Re: Cultural Secrets

1

In Seattle, if you are pushing your car for some reason, men will appear without a word and help you push. You'll be pushing, and the next thing you know, there are men on either side of you.

IME, this is anywhere after a big snow. I've even been one of those men who appear without a word.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 4:54 AM
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During the Easter season, people in the Eastern churches greet each other with "He is risen!" and the proper response is "Indeed he is risen!" The rest of the year, you may use the standard words for "hello."

Doesn't everybody kiss each other on the lips, too? That's how I remember it in Tolstoy (Resurrection).


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 4:56 AM
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1. Who are these tour givers?
2. Agree with peep that the snow thing is a thing wherever there is snow. Once in Chicago I was trying unsuccessfully to pull out of a snowy parking spot when a big group of Russian guys swooped out of nowhere (seriously -- where did they come from?) and started pushing my car and yelling Davai! Davai! at me. Thanks, guys!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:10 AM
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Re "splitting the poll": when I was in middle school, I was friends with an older (60s/70s) white woman. If we ever took different paths to the same place while walking, she'd say "bread and butter" when we came back together, as a kind of ritual for friends reunited.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:21 AM
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1: I've been one too, though not a man and not in snow. When my old car died dramatically a few blocks from here, the men in the cars behind me pulled over, pushed my car out of the intersection while I steered, then got back in their cars and drove away without saying a word and I shouted my thanks. At our old house, I got up from my garden and our next-door neighbor put down his beer and left the porch so we could both help push a car going by. I'd expect that thing to be sort of widespread.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:29 AM
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I'd agree that empty, polite verbiage leading into asking for directions will annoy a New Yorker. If you want to be polite rather than brusque, you still use the same words, "Where's the F train?" but adjust your tone of voice and body language.

Also, buybacks in a bar are only a NY thing? Who knew? I thought that if you were settled in a bar for a couple of hours, it was perfectly standard for the bartender to buy every fourth drink or so. I mean, depends on the bar, depends on the crowd -- the rules aren't firm enough that I've ever been aggrieved that the bartender hadn't bought me a free drink yet, but it's a normal thing to happen. Not in the rest of the country?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:35 AM
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argh, pole


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:36 AM
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I've had strangers help me get my car unstuck from the beach sand. (Because my boyfriend at the time did not believe me when I said "don't rev your engine, that will bury the car". Being from Michigan, he thought "No, rev the engine and spin the tires, to melt the snow." We were quickly a foot deep in sand and I was super irritated with him.)(Actually, I have no memory of feeling anything but super irritated with this boyfriend. The whole relationship was a lesson in why you have to break up with someone, sometimes.)(A lesson I had to learn several times over, but that first lesson was particularly egregious.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:36 AM
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There was a story a few years ago where some guy broke down on a roundabout and David Beckham appeared from nowhere to help push him out of the way. Yes, universal.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:37 AM
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Also, buybacks in a bar are only a NY thing? Who knew? I thought that if you were settled in a bar for a couple of hours, it was perfectly standard for the bartender to buy every fourth drink or so.

Haven't hung out by myself in many bars for many hours, but never had this experience.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:38 AM
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8 cont'd: To get unstuck from sand, find some plywood, or in a pinch use the floor pads from your car, and wedge them under your tires as something that you can get some traction on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:39 AM
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6.2: Not that something that I've ever experienced, but then I don't hang out in bars as much as some other commenters. Moby?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:40 AM
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I thought that if you were settled in a bar for a couple of hours, it was perfectly standard for the bartender to buy every fourth drink or so.

Why? Cui bono? The customer obviously, but is competition in NY bars so cutthroat that they have to give away 25% in freebies? Makes no sense.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:41 AM
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If we ever took different paths to the same place while walking, she'd say "bread and butter" when we came back together, as a kind of ritual for friends reunited.

Apparently my mom did this on her first date with my dad, and he was charmed.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:43 AM
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Not 25% of all drinks; just when a loner is hanging out at a bar by themselves. Or that was how I understood it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:43 AM
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15. Still don't understand the logic.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:45 AM
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Old timey Cheers feel-good, I assume. Not a profit motive.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:47 AM
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Buybacks are common in Chicago -- depending on the sort of place, blah blah blah.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:47 AM
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I don't know exactly, it just happens. Not when the bar is jumping, and not when you're there with a big crowd, but one or two people at the bar for a while, you get the occasional free drink. (And to forestall a reasonable line of inquiry, men get buybacks too -- it's not just women being hit on by bartenders. The frequency might be different, but it's a thing for everyone).

I've speculated that it's to keep you in the bar -- the bartender thinks you look like you're going home, gives you a free round, and somehow you end up there for another three hours and buy four more rounds yourself. I've certainly had evenings that were going to end fairly sober, and after the bartender bought a round turned into pouring myself into a cab and hoping I remembered my address.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:47 AM
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20

Have I ever told you about the time in high school when my friend took a turn too fast and skidded and wound up driving over a bush, and the car was stuck there, and the owner of the house came out, and was real nice and was trying to help us get the car out, by rocking the car gently back and forth, and then we smelled smoke, and she said, "I think we better stop," and she let us in her house and when we looked out the window the car was on fire?
Oh, and did I mention that this was my friend's first drive in his new (used) car that his father had just bought for him? The fire department came and put out the fire, but the car was totalled. The police came too and they questioned us, but they had to let us go, because stupid isn't a crime.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:49 AM
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21

Merganser ran into the pole in 7.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:49 AM
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22

Anyhow I dunno that bartenders buying you free drinks is as common as the bars LB frequents, but I always figured it was a mechanism to get the bartender more of a tip.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:50 AM
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When I was driving my dad's car in high school and it caught on fire (maybe because I was doing bad things to the clutch, but maybe not) the cop that stopped tried to put it out by throwing snowballs at it but I'm pretty sure that's not a cultural thing he just thought it was an amusingly tiny fire.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:51 AM
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Also, while I think where places do buybacks it's with the knowledge and consent of the owners, because it happens too much to be all thievery, obviously it leads to good tips for the bartender.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:52 AM
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I have one: In rural mid-Missouri, when you're bringing a conversation to a close, you say, "Well, I don't know much." Occasionally, "Well, that's about all I know," but the former is more common.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:52 AM
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26

And I'm pwned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:53 AM
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27

As I mentioned in The Other Place, I had no idea Asians think it is gross to put soy sauce on your rice. When I asked "how do you add flavor" one person suggested butter and another suggested whatever sauce is with the other food. But how often do you have butter on the table when you are eating east Asian food. What if you have eaten all the other food, and you are still hungry, so you want to have more of the rice, but you need flavor?

Honestly, I'll put soy sauce on anything. I'm not going to change on that one.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:56 AM
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28

(Also, I'm old. Other than a drink or two with Buck, or meetups which are usually too big a crowd for buybacks, I can't think of the last time I spent a night hanging out in a bar. Everything I've said is true of NY in the 90s.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:58 AM
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22: Yes, but often in a less specific "we want you to like it here" kind of way. So maybe they don't just send you a round of whatever you were drinking on the house, maybe they tell you that they've got [something new on tap, some new champagne, whatever] and would you like to try it?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:58 AM
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30

Sesame oil is good on rice.

28: I mean, I think that's part of the deal; most people who go to bars don't hang out there all night by themselves (or nearly by themselves). It's like you enter a secret fraternity of Real Drinkers when you do that, and then you can earn prizes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:59 AM
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27: Bonito flakes and sesame seeds?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:59 AM
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32

We helped dig out a car from the beach, technically he was breaking the law because regulations where we were say you must carry a shovel and boards when you drive on the beach. I think he was happy to have someone help instead of calling a tow truck or being found by a cop since he might have gotten a ticket, and the tickets are really expensive. So he told us to come by his restaurant later, he was the chef, and he gave us many pounds of free barbecue.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:59 AM
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33

The local awesome cocktail bar will, if you're there long enough and being sort of engaged about the drinks and the process and so on, offer you tastes of the various wacky liquors they have behind the bar. Yes, that does taste like pine forest! Thank you for sharing some with me!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:00 AM
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34

A cultural secret that my dad taught me as a kid that turns out to just be my dad being weird is that going through (manned, obviously) toll booths you don't have to say the full phrase "thank you", you can just say "Q" and nobody will ever bat an eye.

A cultural secret that is actually just me being weird is that when you're toasting with a bunch of people you can say "slalom!" and nobody will ever call you on it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:02 AM
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35

As a Jew who works with a Greek our attitudes about buying each other drinks or lunch is definitely different. I feel like I need to at least somewhat keep track of who paid last and take some turns and he finds that insulting, like by doing so you're not buying a gift you're making a loan. So I'm not sure how to get it to be my turn to pay, he offers quicker than I do.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:05 AM
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36

Long ago, my wife and I spent a couple weeks driving around Italy in an old bug. The solenoid went out on the first day, and because it was a six volt, none could be found anywhere. So I push started the thing all the way to Sicily and back, men appearing out of nowhere more often than not. (We finally found a mechanic in San Marino who fabricated one out of God knows what.)

We give house tours, I guess, but I never expect them.

The free drinks custom is alien to me.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:05 AM
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re: 34.last

Heh. I think just about anything works as a toast.

'Kissinger!'
'Albuquerque!'
'Bonobo!'

etc


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:08 AM
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38

35: sneak the card to the waiter?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:08 AM
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39

38: Comedy fighting about it. "Oh no you don't, put that card away. Waiter -- this man's money's no good in here tonight."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:14 AM
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We have that within my family- whenever we went out with my grandparents, my dad would try to pay, my grandfathers would, eventually my brother and I would. I called it "Family Food". My dad usually beat my grandfathers by giving the card to the waiter in advance, and when we'd all get up to leave the grandparents would say we hadn't paid yet, then when they realized what had happened they'd get mad. Harmony!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:21 AM
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41

I've employed a strategy where I go to the restroom before the check is near to delivery and pay then. Works a treat.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:45 AM
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42

41. IME you an only do this a limited number of times with the same people, or they get wise to it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:46 AM
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43

Yes. Well, first you have to establish the existence of a tiny bladder condition.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:50 AM
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44

I have zero patience for elaborate cute rituals around who's-gonna-pay! I'll argue and genuinely try to pay, but if you're going to drag it out, you can have the bill. This may be something that's exaggerated in Texas.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:54 AM
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45

Yep. No patience for it either. That's why I try to short it out.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:55 AM
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46

39: Waiter, this man's money is no good here tonight. Or anywhere else at any other time, but that is a other matter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:04 AM
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47

14: dawwwwwww!


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:05 AM
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48

If someone insists on paying, the one just has to exact an ironclad promise to let you pay next time.

Also, I had no idea:

Americans will give you a tour of the whole house when you go to visit them for the first time; when they visit your house, they expect a tour. If you don't offer one, they will ask you for one.

Oops. Unless I've been doing this anyway and didn't realize it.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:10 AM
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48: I really don't expect to be toured through someone else's home. I have toured folks through ours... silly I know.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:13 AM
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50

I recognize the house-tour thing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:16 AM
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48: I've definitely grown up in a "tour the house" society. There is a variation on the rule available on the east coast, where many people live in multi-story homes, in which you only give people a tour of the first floor of the house, which is considered a more public space.

We've been using this variation with guests a lot recently, so we don't have to clean as much. There isn't as much to show if you just do the first floor, but I supplement by showing people my garden and the kids' tree house.

It occurs to me now that none of this probably applies to people who live in Manhattan.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:17 AM
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Anyway, I can't recall having a bartender buy me a drink. I've spent a lot of time in bars by myself, but mostly just three bars so the sample isn't actually very large.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:18 AM
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Also, the whole tour-the-house thing obviously comes from Americans' crass materialism and status obsession. I do it anyway. I like looking at houses.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:19 AM
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Actually, it does apply in Manhattan (at least sometimes), because apartments are interesting. Either it's comically tiny and worth laughing about, or surprisingly inhabitable. I don't spontaneously do the tour thing, but Buck does and I feel like I'm supposed to, and do sometimes when I remember.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:21 AM
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We had our baby shower at my mom's house, which has some pretty cool features admittedly, but it seemed weird to be offering tours. At the end of the shower all the people from my lab came up to me in a group and said "so are we going to get the tour, or what?" Sorry!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:37 AM
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I've even been one of those men who appear without a word.

I was that guy in Lake Placid, for a family of four trying to get their Mercedes up a snow-covered concrete ramp leading out of a parking garage. I suggested to the driver (man) that he get out and help me and let the wife drive, and he looked at me with what can only be called a sneer. So with great effort, and no small measure of risk to myself, I pushed him up the ramp. And then he drove off without so much as a thank you, or even a friendly wave, thus confirming my prejudices about both New Yorkers and Mercedes drivers.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:41 AM
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57

We bought our house last fall, so it still feels like an accomplishment.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 7:42 AM
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58

JP really does have a good eye for this stuff. Of the ones I know about, he's right on everything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 8:02 AM
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I think asking people to tour the house may be Mrs y's last surviving Americanism. I really can't get my head round it. OK, if you live in Chatsworth or Kedleston or somewhere like that which is nine tenths a museum anyway, I can see why people would want to go round it - I would myself. But ordinary people's apartments or houses are just places to live in. If they've made a nice job of decorating the living room, say so by all means, but who wants to gawp at their spare bedroom?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 8:18 AM
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27: I'm weird because I like (East Asian types of) rice straight up. But generally you eat your food in a relatively small bowl to which you add both rice and sauced up foods. So it all mixes and you're rarely left with unsauced rice in the bowl or a bowl with too little accumulated sauce to be able to handle a little more rice. Sometimes someone might discreetly put more sauce in their bowl from a plate where the food is basically gone.

Soy sauce on rice sounds wrong to me, like pouring salt water on rice, and I don't even follow all the rules of Chinese eating. But soy sauce mixed with something that thickens it seems like it might be ok, like maybe a mix with some kind of mustard.

Of course, depending on where you're eating, you might be served everything on a plate or plates and your rice stays off to the side. As I will eat rice plain, this usually doesn't bother me so I haven't spent much time thinking about how to add flavor. My Taiwanese relatives think this is odd, but eventually gave up trying to get me to always mix foods with rice.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 8:47 AM
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Oh and I don't know what the hell that butter comment's about. I don't think I've seen anyone butter rice at the table.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 8:49 AM
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A friend of mine said that putting soy sauce on rice was like salting your bread, which didn't sway me much, because at that very moment I was eating a sandwich on this pretzel bread whose main virtue was that it was saltier than regular bread.

As for where the extra rice comes from, I was generally thinking of the extra little container of rice that comes with Chinese take out.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 8:55 AM
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It's like putting salt water on bread. No one thinks it's weird to like adding salt, so far as I know. But anyway, in theory if all your food is going into a small rice bowl, then you've got some sauce left. Or you take sauce from one of the other containers. Or you should have apportioned your rice and other food more carefully to reduce the amount of rice left at the end and now you have only yourself to blame.

I wouldn't actually care if I saw someone putting soy sauce on rice. But it would be unusual.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:04 AM
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Also, buybacks in a bar are only a NY thing? Who knew? I thought that if you were settled in a bar for a couple of hours, it was perfectly standard for the bartender to buy every fourth drink or so.

Once when Belle Lettre (remember her?) and I were at a shmancy bar, the bartender bought our last round. I think that was only #3, though? It wasn't super crowded and we were chatting about drinks with each other/him.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:09 AM
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65

You take the leftover rice and put it in the fridge and use it to make fried rice later.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:11 AM
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66

Sounds like I should get my hair cut in Mexico.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:12 AM
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One Chinese guy I know likes to lecture me about all the ways Americans are wrong about food. One prominent element of these lectures is that it's uncivilized to have to add salt (or soy sauce, or other flavorings) at the table-- if the food had been prepared correctly to begin with, it would be perfectly seasoned and you wouldn't need to make any changes.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:19 AM
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This thread reminded me the one time I spent any time in a bar in Manhattan, I got kicked out. I was in NYC for the intercollegiate chess championships. After we were done with our tournament games one evening, a teammate and I went to a bar and ordered a couple of beers and started playing chess. The place was fairly empty when we sat down, but it gradually got crowded, and then a guy started playing the piano, and we just kept playing chess. Eventually, the manager came over and asked us if we wanted any more beers, and we said no, so he asked us to leave. We went peacefully.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:22 AM
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Buybacks are standard in the US wherever there are dive bars and alcoholics. The reasoning is the same as getting "comped" a free room in the casino -- keeps the addicts coming back for more.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:55 AM
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If somebody gives you a tour of the house but leaves out one room, that's where the sex swing is. If they leave off the whole upper floor, they have Nazi memorabilia on the walls of the hall.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 10:00 AM
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I have a friend who runs a company that basically advises bar owners on how to keep maximum revenue in the bar through inventory control and employee supervision. It turns out, unsurprisingly, that a huge percentage of bartenders are total alcoholics who will take a drink for themselves every tenth pour or so. Also bartenders like to over pour because drunker customers often equal better tips, apparently. I guess I should ask him for more war stories.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 10:01 AM
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I personally feel that showing of the downstairs is standard the first time you have someone over but the full upstairs and bedrooms tour is a little unnecessary. I guess the "east coast" rule rhc pointed to above. I have absolutely no idea where that prejudice comes from.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 10:11 AM
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I personally feel that showing of the downstairs is standard the first time you have someone over

IYKWIMAITYD.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 10:15 AM
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74

My bartender is on the wagon, biking to work, and smoking electric cigarettes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 10:19 AM
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75

One prominent element of these lectures is that it's uncivilized to have to add salt (or soy sauce, or other flavorings) at the table-- if the food had been prepared correctly to begin with, it would be perfectly seasoned and you wouldn't need to make any changes.

There's something in this. No restaurant that doesn't feature the word "Diner" in its name puts salt on the table without a specific request, surely?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 10:21 AM
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Except at the very highest level of dining, salt and pepper are always on the table. A diner will have ketchup and syrup always on the table.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 10:26 AM
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My paralegal worked for several years in a sports bar. It was customary for staff to drink along with customers -- at a slower pace, to be sure. One of the employees was killed a a car wreck after her shift, and the bar was sued by her family, so the practice was ended. Tips went way down, and swaths of regular patrons went other places where the bartenders would still drink with them.

My house tours don't usually include bedrooms, except that now we have that bison hide thing I mentioned in the other thread in the bedroom, and people enjoy seeing that.

House tours for the last 4 weeks would include all our household stuff, which is arrayed in the dining and living rooms, pending the kitchen remodel.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 10:27 AM
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78

I would never offer a tour of my apartment or house to a visitor. I find the desire to investigate my living quarters weird and creepy.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 11:07 AM
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75 is very weird.

However, here you will never get served a glass of water unless you ask for it, as part of drought restrictions. But it's part of stage 1 drought restrictions, which is always in effect regardless of drought conditions. (I think this is entirely reasonable, for the record. More absurd is the local law against xeriscaping, but they're over-turning that.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 11:18 AM
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Against xeriscaping?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 11:30 AM
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80: there was a big foofaraw about that in Glendale, CA several years ago... someone xeriscaped their front yard and got in hot water over it with the city I think. People are stupider about yards and lawns than I've ever imagined they could be.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 11:34 AM
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Yup. Your front lawn must be grassy. I don't know the details.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 11:34 AM
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Another government giveaway to Big Grass.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 11:36 AM
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It's not wasting water, it's participating in a common delusion that Texas isn't uninhabitably arid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 11:47 AM
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75 may be wrong because it would never occur to me to add salt to food, so I wouldn't notice. I occasionally have to send food back because it's over-salted to the point of inedible, but that's another thing.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 11:55 AM
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86

I don't think I've ever sent food back, unless you count the time I tried to throw a sandwich through the drive-in window of the Fredericksburg, Virginia, Wendy's. I'm either too non-confrontational (excepting circumstances where they make me wait 20 minutes for fast food and then only give me half the order) or too afraid they'll spit in whatever else they bring me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 11:59 AM
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It's also wasting water.

I have lost my surveying class. Fortunately I am a student, not a teacher. It's still really embarrassing. It turns out I can handle a 9-6 workday with a 70 mile commute but basically not anything more. I may be the least aggressive driver in CA -- now that Jackmormon's gone.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 12:01 PM
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I have lost my surveying class.

I think that means you fail.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 12:10 PM
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It would, but I figured out where they would be picking up spare parts and am reunited. Social engineering!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 12:14 PM
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53: Also, the whole tour-the-house thing obviously comes from Americans' crass materialism and status obsession.

I don't know if it obviously comes from that, but it can definitely be that. I know someone who recently moved to a place she and her husband just adore (don't you just adore it? Let me show you the downstairs!), and her tour-giving borders on pushy. There's a lot of tone-deafness going on there.

But I've given a 'house tour' which mostly meant showing people the garden, because they were garden people.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 12:39 PM
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89: Schelling point!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 12:42 PM
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Also, the whole tour-the-house thing obviously comes from Americans' crass materialism and status obsession.

Eh. Or you want people to know where the bathroom and kitchen are, so they can make themselves at home.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 1:09 PM
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93

If you don't tell me where the bathroom is, I'll pee off the patio.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 1:13 PM
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If you don't tell me where the bathroom is, I'll pee off the patio in the laurel bush.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 1:15 PM
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I love seeing people's houses.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 1:33 PM
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40: our version of "Family Food" was whenever my family was eating at the house of this other family whose kid was a good friend of mine, as soon as we go to the door to leave, the parents would start pushing leftovers on one another until J and I started saying loudly "YOU take the lasagna!" "No, YOU take the lasagna!" (regardless of what had actually been eaten for dinner.)

Thin that reminds me of "bread & butter" and seems regional: if my mother is taking the last piece of something on a plate, she says "I'll be the old maid."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 1:37 PM
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51 is more recogizable to me. I would never expect to be shown a new acquaintance's bedroom unless I'm that kind of houseguest, but to be shown the overall layout so I don't get lost is pretty usual.

My current place has an open layout so the only things you can't immediately see upon walking in are the bedroom and bathroom, so there's little point in giving a tour. "This is the room. It has things in it, all of which you can see from bere. That's my balcony window. That's my couch. That's a table. There are some pictures on the wall. That area that looks like a kitchen is a kitchen."


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 1:47 PM
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Also, it seems to me strangers regularly greet one another in the south.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 1:51 PM
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I'm kind of horrified by house tours, except for house guests (for whom 92 applies). No-one else is supposed to be making themselves at home. They are guests, I am attempting to make a fraction of their lives pleasant, they are colluding.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 1:55 PM
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||

I'm probably not going to engage the string theorist on my Facebook feed who is opining that social science is always pseudoscience and worthless, but it seems really funny to me.

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 1:59 PM
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What if you have eaten all the other food, and you are still hungry, so you want to have more of the rice, but you need flavor?

Then you're doing it wrong. Food goes in the rice bowl in appropriate proportions that you finish the food and the rice at the same time.

Anyhow I dunno that bartenders buying you free drinks is as common as the bars LB frequents, but I always figured it was a mechanism to get the bartender more of a tip.

This may explain why it's, as far as I know, almost unheard of over here. There's a couple of pubs I frequent where the landlord buys my friends and me drinks every so often, but that's because we know them from outside the pub.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 2:03 PM
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Wow, everyone, thanks for readying my post; I didn't know anyone still read blogs... let alone mine!

"Buyback." I did not know there was a word for this. It's never happened to me in Western Washington, and I always always end up with a huge sexy crush on the bartender who poors me one, regardless of gender.

Soy sauce on the rice... We (your asian friends) know you like it. One, that's why we say NOTHING. Two, that soy sauce is on the table for you, not for us. For us, soy sauce is a cooking ingredient, not a condiment. In Asia you won't find soy sauce on the table. (the exception of course is sushi).

Anyway, nobody is expecting non-asians to stop doing it. But we do talk about it in hushed tones, with each other, when no white folks are around.

I'm going to write another post that's just about rice later.


Posted by: JP Villanueva | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 2:37 PM
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You've really got a good eye. People try to do this sort of thing, and I usually want to say they're misunderstanding. But these all seem solid to me, insofar as I know at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 3:19 PM
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4: If we ever took different paths to the same place while walking, she'd say "bread and butter" when we came back together, as a kind of ritual for friends reunited.

For a number of years I've loved John Hollander's poem "Bread and Butter!" which plays off of this superstition in a heartbreaking way. I've never actually encountered it as a thing myself, so it's interesting to hear someone who has.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 3:32 PM
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Hey, that's a nice poem.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 3:44 PM
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Sure would be a shame if something happened to it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 3:47 PM
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Isn't it, though? "As if it were a word" kills me every time.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 3:48 PM
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Wonderful--thanks, JL!


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:35 PM
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I remember my mom saying bread and butter when going around a pole or post like that. I figure she picked it up after coming to the US.

I also remember learning the "seasoned food shouldn't be seasoned again at the table" concept, though I think there's an exception for food meant to be dipped if you're going to mix stuff in a small plate at the table. My Swiss-born grandmother added salt to pretty much anything edible, so we didn't adhere to this ethic at home.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 5:51 PM
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My mom did the "bread and butter" thing regularly when I was a kid. I occasionally say it with the boy.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:04 PM
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I'm forgotten completely that yeah, my grandmother used to say "bread and butter".

John Hollander was a good friend of Vicki Hearne. Neither here nor there, of course, but that's how I first encountered him.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 6:28 PM
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I'm feeling a little awkward about having given house tours, but it's almost all been to other people in the neighborhood, who are genuinely curious about what's original and what's like what was done to their houses and what we've made livable. And having stained glass I love in our bedroom means having bedrooms included. I'm considering feeling guilty about this, though.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 8:03 PM
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112 Thorn, no use feeling awkward or guilty about house tours!


Posted by: JP Villanueva | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 8:50 PM
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Not awkward if you don't collect Nazi memorabilia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 8:53 PM
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My new tablet has a fancy keyboard that knows to follow "Nazi" with "memorabilia" as soon as I type the "m" but it took me five tries to type the solo letter m.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:20 PM
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What did it complete for the other letters? Nazi kookaburra? Nazi nose-harps? Nazi loiterers? Nazi Jamba Juice?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:24 PM
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The asshole paraphrased in 67 seems to be falsely assuming that everyone has the same need and tolerance for salt - and spice - and everything else too.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:26 PM
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No other single letter gets a word that appears to be specifically selected to go with Nazi.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:47 PM
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No other single letter gets a word that appears to be specifically selected to go with Nazi.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:47 PM
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Unless of course he figures out each guest's exact preferences and needs before serving them food.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:48 PM
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It is also a bit hard to hit the post button.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:48 PM
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121: So hard that you didn't even manage to triple post.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:55 PM
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121: because nazis.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-27-13 9:55 PM
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re: salt.

My grandfather will add salt to everything. I mean, even if the food is already very salty/umami to begin with. If it wasn't for the fact that he's 99, I'd assume it's really not doing his heart/blood-pressure any good. I've learned to not be insulted when the food I make gets drowned in salt.

On the other hand, my own personal taste tends towards less salt so if I'm cooking just for me, it'd be less salty than if I was cooking for other people. So I can understand why restaurants provide salt even when the chef thinks they've gotten the seasoning level right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 12:15 AM
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100

I'm probably not going to engage the string theorist on my Facebook feed who is opining that social science is always pseudoscience and worthless, but it seems really funny to me.

Maybe he just read this article:

At the end of November, the universities unveiled their final report at a joint news conference: Stapel had committed fraud in at least 55 of his papers, as well as in 10 Ph.D. dissertations written by his students. The students were not culpable, even though their work was now tarnished. The field of psychology was indicted, too, with a finding that Stapel's fraud went undetected for so long because of "a general culture of careless, selective and uncritical handling of research and data." If Stapel was solely to blame for making stuff up, the report stated, his peers, journal editors and reviewers of the field's top journals were to blame for letting him get away with it. The committees identified several practices as "sloppy science" -- misuse of statistics, ignoring of data that do not conform to a desired hypothesis and the pursuit of a compelling story no matter how scientifically unsupported it may be.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 5:55 AM
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Don't everybody start talking about Stapel. It's in the queue of post topics. Probably tomorrow morning, seeing as how I just threw a different one up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 12:27 PM
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That will be perfect timing for me not to get sucked into talking about it. Good call.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 1:15 PM
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Re: adding seasoning to food, I had been taught that it's rude to add salt or other seasoning to your food before you taste it. If, upon tasting, you find the food insufficiently salty or whatever, then you may add more. Salting beforehand means that you have no faith in the cook to get it right.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:04 PM
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It's both rude and kind of weird. The cook might, after all, have gotten it right.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:15 PM
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You can just take away the salt you added if the cook did get it right. Except for soup.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:17 PM
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128, 129 -- I can't agree, because the notion that it's rude depends in turn on the notion that there is One True Saltiness. A person can know that they like their food saltier than most people. One can certainly know that food served to the public, or by a specific person isn't going to be very spicy.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:26 PM
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131: Sure, but if I am a well-mannered hostess, I have noticed that my guest found previous meals to be insufficiently salty, and will have done my best to correct for this in subsequent meals.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:32 PM
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127 That will be perfect timing for me not to get sucked into talking about it.

How about this one: in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, which I glanced through only because it was left outside my hotel door (which says something about Princeton, NJ), there's an article by one Adrian Raine called "The Criminal Mind" which states, among other things, "brain scans correctly predicted which inmates in a New Mexico prison were most likely to commit another crime after release". The general thrust of the article is that psychologists now understand what happens in brain to make people criminals. It looks like it's probably horribly exaggerating how solid the evidence it's talking about is.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 7:56 PM
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Apparently, archiving something in gmail takes it out of the inbox and into something called "all mail". This seems like a solution, not a problem, but I'd have preferred to know I was dumping my whole in box before I dumped the past few weeks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:07 PM
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"what happens in brain" s/b "what happens in the brain" or maybe "what happens in brains"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:10 PM
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It is online! In truth, though it's creepy and sort of boosterish, at a first pass the science doesn't seeem that horrible. It is sort of a useful companion to Drum's stuff on lead; when people talk about lead and criminality, this is basically what they're talking about. It is good for the link to be explicit.

Also I'm pretty sure IQ tests have been an excellent predictor of who will reoffend for a while; none of this is terribly different from that, in that it doesn't propose a causal social mechanism for why one would lead to the other. And, of course, the stuff about psychopathy kind of glances off a whole, strange, deeply wack world, in that people who are in jail who score highly on the Psychopathy Checklist have a hard time getting parole, but outside of jail it may well be correlated with better life outcomes. (This book is pretty great.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:12 PM
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The Psychopath Test is a book I once failed to read for the book club at which I got Becks-style tonight! The after-action report from that original report was that it felt like padded magazine writing, but 136's parenthetical (plus a different excerpt recently repeated elsewhere) makes me think I need to go back and spend now the reading time I should've spent then.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:22 PM
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136: Interesting. So what does he actually mean by "brain scans" when talking about predicting repeat offenders?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:23 PM
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Reading through again, it's really creepy. As far as reporting the scientific findings it's fine, though. That dude is like the evil St/eve P/inker.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:27 PM
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138: he mentions it later; it's the Kiehl study, which looked at anterior cingulate activation (during some task or other, presumably). Keep in mind by "correctly predicts" he just means there was some level of significant correlation; effect sizes in neuroscience can be mighty small.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:29 PM
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Ah, right. I was barely even skimming by the last few paragraphs.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:32 PM
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Here is the paper. Basically, ACC activity is correlated with impulse control. It is not so surprising that it is inversely correlated with doing poorly thought out shit among people who are already in prison.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:33 PM
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Seven authors and only Kiehl is mentioned in the WSJ article. I guess this is how these things work.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:38 PM
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143: not even the poor postdoc who wrote the paper. That said, Kiehl has been at this (bringing an MRI to prisons) for a while and has published a lot of related stuff, so it is his research program, at least.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:42 PM
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New Yorker article on Kiehl from several years ago.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:44 PM
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(bringing an MRI to prisons)

Via the method mentioned in Papillon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 8:46 PM
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That dude is like the evil St/eve P/inker.

I thought that role was already filled.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 9:08 PM
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From 145:

He has discovered previously undetected tumors in about five per cent of the volunteers

Wait, what? Do five percent of adult men have brain tumors?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 9:09 PM
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147: Yeah, I thought P/inker was already the evil P/inker. (Also why are we googleproofing his name?)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 9:13 PM
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Also why are we googleproofing his name?

One assumes Sifu might have his reasons.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 9:15 PM
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Yeah, I suppose so.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 9:17 PM
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148: Five percent of those who haven't had any symptoms sufficient to cause somebody to look. It's probably much higher if you have ever had a headache or anything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-28-13 9:40 PM
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Wait, what? Do five percent of adult men have brain tumors?

I wouldn't worry too much. I spend a lot of time around felons and shockingly they're not the most health conscious bunch. What with the alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, tendency to come from areas with higher industrial pollution, etc. I'd be amazed if they didn't have higher cancer rates.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 12:14 AM
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Also why are we googleproofing his name?

Because he's really, really evil?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 1:21 AM
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Also 153 - Higher cancer rates sure, but 5% of the sample having one particular type of tumour is off the fucking charts.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 1:23 AM
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A cultural secret that is actually just me being weird is that when you're toasting with a bunch of people you can say "slalom!" and nobody will ever call you on it.

They all think you're a Jewish downhill skier.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 2:14 AM
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156: Anti-Yosemite.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 4:07 AM
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I recognize many of these; often give a limited house tour, and am happy with weirdly little salt, requiring people who eat my cooking to add soy sauce and salt at the table.

My wife (from MO) introduced me to bread-and-butter.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 04-29-13 5:31 PM
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It's not true that the only time soy is on the table in Japan is for sushi. Sure, it's not on the table in all restaurants and I agree it's almost never put on plain rice (see here for a rare exception) but it is often on the table for other uses such as for mixing dumpling sauce to taste, for pouring on fried eggs or for dipping other things into.

Something not mentioned here is that Japanese rice (the stuff grown in Japan not just the variety) is often quite delicious and is usually eaten straight. Most people alternate mouthfuls between the meat or vegetable or whatever dish and the rice. There are of course dishes where the rice is smothered in some kind of sauce but when steamed rice is served plain in a rice bowl many people don't pile the other dishes on top but actually go from hashi (chopsticks) straight to the mouth without touching the rice.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-13 4:15 AM
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Huh. Missed this the first time around. Already mentioned here that every single bar I've gone to alone in NYC I got the 4th drink free. And I get free drinks at my local all the time, but there they actually know me, so it's not quite the same.

I don't do the house tour thing, although almost everyone else here seems to.

And many is the time that I have rushed to help someone push their car out of the snow -- I even did so in winter of 2011-12 when I was suffering from gout. Can't stand the thought of just walking by and having people think I am an asshole.

From last winter: http://i.imgur.com/j3FKL4d.jpg?1


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 6-13 4:39 PM
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Interesting. If I lived in a world trying to get me drunk all the time, I might wind up drunker too. I don't know if I'd be proud of it.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10- 6-13 4:48 PM
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