Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm Back!

We've returned from the New Orleans visit. City looks battered, though it's working hard to rebuild itself. My mother showed us all the places people were living; all the stores that were open again; all the restaurants back in business. It's in much better shape, in that regard, than it was last year, or, God knows, two years ago. But there are still wide stretches of abandoned houses, and still people living in the occasional FEMA trailer. Also a housing crisis no one wanted to talk about. It is apparently impolite in New Orleans to discuss Bad Things. Someone rioting about houses being condemned. But not local people. Outside agitators. This was all I could get.

OTOH, stores do stay open after dark now! That was nice. And many are fully staffed, unlike last year, when the lines snaked around the block -- it was like shopping in Russia, last year.

It was hot when we got there -- hot and sticky -- cold, briefly -- and then hot again. I took the kid for a walk in the park which, when I was little, was the undeveloped wilderness where I used to play. Nutria and chickens and ducks live there now, and, we were delighted to see, a hawk, hunting the chickens.

On the way to New Orleans, we listened to a novel mr. delagar had downloaded onto his iPod Touch, Heinlein's Have Spacesuit Will Travel. The kid did not want to hear this book, because she hated SF, hated it, hated it!

"You will like this one," I promised her, and yikes. She did. She not only liked it, she loved it. All through the holiday, she drew pictures of the Mother Thing, she wanted to know where the Mother Thing's planet was, she wanted to know how the Mother Thing rotated planets, she wanted the Mother Thing to be her new imaginary friend. Now that we are back in Pork Smith, the first thing we have done is go to the library and get two Heinlein books from the library for her to read.

And she is reading them.

One of them is Have Space Suit Will Travel -- she's reading it first. Last night, around midnight, she poked her head in my door and woke me from a sound sleep. "The wormfaces aren't real, right?"

"Right," I said, drowsily.

"And if they were real, the Mother Thing rotated them back in 1959, right?"


"Just checking." She disappeared again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Of *course* I knew that reading made us smarter (heh, it's essentially all I do, and look how clever I am) but lookit here: it's an essay about why, not to mention scary studies about what's happening to reading as TV and YouTube and PowerPoint descend upon us.

(Links down again. Rats. If you can't get to it, it's by Caleb Crain, called The Twilight of Books, on The New Yorker.)

Here's my favorite bit:

"The antagonism between words and moving images seems to start early. In August, scientists at the University of Washington revealed that babies aged between eight and sixteen months know on average six to eight fewer words for every hour of baby DVDs and videos they watch daily. A 2005 study in Northern California found that a television in the bedroom lowered the standardized-test scores of third graders. And the conflict continues throughout a child’s development. In 2001, after analyzing data on more than a million students around the world, the researcher Micha Razel found “little room for doubt” that television worsened performance in reading, science, and math. The relationship wasn’t a straight line but “an inverted check mark”: a small amount of television seemed to benefit children; more hurt. For nine-year-olds, the optimum was two hours a day; for seventeen-year-olds, half an hour. Razel guessed that the younger children were watching educational shows, and, indeed, researchers have shown that a five-year-old boy who watches “Sesame Street” is likely to have higher grades even in high school. Razel noted, however, that fifty-five per cent of students were exceeding their optimal viewing time by three hours a day, thereby lowering their academic achievement by roughly one grade level.

"The Internet, happily, does not so far seem to be antagonistic to literacy. Researchers recently gave Michigan children and teen-agers home computers in exchange for permission to monitor their Internet use. The study found that grades and reading scores rose with the amount of time spent online. Even visits to pornography Web sites improved academic performance. Of course, such synergies may disappear if the Internet continues its YouTube-fuelled evolution away from print and toward television."

Monday, December 17, 2007


Grades are due tomorrow by 9:00 (though, as I tell my colleagues, they only call it the deadline to scare us) and I have been busily grading away, reading exams, reading papers, reckoning quiz averages, until my brainpan aches.

This morning I have to go have a root canal, talking of aches.

And this evening is the writing group.

So I says to mr. delagar, I says, why don't you do the laundry while I'm gone?

Since, you know, he's been done with his grading since Saturday.

What's in it for me, he says.


So (I'll skip the nasty eleven minutes) I leave him doing the laundry.

And this is the funny bit.

I've always handled the laundry -- he helps fold and put it away, but I do bit where it gets sorted and put in the machine and all.

So he's taking one load out of the dryer, putting it in the basket, and he gets all appalled: "What is this?" he demands. "Why aren't we washing the kitchen items separate from the bedroom items? We should sort these categories beforehand! Think how much easier folding and putting away would be if we sorted beforehand! We could -- we could --"

"We could color-code the baskets," I suggest.

"Yes!" He folds pulls out one of the kid's shirts. "And why aren't you turning your clothes right-side in before you put them in the laundry?" he demanded. "Save people some time!"

This, from the dude who won't even put his socks in the basket, mind you.

The kid, eating her morning scone, gave me a sidelong look. I gave her one back. Daddy's getting hysterical again, we communicated.

I fully expect to come home and find six different colors of laundry baskets, all neatly labeled. With rotating dates for when we are meant to wash each.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Why You Pick On Us?

More whining from the Right on how they can't get jobs in the Academy b/c it's full of Leftists who discriminate against good white Right Christian males, and also here a smackdown of this utter crap, which, as the post notes, is just the same old whine the right has been whining for years now.

See also LG&M, who shot the bit of shite down as well.

(Via Unfogged)

Whack the Powerless, That Will Teach'em

So this post by Rob is getting some attention in the 'sphere.

He blogs about his students, who, while writing about some other issue, mention the Iraqi attack on us on 9/11.

I've had two papers on the virtue of forgiveness that argue that if we had just forgiven Iraq for the 9/11 attacks, we wouldn't be at war right now. I just read a paper on the problem of evil which asked why God allowed "the Iraq's" to attack us on 9/11.

Rob's point is that these students believe, as an absolute fact, like gravity sucking, that Iraq was behind the attack on the Twin Towers. Okay, well, half my students believe America was founded as a Christian nation, and that the war on Christmas is real, and white guys are the real victims in this country.

But what's to be done when students put this sort of thing in their essays?

Plenty of comments, at Rob's site and at Crooked Timber, where I first saw the story, argued (well, ranted) for failing the students. "You did fail the students, right?" "Can't university professors fail students?" and like that.

Here's the issue I have with this solution: yes, clearly these students are wrong. On the other hand, (a) they're wrong because our culture has told them, over and over, that this answer is the right answer. Why would they doubt that this thing is true when everyone around them has insisted this thing is true for as long as they can remember?

And (b) how will failing them help?

This is my problem with failing students. Are we here to harm or to help? Yes, the students are wrong. Well, let's make them right. Smacking them with an F will not help anything. What might, then? Saying, hey, you know, I see many of you have a misapprehension here. Why don't we do some research? Why don't we learn to check assumptions before we turn in a paper?

I do this in my Freshman writing class -- I use mistakes I have made as examples. "Here's what I thought the truth was," I say. "Then I did research, and here's what I found out the truth was. Why do we do research?" I ask.

I say, "What do we know?"

I say, "What do we really know?"

I get them to see how little they actually know: I teach them to think about this before they turn in their first papers. But I never grade that first paper, even so, because it will be filled with idiotic things like Iraq attacked us on 9/11 and Jesus wants us to vote for Bush and children should always do what adults say no matter what, and I will have to say to them, really? You really think that's so? You really think a child should do what an adult says? No matter what? So a guy comes up to her on the playground and says come get in the car with me, you want your little girl to obey him, do you?

I'm saying we're in the university (and the universe) to teach our students.

Doing them harm isn't the best way to teach them.

And the angry attitude toward the students -- who are not the ones who caused the problem, who are not the author of the fucking lie, which I think we should remember -- I have to say I find it disturbing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

IQ Says What?

Here's an interesting read.

My students in a number of my classes are always trotting out the epic myth about how IQs have been dropping and test scores are plummeting and kids are getting stupider ever year. I love to slam back at them with, well, dudes, what about the Flynn effect, then?

Huh, what? they say.

Curious, Flynn sent out some letters. He collected intelligence-test results from Europe, from North America, from Asia, and from the developing world, until he had data for almost thirty countries. In every case, the story was pretty much the same. I.Q.s around the world appeared to be rising by 0.3 points per year, or three points per decade, for as far back as the tests had been administered. For some reason, human beings seemed to be getting smarter.

Flynn has been writing about the implications of his findings—now known as the Flynn effect—for almost twenty-five years. His books consist of a series of plainly stated statistical observations, in support of deceptively modest conclusions, and the evidence in support of his original observation is now so overwhelming that the Flynn effect has moved from theory to fact. What remains uncertain is how to make sense of the Flynn effect. If an American born in the nineteen-thirties has an I.Q. of 100, the Flynn effect says that his children will have I.Q.s of 108, and his grandchildren I.Q.s of close to 120—more than a standard deviation higher. If we work in the opposite direction, the typical teen-ager of today, with an I.Q. of 100, would have had grandparents with average I.Q.s of 82—seemingly below the threshold necessary to graduate from high school. And, if we go back even farther, the Flynn effect puts the average I.Q.s of the schoolchildren of 1900 at around 70, which is to suggest, bizarrely, that a century ago the United States was populated largely by people who today would be considered mentally retarded.

Well, as this essay (and Flynn) go on to say, nu-uh, obviously. Maybe we're getting smarter, a little, who knows. (I've read some explanations for the Flynn effect that argue that exactly.) But more likely (more likely, I mean, that we are that much smarter than our greatgrandparents) is that it's an artifact of the test.

The best way to understand why I.Q.s rise, Flynn argues, is to look at one of the most widely used I.Q. tests, the so-called WISC (for Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children). The WISC is composed of ten subtests, each of which measures a different aspect of I.Q. Flynn points out that scores in some of the categories—those measuring general knowledge, say, or vocabulary or the ability to do basic arithmetic—have risen only modestly over time. The big gains on the WISC are largely in the category known as “similarities,” where you get questions such as “In what way are ‘dogs’ and ‘rabbits’ alike?” Today, we tend to give what, for the purposes of I.Q. tests, is the right answer: dogs and rabbits are both mammals. A nineteenth-century American would have said that “you use dogs to hunt rabbits.”

“If the everyday world is your cognitive home, it is not natural to detach abstractions and logic and the hypothetical from their concrete referents,” Flynn writes. Our great-grandparents may have been perfectly intelligent. But they would have done poorly on I.Q. tests because they did not participate in the twentieth century’s great cognitive revolution, in which we learned to sort experience according to a new set of abstract categories. In Flynn’s phrase, we have now had to put on “scientific spectacles,” which enable us to make sense of the WISC questions about similarities.

To say that Dutch I.Q. scores rose substantially between 1952 and 1982 was another way of saying that the Netherlands in 1982 was, in at least certain respects, much more cognitively demanding than the Netherlands in 1952. An I.Q., in other words, measures not so much how smart we are as how modern we are.

This is a critical distinction. When the children of Southern Italian immigrants were given I.Q. tests in the early part of the past century, for example, they recorded median scores in the high seventies and low eighties, a full standard deviation below their American and Western European counterparts. Southern Italians did as poorly on I.Q. tests as Hispanics and blacks did. As you can imagine, there was much concerned talk at the time about the genetic inferiority of Italian stock, of the inadvisability of letting so many second-class immigrants into the United States, and of the squalor that seemed endemic to Italian urban neighborhoods.

Why does this matter? Well, you can see if IQ tests don't work backwards -- if they didn't work then -- maybe they don't work now?

Maybe, then, this vaunted g folks like Charles Murray and the rest are always on about, which (oddly enough) shows rich white guys to be the smart ones in the pack and (oddly enough) poor black folk to be (geez, we can't help this, can we? it's science) irrefutably just dumb, no sense pouring dollars down that rathole, isn't really measuring anything that's actually there?

We already know tests like the SAT don't actually predict how students will do when they get to school. Some evidence exists to show that teachers will teach to how well they think a student will do -- being told a student is gifted, that is, they'll treat him as gifted, and he'll perform as such; told he's stupid, they'll treated him as stupid, and, guess what, he performs as such.

That steady decline [in black children's IQ scores as they grow older], Flynn said, did not resemble the usual pattern of genetic influence. Instead, it was exactly what you would expect, given the disparate cognitive environments that whites and blacks encounter as they grow older. Black children are more likely to be raised in single-parent homes than are white children—and single-parent homes are less cognitively complex than two-parent homes. The average I.Q. of first-grade students in schools that blacks attend is 95, which means that “kids who want to be above average don’t have to aim as high.”

So why does it matter?

It's like justice. Justice doesn't exist; but by acting as though it does, we change the world. Well, whether or not IQ exists, if we act as though it does, that changes the world as well.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Huckster

Of course all politicians play politics: in other news, water is wet, and the sky high.

And I admit Huckabee has done some things that make him, on the surface, appear attractive. His behavior during Katrina beat the holy crap out of George III's, for instance. My father, who has gone to his speeches, speaks highly of his ability to think on his feet. Apparently he has lost weight and believes in exercise. He doesn't smoke. Also, he doesn't dodge: when he is asked a question, he does answer it: so there's that.

On the other hand: his answers reveal what appears to me to be the fundamental flaw in his character.

I've been grading essays from my freshmen this week -- these aren't their papers, which they get to work on all semester, these are in-class essay sets, which they have fifty minutes to write. More revealing, in other words.

I've got half a dozen, um, how will I put it? Spiritually less-evolved students. Not deep thinkers, this lot.

I don't mean conservative, either, because that's not the issue -- I do have conservative students who do think, in this same class, who wrote me good essays.

No, I mean the inability to see where they aren't doing the job. So, for instance, one student is explaining why the student is a Republican: telling me it is because of his education. He took American Government in high school, see, and he was raised in his church. Those two experiences taught him that those on the Left wanted to take away everyone's guns and like abortions. Since he knows abortion kills babies and likes to hunt, he is a Republican.

The other essays were more or less as sophisticated as this gentleman's.

Huckabee's arguments remind me of those put together by these students. He ingests talking points; not only does he ingest them, he seems to believe them. Then he acts as though those talking points aren't just crap propaganda put out by some idiot (cough Rush cough) to knock up his ratings, but in fact some kind of truth about the world.

Well, this wouldn't matter if he were hanging out at the corner bar playing pool, spitting tobacco, spouting this crap to his buds. But he ain't. He's running for president. And coming up hard on the outside, I might add. And this is the sort of thing in his head:

''It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.''

When asked about AIDS research in 1992, Huckabee complained that AIDS research received an unfair share of federal dollars when compared to cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Also in the wide-ranging AP questionnaire in 1992, Huckabee said, ''I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.''

''What people do in the privacy of their own lives as adults is their business,'' Huckabee said. ''If they bring it into the public square and ask me as a taxpayer to support it or to endorse it, then it becomes a matter of public discussion and discourse.''

(In the NYT on Saturday

Friday, December 07, 2007

Oh Ye Infidel!

Had the first latkes of the season last night, and my were they good.

Have I mentioned I make the best latkes on the planet? Well, yes, I do. Here's my recipe for you who might want to emulate me, the latke artist:

Take two potatoes for everyone who wants latkes. I use Yukon Gold, but suit yourself.

Peel, wash, grate by hand -- that's essential, so step away from your evil food processor! Store the grated potato in a deep bowl of icy water while you're grating the rest of the potatoes; when you're done, drain in a colander, and then rinse the grated potato at least three or four times in freezing water, soaking it between times in more icy water. Swish about while it's soaking. What you're doing here is shaking loose the starch. Starch makes soggy latkes.

Finally, put the grated potato into the deep bowl, cover with icy water, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for awhile -- maybe an hour.

Drain, really well. Squeeze out as much water as you can.

Mix in some matzoh meal, some onion powder (if you don't have a kid who hates onion, you can grate in some onion here instead), some Kosher salt, some pepper, and two or three nice eggs.

(How much? Eh. A couple three handfuls of the matzoh, some of the rest. By nice eggs, I mean free range, of course. But suit yourself.)

Heat up some good-quality peanut oil in a big iron skillet. Get it hot, but not blazing. Enough so a bit of potato will pop and start to brown in a few seconds.

Form the latkes between your palms. Make them fairly flat. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Drop them in. Have some newspaper covered with paper towels ready for them to drain on. Have a beer or a Snakebit or some rum and coffee to drink while you work. Some friends to talk to -- that's also nice. Frying latkes takes time.

Eat with applesauce or sour cream if you're a traditional Jew. If you're an infidel like me and the kid, we have ketchup with ours. (mr. delagar threatens to make us move out every time we do this.)

Speaking of infidels, I reckon you caught Mitt's speech? The one where he says there's no religious test to be the U.S. President, but if there was it's okay cause he passes it, he believes in Jesus, not like them other guys over there (that would be us on the Left) who only believe in shit like freedom of religion?

Here's the bit of the speech I find most offensive:

Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

The NYTimes has this to say about it, which was noble and all, but did not go nearly far enough in my opinion (I did like one of the comments on the NYT piece, a guy who suggested that, rather than posting the 10 commandments in our public places, as the Right keeps yapping that we should, we should post the Bill of Right in all our public arenas -- maybe that would do our public discourse some good. <-- now that is an idea I can get behind, particularly after fifteen years of teaching Freshmen who think the Second Amendment was put in place so that they could go hunting, and haven't the slightest clue what the First Amendment's about.) But the NYT, stern as they were, did not go far enough. See C&L for a more thorough look.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Abstinence-Only Sex-Ed and The Right

Re my post on Wehner a few days back, see also this, from LG&M. It's a post on the recent small rise in teen pregnancy rate, which might well be connected to the Religious Right and its push not to allow sex education of any sort which doesn't teach kids to just say no.

Scott says:

The Heritage Foundation helpfully calls blaming abstinence only education for rising teen pregnancy rates "stupid" (they prefer to blame the women themselves). But it's not stupid. It doesn't take much to be able to see that there might - just might - be a connection between not teaching kids how to use a condom and a rising pregnancy rate.

He's got a nice chart and some links over there too.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Is it Fall?

Around fifty degrees today, bright a sunny, leaves all going gold and red -- a bright fall day. Very pretty! Aside from the part about being midway through December, you know, an agreeable bit of weather. I'm enjoying it.

Last night was the first night of Hannukah. We had donuts and potato chips, to fulfill the requirement to eat oily food, and turkey pot-pie, to use up the last of our turkey from TNX. The kid lit the candles and said the blessing. Then she watched the flames dreamily, wondered why fire was so pretty, drew several fine pictures of menorahs, and opened her first present, which was a hardback copy of Blackadder: the Whole Damn Dynasty, which I had gotten off Alibris, and which arrived just in time (in yesterday's mail) and which she loved. She said it was her favorite present ever. (I thought it might be, since she has read the FSPL's copy to shreds.)

Oh yeah, I score big Mama points, me.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Look! A Whole Toolkit!

This here, written by a tool employed by our friends, Peter Wehner and Yuval Levin, over at the Ethics and Public Policy Center*, and which I have copied and will save in my box-o-essays for my 1213 class next semester, can be profitably studied to see how moderately talented hacks use rhetorical tricks to tell big fucking lies.

You will note how Wehner's claims that the belief, fifteen years ago, that our culture was collapsing, arose from "diverse quarters," is followed by a citation from a leftist source, before he begins citing far-right conservatives -- thus leading his readers to believe that he is using balance in his writing. But Kazin is a moderate, and nearly every other source Wehner cites -- William Bennett, Robert Bork, the Heritage Foundation, James Q. Wilson (now at the American Enterprise Institution) -- is so far to the right, he (I choose the pronoun purposely) is in danger of falling off the edge.

More importantly, though, is what Wehner does not cite: he ignores, he omits every scrap of data that challenges his thesis.

Thus, Wehner:

Crime rates, too, benefited from something of a policy revolution over the course of the 90’s. Applying methods and concepts developed by James Q. Wilson, George L. Kelling, and others, innovators like then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in New York City and his police chief William Bratton pursued a zero-tolerance approach to crime that quickly became a model for other cities and states. Incarceration rates rose, policing improved, crime data were processed faster, criminal patterns were identified more effectively—all of which furthered the twin goals of intervention and prevention.

First, Wehner cites nothing here. Nothing. Where's his data to show that the "zero-tolerance" approach works? Second, he ignores all that work done by Steven Levitt that suggests this policy was not behind the declining crime rate. Third, he ignores the consequences of these policies he seems to find so charming. I suppose it's very easy for him to write "incarceration rates rose," but how does he think those prisons get funded? Who is staffing those prisons? Who pays the prison guards? And what, Mr. Wehner, of the lives of the prisoners? Or is this just dandy with Mr. Wehner, because they have it coming anyway?

And if we are using the money on prisons (and Iraq, I suppose) what are we not using it on?

Schools, daycares, hospitals, libraries, railroads, national parks?


Finally, notice Wehner selectively choosing his data -- he does not choose "fifteen years ago" accidentally.

Fifteen years ago, for whatever reason, the data spiked. We had a brief surge in drug use, in teen pregnancy, in crime. Who knows why? I blame Reagan, myself, who had came to power just about fifteen years before that, causing a dreadful economic decade in America, and beginning the desctruction of the American ethos, so that we had a generation of Americans growing up with no ethical background, or just terrible role models, but heh, we all have our tiny irrational issues.

That crime would rise, that people would divorce, that other people would do drugs -- this Wehner blames, you will be interested to find, on women. Not directly! Nay, he's no fool. But it's woman at the root. Women have sex and then bastards, see. Wehner cites our old friend Charles Murray, with his "rising tide of illegitimacy" and his famous crack mother on welfare boogeyman.

“Illegitimacy is the single most important social problem of our time,” he wrote, “more important than crime, drugs, poverty, illiteracy, welfare, or homelessness because it drives everything else” (emphasis added). Murray’s dictum could still be borne out in the long run; in time, the explosion of illegitimacy might undo the signs of healthy cultural revival we have charted.

Yes, let's keep the good thought, shall we? Shit knows those kids born out of wedlock are doomed! Doomed, I say!

I have to wonder if Murray has ever met any of these kids he writes so dismissively about. I've known -- I have to say, conservatively, (heh -- little pun there) -- dozens of them in my years as a professor. I also have to say when Wehner says it's family that matters, well, d'uh. But I'm thinking someone needs to send both Murray and Wehner a clue.

Why would Murray think the kids I know don't have family? Every kid I know has a family. Murray is a fuckwit if he thinks a kid with grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins and brothers and sisters and neighbors all around her does not have a family. Is Murray blind? Is he fucking stupid? Does he have no idea of what family means?

(The answer there, btw, I'm thinking? That would be (a) Yep.)

So why had America been doing better?

Clinton! We had about ten years of the economy doing okay, and people being all right because of it. That's why, you fucking fuck-up fuckwit.

People tend not to do harm to one another when they're all right, jack.

Why did abortion drop? See above.

Are kids more conservative? In your dreams, son. Talk to some once in awhile. And no, not the ones at your church, either.

What's going to happen now that your action-figure WTF King George III has destroyed the economy?

Shit knows. And FSM help us all.

*That's where Rick Santorum went so he could fight America's enemies! Because, you know, Iraq was too crowded!

Monday, December 03, 2007


So tomorrow starts the Hannukah and while I am not as singularly ill-prepared this year as I usually am (one year I did not even have candles at this point) I am in dire straits. Yesterday the kid and I drove all over Pork Smith (where, as mr. delagar tells us very nearly weekly, you can buy all the pork and all the bibles you want, but good luck finding matzoh) looking for Hannukah gelt, finally deciding we would make do with some chocolate coins we found in the candy store at the mall, also some bubble gum coins mixed in.

This morning I found myself trying to convince her, while we were driving hell-bent for leather down Zero Street, late for school yet again, that really cool people don't care about holidays so much.

"Does this mean my presents aren't going to arrive on time?" she demanded suspiciously.

"It depends," I said.

"On what?"

"The Hannukah elves."

"There are no Hannukah elves. Did you ship overnight or not?"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Endless Summer

We're into December now and the high each day is still in the mid-sixties. Apparently there will be no winter this year.

Which this is all for the best, I suppose, seeing as, due to the fucked state of the economy, who can afford to turn on the heat, even one time. But still. I do miss snow.