Ask Kazzy

I think I’ve done this once before, and I know Burt and I believe Russell have as well, but it’s summer and I’ve got free time (3-month-olds can take care of themselves, right?), so let’s do it again!

If you’ve got any questions you’d like me to attempt to answer, throw them into the comments.  I’ll tackle as many as I can, either here or on the FP, depending on the content.  In the interest of keeping with the MD culture here, I ask that we refrain from discussing any proposed topics in the comments section; should you feel really interested in discussing a particular comment, throw a +1 at it and I’ll try to make it a priority.

For those who might not know me as well, my particular areas of expertise and/or interest are education, childhood development, sports, the human condition, family, and new adventures in parenthood.  Of course, I’m also an arrogant fisher who isn’t afraid to offer an non-expert opinion on anything.

So…. ask away!


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.


      • Everything from what’s your opinion on waitstaff stiffing black folks…
        To your opinion on the liability for title7 stuff mentioned in the second post.

        It seems like a pretty big topic, answer what you want. 😉

    • Develop a weakly superhuman AI and ask them to do it?

      Create a device capable of travelling backwards in time a full second?

      Um…some proposed quantum computers could solve sets of NP problems.

  1. How does one authority figure appropriately indicate to a child that a second authority figure has done or said something bad? E.g. and very heavy-handed, what should a teacher say when confronted with: “Mr. Kazzy, my father said that black people are more violent than white people”? You don’t want to subvert the father’s role as a father, but you clearly can’t let that statement stand unchallenged. How does that needle get threaded?

    • You beat the crap out of said child, and then ask, in Socratic fashion, “Are black people more violent than that ?”

  2. I forget if you’re still in the DC area or not. If so, who should replace Dan Hellie on WRC-TV (channel 4, the NBC affiliate)?

    If not, a more general question – will a woman attempt a field goal or an extra point in a regular season game in the NFL sometime within the next 50 years?

  3. What’s a good post-amnesty career for Metta World Peace?

    • Also, what do these words mean when they are placed in that order?

  4. Pierre and I discussed in your Wal-Mart thread about how we felt unsophisticated compared to the kid’s who went to private school for K-12. This is despite us both being very accomplished educationally (at least in terms of formal education/degrees obtained). Other classmates from my very good public high school said they felt unprepared for college work compared to their private school counterparts. This is despite the fact we all ended up in the same schools that are considered selective/elite.

    From what I can tell, certain private schools on the elite end give their students a certain level of confidence both directly and indirectly. I mentioned this in the thread but my classmates who did theatre in high school did much more challenging material at their private schools even if it was stuff above their heads like Waiting for Godot. They were encouraged to direct these productions. Almost like breeding precociousness. This would seem to give them an edge in terms of “I can handle this stuff” It took me until grad school to feel like I could handle Beckett, Brecht, Chekhov, etc.

    The question after the lengthy preamble:

    Do you think that public schools can breed this kind of confidence in their students? Why or Why not?

    As an educator at a private school, do you agree with my assessment on why private school kids have an edge? Why or why not? What are your theories?

    • I am very interested in the answer to this question, as well.

      Despite having done pretty well in my career and education, I still feel a twinge of inferiority about the latter when compared to my friends and colleagues who got their diplomas from private, elite institutions. Weirdly, I feel like my high school education (also public) prepared me just fine, and I only feel slightly second-rate when it comes to my public higher education.

      • Thanks for the endorse. There is probably a lot of subjectiveness and sociology into the difference.

        I would say that our filed splits and interests are part of the reasoning. My college education was very arts and humanities based and about in-depth research. Another person who was a math major said they felt their public school education prepared them just fine for university but they had lots of large lectures and tests.

        Though this person went to a large public university and said this marked them as a “prole” despite coming from the upper-middle class. I disagree on this assertion by said person.

        Most of the people I know who attended private school grew up in cities like New York. The NYC private school scene has always been a rat race and seems to grow exponentially so every year. This is probably true to a lesser extent in other cities. So you need a lot of drive to get your kid into the elite private schools, it is almost a bloodsport. Not that all private schools have great reputation. The joke about DWIGHT in NYC is that it stands for “Dumb, White Into Getting High Together”.

        On the other hand schools like Trinity, Dalton, Riverside, tend to be somewhat cultish and act like mini-colleges from Day One.

        I grew up in a town where people move to for the good public schools. There was nothing to complain about in my public school education (especially because I am pre-No Child Left Behind). However, there is a certain extent to which our parents said they were not willing to play the private school rat race game. This is probably a good sign of sanity.

        The other kids I know who attended private school had the additional factor of being the progeny of professors and/or being really poor scholarship students at elite private school. Again their parents showed a drive to make them better. Even a good suburban, upper-middle class public school is a bit of coasting compared to this kind of biography.

        For the higher education thing, I think that admission into certain schools works as a kind of club especially for the smaller, elite ones like Amherst, Williams, Swathmore. Harvard said that they could fill Harvard 9 or 10 times. They choose not to and this is why it is Harvard. You feel differently about your education if you are always 1 of 15-30 in a class (always taught by a professor) over being 1 of 500 (always taught by a TA).

    • ND,

      As someone who has never worked in a school that even had an affiliated high school, I don’t know if I have a better answer than most independents make a big point about knowing their students as individuals, while most publics tend to view students as cogs in a machine. Multiple that effect over 4, 8, 12 years, and I think you can see divergent mentalities take hold.

      Our school emphasizes that “each child be known”. I think the extent to which I was “known” in my public high school was a function of individual adults making a point to know me… not an ethos of the school.

      It wasn’t until grad school, when I was a full blow adult (well, sorta), that I felt I had ownership over my education. Independents generally work to make that true for all students.

      I can maybe generate a post that fleshes this out a bit more, but it’s be largely conjecture.

      • As to your more specific question, I don’t doubt that public schools can do this, but there are some institutional obstacles. Maybe I can outline that.

  5. 1. Are severely damaged kids (e.g., psycho-socially, by their parents) salvageable?

    2. Given the size and speed of today’s NBA players, what should the dimensions of the court (including the size/shape of the key) and the height of the basket be?

    • I’d ask a slightly different one: Why can’t people get their own heads out of their own asses? Is it physics or something? A lack of leverage?

    • Just curious… do you ACTUALLY think I hate America?

      If so… I didn’t know I was that obvious.

      Also, your Gravatar is angering me. $5 martinis last night [rubs temples]…

      • $5 martinis? Drink cold gin at home. It’s cheaper.

        Or lick a tree and then throw up for a while. It’s practically free.

        • Oh, I only drink vodka martinis.

          I had a friend recently spend a long time waxing on about “good” gin. I eventually responded, “Why would anyone pay to feel sad and have their mouth taste like Christmas trees?”

          • I remain grateful that you all aren’t interested in good gin, as it leaves SO MUCH MORE FOR ME. (Gin makes me the opposite of sad, always. And those of us who chewed spruce gum as little ‘uns have a very good reason for liking the taste of Christmas trees.)

          • I’m with Maribou on this. Good gin is a tremendous pleasure. And unlike vodka, where the distiller’s objective is to eliminate all taste and smell, gin allows for all manner of flavors to come in to play.

            I’ll be making martinis with Magellan later today for Mrs. Likko and a friend. Magellan has very low juniper elements, and is naturally colored blue from its use of iris flowers in their place. Lovely, and delicious too. Six parts Magellan, one part Lillet Blanc, well-chilled and shaken over ice. Twist of lemon peel for garnish, served in a chilled cocktail glass. Happy afternoon!

          • You can come sit next to me, Maribou. I can happily bore anyone with my opinions on which gin to use in a good martini.

            Oh, and cold vodka in a glass with olives? I’m sure it’s a pleasant-enough drink, whatever it’s called. But it’s not a martini.

          • 5 bucks? The best it’ll get you is a Steve Martini, and those are notoriously unpredictable.

  6. Why do hot dogs come in packages of 8 but hot dog buns come in packages of 12?

      • Its only trolling if you’re trying to piss people off. The doctrine of double effect applies, I think.

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