One of the silly rules I've made up for myself is to avoid posting anything new until I'm caught up on active threads, which became, uh, difficult when That Thread (you know the one) unfolded when I wasn't around. Anyway, I'm caught up now and the post I had in mind seems particularly trivial. Oh well.
As has been reported, it's been really fucking hot this summer, leading me to explore new and exciting cooling-off strategies. Heebie's earlier ice-chewing recommendation had me quite skeptical, but it's easily my new current favorite, especially after going for a run (which, by the by, I plodded 3.8 miles yesterday [pats self on head]).
However, several times this summer I've encountered a stay-cool suggestion that strikes me as unusual, even though it makes perfect sense. It's this: people keep telling me to take off my socks when I'm hot, or not to wear socks to avoid getting overheated in the first place. And, sure, thinking through it, it makes sense that I lose heat through my extremities and that naked toes shed heat faster than be-socked ones. But I swear I'd never heard of this approach until this summer. Perhaps I've just been sheltered from the Harsh Truth About Socks.
In any event, it's a holdover from my dorm-living days that I tend not to go anywhere that is not my bed without shoes (and shoes require socks; don't even try to convince me otherwise), so I'm unlikely to join the sock-avoidance club any time soon. He said. While merrily chomping on ice.
Dave W. will be in NYC next week -- any interest in a meetup some night between Wednesday 8/4 and Saturday 8/7, in a location conveniently accessible from Grand Central (that is, somewhere on the 4-5-6)? Of those days, I like the Thursday best, but I'm flexible.
Update: Fresh Salt, tonight, I'll be there between six-thirty and seven. If you're likely to show, mention it in the comments? Or just show up. Like always, lurkers welcome.
While it is true that the radio edit of NIN's "Closer" is not the best way to experience it, and while I don't doubt that Mr Reznor can "bring it" live, the fact remains that the radio edit of "Closer" is pretty dated, and kind of amusing, in a lot of respects.
Students and faculty at Hunter College High School are upset about the school's lack of diversity, and the principal just resigned over conflicts with Hunter College (which runs the school) on the same issue.
Students are admitted by a test they take in sixth grade, and if it's anything like it was when I was there (which it sounds as if it is), the results are pretty uniformly middle class, not necessarily high income, but certainly skewed to parents with education living in nice neighborhoods. My neighborhood elementary school picked the kids that they thought had a shot to get into Hunter, and spent a year tutoring them for it. (Although I don't recall participating in the tutoring myself -- I can't recall why.) Anyone from a background that wasn't grooming them for this sort of test, wasn't getting in.
This is a funny issue, because Hunter never impressed me as adding a whole lot of value educationally -- the academic program wasn't remarkably rigorous or advanced or anything. It was a good school because it selected good students and excluded poor ones, and didn't do all that much to them that any functional high school wouldn't have. (Although it did provide the equivalent of the USDA Prime stamp when we were all applying for college. Everyone got in someplace selective.) (And I don't know much about it since the Eighties. Maybe it's all different now.)
So, doing anything to make the school select less perfectly groomed and already well-educated sixth graders would probably change its outcomes a lot. OTOH, there's a fair argument that it hasn't been doing anything particularly useful all along -- the kids who got in would have had about the same results going anyplace else. (I might have been slightly less socially functional in another school. It was nice being surrounded by fellow weirdos.)
Ideally, it would adjust its admission process to accept talented kids with a broader range of previous preparation, and change its academic program to bring everyone up to a similar level. Somehow, I doubt that's likely to happen.
I can't imagine why no one's posting anything new. Everything's awesome:
The Obama administration's hopes for rapid, bipartisan approval of its new arms-control treaty with Russia have dimmed, with Republican senators making clear that they will not support ratification without iron-clad assurances of future spending to maintain the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Are assholes being assholes? Really? Huh.
I like Louis C.K.'s take on miracles.
Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber is totally adorable.
An inquiring commenter writes in:
The office where I work is small, creative, and in a big coastal city. A bunch of the employees usually eat lunch together and enjoy wide-ranging conversations.
A few months ago we hired a young woman from a small, non-coastal city. She's great at her job, but she lacks a certain set of class markers that we'd generally call "polish." Which is fine -- she'll either catch on, figure out how to get by in her own provincial style, or head back to where she's from after a few years in the big city. But one issue in particular really irritates me and arouses my paternalistic instincts: She eats really sloppily, smacking her lips, chewing in a sideways manner with her mouth open half the time, and talking with her mouth full of food. This behavior irritates me because I'm faced with the choice of obvious avoiding looking at her during lunch or catching numerous glimpses of a mouth full of partially chewed sandwich. And it makes me feel bad for her and wish there was something I could do, because I suspect she's simply unaware of how she comes across and that this lack of polish while eating is going to be counted against her in professional and social situations here.
But we're not particularly close, and I suspect it would be a bad idea for me to say anything to her, right?
Prim Where It Counts
Posting on the fly, so I'll leave this one to the experts of the Mineshaft.
We flew yesterday. On the first flight, both flight attendants were black, and I had a knee-jerk thought, "Damn, that means they'll be strict." (Strict in the sense of making us keep the baby in our lap, facing forward, during take-off and landing.)
This knee-jerk thought came from something I hadn't thought about in decades: that was my opinion of black teachers and parents growing up. They're strict. They're not going to let you get away with breaking rules that don't matter. They will not be receptive to arguments that you'll obey the rule when it matters, so is it okay to break it this other time?
Now I wonder what exactly was the bigger picture, when I was growing up. Did I expect UMC white exceptionalism and lenience, and got annoyed when rules were applied? (Probably.) How uniform were my white teachers in their leniency? Did the white teachers apply the leniency equally? To what extent did the black kids know how to manipulate the lenient teachers? To what extent was there homogeneity within the races, and how much of this was class-based?
For the record, the black flight attendants didn't do anything strict. (Also for the record, my hometown was pretty limited to black and white people, at least at that time. I can't remember any teachers of any other races, and not many kids in general that were anything else.)
There's an episode of TAL that we've discussed here a few times, about the How To Parent class in New York. At one point, they assert the following: in lower class homes, the kids are very obedient, which is great for family life but terrible training for the hidden codes of moving up the SES ladder later in life. In upper-middle class homes, the kids are a royal pain in the ass, but well-trained in manipulating the hidden codes of bending rules and moving up the SES ladder. I suspect part of my "Black teachers are strict!" belief plays into this split.