Re: Teacher, shut thyself up.

1

The acolyte asked of his master: if I am teaching a student who makes no visible reaction to my words, do they really understand?

To which the master replied: perhaps.

At this point the acolyte was enlightened as to the reason for assessment.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:30 AM
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In other words, the game works two ways. Some of the responsibility lies with the student to make it apparent you should shut up.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:32 AM
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Well, they are, aren't they? I see their expression shift. It's my obligation to stop, then, and see what their follow-up question is, or ask them a question to see how well they understand.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:34 AM
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I see their expression shift.

Only works if the student is already aware of your awesome mind reading capabilities and 20/20 vision. Otherwise, the polite thing for the *student* to do would be to say, "Thanks, that's a lot clearer", or "Thanks, but what if subsidiary yadda yadda?" or even "Thanks, but I'm now totally confused. Could you start over?"


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:38 AM
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True. This is truly an area where Texans are painfully polite. They let their elders ramble. It drives me crazy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:41 AM
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This post should be two or three times longer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:51 AM
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Sorry Apo, I don't get it. Can you say that again?


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:54 AM
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One of my HS buddies had a tremendous knack for inducing certain teachers to give long, rambling responses that burned up time until the bell rang. For example, one teacher took it as her personal mission to convey accurate information about reproduction and contraception, so he would troll* her with ingenuous, seemingly misinformed questions ("Is it true you can re-use condoms if you wash them out carefully?").

In restrospect, I suppose we shouldn't have been so cavalier about wasting instructional time, but we didn't have high stakes testing or anything, so if you could just run out the clock until graduation, you were pretty much guaranteed a diploma.

*the terminology is anachronistic, but suits the situation perfectly


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:03 AM
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I do that, too. What's worse, is that I sometimes stay in teacher mode outside of the classroom, so that if someone asks me a question, I give automatically my answer two or three different ways as if I needed to be sure they understood. This is true, even if I am talking to the most intelligent person I know, and all they have asked me is what I want for lunch.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:04 AM
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""Does that answer your question?" might work as a way to quickly wrap up after answering the question. It also fullfills my deep tribal need to always answer a question with a question.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:05 AM
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"Does that answer your question?"

It is hard to get a straight answer to that, I think because students are afraid to look stupid.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:07 AM
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I tend to go with, "Am I making any sense?" Then, if the person still doesn't understand, they've already got the ready excuse that *I'm* not making sense.

The downside is that it can sometimes give the wrong people the opportunity to accuse me of making no sense when I am being PERFECTLY GODDAMN CLEAR.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:09 AM
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I generally just wrap up by asking them a question that tests whether or not they're following what I'm saying. Which generally reveals I was talking to myself.

Really, the only way to teach math is to hand over the pencil, and ask baby-step questions that allow the student to piece it together for themself.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:13 AM
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That's pretty much the only way to teach anything, in my experience.

You know what sucks: catching your cat with a very much alive mouse.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:16 AM
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I don't plan this, but it really does work. I answer the question, pause, and then, while I'm waiting for them to think about it and possibly disagree or ask a followup, I go, "Enh??"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:20 AM
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My general post-answer question I ask my students is "Am I making this better or worse?"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:22 AM
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when I am being PERFECTLY GODDAMN CLEAR.

Di is being the change she wants to see in the world.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:24 AM
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13: There is no way of teaching math. Some people just know it, others have forgotten it and just need some reminding, and the rest will never get it.

Is this a Platonic theory?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:31 AM
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There is no way of teaching math.

This is, in fact, wrong. I still vividly remember my entire class junior year (HS) struggling desperately, completely uncomprehending of some mathematical concept. Then, senior year, when the teacher's "Okay, last year you learned... " was met with anxious and hollow stares, he somehow managed to teach the entire second semester of junior year math in about 12 minutes. Mind you, I'm not sure how the hell he did it, so I can't tell you how it's done. But it can be done. Oh yes, it can be done.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:35 AM
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19: So why didn't he then teach all of senior year math in 24 minutes, and let you all go for the rest of the year?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:39 AM
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I've never taught in this kind of question-answer setting (I co-taught a couple studio courses), but in answering questions generally, I find that my tendency is not to repeat myself but to provide excess detail. Is this a distinct phenomenon from what y'all are describing, or just a variant?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:41 AM
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BTW, I realize that 21 surely is something you all have observed. Be nice.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:42 AM
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when I am being PERFECTLY GODDAMN CLEAR.

But LB wouldn't let her use that pseud.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:44 AM
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Is this a distinct phenomenon from what y'all are describing, or just a variant?

I think it's the same phenomenon. In other words, when one isn't sure the answer to the question has been understood, one tends to restate the answer, fleshing it out in various ways. What I mean to say is that giving more elaborate details, and perhaps an example, is one way of trying to be sure that the answer has been understood. If the students don't understand the answer, one may tend to, first, restate the answer; then, attempt to give an illustrative description of something that exemplifies the answer, with the goal of making the working of the answer clear; then, again, to try to restate and generalize the results of the example to convey the same answer with which one started. So this is the same phenomenon, the extended answering and the giving of detail, I think. Did that answer your question?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:45 AM
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19: Well, if I wanted to preserve my theory I could argue that he just know how to reach your lost memories.

Really, my 18 was partly the usual peep silliness, and partly a response to having spent a fair amount of time trying to teach basic arithmetic to a person that is persistently unable to get it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:45 AM
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20: senior math was [(4x180)-12]x harder than the second semester of junior math.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:45 AM
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Did that answer your question?

Not really?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:46 AM
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25: And then I'm in constant contact with this person that is persistently unable to write a simple sentence.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:47 AM
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20: Being good at math, he calculated the benefit of drawing a paycheck for the whole year and decided that was the way to go.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:50 AM
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Pedagogical/theory of mind question: the way I learn/understand/internalize knowledge is by putting it in a framework, generally going back to first-ish principles*. That's part of why I give overly-detailed answers/explanations, so that the questioner will have the same framework that I'm using. I hardly think I'm unusual in this; my question is whether there's any other way of learning things. Some things can be rote memorized, and there are mnemonic tricks (My Very Earthly Mother...), but are there people who really learn and understand things without having that kind of framework?

* Why do doors that one approaches straight on and push through not require clear space on the knob side for wheelchair users? Because you can basically push straight through. But, if they have a latch and closer, then you need 12" at the knob side so you can get close enough to push it open and hold it while maneuvering through. Because I understand what's going on with the wheelchair, it's easy to remember when I need to provide clear space and when I don't.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:53 AM
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Sometimes, I think of two or three clever ways to explain something. Would you have me deny my listener my third intuition?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:53 AM
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31: No, you shouldn't! That is a good point.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:13 AM
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30: My Ed Psych days are a long time behind me, but what you are describing sounds to me a lot like schema theory -- the idea that we store memories all over the place in our brains, but recall is based on linking stuff up to a framework. So we try to mentally sort things into logical boxes to help ensure recall. But also there will be non-logical connections such that a cheesy Phil Collins song on the radio suddenly helps you remember that thing from senior math because your best friend used to be in love with some guy who dance with her to that song and that guy's best friend sat behind you in senior math and this mental detour got you to the memory where the direct, logical route, was closed due to traffic or something.

I'm sure that's a horrible explanation. I could probably google or dig out some textbooks or something.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:14 AM
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How 'bout you just tell us again a couple times?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:15 AM
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33: People remember stories far better than isolated facts. There's a sense in which story is elemental to cognition.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:18 AM
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I was going to, Megan, but the pathways to my memories of the other examples are all messed up. There was some analogy involving computers, I think.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:18 AM
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At some point when I was young enough for it not to be rude, my dad told me a very very long answer to some question and, after he was finished, asked if I understood. I said "yes, but really I just wanted a short answer".

For whatever reason this struck him as hilarious so he started asking me, every time I asked a question, if I wanted a short or a long answer. This started out as mockery of me, but it turned into a win for everyone because if I said "short" and he talked too long I felt free to interrupt "short answer! short answer!"


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:21 AM
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People remember stories far better than isolated facts. There's a sense in which story is elemental to cognition.

If only the Democratic leadership would figure this out...


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:24 AM
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33: OK, that's actually helpful, because it confirms what I suspected: Lots of people remember things not through any comprehensive understanding, but through other retrieval methods. In fact, that crazy house of memory concept relies on the ability to do this.

Obviously, I do this too, for some things - it's going to be a spectrum. I just couldn't figure out what the step was between rote and comprehensive understanding.

It also occurs to me that mnemonic devices are (often) a way of applying narrative to a random assortment of facts.

I guess our enhanced ability to remember things in song and verse form is orthogonal to these issues, right?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:27 AM
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Okay, the "long answer" explanation of schema theory.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:28 AM
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People remember stories far better than isolated facts. There's a sense in which story is elemental to cognition.

Ronald Reagan, especially. His advisors worked out early in his presidency that really the only way he could absorb information was through watching movies, so they started producing little fifteen-minute shorts on "Pakistan" or "The Soviet Army In Europe" or whatever.

You know what sucks: catching your cat with a very much alive mouse.

On the other hand, if you want to catch a very much alive mouse, the best thing to catch it with is your cat.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:30 AM
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Ed Psych

I took this during the second semester of my senior year of college -- it fulfilled some requirement or other, I think, and fit my schedule; oh how I now hate it when students admit that this is why they're in one of my courses! -- and didn't, after the first interminable lecture, ever again attend class or even do the reading. I did show up for the exams. And I got an A+ for the semester, the only one I received throughout college. I was left with the sense that the course should have been titled, "Common Sense Musings About Teaching and Learning". It's also possible that I was (am?) such a toxic person that my absence from a classroom improved my chances of doing well.

That was a boring story.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:32 AM
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Ronald Reagan, especially. His advisors worked out early in his presidency that really the only way he could absorb information was through watching movies, so they started producing little fifteen-minute shorts on "Pakistan" or "The Soviet Army In Europe" or whatever.

Wow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:33 AM
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re: 43

One wonders how far that had degenerated when it came to G.W.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:41 AM
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I'm picturing propaganda cartoons with the jaunty whistling and the bumbling eyebrows. "Gee, Mr. President, I think terrorists are in Congress!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:43 AM
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OT:

I'm disturbed to see that Sifu was only three weeks ahead of the NYTimes on this one.

The First Mover Advantage has been slowly whittled away in the Mineshaft.


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:44 AM
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Also OT: I have had this picture stuck in my head for days. It makes me want to cry. WAY more than that purple thing Heebie put up.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:51 AM
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... um.this picture


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:52 AM
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46: Arthegall!


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:53 AM
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49: Knecht!


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:54 AM
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48: WTF is wrong with people?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:55 AM
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25, peep: Even money? Even making change? My last ditch for getting calculation across to people is usually translating it into change smaller than a dollar, which I guess we've all learned by painful experience if nothing else.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:57 AM
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I thought it was odd how a site with a title like "No Caption Needed" followed that picture with five paragraphs of caption. Not that it wasn't disturbing, but really: the picture does kinda speak for itself.


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:58 AM
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I'm in a class where the professor seems to have been restating the same point for about 5 minutes straight. More often his lectures are getting pretty complicated concepts across, so I'm not complaining.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:58 AM
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30, on wheelchairs... My building now has a cabinet with an 'emergency carry' chair for the wheelchair-dependent.

The cabinet is locked, and is twenty feet from the only building door that's an actual ramp. The stairs in this building are winding, the elevators slow.

This doesn't bother me as much as the night locks, which override the wheelchair button -- if the doors are locked, pushing the wheelchair button causes their motor to whomp against the lock, but you have to use the panic bar to get out.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:00 AM
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53- yeah but they talk ABOUT the captions of the pictures. That weren't needed.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:02 AM
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Last Tuesday, in responding to a complex question, I gave an answer that involved a lot of diagrams and examples, going into some of the finest intricacies of the history of poetics, thinking all the while, damn I'm so good at this. I look down and one of my students is slumped all the way over her desk, arms dangling, snoring loudly. It was a humbling moment. I gestured and finished my mini-lecture with "Clearly, all this is pretty riveting stuff."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:03 AM
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41: Reagan was also a master of the political fairytale. He had little stories about welfare queens to bolster his racist policies, little stories about entrepreneurs to bolster destruction of the regulatory infrastructure, and on and on.

We'd have national single payer already if the left would cotton to the power of stories. Instead they throw around numbers, reinforcing the perception of elitism. A few stories about people unable to start a business because of health insurance issues or of people dying due to insurance company death panels would carry vastly more weight than the elitist technochratic mumbo-jumbo that's left reform stalled.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:03 AM
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52: Yes, even money.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:04 AM
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re: 58

It's precisely that power that has led the Tories to completely squash reprints of the picture of Cameron in his Bullingdon Club getup.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:05 AM
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57: I'm sorry, AWB! It's nothing personal -- some days I'm just really tired and as soon as I sit down I find I can't keep my eyes open.

(of course, I'm not actually in AWB's class, but this is my way of apologizing to all the teachers whose feelings were hurt when they saw me sleeping in class)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:09 AM
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57: I was told there weren't going to be any diagrams in this class.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:14 AM
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61: Oh, I know! I'm sure that my students thought I was making fun of the girl, but I meant to make fun of myself. I was also guilty of nodding off in class a lot.

For the most part, students don't sleep if there's a constant conversation going on. I do lecture a little bit, but it's a reminder that when I go gonzo-esoteric, I'm going to lose a few of them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:15 AM
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We'd have national single payer already if the left would cotton to the power of stories.

As a rule, I'm inclined to give professionals the benefit of the doubt. Obama and his political team are professionals with an impressive record of success. Surely there is some 11-dimensional chess explanation for their seeming failures.

But yeah, I just don't get it. What am I missing? Why does Obama choose "bipartisanship" as his narrative, then fail to point out why bipartisanship has failed?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:18 AM
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62: My most common diagram for lectures on aesthetics is a circle. Sometimes I draw it really slowly and then say, "You know, for kids!"

Apparently today's 19-year-olds are unfamiliar with The Hudsucker Proxy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:18 AM
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65: Do they even know what a hula hoop is?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:27 AM
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64: The only explanation I can come up with is that in person, the Republicans must seem more reasonable, like they might really compromise, and that they have completely convinced the pillars of Washington of this. That puts us in the unusual position that their public persona is the right one, and the private person is the lie.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:31 AM
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re: 67

You think _that_ is the best explanation?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:33 AM
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68: What else is there? The only other explanation I can think of is that they really don't want to pass anything, and it's all just Kabuki. This is possible, but you'd think they'd come up with a script that made me think "at least they're trying", rather than, "how stupid are you?"


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:36 AM
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Aw, AWB is an old fogey. Welcome! You now will be issued the TV that you will spend the rest of your life yelling at.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:38 AM
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I do actually yell "Get off my lawn!" in class when students don't get my old-timey jokes. And then I think of all of you.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:44 AM
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Obama and his political team are professionals with an impressive record of success.

Their record of success is at winning elections. That takes a different set of skills than getting legislation enacted.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:44 AM
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68: It's the one that helps him get out of bed in the morning.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:44 AM
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72 -- And yet, when re-election comes around . . .

67 -- The Max Baucus "drunk on the Senate floor" tape provides some evidence for this. He calls them out so unflatteringly, he must have been drunk. (It's can't be his halting delivery, the consequence of a speech impediment he's worked a lifetime to overcome.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:48 AM
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71: Sigh. The fact that you feel? are? old enough to use "get off my lawn" makes me think it's time to just get myself a walker and some arthritis cream already.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:50 AM
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Something in class once prompted me to say, "I want my two dollars!" which, I mean, who would get that? All stared blankly at me except one woman who then threw her arms in the air and yelled "I got that one!" to make me feel better.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:50 AM
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75: Oh, it started early. There was a big generation gap between me and even the first students I had when I was 22. I had been in high school from '93-'97, and they'd been in HS '97-'01. I still thought it was cool to wear clothes I'd bought for 75 cents at an Oklahoma Salvation Army; they thought the idea of wearing used clothes was disgusting and that maybe I was some kind of actual hobo.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:55 AM
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8: One of my HS buddies had a tremendous knack for inducing certain teachers to give long, rambling responses that burned up time until the bell rang.

Only one? I thought that was the whole point of high school. In Russian class we could almost always bait Donald Karlovitch into going into a rant about the way that out-state legislators were gutting education funding because they hated city schools and the teachers and students in them. In English, Mr. Krueger was good for rants on any number of subjects, plus long reminiscences of the times he'd gone to England, or his childhood or his wayward daughter's youth. Mr. Glock, in Chemistry, not only had a rambling story about life on the farm in Chaska for every occasion, but had his own ridiculous pidgin dialect that he would slip in and out of in the course of telling the stories. One of the health teachers flew a C-130 for the Air National Guard, so you could often get a good military aviation story out of her, and the other health teacher sounds a lot like the one in 8 -- very concerned that all the information she imparted was 100% accurate, so even very minor clarifying questions would launch her into a recap of the last several days' instruction.

The skills thus learned in high school were put to good use in college, where my adviser would happily (well, angrily) go off on a rant about the estate tax repeal and the lack of class consciousness that gave it support, despite having given the exact same rant the week before.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:56 AM
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Let me be the first to gently point out that teachers have just as much incentive to blow off class time as students. They only reason they bother to teach anything is a) pay, and b) the extent to which they still give a shit.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:59 AM
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It's no longer polite to say that someone "is a hobo." The current formulation is "works as a free lance transportation consultant."


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:00 AM
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79: :-(


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:00 AM
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I have Type II hobetes.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:02 AM
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The fortuitous part is that most of the time sticking to the subject matter is roughly congruous with blowing the time off. Let's chat about the thing I planned to chat about! Let me tell you fascinating facts about it! Oh look, we're out of time!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:03 AM
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82: I'm a recovering hobetic. (


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:04 AM
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84 ends with a failed diagram that was sort of funny. I hate how much I suck at the internet.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:05 AM
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People who are good at the Internet are 85% more likely to go mad. True fact.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:06 AM
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I sucked at the Internet all day ... and now my cheeks are really tired.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:07 AM
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I'm not a hobo, I'm a po-mo boho.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:07 AM
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86 kinda makes me want to change my pseud to Anna K. Data


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:08 AM
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Only one? I thought that was the whole point of high school.

He was often imitated, never copied. Like you, he had a thorough command of "likely to induce a rant" topics for each teacher.

As if to prove your point, the only teacher he couldn't throw off her stride was one of the ones who continued, against all odds, to give a shit. She taught math.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:11 AM
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90: "your point" s/b "Walt's point"


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:13 AM
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Actually, a lot of the teachers still gave a shit. But they were all really old, like 40 or something, so their minds tended to wander.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:16 AM
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feel? are? old enough

This is just wrong. Self-image is important, and giving in to premature ideas about age is a mistake. Letting amnesiac gadget-addled pubescents define the terms of the game is a bad move. Old people are old because there is nothing or not much to do left in front of them, no real reason to strive beyond maintaining established relationships. This made sense 100 years ago, but not anymore.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:16 AM
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Old people are old because there is nothing or not much to do left in front of them

Actually, this just made me feel even older....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:20 AM
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||
Axe Cop! "Written by a 5-year-old and illustrated by his 29-year-old brother."
|>


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:31 AM
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40! Amazing that they let the elderly stay on, what with their walkers setting off the metal detectors and such.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:32 AM
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It shouldn't. People change careers and life-situations all the time, move to places with better weather or better culture. Even being here shows that the hope for human converstaion hasn't expired yet, a small step against complacency.

Remedios Varo started painting when she was 44 (I think, in any case, not in her youth), Rembrandt's best paintings were done when he was elderly and in despair from a broken solitary life, Paul Levy's great work was done when he was over 50.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:33 AM
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Usually the failed-reference problem has a lot less to do with age and more to do with very local culture. Generation gaps can be incredibly small, and cyclical. Like, my first students thought of Kurt Cobain as some whiny loser who couldn't hack it, but just last week one of my students brought him up as an example of a universally revered tragic/romantic artistic hero. I said, weren't you like three when he died? It all comes around again.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:34 AM
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95 kicks ass.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:36 AM
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I still thought it was cool to wear clothes I'd bought for 75 cents at an Oklahoma Salvation Army; they thought the idea of wearing used clothes was disgusting and that maybe I was some kind of actual hobo.

That sounds more like a "regional gap" or a "class gap" than a "generation gap".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:43 AM
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Or a "different cliques in high school" gap.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:45 AM
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Oh, snap.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:46 AM
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That sounds more like a "regional gap" or a "class gap" than a "generation gap".

At some point The Gap is going to realize that they're spreading the brand too thin.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:46 AM
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Just mind it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:49 AM
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Yes, for example, The Hudsucker Proxy was never a widely popular film, so it's unlikely a person of any age would be familiar with it.

But, when I raise my hand in class and go, "Ooooh! Oooooh! Ooooh!" and no one gets it
that means I've outlived my usefulness and should probably be put down.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:00 PM
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they thought the idea of wearing used clothes was disgusting

At some point in grad school I was advised that using secondhand utensils from GoodWill was disgusting.

Class gap? Maybe sorta, but these were people from roughly the same class as I, though they were about 4 years younger. More that those few years' difference had seen a change in the aspirational leanings of people of our class.

I'm totally making this shit up as I go along.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:01 PM
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Yes, for example, The Hudsucker Proxy was never a widely popular film, so it's unlikely a person of any age would be familiar with it.

But "Laugh-a while you can, monkey-boy" is still good, right?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:02 PM
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Also, the only diagrams you need when teaching philosophy are circles and stick figures. And arrows. Maybe Xs. When teaching philosophy of language or of mind, that is.

You could throw in some question marks, but that can be confusing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:05 PM
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Also, the only diagrams you need when teaching philosophy are circles and stick figures.

Reminds me of the famous line that the philosophy department doesn't even need erasers.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:08 PM
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using secondhand utensils from GoodWill was disgusting

Did they bring their own silverware to use in restaurants, I wonder?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:08 PM
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107: I had to google it, so it seems safe to assume the kids will know it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:14 PM
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Why would anyone sleep in a college class? I slept through tons of high school classes, but that was because I was forced to be there. In college I just didn't bother to show up for class if I was too tired to stay awake. AWB's students should learn that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:18 PM
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I seemed to always have a biology lecture class after lunch, in which I generally slept from minute 45 to minute 65. This also happens with movies. The trick to avoiding it is to be continually eating snacks. Or get more sleep at night, I guess.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:22 PM
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Or get more sleep at night, I guess.

Let's not go overboard, here.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:24 PM
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112: I had a class in law school where I swear there was something wrong with the ventilation in the room -- I'd sit down and go out like a light. I actually took another class on basically the same subject matter from the professor in another room the following term because I felt so apologetic about sleeping (Environmental Law and Admin Law, which are substantively very close). Being awake for lecture is apparently worth half a grade.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:29 PM
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100: FWIW, the first place I taught college was where I myself had done my BA. The classes represented were LMC to UMC, not many from either end. In NYC, regional culture is a lot more distinct. In some boroughs, fake tans are necessary; in others, they're disgusting. Beards and messy hair on guys are a big divide. A lot of us who taught in Queens lived in Brooklyn, where tattoos, beards, and vintage clothes are still pretty cool; our students from Queens and Long Island thought we looked like disheveled goth drug addicts. They had no idea what to make of a friend of mine, who, as a scruffy-handsome 6'4" blond gay dude in sweaters and retro glasses is your bog-standard BK queer hipster. "Why does he wear 'nerd' glasses?" and "I thought gay guys cared about fashion!" Oh you kids today.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:30 PM
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Did they bring their own silverware to use in restaurants, I wonder?

Yeah, it was an odd thing: was it about germs? Presumably not. Was it that buying secondhand utensils cheaply meant that you didn't have much money (so you were a loser)? Maybe; though the truth is that none of us had much money, so it was just a truthful reflection of reality. Did it have something to do with the provenance of the items? I suspect it was something like this: branding has become increasingly important to people.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:33 PM
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76: I totally get that and feel bad for anyone who doesn't. In fact, I'm riding a bmx bike up and down the hall at work right now. People are staring.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:33 PM
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I'm sure the thread has drifted onto something completely different by now and it's possible this has already been said, but: repetition is a feature, not a defect. Most people don't retain an answer they only hear once, even if they think they're getting it at the time. The repetition serves a useful function even if it irritates them. Perhaps especially if it irritates them, because the more annoyed they are, the less likely they are to forget the source of the annoyance.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:35 PM
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118: I'm writing this comment using my Asian Howard Cosell over a loudspeaker voice.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:37 PM
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117: Or possibly it's that the poor that gets all over secondhand items is really, really hard to adequately wash off. Out, out damned poor!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:38 PM
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121 is correct, IMO. Once the taint of those people gets on something it simply cannot be gotten out. The only thing to do is store the tainted object until those people are a quaint and distant historical memory, at which point the taint is miraculously transformed into authenticity.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:46 PM
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Maybe it was social consciousness; when silverware gets gentrified, the poor are forced to eat with sticks in places like the exurbs and Hoboken.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:49 PM
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119: Neat trick. DS assumes his pwnage and rationalizes it at the same time. (Though having read the whole thread, I think the pwnage is merely assumed and not actual.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:49 PM
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Repetition is the soul of pwnage.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:50 PM
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116: your bog-standard BK queer hipster

I didn't even know they still made British Knights! Does he buy them new, or at some bleeding-edge vintage place that also stocks Leon Neon and Coca-Cola sweatshirts?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:50 PM
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the less likely they are to forget the source of the annoyance.

OMG, I had THE most annoying prof in college. Her name was H-G, she had a baby out of wedlock, and she taught, um, um... physics, maybe? Something hard. Anyway, whatever it was, she'd repeat it over and over. Like, I got it already? You can shutup now.

Geez.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:51 PM
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119, 124, 125: You know I think it's finally starting to sink in.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:51 PM
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121, 122: Yeah but. Yeah but. These were not stupid people. Um, I mean, I ... really don't know what the problem was. I think at the time I just laughed and said, "Oh c'mon, it's not like it's used underwear!" and everyone chuckled all 'round and agreed (sheepishly?) that that was true.

And then I found five dollars.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:52 PM
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120: Well, I'm about to sit down to a lunch of French bread, French fries, French dressing, and to drink, Peru.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:53 PM
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You know, Donald Karlovitch always said that "повторенье - мать ученья" -- over and over again! Just wouldn't shut up about it. They finally had to put him in a home.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:54 PM
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Is it true you can re-use condoms if you wash them out carefully

Standard practice in communist era Poland. Folks would wash them out, hang them on a clothes line, then roll them back up. I've heard possibly apocryphal stories of entrepreneurial types who would rent them out. The only contraception easily available was abortion or withdrawal. Early post-pregnancy marriage between folks who weren't in love was also quite common, ditto for oral sex as contraception.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:55 PM
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I didn't even know they still made British Knights!

Funny, my instant association was Burger King.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:56 PM
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132: Somebody, was it here?, had a story about their father or grandfather, back in the 1930s or 1940s, who would swim in the East River and fish out the used condoms to be re-sold to sailors.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:57 PM
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134: I've heard that story, but I don't associate it with here -- I think I read it professionally published someplace.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:58 PM
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135: So it's true!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:59 PM
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129: Oh, I doubt it's something they consciously thought through. Much like you probably haven't consciously thought through what's so gross about used underwear. (You can wash that stuff, too. In hot water, with bleach if necessary... ) Part of it (and I'm mostly saying this because I read that schema page I linked above and remembered I found it fascinating) is perhaps that people have schemata for "poor people" that is tied to unkempt, dirty, etc. And by way of automatic processing, they just associate secondhand goodwill forks with general disgustingness. If you asked them Apo's question, I bet they'd instantly feel silly.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:59 PM
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131 My Russian teachers kept telling me to forget stuff ('zapomnite eta'). I always did my best.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:00 PM
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132,134: These must have been heavily over-engineered if they could be washed and reused. Also, eeeeeeew! Almost as gross as using second hand flatware.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:04 PM
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Yeah, the East River is pretty gross.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:06 PM
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Let me be the first to bring up Haidt's classification of five moral foundations -- thinking that stuff that poor people had must be dirty is an example of his purity axis.

I'm bringing this up solely to try to pwn helpy-chalk.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:09 PM
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You know, taking one or two people you meet as representative of a whole generation strikes me as an unsound way of reaching valid conclusions. But apparently that's how you people do things these days.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:12 PM
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142: It's a schema in action!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:14 PM
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Schema, schemata, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:15 PM
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142: People your age always were so anti-generalization.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:16 PM
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142: You're just niot keeping up, M/tch.

Anecdotes are the new data!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:17 PM
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146: And typos are the new black!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:18 PM
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147: Racist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:22 PM
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I don't even see typos.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:23 PM
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148: I can't be racist! I voted for Obama!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:24 PM
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I have in the present day heard used condoms referred to as Coney Island Whitefish, from their tendency to wash up on the beach there. I figure latex must be biodegradable, but it seems to take a while to break down.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:24 PM
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148 to 151.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:25 PM
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||

Almost on-topic: Apparently thousands of Chilean 50-peso coins were minted with Chile spelled as "CHIIE."

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:25 PM
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latex must be biodegradable

Is that right? Is manmade latex chemically identical to the natural stuff, and thus biodegradable?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:26 PM
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re 138, while googling to find a cyrillic version of zapomnit', I found this extensive treatment of the 'false friends' problem in slavic languages, aber leider nur fuer die die Deutsch lesen koennen.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:27 PM
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153: Now they'll just have to go ahead and officially change the name of the country.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:28 PM
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I thought manmade latex was the natural stuff -- don't latex condoms eventually trace back to rubber plantations somewhere? I could be wrong, but that's what I thought.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:28 PM
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137: Much like you probably haven't consciously thought through what's so gross about used underwear.

Though I have. I was defusing the situation at the moment. I wasn't going to tell them at that time that I've been known to buy secondhand socks at the Salvation Army.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:29 PM
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137: Much like you probably haven't consciously thought through what's so gross about used underwear.

Though I have. I was defusing the situation at the moment. I wasn't going to tell them at that time that I've been known to buy secondhand socks at the Salvation Army.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:29 PM
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Oops.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:29 PM
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158, 159: Why not?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:30 PM
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157: I thought they'd figured out a way to make latex from petroleum, but maybe I'm wrong about that.

If only there were some way to find this out from my desk chair.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:31 PM
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151: You know what else is biodegradable? - Fish. Yet they wash up on the shore just like used condoms. That's why whiting is sometimes referred to as "Coney Island Used Condom." Fact.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:34 PM
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161: Wasn't appropriate at the time, that's all. They were at a dinner party at my house. I felt my job as hostess was to smooth over the question and move along.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:36 PM
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164: Always a tough line to balance. From the cozy space of a comment-thread, I would suggest that the initial question presumably put you ill at ease (they called you disgusting!), and you shouldn't feel obligated to make people feel more comfortable about having put you ill at ease. But sitting at my own dining room table with guests, I probably would have opted for a "smooth it over" approach, too.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:43 PM
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164: "I hope your antipathy towards second-hand silverware doesn't extend to dumpster-dived foodstuffs." A quick guilty glance at something half eaten on their plate completes the scene.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:47 PM
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My god, you were feeding them from your filthware? How awful!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:47 PM
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167: One only hopes that no one came down with a case of the poverty after that. It'd be pretty obvious where they caught it...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:50 PM
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This reminds of a classic elementary school joke:

Hello, Earthling! I'm from Planet X. Will you shake hands with me?

Ok.

I've heard on Planet Earth that you use toilet paper!

Depending on the sophistication of the jokee you might need to spell this out more.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:53 PM
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Latexes may be natural or synthetic.[...] It can also be made synthetically by polymerizing a monomer that has been emulsified with surfactants.
Boy that second sentence reads like genuine frontierscience gibberish.
Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:54 PM
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Dried latex from the opium poppy is opium, the source of many useful opiates and other alkaloids of high value.
Also, apparently the original of chiclets gum is a latex.
Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 1:57 PM
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A tip for JRoth (and others):

If you put a carriage return between your closing blockquote tag and the text afterward,

that text won't run up against the "Posted by" line. Took me awhile to figure that one out.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:00 PM
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Otherwise

you will end up
with something like this.
Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:01 PM
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The purified form of natural rubber is the chemical polyisoprene, which can also be produced synthetically.[...]Close to 21 million tons of rubber were produced in 2005 of which around 42% was natural. Since the bulk of the rubber produced is the synthetic variety which is derived from petroleum, the price of even natural rubber is determined to a very large extent by the prevailing global price of crude oil.
There's a [citation needed] on that last bit, but it seems more or less like Econ 101, no? Given a nearly 50-50 split in production, the substitute products must be in an equilibrium, with precise proportion fluctuating, but there's no way that natural rubber could be priced significantly differently from synthetic.
Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:03 PM
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Thanks, Otto, I was wondering about that. I skip that carriage return on the principle that it's unnecessary, but now I see what it does.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:04 PM
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I avoid this problem

by using <p></p> tags inside my blockquotes

which also keeps your fonts consistent.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:06 PM
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You know, I've always wondered how people were managing to do that, run their final lines up against the "Posted by" line.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:07 PM
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JRoth will never learn. Also, our new mattress is made out of latex. The saleswoman told us this means we don't need to use any other form of birth control. And speaking of sex, Douthat can't seem to write about anything else. Finally, I promise that my next comment will be as boring as this one and that other one, way upthread, that was the most boring comment in the world. I've been practicing.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:07 PM
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Apparently JRoth will learn. See, I told you this comment would be incredibly boring. Practice makes perfect!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:08 PM
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178: Are you still on your BMX bike?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:08 PM
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Incidentally, this discussion of how rubber stretches is interesting in light of the famous Mineshaft disquisition on how rubber bands, and other objects, stretch.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:08 PM
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Oh, wait

I see what you're

talking about now. Never mind.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:09 PM
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181: I think you mean gum bands, JRoth.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:09 PM
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176: So you double up your tags, even on a single-para quote? That seems effortful. I do use the p-tag for in-quote paragraph breaks.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:10 PM
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180: Yes. And I will be until I get my two dollars.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:10 PM
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My god, you were feeding them from your filthware?

You can see why it seemed like overkill to mention my socks. (Seriously, though, they'd potentially put me on the defensive (I wasn't actually defensive, but just laughed), and putting them on the defensive in return was just not the right move. Plus, privacy. Socks not relevant.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:11 PM
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I do. Mostly just out of ingrained habit now, but originally because the change in fonts trips my technical editor OCD wires.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:12 PM
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Who says gumbands other than Pittsburghers? Is that a British thing?

Also from that article, Joseph Priestley was the one who figured out that rubber erases pencil, which is why the Brits call it that (to the eternal amusement of American teens who meet British exchange students).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:12 PM
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Wikipedia's latex article isn't very informative on the subject at hand, but the condom article is somewhat better. It seems to say that latex condoms are (always?) made of natural latex and that they are biodegradable but contribute to litter-related problems anyway.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:12 PM
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186: But you should really have told them the condoms were used, when the post-prandial orgy began.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:13 PM
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187: Oh yeah, the font thing has always bugged me; I just never would have guessed at that solution.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:13 PM
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And whereas omitting a carriage return

after the closing blockquote tag
results in less space down here (or would, if this were at the end of the comment)

we find that omitting one


before the opening tag

results in more space up there.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:14 PM
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188: No one says gum bands by 'burghistes, afaik.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:15 PM
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I don't have any idea why it works. I just have faith that if I do it faithfully enough, CargOgged will return.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:15 PM
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Also, googling "latex" results in lots and lots of hits about LaTeX and none (at least on the first page of results) about rubber or condoms. Make of this what you will.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:16 PM
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Er, by=but


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:16 PM
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I'm tempted to work out a few LaTeX sex jokes (something something \documentclass{birthcontrol} something something) but the hunch I have that that space has been long-ago exhausted discourages me from even really trying.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:20 PM
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putting them on the defensive in return was just not the right move

Not to keep picking on you, but sometimes it totally is -- in a gentle way, of course! Not as retaliation, but just making them aware that they were being kinda offensive. Honestly, I bet they didn't mean it, and would feel bad and change if they knew.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:24 PM
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188.2 was the source of great mortification during my brief sojourn in US junior high.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:25 PM
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198 is me, which was probably obvious.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:25 PM
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199: Poor UNG, upon taking the TOEFL, turned to the young lady behind him and asked if she had a rubber.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:30 PM
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198: I talked about it some time later with a couple of people, one of whom was sheepish and the other of whom agreed all along that the sentiment expressed was ridiculous, but hadn't said anything at the time because it was just so odd a thing to have heard, and with such a potential to turn the gathering into something strained and unpleasant.

Really, no big deal; and also an event from some 10 years ago now. It was worth a shrug and an eye-roll and that's about it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:30 PM
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Going way back upthread:

Is manmade latex chemically identical to the natural stuff, and thus biodegradable?

I'm pretty sure the "bio" in "biodegrade" refers to what's doing the degrading, not to what's being degraded. So I don't think it would necessarily matter whether it was chemically identical to the natural stuff.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:05 PM
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203: True enough, but my point was that, if synthetic latex is, in fact, chemically distinct from the natural stuff, then that distinction might suffice to keep biodegradation at bay. From my cursory reading at wikipedia, natural latex comes in many different forms, and the synthetic stuff is identical to one of them (except more pure).

Of course, what makes runner so useful is vulcanization, which afaict greatly reduces its susceptibility to biodegradation (there's a reason they coated the transatlantic cable with gutta percha).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:17 PM
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OT Help please!
Can someone tell me what the IPA symbol for the "r" sound in the actual Japanese pronunciation of 'karaoke' is? Or describe what you do with your tongue. IYKWIMAITYD.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:20 PM
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205: Sorry, I was in China, not Japan.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:25 PM
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I'm not sure what the Japanese pronunciation of karaoke is, but looking at the wiki article on Japanese phonology, maybe it's a /ɽ/ which is a postalveolar flap?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:28 PM
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|| M/lls, I saw a great documentary last night. The train station scene should appeal to anyone who's waited in a line in China. You've been there, right? |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:28 PM
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(I should type faster)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:29 PM
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And with your tongue you'd sort of flap the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth just behind the ridge behind the front teeth. N.B.: I'm not familiar with Japanese phonology.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:29 PM
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waited in a line in China

No such thing.

But that sounds really interesting. Thanks!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:33 PM
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re: 211

Heh, just about the closest I've come to physical violence in years was confronting a group of Chinese tourists in the queue for the Louvre.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:35 PM
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207- that looks right. It doesn't look like there's anything else that would plausibly turn into an English r.

Thanks!


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:37 PM
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Some other stupid article had it as a trill which seemed suspect to me.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:40 PM
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The trailer that I linked captures only the smallest bit of it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:41 PM
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214: So you're calling the Japanese inscrutable? Racist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:41 PM
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216- No, I'm calling the guy who wrote the article stupid.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:44 PM
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Some other stupid article had it as a trill which seemed suspect to me.

That sure does seem unlikely.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:49 PM
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217: And where's he from?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:49 PM
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She said it was a stupid article, M/tch, so obviously the author is from Texas. Sheesh, try to keep up.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:51 PM
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I can't listen to examples right now but if the pronunciation I think is standard is standard, it is indeed a postalveolar flap. (Thanks, rfts! You're so helpful with your completely unsubstantiated but also redundant contribution!)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:51 PM
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Thanks, rfts!

I believe you mean "arigatou".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:54 PM
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219. Carlos Gussenhoven.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:55 PM
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er. that was supposed to say "Someplace where his parents named him Carlos Gussenhoven".

it seems likely that it was a typo rather than an actual claim to be a trill.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:57 PM
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223: I don't know, E. M., I generally find the Dutch pretty scrutable.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:57 PM
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221 Thanks rfts! You have been EXTREMELY helpful and contributed a great deal to the overall utility of this thread. I really appreciate your input.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:58 PM
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224: Typist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:58 PM
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225: racist.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:58 PM
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227: prejudismist


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:59 PM
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Istists, the lot of you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:04 PM
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Synthetic polyisoprene condoms exist ("Avanti Bare") and are marketed to the latex-sensitive market, since it's usually other random biological proteins in the latex that trigger allergies.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:10 PM
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197: \usepackage should make an appearance, probably.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:29 PM
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I am still obsessed with 95 and am now thinking that if I ever try online dating again, my "More about what I'm looking for" will simply say "I will never be in love because I work all day and all night as an axe cop.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:39 PM
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LaTeX jokes? Oh, \frak, those are dorky.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:42 PM
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Specifically \usepackage{lips}.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:46 PM
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Schema, schemata, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

I hadn't yet seen this comment when I made this stupid joke. Hivemind, yo.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:46 PM
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Wow, 95 is great.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:12 PM
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95: Oh, my god.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:56 PM
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I find 95 creepy because my daughter is almost 5, and I see the gradual increase in bloody-mindedness every day. For example, yesterday she me me tell her a story I told her about a baby, but change it so that in this version the baby gets run over by a car.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:20 AM
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ttaM, if you're around: I'm curious what you find the most plausible explanation in 68.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:37 AM
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NEW EPISODE!

Also, the Obamaesque campaign poster in this one is awesome.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:27 AM
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In the last frame he ought to have his feet on the desk.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 8:22 AM
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re: 240

A mixture of a lack of real commitment on the part of parts of the administration to the views they were purportedly elected to represent, and a total lack of balls [for want of a better word]. I expect there's also some more tinfoilhat stuff floating around behind the scenes, too [co-optation by special interests, lobbyists and the like].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 8:30 AM
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Plus, of course, the structural stuff that people always bring up. That it is quite hard to get things done when the other side are a bunch of obstructionist fuckwits.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 8:33 AM
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