Re: One Fat Englishman Opines.

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Why is the font different in the first paragraph of a block quote?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 9:20 PM
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The blockquote tag changes the font, but it has to be renewed at the beginning of each paragraph.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 9:30 PM
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Or you can do something or other with the <p> tag which will make all paragraphs in the blockquote look like the ones after the first paragraph.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 9:33 PM
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But the blockquotishness doesn't have to be renewed at the beginnning of each paragraph!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 9:34 PM
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Nevertheless.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 9:34 PM
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They are the dream killers.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 9:38 PM
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When I was a kid, I used to sail to school both there and back, uphill and in the snow.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 9:39 PM
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I've adjusted the formatting with the strategic dropping of <p> tags. This font-stabilizing formatting keeps apo happy, as I understand.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 9:57 PM
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Modern parents would let her go, but sneak a GPS unit on her boat so they'd know where she was at every moment, and call her on her cell if they saw she was going too fast.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:01 PM
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"Yes, I see the icebergs. Stop calling me!"


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:04 PM
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"I'm on a BOAT!"


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:05 PM
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"I'm tacking through a tunnel. The signal is breaking up."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:06 PM
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Careful readers will note that, with CC's latest comments on the Sunday Afternoon Round-up post, the three latest threads are boat-related.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:09 PM
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Most cell phone networks don't have service in a lot of the areas that are hundreds of miles from the nearest dry land.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:10 PM
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Are you calling her parents cheap?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:12 PM
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Thanks, smartypants. I figured that a charitable reading would let that little detail go.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:13 PM
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The boat would certainly have a GPS and likely be in sateliite contact at all times. She says herself that communication on the high seas is constant.

I disagree with the court decision. She looks like a smart kid with experience, and capable of understanding the risks. She is making the decision on her own. Unless it can be proven tha she is not capable, physically or psychologically, of making the journey, she should be allowed to do it.

Now with the white squalls and killer waves and angry sperm whales there is no way I would go to sea.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:14 PM
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I had a Montessori-vs.-public school conversation today. I don't have a dog in the race kid, so my opinions aren't particularly well defined. But I do think about it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:18 PM
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Unless it can be proven tha she is not capable, physically or psychologically, of making the journey, she should be allowed to do it.

So in other words you agee with the court decision.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:20 PM
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I knew a hard-core solo sailor once. Ten years later, she murdered her husband and disappeared (by boat). Her sailboat was really, really cool, though.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:21 PM
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Born on a yacht off New Zealand during a seven year world voyage,

Had her own for seven years, sailing solo for three.

I am sure she understands the dangers and problems quite well, if only from anecdote and reading. She knows she can die.

This is the kind of discrimination based solely on age that makes me a kid-libber.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:24 PM
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18: I know, acquaintance-wise, a bunch of kids, in the c. 10 to 18 y.o. range, who do real work on their parents' farm, pull duty selling stuff at the farmstand, etc. I'm constantly impressed by their self-possession and maturity which I attribute to being given,from a fairly young age, real live actual responsibility (in a nurturing, supportive way; we're not talking Dickens here). I definitely like that aspect of the Montesorri approach.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:25 PM
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I love how self-possessed the 4H kids at the State Fair are. They look so competent.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:28 PM
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the Montesorri approach.

First, they came for the Ss. Then, they added some Rs. Then, I bailed sum hey.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:31 PM
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19:"A child psychologist will now assess her capacity to undertake the voyage."

You mean this? Not necessarily. Perhaps all those who indulge in these dangerous adventures are excessive risk takers and a little crazy. The determination should be whether is she is so psychologically different from a 25 yr old with the same goal that she should be prevented.

My general position is that I do not find adults so much more universally sane and responsible than (at least adolescents) children that age in itself is cause to discriminate. I would give anyone capable of reading a ballot the right to vote. They can do little worse than voting McCain/Palin.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:34 PM
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I must take it back about beng able to read a ballot.
Probably unnecssary and discrimintory. Choosing Obama or Palin simply on the basis of their looks, whether in an octogenerian or toddler is good enough, and not something a democracy should legally interrogate.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:41 PM
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These people. I liked them both quite a bit.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:50 PM
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I don't know how I'd react as a parent given the same situation, but making her a ward of the court seems a bit much.

My daughters have been apprehensive about pirates ever since seeing a sailboat flying the skull and crossbones at Lake Memphremagog earlier this summer. It never occurred to me that I might one day have to be concerned about pirates on their behalf, but now I see how that might happen.

Also, we recently traveled along several stretches of the mighty Columbia, and I would very much like to have a sailboat.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 10:58 PM
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The girl should totally get to go.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 11:06 PM
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Bob, have you ever read Outerbridge Reach? It just occurred to me that you might really like it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 11:08 PM
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NYT Review


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 11:09 PM
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28:Pirates were one of my concerns, but as I understand, one 40-yr-old with a rifle is usually completely outgunned in any case.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 11:10 PM
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What a bunch of killjoys.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 11:12 PM
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one 40-yr-old with a rifle is usually completely outgunned in any case.

The roaring forties, on the other hand, could potentially be a match for any pirate ship.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 11:14 PM
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30:It has also occurred to me, from the description and author. So many books, so little time.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 11:15 PM
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"If not duffers, not dead; and better dead than duffers." I wonder if that's officially child abuse now.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-30-09 11:58 PM
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BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WON'T DROWN


Posted by: OPINIONATED CDR WALKER | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 12:03 AM
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21: fuck that noise.

If you're 18 years old or younger, you and your parents have the legal obligation to have you in education. Any parent who evades this responsibility is prosecuted: why should it be different here, just because this girl thinks she can sail around the world and her parents encourage her in this obsession?

I don't particularly care about whether or not she would be capable of doing so, though I doubt it, what annoys me is the sheer middleclass hypocrisy of certain commentators who usually would be the first to lament about kids dropping out now championing the right of this spoiled brat to do something stupid just to get into the Guinness book of records.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 1:32 AM
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38:We are not talking about a trend or a general rule but about an individual. Very few of us are really able to predict the future well enough to force someone else to forgoe some unique opportunity. According to what I have heard, the exceptional usually claim the sacrifices are worth it.

Bobby Fischer and Josh Waitzkin made different choices. but AFAIK, they made the choices.Not only do I feel incapablr of deciding whch was correct, I can barely imagine it being any of my business.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 2:33 AM
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29 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:09 AM
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Dick much, Wisse?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:11 AM
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Which is to say, accusing people (without naming names, so you don't get in trouble) of being hypocrites because, in addition to something they did say, there's something they didn't say, but which you imagine they might have said, hypothetically, is a dick move. Dick.

But you've probably moved on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:14 AM
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We didn't mean to go to sea.


Posted by: Susan Walker | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:17 AM
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27: "It's shrouded in mystery," [Detective] Martin said.

I love when police talk to the press in the language of pulp fiction. Or was he making a sailing pun?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 6:01 AM
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I defy anyone to say, "Titty Walker, Able Seaman of the Swallow" with a straight face.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 6:08 AM
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"It's shrouded in mystery," [Detective] Martin said sternly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 6:08 AM
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She is "happy with the ruling"? This seems very odd.


Posted by: Shadrack | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 6:16 AM
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What is Titty short for? Wikipedia is no help (Mavis?). I remember Bridget being called Vicky. (Before Winston Churchill looked so apt, some babies were said to resemble the queen.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 7:21 AM
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Titty isn't short for anything, it's a name out of a story.


Posted by: y | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 7:49 AM
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And what did we see?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 7:50 AM
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Katherine, by way of Kitty?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 7:57 AM
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husband x has tenure!!! woo narnia!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:00 AM
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I defy anyone to say, "Titty Walker, Able Seaman of the Swallow" with a straight face.

I defy anyone to say 'Charity Beaver, Most Beautiful Woman in Dallas' with a straight face.

No, really, D mag. is running a contest and there's a young lady named Charity Beaver in the running.

max
['There is a God.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:00 AM
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congrats, a!
i remember my mom told us that she sent my sister when she was 3 yo to the milk stand so that to go after her after taking care of me, then a newly born
if to be late then the milk wouldn't have been available until the next day, coz the soc times and there were long lines for everything
so she saw that my sister was standing there letting everybody coming to go before her
i don't understand people who would pick up something before a little kid standing obviously in the line
but it was the safest times back then, we used to play outside by ourselves without any fear
regarding the girl, why not to allow her to sail, maybe she's like reincarnation of some famous sailor thor heyerdahl f.e and that is her destiny what she wants and will do in her life


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:01 AM
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YAAAAAAY! The tenure wait is over! Congrats to Narnia U for its correct decision and congrats to you too.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:06 AM
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Woohoo Husband X! Are you going to be able to rent the gorgeous black-and-white house?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:06 AM
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Full name: Mavis Tatherine Walker


Posted by: Titty, Seaman of the Swallow | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:09 AM
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Unfogged Narnia party in black and white house!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:11 AM
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I'm torn about the sailor. If she's competently crossing the North Sea by herself, it's probably not insanely more dangerous to go around the world (presuming that her parents are doing a proper job of chasing her around from port to port and handling maintenance and supply and so forth, which I don't think any thirteen-year-old would be competent to do.) It's dangerous, but not insanely more so than other things that you'd let a kid that age do (competitive riding is what I'm thinking of, but I'm sure there are other sports with a real risk of death.)

The issue is the social isolation -- whether it's okay for her to spend that much time alone and stressed. And at that point, eh, who better to make the decision than the girl and her parents? (Although I'm unsure enough about this that I like the idea of her having a shrink to talk to about it -- the worry would be obsessive parents bullying her into it.)

On the other hand, I don't think there's much harm at all done if the state prevents her. If she wants to sail around the world, waiting five years won't kill her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:13 AM
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Global warming is going to make it virtually impossible in 5 years.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:16 AM
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Yay husband x! (I hope you hadn't all given up hope and booked your tickets home before the news broke.)


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:16 AM
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60 to 58?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:17 AM
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60 to 45


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:21 AM
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My Kid is 9 and wants to climb the Eiger. I said OK 'cause he's been climbing since he was 2!


Posted by: waldo | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:23 AM
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what annoys me is the sheer middleclass hypocrisy of certain commentators

Them's fightin' words in these parts. Now you and McManus must fight argue to the death to determine who's less bourgeois.

I don't have very strong feelings about the case either way; the court and the girl's parent's are certainly more capable of judging her competency than I am from my desk. But I'm not appalled by the court's intervention. No one's keeping her from sailing around the world, they're just making her wait to do so.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:24 AM
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Here's my concern about the solo sailing girl: sailboats always, always have breakdowns. The engine goes, a spar breaks, the communications systems get flooded with saltwater. Something always goes wrong, and often, and at the worst possible time.

The solo sailor I referred to in 20 and 29 had a harrowing story about crossing around the tip of South America without a tiller: she ended up lashing a pot to the rudder and steering with that. Apparently she also was subject to serious seasickness, and spent the entire time through the straits puking.

If the thirteen year-old does the trip, she would need to be shadowed fairly closely---by someone in a power boat, I'd hope.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:26 AM
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Congrats to Husband X and alameida!

The situation was reminding me oddly of Crossing to Safety, a Wallace Stegner novel. I'm glad that this went the opposite way!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:29 AM
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66: Yeah, it would be very much not okay unless she was being continuously tracked. OTOH, if she's competent to do the sailing, she's probably competent to handle that sort of on-the-fly jury-rigging repairs. You'd want to be sure that she was never more than several hours away from rescue, but I don't think more closely than that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:30 AM
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66.last: I had assumed she would be shadowed, in the style that they normally shadow Bear Grylls on that Man vs. Wild show. Was that not the plan?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:31 AM
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66: Yeah, one can't be sure from the linked article what her plans are, but generally the folks doing these around the world trips are followed by one -- or more -- powerboats and make frequent and lengthy stops, sometimes even passing whole seasons in, say, Australia, to avoid a particularly tricky bit of sea at a bad time. (I worked on a kids book about someone who did an around-the-world sail when I was in publishing.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:32 AM
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Speaking of sailing around the world, I recently found 4 of these at a thrift store. Sadly, I can't find that old commercial on YouTube, though.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:37 AM
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The solo sailor I knew wasn't shadowed. And I'm not entirely confident in the thirteen year-old's jerryrigging abilities. There's a shitload of complicated repair work that sailboats require, not to mention the occasional application of brute force. She's probably fine and totally competent, but jeez: there's a LOT that can go wrong.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:38 AM
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I talked the black-and-white house woman into waiting till the end of august to say yes to the competition (a french family) so hopefully all will go well on that front. dream house time! I was so keyed up about it for so long that now I feel kind of...underwhelmed or something. but I was coming home from an na meeting this evening looking around at the palm trees and blocks of flats and thinking 'hey, this is my hometown!' my children are very happy; they didn't want to move. maybe we should celebrate by taking a ride on a motherfucking boat to penang.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:42 AM
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jerryrigging

Jury rigging. Jerry building, but jury rigging.

And of course I don't know the kid, or what she can do. But if her parents aren't crazy to let her cross the North Sea by herself, she's got to have a solid capacity for that sort of fixit stuff -- you're right about sailboats, they need fixing all the time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:43 AM
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73: Yay, beautiful house and tenure, and children learning to speak fluent Mandarin, and (to hook it into the post) streets so safe that they can run around freely without grownups worrying about them. Woohoo!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:44 AM
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Yay, a! Yay, x!


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:45 AM
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indeed, they can wander around all safely-like. but I don't think I'll let them sail solo around the world just yet.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:51 AM
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52:Yay!

Titty short for Titania?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:52 AM
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72: I don't suppose you're saying she should be prevented. I find bob's argument in 25 quite persuasive.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:53 AM
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If you're 18 years old or younger, you and your parents have the legal obligation to have you in education. Any parent who evades this responsibility is prosecuted

(a) Is this true in the Netherlands? Probably. But, (b) it's total bullshit. Besides, I think 18 is actually higher than is the case, factually speaking. You can be expelled younger than that and have no obligation to continue elsewhere. I imagine you can even drop out a bit younger than that.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:56 AM
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79.--I think most solo sailors are a bit nuts and wonder whether any of them would pass a rigid state-mandated psych evaluation. It would be unfair for her to have the same mental makeup as an adult solo-sailing lunatic and yet be prevented from sailing because, as a minor, she can be controlled.

74.--The North Sea is famously rough, yes, but sailboat breakdowns are a question of both stress and time: a North Sea crossing can be done in like a week, right?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:02 AM
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If she's being reasonably shadowed, I don't have a problem with her putting her education on hold for two years. It doesn't seem that different than what child actors do in the US. On the other hand, if the Netherlands generally treats child actors and other children with careers similarly with regards to missing school, then I'm fine with that standard being upheld.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:03 AM
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Husband X is slacking -- shouldn't he have made an announcement so as to collect congratulations? Or is it still not for public release?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:03 AM
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And yay Alameida!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:03 AM
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81: a North Sea crossing can be done in like a week, right?

More like a couple of days, I'd guess. The thing about sailboat breakdowns (and I'm talking big, although I haven't sailed since high school and wasn't much then) is that they can happen anytime -- you're just as screwed six hours from land as you are four days from land, unless someone rescues you or you fix whatever it is. It'd be really irresponsible to send someone out solo at all, even for a couple of hours, unless they could fix most plausible kinds of problem well enough to limp home.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:06 AM
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Somewhat different circumstances, but it does remind me of the young girl pilot who crashed on an attempted cross-US flight in the '90s (Jessica Dubroff* according to Wikipedia). She was 7 and had her father and flight instructor in the plane (all 3 died in the crash). Her mother apparently wrote a book in which one can presumably discover whether the mother thought it was all worthwhile.

*Although I may be have been confusing her with Vicki Van Meter who had successfully done it a few years earlier at age 11. Van Meter was in the local news last year when she took her own life at age 26.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:12 AM
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(I should say that I think it's possible that the kid's parents are irresponsible maniacs, and that she's not competent to do what she's been doing. But if she really is competent to solo for a couple of days at a time, then I don't think that's a fundamentally different level of sailing competence than going around the world.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:13 AM
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They can happen any time, but they get more likely to happen the longer you're out. Also, if you're in a reasonably well-trafficked area, you probably have radio contact with coast guards and if not can just bob towards a shipping lane and get rescued by a passer-by.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:14 AM
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But if she really is competent to solo for a couple of days at a time, then I don't think that's a fundamentally different level of sailing competence than going around the world.

I disagree!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:15 AM
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59
If she wants to sail around the world, waiting five years won't kill her.

If her goal is to set the world's record, then judging by the ages given for her and the previous record-holder, she can't wait any longer than three years or so. That shouldn't be the only consideration for the court, obviously, but it seems legitimate to keep in mind.

I know almost nothing about sailing; how much free or nearly-free time could a solo sailor be expected to have? It's 2009; she could be home-schooled from a five thousand miles away if she can safely keep her hands off the rudder long enough to put in books on tape, Skype by satellite with her parents, etc. It wouldn't be cheap or easy, but neither is the whole project in the first place.

65.1 is right.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:15 AM
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83: back channel finally opened up but no official letter yet.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:19 AM
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On second thought, 65.1 unfairly singles bob out. I doubt it bothers him, but still, no need to compare him to Martin. He's been reasonable* here. 41 and 42 are right, though.

* Well, characteristically unreasonable, and civil.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:19 AM
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Also, grats alameida!


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:20 AM
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Also, if you're in a reasonably well-trafficked area, you probably have radio contact with coast guards and if not can just bob towards a shipping lane and get rescued by a passer-by.

Right, but we're assuming this difference is eliminated by her being shadowed, and in constant contact.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:20 AM
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That shouldn't be the only consideration for the court, obviously, but it seems legitimate to keep in mind.

I don't think that's a legitimate consideration at all, actually. Because at some point, maybe not with this kid, but the next, or the next, that's going to be pressure to let someone who really is too young do it. If the kid isn't competent, they're not competent, and screw the record.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:22 AM
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Yeah, I'm not sure how much we can assume. The shadowing boat will probably eliminate most problems---but it would need to be practically tied to the side to make a difference in heavy weather. Communications gear is famous for failing at the worst times.

The parents and the girl have probably thought all this through. If they're prepared to die for no good reason, who am I to stop them.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:27 AM
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but it would need to be practically tied to the side to make a difference in heavy weather. Communications gear is famous for failing at the worst times.

This is true, but same as a two day crossing of the North Sea, if you see what I mean. I don't know enough about the situation to have a real opinion about this individual kid, but I'd guess that if there's anything really irresponsible about this, it's that she shouldn't be soloing at all at her age.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:31 AM
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But if she really is competent to solo for a couple of days at a time, then I don't think that's a fundamentally different level of sailing competence than going around the world.

This is like saying "If you're competent to swim a 50-yard freestyle, your competent to swim the 500-yard fee." My high school swim coach can confirm that this is decidedly untrue.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:36 AM
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More like, "If you're competent to swim a 50 yard freestyle, then you're competent to swim a 50 yard freestyle daily for two years."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:38 AM
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Or, "If 20 minutes questioning is non-coercive, than three days isn't fundamentally different."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:39 AM
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There is a reason that she is trying to be the youngest one to do it, and it isnt just because no other parents are crazy-enough.

It is a darn difficult task.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:39 AM
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Sure, I can write a couple dozen unfogged comments, but to make them without any grammar mistakes???


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:41 AM
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The North Sea is up there with the world's baddest-assed most deadly oceans, and all that, but pootling from the Hague to Felixstowe in July, say, isn't the same as crossing from, I don't know, say Bergen to Aberdeen in January.

You can't necessarily read much into a solo crossing of the North Sea.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:42 AM
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pootling from the Hague to Felixstowe

This should absolutely be a euphemism for something, but I'm not sure what.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:46 AM
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Eh, I'm arguing to argue, and I don't actually know much about sailing around the world. I had a vague impression that the longest legs, port to port, weren't all that long -- that the achievement differed from soloing for a couple of days mostly in that you were doing it over and over and over again, rather than in each leg being terribly protracted. But I don't actually know how long the longest legs are. (And of course I'd expect her, like most adults who try this sort of thing, not to make it, but to give up and fly home partway through.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:47 AM
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You can't necessarily read much into a solo crossing of the North Sea.

You can't read much into the fact that she made it without disaster -- that could be luck and good weather. What I was thinking is that if she wasn't lucky, she was honestly competent enough to handle the class of emergency that might easily come up in a North Sea crossing, then that's a very high level of competence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:50 AM
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I assumed Titty Walker's given name was Laetitia.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:51 AM
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What about Tatiana?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:52 AM
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Sailing aside, most of these "youngest to do x" quests are pretty fucked up from the outset (see cross-country airline flights above).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:55 AM
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re: 105

You'll notice [being a tad saracastic] that some of the oceans are quite wide. The standard round the world routes involve really quite long single stages. It's not port-hopping.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:57 AM
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I had a vague impression that the longest legs, port to port, weren't all that long -- that the achievement differed from soloing for a couple of days mostly in that you were doing it over and over and over again, rather than in each leg being terribly protracted.

There aren't that many stopovers in the Pacific.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:59 AM
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111:

Just ask Amelia.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:00 AM
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re: 111

Quite. And also a lot of the standard routes seem to do Europe to the tip of South America in just two stages, or, for example, the Southern Ocean as a single stage.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:02 AM
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The crossing below South America (I keep forgetting the damn name of the straits there) is supposed to be the absolute worst stretch of sailing in the world: there's never good weather, and the channels are very narrow and surrounded by the sharp, hull-wrecking kinds of rocks. And of course there isn't any sort of coast guard around there.

Does it count as circumnavigation if you go through the Panama Canal? I was kind of hoping this thirteen year-old would take the shortcut.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:07 AM
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108, that's a Russian name.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:07 AM
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Yeah, I hadn't actually looked at a planned route. But most of the trip can be done in fairly short stages (and I assume that would be maximized for a kid).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:09 AM
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re: 116

But no, it can't really. They need to cross the major oceans. It's quite the opposite of coastal sailing from port to port. You'd be surprised, looking at the various standard routes [I just did] how few stages they are often done in.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:11 AM
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From the Arthur Ransome Wiki:

Titty is based on Mavis (Titty) Altounyan, third-oldest/third-youngest of Arthur Ransome's young friends in the Altounyan family.
Mavis's nickname was not an abbreviation of Laetitia, but comes from a children's poem or fairy tale called "Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse".

"Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse" (Titty Mouse gets killed in the poem).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:11 AM
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Not if you do it by sailing up and down every single coast and then hopping between continents at the Arctic Circle!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:12 AM
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Ransome's relationship to his sources is rather problematic. Here's an obituary that sheds some light--there is much more on that and other sites.


Posted by: y | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:15 AM
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OT: I know some of you engage in this "exercise" nonsense fairly regularly. Any thoughts in the best remedies for soreness due to overexertion?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:15 AM
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re: 121

I think to a certain extent you have to just grin and bear it. Ibuprofen helps, as does the usual ice and compression routine if it's more than just the usual 'delayed onset muscle soreness' [aka DOMS].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:16 AM
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best remedies for soreness

Percocet and red wine.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:20 AM
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121: Hot baths are some use, as is gentle exercise (not enough to tire the muscles out again, just moving around).

117: Hrm. I'm having no luck googling for standard routes -- I've been vaguely remembering having been surprised in the past that there were enough islands to be hopped between that you could do it without a lot of legs longer than a week or so. But I'm not sure what I was thinking of.

Mostly, I'm thinking that a kid that age probably isn't really competent to solo overnight, and if she is, then she's unusual enough that I don't have a sense of what's implausible anymore.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:23 AM
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108 etc: In a very good Edmund Crispin book, there are elderly twin sisters named Titania and Tatiana, who are called Titty and Tatty for short. Titty is unkempt with small breasts, and Tatty is neatly got-up with substantial bosoms. Oh, the irony.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:25 AM
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I second LB about the hot baths. Try one with some epsom (cheap0 or dead sea salts (mor expensive).


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:26 AM
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Titty Mouse gets killed in the poem

Titty Mouse was clearly a duffer.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:27 AM
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According to what I have heard, the exceptional usually claim the sacrifices are worth it.

I react strongly to this because I watched several people wash out of tkd just shy of the Olympics. Getting to be (almost) exceptional fucked up their lives and bodies. Even if they decide in retrospect that it was worth it, they didn't experience the regular alternative, so how would they know? Besides, they have to think it was worth it, or live with deep regret. Presuming the parents are reasonable, one thing they could bring to the decision is having more experience to evaluate the kid's quality of life under the alternatives.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:27 AM
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re: 124

You might have been thinking of some effete non-standard US-o-centric route across the Pacific via Hawaii and the various island chains, and then up through the Red Sea or something. That isn't, as far as I can tell, remotely like the standard round-the-world routes that start in Europe.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:28 AM
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121 - Very light repetitions of the exact move that messed you up, just 5-10, to get blood moving.

Ice as often as you can bear, no longer then 20 minutes at a stretch.

Vitamin I.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:30 AM
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129: You've clearly done better than I at finding standard routes online -- how long in days are the long legs? (I've been mentally thinking of ten days or so as not fundamentally different from two, and so a route that's mostly legs under a week with a couple under two weeks as not implausible for someone who's competent to handle a boat alone for a couple of days at a time. I may also be underestimating the difference between a couple of days and a couple of weeks.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:35 AM
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The book I worked on was about this guy -- not the Drifter, scroll down. It sounds like his route took him around all 5 southern capes, which apparently is considered the butchiest route. It also sounds like -- although stuff may be elided -- he sailed for 30 or more days straight at times. Can that be right?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:41 AM
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re:131

Weeks, rather than days, I think. It looks like a lot of the routes are done in 10 or fewer stages.

This is Mike Perham's route. He stopped for longer at each stop than was planned to due to mechanical problems.

http://www.solocircumnavigation.com/SoloSailingCircumnavigation/SoloCircumnavigators/MikePerham/MikePerham.htm

There are dates. 157 sailing days. 7 stages. So each stage is pretty damn long.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:42 AM
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128: There's a David Foster Wallace essay about a pro tennis player, maybe seventieth best in the world? Who has clearly given up an incredible amount to be what he is. And the guy is happy, and DFW doesn't seem to be too troubled by him, but it's very clear that he didn't choose his very limited life in any thoughtful or informed way, it was something, largely, that his parents did to him as a child.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:43 AM
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but it's very clear that he didn't choose his very limited life in any thoughtful or informed way, it was something, largely, that his parents did to him as a child

Often true even for thoroughly non-exceptional types.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:45 AM
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An interesting article about the various types of circumnavigation records. Apparently the real thing is nonstop and unassisted.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:48 AM
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133: If there aren't very different possible routes than that (and I haven't found any evidence that there are, other than my vague memory of having read something once) I'm way off on this one. Yeah, anything with a thirteen-year-old kid alone for a month at sea sounds like a terrible idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:48 AM
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I'm having no luck googling for standard routes

Here you go. The maps show two possible routes (in red).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:52 AM
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When I was a kid, adults told me that I should be careful because injuries would fuck me up forever. Every last bit of the effort and pain was worth it in the moment and I would have done more. Now that I'm still paying down that cost, I'm less sure about how that balances out. I have another forty years of pain in my feet to get through.

Maybe they should have bossed me some more, although I would have hated that passionately at the time.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:56 AM
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138: I'd found things like that, but not spelling out likely leg length.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:56 AM
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139: This worries me a bit -- I'm a fairly strong, healthy person who exercises a reasonable amount but who's never been a jock at all or had any kind of athletic injury, and at nearly forty I don't have anything that hurts. I spend a fair amount of effort encouraging my kids to be more jockish than I am, but I worry a bit, if it takes off, about injuries.

Do you know why your feet hurt in any specific way?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 10:59 AM
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And so 139.1 intersects with the covenant marriage thread: when you are young and passionate, you just don't fully appreciate what a lifetime of pain and suffering really means.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:01 AM
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at nearly forty I don't have anything that hurts.

I hate you.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:03 AM
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You were a swimmer? Old swimming injury? Seriously, Sally just signed up for her first team -- what should I worry about?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:04 AM
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If I had to guess, I'd say it was from slamming them against things for hours every day for years.

Don't know if I've mentioned it, but the strengthening from lifting and a serious course of massage seems to have fixed my ankles. Knock wood, I haven't rolled them in more than a year. So perhaps these things are life sentences.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:08 AM
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aren't


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:08 AM
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145: I figured that much -- I was wondering if you had a diagnosis and a mechanism for the pain, rather than just a sense of what probably caused it. You had an old post on your feet that made you sound like the Little Mermaid, and that had me making mental notes not to encourage TKD through the teenage years unless the kids really really desperately wanted to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:11 AM
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144: Truly, I think most of my pains are congenital -- according to Rory's pediatrician, the thing to do to protect her from years of knee pain is not avoiding sports, but getting good arch support for her shoes. Swimming, unlike softball, was very kind to my body.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:13 AM
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(Hopefully more precisely and more helpfully,) I'm thinking it was the collegiate training. We moved out to a gym without a springy wood floor (or padded mats) and all worked out barefoot. The hours of training were longer too. That's when I remember it starting and getting worse.

Mechanism: impact if kick connects, constant impact when the foot returns to the ground. Too much repetition, not tending feet, macho attitude.

At this point, I'd still say that I'd make the same choices. It was pretty exhilarating at the time. But I'm not done paying.

Back to the post, yeah, maybe adults should temper kids' ambitions.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:25 AM
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Of course, I'm completely appalled by ballet, where you have the same costs but don't even get to hit people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:26 AM
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From what I've heard, ballet is absolute hell except that people for some insane reason actually enjoy doing it. Pretty much any performance art, especially those with less popular currency, falls into this category, but ballet seems like an extreme case.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:32 AM
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On parental aspirations and later life and the combining of sub-threads:
I could not help be struck by the following in the obituary of Mavis "Titty" Altounyan linked in 120.

Her life was not fulfilled in the way most wanted, which was to become an artist of the highest rank. But she leaves a legacy of kindness to others and devotion to those most close to her.
I don't know enough to figure out who "most" might refer to.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:33 AM
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I always have something that hurts. Knees, or back mostly. Sport is definitely a causative factor, but I'm not pain free if I don't train, either,* so I figure I might as well just exercise anyway and get some pleasure out of it.

* I've always had some mild joint pain since I was a teenager. Doctors just usually prescribe pain killers and tell me I'm susceptible to arthritic pain and injuries. I don't have full-on arthritis, or anything, I'm just more likely than most to suffer from either any increase in exercise intensity or (conversely) from long periods of inactivity.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:33 AM
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Not to pile on or anything, but the Pacific is BIG. West Coast to Hawaii is 2000 miles+, Hawaii to the Marquesas is another couple thousand, etc. And my impression is that the Indian Ocean is generally crossed, not coasted along (some of those coasts are sketchy), which is another big jump. Even via the canals, a circumnavigation is serious shit, and a solo circumnavigation via the capes is fairly nuts even for an experienced, athletic adult.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:34 AM
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We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea is a good story about four children sailing across the North Sea alone from Harwich to Flushing. My favorite of the S&A stories.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:34 AM
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Impact injuries*, thankfully, aren't much an issue with savate, as you are wearing shoes and boxing gloves. Although I'm interested in the impact on feet when the feet return to the ground. The way savate kicks are chambered you'd normally not contact the ground with much force at all. Presumably there's some difference in technique there.

* of the over-use type, that is, you still run the risk of getting clocked by someone with faster feet/hands than you.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:40 AM
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128:I understand how problematic it is.

If I were a parent, I would make sure my child was exceptional at nothing, and didn't excel at anything she tried. I would demand with the strictest discipline nothing better than mediocrity.

(Mad Men gave us a terriic Charleston last night)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:41 AM
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I'm only guessing about impacts when your foot returns to the ground We're supposed to do that as quickly as we kick, and land them gentle as butterflies. But we're heavier than butterflies, you know, and we do it many thousands of times.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:43 AM
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155: about four children sailing across the North Sea alone from Harwich to Flushing.

But were they the *youngest* four children ever to sail alone from Harwich to Flushing? That's the question.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:45 AM
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ttaM, i've heard that turmeric and ginger are good natural anti inflammatories that you can use in food or take medicinally without some of the risks of regular ibuprofen use.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:45 AM
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I dunno, Bob. That sounds a little extreme. Maybe some science, like economics, could tell us precisely what size pond your kids should be big fish in. It is probably fun to be the best in your small town, but maybe diminishing returns kick in when you start trying for states or regionals. Anyway, maybe you should think about permitting slightly more than mediocrity, then holding them back when they start to do well locally.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:46 AM
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re: 158

Yeah, savate kicks are supposed to be the same: come back lightly. Something about the chambering* combined with the shoes, probably, means that I've never ever been aware of any impact from the foot returning to the ground. The only time I get stressed about impact on the joints is with certain jumping kicks which, as 200lb+ bloke, are a bit harsh on the shins.

That said, I always get the impression that the 'Eastern' arts -- and this was certainly my experience of karate -- go in much more for repetition than would be normal in either boxing or savate. So maybe it's not so much a difference of technique as a difference in training methodology.

* savate uses a fairly high and quite exaggerated/stylised chamber** on many kicks and you are taught to return to the floor via the chamber ...

** people coming in from other styles find it a bit comic sometimes


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:53 AM
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154: And my impression is that the Indian Ocean is generally crossed, not coasted along (some of those coasts are sketchy), which is another big jump.

I keep thinking the North Sea is/was fairly mild compared to the north Atlantic. Consider the Vikings, who spent a lot of quality time crisscrossing the North Sea, but not so much in the Atlantic. (They did it, but it was dangerous.)

The Pacific has the same problem in the West, and the most of the Indian Ocean was uncrossable deep water for most of history (specifically including the sailing bits).

Meantime, I have an impression of reading various articles about dead people that end with them attempting various sailing feats and getting killed.

max
['I suppose it might be one the more popular exotic ways to die.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:53 AM
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re: 160

I eat quite a lot of both, actually. Not for medicinal reasons, but just because I like Indian food. Thanks for the tip, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:53 AM
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164: Clearly not a cure all, and I thought that you might like the taste a lot.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 11:56 AM
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161:Megan, I was of course kidding, but I am not sure it is controllable with preditably good outcomes. The talented young athlete, one entering the world of competition will not accept being beaten by the less talented who spent two extra hours in the gym. Or they might accept being second best with a balanced life. Or they might be bitter their entire lives for not being sure if they were up to it.

You probably understand this better than I. One of the points of Searching is how much trouble Pandolfini had. Josh Waitzkin had the talent, wanted to play and wanted to win, but really didn't have the work ethic. So balance was easier.

OTOH, Bobby Fischer was nothing but miserable away from a chessboard. He needed to work like we need to breathe.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 12:16 PM
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I keep thinking the North Sea is/was fairly mild compared to the north Atlantic.

I think the deal with the North Sea is that it's fairly shallow, which enables it to punch well above its weight in the ugliness division. The absence of useful plunder farther west may be an adequate explanation for the Vikings' sticking primarily to the European side of the Atlantic (which is not to say that the North Atlantic is to be trifled with).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 12:21 PM
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Well, see, that's why we'd want scientists to tell us the optimization formula.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 12:22 PM
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Mediocre scientists, of course?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 12:24 PM
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Excellent scientists well-versed in mediocrimetrics.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 12:36 PM
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Hook 'em, a and Husband X!

I think it would be crazy to allow a kid to try the trip but I have a tremendous amount of admiration for her parents letting her do what she has thus far. I hope that they heap praise upon her for exceeding the ability of many adults with multiples of her lifetime in years of experience rather than focus on her ability or inability to do what seems to me like the impossible.

Di, what I find helps a lot is taking a very hot shower immediately after working out. That tends to get the blood flowing the right way somehow.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 12:56 PM
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That tends to get the blood flowing the right way somehow.

IYKWIMAITYD.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 12:57 PM
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147
You had an old post on your feet that made you sound like the Little Mermaid, and that had me making mental notes not to encourage TKD through the teenage years unless the kids really really desperately wanted to.

I took TKD classes for eight years* beginning at age 12 and I turned out OK**, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Obviously, it's not for everyone, be aware of any relevant preexisting conditions, be careful, etc. But a good Tae Kwon Do school is probably no more hazardous to the health than most high school team sports.

Actually, I do have a knee problem. Two of the four times it acted up when I was a teen were in TKD class, but the first time happened at home and my mother has the same problem, so at worst TKD exacerbated an existing issue rather than creating one anew. I had physical therapy for it in college and haven't had an issue since then.

* Six to nine years, depending on how frequently is worth counting.

** Well, OK physically***.

*** Well, physically due to anything that could plausibly be caused by bad falls, repetitive motion or getting hit.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 1:07 PM
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171: I'm fine with encouraging kids to excel to this level. If you do something and you are the youngest--fine. But to me anytime it gets framed up front as "attempt to be youngest to do X" you've crossed a line. </naïveté>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 1:08 PM
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174 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 1:18 PM
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Or, for that matter, the oldest, the first, the whateverest.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 1:19 PM
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I always have something that hurts. Knees, or back mostly. Sport is definitely a causative factor, but I'm not pain free if I don't train, either,* so I figure I might as well just exercise anyway and get some pleasure out of it.

This is me, too. Generally hips or back. But I just love playing sports and exercising hard, so, eh. I don't think exercise makes my back ache, though - that's aggravated by standing on cement, like when I'm teaching.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 1:20 PM
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So I am considering TKD; there is a pretty big Korean community near me (in the US). I would like to know how to recognize a serious teacher/dojo-- are there association memberships, teacher pedigree names, other marks to look for? I don't want a storefront dojo with a high machismo:skill ratio, looking for anything above superficial judgement of the physical facilty.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 1:33 PM
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I'm quite torn about the sailing girl, mostly because I look at my 12 3/4 year old and think "No fucking way!" although in theory I am pro her getting to do what she wants. And if HER parents agree, I don't see what the problem is.

I've got a child freedom niggle of my own at the moment actually. My 2 elder girls, 11 and rising 13, want to go to a book signing in Oxford next weekend. I said they can go by themselves, because I don't want to go.

I already told them that one condition of them going is that their mobiles are charged and have credit (they have to buy their own). It's a half hour trip by train, they've done it before several times with me, they know where the book shop is (Borders, ttaM), and they're meeting at least one (internet!) friend at Oxford station and plan to return to the station with her (she lives in the opposite direction).

And then I found out that it's not in the daytime as I'd assumed, but at 6pm, which made me feel much less easy about it. But I think I am still going to let them go, though C or I will meet them at the station at this end on their return - not nearly ready for them walking through Reading at night yet!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 2:22 PM
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Borders

One of those legendary cozy English bookshops I've read so much about...


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 2:27 PM
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Heh. If you want authentic Korean, you're going to get high machismo. Might also get high skill, strong military associations, lots of hierarchy. I loved all that, but tastes vary. The cues I would look for to tell me whether the dojo was old school:

Colored uniforms - bad. I like the tkd V-necks, not those sloppy cross-over uniforms from some other style.
Amount of bowing and scraping - the more the better. If you see any black belts turn their backs on the master, it isn't old school. We walked backwards if we walked away from the master.
Master should be 5th dan or above. That's about 20 years of training.
Classes taught in Korean, at least the counting. You'll catch on.
Lots of painful physical punishments for mistakes.
At UCB, our blackbelts were somehow also registered with Yongin University in Korea. I never got what that meant.

Teacher pedigree name? Heh. Lee.

On the other hand, old school Korean masters are assholes and they don't put any priority on avoiding injury. They'll never like you anyway, because you're white.

If you're interested in something a bit less pure, I'd look for people who care enough to make their students line up straight, but not enough to hit you if you don't. Check for women black belts. Ask about how much time goes to skill training and how much time goes to conditioning (70/30 sounds good to me). Ask if they'll teach you to spar for competition or to defend yourself on the street. They aren't the same, so pick the one you want.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 2:40 PM
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Asilon, I'm still pretty bummed that my parents nixed me going to see the Kinks when I was 14-15. So, for my sake, let your little ones go!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 2:45 PM
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My parents let me go see the Dead when I saw 14. They even let my friend's older brother drive our family van.

Fortunately, I found the bong that one of the guys left before my parents checked the van.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 2:56 PM
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re: 179

That all sounds cool to me. Then again, I started going to pubs at 14, so 13-ish doesn't sound that young. The walk from the station to Borders is pretty straightforward.

My parents started letting me go to the next big town -- roughly the same size as Oxford more or less -- to go to book shops and things like that when I was about 8, but I didn't get to go to Edinburgh on my own till I was about 14.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 3:03 PM
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re: 181

Yeah, that all gels more or less with my experience of karate. My karate class was moderately old school, as in it was pretty old school in terms of how it ran but I could tell the instructor [who was fairly young but had been brought up by first generation hardcore old-school instructors] didn't really have his heart in the machismo or the authoritarian element.

I can't personally be doing with all the bowing and scraping stuff, but I can see the attraction of 'old school' if that's what you are into. It does have a certain charm.

French style has none of that. First name terms with all the instructors, no formality at all. Not that much conditioning work, either, except for specific technique related conditioning. Huge amount of sparring and partner work, though, by way of comparison to my karate and kung fu experiences. As in, in a 2 hour class, basically all of the 2 hours are technique work with a partner or free sparring.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 3:08 PM
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|| Emerson sighted at Digby's. |>


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 3:38 PM
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Thanks Megan and ttaM, very useful! I am actually looking for a place I can go with my 8-year old, figured the local Korean community was a natural. Sparred a bit with Korean TKD people in grad school, which was fun, I missed getting rough in college. I'm looking for something fun, physical and structured, mostly.

Maybe I need to rethink, or just try a not-terrible place, which I should now be able to recognize.

On the other part of the thread, I'm of the early controlled release into the environment school of childrearing; then again, I sold newspapers on the corner at night when I was 11, and I do not have a reckless kid. I think the kid's temperament matters a lot in these discussions-- recklessness or a show-offy streak make kids do dumb things.
Mostly, I think kids need to learn situational awareness, which is hard when they are usually in controlled environments or otherwise sheltered from consequences.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 4:07 PM
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re: 187

I think one advantage some of the more popular styles (like TKD) have is that -- assuming they are affiliated with and accredited by some reputable major federation -- there is probably going to be at least some degree of standardisation and a fairly consistent curriculum. You are going to be able to find lots of clubs that you can attend, and it's going to be suitable to attend with your kid.* I presume Megan (or others?) can probably point you in the direction of the right places to look in terms of accrediation, etc.

* By comparison, my club, fwiw, doesn't teach kids at all, and outside of about 4 UK cities, I'd be shit out luck finding a decent class to train with ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 4:39 PM
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I think that at Berkeley we were ITF-affiliated. That's incredibly important, so be sure you check that first.

(I'm kidding on that. I wouldn't expect an average-size studio to pick an affiliation. I don't even know what they meant.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 4:45 PM
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The North Sea is a serious business, but:

1) it's an overnight sail across
2) it's full of ships and offshore installations and aircraft
3) it is watched by effective SAR service

Most importantly, you can choose to cross it when there is a fair wind, good visibility and sea state, etc. This is roughly why Titty and friends got away with it, not that they chose it; it was a rough night but not that rough and the westerly half a gale pointed them right into the Scheldt.

If you're in the Atlantic, you don't get to choose - you've got to stick it out come what may, and even if you decide to bail and run down the wind to wherever, you're still out there for a long time...

And, only a few months ago, we lost a whole commercial aircraft and its entire crew and passengers in the South Atlantic and WE STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHERE. Let alone why. There are plenty of places in the world, especially at sea, where you can disappear; for some reason, the SARSAT beacons on AF447 were never activated even though they go off when immersed. As we do know the plane came down level, a weird question...

Further, hands up who's read The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 4:45 PM
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re: 189

Seriously, your average sized studio wouldn't be a member of some WTF or ITF national or regional federation? How do you go about checking that Bob Lee's TKD Shack isn't just run by some bloke who wandered in off the street?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 4:47 PM
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If you're sorta savvy, I guess you'd ask them if they host tournaments and which tournaments they go to. And you'd have some opinion about the larger competitive circuit.

(I mean, for me, I'd walk in the door and feel the vibes, but I have a lot of comparison.)

But really, I think it would take two or three years before the average student would start to have an opinion about that, and I don't think it would matter much to most of them, except that they would passionately believe that whichever one they were in was The Most Deadly Martial Art Ever.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:03 PM
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I think most studios are run by some bloke who just wandered in off the street.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:04 PM
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except that they would passionately believe that whichever one they were in was The Most Deadly Martial Art Ever

Where can you find a good trench warfare dojo?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:05 PM
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Next to good trenches?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:07 PM
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OK, I walked into that one.

Sort of on topic.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:11 PM
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Uh-oh:

Reporting earlier this summer in the journal Science, Nuno Sousa of the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute at the University of Minho in Portugal and his colleagues described experiments in which chronically stressed rats lost their elastic rat cunning and instead fell back on familiar routines and rote responses, like compulsively pressing a bar for food pellets they had no intention of eating.

Good thing we [refresh] don't know [refresh] anybody like that [refresh].


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:19 PM
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I just like the phrase "elastic rat cunning."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:20 PM
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Artisanal hand-stretched cunning?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:24 PM
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re: 192

Hmm. At least in the UK, I'd be looking for national federations and affiliated clubs. That would apply for most styles, Japanese, Korean, or other. All of the major styles have at least some accreditation process.* The exception would be rare styles, or the things that only teach members of a particular ethnic group.

You'd certainly be able to check if a particular UK Karate club or TKD club was associated with one of the major umbrella organisations. That might not tell you if the club was actually any good, but you'd know that Bob's 3rd Dan or whatever wasn't one that he'd printed himself after reading a book he found in the library.

* of course, in many cases, with all kinds of internecine shite, and splits and so on.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:26 PM
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Seriously, your average sized studio wouldn't be a member of some WTF or ITF national or regional federation?

A lot of them would be. I think WTF (Really kukkiwon) is probably more prevalent in the US. The ATA is also pretty big, but I would personally avoid those since they seem to be fairly highly linked to being McDojangs.

Also I have found with the WTF/Kukkiwon there really isn't a lot of standardization below Dan rank. I don't know about ITF.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:26 PM
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asilon, if you or C has met the internet friend, let your girls go. The only part I would be at all concerned about is the walk back out the Botley road, but only because I don't know that part of town well. But it should still be light that late at this time of year, and they won't be alone, and it'll be fine.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:27 PM
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re: 202

You don't walk down the Botley Road. It's George Street [busy, brightly lit] and then Hythe Bridge Street. Or down the back of Borders, across Gloucester Green and ditto. Botley Road starts after the train station.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:30 PM
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Erm. Like I said, not a part of town I know well; I think [apparently erroneously] of the Botley road starting just on the far side of the bridge.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:52 PM
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re: 204

Yeah. George St, Hythe Bridge Street and then Botley Road all basically blend into each other.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:55 PM
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Wow, yeah, looking at the map I don't know why I thought that. Carry on; don't mind me.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 5:56 PM
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See, there's good reason to fear the Botley Road: it kills threads. Danger!


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 6:42 PM
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I just like the phrase "elastic rat cunning."

Because it's fantastic.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 6:46 PM
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Mentions of TKD always make me flash back to this legendary TV commarcial: Nobody Bothers Me!


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 8:50 PM
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I missed getting rough in college. I'm looking for something fun, physical and structured, mostly.

Yob culture 'so you think you're hard' night,

or

CrossFit kipping pull ups till you bleed ?


Posted by: E | Link to this comment | 08-31-09 9:02 PM
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41, 42: if the shoe fits...

But yes, media coverage in the Netherlands (as well as elsewhere) has seen a lot of people fulmigating against the nanny state who would normally deplore all those hoodies running around wild in the streets instead of being in school. But in Laura's case her story has consistently been presented from her point of view, with newspapers and tv news talking to her as much as about her, been personalised.

80: yep, legal obligation to stay in school until you're 18, just raised a year or so ago from the previous age of 16.

82 Re child actors and the like: there are very very strict limits as to what is allowed and not, especially for children under 12. None of them are allowed to drop out of school for a year or more.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 09- 1-09 4:02 AM
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Further, hands up who's read The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst?

Ooh, Me! Me, Sir!! I know that one! Poor bastard.

I know this thread's dead, but on the off chance that Asilon is anywhere around, I'd say that my main worry with sending the kids to Oxford would be that they would get lifted by the police for being a couple of sub-teens on the streets after hours. Unless the older one looks more than her years, in which case they'll be fine. But you might think about that possibility and take evasive action, like briefing them on what to do if it happens.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 09- 1-09 6:12 AM
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re: 212

Yeah, I suppose. Presumably the kids can just phone mum and dad to talk to the nice officers.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 1-09 6:36 AM
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And then Gordon Brown would swoop in and tell everyone off. And asbos all round!


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 09- 1-09 7:31 AM
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They're both tall (5'6" and 5'7" roughly) and look older than they are, so I've never worried about them being looked at askance. (They go to town here frequently by themselves.) I'm sure they'll be fine - before the evening thing threw me, I was thinking that it was a good opportunity to go further afield.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 1-09 9:02 AM
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They go to town here frequently by themselves

well, if they're OK in the Butts (so it shall ever be), I can't think anything west Oxford throws at them will be a problem.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 6:37 AM
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185: It's odd to read that French karate has no formality at all, because French Tae Kwon Do had just as much formality as I was used to or maybe a tiny bit more. There wasn't any racism against white people, or if there was I was blissfully ignorant of it. And the instructor was named Lee. :)

189
(I'm kidding on that. I wouldn't expect an average-size studio to pick an affiliation. I don't even know what they meant.)

All schools that I know of, average-sized or not, were affiliated with one or the other. WTF means "World Tae Kwon Do Federation" and ITF means "International Tae Kwon Do Federation." Two separate and unrelated bodies devoted to the same martial art. If you merely meant that you can't tell them apart, then neither can I. In my defense, though, the TKD school I started with switched from one organization to the other halfway through my time there. We were required to learn a new set of forms, but we hadn't learned (or at least, I hadn't) that the old one was associated with a particular acronym until it was gone, so it never stuck with me which acronym was new. But the Dan Certificate in my wallet says "Kukkiwon" on it, so if 201 is right, we switched to WTF.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09- 2-09 2:54 PM
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