181 thoughts on “Tuesday open thread

  1. I mean for this post to be mainly about education, but if it steers off course, it might be better on the politics thread – Kim (welcome back) or Meme, feel free to delete.

    Over the past week, social media posts and conversations with friends and family have raised my awareness of how little people understand about how things around them work. Examples from this past week:

    1. Water systems require pressure to make the water flow from the well or reservoir to the user. If the system lacks enough pressure, no water makes it to your house. Water systems are basically trees – large pipes near the source with smaller branches until the smallest branch that goes to your house. And, the water system is not 100% logical as to where they go to smaller branches and who is on which ones. This means that the closer to the source the problem is, the more people without water and just because your neighbor has water doesn’t mean you do.
    — Clearly, many comments I have seen are written as though the writer thinks there is a direct line from the source to their house.

    2. Who actually provides the utilities. In our case, the city provides both electricity and water through two different city departments, but they are branded Austin Energy for electricity and Austin Water for water, because these two departments are supposed to be self-sustaining and not funded through tax dollars (this is high level because they are still interconnected).
    — The comments about who is at fault (not the city) and how the city government should somehow step in and regulate these companies clearly show that they don’t know these are city departments.

    My question is – How do people learn about how things work around them?

  2. How do people learn about how things work around them?

    Experience. As LfB said yesterday, you don’t know what you don’t know. And there are a lot of things you don’t learn about until there’s a problem you have to deal with because you don’t need to know.

    An example for me is aerating your lawn. I had no idea what that was when I moved here or why you should do it. It’s not done in other places I’ve lived because the climate is different. I only learned about it because I was renting a house when I moved here and didn’t have any lawn stuff, so I called a landscaper to seed and fertilize because that’s what we did in NJ. He told me about aeration.

  3. On the college decision, DD had us spend a half hour with her yesterday going through the lists of clubs and intramurals at MSU and OSU so she could compare them. We put down a deposit for the in-person “boot camp” at MSU this summer because there are limited spots and we don’t want her to miss out if she decides to go there.

  4. It’s not done in other places I’ve lived because the climate is different.

    It’s done almost everywhere. It’s certainly done in NJ.

    Top 25 Lawn Care Tips for New Jersey Homeowners

    #11 Aerate Your Lawn
    For a healthy, green lawn, you should aerate your lawn as part of your regular lawn care in NJ. Lawn aeration creates small holes in the soil which allows nutrients, water and oxygen to penetrate grass roots. This allows for deeper root growth and thicker, stronger grass, and reduces soil compaction which prevents proper circulation of air, water and nutrients in the soil. The best time to aerate your lawn is in the Spring when new growth is developing. This will give your grass plenty of time to heal and fill in any open areas after soil plugs are removed. Cool-season grasses should be aerated in the early Spring or Fall, while with warm-season grasses should be aerated in late Spring. Lawn aeration can be done with two types of tools – a spike aerator and a plug aerator. You can try to aerate your lawn yourself, but hiring a landscape professional with aeration knowledge, experience and proper equipment is best.

  5. How you learn about things really varies but a lot of it is experience and hearing other people talk.a lot you get from your parents too. One of the issues we see with students who are first in their family to go to college is that they do not know even the basics of how to navigate a university or college, and no one in their families can help them. They don’tunderstand basic things, like needing to pay the tuition bill on time, or that it matters that you register right away because classes fill. They don’t know where to go to ask questions. Some schools are now adding special workshops or even courses in the logistics of dealing with life as a student, because they don’t know and it needs to be taught.
    My own kid, who has a bank account and a debit card and definitely knows how to pull money out, had no idea how to deposit a check. He didn’t know he had to sign it, or how to work the deposit function on the ATM. Yet he can navigate subways all over the city, including out to the furthest reaches of the boroughs, a skill that many American 18 year olds don’t have. People know about practical stuff mainly because they need to.
    BTW, I never would have imagined there is a direct water line from source (the resevoirs in the Catskills?) to my house because that simply makes no sense. Plus I have seen enough pipe work done, both out on the streets as well as in my house, to know that there are different kinds of pipes and some are bigger than others. Youd description of how a water system works pretty much conforms to my understanding because I cannot imagine it working any other way.

  6. Yeah, I have my lawn aerated every ~18mos. Did it last fall, so will do it in spring 2022. The lawncare companies will tell you do it every year. I’ve done it myself renting the machine but it’s so.much.easier. to just hire a landscaper to do it. No driving to the rental place and back, doing the work, then returning the aerator. The rental charge is $75, my lawn guy charges $117. So financially it’s breakeven IMO and I get at least 3 hours of my life to do something I’d rather be doing.

  7. I think aeration might fall into the category of common things you’ve never noticed or encountered.

    For me it might be having well water and a septic tank.

  8. AustinMom – what I’ve found is (1) people only have so much bandwidth so only pay attention when something goes wrong and (2) many people are not curious and don’t ask questions or think about things; things just are.

  9. I’ve never aerated or fertilized, and it shows. I mow what’s there. I just can’t bring myself to start paying for the extras that would make it more of a “lawn.” Since we’re in the woods, I’ve kept it rougher and more natural.

  10. Rhett, believe me, you don’t want to know about well water and septic systems. Blech. Four years in a rental house with such systems taught me to avoid them

    I know what aerating a lawn is, but have never bothered.

  11. I just can’t bring myself to start paying for the extras that would make it more of a “lawn.”

    Huh, I would have thought you’d be a “lawn guy”.

  12. It’s done almost everywhere. It’s certainly done in NJ.

    We never did it when I was growing up there and I never saw anyone doing it. And I never saw anyone do it in Chicago when I lived there. Here, every spring, landscape companies put fliers all over the place to advertise it.

  13. What’s that? Is that what other schools call “orientation”?

    They have an online orientation/registration you have to do first. Then the boot camp is three days of:

    Our Bobcat Boot Camps build on our online Orientation sessions and are focused on building community between students and MSU. During Bobcat Boot Camp, students will have the chance to tour campus and find their classes, become more familiar with MSU history and tradition, participate in outdoor rec clinics, meet other future Bobcats, learn from their Orientation Leader, interact with staff and faculty in their area of study, learn about the Bozeman community and more! Students will stay in the MSU residence halls and eat in MSU dining halls for the duration of the program.

    In the beforetimes, they would do rafting or backcountry trips for incoming freshman.

  14. Milo, you could do all that lawn care and it would still look just like it does now because grass is a full sun plant and struggles in the shade. People spend a small fortune trying to grow grass in inappropriate places.

  15. DD,

    Could it be a class thing? Like you grew up in a neighborhood where everyone mowed their own lawn and now you live in a place where a lot of people have a lawn service?

  16. “I would have thought you’d be a “lawn guy”.”

    No, never. I like property, and woods, and all that stuff. I just can’t get that concerned about the actual lawn. And when you’re in the woods, it’s particularly difficult because the trees suck so much of the nutrients out that it becomes a lot of extra work and money to try to counteract that.

    I grew up on property like this, too, so it’s mostly all I’ve ever known.

  17. When I was little, The Richard Scarry’s books Busy Busy World and What Do People Do All Day were great for giving the very basic understanding of how things work. How is bread made? It starts with wheat, then grinded at the mill, shipped to the bakery. How is a road made? Someone surveys the land, then trucks are brought in, etc. How is a house built? It mentions sewer, water, and electrical.

    For more advanced understanding its a mixture of watching TV, reading about it, friends and family, and my own experiences. I knew about radon gas, because as a kid we had high levels of it in our basement. Several years ago there was a push in our city to have homeowners test their homes for it. I was surprised at how many of my neighbors did not know about radon and never thought to test their basements for it.

  18. You know who has a nice lawn? Queen Elizabeth.

    I love all the history and such at Windsor Castle. But the thing that stood out most was the lawn care. It’s absolute perfection.

  19. Rhett – it’s like that at Cambridge and Oxford too, and the amazing thing is that when there is a sign, “Keep Off The Grass”, people ACTUALLY DO IT!

    BITD we used to watch that show “How It’s Made” while we were also doing work etc. after dinner (this was pre-kids). It’s good for explaining totally random and occasionally useful manufacturing processes – I should make the kids watch it.

    Today is the 2nd day back at school after Feb break and I already want to murder #1 because she acts like she knows everything and has done all her homework when she so clearly does not and has not! Sigh.

  20. And you know how they call Ireland the Emerald Isle? They are not kidding. It really is a deep vibrant almost explosive green.

  21. “And you know how they call Ireland the Emerald Isle? They are not kidding. It really is a deep vibrant almost explosive green.”

    I know. We were there a few months before … all this. They get a lot of rain.

  22. Fred — Re. your window question from the other thread, we bought Anderson 400 Series windows. Some quick research on my part indicated that those are good windows, and that’s what the Home Depot guy recommended, so we just went with that. BTW, working with Home Depot was easy every step of the way — I’m glad we used them.

  23. We have a huge patch of our yard that doesn’t get sun due to mature trees surrounding it, and thus no grass. I have to figure out what to do with it. We still want the yard space, but it has to have a different covering. Would welcome suggestions. All I can think of is pine straw.

  24. We didn’t know anything about home ownership because both of lived in apartments before we moved to the burbs. DH grew up in a house, but it was in a beach town and he didn’t see his parents deal with lawn care or weather issues. I lived in apartments with superintendents and/or full staff until I moved to our home.

    We were fortunate that my aunt/uncle live nearby and they had plenty of advice about town garbage, lawn care and snow/gutters. Our realtor also emphasized routine maintenance so we routinely service our HVAC, dryer vents etc. The rest was trial and error and there has been a lot of error – this is why i don’t like contractors or service people. When we find a plumber, electrician, HVAC etc that we like – we stick with them and we don’t haggle. We learned that we would rather pay and have someone we trust vs. dealing with the cheapest provider. My new water heater seems to be fine.

    Social media didn’t exist when we moved here, but new people routinely ask questions on our local FB pages and they generally receive accurate, helpful advice.

  25. After years of attempting to grow grass in an area that was always bare, DH discovered that most grass seed sold is annual seed. A friendly employee at the local garden center gave us the scoop on that one.

  26. Talking about lawns and gardens, I loved Monty Don’s series where he takes you to these various gardens and goes through the history of each of them.
    The only person who had a near perfect lawn was my retired neighbor in the Northeast. He spent almost his whole day in the spring and the summer working on his lawn and his roses.
    Currently we installed drainage, have changed our lawn maintenance guy but it still is far from perfect because the climate and our particular plot topography are not lawn friendly.

  27. Lark, if you want it green, you might consider mondo grass, which can take some foot traffic, or liriope; both don’t need full sun. But if you don’t care if its green, I would spread pinestraw and call it a day.

  28. Lark – what about some kind of hardy ground cover? You could ask a nursery/landscape person in your area for recommendations. For example, I like pachysandra but it is not hardy if you EVER walk on it.

  29. It’s definitely an area that gets regularly walked on. We have a brick patio that extends the length of our house in back. This section of shade wraps from one end of the patio to around the front of the house. It’s like a very broad walkway. We have nice plants lining it, but I need something to cover the ground. Right now it’s just dirt. Or more accurately, mud.

  30. “This section of shade wraps from one end of the patio to around the front of the house. It’s like a very broad walkway.”

    Ah. Either pinestraw, the quickest and cheapest solution, or a flagstone path maybe sprigged with thyme. Or a combination of both – I have flagstones spaced out with pinestraw in between along one section beside the house.

  31. Could it be a class thing? Like you grew up in a neighborhood where everyone mowed their own lawn and now you live in a place where a lot of people have a lawn service?

    I don’t think so. Most people in my neighborhood mow their own lawns and such. They are very small yards.

  32. Lark: what about a low ground cover, like clover or thyme or moss? Those are really soft and almost indestructible.

    ITA about curiosity — you have to either be interested in it to learn in advance, or else you learn by messing it up and then going “oh.” Last week DH decided to make DS do stuff with his arduino (since DS has no engineering this semester). DS followed the directions and had stuff up and running in a snap, but he was annoyed that he didn’t know *how* it worked. So he got on Youtube and found a guy who has a series of videos explaining the basics of how electricity works, and then came running in to regale me with the difference between amps and volts and what an ohm is and all that. I’m smart, but I NEVER would have taken that extra step to teach myself the “how” part at his age. OTOH, I know lots of useless things about Regency England, as portrayed through the fiction of the times, and can translate Jane Austen to my kids with ease. ;-)

    The problem with most of this stuff, though, is that even if you have the cognitive ability to understand and optimize all of your different choices, you hit decision fatigue pretty quickly. I mean, I’m a lawyer, which means I’m trained to decipher incomprehensible stuff and spot the downside risks in every scenario. And yet even I glaze over when trying to read and interpret the fine print of power options or cable choices or insurance coverage or whatever. So I just opt out and don’t even try to optimize in general; I’ll dive into something when I feel motivated, but mostly I just tell myself that avoiding that effort is my little extra luxury spending. Unfortunately, the people who most need the optimal choice are the ones who are the most poorly situated to withstand the worst-case scenario.

  33. “what about a low ground cover, like clover or thyme or moss?”

    I’ve got moss in a good part of my backyard. I guess I should be happy about it?

  34. Be happy with your moss! Add some ferns and you suddenly have a southern living “great solutions for a problem area” kind of situation.

    I have a thyme lawn along one side and will attest that it needs full sun to stay thick and isn’t a good solution for Lark’s shady path, but moss or ajuga from LFB’s article would be nice.

  35. DD, we live in a neighborhood where most yards are small, and still everyone uses a lawn service (except us).
    Our yard is so small that we use a push mower because a power mower is just too unwieldy for the space

  36. I know this has a political headline, but the article is not political. It is an easy to understand article about bonds, interest rates and inflation. I think it goes with this topic because it is educational for some people.

  37. “I think aeration might fall into the category of common things you’ve never noticed or encountered.”

    It was done at the park adjacent to my elementary school.

    I remember the first time I encountered it, along with many of my ES classmates. We wondered why it looked like the grassy areas were covered with what looked like turds. Someone asked about it (I think someone told parents, and some parents asked the school), and aeration was explained to us so we wouldn’t think those were turds.

  38. Lauren,

    Have you read anything that you felt explains the current low interest rate environment globally? I don’t think anyone really understands what’s going on.

  39. “I’ve never aerated or fertilized, and it shows. I mow what’s there.”

    Environmentalists would applaud your approach. Perhaps some might suggest not mowing.

  40. “the water system is not 100% logical as to where they go to smaller branches and who is on which ones.”

    The layout of such systems often seems illogical if you look at it as is. But often, if you know the history of the systems they make a lot more sense.

    Decisions on how and where to add to systems are typically based on what makes sense at the time, with limited or no knowledge of what might later be added.

  41. “One of the issues we see with students who are first in their family to go to college is that they do not know even the basics of how to navigate a university or college, and no one in their families can help them.”

    This is probably especially bad for such students who live at home. Those who live in dorms often learn from each other, especially from who’ve been in school longer.

  42. “How do people learn about how things work around them?
    Experience.”

    Not just experience. Interest is also required.

    Note that the experience doesn’t need to be first-hand experience. E.g., I’m trying to learn now from others’ experiences.

  43. “My own kid, who has a bank account and a debit card and definitely knows how to pull money out, had no idea how to deposit a check. He didn’t know he had to sign it, or how to work the deposit function on the ATM.”

    My dad used to work at a bank. One thing I learned from him was that you don’t need to endorse a check that’s deposited into an account in the same name as the payee. He cautioned against endorsing checks to be deposited, because in theory the endorsement made them payable to bearer.

    During DS’ freshman year in college, I did his taxes, but he needed to sign, so I mailed him hard copy with instructions to sign, then mail in signed copy. I needed to tell him how to mail stuff, including buying stamps.

  44. Not just experience. Interest is also required.

    Not always. Someone can have zero interest in HVAC stuff, but when their furnace goes out they are going to figure out what they need to do to get it fixed. And they are very likely to listen when the repair person tells them how they can prevent it from breaking again.

  45. “The layout of such systems often seems illogical if you look at it as is. But often, if you know the history of the systems they make a lot more sense.”

    This is exactly true. Our city’s main water lines all start in a central area and work outward. Our city is not as clearly divided into neighborhoods which makes it harder to see why water goes the way it does. In what appears to be my neighborhood, there are actually 5 sections that were subdivided and built at different times. One section is clear due to the way the streets are named, the look of the houses, and flow of those roads. Three are only really distinguishable by looking at the year the houses were built as some of the models are the same across them. The last one again has a theme of street names and are all smaller houses on smaller lots (starter homes). If you “know” where each section is, you can see the patterns of water and electric outages make sense.

  46. “working with Home Depot was easy every step of the way”

    When we remodeled our bathrooms, we bought our cabinets and counters from HD, who vetted and selected the counter contractor.

    But after measuring for counters and before installing the counters, the contractor died. HD stepped in and found a new contractor to finish the job. It was quite seamless from our perspective; all the measurements and specs were transferred to the new contractor, and there was only a slight delay before our counters were installed.

  47. “He cautioned against endorsing checks to be deposited, because in theory the endorsement made them payable to bearer.”

    In fact, whenever you endorse a check, it becomes payable to whomever holds it. In law school they taught me to sign everything “for deposit only,” because that prevents someone from stealing it and using it. All of which is, of course, completely archaic nowadays. But I still do it.

    Re Tiger: Damn. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot. And it does make me wonder if I should be using that in its original sense.

  48. I brilliantly crunched my car into the door frame of the garage. $1,200 damage. I’m such a genius. I need something like exact tracks in the garage to turn onto. Is there anything like that? I was going about 3 miles an hour, and the door frame is fine, but the effing bumper just completely crumpled.

  49. In fact, whenever you endorse a check, it becomes payable to whomever holds it.

    Is the bank obligated to cash it? I can’t imagine I could walk into a Bank of America with some signed check (drawn on a BoA account) that I found on the street and they would say, “Sure, here you go.”

  50. RMS, a friend of mine has a four car garage for two cars. I’m envious when she rolls right into this giant space and we can open are car doors as wide as possible.

  51. “Is the bank obligated to cash it?”

    This is why my dad included the qualifier, ‘in theory.’

    But if they did cash it, TMK they would be legally not liable.

  52. RMS,

    If it makes you feel any better I did the same thing TWICE in a week about 8 years ago. Haven’t done it since.

  53. I had a 5-figure check that was written out to me + DH. I signed it and deposited it. It was returned a month later because only I signed it, and we BOTH needed to sign it to be valid. Much PITA ensued. So I don’t buy this “anyone can deposit your check” theory – at least not for material amounts.

  54. I should add – I deposited it at the ATM, not with a teller. Don’t know if a teller would have rejected it before the system did a month later.

  55. Dear Miss Manners: Using a knife and fork to eat crispy bacon causes it to shatter. It is then difficult to pick up the shards and crumbles on the fork. Is it ever appropriate to eat crispy bacon by picking it up with the fingers?

    Both of these phenomena are true. Miss Manners recognizes that you make an excellent argument for eating breakfast alone.

    Does Miss Manners consider chopsticks inappropriate?

  56. @RMS- My car is currently in the body shop because the gate to our private alley closed and crunched the side. The motion detector was covered in a mound of snow. ARRRGGGHHH!

  57. But if they did cash it, TMK they would be legally not liable.

    Would they be liable for not cashing it? Like if some business deal fell through because you gave me an endorsed check to speed up the process* and they said they wouldn’t honor it.

    * Vs you depositing the check and waiting for it to clear and then writing me a check which I need to wait to clear.

  58. Rocky — aaaaahhhh!!! I know whereof you speak, and I’m so sorry!

    Totally unrelated: DS goes back to school in person (2x/week) in four weeks. I just realized this morning that that means I will once again get to be ALONE IN MY HOUSE FOR HOURS AT A TIME.

    While DS has turned into a lovely roommate who is quiet, funny, and largely does his own thing, I still feel like throwing a party to celebrate.

  59. Some years back, i wrote a large 5 figure check, but forgot to sign it. The bank processed it anyway. With no signature.

    My brother the banker says that mistakes happen and that banks have ability to reverse the mistakes.

  60. I had the same experience as Ivy, although a smaller check. BOA was happy to deposit it into our joint account without DH’s signature; it was my parents’ bank that a month later sucked the money out of my account and returned the check for improper endorsement. Yes, a real PITA.

  61. “Like if some business deal fell through because you gave me an endorsed check to speed up the process* and they said they wouldn’t honor it.”

    I was taught that in that situation you endorse the check, then write “pay to the order of LFB” under that and sign it again. Then, LFB had to sign below in order to deposit or cash it.

    It used to be more common when people actually did lots of transactions by checks. I’m feeling really old right now.

  62. “Environmentalists would applaud your approach. Perhaps some might suggest not mowing.”

    I don’t think environmentalists have a problem with aeration, and if they do, I have no use for them. Mowing is necessary to keep the basic wilderness at bay. Mice, then snakes, etc. would quickly move in otherwise.

    There are lots of garage light parking systems. The minivan has a little plastic stop sign that you have to hit to know you’re in far enough. My car…I’ve been meaning to hang on a tennis ball from the ceiling to bump with the windshield.

  63. LfB,our district just announced that the kids will be going back 5 days a week (up from the current 2 days a week) starting in April. How are they accomplishing this miracle? By reducing spacing to 3 feet, and putting up Plexiglass. All this because of a certain group of loud,screaming parents.
    It might be a perfectly fine thing but DD is not happy about it, and I really worry that the teachers will immediately abandon all the reforms that improved education here, dramatically. Back to the days of assignments scrawled on a whiteboard and if a kid overlooks it, too bad because “they aren’t take responsibility”. Back to the days of handing in assignments on paper into disorganized boxes, and no way to track if the assignment ever got handed in. Why do I think this is what will happen? Because they had all the online tools pre-COVID, and the vast majority of the teachers refused to use them.

    We also had a mini-surge of COVID cases in the schools this week, no doubt because of all the bozos who went skiing last week (and who are likely those same loud angry parents)

  64. Milo,

    The tender is a Hinkley. The more impressive thing is how clean it is. Well that and the 10 washers and dryers.

  65. Rhett – that’s the most impressive and visually pleasing thing I’ve ever seen. Like no other display of wealth has ever made me more envious than that. Not some art collection, not the Biltmore…

  66. “I don’t think environmentalists have a problem with aeration”

    I think their biggest concern with lawns is with fertilizers, pesticides,and herbicides.

    High water use is also a concern, but that’s not just an environmental concern.

  67. “They make realistic looking fake grass.”

    Some homes in my neighborhood put fake grass in the area between the sidewalk and the curb.

    In some cases, there are real weeds growing in the fake grass.

  68. “All this because of a certain group of loud,screaming parents.”

    Mooshi, why not organize your own group of loud, screaming parents to advocate for continuation of the improvements made due to remote schooling?

  69. “We have a huge patch of our yard that doesn’t get sun due to mature trees surrounding it, and thus no grass.”

    Whatever you do, I suggest you use something permeable. An impermeable cover could damage the trees by keeping water and air from getting to their roots.

    Permeable ground cover could also help reduce local issues with flooding and recharging of aquifers.

  70. @HFN – Interesting! I mentioned the size only because I thought that might be why the check had gotten a second look – maybe being over $10K made it subject to a second review or something? But maybe it wasn’t because of that. The bank was pretty blase about the whole thing, which was infuriating at the time.

  71. I am actually in an organized group of parents who are trying to advocate for preserving and improving the online components during the pandemic and POST the pandemic. We had the ear of the superintendant for a while, met with him, and became an ad hoc PTA committee. But none of us are loud screamers, and the superintendant, who is very new and is quite a wuss, is now listening to the loud contingent.
    I am not so much against the going back face to face part, though the 3 feet separation makes me a tad nervous, as I am against the willy-nilly way they are doing this. And I don’t want this to become an excuse to ditch the very real educational improvements that were made in response to remote education.

  72. LfB – I had the house to myself today. DH was at work and the kids were at school. I thought I’d love it . . . but it was too quiet. I am going to be a mess when these kids go off to college.

  73. I will once again get to be ALONE IN MY HOUSE FOR HOURS AT A TIME.

    LfB, congratulations! That’s my dream and it’s never going to happen.

  74. Rhett — OMG. I have never actually *wanted* a yacht before. But that thing is a thing of beauty. Just wow.

    “I’ve been meaning to hang on a tennis ball from the ceiling to bump with the windshield.”

    We have a heavy bag. ;-) If DH backs up until it juuuuusst kisses the bumper, it’s perfect.

    Kerri: FWIW, I was a mess for about a week — until I realized that DD had every intention of continuing to text me 17 times every day with every trivial issue. Then I morphed to “how can I miss you if you won’t go away?” ;-) I’m still a mess every time she leaves, because her being home reminds me how NOT the same the texting is — it’s a very different vibe when she’s here. But the texting gives me enough of a hit of her personality and presence that it keeps me from sinking down to the depths.

  75. I had the same experience as Ivy, although a smaller check. BOA was happy to deposit it into our joint account without DH’s signature; it was my parents’ bank that a month later sucked the money out of my account and returned the check for improper endorsement. Yes, a real PITA.

    Am I the only one who forges their spouse’s signature?

  76. Mooshi – if you see a slide back to the Before Times disorder make a noise. My kids teachers were forced pre pandemic to make use of the technology. There were some holdouts but ultimately everyone started using the technology. As a result, it was an easy pivot to online learning, because the kids were used to everything being posted online, grades are updated online timely etc.
    It helped the teachers as well, it wasn’t days or weeks of fumbling around but just making improvements.

  77. Denver Dad, you are not alone in signing or endorsing on behalf of another, spouse, parent, absent Kid. As treasurer for a volunteer org i get check made out to affliated orgs, non existent entities when they get the name wrong, to me personally. More common is performing financial functions online as if However, when I was signing things for Mom as Attorney in fact, if I recall the term correctly, i did my best to use the full legal form, even though I was the sole heir.

  78. I NEVER get more than an hour home alone in my house. It has been years. Once SO retired, he was here ALL THE TIME. It wasn’t too bad when I worked in an office. It’s rare that I cannot do something because he is here, but its just the idea of not having to think about anyone else for a few days. I know I can go somewhere and I do, but there are things I’d like to enjoy in my house.

  79. Rhett, did you see that the police are saying that one of the reasons that Tiger is alive because the body of the car stayed intact and protected him? Genesis confirms that Tiger Woods was driving the Genesis GV80 SUV when he crashed in the L.A. area: “Genesis was saddened to learn that Tiger Woods had been in an accident in a GV80.

  80. MM, I don’t think the teachers want to touch the papers from the kids so hopefully they won’t go back to paper.

  81. Lauren,

    It’s a fine automobile. And if your fake mom friends think it’s an old lady car? Fuck them.

  82. It isn’t the fake moms. It is me, and even my kid said she doesn’t want to be caught in that car with us at camp or college drop off. Also, I don’t want to deal with their service since I would have to go to Kia.

  83. I like the Teslas – a lot, but I have to motivate and take one for a test drive. Tesla moved to the same road as the other dealer so I have no excuse. I was test driving cars last week, and then it started to snow (everyday) so I didn’t finish the process. I really have to find something because DD started to take my car to school.

  84. At our school board work session tonight they presented some slides on when secondary students are active on Schoology. Something like 25% (I didn’t get a clear look) are on between 11pm-5am, with Monday being the busiest day of the week. In other words many procrastinaters, and then are exhausted the rest of the week. It was interesting, because Wednesday is a flex day. No classes, but meant as a student and teacher work day and chance to get extra help. Turns out Wednesday during school hours is not widely used.

  85. Friend of mine, car guy, has the Tesla 3. I think his exact wording was “best fucking car I’ve ever driven.”

  86. “best fucking car I’ve ever driven.”

    I’ve been in a few sales demos recently and the client will ask, “Does your product do X?” And the sales guy will say, “Out team is working on…x,y and z.” So in other words, no.

    Mercedes just released the new C-Class https://youtu.be/KRfvXTUFWM4

    Watch that video. And OMG it is a horror show. And the question is, “Can your new Mercedes do what a Model 3 can do?” And the flailing terrified answer from the 134 year old inventor of the automobile is, “No.”

  87. “best fucking car I’ve ever driven.”

    Apparently he has never driven a Model S.

    If you think the Model 3 will push you back against your seat…

  88. I’m watching the Model Y.

    Right now they’re only selling the higher models, like they did with when they first started selling the Model 3. The higher model prices are close to the Model 3 prices for similar models, so when they start selling the base model, I expect that price to be close to the base Model 3, which is now about $37k.

    I’m in no rush. My current car is still in decent shape.

  89. @Lauren – But Tiger Woods drives that car sometimes! He’s my age! :)

    The point about Hyundai is why I warned you off it. Of course, we haven’t even serviced ours yet, so we’ll see how the “valet service” goes.

  90. My kids school said yesterday that next year they are going back to having all the classes every day. They had gone to slightly longer classes and not every class, each day (sort of block schedule) to prevent too much switching and crowded hall ways in the pandemic. They are preparing for post pandemic but maybe not 100% back to normal in the fall.

  91. Oh boy, I’m curious what, if anything will change re: supply chain. I know plenty of people in those industries. They have interesting stories.

  92. The meeting of my real estate investment club was sort of interesting. I didn’t glean any great insights about real estate vs. stock index funds. Just negative visceral reactions to stocks (“it’s so volatile, you have no control, you’re just handing your money over to others to invest, whereas real estate you’re in control, I tried that before, didn’t really get anywhere, it’s hard to understand.”) No need to refute these, I agree they’re all flawed. But they are how some people feel, and that’s not entirely wrong, either.

    Everyone agreed that there are no deals on the market right now. I decided this from some searches on redfin and zillow well before the meeting. So I’m not doing anything quickly. Driving to work this morning and listening to the platitudinous “Four Hour Workweek,” I did have some appreciative thoughts about the simplicity and geographic portability of stock funds.

    When the group host, a Ph.D. with a very low-paying profession but high-earning wife, sent out an invite with his address, I Googled to discover that they live in a 10,300 square foot house. That was amusing. They have investor mindsets, so they’re fun to talk to.

  93. you have no control…whereas real estate you’re in control,

    It makes me think of a comment someone made about real estate investing being something that’s a good fit for someone who likes having a lot of projects. Also do these folks only do residential real estate? I figure there must be some deals for commercial space out there.

  94. We’re a one fridge family. At one point we had two fridges because someone gave us one that they no longer needed. Too many times I put stuff in that second fridge, forgot all about it and the food spoiled. There are so many supermarkets within a 5-10 minute drive, I just don’t see the point of having two fridges. And then when there’s a power failure, you have all this perishable food that you need to deal with. No thanks.

    DH and I are casually talking about our next car when we ditch the minivan next year. The youngest will be out of college, so there will no longer be a need for transporting tons of stuff. But I have to admit, the van comes in handy. It’s very easy to just throw the bikes or skis inside – no dealing with a roof rack. And it’s become the party vehicle when we do extended family trips – everyone wants to ride in the van, even the millennials. Maybe we’ll keep the van and still get another vehicle.

  95. someone brought up commercial. I didn’t quite figure out if or how much she actually owned of it, but there was some interesting conversation about it.

    on one of the main thoroughfares that I take, there are a lot of shopping centers that always seem to have a number of vacancies. THe other businesses are certainly bustling, but there’s maybe a 10% or 15% vacancy rate in some? What kills me is how many other businesses continue building in the parking lots of these places because they need their very specific franchise layout. (We just got a new Dunkin’, about 1.5 miles closer than our previous Dunkin’, which is only a couple years old itself.)

    So maybe it’s a good time for commercial because “others are fearful” (or they should be, imo), or maybe it’s way overbuilt for the long term. I don’t feel like I know enough about it to decide. Of course, nobody else probably does, either, and that doesn’t seem to stop them.

  96. I have a close friend that I met years ago in a bank training program. He made a second career out of investing in strip malls. He does it with a partner and they have properties from Florida to South Carolina. It was all good until covid. They use models and did a lot of research before investing in each property. These were not high end strip malls, but the stuff that housed a local nail salon, local pet groomer etc. They lost a lot of money last year and they are still just getting by because so many tenants just left or can’t pay their rent. They thought they were diversified by geography, but they never accounted for something like Covid. We see this all over our county too. So many empty stores in strip malls left by large chains like California Pizza Kitchen to small mom and pop stores that were there for over 30 years.

  97. “It’s very easy to just throw the bikes or skis inside – no dealing with a roof rack. ”

    Honda Ridgeline. And still drives like a crossover because of unibody, not a truck suspension.

  98. RMS – A few years ago I was loading some stuff into the back of my Jeep Grand Cherokee and had the lift gate up. I was in a hurry, and hit the button to lower the lift gate as I backed out of the garage. Except, I hit the wrong button. There were two rows of 3 buttons on the ceiling right above the rear view mirror. One row was garage door controls, and the other was things like lights and lift gate. I had mistakenly closed the garage door (with the lift gate still fully up in the air) as I was backing out of the garage. Then, to make a bad situation worse, I hopped out of the car to see what the terrible crushing noise was, apparently forgetting that I had already put it in gear and the car was still rolling in reverse into the closing garage door. So then, I had to navigate my way into a moving car while avoiding the support post with the car door (because I was parked in the third bay and we have a pole between the second and third bay). I will also tell you that I managed to do enough damage to both the car and the wooden garage door that we turned them both into insurance, so got to pay $3000 in deductibles. Because we had to pay the vehicle deductible and the house deductible. So see, now you can all feel better because I doubt there’s anyone with a worse “I hit the garage” story.

  99. Thank you, Sunshine and others who shared similar stories. Misery loves company. I’m still kicking myself about it, as well as wondering vaguely how I could do so much damage at such a slow speed.

  100. They lost a lot of money last year and they are still just getting by because so many tenants just left or can’t pay their rent.

    Sounds like the prefect time to take some distressed properties off their hands.

  101. “Wondering vaguely how I could do such damage at low speed”

    In what might now seem a recurring series of events, I once took the rear view mirror completely off my Accord while backing out of the garage. My husband’s first question when I showed back up inside (as I recall he was in the shower) holding said mirror “exactly how fast DO you back out of the garage?” I was not backing out at 3 mph.

  102. A lot of cars have given up the pretense that you’re manipulating anything mechanical when you move the shift lever, so they’ve adopted various styles of electronic P/R/N/D selectors. I believe the Jeep GC has gotten some criticism because it could be particularly confusing and there have been a lot of user mistakes like Sunshine describes. Maybe it was just something I saw on Dateline.

    I didn’t love the Audi I rented that was something like shift button plus two pulls to go from P to D, or maybe it was button plus a far pull past the initial notch.

    I think Honda/Acura has one of the better formats for this now; this is what my car uses:

    The R button pulls back, so it’s tactile and intuitive for when you’re not looking at it, but if you do, the current selection is always lit up. And if you’re stopped and open the driver’s door, it automatically goes to P. (Unless you’re putting it in the car wash, then you have to hold down N for two seconds to override that.)

  103. On this blog, I hear so much about power outages, and there is always talk of generators and backup power and spoiled food. I know some of you (very recently even of course) have experienced long outages. In my entire life, I have never lost power for more than an hour or two. Even as a kid, the longest power outage I ever personally experienced was about half a day when there was a massive ice storm – we got sent home from school because the lights went out there (so it was quite memorable), but the lights were back on in my house before dark. Extended power outages are just not something that has ever been on my radar to worry about. I don’t know if I’ve been extraordinarily lucky, lived long-term in a few places with great electric infrastructure, or what. I hope the electric Gods don’t smite me with a March ice storm this year for saying this out loud, but it’s been insightful to see how my experience is unusual. My current neighborhood is very close to a massive substation, so maybe that is part of it, but it’s been true other places too.

  104. I have knocked the side mirror off my car on the garage years ago. I put it back on with black duct tape. That car was a hunk of junk anyway. The brick garage was unharmed.

  105. “Wondering vaguely how I could do such damage at low speed”

    2mph is a little less than a meter per second. They say it takes the average person about 1 second to react and hit the brakes. So you’re pulling out you hear the crunch and by the time you understand what is happening and hit the brakes, the car has moved a meter and a lot of scraping and crunching can occur in that second.

  106. ““Wondering vaguely how I could do such damage at low speed””

    What Rhett said, plus it’s all plastic.

  107. Ivy – in the Northeast, our apartments and house rarely lost power for significant amounts of time. But when we moved here, our house was on a bad last mile connection to the grid. We never noticed it right away, but the one time experience of having power out, while almost our entire neighborhood had power made us realize the difference.

  108. Rhett – that’s interesting. there’s a unit next to where my youngest takes piano lessons that is for sale for $220k. As an investment option, it’s every bit as “accessible” as a townhouse. Hmmm. And I’d imagine you don’t have the same level of anti-eviction laws.

    The website is the same as Redfin’s, which I think is the best search format.

  109. Milo – I see the same thing here with commercial vacancies and still building on top of those. There is a large intersection in town that had 2 corners built up, one with a grocery store and outparcel free-standing store (and the outparcel was empty) and then kittycorner 2 large-house-looking commercial buildings (one fairly new with a Dunkin and a dry cleaner, and one old but remodeled with a medical office, still with space). A developer then built a whole new complex of 4 free-standing house-looking commercial buildings on the 3rd corner, which involved a bunch of earthworks, etc., even though there was vacancy in the existing buildings. Now the medical office and the Dunkin moved across the street so there’s basically nothing in the perfectly good commercial buildings across the street.

  110. L – yep, the Dunkin’ (they seem to have totally removed the Donuts from their name, sometimes I see Dunkin’ Bakery), and chain fast food/Starbucks. I kind of understand the fast food requirements for a new place because they’ve got their layouts perfected and they need a drive thru. I’m thinking of “The Founder” and the “Speedy System” or whatever they called it.

    But why does O’Reilly Auto Parts require a new freestanding building?

    And the God dam*&ed self storage. JFC, I will NEVER understand how there is so much demand for self storage, especially in an area with reasonably spacious houses with basements. But at any point in time, there’s always a dozen new self storage complexes under construction.

  111. And I’d imagine you don’t have the same level of anti-eviction laws.

    Doing some reading and the consensus seems to be that commercial real estate involves more litigation risk than residential real estate. Just spitballing but it seems the ideal setup is to have a strip mall with a Bank of America branch and a CVS with long term leases. Both companies likely have inhouse lawyers that deal with leasing disputes and they need to justify their existence.

  112. “What Rhett said, plus it’s all plastic.”

    That is expressly designed to crumple to absorb energy and minimize damage to the occupants.

    That Executive Order is going to be good for DH, I think/hope. National security issues associated with reliance on China for key materials/components is one of his common post-multiple-beer-and-scotches rant topics. So whether it helps his business or not, he will be happy if that becomes more of a topic of concern. ;-)

    I finally had a chance to watch that yacht video. Much prettier outside than inside — do love all that space, but the decor was not my style. Then again, if I had the money to buy the yacht and support 50 crew(!!), I’d have the money to redecorate. But what I thought was most interesting is that they don’t even pretend to show you the crew quarters — they show you the crew areas that support the guests, like laundry and kitchen, along with the quick stop at the crew nest (“so they can see the sun at least a little bit” — !!), but the choices in the video make it very, very clear that the people who buy those kinds of yachts do not do so because they provide comfortable accommodations for the people who serve them. ;-)

  113. We have lost/are losing lots of retail tenants. It was a long time, maybe 2-3 years large commercial spaces like restaurants or bigger retail stores got rented again. There are some spaces in commercial strip malls, that are at the side or back. Those spaces are rented only by specific types of businesses. A lot of my kids music classes, dance classes were at the back. You couldn’t put a store that required foot traffic in those spaces.

  114. Tiger Woods’ crash.

    I heard the NPR report on it this morning when I went to get a covid test (I’m fine, but traveling). I used to golf weekly at a public course on Palos Verdes so I’ve driven the road a lot of times. The reporter said “the posted speed limit is 45” and I responded, “but lots of people go 80”. Then the reported said a sheriff said “but they’ve seen people going over 80”.

    80 is pretty fast on a curvy, downhill, not-banked for 80mph (or even 70) road. Any little distraction, slipperiness on the road, sudden reaction and everything is multiplied. If TW was going >70, the crash is not a surprise.

    Oh, and the way the leg injuries were described, think more serious than Dak Prescott’s this past NFL season if you want to see it happen on youtube. DS3 had that happen (Prescott) to his left leg playing football. 8+ yrs ago and is just fine.

  115. Realistically, Woods’ golf career is probably over. Yes, he’ll likely be “just fine” but that’s a long way from being able to play golf at the PGA level, especially with his back problems.

  116. Are they allowed to use a cart or not? I remember when I was in high school people were talking about a court case to decide that.

  117. DD – yeah that’s what I meant. DS3 was never going to play a professional sport. And it’s Woods’ right leg as I understand. Meaning the more-weight bearing one during a golf swing (yes, I understand about a balanced stance and all that).

  118. He’s also getting up there in age for a pro athlete – even a golfer. So even if he recovers, if it takes him a couple years to truly get back into pro golfing shape, he’ll be in his late 40’s. I know pro golfers might not retire until they are 50ish or older, but still.

  119. Given his back problems and his trouble with pills in the past, I’d also worry about the risk of chronic pain and addiction as a result of his injuries.

  120. Rocky, I love the “no wonder Americans are all so fat” line of commentary. From what I’ve seen, people with multiple fridges/freezers either hunt their own meat or buy big hunks from a butcher, or use them for lots of produce and fresh foods — both of which they then cook from scratch. If you want to eat badly, you don’t need a fridge at all, just a bunch of boxes in the pantry or garage, along with a 5# roll of hamburger meat in the freezer. It tends to be the people who are doing the most of what nutritionists would consider “healthy” eating who need the extra fridges to store what they need.

    That’s certainly true for my dad. They recently downsized to two full-size fridges (from 3), and the second one is basically the week’s produce in the fridge and meats they’ve bought in larger quantities and/or from places they rarely get to in the freezer; the main fridge is deli, leftovers, drinks, condiments, and whatever is being eaten/used immediately. My dad exercises a *lot*, and he eats very healthfully in general, and that amount of produce takes up tons of space. (OTOH, my mom, who eats like a bird, gets by on one fridge, but she also has a giant garden out back that she eats out of from like May-October)

  121. Perfect NYT commenter. Like, every other word represents another cliche.

    teresa
    Eugene, Oregon
    Feb. 23
    Goodness! I’d been planning to downsize our big old refrigerator to a more fuel efficient and smaller model when the pandemic hit. We’ve probably needed the extra space, allowing us to shop less often, since we have our groceries delivered due to the pandemic.

    I look forward to “normal” times, when my partner will ride his bike to one of three natural grocery stores near our home (yeah. we’re lucky. It’s Eugene : ) ). He shopped daily – sometimes twice in a day. He likes things really fresh.
    I still plan to get a smaller, more efficient refrigerator when this is over.

    It is understandable to have multiple fridges if you live very remotely, where you’ll only be near a grocery once a week or less. Or if you preserve food?

    For me, less is best. Too many ‘things’ make me anxious. Whether it’s clothing or refrigerators or food or books … wait. no such thing as too many books, but the rest, yes. I can imagine, however, that for some people more food on hand makes them less anxious.

  122. re: the article, it’s ironic, but unsurprising, that extra fridges are more common among older, two-person households.

    But I don’t know why black and latino families are more likely to have a second fridge, at least according to their metrics.

  123. But I don’t know why black and latino families are more likely to have a second fridge, at least according to their metrics.

    Are they more likely to consider it a form of savings? Until the pandemic I hadn’t realized how many people are literally living paycheck to paycheck. As in they go grocery shopping on payday and if they don’t get paid they can’t buy food.

  124. But I don’t know why black and latino families are more likely to have a second fridge, at least according to their metrics.

    Are they also more likely to have larger households?

  125. Both might be true. Only because they were discussing likelihood of additional refrigeration as a function of household size and household income, I interpreted it to mean that it was true even when controlled for those factors. But maybe not. I was thinking along the lines of more cooking at home, more likely to live near extended family and host larger gatherings.

  126. “I was thinking along the lines of more cooking at home, more likely to live near extended family and host larger gatherings.”

    I suspect that’s the “cultural” differences they were talking about in the article.

  127. It is interesting that many of you read the comments. It is no secret that I am a devoted NYT reader, but I never read the comments. I look at comments in NYT Cooking, but it never occurs to me to read comments from other readers.

  128. I sometimes read the comments, but then I run into one like Teresa from Eugene, and I rage quit.

  129. I look at comments in NYT Cooking,

    My favorite are the recipes for something like lasagna. And someone will comment – I made this lasagna but I substituted pie crust for noodles and apples for tomatoes and sugar for cheese and rather than garlic I substituted cinnamon and some nutmeg… Um…ok. You made an apple pie. This was a recipe for lasagna.

  130. “My favorite are the recipes for something like lasagna. And someone will comment – I made this lasagna but I substituted pie crust for noodles and apples for tomatoes and sugar for cheese and rather than garlic I substituted cinnamon and some nutmeg…”

    “. . . and the recipe just wasn’t very good. I was very disappointed.”

  131. “How can I make this meatloaf vegan”
    “I tried to make this cookie recipe gluten- and sugar-free and it was terrible”

  132. I always read the NYTimes Cooking comments. It is a big reason I prefer the site for recipes. Yes, there are the “I made an apple pie and called it lasagna” comments, but more typically, I will look at a recipe I am considering and see that lots of commenters are recommending more liquid or a shorter time in the oven or something like that, so I will consider adjusting.There are also tips on how to do tricky steps. And sometimes there is a lot of discussion and debate over authenticity, or whether this is more of the style from region X vs region Y, which I find fascinating.

  133. @MM – I do find the comments about how to tweak the recipe helpful. Also, NYT Cooking has a LOT of duds, so it makes it easier to spot them.

    The authenticity though. Meh. I am not into the cult of authenticity, and I think it’s all a bit of a farce. Food evolves, and even if it is made one way traditionally in one house or town, that doesn’t mean it isn’t done differently a town over. Those kind of comments get into Teresa from Eugene territory. Does it taste good? Can I get the ingredients without mail ordering some crazy ingredient? I’m in.

  134. I am not so into the cult of authenticity, but on a site like that with so many commenters, it isn’t unsual to get comments from people who are actually from the country that the recipe is from, often nostalgic comments on how their mom used to do it, or pointing out that the recipe is the way they do it in one part of their country but it is done some other way in another part.I just find it interesting

  135. @MM – That makes total sense & does sound interesting. You probably know what kind of comment I’m talking about too though.

  136. Did you like the NYT article on how to cook eggs? I liked the article, but the comments were gold, along the lines of “Who’da thought adding gobs of butter would make it taste better? Duh NYT duh.”

  137. @Kerri – Yes! There was also mini drama because Mark Bittman who doesn’t work for the NYT anymore called the supposedly “simple” recipe was too fussy (valid). Which is a valid criticism of almost anything Kenji does, IMHO. I like some of his recipes, but it’s still valid. His idea of “simple” is not the same as people who don’t write recipes for a living.

    https://www.bittmanproject.com/p/whats-all-the-fuss-about-scrambled

  138. ” That makes total sense & does sound interesting. You probably know what kind of comment I’m talking about too though.”

    You mean this type… “I’m sorry but I am from Louisiana and that is NOT a gumbo. You cannot put (ingredient X, Y,or Z) in a gumbo”

  139. Bittman’s instructions seem needlessly specific. “Crack the eggs on a hard, flat surface.” That works, but what about cracking them on the edge of the bowl? And for some reason, I remember my mom flicking a butter knife into the side of an egg. Does it matter?

    Why does the pan need to start out cold? Is there a reason for salt in the beginning, and then more salt at the end?

    “ You mean this type… “I’m sorry but I am from Louisiana and that is NOT a gumbo. You cannot put (ingredient X, Y,or Z) in a gumbo””

    That’s a confrontational sorry.

  140. Thank you Milo – excellent example. Is the writer sorry that she is from Louisiana? Sorry that it’s not gumbo? Sorry that she has to correct your sad sad recipe?

  141. I was responding to Ivy – “you probably know what kind of comment I’m talking about”. I presume she meant the more snotty comments… the “your recipe cannot possibly be a Z” is the kind I interpret as snotty.

  142. Hahahahaha Milo! I’m going to use “confrontational sorry” in a conversation soon. ;)

    I find all of Bittman’s instructions/recipes needlessly specific also. He and Sam Sifton both have that je ne sais quoi snotty NYT writing style that just grates.

  143. @Rhett – I think Kenji can be really smug and obnoxious in general, but I do like some of his recipes.

  144. Assuming he wrote or edited his own Wikipedia entry, I find it revealing when someone identifies his background exclusively based on the job title of his father and maternal grandfather. His mother is not worth a mention.

    Early life and education
    He was born James Kenji Alt, the son of Harvard University geneticist and immunologist Frederick Alt, and on his mother’s side, the grandson of chemist Koji Nakanishi.[5] López-Alt graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2002, where he majored in Architecture….

  145. Although his Dad’s CV is very impressive:

    Frederick “Fred” W. Alt is an American geneticist. He is a member of the Immunology section of the National Academy of Sciences and a Charles A. Janeway Professor of Pediatrics, and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.[1] He is the Director of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the Boston Children’s Hospital.[2] He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, since 1987.

  146. In my post, I had actually meant to put in parentheses “(what a name!) after his name. But I have followed him for years on Serious Eats and have his book. He isn’t about recipes so much as controlled experimentation. It is like a chemist’s approach to cooking. I just like to read his articles.

  147. “He and Sam Sifton both have that je ne sais quoi snotty NYT writing style that just grates.”

    @L – YES! They are both so smug too.

    @MM – The problem I have sometimes is that Kenji’s takes that to such an extreme that it is a parody of itself. In some ways, it’s like he took what he was doing at Cook’s Illustrated and had to make it even MORE because he was making his own brand with it & had to stand out. BUT…like I said, I do like some of his recipes – some of the ones he wrote for CI back in the day are long-time favorites, and I like reading some of the SE articles because they are interesting even if I end up cutting out some of the steps. I also really liked the sous vide articles he wrote for Serious Eats when I was learning how to use that device.

  148. “It is like a chemist’s approach to cooking.”

    The science dept at kids’ HS offers a class called Culinary Chemistry.

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