Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

"Love and Sex With Robots"

[My review in today's Book World.]

LOVE AND SEX WITH ROBOTS

The Evolution Of Human-Robot Relationships

By David Levy

Harper. 334 pp. $24.95
Here's a prediction that'll make you squirm: In the future, people will fall in love with robots. Robots will not be cold, predictable machines, but actual lovers -- precocious, sexy, and remarkably humanlike in appearance. Humans will even marry robots in certain obliging jurisdictions. Now send the kids into the other room while we mention the obvious, bizarre implication: Someday, people will have sex with robots.

And not just cold, mechanical sex that barely incites a feeble meep-meep-meep from your robot lover: No, we're talking about real elbow-pads-and-helmets sex. Electrifying sex! (And afterward the robot will take a drag on a cigarette and say, "That really recharged my batteries.")

We learn all this from robot enthusiast David Levy in his intriguing but very strange new book, Love and Sex with Robots, which if nothing else gets points for the straightforward title. Levy, whose previous book, Robots Unlimited, outlined the coming era of ubiquitous robotics, has taken his scenario to its logical, if not entirely persuasive, conclusion:

"Love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans," Levy writes, "while the number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practiced between humans will be extended, as robots teach us more than is in all of the world's published sex manuals combined."

Levy goes on to imagine a world of robot prostitutes, or "sexbots," which would offer people a chance to practice their technique before entering a human relationship. "With a robot prostitute," he writes, "the control of disease is implicit -- simply remove the active parts and put them in the disinfecting machine."

At this point you are likely holding up both hands with palms outward in the internationally recognized gesture meaning "Stop." This sounds crazy. Clearly robots are not going to become plausible objects of sexual relationships, much less actual romance and genuine love, until they have a serious makeover. Human love isn't so shallow that we'll fall for the first machine with a nice pair of antennae.

But Levy's thesis isn't as silly as you might initially think. We are living in a period of revolutionary advances in computer software and processing speeds. The Japanese already have a multi-billion-dollar robot industry, including robots used to keep an eye on -- and even bathe -- the elderly. Sony has invented a robotic dog named AIBO. Honda has created an android that can climb stairs. Carnegie-Mellon University invented a robot, Grace, that managed to register by itself (herself?) for an academic conference. Meanwhile, researchers are experimenting with flexible polymers that can be used as artificial skin, an essential leap for the creation of robots you might actually want to cuddle. Most important, robots will have to learn to act like humans; one researcher, Levy reports, has designed robots that can exhibit 77 human behavior patterns.

The key is that these technological advances will someday be complemented by cultural changes, and cavorting with robots just won't seem weird anymore. "It would not surprise me if a significant proportion of readers deride these ideas until my predictions have been proved correct," Levy writes, and then makes a cheap analogy to people who once were hostile to the idea that the Earth was round rather than flat.

Levy's book is entertaining in parts, such as the eye-opening (even climactic) section on the evolution of vibrators. "A steam-driven vibrator invented in the United States in 1869 was inconvenient for doctors to use because they repeatedly had to shovel coal into its boiler," he writes. (Who among us has not heard the command, "Keep shoveling"?)

But throughout Love and Sex with Robot s, there's a recurring sense of the writer trying a little too hard: Every brick must be carefully laid as he builds the great edifice of his thesis. Thus, we must labor through long sections on why people fall in love, why they love their pets, how they become attached to their computers, and so on, before we can get to the good stuff on sex toys. And it's not clear that Levy -- described on the book jacket as "an internationally recognized expert in artificial intelligence" -- is truly an expert on the subject of human love. He seems more like a partisan in a technological debate most of us didn't realize was going on.

No doubt it is a good bet that technology and sexual desire will continue to have a mutually supporting relationship. But Levy is not merely saying that sex toys will be more elaborate in the future. He is envisioning robots as essentially interchangeable with people. The problem is, a robot programmed to fall in love with a person is essentially a fancy inflatable doll. Imagine the awkward moments:

Robot: I love the clever way you comb those few, thin, feeble locks of hair all the way over the vast bald region of your head.

Human: You're just saying that.

Levy stipulates, near the end of the book, that an important part of sexuality is "the possibility of failure or denial," and thus sexbots will need to be able to mimic human "capriciousness." But at some point you wind up with sexbots out of control, which, come to think of it, is a great idea for a science fiction movie.

If Levy is right, the era of rambunctious robot love is not far in the future. But I'd advise everyone to hang on to a flesh-and-blood backup.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 23, 2007; 11:09 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Iowa Journal: A Very Foggy Campaign
Next: And Now to Pay For It All

Comments

Some people cavort with robots, others with imaginary friends, some may with both. :-)

Posted by: dbG | December 23, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Hey! Where are all my imaginary friends?

I'll have my robot leave a trail of breadcrumbs from the last kit and hope the Rhoomba doesn't suck them up too early.

Posted by: dbG | December 23, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I love my Tivo... does that count?

Posted by: TBG | December 23, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm very sorry if my comments last night re: Ursinus were misunderstood.

I was pointing out that it is a fine liberal arts college, not a fine technological one. I have degrees from both, but I am center-brained.

Depending on how Yello's son's brain is hardwired and his intellectual bent, this could be a deciding factor.

Posted by: dbG | December 23, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I could make a comment about Robotic $ex and my former husband, but that would be a cheap shot. Plus I'm sure the robots are superior in every way.

I saw a clip of the robot climbing stairs on Olbermann. It got halfway up and fell down. This glitch wouldn't bode well for lovemaking.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 23, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Sex and/or love with robots. Let's examine the prior art. Just off the top of my head:

Bladerunner
"Mudd's Women"
Austin Powers
Cherry 2000
AI

I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I'd make a comment about the robot baby seal some Japanese researchers made, but there are children here...

Me, for instance.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 23, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

One day perhaps most people will forego the interhuman sexuality, and those of us who practice it will be regarded as perverts. "Filthy you! Get a robot!" they will shout at us.

I don't buy it, actually. It's far more likely that rather than machine-type androids, organic cyborgs will be the ones interacting with us in the more personal areas. Some sort of cloning technology, or even a creation of teriantrops, i.e. chimeras. I doubt if a practice-robot will be much more well-regarded or loved than a car or an electric toothbrush. But some people are far more materialistic (consumerists) than I am... I mean, I once loved my Austin Healy but I didn't really LOVE it, you know.

All this is a bit old-hat for science fiction readers, so it's probably only titillating right now to more mainstream folks. Others such as my best friend, consider such stuff outright demonic, and a path straight to the devil. I may agree somewhat.

It is all however actually similar to a train of thought I have been running over for the past few days about the most current research on artificial intelligence, in that I have not seen many new breakthroughs occurring lately in the press. I am paranoically reminded of an old trope that says when publication dries up, the field has become classified. But I would still think that even if Skynet is emerging right now in secret miliary labs, the form of such is so far from organic that it is almost surely not really loveable.

Posted by: Jumper | December 23, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Is this our future with robots?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oenAe9TJVsI

Posted by: TBG | December 23, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

About Ursinus: I think that interesting career paths are open to people who work against a grain. That I took so much hard science helped me develop a niche in writing that made me quite competitive. If an engineering-science type chooses a liberal arts institution, then a similar path is possible. However, there is this caveat: training in the sciences and engineering is stepwise and linear. The content builds on previous content. One way to approach this "counter-grain" education-to-career path is to be a traditional science major, say chemistry, and then go to graduate school in chemical engineering. (Can be done. May take a summer or two at an engineering college...or a "gap" year as an advanced special student in engineering couress.) And, when I look at the frustration in technical fields about managers without science or technical backgrounds, I wonder if this this might a niche place for a liberally-trained scientist or engineer to ply a trade.

One additional point: I do a great deal of consulting with engineers on their writing. An engineer who can truly write succinctly and clearly for the lay audience will soar above others in the cubical farm. Quickly, too.

RD can tell more about technical places with a deep and abiding commitment to liberally-trained scientists. Revelle College at UC San Diego is another place in So Cal besides Harvey Mudd and the other Claremont Colleges.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 23, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

All I can picture is the Robot from the Jetson's, it is not doing much for me. Now if the robots looked like Colin Firth or Hugh Jackman there may be possibilities.

Posted by: dmd | December 23, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Now one should make a clear distinction between a "robot" and a teleoperated anthropomorphic device. In a sense, there are people in the Second Life experience who are already having telesex. On a screen without an actual anthrobot, but one assumes it's on the way.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061215122519.htm
would be one prototype under development for the entire concept.

Heinlein proposed that, as opposed to robots, a teleoperated device (in his case, remote-operated hands) should be called "Waldos." Years later, actual waldos have come about, but to my chagrin, and a few others, they are not called waldos.

If I was a lunar miner and my wife was not with me, perhaps she and I could operate each others' sex-waldos simultaneously, remotely. If she allowed another man to operate her sex-waldo, (or vice-versa), it would be cheating! Just like sex-simulating Second Lifers cheat, now. I'm sure the earth-moon time lag would make the experience even more unsatisfactory.

Posted by: Jumper | December 23, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I knew we would get around to teledildonics. The ultimate phone sex.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telepresence

This Levy fellow is probably kinda slow.

Posted by: Jumper | December 23, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Of course, sex robots could get kind of wild in appearance (although one hopes not too wild in behavior - but that's just me).

Ladies and gentlemen, I present our newest collectors' model: the "Grace Jones."

Posted by: Jumper | December 23, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I am noticing the ad robots on this site are having a tough time with this kit & boodle...

Posted by: Jumper | December 23, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I am flabbergasted at the issues embedded in these scenarios. Imagine how therapy and common wisdom will be tested.


Posted by: College Parkian | December 23, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I scored 71 credits on this quiz. Whaddevertheheck that means.
The SciFi soundtrack quiz should not be done at work unless you have a kindly, hard of hearing boss.
http://www.shegoddess.com/q/sf/index.aspx

The strawberry flavoured 3in1 oil reseach is continuing apace.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 23, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

As a very young adolescent I recall seeing the movie "Westworld." Even in its edited-for-television incarnation, the movie presented an erotic image of nubile mechanical ladies intriguing enough to disrupt my sleep patterns for days. I think the concept appealed to me because of the strict Catholic sexual mores with which I had been indoctrinated. Mechanical fornication offered the promise of gratification without sin. Well, at least without mortal sin. And I could live with the venial ones.

As I got older I realized that this idea of using sexualized machinery as a moral out extended to issues of monogamy as well as the degradation of women. Heck, would it be really cheating? And you wouldn't be facilitating prostitution. It seemed like such an ideal way to deal with the overactive male libido.

But, eventually, I realized that sex was a lot more than just mechanics. To be really fulfilling it required an emotional connection as well. I still believe this. And I simply cannot imagine an artificial intelligence capable of providing true emotional intimacy. That's the key point. As Joel observes, you are really just talking about a hi-tech blow-up doll.

In any case, as a married person, it is a moot point. A sexbot would lack sufficient stealth. I mean, it would be really hard to explain to my wife why there is a buxom redhead hiding in my closet.


Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we know yet whether humans can get past the need for another human and be satisfied with "artificial" company instead. It seems like there'd be a lot to overcome. So much of what bonds humans to each other and inspires love are, for example, having odd things in common, sharing philosophies and ideologies, or finding out you had the same favorite song in high school... Things that allow us to feel that it's "destiny" that we've met the other person, that some higher power has brought us together... I think robots will definitely be used for sex, though. "The Real Doll" has done very well from what I understand (I work in the adult industry.)

Posted by: sirin | December 23, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, sirin. I had no idea such things really existed. There is so much more under the sun than I realize. Excuse me while I retreat back into my cloistered, sheltered little world.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

As I see it, this topic is fraught -- maybe even overfraught -- with all sorts of ethical dilemmas and quandries. Just a few of the many, right off the top of my head:

1) How much foreplay does a robot require? just a couple of nanoseconds? or 30 seconds or a minute, like with real women?

2) How long does it take a male robot to...um...reboot?

3) Do female robots actually... um, you know... or do they fake it, like women do?

4) What kind of background music does one need? Do robots like "Bolero," or "The Syncopated Clock," or what? What about all my Frank Sinatra records?

5) Candles: yes or no?

6) Will a female robot [do the deed] without the obligatory three glasses of wine first? And do you need to take them to a movie?

7) Will "Mechanix Illustrated" start mailing with a plain brown wrapper?

8) If you ask a robot, "Was it good for you, too?" will you get the same old sarcastic answer?

9) Who sleeps in the wet spot?

I just don't think this whole notion is gonna work out very well.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 23, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I did 85 on the Sci Fi Sounds quiz, but I don't like that it doesn't say which ones I got wrong.

This post made me pull out my directors cut of Bladerunner. I've never watched the voice-over-less version. Which raises a bigger question. When did Decker become a replicant? Harrison Ford claims he was never told that he was. With his acting style, why would he have to be?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/programs/pal/pal_back.asp

I KNEW they were working on Skynet...

I heard an interview with Ridley Scott who said he and Ford interpreted the movie differently, but Scott always intended Ford to have been the missing replicant. Since at the time it was left to the audience to discern this hidden possibility, he said he and Ford agreed to disagree.

Posted by: Jumper | December 23, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

yello, you need to read this review of the new 5-DVD release of Bladerunner in Slate, at http://www.slate.com/id/2180354/

In, we learn there appear to be numerous variants: "The current four-disc set comes with a "Workprint," a "U.S. Theatrical Cut," an "International Theatrical Cut," a 1992 rerelease "Director's Cut"--and this is to only scratch the surface! As the Internet will tell you, there is the "U.S. Denver-Dallas Sneak Preview Workprint"; the "U.S. San Diego Sneak Preview Workprint"; several competing cuts on Laserdisc; and, never forget, an additional line of dialogue given to Deckard's boss makes its original airing on cable TV yet another variant."

also:

"A folklore quickly grew up around the various versions of the film, few or none of which was said to be true to Ridley Scott's original vision. The single worst offender was the original U.S. theatrical release, with a tacked-on happy ending and an infamously hammy voice-over, added at the 11th hour after audiences exited the previews totally bewildered."

"At any point in its history, the shortcomings of an actual print of Blade Runner could be excused by citing a supposedly Platonic print of Blade Runner. This Platonic print would lose Irving the Explainer and the La-La ending, and add the Holy Grail of all Ridley-ana--the famed "unicorn sequence," which signals to the audience that, yes, Deckard too, in a final turn of the screw, is himself a replicant." [So the answer is, Deckard is only a replicant in this one edition.]

"Now the Platonic Blade Runner has finally arrived, as the maestro himself testifies. "This is my preferred version of the film," says Ridley Scott in a brief intro to "The Final Cut," looking straight into the camera. "Out of all the versions of Blade Runner, this is my favorite."

Posted by: Anonymous | December 23, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

RD I'm not sure what you're trying to say to me... was that sarcasm about the Real Doll? It wasn't very well executed, so it's hard to tell.

I'd always wondered how well the Real Doll actually sold, aside from its fame from being featured on the Howard Stern show. So recently I asked someone who knows the owner of the Real Doll company, and it's apparently a whole little industry unto itself. There are other companies that now exist simply to "service" the Real Doll. I know blow up dolls have been around forever, but the Real Doll seems closer to the kind of robot Joel is talking about in his review, at least in terms of looking human, having soft skin, etc.

Posted by: sirin | December 23, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

SCDC: 4 DVD, not 5.

Boy, my Iggles and the Saints are trading TDs like crazy. 21-14 at the moment. Gonna be a good game...wish I could see it. Instead, I'm watching Giants-Buffalo, whioch is being played under some horrendous conditions: driving rain and winds gusting up to 50 or 60 mph. Gotta be miserable there in Buffalo.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 23, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I heard it said that humans will use all new means of communication and technology for sex. After considering the bang up way telephonics started, "Come here Watson I want you", and my own extensive collection of nature films I thought this very wise. However, until I'm presented with evidence of dirty telegraphs, salacious semaphores, and sexy smoke signals, I must regard the proposition unproved.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 23, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

1:51 was me

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 23, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

We'll know mechanized sex has come of age when sex toys move from novelty items, are listed uder major appliances and Sandra Bernhardt plays the Maytag Man.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 23, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

No sirin - not sarcasm at all. Certainly I didn't intend any kind of offense. I meant exactly what I said. I had no idea such things actually existed. Really. I always thought the whole "inflatable girl" thing was just a novelty gag. The idea that someone would actually spend thousands of dollars for a silicon sex-doll is simply not something that ever entered into my mind. When you get right down to it, I guess I am just very naive person in such matters.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

From previous Boodling:

"For some reason this puts me in mind of the female robot in Fritz Lang's 1927 film 'Metropolis', and Lester Del Rey's classic 1938 short story, 'Helen O'Loy.

Of course we can love the inanimate: cars, motorcycles, bicycles, computers (and possibly even other people *through* those devices), telescopes, etc. because of how they make us feel about ourselves, a stylized near-perfect reflection of how we want others to perceive us.

In the cases of cars, bicycles, motorcycles, etc., we engage in physical activities with them that can transport us to the near-sexual experience. A beautiful day on a bike, a near-perfect lap on a racetrack in a sports car can give an endorphin rush or anandamide release (the jury's still out on that, I think) that could make for a memorable experience, one that a person would want to repeat.

Sex and love with a robot?
Sure.

The big trick (ahem) - as is pointed out in Del Rey's 'O'Loy' is to figure out what to do when *they* fall in love with *us.*

bc"

Someone poitned out to me earlier today that "Young Frankenstein" plowed some of this same territory, as it were.

I would also add that I mentioned the Real Doll yesterday...

Posted by: bc | December 23, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I cannot text message, I can barely turn on our home entertainment system to watch TV (don't ask me to put in a movie DVD), I don't even have a camera phone, and now I have to think about sex with robots!?? I'm sorry. This is just not going to happen.

Perhaps those stuck in the callowness of extreme youth (they're not all still young) might be attracted to the emotion and guilt free thought of robot sex. [Though I hasten to note that if they're programming robots to simulate human emotion, at least one function will be "you never call".] However, I'm with RD and others. As we mature, and perhaps age, intercourse is as much about intimacy as it is physical contact. When the robot says, "Hey, hon. You sit and read a book while I do the dishes and put away the laundry, then bathe the kids and read them a story before putting them to bed", then, I say, it may generate the romantic response which will lead to sex.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 23, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I think Joel did an excellent job reviewing this book. This was a tricky thing to pull of. Too snarky and the review could become just an excuse for double entendres. Too dry and it could easily become an unintentional parody. Joel seemed to split the difference exceptionally well.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Pull off.

I think I am going to leave this slippery topic alone now because the opportunity for unintentionally getting myself in trouble is just too great.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of robots...

Fox Sports does some interesting things around the holidays with the animated robot football player the network uses to frame the "brought to you by" ads. Today they have it in red and green, dodging snowballs until a big one hits it in the chest and knocks it down, triggering a large blob of snow onto the robot's head.

OK, so it's not sex...

:)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 23, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I want that d@mn thing assassinated.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 23, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

85 on the SciFi sound quiz too. I think I missed the "between the ticks of your watch" quote.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 23, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I believe my disdain for the Fox football robot is a matter of public record.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry RD!

Posted by: sirin | December 23, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

No Prob sirin. Tone is tricky to pull off. I hope you stick around. Sounds like you have an interesting back story.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

And for the other side, how do we know one of us isn't a created, expert system Boodler, software instead of flesh and blood?

Posted by: dbG | December 23, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

To bc's point. I certainly was fond of my old MGB. Granted, like relationships with all British Motor Cars, it had an element of masochism.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Once in the early net days, I responded to someone via email. He, I believe, ran my responses through LISA, an early AI demo for psychological counseling simulation, and just emailed back LISA's responses. I tried to respond a few times before I figured it out. I guess the joke was on me. But not for long.

To answer Mudge, Genya Ravan wrote a song once called "Won't Sleep on the Wet Spot No More." It can be heard here:

http://www.itsaboutmusic.com/genyaravan.html

Posted by: Jumper | December 23, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Forty + years ago I read a sci-fi short story where a space explorer was trapped on the moon/a planet, and could never return to earth.

He sadly remembered his prior life.

A female droid was now "in love" with him, and sang to him. She sang "Lover."

I still recall the story every time I hear the song.

Anyone know this story?

Posted by: nellie | December 23, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

OMG here I thought yello coined the phrase, but it exists already.
http://www.teledildonics.com/

Posted by: HAL | December 23, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/teledildonics/
http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/teledildonics-advanced-again-the-hug-shirt-220846.php

Posted by: HAL | December 23, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I just made it through the original Directors Cut, but don't think I need the Super Deluxe, Really, Honestly, This Time For Real Final Cut. Some article called Bladerunner the most revised movie of all time.

Lars And The Real Doll was recently on the arthouse circuit and got good reviews for the gentle handling of the subject matter, so to speak.

And to add to 'mudge's questions:

Can you rape a robot?

Do sexdroids dream electric wet dreams?

Does a sexbot have real orgasms? Does it matter?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 23, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Whew. Been prepping for tomorrow all day today, with football on in the background.

Should have went with my gut on Chicago over GB, dang it.

Back to work, then to relax and watch the Washington NFL franchise...

Just for the record, I've never had sex with a robot.

That I'm aware of.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 23, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I am pretty sure I am too young for this conversation.

Posted by: dr | December 23, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Sexbots are sure to come along, probably sooner than we think.

After all, virtually every advancment in computer technology during the past two decades or so has been prompted by demand for higher quality pornography. (I view most video games as a subset of porn).

So it stands to reason that breakthroughs in robotics will be made to enable sex with machines and then enhance it.

Posted by: gj | December 23, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Afterwards, they'll sing old Who songs.

The song is over
Its all behind me
I should have known it
She tried to find me

Our love is over
Theyre all ahead now
Ive got to learn it
Ive got to sing out
When I walked in through the door
Thought it was me I was looking for
She was the first song I ever sang
But it stopped as soon as it began

Our love is over
Its all behind me
Theyre all ahead now
Cant hope to find me

Posted by: Jumper | December 23, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I could really use one of those floor cleaner robots, because 1) I can't find any humans who will vacuum/mop for me for free and 2) I don't enjoy doing it myself.

But for sex? You know there are more than 6 billion human beings on the planet, and most of the adult ones like to have sex. There's really no need for robots for this purpose.

Then again, companies are making billions of dollars selling bottled tap water, so I have no doubt people will be ready to pay for sexbots too.

I lost my internet connection yesterday so I was forced to simply enjoy my Keys vacation without reporting on it. Imagine that.

But I'll throw something together on my blog -- I got a couple of nice photos of the Overseas Highway. I'll link to it when it's done.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 23, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

A drive by boodle from Tampa, 16 hours later than expected but nicely accommodated by Northwest Airlines during the delay, and a first class seat from Minneapolis to boot.

A very merry to all, including any bots among us. Seeing what has happened with pets I can imagine that loving robots wouldn't be too far behind-with or without sex.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 23, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't mind a robo-pet. This I could deal with.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

kb-Mr. F has a roomba (he calls "she") and it does a good job. However, it is infuriatingly inefficient when you watch it randomly change directions whenever it touches something. If programmed to work overnight the floor will be spotless by morning, but the same job could be done by a human in a few minutes. Which brings us back to your 6:36. Even the kid who will do it for free, as in no money exchanging hands, won't do so without a good nagging or threatening of loss of driving privileges.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 23, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Give me a robot that empties the dishwasher and puts everything away where I can find it when I want it... that's the robot I'll happily have sex with.

Posted by: TBG | December 23, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

You know, I do the dishes every night. Put 'em away and wipe up the kitchen too.

I regret to report that the aphrodisiac power of this has been greatly exaggerated.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm being accused of being antisocial because I'm not watching football with my father-in-law.

The things I do for family harmony.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

My niece had worked in a semi-conductors factory for many years. The factory had a robot to transport heavy items. After delivery, sometimes, the robot would just inch closer and closer to the girls, like wanting to get intimate. The robot would back off when they told it to in a stern voice. I thought that was really creepy to have a robot doing that.

Posted by: rainforest | December 23, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

But RD was engaging in conversation (on-topic at that) with at least a handful of imaginary friends. How much more social can one be?

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 23, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, in response to your #3, they just beep boredly and ask "Are you done yet?"

Boko-- don't forget that privacy/anonymity is also a huge part of it.
If you could send a telegraph without having to write it down or read it to some guy, dirty telegrams might have occured. And let's face it, semaphores and smoke signals are meant to be seen from a distance. By more than one person. Think of all the ribbing around the campfire later on re a person caught attempting "smoke signal sex."

I'm sure there's been the occasional insulting semaphore, but it's hardly great for propositioning people, unless you were at a swingers' camp and you wanted to announce a public orgy at 9 PM.

That roomba video certainly brought out the visual similarity of a roomba to a cockroach. Brrr.

For some people who have problems physically vacuuming, a roomba is a good option. I just wonder how dogs react to it. I think Wilbrodog would either leave the room as he does with normal vacuums, or he would attempt to herd it.

Rainforest, were the robots autonomous or remote-controlled? That does sound creepy.


Posted by: Wilbrod | December 23, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

And I DID find a case of obscene telegraphy.

"In a case using obscenity by implication, D.C. Comics, Inc. v. Unlimited Monkey Bus.,[70] defendants operated a singing telegram service where two characters, "Super Stud" and "Wonder Wench", delivered bawdy telegrams and wore identical costumes to plaintiff's characters "Super Man" and "Wonder Women". The court noted the implicit disparagement and bawdy associations wherein the harm lies in the dilution of plaintiff's works."

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 23, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if you aren't doing anything right now, run outside and take a look at the moon. There's a star immediately adjacent to it at about 4 o"clock, and is closer to the moon than I ever remember seeing one there. It must be really bright. Anybody (hey, ScienceTim, that's you) know what it is?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 23, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Where's the astronomical forecast site when we need one?

Here it's too cloudy to see anything but a full moon. Could it be a planet (no twinkle) or a supernova?

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 23, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

If it's reddish... http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071220/ap_on_sc/mars_rudolph

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 23, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... thanks for sending me out to look at the moon. When we were walking home from [insert maiden name here] Christmas this evening, we noticed that the moon was bright and huge, but it disappeared behind the clouds almost like curtains had been drawn in front of it.

That little star/planet looks like the moon's beauty mark. It's really quite stunning.

Posted by: TBG | December 23, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I'd look at the moon, but it's raining too hard. We saw it last night, but I didn't notice Mars. We had Mexican food at our local hole in the wall restaurant (where we saw our first jalapeno Christmas lights many, many years ago), then went to a park on Lake Washington to look at the lights.
http://www.ivars.net/News_Home/clamlights.html

Saw Atonement this afternoon. Pretty good - but slow at times - and lots of cigarette smoking, which bugged me a bit. I loved the book, and maybe my expectations were too high. It's beautifully photographed and acted.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 23, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

This is from an Alaska paper, but it looks like we're seeing Mars cozying up with the Moon...

http://newsminer.com/2007/12/22/10535/

Posted by: TBG | December 23, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

This is an interesting study done on an unicycle. Although I wouldn't exactly call that humor-- more like a "jerk" response to being startled by attempting some kind of humorous challenge.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071220195636.htm

This ain't stand-up comedy material, folks. Interesting anyhow, yet it reminds me of yappy dogs for some reason.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 23, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

That's Mars hanging out below the full moon. Closest approach was a little before 9:00. I thought it was truly spectacular earlier in the evening.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

And yes, that was a subtle plea for all humor writers and comedians not to start quaffing testesterone to "keep" their comic edge.

Because you know, people flattening beer cans with their foreheads are funny for only so long.



Posted by: Wilbrod | December 23, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey, it's halftime, so all you locals quick run outside. Mars is right next to the full moon, providing a ruddy complement to the reddish star Betelgeuse in Orion. Even someone, like me, who is pretty darn ignorant about astronomy should find it a striking sight.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 23, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

The Boy and I saw Mars and the Moon earlier this evening. It was really unusual and lovely, and looked as if Mars were hanging suspended from the Moon. Thanks for the identification, by the way; we decided it was a planet but didn't know which one. Later we went out again and the dome of the sky, including the moon, was covered in a series of small puffy clouds. The moonlight shone through the lighter cloud edges and the moon itself was peeking in and out, and made a sort of spooky pattern. The Boy looked up first and said, "Wow! Look up! That's beautiful!" It was too.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 23, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I don't know if the robots were autonomous or remote-controlled. I didn't ask my niece. It sounds like it could be remote-controlled since it didn't do that all the time.

Posted by: rainforest | December 23, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

It's snowing, blowing, and cloudy, but dang it, I finally found a pale speck 3 o clock of the moon, nearly encased in the moon's halo (cloudy, remember), and another further away.

And then the rooftop snow fell on me. You guys with better viewing conditions, take pictures, okay?

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 23, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I saw it! The Moon, and Mars, and as an added bonus, our old friend Orion. Thank you, boodle friends, for getting me outside to look at the sky.

Unfortunately, I do not have a tripod so I cannot take a photo that is worth looking at. Sorry.

As promised, I do have my pictures of our weekend vacation: http://readthinklive.blogspot.com/2007/12/weekend-in-key-west.html

Posted by: kbertocci | December 23, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I can barely see Mars through the Moons's halo. That is so cool. Windy too.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 23, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

kb... Sounds--and looks--like a perfect weekend. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Posted by: TBG | December 23, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

The ScienceKids and I spotted the Moon and Mars as well. Actually, ScienceKid #1 spotted it and asked me about it. I/we deduced that that must be Mars. Then the ScienceSpouse phoned me from the parking lot of another Temple of Commerce and we pondered it some more.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 23, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Goodnight, Moon.

Goodnight, Boodle.

Vaya con queso, and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 23, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Home at last, all things at Mom's are done and she can relax on Christmas eve and wait to panic on Christmas day. A nice branch was secured as a tree, actually several branches from 2 different trees.

I followed the star of Bethlehem(Mars) and I ended up in west by god. Beautiful full moon out tonight too, really made the last part of my drive nice.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 23, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

TBG, It's nice to multiply our experiences by living vicariously, I think. Your mountain cabin and family get-together cast their glow my way, too. Happy birthday, by the way. And now I shall go to sleep and see whether I dream about Mars or the mountains or the ocean or flying monkeys...or Something Completely Different.

'night all.

Posted by: kbertocci | December 23, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks all for the tip about the moon, just went and took a good look. There are thin, wispy clouds racing through the sky and Mars looks as if it is pulling the moon through the clouds, the moonlight on the snow is very bright.

Night all.

Posted by: dmd | December 23, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

My son is in the kitchen making a peanut butter pie for Christmas dinner, so I dragged him out into the street to look at Mars. His reaction was "Meh. Doesn't look all that red. It's more of a yellow."

Posted by: Anonymous | December 23, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I see the Moon
the Moon sees me
I see my love behind that tree
God made the Moon and God made me
Please, God remove that tree

Posted by: jack | December 24, 2007 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Feh! Sex with Robots? I'd do most anything to have six with humans!

Posted by: Yoki | December 24, 2007 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas Eve, boodlers! We had the first round of gift giving this evening at my youngest bro's home. Chocolate pie was the highlight; green bean casserole was definitely not. I have this aversion to a mixture of vegetables and cream of mushroom soup that is enough to nearly make me gag while posting.
We sent, of all things, fruit cakes as gifts to my dear aunts. Generally fruit cake is worthy of at least regifting, a doorstop, or a TV brick. There is something supernatural about cake with large, jujubee bits of red and green goo in it. This iteration, however, is actually edible. I tried it myself and didn't even need coffee to wash it down, rinse and spit. To writ, the packages haven't been returned, due in part to the fact that one of my aunts is in Chicago and her fruit cake was sent to Philadelphia. Given that the packages are about the size and shape of a piece of C4, I'm looking for the black helicopters any time now.

Posted by: jack | December 24, 2007 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Jack, that dish sounds overcooked. I'm glad you had other food that was delicious.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 24, 2007 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm just laughing! Hahahhaaha!

I love fruit-cake. So very sad, reely.

Posted by: Yoki | December 24, 2007 12:29 AM | Report abuse

So tired I can barely keep my eyes open, but still unwilling to go to bed.

Where's that robot when you really need him?

Posted by: dbG | December 24, 2007 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I do love me my home-state newspaper!!

http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071222/OPINION/712230301

I bet the Onion-Bleeder edit board had a collective conniption when they read that... *L*

RDP, that Japanese robo-seal I mentioned was intended to be a "pet" for the elderly. It prompted the same sort of beneficial blood pressure reductions noted with other pet therapy, and the researchers were discussing the possibility of later models having medical sensors to monitor their "owners."

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 24, 2007 5:14 AM | Report abuse

Good Christmas Eve morning to all! S'nuke you're up early. Wondering why Mr. F hasn't made my morning mocha yet (I do believe he loves his espresso machine, I know I lust for it).

Posted by: frostbitten | December 24, 2007 6:09 AM | Report abuse

*faxin' frostbitten some eggnog-laced coffee* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 24, 2007 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Happy Christmas Eve, my friends. My sister called me this morning on her way to work(early). She said if she couldn't sleep, she was going to call everybody else so they couldn't sleep. And I was sleeping hard, after not sleeping for two days. We talked until she arrived at work. It was good.

Every one has finished shopping, right?

Mudge, I loved your 1:34 comment about the kit. Good questions to ask.

When one talks about the possibility of this happening, I keep thinking isn't that kind of sex like having sex with yourself? Instead of a hand, you're using something else, right? It sounds creepy to me. And cold. Does this "thing" have a heat sensor or something? I don't know folks, sounds really extreme. Not a subject I'm well versed in anyway. It's a memory.

It rained here yesterday, all day. Really messy weather, but we need the rain, and then some.

Slyness, where are you? Hope you're having fun.

Scotty, this your first Xmas with your new bride, officially anyway? Enjoy, and make plenty of memories.

And all my friends here, "have yourself a merry little Christmas now", as the song goes. I love that song. It makes me sad, and happy too.

Martooni, let us hear from you. I'll bet the folks that have your fairy doors are looking and smiling.

And Error, we miss you, and wish you were here, but hoping it's better where you are.

Joel Achenbach, here's wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and nothing but good things for the New Year. And thank you for the this blog, and the chance to write.

Morning, all.*waving*

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 24, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Hi Cassandra. Merry Christmas to you. I'm sure that although you were sleepy, it was great to talk with your sister. I don't have any siblings so I can only imagine how nice it must be to have a sister to talk with. Family and friends are certainly the greatest gift we receive in life.

"S" and I have been feeling slightly under the weather for the last day or two. Not sick, but not well. I feel better this morning, I hope he does too. We need to practice our dance routine at least once more before we perform our surprise recital tonight at my daughter's house.

I am excited about the telescope I'm giving "S" for Christmas. He'll have to open it on the porch or drag it inside himself as it weighs about 50 pounds and I dare not try to get it into the living room. I'm looking forward to tonight. Christmas Eve is my favorite time, Christmas day is secondary.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 24, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! Merry Christmas Eve.

I got an email from Microcenter advertising their politically correct "After Holidays Sale," which begins on December 26.

Now, really. It begins on December 26. Wouldn't you be able to correctly call that your "After Christmas Sale"?

Reminds me of the sign on the door at the library one spring that said, "The library will be closed on Sunday, April 3, for the Spring Holiday."

Which holiday might that be?

Posted by: TBG | December 24, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Martooni's fairy doors, I have an order for him. How does one do that? If you are out there, sir, please see http://jumpersbloghouse.blogspot.com/
and an order will be made. A certain lady in Florida pounced on the concept and simply demands one. I will be doing my best to comply.

Posted by: Jumper | December 24, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, this is Martooni's fairy door link :

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5247318

Posted by: rainforest | December 24, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Jumper... you may have to wait a little while, but here's where you'll order a fairy door...

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5247318

Posted by: TBG | December 24, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Rainforest... it's fun to think about how I'm starting my day and you're ending yours, but we're both here.

:-)

Posted by: TBG | December 24, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5247318

Posted by: Anonymous | December 24, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

only 367 shopping days left

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 24, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Aaah! Last-minute shopping! Last-minute cleaning! Aaah!

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 24, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

I noticed the Moon/Mars event last night, but in all the excitement of the Washington NFL franchise's win in Minnesota and the possibility that the team could make the playoffs with a win when they play Dallas at home next week, I simply lost track of it.

Again, a lot to do today to get ready for tonight, but I hope all of you have good holidays, whatever and however you choose to celebrate them. Even if you just celebrate a visual juxtaposition of Earth's moon and Barsoom with a toast to the heavens.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 24, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle persons! I'm certainly glad my little question about that strange object next to the moon touched off such a storm of Moon/Mars watching. And it's a little weird how many of you also saw it, independent of me pointing it out.That6's cool.

Nobody's mentioned it yet, but Joel has an article about Chrsitmas during the Iowa campaign, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/23/AR2007122302517.html?hpid=topnews . In it he mentions Hillary have a late Sunday evening party for her staff plus any "trapped-in-Iowa" journalists. Wonder if Joel was one of them. In any event, hope he returns to his home and hearth today to be with his family tomorrow. Who'd cook the traditional Achenbach Christmas 5-Meat Chili if he wasn't there to do it?

Merry Christmas now to any and all you boodlers who are about to hit the road and who won't be boodling for a couple days.

I don't know what all the fuss is about this "Happy Holidays" versus "Merry Christmas" nonsense. I use both terms interchangeably and without any particular esoteric subliminal message. I tend to use "holidays" to include both Christmas AND New Year's, when I think I'm not likely to see the person again before New Year's. And sometimes I use whatever happens to roll out of my mouth at the moment. So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings and Juicious Noel, untainted by any subliminal messaging, dearest Boodlers. And what the he11, let me throw in a (belated) Happy Channukah and a heartfelt mozel tov to anyone so inclined to receive same. L'chaim.

And it would be highly remiss of me if I didn't mention the deeply satisfying Redskins win last night. Oh, yes. Now, the big thing is next week, when they play the hated, despised Dallas (sorry, Ivansdad). There's the possibility Dallas may sit down its star players, to preserve them from the playoffs. But the thing is, I can't see the Cowboys rolling over and playing dead for their hated rivals, the Redskins. I'm sorry Terrell Owens is injured and won't play, about the same way I'm sorry whenever Rush Limbaugh gets a hemorrhoid or when Ann Coulter's PMS flares up. Be that as it may, we have to beat Dallas, but it just won't be nearly as satisfying if we whup the second string. (Or the second string whups us, which is entirely possible.) (Not that I have any illusions whatsoever about the Skins' chances during the playoffs. Bwahahahahahahahaha.)

What the blazes happened to Green Bay? Sheesh. bc, did you get burned on that one?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 24, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Have a Merry Christmas everyone. I'm off to my sister's to play the merry elf with a song in my heart and the thought of Ann Coulter with PMS lacerating my brain.

Fabulous Festivus Ann! I hope you get the tooth file you've been needing.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 24, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Ann Coulter gets PMS? Isn't that a female complaint?

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 24, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

This opens an interesting legal question.

I can well imagine that a popular model sexbot would be based on the Britney Spears of four years ago. Suppose someone produced one. Would that be 'copyright infringement' on the grounds that her physical likeness is her property for which she can demand royalties ?

Of course this will take off spectacularly. There are lots of men and women who want more than what is in their reach. There are lots of men who aren't winners but want trophy babes just the same.

Posted by: Muwatallis | December 24, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to all Boodlers and their relatives.
I think I hear a call for an early out in the background. Tourlou!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 24, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas, folks!

I survived the weekend of the in-laws, God bless them. They left about 40 minutes ago, just about on time to drive from here to NoVa by 5:30, when they are supposed to have dinner with my sister-in-law's family.

Great fun at my mother's family party Saturday evening, much merriment at Mr. T's aunt's home yesterday, today I am pooped and will take it easy...

Posted by: Slyness | December 24, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, Ivansdad expects no starting center, no Terrell Owens (is that right? I think that's who he said), the starting quarterback for about half the game. He said since they're not at home, they don't have to go all out to please the fan base, but they still want to win.

Baking score so far:

Sugar cookies baked Saturday, gingerbread men baked this morning, not decorated. Amount of sugar cookies considerably diminished in meantime.

Black cake (Christmas cake, actually more tan this year because I had to use dark corn syrup instead of molasses) baked yesterday, not yet iced today.

Pumpkin pie in oven. Ingredients for dough for mince pie, and possibly pecan pie, ready to make and chill.

Still to come: a movie, maybe ice skating, and a midnight service. Thank heaven the Episcopalians moved "midnight" to "11 p.m.", making possibletomorrow morning's present opening before church.

Whoops. Must also go and pick up Christmas dinner meat at butcher's. Glad I made this list. Thanks, Boodle.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 24, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Put your feet up, Slyness. Sounds like you deserve it.

Just got back from a quick run to Safeway to pick up some pie dough my wife needed for her (specatular) baked apple recipe she's baking for tomorrow. Coming back I heard a snatch of the Diane Rehm show, and she was interviewing a guy (whose name I didn't catch) who wrote a biography of Charles Schultz. And they were talking about the fact that right smack dab in the middle of the Peanuts series, Schultz had an extra-marital affair with a woman he'd met, named Tracy. Meanwhile he had been married to Joyce for some time. And to my amazement, Schultz began dropping hints about it right in the middle of the Peanuts strip-- there was one of Snoopy on his dog house looking at the falling snowflakes and asking whether it was possibly to love two snowflakes at the same time. Schultz was also calling Tracy, and his wife eventually found out about the affair by reading their telephone bills. In the strip, Snoopy goes crazy because he's met and fallen in love with a beagle at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm--many of you probably remember this. Well, at one point Charlie Brown cautions Snoopy to stop calling the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm before he gets caught.

Everybody knows about the religious subtext in the Peanuts strip, but so far as I'm aware, nobody was aware that there was a whole 'nother subtext also running through the strip. Who'd a thunk. I'd be interested to know if Weingarten was aware of this before this guy's book came out.

(The upshot of the story is that Schultz and Joyce got divorced soon after -- apparently somewhat amicably -- and I believe Schultz then married Tracy. (That was just when I pulled into the driveway; there might have been more.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 24, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I heard that story Mudge and wish I hadn't. I'd rather continue to think warm thoughts about Schultz. Ah well.

I was just out on the porch putting a bow on the telescope box and gathering all the other presents out there for transport tonight. I found a present I wrapped for "S" and I have no memory whatsoever of what it is! Iguess that will be the first one he opens and we'll both be surprised.

Off to do last minute errands.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 24, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge, I believe I will. Whew!

For the joy of the day, this is a beauty:

http://www.booneweather.com/Photo+Of+The+Day

Posted by: Slyness | December 24, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I am exhausted just reading your list. After an eventful few weeks we have just been relaxing at home yesterday and today (got 6 loads of laundry done yesterday and put away).

Gifts are wrapped, sorted through old family photos to give to my siblings, my husbands famous scalloped potatoes are cooking in the crock pot. Tonight we have dinner with my brothers and their families tomorrow my husbands family celebrates at my husbands brothers house.

Going to enjoy a coffee and then go get eggs so we can bake brownies for Santa, he loves brownies.

Next to all of you and your elaborate preparations I feel very lazy.

Bad Sneakers, still giggling over your Ann Coulter comment.

Posted by: dmd | December 24, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Not elaborate, dmd, just taking advantage of opportunity. Those cookies may never get iced. The cake will, sometime. I did pick up dinner, though, which is really probably the most important thing.

I'll check in again later. Y'all have a fun, hopefully relaxed, day.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 24, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Happy Christmas, everyone. Christmas Eve is my favorite, too - so much anticipation. Christmas Day can be such a letdown - and I don't even want to think about January.

I probably should make sugar cookies, to get into more of a Christmasy mood.

One of my favorite blogs here:
http://montucky.wordpress.com/

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 24, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Based on the cars trying to get into and out of the parking lot at the grocery store, everyone has left their food shopping for the last minute. I had to buy flowers for my daughter's table. She isn't as 'into' centerpieces as I am and it's a little quirk of mine to have flowers and candles on the table.

Beautiful photo Slyness. It looked a lot like that on Saturday northwest of Boston. I'm sure it's all washed away now by the rainstorm last night.

"S" will be home soon and we'll need to pack up all the presents, food, cameras, flowers, serving trays, batteries and whatever together for tonight. So if I don't get another chance to say it, Merry Christmas to all my boodle friends, their families and friends.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 24, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Joel had an excellent serious article in the paper today. Perhaps he will post it later.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/23/AR2007122302517.html

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 24, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

And from the best to the worst. I must admit I am having what I affectionately call a "ScottyNuke" moment after reading Novak.

Darn near destroyed my Christmas cheer.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 24, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

RD, just exactly WHY did you read Novak? You know better than to do that!

Now, this I found interesting:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/21/AR2007122101415.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Posted by: Slyness | December 24, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Yep RD P, I was thinking about posting a warning regarding Novak's column but one thing led to another and I forgot about it. It is a masterpiece of deceitful deconstruction. We are heading to the Christmas "réveillon" to the in-laws in a couple of hours. Lots of good food is expected. I'm lucky they live only 10 minutes away as it is snowing heavily right now. That will be some treachery driving for those with a longer party commute.
Martooni, still buried in snow and ice man?

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 24, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

OK, the baked apples are ready (waiting until tomorrow for baking), and I just put the cornbread stuffing in the oven. Now, I am about to drown the turkey (in brine). Another 22-pounder, too. I am *determined,* determined, do ya here me?, to get some leftovers outta this sucker.

I agree; there ought to be a ban on reading Novak during the holidays. Also the regular days. And weekends. And Mondays off. And during months with or without an "R" in it. In his alleged column, Novak says the CIA is being run by the Democrats and everythiung is their fault. Who woulda guessed.

Uh-oh. From Kurtz's column: "At a wine-soaked dinner with Clinton aides and two dozen journalists at the Centro restaurant here, the talk was as much about kids left home and presents unbought as about polls and tactics." Joel, Joel, Joel. Wine-soaked. Of course, Kurtz was himself one of the ah...lubricated...guests, it appears. Perhaps our Joel wasn't there after all.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 24, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Joel's piece was, as usual, an intelligent approach to the topic. The comments... Not so much. Hardly at all, in fact. *SIGH*

People read Novak?

RDP, you're welcome to one of my moments anytime. I lose track of them anyway...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 24, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Boy, are you right, Scotty. 16 people posted comments on Joel's article. 15 of them were wacko, and only Padouk made any sense. And they are even more off-topic than the boodle usually gets. It's amazing. I had to laugh at two separate posts howling about the problems of over-population...a hot-button issue on...ah...lemme see here...nobody's list.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 24, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Just sneaking away from kitchen, where they chained me (you'd think they would know better than this)to check on boodle. Turkey, check; potatoes, check; turnitps, check; dressing, check; strawberries check; Corn... oh horse hockey, I'll do it later. The children (such as they are) and guests arrive shortly, but there is just time to pop into the hot tub and put up my proverbial feet before they arrive. In fact, I'm not boodling, I'm just filling my glass with wine.

Merry Chritsmas boodle, whatever your stripe or holiday.


"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow(1807-1882), 1867

My only additions is that all men of all nations are right and all men of all nations are wrong, we simply need to work for peace a wee bit harder. In this time of year so special to me, I wish and pray for this for all humankind.

Posted by: dr | December 24, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - if my comment is the one that made the most sense, you know you got problems.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 24, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

dr, that's one of my favorite carols, and one that I haven't heard this season. I too hope and pray for peace, and goodwill toward men and women.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 24, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Okay... I don't log on for a day and when I come back and the totally rad "sex with robots" blog has turned into a thread about what everyone's making for Christmas dinner and dessert... what the heck?!

So fyi, I'm making a Christmas Cookie Town tonight. A table-sized town made entirely of cookies. (In fact I think in the future cookies will replace tradional building materials like bricks and cement. I might write a book about that, actually.)

Posted by: Sirin | December 24, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Why is the first paragraph of my post all messed up? grr...

Posted by: sirin | December 24, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Sirin - glad to see you back. To deviate from the topic is pretty much par for the course around here.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 24, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Sirin - Cookie Town sounds great, and way more appealing to me than robot sex (loved Joel's review). I thought the Boodle did a pretty good job of staying on topic, actually. Almost too good, from my point of view.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 24, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Boodling in between first supper -- then "midnight" Mass at 8PM --- to return to second supper.

Cookie thread:
In a fit of practicality, we made lemon bars and pecan bars instead of cookies. Therefore, Sirin, we are heading to your your place for the afternoon tomorrow. We will admire and then daintily help you consume CookieTown.

Keeping Christmas:
I will keep all boodlers in my prayers, non boodlers, too. I think that about covers it. I love Christmas Mass at the Neuman Center: a few assorted professor-types, music that sometimes includes a wind player who gigged with Chuck Mangione for years and a bassist who grew up playing with Danny Gatton. The students tend to bwe earnest and forlorn foreign students who cannot afford the ticket home. A lovely raggle-taggle bunch who usher in Christmas beautifully, just the same.

And, Ivansmom, I have not yet snuck in a hip flask so that if, "O Holy Night" is sung, I can leap up and hit that high note. It is hard being an alto in such a small crowd. I will brush up my Latin for Adeste Fidelis...CPDot does not like my Churchy-Latin pronunciations, which are very Italianate with soft cccc sounds.

And for Yoki and others a POME for this eve and day. Denise Levertov describes the significance of Christmas in "Mass for the Day of St Thomas Didymus,"in this section called "Agnus Dei" or "Lamb of God":

God then,
encompassing all things, is
defenseless? Omnipotence
has been tossed away, reduced
To a wisp of damp wool?
And we,
frightened, bored, wanting
only to sleep till catastrophe
has raged, clashed, seethed and gone by without us,
wanting then
to awaken in quietude without remembrance of agony,
we who in shamefaced private hope
had looked to be plucked from fire and given
a bliss we deserved for having imagined it,
is it implied that we
must protect this perversely weak
animal, whose muzzle's nudgings
suppose there is milk to be found in us?
Must hold to our icy hearts
a shivering God?

---
God Rest ye Merry Boodlers let nothing you dismay.....

Posted by: College Parkian | December 24, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Sirin... I hope you take a picture of your cookie town.

I think replacing building materials with cookies everywhere makes terrific sense. A lot more people would stay home.. until they'd finished eating home, that is! Yummmm.

We're off soon to a nearby neighborhood where the local pond is ringed with luminaries on Christmas Eve. it's a beautiful and peaceful walk around the pond's little boardwalk. We stumbled on it one year ("what's that down that road? I dunno... let's go see...") and have made it a tradition since.

Slyness.. that picture from Mt. Mitchell is stunning. Contrasts greatly with my only visit there... when it was above 90° F.


Posted by: TBG | December 24, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

If you've got little ones out there, make sure they check out Santa's progress...

http://www.noradsanta.org

Posted by: TBG | December 24, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

TBG...90 at Mt. Mitchell? Wow, I didn't think it ever got that hot there!

We've been to church, had supper, and are just waiting for the evening to end so Santa can come.

Peace on earth, goodwill to all, especially those in Achenblogland!

Posted by: Slyness | December 24, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas everyone .... bloggers and lurkers...
Have a joyous and safe holiday. Eat, drink and be merry.

Posted by: rainforest | December 24, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Cookietown is coming along nicely so far --right now I'm developing a row of townhouses made from graham crackers. (I don't know if graham crackers are technically "cookies" though, so I'm hoping it won't cause a scandal in the community.)

TBG, I've got the camera. I don't know if there's a way to show you guys pictures but... we'll figure something out.

Posted by: Sirin | December 24, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Still waiting for some guests. The food is ready, and nothing is burned.

CP, I laughed out loud - "I have not yet snuck in a hip flask so that if, "O Holy Night" is sung, I can leap up and hit that high note." - I tried hitting the high note once. I think I broke something.

Posted by: dr | December 24, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Graham crackers are cookies. I have a really large collection of cook books, and graham crackers recipes appear in the cookie sections of 2 of them.

Sirin, there is always flickr. From there, you just Upload and post the link.

Posted by: dr | December 24, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Sirin... you can send me pictures of Cookietown at boodler [at] mac [dot] com and I'll put them on my tbgboodler blog, which exists for just that reason.

http://tbgboodler.blogspot.com

Posted by: TBG | December 24, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

The mince, pumpkin and pecan pies are baked, the cake and cookies are iced (mostly), the dinner was cooked, consumed and the dishes done (chicken breasts with lemon & white wine gravy), and all is ready for the trek to late service and sleep, when Santa will come (or something like that, the Boy doesn't think so).

Sirin, I love the Cookie Town. We'll drop by in the black helicopter, if RD is willing. Should we be late, please do either take a picture or prepare a detailed verbal description of the glory.

Thanks for the pome, college parkian.

Merry Christmas to all Boodlers of Christmas persuasion, and happy holidays to all, whatever you may celebrate. May wonder be yours.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 24, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'll sing "O Holy Night" for you all. Listen hard, and think peaceful thoughts. The high note will float if you listen very quietly.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 24, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Ivansmom... it sounds just lovely. Thank you.

Posted by: TBG | December 24, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Off to work boodle, since i will be up all night I will keep an eye out for Santa and direct him in everyone's direction.

I hope everyone has a wonderful,safe and Happy Christmas!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 24, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tune cootie Sirin et al

(Won't you take me to) Cookie Town
Gotta make a move to a town that's right for me
A town to keep me movin' keep me groovin' with some energy
Well I talk about it talk about it talk about it talk about it
Well I talk about talk about talk about movin'
Gotta move on Gotta move on Gotta move on

Won't you take me to cookie town
Won't you take me to cookie town
Won't you take me to cookie town
Won't you take me to cookie town

Spent way too much time on last minute shopping today, but in the Miata with the top down driving around Tampa was no hardship. I even had a chance to see one of my favorite odometer palindromes, 33333, but alas had no offspring riding along to subject to my nerdy observation about palindromes generally.

Didn't cook a bit today so it will be an early morning for me making pumpkin and chocolate pecan pies. The chocolate pecan is by special request of Frostdottir who thinks she'll be leaving the nest this spring and is scrambling to learn all the family culinary secrets. She has Ma Frostbitten's gravy down pat-buy it in a jar, and Aunt Frosti#1's cranberries (from NPR) "open both ends of the can and slide onto a decorative plate."

And a Christmas Eve gift-Frostdottir's bf called to say he is on a plane for Kuwait tonight and should be home for leave by the 27th. The mood is considerably lighter around here than it had been before the call.

Wishing peace to all. Fondue.


Posted by: frostbitten | December 24, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I would love to fire up the 'copter, but I've had a generous serving of eggnog. And you know what a light weight I am.

Happy Night Before Christmas all you Boodlers.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 24, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Today there is an opinion article that gets a very prominent place -- it's called 5 Myths About the Poor Middle Class, which might be just standard right-wing apologism wheeled out to make working people not feel so bad, or maybe there's some truth in it. The author is described as: Stephen Rose, an economist, is at work on "Mythonomics: Ten Things You Think You Know About the Economy That Are Wrong." Period.
There is NOTHING in the article itself or the attribution by WaPo the help me determine whether this guy actually knows anything, or if he's simply a right wing apologist. Because so little is provided to support his credentials, I assume it's simply cr@p, when then makes me ask why it was given such a prominent place. Oh, yeah, the paper needs to be "balanced".

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 24, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Interesting at work last week -- colored lights all over the cubes (not provided by the company), despite half or more of the staff being hindu, zoroastrians, buddhists, and so forth from south asia. Immigrants adopting the local habits, I guess. And revealing how meaningful those habits are?

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 24, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Hi, LTL - long time no see. I've heard that Christmas is celebrated in Japan and India these days - more the consumer side of things - maybe the notion of peace and goodwill too.
http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/culture/christmas.html
http://www.theholidayspot.com/christmas/worldxmas/india.htm

In Russia, it's all about the New Year.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia_Day#Russia_Day
с Новым годом

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 24, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow night, RD, 7:30 p.m. on the dot, we'll all meet at the bunker. You can put the copter down on the pad across the street in the parking lot. We'll have fun visiting the cookie town. Remember, no nog till we get back! The bunker bar will be fully stocked, so we should be fine.

Posted by: Slyness | December 24, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I might end up putting the cookie town pictures up on my myspace. I've never used flickr before...

Thank you so much for the confirmation that graham crackers are cookies. Now if anyone takes me to task, I'll be armed with that valuable factoid.

Cookietown is shaping up to be a thriving metropolis. I'm getting a little too obsessed with it, I think. It's growing by the hour.

Frostbitten, is it true that Miata owners are completely obsessed with Miatas? Not to generalize. But I was told that from a recovering Miata-owner who sold his because got so obsessed. He found he couldn't even go to a movie without looking to see how many Miatas were featured in the street sequences. That Miatas get into one's blood somehow.

Anyway, back to Cookietown. I'm going to start taking pictures shortly.

Posted by: Sirin | December 24, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I hope Martooni is doing well with his pneumonia-bronchitis recovery.

I've had to pass up much of the christmas social events including church, since apparently there's not a christmas tradition that includes the joys of hearing coughing.

Visualize people caroling: "Silent Night"

My chorus: COFF! hack cough cough ah ah gasp COFF COFF COFF!
Wilbrodog's backup: "woof woof!" (cough it loud, friend!)

I can't even cough on-key or in time; regretablly I have been informed that there is no floating high note or sweetness to my staccato respiratory malfunctions.

At least now I can sneak in a few laughs before I start coughing.

TBG when it comes to winter holidays, it's obvious that Christmas is now the holiday that dares not speak its name.

It's sinful and forbidden to wish joy to the world and goodwill towards all men. It could even be unpatriotic and traitorous. I mean, gosh, are we going to be handing eggnog and christmas stockings to everybody in Gitmo Bay?

Time for a refill to refuel my cough-syrup philosophy. Merry Christmas!

And if you forget the lyrics, here's a nice site listing mumpteen carols.

http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/~ai251/xcarol.html#A


Posted by: Wilbrod | December 24, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

It just has to be said.

I LOVE YOU GUYS!!

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 24, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

You made Arts & Letters Daily:

http://www.aldaily.com/

I can't get the image of Woody Allen in Sleeper out of my head. I also remember Diane Keaton in that film. Hubba hubba.

Merry Christmas

Posted by: bill everything | December 24, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Christmas Cards

I'm tired of jolly Santa Claus
With toy-stuffed sack and sooty boots,
Of snowmen, reindeer, sleighs and bells,
Of angels playing harps and flutes.

I'm tired of stockings hung with care
And candy canes with ribbons on,
I'm tired of Yule logs on the hearth,
And snowy woods with doe and fawn.

Of lion with lamb and cat with mouse
All friendly 'cause it is the season --
Of skiing dogs and smiling bears
Anthropomorphized beyond reason.

I'm tired of candles, bells and wreaths.
Of little elves with bright red noses,
I'm tired of Currier and Ives,
Picasso's doves and Grandma Moses.

Of children skating on a pond,
Poinsettias, cardinals, chickadees,
Mistletoe above a door,
And ornaments on Christmas trees

I'm tired of shepherds tending lambs,
Wise Men forever riding east.
Of carolers before the door
And all the family at the feast.

I'm tired of all the cards that stray
From the one message valid still -
Down all the years we yet desire
"Peace on the earth, to men, goodwill."
---nellie

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Posted by: nellie | December 24, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Bill everything, thanks for the link; I found the link to Paul West's stroke and aphasia recovery quite interesting. I've never read the author, but he certainly is interesting now.

http://www.theamericanscholar.org/su07/mem-west.html

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 24, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Before it's too late, Happy Christmas Eve!

(I'm listening to the (almost over now) "Big Broadcast" holiday special on one of Washington's National Public Radio stations. Fun stuff, mostly programs from the '40's.

For them with fast connections, it's online at: http://wamu.org/listen/

Posted by: Bob S. | December 24, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Wilbrod! I'm not sure where to find the close-captioned version. Perhaps I'll create one for you!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 24, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

I will leave everyone with my favorite carol, The Huron Carol - there are some more updated and more politically correct versions now. A lovely haunting song.

http://www.rivernen.ca/legend_6.htm

Updated versions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huron_Carol

Posted by: dmd | December 24, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Very sad note tonight, Oscar Peterson has died.

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/music/story/2007/12/24/obit-peterson-oscar.html?ref=rss

Posted by: dmd | December 24, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

It's nearly midnight, and I've had a very nice evening with my family.

Peace to all, and to all a good night.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 24, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

I think it's official now -

Merry Christmas, all!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 25, 2007 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Here's a link to Nat King Cole's great version of one of my favorite Christmas songs and a lovely video montage to accompany it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaxDGfA7evA&feature=related

A Merry Christmas to you all!

Posted by: pj | December 25, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Let's have Linus have the final word:

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them,

Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

And regardless of our belief or disbelief, let's give kindness at all times.

Posted by: billl everything | December 25, 2007 12:11 AM | Report abuse

bill - I still very much enjoy reading my copy of "The Gospel According to Peanuts" every now & then.

Posted by: Bob S. | December 25, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

I could hear it, Ivansmom. Lovely.

bill e...thanks for that.

Just checking in to send my best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a lovely holiday season for all the boodle. And Joel, of course.

Posted by: Kim | December 25, 2007 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear that you're under the weather, Wilbrod. Hope you feel better soon.

Christmas is very quite here, even in the newspaper. During this time of the year, most of the hotel-restaurants or bigger restaurants would advertise their Christmas eve buffet dinners and Christmas day buffet dinners but not this year. There were no Christmas promotion ads in the paper. Those that did have ads for the holiday didn't use the word "Christmas". Either it's too sensitive or advertisers self censor or 25th is too close to 20th which is Hari Raya Haji Korban or Sacrifice Day, a day commemorating Ibrahim (Abraham)'s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. Last year, Haji was too close to new year. Hotels and organizations which had organized a count down to 1st had to cancel their events.

There are only 2 churches here, possibly the country. Both were built during the British times. After the British left, no churches were allowed to be built. St George is attended by Catholics. The other, St Andrews, is shared by a couple of other denominations throughout the day on Sundays. Still others have their services in residents. I've attended the Baptist Sunday Service at 5:30pm/5:45pm several times at St Andrews. Both churches are situated not far from the national mosque. The muslim service is broadcast on loud speaker. The Baptist Service, which is bilingual (English translated to Chinese), is 1.5 hrs long. The last half hour would get drown out by the muslim service. This is the time you can find out how good your concentration is.

Posted by: rainforest | December 25, 2007 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Just back from a midnight Mass with some friends. My son is threatening to bake chocolate chip cookies for Santa knowing that I don't like them. I used to have to stay up until he fell asleep. Now I just have to get up before he wakes up. That was 4 pm today.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 25, 2007 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Sirin, either I've been unconscious for a long time or you've fit in here extremely well in a very short period of time. I may as well be the first to ask: Are you a sock puppet? :-)

Merry Christmas to all. Time for bed! Tomorrow morning when Santa Paws hauls in the chicken jerky and new, silky dog beds in from the Subaru, there will be rejoicing.

Posted by: dbG | December 25, 2007 2:26 AM | Report abuse

yello - My folks were bemused by the fact that I realized at a VERY young age that the presents would still be there whenever I got up, so I opted for sleeping in. Alas, my younger brothers had different plans, and I wasn't allowed to sleep through their excitement.

Posted by: Bob S. | December 25, 2007 2:30 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I think I'm getting boring old food and a chew for Christmas. Maybe some social fun.

My best wish would be for Wilbrod to be well enough again to walk me in the snow as I deserve to be walked. Tonight we had a little walk; we did go to and I was sniffing deer tracks and we did a little romp in the snow... okay, I did most of the romping.
We did do a "réveillon" tonight first which turns out to be food and drink for people and boredom for me; I don't like being out that late, haven't people heard of going to bed before midnight?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | December 25, 2007 2:32 AM | Report abuse

Among my wishes for the new year: In the future, Yung Joc shall remember where he's stashed his piece, and Greg Smith will bear in mind that it's probably not a good idea to use illegal drugs while awaiting trial on murder charges.
-----

"Yung Joc was charged Monday with carrying a concealed weapon after police said a loaded gun was found in his carry-on bag at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The 25-year-old rapper, whose real name is Jasiel Robinson ... told them he didn't know the weapon was there ..."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/24/AR2007122401350.html?hpid=entnews

Well, sure!

-----

"A former U.S. Army Ranger accused of killing his roommate and fellow Ranger last year in Gaithersburg has tested positive for marijuana numerous times in recent weeks, violating the terms of his release on bond, according to court documents.
... Drug tests conducted Nov. 13, 16 and 20 show that Smith has been using marijuana... A test administered last week also indicated marijuana use ..."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/24/AR2007122401878.html?hpid=sec-metro

Well, sure!

-----

Hey, these things happen. I just hope for these young men that they can learn to manage their indiscretions more, well, discreetly!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 25, 2007 4:21 AM | Report abuse

Mornin All and Merry Christmas!!!

I hope everyone gets to spend time with family and friends today and all have a wonderful day.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 25, 2007 5:19 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas, friends. That day has finally arrived, and it's quiet and peaceful here. Santa been and gone. The g-girl is still dreaming and her mother doing the same. I'm the only thing up and moving, and perhaps, the mice? I hope not.

Morning, boodlers, Merry Christmas, and as someone so wisely said a couple of comments ago, I love you guys!

I went out to the shopping center yesterday about six o'clock, and there were so many people. The store closed at six, and believe it or not, some folks were still running to get in. I had to pick up my daughter, and she was one of those folks. At exactly six, the store locked the entrance and cut out the lights. And the store was still full. I'll bet they didn't clear that store until midnight. Of course, we're talking Wal-Mart.

Imagine a traffic jam in a small town. Lovely image. And always there's someone in a hurry. I saw the rescue vehicle screaming up the street when we turned in for gas.

I went to the nursing home yesterday to visit some friends, and to wish them Merry Christmas. It was hard. One of them cried, and I kept talking to move him from the tears. One wasn't feeling good, just really felt bad. And the other one is really sick, but was able to wave his hand. I felt so useless and so lacking because I could do nothing for their pain. And I thought even the visit may have made matters worse. I left feeling none to happy, just wanting to make it better. But that is not within my power, only God can do that. I pray.

The apartment is so very quiet, almost as if I am here alone. So many thoughts race across my mind, but the tears aren't far away. I don't want to cry, it does not help, it does not take the pain away. Bless you good friends, and bless your families too. May the New Year bring joy, and may blessings abound.

Wilbrod, hope you get to feeling better. Take care.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 25, 2007 5:23 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, and Merry Christmas, Cassandra. I'm sometimes overwhelmed by my inability to make much of a dent in the grand sum of pain & unhappiness in the world. I don't know any answer other than to cry when I have to cry, laugh as often as possible, and try to make SOME corner of the world outside myself a little happier as often as I'm able. Some days work out better than others!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 25, 2007 5:47 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas All! Even to those whose holiday traditions differ from contemporary traditional Christianity. For example, I work with a Jehovah's Witness that does not celebrate holidays. But he won't be at work today either. All you Jews, Muslims, atheists, and FSMers might as well wagon train with the rest of us.

My son did not carry out on his cookie threat, but did something incredibly sweet as well as devious.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2007/12/last-christmas-tree.html

For me, it's back to bed until some other member of the family wants to get up and open presents.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 25, 2007 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas, everybody! I hope Santa is good to all.

rainforest, thanks for your description of Christmas in your part of the world. Fascinating to hear about having to concentrate to hear over the Muslim service.

Cassandra, may God's blessings be upon you all the year!

Mr. T has BYU TV on, to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Whatever you think about the Mormons, that group does sing well.

Of course, I'd really like to hear Ivansmom's O Holy Night. Maybe one day...

To all my Achenblog friends, may the peace and promise of Christmas be with you all the year long!

Posted by: Slyness | December 25, 2007 7:39 AM | Report abuse

What Slyness said!

Merry Christmas everyone...the hordes are descending upon the mountain of gifts...delightful chaos to ensue...

Have a great day everyone!

Posted by: Achenbach | December 25, 2007 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Santa left lots of goodies! There are socks full of stuff for three kids, two dogs, one cat and one hamster. The Puppy got a whiff of its new bone so it is absolutely restless. But the Witches and Fungi are still sleeping off last night (huge) Christmas réveillon. Time to burn some some Puppy energy before unwrapping the gift.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 25, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I am finished, finally. Let the wild rumpus begin!

Posted by: Claus | December 25, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Rainforest,

Thank you for telling about your corner of the world.

St. Lucia dough rising. How a Siliciana saint of the Mediterranean became emblematic of High Latitude-Lutherans in Sweden, we must thank the Vikings. We are late this year, but nothing is so yummy as saffron buns in the morning with hot coffee. I have the same bottle of saffron that I purchased more than 25 years ago. I use about five crocus stamens a year to impart that pale yellow and hint of metal to the dough. Metal, yes. Your mileage may vary.

Sneaks, did you make cardamom bread? I think you said something about Swedish bread for the holidays. Lutefisk aside, the Scandinavians are master sweet-bread makers, and I don't mean the beef kind of sweat-breads.

Thanks for the Linus reminder of Christmas meaning. Let's be generous and never mind the cost. God bless everyone we love and even those we don't.

Here is what Swedes say about Lucia Day:
http://www.sweden.se/templates/cs/CommonPage____11421.aspx

I adore a few evenings in the past at the Swedish Embassy with staid, blond Nordics singing Santa Lucia in earnestness. However, they lack that Italian brio the hymn really requires.

In that spirit, here is Mario Lanza singing in Italian, that Sicilian Mariner Song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpP7heFjr0g

Eat your hearts out, oh Swedish singers. Sorry, but the Italians win this one. Curling, however, is yours.

Posted by: Colllege Parkian | December 25, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas! I think on Christmas morning my children seem a little younger than normal. That's a good thing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 25, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas morning everyone. I hope Joel is home with his family and getting some rest after chasing around the country with candidates. I further hope that all those candidates just stay quiet for a few days as a gift to all of us.

"S" is happily putting together his new telescope in between bites of Swedish bread. Yes CP, it is cardamom bread. His mother used to make it but of course there was no recipe. One of his cousins experimented until she had a reasonable approximation of it and gave us the recipe. It's a beautiful smooth dough to work with and I make two or three braided loaves from each batch.

Last nights gathering at daughter #2's house was the best. The puppy met the kitty but the results were not exactly lions laying down with lambs. After four close encounters kitty finally snapped and swiped puppy across his nose, kitty made his point well and puppy retreated. The rest of us got along much better than that.

Drove home the long way so we could look at Christmas lights. There were four "holy cr@ps" and two or three "oh, so prettys" not counting the small but very nice three tree display in the center of Plymouth.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 25, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The living room is scattered with books and book gift cards so it will be a very quiet afternoon at Chez Frostbitten. Frostson is at his dad's house and I hope to hear his voice today. How is it easier to text than talk? For pity's sake, he's 30, supposedly a little old for the whole texting thing. It is my own fault I suppose for taking him to the Student Union at UND and letting him stand on a chair to beat me at Asteroids before he could talk.

Frostdottir is tracking the bf's progress from Iraq like she used to follow Santa's movements. He is, she thinks, in Kuwait now and the next step will be catching a flight out to Europe then a commercial airline to Atlanta then home.

Oops, must attend the pumpkin pie and get the pecan in the oven.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 25, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas homies!

dBG are you the same person as TBG? Was that a typo, or are you two different boodlers? Anyway TBG I am going to send you some pics from cookietown probably later today to put on your site. :)

Posted by: Sirin | December 25, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas Morning, Boodle. Hope Santa was good to you all. I got my biiiig Rachel Ray knife (I already had the smaller one), so now I am fully armed when I head into the kitchen. Also got some other cool kitchen accessories, including a salt box and a collection of big wooden spoons and spatulas made out of bamboo wood--very cool.

The turkey is in the oven, got the one-hour 450-degree high-heat treatment and is now doing the finish at about 380. (Our oven's temp is off, so I have to jack it up a bit). But she's lookin' mighty fine.

Some friends gave us a "Christmas loaf" the other day, and we had it with breakfast--it's kind of a stollen with apple in the center amd drizzled with a white sugar icing. Also had raisins in it. Really yummy. Yoki, I bet you've got a recipe for it. The base dough appears to be similar to cinammon bun dough, judging by the finished results.

About noon we're packing up the presents and the turkey, cornbread stuffing and pumpkin pie and heading out to our oldest daughter's house, where grandkids and unabated gluttony await. Our daughter says she has hors d'oevres--her famous crab dip (to die for), as well as shrimp, and maybe some scallops (not sure I heard that right). But whatever, we'll be stuffed to the gills before the turkey and ham feast at 3 p.m. Life just isn't fair.

Assuming I survive this bacchanal, I'll boodle later this evening. Good eatin', everyone!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 25, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to all my imaginatry friends!!!

*stuffed-in-a-big-red-suit-and-smelling-of-catnip-from-the-kitties'-box-'o-treats Grover waves*

I hope everyone has a delightful day and an entirely uneventful rest of 2007!

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 25, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Do I really need to SCC on Christmas??? *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 25, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Hi Sirin! Merry Christmas... No.. dbG and I are two different people, although since we've actually met in person I've discovered we're not that different at all.

I'll be looking out for your pictures. Can't wait to see how Cookietown came out.

Today at the G house, we're celebrating "Jewish Christmas." We're going to see Juno at 4:00 and then have reservations at our local Chinese restaurant for 6:30.

Best. Day. Ever.

Posted by: TBG | December 25, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas, Boodle.

I've a had a nice Christmas so far, and I'm looking forward to a good dinner with friends and family tonight.

I'm taking an extra moment to hug and kiss everyone today, to make sure that all of the people in my life know how much I love them.

And all of you, too.

Here's a big "Dating Game" Jim Lange kiss to all of you for the Hoidays.

*****a swing, and a KISS **********

Feel free to supply the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass music of your choice as an accompaniment...

bc

Posted by: bc | December 25, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

bc-Oh no you didn't! Here's Herb

(Wilbrod, it's a brassy instrumental Jingle Bells)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBIG2_MVeBw

Posted by: frostbitten | December 25, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Gee, TBG, could we be related? I, too, am going out later to see a movie (Charley Wilson's War) and then to a local Chinese restaurant -- all with friends.

That particular movie has not been on my list (I'm not a regular movie-goer anyway) -- not because of Tom Hanks (who I think is great), but because, for the life of me, I really can't stand Julia Roberts. In all her films, with the exception of Erin Brockovich (because the material was so good), she plays "Julia Roberts" in all of them. Different clothes, different plot, different dialogue -- but she is *only* playing herself in all of them. Irritates the *&*%*%&^ out of me. Really. So, I'm going to see Tom Hanks. Period.

Pardon the cranky moment. Do.

Happy celebration to all who celebrate. And eat Chinese food on this day. Amen.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 25, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Hi, everyone. We usually have dim sum with our Vietnamese friends on Christmas, but we did that earlier this year. Quiet Christmas here, but nice. I finished knitting the cap for Mr Ml at midnight last night - and it fits - huzzah! What he really wants is snow - and we may get some tonight. I have enough calendars to get me through the year, lovely candles, and Bono's Prayer Breakfast speech in book form:
http://www.amazon.com/Move-Bono/dp/0849901928/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198609444&sr=8-1

Cassandra, I used to visit my elderly relatives in nursing homes, so I know how hard that can be. Sometimes they didn't even know I was there - or when they did, they didn't want me to ever leave. If nothing else, the staff knows that someone cares about that person. So it's a good thing you did, even when it doesn't make you feel good.

ftb, I don't like Tom Hanks, either - that movie is definitely not high on my list! Once I'm off the oncall leash, I'm going to see The Kite Runner, Sweeney Todd, No Country for Old Men.

yellojkt, nice blog today.

Peace.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 25, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

TBG I'm trying to get to your blogspot but for some reason it doesn't load on my computer. Nothing comes up but a blank backdrop, with no text or anything on it. And it claims to be "Done" loading. So I'm not sure what's wrong... I'm not getting an error message or anything, there's just nothing there.

Posted by: Sirin | December 25, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Sirin... I may have typed in the URL wrong.. here's the copy and paste version... (I'm having no trouble seeing the page)

http://tbgboodler.blogspot.com/

Just send the pictures to me at boodler [at] mac [dot] com and I'll upload them to the blogspot page.

Posted by: TBG | December 25, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I got a tasty bacon-flavored chewbone for christmas!! And I got to chew up some paper and trash them for treats, too!

Wilbrod got a "I love my dog" fleece blanket, just to help that gnome remember the real priorities in life! Then a taste of fried eggs for breakfast... mmm.

I miss having kids to supervise on Christmas, though. Would anybody send me some? Preferred: ages 4 to age 14, expert petters and ball throwers, high energy, playful.

Now to try and get that gnome outside to watch me romp in the fresh-fallen snow...

Posted by: Wilbrodog | December 25, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

TBG I still can't see the site... but I did email you a few pics. :)

Posted by: sirin | December 25, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

We're getting a dusting of snow. Very pretty, unusual to have snow on Christmas here.
But since we've no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 25, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Sirin-I forgot to answer your question about Miata owners obsessing. If you ask me I'd say it's a myth, if you ask Frostdottir she'd say it's all true. She calls my Miata "Mom's garage ornament" because I don't drive it very much (33,347 miles in 5 years 5 months). However, it was my daily commuting vehicle for two years in NoVA and I didn't wash it every day we had pine pollen or park it away from other vehicles to avoid door dings. It is quite simply my dream car, and I plan to drive it at least another 30 years.

Toodles boodle. Off to watch Ratatouille on the new 42" TV Santa brought Mr. F.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 25, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I hope that Santa was good to you and yours.

The Mr. and I have just spent the last bit of time taking apart a gift basket from the potential future daughter-in-law and playing with the french press coffee maker. All sorts of lovely things and we play with the coffee press.

Oh, and I wish for world peace !!

Posted by: Pacifica | December 25, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I hope everyone had a wonderful day. I just wanted to inform the world that I am, in fact, never eating again.

At least that's how I feel right now.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 25, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Mmmmumble mumble too stuffed mumble mumble turkey mumble mummmmmble ham mmmummmbbbble groan *sigh* mumble groan no room mumble for dessert mumble *another sigh*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 25, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Hi Pacifica! Haven't seen you for a while.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 25, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

*feebly lifting hand to wave to Pacifica, failing, nodding back to sleep again*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 25, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I have left-overs - everyone is welcome.

Shrimp and Grits - I made it as an early-afternoon meal before my child and g-f went over to her family.

Dinner here is going to be chicken soup. My sister and I will do a big-deal dinner next weekend.

I am somewhat of a ludite - I am watching the video for care and operation of a cruisinart that I finally will admit has some advantages.

Posted by: Pacifica | December 25, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the compliment mostlylurking. In Charlie Wilson's War, both Tom and Julia are playing against type. Hanks has a lot of fun as a skirt-chasing party boy and Julia is so stunning in a bikini, you would have no idea she's had two kids.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 25, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

He11's bells, yello, if you saw me in my thong you'd never believe I have five kids.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 25, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Hi boodle! Juno was excellent. Lovely movie. I really enjoyed it; the young woman who stars is just adorable and it's a good thing that she's on screen practically every second of the movie.

The Chinese dinner was also excellent and we celebrated my little sister's birthday (she's five years and three days younger than I am; she took over my spot as Christmas Baby).

In the meantime.. here are some pictures of Sirin's Cookietown.

http://tbgboodler.blogspot.com/2007/12/sirins-cookietown.html

Posted by: TBG | December 25, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I suppose that visual image was uncalled for. My bad. I'll spring for the eye bleach.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 25, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh, man, she's [Sirin] a redhead. Somebody grab hold of Padouk so we can wrestle him into the straitjacket before this gets out of hand.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 25, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

And for everyone's enjoyment, Doonesbury Christmases through the years:

http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/hoho.html

Posted by: Slyness | December 25, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately I have an instant "explictly graphic" block on inside my head, Curmudgeon, so my christmas wasn't ruined by that line.

However your little scenario just may be taken the complete opposite way from Yello's comment on Julia Roberts, Mudge.

Today was good, especially talking to the scattered members of the Gnomish clan, but now rest will be even better.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 25, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Sirin - Thanks for sharing those pictures. The cookie town looks fun. Your son is charming, and the pride in your eyes in the picture with him is undeniable.

And yes, I dig the hair.

Well, back to work for me tomorrow. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 25, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Sirin, cookietown looks like it was a lot of fun to create. Great picture of you and your son.

Our back to back family feasts are over, I feel sick I am so full but it was nice to see everyone.

Posted by: dmd | December 25, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Three days of partially-empty office. Quiet. Maybe productive.

We've been under our own private cloud-rain cover, so no Mars until tonight. With the damp weather, the trees tonight are full of chirping insects. Two clumps of "Iris Red" heliconias, started around the time of the 2004 hurricanes, abruptly burst into flower this week. The red inflorescences are spectacular, but they hide among the big banana-style leaves, so you sorta have to cut some stems and bring them indoors. The plants spread rapidly enough (by rhizomes) that it's essential to cut stems anyway. This photo looks like my plants:
http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/potd/2007/10/heliconia_stricta.php

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 25, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Went outside to put the recycling out and was caught fairly breathless by the trinity of Full Moon, brilliant Mars, and Orion. The sky can be beautiful at times. I guess I should look up more often.

Tired. Tired. Tired.

'night all.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 25, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Dave, that's fabulous. I am so envious of you and kb and your spectacular tropical plants. I may have to search out some for inside the house. Heliconia is what I thought was bird of paradise, but I guess I was wrong about that - but it's lovely.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 25, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Just had our first look at the moon through the new telescope - wow. The image is so bright that when I backed away from the scope, my right eye felt like it would if a flashbulb had gone off. Too cold to stay out gazing at the heavens but it will be a lot of fun when the weather warms up.

Hope everyone's Christmas was wonderful. I took a vacation day for tomorrow so I can clean up a bit and maybe go do a bit of shopping, gift cards are burning a hole in my wallet.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 25, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for saying nice things about my little one, guys... and I'll keep you posted on Cookietown progress. We're taking a break because quite frankly nobody can stand to look at any more batter or frosting or sprinkles or... anything that might qualify as "delicious."

Posted by: Sirin | December 25, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Sirin, that's the problem with long-term cooking or baking, for me at least. I reach the point where I don't want *any* of it, not because I've been eating it, just because it's been so all-encompassing. I have not reached this place with jewelry. Thanks for sharing!

The rest of the Boodle can confirm that while TBG is ubiquitous or the very next best thing, we're different people (given TBG's explanation above).

Last night I was old-friend-of-family at my friend's daughter's house, delighted to be at their 5 mo old son's first Christmas. One toy he received was a huge gumball machine, push the lever down and lights flashed, music played, and plastic balls came rumbling down the chute. After a little bit of coaching, he learned how to push it himself, and did so repeatedly. Truly a joyful moment, not diminished one whit by the fact that the border collie learned how to do it in 1 try by watching the baby. Of course, it was the balls the collie was interested in. :-)

This afternoon, another friend's husband brought over his newly rescued lab, newly renamed 'Buddy,' and we watched Buddy and my Emma run fill tilt around my yard for almost an hour. A tired lab is a good lab. They're coming back tomorrow for more.

Tonight, dinner at my friend's house, another great occasion with pineapple stuffing, ham, beans & spaetzle and chocolate truffles. Seems like the only presents I give are things I make myself, so everyone got jewelry and money.

Altogether, a wonderful holiday. Hope all of you had a wonderful one too.

Hugs, dbG

Posted by: dbG | December 26, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

SCC: full tilt

Posted by: dbG | December 26, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I've had a nice Christmas in the Real World and here amongst my virtual friends.

I will say that while I cannot speak to Miata Owner obsession personally, I can say that as the Boodle's Official Car Guy, I think that Miatas are wonderful cars, and I love driving them too. (Sirin, can you put a gingerbread Miata in cookietown?)

I've also been fortunate enough to have driven a few Miata race cars in my time - and they're as wonderful on the racetrack as they are on the street.

I think MINI Owner Obsession is a little worse than Miata Owner Obsession at the moment, but that's purely an Observation on my part (MINIs and Minis are both nice cars, too IMO).

Mudge, I'm glad you didn't mention that "Saran Wrap in Festive Holiday Colors" thong thing you had goin' on.
Personally, I'll never look at another plate wrap-covered holiday leftovers the same way again. Particularly the Swedish Meatballs.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 26, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

SCC: please add "of" to the last sentence above.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 26, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Well, the evidence seems to be mounting that the Force is strong with Miatas. Does anyone want to examine this strange phenomenon further, or is it just me?

As for a gingerbread Miata in cookietown... I suppose I could try. Personally, I'm partial to PT Cruisers, followed closely by Mini Coopers... but maybe I need to catch Miata fever. (I know not the power of the Dark Side.)

Posted by: Sirin | December 26, 2007 2:07 AM | Report abuse

Well... I'm old-fashioned, so I kinda still like this one!

http://parkoffka.ru/media/6/20070118-Jaguar%20E-Type.jpg

Posted by: Bob S. | December 26, 2007 2:41 AM | Report abuse

But I'll grant you that they weren't/aren't the most reliable beasts on the road!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 26, 2007 2:43 AM | Report abuse

Sneaks - This, of course, is the problem with using a fairly good telescope. The stuff that is easy to spot with a half-decent pair of binoculars is too bright or too large to be comfortably observed with your superior instrument. [Stop chuckling, ya'll!!] Make sure that you bring a cheap pair of binoculars to look at the easy stuff (e.g. bright Moon, phases of Venus, Gallilean satellite alignments, Pleaides) and then line the telescope up on the more subtle things.

I'll defer to the accomplished astronomers here for specific examples, but several nebulae and double star systems leap to mind, as well as spotting Jovian banding & Saturnian ringing, and all that stuff. Also, when looking at Luna with a good telescope, go for the terminator, especially when the moon's in crescent mode. Most of the Moon is just too darned bright to observe closely without a filter most of the time.

Oh, did I mention that you should use (or obtain and use) a filter sometimes?

Posted by: Bob S. | December 26, 2007 3:10 AM | Report abuse

The only filter I'm even remotely interested in at the moment is a coffee filter. 'Morning, Boodle. Happy Day After Christmas, or as it is known in some place or other in the world, Boxing Day. Everyone knows this is because it's the day you take all the empty boxes out to the trash, along with the turkey carcass (unless you're making soup or stock out of it).

For many of us (including moi's truly) it is the day to go back to work. Yes, duty and government call. I love this time of year at work. The place is half empty, and all the big mahoffs are off, and the place is put in charge of bottom-dwellingtaskmasters like...um...me. So if you have any naive expectations whatsoever that at least one small portion of your feral gummint and your tax dollars will be functioning today, well, bwahahahahahaha. That's a good one! *slapping knee*

I've looked at the WaPo front page and have very little to comment about, except some fool trying to tell us Al Sharpton is still relevant. Uh huh. Him and Harriet Nelson. And some other fool is trying to tell us that it's a good thing younger students are learning algebra (because it helps them overcome their total inability to do long division, I suppose -- always such a yucky thing to learn in this day and age of calculators). Or some such pedagogical crap. Otherwise the news is that there are bad people in the world, and they've gone back to work, too. But you already knew that.

On the campaign front...there isn't any. The main article seems to be a follow-up to Joel's piece the other day, during which we find this delicious sentence: "Late Tuesday morning, lights were out at the downtown offices of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee...." One might add, the lights have been out for those two guys for quite a while, metaphorically speaking.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 26, 2007 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Gator news: "Die-hard Gators could get campus urns"

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/story/357050.html

Posted by: kbertocci | December 26, 2007 6:02 AM | Report abuse

And although the Herald says this is "an old story to comic-book aficionados," it was interesting to me.

"...the first superhero, the aforementioned Superman, first published in 1938, was created by two Jewish boys from Cleveland, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Batman followed in 1939, brought to life by two Jewish men, Bob Kane (born Robert Kahn) and Bill Finger. Captain America, born in 1940, was the brainchild of two Jewish artists: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg). In the early 1960s, Kirby, along with writer Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber) reinvented the superhero genre with the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Thor, the Hulk and (with a non-Jewish artist named Steve Ditko) Spider-Man. And so on. In fact, one could argue that had there been no Jews, there might have been no superheroes."

http://www.miamiherald.com/519/story/357045.html

Posted by: kbertocci | December 26, 2007 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Bertooch, we Jews try not to mention Heshie, the near-sighted Yeshiva student with the magic yarmulke, one of the early prototype superheroes that went nowhere. We did much better with the goyim.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 26, 2007 6:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Mudge, I see you lost none of that edge that enables you see bull quite clearly. What bothers you about Rev. Al? I read the headlines, seldom the story, unless it interests me. I think I will go back and read the algebra story. And you are so right, kids hate long division.

Hope everyone enjoyed their Xmas and I hope Santa was so good to all. My daughter gave me a pair of jeans and a sweater. She insist I wear the jeans. I haven't had on a pair of jeans in so many years. I didn't think they made them in my size. I know we're going to get a good laugh when I get these on. If I can get them on. Doesn't that image just thrill you?

I've been having some awful dreams lately. It could be the rich food. I hope that's it.

Slyness, it is raining here, and I mean raining hard. I'm so glad to see it.

Martooni, what's up? Come out.

Here's hoping none of you have to go back to the store, unless you really want to. I don't want to get caught there.

Morning, all.*waving*

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 26, 2007 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Cassandra, Mudge. We had a good feed of (avert your eyes RD Padouk) rabbits and ducks at the SIL last night. The fat of the duck offsets the relative dryness of the rabbit quite well. I was in charge of veggies and wine and everything went well. But gorging two nights in a row is getting to be too much to me, got to spread those things around.
The Puppy had a great Christmas too, the SIL has a very energetic airedale so they played together all night. I hear the Puppy snoring mightily in the background, it went right back to sleep fter brekfast.
Welcome Sirin! Ihave made some progress on my picture and post soon. But you have read that before... Off to shop for Mrs. Denizen preent, a sofa.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 26, 2007 7:36 AM | Report abuse

SCC add a few a's, s'and some spaces. Previewing is the way of the wise and obviously I'm not one of them.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 26, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

There's a handful of gnocchi left in the fridge...not exactly the breakfast of champions, but I'll settle for breakfast of the mediocre today.

Lunch might be pie.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 26, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Well, a quiet Christmas with breakfast burritos, a delightful dinner with friends and lots of love all around is a good thing, yanno?

*back-to-work-and-therefore-somewhat-sluggish Grover waves*

Sirin, wonderful job with Cookietown!

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 26, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Good Boxing Day morning to all! This just reported on NPR-fewer Canadians plan to cross into the US in search of bargains this Boxing Day (less than 25% of those polled), they refuse to stand in line for a bargain, and they plan to spend just $233. I see how the invasion plans are shaking out now. Bring us to our knees economically with that strong Loonie then laugh while you refuse to buy waterfront property that will be under water in a few years.

My amateur economist observations of this holiday season make me think all the major retailers are going to have to put some spin on their last quarter reports. For the last few years looking for Boxing Day bargains on cards, wrap and ornaments hasn't been worthwhile as things were completely sold out a few weeks before Christmas. Not so this year. The Christmas Eve lines were long at a local Hallmark store, but the row upon row of Keepsake ornaments was full of stacks upon stacks of boxed ornament. The "limited editions" did not appear particularly limited.

Toddling off to make my own grande two-pump mocha (extra hot) because the barista has gone back to work defending freedom's frontiers (for a half day).

Posted by: frostbitten | December 26, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

CookieTown is fab.

LiT, what ever else is for breakfast this time of year save for Pie. Yummy.

I "regifted" fairy doors to the CPDots yesterday, but will keep them in the yard. Until they settle into a non-dorm/group house domicile, they are MINE.

Enjoy. Stay warm. Read seed catalogs as they arrive. Dream of the splendiferous garden that could be if only we all had KB and DofC's plant zone.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 26, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Happy rainy Boxing Day to all!

I'm ready to rest for several days. It was good to get Christmas over early, I suppose, but it definitely tired me out. Mr. T is heading for the mountains, but I think I'll wait awhile before I go...

Cassandra, I hope the jeans fit. I'm with you, it's been years since I wore a pair. I'm partial to knit slacks myself.

bc, one of my friends got a Toyota Solstice for her 35th wedding anniversary. It's a convertible and a really delightful car. I could get into that sports car thing.

Mudge, RD, you take good care of bidness this week, ya hear?

Posted by: Slyness | December 26, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I am facing several pages of highlighted internal notes to deal with. Sigh. This is why I have such a troubled relationship with time off. The world doesn't take my lead.

Sirin - in addition to sporting my favorite hair color, I like your taste in cars. All of the ones you list make my pulse race. I would add to that list of eccentric retro-inspired vehicles the Toyota Yaris, for those on a budget, and the Ford Thunderbird, for those who are not.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 26, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the advice about a filter Bob S. Because we are new at this astronomy stuff, the only thing we could actually find was the moon. When we've done more reading, and it's warm enough outside to spend more than a few minutes gazing, I'm sure we'll find some other heavenly bodies. At least I hope so. ;-)

We have the leftovers from a roast beef and Yorkshire pudding Christmas meal that should last a few days so I can do a major kitchen cleaning today.

All the talk about Miatas has made me miss mine. I sold it when we moved here as we only have a one car garage and the expense of keeping it insured made it seem to be an extravagance. It was the most fun to drive of any car I've owned. I may buy another one when "S" retires and we can manage on one year round car and one that doesn't go out in the snow (rear wheel drive is he11 when it's slippery).

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 26, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

This from the Algebra article Mudge pointed to:

"Elementary math isn't elementary," Haver said. "There are a lot of deep ideas there. Usually, if a child doesn't get the right answer, there's a fair amount of good thinking along the way, but it got astray at some point. If you can pinpoint that problem, you're better off."

So, so, so true! I agree with those quoted who say elementary school teachers need to take more math courses, and understand it better themselves, but that's not the same as learning about how kids learn math and why they make the mistakes they do. It doesn't help that educators change the terminology every few years. The "Algebra" those younger kids were learning by writing a "number sentence" are just the same old "word problems" that have made generations of students groan.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 26, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

LiT, as an Italian, the idea of a breakfast of gnocchi with a good homemade sauce is so wonderful as to make one weep with joy. Italian cream of wheat (or cheese or potato, depending on the gnocchi).

Pie for lunch? Sure, I'm having chocolate cake and cookies. It's the holidays, live a little.

PT Cruisers are nice rides and quite utilitarian. Make mine a PT GT with a manual trans, please (not sure I'd want the soon-to-be-discontinued convertible, though). Some friends of mine actually developed that vehicle, so I know a little more about it than I would otherwise...

Bob, I love E-types too, but I've spent as much time as I ever intended to under any Jag's bonnet (though that does not mean I'm done with them yet).

RD, the prices of the last-gen T-bird have fallen quite dramatically, I think you're MidLifeCrisis Award won't cost as much as you think. Personally, they're not for me, but the McLaren F1 I want isn't for everyone either.

Though honestly, my favorite car in the world is the one I haven't built yet...

Er, Slyness, the Solstice is a Pontiac, not a Toyota (that's right, a GM product), a mechanical twin to the Saturn Sky (which I prefer slightly). Toyota's little roadster is/was the MR2.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 26, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Re: my 8:58 excuse a rant please.

Why do we call them "number sentences" not expressions and equations? We don't blanch at teaching k-3rd graders all kinds of new vocabulary related to language, like: noun, verb, subject, predicate etc. These will stay the same throughout their entire school careers. But with math we say one thing in k-3 then try to make a switch later. It's no wonder middle school students have such trouble, they're learning math and a new language in the same class.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 26, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

"The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" by Michael Chabon (who also wrote "Wonder Boys," later made into the best film that Michael Douglas ever did) details the lives of a couple of Jewish youths who make it big in the superhero comic book biz. I think a link can be made from such hero tales to the ancient golem legends of the Jews. It was thought that an especially holy rabbi could form a giant statue of mud and animate it through prayer. Lots of tales feature golem using their super powers to protect the community. There is a series of early German expressionist silent films directed by and starring Paul Wegener about the golem of 16th century Prague's ghetto. Although not in the "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" class, the restored version of Wegener's "The Golem" is worth watching. Although the golem is basically an automaton and subject to the control of its master, it is almost always a force for good. Lots of folks think the golem is also a prototype for Frankenstein's monster.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 26, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the correction, bc, I'll look again when I see her next to make sure I have it right. I'm almost positive it's the Toyota, but when I went for a ride I had my mind on other things. ;-)

Posted by: Slyness | December 26, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, what you said plus this:

drill and practice on multi-divi-fracs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

because the kids I tutor are in trouble with algebra because they cannot manipulate the numbers embedded in the equation.

We need vision, which is coolness, and drill, which is the hard work of repetition. Soccer players cannot score on vision alone. Drill!

When will we get the math instruction, which should be both an invitation to wonder and practice for competency, RIGHT!

Can I have that for Christmas and World Peace, too?

Posted by: College Parkian | December 26, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

My dad has a 12-year-old Miata with less than 30,000 miles on it. If he were to pass away (God forbid) it's his only possession that I would come to blows over with my siblings.

I am still staggering from learning that you can't call it "borrowing" and "carrying". The educationally correct term is "regrouping". I refuse to knuckle under.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 26, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I've always had a problem with Sharpton since Day One: I've never forgiven him for the Tawana Brawley incident/scandal. I thought he was a charlatan then, and since then he's done nothing to convince me otherwise. Granted, he's toned it down a bit since then. But the questions still are, who is he, what are his credentials, who elected him to be "spokesman" for anybody, and if black people are to be represented by a single, unelected "spokeman" (and they aren't), why him? As far as I'm concerned, he's just a self-appointed egotist riding somebody else's coattails. It'd take a hundred Al Sharptons to equal just one Andrew Young, or Medgar Evers, or John Conyers, Bayard Rustin, James Farmer, Roy Innis, John Lewis or Barbara Jordan. To name only a small handful of a much longer list of people whose coats Sharpton couldn't carry.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 26, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The fact that it is the "educationally correct" term du jour tells me everything I need to know about why it should be abolished, yello.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 26, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. Mudge -- I didn't know that you were MOT (although I sort of surmised) -- kewl.

As it turns out, the film with Tom Hanks and Julia (ugh) Roberts was sold out by the time we got up to the ticket window yesterday, so we ended up seeing the Nicolas Cage "National Treasure . . ." film -- it was kinda cute, a sort of Indiana Jones Lite. Helen Mirren was in it, which is always a good sign. What I love is all the action and adventure and, yet, somehow, there is throughout not a hair out of place nor glasses flying off one's face. AND, I didn't have to suffer through an insufferable Julia Roberts film. Lucky me.

Hope you all had a lovely whatever-you-celebrated day yesterday. Enjoy the rest of the year.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 26, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

CP-preach it! Drill is the foundation on which mental math is built, and as has been demonstrated in thousands of 5th grade classrooms worldwide, the mind is faster than the fingers on the calculator when you need the answer to 4*6 in a hurry. The problem is those who "get" math, or think they get teaching, often don't realize just how much of a hurry you must be in to recall 4*6 before not knowing it blocks the learning or retention of the hard bits of Algebra and beyond.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 26, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I had a discussion recently with my daughter about how they are teaching math to my third grade granddaughter. The whole 'regrouping' thing seems to needlessly complicate matters. But then I'm mathematically challenged so I could be wrong. I know my granddaughter is struggling with math and I'd like to blame it on something other than my genes passed down to her.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 26, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

MOT, ftb?? No comprendo.

Drill and brute rote learning exercises. Unfashionable as all get out--but still the only thing that actually works. The fact that it is harder for some than others is no excuse. Not everything in life has a plan B. You learned the *&^%$*&^% alphabet through drill and rote learning (singing that silly song until you got it all right). Same with multiplication tables, etc. Deal with it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 26, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

yello-not only is it now regrouping, but some school systems teach multi-digit multiplication in the way you and I learned it but others use the lattice method
http://mathworld.wolfram.com/LatticeMethod.html

I'm not saying the lattice method is wrong. The problem is that we know that different methods work for different people. However,school systems buy into one method or another often based on a hard sell presentation from a text book publisher. They ignore the fact that they are not a kid's only teachers. If a parent can't help an elementary school student with math it usually isn't because the parent can't "do math," it's because they don't know this year's secret code words.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 26, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

RD what do you think of Mustangs? I drove one recently for the first time (I had to replace the side view mirror on my car so my dealer let me drive around his Mustang while I waited) And I LOVED IT! I think I might need a muscle car at some point.

How did we start talking about Cavalier and Clay? Not to sound discombobulated again. But that was an interesting comment kurosawaguy made, that there's an analogy between the story of Golem and the Chabon book. (Golem was obviously a precursor to Frankenstein, though.)

Posted by: Sirin | December 26, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

They don't call me Lord of the Disconnect for nothing.

Posted by: K:LOTD | December 26, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Mudge-you have struck on an important concept. Drill does not have to be boring. The alphabet song works to teach the alphabet because kids are motivated to learn it (by the excitement of the people who make such a big deal about it) and the syrupy sing song that makes so many things appealing to the preschool set. It is not so hard to get the same kind of motivation for multiplication facts. Using a recording from a video game during timed paper and pencil multiplication drills works wonders. As the time counts down the music foreshadows our hero being eaten, or losing this round, if he/she does not make it to the end of the level before time runs out. My students almost always remark on my laid back approach to timed multi as I allow them to use calculators, multiplication charts or any other study aid they may want to try. However, when the music speeds up and doom impends no crutch is fast enough and they are soon abandoned.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 26, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, in my conspiracy moments I believe that some power-moguls do not WANT ALL CHILDREN TO LEARN MATH. Segue to unfettered-anti-globalization rant. Capital -- aka The-money-of-the-MAN -- is leaving countries to pool freely across borders into big pockets. Segue again...So, we now outsource math tutoring to valiant and competent people in India, through dubya (times 3) happymathtutor dot calm.....
Weathly peeps will have tutors; middle class people will flock to Kumon Math Centers or buy tutoring moments 24-7 for precious kidlings.

However flawed NCLBehinds is, this law-move simply holds school "districts feets" to the fire about teaching poor and non-white kids. I know what troubles teachers labor under. The Annual Year Progress penances for schools are abhorant. However, we have said collectively to schools that they cannot ignore hard-to-teach/reach populations. There is some back-door educational justice in NCLB.

I try to take this approach to the testing ethos, which stinks, btw, and say, think of this as drill/practice, rinse/repeat. BSneakers, was that you? Sit with your g-girls and use workbooks. The Key Curriculum sets are inexpensive and comprehensive. I sent some down Cassandra's way for drill/practice. (Good for you, Cassandra, as your work is answer to one of our school problems!)
Alternate the drill problems with her. Set an alarm for 15 minutes, and later, go for a walk or eat a peach or snuggle with a book as a reward. The schools WILL NOT do the drill, nor with they be honest with parents about the DRILL-MUST-HAPPEN.

Done ranting. However, Frosti may get her licks in too.....

Posted by: College Parkian | December 26, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, MOT means "member of the tribe". Just so you know for future reference.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 26, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Sirin, the new Mustangs are terriffic, IMO. I've been able to drive a few, including the bad-a$$ Shelby GT500 KR.

Ford's been able to tame some of the wooly handling characteristics of previous Mustangs, and done a very nice retro styling package.

If you like muscle cars, you can get a nice deal on one of the Aussie-sourced (GM's Holden division down there) Pontiac GTOs (recently discontinued, to be replaced by the new G8 sedan - also from Aussie Holden - shortly), which is wonderful car with underwhelming styling.

Don't wait for the new Dodge Challenger or Chevy Camaro unless you *really* want one. You'll get a better deal on the Mustang, and I don't think that either one will be substantially better anyway.

Having said all that, if I do look to replace my 9-year-old 162,000 mi german sedan anytime soon (and I don't think I will), I'll be looking at a Mazdaspeed 3 or Subaru WRX wagon of recent vintage (not new). Sporty enough to keep me entertained with good highway fuel mileage and daggone utilitarian, too.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 26, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Kurosawaguy, I loved "Kavalier & Clay" and thought "Wonder Boys" not nearly in the same league (though a good exploration of a writer's sophomore slump as it were). I think "K & C" draws some inspiration from the up and down relationship of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

It's going to take me a while to re-boot all the blog computers in the bunker -- even shutting down for a couple of days makes things go on the fritz -- but look for a new kit this afternoon. I hope everyone had a very merry christmas.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 26, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

If MOT = Ministry of Transport, then yes, ftb.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 26, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I made out like a bandit yesterday at Oldest Dottir's house--got a bottle of Absolut vodka, a bottle of Bombay Sapphire, and two Rick Atkinson books: An Army at Dawn and Day of Battle. I started reading AAAD this morning on the bus -- just the prologue, mind you. Jeez, can that guy write. No wonder he won the Pulitzer for it. You can't even get through the darned warm-up stuff before you know you are in the hands of a master.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 26, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Joel, name a better movie starring Michael Douglas. Nothing except "Wall Street" even comes close to "Wonder Boys". "Fatal Instinct"? Puleeze. "Coma"? "Disclosure"? "Romancing the Stone"? Dreck, dreck, dreck, it's a Dreckapalooza.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 26, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

CP-I think there is some anti-egalitarian push in this early Algebra and everyone takes college prep math movement for the very reason you describe, and I quote:

"The schools WILL NOT do the drill, nor will they be honest with parents about the DRILL-MUST-HAPPEN."

We expect students to learn Algebra with less time spent in class on basic arithmetic. The time is still needed so it comes as you point out with tutors, programs, or at the side of a caring adult. Great if you have one or all of these at your disposal. Just another way to be left behind if you don't. And don't think the teachers' unions don't get a piece of the action. In most states to qualify as a sanctioned, and thus federally or state funded, NCLB tutoring program for kids who've failed the state tests you must use certified teachers.

Yes, CP that is a big dirty secret. The only reason I have been able to get away with doing so much drill as a teacher is because I have always taught in "alternative programs." Even then I give homework every night, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays it was always a Kumon style drill that could easily be checked by parents, older siblings, or anyone the kid could connect with.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 26, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to go on a rant that is only hinted at in the elementary math column. Many women (and some men, but they are mostly women) go into elementary ed because they aren't the brightest bulbs in the box.

One year, my wife's team consisted of three bubbleheads all under 25, one blond, one brunette, and one redhead. Hanging around them was like being at the casting call for Legally Blonde:The School Play.

One teacher hated science, so she taught social studies to the whole grade. Another teacher then had to cover all the science classes. My kid was switching classrooms for different subjects starting in second grade.

When my wife was a gifted and talented teacher, the parents of the third graders that were coming into her class would ask what they could do over the summer to prepare their little darlings. She would say to drill them on multiplication facts until they knew them inside and out. Often the parents would walk away disappointed. They thought there was an easier trick. When you are dealing with more complicated math, having to stop to count your knuckles to multiply 9 times 6 is a showstopper.

My wife now teaches ESL instead of G&T and the adjustment is a real shock to her system. It's a struggle to teach math to kids that can barely speak English, but she finds it more rewarding when they finally get it.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 26, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

My mother would have us recite the multiplication tables while we made our beds in the morning. If i could through 20x20 before I finished my bed, we were done. If not, I had to make my brother's bed while I finished. Proficiency developed rapidly.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 26, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Car people,
(where's Warren Brown when we need him?)

My 2002 Ford Focus wagon has been, as Warren says, "fun to drive". Accordingly, I'd love to move on sometime to a Mazda 3 (or Mazdaspeed)--a wondrous car similar to the current European Focus--or a Subaru WRX. But for those who don't need space in the back for schlepping stuff around, the new Mustang looks like a winner on all counts. Quality, handling, the works.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 26, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Now THAT, k-guy, is motivation!

I make my bed every day because my mother gave me the choice of bedmaking or dishwashing. I was a third grader and that was a no-brainer.

I remember multiplication drills. Even today, while 7 times 6 will momentarily elude me, I'll come up with the right answer eventually.

My issue is grammar. Why don't they teach parts of speech and sentence diagramming, which I loved? Sometimes I think my kids are illiterate because they don't have the background!

Posted by: Slyness | December 26, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

For Christmas, I got a Nintendo DS with Brain Age. It's a little ageist because the best score is 20. According to the game, my brain is 67. Arithmetic drills are one of the skills you practice to make your brain younger.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 26, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Kurosawaguy, I defer to your mastery on the Douglas oeuvre. [Pause to look up spelling...]

Mudge, that Atkinson guy is the real deal.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 26, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

With Celebritology on hiatus for the holidays, would someone explain what the pony running gag is all about?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 26, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Warren Brown? Feh. Who needs Warren Brown when ya got yer bc right close at hand, Dave.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 26, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Yes, he is, Joel.

You have a good Christmas? (I.e., was your turkey up to the exalted Weingartenian standards?) Mine was the best I've ever cooked, and I'm convinced brining and the high-heat methods are the answer.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 26, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Every time I hear of high heat cooking, I'm reminded of the opposite method used in "The Accidental Tourist". A funny scene in both the book and the movie.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 26, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

As in all things automotive, I defer to bc regarding the new mustangs. I will point out that when my wife and I were first married our first car together was a mustang. It was great. When we decided to have children we traded it in for a minivan.

There's a moral there somewhere.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 26, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

OMG.. this is horrible...

Zoo Officials Probe Killing by Tiger

By LOUISE CHU, The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 26, 2007; 11:46 AM

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Zoo was closed to visitors Wednesday as investigators tried to determine how a tiger escaped from its enclosure and attacked three visitors, killing one of the men and mauling two others...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/26/AR2007122600141.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: TBG | December 26, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Also, in my opinion the problem with a lot of new educational techniques is that an attempt is being made to take the unique characteristics of both a given teacher and a given student out of the equation.

That is, an educational process is being devised intended to work for all teachers and all students. This is, of course, supposed to ensure success by removing the human factor.

This kind of thinking is in no way limited to education. Whole books - heck, good sized libraries - are devoted to systems and process engineering. The Holy Grail is always a process that can be followed by reasonably intelligent banana slugs and still have good results.

This approach works pretty well in environments like McDonald's. In other areas, especially areas in which creativity is required, not so much.


Posted by: RD Padouk | December 26, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Excellent points, RD! Of course, since I'm working on PMP certs, I'll have to hide them in the far, far corner of my mind.

I'm not so sure sex with robots would always require removing the human factor to ensure success. :-)

Posted by: dbG | December 26, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"simply remove the active parts and put them in the disinfecting machine." These are parts of the ROBOTS we're talking about here, right? Right?

Posted by: crc | December 26, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Meant to mention this earlier: saw a documentary about the creators of early American superhero comics, and how in many cases the stories and plotlines were reflections of an idealized American experience from the point of view of Jewish/American immigrant families.

Interesting stuff.

I'd note that Thor, the Silver Surfer, and Iron Man came later. On a related note, I saw a preview for a film version of "Iron Man" starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark. Looks like they've updated it from the Cold War to the War on Terra, but kept Tony as a semi-functional alcoholic. Could be interesting as far as those films go...

bc

Posted by: bc | December 26, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

And the meta-irony of letting Robert Downey Jr play Tony Stark is genius casting.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 26, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Of course, yello, that's why I mentioned it.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 26, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I watched "Home For The Holidays" on cable recently and was stunned by what a mess he was. Downey should be inducted into the Keith Richards Shouldn't Be Alive Hall Of Fame.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 26, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Jodie Foster, the director of "Home For The Holidays" once said that Downey was high on cocaine for pretty much the entire movie. Sadly, it shows.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 26, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

dbG - I have personally seen what a mess a project can become when totally freed of process, so I hope you understand I am not indicting the whole area. (Heck, I have my own level 2 COTR certificate filed away somewhere.)

The secret, it seems to me, is to figure out when process helps and when it hurts. There is a joke that a project management plan isn't a suicide pact.

In other words, if a new technique of, say, educating a child, fails, sometimes doing more of what didn't work before isn't the smartest approach.

Has anyone ever read the novel "The Road to Wellville"? It really illustrates the danger of putting a true believer of process in a position of power.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 26, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I like the way Atkinson tallies the number of paperback books, pairs of socks, condoms, bottles of brandy, pounds of coffee, and so forth, that the army required, and what they were able to forage for christmas dinner. When you've got half a million soldiers, it's quite a pile of equipment. I've finished AAAD and am halfway thru DOB.

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 26, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

RD, I understand. :-)

I'm with you--sometimes process is given a lot more attention than progress.

Posted by: dbG | December 26, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Happy Boxing Day, everyone. Hope you had a lovely Christmas. We had a great drop-in party on Christmas Eve. It turned out to be mostly the young 'uns friends (who else as time on the Eve to visit?); they were full of life and wit and it was great.

I
Santa was overly generous again; I was especially touched that #2 donated a goat in the developing world on my behalf, and for Himself, paid for 100 trees to be planted. Good kid!

We broke with tradition for Christmas dinner. I pulled out that old 60's classic -- Beef Wellington. Everybody enjoyed it.

'Mudge, sounds you had a version of Weinachtsstollen (Christmas Loaf) which has variations from Bavaria, Monorovia and later Pennsylvania Dutch. We used to eat it in Switzerland at Christmas, and I'd totally forgotten about it. You brought back happy memories!

I've never seen it done with apple; I have some time today and will experiment:

Weinachtsstollen

Ingredients:

Dough:
4 1/3 cups flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
2.5 ozs. yeast
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. margarine or butter
3/4 cup sugar or honey
1 tsp. salt

Flavoring:
1/2 cup candied lemon peel
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 lemon, grated for rind
1/4 cup rum
1 3/4 cups raisins

Topping

1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup Confectioner's sugar

Directions:

Make a soft, pliable yeast dough from ingredients listed in the first section and let stand in bowl for 10 minutes.

Knead the spices, except the raisins, into the dough. When all other ingredients are equally distributed, add the raisins. Roll into an oval and place on a greased baking sheet. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Still on baking sheet, wrap dough well in aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator and take off foil. Sprinkle flour around the loaf to prevent the dough from spreading. Place loaf in a pre-heated 350-400° oven and bake 50-60 minutes, till pale gold in color. Remove from oven. Brush with melted butter and dust with Confectioner's sugar. Repeat until butter and sugar are used up. Stollen should have a thick, white layer.

Posted by: Yoki | December 26, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww...

http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/articles/2007/12/26/nin_mount_washington_observatory_cat_retires/

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 26, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Today's Post story on the Waldseemuller map exhibit should tempt everyone else to take a look at this fantastic exhibit. It has lots of small objects in fairly dim light, but plenty of useful video screens and such.

I think I did spot a label referring to "Columbia" when "Colombia" was intended. Nobody's perfect.

The luridly illustrated copy of "Pirates of America" is great--every kid of the boy variety should get to read this classic, preferably with some of those antique woodcuts.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 26, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

My turkey was very good (got it at Eastern Market, fresh) but it would not have greatly impressed the turkey snob Weingarten or his wife Arlene the super-chef. That said, I am happy to report that once again I spatchcocked it and was able to say "spatchcock" roughly 75 times over the course of the day.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 26, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, the answer is... 42. But I suspect you knew that.

That lattice system looks unnecessarily confusing. The simple grid is easier to read and look up.

And yes, math speed matters. I was put into a 2nd grade classroom straight from 1st grade when I was 6 and I kept missing recess because my motor skills weren't up to moving the pencil that fast quite yet. The teacher told me to STOP and go play.

It is definitely an subject you must drill in to get the basics solid before you can begin to juggle the parts together. In a way a calculator can be a good drill tool, because it can immediately check your mental calculation skills. It is not a substitute for knowing what you should be doing.

K-guy, high standards yield high performance. I was only asked to learn my times up to 12, and I've been trying to get myself more solid on 13-20.

Mudge, I memorized the ABC quickly as a kid and I never even KNEW there was such a thing as the alphabet song until my senior year in HS.

I remember when my biology teacher that year once commented he was just pulled over for a suspected DWI and he was asked to recite the alphabet and he got stuck around M and started singing it. The cops weren't impressed and made him do the drunk walk, etc.

I prefer to drill that kind of information by writing it-- kinethestic learning and memory.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 26, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Spatchcock goes on my list of favorite expressions that sound kinda dirty but really aren't. Like "defragging your harddrive."

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 26, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

happy boxing day everyone!! yes, mudge i'm at work as well - monitoring over the meager few that are here...
xmas was a blast - most of my family is in the realstate business so it was a lean year but we managed to have a wonderful time anyway - proves you don't need BIG pressies to still enjoy xmas (tho if any of you touch my ipod i got last year you are DEAD - given how much i love my ipod - i think i could fall in love with a robot!)
and i ordered two fairy doors for my niece and nephew (though i ordered them too late and they haven't arrived yet - and now i find out 'tooni is sick!)
xmas day at my aunts house was absolute chaos - as it is every year - everyone talking at once at the top of their voices (most of it in spanish)... ah, nice that some things never change, huh?

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

mo!!!! *HUGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS*

Glad you had a great time! And I hope martooni's up and at 'em soon to fulfill your (and everyone else's) order! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 26, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

rd - i'm convinced most of the IT/computer terms were invented by men - where shall i start:
hard drive
memory stick
floppy drive
motherboard/daughterboard
chassis
hard boot/soft boot
hardware
"surf" the web

but maybe that's just me!


Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

*giggle* AGAIN WITH THE HUGGING SNUKE?

HUGGGGGGGGGGGGGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

did you happen to mention this?
http://www.weather.com/multimedia/videoplayer.html?clip=9239&collection=topstory&from=36hr_outlet_video

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

If there is a Celebritology joke related to a running pony, it is most likely a reference to Liz's well-known fondness for the treacly and confusingly-plotted song "Wildfire."

MOT, yep, that's Member of the Tribe.

As with Mudge, the mixed character of my family's religious affiliations (Judaism, Christianity, Secular-Enjoyment-of-Anointed-Gift-Giving-Holidayism), means that we have many bites of the holiday apple (as it were). Yesterday, meine yiddishe wife received the first season of the Young Indiana Jones chronicles on DVD. This will be fun. Last night we watched her new DVD of the 5th Harry Potter movie (which we were unmotivated to see in a theater). And I got a spiffy history book. And the ScienceKids got lots of manga and animé. Also, I got this book about George Washington...

I always felt like Warren Brown did not deal well with the real world of cars. He likes cars that have a lousy reputation for reliability, and he decries as boring those cars that are unassuming solid workers. I understand his contention that buying a car is like falling in love, but some of us are able to be more utilitarian than that. My current car is 14 years old. I have no serious intention of replacing it before it is nonfunctional. It's at about 150,000 miles now, and I expect to get another 50K out of it. I start my car-shopping by looking for the practical capacity to do the things I want my car to do, then I can worry about the car's "sexiness" when I am deciding between models that contend for my affection.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 26, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod - my year old baby niece is partially deaf so she has little baby hearing aids (i think i told you this before) and i was joking with her mother (who is tech my cousin but more like a sister) that i don't blame her for being born partially deaf - my family is sooo freakin loud that i wish I were deaf!

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Boodling from the DMV on my new iPhone. I'm sure I'll get used to the keynoard in a year or so. In the meantime SCC everything.

Posted by: TBG | December 26, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

i see how it is - i achenbloghog after being a way for forever and everyone ditches! *sniff* i was even somewhat on topic for a min!

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Amen on Warren Brown, Tim. The problem with his, or anyone's, auto reviews is that he always gets brand new cars and trucks straight from the manufacturer to test drive for a brief time. You and I have to live with the consequences of auto purchasing decisions for years. I'd like to send Warren onto Craigslist or AutoTrader and have him drive a dozen used 1999 Chevys with 100k on the clock and see how much he loves GM then. My personal automotive favorite is the model called "Free and Clear" in sedan trim and "No Outstanding Liens" in the pickup truck model. I find maximum driving satisfaction behind the wheel of this type of vehicle.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 26, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

CP and frosti, you guys are so right. I find that most kids don't know the multiplication tables and some don't have any idea about number families, so they're constantly doing finger work. And I also find that most kids don't have any idea about the language of math, and without that,they're still lost. I try to work with multiplication facts and number families. I'm not the best in math, hated it in school, but I've fallen in love during old age. And the schools here don't really care for my help or even the help offered at the Center. They do have a program at the elementary and middle schools for kids with serious problems in math and reading. And again, teachers need that extra work with math and reading because many of them just don't know. I think because teaching is such a low paying job, one does not always get good people, and this isn't putting down good people, it's just the nature of the job. Teaching has always been one of those professions that required dedication because the pay has always "sucked", for lack of a better word.

In the South, that is especially true. I'm enlisting more help for our program at church. If I could just get the parents to participate and bring their children, but I believe the school system really does pull the parents away from anything that is not connected with them. Yet I believe that parents have the right to help their children to succeed in school, and as long as their isn't any harm done, many avenues are open to them in this respect. Of course, our program starts at the school because I seek their advice and counsel before our program starts simply to keep confusion at bay. I want to be on the same page as the school. Children that have problems with reading and math don't need any more drama.

And as to NCLB, it sort of like the rules for taxpayers, there is always a way around any rule because someone has figured out how to do that. Sure the schools have to answer, but hey, what really changes? We have a new superintendent here, and I asked him what was he going to do about those schools that aren't meeting the requirement. His answer was something like, we're going to see just what is going on....., blah, blah, same old stuff.

Yet we all know why the government is so deeply involved in education. Left to their own devices states and districts just won't do the right thing. Discrimination is what set this all about anyway. I'm still an advocate of public schools because I don't think private management or corporations for that matter can monitor themselves. In the South, education wasn't equal, and still does not find a fit under the word "equal". Education is the key, and it's an important key. All that possess that key succeed, therefore, "we" are careful with that key.

I know, I talk too much.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 26, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Hi, mo! I'm working from home - just got off an exciting conference call, troubleshooting a problem. Glad you achenbloghoggin' again.

Congrats on working the keynoard, TBG - hahahaha. You're such a techie. I asked my kid if he had an iPhone, and he doesn't. He really should have gone into tech support - he has such a contemptuous attitude toward users. I mentioned to him that the new computer has frozen up a couple of times, and he blamed me and 3rd party software.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 26, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

SCC - you are

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 26, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

If anything, Cassandra, you make too much sense.

;-)

Posted by: Slyness | December 26, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

But they'd start shouting even louder. Hmm, maybe they all NEED hearing tests.

TBG, when I read the original story and the description of the enclosure, it didn't sound any less adequate than the National Zoo's enclosure, so I'm sure one zoo very near to us will be studying the situation.



Posted by: Wilbrod | December 26, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Mr Brown deals in fantasy autos. For the full-blown version, check out Jeremy Clarkson's auto entertainment column in the Times (London). My own situation is one of liking my paid-off little station wagon, but becoming increasingly convinced that electronic stability control is possibly the best thing since the electronic ignition. So I pay attention to prospects for getting something new, even if the car's just 54,000 miles old.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 26, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

hey mostly - i DO NOT have a contemptuous additude towards users! i mean - it's usually user error so i can't be blamed for getting miffed now can i? LOL
that being said, my mom's husband asked me why his sound, dvd drive, and audio card settings were gone on his laptop... so i re-loaded all the drivers but he kept hounding me "why does it keep happening - i've taken it to best buy twice to get fixed and it keeps happening anyway!" i asked him if he's done anything to the computer, deleted any files, etc to find out an hour later that he went through the c:\windows folder and deleted all the files he thought he didn't need!!!!!!!!! and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! again!!!
i told him never, ever, ever, under any circumstances delete anything ever again!

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Boy, some people are just asking for it. YOu need to acquaint him with spyware and antivirus software as well.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 26, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod - it no use - he doesn't listen to me... i mean, i only fix computers for a living, what would I know?? maybe he thinks cuz i'm a chick i don't know what i'm doing... *shrug* it's a mystery to me...
and as for the loud family - i think it's a hispanic thing... they can't ALL be hard of hearing can they? i mean there's like 8 of 'em in aunts, uncles alone on my mum's side not counting my cousin's side of the family - all hispanic... all loud... all the time...

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra-despite my devout heathenism it always irks me that public schools haven't made full benefit of good relationships with churches, at a time when the federal government supposedly supports "faith based initiatives." Instead of working together toward the same goal, they've looked at any organization that wants to help children learn as "the competition."

Our little nonprofit asked two different school systems to let us be a part of a big after school recreation/academic grant they were trying to get from the Minnesota State Dept. of Ed. They rebuffed us, and with such a "we know what's best" attitude it made us very angry. We applied with some other partners who couldn't get the time of day from the school system-and got the grant, they didn't. I'd feel very smug about that, but if we'd worked together we could be reaching twice as many kids.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 26, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

course that's not to say that I'M not loud... *sheepish grin*

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

tbg got an iphone - i'm SOOOOOOOOOO jealous!

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Mo, not impossible.. I've known multigenerational deaf families, even the ones who aren't deaf act like it, too.

Don't ask me.... my dad's a neat freak and he seems to think deleting unnecessary stuff "keeps the PC tidy". He's smart enough, or just not computer-savvy enough to start deleting root files.

Hmm, that COULD have explained why their first computer never seemed to run slow and never quite properly almost right out of the box. Their new PC is better though.

Well, this is why hidden files were invented, wasn't it? To protect againt neat freaks and saboteurs?

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 26, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod - oh, how many ppl do i know that do that! i think anything under c:\ should be hidden -
but, wait, i DO have job security to worry about so - keep the neat freaks and saboteurs coming!!!

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I hate hidden files! Took me awhile to remember how to "unhide" my files so I could find my old pictures on my new computer (which my kid built for me as a surprise, in case you missed that, mo). Boy, was I surprised - unfortunately I had no time to save things had I known ahead of time!

Sure is fast, though.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 26, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

mostly - i actually did miss that! that was nice - i re-built one for my mom for xmas as well! jeez - i hope she didn't have anything she needed to save! *eep*

hmm pics aren't usually hidden - you don't think he did that to test you, do you?? hehe

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The pics were in an application folder - I used Olympus software for our digital camera - so Olympus hid them originally. He put my old hard drive in the new computer - I thought that would be the best thing to do. Turns out that it probably would have been better to keep my old computer, connect it to the network, and use a transfer wizard - but I didn't know that was an option (and it may have been problematic to do that, not sure). Anyway, I'm slowly getting it back to "normal" for me. My kid doesn't use things like Outlook or anti-virus software or sissy stuff like that.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 26, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

MO IS IN THE HOUSE!!! Yaay!

Hey, mo. I wrote a story way back in September, around the 15th, under the "Hillary Bashing" post. I don't know if you saw it. I'll probably write another one in February or something.

Posted by: CowTown | December 26, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

CowTown! We miss you and your stories!

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 26, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, mostlylurking. It's a matter of (1) thinking up something remotely interesting; and then (2) finding the time to put it together. Frankly, I don't know how the pro's like Joel do this every day. That's why I keep my day job.

Posted by: CowTown | December 26, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mo -- good to have ya back!

Cassandra, I read what you wrote with interest (well, I always read what you write with interest, truth be known). I think what kids need to learn (whoever they are, wherever they are) is that education and learning is the one thing that genuinely belongs to them -- that they *own* what they learn and nobody (*NOBODY*) can take it away from them. Learning to read and write and count and figure things out, generally and specifically, will not only change their lives, but actually can save their lives. It will give their lives purpose and meaning and teach them that they are valuable human beings, all for learning. It's the real prize.

Off to nuke up some leftover Chinese food. Not that you all needed to know that, really. I mean, you know. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 26, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

yeah cowtown!!!!!!! i'll hafta look up that story!

actually mostly - i think the best to do would have been get a new hard drive and put the operating system on that and use your old one as a slave - that way you could have kept old files accessible and removed the operating system to free up space for additional storage on the slave drive. but - water under the bridge as they say - how'd you find the old hidden files? he didn't fdisk your old drive? oh, wait - he put your OLD drive in a new computer shell?

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree the best years of a car's life are those after it's completely paid off.

Where do people learn it's so important to have the newest, sexiest car? Maybe the same place they learn it's important that the Redskins should win whatever it is they play, and it's important to know what the movie stars are wearing and who they're dating. Ain't it great to live in a country where the main cultural medium is a branch of the advertising industry!

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 26, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, mo, he built me a new, blazing fast computer with half a TB of disk, tons of memory, and put my old hard drive in the case too. So I can pick the files off. Recovering my Outlook address book or old email - not happening, but that's ok. As I said, given a little notice, I could have saved a few things like that, but it's ok. This was a surprise cooked up between Mr Ml and him, so it was not well planned - and I don't think my kid has ever tried to save anything from an old computer - what, why would you want to do that?!? He also replaced my wireless setup, for which I am most grateful. So nice to have an SA around the house.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 26, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

The laptop will be three years old in a few days, but (cross fingers) it's working okay. The comp sci major keeps threatening to reformat the hard drive. That's probably a good idea, but it makes me quake inside. Yes, everything's backed up on CD's. (I don't have much data, except for photos.)

Posted by: Slyness | December 26, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

And now why would he want to reformat your laptop, Slyness? To put in a new OS? I've done it once before, wasn't impressed. Tell Comp Sci major to get his own computer to play with.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 26, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

A VERY significant health study has been done.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071226/hl_nm/diseases_neglected_usa_dc;_ylt=Ao_FagKf1oxj3XJnR.iXPVcR.3QA

However, dogs and cats are not the only source for those infections (or rates would be high everywhere, not just in the inner city). Toxocara canis and other species of parasites are routinely carried by wild rats, and they can also help spread parasites that don't directly infect them on their daily rounds.


Posted by: Wilbrod | December 26, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

mo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You still in da house? Heeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. (Again with the hugging.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 26, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Not only does comp sci major have her own computer, she built it herself, Wilbrod. And she reformatted her old laptop to give away. So, I dunno. It might make mine faster, but I'm ready to start to begin to consider buying a new 'puter. Another laptop, I think. I do like the portability.

Posted by: Slyness | December 26, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

well - wilbrod - reformatting the hard drive WILL make it faster - greatest latest serice packs - remove old temp files, cookies, etc. all kinds o stuff... tho i would recommend waiting on installing vista - i've had a LOT of problems with it...
mostly - i'm confused - if he reformmated your old drive, how did you find the hidden files? are you sure he didn't slave it? cuz if he did - your stuff is still there - i may be able to help recover your outlook stuff...

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

*big bear hugs to mudge!*
slyness - you may still have some good life on that geriatric laptop - mine has been going strong for over 3 years - of course, i have reformatted it several times. tho computers have really come down in price - what's the specs are your current laptop? hard drive? memory?
tho your dottir IS a comp sci major so she prolly knows more than i do! (i have a fine arts degree - no computer classes ever - only hands on learnin')

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 8:05 PM | Report abuse

TBG - The dead boy at the San Francisco zoo Tiger mauling has been identified.

The father of the dead boy saw the body bag video on TV. I can't image the emotions that a parent goes through in such a public loss of a child.

As of the news reports tonight - it does not appear that the police department has completed its investigation as to how the tiger escaped the enclosures.

Posted by: Pacifica | December 26, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Pacifica, that makes me wince. I'm not sure I could handle it, were the dead a child of mine. What a horrible way to die. I will be interested to read what the investigation discovers.

An old friend worked at the hospital and had to assist in telling parents that their son had died in a school bus accident. Months later, she teared up just recalling the father's reaction.

Posted by: Slyness | December 26, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

mo, I don't know if he reformatted my old drive. It's now the E drive - the C drive is the new, big one with the OS that he loaded (XP - I've heard too many horror stories about Vista - although my sister seems to be doing fine with it on her new Dell). I'll email you about the email.

I was really happy with my old Dell - never gave me a problem. It was really dirty inside, though - I got a lecture about using compressed air to clean my computer!

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 26, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Mo, true enough; but once you reformat you'd need a fully updated version of IE and so on if you wanted to use XP (which I prefer until there's a better Vista), so you're winding up back where you started.

My sister's computer was offline for over 2 years and I had to download firefox just so I could manage to download the Java and Windows IE updates her computer had been missing the last 2 years.

Don't ask, but I swear to you, IE had been updated so much that I couldn't even access the Microsoft site to do the downloads so I could then download Java. She had the internet connection for her work laptop, BTW. I believe I asked for advice on this last year from the boodle, and it helped considerably.

The end result, I got it all updated-- after 2 days' work and endless downloads. She decided to buy a new computer anyway.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 26, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

mostly - yep, he slaved your drive - never fear, your info is here (or there, but that doesn't rhyme) e-mail me and we shall recover!!!

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

alrighty my boodlers - i'm off to bed - trying to kick a flu/cold uckiness that i've had for the last two days and my body is demanding mucho sleepo! it's been so great to be able to talk to you guys again!!!

Posted by: mo | December 26, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

"Fullmetal Alchemist" is not too bad.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | December 26, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, someone over at the NFL Network finally woke up... *L*

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/26/AR2007122601652.html

Makes the weekend planning a little easier, I must say.

*extra-wavy-just-for-mo Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 27, 2007 5:22 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Scotty, I see you beat me this morning. Cassandra ought to be along soon, I expect. Yes, you're right about the NFL--it turns out we seem to have Sens. Leahy and Specter to thank, for sending the NFL a threatening letter.

Over in the Op-Ed section, George Will has a paean of praise to -- of all people -- McDonald's, and of course manages to invoke Food Nazis as the bad guys. Seems that in addition to being Food Nazis, they also stand in the way of Big Business's right to dominate the world and make money for stockholders. The b@st@rds.

Otherwise not much umbrage to report. Roll over and go back to bed, my peeps. Scotty and mo and I have to go to work, but I suspect we'll be doing as little as possible. No need for the rest of you to suffer on our account.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 27, 2007 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, sometimes getting to work early and taking a brief, though most refreshing, early morning nap are not mutually exclusive. The ability to discretely doze while sitting up is a valuable skill, especially here in the "dead zone" between Christmas and New Year's.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 27, 2007 7:36 AM | Report abuse

'nuther good one by Ignatius.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/26/AR2007122601486.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 27, 2007 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Zzzzzzzz... wha? Hm?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 27, 2007 7:39 AM | Report abuse

I woke up a bit too late, obviously. Yes, RDP, that's a classic Ignatius.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 27, 2007 7:44 AM | Report abuse

The federal gunmint make you work the day after Christmas? That is cruel and unusual punishment.
That is funny Yoki, the MIL made Beef Wellington too for Christmas's eve. Purty darn good one too.
I like paid-up old cars too but there is one more thing to consider; safety. A 14 years old car was designed to a lower safety standard than a new one. And it is without counting all the spots welds that have broken off or rusted away. I know, it's probably better to be in a 14 years old Volvo, Subie or ladder-framed pick-up than a 4 years old neon in case of an accident but still, everything else being equal later models are usually safer.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 27, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

NEW KIT! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 27, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Um, new kit, if ya can believe it.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 27, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 27, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I loved your review -- found it to be dead-on. I actually have just interviewed David Levy myself and posted it on my own blog. I'm dumping the link here in the comments for any and all interested parties ... couldn't find a way to e-mail it to you directly.

http://tinyurl.com/2md95a

Keep up the great work!

Posted by: Jeff Simmermon | December 28, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company