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November 9, 2004

Posted by Teresa at 10:13 PM *

Like the Internet itself, eBay and Craig’s List are transfer protocols, open channels for commerce and communication. We can no more predict what’ll eventually be flowing through those channels than the inventors of the Arpanet could have known what infinite diversity and strangeness would blossom on Usenet. Life is the thing that automatically routes around the blockage.

Comments on Proposition:
#1 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2004, 10:49 PM:

Life is the thing that automatically routes around the blockage.

Huh. And I thought it was just porn. >8->

#2 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2004, 10:49 PM:

Odd possible bug, here -- the "Next Post" link for this entry loops me back to the entry for October 5, 2001.

#3 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2004, 10:51 PM:

And now it doesn't. Odd.

#4 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2004, 11:09 PM:

The thing that automatically routes around the blockage is mineral spirits.

#5 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 12:39 AM:

I experience a little bit of confusion with taking a "rule-set" (protocol) to be equivalent to a distribution medium (channel). When Ebay or Craigslist are referred to as distribution mechanisms (channels), I take the protocols to be the underlying access rules (click, point, type).

If you make the metaphor of calling Ebay, Craigslist, and the Internet, itself, protocols (sets of rules), I would continue the analogy by referring to applications rather than channels. I.e., "-The people who created the protocols could not have known the infinite diversity of the applications that would be built around them.-"

See also the layers in TCP/IP and OSI. TCP/IP, the "Internet Protocol," has an application layer (which is quite variable), as well as two transport layers (which tend to be fixed and predictable).

#6 ::: Adam Contini ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 01:37 AM:

that would explain why craigslist is nothing more than a hard lesson in frustration right now. Apparently what's flowing through that channel are demands for "3 weeks of work at 75 hours/week for a total of $150 pay. Must have 3 years professional experience."

#7 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 02:05 AM:

History shows that commerce quickly follows any means of communication as its adoption increases. Universal mail delivery gave rise to the catalog business, and people started selling things by phone almost as soon as there were phones. The only thing that's kept our cell phones relatively ad-free has been regulation. Billboards popped up along the highways as soon as there was a large enough audience to see them. Radio and TV hosted ads almost instantly.

The real wonder of online commerce has been the greater ability to serve niche audiences. There are business dedicated to things like used motorcycle gear, antique telephones and a host of other products that would be hard to sell by traditional means. The whole Ebay phenomenon is probably one of the least predicted but most retrospectively explainable business models. When anybody can sell their junk to pretty much anyone else who'd like to buy it, transaction costs collapse and more trade happens.

To me, the most interesting phenomenon has been the rise of virtual communities, such as the one that the Nielsen Haydens have created here. This is an online, democratic version of the salon, with its own manners and traditions. Other communities, such as Daily Kos and Lttl Grn Ftblls have their own virtual cultures.

We all accept this as a matter of course, but our expectations have arisen in the blink of an eye. Who knows what's next, as narrowcasting enables marketers to reach truly niche audiences with well-correlated but off-topic messages. If you look at the blogads that are up right now, you'll see one for the new Wes Anderson movie. I really like his movies, and will probably go see this one when it comes out. (I clicked through and watched the trailer, too.) How many other readers of Making Light feel the same way? But it has no direct connection to the blog and its audience. Smart marketing, indeed.

By the way, a little more fiber (or fiber optics) might help that blockage thing.

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 09:06 AM:

The thing that automatically routes around the blockage is Hedera helix.

#9 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 09:37 AM:

Funny, I would have thought it was the bicycle messenger. Or possibly the Chinese take-out menu.

#10 ::: Nick Douglas ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 10:47 AM:

Good example of examining systems as more fluid, as parts of larger systems. David Weinberger (here: wrote "Small Pieces Loosely Joined," an internet manifesto that at times seems so grand as to be pointless (think Deconstructionism).

But he describes the internet as a system of flexible protocols for the Real Stuff -- human communication.

He also describes it as, well, "small pieces loosely joined," noting that the internet has places without spaces -- the "walk" from my site to yours to eBay is as long or short as the links, so there's no sense of fixed geography, yet we use spatial metaphors when discussing the internet: "I went to the site," "visit a page," etc. We view sites as places without spaces.

What are the implications?

#11 ::: liz ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 10:53 AM:

For my money, it isn't Hedera helix but

Toxicodendron diversilobum (at least here in California). Cut down one, 49 sprout.--48 of them where you aren't looking.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom

#12 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 11:08 AM:

Ahh, Toxicodendron diversilobum, the state plant. What we need are genetically modified deer that can eat only Toxicodendron diversilobum, as long as they excrete the toxins and remain edible. That would give the deer some purpose other than standing in the middle of urban boulevards waiting for a vehicle to jump in front of and spreading Lyme disease.

#13 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean Durocher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 11:14 AM:

I nominate Convolvulus arvensis - I had some growing into my studio this summer. It twined quite nicely around my saber.

No to mention that you can buy it on ebay.

#14 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 12:22 PM:

"Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom" -- you said it, Liz. Five acres of woods + a bunch of indoor/outdoor cats and dogs + 2 very allergic humans = weekly RoundUp search and destroy missions several months each year. And we don't have the jewelweed sap here in Oklahoma that I learned to use as a remedy back in Pennsylvania.

Larry, apparantly goats eat poison ivy -- see the homesteading classic "Never Kiss a Goat on the Lips" -- but then they eat everything else too.

#15 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 12:24 PM:

Quoth Janet: Larry, apparantly goats eat poison ivy -- see the homesteading classic "Never Kiss a Goat on the Lips" -- but then they eat everything else too.

Excellent. I'm for more goats, then. Goats are entertaning and generally cool. I say, "Bring 'em on!"

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 02:04 PM:

Toxicodendron diversilobum isn't so bad. You just arrange to have me drop by and pull it up bare-handed. It took me years to nail down the identification of that stuff, because on me the obvious test kept coming up negative.

#17 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 02:05 PM:

Goats also eat kudzu. My current Mad Science project is breeding ultraminiature goats that could live on kudzu and survive in an urban environment. Big problem is splicing in giraffe genes so the necks will be long enough ...

#18 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 02:14 PM:

"Simple systems can produce complex behavior." A basic principle of chaos theory. I've written music that demonstrates it...not terribly listenable, but good for driving: almost impossible to fall asleep while listening to it.

#19 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 02:32 PM:

Okay, Teresa, you're welcome for a three-week vacation in Oklahoma next spring!

I wasn't allergic as a kid. It can build up on you and you reach a tipping point after which the merest touch brings on blisters. I had a nasty case a few years ago right before a trip overseas, and I was afraid they'd turn away the oozing leper at customs...

Lightning, I'll be happy to test your miniture goats. But what defense mechanisms will they have aganst cats?

#20 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 02:53 PM:

...after which the merest touch brings on blisters.

Or just walking by it without touching (my mother). And not just any blisters, either: great big oozing blisters which break open and spread.

#21 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 03:01 PM:

I remember my dad showing me the Moroccan tree-climbing goats at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. They were radioactive, too. Miniature goats could take on kudzu quite well if they were climbers. Even a miniature goat would well outmass a housecat, so I wouldn't worry about their survival. Keeping their population down is a more likely problem. So the question is how we can adapt wild cats such as mountain lions to survive in an urban environment.

#22 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 03:09 PM:

So the question is how we can adapt wild cats such as mountain lions to survive in an urban environment.

They've adapted on their own.

And don't let one o' them thar radioactive goats bite ya - you never know what might happen. Having "goatey-sense" might be fun, but the horns would have to be retractable.

#23 ::: Aiglet ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 03:32 PM:

No, no, that which routes around anything (at least where I live) is blackberries.

Anyone want to come by and help me plough the land under with salt? (Also, I could use some help rehabilitating a tomato plant, if anyone has useful advice. I thought they were sun plants, but this one's a shade plant and determined to stay that way -- I just want it to stop eating my house!)

#24 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 03:34 PM:

Cumulative sensitization, check. I won't roll in the stuff. I'd like to hang on to the ability to hide out in large patches of it if I'm ever being pursued by evil minions.

Is there any reason to have pumas in urban areas, other than to keep the coyotes in check?

Kudzu-eating goats don't have to be able to reach high up. Kudzu always connects with the ground.

#25 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 04:43 PM:

You people are way smarter than I am.

All I can offer is this:

If you get blisters from poison ivy, sumac, or oak, don't stand in the shower for an hour and blast them with orgamsically hot water. Even though the itch will be relieved, and you'll learn an entirely new coordinate on the pain/pleasure continuum, you will get more blisters all over your body and have to take steroids to make it all go away.

#26 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 04:48 PM:

I'm told that horses also eat poison ivy; apparently the guides where I go riding had to stop riding bareback because the horses would eat the stuff and then have urshinol-laced sweat. I suspect this isn't quite true, but I'm sensitive enough to the stuff that I don't want to risk it; when I go riding, I swap out of my jeans pretty much ASAP.

#27 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 04:49 PM:

A naturalist I know -- "River Dave" at the West Point on the Eno park in Durham, NC -- insists that if you eat a leaf of poison ivy each day, starting in the season when they're not itch-causing, you'll gain immunity. He actually does this.

On one hand, he seems to be immune. On the other hand, I'm not willing to try the experiment on myself.

And Larry, you just might have stumbled on the sekrit origin of Matter Eater Lad. (Although I don't remember any horns.)

#28 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 07:01 PM:

Ah, kudzu. I'm told you can make food products from the blossoms, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Googling kudzu for the heck of it, I found: - Page down to see a most unusual basket woven of kudzu vines.

That site links to: - Definitely the most impressive collection of kudzu photos I've ever seen. I'm especially fond of the ones showing buildings being swallowed.

#29 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 07:05 PM:

"Toxicodendron diversilobum isn't so bad."

[screams quietly to self.]

I wouldn't trade swap my sensitivity to poison ivy for your narcolepsy now, but if you'd asked any time before I turned 15 and stopped working much outside it would have been a near thing. I used to have multiple bad cases every Summer. And I haven't grown out of it -- a volunteer clearing job last year left me with a bad case at WFC. (Ellen Klages saw the bandages (to prevent me from dripping on everything) and wondered -"whether I'd tried to off myself"-.)

Alex -- I expect your naturalist is even luckier than Teresa; everything I've read says you get \more/ sensitive with exposure.

#30 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 09:30 PM:

Well, kudzu and blackberries are more powerful, but here in NYC, Ailanthus altissima is king.

#31 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 10:01 PM:

Ailanthus, yes; with its henchmen mugwort and Japanese knotweed. I knew a gardener so all-fired organic that she dealt with slugs by going out in the rain at night and finding them by touch, and even she got out the Round-Up when she had to combat Japanese knotweed.

The exception is the Wall Street area, where for some reason the predominant weed is Solanum nigrum, black nightshade. I don't know why. Maybe Hetty Green seeded the neighborhood with it.

#32 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 10:19 PM:

I've been told that there are kudzu-eating goats on NC State's Campus somewhere. I haven't verified this yet though.

#33 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2004, 11:02 PM:

Is it Solanum nigrum (black berries, white flowers) or is it S. dulcamara (red berries, purple flowers), which I often see in vacant lots? Not only here, but in Seattle and D.C. as well.

#34 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 12:15 AM:

The town where I grew up had an abandoned railroad yard in the center of it, with many fabulous blackberry patches. My favorite technique was to get a 20' 2x12 left over from a construction site and gangplank it into the middle of a berry patch. That worked on the flats. One time I was coming home through my usual blackberry patch and found a rattlesnake sunning itself on the trail. The very best patch was on a cliff (full sun exposure), guarded at the top by poison oak bushes. Some friends of mine once managed to get a full harvest using ladders. There was also a giant fig tree down by where the roundhouse used to be, and two marshes. All gone now.

Anyone want to come by and help me plough the land under with salt?

Sorry, no. Blackberries are my idea of heaven. But I could ask my grandmother to e-mail you her pie recipe, if that would help.

#35 ::: Tiercel ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 12:25 AM:

PiscusFiche - Some folks at NCSU did a study comparing goats and chemicals as means of controlling kudzu, blackberry, and other suchlike plants.

Project site - with pictures! Goats are certainly efficient eaters.
Article in the Technician (student paper)
PDF file of a presentation on the results - This last includes a picture of a kudzu stem 8 inches in diameter, to which I say: yikes. The presentation looks like it was done by undergraduates, but I'm sure whoever was in charge will be writing it up eventually.

#36 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 12:51 AM:

Clearing Boston ivy from the neighbor's side of our back fence, I sawed off one vine that was about six inches in diameter, maybe a little bit more. The vines went up about twenty feet into the air. We found fruit trees under them. If kudzu is worse, I don't want to think about it.

#37 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 07:57 AM:

I also live in Oklahoma and as of yet (knock on wood)never had a reaction to poison ivy or poison oak for that matter.

I have been completey emersed in it. I was on a hiking trip with a group of friends and I was the only one that didn't break out.

Hopefully it stays that way, I love to roam around in the woods on a nice spring day. It is nice to not worry about what I just stuck my hand in (or on)as I scurry up the side of a steep hill.

#38 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 11:46 AM:

One more voice from the unallergic, here. Years of playing in the woods behind our neighborhood and decades of camping, and I've never had a reaction.

It's a pretty nice little boon, all things considered.

We've got a mild infestation of kudzu in one back corner of our backyard. It fights with our massive wisteria for vine dominance, and I think may be what's holding that part of our aging fence up at this point.

I'd be thrilled if the stuff snuffed my Crepe Myrtles, frankly. Whoever decided Crepe Myrtles would look great next to the pool wasn't thinking things through...

#39 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 12:09 PM:

At our previous house, the former owners had planted a bed of English Ivy along the front.

I was finally moved to remove the ivy (not an easy task, since buried tubers kept sending up fresh shoots for years) after finding that one of the vines had pried up the eavesboards, wandered around the attic for a while, found a small hole where a hook had once been installed in a bedroom ceiling, and sent the vine down the hole to start growing along the bedroom ceiling.

#40 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 02:37 PM:

Are you kidding? My wife would think that was the coolest thing ever! She adores English Ivy, and we'd have it all around the house if it grew better in this it is, we've only got it in one bed that's usually shady and moist.

#41 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 04:35 PM:

You can fry the kudzu and use it as a garnish. The only problem is there are nowhere near enough "new southern cuisine" restaurants in the Buckhead to use that much kudzu.

#42 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 04:39 PM:

Ivy is a nasty invasive usurper who tears down fences and sheds and kills plants of a gentler temperament.

Poison oak is a problem for people (don't let anyboy think they can clear it by burning it: the smoke is really bad), but it's crucial in the habitat -- at least in the California habitats it grows in. (parkland, mixed forest, and probably some others). It feeds and shelters birds and rodents and "other such small deer" (isn't that what Lear said?) It nurtures baby trees and graciously falls back to the edges when they don't need the shade any more.

The place where I went to monitor water quality at the first rain was a creek/drainage ditch, and it was a museum of thugs -- almost every invasive monster that grows in town was there.

#43 ::: Aiglet ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 05:06 PM:


I'd love a pie recipe, but unfortunately, my blackberries aren't productive, really. They just sit there and mock me, saying "If only you could tame us, we'd be good little vines, but no one's paid attention to us for years and you're going to have to fight us for every inch of land you want to plant something else in, nyah."

I'm normally quite fond of blackberries, but these flatly refuse to be nice, berry-bearing bushes, and insist on being creepers, and they've invaded every single non-lawn space around the house and are making inroads on the lawn. They've got to go.

#44 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 06:27 PM:

Aiglet, thank you for explaining. Maybe you need a better variety, or maybe the vines need more exposure and sunlight. Either way, you're right, the existing vines must go. Good luck with the slashing and burning.

#45 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 07:15 PM:

Many of the feral blackberries never bear. The ones that still poke up in my yard after 27 years of battling don't bear. They rarely have any thorns,either, so I guess that's a plus.

#46 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 07:24 PM:

One of my favorite visuals while living in Seattle was a hillside covered in a combination of ivy, blackberries and thistle. I wanted to take a photo and call it something like "The War of All Against All" or "Darwinism in Action" or some such.

#47 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 07:40 PM:

I live across the road from a whopping big farm field owned by Intel. They rent it out to a farmer, who grows clover. I imagine that it will someday grow an office park.

Along the borders of the lot grow great shaggy mean heaps of wild blackberry bushes. I didn't really realize this until I got a dog and began looking for new places to walk her.

This summer, I discovered the berries in near top of form. I picked buckets of the suckers. I made three pies, and a dozen 1/2 pint jars of jam.

#48 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 08:49 PM:

One thing about blackberry vines: in Seattle, in the summer and fall, there are as many blackberries (with an occasional black raspberry vine mixed in) as you want to take the time to pick. In my more poverty-stricken days, I used to go out and pick heaps of them, then come back and calculate how many pies they would make. Bake five blackberry pies and you will discover how many friends you have...

There is a great Richard Brautigan story about picking blackberries in a huge thicket (presumably somewhere in Oregon) and discovering the rusting remains of a Model T subemerged deep down in it.

#49 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 09:24 PM:

Robert L wrote:
There is a great Richard Brautigan story about picking blackberries in a huge thicket (presumably somewhere in Oregon) and discovering the rusting remains of a Model T subemerged deep down in it.
But I had always assumed that was a Bay Area poem, because I had always thought of him as a Bay Area writer, so I went looking and found a kajillion Brautigan pages and refreshed my adoration of his writing.

However, I didn't get the answer. He was indeed a Bay Area writer for the big chunk of his poetic career, but he moved inland later. And then back? I couldn't tell.

I had forgotten that he had killed himself at 49 -- I read his work when I was a teenager and I thought he was old.

It's sad -- and Iris Chang, too.

#50 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 10:20 PM:

When the glaciers retreated from what's now British Columbia, and Washington, wild blackberries sprung up in the muddy ground. Humans hunted Mammoths (not just Dwarf Mammoths). We know, because of a Mammoth skeleton found in that area, with a spearhead lodged between its ribs. I presume that a popular recipe was for Mammoth in Blackberry Sauce. Mmmmmmm, Mammoth...

#51 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2004, 11:54 AM:

Teresa wrote: I knew a gardener so all-fired organic that she dealt with slugs by going out in the rain at night and finding them by touch, and even she got out the Round-Up when she had to combat Japanese knotweed.

There's a story (I don't know how true it is) that on a popular UK phone-in gardening question radio show, one of the callers said, "I have some Japanese knotweed growing in my garden. What should I do?" The answer: "Move house."

#52 ::: holli ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2004, 02:45 AM:

I'm reminded by all the creeper talk of my grade-school playground, which had what seemed at the time to be stories-high thickets of honeysuckle and blackberry, covering the old dead trees and brush at the edge of the woods. As invasive species go, they were great for an elementary schooler with a sweet tooth, and smelled heavenly.

#53 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2004, 09:00 PM:

Lucy Kemnitzer: Brautigan was born in Tacoma, WA, and spent at leastt some of his childhood in the Pacific northwest. He moved to San Francisco as a young man, and later moved to Montana after he became famous. He also spent some time in Japan. He was living in Bolinas, CA when he committed suicide.

I don't have the story (not a poem) I mentioned handy, but it appears in Revenge of the Lawn, I believe. Like many of the stories in that book and in Trout Fishing in America, it has a Northwest setting.

Brautigan is a complex figure and seems to have been a terrible man in some ways, a tortured one too, but I like a lot of his writing very much. He's gotten kind of a raw deal from the literary establshment as a "hippie writer" and he wasn't exactly a self-promoter in many of the ways he could have been. Perhaps he will be "rediscovered" in the future...

#54 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2004, 12:45 PM:

It's pretty hard to distinguish descriptions of Northwest settings from the North Bay Area, so I suppose that's why, along with the fact that he was living in the area when I was in high school and became aware of him, I've always placved the poems there.

Here's the one I read in my high school drama class and nobody got:

#55 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2004, 07:32 PM:

Obviously ahead of his time!

#56 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2012, 03:25 PM:

Aw, Moose got there first....

#57 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2012, 09:34 PM:

Around here, the other thing that automatically routes around blockage (besides spam) is a 250 ton, 118 year old wistaria vine.

#58 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2012, 09:57 PM:

Oh, that vine. I've heard a lot about it, but I've never been to see it.

#59 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2013, 07:49 AM:

Sorry, I'm not an American. What is the difference between a payroll tax and an income tax? I'm familiar with the workings of the British system, so I can see how there might be differences, but I don't want to be misled by a false equivalence, or any of my febrile analogies.

#60 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2013, 08:13 AM:

Dave, you were replying to a spambot. But to briefly answer your question, payroll taxes are the ones that are taken out of your pay on a week-by-week basis. That's Social Security, Medicare, and income tax withholding.

#61 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2013, 08:25 AM:

Rough UK equvalents: NIC and PAYE.

Obviously, PAYE/income tax withholding has a relationship with income tax rates, so any distinction between payroll tax is and income tax is a distinction between half-siblings.

#62 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2013, 08:54 AM:

Let's see.
In 2012, my employer made my health coverage much more expensive, and gave me no raise.
In 2013, this fiscal-cliff ovesight reduced my current salary.
If this keeps up (or down), I'll be paying my employer.

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