Re: Or maybe it's the frumpiness that is so easy to pick out.

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I get mistaken for a conservatively religious person in the summer because (I think) I don't wear makeup and I sunburn easily. This leads to confusing and annoying conversations at bus-stops, when unpleasant older men complain about liberals and colored folk and then feel betrayed when I disagree.

Plan: be less frumpy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:12 PM
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Vicious or nice dodgeball?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:25 PM
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I'm confused. Did they use the trapeze during the dogdeball?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:28 PM
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I actually find that look attractive, but probably wouldn't get along very well with the people who affect it.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:29 PM
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You were playing indoor soccer with cleats? Or just taking a break to clean the cleats which you brought with?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:32 PM
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I couldn't evaluate the degree of visch in the game, because they started just as we did.

The trapeze remained folded up near the ceiling, unused.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:33 PM
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5: yeah, it's the fake grass stuff that sits in the fake soil made out of tiny rubber beads. Maybe this is just regular astroturf? Anyway, it's not the green carpet on cement that we used to play on, wearing indoor soccer shoes. Everyone who's anyone wears cleats.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:34 PM
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I see.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:35 PM
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The trapeze remained folded up near the ceiling, unused.

So you thought they were filing in to watch a trapeze-based performance?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:36 PM
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Visch is a bit presch, dontcha think?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:37 PM
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7: Elvis wore cleats.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:38 PM
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Presch is totes aweso.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:39 PM
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9: I did. At least, I hoped. I hoped I did.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:40 PM
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13: Heh. I got irrationally excited last time I was in in NYC and we drove by the Trapeze School. WANT.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:43 PM
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Don't feel bad, frumpy people, CJB thinks you are hot!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 3:59 PM
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So frumpy = religious? I can't decide if this explains why I'm all lapsed or if it means I should get my butt back to church.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 4:31 PM
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16: Walk into a megachurch and yell , "Who wants ...

You know the drill.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 4:38 PM
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7: Huh. My company team plays on that kind of surface, and we're only supposed to wear indoor-style shoes. I think you can actually get kicked off the field for wearing cleats.

I happen to like the surface okay, but those little black rubbery beads always get stuck to my socks.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 4:39 PM
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It turned out they were playing dodgeball on the small field. They played for probably a half hour, and it kind of seemed like a lot of fun.

Only a half-an-hour? Huh. Seems a long way to go for just that.

I would have loved to sit down with her and have a long chat, and I think she might have been game to do the same.

In the end, most people are perfectly nice. Including some people from Wall Street. Might still do some evil shit.

max
[''So, are you religious?' 'No.' 'So, you just sorta... hang out?' 'Yeah, actually.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 4:41 PM
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I get mistaken for a conservatively religious person in the summer

I got this t-shirt:

http://www.backstreet-merch.com/bands/ftrlf/product.asp?item=ftrlf09

Now I get older people complementing all the time. I didn't think through the Daniel Berrigan-y implications of the shirt before I bought it.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 4:43 PM
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Oh no. Long skirts are frumpy? I thought they were kind of ... relaxed.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 5:07 PM
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I think there are distinctive varieties of long skirt. There's the relaxed, kinda crunchy look. And there's the frumpy "modest" look.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 5:15 PM
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22: As with so much clothing, the material tells a tale.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 5:26 PM
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22: Phew. That's what I thought. I'm having trouble picturing the latter, but I imagine it looks like a nun's habit sort of skirt or something.

Actually there's a kind of mid-calf "modest" look that seems more frumpy to me. Female politicians are often seen in these, it seems.

Anyway(s), the accompanying footwear is important. (I'm entering a period of deep dissatisfaction with my existing footwear, as well as with my knives.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 5:27 PM
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Parsimon, you need to come to terms with your frumpy knives.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 5:30 PM
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22,

Modest
Crunchy


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 5:41 PM
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26 -- Huh. I sort of like that Modest one. Interestingly, my secretary just commented on Friday that they all wondered -- based chiefly on the modest, long skirt I wore for my second interview -- if I'd be shocked by the raunchy language in our section of the building. Sadly, I had thought I was dressed quite stunningly.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 5:47 PM
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That modest skirt is less frumpy than the crunchy one (given the low-contrast writing on the back pockets, it's not much more modest, either).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 5:48 PM
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The modest skirt looks like what the Orthodox Jewish women wear in Pittsburgh's Jewish neighborhood. Obviously it would also be paired with an entire modest outfit.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 5:50 PM
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The "frumpy" look we're talking about I think of more as "mousy". Is that term deprecated?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:00 PM
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That modest skirt is less frumpy than the crunchy one

Heh. I was about to agree with Frostbite's assessment, but I see that these things may be subjective. Probably something to do with tailoring in this case.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:04 PM
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30: I think of more as "mousy". Is that term deprecated?

Of that whereof we cannot squeak, we mice be silent.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:08 PM
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25: My knives are frumpy. Jesus christ. Luckily, no one but me uses them, so nobody else knows, except, now, THE ENTIRE INTERNET. It may be in the cards to sink over $50 in a new chef's knife. I have no idea what to get; I appear to be incapable of sharpening knives, so that's the principal factor.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:09 PM
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16: Walk into a megachurch and yell , "Who wants ...

Something about sects?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:10 PM
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The crunchy one seems more like what the Orthodox wear around here. Talking about the Orthodox, seen the other day on the UES - couple with child, man full on Hasid look pushing the carriage, woman in slinky cocktail dress and heels.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:12 PM
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"Who wants two sects? Mutombo?"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:13 PM
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33 Either invest in getting them sharpened, it's only a few bucks a knife, or in a decent electric sharpener. Yeah, yeah, I know, nothing like the real thing, except it does work pretty well.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:15 PM
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37: Okay. I keep feeling like what I have isn't worth investing in having professionally sharpened (in fact I have no idea where one has that done); my main knife isn't a complete piece of shit, but it has the feel of something that was never meant to endure repeated sharpening, and I think I've had it for 6 years.

I'd like to get something that's made for sharpening. Does that make sense?

Oh, who am I kidding. I'm just disgusted with the knife, don't manage to improve it through my attempts to sharpen it, and feel like starting over. But to try to be a grown-up about it: where does one have knives sharpened?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:23 PM
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I'd look at good kitchen supply stores, several of them do it here in NYC. Some neighbourhoods also have sharpening trucks that periodically go around. My knives are basically bottom end in the steel, full tang etc category and cost me between fifteen and forty, on sale at various times. My oldest one is a six inch blade dating back to the mid nineties that's been sharpened dozens of times and will probably need to be replaced in a couple of years. If you feel you need a new one most kitchen stuff goes on serious sales periodically, it's worth checking sites on a regular basis for a while to get an idea. I don't think I've ever bought anything for more than sixty percent of list price, and on average it's been well under half, though that means occasional compromises (I mostly don't use non-stick, but I like to keep one ten inch one around for some things, my current one is twelve inches because it was available for fifty while the same model line ten inch one was $120)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:34 PM
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Crunchy and modest may overlap, but I bet most practioners manage to get one unmistakable item in most outfits.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:41 PM
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39: Information! Thanks.

I need to research (full tang? steel .. probably what I have). We're talking 8-inch chef's knife here. My main one was probably $30 on sale years ago. Maybe it's only awful because I can't manage to sharpen it properly.

Right, okay, and thanks again for indulging what feels like a temper tantrum on my part. There are certainly no sharpening trucks driving around here, but I can check with kitchen supply stores; I just didn't want to embarrass myself overly much by bringing my seemingly now crappy knife to them.

Also, I'd had the impression you were not in the US, teraz.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:45 PM
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I grew up mostly in Geneva, I have Polish parents, have lived several times in Poland and Germany. But I was born in the US and have spent the majority of my adult life here.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 6:54 PM
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42: Got it. You'd been a little puzzling to me.

There's now a picture of a crunchy skirt uploaded to the unfogged flickr group.* Frumpy, I think not!

I haven't looked at the photos in the pool for a while!

* (I had to do it that way because it's a photo lifted from someplace which should remain private, and it should come down again after a while.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 7:21 PM
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Yeah, I think the top you pair with a long skirt goes a long way to determining frump v. crunch. Add a bulky sweater, esp. with holiday decoration, frump.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 7:30 PM
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Parsimon, if your $30 knife is dull, buy a new $30 knife, sez me. Use a steel every time you take the knife out, and it should last a year or two.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:12 PM
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45: Ah, that looks quite a bit like my current knife. Maybe so, maybe so. Rather upgrade, though, buy the upgraded knife on sale, and have it last at least 5 years, preferably 10, with competent sharpening. We'll see -- decision-making failure right now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:32 PM
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Parsimon, if you go to a grocery store with a butcher counter, ask them about knife sharpening. More than one grocery I've patronized had in-house sharpening skills there and would do it for customers.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:39 PM
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And while having a top-notch knife, professionally sharpened on a regular basis, may be a Holy Grail of kitchen work, anything is better than having an old, dull knife. Get a new knife, or take the old knife and sharpen it however you can - it'll be better than what you have now.

(That said, my favorite is this, though it is time for professional sharpening again)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:42 PM
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Okay, good advice. I don't buy meat, but maybe they won't know that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:43 PM
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Every time the topic shifts to knife-sharpening, I'm reminded how unbelievably unrepresentative of America this blog is.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:43 PM
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50: Indeed. Beginning with the sheer number of times it seems to come up.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:49 PM
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My hardware store will hold my knives for the guy who sharpens knives on Tuesdays. I go collect them a day later.

The reviewers at allrecipes are cracking me up: Your recipe was perfect! I switched the flours, halved the butter, added cinnamon, and doubled the baking powder. It was great! Thanks for posting it!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:52 PM
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America doesn't use sharp knives, it's true.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:52 PM
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Buckwheat pancakes, in case you are curious.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:52 PM
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Basically, America is frumpy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 8:57 PM
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50, 51: I don't get it. Are you saying that sharpening your knife is a swipple thing to do, or that not knowing where to go to do it is swipple?

I've only ever used hardware stores. And I don't know anyone IRL under 50 who sharpens knives. I associate it with old school, salt-of-the-earth types, although the Internet informs me that it is also a yuppie foodie pretentious thing, and maybe some other groups too.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:03 PM
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We're a frumpy and old fashioned, long skirt wearing knife sharpening group of people.
More seriously, everybody I've ever met who actually cooks cares about having sharp knives.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:09 PM
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Use a steel every time you take the knife out

This cannot be repeated enough. It won't mean that you never have to have your knife sharpened again, but it makes a huge difference.

Also, for god's sake don't cheap out on a knife. It's one of those things that's worth spending absolutely as much as you can afford on; a good knife, well kept, will probably outlast you. That said, comfort and feel in the hand is worth more than anything else.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:25 PM
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My family used to have an electric can opener that also had a knife-sharpener on the same stand. I can still remember the sound of the knife sharpener on the infrequent occasions when it was used. Eventually the can opener didn't work anymore and my parents got rid of it. I don't think they sharpen knives anymore.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:26 PM
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56: It's a weird reversal thing that I don't quite understand either.

I do know people under 50 who sharpen their knives -- one reason I've never mastered it is that I get conflicting demonstrations from them, delivered very firmly and chastisingly -- and most of them are old school, salt of the earth types who care about cooking, are politically active, and tend to inhabit the art scene, so they aren't exactly mountain men (sic).

As for the swipple, I'm not sure. The introduction of the long skirt issue is confusing: the frumpiness of long skirts is in question as far as I'm concerned. Thesis: "frumpy" is a problematic category. Even though this sweater, with unraveling sleeves, that I'm wearing right now is frumpy beyond doubt, but it was my dad's.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:27 PM
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Off-topic: saw Last Year at Marienbad tonight and have to mostly agree with the consensus of the archives. It did have some purely visual appeal at times. But mostly I'm left thinking "what was that?"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:43 PM
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I don't know anyone IRL under 50 who sharpens knives.

Exactly.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:47 PM
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Which is to say that, yes, sharpening knives is swipple.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:48 PM
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Next you're going to say that owning a darning egg is swipple.

(Note: I do not own a darning egg.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:51 PM
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I doubt darning eggs will ever be swipple. But hey, you never know.

Sharpening knives, though? Totally the sort of thing people who put much more time and money into cooking than most people do would care about.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:54 PM
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My friend who is all into kitchen knives informs us that we're supposed to send our new knives to this dude he knows in (I think) Maryland to have them sharpened. Seems like overkill to me, but then I've never had knives like this before.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:54 PM
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Sharp things are neat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:55 PM
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Keeping stale mints in a small silver bowl sitting on a doily on a table in your entry hall is SWPL.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:56 PM
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SWPL: Flintknapping.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:56 PM
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I suspect that anything anybody here advocates is deemed swipple. Can't win against the swipple, really.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:57 PM
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Darning eggs? Totally the sort of thing people who put much more time into repairing socks than most people do would care about.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 9:59 PM
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Swipple isn't an insult, folks. We're all swipple here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:00 PM
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Actually this thread is reminding me again what an absolutely retarded, useless concept it is.

If only we could get back the many pointless, pointless hours spent using or describing it, we could... I could...

actually I guess I could just go do those things right now.

Off to bed!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:02 PM
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Regardless of whether or not we use the word "swipple," I think Ned's point stands.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:03 PM
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65 First place I saw knives being sharpened also involved no running water, coal fired stove andheating, chickens running around (heads on and off), a hayloft, a tractor, a couple scythes in active use and not only all white, but plenty of people who had never seen a non-white person. I don't remember darning eggs, but there was an old fashioned foot-powered cast iron Singer sewing machine plus lots of women wearing long skirts and kerchiefs on their head. But I'm not sure if the peasant side of my family would recognize themselves in the SWPL list.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:05 PM
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Ned's point stands for us all.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:05 PM
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I have never seen anyone sharpen a knife.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:09 PM
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Crap, I forgot what Ned's point was.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:10 PM
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Just scroll up a bit.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:10 PM
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Crap, I forgot what Ned's point was.

Maybe he needs to sharpen it for you.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:16 PM
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French chefs make me feeling inadequate at dicing.


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:18 PM
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61:.But mostly I'm left thinking "what was that?"

Art

I'm watching Milk right now.

Political art.

I don't know enough about Harvey Milk to be sure that the path from Milk to Obama was an inevitable tragedy, but this is what I feel.

Never mind.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:18 PM
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And I use a double wheel thingy or a stick every time I use a kitchen knife. Not SWPL enough to know the right names. Use a whetstone and a file on garden tools. Resharpen, clean and oil them after use.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:21 PM
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I think ned's comment would apply well to my peasant cousins.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:22 PM
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Comity!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:27 PM
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And with that, I'm off to bed.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:27 PM
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Teo gets it exactly right. I have never heard anyone talk about sharpening knives in real life. I know a lot of people who take cooking seriously, but being just out of college, they don't have high-quality equipment that they take pride in.

The non-SWPL, non-elderly demographic suggested by parsimon, the Mountain Man, is also quite a small subculture.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:27 PM
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On how representative of America this blog is: of course it isn't.* I think what tends to throw me about that kind of remark is that that doesn't make this place especially unusual or interesting. It's mainstream in its particular track, in the extreme.

Anyway, I still want to sharpen my knives.

* This is mainstream: One of the places we get books from features a guy whose diet mostly involves canned potatoes, bologna, boxed mac'n'cheese, and if he's being good, frozen peas. Not SWPL. American? We worry about him, since he's 60 and has had a heart attack already.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:28 PM
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Mountain Man bob mcmanus


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:28 PM
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bob mceverymanus


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:31 PM
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87.2: Actually those people I mentioned are not mountain men. I do have country cousins who are mountain men types: they do a hell of a lot of canning and gardening, build their own homes, build stone walls and chimneys, stuff like that. Repair their own cars, dig wells and septic systems. I honestly don't know if they sharpen their kitchen knives, but they certainly sharpen their saw blades and such, and go ice fishing, and routinely have a separate standing freezer to store venison and so on. They also shop at Home Depot a lot, and their favorite restaurant is the Olive Garden.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 10:39 PM
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I have never seen anyone sharpen a knife.

Wow. I will admit that I'm not particularly good at sharpening my knives and don't do it as often as I should, but the thought of never doing so at all is borderline shocking.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 11:04 PM
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92: I think that was part of the point ned and teo were making in 50 and 51, and then later.

Of course ned's the one who confessed that he'd never seen a hitchhiker (until he went to the southwest).

Around here it's also shocking to know that some don't have investment money. Strange days.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-24-09 11:57 PM
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It's far easier to cut oneself with a dull knife - they tend to slip off whatever's being chopped onto one's fingers. It's not a hoity-toity foody thing - even potatoes for mashing need to be cut up.

Look under "knife sharpening" or "cutlery" in the Yellow Pages and check with any large fabric store to see whether they offer scissor sharpening, because the person who does that is also likely to do knives.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 4:12 AM
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I have never seen anyone sharpen a knife, and was unaware of the fact that anyone outside of whatever Third World hellhole teraz is from did so.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 4:57 AM
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'crunchy' skirt has hott hipbones. but someone wearing that i would expect to be hippie-polyamourous

and the pentacostal type people i assumed heeb was talking about wear blue (that mid tone that isn't either light, faded, surfer/gay or dark, clubber/hipster) never khaki. they also are always slitted, because otherwise they would be impractical. worn with white keds. also have those bonnets.

negachurch types are harder to tell, although there is that youth-paster look, with a goatie, cross neckless, etc.

oddly, one subculture only has a strong look for females, the other only for males. in college i was familiar with 'crunchy' skirt wearing evangelical girls, but i think thats less common; educations is depricated. somewhat different groups.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 5:38 AM
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I have a non-electric knife-sharpening gadget that gswift recommended here years ago -- it works reasonably well, even without my having much of a sense of technique.

Sharp knives really do make a huge difference if you're cooking; chopping is just much, much faster and easier. And I don't think there's any such thing as a knife too cheap to sharpen -- cheap is about weight and durability and shape, not about whether you can get the metal to hold an edge.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 6:24 AM
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I think there is a significant difference between sharpening your knives and talking about sharpening your knives, and there are probably lots of people who do the former but not the latter, and who also usually don't sharpen when there are houseguests standing around watching them. The only demographic unity between all the people who sharpen may be unwillingness to plunk down $$ for a new knife.


Posted by: Molly | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 7:05 AM
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Now I have the little basso bit from the market scene in Oliver! in my head. Knives . . . knives to grind . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 7:14 AM
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42: Wait, you're the guy who shows up at NY meetups? If I've got that right, I had completely failed to connect your pseud with your face.

Occasionally I wonder if I've had a series of small strokes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 7:37 AM
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96: Yeah, I've seen that type too. I think Lydia of Purple has that image down (scroll down). The khaki style is something I saw homeschoolers who were planning to go to college wear, but I don't associate the light blue style with going to college.


Posted by: Frostbite | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 8:29 AM
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100: Occasionally I wonder if I've had a series of small strokes.

Hmm, this is the LB of, I think you're borrowing trouble on that one -- barring actual Alzheimers or other identifiable disease, age-related cognitive slowdowns are pretty minimal? (Although I guess strokes would come under "other identifiable disease.")

I do appreciating that actual senile dementia involves specific disorders (don't watch Iris), but the "changes" in memory function with age have been one of the more noticeable and alarming elements of my growing older (and yes, you do develop coping strategies which mask it a bit). They tend to have a specific feel to them, the mental equivalent to a tooth cavity whose edges you can't help probing with your tongue. I noticed a neighbor's tree was in fine fall color recently, but when I attempted to communicate this to my family, I surprisingly found that I was suddenly not quite sure of the fellow's first name, attempted to use his last name only to find a gaping void where that used to be. I ran around peering into that crater for a bit until saying something like, "you know, the people who've lived behind us for fifteen years, whose driveway crosses a corner of our lot and whose mailbox with their name on it is fifty feet from ours. Those people." A few years hence I fear I'll be reduced to crapping in my hand and flinging it in the direction of the object I am referring to.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 8:41 AM
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A few years hence I fear I'll be reduced to crapping in my hand and flinging it in the direction of the object I am referring to.

"Ah, the toilet, I see."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 8:42 AM
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100 Yes, unless there's another Polish-Genevan-American who shows up at them without me noticing.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 8:55 AM
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102: Well, I've always been like this -- I have an excellent memory in terms of pulling facts I learned somewhere out of the back of my head, but it's always been terrible for 'what happened yesterday'. So, other people may be deteriourating due to aging, but I started out hopeless.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:19 AM
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Similarly, I have no idea where the excess 'u' in deteriorating came from. I blame society.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:22 AM
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105: . So, other people may be deteriourating due to aging

Just wait. And your fancy "British" spelling won't save you either, my little pretty. (Actually, I've always had a fair bit of that as well. It is just become a bit more of a "feature" in recent years.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:25 AM
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re: 102

I have very similar experiences. It can be kind of scary. The other day I became so concerned by a few recent memory lapses that I had to say tongue twisters to myself to reassue myself that I had not suffered a stroke or other brain damage.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:27 AM
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"Pentagon to use cyborg flies to spy on people"

http://joshfulton.blogspot.com/2009/10/pentagon-to-use-brain-dead-cyborg.html


Posted by: Josh Fulton | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:33 AM
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109: "OK, watch me make him forget his neighbor's name."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:46 AM
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Dexter knives use reasonable steel and don't cost much. I'm pretty sure my dad's are at least 25 years old.

http://www.dexter-russell.com/Universal_Prod_Display_2.asp?Line=T&Type=12

Sharpeners of this type are as simple as it gets. Just read the instructions.

http://www.amazon.com/W%C3%BCsthof-2904-Wusthof-2-Stage-Sharpener/dp/B0009NMVRI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1256487897&sr=8-3

http://www.amazon.com/Henckels-Twin-Sharp-Knife-Sharpener/dp/B00006CJLM/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1256487897&sr=8-5


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:23 AM
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102, 108: I totally freak when I can't remember something like the name of the skinny guy who used to dance with Ginger Rogers. My short term memory has always been lousy though, and temporary holes in long term memory aren't new either. What I don't have is any feel for an increase in frequency.

What's scary is those things happening in conjunction with getting close to seventy. However, I don't see much point in running to the neurologist yet, there's not much they can do besides run up charges doing tests. (And I'm not on any mix of meds that might need scrutiny)


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:33 AM
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113: I had something like those -- I can't remember the brand -- and it just didn't work; the knives weren't any sharper after I'd used it. You actually recommended this thing, way back a couple of years ago, and I find it's pretty easy to use, and gets my knives sharper. Not perfect, but a noticeable improvement on how they were.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:34 AM
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re: 102, 108 and 112

113: I had something like those

At least we old folks can remember the numbers of the comments to which we are referring.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:39 AM
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I've got one of these things or some older version. It works fine though if you have really dull knives the first time you use it it takes a fair amount of sharpening.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:45 AM
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"Pentagon to use cyborg flies to spy on people"

http://joshfulton.blogspot.com/2009/10/pentagon-to-use-brain-dead-cyborg.html


Posted by: Josh Fulton | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:45 AM
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112 etc

A weird one happened to me Friday night while watching Dollhouse.

I remembered the name of an obscure gueststar, Vince Ventresca, but couldn't and still can't remember the little Texan ballet/shitkicker who was an important part of the cast of Firefly/Terminator.

Ahhh. Summer Glau. Just came to me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:52 AM
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117: I watched an old episode of Angel the other day and Summer Glau played a 19th-century ballerina (kept alive, dancing the same performance of Giselle over and over, by an evil balletomane).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:55 AM
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Edward Gorey is the only NON-evil balletomane to have existed, EVER.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:00 AM
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119: I don't know him personally, but James Wolcott seems like a good guy.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:02 AM
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I ran around peering into that crater for a bit until saying something like, "you know, the people who've lived behind us for fifteen years, whose driveway crosses a corner of our lot and whose mailbox with their name on it is fifty feet from ours. Those people."

I don't really feel like this is a sign of aging; I've been doing it my entire life. I often also forget very simple words. However, I think in general that I do have a very good memory, so it's been hard to figure out why I have these odd moments where there is, as you say, a crater in my memory. My grandfather says he's always done it to, and since he's reached the age of 90 without any signs of senility I'm holding out for it not being a sign that I'll fall prey to early dementia.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:04 AM
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You actually recommended this thing, way back a couple of years ago, and I find it's pretty easy to use, and gets my knives sharper.

Man, I totally forgot about that. I need to get a new one. I lost mine a while back and have been just using whatever's laying around.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:15 AM
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121: Yeah, I rationalize that as information overload rather than mental deterioration. Kind of like how it was easy to find stuff in my office way back when I started but it's much more difficult now as there is such much more crap in there to sift through. Would help if the information were more organized...


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:49 AM
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Heh. 123 is me. I forget to have it "remember personal info."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:55 AM
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115: Yeah, that's the best one I've found for routine sharpening. I've got a fancy variable angle unobtainium coated manual sharpener that mainly sits in a drawer waiting for the end of the world as we know it and my needing some skills to bargain with.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 12:10 PM
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James Wolcott seems like a good guy.

No true balletomane he.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 12:48 PM
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I don't think I'm becoming demented; I think I just get so bored doing certain routine tasks, like putting away the groceries, that my mind just wanders away. But after the time I lost the olives I really needed and then later found them under the sink with the cleaning stuff, I was scared enough to pay some attention for a while.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 1:16 PM
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75: but there was an old fashioned foot-powered cast iron Singer sewing machine

I have an inherited old fashioned Sear footpump sewing machine. And yes! I sharpen knives!

KEEEELLLLL MEEEEEE.

I continue to be bemused by how much people are determined to mock the stereotypes they religiously and reflexively embody and adhere to.

max
['Dull knives suck. Sheesh.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 1:25 PM
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James Wolcott seems like a good guy.

Sometimes I wish the old, interesting James Wolcott would come back and replace the guy who has the same opinions about Al Franken and Rush Limbaugh that everybody else has millions of other people have and express in much the same terms. His piece on Heat in Vanity Fair is one of my favorite pieces about that movie; I prefer it to the BFI volume.

Speaking of sharpening, I wish I had the nerve to bring a magnifying glass to "Art of the Samurai: Japanese Arms and Armor, 1156-1868" at the Met. I like looking at hamon, albeit with an utterly ignorant eye.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 1:40 PM
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127 is somewhat helpful as my cookie project has ground to a halt because I cannot locate some sugar that I am certain I purchased and brought home two days ago. Off to check under the kitchen sink.


Posted by: Molly | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 1:53 PM
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Flour canister? Refrigerator?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 1:54 PM
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||

Looks like, despite getting alterations to my suit, I will not be working for M/c\K next year. Dude said they thought I could be successful with more practice in case interviews. And the news delivered on a Sunday, no less! I hate being rejected, even if it's for something I'm not sure I really wanted.

And now the fucking Vikings lost.

|>


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 2:07 PM
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Bummer, Otto. They're missing out.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 2:15 PM
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Damn! That sucks, Otto. As Megan said, their loss.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 2:26 PM
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130: Check the trunk of your car -- that's where, alas, I found the cheese I was certain I'd bought...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 2:28 PM
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Yeah, it would have been nice to have an easy way out of the "what to do after graduation" dilemma, so that I didn't have to simultaneously finish my degree and think about what I really wanted out of the future. (I'm not claiming that's a good reason to pick a job, but rather just being honest.) So, not looking forward to agonizing further over whether anyone wants to hire me, or whether the people who might want to hire me are hiring in this economy, but I guess that's life.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 2:33 PM
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Sorry about that Otto (not the Viking part, but the other part.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 2:37 PM
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135: You put your cheese in Molly's trunk?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 3:23 PM
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I've left a bag of groceries at the store, probably on the edge of the checkout counter. I think it just had orange juice and a loaf of bread.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 3:25 PM
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132: And now the fucking Vikings lost.

Fucking tell me about it, man.

max
['Tomorrow will be better.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 3:48 PM
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||
I'm out front, putting in drip lines, looking my finest in muddy ripped jeans and an Ultimate t-shirt with the arms cut off (so I can admire my triceps). Dude rides by on his bike.

Him: What are we doing here?
Me: Getting the irrigation in, you know.
(small talk for a sec)
Him: Is there any particular gentleman who would be upset if I flirted with you?
Me: Um, no. Are you flirting with me?
Him: Not yet. I'm a gentleman first. A horny gentleman, but a gentleman. I'm Irish, you see.
Me: You don't sound Irish...
Him: Raised in Arkansas.
Me: Right, the Arkansas Irish...
Him: Well, I'm off to my dinner with my friend. He's got some cold ones waiting.
Me: Enjoy your evening.
Him: Maybe I'll enjoy an evening with you sometime soon.
Me: Could be.


What do you think, guys? Was he flirting? It is so hard to tell.

|>


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 6:28 PM
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141 is awesome.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 6:29 PM
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119: Joseph Cornell was a sweet man who loved his mother, his brother, and Lauren Bacall.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 7:40 PM
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What do you think, guys? Was he flirting? It is so hard to tell.

Sometimes when I walk outside, my hair gets wet. Is that rain? It is so hard to tell.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 8:26 PM
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It's the first "we" that holds the clue.

But you left out the most important part: Was he good looking? To you, I mean?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 8:33 PM
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If the arms of the t-shirt were cut-out wide enough, he might have just stopped for a closer look. But that is still flirting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 8:43 PM
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MH, your obscure references to rare meteorological events don't help me understand this any better.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 8:44 PM
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I'm not getting you at all, MH. Like, my cleavage would be more alluring than my already on-display triceps? Between that and babbling about "rain", you've veered off into crazytalk.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 8:47 PM
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Was he good looking? My full assessment:

Friendly gaze, easy chat.
Strong suspicion he's too young, which changes my take to "cutie-pie".
Road bike, with gears.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 8:58 PM
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Road bike, with gears.

Is that bad?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:00 PM
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Cleavage denotes the crevice between two regions. Not applicable to side views.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:03 PM
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I can't figure out the implication of "with gears" either.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:04 PM
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151: Assuming she wasn't free-birding it, it would still be cleavage. Just cleavage viewed from the side.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:05 PM
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Oh, I just wanted to convey him accurately to the people here. Tells you he's not a Midtown hipster, nor was he on a lowrider cruiser.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:07 PM
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What do you think, guys? Am I commenting on Unfogged? It is so hard to tell.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:11 PM
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I just wanted to convey him accurately to the people here.

It's possible he was just an Everday Normal Guy, um, motherfucker.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:16 PM
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Maybe. I'd have to see the Everyday Normal Guy's bicycle to compare.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:21 PM
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When I read 141, I assumed motorcycle, so 149 at least clarified that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:24 PM
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old fashioned foot-powered cast iron Singer sewing machine

Meant to say: I came across one in an odd setting a few years ago. Picture is in the Flickr pool.

(My own, for better or worse, is electric. Although a lot heavier than the ones they sell these days.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:37 PM
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He was definitely flirting, but the abrupt departure leaves you to wonder whether he was just doing it to amuse himself. A true gentleman would have given you his number; he seems more interested in knowing where there's a hot broad he can surprise at some damnably indeterminable future date.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 9:45 PM
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160 sounds right. That scenario doesn't make him a scoundrel, but the reference to cold beer waiting for him*, plus an evening sometime and a very early reference to horniness (just met someone for the first time?), makes scoundrelosity a possibility.

I made that up, scoundrelosity. Means he might be looking for, uh, a hit and run. Which isn't necessarily an awful thing. Or he might be a really sweet guy who thought that laying in irrigation on a Sunday afternoon was a sexy thing to be doing.

* The cold beer reference might just have been an easy way to say that he had to get going. I could see going into a jaunty flirt with someone and after a few minutes losing confidence and looking for an out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:04 PM
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Oh, he wasn't a scoundrel. Player, possibly. Or if not a player, one of those marvelous guys who make their interest unambiguous. I mostly suspect that he's young (in which case, even more props for having the confidence to flirt), which means that I don't take him seriously unless he does something to assert that really means it.

I wouldn't be surprised if I see him again. Sac is a small town.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:16 PM
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Oh, go for it, absolutely -- I mean, he doesn't sound like a bad guy in any way. Intrigue! Puts a smile on your face!

The "horny" remark is the only thing that kind of threw me, for someone you just met like 3 minutes ago. But hey, maybe it was his way of paying you an extreme compliment.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:30 PM
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It wasn't my favorite part of the exchange. But I don't especially care, either.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:33 PM
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I'm fairly certain your drip line system is more efficient than my current irrigation set-up (handing hose to toddler, suggest that he spray plants and avoid pavement).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:36 PM
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I'm fairly certain Megan's irrigation system is more efficient than most people's.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:41 PM
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Oh, you're making me so sad. I've been fiddling with it for three weekends, and found a new leak today. I have a really bad feeling that it is going to take a whole lot of un-doing stuff to fix it. I'm on the verge of using money to solve the problem. Also, I have three or four more small changes to make, and re-wiring that I have no idea how to do (but my roommate might). I am not so enamored of my irrigation system these days.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:45 PM
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You could try Moby's.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:47 PM
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Naw, Moby lives in the wrong Oakland. I could never get his toddler to visit regularly enough.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:48 PM
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Fair enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:49 PM
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Sugar, what are you doing up so late?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:51 PM
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It's only 1!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:52 PM
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I only work in Oakland as Oakland is too full of drunk 20 year-olds (excepting the parts of it that I can't afford).

I suppose you also have a water bill that is somehow related to usage. Mine is determined by how badly the water company got robbed by the bank that did the last bond issue.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:54 PM
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ON A SCHOOL NIGHT.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 10:57 PM
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No, that's funny. I live in one of the three remaining large cities in CA that don't meter our water. I pay a flat rate for water and couldn't get a good estimate of my water use if I wanted one.

We're supposed to put water meters in pronto, but the work is way behind schedule. The guy in Public Works who was running the meter installation program has gone to jail for selling the meters to scrap metal dealers for his private gain. I always love old-school corruption; it seems so quaint. They also lost a whole bunch of meters, which turned out to be installed, but no one kept good records of the installation. Basically, the entire meter program has been a disaster and an embarrassment for Sacramento.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:03 PM
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ON A SCHOOL NIGHT.

That's where you're wrong.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:04 PM
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I have to work, so I'm going to sleep even if Teo isn't.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:06 PM
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Good plan. Me too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:08 PM
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I win!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:08 PM
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I credit my success to having no classes on Mondays. Also not having a job.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:10 PM
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For some reason it never occurred to me that water bills, anywhere, wouldn't be based on usage.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:11 PM
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Most places I've lived in the US they haven't existed at all for renters.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:18 PM
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Lots of buildings aren't set up for meter-by-apartment.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:21 PM
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For some reason it never occurred to me that water bills, anywhere, wouldn't be based on usage.

To do it based on usage you have to have a meter at every single residence! What a lot of work.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:21 PM
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Suggesting water meters is an election-loser here. Just barely.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:25 PM
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Seems to be even more work if you have to install the meters after all the houses are built.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:29 PM
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More work than travelling back in time?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:32 PM
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When ever I think about time travel I lie down until the feeling passes.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:34 PM
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I just, um. Every free-standing house I've lived in had a water meter, and a water bill. For multi-dwelling apartment buildings, you can't split it out, so water would be included in the rent, in much the same way some apartments come with utilities included, for the same reason. I figured the landlord in those cases was still paying a water bill based on usage, just as he/she would pay a gas and electric bill based on usage if there were no separate electric meters for each apartment.

As I say, it just never occurred to me that water usage wouldn't be metered.

Anyway, certainly in the west, where there's a significant water shortage, it should be, no?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:35 PM
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When ever I think about time travel I lie down and wait for death to overtake me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:36 PM
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Anyway, certainly in the west, where there's a significant water shortage, it should be, no?

In the parts of the west I'm familiar with it certainly is. I don't know what those crazy Californians are up to.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:37 PM
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Good question. I think Fresno is going to install their meters the time-travelling way. Someone could compare costs when Fresno is done. And when Sacramento is done, which will be the 5th of Never.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:37 PM
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I admit to not knowing as much about water as I probably should. There do seem to be a lot of blogs and Twitter feeds about it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:41 PM
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#water


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:43 PM
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Eh. There are only three or four water blogs with solid content and one good aggregator (for California. Can't speak to the water blogs about different places). I've seen three or four decent twitter feeds, all of them reporters for newspapers. Most of what is out there is exactly what you'd expect someone of that ideology to say, over and over again.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-25-09 11:45 PM
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175.2: That is pretty embarrassing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:01 AM
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Suggesting water meters is an election-loser here. Just barely.

Yeah, generally speaking water metering hurts poor people hardest I think, so there's a bit of a class thing.

(But local gov't is currently fun fun fun here, so.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:01 AM
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There's no good reason water metering should hurt poor people hardest. You should be able to design your rates to correct for that (if correcting for that is a goal). It is much more likely that poor people are currently subsidizing a few big users (or paying most of the burden for large leaks).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:10 AM
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Or, what I've heard is that most users see their bills go down after water metering, because the extravagant users were included in the averaged-over-everyone flat rate.

In the City of Poway, near San Diego:

The usage is "disproportionately concentrated among the largest users," it concludes. The top 10 percent of bills account for roughly 40 percent of all water used in the city, and the top 5 percent accounts for 25 percent of the total.

Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:18 AM
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Commercial water is metered; residential isn't. I can't really see how to make residential metering anything but regressive. It's the same situation as sales taxes.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:19 AM
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Given the people keen on water metering here are shall we say dickheads in general, it isn't so much about water metering in the abstract as in the specifics proposed.

it also tends to come up as part of a, ah, far-right anti-government pro-market agenda commited to making lots of money off local government, so.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:20 AM
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It's the same situation as sales taxes.

Speaking of which, did you see Treasury's keen on raising GST?

Wankers. And with Phil Goff Leader of the Opposition, sigh.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:22 AM
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That is to say, I can see that you could do it by zero-rating the lower end of usage, but that gets awfully complicated and seems to undermine the purpose of the endeavour. Not to mention having pretty unpleasant implications for the end-of-month squeeze.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:23 AM
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You guys don't have any outdoor use? Outdoor use is (most of) why rich people use more water here. There's a bit of an increment for additional bathrooms, but by and large, indoor use doesn't vary that much. I suppose if you are all using about the same amount (indoor use), then paying for that would bite the poor harder.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:24 AM
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Not quite sure what zero-rating means, but here, if you are poor enough, you can qualify for very very cheap rates on telephone and energy bills. You could design a water rate the same way, if you wanted to.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:26 AM
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Outdoors if you want water God tends to provide.

You have to water in the summer, but most parts of the country are pretty wet a lot of the time, and I don't think that outdoors use is a huge sink. (I could be wrong, this is based on vague memories of Maggie Barry and School Journals, so.)

Apparently it's about 20% garden use. How does that compare to Calif?

In canterbury the big water issues are with dairy and farming allocations from sources that really shouldn't have been allocated (RMA fun and games & again fucking Act and the farmers getting their hands on that is not going to be fun).


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:36 AM
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Zero-rating meaning apply a charge of zero to the first X litres per month, and a correspondingly higher one above that to compensate. I suppose that you could have a bright-line reduction for incomes below a certain threshold instead, like I think you're implying in 205, but that seems worse if anything.

You guys don't have any outdoor use?
Most of our outdoor water falls from the sky. In dry summers when there are water restrictions garden watering is held by bylaw to alternate days (by odd/even house number) and occasionally banned altogether, but I don't think it's a sizable part of most people's water usage.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:39 AM
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About the reverse, I'd say. I'd guess less than a third of residential use is indoor.

There's a decent argument for zero-rating (say, the first small amount of water is free or the cost of conveyance), which is that adequate clean water is a basic human right. We haven't actually granted that right, but there's definitely a contingent of people who're pushing for that. Under that scheme, after a small health and safety allotment, if you want to do discretionary things with water, the cost goes up sharply.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:49 AM
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Now I really am going to bed.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:50 AM
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It's about time. I've been waiting all night.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 3:39 AM
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Outdoors if you want water God tends to provide.

Amen. That's (obviously) my irrigation system. But it does not guarantee a lush and verdant lawn and garden. I am often either amused or annoyed to see sprinklers out here runnung IN THE RAIN. Um, okay.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 4:54 AM
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Outdoors if you want water God tends to provide.

I can't decide if God is blessing or cursing Texans/Dallasites, but I am getting another 2-4 inches of rain after having spent the weekend pumping out the backyard. I have a fence to put up, dammit. The dogs are unhappy.

We have already passed the Seattle annual average at 38.7 inches, and I presume we will be headed over 40 inches after this week. Vancouver? Singapore?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 8:22 AM
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One of my recent water posts got sent to my workteam and my boss and grandboss. I'm wondering how long it will take them to figure out I write that blog. I'm wondering how to contact my union. And what my speech rights are as a public employee.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:52 AM
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Yow. Which post?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:26 AM
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Short answer on your speech rights is that you're probably fine, legally, although pissing off your boss is a problem even if you're covered by the First Amendment. But generally, off-the-job speech of a public employee is protected by the First Amendment, and I can't see any way to argue that writing an anonymous water-policy blog is part of your professional duties as a state employee. I'd be really surprised if you were fired or disciplined for off-the-job speech, and would think that you should get a lawyer if you were.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:29 AM
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The one with the picture. The post isn't controversial, but if they read back into the archives (which so far no one has done), there's more inflammatory stuff in there. Mostly they seem excited that the picture is getting shown around.

I've gotten a couple emails from co-workers congratulating me on the graphic (which I thought up) becoming famous, and I keep thinking "me posting my own graphic for something is not such an achievement."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:30 AM
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I've been very conscientious about not writing up inside gossip. I don't think I could be in trouble that way.

I liked it better when my stodgy department paid no attention to The Blogs. C'mon, co-workers. Ignore this blogger. It is just some pajama-clad Cheeto-eating basement dweller. Who cares what he thinks? (I do think I've got the reflex sexism going in my favor, since people seem to assume the author of kinda technical policy stuff is a dude.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:34 AM
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You know, this might be a decent time to go through your archives, see if there's anything that would really be a piss-off, and if not come out of the closet. That's not lawyerly advice, just that it sucks worrying about getting busted, and if someone at work gets interested in the blog, I bet they can figure you out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:39 AM
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see if there'sdelete anything that would really be a piss-off, and if notthen come out of the closet


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:42 AM
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Adding a disclaimer to your "About Me" page might be a good idea. You already say that you're a civil servant, so something like "the opinions expressed here are personal and do not represent the position of my employer" would work.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:44 AM
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You know, I'm always surprised. When I encountered a good blog with stuff to say, I read the whole thing and hunt down what I could find about the blogger. If I thought it were someone in my building, I would puzzle at it for days. But it seems like the people who aren't transfixed by blogs don't care! They, like, read one post, think it is interesting or not, and the whole topic fades from their mind!

That said, maybe I could out myself. It'd be nice not to be scared of getting caught. I don't see how to square the actual coming-out with being a cowardly avoider, though.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:46 AM
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Here's what I say in my disclaimer:

While much of what I say on this website draws on information I learned in the course of my duties at the park, everything I write here represents my own perspective and not that of the park or of the National Park Service.

My situation is a bit different from yours, of course.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:47 AM
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219: True fact. And, as always, this is not legal advice, and neither Brock nor I (nor teo, but you wouldn't have thought he was)(not that you would have thought Brock or I were, this disclaimer is just a reflexive twitch at this point) is your lawyer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:47 AM
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The disclaimer is a good idea. So is deleting, except for the integrity of the blog. I don't know how much integrity the blog has, so I don't know whether I can delete things from it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:47 AM
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Are you sure anything needs to be deleted? I don't have much of a sense of what would piss water bureaucrats off, but I can't think of anything I read there and went "Whew, I hope she doesn't get busted".

Who mailed it around? A co-worker, or someone outside the building? Because that's who I'd worry aboutdeciding to sleuth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:51 AM
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The other option would be to radically amp-up the criticism. When you're busted and subsequently fired, the ACLU or some similar free-speech organization will likely take your case for free. (An anonymous blog written by a government employee analyzing publicly-available information of general importance? That's a great free-speech case, on the legal merits and on policy grounds.) Retire on your winnings. Or invest them in some water-advocacy non-profit or something.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:56 AM
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Naw, I'm not sure anything needs to be deleted. I was far ruder about sectors of the public than we would ever be as employees. When we represent the department, I could never call some advocates whiny babies, because all their views are equally valid input that we carefully read and incorporate.

Someone in the northern office (I know the name, wish I could put a face to it) emailed it to my grandboss, who distributed it widely. Thanks, guys. The first person saw it on the news and blog aggregator that everyone reads.

(I am also surprised to realize how few people in the department track the news closely. Either they aren't widely interested or they figure they live the field so why read more about it.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:58 AM
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to my grandboss, who distributed it widely

I'd think this cuts in favor of coming out to your grandboss (after you add the disclaimer). You now know they think your stuff is smart -- it might actually do you some good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:00 PM
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219: OT, but I thought of you over breakfast, Brock, as I threw out the rest of a carton of eggs because the sell by date was October 2 -- only to realize the "new" carton I had in reserve had a September sell by date. I wanted eggs, so I went ahead and ate them.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:03 PM
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Shortly after I started my blog it apparently got picked up by some internal Park Service news-about-the-parks aggregator or something. The superintendent came up to me and asked "are you the one with the blog?" It was a little unnerving, but she liked it, as did everyone else who saw it, I guess. There wouldn't have been any point in trying to hide my identity; it's a small park, and the list of people who could conceivably have been writing the blog was extremely small.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:04 PM
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229: I think eggs are good or bad -- if you crack it and don't stagger backward as the stench hits you, you're fine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:07 PM
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It might have been fun to deny it rigorously. No! No, no. The blog, no! Not me! It started when I got here and I have another blog and read blogs, but oh no. I'm not writing that blog. Must have been one of the other three people (including you). Not me, no way.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:08 PM
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There are only three or four water blogs with solid content

Wouldn't that make them ice blogs, technically?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:08 PM
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You ate eggs that expired in September?? I'm not sure I'd have don'e that, but, eh, you'll probably be fine, if they didn't stink when you cracked them open.

I wonder what the record for the oldest egg ever successfully eaten is.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:10 PM
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Now I'm wishing there were good blogs out there about ice, in a Smilla's Sense of Snow way. That'd be awesome if someone wrote about snow or ice like that, combined with discussing whatever ice research is out there.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:15 PM
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I think eggs last for a very long time past their expiration date.

The Egg Safety Center suggests that four to five weeks is fine.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:17 PM
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I wonder what the record for the oldest egg ever successfully eaten is.

One thousand years.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:18 PM
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236: Lobbying for stronger cartons since 1964.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:19 PM
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236: that says 4-5 weeks from the date they're packed.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:24 PM
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I think eggs last for a very long time past their expiration date.

I think I heard somewhere that eggs kept at refrigerator temps will dehydrate before they go bad. The sell by dates are probably there because eggs are graded on freshness so that if they are sold by that date they will no longer be the correct grade and so will be mislabelled.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:25 PM
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Okay, I am persuaded that my breakfast was safe. 237, however, is making me want to vomit:

the yolk becomes a dark green, cream-like substance with a strong odor of sulphur and ammonia, while the white becomes a dark brown, transparent jelly with little flavor or taste.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:29 PM
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not sold by that date.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 12:30 PM
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LB if you crack it and don't stagger backward as the stench hits you, you're fine.

To avoid this vomit-inducing experience, and maybe avoiding wasting several good eggs, gently drop the questionable eggs into cold water. If they lie sideways on the bottom, they're fresh! If they stand up, they're old but usable, and the greater the degree of erection (heh heh) the greater the increasing age. If they float off the bottom, they're bad. If they hit the surface and bob, they're really bad.

max
['The one good thing about old eggs is that you can ditch the whites very easily.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 2:26 PM
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When I encountered a good blog with stuff to say, I read the whole thing and hunt down what I could find about the blogger. If I thought it were someone in my building, I would puzzle at it for days. But it seems like the people who aren't transfixed by blogs don't care!

Yeah, non-blog-aware people are not very curious about such things. One guy in my field started a pseudonymous blog that said a lot of snarky and critical things about other people's work (and his own, to some extent). Kind of harsh in places, but nothing that doesn't get said around lunch tables every day. For a while people would bring it up every now and then and idly say "I wonder who writes that", but they didn't really try to figure it out. I was curious and pieced together the clues to who it was within about twenty minutes of reading the first post. At some point I think he just started telling people it was him, and now everyone knows and doesn't care.

And then I found five dollars.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 2:40 PM
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From within the blog world, it seems like such a big deal. But it turns out not everyone responds quite so strongly to text-based real-time serials. Who could have guessed?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 2:49 PM
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I have forgotten the name of Megan's Other Blog and can't manage to Google it up again. Clues for the clueless?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 3:07 PM
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Under my name.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 3:10 PM
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Re-bookmarked!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 3:28 PM
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Megan, if I'm remembering correctly, you were linked by Steve Benen (or maybe it was Drum, which makes more sense, since he California-blogs more), a few weeks ago. I think it was you -- I was at work at the time and wasn't clicking through to things. Now I'm unsure; a water policy blog was linked. I assumed that you knew.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 3:28 PM
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Kevin Drum links occasionally. I'm flattered. I'm writing the blog at a pretty obscure level, so I'm impressed when people stay interested.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 3:34 PM
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250: Yeah, probably him. As I said, I assumed you knew about it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 3:57 PM
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I am pretty picky about eggs, based on flavor, and my rule is that if when you crack it into a bowl, if the yolk (membrane?) is not a circle(ellipse=bad) or breaks, the egg is a little old.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 9:08 AM
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241: They're actually quite good.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 9:53 AM
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252: Well there, then. The yolks were firm and round and did not rupture prematurely upon cracking into the bowl. They have since been incorporated into Toll House cookie dough, which you probably should avoid for reasons other than old eggs -- such as excessive spoon looking by the sous chef during dough preparation. "Rory! You're contaminating the dough!" "Oh Mom, these are just for us."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 10:24 AM
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253: I refuse to believe you.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 10:25 AM
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excessive spoon looking

Don't be such a prude, Di. She can look at the spoon without hurting anything.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 11:13 AM
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Megan, I think the way you talked about the graphic makes it less likely that people will think you are that blogger.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 12:36 PM
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