Re: Thursday Puzzler

1

The water gets tired and you need to replace it with younger, more active water?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 12:59 PM
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You don't drain it completely, so those few hot water molecules that remain get diluted, making the resulting mixture much warmer.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:01 PM
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Dark Matter. Astronomers won't find where all the extra gravity is coming from until they knock it off with the search for distant galaxies and start looking in bathroom windows.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:02 PM
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Oops.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:02 PM
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Here's my guess:

In normal use you have hot water exiting from (near) the top of the tank. So, even though the water will circulate it's still possible to have sediment at the bottom of the tank that never gets drained.

That sediment acts as insulation on the heating elements (at the bottom of the tank).

Draining the water from the bottom (as you did) could well remove more sediment than normal use would.

But that's just speculation.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:06 PM
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I was messing around with an explanation like that, but I can't make myself buy the 'sediment acts as insulation' step. On the other hand, the whole thing seems bizarre to me, so maybe that bit works.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:08 PM
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5 is better than anything I've come up with.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:09 PM
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8

Invisible sediment?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:11 PM
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All the instructions I'm finding with the Google say the first gallon or so of water coming out should look really cloudy if sediment is coming out.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:13 PM
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Water is harder to boil when it has stuff dissolved in it, right? Could that possibly make a difference?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:13 PM
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Part of the problem is that I don't know how a water heater works. Under the simplest assumption -- big tank, heating element at bottom, cold water pipe in, hot water pipe out -- I've got no real idea. If there's some reason why the water would circulate through or past the heating element in an additional pipe or system of pipes, sediment could be blocking that internal pipe and keeping the water from getting hot without there being all that much sediment by volume.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:13 PM
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10: It's harder to boil, but not harder to heat, right? It just has a higher boiling point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:14 PM
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10: If it boils, your water heater is set to high. Which makes me wonder if maybe somebody didn't accidentally raise the temperature of the water heater while this was happening.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:14 PM
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12: That's what I'd say.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:14 PM
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9: Yeah, they all said it should look rusty at the beginning. But it definitely ran clear the whole time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:15 PM
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13: It was set to the max before we drained it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:16 PM
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Why didn't you ask the plumber about this while having the problem taken care of?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:18 PM
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Right just harder to boil not harder to heat. I was imagining something like the heater working by boiling stuff at the bottom and the boiling process causing the liquid to circulate so that everything got heated rather than just the bottom of the tank.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:19 PM
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I wasn't around. And Jammies doesn't enjoy entangling strangers into intense questioning the way I do.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:19 PM
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18: If water heaters were designed by the Society to Scald Children, that is how they would work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:20 PM
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21


this page makes sense:

Efficiency drops as heat transfer surfaces covered with sediment


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:21 PM
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22

If 21's the explanation, I think you just have to assume that you had oddly invisible sediment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:23 PM
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I feel like spurious explanations of inscrutable things always involve the words "toxins" and "enzymes" so I'll throw those in for my contribution.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:23 PM
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Hey, broken valve! Did you lose the first couple gallons of drainage onto the basement floor when the valve broke? Maybe that was where all the sediment went?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:24 PM
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I buy the explanation in 21.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:24 PM
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The pressure release valve was at the top, so nothing leaked out when it broke. It just whistled. And we don't even have a basement. (The water heater is in the attic, which makes Jammies panicky, which is why it's moving to the ground floor at least when we add on.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:26 PM
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I think it's the placebo effect.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:27 PM
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The water heater is in the attic, which makes Jammies panicky

Having once had a water heater that somehow popped a gasket and emptied itself all over the floor like a vindictive cat in Stanley's basement, I share that concern.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:29 PM
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I feel like spurious explanations of inscrutable things always involve the words "toxins" and "enzymes" so I'll throw those in for my contribution.

I was very polite during a conversation last night about a month-long cleanse that a friend was completing, because of those dang toxins, to treat a bunch of very real nausea problems that she's had for the last six months or so. She even had an operation at some point. Then she went to a wellness clinic which diagnosed an utterly insane list of allergies, and put her on this cleanse, and she says it worked, and I had nothing to say.

But I swear, allergies are the new hocus-pocus. I'm not denying they are sometimes very real and dangerous, but I don't buy 90% of the diagnoses.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:30 PM
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30

Which is why you hide peanuts all around the care center.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:31 PM
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31

Hey, I'm just trying to re-create the veldt there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:32 PM
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I guess the only thing I can think of is that your sediment became agitated enough that it wasn't clearly visible when it came out. Were you fooling around with the heater a lot before you actually drained it?

Or maybe there just wasn't that much sediment in the first place and your perception of increased efficiency is based on psychology rather than thermodynamics.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:36 PM
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31 ...as opposed to the harsh environment the Jews faced on the Borschdt Veldt.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:38 PM
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Or maybe there just wasn't that much sediment in the first place and your perception of increased efficiency is based on psychology rather than thermodynamics.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:41 PM
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35

I assume 34 is italicized because it is so profound.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:45 PM
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36

34, 35 Testing to see if italics enhances the placebo effect.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:49 PM
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37

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DADT repeal failed in the Senate.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:50 PM
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38

In the spirit of 23, I'm saying it has something to do with negative ions.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:50 PM
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39

In an impassioned, impromptu speech, Ms. Collins complained that she wanted to vote in favor of the bill but could not do so without an agreement on the process first.

Am I only one overcome with compassion for Ms. Collins' plight?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:52 PM
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40

You and the tiny tiny string quartet I hear playing for her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:53 PM
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41

The quartet is tiny enough to be invisible in water but big enough to interfer with a heating element.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:54 PM
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42

41: Because there wasn't a good conductor.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 1:57 PM
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43

My house's hot water heater has adequate hot water for probably 2.5 hot showers. However, I suspect (at least some of) my housemates and our frequent guests tend to open the hot water knob* all the way from the start.

I want to shout it from the rooftops: don't do this! turn up the hot water just a little! then modulate that with cold water until it's a comfortable temperature! then increase the pressure on both until you have sufficent pressure to make the showerhead kick on!

Um, not that this is a pet peeve or something.

*separate hot and cold knobs in our case


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:00 PM
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40: My sediments exactly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:00 PM
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42: My only regret is that I didn't think of adding that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:08 PM
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42: Brilliant! I'm going to be laughing about this all day.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:10 PM
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joke/conductors/string-quartets-not-having/Norman Lebrecht

I don't have the energy. It might be in there somewhere.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:12 PM
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Ultimately, Majority Leader Harry Reid called for the vote without having reached a procedural agreement with moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who supports repeal but wanted greater openness for the process of amending and passing the bill. Collins voted aye on the measure, but other Republicans who support repeal but had voiced similar procedural concerns -- Sens. Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowski -- voted no.

I guess I shouldn't have picked on Ms.Collins as she apparently did vote for it.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:13 PM
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49

Whoops. Sorry, Sen. C.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:16 PM
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50

None of this actually makes any sense to me -- but I'm guessing that a few moderate Republicans in "gay-friendly" states, were given permission to vote for the repeal as long as their vote wouldn't cause the repeal to pass.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:20 PM
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When's Brown up for re-election? That seems like a vote you could hang around his neck like a dead albatross if it's soon. He doesn't have a full six year term, or does he?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:22 PM
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On looking it up, 2012. That's close enough for people to remember it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:28 PM
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53

48,49: But my understanding is that she only voted that way after it was clear it was going to lose. So a freebie. The day her vote is an actual deciding one I will consider tempering my skepticism.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:29 PM
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54

And yes to accolades for 42. Pretend 44 never happened.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:30 PM
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And thank God that real wingnut didn't win in Alaska; think how bad it would have been if he had.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:32 PM
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55: Murkowski is actually the puzzler here for me -- she doesn't need to be pretend to be pro-gay, does she? So, why the charade?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:35 PM
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So I guess amendments are something fought over as proxies for number of chances at taking control of the debate (poison pills and other more complicated strategies), and due to excessive immersion in the system Collins thinks it's not insane to view them as proxies for "openness," even though the issue is clear-cut. Good on her for voting yes anyway, I suppose.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:38 PM
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The goal of everything that every Republican in national office does, if it doesn't interfere with tax cuts to the rich, is to put a Republican in the White House in 2013.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:39 PM
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59

58: Because that will lead to more tax cuts for the rich!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:40 PM
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60

It's the great circle of oligarchy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:42 PM
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61

... and everyone has a share.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:43 PM
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Andrew Sullivan:
Now, Collins and Lieberman say they will bring a DADT repeal vote to the floor as a stand-alone measure, which would require House action one more time.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 2:48 PM
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As has already been implied above, water heaters don't boil water. The water that comes out is bloody hot, but it's 60 degrees C, not 100.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 3:05 PM
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Every response to the DADT vote I try to type descends into foam and rancor and doesn't accomplish a damned thing. I sure am glad to learn my close friend who got home last year from a career that included a tour in Iraq and a tour in Afghanistan is more dangerous to the military than the people he was fighting. Christ. He was in actual real-bullets-real-death combat in THEIR WARS and they care more about THIS? If they're trying to kill us all off with ire-related high blood pressure I think it's fucking working.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 3:09 PM
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58: But we fooled them by voting one in there already. So now the Senate has voted down a military spending bill to block repeal of DADT, blocked aid to 9/11 workers, are heaping untold misery on millions to protect the wealth of the wealthiest and have declared their intent to thwart the agenda of the president, who himself bows to their demands while scolding his supporters. And the necessity of a 60-vote majority is the Senate is just accepted as a given, and if you point out the obvious objective truth that Senate Republicans are enemies of democracy, you're a radical partisan socialist hippie America-hating freak. On the bright side, my children will grow up with no illusions about the country they live in.

To the OP, these are good water heaters. Even the tanks are invisible.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 3:16 PM
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DADT aside, I'm fine with not having a military spending bill.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 3:19 PM
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So am I.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 3:25 PM
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68

As has already been implied above, water heaters don't boil water. The water that comes out is bloody hot, but it's 60 degrees C, not 100.

It would be sort of funny to turn on your faucets and just have steam come out though, wouldn't it?

Anyway, don't most water heaters allow you to set the temp? (Not all the way to boiling, but they aren't fixed at 60.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 3:33 PM
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Huh, Manchin voted no, too?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 4:19 PM
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70: and put a bullet in cap and trade. Literally, he shot it. For a commercial.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 4:29 PM
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(a book printed with the title, not the abstract concept)


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 4:34 PM
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So, I have an ask the mineshaft that may be of interest. I just accepted a job as trustee of a new charitable foundation which will give between $80-$100,000 per year. There are 3 other trustees, all of whom are roughly speaking of median Mineshaft political and social views. No formal restrictions whatsoever on giving, but (a) it needs to go to a 501(c)(3) organization under US tax law; (b) the donor had ties to Southern California, Iowa, and New York, and (c) I think everyone involved would prefer the money not go to some megacharity where the incremental dollar spent would have little impact. Given a slate that blank, what would you choose?

(Ordinarily, I pretend to be the gay lead singer of a 70s/80s metal band here, but am seeking a mild form of presidentiality on this one).


Posted by: Andrew Jackson's Duelling Scar | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 4:45 PM
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Mazel tov, AJ's DS. I can think of a bunch of activist-type organizations in L.A. -- basically my recommendation would come down to seeing what these guys do and cherry-picking the ones you like best.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 4:59 PM
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re: 68

Yes, ours was adjusted down recently from 60 to 55 as our plumber recommended it [because of a pump fitting]. But they are usually 60'ish, I think.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 5:03 PM
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||

Westboro continues to bring the classy.

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 5:08 PM
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It would be sort of funny to turn on your faucets and just have steam come out though, wouldn't it?

My grandmother's ritzy apartment had three faucets in the kitchen: cold, hot, and boiling.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 5:13 PM
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I don't know anything about them but what I read in the papers, but Harlem Children's Zone? Or some similar education support for poor children thing?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 5:28 PM
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77: Ooh, I vote for that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 5:32 PM
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Given a slate that blank, what would you choose?

Holy smokes, that IS a blank slate.

In California, I think Phill Wilson and his work through the Black AIDS Institute is pretty darn amazing.

I know I've mentioned LIFETIME before; they coordinate some wonderfully determined and stubborn in-your-face organizing and personal testimony from low-income moms who want to go to college while on welfare. Probably too far north, though...?

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is also a remarkable little (ish) group. Here's info some of their members and a nice overview of their executive director.

I know so many groups in NY that I could not possibly narrow it down. But one of my biases is that the forgotten upstate (really, everything outside of NYC) desperately needs attention and even a $20K grant to the right grassroots community group could feel meaningful.

The only group in that neck of the woods that I can think of right now is a local affiliate of the national Ways to Work program, which gives low-income families loans to purchase a used car. They're in Rochester.

N.b.: I haven't had personal contact with these groups in several years, and I never had the kind of relationship with them in which I was reviewing audits or financial statements. My recommendations are based on: a) Firsthand observation of their work, b) personal interaction with organizational staff members/constituents, and c) their status/recognition within their own communities and as recognized by outside awards and funders.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 5:37 PM
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75: The Phelps family is pretty long-lived for a group that deliberately antagonizes people with sniper and munitions training.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 5:38 PM
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72: No matter how many children are suffering in Harlem, if you allow a penny of that money to leave the state of California, the terrorists will win.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 5:39 PM
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||

My daughter is wiggling her first loose baby tooth. I told her I didn't want her to lose her baby teeth because then she wouldn't be a baby any more.

"But I don't want to be a baby."
"That's okay. But you'll always be my baby."
"Even when I'm a grownup?"
"Even when you're a grownup."
"But you'll probably be dead by then."

|


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 5:41 PM
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She has plans.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:05 PM
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Last draft:
"Then (yz) must be equal to 1."
Dr. Geebie's comments: Needs justification.

New draft:
"Then, in order for this to be true, (yz) must be 1."
Dr. Geebie: ...


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:07 PM
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83: You have no idea. She went on, unprompted, to describe a previous conversation this way:

"Mom said that when she died, she would leave all her money to me and [brother]. But you said no, that she'd leave her money to you. But she said you're older than she is and you're going to die first."

I have no recollection of this conversation, but she obviously didn't invent it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:11 PM
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65: So now the Senate has voted down a military spending bill to block repeal of DADT, blocked aid to 9/11 workers

I can't suss out their reasons for these things. I know it's available to suppose that they're complete assholes (tm), but it sometimes sounds as though they feel they're really in the right, and I don't get that.

With the 9/11 health care bill, sure, the line seems to be purely and simply that it must be funded: but it is/was funded, by closing a tax loophole for off-shore something or other.

On DADT? Well, there are a lot of other things included in the defense appropriations bill, and I gather some of them are deemed troublesome; DADT was essentially added on under the theory that a person couldn't nix the entire bill. I confess I just haven't followed Collins's objections about amendment procedures. I have a horrible headache again today, so am thinking very slowly, I'm afraid.

1. Senate rules reform: the filibuster, supermajority
2. Construct a narrative about Republicans' dire hatefulness, and repeat it without mercy.
3. Victory?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:25 PM
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I can't suss out their reasons for these things.

They're evil and full of hatred?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:28 PM
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Sorry, pf, I didn't mean to step by your comment; I didn't preview.

Interesting how much of dying talk kids pick up on.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:30 PM
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87: That's the explanation one doesn't want to fall back on. rumor has it that many of them are nice and fine people, personally. Are they just completely disconnected from reality, the realities that follow from their actions and positions? Do we need to require them to put in a certain number of hours of community service among the less fortunate?

I don't know how to talk to people like this.

I might say that I'm always really interested in former Republicans/conservatives who have changed direction and are now Democracts/liberals. Balloon Juice has a couple of those, but that place is such a screaming match that it's hard to ask a simple question.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:36 PM
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With the 9/11 health care bill, sure, the line seems to be purely and simply that it must be funded: but it is/was funded, by closing a tax loophole for off-shore something or other.

Closing a tax loophole is coastal-liberal-speak for TAX INCREASE, and tax increases are verboten. When Republicans say they want something to be funded (not an objection that I think should be taken especially seriously, since they're happy to drop it whenever the something in question is something they want), they mean offset by cuts in non-defense discretionary spending.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:39 PM
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rumor has it that many of them are nice and fine people, personally

I've heard the same thing about McMegan.

More seriously, being a nice and fine person personally isn't incompatible with being evil and full of hatred. A lot of people are good at compartmentalizing.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:42 PM
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91: Well, we have a national crisis of ethics. Or a moral crisis. Whatever. I am trying to think seriously about how to address this, and I'm not getting very far.

90: they mean offset by cuts in non-defense discretionary spending

I know.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:46 PM
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OT: The PRC has only one time zone? Where's M/tch, and why didn't he tell me about this?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:48 PM
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cuts in non-defense discretionary spending

But not things like subsidies for agriculture or energy (or than hippie alternative energy) or resource extraction, because those benefit rich white people in rural states.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 6:57 PM
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93: The Chinese government can be a huge asshole when it wants uniformity.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:00 PM
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93: What does Mitch know about China?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:12 PM
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93: Comrade, we are all waiting patiently for M/tch to enlighten us. Please join us.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:16 PM
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Further: I am trying to think seriously about how to address this, and I'm not getting very far

1. Shunning.

What do you do when you're dealing with people who are essentially, let's say, sociopaths? That's not quite right: what are they? They have no moral compass. They are dedicated to the well-being of the well off, whose well-being is already quite secure.

You know, people don't normally go into that sort of amoral mode unless they feel vitally threatened; since the well-off aren't vitally threatened (right?), they're operating in a ...

I can't complete the sentence.

Well, anyway. We have utter class warfare.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:17 PM
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Even in the face of the DADT thing, this seems to be by far the most depressing news of the day:

E.P.A. Delays Tougher Rules On Emissions
The Obama administration is retreating on long-delayed environmental regulations -- new rules governing smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers -- as it adjusts to a changed political dynamic in Washington with a more muscular Republican opposition.

Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:19 PM
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We have utter class warfare.

They don't come classier than mine.


Posted by: Vain Cow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:19 PM
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I misread that. Nevermind.


Posted by: Vain Cow | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:20 PM
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They are dedicated to the well-being of the well off, whose well-being is already quite secure.

They're defending the interests of those to whom they owe their power and their careers. It's not mysterious. (It's not even mysterious when the Democrats do the same damn thing, although in some ways it's even more infuriating.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:22 PM
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103

I got into another argument with a scientist about global warming tonight. I'm starting to worry that denialism is pervasive among non-climate-expert physicists. Or that people enjoy watching me go apoplectic.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:24 PM
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101: you're so vain/you probably think this song is/scored for cowbells


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:24 PM
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The only water heaters I've ever seen are the little open gas flame ones where flames shoot up whenever you turn the hot water on. They don't work too well but they are sort of fun to play with.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:27 PM
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102: Right. I forgot to include in my to-do list in 86:

1.2: Campaign finance reform.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:28 PM
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103: What exactly was the nature of the denialism? I'm very sympathetic to arguments of the sort "we're never going to get our act together enough to meaningfully curb emissions globally, so realistically it's mitigation or bust". Which has gotten me lumped in with the denialists in arguments here in the past.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:29 PM
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106: okay, right. My point was that I don't think you need to delve into psychoanalysis to explain it.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:31 PM
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103: Or that people enjoy watching me go apoplectic.

You should probably expand that to "mammals" unless the mouse has done you a solid lately.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:33 PM
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||

I chopped up fruit for the Jimmy Pongo recommended fruitcake and have started it soaking.

Oh my that's a lot of dried fruit, it will feel like a waste if the fruitcake doesn't turn out but, on the other hand, seeing how good the fruit looks I don't see how it can turn out too badly (on the third hand I've already deviated from the recipe in a couple of ways, and I wonder vaguely, if that's a bad idea since I've never made fruitcake before but I'm just not inclined to follow recipes to the letter).

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:34 PM
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103 My parents had to calm me down last Christmas when my uncle, the very nice atheist lefty geological chemist, started explaining how global warming is all a scam. My favorite argument 'animals and other natural processes produce x amount of carbon a year, the CO2 emitted as a result of human activity is only a minuscule portion of that, it can't be having any significant effect on atmospheric carbon levels' and trying to explain net vs. gross carbon emissions. And look, it's snowing, in Poland, in late December! I ask you, what global warming?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:34 PM
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I don't think you need to delve into psychoanalysis to explain it

I know there are local, contingent, political reasons for the Republican stance, but I honestly think that when you get to the point of denying medical funding for 9/11 workers and victims -- not to mention denying extension of unemployment insurance payments -- you've gone off the deep end. There is something wrong with you.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:37 PM
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107: No, this was the "we don't know if the warming we're seeing is really from CO2, it could be natural, blah blah blah cycles, CO2 lags temperature, mumble sun mumble Little Ice Age" variety.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:40 PM
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My grandmother's ritzy apartment had three faucets in the kitchen: cold, hot, and boiling.

At the Vanderbilts' mansion in Newport, the tub in the master bath had two sets of faucets: one for regular water, hot and cold, and one for ocean water.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:40 PM
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||

I'm pretty sure this is the greatest thing in history, but I wish I understood what it did.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:47 PM
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115: That's what she said.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:50 PM
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115: be more specific? Just landing at a search screen


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:50 PM
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IF you dno't keep waterheater warm enough it can grow legioneers disease.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:51 PM
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118: And water heaters don't get coverage under Obama's health care reform.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:52 PM
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117: no jerky blaster?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:52 PM
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But that's always the question, isn't it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:54 PM
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115: I love that there's a "Product Q&A" tab, but I really wish it included "Q: What the hell is a jerky blaster, and why do I need it to be cordless?"


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:54 PM
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Sadly, No!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:55 PM
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122: you can also download the product manual, which is only slightly more helpful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:56 PM
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• ALWAYS dress properly, keeping jewelry, loose clothing and long hair away from moving parts.

Directions for Making Jerky:
1. Install the large stainless steel washer (#2), plunger piston (#3), small stainless steel washer (#4) on to the propulsion rod with screw (#5) provided.
2. Install the barrel (#6) to the plunger assembly (#1).
3. Hold handle and pull the propulsion rod backwards to its limit, then fit the charged battery into the tool's
battery base.
3. Pull propulsion rod back until in the fully retracted position.
4. Wet hand and form a log with the mixture and drop log into the barrel.
5. Adjust the speed control knob (see below) on the top of the unit for desired speed of dispensing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:58 PM
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Auto pressure let-off dispenses meat only when user wants to

Thank god. Jerky incontinence, that silent foe, at last is vanquished!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:58 PM
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I edited the instructions for clarity.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:58 PM
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How fast do you want your jerky dispensed?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 7:59 PM
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Premature ejerkulation is nothing o be ashamed of.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:00 PM
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O, be ashamed of jerky.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:02 PM
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I"m just glad that it has a comfortable soft-touch grip. There's nothing worse than crippling hand pain when you're trying to blast some jerky.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:02 PM
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The worst is if you propel the rod back too far.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:05 PM
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130: I really don't think that's how the carol goes, Moby.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:05 PM
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126: Previous versions required jerky making on a strict schedule.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:07 PM
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If jerky blasting persists for four jours
or more, seek medical attention stoners for help with that.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:10 PM
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Er... "hours"


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:11 PM
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An older couple blasts jerky at the sunset from adjacent bathtubs filled with turkey, bison or venison and their favorite jerky seasoning.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:25 PM
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If it persists for four jours then medical attention is long overdue.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:26 PM
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110: Fruitcake, hooray!

We're not making it this year, so I'm somehow glad that you are. You can do pretty much whatever you want with the dried fruit and nut portion. The batter might be fussier, but as long as you don't make chemically significant changes, you should be fine. Seriously, though, be sure to bake it thoroughly. If it's dry, a little brandy will freshen that right up.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:36 PM
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How about putting the dried fruit in a bowl, the nuts in another, and the brandy in a glass. Then you can have a regular snack.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 8:42 PM
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Bones this week is some sort of Veronica Mars reunion show.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 9:10 PM
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I can now look forward to many hours of joy, calling Northern Industrial to ask if they have an 8-lb Horizontal Stuffer. "Well, why don't you let him out?!"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 9:14 PM
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34 5/8 inches long without tubes...laydeez.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 9:15 PM
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140: Harder to slice that way.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 9:48 PM
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Sifu downloaded the cordless jerky blaster instruction manual and read it for us! Things like this make me want to pat him on the head. (Un?)fortunately he's about a foot taller than me.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 10:17 PM
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What do you do when you're dealing with people who are essentially, let's say, sociopaths? That's not quite right: what are they? They have no moral compass. They are dedicated to the well-being of the well off, whose well-being is already quite secure.

You know, people don't normally go into that sort of amoral mode unless they feel vitally threatened; since the well-off aren't vitally threatened (right?), they're operating in a ...

...context of economic rationality.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 9-10 10:56 PM
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they're operating in a ...

...context of economic rationality.

But that sort of begs the question.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 12:52 AM
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rumor has it that many of them are nice and fine people, personally. Are they just completely disconnected from reality, the realities that follow from their actions and positions?

Back in undergrad I spent a fair amount of time among social conservatives, as well as among right-libertarians as I was at that time, and I think one important thing to remember is just how tribal politics is. This is, perhaps counterintuitively, even moreso for the few who obsess over it; this just means they/we have more rationalizations available to support Our Team.

And when you're talking about right-wing economic policy, there've been about a million ph.d-hours of work poured into contructing plausible arguments in favor of why they're actually better for everyone. From a stepwise, there-from-here point of view, it's entirely reasonable to end up nodding along to Man/kiw et al.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 4:47 AM
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As for DADT &c, I think part of it is that full public recognition of non-heterosexuals genuinely *is* a threat to the hegemony of a certain worldview about How Life Is And Must Be. I think the irony here is that, as others have pointed out, things like gay-marriage are perhaps the best chance for conservatives to deradicalize the implications of this shift away from a single unified model the life-course.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 4:52 AM
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||
Upsetting, but not too surprising.
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 6:51 AM
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Way upthread, but thanks K-Sky and Witt (I was hoping for some Witt advice, in particular). Super helpful.


Posted by: Andrew Jackson's Duelling Scar | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 10:49 AM
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Now that the Thursday Puzzler's been solved, how about a Friday Puzzler? How do I get my four-year-old to stop pushing and hitting other kids in pre-school? It's been going on for months, and honest to god I have absolutely no clue what to do about it. He's on the verge of being thrown out of the pre-school.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 12:51 PM
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Decaf?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 12:54 PM
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(Incidentally, that question could be appropriately tied in with the title of any of the last seven posts. "Pop-o-matic" and "Oh, Nostalgia!" are probably my two favorite.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 12:56 PM
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A strict regimen of "time outs" immediately following the hitting and emphasizing that "hitting is really bad" in stern tones seemed to work for me. But it's hard b/c you can't monitor what they're doing at school.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 12:59 PM
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152: Do you send him in with a bat or something? Because they really can't hurt each other very much at that age if they are empty handed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 12:59 PM
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156: You haven't seen urple's kid! Ouch! He hits hard!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:01 PM
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Like Halford says, it's really hard if you're not there when it happens. Does he do the same sort of things when you're around?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:02 PM
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156: well, that's true, and is basically why it's been tolerated* for a relatively long time. (Although they can make each other cry.) Apparantly the parents of one of the other students has been getting vocal about the situation recently, though. I don't know the facts enough to know what happened that made them upset--did they see some pushing when they were picking daughter up from school? Did she have bruises or something? Did she complain about the mean boy in class who hits? I don't know.

At home, he's the sweetest kid in the world.

* I don't mean tolerated as in genuinely tolerated--he's been told repeatedly that it won't be tolerated, and he's taken out of class, etc.--but no one's been threatening to kick him out of school.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:04 PM
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A strict regimen of "time outs" immediately following the hitting and emphasizing that "hitting is really bad" in stern tones seemed to work for me.

Well, that's the whole problem--this is what's been happening for months, with basically no effect. They do this very consistently at school, and we do it consistently at home when he's aggressive with his brother (which seems to be to a much less extent than is happening at school).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:07 PM
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Does he have a story, or set of stories, about what happens? Not that it's likely to be reliably accurate about what happened at that age, but it might give you some insight. Also, is this a situation where there's a big size disparity one way or the other?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:07 PM
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159: Be a huge asshole to him until he wants to hit you. Then you can give him a time out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:07 PM
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I guess I should just admit I have no idea. My four year old hits me and his mom, but not the kids at school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:09 PM
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159: Apologies for 157, because it wasn't funny.

That does sound like a difficult situation.

I suppose the first step might be to get a meeting with a teacher who can tell you more about what exactly has been going on.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:10 PM
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Does he have a story, or set of stories, about what happens?

No. Other than that someone was doing something he didn't want, or not playing the way he wanted, or something like that. And of course we say that hitting isn't a way to deal with that, and we talk to him about appropriate responses.

Also, is this a situation where there's a big size disparity one way or the other?

I should have probably said this--he's the oldest and one of the biggest kids in his class, and he basically picks on the kids who are significantly smaller (not the ones close to his size). Which is terrible.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:11 PM
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If your honest reaction is that he's not like this at all at home, my (unfair, lacking enough information to be justified, off the cuff) instinct is to blame the school -- that they're either somehow setting up a consistently conflict-generating situation and not defusing it before it goes bad, or that they're turning him into a scapegoat for some reason, and minor shoving is being called 'hitting' when it's your kid. Or he could just be a bad seed, I can't tell from here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:11 PM
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It's not like I have any real answer or know what I'm talking about, but do you know if it's just random violence or related to something specific? My kid's new school has very strict procedures and etiquette for when kids are allowed to play with what, how to ask, etc. That seems to help a lot with all of the kids. If he's getting confused b/c he thinks he really does have a property right to some toy and some other kid is being outrageous, that might explain some of the behavior, and maybe he just needs some guidance on how to ask or wait for things or something like that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:12 PM
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Does he watch the Last Airbender stuff? Because this is usually when I get hit. You can tell because he goes into karate stance thing and says "Hwwwaaa."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:14 PM
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he basically picks on the kids who are significantly smaller

Fuck school. He should run for Congress!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:15 PM
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I probably shouldn't have said that at home he's the sweetest kid in the world. I mean, he had some issues with similar behavior with his brother, but his brother is a tough little shit who fights back, and so it basically stopped (or decreased to what I'd call baseline normal sibling skirmishing).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:16 PM
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Explain to him in a calm voice that you won't love him if he keeps being wicked.

As a way to remind him of this constantly, you could insist that until he demonstrate real change, he wear a white ribbon around his arm so that everyone knows he's sinned.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:16 PM
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As an alternative to throwing him out, the school is thinking of putting him in the kindergarten class, where he would be one of the smallest kids and so wouldn't have anyone to pick on. That doesn't really strike me as addressing the root issue, but, then again, if it's just a phase that he'll presumably grow out of, then maybe it actually would be a solution.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:21 PM
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Or he could just be a bad seed

I'm 100% willing to accept this as a diagnosis, but I still have no idea what to do to cure it. Or do we just have to drown him?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:22 PM
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I dunno, even given 170, I'm a bit inclined to blame the school, at least for not figuring out ways to teach him that he can get whatever it is he wants without the hitting, or otherwise figuring out how to defuse the situation. (Obviously, this comment made without knowing anything). They probably need to figure out a way to give him space away from the younger kids or figure out some way to get him to relate to them more productively -- teaching skills, showing off, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:23 PM
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I should have probably said this--he's the oldest and one of the biggest kids in his class, and he basically picks on the kids who are significantly smaller (not the ones close to his size). Which is terrible.

Okay, I have huge lumbering children, and so I have thoughts about this, which don't include blaming him for being a bully by picking on the smaller kids. When you've got a minor physical altercation between a couple of preschoolers, there's an adult tendency to put a lot of moral weight on a disparity of size and strength: a tiny kid shoves a big kid, it has no effect, and the tiny kid hasn't done anything wrong, but if you turn the sizes around, the big kid shoves the little kid, who goes flying, and suddenly the big kid is a budding Jeffrey Dahmer. (I have fond memories of sitting in the playground watching a tiny but mean child of Sally's age launch herself at full speed into Sally from behind, bounce off, and fall down, as Sally turned around bemusedly, clearly wondering whether something was going on that she should pay attention to.) So my guess is that while your kid is probably getting into it with other kids, he's also probably getting identified as 'the problem' because of the size disparity, when a fair reading would see the conflicts as two-sided.

I worried about this with my hulking brutes, and tried to nip it in the bud by hammering into them that they were bigger and stronger than their friends, and that they had to be very careful and gentle with them: it wasn't fair, but littler kids could get away with being rougher than they could. "If anyone hits you, you have to go get the teacher to help; because you're bigger and stronger, you can't be rough back." It worked pretty well -- they beat each other up pretty badly, but they haven't gotten into trouble with other kids much at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:23 PM
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Putting him in the kindergarten class actually seems like a pretty good solution to me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:24 PM
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If 175 is right, then 172 woud seem like it might be a good resolution.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:26 PM
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I missed the kindergarten class suggestion while I was writing that last screed, but it might work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:26 PM
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Maybe it's something you've been feeding him.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:28 PM
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You could use some steroids to bulk up the rest of the kids. Just be sure to ask their parents before you give the steroids instead of just mixing it with peanut butter and putting it on the snack table by the crackers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:28 PM
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Di FTW. You know, spoiled cottage cheese has been known to have longterm emotional effects.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:28 PM
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That sucks, urple. You might want to frisk him before school—that may sound facetious, but a kid here got expelled last year for running around the playground with a knife and threatening to stab one of my daughters. He was just a six-year-old fooling around, pretty nice kid generally, great dad, but he snuck a knife out of the house and ran up against (sensible) school policy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:29 PM
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180: Roid rage can only improve this situation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:31 PM
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175 is what I'd like to believe, but I'm worried that a lot of it is basically unprompted, not two-sided conflicts. See above--he's not telling us that Sue pushed him so he pushed her back, he's saying Sue wasn't playing how he wanted her to play, etc. Now, maybe 4 year olds hitting each other over that sort of thing is perfectly normal, and he's only being singled out because of size disparities, but honestly I don't know. It would help if I witnessed more the behavior. He does get into it with his brother from time to time, but I've never seen him be aggressive with any other kid at a playground, etc.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:32 PM
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I should probably also mention that he doesn't really seem completely emotionally stable, generally. Especially when he's hungry or tired, it's not unusual for him to throw complete fit, or just have emotional meltdowns. But some of that could be his age; I don't know.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:35 PM
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it's not unusual for him to throw complete fit, or just have emotional meltdowns.

I am shocked. You better get him to a child shrink, promptly. And I'm not sure if even that will cure his unspeakably awful character.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:36 PM
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181: Oh, that's who urple is. Okay, I didn't follow that.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:37 PM
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185: Have you ever met any other four year olds?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:38 PM
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If it is comforting at all urple, my friend's 3 year old sent a kid to the hospital for stitches. Anecdata as to whether it's "normal" behavior, but something. (Rory was tiny at that age, so she definitely didn't get into physical stuff. And no one ever punishes a preschooler for psychological manipulation.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:38 PM
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He was just a six-year-old fooling around, pretty nice kid generally, great dad, but he snuck a knife out of the house and ran up against (sensible) school policy.

A father too soon. I didn't even know six-year-olds were capable.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:38 PM
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We were very lucky -- the one time anyone got stitches around any of my kids, it was Newt and it was all his fault. He has a tiny little scar under his chin now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:39 PM
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Regardless, this conversation is reassuring. The school seems convinced that the problem must be that we yell at him too much, or let him watch too much tv, or we punish him too severely, or maybe we don't punish him harshly enough. Or something. Definitely: our fault.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:39 PM
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I'm worried about my own toddler. He's middling in size, but full of piss and vinegar when it comes to being told what to do.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:40 PM
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188: well, I mean compared against a baseline four-year-old. I'm not comparing him against an adult.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:42 PM
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It is also perfectly possible that he's a hitty kid, or a kid having a hitty spell, without needing to worry too much about it. If you and the school are consistent, these things will mostly pass.

Um, I hate to ask this, but any visible injuries on the other kids? Not that altercations short of visible injuries aren't important, but if he's bigger than the other kids, and he's not leaving marks, I'd call that a good sign.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:43 PM
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Oh, it's definitely not too much TV. You should turn the blame game back at the school. "You know, I just never see that kind of behavior from him at home or on the playground or when we have playdates with other kids. What is going on in the classroom when this stuff happens? How are you responding to it?" Honestly, it does seem plausible that he may be acting out from a sense that he is being treated badly by his teachers. One argument against moving him up to the kindergarten is that kindergarten is not just bigger kids, but also kids ready for and adapted to a more structured school day. You know best whether he'd handle it okay, but throwing a kid into that kind of thing too soon and setting him up for early failure is a risky thing, IMHO.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:45 PM
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195: Or it could be a very bad sign -- maybe he's already learned how to hit without leaving any visible scars.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:45 PM
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One other fact: he's not only the oldest kid in the class--he's also the only boy. (Bizarrely. With about 12 girls.) Going back to 175, I do worry that there's maybe moral weight being attached not only the disparity in size, but also to "boy hitting girl" (which is crazy a crazy thing to attach moral weight to at 4 years old, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:46 PM
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One argument against moving him up to the kindergarten is that kindergarten is not just bigger kids, but also kids ready for and adapted to a more structured school day. You know best whether he'd handle it okay, but throwing a kid into that kind of thing too soon and setting him up for early failure is a risky thing, IMHO.

Completely agreed, which is why I'm not thrilled with that solution.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:48 PM
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One piece of advice; don't use the phrase "Daddy didn't raise no bitch" when talking about this issue with the teachers.

Seems weird that the school's assumption is that the behavior is from the result of too harsh punishment. Kinda suggests to me that they are being unrealistically hands-off. Anyhow, I'd take a flier on the kindergarten idea.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:48 PM
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There's a lot of sugar in Hi-C, which can make a kid act hyper. Maybe he's sneaking a bunch of that.

Have you checked him for juices?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:49 PM
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195: I'm fairly certain no marks have been left from any hitting itself, although I know there was a bruise from when someone was shoved outside and fell and hit a rock or a tree stump or something, and that certainly might have happened more than once.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:49 PM
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he's also the only boy.

Yeah, now this detail sort of reinforces my sense that perhaps he's acting out from a sense of not feeling like he fits. And possibly some disparate, gendered norms on acceptable roughhousing. If you can move him to a preschool with some other little boys, that seems like potentially a good solution.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:49 PM
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You should turn the blame game back at the school.

I've thought about this. OTOH, I don't want to be the parent who's offering up a list of excuses for what is basically unacceptable behavior.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:53 PM
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I agree again with 'the only boy' being a data point. That's a setup (oh, not necessarily, but it's a possibility) for him being excluded and/or teased by the other kids, as well as a strong chance that the school sees girl on boy pushing/roughness as harmless and boy on girl pushing/roughness as dangerously abusive.

Your and Di's concerns about the kindergarten thing make sense; I wouldn't do it unless I thought he was ready for it. And Di's suggestions about guilt-tripping the school are good ones. "It's worrying me that the teachers don't seem to be aware of the interactions enough to calm the children down before this sort of thing starts," and so on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:56 PM
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OTOH, I don't want to be the parent who's offering up a list of excuses for what is basically unacceptable behavior.

This is generally a good instinct. But here, the problem is happening on their watch and under their supervision, and your kid (while it's possible that he is a hitty kid) really doesn't sound as if he's out of the preschool norm. They should be able to supervise and discipline a kid who hits some without turning it into a federal case.

I haven't got a sense of how many incidents we're talking about: four since September, or two or three daily?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 1:59 PM
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him being excluded and/or teased by the other kids

Just to keep adding data points, this is definitely not the case. As far as I understand from the teacher, he's usually the focal point of the class, and the leader of all the impromptu games outside, etc. He makes kids cry whenever he says he doesn't want to play with them. She's suggested before that the aggression might be just a power trip thing. I dunno.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:00 PM
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206: I think we're talking several incidents a week. It's variable, of course--some weeks there are daily incidents, other weeks there are none.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:03 PM
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Actually, the set up sounds like a pretty sweet deal for your kid.

the aggression might be just a power trip thing

Could be, but it's probably best to think of that as a situational rather than a moral failing. If he runs the place and feels like he can do whatever he wants, why not hit away? He might just not get the severity of the situation. Which is why (while I agree w/Di's concerns) the kindergarten thing might make a lot of sense.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:03 PM
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Kid's four years old, and he has a harem of adoring worshipers already. Sounds like he's doing okay for himself.

Seriously, I'm not sure what to do with that, except that it makes me think even more that the unbalanced gender dynamic has something to do with it (possibly largely teacher-driven: the "makes kids cry whenever he says he doesn't want to play with them" seems oddly blaming, unless she really means that he's intentionally shutting some kids out of group play).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:05 PM
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If he runs the place and feels like he can do whatever he wants, why not hit away? He might just not get the severity of the situation.

Well, right--if the school is to be believed, this is exactly the problem. And it seems plausible to me. My question is what to do to get him to understand the severity of the situation, since we've talked about it with him time and time again and he doesn't seem to be getting it. Again, maybe this is just the age, I don't know. I'm not crazy about the kindergarten solution, although we may end up with that.

(I think we finally have enough facts out in the air; all this should really have come out up front.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:08 PM
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Teach him to only injure with words.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:09 PM
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And this: "She's suggested before that the aggression might be just a power trip thing. I dunno." come to think, makes me think that you need to get away from that teacher. Someone who's attributing that sort of complicatedly negative motivations to a four-year-old is not someone I want supervising that four-year-old: I think she's decided your kid is the problem (which he may be to some extent, but that doesn't justify the sort of armchair psychologizing she's doing), and so as long as he's in her class, he will be the problem.

If he gets thrown out, I think he's better off, and I'd be looking for another placement for him before he gets thrown out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:09 PM
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the "makes kids cry whenever he says he doesn't want to play with them" seems oddly blaming, unless she really means that he's intentionally shutting some kids out of group play

Well, that particular fact came to me through my wife's retelling of the teacher's interpretation of the event, so it's possible there were distortions, but my impression is that's exactly what was going on. "Elsa, I've decided I don't want to play with you today. You can't play in our game."


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:12 PM
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My question is what to do to get him to understand the severity of the situation, since we've talked about it with him time and time again and he doesn't seem to be getting it.

Yeah, talking about it seems unlikely to do much of anything. They, along with you, need some actual plan about what to do with the behavior at school -- like, maybe, anything even looking like hitting means that you have to go sit in a chair until you can show that you're ready to behave (no idea if this is the right idea, but something like that). If there's no plan like that that seems remotely capable of working, you probably just need to change the situation entirely.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:13 PM
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Is he freakishly brilliant and advanced? Because that sort of large group social manipulation doesn't sound like a normal four year old to me: if that's a straight story, then I think he's probably beyond ready for kindergarten, and the real problem is that his classmates are way, way too far behind him socially to keep up (and the other problem is that he's being mean, but the solution is to get him a real peer group).

If that doesn't make sense to you: like, he's not socially passing as ten in other aspects of his life, I'm back on thinking you need to get him away from that teacher, because she's seeing things that aren't happening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:16 PM
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And if he's popular with the other kids, that suggests strongly to me that he's fundamentally okay; whatever the details of what leads to the hitting, if he were significantly emotionally disturbed he'd be excluded, not the focal point of the class.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:22 PM
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that sort of large group social manipulation doesn't sound like a normal four year old to me

I gotta disagree there; in my kid's old school/daycare there was one older boy (4 year old mixed in with a bunch of 2 and three year old girls and one younger boy) and that kid was like a golden god. He could totally make the younger kids sad by refusing to play with them. And he came up to me one time when I was picking up my kid and said something like "Why doesn't anyone here know how to talk to me?"


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:24 PM
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disparate, gendered norms on acceptable roughhousing

IME, this can definitely be an issue.

I agree with a lot of the above that the school needs to be taking more responsibility, but you could also do some reinforcing at home based on the reports from the school. E.g., each day or week he doesn't hit his classmates, he gets a sticker on his chart or some other point/reward/etc. system.* (The reward isn't for not hitting, but for being respectful of his classmates/dealing with conflict constructively.) If he objects to a particular report, that gives you an opportunity to talk through why he did it and why that's not an appropriate response.

*I know there are competing theories about punishments vs. rewards. In this case, at this age, in my vast professional wisdom, rewards seem better. You could instead withhold privileges though -- screen time, play dates, dessert, whatever.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:25 PM
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|| I am a civ pro machine. |>


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:25 PM
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Maybe every day he doesn't hit a kid he gets a weapons upgrade in Left 4 Dead?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:26 PM
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220: woot, woot.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:26 PM
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|| I am a Civ III machine.|>


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:29 PM
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221: Sifu gets it.

220: Go, Bave!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:29 PM
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Maybe if the other kids are a lot younger (that is, the description of your situation with one four year old and everyone else a year or more younger), but I got the impression there wasn't a big age gap, that urple's kid was just at the top end of a class of four-year-olds. You're right, that one older, or really advanced, kid among younger kids can make them hop, but I haven't seen it happen among preschoolers where everyone's pretty much an age peer.

But yeah, if he's way ahead of his classmates developmentally, either because he's advanced for his age or because they're just too much younger than he is, then he needs older classmates. Comes out to the same solution, though: get him out of that class somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:30 PM
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I know there are competing theories about punishments vs. rewards

Of course, there are also those who suggest neither.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:31 PM
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220: Woohoo!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:33 PM
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225: He's the oldest, and most of the kids are quite a bit younger. (By which I mean: 3.) I think there may be one or two who are only a few months younger, though.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:33 PM
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he needs older classmates

This is my strong suspicion, and I'm glad to have it affirmed. (In fact, I didn't like the class composition from day 1, even before there were problems.) Although it's not exactly the easiest solution. Changing schools would be a pain, and I'm not confident he's ready for the kindergarten class. I guess we could try it.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:37 PM
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228: Okay, Halford's 218 describes the situation, then. He's bored and frustrated by being surrounded by younger kids. He needs an older peer group. He might not be ready for kindergarten, but he at least needs to be with kids his own age.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:39 PM
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230 crossed with 229.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:41 PM
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He might not be ready for kindergarten, but he at least needs to be with kids his own age.

Right. The ideal solution would be to swap out a bunch of his classmates for older ones.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:45 PM
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He was actually in the same class last year (for the half-year that we were here), but then he was middle-of the pack age wise. He did great (and seemed to like school much more than he does this year). But the class composition shifted significantly younger this year.

They actually considered putting him in kindergarten at the start of the year, but he had a trial day and the kindergarten teacher decided he wasn't quite ready. That's part of what worries me.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:48 PM
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Actually.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:49 PM
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As the parent of a 15 year old high school junior -- and I was 16 myself at the start of senior year -- I'd think thrice before jumping up too far.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:49 PM
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But I still think the teacher's a jerk. She should have come up with this diagnosis as a possibility rather than thinking your kid's the bad seed -- it might be right that he really shouldn't be in that class and should be turfed out for his sake as well as the other kids, but it doesn't sound at all like an emotional problem or something related to how he's being treated at home. And it sounds like something she should be able to manage, by sort of turning [your kid] into a deputy teacher's aide who's helping her handle the little ones.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:50 PM
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235: I was one of those -- graduated at 16 and didn't turn 17 until August before I started college -- and it was fine after I was out of grade school. Grade school sucked, but I don't think it was because I was younger.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:52 PM
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You should teach one of the other kids to say "redrum" repeatedly. This will draw the focus of attention to another kid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:52 PM
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by sort of turning [your kid] into a deputy teacher's aide who's helping her handle the little ones

(1) My understanding is that she's done some of this. Although maybe she's just a bad teacher, I dunno.

(2) Remind me never to trust you with confidential information.

it was fine after I was out of grade school. Grade school sucked

Huh. I would have expected exactly the reverse--not a big deal in grade school, more of an issue in middle and high.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:55 PM
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239.last: Me also. I was very nervous, social status-wise, during the period when I couldn't drive and most of my classmates were. I was nearly the youngest, but I was still 17 when I graduated and 18 before I started college.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 2:59 PM
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Your classmates were drive?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:00 PM
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I'm glad my parents resisted all attempts to bump me up a grade or three. Being able to legally buy alcohol in one's last year of college is nice.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:00 PM
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The problem in grade school was (a) that everyone knew I'd been skipped, and (b) the teachers treated me like a Martian (and (c) that I was a weird kid.) Once I wasn't being singled out by the teachers as a freak, being a year young wasn't a problem. Of course, I was tallish, so I didn't look young.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:01 PM
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242: you think that's sweet, I knew a dude who could buy alcohol in his last year of high school.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:01 PM
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Oh, and in NYC driving wasn't an age marker -- no one drove.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:01 PM
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237 v. 239/240 is probably a boy-girl thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:01 PM
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I certainly wasn't mature enough to be a college freshman. And I'd have enjoyed senior year a lot more if I hadn't been quite so self-conscious. Not an issue for me before that, but my skip was towards the end of middle school anyway.

My son had a great time in elementary and middle, where he was far and away the youngest in his class, and is actually having a pretty good time now, except that they want him to do a bunch of homework. The question is whether he can really pick colleges. And a major.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:04 PM
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I was basically mature enough for college by my sophomore year. So I guess I was 30 or so?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:07 PM
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Were you like a golden god?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:09 PM
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And did you hit younger girls?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:09 PM
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(To be more explicit about 247.1(b), a little more self-confidence, and I'd have kissed a whole lot more. Having blown a number of opportunities where all that was lacking was initiative on my part. That is [or was then] a boy-girl thing, in my set.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:11 PM
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249, 250: all in the archives.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:13 PM
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And with that, I'm off to flirt with some hockey moms.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:13 PM
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Agree with 250/245/246 and 251.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:13 PM
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Huh. I never thought to blame my dating woes on being young for my class. But who knows, maybe that was some of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:14 PM
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240, not 450.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:14 PM
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450 s/b 250.


Posted by: Btock | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:14 PM
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I know a quite successful person who graduated high school at 14, and she seems well-adjusted. Probably other people shouldn't try it, though.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:15 PM
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Pseud problems in 257?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:15 PM
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Would they let him finish out the year in kindergarten, and then stay in kindergarten next year, when he's the right age for it? I hear what everyone's saying about not being ready, but I'll bet he'd at least have different problems if you moved him up, and possibly less troubling ones.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:16 PM
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I never thought to blame my dating woes on being young for my class

Not to deprive you of an excuse for your dating woes, but my sense is this isn't generally as much of an issue for girls. A lot of girls date older guys in high school; not so often the reverse.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:17 PM
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Well, yeah, that was part of why I never thought it was an issue. But mostly I was pretty sure I was passing as the same age everyone else was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:18 PM
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Our experience with our eldest (who didn't skip but was on the extreme young end of his grade cohort) was also easy in elementary and harder from there. He was also like my other kids in being slow to mature emotionally (and physically a bit) but that did not really manifest until adolescence. We had friends who were talking about "red-shirting" their son who was on the young side of the curve but still some months older than ours. We scoffed at them at the time, but in retrospect I would have given it more consideration.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:18 PM
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The further data points still point to the teachers being part of the problem. I personally wouldn't shy away from the blame game out of fear of excusing unacceptable behavior. He's 4. Too young for a conclusive diagnosis of psychopathy. The behavior is bad, but he's not and part of your -- and the teacher's -- job is figuring out what's going on.

Normally, I wouldn't go all finger-pointy. But since they've gone that route back with you, my instinct would be to defensively return fire. More diplomatically, it's totally appropriate to question the circumstances surrounding the behavior without it having to be about blame.

If he runs the place and feels like he can do whatever he wants, why not hit away? He might just not get the severity of the situation.

Well, right--if the school is to be believed, this is exactly the problem. And it seems plausible to me. My question is what to do to get him to understand the severity of the situation

Well, if the school is to be believed, why exactly is a four-year-old running the place? If problems are arising because he is making the calls about what to play and who plays with whom, what exactly is the teacher (teachers?) doing? I mean seriously, even during "free play," the teachers should be providing some oversight and direction. At that age, miracles can be performed with a little timely redirection.

Also, what are *they* feeding him?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:19 PM
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260: their idea is to move him to kindergarten and then keep him there for 2.5 years: the rest of this year, and then the next two. I'm not sure I completely follow the logic. Perhaps they're hoping to recreate the current problem in a few years, to see how he handles it then. (That's a joke. Sort of.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:19 PM
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He was also like my other kids in being slow to mature emotionally (and physically a bit) but that did not really manifest until adolescence.

Huh. Your thinking on this is the norm, and I'm the one who's out of step. But I find it weird to believe that there's an internal emotional maturity regulator that makes a difference (once the kids are school-age) over age differences that small -- I'd think emotional maturity is mostly a factor of experience.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:21 PM
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My general experience (beyond just my kids) is that intellectual precocity as young child almost always is an indicator of the same as an adolescent, but that is manifestly not at all the case for social and emotional precocity.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:22 PM
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260: their idea is to move him to kindergarten and then keep him there for 2.5 years: the rest of this year, and then the next two.

WTF!!!!1!one!!eleventy! If you're not making this up to be funny, grab your kid and run like a thief. If they're looking at a four year old, and saying that they're already planning to assume that after eighteen months of kindergarten he won't be ready to move on to first grade, they have formed some preconceptions about your child that means that he's not safe (in the educational/emotional sense) in that school.

I'm not saying that it might not be the right thing to do to redshirt him if, after completion of a year of kindergarten, he then doesn't seem ready for first grade. But if they're saying that now, they're really screwy. New school. (I'm sounding excited, I don't think finishing out the year there would do him much harm. But I wouldn't leave him there next year if I had any choice at all.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:26 PM
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(And if you're hearing this from one teacher, and everyone else is sane, then getting away from that teacher is enough. But get him away from her.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:27 PM
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Of course, there are also those who suggest neither.

Yeah, good luck with that.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:33 PM
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their idea is to move him to kindergarten and then keep him there for 2.5 years: the rest of this year, and then the next two.

Yeah, I'm not quite ready to say get him out of there at all costs, but this is bizzare. Are they really saying that they're planning to automatically hold him back for an extra year of kindergarten? If not, why would he be spending two years there?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:34 PM
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It occurs to me that, whatever school urple's kid is at, I probably know people who went there.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:37 PM
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268: I don't think it's as nefarious as all that. He's a mid-summer birthday, so he's inevitably going to be either one of the oldest or one of the youngest kids in his class. 1.5 years of kindergarten would mean 1st grade at 6; 2.5 years would mean 1st grade at 7. Starting 1st grade just after turning 6 would put him on Moby's trajectory ("I was nearly the youngest, but I was still 17 when I graduated and 18 before I started college"), which was actually my personal trajectory as well. Starting 1st grade at 7 would put him on a trajectory to be one of the older kids in his class, to graduate at 18 and start college at 19.

But 2.5 years of kindergarten sounds like a lot to me.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:38 PM
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I guess 273 is missing the explanatory: I think this school generally prefers to err on the side of having mid-summer-birthday kids be the oldest in their class, rather than the younger. It's not anything personal.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:40 PM
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Does the same school run an elementary school that you'd like him to go to? If not, who cares how long they want him in kindergarten. Just put him in now, and after 1.5 years you can see how he's doing and if he's ready to move into 1st grade. I agree if there's some unspoken assumption that your kid is a gigantic problem who must be kept from advancing at all costs, he probably shouldn't be at this school, but it's unclear to me that this is actually the message you're getting.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:42 PM
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266: I'd think emotional maturity is mostly a factor of experience.

But there is a whole vicious chicken-egg cycle on this concerning access to the relevant experiences. A longer discussion than I have time for now. At one level I think you are right and in some cases the "root causes" of emotional immaturity are going to manifest no matter what, but at another level I think that for kids who struggle with self-confidence etc. any little bit helps.

Some day I will write my manifesto on the tyranny of precocity. (And I should mention that as someone who had two of three my children have very significant social acceptance issues as adolescents I find my gut instinct is to be rather defensive on this. But that's my problem.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:43 PM
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Does the same school run an elementary school that you'd like him to go to?

If you asked my wife, the answer would be yes. Personally, I don't really think it's that important where he goes to elementary school.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:44 PM
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I'd still think that if they're not leaving it open to see what he's ready for in a year and a half, they're very weird. After all, someone has to be the youngest in the class: there's a cutoff, and if you're born right after it, that's you. I disapprove of redshirting where it's not aimed at a specific, identified problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:44 PM
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Or red-shirting (as I've been told is not uncommon in my suburban landscape) for purposes of making your kid the oldest in his class so he can kick some serious ass in Grade 3 soccer.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:48 PM
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If we're rehashing skipping stories, I skipped and it was fine until college.* But I started taking college classes at 16 and did not move away when I went full-time, and I've always felt the not moving out was the real issue. Other people's lives were becoming completely different and mine wasn't. I would never, never, even consider thinking skipping out of third grade - I skipped mid-year - was a bad idea.

*But I liked being one of the weird kids and not part of most of the social scene. Plus for some reason I didn't look much younger, which is the inverse of how things have been during and since college, where lots of people have guessed I'm 3-5+ years younger than I am.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:50 PM
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278, 279: Yes, even if we had seriously considered redshirting our oldest, I am 99% sure we would have done the same thing with the information we had at the time

What I did argue twelve years later and wish I had argued more strongly was that he take a year off between high school and college.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:51 PM
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After all, someone has to be the youngest in the class: there's a cutoff, and if you're born right after it, that's you.

Right. He was born right before it, so he's destined to be one of the oldest (unless he's moved forward a grade, which is not at all uncommon for kids with mid-summer birthdays). That's why he would be in kindergarten for 2.5 years.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:52 PM
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281 sounds like a really wise plan.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:54 PM
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We had the option to hold one of our kids back a year. I regret now not doing it because he has some problems now in school.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:57 PM
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2.5 years of K sounds like it would be reeeealy boring for most sentient kids.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 3:57 PM
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285: I dunno it's a pretty wild drug.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 4:01 PM
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Red-shirting? That's some fascinating jargon there, and I keep thinking of the Star Trek meaning.
Does the same school run an elementary school that you'd like him to go to?
I know the whole world doesn't work this way, but where I grew up the only way to change elementary schools was to move to a different district, making this an expensive question.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 4:04 PM
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I guess this is a private school? If I'm not confused, the public schools in urpleville want students to be five years old by October 1 of the year they start kindergarten.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 4:13 PM
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I was always the youngest in my classes (without skipping; fall birthday), all the way up through my grad school cohort (and that was with taking time off, dammit). I never felt substantially bothered by it; my insecurity/occasional immaturity probably came from other things. Of course, I also matured physically very quickly (I may have been the youngest, but I certainly didn't look it after about 4th grade or so). And I've been promised that I'll find $5 when I finally finish school.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 4:27 PM
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I've been promised that I'll find $5 when I finally finish school.

That's the kind of false promise that only works on the younger kids.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 4:35 PM
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You should teach one of the other kids to say "redrum" repeatedly.

Ha. My kids do this, along with the little finger motion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 4:37 PM
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I've been promised that I'll find $5 when I finally finish school.

Here I thought you were in the humanities. So I thought you couldn't expect to get actual remuneration.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 4:59 PM
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I started school at 4, and was always the youngest in every year. The Scottish system started each year with kids born in March or later, and I was near the end of the previous month so was the youngest, or near youngest. Which meant university at 16. Unusual but not unknown at the time.

</becks style>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 5:34 PM
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I too was on the younger side of my class, with a July birthday. I have the impression that all the trends in favor of holding kids back has resulted in modern kindergarden's acquiring a curriculum more like oldey-timey first grade. This whole process seems like a pity to me, though, really, why should I think this way is any worse than the other?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 5:42 PM
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291: I think we'd have all guessed that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 6:08 PM
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I skipped a couple of senior years, so there was precious little awkwardness in school. The janitor at my jobe between undergrad and grad school thought I was the child of one of the other engineers though. That was odd but not uncomfortable.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 6:42 PM
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292: Good point. As 291 points out, I was foolish to believe such promises.

Apropos of nothing, my first attempt at cooking Cuban food appears to be swimming along splendidly. A giant shoulder of pork with crispy skin in mojo sauce will soon be mine, all mine! (Ok, I'm splitting it with friends, too.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 6:45 PM
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My son was born Dec 24. There was never a year when it made sense to redshirt -- I think a year off before college would probably be pretty good, but he thinks living the dorm life of a college freshman sounds a lot more fun than working at some damn job.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 7:59 PM
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If you give up eating, it's perfectly possible to spend that year off jobless. If you find the right friends, you can even smoke pot the whole time!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 8:02 PM
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And having old mom and dad ask where he's going and when he'll be back etc.

My daughter faced the same thing when she was finishing 12th grade. Back then, you had to go to 13th grade to get an abitur. So, take a Maryland high school diploma and go away to college, or stay home with the stupid parents, stay in high school, and take a bunch of tests.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 8:04 PM
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152: It's because you circumcised/did not circumcise him. The damage is done.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 11:07 PM
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148

Back in undergrad I spent a fair amount of time among social conservatives, as well as among right-libertarians as I was at that time, and I think one important thing to remember is just how tribal politics is. This is, perhaps counterintuitively, even moreso for the few who obsess over it; this just means they/we have more rationalizations available to support Our Team.

Just wanted to say I agree with this. And I have no idea what to do with badly behaving 4 year olds.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12-10-10 11:31 PM
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Re: redshirting, I have previously told the story the advice my parents got to hold me back a year in junior high school to improve my football prospects. The advice was manifestly well-founded from a pure football perspective.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 1:36 AM
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Redshirting: taking a year off school to go and fight for Italian unification.

Not as fashionable as it once was.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 3:11 AM
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The solution to your heating conundrum, btw, is that the water is heated and then stored in the tank, not heated in the tank. If the heater is running at higher efficiency, it's able to replace the stock of hot water in the tank faster, so you'd have to use more of it to run out.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 4:30 AM
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I was the youngest in my class by about 6 months, because my grandmother believed I was a genius and harassed my parents that I should skip a grade, and kept harassing so ceaselessly that eventually they did so, just to get her off their backs. It deflated my ego a bit when I found out that the only person who was championing me skipping a grade was my grandmother.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 7:36 AM
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My mother adamantly refused all efforts to skip me up a grade, convinced it would turn me into a freak. I ended up going to college after my junior year anyway, so guess it was written.
An acquaintance (high-school classmate of a boyfriend who ended up attending the same college as he) was skipped ahead so many times by her parents that she was a freshman in college at 14 or 15. What a tremendously bad idea that was. Her parents were certainly not giving any thought to her development as a social human, but their pushing her really seemed to be screwing her up. She had no real friends because they were all getting busy with the sex and drugs and rock-n-roll and not interested in including someone they considered a kid in all that, and she had several disastrous and truly sad crushes on boys who didn't want to (and couldn't legally) touch her.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 7:50 AM
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I grew up in a part of the country where a lot of people moved out of their parents' houses at 16-18. I didn't feel young leaving home at 17 because I already knew kids with apartments, and I was basically not living at home during high school anyway. My 16yo college roommate, however--Jesus Christ, that girl had no idea. She had never been allowed to watch cartoons or play video games before, so she did that pretty much all day, every day. She started writing on her pants and shoes for the first time, as part of her mini-rebellion. Her sophomore year, she joined a Christianesque cult and then her junior year, she got into drugs and blacked-out frathouse blowjobs. We all rebel a bit, I'm sure, but she was seriously out there. Her department at school even threatened to kick her out unless she proved she could control herself.

My public-college students never really leave their parents' homes. Even my grad students are mostly living at home, until 25 or beyond. I know one can't simply measure the world by one's own experience, but it seems sad to me to be in your mid-20's and still think it's completely shocking to do anything your parents might disapprove of.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 8:11 AM
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Sometimes when we touch,
the age difference's too much,
and I have to go to jail and cry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 8:12 AM
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309 to 307.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 8:13 AM
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Urple might or might not take comfort from the fact that the one of my kids' friends who I recall having a similar issue in preschool (he got a report once that read something along the lines of, "Likes his own space and knows how to defend it.") is now in his first year of law school and loving it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 8:30 AM
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Somewhat related to red-shirting and relative maturity (but mostly with regards to physicality) is the phenomenon of birth month disparities in premier athletes in sports where youth leagues have uniform date cutoffs (for years in the US everyone used August 1st and there were 50% more Major League players born in August than July). It has also been studied in Canadian hockey players and European soccer (the preferred month shifting in Belgium when the cutoff date moved). It would not surprise me if some have tried to time conception to hit the favored month.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 8:39 AM
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A lot of girls date older guys in high school; not so often the reverse.

When I was a high school freshman, I dated a junior, but she was much, much shorter than I.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 10:05 AM
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Surely I must know the person mentioned in 258... And indeed a quick google search confirms she's ended up in physics, so it's quite likely.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 10:20 AM
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Small world.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 10:24 AM
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315: It's a quarky place.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 10:26 AM
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316: Strange.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 10:28 AM
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As a friend of mine is fond of saying "it's not that it's a small world, it's that there's a small bourgeois clique." Anyway, assuming I'm right, she's someone I mostly know second hand via a dorm she lived in briefly during college. (Also, through a summer program know a friend of hers from "high school.")


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 10:28 AM
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I spent two years in kindergarten due to a November birthday, then skipped first grade. For the most part, it didn't make much noticeable difference, though it did kinda suck being the last person to get a driver's license.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 10:53 AM
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I knew a fellow in middle school who was skipped from 6th to 8th grade. (We had a deal where the brightest/most mature 6th graders were in the middle school classes of the K-8 school I attended). He was quite tall -- probably 5' 8" or more at 13, so he certainly didn't stick out a la the Cameron Crowe character in Almost Famous. Went to HS with him too. I think he ran CC (that was the dominant sport at my inner-city magnet school). We're not in touch, but I see via FB that he went to Brown, and then Harvard B-school, and is now living in Mumbai with his Indian wife, who looks cute and smart and stuff. So, you know, not the worst possible outcome.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:01 AM
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||

I think I just overheard a stolen-goods transaction (laptop for food stamps) being negotiated in this coffee shop.

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:16 AM
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||
This is awesome. And at an interesting location. (via The Atlantic.)
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:24 AM
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Things the 5-ish year old kid across the train aisle from me has said to her parents:

"I would catch a lot of fish if I were at a lake." (subjunctive ftw!)

"I have a very good mind. I can tell we're coming to a station because the train slows down."

"See this awesome drawing? I did a very good job on it."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:26 AM
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Straight to 2nd grade with her!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:28 AM
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321: Will stop blogging for food?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:31 AM
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Skipping grades doesn't always work out.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:35 AM
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laptop for food stamps

My brother started a recent dust-up on FB recently by commenting that he'd taken up some dude on his offer to sell him $50 worth of food stamps for like $20. The general thrust of the comments was that (1) the seller was obviously only going to buy drugs with the cash; (2) my brother is a bad citizen because those were tax dollars—his tax dollars! and (3) poor people are bad.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:37 AM
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Recent recently.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:39 AM
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I'm not even sure how you'd trade around food stamps these days - do you give them your card, let them buy $X with it, then get it back from them? Or do not all states use cards these days?

I just looked up Electronic Benefit Transfer on Wikipedia and it started "Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system in the United States that allows state governments to provide financial and material benefits to negroes via a plastic debit card."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:43 AM
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326: Who's your skinny Persian?

They bumped me up a grade despite being a child of fall (I turned 5 in K) and then sent me back down on account of my ostracism. Didn't help, though.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:48 AM
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Holy RTFA, foolishmortal! Short answer: not ogged.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:50 AM
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329.2: While you're fixing things over there, could you put back "The Ogged"?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 11:52 AM
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329.last: Dude's got an unhealthy interest in EBT for a guy with a Canadian IP. What do they know from negroes anyway?

331: I think the feasibility of the RTFA requirement was left behind somewhere in 2007. That particular thread was too close to my first commenting for me to have read it the first time around, and I'm sorry to have missed it. "Balls Quiet on the Festerin' Cunt," indeed.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 12:06 PM
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"Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system in the United States that allows The Ogged to provide financial and material benefits...."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 12:08 PM
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333.1: Lots of people threaten, but this dude really did move to Canada when the election didn't go his way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 12:11 PM
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the seller was obviously only going to buy drugs with the cash

Come on now, maybe it was for a nice pinot. Hopefully he bought weed, which seems pretty good for tamping down on other criminal inclinations.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 12:19 PM
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321: was it Cam Newton?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 2:26 PM
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Maybe it was his dad.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 3:01 PM
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Mara has a November birthday, one month after the cutoff date here, so if she's still with us (inshallah and all that) she'll be turning six in fall of her kindergarten year. That'll also be the time she'll have been with us for as long as she was with other placements, which some foster/adopt people think has significance.

I don't think it will take three years for her speech to catch up with her peers, but she's very big for barely three (40 lbs, 42 inches) and of course black and I wonder what impact that will have on how teachers, etc. set expectations for her. We are still thinking maybe Waldorf for elementary but not preschool. Instead she'll do Head Start and daycare on-premises at CC where Lee teaches, which should be both more diverse and less hippydippy.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-11-10 5:29 PM
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OT: Help a socially awkward/inept comrade out? HS boyfriend wants to get together when he's in town for Christmas. Ideas?? Dinner party at my place? Dinner/drinks somewhere in me 'hood? Prowl the Big City? Possible, but not certain, romantic undertones...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 6:01 AM
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somewhere in me 'hood? Prowl the Big City?

Nice euphemisms.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 6:07 AM
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340: Dinner at Hooters followed by a casually uttered, "I have a code for a free Redbox movie."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 6:11 AM
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Go TiVo shopping.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 6:17 AM
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||
Well, this should be interesting.

Ron Paul, the controversial Republican House representative from Texas, will take control of the subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve. [...] Paul, who has introduced legislation to abolish the Fed, will specifically head up the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy.

|>
Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 6:39 AM
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Interesting, but not prowl the big city interesting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 6:55 AM
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340: Definitely show him around your 'hood; perhaps he'll show an interest in renovating your neglected downtown.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 6:56 AM
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Let the vagentrification begin!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 7:09 AM
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340: More details, please! Have you kept in touch? Do you know for sure that he's single? How far under were the tones? Which rom com narrative best describes why you broke up in high school? And similar intrusive questions.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 9:44 AM
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340: You could always go to the Violet Hour. Of course, this is my all-purpose suggestion for anyone in the vicinity of Chicago on any occasion.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 9:49 AM
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Was he a good kisser in high school? Have you seen a current photo of him? Did he become a banker when he grew up?

So much we need to know!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 9:50 AM
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Was he a good kisser in high school?

Are we sure this is an appropriate metric? Is good kissing something you either know or don't know, and that's that? I am uncertain on this.

Is he a Republican? A Libertarian? How does he feel about jury nullification?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 10:20 AM
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Have you been to Mercat a la Planxa, Di? I hear good things.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 10:21 AM
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Let's see. Broke up because his mom liked me way too much, mostly. (When we broke up, she told me *I* could do way better.) Also, I graduated and left for college.

Excellent kisser. And Pars, the first kiss wasn't great, but he/we adapted quickly.

I've kept in touch with his sister more than him, but exchange comments with him from time to time via social media.

Politically, he described himself as a social democrat in high school. Now, he seems fairly solidly to the left.

Undertones not subtle so much as indirect. (his sister, Btocked. Told me a couple weeks ago that I should marry him and he *definitely is into me. He still looks almost exactly like he did in high school.

Not a banker. ABD.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 11:04 AM
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Oh, and have been to neither the Violet Hour or Mercat a la Planxa.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 11:06 AM
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On the off chance he's never been to Chicago before, the bar at the top of the Hancock building is worthwhile. Sure, it's super touristy, but it's still like 1000 feet in the air. OTOH, the drink prices are such that it's not a great place to ply him with liquor in order to have your way with him.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 11:23 AM
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The Violet Hour is pretty great.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 11:29 AM
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||
If someone with JSTOR access snagged this for me, I would be totally grateful.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 11:34 AM
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He's ABD? And he's your age? Not that there's anything wrong with that. In what field?

We have to vet these people thoroughly before you can consider them, you realize.

More seriously, if he's still in and around Chicago, doing a tour of the 'hood may or may not make sense. You're the only one who can answer this: what would make both of you most at ease? I tend to go for dinner (out), since if conversation falters, you can always talk about the food, the decor, the other diners and so on. Dinner at your place seems like a lot of pressure.

Advise a telephone conversation with him beforehand to get a sense of the conversational flow.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 11:40 AM
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357: Done.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 11:42 AM
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Awesome, thanks a million.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 11:44 AM
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Violet Hour!!! You must! It was so much fun when Lee and I did it. And there's a restaurant around the corner called Cafe Absinthe or something like that where we had a really enjoyable meal, if that's something you'd be looking for.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 11:51 AM
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He's ABD?

All But Dikotomy


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 11:51 AM
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Go look for this in Jackson Park.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 12:09 PM
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Related to DK's question, I will share an anecdote. Last night, I was at a party whose them was (1) ugly sweaters and (2) Four Loko. What, exactly #1 has to do with #2, I'm not sure, but I steered clear of #2 and stuck with my ugly sweater and some beers I'd brought.

Anyway, after several hours of drinking Four Loko punch (which consisted of Four Loko, vodka, and seltzer water), people were quite precipitously falling over. As in, one minute standing or even dancing around, seemingly fine, and then, folding over like wet napkins.

It was one of the most bizarre states of intoxication I've ever witnessed, so my advice to you, Di, is not to drink any Four Loko on your date. One or both of you might tip over.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 12:28 PM
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I was recently at a Four Loko–themed party. I refused to partake.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 12:29 PM
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To be clear, whether or not this get-together will (or should) devolve into a date-like encounter remains to be seen. I'd like to keep that possibility open, though.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 12:46 PM
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Devolve?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:00 PM
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It will take a bit more time before I'm truly at ease speaking of dating as a positive development...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:06 PM
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It will surprise no one if I say that I have not looked up what exactly Four Loko is.

Apropos of this: my bookpartner recently disclosed to me that his wife, when he first met her, had never heard of Lucille Ball. ! This would have been in 1975 or so. He was utterly astonished.

It led to a discussion of who or what one might not have heard of that might seriously raise eyebrows. I mean now, in 2010. The unfoggetariat frequently speaks of people I'm unfamiliar with, and I roll with that, but really, if you were a 20-year-old, what would be stunning for you not to have heard of?

Jerry Seinfeld, maybe? How could you not know who he is? Please try not to tell me that it's shocking if I had no clear idea of who Taylor Swift or the Kardashians are.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:07 PM
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Brad & Angelina, I'd suspect. (Pitt & Jolie, respectively, in case you were confused.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:20 PM
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I could see most people in their late-teens, early-20s to be very vague on, for instance, all of the early SNL cast members. Radner, Belushi, Chase, etc.

And most people don't start really paying attention to political figures until their teens, if then, so a young adult is going to be very vague on anyone connected with the Clinton administration who's not still in the headlines.

Music's a little different, because there's usually more longevity, or none at all. Some people I know who top out at 25 or so were talking about opening a new worker-owned cafe recently. They wanted to call it "The New Bohemian". Of course, those of us who had to suffer through Edie Brickell's 15 minutes of fame thought that was pretty hilarious. Snickering ensued.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:21 PM
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372

Okay, I can top that. Dinner on Friday with a very nice twenty-something couple. Neither of them had heard of Jimmy Stewart (forcing me to implore "Dontcha know me, Mary?" in my best imitation. It got nowhere.) Lovely kids, not raised under rocks, but weren't identifying him even after I rattled off a list of movies. (They did show a glimmer of recognition at "It's a Wonderful Life" but couldn't connect him to any other movies.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:22 PM
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I wonder how nice this twenty-something couple could really be, if they had never heard of Jimmy Fucking Stewart.

I met someone recently who hadn't heard of Tony Curtis until his death.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:24 PM
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Not exactly germane, but at my old job, the initiation test for new male cow-orkers was whether they knew who Gordy Howe was. (This is in Minnesota, remember).


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:26 PM
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I've never heard of Minnesota.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:28 PM
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He's ABD? And he's your age? Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Word.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:28 PM
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Some people are ABD through their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. Or so I hear.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:30 PM
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I would not be too shocked to hear that someone under 25 had never heard of Ross Perot.

I would expect a lot of people in their late 20s would be completely unfamiliar with a whole raft of 50s and 60s matinee idols. There's plenty of them -- A listers even -- who I'm only dimly aware of, after all, and I have a film studies degree.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:30 PM
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I wonder how nice this twenty-something couple could really be, if they had never heard of Jimmy Fucking Stewart.

Depends on whether or not they're very apt pupils.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:31 PM
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I could see most people in their late-teens, early-20s to be very vague on, for instance, all of the early SNL cast members.

I was chatting with a friend last night as she watched SNL with her teenaged sons, and she confirmed that they know nothing of the show's early years. It occurred to me that they were watching the shell of a program that was once funny, and it seemed like such a bleak, desperate, alienating experience that I mourned their already-lost youth.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:31 PM
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373.1: I wonder how nice this twenty-something couple could really be

What? They must be history's most ignorant monsters or something?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:32 PM
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My joke from earlier this summer was imagining a conversation between two young people that included the line "Hey, did you know that salad-dressing guy used to be a movie star?"

But hell, there's probably a lot of fairly literate, engaged people in their 20s who don't even know who Robert Redford is. And a bunch more who don't think of him primarily as an actor.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:36 PM
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I think you're reading too much into my comment, JP.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:37 PM
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380: Speaking of shell's of things that were once funny, I was a bit saddened to see National Lampoon's name come up in a recent financial scandal.

Laikin was indicted in 2008 amid a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe of an alleged scheme to inflate National Lampoon's stock value. Durham was not accused of any wrongdoing. He became National Lampoon's interim CEO after Laikin stepped down. After the charges were filed, National Lampoon's stock value sank about 80 percent in three days. It now trades for 4 cents a share.

Also Dennis Perrin on a somewhat flawed NatLamp reunion.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:41 PM
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383: Possibly.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:42 PM
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I got into a discussion about movies with a bunch of classmates the other day and it turned out that none of them had seen Tron. I alienated myself from them further by describing my Tron-themed 8th-or-something-like-that birthday party.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:43 PM
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They did show a glimmer of recognition at "It's a Wonderful Life" but couldn't connect him to any other movies.

Funny, I know him from Vertigo but haven't seen any of his earlier movies.

(Wow, I think Vertigo really is the only movie that I would know him from. Had I not seen that I'd be someone in my mid-thirties with a sense of who Jimmie Stewart was, but now specific impression of him.)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:45 PM
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Which somehow makes me think of this on the topic of fame.

Having seen himself in Howard Hawks's Red River (1948), [Montgomery] Clift, so the story goes, knew that fame was coming to him, and grabbed the opportunity to get drunk anonymously one last time.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:48 PM
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I have been young and now am old, and I know who Jimmy Stewart was, but I have to say that Wonderful Life is the most embarrassingly crass abomination that ever wasted a stock of perfectly good celluloid, so if that had been my first or only encounter with him I might have contrived to forget who he was as well.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:58 PM
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At the time of his death I had a vague impression of who Tony Curtis is but couldn't name anything he was in. My response involved the thoughts "Was he in....No, that was Anthony Perkins", "Was he in...No, that was Anthony Quinn", and "Yeah, I guess there WAS another cross-dressing guy in Some Like it Hot! I only remember Jack Lemmon".

I know I'm risking Bob McManus showing up to post fifteen comments within an hour that all begin and end with an exasperated sigh...but for Tony Curtis, of all his dozens of movies it's only Some Like It Hot, Spartacus, The Defiant Ones, and Sweet Smell of Success that anyone has likely seen nowadays. He was in so many incredibly dated comedies that I'm thinking today's Tony Curtis is Owen Wilson or Ben Stiller or somebody.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:58 PM
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Natilo fails the initiation. It's "Gordie".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 1:59 PM
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I have actually read the rest of the thread, but this is still blowing my mind:

372: Neither of them had heard of Jimmy Stewart

Isn't that just weird? Or are we getting into class issues here? I'm honestly not sure: you can just not be a film buff. Or history buff.

It's surprising to me that anyone in this day could simply *never have heard* of Lucille Ball or Jimmy Stewart. My (white) privilege is duly slapped across the face.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:03 PM
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389: I weep for your shriveled soul.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:04 PM
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The only thing I know about Tony Curtis is what I've gleaned from parodies about him.

One of the few things I like about getting older is that I get to outlive the fame of all of the celebrities my parents and grandparents had. The worst thing about an immortality treatment is that I'd have to spend the rest of eternity hearing about Bob Dylan.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:05 PM
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The thing that consistently surprises me about It's A Wonderful Life is that, for a movie about an angel saving a man, it's actually mostly irreligious. (Not in the sense of hostile to religion, just sort of lacking it.) Somehow it seems like if it were made today it would be by the sort of people who would wrap most of it up in talk about Jesus.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:07 PM
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I just looked through their filmographies: I've never seen anything with Tony Curtis, and I know of Jimmy Stewart's main roles through cultural osmosis but have only seen The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:11 PM
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At the lab where Tweety works, the experiment rooms are named after film directors. Lynch, Tarantino, Coen, etc. There were two undergraduate interns working in the lab this past summer who had never heard of Alfred Hitchcock.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:20 PM
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397: Wow. And I thought it was bad that my freshmen hadn't heard of Kurosawa.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:27 PM
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I weep for your shriveled soul.

Seriously? The message that the evils of capitalism can be ameliorated by the efforts of isolated individualists up to the point at which they can't and supernatural intervention becomes necessary?

Fuck that noise, I'll keep paying my union dues.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:31 PM
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386: This is true also of my Colombian and Serbian roommates, but only because Tron didn't really travel. Serbian Roommate likes to call this process of re-education her "prosthetic American childhood." We are having an original-Tron-watching party on Thursday.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:31 PM
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397: Yeah, wow. So is this a problem? That's what I'm trying to think through.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:34 PM
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390: I'm mostly like this with respect to Veronica Lake. I know the name, and know the hairstyle, but until I (inexcusably recently -- only a couple of years back) saw Sullivan's Travels, I'd never seen her in a movie to remember who she was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:40 PM
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You gotta figure that an arbitrarily selected person would have a 50/50 chance of making the world a worse place had he never existed. After all, it's not as if increasing population, on its own and at the margin, should be expected to increase the average level of happiness. The average person considering suicide probably is a little less likely to have improved the average happiness level of humanity. It's a Wonderful Life is telling those people to kill themselves!


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:44 PM
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Not knowing Veronica Lake now is like not knowing about Jennifer Aniston in the year 2070.

"What should I know about her, exactly?"
"Well, she was in the magazines a lot...and she had a famous haircut for a while. People thought she seemed friendly. Have you seen Office Space? It's a good capsule of that time."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:48 PM
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I always found the movie an incredible bummer. Do the right things your whole life, and you'll end up bitter, frustrated, so tense and unhappy that you're abusive to your kids, and ultimately suicidal. And nothing even remotely realistic is going to happen to make it any better. On the other hand, if you hadn't done all the right things, everything would have been even worse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:48 PM
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Not Office Space, that is. It's a Wonderful Life.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:49 PM
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I wish I was as clever as all of you, and could keep up with the conversation. I try sometimes, but it doesn't really work. Anyway, love you guys!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:51 PM
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397: Yeah, wow. So is this a problem? That's what I'm trying to think through.

Why would it be? The supply of media, even 'great' media, is going to continue to increase--and at an increasing rate, as production costs decline, while the number of hours in a day stays constant. New stuff gets in, old stuff has to drop out.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:52 PM
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||
Watching a pirate stream of a football game being played in a snow-slick field in Chicago right now. This sport really does not look very safe! I disapprove.
|>


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 2:57 PM
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And I thought it was bad that my freshmen hadn't heard of Kurosawa.

Wow, high standards! I was probably well into grad school before I was familiar with Kurosawa. My hometown video rental place didn't even have Woody Allen movies, let alone Kurosawa. I watched Woody Allen movies from my university's library my freshman year, and then I worked out from there using the film references he made (i.e., Bergman).


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 3:00 PM
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And then from Bergman to Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 3:03 PM
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408: New stuff gets in, old stuff has to drop out.

Right.

I suppose there's a question of quality. I know you said "even 'great' media is going to continue to increase", but that would be part of the question. I don't really want to descend to asking whether Lady Gaga is the equivalent of Tina Turner, but there it is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 3:03 PM
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I now recall that I did watch Ran with some people during college, but the only thing I knew about it was 'Japanese King Lear'.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 3:04 PM
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413: I always wanted to see that, but never did! But man, did I watch The Seventh Seal a lot of times sophomore year. I watched it again last year for a class I was grading, and was pleased to find that it was much better than I remembered.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 3:07 PM
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a football game being played in a snow-slick field in Chicago right now

Let's not talk about it. What is worse than the Bears so far today: I was supposed to be in Chicago for a bachelor party this weekend, but I backed out. The two friends of mine who did go? Their flight back to Virginia got canceled this morning. They're currently in a rental car somewhere in snowy Ohio. I don't envy them.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 3:19 PM
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Not unrelatedly, I'm reading Orwell's "Road to Wigan Pier" right now, and boy, the kids of his day really need to get off his lawn, what with their taste-buds having been degraded by the products of mechanization. He hasn't yet mentioned the music yet, or talkies-v-silent-film.

I don't really want to descend to asking whether Lady Gaga is the equivalent of Tina Turner, but there it is.

Pop music is difficult, because there's a very visceral element to it, which tempts one to think there must be some science of the platonic Perfect Pop Song, an earworm that can burrow into the most hardened skull, but I think this is deceiving. The value of most cultural artifacts, particularly those with highest value, is heavily dependent on the audience's history of cultural exposure.

All of which is to say that I never really appreciated Tina Turner, although I'm sure I would had my history of music-listening been different. (Listening to her 'Proud Mary' cover now; I think I prefer CCR.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 3:31 PM
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410: We watched a lot of Westerns, so Kurosawa at least came up as a topic of conversation. My students went nuts for Rashomon, btw. I was afraid they'd decide it was slow or boring or whatever, and instead they keep saying how riveting it was; one girl claims she went home and made her whole family watch Tajomaru's testimony, pointing at the screen and shouting, "Genius! Total genius!" Basically, I'm turning my freshmen into inaccessible film-nerd assholes.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 3:50 PM
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In re: Pop Music, there's also the question of the comeback. Tina Turner looms large in my consciousness because of the buzz, and the hit, from Beyond Thunderdome, which came out when I was very young. Had it not been for her participation in a film that was of interest to children (although I was not allowed to see it in the theater), I doubt I would have had any idea of who she was for another 10 or 15 years. Although many of the other songs that I listened to along with "We Don't Need Another Hero" are forever etched on my memory, very few of the singers mean anything more to me than "random '80s pop star".


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 3:59 PM
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I didn't see any Kurosawa until I was college-aged, and even now, I've hardly seen all that I should, despite having both the capacity and propensity to have done so. For all that I know a whole bunch of people who are big Kurosawa fans, for the average filmgoer, he's sadly still pretty obscure and inaccessible. Sigh. Akutagawa was already dead by the time he was my age.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 4:02 PM
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Wow, high standards! I was probably well into grad school before I was familiar with Kurosawa.

I first heard of Kurosawa either from a George Lucas interview talking about how it inspired part of Star Wars, or from reading about the backstory of the character Usagi Yojimbo who showed up in something involving the Ninja Turtles. So the name Kurosawa was pretty familiar to me at age, like, 9, but the first time I watched one of his movies I was probably over 20.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 4:03 PM
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I feel like it's un-American not to have seen Hitchcock movies at least by one's teenage years, though.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 4:04 PM
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I wish I weren't so lonely.


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 4:27 PM
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one girl claims she went home and made her whole family watch Tajomaru's testimony, pointing at the screen and shouting, "Genius! Total genius!"

This is so great.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 4:41 PM
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a George Lucas interview talking about how it inspired part of Star Wars

He didn't even translate all of the dialog.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 5:02 PM
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My first Kurosawa was Kagemusha when it came out. Unfortunately I hadn't learned French yet so I had to rely on my dad's intermittent translations of the subtitles. I still enjoyed it. I saw Rashomon a few years later in my early teens and loved it. Back then movies cost about five dollars.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 5:36 PM
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inaccessible film-nerd assholes

Weakly or strongly inaccessible film-nerd assholes?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 5:39 PM
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The existence of certain kinds of assholes is a sensitive foundational issue.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 5:41 PM
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392

Isn't that just weird? Or are we getting into class issues here? I'm honestly not sure: you can just not be a film buff. Or history buff.

Doesn't seem weird to me, I've barely heard of Jimmy Stewart and I am a bit older than 20-something.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 5:42 PM
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427: Fundamental even.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 5:44 PM
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The last time we crossed a topologist she tore us a new one.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 5:52 PM
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430: Homeomorph!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 5:56 PM
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Any time I am surprised that someone does not know something about movies, TV, or music, I remember how little I know about sports, and how shocking my ignorance appears when it is revealed to ordinary Americans.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 5:59 PM
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432 shames me. Never again will I suggest anything is un-American.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 6:10 PM
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I have said in the past (oh, you know....internet memes or whatever) that if I had a time machine, my first stop would be the premiere of Le Sacre du Printemps. I have canceled that reservation in favor of Bave's Tron-themed 8th birthday.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 6:49 PM
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Wonderful Life is the most embarrassingly crass abomination that ever wasted a stock of perfectly good celluloid

Arguable but, for me, beside the point. I have seen Der Rosenkavalier (a work of genuine adult emotion) half a dozen times and but have never cried at it. I always cry at It's a Wonderful Life. Oh hey--

Here is a wonderful New York Times article about the movie from a couple of years ago. Pull quote:

"It's a Wonderful Life" is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people. It is a story of being trapped, of compromising, of watching others move ahead and away, of becoming so filled with rage that you verbally abuse your children, their teacher and your oppressively perfect wife. It is also a nightmare account of an endless home renovation.

But I love it straightforwardly, too. Pace Margo Channing, I adore cheap sentiment.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 7:07 PM
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432 wins something or other. A highly adorned fig leaf, maybe.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 7:11 PM
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I had one of the top five spiritual experiences of my life watching It's a Wonderful Life. Decades ago, when most TV came over the airwaves and cable was new, it was popular for broadcast networks and local independent stations to show It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, perhaps out of the belief that it would help the suicidal. I was home from college at my parents and in my usual bored, depressed and alcoholic state, watching their high tech 75+ channel cable system. Now most of these channels were simply local stations from across the country. There weren't a lot of cable-only stations then. And that Christmas Eve, most local stations were showing It's a Wonderful Life. But they were all a little out of sync with each other. And I found, by surfing skillfully, that I could watch the final sequence of the movie continuously for over an hour.

"Zuzu's petals!"
Click!
"Zuzu's petals!"
Click!
"Zuzu's petals!"
Click!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-12-10 7:22 PM
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At the lab where Tweety works, the experiment rooms are named after film directors. Lynch, Tarantino, Coen, etc.

Fantastic. But no Carpenter? Whale? Corman? Romero? I mean, if you're naming experiment rooms after directors, surely those are the ones to go for.

"Welcome to the lab. We're putting you in the Cronenberg Room."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 4:41 AM
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437: Some lawyer forgot some paperwork on the copyright extension, so it was public domain and aired constantly on account of low cost.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 5:05 AM
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I have never seen "It's a Wonderful Life."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 5:26 AM
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Jimmy Stewart plays the anti-John Galt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 5:35 AM
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440

I have never seen "It's a Wonderful Life."

Ditto.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 5:56 AM
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438: there is Wes Craven.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 6:04 AM
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I haven't seen a ditto machine in like 25 years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 6:05 AM
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Jesus. Harvey, Philadelphia Story, Mr. Smith, Rear Window.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 6:05 AM
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Philadelphia Story, Mr. Smith, Rear Window.

These, I have seen--and enjoyed!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 6:54 AM
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I feel someone should mention Rope. Okay, there, I did it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 9:00 AM
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Everybody should watch Rope to learn about how you could shoot a movie with extremely long takes and why you shouldn't ever think, "I'm so smart I can kill somebody with impunity and I'll leave some clues around just to show you that nobody will ever figure it out."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 9:05 AM
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448: The quintessential movie about University of Chicago students....


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 9:08 AM
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Now that I think of it, I first encountered both Rope and Kurosawa in a cinematography class in Chile my third year in college. The same class left me with the impression that Memento had had an outsized impact on Latin American film geeks, but it might have just been this one professor.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 9:12 AM
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I know it isn't all about the actors, per se, but at times the OMGing about the two takes (this is not quite true, I understand) in Rope makes me think people don't go to the theater enough. In any run of, say, Homebody/Kabul you have an actor doing an uninterrupted hour-long monolog eight times a week.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 9:59 AM
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449: L&L were the unofficial mascots of the my dept. We had their yearbook pix on the door to the lounge, as they were members of "The Classics Club."

451: Isn't it just a series of 10 or 12 minute takes, since that's how long the reels were? And then ZOOM into the back of a dark jacket? I never thought it was supposed to be some fantastic feat on the actors' part -- just a nifty idea of Hitchcock's.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 10:04 AM
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Ah, indeed. 20 seconds of internet research confirm that you are right. The takes are generally 7 to 10 minutes long. I thought I remembered, when I first saw it, being told that the only cut is the jacket.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-13-10 10:25 AM
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