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Failed to Make the Social List AGAIN


Once again I failed to make the Social List. The 2008 Social List has just been published by Washington Life magazine (in the hard copy for now but I'll post a link when it's online). How could they leave me off yet again?

Some theories about why I might have been overlooked:

1. Don't have name like "Francis Colt de Wolf III."

2. Don't go to parties.

3. Antisocial and misanthropic.

4. Don't have name like "Charles Pillsbury Lord."

5. Dress as though recently emerged from dumpster.

6. Lack interesting hobby like falconry.

7. Don't have name like "His Excellency the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia Adel Bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir."

8. Repeat violations of Washington Life's No Flyaway Hair Tonsorial Code.

9. Idea of a big night out: Switching from back porch to front porch.


Bulletin: The cable guy never came. This is because I called the cable company and, after a long time listening to muzak ...

(pause for elevator-music version of "Light My Fire")

... asked for the bundle. They said that's great, but that would mean canceling the work order because once the cable guy is dispatched with the work order there can't be any changes to the work order. So the cable guy will come next week instead, allegedly. I was also instructed to do my least favorite thing in the world, which is call the phone company. I needed to switch names on the account, because the cable and phone accounts are in different names. The phone company person said she couldn't change the name on the account because of some technical problem that was incomprehensible. Attempts to jump through additional telephonic hoops failed. Today I will call the cable company again. I foresee frustration, with bouts of rage, culminating in despair.


You recall that recently we were discussing the question of who is middle class and who is rich and whatnot. Well, this just in: Harvard is now going to give lots of financial aid to kids who are by any objective standard affluent. They're just not rich, certainly not rich enough to afford 45K a year in tuition (which I am guessing doesn't even cover bare-minimum road-trippage expenses, though I'll check on that).

'For those who pay full tuition, room and board, the price is $45,620.

'University officials said their surveys showed even students from well-off families were feeling the pinch by having to work outside jobs and not being able to fully engage in the life of the university. Harvard officials also worried prospective applicants were scared away by the school's cost.

'Dean of Admissions and Financial aid William Fitzsimmons said Harvard had grown concerned students were having an "Upstairs, Downstairs" experience. "On the one hand the more affluent students had full access to the full Harvard experience in its totality. But this chunk of people ... 53 percent of the population, we felt were having a diminished experience."

'The announcement is the latest of a string by well-endowed universities who are trying to combat perceptions they are unaffordable with major initiatives to reduce the price students actually pay.

More here.


Led Zeppelin still rocks, we're told. But my brother, the rock guitarist, says that Jimmy Page can't use his left hand the way he could back in the day.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 11, 2007; 8:38 AM ET
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Good afternoon, Cassandra. Good afternoon, Martooni. Greetings to Ivansmon and other bloggers in the Missouri-Oklahoma ice storm.

Posted by: daiwanlan | December 11, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The translation of our last name (villager of Trier) is so bourgoise that we don't even make the social list in our little town.

The only thing that ranks wtih the aggravatin f waiting for utilitiy hook-ups is the delivery timing for a holiday parcel sent by one of the many express ground couriers.

Posted by: jack | December 11, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

//I foresee frustration, with bouts of rage, culminating in despair. // -JA

Welcome to my world, boss, 24/7.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | December 11, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hi Daiwanian! Always nice to hear from you.

JA, you have daughters and a wife, so your household has a high hair IQ. The password is


You can address the fly aways easily. You can also get some lift from a volumnizer.

Real men use product.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 11, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I made the same mistake you did when I had our phone/tv/internet hooked up at the new house. It took weeks to straighten out - it included two appointment bookings where the technician failed to show, and several hysterical phone calls on my part.

But it all works now.

Posted by: dmd | December 11, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Do you ever wonder if the devil has a hand in phone companies?

Mostlurking, I received the package. I thought you said small. I cried, it was so sweet of you. I really did. Son1 and SS laughed at me every time they looked at me. It had something to do with yarn being stuck to my cheek.

Posted by: dr | December 11, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I just sent an e-mail to my son to finish up the Harvard application he has been dragging his feet on. It's only his third or fourth choice, but maybe I can get the other schools into a bidding war.

That kind of tuition policy makes UMCP look mighty pricey.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

For the reasons mentioned here, I don't want to change anything about connectivity to any media provider.

Every time a neighbor goes FIOS or DISHY or OTHER the blood bath of fall-out is at least a week. And, you must beg, cry, threaten across all communication channels and be at home for five days in a row.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 11, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm, school is too expensive even for the rich kids that we want to admit, to say nothing of those who aren't rich who we wouldn't let in these halls of academia except to clean them. So, let's give the rich kids financial aid instead of ,oh, I don't know, making school cheaper and more accessible. Sounds like a great plan!

Posted by: Gomer | December 11, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse


Did you miss the part where it's free for families that make under 60k? Not sure how they can lower the price point there. And if at 120k, they charge twelve grand, that's more affordable than a state university for people in that income range.

You are looking way too closely at that horse's teeth.

Of course, getting in is more than half the battle. I think about 50% of their 1000 freshmen slots are reserved for legacies. Many of which can afford the full freight.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Really, Joel, if Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson are on the list, as are Ted Koppel and Tim Russert, I don't see why you can't be, too. (Psst: hint, hint--television, and we're not talking the cable guy here.)

Whaddya know, there really is a Charles Pillsbury Lord and a Francis Colt de Wolf III. You weren't messin' around.

Do you think people like Tucker Carlson after his fiasco on "Dancing with the Stars," and political fallouts like Rummy and Andy Card will make the cut for the upcoming list? You have the hardcopy, do tell.

Posted by: Loomis | December 11, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, yello, I missed it. That's what I get for skipping the links. And for having a chip on my shoulder against the richers of the world.

Posted by: Gomer | December 11, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Just to prove I'm not pulling numbers out of my posterior, these are the current USNWR prices for College Park:

Tuition and fees:
$7,969 in-state, $22,208 out-of-state

For a family making less than $165k, Harvard is the price leader.

Sorry if I'm a little obsessed with this topic. I have more than a intellectual curiosity when comes to college prices.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

SCC: It's so my son can learn when to use "an" rather than "a".

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I got this cable guy conundrum figured out. What you do first is, decide the precise moment when you want him (or her, to be politicly correct) to arrive. Then, you decide that is the best time for a well deserved, er, bodily function. Any one will do, of course, but the longer the better. You gingerly enscounce yourself on the, um, appropriate facility, making sure that each and every door between you and the main entrance is flung wide open.

When the doorbell rings, you bellow loudly, "Is that the cable guy?" When he/she replies in the affirmative, the trap has been sprung. Again, loudly, you bellow, "Just a minuet." Now, no matter what the status is regarding the successfull completion of your 'appointed rounds', you make the guy/gal wait just long enough to put him/her in a congenial frame of mind.

Justice has been served.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | December 11, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

There is even cheaper, MIT, although I suspect a diploma is not involved in the offer.
MIT makes 1800 courses available online. So if you haven't had time to take Numerical Methods for Applied Mathematics II course during your undergrad studies now you can do it online, or not.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 11, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Yelloj -- that is by semester, so double for the year.

Room and board is the killer for my family....

Posted by: College Parkian | December 11, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

No, pretty sure those are annual numbers.

Room, board, and books are the secret costs of four year colleges. Every school charges between 7k and 11k a year for roof and food regardless of academic quality. Books now cost at least $200 per class, so there's another two or three thousand a year.

And as Joel said, that doesn't include road trip money. That's how my dad talked me out of applying to Princeton. He said I'd be pretty lonely sitting in the dorm room when all my classmates took off to Vail for spring break on their trust fund money. And we know how snooty those Tiger alumni can be.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

CP, thanks. Always looking at your word list of the day. On the other night, five families drove one hour to DC to attend one of the college admission talks. Reason: the said three universities did not have early admission starting this year. I am wondering if one day the higher education can be outsourced to be affordable to the students and sustainable to the institution.

Posted by: daiwanlan | December 11, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow, imagine the road trip costs if all of our higher education was outsourced to India. Screw skiing in Vail-- Ski Nepal, they have real snow!

Posted by: Gomer | December 11, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Room and board is why I insisted on going to school in a large city. Getting a cheap 4 bedroom in the slums with 3 of my buddies cut my yearly tuition down $10K. In college towns, the property owners know they are the only game in town so they don't have to offer competitive rent.

Posted by: McJacob | December 11, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight. Having to work while in college results in a "diminished experience?" *muttering disgustedly*

Posted by: Raysmom | December 11, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Good luck with that phone name change thing, Joel. I think your predictions are likely to be accurate. My sister learned that changing her phone service from her ex-husband's name to her own would require turning it all off and doing without phone and DSL for however long (a week? two?) it would take for them to turn it all on again, with all the applicable new account start-up fees. So she didn't.

Posted by: bia | December 11, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Not to play the Old Fart too much, but back when I went to college (yeah, yeah, alchemy and tinker school), we generally tried to buy used textbooks whenever possible (it being a relatively middle-class and lower-middle class "bluecollar" school). Is that not still possible nowadays? Or do the faculty generally try as hard as possible to require brand-new 129th editions? A lot of the textbooks back then seemed to be around forever: Jannsen on art, Samuelson's horrible tome on economics, and of course the ineffable Norton Anthology (vols. I and II) for English. (I'm not aware of any new additions or changes having been made to Henry IV, Part 1, but in academia, ya never know.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 11, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I lived off campus for my four years and had a part time job, pretty sure I learned more than a pampered student that had their way paid by their parents.

Posted by: dmd | December 11, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Just paid the last bill for UNC-Chapel Hill so I have the statement on hand.

Cost per semester:

Tuition $1,852.40
Fees 818.29
Total $2,670.79

The kid lives off campus, so her dad and I each give her $350 a month for books, rent, and expenses. She has worked all 3 years but is taking spring semester off.

Posted by: Slyness | December 11, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I think it depends on the school. I went to the University of Chicago and we had two book stores on campus and a bunch of used book stores in the neighborhood. Most professors assigned books you could get without setting foot in the corporate store on campus.

Posted by: McJacob | December 11, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to mention: I've had the All-Zep 24/7 satellite radio station all day.

Posted by: McJacob | December 11, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Excellent deal, slyness. And Chapel Hill is considered tougher to get into from out-of-state than many of these fancy pants schools with eating clubs. Your kid is getting quite the bargain.

When my dad got transfered to Italy that was my rationalization to move off-campus year-round since dorms are frequently closed during breaks. He paid rent and reasonable groceries for quarters I was taking classes. My co-op job covered living expenses during work quarters and let me save enough to pay for incidentals while in school. I only traded textbooks for eating money once.

One of the tricks to keep new textbook sales up is to include CD-ROMs of supplementary material that have onerous licensing requirements. I'm sure the clever college student can find ways around it. Just sayin'.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

dmd, exactly! Plus, when one is working toward one's education, the parts of the "full college experience" you tend to forego are those things that aren't so good for you anyway, such as all-night keggers. ("I have to be at work in the morning! The kegging must stop at midnight...OK, 1:00 a.m., OK, 2:00 at the latest.") Shoot, I took course overloads and worked 25 hours a week and still had time for fun stuff. What do these kids *do* with all that time?

Posted by: Raysmom | December 11, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Book resellers are a big thing these days, Mudge. The reseller purchases the books at the end of the semester, and often holds a near monopoly on deciding how much they'll resell it for.

Also, publishers send out new books like candy to many professors, hoping they'll adopt them. My ex collaborated on and reviewed textbooks. A few times a year he'd sell all the books (to a reseller) he'd been sent by publishers hoping he'd use or review them and we'd go away for the weekend.

Posted by: dbG | December 11, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon: used textbooks are totally the way to go. that and amazon or, as long as you don't need the books for the first week or two of school. i cut my book expense in half (at least) this semester doing that. The books that are really expensive are the Science textbooks. Those'll set you back 250+ a pop; yay for being a history major!!
As far as working while in school, it's pretty much been necessary for me w/ tuition going up about 6% per anum (both my school and the nationwide average). of course, my jobs have including TAing, tutoring, working as a research assnt. for my advisor, so fun stuff.

Posted by: Tangent | December 11, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Finishing that thought, how does the publisher pay for all those free copies? Jacking up the price.

Posted by: dbG | December 11, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

A rock station I used to listen to changed formats and introduced it by playing "Stairway to Heaven" for 24 hours straight. They went all-Zep for the next week and then returned to their corporate ways. Who knew they were so ahead of their time?

From the last Boodle, what would you pay to see 75% of LZ on stage? What would your headbanging neighbor pay?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I just slapped myself in the head Raysmom, I was supposed to stop drinking a few hours before going to work?

Posted by: dmd | December 11, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Carolina is the most expensive in the sixteen-campus system, IIRC. The older kid went to Applachian State, and the bill there ran about $3800 per semester, including room, board, and books. That's three years ago, though. It's a good reason to stay in NC if you've got college-bound kids.

Posted by: Slyness | December 11, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I misspoke, Yelloj. I use a payment service and only recently separated the two CPdots from one another. But beyond books, which can run between 500 and 700 if a student is in science or engineering courses, fees other than "Tuition and Fees" appear constantly:

+For students who take more than 18 credits, there is a surcharge.

+Seniors who take a grad level course pay a differential also. This is more common that you would think, especially since freshman often enter with tons of AP credit.

+Lab fees typically run 200 or more a class. Note: this is NOT a deposit.

+The parking fee hovers around 270.

Finally, juniors and seniors who stay on campus typically end up in the mandatory 12-month lease settings.

Ah yes, winter session and summer sessions and study abroad.

My head reels. However, the Dots are great and truly renaissance gals. One reads Herodotus for fun. The other has read the Tin Drum in German. They are grateful; I am grateful.

Good luck to your son. May he be a lifelong learner.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 11, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing that many of us here in the Boodle have hung onto our old college textbooks waaaay longer than necessary or desireable? I don't know why we did that. I think I still have Jansen and my old astronomy book (Ptolemy's "The Almagest"; hey, don't laugh, it was *the* latest thing. I think I just cribbed the Tetrabiblos from a fellow student.), but I know I've never so much as dusted them since way back when. I still have Norton, vol. 1, but I bought it only a few years ago, I have no idea why. Misplaced nostalgia, I suppose; I hated that thing back when.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 11, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

My goal right now is to make him a life-long earner. My wife and I have big plans for the spare room.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

There are "other" means of paying for college, even expensive schools. You can try what my parents did: go extremely deep into debt and pass on the payments to the lucky college boy. It was probably just payback to me for refusing to go to UVA.

Posted by: McJacob | December 11, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I missed the 'full' college experience by working full time when I was in University? Who da thunk it?

I'm pretty sure I didn't miss any of it since it was me serving them. It wasn't that much fun.

Posted by: dr | December 11, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

TANGENT!!!! LTNS!!! *extra Grover waves* :-)

I got through college on the GI Bill, on-campus family housing and a full-time editing job my "senior" year...

And lots of coffee.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 11, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tangent! Good to hear from you!

Mudge, I recently purged a few of my old textbooks. Who needs paperback copies of Bertold Brecht plays from the 60's?

The Complete Shakespeare, OTOH, is a keeper.

Posted by: Slyness | December 11, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I worked four of my five years, too, dr--the last three fulltime work *and* fulltime college, and more No-Doz than any human should take. Worked because I had to, and always regretted it. I "learned" much more working... but I missed a good bit of what college was supposed to be about.

I was recently thinking about going back and getting an MFA-- and was shocked to discover a 2-year would cost between $25,000 to $40,000 for the dozen or so schools I investigated. And this was for a mainly online program with only two weeks of on-campus residency. So that shot that idea down.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 11, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I have been lugging old textbooks around for twenty years now. Books on the shelf right now that are probably woefully out-of-date include:

Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations
Solar Engineering of Thermal Processes
The Existential Pleasures of Engineering
The Complete Works of Shakespeare

My two pride and joys are:

Thermodynamic Properties of Steam by Keenan and Keyes, 16th printing, 1947.
I got it at a garage sale for 50 cents including the fold-out Mollier Chart.

Engineering Fundamental for Professional Engineers' Examinations.
It belonged to my grandfather from when he was working on his Associate degree at Harford Community College in 1968. He wanted my dad to be an engineer, but my dad decided to fly fighter planes instead.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Shakespeare is probably out of date, yello. Guy died a little while ago, BTW. Very sad.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 11, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

One of the used book stores where I went to school would set up boxes outside filled with free books. Most were in there for a reason, but the summer after my first year I found "Stillwell and the American Experience in China" by Babs Tuchman, the first in a love affair with the books the best historian ever. Thanks Powell's Books.

Posted by: McJacob | December 11, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "the books OF the best"

And I was Hum major.

Posted by: McJacob | December 11, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with you about Tuchman, McJacob. The First Salute is the place where everybody ought to start in studying the American Revolution.

Posted by: Slyness | December 11, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"...that would mean canceling the work order because once the cable guy is dispatched with the work order there can't be any changes to the work order..."

It's frankly amazing that nobody has yet beaten a cable guy to death with his own tools, isn't it?

Posted by: byoolin | December 11, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Go to for used books--text- or otherwise. My son paid a total of $150 for all his books this semester. And I had given him $500; the rest he could keep. That's incentive for finding them cheap. (His best deal was the $1.50 he paid for the $150 book.)

Joel.. prepared to be without phone service for about two weeks. Seriously.

Posted by: TBG | December 11, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Byoolin, I couldn't find it on google, but I'm sure that's happened. Maybe not the cable guy, but some utility operative must've been fatally assaulted by a frustrated subscriber at some point.

Posted by: McJacob | December 11, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

If somebody did, byoolin, that would introduce "going cable" alongside "going postal" in the lexicon.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 11, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

TBG, that is how long we were without home phone service, the funniest part was talking to the tech people on my cell phone trying to fix internet issues, the modem and router are in the basement and my cell phone would cut out.

The phone I could live without - no internet was an issue.

Posted by: dmd | December 11, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

While I am at it, is SonofG available to finish my christmas shopping for me?

Posted by: dmd | December 11, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

As much as I love stories of worked-through-school bootstrappers, college costs have outpaced inflation for several decades and are now at the upper end of affordability for a full time student trying to work through school. Working 1500 hours a year at eight bucks an hour MIGHT foot the bill for an in-state school provided you live summers with the folks. And financial aid is based on parents' ability to pay, not willingness.

The other choice is to attend part-time, but too often life intervenes and the degree remains just a hope. I know of one guy that got an engineering degree on the ten year plan and that was only because of employer tuition assistance.

I'm going to get on a soapbox and say that every parent that can help with their kids' education should. It's the one thing that you can give them that will pay back for a lifetime. That doesn't mean an Ivy League school with summers abroad in the south of France, but there is only one chance to live that transitionary college dorm lifestyle without looking like Rodney Dangerfield.

Kids in the inner city ghettos and hills of Appalachia are spending two to four years getting shot at to earn the opportunities that were given to me. And I hope to give to my son.

/end rant

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

How soon we forget Mona Shaw, my folk hero:

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Talk of old textbooks reminds me (rather brazenly) of this:

Posted by: Yoki | December 11, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I met my wife (of 37 years) selling my used English textbook. She's kept us both, though I'm not at all certain why. She paid $0.25 for the textbook. I was thrown in for free.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | December 11, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

You should be proud of your cable guys. They're out there on the front lines dealing with the real world. It's not their fault they're managed by university graduates.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 11, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

yello, I surely wasn't saying that kids have the ability to earn their way through college these days. The costs have grown out of all proportion to wages and the cost of living. I was taking offense, though, at the statement that having to work while in college diminishes the experience. A few hours of work a week in the real world is worth more than joining yet another on-campus club.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 11, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I was always fond of that Stampede person, Yoki. And I notice in that column she got full use of italics. Quite a gal.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 11, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm right there with you, yello. Fortunately, I was able to save enough to get both kids through. Funny thing, the investment fund for the elder paid my part and there was enough left over to help a friend of hers. Investment fund for the younger didn't do nearly so well; I was glad she got free tuition for being a graduate of the NC School of Science and Math. Funds covered fees and living expenses and that's all.

Posted by: Slyness | December 11, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that old book of plays and poems is nearly unreadable. And I hear the solutions to differential equations are all different now. Also, steam just isn't what it used to be. Global warming and all.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Raysmom. A job during college can be a great experience. I delivered baked potatoes and later pizzas while in college. This was how I discovered that college students are some of the world's worst tippers. The irony is that I was a lousy tipper before I started delivering food. I always figured that the delivery guy would understand why he got a 27-cent tip, after all, I was poor college student, hence the need for said delivery job.

Working while at college was a rewarding experience which taught me many lessons.

Posted by: Gomer | December 11, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Yoki (Stampede).. That is some fine work. Thanks for re-pointing us there.

We are just finishing distributing books all about the house. My husband's last job change, just more than a year ago, brought about 35 boxes of book in our living room as he went from his own office with five full-sized bookcases to a shared cube with merely a tiny desk and chair (at which he looks alarmingly silly).

We bought three big bookcases for the living room and set up more against any space of wall around the house that could take them.

Mr. G has been able to toss many of these previously untossable tomes; I mean how many versions of "A History of Psychology" can you have before they all seem to run together (notice none of them is called "THE History...")?

(I just don't know where Son of G is going to put all his stuff when he comes home this summer. His room was conveniently empty while this household book distribution was going on.)

Posted by: TBG | December 11, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't pay too much to see LZ. The one I can't believe I passed on was Van Halen's recent tour.

BTW, look at Eddie Van Halen: he looks like Clint Eastwood as the Gunny in Heartbreak Ridge:

re: working in college. I'm going to agree with yellojkt and say that it diminishes the experience, and I don't think saying so is any disrespect to people that do/did work. Ideally, a student's "job" is their university education. A person should only get a second job if they have to.

Posted by: SonofCarl | December 11, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I worked part-time in college for an editing service and still found plenty of time to get too drunk to go to class. A friend of mine worked at one of the student-run coffee shops and had a blast. He played like he was the host of a fabulous party during every shift. Great way to meet women in college. When they are sober, that is.

Posted by: McJacob | December 11, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

My brother did that Mudge. Got his M of something or other.

He did it while working and raising his son alone. I've no idea what the final cost was, but it was heinous. I do know what it took in time. Mom and dad helped him out a lot with their time.

I did look into finishing my degree a few years ago. There are so many good options for online learning these days. Of course that was before I saw a way out of this job with its long hours. I may have to look at that again.

Know any good programs offering education in the history of knitting, weaving and doily making?

Posted by: dr | December 11, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

MFAs are expensive historically, Mudge. What's the cost diffence between an MFA and an MA?

Posted by: dbG | December 11, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm not totally opposed to work during college especially if it is relevant to the studies. You gotta fund booze, gas, and condoms somehow.

I addition to my co-op job, I was an undergraduate TA for three different professors, duties which ranged from free study time to assigning and grading homework and projects. I also worked with a contractor two days a week my last quarter because I had sandbagged my courses well enough to have plenty of time for interviews.

My son has a school credit internship at APL which screws up prime hours for after-school jobs, but I would rather have him washing glassware for free than rolling burritos to pay for beer and weed.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Joel? You are keeping your land line? That is, like, *so* 20th century.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 11, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

(This from a man who doesn't own a cell phone.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 11, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Eurotrash, you out there? Our intrepid secretary is traveling again. She is spending the bulk of her time in Africa at the Amani Baby Cottage, but she touches New York and Dubai getting there, and Brussels and New York coming back.

She isn't sure how long she has in Brussels, but should she have time, seriously great places of historical import should she see, in decent range of the airport?

Also her layover in New York is 8 hours. She hopes to have a little time out of the airport lounge, so does anyone have any good ideas of what she should do in New York with about 5 hours, less a little cab time.

Posted by: dr | December 11, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

hey s'nuke and slyness! thanks for the welcome...
Further elaboration on working in college: I work, but my work is directly related to my studies. The pay is more or less crap, but it's enough to cover books, food, and some recreational activities. But, I get to prep and deliver a couple lectures each semester. I do research for the chair of my department. I run review sessions and grade tests and papers are stuff. So, bascially, I get to do now part time what I want to do full time after I graduate. And I get to study too. (which is what i should be doing now).
That being said, I have way too many friends who have to work 20-25+ hours a week who either A) dropped out b/c they still couldn't afford it B) get crappy grades C) are so exhausted that they are perpetually sick, esp. by the end of the semester. college is about studying and playing, not working yourself to the bone, in my humble and collegiate opinion anyway.
back to the end-of-semester grind...

Posted by: Tangent | December 11, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Howdy from the land of ice and broken trees! I'm still catching up but wanted to say we've got power back. It went out Sunday night and was gone until mid-morning today (then my computer was cranky, I am miffed at Norton but that's another story). We lost power again briefly this afternoon and I hope it stays on tonight. We have two limbs which could yet fall and take out a power line, but there's nothing we can do about it.

Thanks, TBG, for posting those pictures, but actually it was much worse at our house. We have between three-quarters and an inch of ice on everything. All yesterday trees were snapping. Sounded like loud gunshots, along with the really loud shloooshsh of falling ice. Everone within three miles of here has lost at least the tops of their trees, if not whole trees. It's a real mess. Ivansdad sawed two broken limbs off so we could get out of the driveway today.

Of course, when we have no electricity we have no heat, water or cooking. Fortunately, my aunt (who lives across the field) has a good fireplace and a gas stove, so we spent most of yesterday over there. She melted icicles for water. A cousin's boyfriend's sister just built a house in a nearby city which had no furniture, but power. Their extended family picked up our kids and took them over there last night; of course, they lost power mid-evening and all went to another house, which stayed live. People are so generous. We have been really lucky in all this.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 11, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Off topic but interesting.
Report Describes Systematic White House Effort to Manipulate Climate Change Science

Posted by: Boko999 | December 11, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

This just in: Petrino Resigns As Falcons Coach

Posted by: bh | December 11, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I am not against parents helping their kids pay for school, just believe that the kids need to pay for part. University is about growing up and learning to deal with the world outside of your parents - learning responsiblity and juggling priorities all skilled required as an adult.

I had a great time in university and do not think I missed anything by not living in a dorm (although the on campus culture may be different up here - only 10% lived on campus at my school). Part of university was about having fun but it is not camp.

Hopefully I will be able to provide a balance for my kids helping them financially but also giving them the responsibility for owning their own university education and if necessary learning that at times you have to make sacrafices for want you want.

Posted by: dmd | December 11, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - stay warm!

Joel, I know just how you feel about not making the social list. Irrational exclusion is terribly disillusioning, For example, I am beginning to suspect that I might never actually be named Sexiest Man Alive.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Oops - that was me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 11, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

RD.. you merely mean People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, right?

Posted by: TBG | December 11, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Of course. Each year the disappointment grows ever more cruel.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 11, 2007 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I echo much of what Tangent says. One key is to work on campus, so that you are not driving all over kingdom come. Perfect campus jobs include:

career center (you search for yourself and friends while on the clock, as few students use the career center until mid-December and mid-May);

library (you pick up your research articles and books, having searched for them the night before and placing a hold on them);

rec center (you vow to show up early or stay late for one half hour on the treadmill, or in the pool, or at the weight machines);

desk jockey somewhere (studying is possible) ....Etc.

The tuition and living prices now are high and the debt loads are huge, if students finance their education completely. As Yelloj notes, despite being 18 and emancipated, young people are scrutinized thusly: colleges look at the incomes of both parents and dole out aid and loans (principle form of need-based aid now) accordingly. Especially sad are the cases of separated or divorced families where the parties did not agree about expenses post 18. Neither the child nor one parent can compel the other to help pay....these cases really make me sad, as do the cases of first-generation college students struggling mightily to work, study, and balance responsibilities to family members.

As for talent and smartness scholarships, the system is all over the map. Some get; others don't. Sometimes it makes sense, often not. Like sports and arts, the notion of winner-take-all is emerging here.

I do think young people need responsibility and this can be required in that delicate balance between young adult--parents.

I would hope that college can be a time of intellectual over-advertised as both a career path step and gym/party/food court Disneyland diminishes us all. Sure, career prep is important, yet education. education. education. Knowledge might be yummy, too, to say nothing of Achenblogish-cool.

(And, news flash. Son of TBG actually goes to office hours......I am thrilled for those lucky teachers. This week, I am being visited by the prodigal students, the lost sheep, the wayward youth, the internet-addicted denizens, the shy people who should have eaten their Powdermilk Biscuits, the maverick steers, the lost tribes of Nehi soda pop......)

Posted by: College Parkian | December 11, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I worked up to 12 hours a week tutoring or other jobs in college (often less). Summers I'd get jobs somehow.

I don't think anybody should work 20-25 hours offcampus or more and be expected to carry full hours in order to keep their scholarships. But unfortunately that's the reality for "part-time students"-- they don't get the scholarships.

So, like others mention, so many people have to do both and watch their grades suffer as a consequence.

I did one semester carrying 4 credits, a full time job, dog training, AND long commutes. And I got sick enough I had to take time off work and school for 2 weeks. Even before that, I had no time to sleep, and it's not an experience I care to repeat, ever, even if I got most of my tutition comped.

Graduate school "full time" load is 9 credits vs 12 credits, and the sciences and some other fields do have full scholarships in exchange for fellowships which may contain an undefined number of hours' work weekly.

I'm with Yellojkt... I think working while studying at a certain level of hours, and on breaks, can be benefical (applied skills and work world experience), but I would never want a young person to feel stuck working just to stay in school, housed, and fed.

School has very variable levels of stress; during the last 2 weeks before semifinals and finals, there's just too much work for a student NOT to be able to cut work.

Many workplaces have very even stress/workloads and it's not always possible to just reduce hours to the extent you need (I did, I had to).

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 11, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Hah. Caught up finally, and here we're talking about the sexiest man alive. Or so he says. Given that RD and I are both rapidly approaching a certain age, I find this viewpoint refreshing.

dbG, where does one find resellers? Ever since adjunct teaching a law school course I have been inundated with law texts. They're piling up. I'm too guilty to recycle them, the library doesn't want them, and I'd love to get some cash.

MFA = masters of fine arts (Ivansdad has one). MA = masters degree in some other area.

I entirely sympathize with Joel's consternation at his failure to make the Social List. Me too. However, I don't have flyaway hair with which to console myself.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 11, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

My POST was partially eaten:

I would hope that college could be a time of intellectual and moral and social growth.

That higher ed is now over-advertised as largely both a career path step and gym/party/food court Disneyland diminishes us all.


Posted by: College Parkian | December 11, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I am with CP there. Financing college should not be a zero-sum game. Unfortunately it can be; some fields simply attract more money than others. Donors insist on earmarking money for things that confer prestige (buildings etc.)

I admit, having the first 2 years of college free sounds better all the time, especially when we consider how many community colleges are doing fine jobs in helping students meet the basic writing and thinking skills they should have learned in high school, but didn't.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 11, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Not to boodlehog, but CP was telling RD to use..."product".

I just had a visualization of Joel with carefully hairsprayed and moussed helmet-like Romney hairdo and shuddered. Yes, he'd probably make the social lists, but one careless smoker standing too close, and he'd go up in flames.

Think of his safety, woman!

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 11, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Good evening,friends. Spent most of the day in the doctor's office. Pills abound.

As for working during college, I found most of the young people at the school I attended did not have time for work or school. And as for books, they bought books but did not use them. Many of the students would come to class with their pajamas on, and pray tell,on a long weekend they were wrecks. I always wondered if the parents realized what was going on.

hello, tangent,good to hear from you.

ivansmom, be careful. I will send you some of our warmth.

Today it was in the eighties here. So warm and sunny. Just really nice. The weather was like spring, so much so, the Christmas decorations looked out of place.

I suspect by the time you finish with the cable people, JA, you will be pulling out that fly away hair.

Going to bed, really dopey and sleepy. Have a good evening, my friends. Sleep well,boodle.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 11, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, call the bookstore at the university. They should have a schedule of when book buyers/resellers are coming in to do their end-of-semester or end-of-year buying, ask if there are ones which specialize in law books, else show up for the general ones.

All this reminds me of when a friend from grad school was helping me pack to move from Ohio back to Philadelphia, ~ 7 years after we graduated. He picked up my Stochastics & Calculus textbooks and put them in the recycle pile. At my incredulous look he said, "If you ever have to take classes in high-altitude math again the *least* of your worries will be that you didn't have your old books." Good point!

Posted by: dbG | December 11, 2007 7:51 PM | Report abuse

My dad's best advice ever was to treat college as your job. If you "work" eight hours including classtime each day, you can have weekends and evenings off. Too many kids screw around all day at the myriad distractions a modern campus has and then stay up all night studying (or drinking, which just compounds the problem).

I always built a schedule around an 8 or 9 am course, some other morning classes back to back, a two-three hour lunch/study break and an early afternoon class, usually a lab. That kept me on campus until at least four each day.

If there was an evening study group, I'd come back to campus after dinner. This career oriented path was very important to me because I was in a long-distance relationship and we only saw each other on the weekends. If I spent it studying, I was missing out on what was important.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 11, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Some prison libraries would gladly accept law and textbooks.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - what you say is very true.

My secret was to attend a college with absolutely nothing to do during the week except go to class and do homework. Really, it was more like a military academy than a college. But we were all in it together. And weekends? The joke was we had no weekends. Just days without class.

But the parties. Oh the parties. Greek parties have nothing on Geek parties.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 11, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I received a bunch of statutes from a well-meaning relative. You can often donate to a college or library for a tax receipt.

RD, lately I've been narrowing my focus to just being voted "man alive".

On kit: you know who's missing from that list (other than JA, of course)?: Micheal Griffin. Ponder that omission, here amongst the pointy-sciency types and hangers-on.

Posted by: SonofCarl | December 11, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Jimmy Page with a balky left hand is still better than 99% of the rock guitarists in the world.

The dude will be 64 in January. Cut some slack. Even flyaway hair doesn't last forever. ;-)

Posted by: bill everything | December 11, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Mr. F #1 and I married very young so I spent my college years as a very young wife, mom, student and sports desk flunky at the Grand Forks Herald (also waitress, tutor, and fabulously in demand $2 a page typist for grad students). I didn't attend a single party, or go "home" for any breaks. Home was a family housing apartment (tin hut) first erected for WWII vets attending school on the GI bill and their families. I loved it. Classes, papers, tests, and studying were all the most blissful part of my days. Catch 22 was the first book Frostson heard read aloud (at 7 weeks).

However, I can understand why so many students, or young people in the workforce, have a horrid time trying to launch into full fledged adulthood. Frostdottir makes just 3.5X more an hour than I did at her age, but for what she pays for one book I could pay for a semester of tuition and a 12 month parking pass (and probably two parking tickets for being in the wrong lot).

Posted by: frostbitten | December 11, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Pitch those old textbooks right into the recycling! Our community library opened in May, with a collection made up primarily of donated materials. People are still getting quite snarly with us for not accepting their old text books or encyclopedias. Even for those books we do accept we put on the donation receipt that there is no guarantee that the book will be put on the shelves unless it is on our "wish list." We may attempt to sell it, or pitch it into the recycling ourselves. Let go people, just let go!

Posted by: frostbitten | December 11, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Our anonymous friend, 8:29, makes an excellent point. I think I'll talk to a prison librarian before I deaccession more books of any type. :-)

Posted by: dbG | December 11, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Tangent!

I was thrilled when I found out Half Price Books would take old textbooks - I had lots of computer science books, programming language books (Pascal, Fortran, C). They gave me maybe a quarter for them, but they took them.

I saw Led Zeppelin in Baltimore in the summer of 72, I think - they were great. Too bad I don't remember a lot about the concert. Saw Robert Plant on Soundstage recently, and was amazed at how good he sounded and how well he moved. And there's his new CD with Alison Krauss...Jimmy Page is still worth seeing, I'm sure. He played with the Black Crowes occasionally and sounded great. But, having said all that, I probably wouldn't go see them as Led Zep - too pricey, too much hype. Now Cream - I'd pay quite a bit to see them, or even Jack Bruce solo or in combination with other musicians...

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 11, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I also worked during college, in the dining hall, washing dishes. You wouldn't believe what went down the large garbage disposal at the far end of the trough that received what was scraped from the plates. There were floor to ceiling picture windows in the dining hall that were great for the Jello walk.

Leftover textbook: Morrison & Boyd, Organic chemistry (ca. 1973)

Posted by: jack | December 11, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

RD is right. There were lots of good geek parties where Ivansdad & I went to school as well.

I'm not trying to get rid of old textbooks. These are the new editions which publishers send me free of charge, hoping that I will force students to buy them for the next year's class. And so I might, if I were teaching the class. I don't ask for these things.

Even though the Boy has no school again tomorrow (still no power in many schools), it is bedtime. Here's hoping I will join you again tomorrow -- God willing and the creek don't freeze. Vaya con queso and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 11, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

i used to give desk/promotional copies of current textbooks to our university's booklending program (for low-income students).

Posted by: L.A. lurker | December 11, 2007 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Tangent! Hope things are well with you.

Back from the holiday school band and chorus gala. Our daughters were in the middle school and high school bands. Our younger daughter plays the double french horn. Considering her rather diminutive frame, playing the instrument is quite a feat. The chorus' rendition of Santa Baby was the highlight of the night.

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

Tangent, you must tell us how the lovely Cosine is doing.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 11, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Jack -- I have Morrison and Boyd, circa 1978. Great book. I love Chapter 6. I reviewed it in a paper about science communication and metaphor. Kekule and the dream of six snakes eating tails, whirling in a flaming circle: BENZENE!, more importantly, aromaticity.

Out West, we would say, "Yep, I am dying in Organic."

Here, students at Maryland are wont to say, "Yeah, mon, I am dying in O-chem."

O-Chem! Weird, however, they like to reserve "organic" for things they might want to eat, if they had money left over from everything else.

I also have the 1978 tome CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, which I would like to encase in Lucite and use as a yard ornament.

Paging Martooni: can you make garden-wear out of our old and expensive text books?

Posted by: College Parkian | December 11, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I got quite a few textbooks to review at my old job. I know how Ivansmom and college parkian feel... these free samples JUST won't quit coming and coming.

Frostbitten, when I was in HS or even before, I enjoyed having those textbooks (if not obselete) in my personal library. So just put them in booksales.

I designed my science fair project by going through two textbooks I bought in a book sale-- general chemistry and organic chemistry.

I was a strange kid, true, but this was pre-internet and those textbooks weren't always available in public libraries themselves. As my mom put it, libraries tend to go up to community college text level in terms of reference books-- harder than that, and nobody ever uses them.

For many things, a book still beats the internet; there is a lot of knowledge that hasn't yet been put on the internet so far.

So I'll speak up in favor of textbook recycling, keeping in mind that a biology textbook printed more than 30 years ago is worthless. An introductory chemistry text may not be; likewise for physics.

Humanities... well, like Mudge said, Shakespeare hasn't changed in 400 years. However in fields such as the social sciences, geography, and linguistics, there have been some significant changes. (Although Pei's "The History of Language" is still a classic.)

I must mention that the Norton Anthology has always been a dozer for me, though. I want to read the literature, not the critical essays. Heck, I can write my own.
NOW I can see why Mudge developed rashes from reading Chaucer and Beowulf.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 11, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

dx/dx dx/dy
Secant Tangent Cosine Sine

I see the moon, and
The moon sees me
The moon sees somebody I don't see
God bless the moon, and
God bless me, and
God bless the somebody I don't see.

Ditties said at my house growing up. Good night sweet boodlers, g'nite.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 11, 2007 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I think I still have a FORTRAN 77 textbook.

My oldest (still in High School) is back from a weekend of seminars at Harvard. I was holding my breath that she'd love Caimbridge and want to attend, and felt much better when I heard about the program Joel mentions above.

Unfortunately, she didn't like Caimbridge very much (which I found odd - I really liked it up there), and is more interested in pursuing other - suddenly, relatively more expensive - options for her first round of College education.



Posted by: bc | December 11, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Good night, CP.
Hello Wilbrod.
Rainforest, good morning!

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

Greetings Mostly, Jack, Cassandra! hope y'all are doing well.

Funny you should ask 'Mudge. She's doing pretty well, but we're no longer on the same X/Y axis, if you know what I mean. We're still friends, but it wasn't really working out. Some pretty significant miscommunication and trust (or lack thereof) issues. Of course, I was pretty much off the grid the entire summer, so that may've had an impact. Leading backpacking trips without cell phones but with co-leaders of the opposite gender (not that anything happened) didn't really help the communication issues.

off to bed for a couple hours. i've never been able to work straight through the night, but prefer to go to bed early and then get up early to finish up. plus, the library closes soon.

Posted by: Tangent | December 11, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

A few sines and hypotenuses came into the picture, eh Tangent?

Well, love triangles are always difficult, especially if the third angle is a figment of the other's imagination.

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

omni, I have to thank you again for the tip about the "Holiday Knit" stamps.
I used them for my Christmas cards, and sent some to dr because I knew she would love them. When I went to the post office to buy them, I asked for "the stamps that look like sweaters", because I didn't know how else to describe them, and I didn't see any to point to. The clerk smiled and handed me the right stamps.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 12, 2007 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Whew it has been a wild week weather-wise and my commute home has been hair raising. Last week it was snow on Wednesday,snow and black ice Thursday, freezing rain Friday. heavy rain on Monday & Tonight's weather du jour was fog so thick I had to follow the yellow line. My community doesn't have any yellow lines, but when I got to my house the stars were out. What is in store for tomorrow? Hordes of insects I would bet.

I saw led zep a couple of times in the 70's, I remember them playing 7 shows at the Capital center, I saw 2 of them, well saw one heard 2.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 12, 2007 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I love Wikipedia. I must have been at the June 11, 1972 Led Zep show - Civic Center in Baltimore. Wikipedia even has a typical set list. I know they did Stairway to Heaven (which was new then - ha!), but the rest is pretty much a blur.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 12, 2007 1:12 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Not much to report this morning. Fred Thompson is the candidate du jour in the former "On Being" box, which means it's yet another collection of stories I'm not gonna read.

Tangent, sorry to hear about the Cosine issue. I never had much luck bisecting angles either.

I'll be missing all the gang tonight at the BPH; gotta go to my wife's company's Xmas party. They're doing one of those Chinese gift exchanges, which have always been fun in the past. The gift my wife is taking is something she made herself (I've mentioned I'm married to the Martha Stewart of SOuthern Maryland): a liqour bottle that has a string of Xmas lights inside it. This was apparently her idea. So for the past month or two, we've been collecting a few wine and liqour bottles. At her behest, I got a special glass-cutting drill bit to drill a half-inch hole near the base of the bottles at the back, but soon discovered that the bottles were too fragile for me to do, and they shattered. So next my wife took the bottles to a professional glasscutter, who has now drilled (somewhat smaller) holes in them, for the wires leading to the plug. To install, you have to cut the wire about 18 inches above the plug, which won't fit through the top (although all the rest of the string of lights will. So I made her a wire leader to put in through the bottom and fish out the top. Tape the cut wire end to it and pull the leader back through and out and bingo, the wire comes out the hole in the bottom. And then using my handy-=dandy wire-stripper tool, butt connectors, and crimping tool, I reconnect the plug end to the string, and voila, you have a working string of lights inside a wine or liquor bottle. My wife puts some fancy foil around the tops, as thought it was a full bottle, along with a ribbon bow. Pretty cool, if I do say so myself. I should add that I then caulk the exit hole with some clear silicone, in order to keep the wires from chafing against the sharp glass hole edge. Very important step.

Most of the strings are basic white lights, but the prettiest one so far has been a string of colored lights inside a dessert wine bottle that came "frosted," from Viansa Vineyards in Sonoma Valley, CA. We did a Beefeaters gin bottle that doesn't look so good, because the label is very transparent. The trick seems to be to pick a bottle that has a fairly "strong" label. Frosted bottles (Belvedere and Grey Goose vodkas, etc.) and "clear" bottles can handle colored strings, but green- or blue-tinted bottles gotta have white-lights-only strings. Done right, they do look kinda cool when plugged in. (Bottles can only hold 35-light or 50-light strings; the 100-lights are too long.)

OK, time to hit the showers.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 12, 2007 5:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Mudge, that does sound lovely. I also missed the Xmas boodle porching hours, but alas, that isn't news is it?

Morning, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, and all.*waving*

Can't stay long, we're trying to meet the bus. And the g-girl and Spongebob are still doing their thing with the toothbrush.

Have a good day, folks. We're edging closer to that wonderful day, and instead of cold here, it seems more like summer, sweat and all. I suspect it will end sometime around the weekend.

Good morning, daiwalan. Have a real good day filled with lots of love, it's better than candy.

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

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 12, 2007 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Double blessings from the night into the morning. Thanks, CP. Thanks, Cassandra.

Posted by: daiwanlan | December 12, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

NO BPH for me today, alas; still fighting a very bad crud cold that will not go away. I shall miss Moose, who also lives in College Park. Heya, Moose, we can meet at College Perk someday or have breakfast at IKEA.

Dreamt last night of an international boodle event at Niagara Falls. Even the far flung international readers arrived. We kept looking for Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio...weird, but satisfying.

Take care in that ice mid section; hope that Birdie is not too cold.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 12, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Look, here's Joel's profile of Fred Thompson:

And here we thought he was down in Tennessee doing an informal "On the Road" random sampling and survey of rural whiskey stills...


Posted by: bc | December 12, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm able to hang out for a few more minutes than usual this morning. I have a date with a bunch of third graders at my granddaughters school for 'Show and Tell.' I'm going to show them 'how to mend clothes' which will actually be how to sew on a button. I agreed to this in a moment of grandmotherly love (anything for you, dear). My daughter just called to inform me that the whole class is excited about my visit and my picture is on the bulletin board, yikes! Pressure! I have to perform before a group of nine year olds. Luckily I threaded 20 needles last night so if nerves overcome me, at least they won't see my hands shaking. ;-)
Wish me luck.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 12, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Mudge writes:"Not much to report this morning. Fred Thompson is the candidate du jour in the former 'On Being' box, which means it's yet another collection of stories I'm not gonna read."

BTW, Mudge, go ahead and *not* read that collection of Thompson stories in the WaPo this morning.

See my 8:18 AM post for further details.


Posted by: bc | December 12, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

'morning Cassandra, Mudge.
It's pretty outside today. We got a couple of inches of fresh snow to cover the old one from last Saturday. This December I feel like I'm back in Quebec city, the snow doesn't have the time to get dirty before we get some more. The Puppy loves the fresh snow but because of its short legs and extra-wide chest it is not making tracks anymore but a trench with dog tracks at the buttom. And please heed Zappa's advice and don't eat the yellow snow. Specially around our place.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 12, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks bc for the tip. I almost missed JA's piece because there is no clue on the WaPo who wrote 'Bigger Than Life", even the photographer is properly recognized. I did read Robin Givhan though.

Posted by: daiwanlan | December 12, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Tangent, keep your chin up. There's someone out there for everyone, you'll find yours soon, I'm sure.

'Mudge, those butt connectors didn't happen to be blue, now did they??

*really-really-REALLY-looking-forward-to-the-BPH-for-many-reasons Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 12, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

NEW KIT!!!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 12, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: dmd | December 12, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

G'morning, all. Hey, Cassandra!

I'm back from the morning walk, all hot and sweaty. It's to be 77 here today; I'm ready for the weather to be seasonal. Oh, and some rain too.

Last night, we went to dinner at third daughter's. She's 21 weeks into carrying twins and is therefore looking very pregnant. (Bless her heart, it'll only get worse!) We took their Christmas present: a rocking chair I picked up at the church attic sale. Of concern is that her husband, a Navy reservist, has orders for his 2008 training for late January/early February. If Congress can't get its act together and pass a funding bill, that training may have to be delayed. This is NOT a good thing at this point in their lives.

So Congress, get crackin'!

Posted by: Slyness | December 12, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

CP, hope you get well soon. BPH at Niagara Falls... that would be fun.

Any of you had turducken before? Sounds interesting. Wonder how the individual birds would taste.

Posted by: rainforest | December 12, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

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