SL 843

About a week ago, the Hardie Plank dudes showed up and took the clothes off our house. Right now, the project is stalled; the siding guys haven’t shown up for two days. I was assured that they’ll be back tomorrow. Not a big deal, because the mess is all outside, but it would be good to get this project finished off.

I’m so glad that the media is paying attention to parent student loans. From Newsweek: “1 out of every 4 federal $ lent for undergraduate education last year went to parents and a stunning 22 percent of that $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt, $336 billion in all, is held by people 50+”

I’m kinda obsessed with these vinyl floor mats with a vintage tile print.

Depressing COVID statistic of the day – life expectancy in the US dropped by 1.5 years.

Think that schools will stay open, full time this fall?

Tweeting about the latest in royal gossip.

Is Mastery-Based learning (Think SRA kits or Khan Academy) a solution to massive learning loss from COVID? I wrote about this movement back in 2018 for Edutopia.

I am currently FOUR separate apps for health and fitness. A friend just pushed me to join Strava, a social media running app. I may have reached my limit.

Some people want us to cover up learning loss in children. Fuck ’em. You can’t address a problem without identifying a problem.

Thomas Edsell said, “Many spatially talented adolescents may never approach their full potential due to a lack of opportunities to develop their skills. A great loss occurs at talent searches that identify intellectually precocious young adolescents.” So, it’s just awesome that we’re weakening the best public schools in New York for poor and lower income kids with talents in this area.

Picture Above: A lovely card from a stranger on Twitter.

52 thoughts on “SL 843

  1. Laura said, “Think that schools will stay open, full time this fall?”

    If you live in a red state, sure. It may be kind of a mess, though.

    You better believe that Florida schools are going to be open.

    Has anybody suggested or tried a back-to-school vaccination drive for parents?

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  2. I’m kind of shocked by these spotify/netflix/book deals, not just for people who were “born princes” but for lots of others. It’s media I don’t consume.

    I consume books, but the last book I read was a 1957 book by Ruth Adams, “A House In The Country”, that has been revived by Furrowed Middlebrow in his search of mid century English women authors after having been out of print. Absolutely wonderful book: https://foxedquarterly.com/ruth-adam-house-in-the-country-literary-review/

    Say, Spotify paying 10s of millions for “Call her Daddy”. Clearly it’s understandable that I don’t understand, being in no way the demographic (and, never having been the demographic). But, still, that’s worth 60 million? “It’s that sway with a coveted demographic that recently earned her a $60 million three-year deal with Spotify, according to Variety.” https://time.com/6082311/call-her-daddy-alexandra-cooper/

    I think we’re seeing media chasing content with bucks and that there’s a bubble but that some people are going to make a lot of money out of it. And, when they have real money, they can chase more money. I hope some of it goes to reviving forgotten authors.

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    1. People don’t buy books to read. They buy books to display on their coffee tables to signal to others that they are smart or that they are on one political team or another. It’s terribly depressing.

      The other angle about this prince harry book is that he isn’t writing it. He has a ghost writer, JR Moehringer, who is apparently a big shot in the world of ghost writing. He must have been pissed about the deal with Harry, because I think it was he who leaked the info about the book to Page Six. The press release from Penguin didn’t mention his name, but it’s all over the Page Six story. I wonder if he was told that he was going to get co-writer status, but that it didn’t happen.

      Writing, but without really writing is good gig. Harry paid $1 million to the ghostwriter and then got a $20 million advance. That’s a real good investment for not actually doing any of the work.

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      1. “I’d read a book written by their nannies and personal assistants! ”

        I don’t think I would. I realize I am strangely protective of rich kids of billionaires/royalty/celebrities. It seems to me that who their parents are is not their fault.

        I was once on the receiving end of a billionaire mom’s mistaken reply all which poured out all her vulnerability about her kid in an arts extracurricular (Is he doing OK, is he fitting in, is he making any friends) that felt so familiar. And, I knew the kid was being picked on in just the way those awkward boys can be by an emotionally manipulative girl (not mine, who uses her emotional skills for good).

        It’s weird of me, because they certainly don’t need my empathy as much as most other kids since they have powerful protectors. And, many of the kids are jerks of jerky parents, but, some of them are not.

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    2. But where is the 20 million dollar market for the book? I really don’t get it. I wonder if the publicity is the point? For some books, say, Hawley’s, I think a part of the market is political money laundering (i.e. purchases by organizations). Is that the market for the prince memoir, too? Potentially it’s purchased and given to orgs where he speaks and gets speaking fees? Like, say, Peyton Manning does at big law firm retreats? (though, I don’t know that’s a prince’s demographic). When real money is exchanging hands, someone thinks they are going to benefit, and I can’t connect the dots myself. I don’t think there’s a market for the prince book for the coffee table, is there?

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      1. I honestly have no clue, but am also interested in how this works out for the publisher. I suspect that he will have to return a chunk of the advance if the book doesn’t sell enough. (Yes, that happens.) I’ll ask my publishing people.

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      2. bj said, “I don’t think there’s a market for the prince book for the coffee table, is there?”

        It seems to me like more of a guilty pleasure read.

        Laura said, “I suspect that he will have to return a chunk of the advance if the book doesn’t sell enough. (Yes, that happens.)”

        I’ve been wondering about the fine print on some of these diamond-studded media contracts. There’s a chance that they author/performer won’t collect or won’t keep the money unless a big audience materializes.

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      3. John Scalzi, way back in 2004 before he had published even his first novel: “First and not insignificantly, the number of books an author needs to sell to earn out an advance and the number of books a publisher needs to sell to turn a profit (or at least avoid a loss) are not the same number…”

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      4. I don’t read biographies/memoirs, but a lot of people do. Michele Obama’s book sold 10M copies. At, say, $20 per book, that’s $200M. Her advance was well worth it. Harry would have to sell 1M copies for the publisher to break even. Considering the interest in the Royal Family and the fact that he is the son of the still wildly popular Princess Diana, and considering how a tv series like The Crown is also wildly popular, and considering that there will be interest from Black readers as well because of his marriage to Meghan, I think this is a no-brainer. £14.5M is low, if you ask me.

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      5. “At, say, $20 per book, that’s $200M.”

        Oh, no. Where are my publishing friends?? OK, I know enough to say that a publishing house does not receive that $20 per book, even if you pay that much for the book. Those books are sold at a 50-70 percent discount to bookstores. Then there is a ton taken out for printing, sales, editor, publicity, etc… Then you have to take away the advance. A $20 book might only bring in $1 for the publishing house. Most books doesn’t earn enough for the author to earn royalties. I think that Harry would have to sell 10M copies for his publishing company to break even. My guess is that a big chunk of that advance was put in escrow. He will only get his hands on that money, if he sells 10M copies. Since UK polls say that almost no one will buy his book, not sure if he’ll make those numbers.

        I’m sure the Michele Obama book earned money, but most books don’t sell 10M copies. Most celebrity books don’t sell 10M copies.

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      6. It’s the author who gets about $1 per book, not the publisher, but my cursory research couldn’t uncover more info and then I got bored. 😀 Let us know what you find out.

        Even if the book is sold to retailers for $10, that’s still $100M. I think the Obamas got $65M in a joint deal, so the publishers still have a lot of wiggle room to profit. And don’t count out e-book sales, which have way lower overhead.

        And as I said earlier, do not underestimate the level of interest in Harry/Meghan. Look at yourself: you’ve already published several blog posts about Harry/Meghan. You think you’re the only one obsessed with every bit of news about them? You are the canary in the coal mine. If you are this interested, trust me, the general public will be even more so.

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      7. I very much like being a canary. 🙂 I am not sure that I’m really a canary on this topic. My interest in them and the Royal family was the result of paramenapausal insomnia and late night gossip reading. Shrug. On the other hand, the US tabloids on the supermarket line we’re all about the BRF. I don’t think I ever saw that before.

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      8. Wendy said, “And as I said earlier, do not underestimate the level of interest in Harry/Meghan. Look at yourself: you’ve already published several blog posts about Harry/Meghan. You think you’re the only one obsessed with every bit of news about them? You are the canary in the coal mine. If you are this interested, trust me, the general public will be even more so.”

        I’d read a book written by their nannies and personal assistants! I wouldn’t have it out on my coffee table, though!

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      9. I’m also fascinated by how the business model for publishing works. I know the bit about how authors have to outsell their advance. I’ve also heard the $1/hardback copy amount. Know some book authors who have published books through traditional publishers and none have made significant money from them.

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      10. Well, that’s how Bernie came into owning-three-houses money: wrote a book, his campaign bought lots of them and handed them out as party favors to volunteers, he got the royalties. Jim Wright came a cropper over it, too. Nice work if you can get it.

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  3. The Edsell article is very dense with information on spatial skills, testing, gifted programs, skill inflation, . . . . I need to dig into it more deeply.

    The concept that there are “spatially gifted” children is reflected in some gifted programs. CTY, the Johns Hopkins program uses the SPatial Test Battery for qualification, as well as the traditional verbal/quantitative test. Our public school gifted program also uses a spatial assessment.

    A founding teacher at the private gifted school my kids attended was very focused on spatial ability (which she assessed using the “block design” subsection of a standard IQ test). She thought those kids were the ones who were particularly undeserved by standard school programs, which is the same concept Edsell is arguing at the beginning of the article. She’s taught at the school for 40+ years (and learned to use Zoom during Covid) and those kids are why she stays in the classroom.

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  4. Ian is actually spatially gifted. Like within the top 5 percent. But we only found that out when we had him evaluated by the Yale Child Study team. But nobody within the public school system cared. He’s had absolutely no training or development of that skill. We’ll have to figure that one out now.

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    1. Yes, some of the descriptions that you give us of Ian remind me of the teacher’s descriptions of her “block design” kids (she wrote self-published books, which I can’t currently find anywhere).

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    2. Maybe this one would be worth the price? I don’t think it’s the one I’ve read (which contained some data she collected):

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  5. https://mobile.twitter.com/VPrasadMDMPH/status/1418220932858978322

    Some of my med twitter people are suggesting a one-COVID shot protocol for teens, as threading the needle between reducing COVID hospitalizations and reducing vaccine myocarditis (which increases greatly in boys upon second mRNA dose), or possibly reduced doses.

    The UK is (at least for the moment) choosing not to do COVID vaccination for kids 12-17, unless there are special circumstances, such as health conditions, shared household with high risk people, and (I believe) being close to turning 18.

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/uk-opts-not-to-vaccinate-most-under-18-against-covid-19

    Germany is also currently only vaccinating kids 12-17 with specific risk factors, although I believe a number of other European countries are vaccinating teens more aggressively.

    https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/german-panel-gives-limited-approval-covid-19-shot-adolescents-2021-06-10/

    There is the possibility of a 1-dose regimen being more palatable to hesitant US parents of teens. I think it could be sold well as a way to split the difference in terms of risks.

    I also, frankly, think that getting even just 1 dose should be sold to hesitant adults, too, especially as we head into cold and flu season. Its better than nothing.

    We have 5 people in our household: me (mid-40s), husband (late 40s), 19-year-old girl, 16-year-old boy, and 8.5-year-old girl. The 4 senior members of the household are fully vaccinated. Knowing what I know today, I might not have done the second dose for the 16-year-old, but it turned out fine and it saves us a lot of trouble and concern. I don’t know yet what we’ll do about our youngest once she becomes eligible, but I’m starting to lean toward getting 1 dose as a way to cover our bets–at least until more information comes in. It has seemed like it takes a month or two of mass vaccination to get a clear picture of what the side effects are going to be–so far the adverse effects seem to be very demographically specific. I’d like to have our youngest fully vaccinated by cold-and-flu season, but we’ll see how it goes.

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  6. I’m glad I don’t have to make this decision for an <12 year old; I think the world is getting more dangerous for unvaccinated people and unvaccinated people make the world more dangerous for everyone, but it would also be tough to make the decision for someone else. My 17 year old was capable of making the decision for himself.

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    1. Just found out that my friend’s 8 year old (here in highly vaxed MA) tested positive for COVID. Everyone else in his family (mom, dad, 2 older brothers) is vaxed. My friend says his youngest will be vaxed as soon as it’s available.

      The kid is asymptomatic, but they are all quarantining now.

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    2. bj said, “My 17 year old was capable of making the decision for himself.”

      We more or less just informed our teens that they were getting vaccinated.

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  7. OT: the harvest is not looking good. I have a cousin who is a commodities trader. After talking with him, I bought 50# of wheat flour, 20# of pasta and another 10# each of corn meal and oatmeal. These are all things I will use and I expect that me through to next year. He suggests expecting a doubling of prices on some of these, significant rise on others.

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    1. 10 pounds isn’t much oatmeal. I go through about the 1.5 pound containers in less than two weeks. Between pooping and cholesterol, it’s important.

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    2. Tulip said, “I bought 50# of wheat flour, 20# of pasta and another 10# each of corn meal and oatmeal.”

      Watch out for the Indianmeal moths.

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

      Ever since a really regrettable incident about 20 years ago in which I wound up having to toss out an entire kitchen full of dry goods (the moths somehow got into the flaps of food boxes and under the labels of canned goods), I have run a really tight ship with regard to keeping some flours in the freezer and the rest in airtight cannisters.

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    3. Are there going to be shortages or price increases? I get very agitated about shortages but don’t care if I pay more money. An example of being a capitalist at heart, no matter what my rhetoric might be.

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      1. That map doesn’t make me worry about grain production. That’s a fruit-vegetable problem.

        Farmers are old, but I think that’s more a function of who has the assets than a workforce not able to attract young people.

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      2. I am mostly concerned with prices. I partially support my mother and my daughter had hung out her shingle as a CPA in October 2019. Most of her clients were bars and restaurants, so, yeah. She’s needed the Bank of Mom. I still want to retire in 5 or so years because I’m tired. I’ve had a job since I was 14 and until I got my current job, I had two, plus I divorced and ended up a single parent. I’m cutting expenses wherever I can and hoping the housing market becomes a bubble where I live and I can cash out.

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      3. As long as I’m whining, I’ll just get this out and be done. My “big break” into an art show. Yeah, Covid. And the lockdown ruined the gallery owner’s marriage and since the gallery was supported by his income, it’s no more. She’s given me other contacts, and I’m trying, but I am …. disheartened.

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      4. I sympathize with the loss of your art in a show. It’s not a whine, I think, to acknowledge a real loss. I’ve been watching along as friends and artists I admire try to sell/publicize/build a business of their creative work. It’s tough and twisty path.

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  8. Some of the replies to Laura’s tweet thread on learning loss are WILD.

    People are really hung up on avoiding the term “learning loss.”

    This was a pretty advanced bit of happy talk:

    “I would ask, a “loss” from what arbitrary measurement? As a parent and educator, I also look at “learning gain”. Our kids, depending on their situation, learned more about empathy for others, medical science advancement, and advanced teleconferencing.”

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  9. re: food inflation and other bad news. I’m started to get a very bad feeling about schools opening full time this September. There are some very distressing tweets coming out from union leaders. Schools might not open up around here. If that happens, it will be a massive disaster, not just for the kids. The economy is going to go down the tubes. Women will never be able to return to the workplace. All these plans to open the offices won’t happen. There will be a flood of people leaving states like mine.

    A friend, who has kids in college, is looking to downside and retire to another state. She was looking at houses in Delaware. Said the prices increased by $200,000 in the past year. Her house on Long Island has not increased in value.

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    1. I had to 100% stop looking at Twitter. There’s just too many things to worry about of varying probability of happening all screaming for attention. Even Reddit local boards are getting nuts, with people bitching about houses becoming unaffordable at the same time as other people say the whole city is moving to West Virginia.

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      1. MH said, “Even Reddit local boards are getting nuts, with people bitching about houses becoming unaffordable at the same time as other people say the whole city is moving to West Virginia.”

        Not unrelated!

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    2. I agree about limiting exposure to the stream of random speculation into the future on social media, for sanity.

      But, I was caught uninformed and only woke up to news on our schools through social media. Our local coverage was bad. I had noted that myself. One of our local school agitators (newly arrived at the role because remote learning was failing her child) summarized the failures of coverage: https://kappanonline.org/olins-russo-how-the-seattle-times-covid-coverage-missed-the-mark/

      I had, honestly, accepted that in the time that we were in (an unprecedented public crisis in my time) it was reasonable to expect me (and my child) to pitch in to do our part. But, my mental bargain was that our family would do this as our part (or part of our part) while the combined resources of our system were allocated to others who were more vulnerable. It was really only through social media that I understood that wasn’t the bargain we were getting.

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    3. “Her house on Long Island has not increased in value.”

      Well, to be fair, there has been a huge housing bubble on LI. My mom sold her house 6 years ago, and its value has gone up 50% since then. It’s now worth half a million, according to Zillow, and it’s a dinky Levitt house with no basement or attic. Real estate prices have hit a ceiling there.

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    4. I am also worried and I think state & federal level demands on education might be necessary to open our schools at the local level in very blue cities. We cant force teachers to work and their unions have the absolute right to negotiate and I think teachers, like many other workers are making demands of employers right now that they might have a balance of power that they have not had in the past.

      To provide some balance of that power, states are going to have to be proactive about enforcing rules like instructional hours, testing, and other rules that have been waived during the pandemic.

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      1. bj said, “I am also worried and I think state & federal level demands on education might be necessary to open our schools at the local level in very blue cities.”

        If this were 1970, they’d be facing civil rights lawsuits for what they’ve been doing.

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    5. Laura said, “There are some very distressing tweets coming out from union leaders. Schools might not open up around here.”

      There’s no excuse for not doing some of the outdoor schooling stuff we discussed as safer options a year ago for September/ early October. The weather is perfectly nice, it may be easier to get tents this year, and there’s reason to believe that we should have a bit of a lull. I wouldn’t yell at anybody for going remote between Thanksgiving and Christmas–but I think it makes sense to start in person in the early fall. A late start is pretty much an admission not to expect in-person school until March–which would be 2 full years of interrupted school.

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  10. A 20 something told me the other day that she was angry at Elon Musk because she invested in bitcoin (or whatever other scheme) he touted and lost her investment. And, she’s apparently managed to not buy anything from Amazon for the last year and a half. I was amused because it seemed like she was performing “twenty-something” for me.

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