Your Emergency Holographic Backup Pixel Scroll 4/29/16 Second Pixel Scroll and Straight On Till Morning

(1) RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. One of the biggest news stories in the world today — “Large Hadron Collider: Weasel causes shutdown”.

The Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at Cern is offline after a short circuit – caused by a weasel.

The unfortunate creature did not survive the encounter with a high-voltage transformer at the site near Geneva in Switzerland.

The LHC was running when a “severe electrical perturbation” occurred in the early hours of Friday morning.

What did they discover when they bombarded the weasel with neutrinos? That it just made him mad?

(2) TIME FOR REFLECTION. They took the covers off the mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope for the next round of work, the BBC reports.

Revealed for the first time in all its glory – the main mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be launched in 2018.

JWST is regarded as the successor to Hubble, and will carry technologies capable of detecting the light from the first stars to shine in the Universe.

Paramount in that quest will be a large primary reflecting surface.

And with a width of 6.5m, JWST’s will have roughly seven times the light-collecting area of Hubble’s mirror.

It is so big in fact that it must be capable of folding. Only by turning the edges inwards will the beryllium segments fit inside the telescope’s launch rocket.

The observatory is currently under construction at the US space agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

When in recent months engineers stuck down the segments to their support structure, each hexagon had a cover on it.

Only now, as the engineers prepare to move to the next stage of assembly, have those covers been removed to reveal the full mirror….

Leaving such a sensitive surface exposed even for a short time may appear risky. The fear would be that it might get scratched. But the European Space Agency’s JWST project scientist, Pierre Ferruit, said that was unlikely.

“The main danger is to get some accumulation of dust. But it’s a cleanroom so that accumulation is very slow,” he told BBC News.

“They need to rotate the telescope to get access to the back, and the protective covers were only resting on the mirror segments, so they had to be removed before the rotation.

“When the mirror is upside down, the exposure to dust will be much less, and I doubt anyone will be allowed to walk underneath.”

(3) NEWT SCAMANDER SCREENPLAY. The “Thursday Book Beat” post at Women Write About Comics alerts Harry Potter fans that another Rowling publication is on the way.

Potterheads might not be getting an eighth novel in the Harry Potter series, but J.K. Rowling seems committed to giving her fans new material to devour. She announced that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them wouldn’t just be available as a film on November 18, but that the screenplay would also be published on November 19. Newt Scamander’s adventures in the United States may be a balm for readers who can’t get to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, though this announcement also begs the question: why publish the screenplay in the first place when the film will still come out first?

(4) REUBEN NOMINEES. The five cartoonists nominated for this year’s Reuben Award have been announced. This award is generally considered the highest honor a US cartoonist can receive. It is presented yearly by the National Cartoonists Society.

  • Lynda Barry
  • Stephan Pastis
  • Hilary Price
  • Michael Ramirez
  • Mark Tatulli

The nominees in the rest of the categories are here at Comics Beat.

(5) CLASS OFFERED BY RAMBO AND SWIRSKY. Rachel Swirsky posted details on  “Retelling and retaling: Take a class with me and Cat Rambo”

Take an online class from me and Cat Rambo! May 21, 9:30-11:30 AM, Pacific Time.

Personally, I love retellings. As a kid, I had a collection of picture books retelling the Cinderella story in a dozen different settings. SFWA president Cat Rambo and I are teaching a class on the subject.

(6) EDELMAN’S LATEST ALSO HIS EARLIEST. Scott Edelman time travels to 2001 and interviews Samuel R. Delany for Episode 7 of Eating the Fantastic.

The latest episode of Eating the Fantastic was recorded 15 years before Eating the Fantastic began.

How is that possible?

Well, when it comes to Chip Delany, all things are possible.

On June 18, 2001, while Chip was in the middle of a book tour supporting the 25th anniversary republication of Dhalgren, I interviewed him at Bistro Bis in the Hotel George. The recording I made that day wasn’t created to be heard, but was merely a tool so it could be transcribed and run as text in Science Fiction Weekly, a site I edited during my 13 years at the Syfy Channel….

Samuel R. Delany and Scott Edelman

Samuel R. Delany and Scott Edelman

Who’ll be on the next installment of this podcast?

I’m not yet sure of the identity of my next guest, but I’ll be at StokerCon in Las Vegas the second weekend of May—where I’ll either win a Stoker Award or, in losing, tie at six for the most nominations without a win—and while there I plan to record several new episodes.

So it might be award-winning poet Linda Addison. Or writer Mary Turzillo, who won a Nebula Award for a story I published when I edited Science Fiction Age. Or it could be writer Gene O’Neill, with whom I attended the Clarion writers workshop way back in 1979 when we were still both getting started. (More time traveling!)

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • April 29, 1983 — David Bowie stars in Tony Scott’s vampire film The Hunger.
  • April 29, 1983Something Wicked This Way Comes opens in theaters.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL

  • Born April 29, 1955  — Kate Mulgrew.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born April 29, 1923 — Director Irvin “Kersh” Kershner is born in Philadelphia.

(10) VOTE. The Internet Movie Database is running a poll on “Your favorite ship’s commander?”

Everybody is in there from Kirk, Picard and Janeway, to the captain of The Love Boat, and Captain Kangaroo….

(11) READ TIM PRATT. Rachel Swirsky’s latest story recommendation — “Friday read! ‘Cup and Table’ by Tim Pratt”.

Cup and Table” is my favorite of Tim Pratt’s stories–and it has a lot of competition. To explain how much competition, let me tell an anecdote about the audio magazine I used to edit, PodCastle.

I was no longer on staff when this happened, but at one point, the editors I who took over after I left received a letter. That letter complained of how many stories about lesbians were in the magazine, arguing that PodCastle should just be called LesbianCastle. One of the editors deviously ran the numbers and found that, proportionally, they did not actually run that many stories about lesbians. However, they did run a surprisingly high percentage of Tim Pratt stories. A percentage that, in fact, exceeded the percentage of stories about lesbians. He suggested that they call themselves PrattCastle instead.

(12) LIFE IN THE VAST LANE. In BBC’s article “Where to find life in the blackest vacuum of outer space” there is, says Chip Hitchcock, a “Shoutout to Hoyle, but not Anderson (who IIRC wrote about something much more like their topic).”

On the face of it space is dark, cold and full of lethal radiation – but maybe life has found a way to cling on in the blackness

First, we had better agree on what counts as “life”. It does not necessarily have to look like anything familiar.

As an extreme case, we can imagine something like the Black Cloud in astronomer Fred Hoyle’s classic 1959 science-fiction novel of that name: a kind of sentient gas that floats around in interstellar space, and is surprised to discover life on a planet.

But Hoyle could not offer a plausible explanation for how a gas, with an unspecified chemical make-up, could become intelligent. We probably need to imagine something literally a bit more solid.

While we cannot be sure that all life is carbon-based, as it is on Earth, there are good reasons to think that it is likely. Carbon is much more versatile as a building block for complex molecules than, say, silicon, the favourite element for speculations about alternative alien biochemistries.

(13) WARP SPEED. Larry Correia’s lengthy “Europe Trip Recap” doesn’t end in time to avoid an extraneous complaint about the LA Times’ Hugo coverage. Otherwise it’s an entertaining account of his just-completed overseas tour.

The next day we drove across all of Germany to the Czech Republic, and I got to experience the autobahn, which my whole life has been this sort of mythical place that has no speed limits, and is filled with drivers that understand slow traffic stays right, and where they never camp in the left lane, and in fact, if you’re blocking the left lane, they’ll come right up on your bumper at 100 miles an hour, honking, and flashing their lights. It was a place devoid of mercy, unforgiving of weakness. So we set out.

Apparently there are two kinds of tourist drivers on the autobahn. Those who are weak, fearful, whose crying pillows smell of lilacs and shame, who stay in the truck lane, or who wander out into the left occasionally, timidly, to be honked at and chased aside by awesome Teutonic Super Drivers…

And the other kind is the American who manages to average 180km an hour across all of Germany in a Volvo diesel station wagon.

It was AMAZING. I felt like a race car driver across an entire country. You know why German cars don’t have cup holders? Because if you stop to drink while driving, YOU WILL DIE. And you should. You need to be on. I’d get a gap, jump out to the left, floor it (because fuel economy is for hippies I’m on the mother f’ing autobahn!),  and nobody pulls out in front of me in a minivan to enforce their personal speed limit, people ahead of me going slower (like 100mph) immediately get out of the way, and when some bad ass comes up behind me in a super car, I get out of his way, and then they blast past me like I’m standing still.

It was beautiful.

(14) CUNIEFORM COMPUTING. ScreenRant hopes it has listed “12 Facts You Don’t Know About George R.R. Martin” but chances are you already know all but a couple of them.

4. The Magic of the Wordstar 4.0 Computer

Martin is a dedicated user of the WordStar word processor software, which was the preeminent word processor back in the 1980s, that ran on Microsoft DOS. Martin is one of a handful of famous writers who use the WordStar 4.0 Computer that utilizes a DOS operating system. The other notable users are William F. Buckley Jr., Ralph Ellison, Robert J Sawyer, Anne Rice, and Andy Breckman (of the tv show Monk). So he’s one of the few people left on planet Earth that uses this word processor.

In an interview with Conan O’Brien, George R. R. Martin explained his reason for choosing such a classic program. “Well, I actually like it. It does everything I want a word processing program to do, and it doesn’t do anything else,” Martin said. “I don’t want any help. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lowercase letter and it becomes a capital. I don’t want a capital! If I’d wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work a shift key!”

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

154 thoughts on “Your Emergency Holographic Backup Pixel Scroll 4/29/16 Second Pixel Scroll and Straight On Till Morning

  1. Cora Buhlert said:

    Ditto for American cheese, there are probably small producers that make excellent cheese, but most of what you find in US supermarkets is pretty bad.

    Tillamook Extra Sharp is my favorite cheddar of all time and I can get it in the supermarkets around here (Oregon, also where Tillamook is located). I’ve seen it for sale at the other end of the country, but I’m not sure if any makes it out of the US.

    They also make some terrific ice cream, but I don’t know if it’s even sold outside of Oregon.

  2. Kyra: I read most of those and agree they were good. Although I still say “Bryony and Roses” is better than “Uprooted”. “Fifth Season” is my bestest, easily.

    “Lovecraft Country” really impressed me of this year’s novels, too.

    There’s a LOT of good American chocolate nowadays. Even in grocery stores that regular people can afford. And a lot of terrible European chocolate.* White “chocolate” has no right to that name, since it doesn’t have any cocoa in it. Plus it’s just gross.

    Petrea: all Tillamook products are available in California. Yay.

    I miss WordPerfect, myself — I used that up until the death of my XP machine.

    *(So maybe quality chocolate is another thing Larry doesn’t know squat about?)

  3. White chocolate is absolutely entitled to the name! Its most important ingredient (and a minimum of 20% by law) is cocoa butter, the oils from the cocoa bean! Nothing else has the same mouthfeel! Now it’s true that there’s a lot of inferior white chocolate around, and a lot of things that look like white chocolate and aren’t, but the same could be said for chocolate.

    Humph.

  4. White chocolate is absolutely entitled to the name! Its most important ingredient (and a minimum of 20% by law) is cocoa butter, the oils from the cocoa bean! Nothing else has the same mouthfeel! Now it’s true that there’s a lot of inferior white chocolate around, and a lot of things that look like white chocolate and aren’t, but the same could be said for chocolate.

    Humph.

    Yup, it’s the cocoa butter that makes the chocolate, including white chocolate. Good chocolate should contain no others fats than cocoa butter.

  5. I loved Bryony and Roses.

    All this chocolate talk is making me wistful. I’ve not fund a good reliable chocolate which is kosher and dairy free. I like sweet not bitter. I was a big Godiva fan, liked Ghiridelli, I do occasionally find interesting chocolates at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I enjoyed chocolate when I was traveling around Germany, Switzerland, and Amsterdam back in 1984.

  6. Small print is not the place to put the information that you’ve used nuts in your chocolate. Not mentioning it at all is unforgivable, end of discussion.

    With proper precautions, I quite like Swiss, Belgian, and German chocolate. I like Ghirardelli chocolate. The chocolate found in little, local chocolate shops is nearly always much better.

    But sometimes I want Hershey, the chocolate of my childhood. So Sue me.

  7. @Lis Carey

    Small print is not the place to put the information that you’ve used nuts in your chocolate. Not mentioning it at all is unforgivable, end of discussion.

    Over here, information regarding potential allergens generally shows up with the ingredient list and it’s assumed that anybody who has allergy issues will check out the ingredient list.

    I never buy a new to me product without checking the ingredient list first, especially as my issues are not caused by one of the common allergy triggers. Though I remember that when I checked out ingredient lists in the US, it was considered weird.

    And of course, the US has a lot more warning labels in general, including rather obvious ones like “Warning: Coffee may be hot”

  8. (11) This is just to note that I would approve of a podcast comprised entirely of fantasy stories about lesbians. If I ever had a spare lifetime to spend on additional projects, I might well organize one.

  9. @ tofu

    So I guess what I’m asking… has anyone read any novel that really blew them away so far in 2016?

    I just finished T. Kingfisher’s The Raven and the Reindeer yesterday and love it with the blazing fire of a thousand suns, but this is largely due to it pushing a much of my personal buttons so I can’t guarantee that my reaction generalizes.

  10. And of course, the US has a lot more warning labels in general, including rather obvious ones like “Warning: Coffee may be hot”

    The reasoning for that one was trying to pass along the liability to the customer after an elderly woman got third degree burns on 6% of her body from a spilled cup of coffee (following 700 previous burn complaints). And it worked in the court of public opinion, if not in the actual court. It turned the woman into a laughing-stock, because it’s obvious that coffee is hot.

  11. Amoxtli: It turned the woman into a laughing-stock, because it’s obvious that coffee is hot.

    Only with the people who didn’t read the actual details of the case.

    Although subsequent developments in the courtroom turned Liebeck and her case into objects of derision, it’s worth noting that she actually suffered legitimate injuries from the accident. Liebeck’s sweatpants absorbed the hot coffee and held it next to her skin, which helped lead to third degree burns on six percent of her body. Liebeck ended up spending eight days in the hospital and undergoing skin grafts to counter the effects of the burns…

    Liebeck had rung up around $11,000 in medical bills as a result of the accident, and she initially approached McDonald’s asking for $20,000 to cover her medical bills, future medical expenses, and lost income. In a move McDonald’s surely lived to regret, the restaurant countered with a lowball offer of $800.

    McDonald’s had a policy of serving its coffee at temperatures ranging from 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit (82 – 88C) (they have since lowered their standard temperature). Despite legal advice to do so, McDonald’s arrogantly refused to settle. Eventually the woman received $160,000 in compensatory damages and $480,000 punitive damages (an at least 1/3 of the total amount would have gone to her attorneys).

    It’s common for companies in the U.S. to try to reduce their legal liability by such disclaimers as “Warning: Coffee may be hot”. But this does not provide blanket legal protection, in cases where it’s demonstrated that the company had good reason to believe that their product or practice was one with a reasonable expectation of injury or death.

  12. @Stoic Cynic

    To my taste American mass production chocolate is crippled by a love of milk chocolate (or, sometimes, shudder of shudder – white ‘chocolate’). We tend to love the sweet profile. My own taste in chocolate though leans towards bitter. European chocolate is more accepting of that.

    It’s funny you would say that. As a Swiss, my perception is that Americans who have outgrown mainstream chocolate tastes signal their “chocolate virtue” by fetishizing very dark chocolate. Sure, there were Swiss who preferred dark chocolate, but that had cocoa content of 50-60%, inconspicuously mentioned somewhere on the packaging. Now that Swiss producers try to cater to the taste of those Americans who eat import chocolate, they have packaging calling out their “99% Cocoa” in large letters.

    Personally, I love white chocolate, but only of certain brands. I suspect it’s more susceptible to melting, so many producers spoil the taste to keep it melt proof (my impression was that this was the problem with mainstream US milk chocolate — it was more temperature resistant than Swiss chocolate, but that invariably ruined the taste).

  13. Dang it, this comment thread has made me crave Tillamook and Ghirardelli and I told myself I’d be cutting back on calories this month. Maybe if I just buy a liiittle bit…

    Re: the coffee thing, there was a neat documentary on Netflix a while back that covered the story rather well (mostly from the consumer’s side). I’m not sure if it’s still available, but I actually learned some things. I think it was called “Hot Coffee”.

  14. I was very pleasantly surprised on a recent trip to the Social Security office in the Rotunda (a Baltimore shopping/office building in the midst of a considerable revamp) to see a shiny model of the Webb telescope on display. I only got to look at it briefly, while waiting for the elevator (we somehow took a different path leaving the office), but a return, Webb-centric trip is in order.

  15. “Chocolate: unfortunately, we avoid European chocolates for the most part, as they don’t seem to see the need to call out hazelnuts as a major ingredient. We’d rather not have the first indication being my partner getting sick.”

    Again, depends on part of Europe. In Sweden, they are by law forced to add the text “may contain traces of hazelnut” in the ingredient list. But that one is in Swedish. :/

  16. Tillamook. n. A device in which cheese is accelerated to near lightspeed before being collided with high-purity toast.

    (Not original to this moose, I regret to say.)

  17. I still say “Bryony and Roses” is better than “Uprooted” …

    I have, to my shame, not yet read Bryony and Roses. (Pretty much solely because there doesn’t appear to be a dead tree version available.)

  18. Kyra: I have, to my shame, not yet read Bryony and Roses. (Pretty much solely because there doesn’t appear to be a dead tree version available.)

    If you can stand to download a version of Kindle for PC or Android or Apple, I can lend you mine.

  19. I truly appreciate the offer, but when I reach the point of getting the appropriate software, I should probably just get a copy for myself.

  20. I don’t fetishize dark chocolate and chase it to its utter end.

    if it gets TOO bitter, I don’t like it at all. But for me a lot of american milk chocolate I simply find sweet and without flavor. It’s sweet chocolate-like substance.

  21. @microtherion

    Chocolate virtue signalling?!? *snort*

    Virtue signalling would assume an attempt to impress someone or gain their approval wouldn’t it? I couldn’t care less in that sense. I just like, for myself, bitter and savory flavors more then sweet. Now if I were making a food recommendation to someone I would definitely try to take their tastes in account (if known); otherwise though whether someone else likes or dislikes the same flavors is the very definition of de gustibus. Or is that cosmopolitan indifference virtue signalling? 😛

    @Petrea Mitchell

    On Tillamook: you can actually visit the cheese factory. It’s an interesting day trip if you’re near by. The Blue Heron, also in town, is a cool little shop for cheeses, wines, and such plus has a petting zoo. Then there’s a nice little air museum built in an old US Navy Dirigible hanger. Hopefully that one has bounced back. They had mostly built around a private collection on loan. The owner of the collection decided to relocate his planes. They were scrambling to fill the gap last time we visited.

  22. I tried 95% cocoa chocolate once because it was supposed to be better. Ick.

    And yes, white “chocolate” includes cocoa butter which is an important ingredient in chocolate-the-confection. But if we can have chocolate cake and chocolate milk, then chocolate flavor is about something besides cocoa butter. And including “chocolate” in the the name makes me expect chocolate flavor, not just something that feels like chocolate in my mouth and tastes sweet and vaguely of vanilla maybe.

    The McDonalds thing was also because they were deliberately serving the coffee too hot–it was company policy to serve it that way–to help disguise the taste. They were saving money by using really bad coffee and when things are too hot people can’t taste them as accurately. They had already hurt a number of people, so they knew they were doing damage, but didn’t care. They deserved what they got.

    But a surprising number of people don’t know all that, and that case is often used as one of the arguments that it should be harder for a human to sue a corporation that harmed them.

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  24. Re: McDonalds Coffee Lawsuit

    One of the things about the US doing less with regulations than Europe is that it relies on people pursuing people through the torts system (legal suits) more heavily. We don’t have an agency policing these things, you are expected to sue in court for your injuries, like the Founding generation did.

    As a result of this, the large corporations who’d profit from slipshod practices and procedures have spent several decades trying to delegitimize the tort system, saying that anyone thinking that the should be compensated because you were injured through their negligence or active knowledge of the flaw (see Ford Pinto) of a virtuous large corporation is a whiner, unworthy of being called an adult or an American.

    Thus the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit becoming a byword for personal irresponsibility, and it’s used as a reason for why we need to shut the court house doors to people who’ve been injured. (Never mind that the actual American Founders were a notoriously litigious group.) Because if the torts system is hobbled, and the regulation system toothless, they can go ship whatever they want and it can maim whoever they like without penalty.

  25. Petréa Mitchell on April 30, 2016 at 8:27 pm said:

    Tillamook Extra Sharp is my favorite cheddar of all time and I can get it in the supermarkets around here (Oregon, also where Tillamook is located). I’ve seen it for sale at the other end of the country, but I’m not sure if any makes it out of the US.

    I grew up on two pound blocks of Tillamook Medium. My mother lovingly gave me some Tillamook when I saw her last year. After decades of Cabot, and more recently discovered Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar (OMG, the BEST CHEDDAR EVER) it was … disappointing.

    Anyone who likes Cheddar, I highly recommend Colliers. Trader Joe and Wegman’s carry it in the US.

    Trader Joe also carries Tillamook and Cabot with their other specialty artisan cheeses. I am amused.

  26. Petréa Mitchell said:

    Tillamook Extra Sharp is my favorite cheddar of all time and I can get it in the supermarkets around here (Oregon, also where Tillamook is located). I’ve seen it for sale at the other end of the country, but I’m not sure if any makes it out of the US

    Cabot has a store here that sells what they call their soecilty line of cheeses such as five year aged cheddar. They’re damn good cheeses for eating or for use in cooking. Around ten to fifteen dollars a pound.

    There’s also a specialty cheese store here that has cheeses from damn near everywhere, some of which cost ten dollars or more an once. Those I do not buy, but her fifteen dollar per pound aged cheddar a make for a nice treat.

    And there’s at least a half doze local cheese makers that sell in the Farmers Market. All quite good and rather pleasingly affordable.

  27. So back home my favourite chocolate was Divine – the dark, 70% cocoa one. I upped my chocolate game once and tried the 80 (85?) % one, and it managed to be both bitter and bland at the same time, somehow. It didn’t taste or feel right in my mouth. The only reason I can imagine anyone going above about 70% is to pretend they’re better at chocolate than other people.

    Or they just have different taste to me. That’s possible too.

  28. Oneiros says:

    So back home my favourite chocolate was Divine – the dark, 70% cocoa one. I upped my chocolate game once and tried the 80 (85?) % one, and it managed to be both bitter and bland at the same time, somehow. It didn’t taste or feel right in my mouth. The only reason I can imagine anyone going above about 70% is to pretend they’re better at chocolate than other people.

    Or they just have different taste to me. That’s possible too.

    It depends on who made the chocolate. Micucci’s, an Italian grocer here, carries a line of inexpensive, three dollars a bar, Italian chocolate that’s got amazing taste to it. Their dark is eighty five percent.

    So does chocolate show up often in genre fiction? Other than Ellen Kushner’s Riverside series with its cups of hot chocolate, I’m not recalling any memorable uses of it.

  29. @Cat Eldridge

    Honor Harrington’s preferred drink FWIW as a genre link.

    @Oneiros

    *long sigh*

    First microtherion, now you. Under the laws and customary usages of commentry, I believe I am now REQUIRED to form a political bloc of Bitter Tree-Sloths dedicated to freeing the silent majority from your MCW (Milk Chocolate Warrior) oppression

    Forward my tree-sloth compatriots! We shall stand shoulder to shoulder till victory! Or last Tuesday! Whichever comes first!

  30. @Cat Eldridge,

    In Kage Baker’s Company novels, the immortal cyborgs were designed so they can’t get high on drugs like nicotine, alcohol, tobacco. At some point, one of them discovers that they can get high on theobromine. Ghirardelli is name-checked, and chocolate hangovers from over-indulgence are a thing in-series.

  31. Soon Lee says In Kage Baker’s Company novels, the immortal cyborgs were designed so they can’t get high on drugs like nicotine, alcohol, tobacco. At some point, one of them discovers that they can get high on theobromine. Ghirardelli is name-checked, and chocolate hangovers from over-indulgence are a thing in-series.

    My bad as this series completely slipped my mind. And it shouldn’t have as Kage and I discussed a Company Concordance in which I’d interview the various characters which would form the framing for that work. It never got beyond the discussion phase as that was a year or so before her untimely death but even then she was seriously ill.

    She was very proud of her getting drunk on chocolate cyborgs.

  32. One of the funniest books I’ve ever read is Sandra Boynton’s Chocolate: The Consuming Passion. I enthusiastically recommend it to any chocolate fans who need their moods lifted.

    I will also speak up in favor of white chocolate. (Boynton has other ideas:

    White chocolate smells like this:

    [dotted outline marked “Scratch and sniff”]

    And it tastes like this:

    [another dotted outline, this time marked “Cut and chew”]

    )

  33. @ Petréa Mitchell: One of the funniest books I’ve ever read is Sandra Boynton’s Chocolate: The Consuming Passion. I enthusiastically recommend it to any chocolate fans who need their moods lifted.

    I ADORE that book (I bought it years ago due to the title, and have carried it with me ever since). She posts her work on Facebook, so today for example, my friendslist greeted me with: COWS!

  34. One Christmas, my mother and I gave each other copies of the Boynton book.

    Tillamook (good joke, Moose) is very good cheese, but not great. It’s what you buy when you don’t want to spend a lot of money, but you have enough functioning tastebuds to reject Kraft and the store brand. It’s “Yep, that’s tasty cheese, all right” vs. “OMG SO AMAZING.”

  35. @kestrelhill: Chocolate plays a significant role in A Thief of Time.

    Remember, we’re not supposed to let that info get out!

    *slinks back into dark alley*

  36. FWIW I’ve found Tillamook I’ve cream here in Houston, TX. I’ll have to look fir the cheeses mentioned here though.

  37. While I like semi-sweet to bittersweet, there’s definitely such a thing as chocolate that’s too dark and bitter for me. I find my optimum is in the 60-70% range. (This depends on manufacturer: the Lindt bars you find in drug stores that say they’re 70% are actually sweeter than some makers’ 60% bars.)

  38. Re: Chocolate in Boulder – in addition to Whole Foods (among other stores, like Bayleaf downtown) carrying some higher quality brands like Chocolove, we have the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (which I will occasionally patronize for their candy apples) and the decadently delightful shop Piece Love & Chocolate down the west end.

    I can as a rule take or leave chocolate and other sweet things, but it’s very, very hard to take my one little packet of hot cocoa powder up to the check-out counter, where the locally made truffles are arrayed like jewels, and not point to one and say “Oh, and just one of those, too.”

    PL&C is next-door to another source of strong tempation for me, Two Hands Paperie, with its stationery, sealing wax, stickers, fountain pens, and fountain pen ink. The west end of Pearl Street really is a dangerous place to take my wallet.

    Re: The Stella Case (“coffee may be hot”) – I had an infuriating online conversation once about this. My correspondent held the usual ignorant opinion of the Stella case. Someone being wrong on the internet like that necessitated that I enumerate all the details: 3rd degree burns, coffee served at near-boiling temperature, some 700 previous cases of injured customers whom McDonald’s pressured into quietly settling, and even–as though it were necessary–the detail that the plaintiff in fact stopped the car before she tried to take the lid off the coffee. After hearing all this, my correspondent still maintained that, despite that it was McDonalds who created the dangerous situation in the first place, the plaintiff should be held fully responsibility for her injury because she was the one who spilled her drink. “Don’t want to get injured? Don’t spill your drink.”

    I do not understand this insistence upon creating situations in which small-stakes mistakes, like spilling coffee, have high-stakes consequences, like 3rd degree burns and surgery and huge hospital bills, in order to preserve some lofty principle of “personal responsibility.”

    I suspect it was more a case of the “Bad Jackie factor,” as coined by Fred Clark and the commentariat at his blog Slactivist: Someone who holds a factually wrong idea may, upon having that idea disproved, simply double down on the wrong idea, perhaps because they’ve invested too much personal identity and self-esteem in that ill-conceived notion.

  39. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little:”Someone who holds a factually wrong idea may, upon having that idea disproved, simply double down on the wrong idea, perhaps because they’ve invested too much personal identity and self-esteem in that ill-conceived notion.”

    Good thing there’s no way something like that would ever happen to a genre award. No, wait…

  40. @Cadbury Moose – Hey don’t bash the Lard Board, they just want us to be happy :X ha ha

    My favourite chocolate are those Lindt balls with the melty center, my family has made a tradition of giving each other at least two boxes/bags each Christmas and the other day I visited the Lindt store where they had alllll the flavours, it was a test of my willpower to not buy my weight in Lindt. They had some really fancy flavours like strawberry champagne ooo ahhh.

  41. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little – thanks for the Bad Jackie link, that’s super useful and sums up a concept I’ve tried to explain (and done so less eloquently) to others.

  42. Sun hawk says My favourite chocolate are those Lindt balls with the melty center, my family has made a tradition of giving each other at least two boxes/bags each Christmas and the other day I visited the Lindt store where they had alllll the flavours, it was a test of my willpower to not buy my weight in Lindt. They had some really fancy flavours like strawberry champagne ooo ahhh.

    It’s been gone for years now but Portsmouth, New Hampshire had a Lindt outlet store. They sold big bags of factory seconds at something that works out to five cents a ball for the full range of their offerings. Round the Winter Holiday Season, I’d buy three or four pounds and bag them up is all decorative bags and hand them out. Lots of wide smiles all around!

  43. So does chocolate show up often in genre fiction? Other than Ellen Kushner’s Riverside series with its cups of hot chocolate, I’m not recalling any memorable uses of it.

    A chocolate pot is central to the plot of Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermere.

    Many Fantasy of Manners books (with the notable exception of Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton) have chocolate in them, as drinking it was A Thing in the Long Regency years.

    Ma Kosti makes chocolate confections in the Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold. I was never sure if Chocolate had survived the Time of Isolation, or the Barrayarans had enthusiastically adopted it after re-connecting to the Nexus. (Ditto various teas and coffee.) It seems odd that it would survive the Time of Isolation because the North Continent seems to have the same climate as North America or Europe. Maybe the southern districts would be able to grow it, but if the continent was that big, how the HECK did the Counts of all the districts manage to gather once a year (with less than three months notice, even) during a time of carriages and horses? The west coast of the northern continent has to be closer to the east coast than either Europe or North America. Or they’ve got a fairly quick way to sail from here to there.

    But I digress. Chocolate is also prominent in the Harry Potter books, and is used as a remedy for contact with Dementors.

    Then there’s Willie Wonka. 😉

  44. Soon Lee on May 2, 2016 at 12:58 am said:

    Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little:”Someone who holds a factually wrong idea may, upon having that idea disproved, simply double down on the wrong idea, perhaps because they’ve invested too much personal identity and self-esteem in that ill-conceived notion.”

    Good thing there’s no way something like that would ever happen to a genre award. No, wait…

    My thoughts did trend that way, but I was trying to be good. ;-D

    @Sunhawk – You’re welcome! That post is a Slacktivist classic for a reason.

  45. Many thanks to @Kyra and @DMS for the book reviews/lists! A lot to love there, and some items unfamiliar to me. Also thanks to @Petréa Mitchell for mentioning Irona 700, and apologies if I’m forgetting someone who also blurbed a book in this thread.

    Ah, chocolate! I recommend the chocolate tour in Melbourne, Australia. Yum. Oink. Sigh. There’s a chocolate museum in Barcelona, but I’m not sure I’ll have a chance to go. One of my favorite things is the, is it gingerbread chocolate? truffles that Godiva tempts me with around Xmas time. Mmmmmm.

    A lot of American chocolate (not just mass-produced) is frequently super sweet. I don’t like super-dark chocolate – I like milk chocolate fine, or mildly dark. But super-sweet? Not quite as much, unless it’s got other goodies in it. So my other half and I like European chocolate because it seem to us to be a little less sweet. But I’m lazy and buy what’s handy (blush), and I won’t even name my favorite combination of chocolate plus something else in this rarified company. 😉 But I like fancy things, too, honest!

  46. Kendall says A lot of American chocolate (not just mass-produced) is frequently super sweet. I don’t like super-dark chocolate – I like milk chocolate fine, or mildly dark. But super-sweet? Not quite as much, unless it’s got other goodies in it. So my other half and I like European chocolate because it seem to us to be a little less sweet. But I’m lazy and buy what’s handy (blush), and I won’t even name my favorite combination of chocolate plus something else in this rarified company. 😉 But I like fancy things, too, honest

    Your secret passion comes in a dark chocolate version as well…

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