Re: I'd Hate For Something To Happen To That Nice Online Reputation Of Yours

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I actually stopped reading a blog once because I found the blogger's attempt at this so petty and ridiculous and wrong-headed. So make it good, Becks.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:16 AM
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Or is expressing that the equivalent of a "Do you know who I am?" -- something that may work in a given situation, but makes you such an asshole that you can't live with yourself if you do it?

Almost, except that it won't work.

Going the route of backhanded positivity is, I think, the better issue. "You know, I've been a real fan of yours in various forums online, and it frustrates me to think that I've misled people about you."

The problem with "Do you know who I am?" is that the person is likely as not to say "no, and I don't care."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:19 AM
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via Twitter/Facebook/my blog/Yelp

The last of those is in a different category. With that you're saying you'll express your dissatisfaction in a place where people go specifically to read other random people's opinions. With the first three it's more of the 'do you know who I am' sentiment.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:22 AM
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We bought a mattress yesterday (I swear this isn't an excuse to brag about that, but holy crap will we be gently entombed in the lap of luxury's plush cloud-womb as we while away night after blissful night -- thanks, TTET!) and the saleslady wrote on the receipt "please give us a good review on Yelp!"

So odd.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:26 AM
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4: You bought a mattress from Toyota Tsusho Electronics (Thailand)? High tech. RFID chip, I presume?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:28 AM
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5: catch the lingo, Stan.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:32 AM
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To clarify, the DYKWIA was just something I thought of as an argument that always sucks. Combining the two (I'm an important blogger!!1!) would make you an asshole plus ultra.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:39 AM
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7: I think if you phrase it as a more-in-sadness-than-in-anger thing, and if you're able to talk to some kind of manager type, there's a shot at it working. But it seems like a stretch.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:47 AM
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Yelp?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:50 AM
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phrase it as a more-in-sadness-than-in-anger thing,

"If I could, I'd fly with the birds. But I'm stuck blogging, and now about you."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:50 AM
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It's an interesting thing to ponder, I agree. But in the end, I think it points to the limits of most bloggers' superpowers. I say that becasue I tend to think that there are probably not more than two or three bloggers out there who are actually "important" in the eyes of the VP who would be forwarded such a threat. The rest are just a bunch of cheeto-eating, pajama-wearing, cat-petting social misfits with a neat new toy. Not much a threat, in other words.

That said, I recently received such egregiously bad treatment from a company that relies on word-of-mouth referrals for its business that I considered putting up an elaborate and entirely factual site called www.XXXXreallyscrewmeandyoushouldknowaboutit.com and then asking friends to help me raise it's google profile. Then I realized that it would do no good while simultaneously transforming me into that which I loathe. So instead I've accepted my screwing and plan to a have stroke or heart attack somewhat sooner than I would have otherwise.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:50 AM
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When I used to work in customer service people were always threatening us with stuff like that.

"Bring it on", was generally the response.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:53 AM
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Occasionally when things get really bad I've thought about registering a nasty domain name and putting up a simple website about the awfulness of whoever (in the biggest case, a landlord-company that wasn't giving me back my security deposit). If you do it right against a small enough adversary, you maybe could end up as a high Google hit and make it worth their while to fix the situation in exchange for your taking down the site.

Things have always resolved themselves before that came to pass, so I don't know if this would work.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:57 AM
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My general feeling is that doing this would make you an asshole, which sucks because I'd rather get better service than complain later on yelp.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:01 AM
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I've never heard of Yelp, but 3 sounds valid. I wouldn't rule out the situations in 11 and 13 out of hand, but they aren't designed for quick satisfaction. I hope you're the type who feels that revenge is a dish best served cold, and/or is willing to accept the lost time or energy if the revenge doesn't actually work.

What does "work" mean in this context? You getting your money back? Getting an apology? Getting the offensive employee fired? Driving the store out of business?

Is there a story here? Spill. It's hard to give advice in general terms.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:06 AM
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In my experiece, it's impossible to budge a business big enough for a phonebank. If you're sure that you have been wronged and can prove it, asking the phonebank manager for the mailing address of the company's general counsel and a way to refer to them by employee number or other identifier wakes them up sometimes.

For anything smaller, mentioning referrals and asking about checkbook or other referral aggregators when choosing who to deal with has worked for me, people either tell you that they care about their reputation or they shrug.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:07 AM
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Eh, I've seen people say things like "I'm going to tell my friends and family not to shop here." Posting on Facebook just seems like an extension of that.

I wouldn't do it, but I don't usually complain to waitstaff about service either.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:09 AM
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OT bleg:

I realize this is my own fault for using Blogger, but: any idea why my permalinks aren't permanent? I just put up some posts (for the first time in 10 months, and it's baseball, so no need to look), and the permalinks are simply the blog address*. Never had this problem before.

Common problem? Likely to self-resolve? Do I need to republish or something?

* OK, on further examination: I put up a post yesterday, permalink works; first post I put up today, permalink; 2nd & 3rd posts from today, no permalink. Weird.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:10 AM
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And 2 and 12 are right of course. Do this or don't do it, but threatening to do it is pointless.

Is Yelp the kind of thing to which you can e-mail a link to the offending manager saying something like "Here's what I'm talking about. I'll be happy to delete this* once our situation has been resolved, but until then, this criticism is out there and I'm doing what I can to refer others to it."

* Or edit it, or post a follow-up, or whatever.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:11 AM
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Also, this is entirely theoretical. I'm not hating on any company right now. Was just thinking the other day about how all of this new interconnectedness might affect our expectations for customer service.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:12 AM
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Sometimes the old methods are best. I had some success with a written complaint (on paper, not wet clay) complaint to my Attorney General's consumer fraud division. The health care provider had to eat their $1,250 bill. Of course, their overbilling was so routinized that they didn't care. Of course, it depends on the definition of "been wronged"


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:22 AM
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There's a huge difference between DYKWIA and "I'm going to write about this online". The latter inherently conveys a sense of self-importance, which is why it's always an asshole move. Whereas the latter means you're just adding your voice to the crowd, tipping the balance of the word of mouth a tiny bit in the unfavourable direction. There's no inherent ego in that, although obviously you can do it in a dickish way.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:23 AM
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I think McDonalds or *$ is a useful model-- the business is based on centralized decision-making and total powerlessness of disposable front-line people, just like an airline or a cable company. If what you want fits the company's model, product is cheap and ubiquitous. If you want to know where the meat is ground, too bad. I think the issue for businesses is how to balance economies of scale with decentralized authority.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:25 AM
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I'm not hating on any company right now.

!? What's wrong with you? I'm generally hating on at least five or six different companies at any moment.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:37 AM
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The problem with declaring a vendeta is that you are essentially dead to Company X at that point. If the point is to get them to change/respond to you, expressing frustration or disappointment and asking to be passed up the supervisory chain if necessary, will allow them to stay motivated to turn you around. By the time you're threatening them you might as well be suing them.

You can go ahead and bad mouth Company X, people do this all the time, with or with out computers, but this will only have an impact if there are multiple such bad mouthings in circulation, or your account jibes with/reenforces other folks' experiences. "Powerful Blogger said it took forever to get their phone service installed," isn't really any more persuasive than what happened to your cousin.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:47 AM
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Given how companies view these things, it might be more effective to tell them that you are looking forward to praising them on your gay bondage blog.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:51 AM
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I had a terrible experience with a small web design shop that took my money and then left me in limbo for several months. Posting on my blog about the long delay for the promised redesign got me a refund in exchange for taking down the post, which had a pretty high Google ranking. No threats made, though, just a series of emails asking for clarification on scheduling that went unanswered.

Of course I still have no redesign.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:55 AM
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I'm inclined to think you are unlikely to get anyone in the customer service chain of command (at a large company, anyway) who actually gives a damn. "Go ahead and post whatever you want, dude. I'll still be answering disgruntled phone calls either way." Years ago, we were going back and forth with Sprint over some problem which I can no longer recall and I made the straightforward, "Hey, if you don't get this fixed I'm switching to Verizon" threat. They didn't fix it, I switched to Verizon, and then a different department called me twice a week for months begging me to come back.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:08 AM
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the saleslady wrote on the receipt "please give us a good review on Yelp!"

She could tell you were opinion leaders.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:08 AM
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I bought an $8 Ikea lamp that almost burned down my house this past weekend. Is it wrong for me to report it to the CPSC and possibly have them issue a recall?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:12 AM
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In general, smaller companies care about their reputations and larger companies don't. I don't understand this, but I have experienced it over and over, so I'm coming to believe that it's true.

The thing about a complaint is what you want to accomplish with it. If you want restoration of some kind, IME you're much better off with courteous, non-threatening persistence, whether you're talking to a store clerk or a small-business owner or an 800-number operator. Taking it public is almost never likely to result in restoration.

If you want to protect other consumers from a unscrupulous or dangerous product or company, complain in writing to the relevant attorney general, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and any other relevant government agency. Cc the company for the record, but don't expect them to do anything. If it's really urgent, send a copy to the local media too.

If you want to get a dangerous employee fired, good luck. It's really hard. Informal ways are the most effective in my experience, but that does get you into the Catholic-Church-style pass-the-buck problem (oh look, that nursing home fired the guy who was groping your grandmother, but they did it as a "layoff" so he'll be able to get another job at the place down the street).

But if you just want to vent your spleen, yeah, go ahead and go nuts posting it online. Sometimes that's all you can do.

(I wouldn't threaten a company with bad publicity -- either they care about their reputation or they don't, and either the person in front of you is empowered to solve customer problems or they aren't, but regardless, threats are rude and counter-productive.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:12 AM
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A friend recently stayed at a Vegas casino, where his driver's license was accidentally handed over to another patron. They were polite but not particularly helpful in trying to track down the patron to whom they gave it.

He wrote a polite but firm letter explaining what happened and to whom he spoke. He concluded,

.I had selected [casino] on this trip, but at this point I am unlikely to do so in the future. I would request from you a written reply detailing how you will compensate me for my expense and trouble. If I do not get a reply, I will have no choice but to refrain from playing in the [casino] poker room again. I have a very active circle of friends and colleagues in Los Angeles who are also poker aficionados, and I play frequently in the L.A. card clubs; without a reply from you, I will be quite vocal in communicating with this set of people the dangers of playing in the [casino] poker room. I will also post notices through Facebook and on the many online gambling-related forums and bulletin boards to the same effect.

He now has several nights of hotel and food comps waiting for him at [casino]. Though still no driver's license.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:12 AM
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26 wins.

And in 32, I hope your friend has frozen credit requests on his record. Given that it's NV, most likely someone's just using the license to drive and/or work, but on the off chance they're trying to establish credit in his name, it's worth flagging.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:15 AM
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I'm inclined to think you are unlikely to get anyone in the customer service chain of command (at a large company, anyway) who actually gives a damn. "Go ahead and post whatever you want, dude. I'll still be answering disgruntled phone calls either way."

Speaking of disgruntled phone calls: is there a good reason why so many large companies make it nearly impossible to actually talk to a person? There have been several occasions lately when I wasn't disgruntled when first calling, but I was damn sure disgruntled after 15 minutes of navigating computerized menus to try to talk to someone. Yesterday I encountered a particularly annoying one: "Press '0' at any time to talk to a customer service representative", the recording says, and I press '0' and hear "any transaction that can be completed by talking to a representative can also be completed with the following menu options. Press '1' to ...."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:18 AM
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There are computerized customer service systems that are sensitive to the word "fuck", and when you say it loudly enough, they forward you directly to a representative.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:23 AM
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"Press '0' at any time to talk to a customer service representative", the recording says, and I press '0' and hear "any transaction that can be completed by talking to a representative can also be completed with the following menu options. Press '1' to ...."

That's astounding, even more so than this.

The "good reason" is presumably that it's cheaper this way.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:23 AM
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I had some success with a written complaint (on paper, not wet clay) complaint to my Attorney General's consumer fraud division.

Yes, this. I work for a sketchacular company (no details right now, gotta run), and the ONLY things that will get you a refund after they've already said no is an official complaint to the Better Business Bureau or an official complaint to the AG. Dealing with this paperwork is literally a regular part of their work schedule. (Mondays, I think.) They already have a shitty reputation online and don't give a flying fuck about it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:25 AM
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That should have been "sketchtacular". Ok, now leaving.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:26 AM
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34
Speaking of disgruntled phone calls: is there a good reason why so many large companies make it nearly impossible to actually talk to a person?

Because as cheap as overseas phone bank call centers are, automated call centers are even cheaper? Because people have low expectations of service from machines? Because most problems actually can be handled by the machines? Because people don't try to harangue or wheedle machines into going against policy?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:30 AM
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Because large companies don't RESPECT you!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:31 AM
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34

Speaking of disgruntled phone calls: is there a good reason why so many large companies make it nearly impossible to actually talk to a person? ...

Talking to a person is more expensive for them.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:32 AM
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Because most problems actually can be handled by the machines?

I've noticed that the one thing I consistently have to talk to a person to do is to cancel an account of some sort. There's no reason that couldn't be handled by a machine, but it appears that to many companies putting "cancel your account" as a menu option online or in an automated phone service is taboo.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:33 AM
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30: Hell no it's not wrong. You may be saving someone's life by getting that dangerous piece of crap off the market. I'd inform Ikea as well as the CPSC, though. Likely they are quite keen on avoiding killing customers, especially ones with relatives who might sue.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:35 AM
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Talking to a person is more expensive for them.

That's simply a failure of imagination. Someone is going to get very rich by putting together a system where there's one 900 number for people wanting to complain to a customer service representative, and another 900 number for people wanting to be verbally abused.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:36 AM
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it appears that to many companies putting "cancel your account" as a menu option online or in an automated phone service is taboo.

The machine can't try to talk you out of it; plus no company would ever suggest that as an option.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:38 AM
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The same friend in 32 points out that [casinp] is much more responsive than United Airlines. United flew him to his grandmother's funeral from Burbank to Newark via San Francisco; when the flight into Burbank was too late for him to catch the SFO-EWK red-eye that would have allowed him to make the funeral, they left him on the floor of SFO for eight hours before flying him back home, and won't refund the leg of the BUR-SFO trip.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:43 AM
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44
That's simply a failure of imagination. Someone is going to get very rich by putting together a system where there's one 900 number for people wanting to complain to a customer service representative, and another 900 number for people wanting to be verbally abused.

The problem with that business plan is, it's easy to get verbally abused for free.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:43 AM
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On a semi-related note, I was disproportionately furious recently that the Democrats a) put me on an e-mail list without my consent, and b) when I clicked on the "unsubscribe" link, I had to go through a FOUR-STEP process of entering my e-mail address, waiting for them to e-mail me a confirmation code, returning to the website, entering the confirmation code to CONFIRM my un-subscription, and waiting for their final confirmation e-mail. Talk about sleazy tactics. Look, Democrats, if people don't want to be on your list, then DON'T FORCE THEM TO STAY.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:43 AM
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Reviewing the correspondence that he sent me after I pointed out the topic to him, I note that "Board of Directors" are cc'd in his follow-up complaint.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:45 AM
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46: I'm pretty convinced that United is evil incarnate. I mean, all airlines suck, but they're just malicious.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:45 AM
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In the UK, I've heard from people in several companies that "cc. Your MP" ensures that a letter gets attention from a manager. I don't know what the American equivalent would be. Congressional districts are too big for them to care - state senator?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:50 AM
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34: This is a regular issue for me. I handle my mom's US money and she regularly has to conduct credit card transactions drawn on her US account, but of course all credit card numbers that are issued in the US but used from Africa are fraudulent, so navigating around the anti-fraud traps is a routine problem. Credit card companies are absolutely devoted to the notion that everyone can be shoehorned into a small number of categories, and if you don't fit the categories they've settled on you're fucked. Right now I just do a "vacation override" every month or so to deal with a problem that could be handled with an annotation on my mom's account, but apparently that's not possible.

OTOH, there's probably a decent business opportunity in working around this type of stupidity. I'm thinking "Never Mind the Bollocks" would be a good name for such a business.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:50 AM
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Remember that thread about holding grudges? Holding grudges is pretty much incomprehensible to me. Yet, I hold a grudge against United Airlines for an incident that happened four years ago or so. I'm getting angry again just thinking about it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:52 AM
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That's funny that you mention a mattress store, Sifu. I was recently out with a dude who does marketing for a small chain of mattress stores. He said Yelp was their sole advertising, was exceedingly proud of their Yelp reputation. He interrupted the date to read a new review, was pleased that it was good. I can guarantee you that if you'd posted a bad review, he'd have broken off our date to drive to your house and massage your temples while asking you how he personally could make it better.

(Nice guy, no sparks.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:53 AM
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And I run into travel snafus and delays and inconveniences and unexpected expenses all the time, and take them in stride. United is uniquely awful.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:54 AM
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Essear, I've been reading books about forgiveness since that thread. I still don't understand it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:55 AM
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OTOH, there's probably a decent business opportunity in working around this type of stupidity. I'm thinking "Never Mind the Bollocks" would be a good name for such a business.

Yeah, it's always surprised me that Western Union hasn't done more to serve this market. They have such a good handle on international transactions and such a broad and transient customer base, you'd think they'd recognize the value and get out in front of it. It's not like there are a million other companies running around offering this service -- it's like overnight delivery before FedEx branded it.

Paging Western Union!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:56 AM
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I once waged a war against the University of Michigan IT department. Eventually I wrote a letter which I sent to like eight different people, including the president and the provost, as well as the people directly involved, and promptly got my $300 back.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:57 AM
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52: I can imagine. I've had annoying problems with the "vacation override" just in its routine use. (I've also had at least one trip to Europe where I forgot to let them know and didn't have a problem. I can't figure out what the real triggers are.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:58 AM
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the real triggers

Cash withdrawals or non-tourist services, I think. Eyeglasses, furniture, car parts, electronics; moderately expensive stuff that locals buy and travelers do not.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:07 AM
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I've noticed that the one thing I consistently have to talk to a person to do is to cancel an account of some sort. There's no reason that couldn't be handled by a machine

There is value in having a human being confirm that the person canceling is in fact the person with the account. Many years ago, when flying to my brother's wedding, I arrived at the airport to discover that UNG (who had yet to make it into the country) had managed to cancel my flight when he called to cancel his own. My other brother found this most hilarious -- until he discovered that UNG had managed to cancel his ticket, too!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:12 AM
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And I run into travel snafus and delays and inconveniences and unexpected expenses all the time, and take them in stride.

I stand in awe of people who are still willing to fly. I gave up a few years ago, it was simply too terrible. Of course I've also had some terrible experiences with cops while driving out of state, so I may have to give up travel entirely. On the gripping hand, I'm committed to a drive out to the Bay area in September, assuming that the bitch delivers the right assortment of puppies this weekend.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:13 AM
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53, 55: I sooo agree. It's amazing they still fly.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:17 AM
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I love trains. Trains!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:17 AM
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61: UNG just gets more and more appealing the more I hear of him.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:18 AM
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52: This drives me batty. I've had credit card companies put a hold on my account because they flagged some transaction as "suspicious," (charging two gas transactions at the same time -- a whopping $20 or so total!) leaving me in a complete bind when trying to then charge something. "It's for your protection, ma'am." Uh, yeah, no it's not.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:21 AM
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but of course all credit card numbers that are issued in the US but used from Africa are fraudulent

A while ago a friend and his wife went to Detroit for the weekend to see the last game played in Tigers Stadium. The returned home to several hysterical messages from their credit card company that ZOMG YOUR CARD IS BEING USED IN DETROIT!!1!1!!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:22 AM
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I've been reading books about forgiveness since that thread. I still don't understand it.

Ma'am, could I spend a few minutes sharing with you a book that just might change your life? It sure has changed mine. It's called THE BIBLE.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:22 AM
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62: I think it's related to multiple day travel experiences going back to before I remember, but I enter a zen-like state while travelling in which absolutely nothing bothers me. I've been stranded in airports with my luggage on another continent, my bank account inaccesible, and no idea how to get home, and felt no more stress than if I was looking for a parking spot. Bad user interface design, OTOH, makes me want to kill.

Also 64 is absolutely correct. Minimal hassle, comfy seats, lots of room. The best travel experience I ever had was on a train.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:22 AM
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Whoopi Goldberg doesn't fly. I think that's more because of fear than the inconveniences of it. Presumably she could charter a jet. Instead, she traverses the country in a luxury bus.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:23 AM
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65: To be fair, the fault in that case may have been entirely United's -- and, in any event, he hadn't done it vindictively. Nevertheless, I certainly don't mean to discourage your growing disdain!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:23 AM
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He interrupted the date to read a new review, was pleased that it was good.

Shocking that a guy with these moves isn't taken.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:24 AM
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Last year - in fact late in 2007 - I made the mistake of buying a phone from 3, which I could not then get to work for me. (I saw it work twice, both times when in the hands of 3 staff.) No biggie, I t hought, they have a "return inside 10 days and we cancel your account" deal - I'd seen it on a notice on the wall.

The shop refused to accept the phone back, so I posted it back to their central office registered delivery. (I ended up having to do that twice: but the second time they tried to post it back to me registered delivery, I simply refused to accept it, so eventually it got sent back to t hem.)

They were happy by this time to cancel my account - providing I paid them £300. This I was unwilling to do, to put it mildly.

It took several months (I got to know the script the they were using when they rang me to demand their money, and let them use it for ten minutes before explaining I wasn't going to play and hanging up) and I wrote a lot of letters - I looked up the name of the CEO of the megaphonecompany that owns 3 and several others, he's based in Hong Kong, and the name of the CEO of their sister company, and the name of the European CEO of 3, and I cc'd a letter t o all of them - because I was damned if I was paying 3 £300 for having picked out a phone I couldn't get to work and now didn't want.

They gave in after the last batch of letters. They cancelled my account. I didn't have to pay them anything. I still feel frighteningly triumphant about that.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:24 AM
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I stopped using an ING debit card for a while, so now, whenever I use it I get an e-mail. Fortunately, I don't have to take any action.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:25 AM
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Anyway, my point is at no point in the series of letters I wrote did I threaten to expose them on the Internet.

But I think the tripping point for them was the letter I wrote to the megacorp CEO in Hong Kong - the possibility that they might get a message from HK office saying "Who is this disgruntled customer in the UK complaining about our phone?" to which they, I think, wanted to be able to respond "It's nothing! It's been taken care of! All is well! She's happy!"

Sometimes exposure works, but it has to be in the right direction. I'm told with local businesses getting your MP into the loop sometimes works...


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:28 AM
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This is a very interesting thread. I generally view all huge corporations as being exactly equal in their evil and impossibility to negotiate with or talk to, but people keep saying some are extra bad and therefore logically some must be slightly better than ultimate evil.

Also, this Yelp website sounds interesting. Never heard of it or an equivalent before.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:32 AM
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Several of my friends have their Yelp accounts linked to their Facebook accounts, so it shows up whenever they review something new. Whee.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:37 AM
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I find an irritatingly high proportion of Yelp reviews precious, self-obsessed, and useless.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:37 AM
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Big surprise there, right?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:38 AM
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I took a nine-hour (each way) train ride through New England to a conference a few years ago, and, although it was slow and my kidneys got unpleasantly jostled on the ancient tracks (which now only survive one way in some places, so you often have to pull off while a train 100 miles away passes through), it was still a thousand times better than a dumb plane ride. I got to spread out, walk around, stare at fall foliage, mope, etc. It was delightful, comparatively.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:38 AM
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76: Seriously, organizations, even huge ones, have individual cultures. You notice this defending them -- there are corporations in which every employee understands that a condition of their employment is to be a soulless snake, looking only for opportunities to maximize profits, and ones where people generally expect that management wants them to be honest and helpful (even this type of corporation is mostly going to be a soulless profit-maximizer at the top, but there's room for some marginal decency at the bottom.). I'm not sure how much these cultures are created intentionally and how much they develop spontaneously, but they do exist, and do differ from one organization to the next.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:41 AM
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64, 80: Also, Amtrak's frequent-traveler program actually results in actual rewards that you actually want to redeem for something. An occasional $50 gift card to Lowe's, Staples, Gap, Barnes & Noble, etc. is not a bad gift for travel I was going to have to do anyway.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:41 AM
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Amtrak and trains work really well on the east coast. Not so well through the center of the country. I would love it so, so much if we invested in high-speed trains on well-planned routes. And if we really had a great train system, it might alleviate plane congestion a little bit, for those times you really must fly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:48 AM
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I'm not that charmed with the train. It used to be standard practice here in Albuquerque for the DEA to run their drug sniffing dogs up and down the aisles and through the baggage compartments. They'd also demand permission to search anyone whose looks they didn't like, and would arrest people on often bogus charges.

After my old truck went BANGEDA BANGEDA WHOOSH one day I ended up taking the train form Gallup to Albuquerque. I followed instructions and got to the station a half hour early. The train arrived more than an hour late. It ended up taking about twice as long as it would have to drive, and costing about the same.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:49 AM
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Also, on individual cultures, no surprise that different departments in different schools have them too. What I can't tell is if I'm a particularly good fit with my current school, and thus shouldn't tamper with it, or if I'm generally amenable to small liberal arts colleges in general, and should be open to thinking about other schools.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:50 AM
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83: True. I routinely took Amtrak to and from college in central Illinois on weekends, holidays, etc. It was routinely hours off schedule. The actual travel was lovely, preferable to the tedious drive which would have been my other option. But the hours of delay were insane.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:51 AM
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85: CHANGEBAD

exception #1: leaving Teaxas, good.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:52 AM
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I find an irritatingly high proportion of Yelp reviewshumans precious, self-obsessed, and useless.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:01 AM
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67: ZOMG YOUR CARD IS BEING USED IN DETROIT!!1!1!!

The place I get this is Hungary. There is invariably a call home while I am there. I know the credit card systems are not linked up that well, but the semi-annoying thing is it is often for my corporate card which is specifically associated with a corporation with significant operations in Hungary and a lot of US travel there.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:06 AM
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83
And if we really had a great train system, it might alleviate plane congestion a little bit, for those times you really must fly.

Maybe, but I doubt it. Aren't planes crowded because the airlines want to pad their profit margins as much as possible? Cram as many ticket-buyers as they can fit on a single flight. Reducing the demand for air travel would reduce the number of flights flown before it would reduce the number of people on any given plane.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:10 AM
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90: I thought that we were totally maxing out runway time and airport and radio control tower capacity, at least during high travel intervals in the past few years.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:13 AM
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I don't mind having a full flight. I mind having a flight that sits on the runway for a while because they've booked too many flights coming in and out of the airport. I'm under the impression that (depending on the season) this happens a lot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:15 AM
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Ma'am, could I spend a few minutes sharing with you a book that just might change your life? It sure has changed mine. It's called THE BIBLE.

Laughed aloud at that one. But starting with religious and spiritually-based forgiveness actually sent me wrong for a while. I pieced together the theory that personal forgiveness is an extension of the grace offered by god, and grace is like magic that means that bad things aren't bad and I couldn't process that at all. It cancels cause and effect or interrupts the rules of the universe (where my implacable anger = physics). Since I don't believe in god, I don't believe in grace issuing from god, and now I still don't get how I'm supposed to forgive. I've moved on to psych books on forgiveness. I think those will help me more (soon as they arrive at my library).

Shocking that a guy with these moves isn't taken.

He was fine, handsome, pleasant enough. On the drive home he revealed that he sings in Depeche Mode cover bands. He revealed this by cranking up their latest CD and belting out the songs, with emotional fist clenching. I marvel at the riches life brings me.



Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:19 AM
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34: Speaking of disgruntled phone calls: is there a good reason why so many large companies make it nearly impossible to actually talk to a person?

My '70s low-tech variant of this is when I actually went to the phone company office to complain about something and what you got to do was sit in the lobby and talk to them via a phone. In retrospect, I guess I should have expected it, but it certainly worked to hone the fine edge of the rage I had already come in with.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:19 AM
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Reducing the number of flights would be good news for climate change. I was also very sad to learn that Southwest Airlines has been advocating against high speed rail in CA. BOOO!

I like riding the train here very much.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:22 AM
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The thing that makes me livid is that you can't talk to the same person when you call back the next time. Like if your case is complicated, they'll say, "Okay, I've written down your information. It should show up on the website tomorrow," then I would LIKE to say, "Can I get your name so that I can work with you tomorrow, if it doesn't work?" And they won't give you their name. And tomorrow you talk to someone new, and it takes forever to explain to them what's going on, and in the end they try the exact same thing that the previous person tried, and tell you to call back tomorrow if it doesn't work.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:26 AM
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96: I logged about 40 hours on the phone with Verizon one month that eventually taught me to use certain magic words that would get me past the inevitable "Have you tried plugging the phone cord into the box on the wall?" questions.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:30 AM
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On the drive home he revealed that he sings in Depeche Mode cover bands. He revealed this by cranking up their latest CD and belting out the songs, with emotional fist clenching.

That's fantastic. This blog needs more dating stories.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:31 AM
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(That is, I learned to say "I'd like to speak to a Tier III service representative please" rather than my previous strategies of weeping, cursing, sighing, groaning, and laughing.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:32 AM
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Airlines operate with absurdly low margins, so there really isn't a lot of room for improvement. AFAICT the basic issue is that people bitch about crap service but won't pay for decent service. Two hundred dollars to fly cross country is an incredibly good deal, even if you are in cattle car accommodations. Ask an additional twenty bucks for comfortable seats and the airline goes broke.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:34 AM
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We used to use the train a fair bit to and from New York and a few times to Chicago, various Ohio places and DC. OK if you weren't in a hurry, but the thing I noticed that really hurt the effectiveness of the system was that outside of the Northeast corridor the frequency of trains had fallen below the threshold where there was a "next" train within a reasonable period of time. So schedulers needed to either strand travelers on a late train (often to the next day or many, many hours at least) or hold the trains leaving for *all* late arrivals. Easy to see how this ripples through the system. A second "problem" was that in most places, the train stations, unlike airports, were not equipped with a large array of services to help you transition to your local destination or mode of transportation (no hotel shuttles, rental car lots, etc.).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:41 AM
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Ask an additional twenty bucks for comfortable seats ....

Not having to give up your right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures? Priceless.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:41 AM
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I learned to say "I'd like to speak to a Tier III service representative please

Ha. One of the volunteer tasks around here is create a sort of "transcript" or decision tree for the 800 numbers we have to call most often. It does save a lot of time.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:44 AM
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102: Apparently also vanishing for train travel, unfortunately.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:45 AM
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104: What? That's awful. The best thing about trains is showing up, getting on, and not having to take my shoes off or get "wanded."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:46 AM
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10: I have a hard time buying this. I mean, yeah, I don't usually pay the extra $20 for "Economy Plus," when it's offered but I don't bitch about the seats that much. I don't think I'd even notice an extra $6 tacked onto my ticket, on the other hand, but it irritates the crap out of me to have to pay $6 on the plane for a "snack box" filled with processed cheese and sugar-coated nuts.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:47 AM
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We're about to take our first trip with Hawaiian Punch. I'm a little apprehensive, but cheerfully resigned that she may scream on the plane for hours on end, and I may be taking a large draw out of my social karma account.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:47 AM
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Er, 106 to 100, not to 10.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:47 AM
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102, 104: Long since vanished. ICE does raids, too, and detains/deports people who appear not to have proof of US citizenship or valid immigration status. (What's that? You don't carry a passport for ordinary domestic travel? Yeah, me neither.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:47 AM
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It was in the context of the level of phoning satisfaction described in this thread, that in a previous thread, I described my IRS experiences as really quite good. Actual people, knowledgable and understanding. (So far.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:49 AM
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105: I dunno. Air travel seems to be one of the few opportunities I have these days to get felt up. Taking the shoes off is annoying, but the pat-down is such a nice perk!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:50 AM
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I used to manage a call-centre team. Things like being able to speak to the same person again, on demand, are pretty much impossible. People aren't sitting around free to take someone's call. Customer service is incredibly expensive to provide, and people don't want to pay for it.

That said, I find the automated call routing services insanely frustrating, as they do often deliberately make it impossible for you to speak to someone, and all of the old tricks for forcing the system to connect you to a person no longer work.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:50 AM
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Also, for me, call-centres in India are particularly problematic since they can never understand my accent.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:51 AM
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I don't even mind the tiny, hard seats and expensive food. What I mind is the time this happened:
We were walking to our flight in O'Hare, and the status was on-time. We saw them setting up cots, and thought, "Poor saps! We pity whoever those crappy things are intended for!"

Five minutes before boarding, our flight gets cancelled (of course) and the cots are for us (of course), but the INFURIATING part is why the flight was cancelled at the last minute: the crew would have exceeded their legal number of flight hours for a 24-hour period. There is absolutely no reason that that should be a last-minute cancellation, instead of an hours-ago cancellation.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:51 AM
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Still no screening of any sort on the train out here, and please please please let it stay that way. It is so civilized to travel as if one weren't a criminal.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:52 AM
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114: The same thing happened to my parents in Dallas. Must be the TX to Chicago route...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:52 AM
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Cots? Luxury! When I spent the night at Newark when I was 19 there weren't even chairs without metal armrests between them so I kept myself up all night by telling stories to the baggage repair guys. Vito, Gary, wherever you are, you know way too much about me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:53 AM
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Things like being able to speak to the same person again, on demand, are pretty much impossible. People aren't sitting around free to take someone's call.

Why can't I set up a time to talk with them, or e-mail them? Why can't a fixed person be assigned to my case?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:54 AM
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Where do they do security screenings for trains? I've never encountered that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:54 AM
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Air travel seems to be one of the few opportunities I have these days to get felt up.

I guess it is time for another Unfogged meet-up!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:54 AM
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When I worked in telephone customer service, my boss gave me this invaluable tip: If you want to hang up on a customer, do it when you're talking. Start saying something like, "I appreciate your comments, and I want to tell you about our new program, which would enable you to --" and hit the hangup button. No one ever suspects you of hanging up on yourself.

This was a miserable, soul-killing job, made tolerable only by a boss and co-workers who resolutely refused to take our responsibilities with any kind of seriousness.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:56 AM
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113: One time I did an entire 10-minute survey on my interest in Ore-Ida products because I was so tickled that the person doing the survey had clearly never heard the name of the product pronounced. "Hello! I'm calling from Oray-Eedah frozen convenience foods with a survey about your use of and familiarity with Oray-Eedah products!"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:57 AM
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Oh wow, that is great advice.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:57 AM
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I don't think I'd even notice an extra $6 tacked onto my ticket, on the other hand, but it irritates the crap out of me to have to pay $6 on the plane for a "snack box" filled with processed cheese and sugar-coated nuts.

Wrong! We choose our tickets based on how cheap they are. If two airlines have flights at the same time, we will choose the $350 one instead of the $356 one.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:59 AM
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"Hello! I'm calling from Oray-Eedah frozen convenience foods with a survey about your use of and familiarity with Oray-Eedah products!"

The Paul Erdos of customer service!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:01 PM
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but the INFURIATING part is why the flight was cancelled at the last minute: the crew would have exceeded their legal number of flight hours for a 24-hour period. There is absolutely no reason that that should be a last-minute cancellation, instead of an hours-ago cancellation.

As a daughter of a flight attendant, this isn't totally unreasonable. The crew just landed from another flight, and if that one was delayed enough to mean that the next flight would put them over the limit, then they can't fly. If they're scheduled for their max hours, even a ten minute delay would make them illegal, and that wouldn't be enough to delay your flight.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:05 PM
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re: 118

Well, I'm sure it could. But it would cost more. Normally call centres have a pool of operators taking calls, and they come off of a queuing system. Having people dedicated to particular cases means taking people out of that system.

FWIW, when I used to run one, our staff used to sometimes request to come off of the queue in order to make call-backs to customers with particularly difficult cases, or, sometimes, we'd pop customers on hold in order to transfer them to a particular named individual. That wasn't a particularly easy thing to do, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:06 PM
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106: And yet whenever an airline ups the price a bit in order to improve service they go broke or at least have to rapidly go back to the old approach. There are weird intricacies to the airline business that don't make a whole lot of sense at first gloss. I wish I could recall the details from when it was explained to me, but I'm sure I'll garble them. One key point is that the incremental cost per passenger once the flight is ready to go is really low, like tens of dollars. The real cost is keeping the plane flight worthy and the crew flight ready - more meat in the seats just adds a few dollars to the fuel costs.

119: Not formal airport style: Just guys with dogs sniffing your luggage at random. Not sure why the guys sniff your luggage, but the dogs are presumably to distract you while they do it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:16 PM
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Seriously, organizations, even huge ones, have individual cultures

I've mentioned here before that my dad, a lifetime Big Oil employee, reported that Texaco was universally known - in an industry full of asshole oil people, many from Texas - to be run almost exclusively by asshole Texans. No one was the least surprised when those racist tapes came out 15+ years ago. I honestly don't think he would have worked there for a 50% raise, even though, obviously, he was already working for an Evil Oil Company. Companies are funny that way.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:24 PM
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I actually went to the phone company office to complain about something and what you got to do was sit in the lobby and talk to them via a phone

There are a couple old phone exchange buildings here in the East End (uniformly handsome. Sigh) that have (or had) phone booths right outside. I always used to joke about the super-good service you'd get on that phone.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:29 PM
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As far as seat sizes on airplanes go, we used to take Virgin when going to the UK if we possinly good, because the service was so much nicer. In a couple of years it got to be less great, but the chair design/leg room is better, and I don't think it uses more space.

I am starting to get annoyed with overweight people on the subway and bus, because you can't sit in the seat next to them, and I'm small. (I'm talking about people who take up a third of the next seat.) I sort of hate myself for feeling this way, but I do nonetheless.

The other day I asked a guy who had his legs spread out fairly wide to move them in a bit. He gave me the most awful look and told me he couldn't. I wasn't asking him to squeeze them together or anything, just to keep them from splaying apart and expanding so far into my seat space.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:31 PM
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On the credit card hold issue, the thing that really bugs me is how brainless the process is. For instance, NatWest had no problems with me buying 500 Australian dollars at Heathrow, but freaked out when I spent A$30 on my card at a youth hostel in Sydney a day later. Gee, do you think the two payments could be related?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:32 PM
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131.3 Huge balls?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:33 PM
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Ginger, they were just alarmed that you'd blown A$300 so quickly. Budget more carefully next time!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:36 PM
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I am starting to get annoyed with overweight people on the subway and bus, because you can't sit in the seat next to them, and I'm small. (I'm talking about people who take up a third of the next seat.) I sort of hate myself for feeling this way, but I do nonetheless.

Yeah, I feel the same way -- right down to the feeling guilty about it part. But still -- we each paid for a full seat, so I should get a full seat.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:46 PM
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Well, I'd booked the hostel in the UK with the card, so it made sense to pay for the whole thing that way. I should also point out that I bought a damn plane ticket to Sydney with the same card, and they didn't object to that either.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:46 PM
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135: You haven't paid for a seat at all, though. There's almost as many people standing as sitting when I commute.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:48 PM
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I am starting to get annoyed with overweight people on the subway and bus, because you can't sit in the seat next to them, and I'm small. (I'm talking about people who take up a third of the next seat.) I sort of hate myself for feeling this way, but I do nonetheless.

Let me assure you, both as someone who is not generally big enough to take up more than her share of the seating but who is not small and has thus been weight-shamed a lot and as someone who has several rather large near and dear friends that your annoyance is pretty small potatoes compared to the daily shaming, mean remarks, &c that they go through. What exactly do you expect a fat person to do when he or she needs to ride the bus? Stay home eating rice cakes until they've lost weight? Travel only by private car?

Frankly, I'm getting a little agoraphobic in my old age and strive to avoid both buses and elevators. I hate and resent anyone who rides the elevator with me.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:55 PM
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Having just flown from VT yesterday, I can confirm that United sucks, but I have no idea if other airlines are substantially better. United sucks especially when your three flights involve changes of terminal at La Guardia and Dulles, the former requiring you to go through security a second time.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:56 PM
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137: Right, which is why it's so annoying to see one go to waste.

This happens somewhat on airlines but not as much. I heard that a couple of airlines were thinking about offering a couple of rows of larger seats and charging extra.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:58 PM
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I think the proper locus of annoyance is seating that's divided into seats, rather than smooth benches that allow people to take up as much space as they need. NYC subway seats are sized such that I wouldn't want to be any bigger than I am, or be sitting next to anyone bigger than me. And while I'm not petite, I'm a 5'7" woman who's not terribly overweight; probably half or more of the population takes up more space than I do.

Bring back benches!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:58 PM
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Just guys with dogs sniffing your luggage at random. Not sure why the guys sniff your luggage, but the dogs are presumably to distract you while they do it.

I'll be sure to do laundry before my next train trip to make sure my luggage smells nice and fresh.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:59 PM
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That doesn't work on airplanes, of course. But elsewhere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:59 PM
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Frowner--I'm small in a petite, short way. I don't want to engage in weight-shaming; that's why I feel guilty.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:00 PM
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141-- Are all New York subway seats lined up the long way. In Boston many of the trains on the Green line are set up in rows. Same thing with the bus.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:02 PM
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145: Not to speak for Frowner, but I think this is a good context to trust your guilt -- if you're annoyed but can't think of a way to express it that doesn't make you feel like the bad guy, not expressing it might be your best option.

And I can totally see being annoyed, but in a "sometimes the universe sucks" kind of way, rather than in a "the person sitting next to me is infringing on my rights". (Unless they're taking up more space than they need to -- splayed legs and such. At which point they do suck.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:04 PM
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141: I think that those kind of benches are avoided, because they don't want homeless people sleeping on them. I've noticed that many of the benches at the newly renovated T stations have firm metal bars. It seems cruel and stupid to me. It also means that only 2 or 4 people can sit down instead of 3-5.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:04 PM
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145: Some each way. But even in rows, you can do short benches, rather than pairs of seats.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:05 PM
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BG, it causes me actual discomfort when you put a period at the end of a question.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:06 PM
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On airplanes, I get upset when I can't put down the arm rest because the person next to me is too big, but I've never said anything because, if you don't fit, you don't fit and I'll make do. But once there was a guy spreading onto my seat who wasn't actually big enough to require the extra space. He just wanted to be able to spread his legs out more. My thought was that I'd rather have an inch of air around my butt, so I waited for him to shift and dropped the arm rest.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:07 PM
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141: Wasn't the move from benches to individual seats driven in large part by a perceived need to keep people from lying down? I know that's why airports did it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:09 PM
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149: Actual discomfort.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:10 PM
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I'm sorry, nosflow. I don't do it on purpose, but I do often forget to proofread. If it's any consolation, it bothers me too. Maybe you could write a script that would allow me to go back and edit my posts but only so that I can insert question marks in place of periods.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:10 PM
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151: Probably, but that doesn't mean I approve.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:10 PM
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aaaand pwnd. By possinly good, no less.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:10 PM
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153: I do that one too, often, and I jar myself with it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:11 PM
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Let me be clear that I have never said anything to anyone who takes up a lot of space because of their size. The only time I did was with a guy who just wanted to take up a lot of space but wasn't all that big.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:12 PM
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The thing is--although this is mere anecdata--folks who take up part of your seat aren't unaware of the situation and they don't feel particularly entitled to your space. The ones I know are generally trying to compress themselves as much as possible, often in some discomfort and embarrassment.

Here in Minnesota, it is considered disgusting and vaguely immoral to touch strangers, so we frequently have a weird bus situation where two average sized people are sitting together, but if they sat all the way in the seats either their shoulders or their thighs might touch. Therefore the outermost person sits sort of cantilevered out into the aisle, leaving several inches between themselves and the other. This is a particular problem in winter when everyone is wearing puffy clothes. And of course one is then faced with the problem of getting off the bus without touching the people sitting in the aisle.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:15 PM
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"This is a particular problem in winter when everyone is wearing puffy clothes."

I wear puffy clothes year round.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:22 PM
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159: I suppose that's a problem for a fashion blog, though.

Unless you mean quilted clothes--I saw some absolutely lovely quilted velvet skirts at the vintage expo last weekend; those would be acceptable.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:26 PM
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160: If MC Hammer wore it, it never goes out of style.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:33 PM
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Actually at this very moment I am wearing a pair of baggy pleated pants.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:34 PM
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the saleslady wrote on the receipt "please give us a good review on Yelp!"

You bought a mattress from Elevisier?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:36 PM
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163: It has to be cheaper than most subscriptions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:45 PM
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Well, since I've apparently killed not only the thread but the blog I'll just go ahead and ask an ethics question (or perhaps it isn't really ethics; this is just one of the ways in which an advanced degree would be useful to me). If one is preparing a bunch of event photos for display on one's research institute's website, and if there are photos which are less flattering but more interesting (better colors, more expression on people's faces, more going on) and photos that are more flattering but dull, is it appropriate to use the more interesting ones? The more interesting ones are more fun to prep and I don't think anyone really looks at the page anyway. But what if I make someone feel bad by forcing them to confront an unflattering picture? I hate seeing pictures of myself and spend a lot of time at these events dodging the camera; given that, oughtn't I to make everyone look as good as possible?

And what about the pictures which are good because they're, um, gently comic?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:46 PM
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I should clarify that the two genuinely unsuitable photos are not going to be used, much as they amuse me.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:47 PM
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I think 166 answers the question in 165. If you aren't going to use unsuitable photos, then the less flattering but more interesting pictures should definitely be usable. The solution to your quandary is not to make everyone look as good as possible; it's to stop dodging the cameras yourself going forward.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:52 PM
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An advanced degree might help you decide what to call that problem, but would likely not help you solve it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 1:54 PM
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Some people can be picky about events photos. But you work with a bunch of scientists, right? They're probably inured to unflattering photos of themselves.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:00 PM
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166: I'm curious about "genuinely unsuitable" photos. Are we talking photos you got with a hidden camera in the supply closet at the Christmas party or just somebody with a finger up their nose?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:03 PM
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I think the typical person would be annoyed if there was not a single flattering picture of him, among half a dozen unflattering pictures. So, throw in a couple boring group pictures among the more interesting ones.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:05 PM
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165: If it's a page nobody looks at anyway, just use the least objectionable pictures. It's not art and you minimize the potential for making anyone feel bad.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:06 PM
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I've finally caught up with the thread. Did anyone else see that Yelp itself has had its reputation attacked?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:08 PM
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172: OTOH, maybe it is art. It's a balancing test -- how much would you enjoy using the interesting photos, versus how bad would the people depicted feel about it (and what are the moral deserts of anyone who would feel bad)? Also, are the differences in flatteringness glaring enough that it would be obvious your choice of the unflattering pictures was deliberate, and will anyone get mad at you about it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:15 PM
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One fun thing to do with office pictures is to add unnecessary pixelization at key points in the photos.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:15 PM
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||

Just learned that Michael Jackson's purported will, in the event that his mother would not be capable of assuming guardianship for his children, appoints Diana Ross to do so.

|>


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:20 PM
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He died as he lived. Wanna bet the prior version of the will named Liz Taylor?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:22 PM
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173: Wow. Like I said, I had never heard of the site before this thread, and I'm already deeply suspicious of it. Good turnaround time, commenters. And I haven't finished reading the story yet, but so far it looks convincing. Verdict: Yelp is a scam.

176: And it's already on her Wikipedia page. I guess I shouldn't be surprised.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:26 PM
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168: Exactly. But what a thing it would be to name my pain!

The unsuitable pictures aren't really that unsuitable but they'd be embarrassing in the but-senior-researchers-surely-do-not-smoke-and-drink way, plus there's a series of snaps of researchers' toddlers racing around being toddlers and in one instance being only semi-clothed toddlers.

The unflatteringness of the the unflattering photos is two-fold: some have people grimacing in ways that are highly characteristic and thus both revealing and amusing and some are just from odd angles so that they maybe make people's jaws look odd. I decided on the blurrier, duller but more flattering one in the matter of the jaw and the comic ones with the characteristic expressions in the matter of the comic ones--in most cases, those photos reveal something likable and charming about their subjects, whereas the jaw one just looks wrong. The problem with this, of course, is that no one ever agrees with me that their eccentricities are lovable and charming, thus my very sincerest compliments tend to fall flat.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:31 PM
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178.1: FWIW, here's Yelp's response to that article.

Yelp isn't a scam. You have to read the reviews (both positive and negative) skeptically, but as long as you keep that in mind it can be incredibly useful.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:33 PM
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I try as hard as possible to squeeze myself into a single seat, on bus, train or auditorium. Luckily, this is often possible, as I am wider than I ought to be, but not as much as my overall weight would suggest. (Although I did lose 17 pounds since quitting the financial industry. Whoo-hoo!) It is difficult here in the winter, when confronted with people's stupid bus etiquette, to find away to arrange yourself so that you are:
1. Not touching anybody
2. Not about to touch anybody.
3. Not forcing anybody to touch anybody else.
4. Not blocking an aisle.
5. Not preventing the bus from filling to capacity.

At some point, everybody just gives up and starts touching each other, but the trick is to forestall this eventuality as long as possible.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:38 PM
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So this Yelp essentially does what most newspapers do, only less craftily and with a quicker turnaround time.

Mollie and Karl, we hardly knew ye!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:43 PM
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At some point, everybody just gives up and starts touching each other...

Which is just one among many reasons to hang out at The Mineshaft.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:43 PM
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173: the spokesperson in the article at one point says that there's no human intervention in the rankings algorithm, and that this is done in order to maintain fairness of play.

But of course, if you know the algorithm, you don't need to intervene in it in order to play unfairly.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:47 PM
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Which is just one among many reasons to hang out at The Mineshaft

No, it's just one among many reasons to hang out on buses in Minneapolis. Or not, if you don't like that sort of thing.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:48 PM
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Today while standing on a crowded train, an entire family--mother and two young sons--leaned on me. At first, my claustrophobia went wild, and then I managed to calm myself down. When it's one person, you can say, "Get off me." But three people? "Why is your whole family touching me right now?" I let it slide.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:50 PM
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180: Fair enough. The East Bay Express is a scam, then.

More seriously, I got the impression that the Yelp thing was the kind of problem that was real but most likely the result of an overzealous or squeezed salesperson or salespersons' manager, rather than an organization-wide policy. And yeah, the overreliance on anonymous sources is bad journalism.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:56 PM
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White Bear asks "Why is your whole family touching me right now?"

They couldn't resist your beautiful white fur.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:58 PM
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Thread title to 178.1.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 2:59 PM
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Or to 173. Whatever I meant.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:00 PM
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Jesus Christ. Ugh. Fucking cops, man.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:01 PM
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That guy is giving a bad name to Hasidic cops all over New York, if there are any others.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:06 PM
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Others claim that the woman was being all anti-semitic on the train, not that that makes the cop's actions ok.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:09 PM
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192: He's the only one. The NYPost has a story up today claiming the woman (Brooklyn hipster blogger) was actually screaming anti-semitic epithets at the cop ("You're a J/ew, not even a human! You J/e/ws run everything!") This doesn't strike me as terrifically likely, since the many initial witnesses were overwhelmingly on the young woman's side. But now there is another witness on the record with the crazy anti-semitic ranting.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:11 PM
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Why are you googleproofing that word, oud?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:12 PM
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Google proofed because really, do we want folks to find us here with that? No. No, we don't.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:12 PM
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The phrase is what I was trying to Google proof.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:13 PM
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Well, you know, fuck her too then. But he's the one with the gun.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:14 PM
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Someday, somebody will be capable of writing code that will ignore the '/' and then Google will get everything.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:14 PM
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OTOH, if you follow a link in that post, there's a witness saying that the woman was calling the cop a 'fucking Jew bastard', and she responds that she's not sure what she said in the heat of the moment, which sounds like confirmation to me. So, the cop's still not entitled to maltreat her, but it sounds like provocation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:15 PM
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200 pwned, but does add her semi-confirmation.

The epithet doesn't sound all that unlikely given that he's Hasidic with sidecurls --there's a lot of people who will get hostile at Orthodox, even in the absence of hostility to non-Orthodox.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:17 PM
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What is weird is that even in the NYPost article there's at least one quoted witness saying she didn't say it. Presumably we shall soon see cell phone videos. But her "I don't remember saying anything anti-semitic" isn't promising.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:19 PM
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But Orthodox also get hostile about Hasidim and vice versa. Very different groups.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:20 PM
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Sounds like provocation if he's an ordinary guy on the street. As a cop, he is supposed to have a thicker skin.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:21 PM
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But her "I don't remember saying anything anti-semitic" isn't promising.

You know, sometimes these fits just come over me and I insult the Jews.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:21 PM
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I thought Hasidim were a subset of Orthodox -- a distinctive subset, but a subset. There's hostility between Hasidim and other Orthodox, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:23 PM
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That isn't really a very informative way of thinking about it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:25 PM
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204: Well, yes. Ideally they should have a much thicker skin than the man on the street, in practice they don't always. Still, while my knee-jerk is usually on the side of the arrestee against the cop, that kind of language shifts my sympathies a bit -- he's still a bad actor, but I don't much care.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:26 PM
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206: Yes. And hostility between sects of chasidim! It's complicated! My dearest friend, who is now chasidic, had to move neighborhoods in Monsey (chasidic capital) because her neighbors would come out to glare at her when she got behind the wheel of her car to drive.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:27 PM
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209: Do some sects not want women to drive? Is your friend glared at even when she walks? Some of us don't get all of the distinctions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:28 PM
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207: In the context of anti-Semitism from someone who isn't any kind of Orthodox, lumping makes more sense than it does in other contexts: the kind of person who's going to reach for the epithets when they identify someone as an observant Jew probably isn't worried about sectarian identity.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:29 PM
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210: Yes, some sects don't want women to drive. Some do not want women to wear realistic wigs (that is, all chasidic women cover their hair with a hat or a snood or a wig, and some wear wigs that look like real hair -- others think this is cheating, and wear obviously wiggy wigs, sometimes put on crooked to emphasize this) or panty-hose that are too nude. Or modern dress -- even if quite frum (chaste).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:32 PM
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Aren't there plenty of kinds of Orthodox whose adherents aren't visibly different from anybody else?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:33 PM
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The division made by my orthodox coworkers and students is generally between orthodox and ultra-orthodox, which includes several different groups. So yeah, generally they're all "observant," but they follow very different standards for relationships, family, education, media, food, and so forth.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:33 PM
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208: Even man on the street I would only excuse to the extent of retaliatory epithets. The linked article says he punched her, grabbed her breasts, and threw her into a wall.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:34 PM
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213: These folks frequently refer to themselves as Modern Orthodox. But not always.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:34 PM
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212, 216: Thanks. I'm always afraid to go up to the guy in the big hat and ask questions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:39 PM
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215: Yeah, I docked her a couple of credibility points on the degree of abuse for being the kind of person who uses anti-Semitic epithets. But the cop almost certainly did behave wrongfully.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:43 PM
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If the cop said what he's alleged to have said and the woman came back with antisemitic slurs he has no right to complain. It reflects poorly on her to have gone there, but in the heat of the moment it's excusable. If she started out with the slurs it reflects poorly on her, but he's still not even close to justified in doing what he's accused of.

Either way, the cop's a dick at best.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:49 PM
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I made fun of a cop who was issuing me a ticket once. Didn't say anything racist, of course, but still, what the hell was I thinking? I seriously could have gotten in bad trouble. I'd just moved here and didn't realize how sensitive cops here are, nor how random their enforcement of the law is. It can seem pretty insane-making when you're just breaking the same laws everyone else breaks all the time and you get caught. I've had two friends who have gotten tickets for sitting near parks without having children with them. Another friend got arrested for peeing in a train station. A lot of people have gotten tickets for drinking outside, even under very controlled circumstances. But you look around and it's all dogs on laps on the subway, people pissing on subways and perving around at parks, drinking out of open containers in parks and on trains, doing drugs in the open air--it can be infuriating when enforcement comes to you.

But still, no matter how pissed you are at the cop, you don't ever say that shit. I'm not saying at all that she was asking for it, but dude has a gun and is way bigger than you. You can't fight him. Go to court if you want, but don't start a fight. Jeez.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:51 PM
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Wait, you can get a ticket for hanging out at a park?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:52 PM
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Yup. It goes on your record, too, so unless you want to have to report to every job you get that you were discovered sitting on a park bench near children who weren't your own, you have to fight the charges. A friend recently almost lost a tenure-track appointment because he'd forgotten that was on his record and didn't report it, so the college, in another state where that law sounds really dumb, assumed he was hiding some actual pedophilia thing. Very obnoxious.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:54 PM
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Not all parks, of course, but the benches near playgrounds are verboten.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:55 PM
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Often -- certainly on the Upper East Side -- these playgrounds are gated and there is a sign on the gate telling you not to enter unless you are bringing kids.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:06 PM
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223: In playgrounds, I think -- there'd be a real notice problem about banning adults without kids from benches that were just near playgrounds.

he's still not even close to justified in doing what he's accused of.

I can come up with a pretty close story where he looks touchy (and misogynistically mouthy -- I can't do anything with the 'like a woman ' routine to excuse it) but not way out of line.

She's got a dog out of its carrier on the subway. She's flatout wrong, and liable to be ticketed for it.

He tells her to put the dog in the bag, and she refuses. She's now disobeying direct instructions from a cop to stop breaking the law.

He asks her for ID, and she says she doesn't have any. This is going to come across as an attempt to evade the ticket, and in the absence of ID, I'm pretty sure he's within SOP to arrest her even for something that would just get a ticket if she can't show him ID to establish a name and address send the ticket to.

At this point, she throws a hissy fit including the anti-Semitic epithets -- her description of the physical abuse (punching, breast pinching) is that it happened in "the scuffle". Given that so far she seems to have been wrong about everything, I'm guessing (not certain, but at least a little better than 50-50 chance) that she's literally 'resisting arrest'; I don't see where a scuffle starts otherwise. At which point I'm not really buying her characterization of the physical abuse.

I'm not sure of the facts here, obviously, but while the cop certainly seems to be a jerk, I don't think there's strong evidence that he was way out of line.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:10 PM
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I don't know why I put quotes around resisting arrest -- they don't make any sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:11 PM
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Eh, she is wildly weird and cagey on the anti-semitic comments and doesn't deny it, except to say she doesn't remember, but there are witnesses that say she absolutely did not make them. I don't feel one can automatically assuming that she did.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:15 PM
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209: Do some sects not want women to drive? Is your friend glared at even when she walks? Some of us don't get all of the distinctions.

Well she also has a shaved head, leopard-print sleeve tattoos and a bone through her nose.

so the college, in another state where that law sounds really dumb,

There are states where that law doesn't sound really dumb? Panic and paranoia, I guess.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:15 PM
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227: Erm, assume not assuming.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:18 PM
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227: Yeah, my guess is that more likely than not she did, but this is all random and wacky enough that I wouldn't assume one way or the other.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:27 PM
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There are states where that law doesn't sound really dumb? Panic and paranoia, I guess.

Eh, I can imagine all kinds of scenarios where it's not so much that the law doesn't sound dumb, as that a person (in this case, the personnel dept. at the college) assumes there has to be more to it.

There's all kinds of laws on the books that are mostly there as a license for the police to a) make a charge that will stick against a person who is genuinely causing problems, and b) have grounds for hassling someone whose appearance/accent/scent/vocabulary/whatever they don't like.

They're really a double-edged sword.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:34 PM
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I checked the reg, and it's no unaccompanied adults inside a posted playground, which is pretty reasonable.

(p) Exclusive Areas. Areas within the parks may be designated by the Trust for exclusive use of certain activities. All exclusive areas will be specifically designated as such and signs will be posted informing the public of this designation and any applicable hours restrictions. Exclusive area designations may include:(1) exclusive children playgrounds: Adults are allowed in playground areas only when accompanied by a child under the age of twelve (12);

It's the sort of ticket I'd expect that you should be able to talk your way out of if you're not doing anything weird, but the rule isn't terribly oppressive. I think the goal isn't just about fear of molesters, it's more about teenagers/twentysomethings turning playgrounds into hangouts so they're unusable by actual children.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:40 PM
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I read it as much less benign than LB does, but it's also fun to read it as implying that adults in public space require the supervision of a child under 12. I know that's a kind of twee-McSweeney's take on the world, but I'm enjoying it right now.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:59 PM
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176, 177: Well, Diana Ross was the one who "discovered" the "Jackson Five" all those years ago - I saw a video on Youtube where the kids are perfoming and Diana Ross is invited to stand up and take a bow at the end - so while naming her as guardian for his kids is insane, it's not completely random.

Somewhere at the back of his mind he may have thought of Diana Ross as an adult who supported him as a performer without abusing him as his father did... though I do admit given their relative ages, it seems kind of unlikely that Diana Ross wouldn't have suggested that he ask someone else to be guardian if he'd consulted her first.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:08 PM
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233: Whether it's benign or not is pretty much in the enforcement, is the thing. Police and prosecutors have a lot of discretion.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:11 PM
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235: I'd argue that this one is pretty okay generally -- it's a bright-line rule: obey the sign that says no adults inside a small fenced area without an accompanying kid. The most expansive possible enforcement isn't going to catch anyone who isn't doing something (a) kind of pointless, and (b) forbidden by a sign you had to walk past in order to disobey it. The rule may be silly, but it's hard to make it a tool of general oppression.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:15 PM
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What if they rounded you up, put you in the park, and then arrested you? HUH?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:23 PM
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237: Or if they declared your property a park and then arrested you for being on it?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:27 PM
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Dropped a wrought-iron fence with a sign on it from a helicopter around you as you were innocently walking through a general-purpose park?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:30 PM
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What if they took away the signs and the fences but they were crossing their fingers so they still meant it anyway?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:32 PM
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237: "if"? That happens to one of my friends every six months or so.

In regards to the Hasids vs. women thing, if the first response to an uncooperative misdemeanor ticket receiver is to grab her and start screaming misogynistic stuff, somebody needs a desk assignment.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:32 PM
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230: Is it common for people to yell racial slurs at black cops in NYC*? Down here (VA) I'd be surprised if you got away with less than a nice tasering, but maybe I'm just waaaay miscalibrated in my expectations.

*It seems to me this is the best control group, absent a reasonable sample of orthodox cops.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:33 PM
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What if the cops were topologists, who claimed that the area with the swings and sandbox was actually the only part of the world outside the fence, and started ticketing people in Australia?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:34 PM
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What if a Hasidic cop sets up an eruv around you so he can disregard the law?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:34 PM
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239: "if"? That happens to one of my friends every six months or so.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:35 PM
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244 wins.

241 last -- true, certainly.

242: Huh. I can't picture it going down the same way, somehow; like, if I try to picture someone yelling a racial epithet at a black cop, I get either a young man aggressively trying to start a fight, or a very old man or woman being insane. I'm thinking someone in this woman's demographic who was racist enough to go for the racial epithet would be scared enough of a black cop not to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:38 PM
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SF has a similar regulation regarding playgrounds, nosflow, (there are signs saying "Adults must be accompanied by children" on, e.g., the Panhandle playground near Masonic) so if you ever want to go swing on the swings by yourself, you should remember to bring your fake ID.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 6:06 PM
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246: So we need a minority female cop, maybe.

The screaming antisemitic epithets thing is just so far from what I'd expect under those circumstances, even from quite bigoted people. Of course now I'm layers deep in trying to grasp the world through my stereotypes of other people's bigotries, so confusion may be par for the course.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 6:07 PM
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232: it's no unaccompanied adults inside a posted playground, which is pretty reasonable

Oho, it sounds reasonable *now*, now that lonely grandmas can't go sit in the park and watch the little children play. Or (on preview) a person can't go swing on the swings by himself.

We've talked about this before, in the context of how justified parents' fears about molestation or kidnapping of their children are -- we operate according to our fears and suspicions. Which actually reminds me that the original topic of the post set off related alarm bells: while there's no way to know just how bad a company's service has to be before threatening them seems warranted, there are an awful lot of people out there on a hair-trigger, readily willing to become incensed that they haven't been served to their satisfaction. If you're in the business of serving consumers selling people things, you can't help but roll your eyes at the guy who tries to threaten you because he thinks you haven't done it right, and is therefore outraged, I tell you, outraged, and wants to make you pay.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 6:12 PM
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So we need a minority female cop, maybe.

Try network TV.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 6:57 PM
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You think we "need" a "minority, female cop"? What are you, some sort of empathist?


Posted by: Samuel Alito | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:01 PM
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if I try to picture someone yelling a racial epithet at a black cop, I get either a young man aggressively trying to start a fight, or a very old man or woman being insane.

Somebody doesn't watch enough television.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:17 PM
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"Somebody doesn't watch enough television."

That what my guidance counselor said.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:40 PM
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You think we "need" a "minority, female cop"?

A wise Latina cop, yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:56 PM
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Oho

Do you mean the Spanish word ojo, which means literally "eye" but idiomatically "careful"? Not judging! just curious!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:02 PM
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someone in this woman's demographic

What demographic is anti-semitic? The whole concept seems somehow quaint to me, like ice-houses and smoking sections. I honestly have never heard an anti-semitic remark in person uttered in earnest in my life.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:14 PM
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THAT'S ONLY BECAUSE THE STATE OF ISRAEL IS STRONG


Posted by: OPINIONATED MY MOTHER-IN-LAW | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:16 PM
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255: I meant "Oh really, is that so?" which is close enough to "careful," but really didn't mean anything calling for a close reading.

I observe that Yelp seems to cater to a particular crowd.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:20 PM
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Huh. Just saw this on the news -- she's now not only denying the slurs, but denying that she knew he was Jewish. Dude, sidecurls and a kippah -- no one lives in Brooklyn and is confused by sidecurls.

What demographic is anti-semitic?

I don't know that there's much generic anti-Semitism out there, but I'm not surprised by anti-Semitism aimed specifically at Hasidim and other visibly orthodox Jews -- IME there's a fair amount of that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:24 PM
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I honestly have never heard an anti-semitic remark in person uttered in earnest in my life.

I think it may still depend, even within the US, on region. I made a remark similar to the above once to a Jewish friend my own age who promptly revealed that (having grown up in, I think, the Midwest) he had once had pennies thrown at him as a child.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:26 PM
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really didn't mean anything calling for a close reading.

Oh, I wasn't trying to parse (heh) too closely. Just curious if that Spanish word had wandered in to B-more vernacular. I guess you meant more of what I think of as an Ed McMahon(PBUH)-style "Oh-ho!" not that there's any proper way to write it out anyway.

So, basically, never mind.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:26 PM
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261: Uh, no, not into the Bawlmer vernacular, I don't think, but I don't speak that. I'm not from here. This is making me laugh a little -- I'm occasionally chagrined that I can't do a (white) Bawlmer accent even remotely.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:34 PM
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I honestly have never heard an anti-semitic remark in person uttered in earnest in my life

Seriously? I don't make it through any family gathering without hearing at least one.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:40 PM
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I don't even see Judaism.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:44 PM
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263: Me too.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 8:48 PM
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265: Ari means "Me neither." But aside from that!

No, I do not get and will never get anti-semitism. What is the problem supposed to be? Where's the resentment coming from? I realize these are stupid questions, and the resentment presumably comes from age-old, inherited prejudices, passed down through the family and community, but for god's sake. Random anti-Jewish remarks? On the occasion of a family gathering? Some serious anxiety going on there, I guess.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:03 PM
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What is the problem supposed to be? Where's the resentment coming from?

Uh, you may not have heard, parsimon, but Jews control Hollywood, the press, and international finance, and they don't mean well for you and yours, plus they killed the only begotten son of God.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:06 PM
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Concealing the whole Christian babies/matzoh thing? Just what I'd expect.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:07 PM
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267: Right, I've heard that said. I hear white people are like that too. Also men. It's difficult to know who to hate.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:09 PM
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263: Where are you from?

265: I've mentioned this before, but the most racist person I ever knew was a jewish german emigré. She convinced my grandmother that "the Latinos" were teaching "the Blacks" how to steal using computers. They urged me to use my knowledge to stop this, and expected reports on my progress.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:10 PM
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no one lives in Brooklyn and is confused by sidecurls.

His seem to be pinned back behind his ears in the pic. Or I am assuming they are because you can't see them. Kippah however is plain.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:16 PM
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271: Aha, yes. Peias in evidence from behind -- not from the front.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:19 PM
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270.2 is awesome.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:20 PM
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Peias in evidence from behind -- not from the front.

I have never seen this spelling—only "payess".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:24 PM
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270.2: How did you address this, if at all?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:30 PM
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You're all spelling it wrong because you're using the wrong characters.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:34 PM
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Growing up in Shaker Heights, Ohio (a very Jewish suburb of Cleveland), my neighbors sometimes called me a Kike or other anti-Semitic names. They want to the fancy private school nearby, of course, probably at least in part because their parents were anti-Semites. My Jewish friends at that school got no end of shit for being Jewish. And when I arrived at the University of Wisconsin for my first year, my down-the-hall neighbor had never met a Jew before and asked me, in all seriousness, what I had done with my horns. She was actually quite a nice person, and we became good friends. Later, at one of my academic jobs -- I prefer not to get too specific here -- I received an anonymous note after a particularly heated meeting between the faculty and the administration, a meeting at which I had voiced loud opposition to a plan that seemed stupid to me, telling me that "a loud-mouth Jew without tenure should learn to keep his mouth shut."

That said, Jews also do have lots of power and probably have to overcome relatively few constraints on their success -- at least compared to other ethnic minorities (though, who knows?). But there's still lots of anti-Semitism out there. Whether it matters or not is another question entirely. Plus, it's all warranted, so it's hard to complain too much.

Also, 266.1 is entirely correct. For the record, I would have gotten it right the first time, but I can't find a good source nearby for the blood of Christian children. So I'm not really on top of my game due to fatigue.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:35 PM
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That was long. See? I really do need to learn how to shut up.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:36 PM
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asked me, in all seriousness, what I had done with my horns

Like, French horns? Tubas?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:41 PM
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277: Sweet Jesus, er, um, Sweet Fancy Moses! You should have grown up in NJ. I never heard the word "kike" until I saw the movie School Ties in college. (I never heard "wop" for that matter until college either.) My best friend's dad was fond of expressions like "Jewing someone down," etc. He was Jewish and thought this hilarious. But he's the only person I heard say such things.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:42 PM
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English horns, essear. Jews don't even have real horns.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:47 PM
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277: Plus, it's all warranted, so it's hard to complain too much.

This gave me pause. I take it it means that the advantages Jews have are real, so complaints about that are warranted? That doesn't seem right. Or does it mean that pro-Israel policy in western foreign policy arrangements engenders complaints (about Jews) that are warranted? That doesn't seem quite right either, given that there are plenty of Jews who don't support current Israeli policy.

Whatcha mean, ari? Unless you're too tired to get into it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:48 PM
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The rural Midwest is not known for its large Jewish population. I was about to graduate college and in the library to look-up an article. I knew the author's last name was Cohen, but I'd forgotten the first name. I figured that would be enough because Cohen was such an uncommon name that there couldn't possibly be more than a few the SSCI.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:52 PM
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I think ari was engaging in a little Jew humor.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:52 PM
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275: To be honest, I told her that I use one channel, like on the tv, and the blacks use another, and that if I try to use theirs, they'd find me out for sure. But I promised that if They every tried to set up crimes using Our channel, I'd report them.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:55 PM
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If I have seen farther than others, it is because I've been surrounded by little Jews.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:56 PM
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"Jewing someone down," etc. He was Jewish and thought this hilarious. But he's the only person I heard say such things

I hear this phrase from time to time around here. From what I can tell people aren't being actively anti-semitic when they use it though. I don't think they even realize the origin of the phrase, or possibly I am giving them too much credit.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:59 PM
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OT: OK, since you people like dating stories, I'll dish. I meet girl in January, through various circumstances we get back in contact in late March, go on series of dates in April and May. We hit it off OK, but to a limited degree. (I have doubts about our compatibility from the beginning, as she gets a pronoun case wrong in her initial email to me—and not a tricky one, either.) Flash forward to early June. I ask her out again, she says she'd like to go, but as "just friends," that I deserve more than she can give me, etc. Asks me if I want to remain friends. This stings a bit, despite my own doubts about the longevity of the match, so I don't feel like writing much more than a terse reply along the lines of, "Sure, we can probably be friends, with time." She replies that I should let her know when I am ready to be friends, but that I would be hearing from her before and after my marathon (which was Saturday).

I don't reply to that, and a week later, she sends me a chatty email about running and life and such. This wasn't exactly my definition of "with time," but I'm not about to be dramatic and write back, "I'm not ready to be friends with you yet." Perhaps I should have.

But we exchange a few more emails over the subsequent weeks. I'm kind of a shitty correspondent in general, and since I've dropped her to a lower spot in my priority queue, and still smart a bit when I think of her rejecting me, I don't agonize too much about not responding to her promptly.

At the beginning of the week, she sends me a nice email about stuff that happened to her and well-wishes for my marathon recovery. I genuinely intend to email her back, but because I have a great deal of reflections about the latest race, I keep putting off the reply. The longer I intend my reply to be, the more likely I am to procrastinate on replying.

Monday is also her birthday, and I kind of think, "Well, I should maybe put a 'Happy Birthday!' posting on her wall." But I then think, "Eh, I'm going to write to her tonight anyway. I'll ask her about her birthday then." But of course I don't write to her. I feel halfway bad about this, but not really, because I figure it's OK if I treat our relationship as rather tenuous at the moment. It is she who rejected me, after all, and the thought of forcing myself to act as if I had duties to her made me rather uncomfortable.

Flash forward to half an hour ago. I'm on my floor doing stretches, and FB is open on my computer. I see a chat window pop open on my screen. It's she. She asks how recovery is going as says she takes it I'm not ready to be friends yet, as I didn't even wish her a happy birthday. I apologize, we talk about other things, she asks me, "seriously," what's with not wishing her a happy birthday on her birthday. I kind of mumble further apologies, then state that it was easier for me, after she said she didn't want to date, to think of us as not having a particularly close relationship. She says, "I guess we have different ideas of who deserves happy birthday wishes."

In part I'm thinking, well, maybe this really is a genuine difference of values, as I always thought birthday wishes were nice but not necessary, and I start to feel bad for not anticipating that her values may differ from mine. Also, since I feel like my social skills in general aren't very good, I am mindful of how I may accidentally end up grossly outside the norm. But the rest of me thinks, "Seriously, you rejected me: What the fuck obligation do I have to you?" After the conversation, I wish I had asked her whether she's going around interrogating everyone else she knows who didn't wish her a happy birthday, though I know I never would have put my feelings so directly.

So I say that I acknowledge that a happy birthday isn't much to ask for, of a friend, and that maybe I should have said I wasn't comfortable with being friends yet. I then apologize for being "kind of incompetent at this."

She doesn't reply. 5 min later, I have only 265 Facebook friends.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:59 PM
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I'm actually quite large Jew -- for a Jew -- thank you very much.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:59 PM
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I've been surrounded by little Jews

A little Jew here, a little Jew there. Next thing you know, we're talkin' about real Jews.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 9:59 PM
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284: Oh -- damn, I'm relieved, then, because I really didn't know what to make of that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:00 PM
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285:

275: To be honest, I told her that I use one channel, like on the tv, and the blacks use another, and that if I try to use theirs, they'd find me out for sure. But I promised that if They every tried to set up crimes using Our channel, I'd report them.

That's fantastic. My own grandmother might have believed something sort of like that. Badly racist, she was, and a bit wacko toward the end.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:04 PM
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290: Oh, yeah, paraphrase a quote about money, why dontcha?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:04 PM
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293: Exactly.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:05 PM
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(I have doubts about our compatibility from the beginning, as she gets a pronoun case wrong in her initial email to me--and not a tricky one, either.)

oooh.

lower spot in my priority queue

Data structures humor!

She says, "I guess we have different ideas of who deserves happy birthday wishes."

Some people are weird.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:06 PM
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Payos.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:07 PM
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Oh hey, Otto, I'm sorry to hear it.

Not sure if it's any consolation, but in my experience when people push for a quick-turnaround (shifting gears to friendship) and then press you to immediately start doing reasonable friend-ish things (like send birthday greetings), it often has little to do with you, and much more to do with their desire to have a good self-image.

They want to think of themselves as "nice," and a good person. When someone else has the nerve to be uncooperatively human and not switch gears as fast as they'd like, they feel a little guilty and ashamed, and it comes out as judgment of you. It's not really about whether birthday wishes are are a reasonable thing to want, or whether there's a "right" timeline for how fast you should go from dating to friendship.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:09 PM
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277: Growing up elsewhere in NE Ohio (in a part of my city that was somewhat analogous to Shaker Heights) a number of years before Ari, I can say that a low-level of anti-Semitism was absolutely pervasive in the kid culture. (Things like "Jew down", people grabbing their noses when someone was perceived as being "cheap" (as I recall saying "honk, honk" was a code word for it), and relapsing into stereotypes at the slightest provocation.) Really quite obnoxious. Most adults seemed to not indulge (at least around me), but I probably knew a dozen kids through the years with a parent (or both parents) who were out and out loathsome anti-semites and proud of it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:14 PM
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Thanks Witt, that is consolation. As I was alluding to, there's a part of me that looks around and sees a paucity of strong friendships in my life, and thinks that I this is in part due to a lack of initiative on my part. But I'm levelheaded enough to realize that concern is not overly relevant in this situation, and so I'm for the most part just laughing about this.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:19 PM
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Not any great mystery, is it? Some people are horrified by the existence of groups they're not allowed to become part of, especially if said groups have the temerity to think that they're Daddy's favorite (for some value of "favorite").


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:19 PM
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Not sure if it's any consolation, but in my experience when people push for a quick-turnaround (shifting gears to friendship) and then press you to immediately start doing reasonable friend-ish things (like send birthday greetings), it often has little to do with you, and much more to do with their desire to have a good self-image.

I have been this person. It was a bad thing.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:23 PM
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In other words, Witt is smart.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:23 PM
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I guess we have different ideas of who deserves happy birthday wishes

Odds are good, she doesn't deserve them. Cake and paper, people!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:23 PM
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297: To my surprise, I'd go with this understanding, though trying to subtract any accusatory language about the dumping person just looking to soothe her/his ego. The weird thing about Otto's recent experience is the FB unfriending -- but I don't really understand the dynamics or etiquette of Facebook. I imagine actively unfriending someone is more dramatic than just never writing or calling them again.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:24 PM
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especially if said groups have the temerity to think that they're Daddy's favorite (for some value of "favorite").

You only hurt the one you love.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:26 PM
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300 to a bunch of comments somewhere upthread. You all aren't usually this active once it gets to be evening my time.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:31 PM
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305: And sometimes his kids and such.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:33 PM
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I have been this person. It was a bad thing human.

Seriously, it's not the life moment to be most proud of, but I'd wager that at one time or another, most of us have been that person...which is why in saner moments we can charitably recognize its unreasonableness, and understand (if not leap to comply with) its need for reassurance.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:34 PM
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I don't want to be controversial but:

NE Ohio (in a part of my city that was somewhat analogous to Shaker Heights)
There is no such beast.

Wishing someone happy birthday on their birthday is obligatory, even if awkward.

Jews have it pretty good, just now.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:39 PM
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I don't know if it's a gendered thing or not, but definitely IME, if you can't be friends pretty quickly after the thing breaks off, I don't particularly want to be friends later. I've heard this "we'll be friends" thing, and said it myself and meant it, and then found that, for me, being friends actually means being friends, while for the guys involved it usually means ignoring me for six months or a year or more and then suddenly asking if I want to hang out and stuff, after I've already emotionally written them off.

The people I've had relationships with that I'm still friends with were those who, like me, actually wanted to maintain a friendship pretty immediately afterward.

I'm not saying she's not being unreasonable, as I don't think I'd want to be "friends" in that way with this person either, but I don't think I'd expect that in six months or a year I'd really be all into hanging out and stuff all of a sudden.

It sounds kind of emotionally confusing, Otto, but it sounds really like you don't have much investment in being friends with her, now or in the future, and are sort of putting up with mild politenesses if possible but are more hurt by than fond of her. If she'd hurt your feelings but you thought she was amazing anyway, you'd probably want to be friends for your own benefit, and not out of a sense of obligation. If I were you, I'd let that one go.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:40 PM
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I.e., maybe she's not being self-absorbed; maybe she genuinely likes you and values your validation of her more than you like her. She just didn't want to date.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:42 PM
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288: she sends me a chatty email about running

Providing me with a lame excuse to link to this, about which I otherwise have no comment other than check out #7 . (via pandagon)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:43 PM
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399: There is a less self-conscious Shaker Heights in almost every American city.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:44 PM
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308: I feel the urge to argue! Though I'm going to bed in a moment. But I do see Otto's question about a simple difference in values, and about the relative ability to move on while still maintaining a friendship that was presumably there to begin with. Sometimes the person who breaks off the relationship really does want to remain friends, and tries (hard, sometimes) to do that, and is genuinely disturbed that the other person appears to want nothing to do with him/her. That strikes me as a plausible stance. I find it best to see these things as a divergence in ways of handling any given series of events, any given relationship -- not as the breaking-up person's being unreasonable.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:44 PM
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Witt is right, of course, but it's also possible that you really do have different ideas of who deserves birthday wishes. People get snippy about weird things. (Had the relationship continued, somewhere along the line you'd probably also have run into something that pushed your buttons, to an extent that baffled her.) From the outside, the unfriending is bizarrely disproportionate, but who knows whether she's the sort of woman who'd have you walking on eggshells all the time, or whether this is her one picky thing and she's chill about everything else.

Anyway, finding it funny and moving on is the right thing to do.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:47 PM
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I don't think I ever witnessed or heard any overt anti-Semitism growing up, but maybe that's because the black population is big enough here that bigots don't have time to worry about which white people don't make the cut.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:47 PM
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Jews have it pretty good, just now.

If there's been a better time and place in modern history to be a Jew than the United States right now, I can't think of it.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:48 PM
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I'm not getting where there was a great friendship there to begin with. Sometimes you can forge a friendship after dating, but I'm not seeing where the big loss in making a clean break here is. It's not like they were intimate buddies or something.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:48 PM
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312: ew.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:49 PM
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There is a less self-conscious Shaker Heights in almost every American city.

This is slightly overstated, but on balance, I think correct: Brookline or Newton, Scarsdale, insert Main Line town here, Winnetka, and so on.

white people

Jews? White? You're such an anti-Semite.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:51 PM
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316: In fact, in my experience almost all of the upfront anti-Semites were similarly racially-bigoted, but the reverse was not always true.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:51 PM
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Someone tell me of Shaker Heights, so that I know what you're talking about.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:52 PM
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I believe David Foster Wallace's The Broom of the System described it at length.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:54 PM
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314: Too bad, because I feel the urge for comity!

Sometimes the person who breaks off the relationship really does want to remain friends, and tries (hard, sometimes) to do that, and is genuinely disturbed that the other person appears to want nothing to do with him/her.

Yes, absolutely. Sometimes. And other times, the breaking-up person [is] being unreasonable. I'm not using "unreasonable" in some kind of horribly judgmental way here; I'm saying that I've seen breakups that were genuinely a mismatch of timing, in that one partner was ready to be friends while the other one needed some breathing room before friendship could be attempted, and I've seen breakups where one partner used the request for friendship as a self-protective way to avoid feeling not-nice. But sometimes we are not-nice -- it's part of being human, and it's not other humans' responsibility to fall on their swords and take the blame for the fact that we decided to break up with them. (All of us! Together!)

OK, I'm punchy and borderline incoherent, so obviously now is the time to go to bed, and allow the magical overnight European gnomes to clean up my tangled arguments.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:55 PM
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320.1: This is slightly overstated

Yes, and the areas are generally not as well-defined, sometimes just being a neighborhood or area of the city, plus Shaker Heights has a conjunction of attributes that made it practically a cliche.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:56 PM
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I have just experienced a dispreference's expression for Broom of the System; anyway, I'm reading another DFW novel now, you may have heard of it, kind of long? And so but I don't know if I can read his first too.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:57 PM
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318: Not necessarily a great friendship to begin with, but a friendship, it seemed. Hard to say from Otto's description. I'm certainly not saying that Otto, or anyone in that general position, does wrong by essentially walking away from it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:57 PM
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322: Think a somewhat less wealthy and better integrated* version of Winnetka. Does that help?

* Sort of. The public high school is majority African-American. But the popular white kids and black kids don't eat together in the lunch room. Or fuck each other. At least not very often. Still, they get along okay. And more than 90% of the kids go to four-year colleges.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:57 PM
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Ari, what's the scope of "popular" in 328?


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 10:59 PM
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There really wasn't a great friendship there beforehand; we spent a day together before going out and seemed to hit it off, but that was all.

310: are sort of putting up with mild politenesses if possible but are more hurt by than fond of her

This is an accurate characterization. I guess I didn't have a model for how I had envisioned any potential friendship developing (I have really really little experience dating--2 months with this girl was the longest I had gone out with someone since 9 years ago in college, when I went out with someone for 4 months. My parents really wasted their breath inveighing against premarital sex all those years, as the more important question seems to be whether I'll have a real relationship at all.), other than that to me, "with some time" did not mean "email me in a week." Maybe a gradual return of contact over, say, a month, and then at more of an acquaintanceship level, with room for a stronger friendship if things head that way.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:02 PM
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I think the most important thing here is that, no matter what, he shouldn't leave anything smelling "like Otto's jacket".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:02 PM
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I started Broom of the System when I was in college. The introductory sequence takes place in college. It's great and short and then it's over and it's several years later and I lost interest, because I was really enjoying it being in college.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:03 PM
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Maybe a gradual return of contact over, say, a month, and then at more of an acquaintanceship level, with room for a stronger friendship if things head that way.

This is an entirely sane way to look at things, pace 310.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:05 PM
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I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone say anything anti-Semitic while growing up, either. I think in Philly at some point they forgave the Jews for not being black. I'm pretty sure that I heard more anti-Italian-American and anti-Catholic sentiment than I heard anti-Jewish.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:06 PM
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But just to be clear, walk away certainly seems like the reasonable course of action, and did so even before that exchange tonight. I just wasn't sure what to do with that feeling, as I don't think I've ever explicitly cut off a friendship before.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:08 PM
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Yeah, it really depends on whether Otto felt like he was interested in her only because there was a potential relationship there, and now that there's not he's sort of like, what exactly was so interpersonally compelling here? or if he would have wanted any kind of relationship with her to begin with because she was awesome.

I guess I'm currently enmeshed in a thing with someone who pursued me really intensely early this spring, and whom I realize now, only after figuring out how little I wanted to have a sexual relationship with him, was not actually someone I was terribly interested in as a friend to begin with. When I thought he was attractive, which I really did, he seemed so cool and interesting and funny! Now though, not at all. And he calls all the time, asking what I'm doing or if I'm "angry" or just to compliment me in ways I find pandering and deeply unappealing. Part of it seems to be that after we figured out that a sexual relationship was not going to happen, his personality around me changed and now all he can talk about is like how magical and wise I am. (I am plenty of things, but magical and wise are not among them, not on the lists of anyone who actually knows and cares about me.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:08 PM
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Jews? White?

The categories are immutable, ari.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:09 PM
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Otto, for someone who portrays himself as a dating naif, your response to this is remarkably self-possessed. The woman in question sounds like she's trying to keep you around to bolster her self-esteem with your affection without having to return it. Plenty of guys would sign up for that deal, assuming if they're sufficiently submissive they'll be rewarded. They get resentful when it doesn't happen and then you get Nice Guy syndrome. Good on you for setting boundaries.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:10 PM
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329: That's a good question. But I'm afraid it's beyond the scope of this comment. Seriously, my first-hand information is really dated. And my second-hand information, which comes from my nephew, who graduated last year, and my niece, who's a rising junior, would take a really long time to relate. Long story short, there's less mixing than one would think, particularly on the highest rungs of the social ladder.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:10 PM
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after we figured out that a sexual relationship was not going to happen, his personality around me changed and now all he can talk about is like how magical and wise I am.

Thanks for the example, AWB.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:11 PM
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328: I think of it as the stereotypical somewhat upscale* garden-style streetcar community. It continues to have some interesting dynamics as it has moved into being a much more mixed-race inner ring suburb.

*In the popular imagination I think it is often associated with greater wealth than was actually the case.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:12 PM
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my second-hand information [...] would take a really long time to relate.

We got time.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:12 PM
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340: Of what a nasty bitch I am? I feel awful even thinking about how little I want to return his calls and texts. All I can think is that he is truly delusional. Get a grip, man! Or some new friends who are all the things you irritatingly pretend I am!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:13 PM
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We got time.

Jews are pushy.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:14 PM
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Speaking of Winnetka, that is where Jenny Sanford is from; her grandfather was apprently one of the founders of Skil.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:15 PM
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In the popular imagination I think it is often associated with greater wealth than was actually the case.

This is entirely correct. And I'm not just talking about my family, which was and is truly middle class. I also refer to the parts of the suburb that abut the city of Cleveland. Houses in these neighborhoods, including on my sister's block, can be had for well under $100,000.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:16 PM
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anti-Catholic sentiment

Funny, that. As a wee one, I heard not a peep in Chicago (in fact I'd learned that Protestants were just like Catholics*, but we had some disagreements we we were working on, and it was all okay), but when we moved to Richmond, Va., a sixth-grade friend friend asked why exactly we worshiped the Pope.

No comparin' suffering, of course. But wow, was that a mind-fuck as an 11-year-old.

*In fairness, I later got the IRA blitz from the Irish side, including learning the lyrics to "Rock on Rockall" ("it's okay to swear, even at 11, if you're swearin' about the Brits") so they weren't exactly fair-minded.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:20 PM
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Possibly I'm being dense, but what is Nice Guy syndrome?


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:20 PM
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343: Not of what a nasty bitch you are, of what becomes of a dude who blindly follows friendship's carrot.

Knowing who you are trying to make into a companion, a friend, or a meal is a valuable thing. There's no harm in a little flexibility -- you could be surprised -- but there's no reason to assume that when one category fails you another will work.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:22 PM
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345: But I think her father and uncles were wheels at Winston and Strawn.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:23 PM
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348: A Nice Guy is a guy who believes he is owed sex because he is so much nicer to a girl than everyone he sees her fawning over. It is a common failure of nerdy high school boys, and is less commonly but more perniciously brought over into adult life where it becomes the basis for brooding resentments and stunted sexuality. See every other post at pandagon for more.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:25 PM
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Friendship is one thing, and I actually thought it was turning into a nice little friendship before the possibility of sex dropped out. We laughed, told stories, etc. Now it's all about him asking me how to live. He seems to think I'm some kind of guru all of a sudden because I don't want to fuck him. I like having friends, not disciples.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:26 PM
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350: Actually, per Wikipedia, great-grandfather was Skil (Sullivan is her maiden name) and there is a Winston and Strawn connection. Her great grandfather, Joseph W. Sullivan, co-founded Skil Corporation which would manufacture the first portable electric saw. Her uncle and another grandfather, both lawyers, headed the Winston and Strawn law firm.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:27 PM
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339: I dunno, based on my hometown I would expect very little mixing. The white kids who were popular because of football mixed with the Hispanic kids who were popular because of football, but otherwise, at any level of the social ladder, not so much. (I can think of one black student and four Jews in my fairly large high school, so I've got nothing to go on there.) Pretty pathetic.

351: Ick.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:31 PM
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AWB, that's some crazy kind of self-hate this guy has going on, attributing infinite wisdom to someone who doesn't want him sexually.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:33 PM
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Nice Guy syndrome

eHow has the cure!


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:37 PM
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I can think of one black student and four Jews in my fairly large high school, so I've got nothing to go on there.

This is quite different from SHHS, which is a school of approximately 2,000 students, of which nearly 60% are African-American and perhaps 20% are Jewish. All of these numbers are made up, I hasten to add, but probably aren't so far off that problems will ensue.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:39 PM
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355: I rejected him primarily on the basis that I did not think he was a good person. He had lied about things, misrepresented his other relationship, was so obsessed with his own appearance that he was basically erotically paralyzed. I think he already had quite a lot of self-hate going on, so, because he's a narcissist, he wants a relationship in which I tell him all the various ways that he's a bad person and he gets to feel like a better person by complimenting me.

I've found this is pretty common among English PhD students of both genders, this weird need to find someone who you think is more ethically stable than you and worship them, but in a totally empty and absurd way. I think there's a lot of bourgeois self-loathing going on.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:39 PM
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349, 351: Wrongshore, you're being too strict in this, I think. (Also, women as well as men can do the Nice Guy thing as you define it.) But this:

what becomes of a dude who blindly follows friendship's carrot

I know that you've provided caveats (you did say "blindly," after all, as well as "There's no harm in a little flexibility -- you could be surprised") but you're really making it sound as though trying to sustain a friendship after a breakup is a fool's game, or is at least to be viewed with extreme wariness. I don't think we really need to be that skeptical. Leave aside AWB's example, which is extreme.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:41 PM
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358: That's about as sound a basis for rejection as you can have.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:43 PM
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They want to think of themselves as "nice," and a good person. When someone else has the nerve to be uncooperatively human and not switch gears as fast as they'd like, they feel a little guilty and ashamed, and it comes out as judgment of you.

Yep, sounds right.

I have been this person. It was a bad thing.

I'm beginning to think that essear and I are the same damn person.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:46 PM
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Further to 357, it appears that there are actually approximately 1,700 students at the high school. It also appears that data on race, religion, and affluence is not so easy to come by. But there is a list of all the schools to which the graduate were admitted. Some are quite fancy.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:46 PM
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Houses in these neighborhoods, including on my sister's block, can be had for well under $100,000.

So basically the Jewish North Dakota.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:51 PM
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There's already a Jewish North Dakota, NPH.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:54 PM
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How can this be? I thought Finns were the almost-whites of the Tundra States.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 11:59 PM
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||

Well, whaddaya know. Lawrence v. Texas comes to India.

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:09 AM
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362: I'm not surprised that those demographic stats aren't readily available on the school's site, but the college list is really something. In a 1700-person school, presumably there are about 400 seniors (allowing for some attrition along the way), and the school counts 823 college acceptances, so about two per senior. If 90% of kids are college-bound (per your stat above, which blows my mind; my school hit maybe 50%, counting 2- and 4-year colleges), then even allowing for the top few students' being accepted at a bunch of schools, most students have a choice about where they go. That's amazing.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:19 AM
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re: anti-Semitism

I've mentioned before that I don't think I've ever heard any anti-Semitic remarks used in earnest. I've heard one Muslim friend make a comment that was pretty borderline, maybe, but other than that, all of the Jewish jokes or stereotypes I've ever heard in use have been used by friends who are Jewish. Being anti-Semitic, in a Scottish context, would just seem weird, I think.

This is in stark contrast to more general racism, and racism against "Pakis" in particular, which was pretty common growing up. Ditto homphobic and misogynistic comments.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:31 AM
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34,39 is there a good reason why so many large companies make it nearly impossible to actually talk to a person?

Are you on the don't call list ? I get called by many large-sounding companies every week.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:47 AM
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I have not one but two former friends who became former because of the racial epithets they shouted while being arrested for public drunkenness by African-American cops. Unrelated occasions, this is, and in neither case would I ever have expected that kind of behavior. The cops in both cases remained completely cool, forcefully but calmly restraining them, and continuing to refer to them as "sir" throughout. I think it's noteworthy that the black cops treated my drunk-ass ex-friend better while he was screaming, "get your fucking hands off me, n*gger!" than I have been treated by white cops for asking, "Excuse me, officer, can you tell me what's going on?"


Posted by: adamhenne | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:53 AM
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I think that having a law from banning adults from going into playgrounds without kids is utter ly absurd. In Brookline, there are a couple of swings that are big enough for me to swing on them, and I like to do so occasionally. I can't imagine if that were to get put on my record.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:29 AM
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225-- this ID thing is kind of crazy. Do they mean photo ID? There was a period when my out-of-state driver's license was stolen,, and I hadn't bothered to replace it or get a liquor ID. I got a liquor ID (don't know whether my address was on that) and eventually dealy with the license paperwork. If I thought that I'd need ID for something--going into a bar or for a particular transaction--I'd bring my passport, but I walked around without photo ID a lot. I had no idea that we were required to carry one in this country. Humph.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:35 AM
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Near us there is a little playground that is supposed to be specifically for small children, and there is a posted sign about how no pets are allowed and only children under five (I think?) and adults accompanying them are allowed in. I've seen wading pools that are the same way. I had assumed that was so that the little kids weren't continually shut out of the fun by big kids taking over all the stuff and maybe also because the equipment could be squashed -- but this really only makes sense to me for small playgrounds for small people. It's nice to swing on a swing! And making extra rules of the sort out of pedophilia anxiety is just foul and stupid.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:56 AM
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372: You're not required to carry ID. But if you're breaking the law and a cop wants to give you a ticket for it, if you have ID, the cop will rely on the ID for accurately giving your name and address so that the ticket will get to you. If you don't have ID, the cop may not take your word for who you are and where you live, and therefore may arrest you for what would otherwise be a ticketable offense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:01 AM
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I knew somebody from Ohio who was studying to be a Jesuit who said that Evangelicals frequently used to tell his family that they weren't Christian. He's probably about 31.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:04 AM
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373: I'm guessing, because I don't know the origin of the reg, but I'd guess that when it was passed, it wasn't about pedophilia, but more about preserving the usefulness of the playground for children rather than adults. Playgrounds are fenced areas with poor sight-lines from outside and benches -- if you're an adult who wants a comfortable spot in a park to set up and hang around behaving in a socially deprecated manner (drinking, smoking dope, dealing, or just socializing in a way that makes the playground an intimidating place for children to play) it's an attractive place to be, particularly in neighborhoods without a lot of other park space. Having a bright-line rule allows cops to clear people out without having to establish particular wrongdoing.

I like playground equipment too, and it is a shame that it's a violation in NYC to inoffensively use it when you're not interfering with the local kids by doing so. But the reg still makes sense to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:09 AM
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That guess is based, I should say, on growing up in NY in the 70s. Some playgrounds were great, and were populated by kids and parents. But some playgrounds were firmly inhabited by sketchy looking grownups (not sketchy in the overly-interested-in-kids sense, just kind of rough looking) who seemed displeased by sharing space with children, and you just didn't go in there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:12 AM
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Right, I've only ever swung when there weren't kids around or I was on a short work-break and needed to de-stress and it didn't look like the kids wanted to use the swing. Plus there was another one free.

Playgrounds are fenced areas with poor sight-lines from outside and benches

The playground I'm thinking of in Brookline is in a park. There are no sight-line issues. It's totally visible.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:26 AM
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I get that about the cops, LB. I just think that they should put up with it and let people go. Unless you're driving in which case you need a license.

I mean, if you want to ticket me for jaywalking, and I show you my credit card, library card and give you my name, address, telephone and e-mail, that should be enough. If you don't get your money, big deal.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:32 AM
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That sounds like a good reason for discretionary enforcement to not ticket you, if there were such a regulation in Brookline. My thinking, generally, is that discretionary enforcement is a bad thing when the situation is that everyone's breaking the law, there's no real intent to actually prevent the behavior, and the police get to pick and choose anyone they don't like to enforce the law against -- speeding's a perfect example of a situation allowing for bad discretionary enforcement.

Where a law is reasonably aimed at conduct that the legislature genuinely wants to eliminate -- adults occupying playground space in a fashion that interferes with children's ability to use it -- discretionary enforcement to let harmless lawbreakers get away with it doesn't bother me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:37 AM
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If you don't get your money, big deal.

I don't know why this thread has turned me into Ms Law and Order 2009, but surely you see that this isn't persuasive from the enforcement end of the interaction. But I'd expect a cop to be content with someone who had the variety of identification you describe, even if none of it had a picture on it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:39 AM
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Wish I'd been around last night; I don't have much to add, but there was a lot going on.

Anyway, the thing I will still say is that I've been aware of Shaker Heights for 10+ years, and never knew it was the Jewish neighborhood of Cleveland. This is mostly shocking because (it sounds like) it's 100% analogous to Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill, right down to the high school.

Also, datapoints: being little outside of Yonkers, NY, never detected anti-semitism, but I was little and (virtually) all the immediate neighbors were Irish & Italian (my family did have Jewish friends, so that seemed normal); next, in suburban Miami ("unincorporated Dade County"), lots of Jews, never a hint of anti-Semitism (and a 6 year crush on J/ana Levy, one that made me sad because, of course, she wasn't Catholic and so was doomed to hellfire. What a stupid 9-y.o. I was); suburban NJ, marginal anti-Semitism, mostly in the form of giving shit to the Jewish kid in our circle - I don't think Jews really came up otherwise.

Also, NJ is where I first encountered actually-existing racism. Miami schools were well integrated, and while there were inevitable tensions, they never IME led to racist talk (that I heard; IOW, I never heard one of my friends use the N word, or talk derisively about "them"). It's likely that I missed stuff, of course, and I'm sure there was lots of stuff I would now recognize as racist at its core. But the point is that, when I got to NJ and heard a kid on a school bus full of white kids casually drop the N word in a completely gratuitous yet plainly racist way, I was shocked. I really had believed that that sort of thing was in the past (this is 1986).

Quaint, huh?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:53 AM
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I don't know why this thread has turned me into Ms Law and Order 2009, but surely you see that this isn't persuasive from the enforcement end of the interaction.

Of course it's not persuasive from the enforcement end, I just take a hard line that there are areas where my liberty pretty clearly trump the police's desire to enforce some law. There are things that it is simply ridiculous to arrest people over, and I don't think that there will be a rash of people who stop carrying ID on purpose just to evade these tickets, since it's useful for so many things. Plus, you know, my passport never had my address on it, and state-issued ID isn't free.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:04 AM
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Ah, a closer reading reveals that a key distinction is/may be that Shaker is a suburb while Squirrel Hill is in the city (and actually a very large part of the city - it's technically divided into 2 neighborhoods; but they're both Jewish.

Also, I'm not sure you can find anything in Sq. Hill for under $100k (maybe a rowhouse at the edges), but then housing in Pgh is in a lot better shape than Cleveland right now. That said, Sq. Hill has had the best property values in the city for as long as I've lived here for 3 main reasons:
1. Built-in demand - the Orthodoxers pretty much have to live in the heart of the neighborhood, so those houses always sell fast, which increases demand for the next ring out, etc.
2. Really desirable commercial district - probably the largest and most complete in the city, including 2 movie theaters (10 screens total)
3. Near to CMU and Pitt and Chatham U, so secondary built-in demand from profs, post-grads, and UMC undergrads (who aren't buying, obvs., but keep up a market for decently-maintained, older houses)

If you're being cynical, a fourth reason would be no blacks, but, frankly, that's the case in a lot of neighborhoods that aren't expensive - in a city with 88 distinct neighborhoods, well-integrated ones are the exception.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:07 AM
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Let me add that I realize that the Supreme Court disagrees with me.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:07 AM
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I can't tell if I agree with all of the things BG is saying, but I am pretty onboard with the idea that I shouldn't need to have ID on my person at all unless I'm operating a motor vehicle. Something about the concept of "May I see your papers?" seems incredibly anti-American to me.

And 385 applies to me as well.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:17 AM
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I think the problem might be less that people would actually stop carrying ID and more that people would claim not to be carrying ID. If it were known that you could avoid a ticket by smply not having ID, why volunteer that you do have it?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:21 AM
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"May I see your papers?" seems (is) un-American if you are just minding your own business. If you've just been caught breaking the law, well, not having i.d. shouldn't be a get out of jail free card.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:26 AM
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"Also, I'm not sure you can find anything in Sq. Hill for under $100k..."

Better stay that way or I'm out a bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:50 AM
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As a daughter of a flight attendant, this isn't totally unreasonable. The crew just landed from another flight, and if that one was delayed enough to mean that the next flight would put them over the limit, then they can't fly. If they're scheduled for their max hours, even a ten minute delay would make them illegal, and that wouldn't be enough to delay your flight.

I don't think this accounts for what happened at all. If our flight took off, then the crew would be over their number of legal flight hours for any 24-hour window. For a previous flight delay to have any effect on the total, it would have had to be a flight which was supposed to land over 24 hours ago, but got nudged into this 24 hour window. It doesn't matter how flights within the window get delayed, unless they ended up spending an extra hour in the air, unexpectedly. No matter which way you cut it, they knew the crew would exceed their total hours more than 5 minutes before our flight.

And then! Insult to injury! If you sleep in the cots in O'Hare, they kick you out of bed at 4 am so that they can pack up all the cots before the airport opens at 5 am and the new, excited travelers won't have to witness the indignity of you sleeping an extra hour or two. They had rescheduled the flight for 11 am the following morning.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:57 AM
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389: I'm not sure how long you've lived there, but the price history is interesting. As I say, it was always stable and more expensive than other parts of the city, but, 15 years ago, almost the entire city was cheap - it was less than 10 years after the mills went down, and you could get an honest-to-god mansion (in good condition, with garage) on Beechwood Blvd. in Point Breeze for $225k. So Sq. Hill was more expensive than that, but still cheap relative to practically any comparable community in the country.

But something changed in the late 90s - not sure what - and prices rose precipitously. Good friends who live right near CMU had really outgrown their house, and the husband was a partner at a good Downtown law firm, yet they couldn't afford to relocate in the neighborhood. They ended up just staying in the house.

I should look at census tracts - I wonder if the East End in general has seen increased population, and reached the tipping point where the already-desirable neighbs simply sold out (Pt. Breeze has also become unaffordable).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:03 AM
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390: I think LB's suggestion was that the crew was allowed to fly (say) 14 hours in 24, and had been scheduled for exactly 14 hours in the air. But then one of the flights had to circle for 10 minutes, which would have made 14:10 out of 24 hours.

Which seems insane, but then air travel has become insane.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:06 AM
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The cot thing is especially obnoxious at that point. Issue the damned voucher so your customers, who have been inconvenienced by you inability to provide service as promised, can sleep in a friggin' hotel! There are one or two near O'Hare, I think...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:06 AM
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Actually, that makes me think about whoever up above was explaining why airlines cut out niceties. I don't dispute the basic mechanism but, near as I can tell, here's part of it:

There was a time when people had airline preferences: Eastern had nicer seats, TWA better schedules, Pan Am better food (or whatever). This allowed people to make informed decisions about ticket prices - "I'll pay another $20 for an Eastern flight."

But - and I'm not certain about chicken and egg here - the differences started to vanish, and flying became ever-more-commodified, and there was no longer any reason (except frequent flyer miles) to pick any given airline over another. Which greatly disincentivized trying to do right by your passengers. Even in the post-internet era, I recall specific airlines being recommended for Quality X, but it would always vanish in the next belt-tightening.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:12 AM
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392: Right. Say, the legal max is 10 hours out of 24. Your flight is scheduled for 30 min flight time. The crew was scheduled to land having flown 9:25, so they have 35 legal minutes left to do your flight. If the prior flight is delayed ten minutes, thought, they land with only 25 minutes flying time left, and can't legally take off for a 30 minute flight.

Running into this problem means either that they've been getting delays all day, or more likely that the airline is scheduling unreasonably tightly, but it's reasonable not to know it's going to be a problem until the last minute.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:16 AM
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And back in the day when air travel didn't suck, they'd have a crew on call who could make it into the airport on an hour's notice, which would have solved the problem, but not anymore.

394: Right -- I think no one shops on amenities rather than price anymore because no one trusts the amenities to exist consistently. On differences between airlines, Mom had a set of funny stereotypes about different airlines' flight attendants that may have actually reflected different hiring practices back in the fifties and sixties -- all the airlines hired for pretty, but with very different target images.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:20 AM
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If the prior flight is delayed ten minutes,

Do you mean delayed, or extended?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:22 AM
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The idea of airlines having recognizably different reputations actually sounds weird to me.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:24 AM
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384.last: Right. Sobering to consider that way back when, Wilkinsburg/other Regent Square communities approached being a "Shaker Heights" of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has a rather different pattern of development than Cleveland (where the University Circle area is a smaller, pale analog of Oakland), but in some sense, Shaker Heights is an amalgam of Squirrel Hill, Mt. Lebanon and Wilkinsburg.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:27 AM
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391: I've been here six years, so I don't know about the 90s. My wife was here, but not in the real estate portion of her life. But, I wouldn't be suprised if you were right about the East End population bump. If it isn't that, it is probably the growth of UPMC and Pitt changing the population mix. The basic house on the cheap side of Squirrel Hill (i.e. my area) seems to be a three bedroom, one bath (often a duplex) that goes for just under what you can afford on 28% of the salary of a resident, nurse, skilled tech, or junion faculty member. Every year a couple of houses switch from retirees to young couples. A few of them were raised in the neighborhood, but most are from out of town and connected to UPMC or Pitt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:27 AM
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Extended, I suppose. Flight time's measured gate to gate, not wheels up to wheels down, if I remember correctly, so a flight that takes a long time taxiing before takeoff has an extended flight time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:28 AM
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At any rate, they knew when they were setting up the cots who they were intended for, so there was at least an hour's advance notice that was not given to the passengers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:31 AM
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399: Mentioning Wilkinsburg in the same grouping with the rest of Regents Square (let alone Mt. Lebo) really shows how long ago you are talking about.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:32 AM
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I'm very, very sad to hear that Squirrel Hill has become unaffordable. I've long dreamed of getting a job at CMU, moving to Pittsburgh, and living happily ever after in a lovely house in Squirrel Hill. Oh well.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:35 AM
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Maybe -- could have been a 'the plane's going to land with either 31 or 29 minutes on the crew's clock, better prepare in case' situation. But airlines really do suck -- I get knee-jerkily defensive about how it's not the fault of the employees you can see because I spent so much time listening to Mom bitch about being put in situations where she was the bad guy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:37 AM
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The cot thing is especially obnoxious at that point. Issue the damned voucher so your customers, who have been inconvenienced by you inability to provide service as promised, can sleep in a friggin' hotel! There are one or two near O'Hare, I think...

Even when they do issue a voucher, it doesn't usually pay the full cost of a night at the O'Hare Hilton, which is the most convenient. Maybe if you're lucky it would cover the full cost at some of the places a stop or two away on the Blue Line. I forget what the rare and magical circumstances are that once enabled me to get a hotel voucher. Certainly they don't do it for ordinary delays.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:37 AM
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493: But that is the history. Also, political boundaries and school districts matter and racial considerations matter a lot. (Actually the CLeveland suburb that was most analagous to Wilkinsburg was probably East Cleveland or Cleveland Heights more than Shaker).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:39 AM
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404: It isn't unaffordable, you just can't afford a giant mansion on a standard salary. You can still find something nice for $180k, which, if you have a down payment, is affordable for most CMU employees. What you need to watch out for is the great sarcasm desert that was produced when the robber barons were concerned with having a pliable workforce.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:40 AM
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Also, parking can be tricky. When Squirell Hill was built, the neighborhood was a street car suburb. Also, property taxes were assessed on the land only, not the building, so houses are very close. If you park in front of some houses, the owners will threaten to have you towed even though they have no standing to do so. (I actually called the cops about that once.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:49 AM
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I'm very, very sad to hear that Squirrel Hill has become unaffordable. I've long dreamed of getting a job at CMU, moving to Pittsburgh, and living happily ever after in a lovely house in Squirrel Hill. Oh well.

You and me both. 408 makes me feel a little better though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:50 AM
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403: Actually, a good friend who lives in Wilkinsburg (but has just given up and is moving to Highland Park) looked up his census tract, and it's breathtaking how fast his area has shifted - in 1990 it was something like 700 white/400 black, in 2000 ~400/500, and now ~200/400 (lot of empty houses).

That may not be exactly right, but that was the approximate pattern - it wasn't white flight as such, because there were plenty of blacks in the neighb while there were still lots of whites. But when the taxes skyrocketed (I think millage went up 400% in a single year) in a town with already-marginal schools, that was all she wrote. My friends are actually not leaving due to schools (thanks, charter school!), but due to just general shittiness in the neighborhood. They've been there almost 5 years, and their immediate environs aren't getting better, including houses being abandoned and rather more crime than they'd like.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:51 AM
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Not caught up with the thread yet, but this: "my down-the-hall neighbor had never met a Jew before and asked me, in all seriousness, what I had done with my horns" is awesome. My dad, when he was about seven years old, mortified my grandmother when he encountered his first catholic nun - he walked up and very politely (he was a well raised young man) asked her to take off her hat so he could see her horns.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:55 AM
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I concur with 408. With my friends who couldn't afford to move, it was mostly that they already had a nice house in Sq. Hill, it was just small; they weren't willing to go through the hassle of moving for just a slightly better house, and they couldn't afford a significantly better house (the husband in particular desires a house similar to mine, for those of you who recall the pics; this house, depending on where in Sq. Hill, would be ~$300k).

409: I'm very happy that there are missing houses* on my street, which means that, even though we have some multi-unit houses with 3 cars each, as well as parking from the Sharp Edge, we rarely have to park more than ~75 feet from our front door.

* it's a parking lot, but access is from the alley on the far side, and the face on my street is 5 giant oaks and a decent hedge; slight loss of density/vitality, but it's a nice gain of green.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:57 AM
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The last I looked, the property tax rate in Wilkinsburg as 6%. You taxes would be almost as high as your mortgage payment. Those numbers don't work for anything but cheap rentals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:57 AM
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Just thinking of the tax rate in Wilkinsburg causes me to make typos.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:59 AM
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412: Oh yeah, I wanted to say: did you go to UWis's Mississippi campus in 1940? I bow to nobody in my low estimation of rural evangelicals, but good LORD.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:00 AM
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I know where the "Jews have horns" notion comes from, but I never heard of anyone thinking nuns had horns!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:00 AM
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417: I have a theory: Minority + constantly worn headcovering = reputation for having horns. It's why the Yankee players are always removing and replacing their hats, so people can see they don't have horns.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:07 AM
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414: Exactly. I mean, you can get a house in pretty good shape for $40k, so you can make the numbers work, but you're giving up a lot. I think a lot of negativity about urban schools is racist BS, but the Wilkinsburg schools are just abysmal. You're starting to see more GLBT couples move in because they don't expect to have that problem.

I'm actually an advocate for annexation. It would be a troubled city taking on a really troubled city, but a lot of that trouble vanishes overnight if the school problem is resolved. You'd see the tax base rebound 10% overnight (think about the Regent Square portion of Wilkinsburg, where property values drop 50% across the street, from Pgh to Wbg. I think that a grant from the state to make it worth Pittsburgh's while would be a great investment for PA, would allow the City to grow a bit, and would make life better for the people who've bravely stuck it out.

Why yes, I am an optimist. Why do you ask?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:08 AM
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The furries are back in town. How can you not be optimistic?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:09 AM
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413 Jeez, J, your house would be a bargain pretty much anywhere over here for £300K.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:12 AM
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OK, I just checked, and it's not 50%. But the quickest good comparable I could find was 135k in Wilkinsburg and 180k in City of Pittsburgh, across the street and 3 doors down. Houses appear similar (the Wilks one is, if anything, in better shape).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:15 AM
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||

Anyone suggest a hat that provides decent shade, that doesn't make you look like a tool?

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:16 AM
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421: So you don't want to hear what I actually paid for it then?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:17 AM
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423: http://www.cheesehead.com/


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:18 AM
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I like straw cowboy hats, but I'm not sure they work as well in Blighty as they do in L.A.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:19 AM
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419: I'm actually an advocate for annexation.

I agree, but it is ironic that Wilkinsburg was separated from Pittsburgh in 1871 for religious/anti-bar reasons. If Allegheny (the whole North side) had not joined Pittsburgh around the turn of the century, it would have created an interesting dynamic.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:19 AM
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423: A lot of people here claim that all hats make you look like a tool.

Do you want shade and ventilation? For me, the two go together. Personally, I vote for a simple, broad-brimmed straw hat with an open weave. Here they tend to read as "golf hat," but what can you do? IMO they look less toolish if you find one with a nicely-textured straw, and maybe a weave that varies (I recently saw one that was a mostly-tight weave, but it opened up in the crown for venting).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:20 AM
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re: 426

Yeah, they can look good on certain people -- girls or skinny rock-star looking blokes. I suspect not on me, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:21 AM
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427: As I understand it, it was the annexation of Allegheny (very ugly fight) that lead to the shift in state law that had made it nearly impossible for Pittsburgh to annex more surrounding communities.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:22 AM
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423: All questions have already been asked and answered -- men's hats are in the comments to this post. The questioner there isn't your physical type at all, but the general discussion and links should be helpful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:33 AM
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re: 431

Ah, ta. I think I read that thread at the time.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:44 AM
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Anyone suggest a hat that provides decent shade, that doesn't make you look like a tool?

Yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:46 AM
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re: 433

Maybe I shouldn't have clicked on that link at work, on my 24" screen, which is overlooked by several people....

[I've been threatening my wife that I am going to buy a sombrero if this weather keeps up....]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:47 AM
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Or maybe you should have. Who can say?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:49 AM
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Here in Boston it has been overcast nearly every day with showers for a few weeks. I think we had some sun for part of Saturday, but I am starting to forget what the sun looks like. Yesterday felt like March/April, not the 1st of July.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:51 AM
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It's been blazing sun here all week. Plus, we are planning a holiday somewhere hot in a week or two, and although I do tan I'd rather not burn my head to a crisp first.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:53 AM
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Isn't it traditional to see beet-red people from Scotland in sunny places throughout the world?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:01 AM
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424 - only if you want me to come over and burn it down.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:02 AM
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423. Depends what you think a tool looks like.

Big men who aren't too skinny can usually carry off Aussie type bush hats - better when they're a bit worn in.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:03 AM
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Anyway, ttaM, aren't you supposed to be wearing a tartan tam-o'shanter to go with your bushy ginger beard?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:03 AM
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419

I'm actually an advocate for annexation. It would be a troubled city taking on a really troubled city, but a lot of that trouble vanishes overnight if the school problem is resolved. ...

How would annexation solve the school problem?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:04 AM
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I like bucket hats on men. Can't really look pretentious in a bucket hat.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:06 AM
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JRoth--what did you pay and when do you buy it?

asilon--I'm sure that JRoth would love to have you as a houseguest as long as you promise not to burn his house down.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:08 AM
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444 I may never move out though ....


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:17 AM
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I'd rather not burn my head to a crisp first.

A close friend of mine died of malignant melanoma at about age 43, so I say "Embrace your outer toolishness! Hats, long pants, long sleeve shirts always!" Of course, if it's true that the sun no longer shines on the British empire, you may not need this advice.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:20 AM
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430: it was the annexation of Allegheny (very ugly fight)

Yeah, just learned via Wikipedia that it went to the Supreme Court.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:24 AM
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446: I am a completely ridiculous sight on the beach (not just fear of cancer, but even with sunscreen I get painfully burned pretty easily.) Any moment I'm not in the water I'm sitting with a big stupid hat on and all exposed flesh covered by a sarong draped over myself from shoulders to toes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:28 AM
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I like bucket hats on men.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:28 AM
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442: I know this was addressed to JRoth, but since I'm local and stuck on a paper, I'll give my opinion. I don't think that Wilkinsburg can survive by itself, though it isn't as far gone as some of the worse suburbs. People are moving out because, compared to surrounding areas, taxes are higher, services are worse, and crime is increasing. It isn't just white flight as much as the whole middle class leaving for cheaper, safer places. Annexation would stop the downward cycle (assuming Pittsburgh doesn't go down itself) as people with money to improve the housing stock (which contains a large number of what could be beautiful places) and start businesses could be interested once they had some assurance that the whole thing isn't going to go under in ten years. If you could read the politics winds and buy ahead of a merger, you could pick up a deal. That said, what I read of the political winds is that annexation won't happen.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:29 AM
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I just think that they should put up with it and let people go.

The misdemeanor citation is basically just a promise to appear. The entire concept revolves around, "since we know who you are and you're not wanted for any other crimes, it's easier and cheaper to not haul you to jail to wait around for a pre trial hearing."

Very often, "I don't have any id or anything with my name on it" is best translated as "I have a warrant for a much more serious offense".

And, like so many other things in life, drunk and/or crazy people make things difficult for everyone else. I haven't actually seen a single instance of excessive force. Not even close. What I have seen is a boatload of people who tell a sob story of brutality at the hands of the police after they went totally fucking nuts when they were confronted with a minor violation.

We had a lady go off the rails last week over a jaywalking ticket. She'd been doing some drinking and jaywalks one of our busiest downtown streets (5 lanes). Our sgt. tried to cut her a break and let her go with lecture and a jaywalking cite rather than a trip to jail on public intoxication. She says she doesn't have id on her. There's a spot on the citations we use for misdemeanors and traffic where can put a print from your right index finger. Par for the course for misdemeanors, and sometimes for infractions, like when you don't have your id with you.

This, apparently, heralded the second coming of the Stasi or some shit and this lady came totally unglued. So instead of just pressing her index finger on an inkpad and then onto her ticket, she gets cuffed by three cops and taken to jail. The entire time she's yelling at the top of her lungs about lack of evidence and police brutality. I wish I had a copy of the audio. We were listening to it back at the precinct and it's really something.


Posted by: Teddy Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:30 AM
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451: Your descendant is head of Pittsburgh Schools. Thought you should know how far the family's fortunes have fallen. You may need to haunt somebody.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:32 AM
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Very often, "I don't have any id or anything with my name on it" is best translated as "I have a warrant for a much more serious offense".

Good point, I'd forgotten about that as a motivation for asking for ID.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:32 AM
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453: With young, drunk people, it also can mean, I have a fake ID good enough to fool a bouncer, but I'm not drunk enough to try it on an officer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:36 AM
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Bucket hats are truly awful. I cannot deal with them. I'm not generally someone with fashion ultimatums, but bucket hats, damn.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:36 AM
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I haven't actually seen a single instance of excessive force. Not even close. What I have seen is a boatload of people who tell a sob story of brutality at the hands of the police after they went totally fucking nuts when they were confronted with a minor violation.

I don't doubt this is your experience. But use of excessive force really does happen.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:37 AM
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I've seen a police officer pull a gun once in my life. He didn't shoot, but if he had, I'd have gladly testified for him. The guy drove right at the cop who had gotten out of his car.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:39 AM
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I think bucket hats are perfectly acceptable provided you're a member of the Stone Roses.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:40 AM
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But use of excessive force really does happen.

And I should be clear that I 100 percent believe this.


Posted by: Teddy Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:40 AM
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More on the pug-owner/chasidic cop story. Gothamist is basically calling the NYPost story into question.

We have not (yet) been able to raise Viane Delgado. Just for argument's sake, let's review the time line. At 4:42 p.m. on Monday, we broke the full story, "Woman Says Misogynistic Cop Arrested Her, Punched Her, Grabbed Breasts for Carrying Pug in Subway." At 5:10 p.m., the Post emailed us for help contacting Brodigan. And some time before the Post's print edition went to bed, their reporters were able to track down a witness and a second "source," who effectively took the heat off the NYPD and flipped the incendiary story 180 degrees, turning Brodigan into the tabloid villain. And no one ever hears from Viane Delgado again?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:41 AM
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456: This is one of those things like nice men saying "Really? Men catcall at women, still?" I'd guess. Not so much naivete, as the experiences you have being shaped by who you are. It only takes a few bad cops to produce a lot of incidents of brutality, and it's unsurprising that they're much less likely to behave badly around good cops.

And it's really unsurprising that bad behavior is more common among arrestees than among cops -- after all, if things are working properly you're not getting arrested unless you're behaving badly in some regard. (Not that this is universally the case, of course, but the modal cop/arrestee interaction is probably one where the arrestee's behavior is at least questionable.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:42 AM
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I've had a Dutch policeman begin to unclip his holster at what was, at worst, mild cheekiness. I've also been pushed around a bit by a couple of British cops who threw me and a friend in the back of their van. That was totally unprovoked and they just wanted us to admit to a burglary, and as teenage boys we were as good as anyone.

Neither instance was particularly scary or violent, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:43 AM
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462: Were you wearing a funny hat?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:46 AM
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Very often, "I don't have any id or anything with my name on it" is best translated as "I have a warrant for a much more serious offense".

Yes, but often "I have articulable facts sufficient to support a suspicion of criminal activity afoot" translates to "You look like the sort of person who has outstanding warrants, let's see some ID" I've had to sit on the curb for twenty minutes while the cop was doing paperwork because I was reluctant to produce ID, didn't have any warrants, and hadn't done anything remotely criminal.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:47 AM
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only if you want me to come over and burn it down.

It is a little known fact that the proximate cause of the war of 1812 was James Madison bragging about the U.S. Presidential Mansion to the British Consul.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:47 AM
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464: That just doesn't sound horrifically oppressive to me: you didn't want to produce ID, and didn't, and ended up with no harm done beyond a 20 minute wait. If the original stop was unmotivated by anything reasonable, that's out of line, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:49 AM
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Okay, what really gets my goat, though, is situations where you aren't doing anything illegal, e.g., I heard that when the Democratic National Convention was here in 2004, police were asking people to produce ID as a condition of getting on the subway.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:49 AM
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I got ticketed, or I'm not sure what you call it (letter home to my parents, no fine) for turnstile jumping as a kid (I in theory had a subway pass, but in practice had lost it), and did have a difficult interaction because at 14 or 15, I literally didn't have any ID that I carried. I eventually showed the cop my name written on a bunch of papers in my looseleaf binder, and he let me go.

Twenty years later, that interaction left me completely puzzled about how to answer 'have you ever been arrested' when applying for admission to the bar. A law prof told me that if I hadn't had to go anyplace with the cop, I hadn't been arrested, so I didn't mention it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:52 AM
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467: That's way, way out of line. I hadn't heard it, but really unreasonable. (It was the RNC in NY, wasn't it?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:53 AM
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Not horrifically oppressive, but rather an instance of a dickwaving contest in which the cop proved that he was bigger, tougher, and more macho than me - and I had to sit there pointlessly while people driving by thought badly of me, simply because as a sop to his ego.

I had produced ID (after a threat to arrest me on unstated charges, take me downtown, and if during a booking search I turned up with ID to add the charge of "concealing evidence" - which would have been bogus. I had freely confessed my name and address). He was just being an asshole, and it's been sufficient to cause me to vote against every public safety bond and every public safety tax increase and every politician supporting toughness on crime, every since.

I also now, when I go for an evening walk, deliberately leave my wallet at home. It also means I dont lose it to a mugging.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:54 AM
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466: LB, it doesn't sound bad as a one-time occurrence.* If it were a weekly thing, I bet you'd start to feel pretty angry.

And the weirdness of American residential segregation and class/race overlap is that if you look like a person who doesn't "belong," in neighborhoods where you commonly are, you're going to experience that much closer to weekly than to once in a lifetime.

*Although I think it is bad. "Show me your papers" is simultaneously legitimate police work and an intimidation tactic. You can't separate them. For a person of relative privilege -- professional job, friends/family to call if you need to, sufficient social capital that a police stop is a minor nuisance at worst -- the consequences are minor, but for the rest of society, the consequences can be a lot less benign.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:55 AM
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470, 471: These are both absolutely reasonable, and I'm usually on that side of the argument. I guess what I'm arguing is that the demand for ID is something that cops have to be able to do in the course of an arrest or ticketing, not that it can't be abused. The solution is to crack down on abusive policing generally, rather than to think about the capacity to ask for ID as a problem across the board.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:58 AM
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(Not that this is universally the case, of course, but the modal cop/arrestee interaction is probably one where the arrestee's behavior is at least questionable.)

It was not uncommon when I represented criminal defendants to hear, "Hey, I was totally guilty of doing X, but the cops didn't even notice that. I was definitely not doing Y, like they charged me with, though." Confirming that the arrestees, by their own admissions, are often engaged in questionable conduct. I wonder if prosecutors ever heard stuff like, "I totally failed to read him Miranda and ignored his request for counsel, but I did not beat the crap out of him like he's claiming."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:59 AM
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"I totally failed to read him Miranda and ignored his request for counsel, but I did not beat the crap out of him like he's claiming."

Wasn't that in Dirty Harry?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:01 AM
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469: Somewhat different, but only a couple of months ago I saw police searching bags of people who wanted to enter a station. They weren't searching the people who were leaving. I told my BF that we might have to walk to Harvard Square if they were still there when we got back, because I wasn't planning on submitting to the search. There was a big sign saying that if you refused the search you would be barred from entering the station. (I think that there might have been some kind of scare, but nothing particularized to any individual.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:02 AM
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...in the course of an arrest or ticketing

In the course of an arrest or a ticketing, yes. But if it's the first question in a Terry type investigative stop, where all you have (at best) are articulable facts to support a suspicion, then no. At that point it ceases to be an investigation into what's going on right there, and turns into a sweep for people with warrants. Unlike the Supreme Court, I do not approve of the police using pretexts .

I've refused to submit to searches entering courthouses for jury duty (both federal and state) and been allowed to go on unsearched.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:06 AM
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The NY subways now have a bag search policy whereby they say they're entitled to search your bag or tell you you can't enter the station. I've walked past a whole lot of cops with bag-searching tables set up, and never been asked to stop for a search, which suggests to me that there's some profiling going on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:06 AM
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asilon--I'm sure that JRoth would love to have you as a houseguest as long as you promise not to burn his house down.

asilon can stay, but only if BG comes along as a chaperone/fire marshall.

$60k in 2001. It needed ~$10k of work before move-in (plumbing, furnace), and I've done a ton of work myself. If we were paying others to make this house the way we will eventually make it, it would have cost another ±$60k (essentially no maintenance whatsoever had been done since ~1962).

As it is, we're 9 years in and ~90% done with the interior, 25% done with the exterior.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:08 AM
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477: to me that's outrageous. I don't see the distinction between a policy saying you can't use a subway without consenting to be searched, and a policy saying you can't use a sidewalk or a street without consenting to be searched.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:08 AM
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"Show me your papers" is simultaneously legitimate police work and an intimidation tactic. You can't separate them.

Here's my understanding. They have every right to ask. If they are arresting you for a misdemeanor or whatever, then it's your tough luck if you don't have ID. If they don't otherwise have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity afoot and you refuse to produce ID, that's their tough luck. Of course, they always have reasonable suspicion. At least by the time they get to the suppression hearing...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:08 AM
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I'm the guy who's never seen an instance of catcalling, an actual fight, an instance of hitchhiking, an instance of anti-semitism, doesn't know any gay couples, and has only been on a friendly basis with one person who might be called a Latino, and even I've seen police brutality.

Of course, it was against a guy who was trying to kick over a parking meter in the middle of a Super Bowl celebration/riot, but they didn't need two guys wearing shields to run up to him and start beating him with no warning.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:10 AM
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Sorry for using "guy" three times in three sentences. This is the only non-sports site I really comment on, so habits get transferred.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:13 AM
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I've walked past a whole lot of cops with bag-searching tables set up, and never been asked to stop for a search, which suggests to me that there's some profiling going on.

When flying in recent years, I've been selected for the "random" additional search probably 50% of the time. This seems a higher frequency than random probability would support, but I can't for the life of me figure out what profile I would fit or what would flag me. I've taken it in good humor -- what else are you going to do? But I've also learned that when conducting a patdown, TSA is not amused by "You could at least buy me dinner first."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:15 AM
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481: Maybe we should train the police to say "I'm about to beat you." But, when it comes to sports rioters, I'm willing to allow the police some lattitude as those asses kicked in the windows of the library.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:15 AM
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Maybe we should train the police to say "I'm about to beat you."

Or just "Hey asshole, stop that, you idiot".

This fellow was really focused on his goal. He didn't even see the cops running over towards him, and then pow, he was on the ground.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:17 AM
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ttaM - your best bet is a cloth hat of the sort stereotypically associated with Aussies (as recommended by OFE). They are very practical, take a crumpling well, are easy to maintain, and strike the right balance between looking like an old guy following the advice of his dermatologist and looking like you're trying to be all hip and edgy. I'd personally love to wear a bowler or a trilby but the former makes people think I want to be Alex from A Clockwork Orange and the latter is too reminiscent of Matt Drudge.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:17 AM
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TSA is also not assumed by toy hammers that make noises from inside carry-on luggage. They were polite enough about it, but they wouldn't rest until they figured out the source of the voice from the bag.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:17 AM
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480: It really does suck that there aren't more remedies for people who are bothered but who have nothing suspicious on them. I think that there ought to be a minimum statutory liability of $50 or something.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:17 AM
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481

... an instance of hitchhiking ...

You have never seen someone trying to hitchhike or you have never seen someone succeed?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:17 AM
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452 is funny.

450 is about right, particularly that it isn't going to happen. As was noted above, PA law makes municipal mergers nigh-impossible (which is part of why Allegheny County's 1.2M people live in, no shit, 130 munis - more than a quarter of that in just 1). For JBS' specific question about the schools, Pgh Public Schools are fine, better than average urban schools. If we annexed Wbg, we would probably shut down every school in the town except an elementary school. The rest of the kids would be shipped to various fair-to-middling City schools, and residents would be eligible for the City's excellent magnet program.

Essentially, with one stroke you'd get lower taxes, better schools, better services, and more stability. The crime problem would slowly but surely reduce, not to nothing, but to better and worse areas, all of them better than today. For City residents, additional costs would be marginal - within a few years, I expect the tax base per person and/or per acre would be comparable to the existing City average, so it's not like it would be an ongoing subsidy/drag a la East/West Germany. It's really shameful that our political system makes this basically impossible.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:18 AM
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This seems a higher frequency than random probability would support

Do you buy your tickets last minute? Do you assemble two one-way tickets to save money, rather than buying a round-trip? Have you had to replace your driver's license multiple times? Or do you have a common name?

(Sometimes they say it's random, but it's not. Maybe other times it actually is random.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:19 AM
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||

I uploaded a mini-mix for a friend and thought I'd share it here. It's a short family tree: "The Boys Are Back In Town" and four songs that quote or ape it. Good fun rock'n'roll: Thin Lizzy begets Ted Leo, Zumpano, Bleu and of course Belle & Sebastian.

|>


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:19 AM
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I'm pretty sure that extra security searches going into prisons are random, and let me be clear that I'm willing to submit to one there, since I don't have a right to enter a prison. They just do it after a certain number of people. Where enforcement is uneven is in dress code restrictions.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:19 AM
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They have every right to ask.

Right, but do you have a right to decline to anser? I've told the story of getting to meet the drug sniffing doggie in Oklahoma because I declined to answer the question "Do you have any illegal drugs in your truck?"

When flying in recent years, I've been selected for the "random" additional search probably 50% of the time.

You are lucky. As best as I recall, I was randomly selected 100% of the last four times I flew. I was also randomly pulled out for a complete search of the truck when I crossed back from Canada a couple of years ago (also making it 100%).


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:19 AM
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483

... I can't for the life of me figure out what profile I would fit ...

Attractive woman?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:21 AM
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491: What counts as "last minute"? I suppose alot of those flights were probably pretty last minute bookings. It would be nice to know that I'm only shady due to procrastination....


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:22 AM
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Twenty years later, that interaction left me completely puzzled about how to answer 'have you ever been arrested' when applying for admission to the bar so I wrote this little song, if you'll just join in when the chorus comes around again....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:22 AM
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494: The border is different. Your 4th Amendment rights don't really apply.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:23 AM
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495: No, that's definitely not it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:23 AM
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||

Thank you, Neil Huntington, for trading away Nyjer Morgan, and stoking my annoyance. Otherwise, I would likely be sitting in the pissing rain at PNC Park right now.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:24 AM
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498: True, but the claim of 'randomness' is the same.

497: I hadn't realized theat the Group W Bench was a judicial seat.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:24 AM
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What counts as "last minute"?

I honestly don't know. I do know that the most extensive search I ever had to undergo at an airport (still not THAT extensive) was at a time when I was flying at extremely short notice (like, bought the ticket at 3 a.m., flying at 6:30).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:25 AM
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Schneider--This is no excuse in any way, but what do you look like. In practice, as a youngish woman, I never get stopped, and I've talked my way out of tickets into warnings (e.g. I really didn't realize that I was speeding when I drove out of the edge of the high school zone in a rural area during the summer on my way to the highway. No kids for miles.

But you know, I'm white and cute and petite.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:25 AM
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I remember in 1997 taking the shuttle to New York for a job interview and having to show ID to the ticket agent, because I was paying cash. I wouldn't have otherwise.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:27 AM
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503: Enjoy it while you can, BG. The first time you find your smile ineffective to get you out of that ticket is really a blow to the ol' ego...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:28 AM
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||
Now that I'm Facebook friends with three Unfogged people, it is an exciting game to try to figure out what other people correspond to what pseudonyms. "Hm, New York, skinny, glasses...that doesn't narrow it down..."
|>


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:29 AM
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I look like a DFH, which is what I am. Big unkempt grey beard, long hair, generally poorly dressed. White. 56, but can pass for early 60s (both in age and historical era). But I'm also very well educated, and way above median in net worth. This is a fairly common combination here in New Mexico, but apparently unusual elsewhere.

I know that my appearance makes me suspicious. But that's their problem, not mine.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:30 AM
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495: No, that's definitely not it.

Except you are and I can almost guarantee it's upping your hit count. The woman I dated between marriages was a clinical monitor and so traveled for a living. She was also thin and blond and she got patted down *constantly*.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:31 AM
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I've told the story of getting to meet the drug sniffing doggie in Oklahoma because I declined to answer the question "Do you have any illegal drugs in your truck?"

See, while you have a right not to answer questions, I don't think you have a right for your refusal to answer questions not to cause you some hassle. That sounds to me like the drug sniffing was at least partially motivated by your failure to answer "no".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:31 AM
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505: At this point, I figure any good treatment I'm getting from the police comes from looking pleasantly motherly, rather than cuteness. Eh, I'll take what I can get.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:33 AM
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I know that my appearance makes me suspicious. But that's their problem, not mine.

I totally agree. I was just curious, and I wondered whether you were a minority--skin wise.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:35 AM
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I don't think you have a right for your refusal to answer questions not to cause you some hassle.

If that's true, then there's no right to remain silent. There's no right against self-incrimination. Once you penalize certain conduct, even if the penalty is merely 45 minutes of detention and a search, the conduct is no longer protected. It's not privileged. It's not a right.

There's a line, an important line, between conduct which can't be penalized and conduct which can. You are putting silence over to the far side of that line.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:36 AM
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512 to 509


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:37 AM
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Surely this point has been made by many others, but the one-way ticket => SSSS rule amuses me. It's as if TSA is imagining there's a Frugal Terrorist website out there that advises things like, "Save your organization money by only buying a one-way ticket for your martyrdom flight. After all, continuing the jihad won't be cheap, and you soon won't have a body to fill that seat home!"


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:37 AM
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I think that little people retain a certain sort of cuteness even as they age. I don't mean that the police think "hott" just that they find you vulnerable and unthreatening. I'm sure I can be a cute little old lady at 80, if I want to be. I might be able to look stern and domineering too.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:37 AM
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I tend to feel guilty when I get off lightly (a warning instead of a ticket) due to the fact that I'm a mild-seeming white woman.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:38 AM
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511: Not a minority skin wise, by my standards, but I've sometimes been taken for Mexican. I do tend towards swarthy.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:38 AM
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509: Technically, your refusal to answer cannot be treated as creating suspicion. But then, technically being sniffed by a drug-sniffing dog isn't considered a "search."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:38 AM
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it would have cost another ±$60k

Wow, JRoth, you said you were an optimist---you'd have to be to imagine a renovation costing -$60k.

(The appraiser for the house we just bought listed the place as ±1250 sq. feet. Not quite sure how you identify comparable properties at the low end of that range.)


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:39 AM
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514: Tangentially related, but I remember reading a slew of colossally stupid news articles after Sept. 11, along the lines of "The attacks cost so little money to organize. For example, only a few thousand dollars for plane tickets!"

Apparently reporters didn't grasp the fact that the terrorists didn't actually have to have that money -- they just had to have a credit card with the appropriate financial limit.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:40 AM
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518: true. However, that merely indicates how far the Supreme Court has departed from what I would consider both the plain meaning, the historical meaning, and the reasonable modern application of the 4th amendment.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:41 AM
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I tend to feel guilty when I get off lightly (a warning instead of a ticket) due to the fact that I'm a mild-seeming white woman.

Really? I just felt flattered. Until I stopped getting off lightly that is.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:42 AM
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521: Agreed.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:43 AM
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LB--Quit with the "pleasantly motherly" stuff. You used to describe yourself as matronly and that was total BS.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:47 AM
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And as best as I understand current doctrine, being held for 45 minutes against my will on the shoulder of the interstate highway isn't a seizure. Despite the fact that I surely did feel that I had been seized. Having the cop go through the glove compartment, and look behind and under the seat, and open the camper shell and poke into things was, of course, justified by the dog's pretending to alert. So, All in all, I didn't have my right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizured violated, and the penalty for my silence was de minimis. Minimus?


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:47 AM
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522: Really. It's not particularly flattering to have one's whiteness acknowledged. And it's pretty obvious that I'm female. Knowing that your femininity and your possible attractiveness is an advantage in avoiding the full weight of the law that comes down on other people isn't something that makes me feel good.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:50 AM
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Attractive woman?

In a fully-formed human being, this would be unambiguous flirting. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that at Narita, the patdown crew are friendly nice-looking women, then relieved that the patdown wasn't, um, exciting, then disappointed/alarmed at same.

Is it just me, or did the interpersonal dimension of patdowns get completely skipped in the great 70s and 80s crime dramas? No leering cameras that I remember in Starsky and Hutch, or Baretta, or CHiPs, or even Charlie's Angels.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:52 AM
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Wow, JRoth, you said you were an optimist---you'd have to be to imagine a renovation costing -$60k.

Oh, someone could easily spend twice that on this place. But we're happy living with some cracked plaster, we like our original wood windows, we're not doing A/C, when we redid the kitchen, we just had the old metal cabinets resprayed for $3400.... I'll admit that it's a little hard for me to gauge because, for instance, I don't actually know how much it would cost to hire inside house painters (if I thought about it, I could come up with a reasonable number), because I can't imagine hiring someone else to paint the inside of my house. The outside, I wish I could afford to hire a good painter, but I can't, which is why I've gotten 25% done in 8 years (well, that and 2 kids - at least 2/3 of the exterior painting happened in the first 3 years, before Iris was born).

Also, I just realized that we've been in the house 8 years, not 9.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:54 AM
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526: Then you should demand the ticket next time, I guess. If I get a pass on a ticket or a free beer or a seat on the train because someone thought I was pretty, I am grateful for the break, beer, seat and flattered by the idea that I'm pretty. Beating myself up for the fact that other men and women didn't get that break doesn't seem terribly productive.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:56 AM
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Sorry, I was just being pedantic about your use of '±'. A $60k renovation isn't so hard to imagine.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:57 AM
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528: Since you started talking about home repair, if you know someone who does repointing, can you shoot me an e-mail? I'm do most of the work on our house, but I'm unwilling to chance that as some of the brick is structural.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:59 AM
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525: You were seized, I think, just not arrested (maybe; 45 minutes is pushing the boundary, or at least it was last time I had to go research this issue).

The dog alert might be enough for probable cause, though, assuming the dog was found to be credible. That one I'd definitely have to look up.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:59 AM
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532.2: How can you not find a dog credible? Just look in their deep eyes and see the trust.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:00 PM
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512: I completely disagree. A short period of detention and a search isn't a judicial penalty. Now, that sort of policing can be abused -- I'm not saying it's always right -- but it's not a penalty unless it's unreasonably protracted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:03 PM
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Well, the defense would be entitled to cross-examine the dog about whether it was promised a biscuit in exchange for alerting.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:03 PM
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535: Of course the dog got a biscuit. Expert witnesses do get compensated.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:05 PM
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Then you should demand the ticket next time, I guess.

That's essentially what I do by refusing to answer questions I think are improper. I figure if anyone is in a position to assert a right, it's me.

I think the dog alert would be enough to insulate the cop from a 1983 action for damages for deprivation of civil rights. Since There was no crime anywhere, that'd be the only potential consequence.

Side note: My partner turned up with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. While recovering from the surgery her father died in Florida. This stop and search happened on the way back from taking care of father's pitiful few belongings in Florida.

She never liked the prosthesis, so she would usually take it out. When we were stopped, it was in the glove compartment. I never figured out whether the cop found it and knew what it was, or didn't notice it, or noticed it but assumed it wasn't evidence of a crime. Still, sorta odd.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:06 PM
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How can you not find a dog credible? Just look in their deep eyes and see the trust death in the Pleistocene.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:06 PM
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529: Then you should demand the ticket next time, I guess.

Heh. That thought occurred to me, but I'm not that stupid. I accept the advantages, but as I said, I don't feel triumphant or pleased about it. Which is not the same as "beating myself up about it." Please allow for ambivalence. This shouldn't be a new thought.

In reference to Michael H. Schneider's 507: Struggling with the long hair/beard question is a recurrent issue for DFHs -- I know at least two men who have finally decided to go short due to observations on the part of friends that things will go much more easily in life for them if they just cut it off. And they have, and it does.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:08 PM
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A short period of detention and a search isn't a judicial penalty.

Not a judicial penalty. However, I was certainly deprived of my liberty for 45 minutes. I was certainly deprived of whatever privacy interest I had in the truck. I was certainly deprived of peace of mind.

You can argue that it is justified, that it is so minor as to be inconsequential, but you can't argue that I didn't lose something.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:09 PM
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I don't feel triumphant or pleased about it. Which is not the same as "beating myself up about it."

Indeed, these are not the same thing. However, you said you "tend to feel guilty" about it, which I would place closer to "beating yourself up" than to not feeling triumphant.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:12 PM
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540: Exactly right. You have a right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and your refusal to answer questions does not make the search or seizure any more reasonable.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:15 PM
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I know at least two men who have finally decided to go short due to observations on the part of friends that things will go much more easily in life for them if they just cut it off. And they have, and it does.

Me too, to the extent that you know me. When I was young, because I have CP and normally didn't walk very steadily, I was regularly stopped on suspicion of being drunk or stoned, even when I was as sober as a judge.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:15 PM
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things will go much more easily in life for them if they just cut it off

That's what we said to the dog we had neutered.

Okay, tendentious and inapt. But mildly amusing. If anyone's going to stand up for the right to stand out, I figure it should be me. I've enjoyed the privileges, I should endure the oppression.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:16 PM
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Think of getting out of tickets as using your hotness and/or whiteness to stick it to the man.


Posted by: Teddy Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:16 PM
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I'm with MHS. That stuff might not be what is called a penalty, but it's not nothing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:16 PM
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"...even when I was as sober as a judge."

Whoever invents sayings must not know many judges.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:16 PM
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542: Sure. But if the police conduct either (a) doesn't amount to a search or seizure (I'm not up on this in detail, but a short wait for a dog wouldn't, I don't think) or (b) there was defensible probable cause for a search or seizure, but the police would have foregone it based on your verbal assurance, I don't think there's a problem. A right not to be punished for silence is not a right for the police to behave in precisely the same way to you depending on whether you answer or refuse to answer their questions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:19 PM
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Whoever invents sayings must not know many judges.

The Chief Judge of New Mexico's Second Judicial District (which encompasses Albuquerque) was arrested at a DWI checkpoint. He was blasted out of his mind, he had cocaine powder spilled down his front, and he tried to threaten the police. This did not do much to increase respect for the judiciary.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:20 PM
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530: Sorry, I thought you were doing something about that, but I couldn't quite figure it. As an architect, I use ± all the time. I didn't want to write $60k+ because that suggests it could go way over. Which it could, but only by increasing the scope.

Anyway, sorry, this is all dull and wordy. If I were prettier, you'd forgive me for it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:21 PM
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A right not to be punished for silence is not a right for the police to behave in precisely the same way to you depending on whether you answer or refuse to answer their questions.

I'd say that is precisely what it means. If doing A subjects you to deprivations Apha and Beta, then A is not a right (or a privilege or immunity, in some lexicons). To call something a right means, that you can't be penalized for doing it.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:24 PM
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545: I'm pretty close to parsimon's position on this, and I definitely do not feel the way you suggest.

I'm not unilaterally angry at the police, such that there's some vindictive satisfaction in thwarting the system. I like laws, and I prefer living in a society that has them. I'm not interested in getting away with something; I'm interested in pushing law enforcement to treat marginalized people the same way they're treating me. (I.e., not hassled pointlessly, not physically assaulted, given a chance to explain myself calmly, etc.)

Shorter me: Two wrongs don't make a right.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:25 PM
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543: I have a friend with CP, and this happened on occasion to him as well -- though he walks with two sticks, like hiking sticks, so if you're paying any attention at all, it's pretty obvious that this is just the way he walks (and sometimes falls down).


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:26 PM
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551: This makes no sense -- the police can ask you questions without arresting you, but can't take any action at all based on your answers? If they can't act differently based on silence, they can't take the content of your answers into account at all either.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:27 PM
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I seemingly always get pulled aside for the pat downs, and I too have no idea what triggers it. Most of my tickets have been bought months out, never one way, I have a relatively uncommon but very Anglo name. I dunno.

But I've also learned that when conducting a patdown, TSA is not amused by "You could at least buy me dinner first."

Depends where you are - last time I got patted down thoroughly in a small airport they were cracking jokes left and right.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:30 PM
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554: And not taking someone's answers into account is for tech support, not law enforcement.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:30 PM
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538 is the premise behind parts of Riddley Walker.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:30 PM
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When I was young, because I have CP and normally didn't walk very steadily, I was regularly stopped on suspicion of being drunk or stoned, even when I was as sober as a judge.

One of my friends was arrested, and put in the drunk tank for the night, because of the limp/swaying walk that he has because of CP. When I heard about it, I was completely outraged; he just shrugged it off.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:31 PM
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If they can't act differently based on silence, they can't take the content of your answers into account at all either.

Disagree. You have a right to remain silent. If you choose to give up that right, anything you say may be held against you either during this investigatory stop, or in a court of law.

Is that nonsense? It doesn't seem like nonsense to me. I have no problem drawing a line between standing mute (privileged, immune to retaliation) and choosing to speak (no immunity to consequences)


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:31 PM
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So... Going back to Otto's de-friending issue above. I went on a date with a guy I know professionally a month or so back, but concluded that there was no chemistry and I wasn't interested in dating him. He emailed recently (in the course of professional correspondence) to ask me how my recent trip abroad had gone. So I told him a little about the trip and threw in something like, "We should have lunch or grab a drink sometime when schedules settle down." No response. Should I have clarified "as friends"? Just not suggested it at all?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:32 PM
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548: doesn't amount to a search or seizure (I'm not up on this in detail, but a short wait for a dog wouldn't, I don't think)

It's a seizure and requires particularized suspicion (except in special circumstances) if you're not free to leave, even for five minutes. But a brief seizure (like a short wait for a dog) usually wouldn't be an arrest. So the level of particularized suspicion required is only reasonable suspicion, not probable cause.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:34 PM
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I think "We should have lunch or grab a drink sometime when schedules settle down" is pretty much the same as saying "as friends".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:34 PM
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I agree with the distinction drawn in 559, in principle. However, if the officer already has a basis (even one as slight as reasonable suspicion) to detain you, silence might fail to dispel that suspicion, where speaking might succeed in doing so (depending on what you say). So silence might lead the officer to detain you for longer than speaking without the added detention being a penalty for silence.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:37 PM
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I have no problem drawing a line between standing mute (privileged, immune to retaliation) and choosing to speak (no immunity to consequences)

The problem with your position is that you seem to be saying the cop can't treat you better based on your speech -- you're defining a baseline of 'how the cop may treat you if you stand mute', and assuming that you're being 'punished' if he would have treated you better if you'd verbally reassured him.

If the cop was behaving wrongfully by having you wait for a drug dog based about what he knew about the situation and the relevant legal standards, that's wrong.

But if his conduct wasn't wrongful in a vacuum, it doesn't become wrong just because he probably would have forgone the search if you'd answered his questions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:37 PM
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This makes no sense -- the police can ask you questions without arresting you, but can't take any action at all based on your answers? If they can't act differently based on silence, they can't take the content of your answers into account at all either.

Legally, I think you are wrong. If you choose to answer and say something suspicious, they can take that into account. If you choose not to answer, they can't hold that against you. Of course, if they have adequate cause to detain you and your answer would be enough to dispel whatever the reasonable suspicion is, your failure to dispel that suspicion may mean you are stuck being detained longer while they figure it out without your help. But if they had no basis to detain you in the first place, the fact that they ask you a question and you choose not to answer does not create suspicion.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:38 PM
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Pwned by 563.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:38 PM
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Of course, if they have adequate cause to detain you and your answer would be enough to dispel whatever the reasonable suspicion is, your failure to dispel that suspicion may mean you are stuck being detained longer while they figure it out without your help.

This is exactly what I meant.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:39 PM
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566: Tell me about it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:39 PM
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560: Do you want to see him? If you do, it's fine to push until you hit mimimal ambiguity on either side, as long as you offer clarification at the same time that you ask for it.

If you were just being polite, then let it slide.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:40 PM
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Tell me about it.

Invoke the 5th Amendment, LB! You don't have to say anything.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:41 PM
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569: He's a nice guy and I always have room for new friends. But reading Otto's account made me worry that the suggestion perhaps put this guy in an awkward position which, on account of the being a nice guy, I wouldn't want to do. I guess we'll just have to wait for my birthday and see if he offers the good wishes which I deserve!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:43 PM
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570: That's fine, but if her exercise of the right to remain silent fails to dispel reasonable suspicions of pwnage, it may unnecessarily prolong this thread.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:46 PM
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So silence might lead the officer to detain you for longer than speaking without the added detention being a penalty for silence.

Okay, we seem to have 3 people adopting this position, if I read tose reponses correctly.

I take it to mean that there must be a reasonable suspicion related to the question That is, if there is a reasonable suspicion that you (5'11" white male, mid 20s, wearing blue jeans and a Ninja Turtles T-shirt) might be the person identified as being seen fleeing a robbery and described as 5'11" white male, mid 20s, wearing blue jeans and a Ninja Turtles T-shirt. In those circumstances a question such as 'where were you 15 minutes ago?' might be reasonable, and detaining you pending further investigation might be reasonable whether or not you stand mute.

However, a general question such as "any illegal drugs in the truck?", following a stop which the officer has already described as being"'because your registration tag on your license plate is partially obscured by your bumper" might be seen as improper, and holding you for further investigation of drugs would be improper?

Is that where we are? Because that distinction makes sense to me.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:46 PM
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573: That sounds about right to me, though I can't recall the actual law on the reasonable length of a traffic stop. I'm pretty sure the rule is if he can get the dog there within the time it takes to resolve the issue with your registration tag, it's legal. If he hands you the ticket for the original violation and then makes you sit there because you failed to deny having drugs, he's crossed the line.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:50 PM
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I'm not interested in getting away with something

What are you, a robot? Getting out of a ticket is awesome. I'd have to be made of stone to not feel some joy at the fact that the odds of me getting a traffic ticket are approaching zero.


Posted by: Teddy Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:52 PM
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However, a general question such as "any illegal drugs in the truck?", following a stop which the officer has already described as being"'because your registration tag on your license plate is partially obscured by your bumper" might be seen as improper, and holding you for further investigation of drugs would be improper?

I should defer to Di (who I know has criminal law experience) and widget (who I don't know anything biographical about, but seems to know more about than I do), but I don't think so. I think the cop can have a 'reasonable suspicion' (that is, enough to stop you, but not necessarily to search you) based on his gestalt sense of your appearance and demeanor; if you look to him like someone who might have drugs in the car, it's not improper for him to ask you about it.

But I'm over my head -- I haven't done much with criminal law since law school.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:52 PM
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560, 569: Maybe the "when schedules settle down" thing doesn't leave the ball in his court -- expecting a reply from him -- but rather just leaves it open for you to write in a bit, when your schedule has settled down, proposing something.

If you do that, if it were me I'd probably include something about wanting to clarify "just friends, but would really enjoy seeing you." Having people guessing about each other's intentions is best avoided.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:52 PM
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Resolved: People shouldn't expect people they have rejected to like them.

If it happens, great. Often, people find their way to a friendship after an awkward attempt at a romance. If the rejection was mild and early, you have a better chance of eventually being liked. If the rejection was polite and sympathetic, the person has no right to trash you in public. But even a little bit of rejection sucks, and you can't control how people will take it. Corollary: you are not a bad person because someone you rejected dislikes you.

There's a woman I dated between marriages (mostly during the end of the first one) whom I would love to make into a friend. We see each other at events every couple of months, and sometimes she consents to catch me up on her life (once, entertainingly, in front of my father-in-law, who didn't seem the slightest bit confused that I was talking to a woman for ten minutes without introducing him). At one of these events, I said, "You wanna get lunch sometime?" And she said, "No."

So it shall be.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:55 PM
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What Di said. They can ask, but they need to get the dog there in an amount of time consistent with a traffic stop.

I need to quit screwing around on the internet and get ready for work.


Posted by: Teddy Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:56 PM
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573: If your registration tag is obscured, the officer can stop you for long enough to do whatever he needs to do about that -- e.g., ticket you. Depending on state law, he may or may not be able to arrest you for the obscured tag if he really feels like being an asshole. I think the Fourth Amendment ought to prohibit that, but it doesn't (Atwater v. City of Lago Vista).

He can't detain you longer than necessary for the ticket. If I recall correctly, he can check for outstanding warrants as part of the ticketing process. While he's writing up the ticket and running that check, he can do other things that don't rise to the level of a search, such asking about drugs in the truck, or having a dog sniff the truck if there's one there. Questioning doesn't itself violate the Fourth Amendment if it doesn't extend the length of the seizure.

If he holds you there for a significantly greater length of time to grill you about whether drugs are present, or for a dog to get there, without any particular reason to think there are drugs in the truck, that probably violates the Fourth Amendment.

(I briefed an issue close to this one once, but that was about eight years ago, so I may be a bit off, but I think the above is broadly right.)


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:58 PM
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574: it was a warning for the "improper tag display", not a ticket (although same difference, I suppose). It came long before the dog.

It was, as I said in another context, a dick waving contest. He was trying to bully and threaten me into confessing, or at least consenting to a search ("if you just tell me about the drugs I can write a simple citation, while if I have to call the dog the DA gets involved and it's a whole different thing") and I was having none of it. Of course, I do believe that his claim about Oklahoma drug laws was a knowing and intentional lie. It was a pretext stop, with his macho and my crankiness leading to an escalation.

if you look to him like someone who might have drugs in the car, it's not improper for him to ask you about it.

Well, there's improper, and then there's improper under current Supreme Court interpretations. I'm arguing improper, irrespective of what the Court says.

It looks to me like your position devolves into "DFHs have no right to remain silent, and may always be searched for drugs based merely upon their appearance." If they stand mute, they can be searched. If the answer, then their answer was clearly a lie (they were shifty-eyed and hesitant), and they can be searched. Needless to say, I find that position not to my taste.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:58 PM
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Guess I'm the triply-pwned one this time.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 12:59 PM
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576: Yeah, I don't think there's anything wrong with asking. You get pulled over. While running your license and registration and writing up the ticket, cop makes small talk: "So where you headed? Got drugs in the trunk?" Totally permissible. You say, "You know officer, I don't feel like making small talk or discussing the contents of my trunk with you. Go ahead and write me that ticket and I'll be on my way." If cop happens to have drug-sniffing dog in the squad car, his partner can go ahead and walk it around your car while he finishes writing the ticket. If, on the other hand, it takes the k-9 unit an hour to get there and he makes you wait for the dog, despite having completed the purpose of the traffic stop, just because you refused to answer his questions, you've been unreasonably seized. At least this is my recollection...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:00 PM
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571: FWIW, I think you behaved fine. In fact, I'd say that extending the olive branch was even a nice gesture. My main objection to the conversation I had last night was getting sucked into the drama of it all. Talking to someone in that way is stressful for me (I'm not big on confrontation), and I didn't think that I had much duty to go through that sort of stress. Cost/benefit and all that: What am I getting out of further interaction with you that makes it worth the cost of going through this conversation with you?

I suppose you could make the argument that the more mature move would be to convey his feelings directly, and say, "That's very nice of you to invite me out for a drink, but I don't think I'd be comfortable with that," just as it might have been more mature of me to say to the girl in my situation that I meant longer than a week when I said we could possibly be friends with some time. But I dunno--isn't a bit of indirectness OK? Do we need to be direct about our feelings with everyone? Isn't that just a lot of stress? (Maybe that's just my passive aggression talking.) There's probably some gender stuff in there, too, as I feel like as a dude I'm not supposed to admit to a girl that I am too emotionally frail to be friends with her.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:02 PM
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576: On the internet, no one knows I'm a drug-sniffing dog.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:02 PM
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And for the love of God, don't freak out at the dude if he doesn't send you sufficiently timely birthday greetings. That's my recommendation.

Are birthday greetings generally a big deal to people? I mean, if my immediate family didn't call, I'd be hurt. And if no friends said anything, I'd be hurt. But as long as I'm not totally ignored, I feel loved enough.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:05 PM
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Di, I also believe you behaved fine. This may not be clear from my resolution. But Otto's right, indirectness is OK and one should infer not to push.

Otto, that girl's being a dick. The conversation upset you because there is no reliable defense against dickishness.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:05 PM
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It looks to me like your position devolves into "DFHs have no right to remain silent, and may always be searched for drugs based merely upon their appearance."

Current law, as I recall it, is that sniffing by a dog isn't a search. The rules on how long they can make you wait are tighter than I'd remembered -- I had a vague impression that a cop could make you wait around for dog for a short period of time, with no strong sense of how short 'short' was.

So, no, that's not my position. My position is that the cops can treat you the way they can treat you (search you if they have probable cause, stop you on reasonable suspicion), and they'll probably treat you better than they have to if you're actively co-operative. Not answering questions invites being treated by the police to the most policing they're legally entitled to do, rather than something less than that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:07 PM
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Current law, as I recall it, is that sniffing by a dog isn't a search.

Current law can go hang.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:10 PM
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I don't think there's anything wrong with asking. My reply, IIRC, was "I don't believe I'm obliged to answer that question" and that's when we got into the bullying, threatening, and escalation. And waiting for the dog. If he'd dropped it, finished writing the warning, and let me go I'd have been irked but not terribly irked.

A couple of months ago I was stopped here in town. Got a warning for having a burned out tail light (hey, I'd checked two weeks before, but by golly yes one filament in the bulb had burned out in those two weeks). After we're done, and I'm getting back in the truck, the cop remembers that she's supposed to as "anything I need to worry about in the truck?". So I just grumbled and mumbled at her and we parted ways.

It's such bullshit. I don't mind being alerted to the fact that I had a burned out bulb, and I don't mind her writing a warning so that she can show what she was doing with her time, but turning every burned out bulb into a pretext annoys me. I'm sure she ran a warrants check, and that's fine. But that's no reason to turn every stop into a pretext for an open ended enuiry into everything. Did I mention that I hate America?


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:10 PM
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It looks to me like your position devolves into "DFHs have no right to remain silent, and may always be searched for drugs based merely upon their appearance." If they stand mute, they can be searched. If the answer, then their answer was clearly a lie (they were shifty-eyed and hesitant), and they can be searched. Needless to say, I find that position not to my taste.

This isn't quite right. Generally, there's no search permitted without probable cause, which requires more than demeanor. (Aggression towards the officer might lead to a frisk on reasonable suspicion of carrying a weapon, though, and there are lots of cases arguing about the results after a frisk just happens to turn up drugs.) But a dog-sniff isn't a search, at least not generally.

I think your basic point is that current law gives an officer an unhealthy amount of discretion based on demeanor observations that are basically impossible to contest. I think there's some force to that criticism. There's also a decent argument to be made that the general rule that a dog-sniff isn't a search has some undesirable consequences in terms of giving LEOs a strong incentive to get a dog to the scene and to find reasons to detain people long enough to get the dog to the scene.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:12 PM
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586.2 -- I think different people are indeed different on this. I'm pretty bad about birthday wishes generally, even to my nearest and dearest. I *mean* to call, but... Just a few weeks ago I was 90% of the way through a conversation with a friend I've had for 20 years when I remembered, "Oh, shit! Yesterday was your birthday!! I am such a schmuck, sorry!" She laughed and told me she had actually almost forgotten herself until it started seeming really weird how helpful her husband was being with the kids that morning, letting her sleep in and everything!

I don't like a ton of birthday hoopla -- I'll even ditch work to avoid the traditional cake thing. Not getting a card or anything from Rory more or less broke my heart, but short of that significant of a relationship, and especially in the circumstances you described, expecting birthday greeting is flat out unreasonable. (She can be privately disappointed, of course. But that's her problem, not yours.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:12 PM
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One of my friends was arrested, and put in the drunk tank for the night, because of the limp/swaying walk that he has because of CP. When I heard about it, I was completely outraged; he just shrugged it off.

Yeah. Don't want to sound bitter, but disability just isn't cool like race or gender or sexuality. Pity, that.

Di, you were just fine. You don't have to be as emo as an 18 year old when you're grown up.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:14 PM
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588: I had a vague impression that a cop could make you wait around for dog for a short period of time, with no strong sense of how short 'short' was

I don't want to overstate anyone's chances of success with an argument that an officer dragged out a roadside stop an extra five or ten minutes so that a dog could arrive, by the way. Especially because these cases are almost always litigated after it turned out that the motorist did have drugs in the car.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:15 PM
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I haven't been following this thread, but it seems to be somewhat fractious. Why not take a break with an OT gift bleg?!

What do you get today's bright, verbal, social 5-year-old for her birthday? (When asked what she wanted, she replied, "Cake." Which is awesomely non-materialistic, but her parents have that covered.)

Anyone know a great new (or not likely to be already owned) game or CD or what have you?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:16 PM
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here are lots of cases arguing about the results after a frisk just happens to turn up drugs.)

Those always struck me as absolute bullshit. A gun or a knife is (literally) palpably nothing like a baggie of drugs -- a weapons search that reveals drugs seems overwhelmingly likely to have been more intrusive that a mere frisk.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:17 PM
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Maybe something by these guys?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:17 PM
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596: I believe Terry got expanded since you and I were in law school allowing the cop to pat down for weapons *or* drugs.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:18 PM
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584: But I dunno--isn't a bit of indirectness OK?

No, not really. A bit of indirectness is fine, but not explaining yourself plainly is just asking for misunderstanding. If you're okay with that -- the failure of understanding -- then proceed with not saying what you mean; otherwise you pretty much have to come out and say it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:19 PM
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598: Terry isn't the only one. I've got expanded since school also. I blame either the Supreme Court or Yuengling.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:20 PM
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More cake? (check with parents first). From experience, a fairly factual dinosaur book with good pics is a good bet.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:20 PM
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I'd have to be made of stone to not feel some joy at the fact that the odds of me getting a traffic ticket are approaching zero.

If you weren't about to leave for work, and I wasn't technically on vacation, I'd pick a fight about this. IMO, either you think there's a good reason for a law and it should apply to everyone, or there isn't a good reason, and it shouldn't apply to anyone.

If speeding is a good thing to outlaw, then it's a very bad thing for police -- who already drive dangerous machinery for a living without nearly enough training -- to operate under the assumption they have a free pass from the financial and logistical consequences of speeding. If speeding is a stupid thing to have a law about (hello Montana), then it's wrong for non-police to get caught in a net that lets police through.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:21 PM
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I don't think I understand how Witt is so often right and yet is not Heebie.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:23 PM
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598: Really? I thought the rule was still that the frisk had to be justified by reasonable suspicion of a weapon but that if it happened to turn up contraband by "plain feel" (however implausible an explanation that may be) it could generate probable cause. Has there been a recent decision to the contrary? Or is "plain feel" the expansion you mean?


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:26 PM
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My position is that the cops can treat you the way they can treat you (search you if they have probable cause, stop you on reasonable suspicion), and they'll probably treat you better than they have to if you're actively co-operative.

Well, that's the nub of our disagreement.

I think that if the government can treat you worse if you assert your right to remain silent then the right is illusory. If they are only holding you as long as they otherwise would anyway - if they are waiting for the witness to get to you for an ID - that's fine. But being treated better for some reason that's supposed to be protected by the constitution, that I think is wrong. The Supreme Court may disagree, but that's their problem.

Another problem is that appearance and demeanor can always provide reasonable suspicion, and questioning cam always develop more facts to support that suspicion. Consent can always fix problems with illegal stops and searches. So there's always an incentive to question, and to threaten, and to escalate. The result is what happened to me, and I don't like it.

I think your basic point is that current law gives an officer an unhealthy amount of discretion based on demeanor observations that are basically impossible to contest.

And one effect is that certain classes of people - people who look like me, among other classes - are routinely deprived of liberties enjoyed by others. That this deprivation is based on allegedly protected acts. When I was young people who looked like me were reviled and oppressed because, in part, it was inferred that we opposed the war in Vietnam. Now we are oppressed and reviled (at least in Oklahoma) because it is assumed we are part of the anti-American left wing pinko commie homosexual agenda. I think that's wrong. It may not violate current SC doctrine, but it is wrong.

The only deterrent I can imagine is for more people like me, people who have the time and money and freedom to put up a stink, to stand on the principle. If that Oklahoma cop has to explain why he stopped 100 peopole and had the dog out 100 times and spent 100 hours doing it, and all he produced was 100 warnings for improper tag display, I think the tendency for law enforcement to push the boundaries might diminish. And I'll get a pony.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:29 PM
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597: Just what she needs! The "postmodern, irony-drenched aesthetic of '90s geek-rock."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:29 PM
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603: If Witt is so often right, then why hasn't she come up with the perfect gift suggestion for our cake-enamored birthday girl yet?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:30 PM
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C'mon, M/tch, she has the right to remain silent.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:33 PM
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Maybe the perfect gift question is a non-sequitur.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:34 PM
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Maybe we should get her one of those "Police Supporters Club" (or whatever it's called) stickers for her tricycle so she won't get pulled over for speeding?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:35 PM
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Give a kid a cake, and she'll have a sugar high for a day. Teach a kid to bake...

I have no idea how age-appropriate this is, but my sister and I were definitely helping (for some values of "helping") with baking by age 5.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:36 PM
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603: Witt and heebie have different jurisdictions of always-rightness. Where there is overlap, they always agree.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:37 PM
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The only deterrent I can imagine is for more people like me, people who have the time and money and freedom to put up a stink, to stand on the principle.

The thing is, I think that's right -- that by standing on your rights if you think the police are behaving unreasonably, you might conceivably be having some effect on their tendency to behave unreasonably. Doing what you do is probably a good thing. I just don't think that means your rights have been violated because they react differently to you than they would if you were cooperative, so long as their reaction remains within the bounds of acceptable policing.

A real problem with all the fourth amendment law is that there's no incentive or method for an innocent person to get redress for violations of their rights outside the most egregious situations. So all the cases have unsympathetic facts.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:38 PM
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595: Tickets to one of those Blues Clues/Dora/Sponge Bob Live! shows, if any are in town. Rory loved those things when she was 5. The Wiggles one was even entertaining, though I don't think they perform anymore.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:39 PM
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I'd have to be made of stone to not feel some joy at the fact that the odds of me getting a traffic ticket are approaching zero.

My nephew tells about getting pulled over one night for something like 80 in a 35 and being a bit concerned until he heard a voice on the officer's radio saying something like "he's OK, he's my cousin." I have complex feelings about stuff of that sort around here. As a matter of principle, it sucks. On the other hand, the small breaks given and received among people who live here and know each other is part of what keeps the place from turning completely into McParadise.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:41 PM
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614: Di, perhaps we should have mentioned that we actually like said birthday girl's parents?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:42 PM
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Doing what you do is probably a good thing. I just don't think that means your rights have been violated because they react differently to you than they would if you were cooperative, so long as their reaction remains within the bounds of acceptable policing.

Is there comity that the police conduct MHS described was not within the bounds of acceptable policing?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:43 PM
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If [...] I wasn't technically on vacation, I'd pick a fight about this.

So when you're on vacation you won't comment? Or you won't pick fights? Or you won't pick fights with TDR?

I'm curious what role the vacation is playing in this.

I've completed my work obligations for the week, and am therefore ostensibly on vacation. Yet here I am.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:44 PM
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615: NPH, would you mind explaining that a bit more. How does it prevent the place from becoming McParadise?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:44 PM
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616: You never know -- they may experience great delight, despite the horridness of said shows, in watching their child exhibit ridiculous amounts of glee. That said, a friend recently took his kids to a They Might Be Giants show, which sounded as fun for young as for old!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:45 PM
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Also, when I got pulled over I had been doing 30 or so in the very last bit of a 15 mph zone.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:45 PM
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611: Good suggestion (my sibs and I also started baking with my mom when we were little), but her parents are not bakers, more's the pity. They go for the store-bought cakes -- which is anathema to me because it's not my family's tradition, which is always right.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:45 PM
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604: Right, Minnesota v. Dickerson (1993): can't pat down for drugs, but if in the course of the weapon frisk the officer encounters something that, by feel, is plainly contraband, the seizure is ok; but as soon as it's clear it's not a weapon, no more fiddling. Fairly sure that's still the applicable rule. Applied in good faith I have no idea how any Terry-stop drug seizure could ever pass muster.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:45 PM
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617: A forty-five minute wait for the dog? Yes, not acceptable. I'm relying on the other lawyers for that -- I started this conversation with a vague impression that being detained without arrest for under an hour or so had been found to be reasonable. But given that I was wrong about that, the cop was out of line.

But if he'd gotten the dog there within the time of the traffic stop, having the dog sniff the car because of Schneider's unwillingness to answer questions, even if a reassuring "No, no drugs" would have avoided the sniffing, would IMO not have been wrongful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:47 PM
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... so long as their reaction remains within the bounds of acceptable policing.

Right. I'm trying to change the boundaries of acceptable policing. One cranky curmudgeonly "get off my 4th amendment lawn" cane waving interaction at a time. I do think that the law responds to changing social realities, and to the extent that social realities are made by individual decisions, I'm choosing my decisions on the basis of where I think the law should go rather than where the SC thinks it happens to be today.

there's no incentive or method for an innocent person to get redress for violations of their rights

Also right. To be tendentious again, as long as the powerless can always be correctly identified by visual cues, the powerless will always be kicked around. It's time for the more powerful to go undercover, as masked avengers! As it says in the song "everyone must get to look like DFHs"


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:48 PM
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Kraab, maybe you could create a gift certificate with an offer to bake something together. Maybe she knows that you guys offer better cakes than her parents.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:48 PM
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622: If your family's tradition starts commenting, make sure its jurisdiction doesn't fully overlap with Witt's and Heebie's.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:49 PM
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623: that, by feel, is plainly contraband,

Yeah, this is the point where I start muttering "bullshit" -- I cannot imagine how something could, by feel, be 'plainly' contraband. Plainly a weapon, sure, but plainly drugs?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:50 PM
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"Do you know who I am?" definitely works if the next sentence is, "Because I'm the child of the mayor/chief of police."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:50 PM
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623: I'm thinking something post-Dickerson, but I'm not sure what... I just remember getting the question in BAR/BRI and the instructor giving an answer that went well beyond what I thought Terry, etc. permit and being told, "Oh yeah, two months ago the court held ___." This was early 1999. I'd remember it more clearly, but in my experience handling this stuff on appeal, the testimony was so remarkably clear cut in establishing grounds for whatever search that it was never really worthwhile to get into the details.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:50 PM
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So when you're on vacation you won't comment? Or you won't pick fights? Or you won't pick fights with TDR?

I'm on vacation (we closed early today in anticipation of the holiday weekend) but I'm at the office. So getting sucked into an Internet argument on a complex topic that is likely to lead to many exchanges is contraindicated, given that I'd like to get some stuff done and get home by 7ish.

which is anathema to me because it's not my family's tradition, which is always right.

Darn skippy.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:52 PM
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625: "It's time for the more powerful to go undercover, as masked avengers! As it says in the song "everyone must get to look like DFHs""

I suppose I qualify as 'more powerful' at least in the area of search and seizure law. But, I like wearing Brooks Brothers (btw, their sale ends today), wouldn't dream of letting my hair get long, and prefer regular old drunkedness to any of the alternatives. I enjoy driving late model SUVs (the ride is so much better), nice kitchen appliances, and keeping my driveway clean.

Don't try to constrain me with your powerless trip.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:53 PM
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617: I'm not sure I have a full grasp of the facts, but the length of the detention appears to have been excessive, and MHS also seems to be saying that his car was searched on the basis of a "pretend" dog alert, which I take to be one in which the dog didn't really alert but the officer claimed that it did. If so, that's completely unacceptable.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:53 PM
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632 was me. Sorry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:53 PM
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623, 628: But the whole problem is that once the cops feel the drugs, they've got probable cause (no longer just reasonable suspicion) to expand the frisk into a full-on search and reach into your pocket. Right? And it doesn't have to be "plainly" drugs, just reasonably likely to be drugs, in light of all the circumstances, including their training and experience, etc...


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:54 PM
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626: Good idea, but problem is that they live in Houston, three hours plus drive from Austin.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:54 PM
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Huh. I probably have it at home -- 1999 was my last year of law school, and I took a seminar where we wrote 'briefs' for all the hot cases in front of the Court that term, and I do remember a Terry case, but not any specifics. But I think I'd remember if Terry had been explicitly expanded to a patdown for drugs as well as weapons -- the rationale, to protect the safety of the officer, would be shot to hell.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:54 PM
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I agree with everything Heebie and Witt have said in this thread.


Posted by: Sir Kraab's Family Tradition | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:54 PM
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632 is an instance of Skockholm syndrome. Truly, you have internalized the oppression.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:55 PM
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Although I am planning on baking a peach cobbler and a rhubarb cobbler and maybe even a peach&rhubarb cobbler tonight to take to the festivities.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:56 PM
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or Stoctholm syndrome.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:57 PM
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626: A very good suggestion . . . except she lives in Houston. That would be really fun, though. I love baking with kids. It's one of the most palpable ways I feel like I'm connecting one generation to another.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:58 PM
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I describe it as pretend because I couldn't tell if it was dropping the big pile of turds next to the passenger door that was the signal, or sitting down when the other cop made a gesture, or something else. I do know that there had been no drugs in that truck for at least a decade, unless there were traces on some of the stuff I'd gotten used at Goodwill or the flea market.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:59 PM
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629: "Do you know who I am?" worked out very badly for an Illinois Supreme Court justice a few years back.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:00 PM
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I love baking with kids too, but only local, humanely raised ones.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:00 PM
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639: Alright, I was lying about the driveway and kitchen.

But 3 non-iron button-down shirts for $160. They look crisp, neat (except that one I'm wearing - sandwich related accident) and really last. I don't think I've internalized the oppression so much as was trying to become the oppression, but it started to seem like too much work. I do have two sibling who are prosecutors.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:01 PM
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619: Barriers to entry, basically: local culture defending itself by making it hard for outsiders to just buy their way in. I'd rather the breaks go to a kid with no money whose cousin happens to be on duty that night than to the guy who looks like he has too much money to fuck with.

624, 628: Agreed (subject to general exception to the War on Drugs).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:01 PM
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630: My first criminal procedure class was early 1999, and I got to be good friends with Terry a few years after that. I'm reasonably sure there's no case dating back that far that permitted a frisk for the purpose of finding drugs. I believe there are lower-court cases holding that drug-dealing activity can without more support reasonable suspicion that a person is carrying a weapon, but that doesn't sound like what you're thinking of, and the resulting frisk would still be for the purpose of finding weapons, not drugs.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:03 PM
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648: "reasonably sure there's no case" --> "reasonably sure there's no Supreme Court case"


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:05 PM
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Hm, gifts for a five-year-old. BG's idea is not bad at all. Alternatives...

1. Does she like concerts? And I don't mean children's music. Around here you can take a toddler to an event like this with great success. Assuming said toddler likes music.

2. Is there a nature center or arboretum nearby? An outing with Aunt Krabb and Uncle M/lls might give her a fun opportunity to explore, and give her parents some time off.

3. Do you have time to order something from LB's favorite, American Science & Surplus? Lots of silly stuff there.

4. Books? I'm always a fan of The Enormous Egg, retro though it is. Eloise, if she likes that brand of humor. Pippi Longstocking, if she's got a parent with the patience and verve to read it aloud properly. Ummm....I'll come up with others.

5. A puppet? This gets kind of expensive, but there are some downright gorgeous ones out there. I'm trying to remember the place I was in at Christmas that had a bunch. Not Sierra Club, not Nature Conservancy. One of those national store chains that has a lot of wildlife-related stuff.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:06 PM
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643: If he's giving the dog a signal to alert, then yeah, completely unlawful. I'm not saying that doesn't happen, either. Tough to prove, though.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:07 PM
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Godd suggestions, Witt. However, re: 1,2&3, birthday girl lives in Houston (three plus hours away), her birthday is this weekend, and we're leaving for there tomorrow morning.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:10 PM
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I often enjoy this guy's blog -- a sociologist who spent some time in the Baltimore PD. Thoughtful cops, like our resident one, generally have very interesting perspectives on search and seizure questions, and those perspectives are especially salutary if your training is as a lawyer.

I'm not remotely a criminal law expert, but one thing I am now convinced of is that sentiments like Witt's 602 are a pipe dream -- there is, and will always be enormous discretion in enforcing the law. It's simply impossible to do good law enforcement otherwise, because reality is just too complicated. Indeed, you want cops to be able to exercise considerable discretion. The trick is to be able to make sure that the discretion is based on common sense and protection of the public good -- and there are decent ways of doing so, sometimes through constitutional law, but, far more importantly, through basic institutional changes in police departments. For example, Moskos, the guy linked above, argues that you could see enormously positive changes if you simply rearranged the way in which cops get paid for making court appearances.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:11 PM
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Also, real stuff of any variety is always a hit. When you're five it's generally pretty important to you to have what the adults have -- trowel, safe, jewelry box, office supplies...depends on the individual child what the category is, but you could always ask her parents what fascinates her these days.

I'm trying to think of other books. Everything is a few years too old. Five is really context-dependent. Is she fierce about wanting to read on her own, or happy cuddling up and listening to someone?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:11 PM
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Tough to prove, though.

That's another problem.

Story I heard from a friend: Voir dire. Standard question "we'll have testimony from Officer Name in this case. You wouldn't give his tesimony any more or any less credibility merely because he is a policeman?"
Potential juror: "Yes, that officer I would. I know him. I've seen him testify. I've watched him lie through his teeth under oath. I wouldn't believe a single thing he said"

I don't remember whether this tainted the whole pool. I hope not.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:14 PM
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I'm trying to think of other books.

Seriously, what I said in 601. I was given my first kid's science book on my 5th birthday, and that sorted all my presents for the next 8 years.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:15 PM
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Five year olds usually love ferrets.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:16 PM
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sentiments like Witt's 602 are a pipe dream an ideal to always strive towards


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:17 PM
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sentiments like Witt's 602 are a pipe dream -- there is, and will always be enormous discretion in enforcing the law.

I don't think we're in disagreement. The question is whether the discretion is applied fairly, based on circumstances rather than based on skin color or gender or whatever. (I realize I'm making that sound much easier than it is.)

If one's argument is "The law is basically a good idea, such that it's worth having on the books, but we aren't going to throw the book at every technical violation," that STILL doesn't have to mean "Police officers and/or pretty women get an automatic free pass."

Remember that case last year where the black family was driving frantically to a hospital to get there in time to say goodbye to someone, and the cop was a jerk to the husband and kept him standing outside in the hospital parking lot while the person died? That's an example where using discretion -- oh look, I could enforce a traffic violation, but this person has just pulled into a hospital parking lot and given me a very plausible explanation -- would be fine, and it's quite arguable (given that the officer was later fired) that the reason he didn't exercise his discretion was plain old-fashioned racism.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:18 PM
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The solution is obviously for you guys to relocate to Houston. Happy Birthday! We're moving in!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:20 PM
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This game was a hit with my ~5-year-old cousin (and her siblings, both older and younger). The folks at Games People Play in Harvard Square, who generally know their stuff very well, said that they've had good reports on pretty much all the games in that series.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:21 PM
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rearranged the way in which cops get paid for making court appearances.

Yeah, the current policy where a conviction results in a $10k bonus, but an acquittal results in losing a week's pay really seems to screw up the incentives....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:22 PM
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661: That is indeed a fun game for that age group. And since I was going to stop by a game store to see about picking up a game for the father (his birthday is this weekend too), I could get that at the same time. Gabardine, you're a genius!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:24 PM
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To follow up on OFE, the Usborne science books are generally very good.* Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness books used to be outstanding, but has gotten a lot more uneven.

Ooh! David Macauley! Is she at all into that sort of thing?

*Although I'm realizing that the only one I've given recently is about where babies come from, which I've already mentioned here.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:24 PM
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650: I love Pippi Longstocking! (And my great-grandmother's name was Astrid.)

She definitely likes to be read to, so it's a good idea to think about books above her age level. I'm amazed at how patient my 4-year-old niece and nephew have become with long stories with few pictures.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:25 PM
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Not cake, but chocolate? I think this game is great. The pieces are really nice to play with. I know a 5 year old who enjoys it, and my 6 year old is at the level of the harder puzzles.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:25 PM
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The solution is obviously for you guys to relocate to Houston.

"you guys" s/b "them"
"Houston" s/b "Austin


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:25 PM
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The game in 661 looks excellent. Bookmark! Thanks, Gabardine.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:27 PM
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Thanks, everyone. Between the bookstore and the game store, I think we'll definitely be able to use one of these suggestions. Except the ferrets.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:29 PM
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Glad to be of service.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:29 PM
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No ferrets???

But honey . . . .


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:29 PM
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672

(670 to 668---not taking credit for everyone else's excellent suggestions)


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:30 PM
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669: Nobody ever wants ferrets. I've got breeding stock and a pile of tube mailers (with airholes), but no customers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:31 PM
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no justice, no peace no ferrets, no grilled cheese sandwiches cake


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:32 PM
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I could maybe get you a mongoose, but overnight delivery takes two days from here.

OT: I have had it with these motherfucking bacteria in my motherfucking bronchia!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:32 PM
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673: I'll order half a dozen if you'll guarantee they're personally delivered to Rudy Giuliani.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:32 PM
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661: The player with the fewest moose wins

That's not how we play it in my house.

Ooh, actually, that reminds me of a game that Iris was recently given. There's a bunch of objects and characters, several in each of ~8 fairy tale categories (hero, villain, magic object, etc.). Each player gets a background (castle, forest, etc.) and takes turns spinning to pick an object from the categories. The ostensible goal is to get one object for each category, but the cool part is that, once you have all 8 objects, you make up a story involving them all. The objects and characters are a blend of archetypes (witch, magic wand), well-known (Puss-in-Boots, pumpkin carriage), and invented (magic feather?), so the kid has to make new connections, not just plug in to a known story.

I'd provide a link if I could recall the damn name....


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:32 PM
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676: He's my one customer so far. Standing order for two a day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:38 PM
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659 -- OK, comity! I think I completely agree with you, then.

Since Were's an interesting example/limit case in how police actually work. Apparently, cops in Baltimore, and in many other places, used to have a way of dealing kids who served as drug "look outs." These kids were basically completely immune in the real world from prosecution. So the cops would take them on long "ride outs," dropping them off without a way back 20-30 miles from home. In effect, it served as a kind of low-grade punishment or threat point for daily interactions on the street. Now cell phones are killing the effectiveness of the punishment.

The lawyer in me screams "totally illegal and improper extra-judicial punishment," and I guess that's where I'd come down on the issue, but I can definitely see how from the cop on the street's perspective that kind of technique might be extremely useful for maintaining a delicate social balance -- and less intrusive than other, more seriously harmful methods. I really don't envy a cops' job.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:38 PM
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This talk of drug dogs reminds me of an amusing anectdote about the birthday family.

They just had their second child in January. The wife is from China and her English name is Molly. Molly's parents flew in from Shanghai for the birth and to help with childcare for about the first six months.

One morning Molly and her mother went out walking with the baby. Molly's father then decided that he wanted to join them, but he didn't know which way they had gone. So, he turned to the family dog.

Now, this dog, Congee by name, is one of the nicest, best mannered dogs in the world, but he isn't a scent hound and has had no training in anything like that.

But Molly's father hasn't had much experience with dogs, not even as food, so he figured that all dogs were skilled at scent tracking. He took a piece of the baby's clothing and waved it in front of the dog's nose, then set off with him on the hunt.

Sure enough, Congee successfully lead him directly to the dog park.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:43 PM
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||

I just read the following with less than full attention (thanks, Mineshaft!) and construed it as a string of epithets:

"homoacetogenic, sulfur-reducing, sulfate-reducing... fumarate-reducing bacteria."

To say nothing of the latte-sipping archaea.

|>


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:44 PM
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Wow, 679 reached the Yglesias zone of incoherent typos and bad grammar. At least I'm not getting paid for this!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:48 PM
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679: I'm guessing by "immune in the real world from prosecution" means, more or less, can only be prosecuted as juveniles and therefore mostly get a slap on the wrist. Which, you know, there's a reason for having a separate juvenile justice system so no sympathy for these cops who think they get to come up with their own system. Alternatively, it could mean that it's nigh impossible to actually prove their involvement as accomplices. Which also not a reason to justify extra-judicial punishments...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:48 PM
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The lawyer in me screams "totally illegal and improper extra-judicial punishment,"

Yeah, I can't say I get past that reaction on this one.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 2:57 PM
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The first item on the American Science and Surplus page is "Squeezable Steel":

a steel-filled, 2-part epoxy resin and hardener. Can be used on any metal, wood, glass, concrete or rigid plastic. Sets in 4 minutes.

A 5-year-old would LOVE some of that.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:02 PM
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Pop-up dinosaur book. Jenga. Wooden labyrinth game. How much gift depnends on how saturated the kid is-- kids with more stuff already should get less.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:08 PM
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Adding to the discussion about police discretion, German has the term Rechtssicherheit which translates roughly as legal certainty. It's the idea that one deserves certainty about the legality of one's actions (I'm not sure if this is clear). Related to the discussion about police discretion, I think there is a crucial difference between discretion to hassle or "throw the book" at someone and discretion to be lenient. I have a much bigger problem with the former than then latter because the former encroaches the right to be certain that one hasn't done anything wrong.


Posted by: BA | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:11 PM
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If you're getting a pet as a gift you're really fucking the parents, so might as well do it right: A Walrus.

Also: Fancy Man Enjoys Tea


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:13 PM
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A frilly boa for dress-up.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:15 PM
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I think you're right that that distinction is crucial, but it's not a clear distinction. Traffic law is an area where I think cops have the bad kind of discretion -- everyone always speeds at least somewhat, so a cop can always ticket you if he feels like it, and this invites the possibility of Driving While Black (or While a DFH) tickets and the like. That 'no unaccompanied adults in playgrounds' reg, I think invites the good kind of discretion -- generally, we'd really prefer that playgrounds were reserved for the enjoyment of kids rather than allowing adults to crowd them out, but it's good for a cop to have the option not to ticket Bostonian Girl for harmlessly playing on the swings in a manner that doesn't interfere with the kids' access to them.

But I don't quite know how to distinguish clearly between the two situations.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:17 PM
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683 -- The piece linked in 679 claims that the effective immunity comes from the fact that the local DA would have an impossible time making a case against someone who just shouted "Hey" every time the cops roll by. Therefore, at least in Baltimore, the claim is that the DA would never bring the case. So, if the blog entry is right -- and I don't have any independent knowledge -- the choice is between doing something like a ride-out and doing nothing at all.

I agree that the cops acted wrongly in this case-- and would certainly agree that they acted illegally. My point isn't that the cops are justified in taking kids along for ride outs -- that obviously couldn't scale to a general principle and is wide open for abuse. But I often find lawyers, and folks who engage in overly legalistic analysis of policing a bit myopic.

There's a huge gap between what is needed for developing effective prosecutions and what is needed for actually "policing" a neighborhood on a daily basis.
Part of the professionalism of most cops is being good at bridging that gap without needing to do things like ride-outs, but I have real respect for the kinds of social management skills cops need to have to do their jobs effectively, which is often something lawyers ignore.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:20 PM
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690: I'm not claiming it's the only consideration. I think applying it to traffic law only gets you that if you're not speeding, then cops shouldn't be able to use some pretense to pull you over.


Posted by: BA | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:23 PM
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691: Now that we've all watched The Wire (well, I'm still on season 4), we can describe this as the difference between Carver and Herk.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:25 PM
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Heh, I'm up to s4e8, and I'm more than little bit in love with Carver.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:32 PM
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everyone always speeds at least somewhat

Actually, no. When I got stopped in Oklahoma on the Interstate I had the cruise control set to 5 mph below the speed limit. That's why the cop had to invent the claim about the registration tag being partially obscured (it wasn't in any meaningful way). When I got stopped by the Wyoming (Utah?) cop waiting behind the tree at the edge of town, where the speed limit drops from 55 to 35, I had my speed down to 30 when I passed the 35mph sign. So the cop had to claim that he knew that NM required a front license plate to justify his stop (NM doesn't). When the cop in Utah pulled me over I was well under the speed limit, so he had to claim that I'd crossed the white line on the right side (possible - we were touristing, and admiring the scenery) and so he'd thought I might be drunk.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:36 PM
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He's lovely to look at, certainly. It's fascinating watching Carver and Herk, who started out as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, move away from each other.

And Prezby as a teacher is killing me. I never had actual violence in class, but I had exactly that little control over my classrooms. He seems to be becoming beloved and respected, though, and I never got there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:37 PM
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695: Huh. Driving noticeably under the speed limit would seem weird enough to me that I wouldn't be surprised if that were part of the reason you got pulled over; not breaking the law, but driving oddly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:38 PM
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dropping them off without a way back 20-30 miles from home.

Yet every time I take a sinful altar boy to a secluded spot 30 miles outside of town everyone acts as if I'm doing something wrong. There's a war on Christianity


Posted by: OPINIONATED PRIEST | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:39 PM
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695: Driving a late model SUV stops most of that. Plus the ride on the newer Jeeps is so much better than the old ones (the back seat, not so much) and the full-time all-wheel drive is very useful when you live in a city that can't afford to plow snow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:41 PM
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||

OK, finally signed up for FB, looking around like everyone does. The goth girl from HS has a pic of herself wearing angel wings while sitting on a tombstone. Dude! It's been 20 years!

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:44 PM
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699: I seriously wanted to get a new truck with air conditioning when my old one died. But I'm actually getting 30 mpg or better on the highway with this 1995 (it has 260,000 miles), and the new Toyota Tacomas are claiming EPA estimates of about 22 or less. I couldn't see paying a whole lot more for a truck with worse mileage and less or equal cargo space, not to mention having to pay for collision insurance. This truck is the one I was stopped in all those times. It belonged to my partner then, but she decided she wanted a van.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:46 PM
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701: Yea, I've got a 95 Jeep that gets much better milage than the new one. Somebody told me that improving emissions reduced gas mileage.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:51 PM
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Somebody told me that improving emissions reduced gas mileage.

I believe that to be bullshit. With the new Tacomas they're taller, wider, heavier, with more fancy gizmos, better sound systems, and you can't get the long (7'10") bed that I had on the 85 Toyota pickup. What they now call a long bed is 6'. That's what I have now, on the 95. So when I go to Lowe's this evening to buy some 10' boards I'll have to tie them to the ski rack on the roof of the cab instead of letting them stick a foot and a half out the back of the bed.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 3:59 PM
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The piece linked in 679 claims that the effective immunity comes from the fact that the local DA would have an impossible time making a case against someone who just shouted "Hey" every time the cops roll by.

Which translates to, "The kid won't be charged because the evidence wouldn't be sufficient to convict. But the cop has decided guilt and is imposing a punishment without proper judicial process." Which further translates to, yeah, not garnering any sympathy from me. If it's that clear that the kid is guilty, then there's enough evidence to prosecute and convict. If it's "impossible to make a case" the constitution protects the little punk from government-imposed punishment. Period. This is not arguable.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 4:02 PM
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697: Things that cops will say are suspicious: Driving above the speed limit. Driving below the speed limit. Driving exactly at the speed limit. All are routinely used as (partial) justification for suspicion of drug trafficking.


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 4:12 PM
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704: That's in part because simply shouting "hey" isn't a crime, I think. I expect you'd have to show it was done with knowledge of the criminal activity and with the intent to aid the criminal activity. But it's been many decades since I took criminal law.

I remember reading about people being arrested for blinking their headlights to warn oncoming traffic that they (the blinkers) had just passed a speed trap that the blinkees were now approaching. I don't remember the charge, or how it turned out.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 4:26 PM
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From way upthread:

I suppose I qualify as 'more powerful' at least in the area of search and seizure law. But, I like wearing Brooks Brothers (btw, their sale ends today), wouldn't dream of letting my hair get long, and prefer regular old drunkedness to any of the alternatives. I enjoy driving late model SUVs (the ride is so much better), nice kitchen appliances, and keeping my driveway clean.

As a DFH, I would have more sympathy for this attitude if Brooks Brothers hadn't had such a really lamentable fall-off in quality. They can keep their sales, if you ask me. It was so disappointing to grow up believing that Brooks Brothers was a font of boring, old-school roman virtue sartorial correctness and then to see their actual, sad women's clothes. Then to see even those sad women's clothes decline in quality through the late nineties.

In fact, the whole wealth/capitalism/success paradigm would have a lot more allure for me if a greater percentage of wealthy capitalists had higher standards. What exactly is the point of exploiting people, destroying the planet, etc, when even a three- or four-hundred dollar pair of shoes doesn't hold up and the couture (the couture!) lines leather bags with synthetic?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 4:50 PM
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In fact, the whole wealth/capitalism/success paradigm would have a lot more allure for me if a greater percentage of wealthy capitalists had higher standards.

Be the change you want to see in the world Frowner. Start a line of bags that is lined with only the best leather made from clubbed baby seals.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 4:54 PM
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707.last: I feel your pain. If there's one thing I hate more than pretentious crap, it's pretentious crap of low quality. And murderers. But mostly the crappy crap.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 4:55 PM
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707: Until a year or two ago, I would have defended Brooks Brothers as being well tailored for my somewhat unusual build -- dull clothes, but a lot of them looked great on me. Something happened two years ago, though, and everything sucks now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 4:57 PM
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I didn't think anything from Brooks Brothers would ever fit me, but I bought some T-shirts from them (not a high-end purchase or anything) which fit well and have held up.

The company that's really gotten crappy is the Gap. In the early 90's they had wonderful Merino wool sweaters, and they always had the classics. Their jeans also fit me well--I bought their jeans even 3 and 4 years ago---but the regular ones started to wear out in the crotch quite quickly.

Now I go in occasionally, because something looks good in the window, but it always turns out to be flimsy. I saw some T-shirts that were so thin and barely stitched. Undershirts are of better quality. Banana Republic's not bad, but it's so much more expensive. Every now and again I can find dress pants with a lining, but usually they don't have them. If the list price is over $100, they ought to have a lining.

(I am currently struggling to find dress pants that would look nice in a slightly-less-than suit sort of office with a knit blouse top or a blazer. Knit tops are also hard to come by. The nicest one I've ever had was a hand-me down Christian Dior one.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:07 PM
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This truck is the one I was stopped in all those times.

Weird. I also have a 95 Tacoma, and my only bad experiences with cops happened while driving it. In the Prius, I'm sterling.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:12 PM
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Men who live in certain cities can get their suits custom-made by people based in Hong Kong who come to the States and set up shop in hotels. I think it's exploitative, but the quality's better. You could bring in a catalogue of what you like and ask them to make it. Here's an example. Apparently, they do make women's suits too.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:12 PM
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Exploitative, like you know working conditions for the workers are worse than for off-the-shelf garment workers, or how?

I've always thought about doing that, but wouldn't feel comfortable without a word of mouth recommendation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:16 PM
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Weird. I also have a 95 Tacoma, and my only bad experiences with cops happened while driving it. In the Prius, I'm sterling.

If I didn't know better, I might think that a Prius was a Swipple car while an old pickup truck is either blue collar, DFH, or punk kids. But that would be wrong.

I may still have some Brooks Brothers shirts bought new from their store in the late 60s or early 70s. Wonderful shirts. All cotton, but so smooth and tight a weave theat they almost feel like silk. It's not like it was back in the good old days, when the Warren court and the Kerner commission agreed that cops do behave badly sometimes.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:20 PM
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Probably not worse than for off-the-shelf garments. Many of them outsource to mainland China, so the ones made in Hong Kong probably have slightly higher standards. Right, garment workers' working conditions suck. I think that you can buy ethically-made garments, and I was thinking that someone like Frowner might buy those.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:23 PM
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Jesus, how was your beer with Emerson?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:25 PM
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715: Thing is, I'd think that a Tacoma in reasonably good condition is a Swipple pickup. A crappy old Ford Ranger or some such, well, you'd have to be trash to drive that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:25 PM
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717: Haven't had it yet, or even set a date. There's still time for you to hop a plane and join us, BG.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:27 PM
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Right, garment workers' working conditions suck.

I didn't realize until I checked wikipedia a moment ago that NYU now owns the Triangle Shirtwaist factory building. Is there a plaque? We're coming up on the 100th anniversary.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:27 PM
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718: I've been told, by people who know, that anything 14 years old is trash, unless it's a classic and perfectly restored. Not trash from the utilitarian perspective, but trash from the point of view of signalling one's status.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:29 PM
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720: I can't remember if there is a plaque, but the anniversary is always marked by the students who leave notes on the corner and a rose with the name of each woman who died written on it. I always mention it in class.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:29 PM
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LB--- you could go in and get something small--like a shirt and see whether they did a good job.

about.com recommends these people at raja fashions.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:30 PM
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722: thank you. I'm glad to know that. I don't think the event is as well known out here.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:31 PM
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707, etc.: Yes, I should have clarified that I was speaking of the Brooks Brother's men's line. I know very little about women's clothing, at least the aspects of it that would be of interest to the purchaser/wearer. Don't know about suits either as I haven't needed a new one in years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:33 PM
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703: What I had heard was specifically about the old standard Jeep 4 liter straight 6 that was replaced (for all but the Jeep Jeeps) with the 3.7L V6 of roughly identical horse power. The old Cherokees get better gas mileage than the new, smaller Liberties with the V6. Somebody tried to explain this to me and I admit I got confused in parts and I was hardly hearing expert testimony. But the thrust was for some EPAish reason, Jeep had to stop using the straight 6 and go with the less efficient V6.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:40 PM
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716: Now that more bicycling, oppression by the Man, and veganism have made me just a little smaller, I get most stuff from the thrift store. I'm hoping that the ethical clothing market will expand (both in terms of sizes offered, since a lot of places stop around size 12, and in terms of styles since a lot of women's stuff is veryvery femmey) so that if I ever again have money for new clothes (things are a bit tight right now) I can buy that sort of thing. Shoes, OTOH, are still hilariously expensive, socially responsible and German, although there won't be any new ones for a while.

There's a pretty good variety of ethical clothing from makers on etsy, particularly if you're in the market for dresses.

I was shocked--shocked!--to acquire a genuine though second hand Bottega Veneta bag with a beautiful suede exterior and a vinyl lining. So sad. I thought they were quality.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:40 PM
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A friend of mine who is a doctor got rid of his mid 90's Subaru and bought a 97 Ford truck. He wanted to have one before they went out of business, and I think he's been wanting one for a long time. He tells himself that this is a stop gap vehicle until electric cars get really good. I can not imagine him getting hassled by the police ever. He'd probably be incredibly cooperative, though.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:44 PM
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He does live in a fancy area of Boston, and some of his neighbors complained about his bicycle. He refrained from saying that all the fanciest neighborhoods in Berlin have bicycles in them, but he wanted to.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:45 PM
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some of his neighbors complained about his bicycle

!?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:46 PM
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731

I think that they wanted it in his condo unit instead of in their alley. Yes, it's ridiculous.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:48 PM
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732

This bit of police action in San Diego at a Francine Busby campaign event on private property sounds nuts.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 5:58 PM
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733

Completely nuts. One detail that struck me, from the SD News-Trib account:

Seven guests were arrested for taking photos with a cell phone camera and talking back to an officer
I've heard about this before, but a person can be arrested for taking a photo in that situation? Doubleyou tee eff, dude.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:11 PM
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BG/LB, my dad gets suits made by one of those guys, and I'm pretty sure that both Boston and NYC are on his circuit. If you're interested, I can try to dig up the name and info.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:15 PM
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emdash, I'm definitely interested.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:19 PM
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736

As am I.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 6:27 PM
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Noble House Custom Tailors. I've personally been fitted by Vijay Wadhwani, but the suit didn't work out* so I can't unreservedly recommend him. My dad has had much better luck. They have a few different guys who cover different regions, it seems.

* I was the last appointment of the day, and he was in a rush, and I ended up with a fabric that made me look like the Man in the Yellow Hat. On the plus side, I seem to recall they didn't end up charging me for the debacle.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:09 PM
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721:

718: I've been told, by people who know, that anything 14 years old is trash, unless it's a classic and perfectly restored. Not trash from the utilitarian perspective, but trash from the point of view of signalling one's status.

Dude. Doood. Anything more than 10 years old is trash from the point of view of signalling one's status. Ideally, your car should have been tailor-made.

(But yes, I take your point; a friend has had a hell of time getting his 1987 Isuzu Trooper worked on. It's a great car -- though I just asked my friend to remind me what year it was, and when I explained that people were discussing the relative value of older cars, he said flatly, "They're worthless.")


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:10 PM
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When I was in a car dealership buying my current car, someone came in to trade in a pink Datsun 1973 station wagon with under 50,000 miles on it. I don't remember how much they got for it, but it was greater than zero.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:19 PM
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Banana Republic's not bad, but it's so much more expensive

Considering that BR is the high-rent Gap, that's not so surprising.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:24 PM
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741

What's the high-rent BR?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:31 PM
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J. Crew is slightly more expensive on many items than BR. But the canonical order of things for mass retailers is that the same company owns Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic, and clearly has a similar design manifesto running through the three outlets, in increasing levels of "quality."

I think once you're out of BR price range you're probably buying the mass produced labels - BCBG, etc - or smaller boutique brands, or the cheaper brands of major designers (DKNY, Marc, etc.).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:37 PM
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Excuse me, that should be:

buying the mass produced labels available at department stores.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:38 PM
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739: Low mileage is important, is it not? I'm currently trying to come up with a value for a 2000 Chevy S10 pickup with 80,000 miles on it. I'm thinking that that's low mileage for a nine year old car, so the value should be higher than blue book? I don't really know how to determine blue book value in the first place, however; hopefully this is readily available online.

But I was told that low mileage can actually be a negative, as these were probably city miles, more wear and tear, so the car is probably prime for work needing to be done on it. That makes sense, but is, well, a bummer.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:38 PM
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The blue book has an online site where you can punch in all the factors (used, good condition, mileage, accessories, etc.) and it spits out a value.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:41 PM
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746

My apartment is a low-rent house, a high-rent mini storage unit, and/or a medium-rent (adjusting for demographics and location) apartment.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:44 PM
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746: But what about the quality of your goddamned tee-shirts, Otto? Not to mention your crew-necked sweaters?

745 - thanks, Di.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:51 PM
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748

744.2 doesn't make a lot of sense to me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:53 PM
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742: Interesting.

once you're out of BR price range you're probably buying the mass produced labels

The term "label" as used here seems to mean something more specific than simply the mark on the clothing. I hadn't realized that certain classes of clothiers counted as labels while others didn't (though I probably wouldn't have called Old Navy a label, were you to have asked me). What makes a brand of clothing a label? The association with one particular famed designer? Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein are both labels, correct? Or is "label" purely a term that is applied to a higher tier of clothing than J. Crew?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:54 PM
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747: Today I wore a crew-necked sweater from the high-rent Gap on top of a T-shirt from the standard-rent Gap. My pants were purchased at the high-rent Banana Republic. I fear I am not enough of a discerning consumer to feel comfortable offering commentary on the quality of these items.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:57 PM
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749: I'm not sure. I should know more about the fashion industry given how many fashion magazines I consume (not that you'd ever know to look at me). I tend to use it to refer to a specific branded line as opposed to the in-house brand; for instance, Macy's has some relatively generic in-house brands, but also carries things that you will probably be able to purchase at other department stores, such as Kenneth Cole, etc. It is often associated with a person or a specific independent company, in my mind. So, I do count J. Crew as a label, but not the Jacqueline Smith stuff at K-Mart because without K-Mart she wouldn't have a clothing line. I presume this is idiosyncratic usage, though. Quick, someone else help!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:58 PM
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748: Oh, thanks. I was being charitable to the idea, which is plausible on its face; but I admit I wondered about the soundness of the advice not to try to raise the price too much based on low mileage.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:02 PM
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744

But I was told that low mileage can actually be a negative, as these were probably city miles, more wear and tear, so the car is probably prime for work needing to be done on it. That makes sense, but is, well, a bummer.

Another issue with low mileage cars is the possibility that the low mileage isn't real.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:03 PM
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752: Just to be clear, I have no specific knowledge of selling trucks. Not setting the price too high sounds like plausible advice given the recession and my experience with 10 year old GM products. If I'm looking at a used truck, I'm going to assume that the miles were hard miles regardless of how many there are.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:10 PM
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Ethically, are you off the hook for deplorable workers conditions if you buy the item second-hand?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:10 PM
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I know that Banana Republic is their higher-end line, but it used to be fancier than it is now too, and the quality gap wasn't as big once as it is now. Banana Republic isn't as stylish as BCBG--which I've been able to afford at their outlet store. It's all last year's stuff, but I don't care, whereas the Banana Republic Outlet isn't that much cheaper than their regular stores.

I bought some camis and button-down shirts at Old Navy. They're much better quality than the stuff I've seen at the Gap recently.

Going into a department store like Lord and Taylor or Macy's is such an unpleasant experience--and it's not like the old Filene's Basement where you could get a deal.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:13 PM
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Ideally, your car should have been tailor-made.

It is custom. Haven't you heard of Body by Accident?

I'm currently trying to come up with a value for a 2000 Chevy S10 pickup with 80,000 miles on it.

When I was thinking to buy a used truck, I started watching the local craigslist. After a few weeks I got a good sense of what the local market was like. I also watched carmax.com, which is pretty much the top end of prices.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:14 PM
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753: That might be a concern if the car were coming from a dealership or used car lot, but it's not. You can come see it in my driveway, behind my house! Do I look like someone who knows how to mess with an odometer?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:14 PM
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I've never done second-hand clothes. The EULA agreement on my clothes specifically says that I have a non-transferable license. Selling a shirt after I've let people see me in it (and possibly been photographed) would be like re-selling a book after I've already learned something from it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:16 PM
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759 to 755


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:18 PM
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Ethically, are you off the hook for deplorable workers conditions if you buy the item second-hand?

Of course you are. I see you are a person of discernment. Can I interest you in this 1943 Volkswagon Beetle, which was only used on Sundays to visit the workers in the prison camp?


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:18 PM
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I get all the joking about fancy custom-made stuff, but I'd honestly prefer to have a few very nice, well-made things that fit me and keep them forever than have a bunch of cheap junk that won't last. I've bought athletic stuff at Target, and I shop Thrift stores (and if I lived near Jesus and Emerson, I'd go to the consignment stores my aunt used to frequent--the ones here are too expensive), but I try to get well-made items. Personally I don't think that DKNY is particularly good. I've never looked at Donna Karan.

My great-grandfather had a custom-made car. The engine was a Cadillace, and the body was made by coach builders in Paris. That's too much.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:19 PM
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754: If I'm looking at a used truck, I'm going to assume that the miles were hard miles regardless of how many there are.

A Chevy S10 is a total sissy truck! I mean, as trucks go.

757: thanks, Michael H. Schneider -- I'll start looking. I've kind of been avoiding this whole thing, as may be obvious, but I need to move this truck along in the next month or two.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:21 PM
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I have a lot of clothes from Target. This is very un-SWPL, isn't it?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:22 PM
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Sorry, 755 really is an interesting question. I shouldn't be so flip.

On the one hand, if you are buying from a thrift store or the equivalent, and thus not support a resale market which would encourage people to buy new knowing they can sell used for a good price, I don't see a problem.

On the other hand, with things like Nazi stuff, I have qualms about even collectors, despite the fact that there's no new production.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:23 PM
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764: Not as un-SWPL as WalMart.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:24 PM
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Not when you pronounce it Targ-ay, essear. T


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:26 PM
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Well, Wal-Mart is awful. I wouldn't buy anything there, but that's because I disapprove of their labor policies. So no toothpaste either. Target is less un-swpl than KMart, and I'd probably go there for some stuff.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:29 PM
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769

I've kind of been avoiding this whole thing, as may be obvious, but I need to move this truck along in the next month or two

That's what I finally decided about the two Renault R-10s that were decorating my yard. And had been since about 1985 and 1992. Miraculously I found the original titles (one issued in 1976!) and found a charity willing to take one. The guy that came on behalf of the charity was willing to haul the other one away. So I didn't have to pay anything.

The national charity line was frustrating. They wanted to know what pieces, if any, were missing. They wouldn't take the one without tires. It was like "they're scrap metal. It's an aluminum head. Free. You want to know about the condition of the interior when they've been sitting in the yard for 25 years??"


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:29 PM
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And 742 and 764 probably collectively disprove 361.last.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:30 PM
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765.last: Don't be so sure about the 'no new production.' Have you seen the results from the recent EU elections?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:31 PM
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||

The annoying people on the Diane Rehm show are talking about restricting acetominophen.

They even want to ban vicodin and percocet.

Yes, you can overdose and hurt your liver, but honestly we ought to be able to be adults.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:31 PM
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And 742 and 764 probably collectively disprove 361.last.

I have a lot of clothes from Target too. But yes, yes. There's also the whole matter of you actually having been productive in graduate school (or so I assume).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:32 PM
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771: no, and it sounds like I don't want to. Often I prefer ignorance. It's so much less aggravating.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:34 PM
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I get all the joking about fancy custom-made stuff, but I'd honestly prefer to have a few very nice, well-made things that fit me and keep them forever than have a bunch of cheap junk that won't last.

I feel this way about shoes, less so about actual clothing because I'm such an accident prone person that inevitably my favorite item ends up with a rip or a stain that won't come out or something else unsightly.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:36 PM
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772: Not that I want to restrict acetaminophen, but one of the biggest surprises I had when I started working for doctors is learning just how dangerous it can be if you overdose. Don't take too much of that stuff.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:37 PM
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772: I thought I saw something a day or two ago about a recommendation from an FDA scientific advisory committee to ban both Percocet and Vicodin on the theory that there's no particular reason narcotics and acetaminophen need to be in a combination pill and they tend to lead to acetaminophen overdoses as patients build narcotics tolerance.

The last person I knew who was on Vicodin did die of liver failure, more or less, but the whole metastatic cancer thing may have been a contributing factor.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:45 PM
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769: That's what I finally decided about the two Renault R-10s that were decorating my yard. And had been since about 1985 and 1992. Miraculously I found the original titles (one issued in 1976!) and found a charity willing to take one. The guy that came on behalf of the charity was willing to haul the other one away. So I didn't have to pay anything.

The Chevy S10 isn't a rustbucket sitting in the backyard, of course; I actually have a buyer who just wants to hear my price before we then negotiate. But I did go through something like what you describe with my '73 VW camper bus: I actually got 100$ for it. I teared up as they were hauling it away. Damn!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 8:53 PM
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761. A few years ago I bought a CD of some Strauss pieces conducted by Furtwängler. I was listening to it when I heard some crowd noises. It was a live recording. I picked up the case and read that it had been recorded in Berlin in 1944. Just reading that made me feel ill. I could see that audience and I wanted nothing to do with them. I threw out the CD.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:00 PM
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773: Productive? Um. That's... debatable.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:02 PM
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The therapeutic index of acetaminophen is dangerously low. It would be a fine idea for safety to prevent it from being manufactured into any combination medications. Most people probably aren't going to read the label on the NyQuil carefully enough to notice that it's going to add up with the Tylenol they've been slamming down all day.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:03 PM
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OT: Apropos the recent Yggles discussion:

As I wrote yesterday, to an extent it should be possible to counteract this trend by bringing pressure to bare on Republicans who represent Obama states

Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:11 PM
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Aspirin works fine for me and I'm fundamentally lazy, so I just try to avoid acetaminophen whenever possible.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:14 PM
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773, 780: I think that in among all the yes-you-can-have-my-intellectual-property forms they make you sign at the beginning of grad school, there's also one about how you are to assume that all other grad students are more productive than you are. Seven years of grad school, and I met three people who were knew themselves to be productive and tons of brilliant people needlessly stressed about how far behind everyone else they were.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:15 PM
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778: a quick glance at Craigslist http://albuquerque.craigslist.org/search/cta?query=s-10
suggests a price somewhere in the 4500 - 6000 range. There are several for sale just listed today.

Selling an old VW camper is sad. Those were a part of history. Renault, however, even the R-10, was just an oddity.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:16 PM
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783: Be careful with aspirin also. Don't go past what it says you should take on the box.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:19 PM
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786: What are the issues there? I was under the impression that it's pretty safe for most people.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:26 PM
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779, and 761 by extension: Ouch.

This sort of thing pains me in part because it comes up again and again in the book trade: do you, can you, should you sell items bearing a dubious moral taint? There are buyers out there for them, and you can even up the price for these things. It might be Nazi memorabilia, or it might be Mao's Little Red Book.

Resellers sometimes refer to themselves as dealers because their customers are sometimes as junkies, especially at the higher end; which is to say, frankly, that *consumers* are junkies, who are attached to a particular brand, or perceived quality (they often believe that 'you get what you pay for'), and they will go to lengths to see their needs serviced.

In any event, the resale/retail trade has taught me this much: consumers drive our collective moral compass to such an extent that the ethical bearing of the dealer simply ... disappears. People leave the book trade over this kind of thing.

I lost track of my train of thought there. Sorry.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:32 PM
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787: Yes, it isn't unsafe. It's that you can buy aspirin for less than tic tacs, so some people forget that they are dealing with a medication that has side effects and toxicity. Just don't take more than you are supposed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:33 PM
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Ignore my 788, which became morose.

785: suggests a price somewhere in the 4500 - 6000 range.

This is astonishing news! You are my friend! I'll look this stuff up over the weekend for this area, but honestly, I'd been thinking that $4500 was as high as I could push it, and was thinking that I'd have to negotiate down from there. I do need to discuss this with the prospective buyer, who's actually done work on the truck, and knows it pretty well.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:40 PM
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784: True, but I was under the impression that essear had finished (which, well, maybe not) and I think we either started at the same time or he started after me. So, by inference.....


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 9:48 PM
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UPDATE: We ended up buying "Ticket to Ride" for the father, and "Mago Magino" for his daughter.

We also ended up opening up both games to, um, make sure all the parts were there. Yeah. As a completely unforeseen bonus, now we already know how to play so we can jumpstart the whole gaming process once we get to Houston tomorrow!

Have a great weekend, all!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:02 PM
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791: I did finish. And I started grad school in 2004. But inferring anything about relative productivity requires comparing different fields, which doesn't work so well.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:10 PM
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Per 784, I've never felt productive. I can even point to lots of evidence that I'm falling behind everyone else. And if I tell myself it's because other people are grinding out cookie-cutter work, myself rejoins "what, like you've written anything anyone's going to bother reading in twenty years? ten, even?"

(Um, sorry. No more academic-malaise-venting from me for a while. It's been one of those weeks....)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:16 PM
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comparing different fields, which doesn't work so well.

True, true. I'm just lazy and know it (this is not true when I'm teaching, though. Give me too much work and suddenly I actually do it. Give me a reasonable amount and I just lag).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 10:20 PM
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772: There are lots of "adults" out there who can't read the labels and won't follow the directions even if they could. There's no medical reason for those combination OTC formulations to exist. They're simply marketing bullshit


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:14 PM
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797

Resume dressing up like a cow.


Posted by: K | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 11:25 PM
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798

In fact, the whole wealth/capitalism/success paradigm would have a lot more allure for me if a greater percentage of wealthy capitalists had higher standards. What exactly is the point of exploiting people, destroying the planet, etc, when even a three- or four-hundred dollar pair of shoes doesn't hold up

Hah, I think the UK isn't quite as bad for this. I have a couple of pairs of $250-$300 USD shoes* and they are holding up fine. But I know what you mean. A lot of 'label' stuff is terrible flimsy shit.

But it's not all like that. I've a few things that are more highly priced than my usual GAP level spending, and they've all lasted great.

* there are advantages to being married to someone in fancy retail.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 12:31 AM
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Be careful with aspirin also. Don't go past what it says you should take on the box.

Um. When Mrs OFE worked in an office full of public health physicians, they never took fewer than four aspirin at a time, because "You may as well take enough to work". I think the limit on the box is to indemnify them against people with pre-existing conditions that make higher doses a bad idea.

Acetominophen, though, shough be held strictly to the limit. Which is a bitch, as it's the only analgesic I can take without hitting the codeine.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 1:15 AM
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I don't think aspirin has ever had an effect on me when I've been sick, but I rarely take it, largely because of that experience). Tylenol - not sure if that brand of acetaminophen is outside the US - has always worked, but lately I've been trying hard to take less than the amount suggested on the label. I still take two at a time, but less frequently if I can. Discussions of the long-term problems have me freaked out enough that I wonder if I should try aspirin again.

I'm sick right now.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 1:21 AM
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Acetominophen definitely works for me, for headaches and similar pain. Codeine too, so co-codamol works really well, but I don't like the mild dizziness that I get from codeine so I almost never take it.

Ibuprofen seems to help with inflammation -- dodgy knees, etc -- but, in me at least, seems to have almost no analgesic effect at all. Taking it for a few days definitely helps to speed up healing, but it seems to make no difference whatsover to the pain felt.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 1:23 AM
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FYI, pretty much everywhere outside the US acetominophen is marketed as Paracetamol. Standardly in 500 mg tabs or caps, but in some countries they also do 650s, so watch out.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 1:24 AM
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but, in me at least, seems to have almost no analgesic effect at all.

Interesting. Thought it was just me. Can't stand the stuff though, makes me nauseous in addition to the pain.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 1:26 AM
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I got really sick in Switzerland once and ran out of the tylenol on a Saturday night. I ended up having to go to the train station Sunday because no one could tell me where the nearest open-on-Sunday pharmacy was in that neighborhood. Anyway, they gave me two things: one was a drug that dissolved on your tongue before you swallowed it that worked really well on nausea. I can't remember what it was. The other was a pill that knocked out the fever pretty well, though I was sick for a few more days with decreasing symptoms. I looked that one up later; it turned out to be a high dosage form of acetaminophen.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 1:30 AM
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805

"the tylenol I brought with me"


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 1:31 AM
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806

It doesn't make me nauseous, and it does seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect, but yeah, it's useless as a pain killer.

I find it quite hard to get doctors to give me decent NSAIDs much of the time. Diclofenac, sometimes, but generally they just prescribe the usual 400mg tablets of ibuprofen.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 1:34 AM
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806. Ask for Naproxen, IME. In the days when I was allowed to take it I gave a couple to a guy who had sprained a knee the day before playing rugby, and he went clubbing the same night.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 1:56 AM
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808

I suppose you lot don't get off for the holiday.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 2:09 AM
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809

Pain medications can be unpredictable. I get knee pain sitting down for too long. I took a trans-continental flight with naproxen - zero knee pain. Then later, a seven-hour car ride, also with naproxen - an ocean of misery.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 2:30 AM
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810

What holiday? Thought it was tomorrow. Do you get Friday in lieu - that's unfamiliar, they always give you the Monday here.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 2:54 AM
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811

Hey Britishers, do any of you write "hiccough" for "hiccup," or is that dated?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 3:50 AM
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812

Haven't seen it in anything written after WWII.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 4:30 AM
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813

re: 807

I think you can buy that over the counter these days, if you buy Feminax Ultra.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 4:59 AM
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814

813. Try it then. I used to get it prescribed at 500 mg. One every 4 hours. Not allowed it any more.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 5:03 AM
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I mostly use ibuprophen. Never really got into naproxen. There was a time when I couldn't take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. I do like me a bit of excedrin. In the new world where I can't buy acetominophen (paracetomol for you British types) in combination, will they sell tiny caffeine pills so that I can make my own aspirin, acetominophen caffeine combo?

I think that acetominophen reduces fever, and I don't know about aspirin. Plus aspirin's not so great for young kids with a fever.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 5:26 AM
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In the Spring of 2000 naproxen wasn't available OTC in England, but it was in the U.S. (My Dad tried to buy some there.) Codeine, on the other hand, is pretty tough to get in the U.S.

I think that in the very short-term, it's safe to take ibuprophen in doses that are higher than what they say, but you shouldn't do it on a regular basis.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 5:32 AM
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817

Had a discussion about the big three with an orthopedist yesterday -- advil retards muscle healing, so he switched the wife over to tylenol for her torn ligament.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 5:46 AM
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818

ill they sell tiny caffeine pills so that I can make my own aspirin, acetominophen caffeine combo?

No-Doz?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 5:47 AM
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819

817: Hey, Montana sole practitioner! Have you got a literal shingle with your name on it to hang out in front of your office yet?

818: Wash the pills down with a cup of coffee?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 5:57 AM
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In the UK the caffeine pills are called 'Pro-Plus'.

re: ibuprofen, yeah, you can take much higher doses in the short term. I have a friend who is a sports medicine doctor, and he has recommended I take larger doses a few times when I've had muscle tears, etc. I think longer term that's a recipe for gastric problems, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 6:00 AM
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821

"Ticket to Ride"

Such a great game.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 7:06 AM
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822

Do you get Friday in lieu - that's unfamiliar, they always give you the Monday here.

The Fourth is pretty much the only exception to the Monday rule, since the date itself is kind of definitional to the holiday (and, in this case, getting a day off 2 days later is nigh-useless). I'm old enough that I remember, eg, Veterans' Day (ex-Armistice) coming mid-week, but there are none of those left.

Xmas, I suppose.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 7:18 AM
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We get Friday in lieu when the 4th falls on a Saturday. Monday in lieu when it falls on a Sunday. About half of Federal holidays are Monday holidays. It doesn't matter when MLK or Geo. Washington were born. Nor when Columbus bumped into America. Monday it is. Thanksgiving, is always a Thursday. Christmas and New Year are date specific and if they fall on the weekend then the official day off can be Monday or Friday. Veterans Day (Armistice Day) is an oddity. For many years it too was shifted to a Monday. But recently it went back to being the 11th day of the 11th month.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 7:29 AM
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But recently it went back to being the 11th day of the 11th month.

I wish we got that as a holiday. It always seems disrespectful not to. And all our holdays are front loaded to spring, so one in autumn would be very welcome.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 7:32 AM
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BG, you should use goody's or bc powders. they have the most hilariously illegal-looking packaging of any legal drug, namely, powder folded into unmarked wax paper envelopes. caffeine, paracetamol and aspirin, IIRC. you tip the powder into your mouth and then wash it down immediately with something, ideally a cold glass bottle of coke, in my opinion. instant headache relief.
I think it's good they're getting rid of the paracetamol in vicodin or percoset. I always assumed it was a cruel method of restricting excessive use: just kill the people who take too many! plus, no more percoset, but lots of percodan is a recipe for happiness out there in this cold world.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 8:03 AM
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I have a friend with chronic pain issues who's run into the problem with not being able to take enough vicodin or percoset to overcome her opiate tolerance without blowing out her liver from the Tylenol. I think she's now, in a bizarrely retro fashion, mostly on literal morphine.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 8:07 AM
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827

Literal morphine is almost always better than the same dose of cinematic morphine.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 8:42 AM
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828

The old adage "Fight fire with fire" is not true in the case of fire.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 8:44 AM
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829

Isn't it literally useful for some values of prairie or forest fires? The big fire is acomin' to git you, so you set a smaller controlled file to burn out a region around you, or a strip the width of the approaching fire, so it will have to stop when it gets to the smaller fire for lack of fuel?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 8:54 AM
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I hate it when blogs are torn apart by simple things, such as people doing Jack Handey paraphrases.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 8:58 AM
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831

Ah. That was 828? Didn't remember that one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 8:58 AM
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831: Actually I'm not sure if it was, but it reads like one. But you can see the chaos that ensues.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 9:01 AM
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Ned could still redeem himself if he comes up with a convincingly involved fire with fire fighting story.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 9:04 AM
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Doesn't No-Doz have more caffeine in it than the caffeine in excedrin? Sometimes coffee irritates my stomach.

I just looked it up on drugstore.com. No doz has 200mg of caffeine while Excedrin has 65mg per caplet, so 130mg per dose.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 9:12 AM
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772

... restricting acetominophen.

As others have pointed out acetominophen is actually quite dangerous particularly if you have pre-existing liver damage. My cousin probably died in part from acetominophen poisoning.

It would be nice if everybody was a careful and responsible adult but lots of people aren't (particularly when in pain). So it is desirable for OTC drugs to be idiot proof and acetominophen isn't very.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 9:34 AM
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Yeah, it would be good if people were more aware that Tylenol is one of the things that can fairly easily kill you. I've heard horrible stories about suicide attempts with Tylenol that were probably intended as gestures, rather than seriously intending to be fatal, but which were unexpectedly successful -- a med student friend talking about people making it into the hospital a day or so after taking a handful of Tylenol, and being told that there's no way to save them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 9:48 AM
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837

Feeling intimidated by a group of mostly middle-aged women, he pepper-sprayed a number of guests and arrested Barman.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 12:26 PM
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I had no idea acetaminophen was that dangerous -- it's always touted as the super-safe drug, the one thing pregnant ladies can go ahead and pop in good conscience. Yow.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 12:38 PM
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I think the perception of safety comes from its being truly harmless right up until the point where it's very toxic -- not a gradual dose-response curve, but one that falls off a cliff. And while the cliff is far enough away from what most people are likely to take for therapeutic reasons that it doesn't mostly cause trouble, it's close enough that, while unlikely, it's possible to run into it accidentally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 12:44 PM
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840

837 -> 732


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 3-09 1:01 PM
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