Re: Guest Post - Christmas List

1

I want more middle class people to drop really big hints about what they want for Christmas. I haven't even started.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 8:57 AM
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Well, Moby since you insist on giving me a gift I did kind of have my heart set on this --http://stuarthughes.com/portfolio/r-jewels-diamond-edition/


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:08 AM
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I could not be more transparent about the gifts that I want (viz none - but if you insist, get me something off my Amazon wishlist), and yet certain close relations insist on trying to pursue the romance of the perfect surprise gift. As the sole breadwinner in the family, I view this as a guarantee of utility destruction, deftly converting my income into items I don't really want.

Bah, humbug.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:09 AM
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A student I don't directly work with, but who is part of the broader research group, left a gift bag in my office containing a watch. This makes me uncomfortable.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:21 AM
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Is it a nice watch?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:23 AM
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3. is why Mrs y and I no longer give each other tangible gifts, but rather mutually select things which take up no space, leave no residue and can be enjoyed together: holidays, restaurant meals, theatre tickets, etc. I'm not in the market for pleasant surprises these days; at my age a pleasant surprise is a doctor telling me my liver function is still OK.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:23 AM
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Not really, but still more money than I would want a student to spend on me, plus it raises the question of whether I'm expected to give a gift in return and if so whether I should be giving gifts to a dozen or more other students. Also, whether I now have to wear a watch around the office.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:24 AM
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8

This makes me uncomfortable.

You should try wearing it instead of sitting on it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:24 AM
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9

Give all the students piano-keyboard scarves.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:25 AM
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8: Or, even less comfortable, carrying it like the watch in Pulp Fiction.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:26 AM
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Honestly, when I saw peep's link I was thinking of the author of Consciousness and Society and The Obstructed Path, H. Stuart Hughes. Can't be that common a name.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:28 AM
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A watch as a gift? Were you late to a meeting? Could be a passive-aggresive way of giving you a message.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:28 AM
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13

Me, I want a hula hoop.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:29 AM
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Essear, you should get Edible Arrangements gift baskets for everyone in your department. It's the right thing to do.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:31 AM
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I got TWYRCL one of those Coach Peanuts bags. She refuses to sell it on EBay for 4-5x retail.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:32 AM
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That's either sentimental or she's expecting a further increase.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:34 AM
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Are those the Carmen Miranda-esque fruit chunks on sticks in a bucket thing? Once had a client send one when win an appeal, partner showed up in my office in clear distress with it in his hand, it was hilarious. I can only imagine it was selected in compliance with some corporate healthy gift policy? At any rate the break room on the floor took care of it pretty well, but not sure thus would work if you carpet bombed a whole department with them.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:37 AM
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18

A gift from a student strikes me as strange unless it's a mere token -- unless you're personal friends.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:38 AM
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Should I buy a MacBook for the Ms.?

things which take up no space, leave no residue and can be enjoyed together: holidays, restaurant meals, theatre tickets, etc.

This is what I want, but no one listens to me.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:41 AM
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18: It's perfectly reasonable if the student wants to sleep with him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:44 AM
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Hula hoops from a small business. Or a more small business: those guys are in California! Nice hoops.

I'm attracted to this question (of the hula hoops) because there's a local small business here in the Chesapeake Bay area that orchestrates a hooping demonstration near farmers' markets, inviting kids especially to try a hoop -- smaller ones are available: they always look like they're having excellent, exciting fun, much laughing along with deep concentration.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:50 AM
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13. What flavour?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:54 AM
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23

Now I want some Skips.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:56 AM
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24

A female classmate from Korea took up collections one year to buy flowers for a few of our (male) professors' birthdays. I was really uncomfortable with it and said so. If the student isn't East Asian, the watch seems hella weird to me; if s/he is, might just have been inclined to give gifts but misjudged the price point, and it seems like a fairly harmless mistake. (For which "thank you very much, but at this school/in this country/for my generation gifts like this can be discomfiting, so you might want to pass next time" is a perfectly good response.)

Also, definitely no need to give a gift in return, although I'm concerned that you might not have gotten anything nice for your beloved senior colleague this year. Maybe a large rock for the colleague to climb in-office?


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:11 AM
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12:

A boss of mine gave me a cheap watch for that precise reason (except many meetings). It still sit on my desk unopened.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:12 AM
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26

OT bleg for SoCal types:

If I'm driving from Palm Springs to LAX on a Monday morning, how much extra should I allow for traffic? Is 1 hour enough?

AB & I will be in PS Valentine's weekend for the Tour de Palm Springs. Probably no opportunity for a meet up, alas.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:35 AM
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Another thing that makes me uncomfortable: the university sent me a big packet of paperwork to accompany my final exam, including a form on which I'm supposed to record all restroom breaks the students take. Seriously?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:38 AM
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It's nice that Lee and I don't particularly exchange gifts, but a little annoying that my parents always get her much nicer birthday gifts than they get me, because I'm such a little bitch in the not-nice way.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:42 AM
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27: It's not about cheating -- they are selling the list to a pharmaceutical company so they can target market their urinary incontinence meds.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:43 AM
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I feel I should mention that I do not actually desire a hula hoop.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:48 AM
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24: No, it's the "hella weird" case, although the student is several sigma out on the tails of a few different distributions already. (If the student is always on uppers, it would explain a lot.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:49 AM
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A relative is posting pictures on FB of her homemade Elf on the Shelf with a note from the Elf to the kids explaining that if they don't shape up and behave better, they'll be on Santa's naughty list.

I considered putting this in the Torture thread rather than the Christmas thread, under the heading of "Things that are terribly wrong with American culture."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:51 AM
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To the OP: don't get me started on what rich people decide to do.

Congress has landed on a $1.01 trillion deal to fund the government. Sadly,

One of the most notable changes includes dramatically expanding the amount of money that wealthy political donors could give the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. Top donors would be allowed to give three times the annual cap on national party donations to three additional party committees set up for the purposes of the presidential conventions, building expenses and election recounts.
For the first time, Congress also would allow the benefits of current retirees to be severely cut, part of an effort to save some of the nation's most distressed pension plans.

That first point is Mitch McConnell's pet project. The second has to do with distressed pension plan funds; what I've read about it suggests that those funds were ... bloated, excessive? Something that may be vaguely defensible in the cutting, but it's unclear.

At any rate, the rich are not doing anyone any favors.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:53 AM
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34

Wait, they don't bring in random old people to proctor anymore? I must have heard this and then forgotten.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:53 AM
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35

My employer is giving me a turkey for Christmas. Apparently this is in lieu of any sort of holiday bonus.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 11:57 AM
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36

35: Cratchit?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:01 PM
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37

32: You can use a Hershey's kiss or a pile of chocolate chips to make it look like the elf is taking a shit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:06 PM
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38

32: Yeah, the child who's afraid of any supernatural beings (or real ones, for that matter) sneaking into our house is the one who asked why we don't do Elf on a Shelf. Nope nope nope, nor can anyone lose Christmas for bad behavior. That's not what they need at all.

And here where I was being ungracious about people not getting me presents, which is still better than getting bad presents, I got the news that my brother is going to fly in from California to be here for our post-adoption family party this weekend as a surprise to the girls. That is so sweet, especially because the main reason he moved away was to avoid our winters!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:11 PM
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39

If I'm driving from Palm Springs to LAX on a Monday morning, how much extra should I allow for traffic? Is 1 hour enough?

Oh man good one. I'd allow at least 4 hours for the drive, maybe 4 1/2.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:16 PM
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40

It does depend when in the morning you're leaving, though. After 10 is much much better. If you have something like a 10am flight, if at all possible I'd try and leave PS on Sunday night and stay a night by LAX.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:17 PM
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What bothers me about the elf-on-a-shelf is the brazenness involved in a toy company just straight up inventing a Christmas tradition and having an absurd number of people go ahead with it totally unreflectively. I mean, I know that this is how a massive number of traditions get started, but this one seems especially bald faced. It doesn't hurt that the whole thing is just creepy. I mean, of all the attributed-to-Santa things to trade on, constant surveillance and secretly following you around is the one they went with?

Also I think the best response to the university in 27 would be to take very seriously their need for information in this case. Of course, since you aren't sure exactly what they need it for it's best to be as comprehensive as possible, just to be safe. I recommend indicating also whether it was number 1 or 2, and the estimated mass involved. Maybe also whether it issued forth slowly and reluctantly or with great force (and possible splashing), and a comparative ranking of satisfaction.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:17 PM
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Or, it turns out when checking, just some random people with a self-published book, elf doll, and a massive amount of self promotion. Somehow that makes it more disturbing to me, rather than less.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:20 PM
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43

of all the attributed-to-Santa things to trade on, constant surveillance and secretly following you around is the one they went with?

A Santa for our times.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:32 PM
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44

I expect a Dr. Doolittle resurgence soon; he can *make* the animals talk.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:45 PM
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45

But, as Roger Moore put it so well on the Muppet Show, "The animals won't talk back to me!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:51 PM
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46

The saving grace of Elf on the Shelf is that the families that I know who do it all seem to have a tremendous amount of fun with it. Parents don't find it a burden; kids bound out of bed each morning to find out where the elf has been stashed for the new day; etc. It didn't catch on because of the creepy behavior-control monitoring aspect, but because both parents and children are getting a giant kick out of it.

Not that we have one. Elffer, please.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:54 PM
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Ugh. 40 is the answer I feared. There's a nonstop that departs at 10:40. Stupid LA.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:54 PM
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48

"Mensch on a Bench" is significantly less creepy than the elf, though it still threatens to withhold presents for misbehavior. It doesn't spy or move around on its own, thank g-d.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 12:56 PM
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49

Are you saying Moshe is lazy?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 1:02 PM
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34: The random old people were nuts. The exams I had for tutorials did not involve real proctors, because they weren't officially scheduled. I actually missed one by accident, and I just took it the next day.

This was the one thing I really liked about Princeton: unproctored exams. My tour guide explained that a friend of hers had taken his exam to a local pub, wrote it while drinking a beer and got an A.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 1:39 PM
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I've seen the campus tour guides here practicing. I guess recruiting season is coming up. Anyway, it's a bit disconcerting to see a person walking backward while talking to another person holding a set of notes. It took a while for me to figure out what was happening.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 1:46 PM
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52

And since basically none of us responded to the OP, I'll add that it made me like John Legend after having previously not particularly cared. So there's that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 1:46 PM
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53

I like the ones you stick on cars to stare at random children. "The gnome on the chrome."


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:11 PM
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54

If anyone wants to take the lead in getting a collection together to buy me a snow bike, I won't object.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:17 PM
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55

I just legitimately do not understand how it became so goddamn ubiquitous so goddamn fast. I know people who act like I'm nuts when I say we've never bothered with it, as if somehow they've never heard of such a thing.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:19 PM
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56

I hadn't heard of snow biking until last winter either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:22 PM
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55: You've slipped into an alternate universe where it's a tradition dating back to the Battle of Hastings.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:23 PM
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58

Two bikes would be better, actually. Thanks.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:24 PM
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Has anyone ever had a personal card? I ask, because I was at a conference yesterday and somebody asked me for my card, because she was interested in having me on a panel. I don't have a card, so I wrote down my info for her, but a card would have been useful. I'm just not sure what I would put on it.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:26 PM
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Didn't it used to be a thing to have cards with your name and no other text?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:30 PM
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60 is correct. A modern one would likely include an email and maybe nothing else. Some means of contacting you.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:33 PM
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A modern one would just say "@Bostoniangirl".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:42 PM
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63

Then you bend down various corners to indicate various things. Which is classier and less comprehensible than emoticons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:45 PM
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The fairy in the diary? The Eldar in the bell jar? The Quendi in the Fendi?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:46 PM
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I had to google Eldar and Quendi. Conclusion: SP is a dork.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:47 PM
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66

The Palantír in the (something that rhymes with Palantír).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:48 PM
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67

He's a dork. Get him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:48 PM
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68

And since basically none of us responded to the OP, I'll add that it made me like John Legend after having previously not particularly cared. So there's that.

Agreed on all counts.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:53 PM
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they're not expensive, and your name and email and hp if desired is fine. if you get them offset printed they look fabulous, but the american psycho dude may kill you over it. I know I've told you my bother had calling cards made. I suppose he must still have a million, not using them quickly. but he can write on them as needed and they are infinitely stylish.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:54 PM
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hp

You hit points?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:55 PM
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66: mug o' beer? cup o' cheer? herd o' deer?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:56 PM
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I used wikipedia for the latter. I did know Eldar.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:56 PM
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73

Right, I mean. I'm looking for a new job, so this is for business-y stuff, but it could be useful for other contexts, like volunteering. But it seems like it would be desperate if you put "job seeker" and useless once re-employed.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:56 PM
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Clurichaun in the curry prawn.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:56 PM
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Banshee in the pantry.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 2:59 PM
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76

P.S. Would everyone just go over and donate a few bucks to Wikipedia so their banner will stop blocking half the page? I don't use it half as much as some people but I gave money anyway. Because I'm a feminist.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:00 PM
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I thought that after you donated, the banner went away. At least it did for me (on the computer I used when donating).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:01 PM
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78

I've been reading all about Wallis Simpson.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:01 PM
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79

I bet she had personal cards.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:02 PM
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79: IYKWIMAITYD?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:03 PM
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81

Vistaprint is cheap and convenient for having name cards printed. A lot of their designs are terrible, but you can upload your own, and just your name and email should be fine if all you want it for is to give people a way of getting back in touch.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:04 PM
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81: I've used them for a card at an old job where they weren't provided. Just name, e-mail and phone? Leave off phone? I know of someone who had a picture on his card.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:14 PM
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There are many online places that will letterpress print cards for you, if you keep it simple they'll stay usable forever and allow you to instantly detect people who are into paper goods, as they slide their fingers along and their eyes widen slightly. Font choices can be limited and definitely skew twee.

Friends met with the dude who runs arion press a couple of years ago to discuss some possible work and it ended in several months of increasingly deranged correspondence, the guy sounds pretty unhinged. So don't go down that route! Even though some of their work is lovely.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:14 PM
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82: No pictures unless you are trying to work as an actress or sell real estate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:15 PM
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And not nice real estate. Like time shares and mobile home courts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:15 PM
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15: I can't be the only one who pronounces "TWYRCL" as a portmanteau of "twerk" and "urkel", can I? Have we been over this?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:20 PM
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86: I do too, and I thought I always had, but the archives say otherwise.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:23 PM
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I had cute letterpress cards made up after I left my dayjob to seek my fortune. They say "Writer" which remains, for the most part, stubbornly aspirational. They also have my Google Voice number, which has become more of a pain as group text becomes de rigeur for organizing meetings and outings.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:24 PM
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I saw John Legend play at a Moth-affiliated event and noticed that he looked like Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I was not the first.

Also this was cool.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:27 PM
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There's a small office I pass frequently with a doorplate that gives two proper names, one followed with "therapist" and the other with "professional writer." I've always wondered if one was just the spouse or partner of the other using the office to get a physical address or if somebody goes in there and writes every day. Professionally.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:27 PM
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These "name cards" are calling cards, right? From the days when you would "call" at someone's house, hand the card to a servant, and wait for the master to decide to let you in or not.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:28 PM
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So are we going to get a government shutdown for Christmas or what?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:28 PM
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91: Now you can get servants with better memory.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:31 PM
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Let's Kill Gary Gilmore the Government for Christmas.

[warining: audio quality awful]


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:36 PM
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I'm late to comment on this, but I want to commend Smearcase for 13, which I immediately imagined sung in chipmunk voice.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:37 PM
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Yes, but for bgirl (and many others) they are useful to provide contact information not tied to a particular employer or physical address. Just name, email and possibly mobile number.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:37 PM
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I have pictures of my field sites on my cards. Moo did a nice
job of printing them.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 3:39 PM
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The saving grace of Elf on the Shelf is that the families that I know who do it all seem to have a tremendous amount of fun with it. Parents don't find it a burden; kids bound out of bed each morning to find out where the elf has been stashed for the new day; etc. It didn't catch on because of the creepy behavior-control monitoring aspect, but because both parents and children are getting a giant kick out of it.

No, I reject this. Get a kick out of something better, bad people who think they're having fun. (I'm obviously not entirely serious, but I'm a little bit actually serious.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 4:00 PM
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A retired yet active friend gave me his new card the other day. It's 1.1 x 2.27, name, affiliation (he has an LLC for wilderness consulting), email, phone on the one side, a very nice picture 2/3ds clear, still water, 1/3 big sky, him in a kayak (less than 1/2 inch long, 3/16 in high) in the left third.

Would contact again!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 4:02 PM
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||

Based on the, uh, output, I'd say that the 3 spears' equivalent of asparagus I had with lunch today (almost 7 hours ago!) was super-potent.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:16 PM
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98: I think a lot of people are whimsy-deficient, and so the Elf gives them an excuse/opportunity to utilize hitherto neglected whimsy muscles. A bit like people who ruthlessly apply a single decorative motive throughout their homes, or who collect instances of a single animal.

That's a bit more dismissive than I really intend - generally speaking, I'm just happy to have people try to apply their tastes at all - but it's certainly a thing. Whether they're truly lacking aptitude or simply don't feel empowered to develop real discernment*, at least it's something.

*defined minimally: that is, not just echoing back whatever incredibly mass market thing that was faintly appealing.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:23 PM
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If you got the asparagus at a food truck, it would have been on topic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:25 PM
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103

Shit. Amazon is selling this watch for a factor of two more than I would have guessed, and that's with a hefty discount. Should I tell the student I can't accept the gift? That would be awkward.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:31 PM
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||

OT: A fabulous bit of comment spam from Brad DeLong's. Worth preserving.

Dell Drivers Download said...

When I and a friend which is research Ebola for dinner, we just saw the news about the Ebola virus, and i suddenly felt he was very great. I said to him, you are so great, and i am a network marketing, my work is runs my website to helping people to find and solve computer drivers problem. He said that every person is unique, we are all in our own way to contribute to society.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:31 PM
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103: Student is hitting on you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:33 PM
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Yeah, you have to give it back.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:35 PM
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107

See if you have the pepper thing in your entry on Rate My Professor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:38 PM
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It's not a student I've taught, but it is a student whose thesis committee I'm on.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:42 PM
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Last year another student I wrote a recommendation letter for gave me a bottle of port as thanks, and I took it but felt odd about it, but that was quite a bit cheaper.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:42 PM
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107: Luckily I still have no entry there.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 5:45 PM
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It's the committee bit that sounds explanatory to me. You should just send them a quick note thanking them for the present but informing them that in America committee members just sort of wave students through when the adviser say it's ok so there's no need gift giving is usually limited to personal rather than purely professional relationships.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 6:05 PM
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and tell him to put it towards snow bikes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 6:18 PM
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It's not possible to advise you on what you should do without knowing whether or not you like the watch. Would you wear it?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 6:23 PM
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It's not bad, as watches go. I've never been much of a watch-wearer.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 6:38 PM
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Did it come with a gift receipt?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 6:45 PM
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Re: the card. I thought about writing "healthcare professional," but at present, that is more aspirational than real.

So

Name, e-mail and cell.

I used to see student ones which said Harvard Business School class of whatever.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 7:10 PM
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48: I saw one of those in a store window.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 7:30 PM
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Keep it simple is what I'd do, difficult to imagine that being problematic over time. The other way you could end up with useless cards pretty quickly.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 7:37 PM
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On a health care related note, a decade plus root canal has turned on me horribly and I have to have gruesome surgery just days before Christmas and the antibiotics haven't done anything to lessen the excruciating pain yet and oh my fucking god this hurts. Plus missing my students' first scrimmage. And within pages of finishing last library book, will be reduced to le Conte de Monte cristo, which fair enough I promised to read in solidarity but it's not that great to be honest. End of whine.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 7:45 PM
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Don't accept the gift, essear. The only time it's okay to take gifts from students over which one wields any power -- and if you're on this person's committee, that's quite a bit of power you're wielding -- is when they graduate.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 7:45 PM
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Home-baked cookies shared widely would probably be okay.

Put personal mobile on the card. Is that safe? I had a couple of people sort of harass me at one point.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 7:50 PM
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121 was I.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 8:10 PM
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Not gonna read the whole thread, but did Essear take my advice and buy Edible Arrangements baskets for everyone in his department, including all students? If not he's a jerk.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 8:11 PM
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We got an Edible Arrangement in the mail (or via whatever delivery method it shows up; I was at work) today and the girls were so thrilled because it's a dream come true to get to eat cut fruit off skewers, except then Selah got sent to bed early for throwing tantrums about not being allowed to have the actual skewers. Anyway, I thought of you, "Ripper."


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 8:19 PM
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if you're on this person's committee, that's quite a bit of power you're wielding

In theory, maybe, but I can't even imagine how I could exert any influence in practice. In any case, the student is very good and really could graduate already and do well on the postdoc market (after only one year of research).

I feel like I shouldn't accept it, but the "I shouldn't accept this" conversation sounds awkward and I would prefer to avoid it, but I guess I have to have it anyway.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 8:25 PM
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To make the conversation less awkward, wear a crown and keep your hand on the student's thigh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 8:33 PM
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Send the watch to me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 8:35 PM
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the "I shouldn't accept this" conversation sounds awkward

I may know an eclectic 42-year-old webmagazine living in his mother's basement who would be happy to draft a note for you.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 8:58 PM
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"Dude. Coming on a little strong. Maybe just some cookies or a set of tea towels."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 9:41 PM
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the university sent me a big packet of paperwork to accompany my final exam, including a form on which I'm supposed to record all restroom breaks the students take. Seriously?

Where I was a TA, we were not allowed to be in the room while the students took the exams, except to give the initial instructions and to periodically announce the time remaining. But we had to sit nearby in case kids had questions. We were expressly prohibited from noting things like how often people used the restroom, which some people did with suspicious frequency.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 9:56 PM
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Tests make me need to poop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:10 PM
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Also raisins and really long runs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:17 PM
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Shitty Shit Shit is the other thread.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:22 PM
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I may have the wrong thread but at least I'm not shaking down students for the holidays.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-10-14 10:28 PM
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If anyone wants to take the lead in getting a collection together to buy me a snow bike, I won't object.

I could probably steal you one pretty easily. I see people riding them all the time in my neighborhood. Come to think of it, there's also a bike shop right around here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:26 AM
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I would not be opposed to someone taking up a collection to pay my bail, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:26 AM
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125. VW is right. Also, if anybody connected to your institution is aware of this you should mention that you're returning it. If you feel awkward about it, tell the student there's a regulation against accepting gifts in that context. There probably is.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:05 AM
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A relative is posting pictures on FB of her homemade Elf on the Shelf with a note from the Elf to the kids explaining that if they don't shape up and behave better, they'll be on Santa's naughty list. I considered putting this in the Torture thread rather than the Christmas thread, under the heading of "Things that are terribly wrong with American culture."

Previously discussed...
http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_12617.html

And the infinitely superior Mensch on a Bench!
http://www.unfogged.com/archives/comments_13370.html


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:08 AM
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Slightly on topic, Mrs y is doing a workplace collection for the food bank where I volunteer, and she's had people saying that they'll go through their store cupboard and find all the stuff that's out of date. Fuck you very much. What is the matter with people?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:10 AM
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139: Not exactly the Christmas spirit, but still a net positive for humanity. Expiration dates are set very conservatively. Non-perishables are generally fine well beyond their expiration dates. Manufacturers do the same thing all the time, and it's a good thing (e.g. drug therapies donated to poor country health systems). The fact that an individual left a food item in their cupboard past the expiration date suggests it is surplus to their needs and they were never going to use it. Transferring the item to someone in need is a sound and, yes, public spirited choice, if not an especially generous one.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 5:16 AM
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Dairy Queen, drop me a line, knecht underscore ruprecht located at the mail service operated by yahoo.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 5:20 AM
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I got edible arrangements for my parents medical team when they switched to a new one. It was sort of "Thank you for all your help. I know my parents are difficult. I know that you want me to do a lot of social-work type support but I don't want to. Your social worker hates that you dump everything on her, so here's some fruit so that you will feel appreciated." Everyone appreciated it and said it was totally unnecessary, but they ate it during their meeting.

Then my parents switched teams, everything went to hell, because the new doctor said that my Dad needed to be evaluated by the RMV and get help with his medication in a less than diplomatic way (hard no matter what, but she had more of an "I'm the doctor" mentality. The other one always went by her first name etc.) and they went back to the old one.

So, Ripper's right. Edible Arrangements are great for a lot of occasions.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 5:40 AM
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Re: printers

Does anyone have any recommendations for printers that are nicer than vistaprint or for a nice design template. I don't want to spend too much, because I might change my name soon.

Bonus if they are able to do nice wedding invitations


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 5:51 AM
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140. Except that there are legal restrictions on how and whether we can distribute date expired stuff. I know it's a scam, you know it's a scam, but as long as the supermarkets play that game they've got us by the short and curlies.

Also, what have you got in your store cupboard that's past its date? Tinned vegetables? Pasta sauces? No you use that stuff up. What goes past its date is weird shit that you bought on impulse and can't think of anything to do with. Which is not likely to be much use to somebody whose kids haven't eaten for 24 hours, if only because they'll have even less idea what to do with it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:18 AM
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So I take it Mrs Y would not be interested in the pack of Waitrose Moules Marinieres that I bought on impulse in November and decided (on the basis of the other pack of slightly differently sauced mussels) were really more suitable for people who hadn't had the advantage of knowing how mussels are supposed to taste?

No wonder the poor go hungry

Actually I was just a bit ashamed about where I should throw them away. The dilemmas of recycling ...


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:23 AM
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oh, that should have had tags in it which got eaten. Let me try again

<LadyJenkin> No wonder the poor go hungry
</LadyJenkin>


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:25 AM
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I don't think we ever buy tinned vegetables, unless beans count. Frozen is so much better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:31 AM
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Beans certainly count. And congratulations if you have a freezer.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:33 AM
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It's on top of the refrigerator.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:33 AM
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140 & 144

I've read 10,000 times that (a) the US doesn't mandate true expiration dates on food and (b) the terms we see aren't even well-defined: "Best by" and "Sell by" are about freshness, mostly. Seems weird that there are legal restrictions when the things they are regulating aren't even on the packages.

I'm told things are different in enlightened, topless Europe.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:36 AM
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149. Don't care where it is, a lot of people who get referred to food banks don't have refrigerators either. Or a reliable supply of electricity. Cans last in ambient temperatures, any time of year. No, I wouldn't eat canned vegetables for choice either, and I don't have to, but I'm rich.

We had a guy in this week who's in emergency housing. The house has gas heating and a gas cooker, only the gas supply doesn't work. He has an electric kettle and that's it. What do you give him to eat? (Corned beef, canned fish, cereal, bread, jam - a really healthy diet.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:44 AM
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Is a freezer not standard household equipment in the U.K.? Obviously, the homeless and inadequately housed don't have them. But that isn't who a food bank typically serves here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:45 AM
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In the UK, 'Use By' dates are based on food safety. So you aren't supposed to eat anything past the Use By date, and you certainly couldn't sell it. 'Best Before' dates are different, and can just be about quality.

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/food-labelling-terms.aspx#bb

I'd be ashamed, as per Chris Y, to give out of date food to a food bank.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:46 AM
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152 before seeing 151.

To elaborate, the food banks seem more geared toward providing food to people with somewhere to live and those without someplace to live get pre-prepared food at a soup kitchen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:47 AM
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Given 153, 139 is outrageous.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:49 AM
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I'd never donate expired food either, regardless of the date being meaningless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:50 AM
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150. There's legal and legal. The cops can't bust us, but we might be subject to health inspection.

If we have stuff that's recently expired we can and do put it on a table and tell people to help themselves if they want to, knowing the facts (because we've told them). But we can't put it in the food packages we make up for clients.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:50 AM
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The food bank I worked at day got quite a lot of fruit from some Edible Arrangements-type company (very possibly Edible Arrangements itself). They would donate all the fruit that they rejected for cosmetic reasons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:55 AM
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+ one


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:57 AM
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158. You're lucky. We're not allowed to give out fresh food. God knows why.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:58 AM
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It was really quite the operation. I was, as I didn't quite manage to say in the previous comment, only there one day. But I was very impressed with how they were organized. They got dry goods (mostly cereal, canned food, rice, pasta) that were donated to them or purchased with cash donations. They had arrangements to get fruit, produce, and baked goods from retailers. Anything that couldn't be sold but was still good. They had dairy and orange juice also. I don't know where or how they got that. Plus, ground beef was available when they got it. It came in 10 pound bags and was close to the expiration date, but not past it.

Anyway, most of it would have been of little use to somebody without access to a kitchen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 7:06 AM
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My church gives out bags of food (along with tea and cookies/cake and conversation) to old people who come in on Saturdays. Our prepared food service for Seniors (Meals-on-wheels) which is not super nutritious does not operate on the weekends!


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 7:30 AM
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If you don't have time to stay, they send home conversation on a tape.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 7:42 AM
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When I was in New Hampshire recently, I noticed a surprising number of Edible Arrangements store fronts. Like, brick-and-mortar locations. I guess "live free or die" has been interpreted as "eat fruit on sticks." And then maybe they use the sticks to poke anyone who mentions taxes.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:04 AM
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Aren't food bank donations of food a bit self-indulgent regardless of the age of the food, given how much more the food banks can accomplish with lesser amounts of cash?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:22 AM
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161: I assume this is the big one based in Duquesne? A friend of mine works there as a chef/food educator, working on the issue of the poor not only having little access to fresh/wholesome foods but also limited cooking skills to make them tasty. He's made up recipe cards with step-by-step illustrations - really impressively done, IMO. Good recipes, too (e.g. a squash and fresh corn sauté where you cook the cobs in with the veg to add more flavor). No idea if they're effective, but a great effort.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:27 AM
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No. The big (but not that big) one in East Liberty. It was still in the church when I was there. I think it is now over by the Home Depot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:29 AM
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There's a really lefty group here, operating out of trucks and on a shosetring budget with volunteers and people on stipends which sells surplus food. Their prices are dirt cheap. You get a huge bag for $2. Before 2009 it was $1/bag.

They don't require an ID or a referral.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:30 AM
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165: This is absolutely true, except that food banks find that they get more donations when they do can drives. My understanding is that there's a strategy of getting cash grants from foundations, reliable, large scale in-kind donations from restaurants/groceries, cash donations from savvy individuals, and cans from disinterested, well-meaning people who find the can donation part of the reward. If you eliminate can drives entirely, visibility is too low, and only a fraction of people who give cans give cash instead.

At our supermarket, when you do self-checkout, the machine asks if you want to add a buck or five to your bill to be donated to the food bank (I guess it's a rotating system; they also ask about local schools and I think one other charity).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:31 AM
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167: Thought that might be the other possibility.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:33 AM
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It's called Fair Foods.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:34 AM
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"Fair Foods" sounds like it would be all funnel cakes and fried butter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:35 AM
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169: I assume that getting more donations was also the reason they want so many volunteers. We all did a good day of work, but having teams of people come in for a single day can't be very efficient outside of serving as a mechanism to find regular volunteers and/or donors.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:41 AM
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172: Au contraire, it's fresh fruits and vegetables.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:41 AM
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169: Yeah, not irrational to ask for cans, but weird to give them if you know the facts. Or, I guess, unless you have something that genuinely will not otherwise be used.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:59 AM
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175: Agreed.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:11 AM
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When they have food drives at school, I always send my kid in with boxed pasta because it is lighter and does less damage if someone gets smacked with a bag containing it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:13 AM
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No, I reject this. Get a kick out of something better, bad people who think they're having fun. (I'm obviously not entirely serious, but I'm a little bit actually serious.)

What exactly is the gripe, besides the creepy spying? Plenty of people already practice Xmas and Xtianity in a spying-be-good-for-the-reward manner, which they don't think about terribly directly anyway. If that's the backdrop, the magical elf itself seems rather harmless.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:18 AM
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What exactly is the gripe, besides the creepy spying?

It is adding to the commercialization of Christmas.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:22 AM
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On protests, I hope we get some visibility soon of the instigations of undercover police - something I used to think absurd paranoia since I didn't actually look at the facts. Last night one of a pair of undercovers was confronted in Oakland, punched, his partner pulled a gun on the crowd (baton in the other hand), and then the uniforms swarmed in. NBC reported that part but not that (per Twitter at least) the reason they were confronted was they were instigating looting, or maybe vandalism, and people got suspicious.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:25 AM
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Not particularly much. It's not an ongoing present you have to buy. It doesn't get upgraded from year to year.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:26 AM
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But you can't just invent traditions out of thin air! That was only okay a hundred years ago.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:29 AM
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182: Next you're going to question the sincerity of meetup attendees' desire to sex Mutombo.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:32 AM
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What exactly is the gripe, besides the creepy spying?

That's not enough?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:33 AM
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At B&N yesterday I learned that it is possible to purchase small outfits for the elf.

I can't see us doing it unless the Calabat really wants it when he's school-aged. I'm against the elf-spies-on-you nonsense on principle, and I'm not into performing mommyhood on Pinterest to demonstrate how clever I am at making the elf be naughty.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:33 AM
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Small, like slutty-revealing or just small because the elf is small?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:35 AM
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Ha, that would be great. Elf bikinis! No, just small because the elf is small, but I said "small" because they were tiny sports uniforms and the like. If the elf needs accessories....


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:36 AM
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I mean, we've never pretended to do any Santa Claus stuff either, so maybe I am out of the mainstream on this. But I just don't like any of that sort of stuff. There are perfectly good preexisting elf toys and fairy tales of elves who bring presents or even hide presents with which families who want to have that sort of fun can have that sort of fun that do not require the purchase of one particular commercial toy elf that is both ugly and produced by third-world child labor.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:36 AM
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Since I've never heard of or seen the Elf on the Shelf in real life, I'm just going to assume that it's something the programmers of the Internet made up.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:37 AM
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I thought this too, but I saw them in B&N in Santa Monica. They're real, TRO, and they're nearby...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:38 AM
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"Mensch on a Bench" is significantly less creepy than the elf, though it still threatens to withhold presents for misbehavior.

The Yentl on the mantel.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:38 AM
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Not particularly much. It's not an ongoing present you have to buy. It doesn't get upgraded from year to year.

Bullshit.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:38 AM
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I think a lot of people are whimsy-deficient, and so the Elf gives them an excuse/opportunity to utilize hitherto neglected whimsy muscles. A bit like people who ruthlessly apply a single decorative motive throughout their homes, or who collect instances of a single animal. That's a bit more dismissive than I really intend - generally speaking, I'm just happy to have people try to apply their tastes at all - but it's certainly a thing. Whether they're truly lacking aptitude or simply don't feel empowered to develop real discernment*, at least it's something.

This is unnecessarily harsh, given that people can be pretty creative with the Elf. Or not. But also, are we going to shit all over Advent calendars and Easter egg hunts and all these other sort of lame things that we do because kids love them?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:39 AM
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Sex-positive, creepy, or creepily sex-positive moms use the "Dick on a Brick."


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:39 AM
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Ha, that would be great. Elf bikinis!

Adult version: the Stripper in your Slipper.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:40 AM
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192: Oh come on. If a family has an elf, is having a blast, and doesn't feel like buying an accessory deer, they don't buy an accessory deer. I don't see how that's particularly insidious.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:43 AM
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184 It's a toy for the times. They can come out with a whole family of Elves on Shelves and give them appropriate names like: FAIRVEW, PRISM, XKEYSCORE, etc.,


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:44 AM
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I mean, we've never pretended to do any Santa Claus stuff either, so maybe I am out of the mainstream on this. But I just don't like any of that sort of stuff.

Me neither. I just don't think it's particularly bad.

There are perfectly good preexisting elf toys and fairy tales of elves who bring presents or even hide presents with which families who want to have that sort of fun can have that sort of fun that do not require the purchase of one particular commercial toy elf that is both ugly and produced by third-world child labor.

As opposed to the third world children who made the preexisting elf toys and presents that are being hidden?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:46 AM
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To be totally honest, the shitting-on-Elf-and-his-Shelf feels like the intellectual version of "ugh those families are totally basic".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:47 AM
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heebie, maybe you didn't notice that it's not an accessory deer, it's "a reindeer tradition". I don't see how a modern family could have holiday fun without it. It's a tradition!


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:48 AM
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who collect instances of a single animal

What is the deal with this? I feel like it's something I encountered all the time when I was a kid and never since. Maybe it's a class thing?

There was the time when I was in elementary school and won an art contest by making a poster involving an eagle and then for like the next six years all my relatives gave me tacky eagle collectibles because "essear likes eagles." On similarly shaky grounds they decided that my mom collected ducks and my dad collected bears, or something like that, and the house became full of little animal knick-knacks.

Similarly, when my grandmother says she "loves strawberries" she doesn't mean that she likes to eat them--I'm not sure I ever saw her do that--but that her entire kitchen is filled with garish strawberry-themed decorations.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:49 AM
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We'll be sticking with Scottish tradition this year, thank you very much.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:49 AM
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It would be great if there was a for resl working Elf on the Shelf with a for-re spycam and voice recorder, maybe with some algorithm for cutting through the dead video and identifying plausible moments of badness. You could then have a "Defending Your Life" sit down with Mom and Dad where the kid has an opportunity to confront and explain the video evidence. I kind of want this to happen.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:49 AM
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not sure why real is hard to spell


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:50 AM
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But to continue my boring subthread: I emailed the student this morning and said I don't accept more than token gifts from students and that I want to return it. The student has not replied. Not sure what I should do if the student fails to reply. Walking into the shared student office and depositing the gift on the student's desk sounds like the sort of thing that would set off a sitcom-style cascade of misunderstandings.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:51 AM
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My mother in law has every imaginable rooster decoration/knick-knack/accessory. Porcelain roosters galore. Rooster knobs on her kitchen cabinets. Rooster wall paper. Rooster toilet paper holders. Rooster floor mats in her car.

Her mother was the same way, but with apples.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:52 AM
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She likes cock, does she?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:54 AM
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My brother was labelled as a stamp collector, presumably because he had a temporary passing fancy, and it became a thing for my grandparents and parents' friends to save enormous amounts of envelopes and dump shoeboxes full on him.

I was helping my mother clean out his room, and we got to the stamp collection. About .0001% of the stamps were organized into books, there were about ten empty books, and boxes and boxes of unsorted envelopes, and clearly the whole collection was one big unhappy burden. Like the little kid version of failing out of graduate school.

When asked, my brother said "Give the collection away!" and I was almost able to, and then my mom went down the "what if a grandchild ends up collecting stamps?" path. Nevermind that the grandchild would be just as overwhelmed by the boxes as my brother was. In the end, I labelled the entire thing as "NOTHING SENTIMENTAL, GIVE AWAY IF POSSIBLE."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:55 AM
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205: "Given my position on your thesis committee, I consider the gift an attempted bribe. If you haven't physically rescinded the gift by 5:00 today, I'll have no choice but to report the bribe to university administration."


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:55 AM
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Report it to the bomb squad as a possible explosive planted by terrorists, and copy the student on the email?

Bonus, they may blow up your desk and then you'd get a new one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:57 AM
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I don't think that was directed just at holiday decorating, hg! No taste, failure to develop discernment, I thought it very harsh. But chalked it up to the harshness of the aesthetics professional. But it seems like an exhausting stance. Basically I can't get too worked up over other peoples' decorating choices. As long as our home works for us, who cares? Same re holiday traditions. I must just block out a ton of stuff because lord only know I'm irritable enough.

Anyways, for those in the bay area with 3-10 year olds or so, I highly recommend the Nutcracker at the palace of fine arts this weekend (only). It's an all student production, much less expensive than SFB obviously, but super great quality, shortened but still conveys the story such as it is and there really aren't any bad seats in that theatre. No need to worry about your kids squirming or contributing commentary as there are so many in the audience. It's lovely! This is our first Christmas in something like 8 years without incessant rehearsals etc, but we are all looking forward to seeing the show Sunday afternoon.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:57 AM
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207 would offend her greatly.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:58 AM
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Because of the strange way they renovated this building, my desk has a giant wooden beam that I'm pretty sure is structural going through it. Bombing the desk might bring down a big chunk of the building. Sounds like fun!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:59 AM
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I imagine 203 ending badly, with Mom and Dad unable to find the elf, and then they ask little Johnny and Cindy about it. The siblings exchange a mischievous glance before saying, "I think you mean the Snitch in the Ditch" [maniacal laughter].


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:00 AM
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It's so that when you return from your ten-year sabbatical in Troy, they can be sure that it's the real essear by saying "We've moved your desk into a bigger office" and watching your enraged response.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:02 AM
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what if a grandchild ends up collecting stamps?

Quaere: will there still be stamps to collect by the time your mother's grandchildren are old enough to collect them?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:03 AM
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What exactly is the gripe, besides the creepy spying?

Just, like, SUPER tacky.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:04 AM
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I'll bet you could fit every kid in the US who currently collects stamps into my kitchen.

Is a baffled, dismissive attitude towards collecting single-theme animal figurines and the Elf on the Shelf a class based thing? Come on, of course it is. I guess there's an old preppy rich lady thing of buying $10,000 figurines from .. some store in NYC whose name I forget. But otherwise yes this is clearly just class-based sneering, NTTNI ("not inevitable").


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:05 AM
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So, 199?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:05 AM
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199: funny, catching up on the thread I was thinking that I'm pretty sure the only people I know who do elf on the shelf are my siblings, and that's because they're seriously basic. But I'm all for it, at least w/ my niece and nephews it's not about creepy spying, it's just another opportunity to wind little kids up with a ridiculous story that they strongly suspect but can't be totally sure isn't true, and what's more fun than that?


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:05 AM
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219 was supposed to be to 217, but it works to 218.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:07 AM
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I do not believe there is a meaningful difference in the class makeup of the Elf-on-a-Shelf-using demographic and the population as a whole. I'm not sure why that seems to be an assumption in this conversation. Plenty of otherwise respectable, upper-middle-class people are Elf-on-a-Shelf users.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:09 AM
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ALSO. We found out this morning that Jammies is being flown to Korea for a week, leaving on Saturday. Yesterday was the first time that I felt okay handling both Ace and Rascal at home by myself. I think I've had all four at home for very short spates. Nannies will be hired, but I'm still finding this prospect overwhelming.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:09 AM
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223, Hey, nothing like a bit of advance notice.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:12 AM
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I've forgotten what Jammies does, if I ever knew, but the thought of being sent on a long trip with only a few days' notice sounds pretty infuriating to me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:13 AM
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I do not believe there is a meaningful difference in the class makeup of the Elf-on-a-Shelf-using demographic and the population as a whole.

The sneerers are $29.95 richer, on average.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:13 AM
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This is unnecessarily harsh, given that people can be pretty creative with the Elf.

You misunderstood me; I'm not saying that people aren't creative with the Elf, I'm saying that the Elf empowers/enables/encourages/permits them to get creative in a way that they don't otherwise tend to do.

It's sort of the difference between doing a car-themed BDay party for your kid who likes cars and doing a Cars(tm)-themed party because that's what commerce tells you to do (not, obviously, that kids don't like the movie on its own merits, but that the merch is not exclusively, or even in preponderance, aimed at big fans of the movie - people will buy Lightning McQueen* for a kid instead of a Matchbox car without thinking about which one the kid would prefer). Either way it's an expression of love and probably involves buying disposable crap, but one of them commoditizes those things in a specific way designed to appeal to somebody who can't or won't put it together for themselves.

This all sounds, I suspect, rather like SWPL snobbery, and part of it is, but my point is that there's an underlying thing there - AB finds craft projects rewarding and misses them when she's too busy to engage in them, while I have no special desire to do them, even though I'll happily participate once engaged. Prepackaged "creativity" a la Elf is to let people scratch that crafty itch (whether it's internally or status anxiety driven) without coming up with something in their own heads.

*I've never even seen this fucking movie, I can't believe I knew a character's name


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:15 AM
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He's an engineer. He runs clean-up crew for microchips, by which I mean that his company makes microchips that are inevitably defective, and then he writes the patches and such that end up hacking together the fix that the client needs. Basically they've bungled this part so badly that the client wants to yell at someone in person. So he's somehow going to occupy a entire week telling them that the part isn't ready yet, and being yelled at because it should have been.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:16 AM
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status anxiety

None of my pants are even close to this cool


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:18 AM
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At least he can eat live octopus while getting yelled at.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:18 AM
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199 completely correct, yes this is class based, but honestly I just don't understand getting into criticizing it. My stepmother collects frog things. Frogs frogs frogs all over the house and yard. I don't give her frog things but what's the problem with her being into it? Except when it becomes a tool of oppressive gift giving. There I think people latch onto any indication of a "theme" because MC USians have completely internalized an immensely destructive norm that all gifts must convey personalized meaning. I fully endorse the position of I think knecht? at the top of the thread that the majority of gifts should be hedonistic and fleeting. For all but the most near and dear outrageously indulgent flowers, chocolates or wine will do the trick nicely. It seems I'll never convince my family to reciprocate, but they all seem to love being the recipients.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:19 AM
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228: Just make sure he doesn't accidentally go to whatever kind of evening out could be a cover for prostitution or whatever it was. Sticking to live octopus may save him.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:21 AM
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227 is literally the essence of SWPL snobbery, and a nice explanation of its underlying rationale.

228 -- sounds like fun, IME angry Koreans are pretty impressively angry.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:21 AM
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227: I did misunderstand, but I also take issue with your clarified point. I mean, we'd be likely to do a Cars theme for Pokey's party, rather than a cars theme. Because 1) he does love the movie, 2) we'd go to Evite and it'd be one of the choices, 3) we'd go to the grocery store, and it'd be one of the choices for napkins, etc, and so on. It's not that we couldn't do lower-case-cars, but at every step of the way it's easier just to buy in to the racket.

Do I give myself permission to be whimsical? Sure, if I feel like swerving the car to avoid invisible dinosaurs on the way to drop off the kids, I'll swerve away. But that's neither here nor there if a small purchase seems like it will be lots of fun.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:21 AM
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The sneerers are $29.95 richer, on average.

If you think we've all dutifully saved our not-owning-an-elf proceeds, you've got a pretty optimistic view of consumer behavior. That money was burning a hole in our pockets. We probably just bought some not-particularly-useful wall calendars instead.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:21 AM
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Sticking to live octopus
What choice will he have?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:24 AM
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Well, I'm sorry to tell you that my special moon calendar is all mucked up this year. But you can contribute to our babysitter fund.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:24 AM
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if I feel like swerving the car to avoid invisible dinosaurs on the way to drop off the kids, I'll swerve away.

Huh? Do you drive on empty roads?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:24 AM
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No, they're full of dinosaurs. Sheesh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:25 AM
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She said invisible, not insubstantial.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:26 AM
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Driving your kids to school while on mescaline is a nice authentic whimsical touch.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:26 AM
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(Amusingly, that is not even an example of my own whimsy! That's something my uncle used to do. But I think it's funny, and so I permit myself to plagiarize his whimsy.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:26 AM
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I don't like Elf on a Shelf because I think making Xmas even more about creepy spying is unhealthy and because I think it's about the Moms Race where you have to do more and more to be socially "adequate" as a parent (except oh wait how many dads do I know who do Elf stuff?) and that's unhealthy bullshit. But I am not particularly festive and my kids have particular un-Elf-friendly needs, so even beyond being a hopeless snob I am worthless here. I don't even swerve for dinosaurs, though there have been requests that I become a more exciting driver than Lee is. I'm trying to convince them that scrupulously abiding by driving laws is exciting too, but dinosaurs would probably go over better.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:29 AM
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More exciting LIKE Lee is, I mean. She is the fun mom, surprising no one.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:31 AM
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yes this is class based

Not economic class: based on what I've seen, 222 is correct.I'm pretty sure the first time I was ever made aware of EoaS was through the FB feed of one of my college classmates. It's possible that EoaS skews slightly downmarket, but the thing about SWPL snobbery is that it points in all directions.

honestly I just don't understand getting into criticizing it.

It's the exact same impulse as the pumpkin spice backlash - a basically harmless but also basically commerce-invented thing has suddenly become a big deal, and people find that annoying/ridiculous, and so complain about it. With Elf, there's the added level of performance parenting/social media oneupmanship that makes it seem a bit pernicious.

It barely exists in my world, so I actually don't get into criticizing it. I'm 100% certain that this thread is the most I've ever thought or spoken about the topic.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:31 AM
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My stepmother also has a vast collection of carnivorous plants. So don't be fooled by the whimsical frogs, people.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:34 AM
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The octopus in your esophagus.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:35 AM
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He certainly knows if you've been good or bad.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:37 AM
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My mom does the Elf thing, but she doesn't move it around from day to day. I also don't think she actively talks about it with my nephew (her grandson). I find it kind of endearing, because I think she's hip enough to know it's a thing, but not quite doing it right. Kind of how she still signs all her texts "Love Mom" (even when there are several texts in a few short minutes), or how she uses slang terms slightly incorrectly. ("It's the dot-com bomb!")


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:39 AM
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How is the Elf on a Shelf creative? I thought you just put it in a different place. Thats' a pretty low bar for creativity.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:40 AM
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On the "collecting one thing", maybe it's waned since the definitive statement was made on it.

AB's unbearably dull stepmother aspires to basicness, and arbitrarily assigned frogs to Kai as his thing. Since literally before he was born, she has sent him frog-themed bday cards, frog-themed baby clothes, little frog toys. Cartoon frogs, mind you, not realistic ones like the ones he is, now, interested in. Then he got into trucks when he was ~2, and so the presents switched to trucks, but I believe all correspondence remains frog-themed. And mind you, this was based on not a single thing other than her belief that everyone should have a "thing" and her selection of frogs to be Kai's. Amazing.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:40 AM
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232: Right. Avoid the doraebang.

Prostitutes, bribes from students: no one told me I was taking a job fraught with so many temptations.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:40 AM
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245.1 is right as far as economics. In Nebraska, EoaS was in the fancy mall and on FB, I also see it from the fancier end of my peer group.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:40 AM
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Hot damn, 247 is the best of those, and I've been trying for a while. Nice work. I'd love some carnivorous plants but they always turn out to be disappointing, like I don't want something that just sits there and might eat like one tiny insect a week, I want a full on Audrey II that is huge and would eat a raccoon.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:41 AM
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243. You don't have to swerve around all dinosaurs. Some of them you can just squish.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:43 AM
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250: Some people make tableaux.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:43 AM
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Oooh, OK,I can put this thread to use. We just got my least favorite thing of the year, the list of possible gifts for the horrible office "secret santa" .exchange It's not as bad as last year because it doesn't look like there's a fraught sexual innuendo possibility (you may recall that I ended up buying a scented candle worth 3x the top limit of the gift amount in order to avoid buying Yoga pants). Anyhow, here are the possibilities (this is with a $30 limit, though once again I've drawn a relatively lowly staff member, so I can't cheap out as I would if it were a senior partner):

1. kitchen knives 2. amazon.com gift certificate 3. "fun cat toys."

(1) seems like the way to go, but can I get a decent kitchen knife (or knives) for $30? Maybe. (2) is way way too boring. (3) I assume means fun toys for a cat, not a fun toy that looks like a cat? Anyhow, that one also seems like a danger zone.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:49 AM
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(you may recall that I ended up buying a scented candle worth 3x the top limit of the gift amount in order to avoid buying Yoga pants)

As one does when one ignores the obviously superior pigeon mask.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:51 AM
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You have to at least try to get a fun cat toy, right? Perhaps, as Moby says, a pigeon mask!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:53 AM
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257: Check the pool. I just uploaded a screenshot of recommended chef's knives, running from $32 to $40.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:55 AM
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257. This is what you need. You're welcome.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:55 AM
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$30 buys a lot of cat toys. Probably too many. Maybe one of those ball-in-a-looping-track dealies.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:55 AM
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Does this person actually cook? A couple little colorful ceramic knives and some over-the-top cat toy and you're good, right? Ugh, I'm so glad I opted out of the office gift exchange. (They decided to do gag gifts but half the office chickened out and got real ones instead. AWKWARD TURTLE, apparently.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:56 AM
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You can get a lot of live mice for $30.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:56 AM
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Variety pack of severed superhero-leg catnip toys?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:56 AM
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I am pretty much right on board with 243 (though I am moderately festive).


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:58 AM
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And most of the time I don't think or care about EotS at all, it's just that when I do think about it, it makes me crotchety.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:58 AM
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Does this person actually cook

Who knows. I try to avoid my coworkers.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:01 AM
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If you heat them enough, anyone can cook.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:03 AM
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264 would be totally great. Do it, T"O"W.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:05 AM
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What on earth. I meant T"R"O, obviously.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:06 AM
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En masse, with their beloved bog requirements recreated and tiny insect corpses strewn about liberally - even the little ones can impress. Lovely woman, btw.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:10 AM
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Their answering machine message starts off with it being the number for the carnivorous plant society.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:12 AM
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You can get a nice kitchen knife for under $30, but, oddly, you can't get one that looks like a nice kitchen knife as well. (You can also get kitchen knives that look fancy for around that price, but they certainly won't be any good.) Depending on why the person wants the knife the victorinox might be good (if they cook a lot and need a knife) or bad (if they want something in the kitchen that looks nice.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:14 AM
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Heh. 274 is on the list mentioned in 260.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:16 AM
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Oh, I know: tell her that you traded a kitchen knife to get her a knife sharpener. Everybody love O. Henry.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:17 AM
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I vote for a brace of mice.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:17 AM
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261 is all blurry. You'd think shopping sites would have clear pictures.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:18 AM
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OK, I just bought the chef's knife, kind of killing the fun. I would have gotten the severed leg cat toy but shipping looked unreliable and this is for next week.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:19 AM
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But maybe I should add on a smaller cat toy too. I guess I should.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:20 AM
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If a semi-easily-hurt friend's xmas card was just an empty envelope, is it worth letting her know?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:24 AM
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As soon as she opens the envelope, she'll know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:25 AM
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Just mail her a new one.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:25 AM
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281: Is she local enough she'll ever notice whether it's on display? Otherwise, I'd skip saying anything.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:28 AM
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I wouldn't see the point of pointing that out to semi-easily-hurt friend. Just a mistake. And, it's hardly that you're upset by it, so why mention in?


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:29 AM
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My parents at some point concluded that I am psychotically fond of cats, which I suppose at this point I will not be taken seriously if I deny, but they definitely over the years have misinterpreted it to mean I would want all manner of cat-themed things. Some of them are so cutely awful that I have this complicated reaction that goes through Kubler-Ross-like* stages that end up with me kind of liking the thing.

*not really but it amused me when I was typing it


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:30 AM
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Never has it been less necessary for me to say: 286 was me.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:31 AM
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If it was a card with photos of her kids and you don't say something about how nice the picture was, she'll be hurt. If the card didn't have a photo and you try to give a generic compliment, she'll be hurt. In conclusion, blame the post office by saying the envelope was so nice, the postman probably figured there was money inside.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:31 AM
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If it was a card with photos of her kids and you don't say something about how nice the picture was, she'll be hurt. If the card didn't have a photo and you try to give a generic compliment, she'll be hurt.

Wait, do people generally respond to Christmas cards?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:35 AM
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284/5: That's what I figured. She's local, but I doubt she'll stop by in the next two weeks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:36 AM
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Oh man, urple, you mean you haven't been sending thank you notes?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:36 AM
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What Eggplant means is not-thank-you notes, because you don't want to imply that the sender was pursuing Christmas. But acknowledgment notes. You haven't been sending thank you notes, have you?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:38 AM
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Some of them are so cutely awful that I have this complicated reaction that goes through Kubler-Ross-like* stages that end up with me kind of liking the thing.

My parents are weirdly obsessed with Kliban cats. I don't mind getting the occasional cat thing, but Kliban's style is just so damn ugly that it makes your home a worse place to be, so I finally explicitly asked them to stop with the Kliban gifts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:43 AM
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Funny, I've never known the term "Kliban cats", yet I instantly knew what H-G must mean.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:47 AM
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The student replied to email quoting the price of the watch to the penny (a bit under $50, which--it's not just me, right?--seems unreasonable for a gift from a grad student to a professor) and claiming it is consistent with de minimis rules and that the student gives out half a dozen of these to professors every year. The former makes me feel like they think I'm making an accusation of legal impropriety and the latter like they think I think I'm being hit on, neither of which was my intent.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:49 AM
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Write back "you mean you got me a knock-off?!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:51 AM
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The price seems way unreasonably high for a gift from a grad student to a professor (which, why is this a thing at all) and way unreasonably low for any watch you'd ever want to wear. Is the guy trying to make the physics department look like chumps?


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:57 AM
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The real solution is to send a gentle email back, saying thanks, you appreciate the gift and the thought a lot, your standards might be different than others but you just don't feel comfortable accepting gifts from grad students. Then you can say something nice about his work in the message, which will be the nicest gift of all.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:59 AM
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way unreasonably low for any watch you'd ever want to wear.

For my sins, I had exactly the same thought.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 11:59 AM
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You're a professor, which is partway down the road to supervillain. I say embrace it. Smash the watch, and leave it on their desk with a note that says "Never argue with me again."


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:00 PM
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Supposedly it was 75% off on Amazon, so usually it's not quite such a cheap watch.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:00 PM
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I endorse comment 300.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:03 PM
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Related-ish to essear's watch inquiry: Is there anything nice I can do to help a professor who's having surgery today? She's really more of a mentor/friend, although she will technically be giving me a grade this semester for work we've done together. She and I live in the same neighborhood, so I already insisted she put me down on the list of People Who Can Be Contacted to Help [Professor] Do Whatever (e.g., run to the store, etc.). Meals are apparently all taken care of. And this morning I texted her a bad pun about the surgery. So, I guess I should just sit back and let her rest/recover, but I have a nagging feeling I should doing something to help.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:04 PM
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should *be* doing something


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:04 PM
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303: As long as you sent a pun and offered to run errands, you're good.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:06 PM
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Wow, that should totes be my new policy. "The only gifts I accept from students are bad puns."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:07 PM
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301: Then just say that you appreciate the gift, but don't feel comfortable without reciprocation, and that a $200 donation has been made in their name to the Human Fund.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:08 PM
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Daily text, asking "Anything I can do? Errands to run? Laundry, grocery shopping (or whatever else seems plausible)?" Repeating the offer makes it more likely she'll take you up on it if there's something she needs.

I'd say stop by, but if she's recovering from surgery I'd hate to make her answer the door unnecessarily.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:08 PM
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take her trash to the curb on trash day? walk her dog?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:10 PM
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I gave a professor of mine a nice used book (related to what they research) when I was in graduate school, because I liked them and I worked part-time in a bookstore where a lot of scholarly used books came in. It seemed in keeping with the way these relationships can be friendish and quasi-collegiate (this professor would show up to grad student parties), even while also being one of a subordinate to a superior (I would have given the same kind of gift to a fellow graduate student). I would not have thought they would think I was bribing them or putting them in an umcomfortable position. I was probably wrong. I was very oblivious to these sorts of things, while also being annoyingly punk about disregarding the value of professional reserve/formality/proprieties.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:10 PM
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310.last is sort of what I was wondering: am I just coming across as really uptight? But this is not a student I know particularly well or consider a friend.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:12 PM
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Return the watch in person, but tell him how much it meant to you that he felt close enough to you to give you such a wonderful gift, and then give him an unsettlingly long and close hug?

He won't think you're uptight.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:14 PM
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In some ways, giving the gift is itself a power move -- you give gifts to people you think of as equals or inferiors, not generally superiors or supervisors. Student may have given the gift as a way of showing equality with/integration into the department.

Still, it's probably not right to accept the gift. You are in fact his supervisor and really don't want to put pressure on other students to think that they have to give gifts. A nice refusal combined with a very friendly, encouraging email, acknowledging the possibility that you may be unduly a tight-ass, is the way to go.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:15 PM
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The hobby in the lobby.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:16 PM
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308: Daily text is a good idea. She's got her very helpful teenage children around, so they'll be pitching in with a lot of the day-to-day stuff, like trash to the curb.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:17 PM
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311: I don't think so. Like I said, I was probably wrong about my assumptions. I agree with 313, other than that I think people by presents for bosses and supervisors all the time.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:19 PM
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very helpful teenage children around

If you know the family to the point that contacting the teenagers directly makes sense, ask them what would be helpful (I'm assuming from the lack of mention there's no other adult in the household). They should be well informed about actual needs/wants and uninhibited about politely refusing assistance.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:20 PM
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by s/b buy, obviously


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:20 PM
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Tell the student to take it back, and save the money. Every year. It'll add up, so that by the time the student can buy you a snow bike, you'll sign off on whatever it is you have to sign off on.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:25 PM
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These watches were given to all the student's teachers? Essear, you've watched enough Veronica Mars to know you need to get that watch checked for bugs.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:30 PM
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you give gifts to people you think of as equals or inferiors, not generally superiors or supervisors.

This is very culturally dependent, no?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:30 PM
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317: And then ask how they'd feel about getting a new daddy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:31 PM
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Heh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:32 PM
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I just found $5. Well, a scratch ticket someone left in a lounge at work that had a $5 prize revealed. I'm not sure what to do with it. Maybe I'll send it to essear.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:42 PM
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I think American culture is far enough along on the "superiors? what superiors? we are all just genial social equals some of whom have to defer to others and do whatever they say" line that I'm not sure there's any immediate problem with giving gifts to people at different levels in the hierarchy. I certainly believe that a student coming into American culture from somewhere else would believe this, given how relatively informal it is compared to most places. Giving the gifts uniformly to all the professors including to ones that one isn't particularly acquainted with is the bit that seems odd to me, though being on their committee does seem like the sort of thing that a student might take to indicate something more. And especially because it sounds like the gifts weren't actually personalized in any real sense (but sound a lot more like tribute).

The bit in 313 about worrying about setting up a pattern/expectation among graduate students is a genuinely important one, though. Graduate students (and, well, professors too) tend towards the "I don't know what the actual rules are here but I know that it's absolutely essential that I don't break any of them", and knowing that another graduate student is giving gifts like that would absolutely affect their actions. Of course this means that if you thank the student, and mention publicly how nice it was that they got you that gift you're guaranteed a good couple years of getting nice gifts from every graduate student you interact with that year. I actually saw this happen when I was a graduate student. For (one of) my oral examination(s) I brought coffee along for everyone* and it took literally one joke about "oh I passed but really just because I gave them coffee" and practically every graduate student brought coffee for everyone to their defense (no matter what time in the day) for at least the next five years. It may still be happening for all I know, but I think it died down after a while.


*In my defense, the damn thing was at like 7 in the morning or something and since I was dragging them in at that hour and was damn well going to be bringing a vat of coffee along for myself it seemed reasonable.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:53 PM
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That's really funny.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 12:57 PM
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The line between graduate student and cargo cultist is thinner than I'd realized.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:01 PM
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I can assure you there is precisely no line.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:02 PM
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I can assure you there is precisely no line.

Also, no cargo.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:09 PM
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325: At alma mater, at least in Physics there was a tradition of bringing coffee and cookies for thesis defences. Fortunately my advisor was one of the faculty leading the charge to eliminate the practice on the grounds that the student already has plenty on their plate and the cookie requirement was just adding to stress needlessly.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:12 PM
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I'm used to giant platters of food and bottles of champagne magically appearing after every defense. Where "magic" presumably means "by the hard work of administrative assistants."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:14 PM
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There was absolutely some of that going on in the department I was in, though I think the general justification is that usually people invited a lot of friends, including from outside the department, and family and stuff along for the public part which made it a kind of occasion. I just scheduled mine in the morning (though not as early), told everyone not to show up, and didn't bring a damn thing for the defense. (I did bring an awful lot of booze for in the graduate lounge afterwards, though.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:26 PM
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So many people that I see have cargo. Why do I have no cargo of my own?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:30 PM
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SF is really quite wimpy - one decent rainstorm and we lose power for hours and hours? Sheesh.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:39 PM
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In some ways, giving the gift is itself a power move -- you give gifts to people you think of as equals or inferiors, not generally superiors or supervisors.

This can be negated by saying "I accept this as tribute." Head pats are optional.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:41 PM
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magically appearing after every defense

Which is awkward when the thesis gets thrashed.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:44 PM
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336: I'm not aware of any case where that has happened. Usually the advisor would not allow it to get to the point of a defense if it's going to fail. (But I was involved in one borderline case and it was super awkward.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 1:53 PM
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My department had one. A very headstrong grad student had chosen a near-retired advisor in order to pursue his own ideas. He made a nonsensical assumption at the start of his work, which was theory so nobody else saw what he was doing.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:02 PM
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As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.


Posted by: Opinionated Graduate Student | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:10 PM
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I had a small seminar with two tutors (one in history, one in literature), and everyone had to bring in a snack partway through the class. It rotated.

I have also taken professors out to lunch. I had one professor who may have assumed that it was getting paid for by some fund for that purpose. It wasn't. I was planning to pay, but I still sort of resented that she didn't go through a dance where she offered and then I insisted. Unreasonable of me, I supposed, but I was mildly annoyed. Especially because she had decided that something was wrong with the less expensive place that I had proposed.

I know that the secretary of a friend of mine gave her a baby gift. (inferior to superior). Tim gave an HR person a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card to somebody in HR, because she had done such a great job with his immigration paperwork after the people who had the job before him really dropped the ball.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:21 PM
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You could always blow this up into an email to all the graduate students informing them that gifts to professors are, if not banned outright, discouraged. A friendly holiday reminder! All the faculty members who were enjoying their new watches from this student will then hate you forever.

dq, thanks for the notice about the Nutcracker -- if the city has recovered by then maybe we'll take our little one to see it.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:26 PM
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I hated being dragged to see The Nutcracker every year as a kid.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:31 PM
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Was this the watch? What a weird gift.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:31 PM
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You're actually trying to find the watch? It's a Se/iko SN/E23/9 so/lar powe/red wat/ch which the grad student excitedly tells me has Loub/outi/n re/d acc/en/ts, which I thought was funny as a response to my saying that one reason I don't want to accept gifts is that many grad students may lack the financial resources to buy such gifts. Presumably most grad students also don't know what Loub/out/in is.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:36 PM
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I know that the secretary of a friend of mine gave her a baby gift. (inferior to superior).

When I was pregnant with Hawaii, I got baby gifts from our custodian and a few other people that made me uncomfortable in the "they can use this money much more than I can" vein. Also it tended to be the kind of gift that we didn't need or want whatsoever. (Oh, a fleecy Winnie-the-pooh blanket, frex. Nothing wrong with it, but we were given way too many baby blankets.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:37 PM
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And because the student will not take the gift back I've had to negotiate a compromise whereby I use a gift receipt to get the money back and I donate that money to charity. I feel defeated. And now that I've used this as an excuse to procrastinate and comment here for most of the day, I need a new excuse not to work tomorrow.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:40 PM
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New Rowling story on Pottermore? The anniversary of the founding of Boys Town (the orphanage, not the bar)? Jennifer Connelly's birthday?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:43 PM
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346: Tomorrow you'll need to decide on the best possible charity.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:43 PM
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I enjoy how close the actual solution in 346 is to my proposed solution in 307.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:45 PM
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In my department, there was a professor whose group took up mandatory collections for his Xmas and birthday (!) gifts. $20 each, group around 20 people. It was so icky. He loved it. He'd also show up at his lab's beer buys (mandatory out-of-pocket for all a student's milestones) and order the most expensive drink available, even upgrading the liquor.

We did cookies and coffee for both qualifiers (2nd year oral exams with your committee) and defense. My first advisor convinced one of his students (he was new, this was his third year there) not to bring either on grounds that it seemed inappropriate and bribe-like. The committee was seriously annoyed.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:49 PM
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That is such a weird gift and weird result. In conclusion, physicists are weird.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:49 PM
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350.1: What? That's a couple of steps above bringing cookies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:52 PM
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346: you feel defeated because you have been defeated. Or at least, you seem to have resigned yourself to defeat. But the solution in 300 in still available to you. The solution in 300 is not defeat.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:52 PM
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Is there a way to put a watch into a particle accelerator? It's probably too big to accelerate, but I was thinking as the target.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:54 PM
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352: Yes. One year, it was some bicycle he wanted. Another year, it was scotch. I was talking to one of his dimmer students who complained about the scotch. "For all that money, you'd think they'd have bought a bigger bottle!" The mandatory beer buys were the worst, though. Couple hundred dollars every time you published, gave a seminar (dept requirement), passed qualifiers, etc.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:57 PM
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He's like crappy watch Oprah. "Here's a crappy watch for you, and one for you, and one for you, and one for you."


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 2:58 PM
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Embrace the mystery!


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:00 PM
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"Mandatory Beer" would have been a great name for a pre-1948 brewery.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:00 PM
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A brewery that was in Palestine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:00 PM
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I'm assured that two administrative assistants were given better watches. At least they're more reasonable people for students to to give gifts to.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:01 PM
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Anyway, I'm sure the beer buys were more costly, but collecting money for your own present from people you supervise seems much more unseemly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:02 PM
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Aw man. You could always just write tersely: "I've reconsidered. I'm just going to give the watch back to you, in your mailbox. I don't have time to work out the details of a charitable exchange. This is my final answer; no more arguments. I look forward to seeing your work on x."


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:02 PM
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350.1 Holy shit wtf. I'm a bit surprised that their colleagues didn't step in to make clear how far over the line that was.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:04 PM
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361: Not quite, establishing a "tradition" of dropping hints about what might make a nice gift and having senior students collect the money (contributing not optional), buy the gift, circulate a card, and present you with it. Most of the students minded it less because $20 twice a year was easier to swallow what the guy's outrageous alcohol tab.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:05 PM
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365

-what


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:06 PM
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+ than. I've been at work too long.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:06 PM
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363: But then someone might feel free to criticize their "management style."


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:09 PM
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I actually had a member of my committee openly try to tank my defense (as in, not just aggressively hostile during the defense itself but make a point to tell me how they thought I wasn't good enough and that my thesis didn't deserve to pass afterwards). My adviser was livid in a polite try-not-to-speak-badly-about-a-colleague-but-also-had-had-a-beer way. I was substantially less bothered by the whole thing, because of how openly nonsense their objections had been, and probably also because I hadn't had to sit there during the post-defense deliberations dealing with them.*

This thread is also making me feel insecure because I have (sitting on the other side of the room right now) what I think of as a fairly nice gift that I bought for my adviser. (Which is to say, I think it's nice but also I'm worried because I think it might look more expensive than it actually was.)

*(It was particularly funny to me because they were throwing a fit about the fact that I'd attributed a view to someone that they themselves had insisted on pretty aggressively earlier. Literally they had they had thrown a similar fit about my not attributing that view to them during my proposal defense. It's hard to know exactly what was up with that person, but I'm guessing a combination of narcissism, incompetence, and the sneaking awareness that other people were kind of aware of the first two. Coincidentally that view, which they were right about the second time, somehow managed to disappear in the space between the defense and the submission of the final draft to the graduate school. Also coincidentally when it disappeared a chapter ten pages and two sections longer than all the other chapters suddenly turned into a chapter the same length and number of sections as all the others. I have (ahem) no idea how that happened.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:13 PM
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364.last: I see. I was assuming the alcohol was a round of beer for the whole lab.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:13 PM
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350 is pretty amazing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:13 PM
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One group for their adviser's birthday took a collection of $10 each and bought about 1200 of the super-cheap ramen packets (12 for a dollar at the time if I remember correctly) and covered the entire floor of his office with them.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:14 PM
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I bet my office only measures about 400 ramen packs.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:16 PM
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The depth is probably more than three packs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:18 PM
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369: An evening of alcohol for the whole lab + boss. I think $200-300 was pretty typical. Most folks tried to split costs with someone else (or multiple someones else) who "owed" a beer buy.

371: I have heard this story!


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:20 PM
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a chapter the same length and number of sections as all the others.

I'm amazed that you had any two chapters equinumerous in terms of pages and sections, much less that all of them were.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:32 PM
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They weren't equal in page count (6 (introduction); 30; 32; 38; 34; 6 (conclusion)), just within the same general vicinity. Shaving 11 pages or so off of one of them did a lot to make things closer though. And they were all Introduction-and-five-sections, which was the more satisfying part of cutting out the bit I put in there for the nasty committee member.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:38 PM
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Today I received my Christmas turkey in lieu of holiday bonus. I haven't heard any noises coming from the box all afternoon. I'm worried it may be dead. A dead turkey for Christmas!


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:41 PM
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You put it in a nice nest and it will perk right up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:44 PM
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As an undergrad and in grad school, I gave small gifts to professors and admin assistants who had worked particularly hard on my behalf. We also had a tradition of students bringing coffee and pastries to proposal and dissertation defenses (& sometimes practice job talks), but at least one of my committee members was trying to stop the practice on the grounds that it was unfair to grad students. There was also a strong norm that if a prof meets a student for coffee, a meal, or drinks, the prof always pays. The situation Ydnew describes would have been unthinkable.

Now that I'm a prof, my dept has a more or less mandatory contribution for a cash gift to the three admin assistants each year, with the amount expected based on rank (assistants give $40, associates give $70, etc).


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 3:47 PM
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380

Maybe the student sees the power differential going the other way and giving gifts to non-advisory faculty and staff is like tipping servants to them.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 4:04 PM
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||

Just because I'm listening to NPR about all this Congress budget finagling: Is it possible that Obama came out in favor of the House bill in order to polarize and sabotage the whole thing?

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 4:09 PM
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380: It may be true in some sense that untenured faculty are the least powerful people in the university. In some cases that might even drive people to feel so insecure that they bully Chinese restaurants over small change.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 4:19 PM
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382: I thought that guy was tenured? Or do they do that untenured associate prof thing there? I figured that being a lawyer at a business school was more than enough to explain being such an asshole.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 4:25 PM
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I don't know if the business school operates differently, but in most of the university only full professors have tenure.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 4:33 PM
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lurid, if you come to the Sunday matinee let me know and we can chat at the interval would love to see you and meet your little one!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 6:09 PM
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386

||

I get that marrying my mother and moving thousands of miles across the globe has to be a difficult and lonely experience, however worth it getting an American education might be in terms of your future back home with your family, but could you just not despondently drunk dial me, actually? Is there any way I could avoid playing that role for you?

|>


Posted by: Ulysses S. Grant | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:33 PM
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In some cultures, drunk dialing is a form of respect.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:37 PM
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386: Wow.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:38 PM
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389

!!!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:40 PM
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386 Hoo boy!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:57 PM
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Good lord. That's certainly something.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 8:58 PM
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392

To cheer people up, here is a video of a man trying to catch a wombat in a sewer pipe.

Via The Toast.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 9:00 PM
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Reasonable people will be reasonable about academic gifts, unreasonable people unreasonable. If you're confident your gift is to/from a reasonable person, no real worries.

The really important thing is when you get a nice gift bag from an (ex-)student with a bottle of wine or port in it as a thank-you, to check before you leave it under a sunny window and go on holidays whether there might also be a ripe Cambembert in there.


Posted by: millicent friendly | Link to this comment | 12-11-14 10:51 PM
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368.2. If you've already defended successfully you can buy your advisor a Mercedes Benz if you want and nobody can legitimately criticise you. It's before that matters.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 3:44 AM
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If it became common practice for a successful defense to result in a Mercedes Benz for the advisor, that would be a conflict of interest.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 8:03 AM
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396

But surely advisors are already supposed to be supporting the students' efforts at a successful defense?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 8:12 AM
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397

Sure, but only half-assedly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 8:14 AM
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398

A 2012 Ford Focus would be about right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 8:15 AM
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399

I can't tell if 393.1 is calling me unreasonable. Oh well.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 8:20 AM
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400

399: I don't think so. It's suggesting your response to the gift should depend on whether you consider the gifter to be a reasonable person.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 8:24 AM
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401

Never look a gift student in the mouth. Especially not right after lunch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 8:26 AM
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402

398: Very oprah-esque or Ellenish.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 8:28 AM
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403

Ellen Barkin has given me cars before.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 8:30 AM
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404

Yes to 400. But reasonable people will typically keep the price low and the mood casual, so essear's student pretty clearly fails (unless there's some culture gap thing going on). I'm always tickled to get a gift from a student, especially if it's a thankyou for some concrete useful thing I did, but they're rarely worth much. No cheese though, please.

The problem with 394 is that the advisee relation is really lifelong, like having a niece or something. They need you more *after* graduation, for those all-important letters of recommendation. So there's never a point at which the uncharitable couldn't view a gift from a (grad) student as a bribe, or sucking up.


Posted by: millicent friendly | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 11:09 AM
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405

...the advisee relation is really lifelong...

I wish my advisor subscribed to this philosophy. He's more of a throw you off the deep end and see if you sink kind of guy. Nice, but useless after graduation. He's a big deal within the field, so he ought to be able to leverage that into real help, but nope.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-12-14 11:50 AM
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406

dq, we'll be there -- our tickets are for seats K2 and K4, near the aisle? My kid is so excited. I hope it lives up to her unfathomable preschooler expectations.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 12-14-14 9:20 AM
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