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Frisky Geezers

[My article in today's Outlook section. I'll annotate tomorrow if possible (I also plan to go to the big shindig on the Hill).]

When Larry Craig was accused of playing footsie in a men's room, the ensuing political foofaraw tended to overshadow the interesting fact that the senator is 62 years old. That's not ancient, to be sure. But I've always thought that cruising the stalls of an airport loo was appropriate behavior only for a much younger man.

Were I to interview Craig, I would ask: Whatever happened to slowing down, sagging into a favorite chair every night and reading Popular Mechanics? Or woodworking in the basement? Patrolling the lawn for crab grass? Daydreaming about cutting the kids out of the will? And the rest of the traditional, older-guy program generally known as "puttering around"?

All that is gone, apparently. There are no old people anymore. The word "senior" is in disfavor; the folks at AARP often use the term "grown-up" to refer to our most tenured citizens. (And it's not the American Association of Retired Persons anymore, either: The group decided that because most of its members weren't retired, it should be just AARP, standing for nothing at all.)

This sociological revolution has given rise to a new American icon: the frisky geezer. The frisky geezer is someone who never got the memo to stick to golf from here on out. Americans today live not only longer, but with more fire in the belly. Disability rates for people over 65 go down by more than 2 percent a year, according to a long-term national survey published in 2006. The culture of being older has fundamentally changed, says Robert Butler, president of the International Longevity Center-USA and a professor of geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. "The atmosphere has become more robust in favor of older people remaining part of the human race," says Butler, who is 80 and works 60 hours a week. "They're no longer expected to go to the rocking chair and give up."

I'd nominate Rupert Murdoch as this summer's frisky geezer extraordinaire. He's 76, his media empire bestrides multiple continents, he can phone in headlines to a New York tabloid or greenlight a movie deal at 20th Century Fox -- but it's not enough. No. He must own the Wall Street Journal. You get a sense that it's not just a business deal, it's self-actualization.

Even Murdoch is a pup compared with legendary FG Sumner Redstone, a media tycoon who, at 84, has a feisty feud going with his daughter over control of his companies ("I gave to my children their stock; and it is I, with little or no contribution on their part, who built these great media empires," he wrote to Forbes magazine in July).

The presidential race is a geezer-fest. John McCain, who recently turned 71, would be the oldest person to capture the Oval Office. Fred Thompson, never a man in a rush, has finally gotten around to running for president -- at age 65. And then there's peppy Chris Dodd, a mere lad of 63, who has not only found presidential ambition late in life but has also discovered, for the first time, the joys of being a parent (he has two young children and jokes that he's the first presidential candidate to get mail from AARP and a diaper service).

The proliferation of frisky geezers is a promising development for all of us who intend to become geezers and remain frisky, though the phenomenon is not without complications. Will geezers suck up all our nation's fiscal resources? Will they occupy all the best socioeconomic niches (having already nabbed the best tee times)?

Steve Slon, who is 55 and the editor of AARP: The Magazine, says that we are seeing the demise of the restrictive rules about "acting your age." "We continue to view ourselves as young," he says, speaking for the boomer generation.

More and more people over 50 are adopting kids, so put down "parenting" as a major grown-up-citizen activity.

"We get so many pitches about people over 60 riding their bikes across the country, or running in 100-mile marathons, we have to tell them, 'Great, but this is not really news anymore,' " says Margaret Guroff, health editor of the AARP magazine.

Much of the revolution takes place out of sight. Recently we all read the front-page story about older people having sex like bunnies. According to the University of Chicago study, 53 percent of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 remain sexually active, along with 26 percent between the ages of 75 and 85, despite the fact that 100 percent of their kids and grandkids would rather not picture it. Now we understand that special twinkle in Grandpa's eye when he looks at Grandma and says, "I'll show you an Early Bird Special you'll never forget."

It's hard to know how those sex stats compare to an earlier era. Certainly this can't be an entirely new phenomenon; I'm reminded by Washington Post literary critic Michael Dirda that Victor Hugo, Leo Tolstoy, Bertrand Russell and Pablo Picasso were all legendarily priapic far into their old age. The last time University of Chicago researchers studied Americans' sexual behavior, they didn't look at anyone older than 59. Until now we've had a "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding geezer sex.

The lives of older folks have been off the books in another way: Millions of them do volunteer work, but economists don't count that as part of the nation's gross domestic product.

The friskiness of the elderly has a trickle-down effect. Senior citizens are the only grown-ups left. Almost everyone between the ages of 40 and 55 is in a state of arrested adolescence (is there a CEO or presidential candidate in America who isn't in a garage band?). To judge from stories in major news magazines, all 25-year-olds today live with their parents.

Teenagers, meanwhile, generally have the street savvy of hamsters.

Boomers always get a lot of ink, as do teens and twixters and Gen-Xers and all the other cohorts that are viewed by advertisers as demographically desirable. We're youth-obsessed to the point where the elderly have nearly disappeared from popular culture. Go to the racks at the checkout stand: You see 40-year-old women buying magazines whose editors want to reach 30-year-old women by running photos of women who appear to be about 22 but are actually 17.

But the old lions are still prowling. Who is still the best investor in the nation? Warren Buffett. Just turned lucky 77.

Who's the biggest stud in Hollywood? It ain't Tom Cruise: I'm guessing it's Clint Eastwood, born a few months before Buffett.

Who still has more clout than any other TV interviewer? Probably Barbara Walters, who is believed to be turning 78 in a few weeks , but Larry King, 73, might argue otherwise.

Who has the biggest audience (22 million listeners) of any radio personality? Broadcasts three times a day? Yes, that would be Paul Harvey, now in his 90th year on the planet.

Best American novelist still regularly pounding out great fiction? Might be Philip Roth, who is 74 and still winning the biggest prizes. Or is it Cormac McCarthy at 74? No: It has to be the unstoppable Joyce Carol Oates, who published her one-millionth novel, "The Gravedigger's Daughter," at age 69.

On the stage? Maybe Sir Ian McKellen, playing King Lear and looking buff at 68. ("Mr. McKellen makes for a vigorous Lear," says a recent review in the New York Times. "He stands tall and slim, has strong legs, visible when he drops his pants in Act IV.")

Shouldn't we mention 80-year-old Joe Paterno? Still coaching football at Penn State, where he started in the Truman administration.

Let's not forget Hugh Hefner. He has made the long journey from thinking-man's swinger and magazine editor to vapid, jammies-wearing self-parody. But three girlfriends! That's seriously frisky. If not, perhaps, entirely grown-up.

My off-the-cuff list skews male. That might be a generational thing, an echo of the days of rigid patriarchies and the feminine mystique. Perhaps women, after a certain age, are less inclined to make spectacles of themselves. But it's all fluid. The next president could be a woman, inciting an outbreak of frisky geezerettes.

I asked Butler, the longevity expert, what it's like to be 80.

"The most striking difference is the tendency to be aware of the past, whereas if you're 40, you're more likely to be thinking about what you're going to do next," he said. "But I still do. I think a lot about what I'm going to do next."

Which is?

"I have a book coming out -- a big book -- 'The Longevity Revolution,' in January," he reports. And after that? Another book, he hopes. Why not? His blood pressure is perfect. Cholesterol, 130.

"So far, so good," he says.

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 9, 2007; 7:37 AM ET
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Next: Most Hyped Congressional Hearing Ever? [Updated]



Posted by: frostbitten | September 9, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Now that I've very selfishly planted the first flag I'll return to back boodling. Good weekend for the Frostbitten family. I am employed at a real job, in my career field, for the first time in 27 months and Mr. F just interviewed for an assignment in St. Paul and has been selected. However, anyone who knows the military, and even those who don't but follow the news, will understand our concern that "the needs of the Army" will intervene between now and August when he would make the big move from Tampa.

Cool that JA can post pics now, even cooler that he was quoted on a calendar.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 9, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

"Frisky geezers" is a fantastic catch-phrase as well as a great name for a rock band and my even be available as a boodle handle.

Joel, this is the funniest piece you have written in awhile. I a, still snickering at "despite the fact that 100 percent of their kids and grandkids would rather not picture it." My most "EEEWWW!" moment was when I was visiting my folks and my obviously frisky father kicked all the visiting kids out of the house at 11 because he had an early flight out the next morning and time was wasting.

You can't bleach those images out of your brain.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 9, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Now this is a subject about which I am knowledgeable. My father, a widower, married my 28-year-old mother when he was 56. I was born when he was 57 and my younger brother when he was 65 and retired. I can imagine the jokes at his retirement party, with my mom 6 months pregnant...

He was very much with us mentally till he died (at 85), but health problems did intervene and he was mostly house-bound the last six years of his life, and in the last year confined to a nursing home.

Earlier this year, one of my nephews turned 57, and it dawned on me that he didn't seem old to me, like my dad did. Such is the difference in perspective between a child and an adult...

So, I say, let the baby boomers redefine yet again what it means to be old. Let the good times continue to roll!

Posted by: Slyness | September 9, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps if all these frisky geezers refuse to retire and collect social security, America might not end up bankrupt after all.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 9, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Also, nifty juxtaposition of Joel's column and the article about the 107 year old widow in the dead tree edition.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 9, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I feel like an old geezer today, after working 9 nights straight all late shifts. I should try and get some sleep, but the NFL is on in 4 hours. I can sleep next year!! Good luck to everyone and their teams unless of course you are a Bengals or Steelers fan.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 9, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

SCC- Bungels and Squeelers

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 9, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking it's thanking the geezerettes for the frisk that's due.

Posted by: Jumper | September 9, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Yellojkt - I think you're right. This was a funny, funny column... I just cracked up at "I'll show you an early bird special you'll never forget." Oh mercy.

I think Joel may be on to something when he wonders if after a certain age, women are not as inclined to make spectacles of themselves...I hope those aren't fightin' words.

Glad you had fun at the Seafood BPH!

Posted by: Kim | September 9, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

reposting from the bottom of the "mirabilis":

Birdie, this page gives a good overview of the coontie. The Institute for Regional Conservation is a tiny, low-budget, and enormously competent outfit that's greatly improved our knowledge of South Florida's tropical plants and their habitats.

There's lots more Zamias in Mexico and Central America, with new species still being discovered. I have a beautiful young Zamia variegata in the yard. It's a rain forest species with yellow-speckled leaves. One species even lives as an epiphyte up in trees, keeping company with orchids and bromeliads.

Joel's frisky geezers are a bit depressing. My own frisk is fading, thanks to a bunch of age-typical problems. The latest is restless leg syndrome, which was diagnosed by my internist just before the cable-tv channels were inundated with ads from a pharmaceutical company.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 9, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

* grumble grumble grumble*

That's a he11uva note. Wake up to a new Outlook piece about geezers, and note the complete, the total, the DEVASTATING lack of interviews and quotes from a 947-year-old ubergeezer. (Wish I could put "uber" into italics, *&^%$# it.) Well, I grudgingly admit I can understand Joel mighta had difficulty explaining in the column on his Boodlers is that old. He'd have had to explain the Boodle itself, then explain me, etc., etc., and by that time everyone would have snoozed off and the brand-new, still-wet-behind-the-ears national desk reporter would have lost all credibility on Day One. It's OK, Joel. I understand. No hard feelings.

I'll tell you one thing for free: all those frisky geezers are making THIS particular geezer angry. I have no intention of bicycling across the country. I don't want to continue being a working copy editor for the U.S. gummint one nanosecond more than necessary. I want my rocking chair, dimmit! I want the Early Bird Special at Bob Evans. I want my AARP discount (still gotta wait a year, alas). I want to get into the movie for $5. (Not that I've been to an actual movie since the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey.) I want to move into an assisted living development as soon as they'll have me. Then I want to be left alone with my tapioca and my computer: I have 20 books to write, and I can feel the deadline approaching. (One reaches a certain point in life, and the word "deadline" takes on a whole new meaning. Trust me on this.)

bc, 3 hours 23 minutes until the Redskins kickoff. Hope you got all those windows installed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Have no clue what "on his Boodlers is that old" means, or where it came from. Alzheimers, perhaps.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Maybe it was supposed to be "one of his Boodlers is that old." That makes a little sense. So let's go with that.

Posted by: Curmudegon | September 9, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

>Perhaps women, after a certain age, are less inclined to make spectacles of themselves.

um, have you ever heard of the red had society?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 9, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

It just isn't really über without the umlaut. Sort of like Häagen-Dazs, even if it's entirely American. For a while, Publix was selling real Norwegian ice cream, but it apparently didn't work out. Now we get Blue Bell.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 9, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I look forward to being active into my later years, but I'm not really crazy about the prospect of being called "frisky" or, worse, "spry"--or having someone say, "You are in remarkable condition for someone your age!" I hope the boomers help redefine aging so that we will just be active or sedentary, healthy or health-challenged, regardless of our age. (I deny being a baby boomer, although I fall into that category by some peoples' definition. I'm more comfortable letting the boomers go through all the gates first. The big focus these days is on boomers turning 60--I'm still "in my 40's." A youngster.)

Here's an example of an active older person in my local area: Claire Mitchel. When she was in her 60's the Miami Herald assigned her to write a column called "The Third Third" (the geezer beat).

Now she is 85 and she hasn't missed a column in 22 years, although she has been widowed, broken her hip, moved to assisted living, and recently lost a daughter to cancer. None of that stopped her from filing on deadline every single time.

I'm going to use that "Early Bird Special" line on my husband today. He's 64, and apparently has fewer scruples than Curmudgeon--he's been getting senior citizen discounts for years.

Posted by: kbertocci | September 9, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The last time I went to a movie, I got the senior citizen discount, even though I didn't ask for it - guess that's the advantage of gray hair. It was still $6.50 - sheesh. My husband's been getting discounts for years, too, even though he just turned 60. His hair was platinum blond, now is practically white.

I'll be happy to quit working as soon as I can figure out how to do that and still have a roof over my head and eat.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 9, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm feeling a bit like a geezer today, though not a frisky one. For some reason I really really really want some punk kid to dare to put one foot on my lawn.

It's raining here -- not an unwelcome thing -- but it wreaks havoc on my joints (and no, not *those* ones... or *that* one). It also makes lacquer a little tricky to work with, so the fairy door finishing department has been given the day off. A good day for sawing and staining, though.

Speaking of which... I hope that Bean tells everyone at school that her Dad is a *carpenter*.

"What's your Dad do?"

"He makes fairy doors."

I'm doomed.

Posted by: martooni | September 9, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

My favorite frisky geezer is my mom who, on the occasion of her 69th birthday, decided to get married to the nice man she had been living with for a dozen years. (Evidently, the tax laws changed.) By the time my mother was 23 she was a widowed mother of a toddler. She then quickly segued to a seemingly sensible but ultimately joyless marriage whose only redeeming feature was the three practically perfect offspring so produced. (Except that one boy who left home, became a soul sucking civil servant, and, evidently, joined some kind of cult.)

Anyway, at 70 my mom shows no signs of slowing down. She and her husband recently visited China. And, given her health and genetic history, she probably has at least two more good decades left. What makes her "grown up" years so enjoyable, she tells me, is that she can indulge herself without guilt. She's put in her hard time as a mom and long-suffering wife. And, that one boy excepted, she's done a pretty bang up job of it. Now it's party time.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 9, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I just read the geezer article. I think I have to disagree on a point, although it actually reinforces Joel's main thesis, which is that old folks no longer are feeble. He describes the infantilization of Americans of middle-age: "We're youth-obsessed... You see 40-year-old women buying magazines whose editors want to reach 30-year-old women by running photos of women who appear to be about 22 but are actually 17." I've been struck by the fact, in recent years, that many women who are held up as iconically beautiful or sexy are well into their thirties or older. Most of the stars of Desperate Housewives, for instance. Any number of women that have been mentioned in the Boodle (admittedly, an aesthetically discerning audience) or in popular culture are, upon inspection and Googling, substantially older than the supposed "target demographic." Catalogs that sell a solidly middle-class lifestyle (Lands' End, L. L. Bean) tend to feature women who are, of course, gorgeous, but discernibly over 30, and some who look like a darned attractive fifty-ish. Interestingly, it's the men in these catalogs who look young to me -- most of them late twenties, or leapfrog a few decades and go to upper fifties. For men (and the women who buy things for them) they sell the notion of dynamic young lions or vigorous men of maturity and depth.

Men of my age and older, I think, are not so much interested in barely-legals as our society tells us we are supposed to be, and it appears that advertising and popular culture are quietly accommodating.

Posted by: Tim | September 9, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I suppose I should be flattered, kbertooci: no one has accused me of having scruples in quite a while. *sigh*

On a more serious note, but definitely still on topic, I'd like to bring up what I call "the disconnects": the various and sundry paradoxs and contradictions involved in geezertude.

For instance, the disconnect between "true" chronological age, and the age you really "feel" yourself to be inside. Inside my head, I am usually much younger, often 20 or more years. In my head, I am maybe 38 to 42 -- most of the time. And then once in a while --I know this happens to all men-- a pretty girl walks down the street, or an Evangeline Lilly comes on the TV screen, and in my head, for just a nanosecond, that's all, I am maybe 26, with everything that implies. Just for that one nanosecond.

But at other times, I am not 61, but maybe 80. I had a quad bypass. I have diabetes. I have sleep apnea. I have peripheral vascular disease. I've had a melanoma. I've had a benign polyp removed from my colon. My "legs" left me 8 or 9 years ago, and I had to retire from umpring. My knees are shot. I have days when "everything hurts," not a lot, or even moderate--but just a lot of those little d@mn twinges that remind you of your own mortality. I take 15 pills a day. Nothing works like it used to. Arm strength is gone (used to be quite good). Stamina still OK, but that's all; it used to be legendary. (But when it comes to desk work, I can still outwork anybody half my age. There's more than one kind of stamina.) The point is, my body has betrayed me, and starting doing that a decade ago. Never mind how much of that may have been self-induced; this isn';t the time for that discussion, because it doesn't do any good: you mourn and grieve for your lost self, just as would mourn a person. Or maybe you do grieve for a person: the person you used to be. And as readers of E. Kubler-Ross know, there is a stage in the grieving process that is anger: you get angry at the loss. There is supposed to be a bargaining phase; which I've either skipped or am going to skip, and supposedly an acceptance phase. I'm not there yet; I'm still in anger mode, and probably am going to stay that way until the last day. Maybe even the last hour (I tend to hold a grudge). I am not going gentle into that good night. I'm gooina be ticked off, right down to the wire.

So that's one of the paradoxes: I have no idea what it feels like to be 61; I'm either 38 or 80, and the 38-year-old is pi$$ed at being so betrayed so early by his own body.

I bet looking around the Boodle some of my fellow geezers are nodding their heads--and the younger Boodlers have no freaking idea what I'm babbling about. It twas ever thus: these are some of the things we old geezers try to tell you, and you don't understand. Which is actually a good thing, since there isn't much you can do about it, except seize the day. Seize the day, folks, seize the day.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - I've been trying to seize the day ever since I was 18. The day keeps eluding me. I recall once when I was 24, unemployed, profoundly unattached, and living at home with with my mom and younger sister. We were watching a movie about old people recalling their golden youth. The irony was painful.

And Tim. Your point is quite valid. That said, if Scarlett Johansson were to ever call I guarantee I would pick up the phone.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 9, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Front page alert.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

When I turned 40, I had to confess to middle age. There is not logical expected life span where 40 is still young. I've had my ACL replaced and my boss who is only a few years older than me is having the entire knee given the Steve Austin treatment.

That said, my one fitness goal in life is to stay healthy enough to never turn down sex. My wife claims that my sleep patterns (I insist on going to bed before midnight) are already causing lost opportunities. I tell her to wake me up, dammit; I have no trouble getting back to sleep. But I think she is just taunting me.

I better make sure I fit in that bike ride this afternoon.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 9, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, my mom used to say that she could still do a day's work, it just took her a day and a half to get it done. I understand what she was talking about, now. I wasn't successful as a young person, just didn't have the personality to fit in. I'm continually reminded of that when the rest of the boodlers go off on a tangent about pop culture and I'm clueless. My hope is that I will be a successful geezer, AKA old Southern lady. Now I *DO* have the personality to shine in that respect!

Posted by: Slyness | September 9, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

You know, I think if I had a choice I would stay 45 forever. It's a great age. I am young enough to still have things to look forward to, but old enough to have developed a sense of pride in my life.

Sure, I know that even if I were not married beautiful young women are out of reach. But beautiful young women were always pretty much out of my reach even when I was young. Now at least I have an alibi.

And, thanks to good luck, my body will still do whatever I ask. Although I might still need a nice nap afterwards.

Besides, at this age my children are old enough to be reasonably independent for up to several hours at a time. And yet, they are still young enough for me to protect.

It's not a bad place to be.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 9, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

And while I am oversharing, let me note that the aesthetic elegance of youth will never be lost on me. When I found out that there were pictures on the internet of 18-year-old Vanessa Hudgens in her all-together, I had to check it out for myself.

She has a very nice smile.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 9, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Home-page link is screwed up: the Tropical Storm Gabrielle link goes to a politics story about special-interest financing and Rahm Emanual. *sigh*

I keep saying, the WaPo dot com side of things needs some editors. They just make too many mistakes on this side of the football. The dead wood people don't screw up even a fraction as often as the Internet crew.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

And there's no excuse for it: the Internet stuff isn't inately harder to do than the print side. It's just the veterans versus the rookies and staffing up, attention to detail, mastering the basics.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... you got 20 years on me (can I call you "Dad"?), but I understand where you're coming from.

Mrs. M's extremely cocky smarta$$ stepson has moved back in, so now I have a living reminder of what life was like before life grabbed me by the you-know-whats and smashed my head into the pavement several thousand times.

Life doesn't suck. It's a dang bully.

That said, this middle-aged bull ain't dead yet.

Posted by: martooni | September 9, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

>And there's no excuse for it: the Internet stuff isn't inately harder to do than the print side.

Mudge, to be fair there are a lot of things somewhat more out of your control in terms of syncing up, and you know how many opportunities to screw up when you have multiple boutique apps all banging away on the same code and database. Like if that URL comes up from a database server and you refreshed the HTML from it but it hadn't been refreshed on the other side yet, etc. With caching and whatnot it's entirely possible it looked good on their desk but they weren't seeing what went into production, etc.

Posted by: Error Flynn | September 9, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I just wrote out some great thoughts to add to this discussion and lost them. Let's just say that usually I don't feel older than about 40. Today I have the Mother of all colds and feel like cr@p. But if I was 30 or 40 instead of 60, I'd still feel like cr@p.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | September 9, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Too bad, Bad Sneakers - I hate when that happens! Hope you feel better. I don't get colds often these days, but when I do, it's a doozy. Vitamin C and hot lemon tea is what I use to combat it. BTW, I've been meaning to compliment Scotty on his pictures, especially of the Sneaks and the Snukes!

My right knee goes out on me, and now my left hip gets a twinge now and then when I'm walking - like a tendon is going to snap. Sigh.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 9, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, when I was 17 I felt 40 inside, although my body was certainly 17.

I can only hope I feel 17 when I'm 40. Although I suspect my body will be feeling 30 or 60 years old some days.

Realistically I have to face the fact that my life-long illness could, if I am not careful, give me a heart attack or something similar by the time I'm 60 unless they improve how they treat it.

Until then, I have to debate now and then just how much I want to live well and how much I want to live forever.

For now, living well means feeling as healthy, alert, and as creative as I can get.

On the other hand, I got some good genes to go to 90, 100... if the other genes and the world don't take me down first.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 9, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Been holding my breath for the last 5 minutes; I imagine bc and some others have been, too. Can now breath: Skins kicked a field goal in overtime and beat Miami. And just my luck: two plays before the field go I bit into a piece of pizza and exploded a bicuspid into three or four pieces.

Gonna be visting the dentist tomorrow, I guess.

Packers beat the Iggles with a last-second field goal.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, enroll in a yoga class, gentle stretching. It'll help.

As for mobility aches and pains, they are horrible, but I was wheelchair bound for a while when I was 8.

I have had foot surgery already, and I got an ankle sprain and I'm hoping the tendon will heal, but I am MUCH more cautious about putting my foot wrong now. I can't afford another strain before it heals.

So Wilbrodog is doing a lot of retrieves up and down stairs for me. Good pup!

That stuff has nothing to do with age.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 9, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I thought for a while there that greenwithenvy's prediction of a tie this year would come true in the first week.

So.. the Redskins are unbeaten this year! Woo hoo!

Posted by: TBG | September 9, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

This fits Joel's definition of frisky...

...and a frisky comment: My brother had the obligatory prostate exam a while back. His comment to the Dr. was: "I guess this means we're going to lunch?"

Posted by: jack | September 9, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Nude carpentry....jeez, I'm not remoting confident enough of my Harry Homeowner skills and woodworking talent to try that one. Did you ever drop a beltsander? *shudders*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Yet another bad link: the Dina Temple-Raston opinion piece, "Enemy Within? Not Quite" goes to a Jim Hoagland piece on Tony Blair.

EF, I understand what you are saying, but those things are quickly solvable by having people (or machines) test links and double-check stuff. One shouldn't just explain that such-and-such a server didn't refresh or sync up properly. Sometimes these bad links sit there uncorrected for hours. If necessary, they need to be hand-checked by somebody "outside" the network. And there needs to be a rapid-response e-mail system to jump on stuff that we readers report. But getting hold of a responsive warm body at WaPo dot com is nearly impossible. The "Contact Us" link is hard to find, but even when you do find it, it isn't very clear what to do from there. There needs to be a real clear, easy-to-find "Report Bad Links" tab somewhere, given how often it happens.

It's precisely *because* you are correct about servers refreshing and things not synching that they have to pay attention to this problem.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

And while we're being picky, Mudge, it's been driving me crazy for days that the bottom large headline (before the smaller "More Headlines" link) on the front page is a slightly lighter blue than the other headline links. Right now it says "Gabrielle Makes Landfall in N.C." but whichever one is at that position is always that lighter color.

Perhaps there's someone around--someone with the clout of a national enterprise reporter, for example--who could point out these issues to someone in charge.

Posted by: TBG | September 9, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Today it's been a year since Dad died. I went back and read the boodle from those days last year and it really works wonders to read the nice thoughts expressed by all my friends here. Thanks to all of you.

I just want to say again... I love this place!

Posted by: TBG | September 9, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Mudge and TBG - sure would be nice if we could report these errors somewhere. Also, I'd be glad to take the job of finding and fixing this stuff if they can match my current salary and benefits - or I could do it part-time. (Have I mentioned how awful my job is?)

The other thing that bugs me is that on the rare occasion I click on one of the On Faith links from the Home Page, it doesn't take me straight to that particular article - it goes to the On Faith page and I have to try to find it there. This one was kind of interesting, in light of our recent and ongoing Beatles discussion:
I don't necessarily agree with all of it. The U2 song he discusses, Original of the Species, from their last album, is actually about a child, if you listen to all the lyrics. Bono dedicated it to his daughter on her birthday, during a concert in Chicago - so it's fatherly love he's talking about, not sexual love, not incest (eeewww).

Also, I can't find Weingarten's column now. I have to search on his name to find Below the Beltway. Sigh.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 9, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Mudge: //The dead wood people don't screw up even a fraction as often as the Internet crew.//

Mathematically impossible. Even if the dead wood people screwed up 1/1000000000 as many times as the Internet crew, that's still a fraction.

I'd be happy to pay for the WaPo online, but haven't had to. I'm cutting it and all those slammed techies a break! :-)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

That was me.

Posted by: dbG | September 9, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Figure of speech, dbG.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

TBG, please copy edit the following sentence for me, and try not to scream: "He's using 14 actors, including an ensemble of eight that never leaves the stage." It's from

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Jeezy peezy, I just realized I missed the US Open Tennis Men's Final - because I got confused by the time zone - again. Yesterday they said on TV the final would start at 4:30 - without being obvious that they meant EDT - so that's what stuck in my head. And I was busy today, so I didn't look at the TV listing. Oh well, glad Federer won again.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 9, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

For friskiness, this story in the Guardian is probably relevant:,,2164822,00.html

In Britain, your friskiness has to do with where you live, which has a lot to do with your socioeconomics.

Here, I shop at a Publix that caters to frisky high-income retirees and, inland, at a Wal-Mart that caters to an astonishing number of obese poor people. It's painful to see lumpy young women on electric scooter-carts.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 9, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... I always have trouble with that.. is "ensemble" the key word? Is it singular or plural?

An ensemble is a group that never leaves the stage, but eight actors are actors who never leave. I would have rewritten the sentence perhaps like this...

"He's using 14 actors in this production; eight of them never leave the stage."

Posted by: TBG | September 9, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Mostly... I remember back in 1982 I was looking forward to seeing Carolina play Georgetown in the NCAA final (my sister was at Carolina then; I didn't know him yet, but so was my husband).

I was on vacation and got back to the hotel promptly at 8:00 so I wouldn't miss the tipoff. I forgot I was in California. I got back to the hotel in time to see the post-game show.

Posted by: TBG | September 9, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I admit there is an apparent ambiguity, but it is only apparent; it isn't real. But first, it isn't "an emsemble that...", it's "an ensemble who..." This is what I go nuts about. I go especially nuts because the actual phrase is "an ensemble of eight...." So it's basically "eight people who."

"Ensemble" can be either singular or plural, depending on how it is used. But in this case, adding "of eight" to is clearly makes it plural (the grammatical process and term is called synesis). "A group" is singular, but "a group of penguins" is plural (because "of penguins" makes it so).

And all else aside, the original is just plain clunky on the ear, whereas "an ensemble of eight who never leave the stage" flows smoothly and without a ripple. Even if one doesn't know the grammar, the ear should make it clear. I don't mind that non-editors can't edit; I just mind that people can't "hear." (I mean inside their heads, Wilbrod, as I know you understand.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

True to form, we now have yet another BPH pic! More to come, I promise...

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 9, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Intellectually, I know that momofmo should be pronounced "mom of mo." But I just love saying/thinking of it as mo-mo-ffmo because ffmo just sounds a dirty word.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 9, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

It's been a whole year since your dad died, TBG? Wow, amazing how time flies. Although I know you still miss him - and your mom - I hope the sting of death has diminished.

Great picture, Snuke, and thanks to Dr. G for taking it. Sounds like a mix of good food and fun, a wonderful combination.

Posted by: Slyness | September 9, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke... great picture! Thanks!

Now the boodle can answer my husband's question... do those sunglasses make me look like Jackie Kennedy--or Jackie Onassis?

Posted by: TBG | September 9, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge. Since Lou Rukeyser died, you are now my editing mentor.

Posted by: TBG | September 9, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

The picture is fantastic, Mr. Scotty Nuke. But, but, I thought I'd see some shiny forearms; aren't you supposed to have melted butter and shell shards up to your elbows?

Posted by: Yoki | September 9, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Jackie Onassis for sure, TBG. Gotta get the Greek in there!

Posted by: Slyness | September 9, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Altho I was an English major, I do not remember a class in grammar or style after a journalism class in grade 11.

I recently helped my daughter edit a book she had written --- all by Mudge's method of "hearing" the words. Done it all my life, and it works.

Posted by: nellie | September 9, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: nellie | September 9, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I often wonder whether this has something to do with reading aloud; we always did, and do, and have. The ear becomes tuned. I love that Ivansmom reads aloud to the Boy, and he reads out loud to her.

Posted by: Yoki | September 9, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

No, nellie, it's just late on a weekend. What's the book your daughter wrote? How cool. I've been over at the US Open site, watching what I missed this afternoon.

I got my asters, although my local nursery was closed at 10 am on Sunday. Thank goodness the grocery store had some. Too bad the spot where I was going to plant them is like cement. We haven't had a drop of rain for weeks - today was 80 and windy. So I may put them in pots for now. The Sweet Autumn clematis I got in the spring has buds - nellie, I think you were the one that recommended that. It's doing nicely. I love the Boodle, too.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 9, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

The "On Faith" thing about the Beatles was the most asinine thing I have ever read. What a joke.

Let's care about the oppressed but, by golly, let's make sure they don't use birth control. Oh, and sorry that our celibacy policy helps insure a fertile crop of child molesters. Good God.

Posted by: bill everything | September 9, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking --
My daughter's book is a text book for psychology/art therapy -- "Drawing from Within."

I bought a Sweet Autumn Clematis and while alive, it appears that is all the action I am getting this year. Glad to hear yours is DOING something! (Especially since I talked it up so much.)

Posted by: nellie | September 9, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, that sentence is badly written enough I'd have axed it.
By the way, should you do 14 and eight in the same sentence? My old English teacher would have objected.

"He's using 14 actors, including an ensemble of eight that never leaves the stage."

(Error #1: who, not that. Those actors aspire to be in "who's who", not "What's that!")

My copy edit:

"Eight actors form his core ensemble, with six other actors cameoing throughout the play."

"The ensemble of eight never leave the stage throughout the play, with six extras shuffling on and off."

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 9, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Okay, that might need further copyediting-- I forgot to purge my first re-edit.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 9, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Joel, this piece is chock-full-O-goodness. Well done, sir.

I've had a busy weekend, but a good one. I am sorry I missed the BPH, but I was running kids around all weekend on *this* side of Baltimore...

Gotta admit, I love Pro Football and I've had a grand time catching what I can of the games today [more on that later].

Have a good night, all.


Posted by: bc | September 9, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Bill everything, I don't really see the connection between the article and what you're saying. He's simply talking about the theological concept of love.

They've done serious errors in failing to properly discipline priests and ensure the safety of congregations. That I have a grievance against. But to say celibacy is the cause of such conduct is prejudice.

Mohammed married a 9 year old, for heaven's sake and he already had a wife.

The first thing you cite is rather offensive and reflective of a knee-jerk response to superficial propaganda. And rather nonsensical actually.

After all, we landed a man on the moon, but we can't let gays serve openly in the military. We invaded Iraq, but I can't get inside my front door without a key.

I suggest you educate yourself on the extent of catholic charities and their missions before you do another such sound bite.

You don't see people popping off on Islam every time they read something they don't like, but I see way too many anti-catholic slurs on this boodle out of the blue for my taste.

You have had personal experience that embitters you, that's fine. I got mugged by a 15 year old, and you know what, I'm going to snipe and tar all teenagers with the same brush. Everybody know how teens are, after all.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 9, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: MeepMeep | September 10, 2007 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for the link, MeepMeep. There's nothing that says celibacy is the cause.

And what is Crimen Sollicitationis, exactly?

Here's a balanced study looking at the good and evil of it, such as it is, by an actual lawyer.

I tend to agree with his conclusions on the downsides of it.

Institutional self-preservation happens in other churches and in schools, and even in Congress...

I mean, how many Republicans have been caught being lewd with interns or in restrooms so far? And how many people around them knew exactly what was what long ago?

It ends: "The documents may be indicators of the official Church's awareness of sexual abuse of minors and other vulnerable persons by the clergy, but these documents surely are not the cause of clergy sexual abuse nor are they the foundation of the official Church's response to such abuse."

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 10, 2007 1:35 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Tee-hee: mostly wrote "asters."

Yes, Wilbrod, 14 and eight is correct: the AP Style Manual and many others use the nine-and-under, 10-and-over rule: spell out nine and under even in a mixed use. (There are a few exceptions, such as sports scores, etc.) The &%#$@#$ GPO book I have to work with every day has a rule so complex it takes seven pages (I kid you not) to explain it, and I have had to memorize the entire thing. Makes the freaking infield fly rule sound like a child's nursery rhyme beside it. (But that's why TBG and I were laughing at "twenty-2" the other day: NOBODY has a rule like that.)

On the other hand, Wilbrod, I'd have had a serious blood pressure incident over your "cameoing." T'ain't a verb, girl. (And though I see it all the time, I go berserkers over "partnering" and "authoring." Even sports writers, who have no couth whatsoever, refrain from giving us "baseballing," or "tennising.")

Mohammed married a 9-year-old? I thought that was R. Kelly. (Or maybe I was thinking of Jerry Lee Lewis, I forget.)

I'm off to find an oral surgeon to yank my busted fang. (Tee-hee: I said "oral surgeon.") Wonder what a bridge costs these days. I'd like to keep it under four digits, if I can.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 10, 2007 6:58 AM | Report abuse

The whole shagging sexagenarians thing was too tempting not to blog about:

There is one link on that post that is Not Safe For Work, but I think it would be more fun if you found it yourself.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 10, 2007 7:02 AM | Report abuse

An additional #$@#$ for the GPO Style Manual. It gets in the way of presenting written material readably. The Chicago has the good sense to urge writing all numbers in a string in the same format, all-numeric or all-written.

I'm hoping to stay employed as long as you.

I have no idea how I managed yesterday to cut the grass AND install a bunch of asphalt to level the walk to the front door--and not be immensely sore today.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 10, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

*back-in-the-office-far-too-soon Grover waves*


Everyone's so sure of me, I'm starting to worry I'm becoming predictable or something...

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 10, 2007 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Edward Cody's story on censorship in China includes a tale of friskiness gone awry.

Gotta preserve the Party's dignity. Now how did Cody get hold of those tales?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 10, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Morning all.

Mostly and Nellie give those Autumn clematis a year before they will really reward you with their flowers and scent - it is worth it though. I used to loved going out my back door to a yard full of their aroma.

Posted by: dmd | September 10, 2007 7:39 AM | Report abuse

And apparently, there was some commotion at the Video Music Awards last night...

A member of the public somehow got into the opening dance number and made a fool of herself.

Oh wait, was that... Dang, can't even remember the name now.


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 10, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Sweet autumn clematis, also known as Maiden's Bower or Traveler's Joy; I love this too. My morning glories and moonflowers -- fading now -- are tangled in a very mature clematis that is just coming into bloom.

The CLEM a tis (should you feel British, today) blossoms are sweet stars;when all in bloom, the froth effect over the fence is perfect.

My Saturday was a series of unfortunate event, including a car meltdown, so I did not make it to the seafood BPH. As I have not had crabs this year, my Maryland citizenship will be revoked.

Take care on your tooth, Mudge. And prepare for sticker shock, even with insurance.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 10, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

What I thought was a bad cold turns out to be the flu (aches and pains, fever, etc.). I have called in sick and the only positive thing is that I get to spend more time here.

S'nuke, saw a clip of that performance, she looked like I feel.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | September 10, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Great AP article about Britney's dancing last night. The accompanying picture is actually quite flattering compared with the way she really looked...

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- As in most train wrecks, it was hard to focus on just one thing as the Britney Spears disaster unfolded. There was just so much that went wrong.

Out-of-synch lip-synching. Lethargic movements that seemed choreographed by a dance instructor for a nursing home. The paunch in place of Spears' once-taut belly. At times she just stopped singing altogether, as if even she knew nothing could save her performance.

Designed to drum up excitement for her upcoming album, Spears' kickoff to the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night became another example of how far she has fallen...

Posted by: TBG | September 10, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Bah, made an on-topic comment to the Kit, and it was held up by the Dirty Word filter.

SCC: on me for not saving it first, I should have realized there were a few words in there that would have triggered a Spam alert.


Posted by: bc | September 10, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The two great comebacks of the weekend were total busts. Ossama's shoe polish job on his beard was a disaster and Britney, well, enough said about Britney.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 10, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I didn't see the performance, but I wish I had as much paunch as Britney. *sigh* That's one bad thing about geezerdom.

Posted by: Slyness | September 10, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I am no Britney Spears fan but would we really call that a paunch?

Posted by: Kim | September 10, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Y'all are making me sorry that I missed the VMA show. I was a long time viewer back in the day. I remember the first Madonna performance. What people don't remember is that the early shows was so off the cultural radar that the applause was canned because the audience just sat there slack-jawed.

I think the last time I watched it Springsteen opened. When they went with the endless hip hop medleys where they brought on every performer at the star rapper's vanity record label was when they lost me.

I guess I have to catch the low-lights on YouTube.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 10, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

That picture is very misleading. It's not so much a paunch as a general lack of good shape. (Of course, I'd kill for that bad shape.)

Liz Kelly has a much better picture on Celebritology... and a link to the video...

Posted by: TBG | September 10, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Seems the BPH'ers weren't the only folks turning heads in Annapolis this weekend. Some boodlers may be very sorry they missed attending...

Posted by: TBG | September 10, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

A great article. I'm with Mudge. I want the rocking chair. I want the porch, and by diggety, I want to knit in peace, except for when the grandchildren (or in my case prospective grandchildren) need me to bake cookies and cinammon rolls for them. I thought that would be my just reward for getting through the teenage years.

There is something perverted about a culture where, in your youth, you work so hard to look older, and then the rest of your life you try to look and behave younger.

Posted by: dr | September 10, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

As promised.
The link with readings by James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, Tennesee Willians, ee cummings, and I don't remember who else is up at:
Click on, Listen to Caedmon Records Discussion - Thurs. 6 Sept. 2007


Posted by: Boko999 | September 10, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

TBG: Envious, me? Nah, I spent the afternoon with Russell AND Christian Bale on Saturday. It's unfortunate that a movie called "Shoot-em Up" is out now because that's the natural phrase to use for 3:10 to Yuma. A heck of a lot of people get shot in that movie! But there is one great line when Luke Wilson is torturing our bad boy Russell (Luke Wilson, really! They thought all they had to do was give his character bad teeth and we'd believe he was evil. Not.) Anyway, the veterinarian who has already saved a couple of human lives comes on this torture scene and he says in a loud voice, "You can't do that! It's immoral!" That one moment was worth the whole movie to me. If only somebody in our Congress or White House or our military would have that kind of conviction.

Posted by: kbertocci | September 10, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I noticed that Osama must be using 'Just for Jihadists' on his beard.

"No gunplay for bin Grey."


Posted by: bc | September 10, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Good morning! My grandfather was a frisky geezer years ago. He kept retiring, then getting bored and going back to work. He spent hours on the tractor and in his shop when he wasn't "working". In his seventies, while ill with cancer and heart disease, and half blind, he snuck out of the house, got in the El Camino, and drove off to see his girlfriend (who had the presence of mind to call and tell us where he was).

I think when I get old I'll shoot for "tough old bird". And no red hats, here; I respect those women for getting out and having fun, but I'll find other ways to make a spectacle of myself.

After I hit about 42 my body said, Hah! Middle Age Coming! Intermittent aches in my joints, knees which randomly sound like breakfast cereal, reading glasses, metabolism changes - but it is all good. And I still mowed a couple of acres with the push mower yesterday with no ill results, so I haven't fallen apart yet.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 10, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, looks like you've already made it into the "tough old bird" category. You mowed not one, but a couple of acres of grass with a PUSH mower? You've got to be some kind of buff. Makes me tired just THINK'n about that! Where's my hammock?

Posted by: Pooped | September 10, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for those kind words, pooped, but "buff" would make my family roll with helpless laughter. Determined is more like it. The big mower is out of commission and it was going to rain (and is raining, too, so I'm glad I made the effort). I'd be happy to be "tough" now; it is the "old bird" I hope to put off for some years yet.

Posted by: Ivansmom | September 10, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

bc, thank you very very much for 'Just for Jihadists' I really needed to laugh this morning, and I did.

Last night CBC played episode one of 'Geologic Journey'. Wow, wow and wow again. The first of 5 episodes will air again Thursday on CBC Newsworld. Its shot in HD, and oh my sweet heavens, I think I am going to buy the whole shebang. If you get CBC at all, watch for it. Well worth wasting time on. If I see where it will air outside of Canada, I'll post a note.

Episode one goes to Georgian Bay on Lake Superior and to the salt mines near Windsor and under Detroit.

Posted by: dr | September 10, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | September 10, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

My father, God bless him, was number one on the frisky geezer list. My mother had suffered a debilitating stroke at 63 yrs old and although she could get around fairly well, that gave her permission to indulge her inner couch potato. She pretty much wanted to just stay home after that. My dad was a golfer, had a successful woodworking venture (no fairy doors, but he made beautiful things) and liked to be on the go. She died at 66 yrs after a 6 month struggle with lung cancer. My dad was a champ of the first order the whole time, he could not have been better to her. During her long struggle, my brother got him a 'puter and he became an internet junkie, there's no other word for it. Lo and behold, 4 months after mom died, he takes up with a chick ONE YEAR OLDER THAN ME that HE MET ON THE INTERNET...I can't overstate the effect this had on my sibs and me.

I was civil, but I don't think she was under the impression that I wanted to be her best friend. We dealt with it as best we could, although Dad didn't think we were friendly as we could have been.

9 months and tens of thousands of dollars later, not one of us said 'I told you so' when he drove her back to S. Carolina and beat feet back as quickly as he could.

Now that he's gone and I miss him so much, I wonder if perhaps I could have been a little more understanding. But really, they were full of little frisky jokes and the like and it was just too much.

Posted by: Kim | September 10, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

New kit

Posted by: dr | September 10, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

> The presidential race is a geezer-fest. John McCain, who recently turned 71, would be the oldest person to capture the Oval Office.

No quite: Reagan was 73 when he was re-elected in 1984

Posted by: Gary Goldberg | September 15, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

> The presidential race is a geezer-fest. John McCain, who recently turned 71, would be the oldest person to capture the Oval Office.

Not quite: Reagan was 73 when he was re-elected in 1984

Posted by: Gary Goldberg | September 15, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Re: Joel Achenbach's 9/23/07 Outlook Article, "What Makes Up My Mind"

1. It's bad enough that astonomers tell us that the Earth isn't at the center of the cosmos". This comment perpetuates the myth that those who believed in a geocentric universe were egocentric and power driven. In fact, just the opposite is true. Ptolemy, Aristotle and other Greek thinkers believed that the "purer" something was, the "higher" it was. The "more corrupt" something was, the "lower" it was. This Greek thought was adopted by early Christianity to explain that "fallen man" was earthbound, "saved men" went up into the heavens, and "condemened men" went below the earth into Sheol or Hell. Thus geocentriciy was a belief borne of humility regarding fallen mankind.

2. "Dualism flatters us, for it suggests that our minds, our selves, are not merely the result of rambunctious chemistry, and we are thus free to talk about sould and spirits and essences that are unfettered by the physical body"
Again, just the opposite is true. What developed from the "heliocentric", Corpenican revolution was a ego-centered, anthopocentric (man centered) world view, which Rene Decartes and his theory of "dualism" hoped to quell by explaining that human beings were spiritual (the mind) as well as material (the body). This was NOT flattery. It was a humble recognition that something beyond us was at our center not just our own self-centered egos.

3. "Dualism is pretty much dead to serious researches." What this, and what follows in the article, fails to note are these points: (a)Dualism has been largely replaced by monism which holds that the body and mind are one substance. (b)Many monists are materialists, which means they either do not believe in a spiritual or supernatural world, or reject such a world as having any relevancy to scientific inquiry, or even more mundane practical day-to-day observations. (3)As the article infers, many monists are also idealists. Not in the sense of "having high ideals", but in the sense that these monists believe that human knowledge is purely subjective; and objective truth either does not exist, or cannot be known by the human intellect.

All of this paints a radical materialism and aribrary subjectivism, which is contrary to the beliefs of many others. Unfortunately this monistic world view often gives little quarters, is highly intollerant of and biased against alternative world views, and is so narrow-minded that it cuts off rational inquiries that might challenge this world view.

As such I'd be very suspect of giving $4B to those holding this narrow world view, and would wonder if it would be wasted money - used only to suppress free inquiry into the human mind, by those with a different world view.

Posted by: J P Seidl | September 23, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

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