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Topics - Nigel

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The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Dear Customer
« on: November 20, 2013, 09:43:47 pm »
This is a thread for all those conversations you wish you could have. You know the ones.

I'll start.

Dear Customer,

I was in the process of shipping the order that you placed this morning, and noticed that you requested that I get back to you on whether I could expedite your order and how much it would cost. I sent you the information you requested regarding shipping costs: $8 for Priority (1-3 days), $28 for Express (1-2 days), or no additional charge for the First Class (1-3 days) shipping that you already paid for, and am awaiting your response so that I can move forward with the shipping process. Your order, which would otherwise already be on its way to you, will be delayed while I wait for you to respond.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Blippex
« on: November 18, 2013, 09:55:22 pm »
Wow, so I downloaded the Blippex tool for Chrome and it WON'T UNINSTALL. Plus it throws some seriously dirty lag on me. Anybody run into this?

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Greetings from Tennessee
« on: November 15, 2013, 06:04:32 am »
First: My computer is in cahoots with them; it keeps marking all read when it thinks I'm not looking, but this time I watched as it did it, and my hands were nowhere near the keyboard.

This compound the Enemy has created is really very convincing at first. It offers the superficial trappings of luxury; an underground shopping mall, an indoor river, buildings inside of buildings and ballrooms with grand chandeliers, conference rooms and waterfalls and fountains and endless restaurants, a district called simply "The District" denoted by street markers with the silhouettes of dancing people, complete with nightclub and Irish pub and a sports bar and several stores selling Western gear. And you wander through that, and at some point you can make it to doors that you THINK lead outside, so you go out into the world and the trees and the bushes and you head toward the grand library building in the distance but when you get close you realize that despite the columns and the sign, it's no library. It's a bar and grill, and you're still inside.

You start to realize that most of the people aren't real when you notice that they disappear around eight in the evening. Whole wings of the hotel, the ones you aren't supposed to be in at that hour, are eerily empty.

By the second day, you have started to realize that what you mistook for grandeur is merely gaudiness, and that the luxury is superficial, like the delicious-looking custard tarts that turn out to be made of instant pudding and artificial whipped topping. There is no good food here; it all looks like gourmet food cooked by professional chefs but it's Food Service of America dressed up on bulk-rate white china.  So you go to the other side, and walk in a straight line, a simple straight line, because you know it can't actually  go on forever, it must end. You find a vast hall, a vast empty falsely-grand hall with great chandeliers dripping with molded-plastic crystals, and you walk through and push the doors on the other side. The air is cold; you have finally found the real outside, not the outside-that-is-inside but the real thing. You set out briskly, your heart pounding in excitement and relief. Until you get to the other side and realize that the creek you crossed over leads to a swimming pool and that you. are. still. inside. You give up and go back to the bar on the fake island in the fake river and ask for a cup of tea. They have no hot water, so you order a $12 glass of wine. It's drinkable, barely.

I got out for a while, today. I followed the tornado shelter signs into a concrete staircase and downward until I reached a bleak corridor with a pair of metal doors at the end. Pushing through them I found an awning and two metal benches, occupied by old people smoking cigarettes. Beyond the curb, a mile of empty parking lot. They ignored me as I walked past them and across the abandoned asphalt, dry leaves crunching underfoot, fists thrust in pockets and my breath making bursts of fog in the cold air as I strode briskly into freedom.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / All the single ladies
« on: November 09, 2013, 06:48:37 pm »
So I'm in this single mom group on Facebook and I swear to god, an awful lot of these ladies make my bad-decision-making days sound like the wisdom of the elders. Seriously, ladies. This week alone, one of them has given birth to a child she conceived during a bad decision that she knew at the time was a bad decision (and has spent her entire pregnancy raving about how angry she is at the father for not being there for her), one of them just found out a few days ago that she's pregnant by her bad-decision-du-jour, and a third today is regaling us with the story of her "Pull and pray" with some friend of hers she knows is a bad decision.

Condoms, ladies? IUD? Pill? ANYTHING? I swear to god I think I had less unprotected sex when I was TRYING to get pregnant.

I feel kind of guilty about being judgmental, but seriously with the frequency this is happening I'm kind of astounded. It's not a large group, there are under 50 members.   

Almost all of them are divorced and come from dysfunctional families-of-origin, and almost all of them are seemingly intelligent women in their 30's, who are doing things like inviting a bad idea to come to their house to give them a backrub and then "Oops! I was so surprised I didn't have time to point him to a condom! Great orgasm though!" and I'm like, what. Was that really a surprise? Because it sounded like a booty call. And then they're like "Oh shit I'm ovulating cross your fingers for me" and I'm like "Are you trying to get pregnant by a deadbeat? Because my reaction to that would be the morning-after-pill, which is totally available over-the-counter".

Also to me unprotected sex means "not using a condom even though I really should, but at least I won't get pregnant because of my primary birth control method", not "absolutely no contraceptive method with some backwoods yahoo that will disappear into the trailer park jungle in order to avoid supporting the accidental child I am totally unconsciously deliberately trying to conceive for some mysterious reason".

Of course, my method is not 100% either, witness Little Orange. But I can honestly say that was a bit of a surprise. And my ex is anything but a deadbeat.

Anyway I am apparently way more uptight and judgmental than I thought I was. And I want to take all these jacked-up fools to Planned Parenthood and teach them how it works.

Girl who just found out she was pregnant is having her period now and is freaking out.

Bet money she has her oops-friend over for an it-all-happened-too-fast-to-put-on-a-condom around ovulation time next month, too.   

I can't believe these women really exist.

So he doesn't mention the bridges. It's kind to not mention the silly little flaws in a love letter.

Adapted from something I posted on Facebook (several teacher friends chimed in there, if you go to my profile you can read the whole discussion):

There is something very, very wrong with a world in which a ten-year-old child has more hours of homework to do each week than a full-time honors science major does. The common excuse given for this sorry state of affairs is that it "prepares them for college", which might be some sort of justification if it were true... which it is not.

Children coming out of the public school system today are less prepared for college than they have ever been in the past, and this isn't the fault of the teachers. It's the fault of a system that is so defective that from where I stand there is no redemption but to gut it entirely and rebuilt from the ground up, in a way that allows the educators themselves, people who have devoted their own educations and lives to understanding how to educate others, to make the calls and teach the children.

Why we EVER thought a one-size-fits-all approach would work in public education is absolutely beyond me. Here we have all these highly-educated teachers - people with Masters degrees who continue to attain higher levels of education annually - and for some reason, we decided that wasting their intelligence and expertise by requiring them to teach to the test and not to the child was a good idea. Are we freaking serious? What are we thinking?

This system is analogous to going to the doctor and requiring them to diagnose us based on looking things up on the internet. We have literally created a system in which highly trained professionals aren't ALLOWED to use their knowledge of education to teach our children. We are completely insane. We are churning out kids who can obey authority and take a test but have poor critical thinking skills and are afraid to use their inherent creativity, skills that are vital for college and for any fulfilling career, as well as for any nation's future success as a creator of innovation.

This link is old, but it's a sentiment I've heard echoed over and over again from public school teachers, and its flip side, the frustrating level of unpreparedness of recent high school graduates, from my college professors.

What I see, both as a parent of teenagers and as a college student sharing a classroom with the first wave of No Child Left Behind public school graduates, are people who have been trained to take tests. They may be angry, and they're right to be as their time and childhoods are being squandered, but they're obedient. They are also radically unprepared for a college environment. They want to know what's going to be on the test; they have been trained to memorize what's going to be on the test, not to understand and relate learning materials to their lives. The enormous, unrealistic amounts of homework - mostly pointless, grinding repetition - schoolchildren are expected to do in addition to being in a classroom for seven hours a day are also simply preposterous and bear zero relationship to what they can expect in college.

It's absurd. We've got all these educators, and we've rendered a system that effectively prevents them from educating.

Children literally have a biological imperative to learn; it's what they're designed to do. Somehow we have managed to invent a system that trains it out of them, and we call it "education". It's terrible. Worse, we all seem to have sort of agreed that even though it's terrible, it's necessary, so we keep on sending our kids to these terrible, ineffective schools to have a really unpleasant time for most of their waking hours, because we're convinced that if they don't, they won't learn. We are convinced that it's "better than nothing" even though study after study shows evidence that leaving a child up to their own devices, especially in this era when information is readily available over the internet, will usually result in a more comprehensive and deeper education.

Some references:

I will post more tomorrow, along with some lecture links.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Seriously, Mr. Dawkins?
« on: November 03, 2013, 09:53:36 pm »

World famous English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and unrelenting critic of religion and the religious, Richard Dawkins, has turned his anger on airport security rules after he had a jar of honey confiscated.

Dawkins, who is no stranger to Twitter controversy following alleged anti-Muslim comments he made back in August, declared on the micro-blogging site that ‘Bin Laden has won, in airports of the world every day’ after security took away his jar of honey.

The outspoken atheist, who came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, criticised what he called ‘dundridges’ - his word for petty jobsworths - and described the confiscation of his honey as a 'STUPID waste.'

The latest outburst follows a tweet in August in which he said: "All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though."

He was widely criticised by fellow twitter-users who claimed his comments were 'anti-Muslim'.

Last month the academic once again found himself at the centre of a row over an interview he gave to the Times Magazine in which he appeared to suggest he was the victim of 'mild paedophilia' at school and that current cases of historical child sex abuse had been overblown.

"I am very conscious that you can't condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours", he said.

There was little sympathy today in response to the tweets regarding the confiscated honey.

I mean, I hate the NSA. Everybody hates the NSA. But it's like this man can't open his mouth without something monumentally stupid and offensive flying out.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Peeve of the day
« on: October 30, 2013, 12:16:31 pm »
When people talk about "Americans" but what they really mean is "White people".

One of many problems, actually, that I have with almost any time people start a sentence with "Humans evolved to...", including myself. Seriously, I will punch myself in the face.


WE'RE STILL DOING IT. It's an ongoing process.

Anyway. Peeve aired. Carry on.


I really need to start publishing erotica on Amazon.

...basically at the heart of it, they're the same thing. Insecure people looking for a group to belong to that makes them feel superior to another group through no doing of their own.

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