Re: Ask The Mineshaft: Something There Is That Doesn't Love A Wall Edition

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But come to think of it, what are the odds that someone who's going to break in is going door-to-door trying knobs?

Excellent. That's pretty much the MO of an opportunistic burglar.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:26 AM
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In fact, the basic security premise behind locks is not that you can't get through them -- because you can get through them, any of them, fairly easily -- but instead that you will make your own down incrementally harder to get through than the other guy's door, causing the burglar to head for the other guy.

The "herd immunity" premise is known in computer security terms as "security through obscurity" -- I don't have to secure this, because you would have to test it, and who would believe that this isn't secured? -- and it's pretty much always a fallacy.

On the other hand, the chance you'll get burgled is, in absolute terms, pretty darn low.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:29 AM
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To Mr. Adams's question, if you don't have good silver, laptops, flatscreen TVs, or cash lying around, you probably don't have anything a burglar wants in any case. I have recently been informed that the single best anti-theft measure you can take is to fail to leave your laptop someplace where it's visible from outside.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:32 AM
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3: Having a dog that woofs is pretty good, too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:36 AM
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When I was growing up -- in Northern Virginia -- my parents never locked the door except when we went on vacation. They also left the cars unlocked with the keys in them.

I was a little nervous when I went to college because locking and unlocking doors was completely foreign to me.


Posted by: bailey | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:43 AM
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3. I also have this on the word of a police domestic security specialist. Keep your electronics out of sight from the street, keep your car keys in your poicket, and that's half the battle. Also, in Britain having a burglar alarm box on a visible wall (doesn't matter so much if it's connected) is recommended - don't know if that applies over there.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:44 AM
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Locking your doors is a fast, easy simple precaution. There is not much reason not to do it. And yet, my house is almost never locked and the keys to the car we park in the driveway are usually kept in the car (not my idea, but I have stopped fighting it, and thus take responsibility for it). So if President Adams is on the far end of the distribution (as I think he might be), I am out there with him.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:45 AM
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Amused by this one, because yesterday I left the house with the back door wide open. Unlocked, sure, that happens all the time, but wide open is unusual.

I'm pretty casual about locks because a long time ago, I was living in a house with two dogs, a baby, and four adults, all with different sleep and home schedules, and we were burgled while we were all home and sleeping. The burglar cleaned us out--laptops, cameras, cash, jewelry, a great haul for him (or her). I felt incredibly guilty because I had left the back door unlocked, but then we found the hole--a nice circle--that s/he had cut in the front window, to unlock and open the window. Presumably after that s/he used the front door, because we also found that the porch light bulb had been unscrewed. The burglar didn't even check the doors first! A determined burglar is getting in. Leaving the doors unlocked might make it easier for the opportunistic burglar, but it also makes life generally easier for me and I think the risk is more than balanced by the convenience.


Posted by: Sydnew | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:45 AM
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I lock my door almost all the time, but that article is weird.

Yet another story people tell themselves: Nothing is going to happen if I leave my house unlocked for only an hour.

From a purely logistical standpoint, it is true that one is less likely to be burglarized if the door is open for one hour than if it is open for 24 hours, says Dr. David H. Krantz, a professor of psychology and statistics who is a director of the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University.

There is, however, a flaw in the logic.

"What they overlook is that if you do that repeatedly -- if you do it 24 times -- it's the same as doing it a total of 24 hours," Dr. Krantz says. It "gives you the same probability, and yet people don't think of it that way."

But what are the chances that burglars would break into a house that has only recently been vacated, versus one that has been shut up for a full day (assuming some brief casing)? Or that burglars are as likely to break in during your dog-walking hour versus the night, or daytime when most people are at work? It's not the same probability at all.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:50 AM
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The reasoning in 8 is problematic, but like I said in 2.last, the absolute chance of getting burgled is pretty low, so if you aren't worried about it, don't worry about it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:52 AM
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But what are the chances that burglars would break into a house that has only recently been vacated, versus one that has been shut up for a full day (assuming some brief casing)?

If we're talking about a snag-the-laptop kind of crime, quite possibly higher: you see somebody leave, you run in and grab the easily fenced stuff, you leave. If it's been shut up for a full day, maybe the people are almost done with work.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:54 AM
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We always lock the house and the cars. The opportunitist burglar is what we are worried about. The only thefts I've heard of around my immediate area are things taken from unlocked cars. And somebody swiped an Amazon box from our doorstep.

Also, the advice to keep valuables from being visible seems good. The only time I've ever had anything stolen from a locked car was when I forgot to bring in my golf clubs. (This was sort of a blessing for me as I have not golfed since the clubs were stolen a dozen years ago and because the thief did not do any real damage when entering.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:55 AM
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I always lock when leaving the house. There have been way too many attempts to rob the flats in my block not to, and besides, it's force of habit. That said, I don't know if any of them have been successful. In order to get into them, you'd need to break through (or wangle your way past) three doors or two doors and a double-glazed window. There was a time when the glass on the outermost door's frame was broken every other week. I'm not bothered about locking at night when I'm in, but my current flat has a self-locking door.

Incidentally, I'm not sure what the situation is in the US, but my understanding is that in the UK most home contents insurance policies won't pay out if you don't lock your doors.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:09 AM
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If we're talking about a snag-the-laptop kind of crime

I actually watched a guy walk out of our office with a laptop. He wandered in on a semi-holiday (like Columbus Day or something) when the office was open but not many people were in. I didn't say anything because I didn't know the laptop was stolen for certain until I checked with people in the office. That didn't take long, so I found the security guard who saw which way the guy went. The police caught him, riding away on a bicycle.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:10 AM
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When I lived alone, I never locked the door when I was home - it was a deadbolt that required a key, and even though I kept the key in the lock, I'm way more scared of fires than I am of burglary.

My biggest fear about a burglary when I'm not at home is that there'd be a broken window or door left ajar, the cats would get out and prompty get run over. I actually fret about this possibility.

I just am completely irrationally fearful about fires and cars.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:12 AM
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I just am completely irrationally fearful about fires and cars.

If you think you are afraid of cars now, wait until the little one gets big enough to wander into traffic. I just had a very long, disturbing conversation with our three-year-old that was started by his assertion (in a parking lot), that he knew all about cars and could outrun them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:16 AM
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We almost always lock the doors in our single-family home in the Twin Cities, barring brain farts, except when we're home and awake. We make exceptions for when we're at the park a short block away--it's almost an extension of our front yard, and one or more of our neighbors are usually in their yards to keep an eye on things. We were very glad to have kept to this policy after we got up one morning to discover a drunk passed out on the 3-season front porch--that gave Mrs. Chopper the willies for most of a year.

The cars are always locked. I've had my car rifled a couple times when I left my car open due to brain farts. The thief only took something one of those times, a few CDs left sitting on the front seat (if he'd only looked behind him to the rear seat, he'd have seen a few dozen more). I'm still annoyed by that incident--not for the CDs that were lost, but because he only took half of a couple box sets. The completist in me is abnormally irked to be missing Discs 1 and 3 of the Johnny Cash Complete Sun Years set--I'm not going to buy the whole set again, dammit.

Growing up in South Dakota, the back door was never locked, nor were the cars (although the keys were always taken with the driver--excepting the beater car for teens that my dad got that started when you turned the ignition, whether or not there was a key inside).


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:17 AM
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Growing up, my parents always locked the door every night and whenever we left the house for more than, say, an hour. I always thought this was stupid, even though we actually did have a minor break-in by a drunk neighbor or partying neighbor's friend or something, because we lived in the middle of nowhere. Not counting hunting camps, there were probably fewer than 20 houses within a mile of mine.

Today, I lock my door when I leave for work, but not at night, and I think my roommates do the same.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:19 AM
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excepting the beater car for teens that my dad got that started when you turned the ignition

The family of a guy I went to high school had a car like that. We called it "The Tent" because the headliner was falling down. We'd also move it without telling him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:19 AM
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I actually watched a guy walk out of our office with a laptop.

When I was a student, two guys wearing donkey jackets, one of them carrying a clip board, walked into the students' common room, where about thirty people were watching television, unplugged the TV to vociferous complaints from all and sundry, and walked out with it, never to be seen again. In a way, you had to admire them.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:21 AM
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In the summer, our front doors are wide open from wake-up to bed (~8 am to ~12 am); there are screens, but they don't latch (friction keeps them shut). But we do close/lock the inner door (it's a vestibule) when we go out, and we deadbolt at night. Same deal with our back door, although we now have a fence out back; the fence is for dog/privacy purposes, not security (there's no lock on the gate, just a latch). At least twice a month we go to bed or leave the house with the back door unlocked or even wide open - accidentally, but it's not something we freak out over.

We live in a not-great neighborhood (the cops show up a couple times a year for drug/break-in/fight incidents), but I actually think that we'd do more or less the exact same thing in an ostensibly safe neighborhood. My dad, living in a distant NJ suburb, tends to leave his front door unlocked*, but I do think he deadbolts before bed

* Probably started after I had to break in twice in 2 months after I'd left home, when I showed up w/o keys.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:24 AM
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I have recently been informed that the single best anti-theft measure you can take is to fail to leave your laptop someplace where it's visible from outside.

AB puts her laptop under the sweaters in an upstairs closet* when we leave town.

One nice thing about this house is that it's raised up (as houses should be) enough that nothing is visible from outside except objects on walls and ceilings; someone could go on the front porch and look into the living room, but that's not exactly the slickest of burglar moves.

I also like that, as a one car family in a walkable neighborhood, there's no obvious way to tell whether anyone's home.

* No, I won't tell you which one


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:29 AM
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20: Never underestimate the power of the clipboard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:30 AM
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his assertion (in a parking lot), that he knew all about cars and could outrun them.

Oh, shit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:33 AM
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(in a parking lot), that he knew all about cars and could outrun them.

Certainly the parked ones, he could.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:35 AM
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Our doors are unlocked, car keys are in the ignition. It helps that we live in the sticks.

The risk is low - although I know it is not zero. Still, we feel the trade off in terms of daily convenience is worth the risk, and its nice to live life without the everyday reminder that you need to be fearful of crime.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:39 AM
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Cars: In Philly once (on South, right near Broad), someone busted my back window to steal a nightshirt (it was in a dept. store box) and the two commercial* cassettes I owned. Annoying. Out front of our house last Xmas, someone smashed my dad's window to get his GPS, but he was just stupid to leave it out (#1 stolen item from cars these days, apparently). Our car is left unlocked all the time, and the windows down in summer, usually with CDs sitting around. Only thing ever taken was the change from the cupholder once.

Apts: College apt. (in an old mansion), someone came in, wandered up the stairs, found my door unlocked (I was over in BOGF's apt.), and took almost all of my CDs, shoving them in my very nice leather satchel, alas. Apt. shared with BOGF, a guy Spidermanned up to the second floor, smashed a window, and took a shitty pseudo-laptop and a VCR; he was actually caught breaking in somewhere else and convicted for about a dozen break-ins. Bachelor apt., someone busted a wood baluster to take AB's brand-new bike (which was upstairs, outside my apt. door - inside the building).

House: Despite lax security, never anything taken from inside. From the front porch, a shop-vac, from the side of the house, an extension ladder (they cut the cable lock), from the back porch, a basketball (I assume they were just headed down to the park and figured, hey, free basketball). But it's probably been 3+ years since anything at all's been taken.

* as opposed to home-recorded


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:44 AM
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When I was three I thought I could make myself invisible by closing my eyes and saying "Invisible!" and running really fast through the house. And it would have worked, too, had the fountain of blood not given me away.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:47 AM
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You have to specifically say "Invisible, plus invisible blood."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:49 AM
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The "herd immunity" premise is known in computer security terms as "security through obscurity" -- I don't have to secure this, because you would have to test it, and who would believe that this isn't secured? -- and it's pretty much always a fallacy.

Isn't there kind of a difference between computer security - in which a computer (or many) is doing the "lock-checking" - and irl security, in which a prospective burglar needs to physically be checking locks, an activity that is not only time-consuming but can also result directly in arrest?

I'm not saying that herd immunity is less true than you might think, but, frex, it would take ~10 minutes to check every door on my block; that's ~15 possible (but unlikely) open doors, and 10 minutes' worth of visibly suspicious behavior. It seems like a terrible risk/reward ratio.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:50 AM
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I adopt comments 1 - 4.

Crime is mostly about opportunity. Carpe Diem.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:50 AM
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You have to specifically say "Invisible, plus invisible blood."

Will try this when I get home.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:52 AM
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it would take ~10 minutes to check every door on my block; that's ~15 possible (but unlikely) open doors

In your current neighborhood those may be the numbers, but in South Oakland (dense, mostly student rentals) you could probably hit many more doors and attract much less attention. In my neighbhood you might be able to get away with checking doors if you had something like a menu to hang on the door knob.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:53 AM
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We very rarely lock the doors and have never had a problem. We do have a (disconnected) alarm system box on the wall, visible from the front windows. We also have little of value. Visible from outside. (Or really, from inside either. The house itself is our only significant asset.)


Posted by: Aaron Burr | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 7:56 AM
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I'm at work and have not read the article, but a quick skim seems to indicate mostly men commenting here so far. IME a major focus of these kinds of things is fear-mongering directed at women. You're supposed to feel guilty if you leave your house unlocked -- not because of property loss, but because OMG WHAT IF YOU GOT RAPED!!@!

I think both locking and unlocking can be reasonable strategies depending on the circumstances. But I'm perpetually surprised by the number of people who will not acknowledge that it's reasonable to wonder about deadbolts for exactly the reason Heebie outlines above.

I've lived in a place with glass-window front door that had two locks. One lock could be easily opened from inside; the other required a key in both directions. I always worried about locking the second at night, because I thought a fire seemed so much more likely than a burglar. But only one person I talked to about it agreed that the fire fear was more realistic.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:00 AM
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Growing up in S. Mpls, on a very busy street, we only locked the door to go on vacation. (And my parents would often leave a 2nd-floor window open so that the cat could get in and out.) Once in awhile I would get paranoid and lock the door, but that only had the effect of befuddling my father when he got home sans keys. The one time we were broken into was in 82 or so, in a previous house on a quiet street, and nothing was taken.

The only house-theft I've ever been a victim of was almost certainly the work of the landlord's maintenance man, as there was no forced entry, the doors were locked, and we knew he'd been around. All I lost was a vacuum cleaner, but my housemate lost several instruments, so that was a drag.

In our current house, we're all pretty assiduous about locking the doors, but there's also probably only about 6 hours a week that no one is in the house. Any serious burglar would be looking about 10 blox south of us anyway, where the pickings were finer.

The most-robbed person I know is my former-best friend. He had a tendency to leave his living arrangements under a cloud of unpaid rent or phone bills or whatever, so his housemates/landlords would illegally impound his stuff on a regular basis, and he would generally not get everything back. But he kinda brought that upon himself.

Finally, speaking as someone who, while not a burglar, has spent some time on the other side of the law, my recommendations for preventing burglary would be, in descending order of importance:
1. Don't flaunt your nicest stuff.
2. Good exterior lighting
3. A medium-sized, barkative dog (border collie is probably the ideal)
4. Decent deadbolts on all doors.

But if someone wants to get in, they're getting in.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:02 AM
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The house itself is our only significant asset.

I've got a significant asset right here. Laydeez.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:02 AM
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One lock could be easily opened from inside; the other required a key in both directions.

I've actually wondered about changing our locks so you need a key to get out. Then just put a key by the door that is just a bit too high for the little one. I'm worried about the "Extremely Junior Explorer Club".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:06 AM
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38: you need either inside doorknobs that are quite high up the door, or very heavy doors.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:17 AM
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38: My sister has a hook-and-eye about 6' up on the front door for just this reason. Works perfectly.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:17 AM
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I should add that 39 is entirely serious. My parents had the former, though I don't think they put them in, and it worked well.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:18 AM
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(border collie is probably the ideal)

MIX THAT WITH AN AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD, AND I'M RIGHT WITH YOU.


Posted by: OPINIONATED DOGBREATH | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:19 AM
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40: The hook and eye seems much easier/cheaper than new locks or making the door heavier. Thanks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:19 AM
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Back on the veldt, human toddlers chased down cars while their fathers ran down antelope.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:24 AM
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They only two times I've been victimized by theft were a result of being seen leaving without locking the door. Bye bye, old CD collection and bag of weed.

Later, I lived in a house where not only did we routinely leave the door unlocked but wide open. It's fucking hot in the summer, and we craved the breeze. No trouble.

In my new place, I lock but security is visibly compromised by the cat door wedged into the window. No trouble yet.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:25 AM
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> "Extremely Junior Explorer Club"

This, not fear of crime, is the reason we may indeed start locking soon.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:26 AM
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The trouble with the hook and eye is that you can only secure it or release it from the inside of the door, obviously, so if one of the adults steps out of the door, she has to get another one to resecure it behind her, and then when she comes back in she won't be able to open the door without ripping the hook-and-eye out of the door, so she has to get someone else to let her in... bit of a bother, at least if that's your only front door.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:27 AM
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Lateral thinking solution: enormous ball-and-chain for the toddler. Let's see you make it all the way to the traffic dragging that, buddy.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:28 AM
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47: I guess I was only worried about what happens at night and that could be a problem. But you could make the hook spaced widely enough for you to knock it out with a credit card.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:30 AM
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I chased a burglar out of our kitchen around four in the morning once. The back door had been left unlocked, and my wife's purse was in full view; he got the purse, but we got it back, minus about $25. Three years later, I've finally gotten her to put her purse in one spot, out of view from outside, and we're much better about making sure the doors are locked. (Fucking purses. Why? Okay, don't bother to answer that.)


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:35 AM
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At my old apartment in a rather large Canadian city, someone tried to break in by smashing through our balcony window at 2 am on some dewey vernal saturday. It was obvious just looking though the window that the apartment was either inhabited by students or technology-obsessed vagrants. The burglar figured that we had all gone out because the lights were off, and it was well before last call on a traditional drinking night. In reality, all 5 - yes FIVE (!!!) - of us were sleeping soundly in our beds while sugarplum fairies danced o'er our heads. This was a very rare Saturday indeed.

In the end, it was the neighbour who first responded to the explosion of breaking glass. He had the good sense to came running out drunkenly brandishing a baseball bat. The burglar skeddadled as quickly as his little thieving legs could carry him.

And yes, the balcony door was completely unlocked, and had been that way all the years we lived there as a guaranteed emergency entrance. We did, however, begin locking that door religiously after the burglary attempt. I'm still not quite sure why.


Posted by: speakeasy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:35 AM
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I moved into my partner's house a few years ago and she goes for some of the single-woman paranoia Witt mentioned and now that I'm here adds fear of homophobes, which is not totally unreasonable given that our other lesbian neighbors have had a young teen try to vandalize their car, though our next-door neighbor noticed this happening and stopped the kid and sent him up to their door to apologize. Nosy neighbors probably keep us safer than anything, as does living in the most working-class of the suburbs that surround us.

We have deadbolts front and back and keep them locked, plus a dog (miscellaneous background clearly includes plenty of hound) who loudly disapproves of strangers. We keep keys in or near the locks on the inside while we're sleeping in case of fire, but when we had a foster teen who was a flight risk staying with us, we had to keep them with us at all times. Even though having the key beside my bed isn't substantially different from having it beside the door, I was much more nervous about a hypothetical fire those nights than I am normally.

My parents, a mile or so south of us, do not lock their house. I think they may have started locking for a while when there was a rash of small break-ins up the street, but they've certainly stopped since.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:40 AM
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16, etc: When my son was three, he disappeared for a minute or two in a grocery store parking lot. I found him toddling from car to car in the parking lot reading license plates. Reading numbers and letters was a new skill, and he expected to be praised for practicing so diligently. Witihn a few inches of the license plates, and at three year old height, he was completely invisible to anyone who happened to be backing out.

Whether he pursues a career in skydiving or counterinsurgency, nothing he does will be as dangerous as learning how to read.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:40 AM
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53: Ugg. Maybe I'll re-think the whole reading thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:42 AM
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52: Ahh, neighbours - even if they hate us for our loud music/sex or for letting our animals deficate on their lawns, they still hate interlopers more. Bless their little eavesdropping, crumudgeony hearts.


Posted by: speakeasy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:48 AM
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One lock could be easily opened from inside; the other required a key in both directions. I always worried about locking the second at night, because I thought a fire seemed so much more likely than a burglar. But only one person I talked to about it agreed that the fire fear was more realistic.

I don't really understand the fire fear, unless you have small children. I mean, I keep my keys in my trouser pocket. If the fire is so advanced that I can't reach my trousers, I'm only going to escape by the window, not the front door, anyway.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:48 AM
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I don't understand the fear either. My last apartment had locks like that on both front and back door. Back door had a key in it (inside) all the time, and I would always leave my keys in the front door when I locked up after coming in. What's the problem?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:50 AM
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53-4: Yeah, my daughters slipped out once when they were three, and I ran out to catch them a moment later playing in the middle of the street. We live on a quiet street, but still. I had a cousin about my age who was hit and killed while playing in the street when she was eight or so, so I too am totally fearful of cars around my kids.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:55 AM
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Fucking purses. Why? Okay, don't bother to answer that.

You know why - women's clothes are never made with useful pockets. Mrs OFE wears men's suits half the time for this very reason.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:55 AM
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I don't really understand the fire fear

It's my understanding that smoke is often a bigger problem than fire. So I imagine: Waking up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke. Dashing downstairs (assuming I can get there) to try to get out of the house.

Fitting a key into a lock -- even if the key is hanging right by the door -- when I'm sleepy, disoriented, and possibly coughing/choking, seems like a dangerously ambitious plan.

Plus, I have bad eyesight. Even if I manage to get my glasses as I jump out of bed, I'm still likely to have trouble seeing what I'm doing.

On preview, to Blume: If I left the key in the lock, that negates any additional value that the deadbolt has over the other type of lock. Both of them can now be easily opened by anyone who wants to smash the door window and reach in.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:56 AM
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The day before I graduated from college, someone broke into our apartment and pooped all over our kitchen. But nothing was stolen.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:57 AM
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61: Except for your ability to eat-in without feeling quesy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:01 AM
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Someone broke into our apartment and pooped all over our kitchen

They forgot to specify "invisible poop".


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:01 AM
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I've always wondered how you can poop without peeing at the same time unless they planned ahead and pissed before getting to your kitchen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:05 AM
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But I'm perpetually surprised by the number of people who will not acknowledge that it's reasonable to wonder about deadbolts for exactly the reason Heebie outlines above.

Our house came with a double-key deadbolt for the back door, and neither of us liked it, even though we're not especially pyrophobic. When we bought new hardware, I made sure to buy the kind with a thumblatch.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:06 AM
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I'm not buying the herd immunity thing, not around here, anyhow. I had a bike stolen from the boot (trunk) of a car parked outside a London flat. It was a rented car - I must have forgotten to lock it properly. And it was there for one night only. Nothing valuable on show; in appearance, just one of thousands of ordinary cars lining the streets of that part of town. That the bike got pinched suggests to me that someone is in the business of checking the handles of every car, on every street, every night. This thought is downright spooky.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:08 AM
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It's my understanding that smoke is often a bigger problem than fire. So I imagine: Waking up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke. Dashing downstairs (assuming I can get there) to try to get out of the house.

Fitting a key into a lock -- even if the key is hanging right by the door -- when I'm sleepy, disoriented, and possibly coughing/choking, seems like a dangerously ambitious plan.

Plus, I have bad eyesight. Even if I manage to get my glasses as I jump out of bed, I'm still likely to have trouble seeing what I'm doing.

Sure, but like I say, if the fire's that bad, I'd probably use the window anyway. It's a long way down, but it's better than burning alive. Though, like I say, I don't lock the door at night. Not for fire reasons, just because there's very little point. And as for eyesight - mine's probably worse. I can't focus beyond four inches.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:09 AM
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Oops. First three paras should have been in italics.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:10 AM
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I just remembered: a few months ago, the car key was left on the passenger seat overnight (parked on the street). Don't recall exactly how it happened, but oops.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:13 AM
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66: Have you ever considered that the bike simply escaped?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:14 AM
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Both of them can now be easily opened by anyone who wants to smash the door window and reach in.

Aha, so it's the window that's the problem. There were no windows in my apartment doors.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:17 AM
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64: I've always wondered how you can poop without peeing at the same time

Given there was poop in the sink (as well as the floor, the dishwasher, the counters, the garbage can), I'm guessing that's where they peed.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:18 AM
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how you can poop without peeing at the same time

Moby's so used to multitasking, he's forgotten how to unitask.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:21 AM
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On the other hand, the chance you'll get burgled is, in absolute terms, pretty darn low.

On any given day, sure, but over time? We've had three burglaries in the last 15 years or so, which strikes me as more on the low side of normal than otherwise.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:24 AM
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Given there was poop in the sink (as well as the floor, the dishwasher, the counters, the garbage can), I'm guessing that's where they peed.

Strangely thoughtful, all things considered.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:26 AM
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74: Huh. I've got one lifetime -- the week I'd moved into a new apartment in a sketchy neighborhood. Clearly they were watching for people who'd just moved in, and came in through the window from an abandoned building next door.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:28 AM
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No, a bicycle, not the office bike.

Actually, the worst part was running around trying to find the bloody thing the next morning. When something gets pinched without a break in, you tend to assume you've just misplaced it.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:28 AM
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74: This is surely strongly context dependent. I'm deep into my fourth decade, and nowhere I've lived has ever been burgled. I don't think I even personally known anyone who has ever been burgled.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:29 AM
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76: Single-family houses are easier to burglarize than apartments, generally.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:29 AM
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78 surprises me. You're in single-family land, no?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:31 AM
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You know why - women's clothes are never made with useful pockets. Mrs OFE wears men's suits half the time for this very reason.

Really? How much tailoring does this require? (Or perhaps she's very very thin?) I'm a relatively wide-shouldered, not-so-much-in-the-hips-department woman and men's clothes generally do not fit without significant alteration. Which is sad, because men's button-down shirts are usually made of nicer, less synthetic and more durable fabrics than women's and I would buy them from the thrift store all the time except that the expense of alterations would defeat the purpose.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:33 AM
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80: Yes, and grew up in nearby single-family ville. My new theory. Homes in the particular type of single-family setting I live in (middle class, mostly young families) are crummy targets because they are owned by people who have sunk their wealth into a mortgage and don't have that many nice removable things.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:37 AM
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The only time I've been burgled over 41 years was in college, when I was living in a crappy, low-rent, easily broken into, basement apartment in a complex that was almost all students and working poor. We were broken into three times in rapid succession, almost certainly by the same person/people. Other than that, nothing at all.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:37 AM
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70: good point. It may have been as much as 35% human, if it had been ridden a lot.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:40 AM
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If I'm home, the front door's open and usually standing open. The back windows and doors are poorly secured and about a million people know where the emergency key is. I never feel scared, though (although I've had people sleep on my porch two or three times, and my tenants think a man was living in the crawl space under my house. If I can't tell, then I don't care.)

I'm worried about the "Extremely Junior Explorer Club".

Last year, my sister came out to the backyard to find Smalls trying keys in the padlock to the shed (he wanted his bike). That must have required:

A trip for the stool.
A trip for the keys, which he'd have to climb up on the couch to reach.
An understanding of keys.

Not much stops him.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:41 AM
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I lock the front door when I'm out, but I don't know if it adds much value. It is habit, though and the wind pushes it open if the deadbolt isn't engaged.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:42 AM
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66: I've seen jackasses walking down the road checking every car door on the way. I've yelled obscenities at said jackasses till they stopped - then watched them get to the next block, cross the street and keep doing it. However, this is way more unconspicuous than going down the road trying each and every front door. Also, it's much easier to be sure no one is in the car you are burglarizing than a house.

Windows are the problem. I say we reinstate window taxes. People have been getting too much vitamin D from the comfort of their own acclimatized homes anyhow. Wimps. Windows are both unsafe and they don't build character like standing out in snowstorms barefoot for hours.


Posted by: speakeasy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:44 AM
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82: I don't know. Nothing about my current house makes it look like a good target for burglary, but we've had two here. Decent but not fancy neighborhood with a wide range of SES, from students to people who are very well off, and tons of retirees who are home all the time.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:44 AM
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When I lived in Chicago I was so worried about keeping the doors locked I developed OCD-like symptoms around it. I would bike to school , and sometimes I'd be four or five blocks away, and get worried that I hadn't locked the door, and go back. I talked about this is a psychiatrist, and he said that given the neighborhood I lived in, this didn't count as abnormal behavior.

OTOH, when I lived in rural northern New York, I once left a $1,000 bicycle on my front porch for days and nothing happened to it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:50 AM
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However, this is way more unconspicuous than going down the road trying each and every front door. Also, it's much easier to be sure no one is in the car you are burglarizing than a house.

Just get a clipboard that has spaces for signatures. Knock on all the doors on the block. If someone answers say you are collecting signatures. If no one does try the knob. No one would look twice at you and you can be relatively assured the home is unoccupied.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:54 AM
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I'm amazed by the fire fears. That's probably because I grew up in houses made of brick, but even so it seems a little odd to be concerned about using the door when there are windows all over the place.

I lock all doors out of habit. It's easy for me because I always have my keys in my pocket - obviously a bit different for a woman due to the crap clothes issue (women's clothing really is designed to disempower).


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:55 AM
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82: That's makes sense. Even our electronic stuff, which we have by the boatload, is mostly out of date when compared to what we had before we got a house/child. Our appliances are (mostly) very nice, but that wouldn't help most burlars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:57 AM
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For several years we lived in a huge house in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere. There were neighbors in sight, but it was a pretty remote neighborhood. We were renting it with four other people. We were given one key for one of the three entrances when we moved in, but that key never worked in its door. We were never given keys for the others. The rental agency never returned any of our calls and didn't seem to care, so we kept that one key in a drawer in the kitchen and never locked any of the doors, ever. We would have been screwed if we had. Our assumption was that there would always be lower-hanging fruit amongst the much more densely populated apartment complexes and the like in town. Anyone who drove out to where we were and started trying doorknobs was probably crazy to begin with.

I developed OCD-like symptoms around it.

I kind of have done this where we live now. There have been a number of break-ins on the more remote cul-de-sacs in our neighborhood and I've over the years gotten a little twitchy about locking the door when I leave. I've turned around after a block or two and gone back to check plenty of times, though not lately. We currently have a spare car, so having a car always in the driveway (thus making it look like someone is home) has alleviated my concern somewhat. We're also on a main street of our neighborhood, with a neighbor who is retired and always out in his yard doing one thing or another, so the location makes me feel like we're at lower risk.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:00 AM
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90: Yes. And I think somebody walking down our street who tried to open more than two cars would get the cops called on them by anybody who saw it and that somebody would be very likely to see it unless it was after midnight and before 6:00a.m.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:01 AM
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||
Fucking Supreme Court
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:02 AM
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35

I'm at work and have not read the article, but a quick skim seems to indicate mostly men commenting here so far. IME a major focus of these kinds of things is fear-mongering directed at women. You're supposed to feel guilty if you leave your house unlocked -- not because of property loss, but because OMG WHAT IF YOU GOT RAPED!!@!

This is silly. I always lock my house for the same reason I always fasten my seatbelt that being you are an idiot if you don't.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:16 AM
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90: If I peek out the window and see a stranger with a clipboard, I don't answer the door. Because I don't want to buy crap, support any candidates, or otherwise interact with uninvited guests.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:21 AM
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97: If I peek out the window and see a stranger with a clipboard, I always open the door so, if they are a burglar, they know somebody is home.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:23 AM
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Our appliances are (mostly) very nice, but that wouldn't help most burglars.

Racist. Most burglars are white and therefore would really appreciate a good stand mixer.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:25 AM
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I suppose shouting "Fuck Off" through the door would work just as well, except that if it was to be the neighbor's kid I'd be in trouble.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:26 AM
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I suppose shouting "Fuck Off" through the door would work just as well, except that if it was to be the neighbor's kid I'd be in trouble.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:26 AM
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Back in the day when I was a homeless student living in a tent, some jackass broke in a stole my blanket. You can't really lock a tent.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:26 AM
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Oops.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:26 AM
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Well Moby, you can make it up to him by getting him a nice Snuggie now that he lives indoors.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:28 AM
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102: Stealing from somebody living in a tent is pretty low.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:28 AM
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101, 102: You could try barking like an angry dog. Then they will assume you either have an angry dog, or are batshit crazy and not to be trifled with.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:28 AM
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My parents don't lock their doors or cars, in marginally-rural Virginia, and didn't when I was growing up. That feels creepy to me now when I go back to visit, since I keep the doors locked at home pretty much all the time - exception being when I'm actively running in and out a lot for gardening or brewing or something.

I have to admit that before this conversation I'd never understood the point of deadbolts that use a key on both sides. But I've also never lived with one.

I think cars are a little trickier - smash-and-grab, or smash-and-destroy-the-console-to-get-the-$30-stereo is more likely, so it might be smart to leave the doors unlocked just to save on the glass damage (Not that I'm bitter or anything).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:46 AM
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or otherwise interact with uninvited guestspotential lovers.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:49 AM
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so it might be smart to leave the doors unlocked just to save on the glass damage

That reminds me. A co-worker left her door unlocked (by accident) and in the morning found that her car had been sacked, but that there was no damage, nothing missing, and that the thief had abandonded one of those navigation devices in her car. She assumes that somebody stole the navigation thing from a neighbor's car and was somehow scared-away while searching her car. (She reported it in hopes that the police could return the device.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:51 AM
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108: When the day comes that it becomes customary for potential lovers to knock at the door with a clipboard, I will reconsider my policy. Unless something good is on TV.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:52 AM
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110: Pre-date checklist?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:54 AM
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108: When the day comes that it becomes customary for potential lovers to knock at the door with a clipboard

"You've been selected for the long form."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:55 AM
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My woofing dog actually prevented my car from getting completely torn up in a robbery, when we were living in an apartment at the very north end of Rogers Park in Chicago. The car, new to us, but in fact a 10 year old Volvo wagon, was parked on our street. I was out of town, but it was like 2am when CA and dogged were awakened by a giant kaboom! outside. He and doggie poke their head out our 3d floor window and look around. They see nothing but another neighbor who had poked his head out too. CA goes back to bed. Doggie, however, keeps staring out the window and then begins to hop up and down and woof louder and louder. CA looks out the window again and sees that there is just a dude sitting in our car. He calls the cops who are there instantly and catch the guy while he is still sitting in the car, fiddling with a screwdriver, trying to get the crap-ass Volvo tapedeck out. My insurance replaced my window and a car door -- because the criminal mastermind missed the window the first time he threw his brick and badly dented the passenger side.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:56 AM
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Dogged! Well, he was, but I guess I meant doggie.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:57 AM
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110 obviously doesn't watch enough porn.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:57 AM
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M and I once fought off three muggers WITH OUR BARE HANDS.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:03 AM
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115: Or fast-forwards through the part with the plot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:05 AM
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My house has been burgled even though the doors were locked. The thieves came in through a French door that had not been properly secured. Nevertheless, I am not too freaked out about keeping the doors locked all the time. My wife, however, believes that if I do not deadbolt all the doors in the house before going to bed that I am guaranteeing her rape and murder.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:06 AM
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potential lovers to knock at the door with a clipboard

Try Florida.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:10 AM
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116: My Dad actually did this with three guys who'd broken into the house using a pickaxe head to smash the lock. He just charged at them bellowing like lunatic and shoved them out of the house. Got bitten in the process and had to do six weeks of HIV prophylaxis.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:10 AM
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I feel deeply sorry for people who carry that fear around all the time. What an energetic drain.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:11 AM
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when CA and dogged were awakened by a giant kaboom! outside

I had no idea that CA even knew dogged. Did they swim together?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:11 AM
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113: Who uses a brick to smash a car window? Everybody in 11th grade knew you should use a sparkplug shard.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:15 AM
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There was actually a horrible break-in and sexual assault on our street (one block down) a couple years after we moved in, and we were a bit more uptight for awhile after that, but there's been nothing like that since.

During the summer there's definitely enough street life (of which we're a big part) that I'm not too concerned about e.g. leaving the doors wide open while we head down to the park.

A few years back I was awakened (or at least roused from trying to sleep) by the sound of a guy using a screwdriver to get into my MIL's car at 1 am - once the buses stop running, it's a pretty quiet street, evidently. The poor guy was still trying to find anything worth stealing when the cops showed up (my MIL has hoarding issues, and the car is mostly filled with old newspapers and trash).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:16 AM
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a sparkplug shard.

???


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:17 AM
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120 - Our muggers were unarmed, I think, and we came out of it mostly uninjured. I think I've told this story here before (God, I love telling this story). A few bruises, but I kept my purse, with all of its contents (like twelve dollars cash, plus a free-with-plan cellphone and fruit flavored lip balm) intact. Yeah!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:18 AM
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OT: JRoth, did you see that Lawrenceville rates a mention in the NYT today. Apparently, trying to write while cold is now news.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:22 AM
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The trouble with using a sparkplug shard is that its such a pain in the ass to break in under the hood, clear away the distributor wires, remove a spark plug from the engine, and bust it into shards, just so you can break a window.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:23 AM
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Our neighbors were mugged while walking their dog by a couple teens in the early evening on a major street around the corner from here. The husband is burly as hell, but the muggers pistol-whipped him. Shockingly violent. They got caught and iirc sent away.

In fairness, the dog was a beagle - not scary to anyone bigger than a rabbit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:23 AM
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125: There are competing theories about why it works, but it's an authentic piece of criminal lore.
128: Quite.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:25 AM
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130.1: There are competing theories as to why a piece of hard ceramic material can break glass?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:29 AM
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122: They did in fact go to the same hs, and, if I recall correctly, had the same favorite teacher (said teacher is everyone I know who went to that hs's favorite teacher).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:34 AM
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115 speaks truth, and is covered in TFA.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:36 AM
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We have guns and ammo in the place, and there are hordes of people walking around placing door hanger ads for pizza places, ethnic restuarants, and gyms on door knobs.

We lock the doors. It's not so much because someone couldn't get in if they tried but to create evidence they did try for the police, insurance company, and any victim's lawyer.

Re making a key necessary to get out: Very bad idea if the conditions are chaotic and getting deadly. Because the hardware store was out of the kind with an inside knob, we have deadbolt up high and the inside key is always left in it.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:39 AM
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He just charged at them bellowing like lunatic and shoved them out of the house.

He's been in the army, right? I understand this is how you're trained to react if an enemy pops up suddenly too close for you to take cover or aim.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:43 AM
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127: Huh. Didn't see that. You wonder how the reporter tracks down such people.

AB talks about the Fresh Air Movement of the 19th C., which featured classrooms with open windows in mid-winter. "Clarifying," as the article says.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:47 AM
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120, 135: My dad did the same thing a few years ago to a couple of guys who had broken into his house, not because he'd been in the army but just because that's the way he is. One jumped through the second-floor window, leaving enough blood and fingerprints that he got caught soon after, as did the other idiot who'd gone out the door (IIRC). They got a nice enhanced sentence for using a firearm in commission of a felony because they'd stolen and loaded a .22 pistol before my dad walked in on them, but apparently his instinct to attack triggered their instinct to flee.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:48 AM
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So do you hold the spark plug shard and swing, or what? I can only assume that it would bounce off harmlessly if thrown.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:48 AM
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After a series of burgalries in our stairwell soon after we moved to Geneva, my parents installed something called a 'Multilock' which consisted of steel bars drilled through the inside of the door, horizontally and vertically, going into deep holes in the walls. It came with a weird key with little depressions in it.

Here in gentrifying-too fast-neighbourhood the door to my building has a broken lock, and nobody uses the deadbolt when going out. On the plus side you occasionally can't get in even with a key. I installed a deadbolt lock on my door since when I moved in all I had was a doorknob lock which could be opened with a credit card in about thirty seconds by clumsy me. I never leave it unlocked. I don't understand why people do - it takes no time at all. Judging by the local blogs, there are quite a few break ins around here.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:54 AM
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139: I guess I thought Switzerland was one of those boring, safe places where nothing got stolen unless Jason Borne had a real need.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:58 AM
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135: Nope. Pacifist, would have gone to prison rather than serve if he'd been called up. His response is as close as there is to a togolosh family martial art: Flip out like a meth head with roid rage and attack. I think it's the logical approach for pacifists, since you only ever expect to fight in a situation where totally flipping out is the natural response, so you'll never be fighting by Marquess of Queensberry rules anyway.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:02 PM
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126: There are those of us who love to hear a good story even if we've heard it before. By all means, do not hesitate to tell it!


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:02 PM
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my parents never locked the doors to the house or the cars. Nothing bad ever happened and it was a great convenience for every one.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:15 PM
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138: nope. See the video at the bottom of the page--awesome (except the editing and the production values).


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:16 PM
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144: I'm just stunned. How much energy could possibly be embodied in that shard? It's not as if I'd expect a diamond to break car glass either.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:47 PM
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Just throw the whole spark plug, if you want to be sure.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:52 PM
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Well, a lot of energy is stored in the window itself; tempered glass has a huge built in stress.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:54 PM
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147: That, and the fact that I've been placed into a car to be drive out of Detroit, are why I so strongly identify with tempered glass.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 12:59 PM
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149

I'm totally trying that thing with a sparkplug shard tonight.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:39 PM
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150

Given the state you live in, I fully support your vandalizing as many cars as possible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:42 PM
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Yeah, that'll show the residents of my city, 88% of whom voted democratic, that they should all have been as prescient about the outcome, free with their donation money, and willing to travel significant distances to volunteer as everybody outside the state who is now griping apparently was.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:47 PM
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Possibly that hit a nerve.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:47 PM
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153

Just be glad she didn't hit your nerve with a spark plug shard.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:49 PM
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149: Yeah. There are several SUVs around here that need ventilation in all this rain 'cause they'll get moldy otherwise.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:49 PM
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Oh, it's not as if what I said didn't invite it. I just had this momentary flash of anti-MA spite.

(And I do feel guilty about not having gotten involved. I honestly hadn't realized there was real potential for a loss there until about a week and a half ago. So, touché.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:50 PM
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I honestly hadn't realized there was real potential for a loss there until about a week and a half ago.

Me neither. I'm still more than a little surprised and confused. And, you know, angry and in total news-avoidance mode.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:54 PM
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Maybe it's because I'm an event producer, and good emergency egress for crowds is a big priority of mine, but having a lock that requires you to find and use a key to exit in an emergency seems insane to me. What if it's smoky and it takes all you have just to find your way to the door? What if you're incapacitated and you have a guest who doesn't have a copy of the key? What if your thinking is confused because you're in a panic? What if you're trying to escape from an intruder? I always figure that every split-second will count in a true emergency, so you should do everything you can ahead of time to line up the odds in your favor. It's not that I sit around coming up with scary scenarios - I just want to put in any extra time/effort now, not during a crisis.

Along these lines, traveling to Mexico and South America always gives me a good appreciation for US fire codes.


Posted by: freight train | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:54 PM
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38: ...a hook-and-eye about 6' up on the front door .... Works perfectly.


Shades of Margaret Atwood:

"You Fit Into Me"

"You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye"


Posted by: grumpy poet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:58 PM
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For the reasons described in 157 I've fitted all of our doors with explosive bolts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 1:59 PM
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160

No, not really.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:00 PM
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Maybe it's because I'm an event producer, and good emergency egress for crowds is a big priority of mine, but having a lock that requires you to find and use a key to exit in an emergency seems insane to me. What if it's smoky and it takes all you have just to find your way to the door

What if the windows are closer than the door? I don't need to find my way to the door at all, let alone unlock it.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:04 PM
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For the reasons described in 161 I've cut a circular hole 2 feet in diameter in the center of the floor in every room in my apartment. Because we're on an upper floor, this also required cutting circular holes in the floors of all the apartments below us, but I think they'll thank me someday.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:07 PM
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161: How can you get out the window if you don't have a spark plug shard?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:07 PM
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164

160 to the entire site.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:08 PM
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165

"Site" s/b "world"


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:12 PM
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Sifu, have you considered sugar glass and styrofoam 2x4 construction? Add a few strategically placed springboards, and you could come busting out like the hulk.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:14 PM
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Me neither. I'm still more than a little surprised and confused. And, you know, angry and in total news-avoidance mode.

Welcome. Why do my neighbors keep electing actors to be in charge of us? Why?

By month two or three of the annual budget fiasco, you also start to feel burning shame when people from other states ask you questions, and horrified disbelief. Of course, even that wears off in the fifth or sixth year of watching and you forget that it could be different.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:18 PM
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168

166: Or like a giant pitcher of Hawaiian Punch, whichever.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:19 PM
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If we have to go out the window from the bedroom we've got a three floor drop. Our plan is, I hold the cats while the DE holds me and uses her new Uobtainium knee joints to absorb the shock of the landing.

IMX fire and smoke aren't as amusing as they seem on TV, I want "get out fast" available several different ways.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:19 PM
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167: The good news is that you have a whole lot of company this year.

156: How about a Hack Exchange Program among the one-party states?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:24 PM
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Why do my neighbors keep electing actors to be in charge of us? Why?

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there is a stereotype about the intellectual depth of people in your state and it isn't very flattering.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:25 PM
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you also start to feel burning shame when people from other states ask you questions, and horrified disbelief. Of course, even that wears off in the fifth or sixth year of watching and you forget that it could be different.

How about this: California (and now Massachusetts) can be honorary southern states! Does that make you feel better? (No, I didn't think so.)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:27 PM
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167: um, I lived there until late last year, remember?

Maybe idiotic voters follow me around.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:31 PM
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168: I guess that depends on his peronality type. Sifu, when you demolish things do you feel the need to say something positive and uplifting or negative and concrete?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:31 PM
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174: OH IT'S CLOBBERIN' YEAH


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:32 PM
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173: Somebody should count the number of people in MA who use the phrase "hone in on" and see if it hasn't increased in the past 12 months.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:33 PM
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Or like a giant pitcher of Hawaiian Punch

Kool-Aid.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:33 PM
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178

I've lived under the gubernatorial administrations of two cast members of Predator, and I think that'll be enough, thankyouverymuch.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:34 PM
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178: Governor Weathers is sorry to hear that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:35 PM
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177: Oh Yeah!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:35 PM
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181

Brock?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:50 PM
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I've cut a circular hole 2 feet in diameter in the center of the floor in every room in my apartment.

Dammit, I knew I shouldn't have taken him to that Gordon Matta-Clark exhibit at the Pulitzer.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:51 PM
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But I thought you said you liked our new trash cube?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:52 PM
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184

Hon, when you started selling portions of our sidewalk as an art project, that was already over the line.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 2:56 PM
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I sold the toilet seat as an art project. I figure we have two toilets and I only old one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:05 PM
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186

"old" s/b "sold"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 3:05 PM
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185 to 61.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:21 PM
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61 was before DNA tests. No worries on that one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:46 PM
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I don't even want to know whose DNA is in my poop.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 4:52 PM
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Hmm. I didn't before, but now I think I do want to know whose DNA is in your poop.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:00 PM
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There is probably a lot of DNA in your poop, but most of it would belong to the bacteria who live in your intestines.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:02 PM
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192

And the guy Sifu killed and ate the other day, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:05 PM
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And that proctologist with the lizard-tail-fingers who was surprised during his Sifu's prostate exam.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:12 PM
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194

There has to be a better way to put that. Hmm.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:19 PM
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Think to yourself "How would Dickens describe a prostate exam?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:21 PM
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"The shivering waif sat in Dr. Fingerjam Hagglebottom's antechamber whilst the good doctor readied his dour appraisal..."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:26 PM
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192: elections have consequences.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 5:33 PM
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Ugh. My sister (my sister!) just posted a picture of Scott Brown's face badly superimposed on top of Mel Gibson's in a frame from Bravehaeart. She has tagged it Freedom! Yes, she lives back home in Massachusetts. Grrrr.

Thankfully, my other sister is a socialist.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 6:15 PM
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199

197 to 198.1?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:23 PM
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200

In the sense that photoshoping is a consequence.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 8:27 PM
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You're right. This is a consequence. And it is an ugly one too.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:02 PM
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Okay, don't be deceived, as St. Paul would say: That Neti pot thing is highly unpleasant.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:17 PM
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197 to 202.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:41 PM
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202: But remember all the insane stuff I was saying about how much better it gets! Gray powder will come out of your nose!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:46 PM
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This isn't like that special "fasting" diet where you eat clay and then shit out little clay figurines, is it?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 9:50 PM
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Well, if I was actually making claims about grey powder, it'd be exactly like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:23 PM
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I think I'd be less nervous about shitting (unfired) clay figurines than having a powder come out of my nose.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 10:54 PM
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Unless the powder is just booger-flavored salt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:03 PM
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Because that sea salt stuff isn't cheap.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:09 PM
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When you nose ain't green and runny
Your things think it's funny
But it's alt.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:12 PM
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things s/b friends

I've gone from typo-level mistakes to word-level mistakes.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:13 PM
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Don't confuse friends and things. It costs money to replace things.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-21-10 11:14 PM
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It's my understanding that smoke is often a bigger problem than fire. So I imagine: Waking up in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke. Dashing downstairs (assuming I can get there) to try to get out of the house.



Fitting a key into a lock -- even if the key is hanging right by the door -- when I'm sleepy, disoriented, and possibly coughing/choking, seems like a dangerously ambitious plan.

A neighbours family mostly died in similar circumstances when I was a kid. Many years later, I lived next door to one of the two surviving kids [now an adult] and she _never_ locked a door in her house. That led to a couple of 'incidents' over the years.

Once, for example, I was awoken by screaming and banging on our door from a female voice, went downstairs and found their daughter [aged about 8]. She'd been sleepwalking and had woken up in the street, panicked and gone for the nearest safe place.

Another time, they woke up to find a (very) violent friend-of-a-friend in their bedroom, covered in blood. He'd assaulted his girlfriend, and when she phoned the police, he had gone looking for somewhere nearby where he could hide. Although D' [the husband of the neighbour] was a notorious hardman, he was so scared of this particularly psycho they had to let him hide in their room, all night, while the police looked for him.

Personally, I'd never go to sleep with a door unlocked.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 12:39 AM
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My roommate tends not to lock the door when he leaves and I'm still here. As I'm usually still asleep for a few more hours after he leaves, I don't really like this. But the entrance to the (basement) apartment faces the enclosed backyard, so it's not as bad as it would be in some other situations.

I don't usually lock the door here when I'm home and awake, or if my roommate is home and probably not asleep (if he's making breakfast, getting ready to leave, doing laundry). He at least locks the door when no one's home. I'd prefer to keep the door locked all the time, and in a different neighborhood/front-door arrangement, I might insist on it, but hey, as long as I'm here when I'm robbed it's ok.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 1:07 AM
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Once, for example, I was awoken by screaming and banging on our door from a female voice, went downstairs and found their daughter [aged about 8]. She'd been sleepwalking and had woken up in the street, panicked and gone for the nearest safe place.

This happened to me: a neighbour of mine sleepwalks frequently. Normally his wife notices and pulls him back into bed before he gets too far, but this time she was away on a business trip, so my neighbour awoke to find himself standing in the car park at 2 in the morning in winter, nude except for his shorts, and (of course) unable to get back into his flat.
This is the reason why I got woken up by my brother (who was visiting) at 2.05 that morning with the words "Er, ajay, there's a very confused naked man outside and he says he's a friend of yours."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 2:35 AM
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in the early 80s in DC a group of guys broke into my grandmother's house via the upstairs french doors and gang raped her. when she was like 65. I'm all about some locks. and if you thought she was racist before! she became about 10000% more racist.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 4:00 AM
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Jeezus!


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 4:07 AM
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Christ on a cracker, alameida, that is awful.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 6:15 AM
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everyone related to me is going to have strange, fucked-up shit happening to them all the time. yeah, it was terrible though. they finally left about 5am and she called my mom (we lived two doors down.) probably didn't help any with the drinking problem, that's for sure.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 8:18 AM
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Yeah, holy shit. That is horrible.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-22-10 8:22 AM
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