The big test.

Life is starting to move very quickly, and will for the next month. Tomorrow, Kate takes her first AP test, and may I just say? AP classes are a big fuckin’ racket that I wish had never been invented. She’s hated the thing all year, and now she’s making herself nuts for a class that most likely won’t be accepted for credit by whatever college she ends up at; it costs $80; and it’s 3.5 hours long. Three! And a half! Hours! I didn’t have a college test that long in my entire career.

And of course, the great irony: The better the college you’re aiming for, the more AP classes you need. The better the college you’re aiming for, the less likely the college is to accept AP classes for credit.

Well. In 24 hours it’ll be all over. And then we go to the weekend, when Kate will be at a two-day practice for Europe. Then finals (taken early, because Europe). Then Kate goes to Europe, and Alan and I go on vacation for a week, and then the summer gallops before us like a nymph you chase through the woods. How is this possible? It was 40 degrees yesterday.

All of which boils down to: It’s a bad time to have only half one’s vision. But I’m gettin’ ‘er done. Dinner tonight: Grilled flank steak, potatoes, and a lovely orange-avocado salad. I made the salad for our dinner party Saturday and thought: I should make this more often. So I am. Sweetness, silkiness, and a superfood. Part of me thinks bad things can’t happen to anyone who’s had a good dinner the night before. Best of luck to Kate Wednesday.

But I think I’ll duck out for a Wednesday-night ride at the Hub, down in Detroit. Girl needs some exercise from time to time.

Bloggage? Maybe:

Don’t follow this link, or you may not come up for air for hours — the fallout from a recent “Kitchen Nightmares” about a Scottsdale dump I’m tempted to travel to see. Maybe Scout or someone on the ground can give us some recon.

Josh Marshall on what you need to know about the IRS scandal.

Throb, eye, throb! I’m done.

Oh, wait: Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. Happy two decades to us.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

86 responses to “The big test.”

  1. Sherri said on May 15, 2013 at 2:07 am

    I’m guessing AP World History, right? My daughter took her seventh and last AP test on Monday. It is a racket, and our district charges extra on top of the AP charges – it costs $100 per AP test. My sense is that the science/math AP classes are better than the social science/humanities classes in terms of curriculum and likelihood of credit being accepted at college, at least if you score well.

    The other annoying thing about AP classes out here? We don’t start school until after Labor Day, but AP tests are the same time everywhere. So especially with some of the AP curricula (Chemistry comes to mind), it’s a dead sprint. And at the other end, try to keep an AP class doing anything for another 5-6 weeks after the AP test…

    But graduation is June 17!

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  2. Connie said on May 15, 2013 at 2:34 am

    Amy’s Baking Company has deleted all the Facebook posts and claims to have been hacked.

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  3. alex said on May 15, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Some friends who own a tavern recently had to shitcan some ne’er-do-well family members they had hired and regretted hiring, and those losers began a facebook campaign against them, having friends post all kinds of ludicrous falsehoods on the tavern’s page. This was quickly nipped in the bud; apparently when it’s a small circle of troublemakers, it’s not hard to identify and banish them. But when shit goes viral—what a scary age we live in.

    The mean-spirited anonymous commenters that you’ll see on any media outlet’s web sites these days seem to be the same sort of folk who were savaging that Scottsdale place. And what a mistake the owners made by feeding the trolls. They should have just shut down their facebook page until it blew over. (Of course, they shouldn’t have been such stupid fame whores in the first place, allowing themselves to be featured on “Kitchen Nightmares.”) Yikes, now here I go spewing venom.

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  4. David C. said on May 15, 2013 at 6:47 am

    I love group rides. I guess I get a bit lazy when I ride by myself. I go along at a 16 mph pace, which I could probably keep up all day. On an early group ride, one that was described as a moderate pace, I was with the pack and got to listen to the comments directed at the laggards. It wasn’t pretty and I resolved to never lag myself and can now keep up with a 20 mph pace – for a bit at least.

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  5. 4dbirds said on May 15, 2013 at 6:59 am

    Happy 20th!

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  6. basset said on May 15, 2013 at 7:05 am

    I’ve heard “get outa the way, fatass!” before… only reply I could think of was “you better not stop!” and they didn’t.

    We had a much less intense but still unhappy Kitchen Nightmares situation here that aired a few weeks ago, Chef Ramsay came in to straighten out a Cajun restaurant

    here in Nashville and he wasn’t gone long before the owner started publicly complaining and went back to his old decor and menu. I had been meaning to go there for several years and surely won’t now.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 15, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Re: the IRS mess, which I’ve largely ignored until the last 24 hours for the sorts of reasons Marshall outlines in the TPM piece — it’s *because* this is so tailor-made for the GOP that you’d think the Executive branch would have responded with alacrity and insight and calm resolve. Just because it’s tailor-made for them doesn’t mean it was tailor-made by them. Carney et alia assumed the usual strategy was enough (look in the federal employment database, find a Bush-era appointee at some point in the food chain above the problem, say “see, because they were involved it’s non-partisan, nothing to look at here, move along”), and they’re clearly dumbstruck by the tidal surge against them by the media.

    I’d been talking to mi esposa when I got home last night at 10:30 about this, and said “What I really don’t get is why the White House didn’t pick up the phone, call their bud Chris Christie, and say they’re taking Prince Harry up to DC for some deflective photo shoots and walking “I can’t hear you’s” to mute this whole clusterfrak until they figure out how to divide-and-deal” . . . and then John Oliver on TDS picked that idea up and danced a tarantella on it. Very funny, but not in the West Wing.

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  8. coozledad said on May 15, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Take it away,Leonard

    Darryl Issa takes you down to his van parked near the river
    You can hear the boats go by
    As the Rohypnol hits your liver
    And you know he’s worse than crazy
    he’s a car thief who’s done arson
    And he sells you gold and shake weights
    And some tires that come from China
    And just when you mean to tell him
    That you have no cash to give him
    Then you’re pulling out your wallet
    And he lets the river answer
    That it’s always been his wallet

    And you’ll always travel with him
    And you’ll always travel dumb
    And you know that he will fleece you
    cause he took your lighter and your chewing gum.

    And Reagan was a salesman
    Wearing sleek Italian loafers
    And he sold you tires from China
    And a timeshare in St.Louis
    And when he knew for certain
    Only idiots believed him
    He said “All men will dig potatoes
    freedom something something freedom”
    But he himself was broken
    Long before the ground burst open
    like an S&L in Florida
    He sank beneath the lake bed like a spud

    And you want to rip your hair out
    And run screaming down the block
    Cause the black guy got elected
    cause he controls the liberals with his cock.

    Jon Karl was a reporter
    getting emails on the phone
    He was wearing rags and feathers
    and he ate his soup alone
    but his Jesus whispered to him
    I can help you make a dollar
    And he showed him what to change
    To increase the network’s hit count
    He was a hero for the weekend
    An ass by Wednesday morning
    He’s still holding out, well knowing
    that the idiots believe him
    While Issa holds the car keys.

    And you want to travel with him
    Cause you’re half out of your mind
    And you will always trust him
    Despite the evidence he’s left behind.

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    • nancy said on May 15, 2013 at 7:57 am

      So early to be thread winner, and yet: Thread winner.

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  9. Susan said on May 15, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Best wishes to Kate! My daughter (same school year), took AP World History last spring and takes AP US History today. I’m all about kids pursuing more rigor in classes, as long as they do it voluntarily. And at our school, the AP classes tend to have the better teachers. So even if it’s $90 to take the test (at our school), I look on it as money well-spent.
    Happy anniversary to you!

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  10. basset said on May 15, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Took Mrs. B. down to the Social Security office yesterday to hand in her disability application,and it wasn’t at all what I had expected. We called ahead and they said the best time to show up was around midday, apparently this gives the morning rush time to empty out because the waiting area wasn’t half full when we got there. In and out in just over an hour, nearly all of that was spent with the intake clerk, I was most surprised.

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  11. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 15, 2013 at 8:08 am

    You have a marvelous Social Security office, brother B; congratulations. May all your interactions with them go as swimmingly!

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  12. alex said on May 15, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Guess I’m not a liberal after all. The overheated Obama-bashing coming from Slate, Salon, the Huffington Post, etc., makes me think I shouldn’t rely on them for information anymore because they’re sounding as ridiculous as their counterparts on the right. Alarmism always trips my skepticism trigger.

    The IRS and AP brouhahas might feed the right-wing narrative about big government and overreach, but the IRS has done the same thing in the past to the NAACP, and as far as I’m concerned the Justice Department has every right to go after insiders compromising national security. Why is it any different if a U.S. official with security clearance is acting as a double agent for the AP, as opposed to China or Russia?

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  13. beb said on May 15, 2013 at 8:15 am

    The problem with the IRS scandal is that I think that IRS was right to give extra scrutiny to any group with “Tea party” or “patriot” in their name. These are self-evidently political organization and should not be given tax-exempt status as a social welfare group. But then I confess that I find any self-identified Tea-party or Patriot person to be an anti-American traitor.

    The highway safety commission wants to lower the legal limit for blood alcohol from 0.8 to 0.5 ppm, even though this constitutes one drink for a 120 pound woman or 2 drinks for a 160 pound man. I don’t like drinks and I don’t like drunk driving but this is like reinstating Prohibition through the backdoor. Pretty soon you won’t be able to take cough syrup and drive because of the alcohol in the syrup. If you want to cut down on drunk driving stop giving suspended sentences to people arrested for driving drunk.

    A blogger named KargoX has been making a weekly round-up of gun-related injuries, which other bloggers like Atrois have linked to on their sites. I think we need more of these stories about how some 4 year old killed his 2 year brother while playing with a gun, or how a school security guard accidentally discharged his gun while trying to put it in the glove compartment of his car. I’m also beginning to think that anyone who’s gun discharged when accidentally dropped, or while being cleaned, or while trying to put it in a glove box ought to have their license to own a gun revoked. The only way a gun could discharge in those situations, to my knowledge, is if a round was in the firing chamber and that’s the first no-no of gun safety. If these people demonstrate a lack of gun safety, we ought to have the right, nay, the duty to take away their guns.

    I said ‘duty’ hahahahaha

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  14. James said on May 15, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Regarding the AP tests… Our daughter got scads of hours from her AP tests, maybe because she’s going to a big state university – UGA? It was a huge benefit to her. She avoided most ofthe freshman junk most kids have to take, and entered as a Sophomore, in credits.

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  15. Julie Robinson said on May 15, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Happy anniversary, and best of luck to all the AP test takers. First I heard of AP was our daughter’s senior year, some (yikes!) 15 years ago. It’s just more of the education-industrial complex, creating more and more tests that mostly benefit their bottom line and little else. She also had to take the Praxis tests to qualify for a teaching degree. Four years of classes and a semester student teaching weren’t enough; the state of Indiana also requires additional lengthy tests at about $200.

    Coozledad, I’m curious, how long do your masterpieces take to create? I was admiring the construction even as I was spitting out my morning tea.

    Is it really only Wednesday?

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  16. basset said on May 15, 2013 at 8:26 am

    >>The only way a gun could discharge in those situations, to my knowledge, is if a round was in the firing chamber and that’s the first no-no of gun safety.

    The first no-no is “always, ALWAYS treat it like it’s loaded.” Keep it pointed in a safe direction and assume there’s a round ready to fire even if you know, absolutely positively and for sure, that there’s not. Many people have been shot with guns someone thought were unloaded; I can’t pick one up without checking the action to make sure it’s empty.

    Nance, how about a recipe on that orange and avocado salad? Sounds tasty.

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  17. basset said on May 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Thanks, Jeff TMMO… we handed in a 53-page packet of documentation, highlighted, tabbed, and all lined up, that may help.

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  18. nancy said on May 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Alex, rest assured this place in Arizona did not get the disgruntled-ex-employee treatment. It truly is the most dysfunctional eatery in probably nine countries. Terrible food, psychotic owners and real comedy.

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  19. alex said on May 15, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I looked at the YouTube clip posted by Bassett featuring Chappy’s in Nashville and I could tell from the very first frame, with the haughty, unfriendly looking wife that the place was going to have an attitude problem and sure ’nuff. No doubt the Scottsdale place is rightfully getting its comeuppance.

    As regards the IRS, Benghazigate, ad nauseam, the Fort Wayne boobocracy just weighed in. I’m evidently not allowed to comment on his columns anymore, as my well-spoken responses never appear; Kevin evidently cherry-picks the liberals’ responses that are the least articulate and unflattering to the commenter.

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  20. brian stouder said on May 15, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Bravo, Cooz; and congratulations and continued happiness to our proprietress and her co-prosperity sphere partner. Hopefully all optical issues will continue to fade away (so to speak), as summer 2013 looms before us. (Pam’s mom just had an out-patient eye operation yesterday, which apparently carried a less-restrictive post-op routine).

    Aside from that, I want to see decisive action on the part of our president to right his ship. I want to see firings and, where appropriate, prosecutions – with regard to the DoJ’s broad assault on the AP.

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  21. Prospero said on May 15, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Well, Brian, there is hilarious standard for what you are asking, Shrubco fired all of those US Deputy Attorneys for not being loyal Bushies. Spectacular.

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  22. coozledad said on May 15, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Julie: I can only work in ten minute cycles before the voices in my head start to annoy the piss out of me. It was easier when I was drinking.

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  23. Prospero said on May 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

    And if the nauseating GOPers wanr to raise a scandal, why don’t they read some history and check in to how Kerry put all those Raygunistas in jail before Raygun let their asses out. Terrorists, without a doubt. and vowed to screw over our Constitution. Right Danny? Right Mark?

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  24. Mark P said on May 15, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I took AP English, math, physics and chemistry at my high school 45 (!what?!) years ago. I never bothered with the AP tests, though. I did think they were basically very similar to the entry-level classes at the first college I attended. But I attended a good college prep school, and I never had to study as hard in college as I did in high school, until I went to graduate school. And in grad school, 3.5-hour finals were more the rule than the exception. We had essentially all day for my atmospheric chemistry final, and a couple of us took nearly that.

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  25. brian stouder said on May 15, 2013 at 9:12 am

    …and by the way, that AP (as in Advanced Placement!) story was somewhat double-talky, in his opening – and sweeping – indictment.

    I’m thinking his real point (if any) is – caveat emptor.

    Anyway, AP beats hell outta schools that shutdown altogether, as happens some places (and Michigan’s governor says this does not constitute a rainy day)…

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  26. Peter said on May 15, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Well, maybe more schools accept them now, but I aced my Calculus AP and when I got my freshman schedule front and center was 111 Intro to Engineering Calculus. I went to the Registrar’s Office with my AP score sheet and asked what’s the deal, and they said “The deal is if you want a degree in Architecture from this institute you need to sit your butt down in the Calc class that starts in ten minutes.”

    The reason I think it’s turned into a big scam is that they really push about how you’ll get these college credits and graduate early, when the students taking these classes will be taking a full load in college anyway. Sure, they’ll take other classes and broaden their horizons, but don’t sell it as a way to save college $$.

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  27. nancy said on May 15, 2013 at 9:32 am

    James’ daughter’s experience is becoming rarer. Here’s the University of Michigan’s statement on AP/IB courses:

    By succeeding in rigorous academics before you enroll at the University of Michigan, you demonstrate that you are more than prepared to succeed at one of the most academically challenging institutions in the country. However, in addition to completing your AP/IB course(s), you must also perform successfully on the exam and earn a high score. Advanced Standing is only granted to students who have high exam scores.

    The scores run 1-5, and based on Kate’s grades in this class so far, I’m estimating she’ll get a 4. I’d be willing to bet only 5s are accepted for credit at UM, although as you can see, they’ll give you a nod in the admissions process. In other words, it’s another hoop to jump through.

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  28. Bitter Scribe said on May 15, 2013 at 10:25 am

    It surprises me that colleges are cracking down on AP courses for credit, because I always thought that this was one of the easiest, cheapest ways for them to give what amounts to financial aid. I got out of half a year of college thanks to AP credits and probably could have ditched an entire year if I’d tried.

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  29. Laura W-B said on May 15, 2013 at 10:33 am

    You’ll be happy about those APs come college time. My daughter got enough credits to cover 1 1/2 terms. That’s money in the bank. Of course, our district pays for the AP tests, so I might have a more glowing view of them.

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  30. brian stouder said on May 15, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Here’s something totally different that I just tripped across. Y’know those winglets on the end of large jet’s wings? UPS is going to add them to all 54 Boeing 767’s that they operate, and that this will save them almost 6 million gallons of jet fuel per year. (Apparently they reduce drag on the wings at take-off) As Ed McMahon used to say – I did not know that!

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  31. Scout said on May 15, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I wish I could report first hand experience with Amy’s Bakery, but I do my best to avoid over priced strip mall eateries frequented by the ubiquitous botoxed-fake boobed-dyed blonde-tanning bed species of Scottsdale Birds of a Feather that flock to them. If I’m in Scottsdale, this hippie joint is more my speed:

    I have, however, enjoyed reading about the whole brouhaha this morning. Good comic relief from Benghazi, Benghazi! BENGHAZI!11!!, the IRS mess and the AP (not Advanced Placement) clusterfk.

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  32. brian stouder said on May 15, 2013 at 10:56 am

    I do my best to avoid over priced strip mall eateries frequented by the ubiquitous botoxed-fake boobed-dyed blonde-tanning bed species of Scottsdale Birds of a Feather that flock to them.

    And again – poetry!!

    I’d only add that those birds of a feather no doubt draw ‘hair-club for men’ Cialis poppin’ sports-car drivin’ Rolex-wearin’ arm-candy seekin’ tip-stiffin’ retired medical insurance salesmen…

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  33. Deborah said on May 15, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Loved your description Scout, “ubiquitous botoxed-fake boobed-dyed blonde-tanning bed species of Scottsdale Birds of a Feather”

    They’re not just in Scotsdale.

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  34. mark said on May 15, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Prospero- The answer to IRSgate, AP phone records, the Benghazi mess, or any other issue that has appeared in a headline in the last DECADE, is not ranting about “Raygun” or Kerry or Swiftboaters. Those things are simply the ONLY answers that YOU are capable of providing. Do you not realize how many hundreds of times you have repeated the same rant?

    Nancy wrote a nice piece with some interesting topics. Maybe you could follow her lead for once?

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  35. alex said on May 15, 2013 at 11:52 am

    By succeeding in rigorous academics before you enroll at the University of Michigan, you demonstrate that you are more than prepared to succeed at one of the most academically challenging institutions in the country and pay out the wazoo for a B.A. t hat will qualify your youngster to be a Starbuck’s barista in just four short years

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  36. brian stouder said on May 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Alex – this bit from your earlier boobocracy link got me laughing:

    an inspector general’s report has concluded that the IRS has been targeting groups that sought to educate Americans about the Constitution since at least 2010


    See, it’s all ’bout edication!

    The IRS thing is a nothing-burger, and Benghazi is even less than that.

    If the people who like to conjure spooks (so to speak) would focus on the DoJ/AP (not Advanced Placement) story, they’d have real fire…

    but instead, the boobocracy is reluctant to defend “the mainstream meeedia”? Is that it?

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  37. adrianne said on May 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Son No. 2 is toiling over AP U.S. history exam this morning, so I feel Kate’s pain. Don’t know whether his college will accept it for credit, but he really enjoyed the course and the teacher, so I don’t feel too ripped off paying $80 for the test.

    To Nance and Al, happy 20th! I remember dancing at your reception being hugely pregnant with Son No. 1 – good times!

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    30 days from today, I’m on the trail at Philmont Scout Ranch, two trek crews totaling 17, 12 youth & five adults out into the backcountry for 81 miles over 12 days, from Base Camp’s 7,000 feet to Baldy Mountain’s 12,400. So this afternoon, I’m taking my Deuter full of bowling balls to College Hill and marching up and down until my hips scream “mercy.” If you’re in central Ohio, stop by Whit’s for a cone and stand at Main and Broadway to mock me on each lap.

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  39. Scout said on May 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Even though coozledad wins the thread (and deservedly so) once again, getting a mention in the main body and here in the comments makes me feel like the Belle of the Ball today. 🙂 Not being a writerly sort like many of the rest of you, this feels like a bfd. Thanks 🙂

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  40. Kim said on May 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Congratulations on the milestone, Nancy and Alan. Not a small feat!

    Those AP exams are sort of a racket, I agree, although in my experience the better teachers tend to run those classes and the more with-it peer group opts for them. Kid #1 took a bunch, did well and very little transferred to the large public university he attends (it takes some digging on the college website, but you can find how high the score needs to be for it to result in how much credit). Kid #2 is in the midst of exams now and is all “Seriously? Is this testing my endurance or knowledge?”

    The AP Euro history class and test are a bitch; the teacher (one of my kids’ favorites, which is why they wanted to take the AP version) says as much and wonders why any sane parent of a 10th grader would allow their kid to take it. Fortunately, my excuse is insanity.

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  41. MarkH said on May 15, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Brian, with all due respect, your post @36 belies your considerable intelligence. You need to take the political blinders off and pay more attention. Are you really willing to lower the bar for Obama with false equivalncy? Didn’t Obama promise better, and didn’t (shouldn’t) we expect better? will he and Holder take responsibility?

    If any of the usual republican suspects were in the white House right now the screams would be deafening – 200+ posts per day at nn.c. Coozledad would be composing full-fledged operas. Guess politics as usual (IRS as a weapon; seizing private phone records) are ok, as long as it’s OUR guy doing the politicking.

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  42. LAMary said on May 15, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Scottsdale is hip deep in those types. California has its share as well. Orange County particularly.

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  43. LAMary said on May 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Scout, what is it with those strip mall expensive bad food places? People who don’t know what tiramisu is supposed to taste like pay large dollars godawful muck. I prefer the strip mall places to the east of me here. Vietnamese and Chinese noodle and dumpling places are in every stip mall, and usually you can find something wonderful for under 5 bucks.

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  44. nancy said on May 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I remember Tom Wolfe’s Atlanta novel, “A Man in Full,” made a big deal over the idea that you could have good restaurants in strip malls. Some New Yorkers are so New York it’s its own form of provincialism.

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  45. brian stouder said on May 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Mark – I find the DoJ/Associated press thing very troubling, and indeed unacceptable. Holder is probably leaving anyway, but there needs to be through investigations – and prosecutions.

    And, although I’m not yet seeing the Cincy-IRS/Tea party thing as a very big deal*, you may be proven right in the fullness of time. If there are ANY administration fingerprints on (what currently looks like) that inept administration of our tax laws, then it becomes a major-big deal.

    Benghazi is, flatly, nothing.

    *thinking of big-money Koch Brothers/Crossroads GPS type places asking for tax-free status, and anonymity on where the dollars are coming from WILL generally draw a governmental response.

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  46. alex said on May 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    It seems to me that the journos and the lefties are doing a bit of knee-jerk reactionism.

    If giving classified information to a foreign power is treason, why is giving it to the press some sort of heroic act of whistleblowing? And why shouldn’t the DoJ prosecute it every bit as vigorously? Until it’s better understood what public good was served by publishing the information in question, or how our national security was compromised by it, I’m reserving judgment.

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  47. brian stouder said on May 15, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    People who don’t know what tiramisu is supposed to taste like pay large dollars godawful muck

    Mary – this got me laughing. Mother’s Day Sunday Pam didn’t feel like going out for dinner, and she tasked me with making a food run to Casa’s, one of Fort Wayne’s better Italian restaurant establishments (and with the very best salads). She got her usual Pasta Con Verdura and salad, and I got some pasta/chicken thing with white sauce and mushrooms (couldn’t tell you what), and the young folks went for their fresh-baked pizza and baked ziti….and as a surprise, I added tiramisu on there.

    And THEN – I drove off to the WRONG Casa’s! I went to the north one (which we always visit) instead of the southwest one, which is where they do the wood-fired pizza….and when I finally got home again, the tiramisu had indeed become a $7 container of godawful muck, which Pam rejected out of hand!

    But on the bright-side, I therefore inherited it; and the muck turned out to be not completely terrible

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  48. brian stouder said on May 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    (although it most certainly did look godawful)

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  49. Sherri said on May 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Benghazi is nothing; the Republicans are trying their hardest to whip something up there to hurt a potential Hilary 2016 campaign.

    The IRS Tea Party thing is unfortunate, but there are so many 501(c)4 and 501(c)6* organizations that I don’t think should be tax exempt that I’m leaning more and more to just scrapping the charitable deduction anyway, so scandals that make it obvious what a ridiculous setup the whole thing has become don’t bother me.

    *Among the 501(c)6 organizations that I have a problem with are the US Chamber of Commerce and the NFL.

    As for the AP thing (the journalists, not the test), I continue to be appalled by the DOJ record on civil liberties; I had hoped for better under Obama, but have been disappointed. But given the lack of prosecutions related to torture, I’m having a hard time working up a lot of outrage over this.

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  50. Scout said on May 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    The problem with the ‘burbs here in the greater Phoenix area is that they have nothing BUT strip malls. If you’re visiting here (do yourself a favor and avoid doing this between May and October) stick to the downtown areas of Phoenix and Scottsdale and even Glendale and you’ll find some true gems in unique, often repurposed, buildings. But, I’m guessing it is like that almost anywhere.

    Here are my thoughts on the Scandalmas holiday the cons are enjoying waaaay too much:

    1. Benghazi – Is, was and always will be a nothing burger. Aunt Lindsay Graham having the daily vapors over it does not change the fact that it is not in fact a scandal, just a tragedy, as are all the other embassy deaths in recent history. The scandal lies in the lack of funding the budget deficit whiners imposed on overseas embassy security measures.

    2. IRS – Low level bureaucrats trying to cut some corners under the onslaught of new 501(c)4 “charities” applications post-Citizens United ruling. Probably some partisan crap going on, and it deserves to be called out and dealt with. Trying to link it to the White House? Wishful thinking. Not a scandal.

    3. The AP (not Advanced Placement)- When Republicans passed laws allowing this and a Republican admin did it, it was “national security.” When a Democratic admin works within the same legal construct, it’s a horrifying breach of privacy. I personally think it is wrong no matter who does it, but the problem is the different standards you’re held to depending whether you’re a D or an R. It was probably legal, but incredibly bad optics. Not a scandal.

    Summary – Scandalmas gives R’s in the legislature a reason to live, breathe and look busy while avoiding having to actually legislate on anything of true importance like jobs, immigration and the on-going gun insanity.

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  51. LAMary said on May 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    We had linguine with Chinese broccoli, which looks to me like a cross between broccoli rabe and plain old broccoli. It was very hot on Mothers Day and I didn’t feel like cooking so I directed the sons from a kitchen stool while I drank my new fave, sparkling water mixed with pomegranate lime juice. Here’s the recipe:
    1 pound of pasta
    1 pound of broccoli of some sort, including trimmed stems, cut into pieces. You can also use kale or chard.
    five cloves of garlic, minced.
    olive oil
    dried red pepper flakes

    Put the pasta in boiling salted water.
    while it’s cooking saute the garlic in a generous amount of olive oil until it’s barely golden
    halfway through cooking the pasta throw the broccoli into the water with the pasta
    when the pasta is done, drain it, put it in a bowl and pour the garlic and oil over it. Sprinkle some of the dried red pepper over it.
    Serve with grated parm or pecorino romano.

    This is really good.

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    • nancy said on May 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      Leave the pasta out, and that’s not a bad vegetable side dish, either. Garlic and red pepper flakes make almost everything better.

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  52. Mark P said on May 15, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Yes, the Benghazi thing is purely to try to damage a Hillary Clinton presidential bid. The result of the IRS thing should be (as Sherri says) an end to tax-exempt status for all of these organizations, right-wing or left-wing. The AP story appears not to be as clear-cut as some might think. It’s possible that the story meets a very high standard set by the Supreme Court that would have justified prior restraint (which did not happen, but which indicates the seriousness of the matter), and it’s also possible that potential harm to US interests and to individuals might justify a vigorous pursuit of the leakers. On the other hand, maybe not. I reserve judgement on that one.

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  53. Brandon said on May 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    In Hawaii, a lot of excellent restaurants are in strip malls. The same probably goes for L.A. and other places. Manhattan likely doesn’t have many strip malls, hence Tom Wolfe’s (or more likely, his character’s) wonder that nondescript places like those could house such great restaurants.

    Nancy, if you didn’t see part two of the Bad Girls Club: Atlanta reunion last night, you missed out on some epic catfights. The reunion concludes next Tuesday and segues into Bad Girls All-Star Battle, hosted by Ray J.

    @coozledad: Note how scallywag [sic] is used. It seems to be a takeoff of skank, and has nothing to do with the pejorative term for pro-Union Southerner.

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  54. Ann said on May 15, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Ten years back for my AP experience, but kiddo #2 took, I don’t know, six or seven AP classes and exams. College #1 didn’t take them, but I think it helped to have them and his generally high scores on the application. But then he dropped out of College #1, moved home, took a year off, and then went to college #2. College #2 took all the credits, with the result that we saved a full year’s tuition etc and he graduated on schedule with the rest of his class. We were happy to share our savings with him when he graduated!

    Even for the colleges that don’t take them, they often accept them for placement purposes, and my kids were both glad to get out of some of the big freshman survey classes they might otherwise have been stuck with.

    One amusing side note. For at least five years after my last kid was done with high school, Amazon kept suggesting AP exam study books to me. I’m always reassured when the analytics are not so smart after all.

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  55. beb said on May 15, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I always thought scallywag was some kind of pirate as in ‘A vast ye scurry scallywags!’ never knew it had anything to with pro-union Southerns.

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  56. LAMary said on May 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    No strip malls in Manhattan, really, but Queens and Staten Island have them. Certainly New Jersey does. But there are strip malls and strip malls. In affluent places they don’t have good funky Chinese food or Salvadoran pupusas.

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  57. Julie Robinson said on May 15, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Speaking of screwed up analytics, some marketer has decided that our daughter is pregnant and keeps sending us diaper coupons, formula samples, and advertisements for storing your cord blood. She not only isn’t pregnant, she hasn’t lived here since she graduated high school in 1998. Yesterday she got a solicitation for a home equity loan showing she owns our house and is *already* pre-approved.

    Our impression of Phoenix, based on visiting for just a few days, wasn’t so great, but we really liked the vibe in Tuscon. It seemed as though Phoenix was doing its best to pave over the desert and Tuscon was doing it best to protect both the desert and the saguaros. Tucson felt like a college town, arty without being touristy.

    LAMary, that dish sounds great, I’m gonna have to try it. Is it boasting to say that my hubby made me killer spinach quiche for Mother’s Day? One of his friends told him to lay off that behavior because it made the other guys look bad.

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  58. Julie Robinson said on May 15, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Omigosh, I just read LAMary’s next comment and had to tell you that I had Salvadoran pupusas today for the first time, and they were great! Our office goes out to eat once a month and we went to a place named El Salvador. It wasn’t all that fantastic, lots of service issues due to language constraints, but I loooved the pupusas.

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  59. Maggie Jochild said on May 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    “Freedom something, something freedom”

    I can’t get it outta my head, nor do I want to. Sums it all up.

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  60. Linda said on May 15, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Re: AP. In Ohio, there is a state website in which you can input the AP test you took and your score, then your Ohio college, and it will tell you exactly what class you tested out of, and the credits you will receive.

    Don’t know if this is true in other states, but you could check w/the schools your daughter is interested in.

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  61. Rana said on May 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Happy anniversary!

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  62. Rana said on May 15, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Oh, one other thing to be aware of with credits and AP courses (speaking as both a former AP student and college professor) is that credits are just that: credits. Generally, for a major, you must take a specific suite of courses according to a set distribution (x science courses, y humanities courses, so many upper-division courses in your major, etc.). While the AP courses can get you credit, they very, very rarely fulfill the course distribution requirements. So in some senses it doesn’t matter what AP courses they are, credit-wise; the subject matter is more useful for indicating the student’s areas of interest than for fulfilling specific requirements, and for indicating that this is a student willing to go beyond the basics offered by the typical high school education.

    (Basically, no history department I ever taught for would have accepted a high school level AP course as a replacement for one of the introductory 101 history classes offered by the department, for example.)

    The credits can come in handy if you’re there at the end of your last semester and would rather not waste time on some random class needed just to top off your credit totals, but AP courses are pretty useless for other purposes. (Some skills do come along for the ride with AP courses – better writing abilities in the humanities, for example – but the expectations for college history are often quite different than the expectations for AP courses, and I’d guess that’s true for other subject areas as well.)

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  63. deb said on May 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Cooze, you’re a freaking genius. Kate, safe travels. Nance and Alan, happy happy! Knew this union was a keeper.

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  64. Sherri said on May 15, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Rana, I think that’s pretty much true for humanities classes, but less so for science/math classes. My daughter will get credit for a semester of calculus based on her AP Calc AB score, and if she scores a 5 on the AP Calc BC test she took last week, she’ll get credit for a second semester and will be able to start in Calc III. Her World History and English Lit scores will just get elective credit, but her Chemistry score will allow her to skip a semester of Chemistry.

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  65. Jolene said on May 15, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Julie, you got the distinction between Tucson and Phoenix just right. It’s been quite a while since I left Tucson, but, when I was there, landscaping norms definitely favored xeriscaping, and there was a lot of emphasis on environmental preservation. It was also a part of the state where you could hope to be elected as a Democrat (e.g., Gabby Giffords). Lots of arts actiities and, as one of my colleagues once said, more good restaurants than you’d think given the size of the city. I had more visitors when I lived in Tucson than ever before or since and never had trouble thinking of interesting places to go, things to do, or places to eat. Great place to live or for a winter vacation.

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  66. Suzanne said on May 15, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    The only thing my daughter liked about her AP credit was that it got her out of taking a math class in college. Win!

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  67. Deborah said on May 15, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Jeff tmmo, you’re going to be in my territory soon. Cimmaron (spelling?)is not that far from Santa Fe, I think. I hate back-packing, love hiking but hate carrying a pack. I don’t even like carrying a purse, I use carts in the city when I have to carry things.

    This IRS incident reminds me of the David Foster Wallace book, The Pale King, that I’ve been trying to slog through (as an e-book) since forever. It was being written when he took his life and his editor took it upon himself to “finish” it. Not DFW’s best work, but then he never finished it so I’m giving him a break. Anyway, the main characters are low level IRS drones. Not hard to imagine how some of those folks could come up with some way to alleviate their boredom. Boredom is a big theme in the book.

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  68. MarkH said on May 15, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    “The IRS Tea Party thing is unfortunate…” — Sherri

    “IRS – Low level bureaucrats trying to cut some corners under the onslaught of new 501(c)4 “charities” applications post-Citizens United ruling. Probably some partisan crap going on, and it deserves to be called out and dealt with. Trying to link it to the White House? Wishful thinking. Not a scandal.” — Scout

    “I’m not yet seeing the Cincy-IRS/Tea party thing as a very big deal*, you may be proven right in the fullness of time.” — Brian

    Good call, Brian. The president tought it was a big deal. Should have consulted nn.c, perhaps?

    Scout, nowhere in the 510(c)4 rules is the word charity mentioned. I’s all about non-profits that show a priority for ‘social welfare’ which is not clearly defined. It is a loophole-palooza that allows for non-disclosure of funding sources and needs shaking up.

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  69. Deborah said on May 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Jolene, hope your surgery went well.

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  70. Jolene said on May 15, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    The surgery was a breeze, Deborah. I slept through it. Recovery has been more challenging, but tolerably so. It’s mainly a matter of getting my digestive system to work right again.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t turn out to be in the 80% of people who need no treatment beyond surgery. I won’t know what lies ahead until my follow-up appointment next week, but I’ll be having radiation, chemotherapy, or both. Will find out what will be happening when next Tuesday.

    Huge kudos to people who work in health care and remember that patients are people, not illnesses. Everyone that I came in contact with at the hospital was capable, kind, and respectful. Can’t say enough good things about how I was treated.

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  71. Deborah said on May 15, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Oh Jolene, so sorry that you will have to go through radiation/chemo. What a bummer. Will be thinking of you during your recovery etc, please keep us appraised.

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  72. Deborah said on May 15, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Apprised, damn auto-correct.

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  73. Brandon said on May 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    @beb: It seems scalawag/scallywag is an old word with various, but always pejorative meanings. Wikipedia has an article on scalawag and its meaning as a pro-Union, pro-Reconstruction Southerner. Urban has entries on scallywag and its connotations of a promiscuous, vulgar, and/or annoying young woman.

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  74. Sherri said on May 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    This is my favorite BENGHAZI!!! story:

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  75. Brandon said on May 15, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    @Jolene: I hope you have a full and quick recovery, with any suffering kept to a minimum.

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  76. alex said on May 15, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Here’s wishing you strength, Jolene.

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  77. brian stouder said on May 15, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Jolene – I want to join with all your other friends hereabouts in being thankful that things went well for you, and in wishing you well.

    I’m depending on you to clue me in on the one or two coolest things that most tourists would miss in Washington DC, when the time comes that we make it out that way. (It won’t be this summer, but hopefully in ’14)

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  78. alex said on May 15, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Okay, now this is probably lost on a fair number of people, but journalists? When you subpoena an organization’s phone records you’re putting it on notice that you’re doing so, not surreptitiously wiretapping which is the misimpression that some of these screeming meemies are creating. People subpoena phone records in both civil litigation and criminal prosecution all the time. This scandal has even fewer legs to stand on than the IRS bullshit and Benghazigate. Everyone chill already.

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  79. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Jolene, thanks for the shout-out to the folks in health care who care. They’re really not the exception, it’s just the time allowed and circumstances that makes it appear otherwise. Praying for wholeness and healing in your follow-up.

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  80. brian stouder said on May 15, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Mark H – Lawrence O’Donnell, no stranger to the ways of the United States Senate, would adamantly disagree with you when you say:

    I’s all about non-profits that show a priority for ‘social welfare’ which is not clearly defined.

    The point he pounds and pounds (and pounds) away on is that the actual law itself says that it applies to:

    Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.

    with the emphasis on EXCLUSIVELY, which is clearly a very different word than the one the IRS uses in its interpretation of the law very. The IRS uses the word “primarily” instead of “exclusively”.

    anyway – I STILL am very uncomfortable with the DoJ vs AP (not Advanced Placement!) story. Even if the whole damned thing is legal, it’s a chill wind indeed, upon our free press.

    When they write the books about these days, future generations will have to chuckle that President Obama is consistently portrayed by his political adversaries as a weak, vacillating, indecisive president who has let events control him while our enemies around the world get free rein…when in fact our president has vastly stepped up drone-strikes and targeted killings (and in fact got the Sammy the sonofabitch) around the world, and – while extricating us from the war in Iraq – doubling down in our war in Afghanistan, and maintaining Gitmo (rather than shuddering it), and launched a ferocious (legal or not) assault on the press, while at the same time successfully pushing through an ambitious domestic agenda (ie – ObamaCare) and – all the while – confounding his political foes.

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  81. mark said on May 15, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Jon Stewart makes a good case that the President consistently ducks responsibility by claiming to be uninformed.

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  82. Dexter said on May 15, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    I hope you and Alan had a nice anniversary day.

    The first bicycle highlighted was a fucking Univega. Ugh! I am pretty sure I documented my experience with Univega a few years ago, so I’ll recap: Denny’s Bike Shop in Fort Wayne had the very first mountain bike in this part of the nation for sale and I bought it…hundreds of dollars it cost. It looked so cool…I took it home and made it a half mile before it began to shake apart…the handlebars came out of the tube, the brakes fell off, the chain snapped in half.
    They had sold me a showroom prototype with no bearings in the crank or the tubes. I was mad and they would not refund the money, but they installed all the missing parts.

    That re-conditioned Specialized Rock Hopper and that Schwinn Collegiate are dear to my heart. I have a Specialized Hard Rock and a Schwinn Collegiate in my garage. Their prices are maybe just a little bit high at first glance, but sure, you could buy the same bikes at a garage sale and then you’d still have to put a hundo and a half in them to make them right.

    I hope Kate gets to go to the school of her choice.

    And, the Powerball. I bought a couple fliers…no good whatsoever. 🙁

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  83. LAMary said on May 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Jolene, I hope your chemo and radiation go as smoothly as possible. I hire people to work in hospitals, and it always amazes me how compassionate and caring the applicants are. Sometimes I’m just knocked out by it. There are a lot of very good people in this world.

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  84. Prospero said on May 16, 2013 at 12:41 am


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