Ducking In

So, this morning while I was exercising, about ten minutes in, the phone rang.  Suffice it to say the rather important surgery someone in the house (not me) is scheduled to have “has to be moved” to a week later.  Right.  This is the second time this has happened – and because of the recovery period and other commitments, that date just became impossible.  Since this has never happened before this year (and we’ve dealt a lot with this group before) I’m going to guess it’s Affordable Care Act influencing things, or as we call it around here #Obamacaregames.

We’re still dealing with that, which I don’t recall being what I asked for for the new year “More bureaucratic cr*p” please.

Because my nose was acting up, I washed the filters for the heating system (they’re reusable.)  While doing it, I realized the whole-house humidifier is leaking, so we need to call repairmen.

I put the filters in the tub to dry and evil cat (D’Artagnan) peed on them so they had to be washed again.  Also, someone forgot to turn the hissy motion detector cans on again after we took the tree down, so I’ll need to wash the sofa covers…

This is more nibbling by ducks, in that it’s now almost eleven and I’m sitting down for the first time today to actually write a blog and hopefully to work on Noah’s Boy afterwards.

I had something or other to write about today, but I’ll be d*mned if I remember it.

This can’t go on.  It just can’t.  The books must be written.  Yes, day to day life still must be lived, but I fail to see why “emergencies” need to take up two or three hours every day, and leave me so tired I can’t do preventive stuff so that more stuff breaks.  (And before someone asks about the rest of the family, they too are dealing with their own ducks.)

This pattern of life is disturbingly familiar.

While I was in Portugal two years ago, I was absolutely astonished at how long doing anything takes.  Part of it is stuff like insane traffic where you simply can’t obey the rules and get anywhere.  But also, everything from official business to “just” retail takes forever.  Everyone works to the clock, see, and since everyone is working to the clock and doing the minimum possible while still getting paid, everything takes forever, and the client/patient/customer is petitioner, hat in hand, while even the most lowly of retail clerks is a “figure of authority” since he can make your buying experience impossible.  (Part of this is cultural, but part of this is simply that there is no point.  You’re not going to go anywhere from your position in retail, and you’re not ever going to get rich anyway.  So you pretend to work, and they pretend to pay you.)

Add in – and this is probably not the fault of the regime, though I wouldn’t bet – a culture that requires (at least for the older generation) three cooked meals every day, and if you’re a woman at home, you’re either cooking, or washing up or if you’re in an office, male or female, you’re taking a break to eat.  In the two or three hours you actually have free in the afternoon, you’re trying to transact business that should, in a normal course of events, where people’s goal is to do the stuff as quickly as possible, take no more than a few minutes.

Dealing with doctors at least is becoming like that here, as is dealing with any type of officialdom.  The rot hasn’t fully percolated.  I can still run into a store, find what I want, buy it and run out (which in case you wonder is my ideal shopping experience.  I’m an unnatural woman.)  Stores in general still stock what the customers want (Oh, yeah, I remembered what I was writing about – the “how comics get sold” article.  Well, it shall happen tomorrow) instead of “What we can find easily and let them stew.”

My guess from seeing my kids’ generation which truly don’t expect to go anywhere or do anything, is that this will get worse as they take over the lower levels of retail.

And I don’t like it.  Yes, I know, capitalism is unfair and unjust and eeeeeeeevil, and the best thing is to legislate that everyone has to have the same guaranteed job and get the same guaranteed pay.

If humans were ants or drones, this would even be true.  Humans aren’t.

The unfair part of capitalism is exactly what makes it work.  Capitalism favors those who are good at doing something and pushes them to do more.  I know that a lot of the people our colleges are pushing out think this means what the successful ones, under capitalism, are good at is sitting around twirling their moustache and committing fraud.  Actually I think the amount of fraud has increased the more we teach the finite pie model of economics in our colleges.  When you’re taught all the rich are thieves, you get on with thieving.

That’s not capitalism.  That is the same old “I steal because I can” that has been going on since the first tribe raided the neighboring guys and took all their stuff.

Under capitalism, you get paid for services/goods.  You compete with others providing the same services/goods.

The end result is excellent service and excellent goods, as cheaply/efficiently as they can be provided.  Yes, sometimes someone gets by with inferior goods/services, if cheap enough, but there’s a bottom to that, as several discount airlines found.

We used to understand that.  We did.  We used to teach supply and demand.  We used to understand that forcing someone to work for nothing was slavery.  We used to understand that paying someone for not working is theft (and counterproductive.  You get more of what you pay for.  Always.)

Then we got teacher’s colleges filling teachers’ heads with nonsense (among other things that they were special snowflakes by virtue of being teachers and that they were ALL underpaid.)  And the teachers’ dutifully filled the kids’ heads with nonsense.  I knew it was bad news when “mandatory volunteer hours” came in.  “You have to do x number to graduate.”  This is nonsense.  If it’s mandatory it’s not volunteer.  My sister-in-law who is a teacher informed us it was to teach the kids to care.  Because you know, nothing, but nothing teaches caring like being forced to work (shoddily) at something you don’t give a d*mn about.  This is why slaves cared soooo much.  (Sorry, I think the sarcasm meter is breaking.)

So – carry on.  In the unjust capitalist future (and capitalism will always be blamed, even if socialism is in full control.  Trust me.  I’ve been there) you can’t get anywhere or do anything, because the man holds you down.  (This is actually true if the man if some senseless bureaucrat.)  So you do as little as possible and you try to make everyone else’s life as impossible as possible.

Because, unlike teachers’ fantasies, this is how slavery actually works: you do as little as possible as shoddily as possible because what’s the point?  If capitalism encourages efficiency and speed, all types of slavery — including socialism and mandatory volunteerism — encourage slow and sloppy.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had about enough of it.  I’ve endured ducks nibbling me to death for a year, but I TRULY have run out of patience now.  I’m about ready to make duck soup.

UPDATE: Post on editing and quality control for Indie writers over at Mad Genius Club

94 responses to “Ducking In

  1. Lotta ducks out there Boss. You’re going to need a biiiig pot!

  2. It isn’t as if “they” don’t have every reason to believe everybody cheats. Almost daily Instapundit reports on several more cases of universities and law schools feeding false statistics to the ranking agencies (there were two such comments between 8:50 and 10:00 this morning.)

    And in the bureaucratic world of government employee unions anybody going “above and beyond” is just creating more space for others to slack off. Increased productivity (or effectiveness) is merely an impediment to increasing staff in the department, right?

    They don’t dare imagine it is any different in the real world; their peace of mind depends upon the belief that “everybody does it and I’d be a d@mn fool to do otherwise.”

    Besides, when you are in the business of selling access, of charging for lubricating processes, this kind of inertia just increases the demand for your services.

    • The line about “Everyone does it– anyone who says they don’t is a liar” just tells you two things: the person saying it does whatever they’re claiming everyone does, and that they won’t feel guilty about it. (at least not on a conscious level or in any way that might hold them back from doing it– might be enough to make them vicious about it, though)

  3. You kill ‘em, I’ll pluck ‘em, Boss. I need a new bedpillow. I can also bring recipes for confit of duck, roast duck, duck stew, . . .

    “When life hands you ducks, make pillows and stew!”

    • TX, I hope you put a lot of cornbread stuffing in your roast duck, or you’ll find too much grease in the pan — and in the duck. The grease problem exists with wild ducks, anyway — not sure about the kind Sarah’s talking about. Not sure I’d like to do ANYTHING with those “ducks”.

      Personally, I’m about one bureaucrat shy of going postal on the whole lot. I just need a division or two at my back, so I can do a thorough job. Yesterday’s debacle shows that there’s no hope for us in Washington. I’m not terribly fond of cutthroat capitalism, but enough freedom where there’s legitimate competition, product improvement, and cost management is just fine.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        The grease is a problem only if you’re not making confit, of course.

      • Mike, I usually stuff the avian duck with onions and apples, then discard the produce after cooking for that very reason. There’s still plenty left in the pan for gravy if I’m roasting. For stew, I cheat and brown the pieces of duck first to get out some of the fat before making the stew, and then I skim the stew before serving.

        I’m not certain anything can make the other ducks edible, or even mildly useful. Wasn’t there a joke going around about zombies staring to death in D.C.?

  4. Kitteh-Dragon

    Once the schools started teaching “situational morality” it was a foregone conclusion that lying and cheating would take over, explosively. Which begets socialism – because everybody wants everybody *else’s* stuff to be evenly divided, while they keep theirs and whatever they get from the rest of the world. Because everybody thinks that the Universe revolves around them (just because they breathe!) and so, of course, they’ll be one of the “more equal than others” when things start falling apart.

    Nibbling by ducks is right. Also, “The Tyranny of the Urgent” – urgent stuff gets in the way of doing important stuff.

    Here’s to a better 2013!

  5. From ‘getting nibbled by ducks’ to ‘nibbling the d*mn ducks’ – now that’s what I call progress.

    Might I suggest succulent roast duck – instead of soup?

    My doctor refused to send me to a physical therapist I have used before who is competent – instead, she is capitated at a local place I know nothing about, and she refuses to fight the insurance company for me because ‘they are giving her a hard time.’

    I will now take my CFS-enhanced self and waste time – I had plenty of physical therapy before I found a good one, and it didn’t work. No consideration for ‘saved the insurance company umptyfrat dollars by learning yoga (at my own expense) and avoiding back surgery (a second time).’

    Maybe PT will work – I do go all out and actually work very hard at it. If so, I will be walking much better in a month. If NOT, I will be insisting they send me somewhere the therapists know what they’re doing. And they will have paid for TWO sets. I know I will be exhausted – but walking is actually important. Of course, the phone calls and paperwork consumed some of the morning time – and no writing has occurred.

    Are we somehow FEEDING those ducks?

  6. Wayne Blackburn

    The ducks are still nibbling? You have cats. Send them to take on the ducks.

    All kidding aside, hopefully the ducks are just flailing around and will die off soon.

  7. Freedonia, Sylvania, Rufus T. Firefly and Mrs. Teasdale?

  8. part of it is sheer, pure bureaucracy. You get it in capitalism too. To be sure, in capitalism you can purge it too. It’s called bankruptcy.

  9. The Mad Genius Club link returns a 404 page back to this blog. Rather than throw another duck at SH, here’s the link

    http://madgeniusclub.com/2013/01/02/what-you-wanted-to-know-about-editing/

  10. Clark E Myers

    Be nice to have a single point of failure to have a single point of attack- but as medical providers themselves become employees it’s harder and harder to find a boss who can and will cut red tape.

    FREX phone trees at the practice that say don’t call us, ask your pharmacist to call us and maybe the practice will call the pharmacist back likely after a shift change so nothing can be accomplished. Clogged filters.

  11. > Add in – and this is probably not the fault of the regime, though I wouldn’t bet – a culture that requires (at least for the older generation) three cooked meals every day, and if you’re a woman at home, you’re either cooking, or washing up or if you’re in an office, male or female, you’re taking a break to eat.

    I’m going to disagree with Ayn Rand and say that I think it’s just dandy that some cultures and some people prefer to live that way. There’s a lot to be said about the quality of life with a household income of $120k…and there’s a lot to be said about the quality of life with a household income of $30k and homecooked meals and home baked bread and tasks done by hand instead of subcontracted out, etc.

    The mistake that some make is thinking that you can have both. If you want to work Latin hours and avoid “Anglo American” market economy, you can’t live like a Wall Street trader.

    My GF and I, despite both being very libertarian, are not out bestriding the world, founding new copper mines. We made a decent income, bake our own bread, make our own stock from chicken carcasses, hand-make Christmas presents for each other, etc.

    As long as no one is demanding transfer payments from their more hard-working neighbors, this is a fine life-choice.

    American Leftists and Greeks, among others, refuse to make this trade off. They want to have it all…and that means theft via taxes.

    • No. Don’t get me wrong. I have always cooked from scratch and I purposely chose an occupation that allowed me to work from home once we had kids. I make probably a fraction of what I would have had I continued as a multilingual translator (like… a tenth.) HOWEVER this libertarian wanted to raise her kids and make sure her family ate well. That’s fine. Portugal is… different. Truly. It’s more a “elaborate meal required, with table setting, three times a day.” I have been a stay-at-home mom/writer for twenty one years, and I’d make the kids sandwiches for lunch (and before carbs were an issue, mostly I baked my own bread, most of the time WITHOUT a bread machine. Also known to roast the beef then slice it thin — bought machine for that. Cheaper than cold cuts.) Or I’d serve them soup or something. BUT it wasn’t a production where the whole family sits down for two hours.

      And I totally agree on the Latin culture, then Latin income. I mean, I grew up in the sixties with a lot of people who lived like Britain in the thirties. This is fine… provided you understand there’s a trade off.

  12. Since I have TriCare, my docs were being nibbled by the end of 2010. I have to see my primary care doctor, who has to send in a consultation for my rheumatologist, before I can get my normal care for my disease. I have to beg for it almost every time. (Course my doc tries his best, but he just wants to retire… he doesn’t want to deal with the nonsense.) Plus now it is starting to go towards my meds. The stuff that keeps me sorta well, I have to get permission for new refills already requested by my docs. It is enough to get my temper pumping–

  13. If you are a slave, you are the victim of theft. Theft of your life’s time and your labor. For a slave, doing as little as possible, as slowly as possible can be a _moral_ act of resisting theft.

    • Yep. Same for people “forced to volunteer in order to graduate from high school.”

      • Parts of the military go this route, as well. It’s not mandatory, but if your buddy volunteers with ______________ and you don’t, his evaluation will look “better” than yours. That was one of my reasons for separating, actually. It’s even worse when he gets to ditch work on Fridays to go volunteer while your shift covers holidays, weekends, etc. “You should really see about getting some volunteer hours,” becomes a harbinger of nerdrage levels of ire. I mean, really? I thought doing my job really well, being trustworthy enough not to need ANY supervision and avoiding such things as DUI convictions and financial snafus would be an indicator that I might be worth investing some further training and trust in.

        I’m much happier writing. And not shaving. Also a big bonus.

        • I should mention: it’s not – strictly speaking – mandatory. It is, however, verging on it in certain communities. In ones where they actually do things, like deploy or face the possibility of hostile action, supervisors are often much more reasonable. “You’re still alive after that firefight? I’ll see about another Bronze Star,” instead of, “we’d really like to see more community involvement, and could you show some leadership by organizing a bake sale or carwash?”

        • Rob Crawford

          It’s not just the military. Where I work we have “cultural councils” and “resource groups” and all sorts of time sinks that have NOTHING to do with delivering value to the company or customers and EVERYTHING to do with making it clear you live to work rather than vice versa.

          • “that have NOTHING to do with delivering value to the company or customers and EVERYTHING to do with making it clear you live to work rather than vice versa”

            I have made sure every boss I ever worked for knew that I worked not because wanted to, but because it was the easiest way for me to earn the money needed to do the things I wanted to. Some appreciated it, some didn’t; but that’s the way it is. Usually those that believe in “cultural councils” and “resource groups” think you need a job to feel useful in life (probably because they do, and they can’t imagine someone not like themselves). They are always the ones who try to patiently explain (like you would to a child) that without a job you soon would have nothing to do, and all the time to try and fill. I laugh at that, believe me I’m so busy that I don’t have time for a job, not the other way around.

        • /agree

          Doing school is a similar thing; I did all the work for my entire section of the department, and most of it for the rest, getting us an outstanding result on a big inspection– which got the guy whose job it was a NAM because he “also” got his degree in religious studies (Islam) at the same time.

          It’s amazing how many classes you can do when you can study for 12 to 16 hours, instead of working!

      • My kids just brushed the start of that trend. I hadn’t realized it was widespread. Fortunately my kids were in scouting and church, so we filled out forms about how many hours they’d already spent collecting donations for the food pantry and cleaning the highway and they never heard about it again. Guess they got the right spot checked on the records. Sheesh.

        • Robert was my helper in taking care of orphan kittens. So that was easy. BUT Marshall, with his issues with sensory input, REALLY had to work hard at home (anyone who doubted it was a disability should see this genius kid, home, listening to recordings of all his classes over again, so he could hear what he’d missed in class.) He simply didn’t have time, because he had to do practically everything over at home again, every evening. So… that was fun.

  14. I’m working in a used bookstore, and I’ve either been working used books or new New Age books for 19 of the past 23 years. I know when I have a customer who goes to Barnes and Noble or used to go to Borders, because they start with the insulting assumption that I’m an illiterate moron who doesn’t know where anything in the store is. “Do you know where the bathroom is?” This is the wording of someone who’s used to dealing with college kids or recent grads working in a chain bookstore.

    The part of the starvation in the Soviet Union and block that wasn’t deliberate was due to this government owns the farm, work by the clock crap. There are times in the farming year when you take the kids out of school and everyone works 18 hours a day desperately for a few weeks to bring the crops in before the cold hits. In the USSR, the bell rings at eight or ten hours and everyone leaves, even if that means the crops rotting in the fields.

    • @Charles:
      > I know when I have a customer who goes to Barnes and Noble … they start with the insulting assumption that I’m an illiterate moron

      So you can just tell, automatically, where they used to shop and what they think of you?

      Well, yes, your story certainly does contain one person who makes insulting assumptions.

      • Susan Shepherd

        I would’ve thought of “Do you know / Can you tell me where the bathroom is?” as a more polite way of asking “Where’s the bathroom?” rather than an insult. But then, maybe there’s something tonal in the way the question is asked that doesn’t translate well to text.

        • Since our language is partly tonal (because words have so many meaning) I can see what you are saying– any phrase can be rude i said the wrong way ;-)

        • I entirely agree that that’s a better way.

          I’ve just got enough friends and acquaintances who are nice people but manage to phrase things in really convoluted ways such that I want to hide my face in my palm.

          One friend, for example, will call a restaurant and ask “I was wondering what time you’re open until.”

          I shudder at that because it’s a statement, not a question.

          I try hard to be less Spock-like and realize that other people phrase things in their own broken, inferior ways without meaning anything by it. ;-)

    • “Do you know where the bathroom is?”

      No. That’s why I’m wearing diapers.

      Alternately, you could make sure you stock this book.

      • Sigh. Guys, the point is, people who walk into an independent bookstore and are obviously used to shopping in one of the many, many chain bookstores are obviously used to the employees being neccessary obstructions needed to operate the computers and the cash registers. The customer will want something obvious and recent and will ask for the non-fiction section (which takes up about two-thousand square feet here) instead of asking me the title. Or will spell out what he or she wants me to type into the computer so the computer can tell where it is. After we cover the fact that the computer only covers the seperate, collector’s item internet business and the unit in the bookstore is currently dead, we can get to the fact that I have heard of Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad and can, in fact, probably find the novella in which the ship’s boiler goes kablooee (“Youth”) and the omnibus of Confederate-themed war poetry and fiction published in 1876 (some really nasty, bitter stuff there). Sorry to have offended anyone who worked at one of the many majors, but I’m fairly sure they never gave a prospective employee a cultural literacy test (the late, lamented Chinook Bookstore did that, an excellent test too.)

        • I like those kind of bookstores Charles (not the main ones of course). I have been in two in my lifetime. One in SLC, UT, which is now gone and one in San Diego, CA. I don’t know if it is there or not. But it was a pleasant experience. As for the major chains, many of those earnest young people have no idea — I found books in the wrong sections. Plus they are supposed to be alphabetical– yep– never in a million years–

          • The earnest young people seem to think the best way to prove their earnestness is to make sure those horrid, horrid Baen Books don’t darken the doorway of their chain outlet.

            • Unfortunately I never saw a Baen book there– or even in the books stores on a military base. If I had known– but it was hard to get books through the mail too– We do live in better days for bibliophiles.

              • Since Baen’s lovely “build libraries for ships” drive, all the bases I’ve checked the book section of have Baen books now. ^.^

                I think it was a response to 9/11, or it may have been when a soldier wrote home how they were bored out of their minds, but I’m never going to forget the awesome bunch of books that ended up on our ship because of Baen! (and I did a LOT of sharing the old free library, too)

        • I REALLY miss Chinook Bookstore. There is one other store in town that I shop frequently, and they’re good. There are three others I hit now and then, but they’re not on the same level the other one is. My son has found another one I need to check out, if I can ever get my medical problems taken care of. Charles, email me where you work, and I’ll try to come in.

        • Actually, the original Borders in Ann Arbor was famous for giving people a wide-ranging book test. They were supposedly the first to ever think of such a thing, in fact, and continued doing it at that location for many years after the chain stopped.

  15. Love your ‘little snowflakes’ line. Since leftists seem to love to believe that everything is determined by culture, blank slate and all of that, wouldn’t it make sense for leftists to try to train kids in being tough and independent? I’m dreaming, I know, imagining much of anything the left does is coherent.

  16. masgramondou

    Some of the background to Pournelle’s codominium stories seems remarkably prescient these days. Unfortunately we don’t have a way to get pff this planet and away from the moochers yet.

  17. Quack. Quack. Quack. Quack? QUAAACK!
    [Flies off in alarm.]

  18. In my head it looks like this.

    It’s long past time to ignite some ducks.

  19. Dear Ms. Hoyt
    I read your tale of lament with interest and finding my self filled with empathy, sympathy, and a desire to offer words of consolation. (Well that sounds unduly sarcastic, so please don’t read it that way. Rather take it as an intent to offer words of comfort.) I can only say that you are not alone. (Well, ya, that’s pretty obvious.) I could say that “I feel your pain” but that has already been used, over used, and discredited, so that won’t work.

    I could offer up my own tail of lament, but it wouldn’t be therapeutic for me, nor interesting to you, so that won’t work either.

    Instead, I’ll offer up this suggestion — canned pie filling, any fruit pie filling already prepared, in a can, eaten right from the can, as needed. Not all at once, that would be too much. You can stretch it out to last all day. Ice cream might also work for you, but if I have ice cream it is all that I eat until it is gone, and then there is none, you see. Chocolate gives me a headache now, so that won’t work for me, but might for you. Of course, this tactic takes some discipline or you will finding yourself weighing in at half a tonne or so, and in poor health to boot.

    Surprisingly, a good soup works nearly as well. Especially accompanied with fresh salad, and bread. But all of that takes a large collection of ingredients, and takes time, and it’s more like work. So, pie filling right from the can, quick, cheap, energy efficient, and no clean up after.

    If I should discover other workable tactics during my meditations here in my cell at the monastery, I’ll try to remember to pass them on. .

    Good luck with the ducks. You’ll never get them in line, but you can get them into a herd quite easily with a long stick of bamboo.

    Regards

  20. Welcome to my day — and why I haven’t been able to get anything written in, oh, several *YEARS*….

  21. Ah, well. At least a duck’s quack doesn’t echo.

    M

  22. here is bureaucracy in all its splendor:
    Why all the cool kids are reading Executive Order 13423

    Can’t start the kids too young on gobbledegook.

    • Raymond Jelli

      You’ve got to love the new way. You can be sure there will be no discussion of the actual Constitution or constitutional freedoms (especially the 2nd amendment…nah, actually it will be but with leading questions and exact answers) but the legislative order gobbledy-gook will be run over with a fine tooth comb. This is the “A” student’s dream though. Judge what the teacher wants to hear, parse the sentence and work on process and not results. Even better not a chance to be sidelined that you might enjoy knowledge for the joy of it. We are sure to get a lot more good Hilary’s, a few more sociopathic Bill’s, more preening Obamas and not a single damn leader worthy of the name.

      Personally I don’t believe that literature is a good way to teach students about the world but if you are going to teach this kind of critical thinking it is better that student’s work part time, get paid with real money and read the employee manuals and do a report.

      • Dream? Yeah, you can hack out the papers the teach wants, you even have the advantage that since you are writing them on horrible stuff already, the work doesn’t taint good literature with the taste of English class, but it’s not pleasant.

        • Raymond Jelli

          You’re just saying that because you never read the FDA’s definition of when something can be legally called natural sweetener over artificial sweetener. I did and it changed my life. I laughed, I cried and it left me wanting more. Their later work in defining corn syrup didn’t quite have the old magic but if you look deep enough into it there are some real gems. By the way don’t settle for the digested versions found on the applications. They provide some foreshadowing, some of the tension found in the original but lack the emotional depth.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      I know that there is a maxim of not attributing to malice what can be attributed to stupidity, but in this case, I call malice.aforethought.

      It would be hard to imagine a program more likely to drive children away from reading, and I consider that to be the intent, so that fewer people will get a good education and learn to think for themselves, because naturally that would be a danger to the type of government they are trying to install.

    • MindingtheCampus dot org (always a great place to go to see how fast your blood pressure can rise) has an essay about NYC teachers vs. the Common Core. The writing requirements have NOTHING to do with the reading portions, among other wee, minor complications. And since , in the essay’s example, the teachers are not familiar with non-fiction argumentation, the teachers are scrambling to figure out ways to teach to the requirements. Which are not grade-level appropriate for modern students, either. Truly a trifecta of bureaucratic bamboozelment and B.S.

      • Hmm. Well, I do have to point out that part of its reason for existence is to raise the bar on “grade level appropriate.”

        • Apparently in this case it means having students in the 6th grade, who have never been exposed to argumentative essay writing, analyze and then reconstruct an argumentative essay. Part of the problem is the students have not encountered some to most of the vocabulary used on the test forms, either. As you say, it may be an attempt to raise the bar, but I get the sense that the teachers would have appreciated more warning. The NYCPS System might be an unusual case.

          • Actually, I got a comment on my own journal that such standards are not “appropriate developmental standards”. Some may have appreciated more warning. Others resent the idea of teaching as much as was taught a few decades ago.

            • The resentment I’m seeing here is that the Common Core standards are lower than the existing state standards, and the Feds are requiring the state to conform down. And denying the state the possibility of opting out.

  23. Duck Soup! Roast one duck with seasonings of choice. Remove meat from bones and either eat for supper or set aside to add to soup later.
    Put all bones and skin(with the lovely seasonings on it) in a large stock pot and cover with water. Simmer all night. Remove the skin and bones and discard, or feed them to your cats/dogs. After all that cooking, they will be quite safe for them to eat.
    Skim as much fat as you can from the liquid. Add chopped garlic, onions, celery, and whatever veggies you wish to the pot and bring back to a simmer. When the veggies are done, add any reserved meat back to the pot along with salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram, (or your preferred blend of herbs and spices). Enjoy!

    I really hate those ducks. I’m trying to kill at least one each day while I’m still recovering from my fever. I’ll be sorting laundry in a few minutes. I’m still 4 of Sarahs posts behind, and by the time I get back to the computer, I’ll probably be back to 5. But I don’t want to skip any of the goodness here. I did dump 3 days of Instapundit, though. He always produces more. ;)