Re: Fractious

1

Someone get that man a surd, stat!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:14 AM
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Calculators!


Posted by: jim | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:18 AM
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The rest of the article is worse.

Doesn't make me want to cry, makes me want to ask Marshall if he's ever eaten a fucking cake.

As for bringing Singapore and 'Asian' kids into it - he mentions Singapore because they usually come top of whatever way they compare different countries' success in learning maths. I've used primary school-age maths textbooks from Singapore for the last few years (and really like them), and Marshall might be disappointed to learn that they have plenty of fractions in them.

What a fucking idiot.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:20 AM
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Marshall Cromwell is a retired civil engineer who spent most of his career designing projects in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Kuwait.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:21 AM
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I'm with you, Heebie. Reading that caused me physical pain.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:22 AM
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And the calculators that all the schoolkids use here these days are this sort of thing which are all 'natural display' and are really easy to put fractions into.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:23 AM
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Ah, America, where even primary-school arithmetic can lead into defensive nationalism and the Yellow Peril.

(still amazed that teaching kids to read became a party political issue; phonics, etc.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:23 AM
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And by the way, Marshall, the British monetary system has only fairly recently changed to decimal, and I think we managed pretty well for several bloody hundred years using fractions.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:24 AM
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I should just give up on math, because I clearly don't get it. If I tried to express 0.2776 as 347/1250, where does the error come from? Or, for that matter, if I expressed it as 2776/10000, where is the error?

Also, how exactly can sqrt(100^2 + 150^2) be expressed completely in 7 sig figs, when it reduces to 50 * sqrt(13)?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:24 AM
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Your math is fine. See why the letter hurts?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:26 AM
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Yeah, one of his moronic mistakes is in thinking that decimals always give an exact answer with no error! Don't tell him though, you'll only upset him.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:26 AM
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||

Also I've been asked to lead this faculty thing over the summer, and my co-leader is a completely paranoid conspiracy theorist who is making me go completely buggy. Every single conversation is about asserting how no one can make her meet over the summer, because she's not under contract. (We are receiving a summer stipend for this work.)

Also there are all these nebulous ulterior motives she alludes to but can't articulate. It's not clear who'd have these motives, or why they'd give a shit.

I'm incredibly frustrated with her. Every goddamn conversation deteriorates into her nebulous fears, which are completely unsoothable.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:30 AM
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According to legend, Hippasus of Metapontum was killed (or perhaps just exiled) by the Pythagoreans for his discovery of irrational numbers.


Posted by: Gareth Rees | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:31 AM
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They were odd chaps. Didn't they drown someone for revealing the existence of the dodecahedron to the public?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:32 AM
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I'm also embarrassed for the editors. You would think someone at the newspaper has completed middle school and would read the sentence "Now, try jamming 0.2776 into a fraction" and say "um 2776/10,000?" Even if they ran the article, they could at least correct basic arithmetic mistakes.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:33 AM
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10:

In that case I am even more confused than before; if this person doesn't understand math, why is he writing a column about how to teach it?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:34 AM
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16: Welcome to education politics. The people who are the most vocal about changing the way schools are run are the ones who know the least about the subjects being taught. The push to teach creationism is really only one example of this idiocy.

See also the law that states that in the state of Indiana, pi = 3.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:42 AM
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17 I was just thinking of that, and looked it up


Posted by: Molly | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 6:48 AM
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10, 11 - I wonder if the letters editor trimmed down an ellipsis or something else indicating that it was an inexact fraction, since the actual hypotenuse is 50*sqrt(13).


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:05 AM
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Sigh. That's a sensible explanation. I prefer to lambast him for making such egregious errors.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:13 AM
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Better not tell this guy about floating point binary storage, which makes your computer think 0.2776 is actually 0.27760000000001


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:20 AM
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19 seems right. If you mentally insert an ellipsis, the whole paragraph makes perfect sense.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:26 AM
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Wait, now I read the article. He wants to eliminate frations from the mathematics curriculum? That's insane.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:29 AM
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c


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:29 AM
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23-4: He wants to eliminate c-rations?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:32 AM
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Is 50*sqrt(13) actually 180.2775638 or is the square root of 13 irrational? XL says it is 180.2775638, but I can't tell if it is rounding.

I only claim to be marginally more math literate than this guy.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:36 AM
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27

No, fraticons.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:37 AM
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Rob, the square root of 13 os one of the very most irrational numbers of them all.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:38 AM
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oi


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:38 AM
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But then neither fractions or decimals can handle the number, and the paragraph still doesn't make sense.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:41 AM
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But I suppose it doesn't matter to Cromwell that sqrt(13) is irrational, because he thinks that "The constant preaching of rational numbers, irrational numbers, integers, whole numbers and such, is all meaningless rhetoric."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:43 AM
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19, 22 make it make sense, but the argument is still mental.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:43 AM
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31 - he's an engineer. They don't need more than 4 places of decimal. Therefore everything should be rounded to 4 decimal places and irrational numbers are banned.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:45 AM
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No, fraticons.

Fraticons are a newly-discovered elemental particle, which at extremely low temperatures will form a Bros-Einstein Condensate.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:49 AM
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Someone on my facebook page is arguing that Cromwell is right.

HBGB, haven't you complained that one of the big problems with your calculus students is that they don't understand fractions?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:50 AM
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Oh Brock, (1 + sqrt(5))/2 is the most irrational number.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:50 AM
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25: No, he wants to eliminate fractions at the speed of light.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:09 AM
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38

The only math we need to teach our kids is that the number 1 is the loneliest number.

The rest is just needless complication.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:09 AM
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39

Mathematics has a well-known liberal bias.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:10 AM
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(1 + sqrt(5))/2 is the most irrational number.

sqrt(13) can be as irrational as (1 + sqrt(5))/2, it's the most irrational number since the number (1 + sqrt(5))/2.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:12 AM
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HBGB, haven't you complained that one of the big problems with your calculus students is that they don't understand fractions?

At length!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:17 AM
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42

It's hard to say what the most irrational number is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:28 AM
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42: Glenn Beck, of course. Also the square root of 13.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:29 AM
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42: But not what the loneliest number is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:32 AM
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42: But three is the doggest night that you'll ever do.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:33 AM
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44 see 40.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:33 AM
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I've reconsidered -- kids do need to learn fractions. How else will they be able to appreciate how truly pure Ivory soap is?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:34 AM
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By the way, this article doesn't help fight the prejudice that engineers morons who couldn't do real science.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:37 AM
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Marshall Cromwell is a retired civil engineer who spent most of his career designing projects in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Kuwait.

Remind me never to cross a bridge in those countries.

Fraticons are a newly-discovered elemental particle, which at extremely low temperatures will form a Bros-Einstein Condensate.

Matt or Luke?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:38 AM
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It's hard to say what the most irrational number is.

Agreed, which is why I only claimed that root 13 is "one of" the most irrational numbers.

By contrast, the least irrational number is clearly 4.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:38 AM
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... the relentless, agonizing pain of having to study fractions.

This is why I became a Physicist instead of a Mathematician. I can handle many things, but relentless agonizing pain is not among them.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:40 AM
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48
By the way, this article doesn't help fight the prejudice that engineers morons who couldn't do real science.

I think you left a word out, but it makes sense either way.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:42 AM
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Aren't transcendental numbers more irrationally irrational than ordinary irrational numbers?

Pi is more irrational than e because you need the Greek alphabet to write it correctly.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:43 AM
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Aren't transcendental numbers more irrationally irrational than ordinary irrational numbers?

They're a subset of the irrational numbers, but I'm not sure how that makes them "more" irrational.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:48 AM
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34: Fraticons are (1) Frat-boy conservatives who form a major part of the Republican base or (2) icons used by fraternities as the focus of their bizarre drinking rituals: Things like trash bins full of strange punch, or those paddles they make pledges carry around.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:51 AM
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Pi is more irrational than e because you need the Greek alphabet to write it correctly.

Racist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:53 AM
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53: And yet if you add pi and e together you get the most rational and delicious of desserts. That's why despite its complexity math can be fun!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:54 AM
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57: But dividing up the pie can be fractious.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:56 AM
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And remember, there is a big difference between a fraction and an equation. They are not related.

Dada meets Colbert, as recounted in The Onion.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:57 AM
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Fraticons.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:58 AM
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And yet if you add pi and e together you get the most rational and delicious of desserts.

On the other hand, e tends to make you lose your appetite.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:59 AM
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Also fractious: the question of which is better, cake or pie.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:01 AM
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If the greek alphabet is required, that is a sign of increased rationality.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:01 AM
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62: pie.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:02 AM
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64: As with the dogs vs. cats debate, I refuse to choose. Pie AND cake.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:04 AM
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62: Cheesecake is actually pie, right? It's certainly not cake.

If Cheesecake is pie then I am a pie partisan. If not then the universe is irredeemably defective and I refuse to participate in its shenanigans.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:08 AM
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Cheesecake is custard. You could pour cheesecake into a pie shell, and then it would be pie, but without the pie crust it isn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:09 AM
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65 is the first rational thing anybody's ever said on the internet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:11 AM
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39: Wow. Conservapedia thinks quantum mechanics requires a soul.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:12 AM
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I don't know shit about math.


Posted by: ToS | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:13 AM
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My dad (who always asks for pie, or cake, by the amount of degrees (or radians if he's feeling particularly cheeky)) points out that, for example, integrating x^2 would look rather clumsy without fractions.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:16 AM
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66: RTFAA!

(Auxiliary Archives)


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:18 AM
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.5x2. I don't see the problem -- clearly it's more exact that way then with all those messy fractions.

Seriously, I wonder about what this guy did throughout his career. I'd think someone this confused would cause a lot of damage here and there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:19 AM
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65 is the first rational thing anybody's ever said on the internet.

Neil Peart calls bullshit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:22 AM
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Speaking of Rush, I quite enjoyed this Ayn Rand smackdown:

Garbage and Gravitas


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:24 AM
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Neil Peart calls bullshit.

NO DESSERT FOR PEART!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:25 AM
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77

.5x2

Either you or I need a calculus refresher.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:29 AM
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78

And I'm pretty sure it's you.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:30 AM
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And google agrees.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:31 AM
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77: There's a good calculus refresher on this site.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:31 AM
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The link in 80 doesn't work.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:33 AM
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Perhaps M/tch needs an html refresher.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:34 AM
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Maybe he has a point. There are infinitely many irrational numbers for every rational number. Why not just round all the rationals to irrationals and do without fractions? I mean, who needs integers? Such a bother!


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:36 AM
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84

There's a lot of real, physical pain in this thread.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:38 AM
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77, 78: Indeed you're right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:43 AM
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85: as was google!


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:44 AM
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75: That's a good one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:44 AM
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Remind me never to cross a bridge in those countries.

Exactly what I was thinking.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:48 AM
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80 to 84.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:49 AM
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I guess 89 was kinda derivative.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:49 AM
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16: Welcome to education politics. The people who are the most vocal about changing the way schools are run are the ones who know the least about the subjects being taught.

And who know the least about schools themselves, since, for example, all the Republicans on the Texas School Board are, I believe, home-schoolers.

Having "elected" school boards works as well as our "elected" judges.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:50 AM
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Having "elected" school boards works as well as our "elected" judges.

Elected school boards would be fine if everyone in the country was sane. Elected judges would be problematic, even then.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:52 AM
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I concede that elected judges are corrupt in all parts of the country, while elected school boards only do damage in parts of the country where maniacs who hate the concept of schools are at a critical mass.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:01 AM
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||

This should be of direct interest to some regular commenters and probably many lurkers as well. The adjunct faculty advocacy group New Faculty Majority is launching a campaign to make it easier for contingent faculty who find themselves without work to get unemployment insurance. Colleges and universities frequently claim adjuncts are not eligible because they have a "reasonable assurance" of future employment. However this has been successfully challenged in California and Washington.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:03 AM
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Remember the Sorry, Everybody website? I want one of those for the Texas school board decision.

Really, I'm sorry, everybody. Many of us in Texas aren't batshit crazy.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:10 AM
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95: Oh, that website made me so sad. I spent days leafing through it after the 2004 election.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:14 AM
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Yeah, me too. He put up another one in 2008: Hello, Everybody.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:19 AM
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96: Even sadder was the competing "I'M NOT SORRY!!!1!!" site.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:50 AM
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||
Not really up on the details of the whole SC sex scandal thing, but I had to laugh at David Kurtz's one-line piece of advice to political consultants:

Do NOT have written communications with the alleged lover of your candidate.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 11:31 AM
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100

Kobe * Kobe / Kobe!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 11:43 AM
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NB: Despite all appearances to the contrary, there is no factorial in 100, merely exuberance.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 11:44 AM
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99: This is the first I've heard of it, but I'm loving it. Even better is the fact that for once it's a woman politician. Gender equality advances just one more little step. We will have arrived when a female politician in her mid 60s is caught in a hot tub with three or more buff young men in their mid-20s, snorting coke off their firm, toned buttocks. And she gets reelected.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 11:45 AM
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102: Well why wouldn't she get reelected? They were just carrying her luggage.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 11:48 AM
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102. I have it on good authority that Speaker Pelosi requires that the airmen that serve as stewards on her flights be shirtless.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 11:51 AM
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But not what the loneliest number is.

Don't be so sure about that. 2 can be as bad as 1.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:07 PM
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106

Seriously, though: WTF, South Carolina? Does anybody in Columbia have their pants on? I know ol' Strom set a really high bar for sticky-bits hypocrisy, but is it an officially sanctioned elimination tournament or something?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:14 PM
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106: Well, this one isn't all that interesting, is it? It's just straightforward adultery, no abuse of power or little kids or wetsuits that I know of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:16 PM
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Sure, but Mark Sanford's didn't have any kinky twists either. I'm guessing Andre Bauer must be next up on the panky parade.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:21 PM
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Sanford wasn't kinky, but he did at least disappear entertainingly and have his staff telling stories about where he was -- there was a story unfolding in real time there. Unless she's particularly keep-it-in-your-pants focused as a politician, this seems like the minimal possible scandal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:22 PM
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Unless she's particularly keep-it-in-your-pants focused as a politician, this seems like the minimal possible scandal.

The blanket denial plus seemingly (previously) unaware husband plus embarrassing record of texts trickling out all seem to argue against that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:24 PM
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Plus, it's South Carolina, where family values moralizing is practically a spectator sport.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:26 PM
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Oh, it's still a scandal to the people involved -- adultery's adultery. But it's hard to think of something less interesting that would qualify as a scandal at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:26 PM
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It doesn't have to be kinky, live boy dead girl stuff. Just the ordinary if you are lying to your significant other, whom you allegedly care about, why should we, the voting public, think you aren't lying to us? Over and above usual political sleeziness, I mean.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:28 PM
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But it's hard to think of something less interesting that would qualify as a scandal at all.

Ordering swiss cheese on your Philly cheesesteak?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:29 PM
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Ordering swiss cheese on your Philly cheesesteak?

That is not scandal, but blasphemy. Thus, much worse.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:34 PM
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But it's hard to think of something less interesting that would qualify as a scandal at all.

You apparently weren't alive for Bill Clinton's first term. Remember the horrors of "Travelgate" and the phony $400 haircut?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:38 PM
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I think LB meant there's less interesting that's legitimately a scandal for those involved. Not that there's nothing less interesting that could be pushed as a "scandal" by political opponents.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:40 PM
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+nothing


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:40 PM
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it's hard to think of something less interesting that would qualify as a scandal

Come on, LB. Fucking a *blogger*? Talk about disreputable. You just know she had to have been part of the 40% back in the day.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:41 PM
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Maybe the conservative blogger guy misspoke, and just meant to say something like "I had sex during the Nikki Haley Marriage era."


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:41 PM
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LB is correct that as political sex scandals go this one is a snoozefest. Since it's a "family values" Republican it's a clear sign of hypocrisy, though. That is what makes it interesting to me. That and the fact that if enough of these things become public for enough powerful people, perhaps we might make some progress in bringing publicly approved sexual mores into line with how people actually live their lives.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:41 PM
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Is anyone reminded of the photographer in Apocalypse Now? "You go to the moon - what are you going to land on? a FRACTION?"


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:41 PM
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bringing publicly approved sexual mores into line with how people actually live their lives.

What does this mean, tog? Last time I checked my wife does not approve of me fooling around, public office or no. Except for my freebie, of course.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:47 PM
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123: You misspelled "furby".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:50 PM
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Except for my freebie, of course.

I HAVE A NAME, TLL.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:52 PM
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And apparently, it's "Furby".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:53 PM
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What does this mean, tog? Last time I checked my wife does not approve of me fooling around, public office or no. Except for my freebie, of course.

But she wouldn't necessarily publicize it as afar and wide as possible and demand that your career end because of it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:54 PM
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My freebie is that femme fatale d'une certain age Dana Delany. My relationship with Apo remains that which may not be named. That furby stuff was part of a classified investigation that I am forbidden to comment on.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 12:57 PM
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My freebie is that femme fatale d'une certain age Dana Delany.

Good call.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:05 PM
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Guys, when it comes time to officially name your freebie, take this advice to heart.
DO: make it somebody within the realm of plausibility, not a world-famous actress you'll never get within 500 feet of. Otherwise, you're wasting your pick.
DON'T: pick your sister-in-law, no matter how plausible.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:12 PM
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I'd go even further. Your freebie should be someone you've already slept with and know you enjoy sleeping with.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:13 PM
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Guys, when it comes time to officially name your freebie

I have to wait till November for the open enrollment period.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:14 PM
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131: i.e. your furby.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:14 PM
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Your freebie should be someone you've already slept with and know you enjoy sleeping with.

I'm thinking someone you've already slept with isagainst the freebie rules, but then what do I know?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:16 PM
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123: There is a set of publicly approved sexual attitudes that, while not held be everyone, represent a commonly accepted set of standards regarding sexual behavior: A woman with too many sexual partners is a slut, a man with the same number is a stud, or perhaps even a little behind in his sexual conquests; women do not like sex in itself, but submit to it in order to win male attention; marriage is an exclusive arrangement in which sexual infidelity is necessarily a strike against the character and worthiness of the cuckolded spouse; infidelity occurs because of sexual insufficiency as opposed to loneliness, boredom, or any of the myriad other actual reasons; spouses would always rather know about their partner's dalliances; sex with one person means you cannot love another person at the same time; you cannot love two people equally much but in completely different ways. That's a pretty incomplete list, but it points in the right direction.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:17 PM
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The rules must be different in your state, Apo. I tell you in no uncertain terms the point of the exercise is that the freebie be seemingly unobtainable. Then when the planets align it's not like you just happened to get lucky at the office "Winter Holiday" party.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:17 PM
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134: I know nothing. I haven't been in an explicitly monogamous relationship since undergrad.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:17 PM
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the point of the exercise is that the freebie be seemingly unobtainable

That's lame. I always pick the babysitter.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:20 PM
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FWIW, my wife's freebie is Laird Hamilton, the surfer. Who is a friend of a friend of a friend, so not all that impossible. As for my relationship with Miss Delany, who has held this spot throughout her career, she was a class ahead of me in high school, so again, not impossible, just improbable.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:23 PM
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Your freebie should be a name, not a person.

If I meet someone hot, willing, and discrete - her name is temporarily changed to Polly Walker. It's like the Shi'ite temporary marriage thing, only with names. I'll gladly perform a temporary name change as well, of course.


Posted by: Viggo Mortensen | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:24 PM
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Laird is one of those names I don't think I could say without laughing during sex.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:24 PM
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A woman with too many sexual partners is a slut, a man with the same number is a stud, or perhaps even a little behind in his sexual conquests

not any more!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:27 PM
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141: And "Viggo"?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:28 PM
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143: Sure. The difficult names tend to be one syllable and begin with a voiced consonant.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:35 PM
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143: You prefer a different spelling?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:35 PM
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Only one freebie? I've seen Friends, I've got 5 on my list.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:38 PM
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145: No. Why do you ask?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:40 PM
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146: Wasn't it called Chums over in the UK?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:41 PM
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I've seen Friends, I've got 5 on my list.

Let me guess: Ross didn't make the cut.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:45 PM
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It's like the Shi'ite temporary marriage thing,

Temporary marriage would be an elegant solution for many, but I'm afraid that the divorce attorneys in the community property states would have a field day.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:48 PM
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150: Nah, it's only the property accumulated during the marriage that's community.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:52 PM
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151. True Dat, but I shudder at the concept of discovery for that time period covered.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 1:57 PM
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152: Easy. If any money changed hands, 50% gets refunded.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 2:01 PM
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135: I'd add something about how it's considered the worst betrayal to have an affair with a friend/relative of your spouse, or the spouse/partner of a friend, despite such affairs being fairly predictable. Also something about the belief that all gay people everywhere are constantly having hawt sex with several new partners per week, rather than sitting around at home wondering why they never meet anybody halfway decent, or alternately settling into an exclusive or mostly exclusive relationship.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 2:08 PM
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153. The dreaded clawback provision. But what if it no money changed hands, just dinner and a movie? And what if the movie totally sucked? How is one to be compensated for that two hour snoozefest??? These are questions that cannot be left for the Legislature to decide.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 2:09 PM
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rather than sitting around at home wondering why they never meet anybody halfway decent

Well, that will change once gay marriage gets legalized and they can start hitting on their friends' spouses like straight people.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 2:19 PM
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they can start hitting on their friends' spouses like straight people.

Roleplay?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 2:22 PM
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156: Now somebody tells me that's an option.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 7:45 PM
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DON'T: pick your sister-in-law, no matter how plausible.
Confusing rule because sister-in-law can mean your spouse's sister, who could be single, or your sibling's wife, wherein you could be single. See how I made that all open-minded with the genders.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:12 PM
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To be safe, pick your sister.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:23 PM
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Speaking of sisters, I work with (or at least near) a woman who was born in China. Today she was all excited because another woman in the office, also from China, was calling her "little sister" instead of "big sister" when the first woman is older. I gather this is some kind of idiomatic status-marking thing, so I didn't make any jokes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:28 PM
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You guys get only one freebie?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:36 PM
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It wouldn't mean as much otherwise.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 8:51 PM
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Laird is one of those names I don't think I could say without laughing during sex.

I confess this made me laugh. I mean, certainly, to all the Lairds out there: your name is fine. It's fine. May I, perhaps, provide you with a nickname of some sort?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:11 PM
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May I, perhaps, provide you with a nickname of some sort?

Fester?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:17 PM
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It would really be between me and Laird, wouldn't it?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:20 PM
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What if Laird doesn't want a nickname?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:21 PM
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"Brunette"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:22 PM
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Laird might make a good safe word.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:27 PM
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168 works for me. Laird doesn't even have to be a brunette.

If Laird doesn't want a nickname, I'd probably get over it, but right now I'm in a state of disbelief.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:28 PM
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Also searching in vain, so far, for a female naming equivalent of Laird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:33 PM
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Also searching in vain, so far, for a female naming equivalent of Laird.

"Gwen"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:34 PM
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171: Loidy?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:35 PM
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Loidy? What's that? A nickname for something, it seems.

Gwen comes close, but I could see myself becoming close to Gwen and murmuring it during sex; plus it's short for "Gwendolyn", no?

"Laird" is quite formal. Hm. "Maureen" doesn't quite capture it, but seems to getting there.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:49 PM
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^be


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:50 PM
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Loidy? What's that?

Laird:Lord::Loidy:Lady


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:52 PM
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176: I got it, Moby.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:54 PM
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Sure. That's not why "Laird" is difficult, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 9:55 PM
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I've thought about this and decided: if I were to meet, say ... a deer out back in the woods, who told me his name was "Laird", I would not be all: Oh, your name is funny and silly.

So I am being unfair to the Lairds of the world.

'night.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:07 PM
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|| I finally watched the movie referenced here. I liked it much more than I expected, which is not to say that I did not expect it to be very good. |>


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:07 PM
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Deer can't talk, parsimon.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:10 PM
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I guess the deer should have said "Dimaggio."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:14 PM
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179 is an awfully confusing comment.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:24 PM
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182: Nah, DiMaggio was overrated.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:28 PM
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That's what my dog always says.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:32 PM
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Your dog speaks tRUTH!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:35 PM
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Thanks for making that EXPLICIT.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:38 PM
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Yeah, I thought I was going to have to just tell the fucking joke outright. But *I* had fun, anyway.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-26-10 10:42 PM
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||

Overheard, from people eager to exit a train: "will someone please get us off?" This was near New Brunswick, so maybe I should have volunteered Teo.

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 12:07 AM
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||
Apropos of the Steely Dan conversation a while back, I just listened to this version of "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" as run through The Swinger, and goddamn if it's not the first time I've actually been able to listen to that song all the way through.
|>


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 12:14 AM
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189: I guess in that kind of situation it's inappropriate to yell out "back door!"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 12:46 AM
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I think I could manage not laughing with Gwen from The Pippettes (she's the one in the middle).


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 6:46 AM
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Apparently I can't manage to spell "pipettes", though.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 6:47 AM
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174 - Gwen can be short for Gwenllian too. Which would be harder to say during sex.

Mavis would be pretty awful. It's probably due to come back into fashion any day now.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 8:35 AM
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Mavis would be pretty awful.

But at least she can type.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 8:47 AM
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re: 194

I have a cousin called Mavis. Who, at one time in the 60s or possibly early 70s, used to work for, iirc, Dior or one of the other big French design houses. Mavis is about the least couture name ever.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 9:08 AM
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I think "Mavis" is tied with "Doris" in most categories. Except philosophy of the mind of course.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 9:11 AM
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Mavis doesn't sound that tinny to my ear. It sounds like the kind of bringin'-back-grandma name I'd expect to hear from any of my friends.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 9:14 AM
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I'm surprised there aren't more goths naming their kids Corvus.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 9:17 AM
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Blanche.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 9:21 AM
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I had "Mavis Bangs" stuck in my head but could recall the reference--turns out she's a minor character in The Shipping News.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 9:21 AM
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199: There was a very dodgy CDO from the early 2000s called Corvus. I wrote a feature on it once. It makes the recent CDO shenanigans look tame in comparison.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 9:54 AM
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I finally got around to reading this thread down to the part about the SC sex scandal and Googling it. I love what Erick Erickson has to say about it.

He concluded, Mr Folks was not a plausible candidate to be her lover: "Hot women do not cheat on men in uniform with ugly, poor dudes."

And you know, he might be right (that the allegations are false), and maybe even for the right reasons, but that is one hell of a chain of reasoning.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 9:58 AM
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YOU JUST GO RIGHT ON THINKING THAT, LIEUTENANT. AND GOOD LUCK OVERSEAS!


Posted by: OPINIONATED UGLY POOR DUDES ON THE HOME FRONT | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 10:05 AM
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202: there was a very dodgy piece of Apple II networking hardware from the early 80s called Corvus.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 10:05 AM
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200 for the win.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 10:22 AM
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179 - I have to say, I love parsimon's idea of a deer in the woods being the natural conversation tester. "Would you say that to a deer in the woods?"


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 10:33 AM
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207: As long as we establish a clear standard on what constitutes a reasonable prudent deer.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:02 AM
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For what it's worth, I'd gone out on the porch last night prior to that comment, and heard (but not seen) deer out there -- they're checking on the readiness of the raspberries, probably -- and yes: noble creatures, worthy of my deepest respect, one of whom might be named "Laird", which is not such a bad name after all.

A deer named "Biff" or "Mickey" I might look askance at.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:09 AM
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Do not talk to me of your standards, for I have my own to which I am beholden.


Posted by: Unreasonable yet prudent deer | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:11 AM
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I just met my first Ang/har/ad this weekend! I resisted the urge to geek out with her about having weird names, because she was from the UK, and I gather it's not quite so weird a name over there. Also, one of my colleagues beat me to it by initiating a geek out session with her about association football. She was a Junior Gunner.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:17 AM
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Mavis is about the least couture name ever.

Mavis staples, Doris sews.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:25 AM
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210: Ralph, you are absolutely right.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:26 AM
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Okay, was Bambi male or female?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:35 AM
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Bambi was a majestic stag. All those strippers are just weird.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:40 AM
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Fun Wikifact: Bambi was first translated into English by none other than ... Whittaker Chambers! And now you know the rest of the story. In Wisconsin.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:46 AM
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.com


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:48 AM
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.munist


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 11:54 AM
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195: But at least she can type.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach, M/tch.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 1:31 PM
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219: But at least she brings home the Beacon.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 1:37 PM
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Those who can't, teach, M/tch.

Those who can't teach, M/tch, teach M/tch.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:03 PM
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Those who can, M/tch.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:13 PM
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An old friend I got back in touch with after ~15 years had in the meantime taken to using "Doris" as a catch-all for eligible women. As in "I saw you checking out those Dorises." He's the only person I've ever heard it from. I suspect he picked it up in South Africa, but he'd spent the previous decade or more gallivanting about the globe, so had been exposed to all manner of slang.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:29 PM
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||

Surgeon who admits to taking my insurance successfully located.

You know, I didn't think it was that weird when the dermatologist I could find that took my insurance was named Alan Greenspan, but now the surgeon is named Leonard Bernstein. I'm starting to wonder if the reason I'm having trouble finding doctors on my plan is that you have to have the same name as a celebrity.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:37 PM
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Those are just pseudonyms for Nigerian scam artists, LB!
Be sure to check the quality of the paper of the assuredly phony baloney diploma before you take your shirt off.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:46 PM
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Leonard Bernstein

Oh, he's a real cut-up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:46 PM
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Oh, he's a real cut-up.

You're thinking of Lenny Bruce. She also needs Leonid Brezhnev and Lester Bangs for the full LB set.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:48 PM
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now the surgeon is named Leonard Bernstein

Is there nothing that man can't do?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:49 PM
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What was the surgeon named before?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:55 PM
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228: Irrigation.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:56 PM
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Wiki: In a 1990s interview with Musician magazine, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe claimed that the "L.B." references came from a dream he had in which he found himself at a party surrounded by famous people who all shared these initials.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:56 PM
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Why no love for Lucille Ball?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 2:59 PM
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I love Lucy. She has some s'plainin' to do about this group of weirdos, however.


Posted by: Ricky Ricardo | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:03 PM
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Is there nothing that man can't do?

Anything he can do I can do better, I can do anything better than him.


Posted by: Opinionated Irv/ng Berl/n | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:04 PM
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No you can't.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:06 PM
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SHOULDN'T YOU BE OFF BUILDING YOUR DREAMHOUSE OR SOMETHING?


Posted by: OPINIONATED IRV/NG BERL/N | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:08 PM
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Is there nothing that man can't do?

Menstruate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:08 PM
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Any dick you can draw I can draw weirder.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:11 PM
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236: I don't believe that's the next line, but you wrote the song.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:14 PM
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NO, I WROTE THE SONG!


Posted by: OPINIONATED BARRY MANILOW | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:18 PM
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239: I AM MUSIC, AND I WRITE THE SONGS.


Posted by: OPINIONATED MUSIC | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:18 PM
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Does Irv/ng B/rlin do a lot of vanity Googling these days?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:18 PM
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Whoah.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:18 PM
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242: There's more than one reason to substitute slashes into names.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:19 PM
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240, 241: I WISH YOU'D STOP MAKING ME CRY!


Posted by: OPINIONATED YOUNG GIRL | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:24 PM
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245: GET OUT OF MY LIFE!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GARY PUCKETT | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:25 PM
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In my mind's eye, Leonard Bernstein had ever and always been an old man (after all, he turned 50 the year I was born). But as it turns out, hubba hubba.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:27 PM
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247: NO MORE MASTURBATING TO LEONARD BERNSTEIN APO!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:28 PM
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Also: ageist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:29 PM
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And now: off to see Kickass.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-27-10 3:30 PM
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Kickass was pretty kickass. I was sad to learn that Red Mist, played by my cinematic doppleganger, turns out to be . . . .

******SPOILER ALERT*******
******SPOILER ALERT*******
******SPOILER ALERT*******
******SPOILER ALERT*******
******SPOILER ALERT*******
******SPOILER ALERT*******
******SPOILER ALERT*******
******SPOILER ALERT*******
******SPOILER ALERT*******
******SPOILER ALERT*******
******SPOILER ALERT*******

. . . a douchebag.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 05-28-10 5:48 AM
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What's particularly ironic about Cromwell's article is that sqrt(13), along with any other irrational number of the form (a plus_or_minus sqrt(b))/c, for integers a, b, and c, is exactly representable as an infinite repeating continued fraction, whose intermediate convergents give far better rational approximations to the true value than the 4-place decimal he claims is superior. Of course, continued fractions aren't typically taught in school, but the above web page gives a pretty good introduction to the topic, and the linked continued fraction calculator page is really handy.

As a continued fraction, sqrt(13) = [3; 1, 1, 1, 1, 6, 1, 1, 1, 1, 6, 1, 1, 1, 1, 6, ...], or 3+1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(6 + 1/...). Cut this off after the third 6, and you get 154451/42837 = 3.6055512757..., which gives 9 decimal places of accuracy compared with the true value of 3.6055512754...


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 05-29-10 6:12 PM
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