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“Time to throw the switch” open thread

The day is here. Time to throw the switch.

What do I mean? I’ve been mentioning that I wanted to turn on the option that states, “Comment author must have a previously approved comment.” What that means is that any new commenter’s first comment will automatically go to moderation. I’ll approve it (unless it’s spam or I suspect it’s a sockpuppet), and then you’ll be able to comment normally. The reason I want to turn this option on is to make it more difficult for morphing sockpuppets to disrupt the conversation. I’m also tired of so much spam getting through.

Never having used this option before after a blog has been in existence for a while, I don’t rightly know whether those of you who have been commenting all along will suddenly find their first comments after this option is turned on thrown into purgatory, which is why I decided to flip this particular switch on a Saturday. I know that between working on grants and not being in meetings, that I’ll be able to monitor the blog frequently using my computer and the WordPress app for my iPhone and quickly release the comments of my regulars from purgatory. Of course, it’s possible that those of you who have already commented before I flipped the switch will continue to be able to do so without my approving your first comment, which would be a relief for me.

So, regular commenters (and not-so-regular commenters), let’s begin what will hopefully be the last major functional change (other than starting to fix up the appearance of the new blog), and the best way I can think of to do this is to declare this a weekend open thread!

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

191 replies on ““Time to throw the switch” open thread”

With the long wish list of functionality still lacking in SB I hope it’s not the last major functional change.

So this comment should generate a mandatory approval? Lets hope this works!

Woo-hoo! It looks as though if you’ve commented here before, I won’t have to approve it, even with this option turned on. I didn’t approve either of your comments. Only new commenters will have their first comment held for moderation. Hopefully this’s feature will cut down on morphing trolls and sockpuppets. And, best of all, none of the spam is getting through.

Well, either this will be trapped, and you release me, or it will go right through.

Either way, it’s OK.

(Just wish killfile worked…I miss being able to block Thingy’s drooling)

And I don’t like this posting too quickly comment – seems if you trigger it once, it never resets, considering the last comment I posted was 2 days ago, and my second triggered this alert which won’t go away and won’t let me comment…

I’m working this week to re-establish some Hubby Cred. For the last ca. 4 years, we have been in the parent mode, and I feel that I have lost my husband-pizzaz. So this weekend of the wife’s birthday, I am going as all out as ever. We made a cake on Thurs – the Gurg insisted that she wanted a cake with Randall on it (from Monsters, Inc). Since Monsters Inc stuff is hard to find in the local party stores, I did it by hand. Gotta say, I pulled it off. Made a great cake with an awesome Randall, a damn good Mike Roskowski, and a passable Sully. All done by hand with my own frosting and food coloring, and a knife and toothpicks. None of this fancy cake-decorating tools for me! Not bad for someone with no artistic ability and who struggles at simply frosting a cake.

Then tonight we are doing a surprise dinner with a few of her friends. It’s not a landmark b-day or anything, so she wouldn’t expect anything. I did have one of her friends invite her to dinner just to make sure she will go to the restaurant, but she doesn’t know that her other friends are going to be there, too. I’ve never done a surprise party before, so she is completely unaware (and I am playing the part well, acting really dumb about even meeting the friends she knows are going to be there).

Will have been married 20 years later this summer, so I figure its time to do something special.

Now if we can only figure out a way to have someone watch the kids so we can get away for a night for our 20th anniversary. It doesn’t look promising.

Well, if this goes through, phase one of my plan to take over the world will be complete.
It’s a simple plan. Phase one, get a comment up on Respectful Insolence.
Phase two : steal all the underpants.
Phase three . . .
Phase four, take over the world. And those silly aliens from glaxopharmacorpcon will never be the wiser! Oh, but I need some Sharks. with frikken lasers on their heads.

It’s a long time since I commented here, so we’ll see what happens.

BTW, when apprising the SB overlords of things that need fixing, none of the links to current SB entries appearing on work – they all yield an SB “Page Not Found” error. It seems none of those links include the specific blog in the URL. Example – the link given for this blog entry is:

Have I commented here before or will this linger in moderation?

Only the Shadow Knows.

Oh, and keep up the good fight against anti-vaxxers and woo-merchants.

BTW New Sb problems:
1) Needs two links when viewing a post, viz “Previous Post” and “Next Post”.
2) Post previews need a comment count.
3) Post previews need to be variable in length so that the author can decide the “fold point”.
4) “Last 24 Hours” needs to show all recent posts, sorted with the most recent first. Another link could take you to the way the page is currently laid out.

Close your eyes and imagine that this is some amazingly witty statement.

It’s still problematic not having visible comment numbers or visible links to comments. On the plus side, yay for cutting down on spam!

ETA: Apparently this won’t eliminate the “posting too fast” errors. FYWP.

This wasn’t my first comment, and it won’t be my last (although I rarely have anything to add to the discussion)

And it told me I’m posting my first comment too fast?

I don’t comment that often, but let see if this second comment get the you are commenting too fast.

So far all the spam is getting held for moderation. There’s still a lot (dozens every few hours), but at least it doesn’t show up. I just have to select it all and send it to the spam filter every so often.

Let’s see if this shows up without moderation. I don’t comment very often, but I do read Orac faithfully, and I’ve learned a lot from this blog about the process of scientific discovery.

@Marry Me, Mindy

Go git ‘er, dude! Mindy (or her real name) should be properly impressed!

And now back to our regularly scheduled Insolence. 🙂

Can’t remember the last time I commented here, but this is one of my favorite blogs!

Well, let’s give it a try. I’m not posting from my regular machine but it looks like it will make it judging by the other posters’ success .

So now we know what will happen to the regulars and the spammers but what about……((shudder)).. *the Others*?

Moving right along:
Jake’s newest has generated scads of comments @ AoA…
Tales of drinking and enablement @ AutismOne ( including gawking celebs- like Jake) are recounted @ TMR..

Currencies and markets hit the skids on Friday
Woo-based and anti-vax websites hit the skids every day.

i’m off on my way to a very strange place- which I cannot disclose- where the main activity involves wasting large sums of money. Somebody has to do it: it may as well be us.

Hmm. I got the “posting too fast” message even though I haven’t commented since the site moved to WordPress, and it doesn’t appear that comment got through. Or Orac moved me to spam, which…well, I’d just have to respect that, wouldn’t I?

Hey Denice what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

I do like the not waiting for URL-heavy comments to post.

@ Liz:
No, not that ((shudder)) place..
This is more just about buying things and paying ridiculous prices for moderately decent dinners.

I seem to recall I’ve posted something since the Great Redesign, but let’s make sure.

Well, I seldom surf on this computer, and it doesn’t have the magic cookies to allow the “Recent Insolence returned” to update (most recent comments are from May23), so this seems like a good time to fix that problem, and get my name in the queue.

So what I wanted to say was this: Happy 12th Birthday to Bam-Bam, the stepson who got me into this world, made me a regular Orac reader, and caused me to apply what I already knew about evidence-based medicine to my understanding of his place on the spectrum and how best to help him toward the best life I can.

Checking in. On my way to an epidemiology conference in Omaha, Nebraska. If “they” really want to “bring the US Public Health System to it’s knees”, they could give us food poisoning in Omaha this week.

Watch it happen and I’ll be the one in trouble.


Minion Landru:
I lower my crest and raise a battleclaw in honour of your hatchling’s natal day. No matter the myriad differences between our species (subjugator/subjugated, endotherm/ectotherm, tomato/tomahto) our fierce devotion to our offspring binds us momentarily in unison as members of a precious-rare club. We are all just particles of the thin veneer of living scum that coats a few of the rocks in this vast, icy, glittering pinwheel.

I said momentarily. Now, back to work.

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VH7iHL

Foreward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Pharmaca Magna of Terra, Best Dad in the Corpus (has cup to prove it)

Glaxxon PharmaCOM Terrabase DIA

hi Orac, does this switch flipping also explain the change to those of us who use a reader to get our dose of insolence? We used to have a link to “read more…” but this has disappeared. No more frisson of teased joy. Just two sentences.


I am moved by your post. Aside from an almost fanatical devotion to our blinky, cybernetic host, I believe it is the well being of Bam-Bam and all his sisters and brothers on the spectrum that keeps us coming back for more.

That, and being right . . . and batting thingy around.

Oh well, time for me to try.
I notice that links to spam comments are still listed in the sidebar, even after the spam comments themselves have been deleted. Time to eat a few more web minions?

I had an error just now saying “You’re posting comments too quickly. Slow down.”

Anyone have any idea? I was going to post a link to a hilarious English-to-N00bish translator I found, so maybe that was the problem?

This seems like a good time to humorously gripe. 😉 I got hooked on RI and the SBM blog, and now I can’t stand my former disabled women’s support group because it’s all “chronic lyme” this and “homeopathy” that and god forbid you bring the logic. (Apparently Dara O Briain’s bit about nutritionists et al is “abusive”.)

Ah well. Knowing I’m right and they’re wrong is pretty awesome, and I don’t feel bad any more for having my trigeminal neuralgia under control instead of being miserable 24/7. So, thanks.

I’m off to volunteer at our department’s booth for the big Science Expo here in Seattle. Locals, come to Seattle Center and stop by the Genome Sciences booth to say hi! Unfortunately the Expo also includes a booth from Bastyr (a naturopathy school) where you can “Discover how your body and our community can be healthy and happy using smart nutrition, holistic natural medicine and gentle acupuncture.” So I guess it’s really a ‘Science’ Expo.

I rarely comment, but reading RI comment threads is a favorite pastime.

In celebration of the end of Spam…..

Man: You sit here, dear.

Wife: All right.

Man: Morning!

Waitress: Morning!

Man: Well, what’ve you got?

Waitress: Well, there’s egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam;

Vikings: Spam spam spam spam…

Waitress: …spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam…

Vikings: Spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!

Waitress: …or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam.

Wife: Have you got anything without spam?

Waitress: Well, there’s spam egg sausage and spam, that’s not got much spam in it.

Wife: I don’t want ANY spam!

Man: Why can’t she have egg bacon spam and sausage?

Wife: THAT’S got spam in it!

Man: Hasn’t got as much spam in it as spam egg sausage
and spam, has it?

Vikings: Spam spam spam spam… (Crescendo through next few lines…)

Wife: Could you do the egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam then?

Waitress: Urgghh!

Wife: What do you mean ‘Urgghh’? I don’t like spam!

Vikings: Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!

Waitress: Shut up!

Vikings: Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!

Waitress: Shut up! (Vikings stop) Bloody Vikings! You can’t have egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam.

Wife: I don’t like spam!

Man: Sshh, dear, don’t cause a fuss. I’ll have your spam. I love it. I’m having spam spam spam spam spam spam spam beaked beans spam spam spam and spam!

Vikings: Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!
Waitress: Shut up!! Baked beans are off.

Man: Well could I have her spam instead of the baked beans then?

Waitress: You mean spam spam spam spam spam spam… (but it is too late and the Vikings drown her words)

Vikings: (Singing elaborately…) Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam! Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam. Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Spam spam spam spam!

well, my first comment in like 20 hours and I get the “you’re posting too fast” warning……..

Not commenting much these days, but I’d like the option….

I guess here’s where I mention again:

Why is system without a Preview function set to complain to a user who wants to post a correction?

When I took neuroanatomy at Berkeley in the mid-1970’s, Prof. Diamond said lobotomy was practiced more often in the Soviet Union. She said they considered it to be getting at the root of the problem.

There was at least one conference on insulin shock in the 1960’s, so I don’t think it’s accurate to say that the 1953 paper killed it. Since the essential feature of insulin shock is seizure induction, I don’t see why it would be considered any less effective than electroshock. My understanding is that insulin shock died out because it was a) more expensive than electroshock, and b) had a higher mortality than electroshock, though the mortality was still very low.

Reg: I don’t know! – Mr. Wentworth just told me to come in here and say that there was trouble at the mill, that’s all – I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition!

[the door flies open and in come three Cardinals in red robes]

Cardinal Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise!… Surprise and fear… fear and surprise… Our two weapons are fear and surprise… and ruthless efficiency! Our three weapons are fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency… and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope… Our four… no… Amongst our weapons… Hmf… Amongst our weaponry… are such elements as fear, surpr… I’ll come in again.

[They leave]

Reg: [gamely] I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.

[They burst in again]

Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!… Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms – Oh damn!


I have a couple of email addresses I use regularly–one is a vanity domain and it redirects to the other. I’m hoping that won’t cause problems if I accidentally click the wrong one from the pulldown menu here, which is Firefox trying to track what I’ve posted with, including on other WordPress sites. (This is the same username with two different domain names.)

Testing, testing……..

“My hovercraft is full of eels!”

Testing, testing……..

OK, the filter works…. back to working on my house.

Hi there everybody!

Yes, I’d like the preview function back. A little less insistent on the numbering, as the time & date stamp function pretty well.

none of the spam is getting through.

Great improvement for the commentariat. Of course Orac still has to plough through the spam checking for genuine comments…

So this is what I see on the right hand side on the ancient PC that I use for finances (it does have to be speedy):

Recent Insolence returned
desktop on Another defense of the antivaccine propaganda “documentary” The Greater Good from the San Ramon Valley Unified School District
Stu on PAPupuncture? On the rebranding of regional anesthesia as acupuncture
Travis on “Plausibility bias”? Try “reality bias” when it comes to clinical trials.
Narad on And so it continues…

So to see what happens……….. and check I don’t get the “you are posting too fast” stupid.

PS I am not a sock – I used to be dt, but this is my wordpress id


I don’t remember commenting since the switch, so this will probably be the held for moderation post.

Can you let Th1Th2 in for just a couple of posts a day, please? I will miss it.

Daily reader, infrequent commenter so here goes. While I’m at it I vote to cast Thingy and Rob Hood into The Pit Of Moderation never to be heard from again.

So far all the spam is getting held for moderation. There’s still a lot (dozens every few hours), but at least it doesn’t show up. I just have to select it all and send it to the spam filter every so often.

As I’ve mentioned before, shitcanning anything that is submitted directly without a referrer will take care of this problem. Has the crack IT squad determined that persistence in marking this stuff for Akismet will take care of it some day in the sweet by-and-by? If so, they’re wrong.

Had to get a new phone, so just activating the sidebar, hopefully.

Sidebar comment updates. I’ve noticed that these are also skew-whiff on another couple of the overlords sites.

otoh, this is yet another new computer since I blew up my hard drive a couple of days ago, so it might just be me.

I don’t post often. But when I do I post, it’s on Respectful Insolence.

Stay scientific, my friends.

I don’t post often either. In fact, I post so rarely that my posts must be very very potent.

A reminder: some of you who miss the numbered posts CAN see them if your browser allows you to turn off style sheets. Those of us on iPads, though, don’t seem to have that option.

Apparently some people know how to get the sidebar to update; how are you doing that?

I am trying to find some good PubMed papers on herd immunity. Any suggestion on ones that can be considered gold standard? I have reply to a twit who says there are no papers showing that it really works. I tried the blog search function but it is very confusing and will take me some time to figure out how to use the results

I haven’t commented in a long time so I’ll probably end up in limbo for a bit.
I may not have time to comment these days, but I still like to hang around.


Apparently some people know how to get the sidebar to update; how are you doing that?

First by commenting, which is primarily why I commented from my old computer used for finances in the basement (note: I don’t do money stuff on laptops, and who would steal an eight year old desktop). That is the comment where I list what is one the sidebar.

The cookies created seem to make the sidebar update.

Apropos of nothing, isn’t the transit of Venus a surveyors’ instrument?

I like cookies as much as the next person, preferably white chocolate chip. Making shell comments to trip the sidebar function is a lot of work.

I have reply to a twit who says there are no papers showing that it really works.

“Works”? The herd effect is a mathematical consequence, so the empirical angle is the accuracy of the inputs. I suppose you could start here and go poking around where the references lead.

Kelly, I don’t have a paper on herd immunity, but the one on chicken pox in Pediatrics shows it quite nicely. No deaths from varicella in children under 1 year old since 2004, and it’s not because those kids are vaccinated against it. And the article’s available for free:

There’s also a good review at The Vaccine Times in Oct 2011 (I’m not going to link since I’m already in moderation on a different thread) with a link to a rotavirus paper.

Good luck!

If anyone would like to have some fun, there is debate about AB2019 at the Mercury News site. Liz Ditz posted it as link to the article and the comments section. There are the usual idiots posting….but the best is that the Refusers popped up there to comment. I have a migraine and I can’t do anything until the morning, but if anyone is bored and wants some entertainment………

Thanks Kelly M. Bray — I forgot to check the danged comments over there.

I’m about to fall asleep after a day of Citizen Activism (walking precincts for a local school-funding issue) and grandchild wrangling.

I’ll see what I can do in the aye emm. Or Ack Emma.

I love reading this blog, despite rarely commenting. New Zealand is as infested as anywhere else, with regard to non-rational thinking. Thanks for being a bright spot for thinking people to congregate!

Today, I brewed an Imperial IPA for a friends. My refractometer could not tell me the wort gravity because it scaled from 1.000 to 1.070 and the wort (according to my software) was estimated to be at 1.100 initial gravity.

I brewed for a 2 gallons fermenter with 3.2 gallons of water, 1kg of light dry malt extract, 500 grams of amber dry malt extract and 1kg of caramel 40 malted grain.

I added 50g of Northern brewers hops at the mark of 45 minutes remaining boiling times (the wort needed to boil an hour), then, 25 gram of E.K. Golding hops at 15 minutes remaining and another 25 gram at 5 minutes for a total IBU of 103 (most commercial beer have an IBU of 5 to 10, stouts have 30-40 and this is a log scale).

final gravity is estimated at 1.026 with an alcohol by volume of 9.8%.

The yeast is fresh from a batch of 300L fermenter and have 1 or 2 generation in the fermenter.

should be ready in a month and a half (3 weeks in the fermenter with a cool down of 24 hours in a fridge, then 3 weeks _at least_ in bottles, at most, 2 years).


Glad to see they’ve stopped the woo ads that prolifered briefly after the switchover. Still hate sans serif fonts for reading, though – they’re very unfriendly to poor eyesight.

I haven’t commented in quite a while, wonder if this will go through.

Hello, I’m also just seeing if I can comment, really. I promise I’m not a spambot. I’m allergic to bananas. If I were a spambot I wouldn’t be allergic to bananas.

I’m just commenting to complain about the biotic ligand model for Daphnia magna.

That, and I ran out of potassium dichromate in the lab.

I should also add that I can’t remember how to do italics on the forum so pardon my not having italicized my Daphnia. Poor little water fleas.

Hi all,
I have never posted to RI before so this is a test to see.if Oracle approves me. I have been lurking for about 2 years I think and love RI and really appreciate all the dedicated and anti woo commentators. Good news lately here in OZ is that the West Australian state goverent was.persuaded to continue free pertussis shots for families of newborns after announcing they would stop the programme 😉

Just testing, I don’t comment often, mainly because by the time I get to a thread, the regulars have done so to such effect that anything I added would largely be redundant.

tried to post last night, got an error msg that i was trying to post too quickly

Just making sure I can make it through all right (or is that alright? I am not sure if alright really exists, all right?)

This is my token First Comment. I read often, comment rarely.

Hello everyone!

Kelly, I call unfair. By posting the entire spam sketch you prevented the rest of us from making any related comments involving that word, and now the joke I planned to make is pining for the fjords.

Very clever ploy to get people to comment who rarely do. Well played!

@Philip (and Den!s)

I had an error just now saying “You’re posting comments too quickly. Slow down.”

I got one of those on (I think) the Quackometer blog the other day. It obviously hasn’t seen my type.

Anyway, just posting to see if this shows up.

Obviously, that should be “Me type” at the end, not “my type”.

I miss the preview function.

Alright is correct, and follows the same pattern and prefix found in words such as altogether, although, and so on. There’s a random effort to declare it incorrect in recent years, for no readily apparent reason.

Also, I just got a “posting comments too quickly” message, despite my last comment being last night. Buggy as hell this comment system is.

I don’t know what a sockpuppet is, so I’m asking it in the comments, which might be sockpuppetry, but I don’t know!?

Love my RI, hope this will do the cookie thing. Finding the whole wordpress thing frustrating! Not able to roam around the way I used to! Arggh!

“(Just wish killfile worked…I miss being able to block Thingy’s drooling)”

Me, too. There was a version of killfile that worked on very old (2006 era) versions of WordPress, but none currently extant work on any modern WP version. Sigh.

Although the recently beseiged city of Chicago is still reeling** from Autism One’s devastating assault last weekend, within 2 weeks another wave of pseudo-science will crash upon it in the form of the Health Freedom Expo. Shall there be no mercy?

The gathering of the woos will include anti-vaxxers, Canaries, HIV/AIDS denialists, misinformationists Bell, Noory and Trudeau, health freedom fighter MIke Adams, alt meddlers Carolyn Dean and Robert O. Young, Chinese and Indian quackery, AJW, the Geiers, anti-FDA attorney Jonathan Emord ( a one-man ANH) and a play list of documentaries that would be enough to stop any self-respecting sceptic in his or her tracks. For 45 USD, a person be subjected to all manner of facsimile medicine, ersatz science and nonsense for 3 days, luncheon extra.

** if a large city can reel.


When I say,”stop in their tracks”, I do not in any way, shape or form intend to imply that sceptics will be *stopped* by this rancorous display of blithering idiocy: no, I just mean they’ll stop momentarily, scratch their collectives heads and say- “Oh f@ck, that’s breathtakingly stupid!” or suchlike.

Sceptics aren’t easily discouraged.

FWIW, I have not commented on insolence since the changeover. I have commented elsewhere in sciblogs, and have commented occasionally here prior to the change.

Do I end up in moderation or not?

I read RI each time a new post comes out, but rarely comment. I’d just like to say thanks to all the commenters for making this blog a great read (even though it’s great already)

I’m a regular reader, but haven’t commented as yet. As a frequenter and fan of the Stop the AVN facebook page, I’m enraged by the actions of Meryl Dorey and Judy Wilyman over the past few days in their harassment of a grieving family (the McCaffereys). Please excuse the links, but this vile behaviour deserves the sort of Insolence only Orac and his readers can express.

Not one to make comments usually, as the regulars usually cover what I want to say so much better than I can.
And I see someone beat me to the Monty Python spam reference, curses!

@Denice Walter:

I hope there’s chem trail nutters there. I find them entertaining, for some reason.

Let’s just put this here before I go to bed. I’ll check back tomorrow to see if it made it through with no trouble.
‘night, all.

There’s a random effort to declare it incorrect in recent years, for no readily apparent reason.

I suppose that depends on what one considers to be “recent years.” My 1944 Fowler craps all over it, for better or worse. MW10 is predictably indifferent. CMOS 15 (a deplorable revenue-raising effort if ever there was one) tepidly suggests “avoid.” The 1957 Partridge Usage and Abusage has the most detailed condemnation that I’m aware of offhand.Mind you, I’m not necessarily endorsing it, but the latter observation is that there is no circumstance in which one would actually use “all ready” to mean already, nor “all most” for almost.

I hope this spurious comment is spelled properly, without preview and other necessities of web life. Is this what is required to get the sidebars to update?

It’s been a while since I’ve commented here, but I still read and want to be able to if I think I have anything to add.

And that’s why I don’t comment so much anymore. By the time I get to a thread, everything I want to say has been said and very often said better than I could have done.

Testing to see if this goes through.

I ran into the “commenting too quickly” thing that others above have remarked about. I have no idea what the standards are for “commenting too quickly”, as it had been several minutes since my previous post (which was to a different blog on this site).

Another frequent lurker making sure that commenting privileges are intact. Just in case…

I’m only an occasional commenter, but should get this taken care of here.

Nice site thanks…

(So tempted to stop after the ellipses, but I value RI’s input too much. Just testing to see if my posting privileges still work; FYI I’m seeing the sidebar update properly on a rather-dated version of IE.)

— Steve

Time to check what email address I actually use to comment. Probably the one that’s filled in automatically. Testing…


@ Denice: The only time Chicago would reel is if they outlawed kiełbasa.

Since this is an open thread, I’m going to complain about my gym — Goodlife Fitness allows way too much woo to inhabit its spaces. In my gym, you can access a chiropractor of the sort who thinks you can cure ear infections (et cetera) with chiropractic, and promotes accupuncture and various other totally dubious stuff. There’s also a massage therapy suite, and the RMTs there seem to think they can help with an awful lot more stuff than parsimony would suggest is plausible, and there’s a lot of “detoxification” crap floating around generally.

They also have a good science-based physiotherapy clinic, but the clinic only works with people with sports injuries.

I go there to work out because it’s convenient, and my trainer is a kinesiology grad with a level head on her shoulders, but I keep having to forcibly restrain myself from taking a Sharpie to the chiropractor’s shit and writing “QUACK,” “FRAUD,” “FAKE” and similar sentiments all over it.

Trying to comment again. Tried twice yesterday but got the “slow down” error message, despite being a compulsive reader and scarce commenter.

… giving out lists of numbers.

So far today it has been the Vehicle Identification Number for the used car we bought this weekend to replace the one totaled by an uninsured driver, the mail order prescription member ID number about a question on my kid’s heart meds, plus its prescription number, and now the medical insurance number for the kid’s post surgical medical rehab.

Now I have to go to the credit union office to sort out the auto loan. Oh, crud, I just saw another phone call I have to make in regards to getting another child’s AP scores to the college she will be attending next fall.

There is a reason my youngest was upset when she turned eighteen last month. She does not want to do grown up things. Next month she starts learning to drive, because we are making her get a driver’s license.

My turn

@Anton P. Nym

FYI I’m seeing the sidebar update properly on a rather-dated version of IE.

No..No..Noooooo.. Not IE. Never!

blah blah, nothing profound or witty from me atm, just getting first comment out of the way.

Robert, read the link….a whole lotta burning stupid in the comments.

So that’s why it let me through! I posted on something yesterday and said, “I wonder if I’ll get on the ‘list.’

Just curious – are you allowed to go through and ban previous commenters?

Not that I really post at all, still enjoy reading and would like to have the option at least, so testing.

Just checking in with my positively-ancient laptop… and saw the “latest post” section wasn’t updating on this ol’ thing. So I’m posting this in case this goes to the mod. queue

— Steve

The “latest post” feature now seems to work on my laptop, using Windows 7 and Chrome. Thanks for that.

Well I’m back from Europe and I missed all of you. Hoping this gets through…I’ll probably need some expert computer advice…again.

@ lilady:

Well, you certainly picked an interesting time to visit as the Euro is put on life support… hope you took advantage of this …

@ Denice Walter: I did manage to spend some of the Euros…on a liter of fresh pressed olive oil, a decorative ceramic olive oil cruet and a “cucina” ceramic plaque…for daughter’s kitchen. We travel “light” on our vacations and had enough room to jam the liter of olive oil and the ceramics in our two small checked bags.

Deruta is just one of the walled towns we visited. I shlepped through the Vatican museum tour and through the narrow cobble-stoned byways of these medieval fortress/towns…all in an effort to work off the calories from the yummy Umbrian food and wines. I’ve eaten enough pasta and black truffles to last me for the foreseeable future. (I even ate some wild boar…pronounced as “chingallie”)

We spent a few days in Bad Godesberg, Germany where we were “indulging” in Kolsch…the light brew beer, unique to Cologne. I, of course, had an assortment of great wursts and the delicate pastries from the konditorei (bakery).

We travel “light” on our vacations and had enough room to jam the liter of olive oil and the ceramics in our two small checked bags.

This reminds me of the time my college girlfriend’s Spanish grandmother innocently tried to bring an entire jamón ibérico in her carry-on for a visit. Customs was quite upset, as I understand. And they kept the ham.

@ Narad: (Before 9-11)…we used to shlep bagels and T-Bone steaks for our German friends…and they would reciprocate with wines and mettwurst. The damn mettwurst-sniffing dogs at the airport have spoiled it all for us.

At hubby’s retirement party a few years back, several of his German colleagues came with a gift of “mettwurst”. We were waiting for him to tuck into the wurst the following day and were not disappointed. His good buddy went to the local konditorei and had a huge chunk of marzipan shaped and tinted as a mettwurst. Sort of like the marzipan pigs available around the Christmas holiday.

Just reporting for shill duty, sir!

And please remind accounting that the checks have been running late. I have a nice offer from Boiron if Merck doesn’t shape up and pay as promised.

I prepared my next batch of beer; it’s gonna be a barley wine with 1.109 of initial gravity and 1.027 of final gravity giving 10.5% of alcohol by volume. 150g of hops giving a final IBU of 113 and a recipe color of 20 degree for a batch of 2 imperial gallons of beer.

should be potent enough…


@tsu dho nimh,

you don’t want to work with a brewery do you??

Narad: A family friend- a nice Irish woman with a Mexican husband and two kids, went down to visit hubby’s family and bought some hemp baskets. They subsequently set off sniffer dogs at two airports, and on their final leg, the agents asked to search their belongings and found the baskets. A good laugh was had by all- and the husband got to keep his weed, which slipped right by the dogs and agents. (Should mention that said husband is a fine upstanding guy, not an addict.)

When we went to hubby’s ancestral home we bought a cast iron poffertjes pan at the Dutch version of Macy’s* (seriously, this department store was given a tourist destination, but when we went through the door it was like being at my local Macy’s!). And during that week bought a couple of metal boxes with Dutch cookies/candies.

When we left I packed them all in the same little suitcase. When we arrived home it had a big ribbon around it that said “Security Checked.” It seems that cast iron pans and tins full of goodies come up on X-rays as suspicious.

I now make very good poffertjes. I think the secret is the melted butter I put into the holes before I fill them with yeasty batter from a disposable pastry bag.

* It was “De Bijenkorf” on Dam Square across from the Palace. It is where there was some dude dressed as Neptune hung out. He charged a fee for our teenage children to pose with him. Then our teenage children insisted on taking the bus back to our hotel in Leidseplein to wash their hair because the guy had placed his hands on their heads.

So along with kid surgery, one of our cars was totaled by a student driver whose parents apparently forgot to pay their car insurance. So our insurance company had them listed as “underinsured.”

Now here is the freaky part: the vehicular victim was a 1995 Toyota Corolla DX with a bit under 130 thousand miles (yes, city driving means higher premiums but lower mileage). It had some body work done it recently because I sideswiped a car leaving a parking space on a narrow arterial because I stupidly glanced at some empty store windows (it was at least 51% my fault, I also agreed that it did not need to be repaired to perfection so the deductible was reduced by $50).

Today I received the settlement check for the loss for our seventeen year old care, it was about five thousand dollars! Whoa! We thought it was worth half that much. Apparently the low miles and actually getting it serviced on a regular basis is a way to keep up its value. Who knew?

Now our auto insurance premium has increased because the replacement car is less than a decade old. It is a 2009 Volkswagen with touchy brakes and freaky driver side door locks.

I hate buying cars. This explains why we have not had a care payment in the last seven years.

Rats, I cannot type… “old care” was supposed to be “old car.” The same goes for “care payment”, which is obviously referring to the sixty months of “car payments.”

Is there some subliminal reason that I repeated “care” instead of “car”?

Am I channeling issues I have with financing? I know that the settlement over what we paid for a down payment on the newer vehicle is going to an old home equity loan (seriously, it has a higher percentage rate… it is really over 3%).

Or is it something less mathematical, like my kids? I just recently had a dream where I was being lead by a person through a university hospital system only to get separated and become lost.

Then I tried to call that person (Julia) on my cell phone. At first the thing I pulled out of my pocket was a TV remote (weird!), then when I pulled “phone” out of my pocket it showed the name “Julia”, but then morphed into a different screen. The system would not settle down enough to make any kind of selection.

Well that was a modern nightmare.

Back from a conference in Hungary and going through all the stuff that popped up meantime. I think I’ve already commented since the new version of SB came to life but I’m not sure. So, here I am.

@ Chris
Poffertjes pan? I need a new one, I have the sort for a gas stove and can’t use it on the new shiny induction thingy… Alas, the Netherlands are a bit far from my current abode. Which reminds me that my USian friend needs a poppy seed grinder, a typically Central European kitchen gadget, while poppy seed fillings are a staple in Central European pastries. I’ll remind the guerrila mailman of the risks of carrying odd kitchenware across the pond.

@ Chris:

The reason is STRESS. We make errors based on meaning, visual apppearnce of letters and keyboard position.I wouldn’t put much into the Freusdian slip style analysis.

Performance varies with arousal in an inverted U- so very high or very low arousal leads to problems.

I’m sure things will be getting better post-hospital and car-purchase. Except for the weather- actually, I think that I espied a little sun today- SHOCKING. Will wonders ever cease?

@ Chris: It appears to me that you are decompressing after your trip to Minnesota…and simply did NOT need the added complication of a totaled car. Spending time in the hospital with your child is no walk in the park…been there…done that.

We all missed you and were concerned about you and your son. Please know that we are delighted to have you back with us…especially me 🙂

I have to say, the lack of spam after this change is welcome.

The continued “posting comments too quickly” messages even when it’s been hours or days since the last comment, not so much.

Just testing some entity support: ≠ ∃ ∴ ζ ϖ ‰ ♣ (no seals).

Boy did I misunderstand. I thought the new comment feature meant that there was a roster of approved commenters, & that link-heavy comments from this roster wouldn’t go into moderation. Oh well.

Chris, you are due some good luck on ANY front. I have a different car-buying strategy — buy a new, cheap car and drive it until it won’t go any more. In 40 years of car owning, I’ve had a total of 4, and I lived out where just going to the store is a 10 mile round trip. That said, I am considering replacing the Honda Civic Hybrid with a more satisfactory car…and then gas keeps going up.

Autistic Lurker — the beer sounds great. I was an enthusiastic beer brewer into my 30s, and then married a guy who was not a beer-drinker. It sort of took the fun out of it.

LiisaW — got an induction stove top cooker thingy a few years ago. On the whole I really like it, but had to replace a lot of saute pans, steamers and so on. The good news is that it all happened around the time my stepson & daughter-in-law set up housekeeping here, so the pots went to a good home and I could slowly replace things with what I like. My workhorse items are enamel-covered cast iron; I found a pretty complete set in a second-hand store.

Liz Ditz:

I have a different car-buying strategy — buy a new, cheap car and drive it until it won’t go any more.

That is our usual strategy, we have never had a trade-in (two were sold as scrap). We had hoped the seventeen year old car would keep going for another five years. But, alas! An underinsured student driver came through the intersection and hit it.

It was a matter of cost since we will be paying college tuition for three kids next fall. Fortunately our health insurance will be paying for thirty six sessions of cardiac rehab for oldest son.

I will stick to a gas stove. I am not sure how one can roast a pepper or a marshmallow with an induction stove top.

Chris asked, ” I am not sure how one can roast a pepper or a marshmallow with an induction stove top.”

That’s what the gas-powered burners on the bbq are for. Out here in California we are always prepared.

Sorry, we are primitive. We only barbecue with charcoal.

And it was living in Ft. Ord, CA as a kid that we discovered we could roast marshmallows on the gas range. We also had view of the bay (on Ardennes Circle) That part of the old fort is still in use as housing for the Navy’s language school.

It is kind of fun to get into Google Earth and “fly” around places I where I lived as an Army brat.

@Liz ditz, Thanks for the comment, I was despairing that no one here is a beer brewer or at a minimum, a good beer taster (vive la Rochefort)… you made my day.


@ Chris: Hmmm, roasting peppers using my dual fuel range (gas cook top and electric oven/broiler); I use the electric broiler.

Core and seed the peppers, cut in halves or thirds. Place skin side up on a large cookie sheet just barely beneath the broiler and let them be under the broiler, until the skin is charred and blistered.

Quickly, slide the charred peppers into a brown paper grocery bag, sealing tightly. Place the sealed bag atop the cookie sheet (the juices will seep through the bottom of the bag). Let rest for about 1/2 hour and just peal the skin off.

I further prepare them with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped garlic, salt, pepper and flat-leaf parsley. Yummy on an antipasti platter or on crusty bread with fresh buffalo milk mozzarella.

@Autistic Lurker
At my house we’ll be bottling an IPA this weekend. Centennial, Cascade, and Chinook hops (the last two, combined, added halfway through then again finishing). I’m not actually the brewer – just the assistant.

I use the flame for one pepper. There is no reason to turn on the electric oven for one pepper. I have also found that I can sweat them in a small clean sauce pan with a cover. That way I don’t have to find a paper bag, and I will be using the pan soon anyway.

Also I don’t think it would work for marshmallows.

By the way, since my sister convinced her husband and my dad to go gluten free I needed something for the Christmas goodies I send. So I went to the Martha Stewart website and downloaded a peppermint marshmallow recipe.

I fired up my monster KitchenAid stand mixer to literally whip those up. The ten minutes of high speed whipping of increasingly thickening gelatin/sugar/flavor mixture made the poor machine heat up. Then it was pretty sticky to spread it over a well oiled jellyroll sheet pan.

I sprinkled it with white, red and green decorating sugars. Then I used small cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Some were very small (meant for hor d’oeuvres, like a tiny carrot diamond or heart).

Apparently they were very popular with my family. Even those who did go gluten free. My sister-in-law was very happy to learn one can make marshmallows since none are available where my brother is presently stationed (a developing country). Then she became disappointed when she found out it required a real stand mixer (she gets revenge by writing about the absolutely delicious mangoes falling from the trees in their yard!).

“Even those who did go gluten free.” should be “Even those who did not go gluten free.”

Chemmomo:At my house we’ll be bottling an IPA this weekend. Centennial, Cascade, and Chinook hops

I remember when “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” was just entering the vernacular I was living in a dorm. On the male wing of our dormitory house was young man who brewed beer in his closet. It was quite amusing when some of the bottle blew up and made his clothing smell a bit.

He was a lovely man who spent about three years as a sophomore. That is until he got a girlfriend who made him study. She was quite driven academically, and now has a PhD. I really want my younger son to meet a woman like her.

Next week is an open house in our old dorm. They are going to let us take a last peek before they tear it down to build a new dorm with private bathrooms. I will be there with my camera!

When I was in college, the homebrewers I knew only attempted stouts and browns. To my knowledge, none exploded.

Have you ever roasted the marshmellows over the charcoal coals? : – ) mmmmmm but no comparison to a real campfire.

I’ve been cooking with gas since 1995 and won’t go back. I have not attempted roasting the marshmellows on the gas burner. But I do have an 8-year old who’d be willing to try.

This week our movie choice started out on planet earth (and all but one character stayed there). Next week the kids get to pick and we’ll probably be in a galaxy far, far away again.

Gluten free? How can a person survive without bread flour, loaded with gluten, to make chewy crusty bread?

I’m drying out now, after all the Orvieto wine I imbibed in Italy and the Kolsch beer that I drank in Germany. Dieting too, with salads, veggies and smaller portions.


Have you ever roasted the marshmellows over the charcoal coals? : – ) mmmmmm but no comparison to a real campfire.

Yes, we have. Next winter when the air is cold, introduce your child to roasting a marshmallow on a gas burner with a fork. It is magical.


How can a person survive without bread flour, loaded with gluten, to make chewy crusty bread?

I do not know. It is a mystery to me on how one exists without crusty bread. But the sister in question was born lactose intolerant (in the the early 1960s I knew of food issues as a kid!), so gluten issues are not a bit stretch for her. She also lives in Arizona where chewy crusty bread is not common.

Personally I think it is a good thing that my sisters and I are separated by over a thousand miles.

re Marshmellows on gas: how cold?

There is off season camping in my future.

How about Pacific Northwest in June? It has barely left the 50s ( F). The rain would put out any charcoal grill. It is like we had a couple weeks of summer in May, and then we are back to February weather. The problem is that the green beans I planted in May are now rotting in the ground because it is too cold, again.

It depends on where you are in California, though there were cold foggy days in Monterey when I was a kid (longest time I ever spent in one area was there, first a a year and a half in Pacific Grove when my dad was in Vietnam, and finally two years in Ft. Ord).

This blog post will explain what I am whining about: Depressing But True. We are a week into June and already had the average rainfall we typically get for the entire month.

I’m about as far south as you can get. The “normal” forecast for So Cal in June is the marine layer clears only between 2 and 3 pm, rather than will it clear up at 10am or at noon? like we’ve got the rest of the year.

Two years ago, June was nice and the gloom hit in July. This year we had June Gloom on Monday (June 4), and a heat wave ever since. And, yes, we’re short on rainfall: the whole month of March is usually green (i.e., stuff grows), and we were only green for about a week.

We have grilled in the rain, but only the wussy So Cal type rain, not downpours.

After spending a whole Saturday trying to get to grips with untold numbers of species concepts, I’m in desperate need of a whole heap of not-at-all Respectful Insolence.
And this is a test to see if I get held up for moderation or not, according to theories further up in the thread I shouldn’t…

We have grilled when there is precipitation, but it is usually the light showers, but not the downpours we have had recently.

Though they are still not like the rain that is experienced in the Midwest. The other week when we were Minnesota we got covered in clouds so dark that the street lights went on at noon. Then the skies opened up with a massive amount of rain. And that was the day after there was a tornado warning.

Thanks you everyone for your good beer comments; they’re making my days and actually, I’d suggest a meetup when we (me and my prof) will make beer at school (the prof want to start a research program in beer making and we have a lot of the work done so it should be a reality within a year).


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