July 20, 2019

"When I’m alone late at night on a deserted road, I like to walk on the double yellow lines. One time I decided to stop and lie down..."

"... right there in the middle of the road. I kept myself narrow, arms pinned, so cars could pass on either side. But I wasn’t invisible, and I alarmed a kind policeman who happened to drive by me. After determining that I was not dead, drunk or high, he concluded I was suicidal. We had a long talk. It didn’t help for me to explain that if I had wanted to be run over I would’ve moved several feet in one direction or the other. And picked a busier road. He wanted to know, why, if I didn’t want to be run over, was I lying in the middle of the road? There were so many reasons. I wanted to see the night sky from the perspective of the road; I wanted to be in this secret spot that always got passed by and never occupied..."

From "Unruliness" by Agnes Callard, a 2018 blog post, which is discussed in a new New Yorker article by Paul Bloom, "The Strange Appeal of Perverse Actions/Why do we enjoy doing things for no good reason?" Callard is a philosopher, Bloom a psychology professor.

Bloom writes:
Callard is careful to distinguish unruliness from rebellion. By lying down in the road, she wasn’t critiquing the status quo or sticking it to the Man. Unruly people might flatter themselves as rebels, but unruliness is nothing so determinate—it’s just an unwillingness to play by the rules. It’s a near-neighbor, therefore, to perversity, a topic long central to theology and philosophy...

Perverse actors—I won’t call them “perverts,” since that word evokes distracting connotations—can also be creative or funny.... The blogger Scott Alexander points out that four per cent of Americans tell pollsters that they think reptilian aliens rule the Earth....

Unruliness, perversity, pigheadedness—psychologists have long been interested in this bestiary of paradoxical thought and action. Perversity is a puzzle. It’s hard to explain, scientifically, what Edgar Allan Poe described as “the imp of the perverse.”...

A friend of mine tells how his family made him a pie on his birthday, as a surprise. His young niece was repeatedly instructed not to reveal the secret, and she solemnly agreed. But, when he came into the house, she suddenly screamed, “There is no pie!”...
Much more to this article — I'm skipping over a lot of good stuff — but it, perversely/harmoniously, ends with pie:
It’s said that a waitress once asked [the Columbia University philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser] what he wanted for dessert—apple pie or blueberry pie. He chose the apple pie. Then she returned with news: there was also cherry pie. “In that case,” Morgenbesser said, “I’ll have the blueberry.”

140 comments:

madAsHell said...

Unruliness, perversity, pigheadedness

Tomorrow we will celebrate 3 new genders!!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Fucking selfish idiot. Deserves to be run over.

There was a situation like this in our rural area, where most of the "deserted" roads at night are not very traveled because most people are at home. So this moron decided to sit in the middle of the road, in the dark, no lighting other than the stars and ...who knows why....then a guy coming home from his evening shift at 1 am.

Guy runs smack dab into the asshole, kills him deader than a squashed skunk in the middle of the road. There was no way to avoid the guy who evidently wanted to be road kill. It was very messy and ugly.

The innocent man who killed the moron, was devastated and almost considered suicide himself. He is better now, but had to change his shift and will no longer drive at night.

Plus...if it was a 'deserted' road, then how is that there are other cars, like the cop on the road. I don't think he knows the meaning of 'deserted'.

I Callahan said...

Why do we enjoy doing things for no good reason?

Some people just aren’t wired properly upstairs. It really isn’t any more substantive than that.

Tom T. said...

This just strikes me as an over-intellectualized way to be a jerk. Some innocent driver might well have driven off the road out of caution. There's no way of knowing whether the crazy person sitting in the middle of the road does or does not plan to jump in front of the next passing vehicle.




David Begley said...

How about goofy? Strange?

I’ll have strawberry rhubarb from the Village Piemaker. Check the HyVees in Madison for it.

Michael K said...

This just strikes me as an over-intellectualized way to be a jerk.

Exactly.

Fernandistein said...

He wanted to know, why, if I didn’t want to be run over, was I lying in the middle of the road?

To attract what she got: attention.

The about some guy who changed his mind about what kind of pie he wanted - at first it sounded like the "Monty Hall Problem", but, since there's no correct answer it was just a story about guy who changed his mind about what kind of pie he wants.

David Begley said...

There are no deserted public roads. Just roads less traveled.

When Althouse and Meade come out to the Nebraska Sandhills in August, we will be driving them.

Fernandistein said...

A drunk in Durango passed out next to the train tracks and got hit by a train. He was charged with trespassing.

Fernandistein said...

The [story] about

EDH said...

"No reason. I just like doing things like that."

traditionalguy said...

As the Bandit told us he was just showing off. He said he was going to do what they said can't be done.Burt Reynolds was a true Scots Irish southerner. You cannot figure that out unless you are one.

rhhardin said...

Cherry is too tart.

Birches said...

DBQ is right.

And the correct answer is cherry pie. Always.

Laslo Spatula said...

Chrissie Hynde wrote about the middle of the road, but it was because she was frustrated that she couldn't get from the cab to the curb without some little jerk on her back.

I am Laslo.

Huisache said...

Very pleased to see the Reptoid Hypothesis mentioned. I use that as an example of bad statistical inference when I teach. The survey cited, which purports to tell us that 4% of registered voters (or 12 million Americans, as you sometimes hear it reported) believe that lizard people from outer space rule the earth, actually only tells us that 4% of registered voters cheerfully answer "yes" when asked by pollsters if they believe that lizard people from outer space rule the earth. I am one of that 4%.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Darwin Award aspirant.

Quaestor said...

The blogger Scott Alexander points out that four percent of Americans tell pollsters that they think reptilian aliens rule the Earth....

Those four percent aren't perverse, they're paranoid.

The alien reptiles are just very influential advisors.

buwaya said...

So reptilian aliens don't rule the Earth?

Huh.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

And the correct answer is cherry pie. Always.

^^this^^

Ann Althouse said...

"Cherry is too tart."

The #1 best food I ate in my entire life was pie made from tart cherries that were grown on a tree in the pie-maker's front yard.

It's hard to make great pie (despite the expression "easy as pie"). You need great crust, great fruit, and the right amount of sugar (and flour and whatever extra flavoring). It's exactly what you want to do with tart fruit, because you're going to cook that sugar into the fruit as it partly melts, and you simply need to figure out how much sugar.

This pie-maker had a particular tart-cherry tree, and she had great fruit, and she knew her particular fruit, and had so much experience with the amount of sugar needed to balance the tartness, so that tartness felt like a wonderful quality, just exciting enough, not cancelled out by the sugar, and the sugar wasn't cloying. It was sweet and sour perfection.

There's no "too" when you have multiple ingredients and you're working toward a balance.

And that pie is life, is it not? Find your balance.

Ann Althouse said...

"Those four percent aren't perverse, they're paranoid."

Paranoid that pollsters are ruining the flavor and joy of the cherry pie of life.

Ann Althouse said...

It's all about order and chaos.

We need a balance but we have our individual orientation about where the balance is.

Callard could only play with her perverse impulse because a road existed and lines had been painted on it and drivers had demonstrated a willingness to drive within the lines. Apparently, she did not live in one of those places where people believe it's best to straddle the line if you're the only car on the road. So she could be a chaos person. There was enough order to permit her to sprinkle some chaos into the mix. The cherries were tart enough that she could add sugar. In another pie, she'd have to be lemon zest.

traditionalguy said...

One might Philosophise that The Scots boy from NYC is pulling off a very similar Road Runner act every time he speaks to the EnemyMedia and to his Rally Crowds. To this day the talking heads on Cable News cannot figure out how he escapes their cars running over him. Especially that Goliath FBI/CIA Russian Collusion steam roller paid for by the Globalist Hillary's fifth column and operated by the British Monarchy. That was some fancy dodge-ball.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"The Strange Appeal of Perverse Actions"

"Could it be...Satan??"

****

follow a paranoid person around just to see what makes them so

Huisache said...

I first became aware of the lizard people poll through this Mental Floss video. But if 12 million Americans really believed in the lizard people, then I'd be just as likely to meet a lizard people person as a resident of, say, Ohio. I've met plenty of people from Ohio, but I've never met a lizard person person.

Sebastian said...

"Why do we enjoy doing things for no good reason?"

Well, that's life.

Rory said...

Didn't read the underlying material. Is there a police record about this policeman finding someone lying in the road in the dead of night?

Harsh Pencil said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_of_irrelevant_alternatives

AllenS said...

It’s said that a waitress once asked [a Wisconsin blue collar worker] what he wanted for dessert—apple pie or blueberry pie. He chose a beer. Then she returned with news: there was also cherry pie. “In that case,” the worker said, “I’ll have two beers.”

chuck said...

Too bad she won't be around to apologize to the driver who runs her over. Selfish!

John henry said...

Trad guy,

Born Fighting is a great book about the southern Scotch - Irish by James Webb. Explains who they are and how they got that way. Explains why they are Scotch Irish and not Scots Irish. He does agree that people from Scotland are properly called Scots.

Great book. I used to be a huge Webb fan until he turned out to be a skunk that January night.

John Henry

Sydney said...

The #1 best food I ate in my entire life was pie made from tart cherries that were grown on a tree in the pie-maker's front yard.

So once upon a time you could taste. Good to have a tasty memory like that!

John henry said...

I seem to recall a movie from the 90s(?) about a group of thrill seekers who would lie down on the centerline in groups. They did it on busy roads though.

Stupid idea. I don't care if they kill themselves but as some else mentioned, the effect on the innocent driver is devastating.

John Henry

Birches said...

And yes, a sour cherry pie is in every way superior to a sweet cherry pie. If I had to choose between a sweet cherry pie and an apple pie I might choose apple depending on the day.

Of course, a choice between strawberry rhubarb and sour cherry is difficult to make. I'd probably have one of each.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"The world is going to Hell, and you're eating pies ?!?!"

The Katzenjammer Kids liked to steal pies. And do mischief,

which may or may not be the same as perverse unruliness

Tom T. said...

Back in the early days of what we then called the World Wide Web, I ran across an Australian site with background materials and character cards for some sort of role-playing game. One of the villains was a disguised reptilian (except he had a thing for going nuts in pet stores and eating all the animals), who happened to have my exact real first and last name. Disconcerting.

Fen said...

Selfish asshole. Someone could have wrecked, jerking the wheel to avoid hitting him

John henry said...

I've read of people who like to lie down between railroad tracks and let trains pass over them.

Apparently fairly safe if you keep very still.

Apparently horrible for the engineers, though

John Henry

Joe said...

The about some guy who changed his mind about what kind of pie he wanted - at first it sounded like the "Monty Hall Problem", but, since there's no correct answer it was just a story about guy who changed his mind about what kind of pie he wants.

It's not the Monty Hall problem. It's an illustration of Arrow's impossibility theorem, which precludes the design of an absolutely "fair" voting system when three options are on offer.

Ice Nine said...

Putting strawberries in rhubarb pie is an abomination. A perfectly made rhubarb pie is a thing of gustatory beauty. It involves the same sour-sweet balance thing that Althouse describes for cherry pie, about which she is absolutely right. Strawberries in rhubarb pie screws that all up. I've never eaten one that wasn't too sweet, leaving me asking, "WTH is the rhubarb?"

John henry said...

The tv series V was predicated on the idea of lizard people among us.

Remember that Maoist woman in the white house? She gave a speech and kept sticking her tongue out. I believe Ann even posted about her.

Lizard person for sure.

And Hilary. I'm not 100% sure but I think she might be a lizard person.

Just because only 4% of us believe in lizard people doesn't mean they don't exist.

WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I've read of people who like to lie down between railroad tracks and let trains pass over them.

With very very few exceptions, I have zero sympathy for people who have been run over or hit by trains.

First of all....the train doesn't leap off of the tracks to run you down. You have to purposely place yourself in the designated path of the train or be so close to the side of the tracks.

It isn't any big surprise that a train is coming on the tracks either. You can hear it. You can feel it.

SO. Unless you are comatose and someone else put you there on the tracks.....YOU DID IT TO YOURSELF.

boo hoo /s

Fen said...

Ive noticed that more and more we are discussing and analyzing crazy people.

Its like the beginning of those Zombie Apocalypse movies.

(feel free to use that as your own post later this week, Althouse)

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

what would she have done/thought if a driver, of equally selfish batshittedness, liked to drive down deserted roads at night zig-zagging across the lines?
Freaks take advantage of the order normies work hard to maintain, and can only pull their shit
in this kind of environment.

Michael K said...

It isn't any big surprise that a train is coming on the tracks either. You can hear it. You can feel it.

Not always. My wife and I lived at the beach 35 years ago. There is a railroad track in Capistrano Beach and she crossed it to get to the beach below our house. One day she had the kids and was about to cross when she looked to her right and the train was RIGHT THERE ! It can run ahead of the sound if it is going fast and rounding a curve.

Michael K said...

The #1 best food I ate in my entire life was pie made from tart cherries that were grown on a tree in the pie-maker's front yard.

When I was a kid in Chicago, we had two tart cherry trees in the back yard. My favorite pies.

Howard said...

Hangin' round downtown by myself
And I had so much time
To sit and think about myself
And then there she was
Like double cherry pie
Yeah there she was
Like disco superfly
I smell sex and candy here
Who's that lounging in my chair
Who's that casting devious stares
In my direction

Mark said...

Why? Because she's a selfish psychopath who does not care about the trauma she would cause to a driver if they ran her over nor does she care that a driver might be harmed or killed themselves when they took action to avoid hitting her and went off the road.

Cooke said...

Sidney Morgenbesser is also famous for Morgenbesser's Retort.

At the back of a conference, some speaker was commenting that many languages have a double negative but none have a double positive.

From the back of the room Morgenbesser retorted, "Yeah, yeah."

(The story is even better if you hear it in Morgenbesser's New Yawk accent.)

Seeing Red said...

Females are losing it.

Narr said...

Ummm, pie.

I did a lot of insanely stupid and dangerous shit, but I was a teenaged boy.

Narr
OK, some of it was later, but still

tim maguire said...

If she’s not suicidal, she’s suicidally stupid. Has she not considered that people on long lonely stretches of road might drive near the center for extra safety from drifting onto the shoulder?

Mark said...

Cop should have given her the added experience of lying down and staring at the ceiling of a jail cell.

dhagood said...

And the correct answer is cherry pie. Always.

yes. yes it is.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"If You can lose your head, while all those about you are keeping theirs,
then you will be a maniac, my son"

the Crazies count on you to be normal.
A trick we would pull in NYC, when approached as a 'mark' by a street 'Crazy'
was to unexpectedly start acting more batshit than they.
Look on their face: Priceless

Once, at an outdoor restaurant, our server, an aspiring 'actress', perceived us to be Touristas from Flyover, and put us in play by introducing herself: "I'll be your server today, and my name is "Allison Wonderland"!
Well-- needless to say, the Ingachuck'stoothlessARM gang opened up on her with Both Barrells O' Batshit.

Let's just say "Allison" left work early that day

rcocean said...

Yeah. The person does X because everyone else does NOT X. Or because you're supposed to do NOT X.

Strangely, these people are rarely Anti-PC or do anything to upset the Left. They're SAFE rebels who get published. I find contrarians boring as fuck. If there's anything worse then doing something because everyone else is doing it, its doing something because no one else is doing it.

Tank said...

Michael K said...

It isn't any big surprise that a train is coming on the tracks either. You can hear it. You can feel it.

Not always. My wife and I lived at the beach 35 years ago. There is a railroad track in Capistrano Beach and she crossed it to get to the beach below our house. One day she had the kids and was about to cross when she looked to her right and the train was RIGHT THERE ! It can run ahead of the sound if it is going fast and rounding a curve.


True. It's happened to me. Scared the crap out of me too.

Fernandistein said...

I don't think he knows the meaning of 'deserted'.

A long time ago I was motorbiking North on US 93 in Nevada, going a bit north of 100mph right down the center line watching the dashes go underneath and looked up to see a bull standing on the center line in a slight dip. I managed to slow down to about 80 when I went past him.

That road was deserted.

Francisco D said...

Thrill seekers love the endorphin rush. It is better than any drug know to humanity.

I got sky diving. However, it was in the desert and there was no chance of hurting another person.

rcocean said...

For some time, I never could understand how people got hit by trains. I mean its as bid as a fucking Train. It can only come in two directions and its has to stay on the tracks. But then i realized that people think large objects are moving slower then they actually are. If you're used to looking at cars, trains seem to move slower, when they are at the same speed. So, it about misjudging the speed.

As for not hearing them coming. you can always put your ear to the rails and you will hear them. Whether you can move your ear away from the rail fast enough, and not get run over, is another problem.

rcocean said...

Cherry and Rhubarb make the best pies, if they're done well. Its one of those desserts that takes skill. OTOH, pumpkin pie is a cinch. But there's little upside. The Best Pumpkin pie doesn't taste that much better than an average pumpkin pie.

wildswan said...

I have several "unruly" great nephews. They're the sweetest little souls in the world and stop doing whatever it is as soon as they're told ("stop running as fast as possible down those stairs") but they move on seeing new opportunities ("keep your feet on the ground when you look over that wall into the river") where the rest of us merely see stairs or a path in a park ("put that stone back, it's a sidewalk marker, you can't move them to make a big splash in the creek"). I don't entertain them, they entertain me.

rcocean said...

I used to love driving late at night in Nevada and the Mojave desert in the late 80s and early 90s. Now that was deserted.

Unknown said...

Dust bunny queen reflects my take as well. Some are so self centered that they never look past themselves. Jerk

Leland said...

It's a bit worse than suicidal; they value the perspective of the road more than themselves.

AAT said...

I have said it before, life is full of punishments for the stupid, and traps for the intelligent.

AAT said...

Maybe no cherry pie I ever had was properly made. I think that it’s the connotations of “cherry” that make the pie so favored. I think that the best way to ruin a bowl of cherries is to make it into a pie.

AAT said...

That album cover didn’t hurt the popularity of cherry pie, either.

mockturtle said...

Causing vehicles to swerve to avoid her, possibly causing a fatal accident? Just good clean fun.

Freeman Hunt said...

Jerk. The cop shouldn't have talked to her about being suicidal. He should have talked to her about whether or not she wanted to ruin the life of the person who would inevitably hit and kill her.

Freeman Hunt said...

Reckless endangerment isn't charming.

alanc709 said...

Why do people respond as if pollsters report truth? They don't, they report estimates of opinions.

Curious George said...

A few years ago some asshole committed suicide by semi on Madison's Beltline. I forget if he jumped from an overpass or from the side of the road, but either way the result was the same...like a bug on a windshield.

Birkel said...

I live dangerously too.
I like to remind people like Freeman Hunt that they cheered the slippery slope.

VDH has thoughts.
https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/victor-davis-hanson-america-does-not-have-be-perfect-to-be-good-despite-what-radical-progressives-tell-us?

Freeman Hunt have any thoughts about reversing the mob she cheered?

Michael K said...

I never could understand how people got hit by trains.

The Marines from Camp Pendleton would party on the beach in San Clemente.

After a certain amount of partying, they would decide to jump across in front of trains at that point, which come by every few hours.

Some did not make it. I have a story in one of my books about a young man who was walking on the tracks with a friend on Memorial Day 1986. He had his SONY Walkman in his ears. Perhaps he thought the trains took the holiday off. He was mistaken.

Yancey Ward said...

Asking why people do such things is probably a pointless one, I think. Human behavior is a vast spectrum, and always will be.

In the case of laying down in the middle of the road, though, I think suicide was the reason since not dying was out of her control. If she really thought otherwise, she is a moron.

Charlie said...

Since everything brings us back to Trump: Perhaps this inner appeal to act perversely explains Trump's otherwise inexplicable defeat of his more qualified primary opponents. It was the voters' way of saying "screw you" to the Republican establishment and to the political conventions the voters were expected to follow.

Yancey Ward said...

There is a Reddit thread, "What Could Go Wrong". In it you will find videos of kinds of similar behaving people. Perhaps the need for attention explains a lot of the moronic behavior you see.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Fernandistein.

That road was deserted.

Actually, no. It wasn't. YOU were on it :-)

rcocean said...

Whenever I see anyone lying on the road, I just run over them. That's the kind of hairpin I am.

rcocean said...

"After a certain amount of partying, they would decide to jump across in front of trains at that point, which come by every few hours."

Protesters in the Bay Area would lie on the tracks to stop trains carrying military supplies/nuclear stuff in the early 90s. Every once a while, they wouldn't get out of the way, and would get run over. And then the relatives would collect $$$ from the railroad.

mockturtle said...

Driving south of Tonopah, NV, last year I came across a girl with pink or purple hair sitting cross-legged in the middle of the oncoming lane. There was considerable traffic--including trucks--coming around a curve and swerving to avoid her. I pulled over as soon as I could and called 911. She was probably high and--as there was a young man near the road where she sat--fighting with her boyfriend. Meth-heads do this sort of thing all the time.

Yancey Ward said...

I declare rcocean at 11:49 a.m. today's internet comment winner!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Regarding pies: Althouse makes a great point.

This pie-maker had a particular tart-cherry tree, and she had great fruit, and she knew her particular fruit,

Not all cherries, apples, pears etc are the same. Even the same species will have different textures and qualities based on where it is grown.

Knowing the ingredients and how to treat them is the key to a successful pie. Or any cooking really.

R.J. Chatt said...

Is there such a thing as suicide by accident? She could be someone who wants to kill herself but doesn't have the nerve or doesn't want to admit it. Like somebody who is gay but doesn't realize it until they are in their thirties or later?

Or it could be someone who wants to do something stupid, looking for a feeling of control and defiance against the universe/parents, etc. I did know someone who showed up all bruised and I asked what had happened. He said he wanted to see what would happen if he stuck his foot into the front tire of his bike while he was riding on it. He went flying over the handlebars. How about that? The other day I saw a guy riding his bike on a barrier which separates pedestrians from traffic on a very busy street. Fortunately he managed to keep his balance. He didn't appear to consider the consequences if he fell into the street and into the path of a car or bus or truck. Incredibly full of himself.

Michael K said...

they wouldn't get out of the way, and would get run over. And then the relatives would collect $$$ from the railroad.

There is a law against being on the railroad right of way. Usually the railroads win those cases.

JAORE said...

My Mom let us pick our birthday dessert. I always went with pumpkin pie. Always.

FWIW:
" I wanted to see the night sky from the perspective of the road;" = nuts. Virtually indistinguishable is the perspective of the shoulder.

Yancey Ward said...

Or we all overthinking this, and the author of the story was just lying about it.

Rob said...

"I have to go now, Agnes. I'm due back on the planet Earth."

Beasts of England said...

I'm not much for cakes or pies, but one of my favorite taste memories is an apple pie my wife brought home from our church bazaar. Apparently a little old lady made one each year, and it was the golden ring of the event.

It transcended the category, and I can remember where I was standing when I took my first bite. Crazy, huh? My ex never scored it again, but I'm thrilled to have tasted a masterpiece.

AAT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AAT said...

“Virtually indistinguishable is the perspective of the shoulder.”

That golfball on the Moon is probably virtually indistinguishable from millions dredged up from from water hazards each year, but I bet it could fetch more than 50 cents.

Bob Boyd said...

Had piece of strawberry-rhubarb pie on the 4th.
Store bought. Still half frozen.
Pretty fucking good, though.

Molly said...

(eaglebeak)

Skipping over a lot of good stuff, eh?

Danno said...

Blogger David Begley said...There are no deserted public roads. Just roads less traveled.
When Althouse and Meade come out to the Nebraska Sandhills in August, we will be driving them.

Is this going to be a reenactment of Rat Patrol?

BUMBLE BEE said...

Look up Sour Cream Rhubarb Pie recipe. Graham cracker crust, custardy rhubarb and cobbler cinnamon topping. Best way I've found to prepare that vegetable! Gonna pluck some from my plants right now.

Narr said...

Tosh.O features dangerous and painful idiocies from the Interwebs on every show.

I'm not much of a U-tuber but I got interested in what I recall as comedy gold--the funeral of Khomeini when they managed to drop the old fucker's corpse! I found some blurry footage of crowds and mobs, but not the glorious moment itself. Scrubbed to protect the guilty?

Narr
Born this way

Guildofcannonballs said...

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/program-turns-20-along-notorious-636568

tcrosse said...

My wife makes an excellent rhubarb-apple pie, from an old family recipe. It needs the right kind of tart apples. When we lived in the Midwest we had a patch of pie plants behind the garage. Alas, the stuff doesn't grow in the desert.

tcrosse said...

One day in Tampa we were riding the touristy streetcar. Up ahead there was a guy standing between the rails, back to the oncoming streetcar, with a cellphone up to his ear. The motorman laid on the gong, so the guy, without looking around, stuck his finger in his other ear. Luckily, the Tampa streetcar is quite slow.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Try the rhubarb-leaf salad-- to die for !

AAT said...

Your right to be quirky stops at everybody else's right to safely drive on rural roads.

R.J. Chatt said...

I knew a woman whose father killed himself on the RR tracks. The family sued and insisted there was no way he would have done that. The woman told me she had received a goodbye letter from her father but was forced by her mother to lie in court. The family won the case. Part of the money went to put her brother through law school. You can't make this stuff up.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadTownGuy said...

John Henry said...

"Born Fighting is a great book about the southern Scotch - Irish by James Webb. Explains who they are and how they got that way. Explains why they are Scotch Irish and not Scots Irish. He does agree that people from Scotland are properly called Scots.

Great book. I used to be a huge Webb fan until he turned out to be a skunk that January night.
"

Agreed on "Born Fighting." Explains a lot about my family heritage (Eastern Panhandle of WV).

WRT his politics, though a Democrat, even he suffered the wrath of the speech police:

"Former senator Jim Webb declined Tuesday to accept an award as a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, citing pressure from a “small but vociferous group” of female alumni who are angry about past statements he made that women aren’t suited for combat and shouldn’t attend the academy."

Link (beware the paywall).

Bay Area Guy said...

The Gal is bored and probably needs a boyfriend ...

Jupiter said...

When I was in my mid-20's, I rented a house near a railroad. The idea occurred to me, that you could lie down between the tracks and let it pass over you, and you would be safe as long as you didn't move. Having thought it, I couldn't unthink it. Finally, one night I took action. Specifically, I piled blocks about a foot high between the rails and waited for a train. After it passed, the blocks were all lying on the ties. Some trains don't have a lot of clearance.

Jupiter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jupiter said...

Yeah, I was a little crazy, when I was younger, but not quite crazy enough to get my genes canceled. For example, I never imagined that if I assembled enough explosives, and detonated them in precisely the right sequence, I could golf on the Moon. I think we can all agree that would be perverse and suicidal madness.

RichardJohnson said...

On a summer's night in my early 20s I decided to walk on the yellow median strip on the road going by our house. This was in the countryside- the nearest neighbor was a quarter mile away. There would have been a car driving by about every couple of minutes. When I saw a car approaching, I moved to the side.

It happened to be a state trooper car. My town had a resident state trooper, but not a local policeman. The state trooper stopped, asked me why I was walking in the middle of the road, and could I please show him ID. This was NOT our local state trooper,whom I knew and who was a good guy. I replied that I was walking in the middle of the road for the heck of it. I told him I didn't have ID with me, but it was in my home about 200 yards up the road. I pointed to the house. The state trooper didn't bother to check my ID at the house, and went on his way. The next day I found out there had been a search in the area for an escaped prisoner. I guess the state trooper decided that my easygoing manner indicated I wasn't an escaped prisoner.

Ice Nine said...

My late brother, when a young man, was driving back to Des Moines from Chicago on a, yes, dark deserted highway. He rounded a curve and there was a vaguely cylindrical object in the road which he could not avoid running over. It didn't sound so good. He looked in his mirror and was sure he saw a leg sticking out of some kind of partial covering (which turned out to be carpet). Went back to render aid thinking he had hit a person - which he had! The person was dead, and, fortunately, looked like he had been dead. It appeared to be a body that had been dumped!

He was headed for a pay phone to report it to the cops when reason took hold and he realized that he didn't even need to be involved with this thing in any way, with either the cops or the dumpers. He kept on driving. Next morning he meticulously cleaned a lot of nasty stuff off his bumper and undercarriage. It shook him up kind of bad for a couple days.

buwaya said...

I recall the case of Webb.

Its telling that a man who has legitimately won the Navy Cross, and was badly wounded doing so, and, moreover, who has served as the Secretary of the Navy, is now and forever unwelcome to speak at the Naval Academy.

Above all military institutions need to respect their warriors above all politics. Blood is the highest sacrament and heroes who have bled must be seen as their saints. All else is irrelevant.

This is one of a million data points, accumulating at an ever accelerating rate over the years, that lead one to the conclusion that the US is in a slide into terminal decadence. This is not a political process but a social and cultural one.

Bilwick said...

Where I used to lived there was a vestibule at the front entrance, and I lived in the apartment closest to the front entrance. There were only three other units to each building, and I knew pretty much when people weren't home; the front door also had a window so I could see if anyone was pulling up. I used to like to walk out into the vestibule naked, sometimes with a machete. I used to call myself "Naked Machete Man." I mainly enjoyed the feeling of getting away with something, and the thrill of knowing that if I were caught, I'd probably be evicted.

I told my girlfriend about this and she thought it was both funny and odd. She called it "marginal behavior."

Michael K said...

I recall the case of Webb.

I don't. Is this it ?

Webb is undeserving, they say, because he wrote an essay criticizing the admission of women to the service academies for Washingtonian Magazine in 1979.

I wonder if the female midshipmen are as bad at honor code and behavior as the West Point cadets are ?

pious agnostic said...

Before I try the "lie under the train" experiment, I think I'll try it with a watermelon first and see if it's ok.

buwaya said...

Yes that is it, re Webb.

Jupiter said...

pious agnostic said...
"Before I try the "lie under the train" experiment, I think I'll try it with a watermelon first and see if it's ok."

The inductive fallacy.

pious agnostic said...

Jupiter said...

The inductive fallacy.

7/20/19, 2:34 PM


More like an proposed experiment to test a hypothesis. Repeat enough times to get a statistically meaningful result. Refine the experiment.

Etc.

Narr said...

Before we got too big, my friends and I were expert users of the neighborhood storm-drain system. We could get from one place to another entirely underground, distances sometimes of 1/4 mile or more between exits. Sometimes it would start raining.

At about 15, one brisk fall Saturday, my friend Bobby (of the school office) and I parkoured our way to the top of the elementary school--dumpster-washhouse/kitchen roof--cafeteria--ladder to the top. All in daylight (we weren't suicidal) and we were down and passing the football when the fuzz showed up. We suggested that the perps went thataway, and they believed us. (Blessed with a mature and honest look, I were.)

Later we got involved in Molotov-cocktail design and testing, which could only be done by climbing out the window about 2am and sneaking down to the big culvert under the expressway. Then we had to sneak back 1/2 mile or so to his house through deserted streets and climb back in. (My father was dead; Bobby's was very much alive so he risked a lot.)

As the stage crew in h.s., my friends and I found that the catwalks afforded access to spaces useful for non-approved activities. You just had to be very careful to get there; I fractured a wrist clowning around.

These sound light enough, but hell, my older brother ended up with a choice of probation or the army for shoplifting!

Narr
To his credit, he took the oath

traditionalguy said...

@John Henry...Jim Webb is the real deal and he certainly proved himself in the USMC in Vietnam Nam. But my family has always said Scots Irish. And we are Donaldsons. This year the Braves got them one named Josh to play third base . Watching him in action is like watching the Scots Irish of the Clan Donald. He is totally focused on winning.

Jupiter said...

pious agnostic said...

"More like an proposed experiment to test a hypothesis. Repeat enough times to get a statistically meaningful result. Refine the experiment."

Exactly. The inductive fallacy.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Fine!! You made me do it. I went and bought rhubarb at the store. After we finish the apricot crisp I made a few days ago.....Rhubarb Custard Pie!

Hey Skipper said...

For some time, I never could understand how people got hit by trains.

Understanding happens.

Bruce Hayden said...

Definitely don’t want to mess with trains. Driving back from town, drove alongside a train filled with containers. Maybe 100 cars, about half double stacked, which means about 150 containers. Three engines up front, and I think two pushing. Not maybe as bad as the coal trains going west. And since the containers were headed probably to Seattle, some may be empty. Still about 30 miles west of here, a full grown grizzly boar tried to take on one of those trains. Not much left of him. Apparently though they had to clean the lead engine a bit.

My partner sleeps lightly after a couple hours, so I have to be careful about the noise I make after midnight, esp given how quiet it mostly is late at night. Except for the trains. We are about 1/4 miles away from the tracks here, so, it is more a rumble - except the one heading the other direction just now, braking a bit for town. In any case, she is so used to the noise that the trains are the one thing that doesn’t wake her up at night, and I use that to cover the noises I make late at night.

The train noise here is not that bad, but the house on the farm that her ex has a little west of us here used to belong to the railroad, and is only about 50 feet off the tracks. That is where she really got used to the train noise. You have to cross the tracks to get into the farm proper (the portion on the other side is leased from the railroad), and it was always a bit scary for them with the boys. The girls were fine, but not maybe the boys. They had two, those two could bring up a friend each, and then there were also cousins, so there usually a half dozen boys living there for much of the summer, all roughly the same age. The girls usually stuck around the house. But the gang of boys could be anywhere. The farm is a half a section, and they didn’t always stay within its boundaries. The only thing that maybe saved them was that his oldest son was a fuddy duddy, who could be depended on to report major transgressions or safety issues. One of the standing safety rules was that any guests playing on the tracks were on the next plane back to 110 degree Phoenix. And their two had been taken out about the age when they started running wild, and shown what happened to a cow that tangled with a train.

Phidippus said...

DBQ @7/20/19, 11:49 AM:

The measurement problem, writ large.

Our knowledge of what's going on will always be imperfect, alas. Heisenberg quantified this.

Michael K said...

The train noise here is not that bad,

When we lived at the beach, 40 years ago, the trains would shake the house. We were 200 feet up on a cliff above the tracks but it felt like it was right outside. We got used to it. Some friends, who lived right on the beach, had the trains pass 50 feet behind them. Doesn't hurt the prices of the houses though.

mikee said...

Reptilian aliens ruling the earth?!
Hogwash on stilts!

We all know its crab people from deep underground.

Unruliness implies one is breaking a rule, but if you use the word "whimsical" you catch most of the behavior being described without judging it.

Not Sure said...

Morgenbesser’s pie story was created to illustrate the type of choice that is ruled out of expected-utility-maximization theory by the Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives axiom. Math made easy for people who eat in diners, like me.

traditionalguy said...

For the literature lovers, the huge unstoppable run away steam engines became a trope for man’s weakness and a suicide tool in Dickens era writers. Until big airplanes came along, the great Railway Engines were the types of terrible gods.

BJM said...

Our first apt was a tiny one bedroom second story apartment in Albany near Cal. We were so excited to have our own place that we didn't notice the RR tracks twenty feet behind the building, a short spur that once served the Kaiser Shipyards and was used occasionally by the Navy.

A few nights later all hell broke lose as a train chugged by with the engine light at our bedroom window height sweeping from left to right. As we leaped out of bed onto a shuddering floor the engineer hit the horn.

I can't claim that we ever slept through it, but we got accustomed to the clamor and it became one of our Four Yorkshiremen/dining out stories.

Mmmmm...Pie.

ALP said...

I now have a name for my practice of signing my name "Gul Dukat" when a legal name isn't required. I also like to put "Ferengi" under any "Race" designation.

As for reptilians on earth...the older I get the more I think Homo sapiens is the result of a breeding program gone wrong by some alien race millions of years ago. Explains quite a bit.

Narr said...

ALP. I'm half-convinced we're protected by some treaty among intelligent species who have to stay many many parsecs away from Sol 3. But there's always some joker in the deck, and who knows what pranks they may be up to?

One of my apartments was about 50 yds from one of America's mainlines, the same line that figured in my university's motto (Nilote Ascendare Impedimenta!); once you get used to it--a week maybe--you don't notice it: while awake, we played loud music, when asleep, we were probably passed out.

Narr
Ah, youth

AAT said...

There were so many reasons. I wanted to see the night sky from the perspective of the road; I wanted to be in this secret spot that always got passed by and never occupied...”

This is another case where an intelligent person mistook a rationalization for a ratiocination.

madAsHell said...

As kids, we would tie rubber bands together, and stretch them across the street. If we set the band properly, then it would roll up over the top of the car. It would then catch the radio antenna on the fender, and TWANG!

Needless to say the driver stopped immediately. We scored pay dirt when the the driver’s groceries hit the front windshield.....eggs were always on the top of the grocery bag.

Jeff said...

So reptilian aliens don't rule the Earth?

Of course we do.

caplight45 said...

I walk and pray at 04:30 most mornings. Many times I walk up the double yellow line. Even stand in a large but vacant intersection. Every one in a while I take a picture and send it to a buddy of mine. I never thought of it is an existential experience. Certainly not worthy of an article and frankly a bunch of tediously self inspective nattering.

John henry said...

I thought Webb was the real deal and was a big fan of the man. I thought he was badly treated in the episode several mentioned.

But then, about 10-15 years ago he gave his aid a gym bag to take to the Senate office. In the bag was a pistol. Probably legal for Webb, there was some uncertainty. Not legal for the aide.

The aide got picked and spent almost 48 hours in jail while Webb dithered trying to figure out how to get the aide off the hook while not getting his own ass in a crack.

Yeah. Real deal? Bullshit. A real deal would not have let someone else sit in the pokey for his screwup.

Webb is a skunk.

John Henry

Lem said...

Remember that kid that liked to surf trains?

I thought he was doing it for no reason, but the post says he was an Instagramer.

Link