Re: Practical poisons

1

El liquido milagroso!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:37 PM
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Uh oh:

Sodium ions are converted into sodium hydroxide, an alkaline liquid that cleans and degreases like detergent, but without the scrubbing bubbles.

No scrubbing bubbles? How sad.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:38 PM
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Japan I can understand being behind, but Russia, too?

It's like we never won WWII or the Cold War.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:39 PM
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"Researchers have dubbed it electrolyzed water -- hardly as catchy as Mr. Clean.

...

It turns out that zapping salt water with low-voltage electricity creates a couple of powerful yet nontoxic cleaning agents. Sodium ions are converted into sodium hydroxide, an alkaline liquid that cleans and degreases like detergent, but without the scrubbing bubbles. "


Um, Mr Clean is sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:43 PM
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4: I bet you were the same guy who told the emperor he was naked, weren't you?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:49 PM
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Sodium hypochlorite (what you get when you mix sodium hydroxide and hypochlorous acid) is chlorox. So they've invented a really complicated way of making chlorox?


Posted by: Brian Ledford | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:50 PM
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all i know is we use sodium hydroxide in the distilled water apparate to sanitize it
so it's used in all the labs


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:50 PM
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What's the advantage over lye or sodium hypochlorite?

Bleach is still the #1 single hospital disinfectant, and it's horrifyingly cheap, if your selling medical supplies.

"Surely there must be a more expensive way of killing viruses and spores! Get the scientists going on this!"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:52 PM
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I know how to get ahold of some hydrogen dioxide, if anyone's interested.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:52 PM
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Sodium ions are converted into sodium hydroxide, an alkaline liquid that cleans and degreases like detergent, but without the scrubbing bubbles. Chloride ions become hypochlorous acid, a potent disinfectant known as acid water.

And these combine to make sodium hypochlorite, which is just bleach.

"It's 10 times more effective than bleach in killing bacteria,"

Which makes this statement problematic.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:53 PM
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9
I know how to get ahold of some hydrogen dioxide, if anyone's interested.

I'm not a chemist, but I don't think that's as common as you seem to.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:57 PM
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I knew I was right to be suspicious of the safety claims.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:58 PM
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H2O, HO2, why pick nits?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 12:59 PM
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Superoxide!


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:01 PM
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Sorry, my guy was out of hydrogen dioxide, but I was able to get you some primo dihydrogen oxide instead, and at only a slightly higher price!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:03 PM
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"It's 10 times more effective than bleach in killing bacteria"

When we used bleach as a disinfectant in the hospital, we watered it down 10-1 because it was too strong. I just saw medical bleach on sale for $6.90/gallon, so diluted that would be $.69 / gallon for the solution you actually use -- less if you buy bulk.

As far as I can tell, 8.3 is what is exactly what's happening.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:04 PM
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16: But the article claims el liquido milagroso costs less than a penny a gallon. I'm not seeing the business model.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:06 PM
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So, from the hotel's perspective, the benefits would actually seem to be expense, if the machine can pay for itself in reduced transportation/branding costs, and effectiveness, since ATW, the sodium hypochlorite in household bleach degrades over time. Also, Wikipedia claims that the interactions between the sodium hypochlorite and various adulterants (like fragrances) can actually increase the amount of VOCs released during use considerably. So if you were a decent-sized institution with a need for sanitizing a lot of surfaces, having your own $10,000 bleach factory might not be such a bad thing.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:06 PM
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18: But, but . . . Mr. Clean's gotta eat too!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:08 PM
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There's a big market for non-household medical bleach. There are even grades of purity depending on whether you're swiping down surfaces or rinsing out $ 1,000,000 analyzers.

At best this looks like a cheaper form of bleach.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:10 PM
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Incidentally, I've just been informed that Microsoft has bought the rights to The Singularity and that we are going to be testing the alpha version for them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:12 PM
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21: I knew the singularity would suck.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:13 PM
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Participation in the testing will not be optional.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:15 PM
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Probably not really cheaper though unless there's a huge markup on bleach or you get free electricity. Electrolysis of brine is exactly how bleach is made in the first place, see this


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:15 PM
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OT:

Minne -- you were talking about switching jobs a while back. Did that ever happen?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:16 PM
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Someday, bleach will be too cheap to meter.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:17 PM
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This is one of the most exciting non-events of the decade, if you ask me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:18 PM
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22: It'll give a whole new meaning to Blue Screen of Death.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:18 PM
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We've found a small problem and are going to have to reboot reality, folks. See you on the other side.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:21 PM
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Wait, though. Why is that article telling me that el liquido milagroso is safe to drink?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:26 PM
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When we used bleach as a disinfectant in the hospital, we watered it down 10-1 because it was too strong.

Right. Germs are not stupid, they'll either cross to the other side of the street or spore up when they see really nasty stuff coming. Ya gotta sneak up on them with stuff that looks innocuous.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:27 PM
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Good question!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:27 PM
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Apparently, there is some weird new age claims for El liquido milagroso:

http://www.chem1.com/CQ/ionbunk.html

That could explain why the salesmen are drinking it.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:34 PM
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30: 'Cause it's just slightly salty water on a macroscopic scale. If the stuff is doing anything useful it's doing it with either the acid or the basic ions floating in the soup and hitting on the germs or the grease.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:34 PM
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The article also suggests that the electric llama water is much less harmful to workers than standard cleansers.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:34 PM
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Actual electric llamas, on the other hand, can be hazardous.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:36 PM
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34: But if that's the case, then this stuff is indeed significantly different than bleach, at least on a macroscopic scale where it's far safer and more pleasant for humans.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:36 PM
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30,32

My WAG is that it's just concentration. Dilute bleach is recommended as a disinfectant for drinking water if boiling is not an option, so drinking dilute bleach is safe.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:37 PM
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Talked to my Japanese co-worker - she only knows it as something people drink.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:38 PM
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Though Japanese Wikipedia discusses the cleaning applications.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:39 PM
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37: Unless there's a fantastic and wide-spread placebo effect going on, it is different. The hint I'm following is the statement that it doesn't keep long. If it were just diluted bleach it would keep as well as Chlorox does, no?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:42 PM
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Ah, the bleach bars of Kyoto! Many a strange tale I could tell......


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:42 PM
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"could I tell"
...."

We regret the error.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:43 PM
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Why is everyone assuming they're talking about bleach? The fancy little animation thingy tells me they're talking about sodium hydroxide and hypochlorous acid, separately.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:44 PM
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Bleach loses its effectiveness over time too. It's just that its so powerful you don't notice.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:44 PM
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46

Ooh, chemistry thread, now the chemists get to rule the discussion instead of the philosophers! Oh, wait, this topic is boring.
These paragraphs make me want to vomit. Chemical Reaction = toxic! Zapping = safe!

Actually, it's chemistry. For more than two centuries, scientists have tinkered with electrolysis, the use of an electric current to bring about a chemical reaction (not the hair-removal technique of the same name that's popular in Beverly Hills). That's how we got metal electroplating and large-scale production of chlorine, used to bleach and sanitize.
It turns out that zapping salt water with low-voltage electricity creates a couple of powerful yet nontoxic* cleaning agents. Sodium ions are converted into sodium hydroxide, an alkaline liquid that cleans and degreases like detergent, but without the scrubbing bubbles. Chloride ions become hypochlorous acid, a potent disinfectant known as acid water.

*Results may vary depending on your definition of nontoxic.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:46 PM
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Um, you guys have missed the point completely. The two chemicals are used separately. The Electrolyzer has 2 tanks - one for the sodium hydroxide and the other for the hypochlorous acid. You spritz the one onto surfaces for disinfecting, you use the other for scrubbing. It's not Clorox.

As for the lye thing, I have no idea, but it appears that almost every commenter here missed the crucial separation stage of the process.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:46 PM
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48

That said, it certainly sounds crazy and impossible. But I assume that neither the LATimes nor the Hilton is simply concocting an elaborate practical joke.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:47 PM
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44 pwns 47, of course, because it skipped the mocking tone. Foolish essear!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:48 PM
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If they're using them separately, they're still common chemicals. Lye is sodium hydroxide, it just usually comes in concentrated form with a skull and crossbones on it. Acid water is what's in some swimming pools, so it is a known disinfectant (and does go bad as the chlorine outgasses- that's why it's usually mixed with the sodium hydroxide, to make it last longer as a salt, bleach.) I can drink from my swimming pool too.
It sounds to me like they're just using dilute solutions of these things and think they've discovered something new.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:48 PM
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47: Oh! You mean I'm supposed to pay attention to the details? Nebbermind.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:49 PM
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44

Because whenever they refer to the product they refer to it in the singular - electrolyzed water. If it were two different products, you'd think they'd call them two different things.

Plus, hypochlorous acid doesn't usually stick around too long. It reacts rapidly with chloride to form chlorine gas under acidic conditions, or is deprotonated to hypochlorite under basic conditions.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:49 PM
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46: You could make it interesting if only you tried.

Come on Chemists, entertain us!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:51 PM
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They do the separation thing in the industrial chloralkali process, too, JRoth. It's how we make lye and chlorine gas.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:51 PM
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Based on what I've read so far, it's hard for me to see what's new about this or what the advantage of it is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:55 PM
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Actual electric llamas, on the other hand, can be hazardous.

This is why one is advised to unplug one's electric llama before dousing it with miracle water.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:56 PM
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A neutron walks into a bar and orders a drink. As he is about to leave, he asks the bartender how much he owes. The bartender says, "For you, no charge!"


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:57 PM
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Presumably, we now know what Peruvian androids dream of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 1:57 PM
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I knew people in Wisconsin who raised llamas for the wool. They were not electrified, but they definitely had the nasty camelid disposition.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:00 PM
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Wild Peruvian androids dream of electric vicuñas.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:02 PM
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They do the separation thing in the industrial chloralkali process, too, JRoth. It's how we make lye and chlorine gas.

But if you read comments such as 6, it's obvious that no one was getting the separation.

Also, lye and chlorine gas will both blind you. To say that these products are nothing more than diluted lye/chlorine gas is to miss the point - this is a completely non-toxic, safe process that, apparently, creates an extremely effective cleanser and disinfectant. I guess that if you add enough water to lye you'd get what they're using, but you're starting with lye, and the concentrations are hard to get right (in the case of bleach, the weakest solutions most homeowners use is something like capful in a gallon of water - which is, IME, still strong enough to damage the skin if you use much of it. According to the article, even working with this stuff all day isn't enough to damage skin).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:02 PM
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As for the story itself, it sounds like voodoo to me, and not in a good way. The only way I can rationalize it is if maybe using the material right after the electrolysis leaves you with a higher-than-equilibrium concentration of the ions you want to kill the bugs. But that seems like a slender reed.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:03 PM
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I knew a couple who raised llamas up in the NC mountains. They also lived in a yurt (and yes, I'm being 100% serious). No idea whether they're still at it, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:04 PM
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Tame Peruvian androids dream of the more modest, traditional, hand-crank vicuña.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:05 PM
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62: or, duh, if you have (almost) all the Na+ in one solution and (almost) all the Cl- in the other, their equilibrium concentrations will be higher than if they could do Na+ + Cl- -> NaCl.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:06 PM
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61, 62: I'm wondering if what's going on that it gives you a solution of lye that's weak enough to clean without hurting your hands, but too weak to store for any length of time? Like, miracle water could be duplicated with a quarter teaspoon of Red Devil Lye in a gallon of water, but no one actually does that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:06 PM
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But look, despite the cool animation the article really does seem to refer to the stuff as a single substance, which leads me to believe it really is dilute bleach. And if so, what's so damned exciting about it? There's no real mention of the cost-analysis, because the article expressly assumes it's not bleach.

If it's really two separate products, well, lye is pretty damned cheap too, so about the only interesting thing is the ability make some sort of dilute hypochlorous acid solution. But I'm going to need some evidence that it's really better than bleach before I spend $10000 + electricity costs on it.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:06 PM
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I'll say this, as broader comment:

The LAT article does 2 things: talks about a currently-used product, and talks about molecular-level chemistry. If I had to bet which one of these the reporter got right, I would bet on the former, wouldn't you?

IOW, I wouldn't assume, based on the science described in the article, that the products are identical to existing cleansers. I would assume, however, that the hotel really uses this machine, and that the products really clean/disinfect things, and that it's better for the workers than the products they've traditionally used. Or, rather, I would discount the Science content by 50-90%, and the Reportage content by 25-60%. The reporter almost certainly knows nothing whatsoever about science, but presumably was able to successfully interview several living people and more-or-less transcribe their statements.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:07 PM
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Dilute lye can be stored pretty much indefinitely, unless you breathe on it a lot (it will slowly absorb CO2, but only at reasonably high concentrations).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:08 PM
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But look, despite the cool animation the article really does seem to refer to the stuff as a single substance, which leads me to believe it really is dilute bleach.

Never attribute to malicejournalistic comprehension of science what can be explained by incompetencesloppy prose.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:10 PM
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68

Yes, and they can successfully transcribe the statements of many others who claim to have perpetual motion machines, magnetic bracelets that cure arthritis, and many other things. I have no doubt that those being interviewed believe what they say. I just doubt that it's actually true.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:11 PM
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68 is a really good rule of thumb, which I'm going to use in all my media and science literacy classes from now on.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:12 PM
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73

Claims made in the article in decreasing order of likely truth value. Those above the line I think have a greater than 50:50 likelihood of being true; those below, less.

Electrolysis generates a cleaner (or a cleaner and a degreaser).
This cleaner (or c and d, you get the picture) is effective.
This cleaner is cheap.
This cleaner is safer than concentrated bleach.
--------------
This cleaner is cheaper than bleach.
This cleaner is different than dilute bleach.
This cleaner is more effective than bleach.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:16 PM
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I was intrigued by the part that talked about using an electrolyzing machine to chlorinate pools. Supposedly this gives you a sanitary pool without the smell of chlorine and the stinging eyes associated with ordinary pool chlorine. I wonder if there's something going on there that can't be exactly replicated by diluting concentrated bleach.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:17 PM
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I know of a true test of el liquido milagroso: the Flophouse floors.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:21 PM
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74: I've swum in pools that use this process, it's pretty pleasant. There's still a distinct slight saltiness to the water, but almost none of the burn or irritation you find in chlorinated water or ocean water.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:22 PM
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I could see that maybe an onsite bleachmaker has been invented that makes dilute bleach cheaper than diluted concentrated commercial bleach. If it made it in small enough quantities, just enough for daily use, it would be practical.

The article seems mystified, though, since this is apparently just a different version of a routine process.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:24 PM
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@74

Electrolytic chlorinators for pools have been around for a decade. Works the same way, and people claim there's less chlorine smell because the concentrations are lower.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:25 PM
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LB: Yes, I finally quit. I have a line on another, temporary, job that should last through the summer, so that will be nice. It's much more convivial than what I was doing (margin desk at a stock-brokerage that is a subsidiary of a multinational bank) and hopefully it will tide me over until the economy improves and I can find something permanent.

For now I'm doing work around the house and volunteering more.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:26 PM
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This comment is, in part, pre-answered by 73, but I think there's still worthwhile stuff in it.

I have no doubt that those being interviewed believe what they say. I just doubt that it's actually true.

Well, I'll stand by my skepticism in 48, but this seems needlessly paranoid.

Do you think that the products are ineffective? That would be a surprising claim, as presumably major hotels are capable of determining whether or not their showers are knee-deep in filth, and university scientists can tell whether or not their e. coli is dead. This isn't some guy in his basement with a wild claim; this is a product(s) actually being used by a variety of unrelated individuals/companies with distinct motives.

Do you think that the products are nothing more than super-dilute bleach and lye? Certainly possible, but I'd say that it's still noteworthy if one can reliably produce effective concentrations of these poisonous products that are safe enough to drink. We have a current SOP for using these chemicals, one that features rubber gloves, goggles, and locked cabinets. People get hurt using these things in their common forms; if equally effective*, but harmless, forms come available, that's still news, even if the chemistry is unremarkable.

* Note that the extraordinary dilution of the chemicals greatly broadens their usefulness - it may well be that water + a tiny bit of Clorox will give you something you can spray on produce to ward off e. coli, but no one actually does this, for a variety of reasons. If this technique became common, then there'd be a real-world gain, esp. since it doesn't involve squandering antibacterials.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:27 PM
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78: How do elecrolyzing swimming pool cleaners compare with ozone?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:28 PM
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My chemistry is nil, but the article seems to say the device makes hypochlorous acid and lye, and people in the thread above have said that bleach is a mixture of the two. Lye is nothing exciting, but maybe hypoclorous acid is the miracle substance? (Cleans like bleach, but is less irritating?) The question then is why doesn't anyone sell it, but that could be a storage problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:29 PM
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68 is a really good rule of thumb, which I'm going to use in all my media and science literacy classes from now on.

Now be careful, rob - I'm neither a reporter nor a scientist. I'd discount 68 by ~10-35%.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:29 PM
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How disinfectant-y is alcohol vs. bleach? To the extent that I worry about sanitizing anything -- which is very little -- alcohol is my go-to chemical concoction of choice on account of its non-fatal side effects.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:30 PM
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OK, as soon as I hit "send" I realized the folly of that last bit. Obviously, I mean if you don't ingest it.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:31 PM
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But if there are "products" and not "a product" why is it el liquido milagroso, and not los liquidos milagrosos? The cleaning ladies seem to be talking about one thing.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:31 PM
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The question then is why doesn't anyone sell it

Big Chemistry, duh. As represented by their faithful attack dog, F, who has been hanging out here for years, pretending to care about swimming and gender roles and stand mixers, just waiting to spring into action for his masters.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:32 PM
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clearly this is an electrolytic homeopathic technology -- they dilute the constituent elements of beach to less than one molecule in a swimming pool, at which point it cleans better but doesn't sting the eyes


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:32 PM
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But what I want to know is, where can I get my hands on some hydrogen dioxide?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:32 PM
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89: Take one mole of hydrogen and two of oxygen, and shake vigorously.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:34 PM
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We had some experiment in Freshman Lab (Robert, do you remember what this was?), that had us creating very mild acids and bases and lining them up. We were supposed to taste the acids, but not the bases -- apparently they were considered worse for one even at very low concentrations. Of course my lab partner (Yanni P.) and I didn't read all the instructions and drank the bases too. Nothing awful happened. Later Yanni composed and performed a song called "He Made Us Drink Acid" about our Freshman Lab tutor.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:35 PM
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My criticism is that this seems to be a different way of delivering bleach, brand-named so that you don't know what it is. If it's really cheaper and more convenient it's a very good thing, but the article is still terrible. And there's a possibility that it isn't really cheaper. Buyers get suckered from time to time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:35 PM
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Finally, Dow's top secret "swipple indoctrination program" is paying off.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:35 PM
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But if there are "products" and not "a product" why is it el liquido milagroso, and not los liquidos milagrosos? The cleaning ladies seem to be talking about one thing.

Because the cleaning ladies are just using the cleanser? Or because the only apparent difference is the label on the bottles, both of which are filled from the one machine?

Deeper in the article, the reporter repeatedly uses the phrase "acid water" for disinfecting uses. I'm sticking with sloppy prose. With a seasoning of fear of repetition of phrases. Reporters hate to use a 2- or 3-word formulation over and over, so they'll often substitute near-synonyms or over-broad general terms to avoid having to repeat (indeed, see what F does in 73 - AP style will not admit of "(or c and d, you get the picture)".)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:38 PM
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I think there's room for it to be something different from bleach, as per my 82. But I find J Roth's 80 unconvincing; if a claim sounds too good to be true (and this does) I'm not believing it until I hear it from a whole bunch of unconnected sources, and that doesn't include a bunch of different quotes in the same article. My chemically uninformed guess is that this is bullshit somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:38 PM
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96

95: Well, I did write 48. I'm not buying (literally) this stuff until I see it written up repeatedly.

OTOH, people keep claiming that UHC works, but if it's so great, why don't we have it here? I smell a rat.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:41 PM
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Probably need to swab some disinfectant around, then.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:44 PM
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OT:

Does anyone know why tonight's speech isn't a State of the Union? Did Bush already give one this year? I really don't recall that, but I've been ignoring him as hard as possible for months now, so....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:46 PM
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94: Yeah, I think you have to be right. The animated process clearly results in two separate products (I just watched it), but the article talks about it as one thing.

98: I think it's just because he hasn't been around long enough. First year is a bye year, as it were.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:51 PM
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||

Wow the articleon Architefcture in Simple English Wikipedia reads as if written by a very opinionated grandmother writing for her community paper.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:57 PM
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I have a new concept for Google-bombing.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 2:57 PM
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Hypochlorous acid is just sodium hypochlorite and water. It's unstable, so making it on site would be a savings, and if it's used immediately, there'd be no reason to concentrate it and then dilute it again, which would also be a saving.

The "acid water" and the "alkaline water" have to be two different things -- otherwise they would react and become salt. The former has to be dilute bleach, and the latter has to be lye water. If you need equal amounts of lye water and dilute bleach, the process will be wonderful.

I give the writer a zero on science. Either he's an idiot, or he's on the take. I have my suspicions about the "food scientists" quoted too.

i don't see any other way this can be. Electrolyzing brine is an old process.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 3:04 PM
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98: According to Wikipedia:

Since 1989, in recognition that the responsibility of reporting the State of the Union formally belongs to the president who held office during the past year, newly inaugurated Presidents have not officially called their first speech before Congress a "State of the Union" message.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 3:06 PM
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Hypochlorous acid is just sodium hypochlorite and water.

Dude, what? There's no sodium in hypochlorous acid.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 3:18 PM
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100 is pretty funny ("truly horrible buildings").

I don't really understand Simple English Wikipedia. I haven't read many of the articles, but it often doesn't seem to actually be so simple. And are small words really simpler for poor English speakers? Aren't there more people in the world that speak languages that share cognates with our long Latinate words than with simple Anglo-Saxon words?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 3:21 PM
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I have rummaged about a bit on scholar.google.com, and like this abstract best:

Hricova D, Stephan R, Zweifel C. Electrolyzed water and its application in the food industry. J Food Prot. 2008 Sep;71(9):1934-47.

Electrolyzed water (EW) is gaining popularity as a sanitizer in the food industries of many countries. By electrolysis, a dilute sodium chloride solution dissociates into acidic electrolyzed water (AEW), which has a pH of 2 to 3, an oxidation-reduction potential of >1,100 mV, and an active chlorine content of 10 to 90 ppm, and basic electrolyzed water (BEW), which has a pH of 10 to 13 and an oxidation-reduction potential of -800 to -900 mV. Vegetative cells of various bacteria in suspension were generally reduced by > 6.0 log CFU/ml when AEW was used. However, AEW is a less effective bactericide on utensils, surfaces, and food products because of factors such as surface type and the presence of organic matter. Reductions of bacteria on surfaces and utensils or vegetables and fruits mainly ranged from about 2.0 to 6.0 or 1.0 to 3.5 orders of magnitude, respectively. Higher reductions were obtained for tomatoes. For chicken carcasses, pork, and fish, reductions ranged from about 0.8 to 3.0, 1.0 to 1.8, and 0.4 to 2.8 orders of magnitude, respectively. Considerable reductions were achieved with AEW on eggs. On some food commodities, treatment with BEW followed by AEW produced higher reductions than did treatment with AEW only. EW technology deserves consideration when discussing industrial sanitization of equipment and decontamination of food products. Nevertheless, decontamination treatments for food products always should be considered part of an integral food safety system. Such treatments cannot replace strict adherence to good manufacturing and hygiene practices.
PMID: 18810883 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

-----

I was hoping for something comparing electrolyzed water to dilute solutions of already-common chemicals, but no. I suppose everyone else reading J Food Prot. has the reduction effects of bleach memorized already. Anyway, good to know that separation is part of the point.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 3:44 PM
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The answer is probably in here.

I'm not a chemist, but apparently neither is anyone else here. So maybe this is bleach without the sodium.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 3:58 PM
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Fortunately, my mother is a biochemist, so I sent the article to her and asked for her opinion. Which she may be too busy to give. (I'm not sure she approves of my imaginary Internet friends.)


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:14 PM
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Tell her it's for your non-imaginary internet friends. LB & I will make sure no one else sees.

PS - I thought I saw you in Stan's a couple Saturdays ago. I called out, "Cosma!" but there was no response. What are the odds?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:27 PM
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109: Since I don't know what "Stan's" is, pretty low.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:29 PM
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Oh, wait, the vegetable stand in the Strip? Not me, but we do go there sometimes in the spring/summer.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:34 PM
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Now it seems to be a different way of getting hypochlorite and [something else] out of a salt solution by electrolysis.

The exasperating thing is that a fairly simple, non-technical sentence exlaining how it is different from bleach could have avoided this whole discussion.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:34 PM
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The exasperating thing is that a fairly simple, non-technical sentence exlaining how it is different from bleach could have avoided this whole discussion.

And then how would I have avoided correcting this manuscript all afternoon?


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:35 PM
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I would love to know if my recent mouse-eradication efforts have been effective above or below one order of magnitude. A typical day sees only one or two hits, but on a good day I've gotten up to 5 (they love parmagiano-reggiano rinds - other cheeses pale in effectiveness). So at, say, 10 a week, am I keeping up? Cutting them down? Or are there more mourners at each successive memorial service?

PS - Not to stir anything up, but my relentless efforts on this front have made any carnivore-guilt seem ever more absurd. Not that a pig isn't a lot smarter/more sentient than a mouse, but DFW wanted me to feel bad about eating lobsters, for cryin' out loud.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:36 PM
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113: You owe that reporter a thank-you note, Cosma.

111: Yes, there, and OK.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:37 PM
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In Taiwan some people did spray their fresh vegetables in bleach and then rinsed them. Not paranoid because human feces is a common fertilizer there. Environmentally sound but public-health risky. Chinese also seem to avoid raw vegetables, which is a nice habit under the circumstances.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:37 PM
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OK, finally got the math straight in my head - almost certainly no better than 0.5 OoM. But am I approaching even that? 0.1 OoM?

I'm not looking up the real numbers because, frankly, I don't want to know. I've kept them from pooping all over the kitchen and pantry, and that's good enough. Spring will see an exodus (I hope).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:39 PM
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115.1: So I do.

115.2: We do try to go to the Saturday AM farmer's market in the Strip when it's in season. The main obstacle is the "Saturday AM" part.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:41 PM
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117: 0.1 OoM would only be a 20% reduction in vermin; hopefully it's better than that!


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:42 PM
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114: Thought about getting a cat?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:45 PM
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Not paranoid because human feces is a common fertilizer there

John, do you have knowledge that this is the case, within, say, the last twenty years?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 4:47 PM
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I think I might have figured out how it could work. Acidic hypochlorite (hyochlorous acid) is much, much more active than basic hypochlorite. Bleach is the latter, but you can get away with much smaller concentrations (approx 2-3 OoM less) if you make it acidic. So basically if this membrane-separated hydrolysis is generating dilute acidic hypochlorite directly, it would be just as effective as a) bleach at a much higher concentration and b) bleach + acid at a similar concentration. As far as cheaper, well, someone would have to crunch the numbers there.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 5:00 PM
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No, I don't. But it actually seems like a better thing to do than to put it in the water.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 5:07 PM
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I was surprised at the absence of chemists here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 5:35 PM
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107- I am, dammit. I go away for a couple hours and you people start violating the basic rules of chemistry. The rule is: If you end up with the same molecules, it doesn't matter how you got there- if you 1) hydrolyzed 1000 liters of water, make a concentrated can of Red Devil, and dilute it down to 0.1 mM, or 2) hydrolyze a little water to make 0.1 mM NaOH, they're exactly the same.
In fact, based on 106, I can tell you exactly what the concentration of the stuff is. If the pH of the basic water is 10 to 13, the concentration is between 10^-4 and 10^-1 M lye. It's a bit harder to determine the concentration of the hypochlorous acid from the pH because of the subsequent equilibrium with HCl and Cl2 and the fact that HOCl is a weak acid while NaOH is a strong base, but because 1 equivalent of HOCl is made for each equivalent of NaOH, it's the same initial amount.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 5:44 PM
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Well, the active chlorine concentration they quote is consistent with 10^-3 M HOCl, so that fits.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 6:01 PM
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We got that far, but apparently this method is different, and separates the hypochlorous acid from the basic hypochlorite entirely, so that a much smaller concentration of the hypochlorite is effective.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 6:07 PM
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You've removed the HOCl? So you're left with ClO- and some counterion, the only one that's around is Na+. That's called a sodium hypochlorite solution, aka bleach.
Maybe you're arguing that they've made a buffered solution of hypochlorite- that would be a mix of HOCl and its conjugate base, ClO-, which is what you would get if you mixed bleach with hypochlorous acid. Something like two parts of the acid water to one part of the base water would make this. I believe the pH of that would be around 7 or 8. I've never heard of anyone making such a buffer, though, so I don't know if it's stable or if it dissociates to HCl and oxygen. (Hey, look! Oxyclean is a mix of sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite!)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 6:32 PM
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I would love to know if my recent mouse-eradication efforts have been effective above or below one order of magnitude. A typical day sees only one or two hits, but on a good day I've gotten up to 5 (they love parmagiano-reggiano rinds - other cheeses pale in effectiveness). So at, say, 10 a week, am I keeping up? Cutting them down? Or are there more mourners at each successive memorial service?

{long pause} It depends. Anyways, what are you using to catch the little buggers with? If you are not using one of these you should be. They work great.

max
['Mouse Motel.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 6:36 PM
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I'm not arguing. I was the first one to say that this just looks like bleach. F figured out that maybe they had found out how ro separate the hypochlorous acid, allowing use in a more dilute solution, and making it different than bleach.

Sodium hypochlorite (like all hypochlorites) is a salt of hypochlorous acid, HClO. In water, it partially splits into the sodium cation Na+ and the hypochlorite anion ClO-, while a substantial portion hydrolyses into sodium hydroxide and hypochlorous acid. The oxidizing power of the latter and of the hypochlorite anion cause the bleaching effect. Its negative charge, however, prevents it from diffusing through the cell walls of bacteria and microbes, making it a poor disinfectant. However, owing to the equilibrium between hypochlorous acid and the hypochlorite anion, the hypochlorous acid molecules, due to their neutral charge and small size, easily diffuse through the cell walls of bacteria.

Link


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 6:48 PM
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Chemistry is the swimming of sciences.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 6:59 PM
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Will no one put up a thread about the address? What with Obama being the guy, and him being president and all?

max
['That way someone else who is watching it could tell me what he's saying!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:08 PM
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Sorry, I'm working late. Anyone else?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:09 PM
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1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

North Dakota seems counter-cyclical for housing prices. This is about as cheap as I could find. There was another one at $15000. No real bargains.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:12 PM
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You may remember that Hoople is the original home of P.D.Q. Bach. The dream of a lifetime for some of you, for example, Jesus.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:14 PM
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I'm watching the speech (hasn't started et -- entrance just finished, applause still going) on a not very big analog TV. Could someone tell me what on earth Nancy Pelosi is wearing? Because it looks like a hoodie.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:17 PM
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It has a collar that sort of sticks up in a stiff-looking ring around her neck? (I have no vocabulary for clothing, sorry.) I can see how that and the shape of her hair and shadows could look hoodie-like on a small TV.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:20 PM
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Firedoglake is livebloggong. Nothing much so far.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:21 PM
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It's ugly as sin, whatever it is.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:21 PM
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Nice smackdown line:

"the surplus became an opportunity to transfer wealth to the wealthy rather than to invest in [didn't get it exactly -- good, long-term, etc.]"


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:24 PM
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Wind turbines and solar panels! Broadband and mass transit! 57 police offers in Minneapolis! That got weirdly specific.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:25 PM
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Officers.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:25 PM
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John McCain looks, like, 200 years old.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:26 PM
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The Minneapolis police have been too short-handed to properly abuse their Negroes and peaceful demonstrators.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:28 PM
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They are liveblogging, illiterate-style, over at TPM. The dude with post asked a good question: what's Jindal going to follow-up with, and I say he's going to be in favor of tax cuts, less spending, elimination of social security and the longterm fiscal discipline, no nationalization of banks and a subsidy for each and every taxpayer worth more than 500k to help them get through these hard times. Also, free enterprise, hard work and the American way.

I don't know what kind of totally crazy shit he's going to say; I'm hoping for a goody, like say, threatening Spector, Snowe and Collins with expulsion from the party. A threat to secede would be awesome as well.

max
['For reasons of tradition, I believe that last duty falls to South Carolina.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:30 PM
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He also talks like a church lady of the worst kind.

My mom was a church lady, and her friends were all church ladies, every one of them older than him, and he whips all of them in the church lady categoty.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:31 PM
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Hopefully church ladies rebuke each other by saying "You're sounding like John McCain now and should just be ashamed of yourself. You give all of us a bad name."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:34 PM
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Arlen Specter doesn't look particularly worried about the threats from the RNC. Nice tie, too.

Roland Burris is just along for the ride, isn't he?


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:35 PM
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Joe Lieberman's face is going to implode! And oy, Nancy Pelosi seems to be wearing a kaftan in 70's avocado color.

max
['Or possibly it's a pancho. Or a rug.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:35 PM
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Maybe she decided to represent her DFH constituents tonight.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:38 PM
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Sure, show the Chinese guy when he mentions how China threatens to overtake us in energy.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:40 PM
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We still haven't completely solved the hypochlorite problem yet.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:41 PM
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We need renewable hypochlorite!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:41 PM
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Anyway, if you have HOCl and H+ and ClO-, and you somehow move the HOCl into a different chamber, it will just reequilibrate (can I get an umlaut, please?) to the same ratio of the three- that's Le Chatelier. You can't purify non-dissociated HOCl.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:44 PM
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Only Democrats approve of giving children healthcare. Do Republicans really think they look like they're sticking up for their principles by grumpily refusing to applaud healthcare for children?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:45 PM
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It's socialized health-care. It'll turn them all into perverts and Communists.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:46 PM
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Ick. "Can't turn away from the automobile?"

C'mon, who else are Michiganders gonna vote for? (Probably)


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:47 PM
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(can I get an umlaut, please?)

NO! Only diaereses!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:47 PM
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At work we were actually talking about how we'll be able to buy more things because of increased NIH funding leading to more grants for equipment. That's stimulus we can believe in.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:48 PM
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I want to hear your philosophical discursus on "abstraction" and "mechanism", Cosma.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:48 PM
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Reequilibräte.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:48 PM
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He doesn't have the SOTU form down yet- he keeps having to repeat his applause lines, it sounds awkward.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:51 PM
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OK, is this a pure hoax, in no way different than bleach? That's where we all got stuck.

I've got a Chuckchee novel about a Chuckchee bootlegger who improvised a still.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:51 PM
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From transcipt at Huffington's, via Digby.

Comprehensive health care reform is the best way to strengthen Medicare for years to come. And we must also begin a conversation on how to do the same for Social Security, while creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans.

Ya put "Social Security" two words away from "tax-free universal savings accounts" in the SOTU and the Village codebreakers will know where your heart is at and what your plans are. Doesn't mean Congress will let Obama get away with it, but it was always about who Obama is. Now we know. President for Goldman-Sachs.

It's time. I told you so.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:52 PM
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How much 'shine could a Chuckchee bootlegger chuck, if a Chuckchee bootlegger could chuck 'shine?

It'd work better with cheese -- any chance they ran a dairy as well?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:54 PM
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We're talking about running a primary candidate against our Blue Dog here. That's the only leverage anyone has now. It's pretty serious at this point, I think.

On his own Obama won't do the right thing, but he can be pressure, I hope.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:57 PM
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164: Ya put "Social Security" two words away from "tax-free universal savings accounts"

If you play the quote in 164 backwards and it says "Social secuirty will die".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 7:58 PM
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And even if Obama does the right thing, we'll have plenty of people ready to warn us that we're about to get screwed by him anyway, for reals this time. So no worries.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:00 PM
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In rather the same way that a soldier's job is to help the enemy soldiers to die for their country, our job is to get Obama to lie to the bad guys, and not to us. At that level, lying is basic to the job description.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:01 PM
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As the poet says:

Comin' from the school of hard knocks
Some perpetrate, they drink Clorox
Attack the black, cause I know they lack exact
The cold facts, and still they try to Xerox
Leader of the new school, uncool
Never played the fool, just made the rules


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:01 PM
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If it's different from bleach it's because it's bleach + acid. And yes the dissociative equilibrium will always be reestablished, but the pH determines to which side it lies. In acid, it will be mostly the active HOCl form. In base, mostly the inactive OCl- form.

159
Congrats on qualifying for that NIH money. They have to follow the stimulus rules, meaning it has to be spent in the next 18 months, so they're only bumping up the funding on R01s that have already been reviewed, not new ones. The equipment is easier to qualify for stimulus rules, but you can bet everyone one and their mom is applying for it.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:02 PM
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Best line yet. It makes us safer, yo.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:02 PM
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Shit, apo, I think may know the couple you mean. Was the woman's name Cl/audia? I think the man's name was R/ick.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:04 PM
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171- But where is the acid coming from? They're not adding any extra acid in the process. They're just making HOCl and letting it equilibrate, they're not driving the equilibrium to the left.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:07 PM
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114: Thought about getting a cat?

AB is fearsome allergic. We tried to take in a stray to live in the basement last time we had this problem - even named it! - but, after one dish of tuna, he never returned. We have another stray living part-time in our collards patch, but I think s/he likes the hobo lifestyle.

Our dog spends a lot of time being vigilant, but is a lousy, lousy mouser.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:07 PM
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Why did he say "reportedly"? Have they just stopped vetting altogether?

I think about Leonard Abess, the bank president from Miami who reportedly cashed out of his company, took a $60 million bonus, and gave it out to all 399 people who worked for him, plus another 72 who used to work for him. He didn't tell anyone, but when the local newspaper found out, he simply said, ''I knew some of these people since I was 7 years old. I didn't feel right getting the money myself."

Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:10 PM
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they're not driving the equilibrium to the left.

We need to shift that Overton window!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:11 PM
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He must have been screwed by the IRS. Gifts to individuals aren't deductible, so he would still owe taxes on the $60M even though he doesn't have it any more.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:12 PM
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171- But where is the acid coming from? They're not adding any extra acid in the process. They're just making HOCl and letting it equilibrate, they're not driving the equilibrium to the left.

I don't understand. You're saying that the voltage applied in the electrolysis process can't physically separate regions of different pH?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:14 PM
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Le Chatelier also needs you to include things like heat, charge carriers, and pressure, no?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:15 PM
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We need to shift that Overton window!

We shall Overton some day.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:17 PM
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179- F is saying it's different from bleach because it's bleach + acid. But the process described is just a mini version of the industrial process for making bleach, there's no extra acid added (because if there were, there would be Chemicals in the miracle water, and that's Bad.)
180- Sure, any perturbation to the system, but none of those are being claimed to somehow shift the equilibrium to HOCl from H+ and ClO-.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:19 PM
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178: He was no more screwed than I was when I put $500 in my niece's college account. In any case, he can afford it. He was already rich, and it appears he sold his stake for $927 million (the article's a little unclear on whether that all went to him).


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:20 PM
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They say they have a membrane-separated electrolysis apparatus that prevents the HOCl and NaOH from recombining.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:24 PM
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Kraab, this was a decade or two ago, but make sure that when your niece applies for scholarships etc. her savings (and your gift) aren't deducted from her scholarship. Someone I knew then saved for years for her niece, a significant amount of money, and basically found that the money went to the school and not to the niece.

Maybe you could put it under your name and give it to her personally for extras. I was a scholarship student, as was my son, and we got left out of a lot of the activities other kids were able to do.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:25 PM
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HOCl has a pKa of 7.5, so as long as the pH is less than about 7, HOCl is mostly undissociated.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:28 PM
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185: Good to know, thanks.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:29 PM
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Is anyone listening to Roscoe P. Jindal?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:29 PM
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Jindal is boring me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:30 PM
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Bobby Jindall is a terrrrible speaker.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:30 PM
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l


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:31 PM
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Why do Republicans like to point at perfectly reasonable things and mock them? "Ha ha volcano monitoring!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:31 PM
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188: Holy smokes. This is like an SNL parody of a bad political speech. "And that's exactly what the democrats in Congress just did!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:31 PM
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I'm calling it now - Bobby Jindal is too ugly to ever be elected president. Life ain't fair.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:33 PM
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"Republicans believe in a simple principle: no American should have to worry about losing their health care coverage. They shouldn't have it to begin with!"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:33 PM
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No, you definitely don't want to monitor volcanoes. They never do anything. Build a subdivision on one! It'll be warm! Yeah.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:33 PM
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192: Because "ha ha health care for poor kids" wasn't very popular, as it turns out.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:34 PM
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Americans can do anything. The children of Americans can do anything. We believe it. That's why we don't want to do anything to help them (once they've been born (oh, prenatal care doesn't count (welfare!))).


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:35 PM
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"Went along with earmarks" - they tried to resist, but they were overpowered by the majority. I mean minority.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:37 PM
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Wow this is bland.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:37 PM
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Will I be able to play the piano, Governor Jindal?

Americans can do anything!

Well I couldn't before!


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:38 PM
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For those who haven't seen it, I must refer you to Jindal's psychosexual memoir.* The link goes to a Jezebel "Crappy Hour" discussion of said memoir, since it's not on-line for free. But it excerpts liberally.

*Well, a lady friend, at Brown!, acts nuts whenever she's around him, so he drives Satan from her body.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:39 PM
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Jindal talks like he's reading a story to second graders.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:42 PM
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160 (just noticed): people like it better from the slides than live, I think. But if you're ever in Pittsburgh...


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:43 PM
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so he drives Satan from her body.

I did that once, but I had to use lots of lube.

max
['Well, into. From, into, close enough.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:45 PM
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OT: So, what's the correct response when one's child state's that dad's girlfriend is "basically like my second mom"? I'm guessing the internal monologue of "the hell she is!" probably wouldn't be the best, but "Yes, honey, we're both your mom, no distinction whatsoever!" also not so much.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:54 PM
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Really a horrible response. Like when Sebelius did the SOTU response.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:54 PM
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I am very disappointed. Jindal did not bring the crazy. He just wants the fiscal levitation. Damn.

Dreher:

You know me, I badly want Jindal to succeed and to become the GOP's future, but compared to Obama, he was amateur hour. His speech was boilerplate, and the delivery was rushed and fakey-fake. I've seen him speak before, and he's much better than this. Unfortunately, this was his introduction to a national TV audience, and he looked and sounded like an Eagle Scout giving a speech on citizenship to the local Kiwanis.

max
['Pratfall.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:58 PM
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The proper response is "Second mom is right. You and I both know that second place means you lost."


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 8:59 PM
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Errr, "It doesn't work like that, dear"?


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:00 PM
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I'm guessing the internal monologue of "the hell she is!" probably wouldn't be the best, but "Yes, honey, we're both your mom, no distinction whatsoever!" also not so much.

'I'm glad that you feel comfortable with Dad's girlfriend - I wouldn't want her to be bad to you because Dad's going to be in your life no matter what. Just remember, I'm your real mom, so don't go running off on me, ok?'

max
['Light and easy.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:01 PM
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203: Jindal talks like he's reading a story to second graders.

Yes. My roommate's comment halfway through Jindal's speech: This guy sounds like he should be on Sesame Street.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:02 PM
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Just remember, I'm your real mom, so don't go running off on me, ok?'

See, I was worried this would be sort of guilt-trippy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:07 PM
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Also, Jindal just speaks (spoke) too quickly. First lesson of public speaking: slow way down. You will sound to your own ears as though you're being ponderous, but you're not. And when you slow down, you can hear how stupid you sound, if indeed you do.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:08 PM
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That's 'cause it is. How about "I'm glad you get along. Tell me about her, your relationship, etc."? (Yes, I realize, "your relationship" is probably heavy, but I'm sure you can come up with the right verbiage.)


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:11 PM
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213: I think it would be sort of guilt-trippy. You don't want Rory feeling ashamed of her presumed felt need to like the girlfriend.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:11 PM
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"That's sort of a relief, because I've sort of been thinking of taking a couple years off."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:13 PM
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So, what's the correct response when one's child state's that dad's girlfriend is "basically like my second mom"?

Huh. I was always pretty clear, after my parents got divorced, that the various people they dated were not in any way in parental roles. It never would have occurred to me to describe any of them as my second father or second mother.

That said, max has it right.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:13 PM
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218: But Di's daughter is, like, 12, right? Maybe not old enough to be sensitive to these things.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:15 PM
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It never would have occurred to me

I'm hardly objective, but I'm fairly confident she had some help coming up with this construction...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:16 PM
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219: My parents got divorced when I was 9 1/2. I was pretty clear even then.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:16 PM
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219: 10, but also pretty precocious.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:17 PM
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And 220: I'm sure, but I would have laughed at anyone who suggested it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:18 PM
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221, 222: Okay. I'm not awfully tuned in to the level of emotional sophistication of 10-year-olds.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:19 PM
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First lesson of public speaking: slow way down. N-th lesson of public speaking: tempo is a tool. Slow, always, is not actually a useful rule for those with practice at public speaking. After all, many of the most highly regarded speeches Obama has given contained many passages he powers right through.

Specifically, Jindal wasn't speaking too quickly: he was speaking like a douche.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:19 PM
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See, I was worried this would be sort of guilt-trippy.

You know what? You'er her mom and she is the child yes, but you'd implicitly but directly asking for some reassurance, which is what you want. I don't think that's any more inappropriate than asking for a hug.

What would be inappropriate would be asking her to do your finances, or cook dinner all the time, &c., that is, things she really isn't up for doing yet. It would also be inappropriate to try and get her to take sides in the Di/UNG war. It would be inappropriate to ask her to take care of you emotionally at the expense of her needs (because she is the child). That does not mean that you can't ask for some affection for her.

You could do that by going the long way around the barn, or you could stew on it until you have a fight with somebody, or you could just ask. So I vote for just asking, particularly since you are her model for being adult. I said 'light and easy' because I wouldn't want you (or anyone's mom) to say something like that in a tone of deep menace.

If you want to phrase it differently, that's fine.

max
['Self-sacrificing martyr is not a good model.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:21 PM
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Specifically, Jindal wasn't speaking too quickly: he was speaking like a douche.

I take your point.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:25 PM
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And there was much droppage of words and parenthesis. Try that again!

And you know what? You're her mom and she is the child, yes, but you would be implicitly (but directly) asking for some reassurance, which is what you obviously want. I don't think asking for that is any more inappropriate than asking for a hug.

Remarks revised and extended!

max
['Sorry.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:26 PM
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220: The other thing to keep in mind is that it may not be coming from UNG and GF, but from her friends, teachers, her friends' parents, etc. What I know from being a dad's GF is that the kids were under enormous pressure at school to talk about their families all the time, and teachers and others ask a lot of leading questions about how permanent a role the new BF/GF play. The kids' mom's BF was not at all interested in playing second-daddy, and I was in no way a second mommy, but they said that at school all the other kids of divorce and even some teachers said that when mommies and daddies get divorced, they usually get married again, and it's great because it's like having two daddies and two mommies, and all the more love!!! Etc., barf, and whatnot. The rush to heteronormative family life (and equal on both sides please!) is a general social pressure, even if it's not coming from either parent.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:34 PM
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I'm pretty sure that the correct response to Rory's comment is "Are you drunk?"


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:35 PM
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she is the child
i don't know, too much shielding imo, the 10 yo kid ought to be sensitive enough to be able to sense what to say to whom
i would perhaps act if not offended, then sincerely upset if i were DK


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:35 PM
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Unfortunately, the year after the kids' mom left to move in with her BF from work, their school had "Family Year" during which all the school events were about talking about who everyone in your family is and what all their relationships to one another were. My ex, whose dad had just died, nearly had a nervous breakdown writing letter after letter to the principal trying to explain that when your wife leaves you and takes your dog and moves in with her BF, it's *really hard* to sit at a school assembly and see celebrate, say, all the kids who have a dog! Or read their homework about "What they like to do with daddy while mommy is busy" and it shows a picture of playing video games with the boyfriend. Rough stuff.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:39 PM
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231: To be fair, I did point out who went through labor...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:40 PM
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react i meant, not act


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:41 PM
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So, what's the correct response when one's child state's that dad's girlfriend is "basically like my second mom"?

"Like second-place, right? Or second-hand? Or sloppy...never mind."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:46 PM
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"Not really, but we'll keep it our little secret. President Obama would want us to be especially nice to Significant-Other-Americans."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:50 PM
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sure, DK, and that's only fair
to compare someone else with one's own mother!
i never could understand how people, foreign students for example when we were in Japan, so easily could call their host family's people my Japanese mom or dad or something
nice good friends, sure, but my Japanese mom?
either i'm not that genial person or those people are not sincere
my sisters still can't call their inlaws that they say


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:50 PM
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232: Yeah, I get the impetus of that kind of thing -- let's embrace families and recognize the diversity of families. But the temptation to fall back on, like you say, heteronormative-equal-on-both-sides-please models is massive.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:53 PM
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DK, I sure don't have any advice for you, but I do have sympathy. Blargh.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:53 PM
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I would never call my brother's wife my sister-in-law, or sister, or any derivative thereof. Too creepy. I have called one or two men not born of my mother's womb or my father's seed "brother," though. In at least one of those cases, I thought it might be nice to spell out terms for our relationship that didn't involve intercourse. But we were close.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:55 PM
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237: Huh. I wouldn't have thought of the comparison, but you're right. My friend had a host-family when she went to the Air Force Academy and still refers to them as host mom and dad. I was kind of offended on her parents' behalf. Maybe now that she's a mom, too, I should point out the dissonance to her...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:56 PM
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Weird. I've heard "host family", but always thought of it as meaning "family that hosts". I didn't know people referred to "host mom", etc.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:57 PM
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I would never call my brother's wife my sister-in-law

Huh again. I already refer to my brother's fiance as my SIL -- and took to calling her my quasi-SIL even before they got engaged. Of course, much of this is that I like her an awful lot and am sufficiently familiar with the yucky feeling of marrying into a family that treats you as an outsider.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 9:59 PM
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Di, not to belittle what obviously is a difficult thing to hear, and without really knowing the circumstances, I regularly referred to people as my second mom (multiple best friends' moms, etc). It could be that it was a casual, unthinking thing that didn't really mean much to her.

That being said, I think it's ok to ask for reassurance from her. Or to at least start a discussion about it. I never, ever referred to my step-father as my dad (and he deserved the title, a different situation than most people), and I think (know) it caused him a lot of pain, retrospectively. If it had been brought up with me, I probably would have been like, OH! Yeah, I can do that. And that was a very strained relationship.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:01 PM
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But the temptation to fall back on, like you say, heteronormative-equal-on-both-sides-please models is massive.

Sure. And there's very little you can do about that, and it's hard to be sure where it's coming from. Rory might just be enthusiastic about the GF. So there's the problem of 'What if?' As in 'What if they're trying to manipulate my child, and engage in a little alienation of affection?' OTOH, 'What if she's just enthusiastic for her new relationship?'

The only way I see to proceed to is to keep an eye out without either doing the inquisitor routine on Rory, or utterly letting it go. (Which would imply that it would be FINE! Wonderful! if Rory changed parents completely, which it isn't.)

You're on the strategic defensive (like UNG is, or should be), which means patience and caution. Of course, if UNG does something bad/dumb, and the opportunity comes to take him down... well.

max
['Avoiding friendly fire accidents.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:04 PM
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Well, now that you all are raising all these other scenarios... I guess I have referred to a friend's mom as "Mom" in conversation before. But still not "my mom."

I honestly have a problem with step parents being referred to as "mom" or "dad" except in exceptional circumstances. You may be wonderful, loved, hugely important, but you are not "mom" or "dad" and you should not encourage a kid to be confused about that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:06 PM
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Oh, Di. My cousin-in-law is going through that now (his four-year-old daughter has been told to call him by his first name rather than "Daddy") with his sorta-ex and her sorta-boyfriend.

I think max/F has the right idea.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:10 PM
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I've never heard of the nomenclature being a big issue really, but that's going to be me. I wouldn't have a big issue in that situation with the wife of dad (of the husband of mom) being '#2 Mom/Dad'.

max
['So if you already talked to her, what did she say?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:12 PM
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246: I have a lot more expansive definitions than you, I think. This probably results from my own personal history. My biological father was never much around. My step-father essentially raised me. Now that I have a third dad (second step-father) who I genuinely enjoy, I choose to think of him as a dad as well. I think you'll find that the children of divorces tend towards either being pretty expansive in their definitions of parent (and to ascribing the title to various people), or fiercely protective of the original categories.

But no matter what situation Rory finds herself in, I think it's certainly plausible that she didn't really mean anything by it. Because it is so important to you, I would suggest that you actually talk about it with her, as uncomfortable as it might be.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:13 PM
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My brother-in-law (the 12-year-old*) just calls me his sister. As in, "shiv got married so now I have another sister!"

*"Brother-in-law" shouldn't kick in before 25. What a weird word.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:13 PM
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247: Okay, that's actually worse. I have a (rather dysfunctional) friend who does that, too -- encourages her kid to refer to the father by his first name rather than as "Daddy." It pisses me off, and I don't even especially like the guy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:13 PM
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I agree that "second mom" might be completely innocent, as in "another adult woman who is nice to me and around whom I feel comfortable." There are women in my sisters' lives who would be described as "basically a second mom" who are just friends of the family.

Still, sympathy.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:18 PM
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Indeed, sympathy. Di needs massages, dark chocolate, and wine.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:20 PM
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249: It is good to get some kids with divorced parents perspectives, definitely. And I have no huge issue with awarding the honorific where the biological mom/dad has abdicated. And I know Rory meant nothing by it -- that is, if she knew it bothered me, she'd be all anxious to bend over backwards making me feel better because she's one of those kids who really needs to make everything okay. Which is why I haven't said anything. Maybe if I knew this was actually a (reasonably) permanent relationship, I'd feel better (no, probably not), it just feels like Instant! New! Mom!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:21 PM
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I don't see much upside talking to Rory in any serious way about this. She expressed her feelings. You don't want to be invalidating them, seems to me.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:22 PM
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253: Seriously. I have knots in my upper back that you wouldn't believe.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:23 PM
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You don't want to be invalidating them, seems to me.

Except that I kind of do.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:23 PM
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254: I am much the same way, particularly with my mom (another common feature in children of divorced parents, I suspect - I've always felt the need to protect my mom) - and you know, it may seem like guilt tripping to you, but it was important to me to feel like I was taking care of my mom, so it's not necessarily all bad. But yes, perhaps save the conversation for if it gets more serious.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:24 PM
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But yes, perhaps save the conversation for if it gets more serious.

See, the twist is she wants to be nanny/primary caregiver for the summer, since she is presently unemployed -- which now just feels like a much more threatening proposition.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:27 PM
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Ack. No words of wisdom for you Di, but that stings, even if Rory likely didn't mean much by it.


I would never call my brother's wife my sister-in-law, or sister, or any derivative thereof.

It was definitely a step consciously taken when I started calling my sisters husband my brother-in-law. She got married really young, and it took me a while to get my head around the whole thing.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:27 PM
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257 -- Well, your choices are to let her feel how she feels, or try to get her to feel differently which, as you note, might include bad about making you feel bad. Since there's no danger you're going to be supplanted, there doesn't seem to be much risk in taking the high road.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:27 PM
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'


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:28 PM
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It was definitely a step consciously taken when I started calling my sisters husband my brother-in-law.

I wonder if my brothers ever felt that way. I've never really hesitated with the sister-in-law thing, but they both landed with pretty exceptional women.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:29 PM
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255: You can talk about this sort of thing without invalidating Rory's feelings. Yes, if Di approached the conversation as, I can't believe you said she was your second mom! how dare you!, it would be invalidating. But I suspect that she's a bit more adept than that, and simply initiating a conversation (at some point, not necessarily right now) about the issues of being divorced and semi-parental figures might help both Rory and Di. It is a perilous place to be as a kid, and I'd say kids are generally more wary of the issues surrounding this than you'd suspect and do worry about it. Communication can help on both sides.

(Then again, I was put into therapy by the age of 11 or so, so I was really keen on talking about EVERYTHING as a kid and I am drawing off my personal experience here).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:29 PM
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259: Does Rory have any aunts to which the relationship with UNGGF could be helpfully compared?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:29 PM
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Since there's no danger you're going to be supplanted, there doesn't seem to be much risk in taking the high road.

Realistically I'll take the high road because of that self-sacrificing martyr thing max mentioned earlier. I just wish I felt as confident as you that there's no danger.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:31 PM
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Oh, and Di? No way are you going to be supplanted. It may feel like it, and I can't imagine how scary that feeling would be (ie, totally valid to be feeling that way), but really. There's no chance.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:31 PM
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Maybe if I knew this was actually a (reasonably) permanent relationship, I'd feel better (no, probably not), it just feels like Instant! New! Mom!

I am agreeing with most everybody and everybody is mostly agreeing with me, I think: it's ok to ask Rory for reassurance. But short of The Other Woman actually doing something bad, that seems like that's about you feeling insecure. I can sympathize with that; UNG makes me nervous on your account. I don't think there's anything you can do about it other than be kind to yourself, with the chocolates and the massage.

I think it would be a very bad idea to allow paranoia to rule the day, because that would tend to lead to being suspicious of Rory and things unravel from there and that's no good.

max
['Itch.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:33 PM
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UNGGF

I was thinking of going with UG.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:35 PM
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that seems like that's about you feeling insecure

Well, yeah. And I'm probably not at my most emotionally resilient at the moment, so possibly taking it out of proportion as a result. But still.

So, Rory is always telling me how mad she'd be if I had another baby because she likes being an only child -- maybe I'll just tell her I like being an only mom....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:40 PM
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270: That's a cute way to express your worry in the context of your already existing dialogue with each other. And seriously, massage! Chocolates! Something nice for yourself, at any rate.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:42 PM
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|| I'm feeling nervous about reading aloud sections (the sexually explicit ones) of Howl tomorrow in class. I tried to find a good clip of Ginsberg reading them, but alas, nothing really worked. I feel like a prude, though. How hard is it to stand up there and say "who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy / who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love, / who balled in the morning in the evenings in rosegardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whomever come..."?

|>


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:48 PM
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271: I did the massage Saturday actually, and it was very helpful. And then I spent Sunday in the ER while my friend convinced the doctors that her alcohol withdrawal might just be a panic attack, and then spent the night on her sofa bed on doc's recommendation in case it really was withdrawal and she lapsed back into DTs, and it was like the massage never happened.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:51 PM
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272: just get up there naked and be it, you know?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:53 PM
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Wow, okay, I'm going to bed before I get truly pitiful. I recommend taking 272 as a lead and discussing saintly motorcyclists or something. Thanks for everyone's sympathies and advice!!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:54 PM
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274: Hah. I think I'll skip the naked part, but I am attempting to just be it. I've managed cock sucker in class, I can say fucked in the ass. (One of these days I'm just going to turn bright red, you know?)

273: And aw, Di. You're a very good friend.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 10:55 PM
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270: So, Rory is always telling me how mad she'd be if I had another baby because she likes being an only child -- maybe I'll just tell her I like being an only mom....

Works for me! See 211. If UNG is up to no good, you still have plenty of time to cope.

And then I spent Sunday in the ER while my friend convinced the doctors that her alcohol withdrawal might just be a panic attack, and then spent the night on her sofa bed on doc's recommendation in case it really was withdrawal and she lapsed back into DTs, and it was like the massage never happened.

That's the problem with alcoholics. They may need help, they may know they need help, but that doesn't mean they can or will stop drinking. The parallel situation is the lifeguard going into the water to save the drowning person: the risk is that the panicked person will drag you under. Ok, so, item one: retake message.

I've managed cock sucker in class, I can say fucked in the ass. (One of these days I'm just going to turn bright red, you know?)

If you can say 'limpid jets of love' without bursting into laughter, you probably don't have to worry about blushing.

max
['Limpet. Limpet jets of love!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 11:17 PM
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See, limpid jets of love sounds totally easier to me....I rocked the quaint expressions of the 19th century earlier in the course. I could, of course, just skip such quotes, but I feel that they are essential to a getting across the mentalite, so to speak, of the period, so. They stay in, I risk blushing.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 11:20 PM
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I've managed cock sucker in class, I can say fucked in the ass.

Excellent rap lyric.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 11:23 PM
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Wow, I'm a poet and didn't know it.

(Yes, that's embarrassing).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 11:27 PM
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another common feature in children of divorced parents, I suspect - I've always felt the need to protect my mom

This is, how you say... not universal.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 11:38 PM
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Or, more accurately, it was something I struggled with for a long time (not protecting per se, but anxiously wanting my parents' approval), and then managed to get over rather comprehensively.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 11:44 PM
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281: Indeed. Thus the "I suspect" - it's universal amongst my friends and I, but we all have similar situations - female, parents divorced when we were relatively young, fathers clearly the "problem" in the relationship (even to our eyes, as shielded as we were). More like Rory than not, I suspect.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 11:45 PM
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282: Oh yeah, I think that's something different entirely - I mean, the struggling for approval versus the feeling that you need to protect the "wronged" parent. At least, it was for me. And, as you know, YMMV and this is the sort of thing that is very difficult to generalize from.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 11:47 PM
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I've managed cock sucker in class, I can say fucked in the ass.
Wow, I'm a poet and didn't know it.

But my piece did, it was a long fellow.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-24-09 11:48 PM
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The stuff quoted in 272 really does sound embarrassing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:34 AM
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Later Yanni composed and performed a song called "He Made Us Drink Acid"

Oh, I've seen him perform this song during a PBS pledge drive.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 6:57 AM
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I would never call my brother's wife my sister-in-law, or sister, or any derivative thereof.

You know what "sister-in-law" means, right?

This is so strange to me. I agree that it's a little weird to define your relationship to, say, your spouse's sibling's spouse (2 degrees of separation and potentially very little interaction), but when someone gets married, the families are conjoined - like it or not, frankly. I'm not a big fan of AB's stepmother*, but I don't imagine that I have - or could have - no relationship with/to her (although "Stepmother-in-law" doesn't quite trip off the tongue). I mean, I suppose there's an extremis of estrangement, but at that point you shouldn't even call your parents' son "brother."

* She's a very nice person, but a complete outlier in 2 families full of smart, witty, ironic people. She's 10 years younger than the others of the grandparent generation, and it's kind of depressing to realize that she'll (almost surely) outlive all the real grandparents.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:03 AM
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My ex-wife calls Roberta her wife-in-law.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:19 AM
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194 is absolutely correct. The guy looks like a troll.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:20 AM
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Oh, Di, that's got to be maddening. I wouldn't be seriously threatened -- there's no way GF is actually going to be able to supplant you with Rory -- but it'd be hard not to feel that way.

I'd actually worry about Rory a little; UNG and GF may be in for the long haul, or they may not, but if they break up GF is out of Rory's life. I wonder if it makes sense to have a talk with Rory along the lines of "You know, when adults are in relationships, sometimes those come to an end, the way my marriage with your father did. That didn't change anything between you and me, or between you and your father, because I'm your mother and he's your father and we're always going to be there for you, whatever's happened between him and me. But while GF's a really nice person, and you should enjoy spending time with her, and I'm sure she loves you, she's not necessarily going to be around forever that way; she's spending time with you because she's dating your father, and if that ends, she won't be around anymore."

Huh. Now that I write that out, it looks like a terrible idea for you to actually say. But it is stuff that I'd hope she gets on some level.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:30 AM
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286: I know. But they need to know exactly why Howl led to an obscenity case, and it ties in nicely with another discussion.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:30 AM
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Di, if your friend is going through DTs, she needs to be in supervised treatment. People do die from alcohol withdrawal. You're being a good friend, but at a certain point, damn, she's got to get real help. Not to mention how horrible this must be for you.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:38 AM
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When my mom was in HS, a teacher of hers read the line "music soothes the savage beast." The poor woman was too embarrassed to say "breast" in front of a classroom full of kids who were reading along in their books.

Be the obscenity you want to see, Paren.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:40 AM
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Perhaps Alcoholic Friend could spend the summer helping Second Mom with Rory? And then Di could just go on a rampage somewhere around, say, late July?

I'm just trying to game this out.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:42 AM
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LB's 291 is important. I was "Uncle JRoth" to Bad Old GF's nieces & nephews (whom we would have out to Pgh during the summer, most of whom reached ages 7-11 without remembering a time I wasn't around*), and then I was gone. I actually reached out a bit, but that doesn't really work (I think that at some point the sister whose kids I'd been closest to decided to cut things off for simplicity's sake, even tho she liked me and thought Bad Old GF had mistreated me).

So, while LB's phrasing may not be ideal, I do think it's important to get those concepts into Rory's head.

Is there a children's book, "Madison's Daddy's fly-by-night Girlfriend"?

* Jesus, the oldest of whom turns 20 this year. Fuck, that's weird.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:48 AM
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293: I know. Which is why I was really hoping the ER docs would do a little more "putting the fear of God into her" and a little less "reassuring her that it could just be a panic attack." At discharge, the doc actually advised her to "cut back." She claims she's starting a program after she gets back from vacation (that's right, she left the next day on vacation), but I'm not holding my breath.

295: Better yet, GF can take care of drunk and drunk's 3-year-old and thereby whisk all my worries away!

291, 296: Very true. She's known my kid all of 6-months...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:31 AM
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She's known my kid all of 6-months...

Holy shit, I didn't realize that (sorry if it was above - I skimmed a bit). That's ridiculous. And, frankly, not a good sign - just as it was not a good sign that Bad Old GF was enveloping me in her family's life at a moment when it wasn't even clear if we were going to be dating (as opposed to screwing around).

I think this makes the sentiments of 291 all the more critical - Rory needs to be prepared for this woman leaving, and needs to know that mothers never leave. Ack.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:59 AM
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Of course, she's now unemployed and depending on UNG to support her (and put her through school) so far as I can tell, so I don't suppose she's in a great position to leave anytime soon... Yay failed economy!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:04 AM
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The bleach part of the thread is dead, but thanks to SP and F for representing the chemists.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:20 AM
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See! The miracle water stuff is effective at killing things!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:41 AM
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291 is right, and sad. No matter how much UG loves Rory, she's still dating someone who has been known to be a giant asshole, and caring for Rory is something she can do that is entirely contingent upon the status of her relationship with an asshole.

Another way to think about this might be that Rory understands her need and desire for a "mother" whether she's at your house or UNG's. Maybe it just means that she misses you when she's not at your house and the GF's presence helps that to be not so bad.

Like others above, I wouldn't read into it anything about Rory's not understanding the difference. She seems to be trying out language to make the situation feel more normal, and a kid doesn't understand how weighty words like "mother" are for actual mothers. For them, it describes the person who feeds you and gives you hugs, not necessarily someone who spent nine months incubating you, dreaming of your future, painfully bringing you into the world, wiping your bottom, and loving you no matter what. (My mother still invokes these things to me when we fight, and it's very hard for me, a non-mother, to relate to that, still.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:49 AM
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Yeah, I was kind of thinking about you in 291, as someone who's been in the GF's shoes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:54 AM
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There's a Christa Wolf novel (Kindheitsmuster, I think?) where she describes a mother's relationship to -- or experience of -- her child as "not not-me." I think that's about as accurate a way of saying it as I've ever seen. Obviously our kids are separate from us, "not me," but there is also a very deep connection born of the child's very literally having once been a part of the mother, such that the child is "not not me." I suspect the greatest challenging of parenting is gracefully letting that first "not" fade as it inevitably must.

Also, in that vein, I'm willing to allow UG "not not mom" status....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:03 AM
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I suspect the greatest challenging of parenting is gracefully letting that first "not" fade as it inevitably must.

In that respect, my own mom failed miserably. She still (I am 29) says she considers me "a part of [her] own body." Cut to many hours in therapy of me saying "WTF???"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:14 AM
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a kid doesn't understand how weighty words like "mother" are

This really can't be stressed enough.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:14 AM
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305: Methinks the wrong part of the body may be in the therapy...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:19 AM
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There's a Christa Wolf novel

Cue flashback. To studying Christa Wolf as an undergrad. Arrrghh.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:23 AM
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needs to know that mothers never leave.

Objectively not true. (Though clearly not the case with Di).

I think preparing children for the fact that they might lose their parents' significant others, etc, is a tricky deal. With me, such talks made me very, very wary that anyone was ever going to stick around, a feeling which continues to this day. There's got to be graceful way to do it, but there are definitely pitfalls to over-emphasizing the impermanence of relationships. Of course, in Di's particular case, emphasizing that she'll never leave Rory would probably be helpful.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:42 AM
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So, what's the correct response when one's child state's that dad's girlfriend is "basically like my second mom"?

I propose: "That is great, Rory. I am glad that you two get along so well."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:50 AM
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310: Thank God there's no nuance to the situation to consider.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:53 AM
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Will's too nice. I was thinking, "Sure, hon. Now she is."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:56 AM
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I'd actually worry about Rory a little; UNG and GF may be in for the long haul, or they may not, but if they break up GF is out of Rory's life. I wonder if it makes sense to have a talk with Rory along the lines of "You know, when adults are in relationships, sometimes those come to an end, the way my marriage with your father did. That didn't change anything between you and me, or between you and your father, because I'm your mother and he's your father and we're always going to be there for you, whatever's happened between him and me. But while GF's a really nice person, and you should enjoy spending time with her, and I'm sure she loves you, she's not necessarily going to be around forever that way; she's spending time with you because she's dating your father, and if that ends, she won't be around anymore."

I agree with your next paragraph where you say that this is a bad idea, but that the concept needs to come out.

Rory is clearly a smart young lady. There are far better ways to help children learn about the impermance of life than to tell them that their parent's gf will leave them someday.

It is really difficult sometimes to separate our own adult issues with situations from issues that our children have. This issue raised by Di is a really difficult one. I am somewhat sensitive to it as one of my ex's bfs once told me that he knew a lot more about my daughter than I did. (He didnt, rat bastard.)

It is far more productive to spend time working on your child's self-esteem than preparing them for what may or may not happen with dad's gf or in instructing them that YOU are the only real mother she has.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:59 AM
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Thank God there's no nuance to the situation to consider.

Exactly. There is NO WAY that Rory thinks that your role and relationship to her is the same as UNG's gf's role and relationship to her.

Now, when this woman realizes how horrible UNG is and runs away from him, you and Rory can talk about how awful UNG is and that he will probably have many, many women in and out of his life, so she better not start liking any of them.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:02 AM
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Objectively not true. (Though clearly not the case with Di).

I thought that as I wrote it, but I kind of feel like there are certain contingencies you don't need to prepare a kid for.

Last night Iris & I went to the store. She was singing "Skip to my Lou," and playing with the lyrics. In place of "Lost my teddybear/What'll I do?" she tried, "Lost my daddy" and then abruptly cut herself off, saying that she never wanted to lose me. When she got home, she gave AB a big hug and said she never wanted to lose her, either.

While it may be objectively true that, at some point, she will surely lose both of us, I don't think any benefit would have accrued from explaining that to her at that point.

This is probably a kind of reactionary position, but I feel that half the measured advantages that kids from stable households get derives from the psychological benefits of a stable home life. It's not just about having someone to do homework with or whatever - kids are chock full of worry and angst about the world and even their families. The more perceived stability, the less that angst crowds in. Not to say, at all, that the only definition of "stability" is the hetero two parent family. Lots of different circumstances can provide stability for the kid; as long as there's something there, the kid has a chance.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:03 AM
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Well, your choices are to let her feel how she feels, or try to get her to feel differently which, as you note, might include bad about making you feel bad. Since there's no danger you're going to be supplanted, there doesn't seem to be much risk in taking the high road.

CharleyCarp is a wise man.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:03 AM
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There are far better ways to help children learn about the impermance of life than to tell them that their parent's gf will leave them someday.

Well, she did just lose a pet rat....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:05 AM
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Di, is it too late to nurse Rory a bit, and casually ask if UG can do that?

Just a thought.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:06 AM
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316: Oh, I wasn't really thinking about death, I was thinking about divorce and subsequent abandonment, which happens more than you'd like to think it does. But no, not going to happen in your family or in Di's, so it's not necessary to talk to your kids about it.

I didn't mean to be nit-picky but I do think that it's the sort of statement that "parents never leave" that often lead children into thinking that if that happened to them there really MUST be something wrong with them. Obviously very different from what you were thinking about and I'll stop airing my childhood grievances now.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:07 AM
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Well, she did just lose a pet rat....

haha Like Rory and pet rats, UNG will probably go through many gfs. Hey, great idea for a topic to talk about, JRoth!

Next time, Rory brings it up, Di should say something about how that pet rat died, and then Di can raise her eyebrows and pause so Rory understands her point.

JRoth wins the thread.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:08 AM
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You know what "sister-in-law" means, right?

This is so strange to me.

For me, it was a question of whether I felt like I had a relationship with the person in question. When he was "my sister's husband", that's someone else's relationship. He didn't become my brother-in-law until I felt like he was a family member and someone that I, too, had a relationship with.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:21 AM
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319: No, it's fine. And obviously, I knew that you were including abandonment. As I say, though, I don't think it makes sense to increase the anxiety of every child so that some children will feel marginally less anxiety in the event of a devastating change to their lives. If your mother abandons you, how that compares to explicit reassurances she may have given you is a small (but real) part of the problem.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:38 AM
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321: I see what you're saying, but:

1. AWB said, "I would never [call her that]." That's really, really different from what you're saying.

2. "My brother's wife" has a pretty clear connotation that you consider this to be a temporary situation*. Which is, of course, sometimes really the case (not only that it's temporary, but that you expect it to be), but probably not the base assumption. If you expect to develop a relationship with this person, referring to her by the appropriate term is a good start.

* To be blunt, "my brother's wife" approximates "that tramp who wheedled a ring out of my brother."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:43 AM
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323:

excellent points.

I am amazed as how frequently people convey their true feelings so transparently when they do not even know it. Just like the person looking out the window, forgetting that people can see them from outside.

"My kids" as opposed to "our kids" really conveys how one parent feels about the other.

"He may not care, but, as a mother, I am concerned about my child's safety."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:04 PM
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When I was in Taiwan, I was talking to my gf there, who knew I was divorced and had a kid, and said something about "my son's mother". She burst out laughing. Apparently "my wife" and "my ex-wife" make sense in Chinese, but "my son's mother" does not.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:25 PM
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UNG will probably go through many gfs.

Uh, he's currently on #2...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:58 PM
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Does that include his daughter's first mother?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:08 PM
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Hey Emerson -- Charles Henry Pope, The Haverhill Emersons (Boston: Murray and Emery, 1913).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:20 PM
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"My brother's wife" has a pretty clear connotation that you consider this to be a temporary situation.
What? That doesn't sound right at all. It sounds exactly right. I refer to "my mother's husband", and I don't think it's temporary at all. However, akin to what Blume sketched out, I have next to no relationship to him (she got remarried just before I left for college), and so the other potential descriptor, stepfather, seems wrong.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:26 PM
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Wow, total pronoun abuse. I think you can figure it out, though.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:30 PM
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I agree with what him say in 329.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:36 PM
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I just bought it, Oud.

One problem with well-done books of that kind is that sometimes you find out that your family's oral genealogy is not terribly well grounded. Anyway, I have a good line 3 or 4 generations back from me, and another good line 3 or 4 generations forward from the Mayflower and first arrival in the New World, but there are 3 or 4 generations in between that are sketchy.

To my understanding, after Hannah and Elizabeth, no Emerson in my line amounted to much of anything. We peaked too early. The last New England Emerson in my line was a tanner, which as I remember ranked somewhere near Huckleberry Finn's father in the pecking order. Though there was one who, per his will, left behind three barrels of tar and a scalded hog. There are very few who can say that of their forebears.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:43 PM
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AWB said, "I would never [call her that]." That's really, really different from what you're saying.

Oh certainly. No question that AWB's relationship (or non-relationship) with her brother's wife is not comparable to my relationship with my brother-in-law.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:45 PM
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That sounds like a lyric from "Sweet Betsey from Pike". "With two yoke of oxen, a big yellow dog, three barrels of tar and one scalded hog."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:45 PM
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... but there are 3 or 4 generations in between that are sketchy.

From your comments here I was under the impression that being sketchy was a longstanding tradition in Clan Emerson.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:00 PM
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327 -- yes.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:12 PM
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I was just skimming back through some of these comments, and I can still intensely feel the anger that I felt when my ex's new bf made the comment about knowing my daughter better than I did.

So, I can completely understand why Di would seethe with anger at the comment. It angered me intensely.

Moreover, my son has made multiple comments about the dad-like status of my ex's bf. It hurts. Deeply.

But, it is my issue, not my son's.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:42 PM
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But, as LB pointed out, it is our children's issue if they are forming a parent-child type of attachment with someone who does not have the parent-child type of permanency in their lives.

Now that may not be an issue here -- I can see picking the GF up as a friend should she and UNG ever break up. (I think I've mentioned before how much I like her.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:49 PM
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Could the women of non-mom-nature be aunts, or (sometimes closer) aunties? Borrowing a useful category from cultures that have different complicated extended families?

(A Chinatown seamstress was amused by the (dark, matte) cloth I picked out, and said Oh, like an auntie!, and then was worried I'd be offended; but there seems to be a lot of interesting room in auntie-dom. Some sexy allowed, not required; authority definitely possible; some affection to balance the definite comic nature. I'm sure I'm missing some of what it means from within Chinese-American culture, but it really seemed to have some roles that we're missing in the mainstream.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:16 PM
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335: My sister-in-law does come from one of those Kentucky hill families and may be related to, IIRC, Emmylou Harris. (Same name, same valley.)

It does piss me off when people do the WASP elite schtick, because her family was definitely dirt poor all the way back. WASPs just been on this continent longer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:30 PM
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my ex's new bf made the comment about knowing my daughter better than I did

Were you to go all stabby on this guy, a jury would surely understand.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:41 PM
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Could the women of non-mom-nature be aunts, or (sometimes closer) aunties?

My boyfriend's father married a MUCH younger woman and they now have a daughter, who is about four. My relationship to her could probably be termed "half-sister-in-sin", but she calls me "auntie," which I think is right, at least in spirit.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:02 PM
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And 'half-sister-in-sin' would be too much to explain to almost any grade school. Auntie for the win!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:11 PM
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But, but, he MARRIED the younger woman, absolving them of sin, no?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:17 PM
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344: the sin is Jackmormon's.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:19 PM
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D'oh!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:20 PM
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the sin is Jackmormon's.

Ain't that the way of the world.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:43 PM
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338: it is our children's issue if they are forming a parent-child type of attachment with someone who does not have the parent-child type of permanency in their lives.

That kind of relationshop happens all the time: favorite teacher, grandparent, 'mentor', whatever. People in those positions are all in loco parentis in various ways at some points, and those relationships end. I don't think that causes massive damage to most people.

The problem here is not the formation of an attachment with parental qualities, or the formation of a relationship with this woman (presumably if you dropped dead through unsupicious causes, you would want UNG's wife to adopt Rory, since UNG would get Rory, and maybe then the wife could temper the malevolent influence), the problem is replacement. As in, you don't want to be, as in even a hint of same bothers you.

I think (again) there are legitimate issues with being worried that UNG is trying to manipulate the child into getting rid of you. That's the sort of thing NPDs can get up to. But I haven't heard any evidence for that, and the only way I can see to eliminate any chance of that is to try to preemptively manipulate the kid, using some method of isolation, or convincing her to self-isolate. That would be self-defeating, so I would think that would be out just on purely pragmatic grounds.

So I think you have it right in 304.

max
['I didn't say being right was pleasant.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 5:47 PM
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The problem here is not the formation of an attachment with parental qualities...the problem is replacement. As in, you don't want to be, as in even a hint of same bothers you.

Well, yes, I don't think I ever claimed my initial reaction was anything other than that -- and I've thoroughly supported Rory's relationship with The Other Woman, thank you very much. I didn't think my personal insecurities disqualified me from discussing more rational considerations raised by this type of situation.

That kind of relationshop happens all the time: favorite teacher, grandparent, 'mentor', whatever. People in those positions are all in loco parentis in various ways at some points, and those relationships end. I don't think that causes massive damage to most people.

The fact that teachers, grandparents, mentors are generally not referred to as "mom" or "dad" would, I think, pretty readily distinguish them from the parent-child type of relationships that I was suggesting require parent-child type permanency. Nobody expects that amazing second grade teacher to be a part of their lives forever (though I kind of hope Rory keeps emailing hers... ). But when you start referring to someone as "mom" or "dad," it carries with it an implicit expectation that this person is not just passing through. And yes, I do think that it is damaging to children to encourage them to expect permanency from someone who may only be passing through -- that's why the therapisty types suggest not introducing new partners to a child until you have some sense that they are going to be around for the long haul. That may be the case with UNG and the GF; I suspect that it is his expectation, at the very least. But I do think -- abstractly, not specific to my/Rory's situation -- that the degree of expected permanency is a ginormous consideration as far as the sort of relationship that should be formed between a romantic partner and a child.

I think (again) there are legitimate issues with being worried that UNG is trying to manipulate the child into getting rid of you. That's the sort of thing NPDs can get up to. But I haven't heard any evidence for that

Um, because that's the sort of thing NPDs can get up to? Because we've got, like, this history whereby I don't look for evidence that he's up to something so much as evidence that he's not. Burn me once, shame on you, etc. The GF gets the benefit of the doubt. UNG? Nah.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 6:30 PM
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The fact that teachers, grandparents, mentors are generally not referred to as "mom" or "dad" would, I think, pretty readily distinguish them from the parent-child type of relationships that I was suggesting require parent-child type permanency. Nobody expects that amazing second grade teacher to be a part of their lives forever (though I kind of hope Rory keeps emailing hers... ).

Yeah, Di, I agree. And the thing is that even very young children can make that distinction (between the "mom" or "dad" and the teacher, mentor, beloved babysitter or etc). And also that even very young children can distinguish between a sexual and a non-sexual relationship, even well before they know anything about the mechanics, shall we say, of sex, and even without having the sexual or non-sexual nature of the relationship explicitly spelled out for them (it's my contention that kids "know," or intuit, a lot more about the twin taboos of sex and death than we are generally willing to give them credit for). And further that children tend to be a bit conservative, or reactionary, if you will, about the implications of a "mom"-"dad" (sexual, in other words) relationship, probably in the interests of security.

Of course, there are all sorts of arrangements beyond the confines of the heterosexual conjugal unit that can work out very well for people and make a positive contribution to the goal of human flourishing. But it's a bit much, I think, to pretend that the kiddies don't know the difference, don't know when they're part of an arrangement that looks a bit different from "the norm" (of which norm children are, again, quite aware, and from a, perhaps surprisingly, early age).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:27 PM
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