Re: Three-toed mess maker

1

I know the feeling.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-28-09 9:30 PM
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I just can't fight that feeling anymore. I've forgotten what I started for.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-28-09 9:35 PM
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You fight because you're lazy, Moby. If you forget that, you risk everything you stand for.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-28-09 9:36 PM
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Actually, I'm wondering why I have to go through all of the trouble of bringing the ship into the shore.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-28-09 9:37 PM
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If you can't turn the ship around stay out of the kitchen.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-28-09 9:40 PM
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I'd better go look up the lyrics if I want to keep playing along.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-28-09 9:40 PM
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6: That would almost certainly be a mistake. I'd forget them if I could.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-28-09 9:48 PM
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Maybe that's what you started fighting for?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-28-09 9:51 PM
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I think we started fighting because I kept saying "I'll get those dishes once the pile gets bigger."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-28-09 9:54 PM
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And spending the college fund on Wild Turkey.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-28-09 9:56 PM
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my father-in-law is not an unmixed blessing, but the man will wash some motherfucking dishes.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 12:34 AM
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Hmm, I've been on lots of big communal holidays (like, 10 families in a youth hostel) and my preferred way of getting out of cleaning up afterwards is to be part of the mess-making first. I'll volunteer to organise a meal, or help chop and stir anyone else's. But even washing-up is ok when there are a few other people in the kitchen. I'm rubbish at stuff like mopping floors though, it just wouldn't occur to me.

The other thing you could do is provide child activities, so the kids there are kept busy and happy and out of the way whilst other people clear up. That's valuable too.

Basically, find something you don't mind doing and do that - if it's sitting around feeling guilty, then, hell, do that. The person with the smallest baby usually gets a lot of slack cut anyway.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:35 AM
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I'd better go look up the lyrics if I want to keep playing along.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:36 AM
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My metabolism for cleanup is actually slightly higher for those big occasions (unless they're at my house, in which case it can all wait until tomorrow). It's comforting to have a job to go off and do when my metabolism for socializing shuts down.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:46 AM
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Apostropher's post in 13 really makes me wonder who would go on a seven day cruise with Journey, REO Speedwagon, and Styx. Would it be one of those cruises that attract a lot of swingers? Would they be basically friendly, but not very bright, party types?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:02 AM
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15: Actually I think it would be superior to your run-of-the-mill cruise as it certainly would attract some folks who weren't typical cruise ship material. not quite a Juggalo Cruise, but ever so slightly tending in that direction by cruise ship standards.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:09 AM
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Who washes dishes on the Juggalo cruise now?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:19 AM
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Washes them with Faygo.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:22 AM
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I tend to look around and see if the men are helping. If not, then I don't either. I'm being lazy for feminism!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:33 AM
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I just let Blume do all the dishes.

Nah, I'm just kidding. I eat off the floor.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:35 AM
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I'm being lazy for feminism!

Me too!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:37 AM
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Three-toed?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:51 AM
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She is alluding to the mortal sin of three-toedness.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:03 AM
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I'm actually in a fight right now with one of my best ever friends, because he shirks kitchen work and has told me out loud that he doesn't feel bad about it and doesn't intend to do more. He says he brings other things to the gathering.

I've given him all the benefit I can:

He definitely does other kinds of work (but they don't usually come up in large weekend gatherings).

I'm imposing a higher standard of hosting than he feels he needs, and thus shouldn't have to support.

But basically, we've hashed it out and I'm thinking that my next best option is to not-invite him to stuff. Which sucks. But so does watching someone who has already been super helpful and conscientious for days sigh, get up and do another round of dishes. It is the good-natured third-party hostages that make this hard to resolve.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:27 AM
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If I were him in that situation, I would be absolutely fine with an explicit deal, ie on the first and third dinners I will do all the clean-up. But then everyone else would have to turn a little bit of a blind eye so that I could slug along gradually with the clean-up.

The worst would be if people assumed I wasn't going to get around to it in due time and stepped in and cleaned up on my behalf, after I'd made it known that it would be my task. That would actually piss me off a lot. I'd feel a combination of embarrassment and outrage, like I was being both condescended to and written off as incompetent. It would trigger all sorts of youngest child bullshit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:33 AM
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It would trigger all sorts of youngest child bullshit.

Now I have potential insight into why my youngest sister is always pissed at me. I'm triggering embarrassment and outrage by being too helpful/controlling. Or she's still blames me for what happened to her dog.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:38 AM
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If people will just stay the fuck out of my way, I will happily cook them a 5-course dinner or wash a metric ass-ton of dishes. But ask me to share cooking or cleaning duties in someone else's kitchen, and I'm gone.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:39 AM
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Chopper and I should not host dinner parties together, or perhaps I should just stay in his way if we do.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:42 AM
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If people will just put one in front of me, I will happily eat a 5-course dinner while others wash the dishes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:42 AM
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Is the issue that he really just doesn't ever want to enter a kitchen? While that's the bulk of the work in a house party, is there maybe enough other stuff that needs doing that everything else can be his problem?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:42 AM
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I'm triggering embarrassment and outrage by being too helpful/controlling.

It's true that overly helpful people aggravate me. I can do it myself!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:43 AM
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32

Chopper: the James B. Shearer of chores.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:50 AM
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If it is agreed that I will do the kitchen clean-up for someone else's cooking, I expect them to be modestly considerate while cooking. Not use a ridiculous number of extra dishes when rinsing and re-using would work just fine, and to put water in things that need sitting, etc.

I think the attitude of a metric-asston-and-skedaddle in 27 is what compelled me to steer clear of co-hosting with Chopper.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:50 AM
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32 is much more well-put than 33.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:51 AM
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an explicit deal, ie on the first and third dinners I will do all the clean-up

His explicit deal (said in words to me, not something I'm imputing to him) is that he is perfectly fine with other people doing most or all of the work, because they like work better than he does. If I nag him, he'll agree to clean up (or make) a meal or two. But then I have to nag, which I don't actually enjoy.

LB, there's definitely stuff he'll throw himself into. Like, at a wedding, he'll spend hours constructing a stage and decorating it and setting up the sound system. Honestly, I notice and give him credit for that. If he were doing the bulk of bringing in firewood, I wouldn't feel antsy. But our gatherings have less and less of that stuff. Kitchen/house work is the bulk of the need.

He's aware, and doesn't feel an obligation and resents my telling me it has become uneven. (There is the other problem that I'm keeping track of what everyone does in my head. I was workshift manager! I can't help it!) Seems like we can have other kinds of gatherings, or I can have the same kinds of gatherings with the people who do their share.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:51 AM
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It's true that overly helpful people aggravate me. I can do it myself!

My baby brother used to shout, "MY do it!", so now we say that too, when needed.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:53 AM
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Some kinds of gatherings are the kinds of gatherings that gathering's all about. But some kinds of gatherings are the kinds of gatherings we all can do without.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:53 AM
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38

In other words, your friend is being a jerk and should lose his gathering with you priviliges.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:54 AM
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He's not generally a jerk, so I'm trying to figure out how else to see it. But we've both dug in to our positions on this.

To the original post, your guilt is doing some good (or it would be if anyone were concerned about your participation, which it doesn't sound like). Because part of what irks me is his stated lack of guilt.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:01 AM
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Argh. Yeah, if he doesn't think his slacking is a problem, there's no way to involve him in a solution. I was going to suggest that he buy his way out of chores next -- paying for takeout for a crowd counts as cooking dinner in my book. The point is to get people fed, rather than how it happens.

But if he's just determined to slack, I'd stop inviting him to the sort of stuff where there will be work to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:04 AM
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(That is, the solution you'd already arrived at? I'd like credit for coming up with it myself as good advice.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:05 AM
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he is perfectly fine with other people doing most or all of the work, because they like work better than he does.

His lack of guilt, combined with this sentence, is so jerky. No one likes the work. That's just a convenient shelter.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:06 AM
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The worst would be if people assumed I wasn't going to get around to it in due time and stepped in and cleaned up on my behalf, after I'd made it known that it would be my task. That would actually piss me off a lot. I'd feel a combination of embarrassment and outrage, like I was being both condescended to and written off as incompetent. It would trigger all sorts of youngest child bullshit.

I completely understand and relate to this. At the same time, I know there are limits to how long I can bear to wait. Sometimes in due time is too late to be pleasant. (I've gotten better about this though.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:07 AM
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44

I'm puzzled by this entire thread. People commonly co-cook or co-clean-up at other people's homes? And not just in the casually-offering-to-lend-a-hand sense, but as some sort of formal pre-planned arrangement?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:08 AM
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If we were in a situation where I was unduly dragging my feet, I would not take offense if you addressed it directly. Then I would say something like, "Suppose it will be completely clean by morning? Or by 10 pm?" and reach an agreement. That is totally different than getting up and beginning to clean.

On the other hand, that asks the person being irritated to buck social conventions and be forthright where people usually are not forthright.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:10 AM
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His lack of guilt, combined with this sentence, is so jerky. No one likes the work.

Oof, seriously.

I do find it difficult when I hang out with one very good friend of mine who is much, much, much better at cleaning than I am. She's faster, more efficient, and more effective. I don't think she likes the work, but she likes the results when she does it better than the results when I do. (So I try to do a lot of the things I am good at -- prep and consolidating things in preparation for cleaning.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:11 AM
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Paying for takeout is a good idea; one that I think he'd like.

Another option I'm thinking of is maybe switching the set-up. Instead of one giant house, maybe a cluster of cabins. Honestly, I'd like to segregate along both the more intensive/less intensive cooking and cleaning, and the wants to-be-online axes.

But yeah. I'm pretty aggravated, so I should stop setting up this situation (big weekend where most of the work is kitchen stuff).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:12 AM
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25: The worst would be if people assumed I wasn't going to get around to it in due time and stepped in and cleaned up on my behalf,

This is actually one of the biggest fault lines in my marriage (not just cleaning but approach to "gotta" tasks in general). My wife is a direct attack personality and cannot relax until all such items are off her list. I on the other hand (as well as my kids, especially my eldest who drives even me nuts) are content to watch/read/game/internet with a future time slot* allocated to the task. For instance I can easily play a good game of Balderdash/Dictionary with my allocated dirty dishes waiting in the sink--my wife not so much. All of us understand this about each other very well by now, but we often do not use that understanding in constructive ways.

*The envisioned amount of time allocated to the task is inevitably underestimated--point to my wife.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:13 AM
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People commonly co-cook or co-clean-up at other people's homes?

Yes.

And not just in the casually-offering-to-lend-a-hand sense, but as some sort of formal pre-planned arrangement?

Not usually. (But if you're staying with someone for days on end, say, it's going to be evident who is a giant slacker. Also there is the situation where you're, say, staying in a rented house with other people, and it's not anyone's house.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:14 AM
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Brock, I'm talking about weekends where a bunch of us from college rent a house somewhere. Or stay in someone's house. But we're there for a few days, so it would be a lot to fall on one host.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:14 AM
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44: Depends on the circumstances. Family, or the sort of friends that might as well be family, and the kind of big crazy holiday meal that's a strain? You're supposed to help cook and clean at the direction of the host. A weekend house party of close friends (which is the sort of thing I think Megan's talking about), everyone should be pulling their weight rather than expecting to be waited on.

But an ordinary dinner at someone's house, you're absolutely right, a guest's responsibility is to coo appreciatively at the food, rather than to do much of anything useful. Given that it's so hard getting good servants these days, helping clear and that sort of thing is nice, but serious effort is unnecessary.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:16 AM
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48 - I've often thought that people who don't hear the dirty dishes whispering must lead such beautiful peaceful lives.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:19 AM
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49: Weird. That's not the way my social circles work. The host generally cooks and cleans; guests lending a hand with clean up (though not, that I recall, cooking) is usually appreciated (although some hosts feel more like chopper in 27) but not generally expected. Hosting duties typically (informally) rotate, although I don't think anyone keeps track or that anyone would be seen as a "slacker" for hosting too infrequently (or not at all).

Or maybe I'm just a hugely oblivious giant slacker...?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:20 AM
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These conversations make me terribly jumpy, because I'm Heebie/JP Stormcrow/Megan's friend, and I'm married to an efficient, energetic and clean person. I do try to overcome my natural inclinations, but I'm never sure how good a job I'm doing, and whether I'm really coming respectably close to pulling my part of the load.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:21 AM
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Brock, should we explain it more?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:21 AM
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I have come to the conclusion that I need to pack most of my dishes away because damn if I won't use them all before getting around to washing them.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:21 AM
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Nevermind, 53 before I saw 50 or 51. That makes more sense. (Is that what Heebie's talking about in the post as well?)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:22 AM
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When somebody asks me to clean, I point out that things would be plenty clean if I burned the house down. Then they ask me to leave; problem solved!

I used to have a roommate who would get very offended if you asked him to do his dishes before you were ready. Since there were eight people in the house and he often wasn't ready until the next morning, this made it impossible for anybody to do dishes (unless they felt like washing his) pretty much instantly. So nobody ever did dishes, the house was incredibly disgusting, and we only ate takeout. Problem solved!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:22 AM
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OMG. I'm married to Stormcrow?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:23 AM
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Yeah, I think she's talking about the whole family having come home for the holidays. So a combination of family and a house party.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:23 AM
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whether I'm really coming respectably close to pulling my part of the load.

You sound pretty aware of the problem. Try your best, throw in a couple extra gratitude blowjobs, and trust him to tell you if it is a problem?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:26 AM
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Now, see, if my friend were making an offer like that...


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:26 AM
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32: Nice. If it helps, I don't ask or expect anyone to cook or do dishes in my home for a single meal. (It's the frustration surrounding attempting to figure out someone else's organizational system while interacting with others who may or may not be more clueful than me that's the issue, not the work itself.)


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:27 AM
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I used to have a roommate who would get very offended if you asked him to do his dishes before you were ready.

I have seen this as a very standard way roommate situations break down. You can be fussy about only doing your own work, but then you have to be quick about it. Or you can be kind of slack, but willing to pitch in with your share of all the work, regardless of who actually made the specific mess you end up cleaning. But once you've got one person who both refuses to clean any fork that they didn't personally dirty, and isn't speedy and reliable about not leaving any mess behind them ever, the whole apartment gets filthy and resentful.

College is interesting that way -- looking at different sets of roommates, and which are functional and which aren't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:27 AM
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To the original post, the key is to not be the biggest slacker. As long as there's somebody doing less than you, you can join everybody else in looking down at them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:27 AM
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61: Heh. You've figured out my secret for minimizing marital annoyance.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:28 AM
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64: the second scenario presents some game-theoretic problems, because then the person who is willing to be the most slack ends up doing way less than their share. I think that was pretty much this guy's game: wait long enough, and somebody else might clean it up for you, but you can still claim to have been intending to do it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:31 AM
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Nevermind, 53 before I saw 50 or 51. That makes more sense.

Yeah, that's what I was getting at.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:34 AM
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67: Right, it depends on either pretty balanced standards among the different players, some way other than cleaning to even stuff out, or on a cleanest person (or group of people) who doesn't mind being taken advantage of. But the finicky insistence on only doing your own, personally generated, work can make a situation break down where the total amount of willingness-to-work would have been enough to keep things tolerable if people hadn't gotten pissy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:38 AM
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I had a bit of this while staying at my mother's place over Christmas. My inclination is to tackle dishes whenever they appear, and to make myself useful as a guest by doing so, but my mom was using the kitchen for full-time cake baking and decorating and the quantity of dirty dishes produced there was overwhelming, so that I'd never have the satisfaction of being finished. I was also torn between wanting to help her generally, and feeling like helping finish a paid job is in a different category from being a good guest.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:41 AM
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54: These conversations make me terribly jumpy, because I'm Heebie/JP Stormcrow/Megan's friend

Given the comment rate on this blog, I suspect you're in generally good company here (other than my wife, Jesus). "I'm sorry honey, I just can't relax doing the dishes if I know there are comments that need to be read." As in most "incompatibilities" it is not fatal if there is some moderation and balancing. What is a bit tough is that marriage commitments are generally made when there are less "gotta dos" and you do not have a good gauge on how that will work when they really pile up. For instance, three kids in 5 1/2 years pushed this one a bit in our marriage. But no worries, we're all better now*!

*Actually she's coming home today after being away for a week or so, and about 2:00 PM yesterday I sent my kids an e-mail with subject line "Operation Mom Coming Home". (But I forgot to include the "Dad staying up past midnight making stupid puns on Unfogged" task.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:50 AM
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It is nice getting the kids to the stage where they can be made useful, rather than only generating work. Sally is truly my daughter, and will do something useful only if pointed directly at it and told that it must be done. But she does get things done when required. And Newt takes after his father, and will even at eight occasionally clean spontaneously. So they should both make adequate roommates as adults.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:53 AM
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they should both make adequate roommates as adults.

Mission accomplished! I do fondly recall the moment when my eldest was a toddler and I first asked him to bring me the paper from over by the fireplace and he did it. "Yes!" I calmly yelled to my wife who was in the kitchen doing dishes, "The payback begins!"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:00 AM
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Dude. My parents started us washing the dishes at about 8, and I don't think they cleaned the kitchen after dinner until we left for college. They got about ten years of no post-dinner clean-up out of us.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:03 AM
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I want a ten-year break from dishes. I've been doing them for thirty years now.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:04 AM
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"I'm sorry honey, I just can't relax doing the dishes if I know there are comments that need to be read."

See, I was going to get involved in this thread but couldn't keep myself from going into the kitchen to deal with the aftermath of my wife's breakfast-making.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:06 AM
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I have friends who actually do like to do the work. They have explicitly said "Washing the dishes relaxes me" and offer to wash them whenever they are at my house.

I, on the other hand, am perfectly comfortable to live amidst piles and piles of various things, some clean and some dirty, none of them put away and all of them extremely hazardous to walking through a room. Leaving the sink full of dishes is frequently far more appealing to me than washing any, and I'd rather just use a napkin anyway so who cares if there's no clean plates?

Just wait till I'm a cranky old lady with a bunch of cats and a house full of precariously-stacked boxes. It's gonna be so great.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:14 AM
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To wit, you had to eat the breakfast, Jesus? A burden, to be sure.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:18 AM
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I feel like I am hugely lazy, but there are plenty of situations where I'll happily cook and do my own clean-up in preference of having to deal with other people's kitchen mess. I clean as I go; even when I'm done making a gigantic meal for 6, there are just not that many dishes in the sink. Other people (including one wonderful roommate otherwise) manage to dirty the entire kitchen making scrambled eggs. It drives me insane. I'd much prefer to just take care of everything myself one night, and then have them take care of everything the next. And of course, in my own home, there's the problem of no one else knowing how to load the dishwasher properly.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:29 AM
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80

No, my daughters ate the breakfast, and I cleaned up.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:29 AM
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And you got no breakfast?!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:41 AM
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It's only the most important meal of the day!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:42 AM
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This thread illustrates perfectly why a) I will never live with a roommate ever again (romantic partners excepted) and b) I pay someone else to clean my house. I've gotten a lot better about it, but I still tend more towards the "let things stack up" end of the spectrum (even though I'm noticeably happier when my space is clean), and I've always gotten into fights with roommates about it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:48 AM
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My breakfast is coffee. My Sisyphean task is cleaning up after my family.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:49 AM
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I on the other hand (as well as my kids, especially my eldest who drives even me nuts) are content to watch/read/game/internet with a future time slot* allocated to the task. . . . The envisioned amount of time allocated to the task is inevitably underestimated.

For my part, I try really really hard not to take this kind of behavior as bad faith. I mostly fail.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:55 AM
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And of course, in my own home, there's the problem of no one else knowing how to load the dishwasher properly.

My dad's fairly obsessed with that. Maybe you and he could lead workshops.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:58 AM
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77 - yeah, I have a couple of friends like that. The only time the inside of my microwave gets cleaned is when one of them visits. I love that about them.

My brother and I did the washing up for years. I always hated it. When C and I moved in together, I told him that I would not ever do any washing up, and I don't think I have (in 14 years). I've rinsed stuff, sure, or washed the odd pot, but I can't remember ever running a sinkful of water. Eventually we moved into a house with a dishwasher. But he is an immediate washer - he'll wash as much as possible of the cooking pans before the meal, even if everyone else is waiting for him to sit down; he is always the first one up and clearing the table; and I've lost count of the times quarter-full cups of tea have disappeared so he could wash the cups. I'm definitely a wait-until-morning washer-upper, so it's best that he never expects me to do any.

Other people's washing-up, I'll do happily though, especially as I said above, if it's a social kind of thing to do. I'd be miserable being Chopper.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:59 AM
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85: And your skepticism is well-founded.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:04 AM
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M and I worked out a system where I do all the cooking and he does all the dishes. (I like cooking and hate washing up; he's not a cook, and purports not to mind cleaning.)

Except that this is still not fair, because I hate cooking in a messy kitchen, so before I start I inevitably clean up a little, and then throughout the cooking process I feel compelled to clean utensils and pots as I go. I have asked M to do the dishes before, during and after I cook, but he's like, no, just leave them in the sink and I'll do them all at once afterwards, and even I can see that my proposal is basically insane.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:05 AM
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Before you cook seems like a reasonable request.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:07 AM
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Coffee is really not an adequate breakfast, Jesus. Compare mine: toast with homemade nectarine jam, an omelette with parsley and sheep's-milk cheese, and cool, refreshing water.

No ingredient nor preparation that all my ancestors since the ice-age could not have comprehended. I call that a good breakfast; narrow, but vastly better than most men's breakfasts, and beyond comparison more beautiful.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:14 AM
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You skimped on the details about the toast. What kind of bread was it made from?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:18 AM
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I claim that the underlying dimension of personality is identification with physical surroundings. If your home is an extension of self, it's much harder to share it, certainly with people who don't see it the same intimate way.

I like very much some things about the house I share with my family, and I have cleanliness boundaries, but pretty cluttered for a few days does not bother me much. I don't care for food waste and will clean up right after a meal, but I loooove to cook without regard to the state of the kitchen after I am done.

I have a great blues song on a CD I burned, driving me nuts because I cannot find it. I'm gonna write you a letter, but I'm not gonna sign my name-- not Writing Paper Blues. I guess I need to index by song length....


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:19 AM
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No, no, Megan. Neb means that he raised a glass of warmed nectarine jam, said a few well chosen words, and drank it. Where would bread come into that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:19 AM
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I don't know why I said it was toast because it wasn't. It was just a slice of bread. With walnuts in.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:22 AM
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Oh. In that case, what was the toast? Did you wish the omelette health before you ate it?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:23 AM
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Oh my. Let me tell you about my house and the contumely that has come upon it. We have a new housemate, you see. She's very tidy, as in "everyone must wash every dish they used right after they use it" and "no leaving shoes in the living room evar" and "all the mixing bowls! must be stacked together! not in separate stacks!" I find this immensely stressful and frustrating, since I'm more of a "clean intensely on Saturday morning then let everything deteriorate over the next week" type. But the real problem is our other housemate, the programmer.

He's a delightful type, perfectly suited to living with me--he really doesn't care whether things are messy or clean, he doesn't have a lot of stuff and he bakes delicious bread to share with all. But he hates doing his dishes right after cooking or eating. In fact, he tends to let them pile up for a couple of days. Also, he is very stubborn in a programmer-ish way, and if he thinks something doesn't need to be done he just won't do it. Also both he and I cook a lot.

So he leaves dirty dishes in the sink, then I do some cooking and freak out because I must get my dishes done right away because otherwise the other housemate will be upset and then I have to do all of his dishes as well as my own every goddamn time. Every once in a while, I leave a pot in the sink or leave the counters unwiped in the vain hope that he'll pitch in, but it never works.

On the other hand, I devised an extremely clever recipe for a greekish spinach pie modeled loosely on spanakopita.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:33 AM
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91: No ingredient nor preparation that all my ancestors since the ice-age could not have comprehended.

If you had ancestors from Polynesia, they might be a bit confused.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:37 AM
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97: Oy. That one sounds like a 'get all three people in the same room and have a long talk' problem, and it also sounds as if the new housemate has to flex some, because the programmer dude isn't going to meet her standards and you shouldn't have to take sides or get whipsawed between them. If they're both immovably stubborn, that's difficult, but at least a three-way hashout should identify you as not the problem, and might focus the tension away from you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:43 AM
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And I note that you haven't explained your pie. If there's a spanikopita sort of thing that doesn't require messing with phyllo, I'd be intrigued.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:44 AM
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As for my breakfast, I made buckwheat pancakes, but they came out wrong. I lost patience trying to get the honey out of the bear's head, so I put in molasses. I knew it was wrong. I didn't realize how wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:50 AM
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I claim that the underlying dimension of personality is identification with physical surroundings. If your home is an extension of self, it's much harder to share it, certainly with people who don't see it the same intimate way.

This is me (and I'm tend towards terrible clutter).

When it's cluttered (which is most of the time) I really don't like having other people in my space because they don't understand which piles are incidental and which have a purpose.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:52 AM
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I tend to let dishes pile up for a few days, then put them in the dishwasher. Running the dishwasher more often seems wasteful, and not using it seems silly, since it's there. I suppose if I lived with anyone else there would be more dishes and the "there aren't enough dishes to justify running the dishwasher" problem wouldn't exist.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 12:04 PM
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||
Is it just me, or is this column truly appalling?

|>


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 12:06 PM
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104: I tried. I just can't make myself read the NYT magazine while I'm on vacation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 12:14 PM
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I just can't make myself read Deborah Solomon's piece of crap column in the NYT magazine while I'm on vacation ever.

(Which is to say "yes" to 104. I'm weak, I know.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 12:25 PM
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His poor parents.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 12:28 PM
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99: Oh, we've had long talks. I think we need a mediator. Also, I've left out the parts where I've been rude to people because I got frustrated. But it's a huge cultural difference--three of us are bookish, nerdy, sloppy people who really fundamentally are always counting the hours until we can go back to our rooms and read or goof around on the internet; the new housemate doesn't read much and is always, always looking for tidying projects to do. "Don't you want it to be nice?" she asks, as she suggests putting in mitre-cut shelves in a corner or hanging plants in the bathroom. No, actually I don't. I want it to be horrible so that I can go back to reading about Soviet science fiction, thank you.

Sadly, the pie does involve phyllo. Phyllo is vegan if you brush it with the evocatively-named Buttery Spread rather than with actual butter.

It's more the guts of the pie that were the puzzle, what with the cheese and everything. As it was, I blanched and pressed two bunches of spinach, chopped and sauteed a large leek until soft, added a bunch of chopped parsley and sauteed some more, added a lot of minced dill, added the spinach and then added pressed, crumbled tofu, salt, pepper, a dash of tabasco and a tablespoon of imitation butter. But I actually made the whole thing in a loaf pan with six layers of phyllo as the base and six on top. It wasn't too difficult, although I need to get a proper pastry brush since I ended up over-buttering a bit.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 12:38 PM
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Argh again. Given that having her killed would probably not be kosher given your veganism, I doubt there's a solution.

(And on the pie, I keep on wanting to give ineffective advice about using coconut cream to substitute for dairy. I don't cook with coconut cream in the US, and haven't really since I left Samoa over a decade ago. But you're coming really close to a traditional Samoan recipe there -- Palusami. You're supposed to make it with taro leaves, but substituting spinach is what you do when there's no taro. And traditionally you roll it in a big leaf and bake it, but phyllo would serve pretty much the same function. When you do it with fresh coconut cream, the baking makes it set like a custard, and it's wonderful stuff. I'm not sure that canned works the same way, but if it does, it's worth trying.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 12:53 PM
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When you do it with fresh coconut cream, the baking makes it set like a custard, and it's wonderful stuff.

MmmmmMMM that sounds good.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 12:56 PM
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I lost patience trying to get the honey out of the bear's head....

Watch out for gals with scissors.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 1:00 PM
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110: It's worth experimenting with, if you're a more energetic cook than I am (which you clearly are).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 1:06 PM
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That palusami looks extremely good, whether or not it actually sets.

I am routinely appalled by how much money I spend on spinach. And leeks! The poor man's asparagus, yeah right.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 1:24 PM
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113: I've never seen frozen leeks, not that I've looked, but I really can't tell the difference between frozen spinach and fresh spinach. Of course, people who will eat spinach that hasn't been cooked and combined with cheese might notice the difference.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:09 PM
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If you're cooking it, frozen spinach isn't bad. But of course you can't make a salad out of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:10 PM
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I like to cook spinach with cheese and put it on a baked potato. Then I can pretend I'm at the Sizzler.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:13 PM
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115: But of course you can't make a *good* salad out of it.

Salads are like sandwiches they can be contain anything.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:15 PM
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Except semi-colons, and usernames. And extraneous verbs spice them up.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:17 PM
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Yeah, fresh spinach is crucial for salad and for cooking if it's really pretty much standing on its own, but I also think that the better frozen spinach (a bunch of leaves rattling around in a bag preferred over the pressed block) is fine for things like soup and palak paneer and lasagna and other cheesy baked applications.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:18 PM
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If the spinach can stand on its own, you've either cooked it too much or not enough.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:22 PM
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||

I don't even know why the public library allows slower readers to reserve books ahead of me. I'd have turned it around already if they'd let me have it first! It is inefficient.

|>


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:28 PM
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You should have been a libertarian, Megan. Come to think of it, it's not too late. A New Year's resolution!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:30 PM
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121: Trying to make that argument within a household can, I have found, lead to strife.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:31 PM
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Megan, Edward and Bella get married and have a baby. Now you don't need to wait for the book.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:32 PM
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124: Spoiler Alert.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:32 PM
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Vampires can't have babies! that was established in Angel season 2!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:38 PM
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Also in VanHelsing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:40 PM
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Trying to make that argument within a household can, I have found, lead to strife.

But it isn't WRONG. Other people should be more rational and value efficiency more.

Heh. The book is almost that embarrassing, Moby. But I've avoided Twilight on the strength of Amber's criticisms.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:42 PM
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128: I hope you didn't take any of my book recommendations seriously. Because A Certain Something is headed your way soon(ish) via Santa Postperson.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:48 PM
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I would never buy spinach at the store.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:52 PM
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You sent me The Christmas Sweater? Thank you, sugar.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:53 PM
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Don't call people "sugar", Megan.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:56 PM
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Some people who aren't you like it when I call them "sugar". Should they be denied that small pleasure?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:57 PM
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I LIKE it!


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:57 PM
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See?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:58 PM
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YES. Because I dislike it, even when it's addressed to others.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:58 PM
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(also, I'm pretty sure I did not recommend the sweater book, if only because I have not read it myself and have Policies about such matters)


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:58 PM
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I don't really like being called "shug" though. I prefer "darlin'" or "hon" if you must abbreviate.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 2:59 PM
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I actually just read Twilight this weekend -- picked up my niece's copy. Man, that sucked bad. Normally I figure that anything mega-popular probably has some redeeming features, but wow. Not a lot. I suppose it was competently written on the sentence level -- I didn't find myself cracking up at the writing. (I still treasure the memory of a spy novel I read in the eighties where a character 'paced back and forth like a leopard'. While he was on the phone. In a phone booth. I'm not sure exactly how a leopard paces in a phone booth, but I expect it involves a lot of frustrated yowling.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:00 PM
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How do you intend to enforce your preference in this matter, nosfloW?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:05 PM
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139: I was moderately interested (after the first book) in the underlying mythology that had apparently been invented. I was far less enthusiastic after every page of the next three. And yet, I read them all, because I had borrowed them in a heap from a friend and there they all were in a stack.

The last one made me angry, it was so long and so bad.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:09 PM
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Don't call people "sugar", Megan.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:09 PM
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126: Or, when they do, they turn into shifty, rapey, WASPy ad execs.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:09 PM
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Look, if you two are going to fight you'll have to wait until I make it back to California, because I really want to see that. Burning couches at 20 paces?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:10 PM
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144 to 140.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:10 PM
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I actually just read Twilight this weekend -- picked up my niece's copy. Man, that sucked bad. Normally I figure that anything mega-popular probably has some redeeming features, but wow. Not a lot. I suppose it was competently written on the sentence level -- I didn't find myself cracking up at the writing.

No, the sentences are bad. The only good thing is the way it is titillating in exactly the one particular way that it's titillating. If that brand of titillation does nothing for you, even in a dim echo, then you'll be bored out of your skull.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:14 PM
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Burning couches at 20 paces?

Naw. Endearments until he quits the field in disgust. I know lots of 'em.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:15 PM
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I read the latest Dan Brown novel the other day. (Shut up!) There was one sentence in it that was spectacularly awful, even for Brown, in a really noteworthy "I couldn't do this if I tried" kind of way. Unfortunately I forgot it, and there's no way in hell I'd read through the book again to find it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:17 PM
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I was far less enthusiastic after every page of the next three. And yet, I read them all, because I had borrowed them in a heap from a friend and there they all were in a stack.

This is just what happened to me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:17 PM
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If that brand of titillation does nothing for you, even in a dim echo, then you'll be bored out of your skull.

Yeah, I suppose that if it's not my brand of trash, I can't tell how well it appeals to someone who finds it appealing at all.

I suppose all I meant about the sentences was that they weren't funny bad; there was nothing I wanted to read out loud to make fun of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:20 PM
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I felt like I should read them because Sally will at some point, and I should be able to comment on them. (Also, I generally like trash, and was hoping they'd be guiltily amusing. Nope.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:21 PM
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Unfortunately I forgot it, and there's no way in hell I'd read through the book again to find it.

Oh, come on, essear. Do it for us.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:24 PM
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151: Why? If my kid wants to read about Mormon vampires, he's on his own. Life's too short, and there are dishes to wash comments to write.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:37 PM
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(Not that he wants to anyway, but there's no way I'm picking up most of the stuff he does read, either.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:38 PM
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Well, I generally like kid books, so it's usually not a hardship.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:41 PM
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155- have your kids gotten into the Mysterious Benedict Society books? I just found them, and am favorably disposed.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:48 PM
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Sally is besotted with them. Come to think of it, Megan would like them -- I think of her as rather like the girl with the bucket.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:50 PM
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I felt like I should read them because Sally will at some point,

You allow such trash in your house?!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:52 PM
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I have informed the children that they generally may read anything they can lift (which checks them both out for everything up through the compact OED). If I think something's really trash, I won't buy it for them, but they're free to borrow or use their own money. And I may comment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 3:54 PM
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159 is my policy as well. My usual comment--invariably disregarded--is a reminder that there are genres other than fantasy that might be worth exploration.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:00 PM
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A friend of mine is a fan of the Twilight books and movies, in a way a few minutes off the magnetic north of sardonic, quipping disdain that one would expect of a woman of her age and multiple Ivy degrees. When we have talked about it (I, in relative ignorance), she hasn't dismissed out of hand the suggestion that, ridiculous as it is, Twilight does a pretty effective job describing allegorizing capturing eliciting feelings that people in twenty-first century America associate with "femininity," and, out of ingrained sexism, with the opposite of the competition for power and position that the educated classes expect girls and boys to grow up and into. At one point she said something like "girls' fantasies aren't worthless or unhealthy if they don't end in 'Congratulations, Madame President' or 'Thank you, members of the Svenska Akademien,' " which I thought was interesting.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:04 PM
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At one point she said something like "girls' fantasies aren't worthless or unhealthy if they don't end in 'Congratulations, Madame President' or 'Thank you, members of the Svenska Akademien,' " which I thought was interesting.

Huh. While I'd endorse the quoted statement, the Twilight fantasy is about how incredibly hot it is to be with a man who really really really really wants to hurt and kill you, but is barely restraining himself. But might kill you, if you fuck up and tempt him. But probably won't. But might. If you fuck up. If we're not just ruling 'unhealthy' out of bounds as a description of any kind of fantasy, I'd call that one pretty unhealthy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:11 PM
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My interest was based in the fact that I thought there was some complicated deep thing being posited that had something to do with Bella being "allergic" to blood. Like she was descended from anti-vampires or something. After the first book, I thought that would get developed and explained and I was interested to find out the backstory. Unfortunately, there didn't turn out to be any backstory so the further I went the more irritated I became. Why would you even put that in as a plot element if you weren't planning to explain it later?

This will maybe teach me a lesson not to expect too much from trashy teen novels.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:13 PM
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Oh, like when she fainted during the blood typing lab? Nah, I think that was just make it even clearer how pathetic she was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:14 PM
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I thought maybe it would turn out that Bella was poisonous to Edward. And that would make for a power reversal. Or something.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:14 PM
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...the Twilight fantasy is about how incredibly hot it is to be with a man who really really really really wants to hurt and kill you, but is barely restraining himself.

There are a lot of books, movies and television shows by (and largely for) men with a similar dynamic, except that the demon lover is defusing bombs, catching murderers, flying fighter jets, robbing banks, extinguishing oil rig fires, etc., etc., while the temptation to ordinariness is represented by a woman in, or wanting to live in, a house.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:25 PM
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Speaking of demon lovers.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:28 PM
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This could be a good vampire movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayYiMygqlfo


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:30 PM
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166: For clarity's sake, "the demon lover is" should be "the demon lover consists of."

OT: I have often suggested replacing Supreme Court arguments or philosophy examinations with boxing matches, so that, at first blood, I the witty spectator who loves the sound of his own puns could remark "Now the clarity begins to flow!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:35 PM
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There's certainly a lot of fiction/fantasy exploring the issue of (to put it as dryly as possible) whether the benefits of some activity are worth the danger it entails, and in that fantasy the danger isn't pure detriment, but is part of the attraction. (And of course none of this applies to entertainment where the reader/viewer isn't intended to or doesn't identify with the relevant character.)

If we're not going to abandon the concept of 'unhealthy' at all as a way of talking about fantasy (and if that's your argument, there's a lot to be said for it. But I don't understand that to be what you're arguing), surely at some point one has to think about whether a healthy person would assess the described benefits as worth the dangers. For defusing bombs, catching murderers, and so forth, the implicit argument of the fantasy is that the benefit is worth the risk (and depending on the particulars of the fantasy you're talking about, this implicit argument may or may not be bullshit). OTOH, a book extolling the delights of heroin addiction as being worth the risk of becoming HIV positive from a dirty needle, especially since that risk adds a spice of danger to the joy of the heroin rush, seems like a possible book, but would be an 'unhealthy' fantasy to the extent it really was appealing. If 'healthy' in the terms we're talking about means anything, it means that an opiate addiction isn't worth dying for -- someone who buys that it is is setting themselves up for real problems.

I'm pretty comfortable thinking that if we're judging fantasies on this level at all, someone who's getting a rush daydreaming about teh hotttttness of being loved by a man who really really wants to kill you, and might, but if he did it would be all your fault, is getting pretty close on the unhealthiness scale, to someone daydreaming about how edgy it would be to be a dirty-needle using heroin addict.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:49 PM
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And of course whether something is 'unhealthy' or not doesn't have much to do with whether it's entertaining or good art -- I read plenty of stuff that I enjoy and would call 'unhealthy' in those terms. Twilight strikes me as poorly written, dull, and unhealthy, but of course the first two are unconnected to the third.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 4:54 PM
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148: I only read "The DaVinci Code". It was awful, but I kept reading.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:01 PM
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170, 171: I suppose someone could make a sort of romantic argument that " 'unhealthy' is the 'improper' of the early twenty-first century" and go on to take the position that stuff like Twilight is positively healthy (!) because it is, intentionally (cough crazy suburban Mormon housewife cough) or not, hostile to the suffocating bourgeois careerism that we inflict even upon our youngest children's daydreams, but that would be several bridges farther than my most enthusiastic devil's advocacy. Sometimes I get tired of people examining children's books and movies for the counterrevolutionary tendencies that the political process does not permit them to prosecute in adults,* but that would be a pretty weak argument for poor old Twilight.

* Because I am a hypocrite, I would emphasize that this should not be interpreted to approve or endorse any of the many, many books, movies and television shows marketed to angry middle-aged men that implicitly encourage violence against liberals and dirty foreigners.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:21 PM
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167: A truly appropriate story for the thread. Each post should have assigned reading.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:22 PM
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||

Not only do slow readers reserve books before me, but the application to take the professional licensing exam for engineers is THOROUGH and DETAILED, which is BURDENSOME for me. How I suffer.

|>


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:27 PM
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I'd send you one of the tangerines I just picked, but it wouldn't be fresh any more when it got there.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:32 PM
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Oh. And assholes picked all my tangerines off my tree in my front yard. There were only five, because it is a young tree. I was waiting for them to ripen, but that isn't going to work until the tree gets so big that there are too many tangerines for assholes to take.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:35 PM
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The same thing happened to me, except it was a persimmon and a jujube tree, it was at my parents' house, not my own, and the assholes were deer.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:37 PM
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Deer are just plain rude.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:38 PM
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Deer and assholes need to be taught a lesson.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:40 PM
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Maybe they need to get sick on too much fruit. Ill-gotten fruit.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:42 PM
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Can anyone read the bottom half of this?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 5:57 PM
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175: That exam only exists because of government regulation. Just sayin' is all.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:04 PM
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175: Seriously, have you ever considered how successful you could be as a found-my-religion libertarian? "Well, I worked in government. And the waste and inefficiency finally became too much for me to take." Cato would bring you on as a fellow, like that. And oh the blogging you could do. Can I be your manager/agent?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:06 PM
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Ari, it isn't nice to be a force for evil.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:07 PM
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177: Were it not for burdensome -- and illegal! -- gun-control laws, those assholes would never have even considered trespassing on your property. Just sayin' is all.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:07 PM
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Ari, you're a faculty member at a public university. Why be the agent when you can be the principal?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:08 PM
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The deer will get theirs, don't worry.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:08 PM
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I saw some baby deer on Christmas Day in New England. They seemed quite polite, in a garden-eating sort of way.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:09 PM
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185: Sorry, neb, Jewish-intellectuals-turned-libertarian-idealogues are a dime a dozen. The market is already saturated with people just like you, sugar.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:10 PM
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187 see 190. But truth be told, I've considered it more than once. For the money and the chicks, I mean, not out of conviction.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:11 PM
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Should you be addressing those remarks to Flippanter in 187, ari?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:12 PM
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I was discouraging you even from being Megan's manager, after all, not trying to get you to pursue the path you've set out for her yourself.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:12 PM
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||

James Howard Kunstler Forecast 2010

I can be a little prick on my birthday

But amidst the gloom and doom horror and devastation:

"I believe United will be the first one to go down in 2010, a hateful moron of a company that deserves to die. " JHK

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:14 PM
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Perhaps Megan does not wish to be "managed."


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:16 PM
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Happy birthday, bob! (I think?)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:19 PM
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I'm old enough to remember when Kunstler wasn't a crank.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:24 PM
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197: When was that?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:27 PM
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Lot of birthdays around here this time of year. Happy birthdays to all you Capricorns. Happy birthday, bob.

What garden-eating is there to do in New England over Christmas?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:29 PM
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What garden-eating is there to do in New England over Christmas?

Olive Garden.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:32 PM
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What garden-eating is there to do in New England over Christmas?

As much as the baby deer can find, I guess.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:33 PM
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||

Had a just beautiful windless magic hour snowfall today for the later dogwalk.

ZOMG. Like a Currier & Ives George Durrie Guy Wiggins thing. I was well pleased and satisfied, savage breast soothed.

With the end of the year thing, I forget how old I am. Math is hard.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:36 PM
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198: I seem to recall that when Geography of Nowhere first came out (1994 or '95?), he still thought that the New Urbanism could save us from ourselves. So, sure, he was irascible, but his pessimism wasn't unrelenting. Then again, he had books to sell.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:37 PM
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I'd welcome a manager, if I thought the manager would do a better job of it than I do. Someone with style, financial and matchmaking expertise could probably make a strong case for being my manager.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:37 PM
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Managers aren't usually called on to matchmake, are they?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:40 PM
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"I believe United will be the first one to go down in 2010, a hateful moron of a company that deserves to die. " JHK

That would make me smile spitefully.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:41 PM
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OT: Dvid Levine, dead, at 84.

And Megan, I promise you'll have no trouble finding eligible men in the Cato cafeteria. Stick with me, kid!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:43 PM
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Huh, he was 83. And he had an "a" in his first name. How quickly we forget.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:44 PM
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Managers aren't usually called on to matchmake, are they?

It is all in the nature of animal husbandry.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:44 PM
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Did you put a visit to Cato on my schedule? Should I know about it?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:44 PM
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that the New Urbanism could save us from ourselves.

We're talking about the Gators football coach, right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:46 PM
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Huh, he was 83. And he had an "a" in his first name. How quickly we forget.

We're talking about the Gators football coach, right?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:48 PM
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Try your best, throw in a couple extra gratitude blowjobs, and trust him to tell you if it is a problem?

We're talking about the Gators football coach, right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:52 PM
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That joke isn't funny anymore.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 6:54 PM
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||

My Birthday Present

I feel well loved today.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:01 PM
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Further to 161, a conversation has not gone all that brilliantly if it ends with "Well, that was a healthy discussion of our relationship."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:02 PM
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Happy birthday, Bob!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:03 PM
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That joke isn't funny anymore.

I should start a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. I bet neb would find it much funnier than a repetitive Gators football coach joke.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:07 PM
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And happy bobday, birth!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:07 PM
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216: Insofar as nobody says that, ever, as far as I know, no. Unless it's a formal house meeting called to discuss household cleanliness behaviors, I suppose.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:08 PM
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221: Consider it uttered with Carlylesque irony in my melodious voice.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:10 PM
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173: Twilight is positively healthy (!) because it is, intentionally (cough crazy suburban Mormon housewife cough) or not, hostile to the suffocating bourgeois careerism that we inflict even upon our youngest children's daydreams

I've never read Twilight, so I'm not speaking to that. However, I really like the phrase "suffocating bourgeois careerism" and intent to use it on my boss when I try to convince him that I might move up into the mountains and live off of the land if I don't get a raise this year.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:11 PM
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Oy. Twilight's really nothing to end a relationship over, Flip.



Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:13 PM
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I'd like to switch-up to "mildly-stiffing bourgeois careerism".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:13 PM
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OT: Tony Judt on his ALS. I sometimes wonder at what point I would prefer to be dead.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:14 PM
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223: John Emerson asked me to tell you that you're wrong.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:15 PM
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mildly-stiffing bourgeois careerism

Stifling? Or maybe stiffing works just fine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:16 PM
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227: I meant the former. I think.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:17 PM
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222: There's never a bad time to recommend BOSS, except to people who don't like hypothermia, dehydration, hunger and sleeping on the ground.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:21 PM
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225 has a similar ring to The Diving Bell and The Butterfly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:21 PM
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221, that's how I heard it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:23 PM
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231: Sort of Ronald Colman meets Isaac Hayes?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:24 PM
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229: I'm married to a lawyer. In a couple of years, I'll just ask "How can it be any worse than work?" I've spent way too much time pricing-out yurts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:26 PM
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I'd have to know who Ronald Colman is in order to answer that question, I'm afraid. I don't know the context of the utterance, in any case.

It's damn cold here, people, and there's an afghan on the couch that's calling to me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:29 PM
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234: I think they like to be called Afghani. Tell him we said hi.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:31 PM
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And you have a very talented couch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:35 PM
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233: "A guy died a couple of years ago."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:38 PM
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237: Moving to a yurt in the mountains without getting some practice also seems dangerous. Maybe I'll see if REI doesn't have a remedial version.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:41 PM
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238: Yurts are for closers the weak! You'll sleep on pine needles if you can find your camp in the dark and count raindrops falling on your face and think "At least they're not mosquito bites" like it!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:45 PM
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Moving to a yurt in the mountains without getting some practice also seems dangerous.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Michigan has Yurts you can rent year round.

Or you can rent the Glenbrook Yurt at Pinckney Recreation Area where "You can play all day and dine in Hell at night."


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:51 PM
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I think Megan has hit on an important point in 61: trading sex for chores can be a win-win. Or at least part of a well planned strategy of positive reinforcement.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 7:57 PM
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61 keeps the Turgid in Jacobian.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:05 PM
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Let's not take this "chores for sex" too far or we'll create a generation that gets an erection when they smell Pine-Sol.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:14 PM
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Actually I don't even have a Jacobian--I am but a scalar function.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:15 PM
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243: you mean you don't?

clean,clean,masturbate,clean


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:16 PM
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245 to the OP.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:22 PM
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||

Watching Orhan Pamuk on Charlie Rose. Captioned, sound off. Smart guy who leaves no space for Rose to bloviate. Wish I had another life for novels.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:24 PM
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That joke isn't funny anymore.

Kick them when they fall down, neb.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:25 PM
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248 s/b WMYBSALB, sugar.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:28 PM
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Close one, Stanley.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:32 PM
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It was dark as neb drove the point home.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:36 PM
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I've seen this happen in other people's lives.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:36 PM
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225: Some time before I can't pull a trigger by myself. I'm going to have a nightmare about that piece tonight.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 8:45 PM
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A friend's brother got a cancer diagnosis with a grim prognosis one afternoon and went out and shot himself the next morning. Somewhat understandable, but awfully rough on one's family.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:22 PM
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||

OT: I had been meaning to report, by the way, that I did get a pair of the earrings that I mentioned a while back.

I ended up giving them to my mother as a Christmas present and they were very well received.

Here is an example of the sort of earrings that the person makes. The ones that I got were a different wood, of course, but that gives some sense.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:51 PM
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255 posted without seeing 254 -- I'm sorry.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 9:52 PM
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256: No need to be sorry. I didn't know the guy, and topic shifts are always in order.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:16 PM
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255: We gave a number of necklaces and bracelets from BeadforLife this Christmas (a project based in Uganda). I quite like their look.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:21 PM
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topic shifts are always in order.

Oh? Well, something I'm unlikely to put on the main page but am curious about is: my roommate's cats seem to have been relieving themselves in the dirt-floor part of the basement. (Our basement is half concrete, half dirt.) It is beginning to smell.

My first reaction, having watched a few gangster movies, was to buy some lime and toss it around. However, (1) I don't know what I'm talking about; (2) I fear I would look like a psycho killer trying to buy a bunch of lime; and, (3) I wouldn't know where to buy a bunch of lime anyway.

Advice?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:22 PM
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259: Burning limestone will make lime. I think you'd want to crush the limestone first, but I've never done it before. You could just scoop out the top layer of dirt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:24 PM
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260 could have been clearer. The last sentence refers to getting rid of cat feces, not making lime.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:25 PM
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Oh, gross. But how naturally resourceful of your roommate's cats. If I were you I'd just mash it down the drain with my toes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:25 PM
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258 be me.
259: Buy lime at the home and garden store and look like a guy with acidic soil (may be early for the big box stores to have it stocked). No idea how it works on cat piss.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:25 PM
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When life hands you lime, make cat-shit-burning-ade.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:26 PM
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Lime is pretty good stuff for outhouses, so it ought to work for basements.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:29 PM
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265: I'd just use the Sears catalog. It might scratch now that they use glossy paper, but lime has got to burn.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:30 PM
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Like a rhinestone cowboy limestone outhouse.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:31 PM
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Also, preventative measures moving forward? I've heard of spreading black pepper to deter garden critters. Would that be cruel to the cats?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:31 PM
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Lime would be cruel to the cats. How about shutting the door to the basement?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:32 PM
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We had a dog who would piss in the basement if you ever let him down there by himself. The basement was carpeted, but it wasn't very nice carpet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:36 PM
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ObChemicalTrivia: Limelight was stage lighting produced by heating lime (calcium oxide).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:36 PM
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Lime would be cruel to the cats. How about shutting the door to the basement?

My preferred solution, but that's where the litter box lives. I suspect the cats (who also go outside to wee and poop a fair bit) don't understand the difference between the dirt part, the outside, and the litter box.

Having said that, once I decided to intervene and clean the litter box (thinking that the source of odoriferous delights), I discovered that roommate has not done a stellar job of keeping the litter box clean. Maybe keeping that cleaner will fix it, moving forward?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:36 PM
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That is, perhaps with a clean litter box, the kitties will prefer Clean Litter Box to Dirt Basement. But I'm skeptical.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:39 PM
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OT: Is there any truth to the belief that newborns can only see in black and white? I find it rather implausible.
Also OT: Given that I am mildly OCD and own cats, what are the odds that this enormous blister on my finger remains unpopped.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:40 PM
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Maybe spreading dogshit on the dirt floor part will do the trick.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:40 PM
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If I were a kitty-cat, I'd prefer the vast dirt expanse over the tight confines of a litter box.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:41 PM
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Is there any truth to the belief that newborns can only see in black and white? I find it rather implausible.

I think it's more like they can't make sense of any of the visual input at first, and one of the earliest things that the brain starts to organize is the black/white contrast. The way I heard it is that they prefer to look at high-contrast stuff.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:43 PM
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Witt bought us a very thoughtful high-contrast book for Hawaiian Punch, and she did seem to pay attention to it when she was a wee-monkey. Way wee-er than she is now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:44 PM
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274.1: When we had our baby, some friends gave us a book that was full of random baby tips, facts, etc. According to that book, babies don't have good resolution and can't see anything thinner than a pencil or so. The book also had the correct words to "Hush Little Baby." As for newborn color vision, I don't see how they could possibly test for that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:44 PM
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Given that I am mildly OCD and own cats, what are the odds that this enormous blister on my finger remains unpopped.

I am not OCD and my cats don't care about my blisters, but they're so fun to pop! You should pop it on those grounds alone.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:45 PM
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A good spritz of coyote urine should keep the cats away.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:45 PM
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Apples : doctors : : coyote urine : cats.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:47 PM
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Good night.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:47 PM
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Good night, heebie! You can pee in my basement anytime.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:48 PM
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273: I'm guessing that a clean little box might have worked before, but now that the cat have the idea of "floor-toilet", they won't switch back just for a clean litter box. At least, that's what I would say to my roommate when I told him to de-stink the basement.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:48 PM
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It's sooo tempting. But then you end up with a seeping mess that easily gets infected.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:50 PM
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that's what I would say to my roommate when I told him to de-stink the basement.

Yeah. It's totally her problem, but I'm assigning myself some you're-going-through-a-divorce, let-me-help-you guilt. It's like holiday dishes. Sort of.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:54 PM
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I would think any test that could establish the effects of black and white contrasts could be adapted for color.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 10:59 PM
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Yes, that occurred to me after I hit "post" for 279.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:01 PM
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I would think any test that could establish the effects of black and white contrasts could be adapted for color.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:05 PM
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There. Now: how do I discourage myself from popping it?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:06 PM
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I was wrong. So wrong. Just stop badgering me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:07 PM
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I've heard of spreading black pepper to deter garden critters. Would that be cruel to the cats?

Ever seen Cool Hand Luke?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:07 PM
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293: So I should feed them hard-boiled eggs? Weird.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:09 PM
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As two circa-1978 British pop-rock hits simultaneously taught us, you've gotta be cruel to cats to be cool to cats to be kind to cats.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:10 PM
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No, there's a scene in which Luke evades police dogs in a pepper-involving way.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:11 PM
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What we have here is a failure to defecate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:13 PM
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...in the proper place.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:14 PM
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296: I have a standing argument with a friend over who plays the badass card harder: Steve McQueen or Paul Newman.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:16 PM
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Selling lemonade and tomato sauce is pretty badass.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:18 PM
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They should call the cookies "Badass-Os".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:18 PM
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Newman's Tomato Basil sauce is the best jarred sauce.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:19 PM
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"I don't want to be the guy who learns. I want to be the guy who knows."


Posted by: cRYPPTIC NED | Link to this comment | 12-29-09 11:20 PM
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Cats. I think the problem is the dirty litter box, but you're right that getting them to stop is going to be tricky once the dirt smells like cat-pee. Lime might kill the smell -- on anything but dirt I'd use vinegar, but I can't somehow see drenching your basement floor in vinegar. Maybe, though -- buy a gallon of it? And then, um, is the dirt area small enough that you could cover it with a tarp, and put the clean litter box on top?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 5:59 AM
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It's a signal to noise ratio problem: you can't clean the dirt enough to prevent their return, so you need to add distractions. How much cat pee can you get a hold of?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 6:10 AM
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Sooo, more blister liveblogging, then?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:47 AM
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182: Can anyone read the bottom half of this?

ILLUMINATED CHAMBERS OF BIZARRE EMPHASIS
EAGER DELIGHT INDUICED [sic]
ABSTRACT SOUNDS AND RECORDINGS
MULTIFORM AND MANIFOLD SUPERNATURAL OBJECTS

$10 COVER
COME ONE COME ALL TO THE MAGIC THEATER


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:15 AM
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Sounds like fun, though I prefer shocked delight to eager.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:19 AM
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s the dirt area small enough that you could cover it with a tarp, and put the clean litter box on top?

It would probably take two or three tarps* to cover it, but this dirt area takes on water during heavy precipitation, so it's not the ideal spot for anything, really.

*It's the Lehman Brothers of basement dirt areas!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:24 AM
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Okay, new possibility. Clean the litter box, soak the dirt in vinegar, and (given that the cats can use the great outdoors as an alternative), lock them out of the basement for a couple of weeks to break the cycle. Then let them back in with a fresh clean litterbox down there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:32 AM
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Or baking soda, come to think?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:32 AM
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310-11: That just might work. Although, I'll probably wait for the snow to melt a bit more. The going-outdoors thing has been recently hampered by the fact that both cats seem to think that snow is deadly and not to be touched.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:43 AM
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You might want to use something enzymey (like "Anti Icky-Poo" or "Nature's Miracle") instead of vinegar in LB's plan. Then when you let them back in, there's cat-attracting litter or litter additive products you might use to seal the deal. I think they're actually called "Cat Attract."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:43 AM
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302: Popular and occasionally imprisoned Providence mayor Buddy Cianci's jarred tomato sauce is both better and more badass than Newman's Own.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 9:25 AM
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Your cats are completely right about the snow.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 9:45 AM
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Your cats are completely right about the snow.

Whatever, snow is fun. It makes getting to work everyday like a cyclocross race.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 9:55 AM
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With extremely high stakes.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 9:58 AM
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Megan is opposed to fun, CJB. And I don't see how the stakes are higher than usual—you are biking to work, right?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 10:03 AM
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316: That's why I always steer my SUV right in front of cyclists whenever it snows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 10:22 AM
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Did anyone hear the TAL episode about Penn State a few weeks ago. A townie, complaining about unruly frat boys down the street: "One night they were throwing furniture off the roof. And that's definitely fun, I give you that. But then they doused it with lighter fluid and set it on fire."


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 10:52 AM
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I'm not sure exactly how a leopard paces in a phone booth, but I expect it involves a lot of frustrated yowling.

Probably a lot like this.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 10:54 AM
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the blog: i reads it


Posted by: i can has ira glass | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 10:54 AM
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Or he was reading FTA.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 11:02 AM
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I knew Standpipe was a major celebrity, but didn't know he was a major NERD celebrity!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 11:08 AM
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I am a virile motley of the major nerd celebrities.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 11:17 AM
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you are biking to work, right?

Yes.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 11:19 AM
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Strong work.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 11:24 AM
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320: Gosh I'm proud of my alma mater.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 11:39 AM
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sexist.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 12:04 PM
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A good spritz of coyote urine should keep the cats away.

No half measures. Stanley, you could spread chicken wire over the dirt, the way some gardeners do; it keeps the cats from scraping away at the loose soil. Since they've already gotten accustomed to using the space, you might also want to do the vinegar thing too. I'd recommend steeping several habaneros in it before you spray. Alternatively, you could dig a deep hole, put some kitty treats at the bottom and be prepared to shovel quickly.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 12:14 PM
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Maybe you could just fill your basement with snow?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 12:19 PM
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I don't see why slow readers should even be allowed to have library cards, if we're being honest. It has been another WHOLE DAY.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 3:00 PM
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Pittsburgh tried to close a few libraries in poorer neighborhoods. I thought it was because they figured the poor bitch less effectively than the wealthy, but maybe it was because they read too slow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 3:03 PM
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332: Just buy the book, read it, and return it for another when you're done (dastardly, I know). Or (more generously) donate your copy to the public library to help break the logjam. Fun!


Posted by: Honest Abe | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 3:53 PM
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Add some borax to the soil amendment.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 4:10 PM
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Good luck, Stanley. We wound up getting rid of the cats. (And 5 years later, I can still smell cat piss in corners of the basement.)


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 5:04 PM
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332: If you don't mind my saying, I think the words you're looking for are: "If we privatized the libraries, this wouldn't be a problem."


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 5:34 PM
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A friend of mine had that problem with the crawl space under a house. He put some of the enzymey stuff into a garden sprayer, which he set to make a fine mist. He ran the mist into the intake of a leaf blower, which he directed through the vent into the crawl space, and was able to damen the whole area. He claimed it eliminated the cat piss smell.

I'm thinking that a screwball comedy titled Managing Megan could be a blockbuster hit.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 5:52 PM
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I'm thinking that a screwball comedy titled Managing Megan could be a blockbuster hit.

Innovative!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 6:43 PM
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So Stanley, you do probably want to get a handle on the cat pissing situation sooner rather than later. If later, you're looking at people coming into the house and getting a whiff of cat piss immediately. This is not good. It puts a damper on the prospect of dinner parties, for example. Or visits from anybody else who's not a close friend.

If you can't close the door to the basement (best solution; move the cat box somewhere else), Jesus's plan in 330 of putting down chicken wire sounds good. Either that or some kind of tarp, after digging up the surface soil that's maybe already soaked. Bummer.

Sorry. Cats just are going to use soil as a litter box, especially if they're outdoor cats.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:12 PM
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The Homestead Library has a pool in the basement. Kind of old, but still in good shape.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:12 PM
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you're looking at people coming into the house and getting a whiff of cat piss immediately. This is not good.

Unless you have a worse smell to cover.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:14 PM
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341: Yeah, but they let the slower swimmers go in before the faster ones. Total logjam.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:15 PM
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343: It's worse than that. They have toddler swim lessons. The shallow end is barely three feet deep, which helps a bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:17 PM
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No half measures. Stanley

Get a coyote.

Also, Buddy Cianci's tomato sauce is unquestionably the best thing about Buddy Cianci.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:20 PM
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So Stanley, you do probably want to get a handle on the cat pissing situation sooner rather than later.

I'm aware. I plan to present some of the proposed solutions to the roommate as soon as she's home from vacation.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:22 PM
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PowerPoint slides?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:27 PM
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347: Yes. And I'll be talking to her about how she can Take Ownership of this Opportunity to deploy Best Practices moving forward.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:29 PM
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Tell her about peein' Six Sigma principles.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:35 PM
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I recommend the pushing of the Closing of the Basement Door solution. 'nuff said.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:35 PM
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I was once called a "resource" to my face by a professor who spent too much time consulting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 7:36 PM
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337 - I'm pretty sure the words I'm looking for are, "Megan, your books are here." Such easy words. My librarians say them all the time, so I don't understand why they refuse me now.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:18 PM
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It's because you're not the only one.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:31 PM
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I think she understands that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:33 PM
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She says she doesn't understand it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 8:38 PM
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352: Because they would be lying to you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-30-09 9:32 PM
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Apo still has such a sunny, innocent view of librarians.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 8:18 AM
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Can't help it. My mom was a librarian.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 8:29 AM
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I hear that librarians wear combat boots.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 8:33 AM
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Librarians mock my pain. They taunt and never relent. They're going to be closed for days. I won't get my book before Wednesday at the earliest.

At least I have you guys to console me with kind and loving words.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 8:43 AM
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I got a note from the library saying that this book was due today, but I won't be back in LA til Monday. And no more online renewals. Curses! Not going back from vacation early, though.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 8:50 AM
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As part of budget problems, Pittsburgh libraries are ending their policy of no overdue fees on kids' books. We're doomed. Especially since our neighborhood library is being rebuilt, and we now have to drive (or bike, but not in this weather) to get to a drop box.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 9:04 AM
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362: No overdue fines for kids' books? That's a crazy policy! Kids want to keep books forever!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 9:10 AM
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I still hardly use libraries because I was so bad at returning books as a kid, and it was a major source of family strife. As a high school student, I resorted to getting library cards in phony names after they wouldn't give me a card in my name anymore. I'd do things like bring shopping bags full of overdue books back to the library, and abandon them on a table rather than return them and pay the fine.

I'm very ashamed of all of this, still, although I haven't committed library-related misconduct since the eighties.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 9:14 AM
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They don't make you pay the fines around here when you drop them off, but they won't let you check anything off if you have any outstanding fines.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 9:19 AM
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I bet at this point you could afford an indulgence that would cleanse you of your library sins, LB. I bet the NY Public Library would be willing to broker that for you, and absolve you for an appropriate monetary demonstration of penance.

(I don't actually think you owe the libraries any money, but I think it might help you feel better.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 9:30 AM
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I've actually made donations to libraries for that reason. At this point, I think I need a fullscale exorcism.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 9:56 AM
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Well, you've confessed your sins here. That's the first step. Maybe Apo's mom could forgive you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 9:59 AM
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367: Well as a librarian, I'm actually qualified to perform this ceremony for you, LB!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 9:59 AM
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Take Peep up on that! Shame is boring and heavy. Save it for real sins, not library sins.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 10:08 AM
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Why don't you just purchase your book, Megan?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 10:15 AM
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370: You're going a little too far there, Megan. Library Sins are Very Real and Quite Serious!

They just happen also to be sins, that I have the power to absolve.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 10:18 AM
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No good reason. (Well, if I owned it, that would be silly, because it is the last in a series I don't especially want to own. But Pres. Lincoln is right; I could give it to the library, perhaps with a passive-aggressive note on it.) If anything, I'd guess I don't buy it because there aren't any book stores in my usual biking radius. Because I'M THE NEXT PERSON ON THE LIST (of 14 copies), so maybe fourteen of my fellow citizens should return books to the library A LITTLE FASTER.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 10:21 AM
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You're not supposed to call former Presidents "President", Megan.

there aren't any book stores in my usual biking radius

Most people would take that as a reason to move. Or! You could start a bookstore! Good way to lose a lot of money.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 10:26 AM
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Or! You could start a bookstore! Good way to lose a lot of money.

Don't listen to nosflow. You'll never lose more than peanuts in the book trade. If you want to lose real money, try finance. Or purchase an airline.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 10:34 AM
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Shoot. I hovered over "President", thought I'd heard former presidents addressed that way and went with it. Now I know I meant "Congressman Lincoln".

Most people would take that as a reason to move.

Except that I live three blocks away from the cutest library ever, and within a mile of two other larger libraries.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 11:06 AM
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You almost certainly have heard other former presidents addressed that way, but those were hearings of mistakes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 11:09 AM
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the cutest library ever

Dammit. I can refute this with the library of my childhood*, but no one on the entire damn internet has posted a photo of it.

* run by a sibling from the family with which we were best friends, the clan of a NY Supreme Court Justice** and hosts of Crestwood, NY's best Christmas Eve party, one I vividly recall 31 years later.

** which was more impressive before LB destroyed my innocent illusions


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 3:03 PM
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Our library is rather lovely - and was recently refurbished and now has a little gipsy caravan in the children's section.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 5:25 PM
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I'm actually going to a New Year's party tonight across the street from the cutest library ever.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-31-09 6:25 PM
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