• The Shoutbox
    Yes, it’s kind of a shame that it was the leprechaun that became most famous.
  • Cartoon of the day
    I agree with you. The new cartoon from Charlie Hebdo is very offensive. The people of Turkey are not guilty nor responsible for such a natural disaster. I understand that political cartoonists need freedom of speech to do their work, and to show off criticising politicians.

    But in this case, it is different: I see that two normal people appear with a satirical phrase. I think it is hurtful without any cause or reason. If Erdoğan were the one who was drawn in the cartoon, the Turkish people would have interpreted it differently. More than attack to their victims, a clever criticism on Erdoğan's management regarding the effects of the earthquake.

    The cartoon is from February, and it is criticizing the Turkish treatment of the Kurds. There were anti-Kurd pogroms in the seventies and eighties in the region where the earthquake was centred.

    EDIT: the fake outrage no doubt came from Turkish nationalists and Erdogan-loyalists.
  • The Shoutbox
    And look what happened to him!
  • The Shoutbox

    I googled it, because I’d never heard of autumn beginning in August. Turns out the Irish calendar uses astronomical seasons rather than meteorological, and for whatever reason that’s the one that’s commonly referred to when it comes to seasons. It’s not about the weather and the trees—which probably aren’t very different from Scotland. In Scotland, only a contemptible eccentric would say that autumn begins in August.

    I cycled 150 kilometres today in a circumnavigation of Moscow, mostly through parks. It was quite autumnal, but not very. Many of the trees were still green, and there were sunbathers.
  • The Shoutbox
    figgy puddingHanover

    I know nothing of figgy pudding. My early fig exposure was fig rolls, which I think you might know as fig newtons. I don’t think I saw an actual fig until I was well into grownuphood. Not sure why.
  • The Shoutbox
    I had a massive fight treeHanover

    You must have picked many fights.
  • The Shoutbox
    our fig tree out back dropped a bundle of syconiums the other daypraxis

    Adhering to botanical nomenclature, the fig is my favourite edible inflorescence. In culinary terms, it’s one of my favourite fruits. I’ve been eating them a lot lately, mostly just fresh with cheese, but they’re very expensive. The fact that you have your own tree makes me sick very happy for you.

    The fig-compote-slathered pork roast sounds very good.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    I know you are a great guy, safety conscious and wouldn't hurt a fly.Amity

    I wonder why I’m mildly offended by this. Anyway thanks.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    I don’t currently have a bell on my bike so I sometimes shout “excuse me” or similar, in the appropriate language. But if the pedestrians are walking on bike-specific paths, I am entitled to run them over without warning.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    I believe your complaint about vaping is an irrational moral judgment more than a concern for public health, and that you’re in the grip of a moral panic. But that’s the interesting premise of this thread: in sharing what you find to be obnoxious, some readers will find you obnoxious.


    Pedestrians on cycle paths when I’m cycling, especially those who jump left or right at the last moment, when they realize there’s a bike coming. I want to say this is idiotic, because it really is the worst thing they could do, but my reasonable self tells my intensely annoyed self that it’s just a natural response and that I might do the same myself.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    To me, vaping was a good way to stop smoking. No doubt it has helped many people that way, and this is a good thing. I don’t advocate vaping for people who are not addicted to nicotine, and I can understand the concern with that, but at least it’s better than smoking.
  • There is no meaning of life
    I try to go for 'hesh' rather than 'it' as my probably poor attempt to find an acceptable intersex pronoun. I do also use 'they' but do find it confusing, due to it's plurality.universeness

    They is a bit awkward, but it’s probably the best option because we already used it to refer to people whose gender we didn’t know. As in, “Mildred, if a tax inspector comes today can you tell them I’m at a conference in Hong Kong.” I think what’s happening now is that the usage is just being expanded.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    I use a vape but I don’t want to be a “vape guy”. Vape guys are into vaping like it’s a hobby, and for some reason endeavour to produce as much vapour as possible, gathering with their vape guy friends to talk about vaping and compete to produce the biggest clouds.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    I have never knowingly owned a vape shop, but I have set foot in many. I can’t comment on the contents of your acid trips or whatever it is.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    Isn't every expression of annoyance an overt criticism of something and thus an implied criticism of those who, knowingly or otherwise, cause that annoyance?Vera Mont

    Yep. There is a small distance between “I hate it when people do X” and “I hate people who do X”.

    If the criticized persons are injured by this, I petition to have this thread locked and erased forthwith. Know any sympathetic mods?Vera Mont

    I was personally injured by the comments about vaping, but I’m a big boy, I can take it :strong:
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    That doesn't mean it stops annoying me. I expect songs to have a tune and lyrics and it annoys me when they don't (Oh, man, does it ever!) even though the standard convention is to repeat the same two-note, three-word loop with several overlaid tracks of the same thing.Vera Mont

    Speculation forthcoming…

    I put it to you that you are quite happy with many illogicalities of grammar (and spelling, which is especially illogical in English), simply because they are now standard and unquestioned, whereas try and offends you because try to remains as another standard option. Similarly, you are familiar with better ways of making a song than to “repeat the same two-note, three-word loop with several overlaid tracks of the same thing.” The latter might be popular but not everyone does it that way.

    There is a big difference though: I don’t think try to is any more logical than try and, whereas I do think that some songs are better than others.

    However, personally I think try and is better than try to, but I won’t be offended by your use of the latter.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    Maybe the trouble is expecting grammar to be logical in the first place, when mostly what matters is what’s conventional, i.e., standard.

    I only responded because one of my own, sometimes excessive, intense annoyances, is being criticized for breaking “rules” of grammar and spelling that are really just popular prejudices or fashions. Oddly enough, it is this attitude that leads people to say “This means so much to John and I”—having misunderstood the grammar, they think using me is incorrect, uneducated, etc.

    I wouldn’t criticize you merely for preferring try to; it’s the implied criticism of my way of speaking and writing that I cannot take. :wink:
  • Culture is critical
    It's so full of disparate topics and ideas and individual convictions, in no coherent pattern, that it belongs nowhere in particular. It reminds me of some long, wine-soaked nights of my youthVera Mont

    Exactly, it reminds me of that kind of thing too.

    @Amity that is why it belongs in the Lounge, and also because it’s not just like any old wine-soaked evening, but like a wine-soaked evening that goes on for months.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    That’s entirely arbitrary. It only seems to be relevant because it is in fact quite common to use try to. I recommend reading the whole article if you haven’t.
  • Culture is critical

    But just to be clear, technically I’m one of three administrators.
  • Culture is critical
    I disagree. It’s mainly a long-term social area for three or four people talking informally and sometimes intelligently about many different topics, and not in a way that touches on philosophy, sociology, or other disciplines. This is not really a criticism, but it does mean that it doesn’t belong in the main area.
  • Culture is critical
    I moved it to the Lounge because it’s more of a chat than a focused philosophical discussion.
  • A List of Intense Annoyances
    It's not nearly as intense, however, as using 'I' as object of a preposition. "This means so much to John and I!" Urrgghhh! If John were out of the picture, would you say "This means so much to I!" ? Or the phrase "try and" instead of "try to".Vera Mont

    I agree with you about “John and I”, but not about “try and”. In my opinion, “try and” is much smoother and more stylish. And it’s totally standard, in fact probably older than “try to”.

    Not only do infinitive verbs not require to, but and is a long-established partner in the same position—that is, between a verb and an infinitive following it. The construction has been around since the 13th century, when it mostly occurred with infinitives following begin, take, go, and come. Today it's used with go and come ("Go and ask them," "Come and see"), as well as with other verbs: "Wait and let me finish," "Stop and chat for a while."Merriam-Webster

    Oxford and other dictionaries also treat it as standard (in case you think this is an American eccentricity).
  • Currently Reading
    Yep, I felt the same and actually gave up in the first few pages. Then I went back to it a week or two later. It was worth it.
  • Currently Reading
    I hope you can go there one day. I think you would like it, as well as Cantabria, their brothers. Santander, Pola de Siero, Avilés, etc. are top cities, but underrated by the public in general.javi2541997

    I dream of doing a cycle tour around the region over a period of weeks.

    You must be right about the reasons it isn’t a popular travel destination. The Mediterranean is pretty special and the cold rough Atlantic is no good for beach holidays. The wet weather, of course, is the reason it’s so green and beautiful.

    I know that 1Q84 is not your cup of tea. But, trust me when I say that Murakami has books which are worth reading.javi2541997

    I did like parts of it, so I haven’t given up on Murakami entirely.
  • Currently Reading
    Asturias (Northern Spain)javi2541997

    I was curious so I googled it. It looks incredible. I don’t know how I managed to live in Spain and not know anything about the region. I must go some day.

    PS. I’ve read 1Q84, the only Murakami I’ve read. I have things to say about it but I won’t while praxis is enjoying it.

    by Samuel R. Delany

    What do you think? Here’s what I thought (but I’d avoid reading this review if you haven’t finished it)…

    First I liked it, then I disliked it, and finally I liked it a lot. It’s a really odd book, not in a “weird fiction” way or because it’s unconventional, but in the way it manages to (or attempts to) be both conventional and unconventional, to be pulpy Golden Age SF while at the same time transcending or parodying that genre. Or maybe the word is appropriating: it appropriates SF tropes to explore wider questions about storytelling, art, language, and culture, and also to take the genre away from its white American traditions (Delany is American but his Earth locations and future cultures are not—only the antagonists represent the WASP aristocracy).

    But if you focus mainly on the plot it sometimes feels like a contrived, hokey pulp adventure, with shallow characters, bad dialogue, and a dash of made-up physics. I think that’s why I was in two minds about it, until the metanarrative came to the fore in the last act. Which is not to say that the last act is the best or that the preceding stuff is all bad, just that it made me reassess the whole book following my hasty negative assessment when I was in the middle.

    In its far-future world-building, it has some great ideas. Some of the most interesting:

    • Tarot card reading is respectable, and it’s the scepticism about it that’s regarded as simplistic, superstitious, and a relic of the ignorant past.
    • Personal cleanliness is a thing of the past now that contagious infection has been wiped out.
    • The vast majority of people are cyborgs with sockets that enable them to plug into various tech like spaceships, production lines, and drilling machines. (This idea has been very influential, though whether it was entirely original I’m not sure).
    • This allows Delany to imagine a society that, while still capitalist and socially stratified, has banished alienation and to some extent the division of labour, giving everyone job-satisfaction and self-respect by restoring craftsmanship to the individual.
    • But he presents conservative arguments against this state of affairs, which now seem prescient, viz., that the freedom and mobility of workers leaves them unmoored from tradition and community (arguments that he proceeds to knock down).
    • Earth and its sphere of influence are reactionary and still ethnically divided, while the breakaway colonies of the Pleiades are revolutionary (though in the bourgeois rather than socialist sense), liberal, and ethnically mixed.

    Beyond those purely science fiction ideas, Delany also uses his characters to comment on the novel itself (that is, Nova) and to explore his own artistic personality. The battle between the hero and villain is paralleled by a metanarrative conflict between two other characters, one, Katin, who is writing a novel, and another, “the Mouse”, who is a kind of musician or multisensory entertainer. Katin is an intellectual concerned with permanent artistic legacy, and the Mouse is only interested in moving people sensually and in the moment. This has the effect of creating a two-sided novel, with action on one side and commentary on the other, formally revolving around the idea of the Grail narrative and themes of revolution and rebirth.

    The writing itself, I was again in two minds about. It’s slapdash and yet full of energy, confusing yet sometimes stunningly effective and original. The flashback sections set in Istanbul, Paris, and Athens, are immensely involving and evocative, but at other times I couldn’t keep track of exactly what was happening, who was standing where, what kind of place the characters were in, why he just said that, etc. I put this down to Delany’s youthful exuberance (he wrote it in his twenties) and sloppiness rather than my inability to read experimental literature, but I could be wrong—or it could be both.

    Some of the dialogue seems awkward, the subject-object-verb dialect of the Pleiades can be annoying and unconvincing (and unfortunately now brings to mind Yoda), the antagonist is an unrealistic camp villain, and exposition is dumped on the reader in an unsubtle way. But focusing on these criticisms is probably to miss the point: it’s not a realist novel (although it does have excellent realist sections, such as the party in Paris) so much as a playful meta-romp. I particularly appreciated the way that the metanarrative aspect of the novel, rather than dropping away in the final denouement as you might expect from the shape of the plot and the conventions of popular fiction, actually ramps up towards the end.

    Close to the end, the character Katin says something that might be straight from young Delany himself:

    Right now I’m just a bright guy with a lot to say and nothing to say it about.

    In summary: :100: :confused: :starstruck: :nerd: :cool:

    Currently reading Triton by Samuel R. Delany.
  • Culture is critical
    The actions of vile human beings like Maggie Thatcher created as many, if not more socialists in Scotland and elsewhere, than any British socialist leader I have heard of.

    There is also the famous line of "The most effective way to convert a Christian to atheism, is to get them to actually read the bible."

    Thatcher helped to destroy the labour movement and accelerate the decline and disappearance of socialism as a credible challenge, and oversaw the move to the financialization and neoliberalism that we have today, and which remains almost totally unchallenged. Thatcher —> capitalist realism.

    Not only that, but she enticed millions of people away from socialism and organised labour, e.g., with the Right to Buy legislation.

    It might be personally comforting to think that Thatcher’s policies backfired by radicalizing the working class, rather in the way that tsar Nikolai’s intransigence helped to bring about the Russian Revolution, but except in isolated cases that represented the last gasp of the political working class (the miners’ strike), that’s not the legacy. She certainly produced a lot of resentment, but it was and remains a resigned and inactive kind of resentment.

    EDIT: On the other hand, Thatcher might have helped to instil or maintain a broadly left of centre tradition in Scotland in particular, so maybe there’s a kernel of truth in what you say.
  • The Shoutbox
    Did you feel the same about Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and the appearance of Jar Jar Binks?Tom Storm

    No, my contrarianism has limits.
  • The Shoutbox
    Did either of you have "Rocky and Bullwinkle?"T Clark

    That was on TV for a while, but I didn’t get it. All I remember is that the animation wasn’t very good. I’ve taken note of your assessment and shall reappraise it if I ever get the chance.
  • The Shoutbox
    Those were the good days for TVSir2u

    Those were the days when you were young, that’s all.
  • The Shoutbox
    Very sixties.
  • The Shoutbox
    While I’m being nostalgic, let me share this genuinely fantastic theme song from Ulysses 31, which I remember much more than the episodes themselves.

  • The Shoutbox
    Gigantor, Marine Boy, Kimba the White Lion, The Amazing ThreeTom Storm

    Never heard of them.

    I was addicted to Scooby DooTom Storm

    Although Shaggy was a good character, I didn't much like Scooby Doo until the appearance of Scrappy, who I decided to be fond of because everyone else hated him.
  • The Shoutbox
    Sounds like the same American TV we all watched in Australia in the 1970's - Have Gun Will Travel, Mr Ed, The Cisco Kid, My Favorite Martian, Bewitched, Batman, Twilight Zone, Get Smart, The Flintstones etc, etc.Tom Storm

    We had Bewitched, Batman, and the Flintstones, but not the others. Scooby-Doo was on all the time as well. We also had the classic cartoons from the golden age of American animation. Although I was just a child, I was critical of the Flintstones and Scooby-Doo and wondered why American cartoons had gotten worse over the years.

    There was also a lot of Japanese cartoons and adapted versions thereof, like The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Battle of the Planets, and Thundercats. I was confused about those ones, probably because of their mixed provenance.

    Of course, we had to watch all these shows through the shop window of the local department store, because we lived in a shoebox in t’middle o’road.
  • Currently Reading
    Personally I’m ok with “limey”, but Baden won’t be, since it applies only to Brits.
  • The Shoutbox
    I’m sure I’ve heard worse.
  • Currently Reading

    The most convenient term is the people of the Anglo-Celtic North Atlantic Archipelago.
  • The Shoutbox
    Fun fact: imitating Dick Van Dyke badly results in perfect cockney.
  • The Shoutbox
    Yes, British attempts at American accents are usually embarrassing. I’ve tried it myself but I find it immensely difficult. It’s odd, since we Brits are familiar with American accents from a young age.