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Remembering Liz Donovan

Liz Donovan, who died this week at the age of 63, was surely the world's most beloved news researcher. Laser-sharp, yet gentle; a champ on deadline, yet preternaturally unflappable. (I can't improve on Elinor Brecher's description of her as "uncommonly serene.") Liz was a primary researcher on the Watergate story at The Washington Post, and eventually spent many years at The Miami Herald. Among her many fans was a young reporter who started a column called Why Things Are. I am pretty sure every column began with a trip to Liz.

One could say that Liz provided assistance in the news gathering process, but that might be looking at the relationship from the wrong angle. That might simply be backward. She loved research -- the science and craft and art and serendipity of discovering things that are out there if you just know where to look and keep poking around. I hope that with some of my requests I helped her in her journalistic avocation.

In recent years, she had been living in North Carolina and writing a blog, Infomaniac: Behind the News. You can read it here.

She'd also put together an online biography that talked about her role in Watergate. Here's my favorite passage:

"The next time you see the movie of All the President's Men, look for
the librarian who single handedly turns the Watergate investigation around.
You'll see Robert Redford, as Woodward, buried in piles of Who's Whos,
trying to identify Kenneth Dahlberg, the man whose name was on the check
found in the burglars' bank account. A librarian who looks a lot like me
shows him a photo found in the library files that makes the connection he
needs. I don't remember who actually found the photo, or if an editor
suggested the search, as one has claimed. The important thing is that the
filmmakers found it relevant to put our role in the story into the movie.
It's a permanent reminder of how essential our job is, and what a
difference we can make."

Here's the obit in the Post.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 12, 2008; 8:24 AM ET
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Next: Anderson Cooper's Stunt Journalism


Arrgh! Nine-point type? I can barely read the copy of the Kit!

Posted by: laloomis | December 12, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

No paragraph structure either...

Posted by: laloomis | December 12, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Really looking forward to the film FrostNixon this month, given its hefty Golden Globe nominations yesterday.

Milk may have opened on Nov. 26 in some theaters, but it opens here in San Antonio today. I plan to see it.

Did you see that Nicole Kidman, who got no nod from the Globes for "Australia"--truly a film with a pastiche of styles, as one reviewer pointed out--inked a deal recently, along with Charlize Theron, to star in "The Danish Girl," an adaptation of the 2000 novel of the same name by Random House editor and author David Ebershoff? The news came out on Nov. 10; Ebershoff was at the Texas Book Festival in Austin on Nov. 1, as I have blogged.

From the press anouncement/(blog):

Sexually adventurous roles are nothing new for Kidman and Theron. Both won Oscars for playing lesbians: Kidman as lesbian writer Virginia Woolf in The Hours and Theron as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster.

Posted by: laloomis | December 12, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: yellojkt | December 12, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Joel, sorry to hear about Ms. Donovan. It sounds like she was an invaluable resource. Even in this Google-happy day and age, somebody that knows what to find and how to find it is a rare gift. I'm sure she will be sorely missed by all the people's whose lives she has touched, which indirectly includes all of us.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 12, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Continuing the grandparent term thread from the last boodle (I gave my own family's terms at the end there; easy enough to find, so I'm not gonna repost): TBG, I could see MeeMaw originating as a childish abbreviation for Grandma, but I'd say it's fully conventionalized now, not just developing from individual children in individual families. I wasn't familiar with MeeMaw and PeePaw before I moved to Texas, but they're very common there and here in my new Deep South home, too.

Posted by: -bia- | December 12, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse


This woman sounds as if she was filled with curiousity, and loved what she did in life. A warm and well-written salute to a lady that made a deep impact on many lives, I suspect.

Yello, yello.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 12, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I have never gotten around to seeing "All the President's Men", nor have I read the book. I need to remedy these failings.

Meanwhile, here at the nation's arguably most forward-thinking agency, we are in a constant struggle to hold onto our reference library. I believe the current plan is to kill it and require that all holdings be made available electronically. A true convenience -- but who will be doing the work of scanning all those documents and making them cataloged and accessible? Who will curate the physical collection of scanned documents and other artifacts? The physical artifacts have value beyond their textual content. For example, I could see why a future researcher might want to examine the paper of an historic handwritten document to understand who had contact with it, through DNA analysis of fingerprint residues. So far as I know (and I know so little), it is supposed to magically transform into an electronic library by simply firing staff and boxing and storing the books in a rental warehouse.

The present administration continues to leave its own fingerprints soiling everything.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 12, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

A kit in 6 point Times New Roman, not for the over-45 without reading glasses obviously.

I'll slap silly the first kid who call me peepaw. What a stupid name.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 12, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Clearly you abrogated the family tradition when you refused to change homework grades in exchange for favors. Your grandfather realized that if he wasn't going to get any rent money, he might as well get a little something something. We can learn much from the wisdom of our elders.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 12, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I love the library. I could stay in the library all day if that was possible. I like to read the reference books, and can get caught up in reading just about anything. Time flies when I'm in the library. I don't get a chance to go like I want to, but the library is my favorite place to be.

A new study suggests that if one doesn't get the joke, one may be suffering from dementia. It's a new tool to test those that are suffering from dementia. I seldom get the joke. Scary.

Perhaps the reason the GOP couldn't force themselves to sign off on the auto bailout was because of where the money was going. They didn't seem to have problem when Paulson and Treasury showed up for money. And they did not add those stringent guidelines to getting the money. The auto bailout would help working folks, those that should settle for anything. Those folks that should be happy to take what they can get. It's a snub in the worst way. This country is going to be burning in flames and we will still have folks thinking that some are better than others.

I'm going to turn off the television. I just can't take looking at the Dow dropping all day, and everybody trying to justify their actions. You know, playing the blame game. It does get old at some point.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 12, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

We'll fix it...sorry...

Posted by: joelache | December 12, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I was always a "Grandpa and Grandma" kind of guy with the appropriate last name if distinctions were necessary. My son went the "Pop-Pop" route which always made me think of that kid's book about hopping.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 12, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Interesting. My maternal grandmother was Grandma (pronounced Gramma) and my paternal grandfather was Grandpa. Supposed that's because both their spouses had died before we came along.

My kids call my mother Grandma and my father Grandpa [name], my Mum's husband is Grandpa [name] and my Dad's wife is just [name]. When they were living, Himself's parents were Momma and Poppa. I think the appending of [name] was a way for the wee ones to figure out where everybody fit, since they are so generously endowed with grandparents.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Wonder if I'll ever be a grandmother? Both the girls say they have no interest in having children (or, as #2 says, getting children), but they are young yet to be so inclined.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

J. Freedom du Lac is in love with Amy Adams

But then again aren't we all

Posted by: omnigood | December 12, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

When my mother was still alive she always preferred "Grandmom" from our kids, but hated "Grandma." So naturally we sometimes teased her by calling her Grandma, and then she'd grit her teeth and growl (a response I seem to have inherited, I fear). And I confess, I bridle at anything other than Granddad myself, unless I'm being specifcally teased for that reason.

My own grandparents (father's side) were Grandmom and Grandpop, and my mother's mother (who died when I was about 4) was "Nana," but I'm not sure if my mother didn't call her that long before I was born. No way to find out now. My Grandpop was called "Pop" by my parents and my grandmother, and "Cholly" (meaning Charlie) by everybody else. I carry his name as my middle name, and I have his disposition, although I don't look like him. My brother, however, who does NOT share my grandfather's disposition and personality, is a total dead ringer for him, so much so that it is spooky. I, on the other hand, am a dead ringer for my father, so much much so that it is also spooky -- 'though I do not have my father's disposition or personality.

A few years ago I visited my brother in upstate New Jersey after not seeing him for some years, and when I knocked on the door and he opened it, we scared the crap out of each other. I was looking at the dead ringer of our grandfather, and he was looking at the dead ringer of our dad.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Plant and animal taxonomy (especially the business of establishing what's the correct scientific name to apply to a plant or a critter)used to require lots of library work. Visits were made to major research centers with vast libraries of forgotten scientific lore. On a more modest scale, I remember driving from Gainesville to Athens, Ga. in hundred degree heat with no air conditioning to burrow into their excellent science library.

So along come sophisticated databases and poof! Most of that old labor's no longer necessary. Tropicos and IPNI, I love you.

I'm sure that today's news researchers do things that would have been impossible not long ago. I don't want to think they're obsolete. There's still a great need for people with the skills to find things, people, events, whatever. And not only in the journalistic world.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 12, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Just Grandma for me

Posted by: omnigood | December 12, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

P. J. O'Rourke thinks newspapers deserve a bailout as well.,25197,24781911-7583,00.html

Posted by: yellojkt | December 12, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

We called my dad's father Great Lorenzo and my mother's father Skeezix. Skeezix called all his grandkids Poncho or Eleanor. None of us were actually named that.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 12, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Cmmon, Jumper, you need to tell the story behind those names!

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

That's a beautiful tribute Joel. In any organization there are many supremely talented individuals who work very hard to help others shine. This sounds like such a person.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 12, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Is everybody actually working?

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Google Ad: Is Bob Woodward sexy?

We know the answer.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Boy, I haven't heard the nickname "Skeezix" in decades. That's from my grandparents' era. Came from the cartoon Gasoline Alley (yeah, I know: you're asking "Huh?")

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Never fear, Yoki.

Do you *want* to become a grandmother?

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I do very much want to be a grandmother. I'll have to get some young family to adopt me if the girls don't cooperate.

I have always loved, and do still, everything about being my girls' Mum, so I would like to try my hand at being a grandparent.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

My wife and I both say that being a grandparent is infinitely better than being a parent: you get all the good stuff, and almost none of the bad. You can spoil the grandkids rotten, load them up on sugar and other bad stuff--and then send them home to their parents to deal with the repercussions.

And in the Good Cop/Bad Cop ploy, the grandparent always gets to play the Good Cop.

And you also get to watch your own kids become parents and get all bent out of shape, just like you used to do, and then you laugh at them and say, "See? This is the crap you put ME through. Now you gotta deal with it. Bwahahahahaha."

It's win/win.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Joel, for your lovely tribute to Liz. We will all miss her.

Posted by: MargotW | December 12, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

According to Imdb, Ron Menchine played the Post Librarian or at least credited with that role. For fans of the release 2.0 of the Washington Senators, you may remember Ron.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 12, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

No takers for virtual lunch? OK, I'm sitting here at my little out-of-the-way virtual Italian mom-and-pop restaurant, at my table with the red checkered table cloth, with my big plate of virtual spaghetti and meatballs, some nice hot Italian bread, and a nice chianti (Ruffino Classico) ina wicker bottle. Got my napkin tucked into my shirt collar, ready to go...

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Gasonline Alley had its moments. You know, you made me just realize that I have no clue what comic strips are running these days. Something that I do really miss about real newspapers printed on paper. That, and box scores where they should be.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 12, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I'll have lunch with you 'mudge! I'm starving.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Waiter! Another glass, plate and set-up please, for my friend. And I think we'll need a bowl of that great salad/antipasto.

Oh, and don't forget the grated parmesan.

Thank you.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

This is a nice restaurant Curmudgeon. I can't think how I've missed it, til now.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Even when I was a kid, RT, and read nearly every comic (except Mary Worth) in both the (Philly) Sunday Inquirer and Bulletin, I never did get Gasoline Alley.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's a nice old neighborhood place. Almost always has the same clientele, all from the neighborhood. Although I'm a little suspicious of that table toward the back--the police captain, the older Sicilian-looking guy, and the young Italian fella with the runny nose. Wait, he just got up to go to the bathroom...I think we better get some doggy boxes and finish our lunch in the park.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse


I've always and only heard it pronounced "VAL-ker-ee", but check a dictionary, might be more ways.

My paternal grandparents are Grandma and Grandpa, the maternal ones are Grandmother and Grandaddy (he's deceased, rest his soul). My mom wanted to be "Grandmamma", but the kids and their mushmouths turned her into Wamma, which stuck. With my wife's folks, their other grandkids call them Grammy and Grandpa Jack, but my kid came along and named them BeeBee and Papa.

All three of them live nearby, but my dad lives far away and doesn't see the kids as much. One time when he was coming to visit, we informed little Gomer that his other Papa was coming. Mushmouth turned this into something that sounded like "new Papa." I didn't want my dad hearing that, so we started urging Papa Tom and Papa Jack, which have both stuck.

By the way, Woodward's not hot, but the guy who played him was. As far as Bernstein goes... Let's just say that I'm glad the guy who played him can act.

Posted by: Gomer144 | December 12, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Who left the freezer door open?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 12, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I'll be sending your tribute to all my library-type friends.

Repost from last kit:

What, no Cap'n Gramps (or Grumps) for you, Mudge?

We used "grandma" or "grandpa" + surname. Kinda awkward actually, but easier to translate.

I'm not sure I buy the Hallmark argument. I buy blank cards and write down what I want to say. Problem solved.


"Dear Me-Maw and Cap'n Grumps,
Thank you for your 10 bucks.
I can't really accept Cap'n Grumps's generous offer to indenture me to a Chinese junk captain..."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 12, 2008 12:18 PM

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 12, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Why not start with a ragu of escargot and tomato on a fried piece of polenta?

I'll be late, must go buy a dozen baklavas to play the role of the taffee W no. 2 burned last night. The taffee turned hard caramel was supposed to be her contribution to her school Christmas party.

I count my blessings too. The young women working with me got a tragic start to the holiday season. There will be no cheers in that tight-knit Portuguese family this year. Men could be mean beasts.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 12, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I think that Woodward is hot, since we've already determined that smart is sexy.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Very nice tribute, Joel.

I'm here in NoVA at a local hospital visiting my dad. Very hard to see him so compromised but that's life. He really isn't at death's door but... I'm so glad I'm here.

On a brighter note I look forward to meeting whomever appears later today. TBG, bc, Raysmom, others? Mudge? I am the face of courage. :-)

Posted by: Windy3 | December 12, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I mean, just look at the Boodle guys, smokin' hot to a man.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Good afternoon, peeps...

It's a little premature and I can't let the cat all the way out of the bag, but I just got back from a *very* good meeting with our local park's event coordinator.

All I can say is that there is a very good chance we'll be having a "wee folk walk in the park" this spring and/or summer, maybe even a semi-permanent one if the public likes it. I've also been asked to design miniature replicas of some of the more interesting doors on historic park buildings. There was also talk of having me do some storytelling and fairy lore presentations, which would be *so* cool. Nothing beats being surrounded by a bunch of little kids hanging on your every word. The park gift shop also wants to carry my doors (plus the replicas).

I am so going to need to hire a helper. Heck, I need a helper now. If anyone's interested, the pay and benefit package stinks but you can smoke and drink beer on the job.

Now I needs to get me butt back out to the shop.

Peace out... :-)

(and a very nice Kit, Joel... sounds like Liz was a very special lady)

Posted by: martooni | December 12, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Joel, thanks for sharing your thoughts on Liz Donovan. Researchers and editors are some of the unsung heroes of the written word; and as some of us tend to get somwhat myopic about our work, we don't appreciate their value until we work someone who's spectacularly good at what they do, and make our work - and us - the best it can be.

yello - gee, where'd O'Rourke get a crazy idea like a federal bailout of the news media...?

"Here's an interesting question: I wonder how the Government would react if media corporations - or the newspaper industry as a whole - asked them for money?

I suppose it depends on the conditions, but still...


Posted by: -bc- | November 30, 2008 9:58 PM"

"I suggested in a comment a few days ago that if the big three automakers can ask for some sort of financial assistance from the Government in order to try to make themselves more viable during this economic downturn, why wouldn't the print news media?

Oh, yeah.
Congress would want to see a workable plan, and exactly which parts of the government has the news media not cheesed off at some point?


Posted by: -bc- | December 1, 2008 9:43 PM"

Next: The Federal Government Bails Itself Out.

Oh, wait, I did that one on the 10thcircle...


Posted by: -bc- | December 12, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

If smart= sexy then this is definately the sexiest blog on the net!!!

Congrats Tooni and would love to help but you get up too darn early for this dude,Can I come in around 11,take an hour lunch and leave before rush hour?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 12, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Windy, I'm not going to make it to the BPH tonight. I managed to drag my tired, achy body to work, and all it wants now is to go back home and sleep.

Mudge, duck!

Posted by: Raysmom | December 12, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

*faxing chicken soup to Raysmom*

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I'll be there for a little while, Windy and Maggie.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

martooni -- you have started and are now growing a business in the heart of a recession? Wow! What a great story!

Posted by: nellie4 | December 12, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

am i here? can you finally see me?


Posted by: mortii | December 12, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow, from beer gardens to park avenues... for a gnome, you're really moving up in the world, Martooni!

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 12, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* i guess i'm still boodle brooked!


Posted by: mortii | December 12, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Mo, I can't see you. Can you wiggle?

Posted by: russianthistle | December 12, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It's delicious, Yoki--thanks!

Posted by: Raysmom | December 12, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

We're being visited by ghosts... I could have sworn I saw Mo just now, but she faded.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 12, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Mo! You're here! *hug*

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

From what Joel and Ms. Brecher have written today, it appears that Liz Donovan was a nice woman. This Kit depresses me today, because all that I could immediately think of was the passage from Gail Collins' 2003 book, "America's Women: 400 years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines" about women serving as researchers in an editorial setting (p. 438):

"In 1970, 3 percent of the nation's lawyers, and 7 percent of the doctors, were women. A woman, on average, had to have a college degree to outearn a man with an eighth-grade education. There were virtually no women judges at any but the very lowest level courts. In the mass media, almost all the top editors were male, even at the women's magazines. At Newsweek, one of the fifty-two writers was a woman and one of the thirty-five researchers was a man, and when the women filed suit under the Civil Rights Act, the editor said the setup was a "news magazine tradition going back almost 50 years."

Makes me wonder what the situation was at the Washington Post when Liz Donovan worked there--for how many ever years that was?

I am depressed anyhow after getting off the phone with the accountant for my parents' estate after an hour's conversation. I was ready and organized with all my questions written out. How angry he became when I found an anomaly with an account listing showing up for the first time in 2008. First he said the account had never been used, then he completely contradicted himself and said the account had been used once. When I asked him which it was, he became extremely hot under the collar (assuing that he was wearing a collar out there in San Diego).

And when I explained to the accountant the reasons my father would be committing a triple lutz in his grave to know that my sister hornswoggled her way into being named trustee, the phone appeareded to go dead. After I tried for about 30 seconds to establish communication with Mr. Goertz (Hello...? anyone there? HEllo? HELLO?"), the phone went silent, with the sound of the call indeed being dropped--the telltale click. Did he really hang up? He did phone back after a minute. Were we really disconnected, as he claimed?

And within five minutes of our first contact by phone shortly after 10:30 a.m., there was a loud sound of cascading, crashing, breaking glass, which prompted the first call-back. So, two call-backs to me within an hour from the estate's accountant. A strange start to my day.

And did my sister really not incur any dental expenses for my mother for the last three years of her life? How odd. Fact checkers really can be a help or a total hindrance, depending on whose facts are being checked.

Posted by: laloomis | December 12, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey mo! I see you!

Raysmom, I hope you feel better soon! Not so much fun, having the flu.

My grandparents were Granny, MawMaw and PawPaw. My mother was Nahnee to her grandkids. I don't remember how Elder Dottir came up with that name. Since she swears she'll never have children, all my hopes are pinned on the Geek Dottir. At least she is in a serious relationship and hasn't declared from the housetops that she's against the idea of motherhood.

I am Gramma Slyness to twin boys. Lucky souls, they have three sets of grandparents to spoil them. I hope they eventually learn to appreciate that.

Posted by: slyness | December 12, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

talk about your big bills

8 loaves of bread or 4 happy meals tough decision

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 12, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

*faxing ginger ale to Raysmom, since she already has chicken soup*

Wilbrod, I'm laughing at your 12:33. "...indentured to a Chinese junk captain..."

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Here's a little more 'way inside' Chicago politics for Jack Kass. It is the first time, I think, that Rahm Emanuel has been explicitly mentioned. I hope that he didn't do anything stupid!

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 12, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I'll be a the BPH for awhile, too.

"...smokin' hot to a man."

Indeed, Yoki. In my case, it seems to depend on how much that man's had to drink and how close it is to closing time.


P.S. And how long ago the lady I was with ditched me.

I don't wear a watch, and I know sometimes Mom can take her sweet time in the Ladies Room. Sometimes she just doesn't want to discuss going Dutch, or money in general. She *knows* I'll buy dinner, I think maybe she just enjoys the spice of a good "dine & dash."


Posted by: -bc- | December 12, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I dispute your thesis, bc.

Posted by: Yoki | December 12, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

ok - i checked on my iphone and you CAN see me but i can't see myself... *sigh*

ok ok tbg - i'll go to the bph! can't really say no considering i work a cpl blocks away now can i? hopefully i'll get there before mudge leaves!

i called my maternal grandmother - grandma (sounded more like gramma) - actually everyone called her grandma - even kids not related to her (cuz she used to babysit the neighborhood kids). my maternal grandfather i only met twice - he stayed in panama - and i was young so i don't remember what i called him. i wasn't close to my paternal grandparents but when i would call my grandmother i called her grandma (last name). her husband wasn't my father's father so i called him by his first name.

my cousin couldn't pronounce abuelita when he was young - it came out awita - and that name stuck so now my aunt is awita...

Posted by: mortii | December 12, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

That Zimbabwe five million dollar note puts it about on par with the Vietnamese 100,000 dong bill, also worth roughly eight bucks. The smallest and largest bill denominations in a country says a lot about the relative cost of living.

In Japan, they've done away with all bills smaller than 1000 yen (~$10) and Great Britain's smallest bill is the five-pound note making Adam Ant's biggest hit an anachronism.

That's not to even mention the Loonie and Toonie.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 12, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I've never been smokin' hot to a man. Neither my gay college roommate nor any of his friends ever made a pass at me. Come to think of it, dang few women either. Unless they needed help with their homework.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 12, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

It's official: the White House has just declared Friday, Dec. 26, as a federal holiday. (We've been expecting this for a while.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh, just for the record:

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, you interested in coffee or tea? A little dessert, perhaps? I'm thinking a lemon sorbet would be nice.

And I wouldn't turn down a Drambuie or a red Dubonnet if you were to join me.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

After the loonie and the toonie the guys on the other side of the mall (The Royal Canadian Mint, an office of the Bank of Canada) want to get rid of the fiver. No more Lauriers. Would they become foonies? Fivies? In the Mint's grand plan, the penny disappear when the $5 coins gets out. We'll see if our elected officials, with their rural conservative constituency, buy that.

I hate the £1 and £2 coins because they are so heavy. Surely there are ways to make a recognizable coin that doesn't weigh a ton.

It's already getting dark here, we're grazing the martini zone just about now Mudge. I wouln't say no to a nice cold one, very wet, 2 olives.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 12, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

RIP actor and (not very good) song-and-dance man Van Johnson, star of "Brigadoon" (which I hated) and "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial." He was 92.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm late for lunch but I'll take some Dubonnet, thank you. It is lovely to return to the Achenblog after Mysterious Technical Difficulties. I'm sorry to have missed the childbirth discussion, as I would have enjoyed sharing my experiences, but alas, too late.

I had Grandma (pronounced gramma) and Grandpa (grampa), plus Grandma [first name]. Oddly this was not because I or any other grandchild had already used "Grandma" for someone else. Mine lived so far apart that I did not get confused by "Grandma" - context always clarified which one. However, Grandma [] was the stepmother to my mother's generation, acquired after most of them were adults and their own mother had died. I think they were determined the keep the distinction between Grandma [] and their own mother, even though most of my generation never knew their mother.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 12, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Never too late, Ivansmom. Go ahead and overshare. Everybody else has.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 12, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

No, I haven't overshared! (She says indignantly.) Yoki and I have swapped stories vial email. Hers is amazing.

Posted by: slyness | December 12, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh. my, look at the time! Almost 4 o'clock! And I think I'm beginning to feel scurvitudinous, and in need of medical attention. I may have to leave work earlier than usual.

Everybody have a good weekend. Be back Boodling tonite.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 12, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, yello, but I'll save the childbirth stories for another day. It's bound to come up again.

Y'all have fun at that BPH. I think I'm going to run a bunch of errands then watch the Boy perform (brilliantly of course) this evening.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 12, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

oh, this is where you all are... I was over at the new kit!

Posted by: MissToronto | December 12, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry that I can't make it to the BPH today. Bad day all around. Missed an appointment this morning because the car wouldn't start, then this afternoon I locked myself out of the house and discovered that my outside hidden key was not where I hit it. Remembered that my nephew had a key, which he couldn't find for the longest time, making him late to pick up his kids from daycare. All that plus a low grade case of dysthymia has made me unable to face the horrible traffic getting through DC. Plus if I leave now, it means I'll get there late, just as everyone is leaving.

So, sorry Windy, let's hope they'll be a next time.

Some days...

Posted by: rickoshea0 | December 12, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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