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Quaintness Epidemic Roils Vermont


We take a lot of photos out the car window. Photo by Paris Achenbach.


I want one of these in my yard as a garden prop. Photo by P.A.


I want to go back to college at this place and major in skiing.


Major Vermont crisis: steeples run amok.


Not bad for a no-look out-the-window at-speed reverse-direction photo by P.A.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 27, 2008; 9:20 AM ET
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Posted by: martooni | March 27, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Some of my best photos are taken out of my moving vehicle.I just hope I never drop the camera and I guess I should clean my windshield a little more.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 27, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Marttoni. Good to see you here. I read the poem you wrote for Little Bean. It's wonderful. Enjoy the springtime.

Posted by: daiwanlan | March 27, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Frosti... thought of you when I saw this in my daily Markdown Mom email today...

Have you been there? Sounds like a great Roadfood destination.

Posted by: TBG | March 27, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

That's quite a water feature to have in your yard, Joel. And I'd laugh my -- off if you sent Paris to a school in V'mahnt, and after four years she came back tacking like Titus Moody, the Pepperidge Farm guy: "A-yup. Cahn't recale a wintah this hash[sic]" and "Pap, cahn ah barra the cah?"

On the other hand, her photog portfolio ought to be stellar.

What does she want to major in? (If she knows yet.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Our books-that-are-good-in- a-reader's- 20s is fits with the larger notion of what will be classic literature. Does the work withstand the test of time. Time here, is our personal trajectory.

I loved Jane Austen's books then, in-between, and now. I loved Muriel Sparks books then and now, but I understand them better now.

Adore this somewhat obscure British writer who recently died:

Rumer Godden

She wrote children's books and books for adults.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 27, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Wow, these are terriffic pictures, Paris.

Sadly, I don't take pictures out of moving cars because I'm usually the one driving.

I sometimes rue the fact that I don't read books or newspapers while I'm driving either. I could get in a couple of extra hours each day if I didn't waste them being a conscientious commuter (if they ever put in that Metro line to Dulles Airport, that may change...).

I wonder, does Vermont have a case of the steeples?

Also, if you drive around that state takling pictures of quaint old churches, would that be called a steeplechase?

[This reminds me that the Virginia Gold Cup is coming up, isn't it?]


Posted by: bc | March 27, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Repost from last boodle:

I took a History of Science Fiction course in college and the professor claims to be able to identify the exact sentence in Stranger In A Strange Land where Robert Heinlein dropped acid and changed his writing style permanently. We were discussing him at work and decided that he was a particularly lecherous fascist.

And while it may not karmically balance out the loss of the NASA science guy, I find this news to be heartening even if it a loss to the alma mater:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 27, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Sadly or not bc,I usually take the pictures WHEN I am driving. But I don't read the newspaper or a book or even talk on the cell phone when driving.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 27, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

YJ -- a fascinating and bizarre and mild-mannered colleague used to say that Robert Heinlein was his inspiration to become a polyamorist. I did not really understand what this was until he showed up at a faculty holiday gathering with THREE people in tow:

two women and one man.

He moved to Chicago several years ago. I do not know if this was solo or in the group.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 27, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, daiwanian :-)

Mudge... you forgot the classic "Yah cahn't get thahr from heyah".

Question for eco/recyling experts... I'm about to clean up my workshop (Jesu forfend!) and literally have *piles* of small scraps of pine I need to clear out. I hate to toss them in the trash, but they're no good for compost (too acidic and would take too long to decompose). They're not even suitable for bonfires or anything because they don't burn clean. What to do?

Posted by: martooni | March 27, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Cools news about Wayne Clough, yello. I hope he cleans house at the Smithsonian, and makes the place what it should be for all of us.

How is his name pronounced? Cluff? Clo?

Posted by: slyness | March 27, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

gwe, you're far more coordinated than I am. I'm just not up to looking through a windshield and a viewfinder at the same time.

CP, I have to ask about the polyamorist: Was this man related by blood to any of those folks he brought to the Holiday gathering...?

Never mind, I don't want to know.


Posted by: bc | March 27, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Well, Vermont IS quaint (italics needed for emphasis), my neice and her husband moved from NOVA to Winooski, VT for a job promotion about a year ago and they really like it there, of course, they ski and are young (still in their 20s).

I like quaintness. Vermont's quaintness is sharper than the softer quaint of Martha's Vineyard or the softest quaint of a Beaufort, NC, or the Spanish Moss quaint of a Charleston or a Savannah, a blurred soft quaint. :-0.

Posted by: VintageLady | March 27, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Affianced, bonded, engaged, attached, affixed: BC, you pick.

They were also neo-pagans. For a time, they lived in Takoma Park. We would all be invited to dinner and hot tub events. I do not know if many went.

Walter Mitty types, the men; slim, sparrow-bird pretty, the women. Very unremarkable-looking people. No feather boas or patchouli scent or exotic garb.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 27, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

If Heinlein is a polyamorist, would Leopold Bloom be a mollyamorist?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I think your Georgia Tech guy looks good. A heck of a lot better than the last incumbent at the Smithsonian. The acting secretary seems still to carry some baggage from his associations with the previous leadership -- he may move up to that position eventually, but he has some ethical scrubbing to do, first.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 27, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse


Read your 8:45am in the other kit, and hollered. You are a trip and a vacation.

We're back!!!!!!!!!

Martooni, I don't know about the sling shot. These are big ducks. It's like they're on steriods or something. They even look too heavy to fly.

Good morning, dawailan. I know I probably spelled the name wrong, please forgive.

Now to tackle the rest of this apartment.

Slyness, the weather is beautiful here too. Just utterly beautiful. Not the kind of weather to stay inside cleaning. Outside is the place to be.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 27, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Of course, I can highly recommend majoring in skiing while in Vermont.


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 27, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Almost forgot, the pictures are very good, PA. In fact they are so good, I feel cold looking at them. And it isn't cold here.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 27, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | March 27, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Continuing on with quaint:

We don't have a patch on the old, old quaint in England. I suppose my definition of the the ultimate quaint would have to be the Lake District. We stayed in Ambleside, and we truly did amble about, as opposed to the hikers who took to the rough, hilly trails which were rough lovely, in their way.

Is where we stayed, quaintasallgetout! Folk there are lovely, too.

That's Beatrice Potter country.

Posted by: VintageLady | March 27, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Hi cassandra, and good morning. Always good to start the day with a laugh.

Posted by: omni | March 27, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Sharp quaint versus soft blurred quaint: very good descriptions, VintageLady! Metaphors that convey instant meaning.

A patch of irises I didn't get dug up and divided last fall are nigh unto blooming. I could have sworn they were a medium blue, but these are a lovely purple. Not that I'm complaining, except about my memory. It seems to be going fast.

Posted by: slyness | March 27, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, I remember when the Maryland state oak tree fell, some pieces not useful for a table were made into souvenirs like teacup holder or book stand available in the gift shops with special identity tag "From Maryland." May be you can do some DNA analysis or genealogy research and label the remnants something fancy to catch the eye. Isn't that not long ago stones were sold as pets and collectibles once they were labeled as such?

Posted by: daiwanlan | March 27, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

hey now. I am currently hard at work in pictured college town (and know that covered bridge well). don't underestimate the joy of quaint (after moving up from nova a few years ago, my tolerance for kitsch has increased dramatically). just be warned that there are 5 seasons here: spring, summer, autumn, winter and...mud season.

Posted by: vermonster | March 27, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, since you make fairy doors, find a grinder or woodchipper, grind all that wood up into sawdust or small chips, bag it, and sell it as Genuine Pixie Mulch.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

..or "Gnome-O-Mulch."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Joel, if you're going through St. Johnsbury be sure and see the Fairbanks Museum
and the gorgeous Athenaeum
both fine examples of 19th industrial paternalism as well as being lovely period pieces of architecture.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 27, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Howdy. Those are very nice quaint pictures. I am particularly impressed by the results of the through-the-window method. I have occasionally taken pictures through a car window, but they never look that good. Of course, I take pictures when my access to the subject is unimpeded by any obstruction, and they still don't look that good.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 27, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"The Education of a 9/11 Reporter"

Is it good? Yes YES OH YES.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 27, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Vermont sounds like a trip to Bennington, home of such literary lights as Bret Easton Ellis and Jared Paul Stern as well as such under-employed dilettantes as my sister-in-law's sister who once tried to convince me as that Bennington's annual Dressed To Get Laid party was nowhere near as salacious as its reputation made it out to be.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 27, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

We appear to be witnessing an extremely scenic dash for the border.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 27, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Mudge... I thought of having it all chipped for mulch (for my own use), but this stuff would splinter more than chip and I don't think those splinters would feel very nice under the fingernails when planting the flower beds.

But I like the Pixie/Gnome-O Mulch idea. I also have tons of sawdust which I've thought of mixing up with some glitter and selling as fairy dust (could also be mulch, I suppose). I tried mixing the sawdust in with our garden compost heap, but it just stays as sawdust. I guess it might help aerate the soil and help with water retention, but there's just so dang much of it.

daiwanian... this wood has no real "history" to it. It's basically 3/4" x 24" x 48" knotty pine shelving boards manufactured in Brazil and purchased at Home Depot. I don't think the pine is actually harvested in Brazil (probably shipped in from Canada), but they plane and join it there to make the boards. I used to make windchimes and thought of using these odd-shaped scraps as the "clapper" part, but again, the volume of scraps is kind of overwhelming. I'd have to make about a thousand or so windchimes to use them all up.

I appreciate the ideas, though. Keep'em coming! :-)

Posted by: martooni | March 27, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

One of the best photos from our trip to England was this through the motor coach window shot of Big Ben taken by my wife:

I am not a fan of the technique, preferring the pull over the car and run through a complete stranger's field to get just the right picture of a particularly quaint barn method.

My wife insists that that is because my DSLR with its complicated focusing mechanism is unsuited for the task of windshield photography. I have to admit that many of her compact Panasonic shots come out just fine.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 27, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

From that 9/11 reporter story:

"The administration, it seemed clear to me, had lied to us."

Welcome to the club.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 27, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

One of my high school Spanish teachers was a Middlebury grad, another Bryn Mawr. As a result, I got to read some serious authors (Unamuno, Ortega y Gasset). As a result, I became aware of Liberal Arts colleges, but did a lousy job finding one that would admit me. So I ended up at the more-or-less antithesis of a Lib Arts college.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 27, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, our iris are up, too. Since I have never divided them, they wander from around the mailbox post almost to the street. They will bloom in a few weeks. We planted a few new onces last fall, but they haven't broken ground yet.

Mudge, I am interested in your cemetary flyer! I will be cremated, but have no idea how much it will cost by the time I turn up my toes, and by that time, how many restrictions will be placed on the dumping ashes in the bay or creek or "branch". Anyway, I read a while ago that fat people take a lot longer to incinerate than skinny folks, so am wondering if the cost is based on lbs./hours/crispness?

bc, yes, The Plains. We took friends one year and they enjoyed it. Va. Tech had the tickets for the hill & the temporary stables. My school Radford, had a railside tent.

Posted by: VintageLady | March 27, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, you are showing your extreme youth in saying that Rumer Godden was "rather obscure." When she was in her prime (see Muriel Spark) she was a popular author, some of her books were serialized in magazines of the day, some were made into movies.

Posted by: nellie | March 27, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Anyone considering cremation should also think about donation of your remains for medical research, i.e. anatomical study in a med school. Study cadavers are cremated at the conclusion of study and many states (Virginia I know for sure) have provision for return of the ashes, so your body can serve science and still be scattered in the sports venue of your choice. There is always a shortage of suitable subjects, so think about it please.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 27, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Radford is a beautiful town. The railroad, the river. Quaint.

Posted by: daiwanlan | March 27, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

DotC, those of us who did go to a liberal arts school call it a classical education. It sounds better.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 27, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

daiwanlan, Would that be the Wye Oak as Maryland's state tree. I was crabbing on the Wye river that day when it went down.

Nothing scarrier then being on a small boat in the middle of the bay during a thunderstorm. I did a lot of praying that day.

Martooni, I burn all my junk wood in a bonfire or a 55 gallon steel drum.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 27, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

VL, the cemetery flyer was just for storing the ashes in an urn in a niche-type mausoleum somewhere on the grounds (one supposes for perpetuity). There appear to be three separate areas on the grounds, which is where the three rate differentials came in; the cheapest was $1,000, the next was $1,250, and the "best" was $1,425. (One assumes these were the "Spring Special" rates). On top of this was a fixed cost set of add-ons: $495 for the "plate" ([presumably some sort of marker with name, dates, etc.); tax (yes! Youi get taxed for being placed in a niche) of $29; the aforemention "open & close" feature, of $545; and the $20 "installation."

But keep in mind, this was just for storage of your ashes; the actual cremation takes place at a mortuary/funeral home. I have no ideas what it costs. I know the laws regarding this vary widely from state to state, and in many states you are required to buy a casket, even if you have no use for one, and which will almost immediately be burnt up with one's own carcass (I guess). In all, a giant rip-off, in my view.

When my folks retired to Florida in the 1970s, the signed up for something called the National Cremation Society; this was a national pre-paid plan of some sort, and the cost was $395 per cremation (in 1970s dollars; I remember this figure because I was the executor of both my parents estates, and had to do all the paperwork). So they got a pretty good deal. I don't remember what other associated costs there were. (We scattered both my parents' ashes in the Gulf of Mexico, from their favorite spot near where they lived in St. Petersburg Beach. So there was no cost for perpetual storage or any of that.)

My father died in Florida in 1983, and Florida -- aptly nicknamed God's Waiting Room -- is very good about funerals and funeral laws. My mother was visiting at our house in maryland in 1995 when she died, but her National Cremation Society policy took care of it. I have no idea what it would have cost in 1995 dollars in Maryland at the time if she hadn't had that policy. Maybe some other Boodlers have more recent experiences with this, and might contribute some stories.

As to whether fat people take longer to make crispy I don't know; it it costs extra because one is a "full-figure" person, then perhaps thats what the 2-for-1 special is for. However, I would think that since fat burns pretty well, it shouldn't take any more fuel than a thinner person would. (In fact, I've always suspected that scrawny people might be tough to ignite, where as we generously proportioned folks would go up like a college pep rally bonfire.)

I have no idea what a proper Viking funeral would cost; I suspect the cost of flaming arrows to be relatively inexpensive, but the cost of the boat must vary considerably (power or sail, horsepower, length and beam, age of boat, etc.) In my case, I already have my own boat, too, but I doubt the state of Maryland would let me use, which is why I have the home-plate scenario set up as my fall-back (so to speak) arrangement.

(Notwithstanding that, there *will* be a major memorial ceremony/crab feast on an appropriately warm day following my departure, during which there will be much music, singing, laughter, telling of outrageous stories about me [probably a fair number of them more-or-less true, or close enough], consumption of alcoholic beverages, to which you're all invited. Think of it as just another BPH, with the word "bye-bye" substituted for "Boodle." (I will have left detailed instructions on the naming of my successor as Shop Steward, along with the combination to the Shop Steward's office safe where we keep all the dues money and other important documents. Don't expect any cash bequeths; there won't be any. I've pi$$ed most of the money away on $4,300 call girls.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Cur: Our post-departum plans are similar and my will includes a tidy, but not princely, sum to entertain friends and foes at a celebration. You are all invited. This BPH will be at Annie's Cafe', Cedar Key, FL on a date TBA, preferably later than sooner. I will be there after making an ash of myself.

Posted by: Shiloh | March 27, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

bc, thanks for the reminder about the Virginia Gold Cup. Nice to know they still run it. I don't think I ever went to that one, even though I lived very close. I did got to the steeplechase at Rolling Rock in PA a couple of times. Saw Leeds Don, who is mentioned in the history of the Virginia Gold Cup. He was a beauty.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 27, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Maybe I should amend the instructions for my memorial service to include a party. I hadn't thought about that. But I'm a pretty boring person; there won't be outrageous stories to tell about me. My children know I wish to be cremated and my ashes deposited in the memorial garden at my church.

I'll have to check and see who is responsible for paying for the memorial plaque.

Posted by: slyness | March 27, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

This from wiki on cremation-

"Cremated remains can be kept in an urn, sprinkled on a special field, mountain, in the sea, or buried in the ground at any location. In addition, there are several services which will scatter the cremated remains in a variety of ways and locations. Some examples are via a helium balloon, through fireworks, shot from shotgun shells or scattered from an airplane (this is not illegal in most jurisdictions, in part because laws prohibiting it would be difficult to enforce). One service will send a lipstick-tube sized sample of the cremains into low earth orbit, where they remain for years, but not permanently, before re-entering the atmosphere. Another company claims to turn part of the cremains into a diamond in an artificial diamond manufacturing machine. Cremains may also be incorporated, with urn and cement, into part of an artificial reef, or they can also be mixed into paint and made into a portrait of the deceased. Cremated remains can be scattered in national parks in the US, with a special permit. They can also be scattered on private property, with the owner's permission. A portion of the cremated remains may be retained in a specially designed locket known as a keepsake pendant. The cremated remains may also be entombed. Most cemetaries will grant permission for burial of cremains in occupied cemetary plots which have already been purchased or are in use by the families disposing of the cremains, without any additional charge or oversight."

But if you want alternatives, check out green burial and sky burial. The latter is probably what my brother will ask for- lug the remains out to some remote mesa on his property in Arizona and lay him out for the vultures like the Native Americans used to do.

Bottom line is, as the late Jim Morrison so aptly said, "People are strange."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 27, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

SCC - did go

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 27, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Scrawny !?! More bigotry the anti-svelte crowd.

I'm donating my ass (along with the rest of my nasty self) to the local medical school.
I'm thinking of installing some humourous tattoos before I croak.

"Hey! Your hands are cold"
"------cut along here------"

After the school's finished with you you're incinerated and can be interred in the spot of your choice or with the other people who donated themselves.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 27, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Tattoo: "If you scrwe this up I'll come back to haunt you!"

screw is misspelled deliberately. ha

Posted by: omni | March 27, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, I did have a Classical grad school roommate who got into Liberal Arts post-studenthood:

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 27, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't know the amounts of money involved but there was a fee involved in the "rental" of the fancy casket used in the showing of the military cousin last summer. The cost of the nice wooden box used as a transport and incineration casket cost was included in the cost of incineration.
I once read on the technicalities of corpse burning. The book was centered on events that happened in a couple of small railroad towns in Poland, ca 1943-45. I almost wretched again and I read that book 30 years ago.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 27, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

How about this for a memorial party?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 27, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

This brief post is NOT from The Onion.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 27, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

BRAVO!!! Mudge, Shiloh, Kguy, Boko, others.

A new word for me today is "cremains" LOL!!!

Kguy, will definitely consider the donating to science, although it's hard to believe there would be anything left they might be interested in, you know?

Posted by: VintageLady | March 27, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Boko, you could also have one of those little talking/singing gizmos they put in greeting cards installed just under the skin of your "-----cut along here-----" tattoo that would giggle and then say "That tickles!" or "Ouch!" or whatever.

I'm an organ donor, too; I just can't fathom who would be desperate enough to want anything I've got, considering the shape I'm in. But hey, when I'm done with it, they can have whatever I've got and more power to 'em. (I'm a firm believer in recycling, but I suspect I'm kinda like some of that old, delapidated furniture that some second-hand shops and thrift stores refuse to take.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Maggie O'D - A more comlpete story here:

Posted by: omni | March 27, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, plan on attending my "going away" party -- bodily, anyway.

I want a wild party of a wake where they prop my casket up in a corner with a cigarette in my mouth and a bottle of Jameson's in my arms. Invite Keith Richards (he'll probably outlive us all). And strippers. Lots of strippers.

The last one out the door can close my casket and call the crematorium for a pickup.

Ash-wise, just sprinkle some of me on my Mom's grave and the rest of me near a good fishing hole.

Posted by: martooni | March 27, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I forgot the one caveat regarding body donation. You can't be an organ donor, except for maybe corneas. Makes sense. You wouldn't want to go into the OR and hear "Uh, doctor, I can't assist on this procedure. My med school study subject didn't have a liver!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 27, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, couldn't we just mix your ashes with a bag of Gnome-O-Mulch and sprinkle you on a flower bed? You'd probably be good for the roses.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, I thought Rumer godden died over a decade ago.

I have read some of her books, owned "The dark horse", and Mooltiki I believe.

She's not that obscure, just that her popularity peaked in an earlier generation. She would be 101 now, according to this site.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Nellie and WIlbrod! I knew she was popular in England and somewhat here. Glad to hear a wave about this.

Perhaps my favorite is
Kingfishers Catch Fire

And the juvenile is The Doll's House, where she skillfully handles a murderous doll, without going all chucky......

Posted by: College Parkian | March 27, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, she did. Die. Then.

Posted by: nellie | March 27, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

For those of you NOT considering cremation please send me a postcard with the address of your future resting place. Be sure to include the plot number.

Posted by: Igor999 | March 27, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't think I wanna be squished into a lipstick tube (as though that were remotely possible!) and shot into earth orbit; I have a fear of heights.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"Pardon me boy, is this the Transylvania station?"

Igor: Dr. Frankenstein...
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: "Fronkensteen."
Igor: You're putting me on.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: No, it's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
Igor: Do you also say "Froaderick"?
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: No..."Frederick."
Igor: Well, why isn't it "Froaderick Fronkensteen"?
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: It isn't; it's "Frederick Fronkensteen."
Igor: I see.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: You must be Igor.
[He pronounces it ee-gor]
Igor: No, it's pronounced "eye-gor."
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: But they told me it was "ee-gor."
Igor: Well, they were wrong then, weren't they?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 27, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse


There. Wolf.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 27, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Adding a few more names of oldies but goodies...

Anya Seaton
Taylor Caldwell
Ngio Marsh
Mary Stewart
Dorothy Sayers

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 27, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

This is the quaintistential blog.

When my mother passed away a few years ago we buried her in the traditional body-in-a-box method. While selecting the casket I could not help but notice that, on the low price end of the scale, one could purchase a triple walled cardboard box for about $1000.

Dad and I didn't go that route but we did have one customization done to a nice inexpensive casket. Mom was crazy about one particular color, Red. So a red casket it was.

Most of the guys wore red ties to the service, even Mom would have thought that red sashes and cummerbunds were a little too much.

They are probably still talking about us at the funeral home.


Posted by: DLD | March 27, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Anya Seton, Ngaio Marsh.

Posted by: Shiloh | March 27, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh, thanks for the NSCC. I was too lazy to look up the correct spellings.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 27, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I was just thinking about Mary Stewart. I have quite a few of her books - Airs Above the Ground, about the Lippazaner stallions is one of my favorites. I suppose The Moonspinners is the best known. Hadn't heard of Rumer Godden, have added her to the list.

I read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged when I was a teenager. Don't remember much about them now, but was not a Rand fan, for sure. The Fountainhead was supposed to be based on Frank Lloyd Wright, wasn't it? He was a very strange guy, but designed some gorgeous buildings.

I have ZAMM, but haven't read it. Used to love Castaneda - he captured the peyote experience well, which was interesting to me back in the day. Not so much now.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 27, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The prototype for Howard Roarke in the "Fountainhead" was an L.A. architect who designed the Lammle Building and whose name escapes me. F.L. Wright, though plenty talented and egotistical, was too short to inspire Rand. It's no accident that Gary Cooper played her hero Roarke in the film version.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 27, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I've read Sayers, Marsh and Stewart ("The Crystal Cave") many years ago. That sounds like a list to which Patricia Highsmith and Antonia Fraser ought to be added.

I always thought Rumer Godden had the greatest name for a writer (and especially one with her interests).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

According to some sources, Maggie, bad spelling was a leading cause of death in the 19th century, as evidenced by Victorian novels that said so-and-so "took a bad spell and died. You should beware of that risk factor - and I was happy to NSCC to keep you among us.

Posted by: Shiloh | March 27, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Richard Neutra designed the Laemmle Building as well as many other famous California buildings.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 27, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the building currently owned by my cardiologist. The main feature seems to be lack of insulation -- it is cold! It was designed for an optometrist or ophthalmologist in 1956 and has a fireplace in the waiting room. Probably to counter the lack of insulation.

Posted by: nellie | March 27, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

nellie - I love FLW's designs, but the man was notoriously unsympathetic to complaints about structural problems in his buildings. In addition to being cold, they often leaked. When responding to a complaint that the rain was dripping onto a customer's desk, FLW is said to have responded, "Tell him to move his desk."

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 27, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I was just thinking of Dorothy Sayers, Maggie. (Adding the rest to my to-read list!) She crossed my mind just yesterday because of the references she made to all sorts of classic literature that I mostly haven't read, but she assumed her readers to have read. My mother is cleaning out her mother's apartment and sent me a box with, among other things, a copy of The Lay of The Last Minstrel (Sir Walter Scott), printed in 1897, owned by my great-grandmother. My only previous knowledge of the book was a comment made by Lord Peter Wimsey in reference to one of his cases. Now that I've got it, I'd better read it!

Posted by: bia | March 27, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... I don't think I'd be very good for the roses, even after cremation. I'm not sure all the chemicals and toxins in my system would be neutralized by the incinerator.

Now if you're looking for leaping long-petaled miniature mutant roses with a taste for Irish spirits, scantily clad gardening nymphs and loud classic rock... that's a different story.

Posted by: martooni | March 27, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I think Wright paid a fair amount of attention to his clients. Mr. Kaufmann of Pittsburgh certainly got a comfortable office (the only one I've ever seen with a plywood ceiling--it's at the V&A in London) and the perfect weekend home on Bear Run.

That said, Wright lived something like three lives and left no end of problems with leaky roofs. Pleasantly, though, the Guggenheim's restoration seems to be going ahead nicely, and the building really does seem to have improved with age. Perhaps Modern Art took a while to catch up to Mr Wright.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 27, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I did heard there are rose water for cooking and rose wine for drinking.

Posted by: daiwanlan | March 27, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The best apocryphal roof leak quote I've heard attributed to FLW is "Of course it leaks. That's how you know it's a roof."

It took my sister took two years to get kicked out of Florida Southern College in Lakeland. All the buildings were designed by FLW or one of his disciples. One distinguishing feature is how low all the walkway ceilings are. I tend to inadvertently crouch when walking down them.

The Fallingwater estate just spent way more than the original cost of the building putting in the rebar that the structural engineer insisted the overhang needed the first time. Architects never listen. I should know.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 27, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

When I go, I definitely want a big party held instead of a mopey funeral. I guess I should start saving now because my huge family loves to go for the good stuff on someone else's dime.

Mary Stewart is one of my favorites, I have almost all of her books. mostlylurking, I re-read Airs Above the Ground every couple of years, but I think my very favorite of all is Nine Coaches, wait, it's Touch Not the Cat.

And Mudge, I loved her original Merlin trilogy, Crystal Cave, Hollow Hills and the Last Enchantment. Her follow-up, The Wicked Day, not so much. My son is currently in the middle of the Hollow Hills and it makes me so happy that he is enjoying it.

I've always thought that perhaps it is a failing in me that I just cannot stomach Ayn Rand. Bleccchhh. Reading the boodle makes me think that maybe I'm not a loser, after all.

Loved the Vermont pics and I think vermonster is a great boodle handle! My family moved to Thurmont, MD many, many years ago from CA. and we took to calling the locals Thurmonsters. Very mean, but we were really homesick.

74 and breezy here, just lovely. Daughter is off to the Outer Banks with a neighborhood family, son is off with friends to Williamsburg for the night. The hubby and I are thinking that perhaps we should go to a movie and then out for a drink ON A THURSDAY! Just the thought of it fairly boggles my mind.

Posted by: Kim | March 27, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I read a several of Walter Scott's novels when I was in junior high, I think, along with Daphne Du Maurier. Good escapist stuff. I've always been a Sayers fan; I so identify with Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey is just so cool.

When I went back to reread Antonia Fraser's Cromwell, I just couldn't get into it, but I loved Faith and Treason. The Gunpowder Plot - the original terrorist act in Western Civilization. She even calls the conspirators terrorists, correctly, I think.

Posted by: slyness | March 27, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The only failing in you, Kim, is a moral sense of taste in literature.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Kim, it is not a failing to dislike Ayn Rand; rather the other way around.

Where in the O.B.? My favorite area is Duck (and Scarborough Fair). We vacationed there for I think seven out of eight years in a row (broke the streak in the middle by going to Martha's Vineyard one year) when the kids were younger and still didn't mind being seen with their parents.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I was having a bad spell of the vapours, Shiloh. Thanks for the quick save!

Loving Frank, which I recently read,is a fictional account of the affair between Frank LL. Wright and one of his clients and their subsequent life together. Very nicely written, and the end is quite a surprise, and the truth, as well.

I read all the books listed in the last several days, but so long ago, that only snippets remain in my mind. Ayn Rand and all her tripe made me gag, but I was in love with a Univ. of Notre Dame architectural student who wanted to be Howard Ruorck or whatever his name is, so I endured her.

I loved Zen and the Art. For the first time, I understood how someone could actually patiently do something that they couldn't stand doing without screaming in frustration and rage. I try to practice that every time I have to do something mechanical or technical.

As for all those other writers, I became the main character in the book. I lived them.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 27, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, that's the whole point of reading, isn't it?

Posted by: slyness | March 27, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I went through a major Arthurian kick when I was in my early 20s. Started with "A Once and Future King," then had Malory's "L'Morte d'Arthur," then had to read Thomas Berger's (excellent) "Arthur Rex: A Legendary Novel," then "Crystal Cave" and Tennyson's Idylls of the King." That pretty much wiped me out on Arthur until 1985, when Geoffrey Ashe published his non-fiction book "The Discovery of King Arthur," postulating that Arthur was an early Roman named Riothamus and that Cadbury Castle is the site of Camelot (rather than Caerleon).

If you like mysteries, a Brit named Anthony Price (one of my all-time favs, though little known here; don't know why) wrote a spy/thriller set in modern times but with an Arthurian geology background (the search for the site of the Battle of Badon Hill), titled whimsically, "Our Man in Camelot."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, was that the Milk Cadbury Castle or the Dark?


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 27, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Just quickly raising my consciousness to take in some fresh air before ducking down into the depths again.

I haven't been back-boodling lately, so I don't know if anyone picked up on the latest George Will pronouncements -- that liberals are not as charitable as conservatives. Crickey! What's that guy smoking?

BTW, I'm meeting women who, if Hillary isn't nominated, will vote for McCain, mainly because of his extraordinary foreign policy experience. Yeah, right. . . He doesn't seem to know the difference between Sunnis and Shi'ites (he's apparently made that same mistake more than once) (maybe they're just a bunch of "Sushis") -- ya can't tell from their equipment, since all Moslem men are circum s i z e d, so that won't help him out.

Could just scream.

Instead, I'll work.


Posted by: firsttimeblogger | March 27, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Arnold Lobel once said a book is both a lens and a mirror.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 27, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, it was Milk Cadbury until Mordred and Morgan le Fey arrived, and then it was Dark.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Those women are balanced out by all the guys that support Obama but can't stand Hillary. And the number of Republicans that will move to Australia is nearly balanced by the liberals that threaten to move to Canada. I'm not sure what my point is, but there may be one.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 27, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - the little girl is going to be in Sanderling, a lovely little community a little north of Duck. I didn't break it to her that it's going to be chillier there than here for the next 2 days. She's young, she can handle it. Scarborough Fair will definitely be on her agenda for ice cream.

I haven't really read any other Arthurian legend books except The Mists of Avalon...loved that book, I didn't like the movie at all.

I've got to look into Rumer Godden, sounds intriguing and will have to look into Anthony Price as well, I love a good mystery.

Thanks, Wilbrod!

Posted by: Kim | March 27, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

That Australia will become the "land of criminals" again?

Posted by: DNA Girl | March 27, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The youthful Helen Mirren played Morgana in John Boorman's "Excaliber" and nobody who looks that good without clothes can be all bad, can they?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 27, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Republicans to Australia? Wouldn't the cities and gun control be off-putting? Could they take up swordsmanship?

I think the British started sending convicts to Australia because British North America was sadly diminished.

As for liberals in Canada, I checked out the immigration requirements and figured I'd have to learn a lot of French.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 27, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

DNA Girl - nice!

ooh, k-guy, I think yellojkt will second that opinion! I remember a certain livebythefoma post on her...

Did you see her Oscar dress this year? Stunning!

Posted by: Kim | March 27, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

The idea that people are enjoying themselves at my funeral would just about kill me. I definitely am opting for a more traditional send off.
Whattza good keener run now-a-days?

Posted by: Boko999 | March 27, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

K-Guy, Kim, and Yello too.

Thank you, thank you very much.

Boko, I plan to hire mourners for my funeral too.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 27, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing happened to me when I first came across "L'Morte d'Arthur". I was a bartender at the time, dating an English Lit post-grad shooting for her Masters. I should note that her and her family hold dual British/American citizenship.

Anyway, she brings home this giant tome by Malory (the Middle English version) which she has to translate to modern English, and is frustrated to no end. I offered to give it a try, eliciting snickers and a raised eyebrow because, as everyone knows, you need a degree to be smart.

So I picked it up and just started reading it -- out loud, with an English accent -- which really ticked her off. After each sentence, I'd offer her a "modern" translation -- very slowly -- which really really really ticked her off. After explaining the secret to her -- that you read it *phonetically* -- she shut her trap and grabbed the book back.

Sure, there were a few obscure words in there that I had to look up, but it was otherwise a fun read.

It was also nice to be able to rub an "academic's" nose in it for a change.

Needless to say, we didn't date much longer after that. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | March 27, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

btw... I've just located my personal copy of that same Middle English translation and plan to dig into that tonight. I almost forgot I had the darn thing -- thanks for the reminder, Mudge.

Posted by: martooni | March 27, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

BTW, it is official: we're sacking Comcast and going to Verizon; they promise me I'll have Internet by Monday night.

Kim, if a certain E.L. isn't on tonight's episode of "Lost," I shall be very perturbed. Very.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 27, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'll say Idylls of the King and of course "The Once and future King" by White are worth reading. I also read some straightforward Arthurian legends.
I had already grown up on Susan Cooper who has an very Arthurian context to her fanasty novels.

Also read folklore and fairy tales by around age 12-13, as well as "A connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court".

I regret to say I found one edition I had of Mort D'Arthur tough going; you have to pick the modernization and edition very carefully; the Caxton edition wasn't very good.

This one is pretty good-- it even has a glossary if you care to do a word-find.

Vol I.

Vol II.

Obscure words of the day:

Glasting, glatisant= barking, yelping. Questing is also glossed as "barking".

Well, a dog can search a trail (quest) and his bay is called questing. The word is straight from the latin quaerere, meaning to "seek, hunt" though.

I can't find any other information on "glasting".

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - I hate to break it to you, but I think Lost is a rerun tonight. I think it's the first episode of this season re-playing. On the bright side, I think E.L. plays a big role in that episode.

Posted by: Kim | March 27, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Nice photos Joel... you must have a good camera... those little point and shoot cameras just can't manage the quick drive by shot... you press the button and two minutes later it takes the photo... so irritating!

Posted by: Miss Toronto | March 27, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

LOL, Martooni. Dem snooty Brits need to understand that we 'Muricans are used to reading Mark Twain, Uncle Remus, and other creative phonetic spellers.

'Sidze, oui awlso modurnized or spelleen' for beta fonetiks.

I helped an English major with the History of the English Language which she called (HEL)l.

It was easy because I had already read "Our Marvelous Native Tongue: The Life and Times of the English Language" by Robert Claibourne.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I should read the whole boodle, but Martooni, glue the pieces together into a sculpture of a funny animal, or amusing face, abstract as you feel like. Attach to a small pedestal. Preferably, visit the sandblast shop (or the people locally who make those sandblasted wood signs) and tell 'em to "reveal the grain." Take home, coat with polyurethane. Drop sculpture off sitting pretty on a local nature trail. Problem solved.

Posted by: Jumper | March 27, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Jumper has a good idea. Or you could use it with/for paper mache'. I bet some of those bits would make good fairy chairs and such.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Here's another perspective on Obama's minister.,0,2414760.story

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 27, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

DotC, way cool. Looks like a great way and great place to learn. (I love the arrow. That's the kind of pic I allow to be taken of me.)

Posted by: LostInThought | March 27, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Aww. It's so cute!
World's First Movie Of Black Hole Birth

Posted by: Boko999 | March 27, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, thanks for that link, it's always good to get another perspective on these matters.

Posted by: slyness | March 27, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh Yeah, I almost forgot.
I saw a robin! Right outside my house, giving Buddy and me one of those cheeky robin stares.
O Joy!

Posted by: Boko999 | March 27, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

The drop-down ball ad from, obviously, Microsoft is very annoying. It reminds me of what I call the "kamikaze commercial" some TV stations are duped into airing: this commercial is so revolting, although certainly memorable, that it makes one change channels and literally fear to turn back to that channel. It's "kamikaze" because it's suicide for the channel: the viewers go elsewhere. If the advertiser's goal is to simply be remembered, on the theory that all publicity is good, it succeeds. It cripples the other advertisers for that network, because I have changed to the old movie channel, and won't be watching the other network tonight.

Posted by: Jumper | March 27, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Hi all... it was a day spent putting out fires and boy are my arms tired. And as soon as I got home from work we took off for the post office where 3/4 of the G family applied for passports!

Yes! It looks like a Calgary BPH will be possible for me. And once the passport actually arrives (people are saying it's only a two-week wait these days) it'll feel great to know I can pick up and leave the country any time I feel like it. And have enough money. And someplace to actually go.

Posted by: TBG | March 27, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, it sounds like a great send off. A lot of fun, but at the heart I suspect sadness.

boko, you are too funny for words.

I cleaned the kitchen, so that leaves one more room. And it's the hardest. So much junk, one cannot walk through.

It was a pretty day. The g-girl and I threw the ball around a little bit. I couldn't keep up, but it was fun trying.

I am tired. Going to turn in early. Have a good evening,folks. Mudge, I'm glad you're getting your connection. Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 27, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Good news TBG.

dbG, Thank you I had a good day - nothing like leaving a job to stroke your ego, people say nice things and you are around anymore to find out if they really mean it.

For the next few days at least I am a woman of leisure - time to investigate how far those airmiles will get me :-)

Posted by: dmd | March 27, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Sounds awesome, TBG. I need to get my passport replaced before next year.

Don't forget our neck of woods; we may be American, but we sure have a lot of the sme shrubbery you get on the other side.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

...but can she do a Rubik's cube?

For fun, I once took Wilbrodog through a chain puzzle (with 2 horseshoes) step by step, it was certainly interesting to think and break the steps down for a dog to do correctly.

Dogs don't have the same kind of stationary 3-D spatial reasoning humans do though, as anybody who's ever had to free a dog from a pole knows.

Most dogs in fact often delibrately wrap the leash around a pole so they can stay and sniff longer, but it's also true that they seem to have a very short-term memory for how they GOT anywhere and are not too good at reversing or varying their direction paths.

I often think the difference may be in our monkey and ape heritage (may the FSM not send down noodley wrath for that blasemphy).

Monkeys literally travel mazes of branches of varying thicknesses, which can break or have sudden obstacles at any time, forcing monkeys to backtrack until they can find safer routes.

Birds have similar (but often more complex) 3-D spatial reasoning challenges, especially those who live in forests, and/or build nests.

Dogs just don't need that particular kind of spatial memory and reasoning. They probably have strengths in directions we simply haven't analyzed yet.

That said, my old dog was able to operate doorknobs and open gates, and dogs are always capable of monitoring all exit routes, so dogs aren't completely incapable of spatial puzzle-solving.
They're just not born to think like knitters, or nest-builders.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

You can leave the country for Canada without a passport anytime you want TBG, it's the coming back to the US that could be problematic.
Plenty of robins here boko, the sad part it's because a local developer is doing 'site development', i.e. pulling every tree out of the ground with giant mechanical pliers, for a new subdivision that will be built in the back of the lots on the other side of the street. The robins are attracted by all this raw dirt, as opposed to the snow that is covering every thing else. It's more than a little sad really, I don't think we'll see deers anymore on our lot after that new street is done.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 27, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Same.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

You know, the more I look at those pics the more envious I get. I mean, a cross-country road trip with a college-bound offspring. Sounds like a blast. The best of both worlds.

But I hope they remember to turn around soon.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 27, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Mount Allison and Acadia are fine unis for undergrads RDPadouk, no need to turn around.
Cod U., (Memorial University), I would be worried.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 27, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Catching up with the boodle as usual. Great shots of Vermont Ms. Achenbach. Daughter #1 went to St. Mike's in Winooski and I drove the 5 hours up there more times than I can remember. The first few trips involved a lot of oohs and aahs for the scenery. After that, not so much. "S" and I vacationed around Rutland one summer and enjoyed the small town feel of the state. If Vermont had a seacoast, I'd love it even more.

i decided a long time ago that I wanted to be cremated. A few years ago, when I had my hip replaced, the subject came up with daughter #2, who has a very odd sense of humor. We were speculating on the fate of my titanium replacement parts in the fire. Assuming they would survive, I suggested to her that the ball and stem might be used in a nice swiveling desk lamp. She could think of me every time she sat down to pay bills or write to someone. Or I could just light up her life now and then. I also want a party and have mentally begun a list of songs to be played. So far there haven't been a lot of riotous tales to tell, but I do hope to rectify that before my time is up. I know that, being part Irish, there is nothing more comforting after a funeral than sitting around reminiscing about the deceased and sharing the therapeutic benefits of laughter.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | March 27, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

SCC Cod College (not U)

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 27, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Something I have never understood is the family of a deceased person buying one of the really expensive caskets. Why?

When my mother died and we went to pick out her casket, the funeral home had a solid mahogany casket for sale. For $17,500. No joke, that was the price. It was in a room separate from all the hoi polloi caskets. We didn't get the cardboard box, but we sure didn't spend THAT kind of money.

Posted by: slyness | March 27, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

If I see the robin tomorrow I'll send her your way SD. The only snow free ground here is along the road and that must be pretty slim pickings for the little darling.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 27, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

well slyness, the 1000$ carboard 'last resting placee' box sells for nearly 50 times its value in the regular packaging world, so a $17500 casket maybe a steal.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 27, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, I'll take your word for it. I suppose my ultimate feeling is that a corpse might as well go back to dust, why should we interfere with the process? And waste money on the attempt? But that's just me!

Posted by: slyness | March 27, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I think a lot of the overspending on caskets and funerals in general could be stopped if more people planned and paid for their funerals while they were still healthy. When my mom was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's, we went to the local funeral home and chose what she wanted for her funeral, including the casket. When she died, I had very few major details to attend to, which was a relief. Contrast this with my dad's sudden death and the anguish we felt while trying to pick out a casket. I am definitely going to get all the details out of the way so my family doesn't have to go through all that.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | March 27, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

slyness, I believe I've told the story here of picking out my mom's casket. They ranged from $250 to $50,000. My sister asked to see the $250 one. It was felt-flocked cardboard.

We opted for the next-highest priced one at around $1300 (that's a big jump), but it was a lot better looking than the $50,000 one, we thought.

I say cremate me. But I agree with whoever it was here who said they don't want folks happy at their funeral. Same here... lots of tears, please.

Posted by: TBG | March 27, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

It is snowing here again, please make it stop!

The last few days my first reactions to Joel's pictures have not been how nice the buildings look, but I am fixtated on seeing green grass, signs of spring. Realizing Vermont appears to have less snow than here is completely depressing me. We don't even have decent ski hills here.

Posted by: dmd | March 27, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- I could like red flocked felt in a baroque pattern....sign me up for that.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 27, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

But... you could have scantily clad muscular men dance at your funeral, TBG.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Scored some rhubarb pie at the Blue Bear Cafe in Moose Lake (I am not making that up) on my way home from St. Paul this evening, so now I am fully prepared to talk funerals.

Mine will be on the third Saturday in August, I just don't know the year yet. I'll be cremated and stored, in a closet no doubt, until that Saturday when all the extended Frostclan descends on our fair city for "cousins weekend." One of the frostkids will fetch the posthole digger out of the garage and find a spot near my grandparents to drop the Noritake blue onion vase I bought in Okinawa when I was 13, now full of my ashes, into the hole. The fam will walk over to the town hall to eat spring rolls and bulgogi, stinky cheese and crusty bread, and finish with beer and rhubarb pie.

If he doesn't predecease me a cousin's husband will play taps, then they'll blast Aaron Copeland's Fanfare for the Common Man from a boom box and they'll finish up with this

And that will be that.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 27, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

The spouse and I were just discussing why remote-sensing of the Earth is typically done in departments of geography, and a thought occurred to me: between satellite remote-sensing and the effects of global climate change, geography is becoming a fast-paced and rapidly-changing field.

This is what the spouse and I discuss in the evening. Don't you have similar spousal discussions?

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 27, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

TBG-thanks for the heads up on the Finnish Bistro. I have not been there, nor done anything more in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood than drive through. It's near the U of Mn so a lively place for sure.

Rumer Godden-read Greengage Summer when I was very young (12ish) and stuck at home with no transportation to the library and no desire to reread Catton's Lincoln trilogy. I enjoyed it, and think that I would still since I didn't read Peacock Spring until I was 40 and liked it very much. (The British television adaptation was very good too.)

Posted by: frostbitten | March 27, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

SciTim... you don't really want to know what we discuss do you? Stuff as weird as that. Just like that.

But your subject is funny to me, too, because the first time someone told me they were majoring in Geography, I thought, "Yeah.. couldn't major in Language Arts or Recess?" It just sounds like an elementary school subject... but you are right.. it's way more than that.

Posted by: TBG | March 27, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Frosti... glad I could help! We'd like a restaurant review when you do visit, please.

Posted by: TBG | March 27, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Catching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart tonight; some good lines there. Night, all.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 27, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim, my son went to the state geography bee in 8th grade. I was so proud of him. But he was always embarassed by it. Geography is cool I would have a gift. Not cool he would say.

He is still a human GPS and friends continue to call from all over the country for instant directions to anywhere.

Posted by: eidrib | March 27, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Y'know, I wrote about having a proper Viking funeral for myself in the Boodle a few years ago; letting everyone shoot flaming arrows to ignite my floating pyre as it floated away, then having a great party where folks who knew and loved me spoke about what a #$%& I really was and laughed long and hard about the many many dumb things I did.

It occurred to me that if this is too much trouble, just toss my body to the forest bears and let them eat me.

Not too long after that, whatever remains of me (ahem) will have the final resting places in the woods, in the manner that I so richly deserve.


Posted by: bc | March 28, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

How about a compromise? Strap your body to an arctic cat, Viking-funeral style, fire up that baby and let it roar off into the woods with one of your drunk friends on board to steer?

Wait, that sounds like "Weekend at Bernie's" Number 3 right there.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 28, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

How about a compromise? Strap your body to an arctic cat, Viking-funeral style, fire up that baby and let it roar off into the woods with one of your drunk friends on board to steer?

Wait, that sounds like "Weekend at Bernie's" Number 3 right there.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 28, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

You can compromise between those two visions, bc.
You could command them to strap your body to an arctic cat, Viking-funeral style, and let it roar off into the woods with one of your intoxicated-with-grief friends on board to steer?

Wait, that sounds like a story pitch for "Weekend at Bernie's 3".

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 28, 2008 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Very nice pictures, Miss Achenbach. My pictures taken in a moving vehicle never turn out nice even though my camera does take nice pictures from afar. It's definitely the cameraman's fault. My camera is a Yashica bought in 1983. It still works well. Even though my niece said I embarrass her with my ancient contraption, I'm reluctant to change to a sleek modern one which is just half the size of my old camera.

My sister had an artificial heart valve. Not sure what material it was made of, but it survived the cremation. We took it home, put it in a little cup and placed it beside her picture. Her ashes are in an urn in the crematorium together with my parents. Over here, almost everybody leaves the urn in the crematorium, or a Chinese temple that has the facility if the deceased is a Chinese.

There is not much land left for new cemeteries or old cemetery expansions so whether I like it or not, I'll be cremated. Having a merry party at my wake would seem to me like they are happy that I'm gone. I prefer a little sadness to show that I'm being missed.

Posted by: rainforest | March 28, 2008 2:55 AM | Report abuse

I've never been to a merry funeral. What does happen is that more stories about the dead person gets shared and there is some laughter with the tears.

I had a friend who admitted that during her mother's funeral something they said made them think of how their mother would react (a funny story) and they had to smother their laughter-- their mom had a sense of humor but not that much of a sense of humor. They certainly were considerably sad but telling the stories, funny and otherwise, does help.

I don't mind people laughing at my funeral as long as they're really missing me at the same time. If they showed up to dance on my grave or mock my remains, well, not so cool, of course.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 28, 2008 3:52 AM | Report abuse

'morning all
This 4 days work week is coming to an end, finlly. Sunny and +6C next Sunday, we'll catch up on Vermont a lttle bit.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 28, 2008 7:01 AM | Report abuse

*quick-pre-BackBoodling-and-preparing-for-Cherry-Blossom-Festival-visitors Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 28, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Now when I die, Now don't think I'm a nut. Don't want no fancy funeral, Just one like old King Tut's.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 28, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Steve Martin - the man who made philosophy funny again..

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 28, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Gee whiz, where is everybody?

Goood morning, Boodle!

Posted by: slyness | March 28, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm over HERE now...


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 28, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. Quaint quiescence in boodleland.

Posted by: daiwanlan | March 28, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Hay there Kim. I also really liked 'The Mists of Avalon'.

Here's a T-Shirt for ya:

Posted by: omni | March 28, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

My grandmother's funeral was a pretty cheerful occasion--because the family rarely gathers together and we were glad to see each other after many years apart. It was a revelation to me about that whole "blood is thicker than water" phenomenon, which I don't generally experience because I don't have much contact with extended family. One surprise was the close resemblance of the second cousins. The first cousins really don't look like each other, but their kids do--eerie.

We all loved my grandma very much but she was in her nineties and had been in a nursing home, essentially just waiting to die, for a number of years. That made her death less tragic than it might have been. I did cry at the funeral, but I smiled and laughed more, and we celebrated her life. She had a strong belief in an afterlife, and we honored that as well--you can't be too sad if you really believe that your loved one is in heaven, can you?

Posted by: kbertocci | March 28, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm up here. Hi.

As they used to say in ancient Egypt, "It's good to be Pharoh."

Posted by: Boko999 | March 28, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Morning boodle!

Here's why the quest for a one armed economist might not be worth the effort. Their inconclusive conclusions are all based on faulty math (or maths for you Canadians).

Robert Nadeau in Science, writing of the 19th century economists who form the basis for much of what is done today-

"The strategy the economists used was as simple as it was absurd--they substituted economic variables for physical ones. Utility (a measure of economic well-being) took the place of energy; the sum of utility and expenditure replaced potential and kinetic energy. A number of well-known mathematicians and physicists told the economists that there was absolutely no basis for making these substitutions. But the economists ignored such criticisms and proceeded to claim that they had transformed their field of study into a rigorously mathematical scientific discipline."

Read all of The Economist Has No Clothes here:

Posted by: frostbitten | March 28, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

As in Calgary north of the border BPH? Oh my that sounds wonderful.

Paris, wonderful photos.

Posted by: dr | March 28, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Cassandra, you are as usual more perceptive than you know.

You were right, Kim: "Lost" was a re-run, and yes, E.L. was in it. Next new episode is April 28th, I think they said.

I know Sanderling well; always thought I'd like to stay there. I've had dinner right across the street at the restaurant overlooking the bay. It was mediocre, but the view was good. In addition to Scarborough Fair, the other cool shopping place is Timbuktu II right up the road from Sanderling.

In the evenings my wife talks about real estate. I shall not comment further.

Eugene Robinson has a good column this morning, but I absolutely hate the WaPo headline. Right above it is a reefer for the "Stumped" column, which says "It's Limbaugh's Right to Help Hillary." And right below it is the reefer/link to Robinson's column, which plays off of the Stumped hed and says: "And She'll Take His Help." The thing is Robinson's column makes no reference whatsoever to Limbaugh, doesn't discuss the same thing as the Stumped column, and so on. But that hed would make you think it did. Verrrrry misleading, and in my view, deceptive and wrong. I hate it when they try too hard to be clever like that.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 28, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

The extended version:

Brother, Can You Spare Me a Planet?

Posted by: frostbitten | March 28, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Just a brief *wave* to the boodle. Got to get some stuff out the door before I bail this afternoon. We hope to get down to the blossoms early Sunday morning before the thudering herds come through.

Posted by: ebtnut | March 28, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Kbert, that is true about family and friends being in Heaven, that is, not being sad. I think also that just maybe we can't be too sad if family or friends suffered a lot as in sickness or whatever. We don't want them to suffer anymore, yet we're very sad that they have to go in order not to do that. That was the case for me with my mom.

A whole different can of worms with my son because that was sudden. We thought he was making good progress, but that was not the case. I believe my son's death to be lack of good medical care. By not receiving blood thinning medications, his was a death waiting to happen. And so it was, a massive blood clot that took his life.

Too sad this morning. I have not seriously thought about my death, and I should do this. It's just something I've put off, and I shouldn't do that.

The weather here is still great. Sun shinning and oh, so, nice. We're going to finish the work today, but going outside for awhile first.

Hope the weather is good where you are, and have a great day.

Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, where are you? Morning, everyone *waving*

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

Posted by: cassandra s | March 28, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Morning all.

Made me laugh, omni- I don't think I'll go for the Marian Zimmer Bradley shirt, but I see that I can customize it...lots of possibilities there.

Mudge, if you go back to the Outer Banks, the best restaurant is a little place down the street from Scarborough Fair. It's called the Roadhouse. It's a little place on the oceanside, but one of the best restaurants I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. Their warm bacon scallop salad...mmmm-mmmm. Their house wine is an Australian one, mmmm-mmmm again! Ok, enough boodle hogging. Carry on.

I am trying to avoid Krauthammer's piece, I don't want to get cranky. The Democrats are distorting what McCain said....AS IF!!

Posted by: Kim | March 28, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Ah, the coming of spring. It also means that the ski slopes shut down, which they all have near our mountain place, except one. Mr. T and I drove to the top of the mountain last Saturday to watch the skiers come off the chair lift in their shirtsleeves. And look at the mogul they have created in the middle of the slope:

I suppose the owners are trying to get all they can out of the season!

Posted by: slyness | March 28, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

New kit! (I've always wanted to type that!)

Posted by: Kim | March 28, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I've eaten there, Kim. You're right; it is good.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 28, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for that link Frostbitten.
The article contains one of the most dangerous ideas I ran across when I studied economics:
"The external resources of nature are largely inexhaustible, and those that are not can be replaced by other resources or by technologies that minimize the use of the exhaustible resources or that rely on other resources."

Now, for stupid statements nothing beats the one economics students are greeted with the first day.
"People will always act in their best economic self-interest."
Even if they haven't taken the course? Or they're in the grip of a religious mania, they're stupid or an economist?

Economists are schooled, not educated.

Posted by: Boko999 | March 28, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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