Re: Feel bad.

1

You just enjoying screwing with their little unformed minds. Nothing wrong with that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:09 AM
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New candidate for history's greatest monster!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:11 AM
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I realised from some of your past anecdotes that not all your classes were made up of intellectual giants, but if they're not capable of communicating with each other enough to see through that trick, they must be scarcely animate.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:26 AM
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How large are these classes?


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:27 AM
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Under 30, usually.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:28 AM
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Unless the Prof describes a distribution where the 25th percentile is 88% or better, I generally assume such comments mean that the Prof has low standards.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:28 AM
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3: The students that did badly are too ashamed to share this with other students.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:33 AM
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Doesn't this just cause the individual kids to despair (God, I really do suck at math). Particularly since they're likely to have more information about the other kids pre-test study habits (i totally saw her getting drunk on Wednesday!) than they are about the other kids grades?

Anyhow, eventually you will get caught in your self-spun web of LIES.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:33 AM
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Perhaps in your heathen LA world. Here in Texas we are already abject and inclined to attribute all failure to lack of discipline. Which is what I'm trying to promote, on occasion.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:36 AM
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10

Asocial promotion.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:42 AM
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I always show the grade distribution, so that students who failed the test can see that in fact 10% of the students (or whatever) got over a 95, and so the fault is theirs and not the test's.

I'm also to the point in some classes where I can show this years distribution and compared to the overall distribution on equivalent tests over the last five years. But at that point, I'm just playing with Excel, not really informing students of much.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:46 AM
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12

So you want your students to be neurotic, manipulated math slaves. You admit it. No dark sarcasm in the classroom.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:49 AM
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11. If you're taking this seriously, you should make the ones who fail sit on a stool in front of the class wearing a striped shirt and a conical cardboard cap with a "D" on it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:52 AM
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13: That would have to be one big striped shirt, but okay.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:54 AM
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If I had to teach math, I'd stand behind a cardboard cutout of Edward James Olmos.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:54 AM
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Probably one taken from Blade Runner because that was a better movie by far.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:55 AM
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we are already abject

Is this correct? I thought that only poverty and despair were abject, not individuals.

Wikipedia has an entry on "Abjection" that is not helpful.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:57 AM
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So you want your students to be neurotic, manipulated math slaves.

They come in Texans, but they'll leave Jews.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:57 AM
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You just enjoying screwing with their little unformed minds.

I read this as "uninformed".


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:58 AM
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I abject!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 8:59 AM
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21

They come in Texans, but they'll leave Jews.

Heebie refuses to acknowledge the existence of Kinky Friedman.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 9:01 AM
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Memories of my first midterm in an honors Physics class first semester freshman year. A very disappointed prof announcing that he doesn't believe in grading on a curve, that a passing grade was seventy, and the median grade was fifty something. I was below the median. It was a learning experience. I was no longer able to show up to a test with no studying and do fine, the way I had in high school. At least I had plenty of company in learning that lesson.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 9:05 AM
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23

Is there a secret manual of manipulating students? Maybe chained to the coffee maker in the faculty lounge.


Posted by: Grumbles | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 9:31 AM
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Have them stand up and then say, "Everyone who thinks they passed the test take a step forward". Quickly followed by, "Not so fast [involved math problem relevant to the class which yields the correct answer] of you."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 9:37 AM
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"Good morning. I am the feared Professor Geebie. You may have heard of me. Look to your left. Look to your right. By the time you leave my classroom, one of those people will not be there, and the other one will be a Jew."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 9:40 AM
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Was 13 to me? I'm not publishing individual information, just a line graph of the distribution.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 9:40 AM
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27

"Ms. Rickenbacker, here is a quarter. Please call your mother and tell her that you will never be a practicing Mathematician in the State of Texas."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 9:44 AM
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The exams in classes that I TA very often have a much lower mean than median due to a few super-low scores. The stupid evil online grading system that my school uses shows students the mean but not the median, so I always make a point of telling students the median score to discourage "Woohoo I beat the average!" attitude. I don't lie to them, but I guess I am trying to cultivate bad feelings.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 10:00 AM
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29

"The only thing in Texas are queers and steers and I don't see any horns on you lot. Yet."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 10:13 AM
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30

25 and 27 are great.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 10:14 AM
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"Ms. Rickenbacker, here is a quarter. Please call your mother and tell her that you will never be a practicing Mathematician in the State of Texas."

"What's the quarter for?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 10:35 AM
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Kid A came home from school today and said she got 55% on a biology test. Could you send her some abuse please heebie?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 11:55 AM
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33

I am glad to see I am not the only one who does things like this. Unfortunately, the online gradebook which tells all students the mean and median keeps me from the "most people did well and the rest of you need to work harder" bit. This still leaves open the option of telling them how much better all previous years did, and so they are a great disappointment.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 3:40 PM
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OMG, I've totally done this. "While a couple of you did work that I found really surprisingly disappointing, many of you wrote very strong, promising work on this round." Their hearts are all in their throats.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 3:43 PM
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35

I was going to use this thread to post about some tough career decisions I may have to make this week, but I got tired of the metaphors.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:08 PM
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I was going to use this thread to tell you about what my puppy did to my guinea pig, but I was afraid you would understand it metaphorically.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:13 PM
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37

You could post in a nonmetaphorical way.

Looks like my tough decision-making is delayed a bit since people are taking their sweet time about making it official. "Oh, we had a meeting today, and we had a straw vote, and you're doing great, but some people said they hadn't had enough time to look things over, so we're going to meet again next Monday." Grrr....


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:14 PM
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I have two visits this week. One is over (on my way home now), one starts Wednesday. The today one is a deathless guinea pig that bears a little too much resemblance to the Eraserhead baby; I liked the people more than I thought I would, but they have their own Eraserhead babies and everyone seems very harried and taxed and bent with woes--pleasant enough but with an edge to their voices. Oh sure we'd LOVE to do a program LIKE that but perhaps you're UNFAMILIAR with what the CIRCUMSTANCES... They talked to me for a couple of hours and then it was over. Visit two is a one-year puppy far away from everyone I love, but I am just sick in love with this puppy. It's not even a super-fancy puppy; it's just so right and so me and I would just stare into its eyes all the time and kiss it.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:21 PM
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They're going to let me play with the puppy for like three whole days.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:21 PM
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40

Can we put these metaphors to death now? I wish there were some reasonably non-identifying way to name (institutional) names.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:31 PM
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You extended the metaphor! In a horrifying way! Puppies sound way better than Eraserhead babies, even one-year puppies. Awww, a cute widdle puppy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:32 PM
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The whole thing makes me feel that maybe I was not born for happiness. (The thought of having an actual baby pretty quickly turns into Eraserhead for me. Someone else might be delighted by the guinea pig.) All I want is fleeting joy.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:37 PM
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43

He who has much joy must be a good man: but he is perhaps not the most intelligent [kl├╝gste], even though he has attained precisely that which the most intelligent man strives after with all his intelligence.


Posted by: Friedrich N. | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:39 PM
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If we are intelligent [klug] the only thing that need concern us is that we should have joy in our hearts.—Alas, someone added, if we are intelligent the best thing we can do is to be wise.


Posted by: Friedrich N. | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:40 PM
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45

43 describes me pretty accurately.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:43 PM
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46

I'm full of psychological insight.


Posted by: Friedrich N. | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:47 PM
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47

Selfcenteredly switching the topic to another kind of feeling bad, I've got some kind of cold or virus or something. It's not much for symptoms: a little runny nose, a little sore throat, but man, am I exhausted. And being tired always makes me suspect myself of just being lazy. I'm usually not this lazy, but maybe my character flaws have blossomed over the weekend.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 4:54 PM
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48

As our update on all things guinea pig-related, my partner met with the pertinent HR director and explicitly began an investigation both of the non-renewal and of any potential discrimination involved in that decision. The HR person is herself a POC and not the sort who doesn't believe in subtle discrimination. She knew enough to say all the right things and was definitely outraged that the news of non-renewal is being used as an intimidation tactic.

My partner meets with the academic VP tomorrow to plead her case there. As part of all this, she's printed out her tenure packet and is actually feeling pretty proud about what's in it, as she should. I'm also getting magically more relaxed and doing a good job (micro)managing her approaches. She is doing a great job of controlling the narrative and has gotten all sorts of support from even unexpected quarters. She's never been close to the one tenured POC in her program, but it turns out that person had a similar experience and is happy to talk to HR about it. Everyone keeps saying the school has a history of settling on cases like these, but she's going to make it clear she wants reinstatement and/or a different tenure-track job rather than a payoff.


Posted by: Eleanor Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 5:04 PM
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49

||
Quickie ATM:

A big branch came down off our crappy old silver maple in the back yard today. It totally severed the telephone line (which, of course, we are not using) and it ripped the cable line off the house but did not connect it. I've called C_____L___ and C______ to see whether either of them can ascertain whose line it is. Both of them basically said "don't call us; we'll call you", with C______L___ making it explicit that they're not going to do anything about it until late tomorrow afternoon at the absolute earliest.

So, my question is: How much current is going through those lines, is it dangerous, and is there anything I can do to mitigate the danger?

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 5:15 PM
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49: Okay, so the solons at Yahoo! Answers say there is nothing to worry about. Are they right?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 5:17 PM
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"Should any of you have any illusions on this matter, please let me just note that about half of you are doing relatively well. As for the rest of you, we offer counseling services, please check the student services website for details."


Posted by: Grumbles | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 5:22 PM
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49: Jammies says not dangerous. Very low voltage.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 5:30 PM
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47: Sometimes I've been inappropriately happy about being mildly sick because it gives me an excuse to be lazy.

Tonight my excuse for being lazy is that it's absurdly hot in my apartment. I hope this isn't a portent of what the summer will be like.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 5:40 PM
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54

Surely you have a multimeter in the house?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 5:50 PM
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My old cob-logger is shrill.

6) Are you humbly grateful for this assistance, or do you still feel entitled to self-respect? If you do not appreciate all your betters have done for you, your counselor will schedule you to be taught your place.

Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 10:21 PM
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56

(||, |>)


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-16-12 10:22 PM
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I like your scheming ways, heebie. Does this really work when they've got the distribution, though? Sounds like you've got your work cut out for you, teaching them math and all.


Posted by: simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 12:14 AM
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53: I'm always happy about being sick for that reason. Also, my current job offers only two weeks vacation (i.e. not holidays, paid time off?) per year, which is normal, I gather, by U.S. standards, but seems ridiculously low to me. 9 hours a day every day with only 14 days a year to yourself - how can you people live like this?!


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 1:10 AM
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33: Unfortunately, the online gradebook which tells all students the mean and median keeps me from the "most people did well and the rest of you need to work harder" bit.

That assumes that they have the mathematical nous to work out the implications of the relationship between their own score, the mean, and the median.

Which contradicts the original hypothesis.

QED.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 1:21 AM
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54: No, I don't really know how to use one, so I've dithered about how fancy a model to buy. I could borrow the neighbor's of course. Also, I could ask my housemate such questions, as he comes from a family of electricians, but he was at work.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 6:39 AM
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I wish I'd thought of this earlier, but 49 et al. made me realize I should ask a similar question. Can anyone recommend any electrical contractors in the DC area? We'll start checking online soon, but would prefer someone who comes recommended if possible, obviously.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 8:40 AM
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If it is your house's electric wiring, it's almost certainly AC, not DC.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 8:41 AM
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9 hours a day every day with only 14 days a year to yourself - how can you people live like this?!

We hang out on online fora on the company time, obviously.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 8:42 AM
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At least, yesterday we did.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 9:09 AM
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65

How was yesterday the same as every other day?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 9:25 AM
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59: the ones who haven't figured that out by the time they get to my classes are rare, and I can usually get rid of them in the first week.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 9:28 AM
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In my first graduate statistics class, the professor put up the median score of the midterm exame. I asked the median was the one where you added them all up and divided by the number of scores.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 9:32 AM
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That's how you spell "exam" in some states.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 9:33 AM
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69

Cosma doesn't even see innumeracy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 9:34 AM
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70

Altered states for altered spelling.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 9:35 AM
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Anyway, I didn't know much about the internet back then. I had to troll in real life.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 9:37 AM
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67: The median is the one that stops the negative numbers from crashing into the positive numbers.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 10:15 AM
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66: wow. Hey, one of those classes is taught in some language called R. You don't even lecture in English! That's esoterrific!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 10:19 AM
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73: It's an abbreviated form of pirate.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 10:26 AM
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47 continued: Maddening cold still here. I may put my head down on my keyboard and sleep.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 10:30 AM
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I've had a similar cold. Each day symptoms fade, only to be replaced by new ones. The worst day brought some combination of tiredness and achiness. I think I'm at the end, as I've moved on to headaches and coughing up phlegm.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 10:34 AM
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Also, good foresight on your part hiding your complaining here, rather than on AWB's thread.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 10:34 AM
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I am just now getting past a doozy of a cold that nailed me for over a week centered around Easter weekend. I'm in the residual phlegm throat-clearing stage.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 10:48 AM
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I had plenty of company at work and home who were similarly suffering. I blame the Jews.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-12 10:52 AM
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