Log in


Forgot your password?
New user?
Upcoming Events
Couples Yoga Kentlands Mansion,
Apr 18, 2024
THE ART OF ENTERTAINING National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20005,
Apr 19, 2024
Girl Scout Garden Day Carlyle House Historic Park,
Apr 20, 2024
SEEING OURSELVES IN THE RIVER, IN THE MIRROR, IN THE WORLD: DC'S AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERARY HISTORY ON TOUR Cleveland Park Library,
Apr 20, 2024
The Okee Dokee Brothers Center for the Arts at George Mason University,
Apr 21, 2024
Tea & Blooms Kentlands Mansion,
Apr 21, 2024
Camp at My Gym Potomac My Gym Potomac,
Apr 22, 2024
We Heart Harlie and Friends ROCKS with The Jangling Reinharts at Hanover Vegetable Farm 13580 Ashland Rd, Ashland, VA 23005,
Apr 26, 2024
Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center's Family Workshop - Long, Long Ago National Museum of Natural History,
Apr 27, 2024
Storytime Saturday/Sábado de cuentos Carlyle House Historic Park,
Apr 27, 2024
I Think I Need Therapy. Now What? Online - Zoom,
Apr 27, 2024
Discover Sandy Spring Friends School at Our Open House SSFS Campus: 16923 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring MD, 20860,
Apr 30, 2024
Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center's Family Workshop - Long, Long Ago National Museum of Natural History,
May 04, 2024
Florafest Potomac Overlook Regional Park,
May 04, 2024
on the Run Theatre on the Run -3700 S Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington, VA 22206,
May 04, 2024
on the Run Theatre on the Run -3700 S Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington, VA 22206,
May 05, 2024
Momedy Kumite: Mother's Day comedy show The DC Improv Comedy Club,
May 12, 2024
Prince George’s County Bike Summit Creative Suitland,
May 18, 2024
Night Hike and Campfire – Nocturnal Wildlife Potomac Overlook Regional Park,
May 18, 2024
Spring Floral Bouquet Kentlands Mansion,
May 22, 2024
Upcoming events…
 
 

January

Sub-archives

The Most Active Posts Since Friday

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 29, 2024 11:53 AM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included University of Maryland early admissions, a teen who wants a Stanley water bottle, University of Michigan early admissions results, and a 17-year-old daughter who is having sex.

The most active thread over the weekend was titled, "UMD EA Results" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. I've written several recent blog posts on topics dealing college "Early Decision" admissions. But, that admissions round has passed and colleges are on to "Early Action" which is something entirely different. Students can only submit a single Early Decision application and must commit to attending the school if accepted. Early Action has neither of those restrictions but has the advantage of receiving an admissions decision earlier in the cycle than regular admissions. This thread is about Early Action decisions from the University of Maryland. However, the results being reported in the thread have a twist. Rather than being accepted for the Fall of 2024 as would be expected, many posters report being accepted for the Spring of 2025 or, in some cases, the Spring of 2026. Posters are understandably confused about this. Other posters note that these students will be eligible for UMD's "Freshmen Connection" program which allows students who are accepted for the Spring semester to live on campus and take classes in the preceding Fall. There is some discussion about the purpose of Freshmen Connection and I don't think there was ever an adequate explanation. Some posters suggested it is a way to manipulate admissions statistics. Posters whose kids went through the program praised it and assured those being offered the option that there is no stigma or other negative connotation attached to it. Other posters received admission for the Fall of 2024 and much of that discussion was about the specific program to which the students had been admitted. UMD seems to have a host of Living-Learning Programs which group students with specific interests together. This includes the Honors College and something called FIRE to which several posters reported being admitted. As always in admissions results threads such as these, there are posters who are thrilled because their kids were accepted and those who are disappointed because their children were not. Rejections normally generate complaints about the admissions process, in this case there was anger that in-state students are not being prioritized over out-of-state applicants. Both those accepted and those rejected were asked to provide statistics which were then analyzed as posters attempted to read the tea leaves for any insight into admissions decisions. Offers for merit aid or other assistance come later in the process which somewhat spoiled the news of acceptance for many because they were not sure what attendance would cost them. Every university discussed in the forum attracts haters and UMD is no exception. Though, in this case, the most vocal critic mostly bashed it for the quality of its housing, especially off-campus housing. Coinciding with the criticism was a discussion lamenting that UMD's prestige is not widely recognized outside Maryland.

read more...

Wednesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 25, 2024 03:58 PM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included Trump's popularity, the social skills of a smart seven-year-old, yield protection in college admissions, and changing MCPS high school start times.

The most active thread yesterday was one titled, "I hate Trump, but I get why a huge part of middle America loves him" and posted in the "Political Discussion" forum. The original poster says that she is a "typical educated and wealthy DC-area striver" but she believes that most of America has been "truly screwed over by progressive policies" and, therefore, believes that Democrats no longer care about the large group that has suffered from under-education, under-employment, drug abuse, being forced to compete with undocumented immigrants, and "penalized by the color of their skin". I am not going to bother to read a single post in this thread. Rather, I'll just address the original poster's points which appear to be a triumph of right-wing messaging over fact. One of the biggest successes of the right-wing has been to destroy liberal-support institutions and then complain that those institutions don't function and/or blame the results of that destruction on liberals. Under-education is largely a result of decades of attacks on public education by conservatives. Similarly, under-employment is the result of the relentless pursuit of profits by corporations, not liberal policies. To the contrary, one of the best antidotes to under-employment — unionization — is a Democratic priority hated by conservatives. The opioid epidemic about which the original poster complains was largely instigated by the pharmaceutical industry. Do you know what might have helped control or prevent that? Government regulations which Republicans hate. The idea that White people are not able to go to college because of the color of their skin is ludicrous. The high costs of college are an exponentially higher barrier and many of the poorer White applicants would have had their own advantages in any case. Yet, Republicans oppose efforts to make paying for college easier. The original poster mentions fighting in wars, but these wars were started and supported by Republicans. It was Joe Biden who withdrew our forces from Afghanistan. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats do not have full time propaganda networks such as Fox News broadcasting their talking points. As a result, Democratic achievements don't get the same notice. What does the original poster think about the United Auto Workers deal that was achieved after a historic strike with the support of Joe Biden? During the strike, Trump met with non-unionized workers. Not only did that agreement raise the salaries of UAW members, but non-unionized companies — even Tesla — have had to increase wages to stay competitive.  The problems facing the White folks with whom the original poster is concerned are largely the fault of anti-government zealots and a corporate America that puts profits over people. It is no surprise that both of those groups are happy to blame Democrats and migrants for problems resulting from right-wing policies. It is disappointing, however, when those such as the original poster who should know better buy into the conservative blame-shifting.

read more...

Tuesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 27, 2024 06:38 PM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included a spouse from an underdeveloped country, a wife arrested for DWI, the point at which private colleges don't justify their cost, and should women marry for money?

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "Vent about marrying someone from a very underdeveloped country". The thread was originally posted in the "Off-Topic" forum but I moved it to the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. The original poster says that she and her family are visiting her husband's family in a country that is much less developed than the United States. They are staying with her husband's family in a house in which taking a warm shower requires mixing boiling hot water with cold water and using a bucket. There is no air conditioning or heat and stores that have the items they would like to purchase are a three-hour drive away. The original poster and her kids are miserable but her husband is not understanding of the challenges they are facing. The original poster is very upset with him and using this thread to vent. This thread has already reached 21 pages. There are posters who are not sympathetic to the original poster and generally criticized her attitude and provided advice regarding what they believe are easy things that she can do to adjust. Other posters are more supportive of her and critical of her husband. The original poster has previously posted other threads about her husband and travels to his native country which results in the original poster being recognized by others who linked to her earlier threads. There are a number of disputes about whether or not the original poster is a troll, with one poster even starting a thread asking this in the "Website Feedback" forum. As I said in that thread, the poster is posting from Bangladesh, the country to which posters identified her as referring. However, this morning I noticed that the original poster has done quite a bit of sock puppeting, mostly offering what appears to be third-person defenses of herself. The thread is full of repeated patterns in which the original poster complained about something, posters offered advice for improving whatever that is, the original poster then explains why the advice won't work, other posters criticize her, the original poster sock puppets a supportive message, and then the original poster again explains why the advice won't work. The thread is also full of Indians, people related to Indians, or people who have been to India who believe that they have all the answers for the original poster. But, as with all other advice, the original poster is not receptive and is convinced that what applies to India is irrelevent to Bangladesh. Some posters engage with this thread as if it is some sort of mystery that they must solve. The city in which she is visiting was identified and posters provided the average daily temperatures, population statistics, and other information that they think shows the original poster is misstating the reality of conditions. Given the frequency with which the original poster has been posting — over 60 posts in 24 hours — it is clear that while the home in which she is staying may not have running warm water, heat, or a modern kitchen, it has a good Internet connection.

read more...

The Most Active Threads Since Friday

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 24, 2024 04:03 PM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included repeat posters, the UVA rush, marching band in APS, and a 30-year-old not shoveling snow.

The most active thread over the weekend was the Gaza war thread which I have discussed before and will skip now. After that was a thread titled, "Do you ever recognize repeat posters?". Posted in the "Off-Topic" forum, the original poster says there are a couple of posters who are "frequent flyers" and she is able to recognize their posts. She asks if others are able to recognize anyone. For some reason DCUM posters love to reminisce about old threads and, in many ways, this thread is simply a version of doing this. While some posters do seem to have someone specific in mind, in many cases the descriptions of alleged repeat posters really describe trends or habits instead of individuals. For instance, one poster complained about someone who constantly writes, "Try to keep up", but that phrase is used by a host of users. Similarly, another poster suggested "The grammar Nazi", which could refer to any number of different users. Perhaps in response to these posters, one person claimed to recognize "The posters (plural) who think only one person ever writes certain words or phrases". Another poster, wrote, "Many of the examples listed are not about repeat posters, rather they posted something memorable. That's a different discussion." But, this is the destiny of any thread that provides DCUM posters the opportunity to wax nostalgic. Despite all of this, a few posters did describe repeat posters who are recognizable to me. But, those posts normally went unremarked upon. An exception was a poster who I have been combatting for sometime who likely suffers from some sort of mental health issue. The poster has a few recognizable posting patterns and, as a result, was mentioned by multiple posters, though without apparent understanding that they were all describing the same poster. I am fairly certain that they were describing different habits of the guy, without knowing they were describing the same person. Later in the thread, posters started multiple debates over whether a single or multiple posters were responsible for some of the poster's posts. As a result, that poster was probably the most mentioned individual in the thread. Some posters claimed that they recognized a poster who would use a specific phrase only to have another poster chime in saying that they used that phrase but that it was also used by others. When a poster brought up someone who is obsessed with DEI, a debate about DEI broke out. If nothing else, that clarified that there are multiple posters obsessed with DEI to the extent that they can't even control themselves in a thread of this sort which has nothing to do with the topic. One poster appears have recognized himself and offered a defense saying, "Today white men are facing the greatest discrimination known on this earth" which left me uncertain about whether this was satire or the guy actually believes this.

read more...

Wednesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 11, 2024 11:24 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included a decision about paying for college, stay-at-home-moms vs work-out-of-the-house moms, options for a UVA early decision reject, and a friend who is negative about a new business.

The most active thread yesterday was titled, "Donut family: Pay for T10 or go to state for almost free" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. Yesterday I discussed a thread that was about "dead zone" families who are families in the top 3-10 percent of income but struggle with admissions to elite colleges because they are beat out by the top 1 percent. Sometimes, however, children from those families, and families just below them in income level, do get accepted. Those families often face a separate issue. They are too wealthy to be awarded financial aid but don't have the financial resources to pay expensive tuitions out of pocket. These families are often referred to as "donut hole families". The original poster says that her daughter has been accepted to a top 10 university but has been awarded minimal financial aid. It will cost them about $60k per year  for her to attend the university. In constrast, she can go to the University of Maryland-College Park for a third of that. The family has limited retirements savings, currently rents, and has been saving for a downpayment on a house. They have about $200k household income. The original poster's daughter plans to study something in the arts but is otherwise undecided. The original poster wants her daughter to have the best degree possible, but also wants to prioritize retirement savings. There are of course a variety of opinions about which option is best, otherwise this would not have been such an active thread. One view is represented very succinctly by a poster who wrote, "[t]he way to set her up as well as possible is to minimize both loans and the chance that she will have to support her destitute parents in retirement." With this in mind, UMD or a comparable option would be the best choice. But, others argue for the value of a degree from a top 10 university and suggest pursuing that option even if it requires taking out loans. That view is very much in the minority, however. Several posters question the original poster's financial planning and prior financial decisions. Others question the value of an arts degree. Quite a few posters point out that the daughter will probably need to attend graduate school. Therefore, the undergraduate school is not that important. The original poster's plight highlights one characteristic of financial aid calculations that continually irks me. She has $250k sitting in a savings account to be used as a downpayment for a house. From a school's point of view, that is tuition money and, therefore, offsets need for financial aid. As a result the original poster is being punished for saving. Had she spent that money on a house last year — or even blown it over a wild week in Las Vegas — her daughter would be in a stronger position for financial aid calculations.

read more...

The Most Active Threads Since Friday

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 08, 2024 10:54 AM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included a stolen car with a baby inside, Bill Ackman defends his wife's plagiarism, a father who dislikes fatherhood, and a possible fantasy thread about a husband being pursued by a pretty neighbor.

The Gaza war thread was again the most active over the weekend but I will skip it since it has been previously discussed. Similarly, I will skip the second most active thread which was the one about a woman in Ohio being charged after miscarrying. After that was a thread titled, "Baby Missing After Carjacking in Georgetown Early This Evening (30th & M St. NW)" and posted in the "Metropolitan DC Local Politics" forum. The thread was started after a report that a vehicle had been carjacked in Georgetown while a 4-month-old baby girl was inside. Not quite a hour later, the baby was discovered outside the door of a house in DC's southeast quadrant (Georgetown is in northwest) where the carjackers apparently dropped her off. The car has still not been recovered as far as I know. This thread represents almost all that is wrong with crime discussions on DCUM and most other mediums. On the one hand are posts from those simply interested in obtaining or sharing facts and expressing concern. I have no issue, of course, with those posts. But, other posters seem to simply be triggered by any mention of crime in a thread's title and rush to post reflexive talking points regardless of their relevance. There were a number of complaints about ANC 3C, which represents Cleveland Park. This crime was in a completely different ward, not to mention ANC district. Similarly, posters rushed to blame the DC Council with one poster wrongly asserting that the Council had attempted to change the law so that offenses such as this would not be considered kidnapping. Ironically, the tweet that the poster embedded to support his allegation actually said the opposite, but I guess the poster didn't bother reading it completely. There, of course, were the normal complement of racist posts that I had to delete. Much of the focus of the thread was on the mother involved. She had apparently left the vehicle running with the child inside, but it was not clear why she left the car. Information provided by police said that she claimed to have had a flat tire but witness reports circulating on social media said that she had gone into a store. It is not clear how a car with a flat tire could drive around DC for a hour or more and some posters suggested that the woman and invented the tire explanation to avoid legal problems as a result of leaving the child unattended. At any rate, the fact that the mother was not in the vehicle when it was taken caused the crime to be reclassified as car theft rather than carjacking. There was also discussion about what public officials describe as the difficulty of prosecuting carjacking and car theft. When stolen vehicles are recovered, apparently fingerprints can't be used as evidence because the cars may have passed through multiple drivers and it is not clear which had stolen it. Discussion also touched on whether or not an Amber Alert had been issued. Police said that they were in the process of preparing one when the baby was found.

read more...

Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 05, 2024 11:19 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included top colleges for "standard strong kids", a small town right outside Washington, DC, the demise of the Washington Post's Metro section, and how Americans would behave during an emergency airplane evacuation.

The two most active threads yesterday were the Harvard president's resignation thread and the Gaza war thread. I will skip both of them since I've discussed them previously. After those was a thread titled, "Top colleges that are actually on the table for unhooked standard strong kids." and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. The original poster lists a number of prominent universities that she believes are realistic targets for a student with a high grade point average, a test score, and strong extracurricular activities. As the title says, she describes such students as "standard strong" and specifies that they are "unhooked", meaning that they are not legacy admits, supported by a major financial donor, athletic recruits, or underrepresented minorities. In other words, where does a run-of-the-mill White kid with a 3.8 to 4.9 GPA, 1500 SAT, and a handful of ECs have a shot of being accepted? Those responding dispute some colleges on the list and suggest others. There is also a discussion about what constitutes a "standard stong" applicant and what might instead be a "standout" student. Posters also argue that in most cases, admission to these schools will only be possible through Early Decision applications. As such, the proposed schools cannot be viewed as a list of targets because applicants are limited to one ED application. So, at best, potential applicants could only make one selection from the list. Even then, as some posters point out, their chances will be very narrow due to the highly-selective nature of these schools. Many of the posters describe admissions records of high schools their children attended and others demonstrate detailed knowledge of admissions of a range of schools. As I've written in the past, a number of posters in this forum follow college admissions with the dedication of a sports fan obsessing over runs batted in or catches per yard statistics. It occurred to me while reading this thread that, if I could figure out how to do it, a "fantasy college admissions league" would be a successful enterprise. Forum members could "draft" college applicants and win points based on their admission results. There could even be different rounds for each application type such a ED, early admissions, regular admissions, and so on. This could keep a number of these posters busy from September through April.

read more...

Tuesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 05, 2024 05:55 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay which was discussed in two of the most active threads, evangelization vs. proselytization, and covid exposures during holiday gatherings.

Yesterday the top two most active threads were both on the same topic, the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay. The first was titled, "Claudine Gay resigns as Harvard University’s president" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. There was some debate about whether this topic belonged in the college or political forum (it was posted in both), but I ultimately decided that it was a political topic. The controversy surrounding Gay began with a Congressional hearing and the opposition to her was led by overtly political figures. Therefore, I locked this thread and well as several similar threads also started in the college forum. By the time I locked the thread, it had grown to 10 pages in just 3 hours. On the surface, opposition to Gay was based on concerns that she was not sufficiently combating antisemitism and had engaged in plagiarism. But, beyond that, opponents made clear that they saw Gay as a symbol of the "woke" environments that they believe are dominating elite universities. Gay, who is Black, was attacked by many who saw her as unqualified and chosen more for her skin color than her abilities, much as they allege that unqualified minority students are admitted to elite universities in place of more deserving White and Asian applicants. Gay has been the target of a campaign led by Christopher Ruffo, the same person who turned Critical Race Theory into a political weapon to be used against school boards. Right-wingers were ecstatic at the news of Gay's resignation. But, they were quick to declare that they were not stopping here. "Two down, one to go", wrote one poster referring to the previous resignation of University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill and the apparently hoped for resignation of Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth. Magill, Gay, and Kornbluth all had appeared at a Congressional hearing in which they came under agressive questioning about antisemitism on their campuses from Representative Elise Stefanik. Other posters signaled their desire to see the entire Board of Harvard replaced. Rufo has broadened his CRT attacks into a campaign against the entire framework of "diversity, equity, and inclusion" and gained traction among many who view DEI practices as unfairly benefitting minorities. One poster expressed his criticism of DEI by accusing it of "[e]levating highly unqualified and mediocre talent into senior roles and fast tracking people simply because of the need to fill an identity gap." This entire effort is aimed at reclaiming elite academia for those who rise based purely on merit, as if such a world ever really existed.

read more...

Monday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Feb 01, 2024 11:05 AM

Yesterday's topics with the most engagement included marrying a guy who earns $160k, the importance of college entrance exams, a college freshman staying out all night, and a Hydroflask.

In yesterday's wrap-up of 2023 I described how the Gaza war threads have dominated the most active lists since October 7. I appear to have almost jinxed the lastest iteration of the thread as it fell all the way to 10th on the list, almost not making it at all. The most active thread of the first day of the new year was titled, "Be honest. Would you marry a guy making $160K at 55?" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)" forum. The original poster initially provided very little information, simply saying that the man in question should be assumed to be attractive and normal. Most of those responding think that a salary of $160k being held against an attractive and normal man who was otherwise an acceptable partner to the original poster is ridiculous and that the original poster's concern reflects poorly on her. Somewhat surprising to me, a number of posters expressed opposition to 55 year olds getting married regardless of their salaries. A small number of posters warned that the guy might be after the original poster for her money, though the original poster had not provided any information about her own wealth. Quite a few posters argued that salary was not the important factor, but rather the man's net worth which would influence retirement possibilities. Later the original poster clarified that she is in the "top 5%" and had previously been married to someone in the top 1%. She is concerned that her wealthy friends would look down on the guy due to his salary. Perhaps feeling that opinion was strongly against her, the original poster began responding in the third person, though not exactly sock puppeting. There was at least one poster who shared the original poster's salary concerns, writing "[m]en who make that little at that stage in their lives have failed". This attitude was far from the norm in the thread. Most posters either found the salary entirely acceptable or thought that other characteristics were more important when considering marriage. A number of posters listed professions in which individuals made significant contributions to society but were not likely to make much more than $160k, if that. Similarly, some posters questioned the values of the extremely wealthy, suggesting that they were likely fixated on accumulating wealth and might not be the best relationship candidates. Throughout the thread posters questioned whether the original poster deserved the guy she was describing or whether he would even be interested in marrying her. In a subsequent post, the original poster said that the man had "asked me today what it would take for me to marry him". Presumably she answered, "doubling your salary".

read more...

Last Year's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Jan 02, 2024 09:00 AM

Wars dominated the topics with the most engagement last year and two threads from last year's list made return engagements.

Happy New Year to everyone in DCUM land. To start the year off, I am going repeat something that I did last January 1st. Instead of looking at the most active threads over the weekend as I would normally do, I am going to review the top ten most active threads for the entire year. Most of these are ones that I have discussed in blog posts so I won't say very much about each thread. But, this might provide an interesting overview of the topics that dominated DCUM in 2023. As is suited for a New Year's countdown, I am going to start from the bottom of the list and work towards the most active.

The tenth most active thread of 2023 was titled, "APS Closing Nottingham" and posted in the "VA Public Schools other than FCPS" forum. I originally discussed this thread on July 3, describing plans by Arlington Public Schools to send current Nottingham Elementary School students to other nearby schools and convert Nottingham into a "swing space" to be used by students of schools that were being renovated. The thread reached 180 pages before I locked it. Ultimately, as one poster wrote, "Notties always win...", and APS reversed its plans and will keep the school as it is.

read more...