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Promises, Promises

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.17.10

Obameter ranks Obama's track record on 500 campaign promises.


 

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The kids are almorons.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.16.10
I-dosing involves donning headphones and listening to "music" -- largely a droning noise -- which the sites peddling the sounds promise will get you high. Teens are listening to such tracks as "Gates of Hades," which is available on YouTube gratis (yes, the first one is always free).
Those who want to get addicted to the "drugs" can purchase tracks that will purportedly bring about the same effects of marijuana, cocaine, opium and peyote. While street drugs rarely come with instruction manuals, potential digital drug users are advised to buy a 40-page guide so that they learn how to properly get high on MP3s.
Oklahoma's Mustang Public School district isn't taking the threat lightly, and sent out a letter to parents warning them of the new craze. The educators have gone so far as to ban iPods at school, in hopes of preventing honor students from becoming cyber-drug fiends, News 9 reports.

 

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To the question "Do you think capitalism or socialism is better?"

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.16.10

I came across the statistic that 60% of Americans think capitalism is the best system, and I was surprised that it was so low - I thought capitalism ranked next to apple pie and God for indisputable truths about what we love. Furthermore, this 60% is up from 53% last year - which is what you'd expect in terms of how the country has been trending more conservative over the past year - but to think that last year nearly half the country doubted capitalism's fancy magic! Of course that would have been largely a reaction to the economic meltdown. But people are so skilled at holding simultaneously contradictory beliefs; I didn't think that the economic meltdown would have caused so many people to question sacred Capitalism.

(The remaining 40% are split, more or less, between socialism and undecided.) Still! 18% prefer socialism! That's a number that certainly rivals Tea Party affiliation, just very poorly organized.

Then you read further, and find out that only 35% think that capitalism is the same thing as having a free market.

Well, sheesh, what question did the other 65% think they were answering? What started out making me feel like there was a pleasantly progressive contingent of Americans ended up just making me feel like we're all uninformed idiots.

Also,

Not surprisingly, the new survey found that just 24% believe the government is capable of adequately monitoring the dealings of Wall Street financial firms. Fifty-three percent (53%) say it is not.

This seems totally worthless. I would need essay answer format in order to explain if I believed the government were capable of adequately monitoring Wall Street.


 

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Consequences.

Posted by Stanley
on 07.15.10

All this talk about adolescent mischief reminded me of a story.

This one time at band camp (no really, true story!), as a freshman, I got caught with a bunch of kids coming back from secretly smoking. The band director approached me later and asked me if I had smoked. I lied and said no.

Years later the guilt hung over my head, but I was elected Band President. The Band President has basically no responsibilities. Literally, zero. The only thing I did was get my grandma, the artist, to paint a Vonnegut quotation about music onto a board at the end of the year to give as a gift to the band director.

The lesson, kids, is, don't smoke at band camp, or you might have to lie about it.

The more you know.


 

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Imagine never having seen a violin.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.14.10

I really do feel bad about ripping this perfectly nice blogger apart. But boy, the pay-off is fantastic.

Mom is the ultimate NPR pageant mom. From the introduction page:

We have always been on a bit of a different road with her since she started walking and bilingual talking at 6 months (much to our surprise!), but we adore her and she is the light of our life. She taught herself to read at 2, her preschool teacher tested her as reading at 3rd grade level at barely 3 and she was reading Harry Potter at 4, so regular school will probably never be a perfect fit.

...

Our biggest concern was meeting Mozart's musical needs as she is quite advanced at both violin and piano for her age. (She started violin at 23m and piano at 3 and really enjoys them both as well as singing and dancing and making up songs as she is a natural performer with an exuberant, creative personality). Amazingly, we will be able to do both via computer using skype webcams and probably will find some local "hands on" help when we are in Spain.

...

She is an ectomorph who is solid muscle who has inherited her father's natural athleticism...She not only walked, talked, crawled, read, wrote, swam etc.very early, but she did them all very fast from the start. She has hummingbird boundless energy and eats like an air fern.

They sold their home and became full-time travelers in 2006. I'm sure their adventures are actually fabulous and educational. But the blog!

Want to see Mozart play the violin so beautifully? Jokes on you.

...the most exciting moment being her concert in the Sahara. She rode in on a camel and played for 60 Berber kids that have no running water and have never seen a violin.

Finally, the blog entries themselves:

Family travel, even in historic places, is often about nature and simple pleasures, at least for us on our world tour it is, as we think these things are so important. We have been to Verona, Italy four times since 2006 on our non-stop world tour...Staying on this farm allows us to enjoy the cultural advantages of Verona and also bask in the simple joys of Italian farm life, surrounded by grapes, peach, pear and apple orchards and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. They used kiwi's and grapes to give privacy to the small motorhome and tent camping area of their farm and Mozart just looooves to pick them and eat them...They also make wonderful snacks, jams and deserts out of this fresh bounty of produce in the Italian way which we also loved. What fun- free delicious food, time in nature, natural learning, cultural advantages and connection with locals on a farm. Family travel at it's best!

God I love this family.


 

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"You Mean To Say I've Been Speaking Prose All My Life?"

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.13.10

McArdle and Klein are for some reason talking about pickup artists.

I was reading the comments, as I do, and people were talking about the 'neg': where the PUA is supposed to say something moderately but politely hostile or unimpressed to the woman he's trying to pick up. I've never paid much attention to this stuff, so it never quite clicked before, but the controversial and innovative technique here is that teasing people you're attracted to is an effective way of attracting their interest? I'd point out that every third-grader knows that, but it's slightly more devastating to say that flirtation-incompetent I knew that.

(Admittedly, I always used to have trouble with light teasing -- having the target of my interest collapse, devastated, after what was meant to be a gently flirty jibe happened more often than it should. But that's a mere matter of technique -- the principle is sound.)


 

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Ask me about my righteousness

Posted by Ben
on 07.13.10

Coming home on Caltrain, I sat across from a woman in an orange t-shirt with black text, reading "I'm a cause for hope in northern Uganda. Are you?".

I'm sure that she is to be lauded for whatever action she undertook to gain the shirt.* Nevertheless, actually wearing it strikes me as somewhat more questionable.

* Mildly amusing thought: perhaps it is second-hand.


 

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There once was a post with a meter...

Posted by Stanley
on 07.13.10

When I was picking up a delicious iced coffee concoction earlier, the barista, whom I generally chat with, commented that she was very bored today. It's been slow, plus it's hot and humid, so everyone gets iced drinks which require less work (because most people take them with cold-brewed shots; I do not, as I don't much care for this place's cold-brewed shots).

Upon hearing that she was bored, I immediately offered the helpful suggestion, "You could write a bunch of limericks," which was met with a total blank stare.

"Some what?" she asked.

"Limericks."

"What are those?"

She had never heard the word "limerick" but knew the form once I offered some examples. It was just a random blind spot and not a big deal, but it's weird when you run into one of those. (I had one earlier today in the homeschooling thread, when a commenter referred to "milk teeth" which term I'd never before encountered.)

Anyway, the real reason I'm writing, dear bards of the Mineshaft, is to confess that I struggled mightily to come up with a limerick that wasn't bawdy. I wanted to come with something clever and fun, perhaps about coffee or something. Mais non. I feel like I let the team down, guys.


 

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Fall to, dorks

Posted by Ben
on 07.12.10

A high-school English teacher of mine is looking for some "contemporary literary science fiction that h.s. college-prep seniors would appreciate", "with some thematic and stylistic features worth analyzing". This is not something I feel all that qualified to help with. But I do feel qualified [proleptic mistake: I first wrote this as "antagonized"] to ask you people, in a non-antagonistic way, to help. And I know you will do it because you care about the children.


 

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No dorky jumpers, either.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.12.10

Tinderbox is a blog charting one family's path home-schooling their five year old daughter. While they're just a few months in, I generally find it well-thought out and interesting. They use a system called Five In a Row, where you read a book per week, and the topics in the book spawn little detours on relevant geography, animals, history, etc. The girl seems to be thriving.

I know Asilon also homeschools her kids. On the whole, though, my ratio of exposure to whacked out religious homeschoolers to sensible types is pretty skewed. So it's a nice depiction of how one might do it right.

(At this point, I have haven't thought much about Hawaiian Punch's education one way or the other. I don't even really know how to assess the local schools besides getting in there and meeting the teachers, and that's too far away. All this is to say that I'm not posting this as a parent. I just find it interesting.)


 

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From the annals of self-defense

Posted by Ben
on 07.12.10

An interesting post on Metafilter about the perils of honest reporting. (Briefly: reporter makes plausible case that he was fired from a magazine because advertisers didn't like a piece he wrote in a different venue.) The therein-linked hellforleather post contains background and some bits of correspondence with the firing editor, who avers that the journalist was fired for different reasons, among them his desire to write a hit piece on a different journalist at yet another media outlet, something of which the firing editor disapproved. When it is pointed out to him that he seemed, at the time, actually quite enthusiastic about the prospect of a hit piece on the individual in question, the editor responds thus:

Dexter has written for the Los Angeles Times before, but not about motorcycling, at least that I'm aware of. I refused to publish those, but agreed to publish a later version he rewrote on the heels of her ill-researched piece on motorcycle emissions. Thus my 'feed her to the dogs' comment, which was obviously intended for his eyes only.

Right. Let's grant that it was intended for his eyes only. Is the obvious import of the remark somehow thereby annulled?


 

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I'm Walkin' Here

Posted by Stanley
on 07.12.10

My little burg put in several of these doohickeys awhile back. I am secretly in love with them, possibly to a fault.

I draw almost perverse joy from pushing the little button (bonus points: it goes, "Beep-boop") and bending the cars to my will. Bow to me, automobiles! I have harnessed the power of the lights!

It's also troubling to watch how many people blow right by the blinkers, even when half the traffic has stopped and the pedestrian is already out in the crosswalk. (I imagine these people having a massive freak out, along the lines of, "HOLY CRAP, the street has turned into a killer robot! Step on it, Phyllis!")

I also feel a tinge of energy-wasting guilt when I stop a single car that I could simply have let pass without much delay (vs. say a long line of cars where there's no sign of a break in traffic anytime soon). It seems wasteful to have that single car going 30 mph come to a complete stop and then rev right back up to 30. So I try to avoid doing so.

A confession: today I hit the button without first checking traffic, just sort of out of habit; I stopped a bus full of people. That was clearly wasteful. Self: don't do that again.


 

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And then the mother winks knowingly at the viewer.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.12.10

You know what's gross? Air fresheners. Candles are okay. But air fresheners are creepy. It's gross how you're opting to saturate the air with chemicals, and then somehow pretending this makes everything cleaner and fresher. Commercials for plug-in air fresheners always make me feel like an anthropologist charting the strange rituals of these weird people.


 

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World cup thread!

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.11.10

Talk it up! See you after the game.


 

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