Eunice the Menace

BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

Sometimes, an interesting thread develops from other, tangentially related matters. This one came in yesterday, and as soon as I saw it, I thought it was fantastic, although it’s sad and somewhat sensitive, too.

Reader and contributor Andy Dennis has been preoccupied for some time researching his bit of Brownhills; Newtown, up on the Watling Street, specifically Howdles Lane and The Fort. In his research, he’s hit upon this tragic history.

I won’t waffle any further, except to thank Andy for a remarkable piece of painstaking research which I’m honoured to host here. Contributions of this quality make this blog what it is.

As usual, comments are welcome, or please mail me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. I appreciate the possible sensitivities here. Please do mail if you have any concerns.

Andy wrote:

Hello Bob

Further to my recent message, here is more about Eunice Carter, first…

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A political thesaurus

Gotta love how TPH updates us so succinctly with the changes in Life(tm). ;)

The Plastic Hippo

Given the rich complexity of the English language, as it develops and evolves to reflect the character of its speakers, it is difficult to have sympathy of those who mourn the passing of the correct spoken usage of words like “bad” and “wicked”. Remembering the words invented by Shakespeare that still remain in common speech, the really big difficulty is keeping up with a living language that is changing organically.

Having only recently mastered the use of “wicked” as meaning excellent and the use of “bad” as the complete opposite, young people tell me that these terms are now obsolete with the user becoming the object of derision. Those that cleave to the purity of English must despair as they hear it cleaved asunder by modern idiom. However, the English language has not popped its clogs, kicked the bucket and is not pushing up the daisies. Instead it is fit…

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overlearning and college education

One of my beliefs, born out by research like Arum and Roska’s, is that people don’t learn or retain much from college. There are many reasons why, but one is that colleges don’t believe in “overlearning,” which means that you study a topic so much that it becomes automatic.

Consider the typical college class. They meet two or three times a week. Students either skip the readings, skim them, or quickly forget them. Unless it’s part of the grade, students are often absent from class. The exams typically cover the material, but then you move on to new stuff. Many students are allowed to move on with marginal grades. The opposite of “overlearning.” Colleges offer “barelylearning.”

If colleges were serious about learning, the entire system of lectures and semesters would be dumped. Occasional passive lectures and marginal grades would be abolished. Instead, we’d probably have very short…

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Everyday, Ordinary People

More than Okay

As most of you know, my husband and I are foster parents and have been for the last 13 years or so. We’ve had over 20 kids enter our lives and that number continues to grow.  My parents started fostering when I was 12 years old so I’ve also been blessed to have many foster brothers and sisters to call my own. This has been my “story” for the past 28 years and frankly it’s all I know.

People tell me all the time that the job we do is amazing. How much they admire us, and how they could never do what we do. I’ve heard that the world needs more people like us. That we must have the patience of saints. People thank us, congratulate us and pat us on the back.

But here’s what I have to say to all of that.

We are no different from anyone else … we just chose…

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When Your (Brown) Body is a (White) Wonderland

Speaking as a ‘white’ medically female person, I have to say thank you to tressiemc for highlighting part of a culture that I didn’t realise (but am unsurprised to learn) exists.


This may meander.

Miley Cyrus made news this week with a carnival-like stage performance at the MTV Video Music Awards that included life-size teddy bears, flesh-colored underwear, and plenty of quivering brown buttocks. Almost immediately after the performance many black women challenged Cyrus’ appropriation of black dance (“twerking”). Many white feminists defended Cyrus’ right to be a sexual woman without being slut-shamed. Yet many others wondered why Cyrus’ sad attempt at twerking was news when the U.S. is planning military action in Syria.

I immediately thought of a summer I spent at UNC Chapel Hill. My partner at the time fancied himself a revolutionary born too late for all the good protests. At a Franklin Street pub one night we were the only black couple at a happy hour. It is one of those college places where concoctions of the bar’s finest bottom shelf liquor is served in huge fishbowls…

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Public Sector Outsourcing – Time for the Tide to Ebb

By John Tizard @

In my opinion, a contemporary public sector leader should think very hard and analytically before assuming outsourcing is the most effective and efficacious way of either improving the quality or reducing the cost of public services.

I fully appreciate that this stance goes against the contemporary grain, given that many political leaders (both within the current Coalition Government andsome in the last Labour Government), as well as some public sector executives, have asserted that the business sector can save the public sector large amounts of money whilst at the same time improving the quality of provision.

Whilst acknowledging that there are clear differences between and within Whitehall departments and between local authorities or NHS trusts, in truth the narrative and justification for involving the business sector in public service delivery has never been consistent. I recall arguments such as the need to: increase capacity; reduce costs; leverage investment; address underperformance; source scarce expertise; transfer risk (although actually, ultimate risk is hardly ever transferable); tackle poor industrial relations (and sometimes to take on the trade unions); and in some specific cases, extending choice to service users. Sometimes it has been for ideological reasons.

The reality, however, is that evidence that outsourcing to the business sector is better (or worse) than retaining services within the public sector is often hard to prove, for it’s practically difficult to compare with an untested alternative. That said, what evidence does exist suggests at best a very mixed picture and nothing like as glowing a success as some marketing presentations or political promotions might suggest. Some early examples of success are not repeatable. Times and condtions have changed.

Read the rest over at Huff Post.

Opinion: Yes, let’s talk about race and IQ – Lisa Wade –

Opinion: Yes, let's talk about race and IQ – Lisa Wade –

Earlier this month, in these pages, researcher Jason Richwine wagged his finger at the progressive media for ignoring supposedly simple facts about the relationship between genetics, race and IQ. Suggesting that a left-leaning media finds these facts offensive, he accused us of scientific illiteracy, immaturity and “emotionalism.” We’re in denial, he says.

Well, I would love to talk about IQ. I’m a sociologist with a particular interest in the body and an interdisciplinary background, so I’ve made understanding the relationship between society and biology part of my research agenda. The truth is that reality is far more complicated, fascinating, and infuriating than most of us ever imagined.

Go click the link and read the rest of Lisa’s article.

Open Letter To The Internet: This Miley Cyrus Thing Has Me Worried

I haven’t seen it either, but I saw it all over Twitter & FB.

Socialisation in action – again.

The Traveling Circus

Hi People of the Internet!

Based on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and every other social media platform ever invented, the most important thing that has happened in the last 24 hours is a performance by Miley Cyrus on MTV’s VMA Awards. I have the luxury of being in Japan where this was neither aired nor talked about nor if it was talked about could I understand it. But I looooooove the Internet so I’m well versed in the events. I even looked up some video footage!

Here is what I saw: I saw a 20 year old. Singing a song. Dancing around. To a concept someone else certainly envisioned and created and convinced her was a good idea. I saw her nearly naked, like somehow this should be shocking by now, and then I learned a painful first lesson about what ‘twerking’ actually means. It was probably in poor taste, certainly…

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