Re: I Love You 10,001, Plus Tax

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You Europeans stay away, away! from this thread. You just don't understand.

Oh, I think we do ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:43 PM
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Ice so big she can skate on it, baby. Right up there with sports cars for over compensation below the belt, if you know what I mean.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:46 PM
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Ten grand? On a goddamn ring? You must mean the candy bar.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:46 PM
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CZ in a nice setting.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:47 PM
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Like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:50 PM
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You can take the boy out of Iran, but.... Don't blame this on the Americans.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:50 PM
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Someday, someday I shall find the woman to whom I want to be married. And that women will not only appriciate, but be charmed and romanced by an anodized titanium ring with a tension-set synthetic ruby.


Posted by: Nbarnes | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:50 PM
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5:

or Costa Rica.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:51 PM
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I can understand spending a decent amount of money on a good looking ring, if that's what you want to do, but with most diamond engagement rings it's just money being spent for the sake of spending a lot of money (which is the whole point of the Slate piece, I guess).

Really, though, if you're going to spend a few thousand on jewelry, at least buy something interesting. Diamonds are boring.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:52 PM
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I would much rather get an aluminum ring with the inscription: I will scoop the kitty litter for the rest of our lives.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:53 PM
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My wife and I mutually agreed to skip the "engagement ring" tradition, thank god. (We also don't celebrate Valentine's Day.)

Of course, I was a grad student at the time, and two months of grad student stipend wouldn't have bought much of a diamond.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:53 PM
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heebie is a cat girl?

That totally ruins my mental image.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:54 PM
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My girlfriend, now my wife, pulled an inherited gem—not a diamond—out of a drawer and started wearing it.

We've got plain, uninscribed gold wedding bands from a mall jewelers. I must go months at a time without taking mine off. I've most often had it off because I've wedged my fingers in some engine compartment and need to extricate them. I once did that working on the street with a flashlight, and had to spend a half hour looking for it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:54 PM
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I think the trick has got to be to go for something gorgeous in workmanship, but not so much with the gemstones. (Or, of course, if you're both on the same page, then just cut it out, fools.) Some kind of wildly interesting semiprecious stone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:56 PM
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"Some kind of wildly interesting semiprecious stone."

Like a slate walkway.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:57 PM
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I'm somewhat embarrassed by this conversation, because Buck gave me a very traditional sapphire solitare, that cost something absolutely disproportionate to what he was making at the time. Really, I should have asked him to return it, but I didn't have the heart.

Ogged -- shouldn't you get a girlfriend before worrying about the ring?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 2:59 PM
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I speak, LB, from past ring-shopping experience, thank you very much.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:00 PM
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When I shamefacedly confessed that I knew it was stupid, but I kinda thought an engagement ring would be nice, Mr. B. asked a woman colleague of his who was on a trip to Hong Kong to pick out a sapphire for a piddling amount of money. (Seriously, I own dresses that cost more.)

I'm quite proud of him.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:00 PM
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How many engagements Ogged?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:00 PM
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12: My house is head-to-toe outfitted in Precious Moments portraits of the cats and children with the engorged eyes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:01 PM
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How many engagements Ogged?

Just one, dammit.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:01 PM
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Plan wedding bands are the only way to go. Couple hundred bucks, and everything else is tacky.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:03 PM
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That is too bad. A man your age should have at least 2.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:03 PM
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Hurray for Mr B; that's a classy yet sensible move.

Roast Beef from achewood soldered a little electronic doodad as an engagement ring for Molly. Yes, I admit my involvement with that strip has reached a point where the characters are as real as my online friends.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:04 PM
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20: I kind of seriously thought about using one of those as a cake topper, but was no way going to spend that kind of money for an ugly joke.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:04 PM
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I would think that the oddity of the Precious Moments stuff would be outweighed by the strangeness of a house with a head and toes.


Posted by: Epoch | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:04 PM
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Heebie, that is just disturbing.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:05 PM
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You can't handle the truth.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:06 PM
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He's a classy yet sensible guy. As a wedding gift, he bought me two lovely bookcases, and I bought him a bespoke suit (which he wore at the wedding). We are the perfect couple.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:06 PM
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Eh, I know the whole diamond engagement ring is foolish consumerism, etc, but my wife really likes hers, it's a really pretty ring, and I could afford it.

Our compromise was that she bought the wedding rings.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:06 PM
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I would much rather get an aluminum ring

A ruby fan, eh? Rich taste.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:06 PM
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26: Heebie is Baba Yaga!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:07 PM
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33

Collectibles are much worse than cats.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:07 PM
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I buckled and bought a ring. You may take this as a lame excuse, not believe me, etc., but I knew it would make my fiancee very happy, even if in an ideal world, it wouldn't. I don't spend much on anything except travelling, generally, and I can fight the man on my own time. Or think about fighting the man on my own time. So I'm a big hypocrite.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:09 PM
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33 is true. Collections are oppressive excercises in clausterphobia.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:09 PM
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Next time I get engaged, I am going to buy her a nice bike.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:11 PM
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Actually, that isnt true. We might get a stamp concrete patio for an engagement.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:13 PM
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Will, dude, marry me-- I want a fixed gear.

34 pretty much sums up my thinking about these things: (a) all the reasons to avoid diamonds & the engagement ring generally seem pretty good but (b) I hate to be the kind of tool who says "I have REASONS to avoid the folkways of our people for I am RATIONAL!"


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:14 PM
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If you do get an engagement ring, ogged, do what others have already said and don't get a diamond ring. Or if you do get a diamond ring, get a colored diamond. Those have the advantage that they actually are rare, so you can tell yourself you aren't getting totally ripped off on the price tag.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:14 PM
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I think the onus to change this silly practice is really on the ladies. Shit, if I had to shell out big bucks on a piece of jewelry to make the man I love happy, I'd do it, too. Accordingly, I have a practice of notifying all dudes with whom I become seriously involved that if, someday in the future, they wish to propose marriage, I will not be accepting any rings, diamond or otherwise. If said gentlemen wish to give me a gift to accompany the marriage proposal, they can get me something I'll actually like, with the same thoughtfulness that accompanies, say, a well-chosen birthday or Christmas present.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:15 PM
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Ben, don't give me marital advice.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:16 PM
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40 seems about right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:16 PM
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Will, dude, marry me-- I want a fixed gear.

Hipster.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:16 PM
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But I'll probably just circumvent the whole thing and propose marriage myself when I decide I want to marry someone.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:17 PM
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38: In every non-diamond example above, the woman communicated, or would have been happy to, the desire not to have a big, expensive diamond.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:17 PM
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Totally agree with Labs in 38, although our mutual hatred of the holier-than-thou is well-known. I might be up for invading Iraq again, too.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:17 PM
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I think the onus to change this silly practice is really on the ladies. Shit, if I had to shell out big bucks on a piece of jewelry to make the man I love happy, I'd do it, too.

I'd heard (from that Atlantic Monthly article from ages ago) that starting out the advertisement was all aimed at men (as it still is, really) because women, if they had their way, would want something actually worthwhile, like a down payment on a house, or something like that. Now, of course, it's ingrained into the "folkways" (barf).

One can also, of course, get antique rings or something like that. No need to swell De Beers' coffers.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:18 PM
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Christ, ogged, what can I give you advice about?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:19 PM
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Eh, if you're really compatible this seems like the sort of thing where you could pretty easily work out a win/win solution between the two of you. Actually, it's probably a good compatibility test to have before the wedding. Perfectly set up to give you that last chance to dump a woman who insists on the biggest diamond in town and nothing else.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:19 PM
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38: Can you provide some further possible examples of this variety of toolishness?

Because I can't see wanting to opt out of the engagement ring tradition as the least bit toolish.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:20 PM
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A friend of mine once made the offhand comment that she would rather have a horse than a wedding ring. 18 months later, her boyfriend gave her a horse and asked her to marry him. Impractical yes, but it may be the only non-disasterous proposal story that I remember.


Posted by: matt | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:21 PM
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I want a fixed gear

Sometimes, you really disappoint me, you know that? You're like 6'7", dude, you need a fucking Cadillac, not a hipster bicycle. (And they're not even that hip anymore!)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:21 PM
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with a decline in their ability to successfully sue for breach of promise

But what about the contract clause? It figures that people would choose diamonds over facing up to the existence of a constitutional crisis.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:23 PM
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52: Dude, I've wanted a fixed gear for a decade. Does that count for anything?

You're half-right about the cars; I want a fucking town car. Or a Grand Marquis. That's definitely the way to roll.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:23 PM
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I guess I didn't realize a wedding ring was obligatory, and neither did my fiancée. Phew!


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:24 PM
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What am I, chopped liver?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:25 PM
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You're like 6'7", dude, you need a fucking Cadillac, not a hipster bicycle.

I think this has a fixed gear.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:25 PM
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Why don't you just simulate having a fixed gear by getting a normal bike and breaking the derailleurs?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:25 PM
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FL:

Why fixed gear? What is the appeal? I do not understand.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:25 PM
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I used to have a fixed gear. It was such a thrill to ride it without training wheels.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:26 PM
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Dude, B had a place for a "cake topper" - ironic or not - and she's telling other people what's tacky?

My wife & I actually shopped for engagement rings together at 2nd hand shops - she ended up with something with exquisite filagree and a negligable diamond, plus 2 sapphires.

Also, I coudn't help, as an architect, but to want something a bit more interesting than a completely plain band. So I designed one. So sue me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:26 PM
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Tungsten carbide, bitches. Will last until they have to break it off your finger in the ER. Unscratched, shiny, heavy as hell. Probably a little bloody at that point, though.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:28 PM
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A Cadillac with horns on the front! Which, it was decided this weekend, is the only thing that would make a Maserati in any way acceptable.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:28 PM
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59: I've asked and I've asked, and never gotten an adequate response. Anyone who rides enough to use a fixie really shouldn't be scared by a derailleur.

Did Ben just write "break" for "brake"?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:30 PM
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I have a pretty, little antique ring with teeny tiny diamonds and similarly teeny rubies because, uh, that was a present that I wanted, and that dovetailed nicely with the engagement ring "tradition". I'm a heel, though, and bought Snark nothing in return.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:30 PM
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Did Ben just write "break" for "brake"?

No, I wrote "breaking" for "breaking". You know, rendering the derailleurs nonfunctional so that you can change gears anyway, even though there are multiple.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:32 PM
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I'm a heel, though, and bought Snark nothing in return.

If there's one thing I've learned from reading about Laura Sessions Stepp, redfox, it's that you gave snarkout your body, previously held in worldly abeyance and thus in a sense bought by asceticism, in return.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:33 PM
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Vintage rings can be beautiful, and sometimes even come with sentimental value.

In general the people I've known who made a Really Big Deal out of a very expensive ring that they* genuinely couldn't afford -- well, as Will said, it's often a warning flag for other issues in the relationship.

*IME it's a gender-neutral problem. Plenty of women who want something big to flash at their so-called friends, and plenty of men who feel peer-pressured into it almost regardless of whether their fiancee actually really wants it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:35 PM
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it's often a warning flag for other issues in the relationship.

Not unlike ridiculously expensive weddings in that regard.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:35 PM
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Fixed gear bikes are wildly impractical, and therefore cool. They are also better if you are going to be doing all of your riding at one speed, say on a track, because you don't have the weight and drag of a derailleur mechanism, so riding one lets you pretend that you are someone who rides on a track.

That sentence is extremely poorly constructed. I apologize.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:37 PM
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The (apparent) popularity of fixed gears in San Francisco, not known for flatness, is astounding to me. I mean, sure, being able to handle impracticality is a means of showing off your fitness to prospective mates, but still, people. Still! It would make sense in the Midwest.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:39 PM
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67: Oh, right, that.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:40 PM
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I think JRoth was mocking you for not knowing that fixed-gear bicycles don't have a freewheel mechanism, so simply disabling the derailleur wouldn't get you that nifty ability to pedal backwards to slow down (or, for that matter, to go backwards).

And I'm mocking you for saying "can" instead of "can't". Ha ha!


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:41 PM
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71: Everyone knows San Francisco is full of shiftless people.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:41 PM
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You missed your chance to get engaged as an unsalaried student. My fiancee is happy with her imitation-antique sapphire ring, and what's more important, her friends didn't expect anything more than that out of me.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:44 PM
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73: I did actually know that; I should have said something like "approximate" instead of "simulate".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:44 PM
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I built my first fixed-gear bike about fifteen years ago. The literature suggested that control, rhythm and balance would all be enhanced by practicing on a fixed, and that I would get a more thorough workout. It takes some getting used to: the need for steady, even peddling is quickly driven home to you, and there is no stopping your motion. I found the effects were as advertised, and I recommend it. I currently ride a single-speed, not fixed, because of all the surprises and situations on city streets, but the fixed-gear habits persist; I almost never coast.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:48 PM
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Sheldon Brown details some reasons for the fix here.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:50 PM
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I did not want a diamond, particularly. Shivbunny felt that if we didn't have one, it would make him look cheap in the eyes of my parents, and he's probably right. So I have a small diamond engagement ring. It's at least a Canadian diamond. He would not wear an engagement ring because "those are for women."

Things that are funny: thin WASPy girls at a pre-marriage religious class insisting that they don't care about material things while they flash their two-carat (minimum) stones. I hadn't felt under-dressed in years. So I can imagine for the people of that social class that not doing the engagement ring thing at all would be very stressful, unless one were rich enough to make it a trend.

Recent research has determined that I hate every cake topper on the market. Also, diamond 'eternity bands' are really pretty ridiculous. I'm 28, and I don't need 20 damn diamonds on my hand.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:50 PM
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oops


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:50 PM
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Since those are Catholic classes, WASPy must refer to a type, not a fact. It's not conveying much to me, though.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:56 PM
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What about this one, Cala?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:59 PM
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You can try to get them to put an INS agent dragging the groom the other way for you.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 3:59 PM
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It does refer to a type. And has nothing to do with either religion, just with a bunch of boring tightasses with more money than sense.

Another stupid thing: two months' salary?? ("Is that before or after taxes?" asked shivbunny.) Things made up by jewelry companies do not count as "tradition."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:01 PM
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I have my own diamond ring (a very, very small carat one from my great-grandmother). If I ever get engaged, I'll probably ask for a used or a synthetic stone; I'm pretty convinced that that there exist no humane diamond mines on this planet.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:02 PM
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82: Those crack me up but I, unhumorously, really dislike the idea that marriage is something the woman wants and the man doesn't.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:03 PM
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20 damn diamonds on my hand

Brilliantovaya ruka!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:04 PM
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86: does seem like an odd thing to have on the very wedding cake itself, doesn't it?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:04 PM
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More a bachelorette party sort of thing. I do like the one that's molded with the bride dragging the groom so he leaves little fingernail grooves in the cake.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:05 PM
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I go with 14. A lot of semiprecious stones are way more interesting than sparkly gems. I don't like gold much anyway, so I figure if and when there's ever a Mr. Cerebrocrat, I can get off cheap with maybe some petrified wood* set in silver.

And this is the upside of being matrimonially oppressed by you breeders; I can do whatever I damned well please with the various & sundry traditions. Drinks before the ceremony, mothers excluded from planning, no mean drunks on the invite list even if they ARE family, and the DJ gets fired after the very first note of the Chicken Dance plays.

Advantage: homosphere!

*Shut up, you degenerates, I like the way it looks.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:07 PM
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I hate to be the kind of tool who says "I have REASONS to avoid the folkways of our people for I am RATIONAL!"

So awesome.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:09 PM
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We can't let 90's preventive measures really stop us from making fun of the idea of giving Mr Right some hard wood, can we?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:09 PM
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Speaking of bikes, Look how cute Europeans are:

http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/

My wife lost her engagement ring. It was a pretty expensive one too. I am just glad it wasn't my fault.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:10 PM
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baa, you know that guy as well as I do, right? Totally hate that guy. On the other hand, well, the reasons.

What did you do, you shameless romantic?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:11 PM
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92: Oh, make fun if you want. It's not like the symbolism doesn't work...


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:11 PM
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Yikes.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:12 PM
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92: Buck was once looking at one of those bizarre lists of anniversary presents (you know, the traditional present for the first anniversary is paper, the third is tin, and so on) and saw that the traditional present for maybe the sixth or seventh anniversary was wood. He still snickers about it on occasion.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:13 PM
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95: I kid because I love. If I had to solve the problem, I think it'd be via the same sort of idea of a nontraditional twist on "the usual thing."


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:15 PM
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the traditional present for maybe the sixth or seventh anniversary was wood.

You've heard of the "seven year itch"? Basic human nature makes it imperative that wood be delivered at that time for the relationship to stay healthy.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:16 PM
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96: indeed


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:16 PM
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The reiteration of the word "Caucasian" on that site is a little jarring.

It's either/or when they're molded as one, as in the one with the groom carrying, but you could mix and match races with the standalones, as in golf.

Can you imagine one where the groom is conventional, and the bride is distracted in some demeaning, comical way?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:18 PM
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50: Picture someone declaring, for example, "meat is murder." I apologize for the metaphor - apparently there's some kind of interdiction on them around here? But it's possible to simply opt out of something everyone else assumes is a normal part of life, whether it's a pricy wedding ring or eating meat, without treating everyone who doesn't do so as an ignorant savage.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:20 PM
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Unless, I suppose, it's your partner who doesn't want to opt out.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:25 PM
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Cyrus is banned!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:27 PM
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50, 102: part of the problem is opting out in a self-aggrandizing way, but there's something else here too. I find toolish a certain overeagerness to pronounce the traditions and customs of our people to be nonsensical just because their virtues may not be readily apparent.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:27 PM
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105: That, and the self-serving quality of the man being the one who doesn't want it. Why the woman's opinion is crucial, as several of us pointed out.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:33 PM
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Indeed. I expressed reservations about diamonds on my first go-round, and was politely, lovingly, firmly rebuffed. There's no way the next one is going to have anything less than the first one, plus she has a pretty deep-seated someday-my-prince-will-come myth living in her. No reservations will be expressed.

In general, I find a good rule of thumb to be not to express, or hold, contempt for other people's pleasure. This doesn't forbid being critical of it. I suspended this rule when I went to Citywalk recently. Neither here nor there.

I did really like wearing a wedding ring. I liked being able to tap my ring on a bottle of beer. Our rings were a step up from the traditional silver band: they had a very elegant pattern engraved. My band had a "side" dimension, hers was more-or-less "flat", if that makes sense. I really dislike most men's rings.

Also: snarkout and redfoxtailshrub are together? Snarkout eats well.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:39 PM
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Other things I dislike: nearly all wedding bands. Why, when deciding to design something that people will wear for years and years, do designers make rings that look bad?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:43 PM
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plus she has a pretty deep-seated someday-my-prince-will-come myth living in her

This is a particular person, or a construct?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:44 PM
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My wife's engagement ring is a garnet set in silver. It looks antique, but it's not. It's a really nice ring and she really likes it. It cost me almost nothing as I was totally impoverished at the time.

re: 106

Toolish or not, if she'd insisted on a diamond ring, that would have been the end. So in that respect, her opinion really would have been crucial.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:47 PM
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Also: snarkout and redfoxtailshrub are together? Snarkout eats well
Ahem!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:49 PM
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110: I agree with that, too. Us cheap/no-cost-ring people are a happy lot, not so much because of the savings, but because of the nature of our relationships, where this convention, at least, and probably many others, are insignificant.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:52 PM
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The (apparent) popularity of fixed gears in San Francisco, not known for flatness, is astounding to me.

Fixies are much less attractive targets for thieves than derailleur-equipped bikes.

Plus, you know, they're cooler.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:52 PM
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i hate diamonds even more than they deserve to be hated, for no really good reason. i hate the expectation of wasting so much $ you could spend on mortgage / plane tickets / retirement / what have you, and even if buying a non-conflict diamond or wearing a hand-me-down seems too much like supporting the market & tradition. i still can't believe no human rights group has run de beers parody ads splicing stereotypical diamond schlock w/ limbless child corpses.

for some reason, i'm somewhat attracted to the idea of a wedding ring tattoo (i've never had any other tattoos, nor plan on them). despite the fact that it seems waaay tacky, i like the idea that you can't take it off (as a few friends of mine so love to do), seems like you really do mean it (physical pain is scarier than financial pain), and it is cheap cheap cheap. then again, oh man it seems tacky, to the point i wonder if anyone has ever gotten one who wasn't divorced a couple years later.


Posted by: matty | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:54 PM
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I used to think I was totally immune to diamonds. Then my mother inherited a ring that---oh my. Three really pure diamonds on a raised Art Deco platinum setting. When I go home to visit, she lets me wear it, and I go flash! flash! flash! for a couple of days and then happily give it back.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:54 PM
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111: Meat is murder, TLL.

This (by pre-crazy Edward James Epstein) is the Atlantic Monthly article mentioned upthread.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:55 PM
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James s/b Jay.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:56 PM
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physical pain is scarier than financial pain

Really? I suppose it depends on the relative severity of each.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 4:56 PM
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118: eh, maybe you're right about pain. i'm trying to think how much i'd demand to be paid for getting kicked in the gonads. results murky.

but -- i would hope a prospective life partner would be more impressed that i was willing to endure the needle (oh jeez i hate needles) than to either (depending on whether i was well-off) squander $ i couldn't really afford on a useless piece of shiny flair, or to spend some $ i could easily afford, which seems unimpressive beyond showing off. ick.


Posted by: matty | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 5:05 PM
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109: A particular person. Ten weeks along or so.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 5:13 PM
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111: Eats well.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 5:15 PM
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Cala, is your mom demanding a caketopper too? Ye gods.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 5:22 PM
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My grandfather went without lunch for two or three months when he was working at a coal mine to pay for my grandmother's diamond ring. To this day, she claims she would rather have had a plain gold band than have him suffer like that (he hadn't let her in on his plans); that said, she cherishes that ring.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 5:25 PM
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104: finally, all is right with the world.

105, 106: Sure, that too. Why not? Any amateur can offended at someone, but it takes a real professional to find an arbitrarily large number of reasons for it.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 5:26 PM
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121:

mmmmm redfox

Redfox definitely is invited to my fantasy commune. So is Wrongshore bc he/she makes me laugh.

My gf can be the pharmacalogical girl. We'll need a doctor and someone to watch all of the kids.

Oh, a good vintner is a must.

Bitch gets a spot bc..well, you know why Bitch gets a spot.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 5:26 PM
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Hey Wrongshore! Congrats on the 10 weeker.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 5:28 PM
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126: Why, thank you. Developments in real estate, jewelry, bravely-and-compassionately-weathered pregnancy scares, and inappropriate references to Wife One will be duly logged as they happen.

It would be cool if the fantasy commune was like fantasy baseball, where there's a draft. For the talent pool, we could either draft each other or famous communards throughout history. Who were the ones who practiced continent intercourse?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 5:53 PM
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Thanks for the compliments!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:01 PM
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Things made up by jewelry companies do not count as "tradition."

This is interesting, because it seems like it should be right (at least in principle if not in fact), but I think it's actually completely wrong. If people buy into it, it does count as tradition. Our modern idea of Santa Claus was pretty much invented whole cloth by the Coca-Cola company in the early 20th century. Is Santa not a tradition either?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:11 PM
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Not demanding a caketopper, fortunately. My mom's not really demanding anything out of the wedding, but this is the first wedding (besides her own, presumably) that she's planned. And she's learning 'how-to' do a wedding by reading publications of the wedding-industrial complex and is taking them as gospel, paradoxically, because she wants to do it right so I'm not embarassed or sad.

So anyhow, we were looking for a caketopper because that's what go on wedding cakes, but I don't feel like spending $25 on plastic crap, and so I'm telling the bakery just to put little icing flowers all over the top.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:11 PM
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I don't feel like spending $25 on plastic crap

Yeah! Assert yourself!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:16 PM
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re: 95

My wife is (basically) morally opposed to super-expensive jewelry. So I got her a star sapphire. These can be pretty cheap (gorgeous . She's the outlier. Most female doctors (especially OBs, for some reason) sport the proverbial big 'ol rock.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:19 PM
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re: 129

There's a time-scale, surely? Things recently invented out of whole cloth, not so traditional.

Of course, we're always been told that most of what counts as traditional (even here in the UK) was in fact invented in the late-Victorian/early-Edwardian period. So in that sense, Santa Claus isn't unusual.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:21 PM
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If you are going to buy a diamond ring, at least get the best possible deal. You can get the same-carat stone, of equal or better quality, on the Internet at Blue Nile for 2/3 the price of Tiffany's. (Or you can get a bigger one for the same price you'd pay at Tiffany's for the smaller one.)

Of course, I didn't follow my own advice, rushing out to buy the ring at Tiffany's because I had a spur-of-the-moment decision to make the proposal that day and I needed to act fast.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:22 PM
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Seriously, people: Tiffany's has a terrible, terrible markup.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:30 PM
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Some of the Achewood mentioned above.

Diamonds, okay, whatever, but what do people think of the general concept of the man giving something extremely expensive to prove his commitment? A little redolent of woman-as-property, no?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:31 PM
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If I ever get engaged (again (but for real this time)) I'm going to give my beloved a cathedral geode in a nice silver setting. Lovely, and it'll keep her from running too fast!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:35 PM
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#135: But that's not necessarily a bad thing. If the main purpose of a diamond engagement ring is to say "See, honey, I am spending a lot of money on you," then surely presenting the ring in a distinctive Tiffany's box sends that message even more effectively than presenting it in a box from a store known for its low, low prices.

Of course, you could always put your Internet-bought ring in a Tiffany's box, but dishonesty is a poor way to kick off your engagement, yes?


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:36 PM
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Hey, I just figured it all out.

a) I liked my wedding ring.
b) I object, on some level, to the engagement-ring-woman-as-sexually-unavailable-property-military-industrial-obligation-complex
c) I'm kind of a dick

∴ I will say that I, too want an engagement ring! In the spirit of equality and the spirit of bling.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:38 PM
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7: Someday, someday I shall find the woman to whom I want to be married. And that woman will not only appreciate, but be charmed and romanced by an anodized titanium ring with a tension-set synthetic ruby.

Dark, dark, dark, almost black, "goth" sapphire in titanium tension setting worked for me.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:40 PM
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spur-of-the-moment decision to make the proposal that day

do tell!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:41 PM
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Oh my God, you guys, you are going to love this Catalan chickpea recipe.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:41 PM
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do tell!

Ditto.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:44 PM
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#141: My girlfriend at the time was heading to America to finish her law degree. We had already made reservations for dinner at a fancy restaurant the night before her trip. I had been thinking that I would propose to her when she got back, but suddenly I was seized with the idea to send her off with a ring on her finger instead. Plus the fancy restaurant was a great setting for the proposal.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:45 PM
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Seriously, people: Tiffany's has a terrible, terrible markup.

"Tiffany's" s/b "diamonds". Or really, s/b "almost all jewelry".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:45 PM
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All of us? Thanks foxtail, when should we come over?!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:45 PM
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Want cheap gemstones? Go to Quartzsite.

Actually, if you live in the southwest/southern California and you haven't been to Quartzsite, you should check it out whether you want gems or not. High desert weirdness, bohemian geezers, endless, dusty swap meets and gem shows, a yacht club: place has it all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:51 PM
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113: The fixie exists only to be combined with riding helmetless, on the wrong side of the street, with no lights, at night, for the quadrifecta of stupid fucking Mission hipster behavior which makes me want to kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, and hurt.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:54 PM
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A little redolent of woman-as-property, no?

Naah. Dowries, maybe. Some trashy detective novel that I ended up reading on the plane had a lot of references to "men can always make more money, but women are only young and hott once." Not that that isn't a little sexist, but it's pretty clearly not "women as property".


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:56 PM
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Dark, dark, dark, almost black, "goth" sapphire in titanium tension setting worked for me.

Tension settings are cool.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:56 PM
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150: thanks, Mr. Helices.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:58 PM
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113: The fixie exists only to be combined with riding helmetless, on the wrong side of the street, with no lights, at night, for the quadrifecta of stupid fucking Mission hipster behavior

Looks as if you're describing five things here, unless "at night" doesn't count?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 6:58 PM
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My sister's ring has a tension setting. I speak from experience.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:02 PM
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Huh, those are neat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:05 PM
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129: Sadly Coke is not to blame for Santa, who is more a creation of Thomas Nash and the American greeting card industry.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:07 PM
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148: It only counts if you typed each "kill". Think The Shining.

149: Fine. Would you settle for "a little redolent of woman-as-rapidly-depreciating-assets"?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:10 PM
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what do people think of the general concept of the man giving something extremely expensive to prove his commitment? A little redolent of woman-as-property, no?

Hugely expensive as a demonstration of wealth (to the bride or others), yeah, that creeps me out a bit. Expensive, but something that she'll enjoy and that won't put a huge dent in, say, a future house fund? That's fine by me, though the bride and groom in question probably didn't seek out my opinion on that. (I feel the same way about hugely expensive weddings, too.)

Also, nothing says the woman can't gift something expensive right back, although that doesn't seem to happen all that often.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:11 PM
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I'm most of the way through having a friend build a fixie for me, which I want because it is fun to ride my roommate's fixie and feel the pedals push my feet sometimes. But my other friends are mocking me for giving up the past three centuries of mechanical advantage. Whatever. I live in a small, flat city (for a little while longer). I'm excited to ride a different type of bike.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:14 PM
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Also, nothing says the woman can't gift something expensive right back,

Because it'd be expensive. Can't I just put out?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:15 PM
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My neighbor spent two nights in jail after a fight over the $5000 wedding ring with his insane ex-fiancee after they broke up.

I choose my friends carefully.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:15 PM
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Is this the same neighbor who's being fucked to death by a woman half his age?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:27 PM
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You can fuck...to death?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:30 PM
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Because it'd be expensive. Can't I just put out?

Sweet, sweet tradition.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:33 PM
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By the way, fixed gears are fun: you can ride backwards! How rad is that?!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 7:55 PM
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I think I'm going to live to regret my early education in gemstones.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:23 PM
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"Because it'd be expensive. Can't I just put out?"

Totally unfair. I am willing to put out instead of buying expensive jewelry.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:28 PM
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I think I'm going to live to regret my early education in gemstones

Gem is truly outrageous.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:29 PM
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Toolish or not, if she'd insisted on a diamond ring, that would have been the end

When ex and almost fiancée whom I call Sylvia Plath* revealed that she took the two-months-salary rule for granted, it greatly strengthened the case for ending that relationship. Granted, she'd also revealed herself to be an anti-Semite, so the case didn't need too much strengthening.

*not intended to be read as either criticism or endorsement of the poet of the same name

Oh, a good vintner is a must

Will, have you drafted some sort of prospectus for this fantasy commune? Let's talk.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:32 PM
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How come, JM?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:34 PM
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167: but, we are the Misfits, and our songs are better.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:42 PM
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I practice on my keytar every day, hoping for a rematch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:46 PM
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Not yet Jesus McQueen. But with your names, I am interested in learning more about you. Both names suggest attributes that we want for our fantasy commune.

What will you bring to the commune?

Heebie would bring the booty, but she is disqualified unless repudiates the cats and the dust collectors.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:47 PM
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There's too much Heebie for just one commune, baby.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:51 PM
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171: we shall fight on the Keytar, we shall fight on the Moog, we shall fight on the Theremin; we shall never surrender.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:52 PM
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The first time I ever saw a band featuring a Theremin, I thought the guy playing it was hallucinating or something, judging by the way he was just waving his hands in the air. Later in the show, I was informed of my mistake, and after it was over I had the guy sign a peanut.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:55 PM
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174: What's that one guy doing with his hand? What instrument is that?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:55 PM
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It's a theremin, heebie.

The thereminist in Barbez is adorably cute and is capable, armed only with her instrument and a delay pedal, of making some lovely noise. Ogged wouldn't like her, though—squeaky.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:57 PM
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176: One of the most remarkable of the 20th century.

There's also a good documentary.

It was used most famously on "Good Vibrations," and is famously impossible to play well. That guy is doing the vocal part with it. It uses inducting fields to control pitch and volume; timbre comes from the shape of the disruption to the field.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 8:59 PM
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Color me tickled pink! What a mysterious instrument. Harnessing invisible waves, go figure.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:01 PM
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We'll order one theremin for the commune.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:02 PM
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It was used most famously on "Good Vibrations,"

The Marky Mark song? Wow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:03 PM
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The Barbez thereminist is Pamelia Kurstin, mentioned in the theremin wikipedia article.

The theremin isn't actually played on "Good Vibrations".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:04 PM
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We'll order one theremin for the commune.

But no Katzenclavier? Heebie can feed the kitties and everything.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:09 PM
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That Gnarls Barkley cover is amazing.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:11 PM
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What will you bring to the commune?

Dude, I'm serious -- it's not a play on the pseud. I make wine. The fantasy commune needs me at least as much as I need the fantasy commune.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:11 PM
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182: that'll teach me to trust Brian Wilson.

"Electro-theremin" is a great name, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:11 PM
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I make wine.

Whoa, really? I didn't think that was something individuals could just, you know, do on their own. Like with beer. Cool.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:13 PM
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Way late to this convo, but I wanted to toss a few thoughts out because this subject hits oddly close to home.

First, the pressure of the big bling is real, even for couples who truly don't care. When I was engaged, no ring was given with the proposal (it's a little unclear that a proposal was given, but that's another story entirely). Months later, I got a simple, inexpensive ring with a semiprecious stone. I'm not a diamond person at all and definitely not a big bling girl. But I can't tell you how many cross-eyed looks and pitying remarks I got. My mom offered me her engagement ring, because gosh, how awful to not have one.

I think a ring is important as symbol, though, like anything else we use to mark a right of passage. It was a bit of a letdown to become engaged and have nothing tangible to mark the occassion. When I got the ring, I loved it because it was a tangible repository for all the emotions of that state of being.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:17 PM
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184 gets it exactly right, btw.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:18 PM
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What Gnarls Barkley cover?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:24 PM
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See 174.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:26 PM
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187: When you're living large in the bountiful Pacific NW, such things are possible. Some friends and I have been doing it for about 12 years; last year we got over two tons of grapes and scored our coolest piece of equipment yet. (That's not the exact model, but close. You'd be surprised, I think, at my many results you get when you search Amazon.com for "hydraulic lift.")


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:26 PM
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Hmm, the folks I knew in the bountiful Pacific NW weren't growing their own wine exactly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:27 PM
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Thanks, Heeb.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:27 PM
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The ring is less woman-as-property than it is here-woman-is-some-property. It's a moveable good that's worth quite a bit of cash. I think it really ought to be replaced with a Roth IRA.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:29 PM
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169.----Because the more you know about a luxury market, the more expensive "normal" becomes. For example, I really shouldn't have decided to educate myself on "Oriental" carpets. I now know that what I lust after is called (hang on a second, while I dig out the business card) a "Sarouk Ferahan": only $2000 because he wants me as a continuing customer...


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:31 PM
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here-woman-is-some-property

Question: is it customary for a woman to return the ring if the engagement is called off? I've heard of fights (cf. 160), but what do most people do in that situation?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:33 PM
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The diamond ring shows no creativity. If you must get your mate something incredibly expensive that they don't really need, think outside the box. Like chemotherapy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:34 PM
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You swallow it and dare him to come after it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:34 PM
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198: or a new baby?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:35 PM
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193: There's that, too, heebie-g, but one's involvement in winemaking is legal and thus blog-discussible for the insecurely pseudonymed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:35 PM
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201 to 200.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:37 PM
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This goes back a ways in the comments, but the next woman I marry will already ride a fixie, for which I'll buy her a gold 14T thread-on.


Posted by: ahab | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:39 PM
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161: No, not my story. They're close to the same age.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:39 PM
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But the fucking him to the brink of death is right? I probably just made up the "half his age" part, in that case.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:41 PM
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Are you stating the condition for marriage, ahab, or do you have someone in mind?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:44 PM
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Jesus, you are in! What kind do you do best?

Jackmormon:

I agree completely about Persian rugs. Same goes for wine.

205:
Redtail has fucking to death on the brain. Get busy snark!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:45 PM
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203: Campagnolo makes a lovely tension-mounted wheel.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:45 PM
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Yes, he was 59 years old and going to work on 3 hours of sleep. He almost got fired. He was as goo-goo-eyed as a 16 year old.

Romantics would love this guy. He's all impulse and feelings and heart, and he's almost ruined his life with inappropriate relationships about three times.

I love the guy too. Damn good anecdotal proof that I'm right about relationships.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:47 PM
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197: Well, inasmuch as the things aren't really "customary," no. Miss Manners I think says it's proper to return it. I think she's right in the modern sense that women can and should actually have jobs of their own; I suspect in a more symbolic sense that since a lady could never herself cancel an engagement without something really truly vile on the man's part, that jewelry and such are a kind of sunk cost for the guy, meant to buffer the woman against an inevitable decline in her market value if things don't come off.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:47 PM
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206: People that ride fixies fuck with a steady and unwavering rhythm. Fucking with them is said to be "on the chain," and they never wear helmets (*wink, wink*).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:47 PM
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A pleasant-tasting wine is easier to brew than beer. (I never tried to make a quality wine with real grapes.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:48 PM
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211:

But they can go backwards!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:48 PM
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In a pinch a diamond ring makes a passable IUD.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:49 PM
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213: and stay perfectly still and balanced, those Tantric bastards.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:50 PM
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As a woman, it's problematic the way the fixies clip in.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:53 PM
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216:

I thought it was the kegels, not the clips.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:54 PM
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207: It's all about the fruit. For the past few years, we've been getting Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from a vineyard in the Yakima Valley. Good fruit, and pretty easy to work with. We tried Pinot Noir for a few years early on, but good Pinot grapes around here are hard to come by and hellishly expensive, and bad grapes just aren't worth the considerable effort.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 9:57 PM
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218:

I want to try Jesus juice!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:00 PM
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Oh Will. Now you're just inviting homophobic barbs.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:02 PM
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Heeb, you are just ashamed to admit it. Say it out loud with me:

"I want to try jesus juice!" Say it loud and proud.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:06 PM
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113 Fixies are much less attractive targets for thieves than derailleur-equipped bikes. Plus, you know, they're cooler.

Coolness is attractive, I guess. A friend's (cool) fixie was stolen from under his very nose by some homeless crackhead who could barely walk straight.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:06 PM
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You'll have to wash his feet and anoint him first.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:06 PM
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More like Michaeljacksonian barbs.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:06 PM
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You're in Virginia, Will? If you don't make it out for the next Portland meetup, whenever that may be, perhaps something can be arranged.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:07 PM
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206: Still catching up with the thread here, but the first condition for my remarriage is the death of my current wife.


Posted by: ahab | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:08 PM
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You might not want to talk about that publicly, ahab. People tend to look down on uxoricide.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:12 PM
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Yes, Virginia. I look forward to it. My gf and I are wine novices, but starting to really enjoy more wine.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:13 PM
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It's not just that the tradition of two months' salary was created recently, Brock, though that's part of it. It's more that it's as if Coca-Cola, having created Santa Claus, insisted that the only proper way to celebrate Christmas was to buy your beloved a really expensive bottle of Coca-Cola classic. So, sure, the ring can be a tradition (dating back to ancient Rome !!!11!! says the W-IC), but when the diamond industry tells you it's 'tradition' for two months' salary, farmer, count your hens.

I have a friend who insisted that the expensive diamond engagement ring proved that the man was financially stable and man enough to support a family; she did not take kindly another friend pointing out that the diamond was bought on credit and with his parents' help.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:14 PM
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Unsalaried people have really got it made in the shade vis-à-vis engagement rings, haven't they?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:17 PM
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And does anyone realize the odds of finding so many people who even know what a fixed-gear is in one place that is not a hole-in-the-wall bike shop? I know a lot of grey-matter-deficient fixie-riders, most of them dirtbags and not hipsters, but y'all are to a one over-endowed with teh grey stuff. Who *are* you people?


Posted by: ahab | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:17 PM
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I have a friend who did a highly traditional proposal (Surprise! Banff!), with an expensive and exhaustively researched ring (Canadian Diamond; retro-20s cut) and I'll be darned if he didn't make the whole enterprise into something awesome. He had the money to spend, he likes to be old-fashioned when it doesn't count: hard to quarrel with. Also hard to top, so really I won't feel bad when my engagement happens via virtual gifting at the reanimated FunHi.com.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:18 PM
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Banff is gorgeous, though I'd recommend Jasper over it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:19 PM
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People tend to look down on uxoricide.

She'd better not die now, implicated as I am.


Posted by: ahab | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:22 PM
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So "Banff" was not just the Batmanesque onomatopoeia for getting proposed to?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:23 PM
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ahab, I think you're overestimating the obscurity of fixies. That article was the reason for my parenthetical admonition to Labs in 52.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:24 PM
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Banff is gorgeous, though I'd recommend Jasper over it.

Really? I've been wanting to go to Banff.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:24 PM
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Listen to yourself. "I've been wanting to go to Banff"? How can you say that? "Banff". Christ.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:25 PM
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They're both pretty cool, and only a few hours apart on the Icefields Parkway. (Practically the same park.) Banff is a little more touristy, Jasper's not as obviously so. Both are great, and the glacier in Banff is definitely worth a look.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:27 PM
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Banff is really an awful place-name. But I know a couple worse ones.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:27 PM
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Banff. Banff. Banff.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:28 PM
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Jasper has more wool-clad fixies per capita. Banff seems to prefer 20/27speed lycra.


Posted by: ahab | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:28 PM
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But I know a couple worse ones.

Like Cheeks-near-Cunnyborough?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:28 PM
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Mt. Edith Cavell in Jasper: worth the afternoon hike to the wildflower meadow.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:30 PM
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Anyone wanting to visit Banff should email me at my Jackmormon account. My parents are hideously knowledgeable about most state parks west of the Mississippi and south of the polar cap.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:31 PM
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We should all visit Fucking, Austria, where the (currently Oakland) A's will someday find their true home.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:32 PM
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Banff is great. Like nothing I'd seen before. Of course, I'd never been west of St. Louis before, except one trip to Tucson. Truly beautiful. Seems very clean too for some reason.

245: Does that include provincial parks or just state parks?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:37 PM
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Times article notwithstanding, hipsters can't pose as fixie riders because to ride a fixed-gear ya gotta COMMIT. That's why it's such a fitting token of ENGAGEment.


Posted by: ahab | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:37 PM
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Picking up the wine subthread just to say that the next Portland meetup will coincide with this year's harvest and crush. It's impossible to say when exactly that will be, so you'll all have to be ready to drop everything when we give the word, and you'd be well advised to pack sturdy clothing and work boots. You'll have fun, trust me.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:38 PM
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248: Hipsters ride fixies all the fucking time. Very awkwardly, and occasionally running into parked cars and toppling over, but still.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:44 PM
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Banff and Jasper are indeed gorgeous.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:45 PM
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247.---West of the Rockies and North of Mexico, my parents can suggest trails and campsites for a whole lot of parks. I don't think they're knowledgeable about the NorthWest Territorities or Minnesota, though.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:45 PM
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I camped in Banff one year (for a multi-speed mountain bike holiday) next to a bus-load of NewYork kids. I recall their amazement as they got off the bus and began to realize that the surreal scenery all around them wasn't just a cheesy painted prop.


Posted by: ahab | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:45 PM
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For example, they invited me to go along with them along the Dempster Highway (YT) this summer. I passed.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:47 PM
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It was nice to have a couple of hours to walk around Jasper before getting back on the train.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:50 PM
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I rode my bike up the Dempster. Beautiful, but a rough trip.

Agh, gotta go.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:50 PM
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Looking at a map, I see that the Dempster is really far north. Wow.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 10:51 PM
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My job requires that I talk to a lot of Canadians via telephone. They tend to spell words very quickly. It's strange and charming, like the vistas of the Yukon Territory.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 11:14 PM
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w-o-r-d-s

It's an easy one.


Posted by: ahab | Link to this comment | 06-11-07 11:16 PM
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Is anyone here? I need y'all to pretend I'm teo.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:08 AM
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I'm here, though I doubt I can help.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:09 AM
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re: 240

What is wrong with Banff?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banffshire


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:14 AM
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261: Hey, teo! Wanna make fun of ben?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:15 AM
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263: As long as we're not making fun of him for the ways in which he's similar to me, sure.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:16 AM
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Oh my god, ttaM, "Banffshire" is even worse.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:22 AM
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w-lfs-n, my romantic advice is that you listen to Megan's romantic advice. From the tiny bits I've gathered she seems well-suited to correcting tendencies you should be avoiding.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:24 AM
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Megan isn't here.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:25 AM
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That advice wasn't particularly romantic, anyway.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:25 AM
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My advice was on the topic of romance, it was not, in itself, romantic. As for Megan's, I'm speaking based on vague recollections.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:27 AM
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The first comma should be a semicolon. There, I said it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:28 AM
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You should punctuate, ben. Chicks dig that sort of thing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:30 AM
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Oh please. I masochistically yearn for the days when I was afraid to make errors of any type here.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:31 AM
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So, pretending you're Teo, how does this go? And why?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:31 AM
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So far it seems not to involve much and to be fairly pointless.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:35 AM
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Given the bare prompt "pretend I'm teo," I think my advice is really good. Then, I would think that.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:41 AM
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I admit; I'm being unforthcoming. But that's because I don't want the advice of anyone who'd abuse a semicolon.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:44 AM
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Crap.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:45 AM
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Talk to her. Can't hurt anything, realistically speaking.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:47 AM
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The canonical reference is to misuse, not abuse.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:50 AM
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Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:55 AM
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Did you just spray the hollyhocks with lye? Not cool.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:00 AM
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I just—I thought you would like it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:02 AM
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eb lyes like that.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:05 AM
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Here's your answer, ben.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:06 AM
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Sweet.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:11 AM
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This is really clever in concept, and I don't have any nits to pick with the execution either; it nevertheless failed to inspire even a chortle.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:14 AM
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The problem is that it's not funny. Also a kind of bizarre conceit for a personals ad. Joe Frank did it better, too, I think in the show called "The Road to Calvary"—Joseph always knew Mary was a social climber, but with God? And then there's part towards the end when Joseph's walking by the crucified Jesus and thinks, "if you were my son, I wouldn't forsake you". Joe Frank is so good.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:19 AM
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235: Banff isn't Batman. It's Nightcrawler.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:44 AM
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Good God, this is like the fucking portal for dull bourgeois stuff, isn't it? The next time you lot have a go at the New York Times "Modern Love" column, I fear the words will turn to ash in your mouth.

btw, the civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia have been over for quite a while now; although I realise that rappers and treehuggers alike only check the news from Africa once a decade, there haven't been such things as "conflict diamonds" for like about four years. In any case, in my personal opinion it was never wonderfully logical to deprive a lot of legitimate African governments of an important source of foreign exchange, just because they happened to have a civil war on.

The entire concept of a "blood diamond" looks to me very much like an excuse to impose a costly and inconvenient certification process on the industry which (whoda thunkit) also had the effect of helping to shore up a cartel which had begun to flag after the entry of Botswana and Russia to the diamond market.

I mean, the whole American tradition about these things certainly is vulgar, but given that we're talking about a country that wears evening dress to get married in what do you expect? but the particular reason for signing up to a boycott of African diamonds that had never actually been requested by the Africans in the first place, at the behest of a bunch of holier-than-thou self-styled champions of human rights, is about as bogus as the tradition itself.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:45 AM
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Dull bourgeois stuff is actually up a thread or two. This is the thread for weird bicycles.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:46 AM
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I have some really bad news for you about the class profile and intrinsic interest of weird bicycles.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 1:48 AM
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a country that wears evening dress to get married in

Not to disavow my countrymen, but I wore a morning coat and striped trousers, as one should.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 2:04 AM
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Dull bourgeois stuff is actually up a thread or two.

You mean the Holocaust thread, or the hijab one?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 2:15 AM
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Dsquared is the most two-months-salary*-for-the-lady person I know. Partly because I've met her, and you know, otherwise she would have whipped him into a hatted cock.

Meanwhile, bicycles. As far as I can tell, cyclists can be divided into two groups - wankers who treat their choice of commuter transport as a religious cult, babble about Campagnolo products, and elbow pedestrians while all the time telling each other what a mighty blow they are striking for the environment by not using mass transit(anyone see the flaw here?), as they inevitably live in the Big City and don't need a car anyway, and fat oafs who bought those ridiculous, overpriced Brompton folding jobs on the 8th of July 2005 because they are scared to use mass transit but still take the train in from the 'burbs, and therefore look like the tiny saddle is tickling their sensitive glands as they teeter embarrassingly out of Waterloo station, getting in the way. If it was possible to be normal and own a bike, I might.

*in this case, this equals "more than yours, sunshine"

**frankly, given the profit margins involved, my heart fails to bleed for the diamond industry's compliance requirements


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 2:59 AM
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I'm getting all Tim Worstall here, but the diamond certification system really is a racket. It's the compliance regime which underpins all those profit margins at present. It gives the diamond cartel a pretext for doing things like cutting off Cote d'Ivoire from the international market because "they can't demonstrate the provenance of their diamond exports". De Beers, naturally, can always demonstrate the provenance of their diamonds. And curiously, Kimberley certification is always easier to get for diamond producers who agree to act in a "gentlemanly" manner when it comes to price competition; IIRC it more or less explicitly discriminates against any diamond producer that isn't a government monopoly.

If pushed, I might even suggest that of all the ways in which someone like Charles Taylor or Jonas Savimbi might have raised money, taxing the diamond mines is not obviously the most destructive. And that the evidence of most of the rest of Africa would provide decent reason for believing that when deprived of income from the diamond trade, it is a rare warlord indeed that decides to pack up shop and get out of the game; it's more usual for them to just turn their hand to more direct robbery to buy their AKs.

The question of months of salary is pretty academic in my household, since it is run on traditional working class lines; I hand over my pay packet to Ms Digest every month and she gives me my beer money.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 3:14 AM
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The question of months of salary is pretty academic in my household, since it is run on traditional working class lines; I hand over my pay packet to Ms Digest every month and she gives me my beer money.

In our household the money goes into a joint account and then, after the rent and bills are paid, we race to see who can spend it on cameras/books/film/CDs [me] or shoes/clothes/handbags [her].*

I suspect we'd have more money if it was run on traditional working class lines.

* this division of spending may seem like a terrible gender cliché, but it is, however, true ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 4:07 AM
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I mean, the whole American tradition about these things certainly is vulgar, but given that we're talking about a country that wears evening dress to get married in what do you expect?

I, sir, shall wed in a proper morning coat.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 4:14 AM
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297: Yes, but you're practically a foreigner anyway. You've got a passport.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 4:27 AM
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The natives in the colonies are getting uppity. Blair was too easy on them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 4:51 AM
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You can fuck...to death?

'Til death do us fuck.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 6:24 AM
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Americans not only wear evening dress to get married in, we very often get married in the evening. We're just a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up nation.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 6:32 AM
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If you must get your mate something incredibly expensive that they don't really need, think outside the box. Like chemotherapy.

Speaking of, this cartoon cracked me up.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 6:38 AM
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Golly, dsquared, 250+ words and nary a "cunt". You're not going soft on us, are you?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 6:51 AM
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I'm turning over a new leaf.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 6:55 AM
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...or leafing over a new turd.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 7:23 AM
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105: I never would have guessed that you're a Burkean conservative at heart, Labs.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 7:30 AM
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Say, a tattoo. For two. Now there's an idea.

that's what my wife and i got for our 10th anniversary (and our 11th, and probably will for our 12th, too).


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 7:46 AM
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DSquared allows me to retell my favourite IT disaster anecdote "The question of months of salary is pretty academic in my household, since it is run on traditional working class lines; I hand over my pay packet to Ms Digest every month and she gives me my beer money."

The story goes of British IT firm ICL computerising the payroll system at the Cammell Laird shipyard at Birkenhead, across the estuary from Liverpool.
This was a proper electro-mechanical system which physically tipped notes and coins into a then-sealed pay envelope, so obviously we're talking early 70s here. It would be the 70s anyway because they don't build ships any more - actually they didn't then, they just took government money.
Anyway.
It was one of those projects where the system designers only interacted with the top management. "Leave us alone, we understand the requirement perfectly".
They coded up all the incredibly complex overtime and piecework rules and finally allowed the foreman class to view the final trial run before going live.
The button was pressed, the cash rattled and the paypackets were filled and sealed.
The foremen said "If the men get these pay packets they'll walk off the job in a second".
Transpires that the workers used to get two pay packets each. One of which they handed unopened to the wife.


Posted by: dave heasman | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 8:31 AM
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308 makes me wish I had been around before cash was replaced by electronic simulacra. That electro-mechanical system sounds way neato.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 9:03 AM
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Dsquared, you're making a couple of independnet claims about the conflict diamond business. One of them has to do with its monoploy preserving characteristics, and I'm willing to take your word on this. But it also looks like you're saying that even if the certification were being sincerely and with good intentions run by all involved, it would be a bad idea since it would neither help diamond miners in Sierra Leone and Liberia nor cause despots to fall from power. Is there really no place for people to just say, "I don't want to be involved in this particular exploitative industry, which I feel is worse not just in degree but in kind from other exploitative industries"?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 10:14 AM
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btw, the civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia have been over for quite a while now; although I realise that rappers and treehuggers alike only check the news from Africa once a decade, there haven't been such things as "conflict diamonds" for like about four years. In any case, in my personal opinion it was never wonderfully logical to deprive a lot of legitimate African governments of an important source of foreign exchange, just because they happened to have a civil war on.

The civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia may have been over for quite a while now, but that hasn't stopped nine year olds being sent down holes in the ground in eastern Madagascar to scrub around with their bare hands for sapphires in the dark. The government would tax the stones if it could, but as it happens, helicopters with range extending fuel tanks can make the trip direct to Mozambique; no need for all those irritating forms.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 10:24 AM
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Isn't it also rather routine to subject gemstone mine workers to daily body-cavity searches?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 10:25 AM
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Is there really no place for people to just say, "I don't want to be involved in this particular exploitative industry, which I feel is worse not just in degree but in kind from other exploitative industries"?

There is certainly a place for them, as long as they don't mind disagreeing with me, which appears to be true of a distressingly large number of people these days. I don't think that even at the height of the SL, Liberian and Angolan conflicts, the diamonds boycott did much net good in practical terms - I am a general sceptic about boycotts. But I can sort of see the argument that it might have some symbolic role and that some people might want to not be involved in it personally - I don't agree with it but I can see it.

But as we sit here now, I don't think there's much evidence that diamond mining *is* a particularly exploitative industry by the general standards of extractive industries in the third world. I think there is sort of an obligation on people to keep up to date with the news if they're going to have this sort of moral view, to avoid the situation where they're boycotting Sierra Leonean diamonds, four years after democratic elections have been held.

I just got really rather pissed off at Kanye West for wrapping himself in the Sierrra Leonean flag when a) there was no actual reference to SL in the song, it was all about Kanye fucking West, and b) Sierra Leone had free elections in 2002, and the bloody war crimes tribunals had already been going for three years. So a whole lot of Kanye West fans are presumably boycotting the Kimberly-certified diamonds produced in SL as we speak.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 10:33 AM
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Does my thievery upset you?
Does it warrant your critiques
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my cheeks?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 10:40 AM
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Isn't it also rather routine to subject gemstone mine workers to daily body-cavity searches?

Yes, but this is true of Kimberly-certified mines too; they can't afford the X-ray machines that are used in Canadian mining operations (and it's not like X-rays are all that great either). If you care about hanging on to your diamonds, it's the sort of thing you have to do.

that hasn't stopped nine year olds being sent down holes in the ground in eastern Madagascar to scrub around with their bare hands for sapphires in the dark

I don't want to be a dick here, but we were talking about diamonds. The Kimberley certification scheme doesn't cover rubies, emeralds or sapphires. IMO, this is because those gemstones are genuinely rare and don't need a cartel protecting them.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 10:41 AM
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we were talking about diamonds

I know. I only mentioned sapphires because I have seen it with my own eyes, man.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 11:01 AM
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Oh I see, sorry; I just meant that this is reasonable evidence that the "conflict diamonds" scheme isn't really about human rights. Nobody cares about sapphires (or for that matter, rubies from Myanmar), but the diamond industry are always interested in something that restricts supply. So someone suggested "hey diamond industry, we are going to impose a tough compliance regime on you that will severely regulate the supply of diamonds" and De Beers basically said "please don't throw me into that briar patch".

One has to be careful about stories like this because they are easy to turn into libertarian fairy tales "and see, those silly do-gooders ended up not doing any good after all", but in the case of diamonds it's broadly true. I am still cross about Kanye West btw.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 12:01 PM
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Well fuck him, but I'd love to know what other product in Liberia or Sierra Leone there is that even gets close in terms of high value-to-weight ratio, fungibility, and low capex. Ukrainian mercenary pilots don't work for peanuts. Seeing as Charlie T actually used slaves to dig the things up, how much worse could he have done? Not a good question to ask the guy, but now he's in stir the point can be made.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 2:20 PM
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Oh tee oh aitch, Somalia, Eritrea, Rwanda and Uganda have managed to do pretty appallingly in terms of civil wars without any diamonds worth speaking of. The general model of African civil wars IMO teaches us that AK47s have a really low income elasticity of demand. As in, if you need some AK47s and you're surrounded by people who have diamonds and goats, you steal the diamonds and buy the fancy knock-off RPGs. If they don't have diamonds, you steal the goats and buy machetes.

Taylor might not have fought exactly the same civil war if he hadn't had diamonds, but there are some people who just have a knack of being really bad news for anyone in the vicinity and making them work to a budget doesn't really cramp their style.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 4:49 PM
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(hardly need to add that in a lot of agricultural contexts, stealing someone's goats is a lot worse than stealing their diamonds).


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 4:51 PM
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(actually since I am now triple-posting at ten to midnight and have thus given up on all claim to being considered sane, IIRC Taylor didn't do much mining for diamonds; he did use slave labour and is being indicted for it, but most of the rough diamonds that he trafficked in he got the easy way, by stealing them from Sierra Leonean households. Savimbi's organisation did have mines though.)


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 4:54 PM
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It's easy enough to find reasons to boycott diamonds.

Jackmormon is an agent of the Canadian diamond industry. That much I know. I also have suspicions of worse, but it would be wrong to reveal these before I have proof.

Also, Mrs. Squared has a diamond on every finger and Mr. Squared wears a dog collar at home.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 5:00 PM
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given that we're talking about a country that wears evening dress to get married in what do you expect?

Indeed. That, plus not wanting to have to get up at the crack of dawn, is why we got married at 7 pm.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-12-07 5:15 PM
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I note tangentially that in the Paul Simon song "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes", the lines:

"She says honey, take me dancing, but they ended up by sleeping in a doorway
by the bodegas and the bars on Upper Broadway"

make perfect sense, as presumably all the nightclub owners would be reluctant to have their dancefloors scratched to shit by someone who had inconsiderately gone out dancing wearing the equivalent of sharpened football cleats made out of the hardest substance known to man.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 1:20 AM
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You'd think you could hock 'em for a motel room, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 1:26 AM
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There's a Canadian diamond industry? Oh, I'm so pleased.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:08 AM
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JM? What are you doing up this late?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:12 AM
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There's a Canadian diamond industry?

There's a good recounting of it's inception in Diamond by Matthew Hart. Good read for anyone interested in the history and workings of the industry.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:18 AM
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Fuck, its, not it's.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:19 AM
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Ah, fuck its.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:23 AM
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There are also diamonds in Arkansas.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:26 AM
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I can't wait for synthetic diamonds to get good enough to be passed as real. Then the fun will really start.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:27 AM
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I'm perfectly happy to flash! flash! flash! synthetic diamonds.

327: Insomnia, Teo. And chemical fumes.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:30 AM
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They already are.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:33 AM
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I can't wait for synthetic diamonds to get good enough to be passed as real. Then the fun will really start

my guess is that what will happen is that the Kimberley process will drag its heels abominably in certifying synthetic diamonds, and in the meantime, the cartel will kick up a cloud of dust saying that "for all you know, those uncertified "synthetic" diamonds might be evil conflict diamonds!!! you wouldn't want to take the risk of the civil war in Angola twenty years ago being all your fault, would you?"


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:34 AM
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Chemical fumes? You aren't huffing, are you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:34 AM
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No.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:40 AM
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Just checking.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:41 AM
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As I understand it, a skilled jeweler can currently tell a synthetic from a real diamond, so synthetics are marketed as such. At some point it will presumably not be possible to tell the difference, and I'd guess that the incentives to pass synthetics as real might/could be strong enough to motivate falsifying the certification.

Unless De Beers is keeping the price of uncut "certified" diamonds a lot higher than I think... are we talking 2x or 10x?


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:52 AM
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It's not possible; you can apparently use spectroscopy, but if the synthetic diamonds weren't marked with a serial number you couldn't tell the difference. That might be part of the rationale behind the whole ridiculous certification process. Conflict diamonds, sure, whatever, but the important thing is that your diamond came out of the ground.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 2:58 AM
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From the article I linked:
But De Beers wasn't backing down. Throughout 2000, the cartel accelerated its Gem Defensive Programme, sending out its testing machines - dubbed DiamondSure and DiamondView - to the largest international gem labs. Traditionally, these labs analyzed and certified color, clarity, and size. Now they were being asked to distinguish between man-made and mined. The DiamondSure shines light through a stone and analyzes its refractory characteristics. If the gem comes up suspicious, it must be tested with the DiamondView, which uses ultraviolet light to reveal the crystal's internal structure. "Ideally the trade would like to have a simple instrument that could positively identify a diamond as natural or synthetic," De Beers scientists wrote in 1996, when the company unveiled plans to develop authentication devices. "Unfortunately, our research has led us to conclude that it is not feasible at this time to produce such an ideal instrument, inasmuch as synthetic diamonds are still diamonds physically and chemically."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 3:03 AM
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Taylor might not have fought exactly the same civil war if he hadn't had diamonds, but there are some people who just have a knack of being really bad news for anyone in the vicinity and making them work to a budget doesn't really cramp their style.

Historically speaking, having money has always been fairly important to being able to wage war. Just sayin'.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 8:44 AM
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Historically speaking, people have always scrimped and saved in order to be able to fight their wars. Particularly in Africa. Name me one war that ended for lack of money.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 10:57 AM
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Name me one war that ended for lack of money.

Wouldn't Russian involvement in WWI sort of qualify? "Money" is an oversimplification, more like general strain on resources, but still. And there are probably mercenary wars that have that distinction -- some the episodes of the Italian Wars, maybe.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 11:02 AM
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Name me one war that ended for lack of money.

It's happened in cold-weather regions where food is simply unavailable anywhere in the winter. I read about such a thing happening in China but don't remember who the combatants were that gave up.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 11:03 AM
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Wouldn't Russian involvement in WWI sort of qualify?

I seem to remember that it was ended by some sort of revolution or other. The Free Companies in the Italian city-state wars did often down tools or turn coats if they weren't paid, but I don't think this generally ended the wars in question.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 06-13-07 5:21 PM
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