unhealthy obsessions

Ha, no, not that. The other day, I woke up obsessed with doom. We all know the sun is going to go red giant sooner or later, enveloping the earth in its outer corona and frying all life on the surface of the planet. Long before that, of course, other problem will make themselves felt. And there’s some sort of economic crash thingie underway right now.

On a number of blogs (even the HBB) I’ve seen a fairly similar set of discussions about how manufacturing prosperity (goods manufactured, profits & income earned, etc) is the main ingredient in any meaningful economic recovery .. and how we won’t have any recovery until we’re again making and selling things of value, to use JHK’s phrase.

Just to keep those doom-y thoughts at bay, I seized upon the loose threads of another obsession (sewing) and got to thinking about what’s up in the world of fabric retail sales. Things there are horrible now. My favorite nearby store (a place so special that it catered to folks who make clothing – stores like that are rare because the sewing market is dominated by the uber-rich SAHM yuppie types with the $5K Berninas who dabble in quilting, then by the bridal set, then by the window treatment set) has gone out of business and I haven’t been able to find a replacement. There are places in Lowell MA and Manchester NH I’ll have to check out, but for the moment it seems the leftover options are Chinatown (in Boston) and then the NYC garment district.

For the stores I really really like, it’s clear that they get their best fabrics as remnants and stubs of bolts from the clothiers of NYC. They had someone driving a truck down there every so often to pick out the likely-selling stuff. The fashion places in NYC typically buy the fabric from the Middle East or Africa. A lot of it is made in places like Pakistan or India on old power looms that are probably 50+ years old. They are close to the yarn/thread suppliers there, of course, and the market economics are better than for here. What weaving operations we’ve still got in Massachusetts tend to be only the high-tech things like specialty kevlar fabrics or other Apollo-era crap. Malden Mills was one of the last operations of that type, and they’re down to specializing in Polartec fleece.

The non-funny thing, of course, is that global commerce is crashing right as we’re watching it, so of course I wonder what’s going to happen when those Pakistani spinning & weaving operations are not running all the time, making low profits selling fabric to the west where it gets resold at much higher prices. What happens when those NYC clothiers stop ordering thousands of yards of specialty fabric?

Knowing a little about how most people tend to do business here in the UPL, I had to wonder if all those closed former weaving mills had unions in them (likely) and if the companies did business the Apollo-era way. Did they put up lots of bright lights and safety rails around the machines? Did they have a thick manual, put out by management, detailing the exact steps needed to clean the place? Did they buy the expensive equipment new, on credit, then spend a portion of their profits paying off the rental fees (aka interest) for the money later? Did they have spiffy new furniture in their conference room? Did they have high-flying CEOs earning hundreds or thousands the levels of the grunt workers?

Anyway I was very touched to see one commenter on the HBB who mentioned that there are people out there who might, if they were so inclined, put their resources to sensible use by starting up their own small-scale businesses. That’s more like it!

So I started wondering exactly what it takes to get some sort of minimum weaving operation going. I haven’t yet learned the full supply stream for the thread/yarn side of the business, but I spent enough time researching the weaving end to learn the basics of power looms and how they work. I’m kicking around the idea of making a little 1/1-weave hand-cranked loom just for turning knitting yarn into scarves. The trick is the self-cocking flying shuttle and getting the draw beam to advance at a regular rate so as to be consistent in the piling-up of warp threads. I measured all my sewing patterns and found it’s not necessary to have more than 28” fabric width for the biggest of them.

Amusingly, there are ultra-expensive hand looms available out there (see Leclerc and its competitors) but they seem designed for the SAHM craft/quilt crowd who’ve got mega free time on their hands. Those things are so slow that the fabric on them would have to be priced ridiculously high just to cover the labor costs, even if the weaver is getting only minimum wage, and it won’t have much in the way of tension/thread count stability on either the warp or the weft.

I also learned that denim is a relatively simple 3/1 weave of the twill family, which includes canvas and duck.

An interesting sentiment to see (in the world of powered weaving) was the preference to make all new looms as jacquard looms, so that the machine is not later limited in the types of weaves that can be made on it. A jacquard machine is rather special because it has fine control over which of the weft threads are raised (to form the “shed”) as the shuttle is passed across the warp. By changing the pattern of the weft threads, you can make anything from denim to towels to brocade to satin on the same machine.

So, there ya go, I kept doom-y thoughts at bay for part of the weekend by getting obsessed about what it would require to set up a minimum weaving line done as a cottage industry. If the economy does in fact crash hard, one thing I am certain about is that the cheap-assed manufactured clothing being worn by everyone these days is not going to last very long into the long emergency. It’s basically crap that falls apart all too quickly or after too many cycles through the washer. I give the stuff 2 year tops before everyone’s got holes in their clothing, and not the trendy kind of holes either.

Is anyone else out there thinking “Got business plan?” :)

(SAHM = stay at home mommy, usually with large SUV and willing to run over anyone in order to get precious little Bratleigh to riding lessons after school

This entry was posted by nudged.

55 thoughts on “unhealthy obsessions

  1. Sure, my company will be renamed “Mass Specs R Us”, specializing in harsh and extreme environment mass spectrometry, e.g., bottom of the ocean, outer space, Jovian moons, coments, hydrothermal vents, acid springs, fumaroles, and decaying chemical weapons dump sites.

    We can monitor the quality of your ice-maker ice and cold refer drinking water, and inform you when your oil needs changing (on higher-end PHEVs and Hummers). We can also monitor your area’s air quality and tell you what exactly is in that green plume emanating from the hole in the ground that was your backyard victory garden, all within 1/125th of a second.

    Easy financing available, call 1-800-OBAMASEZSO.

  2. Really nice post Nudge. Very interesting. I wonder if linen will eventually make a big comeback as flax seems to be an easy crop to grow on the western plains. Plus flax seed oil should become pretty handy for all kinds of things.

    On another note. My mother was a director in the theater and although costumes were not usually something she personally got involved in she did at times take matters into her own hands, and I think she enjoyed it. As the garment and shoe industry was fading away in the Boston area she acquired some rather antique industrial sewing machinery from different places and ultimately set up a well-equipped sewing and fitting room in the house. We kids were fascinated with a big pedal-operated belt-drive machine with a fly wheel that could stitch through just about anything like butter. Talk about dangerous.

    Working on the costumes eventually inspired and led to a stream of home-made clothing projects. My sisters made a lot of clothing and I once was bestowed on my birthday with a paisley shirt sporting corduroy shoulders, pockets and elbow patches, made out of a table cloth and pants. And I wore it too. One of my sisters still has some of the old equipment including a pedal-operated Singer that is very old but functional, and says she intends to restore it.

  3. “My favorite nearby store”

    Are you talking about the little Chinese place on Kneeland Street? I used to go in there all the time.

    So what’s the deal here? You post about clothing and I can only bracket you with “serious” stuff for the next 5 days? Or until the next Republican President is inaugurated. I’m tellin’ ya. All women are the same. Giv’em an inch, they take a mile. Sisters are the only ones you can trust.

  4. Synchronicity.

    I am not much of a seamstress, but today I sewed up a hole in my sons pant leg. As I did so, he said to me that he would be made fun of at school for being poor if he wore them. He told me a story of how the other kids throw money at this one kid that every one knows gets free lunches. He wanted to know if he should tell that kid not to go after the money they throw because it is making him look bad.

    Sigh.

    I took the pants back to where I got them from because I realized that not only had he put holes in the knee, but that there were tiny holes in seven places in the fabric. I showed it all to the clerk but because of the rules of the store she could not give me my money back. I understood, I did not bitch. I bought more pants (different brand, tougher fabric) and a shirt I got off the clearance rack. I went through the line to buy them. Turned out that 1. The same woman who was in charge of returns was on the register when I showed up and 2. The shirt did not have a price tag on it (my son wears a required uniform, any white shirt on clearance was good). She looked at me and asked me to “name a price.” I was dumbfounded. She said it again, “Name a price.” I was not too savvy, I said, “$10.” That is what she put into the register.

    She knew those pants were a piece of crap. I bought them in December and the stitching was already coming undone, the hem was raggedy, this is besides the holes. She was trying to make it up to me. It is funny the traps we get into, I did not want to be “dishonest.”

    This post may not look like a lot. I feel like there is a whole lot here, starting with my son’s response to the seam I placed at the ripped knee. He is very happy to wear the pants if he is not at school. At school, the price for him is too high. Today, I can accommodate this. He knows a time is coming where I will not. I told him as things slide and people need to patch up clothes and wear them, that it will be classist and maybe even racist to ridicule folks who wear patched clothes. That is when he told me the kid at school being picked on for being poor is black.

    Sometimes I want to die, or something intense, I don’t know, it hurts so bad just how fucked up we are. Random pain dished out from other random pain recipients for no good reason.

    This from the fabric of our society, loosely woven, unraveling at the edges.

    Love ya Nuded.

  5. Nudged goddammit!

    [MOU- you know one of the original rules of the Dharma initiative was no correcting spelling mistakes in subsequent posts. I’m going to think this over closely, but I may decide to delete it before Nudge wakes up and sees it tomorrow. You’re lucky you brought me that Finance Rant video yesterday. That was a big hit everywhere around the finance world. Please bring more of that. -JR]

  6. My father built a loom in his basement. So there… well three quarters of one, at least. It looks great. He just has this tendency (which I seem to have inherited) of not finishing projects. This was about 10 years ago. It’s still there. I should try and get him to finish it the next time I see him. It will mean he’ll spend less time on the internet trying to find new ways to lose my parents’ nest-egg by discovering the secret to beating the market. (“Whatever happened to stochastics, Dad?”)

    My biggest regret to dying sometime before 2060 will be not knowing what comes after Wii, the Internet, and Lil’ Wayne.

    I wish somebody would invent a new drug.

  7. Maybe I’m just an ignoramus about where bolts of cloth come from and the economics of securing alternate sources of material (e.g., should the mega-modular shipping container barges decide to cancel runs due to a lack of interest — see today’s WSJ), but I guess that’s part of the business plan, ehh Nudge? What about using used clothing from super fat people who, from losing weight, no longer need their tent-like apparel items in the closet… use these giant tarps to fashion a matching ensemble of outfits for an entire (immigrant or newly poor) family? I guess the more basic point is that much of everything, including new raw materials, will probably be more difficult to get should the rest of the world give up on us (the US, that is). Let’s hope this re-badging of America with Obama’s face thingie buys us a bit more time. BB is in shock over the thought of a lagomorph-targeted plague.

  8. MOU. I believe it. My wife put those iron-on patches on the knees of my daughters sweat pants. My god. It became a national tragedy. I have to admit though, they looked rediculous. I said don’t make the kid wear those. But yeah we’ll be seeing more patches before this is over.

  9. MOU, maybe I’m getting too old to genuinely relate anymore to the traumas and dramas of image conscious youth. (And they certainly can tell when you think the circumstances of their consternation, in the greater scheme of things, to be sub-important, this generally worsening the situation even further.) Anyway, back in my day, being in a perpetual cloud of self-absorption as I was, I probably didn’t even realize people were making fun of my jeans, t-shirts and old Army jacket (or whatever minimalist get-up it might have been that) I used to wear to school. Being middle-aged is essentially a license to be a dork, and I can handle that.

  10. Saint Bif .. that pedal-operated belt-drive sewing machine is the same type I use. Very scary. Does about 5K stitches/minute if you floor it. Goes through about 3/4” of whatever is under the foot .. including your fingers.

    I don’t let visitors play with it .. in fact, the power cords get removed and put away.

    Trying to pick up a good used industrial serger to go with, since the other one is dying.

    MOU, your post about clothing really strikes a chord with me. OK, it may not be obvious in that picture on my blog, but I am quite tall ~ enough so that I need to sew clothing if it’s going to fit, and enough so that it would be prohibitively expensive to seek out only the talls shops that might have my size. Once I really got going with the sewing, it was a pleasure to keep the same garments for years, then take notes about where they were failing (if they failed at all) and then keep notes on the patterns reminding me to layer or reinforce or double-stitch certain areas. If you start with good fabric and put the garment together nicely, with some care as to loose ends and cleaning up the end of every seam, the clothing should actually last quite a long time.

    That cheap imported crap clothing really makes my ass twitch, if you know what I mean. Send them a message: don’t buy it.

    JR .. your dad has a loom in his basement?? Must. See. OK, that can be our excuse to get together for a visit. How wide is the web, does it have a flying shuttle, and how much does he want for it?

    Holmes .. I have gone the route before of trying to re-use old fabric. It works OK if you are down-shifting from clothing to crafts use, like when you take apart old jeans and use the pieces for making a denim purse or tote bag. But making other clothing from used-clothing fabric is sort of like building a new house on top of rubble without first clearing it and building a new foundation .. the fabric has already been stressed and stretched and worn in interesting patterns. The results come out like bad plastic surgery later (think Michael Jackson) as the grain lines stretch or contract, and the individual pieces of fabric reassert the shapes they were stretched into for the original garment.

  11. JR .. you don’t like it if I write “serious” stuff? That is exactly why I felt the need to do a separate blog that is full of stuff like that. Sorry, but I am so not into the whole YouTube thing. That news the other day about the failing CA farms really shook me up .. more than half the country’s fresh fruit & veggies come from there. I am going to have to get started pretty quickly on the seedlings, and hopefully by the time it’s warmer out I will have found some outdoor space for keeping the plants.

  12. i have my grandma’s old pedal, acctually it’s more like a rocking platform, powered machine. no clue of how to use it.

  13. That cheap imported crap clothing really makes my ass twitch, if you know what I mean.

    ass twitch…kinda like a rug burn, i guess.

  14. Nudge, you don’t need to justify starting your own blog. Anymore, soon everyone on the planet is going to have dozens if not hundreds of internet presences. It’s like apologizing for breathing or for having a mobile phone. This all already seems quaint in an anticipatory retrospective sense.

  15. In all honesty, I don’t think anybody ever asked him why he did it. I think we all just assumed we thought he wanted to see if he could do it. I’ll get a photo.

    Around the same time he had me teach him Visual Basic so he could duplicate a program he read about somewhere that modeled population growth and dieoff in small communities. Nothing ever came of that either.

    I guess people shouldn’t be allowed to retire.

  16. Hey, Nudge-

    Mondo thanks for stirring the pot on clothes-making and the sewing arts–the “physics” of it had never dawned on me. You should definitely turn your notes into a publication and copyright it–make your obsessions pay off! ; ^ ) [Let me know if you need help–I’m an InDesign whiz.]

    As an artist/designer (descended from skilled needle artists and other craftsmen on both sides of my family) all my life, and having gone through stages of being a fashionista/clotheshorse, over the past few years I’ve often wondered where clothing is headed next.

    In my lifetime, it seems to have taken on the usual affects of class–cheap Chinese K-Mart for the masses, ready-to-wear for the middle class, and haute couture for the super-rich–that have occurred down through the ages. (Did you see the news that Obama’s–and my Dad’s 40 years ago–favorite suitmaker, Hart Shafner & Marx, is in Chapter 11?)

    I’m the proud owner of a 3′ x 5′ wool rug hand-hooked by my Gram in a lovely floral pattern. When I would stay with her over the summers up on Lake Ontario’s Black River Bay, I used to sit and talk with her while she worked on the rugs.

    She showed me how she took old wool clothing and fabric in the colors she needed, cut it into long narrow strips and then pulled each strip through the burlap backing to form a tightly compacted field of colors on the top. When she was finished, she would eliminate raw burlap edges by folding them under, steaming the folded edge flat and then hand-sewing it to the back of the rug.

    My other “family” rug was made by Gram’s next door neighbor, an aunt by marriage, Irene (we all called her Aunt Iny). My grandmother was not fond of Iny’s rugs, which were much more kitchsy (braids made from old fabric, then hand-sewn together to form ovals, circles, and lozenge shapes) in appearance than hers, but the craftsmanship was equally fine.

    An old and dear friend from college who has been in retail all her life, has spent the last two years travelling back and forth to China for her current employer. We haven’t seen each other in about five years but are going to try to rendezvous in March and I’ll see what her perspective is on all this.

    P.S. Great blog!

  17. “I guess people shouldn’t be allowed to retire.” –JR

    Somewhere on this blog or CFN, many moons ago, I posted something about one of the passages from the AA “Twelve Steps” book–it was probably one of the later inventory steps. It defined retirement as a four-syllable word for sloth.

    There is a large amount of research supporting that “retirement” is not necessarily a good thing.

  18. “I’m tellin’ ya. All women are the same. Giv’em an inch, they take a mile. Sisters are the only ones you can trust.” –JR

    A JOKE FOR JR

    A store that sells new husbands, has opened in NYC, where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

    You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!

    So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads:
    Floor 1 – These men Have Jobs.

    She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:
    Floor 2 – These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.

    That’s nice,’ she thinks, ‘but I want more.’

    So she continues upward. The third floor sign reads:
    Floor 3 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.

    ‘Wow,’ she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.

    She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:
    Floor 4 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework.

    ‘Oh, mercy me!’ she exclaims, ‘I can hardly stand it!’

    Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:
    Floor 5 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

    She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor, where the sign reads:
    Floor 6 – You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.

    PLEASE NOTE:

    To avoid gender bias charges, the store’s owner opened a New Wives store just across the street.

    The first floor has wives that love sex.

    The second floor has wives that love sex and have money and like beer.

    The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been
    visited.

  19. As for the sewing thing my wife’s new job (same company differant store) it so happens to be in an old out of business sewing chain store. Handcock Fabrics. You can still smell the oil used to clean up sewing machines in room that is now the managers office. Besides the large morman run chain Hobby Lobby (their fabrics suck) there is only one quilt store and one independent fabric store left with easy driving distance. None with in public transportation distance or closer.

  20. Little girls jeans look fine with girrly patches on them. My 5 year old loves them.

    As for the sweat pants egads. They really suck these days. Even mine are thin and crappy.

  21. EE, great post & thanks for visiting the blog. I am actually kind of psyched about learning about the whole weaving operation and the spinning operation that feeds it. This fits in with my other textile-arts obsession (paper) which is the industry I currently work in. The fabric-making process is a natural complement to the whole sewing biz anyway.

    I hear a lot of people complaining about their clothing, and when I ask, the root of the problem seems to be (again) the cheap sh** from turd world sweatshops.

    The notes on the loom are not very organized. It is more like a list of things that could someday be made into a proper specification. There are some improvements I wanted to make that you don’t see on hand looms, such as making the cocking of the flying shuttle spring integral with the motion of the beater, making it so the whole thing can be run off a single torque feed, and so on.

    Don’t get me wrong .. I have nothing but admiration for the ladies who can weave on a hand loom or who do quilting or knitting. My interest lies more in making the kind of clothing you can’t do without. I can go through probably 6 square yards of fabric (or more) per day just cranking out clothing .. call it “speed sewing” with an ergonomic work area .. and hand weaving is far too slow to feed that sort of fabric usage. Probably hand spinning is way too slow to feed that pace of weaving too. So the minimum vertically-integrated cloth textiles operation would need to do spinning, weaving, dyeing, and sewing, and it would have to be mechanized in order to get the production speeds needed to be profitable.

    Nice joke for JR ;)

  22. You wear shoes? Jesus, I thought you Aussies just climbed down out of the trees a few years back.

  23. Thanks for the joke, EE. But it really was a horribly sexist thing I said, and I apologize.

    There, all better, just like Geithner.

  24. iz peak oil boy toy still peddling his smart neighbor thingamajig?

    I sometimes wish I had less confidence. It might do me some good.

  25. oh! sorry, you’re talking to me. I thought, … nevermind.

    I have no idea. I don’t read Life After The Oil Crash. Ask Auton Unit. He loves all that Ruppert stuff.

  26. EE, loved that joke.

    What Nudge wrote kicked the shit out of WMBH.

    We have tightly drawn facts, a killer delivery vehicle, and the inevitable personal synaptic detour of envisioning sex- and beer-loving women (who tend to hate other women) arriving to install safety devices on highly dangerous sewing apparatuses. Call it a citizen’s arrested development.

  27. JR, you must be talking about Ryan Crocker .. he basically paraphrases what everyone else says. I sometimes leave Opera reloading his profile page all night long to make him think he’s got an audience. He is an expat UPL’er living in the UK. By coincidence there is someone in the diplomatic corps by the same name.

    http://www.blogger.com/profile/01059007708223892067

    BB, you’re a god, don’t let them harsh your rabbitude. :) Err, rabbitudinousness? Loppiness? Harishness?

  28. Ryan Crocker is harmlessly amusing. His most useful purpose in life is perhaps to serve as a warning sign to those who would like to make their own aggregator-type blogs to discuss sustainability issues.

    Egad, he seems to be a Stay At Home Daddy, courtesy of that communist utopian UK government he no doubt complains about in private.

    JR, I don’t think I’ve posted on CFN this week, or if I did, it was nothing important. Was going to fade off that blog anyhow. Jim is boring the bejeebus out of me now. He’s still in Ryan Crocker land, which is to say far far removed from the specifics of what he keeps talking about.

    Here’s an example of what I mean: Jim talks about his possible future role as a part-time newspaper editor or local writer. Whoa, Jimmeh, look at the requirements for that: not only does your audience need to know how to read, and want to read the stuff, and have free time in which to read it, and be willing to pay something for the purchase of it, etc, but there also needs to be a PAPER operation somewhere in the picture. I spent a bit of time researching the paper-making process .. and because of the large amount of time / labor / fuel / water needed to make even just a little paper, it would have to be sold at rather high prices. (translation: it’s a luxury good) You would not have farm hands leaving each other sticky notes on a message board, or such a thing as easily-tossed newspapers, or disposable wrapping paper for gifts, etc. Anything with paper would be /expensive/ and that includes books.

  29. Sorry, the corollary to what’s happening now is that the future will be “severely restricted fuel use” compared to what we have now. The easily-obtained coal has already been gotten. We all know the story with firewood: not enough.

    It’ll be “what you have is what you can grow”, basically.

  30. Nudge

    That was a great article – it’s piqued my interest to do some reading up on weaving when I can. You’re fortunate that you can sew and make clothes to suit yourself. I have a friend who is 6’3” and a size 16 (I think a US12) who finds it difficult to find affordable clothes so she makes about half of her own. She does however have a problem with shoes with size 13 feet so she has to pay through the nose at specialty shops.

    I’ve kept a maternity pinafore I made (called my Amish as it looks similar to theirs) because there’s nothing better than saying you made something yourself.

    My grandma was a seamstress who had a Singer treadle machine that kept her family going in the Depression by sewing dresses for the rich old tabbies as my granddad used to call them – wish now I had that machine.

    It’s amazing how a lot of the useful skills are disappearing in little over a generation. For some people the moment a button falls off a shirt it’s time to buy a new shirt – scary – and I’m not talking just blokes either.

  31. “I sometimes leave Opera reloading his profile page all night long to make him think he’s got an audience.”

    sweet sweet mindfuck.

  32. Mary ~ wow, your friend is tall! Kudos to her for all the sewing she must do. Glad you liked this post. I will get back to the subject later .. working on a followup to both this and the green energy post that preceded it.

  33. Nudge,
    re JHK’s future career,
    Paper would be used for farm diaries or packing seeds IMO.
    However, my understanding is that is the days of yore, newspapers were printed in small quantities, and people would write comments on the back page (yes, this page deliberately blank) and pass the issue on to another reader.

  34. UY, thanks for the idea of messing with Ryan Crocker’s head by making him imagine he’s got thousands of fans. He even said in one of his posts there that he’s got all kinds of new readers.

    Oh yes, paper did not become a throwaway thing really until it was cheapened by fossil-fueled production.

  35. I suppose JHK’s articles could be stuck up above the men’s urinal.
    “To make a comment aim high”

  36. We could also put posts asking him if he’s so in favour of alternate energy, why was he the US ambassador in Iraq.

  37. Nudge,

    I can’t get any “ID” to work for me at your site (I know it is me I am a computer idiot). Here is what I tried to post…

    ——————————–

    I suspect there are a whole bunch of surprises just like the one you describe Jim is in for, waiting right around the corner for all of us, small denials which ease the stark terror, or outright miscalculations where we “didn’t think it through.” Funny, that is what got us here, eh?

  38. MOU, let me post the new thread over here. Good comment too :)

    Uhh, I’m disturbed by the passing of toilet paper. In the old days I think they just used newspapers or old catalogues or stuff like that. Bleh.

  39. UY: amazing! Ryan Crocker’s profile has now been viewed 13,000+ times. He must be thrilled at having all those new fans!

    Here is what he posted 12/24 after I started autoloading his page in response to his insipidly mealy-mouthed posts on CFN:

    —–
    I have to share some good news with all my loyal fans — this blog has experienced its first major breakthrough on the long, hard road of building web traffic! Two days ago I noticed a huge spike in the number of new visitors to the blog, so I assume someone out there in the blogosphere has jumped onboard the ‘Lifeboat’ and linked to this site. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Anyway I was excited, so it was with great enthusiasm that I decided to give all of my new readers some more info. about this site. Enjoy! :)
    —–

  40. Most of the people coming from CF are going to be mocking Ryan not new fans. I wonder if he thought of that?

    He seems pretty fond of himself so I doubt it.

  41. Obviously, I’m still working through old columns…

    When my SAHM ass is not on the couch, which is only after the hour of 8pm btw, I am doing my best to instill values and manners into my two little bratleighs. But what would you know about that Nudge? Does it give you much pleasure to sit on your high horse, looking down on everyone else? Or are you so lonely and desperate in your quest for human contact that this vitriol is the way you get back at everyone that has what you wish you had?

    I realize that my anger is not a result of this particular post, and if I thought it would do any good at all, I would explain that to Nudge. But no, I’m pretty much disgusted with all her generalities and stereotypical views over the last year. What galls me though is the silence of everyone else. I understand humoring one of your own, but for crying out loud, the woman is a fascist, at the very least. Why are you all silent?

  42. tipping, best be careful girl… or youz get throw’d in Anger Management jail wif me.

    they feed you with rubber chop sticks in here so you can’t hurt yourself too bad

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t read everything that anyone writes when it’s a really long post. It sometimes requires too much brain power that I’d rather be spending on something else to pick through it all and figure out what to do. So I might have missed some of things you’re talking about.

    And it’s not my job to police this place anyway, so you get what you get!

  43. Good morning to you too Tipping :)

    Well, I’m not misanthropic (note the notes in other places on being happy if I can make clothes for people) but since you’re intent on fishing, heck, I’ll bite. Coffee’s brewing.

    Tipping, omfg, clearly you haven’t had to deal with the same too-rich mommies I’ve had the misfortune to encounter here. Glad to know you live in a community where people act politely and responsibly. Good for you. If you want to chalk my experiences up to odd local customs, go for it.

    Making the roads dangerous for all other human & animal traffic, during the hours in which they feel the school bus system isn’t worthy enough for their little Gollums (oh, my preciousssss), is the least of our troubles. I live a few blocks from the school. A few times I made the misfortune of trying to walk at that time of the morning. It’s quite the eye opener to see these ostensibly “caring” types get all bully-like when you put them behind the wheel of a rolling barge larger than my whole living room. It almost wasn’t safe to be on the sidewalk. Ah, yes, the caring, the love, the nurturing .. it’s just not for other people. (kind of like the way WASP’s love animals but hate people)

    A fine example of that kind of “road user” (the term “driver” doesn’t seem to apply) can be found in that YouTube video called “SUV city”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfpXULqYV7w

    I’ve often wondered how many parents were part of the crowd that trampled that poor Wal-Mart clerk to death in December just to they could get their chance at a sub-$300 laptop for their little preciousss?

    Another side of these types is seen at town meetings and anytime we need to vote on taxes here. You could call these types the “I want it all and I don’t want to pay for it!” sort of taxpayers. On the one hand they’ll demand that our little town of under 1,300 families should have Olympic-class swimming pools, tennis courts, football fields, etc .. and on the other hand they’ll shriek that we keep taxes low. Listen, chickies, where do you think the money comes from? Oh yes, I know the mantra, they wouldn’t want to suffer the ignominy of little bratleigh not turning into the next Serena Williams or Michael Phelps or Lance Armstrong for lack of having a really, really expensive athletic facility very close to home .. even though the kids already have access to such through a regional school system.

    And god forbid if you’re a woman who does other things with her life beside breed .. they’ll practically call you misanthropic for not buying into their lifestyle.

    Tipping, years ago I had an encounter with a former boss that really said it all about the major cognitive dissonance in the excessive-breeder clique. He was complaining that when he started at the company 25 years previously, his commute from 3 towns away had been much nicer than it was now and that there are now too many people on the road. I sighed, put down the coffee, and asked him a series of questions to illustrate a point:

    How many kids did you have, I asked? He said five.
    How many of them own cars now? All of them.
    How many households are there in your town? Lots.
    What would traffic be like if every household (in the towns along the route to work) morphed from having two drivers to seven drivers?

    After that last question, the light bulb started coming on.

  44. Tipping, love ya even more than I like to argue, but JR is probably going to shut down this thread if we go all-out on this thing.

    One thing I forgot to add is the sad and entirely-predictable result of the sort of parenting that could be called “no obstacle shall stand in the way of my precioussss”. There are a lot of parents out there who raise their children in a world almost entirely devoid of consequences .. we wouldn’t want any negativity anywhere near the little Gollums, would we? When they score poorly in school, it can be blamed on anything except the kid being less than a 300 IQ genius with ADD. When the kid does something rude to someone else, it can be blamed on “bad influences” rather than any conscious choice the child may have made. When the child comes in last place in the 2km run, we say “Don’t worry .. everyone’s a winner! You did great!”. When the child is 3x his normal weight due to fast food and sugary food and lack of exercise, we brush it aside and blame it on McDonalds via lawsuits, not on the kid’s parents making bad choices regarding type of food and levels of exercise.

    And later in life, when this “good” kid beats up a homeless person, or punches the 7-11 clerk in the face and grabs the money in the register, the anguished parents wail “But he’s such a good kid! This can’t be true!” And if they even acknowledge that the kid did wrong, the next line out is “He was so good – who could have seen this coming?”

    Who indeed. These sad events are the tragic and 100% predictable result of choices made with the best of intentions, choices that nonetheless resulted in the child growing up in a vacuum of responsibility and consequence, without morality, and with no innate curbs on his notion of what constitutes acceptable behavior.

    As far as I can tell, children raised in such a matter are just one or two bad moments away from pulling a gun or committing and act of road rage or gunning down coworkers because they felt something was “unfair” to them or they needed some “time out”.

    Oh, and if your “good” kid goes to prison for something, you’d probably expect the rest of us to pay for his rehabilitation, right? Isn’t that just insult added to injury?

    If I’m wrong, correct me please.

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