Amy Winehouse found dead. She was only 27.
I didn't know many hospices are for-profit. They sound crappy.
Let's have a dumb kids thread. Tell me about your favorite apps that I should download.
Update: The dumb kids are supposed to be Unfogged commenters who can't hang in the thread below, not our dumb children. Kid apps are fine, but don't stick me in the mommy-blogging box or I'll drive off our commenters and feel bad.
Henry Farrell has a couple of posts on left neo-liberalism and what's wrong with it: essentially that neo-liberals lack a theory of politics. The posts struck me because my instant reaction was "Hey, I lack a theory of politics. What's one supposed to do for me and where do I get one?" Or to put it another way, who's out there who roughly shares my political goals (maximizing the welfare of the worst off and so forth, you know the sort of thing) who has a useful theory of politics, and what is it doing for them?
This is the sort of conversation where I wish I hadn't spent my college years first on physics, and then on Middle English poetry -- it gets over my head very quickly.
How fortuitous a day, that I should receive two hobo-consultant-related links!
First, from KR:
The job market is dismal, the economy is stagnant--seems like as good a time as any to chuck off "real-world" constraints and...become a hobo? Ridin' the rails, livin' on a prayer, flyin' by the seat of your only pair of pants. "That's the life for me!" (some of) you are thinking.
Josh Mack's new book, The Hobo Handbook: A Field Guide to Living By Your Own Rules, might give you pause. Don't get me wrong, it's a great read--quick, entertaining, and full of sage advice. It just dutifully points out what every wannabe hobo needs to know: It ain't easy.
"Unless your life has been pretty traumatic already, you can't imagine how miserable you can be alone outside on a dark, rainy night," says Mack--a traveler, carpenter, and family man, among other things--via phone. "That whole romantic notion disappears." (Note: Hobo-ing is not to be confused with idle homelessness, perpetual drunkenness, or being a "bum." Hobos travel by choice. Also, they still exist).
If I've scared you off already, come back! The Handbook, which came out yesterday, is here to help. Starting off with his "Hobo Aptitude Test," Mack combines research with firsthand experience to give readers an explicit how-to on what to put on (lightweight, fast-drying underwear), what to eat (recipes for things like Dandelion salad; instructions for is-that-road-kill-fresh-ish? analysis), what to bring (as little as possible), how to get around (trains are good, although dodging security is a lot harder now than it was back in the day).
And second, from Bave:
Before leaving his girlfriend's apartment in Crown Heights, on the morning of his nineteenth arrest for impersonating and performing the functions of New York City Transit Authority employees, Darius McCollum put on an NYCTA subway conductor's uniform and reflector vest. Over his feet he pulled transit-issue boots with lace guards and soles designed to withstand third-rail jolts. He took transit-issue work gloves and protective goggles. He put a transit-issue hard hat on his head. In his pockets he carried NYCTA work orders and rerouting schedules and newspaper clippings describing his previous arrests: for driving subway trains and buses and various other vehicles without authorization, possessing stolen property, flagging traffic around NYCTA construction sites, forging documents. He also carried a signed letter on NYCTA letterhead:
To: All Concerned Departments
From: Thomas Calandrella Chief Track Officer
Re: Darius McCollum
Effective this date of January 10, 2000, Darius McCollum is a member of a special twelve member Special Study Group; and will analyze the operations of track safety and track operations. SSG will report directly to this office and will be issued all related gear for the respected purposes of this department and will receive assistance of any relating department.
No doubt, this evidence will serve to derail once and for all you people mocking me for that post, lo these many years ago.
Using art to teach math. The window-taping exercise is really clever.
It's my turn to pick out a book for bookclub tonight. I have a couple possible books I've already read. But I'd love suggestions as well. Parameters: it should have widespread appeal. And no death of children. (That's a rule, but it didn't come from me.) What should we read?
I was just over in the IT department at Heebie U, and stopped to admire the old telephone switchboard system.
The IT Director said, "Isn't that cool? You can still see a lot of professors names on it."
I said, "No kidding! When was this retired?"
He said, "1988."
Sir Kraab recently related the story of how she heard a woman say, "Bless your heart! You're far too pretty for the extra 10 pounds that you're carrying!"
Clearly there is something magic in Bless your heart! if this woman thinks it's disarming enough to balance whatever subsequent rude shit she feels like spewing. So Sir Kraab made the point that this phrase, Bless your heart!, can then be harnessed to blunt all sorts of messages, ie "Bless your heart! You are just a racist little thing, aren't you!" in response to someone being a racist little shit. Or whatever.
In my classroom, I generally try to avoid talking with students about anything that's not math, but if the homophobia or fatphobia or sexism or racism crosses a line, then my standard line is to say in a very mild tone, "It's not patriotic to be racist/sexist/intolerant/etc." It seems to disrupt up the dynamic without creating an enemy.
(Other times I make the Dr. Evil shushing hand motion and say "Keep it to yourself! I don't want to hear it!" But only if I already have a good rapport with the student.)
It's good to have a standard turn of phrase in these situations, since it can be hard to think on your feet, especially if it's not appropriate to complete unleash your vitriol and yell and scream.
But this post by slactivist is weird, but amusing:
That doesn't apply in every case, but it works pretty well, for example, for transforming the dynamic of a conversation in which some client has expressed their fear, unease, or flat-out, bald-faced, xenophobic hate in response to the number of South Asian immigrants in our area. My friend acts as though she completely missed the unambiguous animosity of her client's comment and begins to gush, with cheerful enthusiasm, about the many excellent Indian restaurants in the area and about her one client -- lovely woman, a biochemist -- who gave her a family recipe for naan bread. Have you ever had naan? I mean the real stuff not store-bought it's delicious you have to try it I could give you that recipe if you want I'll bring it Thursday or samosas have you ever had really good samosas?
The baffled client finds himself off-balance, peppered with a series of yes-or-no questions about the wonders of South Asian cuisine as the conversation barrels on with an aggressively cheerful momentum all pointing to the undeniable fact that any true lover of good food would be much happier living around here than in some homogenous gastronomic wasteland with no access to the glorious contributions of so many different cultures. The bewildered bigot winds up unsure exactly what just happened but agreeing that, yes, he probably does owe it to himself to try the masala at the new place off the bypass.
I'm not totally sure how well that works, but I can sympathize that the friend is in a tight spot.
Who publicly sets himself great goals, and later realizes privately that he is too weak to accomplish them, does not usually have enough strength to revoke those goals publicly, either, and then inevitably becomes a hypocrite.
Quick bleg: How terrible an idea is it to get a bottom-of-the-barrel cheapo new paint job on my 17 year old Volvo? The air-conditioning in this car just cannot keep up with the super dark blue boiling heat in August. Any words of warning?
This prof discovers rampant cheating and eventually decides it's much better to design cheat-proof assignments than to waste your time smoking out cheaters. I agree. This guy even took a financial hit from the low teaching evaluations that resulted when he tried to deal with the cheating.
The story is interesting insofar as it details the amount of cheating that occurs if a professor is not thinking extensively about it.
I've been thinking about LB's post below about the mother getting convicted for vehicular manslaughter, because it's the type of article I instinctively know I can't tell other people about because no one will believe I've got the details right.
In general, in real life people consider me someone well-informed about news and politics (hold your laughter please) but I don't think I could share that story without getting endless theories about how the story must have actually not been so bad. (While people certainly checked out the details to make sense of the story in the thread below, there was no off-the-cuff "I just can't believe this. Someone's not reporting the story right.") In conclusion, I can't get as much respect as Lizardbreath.
JRoth is flying down on August 2nd for the final walkthrough on our addition. We hired him last summer to design our new space. We went to him and said "We need a play area and more bedrooms and we want to have a big family." He said "No, we can come up with something much, much cooler than that." And we did!
For a while I didn't want to discuss it on Unfogged, in case it turned out awful or the experience soured. But things are getting close now, and it's beautiful and exciting.
So this is the first of a series of posts promoting JRoth's architect skills. I'll build up to a big unveil of the addition, when the final touches are all in place. If you have a project you're thinking about, email me at heebie dot geebie at gmail and I'll give you his contact information. He's in Pittsburgh and we're in Texas, but I hardly need to convince you people that a lot of collaboration can be done well over the internet.
I heard a strange-to-me use of the term "beard" this evening. Basically, X was trying to avoid hooking up with Y and thus enlisted Z to be X's date for the evening. Z was X's beard.
The kids these days.