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Knowing Your Parents

    I keep my Dad's business card in my wallet, along with some eulogy notes, scribbled on a small piece of motel stationery. The eulogy seems a bit workmanlike in retrospect. It strikes me as a bit underreported. In journalism we quickly learn that no amount of fancy verbal footwork can make up for a lack of reporting. The bigger question is: Do we truly know our parents?

    Some people do, no doubt. Their parents are close friends, advisers, confidantes. But part of good parenting is not letting your kids worry about everything you've got on your mind. I want my kids to feel secure in their environment and not worry that, for example, I am currently a fugitive from justice. Let them discover that years from now at my funeral. My pals will tell them, "That your father eluded capture so long is a wonderful testament to his intelligence, cunning, and willingness to undergo plastic surgery."

    After my Dad's funeral a friend told me of what it was like, back in the day, when they were young post-docs in the psych department in Gainesville in the mid-1960s. They felt they were in the perfect place at the perfect time. They'd won the lottery. My parents were already divorced and I rarely saw my father -- he was an exotic guy who sometimes roared up on a motorcycle and took me for a ride. Or he'd show up with a snake in a coffee can. He always had surprises of some kind, as though he was a visitor from a world where life was a thrill a minute. But I was too young to really know him, and years later too distracted or self-absorbed or lazy to ask him about those years.

   Kids have to break away from their parents, it's just part of nature. But my kids will know me. I'll make them listen to me even if they're squirmy and rolling their eyes and saying "Ew" and so on.

    If I had to do it over again I'd interview my Dad and do some serious reporting before he made his escape.

     [I apologize for doing Family Memories again, but it's in the air.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 9, 2006; 10:13 AM ET
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You might want to talk with your therapist about the need to have a draft eulogy for your father on hand at all times. There may be some unresolved issues.

I can't say I haven't ever thought about it, but it never gets to the complete sentence phase "patriot...service to his country...loving father...Great Santini meets Ward Cleaver..."

That's all I got. Fortunately, he's in good health and I have at least 20 more years to work on it.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 9, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I got too close--hundreds of Kits ago--in guessing that your dad was the child psychologist. Call it woman's intuition, a hunch. The story you saved for another day--about 10 days ago--is today.

I don't whether to apologize for my intuition or just write it off to being a former reporter with too much curiosity. Should I apologize for that as well?

I know too well the stories of abandonment in families, as I've already related my mother's.

And now you're curious as heck about your own father, Joel. What I wouldn't give to be able to take my interview pad or tape recorder and interview both maternal and paternal grandfathers. I think those conversations (now just fantasies) would solve mysteries.

Posted by: Loomis | February 9, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Joel- if you're in need of therapy so am I -- I also keep my dad's business card and "funeral card" in my Franklin Planner.

Posted by: pkc | February 9, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Who *isn't* in need of therapy? But at the same time, we'd probably be better off without it. Personally, I eschew and shun therapy. Therapy is anathema to thith particular nut-cathe.

[See, I'm in denial -- making jokes and clinging to the alliteration theme to avoid thinking about my own father's inevitable death.]

Posted by: Achenfan | February 9, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

My dad, alive but now retired and gettin' up there, was a steel engineer who fought in WWII. Back in the day, he and some friends went to enlist. They only took my dad out of the bunch, he says. Fast-forward and he's flying off of a carrier in the Pacific -- the USS Petroff Bay -- providing air cover and getting shot at. He got shot down one time in much the same fashion as George W. Bush, but likes to point out that all of his crew got out alive. (Side note: It kind of creeps me out when George the Elder goes skydiving, because of the backstory of death that seems to be forgotten.)

Anyway, somebody in the family got him to write about his war experiences. It isn't gripping reading, as he focuses on the mundane. "War isn't so bad if you get out alive," he called it, or something along those lines. It's just a family story and not something that'll ever be published. The plot development is pretty weak. There's no love interest. It'd take quite a bit of work to make it into a movie/book deal.

But it's something. And as is the case with the folks annual Christmas Card letter and other similar matters, I edited it -- correcting spellings and chasing away errant semicolons -- but leaving it in his voice.

I'm going to cobble something together at some point about my own life. It'll help future family reporters, unless I pull a Frey on them.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 9, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

SCC: folks'

Posted by: Bayou Self's Public Editor | February 9, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I was not trying to be flip or glib with my first comment. In horror, I get that impression reading it now.

There was good NPR story about obituary writers that said that direct relatives were the worst ones to interview. A good obituary requires the perspective of someone close but not too close that is willing to shed the illuminating details. Is there an online link to your dad's obiturary? Only share if you want to.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 9, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

My previous entry was probably politically incorrect, on so many levels. I should have done as Curmudgeon did yesterday when he resisted commenting on the article about the six gay penguins who were the victims of some sort of "turning" program. He said, "Oh the opportunities for comment! But as Nixon once said, 'We could do it. But it would be wrong.'"


Posted by: Achenfan | February 9, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Fathers and sons rarely "really know each other" in my experience. [Don't forget the reciprocal: if sons don't know their fathers, often the fathers know little about the sons.] I know lots of people nowadays don't like Hemingway, but he had this particular subject nailed in several of the Nick Adams stories.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 9, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

For better or for worse, we most often pattern our parenting style on that of our parents. Countless times I have been talking to my daughter and suddenly heard my father's voice, then realized that it was me speaking. Fortunately for me, and her, this is generally a good thing, as my dad was a kind and gentle man, or at least as kind and gentle as Strategic Air Command colonels get. Likewise, the children of abuse become abusive, etc. But what about the son of a part time or absentee father? Does one resolve to do better than the old man? Inflict the childhood resentments on the next generation? Follow the model of mom? Adopt some fictional model a la Marilyn Monroe vis a vis Clark Gable? Ward Cleaver? Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable? The longer I live the more grateful I am to my parents.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 9, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

My father had the same sentiment about raising our kids to know him. He just had heard too many young adults express next to no clue about their fathers-- and this was in the 70's. The number must be rising nowadays with all the divorced parents.

Never thought about doing his eulogy. I'm sure when the moment comes I will do a fine job. We all did some nice speeches for the parents at their retirement party about how hard they worked to raise us. Emotions ran high that night.

My dad said THAT was the real retirement party, not the cake n cr** he got at work.

You don't need to wait for a funeral to hear stories about your parents.

My parents in their retirement are focusing on passing along family history. For Christmas I got to know more about my grandparents than I had before. (and the great-grandparents).

If you want DEEP (but vague) family history, you can always pay for a DNA kit and sign up for the genographic project. Race admixture estimates, Y chromosome, mtDNA.

Maybe there will be a surprise in your genes, maybe not. Just a thought for any boodlers who may be adopted or otherwise disconnected from their family history...

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 9, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I though he said an "urning" program. I guess I should apologize to Cur for outing him with that "Juan Y, how I loved you" lyric, but these are different times. Back then he would have been toast, literally, in an auto de fe.

My dad, long gone, was a neat guy. I have too many stories to tell about him than would fit here.

My own obituary, seriously in need of updating, is autobiographical and short. I think everybody should write their own. Look what Mark did to Julius: "The evils that men do live after them." Terrible. That's why I wrote my own.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Joel, Gainesville has gone to hell since the 60s. When occasionally invited to do a guest lecture for a lazy prof, I tell the kids it takes 30 minutes to drive the first 30 miles, 45 minutes to drive the last 3 miles, then another 30 minutes looking for a parking place on campus.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Best epitaph of all time- W.C. Fields. A Philadelphia native who never had a kind word for the old town, Fields asked that his tombstone read "I'd rather be in Philly."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 9, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy writes, "The longer I live the more grateful I am to my parents."

Me too, k'guy. Although I don't have kids, I do realize that raising them must be darned hard; most days I find it enough of a challenge to just take care of *myself*, and I sometimes think that having children would drive me insane. Although my parents weren't perfect -- and who is? -- I know they did the best they could and that I had a pretty comfy childhood compared with a lot of folks. As I grow older, I'm more inclined to focus on their positive attributes and gloss over any negative ones.

I'm closer to my father than to my mother. I guess we're more alike, plus my Dad tends to be more honest and forthcoming about himself and about things in general -- he's easier to "know." Perhaps people who have lost their fathers shouldn't beat themselves up too much for their failure to "interview." I'm no journalist, but I'm guessing that not all interviews are equally yielding of information -- the subject has to want to talk, has to want to *be* known. Right? (As with many things, I really don't know.)

(My husband's father died a few years back. He was also something of a mystery, although he *was* present in the home. Just not much of a talker.)

Posted by: Achenfan | February 9, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

It has just suddenly occured to me that children not knowing much about their own parents is kind of "normal/natural." When growing up, I think most kids are "looking out" at the world, rather than looking more inward at their own families. Of course, ideally one would wish they could do both, but I'm not sure it's possible, any more than looking both left and right at the same time is possible. A relatively safe and secure home environment allows a kid the luxury of ignoring it (precisely because it is safe to do so) to "look out the window" at the world.

And I'm also not sure kids growing up have the intellectual tools to oberve their own parents with anything like intelligent detachment and objectivity. (God knows, that's hard enough to develop later on in relation to far more distant objects, let alone anything as emotionally fraught as one's own family.)

So yeah, I'm beginning to think not really knowing one's parents very well is kind of the default human condition, and not necessarily a bad thing. You're going to soak up so much from them without even trying anyway (for good or ill); perhaps spending too much time looking inward at them at a young age isn't at all helpful.

I didn't remotely begin to understand my father until I was married, a parent, and in my 40s, and he was already dead. What would I have done with such knowledge and insights about him when I was 15? In my case, at least, I am convinced beyond argument that it would have helped not one whit.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 9, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Senator Vandenberg has a great epitath for one guy I really admired, Alexander Hamilton: "The Republic is his Monument."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I did my mother's eulogy 14 years ago when pressed by my siblings the day before the funeral. It was astonishingly ok, a fact I have always viewed as my mother's final gift. In recent years my dad has asked me to do his, so this time I am taking notes whenever I get an insight. Fortunately, it has not been needed yet. Do I understand everything about him? No, but I know how he has presented himself to the world, and that's what he should be remembered for.

Posted by: chris | February 9, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Cur's comment reminded me of something Mark Twain said about his dad:

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had earned in seven years."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

learned (and probably earned too)

Posted by: s | February 9, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"'Confusion' will be my epitaph." -- Greg Lake

Posted by: Bayou Self's Public Editor | February 9, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

It's sad to lose your dad, Joel, whether it was decades ago or last week--or whether it's through death or abandonment.

My parents and I were always close--geographically and emotionally. Since my mom died last year, I've been discovering my dad as a separate entity. I always thought of my parents as a unit, even though I knew them both so well individually. But now it's like I'm meeting my father for the first time and know so much more about him.

Posted by: TBG | February 9, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I was in Russia when my dad died, and couldn't get home easily. In any event, he had specifically requested no service and to be cremated, but left a little bundle for a party for his friends and family. My siblings held off on the party until I got back and it was a great testimonial occasion - something like and Irish wake and an Italian wedding rolled into one. I've asked for the same thing and set aside a few grand for a party at Annie's Cafe in Cedar key. You're all invited.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

'mudge, you're right on.

Dads (being a subspecies of men) are tough to communciate with in general. We're tougher to communicate with when we're absent for decades at a time (see mine).

I'm not sure what I'd want for a funeral, myself (see what I mean). I've thought a Viking funeral would be kinda cool, make a pyre on a boat, put my body on top of it douse the whole thing in 112 octane CAM2 (racing gas has a very distinctive smell), and push the whole thing out to sea, let everybody shoot flaming arrows at it until it lights (my money is on my brother, who's been a bow hunter for 20+ hear, though I won't discount my wife's high degree of motivation).

Knowing my family, they'll dress me in the Darth Vader outfit when they do it, which wil be fine because a: I'm dead, what the hell am I gonna do about it anyway, and b: I get it.

Play Joe Satriani's 'Flying in a Blue Dream' really loud as the whole thing burns to the waterline (preferably at sunset - I guess we'll have to do this on a western facing shoreline), serve plenty of good food and drink while everybody talks about a: what a dick I was, and b: the many stupid but amusing things I did.


Posted by: bc | February 9, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

And none of that Orson Scott Card 'Speaker for the Dead' "speaking" stuff, either.

No eulogy for me, just get the damn party started.


Posted by: bc | February 9, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

"...though I won't discount my wife's high degree of motivation)."

Hilarious. Made me chuckle out loud.

Posted by: jlessl | February 9, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

SCCs: "," "years".


Posted by: bc | February 9, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

bc, you're not the only one who has thought about a Viking funeral. Seriously. I even have the boat and the location. (I'm in no hurry. I just happen to own the boat, and know where there's a deep spot on the Potomac.)(God forbid I should become a hazard to navigation. Feh.)

Failing that, I have instructions in my will (seriously) to have my ashes scattered right behind home plate at the baseball field where I did most of my umpiring. (And it would be even cooler if a local legend grew up that the Curmudgeon's Ghost haunted the field, mysteriously helping the home teams during tournaments against hated rivals, inducing umpires to call the infield fly rule properly, keeping catchers and umps from getting dinged by foul balls, etc.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 9, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The remembering is as important as the funeral, and how a life is remembered depends on how it is lived, not where.

Old Aristotle said it pretty nicely "...the inhabitants of Lampsacus gave public burial to Anaxagoras, though he was an alien, and honour him even to this day."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Gainesville where? FL, TX, GA?

I didn't know my father was well as I thought. When he died, I found out all kinds of things going through his possessions and his business. Some of them I'm glad I found out. Some of them I'm glad he kept from us.

Then I remembered all the stuff I'd kept from THEM, and wondered if they knew me either.

It seems the only thing we do know about family is that when we have nowhere else to go, they have to take us in -- to paraphrase a famous saying.

Posted by: amo | February 9, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "as well as I thought"

Posted by: amo | February 9, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

My father died when I was eight years old. Fifty two years later the only real memory I have of him was the time when I was about 5 I think and he fixed me a cheese sandwich for lunch. He used swiss cheese and at that age I hated that. I have this sliver of a memory of behaving like an absolute soiled brat and of having hurt his feelings. That's it; that's all the memory I have....pretty sorry thing. favorite: "I told you I didn't feel well!"

Posted by: Jim Brodhead | February 9, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"soiled" of course should have been "spoiled" in my previous but then who knows? Sometimes a cigar isn't just a cigar too.

Posted by: Jim Brodhead | February 9, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, PLEASE have them BURY the ashes behind home plate, else yer gonna get swept off the dish many times over.

Not to mention having some incensed mananger kick you onto some poor overworked-and-doing-the-best-he-can schmuck's shoes.

And we'd put up a buoy over yer spot on the Potomac anyway. Presidential yacht's right of way? Feh indeed.

I don't pretend to know my dad, any more than I pretend to know myself. I just know I'll give him as big a sendoff as my unworthy verbal skills can manage. And then I'll miss the poor sod.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 9, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse


I guess you missed a post some time back when I suggested a Gainesville (FL) porching with kbertocci (reader) and a fourth for a quartet. But she is in Miami and I am, as you read earlier west of GV by about 35 miles, and a 2 hour drive. It's only about 30 minutes to I-75 and downhill from there. I also suggested Cedar Key for a weekend day. A certain suspicious young lady said that the menu might include fava beans and chianti (foods favored by Hannibal Lecter) and that the guests might never be heard from again. I thought it was hilarious, but when you didn't respond, I figured you took her seriously. Kbertocci, who is not particularly interested in food or fine wines (I had said Tahini and Pouilly fuisse were more to my taste) apparently didn't get the reference to "The Silence of the Lambs."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I understand Joel's need to keep his father's business card and eulogy in his wallet. I too keep memories of one that was dear to me on hand at all times.

I keep a photo of a dump I took at Dulles airport the night Jimmy Carter gave his concession speech at the conclusion of the 1980 election in my wallet at all times (along with the date, time and stall number of the experience).

Ahhh...Good times...

If only I had captured the fragrance of the moment in a mason jar.

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 9, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised I know my families' name sometimes. This is for a very good reason, as I was 27 when I found out my real grandfather had committed suicide, my grandmother re-married and her husband adopted my father so my real legal name is NOT my actual family name. I found out my grandfather's name a couple of weeks ago, at age 46.

My father was not a happy person; I can hardly blame him for whatever failings I may have felt as a kid after the divorce, but we were estranged since I was a teen. I went to his funeral, but only just. He had been dead to me for many years already.

The funny thing is my step?grandfather was one of my favorites in the whole family in terms of getting along with anyone, and probably influenced my life more than he knew. Certainly my appreciation for old movies.

On the flip-side, my step-father's grandmother was more of a grandmother to me than my fathers' mother, which is a pretty good trick considering she didn't speak English and I don't speak Italian.

That's got to say something about "family", but I'm not sure I could articulate it.

Posted by: asdg | February 9, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Joel, your kids already have a huge advantage over the rest of us. They will know you first in the father-daughter way we all reference our parents with, but they also get to see you via your writings. A writer's soul leaks into whatever he writes. So in a lot of ways, you already have left them a legacy. KEEP COPIES for them, of everything.

I had the chance as a teenager to work with my mom. I had worked for several years before she came on board and it was part of my job to train her to do hers. I saw her fear as a person going back into the work force after her kids were all in school, in a field totally new to her, and I saw her triumph when she felt confident doing the job. It was the most interesting feeling knowing something none of my siblings knew about her, understanding this part of her life in a way that even dad did not. We see each other as not just mom and daughter, but as people, as one time co-workers. To this day we talk to each other with that understanding as part of our history and we are richer for it.

Do we ever really know everything about someone else. Indeed do we ever really know everything about ourselves? Maybe that is part of the journey of life, that the knowing, the finidng out won't end till our end.

Posted by: dr | February 9, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Cur: I can't wait to read "The Curmudgeon's Ghost," the paperback edition, while standing at home plate. But, as you are apparently younger than I am, I may have to read it posthumously. BTW, who gets that tie when you're gone?

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

jlessl, I'm actually hoping that my wife will wait 'till I'm dead before she breaks out the gasoline and flaming arrows.

'mudge, I appreciate your wanting the disposition of your ashes to reflect one of your passions in life. Have you considered having them spread over Angelina Jolie?


Posted by: bc | February 9, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

dr wrote "A writer's soul leaks into whatever he writes. So in a lot of ways, you already have left them a legacy. KEEP COPIES for them, of everything"

Should I keep copies of my writings as well?

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 9, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The Lonemule's latest post should definitely qualify for the now-moribund best comment of the week prize.

Can you imagine--taking and saving a pic of one's own crap for sentimental reasons?

That truly STINKS!!!

Posted by: MOONLIGHTSONATA | February 9, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Please do, Lmule.

Your kids might run out of toilet paper.


Posted by: bc | February 9, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

When I was in high school, we found my dad's high school yearbook (class of '58). He was quite the greaser. About half of the signers made some reference to what a wild time he had on Senior Night. My dad would not let loose one clue about why it was so memorable. It may be that he truly doesn't remember. We, of course, assumed enormous amounts of alcohol were involved.

He also doesn't tell how he came to have one tooth brown and dead while he was on an unaccompanied year-long tour in Korea. We think it involves breaking up a bar fight.

Sometimes when parents won't share, you just have to fill in the blanks.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 9, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

C'mon folks. Lonemule's like family around here. Okay, maybe more like an annoying uncle or cousin, but family nonetheless.

Posted by: Bayou Self's Public Editor | February 9, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

My dad used to ask "Wanna go for a ride?" when I was a kid. We'd pile into the car -- that Mustang, sitting in the driveway -- and he'd then ... pull it into the garage.

I've pulled that one on my kids a few times already.

Posted by: Bayou Self's Public Editor | February 9, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The Lonemule has claimed to a mutual friend that he was in attendance at M&S on Tuesday nacht but was pretty much confined to the men's room. He did carefully inspect the food shared at your tables, though.

Posted by: mostlyjerking | February 9, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Also--and Joel probably already knows this--a father's relationship to a son (and vice versa) is different from the relationship with a daughter. (Not necessarily better or worse, just "different.")

In our clan, we have whole bunches of "step" relationships, "half" relationships, adopted kids, etc., and have a pretty firm policy on ignoring all those distinctions in every material way. Either you're in or you're out (and invariably, everybody's in--we've even got a few "adopted" aunts/uncles, grandparents, etc., who are just plain "honorary," and we discount that, too).

(This isn't being critical of asdg's use of the term "step-" etc.--sometimes you can't help but use the terms. On the contrary, asdg illustrates quite nicely--and articulately, despite the disclaimer--that such distinctions don't mean a hill of beans, viz. the Italian step-grandmother.)

Most of us need as much "family" as we can get, and about the last thing you need to get in the way is actual "blood" ties and all that genetic crap. In our family, we don't have a gene pool, just a lot of gene puddles. Don't make no nevermind to us.

(Of course, the one thing that will send my wife through the overhead and make smoke come out my ears is when somebody uses the term "natural" in discussing adoption: "Oh, and how much do you know about little [Curmudgeonette's] natural mother?" As the temperature in the room drops about 40 degrees, my wife will reply, "I AM her natural mother. Her BIRTH mother lives in Korea, if that's who you're referring to.")

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 9, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Philosophical musings about family leads to .... toilet humor? If I didn't know better, I'd think I was in Weingarten's chat.

Posted by: jlessl | February 9, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse


I must have missed that one, but I sure think it'd be awesome. Sorry for being such a goof, but I only revisit kits occasionally.

Try email: Would love to porch it sometime, with the Chianti or without.


Daffily yours,


Posted by: amo | February 9, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

My precious pappy once pontificated: "Progeny, 'Proper planning prevents piss-poor performance'." I did do his eulogy, and later my mothers, quite a few years ago. I've since decided that I want to do my own eulogy. (It'll be pre-recorded, maybe even like in "Star Trek, TNG", when Tasha Yar was killed. She gave Lcdr Data a little desktop holograph of herself with a farewell message to him.) Hell, it's MY funeral, I'M paying for it, why not?

Like 'Mudge, I detest the notion that my rotting corpse will unnecessarily hog 12 square feet of otherwise perfectly good real estate for years to come. I want my ashes unceremoniously plopped into the ocean. I dare the Coast Guard to then fine me for pollution.

Maybe after I'm dead, I'll finally have enough time to attend a BPH.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | February 9, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

reading this boodle reminded me of my favorite all-time obit, in the Telegraph:

My own father turned 70 a couple of months ago, and I tried to give a longish, humor-inflected toast, and he wouldn't let me. Well, I will get the last word on that, eventually.


Posted by: all the good names are taken | February 9, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse


I did get the reference and I was so shocked by it that I emailed several people to express umbrage. It seemed so inappropriate that someone would essentially (and not entirely in jest) accuse a fellow kaboodler of being a serial killer. But I didn't want to have that discussion on the A-blog. Now that Achenfan has had her conversion experience and has joined us over here on the Side of Righteousness, I feel much better about the whole situation.

I knew the Latin, too. I was born and raised in Oklahoma, whose motto is "Labor Omnia Vincit"--and who doesn't know what "Amor" means? But thanks for the translation, anyway.

*I* never thought you were a serial killer.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 9, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of dumps, and going for drives:

When we were kids and my Dad would drive trash to the dump/garbage tip [I'm not sure of the correct American usage -- I think it's "dump," because I once saw a Simpson's episode featuring a sign that said "Springfield Dump (Not Affiliated with the Springfield Marriott) -- anyhoo:], he would say, "Who wants to go for a ride to the dump?!?!?" And we'd all say, "Yay! Can I come, Dad? Can I come?" (I don't know why we liked it so much -- he didn't even let us get out of the car, because it was "too dangerous" -- we'd just sit there an watch him throw the trash onto the heap.)

Dad said he knew we'd grown up when we no longer got excited about going to the dump; when he'd ask us if we wanted to come along with him, we'd say, "Who'd want to go to the stinky old dump?!?"

Occasionally I will find myself apologizing to him for not going to the dump with him as often as he would have liked. Maybe next time I'm in Australia . . . I'll be sure to post the photos on the 'blog.

Posted by: Achenfan | February 9, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

My favorite obit story was about the Chairman of the Cudahay Co, which had offices in Chicago and a meatpacking plant in Pensacola which employed quite a few people. The headline in the Pensacola New-Journal was: "MEAT HEAD DIES IN CHICAGO."

That was before Archie Bunker, and may have been before television, a time I am old enough to remember.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

It was presumptuous of me to think you didn't get the reference, reader. I too waited until after the conversion at the BPH to bring it up, and would not have if Amo hadn't shown up

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

[Boodled out of order.]

Sorry about the umbrage, kbertocci. My comment was in very poor taste. I guess my point was that there are dangers involved in meeting up with people one has met on the Internet (says she, who thought nothing about going off to meet fellow Boodlers at the 1st Official BPH) -- especially when the gathering involves only a very small number of people -- in this case, it could have been only two -- and especially when the correspondence hasn't been going on for very long (in this particular case, I think Shiloh had been around for only a few days).

Why, just last night, I heard some sensational TV news headline like, "She was murdered by someone she met on the Internet!"

I don't really think Shiloh's a serial killer. And nor do I think you're the sort of person who can't look after yourself. So I'm sorry. As you say, I've had a conversion experience, so I will refrain from making such comments in the future.

Posted by: Achenfan | February 9, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

The current American word, A-fan, for the dump, not completely out of fashion, is "landfill." But, as the Bard almost said, a dump by any other name is yet a dump. Great story.

P.S. All is forgiven. It was hilarious.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I also like the term "stinking trash heap." (I often use it to describe my current, porchless abode.)

Posted by: Achenfan | February 9, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

And Karen, since clearing the air is in order, "Shalom" in Hebrew translates as "the Peace of Jahovah," while "Shiloh" in the singular translates as simply "Peace." I'm assuming you've read the anonymous posts to your blog. Don't miss the one at ENRON. I really liked the last three <3

I can also recite the Kaddish, but Loomis, I'm not Jewish.(Adonai, adonai..." Just a simple student of religions. My Aramaic is rusty.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

On the way to the dump, you should sing, "To the dump, to the dump, to the dump we go!"

So when we'd go for a real ride, with all the family squished into dad's Mustang, someone had to sit on the hump in the back seat. The three of us getting in the back would jockey for position. You wanted one of the windows and not the dreaded hump. Elbows would fly. Someone would ask someone else to slide over, to the hump, and they'd refuse. It could start to get ugly, until dad would say, in that stern way of his, "stop it, just stop it."

Posted by: Bayou Self's | February 9, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I thought the "fava beans and a nice chianti" comment was pretty funny, although I still don't remember Anthony Hopkins' voice actually saying that about the fava beans. Oh, well, everyone else seems to remember that, so I must be misremembering.

However, I think it was an important reminder, and umbrage should not be taken. On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog, or anything else. People who fluently misrepresent themselves are not unheard-of, and terrible crimes have occasionally been committed as a result. I have a distinctive last name, not too difficult to find me in the phone book or on Switchboard, so I don't like to put it on a public forum. I simply trust that the Venn-diagram intersection of serious hacker geeks and depraved sickos is sufficiently small that the people who break my meager efforts at security are unlikely to use that information in a physically malicious way.

You may have noted that even though I have occasionally posted about my wife and children, I have been very careful about offering any significantly identifying information. (I identified my mother-in-law because I figured she would enjoy the attention, and that's why she maintains a web site). Even if I assume that all you fine boodlers are the nice people that I think you are -- I feel comfortable revealing all kinds of personal stuff in person, as the BPHers now know -- I can't be sure about lurkers, nor can I be sure of who else might read the archived discussions. Paranoid, yes. There are very few sickos out there, which is why I'm not concerned when I know my audience is limited to mere 10's, 100's, even thousands. On the internet, my potential audience is millions, out of which there is a high probability of a few motivated perverts. The internet gives those few individuals the ability to search vast amounts of data and quickly narrow their search down to targets, me or my family, that fit their tastes. Just think of how quickly the enraged jerks show up and try to poison the discussion whenever Joel mentions that name -- you know, the one synonymous with "traveling aimlessly." I guess I feel that I can't trust that every one of that kind of person will stop at typing.

Posted by: Tim | February 9, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Here is the official WaPo story on the Baltimore MySpace Murder:

While 5 weeks seem to be a little long to crack a missing persons case as open and shut as this, maybe I shouldn't second guess the leg work required.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 9, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey, ScienceTim, did you see the story about the researchers who found an ancestor of T-Rex in China? There was no mntion in the story about why any of Mark Bolan's kinfolks would have been in China 160 million years ago. (Rimshot.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 9, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, a sports reference. I have no idea who Mark Bolan is. My opponents always know which categroy to choose in the final phase of Trivial Pursuit.

I seem to recall a little bit of a recent T Rex-related news story. I will be relying upon #1 child, the dinosaur fan, to bring me up to date on this critical matter. We were both very excited about the discovery of entombed soft tissue within the core of a T Rex femur, last year.

My screen saver puts up pictures from our vacation last June in Vernal, Utah. No T Rexes, however, only allosaurs in that region.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 9, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if I thought there was a chance anyone would kidnap either (or both) of my two youngest children, I'd publish the street address, provide a link to mapquest, and tell you all where we hide the spare key. (They are 19 and 22, are eating us out of house and home, won't clean their rooms to my wife's satisfaction, play their music too loud, and we've been trying to get them to flee their comfortable nests for a while now. One's male, one's female, if that matters. All offers considered, but I warn you, we have a no-return policy.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 9, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Thinking that we have any true insight into another individual is naïve. No matter how well you think you know an individual, your own mind will constantly question that assumption. You have to take what you get (parents & children are much different to spouses, obviously) and believe in your heart that the person you love/loves you is who you've constructed them to be/are.

A couple of years ago, at the age of 26, I chose to deliver my wife's eulogy instead of some random person who had no insight into my wife or what her (our) last couple of years together was really like: struggling for life while trying to start one with each other.

No matter what you plan to say, the emotions that come with the death of a loved one makes communicating your true feelings extremely hard, in my opinion. I jotted things down from others about the general nature of things (26, battle w cancer, happy somehow, planning for the future, etc.), but they weren't mine in the true context of the word. I was keeping those memories for me, as I hoped others kept memories of my wife for themselves.

Rather, just delivering the eulogy was one final way for me to represent her/us to the world and what she meant to so many.

Just enjoy the time you have with those you want to "know" and let the experiences and memories carry forth, through the eulogy and through the rest of your life.

Posted by: ilikecheese | February 9, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Foolish me, I presumed we'd probably talk a while via email, meet in a public place and probably have a really good time.

I had no idea the A-blog was a hotbed of psychotic, sado-masochistic, meth-head sexual deviants intent on my demise.

But now that I know, I'll definitely want to porch wit 'cha!


Posted by: amo | February 9, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

SciTim: I agree, I don't even knowingly reveal my gender - what there is left of it - writing about, for example, my late spouse. But could have slipped up here and there.

Cur: When the kids were teenagers we kept that little sign on the 'fridge that said something to this effect: ATTENTION TEENAGERS, Leave home now and get a job while you still know everything.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

When I taught school, I threw out a question to a small readers group of junior high students, "How many of you have parents who divorced?" I was really surprised that the response from those students was about 50 percent, and that was, gosh, about 25 years ago.

Parents exit our lives through death, illness, and accident. There are also the cases, where a parent might have a mental illness, and although physically present, might not be there for the child in any way that is meaningful or traditionally parental: the parent is lost.

Joel, I believe that you are as much who you are today--as a man, as a spouse and a parent, as a writer--because your father wasn't there for you.

And because no one else has mentioned it, I'm offering you a virtual hug.

Posted by: Loomis | February 9, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

>I have been very careful about offering any significantly identifying information

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean somebody's not after you."

More true now than ever, which is why my handle may or may not include any of the letters in my initials. I thought I was stepping out when I mentioned familiarity with a particular part of the country.

The sad truth is there are any number of disaffected individuals who may decide you're public enemy #1, and have nothing better to do than harass you, online or not.

Last year I was driven out of a nice restaraunt/bar by a lunatic who decided I was a traitor for suggesting we watch the BBC, and of course for being insufficiently Christian to realize that the Apostles had anything to do with Ricky Williams pot-smoking habits. AND he was bragging about his guns. So you can't be too careful.

Posted by: asdg | February 9, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Delightful, Amo. Here's my e-mail: The oxymoron, kbertocci, should now be apparent.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse


"BTW, Joel, Gainesville has gone to hell since the 60s. When occasionally invited to do a guest lecture for a lazy prof, I tell the kids it takes 30 minutes to drive the first 30 miles, 45 minutes to drive the last 3 miles, then another 30 minutes looking for a parking place on campus."

Correction, it didn't go to hell until after 1971, the year of my illustrious birth. LOL And yes, I've lived here all my life.

There are still very cool things about this place, although sometimes I dream of moving to another city...(Another state is out of the question - I don't do 'cold' whatever that is...LOL)

Posted by: amo | February 9, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

On paranoia: A friend once told me that people told him to stop being paranoid because "they" were not out to get him. "So I stopped being paranoid," he said, "and sure enough, they got me."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse


I apologize for disparaging your home town, but I liked it best in the 60s and 70s, when my late spouse was being treated at Shands.

And the temperature tonight, or early tomorrow morning, is forecast at 28F. That's cold to me. I tell people I must have bumblebee blood because they become dormant at under 50F and so do I.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

asdg, your comment about being driven out of the restaurant/bar by that disturbed individual reminds me of something I was thinking about in the early hours of this morning, when I'd woken up too early and couldn't get back to sleep.

As I was in that weird state between being awake and being asleep, when dream-like thoughts and visions were starting to kick in, and I started to catch myself thinking -- and even seeing and hearing -- bizarre things because I was sort of dreaming, I wondered, is this how people who have schizophrenia think/feel *all the time*? Do they lack some sort of mechanism that separates their perceptions of the "real" world from their dreams? (I'm sure it's more complicated than that, but sheesh -- if it really is anything like that, it would be unbearable, I think.) Are these individuals somehow unable to reconnect with the collective perception of what is "real" and "normal" when they wake up from their dreams?

And where does all this weird stuff come from? None of it seemed to belong to me in any way. Well, I'm probably overthinking things again. And giving away much too much information about the workings of my mind.

[Awaits transportation to Woodhaven]

[And I apologize for straying so weirdly off topic]

[It's true that if you suspect you might be crazy, then you're probably not. Right? Right?]

Posted by: Dreamer | February 9, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim writes:
My screen saver puts up pictures from our vacation last June in Vernal, Utah. No T Rexes, however, only allosaurs in that region.

Science Tim, I'd like to e-mail you once, perhaps twice, about these dig sites for old bones in Utah that you mentioned; I'm thinking offline is best. I have my reasons for being interested in this. Also have you been to any in Wyoming?

Perhaps bc would be willing to broker another e-mail exchange?

I guess, Tim, you're not traveling to Hawaii or in Hawaii right now because of your heart, right?

Posted by: Loomis | February 9, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer asked: "It's true that if you suspect you might be crazy, then you're probably not. Right? Right?"

I dunno. But I always liked the idea that the best qualification to be a good parent is gut-wrenching fear that you might be bad at it, possibly the worst ever. Please note that I distinguished between "fear" and "having certain knowledge, backed by evidence." Even these persons probably could be much better parents than they imagine. The worst qualification, of course, is supreme certainty that one will be the perfect parent. This certainty is possessed only by single non-parents.

Posted by: Tim | February 9, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse


My therapist tells me: if you think that you are crazy--you probably are!!!!

Pleasant dreams, nonetheless.

Posted by: Dr. Goodwrench | February 9, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer, Lily Tomlin's schizophrenic bag lady character, Trudy (who was once a chief executive officer on Wall St., or some such), says "Ever since I lost my mind, my life's been fun-filled and action-packed. I like having delusions of grandeur, makes me feel good about myself".

I like Trudy.

Posted by: Nani | February 9, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I still remember when my Dad told me, when I was a child, "Just because we're adults, and just because we're your parents, it doesn't necessarily mean we know everything or that we will always be right." That came as something of a shock to me at the time. But I still occasionally remind my Dad about it, and tell him what a cool thing it was to have told me.

Posted by: Dreamer | February 9, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer-- dreams and dreamstates are the brain's defrag mechanism.

At least, that's what I tell myself after dreaming I was somehow trying to report on Davy Jones (yes, the Monkee) giving a concert at my old high school.

In a classroom.

To about 20 kids who didn't know him.

With a stage curtain and everything.

Gotta be the brain freeing up memory space, right?

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 9, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Hi LindaLoo,

Since I have my own web site and I, like my mother-in-law, could use some attention (meaning, hire me to tell stories at your next event, or buy my CD for $15), you can get my e-mail from my web page:

Having just lectured everyone on the value of paranoia and information security, I offer this information with some trepidation.

I have never been to Wyoming, but I really want to go, sometime. Also, Montana.

Posted by: ScienceTim (aka StorytellerTim) | February 9, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I really must watch that movie again, Nani. (I think I saw it about 15 years ago, but I can hardly remember it.) You've quoted the bag lady character a couple of times here in the 'boodle, and every time you do, I think, "Yes!"

Posted by: Dreamer | February 9, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

No one has explained to ScienceTim the Mark Bolan reference. Bolan was the leader of a glam rock band called T. Rex. Their biggest hit was "Bang A Gong (Get It On)".

Posted by: yellojkt | February 9, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Since nobody else has explained, I will. Marc Bolan was the leader of the rock group T Rex. They had a number of hits back when, including that one that goes "Get it on. Bang a gong. Get it on."

I'm seeing possibilities for a made-for-TV movie: The Achenblog Mystery Murders.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 9, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

If you rarely saw your dad, I am suspecting your mom is the hero of this story. She obviously raised you to be forgiving, educated and a good father to your own children. Your dad failed, your mother succeeded wonderfully. I am sure your father did well in other things, but to not highlight your mother every chance you get when speaking of your father is giving men a license to hop in and out of their childrens' life. Children desperating need a father, or at least the memory of one in the case of death. There are some bad dad's out there, a little guilt might wake them up.

Posted by: karen | February 9, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

That song about banging the gong sounds like it would be right up the Lonemule's alley.

Posted by: Achenfan | February 9, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Carl Jung, Dreamer, called it archetypal memory - that memory is our subconscious we share with all humans. Sometimes it seeps out if not processed during sleep.

Now, I wonder, why did you ask asdg what it felt like being schizophrenic. I think that question should more properly have gone to Joel or Cur.

Finally, one form of schizophrenia (not catatonia, paranoia or the common varieties) consists of multiple personalities, but it not necessarily bad and there are degrees of affectedness. I think it was best expressed by Walt Whitman when he wrote "I am multitudes."

Some Eastern religions, in the yin/yang symbol, for example, see all things as dualities, as in Jung's anima/animus, and in the Hindu religion reincarnation, or a progression through lives, is to resolve oneself to the state of non-being because non-being is the ultimate form of being.

Most religions are in some way mysterious. That is part of their attraction.

Anaxagoras, who I mentioned earlier quoting Aristotle, was the first to introduce the "spiritual" into thinking. He was the so-called "father of Athenian philosophy" and his ideas "on nature" were in vogue for over 1,000 years.

And I have found that people who think they're crazy, are usually not. Both of my spouses said, independent of each other, that I was "the most eccentric" person they ever knew. But am I crazy? Sure, to the same or similar degree as most people.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

On the cardiac front: right you are, I am grounded because I had some pieces of stainless steel put into my heart on the end of a long wire, on Martin Luther King's birthday. My cardiologist said "you ought to stay in the continental US for the next 3 or 4 months." I'm hoping that Iron Mountain, Michigan is sufficiently technologically advanced for him, as I am supposed to go there the last week of April. I, and an educator from my parent organization (, will be going there with some volunteer scientists to talk to 6000-or-so kids, do a workshop for 100-or-so teachers, and stuff like that.

Before you get too excited about the name of my parent organization, it turns out that we already have had to change it. Things didn't work out. We will have to change it soon, to a permanent name that I cannot yet hint at. I had refrained from publicizing the organization here, because of the name issues. But I figured: "what the heck."

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 9, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

As I was scrolling through today's boodle, an egregious error of mine jumped out at me: I used an apostrophe in "Simpsons." InconCEIVable!
(Maybe I was subconsciously making up for the apostrophe I left out of "let's" yesterday.)

Posted by: Achenfan | February 9, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

bc, I *heart* your fine response.

Lonemule, you are as much a part of this blog as anyone here. Your behaviour marks you as the teenager of the bunch.

Curmudgeon, I used to offer the teenaged versions of my sons for the taking all the time. Never had any takers though.

I am a great beleiver in the medieval traditon where teenagers are fostered out.

Posted by: dr | February 9, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh wrote, "Now, I wonder, why did you ask asdg what it felt like being schizophrenic."

Please, no umbrage! I was referring to the person in the restaurant who accused asdg of being a traitor for wanting to watch the BBC.

Posted by: Dreamer | February 9, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer, in this guys case (I won't call him a gentleman) I think he was just channeling Bill O'Reilly or one of the other shout-fests helped along with too many drinks. Except I wasn't getting paid to be on the show.

I've never heard anyone speak to anyone else like he did, ever, anywhere, most especially not in an upscale restaurant. The other customers just sort of went into shock. I just left before I lost control and ended up in the police blotter.

The point being, I stopepd going there when I realized any info he ever heard from or about me might very well be used against me anytime he needed to lash out. Where I live, what I drive, where I work, part of my name... it doesn't take much.

I was horrified when EuroTrash posted his license plate. Take it down ET, please!

Posted by: asdg | February 9, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

My sense of humor is sometimes bizarre, cryptic and unfathomable.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse


Your brief comment, "Have I overparented?" struck a chord with me and I typed a long response, of which the theme was, it may be possible for a mother to be too intrusive or micromanaging or overbearing with a daughter (and I may be guilty, as witness my kid's musical taste) but it's not possible for a father to be too involved with his daughter(s). I ended up thinking it was too personal and I deleted the whole tirade. But since you're back on the subject today, there's the summary, and you can fill in the heartfelt testimonial details yourself.

On a related note, I read an article about a year ago that made a big impression. They did a poll of teenaged girls, asked them, "Do you think it's wrong to have pre-marital sex?" and most of them said no. Then they asked them, "Does your mother think it's wrong?" and most of them said no. And then they asked the mothers, and most of them said, yes. I was amazed by this study, because I'm sure that my daughter knows what I think about EVERYTHING. After I read that article, I said to her, sit down. Let's be clear about how I feel about your having sex. After the discussion, she said, right, I already knew that.

The question of what her opinions are and/or will be, of course, is a separate issue. But I have given her the foundation to build on.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 9, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The line from SOTL is "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti." Then Hopkins does that wine snob slurpping sound as if he's sampling a comet vintage and looks into the camera with his serial killer dead eyes and scares the snot out of Clarice (and us).

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 9, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan writes:
As I was scrolling through today's boodle, an egregious error of mine jumped out at me: I used an apostrophe in "Simpsons." InconCEIVable!
(Maybe I was subconsciously making up for the apostrophe I left out of "let's" yesterday.)

And maybe Achenfan, you just happened to mention fava beans and chianti because I mentioned Sir Anthony Hopkins as the first to Boodle under that particular kit. The Clarice/Hannibal reference wasn't lost on me. I *L*ed.

In all seriousness, I'm now way too curious to not see what kinds of acrylics Sir Anthony turns out, so may have to make a stop at the local gallery showing his works to study his style. The paper said his art has sold like proverbial hotcakes (puh-lease no more recipe requests for panache), so this may be a challenge. (?)

I know I got dinged by jw yesterday for the ellipses and exclamation points, but isn't Tim the one who so eloquently explained some time ago that inflection is lost through typed words on the Boodle? That jw kid is just too hard on us who like a little art and who like a little fun. InconCEIVable!

And bless Joel's heart for standing up as a semicolon.

Posted by: Loomis | February 9, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Kguy, that was graphic.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Marc Bolan. Props to Bayou Self for getting it right.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 9, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, k'guy.

(Hey, you Floridian would-be Porchers: Do I get points for deliberately leaving out the "liver" part of the quote in the interest of [relatively] good taste? [I was tempted to include it because of the, you know, Read-Think-Live thing . . . Reader, Thinker, . . . D'oh!])

[I too have a bizarre sense of humor.]

Posted by: Achenfan | February 9, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self:
The Achenblog Mystery Murders.

I have one right up your alley. I try to collect material on it when I can--the most mysterious death on the family tree: a newspaper editor Loomis out of Parkersburg, W. Va., carrying important papers for the State Dept. to Ethiopia, the King Wilhem II, foggy nights off Plymouth, England, the corpse, the autopsy, and a very mysterious traveling partner from San Antonio, Texas, the suspicions--where is Patricia Cornwell when I need her?

And the branch of the Little Kanawha in Joel's "Grand Idea" leads right to Parkersburg.

Posted by: Loomis | February 9, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Kbertocci: (In this post gender is revealed out of necessity) When my stepdaughter, who usually came to me first with questions, asked if girls could get pregnant from oral sex, I knew it was the proper, if not overdue, time for her to have that long talk with her mother. I was stunned into speechlessness - not something easily accomplished.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

They did a poll of teenaged girls, asked them, "Do you think it's wrong to have pre-marital sex?"

Wow, this is completely 100% the wrong question. The proper question is "Do you think it's wrong to have UNPROTECTED sex?" Priorities, folks, priorities. Gotta keep 'em alive before you can teach them anything.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 9, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

SCC: King Wilhelm
--that's VILL-helm to you non-Deutschers

Posted by: Loomis | February 9, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt may have beat me by about one minute in explaining Marc Bolan -- and I apologize for the echoing posts located a short yay and a piece north of here -- but I was rockin' out more at the time. So I had that going for me.

My dad used to always say "don't force it," when you were trying to fix something or put something together. He's an engineer and can fix almost anything, so he's speaking as an expert. And it's good advice. Whenever I'm trying to repair something and I'm starting to try to force piece A into slot B, I hear him giving me the "don't forct it" advice.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 9, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Great stories today.

"But I always liked the idea that the best qualification to be a good parent is gut-wrenching fear that you might be bad at it, possibly the worst ever."

Up until my first daughter was somewhere around three or four, I thought I was better at being a mom than I had ever been at anything. I didn't think I was perfect, but I knew I was really, really good in a way I'd never been before. I felt like I struck just the right balance between security and freedom - that I was giving her the space to create herself and discover the world with me as her safety net. She's now seven and I can barely remember feeling that way. How quickly she grew beyond my level of expertise. Now I slog through, clinging to scattered moments of good parenting. I had no idea it would get this hard this soon. Silly me, I thought I had until the teenage years.

Jim Brodhead, that is one of the saddest things I've heard in a while.

Posted by: ABJunkie | February 9, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

SCC: force, not forct.

Posted by: Bayou Self's Public Editor | February 9, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Ach, I've been in meetings all afternoon.

Glad that Tim and Loomis got that email thing worked out, though I'm fine with being a go-between for the Achenshy.

Also glad that yellojkt and B Self 'splained 'mudge's Marc Bolan and T-Rex reference, with a nod to Self for spelling the late Mr. Bolan's fist name correctly. For a Boodle-referential moment, note that Power Station did a cover of 'Get it On (Bang a Gong) about 20 years ago or so during Robert Palmer's (he of the "Addicted to Lost" commercial) 'Heavy Nova' phase.

As to Dreamer's questions about reality and mental illness (specifically paranoid schizophrenia [sic?]), I happen to know someone (not in my family) who is afflicted with this, and this person does have a difficult time distinguishing between sense perception and thought (both conscious and subconscious) during the "difficult times". It can be quite debilitating. Phillip K. Dick was as close as anyone I've read to expressing a functional form of this illness this on paper (see "Valis").

Wish I could boodle more right now, but I gotta go.


Posted by: bc | February 9, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Good memories of my father who died too soon for me get to "know" him. Flying the kite he'd fashioned out of oleander stalks and newpaper so high it was just a dot in the sky; taking me outside each evening to make a wish on the first star; buying me that red tricycle with the little silver bell that I'd wished for; taking me with him to the "beer joint" (actually a convenience store with redwood tables and benches and a jukebox outside where men would drink cold beer after a hard day's work) where I'd dance on the table to Cotton Eyed Joe and the men would laugh and clap and buy me lifesavers; comforting me when in 6th grade after I wet myself because the teacher wouldn't allow me to go to the bathroom by telling me that "The queen of England wet her pants in school"; interrogating potential boyfriends; helping me with algebra and hundreds of little things like that that add up to a good hardworking decent man intent on taking the best care possible of his family.

Posted by: Nani | February 9, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

And, Kguy, not prematurely or excessively contributing to the population explosion. Now approaching 6.5 billion people, statisticians have estimated that the living population of the planet now, or soon, will outnumber all of the past living off our specie.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

My father was known for his consistent approach to problem solving: virulent rage. Although his anger never became physical, it was terrifying enough that my siblings and I learned very early on to simply take him out of the loop. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized that I had essentially been raised in a single parent household.
As a father I strived to be the opposite. My children have no fear of me. Whatsoever. To them I am something of a figure of fun. That's okay. I would rather be laughed about than hidden from. At least when I die they should have lots of good material for my eulogy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 9, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

When my Dad would come home from work, us kids would hide. When I come home from work, my kids will run down the driveway barefoot in the snow to greet me. It's not like I have a poor relationship with my Dad, it's that I just don't have a relationship with my Dad. I wonder if I'll cry at his funeral, or if I'll even be there. If he doesn't care, neither do I. I think the big difference with today's Dads is they watch their kids pop through the birth canal.

Posted by: Pat | February 9, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice that a close reading of Shiloh's post fails to positively identify Shiloh's gender?

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 9, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Scottynuke, I thought the same thing.

Posted by: ABJunkie | February 9, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Cicuitousness becomes habitual, scotty.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

When your children were little babies, when you held them, you had to hold their head in your hand, because their neck muscles were too weak to support it

After a while, you could let go.

When they learned to walk, at first, you held their hand.

Then you let go.

When they learned to ride a bike, you ran alongside, holding the handlebars.

Then you let go.

All of parenting is teaching our kids that we will let them go, a little bit at a time, when and where it is appropriate. We are also teaching ourselves to let go of them, a little bit at a time, each and every day.

The final letting-go-moment for you will be when you take a walk with your daughter down a church aisle. You will be holding her hand. You will place it in the hand of another man, and give her a sweet farewell kiss.

If you haven't been teaching and learning how to let go by then, it's too late.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | February 9, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Dropping r's, but not gender hints.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I worked in the then nascent hospice movement for about 5 or 6 years after my true soulmate died after a long illness -over 25 years ago. I cannot tell that tale as eloquently as Jim Brodhead did - it is too personally painful, even now. But I can tell Don, after working with thousands of terminally ill people and their families, that the letting go of children, or children letting go of their parents, is really affected by how they have led their lives. And the period of death and grief is, I think, best expressed by Emily Dickinson: "First the chill, then the stupor, then the letting go."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, Pat - I may've been in the room, but I didn't see the kids "pop through the birth canal." The 10 percent or so of the goings on that I saw were plenty.

Another dad story. I went off to college, with law school in my future. But I fell in with the campus radio station and with the journalism crowd. The point came where I told dad that I wasn't going to law school because I liked radio news. Dad wasn't amused. (And I didn't know that my grandfather was a lawyer, who had gone to Northwestern, the place where I planned to go for law school. Dad had a bit of a legacy thing going in his mind.) I got a job out of school and dad was happy with that, I guess. I know he was still sore about the no-go on law school.

And then I got a job in television. Suddenly everything was okay by him. You'd have thought that I had just passed the bar.

Posted by: Bayou Self's | February 9, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Don, I let 'em go a couple of years ago, but the buggers refuse to ride off on their bicycles into the sunset.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 9, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I think Fields' epitaph actually reads, "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia". Much stronger/funnier

Posted by: frankiefrisch | February 9, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

A friend has a now 40 year old brother who still lives at home with their parents, and has for most of those 40 years, except for very brief forays into marriage. So that may be something some parents have to look forward to.

His problem was, I think, a too deep drug involvement as a teenager. Perhaps it will end the way critic Jim Mullen described the death, cremation and disposal of LSD guru Timothy Leary:

"His ashes were shot into space. So his body and brain could finally be together after all those years."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

An epitaph on an anonymous tombstone in London:

Beneath this silent stone is laid
A noisy antiquated maid
Who from her cradle talked to death,
And ne'er before was out of breath.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I should also mention that I had a fantastic mom. Smart, funny, and, just as soon as it was financially possible, divorced. And to give the devil his due, I offer the following quote from Richard Nixon: "Nobody will ever write a book, probably, about my mother. Well, I guess all of you would say this about your mother-- my mother was a saint." For once he spoke the truth.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 9, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

About sharing things with your kids. I find that my offspring are unable to process the following two facts. First, that video games, home computers, and any type of mobile musical machines were not around. Second, that their entire generation was not immaculately conceived.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 9, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Amen to that, Padouk, except in my case it was a grandmother. My mother deserted us when I was six years old - and I never saw or heard fom her again until I was an adult. Her mother filled that void.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

So who here doesn't have a box of Kleenex handy today?

Posted by: TBG | February 9, 2006 5:49 PM | Report abuse

And I should add, in the absence of a mother, another important person in my life. Mary, our housekeeper for a time, 'cause Dad couldn't handle it all - though he tried, was a southern black lady of incredible character and tolerance. One of my favorite memories is of when Dad was shucking oysters at the kitchen sink, and asked her to have some with us. Mary, in that melodic patois of the time, said to Dad, "No suh, Mr. George, I don't like anything that swallows faster than I do."
Strange always is what children remember.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 5:53 PM | Report abuse

TBG - it's even worse than that. A charming women in our office passed away today from ovarian cancer. She was, well, like a mother to a lot of us. We had to clean out her cubicle. I rescued the picture of her little dog from the trash. (It is now in my secret file along with my letter from the QM.) Joel is right, today death is in the air. But death, as has been duly noted, is part of life. As is birth. Tomorrow is my son's birthday. I remember well when he "popped out." It almost happened in the parking lot. He was in a big hurry. 15 years later, things haven't much changed....

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 9, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Imagine someone reads you a novel (or a novella, or just a novelette, but they string it out over 15 years. How much can you really follow the story?

That's what my dad did. He told us all the stories of his life, in pieces, in no particular order, over years of time. By the time we were all old enough to want to hear the narrative again, he was pretty much finished. I imagine he thought "Well, you never seemed to listen the first time."

I caution all of us to understand and tell our stories more than once to the youngers. It may be old hat to us, but they will appreciate it, even if they don't seem to at the time.

Posted by: Russ | February 9, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

i, too, had an absentee father, he left when i was 1 1/2 - my feeling is (as i said at the bph) if you lost one of your arms before you could remember, well, you wouldn't miss the arm cuz you have no recollection of having it - i feel the same way about my father - never had one so i can't say what it's like to have one, i don't miss him cuz i have no recollection of him. my mother, on the other hand, is my bestest friend in the world and i know her very very well. someone SHOULD write a book about her cuz she's remarkable!
(and i was guessing that Shiloh is female - her step-daughter usually goes to her for questions, but on the subject of sex shiloh felt she should go to her "real" mother - am i right?)

Posted by: mo | February 9, 2006 6:15 PM | Report abuse

oops - sorry 'mudge - not her "real" mother, her "birth" mother...

Posted by: mo | February 9, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Russ, you're right on. But I early learned the faculty that, despite all the typing I do, listening is half of conversation. Which raises another story.

After Dad remarried we ultimately became a family of 10 other children. At one family gathering, when our Dad was in his early 80s, we were discussing the sources of family names. One of my brothers, Peter, said he wasn't named for anybody in the family. Dad frowned and I spoke up: "You were named for Piotr Zacharevicz, your great-grandfather from Russia." Dad beamed. It was our mother's side of the family, Dad's was predominantly Italian, but it was Dad who had provided the information many years earlier - and I like to think he beamed because somebody had listened.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

My father has been dead 25 years, which seems incredible when I think about it. Like Shiloh's, ours was a differently blended family. My dad's first wife died when she was in her early 50's. They had 2 sons. When my parents married, he was 56 and she was 28. (I don't think my grandparents approved, though they never said anything.) Instead of cousins my age, I had nieces and nephews...When I was 7, I asked my mother for a "whole" brother, it having been carefully explained to me that my older siblings were half brothers. And I got him, even though he wasn't on my parents' list of things to do...My oldest brother died of lung cancer when he was 46 and I was 15. That's why I've never smoked. The loss of his oldest and namesake was a grief my father couldn't handle and he became alcoholic. His last years were tough on him and the rest of us. God rest his soul.

Posted by: Slyness | February 9, 2006 6:44 PM | Report abuse

This topic of "family" seems to be on everyone's mind. I like how you apologize for yet another article about it meanwhile everyone has their 2 cents to add in. We all have some sort of family, disjointed or not. Even the most perfect familys have created psychological issues for their children to deal with. I know it and I expect you know it.
So here's the problem thats been plagging me....
How do I as the daughter of aging parents "get to know them" before its to late and all I have are a picture and eulogy? This is something that plagues me daily and yet still I havn't found an answer. I feel as though I should have surpassed the years of adolesence where your parents seem sub-human.Yet I still cant seem to find some common ground or a way to understand them.
My father is easier to get to know. He always trys to lay it out on the table and sometimes seems the most open one in the family. My mother on the other hand seems shut off from the world. Sometimes I am perplexed how she even still exists. If ever I had to describe her all I could come up with are well she liked horses a million years ago and... and... ?
It's not that I havn't tried. I ask questions but the answers never seem very fullfilling. She always offers something passive like well I didn't really care about stuff like that. Is it possible to really not care about anything?
Sorry for my little rant, perhaps its time for therapy ? ;)

Posted by: coffeelover | February 9, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse

mo: it shall be revealed,in time. It is unavoidable in the wordiness of my boodling. Patience, too, is a virtue.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Not an infrequent question, coffeelover, from people encounters over the years. It's easy if you listen, and insert things you know from others about them, so that the conversation is about them. I always advised the family members of hospice patients that the decisions and declarations and dialogue was theirs, not ours, that aged parents do not become their children's children, and that if we listen carefully, we will hear everything we want or need to know.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 7:02 PM | Report abuse

coffeelover, my sister got our great-Uncle Chet to sit with her and record an oral history that she has on 6 CD's now. I haven't actually heard her recording yet. It helped that one of the things she recorded is how he was blinded in WWII -- helped in the sense that he had no camera shyness. We haven't done that with our parents. Maybe we could never do it. However, my Mom and Dad have always shared their stories with us, Dad more than Mom, and I have used some of them in my work as a storyteller.

It may work better for recording oral history to get a cousin or friend to interview your parents, in exchange for you doing the same with their parents. Then the interviewee has some reason for being aware of what the interviewer doesn't know, and can fill in the details.

Lastly -- my father-in-law seemed a bit like how you briefly described your mother. His autopsy revealed a degenerative neurological disorder that maybe could have been partially offset with medication. He had masked it by appearing aloof at family events, for the most part, when really he was confused if things happened too fast around him. Just something to inquire about at your mother's next medical exam.

Posted by: Tim (aka Storyteller Tim) | February 9, 2006 7:04 PM | Report abuse

To coffeelover: Surpassing the adolescent view of one's parents as subhuman means recognizing that they are human and, being so, may simply not be able to give what we want to get. Your mother's inability to speak about herself may be one such case.

On the other hand, it might be helpful to say something like, "Mom, somehow I feel that I don't really know you. I know that you won't always with me, and I know I'm going to miss you. I'd like to know more about you so that I have things to hang onto and to think about when you're no longer here." Or, perhaps you'd want to follow the first sentence of this little speech w/ more that talks about simply wanting to get to know here rather than something that indicates that you've been thinking about her death.

Posted by: THS | February 9, 2006 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I am watching my dad fade away. At 87, he has fairly advanced Alzheimer's. He can still communicate and is sometimes cogent, but, very often, he doesn't know where he is and shows many other signs of memory impairment.

These limitations and his other physical problems don't especially bother me in terms of what it's like to interact with him. What kills me is that this unusually intelligent, capable, decent man has to lose his dignity before he dies.

Posted by: THS | February 9, 2006 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Neat stuff today, everybody. Had a schizophrenic mother (turns you into a writer, no kidding...) One description I read of the condition was to imagine waking up in a darkened theater, movie playing, but you don't know who you are, where you are or what has happened before. I had to commit her, at age 92...the whole thing. A psychiatrist for her, her attorney, mine, hospital personel, family doctor. They did a capture at her house; I knew what time everyone would converge. The child in me wanted to say, "Run, Mama...I'll take you out the back door."

But our relationship was so bad that when one day weeks later I visited her at the nursing home she said, "Who are you...I don't know who you are..." and it was like something black and damaging flew up and out and away. ...not meaning to be maudlin and dramatic.

More later about Montana and Wyoming geology.

Posted by: thereIsaidit | February 9, 2006 7:06 PM | Report abuse

We discovered, with my great-Aunts on my mother's side, a tendency to discount all things from the past. When my sister expressed an appreciation for an antique wooden chest that my Aunt owned, Aunt Laura said "That old thing?" and directed her attention to something nice and new, a wretched pressboard piece of crap. When my Aunts sold the 100-and-some year old family homestead (forced by eminent domain, not by choice), they simply burned much of the antique furniture and family mementos that they couldn't move and didn't want, in order to leave things tidy and wrapped-up. Aunt Margie later realized that a distinguished-looking gentleman in military uniform in some of the old B&W photos that they tossed on the fire was General Grant. Their family once owned a vast region around Camillus, New York. There are country roads named after various ancestors within a couple generations of me. Now, there's squat. Unfortunately, the urge to compulsively share family stories was mainly on my Dad's side, from which my Mom caught it, but it didn't extend too far into the preceding generations. I don't wnat the stuff (though I wouldn't object...), but I would really like to have had the stories. I have a few, but I'd like to have more.

Posted by: Tim (again) | February 9, 2006 7:14 PM | Report abuse

coffeelover, I agree that a trip to the doctor might help your mom. My otherwise active and seemingly healthy mom was listening less and less and getting more and more passive (to use your word) in conversations. Then they found the brain tumor. When they removed the tumor, they took my mom, too, although it was five months later that she actually died. The person we worked so hard to take care of in those five months was someone else, really.

Er... maybe on the other hand, don't go to the doctor yet. Enjoy her as she is for now. :)

Posted by: TBG | February 9, 2006 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Each life is an individuality in and of itself, and I believe that individuality trumps intelligence.

When my grandmother voluntarily entered a nursing home, after an illness, at the age of 80 I was shocked that this self-sufficient, self-reliant woman would give up her liberty. When I visited her there she was her usual vibrant self - more like the director of the nursing home than a resident. I could tell a lot of stories about her retention of her individuality, but the best was when I asked her why she had given up her apartment. "To be honest and true," she said "and you must never tell this while she lives, your mother came to live with and take care of me when I was sick. And the only way I could get rid of her was by coming to this nursing home."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 7:25 PM | Report abuse

>ome of the old B&W photos that they tossed on the fire was General Grant.

OUCH. And here I've been feeling sorry for myself about my father throwing out my perfect original 60's-era James Bond attache case and all the GI Joes.

I could pay off half the mortgage with that stuff now.

Posted by: asdg | February 9, 2006 7:28 PM | Report abuse

coffee lover, some people are not the talking type. My mother-in-law is like that. The story of who she is, is written in what she did and does.

My mother-in-law's story is in the history of her hands and all the things she did over the years. She loves her family and taking care of them has always menat everything to her. It was in every loaf of bread she baked, in every peice of clothing she sewed and mended, in every weed that was not allowed to grow in her garden, in every quilt and every dishcloth she crochets and gives as gifts. It's in her willingness to get up and get everyone a bottle of beer even though she's just sat down, in her selling the piano which only she played, to buy groceries through a really tight winter, in her total bending of her schedule and her needs to fit around everyone else's needs. She never felt it an impostion because her world was them.

It may sound like she submerged herself for everyone else, like she let everyone else walk over her but that was just not the case. If the tiny woman with the will of iron that she, is wanted something, if she did not like something, it happened just as she expected. If in 1972, she wanted you to have short hair when you returned from the Arctic, and went out into the public eye, you had short hair. If she really liked the white car with the blue interior when her spouse preferred the black one with the red interior, they got the white car. She was a woman who gave everything, and expected just as much in return. She was insistent on doing a very meticulous job in everything she tried her hand at. What her hands are going to leave behind her, is her legacy, and her best legacy is 5 wonderful men, and one great woman.

Forgive my mixed tenses, but she has Alzheimers and in so very many ways, the mixed tenses are now part of who she is.

I guess the knowing of a person is not only in what they say, but what they do.

Posted by: dr | February 9, 2006 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, that is a great story about your grandmother and the nursing home. I love it!

Posted by: TBG | February 9, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, TBG, it was "honest and true" as she taught me.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, you almost made me cry at work.

Posted by: coffeelover | February 9, 2006 7:52 PM | Report abuse

coffeelover, this boodle's had me crying all day!

Surivor's on... later all.

Posted by: TBG | February 9, 2006 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, dr, wonderful stories

As to my own, my mother passed away a couple of years ago, after a long illness, but mostly from grief over the death of my sister. Six months later my son was killed in an automobile accident. My father is still living, but he has always been a person that doesn't give much away about himself. He and my mother were divorced when I was in the fourth grade. They later remarried, and my mother's illness became worse. My father wants to be in control all the time, so my sister and I were almost cut off from my mother during her illness. I've been thrown out of the house more times than Carter has liver pills, yet I would always go back. Now my father is alone, and he has no one to control. I still go to see him on a regular basis, but he's a person that does not allow closeness. Sometimes I feel like a stranger around him. I don't feel like his daughter. I keep going because I'm hoping that somehow whatever is keeping me at a distance will move. My mother raised me and my sister by herself, and I think she did a great job. She was a strong willed woman, and didn't take kindly to disobedience, and didn't mind using a switch.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 9, 2006 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Nani, your father must have been a wonderful person, and the time spent with you had to be good for you. Your story was sad and uplifting too. I wonder if my daughter will say good things about me while I can hear them. I believe she loves me, and I love her dearly. The story of letting go is very true, we have to do that, but sometimes it is so hard. I believe since the death of her brother she may feel responsible for me, and that may make her feel tired and obligated, and that is not what I want for her. I want her to have a life of her own, not taking care of me.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 9, 2006 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Talking and listening are the base elements of psychotherapy. Joel has given us today what his father taught him. It is in sharing ourselves that we become ourselves. Thanks, Achenbach.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 9, 2006 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Can we all agree here that the message of the day is that the time to learn about your parents is now? And that if you wait, you will wish you had tried harder?

Coffeelover, might I suggest a simpler approach. How about, "Mom, can you tell me what it was like when you were a kid?"

If it's a dad, the universal ice-breaking approach is to ask about the cars he has owned and driven.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 9, 2006 10:15 PM | Report abuse

coffee lover, if she's not much of a talker, perhaps the best way in is to NOT ask her a lot of questions, but rather for you to do the talking--about yourself, your own family (assuming your married and have kids), and if not, then about your job, friends, hopes, dreams, etc. If she's not a talker, then she's a listener--and she'd probably like to hear as much about the "real" you as you want to know about her. So, you do the talking--for a while. I'll bet anything that one day--maybe in a few weeks, or a few day, she'll start. It may be the hardest thing in the world for you to do, but what may be needed is nothing but patience, and time.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 9, 2006 10:22 PM | Report abuse

The heavy rime of frost glistening on the grass and limbs of trees is icy cold - not a Florida morning to my liking. My Russian grandfather used to sing, in both Russian and English, a song about winter: "Icily cold the Dnieper rages, bitter the winds as on they pass..." It was always with that deep, soul-stirring melancholy peculiar to Russians and some Russian folk music. Whenever I feel a sense of depression coming on, I feed it some of the mood music my grandfather gave me in my memory - and as if satiated and satisfied, the looming sense of depression goes away.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I just realized there are psychiatriac home remedies suited to maxims, as in "Feed a depression and starve a mania."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, your daughter loves you. It likely comforts her to be protective of you. My son and daughter tried to be the man of the house after their daddy died. I allowed this for awhile because it seemed to comfort them. Then we talked and I assured them I could take care of us just like Dad did and that it was important for them to experience childhood.
I never have a relationship with grandparents. My father's parents spoke only German and the few times I was around them they seemed uncomfortable and at a loss for what to say or do. Mother refused to divulge anything whatsoever about her childhood so we never knew her parents.
So, Cassandra, my particular "passion" is my grandchildren. And I thank them for making the past 23 years the most contented and rewarding time of my life.

Posted by: Nani | February 10, 2006 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Shiloh, I may print all of your comments, and especially the one just above, and make a little book for myself. If that's okay with you.

Posted by: Nani | February 10, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Perfectly okay and very flattering, Hani. My Dad used to say "Flattery will get you anywhere."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Nani, me too! I'm trying to figure out a way to get my grandchildren here today. It's work, but I'm feel good while they're here, and even after they leave, although I'm tired to the bone. Isn't it wonderful how God gives us the things we need, if only we'll allow Him?

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 10, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Such an odd position that life has put many of us into, being both child and parent (and grandparent for some of us) at the same time.

Family relationships are the longest-lasting and most complex we have, yet they're the ones we make the most mistakes in (with?) by far. This flesh and blood cauldron we carry our hearts and minds around in is a highly imperfect vehicle, yet is the only tool we have for perceiving everyone and everything. We are subject to it in communicating what we think and feel, yet there's hope in the fact that we can communicate with others under a variety of conditions, though it's fraught with risk.

Alas, part of the price of being human is the fear that your currency will not be accepted. Is there anything we fear more than being known by our family and *not* loved? How do we hedge our emotional bets here and there, minimizing our risk out of fear, but not recognizing that we're also reducing our chances of reward?

Our family and friends are not hungry lions on the Serengeti, yet sometimes we treat them that way (since our fear behaviors go back a long long way), hiding from them, trying to distract them, or scare them away.

It's difficult to refuse our inheritance, and to just let go. But I'm trying.

Bah, the best words I can come up with don't measure up to a good hug.


Posted by: bc | February 10, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

This particular boodle has been the most extraordinary one in the six or seven months I've been reading it. Amazing stuff.

I hate to break the train of thought, but there's an incredible story about a CIA officer, Paul Pillar, dropping yet another Richard Clarke-type bomb on the Bushies, at Here's the two money grafs:

"Official intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs was flawed, but even with its flaws, it was not what led to the war," Pillar wrote in the upcoming issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Instead, he asserted, the administration "went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."

"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," Pillar wrote.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Hey, guys. I'm reluctant to interrupt this Achentastic Boodle, but I just wanted to mention that since today is my last day in the office before I pack up and move I won't be 'boodling as regularly until I get myself set up in Hong Kong. (But I will try to check in from time to time.)

Farewell, sweet Boodle, and all you wonderful Boodlers. I love you all. Talk to you again when I can.


Posted by: Achenfan | February 10, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Bon Voyage, Achenfan--We'll look forward to your virtual return with lots of great stories and insights from the Mysterious East!!

We'll miss you every day you're not here.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 10, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse


I hope your relocation goes smoothly and that you get quickly acclimatised.
You are heading for a life enriching experience, things will never be the same again.

I look forward to hearing your storys about all the amazing sights and sounds of Hong Kong.

Have a safe trip.


Posted by: Eurotrash | February 10, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Until we meet again, Dreamer, farewell.


Posted by: bc | February 10, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Best wishes on your new adventure, hope you will drop in when you can and share it with us.

Posted by: newkid | February 10, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, kbertocci.

ET, I will phone home.

Posted by: Achenfan | February 10, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Jeepers! [Pardon my French.] There's a lot of boodling to catch up on. Dad memories, learning to Let Go, Gainesville in decline, various personages compared to Hannibal Lecter -- and that's just from a very quick boodleskim. Boodleskimming is an art. I have trained myself to scroll through and instantly spot any f-bombs or inappropriate semicolons. More amazingly, I can do this WHILE CREAM-CHEESING A BAGEL. It takes years of practice. FYI, I'm at the airport now, about to fly back, they've got a new wireless connection here but I got one of those pop-up warnings telling me that whatever I write might be visible to other parties. Thus I am unable to post my searing insights and lacerating witticisms, because they could be stolen. They could be lifted by outside agents and then posted on other blogs as though they were original. I'm sorry that I can't share. Got it all locked up tight [taps skull] right here.

I heard one thing on the radio and couldn't quite figure it out: Some Republican senators reached a compromise of some kind that makes it possible to renew the Patriot Act. But why does there need to be a Patriot Act when the president is allowed to do whatever he wants in the War On Terror? This is not posed as a Bush-bashing question, just a legal question. Why have laws when they can be legally circumvented anyway?

I am somewhat excited about the Winter Olympics starting, but am bracing myself for all the Up Close And Personal coverage of the athletes. You're not allowed to watch "sports" when NBC televises an Olympics. You're only allowed to learn about how athletes have overcome adversity and tragedy. But I should just admit, I only watch the skiing in hopes of seeing a spectacular wipe-out.

That is all.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 10, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Your family burned actual photos (not photo reproductions) of U.S. Grant? A sacrilege against my family! *wink* How precious those photos would have been to me or a number of snake-eyed antique dealers!

I was thinking of how could I best tell you, Tim, how I felt late last night after reading your post: Just imagine the scene in the (I believe first) "Home Alone" movie where you have the dear, sweet, innocent and pale, half-dressed star Macaulay Culkin running down the upstairs hall of his family home, arms flailing in the air, screaming in his juvenile voice: AAAaaaaaarrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

And RD Padouk, it sounds like you've had a rough run of days, but your post was touching about your own dad. Remember how mellow was that Friday afternoon that you had off some time ago when I think it was mostly K-guy, Tim, you and me--discussing marsupials, kopi luwak coffee, Puyallup, daffodils and tulips. Remember the Gewurztraminer? Perhaps, as you suggested, the BPH would have done you some good. But that's now recent history. But it is Friday. Perhaps another bottle of Gewurztraminer is in order after a long, tough, week.

How this particulat Kit has pulled out some fine writing from us all, and I'm not kidding this morning about the fine writing part.

* must mention: Funny moment last night on Dancing with the Stars. British ballroom dancing judge Len Goodman was critiquing the just-completed rhumba (best as I recall in the fog of this morning) of star George Hamilton and his Russian partner Edyta. George is in his 60s and has had some recent serious knee problems, and truth be told, he's a great sport with a marvelous sense of humor, but doesn't really shake a leg on the dance floor, if you know what I mean.

Len was trying to capture what I just said in fewer words, but slipped on his own tongue. He said, "George, he looks like you were just flatulating around your partner."

Of course, he meant to say, "George, you weren't moving much and were just flagellating around your partner." The emcee Tom Bergeron picked up on it immediately, as did Hamilton. as did I. Hilarity ensued.

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

So long (for awhile) Achenfan/Tom fan/Dreamer. The kit and kaboodle *need* you, so check in as soon as you can. In the meanwhile, here's a little song (with apologies to Harry Belafonte:

We're sad to say
You're on your way
You won't be back
For many a day
Our hearts are down
Our heads are spinning around
Boodlemama's leaving us for Hong Kong Town.

Posted by: Nani | February 10, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I just had a thought. (my husband and I always say that and it's the cue for the other to offer a sarcastic comment: "Stop the presses!" "Yeah, I smell the wood burning." "Well, alert the media.")

But here on the kaboodle, I have a thought and everyone just waits with bated breath to find out what it might be. (ha.)

Here's the thought. I don't frequent other blogs except for small, private ones, but I bet that in other big media blogs, when the Main Guy posts a new "kit" (and those guys are so ignorant, they don't even know it is called a "kit"), he doesn't have to open the previous day's comments section and tell the people that the new kit is posted. This group is so garrulous that we would just go on yakking to each other forever in the comments (or that's what it looks like to Joel). Of course, in reality, some of us do check for new offerings. But this week, with Joel distracted and the boodlers extra active, it really does look like the tail wagging the blog. That's my Thought for the Day. Hope you enjoyed it, 'cause I have work to do and don't expect to be chiming in much today.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 10, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Joel can walk and can chew gum at the same time. Better yet, he can Boodleskim and cream-cheese a bagel simultaneously! Oh, the Boodle is an amazing place!

Now that--Boodleskim Bageling--is a sport/competition that the Olympic Committee ought to be considering. So all bets are on: Do you think Joel would bring home the bronze, silver, or the gold?

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

coffeelover writes: 'How do I as the daughter of aging parents "get to know them" before its to late and all I have are a picture and eulogy?'

Interview their friends. Do some basic reportage. Friends may know parents in a way that kids can't. Or ask to look through your Mom's old letters or her scrapbook or anything she keeps around for sentimental reasons. It may not yield what you want -- some people don't WANT to be interpreted and known and analyzed -- but it's worth a try.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 10, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

JOEL! STOP! DON'T GET ON THAT PLANE! (Sorry for the allcaps, but this is urgent)

They are calling for 5 to 10 inches of snow here tomorrow. For God's sake, man, save yourself! Stay where you are!

Joel? Are you there, Joel? Can somebody call the boarding gate and stop him before it's too late?

Joel? Joel?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse

. . .and thank you everyone else, too. (Sorry, can't keep up!)

Posted by: Achenfan | February 10, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm composing posts and Achenfan/Tomfan/Dreamer says good-bye?

I will really miss you! But by the time you rejoin us in Hong Kong, think of all the fantastic things/news/tidbits/insights you'll have to share. A foreign correspondent on the Boodle. (Plus, the mystery of a foreign land, the intrigue of how you're coping) I can't wait!

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Best of luck and bon voyage, A/T fan. Send us a postcard from the top of the peak. (Hey, for real, post us a photo of you wearing the official/officially banned Achenblog lime-green T-shirt on the Kowloon ferry, or at the peak, or wherever. Establish the Achenblog beachhead for us on the mighty continent of Asia!)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, George and I are yearsmates, to use the word from the Odyssey, and grew up only a few miles apart in S. Florida, but he ran with a "fast" crowd in Palm Beach, and I with the juke box, drive-in, honky-tonk rednecks in Ft. Lauderdale - way back when FtL was a small farming community that billed itself as "the tomato capital of Florida."

I thought the use of "flatulating" was highly appropriate for an old f**t who wasn't moving much on the dance floor.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

DreamerAchenTomFan, may the wind always be at your back, may the road rise to meet you, and may the spices always be "just so" on your meals. *HUGSSSSSSS*

Ok, so that's not the traditional Irish farewell, but I'm only a percentage Irish.

Remember us to bustling HK!

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Loomis: When Lyndon Johnson was reported to have said "Gerry Ford can't walk and chew gum at the same time," the remark had been cleaned up by the press. What Johnson, who often used Texas cowtown vernacular, actually said was "Gerry Ford can't walk and f*rt at the same time."

Does your preoccupation with flatulence today mean that you are taking on Lonemule in a duel to see which one can STINK most?

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I am very excited that Achenfan is opening the blog's first foreign bureau. So this is not goodbye, but see ya later.

Because of the time difference, others will have to step forward and correct the kitter's grammar and illogic, etc.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 10, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

It comes to mind that now that someone is in the same hemisphere as americaninsiam, there might be a chance, a faint hope of a porching hour in Asia. Soon to be followed by a porching hour in Europe. Gosh darn it, maybe porching will become an international event.

Posted by: dr | February 10, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Joel writes: "Interview their friends. Do some basic reportage. Friends may know parents in a way that kids can't. Or ask to look through your Mom's old letters or her scrapbook or anything she keeps around for sentimental reasons. It may not yield what you want -- some people don't WANT to be interpreted and known and analyzed -- but it's worth a try."

I can't help but think of Weingarten and "The Great Zucchini" here.


Posted by: bc | February 10, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

A-fan, give my regards to the Kowloon ferry and ride the China Seas with glee. But do be careful - some of the tongs can be menaces - write home often, if just to let us know you're okay.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Since Joel brought it up, here are some comments on semicolons.

No! Just kidding, I am. But I do have some thoughts on the Olympics.

Long ago, they pretty much just showed the Olympics. They went from event to event and showed many of them. There were stars that got extra attention, but it wasn't quite such a scripted affair.

That started to change sometime in 60s, I think. ABC was the one that gave us "Up Close and Personal," I believe. (I'm willing to be corrected.) They also started doing a sneaky thing with many events where they cut out a section of the event -- a middle part of a ski run or bobsled run -- without saying so. A run that took 1:30 on the clock only lasted 1:10 or so. But they didn't say they had cut it, adding an element of speediness that wasn't actually there. This trend continues to this day. Time some events and you'll see what I mean.

With Olympic games in other time zones, events were shown on tape as if they were live. They started to manipulate this, as well. They wait until the tape was about to roll of a certain featured athlete and then -- still acting as if everything were live, or at least not making much of an effort to dispel that belief -- they'd roll the canned feature story about the life and times of the athlete. Then they'd roll the tape of the athlete's ski run or whatever.

Then they began to get more into the scheduling of the taped events, so that an event of great interest, particularly one where Americans are doing well or might do well, peaks at about 10:50 on the east coast. It was scheduled like a TV show. If it were an old Perry Mason, his investigator, Paul Drake, would come skiing in with that special Manila folder at about the same time.

Then they took an international event and made it largely an American one, at least to television viewers. An ungodly amount of time is now focused on Americans and how the Americans are doing and what the Americans are doing and what type of cheese the Americans are spreading on bagels and so on.

With that in mind, and with the Olympics about to get underway -- and not yet wearing my Jim McKay sweater (remember how he'd be wearing the same sweater, night after night of the Olympics -- I'd like to say ...


Posted by: Bayou Self | February 10, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"not allowed to watch "sports" when NBC televises an Olympics. You're only allowed to learn about how athletes have overcome adversity and tragedy."

If Andy Borowitz was commenting on this blog, he would jump in with this:

Posted by: kbertocci | February 10, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, me laddie, all this time I had you figured for a Scot. One of my pre-nup dates was from Scotland and the lilt of that accent haunts me. Still no sign of gender, however.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Next year, I'm calling Achenfan in HK in the afternoon on Super Bowl Sunday to see who won (after all, it'll be 0 dark 30 Monday AM there), then placing some bets with Mrs. Wayne Gretzky (I'm guessing Tocchet will be unavailable at that point).


Posted by: bc | February 10, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

And right on cue -- as if scripted! -- I open my e-mail and there's a new item from comedian Andy Borowitz involving the Olympics.

February 9, 2006

Skier Concealed Adversity-Free Past From Officials, NBC

A member of the U.S. Olympic ski team was disqualified from competition today when it was learned that he did not have a sufficiently compelling human storyline to exploit on the NBC telecast of the worldwide sporting event.

Tom Klujian, the expelled skier, was not raised by a single mother, never had a career-threatening injury, and did not overcome a personal tragedy of any kind before making the Olympic ski team, U.S. Olympic officials revealed today.

"Had Tom been involved in an organ donation, as either a donor or a recipient, that would have been acceptable to us," ski team spokesman Sandy Harnofsky told reporters. "However, he was not."

According to sources close to the ski team, Mr. Klujian had concealed the fact that he comes from an intact middle class family who never lost their home to a flood, tornado, or typhoon.

But what may have sealed Mr.Klujian's doom, sources said, was his utter lack of a gravely ill family member to win a medal for.

"Tom did his best to hide his background from team officials," one source said. "But when the truth came out, he was finished."

Speaking to reporters in Salt Lake City, NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol was even less charitable, terming Mr.Klujian's actions "a reprehensible betrayal."

"We do our best to check out all of the athletes to make sure that their backgrounds are full of compelling human drama, but we can't catch everything," Mr. Ebersol said. "This is a case of one really bad guy exploiting the system."

Elsewhere, scientists discovered the earliest known ancestor of Tyrannosaurus Rex at the halftime show of Super Bowl XL.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 10, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

And now I see that kb was linking Borowitz as I was cutting and pasting. I was too slow to win the gold. It hurts. I was trying to win that gold for my father.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 10, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Must SCC this first:
He said, "George, he looks like you were just flatulating around your partner."

He said, "George, you look like you were just flatulating around your partner."

You're making me laugh with your comments about George Hamilton. I never knew he was from Florida, but George himself pointed out on Dancing with the Stars that his (maternal? paternal?) grandfather hailed from Madrid.

I got pretty close to him one day when he was much younger and far more handsome. I took a picture of him and his fantastic suntan, and those of a lot of other stars as well. That's the day I got darn pretty close to Mac Davis, too. It was the John Denver Pro-Am Ski Tourney at South Lake Tahoe. I had wanted to go pretty badly to the event, but there were only a certain number of press passes to be given out.

I wanted to go so bad I could taste it, while my dear friend and fellow reporter Gina could have cared less. She gave me her pass, and I doctored it the best I could with my B&W photo. I got into the event--no problemo. I had so much fun that day with my 35mm. In the long run, it all worked out O.K., as far as poetic justice. The next year, the Trib used photos that I had shot at the fundraiser using the fake ID.

I'm going to admit something to you all: I have a leetle bit of the devil of me when no harm can come from it, like the story above about the manipulated press pass. I have several matches to my credit like the matchmaker from "Fiddler on the Roof"--all from telling teensy weensy white ones, as well as some behind-the-scenes romantic machinations. Yes, I machinate from time to time.

And I do think it quite romantic when Joel speaks in French. First, "Jeepers" (won't go there with the word origin), and the highly seductive "reportage," truly a French import. Of course, "reportage" is derived from Middle and Old French, which borrowed from the Latin, reportare, derived from RE + portare, meaning to carry.

Must exit the Boodle and wrap my husband's Valentine's Day gift.

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

i am sad... achenfan is leaving... :(

Posted by: mo | February 10, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

remember when the olympics were every 4 years instead of alternating the winter and summer every two years - oh, and when athletes actually had to be amateur - no pros allowed? i still love the olympics but it lost a little bit for me when the pros were allowed to compete...

Posted by: mo | February 10, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

BOROWITZ was painfully funny, kb, would that qualify me to take his place? I mailed it to myself and will be passing it on to those sport nut flakes who call themselves my friends.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Shiloh writes:
Does your preoccupation with flatulence today mean that you are taking on Lonemule in a duel to see which one can STINK most?

Since it's readily appraent that you know far more stories and anecdotes in this genre than I--I only repeating what I heard on TV last night--I think you've got your barrels locked, cocked and loaded for the Lone Mule duel. (she laughs at her clever use of internal rhyme.)

Every other line in "The Cloud" by Percy Bysshe Shelley has internal rhyme:

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noon-day dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the Sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

No, Shiloh, my sights are clearly set today on romance.

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

>Speaking French

IMHO, best done by Gomez Addams when inspired by the lovely Carolyn Jones.

Posted by: asdg | February 10, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Shiloh, I'm a crazyquilt Northern European/British Isles kinda guy. Apparently had a distant relation 'twas Archbishop of Canterbury.

(obligatory Python tangent)


A CofE Production...

Bishop: Don't say da kid's name, Vic, don't say da kid's name!!!

Vicar: Donald Patrick...

(baby being baptized is revealed as a clockwork bomb, which promptly explodes)

Bishop: We wuz too late, da Vic saw da light...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

'laugh as I pass in thunder' hmmm, Loomis.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Joel Boodled earlier this morning about this bit of convoluted logic:

I heard one thing on the radio and couldn't quite figure it out: Some Republican senators reached a compromise of some kind that makes it possible to renew the Patriot Act. But why does there need to be a Patriot Act when the president is allowed to do whatever he wants in the War On Terror? This is not posed as a Bush-bashing question, just a legal question. Why have laws when they can be legally circumvented anyway?

I would like to follow up with a few selected lines from an article by Andrew Revkin from the NYT last night about the resignation of twenty-something George Deutsch, formerly with NASA:

George C. Deutsch, the young NASA press aide who resigned on Tuesday in the center of a storm over claims that he had tried to keep the agency's top climate scientist from speaking publicly about global warming, defended himself today in his first public interviews.

The Times reported today that contrary to his résumé, he never graduated from Texas A&M.

Mr. Deutsch said he resigned of his own volition because he was unhappy with the negative publicity he and NASA were receiving in the news media. "I was just sick of it," he said. "I was being smeared. My **integrity and credibility** [see above paragraph about lying on his resume] was being questioned. And as a human being, as a human being [this repeat is obvioulsy not an accident, but said for emphasis], I just could not take it anymore."

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci, "tail wagging the blog" - hilarious.

I miss your Reader handle. Maybe you could go by kbReader or ReaderK or The Real Reader.

Posted by: ABJunkie | February 10, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone else reading Chinese in Loomis's post? I'm quite sure I haven't started drinking yet.

Posted by: ABJunkie | February 10, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

mo, actually, the Olympics as amateur competition idea is a little misunderstood. The amateur-status requirement was not instated for the purpose of fair competition, but was created as a method of class discrimination. Back when the modern games were established, "amateur" was code for wealthy upper-class who had money and therefore did not need to work. By excluding professional athletes, the Olympics were limited to the country club set--white landholding men (sound familiar?).

Since that attitude is obviously long-gone, so is the notion of a purely "amateur" athlete (do you really think the Solviet athletes weren't paid employees of the government?). I'm all for the best competing, whether they make their living doing it or not.

Posted by: jw | February 10, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, AB, that's what I'm seeing, too. But you gotta remember, that Loomis is tricky. It could be some sort of homage to Achenfan going to Hong Kong.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

All I have to say is you should have watched the Colbert report last night. His word of the day: "USA! USA!". Very entertaining.

Posted by: coffeelover | February 10, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

You are all writers; your parent(s) must also like the written word. Give one a notebook and ask them to write some of their memories for you. My mother did this for me when she was 78, just paragraphs of things she still recalled fondly.

Like the first birthday she remembered, when her dad gave her five spanks for good luck.

Individual memories, not the whole story of the past.I think I said something like "write down a few of those little stories."

Less intimidating to the parent, and just as rewarding.

And not a good leather notebook - too daunting, and demanding attention and good handwriting. Just a notebook.

Posted by: nellie | February 10, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh this is just great. I'm ROTFLAMAO (from the NYT):

Yesterday, in an interview with The Times, Mr. Deutsch said he had written the résumé in anticipation of graduating.

"When I left college," he said, "I did not properly update my résumé. As a result, it may appear misleading to some. However, I was up front with NASA about my undergraduate status when they hired me."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

With the earlier talk of psychology and therapy, I thought LindaLoo was giving us the Rorschach Test.

Posted by: Nani | February 10, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Joel, the law is not being circumvented, it's being circumcised. You know, not full emasculation, just a little off the end.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 10, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Well, K-guy, you know Bush has a little difficulty with vocabulary. He must have read something about the penal code, and thought, what the heck. The White House probably thinks we're making a mountain out of a mohel.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Sung to the tune of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home":

When I was but eight days old, me boys,
Hurrah, Hurrah
When I was but eight days old, me boys,
Hurrah, Hurrah,
The rabbi came with a big sharp knife
I surely thought he would take my life
But all he took was a little bit off the top.

Posted by: pj | February 10, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I prefer the kbertocci handle, it lends itself to the poetic and pseudoscientific, as in "Bertoccian sunlight" and that somewhat ominous sounding "Bertoccian Effect" or worse, "Bertocci's Syndrome." I can also then envision Karen rising from a shell, as in a Sandro Botticelli painting of Venus; now a working woman, a mother, somewhat more haggard and less fresh in "Bertocci's Venus Rising."

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I just love the George C. Deutsch story. What a classic. I guess that's a good way to deal with career scientists with too much cred and integrity, assign them a zealous handler to block access and re-write NASA web sites to include Intelligent Design.

Perhaps next he can debunk this pesky Theory of Gravity, and we'll finally get the flying cars we were promised.

Posted by: asdg | February 10, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"...a mountain out of a Mohel" That Cur, will definitely be worked into a future and continuing debate with a Rabbi, and an Espicopal Priest that I sometimes congregate with for a few BPH type beverages. Thanks for the future witty rejoinder.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Goodbye to AchenTomFanDreamer. We will miss you, but I think you will find the lure of the boodle too much to resist. Come back often. You have unique skills and talents that make this little community a better place. You will be much missed.

This has to be the most sentimental boodle ever.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 10, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse


(1) "Tail wagging the blog"--I was quoting my favorite author without attribution (sorry, Joel!)

(2) "kbertocci"--you'll get used to it. It's better, because it's less pretentious and more personal, less generic and more inclusive. Of course, you can always call me whatever you want. ("Just don't call me late for the BPH," ha, ha)

Posted by: kbertocci | February 10, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The main problem with that pun, Shiloh, is that it only works when written, not spoken.

You go out drinking with rabbis and Episcopal priests? You party animal, you.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

coffeelover - "should have watched" Colbert? I make it my business to at least watch through The Wørd.

Curmudgeon - Whether he left on his own or was tossed, I'm happier that NASA has made it clear that the science guys are not to be muzzled or edited.

Deutsch was trying to get them to insert Theory after the phrase Big Bang in some copy because (insert trumpet blasts here) of the possibility of Intelligent Design, among other shenanigans.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 10, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I know, Bayou. And I'll bet one of the most infuriating aspects for Hansen et al. was not only to be screwed around with, but to be screwed around with by some snot-nosed 24-year-old apparatchik. (No offense intended to you younger boodlers, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to convey. Hansen must have looked at Deutsch and thought, "This kid can't even hold my pocket protector, let alone start dictating this kind of crap."

Hansen seems to have handled himself pretty well. I'm known for my very slow, very long fuse, but I think if it had been me I'd have gone totally bat--- crazy on this guy.

(I was a PAO myself in a former incarnation, and a few of my friends who are still active PAOs and I have been e-mailing each other about this, and we're all aghast. One or two attendees at the BPH the other night are PAOs --I don't want to "out" them without their approval -- but without even asking them I'm sure they are shocked, too.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I'll miss you, too, *fan/Dreamer! Neither 'boodle nor BPH will be the same without your regular presence.

That said, we must remember that we already have some foreign correspondents: dr, Eutrotrash, americaninsiam come to mind right away. Of course, those of us here around the Beltway might consider you guys in flyover land to be foreigners, too.

Posted by: TBG | February 10, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I try to copy over the sentence from the NYT with the French diacritical mark accent aigu for the word "resume" and the WaPo turns it into Chinese? Best translation software available and better yet, it's free! This calls for a bottle of Chinese wine split amongst us.

Snuke--We must trade Archbishop of Canterbury cards. All the better to tell if there's blood betwixt us. Mine's Edmund Grindal (not long for the post having riled Cousin Elizabeth, she who appointed him, with his outspokenness). Who's yours?

jw--Did you see the reporting last night on the NYT website about Internet dating in Baghdad. We talk about the Theater of the Absurd, it ends up in the last graf of Bob Herbert's NYT op-ed the next day. We talk about Internet dating, and the NYT has a feature about it the next day--same topic, different country. I tell ya, there's some serious data mining or Boodle raiding going on.

pj--what other amusing song lyrics do you have up your sleeves?

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse


I wasn't going to "out" you on 'The Tail..', but for latecoming 'boodlers, I did remember this:


Posted by: bc | February 10, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

mr. lonemule: i think your comment early in this string is one of the rudest, sickest things i have ever seen. what makes it most amazing is the obvious delight you take in being so hurtful. may i respectfully suggest (to borrow a phrase from the foreword from JFK's profiles in courage) that your take two running jumps and go straight to hell.

aside from that, how about a nice big punch right in the middle of your smart mouth?

Posted by: butlerguy | February 10, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

TBG writes:
Of course, those of us here around the Beltway might consider you guys in flyover land to be foreigners, too.

We who have Boodled together about Amtraking across America? Now to be labeled a "Flyover Foreigner" by a former comrade, now fiendish foe? Oh the friendly fire and flagellation doth wound, the fiery dagger of jest cuts deep to the firm flesh of my heart.

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Mudge writes:
And I'll bet one of the most infuriating aspects for Hansen et al. was not only to be screwed around with, but to be screwed around with by some snot-nosed 24-year-old apparatchik.

Now this I will drink to!

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I was going to say to TBG, Yes, and it might just be mutual...

But TBG knows I kid because, you know, (

Posted by: kbertocci | February 10, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse


Lo, I'm loathe to leave Loomis lurching over my laughable line.

Now she finds me feeling foul. To our favorite Flyovers: may I file for forgiveness?

Posted by: TBG | February 10, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"Mr. Deutsch said he had written the résumé in anticipation of graduating."

Well I reckon I'll just buy myself a new Bugatti. And if those nitpickers at the bank come around, I'll tell 'em I got it in anticipation of winning the lottery.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 10, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, my information comes from a fairly-well-remembered family discussion, I'll have to do more research and get back to you.

butlerguy-- Not only do we abjure alliteration here in the Boodle, we also vehemently voice our opposition to violence. Polite insults only, please.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, it's funny you should mention Amtraking across America, because a week or so ago I had this dream that I went to Texas to visit you (?!?!), and we were taking a train trip together. You were pointing out the various attractions/landmarks as we traveled along. But then this huge mob of people got on the train, and we became separated. At that point my dream took some new wacky turn.

How weird is that? (And no, I'm *not* making this up.)

Posted by: Dreamer | February 10, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I still think the most important things about parents are

(a) They're yours.

(b) You don't get to choose which ones you want. As my younger (and yet wiser?) brother once said to me about my mother, "She'll never be your fantasy of what a mother should be, so you might as well grow up & get over it." - BTW, bro, best advice of my life! :)

(c) They, too, are human. They have faults, dreams (both realized & unfulfilled) and can be heros, too.

(d) They could have decided NOT to have you, and then you wouldn't even be around to kvetch about them.

(e) Parenthood is a great opportunity to do the things you'd have done differently...well, differently. :)

Shiloh, the AM was cold but now it's beautiful and balmy...I *heart* Florida!

Happy Friday!

Posted by: amo | February 10, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Periodic absences today due to 2 power outages, caused, no doubt, in our little burg, by power demand in cold weather. Apparently there are not enough hampsters in the town turbine, or half of them froze to death last night.

Also had a seemingly private parade yesterday evening. There is a church based school in town that has more students than the entire population of the town (130). They had their homecoming parade, and I was the only person on the street where I live who was outside watching and getting agressively pelted with various candies tossed by the kids. The reason for the excessive candy
tossing: when I looked into the tinted windows of the pickups, SUVs and assorted vehicles towing floats and other vehicles like boats as floats- it was a long parade, about 50 vehicles - and, behold,some of the people driving were my neighbors and other townsfolk
and I was apparently the only person in town watching the parade, because everybody else was in it.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

To return, no doubt briefly, to the subject of parents and children, one evening a few years ago we were visiting my mom (the temptation to refer to her as Kurosawamama is almost unbearable), who lives in a retirement community near us, and she brought out a stack of letters she had received from my dad during WWII. They were from Labrador, England, Brazil, Morocco, Egypt, and India and most were decorated with funny cartoons on the envelopes showing Dad in foreign climes pining for his bride. She would not show us the letters, just the envelopes. They are 50+ year old letters from a man dead 20 years, but no. Finally she said that she would let Kurosawachick (then in high school) read them, but she was not to reveal their contents. And beyond saying that they were amazing stuff, she never has.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 10, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy, the thing about the Lonemule is that we've kind of gotten used to him. (I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.) We know his limits, and we've revised our expectations accordingly. As rude as he can be, I must admit that I sometimes find myself giggling at his descriptions of his bodily reactions to reading this blog (which, in case you've joined us late, STINKS!!!, according to the Lonemule). His rudeness masks a fondness for this blog and a desire to be part of our little community.

Posted by: Tom fan | February 10, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

mr. scottynuke: my apologies for being impolite. and you won't get any alliteration from me. but...

all of this musing about fathers, etc strikes cords deep within the psyche. also residing in those places are impulses toward action in the face of (watch out) evil. mr. lonemule's comments evoke something unpleasant, but i would argue, necessary.

think for a second about the character of atticus finch as contrasted to boo radley. one avoided aggression at all costs (demonstrating, for my money, the best portrayal of a 'good man' in cinematic history). the other simply did what had to be done to save the children from a very nasty, hateful, and undeserving scoundrel.

i admire mr. finch, but sometimes we need mr. radley.

Posted by: butlerguy | February 10, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Amo: A beautiful day too, here is a town with the nic "cooter slide." Heavy frost this morning, but the spinach I didn't pick yesterday seems to have survived. The other delectable, young leaves were lunch - in a raspberry vinaigrette with gruyere and pepperoni. I e-mailed you, but haven't looked at mail today because of having to log on three times due to power loss shutdown - and trying to get some work done in between.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

And now, today's word of the day, brought to you by Curmudgeon and by Stephen Colbert's The Wørd.

Main Entry: ap·pa·rat·chik
Pronunciation: "ä-p&-'rä(t)-chik
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -chiks also ap·pa·rat·chi·ki /-chi-kE/
Etymology: Russian, from apparat
1 : a member of a Communist apparat
2 : an official blindly devoted to superiors or to the organization

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 10, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Everyone's advice has been fantastic and touching. However my favorite so far has been "Grow up and get over it", I might try and make it my new moto. It might very well be the answer to all questions.

Bayou: nice Colbert imitation.

Posted by: coffeelover | February 10, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Ain't nobody here but us Finches...

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

BS (that's for Bayou Self) - My grandfather usually translated Russian into French, his second language in Russia, and then into English in order to give us the best understanding of what he was saying. Apparatchik would thus have become "chauvinist" and then "blindly following partisan." It was often very confusing to us as children, but opened a door to the pure fun of language.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Lots of things have my dander up today, but this is the one item in today's paper that really has me appalled. Talk about partisanship gone awry. The Virginia Republican leadership actually seems to be boasting about their behavior:

Delegates Deny Ex-Colleague a College Post

Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates yesterday denied former GOP delegate James H. Dillard of Fairfax County a chance to serve on the College of William and Mary's Board of Visitors.

The House voted 51 to 45 to reject Dillard's appointment. Mark R. Warner (D), who left the governor's office last month, had named Dillard to the board after the long-serving GOP lawmaker announced his retirement last year. All the votes against Dillard, who in 2004 defied the House GOP leadership and voted to raise taxes, were cast by Republicans and two independents who often vote Republican.

House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem) said Republicans were angry with Dillard for endorsing Democrat David W. Marsden of Fairfax last year in the race to succeed him over Republican Michael J. Golden. Marsden, a former Dillard aide, defeated Golden in November.

Griffith said House Republicans were also upset with Dillard for supporting another one of his aides, C. Rod Clemmons, in his unsuccessful challenge to Del. Frank Hargrove (R-Hanover) in last year's GOP primary. Dillard did not reply to a voice mail message left on his cell phone yesterday.

Posted by: TBG | February 10, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I like this bit from Dana Milbank's chat today:

Washington, D.C.: What have you decided to make for Valentine's Day? I know Kim O'Donnel has lots of choices posted in her chat.

Dana Milbank: I have decided to make Mike Brownies. They will be a bit oily and not very filling, but they will have juicy nuggets. You can get the recipe on CSPAN.

Posted by: pj | February 10, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Butlerguy, my impression is that we have successfully coopted The Lonemule, not that he would agree. But he does occasionally contribute hilarious comments. So, as TomFan says, we're used to him now.

Posted by: slyness | February 10, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I've got two minutes. That's all. Wild day. I've just got to say: Achenfan, TomFan, Dreamer, I'll miss you. I'm hopeful you can visit the Boodle from your tower apartment in Hong Kong and can give us frequent perspectives of an Aussie/US expat living in China. Your wit, good humor, and fasidious attention to all who post on the Boodle made the Boodle a good place to be.

Take care.

Posted by: CowTown | February 10, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy, your observation "i admire mr. finch, but sometimes we need mr. radley" comes perilously close to J. Nicholson as Col. Jessup in A Few Good Men (all time favorite film of fans of the Kevin Bacon game)- "Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall."

Haven't we all seen enough in the last five years to convince us that "Security at any price" is just the flip side of "Peace at any price"? The attitude of a sane and reasonable society is to adopt neither as its credo.

Boo Radley was Robert Duval's first screen role.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 10, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much, CowTown, and everyone else who has said such nice things to me today.

This past year I've spent hanging out with you guys has been awesome -- the best year ever!

You know I'll think of you all often. I will continue to chuckle to myself at random moments whilst recalling various boodleicious comments.

But as Joel said, this is not goodbye, but see ya later.

Posted by: Achenfan | February 10, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer writes:
LindaLoo, it's funny you should mention Amtraking across America, because a week or so ago I had this dream that I went to Texas to visit you (?!?!), and we were taking a train trip together. You were pointing out the various attractions/landmarks as we traveled along. But then this huge mob of people got on the train, and we became separated. At that point my dream took some new wacky turn.

You have me curious beyond the power of words. What was it that I, in your dream, was pointing out from the train? The desert sage, the jackalopes, the Crawford ranch, the Camp Caseys, the Enron tower, Ken Frito-Lay, the Bracketville Alamo, the drug war just across the border in Nuevo Laredo, the peanut statue in Floresville, the Popeye statue in Crystal City, the emus and ostriches just west of us, the long horns of the longhorns, Gov. Rick Perry's hair?

How many miles had we traveled together? Cause ya know what they say in Texas: "The sun has rise, the sun has set, and we're still traveling through Texas--yet.

We shall avoid like the plague, if you ever do come, the Tar-an-too-la (Tarantula)RR in Ft. Worth. Tourist rip-off.

TBG writes:
Now she finds me feeling foul. To our favorite Flyovers: may I file for forgiveness?

Fragged by you, but forgiven. *wink*

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Mudge writes:
I was a PAO myself in a former incarnation...

Just shows to go ya that you've been spending too much time at the florist's. What the heck is the acronym PAO?

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I can't remember too many details of the dream -- I'm not really sure what we saw. I do know that I was rather enjoying the trip until that rowdy mob got on the train and crowded us out.

Dreams are weird.

Posted by: Dreamer | February 10, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Butlerguy, as in "The Way of All Flesh" or "Hudibras" or Rhett or SIC (Servant in Charge)? Each, in a different way, seems to fit.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, public affairs officer, I would guess. We have a PIO, public information officer, here at the fire department...a 24/7 kinda job. Wouldn't have it, myself...

Posted by: slyness | February 10, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

PAO=Public Affairs Officer or Prudent Articulation Office (That one's in the Ministry of Truth - formerly Department of Justice)

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse


For every time you have imagined there is only one, masterful interloper or troll, a person of a hundred names, two genders, tripolar moods, and 24/7 attention (a truly sick joke, given network access opportunities), I thank you.

Your pattern recognition powers are above average, but need lots of work. You need to bone up on really deviant behavior. And relax. Remember, this blog IS about you and it will never be the same. Enjoy.

In your absence, a thousand flowers of inane posts will bloom as this blog gets known in the Nation's mental health centers. But I won't be among the contributors.

Have a great stay in Hong Kong.

Now, I must brief the press.

Posted by: melvin/a | February 10, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I love Robert Duval's The Apostle. We were raised Catholic at home, but during summers with my aunt and uncle in Karnes City, attended every traveling tent revival that came to or near town. He certainly captured the flamboyance and panache of those evangelists. (Ever notice that these preachers ALL seem to whistle their esses?)

Posted by: Nani | February 10, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

May God bless you and keep you, Achenfan

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 10, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Nani, did you go to the revivals because you needed reviving, or just for the entertainment? I ask because my grandfather, a true Southern gentleman, always refused to go to revivals, saying he could get all he needed in his own church...

Posted by: slyness | February 10, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy, not to be too picky, but I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation of either Atticus Finch or Boo Radley. If you remember, Atticus was a good shot and killed the rabid dog. Although he was a lawyer and a defender of the rule of law, I have no doubt had he been in the vicinity when Bob Ewell attacked his kids, he'd have done exactly the same thing as Boo Radley, lawyer or not. And while Boo did the right thing, the killing of Ewell wasn't exactly deliberate, but came about because they were both wrestling with the knife; it's not like Radley just slipped up behind Ewell and shived him. The same circumstance could have happened with Atticus wrestling with Ewell as well. And I don't think "we need more Boo Radleys" meaning more men of action. I don't have any problem with needing more decisive men of action--but Boo was hardly any kind of role model for anybody. I'm not criticizing Radley, and we know very, very little of his backstory and why/how he got to be so reclusive. That's not exactly a man of action.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Texas memories - 1985 - 3 weeks in Texas doing a study for a DC VC Co. Started in El Paso > Alpine >Marfa> Eagle Lake> ?place with nice little winery> Brownsville> Padre Island> Corpus >Aransas & Aransas Pass> Galveston> Port Arthur> home to Florida (via LA, MS,AL) - a "Blue Highways" tour of Texas, expenses paid, good fee for a few months of work.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry--PAO is public affairs officer. Standard military-speak for flack. See also PIO, PR man, etc.

(In my case I was still a newspaper writer/editor, but it was in a PAO shop at a military base. Fortunately, I had no PR duties, and just did regular newspaper stuff I'd have done just the same at a non-military newspaper. I was quite lucky in that regard.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

slyness, We were just little kids then, so too young to need reviving. I'm thinking it was probably the only form of entertainment for my aunt and uncle (no electricity on their farm so no radio or tv). But yes, it was very entertaining. Come to think of it, Catholic services were a sort of performing art with its Latin Mass and Benediction, Stations of the Cross, incense, the Sachristie golden bells, robes, statutes, etc. Now they've changed it so much I no longer attend Mass on a regular basis.

melvin/a, I truly didn't understand your post. Were you being mean to Achenfan? Or did I misunderstand?

Posted by: Nani | February 10, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

On revivals and church roles: When at an S.J. university cum seminary, many years ago, a prof advised that every small southern town has at least 3 churches: The Espiscopalians, who own everything; the Methodists, who run everything; and the Baptists, who keep everything stirred up. Revivals, he said, were just to show everybody that things could be worse.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

slyness answers:
LindaLoo, public affairs officer, I would guess.

(Somewhere in the back of my brain, slyness and Shiloh, I think I knew that, but PIO, I think, is the acronym more familiar to me that I would have used. Yes, the Orwellian Ministry of Truth--good joke, Shiloh.)

This Feb 8 NYT op-ed about former San Antonian AG Alberto Gonzales and "The Art of Saying Nothing."

Aaaahhh, so that explains the "Affairs" ribbon around Mudge's neck at the BPH Tuesday last.

Mudge, I think (like I believe you do) that Phillip Seymour Hoffman deserves the golden Oscar statuette for his Capote portrayal, connecting round-aboutly to Harper Lee.

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

To clarify, cum is a Latin preposition meaning plus or together with. The non-italicized usage looks irregular.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

OMG, kurosawaguy!

My grandfather served in China, Burma & India in WWII & kept a journal. He died in January of this year and my mother received the journal as part of her legacy. I am reading it now, as I am my family's primary historian, and it's amazingly poignant and beautiful.

My mom *can't* read it. I'm to read and interpret for her. The first thing she said was, "I never knew my dad was a poet."

I guess the fact that he'd been a mail carrier and a middle-class average joe distorted her view of what her dad may have been.

I think we try too hard to fit people into *our* neat little boxes.

Posted by: amo | February 10, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Haven't seen either Capote or Brokeback Mountain, but with that proviso, yes, I agree about Hoffman, just based on the film clips I've seen. As good as Ledger might be, Hoffman actually has transformed himself into Capote that is spookily good, but especially without being a joke or a caricature.

Coincidentally, I watched The 40-Year-Old Virgin a few weeks ago, with Catherine Keener as the female lead, and then learned she's the actress playing Harper Lee. What a switch.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's taken all week, but I think we finally wore everyone out. Boodle sleep now.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow, amo, what an awesome task! I hope you're enjoying it as much as you're learning from it.

A couple of years ago, we had a vet from the church come to talk about his experiences being shot down over eastern Europe and being a prisoner of war in 1944-45. His story would make a fabulous movie. There are so many of those stories; I hope we can save all of them!

Posted by: Slyness | February 10, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I was just a toddler, but vividly remember when WW II ended. We lived in civilian quarters on Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio. Suddenly horns were blaring; neighbors rushing out into their yards and into the streets, hugging and kissing, laughing and crying. Once during that year, 1945 I think, Daddy brought home some nylon stockings for Mother. She was so excited, dancing around the room waving them like a flag. She wanted to tell her best friend, Lainey, but Dad cautioned her not to, because he got them (he said in a mysterious tone) "on the gray market".

Posted by: Nani | February 10, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

It's not sleeping, Curmudgeon. It's just resting its eyes.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 10, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

That's what I'm doing at work, too, Bayou. Trouble is, my forehead keeps hitting the keyboard.

Judging by the weather report, Washington must be in a full-blown hyper-panic by now. By midnight, store shelves will be stripped bare of milk, bread and TP. (No, that wasn't your cue, Lonemule.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The damn storm's drifting too far east!!! *stomping feet*

4-8 inches??? This is a problem why, exactly??? *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 10, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Returning from power outage #3, logon #4 and resetting all digital clocks and gadgetry that goes down with the power,only to discover that Cur has called "Boodle sleep." Are adults also required to have "boodle sleep" time? It is barely an hour to the first pre-prandial beer and I, for one, will not go to sleep without it. I know, Cur, petulance is unbecoming.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I have now bylined with a third handle, for a third personality. How splintered I feel.

Anyway, since the topic has turned to ways of discovering and keeping the stories of previous generations, I highly recommend the cassette or CD of "Father Joe: A Hero's Journey", by storyteller Jay O'Callahan. O'Callahan is a little over-the-top for my tastes on many occasions, but he's the man for this story. His uncle, a Jesuit priest, was the chaplain on the USS Franklin and was decorated for his service; O'Callahan encountered him and re-encountered him in different phases of his youth, as told in the story. The story is a portrait of an individual man who performed heroically, of the aftermath of that action, and a portrait of himself as a callow punk coming slowly to understand some of who his uncle was. Here's the blurb from O'Callahan's on-line store (

'On March 19th 1945, the aircraft carrier, the USS Franklin was bombed by Japanese aircraft. Father Joe O'Callahan and the other heroes on board made the vessel "the ship that wouldn't be sunk."'

The blurb only mentions the heroism part, because that's what gets people to listen.

I listened to this story while driving to a retreat on telling difficult stories -- difficult through complexity or through emotional content. This story, plus one by Marie Winger (excellent, but no web site!), inspired me to put together a story of my aunt and uncle, pivoting around his final war-time action and the aftermath (a story which is slowly drawing to a close, as their health is failing).

O'Callahan is a professional, but everyone should feel free to try this at home. The worst you can do is get less of a story than you wanted. He does a good job of addressing the difficulty of coming to grips with the inadequacy of our ability to understand another person. It's still worth the efffort, however imperfectly, to try.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | February 10, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

In preparation for the storm, I'll stop off at the store tonight and pick up some beer, wine, and chocolate. That covers enough of the major food groups for me.

Posted by: pj | February 10, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, ooh, another great storyteller with stories about her parentsand her efforts to know them: Carmen Deedy, "Growing Up Cuban in Decatur, Georgia." I can't seem to find her web site, but you can find the recording at on-line stores. Borders and its ilk rarely carry storytelling -- all they know about is books-on-tape, recordings of the previously-written word, so you need to get these things on-line. I think Deedy has the same stories in book form, but you really need to hear her voice. Even better if you can see her.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | February 10, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Once we have AchenTomFan in Hong Kong, she and AmericanInSiam can start taking the night watch on the boodle and we can make it a 24 hour operation. Maybe Joel can even outsource the kit to some snarky Bangalorians for overnight service.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 10, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

StorytellerTim, I think your personality structure might be disintegrating (surely you've got something in your pocket for that?).

The Franklin is usually more generally known (in the book and movie title, among other places) as "the ship that wouldn't die." This documentary movie blurb tells it succintly: "Gene Kelly narrates this film chronicling the most decorated ship and crew in United States Naval History. Fighting its way to Iwo, Guam, Okinawa, and Formosa, the Franklin took the kamikaze onslaught and in turn sank 160 ships, 338 aircraft while becoming a raging inferno."

If memory serves, the crew managed to put out the fires and get her back home, going through the Panama Canal and making it to New York, the most heavily damaged ship ever to make it back home. Incredible story.

Oh, I'm getting a bad URL thing on your o'callahan link.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

That's alright Tim/Science Tim/Storyteller Tim, we have lost (temporarily) our previous trinitarian boodler, so you can take her place.

Posted by: pj | February 10, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"Omnia Timotheus in tres partus divusa est."

--Father Guido Sarducci

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

SCC: divisa

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

A bad URL? No way! I just pasted it into the posting, taken directly from the browser with the site displayed. Oh well, that's where Google helps.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | February 10, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

SCC: partes. Gimme a break, it's been 42 years.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse


When you pasted the URL in, it also picked up your closing parenthesis and colon.

Try this:

Posted by: pj | February 10, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Cur, why did I think it was you who would have the "Gaul" to post that?

Opening a Fosters in honor of the Aussies' departure and bon voyage.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Laughing here, Shiloh

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 10, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Now sipping first Fosters.

Tim - an ominous sign: when I started to post I forgot Name first. When I hit N what popped up was "No scientist." I can't remember why that's in there.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that melvin/a is dreamer?

Posted by: DPR | February 10, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Another song:

Exhaustive experimentation,
By Darwin, by Huxley, by Hall,
Has proved that the arse of a hedgehog,
Can scarcely be buggered at all.

Now the sexual life of the camel,
Is stranger than anyone thinks,
For during its sexual season,
It tries to bugger the Sphinx.

Now the Sphinx's posterior orifice,
Is closed by the sands of the Nile,
Which explains for the hump on the camel,
And the Sphinx's inscrutable smile.

Posted by: pj | February 10, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse


WRT your 5:10:58, I have had that thought for about 40 years.

Posted by: melvin/a | February 10, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Great first line at 2:08:00...

Posted by: DPR | February 10, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

pj, you really need to speak up more at the BPH. (Next time, we'll give you a chance to talk.)

Posted by: TBG | February 10, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

SCC: my bad, 2:28:00

Posted by: DPR | February 10, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

5:10:58 doesn't sound genuine. It all depends on what the meaning of "is" is in the referenced comment. Please belay the wickedly wasteful speculation, if you please.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 10, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Wickedly wasteful speculation has never been belayed before. Why start now?

Posted by: DPR | February 10, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Busy, busy day.

I'm already suffering the beginnings of Achenfan withdrawal. The boodle just won't be the same without EST boodling. Maybe you could get a night job. Safe trip, and write often.

With that, I sign off as it is quittin time, Shanghai Baby, yeah.

Posted by: omni | February 10, 2006 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Amo, "Grow up and get over it" reminds me of one of my old dating mottos (in disuse since I've been married almost ten years) - "grow up on your own time." My dad still hasn't grown up, but I got over that. Don't think I could have married the man I did if I hadn't.

Regarding knowing our parents, I think I know my dad better than he does. I guess it's because he has a lot vested in clinging to his delusions and for my sake I had to see him in a more wholistic way. I can appreciate his brilliance and his dreams and the fact that he still believes in those dreams without having to believe in them myself. I treasure what he has to give and no longer judge him for not being able to give more. I know he has always done the best he could with what he had.

I know my mom very well too, but in a very different way. She has always been my best friend. I always wanted to have a daughter because of my relationship with her. I'm happy to now have two. (Nothing against boys, I'd be happy to have a son now too.) My mom has always been open and generous with stories from her past. Her parents were not that way at all and she saw the silence that her family lived in as dangerous. Her mom was alcoholic but it was never, ever discussed. My mom still married an alcoholic, but she made sure nothing was hidden from us kids. I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have escaped the pattern if not for that.

She also told great stories about what she did to raise money to join some revolution in Latin America (she doesn't recall which one) in the 60s. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say, her parents were so strict that she rebelled really, really hard. Hence her child-rearing philosophy, "don't give them anything to rebel against."

Posted by: ABJunkie | February 10, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Bultlerguy wrote:
"mr. lonemule: i think your comment early in this string is one of the rudest, sickest things i have ever seen. what makes it most amazing is the obvious delight you take in being so hurtful"

I don't get it. I take the time to tell all of you about a deeply guarded and treasured memory and I get a load of grief from Butterguy or Butlerguy or Butterbuttguy (whatever).

The end of the Carter Presidency or a B.M. that made me almost miss my first plane flight. Which is the better memory???

Hurtful!...Hurtful!...You want hurtful! Try spending some quality time in the can after eating a whole jar of dry roasted nuts and washing it down with a half bottle of Tobasco. I thought I was giving birth to a Buick!!

Bulterbutt, I say goodbye. And, as all great ones know, leave when its time but always leave them wanting more!!

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 10, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

a tip o' the hat--or a crap in da hat--for The Lonemule, an American classic woman.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 10, 2006 5:54 PM | Report abuse

To paraphrase George Santayana, Lonemule, the butler should be reminded that "Those who forget the lessons of Scatology 101, are doomed to repeat them." Obviously, this butler didn't do it.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

>EST boodling

As in Werner and The Training, or izzat her real initials?

Posted by: asdg | February 10, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

asdg: I thought it referenced a time zone, and not a space zone, as in Erhard (sp?) Sensitivity.

Funny e-mail from a friend who does The Market on-line, as I do. Preface: he trades stock options, I do not, and our dissimilarity in investment approaches reflects the duality. He wrote:

: "Shi - have you seen a blog called "The Tyranny of Options?" I clicked in and it has nothing to do with the reality of the market, maybe not even with reality, period, but is probably something you can understand."

It gave me a good laugh, then I wondered if Joel was baiting new boodlers with his Kit Titles.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes time zone. Apparently the wodka is starting to kick in, I'm hullabalucinating from a not-quite-forgotten past.

I think Joel has too much good karma to Goggle-game the boodle, but it would be a helluva title for a financial seminar.

The fact that he sent you the link is pretty cool.

Posted by: asdg | February 10, 2006 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I was browsing through the dictionary this evening, just trying to fit in with the geek/nerd continuum that haunts this blog (who am I kidding, no effort is necessary)--anyway, a shocking discovery that had to be shared posthaste with my A-blog friends and neighbors.

"kaboodle" is not a word.

The word is "caboodle" and the American Heritage Dictionary (my personal standard) doesn't even list the k-word as an alternate spelling.

I'm appalled, I tell you. We've been led down the path of easy alliteration. I just don't know what to say.

I looked back in the archives but wasn't able to find the first instance of the term "kit and caboodle." I am in the process of convincing myself that Joel spelled it correctly and it was the boodlers who changed it to the incorrect form.

A good thing I learned was that the original form of the word was "boodle"--and the additional prefix syllable was added later, possibly to make it go better with "kit." So that means we don't need an apostrophe when we write "boodle."

Boy, oh boy, Friday night with me is about as exciting as it gets!

Posted by: kbertocci | February 10, 2006 8:42 PM | Report abuse


I believe I'm developing the vapors! [fanning my face furiously]


Posted by: pj | February 10, 2006 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, kbertocci. I had been aware of that inconsistency for some time, but as a newbie did not want to start by stirring up s**t. Caboodle is correct. But I have now accepted Kaboodle as the idiosyncratic appelation suited to Joel and his boodlers, self included.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I might add, that in reaching this acceptance of Kaboodle, I was also aware of the Egyptian "KA" or shade/soul of the departed and felt it to be sufficient raciocination for linking it to boodle.

I thus always think of the KA boodle as the spirit of departed boodlers.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 9:09 PM | Report abuse

See, this "caboodle" vs "kaboodle" controversy is why Achenfan, the official Boodle historian, will be so sorely missed. She could tell you the exact date that Joel coined "Kit and Kaboodle" - and I think I'm correct in remembering that he spelled it that way, so we followed. It was sometime in July - mid-July, I think, because I had to ask where the term came from after I returned from a brief vacation. Alliteration rears its ugly head again.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 10, 2006 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Finally, I'm sure you realize, kbertocci, that adherence to CA-BOODLE may have implied geographic favortism to an already sufficiently idiosyncratic population - or, as a good friend occasional remarks, "CA, the land of fruits and nuts, where even the weather is a little queer."

I hasten to add that I do not subscribe to this somewhat tawdry remark, especially because a, somewhat prodigal, son lives in San Franciso and may take offense. That is not my intent.

On a personal note, it is a pleasure to hear that others know how to have a really good time on Friday nights.

My American Heritage Dictionary, circa 1960, is in a deplorable state of disrepair from overuse that may constitute dic. abuse - i.e, circa 1960 because the frontispiece is missing and the cover and binding are shot.

Yet is preferable to the cold, almost clinical, CD dictionary that I rarely use.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan, Tom fan, Dreamer - good luck. We'll see you on the flip side!

We are weird.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 10, 2006 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, boy, we're having a party here on the blog!

My son just moved to San Francisco. I've never been there, so I'm hoping he'll be there awhile so I can visit.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 10, 2006 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Since you posted about camels...

For Valentine's Day, there's nothing like a heart-shaped box of camel chocolates:

Camel milk chocolates

An Austrian chocolate maker has joined forces with an Arabic camel farm to create a new delicacy - camel milk chocolates.

Vienna-based Chocolatier Hochleitner took six months to develop the treats using milk from the Al Ain Camel Farm and Dairy in the UAE.

Company head Johann Georg Hochleitner said camel's milk was a good alternative to cow's milk because it was lower in fat and sweeter.

"We have combined camel's milk from the farm in Al Ain with honey from Yemen and have developed a healthy and delicious new type of chocolate," said Hochleitner.

The first samples were made in Vienna although the partners plan to build a production plant in the UAE and will invest in another 2,000 camels.

The proposed manufacturing plant is expected to come into production in June 2006, and will have a capacity of 50 tons of camel chocolate per month.

Hochleitner and and his Arabic partners plan to target wealthy customers staying in luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Copyright © 2006 Ananova Ltd (British, I think)

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Joel first used "kit and kaboodle [sic]" on July 11, 2005 in the Differerence Between "Blog" and "Chatroom" blog:

in which the now departed Bostonreader, Tom fan, and (ahem) kbertocci were quoted.

(Bostonreader got a job and apparently has better things to do than boodle - but I miss her.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 10, 2006 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I take umbrage to the California reference or CA-boodle to "nuts and flakes."

So, to continue the Friday night streak of geek, I found the following online:

Kit and Caboodle
The OED2 says that kit apparently derives from the Middle Dutch kitte, a wooden vessel made of hooped staves. The earliest cite in that dictionary for kit meaning a collection of items is from 1785 in Grose.
The earliest cite for caboodle in the OED2 is earlier than the appearance of kit and caboodle, although that dictionary says caboodle is a corruption of boodle from that phrase. The cite is the 1848 Ohio State Journal. It means the whole lot.

Boodle dates from 1833 in J. Neal's Down Easters. The origin is obscure, but it may derive from the Dutch boedel, meaning estate or property. Lighter lists a 1699 American usage of boedel referring to the estate of a dead man. It also lists a use of boodle, meaning a crowd, from 1827.

The OED2 lists an 1861 cite of kit and boodle from T. Winthrop's John Brent, and a 5 February 1888 cite from the Boston Globe of kit and caboodle. So the phrase in question is clearly of US origin.

So kit and caboodle is a redundancy. The initial syllable in caboodle was probably added for alliterative purposes in the phrase. The "k" spelling variant is also probably alliterative.

Posted by: Loomis | February 10, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I told you it was alliteration!

Too funny that we shortened kaboodle to boodle almost immediately - back to what it was to begin with...We're smarter than we look!

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 10, 2006 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Now, I must go watch the Olympic opening cermonies on Canadian TV. And tape the last episode of Arrested Development...

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 10, 2006 9:56 PM | Report abuse

That would be, Loomis, for phonetic alliterative purposes - as opposed to pure alliteration, or the alphabaic alliteration that predated broadcast alliteration.

Having been their many times, I can assure mostlylurking that SF it a great place to visit - but nobody can afford to live there without the inheritance from parents and grandparents that make it possible (That is a return to the theme of this Kit. And Hans, if you are reading this in SF, please remember that I've always been a little crazy)

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 10:10 PM | Report abuse

A final opinion from me on the topic: A return to the original "kit and boodle" etymology would take the KA, or very spirit of the blog, out of the blog. That is a potentilly deadly step and should be avoided at all costs. Factions within a boodle must learn to live in harmony.

What kurasawaguy said today, slightly edited and paraphrased, should guide this debate: "A sane and reasonable society would adopt neither ( boodle or caboodle) as its credo."

That is sage advice.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 10, 2006 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Kaboodle is in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged dictionary.

We're a fairly Unabridged bunch, so I think we're okay.

Crisis averted.

It's so crazy here that I have The Mummy playing on the TV. I'm mostly ignoring it. The kids are asleep.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 10, 2006 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen a mummy yet, by the way. It's the old movie. The classic. They would have had ten mummies by now, with explosions and ninja mummies and more, if it were a more modern version.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 10, 2006 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Okay, some guy is now saying some sort of incantation. Some other guy is grabbing his chest.

Aw shoot. Still no mummy. And AMC goes to commercial. AMC isn't the same since they started running commercials.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 10, 2006 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Movie over. No mummies while I watched. But Zita Johann was pretty hot, in a decades-ago kind of way.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 10, 2006 11:39 PM | Report abuse

So here I am, teleconferencing with Hawaii while my colleagues try to get our instrument working. I can conribute nothing! And I can barely keep my eyes open. 11 hours to go tonight.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 11, 2006 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the movie commentary, Bayou Self. Really, no mummies in The Mummy? Inconceivable!

Hang in there, ScienceTim. I'm sure you'll be able to talk your colleagues through the technical difficulties.

I made it through the Opening Ceremonies. Why did the teams march in to disco music, why? Pavarotti was excellent, though...

North by Northwest is on now, but I'm too tired...maybe just a few more minutes...

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 11, 2006 1:50 AM | Report abuse


I missed the Opening Ceremonies. But I can answer the the disco music question.
Nearly everything you hear in europe has been discofied.
I think it was the last item of the Marshall plan. Europe shall, in return for a lot of US money, take on Disco music for eternity.

Posted by: Eurotrash | February 11, 2006 2:55 AM | Report abuse

We had to send our disco music somewhere. I think it was intended to go farther, like over to the then-Soviet Union. Evidently, we didn't throw it hard enough. Our bad.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 11, 2006 3:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm waking up the Boodle to say bon voyage to AFan,TFan, and Dreamer who may not get this message until landing in Hong Kong. We flyover foreigners will miss you. You've taught us a lot so join us again soon with reports from Asia. Thanks for keeping us punctuationally correct. Sorry if that's not a word, but you know what I mean.

I'm glad that NASA PAO resigned (or was let go.) He's got a lot to learn but has created quite a history about himself already.

Great stories about families. I could tell a few but am just dropping by for a moment.
Glad we have established that the Kit and Kaboodle are legitimate.

On to see a replay of the Opening Ceremonies. Critique later.


Posted by: boondocklurker | February 11, 2006 4:53 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know where Sara is? I haven't seen anything from her in awhile. Does she still come by?

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 11, 2006 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Luciano was in the opening ceremony? I thought it was all old disco. Now i'm sorry to have missed it - for Pavarotti, not for the disco.

In any event, it was the Borowitz Report furnished by kbertocci, that made my day. I read it to a kid working on the house (Kid=38 y/o carpenter/handyman) and he later heard it on his radio from a talk program that had picked it up. He came back inside and said "It's true, that story about kicking a guy off the team because he wasn't sick or anything, I just heard it on the radio." Thus do legends enter and grow within the human milieu. Joseph Campbell would be proud.

BTW, here in the rural south I have learned to read to audiences, particularly political bodies. As a consultant to small, local governments, I discovered that the incidence of illiteracy in elected officials is astonishingly high, so always read documents to city councils or county commissions to be sure they "get it." I should add that the lack of ability to read does not necessarily affect the ability to think - and that some of the most natively intelligent people i've met, could not read or write.

So, reading the Borowitz Report (between gales of laughter) to the kid was a safeguard in a part of the country where an elementary school reading level appears to be the norm. And I am not kidding about that.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 11, 2006 6:21 AM | Report abuse

P.S. If a spouse or child has been reading this boodle to some of our bloggers, I am, again, not surprised.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 11, 2006 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Bayou Self: "We're a pretty unabridged bunch..."

You can say that again!!

Thanks for sleuthing out "kaboodle"--one source I found said "most dictionaries list the spelling as 'caboodle'" so that was a clue that SOMEWHERE there was a dictionary with the k spelling. But I would still use the American Heritage dictionary as my standard, with the Oxford Unabridged for British English (I'll try to check that one when I go to the library today).

Posted by: kbertocci | February 11, 2006 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm seeing things...but I'm almost positive the Lonemule is in one of the BPH photos - just behind Tim!

I can't say if it is the "real" Lonemule - but it kind of explains why everyone is holding up two "mule ears".

Posted by: ot | February 11, 2006 7:05 AM | Report abuse

ot, I am not fooled. Clearly, that is Curmudgeon in costume.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 11, 2006 7:25 AM | Report abuse

The resolution of this photo may require spectrographic analysis for verification, but I think I detect directly in front of A-fan, a glass of CHIANTI. And with Cur missing......I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 11, 2006 7:32 AM | Report abuse

FYI, ot, I have titled this version of the group "A Midwinter Night's Dream." - subtitled "The boodle does make fools of us all," with apologies to Bill S.

Posted by: Shiloh | February 11, 2006 7:45 AM | Report abuse

OK, this is the perfect place for my photo link, because it's at the VERY BOTTOM of a caboodle and Joel has posted a new kit already.

TBG sent me the sign, and I have my own porch, so now I'm a virtual BPH'er.

If you are an out-of-towner who would like to hold the actual sign in your hands and post a photo, email me an address to mail it to.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 11, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: Anonymous | February 11, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

kbreader, sigh, What a wonderful picture with hibiscus and bougainvillea maybe? in the background. I am a third generation Floridian temporarily living in CT awaiting a blizzard this weekend. I remember guava and mango trees in the yard and fresh Barbados Cherry juice for breakfast, thanks for the memories!

Posted by: newkid | February 11, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | February 11, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

ET, ScienceTim, thanks for the disco explanation. I still think it was a bad, bad musical choice. Pavarotti was on at the end, on a fabulous set meant to look like La Scala (I imagine). He sang a famous aria, the name of which escapes me at the moment (oh, but I can reel off those disco tunes!).

There was a Ferrari, too, somewhere in the middle...the middle of the ceremony, not the middle of the aria...

kbertocci, great picture! Love the shirt. I haven't had a good picture of me since the mid 70's, or I'd take you up on your offer. Thanks for holding the sign right side up.

Cassandra, Sara drops in occasionally. She's busy with wedding plans, work, and school. We miss her too.

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 11, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

v is inspired by the V_________ Chronicles.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 11, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, that is excellent! Thanks for the photo. I hope you get some takers on your offer. Welcome to the BPH. We should print that pic out and have it on the table at our next one.

Posted by: pj | February 11, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

yeah, sharing and caring.......

Posted by: here and now | February 11, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I found your article very timely in my life as my Mom and I are finally coming to a point in time where we are learning about one another as adults. It took a lot of courage on my part to bring it to this though.

As for comments I've read about parenting like our parents, I took it so far to the opposite side that my oldest daughter felt more like a friend and caregiver than a daughter who had a mother she could depend upon as she reached 18. Right now, she is a college freshman and we are having to learn who we AREN'T.

Posted by: Barbara | February 11, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

pj, please have pity on me and do not print the picture. Thank you.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 11, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I promise I won't print your picture. We'll just write your handle on a piece of paper and have that name tag serve as a stand-in for you. How does that sound?

Posted by: pj | February 11, 2006 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Great picture kpertocci. I like the fact your blouse/shirt matches the flowers. Beautiful! Thanks for doing the T-Shirts, too. I'll take mine up fishing in June to show the wildlife. That green is perfect.
Thanks for the offer about the pictures. I don't do digital or have a porch but enjoy seeing the rest of you.


Posted by: boondocklurker | February 12, 2006 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Knowing Your Parents...Begins with uniting families...

A story to tell our kids! Legal Permanent Residents of the United States are in a uniquely disadvantaged situation of not being able to be united with their spouses:
• Visitors and non-immigrants coming to the US on temporary visas for work, business or studies (including on H1, L1, B, and F1 visas) can sponsor their dependant spouses to travel along with them.

• American Citizens can sponsor their spouses to come to the US in non-immigrant status and then convert to an immigrant status

The issue of Lawful Permanent Residents torn from their families for years is not a new problem. For instance HR1823 and HR4448 are currently in the US congress, with the Judiciary committee, but remain unnoticed by most lawmakers. The proposal for reviving the visa is based on something that has little controversy
-- family unity -- but passing a bill into law is not a small matter.

The author blogs his views on

Posted by: Knowing Your Parents: Begins with uniting families?! | February 18, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: abc | February 20, 2006 7:05 PM | Report abuse

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