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Will Turn Phrase For Food

Somehow, in my career-long quest to become rich and famous, I wound up in a series of cascading digressions and reversals, the result of which is that I write stuff no one reads and I don't own a Maybach. I don't even know what a Maybach is, exactly, other than that it's a car, a fancy one, so snazzy that the ownership of it would signal to the world my extreme financial engorgement.

It's impolite to talk about money. But I need more of it. Money, money, money, money: I want more money.

Everything costs so much now, particularly the essentials: Gasoline, electricity, groceries, Bordeaux.

For years it bothered me that, every time I turned around, I was handing someone $20. You couldn't do a thing for less than $20. But those turn out to be the golden days of our halcyon youth: Now, everything costs $500. For what it costs now to send a kid to "water park camp," or somesuch societally mandated, can't-be-refused juvenile perk of upper-middle-class life, you could once buy a Toyota Corona. Now, in glitzy modern America, the Corona doesn't even exist -- too cheap!

You can't eat out anymore in DC, unless you order chicken. Thank God there's always a chicken entree! Fish is absolutely out of the question. If you're celebrating something huge, like your wedding anniversary or winning the lottery, you can gird your loins and order an actual steak, but only if you skip on the $6 side order of a baked potato. That hunk of meat looks lonely on the plate, but you can tell yourself that the skipped tater will leave you enough money to buy a sandwich the next day.

It's best to avoid restaurants altogether, and spare yourself the humiliation. One of the worst moments is when the waitress asks if you want to start out with an appetizer, and you say no, because over time you've become the kind of person who can't afford appetizers. It's a clear line in the sand, or, more precisely, a socioeconomic stratum, clearly delineated right there on the menu.

It's gotten so bad that when I walk into a restaurant and see white tablecloths, I think, "Uh-oh."

The only person in my family with money is my Rich Middle Daughter, the babysitting machine and shopping maven. I used to disapprove of how she threw around money. Now I'm just envious. I'm going to have to borrow money from her so that I can pay for her older sister's tuition.

The new iPhone is coming out, and it's supposedly much more affordable than the old iPhone. But it's still 200 clams, plus a sign-up with AT&T for two years, which I'm guessing is no bargain. For now, I'm sticking with my dumb phone.

As an artist and big-think person, I am not a prisoner of the material culture, other than having a lifelong fascination with furniture I can't afford. As a kid, I'd ride my bike to Maas Brothers, the swank department store that anchored the mall. The furniture was splendid. Anything with dark wood, capable of holding a shine -- wood that you could polish with the stuff they advertised on TV -- was particularly entrancing. I so badly wanted a coffee table, though my ultimate dream was to own a night table. We weren't the kind of people who owned night tables, mind you. In fact a lot of our furniture could be described as boards propped up on concrete blocks. But someday, if we worked hard, and saved our money, maybe we could buy a nice shiny night table to go next to a bed and be night-table-owning kind of people.

Naturally we never bought a thing at Maas Brothers, but we did save our green stamps so that we could order things out of the S&H Green Stamp catalog. The problem was, obtaining even the cheapest, flimsiest piece of furniture from the catalog required something on the order of 1 billion green stamps. After years of saving the stamps, we finally had enough booklets to get something, and went down to the S&H store and picked out a small toaster oven. Not exactly a night table, but definitely a nifty little piece of technology.

It's important to accept one's place in life. To adapt to one's financial reality. My own plan is to acknowledge that fate has chosen for me a path of decline and shabbiness.

But to hedge my bets I'll try to make a little more money on the side. Here's the headline: I'm available for babysitting.


From bc and Mudge of the Boodle, here's The Baja Fluffitado Saga part one, and part two.


Check out "News you might have missed."

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 10, 2008; 9:54 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Memo to New Boss
Next: A Planet of Corn


Here is another option Joel; housesitting. Stop by once a day to feed the cat, no diapers or crying toddler to deal with. Witch. no 1 is making more money house stting than working minimum wages at the mini-putt.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 10, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

If I take the time to read the entire kit, and then post without going back to retrieve the boodle, and end up being first (I doubt it), does this make me a bad person?

I'm seriously thinking of going back to simple bookkeeping to increase my income. I really really don't want to, but the bucks are ok, and if I can set my hours a bit on my own, I probably will. Not looking forward to it at all.

The other thing I have thought about is becoming a respite baby sitter for families with an adult who cannot be left alone. I fear there is going to be a growing need for this service. I'd hate to do it for the same person on a full time basis in the same way I would hate to babysit kids for working moms, but getting a few clients on an occasional basis sounds ok.

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

To this day I am comfortable with a book shelf made out of simple pine planks and cinderblocks (staple of all our collective college years). When we recently discussed a small book shelf for the vacation house, I thoughtlessly blurted out the suggestion of cinderblocks and painted planks, and my wife looked at me with a look that would have withered nitric acid. (I of course immediately fell back on Plan B, which was to adopt a sickly smile, like it was a joke, but -- being a woman -- She Knew. They always know.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

When I was a child, furniture for my siblings and I to sit on was called 'the floor.'

The drinking glasses we used had the Esso Tiger on them.

We weren't allowed to touch the thermostat. Ever.

A meal in a restaurant was once a year at Hot Shoppes, because one of us made First Communion. It didn't even occur to us to consider ordering for ourselves.

On the rare occassion I take Dear Child out to dinner, she gets an appetizer and we call it her dinner, because I generally won't let her order off the kids menu...I'm not paying $4.50 for an envelope's-worth of Easy Mac.

Posted by: LostInThought | July 10, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It sounds so much better when it's a "plank" instead of just a "board", don't you think, Mudge? A plank is manly. It's a board with a purpose. Once, I built bookshelves with boards and cinderblocks. I stacked things on boards and cinderblocks. But, now I am a man, and I have put away boardly things so as to build with planks. Man, I feel manly. Drops of testosterone, right now, are falling upon my desk.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 10, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Monsieur Achenbach,

This Kit put me in familiar territory. If you think money is everything, you are wrong. Money has depreciated so much, it has become nothing. If you still have that S&H toaster you can stick money into it and burn it.

We have laundered money, so what's wrong with toasted money?

Of course, I just use a generic WE, as apparently neither one of us is included in the ownership of laundered, toasted or dirty money. And even such brilliant money owners as Mudge and BC lost their money in Baja. Oh, and their minds, too.

There should be a warning sign by the link to their Fluffitado.

Those buying Achenbach's George Washington and alien books, include Kingmaker by me into your list. You own too much money.

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 10, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Excellent observation, SciTim; planks are clearly much better than mere "boards." Also, "plank" has a built-in nautical flavor, as in "walk the," as well as the fact that boats are built with planking, not boarding. So one acquires the additional chachet of craftsmanship when using planks instead of boards. (One speaks of a "planked hull," "deck planking," a "cross-planked" manner of layering, etc.)

Also, planks keep their shape, whereas boards (suspended between cinderblocks, with heavy books upon them) tend to sag in the middle, requiring further propage.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, you had cinderblocks in college? I used to dream of ciderblocks...

Seriously! In college, I just piled my books on the floor. After I graduated, married and got an apartment, THEN we had cinderblocks. Our living room couch was cinderblocks + a door + a mattress + an exotic "throw" - 100% cotton, printed in India... we were proud of that couch.

I'm aware that many people grow out of that phase of their lives, which they then look back on fondly*. But, possibly because I lived in Key West and married an artist, (but probably those things are effects rather than causes) I have always pitied people who felt they needed to spend a lot of money on furniture. The last two bookshelves that were added to my house were cast off from my across the street neighbor. We generally get our furniture from yard sales, or even better, the day-after-the-sale garbage pile.

*Neil Sedaka, "The Hungry Years"

Girl we made it to the top
We went so high we couldn't stop
We climbed the ladder leading us nowhere
Two of us together,
building castles in the air

We spun so fast we couldn't tell
The gold ring from the carousel
How could we know the ride would turn out bad
Everything we wanted,
was everything we had

I miss the hungry years,
The once upon a time
The lovely long ago,
We didn't have a dime
Those days of me and you,
We lost along the way

How could I be so blind,
Not to see the door
Closing on the world
I now hunger for
Looking through my tears,
I miss the hungry years

We shared our daydreams one by one
Making plans was so much fun
We set our goals and reached the highest star
Things that we were after
were much better from afar

Here we stand just me and you
With everything and nothing too
It wasn't worth the price we had to pay
Honey, take me home,
let's go back to yesterday

I miss the hungry years,
The once upon a time
The lovely long ago
We didn't have a dime
Those days of me and you
We lost along the way

How could I be so blind,
Not to see the door
Closing on the world
I now hunger for
Looking through my tears
I miss the hungry years

Posted by: kbertocci | July 10, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the links to the Baja Fluffitado Saga, Joel!

Maybach is an Uber Mercedes - hand built and with better than the best of everything, though you have to supply your own driver. It's more or less a German competitor to Bentley and Rolls Royce.

At one point recently spurred by a product lead cycle dating back to the pre-9/11 dor com boon, even Volkswagen dipped a toe into the Luxury Market for the Very Rich with a product called Phaeton. It's no longer sold here, and VW's back marketing People's Cars, as they should be.

On the other hand, Maybachs are relatively cheap compared to some Maseratis, Ferraris, and Bugattis. And the McLaren F1, of course.

Having said that, I'm too cheap for cinder blocks. I simply stack books, newspapers and periodicals and if I need working space, I'll lay particle board shelves from collapsed bookshelves across stacks. Industrial steel shelving would be a luxury.

And yes, I'm available for oil and brake changes at very reasonable rates.

I remember my grandmother's binders full of S & H Green Stamps, which she used to adhere in there by sprinking water on them with an old glass clear glass Pepsi 16 oz. bottle (with the round red, white and blue logo). The bottle was topped with one of those sprinkler-head stoppers that folks used for ironing back in the day (why am I smelling starch all of a sudden?).


Posted by: bc | July 10, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

People buy furniture? Really?

Just about everything I own came from my parents or grandparents or in-laws. I have a house full of furniture, and can count on one hand the pieces I've paid money for.

No wonder the economy is in such bad shape!

Posted by: slyness | July 10, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

SCC: cachet. Which, if the French weren't so snotty, would be spelled cashay in a better world than this one.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Planks! You had planks? My lord, I could only dream of planks! We children, we had to lie across a row of books and let our old Dad stack the books across us, layer by layer. Oldest on the bottom, youngest on top. By the time I reached high school, I had permanent binding indentations across my whole body. I didn't have six-pack abs (we couldn't afford more than a few loose bottles, anyway), no, I had folio abs. Sometimes, if a brother or sister higher up the stack had a cold and had to stay a'bed, I might never get to school on account of my layer of books couldn't be removed for the day. And if they made sick? Oh, that was the worst.

Not that I ever learned to read, myself, anyways. No, Dad sent us to the library each day to memorize a new page of a book, letter by letter, no reading for us. Photographic memories we had, me and my big brother Xerox, me little sister Ricoh, and all the rest. Memorize them pages, then come home and copy 'em onto pressed bark (what the Hawaiians call "kapa" so I hear tell. Saw Hawaii in an atlas once, I did). Always wondered what all them letters said, but Dad would never tell us. Gosh, I miss that old villain. What a reader he was.

Good times. Good times.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | July 10, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

My fist bookshelves certainly came as hand-me-downs from somewhere. I actually still have one of them from my childhood--it now resides in the laudry room holding Tide and Bounce boxes. When I finally had to break down and get serious shelves, straight to Ikea! The other shelves came with friend wife--they are actual wood. The living room set is also hers. I generally concur with the concept that you can spend WAY too much on furniture. My biggest splurge, about 15 years ago, was the dining room set--all cherry wood, Queen Anne, with 6 matching chairs. I did get it on sale, though.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 10, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

In college I used some money I earned to buy a VCR to tape Live-Aid. So we needed an entertainment center. You guessed it. Cinder blocks and boards.

The good thing about colleges is that they are always building something. We went by an under constrution dorm late one night to pick up our supplies and learned how many cinderblocks fit in the trunk of a 1979 Camaro. Just enough.

Thank goodness we didn't need a wall unit.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 10, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Indicative of the reluctance to actually buy furniture, the Maas Brothers store at the old Gainesville Mall is long gone and other furniture stores in Hogtown are closing, victims of the hypothesized current recession. Furniture is apparently immune to stimulus checks, but Wal-Mart sales are up. Product wise, sale of electronics is booming, especially automotive electronics, as evidenced by the number of passing vehicles that rattle the windows of my house.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 10, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Gee, I never realized my having cinderblocks was so ritzy and upscale, compared to the hardships some of you guys faced.

But matching chairs? Chairs are supposed to match? I can barely get my socks to match. Next thing you'll be telling me is that when having guests over for dinner during the college years, we all had to drink Taylor Lake Country Red out of the identical style of Schmucker's jelly glasses. And next thing it'll be matching plates and silverware, too. Jeez.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

My dining room set is the one my parents bought when they first got married back in 1412 (A.D, natch), I think. I kept that thing through the years when it was way unstylish because I liked it. Now, people go ga-ga over it. Why? Three words: solid rock maple. I guess that it's a nice wood or something. The feature that appealled to me: it was free.

Hi, all. Long time reader, rare poster. Took me 18 months to figure out what "kit" and "boodle" meant.

Posted by: KPage | July 10, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

It's all in the marketing. What I have here to sell to the highest bidder is an an elegant Bauhaus design shelving pier, made in a classic understated design from organically grown Pinus sylvestris. The supporting columns are a solid mixed materials aggregate.

Hey, I thought of the solution to the newspaper woes. Put the articles available to the thrifty masses in pdf. Then you can plaster the page with all the ads you want and have the article wrap around. You're welcome.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Joel, a splendid Kit. I particularly enjoyed the phrase, "a series of cascading digressions and reversals". How true, how evocative. You speak for Everyman.

And Green Stamps! I remember carefully saving and tearing and gluing those into the little books. I have absolutely no memory of redeeming them, but we must have because the full books would disappear and we would start again. Now you have me remembering the Wish Book, the big Sears catalogue. This had been a staple feature of my parents' pre-Depression childhood, and they still swore by it during mine. That was some fun perusing and daydreaming.

We now own lots of actual bookcases, as I estimate we have something upward of 10,000 books and cinder blocks would just take up too much space. However, I'm suprised nobody has yet mentioned my college and law school book cases of choice: the humble milk crate.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 10, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The front page has photos of furniture from stores in which the WaPo home & fashionistas suggest the newly-renamed Jenna Bush Hager (Queen of Hagerstown) might want to go shopping, to set up housekeeping in Bawdimer. Wow! Some of that stuff is really ugly. Hideous, even. I hope she chooses some o' that stuff, it will help to validate my own life choices. Come on, Jenna! Do your patriotic duty to help us disgruntled liberals feel some affection for our natal nation. Dare to be tacky. You know you want to do it.

Posted by: PlainTim | July 10, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmm. I think I agree with the premise of this article, but *not* its explanation or conclusions. And I know I don';t care for Monica's snarky tone.

"Baby Boomers Got the Blues
Viewing Life Through Morose-Colored Glasses

By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 10, 2008; Page C01

The baby boomers -- that prominent group of middle-agers whose massive numbers invite never-ending dissection and speculation -- have once again spoken. What they have said is, " Waaaaaahhh."

"This is according to a social and demographic trends survey released recently by the Pew Research Center. The survey measured the pessimism, dissatisfaction and general curmudgeonliness [well, thank goodness I'm finally getting some recognition around here] of 2,413 adults in various generations."

Ironically, the son of a good friend of mine works at Pew Research; I shall have to have a few words with him.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

seems the boodle has been suffering narcolepsy the past few days

Posted by: omni | July 10, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I had a hybrid bookcase once Ivansmom, planks supported by milk crate. Books on the planks and vinyl albums in the crates. Now I've got a couple of 25 year-old Björn or Člåryi bookcases and a pair of real-wood ones.
I bought the new ones unfinished and finished them myself. I used a flat green paint for the back and cherrywood stain for rest. How to get a $500-600 bookshelf for about $250.
We have 3 teenagers and 2 very large dogs, so the stuffed furniture is bought on the cheap, used hard and disposed of as toxic waste. Nobody ever picked up our used furniture at the curb, trust me.
Our glassware is mostly plastic with some real-glass ex-mustard jars thrown in. And I have no problem serving crab, lobster (say once a year) or expensive steaks in mismatching plates. That is pretty pathetic for people making the kind of money we make but we are not just into that.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 10, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

KPage, I'm glad you stuck around, and please comment whenever you have something to say. Don't hold back.

I worry that the jargon and general air of insiderness might put off people who just stop by to see what it's like here. The other day someone accused us collectively of treating this comments section as our "private messageboard" but that is incorrect, it's public and anybody can use it.

KPage, here is the link to the boodle wiki page. It has FAQs and birthdays (feel free to add yours) If you wish, you could be in charge of making sure this link is mentioned once a week or so. WEINGARTEN has a permanent link to his FAQs but the A-Blog apparently doesn't rate that highly.

Anyway, here it is:

Posted by: kbertocci | July 10, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

My Dad and I have very similar problems when we whine, in that we whine about hardships that go unrecognized by others. I whine about the pain and intolerable suffering of frequent trips to Hawaii. He had to whine, in his grad school days, about being relegated to the eating of lobster on a weekly basis. It was his experimental animal, he only needed a few cells from the heart, and nobody was enforcing rules against the eating of your laboratory leftovers in those days. He generally brought home a lobster or two each week. Gosh I hated that. I always had a hamburger. I don't eat no bugs.

Posted by: ScienceTim | July 10, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I just forgot I wanted to brag about something. I had a bookshelf made-up with planks and real mid-1800's Quebec City cobblestones. I still have, after moving about 12 times, 4 of the original 8 granit cobblestones. The weapons of the proletariat weight about 10 pounds each, I don't know how the enraged masses were managing to throw them at guard dogs of the oppressing bourgeoisie.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 10, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

My exhusband had a bookcase consisting of planks separated by cardboard boxes. That had some stability issues, so he converted it to a regular bookcase, with a sheet of plywood on the back for rigidity. It's in my study full of books now.

KPage, welcome, stick around and post again. We're an easy group to breach.

Posted by: slyness | July 10, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The end of the life cycle for my Ikea Billy bookcases has been to be permanently attached to become a wall of built-ins. With some moldings they look great. It was our carpenter-neighbour's idea - he said he wouldn't even have been able to get the materials for less.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

That was a Maas Brothers at the old Gainesville Mall? Funny how all the retail migrated from there to Interstate 75.

My first home furnishing was a nice table lamp from Sears, at the Gainesville Mall. I later acquired similar ones. They all grace the present living room, notwithstanding my having lived in any number of temporary dwellings, returned to college, etc.

The recent arrival of Ikea (1:40 drive on fresh pavement and mostly limited access) led to a mass replacement of bookcases and other stuff.

Thinking of bookcases, the second edition of "Genera Palmarum" is being printed right now--750 pages. It'll be a strictly technical book of the monumental sort, but since palms are charismatic megaflora, someone out there in medialand might want to talk to John Dransfield, the now-retired Kew botanist who brought it to fruition.

Dransfield did a lot of work in Madagascar, where the most common palm (named for Otto von Bismarck) is mega and charismatic--Bismarkias are popping up all over Florida. The big island's palms are as fascinating as the birds and lemurs, with a spectacular (as in HUGE) having been "discovered" and named just recently.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 10, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Years ago when extremely poor and under a mountain of debt I converted the box my first computer came in into my bedside night stand. After a few years of abuse it started to sag in the middle. I covered the top with two boards from a busted up cabinet I found on the sidewalk one day. I'm no longer poor and have no debt, but I still have that same nightstand. The only real furniture is a tiny typewriter desk made for a highschool or college student, and several bookcases. I actually made my own TV stand from more wood found on the sidewalk in my neighborhood. It's basically four sixths of a wooden box. (actually less, cause only half the backboard is there). I designed it so that the sides would fit snugly around the nightstand (acually not, I was just lucky that the wood I found had exactly the dimensions to make it that way). And since I'm something of a packrat, I actually had a couple of brackets on hand in my junk drawer to be used to increase stability.

Posted by: omni | July 10, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I had a set of bookcases made from milk crates. Most of them were plastic, however, a metal one survives somewhere in the attic.

Posted by: jack | July 10, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Welcome aboard (aplank?), KPage.

All of this recollection is bringing back memories... LIT, ya reminded me of my childhood office and reading room (the living room floor), those Esso tiger glasses reminded me of plastic dinosaurs they gave away with fill-ups at the Sinclair stations (yay! brand-*new* toys!) and drinking glasses bearing the yellow and red (not burgundy and gold) "R" logo Washington NFL Franchise helmet appliques (from Shell stations? Phillips 66?).

I used to make my own scale models of WWI aircraft out of popsicle sticks and toothpicks, paper, toilet paper tubes, tape, glue (Elmer's White and rubber glues)and household paints. Did a pretty good Sopwith Camel and Fokker Triplane, IIRC (yes, that was Snoopy and the Red Baron). Even made dioramas with stretched out cotton balls as smoke (a little paint, permanent marker and melted crayon could add some flames and dark smoke when necessary). Doing the wing struts with toothpicks was a PITA, partciularly the upper wing on the tri-plane.

I don't think I ever had a new bicycle, either. We typically recycled (ahem) old junked bike parts onto our bikes - if we took a fall and bent the handlebars to the point where they cracked, we'd look around for people throwing old bikes away in the neighborhood (remember when curbside trash pickup would take such things?) and cannibalize them for parts. Sometimes I had to splint handlebars with old 1" copper plumbing and hoseclamps until a replacement piece could be located...

Here's how big a dork I am, er, *was* I remember seeing a rogallo wing (what we'd later call a hang glider) landing system for the USAF's proposed Manned Orbiting Labratory's (aka manned spy space station) Gemini capsules (so they wouldn't have to land spy film and astro-spies in the ocean as it turned out), and made one for some toy rocket I had out of string, sticks from the yard, and plastic bags. Kinda worked, too.



Posted by: bc | July 10, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the comments everyone!!
They are the most entertaining things I have read in some time. (I know, a sheltered life I lead). Each was a fun read.

Posted by: OHIO | July 10, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I miss Maas brothers in Gainesville.

Posted by: FLvet | July 10, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

SoC... for what wood sells for these days, your carpenter friend is right -- it's often cheaper to buy the knock-down stuff just for the raw materials. I've been known to scavenge discarded dressers, tables and other furniture just to break them down to reuse the wood for new projects.

As for coffee tables, I rolled my own. I don't have a picture of it, but I do have one of the matching end table I made (just picture it shorter and longer):

So far the tables have held up to six years or so of punishment from Little Bean, including art projects involving paint, crayons, permanent markers and modeling clay. They've also been subjected to (and survived) more than a few spilled beers and flip-flopped pizza incidents, but those were my fault.

Posted by: martooni | July 10, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

And my goofiness continues still, I did a temporary repair on my German sedan's cooling system (the upper bleed valve, actually) with some brass and cast iron home plumbing parts (a cast iron "t" and a threaded brass plug if you must know) , a couple of hose clamps, and some leftover black silicone. It leaked every now and then, so I had to futz with it, but it basically held.

It looked amusingly incongruous in there with all of the sleek black plastic engine cover stuff they have on relatively modern cars. Very "Road Warrior."

Thought I was The Man until I finally got around to pricing the replacement part from my Local German Sedan Dealership. [Tired of putting more coolant in the car.].

The part was $16.

Sometimes I *do* think too hard.


Posted by: bc | July 10, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

After our 3 years in the Airstream trailer, we lived in a motel room for three months and then made the big move to a rented two-bedroom condominium. (It really seemed huge to us at that point.) Needless to say, we had no furniture, but we did have plenty of cardboard boxes. I made a temporary bed (just for the first night!) for our then 5-year-old daughter by taping boxes together. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But it collapsed in the middle of the night, traumatizing the poor child. She reminds me of that once in a while. No doubt there is therapy in her future.

Posted by: kbertocci | July 10, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

LOL, bc, at least you realize and admit it...

Posted by: slyness | July 10, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Phil Gramm to be an ambassador to Belarus?

Just caught Chris Cillizza on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC show re: Gramm's comments to the Washington Times about how Americans are whiners and about how Americans are in a "mental recession." Obama's talking about Gramm's remarks, McCain is commenting about Obama's comments.

One need only direct Phil Gramm's attention to the front page of his hometown paper. The San Antonio Express-News has two significant stories on its front page today--both dealing with the rising cost of gasoline.

The lead story's headline says it all: "Tundra To Halt Prroduction 90 Days: Move is needed to reduce inventory of S.A.-built trucks. Toyota Plant/Employees to go to training seminars."

The story below the fold: ExpressJet hands new setback to S.A. airport." This small Houston-based airline, because of the escalating cost of fuel, will cut, beginning Sept. 1, nonstop service to New Orleans, Raleigh/Durham, Tucson, Albuquerque, Sacramento and Ontario, Calif.

Maybe it would just be better if Gramm were assigned to the Galapagos Islands? Or would it be better if Americans crossed our southern border and saw what conditions are like on the other side, looking in?

Reading today the last pages of Meltzer's "The Book of Fate." Didn't realize Henry Flagler had so much to do with West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Surprise, surprise. And the Palm Beach Post has a little courtyard in front with a statue of a turtle dressed in a suit with sunglasses.

Posted by: Loomis | July 10, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Alas, convenience stores around college campuses figured out the value of milk crates and began chaining them up at night.

My wife bought fake crates at K-Mart, but that just seems wrong.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 10, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

It's always been a little amazing to me the squalor many of us lived in during our late teens and early 20s (often with our first Sig. Others) -- and we were all pretty much oblivious to most of it. Methinks I hear the Muse at the door and a pome coming on...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Plastic milk crates are the poor man's equivalent of "Bucky balls".

Though you might want to keep Jesse Jackson away from them if he's holding scissors or any other sharp implements.

Posted by: martooni | July 10, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I have a story about making a model from spare house hold objects. A friend once came over after a trip to the hobby store at mall. He had a big box full of Estes model rocket kits and a wide variety of engines. He was pretty clueless about what he was doing. My brother and I had lots of experience as kids. I asked him why he bought so Many rocket kits, and he just shrugged his shoulders. I started rooting through his rocket engines and noticed a pack of C6-0. What that zero means for those with no knowledge of these things is that this engine is a booster only. It has no ejection charge for the parachute or recovery system (some light weight rockets simply use streamers). All the kits he bought had parachute recovery systems. Like I said: ClueLess... So I explained this to him, that they would be useless with his models, and asked if I could have them. He looked at me funny, and I explained I wanted to make my own rocket.

I took some typing paper and wrapped it around the engine with a little overlap and cut the excess off and taped it together. Then I cut the length to six inches. Put a little dab of Elmer's in and put the engine in with about 1/4 of it sticking out. Put some tape on just to safe. I made a tiny nose cone out of some of the leftover typing paper. Took the rest and cut out nine triangles, glued three of theses together leaving a quarter inch at one end unglued. Fold outer unglued ends out cut off middle tab. (repeat twice). Glue these flaps to the bottom of the rocket for three stabilizing tail fins. Then take a drinking straw and cut off two pieces at an inch and a half. Tape these to top and bottom of rocket. These are used on the guidance launch rod. Spray paint the whole thing red. Took about ten minutes.

An hour and a half later my friend finished his first kit. Because it was a starter kit it didn't need any painting or decals.

We launch his first using a B6-3. Didn't go very high at all. Lots of heavy plastic in that kit.

We launched mine next. It went out of sight. Literally. Not figuratively. It was never recovered.

Posted by: omni | July 10, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't think I've ever seen a WIFFLEBALL-related story in the New York Times before:

Posted by: kbertocci | July 10, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Confirming that it's the wives who stand between men and the light-bulb-at-the-end-of-a-wire aesthetic. In our dotage, wifey and I are buying good furniture for the first time in our lives -- a fine dining room set, like out of Versailles, and a set of sofas in old-fashioned red tones. I think it all looks stupid. It sure isn't me. At night I go out to the garage where my books from the 1960s are currently stored, crumbling paperbacks that sold for 25 to 60 cents. Now THAT'S me.

So, Joel, do you really WANT to move up? Or is it someone else that's making you do it, and making you feel bad that you can't?

Posted by: barnesgene | July 10, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

omni, I suspect you shot down Oceanic 815.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"We launched mine next. It went out of sight. Literally. Not figuratively. It was never recovered." - Posted by: omni

Should we start calling you 'omni von braun'?

Joel, I love the sentence "We weren't the kind of people who owned night tables, mind you." Reminds me of my own family.

Posted by: byoolin | July 10, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

omni... why do I now have "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band stuck in my head?

"skyrockets in flight... afternoon delight!"

{*apologies for the toon cootie, but I'm waiting for lacquer to dry and didn't have anything better to do*}

Posted by: martooni | July 10, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

When was that omni, July 17, 1996?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 10, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

oh @rap, Mudge beat me to it.
I have to remember to refresh *before* posting.
Men develop house blindness. We've been without baseboard/quarterround in the kitchen since we changed the vinyl flooring 8 years ago. I don't see anymore.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 10, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Are guys trying to get me shipped off to Guantanamo?

martooni has the right idea...

Posted by: omni | July 10, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

sd... not to give you more anecdotal evidence of "house blindness", but I *still* haven't finished off the giant ceiling drywall patch from the "Santa Impersonation Incident" two Christmases ago.

Just thinking of it makes my nether parts hurt.

Of course, Mrs. M has fun reminding me that 1) the patch needs finished off, and 2) it was apparently hysterically funny watching my legs and feet dangle through the ceiling as I straddled a ceiling rafter while yelling things only a Bad Santa would say.

Posted by: martooni | July 10, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Once upon a time, we were poor students
But began to accumulate a book or two
I recall how my plan came at a kegger
Of the simple design that served me through and through,

That was my pine shelf, my friend
I thought it'd never bend
With concrete blocks, it'd last forever and a day
It sadly ended its life
After I met my wife
For she had some class, and was sure to have her way

La La La La La La
La La La La La La
La La La La La La La La La La

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Apparently it wasn't the Muse at the door; it was a Jehovah's Witness. The Muse went to SonofCarl's place.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 10, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that the waitress at the trendy restaurant always remembers to ask me if I want to try their "special" microbrew of the day, but she can't ever remember the price? Is it rude to ask?

Not that I need to worry about it anymore. Three kids ordering from the adult menu has pretty much scratched eating out from the list of family activities.

Posted by: DandyLion | July 10, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Talking about making things .... I'm a reasonably good cabinet maker: shelves (nice ones, if I do say so, myself), chest of drawers, etc. etc. I made my wife a very common thing out of a most unusal material. She wanted a rolling pin. We lived in Homestead, FL. at the time, near mangrove swamps. I waded into the swamp and cut out a chunk of mangrove root. It was miserable material to work with. I ruined more blades and turning chisles than you can imagine. But when I was done, she had a one-of-a-kind rolling pin that had a most beautiful and very unusual wood grain. It might fetch all of $5.00 on eBay, but it is now a family heirloom.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | July 10, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Front page alert!

Posted by: slyness | July 10, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

250 dollar turntable, 125 dollar cartridge, 500 dollar amp, 200 dollar phase-lock tuner, a pair of 901 speakers and a 4 track reel-to-reel all on wooden shelving held up by milk cases (which incidentally held the lps and 10 inch tapes quite well.
2 hand-me-down chairs from a friend of my mom's (cleverly "redone" with some kind of cloth my girlfriend drapped artfully over them), the box spring and mattress from my youth and a floor-standing bong. Not another stick of furniture to be found (unless it was "found"). Could of furnished the whole apartment for the cost of the stereo and records. Oh well...
From what I remember of those daze, it was just fine.
Stick with it Joel, your Pulitzer will come! And with it: fame and fortune.

Posted by: It's all a matter of priorities | July 10, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

for omni: "Don't say that he's hypocritical,
Say rather that he's apolitical.
"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun."
Tom Lehrer; "Wernher von Braun"

Posted by: ebtnut | July 10, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Why do I feel that this kit gives credence to Gramm's remarks about "a nation of whiners?"

Posted by: Shiloh | July 10, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Um, Shiloh, because it does?

Or maybe Joel was just anticipating Phil Gramm...

Posted by: slyness | July 10, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I know it's blasphemy, but I was encouraged to analyze, comment and challenge.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 10, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I think it has something to do wih "little toe syndrome."

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none, and
This little piggy went wee,wee,wee
all the way home.

We are trained from childhood to whine.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 10, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I think the whining is very much tongue-in-cheek. Real problems are things like what Kristof was opining about this am at the Grey Old Lady. I almost toss my cookies reading the conclusion of his op-piece this morning.

RD Padouk isn't around so it's safe to post:
"Serial rabbit killer uses Google maps to find victims"
The comments are worth a read too.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 10, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, can't say I've ever gone the cinder-block-and-plank route myself. My current bookcase is from Tar-jay, and it's holding up pretty well, considering I've got two rows of books on each shelf.

My dining room table was my mom's (and her mom's, and her mom's...) It's from the 1820s or 30s and is mahogany. I really lucked out on that one. The chairs...well, let's just say that they're slipcovered.

And my favorite piece of furniture has to be the coffee table that my husband got when we separated. Our daughter dinged and scratched it a lot when she was little. It has a completely flat top, so we decided to buy rolls of white butcher paper and tape the paper to the top so she can color on the table. The table is exactly as wide as a roll of paper, so there's no cutting. When she covers most of the paper, we would rip it off and put new paper down. LOVED it. Sigh.

Posted by: PLS | July 10, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I have real furniture. That I bought. Over time. I like it.

Posted by: Yoki | July 10, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"Real problems," shriek, are secondary or lower tier to the "it's all about me" generation of whiners.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 10, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I like your real furniture too, Yoki!

Posted by: dbG | July 10, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

To paraphrase Emily Dickinson, This is the hour of commute,
Remembered if outlived....

Posted by: Shiloh | July 10, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The problem with furniture is that once you acquire it, it requires dusting and polishing and needs to be moved from here to there to waaaaaay over there.

And then back.

Personally, I'd be happy with the traditional Japanese way of things... a vase or two filled with willow twigs and maybe a flower... and a roll-uppable mat with a firm rectangular pillow. Sleeping on a hardwood floor would probably do wonders for my back and the heaviest thing Mrs. M would want rearranged for no good reason would weigh less than 5 lbs.

I still have a self-contained expandable wooden bar with brass inlays that my folks bought in Korea. It's not that large (and it's actually quite nice), but it weighs a ton and my Mom could never figure out where it would look best (or be most useful). Of course, moving the dang thing was *my* job. We lived in a split-level ranch at the time, and it never failed -- every move involved hauling that bugger up or down eight steps (sometimes repeatedly), but within a few days or hours it always ended up where it started.

I wish she was still around to make me move her furniture. And I swear, if given the chance, I wouldn't even *mumble* a single obscenity.

Posted by: martooni | July 10, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

What great stories, all. I remember well the BP drinking glasses with yellow-and-green smiley faces, the jam jars with my favorite cartoon characters used as glasses, the S & H green stamp redemption centers.

My college bookcase used red bricks, as I found them more aesthetically pleasing, though the shelves had less integrity than the concrete-buoyed ones. I remember one fabulous collapse, but I just moved more gingerly the next time. Bought discounted green paint at Lowes for the #2 knotty shelves.

Now the plastic milk crates have gone all respectable as some Israeli firm now markets them as interlocking units. Makes sense to use them in a country where everything could be knocked down by a missile while you're away.

I also remember days of dumpster-diving, and have a treasured photo of my best friend on our first outing, posed by the dumpster in her yellow Loving care gloves. the professionals didn't bother with such niceties, and there was a genuine spirit of bonhomie to the outings at the term's end. the locals would share goods and info, offering a find and telling you what they were scouting for.

The sororities were great sources--we found money, clothes with tags still on them, household appliances. I am still using a found hair dryer to this day! They didn't want liability, so they'd chase you off when they discovered you.

We should have Sperrmüll in this country, where goods are placed on the roadside a few times a year and people can gather what they need. The economy is demanding new ways of being, I hope,


Posted by: rangeragainstwar | July 10, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Shiloh | July 10, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Every day is Sperrmüll around here. You put out the stuff you think someone might want a few extra days prior to trash day. Allows time for recycling.

Joel, you are crazy to buy steak in a restaurant. It takes one minute to buy at the store, one minute to build a fire, and four minutes to cook.

I only eat stuff in restaurants that is devilishly complicated to prepare. Things such as salads with 12 different vegetables, or potatoes with both chives and hollandaise, stuff like that. Lamb curry. At minimum, pork smoked for 12 hours. You get the idea. Make 'em work for it.

I bet if you cashed in your frequent flyer miles, you would be able to buy some solid walnut night tables.

Martooni, those are man tables for sure, simple, clean, good looking solid wood. I like it.

As far as furniture goes, I want a leather sofa with horsehair stuffing. It would last approximately 200 years, I believe.

Posted by: Jumper | July 10, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's Emma Lazarus': "...give me the teeming refuse..."

Posted by: Shiloh | July 10, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I was the only one in my family who pasted all the green stamps (yellow too) in the books and took them to the S&H Green Stamp store when I went with my dad downtown on Saturdays.

My parents used to save them in the dining room credenza drawer--left side. They were like gold to me. I would scrutinize every page of the catalog and calculate how many stamp books I needed. But they didn't offer many toys. Just practical, boring stuff. It was more the thrill of getting something substantial for *free.*

I did get an overnight bag. And a clock, among other things I forget. I didn't really need any of them. I was only 12. Remember the 50-stamp stamps? Those helped a lot to fill up the books quickly.

Posted by: eidrib | July 10, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Whine on, whine on harvest moon...

Posted by: Shiloh | July 10, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Plastic milk cartons. Hand me downs, and yes, bought furniture. I bought a pine headboard with a built-in bookcase for what, 39 bucks? That's cheaper than eating out for two... or for one, at Joel's standard of living ($6 baked potato? He must be dining at one of those overpriced steakhouses).

Cooking for yourself does save money, I must admit-- as long as the cook works for free.

So make friends who like to BBQ or feed people, Joel, and keep them happy by scrawling the occasional flowery sonnet for special occasions. Or something. If it was good enough to keep Shakespeare from starving...

Order 116:

Let me not to the devouring of true meats
Admit impediments. Food is not food
Which readies when the microwave reheats,
Or sits in the box in wait to extrude..
O, no! it is an ever-mixed fork,
That looks on buffets and is never shaken
It is the fate of every stir-frying pork,
Whose taste's unknown, although his smell be taken.
Food's not Thyme's stove, though roasts, lids and peeks
Within his pending sizzle's compass come.
Food falters not with his brief morsels' peeks,
But fattens out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me booed
I never writ, nor no man ever chewed."

I think I need to eat dinner.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 10, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

You folks crack me up......

I remember something we saved from cereal boxes,although I don't think it was greenstamps.

My parents grew up in the depression,so saving things and recycling was just a given.

I recently went out to dinner with a friend who was treating,we ordered wine and our food and the power went out 10 mins later, 15 mins later the waitress brought over the check,I refused to pay.We ended up at another place that was so crowded we had to sit at the bar,it worked out well after that.It was the first time I have dined out in many months.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | July 10, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Brava, Wilbrod, brava! You amaze me.

Posted by: slyness | July 10, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

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

Good evening, friends. Wow, busy day for someone that's suppose to be resting. Hot and humid too, and now it's raining, sweet rain.

I can't believe JA wrote a kit about not having money. I imagined it to be so different for him and many of you here. I've always considered myself to be the "broke-est" person on this blog. As for furniture, not a lot of that here. My books are in boxes. Dining room set, tables and chairs? I have the table, lack the chairs. We sit on the floor or the sofa. I went to the food bank this week, and there were so many people, I turned around and left. I went to another food bank today, and it was closed by the time I got there. I don't know if this is whining or not, sounds a lot like reality. Of course, I could be wrong.

I had the g-girl part of today. Her mother was sick yesterday, and I don't think she feels that well today. The g-girl wanted to come back with me tonight, but I told her she could come tomorrow night. My daughter will allow her to stay, but I think she misses her.

I hope it has been a good day for everyone here. Yes, things are a bit tight for many of us, and perhaps better for some, but God is good. He knows our needs, and prayer really works. I do a lot of praying. And I'm not selfish in that, I pray for my family and my friends. Please do the same for me.

And as always, JA, a good kit, and a timely one.

Time for bed. Night,boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 10, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I was a supermarket cashier in high school and came to hate those d@mn stamps more than anything. Ripping out just how many each customer earned and if your hands were at all wet from produce, the stupid things stuck to you. And yes, the stuff you could redeem them for was mostly cr@p.

When I was married, towards the end, we went shopping for a new dining room set. Chippendale chairs, ornate table and china cabinet and a side cabinet for 'bar' storage. The whole thing cost as much as a small Japanese car at the time. I loathed that stuff from day one. When we were dividing stuff up at divorce time, the first thing I told him was that he could have the dining room set. I now use a table I bought unfinished and finished myself. Two Hitchcock chairs that belonged to my mom and two other chairs that were left by former owners in a house I once owned (I refinished them too) complete my dining room. I prefer character and a good story to anything overly fancy, although my sofa and recliner are new and very comfortable.

We eat out maybe once a week but usually nothing very expensive. I haven't been to a six dollar baked potato restaurant in years and don't miss it one bit. I'm with Jumper, I usually order food that I wouldn't cook for myself.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | July 10, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

I certainly remember Green Stamps and the yellow ones, too. Also General Mills boxtop coupons. We got stuff from all of them. I still have a couple of nice stainless steel pans that, I believe, we got from the boxtop coupons. Yeah, licking those stamps and pasting them in the books was a pain. I can see that the cashiers must have hated the damn things.

I also remember the bookshelves and record shelves of wood and cinderblock. I built mine with particleboard. Cheap, but a six-foot long, 16-inch wide particleboard is very heavy. Not recommended by this former user.

Great sonnet, Wilbrod! Welcome to you rangeragainstwar and KPage. It's nice to see you both!

Posted by: pj | July 10, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I went back and read the last kit. Slyness, the g-girl and I got drenched big time. We were at the grocery store for ice cream sandwiches, and when we came out, boy was it pouring down. We had to stand in front of the store for a time, until I could brave the rain and wind to get the car. A lady and her husband were sitting in front of the store waiting for someone to pick them up, and I took them home. We so need the rain, I'm just glad to see it.

I did not get what Jesse Jackson said, and I truly hope he did not say what has been credited to him, by the comments here. Why would he say something like that anyway?

Posted by: cassandra s | July 10, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I feel wealthier in a way at less than half of the income I had in the DC area.

Part of it is that I don't have to worry that rents and food will increase yet again and price me out onto the street.

The anxiety expressed in this blog, I was feeling 2, 3, even 4 years ago when I looked at how inflation was increasing much more rapidly than my salary was increasing, and I didn't have that much fat to cut from the bone, if you know what I mean. I had already been living as frugally as possible.

If people who make reasonable money (but have families) are feeling it now, people who are earning much less than the median income already felt it years ago with the insane real estate and rental markets, to the point affordable housing in DC could easily charge over 1200 dollars a MONTH and still be under HUD guidelines at being only 60% of market value or less.

My first apartment only 10 years ago was less than 600 a month.

No matter how I added it up, the trajectory did not look to get better. I was paying too much to work at my job.

I started freelancing and that helped me afford Wilbrodog in part-- a reward for being brave enough to try something new.

Money will continue to be tight but now I feel richer in that I am less stressed, feel healthier, and I have hopes to make a better life. And of course, I have Wilbrodog as a companion. If only he could help pay the bills, I'd be happy.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 10, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Listening to everyone talk about their furnishings then and now makes me think of all the things in my life that have come and gone, and how they waxed and waned in value.

Back on the farm, when we didn't have two peanuts (its a legume) to rub together, we had the family handme downs - a table and chairs from my mom that I recall them picking up in 1962, a hide-a-bed that my sister gave me for rent the last month before her wedding and one thing of my own, my little wooden rocking chair from Woolco that I picked up when I was just out of high school. We weren't night table kind of people either. We weren't headboard kind of people, and there were a couple of years where we weren't even dresser people.

I dreamed of having all those things. When we were able, we did get them, but it wasn't till long after the farm. In a way, having them was validation for how far we had come.

The older I get, the less important it all is to me. If we are talking things, give me my books, my movies, and my yarn, and I'm good to go.

Except I'd still like to get a night table with drawers.

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

You guys are sad. The poverty pleading reminds me of the aged inmate in Raising Arizona (Nicolas Cage: H.I.):

[an old convict and H.I. lying on their prison bunks, passing the time]
Ear-Bending Cellmate: ...and when there was no meat, we ate fowl and when there was no fowl, we ate crawdad and when there was no crawdad to be found, we ate sand.
H.I.: You ate what?
Ear-Bending Cellmate: We ate sand.
H.I.: You ate SAND?
Ear-Bending Cellmate: That's right!

Posted by: Po Foks | July 10, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

We have a mixed bag of family heirlooms and furniture we have bought ourselves. For example, we have two china cabinets. One from each side of the family. They don't match, but we can't get rid of either. One of the hutches matches the dining room set I got from my grandmother when my grandfather died fifteen years ago. She had it for who knows how many decades.

Last year the chair legs began cracking so we had to get new chairs. The new set doesn't have arms for the head of the table. I missed that one perk of being the patriarch.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 10, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I hear sandwichs are good, Po Folks. I wouldn't knock sand as food.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 10, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

dr, if you get that whole Durant collection the whole stacked "Story" will make a fine nightstand substitute.

Wilbrod, good one!

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 10, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I do fear A will be down at the local Short Stop with a panty on his head, trying to put food on the table. Them samwiches are right tasty. A life of crime is on the horizon.

Posted by: Po Foks | July 10, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

yello... chairs never outlive the table they were built for, for obvious reasons, no matter how well made. All the stuff that ends up on the table ends up inside the occupants of said chairs, and the chairs just give up after so many years and accumulated poundage (even on veggie diets).

But finding good replacements can be a real pain in the... um... you know.

Posted by: martooni | July 10, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Never had the cinderblock bookcases, but we have the Baghdad Box. Mr. F dragged it home from his first deployment after we were married when we had lots of circa 1890 house and no furniture to put in it. The box has stenciled on the side "masks, chemical protective, 36, Ministry of Defence, Baghdad, Iraq." Why in English with no Arabic at all I have no idea, but it is just the right size to pull up a couple chairs and use as a dining table. It's great for storing tools in and then sitting on top of for a beer. For a few years we kept all our camping gear packed in it and would set it up at the end of a picnic table as the base of our open air kitchen. Now Frostdottir keeps begging to take it with her for her first place, we tell her to go live her own exciting life of dragging strange stuff home.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 10, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

oh, greenwithenvy
night out, black out, no money
laughing still, happy

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

PS: Thanks for that gift, Wilbrod!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm just short one, SoC, just the last one. and it is hard to find.

Posted by: dr | July 10, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

You think you had it bad:

Posted by: bill everything | July 10, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

CNN's Dana Bash has former Sen. Phil Gramm going bassackwards on his Washington Times comments. Or would finagle be a better verb?:

Posted by: Loomis | July 10, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama's response to Phil Gramm (major yucks):

"I want all of you to know that America already has one Dr. Phil," Obama said, laughing as the crowd cheered. "We don't need another one when it comes to the economy. We need somebody to actually solve the economy. It's not just a figment of your imagination, it's not all in your head."


Posted by: bill everything | July 10, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Who was that masked haiku poet?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 10, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Note to Michelle from my husband: When we got our government rebate check, I guarantee you, we didn't go out and spend it on a pair of $600 earrings.

I ask whether Michelle is tone-deaf to the plight of those residents in the city where she made her remarks.

Posted by: Loomis | July 10, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

This finding on fear brings to mind Jeremiah 46:28 for some reason:

"O Jacob My servant, do not fear," declares the LORD, "For I am with you. For I will make a full end of all the nations Where I have driven you, Yet I will not make a full end of you; But I will correct you properly and by no means leave you unpunished."

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 10, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

dr, that would be The Lessons of History? If so, you are in luck. Send me an email.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 11, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I read the story you linked. It is clear that neither did Michelle Obama go out and buy a pair of earrings with her stimulus check. It was not a "let them eat cake" moment, it was a moment of "how far can this take you?" While I agree that a windfall of some money is better than no money, better yet is to have a decent job and a decent wage and restrained inflation so that you don't need a windfall just to scrape by, because windfalls are notoriously unreliable. There is no question that that is what she was saying. In the chopped-up sound bit format of that article, it is hard to tell whether she was eloquent or not, but it is obvious that she was deriding the "stimulus" as an inadequate excuse for a long-term solution. Whether the audience perceived it that way, is difficult to discern from that article.

Posted by: PlainTim | July 11, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

omni, when I was in Junior High school we used to build our own rockets out of toilet paper and wrapping paper tubes, cardboard for fins, nosecones, and engine centering bulkheads (needed a compass for those) and straw sections for the launch rod sliders. We used Estes engines as you did.

Rather than just attach fins to the engines, we needed the rocket bodies to carry payloads of stuff other people were throwing away. Flash powder left over from school stage productions (Still can't believe someone put *that* stuff in a trash can. Sheesh! when we ran out of that, we used money from neighborhood jobs to buy more from Barry's Magic Shop in Wheaton). White magnesium gently removed from the unburned stubs of police flares found along Connecticut Avenue. Used steel wool from the trash (sparkly!). Various other things that I won't get into here.

Our knowledge of ejection charge numbers was useful, but not for recovery systems.

It was more of an igniter for, er, well, let's call them what they were: homemade fireworks.

After a while we figured out a formula for weight and ejection charge durations for the various engine sizes to allow for, er, displays at roughly any height we chose, within 20 feet or so.

Lord have mercy on us, we were so young and thought we were pretty clever but in fact we were so so stupid.


Posted by: bc | July 11, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Why do I love the Boodle? For just this reason; today-night's conversation. We're fairly (pretty) honest here.

Cassandra, I'm rich, compared to you. But I understand you, truly madly deeply, because there have been six times in my life when I was on the skids, even though I was working really hard. And if I become as brave as I think I am, I will be again. And I know how to do it. Scrimp, and juggle, and promise Peter but pay Paul. Oh, I know how to be poor.

I don't feel bad for not being poor right now. And you shouldn't feel bad about being poor right now; it is not forever. We will find a way to the riches of the universe.

Cassandra, the thing I always wonder about is whether you are soliciting our help? If you need help, just say. I hate hints (because I not good at understanding them).

Posted by: Yoki | July 11, 2008 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I worked for a number of years after high school before going to college. I lived about 15 miles from my work place and I took a bus to work. When the bridge between the 2 places was washed away by the flood, I had to rent a room near my work place. It was the storeroom of a house (the rental was within my range). When I stretch out both arms I could touch both sides of the wall. My sponge mattress was on the floor, my night table was the floor and my dinner table was the floor. The best thing about that place is I don't have to mop or sweep the floor. I don't even have to wipe anything.

Years later that was repeated when I went to college. This time the room was bigger, but I don't have a vacuum cleaner. As far as I'm concern, a little dust won't hurt.

I have something to whine about .....
Over a year ago, a 10g block of butter cost $2.30. Six months ago, it went up to $3.60. Today it is $4.80!

Posted by: rainforest | July 11, 2008 2:10 AM | Report abuse

That's so quick in such a short period of time. I'd be upset too, Rainforest.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 11, 2008 3:10 AM | Report abuse

//we didn't go out and spend it on a pair of $600 earrings.//

I almost did! But at the last minute my inner adult reminded me of the $3K ones I reallllly want, so I held off. :-)

Posted by: dbG | July 11, 2008 3:25 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. TGIF, for those of you who, in fact, look forward to weekends. Me, not so much.

Not much on the WaPo home page to report. E.J. Dionne has a fairly good column about economics and the problem of "excessive deregulation" (i.e., thank you, Ronald Reagan, you jerk), but since it is about economics, it is by definition a sleeper.

There's columns by Gerson and Krauthammer, so you just *know* I haven't read either of them.

Carry on.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2008 6:13 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. It's a rainy day in the other federal capital. That's all right, tomorrow is supposed to be nice.
You still have all your fingers bc? Amazing. I force myself to read the incidents report involving explosives, just to remind me that the work we do isn't for naught. It's amazing the stupid things kid will do (including present company...), and some will pay the price (I didn't). I guess we are the proof that it isn't the Internet that made the kids do stupid things. It's merely an enabler, like your Magic retail shop. Flash powder on sale in retail??? Wow. Let's find some scapings that would make lunch.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 11, 2008 6:30 AM | Report abuse

SCC I need for coffee, that's pretty clear. kids, scrapings, between others

Posted by: shrieking denizen | July 11, 2008 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Morning. I have a sartorial dilemma (two words I needed spellcheck for) today. My wife is picking me up for work today so we can go out to a concert afterwards, so I need an outfit that is appropriate for both the office and a Weird Al show. I've decided to go with a tan and navy Hawaiian shirt and pleated khakis. Please don't report me to Liz Kelly

Posted by: yellojkt | July 11, 2008 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, and happy Friday.

Yello, I won't report you to Liz. I suppose she's entitled to the prejudice against pleated pants, but who cares? Mr. T wears them because they're comfortable. I don't pay much attention, as he is generally good about dressing himself appropriately.

New washer to come today, just in time! The hamper is almost full, and I'm down to my last pair of clean shorts.

Posted by: slyness | July 11, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Sounds just right Yj.

SoC, nope that one I have, but thank you very very much for thinking of me. The Age of Napoleon was published in 1975, long after the Lessons of History in 1969. It wasn't unusual for him to publish the books that far apart, but I think between 69 and 75 a lot of people stopped looking for his work, or stopped being aware of his voice. You can find many many sets like mine for sale on net, but seldom does this last book show up for sale. when it does it holds a premium price.

Posted by: dr | July 11, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Y'll wear what you want, hear. Think this is in the constitution, along with privacy rights.

In fairness to Liz, I will say a few things architectural and sartorial, from my years designing costumes and sewing clothes.

I feel tenderness but mild irritation at men, of all sizes, who purchase large, doubly-pleated, TOO-LONG khaki pants. Said men purchase and the WEAR then in a faux mash-up of gee I look nice and gee they feel sorta like pajama pants.

Y'll have a clown silhouette! Further, your pants-front is rumply, like an unmade bed. Where your pants indent into valley-folds at the tops of your shoes -- you could house a mouse family in said chino box canyons.

I want to make you stand on a stool and submit to my needles and pins and tailor's chalk.

As for comfort, these same man will wear jeans WITHOUT the pleated, rumpled wide open prairies action in the front. AND, for yard/housework, same-said man will wear plain front Dickies work pants....

We all have our bees and bonnets were they buzz. Sigh: this confession means that no man will want to sit close to me at the next BPH. For which, I will do penance. Forgive me, I cannot help myself. Send me cab fare and forth-with, I will get me to a 12-Step group for Pleated-Pants-Phobiacs.

Posted by: College Parkian | July 11, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

That should be premium to me. I paid 50 bucks for the set, and I'd have to pay that much for this one final book.

Posted by: dr | July 11, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, morning, friends.


I am not soliciting help from any of you at this blog. I thank you for the offer, but I'm just telling my story as it is. Yes, I am poor and like many poor people now, I am having a tough time, but when I said God is good, He is good. My prayer is that God will take care of me, and not just me, but all of His children. Oh, please do not feel bad for anything. It is not my intention to make anyone here feel bad. You are not responsible for me. I am an adult, and have been for many years. I am just the voice of many in this country that probably would not speak at all concerning their circumstances. I do apologize if my expressions of my life have become fodder for pandering. That certainly was not my intention. Many of you here at the blog have been kind to me in the past, and I always appreciate your kindness, yet every time I talk about something happening in my life, it is not an excuse to put "the touch" on any of you. Forgive me if that is the perception I have lead you to believe.

And yes, Yoki, we do rob Peter to pay Paul. I love all of you guys here.

The g-girl will be here today, with all the noise and bluster she can call up. I have a headache this morning, perhaps by the time she gets here, it will be gone.

Martooni, Slyness, Scotty, Mudge, it is Friday, at last, and good morning to all.*waving*

Time to find the water. I'll probably have a date with the laundry room. Don't really want to, but need to get it out the way. You know how some dates go, there but not really there. Of course, with washing machines, that may be kind of risky. Kind of like living on the wild side(smile).

Loomis, do you really hate Obama that much? You're always piling us up with comments in the negative about Obama. You know in the land of the free, you have the opportunity of voting for the White guy, no questions asked. No explaination needed. And there's no need to cut anybody's throat in the process. And I love you too, Loomis.

Have a great day, folks. We're suppose to get some more rain today. I've gotten totally soaked in last couple of days, and it felt good.

Wilbrod, you rock girl. And so does your dog.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 11, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse


Forgot to tell you, I got the printer to work. I took all the cords out and started over again. And did the checking thing with why the printer doesn't print, finally got it working. Thanks anyway for the offer of help.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 11, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Ah, the joys of traveling, compounded by balky 'Net connections upon returning home...

So much backBoodling to do, so little time.

*TGIF-and-where's-the-coffee Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 11, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

"led", not "lead".

Posted by: cassandra s | July 11, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Gut morninckz, Boodle!

Notice the international flavor?

Yesterday at Kinkos I told them I needed the book marks now, because it took me two hours to get there. I thought I was exagerating. Hmmmp. When I got back four hors had elapsed since I left (one hour waiting at Kinko's).

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 11, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Morning all, just waiting out a small monsoon before head to work.

Saw this article on researchers bookworms and good people skills. Thought of everyone here.

SoC your gesture to dr was a nice way to start the day.

Posted by: dmd | July 11, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'm glad to hear you got the printer working. Glad, but not surprised.

Posted by: slyness | July 11, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Hi kPage!! *extra Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 11, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

CP doesn't want me in my (pleated) pants? Whoa! What about "pleated, rumpled wide open prairies action in the front" shorts? Like most guys, I never have learned how to dress myself. This could indeed answer a lot of puzzling questions.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | July 11, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Just a little story.

I know a woman that lives alone, and lately she has been sick. I went to visit her yesterday, and she told me she doesn't have a doctor. She goes to the free clinic in the adjoining town, but it only has a physician's assistant. For the past couple of weeks this woman has called the rescue twice. Each week they take her to the hospital, and the next day, she's back at home. Now we know that Congress failed to do anything about the Medicare bill before they took their break, leaving it on the back burner until their return. This bill was going to cut doctor's pay a little bit more, and the doctors were screaming that they would not see patients on Medicare because there's no money in that. We're talking a lot of people here.

It just seems to me that in the long run it would be cheaper to treat the lady I'm talking about than her calling the rescue squad every week. If the doctor could get her stabilized there would be no need of calling these folks. It's going to cost just as much for her to call the rescue squad as it is for her to go to a doctor. We don't get out cheap with sickness, no matter the road we take. If the rescue squad refuses to come, people are going to get offended big time, and with all that's going on in the economy and the tough times being had by all, do we really want that?

When we try to avoid being good to poor people, not only do they suffer, but we suffer too. The situations and circumstances that look good on paper, don't always play out that way in real life. And a good example of that is the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures call for us to love one another, and to not do that begrudgingly, but with joy and thanksgiving, yet we all know there are some folks in the world that we would rather strangle than love. Yet the Scriptures do not offer an exception, it says all. People call believing in God and Jesus a "fairytale", but there is nothing "fairytale" about loving your fellowman, even those that hate and abuse you. It is hard work, and there is nothing, "fairy" about it.

That's all, and thank you for listening.

Posted by: cassandra s | July 11, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Plain Tim,
It was David Gergen who said at the top of Anderson Cooper's CNN program AC360 last night (Campbell Brown was subbing as host) about Michelle Obama's comment about the $600 earrings. Gergen said that yesterday's remarks by Phil Gramm ("mental recession") drowned out Michelle Obama's speech yesterday in Pontiac, Michigan during yesterday's 24-hour news cycle.

And, if what Michelle Obama said is true during her time at the podium, as posted in the MSNBC blog (link in my post above) that Barack Obama doesn't like short-term fixes for economic ills (as examples: a gas-tax holiday and rebate checks), then tell me, why did Barack say the following about a month ago? More shapeshifting?

Chicago, IL | June 20, 2008
I've called for an immediate $50 billion stimulus that would send out a second round of rebate checks to help families who can barely fill up their gas tanks or buy their groceries.

LL: As my husband says--and with which I wholeheartedly agree, politicians who can afford campaigns that whisk them to D.C. are out-of-touch elitists.

Perhaps you missed John McCain's hugely awkward moment yesterday, caught on tape, when a reporter asked him whether insurance companies should cover the cost of birth control for women, when the same companies have for some time been reimbursing men for the cost of Vi@gr@?

Posted by: Loomis | July 11, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I just read Krauthammers' column. The guy has no clue what soft power is. Commentary based on ideology leads to wrong conclusions.


Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 11, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

g'morning boodle! Slow start today. I'm "at work" in the home office doing city business and wondering if I will run again this fall. (I was elected in a special election to finish the previous mayor's term who after a brief respite from public service is back on the council, finishing out a term of a member who was removed after being convicted of drunk poaching-which apparently is not normally a career ender here, but then he quit showing up to council meetings.) Anyway, I know I harp on this all the time, but I wish Obama and McCain could show how they'd manage a small city. How would they gracefully tell the food pantry volunteers they can't move from their current tribal owned location to the city community center because we can't afford the electricity for the refrigerator and freezer to run all the time?

I can relate to Michell Obama (except for the tall, thin, stunningly intelligent bits). Modest beginnings followed by success, then people sniping that she's out of touch. Did lots of fist bumping yesterday though. It was a good day at robotics camp.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 11, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I liked that article. The comments, feh.

bc, your model rocket story was really cool. The only payloads we ever sent up were spiders and flies.

I remember once my brother and a friend tried to make a 'bazooka' (really a rocket launcher). They had found some old tube about five feet long and just big enough to put the feather weight rocket they had into it. I said that doesn't seem like a very bright idea. They aimed it at the next door neighbors mailbox about 100 feet away. About a foot or two out of the tube a tail fin had come loose (out of four). It started spinning wildly veered to the left a few degrees straight towards the neighbors house across the street. Then the busted fin fell off and it turned up a few degrees before stabilizing again. Flew right over neigbors house before arching downward. Then brother and friend made a mad dash to get indoors. They later told me they heard breaking glass.

And my brother is the smart one in the family...

Posted by: omni | July 11, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

A deconstructionist view of Krauthammer suggests that he suffers from atypical weism, i.e., the implied rather than specific we, also known as pomposity.

Posted by: Shiloh | July 11, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Brag, thanks for taking a bullet for the team and reading K-hammer for us. Owe you one.

Frosty, whaddaya mean, you're "thinking" about whether to run again? Yes! Do it! Frosty for Mayor! Ain't no question about it! How many Canuckistani mayoral candidates do you think have an entire rooting/contributing cohort of invisible supporters-- and furriners at that? If we can't have Error in 08, then we darn sure want Frosty for Mayor.






In other matters, don't worry, CP, I'll sit next to you at a BPH. Just keep your eyes focused up and straight ahead at all times.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Almost forgot: happy 3rd birthday, Tai Shan (official Boodle mascot, yanno).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra... I think it was Ben Franklin who said "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" (or something like that). It amazes me sometimes that we live in a world where the obvious gets buried in paperwork.

I know I've had to resort to the emergency room when I could have gone to a doctor's office. But not having insurance (and few doctors will even talk to you unless you have it), you gotta do what you gotta do.

I still can't understand why we don't have a universal Medicare-type payment system for *everybody* when it comes to health care. Why do we need hundreds of insurance companies when it could all be centralized and taken out of our paychecks as a tax? Let the insurance companies insure our cars and homes, but get them out of the health care business -- all they do is complicate things and make everything more expensive.

Posted by: martooni | July 11, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Alas Mudge, as much as we'd like to join our Ontario neighbors to the north our fair city remains firmly planted on US soil (stolen from the first inhabitants but thankfully that is usually not something I'm blamed for). We'll see how the budget process goes over the next couple council meetings then I'll make a decision. We'll be raising the city levy again, at least the 30% we raised it last year (still making up for a 50% decrease that was done by mistake 4 years ago, plus what it needs to be raised to cover rising fuel costs). At least I ran on a "Heck yeah, I'll raise your taxes" platform and have been widely heard to say "I never met a tax or regulation I didn't like" (only half kidding, it was in response to people complaining about having to put in septic systems instead of pumping their sewage straight to the lake).

McCain is in Hayward WI today at an economic forum for women only. The host is a woman owned business (they are doing the steel for the new I35W bridge in Minneapolis). The owner was interviewed on MN Public Radio yesterday and is adamantly opposed to a gas tax holiday-self interest yes, but a good point about short term feel good measures over keeping people in their well paid infrastructure construction jobs, not to mention keeping bridges from falling down.

Posted by: frostbitten | July 11, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

My wife woke up and declared that the Hawaiian shirt did not go with the khakis. Since my navy chinos are at the cleaner, we had to go back to the light blue Polo knock-off I bought in Beijing for five bucks.

I see that the Krauthammer has been already discussed. My One Sentence Summary was "Might makes right."

For Gerson the only conclusion I could come to was that he needed to be able to expense his Wall-E movie ticket.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 11, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse


Thank you for recognizing my heroism. I've spent a good chunk of my life visiting enemy camps. When making a low-level pass over the K Kamp, I have a barf-bag ready. The stench of even one ideological fool is overpowering.

When will these Neocon nitwits learn that idiology is what buried the Soviet Union?

Posted by: Alexey Braguine | July 11, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Frosty. Thought you were north of the 54-40 line. Don't know why I thought that. But even so, you'd still have a lot of invisble furriner support.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Busy day here...

cassandra, you are an inspiration to me. We don't always agree but I do respect you, no matter what your circumstances. And you have a very big, charitable heart.

Alexey, last time I looked at Russia, Putin was bringing the Soviet Union back to life under a slightly different name. Ideology aside, it does not appear to be completely dead yet. I wonder what your "Neocon nitwits" make of this.

GWB: "And the more I get to know President Putin, the more I get to see his heart and soul, and the more I know we can work together in a positive way."

Er, positive for *who*? And how?

Keep an eye open for Part Tres of the Baja Fluffitado Saga soon...


Posted by: bc | July 11, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

new kit!

Posted by: frostbitten | July 11, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

OK, folks, those of you who have been strapped into your highchairs waiting for installment III of the Baja saga, here it is:

It is, quite literally, a cliffhanger.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 11, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

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