Re: I'm not a very good business person.

1

You're making a $30-60 investment in your musical career, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Maybe you can figure out how to deduct it from your taxes next year, and if not no big deal. You've got a good heart, Stanley, and that's worth having and worth knowing about yourself.


Posted by: mike shupp | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 1:07 AM
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Since I assume $15 an hour is way below the union rate foe studio work anyway, I don't see why you shouldn't do it as a freebie if you like.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 1:57 AM
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@1: You can't deduct foregone income if from your taxes since it was never part of your income in the first place.

Please let's not help Stanley get in trouble for his good deed.

I agree with your other sentiments, though.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 3:55 AM
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It's not 100% clearcut, but on balance, you should have taken the money.

1. One of the hardest things for some people about being self-employed (and this is true of any occupation, but especially the arts) is getting used to Ask culture, specifically, getting comfortable with charging what they're worth (or what the market will bear). If you're one of those people, you need to force yourself to practice this skill at every opportunity. If you can't take yes for an answer when the money is offered unsolicited, how are you going to negotiate your interests when the other side is out for a pound of flesh? Like the adverts in the in-flight magazine say, "You don't get what you deserve in life, you get what you negotiate."

2. Every engagement sends a price signal, for you and for other musicians. "Free" is not a benchmark datapoint you want floating around out there, especially in association with your name.

3. The guy might really want to pay you. It spares him a lot of stress if, say, the recording goes on late, and he wants to do more retakes, and he can rely on the fact that there's a cash nexus between you, and he isn't just relying on your good will to stick around and do the unpleasant parts with him.

4. The money might not mean much to him. You're better informed about this than I am, obviously, but it's possible that his marginal utility of the money is low -- lower than yours, at any rate. When I used to do some freelance translation to supplement my meager stipend, I worked for a guy I took to be a struggling post-doc with a family to feed. I always felt guilty about the amount of money he was paying me, and tended to undercharge him for time spent on, say, phone calls or trips to the library (this was pre-internet). Later, when he sent me a copy of the publication, I saw in the acknowledgements that the whole thing had been financed by a grant from a foundation associated with a political party I despised. I should have been taking them for all I could get!

All in all, I don't think it's some unforgiveable sin to do the gig gratis, but it wasn't the best decision. Roommate McGoomate is giving you tough love.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 5:22 AM
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KR is right about this.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 5:53 AM
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There's still time to salvage this. Explain that most of the drums are free, but if he wants the snare, that's $100.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:00 AM
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I was going to endorse your decision to decline payment on the principle that being nice to other people is objectively good, pay it forward, promote the harmonic convergence, immanentize the eschaton, all that hippy shit. Then I read the comment of the ruthless capitalist Ruprecht and I have to admit he is correct.

My own reluctance to negotiate aggressively once lead me to accept a skinned dead otter as payment for stacking firewood. In my defense, I was 12 years old.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:13 AM
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You can't deduct foregone income if from your taxes since it was never part of your income in the first place.

But he can deduct the cost of any drumsticks.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:15 AM
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I think donating the track makes it clear that this is something you're doing as a good deed; if you took the $15/hr., you'd be implying that it was your going rate. No one thinks that just because the first one's free, all the subsequent ones are too. I tend to find meager pay sort of an insult in a situation when I'd far rather just donate my time. It allows the person to forget you're actually doing them a favor.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:17 AM
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They have otters in Botswana? Funny, I'd always thought of them as a temperate animal.

And I join the chorus of saying KR is right. 3 is an important reason, as are 1 and 2.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:17 AM
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10: Southern Botswana (where most of the population lives) is not tropical.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:24 AM
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11: To be sure, although it's in the Southern Temperate Zone, Southern Botswana is still a pretty warm climate. In terms of latitude, it's roughly similar to South Florida.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:26 AM
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It allows the person to forget you're actually doing them a favor.

Actually, this might be a reason for taking the money. The guy might have offered the money because he wanted to avoid any expectation of reciprocal obligation. Declining the money implicitly creates a moral debt that neither party may have wanted or intended.

If $15/hour is insultingly low under the circumstances (no idea if that's the case), then the proper response is to counteroffer with a more reasonable rate.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:40 AM
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I got my otter in Washington state. Lived there briefly, then back to the old country. I don't think there are otters in Botswana, but there are certainly otter-like critters. Swimmy mammals are everywhere!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:43 AM
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I don't think there are otters in Botswana

There are.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:45 AM
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There are otter-like creatures in central Texas.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:49 AM
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And I also thing KR is right, above.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:50 AM
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16. Those things look more like coypus to me.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:51 AM
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If KR were strictly correct, there would be no such thing as pro bono legal work. Arguably, AWB's solution would lead to a higher going rate in situations where the drumless could afford it, because you could exclude this session from the historical trend, since it was pro bono drumming for the underrhythmed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:53 AM
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It seems that coypus and nutria are the same otter-like thing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:54 AM
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Making it as a self-employed drummer and making it as a self-employed lawyer must have some key differences, but they're escaping me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:55 AM
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21: you a hire a lawyer to keep you free, but a really good rhythm can make you free, man.

Also, in only one of those professions is it appropriate to wear a Grateful Dead tie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 6:57 AM
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20: Yes, but not particularly otter-like. More beaver-like, I would say.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:03 AM
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Otters are beaver-like, if you have the right reference point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:05 AM
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Do all aquatic rodents look the same to you?

Anti-capybarist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:10 AM
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Feral coypus used to infest Britain and were totally destroying all the inland waterways. It cost millions to get rid of the bastards. A friend of mine was once challenged by one on her front path in suburban London when she came home drunk. I think it scarred her for life.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:11 AM
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Actually otters aren't even rodents. Heebie, how could you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:11 AM
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Anti-distance-reference-pointist. Maybe I just like well-rooted family trees.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:11 AM
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26: Am I the only one who read that and thought "screen play?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:12 AM
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29: my first thought was that it challenged her to a duel. Like, with sabers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:13 AM
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This post title keeps reminding me of "I'm a good...work...guy..."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:14 AM
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my first thought was that it challenged her to a duel.

I think it just squeaked at her very loudly. Still, being squeaked at by a three foot rat when you're pissed and trying to find your keys is not good times.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:18 AM
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30, 32: Probably hoping she would accept the challenge so it could acquire a scar to impress the lady (or gentlemen) coypus.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:20 AM
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my first thought was that it challenged her to a duel. Like, with sabers.

Sabre, please.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:21 AM
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30: I was thinking a movie about feral coypus invasion and removal in general. After the confrontation, she's* like Bronson in Death Wish, except that she's helped by a bunch of charmingly eccentric English people. The supporting cast would include a lovable-loser barge pilot (played by that guy from Shaun of the Dead) who can't earn a living because the canals are blocked with masses of rodents. Clive Owen would be a biologist/love interest for the female lead. He loves animals, but comes to realize this is a battle that must be fought.

*OFE's friend as played by Rachel Weisz.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:21 AM
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Actually, I interpreted it more as "Halt! Who goes there?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:21 AM
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TO DEFEAT THE COYPU YOU MUST BECOME LIKE THE COYPU


Posted by: OPINIONATED BRIAN BLESSED | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:23 AM
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34: Szablya.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:26 AM
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37: If you want in, I'll write you in. Have your agent call my agent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:27 AM
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35 may have been intended as a joke, but if you wrote an actual script, I bet you could get somebody to pick up the option.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:31 AM
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Nothing sells like movies about slaughtering little furry animals.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:33 AM
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I'm starting the research right now. It will need sexed-up a bit as the actual story seems a bit dry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:35 AM
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I cannot see John Major's face without thinking "That guy looks like a Capybara."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:38 AM
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40: The script should headfake toward the cliche ending that the rodents will be wiped out by some common microbe, and then make a surprise pivot toward them becoming a culinary fad (perhaps in China or India) that stirs the invisible hand to create poaching on a massive scale. Meanwhile, the microbe has already been released into the wild, and it threatens to wipe out the biggest growth industry in England. Fortunately, the biologist hero is the only one with the knowledge to stop the epidemic, and he becomes filthy rich. But in the process his love affair comes undone.

In the final scene, we see the Rachel Weisz character and the barge pilot, who have since become an item, gazing over pens full of copyus. The camera pans back to reveal that it is a massive factory farm, and they are its owners. Outside the gates a crowd of demonstrators can be seen (but not heard) chanting slogans against the cruel confinement of the copyus, and the Clive Owen character is at their head with a megaphone; thus is the sequel cued up.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:41 AM
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I recall reading a novel about people killing badgers. But, the badgers were the good guys.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:43 AM
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Nothing sells like movies about slaughtering little furry animals.

Actually...


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:44 AM
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Outside the gates a crowd of demonstrators can be seen (but not heard) chanting slogans against the cruel confinement of the copyus

IIRC the British coypu invasion IRL was started, or at least exacerbated by animal liberationists releasing capitve animals which were being raised for fur. Full circle.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:44 AM
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47: Animal liberationists are not mentioned in the link in 42, but would make a good back story.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:49 AM
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Animal liberationists are not mentioned in the link in 42, but would make a good back story.

Great. This is part of the character development of the Clive Owen character. In the beginning, he detests the PETA / animal rights types, being more an RSPCA / animal welfare person himself. But in the end, he is making common cause with them.

Bonus benefit: we'll get some humorous posts at The Poorman over the freakout by the stalinist film critics at The Corner.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 7:52 AM
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KR in 4 seemed persuasive, but then AWB in 9 seemed persuasive. Call me mercurial, but the difference might be explained by ttaM in 2. Take the going rate or do it for free as a favor, but taking a pittance for it (unless there's some non-financial compensation, like getting your name out there or something) lowers the going rate and is an insult to you as a professional.

This only applies to future cases, of course, not this one now that you've agreed to it.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 8:00 AM
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Pro bono legal work is understood as a distinct category of work undertaken for, you know, the public good, which arguably playing drums for some dude is not.

I also think Stanley should have taken the money, but for altruistic reasons, to wit, not to affect (no matter how minor this individual action might be) the understood norms regarding payment in situations like this. The way, for instance, wannabe actors who are well-off anyway can take parts for free or cheap in order to establish themselves, thereby (a) sustaining the existence of companies that can't/won't pay their players for parts like that, (b) encouraging companies that, well, could to do so, and (c) excluding people who would like the work but can't take it for free.

The obvious solution is of course for Stanley to join the musicians' union, because then it wouldn't be up to him. He could just say "sorry brah, love to do you this solid, but my hands are tied" (I hope I got the lingo right).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 9:01 AM
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Take the going rate or do it for free as a favor, but taking a pittance for it (unless there's some non-financial compensation, like getting your name out there or something) lowers the going rate and is an insult to you as a professional.

This is precisely what I meant, yeah.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 9:52 AM
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Give and Go, Bro.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 9:58 AM
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"sorry brah, love to do you this solid, but my hands are tied"

Brassiere?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 10:02 AM
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I'm surprised at the consensus here (about Stanley's dilemma, not about the coypus). He likes the song, he wants to do a favor, he should be able to share his talent or not according to whatever arrangements he likes without having to feel responsible for depressing the earnings of his colleagues. If that's really a worry, he could just tell the asker to keep the arrangement hush-hush. My attitude toward this probably helps to explain why I'm in the income bracket I'm in, but it's what I'm comfortable with. I'm fist-bumping you, Stanley.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 10:06 AM
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It reflects well on Stanley's character, to be sure.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 10:09 AM
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re: 55

Which is why it seems fair enough to me to do it as a freebie, but not take some risibly low rate of remuneration.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 10:17 AM
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IIRC the British coypu invasion IRL was started, or at least exacerbated by animal liberationists releasing capitve animals which were being raised for fur. Full circle.

As seen in "28 Days Later"...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 10:18 AM
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but not take some risibly low rate of remuneration

How many chickens would be enough to make it fair?, I wonder.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 10:24 AM
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What about the fucking mink? They're eating all our water voles, bitches.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 10:58 AM
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Speaking of British bitches, I'm reading a novel from the 1950s and it seems to me like the (unsympathetic) narrator is using the word "bitch" not to mean "annoying woman" or "woman I don't like", but to mean something more like "nymphomaniac". Was "bitch" once used in this way (synonymous with "bitch in heat" I guess), or am I reading it wrong?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:06 AM
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You've got it right, that was definitely a usage. See also "Son of a bitch" which is an insult not just because you're a dog, but because your mother has the sexual morals of a bitch.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:08 AM
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Thanks -- and not particularly a British usage?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:13 AM
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Ooh! Ooh! I have a bygone-era British-novel-borne question, too! In various 20s and 30s era mystery novels I've read, a character claims to have been deeply, deeply asleep (and so didn't hear the murder or whatever) because they had taken aspirin before going to bed. Did aspirin commonly have other stuff in it then? Or was it just new enough to have more oomph attributed to it than warranted? (In my mind this is sort of like how in these same novels people will be described as "very good drivers," as if it's some amazing skill -- more akin to say "pilot" now.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:14 AM
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I know it from American books, but I suppose it could have been a borrowing of a British usage. I think I ran across it in some of John D. MacDonald's pre-Travis McGee stuff, and had the same reaction you just did: "Wait, they're using 'bitch' to mean 'slut' rather than 'harridan'?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:16 AM
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64: I have wondered that too -- maybe there was some aspirin/codeine combined pill that was popular but referred to as just 'aspirin'? There's a bit in an Orwell essay, too, talking about cheap luxuries, where he says something implying that aspirin is intoxicating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:18 AM
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"Aspirin is a hell of a drug."
— My father (who went on to say "and it would never be approved today").


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:22 AM
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Here it is, from The Road To Wigan Pier:

White bread-and-marg and sugared tea don't nourish you to any extent, but they are nicer (at least most people think so) than brown bread-and-dripping and cold water. Unemployment is an endless misery that has got to be constantly palliated, and especially with tea, the English-man's opium. A cup of tea or even an aspirin is much better as a temporary stimulant than a crust of brown bread.

The aspirin I know has no psychoactive effect at all, or at least I never noticed any. It seems like Orwell must have been talking about something different; I can't imagine taking an aspirin as a pick-me-up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:23 AM
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If this thread has gone random, can I ask when young women started getting the same haircut my mom had in 1975 or so? It seems like it just started today, but maybe I just ran across an atypical set of women today.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:24 AM
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I think the exact phrasing was "She may be a bitch, but she's an honest bitch." After the narrator spends some time marveling about a one-night stand in which the woman didn't reciprocate his statement of "I'm not in the habit of doing this."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:25 AM
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brown bread-and-dripping

What is "dripping" in this context?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:26 AM
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Saved fat from roast meat, I think.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:27 AM
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A college acquaintance put himself in hospital with bleeding in his stomach from his habit of eating a couple of aspirin instead of a meal. I assume there was some reason he started doing it.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:27 AM
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If this thread has gone random, can I ask where my stuffed penguin went??????


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:27 AM
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72 - yup.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:27 AM
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Yep.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:28 AM
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Nope.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:29 AM
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69: You mean like Florence Henderson in the Brady Bunch? The shag is still a relatively popular hipster chick look. I would have thought it somewhat on its way out again, but hey.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:29 AM
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So, everything went well at the recording, and I think I struck a happy medium among KR and AWB and Ttam and Jesus' good points.

The recording guy was pleased and, at the end of it all, asked if I'd be available for future session work if something came up. I said yes, that'd be cool, and while I was doing today's work as a favor to a fellow local musician and fellow university alum, future work might involve a day rate. He agreed that was certainly fair and in fact was surprised to learn I was working free today. So, I did a solid and maybe set up some future work at a fairer rate. Needle threaded!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:29 AM
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76: That's what I would have thought, but for the fact that fat from roast meat is much better than margarine. At least if the fat is hot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:29 AM
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78: Yes, that's what I meant. It would make sense that I'm just seeing it, what with Pittsburgh being a bit behind and all.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:31 AM
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Aspirin used to be available as a powder which could be sniffed, IIRC. Google says it's still available as powder, but the references I looked at didn't suggest snorting it. I've seen people do it and relief seemed almost instantaneous. I wonder if snorted aspirin might be more of a jolt, perhaps enough to be recreationally interesting. I suggest we recruit volunteers to crush some aspirin, snort it, and report back.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:32 AM
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At least if the fat is hot.

One of the things that really jumped out at me reading in How to Cook a Wolf was the careful management of heating; the possibility e.g. that one might have to borrow fifteen minutes' stove time from someone else as a result of not being able to spare the fuel (or money for fuel) oneself, and some dishes being recommended over others (in particular eating raw, of course) for reason of their requiring less in the way of gas to prepare. This is something that would never have occurred to me, scion of plenty that I am.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:32 AM
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Well, this is interesting. Especially comment #2.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:35 AM
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83: That was noticeable, wasn't it? Remember HtCaW was not just in the past, but a wartime book, so dealing with wartime shortages.

What I noticed more was the godawful stuff she apparently drank. If you know an Italian, you may be able to buy both kinds of wine, red and white; how to mix your own gin out of grain alcohol; and a lot of stuff along those lines.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:36 AM
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Page 128 of Ngaio Marsh's Artists in Crime:

"Fairly early, I think, sir. About elevenish. Valmai had got a snorter of a headache and could hardly see the cards. I gave her some aspirin. She took three tablets, and turned in."
"Did the aspirin do its job?"
"Oh, rather! She slept like the dead."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:37 AM
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Now that was a mystery with an implausible method of killing someone. Liked it, but really couldn't buy the murder.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:38 AM
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I'm generally with Knecht in 4, and Ttam in 57 -- it seems like it's a very good thing to develop the habit of getting paid real money for your skills, and there's no better time to start than the present. But, at the same time, doing it for free isn't a crazy idea.

I wanted to point out, however, that this has been discussed before.

You have to admit, washerdreyer had the right idea:

1) Demand money; 2) If he or she says no to one, demand sex; 3) If he or she says no to two, demand their first-born (or next born, in the case that they've already started raising one) child; 4) If he or she says no to three, demand a reasonable percentage of their child's whatever-born income in perpetuity. This is so reasonable they're sure to agree, but just in case they don't; 5) Demand acknowledgment that this is only a limited license to use the photo in one context, and that you've retained the right to use it in all other contexts.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:39 AM
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87 to 77.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:39 AM
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83, 85: Not having source of cooking heat is a level of poverty that I do not contemplate often. I had relatives that sometimes had to burn cow chips, but they always had a fire.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:40 AM
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87: Yeah. But I liked it too, because of the Agatha + Alleyn stuff (sap that I am).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:41 AM
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Of course, they always had a cow chip because they always had cattle, so they probably weren't that poor by the standards of the day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:42 AM
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Oh, I love all the Troy ones. Hrm. I burned through Ngaio March in my teens and early twenties. I wonder if they'd be fresh again now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:43 AM
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94

And I'll have to look-up Ngaio Marsh. I've started back on mystery fiction. I've been reading through the Father Brown stuff lately. They're pretty good, but a bit too contrived at times.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:55 AM
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I've read When In Rome, primarily for the setting (I loved the fake San Clemente), but nothing else by Marsh. It's about time to pick up some light reads for the summer, though. Any titles to look for especially or to avoid?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 11:59 AM
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This will blow my anonymity if my mom comments here, but I recommend the apartheid police procedurals of James McClure. Enjoyable, vaguely noir-ish, and the whole racism angle is interesting in how it intersects with other dimensions of morality. Check out The Caterpillar Cop, The Gooseberry Fool, or The Sunday Hangman.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:03 PM
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97

You better bring my books back. And tuck-in your shirt.


Posted by: Opinionated Ned's Mom | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:06 PM
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98

Skip "A Man Lay Dead" -- it's the first, and Alleyn is a low-rent Peter Wimsey knockoff in it. He gets better later. Other than that, I can't think of any I'd warn you off. Any set in a theater are good, and there's a number of those. And any of the ones where Troy (who marries Alleyn after a couple of books) is a major character are also good.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:06 PM
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99

I am amazed to learn that the author of "Greedy Night" is the inventor of the clerihew!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:07 PM
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100

tuck-in

Stop that.


Posted by: Opinionated Moby's Mom | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:08 PM
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101

And the author of a couple of fairly decent detective stories himself.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:08 PM
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102

You mean aside from "Greedy Night", I assume.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:09 PM
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103

Keep on tuckin', man!


Posted by: Opinionated Sifu's Baked Friend | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:09 PM
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104

Jeez, mom. O.K.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:09 PM
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105

Maybe I'll reread some Josephine Tey. I don't think I've read To Love and Be Wise in a decade.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:10 PM
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106

102: Indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:10 PM
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107

Was it really that obvious that 97 was me just from the hyphen?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:16 PM
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108

Josephine Tey is really wonderful. I wrote a seminar paper called "To Love and Be Wise" once -- I think it was on the Aeneid. I can't decide which is my favorite? The Singing Sands, maybe?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:22 PM
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109

NERDS


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:24 PM
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110

107: yes.


Posted by: The Mineshaft | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 12:46 PM
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I was smiling in a "aw man, I love you guys" way to myself over 97, 100, 107 and 110, and nearly started to tell C what was amusing me. And then realised that I would have to explain at least 3 in-jokes and that it probably wouldn't be worth it. But man, I do love you all.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 1:39 PM
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112

Josephine Tey is really wonderful.

Ditto, ditto!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 1:48 PM
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113

Aspirin is good "as a temporary stimulant" if you hurt all the time. If you were a middle aged day labourer in England in the 1930s, you probably hurt all the time. Minor strains, chronic bone damage, etc. And no NHS yet. A fistful of aspirin would set you up good style.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 2:20 PM
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114

Also, I love Tey, but I can only read her occasionally. I find her too mannered to read all the time. Ngaio Marsh would be my favourite for powering through the lot.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05-13-10 2:24 PM
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Tey is really deeply conservative, not in a tory way but a temperamental way. I enjoy her books but find this aspect of them somehow--I was going to say repellent but that's way too strong, it's like I am bounced off them or somehow thrown out of the interior world of the book by the suddenly obvious and alien thought behind them.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 12:31 AM
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116

Another odd period detail from Josephine Tey, "The Man in the Queue" - the plot hinges on the fact that the victim was queueing up for the theatre, and so he could be stabbed - and die - without falling over, because he'd be kept upright by the pressure of the other people in the queue, thus giving his murderer a chance to get away before the murder was noticed.

It is impossible for me to imagine British people crowding this close to each other in a queue today. Imagine how tightly you'd have to be packed in order to keep an unconscious person upright.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 5:20 AM
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re: 116

Yeah, the only time I've ever been that jammed up with other people has been on public transport, or at gigs. Any other time and all the 'must remove interloper from body space, kill kill kill' reactions are in full spate.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 5:25 AM
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116: My favorite part about that one is that the use of a knife clearly tells the police that the killer must be either "a Mediterranean or a Levantine."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 5:37 AM
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116: It was supposed to be the last performance of a huge hit -- not an ordinary theater line, but more like getting tickets to see the Beatles in the sixties. But it did still seem improbable. Who knows, maybe the answer is just that the book was written implausibly, and people when it came out were going "Nah, that'd never happen."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 5:50 AM
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120

Also, queues move. Either because they are travelling forward, or because some bastard has tried to skip it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 6:02 AM
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121

Maybe the box office hadn't opened yet.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 8:59 AM
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122

121: Just put down the knife, neB.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 9:01 AM
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123

116 et seq: reminds me of this.

Also reminds me of the line to get into the Inauguration.

Now there's a concept for a mystery!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 9:01 AM
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116 Reminds me of a joke in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, one of Douglas Adams' novels, about a character who was conceived in a train station. No, not in a back room or something, the narrative points out, in line. At the time I thought that was purely absurd humor, but maybe it made perfect sense to British people in the 1970s/1980s.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 9:17 AM
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There are many kinds of lines-- knowing how to wait is a real skill, hard to acquire. Contact with immigration authorities is one way to develop it. Those chairs, the ancient cardboard signs...


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 9:27 AM
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My favorite part about that one is that the use of a knife clearly tells the police that the killer must be either "a Mediterranean or a Levantine."

"This man was trampled to death by an elephant. That narrows the list of suspects down to either Mr Singh or Mr Kikwete."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 10:21 AM
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127

There are many kinds of lines

Except in China, where people aren't into that kind of thing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-14-10 10:31 AM
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