Re: Decluttering

1

I can't help but suspect that this sort of thing is fashionable in wealthy circles because it amounts to another sort of conspicuous consumption. Instead of "look at all this stuff I have" it's just "look at how many kinds of things I can throw out, safe in the knowledge that if I suddenly do need that thing again I can just go buy another one to replace it."

The difference between this mindset and the one you see in people who spent a lot of formative years during the great depression is the key: I clearly remember cleaning out my grandfather's belongings and finding that he had what had to be at least twenty pencil stubs carefully stored away just in case. By "stubs" I don't mean 'golf pencil' style, but less than an inch long.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 1:43 PM
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Just read it. Seemed like a lot of words to get to its conclusion (we delete stuff because it's too hard to delete emails, or something), which is reasonable, I suppose.

Me, I'm with Heebie. I don't feel besieged by my stuff, because it's all stuff I chose, more or less. It's certainly the case that I've gotten rid of things and later regretted it, which doesn't seem to be a concept that exists for the anti-clutterites.

I guess part of what bugs me is the idea of radical reduction - only own 15 objects! It just reeks of bogus goal-making, a timeless impulse of American self-help. I'm fine with the basic idea of, "Maybe throw out stuff you never use when you do a big house-cleaning"; it's the presumed virtue over what's basically displaced anxiety that doesn't impress me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 1:48 PM
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I like my stuff but I also feel good when I get rid of stuff. I AM comity.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 1:52 PM
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The ultralight hiking people cut labels from clothing in order to advance their fetish hike faster. You can go to far, is what I'm saying. Still, I think people not getting rid of actual worthless junk is a bigger problem in terms of the number of cases and the damage done. I'm pretty sure one of my neighbors is heading down the road to where she falls asleep with a cigarette and the fire department can't get to her body for six hours because of the stuff.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 1:54 PM
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Which you think Hallmark could make a card for, the lazy fucks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 1:55 PM
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I read that Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book and it was, no joke, life changing. I'm one of those insufferable people the author talks about. If you've seen me IRL in the last two months, I have no doubt cornered you and told you about tidying at length with the zeal of a religious convert.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 2:29 PM
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I fantasize about decluttering my home with gasoline and matches. Also, my desk at work.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 2:31 PM
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The closest I come to decluttering is periodically selling several bags of books to the used bookstore (or giving them away to whatever agency is convenient to give them away to). I nevertheless still usually have more books than shelf space.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 2:37 PM
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My closest friend texted me this weekend, asking if I wanted to come over to help get rid of his stuff. Did I want to come throw out stuff?! Oh yeah. I always want to throw out his stuff.

He said I was surprisingly gentle about it. I think he expected me to show up with a flamethrower.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 2:43 PM
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I get a huge kick out of all these "suffering upper middle class person" things, like the person quotes as saying "There's too much in my head, there's too much stuff in my house, too." Oh, yes, no doubt, your head is just too crowded with great thoughts and sensitive upper middle class person pain, it's very sad. I bet none of the 'too much in my head" is, like, worrying about how to make rent, or worrying about how to pay your medical bills, or worrying about getting dinner on the table.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 2:47 PM
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10: I think that a lot of people worry about how to get nutritious meals on the table if they are busy. That's not exclusively a problem of finances.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 2:50 PM
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On that last one, I've known people who couldn't put dinner on the table in the sense that they had too much crap on their table for there to be room for dinner.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 2:52 PM
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My dad's brother used to spread out another layer of newspaper over the table after each meal. When the layers got too thick, he'd roll them up and take them out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 2:54 PM
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I Somebody got TWYRCL somebody that Japanese decluttering book for Christmas. She lost it in some heap or other of clutter. I think this is what some people would call a congruent pattern of passive-aggression.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 2:59 PM
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Of course, he was a hamster, so it wasn't too strange.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:00 PM
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I've got that book on my kindle, but haven't read it yet.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:00 PM
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There's nothing like packing for an overseas job for making you declutter your life. I've given away hundreds of books so far, and have hundreds more to go (the plus side there, I no longer have to schlep around dozens of boxes of books when I move, also the email I received from a young friend whom I gave two boxes of books I thought he'd like with the subject heading "this box of gold").

It's a wearying process partly because I'm opening up boxes that have been in storage since a very traumatic divorce and life-changing illness forced me to put my life on hold and most everything in storage and so I'm constantly being reminded of the past and rediscovering new things I thought I'd lost from that time - which latter part is pleasant in its fashion but energy draining and time-consuming. Then faced with the prospect of getting rid of them. Toss, Shred, Keep. Reiterate until I'm down to a manageable quantity of things I need and things I can't bear to part with.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:08 PM
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Toss, Shred, Keep. Reiterate until I'm down to a manageable quantity of things I need and things I can't bear to part with.

As I read this, you've got a huge mass of broken, shredded objects you are keeping.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:13 PM
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18 It's certainly starting to seem that way.

Those are my three choices for what category I put things in as I go through everything. Like fuck, marry, kill but for stuff.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:19 PM
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I am on the waiting list at the library for that Life-Changing Magic book. (To avoid attracting one more piece of book shaped clutter no doubt.) The one piece of advice I gleaned from the Kindle sample was sound: get rid of things that do not bring you joy. Unfortunately I have a pretty low joy threshold for individual items. It's in the aggregate that they feel oppressive.

Also: Becks!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:27 PM
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Joy is not a cumulative property.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:30 PM
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1: The fashion blogger "capsule wardrobe" trend seems to be like this. Let me show how minimalist I am, by packing up my closet in favor of some timeless pieces, which I now have to go out and buy.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:36 PM
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21: nor is it associative or transitive.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:37 PM
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Toss, Shred, Keep.

AIMSIHMHB, the industrial shredding facility near my place is The Greatest Place On Earth.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:40 PM
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The ultralight hiking people cut labels from clothing in order to advance their fetish hike faster.

That makes sense, but why just the label? Wouldn't creating swiss cheese holes all over all your clothes be far more efficient? And your backpack and water bottle.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 3:48 PM
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Water is heavy.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 4:02 PM
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That's sort of how they invented the backpacking quilt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 4:03 PM
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The best thing about the book is that it gives you the permission to get rid of things you really don't have a use for anymore but have too much guilt about throwing out. That book you bought three years ago and still haven't read? You're never going to read it. Thank it for teaching you that you don't want to read that book and chuck it. That birthday present from your mother you hate? It has served its purpose by giving her the joy of giving it to you and get rid of it. That shirt you were wearing that you met when you wore your spouse? It's served its purpose. Thank it for serving its purpose and discard.

So freeing.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 4:17 PM
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Next up: Becks moves to a tiny house.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 4:32 PM
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That shirt you were wearing that you met when you wore your spouse? It's served its purpose.

But what if I need to impersonate a member of Meatloaf's security team for business reasons?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 4:34 PM
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So hey Flip did you like your gift?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 4:36 PM
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That book blog you bought co-founded three fifteen years ago


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 4:42 PM
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That shirt you were wearing that you met when you wore your spouse?

I read this sentence several times with the vague sense "something is wrong here" before it became clear.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 4:46 PM
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It puts the basket in the lotion or the hose gets it again.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 4:56 PM
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That birthday present from your mother you hate? It has served its purpose by giving her the joy of giving it to you and get rid of it.

Other people's mothers don't check up years later on every present they've ever given?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 5:43 PM
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Other people's mothers don't check up years later on every present they've ever given?

You get rid of it and replace it with an exact replica.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 5:46 PM
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"Oh, I wore that to death. I finally had to get rid of it, it was so worn out."

Did you guys see the article in Salon by the person whose mother was so into purging belongings that the mother sold the author's bed while the author was still living at home and sleeping in the bed nightly? That cracked me up. I nearly sent it to my sister, because my sister is real fast to get rid of stuff. I didn't send it, but my sister saw the article herself and conceded a resemblance.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 5:59 PM
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36 The Stepford Presents.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 6:08 PM
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"We had an accident and the fuck saw went right through it."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 6:13 PM
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17.2: That is so draining. When we were moving to DC, I kept finding these hidden stores of papers - think unopened mail - that the boyfriend had stashed before we had company over. So, I'd pull books off the shelves to give away, and behind the books, there would be this grocery bag with a three year old cable bill (that probably got paid the following month), junk mail addressed to me (because he felt bad throwing it away without my seeing it), and maybe scratch paper with work stuff or grocery lists. It was maddening. I hope yours is at least not tons of random items adding to the magnitude of the job.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 6:23 PM
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Isn't the author of the linked piece the Bringing Up Bébé lady who got so comprehensively trashed by this crowd in TFA way back when?


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 7:02 PM
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I fucked something dumb up again for the second time in a row, and instead of being asleep for another hour or going swimming, I managed to get myself to ngurah rai airport a FULL three hours in advance. I need like 1.5 max. I don't want this fucking coffee. also, USD$4.50 for "a flat white"? fuck you, the coffee club. do you know what's really well-known for being good? like, normal balinese coffee with condensed milk in it. when you're done drinking there is black stuff at the bottom that will make your heart race. anyway I have that horrible queasy feeling of traveling coffee can only exacerbate. well, let's just hope airasia really cracked the whip on those fuckers that couldn't fly the planes.

this whole rigamarole is so that a 20-ft container of bullshit cm get sent to lombok. you'd think after getting rid of that, and getting rid of half our book, there wouldn't be mysterious tottering piles everywhere in my apartment. "there's my important prescription! and that flower press I bought last april!"


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 7:12 PM
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books


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 7:13 PM
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My best de cluttering effort has been money-related papers and such. About every three months for about nine running, I scan them all and file, reconcile bank statements, shove my call logs into a database, and shred everything. It take all day, but is a very satisfying feeling. (The call database is maybe weird, sorry. I figure everyone else has access to my call history, so I should too.)

My current disaster is turning out to be trying to do two expensive things at once. I'm building a storage server for the home network, and also have been gearig up to make furniture. So I have half of the server, and this weekend just discovered how expensive nice wood is (bookshelf material at ~$500), so I have tools and no wood yet. There is an easy solution called doing one thing at a time, but somehow I got here without thinking it through.


Posted by: grumbles | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 7:51 PM
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You can't get your call logged electronically? Cell phones obviously keep track, not that I know how to get the information off. I'd assume you could buy a land line phone that keeps the record for you.

Also, that is weird.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 8:02 PM
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36: The gift of Theseus.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 8:09 PM
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46: LOL. am I going to add to the problem by buying bullshit in the airport? I am, right? you can't visit children in the hospital without a batik teddy bear. there's a law. unwritten in most places, but in narnia you can get up to two years and three strokes with the cane.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 8:40 PM
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44.1 is blowing my mind. File everything, keep i for 3-5 years, then throw out the backlog. Scanning? Reconciling? The need for any of this is entirely theoretical, so why put in any more effort than storing and chucking?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 8:46 PM
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reconcile LOL. my bank could have been stealing a lot of money from me. some richard pryor in superman 3 (?). guess my tax attorney is supposed to stop them now, like checks and balances? I used to put my hand over the balance display on the ATM so I wouldn't know how little money I had when I was using drugs. I was scared to look. and what are the odds the nice people at bank of america would...


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 9:36 PM
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BATIK GIRAFFE, BITCHEZ. in a tasteful, faded lilly pulitzer esque thing. because the bears have button eyes and coraline has ruined childhood.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 9:37 PM
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44.1: do you then get the digital mass signed or notarized? We don't but I vaguely feel we ought to.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-17-15 11:01 PM
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Getting rid of books I'll never read is wonderful, liberating. This does not extend to records for some reason. I have at times gotten rid of some but it made me sad.

Oudemia and I forget who else will share my problem that when you get rid of something, you have to tell it "hey, you were a really good [whatever]" and wish it happy adventures, and this does not take much time, but does make you feel like an outright loony sometimes.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 12:39 AM
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Why not accuse it of stealing, plant the stolen goods on it, and then order it out of your sight while the rest of your possessions look on and learn to respect you?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 5:17 AM
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I will never be minimalist or whatnot but I succumb to the delusion that if I buy enough organiser boxes / hangers etc from IKEA I will streamline my life. I did knuckle down at the weekend to confronting bags and bags of paper based clutter (mostly old bills a la ydnew's boyfriend, many go back to 2012 which was a bad year) and have put away the keepers, recycled the throw away ones and put onto the fire about half of the small pile I don't want to recycle. Except that I still have a bunch of receipts to go through, and the little miscellaneous objects which were in the same bags (batteries, elastic bands, membership cards, small plastic bits off larger things, coins, knick knack paddywhack give a dog a bone). Clothes are already mostly ok, shoes have been organised before but need some rethinking, books ha ha I made the mistake of getting rid of books before and I was sorry. There might be a few I will really never reread and could shed.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:07 AM
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Every day I come home and empty my pockets and put the receipts in a bin with my change and keys. When the bin gets full, I take the receipts and put them in a manila envelop which I carefully label with the date. With sufficient pressure, one envelop will hold about a year or so worth of receipts assuming I pay cash for most small things and that I properly file receipts I might actually need. Then I find the envelopes about five years later and shred everything it in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:13 AM
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Another one for team Heebie here. "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful", quoth William Morris. And he was more or less right*, but there's quite a lot of stuff that falls into those categories, so watcha gonna do?

Also, I have a nagging feeling that this whole decluttering thing is an eevul capitalist plot: "Get rid of your stuff so that you can more easily run round the world at our beck and call (like Barry)," the boss men say. "Don't have your own space the way you like it; it might inconvenience us!"

*There are books which are neither particularly useful nor beautiful, but I just like reading. So sue me.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:20 AM
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I'm not at all sure about the Evil Capitalist Plot. People are building very big houses these days. I don't think that's unrelated to having lots of stuff.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:34 AM
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Anyway, and I realize this is probably going to sound stupid to someone from Britain and a previous generation, it takes some kind of commitment to reducing or eliminating possessions to remain comfortable with three people in a 1,500 square foot house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:38 AM
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57. Maybe, although the fantasy home for rich fucks these days seems to involve acres of empty shiny floor space with the odd geometrical object in the middle of it. Compare and contrast your wealthy Victorian drawing room where you couldn't move for occasional tables and corner cupboards piled high with stuffed birds and sepia photographs and an aspidistra against every wall.

Anyway, the capitalists aren't telling each other to subordinate their lives, it's "Do as we say, not as we do."


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:46 AM
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56.1: That sounds very wise, but it gets really cold in winter so I'm not sure it's a good idea for some of us.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:46 AM
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His house is cramped, my house is comfortable, their house is ostentatious.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:48 AM
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58. And you're right. It does sound stupid.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:50 AM
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60. If it gets really cold in winter, then everything that keeps you warmer you know to be useful.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:53 AM
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Especially this week. Every year I forget and am reminded that "cold stress" is an actual thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:55 AM
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56- just like the modern office movement, where you don't have your own desk but have to claim a new one each day. With houses we can call it the next step in the sharing economy.
58- how about 6 people in 1500 sq ft?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:57 AM
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65.2: Unpossible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 6:57 AM
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Plus three fish. +/-, they die and are replaced fairly frequently. Probably not enough floor space to keep them healthy.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 7:01 AM
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65.2 Can be done if everyone is aged between 18 and 25. Otherwise, not ideal.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 7:03 AM
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They'd probably be healthier in a tank or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 7:03 AM
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58- how about 6 people in 1500 sq ft?

Nyeah, nyeah, we've got 1900.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 7:10 AM
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Another one for team Heebie here. "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful", quoth William Morris. And he was more or less right*, but there's quite a lot of stuff that falls into those categories, so watcha gonna do?

This seems less like advice than a utility function. What else would you have in your house deliberately? Even rubbish is useful in some sense - it saves you taking a trip out to the bins every few minutes.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 7:18 AM
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"Amassing" opposed to "collecting" as more just the accumulation of cheaper stuff without discrimination or reasonable limit, is indeed a middle-class to lower-middle-class phenomenon. Whereas being surrounded by empty space owned and controlled is the rich person's pleasure. Japanese bourgeois pretensions were to the best of both worlds, with a storehouse of rotating artifacts to be placed in an empty room.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 7:22 AM
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70- We can send the kids out to the igloo when they're being annoying.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 7:24 AM
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We recently added a third person to our household, which required extensive decluttering as, while I'm not any kind of crazy hoarder, my default is generally "keep". There now seems to be room in our ~1,000 sf for everything that remains, though only just.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 7:28 AM
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This seems less like advice than a utility function.

This makes me so happy. I'm going to say it to someone in a sneering tone today, I guarantee it.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 7:29 AM
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63: I think you may be missing the joke there....


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 7:30 AM
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AIMHM before the apartment I live in is about 500 sqft. It felt quite roomy for one person but now that my brother has moved back in it we do have to have a bit of patience.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:10 AM
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I'm pretty sure that either of my sisters would murder me if I lived in a place of that size with them. I wouldn't murder them because I'm a feminist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:12 AM
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We've been on a decluttering mission [well I have, since the clutter is largely mine] since we moved into our current place. It's a lot less cluttered than the last two places we've lived, but I've still got a lot of crap to get rid of.*

Some of that crap is quite handy, though. When my hifi pre-amp broke last year, it was quite handy that in the attic of our old house I still had another amp that I could swap in while I waited to get it repaired [and waited to afford the money].

* camera stuff, dark-room stuff, a guitar I never play, an old hifi, some CDs and books. Some computer bits and bobs that might 'come in handy'.**
** won't.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:21 AM
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Is your crazy commute any better?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:22 AM
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I bet my brothers and I would actually make great roommates with each other, because I suspect we care and don't care about nearly identical things.


Posted by: Ladybird Johnson | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:24 AM
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79: If I were a camera person, I would think that getting rid of camera stuff would be hard.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:34 AM
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I bet my brothers and I would actually make great roommates with each other, because I suspect we care and don't care about nearly identical things.

Is this ever at odds with the impression I've gotten.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:35 AM
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83: after they finish their epic brawl over whether to move in to a McMansion in suburban Phoenix, a log cabin in Wisconsin, a small apartment in New York, or a big condo in Miami, they'll be perfectly happy together.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:37 AM
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I was raised in part by my Depression/WW2 era grandparents who were pretty sure hanging on to everything was necessary for the coming apocalypse. I have trouble throwing out old string (you never know when you could need it!). My pack rat tendencies really don't jive with my peripatetic lifestyle. I'm also cheap and don't like paying for shipping or storage, so that doesn't really help either. I just gave away a skirt I've owned since high school and doesn't really fit right anymore, and I felt a huge twinge of remorse immediately after I gave it away. I've had it for 15 years and it's not particularly stylish or flattering, and my boyfriend told me I need to stop wearing unflattering clothes from the 90s simply because they haven't worn out and mostly fit.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:39 AM
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83: My brothers as singletons...


Posted by: Ladybird Johnson | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:42 AM
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I'm going to anonymize things...


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:42 AM
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my boyfriend told me I need to stop wearing unflattering clothes from the 90s simply because they haven't worn out and mostly fit.

He sounds like a bad person. Perhaps you should purge him from your apartment.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 9:54 AM
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re: 79

Not really. I've worked out a few more shortcuts for when the traffic is horrible, but I'm still driving 3+ hours a day at least 3 and usually 4 days a week.

re: 82

Yeah, although part of the process has been useful, as I've zoned in one what I actually like/want.

i) Rolleiflex,
ii) a small mirrorless digital camera with a couple of good prime lenses.
iii) basically nothing else.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 10:00 AM
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The best thing about the book is that it gives you the permission to get rid of things you really don't have a use for anymore but have too much guilt about throwing out.

Haven't caught up with the rest of the thread, but I don't really have this problem. I enjoy throwing things I don't want out, and don't experience much guilt about it at all. It's the stuff that I do want that ends up as clutter.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 11:31 AM
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(And I've been living without the stuff that I'd accumulated for all of my life up to that point for three years now, and ... I still want most of it. Happy to get rid of the things that I've actually replaced, though.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 11:32 AM
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when you get rid of something, you have to tell it "hey, you were a really good [whatever]" and wish it happy adventures,

And yes, despite my claims of no guilt I do have to do this, too.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 11:36 AM
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I enjoy throwing things I don't want out, and don't experience much guilt about it at all. It's the stuff that I do want that ends up as clutter.

This is me, too. I like purging stuff I don't like. There's also a lot I like.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 11:46 AM
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Tge reason I keep records that way is that it seems to be all or nothing for me - if I'm not hyper-organized about it, I can't do it at all.

As far as more general clutter, I come from a long line of borderline horders. I'm not as bad as, say, my grandmother (there are several hundred sets of mid-century china in her attic, no exaggeration, accumulated by her mother). I do try to apply a one year rule to many things - it can go if I haven't used it in a year and it annoys me. But for some classes of things, I don't mind being the one friends suspect probably have an X they can borrow. (Now including a 1.6 watt blue laser. It is as useless, fun and borderline scary as it sounds.)

Of course, if I end up moving into a normally-proportioned apartment, a bunch of crap will have to go.


Posted by: grumbles | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 11:53 AM
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Yeah, I stage stuff in my attic and tell myself that I can rotate it through the main house. I do actually do that, so it works out OK to keep stuff.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 12:13 PM
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94: Every time I see your pseud it reminds me of this.

http://www.pbfcomics.com/98/


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 12:15 PM
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I just recategorize clutter as insulation.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 12:29 PM
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98

37: a friend of mine (father's Sicilian/ mother's Peruvian) was storing most of her wedding gifts at her parents' house while she's doing a fellowship. Something like half of them got lost/donated away. This made their New Year's trip to Wueens exciting.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 3:04 PM
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But is there ever a non-exciting time to visit Wueens?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 3:48 PM
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Of course old, unread books have a purpose: to remind us of how long it's been since we meant to read them.


Posted by: _ | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:10 PM
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101

I'm a flounder!


Posted by: _ | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:11 PM
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Heh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:14 PM
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We recently added a third person to our household

Yay!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02-18-15 8:26 PM
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Five people in about 1200 sq. ft. of actively usable space. There is both a high density of stuff and a high velocity of usage. Fortunately, there is a large if unfinished basement.

Which is good, because they will have to pry my books from my cold, dead hands.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 12:56 AM
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99: Should have been "Queens".


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 6:01 AM
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I enjoyed reading all this. I agree that the ideals of decluttering are closely related to the cult of youth -- for me this is certainly true. For a long time I had one box of memorabilia that I carried around with me -- that was all I felt I was entitled to. Letters, notebooks, art, a few non-paper objects. As life got longer, a lot of that stuff became digital (and now the digital archive dwarfs the contents of the box), but there is also a lot more stuff that would easily fit the "deserves to be in the box" criteria I established when I was 17. I can't keep *all* that stuff anymore, and that's fine, but it's a clear, and rather upsetting, indicator that the scale of my life has changed. (Yeah, I'm not handling aging very well.) For others too, I get the impression that decluttering has the same age-fighting effect as wrinkle cream or Pilates or whatever the male equivalents are. I remember a little too vividly an article that quoted some rich guy saying "I was happiest when all my stuff fit in a backpack and I rode my bike everywhere." Christ, yes. But that was also awesome because I was 19, and the only check on my ambition was worrying that love wouldn't last forever.

I want a tiny house on wheels far more than I want to buy a real house, but I can't exactly reconcile this with the needs of the other two people in the household. Nor with my actual, real feelings about driving the fucker up I-5 towards the northwest dreamland. We get by with less than 1000 square feet plus a small basement office and garage, though, and my stomach turns at expanding that allocation by much.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 10:05 AM
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I want a tiny house on wheels far more than I want to buy a real house, but I can't exactly reconcile this with the needs of the other two people in the household.

OHSOMUCH


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 10:06 AM
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The obvious way to square the circle is with a cob cabin outside town. You just need some ground with scenery.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 10:08 AM
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I always liked the look of cordwood masonry more, but I bet you'd get done a lot faster.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 10:20 AM
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True. Plus, I think it probably has a higher R value.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 10:27 AM
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Combine the two?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 10:30 AM
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That looks like neither cob nor cordwood.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 10:33 AM
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Well, it was supposed to be that type wall. And the top is grass, which is close enough--certainly there are cob houses with planted roofs!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 10:48 AM
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Maybe that is cordwood. I can't tell very well in the tiny picture. I thought it was rocks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 10:49 AM
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"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"

What, I can't even go in my own house? That's taking this whole decluttering thing a bit too far.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 1:48 PM
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Oh, MAE, we know you to be both beautiful and useful!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:02 PM
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'Useful' is subjective. Those scraps of wood I keep in my crawl space? Not at all useful at the present time. But someday! I have plans!

'Beautiful' is overrated. I prefer 'awesome.'


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:09 PM
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I hope you have plans that involve mushrooms or a very dry crawl space.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:10 PM
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119

115 -> 60


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:16 PM
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By the way, does any one else share my sentiment that there is something quasi-sinful about throwing away books? Selling or giving them away is fine, but I don't think I could bring myself to throw a book in the trash, unless it was damaged. There are few other other categories of objects I feel that way about.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:23 PM
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I used to. Then I had a Michael Crichton book, no place to put it, and the recycling bin was right there. Once the gate opened, it got easier.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:25 PM
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I know of a guy who keeps all the paper SAS manuals back to at least version 6. There's only one reason to have those manuals on paper. So you can read them in the bathroom. And he doesn't do that. There's just sitting there, possibly to make the unsophisticated search capabilities of the online manual look great by comparison.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:30 PM
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120: I used to but then one of my stepdaughter's teachers gave her a book of Jehovah's Witness teachings.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:32 PM
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123: That did happen, but the truer answer is that I used to but then I went from working at an academic library to working at a law firm library. We throw out books all the time.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:34 PM
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There's probably some rule against that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:34 PM
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126

To 123.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:35 PM
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My dad made me replace all the inserts in the backs of all the books in his law library. I think he might have paid me, but it was still not pleasant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:36 PM
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AIPMHB.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:37 PM
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129

I've thrown out books, but only ones that offended me. In the one case I can think of off hand it was a book arguing that HIV was a harmless virus unrelated to AIDS (sitting on a 'free books if you want them' shelf, and apparently I wanted it for that purpose only.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:39 PM
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working at a law firm library. We throw out books all the time.

I am so deep in agreement with 120 that I get a little anxious every year when it's time to get an updated copy of the Federal Rules and throw out the old one.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 2:46 PM
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120 I pretty much feel the same way. That's why I'm desperately trying to find takers for my library. I've already given away a couple of hundred books. Now I'm trying to find anyone in the NYC/LI area with an interest in continental philosophy, phenomenology, critical theory, etc. Also Native American studies and theology. Still have a ton of Arabic stuff too. FREE BOOKS!

However, I don't feel quite as strongly about it as I once did and I must admit to throwing away some old trashy fantasy novels and stuff like a bunch of Ward Churchill's books I regrettably bought a long time ago. And some other stuff that I just thought was crap (Stephen Carter "The Culture of Disbelief" you are destined for the recycle bin).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 3:19 PM
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129, oh yeah, I'd put a few in that category. Like "Evolution as a religion" or some such nonsense. Can't believe I tossed that "God, man, and Archie Bunker" book though. That one should have been a keeper.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 3:21 PM
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131 - A lot of university departments really will have some place tucked away where Professors can dump old books and graduate students can pick them up (it's the circle of life but for books!*). If you go ask the secretaries at a couple of likely departments (philosophy would be tricky, but I'm guessing literary theory stuff would be promising) you could probably find a place to leave them.

The truly absurd but slightly offensive books are kind of gold, by the way. I absolutely have a massive, oversized book by some creationist trying to argue that species are clearly fixed and immutable by a series of pictures of fossils and their modern(ish) counterparts and saying "look they're the same!"**, and also a book of "moral philosophy"*** by L Ron Hubbard (from when someone spammed all the moral philosophy professors in the department with boxes of scientology books.


*No joke for about ten years I had a really old and falling apart copy of a McKeon Basic Works of Aristotle with four different names written at the beginning, as it was passed down through various people. Now someone else has it, though I don't know if he wrote his name inside it.
**Including several where, no kidding, the fossil is clearly different than the skeleton he's comparing it to.
***He presents "the first nonreligious moral code based wholly on common sense", by which he means a bunch of really dumb aphorisms.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 3:31 PM
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The creationist book is currently in storage (meaning buried in a large stack of books underneath my bed) so I don't have easy access to it, but I looked it up and it is The Atlas of Creation (Vol. 1). It is over 800 (very large) pages and weighs about fifteen pounds.

Also the amazon reviews where I found it point out that not only are some of the species clearly distinct, in several cases the modern version of an insect is actually a fishing lure.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 3:36 PM
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134.2: Now THAT'S comedy.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 3:55 PM
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Oh shit, one review of that book pointed out that they released a new version of the Codex Seraphinianus and you can get a copy for only around $80 now.

This may be an expensive day.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 3:57 PM
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135: you can even see the hook!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 4:25 PM
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136 - I have that very edition, received as a birthday present last year.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 4:58 PM
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120: I can toss my own, but the DE's (except for some paperbacks and magazines that had reached a weaponizable COPD-generating stage of decay) I've either kept or found good homes for. The kids can decide what to do with all of them after I'm cat food.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 5:12 PM
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||

I only sort of think I have Morgellon's.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 5:18 PM
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Maybe if you keep thinking about it, you might get it for reals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 5:30 PM
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This interview with the author of the Codex has some odd bits in it. "To produce a body of creative work is a practice based on small details, like word puns. You have to be focused, and there are no shortcuts." Stanley must be well on his way.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 5:34 PM
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Oops. I thought I closed that tag.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 5:35 PM
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140: Heebie, the things that keep coming out of you aren't mysterious filaments--they're babies.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 5:40 PM
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For someone who, the last time I checked, claimed that the written "language" in the Codex was not in fact a real language that you could translate that's either a telling quote or a clever attempt to keep people trying to translate those symbols.

From what I can recall (relatively little at this point - it was a long time ago) of taking mescaline, I can absolutely believe that the book was inspired by it, though.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 5:45 PM
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140: Are you sure it isn't chronic lyme disease?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 5:46 PM
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97: Books are my carbon sink.

When I had a couple boxes get hopelessly mildewy, I ripped off any plastic covers & stacked them in a wet forest. Very satisfactory results. If a next time, might add plug spawn.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 6:10 PM
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I keep having invisible little pin prick feelings like my clothes are snagging on, you know, a synthetic fiber coming out of my skin or maybe a stray hair is snagged or a mole is irritated, but probably morgellons.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 6:41 PM
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149

Did it get cold and the air become much less humid than you've been used to?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 6:54 PM
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Because I've gotten that feeling when my skin is really dry. Not every time, but some times.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 7:04 PM
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I'm trying to decide if I to just let the trash sit for another week or take it outside.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 7:08 PM
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The Posh Deep Blue Suburb public library gets so many donated books that they hold an annual book sale fundraiser that is a moderately big deal. The net result is that the unwanted books shuttle around through a multitude of different homes, rather than accumulating dust in any one owner's closet.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 7:09 PM
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We have the awesomest system of snow paths to take our trash out right now. When the bins get to the street we have to block the driveway, but getting them from the back of the house to the street we have just beautiful trenches carved. We even have a diversion channel with steps carved in the snowpack so that we can remove excess snow to a pile deep in the backyard! I'm going to shovel out the grill next, I think.

Doesn't sound like we hold a candle to my dad, though; I got him a Wovel for Christmas a few years back, and I guess he's built up a whole system of ramps at his house so he can move excess snow from the front of the driveway to the back of the house.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 7:22 PM
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150: actually yes! It has been colder in the last day or two.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 7:26 PM
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Those of you not currently in Boston might not understand just how reasonable it is to take pride in one's trash-taking-out logistics, but I totally get 153.1.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 7:27 PM
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148: I once had the sensation of something sticking in my skin, on my back, and it bothered me for a couple of months. I finally asked someone to look at it, and it was a short embedded piece of hair (probably from shaving). If I had known anything about morgellons at the time I would have claimed that was what it was. Joni Mitchell has morgellons, I hear.


Posted by: Virgalicious | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 7:30 PM
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Reinforcing 155: I was just telling some people at work today about our snow steps! This is the kind of thing people talk about now. That, and how many hours it took to get in on the commuter rail.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 7:46 PM
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157: Dukakis was on the radio talking about public transportation the other day. He used to ride the T to work when he was Governor, and I've seen him pick up litter, so I sort of love him. At the same time, it sounded like it might have been hard to work for him.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 8:26 PM
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At the same time, it sounded like it might have been hard to work for him.

As far as I know, all the people that reported directly to him when he was governor (at least in his second and third terms) loved and still love him.

Did you know he has special permission from the USPS to paint mailboxes? He goes out early in the morning on Saturdays and paints over graffiti. DUKAKIS FACT! (I can keep going, let me know.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 8:31 PM
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Does he have to repaint them the original color or can he cover the graffiti with whatever he wants?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 8:36 PM
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160: if he doesn't isn't he just tracing the tags?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 8:41 PM
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I assume they trust him to use the special USPS blue paint that he buys special.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 8:41 PM
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Special special.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 8:41 PM
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The contrast of new paint over the faded paint would allow him to write to write "poop" in a subtle tagging. I have to assume he does just that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 8:55 PM
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165

A big orange splot!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 8:56 PM
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That too.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 9:03 PM
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I remember when Dukakis went around painting those mailboxes to look like R2D2 a few years ago.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 9:06 PM
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Plus, he invented planking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-19-15 9:10 PM
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I would actually be interested to learn more fun facts about Dukakis.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 4:17 AM
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On topic, I found a flannel shirt that I somehow neglected to throw away. Because of all the cold, it now qualifies as useful.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 6:44 AM
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Our 5 year old spilled water on our Mac bluetooth keyboard and mostly killed it (half the keys work, and those only in ALLCAPS). Not to worry! I have an old USB wireless keyboard I bought when I was writing my thesis to make my wrists feel better, and I've kept it in the basement all these years, I'll just go find it. Found the keyboard but not the wireless receiver that plugs into the USB port.
Then I spent $5 (x5) at Staples.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 6:52 AM
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As long as half the keys work, you could save $25 by using combinations of other keys to represent the non-working letters and then write some code to put it into regular text.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 7:10 AM
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173

That swivel thing Sifu bought his Dad is expensive.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 7:17 AM
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174

Not compared to a snowblower.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 7:20 AM
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They've gotten more expensive, though. They used to be under a hundred, I'm fairly sure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 7:21 AM
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176

Back when you could just grab an old wagon wheel off the side of the road, they were much cheaper to build.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 7:24 AM
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174: no, but compared to a shovel.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 7:42 AM
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How obsessed should I be over the property in 108? The Lincoln Highway people have an old tourist cabin that they're giving away for free, you'd just need to transport it up to Tionesta.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 7:42 AM
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179

I've never been up there, so I don't know. Maybe I'll go hiking there this summer and see.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 7:45 AM
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If there were something comparable to that in the Laurel Highlands, I would probably be making the case to the family instead of the internet. As it was, I just happened to hit on that when I was searching for a used backpack frame.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 7:50 AM
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I suppose that proximity to Pittsburgh is why everything like that in the Laurel Highlands is really expensive.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 8:08 AM
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Jammies' cousin bought a house in Kansas last year for 10K. It even had a new roof and water heater, so it wasn't actually a tear-down house. But pretty much everything else is getting gutted and re-done.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 8:12 AM
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A water heater is less than $1,000 (usually). I don't think that really counts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 8:14 AM
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I saw Dukakis talk my first year in college. He was utterly charming. It was the year boring-Gore (before he got a beard and stuff) was running for president, and I distinctly remember being at the Dukakis talk and thinking, "Man, why isn't this guy running?"

In conclusion, I would like to sign up for Tweety's Dukakis Facts weekly e-newsletter.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 8:41 AM
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Late to the thread (I blame work, have I mentioned it sucks lately?), but decluttering is on my mind a lot lately: over the past month we've spent $4,000+ on remodeling our closet and some storage hardware, and I've sorted between a quarter and a half of my 500+ comic book collection with the hope of getting rid of a chunk of it, and I need to do a lot of other similar tasks in the next six months.

I'm sure it's partially an irrational urge to simplify and exert control, but there's some practicality to it too. We now can't walk through our basement and would have to move four boxes of books to get to the back of one closet. This affects daily life (or it could, or it will soon). And we aren't all that bad, we just have a relatively small house and it's not well organized.

It's partly an urban vs. rural thing (or whatever). I grew up in a house with three barns big enough for roughly 20 cows each, and Teresa's environment was similar. We now live in a rowhouse with a partial basement, no attic, and only five closets, none very big. We already have a lot of stuff just because there was no reason not to have that stuff until we moved here, our parents have already unloaded some of it on us and want to send more, and we have to fight habits to prevent more stuff.

Granted, the NYT article is stupid. 40 bags is arbitrary, getting down to 100 would require either a very unusual lifestyle or just cooking the books, and Francophilia in this context makes no sense; the French are not ascetics. But I definitely share the general urge.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 9:28 AM
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181: Friends of ours just went in on a joint property in the Laurel Highlands, and it was less expensive than I expected - a lot with a 3-BR house (a nice one) for under $100k. That's obviously a very different situation, but since building a 3-BR house costs $100k....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 10:10 AM
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I turns about that you can't save too much money by building in cob. For example, a cob septic system really isn't a thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 10:12 AM
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Worse, good cobbing clay would be about pessimal for a drainfield. (Possibly pessimal if gleyed, like my mother's. She has a very handsome engineered field that the deer hang out on in winter.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 4:37 PM
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I don't suppose cordwood is much better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 4:43 PM
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Well... I dug through something that first looked like red clay (not likely) but was a buried hemic cedar about six feet in diameter. Drainage seemed good, C:N ratio would be great. But a consumable resource.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 4:56 PM
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191

Maybe I could poop in a bucket.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 4:58 PM
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We can't all have Clivus Multrums.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 5:46 PM
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When I was a kid I memorized the plaque on the wall of the Clivus Multrum. I wonder how much I could get through now?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 5:50 PM
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Okay, here's a good one, and never mind how I know it: Dukakis went to an event for a new service or facility or something for retarded kids. One kid had been picked to stand up on stage or something. As they are talking before the speeches, kid says to Dukakis, pointing, "hey, you have something on your tie." Sure enough, Dukakis looks, kid flicks him in the nose. Several hours later, driving home with his aides, Dukakis is still looking at his tie: "I don't see anything?"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 5:53 PM
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Their website doesn't list prices, so I bet not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 5:54 PM
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195 to toilets.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 5:56 PM
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Christ, 194 has me laughing out loud.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-20-15 8:00 PM
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I migrate Knecht's misplaced comment from the Oh Please thread here:

So let's stipulate for a moment that Bobby Jindal makes a serious run at the Republican nomination. (I know, I know, just bear with me here for a minute.) Do Indian-Americans, who are stereotypically modestly prosperous and Democratic leaning, support Jindal in significant numbers out of ethnic pride? I'm thinking no, on the grounds that (1) Jindal has basically abnegated his Indian-American heritage already, so Indian-Americans would wouldn't feel like he's one of them; (2) The Republican primary electorate being what it is, Jindal would have to keep his fundraising in community on the way down low so as not to give voters a reason to view him as the candidate of brown people; (3) Indian-Americans are more diverse than Greek-Americans, and have less of a sense of pan-Indian ethnic solidarity; (3) The average Indian-American of 2015 is smarter and more politically aware than the average Greek-American of 1988 (just conjecturing there, but c'mon).
Does anyone think otherwise?

I don't think otherwise. You really could have stopped with (1). Jindal isn't really trading on his ethnicity, insofar as he's made a big deal of assuring everyone that his view of immigrants is that they should fucking assimilate, goddamnit.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 12:32 PM
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Some years ago, I read an extended piece on the differences between immigration policies in France and the U.S. I wish I could remember where that was. As I recall, a principal difference had to do with assimilation into the dominant language, essentially a literacy test (France: must do. US: not necessary). As I recall, there were tremendous pros and cons on each side of the debate -- and there's a extended amount of discussion on the matter pretty much everywhere.

In any event, Bobby Jindal has, along with many conservatives, sided with what they've decided to call an anti-identity politics.

One could float the idea that the politics of identity is a signal issue for the American public. Is this good or bad?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 1:06 PM
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In any event, Bobby Jindal has, along with many conservatives, sided with what they've decided to call an anti-identity politics.

They may call it that, but conservative identity politics are some of the strongest identity politics of them all.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 1:10 PM
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200--indeed, in fact he's explicitly a christianist and thinks everybody else should be, too.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 1:12 PM
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I'm sure they'd counter that liberal identity politics are pretty strong as well.

Identity politics in this context is ethnic. Or racial. Or gender related.

The identity politics narrative and debate is troubling, and I really don't know what to do with it. A few members of the putative left have come out against what some want to call identity politics. This feels so '80s.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 1:15 PM
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Identity politics in this context is ethnic. Or racial. Or gender related.

Southern white Christian male is the ideal of conservative identity politics. Jindal is 3 for 4.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 1:25 PM
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Spike, I hope you're not arguing with me: I know that there's such a thing as conservative white christian identity (politics). That is not what they mean by the term "identity politics", though. I don't know what to do about this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 1:35 PM
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I don't think I'm arguing with you, I just want to clarify that while that's not what they think they mean, its just another case of conservatives projecting what they do onto the other side.

When Rudi Gulliani says "Obama wasn't raised to love America like us", that's identity politics. When the Tea Party bitches about "illegals" and amnesty and protecting the border, that's identity politics. When Sarah Palin talks about Real Americans, its all about the identity politics.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 1:47 PM
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Understood, and agreed. Is the thing to do, then, to insist that they're exercising some sort of problematic identity awareness, something they should try to quell in the interest of assimilation into the great melting pot that is the US?

I mean, I think it would be great if they did that. But I'm not sure how to frame that in a way that doesn't cause more trouble than it's worth.

Remember, everything comes down to voter turnout. Whites turn out in greater percentages than do non-whites. Unfortunately, you can't upset the whites overly much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 1:55 PM
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I'm a white person. I've come to think of people from South Asia as basically Irish except they finish medical school more often and seem to get diabetes very easily.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 2:41 PM
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to insist that they're exercising some sort of problematic identity awareness, something they should try to quell in the interest of assimilation into the great melting pot that is the US?

I don't think insisting anything will help, but I sure would like it if Democrats stopped validating it. Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign comes to mind. I hope we are not in for a reprise.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 2:56 PM
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Indo-Europeans: all pretty much the same.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 2:56 PM
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The details are only important to specialists.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 3:01 PM
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Speaking of Indian-American politicians, I'm thinking Nikki Haley could be Republican VP nominee material. She could bring Tea Party cred to a Jeb ticket, which is going to need some.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 5:21 PM
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I think that's quite likely, Spike.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 6:04 PM
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She served a full term in office. Serious governors leave more quickly for TV.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 6:06 PM
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To be fair, she didn't really get the chance.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 6:32 PM
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Speaking of Indian-American politicians, I'm thinking Nikki Haley could be Republican VP nominee material.

Possible. But I will point out that she speaks with a strong South Carolina accent, which generally leads even other Southerners to subconsciously assume you are stupid.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 6:48 PM
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South Carolina accent, which generally leads even other Southerners to subconsciously assume you are stupid.

Speaking of stupid South Carolinans, Lindsay Graham strikes me as a plausible VP running mate in the event of a Scott Walker nomination. Walker's already got the Tea Party cred, but has a huge, foreign policy shaped hole in his resume that Graham could fill.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 7:05 PM
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The tea partiers HATE Graham. Plus, *cough* homo *cough*.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 7:10 PM
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Strom Thurmond's corpse would get tea party support plus wouldn't have to explain any actions or lack thereof during the shutdown. Plus, charisma.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 7:22 PM
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Everybody hates Graham, which is certainly a strike against him. Still, it wasn't a problem for Romney.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 7:29 PM
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There's nothing in the Constitution that says the vice president can't be a corpse. There are rules for if the veep dies in office, but if he were dead before election, they would not apply.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-21-15 7:33 PM
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Mallory Ortberg weighs in on the decluttering.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 02-24-15 11:26 AM
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My instinct is that Mallory Ortberg should be President, but in fact she might do more practical good in some other position, like Secretary of the Interior (she could declutter the Interior) or Ambassador to the United Nations. So I'm confused.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-24-15 12:07 PM
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