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Feeling Solstitial

I just came from outside and it's getting VERY solstitial out there. It's gloomy, drab, shadowless, with a tight lid of clouds. But you can't help but dance a jig at the thought that we're turning things around tonight, at approximately 7:22 p.m. EST, when, as any astronomer can tell you, the leading edge of the Earth breaks the circumequinoctial plane and the sun reaches the nadir of its declination, or "tilt." I know, some of that's a bit technical, but the point is, the sun will stop sinking in the sky and will start rising and beaming more daylight onto the Earth the moment we officially pass the solstice. How will I celebrate? The way I always do: by using the phrase "obliquity of the ecliptic" with complete abandon.

Also "Milankovitch cycles."

--

Big dino news today, from Science:

"Fossils of a giant Sauropod, found in Teruel, Spain, reveal that Europe was home to giant dinosaurs in the Late Jurassic period -- about 150 million years ago. Giant dinosaurs have previously been found mainly in the New World and Africa. This dinosaur, called Turiasaurus riodevensis, may have been the most massive terrestrial animal in Europe. It weighed in at between 40 to 48 tons. Its humerus, the long bone in the foreleg that runs from the shoulder to the elbow, is as large as an adult human. The claw of the first digit of its pes, or hoof, is the size of an American football."

I know what you're thinking: It's the biggest dinosaur this side of NATO.

[Thanks to the miracle of Google we see a 2004 story on the discovery (talk about breaking the news embargo!) that notes that there is a surrounding dinosaur theme park --Dinopolis!

"...its discoverers hope it will boost interest and funds, partly through raising the profile of Teruel's dinosaur theme park, Dinopolis. The Disney-like songs blaring from loudspeakers lining the route to the entrance belie the seriousness of the investigations the park helps support but give some taste of a complex that aims to entertain as much as educate."]


--

Also from our friends at the journal Science, a reminder that sometimes there IS such a thing as good news (trust me you will feel better when you read this):

"Science's Breakthrough of the Year: The Poincare Theorem Solved: In 2006, researchers closed a major chapter in mathematics, reaching a consensus that the elusive Poincare Conjecture, which deals with abstract shapes in three-dimensional space, had finally been solved....

"The Poincare Conjecture is part of a branch of mathematics called topology, informally known as "rubber sheet geometry" because it involves surfaces that can undergo arbitrary amounts of stretching. The conjecture, proposed in 1904 by Henri Poincare, describes a test for showing that a space is equivalent to a "hypersphere," the three-dimensional surface of a four-dimensional ball.

"In 2002, Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman, who had been working mostly incommunicado for seven years [other than the DON'T DISTRACT ME!!!!! sign on his office door--JA], posted on the Internet the first of three papers that outlined a proof of Poincare's conjecture as part of an even more ambitious result. But, after a visit to the United States in 2003, the reclusive mathematician returned to Russia and stopped replying to phone calls and emails [and cut back on blogging to just one post a day--JA]. By 2006, the others finally caught up. Three separate teams wrote papers that filled in key missing details of Perelman's proof, and there was little doubt among his colleagues that he had solved the famous problem."

Hypersphere it is, then.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 21, 2006; 2:33 PM ET
 
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Comments

Me too, Joel. I get positively boring on the obliquity of the ecliptic.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

It's always about the obliquity of the ecliptic with you, isn't it?

Posted by: TBG | December 21, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

You mean we have reached 23.45 degrees of declination! Hoorah! Par-TAY! In just a few months my dog and I will be taking our morning walk in daylight again only to have those DST fanatics take it back.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 21, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I think obliqueness is a virtue.

Speaking of fossils (not, Mudge, I'll get back to him shortly), I noted this prehistoric hydra yesterday:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10827-twoheaded-lizard-spied-in-a-fossil.html

And shouldn't that wild abandon best be celebrated at Stonehenge (I'm leaving the Spinal Tap reference to mig-, er, the highly vertically challenged - out)?

bc

Posted by: bc | December 21, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Perelman drop off the face of the Earth, even after the announcement that is proof ahd been held up?

Reclusive, invisible even . . .

There's a discrepancy in time between the article on the solstice I posted in the last boodle (7:22PM EST) and the new kit (7:48PM EST). Wonder what that's all about?

I bet it's a nice crowd at Stone Henge this evening . . .

dmd -- thanks so much for the kd land link. I just put her CD in my shopping cart and amazon. Just exquisite.

So much good music on the boodle today.

Posted by: yeti overlord | December 21, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

>Its humerus, the long bone in the foreleg that runs from the shoulder to the elbow, is as large as an adult human.

Imagine the size of dino kitty-litter boxes!

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 21, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

scc: K.D. LANG

Posted by: yeti overlord | December 21, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

right, 7:22...i meant to, um, check that.

Posted by: achenbach | December 21, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

It's getting solstitial all right, it's darkening outside and it is not a quarter to four yet.

The NY times had an interesting article on the Poincaré/Perelman subject and toponomy back in August. It is still vailable at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/15/science/15math.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5088&en=dd402d4903387a3f&ex=1313294400&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 21, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Blah blah blah... a while back, Chinese mathematician Shing-Tung Yau was challenging Perelman's work. I guess Shing-Tung Yau has thrown in the towel. Blah. Read all about it. For Yau, it was to be a triumph for China: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060828fa_fact2

Posted by: Dave | December 21, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Is there something about the soltice that works like a full moon and makes you unable to focus or stay on topic. OK just look for an excuse for my normal behaviour.

Here is an opportunity to laugh at our leader for a change. One of the issues people had with him (non-supporters) is how stiff, dull and conservative he is, apparently he does not see any need to loosen up, his wife on the other hand seems like a hoot.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/odd_harper_motorbike_dc

Posted by: dmd | December 21, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I have it! I'll pitch a movie concept-- Being Munhil Milankovitch. You get to see him from the inside out as he works on those wonderous tilts, perturbations, trials and tribulations. I see Dustin Hoffman in the lead, as a somewhat rumpled adjunct professor of physics at a small liberal arts college in the northwest. Yeah, that's the ticket. Tell my people to call their people.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 21, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I just finished the GRE and was ticked at how I managed to slide 120 points in the verbal component from when I last took the GRE. The headache from the prehistoric and fatigue didn't seem to be a good excuse.

I have to face it. I am senile. I am brain damaged. I may graduate from school and the minute I inhale that sheepskin, I instantly become a doddering wreck that very day, before I even turn 40.

Hmm, I just realized--I have been spending the last 6 year reading discoveries described in scientific drivel, and hanging out with ESL speakers.
And that the heaviest books I'd been reading were Harry Potter and the Incredible Tome of Bonecrushing Doom.

Alas, I was not asked to find antonyms on words such as Expellarimo!" or
"Protegus!"

Even mad boodling could not reverse the repeated scarring on my brain and soul from witnessing the daily torture of the English language.

I tried, though. You all know I did.

To Joel's column-- the solistice is the time of year when squirrels focus on counting their nuts and we count the hours to Christmas. No wonder I did well on the quantatitve section.

Overall, I don't think any grad school will take a look at it and chuck my application out. The analytic writing section was a lot like boodling, except that I had to stay on-topic. I THINK I did.

But I am still grieving for that lost perfect verbal score on the GRE.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 21, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

SCC: The prehistoric monitor... and fatigue (the verbal came near the end-- did the writing first, then math, then verbal...)

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 21, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod... you can always say "I got a perfect verbal score on the GRE." You just don't have to mention that the second time you took it you did not. You still accomplished it.

Remember the NewsRadio episode when Lisa makes Dave take the SAT with her? He ends up spending all night playing the same videogame he stayed up all night playing in high school the night before the SATs.

Posted by: TBG | December 21, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

The New Yorker had that snarky story on Perelman.

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060828fa_fact2

For some reason, I did nicely on the GRE verbal, but back then the top of the scale was so high that even a really, really good score was well below perfect. In any case, I don't think anyone cared much about the verbal. Math and biology counted.

Medicine Bow, in Wyoming's dinosaur country (regrettably bypassed by the infamous "Snow Chi Minh Trail" segment of the Interstate) had a bar named the Diplodocus, "The Dips" for short.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 21, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I missed Dave's posting of the New Yorker story. So much for retaining any verbal acuity.

Prehistoric monitor lizards, Wilbrod?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 21, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Iguana kill those prehistoric monitor lizards, Dave. They keep spitting water in my eye.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 21, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Got home from work today to discover the eldest is now sick, (and Shrieking she is worried she won't be able to go to school tommorrow). Then got a call from my brother the Dad's angiogram showed almost complete blockage in one valve. He will undergo surgery in the next day or so. I feel really bad for him what would have been a lonely Christmas will be much more so in hospital.

Quite fitting for the soltice the darkest day of the year, then it gets lighter right?

Wilbrod I am sure you did well enough to blow away those reviewing the tests - best of luck.

Posted by: dmd | December 21, 2006 5:35 PM | Report abuse

dmd... your dad's fortunate they found the blockage and can do something about it. Good luck with everything.. and YES.. things are getting brighter. Can't you just feel it? (Yeah, right!)

Tell the little one Happy Birthday and I hope you are all feeling better soon.

TBG

Posted by: TBG | December 21, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I feeling a little obtuse about the obliquity of the ecliptic today. And I am a little concerned about massive extraterrestrial animals in Europe.

Posted by: lurkgenieer | December 21, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

and obtuse about spelling my handle and about inserting "am" after I!

Posted by: lurkgineer | December 21, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

The Winter Solstice is my second-favorite day of celestial significance. (The first being the Autumnal Equinox, mostly because it is such fun to say.) I find that wishing random strangers an enthusiastic "Happy Solstice!" avoids that whole "Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas" conundrum, even if a few people do place a protective arm around their children.

Indeed, my friend Steve and I are so enthusiastic about the 21st of December that after we implement our Secret Plan for World Domination it shall become an official holiday. But until that Glorious Moment, I hope that everyone still decides to pause and cherish this unique day.

For the Winter Solstice is much like that moment on a roller coaster just before you reach the first hill - quiet, calm, but tinged with panic. You know that it is far too late to do anything productive. You know there is no escape. You realize that in a few seconds you will be trapped with a bunch of screaming children on an accelerating ride through the holidays with no respite until you arrive, spent, overwhelmed, and vaguely nauseated at the New Year.

So I say Happy Solstice to all. May the blessings of the Oblique Elliptic be with you and your families.

(But let's just keep this whole "Secret Plan" business to ourselves.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 21, 2006 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Joel:

Not sure what the sentence "the sun will stop sinking in the sky and will start rising and beaming more daylight onto the Earth the moment we officially pass the solstice" really means anyway since it seems to be missing something after "start rising," but in case the intended meaning is that "the sun will start rising earlier the moment we officially pass the solstice," that is incorrect.

That will not happen before January 11:

http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=263&month=12&year=2006&obj=sun&afl=-11&day=1

and:

http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=263&month=1&year=2007&obj=sun&afl=-11&day=1

As far as the sun "sinking" later, it happened back on Dec 7 (or maybe Dec 8, I'm not sure)

The "beaming more daylight" part is correct, though.

Merry Xmas and happy holidays to all.

Posted by: superfrenchie | December 21, 2006 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I think I am going to jump on that marketing opportunity. Just think of all the people who will be replacing their Merry Christmas banners with Happy Solstice. I'm gonna be rich!

Wilbord, don't worry about your GRE score. Its all past tense now.

Umm, what is a GRE? After all this hanging on a petard all day, I'm pretty exhausted and not thinking clearly.

Posted by: dr | December 21, 2006 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Same same super! Merry Christmas and a happy Holiday season.

Posted by: dr | December 21, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Happy Festivus! She said, airing a grievance: A post from [censored]???

Posted by: maggie o'd | December 21, 2006 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Graduate Record Exam, dr. I decided to be an graduate student ASAP instead of just being an unemployed/marginally employed bum.

I'm going places, baby! Unfortunately it's not to sunny climes, the opposite actually.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 21, 2006 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Since m'od brought up Festivus: Discussion today on the real origins. I think a Festivus party is in order. I'll bring the medallions of ferret.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2006/12/19/DI2006121900478.html

Posted by: dbG | December 21, 2006 7:59 PM | Report abuse

dbG:

I'm happy to join you. I have myriad grievances, starting with Arbusto, Iraq, bad knees, and on and on and on...

Posted by: maggie o'd | December 21, 2006 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Actually, from reading the discussion, it's a pretty good idea! I'm having people in on New Year's Eve, and I think a theme has emerged. I particularly like that Festivus can be any day. Where are you mo'd?

Anyone else buy themselves Christmas presents? At least I did it after I bought/made everyone else's, which meant I had to order them overnighted. 2 Pelikan pens, each to replace one I'd broken in the past few years. One clear demonstrator, one calligraphy pen (I'm not a calligrapher, but they're a good size for my hand). When I began buying Pelikans in 1977, the same model which cost $99 on sale today was $17.

Now to go get the tree!

Posted by: dbG | December 21, 2006 8:14 PM | Report abuse

We have crossed the line into the dark of winter. Brrrr! I need to slip on my down jacket, which is not to be confused with yello's jkt. But I digress. Just 60 days or so until spring training starts, though. So things can't be that bad, can they?

Happy birthday, TBG! Between us we have the solstices covered. I guess I'm six months older than you. I'll let you know what it's like as we approach geezerhood. Got your AARP card invitation yet?

Posted by: pj | December 21, 2006 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Festivus, I've put up the Pole and am ready for some Feats of Strength.

Reposted from very late in the previous boodle:

Mudgitoville
(apologies to Jimmy Buffett)

Nibblin' on fruitcake,
watchin' the girls shake;
All my appendages
covered with oil.
Boodlin' something
on this crazy pool swing.

Smell my red flesh
Well it's beginnin' to broil.

Wasted away again
in Mo' Mojitoville
(mo' mojitos!),
Lookin' for mint and sugar
but found the damn salt.

Some people claim
that Senor Arbusto's to blame,
But I'm told
it's nobody's fault.

I won't tell the reason,
We've spent Christmas season
With nothing to show
but this Mo Dowd tattoo.

But it's a real beauty,
That redheaded cutie,
how it got back there
I haven't a clue.

Wasted away again
in Mo' Mojitoville,
(mo mojitos! Woooo!)
Lookin' for mint and sugar
but found the damn salt.
Some people claim
that I ain't got no shame,
Now I write, -
hell it could be my fording fault.

I blew out my new thong,
Dancin' to that "Louie Lou-ay" song,

Security dragged me
and the Mrs. back home
But there's rum there - I'm a winner,
Swiped sugar packets at dinner
For that minty concoction
that gets me real gone.
(bye-bye!)

Wasted away again
in Mo' Mojitoville
(mo' mohitos! Yeah!)
People call me
a grumpy old salt.
(and I deserve it!)
Some people claim
that I ain't got no shame,
But I write,
"It's my own fording fault."
Yes, and some people claim
that I ain't got no shame

And I know
it's my own fording fault!

******
Well, ya hadta be there, as they say.

bc


Posted by: bc | December 21, 2006 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Bravo bc! Thanks for reposting - I hadn't gotten to the back of the last Boodle. I think I like your version better. It's more, you know, personal to my imaginary experience.

Everything is calming down here. Remaining G*****n Animals seem happy to spend most of their days and nights crated until I figure out what to do with the fence; Ivansgrandma is home from surgery (far from here); the Boy and Guest Boy are each on a separate computer playing World of Warcraft together; and I have a lovely glass of red wine, chilled to 64 degrees (room temperature, folks), and the Boodle.
Happy Winter Solstice, all!

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 21, 2006 8:45 PM | Report abuse

>Indeed, my friend Steve and I are so enthusiastic about the 21st of December that after we implement our Secret Plan for World Domination

RDP, I just knew you had one of those. Good luck with it.

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 21, 2006 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I've killed it. Boodlecide. A fitting end to the week, except the week isn't over. Today the Boy was cheerily singing, "A homicidal maniac is coming to our house." I was slightly relieved to have to remind him what "homicidal" meant, though he didn't change the song afterwards.

I know. You're all out celebrating the Solstice. Laissez le bon temps roulez!

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 21, 2006 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Superfrenchie! Long time no boodle! Merry Christmas to you!

dbG, I bought myself a new winter jacket and a little cellphone/purse thing to carry when I walk. I figured I needed them and nobody else would do it!

Excellent, bc, just excellent!

Tomorrow morning I get up and go to work for the very last time. I've been too busy to think about it much. A significant life transition. I hope I come through okay; you folks may have to hold my hand.

Posted by: Slyness | December 21, 2006 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness, Error, and my apologies for suggesting the Boodle was dead at my hand when you were conducting your daring rescue. I didn't comment earlier about RD's Secret Plan because he always gets in a snit when I mention obvious Secret Plan material. I mean, if he wants to let the cat out of the bag himself, under the influence of a warm Solstice-induced glow, that is his business. Far be it from me to divulge confidential material.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 21, 2006 9:16 PM | Report abuse

The boodle wasn't dead, just resting.

Ironically this is what Mudge said when they tried to bury him alive after he took a nap in a street while passing through Florence when it was full of Black Death hysteria. "I'm not dead, just resting, dam*it!"

I hear he had to elbow quite a few people to make his point before beating a hasty retreat. His stories of those crazy Florentines later provided the inspiration for the Decameron.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 21, 2006 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, you'll go through euphoria, and then after a week or two, you may experience mild withdrawal symptoms which you may or may not be tempted to feed by visiting your workplace. If you're wise you'll have picked something to do to keep yourself busy by the time the withdrawal symptoms hit.

We'll be here to remind you there are occasionally more important things than work, Slyness.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 21, 2006 9:28 PM | Report abuse

No, Ivansmom... not all Boodlers are out celebrating the solstice. At least not this one. The $olstice, maybe, but nothing to do with the Earth's tilt or "ecliptic obliquity" (unless catastrophic spendipity counts).

Oooh... I just invented a word.

"spendipity" is MINE I say.... MINE!

Yes, "Last Minute Man" has transmogrified into "Last Few Days Man" and is as done with his Christmas shopping as he can be. I usually drag things out until Christmas Eve, but I actually had the time and money at the same time this year (and Mrs. Toon agreed to wrap everything) so I did my shopping early.

All I know is that I severely strained my walletus and seem to have lost my humerus completely.

There better be some damn good cookies left out for "Santa" (and a double-shot of Irish to wash down the milk) or nobody's gettin' nuttin'...

Posted by: martooni | December 21, 2006 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I'm depending on you to get me through it! I know that I will only be physically separated from the workplace, as Hubby still works there and I will certainly hear everything that goes on.

Grad school for you? Good for you! Whatacha gonna study?

Posted by: Slyness | December 21, 2006 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Just got a chance to catch up on the last boodle. Sci. Tim and RDP, your thoughts on Feynmann were interesting. I guess I just thought I wasn't smart enough to understand the "by" books. Still, the guy had a love of life and intellectual exploration and those are two things if I could drill into the kids I would consider myself lucky.

Posted by: bill everything | December 21, 2006 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Just curious...

Does celebrating the solstice *have* to involve getting naked in a field, slathering yourself in peanut butter and cavorting with barnyard animals?

Y'see... I just got this unsolicited email I'm not too sure about, but it does sound interesting. And it's pretty darn cold outside.

Posted by: martooni | December 21, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Was looking at my quotes of the day earlier and saw this quote,

Philosophers say a great deal about what is absolutely necessary for science, and it is always, so far as one can see, rather naive, and probably wrong.
- Richard Feynman

Is that the same person the boodlers were speaking of earlier? Interesting coincidence if it was.

Another update, we have heard from my Dad's surgeon and my dad is VERY lucky to be alive currently, the doctor commented he was surprised the heart was even getting enough blood. They weighed the merits of waiting till his Plavix left his system or risking operating with the Plavix (sp) and decided on the surgery as they were worried waiting was just too dangerous.

Now if you heard my Dad you would not believe he is in grave danger, he joked to me that he is "hanging on by a thread" - I love that man.

Please good thoughts for us tomorrow.

TBG - have a fantastic birthday tomorrow and thanks for you thoughts. Hope your days is as full of joy as my little ones was today.

Martooni, around here celebrating the solitice involves a labrinth in the main park, white gowns and tamborines - possibly a coat chilly here tonight as well.

Posted by: dmd | December 21, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Good thoughts to you and your dad, dmd. Nothing but good thoughts.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 21, 2006 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks RD, sometimes you just have to believe in miracles (or near miracles) and that is where I am putting my faith right now.

Posted by: dmd | December 21, 2006 10:03 PM | Report abuse

dmd, your dad is in my prayers tonight.

Posted by: Slyness | December 21, 2006 10:07 PM | Report abuse

It's a working interdisciplinary research Ph.D. program in neuroscience.

I thought I'd work on being more gnomic, and it actually will utilize some hard-earned skills I developed in "real life", too.

Must... get... used... to... using... brain... again.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 21, 2006 10:17 PM | Report abuse

dmd, good thoughts, best wishes, bonne chance to your dad and you. In a way, this discovery is a rich Christmas gift, even if it leads to a lonely Christmas day.

Slyness, you can do it. We'll be with you in the coming weeks as you get used to the change. Remember, it is okay to be overcome with emotion tomorrow, and even to cry. However, under NO circumstances should you make a speech in which you say, "I've enjoyed working with some of you very much." Take it from me, that's just not a good turn of phrase under the circumstances.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 21, 2006 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Catching up --

(a) My favorite science journalist is John McPhee when he's writing about earth sciences, which I studied long ago.

(b) WaPo home page has divided the part at the upper-left (just under the picture to grab attention) that would once have been called Editorials into two tabs: "On Faith & Post Global" and "Today in Opinions". Makes me wonder two things: Is WaPo especially interested in faith, or is this more something they think their readers like to read? and, How is it determined which of the two tabs is on top when I go to the page? I usually have to click to get the one I'm interested in.

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 21, 2006 10:22 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I am thinking of your and your dad. My son-in-law is a cardio thoracic surgeon, and I had some stents placed (but not by him) earlier in the year, and the things they can do today are almost magical. Think good thoughts, I will too.

Posted by: nellie | December 21, 2006 10:34 PM | Report abuse

What about a long speech:

"In the centuries I've worked here, I've grown from a tadpole to a wise guru. For many years I was underappreciated, underpaid, and unrespected. STill, I bore every day with a smile and self-restraint of steel. You will never know how many people I have wanted to punch out over the years. You also will never fully appreciate how few of you I have loved over the years. This job has been food, shelter, and clothing to me. Now, I go to a brave new world of retirement, where I will sleep on hammocks all day and complain about kids on my lawn, while you grind away your healthiest, youngest year giving your all to this job. Please don't think about me as you carry on with life, for I will not be thinking of you as well."

Okay, maybe that is NOT the best speech to actually speak out aloud.

But I know a lot of people have made this speech deep within their hearts as they smiled and said "yes, thank you, yes, I'll miss you too, " at their retirement parties.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 21, 2006 10:37 PM | Report abuse

slyness, you need some big, time consuming projects, such as making (or perhaps re-making) the photo albums. Things that make you think as you work. You also need some new music to listen to while you put those little gummed corners on the pictures. And maybe some tea in a new flavor to drink?

I found I was too restless when I stopped working to just sit and read, but the project helped a lot.

Posted by: nellei | December 21, 2006 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Slyness... I think you should steal a phrase from Tolkien for your Last Day (Bilbo's bit just before he explaforated):

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

Let them mull over that one for a bit. Your Hubby can report back with who finally decided to take it as an offense or a compliment.

(and "explaforated" is another new coinage that's MINE ALL MINE!)

(it's a cross between "exploded" and "evaporated", for anyone who will be reporting this to Webster)

;-)

Posted by: martooni | December 21, 2006 10:39 PM | Report abuse

bc -- truly great parody.

Posted by: nellie | December 21, 2006 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom: //Slyness, you can do it. We'll be with you in the coming weeks as you get used to the change. //

Jealous as h@11, but we'll be with you.

Slyness, get in a spendipity (thanks, martooni) mood and keep going.

dmd, thinking good thoughts about your dad.

TBG, how to celebrate?

Posted by: dbG | December 21, 2006 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Hah! Martooni, that was on Bilbo's Eleventy-leventh birthday, wasn't it?

Speaking of birthdays, since in the east it is almost tomorrow but still today, I wish both TBG and dmdsdottir (poor sick baby) a wonderful birthday.

I'll bet dmd's little girl doesn't know she's a character from the Icelandic sagas. And yet it explains so much about growing up in Canada, doesn't it?

dmd, I'm also sending thoughts (Roo's strengthening medicine) for the best possible outcome for your Dad.

Yoki Sallisdottir

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2006 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of how I do so love Yoki's Winnie-the-pooh references, I am reminded:

I was never much into Winnie the Pooh, in spite of having a best friend who was unabashed in her fondness for A.A. Milne...until I read the Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet. It was then I found the name for a lot of my perspectives on life-- Taoism.

And those songs are cute. I can see why they'd appeal to somebody enduring long Canuckstani winters, especially this one:

(Tiddly Pom)
The more it goes
(Tiddly Pom)
The more it goes
(Tiddly Pom)
On snowing.

And nobody knows
(Tiddly Pom)
How cold my toes
(Tiddly Pom)
How cold my toes
(Tiddly Pom)
Are growing.

The more it snows
(Tiddly Pom)
The more it goes
(Tiddly Pom)
The more it goes
(Tiddly Pom)
On snowing.

And nobody knows
(Tiddly Pom)
How gold my toes
(Tiddly Pom)
How cold my toes
(Tiddly Pom)
Are growing.

http://www.winniethepooh.co.uk/storiesandpoems.html



Posted by: Wilbrod | December 21, 2006 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, the hums are deathless.

Posted by: Yoki | December 21, 2006 11:16 PM | Report abuse

dmd, hope your dad's surgery goes well and he recovers soon. Sounds like a tough guy. And I hope your kids feel better soon too.

TBG, Happy B-day! I know you'll have a time!

Slyness, congrats. Most everyone I know has enjoyed retirement immensely. I am looking forward to it - unfortunately, it's a long way off. So no complaining! You have a long reading list, movies to see, places to go, Kits to boodle.

dbG, the older I get, the more I buy for myself while ostensibly Christmas shopping. I bought a rice pearl necklace at a holiday bazaar, a polar fleece jacket, CD's and DVD's - and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. Oh, I bought myself a Cream Tshirt while checking the status of The Band Tshirt I bought for my sister. Shopping online is just too easy.

mo, thanks for thinking of me during your power outage. I found myself remembering when kbertocci lost power for 3 *weeks* or something with the hurricane. And lots of people still don't have power.

Joyeux Noel, SF! And to all the boodlers past and present, lurking and not so much.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 21, 2006 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Being a not-so-reluctant captive in a "Pooh" household, all I can say is that I owe a great debt of gratitude to A. A. Milne.

Now it's time to figure out how to work in all the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood, Handy Manny, Sesame Street, Blues Clues, The Backyardigans, etc. into a single "night-night" story (I've figured out that a party of some sort is sufficient, as long as I don't forget to mention every single character from every single "universe" as an attendee).

Oh... and Santa Claus, Rudolph, the "Bumble" and every Elf ever mentioned by name in a Rankin-Bass Christmas special must also be included, otherwise Little Bean will dress me down in no uncertain terms. "How could you forget HERMIE!?"

I'm damned to failure, but I love it. :-)

Posted by: martooni | December 21, 2006 11:32 PM | Report abuse

At one point in the Boy's extreme youth we had a serial story involving a group of animals, each bearing an alphabetical name. Anaximander the Aardvaark, or Polonius the Panther, for instance. Each story itself was only a few minutes long, but was preceded by a recitation of the animals involved, which grew daily. I was relieved when the Boy's interests moved on, as I proved unequal to the challenge of each name every night.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 21, 2006 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I usually celebrate the soltice with a bon fire,but it is supposed to rain all day and night friday.So the fire may have to be in my woodstove.

note to everyone......Old Christmas trees are great bonfire material

Enjoy your night

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 22, 2006 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Dmd, it sounds like you have a lot going on in your family, I will pray for good things with all of them.

TBG, happy, happy, birthday, and many, many, more.

superfrenchie, nice to hear from you, and I hope your Xmas is merry, and a good New Year.

As usual this is not a kit that I understand that well, but it is learning. Had to go to the dictionary to look up the word. I think that pretty much sums up my understanding.

bc, I read your rant under the Sagan kit, and I want you to know that I for one don't feel that guys are "brainless". I think sometimes guys just forget, their interest probably being more into "macho", do you think?

Yesterday the g-girl and I did absolutely nothing after washing clothes. We just watched TV, and just hung out together. I know when she leaves after Xmas, I'm going to miss her terribly.

Slyness, I think you might go through some withdrawl, but just find something you like to do, and hang with it. Helping others always helps me, perhaps it will do the same for you. If nothing else works, email me.

Good morning, Mudge, Error, and Nani.

A good day is hoped for all. Prayers have been said this morning, and blessings sought for one and all. I do hope that your Christmas is so very merry, and that the New Year is yours in every good and true way. And that in all of it, you and I come to know that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Peace, joy, and love most of all.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 22, 2006 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Dmd, it sounds like you have a lot going on in your family, I will pray for good things with all of them.

TBG, happy, happy, birthday, and many, many, more.

superfrenchie, nice to hear from you, and I hope your Xmas is merry, and a good New Year.

As usual this is not a kit that I understand that well, but it is learning. Had to go to the dictionary to look up the word. I think that pretty much sums up my understanding.

bc, I read your rant under the Sagan kit, and I want you to know that I for one don't feel that guys are "brainless". I think sometimes guys just forget, their interest probably being more into "macho", do you think?

Yesterday the g-girl and I did absolutely nothing after washing clothes. We just watched TV, and just hung out together. I know when she leaves after Xmas, I'm going to miss her terribly.

Slyness, I think you might go through some withdrawl, but just find something you like to do, and hang with it. Helping others always helps me, perhaps it will do the same for you. If nothing else works, email me.

Good morning, Mudge, Error, and Nani.

A good day is hoped for all. Prayers have been said this morning, and blessings sought for one and all. I do hope that your Christmas is so very merry, and that the New Year is yours in every good and true way. And that in all of it, you and I come to know that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Peace, joy, and love most of all.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 22, 2006 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. I posted a comment but the comment monster ate it. I hope your day is good, and that Xmas shopping is done.

Good to hear from you, superfrenchie.
Happy birthday, TBG.

Dmd, I hope you and family have a good outcome in all of the thing you are going through now.

And remember everyone that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 22, 2006 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' Cassandra (and all you wild and crazy Boodlers)...

Am I in a good mood this morning? Hmmm.... Let's see (not necessarily in order of importance/gravity):

1. It's Friday.
2. Today is our "Christmas Party", which means our tiny little office will shut down at 12:00 so we can pig out on shrimp cocktail and whatever else the boss's wife got on sale at Sam's Club.
3. I get out of jail/work at 1:00
4. I don't have to even *think* about work until Tuesday morning at 6:30.
5. Cassandra posted her daily blessing (right back at ya, Cass... I'm feeling the spirit) :-)
6. I get to play with power tools this afternoon.
7. I just noticed there's a dirty word in the middle of "solstitial" and it happens to be one of my favorites.
8. Coffee tastes soooooo good.
9. A customer sent us some baklava yesterday, which I plan on diving into face-first in about 30 minutes.
10. Little Bean just requested and received her "sleepy morning snuggle".

All seems to be right with the world, so I guess it's safe to get out there and face it.

Peace out, my brothers and sisters...

Posted by: martooni | December 22, 2006 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, that's the perfect speech! Exactly the one I was thinking when I had to get up and say the other one...you know, about how nice it has been, in spite of the ups and downs...I look forward to hearing about your progress in neuroscience.

As Hubby's niece said when she was young, happy burstday, TBG! And many more happy ones!

dmd, waiting to hear that everything's going well with your dad...

nellie, I've got a box of old papers and photos from my mom's family that I've deliberately kept to go through when I have time to spend with them. I'm looking forward to it!

Morning, Cassandra! It's raining here, how about there? Hope you have a merry Christmas!

Posted by: slyness | December 22, 2006 7:44 AM | Report abuse

martooni, your day sounds perfect. Go for it!

Thanks to all for the birthday blessings. My son woke me up at 6:15 on his way out to school to wish me happy birthday. What more could I want?

Slyness... enjoy your last day. The funny thing is that you're young enough to have an entire new career now that this one is over!

Cassandra... days like that with the little ones are some of the best, aren't they? Those are the ones you'll remember and tell her about when she's older. Those are the days my kids miss when they talk about my mom. You're a lucky woman. Thanks for your kind blessings--today and every day.

Posted by: TBG | December 22, 2006 7:45 AM | Report abuse

dmd.... hope all goes well for your dad. He sounds like a great guy. Take care of him--and yourself, too!

Posted by: TBG | December 22, 2006 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday TBG. My mother once told me that being 49 marked the happiest three years of her life.

Quiet around here. I get to be acting lab chief till the end of the year, so let's hope it stays that way.

In the meantime I have an enormous stack of white papers to go through, which I have been studiously ignoring. Perhaps, if I am lucky, one of them will include the phrase "Poincare Conjecture." Or, if I am really lucky, "Turiasaurus riodevensis."

That could get interesting.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 22, 2006 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and martooni. When my son was a toddler we referred to him as "The Bumble." He was that kind of kid. Come to think of it, he still is.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 22, 2006 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod,
Good for you on the grad school process. I wonder if you will close by or far away. In cyberland, this does not matter too much.

I am still in gradual school -- since about 1985. Love it. Manage to make some money teaching. Don't think I will even finish the PhuD degree. Two committee members are DEAD.

You will be able to give Oliver Sachs a run for the neuro-writing prize.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 22, 2006 8:32 AM | Report abuse

RD, if you are very lucky, one of those papers will contain the words, "huge tracts of land."

Then you'll be set.

Posted by: TBG | December 22, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Greetings everyone, esp. dmd and slyness.

I'll post a new microkit in a little bit, and then we'll start throwing the various levers and switches and toggles that put the blog into quiescent mode until roughly jan. 2(though i'll still post my columns). With the coming year we'll add some exciting new features to the blog, such as, let's see, indented text.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 22, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

more Sarah...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDKnFu7Z4lI


O Little Town of Bethlehem


O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

Posted by: Anonymous | December 22, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Once again, TBG, happy birthday.

dmd, if you're out there this AM, please know you've got a lot of folks out here pulling for your Dad. And you, of course.

Cassandra, I suppose I should say that my ranting yesterday was a joke, a jest, a jape reaction to CP's amusing questions about Joel's hair. I was actually trying to mash up (is it OK to say that here?)stereotypes of men and women, and the expectations - sometimes unrealistic - we have of each other. I know you don't think men are brainless, but there is a stereotype held by both genders that the other might be lacking a little upstairs, if you know what I mean. A stereotype based on a lack of consideration of the differences between men and women, of course. And then I took it a little further with the whole thong bit, playing with the stereotypical fantasy of someone doing our bidding wearing very little clothing (the gardener, the pool guy, the waitress, etc.). Sorry for the exegesis, but I wanted you to know that I don't really feel that way, but something of why I said it.

slyness, have a wonderful day, and know that tomorrow you have time and the whole world laid out in front of you. From Arthur C Clarke:
"Then he waited, marshaling his thoughts and brooding over his still untested powers. For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next.

But he would think of something."

Enjoy your world.

bc


Posted by: bc | December 22, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

for Cassandra:

Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem. Dona eis requiem sempiternam.

("O sweet Lord Jesus, grant them rest; grant them everlasting rest.")

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U63tqUeJa0

Posted by: omni | December 22, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

DMD - Hope everything goes well.

TBG - Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday toooooo yoooooou...

Thanks, Martooni for the positive outlook dose this morning. I, on the other hand have started out with a challanging blind day. First, I dropped my bottle of blood pressure pills all over the floor, but what the heck, an extra 10 minutes on my knees today will probably do my soul more harm than good.

Then I accidently poured the boiling water from the kettle over my mug holding hand trying to make a cup of instant coffee. Oh well, it only burns for a few seconds or so, just pain, no permanent damage.

then I couldn't find the jar of instant coffee. Usually it falls off the counter top onto the floor. More time on my knees. Gave up after spilling the cat food. Wake the wife up for help at 4:30? That would really be asking for it, so no coffee.

I decided to practice Christmas music on my guitar while I had the song "I'll be Home for Christmas" tune cutie stuck in my head.

Tripped over the dog! Poor Remmie hasn't figured out that I'm blind yet. First time I heard him make a noise, but I still haven't heard him bark. I wunder what's up with that?
The morning bath/shower time got worse:

I think it's a crime to manufacture and sell both tooth paste and Preparation-H in the exact same style tube

Posted by: Pat | December 22, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

dmd, My thought are really with your dad. There are some good caring people who will have him in their hands over the next few days, and they are going to work their buns off, to get him back to you stronger than ever. In a world of comitted people, nurses in the heart critical care suites are some of the best. We talk about doctors a lot, but its the nurses that will be standing by every moment for him.

Posted by: dr | December 22, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

dmd, my dad went through about three of those and lived another 30 years. Tell him to hang in there, there's a lotta life left.

Morning Cassandra! Hope you're feeling well.

>Does celebrating the solstice *have* to involve getting naked in a field, slathering yourself in peanut butter and cavorting with barnyard animals?

martooni, I believe you can substitute olive oil for the peanut butter and milkmaids for the barnyard animals, but otherwise you've basically got it.

Your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 22, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Pat, you slay me, it is indeed a crime...

Posted by: omni | December 22, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Pat, you can always look at it as there is no where to go but up. Maybe?

Slyness, I hope that every moment is twice as good as you wish for.

Posted by: dr | December 22, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh my goodness. Boodlers never fail to surprise and delight me. bc knows The Imposters! I was pretty sure I was the only one to appreciate this work of surreal comic genius.

Posted by: Yoki | December 22, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey, the methane smells minty fresh around here.

Posted by: Pat | December 22, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you're just teasing us! Indented text, ha!

Posted by: slyness | December 22, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

A giant squid has been videotaped live. Then it died. Given their records on whale one wonders if the Japanese make all these effort on giant squid for ulterior culinary purposes. You can make an awful lot of sushi with an 18m (approx. 60 ft) squid.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061222.wbigsquid1222/BNStory/Science/home
Speaking of pictures Yoki, pictures of cat turds should appear in your mailbox later today or tomorrow. I took pictures of the cookie sampler, including the said Cat Turds in their Litter, I brought to work this morning so I will send you one after I get home from an afternoon of last-minute shopping. I expect we'll get release from our cubicles around 12:00-13:00 and I will be on vacation until Jan 03, yoo hoo!

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