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What are your Metafilter white whales?
March 22, 2013 10:26 AM   Subscribe

You know that one comment you read once, maybe about the kindergarten teacher who speciously reassures you, "I always put on a condom before I teach?" Maybe the all-time perfect Ask Me flowchart for reconciling your career decisions with your sexual kinks?

You remember reading that great post or comment once -- but you can never find it!

Yes, I know a lot about you.

Share the ones that got away here!
posted by grobstein to MetaFilter-Related at 10:26 AM (79 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Back around maybe 2004, someone posted a Flash animation of a guy walking (all you could see were his cowboy boots) that told a narrative that I think was generated out of a database of "events." Each one ended with "...and $NAME kept walking."

It wasn't particularly inventive or interesting or anything but it has been bugging me for years.
posted by griphus at 10:34 AM on March 22, 2013


I never figured this out, but it's been so long I remember even less.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:39 AM on March 22, 2013


the kindergarten teacher who speciously reassures you, "I always put on a condom before I teach?"

the what? this happened?
posted by sweetkid at 10:40 AM on March 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


the what? this happened?

It was a metaphor for a kind of "someone who doth protest too much" kind of thing; the thrust of the argument was that someone reassuring you about something you hadn't up to that point been concerned about was itself creepy (because, you start wondering why they felt it was necessary to reassure you about that fact in the first place).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:47 AM on March 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


ohhh that makes sense.
posted by sweetkid at 10:51 AM on March 22, 2013


Possibly the vaguest askme question ever.
posted by mannequito at 10:54 AM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Comments that bite my leg off are usually mine own, and I do not seek them out; I pretend they never happened
posted by angrycat at 11:06 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wish there were photos of this Christmas dinner of all white foods and wonder what happened with the 007 entrance to a dinner party.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:07 AM on March 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


It was a metaphor for a kind of "someone who doth protest too much" kind of thing; the thrust of the argument was that someone reassuring you about something you hadn't up to that point been concerned about was itself creepy (because, you start wondering why they felt it was necessary to reassure you about that fact in the first place).

EC, I feel like I need you to follow me around in my life and be my personal translator for when I have to talk to drunk people. HOW did you get that. Amazing.
posted by phunniemee at 11:10 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


How can I link it if it got away?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2013


Actually phunniemee, I just remembered the specific comment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:12 AM on March 22, 2013


Waaaaayyy back in the mists of time (around 2000 or 2001), there was a link to a European web comic. Or more accurately, a graphic novel that was online. I want to say the author was Dutch, although it was written in English. It was about a hitman in an apartment with a sniper rifle, waiting for his target to show up at the building across the street. Most of the comic was told in flashback, as the hitman thinks back to the beginning of his career: he was dating the daughter of a mob boss, and agreed to do a "favor" for him, which was killing a guy in a subway station. A witness sees him kill the guy, and the hitman chases him down. Rather than kill the witness, he takes his license and says if he tells anyone what he saw, the hitman will come find him.

I never read the ending to the story, and it's been bugging me for over a decade now. I'm pretty sure I found it at Metafilter--I can't think where else I would have stumbled across it--but my occasional search of the archives has never yielded anything.
posted by Rangeboy at 11:17 AM on March 22, 2013


I always had trouble believing in "Rights" - at least in the God-given, objective-truth sense.

Someone, who may have had a formal philosophy background, made a comment once that included an explanation/definition of Rights as a sort of philosophical short-hand for social convention or social covenent.

I've never been able to find it again.
posted by klarck at 11:23 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Possibly the vaguest askme question ever.
That's not a vague question; it's just that the front page part is weird looking because it dates from before more inside was baked into the site.

This is a vague question.
posted by Mitheral at 11:29 AM on March 22, 2013


Sometimes an angel or fairy comes along in a thread you're reading, and leaves a comment there just for you, the comment you need to read, and only you can read it. Then, when you're ready, they wave their wand and magic it away.
posted by grobstein at 11:29 AM on March 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Teaching with a condom on is from this xkcd about anti-virus software on voting machines.
posted by mayhap at 11:31 AM on March 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Hi klarck, is this the comment?
posted by Ouisch at 11:33 AM on March 22, 2013


There was a great comment in a question (or was it a post) about music, and how all music is valid, even if YOU don't like it. It was very well written, and even though it must have been several years ago, I've found myself thinking about it entirely too often.

I can't remember enough specifics to even search for it, but it was a delight and another example of why Metafilter is my favorite web site ever.

So.. if you happen to know what I'm talking about, please oh please shoot me a message.
posted by cccorlew at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2013


Thanks Ouisch, but no. It's really good though.
posted by klarck at 11:49 AM on March 22, 2013


...how all music is valid, even if YOU don't like it.

That sounds like one of Rory's treatises.
posted by griphus at 11:52 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have gone digging for this one in my favorites history 3 or 4 times - there should be a way to label something as an ur-favorite.
posted by ersatzkat at 11:54 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Possibly the vaguest askme question ever.

As is this one.
posted by ericb at 12:10 PM on March 22, 2013


I personally have two.

One short story that I've tried to identify in various forums to no avail.

And one movie that I only remember fragments of.

*sigh*
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:20 PM on March 22, 2013


And I totally missed the point of the post. Thanks for playing.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:22 PM on March 22, 2013


Speaking of the one that got away, anyone else notice this hilarity on AskMe this morning? Exhibit A, Exhibit B, posted one minute apart. Trouble in anonymous paradise!
posted by mannequito at 12:24 PM on March 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Back in the early wild-west days of Metafilter, there was a back and forth between our resident curmudgeon, quonsar, and some clueless newbie that escalated, as things were wont to do in those pre-modteam days, and just as quickly de-escalated due to a wonderful use of wit by the newb and q, I only remember the last part of the exchange which went something like:

newb: But... you'll always be there... won't you q?
q: You betcha kid, *gives noogie*

I didn't even have an account back then, but it showed the grace and wit of the members that exemplified a big reason I liked and hung around this place.

I've tried several times to find it, but my hazy memories and q's abundance of posts make it nigh on impossible. *sigh*
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:29 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm still not sure what kinds of posts you're asking for.
posted by Melismata at 12:32 PM on March 22, 2013


I think it's comments and posts that haunt you.
posted by Toekneesan at 12:48 PM on March 22, 2013


I think it's comments and posts that haunt you.

Oh, well in that case: ask.metafilter.com/235667/Bobcat-traps-and-human-urine
posted by phunniemee at 12:58 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm still not sure what kinds of posts you're asking for.

Stuff that you know you read here on this site once, but didn't bookmark for whatever reason, and you've tried to find it ever since but can't.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:03 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've wanted to find this cow/whale shirt for a little while now.
posted by yaymukund at 1:16 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was that one post on Israel/Palestine where genuine consensus was achieved and everyone left as friends.

I keep searching but I can't find it again for the life of me.
posted by R. Schlock at 1:22 PM on March 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh, well in that case: ask.metafilter.com/235667/Bobcat-traps-and-human-urine

I only know about the deer thing because it came up during some news coverage of a search-and-rescue event (lost child or maybe a manhunt) in the woods - trackers looked for evidence that deer had been nosing around places that humans had urinated. Something about the salt.

I swear.
posted by jquinby at 1:23 PM on March 22, 2013


Possibly the vaguest askme question ever.

Was it Zazie?
posted by maryr at 1:36 PM on March 22, 2013


There was an AskMe about 3 years ago where the person wanted help identifying the symbolism in a German art film with very obscure humor... something about somebody dying while falling out of a pear tree. I searched for a few hours and couldn't find anything to help them. I tried finding the thread again to see if they ever figured it out, but couldn't locate it.
posted by codacorolla at 1:48 PM on March 22, 2013


I swear to god someone once posted the riposte "so clerever the comments" in a thread that people were being snarky about, and it jumps into my head every time I see people being smartasses. This was way back in the days when such noise was less likely to get deleted, but I've never been able to find it again to verify that I got the exact misspelling and weird syntax right.

Sigh. So clerever the comments. So clerever the comments indeed.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:50 PM on March 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


...the symbolism in a German art film with very obscure humor... something about somebody dying while falling out of a pear tree.

This?
posted by jquinby at 1:53 PM on March 22, 2013


Yeah, that's the one. I guess I could've checked my own answers, but I didn't remember replying to it.
posted by codacorolla at 1:56 PM on March 22, 2013


Stuff that you know you read here on this site once, but didn't bookmark for whatever reason, and you've tried to find it ever since but can't.

This was my intention, perhaps not crystalline. Thanks EC.
posted by grobstein at 2:01 PM on March 22, 2013


There was a comment parodying a famous book that had me dying at the time I read it, but now I don't even remember which book it was. All I remember is the last line was something like "I truly was...a stranger in a strange land" (with the actual title instead).
posted by rollick at 2:27 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


anyone else notice this hilarity on AskMe this morning?

I am always delighted when people pick up on those sorts of things.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:33 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


anyone else notice this hilarity on AskMe this morning?



I didn't think it was that hilars. The situations are obviously pretty different, despite the gender, age range and possibly location match.
posted by sweetkid at 2:46 PM on March 22, 2013


There was a comment parodying a famous book that had me dying at the time I read it, but now I don't even remember which book it was. All I remember is the last line was something like "I truly was...a stranger in a strange land" (with the actual title instead).

Was it me talking about Iain Banks's The Player of Games? You favorited it!
posted by Greg Nog at 3:08 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ha ha yes it was! I tried searching my favourites but gave up pretty quick I guess.
posted by rollick at 3:16 PM on March 22, 2013


Although I had some fun trying to figure out what would fit in that last line template.

"Everything had become... gone with the wind"
"I guess that's why they call me... Lucky Jim"
"I never did learn how...to kill a mockingbird"
posted by rollick at 3:27 PM on March 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Rangeboy,

That sounds like La Position du tireur couché by Jacques Tardi. You're in luck- Fantagraphics released a translation.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:41 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was that one post on Israel/Palestine where genuine consensus was achieved and everyone left as friends. I keep searching but I can't find it again for the life of me.

...This comment is inexplicably reminding me of that one Choose Your Own Adventure book with the secret ending in Paradise that none of the other pages linked you to and you went crazy trying to figure out how to "get that page".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:17 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was a quote I've lost & found & lost again, but I think I have it mostly memorized by now: "Coldplay is the sound of young suburban couples losing the will to live."
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:19 PM on March 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


that one Choose Your Own Adventure book with the secret ending in Paradise that none of the other pages linked you to and you went crazy trying to figure out how to "get that page".

Ultima, the unreachable utopia of Inside UFO 54-40. Goddam UFO 54-40.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:34 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I spot a white whale, I harpoon that sucker immediately. These are comments that remind me why I love this site; showing some kind of quality I associate with the feel of the place that I find always so welcoming. Por ejemplo:

Greg Nog on cortex being made an admin.

"Who ate the bananas then?"

An excellent game review.

For whatever reason, this pops to mind quite a bit, and it always cheers me up.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:42 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Less a haunting, more of a mental hangnail: I haven't been able to find the askme by a longstanding site member, father of a young daughter, who was dismayed by her "bad" behavior. He was piled-onto pretty heavily, for calling his daughter bad, cuz what of how bad she is.
I went looking for this Q, after the recent ask wherein the mom basically called her kid an asshole. If, memory serves, the "my daughter is bad" thread also spawned a meta, while the asshole kid went down without a wimper.
I wanted to use it as an illustration of how the site, perhaps, has changed.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 5:31 PM on March 22, 2013


Well, to be fair, kids these days are assholes.
posted by maryr at 8:35 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will never stop being amazed at scarabic's detailed explanation here. I am afraid to even search for the thing unless I'm on my home computer. You'll notice I didn't even mention what the explanation was about in this comment.

I live in fear!!
posted by blurker at 8:44 PM on March 22, 2013


That sounds like La Position du tireur couché by Jacques Tardi. You're in luck- Fantagraphics released a translation.

Holy crap, I think that's it! Thanks, TheWhiteSkull!
posted by Rangeboy at 8:56 PM on March 22, 2013


I've never been able to get my head around pasta and cupcakes.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:12 PM on March 22, 2013


If, memory serves, the "my daughter is bad" thread also spawned a meta

I thought that was Mayor Curley but I'm not seeing it, maybe it was jonson. I have a stark recollection of that thread as well and it was a while ago. Like it was one of those things where I thought "the person saying this is clearly being jokey about it" but I guess if you didn't know the person it might seem like he was a crazy bad dad. Man, yeah, can't find it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:41 PM on March 22, 2013


It was ND¢, I believe? The follow-up comment is particularly baller.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:50 PM on March 22, 2013


(and I can't mention ND¢ without mentioning one of the best things ever written about Star Trek)
posted by Greg Nog at 9:54 PM on March 22, 2013


I always had trouble believing in "Rights" - at least in the God-given, objective-truth sense.

Someone, who may have had a formal philosophy background, made a comment once that included an explanation/definition of Rights as a sort of philosophical short-hand for social convention or social covenent.


Read the chapter on rights in An Intelligent Person's Guide to Ethics by Mary Warnock (which will support your view).
posted by John Cohen at 9:57 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The follow-up comment is particularly baller.

Wow, that was back when I was still saying "use your words" His username is impossible to Google! I remember he made jokes about his baby looking like a potato also but I cannae find 'em.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:58 PM on March 22, 2013


I'm looking for a derisive comment about Damien Hirst's For the Love of God involving the price of a cup of coffee. "I'd rather have the cup of coffee" being the basic jist of it, but I can't quite recall its precise construction.
posted by Lorin at 10:03 PM on March 22, 2013


Shit, I'm not even 100% sure this was on Metafilter, but I think it was...

Several years ago, long before I actually joined MeFi, I was poking around the net looking for stories about addictions and addictive behavior. One of the more memorable things I found was a story about some sort of medical professional whose job was to help counsel patients who were addicted to drugs. One of the things this guy did was to try to sample as many of the popular drugs as he could (one time only per drug) to get an experience of what it was like for the drug user. Anyway, he took crack cocaine once, and (so the story goes), even though he never took it again, he spent literally weeks afterward thinking about how great it felt, and how much he'd like to do it again. It was quite scary.

Although I wasn't a member at the time, I definitely knew about Metafilter at that point and was spending quite a lot of time reading the site (AskMeFi in particular). And I'm about 80% sure it was on here, somewhere.

So... yeah. If anyone has heard of this story, here or elsewhere, I'd love to hear about it.
posted by Broseph at 12:57 AM on March 23, 2013

There was a great comment in a question (or was it a post) about music, and how all music is valid, even if YOU don't like it. It was very well written, and even though it must have been several years ago, I've found myself thinking about it entirely too often.

I can't remember enough specifics to even search for it, but it was a delight and another example of why Metafilter is my favorite web site ever.

So.. if you happen to know what I'm talking about, please oh please shoot me a message.
[...]
That sounds like one of Rory's treatises.
I would never be so nice as to write something like that without it degenerating into something wholly rude and pointless by the end; it's simply beyond me. But! cccorlew's search is at an end, because I know exactly the comment he's looking for. It's by fourcheesemac, it's right here, and when I read it I wrote him to thank him for it/ask him for music recommendations and he introduced me to Buddy Guy and polyphonic Georgian choral music, both of which are things that kick ass.

The girlfriend of a good friend of mine recently told me that she doesn't like, quote, "any music from the last century", and my attempt to make her clarify that – "do you not like pop? contemporary classical? what about orchestral film scores?" – just led to her rolling her eyes and being like, I KNOW WHAT I DON'T LIKE. And if I was a better person that's when I'd have said something polite and eloquent and humble and wise, but instead I was like "What? Fuck you. Fuck yooooooou." She doesn't like me for some reason.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:17 AM on March 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I will swear that around 2009/2010 I was reading a MeFi thread in which the causation/correlation brigade were out in full force showing off their knowledge of Stats 101, and then someone came into the thread and basically said something like "Hi, I'm a stats professor. I do stats. Let's clear up this nonsense ..." and proceeded to school everyone on correlation/causation and the relationship between the two, and you could practically feel the sheepishness go through the thread as people tried not to be the next person to post something stupid and look foolish about something they didn't really know about.

I even told my partner about it, a few months later, and then tried to find it. Of course, I couldn't, and now I wonder if I just dreamed it.

Oh, well, if it was a dream, it was a beautiful one.
posted by barnacles at 7:23 AM on March 23, 2013


Thank you Rory Marinich for your white whale capture! That is indeed what I was looking for. I heart Metafilter, and now you too.
posted by cccorlew at 7:56 AM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thar she blows! I guess it was more the follow up that was haunting me, cause of how baller it was.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:18 AM on March 23, 2013


Brandon: I also wish we got a 007 followup, but I will say that Mythbusters tested it succesfully.
posted by O9scar at 2:35 PM on March 23, 2013


Correction - the Mythbusters confirmed that Jamie Hyneman can succesfully scubadive in a tux.

They need to re-test for us mere mortals.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:47 PM on March 23, 2013


What is the name of the book where, half the time when people ask a book ID question, it's that book?
posted by IndigoRain at 8:08 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


The one about the place where it rained all the time except for one day and that day the kid was in the closet at school and missed it?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:28 PM on March 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would've sworn the 007 AskMe did get a resolution, in MeTa. A quick search of the archives from around the time of the post reveals: THIS.

Boom. Now I have worked off my excess energy from working a late shift and shall now go to bed to sleep soundly in my accrued karma.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:56 PM on March 23, 2013


not a white whale in exactly the manner of your asking:
I had expected the horde would grind this mystery down to fine paste, by mefi couldn't spear this one:

http://ask.metafilter.com/129307/what-does-this-puzzle-mean
posted by compound eye at 4:02 AM on March 25, 2013


I remember he made jokes about his baby looking like a potato also but I cannae find 'em.

Um, I would never say my beautiful wonderful daughter looked like a potato. You called the light of my life and center of my world a "little potato-faced child" during episode 37 of the Metafilter podcast at around the 49 min 30 second mark. I, of course, leapt to her defense. You denigrated her again later that year and I swiftly defended her non-potatoyness. Then I did this "experiment" (I think at one time we weren't supposed to say "experiment" unless there is like really a Bunsen burner and goggles involved) where I didn't post or comment for as long as it would take for someone to notice, and after 8 months somebody did and so I commented and you again called my sweet child a potato and I broke the news that she was about to get a little sister. Then I've been away from the site pretty much ever since unless there is a discussion about something that interests me, and since I'm pretty much just interested in myself, I essentially just wait for Greg Nog to link to my Star Trek comment and then look at what ever thread that occurs in. So thanks Greg Nog. You are all that is keeping me tethered to this website.

Now my potato baby is a potato four and a half year old who is a very strange little person all her own. Like her favorite song is "Down in the Boondocks." What the fuck? Kid is fucking rich, she wouldn't know a boondock if it fell on her. Why not like fucking Wheels on the Bus or something you weird potato-ish freak. And she has a little sister that mostly likes 90's party rap (and if I thought my first child was bad, woo boy, I had no idea). Anyway, time passes, things change, life is fleeting, we are all dust in the wind, etc.

See ya next time Greg Nog links to my Star Trek comment!
posted by ND¢ at 11:18 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


*Waves at indy cent.*

Hug that little spud for me, eh?
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:31 AM on March 26, 2013


Now I really want to know the answer to that rebus. The little Australian dive-bar doesn't even have an email address listed on their site.
posted by codacorolla at 12:19 PM on March 26, 2013


I essentially just wait for Greg Nog to link to my Star Trek comment and then look at what ever thread that occurs in.

It is seriously one of my all-time favorite comments and if I had my druthers it would have like 500 favorites
posted by Greg Nog at 12:37 PM on March 26, 2013


jessamyn: "The one about the place where it rained all the time except for one day and that day the kid was in the closet at school and missed it?"

In all seriousness, I keep wanting to call it A Midsummer Night's Dream instead of All Summer in a Day.
posted by IndigoRain at 4:01 AM on March 29, 2013


I sometimes think about that woman who thought her husband as trying to kill her and I wonder how she is.
posted by rmless at 10:53 PM on March 30, 2013


I'm pretty sure right after I joined I found someone's marvelous website in their profile filled with elaborate math and science doodles and cartoons or maybe it was a projects or FPP but I have never managed to find it again.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:59 PM on March 31, 2013


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