Why is thomcatspike incomprehensible? July 3, 2002 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Matt has just deleted thomcatspike's latest incomprehensible post. Although some think he's just pulling our chains, many of us think that he's simply having trouble with English. If that's the case, how can we help him?
posted by timeistight to Etiquette/Policy at 10:45 AM (128 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

wow. um. he's said (don't remember which thread, sorry) that he's a native english speaker.

and, really, what makes you think he wants help? i'm not being snarky, honestly.
posted by sugarfish at 10:54 AM on July 3, 2002

i'm sure he appreciates a metatalk thread about his writing skill.
posted by moz at 10:59 AM on July 3, 2002

I'm not terribly interested in giving a leg up to people who want to pad their double-posts with lots of weird Google caches.
posted by Skot at 11:05 AM on July 3, 2002

For those who missed it, check out Lo-Fi MetaFilter.
posted by rcade at 11:07 AM on July 3, 2002

I think he makes as much sense as a lot of us do.

No, really. Hey, it took a while, but we all finally started to 'get' clavdivs (for example). Not that I'm saying the two are doing the same thing, or even for the same reasons, but there's a similar extra level of decoding required to read those two. And for lots of others here, too, in various ways.

Treat what he says as abstract poetry, I'd say, or some other nonstandard form of language; respond if it grabs you, or not if it doesn't. I don't think he needs fixing. (And I don't think he's doing it on purpose, either; if so, he's incredibly consistent.)
posted by ook at 11:08 AM on July 3, 2002

i'm sure he appreciates a metatalk thread about his writing skill.

Maybe not, but the only reason I could see for Matt deleting the thread is that no-one could understand it.

His only surviving post also produced a marathon round of head scratching and "I think he means" comments.

I'm not trying to be rude or insulting, but the guy does have a serious communication problem.
posted by timeistight at 11:10 AM on July 3, 2002

I don't understand the point of this post, timeistight. In what way is it encumbent upon us to "help him?"

Even clavdivs never dared the front page.

And I cry bunk on that, ook (though I support your right to feel that way). The point of Metafilter is communication. How would you feel if I were to post text randomly cut from the net and pasted into Mefi threads? Valid impressionistic contribution or pure noise?
posted by rushmc at 11:17 AM on July 3, 2002

I think thomcat's cool, and as a non-native speaker who only learnt English in his late teens -- I know, I know, it shows in my mistakes and funny syntax -- I like the kind of Futurist language he managed to dream up.
I also find his language very funny, and the man seems polite to me.
But if a FPP's wording is not clear enough I understand that Matt has no choice but kill it (otherwise, the thread rapidly becomes a "what-the-hell-do-you-mean-man?" kind of thing

posted by matteo at 11:18 AM on July 3, 2002

The post made me smile. Like one of those magic eye pictures, it was absolutely, totally, hysterically incomprehensible, and yet I had the sensation that meaning was hiding there, just out of reach, waiting for me to tilt my worldview so it would shift into focus. Brilliant in its own way, I suppose, but as rushmc says - the front page isn't a forum for expressionist mirrorplays. I guess we should add BentFilter to our list of potential side-projects.

I'll wait for thom to weigh in before commenting further.
posted by Marquis at 11:26 AM on July 3, 2002

Thomcatspike emailed me last weekend after I wrote this and this, either trying to explain some of his comments or asking me how they could be better (I can't remember which, and for some dumb reason I deleted the e-mail). I wrote back, in part:

Hi Thomcatspike,

Thanks for writing.

Here's the thing: I assume English is not your first language. And I don't know if you know this, but your English is not very good. Please don't take that the wrong way. It's just that you don't use the language properly. You don't write in proper syntax. Therefore, it's really hard to figure out what you're saying most of the time.

Plus, sometimes it's not clear what you're talking about....


The combination of bad English and occasionally unexplained comments is confusing for some people. For me, it's frustrating to read most of your posts. I hope you don't take offense to this. :) It's really not my place to tell you how to write or how not to write... keep on doing what works for you. :)

He wrote back, but I can't remember what he wrote. But he didn't state whether English was or wasn't his native language.

I don't know -- he seems like a nice guy, but it's really frustrating, because, as rushmc rightly points out, MetaFilter is a place to communicate. Isn't there a MetaFilter-equivalent in another language? I simply can't believe that English could be his native tongue. And either he doesn't get that his English is incomprehensible, or he doesn't care, or he's making a good-faith effort to keep trying, but just isn't succeeding... anyway, it's frustrating.
posted by Tin Man at 11:31 AM on July 3, 2002

timeistight, it would have been better if you de-personalized this so the discussion could be a bit more abstract than piling on some new guy.

How about this:

The web is largely biased towards american english, but how do we incorporate other speakers into this sort of system? Is there some baseline level of grammar required to maintain some minimum of understanding between everyone? At what point does incoherence stop being cute and start becoming noise (I'm most interested in this, it took me a long time to warm up to clavdivs and take my finger of the "delete this account" button).

A bigger picture question: if you've been writing daily in email for a few years and on a weblog for a year or so, your writing is probably vastly different (and hopefully much better) than it was several years ago. If you get a bunch of decent writers together, and they're producing decent output, how do you welcome or encourage people who are still in the early stages of improvement? What should be done to diminish the intimidation factor, or should intimidation be a good form of quality control?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:31 AM on July 3, 2002

no cahins pulled, just deep thoughts
posted by thomcatspike at 11:37 AM on July 3, 2002

rushmc: I guess the difference for me would be that -- I think -- thomcatspike is trying to communicate, he's just having a difficult time of it for whatever reason. Random text would just be annoying for the sake of being annoying. Or performance art, which is more or less the same thing.

But, yeah, fair point, if someone's failing to communicate, there's nothing wrong with letting him know about it. And maybe suggesting ways in which he might go about it more effectively. Which I guess is what this thread is for.

posted by ook at 11:38 AM on July 3, 2002

You raise some good points, mathowie, but I think even worded thusly, it would have been immediately apparent to everyone exactly what was being addressed, so in a sense it seems a bit disingenuous (although certainly the personalization makes most uncomfortable as well). I realize that you have the bigger picture to be concerned with, but I think you may be being excessively generous here. It is surely legitimate for a community to ask a collective "wtf?" when confronted with such an aberration.

posted by rushmc at 11:44 AM on July 3, 2002

I actually enjoy thomcatspike's posts -- particularly based on my assumption that english is not his primary language. While there are exceptions, style-wise MetaFilter seems to be a pretty homogenous place. It's enjoyable to try to parse something different from time-to-time.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:46 AM on July 3, 2002

if someone's failing to communicate, there's nothing wrong with letting him know about it.

To take that a step further, I think it would be dishonest and a disservice to both the community and the individual to not do so.
posted by rushmc at 11:46 AM on July 3, 2002

I'm actually pretty sure English is his native tongue -- but his writing skills are undeveloped. I've encountered plenty of people (manic street preachers and college math students alike -- often the same people, actually) whose ability to communicate in writing is nowhere near the level of their other communication skills. They try to write, but can't get the thoughts on paper.

Often with thomcatspike, I think we're getting a written version of only about half of what he's thinking. Words get jumbled, tangents half-form without differentiation, and the resulting mess ends up unintelligible. Whereas clavdivs seems to be intentionally opaque, thomcat appears to just be a lousy writer.

(Incidentally: clavdivs read aloud is "Claudius," right? so isn't it sort of strange to shorten it to clav, or "Claw?")
posted by me3dia at 11:46 AM on July 3, 2002

Jesus, Matt, I must not be communicating very well myself. I'm not trying to "pile on the new guy," I'm trying to help him! I thought there might be some multilingual Mefites who could help him with translation. MiguelCardoso offered to do so in the thread you deleted.

Bottom line: I'm interested in what he has to say, but I can't for the life of me figure it out.

(By the way, I'm a new guy too.)
posted by timeistight at 11:49 AM on July 3, 2002

tcs has also made comments at 9622 and at some other blogs, and is usually fairly linear. I think he just speaks jazz.
posted by yhbc at 11:51 AM on July 3, 2002

I actually enjoy thomcatspike's posts -- particularly based on my assumption that english is not his primary language.

But that is an assumption. He has been asked directly several times on the site, and apparently in email, whether this is, in fact, the case and has very carefully NOT answered the question. Why is that? And would you feel differently if your assumption turned out not to be the case?

On the one hand, it is certainly relevant whether he may be a non-native speaker, a poet or performance artist, dyslexic, poorly-educated, a con man, a sufferer of Wernicke's aphasia, or simply undisciplined. But in another, equally valid sense, the impact upon the community remains the same whatever the case.

Which is not to say that he should be vilified or chased off. But, as with us all, the burden of communicating his thoughts to the rest of us clearly lies with him.
posted by rushmc at 11:54 AM on July 3, 2002

thomcatspike: no cahins pulled, just deep thoughts

Um. Exactly.
posted by Marquis at 11:58 AM on July 3, 2002

Hmm. Thom, if you are reading this, you could you absolutely as much stop using of services of translation? We obtained it. Really

Or, after Googling Language Tools (Eng > Sp, > Eng again)


Thom, if you're reading this, could you stop using translation services quite so much?

We get it. Really we do.

posted by dash_slot- at 12:09 PM on July 3, 2002

Hey, I used to be a real prick, blowing my top about spelling and handles, but MetaFilter taught me it works both ways and that we all, in a way, make an effort to put up with eachother's quirks and annoying traits.

Whether it's the blessed "hold me" meme or just not commenting when something gets your back up, there's a lot to be said for just accepting it takes all sorts and that every one of us is as weird to some of the others as some others seem weird to us.

I like thomcatspike's friendly manner and the way he engages immediately with other posters, though I genuinely can't understand half of what he says. There's a lot of adapting to do, specially for people like us who come from different, non-web cultures.

Anyway, just to put a bright spot on this interesting discussion - which is actually about quite a lot of people and styles, I think - thom+ e-mailed me, as I had asked me to do.

He explained the post quite clearly to me. I hadn't an inkling, judging from the original text, what he as on about. Matt was quite right, imho, to delete it; because it could have easily turned into a nasty "let's make fun of the alien" thread and because the post was incomprehensible as it stood.

I don't want to give away the gist of someone else's post. I offered to edit it for him to do as he pleases with my suggestions and suggested that he repost it when his main point was made clearer.

There really isn't anyone to blame here - for once! ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:12 PM on July 3, 2002

clav certainly isn't the only one. Sorry adampsyche.
posted by anathema at 12:14 PM on July 3, 2002

I think of tomscatspike as our very own Jack Kerouac...I mean, I don't understand him about half the time either...but he still amuses me in a beat poet kind of way. I imagine him as dressed in black, with a french cigarette and a glass of koolaid...(think he's still too young for the whiskey addiction)...staring over the transom at the bewildered masses he leaves in his wake...and I like it. :)

But then, I'm easily amused.

posted by dejah420 at 12:43 PM on July 3, 2002

dash_slot-, I think you're on the money. If so, it's a shame--I was quite fond of his posts.
posted by sj at 1:00 PM on July 3, 2002

Several have expressed a similar attitude, dejah420, but if someone comes here truly seeking to participate and communicate, how patronizing and demeaning is it to be "amused" by their efforts? Rather ironically, you seek to embrace his diversity by painting him as a harmless, funny freak--to me, that is more offensive than those who just directly question him as to his intent and his difficulties.
posted by rushmc at 1:07 PM on July 3, 2002

Good for you, Miguel! I hope he re-posts.
posted by timeistight at 1:11 PM on July 3, 2002

I was wondering when thomcatspike, [Or other wise known as MiguelCardoso - The Sequel: Don't Mess With Texas. This summer's sequel to last fall's critically well discussed Portuguese release. This time set in Dallas; giving new meaning to the phrase: "Texas, it's like a whole other country."] would get his very own MetaTalk thread. He has been pretty prolific since joining MetaFilter. On June 28th his user profile read:
member since: June 18, 2002
thomcatspike has posted no links 92 comments to MetaFilter
and 1 thread and 15 comments to MetaTalk
He had contributed, or clicked the post button, 108 times in his first 10 days here. Granted that with MetaFilter averaging 23+ threads per day, one comment in each thread would've netted him 100 comments in under five days, or one work week. He has not contributed anything on weekends. I guess he took it slow and took two weeks to reach the century mark. By the way, if he went through high school in the '80s saying, "What newbie you be," odds are he didn't go to high school in a non-English speaking foreign land.

MetaFilter has changed in the past few months. I remember Miguel getting hauled to MetaTalk for 'excessive participation.' thomcatspike didn't even register in the radar screens of the MeFi-Cops. Either the members are not reading the threads carefully, or they don't care, or MetaFilter's metamorphosis from a weblog to a web based mailing list/news group/bulletin board is now complete and people have gotten used to it.

MiguelCardoso won his very first MetaTalk thread, one not started by him, on Sept. 13th; and had two, the second one coming on Sept. 17th, within his first two weeks here. thomcatspike still has some ways to go to catch up with the Cardoso Standard. As they say, the sequels are never as good as the originals. Miguel, that is really a complement to you.
posted by tamim at 1:55 PM on July 3, 2002 [1 favorite]

I went over to LoFi and read thomcatspike's post. I understood it right away. He was comparing the actions between GWB and Reagan.

Unless I read it wrong. It seemed pretty easy to understand.
posted by Apoch at 2:19 PM on July 3, 2002

"...odds are he didn't go to high school in a non-English speaking foreign land."

Why's that? I went through high school -- in native English -- during that decade, and I've not only never heard the phrase, but it has a rather funky foreign ring to it.

In any case, I've been operating under the assumption that he doesn't speak much English strictly because it's impolite to assume nefarious or disruptive intent of someone who has every appearance of wanting to converse but is simply failing. Maybe I'm wrong and it's just that he "speaks jazz," in which case I'd be tempted to ask that he speak to us rather than at us. One's a waste of the electrons it's printed on whereas the other has value. Intent counts for a lot, particularly when the reader is trying to decide whether to decode the message for a nugget of information, or mentally dismiss a crapflooder.

"It seemed pretty easy to understand."

Not to me. I just re-read it, and I still have no effin idea what's he's saying.
posted by majick at 2:26 PM on July 3, 2002

I think of tomscatspike as our very own Jack Kerouac...

If by this you mean a talentless-yet-energetic writer who is too lazy to edit his prose, and thus deserves zero attention, then I agree with you 100%.
posted by rocketman at 2:27 PM on July 3, 2002

I looked up 'cahins' in google - it seems most often to be as a misspelling of 'Chains'... which of course, get pulled.

an interesting possibility..?
posted by Perigee at 2:41 PM on July 3, 2002

So, instead of just navel gazing, is anyone going to actually suggest a link (or book) that can help people improve their writing skills? I'm tired of everyone going, "Geoff your writing skills are top notch, baby! How do you do it?"
posted by geoff. at 2:55 PM on July 3, 2002

Well geoff., how do you do it? Tell us the secrets of your top notch writing style. Better yet! Write a book! _geoff.'s Top Notch Writing Skills!_ or maybe _Write Like geoff.!_ You could make millions.
posted by Apoch at 3:02 PM on July 3, 2002

suggest a link (or book) that can help people improve their writing skills?

There's the old standard from freshman composition courses.
posted by rocketman at 3:03 PM on July 3, 2002

On preview, Rocketman beat me to it:
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White.

posted by timeistight at 3:07 PM on July 3, 2002

The military might be the place to look for help on clear, succinct writing. Also, the inverted pyramids of which Mr. Nielsen is so found might help in organizing the semantic content of your post.
posted by Darth Vader at 3:10 PM on July 3, 2002

I think Perigree's got it. Symptoms sound dead on.
posted by me3dia at 3:12 PM on July 3, 2002

(This Army Writing Guide is formatted more attractively and is more complete. I apologize for the inconvenience.)
posted by Darth Vader at 3:13 PM on July 3, 2002

I went over to LoFi and read thomcatspike's post. I understood it right away. He was comparing the actions between GWB and Reagan.

Unless I read it wrong. It seemed pretty easy to understand

I hope I'm not giving away the gist of thomcatspike's mislaid post but Apoch is absolutely right. Except perhaps(to most of us) the "pretty easy" bit. It's also pretty interesting.

Tamim: you know one day I'll hire extra researchers and get you for this. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:35 PM on July 3, 2002

Based on many years experience working with and training those from non-English speaking backgrounds, I don’t think that this is the case with tcs, rather it seems to be a problem with getting his thoughts onto the screen intact (as mentioned earlier). Perhaps my experience with the English-challenged has helped me, but I have been able to understand his posts, albeit with some thought and a few re-readings.

While the primary onus is on the communicator to get his/her message across, the nature of a community means that there is also an obligation to at least be tolerant and understanding of those who are struggling. I have noticed an improvement (mostly) in tcs’s posts and I suspect that he realises his limitations and is trying to self-edit a bit more that he was to start with. Keep in mind, also, that there are probably plenty of times when all of you have hit the post button and then said to yourself “D’oh – that wasn’t what I meant to say!”. Just because your English is correct, doesn't mean anyone understands you.

A homogenous community where everyone spoke the same and instant communication was achieved every time someone uttered a sentence would be pretty boring, I think. Give the guy a chance to work out his tangled lines and, if you simply can’t be bothered or can’t translate his messages, ignore them.

posted by dg at 3:40 PM on July 3, 2002

I've gone back and read tcs's post several times and the best I can come up with is this:

He seems to be suggesting that George W. Bush didn't really need a colonoscopy; that he went through the procedure in imitation of Reagan (who had one when he was president) because Reagan won two terms whereas George Bush Sr. only won once.

If that's right, then I've broken through. If not, I'm as confused as ever.
posted by timeistight at 4:03 PM on July 3, 2002

Several have expressed a similar attitude, dejah420, but if someone comes here truly seeking to participate and communicate, how patronizing and demeaning is it to be "amused" by their efforts? Rather ironically, you seek to embrace his diversity by painting him as a harmless, funny freak--to me, that is more offensive than those who just directly question him as to his intent and his difficulties.
posted by rushmc at 1:07 PM PST on July 3

Rush, dig what you're saying, but I think you misinterpreted what I meant...or I wasn't clear in defining what I meant. What I meant was that watching the wake of confusion amused me...which is still possibly patronizing, but I also am working from the impression that he's doing it on purpose, ergo, it's like going to performance art shows....there's always much better fun to be had watching how everyone reacts to the artist than in the artist herself. (IMHO...I mean, once you've seen one angry jello-covered anarchist tearing pages out of Ovid, you've pretty much seen them all...)

Do I get tomscatspike? No, not really. But then, I don't think I'm supposed to...I think it's like performance art. But ya know, what the heck do I know? ;-)
posted by dejah420 at 4:28 PM on July 3, 2002

I miss Settle.
posted by euphorb at 5:04 PM on July 3, 2002

timeistight, that is how I read it as well. I find that, if you just read what he is saying without dwelling too much on every word, he is easier to understand. Perhaps there is a formula such as missing every fourth word, but I haven't figured it out yet.
posted by dg at 5:15 PM on July 3, 2002

I can't honestly say that I am all that familiar with tcs's posting styles, but it has to be better than what Settle did 'round these parts. Despite my run-in with him a few times, I must admit that after e-mailing him directly and talking about my feelings surrounding some of his comments, he was very responsive, and I left things alone (for the most part).

As for Settle's posts, I can't say that I liked them or enjoyed them at all, but at that point, I just employed the "move along" technique.
posted by adampsyche at 5:40 PM on July 3, 2002

I enjoyed them. We should never have given Settle the boot. I miss him too. We exchanged two or three e-mails and(as I suspected and said here)he's a highly intelligent and gifted man who made for a lot of fun and thought here. Our loss. Not his - definitely.

Dg's suggestion we "give the guy a chance to work out his tangled lines" is not only sensible but wise. I take it to also mean "be patient; "reserve your judgement" and, ultimately: "There, but for the grace of God, go I".
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:02 PM on July 3, 2002

Rush, dig what you're saying, but I think you misinterpreted what I meant...or I wasn't clear in defining what I meant.

Sorry, on second look, that sounded harsher than I intended. Just struck a chord. I have no problem with people asking him what the hell he's up to, but all the patronizing stuff bugs me. Sounds like you weren't meaning it that way, though.
posted by rushmc at 6:38 PM on July 3, 2002

Exactly, Miguel.
posted by dg at 6:38 PM on July 3, 2002

Euphorb, MEC, dg.......me too.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:11 PM on July 3, 2002

I think it's a drag that a lot of people are so quick to judge and mischaracterize clavdivs' style. He's not incoherent, he's unleashing a collection of references and thoughts that are tangently but definitely connected to the thrust of his point. He comments like jazz player soloes, he finds a root note and scales around it. It's clever as fuck.

I don't yet get this from thomcatspike, who, at least so far to me, merely seems disorganized. Worth the effort of reading, but not really similar to what clav does.

Also, have you ever considered the glorious new offerings of Amway? They really pull together a kitchen.

posted by dong_resin at 8:47 PM on July 3, 2002

Here's some advice for tcs: read your posts/comments out loud, as if you were speaking to someone. I would think the slips in grammar would be obvious.

My parents are deaf and they write emails like tcs all the time. I guess the transition from ASL to the written word is sometimes difficult. Anyway, I've given them the advice above and it generally seems to help. It's the rush to get all your thoughts down that leads to dropping words and skips in grammar.
posted by turaho at 8:54 PM on July 3, 2002

I have to admit that Settle grew on me a little, but let's not forget the whole picture.
posted by adampsyche at 9:07 PM on July 3, 2002

I don't yet get this from thomcatspike, who, at least so far to me, merely seems disorganized. Worth the effort of reading, but not really similar to what clav does.

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:13 PM on July 3, 2002

Based solely on your links, adampsyche, Settle doesn't seem THAT bad (ducks). Could get more than a bit tiresome after a while, though, if it was like that all the time.
posted by dg at 9:53 PM on July 3, 2002

We should never have given Settle the boot. I miss him too. We exchanged two or three e-mails and(as I suspected and said here)he's a highly intelligent and gifted man who made for a lot of fun and thought here. Our loss. Not his - definitely.

Settle was banned? I hadn't noticed, but come to think of it, his silence has grown on me a lot more than he ever would have. Truth is, MeFi isn't a place for one-man performance art. Settle tried his damnedest to upset the flow of the site with nonsensical philosophy and neophyte showmanship. And for the most part he succeeded. Whether or not he should be admired or hated for that is beside the point . . . And the point is that's not what MeFi's about. There are places (like blogspot) for the types of games he wanted to play. Let him build an audience there.
posted by dogmatic at 10:03 PM on July 3, 2002

but let's not forget the whole picture

Oh, Settle was playful and never truly mean-spirited, like a wayward but gifted younger brother. I miss his front-page posts - he was trying to show us something new and wake us up around here, even if sometimes his ambitions (just barely) exceeded his gifts.
posted by vacapinta at 10:04 PM on July 3, 2002

I just can't resist (or hold off) any longer:

From Settle's email to me (and others too, I suspect) after he was banned.

Sorry if this only stirs up more trouble.
posted by yhbc at 10:25 PM on July 3, 2002

Since Settle left without some bunnyfire-esque flame of glory(?) i have to chime in and say what i can about him. He wasn't the way most of you thought he was, at least at first. If he finally got the gist of things and tried, then so be it. But at first, he was a troll. and he admitted it to me via e-mail. After that, basically what dogmatic said. He would've been a much better member had he had his own weblog to screw around with, and left MeFi to be MeFi (whatever that means).
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:26 PM on July 3, 2002

Its pretty damn obvious he's using some software translator.

I distinctly remember several threads where thom said he was from Texas. Plus, he emailed me and I'm pretty sure it was on the fly, with no translator.

This is getting way too surreal, especially after that message from Settle that just got posted.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:49 PM on July 3, 2002

BTW, since this is where the MeTa chatter is at the moment, congrats to five fresh fish on MeFi's 300,000th comment. Holy shit...

Getting a BJ from your wife would be a great way to celebrate July 4th! Except that it's illegal in 18 states. So much for freedom of for the most private of acts.

Assert your independence! Wear Nike!
- five fresh fish

posted by BlueTrain at 10:53 PM on July 3, 2002

Settle has posted 16 links and 666 comments

(church lady voice) hello satan!

Its pretty damn obvious he's using some software translator.

I dunno, some posts are just so much more coherent than others. The hit-and-miss quality is really strange too, makes me believe it is not software-generated.

As for the FPP (FPP is hated, yeah, but I like to type that out and then sing a little "yeah, who's down with FPP?" song to myself), the wording was strange but it made sense to me.
posted by bargle at 10:55 PM on July 3, 2002

I'm not Batman

See skallas, sometimes we can agree!

Although I'm also thinking your explanation is certainly equally plausible, and probably better than mine.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:03 PM on July 3, 2002

Its pretty damn obvious he's using some software translator

Which are not always the best.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:04 PM on July 3, 2002

It seems more to me that he is simply trying too hard to get his post "out there" and doesn't take the time to either collect his thoughts properly or to check that what he has written is what he thought.

Thomcatspike, are you out there? I am sure you are watching this thread develop - how about some answers so that we can all do what we can to help you participate at your best?

posted by dg at 11:22 PM on July 3, 2002

posted by dg at 11:57 PM on July 3, 2002

Based solely on your links, adampsyche, Settle doesn't seem THAT bad

This comment was his taunting of others after saying that he said that Daniel Pearl deserved what he got for wearing such a "gay" jacket. The comment was mercifully deleted.

People that fat should walk.
posted by Settle at 6:42 PM PST on February 21

I'm sure that kind of contribution would have went over well in the recent Southwest Airlines thread.
posted by adampsyche at 5:15 AM on July 4, 2002

I think that once settle gets away from the amphetamines he would make a better addition to things here. I also got a bunch of emails, including the "MeFi dungeon" picture. It seemed like he missed being here, but considering the drugs he probably forgot about this place within a week. *hears settle typing the email* I think Matt just got sick of the complete unpredictability of the posts and Settle's ability to be purely destructive.
It looks like there is a split as far as what people think is going on with thomcatspike. It's true tcs has never come out and explained for sure, one way or the other. This I find strange since tcs seems to be open about having difficulty writing. From mentioning it on the user page, commenting about it, and even emailing people, it's out there except for the "why?"

posted by anathema at 6:36 AM on July 4, 2002

MetaFilter tip: In the future, when you want to link to someone's profile in an expression of longing, loathing, or regret, use the username.mefi version, which takes the person's username as a parameter, instead of the user.mefi version, which takes the person's account number.

For instance, "I heart hipstertrash," instead of "rcade is an annoying pedant."
posted by rcade at 7:13 AM on July 4, 2002

posted by timeistight at 8:24 AM on July 4, 2002

It's faster, because you don't have to find the number.
posted by rcade at 8:57 AM on July 4, 2002

According to this comment, thomcatspike just doesn't like reading and writing. Whether that's a result of a learning disability or a very technical mind or just functional illiteracy, the end result is the same. Myself, I can tell it's a comment from tcs within the first few words - and I usually just skip right over to the next post.

Tamim pointed out how ... prolific ... tcs has been in posting so much in a short time. I noticed this too, and it's a little irksome in a way, but hey. It's easy enough for me to just move on. You can't let every little thing bug you in this life. After all, it's just some posts on a weblog we're talking about, here.
posted by acridrabbit at 8:59 AM on July 4, 2002

i believe all free roaming agents of chaos should be welcomed here. keeps things fresh, keeps us on our toes.
posted by jcterminal at 12:01 PM on July 4, 2002

thomcatspike, a 34 year old1,2, 3 college graduate1 with more than cursory knowledge of advanced sciences1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, has been reading MetaFilter much longer than he has been a member1.

He grew up in California1, USA1; and now lives in Dallas1, 2, 3, Texas1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. He went to grade school in California1 and is private school educated1, 2, 3, 4, 5. His references to underoos1, wanting to be an American nuclear submariner1, and other things from the '80s1 are very "American." Not foreign. He has been flying, often alone, since he was 41 and has visited Europe in 19992, 3, 4, 5. His curious descriptions of Middle Easterners1, 2 rules that possibility out. His wish that his family and friends go for a round of "shots and suds"1 does not leave too much wiggle room to speculate about his background.
And, I'm mourning please. Actually when I go, I hope it is on a Friday, the news at least. Then I'll know shots & suds will be the round, with loved ones and friends besides a bunch of tears.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:11 AM PST on June 281
He is not a mentally challenged non-English speaking idiot alien that his patronizing detractors in this thread have characterized him to be. He has built airplane parts1.

While monju_bosatsu1, among others, asked if thomcatspike was a native English speaker; thomcatspike held his own in the possum/opossum English spelling debate he started with Sapphireblue and grabbingsand1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. He blames his California and Texas living for the unintelligibility of his language.
living in Cali, and then living in Texas has really ruined my words1
He is a sophisticated internet user. He found and linked to the weird and creepy animated logo of the new Homeland Security Department from the US Patent Office databases1. He often links to expired articles that are only found in the Google cache1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. His deleted front page post also featured two links to the Google cache.

His sense of humor1, 2, 3 is rather sophisticated as well. He used the word pancake as a verb and in correct context1. He even engaged in Miguelesque banter with Samsonov141, 2, 3, 4. He also knows when to call it quits:
Hey Rush read my post above again and then again, because you go on an on and on, I give up...............you win now can we let it rest.1
Even funnier is his grandmother1, who reminded him of a very important lesson:
By the way you don't have to take all your clothes off to have sex, that's nasty.1
He is rather conservative1 and is a registered Republican1. He once met Nixon1 and voted for George W. Bush1. He is religiously aware1, 2, 3, 4, 5, if not outright religious. His deleted post was an observation he had between the two first terms of Reagan and W. Bush and how their handlers manufactured their images to ensure a second term. He mentioned this observation in this comment.

The 5'8"1, 120-125 lbs1, 2 person is an unmarried male1 with no children1. Despite his "European ways," that would lend others to assume that he is gay, he is not1. He is extremely heterosexual:
That's what the body of a woman is for me, pure lust.1
He is probably involved with someone right now.

I think he deliberately obscures his words so that he is not readily identifiable. He even let it slip that he uses a pseudonym here.
they're not signed with my actual name.(no I don't just post to mark a spot)1
He is smarter than many of the members who practically live in MetaFilter. He logs on to MetaFilter only during office hours from work1, 2, 3 and enjoys his weekends, often Bass fishing1, 2. He is not reading this thread right now. We'll have to wait till Monday for his thoughts.
posted by tamim at 1:18 PM on July 4, 2002 [112 favorites]

I *heart* tamim.
posted by ColdChef at 1:26 PM on July 4, 2002

That was brilliant, but a little scary. tamim, please don't do any more of us.
posted by yhbc at 1:27 PM on July 4, 2002

Jesus, Tamim.
posted by websavvy at 1:28 PM on July 4, 2002

He is smarter than many of the members who practically live in MetaFilter.

Footnotes, please.
posted by rcade at 1:58 PM on July 4, 2002

It'd be interesting to see Tanim attempt something like that on Miguel.
posted by Apoch at 2:14 PM on July 4, 2002

I never said that thomcatspike was a "mentally challenged non-English speaking idiot alien"; I just said that he seemed to have trouble with English. (I've noticed that many native-born Americans have trouble with written English. I assume it has something to do with the school system.)

All I want to do understand his posts and comments. I'm perfectly happy to accept the blame for my lack of comprehension. Maybe if he can try to write down to my level and I try some of the reading techniques outlined in this thread, we can meet somewhere near the middle.
posted by timeistight at 2:30 PM on July 4, 2002

You see, what's fascinating about tamim's detective work - which is impressively detailed, thorough and irrefutable - is that it says nothing about what the origin of thomcatspike's linguistic idiosyncrasies might be - 'cos tcs has aid nothing. I deduce from this that, as he is clearly aware of the situation, but hasn't elucidated in the face of mighty interest from the community, that he has a some embarassment about it, or that it is a stylistic affectation.
Personally, methinks now that dear old tcs has a dyslexic-type of difficulty, and therefore his determination to communicate & participate here is all the more admirable for his persistence.

timeistight: reckon we all need to meet him in the middle, you're by no means on your own.

posted by dash_slot- at 2:50 PM on July 4, 2002

dash_slot, timeistight - hear hear. We all have our communication difficulties from time to time and a community such as this one should embrace differences, not shun them.

tamim – Holy Shit!!!!! You got all that just from MeFi posts? That is absolutely freaking scary! I shall now have to vet any future posts for revealing personal information, lest I be exposed in the future. You don’t happen to work for the tax department, do you? If not, you obviously have waaay too much time on your hands :-)

posted by dg at 3:11 PM on July 4, 2002

tamin is thomcatspike!
posted by jcterminal at 3:14 PM on July 4, 2002

that's more than just a little scary.
posted by crunchland at 3:15 PM on July 4, 2002

tamin is thomcatspike!

Shit, I was thinking the same thing while reading the article!

Some of tcs' posts actually read pretty well. For example, tell me if the following ties up your neurons:

Dong, sorry I dropped your "n". I agree with you and your latter comment. I'm saying unless you spend more you get screwed, whether your big, or small. It is no win for some customers. How do you think I feel when it happens to me, I'm just glad that "I" was the guy, being thin so those who are not, won't be inconvienced since it's something I can live with for a time. Since this is about a company and if your read my tip, and MHO above, the airlines has us, yet now they want to change the rules. No attack on anyone here, we should attack the airlines, how long have they been in business, these rules are for them, because they see what you said, fat due solely to a lifestyle, a lifestyle I could also indulge in but put effort into avoiding. Yes if our culture keeps it up, yuck. And dong on another thread I have your back completely, and let me say you have my respect for your control, I slowed down on my favorite thing as it makes me fat, beer. I'll be 34 so I appreciate being thin now. Yes they are a business that can do what they want, except there is no competition, except us. They know it and we are on a short end of the stick. But please go read my tip on finding a roomier seat. And yes I'm sticking up for the fat ones, who do you think stuck up for me being thin. Source.

Personally, the preceding was clear and succinct.

<British accent> tamim - simply brilliant!!!
posted by ( .)(. ) at 4:09 PM on July 4, 2002

Thomcatspike is not only intelligent and amiable, he's also a hard worker and an all-round nice guy. In an e-mail I received, I was struck and moved by this sentence, which doesn't breach any confidence:

Again I just suck as a writer, and am embarrassed too by it, but life is about trying.

I don't think he's a bad writer at all, either. He's just what we Portuguese untranslatably call disperso: too wide-ranging and all over the place, trying to follow and cram too many ideas into each sentence.

Life is about trying - and you need to be quite brave to try it on (superficially) hard-hearted MetaFilter.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:31 PM on July 4, 2002 [1 favorite]

see, now y'all understand why i'm glad tam is on my side. :)
posted by sugarfish at 4:33 PM on July 4, 2002

It'd be interesting to see Tamim attempt something like that on Miguel.

Oh he has, Apoch, he has.

Tamim keeps us all honest. I see nothing creepy about his exposés. On the contrary, they're healthy. After all, they only use the information we choose to present about ourselves. There's no attempt to find out if we're telling the truth and no nasty looking for contradictions.

Still, better not draw his attention... ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:54 PM on July 4, 2002

Miguel, I hardly think I have to worry. There are far too many more interesting people on here to do exposes on than I.
posted by Apoch at 5:07 PM on July 4, 2002

Congratulations, Apoch: you've just drawn his attention. Run!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:18 PM on July 4, 2002

Holy freakin' hell Tamim! And I thought I could do research.
posted by anathema at 6:20 PM on July 4, 2002

The thing is, now that Tamin has "outed" thomcatspike, will tcs stick around or will he think that he has revealed too much of himself and never come back? We are left with still more questions.

Tamin, I join the ranks of those loyal to you.
posted by ashbury at 7:37 PM on July 4, 2002

..but you must promis only to use your powers for Good.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:48 PM on July 4, 2002

(or promise, even. My little tribute to tcs.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:49 PM on July 4, 2002

thomcatspike is Wanda Tinasky. Duh.
posted by sj at 10:02 PM on July 4, 2002

I think this whole thread is way OTT.

Here's hoping tcs takes to the limelight and not to the hills.
posted by Frasermoo at 1:36 AM on July 5, 2002

A star is born.
posted by dong_resin at 1:45 AM on July 5, 2002

wow. *speechless*
tamim rocks.
posted by juv3nal at 1:59 AM on July 5, 2002

tamim is Billy G's Laney, visualising nodal points in a cardboard box under shinjuku.
posted by mook at 4:22 AM on July 5, 2002

I think perhaps turaho is right and I hope thomcatspike sticks around, a lot of people here, myself included, seem to find him interesting.
posted by Tarrama at 5:04 AM on July 5, 2002

Actually, as impressive as tamim
clearly is, I was speaking of thomcatspike above.
The last time I saw a thread like this so focused on one member, it was Miguel.
posted by dong_resin at 12:00 PM on July 5, 2002

Tamim, who is renowned on MetaFilter for promiscuous linking1, 2, is a male1 Muslim1, 2, 3 with the first name Tamim1, 2 who lives in New York City1.

He doesn't own a car1, can't swim1, 2 and has ridden in the Five Boro Bike Tour more than once1.

A self-described "mama's boy,"1 Tamim has been to 30 states in the U.S., primarily on driving trips with his parents as a teen-ager, and to eight countries on three continents1. He started a small fire in his living room at age 81.

Tamim attended a public non-Ivy League school1, 2 near the iVillage offices1 where he took advanced religion classes and wrote an 160-page thesis comparing Islam to Buddhism1 as part of a monstrous courseload:
I returned to form in my last semester when I took 7 classes (research comparative religion [Buddhism and Islam - besides writing the thesis, I had to learn basic Sanskrit and Arabic, which I had to do on my own time, to authenticate various religious texts], applications development 2, business policy, business communications, science of polling and public opinion research, politics of NYC and managerial accounting), and also worked.1
He also wrote a paper on Internet self-pornographer Danni Ashe:
(I was inspired by Steven Den Beste's constant mentions in MeFi how Ms. Ashe taught herself HTML and web design and started her own website). After interviewing her, I can say she is defintiely smarter than a whole lot of people I know and could single-handedly out smart 80% of everyone with a Harvard MBA. Sometimes I wonder if the rest of the world is just jealous of people in the sex-business.1
Tamim, who was in Times Square at 47th and Broadway at Y2K1, 2, rides the Lexington Avenue 6 subway line1 and rode the line under the World Trade Center several times a week1. He volunteers for New York Cares1, is no fan of the New York Times1 and has lived in Jewish neighborhoods among more friends who were Jewish than Muslim1.

He is a sports fan1 whose interests include Formula One racing,1, 2 baseball,1, 2 and the New York Jets1. He slept overnight at Yankee Stadium to buy tickets to the 1996 World Series1.

Perhaps because of his suspicion that Canadians are happier than New Yorkers1, he has looked for work in that country1, 2. His resume includes work for the exploratory team of a New York City Council office seeker1, work for a media organization1, and a job as an usher at Shea Stadium1. He would like to be an assistant to Chariot of the Gods author Erich Von Daniken.1

A programmer1 who has tried four different Linux installations1, Tamim has advice for people who write those Teach Yourself books1 and suggests that technical writers "should stick to what they do best, write help columns about how to ctrl+c (copy) and ctrl+v (paste)."1

Tamim is a politically active person who tapes presidential debates (even the primaries)1 and believes repeated non-voters should be deported1. On the day before the 2000 presidential election, he predicted a 33 percent chance of an electoral vote/popular vote split between Bush and Gore, with Gore 83.3 percent likely to win the popular vote in those circumstances1. He believes New York City has never been more safe1 and was concerned an "idiot liberal" would succeed Mayor Giuliani.1

He has some of his own linguistic quirks, including occasional downcased sentences1 and misspellings (such as "appologised,"1 "sneazed,"1 "peacefull,"1 and "enimy"1), which may explain his tolerance for the unorthodox grammatical and syntactical choices made by other intelligent people.

Tamim has started two of his own religions,1 does not respect any doctors other than surgeons,1 suspects that Saddan Hussein is a CIA agent,1 and is a fan of Pope John Paul II,1 Winston Churchill,1 and Jason Kottke.1, 2, 3
posted by rcade at 12:08 PM on July 5, 2002 [24 favorites]

You guys need to write a Who's Who of MeFi.
posted by adampsyche at 12:13 PM on July 5, 2002

"So, what did you do over the holiday weekend?" "Well..."
posted by ColdChef at 12:14 PM on July 5, 2002

Perigee is a flipped-out wierdo (1,2) a whitey honky cracker (3) from New Jersey who doesn't feel he needs to advertise his hetrosexuality (5). He be a chick magnet (6) but hasn't forsworn the joys of onanism (7). He has some strange leanings (8,9)

He bitches about geeks (10), but seems a be a bit of an old and disillusioned (15) weenie himself (11, 12, 13, 16); a devoted follower of John Castor (14), he is a self-admitted poppinjay (17) and hates to feel left out of cool things (18) that make him feel all.. left out and stuff.
posted by Perigee at 1:45 PM on July 5, 2002

i *heart* rcade =)
posted by lnicole at 2:42 PM on July 5, 2002

Based on Rogers' description, I have concluded that I am probably Tamim.
posted by anildash at 2:53 PM on July 5, 2002

I thought this would be a cool idea.
posted by luser at 2:58 PM on July 5, 2002

stavrosthewonderchicken eats worms1, Dreama loves monkeys1, Optamystic has a predilection for hitting himself on the head with a ball peen hammer1, and pracowity does his business in style1.

There is a lot of information out there in random comments. I'm off to make sure I've never written anything about my... oh, very tricky! Yeah, you almost got me...
posted by whatnotever at 3:03 PM on July 5, 2002

[insert your username here] is a young-ish, white, middle-class, English-speaking male who works as a web-designer/programmer. I think he lives in the U.S., although Great Britain and Canada seem also likely.

He listens to a wide range of music and wishes he had studied more science in college. He keeps his own weblog, is savvier than the average person when it comes to technology trends and lingo and owns many gadgets. He spends way too much time on the internet. He is of above-average intelligence. He also loves computer games, doesnt get enough exercise and loves junk food in all its wonderful variety.

Politically, he is left-leaning, has strong opinions but doesnt participate much in the political process. He is not well-traveled and, though he speaks only one language, believes that he understands foreign cultures because, well, people are all pretty much the same.
posted by vacapinta at 4:18 PM on July 5, 2002 [6 favorites]

vacapinta: ya got me!

[apart from I don't program..... and I don't eat a lot of junk.]

which part of the anglo-saxon world do you inhabit? ;)

posted by dash_slot- at 4:48 PM on July 5, 2002

stavrosthewonderchicken eats worms

Silkworm grubs, amigo, silkworm grubs. Might seem like a fine distinction, but trust me on this one.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:21 PM on July 5, 2002

Oh, I'm sure they're very fancy worms, I don't deny that. ;-)

That was just the first interesting morsel that showed up in a semi-random Google search.
posted by whatnotever at 8:09 PM on July 5, 2002

(i knew it, Tamin is G2)
posted by clavdivs at 8:36 AM on July 6, 2002

Well, I guess we know who the CIA moles are NOW....
posted by rushmc at 8:18 PM on July 6, 2002

asbury, I have not "outed" thomcatspike. As Miguel said, I did not write anything more than what he volunteered himself here. I just wanted to make sure that everyone who tried to volunteer their linguistic services to thomcatspike under the assumption that he was not exposed to English as much as them understood that he was not a non-native user of English. I mentioned that he was not a non-native user of English in one sentence and with one link as evidence1. People still kept on imposing their own superior English skills and deriding thomcatspike while speculating how best to solve his apparent lack of English skills. [I will not name names and link to any specific comments posted in this thread. Please scroll up at your own pace.]

I am often peeved by people who will not take the time to read through, but rush to comment in a frenzy of narcissistic wankering.
Sometimes I get frustrated by the lack of effort in trying to find things out, but over-willingness to comment none the less displayed by many.1
I just wanted to present the overwhelming evidence of thomcatspike's education and upbringing in an English speaking environment to his detractors who kept on insisting on their own superiority over him.

None the less, asbury, I welcome you with open arms to the ranks of those who are loyal to me. But as I am non-vindictive, I have never really unleashed on those who walked away or even hurt me. It's just too petty; and life is too short. If at any time you decide that it serves you best not to be loyal to me, I'll understand.

I'd actually like to thank rcade for that neat profile. It is pretty impressive. I've always wanted to do one on myself. I usually get confused and lost trying to search things in my profile. I knew that I had said something about that Danni Ashe paper, but I could never find it. I thought Matt had deleted that thread. Thanks for finding it. My frustration in my inability to find it resulted in my opposition to any and all thread deletions1.

Just to add to that profile, I am also the MetaFilter's resident NASCAR enthusiast1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Besides the bike tours1, I also have run the marathon1. Just to clarify, I don't dislike the New York Times. I expect so much more from it, I get frustrated when it lets me down. I think my habit of "promiscuous linking" was inspired by Jason Kottke's call for posting only first-run links.

By the Numbers :
  • Zero double post of links that were posted on the front page of MetaFilter. I once linked to the Flash site New Grounds that was previously mentioned in two comments1.
  • One thread deleted, whose topic1, 2 other members found interesting as well.
  • One person was banned1 from MetaFilter based on my MetaTalk post. This is probably a distant sixth to the MetaTalk activities of Matt, rcade, rushmc and others.
I later regretted getting someone banned from MetaFilter. With so many deliberate trolls and repeat offenders of MeFi-crimes that ruin the sanctity of the community, banning one member for trying to get 60 or so hits to his website seemed too petty. At later threads Mo Nickels1 and others have cited that blog in context. Now I usually keep my mouth shut when I see someone self linking or double posting. It is not worth the aggravation. I like being the public defender of the frivolously accused much better than the sleuth crawling the annals of MetaFilter and hauling the perpetrators to MetaTalk.

We actually discussed thomcatspike's hyperactivity, posting over 100 post/comments in about 10 days, in #mefi a few days ago. I thought he'd be hauled in here for that. Now that MetaFilter has become a chat-board/web based mailing list with Matt's official seal of approval; and no longer is a weblog open to the "community," it seems that hyperactivity1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 is no longer a MeFi-crime that it once was. Now a days I get active in MetaFilter only when #mefi (which is usually at least about 4 hours ahead of MetaFilter and has an official policy of kicking out anyone who idles longer than 5 minutes with at least two others present at the channel) is offline.

That's enough narcissistic wankering for a day.
posted by tamim at 1:03 PM on July 7, 2002

tamin: What difference does it make whether thomcatspike is a native-english speaker or not. I'm not a "detractor" of thomcatspike, nor am I proclaiming my superiority to him or to anyone else. I'm just frustrated that I can't understand most of what he writes. I don't think I'm not the only one in that situation.

thomcatspike: if you're interested in emailing me, I'd be happy to go over thing that that you write and showing you what I found confusing or unclear. If not, I guess I'll just do my best to understand your posts and comments, and skip what I can't puzzle out. Either way, I mean no offence to you.
posted by timeistight at 3:43 PM on July 7, 2002

Correction: I'd be happy to over things that you write. How embarassing.
posted by timeistight at 3:44 PM on July 7, 2002

Hello , I hope you all had a bang of a fourth as I did, and I see that I banged some of your minds here too.
Basically I wrote my first thread on Metafilter, which was one I had hoped rushmc would even like. I was about to post a comment to my thread, yet it was deleted, and I was left out to explain more. See I wanted to say more "inside", but could not figure out how to do it in my thread. So a much more detailed explanation was left out. This might of helped in one defining what I had to say, and also helping Matt know weather or not I was stirring the bucket. And on that issue, my bad wording and leaving out a key point I had, caused my post to be subjected to Matt's opinion of what would be good for Meta. I left out that I see Reagan and Bush with parallel terms and these same two men have perpendicular personalities, so what gives. As I also call home the same place as these two men, yes one calls California the other Texas. Well I resided in each state during each of their terms and they too call the same state "home" as I do during these terms.
Trust me it would be much easier for me characteristically to just not answer, so I do take into account of what I have just said( past or present comments).

I felt you all concluded 85% correctly. Let me say thanks to those of you who backed me up, and also to those that even left a comment as it showed you cared.
To those that say I post too much, well I sometimes make a comment and delete it before posting, do you. Why? Because it is just not needed. Or. Because sometimes I save my 2 cents on a thread as you can see, I will need them later, my 2 cent plus 2 more add up for me. And yes if you noticed sometimes my comments to a thread have been in a constructive way, thanks. Maybe I'm just seeing if I can make you laugh or think as the comments are derailing the thread, and I'm still interested in the original topic at hand. That to answer those who feel I over post or to why I even post.

And since the topic came up, if you read a thread and don't post a comment are you jeopardizing your chances of winning, you know like who ever reads the most books over the summer while in grade school. I want my prize too, since I have found a passion for reading( books included ).

Now again I don't think I need to post a comment yet below are some points to some of the answers as you seem to want them from me.

One, I want my privacy at times, yet I state my opinion, so a problem.

Two, a big Thanks to all who had a say, about 85% is true.

Three, though some said it too. Yes timsight you won, you said it the best about Bush vs Reagan.

Four, my style sucks so I tried it another way.

Five, Yes I have said my native tongue, USA slang, because I absorb my surroundings in the USA. And were I live is how I talk, not by the way I was taught. Like, the way you all share, text book english. To which some dislike my un orthodox ways, yet I like theirs, which sucks altogether.

Side note, I want to make it clear the type of "english" or "engrish" I speak as many of the members of Meta are of various parts of the world and learned various forms of english. Example the word "pants" vs "trousers" all depends where you live(country too).

Six, I was born here I'm not sure what is actually meant by "native tongue." Meaning native to who, USA, to California, to Texas, to the lifestyle I live, or the language I was taught through school. From the start english then in 2nd to 8th grade I had french class added once a week. Then, in 7th & 8th Latin( roots and phrases ) was added, along with the other two languages from above. No I did not pick them, yet I wished I studied my french more. Then in high school along with english I took two years spanish, which was mostly latino I found out later. A difference if you speak to some one from Spain, or as they say Espanol. Now these were along with my daily "american english class" which I did not like as it was my poorest subject and it being the one needed to do my other subjects caused a lot of strife in my life even the classes I enjoyed and excelled at. Think if I received a grade higher than you in math and it was a test on word problems just think how much harder it was for me. I was always told after the fact, that I was not tutored enough by the school system from an early stage, and I repeatedly slipped through the cracks my entire life. Yes I received some high grades, the fact still exits. Which I might add is weird as I've always scored the highest in all my grade school classes when especially tested on reference skills, might I add. And, I thought I would never make a good librarian as I did not enjoy reading. Yet if I had to do it over, I would be the one asking you if I could referenced some material for you.( still have time on my side for that )
Meaning it ruined my grades in other classes too yet it was not corrected. And if you would like I'll ask some real Natives of America, family of mine to teach me Flathead Indian so it will really be clear to the tongue you so want. They seem to understand me, even in my tongue on my land and their reservation too. Now what native language would you like me to speak yours or mine, as I'm not a native to your surroundings nor you to mine. So there exits the communication barrier. One I'm only trying to go over on some occasion, as I'm not always trying to break through to all here, hint hint, unless you ask. As it may be of no interests or would not matter in the end.

Seven, I try to take what I've learned and to grow with it and in the end, try to do it better the next time around.

Conclusion, Thanks again for the criticism, no problem unless I take it personally which I haven't. And like me some of you have too much time, which we share.
And I know I still have left some of you still wondering, well I only brushed the surface. So along that line, insult this comment, as I've answered to my best ability, and if you do I will take it as an issue with you. During my life, my instructors only judged me for the work I handed in.

Now when will we have a Meta meeting in Dallas, I know there are some things coming to Dallas that some of you are involved with, seminars I forget the one that I'm thinking of right now. I will try to find out for further discussions.
And about grammar I find it very difficult to not end with a preposition, frustrating isn't it.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:38 PM on July 8, 2002 [4 favorites]

Well that clears everything up... A fitting end to a quality thread that left me with as many questions as answers.

Because sometimes I save my 2 cents on a thread as you can see,
I will need them later, my 2 cent plus 2 more add up for me.

Am I the only one that believes tcs is really Eminem?

posted by euphorb at 8:31 PM on July 8, 2002

Welcome back, thomcatspike. Glad you had a good long weekend, mi amigo.
posted by yhbc at 8:32 PM on July 8, 2002

Well said, tcs!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:54 PM on July 8, 2002

Thanks for coming back, tcs. Keep posting.
posted by timeistight at 2:09 AM on July 9, 2002

Thomcatspike - welcome back, how was the fishing? We've been thinking of you...lots!

Wish I lived in Texas, because, as you have rapidly become the most intriguing Mefite of all, I'd love to chat with you 'face2face'!
posted by dash_slot- at 8:36 AM on July 9, 2002

MetaTalk, in this thread, seems to have showed itself more interesting than MetaFilter of late. Tamim's guided tour of the wit and wisdom of our own folk prophet thomcatspike was a mind-altering MeFi revelation of the highest order. If I could have one of those on the front page every day, I'd have died and gone to heaven.

To tcp I can only say, while your posts do remind me of one ADD/hyperactive student who wrote intelligent but ungradable because ultimately incomprehensible papers (I teach college students who are bright and successful but undereducated, especially in English, products of the California public school system)*, you have tamim to thank for now seeming to be easily one of the most interesting personalities among us.

Kind of makes me feel that in my season of lurking, and then joining MetaFilter, that I've just been skimming the surface. Maybe I need to stop wasting my time on Middle Eastern threads & read more MetaTalk.

As one of those MeFi'ers who believes myself anonymous, I always "paranoidly" imagined a tamim or rcade compiling such a dossier, and I watch what I say. (Recently, for instance, I actually wondered and hesitated about whether I should jump back into the poutine thread to insist that I did know something about authentic "quality" poutine and I still thought "yech"...)

* Whoops, there goes another nugget if I should ever get profiled...
posted by Zurishaddai at 3:08 PM on July 9, 2002

Zurishaddai, I would have e-mailed you but your more anonymous than me. I do mention where I started school in Cali.(not out right) My private education opened the mind I have. Your blame should be in the state I reside within(my area now public good I'm told). Yes you are right about the base of ones education. And as an instructor I hope you stay young through your teachings. My base thank God means nothing yet my current footing has been because of further education and will be till I die.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:09 PM on July 10, 2002

Man, you rock, Thom. You not only didn't take offence at this insanely long discussion about you, but you graciously responded to it with an explanation that elucidated while maintaining your patented style.

Bravo, and my sincerest admiration.
posted by me3dia at 1:55 PM on July 11, 2002

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