Re: Walla Walla Aww-shington.

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"mental hoo-ha"?


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 11:55 AM
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Thanks for posting this. I love this article.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 12:14 PM
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How is it that the conservative mindset is exactly wrong about everything?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 12:29 PM
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||

Why Machiavelli?

Via Jo Walton and PNH. Made me cry.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 12:53 PM
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I love this article, too, but I do wonder if the model can be reproduced. Isn't there a tendency for reforms to work well when they're championed by insanely dedicated and charismatic principals and teachers and then not to work nearly as well when transferred to ordinary schools where people think of their jobs as jobs, not as missions? More specifically, I worry about what happens when more run-of-the-mill principals start asking students to open up about the traumas in their lives.

But no doubt the model is useful if only for reframing the problem of school discipline.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 1:22 PM
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The model is also useful beyond high school for getting students to articulate to themselves what the blocks in their education are. At least, I find that if a student is doing poorly, and I just "punish" them with a bad grade, then I get a bunch of bullshit excuses. If a student is doing poorly and I tell them I noticed, and ask them what's up, they usually get mad for a few seconds, start telling me an excuse for a few more seconds, and then they explain their plan for working harder. It also works great for solidifying steps forward for students who are doing well: "Hey, I noticed your last paper was especially insightful and elegantly written. What has changed in your method?"

I don't know what it's like among high school teachers, but IME college professors like to sit around together sneering about how we're not their fucking *therapists* or whatever, outdoing one another with tales of strictness and babyish discipline. ("Well, *I* said if you're going to be ten minutes late you might as well just not come at all.") I take a lot of shit from colleagues for asking students who suck to come to my office so I can do the "I noticed X; you seem Y. What's going on?" thing. But I do it because it's a lot easier to nip these things in the bud than to drop the hammer and have to watch that student crumble, doing worse and worse as the semester goes on, while you enforce increasingly depressing penalties.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 1:39 PM
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And what really sucks is that I get in trouble with my departments for not giving enough low grades. My assignments and reading loads are the heaviest in the department, but obviously, if that many students are getting As and Bs, I must be doing something wrong. We measure our worth in Cs, Ds, and Fs, not in how many of our students become competent, confident readers and writers.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 1:53 PM
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There are an awful lot of spurious-looking statistics here. Maybe reducing suspensions is a good tactic to promote good behavior, but you can't prove that by saying that suspensions are down.

"Studies show that one suspension triples the likelihood of a juvenile justice contact within that year," California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told the California Legislature last month. "And that one suspension doubles the likelihood of repeating the grade."

My guess is that Justice Cantil-Sakauye hasn't done a lot of work to tease out whether these things are merely correlated, or if in fact suspensions really do cause contact with the criminal justice system.

That said, much of the story seems to ask that adults be more sympathetic to troubled kids. That can't be bad advice. It seems pretty likely that kids do better when adults take the time to find out what's going on in their lives.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 2:06 PM
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5: You're talking about reality, Mme. Merle. That's deprecated around here.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 2:09 PM
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My guess is that hostility toward students is usually a release valve for anger they feel about abuse by people above them in the hierarchy. You can't express your anger and alienation at the people who are causing your professional frustrations, so you aim it down. Otherwise, it just doesn't make sense. Being angry and emotionally disconnected isn't fun or satisfying, it's more difficult, and it produces worse results.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 2:12 PM
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I knew a professor who shut the door if you were late and then opened it 10 minutes in. After that anyone could come in. He just didn't want people dribbling in at the beginning. His classes were a theatrical performance scripted over the years, and I don't think he wanted his rhythm disturbed.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 3:24 PM
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No one likes it when people come in late. It's completely rude and disruptive. So you talk to them about it instead of treating them like they're in sixth grade.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 3:44 PM
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This is the thing; people assume if you're not a bossy disciplinarian that you are a doormat. What if being a bossy disciplinarian is not a very effective way to get students to stop treating you like a doormat?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 3:45 PM
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people assume if you're not a bossy disciplinarian that you are a doormat.

Students/colleagues don't treat me like either of these.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 3:46 PM
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I meant people who are not teachers who worship disciplinarians.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 3:48 PM
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People who are not (teachers who worship disciplinarians) assume if you're not a bossy disciplinarian that you are a doormat.
People (who are not teachers) who worship disciplinarians assume if you're not a bossy disciplinarian that you are a doormat.
People who are not teachers who worship disciplinarians are the luckiest people in the world.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 3:56 PM
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4.--That's a great piece.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 4:23 PM
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4, 17: yep. Looking forward to the sequel.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 4:55 PM
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5: I do wonder if the model can be reproduced

I suspect that my friend the 5th grade public city school teacher would observe that inviting kids to open up unfortunately invites parents (who hear about it from the kid) to go on a tear themselves, storming into the school to declare that the teacher has stepped out of line, interfering with the student's home life by suggesting to the student that his/her home life is a problem, and so on. A great deal of defense of territory goes on, from what I understand.

This observation doesn't amount to running into problems where teachers view their jobs as just jobs, contra 5, but rather when the parents view the teachers as workers to be kept in their place(s).

I haven't finished the article yet; perhaps it addresses this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 4:58 PM
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I skimmed the rest of the article, and it doesn't say anything about how the parents respond to all of this, as far as I can see. Maybe the school and the community in which it's situated is distinctive in this regard, but I admit I'm a little surprised that there have been no issues with parents storming in to declare that they don't want their kid in Mr. So-and-so's class any more, because Mr. So-and-so [the teacher] has been telling the kid that mom/dad are bad people.

For what it's worth, my friend says that what's needed is for the principal, vice principal, and similar types to have teachers' backs about the approaches taken; it's not unsual for the principal to fall short in that regard. I missed whether the article says that parents and the community at large are given an orientation about the new school disciplinary policy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 5:32 PM
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Keep in mind that this is all occurring at a school for kids who have been kicked out of mainstream schools.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 5:36 PM
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Right. But .. that means what, that the parents have already checked out? Maybe so.

I did only skim the rest of the article. I'm wondering now about very basic things, like: if you're going to actually get A's, you're going to need, like, school supplies like paper and pencils. If mom/dad are either absent or insensate or vicious, how do you get those? (That's a real problem for some of the kids at my friend's school.)

Maybe the school profiled has a robust budget.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 5:42 PM
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I do wonder if the model can be reproduced

Yeah, that's the thing. I read the "model" here as being simply, "Treat kids like people deserving of respect and compassion." Which is something you can't really script. Saying we should treat kids with as much respect as adults is probably an ambitious ideal, and we don't even treat adults with that much respect.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 5:53 PM
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Right. But .. that means what, that the parents have already checked out? Maybe so.

Well, that seems to be largely the belief the school is operating under:

As Kirby puts it: "Their family is in a plane that's going to crash. We tell them: 'You're going to parachute out. You're going to college.' Their family is likely to say to them: 'Hey you in the parachute -- get back in this plane. We need you to go to work and support us.' The people in the plane give lots of pushback: 'What? You're too good to be with our family now?' Sometimes kids change back. Sometimes kids get healthy and say: 'I don't want to live like that anymore.'"

Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 6:00 PM
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There are other schools on both coasts (and presumably in the middle, though I don't know) doing things like this and getting similar results. This is very much in line with how I'd (foster) parent a teen and has much in line with how I deal with the girls, which I think is part of the reason they've done well here. I think Rowan would have thrived in a school that took his trauma history seriously. In theory, the residential treatment center should have done some of that, but the school start seemed pretty well separate from the therapeutic part.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 6:03 PM
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24: Ah. So the article does address it, sorry I missed that. From what I understand, that can be how it goes: "What, you're too good to be with our family now?" That's some powerful stuff, added to the kid's burden. The kid needs support for that as well. Ideally the family receives it as well, but that may be putting too much on the school system.

You see what I mean, though: the approach taken means the school is taking its in loco parentis mandate seriously. It strikes me as quite a sea change. The effort would have to go beyond just the schools themselves, for outreach to the parents.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 6:17 PM
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I just reviewed the article again. I'd like to see a follow-up piece about the families/parents.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 6:49 PM
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I think the big question is here is "compared to what?" Is this a better way to treat kids than most alternative/disciplinary schools currently treat them? Hard to imagine it's not.

Is this The One Best Way to treat kids? Well, that's not so clear. For one thing, there are a lot of class-based critiques of the assumptions underlying the statements in 24. Alfred Lubrano's book Limbo (I know I always recommend this) talks eloquently about the difficulties for working-class kids when their families experience their transition to college/middle class as a betrayal.

This "we're going to teach you how to function in the middle-class world" is the entire premise of so-called "high-performing" charter schools like KIPP and the like. There is indeed a lot to be said for giving people the tools to be able to code-switch, and for acknowledging the reality that the middle-class code is crucial for economic success in many instances.

On the other hand, it's also very reductionist and passive way of thinking about the world: "This is the way it is, it will always be this way, and the best I can do for you is teach you how to navigate it."

I was in a meeting a while back with a group of business and nonprofit leaders. Someone asserted that "in the current revenue environment...." and the virtually entire room just followed blindly along with the assumption for the rest of the discussion. Only one woman spoke up to point out that the "revenue environment" was NOT a given, and that it could be changed as a result of personal and collective action. Her remark landed like a dead fish. People stepped politely around it and ignored it completely.

Schools that want to teach kids how to fit into the right kind of mould are very good at dissecting and propagating the current rules. They are not very good at all, in my experience, at recognizing or anticipating change, and actively resist teaching their students to question or challenge the status quo.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:13 PM
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Her remark landed like a dead fish.

I wonder if this represents almost the entirety of the rightwing political shift in my lifetime. There was always an idea on the right that collective action was undesirable, but now I think there's an idea that permeates all of society that collective action is futile - that it's a waste of time to think or talk about it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:35 PM
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Schools that want to teach kids how to fit into the right kind of mould are very good at dissecting and propagating the current rules. They are not very good at all, in my experience, at recognizing or anticipating change, and actively resist teaching their students to question or challenge the status quo.

That's true, but if we're going to start talking about challenging the status quo in which schools serve largely as vehicles for the propagation of middle-class values, why do we need schools at all?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:38 PM
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On the other hand, it's also very reductionist and passive way of thinking about the world: "This is the way it is, it will always be this way, and the best I can do for you is teach you how to navigate it."

Speaking of which: not that I know anything about Occupy Oakland, but ugh--this piece is a nice example of how it's impossible to write anything worth reading about a social movement if you simply refuse to take that movement's aims or premises seriously, as deserving of critique or engagement. (But then, the point of the article is precisely to be dismissive while masquerading as engagement, and I'm sure it succeeded in leaving many readers with that loveliest of things: the gratifying sense that one needn't think any harder about a potentially unpleasant subject.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:39 PM
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Certainly, Witt. It's difficult to see how we're going to see renewed emphasis on civics or economics or union history in schools these days, though, given the extraordinary emphasis on the so-called STEM subjects.

Various other obvious statements about the evisceration of school budgets, etc., deleted.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:40 PM
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It's difficult to see how we're going to see renewed emphasis on civics or economics or union history in schools these days, though, given the extraordinary emphasis on the so-called STEM subjects.

Yeah, maybe if we stopped teaching algebra we'd have a well-informed and engaged citizenry.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:41 PM
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30 makes no sense to me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:42 PM
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I did not say that, essear.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:43 PM
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why do we need schools at all?

Indeed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:46 PM
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Because home schooled kids have proms that tend toward incest?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:52 PM
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32: To be clear, I wasn't meaning anything about specific subjects or material to be covered, although of course I don't have anything against civics etc.

Rather, I meant facilitating young people's sense of efficacy. It's one thing to know that you should be on a time and dress professionally (and what "professionally" means) for a job interview. It's another to know that if you notice a problem or have an idea for how to improve something, there are ways and processes that you can get your idea heard and potentially implemented.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:54 PM
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Try to be more open-minded, Moby.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:56 PM
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there are ways and processes that you can get your idea heard and potentially implemented.

I'm all in favor of increasing kid's sense of efficacy, but outright lies like that will probably backfire.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 7:58 PM
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37: Serious answer: Because homeschooling can raise children who question the purpose and structure of proms -- as well as everything else in society.

Do this because I said so thinking is one very sizable part of what is currently crippling our political process. Thanks to Congress's hysteria over debt/deficit reduction, January is going to see fiscal cuts in non-military discretionary spending of a magnitude that it's hard to overstate.

A country with a few million more people who don't just accept the status quo would be in much better shape to tackle the problems that Congress thought (we'll say, charitably) it was tackling.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 8:01 PM
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After about ten minutes fruitless discussion on why the used toilet paper doesn't go in the trash, I'm a much bigger fan of "because I said so."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 8:03 PM
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29

I wonder if this represents almost the entirety of the rightwing political shift in my lifetime. There was always an idea on the right that collective action was undesirable, but now I think there's an idea that permeates all of society that collective action is futile - that it's a waste of time to think or talk about it.

How does this square with Chick-fil-A appreciation day?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 8:04 PM
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More seriously, I don't see that questioning the structure and purpose of society is necessarily related to what happens in schools. Or at least not directly and at least not at the level of mass education. I know a great number of very questioning people who had very strict school-based educations. I know that isn't exactly data, but just historically home education (that is, nearly anything before the advent of near universal public education) has been linked to very narrow elites and static societies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 8:14 PM
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I don't see that questioning the structure and purpose of society is necessarily related to what happens in schools.

It's not necessarily related, and I'm sorry if I implied that. It is, however, very often related in reality. My observation of KIPP and its ilk, as well as the kind of attitudes that programs like Teach for America seem to encourage, is that they are emphatically supportive of teaching young people the what of social codes, but unwilling-to-unable to teach them the why or the what-if-different.

I strongly suspect that many of the questioning people you know are the way they are in spite of their K-12 schooling, not because of it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 8:36 PM
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Because homeschooling can raise children who question the purpose and structure of proms -- as well as everything else in society.

Erm, are you really advocating mass homeschooling, Witt? 'Cause that seems a) like a spectacularly bad idea and (thus) b) very much out of character for you.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 9:53 PM
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46: because (c) some parents have to work for a living.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 10:16 PM
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Woot!

But, um, to be fair, I got it from BPhD.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 10:33 PM
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I strongly suspect that many of the questioning people you know are the way they are in spite of their K-12 schooling, not because of it.

To be fair, I think this works in both directions. A lot of people "learned" critical thinking skills in school but don't use them.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 10:45 PM
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43: Engaging in conspicuous consumption is the one form of collective action that is ALWAYS appropriate in this society.

I dunno, when I read an article like the one in the OP link, I kinda turn into Emperor Palpatine, or Nechayev or somebody. Fucked up products of the capitalist system are anti-social and ungovernable? GOOD, that's what you get for fucking people over to make money. Feel the hatred! Let it flow through you! Let fury have the hour, anger can be power, you know that you can use it!

White people go to school, where they teach you how to be thick.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 4-12 11:40 PM
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Obi Wan never told you who your real father was, did he, Natilo?


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 2:12 AM
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24's quote is from the doctor whose mind was blown that there were kids in the community who weren't seeing a doctor regularly or having their mental health needs met (SERIOUSLY???) and may or may not reflect the broader view of the school.

I've found that dealing with family issues and dealing with how to teach code-switching are things that require a lot of forethought and I'm still not sure I get them right. With kids 10 and up I teach the term "code-switching" and start with the idea that you don't talk to your grandma or your pastor the way you talk to your friends and go from there to how school society only takes some kind of talk seriously and what are the ways to learn to follow those rules and what are ways to challenge them? But with Nia, who's 6, we just say that there's "school language" and that's what we mostly use in our home, so her family's language is to say "Is you going?" but in school language we say "Are you going?" and it's great that she's learning both ways. We still correct her grammar, but I'm trying to do it mindfully and in a way that will discourage her from correcting her grandma when she says the same things.

I know I'm not talking about school exactly since what I do is supplemental tutoring or fostering, but it's basically the same group of kids this article is talking about. I doubt any of the kids who've been in our home have had an ACE score under 6. And Mara's aunt, who's raising Mara's 4 oldest siblings and her own 4 kids, has asked me to do whatever I can to help them see more of the city and more of life than they would just with her. I don't know what it's going to mean to the family when it's more obvious what Mara's cultural differences are. One of her mom's friends already called her "white" and I don't think she even knew I was the one raising Mara, just that it sounded wrong for Mara to say "Sure!" like she did. And I have to figure out how to help Mara's sister get into college next year without sending the message that I'll be let down if she doesn't or she'll be failing anyone if she ends up in the same public housing complex where she grew up. Parsimon is right that this stuff is so hard on kids, much harder than it is on me as a semi-outsider, and I don't know what the right approach is.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 6:57 AM
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I think "bossy disciplinarian" can work perfectly well as a teaching strategy, as long as it comes across as that you're a bossy disciplinarian because you care, and not because you find students annoying.

50, if offered seriously, would be the worst advice ever. I grew up poor as shit, and really angry about it, and the anger did fuck-all for me. That level of anger just leads to wanting to punch the system in the face, and the system has the bigger fists. You need to use the energy of the system against it -- aikido, not boxing.

Am I the only one here who ever got suspended from school? Also, ACE score of 4, bitches! That's science.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:26 AM
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I don't know, being angry sort of worked for me up to a certain point. Perhaps not quite anger, but a certain chippy arrogance, definitely. I never wanted to let those middle/upper-class fucks beat me.

I don't know if it helped when I was teaching, though. I don't have the patience or gentleness of spirit some other people describe. If some rich arrogant lazy fuck disrespected me, I wanted to pwn them. I wasn't [and am still not] prepared to abrogate my sense of self-worth and self-respect in order to be a better teacher. If the student was a fucking prick, fuck 'em.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:39 AM
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53: I also have an ACE score of 4. I got suspended 3 times, I believe. Twice for fighting and once for a whole complicated set of things.

What is "seriously" in the context of 50? I sincerely feel conflicted about reading articles like that, when I think about how government schools, which, at this point, are often more RSA than ISA anyway, want to constantly destroy kids, then help them a little bit, then destroy them again, then help them a little bit. I mean, of course, yeah, I'd love it if children got to be safe and secure and happy and well cared for all the time. But we're not going to get there under capitalism and patriarchy and white supremacy. I was a pretty fucked up kid, and based on the non-fucked up parts of my childhood, I was able to sublimate all of that rage into political activism. Of course, not everyone is able to do that. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. Or Ride the Wohl Whip, if you manage to hang out with the right crew of misfits and geniuses and queers and nerds.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:41 AM
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Natilo, I meant I don't think a doctor should be amazed to learn that there are people in the community without insurance who don't have the medical experience her wealthier insures patients get. Isn't that sort of thing well-known?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:49 AM
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Also, I would point out that I went to school with A LOT of kids who were more at the 5 or 6 level on the ACE score, and many of them were much more well-adjusted than me, at least from what you could tell from their behavior in school. Not as smart as me in many cases, though, which was maybe a blessing in disguise for them. The ones who were smarter than me, and came from more fucked up backgrounds than me, I often wonder what's become of them. I hope some of them got out and figured things out, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear of them dead or in prison. I know one at least has apparently permanently moved to the Far East to teach English and seems to be doing very well. So that's something. I would guess the administrations and teachers of the schools we went to knew he was in bad shape, but they had no clue how totally awful it really was for him.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:50 AM
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56: What, no, I wasn't responding to that? I agree with you completely on that point.

I guess I imagine that a lot of the folx in the various roles which would nominally be about "saving" these kids DO have a pretty good idea about what they're up against, and wind up willfully ignoring the worst aspects of it, just to get through the day. Or focusing on the minutiae so they don't have to look at the big picture. Unfogged social worker crew: Is that accurate?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:54 AM
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Is it just me, or is it kind of hard to figure these ACE scores? Like, how frequently did a parent have to insult, humiliate, or swear at you for it to really be "often"? Or hit so hard it left marks -- does that mean lasting bruises, or would a red welt that faded in a few hours count? Feeling like no one loved you -- what if you were just being too sensitive? How do I know for sure if my parent was depressed or a problem drinker?


Posted by: Chelsea Clinton | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 8:14 AM
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53: I didn't just get suspended. I got suspended, then subsequently expelled, from arguably the most prestigious high school in North Carolina.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 9:01 AM
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50's Fucked up products of the capitalist system are anti-social and ungovernable is close to what I was getting at in 26 by referring to outreach to the parents/family of kids with high ACE scores. The kids are suffering in significant part because their families suffer in the first place, from racism possibly, and from lack of support for single mothers, a punitive welfare system, vicious employment practices that are at this point entirely dismissive of provision of benefits of any kind, and/or any number of similarly destructive social policies.

Schools can provide as much support as they can to kids trying to bootstrap themselves out of that (and they should, of course), but with the family's issues trying constantly to yank them back, it's deeply difficult*; I found the OP's linked article a bit rosy colored in its failure to note that the families also need to see greater, society-wide, policy changes.

* And I don't mean just hand-wavy psychological pressures from the family: I mean that if mom needs junior to look after the younger siblings (feed them, clothe them) every day after school until she gets home from her second job at 11 p.m., junior's not going to be practically able to engage in school extracurriculars or get his homework done or whatever. The kinder, gentler disciplinary policy in the OP's profiled school can't work by magic all by itself.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 9:22 AM
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45: I strongly suspect that many of the questioning people you know are the way they are in spite of their K-12 schooling, not because of it.

This seems glib. I know that "many" does not mean all, but I was considering this last night, and I think I do credit my high school -- a public school, the only one in my town -- with opening up all kinds of space for me.

I read To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Bluest Eye, and The Scarlet Letter. They got me thinking. I wrote my final paper in junior year US history class on Woodstock (with my teacher's advance approval of the topic). Final paper one year in English class was on e e cummings -- though I don't know a thing about his politics. He broke grammatical rules, though.

Maybe I just was that way to begin with, though it's highly doubtful that I learned it from my family. (Though, maybe from my grandmother, who was a downright hippie grandma.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 9:36 AM
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60: CA was routinely expelled from and readmitted to his high school. His high school was also run on the principles of the high school in Pump Up the Volume.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 9:57 AM
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Chelsea, are you asking hypothetical questions to demonstrate the fuzziness of the ACE categories, or are you asking real questions to judge whether you're just being "too sensitive" when you feel like maybe your parents shouldn't have hit your hard enough to leave welts (but at least not bruises!)? Because if it's the latter, I just want to say, at the risk of being painfully earnest, that what you're describing sounds pretty bad, no matter how the ACE scale would categorize it.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 10:01 AM
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But if it's the former, then excellent point and on with the incisive critique! I also really agree with the point Parsimon's making about the parents' own difficulties being relevant.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 10:03 AM
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I might as well serial comment and bring 62 in sync with 61.

I don't doubt that the reason I was able to benefit as I did from my high school's offerings was that my parents were financially stable, because they had jobs with benefits. Both were with government or government-funded organizations (my dad first in the military, then with the USPS, unionized; my mom a nurse in a public hospital, unionized). We had health insurance; my parents could take off for sick days without being fired.

That makes every difference in the world. The schools have become our society's first line of approach, and of attack, in the hand-wringing over what to do about our ... [here's an old term] underclass. Certainly, the schools are right there, and they should absolutely not be miniature correctional facilities, but a much broader policy change is needed if we're to help kids. I don't think public schools are principally to blame for our problems.

Everything I'm saying is totally obvious, right? I don't know if I'm embarrassing myself by spelling it out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 10:13 AM
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What you're saying is mostly right, and certainly not embarrassing. But there is some point to talking about what the schools can, practically, do, because the schools are there now: they're a point of contact between kids with problems and adults who want to help them that currently exists. Changing disciplinary policies in schools can't fix the problems of inequality by itself, or come close to it; as you say, that's something that has to happen outside the educational system. But it is possible that there's something that can be done along the lines described in the article that will help some kids, sometimes, and while it's not a panacea, it's still worth doing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 10:22 AM
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I didn't say it wasn't worth doing. Just don't think it's magic.

The education professionals who are on board with the new and different disciplinary policy should branch out to others in the social work (which is what schooling essentially is) field to advocate for wider public policy changes.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 10:43 AM
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Woo hoo! I scored an 8 (maybe a 9 ). Wait; what?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 10:52 AM
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Reading this thread and the algebra thread at the same time really makes me feel for teachers. They should be customizing math instruction to teach the specific skills each individual student needs to work on, while also taking troubled students out in the hall to talk about what's really going on, while also. . .

There's a long history in the US of using the public schools as the entry point to an array of social services (and it's a canny strategy, since voters are more likely to approve school expenditures than other things), but the demands it places on teachers are intense.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 10:53 AM
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70: And teachers -- the school system -- can't do it. They can't fix everything. They cannot be the substitute for everything else that needs to be done. This is why Witt's pounding on public schools upthread was so bizarre to me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 10:57 AM
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Semi-OT: Latest gun outrage has targeted Sikh worshippers outside Milwaukee: http://oakcreek.patch.com/articles/several-people-reported-shot-at-sikh-temple

Looking back to the Aurora killings, I think this is ultimately about the particular ways that patriarchy and white supremacy play out in this country. The elimination of the (already pretty crappy) social safety net has a lot to do with it too of course. It's part and parcel of the 'wages of whiteness', innit? Even if these guys wouldn't subscribe to that particular critique (or because they wouldn't), emotionally, the tension is there between the fiction that white men are superior and the fact that so many of us are not really any better off than other folx right now. If you DO have some kind of critical analysis, there are ways to justify continuing to act "normally", but if you don't, it seems like the options tend to narrow and narrow until a mass shooting is the only point left on your decision tree.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 11:00 AM
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72: I don't understand this. I can't imagine any world in which, when I can't find ways to continue to act normally, I decide I'll have to shoot a bunch of people. Rather, I'd just collapse in some way. (That's probably what most people do in those circumstances.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 11:27 AM
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I think the Aurora shooter and many others already found shooting relatively normal.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 11:29 AM
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The Aurora shooter was dropping out of grad school and was incredibly depressed.

Up until he started shooting everybody, that describes about half of the people on this blog, at some phase or another.

That sounds flippant*, but the fact that this dude was flailing out of a high-powered graduate program made him pretty much the only spree shooter I've ever had some degree of commonality with. I'd reckon there's some underlying personality disorder with him, some additional trauma; it's just sort of horribly fascinating how most grad-school drop-outs just make themselves miserable, and this guy went the other way.


*What would be really flippant crass would be to suggest that our superior powers of procrastination have prevented us from violence all these years.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 11:39 AM
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Well, yeah, of course not everyone who might be susceptible to these emotions acts that way. But I don't think it's just a question of some random synapse going awry. The way that white men are socialized to accept and valorize guns and violence is very much a part of what I'm talking about. If you're not socialized as a white guy, I think it is much less likely that you'll see making a heroic, Alamo-Wild Bunch-Butch and Sundance-A-Team type last stand as being something you should aspire to. But more to the point, you aren't constantly bombarded with the expectation that the world is at your feet and you only need to reach out to grab the brass ring. Contrast that with the more-and-more clearly servile role that average white guys have in society, and there's the roots of your anger. For most of us, I think, it's usually sublimated into voting Republican and sporting obnoxious bumper stickers on your F-150*, but a certain percentage are going to flip out.

*I saw a big pick-up truck the other day that was festooned with all kinds of risque, mudflap-style silhouettes of cartoonish naked women. What's that about? Just overcompensating, or something much more disturbing?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 11:39 AM
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The way that white men are socialized to accept and valorize guns and violence is very much a part of what I'm talking about. If you're not socialized as a white guy...

Apparently Chinese socialization gears people toward stabbing the fuck out of a bunch of people when they snap.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 11:54 AM
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75: I'd reckon there's some underlying personality disorder with him, some additional trauma

Let's go with that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 11:58 AM
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I think there was another failing grad student spree shooting (googling) . . . OK. He killed 5 members of the physics department at the University of Iowa because he didn't win a dissertation prize.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 11:59 AM
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The way that white men are socialized to accept and valorize guns and violence is very much a part of what I'm talking about. If you're not socialized as a white guy, I think it is much less likely that you'll see making a heroic, Alamo-Wild Bunch-Butch and Sundance-A-Team type last stand as being something you should aspire to.

I think Nat means that girls don't do stuff like that. If you're a white guy, though, watch out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 12:02 PM
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The dude in 79 is not white, incidentally.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 12:02 PM
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Except that some of the militias (sovereign citizen types) who have been outed and now put through the judicial system involve female co-conspirators. I don't think it's a guy thing, then.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 12:04 PM
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80: Well, yeah, I mean, anti-social behavior among women and girls in this culture only very rarely takes the form of multiple killings. Obviously, there are outliers, like the Manson Family women, Carol Ann Fugate or Brenda Ann Spencer, but those are few and far between.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 1:28 PM
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What am I? Chopping liver?


Posted by: Lizzie Borden | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 2:09 PM
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Am I the only one here who ever got suspended from school?

Once, for one day, ISS, for performing "sexuality" by Billy Bragg at the winter talent show without clearing all the lyrics beforehand. technically I only played guitar and Linda sang them, but I told them there was no way I would let her take the fall alone. They wanted to make it three days, but she and I were the leads n My Fair Lady and the director intervened to avoid missing rehearsal time.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 2:31 PM
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I'm very fond of Billy Bragg generally, but that's about as dull a song as anyone could possibly write about sex.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 2:55 PM
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Let's not forget Amy Bishop.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 3:08 PM
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Am I the only one here who ever got suspended from school?

They made me sign an attendance contract in lieu of expulsion for skipping.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 3:16 PM
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I did tell the deputy head [who was head of discipline, or some such] of our school to fuck off, to his face. They didn't suspend or expel me for it, though. I assume essentially because he was being a dick, and knew it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 3:38 PM
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I think I'm the sort of person who would have done well as a Soviet citizen. I respond to any sort of authority by assuming that it has infinite power and that widespread apathy means there is never any hope of removing said power, and I often feel an actual sense of relief when my options are circumscribed by, say, the cable going out, or the roads being impassable, or there being only two classes left that can fit into my schedule.

The fact that I was also one of the most frequent participants in protests and demonstrations during college might say something about how seriously anybody took the goals of any of our protests.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 4:04 PM
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I got in-school suspension for skipping. I almost didn't graduate, for the same reason. Wait, why?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 5:13 PM
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I got suspended from day camp for skipping from the "campus" to go to a friend's house so that we could listen to the dirty version of 2 Live Crew's "Move Somethin'" while his parents were at work.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 5:40 PM
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75

That sounds flippant*, but the fact that this dude was flailing out of a high-powered graduate program made him pretty much the only spree shooter I've ever had some degree of commonality with. I'd reckon there's some underlying personality disorder with him, some additional trauma; it's just sort of horribly fascinating how most grad-school drop-outs just make themselves miserable, and this guy went the other way.

I expect that dropping out of grad school was a consequence of his increasing mental problems not a cause.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 5:42 PM
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I'm not so sure about the direction of the correlation between mental problems and finishing graduate school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 6:08 PM
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Ned's 90 is confusing to me. I thought it was going to conclude by saying that he respects authoritay, always. Instead it ended with a reference to protests and demonstrations.

Let me work this out. Okay, so Ned participated in these demonstrations because, or to the extent that, they were safe? Because there was no chance that the state would actually feel threatened enough to, say, crack down. That kind of safety feels like, well, ... options have been closed off (hence the stuff about a sense of relief when roads are closed). It's that last bit that I'm a bit shaky on.

I will go ahead and think that the larger point is that structured schooling can be freeing?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 6:32 PM
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I was suspended once, for smoking pot in school.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 6:33 PM
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My uncles used to drink beer at lunch then go back to grade school. They'd get smacked with rulers if caught.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 6:40 PM
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I drank beer at lunch a few times in high school. It was delightfully sophisticated.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 6:46 PM
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I don't think anybody cared what my drank in high school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 6:48 PM
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+ uncles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 6:52 PM
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So what your drank then? Sizzurp?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 6:53 PM
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Ned, help me out in understanding 90, if you're willing. I'd have thought that what you describe is perfect for an American (or Swiss or Dutch or French or English or etc.) citizen. I don't know what the reference to the Soviet Union is doing there.

I would never have drank or drunk alcohol in high school.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:00 PM
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My regular bar doesn't serve food on Sunday after 8, so I'm at a different bar. This one apparently gets all the humanities graduate students and people on either side of me are rolling cigarettes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:10 PM
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103: You can still smoke in bars in PA?!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:12 PM
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This bar exists in 1990.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:13 PM
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Stupid humanities. Like that's going to get us a well-informed and engaged citizenry.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:13 PM
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Or maybe outside of normal time. The bartender looks like an Old Testament prophet and Bjork is playing. They are supposed to not have smoking if they havea certain amount of food sales and lots of people are eating.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:18 PM
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106: I studied a famously useless social science. I'm not judging anything but the stupid smokes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:20 PM
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You can smoke in bars here (but not in Austin) but it really is starting to feel anachronistic. To me, at least.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:22 PM
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To use the toilet in the men's room, you need to move the pickle bucket catching the drops from the ceiling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:25 PM
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It has been a really rainy day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:31 PM
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Couldn't you just use the pickle bucket?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:33 PM
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The urinal was clear and I didn't need to poop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:35 PM
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Because it's beer, prune juice.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:35 PM
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+ not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:43 PM
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Am I the only one here who ever got suspended from school?

I was thrown out of a couple.


Posted by: Delurking in solidarity | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:43 PM
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Am I the only one here who ever got suspended from school?

I was thrown out of a couple.


Posted by: Delurking in solidarity | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:43 PM
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Apparently for repeating myself too much


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:44 PM
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I was never suspended! I think ISS once.

Far more embarrassing, my mom was called in every year to discuss how I couldn't remember to raise my hand. And before you argue that this happened to plenty of people, consider: my sophomore year, my junior year, my senior year, my mom still had to show up and talk with my teachers about how I needed to shut up in class.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:47 PM
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They are supposed to not have smoking if they havea certain amount of food sales and lots of people are eating.

When my dad was a kid, a bunch of fussy, uptight Orangemen ran the province [of Ontario], and you couldn't sell liquour unless you also offered food. So every pub/tavern/off-license had its own recipe for 'pickled' or 'scotched' eggs, and I believe they even had a blue-ribbon competition (not that anyone ever actually ate those eggs: they were in fcr the booze, or at least for the beer...).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:47 PM
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119: I've never been in the same room as you but I'm not exactly surprised.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:50 PM
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Scotch eggs are fantastic. Pickled eggs are fine, I guess.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:52 PM
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There is a quart container of horseradish in with the beer. Does anybody eat that much? No pickled eggs but a fried egg sandwich is $2.75.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:55 PM
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In with the beer? Like, floating in a keg or something?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:56 PM
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the humanities graduate students and people on either side of me are rolling cigarettes.


Drum or American Spirits?


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:56 PM
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American Spirit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:57 PM
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Regular or banana flavor?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 7:58 PM
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American Spirit comes in a loose tobacco that you can roll?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 8:16 PM
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Like, floating in a keg or something?

Well, sure, buachaill, there'd be a keg, perhaps.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 8:22 PM
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The tobacco was in a black bag that looked like what they sold pipe tobacco in back when I was doing my own affections.

The horseradish was in the fridge where they kept bottled beer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 8:35 PM
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Could well be pipe tobacco. Seems it is much cheaper to use it.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08- 5-12 8:51 PM
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Lots of people roll their own with American Spirit loose tobacco, sold for that explicit purpose. Most of them are humanities grad students or punk rockers.

Say, I was wondering, how widespread are "jo-jo" potatoes, i.e. homefries with a thick coating of savory flavoring that you get at little delis? Pretty much everywhere around my neighborhood has them. Do they carry that name elsewhere?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08- 6-12 6:07 AM
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Never heard of them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08- 6-12 6:13 AM
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