Re: Answers and Questions

1

I'm impressed that they concluded with that quotation from Moran. It's one thing to build up a better crime-fighting infrastructure that allows criminals to be caught; it's another to raise children with the constant fear that everyone in the world is a would-be rapist and murderer.

That stuff really got under my mom's skin when I was a kid, to the point that she would not let me play outside, or walk to the bus stop one block away. I believe that she overfed me as a child so I would be less "attractive" as a target, and I don't think a day went by when she wasn't recounting some story or another about child-rapists and kidnappers.

Unwittingly, she made me a lot more vulnerable because I didn't have the opportunity to make friends and spent way too much time afraid and alone, having what amounted to hallucinations of being brutally murdered, sometimes for hours at a time. It was terrifying. I knew she was just being paranoid, but the images she filled my head with haunted me. I was obsessed with death, suicidally so by eight or nine.

There is a difference between caution and terror.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-18-08 10:44 PM
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Not only that, but the pernicious effects of the paranoia have extended to those who aren't in general freaked out--they're gfenerally too young right now, but I can't just send my kids down to the park when they're older (6 or 7) to play, even though it's a block away, because I'm worried that other parents will freak out and try to sic CPS on me, even though I know rationally that they're perfectly safe.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 12-18-08 10:49 PM
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Oh, man, AWB. Me, too.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-18-08 10:57 PM
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Yeah, the same rules apply to kids as to adults; the more people there are around, the safer they are. If there are a lot of kids hanging out in the neighborhood, they're safer than if there are just a few, or one, who may have to walk through there.

I often think that about my current neighborhood, that it's deceptively safe because it's a "nice" area of Brooklyn, but there aren't a lot of people walking down the side-streets at night because they're all boring old people. I'd far rather walk down the lower-income, busier streets to get home at 3am than down the silent rows of brownstones. Very creepy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-18-08 10:59 PM
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3: [dap]


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-18-08 10:59 PM
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I had a student who recently confided that she has private crying fits (no, not the student who does that in class) whenever any book she's reading hints at incest or rape, not because she's been raped, but because she watched some really scarring shit at school as a child about how the threat of rape isn't just strangers--dads can be rapists, too! Apparently there were a lot of scenes of dad getting all touchy-feely, and she was so disturbed by it she still has a very distant relationship with her own male family members.

It all goes to show you: obsessions with child harm constitute child harm. I.e., Tristram Shandy is right about everything.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-18-08 11:11 PM
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When I was a kid, we lived on a few acres outside Richmond, VA. Starting at maybe 5 and 7 years old, my mom would let my sister and I run off into the woods every day for hours on end. We had signal whistles and were supposed to stay on our property, of course, but in every respect, we had the run of the land. It was The Best.

It's a shame to think that this sort of parenting today would likely be regarded as negligent.


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 12-18-08 11:35 PM
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re: 7

There are class issues surrounding this, I think. That sort of thing is still much more common/acceptable among working class families, I think.

Although even there kids have less freedom than in the past.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:37 AM
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A while back, Bruce Schneier linked to a great map depicting how far eight-year children in one British family were allowed to wander over four generations.


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:54 AM
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re: 9

Yeah, I saw that. My childhood was much closer to the great-grandfather on that map than anyone elses.

We walked nearly 2 miles to school from age 5. We used to play in the grounds of the local mental hospital from about age 8 [the grounds were about 1 mile from our house but extended for miles and miles]. From about age 7 we walked to the library on our own [over 2 miles], and from about age 8 or 9 we used to walk [because we couldn't afford the bus] to the nearest big town [3 miles each way].

I had more freedom than most of my friends as my parents were fairly easy-going and believed that I was a responsible child [which I was].

When we got to high school age we used to roam much further. About age 12 or 13 we used to cycle to the 'mountains'* [about 16 miles] and go walking there.

* the Ochils, not really mountains. More foothills.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ochils2.jpg


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:04 AM
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Not yet a parent, but plan to be, so I have to ask: The many red-blooded tales of childhood adventure upthread notwithstanding, is it really smart to let your kids play off in some park a block away while you sit at home watching TV or whatnot?

I mean, forget about strangers, what if your kid falls off the monkey bars and cracks his head open? Are you trusting his 6-year-old buddy to summon you to the scene? I think I would want to be with my kid until he or she is a bit older. I don't know how old is enough, but 6 or 7 seems a bit young.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:12 AM
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I dunno, Gaijin. I'd tend to agree that 6 is too young,. Only barely, though. 8 is more than sufficient for 'go play at local school.'


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:24 AM
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Gaijin-san, the way parks are going there won't be any monkey bars around by the time your kid can use them. At least that's the case around here. The local playground was shut down due to "unsafe equipment" and replaced with a pile of crap.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:59 AM
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re: 11

Running those risks is part of growing up. Obviously you don't want to be crazily blasé about those risks, but the cotton wool approach is messed up.

How old is old enough is obviously going to be a factor of where you are and the individual child.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:05 AM
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I think the child sex abuse hysterias began a few years before this case. In the U.S., it focused on nursery schools (maybe a sign of anxiety about the entrance of women into the workforce). But maybe the most amazing incident was the Cleveland child sex abuse case in England, where 121 apparently ordinary children were taken from their parents based on these crackpot doctors theory that she could tell if a young child had been abused by sodomizing them and seeing their reaction. Apparently the doctors "examined" hundreds of kids in what basically appears like a mass incidence of medical sexual abuse.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:37 AM
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one thing that I like about narnia--maybe it's even the best thing about it--is the safety. since it really is very safe people aren't paranoid, and I let my older daughter go play at the playground by herself if she wants, and there will often be other kids to play with (I can see her if I go look out, though). there's usually a few filipina 'aunties' hanging about, all of whom know my kids, would come get me if needed, etc. one woman is caretaker for an elderly man in a wheelchair and she's usually outside with him. I've just been talking with my husband about when she'll be old enough to take the city bus home after her after-school clubs. not now, I think (she's 7) but probably when she's 8. a boy (about 9, I think) did fall down at the playground off his bike one time, and skinned the crap out of his knee. he started bawling, and I and three other people came out of our houses to help him out, go find his parents, and so on. it was fine.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:39 AM
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I think 14 gets it right.

Relatedly, I got a call from my 12 year old's school counselor the other day to tell me that my son had confessed the he and other kids who had been sleeping over at our house last weekend (including a couple of 15 year olds and my 9 year old) had snuck out of the house at 2 AM to walk a mile to the closest convenience store. She was deeply concerned. And it's true that if they had asked my permission I probably would have said no. But honestly, walking a mile to a convenience store (in our UMC town, where the worst thing likely to happen to you is another kid will steal your homework) pales in comparison to the stuff my friends and I did when I was a teenager. How are you supposed to learn to be an adult and deal with the world if you spend all your years locked up at home or out only with adult supervision?


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:43 AM
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16: In another advantage of dictatorships, the trains run on time.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:46 AM
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Gaijin-- the thing about risks of accident, like you're talking about, is that it's not as if unsupervised outdoor play is a new idea. My parents ran around Queens from before breakfast until dinnertime without checking in with their parents from when they were about 5 onward -- not going more than a couple of blocks at first, but not watched by an adult. And mostly no one died, despite the fact that the risk of cracking one's head open hasn't changed since 1948. (This is fair in cities and country -- there are suburban areas that I'd agree are too physically dangerous to let a youngish kid play unsupervised in purely on insufficient separation from fast traffic. But that depends on your individual physical layout.)

People stopped letting kids out of their sight because they were afraid they'd be kidnapped and murdered, not because of the risk of accident.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:02 AM
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18: In another advantage of smugness, causation is simplistic.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:04 AM
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the risk of cracking one's head open hasn't changed since 1948

it's actually fallen quite considerably with the invention and widespread use of bark and rubberised playground surfaces.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:13 AM
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Man, my childhood was so very unsupervised. All day in the woods following creeks for miles, walked to and from school almost all 12 grades, latchkey kid for much of that. Such a completely different experience than most kids (including mine) have today.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:15 AM
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21: But at least in Europe, with fewer dictatorships to keep kids safe, it works out to a wash.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:16 AM
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People stopped letting kids out of their sight because they were afraid they'd be kidnapped and murdered, not because of the risk of accident.

I am firmly on the let the kids run wild side of this. Notwithstanding, I am not sure LizardBreath is right in saying above that it is all about worrying that kids will be harmed. People are also much more concerned about safety than they were when I was a kid (bike helmets, child car seats, eliminating certain kinds of playground equipment etc.). I am sure many lives have been saved and injuries avoided because of it. This is obviously a good thing. I am safety conscious myself (a product of my miliary career, where safety was always a big concern). But there is a price. I am not convinced that going through childhood without any bumps or bruises is necessarily the best way to prepare for adult life.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:28 AM
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23: although actually thinking about it, traffic volumes are much higher than in 1948, which goes the other way, although I don't know what's been the trend in actual traffic accidents.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:31 AM
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21 and 24 are both fair, I was oversimplifying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:32 AM
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19: People stopped letting kids out of their sight because they were afraid they'd be kidnapped and murdered, not because of the risk of accident.

As evidenced by the frequency with which people make declarations that begin "These days you can't ..." when discussing the subject. Although theoretically separable, I think that in practice this issue gets conflated with other more legitimate changes in child-rearing that reflect the increased marginal cost concern for the safety of children. Bicycle helmets, car seats, childproof latches, non-death cribs etc. contribute to a general climate where "protection" of children seems paramount.

They are wrong, protection from pwnage should be paramount!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:36 AM
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21: it's actually fallen quite considerably with the invention and widespread use of bark and rubberised playground surfaces.

Correct. When I was a kid smashing into a tree was serious business.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:39 AM
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Re: the link in 15 -- holy crap. Between this and the SRA/recovered memories/McMartin hysteria in the '80s, what in God's name was wrong with the English-speaking world in the '80s?

(I get the sense that England is even more crazy and irrational on the subject of pedophiles lurking behind every bush than America is. Can anyone say if this is the case? If so, any guesses as to why, or shall I just chalk it up to the pernicious influence of the Daily Mail and a Marmite-laden diet?)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:54 AM
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I am not convinced that going through childhood without any bumps or bruises is necessarily the best way to prepare for adult life even possible.

There's an entire industry built around making parents paranoid (You gotta put latches on your toilet seats or they'll fall in and drown! All tables must get rubber bumpers for the corners!). It's almost enough to make you wonder how any of us survived to adulthood. My memory is that not only were there no car seats, for example, but we shoved the seatbelts down into the crack of the seat to get them out of the way and climbed between the front and the back regularly while tooling down the interstate. Only once did I crack a windshield with my head due to sudden braking (true story).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:01 AM
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30: There were child car seats, but their purpose was to keep kids still, not to protect them in the event of a crash.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:07 AM
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32

By the time I was 8 my mom was sending me to the supermarket to buy cigarettes.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:10 AM
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re: 29

I don't know if it's more irrational [due to ignorance about the situation in the US]. It's certainly very irrational indeed.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:10 AM
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34

I've been trying to find that interesting map that I think was linked here a while back. It had a family in England living in more or less the same place for four generations, and marked out the farthest each (male) generation was allowed to go off alone. It went something like, 6 miles, 1 mile, 200 yards, 100 feet.

I think the basic problem here is that the human mind grasps probabilities poorly, as witnessed by the existence of Las Vegas and lotteries. The risk of kidnapping/murder/etc. is, I'd guess (and I am aware of the irony in so guessing), much less than the risk of riding a car every day. But we rate the risk in proportion to how much we hear about it and how scary it is, not in proportion to how much it happens.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:15 AM
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re: 34

It's linked above. [In comment 9, and then commented below]

I've seen stats for the risk of child abduction or murder in the UK and they are largely static over decades, with, I think, a very slight drop over time. The risk is indeed negligible.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:20 AM
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Some interesting stats for the US at this CDC site, KidsWalk-to-School.

Kids riding or biking to school fell from 42% to 16% between 1969 and 2001. This is a combination of kids living further from their schools (% living within 1 miles of their school fell from 34% to 21%) and reduced walking/biking rates for kids living the same distance.

The rate of crimes against children has dropped over the past 30 years. The rate of pedestrian deaths among children has dropped as well (data over a shorter time period), although they allow that this may be due to decreased rates of pedestrianism.

And the greatest risk to a kid walking to school? being hit by a parent driving their kid to school.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:20 AM
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35: Hey, go me.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:23 AM
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Re: 36 and the map. The kicker is the rate of pedestrianism. I imagine when great-gramps went a-fishing the area was mostly countryside, with people working in the fields or moving about by foot. Today the area is mostly urban with people in cars or working inside. This means more dangerous metal objects moving at high speed, and fewer people around to actually keep an eye out for you. This are the issues that would make me reluctant to let my kids roam 8 miles, not the distance per se.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:37 AM
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38 is correct about the danger of cars. One of the side effects of suburbanization is that it get dangerous to not have a car rather than merely inconvenient. More and more subdivisions don't have sidewalks, lots of intersections don't have crosswalks, and many drivers are completely oblivious when it comes to pedestrians.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:47 AM
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re: 38

Here in the UK it's not so much of a problem. There are more cars but there are still quaint things like pavements [sidewalks].

I was absolutely gobsmacked to find out that lots of US streets don't have them. [If I was dictator of the world those particular urban planners would not be urban planning any longer.]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:49 AM
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More and more subdivisions don't have sidewalks

I thought this was somewhat on the decline.

But yeah, fuck a bunch of subdivisions in unincorporated areas. Local government is there for a reason!

Interestingly, at least according to the book Traffic, pedestrian fatalities are lower at intersections without crosswalks. Unfortunately, it's because pedestrians are more likely to be intimidated into crossing extra carefully.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:49 AM
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[If I was dictator of the world those particular urban planners would not be urban planning any longer.]

No urban planning involved. Just suburban developers building as cheaply (and quickly) as they can.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:51 AM
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I grew up in a development dating to the 20's, now considered practically downtown, and sidewalks were only partial. Maybe people weren't prohibited from removing them from their yards.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:52 AM
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re: 42

Yeah, but someone has to sign off on what they build, no?



Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:54 AM
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44: Sign off on building stuff? What do you take the US for, some kind of communist dictatorship?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:57 AM
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44: In a "Godspeed, man!" vein.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:58 AM
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47

When I was a little kid, my parents were quite paranoid, but the result was that all the neighborhood kids came over to our yard. And kids ran mostly everywhere around the neighborhood. But when I was a few years older, the demographics of the neighborhood had changed enough that there weren't quite as many young children, and their mothers had all gone back to work. I suspect that both of those factors made it a little bit harder for kids to roam. Not quite as many playmates and a much emptier neighborhood.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:58 AM
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pedestrian fatalities are lower at intersections without crosswalks.

Does "lower" mean percentage or absolute? Because I could see how there could be a lower absolute number because people deliberately chose to cross at other [safer] intersections instead.

Yay sidewalks, except that you also need curb cuts if people with strollers or walkers or wheelchairs are going to be able to get around.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:59 AM
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Yeah, but someone has to sign off on what they build, no?

All planning is local.

Seriously, in the U.S. there are municipalities whose planning codes are massively detailed, and entire counties where the rules as such barely exist.

There are a half-dozen people on this blog a lot more knowledgeable than I on this issue, but it's safe to say when talking about planning in the U.S., no matter what model you're talking about, some area is using it and hundreds of others aren't. General trends toward automobile-worship notwithstanding.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:02 AM
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re: 49

In the UK planning is covered by multiple levels of oversight and bureaucracy so it's not clear or perfect here, either.

But there aren't places where you can just do what the hell you like.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:06 AM
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Towns in the country here sometimes have on their town-line signs ("Welcome to Shithole, PA, a Friendly Place") an additional sign that says, "Building permits required." Because otherwise someone could buy a property and build something on it and claim never to have known that he was supposed to get an OK from somebody.

In red states this is known as "socialism."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:10 AM
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I believe that she overfed me as a child so I would be less "attractive" as a target

And yet so much more attractive to witches in gingerbread houses!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:11 AM
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Because I could see how there could be a lower absolute number because people deliberately chose to cross at other [safer] intersections instead.

One of the interesting, counterintuitive conclusions in Traffic is that jaywalking at the center of the block is actually safer than crossing at a corner intersection: traffic only comes from two directions instead of four. One of the big risks of crossing at the corner is "right turn on red". Drivers making a right turn at a stop light look left to make sure no cars are coming, and fail to see the pedestrian crossing on the right.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:13 AM
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The only real downside to our home location is that we are at the center of a 6 block area bounded on all sides by high traffic, fairly high speed roads (2 of them with more than one lane of traffic per direction). Iris will have to be fairly old before we can really send her out on her own, I think. Same deal with biking - I used to have a 4.5 mile commute, all in the city, and pretty much the most dangerous part was the first 3/8 mile leaving my house.

That said, we have a very nice little park at the end of our street, actually on our block, so all she has to cross is one driveway to get there. That leaves it as just a matter of how old she should be before we send her alone to the park with the homeless guys, drug dealers, and unleashed dogs. It's not actually as bad as that sounds, but I'm not exaggerating, either.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:26 AM
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48: One of the side effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act is that it makes things like the Segway possible. Without wheel-friendly public spaces the Segway would be dead on arrival. I think this is a good example of a general rule that uniform standards promote innovation.

53: This is one of the reasons I dislike bike lanes. Accidents are most common during crossing and turning maneuvers. Bike lanes give a false sense of security as they funnel riders into the most dangerous places where suddenly the bike lane vanishes. John Forester has written extensively on this topic. He's a bit of a ranter but the underlying ideas are sound.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:30 AM
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I was 8 and living in Miami when Walsh was abducted. I definitely recall my mom being a lot more paranoid about letting me hang out in the toy section while she did the rest of her shopping. And there were canals everywhere, so there was something very striking about how they found his head.

That said, I'm pretty sanguine about leaving Iris on her own in stores - she's very familiar with the places we're going, and she wants her independence, and it's Pittsburgh, you know?

[Funny, related story: we were at PennMac in the Strip District, doing our Saturday shopping, and she misbehaved, then threw a screaming fit about being scolded. I was so pissed I took her outside, told her to get hold of herself, and went to stand inside the door to give her a minute. A few seconds later, a couple older women came in, and I could see them looking at her and getting concerned. I caught their eye and assured him it was OK, she wasn't alone, and they just nodded with the recognition of parents.]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:37 AM
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Now that I've read about the Cleveland case, I'd like the final para of 56 redacted before Iris is taken away by the Authorities.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:47 AM
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THAT STORY'S NOT FUNNY DAD!!!!!!!


Posted by: OPINIONATED IRIS | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:48 AM
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55
One of the side effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act is that it makes things like the Segway possible.

True, but it also made it easier for the disabled to get around, so it wasn't all bad.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:52 AM
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Sorry, Kiddo.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:59 AM
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re: 56

My brother got abandoned in Paris once, in similar circumstances. He threw a tantrum, stormed off, my mother let him. I think he got about a mile away before he realized she hadn't followed him. I think he was about 11.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:01 AM
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When I was a little kid, I lived in an urban neighborhood with brick sidewalks. They hadn't been very well maintained, but people protested when the stupid planners thought about putting in concrete sidewalks. They were often uneven. Everybody walked in the street, because it was safer. People parked on the street, but most of the through traffic in the daytime was pedestrian anyway. (I made a killing when I set up a lemonade stand.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:04 AM
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Based on this thread, I've sent Rory off to play in the snow by herself. Well, based on this thread and the fact that there is no fucking way I am going back out in that mess.

As for heightened paranoia, a few months ago Rory's school had an "intruder drill." That's right, not only do we now practice how to run from the building in case of fire, and kneel on the ground in case of tornado. Now we also must practice how to shut off all the lights and hide in a corner in the event of a crazed gunman.

Also, they imposed new strict rules for monkey bar usage (no skipping bars, etc.) so no one cracks their head open.

I'm fairly paranoid as moms go, but man.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:08 AM
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In preschool, they taught us that if somebody tried to grab us in a market, we should shout "This is not my mother/father." I once threatened (with no real intention of carrying out the threat) to say this when I was out with my mother.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:15 AM
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61: When I was 4.5, we were on a family trip to England, and I wandered off in a jam-packed Westminster Abbey - just your classic, "Hey, this isn't my mom's pant leg!" I actually don't recall it at all (I do recall seeing big bubbles rising up from Loch Ness - no joke), but my mom always told of walking around semi-franticly and asking if anyone had seen a little boy with red hair (at the time it was a vibrant auburn), which was quite effective.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:16 AM
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I always imagined that the "Just Say No" hysteria of the 80s would lead to a generation of kids who would, literally, just say no. "Care for something to eat?" "No!" "What's your name?" "No!" "Do you mind if I break into your house and take your things?" "No!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:19 AM
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More than the general sense of paranoia, the thing that freaked me out as a kid was seeing Empire of the Sun. Losing your parents and getting abducted by a man-child with a moustache is one thing, but losing your parents and ending up a POW? For years? Freaky.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:22 AM
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67: We may have just discovered the source of your katana fetish.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:24 AM
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By unfortunate coincidence, the made-for-television movie about the Adam Walsh abduction came out right around the time that David Lee Roth's cover of "Just a Gigolo" was in the pop charts, leading one of my classmates (whether inevitably, or because of a sickness peculiar to my milieu) to improvise a joke about the discovery of the child's severed head, which joke involved singing the chorus "I-I-I-I-I ain't got no-bo-o-o-o-dy."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:25 AM
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As noted by several people above, the perverse thing about all of this is that in seeking to make kids safer parents have made them less safe since driving is more dangerous, and it's less safe to talk than it used to be because fewer people do it. On that it's sort of a prisoner's dilemma, though, since everyone would be better if more kids walked but sending your own kid out to walk alone (might) make him less well off (mostly because of cars, not the boogy-man.)


Posted by: matt (not the famous one) | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:26 AM
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Losing your parents and getting abducted by a man-child with a moustache is one thing, but losing your parents and ending up a POW? For years? Freaky.

Yeah, no wonder he grew up to be Batman.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:35 AM
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Also, I think it is very important when sending your children unsupervised into the snow to hand them a shovel and mention that shoveling the driveway is worth $10.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:39 AM
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I'm going to spread a rumor that a good snow shovel can be fenced for $12 to $15.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:41 AM
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57: Seriously? I kept hoping it would happen. I am only a few years younger than Christian Bale, and spent months after seeing that movie fantasizing about being trapped in a POW camp with him. It would be like pre-adolescent Empire of the Blue Lagoon.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:41 AM
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pre-adolescentpubescent


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:42 AM
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STAY AWAY FROM ME YOU CREEPY WOMAN.


Posted by: OPINIONATED CHRISTIAN BALE | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:43 AM
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I came of age before the Adam Walsh case, and in any event my home was such a rural backwater that I could wander off unattended all day, with my parents secure in the knowledge that the greatest danger I could encounter would be power tools, unsecured firearms, or the leaky barrels of carcinogenic herbicides we kept in the shed.

Yet I can remember being terrified of being abducted. I pin the blame on two things:

(1) The television series The FBI. I loved that show. Unfortunately, it seemed that every other day Ephraim Zimbalist, Jr. was racing against time to save some boy who had been kidnapped (for ransom, naturally; child molestation was still too edgy for tv in the 70's) and taken across state lines.

(2) The public service announcements that firmly intoned "Take your keys out of your car!", along with a grainy vignette of a mother popping into the grocery store and returning to find that a thief had driven off with her car, her screaming children still visible in the back seat. In those days, my parents never took the keys out of the car when they were stopped somewhere for a short time (in fairness, the risk involved was inconsequential), and I used to sit petrified with fear, watching passersby and wondering which one would be the one to open the car door and drive off with me.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:43 AM
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76: I was EIGHT.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:44 AM
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77: There was a car theft like that last week around here. The mom got out of the car to lock the gate in front of the house, and a thief jumped into the running car and took off with it, baby in the back seat. But they found the car about a mile away, apparently because when the thief discovered there was a baby in the car, the car theft suddenly didn't look like a good idea.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 9:57 AM
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That was a good movie. Would have been a lot less interesting without the South African setting though.

Didn't it win the Oscar for foreign film in fact?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:03 AM
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79: That thief doesn't watch enough movies. The correct procedure is to place the baby in harm's way, like in the path of an oncoming train, so that Batman has to choose between saving the baby's life and pursuing the car thief.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:04 AM
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78: Is flaunting your young age like that supposed to be more enticing to Mr. Bale?

And your "57" in comment 74 made me think for a second that you fantasized about the Cleveland case happening to you.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:06 AM
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Wow, I haven't had coffee yet.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:08 AM
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The correct procedure is to place the baby in harm's way, like in the path of an oncoming train, so that he can get the deed to its ranch!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:08 AM
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they taught us that if somebody tried to grab us in a market, we should shout "This is not my mother/father."

A friend's child did this to her once.

Only two people have ever approached me as a potential abductor. I find that fact sad considering all the times that I have dragged/carried my daughter out of places, down streets or been driving with her in the backseeat screaming, thrashing around half-nude (bc she has ripped her own clothes off) over the last 16 1/2 years.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:09 AM
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I, too, had enormous freedom as a kid to leave the house in the morning and come back for supper. It never occurred to us to be afraid except for one creepy house we passed on the walk to & from elementary school. I think we were convinced that there was a killer dog there. Named, if I recall correctly, Checkers. Not that I got the joke at the time.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:09 AM
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I can see the people look at me and think "wow, it looks like he is abducting that child," and then shrug their shoulders and walk/drive off.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:10 AM
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I was allowed to walk pretty far, but the only kids I was friends with lived two or three houses away, so we never walked very far. The street I lived on until age 10, being built more than 50 years ago, even had a sidewalk!

We probably walked maybe a half mile, at ages 7, 8, 9. But I never did so alone, because there was nowhere I wanted to go.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:12 AM
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I can see the people look at me and think "wow, it looks like he is abducting that child," and then shrug their shoulders and walk/drive off.

Your daughter doesn't have precious blonde curls, duh.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:14 AM
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86: I bet the dog was really named Chester. Just like how "Mr. Gompers" was actually surnamed Gower.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:16 AM
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The obvious solution here is to pay off duty cops overtime to hang out at parks and playgrounds, reading the paper and drinking coffee. And if you gave your kid a bracelet with a phone number, I could give you a call when your uncoordinated offspring knocks himself out on the monkey bars.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:27 AM
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||

Bleg: About two weeks ago, my editor for the paper I'm slowly dragging to death asked me what was up with this current revision. I told him I'd have it to him by the beginning of the spring semester.

I just now got a response - he gently reminded me that there are only two weeks left until January.

I have no idea what to write back. I never claimed I'd have it to him by the new year, and there's no way that's going to happen. Also our e-mails seem to be getting tenser as this drags on. Advice?


|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:29 AM
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I grew up out in the woods, so I could wander when I wanted. I don't think I ever went further than a mile or two on my own before I learned how to ride a bike, though, and even then six miles was the max when just having fun on my own or with friends.

My mother seemed kinda paranoid about security, but there was a glimmer of rationality to it, since I'm told there had been a couple incidents with neighbors before I was old enough to remember. The house next door had been rented out to law students who apparently got rowdy during parties. Nothing seriously criminal happened, but I heard stories about drunk strangers wandering into my house or one of my parents' cars at night, stuff like that.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:29 AM
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Is the beginning January not the beginning of the spring semester?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:32 AM
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92: When does the spring semester begin?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:32 AM
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92: Why, we'll write it for you! If there are any particular topics you'd like covered just post them as stories.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:32 AM
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I'd bet paranoia has a trend level in a given community that most everyone is within some standard deviation of, but that the levels vary wildly across communities. I'd further speculate that it's connected to how long people have had roots in the neighborhood.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:33 AM
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92: I think I'd lay it all out for the editor, say that Jan1 is an unrealistic timetable, but you've got a plan (sketch if you wish) to have it to him by (whatever date). I think editors are more worried about indefinite procrastination that missing a soft deadline. That particular wooshing sound is a constant companion for them.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:34 AM
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I think* something like this is the real answer for keeping your kids safe.

*not really


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:34 AM
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92: Personally, I'd be inclined to go with something like: "Wow, two weeks until January! The year really has flown by, hasn't it? Anyway, I think the paper is coming along nicely and I still expect to have it to you around ___, when the spring semester begins. Hope you and you family are enjoying the holidays!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:35 AM
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94, 95: It's a difference of about 2-3 weeks. Given that many schools have a january term, he should expect that I meant anywhere from mid to late January. (Technically our semester starts on the 13th, but I wouldn't have shed tears over keeping it an extra weekend for one last revision.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:35 AM
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91: somebody doesn't live in a state where construction sites need a detail.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:35 AM
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Is the beginning January not the beginning of the spring semester?

Closer to the middle, many places.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:35 AM
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Screw laying it out if you've already given him a deadline.

"Heebie, it's two weeks until January."

"Right. As I said, I'll have it to you before the semester begins on Jan. 15th. Have a Happy New Year!"


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:35 AM
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Tell the editor that providing him with a date certain would be a gift to the terrorists.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:37 AM
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Di's 100 is better. Go with that. Or else tell him that you ALMOST LOST THE BABY yesterday, you insensitive jackass.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:38 AM
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Thanks, all! That was very helpful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:39 AM
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Yeah, Di's is good.

totally unrelated, but the paranoid parenting thing is a real shame.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:40 AM
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91: Why go to the expense of hiring off-duty cops when there are plenty of adult men who would gladly perform this duty for free? Why, I bet they would even be willing to dress up in a police uniform, if required! And rather than passively sitting by and drinking coffee, they would even engage the children in conversation about topics of interest to children, possibly even discovering mutual interests in video games or what-have-you.

It's a shame you paternalistic statist liberals always want to bring big government into matters which private initiative is perfectly capable of addressing.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:43 AM
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92: Huh, sounds tough. Not knowing what kind of paper it is or what authority this editor has or how you get along with him, it's hard to say, but I guess the best thing to do is just remind him of the date you told him before, with evidence if at all possible, like forwarding the e-mail or something, and ask him if any new problem has come up with that. If there actually is some new problem, then the delay isn't your fault, and if it's just that he forgot or didn't like the original deadline, at least you have the paper trail.

Multiply pwned on preview, not that it's a surprise, but at least I don't see anyone else suggesting evidence.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:44 AM
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Also, is 106 true and there was some scary medical incident I missed, or is SK just recommending it as a dodge?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:46 AM
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like forwarding the e-mail or something,

Ironically, he replied to the e-mail where I'd stated the mid-January deadline, so it was right there a few lines down.

It's a stupid math paper, being submitted to the Journal of Stupidity and Math.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:48 AM
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being submitted to the Journal of Stupidity and Math

Must be a bitch to recruit peer reviewers for that particular publication.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:50 AM
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Fwiw, HBGB, someone quoting your entire message in their reply is only the flimsiest of evidence they actually read it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:51 AM
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Fwiw, HBGB, someone quoting your entire message in their reply is only the flimsiest of evidence they actually read it.

Soup's right, he clearly knows you suggested the middle of January.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:54 AM
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111: For dodging purposes only.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:54 AM
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My parents let us roam wild, and they also instilled caution about creepy strangers without freaking us out. So when I was walking to a friend's house alone at age 5 or 6 and a genuine creepy guy rolled up, saying he had candy and would I like a ride, I did as mom told me and answered No Thank You. In retrospect, I should have rolled my eyes and said, "Candy? Uh, that's really fucking original," but, well, l'esprit d'escalier.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:57 AM
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91: somebody doesn't live in a state where construction sites need a detail.

I can't work that kind of stuff until next summer when I'm off my probationary period. God, some of that secondary work is great.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 10:58 AM
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109: At the end of my street - sort of catty-corner to the park - is a semi-shabby, family-run "rehab" center/place for old people and weirdos to smoke outside until they die. Anyway, one of these characters has taken to the park - he brings a little transistor radio and a big duffle bag and just hangs out for hours and hours, even into the night (and in half-decent winter weather as well). Doesn't talk to anyone, looks a bit like a mental patient (buzz cut, overweight, ill-fitting glasses), but has a discernible deterrent effect on petty crime in the park.

So maybe what we need is a vetting process for the homeless - the ones who are merely unemployable, not actually criminal, can get special passes that allow them to live in the parks and keep them safe for the kids. Maybe get them signs: "This park has gone [58] days without a child molestation/abduction."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:00 AM
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114, 115: Just last week, someone in accounting emailed me to "remind" me that she needed documentation on something. Her email was sent as a reply to the email I'd sent two weeks earlier in which I said "Here is the documentation you need," and to which I'd attached the documentation she needed. People aren't always bright.

"I think the document attached to the email you are replying to ought to cover it. Thanks for following up!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:00 AM
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God, some of that secondary work is great.

Someone recently noticed that the management of the secondary work in Pgh was essentially being run on the side by a couple cops at a huge profit. Given that the off-duty cops wore their city uniforms while on these details, there was a sense that perhaps the department should be running it. Definitely a revenue grab, but a pretty well-justified one.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:02 AM
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I did as mom told me and answered No Thank You.

"Sweetie, it's important to be careful about Stranger Danger -- but don't forget your manners!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:03 AM
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Given that the off-duty cops wore their city uniforms while on these details, there was a sense that perhaps the department should be running it.

I'm surprised it took them so long to take it. All that stuff out here is run through the city and the dept.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:10 AM
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My brother got abandoned in Paris once, in similar circumstances. He threw a tantrum, stormed off, my mother let him. I think he got about a mile away before he realized she hadn't followed him. I think he was about 11.

From the archives:

I have about an hour of home movies from my childhood. One of the clips doesn't make much sense but I'd never given it much thought. It's of me, around three years old, shot from several stories up, walking along a city street by myself. Then there's a cut, and the same shot of my mom running along the same street. A couple of years ago I asked my mom what was going on. "You said you wanted ice cream and your dad told you to get it yourself, so you went."

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:11 AM
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We weren't allowed to roam around unsupervised all day (the way my dad did as a kid in the Yukon), but we did walk all over the neighborhood, and sometimes organized bands of kids to explore the overgrown vacant lots with their recently abandoned hobo encampments. We were warned against strangers, but if I recall correctly, that mostly resulted in games of running around naked, yelling "I'm a sex maniac!" to which the others were supposed to shriek and flee.

A strange man approached me once on a playground and asked me to pose for a picture. Even though I kind of knew at the time it was weird, I felt pretty safe and so let him. My parents still have the polaroid in their photo album.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:18 AM
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The paranoia about kids is very class-based from what I've seen. In sketch neighborhoods (my Oakland neighborhood or the Sac neighborhood where I played Ultimate) we see (black) kids out by themselves from age 4 and up. I have a very hard time not cuddling the ones who don't have sweaters. (Not that they ask. Well, one girl sorta did.) There are kids at the playground by the Oakland place who are 6-9ish, unsupervised. I find that if I play with them a little first, they are great with the baby nephews.

My friend Chris used to teach after school stuff in Watsonville, which is a town of mostly Mexican laborers close to Santa Cruz. He swore it was exactly like idyllic movies of the fifties. Self-organized baseball in the streets every single day, free-range kids everywhere. In Santa Cruz, not a kid to be seen. They're being driven between soccer and math tutoring.

Being incredibly protective of your kids is more SWPL.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:19 AM
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||

Anybody in the Boston area know when the snow is supposed to start?

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:20 AM
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120: AB's last boss was a real bitch about doing shit like that, but had enough power and clout to get away with it. At one point she told AB to discuss a planned meeting with a colleague, then scolded* her a couple days later for having discussed it with that colleague.

Frankly, it's part of the reason she's been reluctant to go back on the job market - since 2005 she's had nothing but shitty (like, world-class asshole) bosses.

* And scold is the right word - this woman was incredibly condescending, as well as incredibly unprofessional about badmouthing colleagues and coworkers. But she controls some very important pursestrings, so she's untouchable.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:22 AM
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Being incredibly protective of your kids is more SWPL.

An unintended consequence of lower birth rates. All eggs in one basket, as it were.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:23 AM
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Well, my kid really did it. We were trying to lay down some rules about when the boyfriend could come over and she decided she'd rather move to her father's house where no one is home in the afternoon. She asked him and he said no, so she forced the issue by...wait for it...accusing my second husband of vague "sexual harassment."

After some coaching by her father and a none-too-bright CPS case worker, I ended up losing all 3 kids. The "fact finding" hearing took place over a year later and the charges were dismissed before we even presented a defense. The ex still has temporary custody, and my visitation remains pretty punitive because it was set by a judge who thought I was a child abuser. We're now in the forensic evaluation process to determine custody of the younger kids, but the older one will turn 18 before any resolution takes place.

Our attorneys' fees have been about $250,000 so far. The older 2 have both been to the emergency room due to suicide threats, and one skipped a lot of school without her father noticing. The youngest was afraid to call me on the phone because she thinks her father listens in on her calls and I ended up having to buy her a cell phone. My second husband agreed to divorce me to save time and money. Our lives are ruined.


Posted by: Shamhat | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:24 AM
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123: I'm sure some of it was a disconnect between civil service and machine politics, but I also think that the uniformed off duty thing had gotten a lot bigger than anyone realized - I mean, it's in grocery stores now. Must drive security guards nuts.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:25 AM
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Being incredibly protective of your kids is more SWPL.

I think it's specifically middle-class SWPL. Upper-class kids seem to have a lot more freedom to run around, pee in the park, etc. It tracks about the same, I'm guessing, with the middle-class obsession with virginity and anti-drug pledges.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:25 AM
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127: soon.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:26 AM
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130: Holy fuck, Shamhat!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:26 AM
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130: Shamhat, I am so very sorry. I was 5 or so at the time.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:28 AM
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Also, I have a long story I like to tell about the time I found a runaway kid. In person, I'd drag it out for effect, but essentially, a four year old boy had left pre-school and lit out for his grandma's house. I found him two and a half miles into his trip, with a mile left to go. He was on the right route and (until I attached myself to him) no one was paying him any attention. I think he'd have arrived just fine.

(The line I use for effect is that when his teacher came for him, she scooped him up and hugged him, then asked "How did you get out? How did you cross the freeway?".)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:28 AM
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That's horrible, Shamhat. I'm so sorry.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:28 AM
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126: Huh. I was going to say the reverse -- I've got rural working-class family who are way more paranoid about unsupervised kids than seems appropriate to me; like, 12-13 year olds not allowed outdoors in real country, no traffic, few neighbors, without supervision. And my neighborhood's pretty economically mixed, and I don't see the poorer kids on the street more than the richer kids. I think this is another one of those moments where US heterogeneity makes it hard to talk about class; regional/ethnic differences interplay with class differences in a really complicated way.

I need to start nudging Buck on this again -- at 7 and 9, Newt and Sally really should be able to go to the nearby park by themselves or walk to school by themselves if there's a scheduling problem (normally, I walk them, and it's on my way to the subway at a reasonable time for me to get into work, but days I have court in the morning or something else weird, everything gets all messy.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:28 AM
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Shamhat: wow. That's really terrible.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:29 AM
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133: Are you in Boston for vacation?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:29 AM
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That's awful, Shamhat. I'm really sorry.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:30 AM
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130: That's awful, Shamhat. I'm so sorry.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:30 AM
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Oh Shamhat. How horrible.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:30 AM
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130: OMG, that's horrible, Shamhat. That the process got so out of control is insane.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:31 AM
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I think he'd have arrived just fine.

There was a family in my neighborhood with a little boy who just loved to wander. They pinned a note with address and phone number on his shirt everyday, in case he wandered off. He was pretty good at sneaking out even when they were looking for it.

He made it about 8 or 10 miles once, as a 5ish year old. Little bugger was faster than everyone thought, and traveled in surprisingly straight lines. The first neighborhood sweeps hadn't gone far enough.

Must have been hell on his mother.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:33 AM
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My second husband agreed to divorce me to save time and money.

If you don't mind my asking, how does that save you money? Are you still together post divorce? I know that there are retirees who don't marry so that they can keep their higher Social Security checks. Is it similar?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:34 AM
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130: Man, it's so hard not secondguessing your lawyer, which I shouldn't do, given that I don't know jack about family court practice. But given that the charges were dismissed, it seems as though he should have been able to set up something with the court to trigger an immediate reanalysis of the custody situation.

But I really don't know what could have been done.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:35 AM
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146: If I was going to speculate, the accusation was that the stepfather was the primary abuser. I expect that being able to say that he was out of the house and divorcing Shamhat would simplify her attempts to get her kids back, as the immediate 'danger' in the household would be gone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:37 AM
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My friend and I once scooped up a two-year-old wandering merrily down the street in Silver Spring. There was no one in sight; we were driving past and said, "That ain't right." So we stopped and asked him where he lived and he proceeded to point at every single house saying, "'ouse! 'ouse! 'ouse!" About 10 minutes later, as we were walking back the route he'd come, a frantic young dad rounded a corner.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:38 AM
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Thanks, y'all. Out of control is right: we briefly has a real MSW case worker who thought she was being supportive by telling me that if I'd had a more experienced intake case worker it would never have been filed. Most of the people who have been involved have been simply poorly trained and unsupervised, rather than malicious, but their goal is clearly to "win" this rather than to find out the truth.

My court-ordered therapist wants me to write a book, and one of my short-term roommates (how else can I keep a 4BR apartment on the UWS while waiting for this to play itself out?) works for a English publisher, so I guess I'll start working on it as soon as I find out how it ends.


Posted by: Shamhat | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:38 AM
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130: Christ, that's awful.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:38 AM
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free-range kids everywhere.

More tender and flavorful.

--

And, holy crap, Shamhat. I'm so sorry.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:41 AM
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That is horrible, Shamhat.

The different burdens in criminal (beyond a reasonable doubt) and civil (more probable than not) mean that a dismissal of a criminal allegation doesnt mean that a family court judge might not be persuaded by it.

I suspect that Shamhat divorced to eliminate him as an issue for the kids.

I hope that your forensic evaluation goes well!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:41 AM
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I grew up in the middle of nowhere with lots of mountain and woods to climb around on. Almost every house I could conceivably get to belonged to a relative or someone who was a friend of my parents from their own childhood so, y'know, not so much with the stranger danger. When asked to participate in a presentation of the OMG strangerz! variety in elementary school it was I, IIRC, who pointed out that the scenario about getting kidnapped on the walk home from school was inaccurate since nobody walked to school and anyway we didn't even have sidewalks like in the film strip, etc.

My mother was terrified of people who lived in places with sidewalks, though, and routinely locked the doors to the car when driving through town at 45mph. My efforts to point out that The Flash doesn't really need to carjack anyone fell on deaf ears.

I suspect that, much like Knecht, I was in far greater danger from abandoned farm implements, half-rotten trees and countless available firearms but nobody really stopped to warn me about the first two (the last was a frequent topic of preemptive education and dire warnings, to which I listened).

When I was a small child a cousin of mine who lived on the other side of the ridge went off his meds and on an intra-family shooting rampage, resulting in my father sitting up all night with a rifle and all the lights out as the Sheriff's Department hunted for my cousin, and still I got to go run around for hours. The only thing I encountered in all those years that made me run home in fear was hearing a mountain lion in the distance, a sound that is genuinely terrifying.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:43 AM
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I believe that I previously mentioned finding a two year old wandering down our alley. I made sure that I had someone on the phone while I spoke with her, and fortunately, a neighbor also appeared.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:43 AM
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150: Start now, Shamhat. You have to recoup some of those expenses. Are there any literary agents here?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:44 AM
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More tender and flavorful.

The marketing advantages have been previously explored.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:45 AM
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Yeah, it's funny what really hits you about a situation. The $250K in legal bills is like a smack in the face, because it's a perfectly reasonably plausible amount for a decent lawyer to run up if something like this got complicated, which it sounds as if it did, but it's a completely unreasonable amount for an ordinary person to have to pay, but what else are you supposed to do? It's so wrong that the legal system works like that, but I have no ideas for a fix.

Losing your children and husband is obviously worse, but I can't even comprehend what that must be like, so it bothers me less viscerally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:47 AM
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I sometimes wonder what would happen if someone sued me or did something else malicious that required me to get legal representation for years. "Kill myself" seems like the obvious answer, but I'd probably just go into lifelong debt, same as happens to people with medical problems.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:50 AM
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Holy shit, Shamhat. What a holy nightmare.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:50 AM
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Nothing constructive to add except my sympathies. Wow. I hope it works out eventually.

Just out of morbid, perverse curiosity, how does a court-appointed therapist work? I mean, does the patient/defendant pay the bills or does the court? If it's the patient, would low-income defendants get a break or financial assistance, or is court-ordered therapy just a speed bump on the way to some harsher penalty for someone who can't afford a psychologist?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:51 AM
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if to be very pragmatic, maybe S shouldn't divorce, no? to get the kids back, i know, do the kids want it too, they'll grow up and leave anyway, the oldest one is already almost grown up, the younger children if they are safe with their father, maybe you can negotiate favorable visitation conditions and provide for them the best you can
i mean instead of giving to the lawyers 250K, you could give your children that money, if only it all was that easy
sorry, really, what do i know and it's not helpful at all
just wait a bit longer and perhaps everything will come into the place


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:53 AM
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About the divorce: the judge dismissed the charges against me for neglect by not stopping it, but would have proceeded with the case against my second husband. We typically get assigned about 10 hours of court time every 3 months, so that would have dragged it out indefinitely. Plus, the plan was going to be for my testimony in my defense to clear him, but once my charges were dismissed, my lawyer didn't want me to defend him in front of this judge.

The middle child, in whom the oldest confided the whole plan before carrying it out, was not allowed to testify by her attorney because he thought it would be damaging for her emotionally to testify against her sister. She does not know this and is still waiting for her chance to tell "what really happened."

We expected an immediate re-evaluation of the custody situation too, but the judge, while finding me not guilty, actually called me "unlikable" in the same breath. That without hearing a word from me. I wasn't allowed to see my daughter testify because her therapist claimed the mere sight of me would "set back her progress," but I recall from the transcript that she remembers me calling her stupid in late 2004 or early 2005. Things like that.

Unfortunately the order of protection has worked against my oldest. She has been told by her father that I hate her, and she probably believes that she deserves it. If I can get an order for her to go to family therapy with me before she turns 18, I will have a chance to tell her that I forgive her.


Posted by: Shamhat | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:53 AM
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UNG used to tell a story of wander off while on a family vacation in the Alps when he was 4 or so. He stopped at the restaurant the family had gone to for dinner the first couple of nights, ordered some french fries and sausage, and told the waiter his dad would be there soon. Dad, of course, didn't show up. UNG finished his meal and wandered back to where they were staying. I'm not entirely clear, actually, if anyone even knew he was gone.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:55 AM
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If I can get an order for her to go to family therapy with me before she turns 18, I will have a chance to tell her that I forgive her.

Wow, I don't know if I could be so good. I haven't forgiven my father for much less.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:57 AM
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It's so wrong that the legal system works like that, but I have no ideas for a fix.

I have a bunch of ideas for a fix, starting with loser pays and ending with all lawyers as public employees on salary.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:57 AM
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I sometimes wonder what would happen if someone sued me or did something else malicious that required me to get legal representation for years.

Word.

Shamhat, words fail me.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:58 AM
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126: AB and I always talk about the time that a [black] neighbor sent her 3-y.o. to the park at the end of the street in search* of her 5-y.o. We recognize that our instincts are too protective, but that seemed to be maybe too far in the other direction.

* IIRC, "search" is the right word - I believe there was serious question about the whereabouts of the elder sibling


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:59 AM
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I sometimes wonder what would happen if someone sued me or did something else malicious that required me to get legal representation for years. "Kill myself" seems like the obvious answer, but I'd probably just go into lifelong debt, same as happens to people with medical problems.

Or find a sucker lawyer who feels bad for you and keeps representing you, knowing that he might never get paid.

Not that I know anything about lawyers like that....


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 11:59 AM
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i mean instead of giving to the lawyers 250K, you could give your children that money, if only it all was that easy

I think it's safe to say, if Shamhat as spent $250K, that it is patently not that easy. If dad genuinely believed the allegations, it's easy to understand why he is putting up a fight. Given two suicidal kids and one who is afraid to speak freely to her mother on the phone, it's easy to see why Shamhat is fighting. It's always nice to think "Hey, we can find a compromise that works for everyone." But it's not always that easy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:00 PM
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yes, I said a nonsense, i'm very sorry


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:03 PM
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I have a bunch of ideas for a fix, starting with loser pays and ending with all lawyers as public employees on salary.

But often the problem isn't that representation isn't available, it's that the quality of the work done by too many participants in the process (social workers, lawyers, judges) is too low. Some of that is excessive caseloads, some is the kind of mentality that tends to come from dealing with fucked up people in fucked up situations, and some is just that there aren't enough people with the smarts and empathy to be really good at that sort of work.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:04 PM
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Of course, these stories of free range kids often have some dark corners. My dad once told me that there was a priest in his childhood town whom "everyone knew you weren't supposed to be alone with." It seems like a fairly clear case of a small society policing its own, but I've always wondered how extensive that "everyone" really was. My dad wasn't Catholic (his family was pretty damned anti-Catholic in fact), so maybe some of the more pious families' kids weren't part of that "everyone." Were the Native kids part of that "everyone"? What about the lonely loser kids with fucked-up parents?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:04 PM
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My God, Shamhat. What a nightmare.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:06 PM
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Often, these cases are like war. It is easy to have your lawyer do the bloody work. Much harder to do face to face. That is why is often helps to get people in the same room with trained professionals attempting to attack the issue, not each other.

(http://www.collaborativepractice.com/)

I suspect that most people genuinely start to believe the bad stuff about the other parent. They are not having any good interactions with the other parent, only interactions that confirm their concerns.

Moreover, concepts like anchoring bias and selective recall hinder our ability to resolve these cases.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:07 PM
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Wow, posted 168 without refreshing - I'm without words, Shamhat. My deepest sympathies.

If you'll permit me a joke, maybe I should go right now and have a talk with Iris about the incident in 56.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:08 PM
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Actually dad doesn't believe the allegations, or at least didn't believe them until advised to by counsel. When he came to pick up the poor abused child, he left the younger two with my second husband, knowing that I was at work (night shift). He then told his lawyer to tell my lawyer that he would wait until she had calmed down from whatever was bothering her and send her back to us.

He was paying $6000/month in child support. Maybe there's an incentive?

Of course it's a long story why they can't live with him, but the short answer is that I now understand that my ex, his mother, and my oldest daughter all have personality disorders. They don't make good parents. When my kids saw their father in small doses, they actually liked him. After he went through all of their email, text messages, and IM conversations while they were at camp and tried to use them to get all of my visitation canceled, well, not so much.


Posted by: Shamhat | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:09 PM
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On topic: I'm a strong believer that kids, including mine, should have more freedom to roam than they do, but it was not OK for my son's buddy's dad to get pissed off at him and leave him to walk home on his own to his mom's house, 10+ miles away via a bunch of very busy roads. Also, the assholes who robbed a teenager at gunpoint around the corner from my house a couple of weeks ago are NOT HELPING. (Still a very safe neighborhood, but....)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:10 PM
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169: Heh. I understand that sort of thing happens even with less sympathetic clients.

170, 172: Right. I'm a complete outsider to this process -- I don't know anything about it professionally or personally. But whenever I've heard child abuse/custody legal horror stories, it seems to come down to the purportedly impartial people who are supposed to be working in the best interests of the children doing a bizarrely unserious job; of course the parties are going to be out of control and insane, given the stress of the situation, but the social workers and judges and such should be keeping the process on the rails. I suppose, like everything else, it comes down to being underfunded.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:10 PM
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I suppose it would be appropriate here to toss in a pitch for the type of collaborative practice Will and others do. In the litigation mindset, it's very easy to see how Shamhat's situation spins out of control -- even with very good, smart, ethical lawyers. The lawyers believe their clients, the clients have sincere concerns, everyone digs in to fight to the death. My lawyer was certified in collaborative practice and even though UNG's wasn't and we certainly weren't in a collaborative setting, that mindset gave me a lawyer who did a very good job keeping costs down by avoiding expensive battles. I could have surely fought for a better percentage of the financial pie, but the net probably wouldn't have been any different after the lawyers took their fees off the top.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:12 PM
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173: You know, while that's a real problem, it's not a 'free range kids' problem. A kid who's allowed to run to the store or play in the park on her own isn't in more danger from a trusted priest than one who has to be supervised all the time.

That's a real issue with the exaggerated concern -- incidents of child abuse are used as confirming data showing that it's irresponsible not to keep your children indoors at all times, even if they're not the kind of thing that has anything to do with unsupervised play.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:13 PM
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Pwned by will himself, I see. And he even had a link...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:14 PM
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I think maybe there's also a tendency for the supposedly impartial social services types to decide fairly early on whose side they're on and then filter everything through that. But I don't have nearly enough experience with such things to have a strong opinion about that.

And I should have said before: so sorry, Shamhat. That's really awful.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:16 PM
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183: That's the (highly uneducated) impression I've gotten as well -- or at least that when the process goes bad, that's one of the possible failure modes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:18 PM
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177: Ugh.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:18 PM
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Litigation is such a bad way to resolve custody cases.

Far too often, judges end up focused on a single incident. Find one incident of yelling or screaming or saying something inappropriate and that suddenly becomes that person's parenting style at all times.

It often feels like, "Oh yea??? Well, one time, the five year old saw him get out of the shower....and he was NAKED!!!!!"


Really? "well, one time the kids opened her bedroom drawer and found condoms!!!"

Seriously people?? These are the things that should determine custody? I dont think so.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:18 PM
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A kid who's allowed to run to the store or play in the park on her own isn't in more danger from a trusted priest than one who has to be supervised all the time.

I'm not sure of that. A parent could be totally unaware that an unsupervised kid was hanging out with the priest. It would be easier to keep secrets, wouldn't it?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:20 PM
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181: The thing that bothers me is that the paranoia is all out of what with any sort of objective information about risk.

Kids are no less likely to be abused or abducted now than they were 25 years ago. More importantly, they are still overwhelmingly more likely to be abused or abducted by someone they know, in familiar surroundings.

All this reduction of `free range' kids and unsupervised play has probalby contributed a significant negative health impact across (class/area correlated) segments of the population, while at the same time being essentially ineffective --- it's security theatre. An entire generation has grown up with a bizarre evaluation of risk, and now they are parents. Often parents who won't let their kids outside in the back yard alone.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:20 PM
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187: I suppose for the case where the parents don't trust the priest, so wouldn't let the priest alone with the kid if they knew, but haven't told the kid about the priest, that works. But if the parents trust the priest, he'd be just as likely to be the one supervising the kid in some afterschool program or whatever.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:23 PM
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Litigation is such a bad way to resolve custody cases. most things, no? Which doesn't make it avoidable.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:23 PM
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It's an excellent way to resolve commercial disputes between equally sophisticated and well-funded entities; the results you get are predictable, fair, and worth the cost to the parties.

For pretty much everything else, it's not great.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:25 PM
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I should have added an "As far as anyone can tell" to the beginning of 2nd line of 188.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:25 PM
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On weekends when we didn't go to the country Dad would sometimes entertain his children (when we were ten and under) by blindfolding us and driving us by a circuitous route to some point in the city which he knew was unfamiliar to us. We would then take off our blindfolds and get out of the car and Dad would drive away, leaving us to find our own way home. He never worried, no matter how long it took us. He made sure we had one dime, so that we could call home if we were still lost when it got dark. Vicky and I had fun finding our way back together, feeling like Hansel and Gretel.


Posted by: William Sleator | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:26 PM
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Shamhat has already mentioned the factor that drives most custody cases: child support.

If child support were not a factor, these cases would go away.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:26 PM
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It's an excellent way to resolve commercial disputes between equally sophisticated and well-funded entities;

Yeah, that's a good point. In this situation it's pretty efficient,


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:27 PM
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I love, love, love, love that William Sleator memoir.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:31 PM
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Paedophile paranoia is definitely huge in the UK, although like ttaM I don't know if it's actually worse than in the US. The definitive commentary on the state of paranoia came in the Brass Eye Paedophile Special, which prompted a media uproar of unprecedented proportions, presumably because they don't like it up 'em. The best thing about the show was that it produced this stunning piece of hypocrisy from low rent tabloid the Daily Star, which juxtaposes an attack on the "sick show" with a picture of then 15 year old starlet Charlotte Church and a punning caption complimenting her on how her breasts are developing.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:32 PM
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Second link fixed


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:32 PM
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What are Eastern Massachusetts people doing weather-wise? I have an appointment in the medical area at 5:15, but I'm unsure whether I should cancel it. I don't know if the conditions will be much worse in the evening.

Most of the commute is by T, but I do have to take a bus from Porter to Arlington.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:36 PM
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||

William Sleater -> free association -> William Saletan

Did any of you all hear that god-awful "I'm pro-choice but all tore up about the poor, frozen embryos at the IVF clinics" on NPR this morning? What the hell is that asshole doing invading my morning radio?

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:41 PM
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If the storm's predicted like what it's expected to be here, I'd postpone it. The roads are already quite bad and the snow hit fast.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:42 PM
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I wish my parents had had rubber bumpers for the table corners when I was a kid--table corners _really_ sting, and I had a big bulbous head.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:45 PM
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200

NPR used to be soothing. Now it enrages me.

Is it me? Or NPR? Do you develop anger issues when you become old as dirt? Carp?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:47 PM
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203: you and Mamet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:48 PM
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202. Gonerill back in mid-November on this very topic.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:50 PM
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NPR used to be soothing. Now it enrages me.

NPR's feeling were hurt when Jonah Golberg said they were part of the liberal media.
I think that they have gotten considerably more conservative over the past few years. I don't know if this has been an attempt to appeal to more listeners, but one of the problems of changing a media slant is that the people that you are trying to reach aren't the one's listening/ reading.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:53 PM
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Shamhat, deepest sympathies, and one more wish for things to get better real soon.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:53 PM
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191
It's an excellent way to resolve commercial disputes between equally sophisticated and well-funded entities; the results you get are predictable, fair, and worth the cost to the parties.

What percentage of litigation cases does this describe? Any? I mean, maybe I'm just taking you too literally, I don't see why anyone would litigate anything if the result is predictable, fair and affordable to both sides. Why wouldn't they just go straight for that settlement and skip the legal steps?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:56 PM
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Did any of you all hear that god-awful "I'm pro-choice but all tore up about the poor, frozen embryos at the IVF clinics" on NPR this morning?

Oh dear God, I didn't.

My best friend conceived her twins on IVF. Third try following two miscarriages, the second of which sent her into a serious depression. Asshole pressured her into the third round, which I didn't find out about until the pregnancy was confirmed because she knew I would kill him. The pregnancy was difficult. Gestational diabetes, borderline preeclampsia. She spent the last two weeks of the pregnancy hospitalized balancing the risks to her of waiting and the risks to the babies of early delivery. The epidural wore off during the c-section. Asshole barely helps out and when she complains about being overwhelmed tells her she needs to get better organized. They have two more fetuses on ice and he is insisting they need to at least try to implant them because otherwise they will be murdering the poor frozen babies and go to hell.

ARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:56 PM
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Why wouldn't they just go straight for that settlement and skip the legal steps?

Shhhhhh!!! Geez, Cyrus, some of us have kids to put through college!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:59 PM
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NPR in OH the past few days wasn't so much infuriating as unnerving. Plant closing, plant closing, store closing, housing collapse.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 12:59 PM
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My parents had all of the child safety/control things: toilet seat latches, cupboard closers, a doorknob cover which made it impossible for a toddler with small hands to open the door, outlet covers, etc. But I distinctly remember that by the time they got to kid #4, almost none of the baby-proofing items were in use, suggesting either they were more confident about their parenting abilities, or they figured they had a few spare kids and that doorknob cover was really annoying.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:01 PM
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209.2: If Will can get referral business around here, surely Chopper (JRoth, et al.) can too.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:01 PM
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211: I was out shopping the other day in a marginal-but-not-like-dying retail strip and not only were the streets empty, it seemed like half the stores were out of business. Very odd.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:03 PM
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213: Believe me, I've been trying to convince them to move to Virginia so I can introduce her to Will. And if JRoth can cut me a deal on some renovations, I'll sign him up! My kitchen and bathrooms are outdated and the basement is leaky... What does Chopper do again?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:06 PM
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214
I was out shopping the other day in a marginal-but-not-like-dying retail strip and not only were the streets empty, it seemed like half the stores were out of business. Very odd.

What does "not-like-dying" mean in this context? because it seems to be contradicted by the remaining part of the sentence.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:07 PM
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re: 197

One of Chris Morris's finest hours.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:14 PM
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Litigation is such a bad way to resolve custody cases

Totally. Is it so fucking hard just to put a parent at each end of a long hallway, place the child(ren) in the middle, and just see which parent they choose?

Obviously, you should also include the perfect parent as the third option, to be scientific about things.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:15 PM
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215: This probably isn't at all helpful, but I had a friend in a similar-ish situation with respect to unhelpful husband telling her that her organizational skills were at the root of her problems and he was too busy bringing in their one salary to help (not to mention his after work drinks with buddies, but that was needed to unwind from the hard day he'd had). He maintained he had the harder time of the two of them, and she should just get off his back.

Anyway, after fighting about this for the umpteenth time, she said something like "Ok, so you agree that I can reorganize everything the way that works best and I'll agree to shut up about it?" to which he agreed readily. A couple of months later, she presented him with a detailed plan. The key point being that she'd found a job that paid about the same as his, freeing him up to take on the easier job at home. She told him he should give his notice the next day, and she'd start the 1st of the month. I kind of wish she hadn't been bluffing, but it did get them to sort out some restructuring, which helped for a couple of years. They split up anyway.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:16 PM
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What does Chopper do again?

Someone owes you money, you send Chopper to go pay a visit.

Apparently, his fee is based on a finger system.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:16 PM
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Retail is dead. The truly scary part of this recession is all of the industrial buildings that are for sale/ lease. The bailout money needs to get out to the people, not the banks.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:17 PM
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214: The outlet mall down the street from my workplace is mostly empty now. Ten years ago it was fairly bustling but now there are exactly two stores total between all of the cross/side hallways and probably only every other storefront is in use on the main corridor. This year they don't even have the Santa they've had in previous years.

Because they are situated in the middle of an office- and industrial-park-heavy area, their food court is booming. It's such a weird place.

My NaNoWriMo this year involved a dying shopping mall because I find such places endlessly fascinating.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:17 PM
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Is it so fucking hard just to put a parent at each end of a long hallway, place the child(ren) in the middle, and just see which parent they choose?

The cheat codes have been distributed on this test:

1. let them have sex with their bf/gf at your house
2. buy them a 4 wheeler/pony/wii


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:18 PM
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Retail is dead.

I heard a claim today that roughly 2/3s of all Americans have shopped in WalMart in the past week or two.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:20 PM
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I heard a claim today that roughly 2/3s of all Americans have shopped in WalMart in the past week or two.

Is that by weight?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:21 PM
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I'm a bad person for laughing at 225, aren't I?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:23 PM
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225: outstanding.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:24 PM
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||

Excellent headline from Sadly, No!:

"A Boomerang Is Not A Bomb Delivery Device"

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:25 PM
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203: you and Mamet.

Is this a reference to what Mamet said upon being told that Jeremy Piven would withdraw from Speed the Plow because of symptoms of mercury poisoning?

"I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury," Mamet told Daily Variety. "So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer."


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:28 PM
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Re: WalMart-- Apparently their sales are actually up. I'll shop at Target, but I draw the line at Wal Mart. Truth is that I don't actually know that Target's labor practices are any better.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:29 PM
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Maybe it's just a reference to Mamet morphing into a complete asshole?

I haven't been able to listen to NPR since the Iraq war. Something about that gentle murmer of upper-middle class self-righteousness combined with unconscionable pro-Bush bullshit. At least you know NPR will always hold the line on the civil rights movement circa 1960-64, even if they can't quite see that torturing people today is wrong.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:31 PM
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219: Except that my friend actually works full time, too, and in fact is the primary breadwinner. The "you need to get more organized" comment? Spoken while lying hungover on the sofa after she'd been up all night with screaming infants while he drank with his buddies in the back yard.

Also, he's a racist. And a Republican. I don't much like him.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:34 PM
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232: Well, I did say it probably wasn't helpful. I can see why you don't like him. Harder to see why she does, from this remove.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:36 PM
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220: Damn. UNG finally got me the support check. I'll keep it in mind for next month, though!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:36 PM
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Maybe it's just a reference to Mamet morphing into a complete asshole?

I figured, but I wanted to get the thermometer line in. I can't remember why, though.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:37 PM
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232: perhaps your friend should print up info on the proposals for implanted pregnancies in males abdomens, though, for next time he's worried about going to hell?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:38 PM
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236: That does sound somewhat more diplomatic than what I told she should tell him he could implant where...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:40 PM
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New Yorkers--How's your weather?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:40 PM
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216: not previously known to be dying; in the middle of a city, ordinarily full of foot traffic, home to major chains.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:40 PM
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You know, there are plenty of interesting ethical issues about IVF, but most of them I don't think have to do with the embryo itself.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:41 PM
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Maybe it's just a reference to Mamet morphing into a complete asshole

Did he have that far to go? His work has always indicated an intimate knowledge of assholiness.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:41 PM
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Di seems to have a disproportionate number of total assholes in her circle of acquaintance. No wonder us lot seem attractive by comparison.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:41 PM
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238: BG is beta testing a new open source, distributed intelligence method of weather reporting. If successful, she plans to displace NOAA.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:43 PM
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No wonder us lot seem attractive by comparison she feels at home here.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:44 PM
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241: he's a republican asshole now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:45 PM
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Maybe it's just a reference to Mamet morphing into a complete asshole?

It's a reference to a specific bit of his assholery (otherwise known as his oeuvre), a recent commentary on how much he has come to hate NPR.

I've come to share the sentiment somewhat, but for entirely different reasons.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:45 PM
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243: Don't laugh. WBUR is running a Twitter feed with people's comments about the snow.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:46 PM
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Di seems to have a disproportionate number of total assholes in her circle of acquaintance.

Hmm. This is somewhat disturbing now that you mention it.

On the other hand, I have information from a reliable source that UNG's fiance is helping Rory knit something for me for Christmas, which is remarkably nice. I look forward to their divorce so that she and I can start hanging out and bitching about him.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:52 PM
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246. Right, the whole "I was blind but now I see" thing. His conversion is nothing unusual, according to Churchill:

"To be conservative at 20 is heartless and to be a liberal at 60 is plain idiocy."



Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:55 PM
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churchill was trying to make himself feel better.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:57 PM
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248: They're engaged already?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 1:58 PM
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the whole "I was blind but now I see" geriatric dementia thing


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:00 PM
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243: The environmental philosophy mailing list I'm on is all excited about some of Obama's lower level appointments, including Jane Lubchenco as head of NOAA. She is apparently, the first marine biologist to head an administration that has the word "oceanographic" right there in its name.

[/free associating]


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:00 PM
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Apparently not Churchill
http://www.geocities.com/unmark/unquote.html



Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:01 PM
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I'm going to go home now.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:01 PM
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Ok, so somebody who wasn't churchill was trying to make himself feel better.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:01 PM
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She is apparently, the first marine biologist to head an administration that has the word "oceanographic" right there in its name.

Oceanography is mostly more like geology and "earth science", not biology. You know, waves, tides, currents, chemical composition, interaction with the atmosphere. But also ecology which.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:03 PM
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249: Churchill said no such thing

From the link:

Surely Churchill can't have used the words attributed to him. He'd been a Conservative at 15 and a Liberal at 35!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:03 PM
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251 -- Technically, I only have that information indirectly from an undisclosed source. But she's been living with him for at least two months and she is going with him and Rory to visit his family over Christmas. He actually hooked up with her almost immediately after I filed the petition -- his second girlfriend ever! Very healthy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:05 PM
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208: Everything does settle, it's just that it settles during or after discovery, once both sides know all the same facts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:07 PM
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257: An ex girlfriend of mine was in oceanographic physics for a while. Her masters program was equal parts oceanographic physics, oceanographic chemistry, and marine biology.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:07 PM
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257 has me on tenterhooks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:08 PM
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Di seems to have a disproportionate number of total assholes in her circle of acquaintance. No wonder us lot seem attractive by comparison.

Who says we are excluded?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:10 PM
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No Sifu, spelling error. "Ecology witch".


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:10 PM
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262: He meant "ecologywich". Yum.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:10 PM
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...rules.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:10 PM
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Everything does settle, it's just that it settles during or after discovery, once both sides know all the same facts.

Transparency and putting everything on the table really gets to the heart of things.

The more one side fights to prevent the flow of info, the more you know they have problems there.

Kind of like insurgent fighting.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:12 PM
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New Yorkers--How's your weather?

Shit.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:13 PM
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Shit with a chance of meatballs?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:14 PM
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will eats his soup with a knife.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:14 PM
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The more one side fights to prevent the flow of info, the more you know they have problems there.

Although not always. I've been in insane battles with my own clients trying to get them to produce documents that (a) they're obligated to produce and (b) don't do them any harm at all. Business people get shy and private about completely pointless stuff sometimes.

But as a general rule, you're right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:14 PM
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I think there's a feedback mechanism where more restrictions on what kids can do leads to parenting being more of a pain in the ass, leads to fewer children, leads to more reason to be worried (both because all your eggs in one basket, and because there are fewer kids running around for them to play with).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:17 PM
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266: Mad libs!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:18 PM
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272: Yep.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:19 PM
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because all your eggs in one basket

Better to have a few kids you don't mind losing, is that it?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:24 PM
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So maybe the answer to easing population growth in areas where it's a problem is to produce shows like "India's Most Wanted"?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:24 PM
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276: Not enough pretty blonde-haired girls there to keep it interesting.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:26 PM
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272. Don't forget elimination of childhood disease means that all children are supposed to live until adulthood.

Not to be callous about the tragedy of losing a child, but I think that it was more a part of the "circle of life" previously. Now little Emmajacob is destined to be the first person on Mars, so no playground for you.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:28 PM
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277: They could make up for it with lots of Bollywood-style dancing.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:28 PM
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They could make up for it with lots of Bollywood-style dancing

With elimination rounds?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:30 PM
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What's the conversion rate between Bollywood-style dancing and pretty blond-haired girls?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:32 PM
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I took a class from Holdren, who just got appointed to Office of Science and Technology Policy, back in 94. He is fantastic, hardline about climate change and non-proliferation. He is not a moderate choice at all.

Considering that it was just one semester-long class, I think it was disproportionately formative for me (in that it committed me to lifelong worry over climate change and taught me how to estimate). I count it among the top five classes I've taken.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:32 PM
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Also, parents are rightly nervous about raising their first child, they don't really know what they're doing and it's easy to blame anything that goes wrong on your actions. Presumably the more kids you have the less you worry because you've done it before, because you don't have the energy to worry 3 times as much, and because the differences between them let you see that most things aren't your fault.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:32 PM
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New Yorkers--How's your weather?

Shit.

Makes snow seem not so bad.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:33 PM
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I'd take warm shit over cold snow any day.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:34 PM
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I've never taken a cold snow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:35 PM
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What's the conversion rate between Bollywood-style dancing and pretty blond-haired girls?

It's pegged to a basket of conversion ratios in which the util:rat orgasm exchange rate weighs most heavily.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:36 PM
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"A Boomerang Is Not A Bomb Delivery Device"

Sadly, no!
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/4296188.html


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:36 PM
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You'll regret saying that one day.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:36 PM
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282: People on the ISEE list were excited about Holdren as well. There's also talk that the science advisory position might mean something in an Obama administration.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:37 PM
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I'd take warm shit over cold snow any day.

No, no, no. The snow goes on top. Ttherwise the warm shit melts it almost immediately.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:37 PM
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272: I guess at the margins anything's possible, but this seems hard to believe. Do you really think that bike helmets and supervision when outside and daycare for one or two kids add up to more work than an entire additional kid?

"Oh, don't pull out honey, another kid would be no trouble at all," a mother of four might have said back in 2008. "Sure, it's another pregnancy and childbirth and another mouth to feed and more clothes to buy or patch, but he or she will be walking to the store on their own before we know it." I don't think that was likely.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:39 PM
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287: Given the aesthetic qualities of bollywood stars which have frequently been remarked on here, it doesn't seem to me that you would need pretty blond girls at all.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:39 PM
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293: What is it that you want to happen to her?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:40 PM
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293 is bang on.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:42 PM
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293. That is no girl. That is a woman. Glad to help.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:44 PM
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287: Given the aesthetic qualities of bollywood stars which have frequently been remarked on here, it doesn't seem to me that you would need pretty blond girls at all.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:47 PM
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297: What is it that you want to happen to her?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:48 PM
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297 is bang on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:50 PM
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Dang! I meant to post 299 as soup biscuit, but then I refreshed at the last minute to make sure there weren't any interrupting comments.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:51 PM
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You do have the power to edit comments, heebs.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:53 PM
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300: Given the aesthetic qualities of bollywood stars which have frequently been remarked on here, it doesn't seem to me that you would need pretty blond girls at all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:54 PM
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302: What is it that you want to happen to her?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:56 PM
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Dang! I meant to post 300 as Kobe, but then I refreshed at the last minute to make sure there weren't any interrupting comments.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:57 PM
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Dang! I meant to post 305 as ben w-lfs-n, but then I refreshed at the last minute to make sure there weren't any interrupting comments.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 2:58 PM
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Y'all are just baiting me to bring up this again, aren't you?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:00 PM
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Where's Fleur?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:05 PM
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But, Knecht, how can that be? You are so much older than she is?

Or do you mean, you dated her when she was a freshman?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:05 PM
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306: What is it that you want to happen to her?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:06 PM
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308: she's older than I am.

307: this is a sensitive topic with Fleur, so shhhhh!


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:07 PM
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how old are you?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:08 PM
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Ageist!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:09 PM
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I believe that the Bollywood definition of a "bold scene" (at the link in Knecht's link) is when the male lead and the female lead are in a room together and their hands touch for mor than a second.

Nandana Sen seems to have gotten over Knecht, the poor thing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:11 PM
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I figured. There is usually one SO in our past that is a sensitive subject for the current SO. Even those way in the past.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:11 PM
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The conversion rate can be established with the aid of this movie.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:13 PM
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Levi Johnston's mom busted for dope.

Palin: "No comment." Should boost her approval ratings a bit. She's really down-home people, not like those snooty liberals who snub trailer trash stoners.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:20 PM
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They have two more fetuses on ice and he is insisting they need to at least try to implant them

Paging Chopper's new company, Persuasive Associates.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:21 PM
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fetuses on ice:A Christmas Extravaganza!


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:24 PM
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They have two more fetuses on ice and he is insisting they need to at least try to implant them because otherwise they will be murdering the poor frozen babies and go to hell.

You know, it really bugs the fuck out of me that people will endorse IVF, and even have it done themselves, and *then* get all righteous about the moral status of the leftover embryos. If you really thought an embryo was a person, you wouldn't have created so many knowing that many would not be viable and of those that are, some still might not be used.

It really shows how the pro-life crowd isn't interested in issues of moral status. Its just relentless pro-natalism (must make babies at all costs!) and the desire to control women.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:26 PM
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316: From September.
"This is out of my league," Sherry Johnston said. "I'm just a country gal and I want to keep it that way."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:28 PM
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If you really thought an embryo was a person, you wouldn't have created so many knowing that many would not be viable and of those that are, some still might not be used.

Well, the Vatican's remains consistent:

As a result, the Vatican said it opposed in vitro fertilization and related technologies because it involved separating conception from the "conjugal act" and often results in the destruction of embryos.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:32 PM
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292: I think that would be a little bit strange, because it seems that birth control + kids being expensive drives family size, but here's another way to put it. By the time my mother had kid #4, she'd seen differences in her kids with regard to personalities, risk-taking, tantrum-throwing. She was worried she'd break me if everything wasn't just right; by child#4, she'd realized that babies thrive given minimally competent loving care and that kids don't actually drown in toilets often enough to justify having a latched toilet when you also have a three-year-old, and if your two-year-old is stubborn, it's probably not because of a failing in the parenting. Plus, she had three other kids, two of whom were old enough to keep an eye on the baby (supervised.) And she learned that I didn't get abducted walking on the way to school, etc., etc.

So she was a much more relaxed parent by #4. And I suspect a generation or two ago, you had plenty of families on the third, fourth, fifth and beyond kid, who were a lot more relaxed about parenting because they'd seen a lot more and knew more about the extent of their parenting abilities. When everyone has only one or two, *and* we know that of course EmmaJacob is going to survive to Harvard and adulthood, everything a parent does is a first (and maybe only) time, plus a culture of 80s-induced media panic, and the neighborhoods have fewer kids, when is a parent going to get a counterexample about risks?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:37 PM
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321: Hmmm. Jerk is nominally Catholic... Maybe I should tell him he is already going to hell.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:40 PM
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I got home about 20 minutes ago. The bus had no trouble in Cambridge, because nobody was on the roads.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:42 PM
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On the weather topic -- have we heard an update on Parsimon's mom recently?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 3:56 PM
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Good grief, is 322 a good comment. Shut down the thread.

Unless someone else has good links to hott Bollywood stars, of course.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:03 PM
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325: I was wondering the same thing....

||

I think this was on teh other thread, but an update:

potential year-making client thanks me for prompt proposal, will let me know soon.

Weekend of stress - thank you!

ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:05 PM
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||

OK, sorry, but this has me vibrating with rage:

Standing tall with the world's finest theocracies, the United States declined to sign a UN declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, despite it being signed by "all 27 European Union members, as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries."

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:07 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:09 PM
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||

OK, but this makes me feel (superficially) better.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:10 PM
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OK, Sifu managed to own the sidebar with comments, but has he ever done it during working hours, and almost exclusively with pause/start comments?

I don't think so.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:11 PM
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I hear that playing and pausing like that is really bad for the tape.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:11 PM
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Maybe that's what happened to the Poorman archives.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:12 PM
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We're going to upgrade the blog to CD.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:12 PM
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OK, I'll stop. I have to get ready for this excellent-looking new restaurant a couple blocks from my house (I pointed it out at the mini-meetup in Nov. - it was across teh street).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:13 PM
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Cala! You ruined it!

How could you do that to a fellow 'Burgher, especially after my 326?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:14 PM
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She couldn't help it JRoth -- the line was funny!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:19 PM
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338

I can't wait to hear the remastering job.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:21 PM
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339

I hear that they really fronted the pwnage in the mix - that's how the kids like it these days.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:26 PM
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340

Blogs sound much less shrill with Auto Tone.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:30 PM
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341

240 true, but running them through a 1-bit quantizer doesn't help.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:32 PM
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342

341 probably actually to 340, but quantizing embryos is probably also a mistake.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:35 PM
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343

The bailout money needs to get out to the people, not the banks.

That is no girl. That is a woman.

Who are you and what have you done with TLL?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 4:55 PM
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344

342: I'm not a doctor or anything, but if your embryos aren't discrete, you should probably get that checked out.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:04 PM
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345

I know the difference between a woman and a girl, Kraab. Even a grrrl.

Don't get me started on the financial bailout of the idiots on Wall Street. "Fiduciary" has a meaning, not just a funny name for a bank.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:05 PM
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346

birth control + kids being expensive drives family size

Sometimes!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:05 PM
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347

346. See, in the olden days that many pregnancies wouldn't be unusual, but a bunch would miscarry and some kids would die before age 2. Science!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:09 PM
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348

344: How dare you speak that way about my precious little ones! They are perfect in every way! Don't try to turn their continuousness into a disease!


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:18 PM
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349

My dad once said that one of the most persuasive arguments he ever heard was a guy from Afganistan explaining why he needed 17 children.

Half would die, leaving you with nine.
Half would be girls and therefore useless; down to four.
You would probably quarrel with half of them, leaving you only one or two sons to support you in your old age.

That's the bare minimum for any sort of security, which is why you need to have 17 children.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:31 PM
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350

348: Hey, I have a solution!

1. Pre-implantation embryos aren't individuated, so you can split one in half to get twins or smush two together to get a singlet.

2. You can smoosh embryos that are genetically different together to get a chimera. Some people walking around right now may derive half their cells from one source and half from another.

Soooo...why not smoosh all these leftover embryos together?

That way, only one person needs to carry the fetus to give the embryo it's supposedly god given right to implantation.

At the very least, Di should suggest this to her friend for their two leftover embryos.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:32 PM
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351

349. Afghani math is different, or is it just rounding?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:34 PM
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352

Rounding.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:35 PM
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353

Afghan math.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 5:49 PM
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354

Wait, rounding?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:20 PM
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355

Yes, Afghan math.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:24 PM
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356

354: Yup, it's something the Afghanis came up with.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:25 PM
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Really, everyone knows this. afghan() is even a built-in function in Perl such that afghan(17/2/2/2) = 1 or 2.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:36 PM
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I'm actually getting my Ph.D. in Applied Stochastic Rounding.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 6:43 PM
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359

what i've learned today, shrunken sweaters are to be washed in the hair conditioner, never knew


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 7:42 PM
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360

Interesting, read.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-19-08 8:25 PM
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I've learned today that I feel sorry for both AWB and shamhat for the horrible experiences they related, although AWB seems a well-adjusted person nowadays. that child abuse hysteria story that was linked was also the scariest thing I've read ever.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 12-20-08 3:04 AM
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203:Do you develop anger issues when you become old as dirt? Carp?

Carp live a very long time - centuries - but remain apparently good-natured and equable throughout*, which would seem to contradict your thesis.


*Like David Attenborough.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 12-22-08 3:58 AM
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