On Communal Living & Class Antagonism in a Poor City

@allnighter86 That is a fair point - when I was in the church for the planning and zoning meeting, I remember marveling at what a white gathering it was, considering we were in a city that is 30% Black and 43% Hispanic. What would the angle be, precisely? I mean, yes, the folks at 68 Scarborough look like what we think of as gentrifiers. But Hartford doesn't really have gentrifiers. The white, middle-class people who move to poor neighborhoods of color (like me) are so few that they're just exceptions - the neighborhoods don't change because of them. Around here, you'd expect to meet folks like Rosenblatt and her family in West Hartford or a similar town, so what they're doing is just odd and sui generis. I guess part of what's interesting about the whole thing is that you have the sort of middle-class young people who usually flee Hartford sparring with the tiny elite at the pretty margins of a hardscrabble town.

Posted on November 25, 2014 at 7:13 pm 0

On Communal Living & Class Antagonism in a Poor City

@Allison also, keep in mind, there's no limitation on density, per se: you could have two parents, four kids, two grandparents, an uncle, and a servant and have the same number od people living there.

Posted on November 25, 2014 at 6:19 pm 0

On Teach Your Children Well

Pedagogical benefits notwithstanding, there's a huge economic boon when poor parents can work instead of caring for children, which, in turn, has positive effects on those kids. When parents have steady employment, they're less likely to move and make kids change schools; less likely to leave kids with inappropriate caretakers, which is a major source of abuse; less likely to suffer from depression and alcoholism; and consequently less likely to hit their kids. So I would say there's a compelling argument for even lousy pre-K or straight-up daycare.

Posted on November 21, 2014 at 11:51 am 1

On Building a Better Pancake

1.5 cups flour (if you want to get fancy, do 1 cup flour, .5 cup corn meal) 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 tablespoons sugar (or, you know, maybe a little more) .333 stick of butter, melted (or more, or less) 1 egg 2 cups of milk (or mix in some half and half, or heavy cream, or yogurt) You could also add maple syrup to the batter, if you're into that sort of thing.

Posted on November 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm 0

On Building a Better Pancake

The wonderful thing about pancakes is that you can make adjustments on the fly. I have a recipe in my head, provenance unknown, but I don't do any of the measuring very carefully, and if, upon making the batter, I find it too thick or too thin or in any other regard lacking, I just add this or that. I don't mind telling you that my pancake game is tight.

Posted on November 19, 2014 at 2:47 pm 1

On Honey, Sweetie, Chief, Boss: How We Talk to Strangers

@OllyOlly This is a question worthy of a post of its own - when is treatment bad enough to complain to management?

Posted on November 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm 0

On Honey, Sweetie, Chief, Boss: How We Talk to Strangers

@Hulk Running Yes to this. When I worked for the hotel workers' union in New York, the brother/sister thing, especially at meetings ("I believe there's a comment from Sister Rodriguez"), was the best. Also, nowhere else in my life have I heard so many people, men and women, refer to people they didn't like as "cocksuckers."

Posted on November 19, 2014 at 11:56 am 0

On Honey, Sweetie, Chief, Boss: How We Talk to Strangers

@Laurabean 1. Is what you say true even when the person saying "hon" (or whatever) is a woman? My sense (and obviously, I could be dead wrong on this) is that gendered, slightly familiar words lose a lot of their baggage when speaker and recipient are both women. 2. Of course you (and my friend) are right that, at the end of the day, this is a you-had-to-be-there sort of thing. 3. This is excellent: "if you look just like my grandmother AND you gave birth to my mother."

Posted on November 19, 2014 at 9:09 am 0

On Honey, Sweetie, Chief, Boss: How We Talk to Strangers

@Red I have always used "lady" as a synonym for "woman," also disliking "girl" for an adult. This has sometimes caused confusion because some people feel that lady suggests a somewhat older person. Strangely, while "lady" in the third person ("so the lady looks at the guy and she says...") strikes me as essentially value neutral, the only time I would ever address someone as "lady" would be if I were mad at a woman whose name is didn't know ("Look, lady...").

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 10:46 pm 0

On Honey, Sweetie, Chief, Boss: How We Talk to Strangers

@wafflez What I mean is, if I were up in arms about something that some retail person said to me and I said to a friend, "I'm going to complain to the manager!" I'd want that friend to say something to stop me if, in fact, I were somehow mistaken and not realizing it. I didn't press the issue when my friend said it felt weird in the moment. (Can you tell that I really don't want to be one of those guys, but I want to maintain my right to speak bluntly to men and women alike? It's hard being a closet asshole, especially when being a pushy know-it-all is a crucial part of your day job.)

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 8:01 pm 0