML piece that *I* thought was about something other than my own issues, but that would just mean the issues inadvertently exposed would be all the more telling.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:11 AM
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42: I thought that "diva" was an accepted synonym?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:18 AM
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I've seen that kind of situation, where the person becomes much sunnier upon getting Alzheimers

I haven't seen that sort of situation, hadn 't heard of it, and hadn't imagined the possibility of it. Others with more experience might have thought it banal, but I didn't.

Not sure how you write effectively about something like that without doing it in first-person, and if that's the way you handle it, as togolosh says, it's going to be about you to one degree or another.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:20 AM
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39: I'd love to read a neuromancer-style cyberpunk story where the AI that exists only on the internet is both engaged in a weird plot for world domination an oddly obsessed with selling you viagra.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:29 AM
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he wasn't whining about it though.

No, that one was more toward the self-congratulatory side of the standard ML range, but no less irritating for that.

44: That's true, but its truth means that I'm not expressing my objection to the ML piece effectively, not that there isn't a problem there. How about this: the writer thinks that he's gained new insight through empathy, but he's neither insightful nor empathetic. He's trying to produce a piece of writing out of an experience that he hasn't actually figured out but thinks he can use.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:33 AM
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I enjoyed the candor of the Alzheimer's piece. It reminded me of what Ralph Macchio said when he found out Adam Rich was dead: "He scared me. Scared me bad. I'm glad he's dead." A little truth-telling goes a long way.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:37 AM
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49: That sort of thing always annoys me: a media outlet creates an elaborate hoax, then mocks people for falling for it. I mean, the elaborate hoax was funny enough; the mocking, not so much.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:41 AM
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In the novel/movie version she recovers from Alzheimer's and rips everyone a right bloody asshole for they way they acted while she was "gone".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:44 AM
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47: Charlie Stross is writing that one, I think -- it will be called '419' IIRC.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 11:48 AM
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52. If he isn't he should be. Is this a sequel to Halting State?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 12:01 PM
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53: no, really, he is:

419

A sequel to "Halting State", scheduled for publication in late 2010.

When Inspector Kavanaugh is called to a messy accident in a bungalow in Corstorphine, she wasn't expecting a dead Romanian dictator's bathroom appliances, a dead spammer, and a Viagra overdose. Pretty soon she realizes she's dealing with a very unusual killer. Only trouble is, her bosses don't want to hear about it. In fact, her memos to them appear to be vanishing; and if she keeps sending them, so might she ...

Ali has just gotten out of Saughton Prison and a five year stretch for identity theft. Crime doesn't pay and he wants to go straight, so when a former accomplice puts him on to a cushy opening for an honourary consul for a central Asian state, it looks like the ideal way out. But some jobs come with very long strings attached ...


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 12:04 PM
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Fix my blockquotes, please, o great Spam AI.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 12:04 PM
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I wonder if anybody's written a spam engine using Hadoop yet? They probably have their own spammer-only version of MapReduce called L@gosClusterB0mb.ru or whatever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 12:05 PM
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Speaking of spam, here's a hilarious bit of "victim e-mail" from the Madoff case. via TPM.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 12:06 PM
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54. That really cheers me up.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 12:11 PM
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has the Artificial Stupidity joke been made?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 12:48 PM
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59: Yes. Or do you mean recently?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 12:51 PM
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The paralysis one was truly moving

I giggled at this wording and I suspect I'm going to hell for it.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:06 PM
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61: Yeah, the Alzheimer's one wasn't as memorable.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:13 PM
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I giggled at this wording and I suspect I'm going to hell for it

It was involuntary.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:15 PM
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Expect a new ML, penned by Biohazard, recounting the agony of dealing with a partner who stuck in Cedars-Sinai, where the parking rates are too high to warrant visiting a woman high on morphine who is hallucinating and demanding endless glasses of ICED TEA WITH LEMON PLEEEEEEASE, in just that tone of voice, whilst bitching that she's going to miss the Leonard Cohen concert and WHY doesn't the TV get HBO, damnit.

The last time I was there, Owen Wilson tried to off himself. Keep an eye on the gossip columns. There are no coincidences...


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:25 PM
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*is* stuck, *is* stuck.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:26 PM
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Wow. 64 is the long lost William S. Burroughs/Carrie Fisher collaboration.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:27 PM
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Are you okay, D-E?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:27 PM
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66 is funny (assuming DE is ok, which I am [assuming, that is]).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:30 PM
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66: Carrie is sober. I intend not being so.

Actually, my plan is to recount the captions on various lolcat pictures and then describe the pictures to her. That should hasten the recovery.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:35 PM
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She's relatively fine at the moment. The surgery on Thursday morning is for the knee replacement. Thanks.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:37 PM
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Good luck DominEditrix!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:38 PM
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i didn't read either of the articles so i don't have any opinion
i recalled the book with alzheimer's patient's wife doing euthanasia, it was first all self-pity and then almost adultery with a coworker, then euthanasia
kinda pretty tiresome book, have to empathise a lot
but i thought, it's a very difficult situation, you can't be sure in your reactions too in that situation, so, don't judge etc


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:38 PM
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Bon courage, DE!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:39 PM
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In my power of attorney, I am going to spell out that if I get Alzheimer's, BR can and should commit as much adultery as she can.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:41 PM
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72: you can't be sure in your reactions too in that situation, so, don't judge etc

Ahem...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:41 PM
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Best wishes, DominEditrix.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:41 PM
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Neat, bionic knee! (And my sympathy, of course, but that does give you a lifelong excuse to make sound-effect noises while running in slow motion, which should be entertaining.)

Come to think of it, what do you do with one bionic leg? Hop really fast?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:42 PM
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We all learn and grow, JPS. It's unkind to call attention.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:42 PM
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I'll be happy to her assist her in that, will. Because we're friends I'm a feminist.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:43 PM
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I was thinking about specifically excluding Apo. But, she might like to be with a fellow ginger.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:44 PM
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was first all self-pity and then almost adultery with a coworker, then euthanasia

If the internet had a subtitle, this would be it.

Best wishes, D-E! You're taking a whip or something to use on the orderlies, right? Given the pseud I've always kind of pictured you represented by a lash, the handle of which is a bundle of blue pencils, like a politician from Doonesbury.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:45 PM
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The Alzheimer's thing happened one of my grandmothers in reverse. That is, she was Patient Grizelda all her life but once the faculties started to go she became remarkably cranky and demanding.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:45 PM
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my former boss got the knee replacement, she was okay, the surgery was okay, the rehab was difficult she said, but all is step-by-step, she's now doing very well
best wishes, DE


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:45 PM
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78: It's unkind to call attention.

But it's uncruel to be unkind in the right measure.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:48 PM
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Come to think of it, what do you do with one bionic leg? Hop really fast?

DominEditrix is going to be the greatest placekicker the world has ever seen.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:50 PM
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85: Coming from Disney in Summer 2010.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 1:50 PM
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I should mention that I mean 81 as a good thing.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 2:04 PM
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82: Toward the end, pakalolo made my sil aggressive as hell.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 2:04 PM
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85: "Place" s/b "ass." We need to take up a collection to send DE to Wall Street.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 2:06 PM
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82: Yeah, I understand that's much more common than the mellowing out described in the ML column. My grandfather was moved from one nursing home to another at least once because he attacked a nurse. That's not exactly the same as becoming cranky, but you get the general idea.

I think of ML as in some way related to romantic/sexual/matrimonial love so I wouldn't have expected to see that Alzheimer's article there, but I thought it was good. It made light of the problem in a respectful way, if that makes any sense. For example, this part:

"Who are those people, Robert? And what have they done with my mother? I keep thinking I must be in a blackout. That I must be drunk in a ditch somewhere, and when I wake up I'll have the hangover of a lifetime. Because believe me, if that nice old lady had been my mother, I'd never have left home."

The article doesn't mention what happened next: she collapsed with her back to the wall and spent the next half hour there, sobbing out loud. Or so I assume, because man, that part is leaving sooo much unsaid.

Also, break a leg good luck, D-E!


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 2:23 PM
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I'm looking forward to the thread where we discuss whether DE should be allowed to compete in the Olympics.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 2:50 PM
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In my power of attorney, I am going to spell out that if I get Alzheimer's, BR can and should commit as much adultery as she can.

Will is controlling, even from beyond the grave realm of memories.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 2:51 PM
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47: I'd love to read a children's book version of Neuromancer, maybe illustrated by one of those Sandman guys, about the two AIs who just wanted to find a friend, and the nice people who helped them do it. Call it The Family Neuromancer.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 2:57 PM
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Good-luck D-E!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:06 PM
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I fully expect to come out of this dancing. [Morphine, yum, makes cheery...] I'll be getting the other knee done later this summer, so I won't have to hop bionically, but will be able to leap tall buildings with a single - er, wrong TV show? Given that I've got no cartilage in one knee and precious little in the other, I'm grateful that knee replacement has become a routine surgery. The surgeon says I'll be back on my feet completely in about 3 months. But back to my computer in 3 days.

My former mother-in-law suffered from early onset Alzheimer's; it unfortunately turned her into a completely irrational person, with a cruel streak. My ex's youngest sister was only 12 at the time and bore the brunt of it, especially as she was already 5'9" and stacked. Her mother would routinely accuse her of being a slut and whore, for no reason whatsoever - I mean, hell, the kid still slept with her teddy bear; she couldn't help having matured early. My ex's family, however, has perfected the art of denial, so they pretended nothing was wrong until she started wandering around the neighbourhood stark naked. In New England, In winter. Then she was put into a nursing home, where she died after half a dozen years.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:16 PM
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A woman at my former office got a double knee replacement, and was dancing to show 'em off in pretty short order.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:18 PM
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My son, by the way, has instructions to put me on an ice floe, should I lose my mind. That may be difficult, what with global warming and those shrinking icecaps, but it's the thought that counts.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:18 PM
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Also with the new knees you could just leap back to the mainland. Better to have him shoot you into space.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:19 PM
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Just shoot would probably suffice.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:20 PM
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In Yuri Rytkheu's novels, the Chukcha explain that when elders become unable to support themselves or others, it is the duty of their children to lead them out of the village over the horizon, for the mysterious death rites. When I have a kid I will explain that this is the origin of the phrase "over the hill". (the real origin is just the idea of being past one's peak...right?)


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:23 PM
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See above, but substitute "dodge bullets" for "leap back to the mainland". No, there's only one way to be sure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:24 PM
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No, there's only one way to be sure.

Nuke DE from orbit?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:26 PM
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My son, by the way, has instructions to put me on an ice floe, should I lose my mind.

It's good to see that you and Biohazard have similar thoughts on the subject of mortality.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:26 PM
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When I was in high school, or maybe jr. high, my mother - out of nowhere, as she is wont to do with serious topics that make her uncomfortable - exacted from me a promise that if she ever became a burden my sisters and I would split the cost of a shotgun and a couple of shells.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:33 PM
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I thought that "diva" was an accepted synonym?

No, no, a "diva" is the female version of a hustler.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:48 PM
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My son, by the way, has instructions to put me on an ice floe, should I lose my mind.

My father-in-law, they tell me, always told his kids to put a bullet in his head if he ever lost the ability to function on his own.

He did. They didn't. People, don't tell your kids that sort of thing.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:54 PM
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Hah! I was about to tell a story about my family in response to 97, but then I searched for my name in the thread Biohazard linked in 103, and apparently I've already done so.

I wonder if this kind of talk is offensive to Eskimos? Crude sterotypes of the noble savages and all that.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 3:57 PM
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107 posted before I saw 106, and yeah, I never thought about its effect on me until years later, but I wonder a tiny bit about that. I barely knew my grandfather, so it was harder to watch my dad's reaction to what he was going through than to watch what he was going through myself.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:00 PM
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107- maybe. It's moderately offensive to people who already have disabilities/diseases and are thus presumably "burdens" to their loved ones.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:07 PM
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The term "Eskimo" itself is often considered offensive, so there's that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:34 PM
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He did. They didn't. People, don't tell your kids that sort of thing.

Because it reveals all-too-clearly the fundamental dishonesty of filial promises?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:37 PM
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It's "Eskimaux."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:38 PM
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Not really an improvement, sorry.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:44 PM
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I know I've mentioned my mom here before. She was 11.5 years in various facilities with her head injury, there but also not-there. I think my entire family handled it admirably, but the biggest shock, I think, was the feeling at the funeral that, finally, we could mourn the loss of her. While she was alive, it was wrong, on every level, to focus on what she no longer was, but once she died, we could finally talk about and memorialize the woman who raised us.

That's a nice - and true - thought, and almost makes me regret appending this: The one thing for which I will never forgive my dad's GF* is that, at the wake, we were all standing around the living room, including friends from before we kids were born, and spontaneously a couple people told stories about my mom. Just as it was getting rolling - a completely unplanned, unforced memorial - the GF cut in and said, "Damn, are my feet tired," and sat, and broke the spell. I have to think around the edges of the memory, because it was so spectacularly shitty.

* who clearly showed some mensch-like qualities in sticking around for ~8 years as the Other Woman to a sainted-by-circumstance wife/mother


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:46 PM
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133: Well, pardonez-moi!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:46 PM
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Shit, it's pardonnez, isn't it?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:47 PM
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136: Indeed!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:50 PM
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133 really does win the thread, sorry JRoth.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 4:51 PM
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103: We are of two minds that kvetch as one.

The kids are smart enough to not go to jail doing something stupid. They also know enough to make sure the medical-industrial complex has cut off hydration, food, antibiotics, or whatever if I can't do it myself.

I raised them right, I'm convinced they'd do that for me.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 5:22 PM
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We really do need better legal ways of shortening that limbo period between alive and dead.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 5:25 PM
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112, 116: And Esquimaux.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 5:36 PM
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Eh bien, ils ne sont pas si formidable


Posted by: Les Tchouktchi | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 5:39 PM
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My mother had three hip replacements in about 15 years. I was suspicious at first, but they were wonderful. She was walking a mile or more a day until she was 85. Withour the surgery she would have been housebound for most of those years.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 5:50 PM
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122: formidableS


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 5:55 PM
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In short, my mom wore out three hips and was working on the fourth and fifth when God decided that was inough hips for one lady.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 6:09 PM
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103: We are of two minds that kvetch as one.

It's funny, part of why I remembered that comment (and I was surprised that I was able to find it) is because, at the time, I wondered if that was a gendered attitude.

My theory was the men are, in general, less comfortable thinking about disability and, therefore, more likely to say things along the lines of "just let me die rather than living on incapacitated."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 8:01 PM
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126: But women may be more likely to have been involved in taking care of people in the latter stages of terminal decline. Maybe men are more likely to say "just shoot me" and women are more likely to mean it.

For myself, I think I can find value in life as long as my mind keeps working OK, but I have no interest in continuing to breath after that's gone. I think that's a pretty common attitude. The problem is that while the law might stretch far enough to let a competent person off himself, it won't let his family do so after competence is gone.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 8:54 PM
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My devoutly Christian mother became angry with God when she was no longer able to do crossword puzzles. She was completely accepting of death, but not accepting of bing incapable of doing anything.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:18 PM
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not accepting of bing incapable of doing anything.

It was sad when the old crooner got to be old, but all his co-stars said he was a jerk anyway.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:23 PM
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128 hits home.

My dad's mom, who lived nearly her entire adult life with MS, and walked several times after being told she never would again, decided that her final, agonizing years were there so that she'd have time to return to the Church. Oddly, I find that thinking easier to take as an atheist.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-23-09 9:40 PM
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I cried at the paralyzed wife story, and was not so nearly convinced by the Alzheimer's one.

For as long as I can remember, my dad has been saying that he's going to kill himself at 70. He'll be 64 this summer. He's always seemed pretty serious about this, reading alt.suicide.holiday on and off and has been a member of Dignity in Dying (used to be the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) for years. We have told him that if he is NOT deteriorating, and can still think as much as ever, that this might be a bit of an overreaction.

Recently he suggested to my mum, who is almost exactly 3 years younger, that he postpones his suicide, and that they do it together when *she* hits 70. She's not keen - it would have to be less of a double suicide pact and more of a murder-suicide. She was telling me about this whilst we were in the barber's watching my son get his haircut and I was laughing so much I was crying. He thought that perhaps he could get some television people interested in it and make a reality tv show.

So yes, at the first hint of anything going wrong, we will all be there to help him out. My mum is planning on sticking around forever and finally getting everyone to look after her.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 2:48 AM
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The suspense is killing me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:03 AM
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WE'RE NOT ESKIMOS DAMMIT!!!!

NOR ESQUIMAUX, YOU RACIST BASTARDS.


Posted by: OPINIONATED INUIT | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:03 AM
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133: Thanks for making that clear. Did you bring us any pies?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:06 AM
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132: Which suspense is that?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:06 AM
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I'm sure I've mentioned my friend from Edmonton who was chatting to a First Canadian from the far north and referred to his people as Inuit, to which the guy replied, "We're Eskimos. The Inuit are all in Ottawa, lobbying."


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:11 AM
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The Inuit have like fifty different words for Eskimo.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:11 AM
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135 see 118.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:19 AM
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Ah. I see.

I was sure 133 was going to say "apo is sexy".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:34 AM
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"We're Eskimos. The Inuit are all in Ottawa, lobbying."

Now there's a statement calculated to make the white person feel as awkward as possible. Kudos to that Eskimo asshole.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:35 AM
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140: Why? Isn't that just a clever way of saying that the culture of native-rights activism isn't necessarily the same as the culture of native peoples (traditional or otherwise)?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:26 AM
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141: Yeah, I didn't get the feeling it was "calculated to make the white person feel as awkward as possible" either.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:29 AM
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Not wrongfully or thoughtfully so, but it does put the hypothetical white interlocutor in a position where if he says Eskimo, the sort of Inuit who's off lobbying is justified in thinking he's kind of racist, and if he says Inuit, the Eskimo he's talking to is justified in thinking he's clueless. It's a bit of a lose-lose situation. Not a tragedy -- you accept that whatever you say is going to be imperfect and move forward -- but still a dilemma.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:32 AM
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Maybe not "calculated". But it's just as awkward as saying "Ahem, we're not Eskimos, we're Inuit", with the same implication that the white person has never met any Inueskimots...and then with the ADDED factor of implying that the white person is saying "Inuit" not out of ignorance but because he is a clueless limousine liberal.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:35 AM
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Maybe the guy was Yupik.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:38 AM
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143: Given Canadian politics, it's a joke given the federal oversight of the territories and allocation of money for Nunavut and First Nations concerns. E.g., those who are concerned enough with insisting on Inuit are lobbyists; us ordinary folk don't care about such things. (There's not an easy U.S. equivalent.) Not about laughing at the white guy as much as it is laughing at lobbying and the difference in importance of an identity to lobbying vs. every day life. Or what NPH said.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:43 AM
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143: Which is easily solved by just referring to anyone a different color than oneself as "you people."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:47 AM
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Calculated, sure, but maybe not "asshole." Haven't you ever had fun putting someone else on the spot, making them feel awkward, etc.? I know I've done that once or twice. Well, that's how I read it at first, but NPH and Cala have a point too.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:50 AM
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146: Couldn't you do exactly the same thing in the US? "We're Indians, the Native Americans are all off lobbying." I have those terms mentally red-flagged; the people I know descended from the aboriginal inhabitants of the area now the United States refer to themselves as 'Indians' rather than 'Native Americans', but I'm still nervous about referring to anyone of that ethnicity as an Indian because I'd accept a claim that 'Indian' was an outmoded and racist usage as legitimate.

This is not a major social problem -- just because usage makes me feel awkward doesn't mean I have a right to be aggrieved about it -- but there's a real awkwardness there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:51 AM
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Sort of; I tend to think of the closest American analogue in terms of whitey-held stereotypes and Canadian reactions to be "black/African-American", in terms of the dominance in the political discourse. That might just be my experience in Alberta. But the point isn't to laugh at liberals, just to laugh at the situation.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:55 AM
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the people I know descended from the aboriginal inhabitants of the area now the United States refer to themselves as 'Indians' rather than 'Native Americans'

That's also been my observation, and I'm similarly uncomfortable about using the word myself.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:09 AM
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It's a receding target. "Native Americans" is Eurocentric too -- Amerigo Vespucci.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:11 AM
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I'm similarly uncomfortable about using the word myself.

The appropriate, non-awkward solution is to comically exaggerate the in-group word.

IndYAAAAAHN!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:16 AM
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I kind of think of this sort of thing as a corollary to Bitch's 'everyone's racist/sexist sometimes in some ways -- if you get called on it, you don't get bent out of shape because you're not really a bad person, you look at what you were doing, and if you agree that your words/behavior were a problem, you quit it.' Likewise, there are verbal situations where it's going to be really hard not to look bad on some level no matter what you do, like using a collective noun for Indians/Native Americans. You don't get bent out of shape, you accept that you're going to look bad somehow, and move on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:24 AM
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Sadly, the linked video in ogged's post--the one to which Standpipe linked in 153--is gone.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:26 AM
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I had a fight with my (white) Canadian boyfriend after saying "Eskimo." He insisted on "Inuit" and I was all, "But my Eskimo friend growing up always said 'Eskimo.'"


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:31 AM
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Which is easily solved by just referring to anyone a different color than oneself as "you people." that one.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:33 AM
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156: You had a, um, you know, one of those people, the ones with the mukluks and the igloos, as a friend growing up?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:35 AM
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Even "people [...] descended from the aboriginal inhabitants of the area now the United States" doesn't strictly work (though it gets the point across), since it includes the large fraction of Americans who have a small fraction of Native American ancestry, and others who do not self-identify as Indian/Native-American. "People whose ancestry is dominated by, or who self-identify as ancestors of, the aboriginal inhabitants..." is awkward.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:36 AM
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Ancestors, descendants, what's the difference?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:40 AM
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My own Native Alaskan Acquaintance says "Native Alaskan". She was hardly a lobbyist, she was an undergrad working in a hospital. Anecdatum.

My Native American drinking buddy (Sioux) says "Indian", but he considers that, given that he was not raised as a Sioux, he's really not one. He's probably eligible to be a tribal member, because both parents were.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:42 AM
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159: Well, yeah. What I do is use tribal identifications where I know them and it makes sense (i.e., if I can call someone Lakota, I'll do that), say 'Native American' if no one in earshot appears to have any personal connection with the ethnicity in question, say 'Indian' if I'm talking to someone who (a) is one and (b) used the word self-referentially in that conversation (or is someone I know well enough to know that's the work they use), and (c) say 'Native American' under all other circumstances, but feel prepared to be poked fun at or referred to as ignorant for it.

This sounds as if a large part of my thinking is occupied by worrying what to call Native Americans -- honestly, I don't obsess about it. I came up with the three step process above just now, trying to figure out what I'd spontaneously do in different situations.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:43 AM
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162 sounds like a perfectly reasonable approach to the issue.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:51 AM
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163: And you, teo? What's your practice? (I'll show you mind if you show me yours.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:54 AM
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re: 152

or Richard Ameryk/Amerike, depending on which etymology you believe.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:03 AM
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164: Pretty similar, I guess, though in most of the situations I encounter specific tribal affiliation is much more relevant than more general classification. I would generally use "Indian" for the broad sense except in certain contexts (pretty much always when talking to white people) where "Native American" would be clearer or less ambiguous.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:08 AM
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I always manage to confuse myself when teaching puritan women's captivity narratives. Mostly I can just say "Abenaki" or "Narragansett," for example, when discussing a single text. When I'm referring to several texts at once, however, "Native American" just seems wrong-headed to me (perhaps incorrectly), since it's the 17th century, and "Indian" is basically used as a slur in the texts themselves.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:17 AM
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167: "heathens".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:26 AM
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Charley Carp pointed out the term "First Americans" here, and I'm, now as then, unsure of what to make of it, other than a vague feeling that it's not good.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:27 AM
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"First Americans" sounds okay to me (similar to "First Nations," which seems to be becoming fairly widespread in Canada), but it doesn't really seem to be catching on, at least in this area.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:36 AM
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"First Americans" is an outgrowth of the Indigenous Rights movement, which is trans-national and, if you ask me, a bit goofy about nomenclature. The idea behind "First Americans" is to create some sense of shared identity among indigenous people across national boundaries. Or so I've been told.

Anyway, like teo, LB, and any other right-thinking honkie, I use tribal affiliation whenever I can. But I go a step further than the above losers. I rely on Native language when I can: "Tsitsistas" instead of the bastardized "Cheyennes" (I kid). Beyond that, I usually say "Native people" or sometimes "Indians". But I shy away from the latter, even when I'm with First Americans.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:40 AM
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There are various other terms that can be useful in specific contexts: "tribal member," "indigenous," "Native," etc.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:43 AM
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I'm a proud Runner Up American myself.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:44 AM
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Whatever you call them, just don't call them "articulate".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:45 AM
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165: Oh, goody! Now we have not just one, but two completely meaningless eymologies for the names of the continents of our hemisphere.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:45 AM
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175: I'm not sure I follow. Are the etymologies of other continent names more meaningful somehow? I mean, Antarctica and Australlia, sure, but how is the etymology of "Europe" any more meaningful than that of "America"?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:50 AM
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I don't see anything in 175 that assumes that the etymologies of other continent names are more meaningful.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:51 AM
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176: To you, the kidnapping of a king's daughter by Zeus himself in the form of a bull isn't meaningful?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:53 AM
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Anti-continentist.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:57 AM
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178: Not really. Did you see what she was wearing?

177: I guess. But to me, John making a point of drawing attention to it seemed to indicate that he thinks the Americas are different from other continents in that respect.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:57 AM
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176, 78: Seriously. I was gonna say . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:59 AM
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Shorter (not actually) 175:
"Ooh, 'Europe', la-di-da."
"Why, what do you call it?"
"Honkyland."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:59 AM
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Wow, there's a Residents cover of Kaw-liga.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 11:59 AM
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The layers of racial/gender subtext in the Charlie Pride version of Kaw-liga make my brain hurt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:01 PM
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But the point isn't to laugh at liberals, just to laugh at the situation.

Also worth noting that the speaker doesn't necessarily identify more with the activists of his own ancestry than with the person to whom he's speaking.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:02 PM
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182: Car-hole!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:03 PM
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There's also a Thurl Ravenscroft cover of "Pale Moon (An Indian Love Song)".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:03 PM
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I have no idea about the merits of the Ameryk/Amerike etymology, but even as a kid I found it peculiar that the original namers would have used Vespucci's given name. Wouldn't 'United States of Vespucci' be much more cool? Ciao!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:06 PM
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181: Eh? I know Europe's named after that tramp Europa. I was just saying that's not any more meaningful an etymology than the America's being named after one honky or another.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:14 PM
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188: Me too.

But just imagine if his first name had been Luigi!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:16 PM
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189: Zeus > everybody!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:16 PM
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Than the America's what being named after one honky or another?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:16 PM
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169: http://www.flickr.com/photos/charleycarp/3021416981/

143: A little awkwardness now and then isn't too high a price to pay for North America.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:17 PM
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Asia and Africa are named after small countries that no longer exist, in modern Turkey and Libya. How did that happen?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:18 PM
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193: The complexities of the issue are nicely illustrated by both the text and the URL on the sign.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:20 PM
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192: The America's little bitch, naturally.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:23 PM
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"Nosflow" is a pretty honkyish name, it's true.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:24 PM
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191: But Zeus also basically slept with everybody, so Europa shouldn't have any special claim to have a continent named after her. And there's no evidence whatsoever that Zeus didn't sleep with both Vespucci and Amerike, maybe even both at the same time.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:25 PM
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This Amerike stuff is interesting. I hadn't heard about it before.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:37 PM
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199: Perv. What Zeus and Amerike do or did behind closed doors is none of your business.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:42 PM
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I say, one pointless etymology per continent-name.

One. Not two. Is that so hard to understand?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:43 PM
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To me the Amerike story would look like patriotic Welsh crankery, except that the Amerigo story always seemed so weak and silly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:45 PM
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Well also, we're talking in and about English, and I guess it applies to most other Western European languages as well. What's the name of Africa in Arabic or Swahili, or the name of Asia in Mandarin? They might not be as nonsensical as our names for them.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:48 PM
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Logically, why would Asia have a name in Mandarin? Not saying it doesn't, but the fact that the western extension of the "Eurasian" landmass has a name in the languages spoken there, while the other protruding bits are just called "South Asia" or "South-East Asia" surely says more about the viewpoint of the people doing the naming than any real geography.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:57 PM
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The Arabic name for Africa is Ifriqiyah.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:58 PM
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re: 199

I read one of the books about it, years back. Bits of the book seemed fair tenuous, to be honest. I remember being somewhat unconvinced by the letters from Spanish spies, etc and there were a few links that looked a little too conspiratorial.

On the other hand, the evidence for earlier British trips to Newfoundland than is commonly supposed seemed reasonably plausible --- some of the early maps show regions that they shouldn't have done based on the orthodox dates of exploration. I don't know enough about it to have a strong view.

The idea that the continent might be named after a major financier of one of the key early trips to North America doesn't seem completely insane.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 12:59 PM
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Yeah, I'd heard about the idea of early trips to Newfoundland before and it seemed pretty plausible, and the Vespucci story is remarkably weak, so the Amerike connection sounds at least possible. I doubt there will ever be really convincing evidence one way or the other, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 1:02 PM
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YES IT DOES!!!!1!!


Posted by: OPINIONATED ITALIAN MAPMAKER | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 1:03 PM
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204: Because they spend a lot of time interacting with people using the 7-continent schema? I'd figure they'd end up dividing the Eurasian landmass into Europe and Asia just to make communications easier.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 1:12 PM
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209. Oh, no doubt, western imperialism gets everywhere. So it would be a loan word like Ifriqiyah? (Herodotus referred to the African continent as Libya, IIRC, the whole "Africa" thing was a Roman idea.)


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 1:21 PM
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Speculative etymology suggests that 209 may be correct. The mandarin seems to be ya2 zhou1, or "second" "continent". This rather contrasts with their sinocentric country naming schemes (china = "middle" "country", japan = "sun" "origin").


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 1:24 PM
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So it would be a loan word like Ifriqiyah?

Presumably it would, and I believe this turns out to indeed be the case most of the time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 1:58 PM
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206, 207: But the thing that seems implausible to me about Richard Amerike is that the Newfoundland connection supposedly inspired the Spanish expeditions and was well-known enough to appear on maps used for decades, but other than that remained completely forgotten for three hundred years. How? Amerike never thought to explore and see how big the land mass he had found was? He never told anyone about it? They never thought it mattered until Columbus got attention by selling it as the East Indies?

But I had never heard of Amerike before this thread, though, so what do I know.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 3:04 PM
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re: 213

Actually, the book gives fairly good explanations for much of that. The claim isn't that the English were going there much, merely that a couple of small fishing fleets were using anchorages off Newfoundland. The book explains why this was -- I'm a bit vague on the details but it's to do with Hanseatic monopolies on certain routes/fishing grounds, etc. These were basically shady guys doing dodgy fishing trips to circumvent/break a legal monopoly.

There's a fair bit on why no prior claim to discovery was pressed, etc.

Amerike wasn't the guy who went there, he was just a guy who put a lot of the cash up. I don't even think the prior discovery claim needs to hold true for the etymology to be correct. Cabot did go, Amerike did fund it. Whether it was after Columbus or not doesn't necessarily matter.

I didn't find that bit of the book especially problematic. I did find the supposed connection between Bristol and Spain a bit more troubling/tenuous, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 6:57 PM
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Don't worry, she dumped me after the election anyway.


Posted by: Spain | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:07 PM
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The book explains why this was -- I'm a bit vague on the details but it's to do with Hanseatic monopolies on certain routes/fishing grounds, etc.
The entire plot of one of Dorothy Dunnett's Niccolo books revolves around that stuff, with all manner of skulduggery. It could be time for a re-read. Also I must get hold of Mark whatshisface's book Cod which I believe goes into great detail about all this. Cod was once of similar importance to that of oil today. No, that's a bad comparison but I can't think of a better.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:19 PM
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Whereas cod now don't exist. A formerly-renewable resources.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:29 PM
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re: 216

Yeah, I believe that book Cod has something about Basque fishing fleets also using the Atlantic fisheries off the east coast of North America. If there was a source for knowledge of the existence of North America in the Iberian peninsula, then I'd imagine that's a more plausible source than Spanish spies in England.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:50 PM
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The guy who wrote Cod also wrote The Basque History of the World, I think. I haven't read either so I can't tell you what he says. But as I understand it there's evidence that the cod fishermen - French, English, Basque, maybe others - were periodically fishing off the coast of North America for decades before the canonical Columbus voyage. They just didn't consider it anything special, or at least lacked the means to publicize it as something special.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 7:59 PM
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I was all, "But my Eskimo friend growing up always said 'Eskimo.'"

And then you started singing this?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:05 PM
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Now I'm vaguely remembering the Amerike story playing a role in A Swiftly Tilting Plante.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:19 PM
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Planet. A Swiftly Tilting Plante could have been a Thomas Herriot pamphlet, or something.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:20 PM
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(Everyone else is banned from commenting on this thread.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:20 PM
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Take that!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:21 PM
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Gaudior and Charles Wallace's travels bring them to: Harcels, a Native American boy at least 1000 years in the past; Madoc Gywnedd of Wales, a pre-Columbian trans-oceanic traveler [...]

(Wow, reading the Wikipedia summary of A Swiftly Tilting Planet, I see that it's no wonder I promptly forgot the plot of the book after each time I read it.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:30 PM
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What the hell kind of name is "Harcels" supposed to be?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:34 PM
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I remembered that being the weirdest of the trilogy, but not that weird.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:37 PM
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In A Wind in the Door they hang out inside of Charles Wallace's cells fixing his mitochodria.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:41 PM
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Sounds pretty normal to me. Anyway, it's apparently a quintet now. How dare more books appear after I was born!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:42 PM
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Newfoundland was regarded as an endpoint and not a beginning, as I understand. The furthest outer island of Norway and Scotland, after the Faroes, Iceland, and Greenland. The Vikings got there ~ 1000 AD, but it was just a sort of probe.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:50 PM
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228: You know what was really irritating about that book? "Mitochondria" is a real word. As a kid, I found that out, and assumed that that implied that "farandolae" was also real (not that they were as described, I wasn't that credulous, but I did assume for a couple of years that there was some component of a mitochondrion called a farandola).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:50 PM
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I don't remember A Swiftly Tilting Planet, but I remember being totally weirded out as a little kid by Many Waters with its stuff about the Biblical flood and seraphim and unicorns. I was a lot happier with the one about mitochondria.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:53 PM
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essaer, you didn't want a tiny mammoth pet?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:56 PM
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226: the anagrammy kind?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 8:57 PM
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Anyway, it's apparently a quintet now.

The fifth book is not that good. I didn't even think it was very good when it came out, when I was twelve.

I still have all of her books up to 1993 in a box somewhere at my parents' house. That was the year I got all of the ones I didn't already own for Christmas. Including the nonfiction ones. I am quite positive that The Other Side of the Sun is not as good as I thought it was when I first read it, but wow did it make an impression on me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:11 PM
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It's probably hard to keep up the consistent quality when writing that particular type of book.

"Your books are great, Ms. L'engle!"
"What is it you kids like about my books, anyway? I never thought they'd be this popular."
"Um, like, how there's all this unexpected stuff happening, and it's all really confusing, and I never know what's going on. That's the main quality that sets you apart from other writers. So, just keep doing that."
"Hmmm..."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:13 PM
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234: So it would seem. Thanks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:16 PM
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I was so head-over-heels for A Wrinkle in Time when I read it in third (?) grade that I desperately wanted a copy. So I tried to type the whole thing out on a manual Smith-Corona we had in my parents' study. I didn't know you could buy books at places called bookstores; we always used the library. I guess Blume had a higher-class upbringing.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:19 PM
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I'm surprised there's no Wikipedia section about "Mitochondria in Popular Culture".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:20 PM
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A teacher read us A Wrinkle in Time at some point in elementary school. For some reason I loathed it (it may be entangled with the teacher and the voice she read it in) and avoided all her writings. It still left a bad taste in my mouth when I encountered it as an adult via my kids.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:25 PM
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We read it in a special reading group in second grade (other, less memorable books: A Cricket in Times Square, My Trip to Alpha I), and for the first few chapters I thought it was the most boring book I had ever read.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:30 PM
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I put in my library time with it too, Ari. I checked it out at least twice a year from our elementary school library.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:31 PM
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Whatever, Georgiana Soros.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:40 PM
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I remember really liking it, so I'm a little hesitant about introducing it to my daughters when the time comes, in case it turns out that I don't like it that much after all. Apropos which, I started reading them Charlotte's Web the other night and got choked up, I had such fond memories of it. That drawing of Fern and the little runt Wilbur, in the first chapter! So great.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:48 PM
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I've never loved my older boy more than when he cried at the end of Charlotte's Web. We're reading Return of the King right now, which has been fun, though no tears.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:51 PM
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243: Yeah, we were always having book drives back home to donate to the poor, deprived children of Shaker Heights.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:54 PM
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My mom started reading A Wrinkle in Time to us at one point, but we only got a chapter or two in before I at least got bored with it. My sister may have held out longer; I don't remember. Or maybe she rediscovered it later. In any case, I believe she ended up reading more of the books. I didn't, and in fact didn't even realize that they were being discussed here until comment 236.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:54 PM
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I think I've told the story of trying to hide my tears reading the end of Where the Red Fern Grows in a corner during in class reading time in grade school. If not, I just did.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:54 PM
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We're reading Return of the King right now, which has been fun, though no tears.

Next up: Atlas Shrugged.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 9:56 PM
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244, 246: Now that one I loved and it held up well for me as an adult. I was also enamored with Stuart Little, but that one a bit less so as a parent.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-24-09 10:00 PM
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230 -- The sagas tell it a little more dramatically.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 5:03 AM
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Newfoundland has its own name in Irish - Talamh an Éisc "Land of the Fish". It seems likely that it was called that before it became known to English speakers as Newfoundland. There are almost no other places (outside Ireland and Britain) which have a name not related to the country or district's own local name or historic version thereof.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:00 AM
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which have a name not related to the country or district's own local name or historic version thereof

In Irish, or in any language? Because the slew of cases like Mount Everest and Lake Rudolf spring to mind.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:07 AM
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Oh, in Irish, I meant. So therefore pointing to probability of personal knowledge of the place by Irish fishermen.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:12 AM
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re: 253

yeah, I thought the same.

Unless emir means that there are few places that have names in Irish that aren't related to the .. etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:12 AM
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I remember that in A Swiftly Tilting Planet there is a form of... let's call it's telepathy... called kything, and that Meg uses it to find out what's going on with Charles Wallace's attempt to rewrite history. I remember this in part because this is the sort of crap that sticks in my memory, but also because in third grade I had to write a book report on this book, and I did, and I got marked off points for using the word "kything" because the teacher hadn't read the book.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:12 AM
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Gah, pwned.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:14 AM
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I'm a little surprised that Emerson doesn't have an opinion on the Kensington Runestone.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:26 AM
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Based on some early contacts, the Mandan Indians of the northern plains were once thought to be descendants of Madoc's supposed band of Welsh settlers to the new world in 1170. (Other tribes and places have also been associated with them; Mobile Bay is cited as a possible landing place.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-25-09 6:48 AM
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"Accused Ponzi scheme mastermind may have fallen for overseas scam"

Given that a Nigerian e-mail scam turned up in the Madoff case, I wonder if ponzi schemes will turn out to be the root cause of financial spam.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 1:18 PM
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As a kid, I found that out, and assumed that that implied that "farandolae" was also real (not that they were as described, I wasn't that credulous, but I did assume for a couple of years that there was some component of a mitochondrion called a farandola).

Same here!

Kything comes up in A Wind in the Door, too.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:06 PM
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Now we're all commenting on old threads. I posted that link above in this window by mistake.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:08 PM
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Ooh, lets do revive this thread!

"Um, like, how there's all this unexpected stuff happening, and it's all really confusing, and I never know what's going on. That's the main quality that sets you apart from other writers. So, just keep doing that."

In the right circumstances, having no clue what is going on can be a great experience. Often times, I enjoy it more when I think it is a product of bad, inconsistent writing. That way I don't blame myself for failing to remember plot points or pick up on subtext. Suddenly, we jump from footage of Bella Legosi to someone rambling on about cross dressing. You don't have to understand it, its just weird.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:45 PM
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263.1: Maybe a recurring feature, Revived Old Thread of the Day (or Week, whatever).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:47 PM
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Oh! That was weird.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:53 PM
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We're reading Return of the King right now, which has been fun, though no tears.

Maybe if you pinched him really hard.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:55 PM
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I think I've told the story of trying to hide my tears reading the end of Where the Red Fern Grows in a corner during in class reading time in grade school. If not, I just did.

Just the other day I was remembering crying (or almost crying, I don't remember) reading the chapter about the sea rat in Wind In The Willows.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:56 PM
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I don't think I managed to finish Wind in the Willows. Like The Secret Garden it's one of those classic kid's books I distinctly remember starting but can't remember getting past the first few chapters. Not for any reason; I think I just put them down and never came back.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:59 PM
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I don't think I managed to finish Wind in the Willows.

It was read out loud to me at some point in childhood, which was a good introduction, and then I re-read it myself.

I remember re-reading it when I was in sixth grade, but I believe that was my at least my second time reading it to myself.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:06 PM
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269: Read it only as an adult. As a kid I think I felt it would be disloyal to Pooh to read it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:31 PM
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The Wind In The Willows is an odd book -- there's no real continuous plot, and the tone changes severely at least twice. I liked the Mole and Rat bumbling around beginning quite a lot, was less interested by the Toad-centered slapstick, and the spooky bits in the end about Pan just kind of threw me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:36 PM
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It's one of the few books I didn't get even half the way through as a kid. Don't remember a single thing about the plot, either. I think Mr. Toad's car broke down at one point.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:40 PM
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I have never read it. I somehow as a wee'un got the notion that it would make me very sad and thus studiously avoided it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:42 PM
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re: 271

The original manuscript, and the letters in which part of it was original put together came through my work a year or two back. They are quite lovely.

http://anonym.to/?http://www.ouls.ox.ac.uk/bodley/about/exhibitions/online/witw

The binding is amazing:

http://anonym.to/?http://www2.ouls.ox.ac.uk/wbd/popup.htm?73


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:52 PM
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I somehow as a wee'un got the notion that it would make me very sad and thus studiously avoided it.

I got that notion from my older sister, but still it was recommended to me. I also never read Charlotte's Web.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 3:54 PM
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Oh hey, this thread. I almost wrote a comment about Many Waters when L'Engle came up earlier, and then thought "no, I think I've written this before".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:02 PM
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It's not exactly hard finding gay undercurrents in WotW, which is to say the least girl-light, but the chapter where Ratty nearly leaves Mole for a handsome passing sailor is if anything weirder than the Pan chapter.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:07 PM
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274: Wow. I envy people who lived at a time when you could have handwriting that pretty. Eh, who am I kidding. Regardless of the century, I'd write illegibly, there'd just be more actual ink blots.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:17 PM
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re: 278

I think a lot of it is the pens they used, and also, I'd imagine, harsh British schoolmistresses and the writing of letters on a much more regular basis.

I find if I pick up a nice pen, with a decent nib, I write a lot more elegantly than otherwise [which still isn't that elegantly, of course].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:30 PM
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Certainly, I used to mess around with calligraphy, and a good pen with broad-tipped nib will make your writing prettier regardless of where you're starting from. But it's still stunning to think of that as a natural, fluent enough mode of writing that he turned out a whole manuscript like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:36 PM
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re: 280

Actually, I think, quite fine but flexible fountain pen nibs are better for maintaing that sort of elegant flow in fast 'vernacular'* writing. At least that's my experience.

But yeah, I've seen the hand-written work of quite a few famous writers, and the writing is often elegant.

* i.e. non-calligraphic


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:40 PM
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The handwritten work of 19th century businessmen, mostly American, I've seen has been widely varied, from neat and readable to such a mess that some writers put apologies to their recipients in some of the letters, or their recipients write back to say something like: "We couldn't quite make out what you wanted, but on the interpretation that it was X, we've decided to do the following..."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 4:50 PM
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The thing about teh Wind in the Willows--which I've never finished--is that it has enormous cultural resonance for a certain type of person, mostly in my experience English people, who will describe someone as toady, and you need to be able to catch the reference.

These same people have committed large passages of The Importance of being Earnest to memory.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 5:37 PM
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In Irish, or in any language? Because the slew of cases like Mount Everest and Lake Rudolf spring to mind.

Mt. Everest was actually contrary to British practice in India apparently, where you were supposed to use the original name where possible; but Everest was too inaccessible to find the original name, so they make one up. (Or at least, that's the story.)

But people in the IGS were a bit uneasy about the whole thing, especially given Everest is supposedly not an easy word to say in the languages around there.

(Also, The Wind in The Willows is bona fide class warfare from the rich bastards' perspective, and I find it a bit eugh sometimes.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 5:41 PM
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