Re: Racial Slurs for White Men and Women

1

Did "basic" and "basic bitches" really start with white people? There are all these pieces saying it did, which makes me think I've been hallucinating the last few years.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:34 AM
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Urbandictionary supports Thorn's contention that, paraphrased, what the hell are you on about, white people?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:40 AM
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And contrawise on "douchebag".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:42 AM
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Time to make a mint selling "There's nothing 'basic' about cultural appropriation' shirts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:42 AM
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I've been hearing "white girl" as a specific thing -- not just 'girl who is white', but something you make fun of for liking, e.g., pumpkin spice lattes. My niece the ex-Marine told the following joke: Why do white girls go everywhere either alone or with two friends? Because white girls 'can't even'.

(Also, Newt was commenting about he and a friend were being total 'white girls' in that they both do, literally, like pumpkin spice lattes, which was funny because she's not white and he's not a girl.)

It doesn't seem particularly mean-spirited, and to the extent that it's a slur it seems like more gendered than racial. But I think it's a thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:42 AM
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I guess the Buzzfeed piece does say that. I got so annoyed with the Pumpkin Spice Latte part that I stopped reading it last time it was linked somewhere. I guess maybe I'd actually read the NYMag piece that's linked in it and also seems to link back to it and I don't know what the basic clusterfuck is. Sorry.

Anyway, I think it's a joke in terms of saying the Pumpkin Spice Latte white girls are equivalent worth-wise to black girls with bad purple weaves or whatever, co-opting a word to deliberately exaggerate in an erasing and weird way. But it's also the Gone Girl Cool Girl thing. (And on that note, I still haven't read Gone Girl and don't plan to AND Lee is returning the Donna Tartt to the library to day so I won't be tempted.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:45 AM
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Gone Girl Cool Girl thing

Don't make me stroke out, Thorn.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:45 AM
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The Gone Girl Cool Girl Long Con, more like, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:46 AM
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SORRY, snarkout! (And is that not what it is, the "cool girl" speech? I dunno!) Find me a better term for women putting down other women to make themselves feel more guy-acceptable and I'll use that!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:47 AM
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#gonegirlcoolgirllongcongate


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:48 AM
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urban hipsters think they get to define the culture. story after the game.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:48 AM
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I'm friends on FB with a friend of mine's much younger sister (17) and she definitely uses 'white girl' in the same way as LB's children (despite living in the middle of nowhere in the eastern California desert instead of NYC). I was confused at first .... pretty sure it's one of the many signs that I'm getting 'old,' along with never having heard of 'basic.'

Can anyone tell me which page the cool girl thing is on in Gone Girl so I can just read it for myself without having to read the book? Every time I google I just end up with endless articles discussing it but I have no idea what the actual speech is!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:56 AM
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Who, in this case, are the "urban hipsters"? Like, sorority girls? Or buzzfeed writers? Or wait, do you mean the Berkeley lecturer dude who wrote the Medium piece?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:56 AM
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It seems meanspirited to me, because the girls (students and former students mostly) who are soooo basic are also very, very earnest and normal and not trying to be something they're not, and I don't know why it annoys me so much, but it does. Mock their politics, yes, but not their uggs and devotion to The Gap.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:57 AM
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Attacks on douchebags and basic bitches are generally made by young men and women respectively against their perceived sexual rivals. I am so wonderful, why is the opposite sex attracted to that instead?

These attacks on douchebags and basic bitches (as well as on hipsters) also pretend to be moral critiques but mainly criticize clothing and grooming choices (and at their most ridiculous treat clothing and grooming choices as moral failings).


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:59 AM
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Can anyone tell me which page the cool girl thing is on in Gone Girl so I can just read it for myself without having to read the book?

I found the excerpt by googling. I think it was on the goodreads site?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:59 AM
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I guess the buzzfeed author whose PhD topic was the celebrity press (and who mostly writes about that) is the most promising candidate for urban hipster. Is that who you meant, cleek?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:59 AM
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The link in 17 gets you to a story with what I assume is the full Cool Girl excerpt, italicized halfway through.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:01 AM
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You know what gets at the same cultural issues as the appropriation of "basic bitches" but is mind-expanding and amazing rather than narrowing and mean-spirited? This right here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:01 AM
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the girls (students and former students mostly) who are soooo basic are also very, very earnest and normal and not trying to be something they're not

Agreed. You're that into pumpkin flavored stuff? Okay, whatever floats your boat. Now I'm going to go participate in a FB thread about what dish my friend should cook with the heirloom sugar pumpkins she bought, because I'm totally a type, too. (I suggested kaddo bourani, of course.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:03 AM
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Oh huh hey that author wrote the Hedy Lamarr article. That's a good article.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:04 AM
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22

I really like AHP's writings about Hollywood, but I have huge problems with the "cool girl" speech as presented in Gone Girl (a book I think is both misogynist and not particularly good), for reasons which involve spoilers that would ruin your enjoyment of America's most popular thriller.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:15 AM
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But AHP looooooooves it and cites it basically whenever she mentions Jennifer Lawrence.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:16 AM
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I don't like stuff that sucks. I like stuff that's cool.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:16 AM
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22: rot13 spoilery comment?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:20 AM
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The douchebag article lost me in saying the word already is, slash should be more commonly recognized as, a characterization of rich white people. To the extent that the word can beenailed down, douchiness might be correlated with wealth, but there are plenty of non-rich douchebags, and the average douchebag you encounter will probably not be rich, just because there are fewer rich people to begin with.

Also the word works about equally well for a certain aspiring middle class type.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:22 AM
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16, 18: Thanks. Probably just a case of not being thorough enough or clicking on the wrong set of links, but all the articles I've read about it had assumed that you already knew the content which just made me ever more curious.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:24 AM
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22: I wasn't trying to buy into the "cool girl" speech but the sort of person who thinks by identifying the "cool girl" she's actually having insight into something deeper and is thus cooler than a cool girl and I should really just go make a cup of tea.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:24 AM
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I'm not going to watch America's most popular thriller and I'm the only one reading this thread so I say let it all hang out, snarkster. Sir snarksalot. The snarkulator. Whatever.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:25 AM
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And I personally already know the spoilers assuming that the spoilers are about what happens in the story, but I don't know that it clarifies the specific cool girl thing.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:25 AM
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31

Qba'g tb ba hayrff lbh'ir nfxrq JUNG VF N TEHR?

Vg xvaq bs ehvaf gur guehfg bs lbhe tenaq srzvavfg znavsrfgb nobhg abg jnagvat gb snxr guvatf sbe zra jura vg vf erirnyrq gung gur fgveevat cebpynzngvbaf ner orvat qryvorengryl nqbcgrq ol n Fvatyr Juvgr Srznyr penml fgnyxre jub vf fb rivy orpnhfr bs Gru Jvzzram gung fur unf nqbcgrq na nccrnyvat snxr crefbanyvgl fb gung Nzrevpn jvyy evfr hc naq fzvgr ure nffubyr uhfonaq jura fur snxrf ure bja qrngu va beqre gb senzr uvz sbe xvyyvat ure va n jnl pnyphyngrq gb trg vg ba Pbheg GI.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:25 AM
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32

JUNG VF N TEHR sounds plausibly like something from someone's crest of arms.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:27 AM
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33

31: Well, yes. That's (part of) why I don't buy into the speech itself but I think the kind of people who talk about basic bitches probably do, at least some of them.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:27 AM
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34

It's very basic bitches.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:28 AM
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35

Oh I can never remember what the magic code in 31 is called, to find the translator. Luxor? Bloxxor?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:30 AM
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rot13. Qvq lbh xabj gung "vex" znxrf n flabalz bs vgfrys va ebg13?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:32 AM
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A very nice thing about basic women is that it means I don't have to work very hard to distinguish myself as not-that. Whereas if you go to Humboldt county or Brooklyn or what have you, all of a sudden I'm basic and open for scorn. Or the soccer mom version there-of.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:33 AM
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38

25 to 35.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:34 AM
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39

a "basic" is a millennial who is inescapably predictable. She (and it is always a she) cherishes uninspired brands

How did "Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Vendi Vendi Prada" morph into a condemnation of Target and Uggs?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:34 AM
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31: jurryf jvguva jurryf, zna.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:36 AM
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39: According to the article, when "bitch" was dropped, "basic" changed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:36 AM
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42

How far into the mainstream did Kreayshawn really get, anyway? Sorry if I'm being annoying the last few days between this and the teen pregnancy thread I derailed. I'm just having a "what is everyone TALKING about?" kind of attitude lately.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:39 AM
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I only learned of the term "basic" a few weeks ago, when an acquaintency friend complained on FB that it is "basically racist against white girls." Okay then!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:41 AM
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44

I mean, I'm not arguing with anyone here; I'm arguing with the WORLD, maaan.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:41 AM
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45

I don't think I've ever heard "basic" used in the wild.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:42 AM
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I was unfamiliar with the concepts of "basic bitch" and "cool girl", but I can already tell that the genetic hybridization of the two will yield a country song female love object.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:42 AM
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I'm just having a "what is everyone TALKING about?" kind of attitude lately.

It works. I say run with it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:42 AM
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48

Also, why is this the year of Pumpkin Spice Latte Backlash? Not being a coffee drinker, I'd never even heard of this shit before August. Now anti-Pumpkin Spice snark is all over the pop culture.

Why don't people react this way about the McRib? It seems to fall into the same "some people like them and I don't give a shit" category.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:43 AM
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49

The hybridization I'm awaiting is "resting basic face".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:43 AM
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50

I only learned of the term "basic" a few weeks ago, when an acquaintency friend complained on FB that it is "basically racist against white girls." Okay then!

Same here. I thought it derived from that 15-year-old gay YouTube kid who was on Tosh.0 that one time.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:44 AM
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51

48: I was kind of wondering about that as well. Pumpkin spice lattes have been an "every October" thing for a while now.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:48 AM
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52

I haven't heard this term before but man it could give new meaning to properly basic beliefs....

22: I thought Gone Girl sucked.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:49 AM
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53

I've never tried a pumpkin spice latte because I might light them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:53 AM
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54

I imagine the McRib doesn't have the opportunity to jade people since it's not annual like PSL - isn't it "brought back" whenever pork prices dip below a certain level?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:55 AM
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55

3.link made a better point than mine.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:55 AM
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56

mainly criticize clothing and grooming choices (and at their most ridiculous treat clothing and grooming choices as moral failings)

"Basic" is just a revival of "vulgar" (in its original sense) as a dismissive descriptor, right? That flavor of classism is timeless and not even culturally specific: French has "vulgaire", German "gemein", etc.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:56 AM
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Where my normal ladies at?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:02 AM
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Common as muck.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:02 AM
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54: The McRib exists on a higher plane.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:09 AM
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56: Could be, but my first thought was something more like an alliterative version of rhyming slang. Doesn't sound like bitch, but begins with the same letter, thus it's implied.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:12 AM
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I've never heard anyone say 'basic' in the wild, and while I've read the Cool Girl speech excerpted, I haven't read the book.

But much as I love her, the ex-Marine niece definitely has a misogynistic sense of herself as a Cool Girl precisely as described in that speech and as opposed to 'white girls' (or, presumably 'basic' women). Her FB feed has a whole lot of "I am a low-maintenance badass and that's why boys like me, not like stupid girls" going on. I am not quite close enough to do an effective job of coaxing her away from this position, but I do wish she'd grow out of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:17 AM
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48, 51: I'm pretty sure that the backlash is against pumpkin spice everything*, and that it's settled on lattes because A. most familiar/established, and B. mocking lattes is as American as pumpkinapple pie.

*and it really is everywhere now, and it really is growing exponentially. Five years ago, pumpkin spice was mostly limited to lattes and baked goods, but it's gotten to the point where it's hard to distinguish mocking lists from actual products (e.g., pumpkin spice Milano cookies)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:21 AM
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63

This is dumb, but I've literally never had anything labelled pumpkin spice. Is it actually pumpkin flavored, or is it just the spices you'd expect in a pumpkin pie (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe allspice or cloves)? Those all sound awful with coffee, but I don't like flavored coffee at all so I'm the wrong audience.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:24 AM
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64

62: In that case, aren't we overdue for a backlash against salted caramel?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:26 AM
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Pumpkin spice lattes really are the kind of thing that would be mocked by someone like LizardBreath describes in 61, by people who've never tasted them, as obviously "not having any taste," "just being a regular coffee with a lot of artificial junk in it and no pumpkin at all." I feel I have to defend the pumpkin spice latte! They're pretty good! They do have an awful lot of sugar in them, though, so I'm back to my regular skim, no sugar.


Posted by: bianca steele | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:26 AM
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66

Basic seems to have taken a similar trajectory into slang use to that taken by 'random' or my favorite - 'rando.'


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:28 AM
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67

Living in exile, I haven't seen the like of pumpkin spice Milanos at our local grocery stores. I didn't realize it had gone that far.

Its possible I am missing out on quite a bit of nuance by mostly only observing American culture through the internet.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:28 AM
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68

"Douchebag" isn't necessarily gender-specific (although it does lean male). It is also vastly more insulting than "basic." 'Baggery is a critique of the whole spectrum of white privileged toolery straight on up from just being an annoying, clueless git into being a harasser, a stalker or even an outright rapist or hooligan. The douchebag is so immured in oblivious privilege that he or she is capable of almost any form of stupidity or depravity for no apparent reason at all except that they felt like it. #GameGate is 'baggery, and the Pumpkin Fest riots are 'baggery par excellence.

Gawker has a valid point that it's kind of a watershed moment that North American English has organically produced a slur specifically for deriding white privilege, which AFAICT is unprecedented. Whether or not it's current used among white people discussing whiteness (which I'm not sure is true), it's available to everyone. Any prior racial slur for whites denoted either some form of immigrant ethnicity or was a class slur, so the difference is genuinely interesting.

It's also clear that "douchebag" is by far the more organic term and likely to have more staying power. The "look at me trendspotting" vibe fairly drips off of "basic." It's more of a meme than a genuine evolution in the language. Douchebag is, however, liable to be around a lot longer.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:29 AM
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Any prior racial slur for whites denoted either some form of immigrant ethnicity or was a class slur

Isn't 'douchebag' a class slur? Just, mostly, kicking up not down.

It is interesting that I wouldn't have noticed that douchebag was particularly marked as white if it hadn't been pointed out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:33 AM
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64: I don't think I've yet seen salted caramel applied to something utterly random (pumpkin cornbread?), which is I think the tipping point. People can handle the expansion of a trendy flavor within its natural segment, and even some border-crossing, but at some point it just seems mindless, and back goes the lash.

If salted caramel starts showing up on burgers or something, people will get upset.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:34 AM
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71

I hear white people have started to call stuff ratchet now. I think it started with that one macklemore song about pumpkin spice latte.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:37 AM
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72

I think 68 is largely correct, and I think that 69 (and a couple other comments as well) is wrong that it's primarily class-based. The echt d-bag may be a preppy son of privilege, but it's not limited to him at all. The guy who said he went to Keene to riot because it would be "fucking wicked" is a douchebag, and I have no idea or assumption about his SES. Of the 3 guys in "It's Always Sunny", all are working class*, but one is absolutely a d-bag (the boat rapist, in case that's somehow unclear).

*only just started watching; don't know if this changes as the show goes on


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:39 AM
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73

salted caramel bacon-infused bourbon.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:40 AM
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74

69.1: Well, right, but class slurs that kick up are incredibly rare. Slurs on poor people are usually easier and less risky.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:40 AM
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75

Isn't 'douchebag' a class slur? Just, mostly, kicking up not down.

I would challenge the assumption that "douchebag" necessarily connotes upper class. That's more "rich prick" territory (a usage that maybe has fallen out of fashion). If you look at the old "hot chicks with douchebags" tumblr (not googling that from work, sorry), the modal douchebag depicted there was more Jersey Shore than country club. In fact, it even carried a distinctive overtone of "trying too hard to transcend one's vulgar upbringing".


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:43 AM
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Isn't 'douchebag' a class slur?

I don't think so. This guy is a douchebag, no?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:43 AM
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77

If salted caramel starts showing up on burgers

Someone needs to run with this idea.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:43 AM
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78

75 is more in line with how I understood the word. It doesn't come up very often in my day-to-day life. Of course, "basic bitch" is something I first heard of yesterday.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:44 AM
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Someone needs to run with this idea.

Very fast and a long way away.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:46 AM
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75: I guess that I didn't mean it was always pointed at an upperclass person, but that as between the douchebag and the person calling him a douchebag, I would consistently expect the douchebag to be either richer or at least wearing/owning showoffier stuff. Showoffy consumption is definitely an element of douchebaggery, no?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:47 AM
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And clicking on the link in 76, it might be a 'low-class' thing to do, but that's an expensive new truck.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:48 AM
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It is interesting that I wouldn't have noticed that douchebag was particularly marked as white if it hadn't been pointed out.

Well, it started out as an all-purpose insult, more or less equivalent to asshole.But it's gradually been resolving itself to be what's described in the linked article. I think some of the objections to that article are unclear about the arc, saying (among other things) that, since that's not the only way anyone uses it, it can't be that kind of slur. But I think that its significance has changed significantly just in the last 10 years. 20 years ago, I don't think it referred to anyone in particular; maybe 10 years ago it was resolving itself towards being exemplified by Andrew McCarthy characters in John Hughes movies, but I think the class implications have been dropping away. I mean, as Castock says, it's about privilege, and the more upper class you are, the more privilege you have to flaunt, but pretty much every white American male has enough privilege to act like a d-bag if he wants to.

I'd add that I think that the internet has a lot to do with this - getting "everyone" to agree on a specific word for a specific thing* is something the internet is good at.The sharpening of d-bag has come at the same time that mansplaining has arisen as a particularly salient example of male privilege in action.

*I couldn't recall McCarthy's name, so I just googled "brat pack douchebag" and he came right up


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:49 AM
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Showoffy consumption is definitely an element of douchebaggery, no?

Yes, but the consumption has to be at least a little vulgar. Dude driving a Porsche Boxter could be a douche. Dude driving an identically priced Volvo is not, generally speaking.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:51 AM
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84

Almost certain that 73 exists. Not that I've seen it, but I'm still sure someone has done it.

Honestly, it could even work - not as a single thing to sip in a glass (that would probably be gross), but as a flavor combo in e.g. a milkshake. Take bacon bourbon and mix it with salted caramel ice cream. Almost certainly yummy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:51 AM
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85

Leche Leche Bacon Bacon Cock Sauce Cock Sauce Pumpkin.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:54 AM
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86

Take bacon bourbon and mix it with salted caramel ice cream.

Congratulations. You have invented a new sauce for the McRib.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:56 AM
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83: Right, but 'vulgar and well-off' people is a class identity, and an insult that targets that specifically is a class insult and not one that's unambiguously kicking down. And it's certainly possible to be unambiguously upperclass and be a douchebag; think of a stereotypical (I'm probably being unfair! I've only ever been to the campus once!) Dartmouth student.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:00 AM
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Is it actually pumpkin flavored, or is it just the spices you'd expect in a pumpkin pie (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe allspice or cloves)? Those all sound awful with coffee

The thing with a pumpkin spice latte is that they're not really flavoring the coffee, they're flavoring the milk and whipped cream. The coffee is just sort of a base for the flavored stuff people really want, with a caffeine bonus.

Pumpkin coffee, on the other hand, with no dairy element, I don't get at all. And I could only read all of those "exposés" from earlier this season as being kind of tongue in cheek: no one actually thought their was pumpkin in their coffee, did they? Or that such a thing would even be a good idea?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:00 AM
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My personal image of a douchebag also requires that the dude be at least a little bit obsessive / excessive in his devotion to his personal appearance. Could be clothes, could be six pack abs, could be chest waxing, could be all of the above. This trait is largely orthogonal to class. The archetypal douchebag's superficiality also extends to his taste in women (can gay guys be douchebags? not sure).


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:00 AM
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Pumpkin Spice lattes, as the name suggests, do not have pumpkin in them. They have the spices associated with pumpkin in them (or the flavors associated with those spices). If you think about it for even half a second, this is not really surprising and no one should be surprised that they have no pumpkin (or flavor of pumpkin).

Qvq lbh xabj gung "vex" znxrf n flabalz bs vgfrys va ebg13?

SO COOL


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:05 AM
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heebie 14 is interesting, because I associate pumpkin spice latte somehow with "trying to be something you're not" (whether or not it makes sense when you drill down to why). Maybe a coastal thing? Uggs not quite the same, because damned expensive, unless Payless imitations are more basic rather than less.


Posted by: bianca steele | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:06 AM
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All this confusion could be avoided with a simple hyphen.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:07 AM
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it's certainly possible to be unambiguously upperclass and be a douchebag

Sure. But I would argue that douchebaggery is mostly orthogonal to class, even granting that there may be a higher proportion of douchebags in the top quintile of the wealth distribution than the bottom quintile. (I would attribute that to some combination of more obvious terms being available to insult poor people and actual douchebag behavior being more likely to encounter negative reinforcement in poor communities.)


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:07 AM
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Those Pumpkin Festival rioters in Keene. Those were some douchebags.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:08 AM
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Pumpkin spice-latte.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:08 AM
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89. John Travolta. Personally, I would use douchebag as an ethnically neutral superset of guido, could definitely be applied to nonwhites, though it would sound funny as a description of a black guy. I don't think that I would say the word out loud-- its use is for me inextricably tied to shouty morons in high school.

What is the right word for Tubbs' character, or someone who looks just like Lionel Ritchie but lacks the sincere generosity that brought us "Hello"?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:10 AM
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But there's not always, but at least often, a definite element of economic privilege relative to the speaker. A douchebag's comeback to being thought of as a douchebag is "You wish you had this (car/boat/tan/gold chains/popped-collar expensive brand of polo shirt)".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:11 AM
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Why are we google-proofin carboattangold?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:12 AM
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though it would sound funny as a description of a black guy

Kanye West is a douchebag, yes?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:14 AM
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I think on large question is whether our guy with the chains and the hair product and the expensive car really loves himself at all levels (Philip Michael Thomas, random athlete stereotype), or whether there's a hint of insecurity apparent to the eye of the ever-so-perceptive observer.

Do they both get the same adjective? Can't google for images now, which would be fun.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:16 AM
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The 26 year old douche-bro Xfit owner is my canonical example of a douchebag. Boy do I dislike him. Fortunately he's had other coaches taking over our class much more often, lately.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:16 AM
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Kanye west is not a douchebag!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:16 AM
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Is douchebag synonymous with bro?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:17 AM
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But there's not always, but at least often, a definite element of economic privilege relative to the speaker.

I don't agree with this part.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:18 AM
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I think "bro" means "man" at this point, having seen a bunch of think pieces whining about "bros" from all conceivable angles.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:18 AM
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You really think its possible to marry a Kardashian and not be a douchebag, heebs?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:20 AM
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I would call bro mostly a subset of douchebag. That is, a bro (frat-boy backwards baseball cap type is what we're talking about?) is probably a douchebag, but there are definitely douchebags who aren't in that category at all.

(Boy, for a word that I would literally never use to describe anyone, I have strong opinions about exactly what it means and how it should be properly used.)(Why should this be different than anything else?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:20 AM
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72: That guy is supposed to be upper class, but fallen on hard times.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:27 AM
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Gone Girl sucked. The fact that it's the #1 thriller in America proves that America has failed.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:29 AM
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106: Doesn't it speak to his talent that he can marry one and still retain his coolth?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:30 AM
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72: Everyone All white people in Philadelphia are working class. Or middle class. At least that's what they (we) call them(our)selves. I haven't seen the show, though.


Posted by: bianca steele | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:30 AM
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The black people in Philadelphia are pretty much all middle class, too, but AFAIK there aren't any in the show? Or Laotian gangs and that kind of thing?


Posted by: bianca steele | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:33 AM
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109: The movie or the book? Has anybody here admitted to read the book yet? I have.
I haven't seen the movie.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:34 AM
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106: He wrote a song about being a douchebag, before he was even invoved with KK.

Now that he's a good Christian husband and father, maybe he's not one.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:36 AM
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Db is a useful addition to the language. Bb, isn't really based on offensive conduct-- who has time to waste judging people for things like which sweet coffee drink they like, or what shoes they wear? It seems to me that the judgment arrow should be going towards the people using terms like basic, rather than the people who are or seem to be basic.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:36 AM
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113: The movie.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:37 AM
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Is douchebag synonymous with bro?

Well, synonymous with dudebro, because 105.1 is basically correct - "bro" as a standalone doesn't communicate definitively.

This doesn't necessarily help non-Pittsburghers, but I also think it's very close to jagoff, except jagoff is really about behavior rather than persona. 100% class-free in implication, thought.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:38 AM
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who has time to waste judging people for things like which sweet coffee drink they like, or what shoes they wear?

Gosh, Charley, I don't know.... maybe only about hundred million people..


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:38 AM
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I read the book. (I think a bunch of us have.) I even liked it. (Which I think no one else here did.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:39 AM
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108: Oh. Huh.

I can't decide if I like the show yet. Too much cringe humor, but I want to give it a shot. Any tips along the lines of "skip Season 1"?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:40 AM
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I was walking down the street one day when I came upon a swarm of douchebags loitering outside the building of a local television station. "Wow, there sure are a lot of douchebags here," I thought to myself.

Then a limousine pulled up, and Kim Kardashian stepped out.

I am here to tell you that hell hath no fury like douchebags in the presence of their queen. True story.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:43 AM
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Vg xvaq bs ehvaf gur guehfg bs lbhe tenaq srzvavfg znavsrfgb nobhg abg jnagvat gb snxr guvatf ...

Isn't that part of the point of Alyssa Rosenberg's essay, "Is 'Gone Girl's Amy a misogynist? A misandrist? Or both?"

And as I have re-read the novel and watched Fincher's excellent, unnerving adaptation of it, I have come to the conclusion that part of the fascination of "Gone Girl" is that Amy Elliot Dunne is the only fictional character I can think of who might be accurately described as simultaneously misogynist and misandrist. In fact, she hates pretty much everyone else on the planet, except, briefly, her husband Nick.

But describing her as a simple misanthropist, though she might meet that description, too, ignores the ways in which Amy's distaste for many of the people around her is expressed in terms of gender types and the ways she thinks her family and acquaintances play into them.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:44 AM
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I liked both the book and the movie. I liked Dark Places more though, as Gone Girl is a little too clever and tight and doesn't have much room to breathe. Sharp Objects I enjoyed, but it's not as good as the other two. Anyway, I like smart and fucked up mysteries, so I'm a big fan.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:45 AM
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Oh, Heebie, no, Kanye is a total dbag.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:49 AM
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Ditto to 124. It's not a term I ever use, but he's a case that would tempt me.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:50 AM
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And linking these (and largely supporting 115), it's pretty douchey to go around referring to other people as basic bitches.

I love smart and fucked up mysteries, BUT I HATE GONE GIRL. Do not claim liking it as a sign of liking smart things or I will cut you.*

*I will not cut you.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:51 AM
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(Many people I love and admire liked Gone Girl.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:52 AM
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I meant a fan of Gillian Flynn. I can certainly see hating Gone Girl for Gone Girl specific reasons.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:53 AM
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You should stop loving and admiring them. It's that bad.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 9:59 AM
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I didn't love and admire Gone Girl. It just held my attention and pretty much any plot twist will take me by surprise because I'm very gullible and had low expectations, so I was pleasantly taken by surprise by the plot twists.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:01 AM
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The ngram for douchebag is kind of interesting. A turn-of-last-century through WWII bump when it was surely used in the feminine hygiene*/Road to Wellness sense abating to nearly nothing, and then a couple of upward trends starting about the mid-70s. I recall it being used more behaviorally for specific courses of action than as an overall characterization at the time.

*"Douche bag" unsurprisingly has a much bigger spike in the early 20th century, but has been on an upward trend since mid-century.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:02 AM
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Isn't Kanye just full of plot twists, too?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:02 AM
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107.2: (Boy, for a word that I would literally never use to describe anyone, I have strong opinions about exactly what it means and how it should be properly used.)(Why should this be different than anything else?)

New York, accepting of your lifestyle, judgmental about your shoes descriptors.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:08 AM
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1980: Lord and Lady Douchebag.

"Spoken like a true douchebag."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:11 AM
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Huh. Not linking the interview, since he's still an asshole, but Charles Murray seems to now support guaranteed minimum income.

Douchebaggery in my heart: repeating, rather than expanding, my organization's acronym when an office assistant clearly doesn't recognize it (in the knowledge their boss does).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:13 AM
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I recently had pumpkin spice cake* in the somewhat interesting town of Lee Vining CA and it was totes delish.

*Not the actual thing in question I realize but as a member of the non-gustatorati it is rare that a foodstuff makes a real impression on me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:14 AM
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A turn-of-last-century through WWII bump when it was surely used in the feminine hygiene*/Road to Wellness sense abating to nearly nothing,

My understanding of douche bags in that era is that douching was actually a popular form of birth control, with "feminine hygiene" being something of a cover story that later grew into its own industry, as other forms of birth control became more commonly used.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:15 AM
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88: I've had pumpkin spice coffee at Trader Joe's; it has no puhmpkin flavor, just pumpkin spice. I've drunk a sample again, when I really needed caffeine, but I literally held my nose so that I would taste it less. A friend of mine was really excited to buy it until she tasted it. The demo people at Trader Joe's tell me that people either love it or hate it. I think it's gross.

Their pumpkin pie ice cream mochi is yummy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:16 AM
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Charles Murray seems to now support guaranteed minimum income

*Boggle*. Losing Ground Charles Murray? That's a recantation of Pauline proportions. Surely there must be a catch. Like, he supports it only for white people or something.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:19 AM
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Delightfully basic FB status from an acquaintance:

It's been decided by me and [friend]...if you need a list of scary movies to watch, just choose ANY Stephen King movie - and be prepared to sleep with the lights on for a while!!!

Maybe I should make my contribution to this thread a running list of unselfconsciously basic things my friends say.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:20 AM
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140: Right, but isn't the response, "Oh, I'll bet your friend is a lot happier than I am," right?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:22 AM
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122: Is there a difference between someone who is both a misogynist and a misandrist and a misanthrope? (And why isn't the word misanthropist?)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:23 AM
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Basic people could be miserable. Don't put basic people in a box, man.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:24 AM
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139: Well, it's the right-wing formulation where a UBI becomes the justification for dismantling all other social programs, including Social Security, but yes. He says he thinks massive redistribution is socially inevitable and this is the "least destructive" way.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:25 AM
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139: I see he wants to eliminate all existing social programs and replace them with his guaranteed income in a cost-neutral fashion.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:27 AM
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120: It's Always Sunny is an intensely weird show, so it's not to everybody's taste. Season 2 is funnier than season 1, and season 1 is missing Danny DeVito, who's very funny, but the show isn't fundamentally different.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:29 AM
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137: Yes, "Road to Wellness" was supposed to be "Road to Wellville" in my comment and indicate the socially-camouflaged technology part of it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:30 AM
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144: For someone of Murray's persuasion, this is the key consideration:

The GI radically increases the economic penalties
for fathers who are unemployed or working off the
books. Under the current system, a child support law
is meaningless because they have no visible income.
Under the GI, every man aged twenty-one or older
has a known income stream deposited to a known
bank account every month that can be tapped by
a court order. For teenaged fathers who are not
yet old enough to be eligible for the grant, their
obligation would accumulate until they turn twenty-
one, whereupon the child support law would force
them to start paying it back.
For low-income single women aged twenty-one and
older, the major effect of the GI is to create a cost
of having a baby, since the baby would have to be
looked after out of the existing US$10,000 the
woman already receives, which contrasts with the
current system, where the birth of a baby brings
resources that would not be offered if the baby
did not exist.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:31 AM
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143: I don't waste my misery on that many exclamation points usually, but perhaps I will start!!! Actually that feels pretty good!!!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:36 AM
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149: Awesome, Thorn!!!!!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:36 AM
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143: Sure. A misanthrope just hates people for not necessarily gender-related reasons. A misogynist hates women for those things about them that are particularly feminine, and a misandrist hates men for those things that are masculine; no reason you couldn't be both.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:38 AM
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There's some BB on FB crowing about vex and irk being congruent. Straight out of the Parade section am I right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:39 AM
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It's not really a class-based insult, but I find myself thinking uncharitable things in my head when fellow college-educated white-collar workers send Excel files back to me saying "there's just a row of hashtags," or when they say "I'm going to get X to help me save the file on the flash drive."

You've been working for 10+ years in a professional job! You use computers all day, every day! How is this stuff new and difficult?!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:39 AM
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I also has unfounded opinions: "bro" has experienced enough semantic shift to refer either to a culture (frat-boy who ices his bros, bro) or a set of behaviors corresponding to exhibiting male privilege. So you get a defensive response where males doing the latter then try to say that no, the real bros are the people with those cultural markers. "We can't be bros, I mean sure we might be aggressively gatekeeping women but we're nerds and the only games bros play are Call of Duty". While I get the rhetorical strategy of linking obnoxious masculinity with a culture where it's common (but of course partially orthogonal too--popping collars does not imply anything about behavior), it does make things confusing and allow for annoying responses like the above.

And I like pumpkin spice latte. It's pretty delicious, although I recognize artificial scarcity as silly. The gendering thereof--and using it as an insult--is pernicious. I also don't see what's the big deal with, say, pumpkin spice Milano cookies. Cookies being spiced typechecks, especially in the cold months.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:39 AM
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"there's just a row of hashtags,"

My favorite was the person who didn't know you could have multiple sheets in the same Excel file.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:42 AM
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Hidden columns. That is all.

(I spend a lot of time with students/trainees teaching them to use very simple formulae in Excel. They catch on very quickly.)


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:45 AM
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As an infrequent Exceler, I didn't get "row of hashtags" at first...but that's glorious.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:47 AM
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Because science is international and Microsoft is everywhere, I know "Sheet" in about five different languages.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:49 AM
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My favorite was the person who didn't know you could have multiple sheets in the same Excel file.

There are a disturbing number of people who (1) print excel files and (2) will only print the active sheet, no matter how many times you say in bold font in your cover emails that THERE ARE MULTIPLE SHEETS TO THE EXCEL FILE SO IF YOU ARE PRINTING PLEASE BE SURE TO PRINT ALL OF THEM. And then will act like you did something wrong because what they printed is incomplete. These people are too numerous to write them all off as morons, so I don't really know how to react. I usually blame Microsoft; that seems fairly safe.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:51 AM
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You should probably just send them a pdf.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:51 AM
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Then you can't see any of the formulas.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:54 AM
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Easily find the words to express the D-Bag inside you

Probably just as well that the nearest Toys R Us to me which stocks action figures of Jesse Pinkman with accesory toy meth is too far away to bother.

Renee Z is unrecognizable post surgery.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:55 AM
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Do you want people who can't wrap their heads around multiple sheets to see the formulas?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:56 AM
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159: The tabs for the other sheets are at the bottom, which is usually not a very prominent place. And while the technical term for an Excel file might be "Excel workbook", everyone I know (myself included) calls them "worksheets". Their file extension being .xls reinforces that one-to-one sheet-to-file thinking.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:56 AM
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154.last: Since I anticipated this response, I already have the answer: The essence of the Milano is its distinctive, buttery cookie, which is the same no matter whether the filling is plain chocolate, mint chocolate, orange chocolate, or double chocolate. A pumpkin spice Milano is a contradiction in terms, like a vanilla brownie.

It's possible that some of the Milanos have been lightly flavored, as with a lemon shortbread, but the thing about pumpkin spice is that it's a big, bold flavor.

Anyway, I'm not saying it's an affront against God or the Pepperidge Farm Remembers guy, just that it's a sign of blindly applying the trendy flavor whether it makes sense or not.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 10:59 AM
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Oh yeah, the multiple sheets. I actually DO blame Microsoft a little bit, in that the tabs are fairly small, and even when you color them, the color doesn't pop out as much as I'd like.

But oh my word, the hidden columns. And the not getting the difference between hiding and deleting. And how people will manually move the column dividers veryveryclose together to "hide" a column.

And the not understanding that if you select SOME of the columns and hit "Sort" that you will end up with nonsense data, with the newly sorted rows now misaligned from their sisters in the neighboring columns.

I do most heartily blame Microsoft for their pitiful, pitiful help menu though. 20+ years of working with their software and they still haven't implemented the most basic cross-references. People should be able to type something in plain English! They shouldn't have to remember the stupid Microsoft name for something in order to find it!

I would honestly contribute to a user-developed help file if a comprehensive one existed. I did enough cataloging back in the day that I'm pretty confident in my x-refs.



Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:01 AM
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In my idiolect, we use "workbook" only when it's doing a set of complex calculations from initial data, usually standardized.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:02 AM
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Was Pumpkin Spice one of the white Spice Girls? Slsng and pop culture is so confusing.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:03 AM
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You should get SAS.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:03 AM
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163: Moby feels my pain.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:03 AM
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Your ankle hurts?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:04 AM
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165: I had a non-trivial response to this, but I deleted it because oh god why I am I having a discussion about what the fundamental essence of a Milano cookie is. I think that makes me...basic?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:05 AM
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And the not understanding that if you select SOME of the columns and hit "Sort" that you will end up with nonsense data, with the newly sorted rows now misaligned from their sisters in the neighboring columns.

I made this mistake once, and was horrified. I still think it's bad design to let that happen without a clear warning -- wouldn't you expect 'sort' to sort all the data by the selected column?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:07 AM
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There is a clear warning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:09 AM
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"Microsoft Excel found data next to your selection. Since you have not selected this data, it will not be sorted."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:09 AM
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The only time I did it was a long time ago -- I remember being unwarned, but I suppose either I could have missed it or the warning is new since the last time I made that mistake. I don't do much at all in Excel these days.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:10 AM
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Unusually, I only had one Excel workbook open.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:11 AM
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173.last: But then people might not buy Access.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:12 AM
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Confession: I have no idea how to use Excel. I probably know more about making meth than using Excel.


Posted by: bianca steele | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:13 AM
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It's okay, bianca. Only basic bitches care about Excel. No comment on who comments about it on blogs.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:14 AM
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175: I do think that's a newish warning; I'm 99% certain I did the sort thing 10 or so years ago, definitely without that warning. I'm pretty sure I was testing to see what would happen, because I suspected it wouldn't work right.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:14 AM
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JP Morgan used Excel to lose 6 billion dollars.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:16 AM
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166: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-Pivot-Tables-in-Excel ?

What I find super-frustrating is that Excel represents data internally as XML, but only supports a mutilated API. Here is the kind of discussion that ensues when normal people try reading the data with that thing. There are dozens of idiosyncratic, buggy alternatives, all of which have an unpredictable subset of features that will break silently upon MS version improvement.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:22 AM
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I use Excel far too much. Pipeline pilot rocks my world though- I use maybe 5% of the functionality and it's still awesome.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:23 AM
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(Allow me to be a basic bitch for a moment, but I run two organizations at the school, PTA president and am the senior parent rep on the governing council. I was so proud of myself for getting the parents of a kindergartner involved in both because then we'll have them for three years and they're great and one of them is a person of color who lets us meet minority requirements, and I just got an email from them that they're switching to homeschooling and quitting all this. So now I'm all alone as basically the only officially involved parent in the school and I want to curl up in a ball or something. Argh! And I will have to run a bunch of elections, which I hate doing, on top of running everything else.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:26 AM
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I haven't had a pumpkin spice latte, but the thing that in theory gives me pause is the dairy combined with coffee and warm spices. If I think for example of having an excellent black coffee while wearing Frederic Malle Noir Épices that seems gorgeous, so why not put the spices un the coffee - but not with a bunch of milk and sugar dumped in. Also, although slightly different, very strong black coffee with cardamom (aka Turkish coffee), here usually sugared which frankly I could do without, but definitely not milky.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:29 AM
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For people not affiliated with a software-heavy place, Knime is the open-source equivalent of pipeline pilot. I've heard it's a little buggier and the free part lacks advanced features but does most of what I routinely do.
The use case I always give people is- what if you have two large lists, and you want to see which items are common to both lists. Sort them both, line them up, and figure out where there are gaps? For 10000 records where a minority match? Trivial with a pipelining tool.
Someone told me the other day there is actually an automated way to do that in Excel, with data tools, but I haven't seen that.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:34 AM
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(I spend a lot of time with students/trainees teaching them to use very simple formulae in Excel. They catch on very quickly.)

Ah, the wonderment the first time that you show someone vlookup.



Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:41 AM
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187: Why would you not use a db for that?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:48 AM
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Because nothing that has tolerable pricing can handle tens of billions of rows.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:52 AM
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you have two large lists, and you want to see which items are common to both lists

Use vlookup, of course! Have the lookup return items from the first list that it finds in the second list. Filter, delete all the #N/A, and your remaining matches are the common elements.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 11:59 AM
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I refuse to use Excel to generate any new data tables. I only use it to review results, I will never manipulate any data by hand in there where I intend to save the results for future use. This avoids things like the sorting disasters mentioned.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:02 PM
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The pumpkin spice latte is not so different from chai. At least Dunkins' is, I hardly ever go to Starbucks. There's a 3:1 Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks ratio in this town, at least. Some of their flavored drinks are almost more like coffee-flavored milkshakes, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.


Posted by: bianca steele | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:02 PM
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Because nothing that has tolerable pricing can handle tens of billions of rows.

I... what?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:02 PM
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Postgres is just too expensive.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:03 PM
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195: That's what I was thinking, too. It has a maximum table size of 32TB, which should be good enough assuming your rows are less than a kilobyte. I have no clue what performance is like at that size, though.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:05 PM
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But tea completely different from coffee, not to mention different types of tea.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:07 PM
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You don't even need postgres! SQLite will do just fine!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:08 PM
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192: You can make sorting disasters in a variety of programs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:08 PM
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Very interested in the outcome of this conversation. I keep wondering why handling data is so hard for folks doing stuff like SP and lw (and my group), and I've never gotten a really satisfactory answer. I expect everybody to have this solved in 20 comments or fewer.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:11 PM
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186: If you don't like dairy in coffee, then no, it seems that the pumpkin spice latte - or any latte, really! - is not going to be the drink for you.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:12 PM
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I'm writing a widget to import Excel files into an SQLite database right this minute.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:13 PM
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I sometimes like the lattes that are all foam and not much liquid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:16 PM
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The problem comes when you have billions of coffees you need to sparsely distribute dairy into but the spices nonlinearly affect the optimal dairy distribution.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:17 PM
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SQLite cannot handle pivoting, however.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:20 PM
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Have a coffee with milk (moderate amount) most mornings, it's the coffee & milk PLUS warm spices & sugar that doesn't in theory appeal.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:22 PM
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I do most heartily blame Microsoft for their pitiful, pitiful help menu though. 20+ years of working with their software and they still haven't implemented the most basic cross-references. People should be able to type something in plain English!

It all started going downhill when they got rid of Clippy.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:22 PM
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They sold him to a shop that does vasectomies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:23 PM
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it's the coffee & milk PLUS warm spices & sugar that doesn't in theory appeal.

To whom?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:24 PM
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SQLite cannot handle pivoting, however.

Sure it can, if your SQL-fu is strong. On the other hand, Excell can't drive a website. Or rather, it shouldn't.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:25 PM
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Did I mention I tried writing a database in Pascal for handling the records of our high school student government? Something about entries limited to 255 characters and no backspace allowed when typing.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:28 PM
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Oh if you think of SQLite as a db, sure. But you don't get much in the way of concurrency, backups, or protection from data corruption there. Maximum table size, postgres-- yes, with lots of data, performance starts to matter. Also index size and structure. What's the postgres solution for an expensive cross-db join?

200. Not a completely simple question. There's a tradeoff between flexible data structures (spreadsheets, "databases" that only support key-value pairs or simple tables with minimal indexing, their equivalents in memory and disk storage) and efficiency. With larger volumes of data, it's necessary to think about what you want to do before storing anything. Unfortunately, the typical situation is that you only realize what you actually want to do, or what statistical properties your data has, after beginning work.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:34 PM
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To me, I was just musing on various reactions to them in this thread, obviously lots of people must like them otherwise would be pointless to mock that preference in the way described here, right?

It's all pretty pointless but honestly people most of you are nattering on about excel for heaven's sake.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:35 PM
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I think "write a simple database in Pascal" was a school assignment I got in 10th grade. I suspect mine had similar limitations.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:36 PM
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200. Also with a lot of data and software generated by scientists, there's tension between the two goals "I want an answer to these questions now with this data right here" and "I want durable storage and the ability to look at different data later."


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:42 PM
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Now that the subject has drifted to computers, there's a "basic" "BASIC" pun in this thread just waiting to get out.

"BASIC is a bitch", maybe?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:43 PM
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213- We've moved beyond Excel into various DB architectures. Don't be so basic.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:45 PM
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Myself, I was waiting for the acidity pun.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:45 PM
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I will reiterate my advice from the better part of a decade ago: to maximize career success, (1) know SQL; and (2) never admit to knowing SQL.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:52 PM
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obviously lots of people must like them

Bitches so basic that they don't even have a Frederic Malle Noir Épices!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:53 PM
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220 me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:54 PM
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Am I basic for having gotten to my mid-30s without knowing anything meaningful about perfumes? I feel sort of left behind sometimes.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:56 PM
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I'm sorry I missed this thread! I really liked all those articles. The basic/hipster link is very real, it's all about distancing yourself from your own questionable consumption choices by finding them exaggerated in others.

A friend of mine shared the douchebag article to which a friend of hers responded "nuh-uh, this author hates women, douchebags are horribly misogynist." To which I was like read the article and she was like I did and my friend was like be nice now.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:57 PM
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Also in case anyone's keeping score I still haven't written a rap that includes the line "all them basic bitches reading Thomas Piketty." I can't decide whether it should sound like TO-ma Pick-a-TEE or THOM-as-pick-ET-ty. Sure, that's why I haven't made any progress.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 12:59 PM
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99 was the counterexample brought up in my FB, too.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:04 PM
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It's PEEK-eh-tee. Scans like Pikachu.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:04 PM
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I recently heard "TO-mah PEE-ka-TEE", it took me a while to figure out who they were talking about. I'm basic like that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:07 PM
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212.2: But don't other fields have answers to this? I mean, doesn't Google generate huge quantities of data over time that they want to analyze a million ways? I'm sure there's something naive in my thinking on this, but what's the problem that isn't analogous to a problem that's been solved elsewhere? Is it the size, the operations performed, the accessibility of data, speed, indexing, combining disparate sets, durability for storage? Or are large science datasets a sufficiently unique combination of these problems that there is no analogous solution?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:18 PM
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228: You need an actual human data manager once the project gets to a certain size.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:26 PM
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I think the problem is with the scientists, not the data.
Incidentally, we just started a company to deal with this! Incorporated in Delaware and everything.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:27 PM
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226, 227: Let's call the whole thing off.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:28 PM
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200. That's part of the right answer, I think. Another part is that people who use Excel but are not computer types learn one thing at a time, usually imparted somewhat grudgingly by someone who is either an expert or has learned a (possibly correct) recipe.

People learn one thing at a time because they don't really like Excel or computers and are focused on the one problem they have to solve right now.

Slow pushes up the learning curve can work, but not always.

At least that's my experience as someone who is reasonably well-versed in all the Office suite and in more powerful tools such as SQL or no-SQL databases, and often has to attempt, sometimes cheerfully, sometimes seethingly, to help them.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:30 PM
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Data! Can't work with it, can't work without it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:30 PM
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What happens is that after a certain level of complexity, you can't keep track of the different things without having somebody who has their fingers in the data consistently. It's all written down and everything, but somebody starting in would basically be working from scratch. Once the data isn't in use for a while, whoever picks it up is going to make the same mistakes as whoever created it the first time did.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:30 PM
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If only it were THOM-as-pick-ET-ty, because then they could something something something all like spaghetti.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:31 PM
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232. ... that would be "help people use them."


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:31 PM
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I recently applied for a job that involes cleaning and maintaining a bunch of data. On the surface, it doesn't sound very interesting - and the pay is the same as I make now - but I really want to work in that specific location. So, if I land the position, the plan is to script the shit out of everything, and then coast.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:33 PM
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We need people that do data cleanup, and I was going to offer you a job until you added the last bit.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:35 PM
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To be fair most people only work with basic data.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:35 PM
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We lost our guy and now I have to make do with graduate students and my own labor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:35 PM
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On the plus side for that job, it has the benefit of saving humanity. It would be nice to be able to say "your welcome, humanity."


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:37 PM
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Moby's a total databag.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:37 PM
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"you're"


Posted by: OPINIONATED UNGRATEFUL HUMANITY | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:39 PM
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All I know about Gone Girl is stuff from this thread, and because I've watched too many old movies it makes me think of Leave Her to Heaven, or at least Gene Tierney's character, which could be way off. I've generally liked Fincher's movies, so I may watch it.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:43 PM
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I've a bizarrely acute sense of smell. Most of the time this is a distinct disadvantage as many things/places/creatures smell not so great (understatement alert!). My mother is perfume-phobic, so wasn't just unaware of great perfumes growing up but was subject to really over the top policing re most sources of scent. Discovering many perfumes really do smell great AND you can deploy them as a at least partial bulwark against awful smells that you literally wear on your person as you go about your day - this was so wonderful.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:43 PM
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228. I think not a million ways. For example, Google scholar can't succesfully disambiguate duplicate but not strictly identical results or calculate citations, so those two ways out of millions haven't worked yet.

Basically, I think that search is a very limited view of a dataset, even badly written papers place harsher demands on their data than that. Google made a huge change to pagerank last year, details completely uncertain (understandably) because they're in an arms race with SEO and spam. Does anyone understand why some records from this site are apparently not indexed sporadically? Certainly lots of companies with proprietary data allow search via a controlled interface but nothing else.

The "big data" success stories that I've read about cover structured data in a uniform context-- customers and inventory usually. Comparing experiments performed with different hardware, for example, is a different type of problem I think.

Less fundamentally: most scientists think in general terms but actual work that contributes to publications is often in fact short-term. Also, incentives to effectively cooperate vary hugely between disciplines.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:44 PM
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Whatever, humanity. Why don't you go take some online courses in Excel, or something.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:45 PM
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This is, like, what I spent a couple years working on recently, but too identifying to give links to specific papers or websites. We just submitted response to reviewers for one of them.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:51 PM
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Also French doesn't use differential stress on particular syllables the way we do in English. (Unless you're De Gaulle giving a big rhetorical flourishy speech.) It's the placement of words in a phrase that governs how you shape the rhythm / pitch of words in French, I don't know how to describe it technically, but you'd pronounce TP's name differently depending on whether it was in the beginning, middle or end of a group of words.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:53 PM
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Not ALOT differently, mind.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 1:55 PM
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230.2 interests me.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:09 PM
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Delaware is pretty interesting.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:11 PM
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Delaware Occupied Maryland is pretty interesting.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:14 PM
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So are data management startups for that matter.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:15 PM
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246: lots of people are working on the unstructured data problem. One of the companies I previously worked for is most definitely what you could call a big data success story, and a huge part of their success is the extent to which they make working with unstructured data easy.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:27 PM
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Do they structure the data first or is that cheating?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:42 PM
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229: I suspect the boss would have to trade the super-hot statistician for a data manager, and I'm not sure he'd think it was a good trade.
230.2: That is very cool. Congrats! Hope it's a wild success.
246: I think I get what you're saying, although I wasn't thinking so much "search" as "data collection on users to analyze for clearly not-evil purposes." Thanks for the explanation.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:44 PM
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I'd be interested to read unstructured success stories. My own limited experience with unstructured data is that the first patterns that turn up, sometimes the only ones, are actually "structure" that wasn't initially documented.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:46 PM
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The fancy bar now has a hostess, which legally makes it a restaurant despite the very limited menu.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:53 PM
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I'd say I was off topic, but I think I'm under par on that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:54 PM
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Manic pixie data girls wear clothes with SPARQLs.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 2:56 PM
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259: Wait, what? Also, did I mention they if you're doing weekday drinking there, you should do it on Mondays since it's 20% off all food with a bunch of $4 drafts. And their food is pretty good.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:01 PM
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257.last I'd be curious to know how much of that google actually does. Last time I looked, they sell adwords, with some geographical restriction. I don't know that you can choose to pay to only display map results to people with the newest and most expensive telephone, which would be technically straightforward.

Even if exploitation fb-style was a choice they made, that would just involve aggregating disparate properties of the same user, knowing in advance what the user ID meant, a technically straightforward operation. I suspect that the questions scientists care about are more like automated trend-spotting, which as far as I know has occasionally worked and occasioanlly not, with no way to tell when the prediction is expected to be reliable.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:02 PM
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I didn't have time Monday, so I'm saving money by just drinking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:04 PM
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The pumpkin beer was a mistake. I blame basic bitches.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:06 PM
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||

The fabled New Yorker style guide apparently permits a single individual to make a "concerted effort".

|>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:14 PM
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Yes, that's right. A "single individual".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:18 PM
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253: The Lower Counties will one day return to their rightful proprietors.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:27 PM
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252: Wait, are you here in the first state?


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:44 PM
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Memo to myself: Beer with fruit is something for people who won't happily drink Yuengling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:45 PM
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Probably. Who knows what those fancy people want.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:51 PM
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235: EXACTLY


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 3:54 PM
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12, 17, 18: That link in 17 quotes just from the first part of the Cool Girl rant, which goes on for several paragraphs. It's in the first chapter of Part 2 of the book, which I found online (with some typos) here. Warning: the first part of the chapter contains major spoilers for Part 1. The Cool Girl rant starts about halfway down the web page, at the line "Nick loved me. A six-o kind of love:".

And I'd say that the whole rant contains equal-opportunity hating - containing bits of misogyny and misandry, self-loathing and Nick-loathing. She isn't setting herself up as superior to the Cool Girl - she's acknowledging how much she had bought into it for a time, how much it had been fun to play at first in the flush of new love, but how ultimately she felt it had debased her, and her contempt for how Nick couldn't deal with the person she was once she couldn't keep the facade up any longer.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 4:00 PM
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I've just figured out how to use the lights in my hotel. I've been in here for several hours, trying intermittently during that time to make the lights work, so this is a moment of real triumph. Celebrate with me.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 4:04 PM
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274 is why I'm universally regarded as unfogged's best commenter.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 4:05 PM
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269: only for corporate tax purposes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 4:05 PM
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(When I say "universally," I mean "among the lurkers.")


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 4:06 PM
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I'm the only person buzzed at karate class. What does that get me?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 4:11 PM
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266: it's a fallen world we inhabit.


Posted by: Knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 4:16 PM
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"in which we inhabit in."


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 4:34 PM
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Since nosflow is letting standards slip around here, I guess it's up to me to point out that 92 and 95 should have used an n dash instead of a hyphen to join a multi-word phrase ("pumpkin spice") to a following word.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 5:06 PM
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Standards are pretty low for comments by me.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 5:13 PM
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276 to 275.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 5:14 PM
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Tom is, of course, correct.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 5:28 PM
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I'd be interested to read unstructured success stories.

Here's one.

256: They don't structure the data first; the whole point is that you can give it any kind of data with no mangling beforehand. Once you've got it in the system, you can define a structure ad hoc, though, and then save it for later. That lets you refine and transform your results, and run common searches faster in the future.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:02 PM
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Speaking of data and things people do with it, this interview with Michael Jordan (the machine learning guy) is pretty good.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 6:38 PM
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I call bullshit on 285. That's not unstructured data, it's machine generated! Sure it's a big pile of text but it's predictably created from various inputs. Unstructured data is different scientists writing protocols, calling different objects by different names with no standardizations- human generated text descriptions.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:15 PM
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I guess technically what I just described in unstructured metadata, but same difference.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:15 PM
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Unstructured data is different scientists writing protocols, calling different objects by different names with no standardizations- human generated text descriptions.

This seems like a much more fun thing to build automatic tools for. You'd have to do more like a machine learning approach, try and link what to what, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:17 PM
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"try and link what to what" being a technical term.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:17 PM
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287: I kinda figured this was going to lead to an argument about what exactly constitutes unstructured data.

289: unsurprisingly there are a bunch of people working on that kind of thing too. Often in order to put paralegals and law firm associates out of the business of discovery processing.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:45 PM
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291.2: I know. But it's quite hard! And not terribly different from other things (computer vision, NLP) that are also quite hard.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:47 PM
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People are trying to do similar things with historical materials, if they can get them into machine readable form first.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 8:03 PM
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unsurprisingly there are a bunch of people working on that kind of thing too. Often in order to put paralegals and law firm associates out of the business of discovery processing.

Analyzing free text physician entries in medical records is another hot area at the moment. The medical vocabulary is somewhat circumscribed and standardized, which makes it easier to extract meaningful insights. The business case for the technology can be either predicting adverse events (e.g. patients at high risk for an acute admission) or identifying uncoded conditions that will increase the patient's risk score and thus entitle the insurer to more revenue.

Another application I have seen (still mostly aspirational AFAICT) is analyzing the transcripts of call center transactions to learn how to optimize sales success and/or customer satisfaction scores. Some of these machine transcripts also include metadata from emotion detection software, which is cool and Big Brothery in equal measure.


Posted by: kermit roosevelt, jr. | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 4:45 AM
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In the latter case, the fact that one side of the conversation leans heavily on standardized scripts might be considered cheating by those insisting on a strict definition of "unstructured".


Posted by: kermit roosevelt, jr. | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 4:48 AM
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As an aside, I know of a real life example of a company that used a combination of voice recognition and emotion detection to switch call center scripts when the system detected anger and the word "Obamacare".


Posted by: kermit roosevelt, jr. | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 4:52 AM
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I think the big picture here is that sufficiently unstructured data is unlearnable. (There are theorems to that effect -- there's something called the VC dimension of a problem, and it should be finite for the problem to be learnable.) The challenge is to identify some structure to the data to make the problem learnable. With the really hard problems, we still haven't identified that structure.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 5:40 AM
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We could try a regression tree if it wasn't so hard to figure out the stupid non-SAS syntax of R.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 5:41 AM
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298: I deserve that.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 5:46 AM
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Did you make R?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 5:48 AM
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Kermit, those are fascinating!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 5:58 AM
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Huh. 294 is precisely my previous job and my current one. In both places it really wasn't done very well, and people were bluffing hard and relying on the fact that, if what you're interested is broad statistical facts, almost anything works, but if you want to actually understand things at the individual document level, nothing works. Plus, even the people you hire to tag your samples will disagree about their meaning about half the time.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:09 AM
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More specifically, 294.1 is my previous job and 294.2 is my current one, so I guess kermit is my own personal Big Brother. I'll get back to work in a few minutes, kermit!


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:10 AM
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302 matches what I've done in somewhat analogous projects, but I think it's interesting to see what people want to do.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:12 AM
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Plus, even the people you hire to tag your samples will disagree about their meaning about half the time.

Interrater reliability is a problem for many of us.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:13 AM
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294.2 is eerily close in some ways to what my company intends to be doing eventually. So I guess kermit has everybody here pegged, whoever he is.


Posted by: President Business | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:16 AM
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294.1 is my previous job

My ill-informed impression is that the free text EMR extraction stuff plays a distinctly minor role, and that almost all the predictive analytics are driven off of claims data and/or CPT codes. While the analytics vendors play up the unstructured data capability, it's mostly for show. I'd be interested in your insider POV. As I understand it, the unstructured "patient social history" part of the the EMR record is thought to contain real predictively valuable information that is rarely captured in structured data.


Posted by: kermit roosevelt, jr. | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:20 AM
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I think the ExpressScripts automated voice was especially chosen that people would choose death over having to listen to her one more time.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:48 AM
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V guvax zl yvsr jbhyq or zrnfhenoyl orggre jrer V gb orpbzr n syhrag ernqre bs ebg13...


Posted by: Brad DeLong | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:50 AM
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As far as I know, the free text extraction was not used for predictive analytics - the company claimed it was used to provide contraindications in real time, and I really hope it wasn't. The main use for our clients was actually to show compliance with regulations (e.g., demonstrate that a hospital recommended smoking patients to quit smoking). Some parts of the free text are pretty easy (if a doctor noted blood pressure, there isn't much variation in that, or if a patient is a smoker), but anything more complex than that was unreliable. We had around 0.75 precision and recall (not globally across a document, but for each specific item), which isn't bad, but you wouldn't want to draw medical conclusions with those success rates.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:52 AM
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309: Lbh ner n syhrag ernqre bs ebg13. Jr'ir orra hfvat vg nyy guvf gvzr. Guvf pbzzrag, va pbagenfg, vf ragveryl va cynva grkg.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:52 AM
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Someone needs to structure the data in 309 and 311.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:57 AM
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I'm a legal document/discovery reviewer, that is, the guy whom these developments would like to displace. It's certainly interesting to watch the industry publications, essentially the sales jobs and press releases promising to increase the efficiency of the process. I've worked on a number of experimental platforms trying to predict which documents should be reviewed, and how much the whole process can be streamlined or short-circuited.

What astonishes me is how little use is made of the tools available in current generations of software. Projects are conducted in a tedious and inefficient way, more or less compelling expensive legal labor to look at every document without sifting or sorting, in a way that actually militates against alertness, and induces a kind of hypnotism.

This is because the features of the software, its ability to search, sort and pivot, have usually been switched off, supposedly for security reasons. The real reason is that the people running projects, or the people they report to, don't understand the capabilities and don't trust anybody.

I have worked on plaintiff's projects, the other side, where we've been snowed by massive productions and the whole point is to find the evidence. There, the same software is fully enabled, and I can do wonders with it.

I can easily find a needle in a haystack, if I can use an electomagnet.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:05 AM
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Oh hey there are websites that will decrypt that.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:13 AM
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Anyway it seems like we're all starting/working for companies that are structuring EMRs.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:14 AM
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It isn't exactly something searched for in discovery, but this is my favorite legal review story of the month.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:18 AM
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I did the analysis for a paper on EMRs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:19 AM
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||

I find this unbearably depressing, from the local mother's group on FB:

Ok moms, I need a book recommendation... I'm a single mother 100% of the time, the father is not involved or even in the state of Texas any longer. I'm finding myself in need of motivation daily to deal with the struggles of doing it on my own and am hoping to find a MOTIVATIONAL BOOK to read at night after my LO falls asleep to help bring my spirits up and keep me going strong. Can yall recommend any good motivational books targeted towards motherhood? I prefer ones with some sense of humor, preferably non spiritual, something to brighten my day and make me not only push through the hard days but also get a small laugh out of it. Thank you ladies for always having wonderful advice!

What you need is a strong safety net and social support system, and this is just so sad as a substitute.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:20 AM
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316: the guy's name was Randy Feathers? I find that very difficult to believe. I've only just been persuaded of the reality of Butch Otter.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:31 AM
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For my genealogy project, I've spent quite a lot of time this year reading (a) handwritten parish registers from numerous parishes in or near Montreal and Quebec and (b) the handwritten sheets from the 1901, 1911, and 1921 Canada censuses. What you're telling me is that by the time the 1931 comes out -- 7 or 8 years hence -- computers will be able to compare and cross reference the whole thing to the parish registers.

318 -- Readers Digest filled that niche for her grandmothers.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:39 AM
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My parents were killed by an EMR, and I have dedicated my life to revenge.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 8:01 AM
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I would honestly contribute to a user-developed help file if a comprehensive one existed.

Is it not just Quora/Stack Overflow?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 8:03 AM
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319: I wonder if that was his name before the successful career as a stripper.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 8:08 AM
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318: Brightsided.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 9:13 AM
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||

Hey, check out [a commenter] at The Toast talking about working in a spa. Come to think, she should be writing things for them about Gothic novels, shouldn't she?

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 9:18 AM
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325: That gives away her pseud.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 9:20 AM
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Oh, damn. Can someone who can get into the back end of the blog easily change that to "A commenter" or something?

(The maddening thing is that I could fix it myself if I had cell signal, but it's in and out in my office.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 9:34 AM
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Come on, LB, we all know "in my office" is code for "in my car on the highway".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 10:01 AM
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hello, everyone!

i'm an anonymously longlost commenter dropping by to say hi. Glad you are all well here in this corner of the internautical webs! Also I couldn't help but comment on your basic/doucheb. distinctions.

"Basic" is somebody who conforms, who buys what big corporations have decided to market to her pretty unreflectively. She may even not really know what she, personally, likes, because she's so used to buying & liking what's normal and advertised to her. So any income level could be it, any income level could get out of the trap. You can drink Pumpkin Spice lattes and not be basic as long as you know what you like irrespective of what is marketed to you. It's not the Pumpkin Spice ™ per se, it's the attitude. If you are unsure whether it makes you basic or not, that's a sign you are and should do a little more reflection in life. Voila. No need for defensiveness.

Douchebag is such an ugly word. I wish we would all use the alternatives that exist, like douchecanoe. It is not dependent on income at all. You just need to either have the upper hand in a conversation or think you do and act as if you do, while being condescending/shitty. So your boss might be a douchecanoe, but your coworker who presents your ideas as his and apparently never hears anything you say in a meeting is also a douchecanoe even though he's at the same rank and may make the same money you do. I also favor douchehat, a derivation from Ross Doutthat the New York Times correspondent who reliably writes as though he needs to have a word like douche-hat coined from his name.


Posted by: morphy | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 10:50 AM
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Douchebag's being an ugly word is rather the point. Douchecanoe and douchehat are fun variants, but only work by a relationship with the original.


Posted by: LC | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 10:53 AM
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I don't think "knowing what you want" is an actual real thing that anyone has in general. We largely don't have authentic desires. Our desires are largely socially constructed. More reflection would simply lead to acknowledging the emptiness that is our authentic selves. The idea that some set of consumer choices is authentic and another set is inauthentic is a distinction that marketers have been exploiting since the counterculture.

My sister-in-law once bought me a subscription to The New Yorker. I was surprised, because I hate The New Yorker., but I realized that the difference between liking The New Yorker. and hating The New Yorker. is the narcissism of small differences, that having a strong opinion about it is a form of positioning within a very narrow class of people. A radically different person from me wouldn't like The New Yorker; they would have no opinion about it.

I really do hate The New Yorker, though. The font, the cartoons, the house style. Everything.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 11:01 AM
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I only read the cartoons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 11:04 AM
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334.1 is well put.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 12:57 PM
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Butts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 12:58 PM
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331.1 Walt, I'd like to introduce you to a guy I know, he's helped me a lot. His name is Gautama.

Nicely said, though. It's true that the most prominent part of the external world is other people.

To 333, the desire for a higher score in Dive is authentic.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 1:32 PM
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335.3: So are butts. Mostly, anyway.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 1:34 PM
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334.1 didn't really live up to the build-up.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 1:36 PM
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I don't think "knowing what you want" is an actual real thing that anyone has in general.

This was a major theme in my bridesmaid speech this weekend! Except I said the exact opposite, that the bride operates from basic axioms, and takes every facet of life and decides from scratch whether or not she'd like to live by it. If so, she carves out as much time as possible for it, and if not, she will never touch it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 1:37 PM
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Were you matron of honor or did the regular bridesmaids need to speak?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 1:38 PM
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I guess I was a matron, not a maid. I think I was Of Honor, I stood closest to the bride. Mostly I just wrote something in advance, not sure if there was going to be an opportunity or not, and then there was an opportunity, so I spoke.

Tip: Don't email your speech to yourself, planning on using your iphone for your prompts. First, it's tiny. Second, every time I gestured, the iphone asked me if I wanted to undo my last action. It really happened nearly constantly throughout my toast - I gesture a lot, I suppose.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 1:42 PM
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I really do hate The New Yorker, though. The font, the cartoons, the house style. Everything.

I mostly hate it because longform.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:07 PM
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For those who only want to read the whole Cool Girl rant without the spoilery stuff at the beginning of the chapter, here is the complete rant in rot13. I've used _underscores_ to indicate _passages in italics,_ because there are a lot of italics in this passage, and I don't think HTML italics would survive most rot13 translators. I think this passage is mostly free of spoilers, except for what it indicates about her feelings towards her husband.

Avpx _ybirq_ zr. N fvk-b xvaq bs ybir: Ur _ybbbbbbirq_ zr. Ohg ur qvqa'g ybir zr, zr. Avpx ybirq n tvey jub qbrfa'g rkvfg. V jnf cergraqvat, gur jnl V bsgra qvq, cergraqvat gb unir n crefbanyvgl. V pna'g uryc vg, vg'f jung V'ir nyjnlf qbar: Gur jnl fbzr jbzra punatr snfuvba erthyneyl, V punatr crefbanyvgvrf. Jung crefban srryf tbbq, jung'f pbirgrq, jung'f nh pbhenag? V guvax zbfg crbcyr qb guvf, gurl whfg qba'g nqzvg vg, be ryfr gurl frggyr ba bar crefban orpnhfr gurl'er gbb ynml be fghcvq gb chyy bss n fjvgpu.

Gung avtug ng gur Oebbxyla cnegl, V jnf cynlvat gur tvey jub jnf va fglyr, gur tvey n zna yvxr Avpx jnagf: gur Pbby Tvey. Zra nyjnlf fnl gung nf _gur_ qrsvavat pbzcyvzrag, qba'g gurl? _Fur'f n pbby tvey._ Orvat gur Pbby Tvey zrnaf V nz n ubg, oevyyvnag, shaal jbzna jub nqberf sbbgonyy, cbxre, qvegl wbxrf, naq ohecvat, jub cynlf ivqrb tnzrf, qevaxf purnc orre, ybirf guerrfbzrf naq nany frk, naq wnzf ubg qbtf naq unzohetref vagb ure zbhgu yvxr fur'f ubfgvat gur jbeyq'f ovttrfg phyvanel tnat onat juvyr fbzrubj znvagnvavat n fvmr 2, orpnhfr Pbby Tveyf ner nobir nyy ubg. Ubg naq haqrefgnaqvat. Pbby Tveyf arire trg natel; gurl bayl fzvyr va n puntevarq, ybivat znaare naq yrg gurve zra qb jungrire gurl jnag. _Tb nurnq, fuvg ba zr, V qba'g zvaq, V'z gur Pbby Tvey._

Zra npghnyyl guvax guvf tvey rkvfgf. Znlor gurl'er sbbyrq orpnhfr fb znal jbzra ner jvyyvat gb cergraq gb or guvf tvey. Sbe n ybat gvzr Pbby Tvey bssraqrq zr. V hfrq gb frr zra - sevraqf, pbjbexref, fgenatref - tvqql bire gurfr njshy cergraqre jbzra, naq V'q jnag gb fvg gurfr zra qbja naq pnyzyl fnl: _Lbh ner abg qngvat n jbzna, lbh ner qngvat n jbzna jub unf jngpurq gbb znal zbivrf jevggra ol fbpvnyyl njxjneq zra jub'q yvxr gb oryvrir gung guvf xvaq bs jbzna rkvfgf naq zvtug xvff gurz._ V'q jnag gb teno gur cbbe thl ol uvf yncryf be zrffratre ont naq fnl: _Gur ovgpu qbrfa'g ernyyl ybir puvyv qbtf gung zhpu - ab bar ybirf puvyv qbtf gung zhpu!_ Naq gur Pbby Tveyf ner rira zber cngurgvp: Gurl'er abg rira cergraqvat gb or gur jbzna gurl jnag gb or, gurl'er cergraqvat gb or gur jbzna n zna jnagf gurz gb or. Bu, naq vs lbh'er _abg_ n Pbby Tvey, V ort lbh abg gb oryvrir gung lbhe zna qbrfa'g jnag gur Pbby Tvey. Vg znl or n fyvtugyl qvssrerag irefvba - znlor ur'f n irtrgnevna, fb Pbby Tvey ybirf frvgna naq vf terng jvgu qbtf; be znlor ur'f n uvcfgre negvfg, fb Pbby Tvey vf n gnggbbrq, orfcrpgnpyrq areq jub ybirf pbzvpf. Gurer ner inevngvbaf gb gur jvaqbj qerffvat, ohg oryvrir zr, ur jnagf Pbby Tvey, jub vf onfvpnyyl gur tvey jub yvxrf rirel shpxvat guvat ur yvxrf naq qbrfa'g rire pbzcynva. (Ubj qb lbh xabj lbh'er _abg_ Pbby Tvey? Orpnhfr ur fnlf guvatf yvxr: "V yvxr fgebat jbzra." Vs ur fnlf gung gb lbh, ur jvyy ng fbzr cbvag shpx fbzrbar ryfr. Orpnhfr "V yvxr fgebat jbzra" vf pbqr sbe "V ungr fgebat jbzra.")

V jnvgrq cngvragyl - _lrnef_ - sbe gur craqhyhz gb fjvat gur bgure jnl, sbe zra gb fgneg ernqvat Wnar Nhfgra, yrnea ubj gb xavg, cergraq gb ybir pbfzbf, betnavmr fpencobbx cnegvrf, naq znxr bhg jvgu rnpu bgure juvyr jr yrre. Naq gura jr'q fnl, _Lrnu, ur'f n Pbby Thl._

Ohg vg arire unccrarq. Vafgrnq, jbzra npebff gur angvba pbyyhqrq va bhe qrtenqngvba! Cerggl fbba Pbby Tvey orpnzr gur fgnaqneq tvey. Zra oryvrirq fur rkvfgrq - fur jnfa'g whfg n qernztvey bar va n zvyyvba. Rirel tvey jnf fhccbfrq gb guvf tvey, naq vs lbh jrera'g, gura gurer jnf fbzrguvat jebat jvgu _lbh._

Ohg vg'f grzcgvat gb or Pbby Tvey. Sbe fbzrbar yvxr zr, jub yvxrf gb jva, vg'f grzcgvat gb jnag gb or gur tvey rirel thl jnagf. Jura V zrg Avpx, V xarj vzzrqvngryl gung jnf jung ur jnagrq, naq sbe uvz, V thrff V jnf jvyyvat gb gel. V jvyy npprcg zl cbegvba bs oynzr. Gur guvat vf, V jnf _penml_ nobhg uvz ng svefg. V sbhaq uvz creirefryl rkbgvp, n tbbq byr Zvffbhev obl. Ur jnf fb qnza avpr gb or nebhaq. Ur grnfrq guvatf bhg va zr gung V qvqa'g xabj rkvfgrq: n yvtugarff, n uhzbe, na rnfr. Vg jnf nf vs ur ubyybjrq zr bhg naq svyyrq zr jvgu srnguref. Ur urycrq zr or Pbby Tvey - V pbhyqa'g unir orra Pbby Tvey jvgu nalbar ryfr. V jbhyqa'g unir jnagrq gb. V pna'g fnl V qvqa'g rawbl fbzr bs vg: V ngr n ZbbaCvr, V jnyxrq onersbbg, V fgbccrq jbeelvat. V jngpurq qhzo zbivrf naq ngr purzvpnyyl ynprq sbbqf. V qvqa'g guvax cnfg gur svefg fgrc bs nalguvat, gung jnf gur xrl. V qenax n Pbxr naq qvqa'g jbeel nobhg ubj gb erplpyr gur pna be nobhg gur npvq chqqyvat va zl oryyl, npvq fb cbjreshy vg pbhyq fgevc pyrna n craal. Jr jrag gb n qhzo zbivr naq V qvqa'g jbeel nobhg gur bssrafvir frkvfz be gur ynpx bs zvabevgvrf va zrnavatshy ebyrf. V qvqa'g rira jbeel jurgure gur zbivr znqr frafr. V qvqa'g jbeel nobhg nalguvat gung pnzr arkg. Abguvat unq pbafrdhrapr, V jnf yvivat va gur zbzrag, naq V pbhyq srry zlfrys trggvat funyybjre naq qhzore. Ohg nyfb unccl.

Hagvy Avpx, V'q arire ernyyl sryg yvxr n crefba, orpnhfr V jnf nyjnlf n cebqhpg. Nznmvat Nzl unf gb or oevyyvnag, perngvir, xvaq, gubhtugshy, jvggl, naq unccl. _Jr whfg jnag lbh gb or unccl._ Enaq naq Znelorgu fnvq gung nyy gur gvzr, ohg gurl arire rkcynvarq ubj. Fb znal yrffbaf naq bccbeghavgvrf naq nqinagntrf, naq gurl arire gnhtug zr ubj gb or unccl. V erzrzore nyjnlf orvat onssyrq ol bgure puvyqera. V jbhyq or ng n oveguqnl cnegl naq jngpu gur bgure xvqf tvttyvat naq znxvat snprf, naq V jbhyq gel gb qb gung, gbb, ohg V jbhyqa'g haqrefgnaq _jul._ V jbhyq fvg gurer jvgu gur gvtug rynfgvp guernq bs gur oveguqnl ung cnegvat gur chqtr bs zl haqrepuva, jvgu gur tenval sebfgvat bs gur pnxr oyhvat zl grrgu, naq V jbhyq gel gb svther bhg jul vg jnf sha.

Jvgu Avpx, V haqrefgbbq svanyyl. Orpnhfr ur jnf fb zhpu sha. Vg jnf yvxr qngvat n frn bggre. Ur jnf gur svefg anghenyyl unccl crefba V zrg jub jnf zl rdhny. Ur jnf oevyyvnag naq tbetrbhf naq shaal naq punezvat naq punezrq. Crbcyr yvxrq uvz. Jbzra ybirq uvz. V gubhtug jr jbhyq or gur zbfg cresrpg havba: gur unccvrfg pbhcyr nebhaq. Abg gung ybir vf n pbzcrgvgvba. Ohg V qba'g haqrefgnaq gur cbvag bs orvat gbtrgure vs lbh'er abg gur unccvrfg.

V jnf cebonoyl unccvre sbe gubfr srj lrnef - cergraqvat gb or fbzrbar ryfr - guna V rire unir orra orsber be nsgre. V pna'g qrpvqr jung gung zrnaf.

Ohg gura vg unq gb fgbc, orpnhfr vg jnfa'g erny, vg jnfa'g zr. Vg jnfa'g _zr,_ Avpx! V gubhtug lbh xarj. V gubhtug vg jnf n ovg bs n tnzr. V gubhtug jr unq n jvax-jvax, _qba'g nfx, qba'g gryy_ guvat tbvat. V gevrq fb uneq gb or rnfl. Ohg vg jnf hafhfgnvanoyr. Vg ghearq bhg ur pbhyqa'g fhfgnva uvf fvqr rvgure: gur jvggl onagre, gur pyrire tnzrf, gur ebznapr, naq gur jbbvat. Vg nyy fgnegrq pbyyncfvat ba vgfrys. V ungrq Avpx sbe orvat fhecevfrq jura V orpnzr zr. V ungrq uvz sbe abg xabjvat vg unq gb raq, sbe gehyl oryvrivat ur unq zneevrq guvf perngher, guvf svtzrag bs gur vzntvangvba bs n zvyyvba znfgheongbel zra, frzra-svatrerq naq frys-fngvfsvrq. Ur gehyl frrzrq nfgbavfurq jura V nfxrq uvz gb _yvfgra_ gb zr. Ur pbhyqa'g oryvrir V qvqa'g ybir jnk-fgevccvat zl chffl enj naq oybjvat uvz ba erdhrfg. Gung V _qvq_ zvaq jura ur qvqa'g fubj hc sbe qevaxf jvgu zl sevraqf. Gung yhqvpebhf qvnel ragel? _V qba'g arrq cngurgvp qnapvat-zbaxrl fpranevbf gb ercrng gb zl sevraqf, V nz pbagrag jvgu yrggvat uvz or uvzfrys._

Gung jnf cher, qhzo Pbby Tvey ohyyfuvg. Jung n phag. Ntnva, V qba'g trg vg: Vs lbh yrg n zna pnapry cynaf be qrpyvar gb qb guvatf sbe lbh, lbh _ybfr._ Lbh qba'g trg jung lbh jnag. Vg'f cerggl pyrne. Fher, ur znl or unccl, ur znl fnl lbh'er _gur pbbyrfg tvey rire,_ ohg ur'f fnlvat vg orpnhfr _ur tbg uvf jnl._ Ur'f pnyyvat lbh n Pbby Tvey gb sbby lbh! Gung'f jung zra qb: Gurl gel gb znxr vg fbhaq yvxr lbh ner gur pbby tvey fb lbh jvyy obj gb gurve jvfurf. Yvxr n pne fnyrfzna fnlvat, _Ubj zhpu qb lbh jnag gb cnl sbe guvf ornhgl?_ jura lbh qvqa'g nterr gb ohl vg lrg. Gung njshy cuenfr zra hfr: "V zrna, V xabj _lbh_ jbhyqa'g zvaq vs V ..." _Lrf, V qb zvaq._ Whfg fnl vg. Qba'g ybfr, lbh qhzo yvggyr gjng.

Fb vg unq gb fgbc. Pbzzvggvat gb Avpx, srryvat fnsr jvgu Avpx, orvat unccl jvgu Avpx, znqr zr ernyvmr gung gurer jnf n Erny Nzl va gurer, naq fur jnf fb zhpu orggre, zber vagrerfgvat naq pbzcyvpngrq naq punyyratvat, guna Pbby Nzl. Avpx jnagrq Pbby Nzl naljnl. Pna lbh vzntvar, svanyyl fubjvat lbhe gehr frys gb lbhe fcbhfr, lbhe fbhy zngr, naq univat uvz _abg yvxr lbh?_ Fb gung'f ubj gur ungvat svefg ortna. V'ir gubhtug nobhg guvf n ybg, naq gung'f jurer vg fgnegrq, V guvax.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:29 PM
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343

342 sort of on topic of "knowing what you want." Spike will probably hate it though, because longform.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:32 PM
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344

I'm feeling guilty about having introduced rot13 to the comments here. I kind of hate reading past it, but I also hate bothering to translate it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:34 PM
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345

Although now I want to go around referring to other women as Pbby Tvey's.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:35 PM
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346

Basic bitches will now be able to choose between their Pumpkin Spice Latte and a Chestnut Praline Latte. Festive.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 6:57 PM
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347

Basic bitches brew.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:00 PM
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348

What you should do it rot13 it twice. It makes it easier to read, while doubling the secrecy.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:02 PM
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349

Rot26.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:14 PM
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350

Ogged claims that rot26 isn't big enough to be secure. You have to do at least rot104, if not rot208.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:17 PM
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351

I can type in rot1.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:23 PM
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352

I think I may have a rot13 translator sitting on a Google server somewhere made for an assignment for a MOOC I never finished back in 2012.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 7:24 PM
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353

333 s/b to 331.1.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 8:27 PM
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354

For the record.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 8:27 PM
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355

I keep reading 352 like it's our generation's sad short short story, not quite "baby shoes, never worn" but not far off.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 8:36 PM
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355: It's still there and it works!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 9:03 PM
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My reaction to not even finishing reading the cool girl speech is that I may still watch the movie but I'm even more unlikely to read the book.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 9:18 PM
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347: That was good.


Posted by: LC | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 9:23 PM
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Hey I recognize the email address in 329! Hi!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 9:47 PM
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Oddly enough, I was just wondering recently about where all the short letter combination pseuds have gone.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 9:55 PM
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Also

that's a sign you are and should do a little more reflection in life. Voila. No need for defensiveness.

I'm no expert in human character, but I think saying "you should do a little more reflection in life" is pretty likely to make someone feel defensive.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 9:58 PM
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Maybe you can make a rot13 bookmarklet button thingy. Step 3: profit!

To check next grocery trip: does the baking aisle still have little dispirited bottles of "Apple pie spice", or have they rebranded it as "Pumpkin spice"? Are they different ? Are they even well-defined?

More importantly, one of the pumpkin pies this Thanksgiving shall have coffee in it, how to keep it away from the children?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 10:12 PM
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329, 359: oh hey so do I! I was just wondering the other day what you were up to.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-22-14 11:02 PM
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362: Why would you? How much caffeine can be in one slice of pie, and what harm would it do them?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 4:38 AM
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one of the pumpkin pies this Thanksgiving shall have coffee in it, how to keep it away from the children?

Tell them it has coffee in it, and it will sound so gross to them that they won't want any?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 5:51 AM
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one of the pumpkin pies this Thanksgiving shall have coffee in it, how to keep it away from the children?

Let 'em fill up on the bourbon pecan pie first, then they won't be hungry anymore.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 6:02 AM
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bourbon pecan pie first

I want to come to your house for Thanksgiving. What are your feelings about chocolate pecan pie?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 6:41 AM
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I'm supposed to make a pumpkin pie this weekend. A couple of weeks ago, we did one with fresh pumpkin and a frozen crust. This week will be canned pumpkin and a homemade crust.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 6:44 AM
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368: I think that using canned pumpkin is absolutely the most sensible thing to do? Why did you use a frozen crust when you went to all the trouble of making one with fresh pumpkin?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 6:53 AM
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Oh yeah, I did a bourbon-apple-chai pie last year that was really good, especially because the girls didn't eat much and so I got to.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 6:54 AM
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370: Because I had a pumpkin and a frozen pie crust.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 6:55 AM
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Ooh, pies. I'm planning on doing pumpkin with a pecan praline topping, hoping that it will give me the best of both worlds result I am looking for...


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 7:08 AM
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This week will be canned pumpkin and a homemade crust.

Somewhere in TFA I made an extended argument for why this is optimal.

What are your feelings about chocolate pecan pie?

An abomination before the Lord. (I think LB may have posted a recipe for one that sounded more appetizing than most.)


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 7:18 AM
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A delicious abomination.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 7:29 AM
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373: I believe you emailed me, affirmatively asking for the recipe for the abomination in question.


Posted by: Lizardbreath | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 7:57 AM
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375: LB, can you e-mail it to me? Chocolate, bourbon pecan pie also sounds like it would be good.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 8:31 AM
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I believe you emailed me, affirmatively asking for the recipe for the abomination in question.

You must be right, because I thought I remembered that too, but a search for the relevant terms in my email archive didn't turn anything up, so I thought I must have misremembered.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 8:52 AM
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Searching for pie recipes in my email archives did turn up oudemia's tarte frangipane aux poires (VTSOOBC).


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 9:06 AM
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379

Discuss: Is the Cool Girl (or Pbby Tvey) really an acid-etched impression of the Maniac Pixie Dream Girl?


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 10:02 AM
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380

Maniac Pixie Dream Girl? Like a Manic Pixie Serial Killer?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 10:13 AM
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381

Who kills by acid-etching.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 10:28 AM
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I don't think so, 379. The MPDG discovers a sad-sack man and changes his life with her great personality. The cool girl appreciates the greatness of the sad-sack man the way he is, because she is like him.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 10:30 AM
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380: Qvssrerag crefbanf. Nyfb, "frevny" hfhnyyl vzcyvrf univat qbar vg ng yrnfg gjvpr.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 10:32 AM
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Yeah, MPDGs and Cool Girls have almost nothing in common. Cool Girls do masculine things and MPDGs do feminine things.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 10:39 AM
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[obligatory annual statement of pumpkin hate]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 10:55 AM
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386

I made David Lebovitz's fresh ginger cake recipe from the Guardian last weekend and it is very good. Didn't faf about with the boiling water bit, which made it even simpler. I just put the water in the processor with the ginger, made it easier to get the ginger finely chopped without tedious scraping down.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/nov/14/fresh-ginger-cake-recipe

Keeps excellently well.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:03 AM
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382: But hotter, right?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:10 AM
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In Czech, the noun used to disparage enormous breasts is the word for pumpkin. I don't really get it myself, but it's part of the language, and here we are discussing pumpkins, so.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:13 AM
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And to praise them? What noun?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:22 AM
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389. Usually the word for goats.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:35 AM
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[obligatory annual statement of pumpkin hate]

Word.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:44 AM
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386: This one is seriously good, as well, albeit a different sort of ginger cake.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:45 AM
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386: This one is seriously good, as well, albeit a different sort of ginger cake.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:45 AM
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Oops, I think that happened because I was trying to edit after pressing post. Not that that makes double posting any better.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:45 AM
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395

Oops, I think that happened because I was trying to edit after pressing post. Not that that makes double posting any better.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:45 AM
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Argh.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:46 AM
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397

Netu.


Posted by: Cneragurgvpny | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:51 AM
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392 - that looks very good indeed! Thanks!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:56 AM
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I can type in rot1.

I can't drive in rot55.


Posted by: Opinionated Sammy Hagar | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 11:57 AM
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rotr0


Posted by: Scooby Doo | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 12:06 PM
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397 made me lol.

398 - always happy to post links to recipes, twice!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 12:19 PM
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Goats! Like in the Song of Songs?

A couple years ago I made a pumpkin pie from scratch using Insanity Rose's recipe and a carefully chosen gourmet ghetto squash -- red kuru, maybe? -- and then more guests were coming and I made another with canned pumpkin and condensed milk.

We could barely tell them apart, and didn't agree on which was better if we could. This was with decent canned goods -- nothing in the total ingredient list I wouldn't have used from scratch -- but for your standard dense-custard pumpkin pie, for an adequate home cook and home eaters, just go with the canned.

I do not want to caffeinate the Thanksgiving children because they are very healthy and self-confident and have a lot more strength than sense.

Other pie thought: the `turducken' thing with a pie baked into a cake is getting facebook-popular again. Ech, the pie crust will be all steamed if not soggy. Cake in pie, if you must.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 1:12 PM
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402. Don't think so, different words in the most common translations. Not much biblical in Czech, neither slang nor high-toned language. Vernacular bibles were forbidden for at least a century, and the movement to bring the language back was emphatically secular.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 1:30 PM
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404

I always confuse turducken and tofurkey.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 1:33 PM
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I heard that tofurkey are so easy to confuse, they can drown in a rainstorm if you make them look up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-23-14 1:34 PM
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I always confuse turducken and tofurkey.

You mean, like, a tofucken?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-24-14 9:50 AM
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404: That could be disastrous.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-24-14 9:52 AM
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If I kept up here in real time, I would have already mentioned the '#!perl is my bitch' dandy of a t-shirt marketing campaign 15 years prior to the _Lean In_ era.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 10-25-14 9:33 AM
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Have you got ideas for Christmas present ?


Posted by: Leon Knife | Link to this comment | 10-26-14 8:21 AM
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||

So, Helen Hull, the lesbian novelist / academic born 1888, is not the same person as Helen Hull Jacobs, the lesbian novelist / tennis player / Naval Intelligence commander born 1908.

|>


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-26-14 9:09 AM
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