Re: I'm not a cannibal. I just think people are delicious.

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Piles and piles! In his backyard!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:45 PM
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Mmmm, people.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:48 PM
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So he kills them, has sex with them, and then pisses all over the corpses? That dude is straight up gross, man.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:49 PM
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1: There are creams for that. Or suppositories.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:50 PM
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"There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage," Bardwell said. "I think those children suffer and I won't help put them through it."

Yes, they might be elected president of the United States or something.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:50 PM
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Piles and piles! In his bathroom!


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:53 PM
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Barack Obama, Tiger Woods, Rob Schneider's mom. Those folks do OK.


Posted by: Commenter-in-exile | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 6:53 PM
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7: I'd like to think Rob Schneider's mom has moments when she wishes she was Will Ferrel's mom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:02 PM
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Lenny Kravitz, Halle Berry, Alicia Keyes, Cree Summer, Derek Jeter, Gina Belafonte, Jasmine Guy, Jennifer Beals, Lisa Bonet, Rowland Gift, Shemar Moore, Walter Mosely... and the list goes on. Oh, and my friends Xandra, Henry, Kriss, Annie and Sebastian, who aren't famous.

Guess Bardwell hasn't heard of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967).


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:06 PM
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they use my Coloreds Only bathroom


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:13 PM
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See, they get their own bathroom! All to themselves!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:18 PM
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(No towels, though.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:18 PM
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Is that why new houses have so many bathrooms these days?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:21 PM
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Only in Louisiana.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:22 PM
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When we lived in North Carolina, we had 2.5 baths and now that I'm up north, we have 1.5.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:24 PM
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That's just decadence.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:26 PM
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Off-topic and absurdly late, but in the last few days I've listened several times to this mix DS posted a while back, and I'm really liking it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:26 PM
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In the antebellum South, bathrooms were divided into fifths.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:27 PM
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If you had moved to Miami, your house would be nothing but bathrooms.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:27 PM
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Piles and piles of them.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:28 PM
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They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom.

I read this repeatedly as saying that he (presumably) has been married to black women, who then also use his bathroom, which couldn't have been right, of course, unless he meant that he ensured that no offspring would ensue on top of it all, because, duh, teh awful.

I have since read the linked article for clarification on his sorry predicament.

More seriously, one hopes the ACLU's petition succeeds.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:28 PM
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has been married to black women, who then also use his bathroom

That's where he keeps the RU-486.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:30 PM
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Of course the ACLU's petition will succeed. As noted above "Loving v Virginia".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:30 PM
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I put a bathroom on my bicycle, but it's for black people, and I can't use it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:30 PM
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24: That's Obama's America for you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:32 PM
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Also, way late, but 4 obviously to 3.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:33 PM
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Instead of helping people with big houses that they can't afford, Obama should give me money to add another bathroom. Or at least enough money to fix the floor file in my downstairs bathroom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:33 PM
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Obama should give me money to add another bathroom

Reparations, baby. Forty square feet and a stool!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:35 PM
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27: You keep your files in the bathroom floor? Handy for doing your tax returns in the tub, I guess.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:36 PM
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28: whole lotta chocolate privvies around here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:36 PM
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Or a bedroom. I'm not picky. Just a bit greedy and feeling unbailed-out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:37 PM
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I read this repeatedly as saying that he (presumably) has been married to black women, who then also use his bathroom

Ah. I thought he was describing a common sequence of events in his life: First a black woman comes to his house, then he gets married to her, and finally she uses his bathroom.

All in a day's work!


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:38 PM
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and finally she uses his bathroom

Which qualifies you for an annulment under Louisiana law and the cycle begins anew.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:40 PM
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33: not many people know this, but the "Napoleon" named in the Napoleonic Code was not the famous leader, but one of Meriwether Lewis's more memorable bowel movements.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:42 PM
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First a black woman comes to his house, then he gets married to her, and finally she uses his bathroom.

I hear those depraved folks in California actually let black women use the bathroom before marriage.


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:46 PM
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Before it was outlawed by the Supreme Court, states used to require stool samples before issuing marriage licenses.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:54 PM
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36: Activist judges strike again!


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:56 PM
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If I marry you, next thing I know, you'll tell me you're black, and I was enough of a damn fool to marry you to myself!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 8:59 PM
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35: The Californians always have been in the forefront. First wave. Eye them carefully. Some of them only have one bathroom. Some kind of new thing, probably has to do with saving the planet or something.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:07 PM
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36, 37: <Insert clever joke incorporating "Civil Rights Movement" here>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:16 PM
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It is true! I only have one bathroom!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:20 PM
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Yeah. Me too. I'm not even in California. I live in a place where houses are older, before you had to think about needing more than one bathroom.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:23 PM
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36, 37: <Insert clever joke incorporating "Civil Rights Movement" here>

Shit-ins?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:27 PM
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Something about "legislating from the bench" would work too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:30 PM
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Who exactly was the plaintiff in Brown v. Board?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:30 PM
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OT: Does anyone know if the Word 2007 citation feature is capable of doing footnotes rather than in-text citations + bibliography. It's useless for me if all it can do is put the stuff in parentheses in the text.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:39 PM
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It took some fortitude, but I found it to be very rewarding to have waited to have my first bowel movement under wedlock, and my wife appreciated it too!

p.s. it was worth the wait!


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:42 PM
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I have just one bathroom, but Portland is a pretty white city, so.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 9:44 PM
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text is married?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 10:30 PM
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I see no evidence* that text is married.

*sorry


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 10:32 PM
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Disingenuous question. And you're damned right to apologize about the evidence.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 10:36 PM
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Something about "legislating from the bench" would work too.

All deliberate speed.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:00 PM
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I'm married. And we have only one bathroom.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:10 PM
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Fuck. My non-white spouse is in the bathroom RIGHT NOW. Can someone please send a mountain laurel sapling with all deliberate speed?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:11 PM
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Actually one of our new neighbors came the other day to visit -- needed to borrow something from the kitchen -- and proceeded to utilize our single toilet for roughly forty minutes, then left. He lives with a large and vocal doberman.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:13 PM
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attribute that to me


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:14 PM
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17: I'm pleased to hear that. Technically, though, it's a miscegenation mix, so I hope you're humping someone of dissimilar ethnic extraction while listening to it. Or at least thinking about doing so.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-15-09 11:33 PM
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If you are mixed race, then by definition all sex that you have, including masturbation, is miscegenation. Think about it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:28 AM
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This reminds me of the time interracial dating was a topic in high school. Was I for it (that was about the level of the "conversation": for or against it)? Of course!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:32 AM
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9: Also Alexandre Dumas.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:43 AM
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58: All masturbation is gay incest.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:55 AM
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59: Where all the white women at?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 5:33 AM
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46: Making us put citations in stupid parenthesis is the reason I will always hate the ALA. Seriously, what were they thinking? "What can we do make reading dry technical documents less comprehensible? I know! Make writers clutter up the text with names and years in parenthesis!"


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:23 AM
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I am so irrevocably tainted that I rather like APA/Harvard style in-line citations.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:31 AM
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How much significant info do the citations convey? A big part of the rationale for in-line legal citation is that what court decided that when is rather important to know and having to keep bouncing down to the footnotes would be insane.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:35 AM
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64: I also like APA style citations. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of Word 2007.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:42 AM
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Wow, Crooked Timber kicked Unfogged off their blogroll, probably for logical fallacies or incivility or something. I bet Daniel Davies or John Emerson are to blame, unless it is my fault. This is a disaster for small boutique blogs, reducing hitcounts and trackbacks until they becomes only dim memories.

Anyway, I finally followed thru this link from Digby's, and came back to rant against Republican racism, but Henry or Harry at Ct, who I can no more tell apart than than the Berubolbo twins, might get all upset and take Unfogged off the CT blogroll. So there are good decent Republicans who care about black people. I'm like sure there are.

(One of the twins has a vid of Jon Hamm with three day's beard, which is making me all confused about my preferences and identity and stuff. Even if Hamm can't spell his own name.)

(And twisty was linked by IOZ, writing about advanced revolutionary theory, which made me all confused about my ideology and identity and stuff.)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:06 AM
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This is a disaster for small boutique blogs, reducing hitcounts and trackbacks until they becomes only dim memories.

If hitcounts get too low, we'll have to pressure Teo to get married. That will bring the kind of narrative arc and "reality-based" drama that sell in today's market. And he is in graduate school, which isn't a bad place to meet people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:10 AM
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Makes perfect sense -- we're much less political/academic/newsy than we used to be back when Ogged was warblogging.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:15 AM
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Maybe we'll need to find another young child to replace Rudy, now that Rudy is growing up and not as cute anymore...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:16 AM
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70: Oliver?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:17 AM
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There are still actively-maintained blogrolls?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:19 AM
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63 gets it right. However! Some journals nowadays have the parenthetical citations in a different font color, which is definitely less distracting to me at least.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:19 AM
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67: Wow, Crooked Timber kicked Unfogged off their blogroll,

What would ever even make you notice this?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:20 AM
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74:Blogrolls are how I roll.

For instance, from here to Obsidian Wings to Crooked Timber to Firedoglake to Open Left

Here to Obsidian Wings to Jim Henley to IOZ

Here to CT to Mark Thoma to Yves Smith to Willem Buiter


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:52 AM
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Bank shot!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:54 AM
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Nope, http://bankshot.blogspot.com/ seems to be nonfunctional after one post in Sept. 2002. They don't have a blogroll.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:31 AM
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||

Has anybody else read this paper about the computational intractability of derivatives? It seems... really disturbing, to me.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:32 AM
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78: Hey, I think the first author on that was a housemate of mine at MIT.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:35 AM
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Could you tell him to stop upsetting me?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:40 AM
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If it's true, it's the sort of thing that should be shouted from the rooftops, no?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:50 AM
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If you shout think from rooftops in Manhattan, will anyone hear you?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:53 AM
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It's interesting how much it dovetails with Buffett's comments, which I had largely taken as general-purpose grumping against financial complexity.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:53 AM
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83: What's wrong with general-purpose grumping against financial complexity? I find it a useful heuristic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:55 AM
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84: nothing's wrong with it -- I'm all for it, in fact -- it's just different from specifically proving that financial instruments can't meaningfully work the way they're supposed to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:57 AM
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Nothing wrong with it, but it's interesting (and scary) to find out that what looked like general alla-you-quants-get-offa-my-lawn grousing can be supported by theoretical work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:57 AM
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85: I've moved all my money into Beanie Babies and Vodka.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:02 AM
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Activate the Emerson-signal!


Posted by: U. Awl | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:09 AM
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87: My dad has a friend who used to tell people that in the interest of liquidity, he'd moved most of his net worth onto his Metrocard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:15 AM
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I'm planning on using the little airplane/minibar bottles for change.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:26 AM
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85

nothing's wrong with it -- I'm all for it, in fact -- it's just different from specifically proving that financial instruments can't meaningfully work the way they're supposed to.

The purpose of these instruments was to sell stuff for more than it was worth and they worked fine. You don't need fancy mathematics to figure out that buying complicated stuff from people who know more about it than you do is a risky endeavor.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:30 AM
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i didn't know jennifer beals was black


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:35 AM
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James, I gather that you aren't interested in looking at what the paper says, but I would think you would enjoy the fact that it basically confirms your arguments: both that it's impossible to price derivatives accurately, and that it's impossible to counteract the information asymmetry that comes from buying assets from somebody who knows more about them than you do by using derivatives, regardless of the fancy math you (the buyer) have at your disposal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:38 AM
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Still, isn't like doing a careful empirical study to prove that Ax body spray won't really get you laid. Or that the guy running the shell game on the el is going to rip you off.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:41 AM
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91: Again, that's "get offa my lawn". I agree with you, but the interesting thing about the paper is that for someone who would be in the market for these products, and doesn't believe that they're a sucker, it's proof that they can't possibly know (under some circumstances) what the value is of the thing they're buying.

The Buffett-esque grousing is probably better supported generally (that is, interesting theoretical work is the kind of thing that can get disproven next week, while experience-driven rules of thumb are more robust) but it's still interesting, and rhetorically useful in bolstering the grousing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:41 AM
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96

Genetic testing reveals that Sea Monkeys are really brine shrimp.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:42 AM
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96: And that grouper you've been eating is actually catfish.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:46 AM
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96: and that the unicorn is a goat victimized by an unethical vet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:50 AM
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95: and, I mean, countering mathematical arguments with "I just don't trust them dang numbers" may be both rewarding and rhetorically effective (works for James Inhofe) but it's not exactly bringing your big guns to bear on an empirical argument.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:51 AM
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Is this the thread for celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Harpers Ferry raid?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:51 AM
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I'm moldering as we speak.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:56 AM
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99: Maybe, but I'd prefer that the burden of proof be placed squarely on the people creating and selling this shit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:56 AM
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102: how would you do that?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:01 AM
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the burden of proof be placed squarely

Not to jump on you (Oh, I am jumping on you. But without personal animosity) but I hate this usage. "Burden of proof" has a clear meaning in a legal context, and if you've got a situation where something definite will happen unless one person who doesn't want it to happen demonstrates something to be true (at some given level of certainty), that's close enough to the legal situation to make 'burden of proof' a good metaphor.

But where it's not clear what happens if the 'burden of proof' isn't met, I think the phrase just muddles things. That, and 'null hypothesis' outside of research or something that's structurally like research, which is a usage that has similar problems.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:05 AM
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Aaand pretty much Sifu-pwned again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:06 AM
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102: Rant like James in 85, except more loudly and in a big crowd gathered outside some forum like the BofA shareholders meeting or Goldman Sachs. With pitchforks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:06 AM
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106: well, sure. I'm down for that. But this paper is like... mathematical pitchforks. Pitchforks of the imagination!

Like a Forbidden Planet kind of scenario.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:09 AM
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Wall Street owns Washington, so I'm not optimistic.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:10 AM
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In fact, the paper doesn't seem like a bad theoretical framework for supplying a useful burden for bankers who want to offer products to, uh, hurdle. You could disallow the trading of any financial product unless it's sellers could prove polynomial time tractability of the stacking-the-deck problem they talk about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:12 AM
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93

James, I gather that you aren't interested in looking at what the paper says, ...

I skimmed the paper. I didn't see any reason to doubt the mathematics (although I was little uneasy that it tended to elide the difference between the best algorithms currently known and the best algorithms possible). But I don't think this is the correct way to think about things. Which is sensible people don't buy products designed to appeal to idiots.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:16 AM
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104: I won't stand by the phrase 'burden of proof'. Basically, I'm still angry about the bailout and the fact that bailed-out institutions are giving bonuses again. And the fact that during the bailout, there was a unified, bipartisan consensus that we had to dump public money on people who were, by reasonable standard, rich despite whatever reduction in assets they had to swallow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:17 AM
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104

But where it's not clear what happens if the 'burden of proof' isn't met, I think the phrase just muddles things. ...

What happens is you don't buy the stuff, or rate it, or allow banks to treat it as AAA.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:20 AM
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111: Oh, no sweat. I was venting bottled up stuff from an old argument. Generalized anger about the bailout I'm with you on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:21 AM
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99

and, I mean, countering mathematical arguments with "I just don't trust them dang numbers" may be both rewarding and rhetorically effective (works for James Inhofe) but it's not exactly bringing your big guns to bear on an empirical argument.

Empirically this stuff turned out to be AAA rated garbage.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:22 AM
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What happens is you don't buy the stuff, or rate it, or allow banks to treat it as AAA.

I already don't!

But define "the stuff", here. Any kind of derivative? I would be pretty comfortable with that, but how do you make that sale to the government, or regulators, or potential buyers of securities? Or all three, really.

Or do you mean securitization generally? Because that seems like it would be complicated to eliminate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:24 AM
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109

In fact, the paper doesn't seem like a bad theoretical framework for supplying a useful burden for bankers who want to offer products to, uh, hurdle. You could disallow the trading of any financial product unless it's sellers could prove polynomial time tractability of the stacking-the-deck problem they talk about.

Except for the fact that the stacking the deck problem doesn't seem to have anything much to do with what went wrong. Which was ridiculous models designed to make the stuff look good.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:25 AM
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Calvin Trillin gets it righthttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/14/opinion/14trillin.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:26 AM
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116: it's a hoop to jump through. I seriously can't figure out why it wouldn't be helpful to you to have more indiciations that derivatives are garbage. Wouldn't that make it more likely that whatever you want to happen will come to pass?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:28 AM
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Does anyone know how the size of actual tranches compares to the current computational limits?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:29 AM
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You all realize that the main impact of this paper will be to give bankers ideas, right?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:31 AM
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119: if I'm not mistaken, people don't generally know how many tranches there actually are in a given derivative. That's another problem.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:31 AM
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116, 118: Right. The problem is that the bankers who bought the shitty products thought they understood them enough to value them -- if they knew they didn't understand them enough to value them (something which Sifu, and you, and Warren Buffet, and Moby Hick, and I, all managed to figure out without this paper), they wouldn't have bought them. Proof that a buyer can't possibly know enough to value this kind of product should be useful in tipping buyers off that they don't know enough.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:34 AM
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The thing is, saying that the mortgage backed securities were obvious garbage isn't like saying "I don't trust them fancy numbers" any more than saying "the shell game guy on the el is working a scam" is like saying "I don't trust anyone's ability to keep track of objects in space."

You don't need proof that the shell game guy palmed the marble to see that it is a scam. Nor do you need a blanket doubt of your ability to remember where objects are when you are not looking at them. All you need to do is look at the speed of his patter, how hard his sell is, and the fact that this looks like a lot of other scams out there.

Recognizing mortgage backed securities as garbage shouldn't require either mathematical proof or universal distrust of mathematics. The first big warning sign should have simply been that valueless subprime loans were being sliced and reassembled in a way that somehow made them valuable. Sliced shit is still shit.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:40 AM
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122. The bankers didn't buy the stuff they didn't understand, they sold the stuff. Norwegian school district pension funds bought them. They didn't understand them either.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:40 AM
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Sliced shit is still shit

But it was insured shit.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:43 AM
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124: they both bought and sold the stuff, they just didn't use their own money, by and large.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:44 AM
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122: My point is that buying these things should be sufficient cause for firing due to incompetence. And selling them should be sufficient cause for firing based on moral grounds in any situation where a bailout from public funds was needed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:44 AM
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saying that the mortgage backed securities were obvious garbage isn't like saying "I don't trust them fancy numbers"

meet

The first big warning sign should have simply been that valueless subprime loans were being sliced and reassembled in a way that somehow made them valuable


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:45 AM
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All you need to do is look at the speed of his patter, how hard his sell is, and the fact that this looks like a lot of other scams out there.

This is a good argument, and it's the one I'm actually relying on (that is, I can read the linked paper enough to know what it's claiming, but not to follow the math -- I figure it's solid if the lead author is the Sanjeev Arora I knew, but I can't actually evaluate it). But it's one that's easily waved aside by someone who doesn't want to listen -- a complete response to 'looks like a con game to me!' is 'doesn't look like one to me, and I'm just as savvy and sophisticated as you are -- I work in the financial industry.'

The neat thing, rhetorically, about a result like this is that it doesn't depend on the prospective buyer's basic common sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:47 AM
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That Calvin Trillin link is moderately amusing, if someone can fix it.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:48 AM
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Even if there are many commonsensical soft signs that there is an insurmountable information asymmetry, why would that mean it's somehow pointless or scornworthy to provide more rigorous proof that the asymmetry is indeed insurmountable? I don't get people's resistance to this work.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:50 AM
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100:Partyyyyy!!!!!

No, wait, Thank the Lord for Robert E Lee who saved the nation from ideological madness and senseless mass violence. Or somethin'.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:51 AM
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129: right, I mean, unless we're going for the Potter Stewart definition of financial impropriety, it seems like it couldn't possibly be harmful to know these things. I mean, you don't need fancy math to know that the shell game is fake, you just need to know that the shell game is fake, a skill which apparently eludes a large enough number of people to make for a profitable shell game trade.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:51 AM
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Lizard: I just think that looking at the psychology of con games and bubbles is a far better way to guard yourself than mathematical proofs about a particular con.

Tweety: They've been introduced. What are the supposed to say to each other?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:52 AM
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130: Just because I happen to have a biscuit AND you're hungry, here.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:52 AM
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131: I don't get people's resistance to this work.

I don't really have anything against this work. I just find it hard to hold mathematical models in my head at the same time as inchoate rage and I think the later is more useful.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:53 AM
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Sliced shit is still shit

But sun-dried, hand-grated shit is a Persian delicacy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:54 AM
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Coffee wrapped in shit is fucking expensive.

Shit is, of course, very important if you want to grow food to eat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:57 AM
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138.last: Or if you eat too much cheese and suddenly find yourself in a fix.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:58 AM
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Hmm. Lot of thoughts about this conversation. First of all, it is my understanding, and Dsquared is no longer around to contradict me, and Wikipedia supports me, that "derivative" refers to any financial instrument based on another financial instrument. So that includes regular listed stock options and futures and options on futures. The can be pretty simple, e.g. $100 December IBM calls, and there are fairly "legitimate" uses for them, such as hedging your purchase of a volatile stock, or gaining income from a stable position you're less-than-willing to sell. So "derivatives" aren't just crazily-complicated things with funny math. Furthermore, CMOs and similar products have been around for some time without precipitating financial crashes. There's a fairly "legitimate" purpose there too -- you want to invest in mortgages, but you want to share the risk and tailor your expectations of earnings to your own risk tolerance. And those derivative products have been doing that very well for a long time. We learned all about them in my Series 7 class all the way back in 1998. Now we're getting into credit default swap territory -- derivatives of derivatives of derivatives, like taking life insurance out on someone else's life insurance policy. If you accept all the other derivatives' usefulness, it seems to me that the two arguments against CDSes are that they're (a) too complicated, (b) too arbitrary and (c) deserving of a great deal of regulation. (A) and (c) could be said of much simpler financial instruments -- have you ever tried explaining an Iron Butterfly Spread to someone? -- and (c) applies to lots of other markets and products as well. It just happened that this particular category of complicated, arbitrary, poorly regulated instruments was what got everyone into trouble this time around. Next time, tautologically, it will probably be something different.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:00 PM
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P.S.: Smash Capitalism!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:00 PM
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Wow, Crooked Timber kicked Unfogged off their blogroll, probably for logical fallacies or incivility or something.

Probably for being boring; or, What LB said.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:02 PM
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Three arguments! And our almost fanatical devotion to the Pope!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:02 PM
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It just happened that this particular category of complicated, arbitrary, poorly regulated instruments was what got everyone into trouble this time around. Next time, tautologically, it will probably be something different.

Indeed. Which is why it seems valuable to have empirical tools for figuring out (one of the ways) how to define "too complicated and arbitrary".

Poorly regulated seems easier to define, because that's basically everything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:03 PM
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Probably for being boring

Probably for something alameida said.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:04 PM
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141: I don't actually want to smash capitalism. I've got a family, a job with nice benefits, a house and a reasonably large amount of money in various IRA, 401k kind of things. I just want to smash the most thieving portion of the capitalists and so I can go back to trying to figure out how to afford a bigger house and 20 acres in the mountains (for my yurt).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:04 PM
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Nat, I just don't get how you are an anarchist and a financial analyst of some sort.

It is really in the same category for me as the Dylan Christmas album and the other stuff that just doesn't compute.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:05 PM
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140 is right in that 'derivatives' doesn't pick out 'crazy impenetrably complicated financial instruments' all that well, and I'm not sure if there's a better general term that would leave out the boring normal stuff like simple options.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:05 PM
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And maybe an electric car, if they don't look stupid or cost too much more than a Civic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:06 PM
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148: now we can call them one-way functions! Thanks, paper.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:07 PM
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And eat take-out every night.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:07 PM
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Just talking about Wall Street has infected me with greed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:09 PM
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147: That particular internal contradiction has fallen beneath the inevitable progress of radical theater dialectics. That is, I used to be in the financial industry, which was very ironic, and now I'm not, which is less ironic and correspondingly less lucrative.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:10 PM
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145: Yeah, that was my (entirely uninformed) guess. Is the term "Chinese wall" racist?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:10 PM
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See, that's how it starts, Moby. First, you're eating takeout every night, next thing you know, you're slicing shit.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:11 PM
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154: It seems like "firewall" has been gaining ground in the financial industry over the last several years, despite being somewhat confusing, given how much the financial and computing worlds overlap nowadays.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:13 PM
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156: Yeah, it seemed like there had to be some kind of alternative term. Thanks!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:14 PM
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135: Come back, Chet!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:15 PM
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154: I think it is O.K., provided you let Chinese people use your bathroom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:16 PM
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159: It will be sad for them though, if they have piles and piles.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:18 PM
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145: That occurred to me too.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:25 PM
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Chinese wall, probably not.
Chinese clean-up, probably.
Chinese fire drill, definately


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:28 PM
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Chinese clean-up

Never heard that one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:29 PM
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153: That is, I used to be in the financial industry, which was very ironic, and now I'm not, which is less ironic and correspondingly less lucrative.

Irony is overrated. And hopefully you're happier. Leaving aside the plumbing problems, of course.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:30 PM
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And chink in the wall is right out.

I endorse 134.1


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:31 PM
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145, 154, 161: A clue, please, for the terminally clueless?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:32 PM
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I think the problem with "Chinese Wall" is not so much that it appeals to any negative stereotype, as that there's no real sense in which the Great Wall of China is a good metaphor for an ad hoc division between two parts of an organization that prevents information flow on a given topic between the two. At that point "Chinese Wall" isn't terribly awful, but "Chinese" is just a placeholder to make it sound more colorful, and that's kind of uncool.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:33 PM
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166: I'm starting to wonder too -- I took 145 as a joke, but now I'm wondering if there's some kind of weird double-reverse whammy thing I missed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:34 PM
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167: Intra-organizational condom?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:36 PM
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After how many years?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:37 PM
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167: Yeah, that is my take. Not flatly racist so far as I could tell, but kind of injecting ethnicity into something that didn't need any.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:39 PM
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163. Many loans require the borrower to be at a zero balance for a period of time. Transferring the debt to another institution for the required time as opposed to being actually out of debt is called a Chinese clean up, presumably from the Chinese cultural tradition of being out of debt on New Year.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:40 PM
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Ah, well if LB is confused, that makes me feel better.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:40 PM
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168: At first I thought it was a joke, because of the relationship of bloggers here and there. And then I realized there really were good reasons why they might not want people clicking from there to here, precisely because of that relationship.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:40 PM
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166/68: I certainly didn't mean anything specific. Just a sort of unlinking to prevent . . . elision.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:41 PM
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170: If that's to 169, I'm confused.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:42 PM
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167, 171: On the other hand, The Great Wall of China is significantly different from just any old wall -- so perhaps Chinese is thrown in not simply for color but as short hand for "big-ass serious wall, not some flimsy drywall shit you can overhear all kinds of intrigue through."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:43 PM
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Perhaps 170 took 169 as to 168?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:44 PM
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177:
Well, it's also significantly different from every other Chinese wall. And no one calls the Great Wall of China the "Chinese Wall."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:46 PM
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||

Caroline playing a Dora game, but La Exploradora is older now. She looks more like a 7 year old than a five year old. And she has four girlfriends, two of whom are anglo. No monkeys, no Mami and Papi and Abuela.

Changebad.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:47 PM
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178: It did indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:47 PM
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180: You really need to not see the new tweener Dora, then.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:48 PM
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No, I think "Chinese wall" definitely infers a bizarre, oriental organizational structure that no right thinking Anglo Saxon would ever consider.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:49 PM
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A wall of sorts between the sites makes perfect sense, though it is too bad.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:52 PM
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Probably for something alameida said.

Maybe we're just not as good looking as we used to be.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:53 PM
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I'd doubt that's it -- it's been five years? the possible problem's existed, so delinking now for that reason seems implausible (unless Al developed some particular concern lately). More likely we've just dropped below their standards for interesting content.

It is surprising seeing evidence that someone's paying attention to their blogroll, certainly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:54 PM
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"Chinese wall" definitely infers

RFTS bait!


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:54 PM
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182: Tweener Dora, that must be what that was.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:56 PM
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172, interesting.

WMA faux-resentment of Dora the Explorer seems to be one of the hot topics in WMA faux-resentment nowadays. I cannot tell you how often Adam Carolla mentions Dora the Explorer as one of the unbearable liberal affectations sabotaging our society.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:56 PM
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infers

IMPLIES


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 12:58 PM
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I imply that mistake is a particular bugaboo for Ned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:00 PM
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Wait, what? People have political problems with Dora? (I, admittedly, resent her slightly for the six month period I couldn't stop singing "I'm a map I'm a map I'm a map I'm a map I'm a map" to myself, but that's not political.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:00 PM
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re: Chinese wall

I think 177 gets it right. The Chinese is not derogatory; it's the opposite, in fact. Cf. Chinese fire drill.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:01 PM
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People have political problems with Dora?

Apparently there's a raging debate about whether Roman Polanski should go to prison for having non-consensual sex with her.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:06 PM
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192: I don't see how anyone could have a political problem with Dora either. Now, Diego's long speeches about 'La Raza' can be too much at times, but that's a different matter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:07 PM
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The same way people have political problems with having to speak a few words of Spanish to their servants.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:07 PM
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yeah, imply. My kids liked Dora, but growing up in sunny SoCal it never seemed weird to have a Hispanic person as a TV friend. If one lives in Iowa, it may seem like an invasion on reality.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:07 PM
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192: Well, I know people who are very deprecatory about the recent Barbification campaign. And I guess I'd always assumed Dora fell into the "librul PC secular multicultural anti-Christian" rubric that various commentators have made their bread-and-butter.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:08 PM
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There are two Doras now, so that they can continue marketing to kids after they age out of Traditional Dora. The latter hasn't been replaced.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:09 PM
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199: That's got to be more confusing than seeing the exact same Thomas the Tank Engine narrated by both Ringo and George Carlin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:10 PM
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194: At one point I started singing "Borat, Borat, Borat, the Explorat!" and then found myself unable to stop until Molly threatened violence to my person.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:11 PM
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Next, Barney evolves.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:12 PM
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Don't forget Alec Baldwin!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:12 PM
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I would like to see someone dub a long speech about La Raza onto a Diego cartoon.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:12 PM
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At one point I started singing "Borat, Borat, Borat, the Explorat!"

In my house, it was "Noah, Noah, Noah, Protozoa!" Which he hated.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:13 PM
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If one lives in Iowa, it may seem like an invasion on reality.

Maine, too. Property values on Birdwell Island have plummeted since that Jamaican family moved in. Of course, they live on a houseboat since the real estate market is still redlined.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:13 PM
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203: I didn't. He was very good. However he also appeared in "Thomas and the Magic Railway", which as near as I can tell exists only so you can notice that Peter Fonda cannot act and that people will try anything to keep a three-year-old entertained.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:19 PM
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. However he also appeared in "Thomas and the Magic Railway", which as near as I can tell exists only so you can notice that Peter Fonda cannot act

That was a spooky movie. Sally and Newt were obsessed, so I saw it a lot, and Fonda's weirdly flat affect was very disturbing. I wonder what they paid him, or threatened him with, to make him do that? He didn't seem happy to be there at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:22 PM
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208: I just assumed that's the way Peter Fonda is always. I haven't see anything else with him in it that has been made in the past 20 years. Anyway, when the talking engines have more convincing facial expressions than the actor, that's probably not a good sign.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:27 PM
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Threadmerge: the dialect maps linked in the earlier thread include the question "What do you call it when a driver changes over one or more lanes way too quickly?" 12 percent of respondents answered either "Chinese lane change" or "Chinese fire drill"; 88 percent chose "other".


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:30 PM
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209: Ulee's Gold? He's still kind of flat-affecty, but not apparently dead


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:35 PM
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211: I never saw that. But, Baldwin can manage to look like a good actor even with a script written for the potty chair set.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:38 PM
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Re: Fonda and Thomas- got to be money trouble. The man's doing Time Life music infomercials, ferchrisakes.

Re: Baldwin. I never forgave him for giving up the Jack Ryan character. So much better than Harrison Ford.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:44 PM
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118

it's a hoop to jump through. I seriously can't figure out why it wouldn't be helpful to you to have more indiciations that derivatives are garbage. Wouldn't that make it more likely that whatever you want to happen will come to pass?

This particular problem could be solved by some sort of verifiable transparent randomization. But this wouldn't make the securities any better because this wasn't the main problem in the first place. So it would just give a false sense of security.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:48 PM
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Oh my god do I have political problems with Dora. The child has sentient beings that she owns! Same with Diego. How is that OK?

Don't even get me started with Thomas.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:49 PM
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215: Boots? Or the map and backpack?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:51 PM
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206: You don't think property values have tumbled because there's a 20-foot canine wandering the town with blithe disregard for leash laws? How would you like to come home to a 300-lb. steamer in your lawn or a house drenched in urine?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:52 PM
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216: Map, Backpack, and the Stars. Boots has been identified as a friend.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:52 PM
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Boots has been identified as a friend.

I guess I was thinking of the episode where he gets neutered.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:54 PM
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115

But define "the stuff", here. Any kind of derivative? I would be pretty comfortable with that, but how do you make that sale to the government, or regulators, or potential buyers of securities? Or all three, really.

One thing you could do is force new products to be downrated. Predators like new products because people don't know how to price them enabling excess profits. After a few years the marks smarten up and the profits go away. Mortgage backed securities probably won't a big problem going forward (at least for a while) because people won't overpay anymore and most of them have no reason to exist if they can't be sold at inflated prices.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 1:59 PM
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218: You've mentioned this issue before, and I think it misses something important. Children in the target range (say, three to five) are basically panpsychists. They naturally attribute minds to everything. If my four year old wants to find his spoon, he will call out "spoon, where are you." They might have a vague sense that some things don't really have feelings, especially if you emphasize that to them, but it won't really affect the way they act or see the world. This is further amplified by the fact that they are only beginning to distinguish imagination from reality.

Owning a singing map doesn't mean that Dora is endorsing slavery. It just means that five year olds live in a world where anything can break out into song.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:02 PM
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If my four year old wants to find his spoon, he will call out "spoon, where are you."

Mine (3 yr old) will call out "Daddy, find my spoon right now." If I playfully try talking to a toy of his, he'll let me know that whatever it is cannot talk. His big thing is personifying verbs, as in "My friend Hitty will goes around hitting everything."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:07 PM
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His grammer is actually a bit better than I had in quote. His spelling, much worse.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:08 PM
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Is Hitty a Hittite?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:09 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:09 PM
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Caroline came to the office with me today, and has basically been playing video games for the last four hours. Is that bad?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:13 PM
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225. Is that the Old Fat Englishman's Irish cousin?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:13 PM
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226: it's not a big deal, as long as you weren't hoping she'd get into one of the "fancy" colleges.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:15 PM
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121

if I'm not mistaken, people don't generally know how many tranches there actually are in a given derivative. That's another problem.

I think you are mistaken. Or at least the information is available. Apparently if you know the ropes you can find stuff like this analysed here . And the original prospectus should have it all also. This is for CDOs for CDO2s (and higher) there is going to be a huge volume of information that may be practically impossible to analyze. But it is available in theory.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:16 PM
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If my four year old wants to find his spoon, he will call out "spoon, where are you."

I do this. Also "spoony spoony spoonikins! Come to Daddy!" This has made for some awkward moments in the lab when I think I am alone but someone else is within earshot.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:17 PM
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231: He ran away with the Dish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:19 PM
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231: Hott!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:21 PM
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What did the Dish see in the Spoon? He liked to cuddle.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:23 PM
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233: I don't know, but I heard the elopement did not go well. The justice of the peace wouldn't marry them on the grounds that any kids would be some kind of laddle.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:27 PM
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How's that for closing the circle?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:29 PM
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For the record, I love the word "octoroon". Not its reason for existence, however.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:29 PM
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Caroline came to the office with me today, and has basically been playing video games for the last four hours. Is that bad?

Oh, it's so wonderful that you spend time with your kids! What a great dad!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:34 PM
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I never got to go to the office with my dad. I had to sit at home and play video games for four hours straight.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:36 PM
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My son asked me incredulously if there really were no video games when I was young, which led to a brief fascination with Pong.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:39 PM
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OTOH, he'll never know the pleasures of a whole afternoon of Gilligan's Island and Hogan's Heroes and Munsters reruns, so there's that.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:40 PM
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You've mentioned this issue before, and I think it misses something important. [...] Owning a singing map doesn't mean that Dora is endorsing slavery. It just means that five year olds live in a world where anything can break out into song.

Also, monkeys can't really speak English. And witches can't really fly.

That is to say, I'm aware that it's just a kids show, thanks, and there isn't a lot of intended alignment with reality when it gets in the way of a fun kids story. My kids watch these shows all the damn time. The only show I'v ever taken out of my kids' television rotation for sociopolitical reasons is Ni Hao Kai-Lan.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:41 PM
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Sends bad political messages to kids.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:42 PM
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I was originally thinking when we went home we'd watch Star Trek (TOS), which she likes a lot. If she did play video games for four hours and then watch Star Trek, she would more or less exactly be replicating my childhood, only with me sitting next to her the whole time. On the other hand, after four hours in front of the screen in might be time to actually move.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:42 PM
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I've ever taken out of my kids' television rotation for sociopolitical reasons is Ni Hao Kai-Lan.

Could you me more specific?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:42 PM
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Does that come on after Avatar?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:43 PM
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221, sample: It just means that five year olds live in a world where anything can break out into song.

Rob, I knew it was you before I read the sign-off (the "panpsychists" remark). Don't ever change, man.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:47 PM
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I don't think it'd be unreasonable to have political objections to Dora in the same way as you do to any of the licensed-merchandise mass-market pseudo-educational crap targeted at children. Or the makeover.

It is, however, a great show.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:47 PM
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At my dad's office once, when I was eight, I got to hold a human brain. There were brain cuttings and glimpses of autopsies later on, at times when my parents had to juggle work and child care. Way better than video games.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:47 PM
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248: Way better than video games.

Res, please.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:51 PM
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Why hasn't there been a Major Motion Picture been made from Hogan's Heroes?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:57 PM
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What's sobering is that at 13, my son has more social capital than I managed to accumulate until I was in my 30s.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:58 PM
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Yes, please elaborate re: Ni Hao Kai Lan, Chopper. I have a niece who love it. The only issue I had in the one episode I ever sat through is oh dear god children's shows can be mind-numbingly awful.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 2:58 PM
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248: Rory is still pissed off because a few years ago the 4th graders in the gifted program got to dissect some sort of brain (not human), but then they got a new teacher and apparently discontinued that unit for health or sanitation reasons of some sort and oh is it ever unfair that she did not get to dissect brains.

(Reason #576 that I do not home school.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:01 PM
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250: You mean besides Stalag 17 and Auto-Focus?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:17 PM
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253: You could get some sort of brain from a butcher and wrap it up with a knife and cutting board, for Christmas. You'd be the coolest mom ever.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:25 PM
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When my Dad was doing his Peace Corps service in Malawi he got a cow lung to teach his students about respiration. When they were done the students asked if they could have the lung, which they proceeded to cook for lunch.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:28 PM
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255: My mom used to save all the innards from the chickens, etc. so that I could do that (we were not a gravy-making or innards eating family). And, she didn't even yell when I brought back multiple dead jelly fish from the beach to cut open in the sink and then left them there. She is the coolest mom ever.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:29 PM
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Why hasn't there been a Major Motion Picture been made from Hogan's Heroes?

A German colleague recently told me an anecdote from her father's military service. The story goes that her father was involved in a Nato exercise in Germany. A large group of officers was assembled for a briefing prior to the launch of the exercise. One of the officers under her father's command, a tall, thin, balding fellow, stood up at the microphone and introduced himself, in a thick Teutonic accent, with the words "I am Colonel Klink".

She said it took a few minutes to restore order, so hard did the Americans laugh, to the utter bafflement of poor Col. Klink.


Posted by: Thin Presidential Disguise | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 3:33 PM
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The thing about Dora the Explorer is that it introduces children to the compelling narrative structure of the console platformer. Our children will be ready to make the transition to Super Mario 256 or whatever Nintendo has in store for them. Sadly, Dora lacks the sophisticated character development of Banjo-Kazooie.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:03 PM
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253: When I was taking an anatomy course we dissected some chicken embryos early on. My classmate Paul was so thrilled by this he brought home some fertilized eggs and showed his kids what was inside.

He misjudged his audience. Lots of crying ensued, along with "Mean, mean Daddy! I hate you!" etc.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:05 PM
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255, 257: For a second, I thought... But no. I have dried fondant permanentlyembedded in crevices and corners of my kitchen from when she was all into the cake decorating. Maybe her quasi-stepmom can try to be cool about brains.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:08 PM
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244, 252: I don't like the way the show models conformity with the group as an ideal to be enforced. More later when I'm not commenting from my phone, if anyone really wants to hear more.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:25 PM
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One of the many things I did in junior high school to ensure that I never got any attention from the fairer sex was to bring a bovine heart, fresh from the slaughterhouse, to science class for extra credit. One of the cheerleaders never forgave me for making her puke during the dissection.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:26 PM
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You're too hard on yourself; it was probably the blood rather than you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:39 PM
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I threw up when someone brought a brain slice into third grade.

||

Can slate get more contrarian?

http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/browbeat/archive/2009/10/15/i-dreamed-i-saw-st-nicholas-why-bob-dylan-s-christmas-album-isn-t-a-joke.aspx

>


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 4:41 PM
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I'm surprised that my family seem to still have the only gerbil dissecting video on youtube.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 5:09 PM
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It must have taken ages to train the gerbil. What is he dissecting?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 5:18 PM
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What is he dissecting?

Video!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 5:32 PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9boOi7I-Ot0


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:11 PM
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If hitcounts get too low, we'll have to pressure Teo to get married. That will bring the kind of narrative arc and "reality-based" drama that sell in today's market. And he is in graduate school, which isn't a bad place to meet people.

Wait, what?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:22 PM
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Yeah, "graduate school... isn't a bad place to meet people" is just nonsense, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:29 PM
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271: it's at least as good as the career world.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:37 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:41 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:44 PM
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At my dad's office once, when I was eight, I got to hold a human brain. There were brain cuttings and glimpses of autopsies later on, at times when my parents had to juggle work and child care. Way better than video games.

Sounds fun. I got to do similar stuff when I was a kid. But, not with brains.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:53 PM
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Yeah, "graduate school... isn't a bad place to meet people" is just nonsense, right?

Depends on the graduate school (and discipline). Mine seems pretty promising. I'm just not sure who this idea is supposed to benefit, and how.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 6:57 PM
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For some reason, I thought "Chinese wall" was a reference to "Chinese Room." go figure.


Posted by: Turgid jacobian | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:06 PM
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270: I was just pitching ideas.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 7:38 PM
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Isn't Chinese wall a reference to (a) the well-known fact of foreigners being funny, like a French Hook in cricket etc, and (b) the specific funny foreign habit of building in materials like paper etc, which are analogous to the funny material of which a financial `chinese wall' is made?

(Which is I think more Japanese than Chinese but eh, what do you really expect from a bunch of merchant bankers?)

(I don't actually think foreigners are funny, but again, merchant bankers.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:00 PM
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French cut. French hooks are earrings.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:04 PM
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duh. pretend i didn't mess that up?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:05 PM
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Which, Wikipedia tells me, is also known as a Chinese cut (though I've never heard that).


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:08 PM
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||
Natilo: 1 Bathtub drain clog: 0

I think it's a question of enough of the drain cleaner being in contact with the clog in the drum trap for a sufficient amount of time. We'll see.

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:18 PM
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281: Don't worry, this blog is full of Americans. We still have no idea what either of you is talking about.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:22 PM
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My sister seems to be collecting Ni Hao Kai Lan episodes to show my niece (who's still a bit young for it). She seems more interested in it for the bits of language. I've never watched an episode, as it's way past the too much of a little kids' show threshold for me.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:30 PM
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I might be just another codename for the Wellington airport.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:31 PM
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A French cut is an inside edge that almost hits the stumps. French hooks are dangly earrings that don't close up.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:34 PM
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I had a problem with an episode of Ni Hao Kai Lan where the monkey didn't get the part he wanted in a play, spend the episode being a total jerk about it, and in the end was rewarded for his bad attitude by getting the part he wanted. Seemed like a really crummy lesson.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:40 PM
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But there's a Simpsons episode like that. And Clinton approves of the behavior at the end, so it must be good.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 8:45 PM
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French is almost always sexual in English (eg French letters, French kiss), except for French cuffs and French fries.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:00 PM
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Not to mention French Stewart. Oh. Dammit. I mentioned him.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:03 PM
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French bread, French horn, French press.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:05 PM
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Mm, French fries. Might as well be about sex.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:09 PM
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French horns are sexual if played well.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:12 PM
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Ah, Friday night at Unfogged.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:13 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:15 PM
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French toast is hott.

As is my current mad crush, Valerie Allain circa 1987.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:16 PM
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A French cut is an inside edge that almost hits the stumps.

This sentence might as well read "a flargletron is a blubidgen that embiggens the prolinitudes", for all that I can get out of it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:18 PM
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An embiggened prolinitude is a serious condition. Flargletron has to be used in moderation, under the supervision of a trained supgrrmporh.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:20 PM
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295: I'm totally rocking this Friday night. Cleaning the house and doing laundry, oh yeah. Rarely do I actually feel ashamed about what I do or do not do on weekend nights, but this has to be a bit of a low.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:21 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:21 PM
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Laundry! Thanks for reminding me. I'd better do that.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:22 PM
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And just think, we're the fun-loving young people of the Unfoggedtariat.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:23 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:23 PM
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Well, the young people, at least.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:25 PM
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Depends on how you define young. Also, people.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:26 PM
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I did go out earlier - played a team sport, had a beer with people. That's fun loving right?

And all of these efforts are because my mom is coming tomorrow and then I'm having a bunch of people over to the house. I am delaying fun tonight in order to have a party of sorts tomorrow. With my mom.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:26 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:29 PM
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Just cover the floor with jellyfish.

I went out with people last week and ended up staying out latish (until the bar closed, which wasn't all that late as those things go). I didn't go to sleep until 8:30 this morning because I had an assignment to finish that I didn't start until last night, so I'm not about to go anywhere tonight.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:29 PM
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I really hate writing papers.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:30 PM
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I'm catching up on a week's worth of DVRed junk and trying to maintain my denial that it's already mid-October, even as the outside temperatures try to convince me it's December. But I had a lot of fun a few weeks ago, so more now would just be overdoing it, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:31 PM
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I really hate writing papers.

Tell me about it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:32 PM
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I'm old at heart. Now get off my lawn!


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:33 PM
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I went to New York today. That was fun.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:34 PM
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Isn't your football team playing a game right now? I remember back when Cal and your team were both awful, Cal was 0-10 and had to fly out for a game that was re-scheduled after 9/11, and despite being on the road and winless, they were still favored by something 7 or 10 points. And they won. Then they went on probation and hired a new coach.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:38 PM
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314: To gather data on how people pronounced vowels before "r"s.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:38 PM
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315: Over. Pitt already pwned them despite trying to give it away.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:39 PM
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I have a football team?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:41 PM
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To gather data on how people pronounced vowels before "r"s.

Not intentionally, but it's hard to avoid doing so. Those New York accents are intense.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:42 PM
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New York is fun. I should go there tomorrow.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:49 PM
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I recommend Veselka.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:50 PM
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Weekend evening laundry has lost its lustre now that I'm living somewhere with an in-unit w/d.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 9:55 PM
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Spelling it as the Brits do won't bring the luster back, teo.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:04 PM
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I'm not teo and that's Canadina spellign.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:06 PM
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I was trying to figure out what was odd about that.

(God, I hate cleaning the bathroom. Everything about it is just not fun.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:08 PM
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Whatever.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:13 PM
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Whatevs, nosflow, whatevs. Get with the Stanley-speak.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:16 PM
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Wevs.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:19 PM
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This sentence might as well read "a flargletron is a blubidgen that embiggens the prolinitudes", for all that I can get out of it.
You could try "a foul tip" that almost... well, hits the stumps, I think that part is clear, and I can't think of anything analogous. The stumps are the things sticking out of the ground with the smaller sticks on top; the batsman would prefer the ball stay away from them if possible*. The ball is still live in this case though, so they might manage to score from it, but hitting it that way would generally mean they'd cocked up their shot.

Really, it's not that complicated.

* If it gets too close he'll be out and go in, and then the new batsman in would go out, etc.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:34 PM
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The point is that everything about cricket is basically just totally incomprehensible to Americans.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:35 PM
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Yes, but it's really not as disgustingly complicated as they tend to think.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:41 PM
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I'm sure cricket is easy to understand if one takes the minutes required to understand it. But not taking those minutes is an integral part of American identity.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:44 PM
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All you need to do is sit down and watch a game five days.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:48 PM
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That's a lot of minutes.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:50 PM
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Well, they only play for about eight hours each of those days. Including the tea break.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 10:58 PM
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Cricket is no more complicated than the infield fly rule or the fourth out. Baseball lives by obscure rules
http://www.macroweb.com/ibrules/


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:11 PM
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Yeah, it's not like Americans have any shortage of sports incomprehensible to outsiders.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:29 PM
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It's just that cricket isn't one of them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:29 PM
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No one has claimed otherwise.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:31 PM
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True. I'm just trying to avoid charges of American exceptionalism here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:33 PM
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Only an American would be concerned about that.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:35 PM
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Wackbat's real simple. There's three grabbers, three taggers, five twig runners, and a player at wackbat. Center player lights a pine cone, chucks it over the basket, and the wackbatter tries to hit the cedar stick off the cross rock. Twig runners dash back and forth until the pine cone burns out, then you count up however many score downs it adds up to, and divide that by nine.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:37 PM
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43-man squamish is easily understood.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-16-09 11:43 PM
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White girl hair reflects all these subtly different colors in light. It's dramatically underrated. If you're a white girl and you're feeling unpretty, look at the texture of colors in your hair and appreciate how hot you are.


Posted by: Manmohan Fucking Singh | Link to this comment | 10-17-09 12:19 PM
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78

I have some more thoughts about this paper here .


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-19-09 2:38 AM
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