Re: To face crotches or butts?

1

Somewhere I recall this being a US/Europe divide. US norm being ass, Europe being crotch.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 8:55 AM
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Crotch is better than ass. Fact.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 8:57 AM
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And for those wondering What Would Tyler Durden do? He'd ask.

Now, a question of etiquette - as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 8:58 AM
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Miss Manners says ass. (I weirdly remember this from an opera etiquette guide she wrote that was printed in all the programs at the Lyric one year.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:00 AM
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I use a simple three step process to avoid the awkwardness of sticking either my ass or my junk in people's faces.

1. Surreptitiously fill a popcorn tub with liquid butter substitute from a concession stand.

2. Slosh liquid butter substitute generously across the laps I will need to traverse.

3. Back up for a bit of a running start, and slide on home.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:01 AM
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Depends on how much I'm in the mood of for an awkward moment.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:01 AM
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I retract 6 in favor of 5.


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:01 AM
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Wait, no! Combination 5 & 6. Slip&Slides are a great way to meet people.

Sifu, do you happen to have any advice on renaissance faire specific etiquette?


Posted by: donaquixote | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:03 AM
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Obviously if I'm going someplace without popcorn concessions (the opera, say) I bring my own lard.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:04 AM
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9: Not artisanal smen? Philistine.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:05 AM
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4: See, I seemed to remember some Dear Abby/Miss Manners crotch facing conclusion.

I think the argument went that if you're passing toe-to-toe, you're creating more room to house the various body parts, whereas if you're passing heel-to-toe, your body is directly over your heel and thus even more in the person's face.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:07 AM
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Sifu, do you happen to have any advice on renaissance faire specific etiquette?

The audience in the stands for the big jousting tourney are likely to be so greasy from eating fried turkey legs and failing to bathe that no extra lubrication is needed. Just be sure to watch out for swords.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:08 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:08 AM
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Somewhere I recall this being a US/Europe divide. US norm being ass, Europe being crotch.

IME it's one of those cases where the U.S. and Europe are on one side of the divide with the U.K. on the other side, like driving on the right. I'm not entirely comfortable generalizing from that experience, though.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:08 AM
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10: Hand-crafted artisanal smen is the loneliest smen.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:10 AM
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I think I'm generally a face-towards-them person, so I can see if I'm squashing people, getting in their face, etc. So it's usually face forward, combined with hunched v-shaped "must make crotch as far away as possible" stance.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:10 AM
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I've puzzled over this. The problem is that you're in the space of the people you're sidling past, and particularly that you're putting inappropriate body parts in their faces. So you want the posture that gives them the most possible distance from you. The difficulty is that anatomically, if you point your ass at the people you're passing, given 11.2 and the way things bend and all that, you're probably giving them less physical clearance than the alternative, but OTOH, if you pass toe to toe, facing them puts you psychologically closer to them. It's not clear to me which is less rude.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:11 AM
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10,15: plus you don't want your row-mates to think it's raining smen.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:13 AM
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psychologically closer to them

This is the key for me, and therefore I'm an ass man.

On the other hand, if you're just talking about clearance it depends on one's physical endowments. The answer for me, therefore, doesn't change.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:18 AM
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I think it must be context dependent. In a stadium, everyone is sitting in super low stair-like seats, and you can easily bump people in the back of the head, too, if you're not careful. Whereas in an airplane, you're pretty high off the ground and there's no room to turn around, and you can cling to the seatback of the next row without worrying about the people in them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:19 AM
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it depends on one's physical endowments

I just pole-vault to my seat.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:22 AM
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21: I love seeing Mummenschanz!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:24 AM
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If you put your crotch toward the face of the person in the row you are entering, you necessarily are putting your ass near the head of the person in the next row up. So by walking face forward, you are better able to avoid butt bumping the back of someone's head. The person in your row, facing forward, can see you and take any necessary evasive maneuvers.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:27 AM
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22: I'm guessing that I don't want to click on something right now where the url contains the string "super-nsfw."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:27 AM
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20: okay, so this is so, so dependent on size. There is absolutely no way I would ever get into a window seat on an airplane (in coach) without the other people in the row getting out first. It wouldn't even occur to me.

In stadium and concert hall environments, with very few exceptions, I will always stand up if somebody's passing. Everything else seems either obnoxious or painful. I sort of can't stand it when people make me clamber past them. You don't want me to do that! Some part of your anatomy is inevitably going to suffer!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:27 AM
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||
Segway company owner James 'Jimi' Heselden dies in England after riding a Segway off cliff
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:27 AM
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||

This can't be good for the brand:
Segway company owner rides scooter off a cliff; UK exec, who bought firm a year ago, dies in accident near his estate.

|>


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:31 AM
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The pwnage hurts so bad, I'm going to need vicodin.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:32 AM
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Hey did you guys hear about the Segway owner?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:32 AM
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Really, if they're at all courteous, the people in the other seats will stand for you to pass, so you won't be putting either your crotch or your ass in their faces (barring unusual height discrepancies). If, on the other hand, they do not stand for you to pass, they show themselves to be unworthy of your consideration and you should do whatever you prefer.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:33 AM
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Don't drive your Segway on Vicodin.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:33 AM
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And apo himself was eggpwned.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:34 AM
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The person in your row, facing forward, can see you and take any necessary evasive maneuvers ascertain whether he would like to contrive to have fleeting contact with your ass.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:34 AM
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See, Sifu is courteous.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:36 AM
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30 is correct. The preferred strategy is always to insist on an aisle seat, and then you can set a good example by standing when people need to get by. It doesn't keep you from getting bumped in the head by the lardasses who sit in the row behind you, though.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:41 AM
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18: I bring my smen with me everywhere.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:42 AM
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37

Passing doggy-style, being more submissive, should be preferred to missionary. I'm sure Miss Manners would agree.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:43 AM
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One advantage of the walrus physique is that this issue never comes up. People see me coming, and immediately stand up to avoid being trampled.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:45 AM
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Passing bum-to-bum is a flight attendant skill - it's meant to take up less space.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:46 AM
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Passing doggy-style, being more submissive, should be preferred to missionary.

Slouchy people who sit with their knees way forward get a little reverse-cowgirl action.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:48 AM
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36: In a manbag.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:50 AM
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I seem to remember the Miss Manners solution being assward plus eye contact, the point of the eye contact being to helpfully give the stranger a non-awkward place to look that's not your ass. I remember thinking this was weird, but not altogether wrong.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:55 AM
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42: so do you crane your neck or bend over double and peer between your legs?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:56 AM
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Remember to flutter your eyelids and give your ass a little shake.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:57 AM
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45

I have an intuition I can't google reverse cowgirl at work to find out what it means.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:13 AM
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45: T-Pain is here to help you, Smearcase.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:16 AM
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Hetero sex with the participants in the same relative position as doggy-style, roughly, except rotated backward 90°, so that the man is lying on his back, and the woman is sitting upright facing his feet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:16 AM
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"Avoid crowds!" is something that really works well in most circumstances.

("Avoid ridges!" seems an appropriate addition for Segway owners).


Posted by: Earnest O'Nest | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:18 AM
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Hetero sex

All that's really necessary is that one participant be a girl, oder?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:27 AM
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49: I'm not sure that's strictly necessary, nosflow. Any more than doggy-style requires one participant to be a dog.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:33 AM
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Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:34 AM
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Fine, delete the 'hetero', and change 'man' to 'penetrative participant'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:39 AM
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45/47: It should be noted that LB prefers reverse Polish.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:43 AM
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Any more than doggy-style requires one participant to be a dog.

And if the term were "reverse cowgirl–style", you'd have a point.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:49 AM
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Nosflow eschews missionary because Jews don't proselytize.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:58 AM
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Help! I know this is very important because the web page says it is important not just in boldface, but in allcaps:

IMPORTANT. COMPLETE AND SIGN REVERSE SIDE OF THIS FORM.

http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/clerk/Forms_and_instructions/pdf/Form_C_(August_2010).pdf

So how do I find the reverse side of a document on the web? I looked behind my screen. Nothing. I printed it out and looked on the back. Nothing.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:59 AM
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It has two pages—did you print doublesided?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:59 AM
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56: Use Nginx.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:00 AM
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I'm not about to buy a new printer or new software just to spoil my own joke.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:01 AM
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Don't worry, nginx is free.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:03 AM
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I haven't figured out the mechanics of it, but I'm pretty sure that in Reverse Polish no matter what specific act is performed you always take it in the rear.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:06 AM
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Sometimes you pop the stack; sometimes you push the stack.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:07 AM
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I'm definitely a crotch-facer, not for any reasons of etiquette, but simply because I get paranoid about toppling over the seats if I face downhill. If there's a lot of legroom, I become ambivalent.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:07 AM
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I was in a multi-party case in the 2d Cir about 15 years ago, and I'll never forget how intimidated all the NY lawyers were by the circuit counsel. He could apparently make or break your appeal based on the font used for the case number on the cover, the shade of blue, anything. People who ordinarily strutted about the EDNY like peacocks, referring to the district judge by his first name in casual conversation etc., were reduced to bowls of jello by the mere thought of this, to my naive out-of-town sensibility, minor functionary.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:10 AM
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||

Arg. FB message from former student: Hey wuzzup teach? Wondrin' about your phD prog. How good is it? Worth my time? Lemme no.

Me: Dear [Student], I had no idea you had decided to pursue a doctoral degree in literary studies! Can you tell me more about the research you intend to do?

FS: Like, I dunno, maybe creative writing? Def want 100% a phD in english tho. Wanna go to the best prog I can thats cheap enough.

Me: [Very patient description of what this entails, how it's not a creative writing program, information about what applicants usually have accomplished before applying, request for FS to think really long and hard about her life-plans.]

Sigh.

|>


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:11 AM
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Well, the spelling is creative...


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:13 AM
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62: Mix it up, though: no one wants a stack overflow error.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:19 AM
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Would fake it to make it, dude have been good for 65.4?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:23 AM
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It's funny; if I have a clueless student who is all "yo i dunno wut to do w/my life maybe be a lawyer lol!" I say go for it. But don't tell me you're only applying for PhD programs in my area of study because you're bored and don't want to pay back loans yet and also it would be cool to be Dr. Whatever and not have to see blood lol plus some books are kind of good.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:26 AM
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I didn't mean that as dismissive of lawyers, btw. It's just that law school can mean a lot of different things, and if she didn't get into a super-tough academicky law program, she'd still spend those years gaining marketable skills. There are really only two kinds of English PhDs, and the more common kind dies alone without health insurance.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:30 AM
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I thought you were supposed to ask whether people prefered ass or crotch.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:33 AM
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I thought you were supposed to ask whether people prefered ass or crotch.

Prefers ass = law school
Prefers crotch = English Ph.D.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 11:43 AM
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I recently had a comparable or maybe sorta the opposite experience (not of the ass/crotch dilemma...I'm not sure what the opposite of that is) where a friend who was finishing her PhD in philosophy but doesn't want to face a horrible job market said pretty much "I want to do something like you do. Where should I apply?" And despite the fact that MSW programs aren't terribly intellectually challenging and a lot of social work jobs would be easy for a well-trained imbecile, I wanted to say "start by not assuming you can just pick up and do my job, and then go to school for two years without PhD tuition waivers and funding."

I think people always have assumptions about jobs from the outside that are grating if you're on the inside. Every time I ask my cousin the assistant professor anything about his work, he starts snarling "EVERYONE THINKS IT'S SO GREAT BECAUSE WE GET SUMMERS OFF WELL YOU KNOW WHAT I HAVE TO DO THIS SUMMER I HAVE TO WRITE A BOOK IT'S NOT LIKE I'M SITTING ON THE BEACH" &c.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:14 PM
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He's lying. Getting summers off is fucking fantastic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:15 PM
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74: How do you know so much?


Posted by: Opinionated Larry Summer's Wife | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:17 PM
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Because I have wild sex with all the members of the economic establishment in this country.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:21 PM
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Including the goats?


Posted by: Earnest O'Nest | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:23 PM
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No, that sex isn't wild.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:25 PM
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Larry Summer's wife has :

She is the daughter of Joan and Ronald New of Potomac, Md. The bride's father, a physicist and computer scientist, retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, where he specialized in underwater acoustics. Her mother is a party planner in Washington. [My emphasis]

Based on those areas of professional interest, I'm just going to assume the wedding reception featured an underwater orchestra.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:27 PM
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I have plenty of students I'm glad to mentor on their way to PhD school applications, and, sure, many of them have very little idea about what the profession actually involves. There was a lot that I didn't know or prepare for in advance of graduate school, either. But before deciding that I was "100%" going to work toward a PhD, I at least found out some of the things that PhD study includes. How do you know you are definitely going to spend 4-8+ years doing something if you don't know anything at all about what that thing is? And would you ask one of your own mentors if the mentor's own program is good enough for you? It's kind of rude.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:27 PM
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Whoops. 79 should be that she has interesting parents.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:29 PM
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But you fuck *one* supply-side economist ...
-- David Stockman

< /'80s political humor>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:29 PM
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78: OK, I won't try it then.


Posted by: Earnest O'Nest | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:30 PM
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But you fuck *one* supply-side economist ...

Hasn't everyone been fucked by a supply-side economist?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:33 PM
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84: It's more of an invisible handjob.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:35 PM
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86

Let's increase the moanetary supply, laydeez.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:39 PM
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Yeah, send 'em to law school. Money for nothing, chicks for free.


Posted by: Carp | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:40 PM
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Hey, there's an econ-based insult I'd never thought of before: fidouchebag!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:40 PM
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Let's increase the moanetary supply, laydeez.

It's not the Q, it's the V.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:44 PM
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Lawyers are at least potentially employable.

In one of my undergrad classes this semester, I had the class go around and introduce themselves by saying something about why they had chosen English as a major, and what part of the work they were most drawn to. Several said they wanted to be high school English teachers, and a few more talked about the pleasures of thinking about texts. Then one guy says, "I'm [name], and. Um. I don't know why I'm an English major."

"What have you enjoyed reading, or writing about, during your time here?"

"I don't really, um, like reading? At all? Or writing? I hate it."

"Oh, you must be in it for the money then," I said, for lack of anything else. Uncomfortable silence ensued, and then the next student introduced herself the same way.

When I consider the decision-making process by which people enter my area of study, I can only conclude that, for a significant number of them, there is no process at all. None.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:48 PM
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Well, no. A lot of people know they have to go to college but don't know why they would major in anything in particular, right?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:49 PM
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Isn't most people's major selection process basically "that one course with the cool prof seemed kind of OK and I got an A- so let's stick with that." I mean, excepting the hardcore pre-meds and the economically rational types who take business classes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:52 PM
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Or "based on the credits I've already got when I was screwing around for the past two years, this is probably the shortest path to graduation."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:54 PM
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Sure, but by the time you've signed onto a major, gotten an advisor, taken several required courses, etc., you've at least found one thing that appeals to you a little bit about that major, right? Like maybe you just liked reading a book or two at some point? At least?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:54 PM
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I had to choose a major without ever taking any classes in that major, and indeed without ever setting foot at the school where that major was offered, so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:56 PM
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Unless you just basically resent the fact that you have to go to college.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:57 PM
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I went with philosophy because the courses sounded interesting in the catalog. No lie.

In retrospect, I'd've been way better off sticking with CS.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:58 PM
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Our administration read somewhere that students who know what they want to major in when they start their first year have better graduation rates than students who are undecided when they arrive on campus. Now we require all incoming first years to declare a major right off the bat. Because we're really clear on the difference between causation and correlation.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 12:59 PM
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I went with philosophy because the courses sounded interesting in the catalog and because it's what I'd studied in high school nerd camp, but then when it was time to write my senior thesis I was in a class where the professor thought that, as the only woman in the room, I'd need special help and advice on things like that the thesis would require a bibliography. So I dropped that and stuck with the other major in dead languages, although thanks to my not attending the same school for every semester I wasn't able to get the exact program I wanted since I wasn't physically able to take as many Greek classes as that would have required.

I just signed up for whatever classes looked interesting and talked my way past the requirements, though that meant I had a justification for taking every class. College classes must not be fun for a lot of people, though.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:03 PM
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I can only conclude that, for a significant number of them, there is no process at all. None.

Lots of people know that they have to go to college the same way they had to go to high school. For them, the voyage of educational discovery often involves learning that they don't belong in college.

Me, I took two years off while deciding what to major in. It wouldn't have occurred to me to go to college without a plan. (Partly, I'm sure, this is because I was working my way through school.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:03 PM
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101

I went with basketball!


Posted by: Kobe! | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:04 PM
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102

Crap.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:04 PM
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I went with crap.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:05 PM
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I went to college with at least some intention of majoring in physics. But then I wound up with majors in English and in German because I like to write and, at some point, I had accumulated enough German credits that not making it into a major would have been dumb.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:09 PM
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When I TA'd an intro history survey course on the Renaissance and Reformation, one of the students, a junior(!) turned in a 15 page essay that was basically "How the Reformation is Marginally Similar to Struggles I'm Going Through Right Now With My Boyfriend, Which Struggles I Will Now Proceed to Describe In Detail." When I pointed out that this wasn't really the purpose of the assignment, she explained that she was an English major and wrote like this all the time and why was I stifling her spirit? That made me feel bad for the English Department.

On the other hand, that's probably the only essay from that class I remember at all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:10 PM
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106

I collected boxtops until they gave me a secret decoder ring.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:11 PM
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I went with philosophy because I bungled the freshman year math class I took, so philosophy won out over physics.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:11 PM
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108

Didn't the Apostropher major in Soviet Studies in 1988, or something like that?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:11 PM
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How odd. I, too, was a physics washout.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:12 PM
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Because we're really clear on the difference between causation and correlation.

There's been a lot of yapping about the soon to burst higher ed bubble. Everyone does not need to go to college, and for many it is a waste of time and money. Add to that there is a dire need for skilled labor. More trade schools, please. Truckmaster, here we come!


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:12 PM
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108: My bff (who graduated from Wellesley in 1991) majored in Soviet Studies. Perfect timing.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:12 PM
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I really wonder how the students at my partner's community college decide what their majors should be (I mean, apart from obvious stuff like nursing or EMT or automotive repair, in which case you do in fact presumably know what you want) because the advising system seems particularly piecemeal and wacky.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:13 PM
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My major was political science (aka the path of least resistance), but my specialization was in Soviet and Eastern Bloc studies. They did indeed all disappear right about the time I graduated.

My first job out of college was at a ravioli factory.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:13 PM
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Miss Manners says ass.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:14 PM
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105: Ugh, I don't even want to talk about the number of times students have sent me unsolicited "personal essays" about their favorite rape scenes in movies or what it feels like when they go to the toilet. It's seriously textbook "don't ever talk to anyone in your life except a mental/physical health professional" topic stuff. But the literature we read often addresses topics people aren't used to discussing in public, and they get all psychotically devoid of boundaries.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:14 PM
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because the advising system seems particularly piecemeal and wacky.

I disliked the advising system so much at my fourth-tier public college that I circumvented it by getting a friendly prof to rubber-stamp my course choices.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:15 PM
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My first job out of college was at a ravioli factory.

This sounds like a great first sentence to me!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:15 PM
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what it feels like when they go to the toilet

Cathartic.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:15 PM
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114 meet 4.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:15 PM
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116: Right, I did that too. But I didn't require any remedial courses and wasn't also working a full-time job and raising children. But I really shouldn't bitch about her job online, even though there are funny stories to be told.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:16 PM
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113: Same major for the same reasons, but I studied IR which was designed not to be useful under any circumstance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:16 PM
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113: A friend used to call poli sci "art history for boys." (Art history, of course, was "poli sci for girls.")


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:17 PM
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119 meet 119.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:17 PM
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122 -- I can see it. Poli Sci makes you feel important and successful because you're talking about important people. Art history makes you feel beautiful because you're talking about beautiful things.

I did know a horticulture major who was a bit like a plant (obsessed with regularly washing aka watering his hands exactly 10 times a day).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:21 PM
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124: What plants get watered ten times a day?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:23 PM
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It's not quite clear to me why I didn't take a single political science course in college -- aside from political philosophy -- given that in grad school I wound up gravitating over to the poli sci department's courses as often as I could fit them in.

Maybe I felt like political science involved too much history, so eww. Never really figured out, in college, that there's a thing called political theory. Ah! but that was to be found in the philosophy department at my college, whereas as it was in the political science department in grad school. Weird.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:24 PM
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my specialization was in Soviet and Eastern Bloc studies.

My major was International Relations. Took Three years of Russian language, Russian Lit satisfied my Lit requirement, etc. I was a good cold warrior.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:25 PM
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I took one poly sci class in college, and the discussion section left me so tense and aggravated that I was unwilling to ever take another.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:25 PM
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I do not like to argue about things I consider desperately important.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:26 PM
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I don't think anybody advised me about major selection when I was getting ready to transfer out of community college. First of all, the wait to see an adviser was 4+ hours (if they call you during a bathroom break you lose your place), so I was hardly going to do it just to get advice, and second of all I don't think they had much knowledge about anything except the various requirements to get the "I did my Gen. Ed. at CC!" certificate I needed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:27 PM
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129: And yet you're here?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:29 PM
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And in fact, I hadn't given any consideration at all to the major I ended up transferring into; there was a common application for all the UCs, and at every single one of them except for the one I ended up attending I selected one major, and at the one I ended up attending I picked a different one that I knew nothing about for reasons that remain opaque to me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:30 PM
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131: Because typically here everyone agrees with me on the parts I consider desperately important, and the arguing is taking place on the fringe of the matter, which I can handle. It's really the key reason why I like discussions on Unfogged.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:32 PM
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At her school, every student needs an advisor to sign off on each term's courseload. It's a madhouse at the end of each term, when all the professors would rather be grading. So they figure out elaborate ways to push the advising off onto other department members, as far as I can tell, some of whom are whatever the academic advising equivalent to "criminally negligent" is.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:33 PM
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poly sci

I know so many things, man, you wouldn't believe.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:34 PM
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It's not quite clear to me why I didn't take a single political science course in college -- aside from political philosophy -- given that in grad school I wound up gravitating over to the poli sci department's courses as often as I could fit them in.

I was often struck, in college, by how small a selection of the available offerings one actually took.

I mean, in my major, I think I only took classes from 4 of the professors in the department.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:35 PM
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135: It's like being a polymath, but more applied than theoretical.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:36 PM
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47: I think that "90°" should be "180°". As written, it looks more uncomfortable than I remember it.

Re: college, mine was weird. I gather that most colleges require a major plus a broad base sampling all disciplines, partly to give people some chance to experiment with what they might like to major in but mainly to produce well-rounded, more-or-less-classically educated, Renaissance men and women, right? Mine didn't. My school divided up the whole of their undergraduate curriculum into three branches: liberal arts, social sciences, and math and engineering. (Those probably aren't the exact names.) You were required to take a major, a minor or a "cluster" of three to five closely related courses in each.

So before the end of my freshman year I was pretty sure I'd be majoring in English and taking clusters in political science and mathematical logic for the social sciences and math and engineering requirements, respectively. The political science eventually grew from a cluster into a minor and then a second major, and I took some foreign language courses that would have been sufficient to count as clusters (definitely one language, mayve even two) if I didn't already have my English major for the liberal arts requirement.

The problem is, those three branches of study are so broad that it was possible to almost completely avoid one branch or another if you want. You could have got by with a very statistical, number-crunching social sciences cluster, for example. Or you could have done what I did and took logic courses that were leaning far more towards the philosophy and epistemology side than the math-like side.

Long story short, I got very little math or science in college, and in hindsight I wish my college had required more and/or I had deliberately diversified. It's not a big deal, just something annoying about how even relatively on-top-of-things students need to be pushed. Not that AWB's students sound like that.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:38 PM
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Now we require all incoming first years to declare a major right off the bat. Because we're really clear on the difference between causation and correlation.

Correlation = causation. True fact!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:39 PM
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I was asked mere hours ago why I studied Russian. I muttered something politely brief and neutral but I guess the answer was: because I had no idea how the world beyond college works and thought "may as well study something I think is neato!" which actually turns out to be the truth about undergrad, so win. Sorta.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:41 PM
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I double majored in economics and philosophy. Each major convinced me that I should not pursue graduate work in the other.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:45 PM
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I think that "90°" should be "180°" [...] I got very little math or science in college

180° would have the penetrator doing a headstand.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:45 PM
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"may as well study something I think is neato!"

This was pretty much my decision-making process as an undergrad, too. But, in the absence of rational or careerist decision-making, at least I enjoyed what I did. I can't understand choosing something you actively dislike and won't find employment in.

One such student told me she hates reading and writing and thinking, but intends to be a famous magazine editor someday, probably at Vogue. I asked her if she had incredibly wealthy and powerful connections, and she doesn't. It just seemed like the most reasonable life-choice when picking a major. But at least her insane fantasy might tangentially be related to the major she signed up for!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:46 PM
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It's curious how while college years have become part of extended childhood (having fun, learning about yourself, exploration), simultaneously the norm of college coursework as preparing one for the workforce has won out over that of creating a well-rounded (UMC) citizen.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:47 PM
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Which would certainly win points from the judges for difficulty.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:47 PM
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142: Ah. Right. Duh. For some reason I read "doggy-style" as "woman on top".


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:48 PM
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I was often struck, in college, by how small a selection of the available offerings one actually took.

My college philosophy department (as well as the college overall) had distribution requirements -- certain number of courses in history of phil, in ethics, in ancient philosophy, etc., so you couldn't really get away with that entirely. But as Cyrus notes, even with distribution requirements, you can sometimes get away with clustering in closely-related areas. I think I took care of one of my two general ed requirements in history by taking an intellectual history (history of ideas) course, which was practically like taking a philosophy course.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:49 PM
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146: Because of your unusually flexible dogs?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:49 PM
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she hates reading and writing and thinking, but intends to be a famous magazine editor someday, probably at Vogue

Did you break it to her that Absolutely Fabulous wasn't a documentary?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:49 PM
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180 could work, but it would involve monkey bars


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:50 PM
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intends to be a famous magazine editor someday, probably at Vogue.

Someone should point out that "The Devil Wears Prada" was not a documentary.

"Animal House" probably came closer to reality.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:51 PM
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One such student told me she hates reading and writing and thinking, but intends to be a famous magazine editor someday, probably at Vogue.

A friend's . . . step-niece fits this description perfectly. But she does have powerful relatives, and so, with no credentials, she scored a very, very coveted internship at a very, very famous fashion mag this summer.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:51 PM
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148: Pugs and poodles are surprising like that.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:51 PM
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at a very, very famous fashion mag

Erotic Crochet Quarterly?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 1:56 PM
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My college philosophy department ... had distribution requirements -- ... so you couldn't really get away with that entirely.

That wasn't really my point. I was more thinking of the, "for every course you take there are at least 2-3 other that would be interesting that you aren't taking."

But I was never too attached to any one department. Not only did I double major but some of my favorite philosophy course were "intellectual history" through the history department.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:05 PM
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I was often struck, in college


Posted by: A Guest | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:12 PM
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155: Um, I must still be misunderstanding. I mean, you can only take so many courses per semester. And in my own case, anyway, certainly by junior year of college I was wanting to take more upper-level philosophy courses that built on what I'd studied already -- because it was interesting! -- so aside from completing the college-wide distribution requirements by taking, say, a course on Mahayana Buddhism and another on Dostoevsky and another on fin-de-siecle Vienna, I wasn't sampling widely in my own department by the last year or two.

Oh, also, in my college you pretty much had to finish in four years.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:14 PM
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and another on fin-de-siecle Vienna

You studied Falco?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:18 PM
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Hm. 22% of my classes were outside of my major areas. One each in French, linguistics, anthropology, and sociology. Two each in classics and history. Now that I've added them up, I'm surprised there were so many.


Posted by: A Guest | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:18 PM
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Um, I must still be misunderstanding. I mean, you can only take so many courses per semester.

That's okay, my point was utterly banal. I was just implying that there are always contingent factors involved in what courses one does or doesn't take because, if you're the kind of person who likes school, there are multiple choices which could each make sense.

So the exact selection will always be somewhat arbitrary.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:20 PM
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"doggy-style" as "woman on top"

Come to think, these aren't mutually exclusive. Cyrus, do I have you pegged?


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:25 PM
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It turns out I studied Russian for exactly the same reason Smearcase did.

intends to be a famous magazine editor someday, probably at Vogue

This is where I make one of those comments coyly intimating knowledge I can't share about fairly interesting story about high-up editor at famous not-Vogue fashion magazine. I suspect there's an Eat, Pray, Self-Indulge–style memoir coming out of it, though, so you'll know soon enough.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:26 PM
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Cyrus, do I have you pegged?

Heh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:26 PM
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Cyrus, do I have you pegged?

Live-blog it if you do.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:27 PM
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Fuck.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:27 PM
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My assumption was neither Ab Fab nor The Devil Wears Prada but The Hills, which at least is reality-based in a narrow sense. Maybe AWB's former student is being followed around by a crew of producers who will find it expedient to arrange for jobs at fashion magazines in the interest of Drama between FS and several other blonde people who look clonically like her. On the show, the concept of qualifications is not one with great urgency or weight.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:28 PM
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I can't help thinking of Ziggy Stardust era Bowie:

Cyrus, do I have you pegged?
The wedding cake is sta-a-ale
and I do not know if you came here to beg
But the motorcar is stalling and
the basement's very cold
I am feeling rubbery
and you are feeling bold:
I have brought you here to wa-a-ale.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:32 PM
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166: Good lord, I actually watched that shaw once. Could ... not ... look ... away. Frightening!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:35 PM
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135, 137: [polymath] Made me think through a plausible etymology of "polyester" for the first time (but it appears to be have come indirectly via "polymer").

I also like the internally-oxymoronic nature of "monopoly" (although it is etymologically incorrect).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:43 PM
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Also, the tophat and the car show the game pieces are completely out of scale with each other.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:44 PM
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Made me think through a plausible etymology of "polyester" for the first time

A macromolecule with lots of esters in it?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:46 PM
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168: things with no imaginable value as experiences sometimes turn into projects with me. I watched three seasons of The Hills and was prepared to watch the rest but it was only DVD, not streaming, and I forcibly disengaged. The best part of that was not hearing the theme song anymore.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:47 PM
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170: also it takes forever to finish a shirt with the iron.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:47 PM
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172: Wow! I found it hard to watch the 30-second segments they showed on The Soup.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:56 PM
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Also, the tophat and the car show the game pieces are completely out of scale with each other.

How do you know?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 2:59 PM
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Etiquette:
Crotch over ass, I'd say, just so you can see the person you're squeezing past. In the example of the low stadium seats, I second 23: I'd face the lower rows, so that I can be watched by the person behind me and so that I can watch the head in front of me.

Education:
Since I was 13 or so I felt compelled to study philosophy. I remember the "Should you go to graduate school for philosophy?" meeting where professors said, more or less, "Don't do grad school for philosophy unless there's nothing else you can see yourself doing", a requirement that fit me. Then I realized that although I could spend 8 hrs/day reading, taking notes, thinking, etc., I absolutely loathe writing. Or, more specifically, I loathe having to complete a piece of writing and am not proud of any of my writings (which were apparently good enough to earn me good marks). For each of the however many papers I wrote for each of the phil courses I took, I never did any rereads, never reviewed them after profs would edit them, and never submitted them to friends or others to edit. My perfectionism is stronger than my will, unfortunately.

I slightly regret moving from math major to math minor, but I doubt I'd enjoy a career involving high-level (especially creative-level) mathematics; I'd rather have the brainpower left at the end of the day to work on blogging or personal reading and writing. Now my career plan is: whatever George Scialabba did/does, enabling him to read and write w/o making a career of it. Some kind of low-level civil servant position, maybe with the Census, or something low-level in publishing? Ideally, somewhere far away from profits, war, status and prestige, competition... Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind working for a worker-owned or worker-managed something-or-other (factory, coop, etc.).


Posted by: Yrruk | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 3:03 PM
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Now my career plan is: whatever George Scialabba did/does, enabling him to read and write w/o making a career of it

Works in some capacity minding a building for Harvard, right? Not the easiest arrangement to come into.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 3:12 PM
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He's an assistant building superintendent. Doesn't seem like it would be impossible -- start buddying up to the Teamsters on your local campus, get a boiler certificate, learn to drive a forklift, then just keep applying as Facilities jobs open up, and if you play your cards right, you too could assist with the superintention of buildings.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 3:17 PM
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Christ, you people are depressing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 4:00 PM
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I'd say the depressing thing is that he wasted his time getting a Harvard degree to be an assistant building superintendent. I mean, it is Harvard, so presumably the cafeteria ladies all went to Yale or something, but still.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 4:04 PM
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176: Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind working for a worker-owned or worker-managed something-or-other (factory, coop, cafe, cafe etc.).

FTFY.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 4:10 PM
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180.1: Seems to imply more of a careerist perspective than I might have expected from you, Natilo.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 4:21 PM
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If you find yourself working in a coop, you might be a chicken.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 4:23 PM
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No one expects the careerist perspective of Natilo!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 4:40 PM
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I'm surprised, for one.


Posted by: Natilo's High School Guidance Counselor | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 4:46 PM
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If you find yourself working in a coupe, you might be a pizza delivery driver.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 4:49 PM
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In my experience, pizza delivery driver might or might not have a coupe, but all Chinese food drivers have a sedan. If I were David Brooks, I could get paid for padding that out a bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 4:51 PM
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What about Sino-American pizza delivery drivers?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:07 PM
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Sino-American pizza could be interesting.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:10 PM
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188: Something about how China is kicking our ass because they have more practical tools as evidenced by buying a Civic instead of an SUV or a Mustang.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:13 PM
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Sedan delivery is a job I know I'll keep / It sure was hard to find / Hard to find, hard to find a job


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:15 PM
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189: Sino-Italian pizza seems somehow less authentic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:17 PM
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180: Harvard is a pretty sweet place to work.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:22 PM
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I like my pizza like my ethnic stereotypes, cheesy and without anchovies.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:24 PM
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193: Why were the clerical and technical workers seemingly always on strike, then?

In other employment-related news, do you know what's not at all humiliating or dispiriting? Writing "catching up, here's my resume, let's have lunch" e-mails to people who probably remember one's name but not much else.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:25 PM
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This French pol prefers you face her:

http://www.aolnews.com/weird-news/article/la-petite-mort-french-politician-rachida-dati-mistakes-inflation-for-fellatio/19650483


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:26 PM
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181: FTFY

Holy crap! Is that what that means!? I've been reading a blog elsewhere on which people say (write) "FTFY" all the freakin' time, and the meaning wasn't apparent from any context. Sheesh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:27 PM
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Yeah, "Frenchies Talk Fellatio, Yessir!", I thought everybody knew that one.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:31 PM
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195.1: to get the rights they enjoy today?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:37 PM
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I've been reading a blog elsewhere on which people say (write) "FTFY" all the freakin' time, and the meaning wasn't apparent from any context. Sheesh. cursory googling.

FTFY!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:38 PM
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Speaking of Frenchies, I'm just back from 4 days in Paris. I remain unimpressed [although being stuck in a sports hall with the worst toilets in western europe probably didn't help]. Also, over-priced food and food of teh ming.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:40 PM
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Over-priced beer, I mean.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:40 PM
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199: If I recall correctly, the union's then-leadership was reduced to citing the "spending time together and singing songs" benefits of solidarity because they had nothing else to offer, but it's been a while and several university (and, presumably, union) administrations since then.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:41 PM
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You ate at historical-Chinese-cuisine-revival restaurants?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:43 PM
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and food of teh ming.

Obscure Chinese regional cuisine?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:44 PM
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pwnage stings


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:44 PM
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200: Oh, I didn't bother (obviously). Way over half the comments there are clearly throwaway comments, so I've been speed-reading it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:45 PM
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Way over half the comments there are clearly throwaway comments, so I've been speed-reading it.

In Wisconsin!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:46 PM
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14th def in Urban Dictionary, ttaM

verb, infinitive; to ming.
Present continuative tense: minging
Simple present tense: mings.

1. to smell badly
2. to be drunk (usu. used in past tense)
3. to be generally distasteful

This word is widely used in the North of England and Scotland.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:48 PM
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It's not my fault if the urban dictionary is rubbish. Anyway, the food was boggin', or bouffin' even. To adopt higher ranked terms from my native argot.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:56 PM
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Those apostrophes are instances of the quasi- Scots orthographic apostrophic cringe.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:57 PM
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Out of respect to the English who brought them the apostrophe?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:58 PM
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I am really happy with the image of ttaM, indignant Scotsman, standing at the Arc de Triomphe and saying "Right! It's all shite, innit?"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 5:58 PM
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The French, they are a funny race


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:00 PM
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196: I hope she said "it was a slip of the tongue." And then the wag said "As the actress said to the Bishop."


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:00 PM
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re: 213

Astride a motorised squat toilet.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:02 PM
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214: the most curious of races, in fact.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:04 PM
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OK, I know the stereotypes are 20 years old, in both directions, but let's just say that a Scotsman ragging on French food immediately suffers from a -30 point or so credibility gap.

Anyhow, IM roughly ten year out of date E there's definitely some crappy food in Paris, and bad coffee, but the mid to high end, non-ethnic stuff is still pretty incredible.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:07 PM
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I've been to Paris a few times in the past couple of years. Really, the stereotypes are a _long_ way out of date. This time I wasn't in central Paris, but nearer the périphérique and the bars and cafes were really pretty bad. Certainly no better on average than you'd find in any similar area of a British city. Of course, there's great food to be had, but the base line isn't all that.

Anyway, I was at a catered event, and it was easily the worst catering I've ever experienced.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:14 PM
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Of the holy fuck, I expect I'll get terrible food poisoning from this variety.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:16 PM
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Bah at punctuation.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:16 PM
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The ethnic food in Paris is great, better for a given price than french. Couscous, Merguez, random greek places....


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:19 PM
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I wasn't super impressed in Paris. It was fine, but Barcelona had better food.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:21 PM
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re: 222

Yeah, I had one decent meal in 4 days and it was precisely that.

re: 223

Shit, yes. I've never been to Barcelona, but I've certainly eaten consistently well in Spain, on a low budget, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:23 PM
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Anyhow, to keep up the local pride/food conversation, my extremely objective and not at all chauvinistic view is that LA has the best cheap -- that is, under $10 for a meal -- food anywhere in the Western world. On the other hand, on the whole we have fairly mediocre higher end food.

And now that I think of it, I do recall having a truly abysmally awful catered meal when I was in Paris, at a university function.

I don't think I've ever seen artisinal or gourmet haggis, but I'm sure that it exists somewhere. I made an awesome scotch egg (sans breadcrumbs) a few weeks ago.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:23 PM
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I'm experimenting with a more digressive style of commenting, btw. Expect randomness.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:24 PM
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225.1: oh you with the trucks. I don't actually think you're right, but I know why you think that.

On the other hand, hot enough for ya? ahahahahahahaha


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:25 PM
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LA does have excellent Scotch Eggs, at the Cat & Fiddle as well as possibly other places.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:25 PM
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re: 225

High-end Scottish food is much the same as high-end food anywhere. Good source ingredients handled in posh ways by chefs. It's not like Scotland has any shortage of top quality beef, lamb, game, seafood, or has a climate that makes producing good veg and fruit a problem.

Poor Scottish people eat much like I imagine poor American people do, though.

But I was actively insulted by the shit they served up to us in France. Much worse than student cafeteria food in Glasgow, never mind something that'd be dished out at a big sporting event to the athletes and officials.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:26 PM
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227.2: Why is it 108 there? Is everyone dead yet?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:27 PM
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But I was actively insulted by the shit they served up to us in France.

What did they serve that could be so insulting? A dish of cold gruel?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:28 PM
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230: 108 is pretty normal; I think it's a lot hotter than that in some places.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:28 PM
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It is 107, but it's a dry heat. Also, I haven't noticed it at all because I'm in an airconditioned high rise, and then will take my airconditioned car to my airconditioned home. Sucks for you, grandkids, but I'm doing great!

(Actually, we've had an incredibly pleasant summer so far, but September/early October is the one unbearable time of year here).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:30 PM
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re: 231

Congealed fish lasagne; given a desultory heating to around optimum bacterial growth temperature and then left to sit around for half an hour or so before it was handed out. Then, the next day, cold 'bolognese' that contained no meat, pasta boiled to the consistency of wet paper, and a sort of odd after taste of something really unpleasant. Although the bread and salad was perfectly adequate.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:31 PM
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September/early October is the one unbearable time of year here

Thus we see the tyranny of the Bowash corridor. In a just world, sunny SoCal would have summer break in September and October. It's actually cold in June.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:34 PM
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Congealed fish lasagne;

Oh. I am retroactively offended on your behalf.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:34 PM
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I wouldn't expect to walk into a random restaurant in Paris and eat well (as in any city with a massive population of undiscerning tourists), but you can still eat very good, reasonably-priced food there without much effort.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:36 PM
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235 -- seriously. In a just world, everyone in Southern California would be on vacation right now. I've often fantasized about just decamping to Maine every September and snapping up a summer rental that the east coasters have abandoned. The notion of June/July/August as summer is purely a tyrrany imposed by our eastern colonial overlords.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:38 PM
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I'm not sure I've ever had fish lasagne, but it sure doesn't sound good.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:40 PM
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FWIW, I like the French, I otherwise had a great time. But am more convinced even than before that Paris isn't a very attractive city compared to many others in Europe.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:50 PM
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Paris has some pretty serious gradients-- Montrouge and Villejuif are OK, Defense is business-y, and lots of the rest especially the north seems like Chicago's south side with fewer firearms.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:52 PM
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Today was unbelievable. High of 80. Until now it's either been in the 90s or higher, or it's been rainy. Everyone was sort of dazed with the unexpected beauty of the day.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 6:54 PM
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235: always thought of June gloom as a payback for the preceding Winter's Santa Anas.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:02 PM
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In attempting to track down a cite for Miss Manners' views on the OP* and stumbled upon this 1995 Ron Roosenbaum article in the NY Times Magazine on the Ivy/Seven Sisters nude profile picture scandal (I imagine this may have come up here but a cursory search did not find it in the archives--it was new to me). Basically from ~1940s to ~1970s incoming freshmen at Harvard, Yale, Wellesley and some other schools were photographed in the nude, some for a dubious scientific project run by William Herbert Sheldon re: his idea of somatotypes. Interesting stuff. You get Camille Paglia in her element:

"I'm very interested in somatotypes," she said. "I constantly use the term in my work. The word 'ectomorph' is used repeatedly in 'Sexual Personae' about Spenser's Apollonian angels. That's one of the things I'm trying to do: to reconsider these classification schemes, to rescue them from their tainting by Nazi ideology. It's always been a part of classicism. It's sort of like we've lost the old curiosity about physical characteristics, physical differences. And I maintain it's bourgeois prudery. "
and Miss Manners who was photographed at Wellesley:
"THERE'S A TREMENDOUS LESSON HERE," MISS Manners declares. "Which is that one should have sympathy and tolerance for respectable women from whose past naked pictures suddenly show up. One should think of the many times where some woman becomes prominent like Marilyn Monroe and suddenly there are nude pictures in her past. Shouldn't we be a little less condemning of someone in that position?"

*I got indirect confirmation of her preference for "ass" as she ruefully advises of latecomers, "Stabbing violators in the backside under cover of darkness only adds to the distractions it seeks to eliminate."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:02 PM
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Today was very nice. Drizzle and 65 degrees. I'm not being sarcastic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:03 PM
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245: Yes, I loved it. And the fucking stinkerinos have diminished greatly since last week.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:05 PM
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congealed fish lasagne

That's just sadism.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:10 PM
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the fucking stinkerinos have diminished greatly since last week
new alt text?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:20 PM
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The Spoonerized version would be snappy, too!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:23 PM
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stucking finkerinos?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:25 PM
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finking stuckerinos


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:28 PM
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I'm just back from 4 days in Paris. I remain unimpressed.

Vous le faîtes faux.


Posted by: M. Crabe | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:36 PM
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the fucking stinkerinos have diminished greatly since last week

They figured if the Times was writing about it, the trend must be over.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:37 PM
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Dave himinshed, naturally.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:37 PM
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224: Miss Manners has sympathy for a respectable woman, but for a guy who had a zipper malfunction in the Kroger....


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:39 PM
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253: There may well be geographical variations in their peak. They were out-of-control at my place last Wednesday and Thursday and then tailed off from there.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 7:42 PM
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...cursory googling.

I persisted in ignorance of the meaning of "FTFY" partly out of indolence and partly out of wanting to believe that it stood for "Fuck the fucking Yankees".


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 9:42 PM
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So, who won the football game anyway?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-27-10 10:45 PM
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OK, I know the stereotypes are 20 years old, in both directions, but let's just say that a Scotsman ragging on French food immediately suffers from a -30 point or so credibility gap.

It isn't a fair comparison, but the most consistently good week of food I can remember having while traveling was in Edinburgh, and everything I've ever eaten in Paris was mediocre, so my intuitions run the other way on this issue. (The restaurants in Edinburgh were all picked by someone very familiar with the city, whereas everything I've eaten in Paris was chosen by either the "this place looks reasonable and not too touristy, let's try it" or the "I'm too tired to search for good food, let's stumble into this place" method, which is why it isn't fair.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 12:51 AM
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I think the consistently best I've had was probably Granada. Rome was very inconsistent but the best food I had there was really excellent, including one cheap touristy looking place with plastic tables and laminated menus with pictures, where the food was outstanding.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 4:50 AM
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Bad French food can be abysmal. I once spent a week being cooked for by an Air France stewardess, who, true to her trade, simply reheated things. Horrible.

I've eaten very well in the US - especially California - and in Italy. And everywhere east of the Indus of course.
The worst food in the world, however, is in Turkey. How bad is it? Basically, as far as I can tell, every cook working in Turkey is working there because he was too incompetent, drunk, stupid and/or insanitary to get a job as an assistant in a kebab van in another, more prosperous country. It's so bad that Turks go on gourmet holidays to Russia.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 6:13 AM
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I found food in Spain so terrible that I consistently ate at McDonald's. The very worst spaghetti I've ever had was in Italy, though the food there is in general pretty good.

Cheap restaurant food in the US is in general pretty great, which makes it mysterious to me that chains survive. The very cheapest chains, like McDonald's, makes sense, because economies of scale make it so cheap to eat there. But otherwise, for every chain restaurant there's a local restaurant in the same category that's better and cheaper. I'm sure that somewhere out there there's a bar-and-grill in the US that has worse hamburgers than TGI Friday's, or Applebee's, but I've never eaten at it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:30 AM
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re: 261

Heh. I had a couple of really decent meals in Turkey, but they were basically mezze and bread. The bread was amazing, though. Everything else seemed to be some variation of 'gloopy random stuff stewed with spices and served in a little metal bowl', but.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:34 AM
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I had three decent meals in Turkey. One was Italian. One was home-cooked. One was a banana.

Agree that the bread wasn't bad. Your description of everything else is spot on, though.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:42 AM
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Once sort of mid-market place in the holiday resort we were in did just about the best flat bread I've ever had. I don't know what the proper term for it is, but it was like a lighter nan, with sesame on it. The rest of the meal was so-so, but the bread was as good as any I've had.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:44 AM
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Pide?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 8:49 AM
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I'd guess lavaş, but I was also a pretty happy eater in Turkey. I was mostly on a dig where we had one guy cooking eggplant over a single outdoor gas jet for two meals a day, but the bread was definitely good and the breakfasts and tea suited me. I never tried to eat fancy food or anything since I had no money. The fish in the seaside towns was amazing.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 9:03 AM
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re: 266

Sounds right, googling.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-28-10 9:05 AM
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I was in Paris just for one night since the alitalia had fucked up our flight to Florence, so I bought a guidebook at the airport and found us a hotel in the marais. My older daughter was just 5 months so I sent my husband out to buy a sandwich at the nearest place he could find. And god help me it was the best fucking sandwich I've ever eaten, better than crab cake sandwiches from the church group at the Maryland state fair. Ok, maybe not better than pulled pork, but that's like a separate food category. And we were jetlagged and wandered around, and everyone was nice to us, and there were marrons glacé shining in the window of the sweet shops like glistening earth made into air, and they were the best things ever. And every random place we stopped had incredibly delicious things. It was only 24 hours though, maybe they were softening us uo for the pain.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:04 AM
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269: The Marais is largely a perfect place to wander, though. My friends' apartment is on the border of what you'd call Marais and what you'd call Bastille. Two of the finest markets in Paris are within spitting distance, one of the very best bakeries, one of the very best cheese shops, many small, inexpensive, but perfect restaurants, and mostly apart from Paris's Disney-level tourist influx. I'd live in that neighborhood in a hot second.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:10 AM
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I had a couple of really decent meals in Britain, but mostly got fast food. The fast-food baguettes were amazing, though.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:16 AM
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Yeah, if you are down deep in the 13th arrondisement*, not so much with the lovely patisserie, and the sandwiches are all prepacked with leathery ham and that sort of over-sweet bread slightly stale I associate with packaged sandwiches in countries where the fresh bread is excellent but the bread bought in packets totally crap.*

* looking at wiki there are actually some quite cool things around there, but we didn't see 'em in our wanderings.
** Czech Republic is like this. Ordinary fresh bread is really good, but the toastovy chleb and the like is shite.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-29-10 8:18 AM
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