Re: The Life Of The Mine

1

If you asked her, maybe she would have said it was fun.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:28 AM
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Since I can't entirely make out what those notes are saying I'm going to assume that, like in some the books I own, half those notes are things like "Soy sauce; garlic; toothpaste; onions..." and little drawings of stick figures.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:30 AM
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I wouldn't expend that kind of effort on a James Joyce book. Nicholas Sparks, maybe.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:34 AM
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The note density appears to be about half or less of what you would need to fully comprehend the book.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:53 AM
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4: But if there were two times more notes packed in, than you couldn't understand the notes.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:01 AM
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I thought it was supposed to be incomprehensible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:06 AM
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I remember what it was like to read that way. A. Very. Long. Time. Ago. What I want to know is if she stuck with it through the whole book, are all the pages like that?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:08 AM
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And speaking of sticking with it I really need to be working on some job applications now...


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:09 AM
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See trees miss forest is very much a method and meaning of the work, and I don't approve of that level of aggressive analysis. In your mind as you read, eventually commentary can fill the space where the words should be. That is not to say I didn't write notes, read commentary, and do local analysis in depth, but I kept my reading copy clean in order to renew/maintain my receptivity and let the book work on me emotionally rather than working the Book intellectually.

"Why" "Why not" and "Why not?" is also a constant interrogating of the relationship with FW and the world/being.

"As well him as another," said Molly Bloom.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:21 AM
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It's fine for then, but you can get all that intellectual stimulation watching "The Simpsons" these days.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:27 AM
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I thought it was supposed to be incomprehensible.

Misquoting S Dedalus quoting Aquinas awkwardly translating from the Latin

"The beautiful is that of which the *apprehension* is pleasing."

Comprehension forecloses apprehension. Yes, it does.
...
Three chapter epigrams from The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why Richard Nisbet, 2004

"... It is precisely because the Chinese mind is
so rational that it refuses to become rationalistic
and .. . to separate form from content.:
--PHILOSOPHER SHU-HSIEN LIU

"The aim of the Chinese classical education has
always been the cultivation of the reasonable
man as the model of culture. An educated man
should, above all, be a reasonable being, who is
always characterized by his common sense, his
love of moderation and restraint, and his hatred
of abstract theories and logical extremes."
--LITERARY CRITIC LIN YUTANG

"To argue with logical consistency .. . may not
only be resented but also be regarded as imma-
ture."
--ANTHROPOLOGIST NOBUHIRO NAGASHIMA

Now I must leap into the Cloud of Unknowing


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:30 AM
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But not helpful enough...

How does a Westerner move from reflexive comprehension to apprehension?

(Hits Moby on head with thick difficult book, while clapping with the other hand)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:34 AM
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As I recounted in part at the other place when it happened, that book sparked one of my happiest moments as a father. My daughters, then 9, took it from the shelves and found it delightful. For whatever reason, S went to the last paragraph, and when she remarked on how funny it was that it ended with "a last a loved a long the", M responded, "No, see" and turned to the beginning. Then she got bored with it, picked up As I Lay Dying and asked, "Wait, is this the one with the chapter, "My mother is a fish?"


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:41 AM
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The bibliolater in me recoils at writing in books. My first thought at seeing the picture is that Ms. Sontag needs to burn in hell. Not that my rational self wants that or believes it, it's just a gut reaction.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:41 AM
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Hits Moby on head with thick difficult book

Hey! No violence on the blog!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:44 AM
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14: Great story! Maybe they can teach bob about apprehension.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:48 AM
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I real thick, difficult books all the time. Or did before they were replaced with pdfs. I'd just prefer to get paid for it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:49 AM
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I real thick, difficult books all the time

Joyce is affecting your style already.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:50 AM
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18: oops!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:51 AM
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14: Great story! Maybe they can teach bob about apprehension.

Unmediated perception. The girls read it wrong, and the vicus of recirculation is not in the text. Yes it is.

Just kidding. FW can be read anyway you want to.

But after you quit fighting it, and it becomes fun and funny, then on the next level it all goes black, making Townes look like Dolly, as you might expect for a book written by a reader going blind in the European 1930s. Then you start fighting it again, and seek the love of the author.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:10 AM
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21

Overlook the errant punctuation in 13. Anyway, obviously Finnegans Wake invites close analysis, but the picture of Sontag's notes make reading it look like a joyless slog.

My first thought at seeing the picture is that Ms. Sontag needs to burn in hell

My one experience of her in person convinced me that she was an egomaniacal asshole. She came to speak at our alma mater and exuded contempt the whole time. First, she acknowledged that she'd prepared nothing and rambled about herself for a while. During questions afterward, a student (who was clearly mustering up courage to address someone she admired) asked something about how intellectuals influence society. Sontag told her that "influence" was not a verb, and then dismissed her question by saying that intellectuals are part of society, so the premise was false. I could feel the questioner's shame from across the lecture hall, and I've always hated Sontag for that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:11 AM
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making Townes look like Dolly

That's Dolly Parton, right? So Townes Van Zandt dyes his hair platinum blonde and grows huge boobs? Awesome!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:15 AM
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"influence" was not a verb

Ummm.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:22 AM
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In some satirical novel of academe which wasn't Small World or Lucky Jim so I don't remember the title, a running joke throughout the book was Susan Sontag's ubiquitous presence at academic conferences and meetings.

The protagonist was a journalist, I think, and in the course of whatever he was investigating visited an impressive number of conferences and, regardless of the subject, Susan Sontag was always there.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:29 AM
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I'm a student, and it never occurs to me what I'll get out of studying something, or whether it's worthwhile.

In Perry Miller's Jonathan Edwards I recently read this:

He also took a King James version of the Bible that had belonged to Sarah's father--probably this project was begun after his marriage--and interleaved it with blank folio pages. He started to annotate crucial passages. Eventually he filled up his pages, and then three more manuscript volumes. These "Notes on the Scriptures" were also meticulously indexed.

Anyone who's seen a page of the Talmud will understand. I don't do this, I don't like to mark books, but I re-read a lot. Edwards needed to gather his thoughts to write, sermons and all of his other writings, so the index makes sense.

Interesting that even in the 1730s he's a Puritan using the KJV. His ancestors and also his friends in the Scottish clergy, who invited him to join them when he was fired from Northhampton would have used the Geneva, which didn't disappear until the 19th century.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:39 AM
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I wish I hadn't read 21.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:56 AM
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No one actually needs to write in the margins on literature. It's just affecting profundity.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:14 PM
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28

No part of society can have an influence on society?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:18 PM
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23, 28: I know, right?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:26 PM
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Only the aliens can have an influence on society.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:30 PM
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I just write on every page of my copy of FW that I have a truly remarkable exegesis of the text that this margin is too narrow to contain.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:32 PM
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32

I decided in college that I would probably never read Ulysses, during a semester in which several of my friends were taking a class on it and could talk of nothing else. I suppose you could not read all those other texts along with it. Still, it just has never seemed like it would be the best use of my reading time.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:46 PM
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33

Overlook the errant punctuation in 13. Anyway, obviously Finnegans Wake invites close analysis, but the picture of Sontag's notes make reading it look like a joyless slog.

Well yeah --- it's her job to do this kind of thing, isn't it? She gets paid to do it, and it might well have been a bit of a slog.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:41 PM
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34

Writing in books is for morally depraved egomaniacs. 21 is just more evidence. Let future readers read without your interference! No one else cares about your scribbles.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:49 PM
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35

32: I enjoyed the parts of Ulysses I read, even while being aware I was missing a lot. Probably not as much as Dubliners, but it was still worthwhile.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:01 PM
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36

the picture of Sontag's notes make reading it look like a joyless slog

Really? My few years worth of books with marginalia represent maximum engagement, the times when my own response to the work spun virtuous circles with my intoxication to the work. I don't think it looks joyless at all.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:11 PM
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And now 36 makes me feel guilty for 34. All I really mean is I hate reading books other people have written in. But if you're gonna keep the book for yourself, or you get a lot of pleasure out of doing it, it's OK I guess.


Posted by: torque | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:13 PM
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38

21: Her son wrote a memoir of her which, quite unintentionally, made it clear that she was an utterly repulsive egomaniac who would repay with contempt and cruelty any sign of love


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:16 PM
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39

32: I started it but decided I couldn't read it in little 20 page bits at a time (I was reading on a bus to and from work or over lunch). It wasn't hard going (same disclaimer as 35), but I had to backtrack about five pages to get into the rhythm and reading more slowly than usual to enjoy the language and try to give it some thought. I think it's something I'd take on a solo vacation.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:26 PM
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I tried reading the The Recognitions last year. When was the point at which maximalist writers transitioned from stuffing their novels with religious and historical arcana to pop cultural and scientific arcana?


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:28 PM
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41

36: Point taken, but in this case it indicates to me a kind of relentless analysis at odds with appreciating the dreamlike, hyper-allusive flow of the text.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:46 PM
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42

How you gonna appreciate the hyper-allusions if you don't do something like this?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:48 PM
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42: Read the book and get what you get. I doubt that Joyce intended readers to be constantly reaching for dictionaries and encyclopedias. Not that I'm against the analysis, but I hate the idea that you can't have a perfectly enjoyable and valid experience by just reading.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:59 PM
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44

riverrun where would you guess?
Finnegans Wake is a mess
"Will you help me get even?"
said left-over Stephen
yes I said yes I will yes


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:59 PM
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45

I hate the idea that you can't have a perfectly enjoyable and valid experience by just reading.

I'll join you on that, but I don't see what that has to do with 41.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:02 PM
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41: Well, I am the one to mention "apprehension" defined online as an intuitive understanding, active in the sense of "grasp," but...

...depends in part on whether you ascribe value to "philosophical" novel (or poetry) as philosophy. The philosophy will mostly be found in the meta-text, or the upper layers of the palimpset.

Umm, how do I put this? While reading, how does it feel when you skip a word, or skim a passage without understanding it? As long as you can do this without hostility or increasing distance or exoticising the work, it'll be ok, but that's a little hard.

Ecstasy comes when you see the parts and feel the whole, and the shifting from Focused Attention to Open Monitoring gives best results when working a mandala


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:05 PM
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47

. I doubt that Joyce intended readers to be constantly reaching for dictionaries and encyclopedias

I don't remember where I came across it but I'm pretty sure that he actually did intend for his readers to do that.


I'm with k-sky at 36. I really wish I could read like that again but I just don't have the mindset, patience, time, whatever. There's also something to be said about letting it flow over you but first you let it flow, then you dive in.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:08 PM
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48

Isn't the Joyce line something like: it took me ten years to write it, so it seems fair that it would take ten years to read it?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:11 PM
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49

Okay, fine. I was responding to k-sky's question about my reaction to the photo, which I still stand by. Sontag remains an asshole.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:18 PM
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50

I thought Sontag was dead. Checking...yup. Good thing my freezer is right here.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:19 PM
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51

50 isn't sinister at all.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:20 PM
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52

Eve and Adam's
riverrun
Think you're finished?
You've just begun
Burma-Shave


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:21 PM
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Not

-Shave Eve and Adam's
riverrun
Think you're finished?
Youv'e just begun
Burma

?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:23 PM
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54

Well, aren't you a clever one.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:24 PM
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but first you let it flow, then you dive in.

First time flow, 2nd time dive, then third time flow again.

First time to learn to relax and overcome the resistance, third time to overcome your sense of possession and intellectual arrogance. Part of the point, as Ellmann says, is to teach intellectuals to love (as Leopold taught Stephen the night before Nora.)

You will never understand Ulysses or FW.

Like everything lovable and sacred, they will change as you and the world change around them.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:34 PM
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49 Here's the part in the game of 'Humiliation' where I admit I've never read Finnegans Wake the whole way through (not nearly most of it neither). But I have done that with Ulysses, and a few other books.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:39 PM
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First time flow, 2nd time dive, then third time flow again.

Exactly. Though there are very few books I've been able to do that with effectively.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:42 PM
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Fans of Gene Wolfe do the same sort of thing as Sontag, but they mostly post it to the internet instead of writing in their (often first edition) books.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:56 PM
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47.2 is basically what I had in mind. It took me years after school to relearn how to let a book just flow over me.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:08 PM
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I've gotta go with k-sky at 36: My few years worth of books with marginalia represent maximum engagement, the times when my own response to the work spun virtuous circles with my intoxication to the work. I don't think it looks joyless at all.

You could write notes on a separate pad of paper, but it's kind of a pain in the ass to note the passage your notes/comments refer to.

Most academics I know develop a system of marking passages to indicate degree of importance or the nature of their thoughts about it. I recall I used a mere dash to indicate something of possible note, pointing arrow for something to be quoted later, exclamation point for Really Important, question mark to mean, obviously, "what's that, now?"; straight underline for plain emphasis, squiggly underline for extreme emphasis. Some of my grad school books look a mess.

There's no dishonor in marking up books, unless they're first editions or otherwise valuable.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:15 PM
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Oh, also: I've always found that the sheer act of writing my thoughts gives them a hold they wouldn't otherwise have. That's why I was a marginalia generator (and prolific note-taker in lectures, not writing what the lecturer said, mind, but what I had to say, silently, about it).


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:19 PM
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||

I'm taking this to be the educational thread. I was discussing a document on our screens with a colleague today, and trying to make the point that it wasn't a blueprint, I asked him if he'd ever taken shop. He's only a few years younger but all he could say was that it'd been available in his school, and he'd had no thought of taking it.

When I was in 8th grade, 65-66 school year, in a working class part of Columbus, all boys took a whole year of industrial arts, divided 3 ways among woodworking, metalworking and drafting. I was trying to reference basic drafting concepts today. The unit I got the most out of was metal, because I learned how to work cold and heated iron, to solder and rivet. I've often fabricated metal parts drawing on the skills I learned then.

Aside from the gender specificity, unlikely to have lasted more than a year or two longer, I think there must have been a class-specific aspect to it. We moved at the very end of that year to a UMC suburb, --our standard of living went down--where the assumptions of the curriculum were different. Nobody there had gone through anything like the industrial arts I had, I gradually discovered over the years.

How anomalous/retrograde was my experience? Am I right that this was disappearing rapidly as a requirement, and before long as an elective, about that time or have any of you taken these classes more recently?

|>


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 7:31 PM
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Idp, you are about five years younger than my father, and I'm pretty sure he didn't have an industrial arts requirement in school. Oddly enough, when I was in 7th grade, all students at my middle school were required to take a rotation of 8 weeks in industrial arts, which was pretty much woodworking. That was true at least through the late 90s. The teacher was still grumpy about having to teach girls. We had to take 8 weeks of home ec, too, along with several other things (speech, choir, other stuff I've forgotten). This was early 90s, LMC school district. We also had shop classes as electives through high school including auto shop and woodworking. Woodworking students got to leave a few hours early to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. There were many vocational programs, though, including childcare and medical assistant.

Yours might have been retrograde, but mine was even more so.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 7:56 PM
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I took home ec in 7th, and a year of shop in 11th.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 7:58 PM
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And now I love to shop!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 7:59 PM
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My school had neither.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:01 PM
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My sister had serious homemaking and self-sufficiency ambitions and took elective home economics beyond the required.

My son has learned a fair amount of metalworking in his art classes, in HS and at Wolfcub.

Another LMC/UMC curriculum divergence, not in public school this time, was catechism. Much more rigorous and challenging at LMC church that year. Probably the minister pitched it too high, but the materials were good and I responded like no one else to concepts like salvation by grace, and the Minister was very impressed by my writing about it, he told my dad. At UMC church, nothing like it and no ideas about the faith at all, so far as I could tell.

In both churches I was as much of an outlier as ydnew, in a different direction


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:09 PM
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In 8th grade, the year I joined public school from Hebrew Day School (1988-9) we had a rotation through woodshop, music, home ec, and... something else. I'm pretty sure there were four of them. In high school, basic drafting was a popular elective, although if you were in honors classes you were highly unlikely to take it -- I don't think it was unavailable per se, but there was some structural discouragement, like if you were gunning for a perfect GPA it would limit you because you couldn't max out on weighted classes. One friend of mine took a print shop class senior year and still managed to tie for first in the class with me, plus he was able to generate the paper inserts for our band's cassette release.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:11 PM
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In 1989, 8th grade, I did about what idp describes; the major difference was that the individual student had the choice of a year in shop class, home economics, or art (6th and 7th graders rotated through all three). Honors-ish students like me tended to take the year of art, and non-honors students took the other two in pretty much the expected gender breakdown. I am still, in retrospect, astonished that they let 12/13-year-olds use belt sanders, band saws, spot and arc welders, and MEK.

A couple of years after that they converted at least part of the shop area into a computer lab, with an IT-ish focus, which seems eminently sensible and thus surprising.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:11 PM
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The upper high school (11th-12th), like the school district overall, had a pretty wide spread of LMC/UMC. Our lower high school drew mostly from the UMC north side of Route 1, but there was still a fairly wide spread. The socio-economic details of the district is one of the impressive things about this book.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:14 PM
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Neither of the fancy ass high schools I went to had shop because are you fucking kidding me? That didn't stop a non-negligible number of classmates from becoming artisanal woodworkers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:19 PM
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Art! That was the fourth class.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:20 PM
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I think I may have mentioned this before, but my dad had shop in high school and he was failing it. This was hurting his chances at college so the shop teacher agreed to give him a B as long he promised never to try to get a job doing a trade in that town.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:24 PM
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We did woodwork but not metalwork, and a fair bit of drafting.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:33 PM
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I read Ulysses* fairly quickly (about two weeks?) when I was doing a catch up on books I felt I should read thing back between undergrad and grad school. There were a couple of books I read like that where my attitude was "if I don't finish this now, I'll never pick it up again". Some of it I enjoyed.

*I finally got over my feeling that I should read it with a whole scholarly apparatus or companion book of criticism by getting the Oxford World's Classics edition which had some footnotes but not too many, and which reproduced the 1923 version and sidestepped the whole debate about proper scholarly editions.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:46 PM
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Once I switched from Catholic to public school, we had shop available as an elective starting in 6th grade all the way through 12th. But you only got one elective, and I took band. (Which obviously worked out. I might have ended up a struggling carpenter.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:11 PM
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I was in 8th grade in 1995, and we had "industrial arts". Half woodworking... and half screen-printing, of all things.

I am still, in retrospect, astonished that they let 12/13-year-olds use belt sanders, band saws, spot and arc welders, and MEK.

That is shocking. How many of you joined the MEK for good? Did you meet the Ayatollah?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:15 PM
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So, I missed this thread because of going to a Finnegans Wake reading group after work.

Sontag's copy looks a lot like my advisor's, except that my advisor had the book taken apart and rebound in three hardcover volumes, with blank sheets inserted between every single page to fit all his notes.

48: Yes. I think it was twenty years.

You can reach for dictionaries or encyclopedias, though the Internet has usefully concentrated the trivia most likely to be helpful. Obviously it's not like reading anything else. In a lot of ways it's like playing a game; there are all these puzzles, and palpable satisfaction when you crack one. You might even draw an analogy to those artsy, immersive story-based kinds of video games, since there really is a story, and it gets a little clearer every time a puzzle is solved. Of course it takes time to learn how to play. And I don't play those video games anyway. So, it's a big world.

Reading it in a group is a very, very good time. The social setting brings out the playful aspect, and pooled knowledge means that mysteries are solved quicker.

The real kicker is when you get to the point of having solved lots of surface puzzles and come up against the deeper enigmas that don't budge so easily. You can see who the characters are, most of the time, and you can kind of get a picture of what they're doing and how it comments on human history and society and all that, but there's still a layer of fog that never clears. The whole book is a dream, and in its weird way is very faithful to the indeterminate aspect of dreams, the part that never carries over when you try to summarize the story the next day. In that sense Moby's 6 is right, though you might have to mark the book up as much as Sontag did to get to how right it is.

Oh, and it's funny!


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:15 PM
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Also, what the shit, is there no higher-res version of that photo anywhere?


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:18 PM
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There is. I saw it. Once.

We had woodshop in junior high and metalworking or auto-shop or something in high school. I think woodshop was required, but auto shop wasn't.

I made a jewelry box my mom still uses. I got a D.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:39 PM
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My folks still use a crappy jewelry box I made. Plus a letter opener and a chopping block (which was actually sort of nice plus shocking it has held together these many years). And for many years a trowel that I made in metal shop, but it finally got too rusty.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:43 PM
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I was a complete dick as a kid, but one of the few episodes I'm genuinely ashamed of happened in shop class. I was being a jerk, in whatever way, and the teacher went to get a "discipline notice" which would get sent home, etc. I told some kid, "That's fine, if he wants to be an asshole about it," which the teacher overheard, and of course added to the notice. But as he was telling me what he was writing in the notice, I said, "You can't say it that way. That's shop teacher talk."

He would have been completely justified in lopping off my finger, or tongue, or whatever. As it was, he had previously taught at Stateville (prison) and was a decent guy and unfazed by a dickhead teenager. He threatened my life in the upcoming faculty vs. 8th grader basketball game, but then took it easy on me. I'm sorry, Mr. F. You were a good dude.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:52 PM
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"I experienced a lot of weird at Statesville, but the worst moment of my career was when some Mexican kid humiliated my writing in front of the whole shop class. It's the little things that stick."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:56 PM
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84

"Like caterpillars. They're little."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:57 PM
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85

hyper-allusive

Like an episode of Family Guy, then?


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:29 PM
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I was going to read a bit more of FW but ended up wandering down an Internet rabbit hole and came across another great cultural artifact, namely, the record of the time when John Cassavetes, Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara showed up drunk on the Dick Cavett show.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:47 PM
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That wasn't quite hyper-allusive or anything, but it was still pretty compelling, in a train-wrecky sort of way.


Posted by: remy | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:10 AM
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88

I can't help thinking that WAAMA must have Susan Sontag down as a Platinum Club Most Valued Customer.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:37 AM
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That U is re-presenting consciousness and FW is representing dreaming are among the earliest meta-narratives a reader creates as she reads the text.
The first meta-narrative is that JJ is representing a physical world.

The dive, application of schemas (they are available for FW,) note-taking, detailed explication and exegesis should do the work of dispelling these illusions as long as one accepts that the superstructural "authorial intrusions" are not "layered on top" of the material narrative base, that the Symbolic and Imaginary hide us from the Real.

Certainly there can possibly remain the illusion that the schema and superstructure, the play of language is the only reality, but that is not the obstacle most of us usually have to overcome.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 2:00 AM
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A cautionary tale about marginalia.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 4:17 AM
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In my UMC suburban SoCal high school in the late 80s, wood and metal shop classes were definitely offered but not required. Nearly all of the university bound types skipped them.

67.3 reminded me of Bertie Wooster telling everyone about the scripture prize he won back in grammar school.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 4:22 AM
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a student (who was clearly mustering up courage to address someone she admired) asked something about how intellectuals influence society. Sontag told her that "influence" was not a verb

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1505/the-art-of-fiction-no-143-susan-sontag
...
INTERVIEWER: But the novel seems very influenced by French literature.

SONTAG: Is it? It seems many people think that it was influenced by the nouveau roman.

Susan Sontag is a bad person.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 4:28 AM
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My (AISIMHB famously fancy) public high school had wood and metal shops, but it had a shit-ton of other electives (Body-Mind research! Comic book drawing! Semiotics!) so mostly people I knew didn't take those. There was an architectural drafting class (actually series) that was pretty popular; I took that. There was also one really funny shop class that was only offered to a select group of engineering-minded math whizzes, where they would build a very finely-engineered safe. A friend of mine took it, and later used his safe door as exhibit A to secure a transfer from Northeastern to MIT.

We did have industrial arts and home ec (and music) as fairly independent classes all the way K-8.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 4:29 AM
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My kids - 3 schools - girls school has rotating Food Tech (home ec), Textiles, and Product Design (making stuff out of wood, plastic, etc) for 3 years, 11-14, and then you have to carry on one of them or Information Technology until 16. Mixed school has rotating Food Tech, Textiles, Graphic Design, Resistant Materials (making stuff out of wood, plastic, etc) also for 3 years, 11-14, and then you can do what you want. Boys school seems to have scrapped all practical stuff in favour of computing, and apparently this year (13/14) Kid C will also do electronics. After 14 they can do anything I think.

All English schools have compulsory Music and Art for 3 years, 11-14, and usually Drama/Dance as well.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 4:35 AM
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For my last two years at school, we had a General Studies option (not the GS exam that some places do) - 2 options in the first year, then one in the second and we could leave early on Fridays. These options were all put on by teachers doing whatever they were interested in - Spanish, stained glass making, photography, listening to old jazz, (can't remember any more, but it was a Good Thing, I think).


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 4:41 AM
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nothing one guy wrote is going to make enough difference to justify this kind of effort.

"Crispin constructed doctrine from the rout."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 5:13 AM
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"Crispin constructed doctrine from the rout."

#HampsteadPrimarySchoolReportQuotes


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 6:03 AM
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telling everyone about the scripture prize he won back in grammar school

No prizes, no grades--probably why so many blew it off. Finding out later I'd had the respect of the minister, a serious lonely guy hugely at odds with the spirit of the sixties that was about to explode meant a lot to me. I was reminded of him reading Gilead


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 6:24 AM
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My high school had a great shop program and terrible home ec*. There was some sort of requirement for some number of classes from one or the other of those; I took one home ec class and a few shop classes including Small Engines and something where we built some puzzles sort of like this. I didn't take welding, but a bunch of my friends did, and I was sorry later because knowing how to weld would be fun and interesting.

*The home ec teacher is the source of several of my mother's favorite anecdotes, including the one where she (the teacher) told us that water boils at a different temperature at sea level, "which is at about 1,000 feet."


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:01 AM
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My special snowflake high school had no shop, no home ec, and purely token art and music classes (that is, we had scheduled classes, but in art, certainly, we were mostly just messing around with materials rather than learning anything substantive. Music had a perceptible curriculum, but a surprising amount of time devoted to learning to clap out rhythms by naming fruit: Quarter note = "pear", eighth="apple", sixteenth="watermelon", triplet="pineapple". And the rest of it was comparably rigorous.) They strongly disapproved of us learning to do anything that required manual skills.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:38 AM
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I like Sontag's essays.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:44 AM
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I only read them for the pictures.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:44 AM
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"I have devised a marvellous proof of this assertion but bloody Sontag hasn't left me enough space in the margin to write it down."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:56 AM
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I loved shop class in 9th and 10th grade. Sheet metal work! Heat molding of plexiglass! One of my friends bought a really nice ash billet and completely messed up trying to turn it into a baseball bat - he gouged himself, and the billet, at the lathe. Most all boys in those classes, I think. As far as life skills, we really should have been learning cooking and sewing, as well as basic home repair. I have a high school reunion coming up and sheet metal workers and plexiglass fabricators will be thin on the ground.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:03 AM
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90s West Yorkshire required craft, design, and technology as it was termed; I think the HE element was technically nested in that course, but everyone took both up to the first level of specialisation at GCSE, so the girls could operate a lathe and the boys could sew and cook (both in theory obviously).

We started pretty early because I remember vividly that Margaret Thatcher's resignation, in 1990 when I was ten, was announced in the workshop; I was using a pillar drill and the teacher, who kept popping outside that day, presumably to follow the political crisis on TV, threw open the door and hit the big kill switch to stop all the machine tools, knowing that would get our attention.

(Thatcher of course had got everyone's attention by doing much the same thing to the entire country.)

The GCSE level course was less fun and more design-intensive, plus the teacher was mostly absorbed by running an antiques business out of his office. (The middle school guy was fantastic - really enthusiastic and geeky in a Make mag sort of way.) There were Macs but the course didn't actually use them for anything.

It wasn't really a priority for me and my project completely sucked, but fortunately half the final grade was on the exam, essentially nothing but technical drawing. I aced the exam and ended up with a respectable grade, and a totally useless skill - I can do really neat first or third projection production drawings, like I was looking for a job on the De Havilland Comet project or something, in 1996!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:07 AM
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knowing how to weld would be fun and interesting

I sometimes think of a (largely implausible) alternate personal history where I forgo college and instead join the pipefitters' union in Chicago under the watchful eye of my pipefitter grandpa, learning how to weld, etc. But then I think: being a pipefitter in Chicago in January seems like a very cold job. And I am a wuss.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:23 AM
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I think the pipes are full of steam. That sounds warm.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:27 AM
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Florida had snowbird pipefitters, some of whom worked mostly on large yachts, which seemed like pretty nice work if you gotta actually work.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 3:42 PM
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In the 1980s, in a UMC (for the PNW at the time) public high school, I took woodshop in ?middle school, 9th grade? and wasn't the only girl, but I wasn't brave enough to take metal shop or small engines. Those shops were anti-panopticons with a lot of noise and sharp things and I `knew' it wasn't safe for a girl, worse than getting occasionally stuffed into trash cans. Can't remember how I was told. In hindsight, I'm a little surprised the school had the shop; it might have dated back to respectable landowners being in resource-extraction.

I did take mechanical drawing, which was a meditative joy and probably made analytic geometry much easier and has certainly been mildly useful in life since then.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 3:46 PM
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In the 1980s, in a UMC (for the PNW at the time) public high school,

Have you read The Hustle? It's ostensibly hook is about basketball, but it is really a book about the Seattle school system and I was surprised at how much it resonated with my own experiences growing up. I wasn't in Seattle, so the details of the school system were different, but the cultural landmarks and milieu were recognizable, and it was interesting to see them depicted in a journalistic account.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 5:33 PM
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The kids and I were watching guys pave a road today, and one of the workers yelled over, "This is why you go to college. So you don't have to do this."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 5:46 PM
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111: I've had that happen more than once when out with my kids. Not always paving, but other stuff in inclement weather of one sort or another.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 6:02 PM
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I haven't, NickS, I'll look it up. When feeling resistant to nostalgia and anti-nostalgia.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 2:18 AM
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Somewhat OP-related, I will repost a favorite bit of scholarly marginalia from an old Geology book I own, Evolution of the Falls of the Niagara by Winthrop (J.W.) Spencer. The book is inscribed:

B.F. Taylor*,
in admiration of his good work cited here with the regards of the author. Jan 15, 1908.

Not surprisingly, Taylor made many notes in the margins. As the book begins to touch upon the work of Taylor, the notes become more pointed: "wrong", "not clear", "pshaw!". It culminates in a magnificent drawing labeled "Shame!" showing a stick figure being pushed into a gorge (the Niagara, one presumes). Scanned image here. At the end of that chapter, Spencer specifically acknowledges Taylor's contributions with a backhanded compliment. Taylor's marginal response: "Sent a check for $1000.00 for this but forgot to sign it."

*Actually F. B. Taylor who subsequently wrote a book espousing Continental Drift a few years before Wegener (but apparently not very comprehensive nor well-supported--so pretty much ignored).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 5:39 PM
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That's great.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 6:03 PM
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114: thud!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 6:06 PM
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I like that he did not neglect to show the layering of the rocks.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 6:27 PM
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"A substitution of conjectures for reasonable induction!"


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:08 PM
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Them's fightin' words, apparently.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:14 PM
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If you draw a dick on the falling guy, you'll triple the value.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:19 PM
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Don't try a Hitler mustache. The face is too small.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:29 PM
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The guy beside me has a shirt reading "Bear Jew".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:31 PM
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He doesn't seem very hairy, considering.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:33 PM
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Was it made by Sifu's friend who went to USC?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:57 PM
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I could ask, I guess. Seems like an awkward conversation starter though.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 8:02 PM
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Isn't wearing a BEAR JEW shirt basically an explicit invitation for awkward conversations?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 8:03 PM
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Bear Jew FUBAR.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 8:07 PM
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It's a movie reference, isn't it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 8:12 PM
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Yes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 8:25 PM
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I thought so. He didn't seem very gay.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 8:31 PM
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||
Missed it by this much. Paging Apo.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 7-14 7:34 AM
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