Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Creeping Surrealism Part 397

Great piece in the WSJ by my neighbor Eric Felten on the lip-synched Super Bowl national anthem and the Yo Yo Milli Vanilli situation at the inauguration:

'Whatever the motivation, the fear of risking mistakes has led musicians to deny who they are as performers. The most disheartening thing about the Inauguration Day quartet's nonperformance was the lengths to which they went to make sure that nothing they did on the platform could be heard. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma put soap on the hair of his bow so that it would slip across the strings without creating even a wisp of sound. The inner workings of the piano were disassembled. There is something pitiful and pitiable about musicians hobbling their own voices....

'...what is art without risks? Any live performance is a high-wire act, and the wire can be wobbly. Nowadays, it seems that -- when it really counts -- musicians are willing to put the wire on the pavement and walk along it as if they were doing something just as daring as the real thing.'

Unlike Eric, I'm not a musician, so I don't feel comfortable saying that Ma et al should have handled the situation differently (though it did bug me a little bit that we didn't learn about the pre-recording until days later). But there is the whole question of what it means when the public ceases to care about the distinction between real and simulated. For years I've been sounding the alarm about Creeping Surrealism. I need to re-open that file.

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 7, 2009; 9:37 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: That Obama Op-Ed
Next: Here They Are, The Beetles


Ok, now I have a crush on Mr. Felten. Anyone who can say that Velveeta is, in it's own way, "flawless" is a man after my own heart.

Posted by: Kim1 | February 7, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

If you're going to talk about "Homestyle" cookies under the banner of creeping surrealism, then how about Robert Baker's formulation for using a paste of finely minced chicken, with some skin added, to make chicken nuggets in any shape? You really don't think this created food came that way naturally, do you?

Or take artist Scott Siedman's "Portrait of Abraham Lincoln" that you all ooohed and aahed over in the Kit just about the time of the Inaugural. Rendered in a style like that of Thomas Hart Benton, Siedman places Obama within the traditional American “heartland” mythologies. To view Siedman's other works, it might be fun to check out the paintings in a fairly recent show titled "Obscenery."

His statement about this series of paintings:

On land and sea, small figures of humankind, solitary and in clusters, demonstrate an endless and irresistible appetite for folly. Faced with the utter failure of our economic, political and spiritual institutions to take any responsibility for their part in the coming collapse, I offer a few heartfelt narratives, where we perform with passion and humor, where we speak the unspeakable, where we struggle against shame and threats …and eff Eff in sunny innocent Impressionist gardens, on stormy seas, or with giant ridiculous surrogate balloons.

I don't believe in progress, good taste or the God of Abraham, but I recognize their power as ideas and I have devoted my artistic life to debunking them. They all share a common fear of human sexuality. The spiritually enlightened try to rise above it, the cultured class speak of it in whispers, and the God-fearing bludgeon it with fear. I paint a world where those ideas have no power, where Eve takes Adam by the hand and escapes from Eden. She blows God a kiss, moons him and they exit laughing.

Posted by: laloomis | February 7, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for that shout-out to Siedman, Loomis.

He is both sharp and witty, clever and funny, incisive and humourous, he bludgeons with a feather, his kick to the gut tickles, he grabs the throat with laughter, oh you know what I mean...

FYI, some Obscenery:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 7, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Sad news, actor James Whitmore has passed.

A beautiful 8c and sunny here today, snow is melting rapidly - if this not real please don't tell me - I need this allusion of spring today.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Note for y'all-- not fully SFW, in case the "obscenery" and the "sexuality" parts didn't tip you off.

We are getting a little snow melt here too. Not quite spring, but anything that reduces the snow for the real spring works for me.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 7, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

And Cassandra, agree with you-- Gates is hard core. I didn't know he played practical jokes with such bite.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 7, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Dmd, I have it on good authourity that the spiritually enlightened expect an early spring.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 7, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Not sure I trust the "spiritually enlightened" boko. But I will take anything that will allow me to see around corners at intersections, snow banks just a little high right now

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

To me, the real danger of creeping surrealism is not just that we value the fake over the real; it is that we may start to forget that this is what we are doing. We will begin to suppress and deny our own sense of reality to the point where we lose all judgment.

In all of us there is some innate sense of right and wrong, good and evil, attractive and ugly. When we start to reject our own reactions as unworthy, then we are starting to enter the realm of self-deception. We deny the reality that we perceive in favor of some other reality we deem superior.

For example, those Siedmen paintings. I understand, I guess, the intent of the artist, but they fail to move me in any manner except revulsion. Should I suppress that response and replace it with the "correct" one? I don't believe so.

In the same way one can argue until one is blue in the face that pre-recorded music is no big deal, but to some of us it just seems, you know, wrong. Should I be ashamed of this reaction when the reality is so much more perfect? Again, to me the answer is no.

Self-deception is not a virtue. It's like a story one of the former assistants to Prince Charles told about the Royal family and blood sports. He commented that many didn't really much care for fox hunting and the like. They just did it because it was the kind if thing Royals are supposed to do.

Creating an artificial world, both externally and internally, means a willingness to fool ourselves. People are forced to pretend that those musicians are really playing. Pretend that "dramatic re-creations" on television are real. Pretend that we like certain things when we do not. We begin to lose touch with our own tastes and values. And that's about as surreal as it gets.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 7, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, RD. I knew if I waited long enough someone would articulate some of the reasons creeping surrealism is so disturbing.

As a musician, I completely understand the instrument-tuning and cold problem which led to the Inaugural music decision. I also understand why, in venues where it is difficult to have a full acoompaniment onstage, singers wind up lip-synching (though they could always sing to the recorded music, and many do). However, I think it is important even in these situations that everyone fully understand what is being done. Also, even organizers under those conditions could make other choices which, though not as desirable, have the virtue of preserving the immediate reality of the circumstances. For instance, these days they could stream live video of performers from a more copacetic location. Or, of course, they could just apologize, say conditions will not permit live performance, and move on with the remainder of the program. Would that make people happy? Probably not. I think many people, if pressed, would rather hear a pre-recorded performance than none at all, given the choice. But a decision not to perform would be real.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Been watching Food Network, got two good recipes for braised chicken and one for peach-glazed ham. That network is darned dangerous, I'm telling ya. Meanwhile, I prepped a London Broil in marinade for this evening. And the new issue of Cook's Illustrated has a really interesting method for cooking a beef tenderloin (Chateaubriand). I don't even remember the last time I had one or could afford one. But boy does it look good. And I haven't made corn fritters in a coon's age -- may have to make them tomorrow. The kids love them (I do, too).

I share the concerns over creeping surrealism. One solution would be to do the sensible thing, and have inaugurations without string quartet performances. Democracy will survive without faux performances.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 7, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe it never occured to me to try and fly my pants! I've flown a lawn chair and I managed to get a small dome tent tangled up a tree. As a matter of fact I'm looking at the remains of a parrot kite I tangled in the wires outside my front window.

I think the rest of the paintings are sexy, funny, and cute. If that makes me naughty, spank me.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 7, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Good day all
It has warmed up nicely today,over 50 now and I have several outdoor chores this afternoon.I let the fire die down this morning,so I can get on the roof and sweep the chimney.I like to do it at least once during the burning season.

Also it is time to take down my Christmas tree,I usually leave in up till Febuary 2 in honor of my father's birthday.Since it was cut fresh out of my yard,it could probably last another month or so. But that would be too west by god virginny.It was just too cold this past week to deal with it.

An albino deer has joined the group around my house,not pure white,a few patches of grey here and there.I have seen it before in the community and I am always amazed it survives hunting season.I have never gotten close enogh to see if it's eyes are red.Perhaps I will try the zoom on my binoculars to see.I know the the native Americans held albino animals in high standings,as if they were some type of spirit.I would like to think that this doe is spreading a spiritual aura around my house.

Well, out to do the chores.

Have a Great day everyone.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 7, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

cassandra, about the octuplets, the l.a. times mentioned in the last few days that the state will be investigating the fertility clinic. and a number of los angeles hospitals have had to close their emergency rooms or close altogether because they can't financially survive when there are so many uninsured people.

Posted by: LALurker | February 7, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

this article gives obama's reaction to the senate version of the stimulus bill:

i love this obama quote:
"We can't afford to make perfect the enemy of the absolutely necessary," he said. "The scale and scope of this plan is right. And the time for action is now."

gotta love a voltaire alluding president.

Posted by: LALurker | February 7, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I have a sort of tangential rant that ties in with the creeping surrealism problem, which I suppose is creeping visualism, which is a phrase I just coined for the increasingly promiscuous use of videos and whatnot to accompany music.

Nowadays, you simply CANNOT release a new song (I was going to horribly date myself by saying "new album" or worse, "new record") without it being accompanied by a portentous video for the MTV and VH-1 crowd. The music industry spends a disproportionate large part of its time producing something which isn't actually music -- it is visual, to the point that in many cases it overwhelms the actual music and displaces it. And this is where we get into the variant of creeping realism.

The other day my son and I were talking about the relatively new group "One Republic," and their new song "Stop and Stare," which I like a lot. My son said they had an interesting video that accompanied it. I asked him to describe it; he couldn't. The next day I watched the video: incomprehensible. It had some interesting stuff in it (I refuse to use the pretentious word "images") -- but it wasn't "about" anything, wasn't linear, made no sense, and had nothing to do with the song. So what was it, and why did it exist? Creeping surrealism. It existed simply because it was "supposed" to exist, because nowadays those are the rules. You produce a new song; you produce a new video. never mind if it makes any sense. The modern music scene isn't about the sound, nor even the "performance," in the sense of the faux string quartet at the inauguration. It is all about the visual, and it doesn't even have to be coherently visual. All it needs to be is moving flashes of light in semi-recognizable patterns. Life imitates art, in this case, Dada, and Cubism, and whatever.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 7, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Don't go all Victorian on us now, Boko.
We might start discussing predatory voluptuousness again.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 7, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I, too, love the pants as kite! Of course, Siedman's He is Risen makes me laugh!

And didn't Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld pitch a show that was "about nothing"? Seems the band "One Republic" is a late-comer.

Posted by: laloomis | February 7, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't think pants would fly as the painter depicted, though.
A wire holding open the waist of pants constructed from a light material would be the best approach IMO. You could increase stability by restricing the airflow though one of the legs. This leg would act as tail.

FYI- If you have to run to launch a kite it's probably not windy enough to to fly it, nekkid or not.

Posted by: Boko999 | February 7, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Cook's Illustrated taste test: the very best applesauce? Musselman's Lite. Very distant second: Musselman's Home Style.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 7, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Salvador Dali painted Lincoln, by the way. Dali's Lincoln hangs at the museum in St. Petersburg, titled," "Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea Which at 20 Meters Becomes The Portrait of Abraham Lincoln."

I've been knocking myself out on Google trying to find the recent painting of Obama done in the Dali style, but to no avail.

Posted by: laloomis | February 7, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, you must come from the age where nobody danced to music. I loved "her Morning Elegance" video, and I felt it fit the music rhythm.

But I will agree with you that flashing lights and so on are NOT good.

I got so angry with "Lord of the Dance" because it was all flashing lights and such and I couldn't see the dancing-- which is the ONLY reason I would put up with Michael Flathery in a split shirt ever again. Riverdance: the original beats "Lord of the Dance" because it keeps it simple and focused on the dancing.

I can't stand being in dance clubs with strobes lights either, that stuff can induce migraines.

Now I am watching that video you mentioned, Mudge.

You mean "Stop and Stare" isn't about a unlucky guy sinking into regret, facing his mortality in Tuscon, contemplating suicide as commanded to do so by his demonic TV, before hearing a song to make him remember his old happy life?

BTW, I agree it's crappy, I can't feel the music or the song from it, but now I read the lyrics, I sort of see a connection.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 7, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Cook's Illustrated just hasn't tasted my applesauce, Mudge. Apples, cinnamon, a little cloves and less cardamom. Cook to desired texture. Cook too long, apple butter!

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

the question of distinguishing reality from fiction is huge and complex. it seems that the issue of lip-syncing is, relatively speaking, small change compared to some other issues. for example, what kind of social effects will second life and other virtual platforms have on society.

Posted by: LALurker | February 7, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

LA lurker, you mean virtual communities like the Boodle? :)

Posted by: -bia- | February 7, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I mostly always hated MTV even when I was supposedly in the demographic. Huge amount of lip-synching. I mostly always liked the musical guests on Saturday Night Live, even if they weren't my favorite at any particular time, because they brought the real thing to the stage: no lip synching, a real live performance.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 7, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

My all-time surrealistic favorite example was a way a company burned me when I bought their plastic trash can. On the trash can was a stick-on lable. On the label was a little info and a picture of the self-same trash can. When I got it home I found it was one of those labels you simply can't remove without an arsenal of rare solvents. As I grumbled I looked at the picture of the trash can ON the label on the trash can. The picture of the trash can had no label stuck on it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 7, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

You're right, L.A.Lurker. Performance is a simple, easily understood part of a larger and unpleasantly complex issue. Issues like lip-synching ideally provide an introduction to discussion of the phenomenon of creeping surrealism, rather than serving as an exclusive example and thus letting everything else off the hook.

That's a metaphorical hook.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Video games, for example. Now Wii sports are all very well when it is night or weather is inclement but kids want to keep up their skills and stay fit. However, many children prefer punching buttons on a controller to play a game version of baseball, football etc. than to getting outside and tossing the ball around. There are many deeply annoying examples of this, and I regret that young adults (possibly some not-so-young) are affected in addition to children. One can always turn order the child outside. This is harder with the adult.

Now I wholeheartedly endorse the surrealism involved in some games. i don't think anyone should be encouraged to drive very recklessly or shoot up their surroundings; if someone must do so, the television is a much better place for that than the street.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Here is the closest I can come up with for something that bothers me on creeping surrealism - the virtual lines placed all over the football field, first down line arrows pointing which direction the play is in - not quite as bad as the infamous blue streak after the hockey close, but in my opinion very close. Don't even get me started on the virtual ads inserted over the existing ads in a stadium.

How long before we are watching live virtual NFL games - think of the cost savings for owners.

With that I am off to a children's hockey game, nothing virtual there.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Ivansdad offers the example of fishing in World of Warcraft. You get a pole, cast your line in the water, and a little bobber sits there. When the bobber dips, you click on it and pull out your fish. Ivansdad is something of a WOW maven but even he shakes his head at this.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

bia, that's a good point about the boodle. it could apply to the degree that we operate under aliases. however, it seems to me that we're a pretty honest bunch here (we're not adopting fictional personas). we don't divulge too much info in order to remain relatively anonymous, but we're not really messing with people's minds too much. there hasn't been too much playing around with aliases.

mudge fictionalizes his persona periodically, to great humorous effect i might add. that's part of the fun - trying to figure out the real from the fictional. a lot of the humor in faux news shows (like stewart and colbert) derives from the shifts back and forth between the real to fictional. joel does it all the time in how he shifts in and out of hyperbole or outright fantasy.

anyway, my point about reality versus fiction is that it's a huge issue and lip-syncing is not even a major example of how this issue affects us.

Posted by: LALurker | February 7, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

OK so I am watching highlights of the World Championship downhill (congrats Canuck John Kucera), so watch do they do show a reply of the run with a virtual/supperimposed comparison of Hermann Meir(sp), together on the same run.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

ivansmom, lip-syncing is an issue because it violates expectations in the area of musical performance. in other types of performances, we expect departures from reality - magic, pro-wrestling, etc.

Posted by: LALurker | February 7, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Hallo boodle. Reporting from St. Paul, where it is sunny and above freezing.

A lifetime of association with the US military has me very comfortable with creeping surrealism. Its absence is what creeps me out.

For those of you not keeping up with the latest mil news, there's a new Special Forces headquarters standing up in Afghanistan called CFSOCC-A (pronounced siff-sock-ay for you acronym impaired, and it is so an acronym because you can pronounce it as the word siff-sock-ay).

Anyway, my favorite quote from the Army Times article introducing this development comes from "a field grade officer" who surely hopes the writer can keep his identity secret. "I was thinking just the other day that the reason why we're not winning is because we don't have another headquarters...and if we got that on the ground, I think we could pull this baby out."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 7, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Minneapolis Mayor, RT Rybak has announced he is running for his third term but will not promise he'll serve the full term. I'm hoping that means he's still seriously considering a run for governor.

Here's a link to the cover article on his "Radical Renewal" (as in economic development in the city's core)in Governing magazine:
The money graf-
"It's only a slight exaggeration to say Rybak is trying to rewrite the rules of urban economic development. He is trying to prove that it's possible to be a left-leaning mayor of a left-leaning city and still be both a fiscal conservative and a friend to business and development. Of course, what he defines as friendliness isn't always the kind of relationship the CEOs would prefer. But it's changing the face of the city."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 7, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

fiction?!? FICTION!!??? You mean, LAL, you don't BELIEVE some of my true-life adventures??? Why, I'm so flumoxed I don't know what to say. Dammit, Mark Twain told me this would happen. I should have listened to him, instead of advising him to give riverboat piloting a try.

Jeez, 64 degrees here, and just a day ago I was whining about the cold. Just came in from doing some repairs on the English garden gate -- in my shirtsleeves. This ain't February, folks. This is some sort of imposter. I am HIGHLY suspicious.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 7, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh Mudge, don't pay any attention to LAL. She's just being silly. You know how much we all love to hear your stories of olden times.

Yes, it's the February faux spring, which will bring out the roses and daffodils and then freeze them when winter returns, next week.

Posted by: slyness | February 7, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

faux umbrage, faux weather...

see? it's everywhere!!

Posted by: LALurker | February 7, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

A big danger of sudden thaws up here, frightening news out of Columbus - large rescue of ice fisherman caught when the ice flow shifted.

We set a record today with how warm it is. Close to 50F here today.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Plenty of quite real performance out there. The St. Olaf college choir from Minnesota arrived here with freezing weather and did a seemingly impossible Angus Dei by Krzysztof Penderecki. One spot in that piece seemingly caused a momentary hearing failure somwhere in my brain--buzzing, brief silence, then back to hearing. The piece partially lacks the tonal props that we use to remember and interpret music, so how did the choir manage to learn it? I suspect lots of work.

Next day, Christopher O'Riley with a non-repertory Mendelssohn concerto and the orchestra doing Arriaga's one and only symphony. Whatever happened to the retirees only wanting to hear music they've heard before? Admittedly, the same theater will have a number of ancient ghosts performing in the next few weeks.

Retail surreal is so much with us that it fails to register. Like the Abercormbie & Fitch version of a surf shop, something called Hollister. All concocted in Ohio.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 7, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

LOL, LAL! *wink*

Posted by: slyness | February 7, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

DotC, older child is at a hockey tournament in the US this weekend, biggest thrill, going to Holister - in a state with no tax(?) and discounted prices at the stores.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Back from a walk and 64 here today too. I walked along the river again,which is still frozen solid and at least 4 inches thick.

But a sure sign of spring to come, there was a bat flying overhead. Out of nowhere swooped in a hawk,talons at the ready and he just brushed by him. Do Hawks not eat bats?

Further along and there was a dead raccoon partialy frozen in the ice.Not sure if he got stuck and died,or if someone threw him out there.

My river is very old and the valley is very steep,near the end of the walk I came out to the largest stream that drains from my area of the mountain.It was at least 10 degrees cooler and windy.The northwest slopes still have snow cover and there was some beautiful ice along the stream.

Not bad for Febuary!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 7, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

hawk swoops, brushes past
luckily blind as the bat
who may yet see spring

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 7, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

For any fans of early planes, video of a replica Silver Dart - the first aircraft to fly in Canada circa 1909 - in Baddeck, NS (Alexander Graham Bell worked on the original project).

In a nice modern twist the replica had a few modern components - including hockey tape.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Here's a very enjoyable story about Tom Paxton by J. Freedom DuLac from tomorrow's Post. He tells some great stories and must have about a zillion more.

Posted by: -pj- | February 7, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

When I was a Wyomingite, there were regular pilgrimages to the vast retail facilities (and no sales tax) of Billings, Montana.

When living in Portland, Oregon, I was once in line at a nursery with a woman who seemed to be buying an entire garden. Turned out she was from Seattle. Claimed all the good plants were grown and sold in Oregon, leaving only leftovers for Seattle. Then there was the lack of sales tax in Portland.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 7, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Update from the shopper, apparently Dad was unaware of the importance of Holister to a young teen - while a nice gift was received for said teen - much nicer than a t-shirt with Holister written across the front - teen is not being fully appreciative - it will be a LONG night and drive home for Dad. This teen is normally very appreciative but after seeing the shopping sprees of fellow teammates is having difficulty seeing Dads practicallity and inability to understand that the $20 her donated for teens shopping needs doesn't go very far. So glad I am not there :-)

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

In 1981 while working at Wendy's, one of the guys came in and described a new channel that played nothing but music only they had little movies playing with them too. He tried to describe the one for a song that had all these chessman and weird images. It had nothing to do with the song at all. It's good to know nothing has changed in a quarter of a century.

That is if you don't go back to those Elvis movies where he would just start singing randomly for no reason. Or those silly movies from Busby Berkeley where all the dancers formed those fancy geometric patterns that had nothing to do with the song.

Bruce Springsteen fought movie-style videos for a long time. He preferred live-style concert footage ('Dancing In the Dark') or images over the music ('Atlantic City'). He was considered a sell-out (not for the first nor last time) for playing a character in 'I'm On Fire'. The video for his latest single is all black and white footage of studio sessions. Who knows how staged they are, but they look authentic.

And isn't that what counts.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

It is true.

Video killed the radio star.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 7, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Much to the appreciation of our clothing budget, my son eschewed as crassly exploitative all those tee shirts with the names of the stores on them. No Hollister, A&F, or even Old Navy for him. He did have one ratty American Eagle hoodie he wore that he had bought used off of a classmate.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I will always have a soft spot for The Buggles, rd. As for One Republic (And why the quotes? I know we are italics-deprived but I thought songs got quotes and bands just got capitalized, but I'm not the professional wordsmith. NYT uses quotes for books and movies even though they don't have to and they cut and paste funny as well), I say "meh." They have the Coldplay/Keane power ballad down style and the kids today enjoy those vaguely morbid lyrics ever since they were told not to fear the reaper.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Not a lot of named T's at our house either - which is adding to the teen's grumpiness, as it would have been an exception not just one of many. Life lesson :-). There is a great store just down the street that sells gently used clothes - a good destination if a named T becomes a need - that is what allowance is for.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

My wife dragged me to 'He's Just Not That Into You'. The things I do for love. I will confirm that ScarJo is both predatory and voluptuous. She plays an aspiring singer WHO tempts married guy Bradley Cooper (WHOM I am so gay for: with all her feminine whiles.

During the pre-show the theater showed a rather recursive segment about the making of the My Chemical Romance video for the 'Watchmen' soundtrack which is set in the alterna-80s-verse of the movie. The full video hasn't been released, but here is a cruddy bootleg video of a live MCR performance where they cover Dylan's 'Desolation Row.'

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

There's so much cool stuff to think about with this creeping surrealism business.

I was looking at it in my earlier post in very broad terms, but I think the narrower interpretation of performance art also lends itself to some interesting concepts.

I understand that some people don't care if something is real or not so long as it looks good. A philosophical position that is, I believe, known as "Vegas Showgirlism."

Then there are those who only enjoy a performance if there is a risk of disaster, preferably involving flames. This is the NASCAR view of artistic appreciation.

Where is the optimum combination?

I believe that the answer to this conundrum has to do with full disclosure. If something is fake, be honest about it. Most people don't mind a bit of make-believe. (Please reference previously described "Vegas Showgirlism.")

The anger comes from the sense of being lied to. 'Cause nobody much likes being Punk'd.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 7, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Whaddaya know. I've been seeing all this promo stuff for "The Last templar," starring Mira Sorvino, and all along thought it was a movie. But it is just now starting on the Ion channel.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 7, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, here's the link:

And the reason I'm boodlehogging is that I bought a new computer, but I need to back-up all my music, photos, and video to transfer them to the new machine. The latest progress bar says 127 minutes remaining, but I'll believe it when I see it. Until then, I'm doing some housekeeping, boodling, and blogging.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Ah the memories. The #1 benefit to the dott eschewing college and leaving the nest is the rapidity with which her ideas of want vs. need changed, and how quickly "it's only (insert ridiculous sum for ridiculous item)" was excised from her vocabulary. She will also eat left overs, home made chili, and other things she'd formerly "rather starve than eat." In fact she'll eat anything home made that someone else bought and cooked.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 7, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Yello - I owe a lot to "The Buggles." Many years ago now, I had to take this special test involving wires. I was not doing well. My mind kept wandering, and before I knew it I was becoming dangerously close to incriminating myself for the Kennedy assassination. Then I started running "Radio Killed the Video Star" through my mind. It quickly evolved into a full-blown tune cootie. This allowed me to focus enough to successfully get through the test. My career was saved.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 7, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

That sound a little like my #2 Frosti, depite current behaviour #1 is very easy going and undemanding #2 not so much (to say the least).

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

SCC: wiles. I don't want to sound much more illiterate than I am.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I will remember that trick in case I have ever attached to wires and accused of having impure thoughts.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "in case I am ever attached to wire"

The grammar part of my brain has taken the day off.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Let me stress, yello, I wasn't trying to fake out the test. But if you can't focus your thoughts, you are lost.

So there's a tip for you younguns out there who hope to one day get a cushy job like mine. Get a good education. Never get involved in one of those "Michael Phelps moments."

And listen to a lot of catchy music.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 7, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

The top four search terms for my blog are currently:

foma (no duh)
gay college roommate stories
bradley cooper gay
melissa and friends

I seem to be appealing to a certain niche I'm probably not properly servicing. Surprisingly, Google mainstay "jordan todosey naked" is all the way down at #7.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

I didn't realize that radio killed video stars.

Posted by: -pj- | February 7, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

For those too young to remember. Here's the first video ever played on MTV:

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 7, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Hi all... Too busy to have been boodling lately. Am I caught up now? Whew.

Spent the day at the mall (the shopping one, not the National One) with Daughter and remember now why I hate going to the mall.

The big event for the G house this week was buying a new washer and dryer. They won't arrive until next week, but it sure will be nice to be washing our clothes in machines that are younger than 25 years old.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 7, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I do remember that video killed radio stars, however.

Posted by: -pj- | February 7, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

We didn't have cable when I was in college, but I remember in law school sitting around for hours watching MTV, because the next video might be good. It was an excellent time-waster.

I have tried to instil in the Boy the principle that clothing with other people's names on it (or, by extension, identifying corporate marks) is vulgar. We'll see how this holds up. He is very fashion-conscious but not in a "label" way. He just likes to look sharp. He took to wearing a blazer (over long-sleeved T-shirt) with jeans this winter, and as the weather warms he's replaced it with tailored vests. When he can get away with it he wears a fedora (they frown on hats at school). I loaned him my vintage Ecuadorian dark straw with a maroon band, and my Dobbs Fifth Avenue grey felt, but if he's going to keep this up he has to get his own hat.

Better than a "Hollister" shirt, says I. Talk about creeping surrealism - Santa Barbara's old main street was "Hollister" and I used to get really confused about the real surf culture there versus the fake Hollister shirts.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Ooh good catch pj. My bad.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 7, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I have my grandfathers Dobbs fedora and a top hat also from Dobbs, had a small fedora wearing stage in University - it was the 80's and seemed very appropriate.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Cable wasn’t available to us when MTV premiered but I remember hearing someone say that they felt sorry for the young people who watched it. When we oldsters heard old songs we would remember what we were doing or who we were with when the song first came out. The MTV generation just remembers the video.

I love live performances. If the circumstances don’t lend themselves to something being live, weather, feedback dohickeys and such, then just skip it or show a video or play a tape or CD. Lip synching has always seemed very tacky to me. I think there’s something charming in a performance that isn’t perfect. Of course that’s assuming that the performer is a decent singer with a frog in his/her throat or whatever, not a total fraud who has been engineered into sounding decent.

I just signed up for FiOS Internet and phone and am trying to see if I can get out of my Direct TV contract and switch that as well.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 7, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

My own favorite instance of creeping surrealism is the redefinition of prosperity that occurred without anyone noticing. Prosperity used to be owning a home and raising kids on 40 hours of formal employed work a week. Now it's owning a home and raising kids on (say) 100 hours per week of formal employment. The surreal part is that nobody draws attention to this contrast, 40 vs. 100, and nobody seems to be po'ed about the fact that even after the stock market comes back, this is the very best we can hope for, and has been for many years now. Am I the only one who remembers the whole family not just eating dinner together at home, but lunch? Note, this says nothing about whether women or men or both have the job. By the naive economic expectations of my boomer childhood, they should be able to trade off full-time employment or work 20 hours each. Sorry to go off on a tangent, but to me the surreal part is the amnesia... the fact that this is so seldom, if ever, discussed. When the Clintons said, "It's the economy, stupid," I thought they were ready to raise this point as a live issue, but it didn't happen.

Posted by: woofin | February 7, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

woofin, I had a related thought while watching "He's Just Not That Into You" today. Two of the characters are moving into a Baltimore row house, like the one my mother grew up in. But it's not enough for these two people to own and renovate a house like my grandparents'. They have also bought the house next door, and have knocked down some interior walls, and left some exposed brick to advertise the expansion. Apparently, the two of them feel that they need TWICE as much space as a whole family had 75 years ago. That has happened across the board in America. The house I live in is considered very small now but when it was built, back in 1963, it was a standard-size house. This is related to the long work hours, the high levels of consumer debt, and, ultimately, to the financial "crisis" we're experiencing. Unsustainable expansion and ever-rising expectations. Affluenza.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 7, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I had similar thoughts about houses driving to my child's hockey game today. The drive was along the lakeshore, when I was young is was and still is a well to do area, however, the scale of the house are what are different today. When I was young it was the location, lot sizes, while there were some very large homes, the majority were not extremely large. Just larger versions of the homes of the day, rambling bungalows, split levels and two storey homes - nothing too flashy. So many of those (3500 -4000 sq. ft) homes have been razed and very large homes (small chateau style) homes have taken their place. I like the look of the older homes as they look like homes, they have warmth and you could picture a family enjoying themselves there, the newer ones just make me feel cold.

I was wondering given the economy what the house trend will look like in the next few years - what style will the new replacement house take.

Woofin as someone who struggles with being able to manage the work schedule, home life combo I appreciate your comments.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 7, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Here's a link to the seminal "Creeping Surrealism" article, by J. Achenbach, dated 1987:

Posted by: kbertocci | February 7, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Kber, I am ready for us to go back to the older styles, but with more than one bathroom. I'm thinking McMansions will be a casualty of our current economic crisis. (But then, I live in a 1963 ranch, which I love.) Didja seen Ignatius' column today? He quotes "Dr. Doom" saying that irrational exuberence in housing was the genesis of our problems:

Congrats on the new washer and dryer, TBG! Did you buy front loaders? I'm sure you'll be thrilled with the performance of new appliances.

Posted by: slyness | February 7, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

And here's a link to an essay I read today out of a book called _Seventy-nine Short Essays on Design_ by Michael Bierut

It's called "The Real and the Fake"

Please note this guy is a graphic designer, not a writer per se, so the prose can't compare to that of our esteemed JA. But the ideas are interesting. And he brings up a book on the subject, too, that might be of interest to someone pursuing this topic, _The Unreal America, Architecture and Illusion_ by Ada Louise Huxtable.

From the essay:

/Begin quote/

...midwestern hotels in the thirties often had spaces "themed," to use the current word, on New York, or rather the idea of New York: the Manhattan Bar, the Empire Ballroom. The robust streamlined glamour of these spaces was derived, naturally, not from the real New York, but from the idea of New York that people got from screwball comedies like My Man Godfrey or Twentieth Century.

Compare this with a place like the new Las Vegas hotel and casino complex New York, New York. There the old-fashioned glamour is evoked as always, but with a surprising new layer of graffiti, gum stains, and soot, all simulated with a dazzling degree of stagecraft. This painstaking detail has been made necessary, I suspect, not by any dedication to verisimilitude for its own sake, but to satisfy the expectations of visitors who have never been to the place but know it well not from Carole Lombard movies but from cop shows like NYPD Blue. They know what the "real" New York looks like, and it's a little bit dirty.

/End quote/

Posted by: kbertocci | February 7, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

What counter do you use on there, yello? That's the kind of info I need. I think.

Muggles, Fuggles, Buggles. I can't keep them all straight.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 7, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

My favorite line of the JA Classic Column is this:

"People aren't naturally stupid; it takes years of training. Kids usually can spot a liar a mile away but adults will swallow anything."

I recently added Google Analytics to my site. Get an iGoogle account and go to the My Account tab and it will tell you how to add the code to our template.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention the Rutles, the Fugs, and the Fugees.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 7, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Don't even get me started on the big house trend, with how small families are nowadays.

Seems like People with money now hate yardwork and would rather enclose everything with 4 walls.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 7, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Real Dogs with Money
Would plant trees everywhere
And you know why, right?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 7, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

"...good fences make good neighbours [?]"

Posted by: -jack- | February 7, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Right, Jack.

Caught this editorial cartoon...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 7, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

They didn't have cable when you went to college, Ivansmom? Hell's bells, they didn't have the TransAtlantic cable when I went to college.

More seriously, we have lost much more than we know. Woofin mentions the American Dream and the notion of raising a family on just 40 hours of work, rather than 100. dmd and kber talk about the sizes of houses, as well as the loss of aesthetics in today's McMansions, and I agree with all that. I would add one additional factor. Back in the day, it used to be quite common that three generations lived in one household; think "The Waltons" if you must, but when I was born and for the first five years of my life, there were not three but four generations living in my household, which was a two-story "trinity" row house in the Logan section of North Philadelphia. My grandparents had the second floor, and my great-grandmother was in one of the two bedrooms, until the day she died at 96 or so.

My parents had the first floor, with a big sofa that was a pull-out bed in the living room; that was their room. In the only bedroom was me, and when my brother was born, he shared it. The third room (not counting the bathroom) on the floor was the kitchen, which was only just large enough to fit six people around it.

That was pretty much the norm, or if not quite the norm, there were certainly plenty of households just like it, and it wasn't unusual.

Nowadays, when the kids leave the home, they form a new household. The parents downsize, and sooner or later move to Florida, or South Carolina, or Arizona-- some Sun City wannabe, anyway. And if the grandparents are still alive, they are in yet a third household, also in Sun City, or else a nursing home or assisted care facility. Sometimes this is often a good thing if nthe people aren't in good shape and can't take care of themselves. But by and large that is what we have lost: the immediate and adjacent connection between the first and third generations.

And we have lost small towns and we have lost affordable housing, especially for "starter" homes. We have lost mom-and-pop business to Wal-Mart and other big boxes. We have lost trolleys altogether, and not replaced them with not enough public transportation. Instead we have clogged highways full of oversize gas-guzzling SUVs used to transport a single person to his/her white-collar job: a 6,000-pound car to carry one person at 30 miles an hour over urban roads at 11 mpg. Jeez.

And the saddest part is, only us older farts even understand what it is we have lost. The youngins don't even know.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 7, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Mudge-just one point of disagreement about starter homes. My parents bought their first home, at a size and price (adjusted for inflation) that would today be considered a "starter home" but they thought of it as a regular old house that would last beyond the 30 year mortgage.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 7, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Even though I have no clue whatsoever who Bradley Cooper is, he appears to be hosting Saturday Night Live in a few minutes. If I can stay awake long enough, I may find out who he is.

"The Last Templar" was blech. If it didn't have Mira Sorvino to look at, it could have been a documentary on the history of the plow.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 7, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, Mudge. My grandfather was just across the field, and some of my mother's generation is still across the field. We don't have multiple generations in one house but at least we're still in hailing distance. I also second the comments about hours worked and house size. I have an irrational and stubborn prejudice against what I call Giant-Roofed Houses, and lately I've chuckled over the amount of energy those people are expending to heat and cool all that space. I live in a 1950 ranch house, designed by my dad, that is more than enough space for the three of us. Four, if you count the rabbit. It may be simple compared to the places some of the Boy's friends live, but they all seem to like visiting here.

Speaking of the Boy, it is bedtime for the Next Generation. He discovered Spore today and, after Halo and World of Warcraft, I find it pleasingly innocuous.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 7, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, it's never been that easy to raise a family.

The post-war boom was unusually affluent, I believe-- not in terms of people being able to afford huge houses, but in terms of people HAVING jobs that allowed them to survive on one paycheck.

My dad grew up with a working mom and dad. It happens more in the blue-collar classes than you think.

You think all those maids were doing their job because they were single or bored? You think the strippers in the bars you frequented weren't almost all married with kids?

They just had relatives and friends to split watching the kids, back and forth, no daycare needed.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 7, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Further on the subject of working women...

I wouldn't exactly call being a farm wife pre-electricity (especially without running water) anywhere equalivent to staying at home those days.

We just have commericalized a lot of the previous unpaid roles of women-- cooking, laundry, cleaning, babysitting.

That increasing "hours worked" to cover an average household reflects that cost.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 7, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, in this neck of the woods we have two p[roblems: one is not enough "starter" homes, because a lot of zoning laws require larger lot sizes or won't permit smaller square footage. The other problem is even more irrational: many young two-income couples think a "starter home" is 3,000 square feet, 2 1/2 baths, 3-4 bedrooms, etc. They think their "first" home is the one they are going to live in for 40 years.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 7, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge: Your 11.00 summarizes reasons we chose to move to our little town. My tendency to lean left is tempered by the conservative values of our hamlet. Our children are far from perfect, but they know if they've had or made trouble, or conversely, if they've done something good, that our circle is tight enough that we'll know before they get home. We have a porch from which we take in the activity of the community. Unemployment is so pervasive in the county, that it has helped to instill a work ethic in our children and many others in the community. We have escaped, in large part, the cutthroat mentality and attitudes of the big city. The irony is that the formerly thriving small towns in our country have fallen victim to the chase the buck mentality that worked its way, insidiously, into American culture since 1980 or so. Hopefully, the collective condition of the nation is such that the pendulum will swing back the other way. I like to think that the adults and children of the boodle have the potential to effect change that'll snowball into something big, along the lines of thinking globally and acting locally.

Posted by: -jack- | February 7, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, are you on medications? Because I don't recognize anything in your 11:11 that seems to correspond to anything I wrote, most especially about it being "easy" to raise a family. Honestly, I don't know what the hell you were reading.

And just for the record, I've never frequented any bars with strippers, nor do I know anyone who had a maid. Or worked as a maid. Or what maids have to do with anything I wrote. Do you have me confused with an episode of Brideshead Revisited or maybe Showgirls?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 7, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Not just you, Mudge... but the comment above about the 100 hour paycheck vs 40 hour paycheck. I presume I am allowed to respond to more than one post at once?

I don't raise a fuss when people incorrectly address a post to me instead of somebody else.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 7, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

And yes, I happen to know that strippers back in the sixties were quite often married with kids, although not by Mudge's first hand account-- he gave up that sort of things back when serving wenches only had lowcut dresses.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 7, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Picture a bright blue ball, just spinning, spinnin free,
Dizzy with eternity.
Paint it with a skin of sky,
Brush in some clouds and sea,
Call it home for you and me.
A peaceful place or so it looks from space,
A closer look reveals the human race.
Full of hope, full of grace
Is the human face,
But afraid we may lay our home to waste.
There's a fear down here we can't forget.
Hasn't got a name just yet.
Always awake, always around,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Now watch as the ball revolves
And the nighttime falls.
Again the hunt begins,
Again the bloodwind calls.
By and by, the morning sun will rise,
But the darkness never goes
From some men's eyes.
It strolls the sidewalks and it rolls the streets,
Staking turf, dividing up meat.
Nightmare spook, piece of heat,
It's you and me.
You and me.
Click flash blade in ghetto night,
Rudies looking for a fight.
Rat cat alley, roll them bones.
Need that cash to feed that jones.
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Commissars and pin-stripe bosses
Roll the dice.
Any way they fall,
Guess who gets to pay the price.
Money green or proletarian gray,
Selling guns 'stead of food today.
So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Heartless powers try to tell us
What to think.
If the spirit's sleeping,
Then the flesh is ink
History's page will thus be carved in stone.
And we are here, and we are on our own
On our own.
On our own.
On our own.

If the game is lost,
Then we're all the same.
No one left to place or take the blame.
We can leave this place and empty stone
Or that shinin' ball we used to call our home.
So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Shipping powders back and forth
Singing black goes south and white comes north.
In a whole world full of petty wars
Singing I got mine and you got yours.
And the current fashion sets the pace,
Lose your step, fall out of grace.
And the radical, he rant and rage,
Singing someone's got to turn the page.
And the rich man in his summer home,
Singing just leave well enough alone.
But his pants are down, his cover's blown...
And the politicians throwin' stones,
So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And it's all too clear we're on our own.
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Picture a bright blue ball,
Just spinnin', spinnin, free.
Dizzy with the possibilities.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Throwing Stones (Weir/Barlow)

Posted by: -jack- | February 7, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm not really jumping in because I'm just taking a mini-break from a stack of papers, but...two points I wanted to make...first, who works in the adult entertainment wasn't just that way back then. It's been that way since forever. The second point was that it doesn't matter if it is relatives or friends, it's still childcare, and you still need it.

Back to salt mines for me.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 8, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Joel's piece in the Sunday paper on Alfred Russel Wallace's cabinet (which lurks in Washington) is a small marvel.

Wallace gets inadequate respect. My senior year in college, the mandatory Ecology course couldn't be scheduled, which must say something about ecology being a fringe subject back then. How could you not schedule Ecology at a huge Land Grant university in a big industrial state? One with its own mainframe residing in a glass shrine and even its own weather observatory atop the earth sciences building? [ful discolsure: in typical big-university fashion, I'd already taken an outstanding human ecology course from an anthropologist who was figuring out how indigenous Peruvians cope physiologically with living at high elevations].

So I was ordered to take a Plant Geography course and to read Wallace's "Island Life", which turned out to be a classic. It deserves to be widely read simply because it's interesting and beautifully written.

It was not at all an accident that soon after, Robert MacArthur wrote an influential book titled "Island Biology", which led ultimately to all sorts of stuff, including Ilka Hanski's work on local extinctions and colonizations of Glanville's fritillary butterfly on the small islands of an archipelago in the Baltic, part of Finland. Hanski's 1999 book is "Metapopulation Ecology", a worthy descendent of Wallace's work, albeit one not nearly so readable.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 8, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Oh dear!

I should really not go to workshops or conferences.

jack was here. And LiT.

And Ivansmom and Wilbrod. And kberttoci. And Mudge.

I have no hope of Backboodling.

And so I just say, I am home again.

Les temps perdu.

Posted by: Yoki | February 8, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. Mutated words in my last post. Bedtime!

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 8, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

G'night dave

Posted by: Yoki | February 8, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

glad you survived, yoki. hope you get to sleep in.

Posted by: LALurker | February 8, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Your point about what qualifies as a starter home is a frequent rant of mine. Kids expect their first house out of college to be more luxurious than the ones their parents owned when said kids went off to college. There is a demented sense of entitlement and lack of perspective at work there.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 8, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

here's an amusing video:

don't know whether it's been posted in the boodle before.

Posted by: LALurker | February 8, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

My sister had a true "starter home." It was tiny. I don't know if I have ever seen a house that small. But after she put some equity in it, time to move on. The funny thing was, it was in a really nice neighborhood. And built before such things were forbidden.
Here's on "mother in law" cottages.,0,7009292.story

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 8, 2009 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Where's the Dawn Patrol?

Posted by: KBoom | February 8, 2009 7:05 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Kboom, I'm here at last, but only for a second. I'm in the process of getting ready for church, and I have the g-girl to drag into that process.

Yoki(glad you're back, and no hiking, I hope)Martooni, Scotty, Mudge, Slyness, and all the gang, have a great day.*waving*

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 8, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

'Morning all.

Pompous Will's OpEd title mentioned Darwin so I read it.

DotC, thanks for pointing out Joel's article on Wallace. I will now go cleanse my mind.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 8, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. A beautiful dawn around these parts. An invitation to go outside an enjoy my yard. By which is meant clean it up.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 8, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

So much to have missed yesterday... *SIGH* And don't forget the progenitors of the modern music video -- The Monkees!! :-)

KBoom, even the Dawn Patrol needs a day off now and again. ;-)

Ah well, coffee intake is complete, glorious jogging weather awaits, and so...

*anxiously-awaiting-the-return-of-winter-cuz-I-rilly-rilly-rilly-would-prefer-to-have-some-snow-to-ski-on-with-NukeSpawn-in-a-couple-weeks Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 8, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Nothing like sleeping in on a cloudy Sunday morning. No dawn patrol for me!

Interesting comments about starter homes. The house I grew up in was the one my father and his first wife bought in 1926. They added on to it, and my dad and mother added on to it a second time, but my dad had lived there 50 years when my mom built a house on land she inherited from her parents. My mom's house wasn't any bigger than the old one, come to think about it. Our expectations have really changed, and I expect they will change again.

As to kids thinking starter homes should be what their parents have, I dunno. The Elderdottir's condo is a thousand square feet, two bedrooms, two baths, hardly comparable to my current house. Most of her friends are still in apartments. It will be interesting to watch what they do.

Posted by: slyness | February 8, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. It looks like we might get some rain today and I certainly hope we do. We need it.

There are still plenty of starter homes here, but none of them are new. I have some sympathy with the idea that you buy the house you intend to live in, but only if you can afford that house.

About that 40-hour v. 100-hour workweek - I don't think anyone disputes that in the past, particularly in rural areas, everyone in the family did a lot more work than we do now in terms of simply keeping the household functioning. By the same token, people escaping from poverty and rising up the ladder worked two jobs or more as a matter of course. The issue is how many salaries it took to maintain a simple middle-class lifestyle. For many years that was one salary, usually but not always earned by the man in the house. Now, routinely, both parents find they have to work just to afford a regular house (not a McMansion), transportation, food, health care and day care. Sure, you could have one parent stay home and cut out that day care expense along with some of the transportation costs, and some people do, but for many people the remaining salary isn't enough to cover everything else. Thus woofin's excellent observation (hi woofin!) that we now expect two wage-earners contributing to the family finances rather than one. Insidious creeping surrealism.

The truth of this varies, of course, across the country. Here with our low housing costs it is relatively easy to manage on one middle-class salary (which, by the way, here is well under that $100,000 mark; well under). I have been surprised by the lack of understanding some people here have towards circumstances in other parts of the country. I hear people complain, for instance, that if those folks can't afford to live where they do on one salary, rather than expect day care and health care assistance they should move. Setting aside the fact that these folks themselves wouldn't relocate for those economic reasons, I want to ask what they mean. Do they really want the entire East Coast, West Coast and major city population to move to Oklahoma? And, if they did, what would happen to their single-salary lifestyles?

Sorry. Rant over. Carry on while I catch the rabbit.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 8, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Woofin, I think about all that "overtime" all the time. It's so ubiquitous, not overtime anymore. Paraphrasing Yoki, there aren't Saturday's, just Friday2's. Today? Friday3.

In small-town Ohio, I had a 4 bedroom, 1.5 bath Victorian, 2 lots, one of them corner. It was in pretty good condition, roughly 2700 sq ft. I sold it at a profit in 2001 when I left to return to Philadelphia, for half of what I paid for a 1400 sq ft Cape Cod 1 lot, 3 bed, 2 full bath, here in Philadelphia.

When I was househunting here, I'd just finished helping move my elderly aunt into assisted living, and deaccessioning my own things seemed like the thing to do. I deliberately looked for a smaller place, but have found that my former house had a place for everything and was easier to upkeep. Oh, those builtins!

Space can be a practical luxury when you don't have the luxury of time. Of course, I'm still not talking McMansion size here.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 8, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Morning all... Today's "Married to the Sea" comic is very timely; looks like someone is reading the boodle...

Posted by: -TBG- | February 8, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Red and orange skies here this morning.
A little frost and forecast of snow down to 2000 feet tonight. Yesterday t was almost 70.

Posted by: bh71 | February 8, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I LOVE the idea of a sealed-off empty room. It would be like having a home-remodeling project just waiting to be activated. You live in the house for ten years and decide you really do need more living space -- an office, a library, another bedroom. Hire a handyman, cut out a piece of wall and install a door, et voilá! Instant increased living space. Another possibility includes a secret private room, perfect for slinking off to, like when you were a kid and had a secret lair hollowed out in the bushes. Put a ceiling trapdoor and ladder in the basement, behind the furnace. Of course, if there's ever a furnace fire, you'll be trapped and die there. Alas, the things one risks for a room of one's own.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 8, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Sealed-off empty room -- referencing TBG's "Married to the Sea" cartoon. I shoulda said.

Posted by: ScienceTim | February 8, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle, Cassandra.

It is a simply beautiful morning here; time for a walk on the river path.

Bernard-Henri Lévy wrote about this penchant for the fake in his series of articles in Harpers a couple of years ago about traveling across America. BHL found it unsettling, to say the least, that we prefer to replicate, in order to control, places where we could actually go and experience the reality of the place. New York New York in Vegas was one of his prime examples.

Have a wonderful day.

Posted by: Yoki | February 8, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I face creeping surrealism everyday. It usually starts when I get up in the morning. I have visions that I am young, slender, energetic, and a vision of lovliness.

And then I look in the mirror.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 8, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Well, you *are* energetic and a vision of loveliness, dr.

Posted by: Yoki | February 8, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! Listened to a Robert Reich speech recently wherein he traced the progression of the enormous gains in standard of living in the US over the last 50 years (if you measure standard of living as accumulation of stuff). I paraphrase-First there were tremendous gains in productivity post WWII, fueled by sending all those soldiers to college and pent up demand, then households pumped new people into the workforce as women entered the workforce, finally we turned to credit.

Makes me angry when I hear politicians say we don't need this government spending we need individuals spending-what they really mean is we need individuals borrowing again. Anyone else see a proposal on the table to allow tax deductions for interest on new cars? How long before we'll add defaulted car loans to the top reasons for personal bankruptcy right behind health care expenses and sub prime mortgage loans?

I need to go look at some art. Back at you after a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Maybe I'll spend some time in front of Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother."

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 8, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. I have a technology question for the Boodle. The Boy is making a History Day video project. His unsophisticated video camera saves files in QuickTime, which is apparently most compatible with Macs. It will not save them to anything else. Ivansdad has a PC. He has Roxio Creator 2009 software to assist in editing the shoot to the final form - adding clips, integrating sound, etc. Unfortunately, he has not been able to integrate the sound from the QuickTime files with the pictures from the QuickTime files. Does anyone have suggestions or advice? Other software? Shortcuts?

I told him I would ask the Boodle, fount of geeky knowledge.

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 8, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, my PC has quicktime and can play them - perhaps just a download is required?

Posted by: dmd2 | February 8, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

One more tip Ivansmom, over Christmas we converted our 8mm Video to digital online films, my husband downloaded/purchased AVS video converter converts to just about any format, just did a quick check and it shows that you can input from quicktime and then convert to avi or mpeg or several other types.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 8, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

One of my favorite NPR shows, "Speaking of Faith" with Krista Tippett, has done a good job discussing Darwin and his relationship to religion and theology.

It's beyond ironic that religious zealots have attempted to demonize Darwin, when he was a pretty enthusiastic cheerleader for the existence of God. At the beginning of his book _The Origin of Species_, Darwin placed the following quotation:

"Let no man…think or maintain that a man can search too far or be too well-studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works…but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficiency in both." -- Francis Bacon

An interesting point that was brought up in the Speaking of Faith radio program this morning was the difference between studying God's creation in order to understand the Bible, and studying God's word in order to understand Creation.

My personal opinion is that many people who claim to be seeking truth are actually more desirous of certainty. You're not likely to find truth along the path to certainty.

Even worse are the people who pretend to be purveyors of truth but are actually seeking to solidify their own authority.

I think the theological position that we should "trust in God" holds out a hope that we can live with uncertainty, on an earthly level--we don't know the truth, we don't know what will happen, but if we can live with that, and feel a trust and a gratitude for the Creation that we're part of, then we can focus our attention on what is important, instead of being exhausted by fear or using all our energy in defensive manoeuvres.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 8, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I love the faith you have in us, Ivansmom!

As a font of one kind of geeky knowledge, I'll admit that there's much I learn to do only when I can't avoid it.

Maybe I'm not the geek role model here. The previous graph is true of much of my life.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 8, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. 62 degrees here already--very suspicious and weird. I'm gonna need Joel to post one of his periodic reminders that local temporary weather conditions do NOT mean this is global warming, yadda yadda, even though everyone concedes we've effed up the planet. Ah, well.

I shall have to ponder an idea that occurred to me recently, which is that I wonder if people don't adopt spatial mindsets based upon their primary living experiences. For instance, I was raised in a small Philly row house, and then moved to the house my father was building, which was very modestly sized. A spent a good deal of my college and post-college years in an urban environment where most people had small (even miniscule) apartments. Almost all my Philly friends were raised in row houses, and our entire spatial sense of what a house was, was based on pretty modest, compact standards. In other words, we all assumed "small" was "normal."

So: do people who were largely raised in large houses either in suburbia or rural areas have an unconscious sense that "big" is normal?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 8, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Well Mudge I was raised in a roughly 4000 sq. ft. house, when I was five, my father designed and renovated our house roughly doubling the size, a room over the garage that was entered through the garage was fully incorporated into the house to become the master bedroom suite. I would say my sense of space is based on that upbringing along with the house we had 3/4 of an acre with a large open field at the back of the yard.

My current home is about half the size of the one I grew up in, I love it, but it has been modified so that there is one large open living space. I do not need the size of the house I grew up in, but am uncomfortable in small rooms. More important to me than house size is room outside. I simply do not see the point of a large house that when you walk in the back yard you almost hit the fence. Again the 3/4 of an acre was the smallest lot that my parents lived on, later moving to a couple of acres when they moved to my grandfathers home.

I do remember how big the house I grew up in was, and really can't imagine needing much more room than that (unless you have a large family) - special purpose rooms outside of a den/library seem rather pointless to me.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 8, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

mudge: //if people don't adopt spatial mindsets based upon their primary living experiences//

Maybe. I think you have to factor in those who feel it's a necessary, visible sign of success or otherwise something they're entitled to.

One of my sisters (grew up in the little ranch with me, the dining room was our bedroom until the addition went on, topping out at 4 bedrooms, 2 baths--mother, stepfather, my 2 sisters & niece and nephew) lives in a mega-McMansion, built just as the craze started. Her husband isn't an understated kind of guy, but even he was embarrassed by the size of this house. At the time. Perhaps he's accustomed to it now.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 8, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

*cleaning the mud outta my jogging shoes*

Well 'Mudge, I grew up in a 6-bedroom, 2-bath place that had "been in the family" for a long time. Then again, I shared that with my parents, 4 brothers and a sister for a long time, so that didn't seem too "big" to me. The acres of forest and hay fields "out back?" Now THAT seemed "big," but I can find public land that kinda sorta recreates that. A little.

Sorta. *SIGH*

Ivansmom, QuickTime does have PC-compatible editing stuff, and your regular QT viewer should helpfully offer to download it regularly. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 8, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

The rowhomes near me are around 2000 sq ft. with postage-stamp yards.

Posted by: -dbG- | February 8, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I grew up in a large house, but it was one of those older houses-- small bedrooms, and the upstairs actually was designed as a granny flat.

When I moved into apartments I had much bigger bedrooms than I did growing up. Heck, even my dorm rooms were bigger.

What I really DO miss is having yards and gardens. There's nothing like it.

I'd be happy with a tiny cabin, good acreage, and various outbuildings if I ever needed the space-- in summer.

But realistically up here, I'd need covered walks or sunrooms and such in the winter to add some space just to beat cabin fever in snowfall-- as long as it could be unheated, though.

I think design is much more important than space, really. You can screw up huge spaces with bad design or organization.

The only size I lust for in a house is a spacious, well designed kitchen, maybe two.

Maybe THAT is from growing up in a house with two kitchens and a pantry.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Ha! I grew up in a small cardboard box in the middle of the road.

Wait. It's been done.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 8, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I'm with you and dmd on design being more important than total space. The house we're currently renting is (according to the landlord, at least) the same square footage as J's house in Austin -- about 1400 -- but the Austin house felt spacious, and this one feels cramped. Wasted floor space in the utility room, single bathroom, and run-down kitchen, and very little open space in the rooms we actually live in. I was wanting to do a yoga video the other day and couldn't come up with a reasonable spot to do it in without kicking the furniture. (See, Cassandra, there's one of the silly excuses not to exercise I was talking about the other day.) We could get rid of some of the furniture, but then where would be put our books? A lack of closet space exacerbates the problem. And this whining comes after years of apartment living. It's been a good learning experience for me, though -- shows me what I value in living space, so I know what I'm looking for when we go to rent/buy our next place.

Posted by: -bia- | February 8, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, I think there is something too Mudge's assertion that our concept of "normal" is shaped in youth. But I don't think it is that rigid.

I mean, I was raised in a house with one bathroom and six people. We thought this was normal, but now the idea seems absurd. I fear our expectations are flexible.

Of course, I also thought spending summer days looking under rocks in the woods was entertaining.

Wait. That hasn't much changed.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 8, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in a 3 bedroom, 1 bath semi-victorian (without most of the charm) that was probably about 2000 sq. ft. Living in a wealthy town, many of my friends had much larger houses so I didn’t have a solid notion of how big a house should be. When married, the first house was definitely a starter home. After a few moves we had a 5 bedroom house. My SIL stills kids #1 because she refers to one of those bedrooms as ‘the ironing room.’ The last house of that marriage was over 5000 sq. ft. This house is a small 2 (originally 3) bedroom, 1 bath ranch with large living areas, and a large back yard that suits us very well. A bit more storage or an extra room would be nice, but not necessary. The porch makes up for a lot. I tend to equate feelings for a house more with the memories created within it than its size.

Maybe it’s my New England frugality, but every time I drive by a McMansion, I wonder about the heating bills and taxes. Is the large house/large ego thing going to get hit with the reality of cost of maintenance? Maybe this current downturn will help more people differentiate between wants and needs, bringing us back to practicality.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 8, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

It was much harder to change my notion of space than it was to change what felt right about the spaces I live in.

This is where I grew up.

The farm in the foreground was my Uncle's and now is my cousins. Our yard is the squared bunch of trees on the last curve right in the center of the photo. Mr. Potts yard is just down the little v at the very right hand side of the photo.

I could live in the tiniest of homes, but I have found that I need to see far spaces to feel really really at home, and normal. Right now we live in a forest and seeing far out the windows does not happen. Somedays I feel just a little bound in, hampered by all these huge trees.

And a city? I know sooner or later, I'll be in town or in the city, but it won't ever feel quite normal. Too many things in too little space.

I have the feeling I have shown this hot before, and if so, please forgive me harping on it. I just don't have the words to describe what normal space feels like. Far fields maybe, long space, but no matter, the picture says it better.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 8, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

SCC 'I have the feeling I have shown this PHOTO before,

Posted by: --dr-- | February 8, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Even as a veteran, I find something just WRONG about this article...

Not swords into plowshares, but more swords!

*shaking my head*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 8, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

dr -- understand you completely. I enjoy my hills and lush Maryland undergrowth of green, green, green.

But, I only feel at home in the lonesome, high geography of the Western prairie-steppe. And, I have not seen it in person since 1983.

When I drive to the flat Piedmont of the Eastern Shore of the DelMarVa peninsula, I start to say, "hello there dear flatness."

But, I also like to look over my shoulder and see the distant spine of the Rockies as a touchstone.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | February 8, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

kb, you are so deep. Thanks for the ideas to mull over on a Sunday morning.

Part of the move to bigger houses is the building/financing aspect. Builders build bigger houses to make more of a profit, banks finance bigger houses for the same reason. From what I remember from my house-buying experiences, it's much easier to get a conventional loan on a conventional house. We were always drawn to the weird little places out in the sticks. I want acres of land to surround me, don't really care about what the house looks like. Which is why I wound up in the city in a tiny house when my dream was adjusted by reality.

Posted by: seasea | February 8, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Afternnon all
I would like to have thought in several past lives I grew up in a 3 room cave, a teepee or perhaps a thatched roof hut somewhere.

But what I do remember was a 3 bed,2bath house in suburbia and I was quite content there.That may be in my future again,we will just have to wait and see.

Another warm day in west by god,a few chores in short order,then a walk along the C&O canal and a visit to the Paw Paw tunnel.

Have a great day everyone.

With A-Rod testing positive for steroids,I guess if and when he passes Bonds on the all time HR list,it will just mean Squat!!!

Seems Like Babe Ruth is still the man to beat!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | February 8, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

dr, no wonder you’re not fond of being in a forest, that is a huge expanse of space in my book. Of course here the only place to find a view like that is either at the beach or on top of a mountain.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 8, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

dr, that's a beautiful picture.

one of the things that influenced my consciousness of space was growing up near water. it was ~3 miles as the crow flies to the ocean. if you walked to the end of the street and up on the bridge, you could see my the back of the funny roof of our beach club (jersey shore). we were about 4 houses north of one river, two blocks south of another (a tributary). these rivers were tidal, and our town was part of a larger peninsula like area. so in the back of my normalcy means having a lot of water nearby. while i don't have much opportunity to see water in l.a., it does help that i'm only about 5 miles from the ocean.

as for house size, we had 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom ranch growing up. moderate in size, but definitely not a particularly energy efficient design. i hope that future houses will be designed for energy efficiency.

Posted by: LALurker | February 8, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

scc: in the back of my mind, normalcy means...

Posted by: LALurker | February 8, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Hills. I have to have hills to feel at home.

Posted by: seasea | February 8, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The photo is of course not mine. It's postcard. Tickles my funny bone to know that my old stomping grounds is a postcard. I could wax lyrical about running along the lakeshores...

Mrdr wanted to put in his bit. The house he grew up in was about 400 square feet for much of his youth. When he was 10 ish, the added on to the house and doubled its size. Without the porch, the final house proper was 720 square feet, and housed a family of 7.

His view of normal sized accomodations is pretty close to mine - that what feels normal in a a home is flexible, but that normal space is a whole other kettle of fish.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 8, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't have any desire to replicate the house I grew up in (3 bedrooms, 1 bath and not as big as it sounds even then). Except for one thing: I need to have some open space behind the house, even if it isn't mine. So no, I'm not a city kind of gal.

Raysdad read the article on Wallace's cabinet this morning and shared bits of it with me. Neither of us realized at the time that it was Joel's work.

Off to start on taxes. Well, to be precise, I'm going to order my copy of TurboTax. One step at a time.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 8, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

About space being a learned thing...I grew up in a small farmhouse (though the farm was gone) with a plethora of people. What I took away from it (akin to this discussion) was 1/to appreciate and at times downright covet privacy, and 2/I don't want to share a bathroom with a man. Since then, I've lived in everything from shoeboxes to McMansions, weekend homes that I didn't leave for six months to long-term lease apartments I was rarely in. [The current abode is a fixer-upper, and three steel beams later, it seems much bigger than it did when it was falling down. But I don't have to compromise with anyone (why do they call it compromise even when one side is giving 80%...isn't that caving?) and my bathroom is *mine* (said in my best three-year-old voice).] But the kind of 'home' that makes all the inner yelling and arguing and noise and Eyetalian conversational tones quiet down -- that's an outdoor thing -- it doesn't have to do with a house.

Too many parentheses and this me living up to my handle? Yet again? Sheesh.

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 8, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

CqP, If only I could fax you some flatness.

Its actually not very flat. Flat places don't have all the sloughs you can see in the distance. Even for me, its hard to believe that there was really all that much water so close by as the pictures show. Many of these pockets are the shallow prairie sloughs that dry up by summers end.

The lake is very very deep, IIRC, in my youth the lake was 75 feet deep. The picture shows the water near its highest, but in my youth, the lake had this fantastic deep cliff like edge. On Mr. Pott's side of the lake, it was and is, a cliff. Way too steep for even the boys to climb and nary a bush or lowly brush growing, just grass and clover. Our side was steep, but there was bush and cattle paths to run along. And right across from my uncle's yard, was where we all went swimming.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 8, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

dr - That is a beautiful view.

Also, I really enjoyed your earlier post about the disconnect between what you expect to see in the mirror and what you do see. I think this is something many of us can relate to.

But it brings to mind an interesting point as well. One of the neatest things about being human is that in the presence of love physical perfection isn't needed. Somewhere I recall hearing the phrase "Alchemy of Love."

So if we start to abandon reality for perfection in other areas of life, what does this say about our ability to love? Like that Vegas casino Yoki mentioned. Yeah, I bet that it is a lot cleaner and safer than the real New York, but to someone who really loves that city, this is irrelevant if not actually counterproductive.

I have no idea what this all means except, perhaps, that this obsession with faux perfection suggests a certain lack of confidence to emotional responses. It like decision makers just naturally assume we are all terribly shallow people.

Gosh, I hope they aren't right.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 8, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

dr, you could always thin out the trees around your house, but I love having trees-- just as long as it's not a woods right up to my doorstep. I grew up with some stately trees about.

Some researchers say we are biologically wired to prefer savannahs-- large expanses of grass and plains with some trees dotted about-- not forests or deserts or cities.

Personally, I prefer a few more trees to the vista to a more bleak plain-- I get sunstroke easily now and need the shade.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Interesting thought about living in a savannah, Wilbrod. I grew up in the Fifties in a Twenties suburb with mature trees. I remember visiting my current neighborhood in the late Sixties and being put off by the half-grown trees. Those trees are now full-grown so I feel very much at home. I bought my house with four bedrooms when I needed to have a bedroom for myself, each dottir, and my mother. Now that it's just Mr. T and me, I suppose it's ridiculous to have so much space. But I could see myself living in this house till I die. Or at least till Mr. T and/or I can no longer do the yardwork.

Country boy that he is, Mr. T loves mowing the lawn. I like having room for gardening so we are all good on half an acre. It feels larger because the ballfield behind the house is so open. If there were houses, I'm sure it would feel more closed in.

Posted by: slyness | February 8, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

From, I searched "quicktime converter" and as result see this free program, editor recommended. So why not?

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 8, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, you have a lovely home and the yard is to die for, especially the back.

I grew up in houses(a lot lacking in that definition) that just might be considered shanties. As long as I can't see the ground while standing inside the house, I'm good to go. My mother would cover the floors with a rug, but in the winter, boy was it cold. I can't tolerate a lot of heat, but the same thing with the cold. I don't care for being closed in, so not good with closet space. I don't like riding in two door cars, so you can see my problem with space.

The g-girl is knocked out. I get a moment. God is good.

Kbert, good comment, the little understood.

I think those folks that got rescued(in the ice) want to hang that sheriff up to dry. He made the mistake of saying what he thought.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 8, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

kb-listened to "Speaking of Faith" with you this morning. Loved your comment, and it made me smile to think we heard the show together.

Wilbrod-I think you would appreciate the 900sf of Chez Frostbitten. Because of the passive solar features it is actually filled with more natural sunlight in winter than summer. However, I think it would have been hard to build had we needed a construction loan. The cost per square foot was easily 50% higher than the typical house in our area. Our energy costs are about 50% lower for the same sized house but the banks aren't too interested in that.

I think we all imprint on some landscape from our youths. For me it's Tidewater VA and though MN is home, I never get that physical leap in my heart when returning to it as I do when I visit the frostrents in Newport News.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 8, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Like LA Lurker, I need to be near water, I grew up across the street from thee bay, if I wanted, and I did often, a very short stroll would take me to a wooded area where I could gaze at the water and the skyline of the city across the bay. Beyond the city was the treed escarpment. Watching the ships coming and going in the harbour or watching the sailboats or if I ventured further to the lake gazing at the waves, just so calming.

That is my peaceful place either trees or water, best if both.

dr - your photo was beautiful.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 8, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Never been to Tidewater, frostbitten.

I visited Minnesota as a youth, so I did imprint on it somewhat, the same way as I imprinted on the Southwest and the temperate rainforest of the Eastern seaboard. I love lake and river country.

I do feel at home in this scenery-- just not so much with the community, since it doesn't quite feel like a place I belong yet-- the downside of social handicaps.

For me it simply takes longer to settle in anywhere, and small towns suck for socialization outside the sporadic music concerts, sporting events, and theater.

Classes or more city-type events (interpreted, etc.) tend to be a better way for me to meet people.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Did y'all look at the pictures in Joel's article about the Wallace cabinet? Truly amazing. I actually gasped when I read that praying mantises are in the collection.

Posted by: seasea | February 8, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Seasea, they were beautiful. I had to go and read Wallace's 1855 paper from Sarawak, Borneo again. Beautiful.

....Many more of these modifications should we behold, and more complete series of them, had we a view of all the forms which have ceased to live. The great gaps that exist between fishes, reptiles, birds and mammals would then, no doubt, be softened down by intermediate groups, and the whole organic world would be seen to be an unbroken and harmonious system.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 8, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

That last para from Wallace's paper shoulda been in quotes.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 8, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Please do not allow the DEA, FAA, US State Dept and US Embassy in Cassablanca to kill an innocent 67 year old of ill health man. Go to SAVEJAMESWILLSON.COM to see James's story. Contact Marilyn Willson to find out and get documents to prove how the DEA used James as a mule to cover up there DRUG ACTIVITIES AND HOW FAA HAS ASSITED WITH ALLOWING DOCUMENTS TO BE FALSIFIED. ALSO SEE HOW THE US STATE DEPT AND US EMBASSY IN CASSABLANCA ARE ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN. Even Morocco has stated they have Violated James Willson's Consitutional and Legal Rigths beside discriminating against him and torturing him because the US does nothing. Please James doesn't have long to live. Help him home to his wife of 46 years and his children, grandchildren and family and friends Contact Marilyn Willson at 847-436-6707 or

Posted by: WILLSONMARILYN | February 8, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Please do not allow the DEA, FAA, US State Dept and US Embassy in Cassablanca to kill an innocent 67 year old of ill health man. Go to SAVEJAMESWILLSON.COM to see James's story. Contact Marilyn Willson to find out and get documents to prove how the DEA used James as a mule to cover up there DRUG ACTIVITIES AND HOW FAA HAS ASSITED WITH ALLOWING DOCUMENTS TO BE FALSIFIED. ALSO SEE HOW THE US STATE DEPT AND US EMBASSY IN CASSABLANCA ARE ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN. Even Morocco has stated they have Violated James Willson's Consitutional and Legal Rigths beside discriminating against him and torturing him because the US does nothing. Please James doesn't have long to live. Help him home to his wife of 46 years and his children, grandchildren and family and friends Contact Marilyn Willson at 847-436-6707 or

Posted by: WILLSONMARILYN | February 8, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I almost killed it and it turned into a zombie.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 8, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey all -- I have just spent my complete weekend working. And, yes, it's billable (which is the point), but I'm exhausted and outside of the two loads of laundry I did first thing this morning, not much else of what was originally planned was done. The plants still need watering and I promised them that, yes, I do remember and will take care of it. Honest. Really.

As a child, I grew up in a typical (at least for the area outside of Detroit) box-style home. When you walked in the front door you were smack-dab in the living room. There was a separate dining room (and I do like separate dining rooms). My father's closet was in the dining room, just up a biiig step (for me it was really big). I remember the smell inside. I don't think it was cedar, but it must have been really close. Or maybe it was just what might be described as a masculine smell. I loved to go in there. It was pretty big. The kitchen (really very small) had a table for "regular" meals and there was a cabinet (which I now have in one of my bathrooms) which mom used as a two-shelf pantry. She bathed me in the kitchen sink, and I can see that kitchen clearly. There were three bedrooms and one bathroom, which I recall that I hogged. While there was an attic with dormer windows, nobody built it up so that it could be used, unlike other neighbors did with their similar homes. There was a basement, where mom had her washing machine (with that roller thingy to get all the extra water out of the clothes before she hung them on the line to dry. And there was a glorious back porch. Dad was very handy with tools and even made furniture from time to time. Very good at it, too. I loved that porch.

It's interesting the way our early memories insinuate their way into our current lives. Sometimes they just hover below the surface and sometimes they come roaring back into our consciousness (sometimes uninvited).

Nevertheless, I hear my beloved jungle plants begging for water, so I gotta go. I hope to have a real "weekend" next weekend. We'll see. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | February 8, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

But a kinda funny zombie, DNA Girl!

firsttimeblogger... I love the description of your childhood house; the images seem very real to me and I can almost smell your father's closet. Nice.

I'm making lamb tonight, mainly to get the aroma to bring the kids down for the first time today. They've been hunkered in their respective rooms, although it was about 70°F outside. The back door is still open... love the fresh air mixed with the smell of roasting lamb with garlic. Talk about memories of childhood smells.

I grew up in a 4 BR, 2 Bath "rambler," built in 1959, but purchased by us in 1960 new because the original purchasers' mortgage fell through. I believe my parents bought that house, on an acre of land, in Fairfax, for $24,000. Even though it had four bedrooms, we four girls shared two of them between us and the extra was called "the den." It's where Mom kept her sewing machine set up and had an extra twin guest bed.

The house had an unfinished walk-out basement, but after a few years of living there, my dad bartered with a contractor friend and we had the basement finished. That's where we watched TV and hung out after dinner, mostly watching Hogan's Heroes, Love American Style and the such.

Dad sold the house in 2004; it was on the rental market last year and I saw this picture of it in the listing. Dad would have hated seeing his bushes so untended and stuff in the yard, but here it is...

Posted by: -TBG- | February 8, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

AHA! The lamb has done its trick!

Posted by: -TBG- | February 8, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

May I also add about the house I grew up in... my kids basically grew up there, too. It's only about 2 miles from our house and my parents watched the kids when Dr G and I were at work. It was wonderful watching a second generation enjoy the house and yard.

Posted by: -TBG- | February 8, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

A plate for me, please;
I just ran across country
for some of that lamb.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from a trip down to the boat to make sure she's still floating. They haven't put the new bilge pump in yet but say they'll do it today. We seem to have a slow leak somewhere, and had a lot of water in the boat, which froze. So the yard yhad to thaw her out before they could pump her. Discovered the float switch was broken and the pump had a short in it. (This was the forward bilge pump, a 2,000 gpm; there's also a bilge pump in the engine compartment, which is working fine. Thank goodness.)

My wife is making new curtains for the cabins, and I have to rebuild from scratch a new main hatch, as the old one is rotted and falling apart. Spent $100 at West Marine on three wee pieces of teak to make the new one.I haven't even priced the smoked lexan yet-- I don't think I want to know.

Good discussions about the spatial think, but so far it has all been about housing, and I want to take it a step further. In addition to being very comfortable with "small" "cozy" houses and apartments, etc., I've also always been comfortable with small cars, too, down to the sports car level of MGs and the like. Although I have driven big tanks (metaphor, Scotty, not the things your drove), my preferred vehicle has always been a compact or smaller. I've always been comfortable with smaller boats, like my beloved 22-foot Eagle. When the Eagles first came out 35 years ago, I had a fantasy about getting one and circumnavigating the entire Eastern Seaboard (aka "The Great Loop") in one, sailing down the St. Lawrence and wending my way to the Mississippi. (It's doable.)

Also, I used to think I'd have made a good mercury or Appolo astronaut; I'm not claustrophobic, and don't mind being in small enclosed spaces. Being in a capsule with all my switches and gauges and dials within arms reach wouldn't bother me a bit. I once fantasized about having a desk/workspace that was a 270-degree or 300-degree wrap-around, with computer screen, TV screen radio, tape deck, record player, etc., all built in around me, so all I had to do was swivel a bit to reach everything I needed/wanted.

There are people who are the opposite-- they need lots of room and open space. Neither tendency is "right" or "wrong"; but I'm fascinated by the question of where these two tendencies come from. I think small spaces are neat: small cottages and bingalows at the beach, tree houses, small, spartan cabins in the woods, campaign tents, etc.--there's a common theme.

So where does this preference come from?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 8, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I hope you've set extra plates TBG, for I'm sure others will come out of their rooms too...zombies especially love lamb brain masala...mmm.

This recipe is similar to what my mom used to make for dad and the in-laws (poor mom--a lifelong vegetarian). I have to admit it was delish.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | February 8, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you were just a hermit crab in an former life, Mudge.

Growing up in small spaces in the city definitely would be a factor.

Isaac Asimov found he loved show-bedrooms even though he normally didn't care for bedrooms-- he finally figured out it was because those models had no windows and felt super-cozy.

Also, how you've learned to deal with stress and your "down time" may influence your taste for space. If you like doing a lot of handy projects, then you really don't need much space to brood.

I used to be fine indoors for hours on ends, too, but when I get upset, I like to walk and think. I used to ramble all over town with my supersize dog.

I was the youngest in a large family so if I wanted any privacy, I'd head outside or down to the play room.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, also it all might start back in the womb. Why not? Makes perfect sense to me.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house that had about 2,500 square feet of living area on about a third of an acre. It worked fine for our family of my folks and three boys. I'm the youngest and I noticed that my folks didn't have any problem inhabiting the rest of the house after I moved away. In fact about a month after I left, they turned my bedroom into a den. I didn't take it personally. Honest, I didn't.

Anyway, my folks now live in a retirement place that is a bit over half the size of our house, which they have comfortably filled up with things from the house. Things are good.

My parents sold their house to a single woman, by the way. Something that still baffles my mom now five or six years after the fact.

Posted by: -pj- | February 8, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe she has lots of relatives-- or lovers, pj.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Very good, Wilbrod. Actually, I know her and she doesn't have a lot of either. She grew up in a house similar to ours and wanted one like it. She inherited some money and was able to afford it.

Posted by: -pj- | February 8, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I was a little kid in a little house and a big kid in a big house. The first place I bought was a townhouse and oh did I love that thing. Like living in a doll house ... everything tidy and convenient. Now I live in little house on five acres in the middle of nowhere and I really can't say which I prefer ... the townhouse or the country house.

One thing's for sure, I wish I were anywhere but Texas. Every year it's the same thing ... constantly praying for rain. I hate the dryness. Every July I start agonizing about everything dying. Seems wrong, having grown up in the north. And this current drought ... it's hard to believe that anything will survive. I've been watering my big oak trees all winter (our supposed rainy season). I hope it rains soon.

Posted by: KBoom | February 8, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I have that same comfort with small spaces, although I would NOT like to be an astronaut because just outside of your nice cozy capsule is I-N-F-I-N-I-T-E S-P-A-C-E, and I'm not at all comfortable with that.

When I was a senior in college I had a closet with a built-in storage bin that was just the right height to sit on. When I was feeling stressed I would sometimes sit in the closet, with the door closed, and it would calm me down.

I like small living spaces too, although as noted by someone above, smaller spaces are harder to keep tidy than larger ones.

As I've mentioned numerous times, our three-person family lived in a 30-ft Airstream trailer for three and a half years, and my daughter really loved having her family literally within reach, and aside from the interpersonal benefits she appreciated the small scale of the living space--little kids do like little spaces, as a rule.

I've lived in lots of small spaces--efficiency apartment, tiny one-room cabin, motel room, improvised undersize 1BR apartment. Because of those experiences I experience my present home as being spacious, even though I'm aware other people don't see it that way (it's a little under 1,000 sq. ft.)

The house I grew up in was a standard 4-bedroom ranch style. It was much bigger than the house we lived in when I was born, so I guess I always thought of it as being pretty spacious. But somehow when I pictured my future, I always knew I was destined to have a different life as an adult, not like my parents' lives and not just a continuation of my childhood situation. So the kind of house I grew up in had no relevance to where I lived once I was on my own.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 8, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod, cutting down the trees would be a sin. It is a native forest, it has been at least 110 years since this area burned, and what with all the city expansion emasculating farmland around here, well, it would be a terrible crime. If it was just a planted grove, no problem, but not in native forest.

The other part goes right back to that open landscape of the picture. It surely would be a mortal sin to kill spruce trees, any spruce trees. They are so precious on the open parklands, that a spruce tree is the most venerated of trees (should be venrated on a prairie). We constantly are replanting the many dozens of volunteer trees that pop up in graveled walkways, flower beds, and driveway edges. We don't have to transplant, but well, we'd feel guilty if we just pulled them out.

Posted by: --dr-- | February 8, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mean cut down all the trees-- but you can thin out to ensure the trees that remain are healthy, especially these within a 10-yard radius of the house.

A mature tree can take years to die from the first sign of disease-- or it can go down suddenly in a bad enough storm.

That sounds wonderful to have a group of 110 year old trees, it must feel like a cathedral outside.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I come from a nuclear family with three kids. My parent's first house was a two-bedroom, one-bath with carport that I have vague memories of. The rest (my dad was Air Force so we moved every three years) of the houses were all standard four-bedroom suburban homes. Two ranchers and one colonial.

The house I bought before having our son was a three bedroom 1400 square foot rancher on a third acre that was too much yardwork. I sold it for a very minor profit when I lost a job. That made me very ownership shy for many years

Since then it has been a string of townhouses (with one year in an apartment), three rented and one owned. It's just like dbg described in her neighborhood, three levels, 2000 sq ft and a one car garage. Since our son left we have largely abandoned the family room on the lower level. We are ready for the 55+ no maintenance developments that are sprouting up since that is all HoCo will permit.

We are the only unit in our group without a deck and I rarely even see my back yard despite the fact that it opens up to a large common area perfect for exercising dogs. Without a dog, there is no sense in going back there.

We have one ash tree that my wife hates, but it's gotten too big to 'accidentally' knock over.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 8, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the download tips for video editing software. They've been very helpful.

Our house is pretty spacious - not many rooms, but they're big. I have lived comfortably in much smaller spaces. However, I grew up here with several acres and no close neighbors. I lived in a big solid prewar apartment in DC where I couldn't hear my neighbors much, and I've also lived in places where they were ever present. My comfort zone - lots of land and distant neighbors (even though I'm related to half my neighbors and we visit frequently).

Posted by: Ivansmom | February 8, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

A couple of comments:
First of all, I enjoyed the Boss' article on the front page of today's WaPo - I do relish the idea that there are hidden treasures everywhere, that there's meaning and history behind every brick, under every rock, perhaps even in my sock drawer.

Secondly, RD, my friend, this bit from your comment from last night at 7:02 PM - "Then there are those who only enjoy a performance if there is a risk of disaster, preferably involving flames. This is the NASCAR view of artistic appreciation."

Such a sweeping and disparaging generalization, sir? [bc arches his tight eyebrow, waiting]

After some Backboodling and reaching into my Big Bag of Oversimplification, I see some similarites between Joel's Creeping Surrealism, his Wallace article and the house/space discussion.

I think that the big reason that the human species has been so successful (to LiT's comment, I believe) is because the human mind and body - and civilization - is so stunningly adaptable. We can adapt to wide open spaces and tight crowded places, and be successful nearly anywhere on this planet in natural and artificial conditions.

The human mind is remarkable in its ability to perceive so many things and incorporate them into our individual relative realities. This may be our greatest strength and our most difficult problem, I think. The ability to hold perceptions, thoughts and beliefs that may be utterly contradictory within the same mind is wonderful in that it allows us to continue functioning even when our reasoning may fail us - and that faith and belief may sustain and motivate us when there's nothing else. However, that individual rendering of individual reality based on thought and perception (imperface as both can be) and the ability to believe allows for possibilities of deception by those seeking to manipulate us (individually and collectively) to their own ends. Sometimes it's for something as relatively benign as not hurting another's feelings, sometimes to buy retail products, sometimes it's to incite collective events such as wars.

And collective/shared experiences can be wonderful, evocative of joy and happiness amongst many and even sympathetic in nature. The most fulfilling experiences of my life (and I suspect most other folks' too) were shared experiences, not indivdual moments of satisfaction.

We are nothing if not paradoxical, but to this point, we're all we've got.

Enjoy the Human ride, and remember - your mileage may vary.


Posted by: -bc- | February 8, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

bc - I hope you know that I was only using NASCAR as a convenient shorthand. No offense was intended. Really. Cause, you know, I've seen some of those fellows. So, again, it was just a joke. You know humor. Satire even. Come on now. You can't be serious. Please. Put those tire irons down. For the LOVE OF RICHARD PETTY IT WAS JUST A FORDIN' JOKE.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 8, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, bc, there is this:

Posted by: slyness | February 8, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci - I can understand your fear of Infinite Space (not simply agrophobia, is it?), and would submit to you that in my case there's Infinite space 'twixt my ears, and that the universe outside my head is just as Infinite, and worse - my car keys and cell phone are somewhere in it.


Posted by: -bc- | February 8, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Great. And now I'm probably gonna have a bunch of Vegas showgirls after me for that other reference. They'll find me smothered to death.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | February 8, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

A convenient shorthand for *what* my dear RD?

[bc sez, gesturing menacingly with a pair of jumper cables towards a chair with a five-point racing harness and a leather jacket with the sleeves sewn tightly around the torso, located conviently near a plasma cutter]


Posted by: -bc- | February 8, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if this is so space related, but I have always been uncomfortable in basements, any basement, unfinished or unfinished. Our last home we redid the basement and it was large and enjoyable, this house has a nice basement with large windows - but still I cannot get comfortable down there - I feel very confined in a basement.

Older child is someone who likes small spaces, loves the small bedroom, that is stuffed full on things and will cocoon in sleep - literally wrapped in blankets. Younger child likes open spaces and room to roam - necessary when you never sit still - hard wired from birth?

Posted by: dmd2 | February 8, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

RD, if you gotta pay for that comment, something tells me that you'd prefer the Showgirls.

And I understand completely.

[bc, turning to stage right]
Ladies ... he's yours.


Posted by: -bc- | February 8, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Whaddaya mean, a "hermit crab in a previous life," Wilbrod? I'm a hermit crab in this one.

PBS has Pete Seeger's bio as the subject of its American Masters series. Just had a segment about his starting the "Clearwatter" Hudson River Sloop project, which I was distantly involved with back in the day.

"60 minutes" spent 40 minutes of its program interviewing Sully Sullenberger and his crew-- a really good piece.

We are kindred in our sense of space, kber. For a couple months I have been trying to write a poem that touches tangentially upon it, and upon building a shelter for one's inamorata. Can't quite get a handle on it yet, though, dunno why. Did you enjoy living in that Gulfstream? I have often though I could live in a 30-foot or so Winnebago, and travel around the country; it's just like being on a 30-foot boat, only on land. Yet this is all somewhat paradoxical, because I am a bit of a pack rat, and need all my "stuff" around me, which is mostly my computer and all my books.

Do people in China, or India, or Japan, in any overcrowded city on earth,-- do any of those people ever get a feeling that they need more space, more elbow room, and need to drive a big honking car? I'm thinking not so much of poor people (who have no choice, and much more pressing issues) but rather of, say, middle class Japanese, who are much more atuned (I guess) to smaller spaces and crowded conditions.

Most of you are much more optimistic than I am, but I think we're going to wind up in a Blade Runner kind of world.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 8, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

More horizontal surfaces, that's all I need. But if I try to put one more bookcase in here... Well, there is the closet.

Here's a neat graphic of our closest star neighbors. Rotatable, with zoom. I may use this to write a story.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 8, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

The need for land seems to be uniquely American. We have that agrarian need to plant something even if its just rye and fescue.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 8, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

If it helps you feel better about your claustrophily, I had a walk-in closet once I almost wanted to turn into an office-- it'd have been perfectly snug, Mudge, and no room for annoying roommates to lurk over my shoulder ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

And I concede the point about the hermit crab, as well.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I can't really pinpoint my feelings about the Airstream because they're mixed up with the complications of my life. I liked traveling around the country, I liked not having a job and being able to spend 24 hours a day with my daughter. I liked being able to afford living in old town Key West, and some of my best and most vivid memories are from those days, exploring the island with my daughter when she was 4 or 5. The fact that we didn't require traditional housing made all that possible. It was an effort and we did without a lot of things--forget about no tv, we didn't even have a radio then. Of course, no washer/dryer, but also, no car. Books? We always had books, but they were from the library and they were different week to week.

I think we felt proud of ourselves for being able to adapt and to use our ingenuity in designing the space. The front part of the trailer was a bed at night but in the morning, rearrange the cushions, take out the middle panels, set up a folding table, and voila, it's the dining room. That's a perfect example of how it was cool, but also required daily effort. Overall, I'm glad we did it then but for now I like my house better--space for the books and the computer and rooms with doors where I can occasionally enjoy some privacy.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 8, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching the Grammys and they just had Katy Perry perform 'I Kissed A Girl.' I'm glad they went with the tasteful, understated costuming and set design.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 8, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

LOL Yello. Not much danger of people thinking she was lip syncing either.

Posted by: dmd2 | February 8, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I also blogged about the He's Just Not That Into You movie and I had to search extensively for just the perfect pictures of Scarlett Johansson to properly illustrate the post.

The effort I go through for my art.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 8, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Mr. F and I just returned from a walk and I remembered to take the camera.

Here are a few shots from the neighborhood (Lowertown) in St. Paul.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 8, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I thought the piece on Sullenberger was good, too. It always amazes me how they stage and edit those stories. Did you catch the stewardess in the back saying that a passenger opened the door in the tail? That's the only action I would think of as a mistake. I'd be willing to bet the plane wouldn't have sunk for a long time if that hadn't happened.

Posted by: slyness | February 8, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

The Grammys, as opposed to the AMAs and nearly every other awards show, tend to require truly live performances. Katy had NO dance moves, which tends to be a good sign. You can either dance or sing. It's tough to do both. Beyonce is one of the few that seems to pull that off.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 8, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Returning to the kit topic momentarily, I would like to comment that this Eric Felton guy is one cool dude. Sings jazz, plays trombone, hangs with Joel, and -- here's the clincher -- quotes Ruskin.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal only slightly tarnishes his otherwise sterling qualifications. And since the WSJ article has been referenced here in the Achenblog, even that can be classified as "cool." Come to think of it, it's rather remarkable that the Journal let that Ruskin quote through. They may be more liberal over there than I had given them credit for.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 8, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I think it's possible they didn't know who Ruskin was, kber. Might have thought he was CEO of Brit firm they weren't fqamiliar with, so decided to let it go. Maybe one of Thatcher's staff. Like that.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 8, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I could never live on a boat - the thought makes me claustrophobic. Even cruises don't appeal to me. Maybe it's from watching the Marx Brothers too much as a kid.

When we lived in Montana, we lived in 2 different trailers (mobile homes) and in one house that had 2 different living spaces, but we were the only tenants at the time, so we had 2 kitchens, 2 laundry areas, etc. Tres weird. The second mobile home was on a ranch, so we had a view of pastures and mountains. One day I watched (in horror) as my 2-year-old kid went across the field to the barnyard by himself. He wanted to see the chickens.

Posted by: seasea | February 8, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I always thought my love of privacy and my own space was due to being an only child but I guess that fact could have pushed me the other way as well. I could not live in a trailer, boat or other confined space for longer than a few weeks. I need a yard, rooms to wander among and the ability to play music at a volume that wouldn’t be acceptable in a multi-unit building. My one experience with apartment living when newly married was 51 weeks in an extremely small 2 bedroom apartment and I thought I’d lose my mind. The one thing I wish I had is a view of the sunset. I did have that in the summer house years ago, and the big house at the end of the marriage.

I watched 60 minutes also. Got a kick out of the pilot and co-pilot remarking to each other after they landed that it wasn’t so bad. Not sure about that flight attendant at the rear of the plane, she seemed a bit less steady than the other two. Of course that could have been the result of what she experienced with the open door and all.

We spent some time with #2 today. She is walking better than she has in eight months. It was a pleasure to watch her and a great weight off my mind too.

Posted by: badsneakers | February 8, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Very cool pictures, kb.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 8, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I mean, fb. kb is unlikely to have snow-covered snapshots.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 8, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Yello. I have some major self-improvement goals this year. One is to really learn how to use the camera Mr. F gave me, and the other is to remember to take it with me so I can use it.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 8, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

sneaks-that is awesome news.

I better sign off. Big dentist appointment in the morning then I have to get back up north in time for the city council meeting.

Toodles and sweet dreams boodle.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 8, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse


I shall never be able to backboodle *enough.*

Nonetheless, on incomplete information, RD_Padouk's 1:41, Curmudgeon's 5:42, and bc's 8:25 share my personal Post of the Day award. KBoom's 7:17 is first runner-up (that first sentence is worthy of Dickens or Tolstoy -- Quote that Sentence for 5 extra points, contestants!).

Good night, Boodle. Hope to catch up to you all one day soon.

Posted by: Yoki | February 8, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Dear Yoki, let me say
You may play catch as catch can,
You'll never catch me


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 8, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm just now watching the Grammys, which everyone else has already seen. I'm glad U2 opened, so I don't have to wait, glad they had the lyrics behind them because they sang their new song that I don't have memorized yet. What was Whitney on, and why was Jennifer Hudson wearing a bib? How much duct tape does Coldplay go through in a day?

Sneaks, I think the stewardess in the back was seriously traumatized. Bear in mind she had no idea what was going on, she was the only crew member in the back, she was injured, and water was coming in fast. The water would have been over my head - and it was ice cold. I don't think the first officer said a word, did he? Bet he's shaken up too. It is amazing that it turned out so well.

Posted by: seasea | February 8, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I spent the afternoon ripping back a sock that I knit for my sister, and which was too long in the foot. I have been putting that off for months, because I wasn't sure I was capable of doing it without destroying the whole thing...which would only have meant re-knitting it from the beginning...but I managed it. Yay for a small victory!

Great pics, frosti. Snow looks so pretty when it's far away. We may get snow in the next couple of days, but it's supposed to stay west of Seattle...hope so.

Posted by: seasea | February 8, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Our #1 daughter is off on a cruise with her boyfriend's family: Mexico, via Jamaica and Grand Cayman Island. *praying that her guardian angel is up to the task*
Had a fellow over on Saturday to excavate a place for our dog. I'd have done it myself, but it would have been an all day affair. We'll send her off tomorrow afternoon.

Posted by: -jack- | February 8, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Ah, jack. So touching. Good wishes to you and the family, and Angel, who is flying now.

Posted by: Yoki | February 9, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

David W. Blight's review of Ronald C. White Jr.'s "A. Lincoln: a Biography" hooked me.

"And this is White's core argument: Lincoln didn't just enjoy books, he craved them..."

"The book's other signature is White's treatment of Lincoln's use of private notes, often mere "scraps of paper" on which he constantly tried out ideas and phrasing, especially when preparing for a major speech..."

That seems similar to how Mozart composed. He was constantly making sketches. At least that's a recent interpretation of Mozart's modus operandi. A vastly gifted musician of course, but one who worked harder and more effectively than his colleagues.

Now to figure out who wrote about Mozart. As usual, Wikipedia has what looks like a good entry, on "Mozart's Composisitonal Method"

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | February 9, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge is a hermit? HerMudge? 'Mudgeit? What??

Wide-open spaces or in the cocoon of a tank driver's seat (not metaphoric), it's all good. Moving from a three-level townhouse to the current NukeAbode, however, did present some storage challenges. But that's what makes life fun, right? *rolling my eyes* :-)

'Twas interesting watching the Pro Bowl yesterday, and not only for the fumblerooski touchdown. Tiki Barber, in an aloha shirt, interviewing Ronde Barber, in pads. Almost looked like CGI trickery. And Andrea Kramer is by far the better interviewer, although both she and Tiki didn't shy away from asking potential free agents how much $ it would take to sign them.

Hey yello -- No Duh News alert on the home page: "First Couple Is in High Demand in Washington" *L*

*off-to-another-work-week-full-of-vim-and-vigor-and-if-you-believe-that-would-you-like-to-buy-a-slightly-used-bridge Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 9, 2009 4:57 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out how to behave in this heatwave (50's and *maybe* 60 or so by Wednesday). Part of me thinks I should use this opportunity to clean up the yard a bit and maybe get the ladder out to finally take down the Christmas lights. But then there's the part of me that wants to streak nekkid down the street singing "Tiptoe Through the Tulips".

Decisions, decisions...

Anyway... heavy fog here, so I won't be flying with the patrol. I'll stick to the mess instead. Coffee's ready and cinnamon toast is on the menu.

Peace out :-)

Posted by: martooni | February 9, 2009 5:49 AM | Report abuse

First morning in a long time warm enough for a walk/jog. I and everybody else in HoCo with a bike dragged it out yesterday. You don't get that much nice weather in February.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 9, 2009 6:11 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle, Scotty, martooni. 'toons, If I were you, I'd try to stifle that "Tiptoe/Tulips" impulse a bit. Although if you really *were* intent on it, I suppose dense fog would be as good a time as any to try it. Mind your fingers in the shop.

seasea, sneaks, I suspect the flight attendent in the rear of the plane is still suffering some PTSD over the crash (not that I blame her at all), and I wouldn't be surprised if she never gets back to the job. And yes, I think her experience of the landing was by far the worst: she was in the back and alone, the water was deeper, and that dumb passenger open the rear door when he shouldn't have. She was injured, and probably had thought she was going to drown. So yes, she had a bad time of it. The fact that none of them have gone back to work is an indication to me they are all getting some therapy, which is good.

News says something like 130 people killed in Australia from wildfires.

OK, gotta run.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | February 9, 2009 6:23 AM | Report abuse

I heard about those wildfires from an Aussie blogger. I think National Lampoon or Spy or somebody once did the formula correlating distance and number of deaths to newsworthiness.

I was wrong about jogging. There's still some black ice on the sidewalks. Brisk walking will have to do until all the tundra thaws.

Spin the prop and pull the chocks, I'm off for the day. Well, I'm off most days.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 9, 2009 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Off to what, Yello?

Good morning, everybody. I haven't read the story about the Australian wildfires yet, it's just too early to grit my teeth. 128 dead, that horrible.

Mr. T and I visited his brother in Southern California in the middle 90's, after wildfire destroyed large swaths of Laguna Beach. We went to the top of a hill and looked down on the destruction. The debris had been cleared, but for blocks all you could see was the ground floors of houses that weren't there any more. Eerie.

Gotta get started, I have an appointment with my accountant this morning. Let's get the taxes done and over with. I hope we don't make mistakes.

Posted by: slyness | February 9, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

"Best of times, worst of times" is the only 1st line of Dickens I know.

Got a new puppy to foster yesterday. 3 months old (? -- she was dumped in a parking lot, so who knows, really), cute as a bug's ear and sooo bold. Most puppies stay within 3 feet of me when we venture out into the pastures for the first time but not this gal. She wanted to run that adorable, flop-legged puppy run. Awwww . . .

Right now she's in her crate screaming like the damned. Sorry, pup, but it's time to start your education. You'll get out when you pipe down!

Posted by: KBoom | February 9, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

I've been following the news on those Australian wildfires with much concern. I have quite a few customers in the Melbourne area (those Aussies like to take care of their Wee Folk) and I just hope none of them were directly in the path of destruction.

What's really disturbing is that they believe arson is the cause.

Mudge... I decided against the streaking (even with cover of fog). I figured the last thing I need right now is a public indecency charge. Or worse, to tick off my neighbors. When running a small factory in a residential neighborhood, one must maintain positive relationships with all those who could call the code enforcement busybodies.

Posted by: martooni | February 9, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Just a drive by this morning, heading to the laundry room. So many clothes to wash. The g-girl is on her way out the door. We've been trying to get ready for school a long time.

Mudge, Slyness, Yoki, Martooni, Scotty, and all the gang, have a wonderful day.*waving*

Read some of the Dionne op-ed, I think, Dionne, on the new President. What do you think, Mudge? Is he got it down pat or is their room to wiggle there?

Time to wash.

Posted by: cmyth4u | February 9, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

KBoom-my best to you for fostering the little sweetie.

It was heartening to see the Minneapolis Star Tribune's latest contest winner for "Cutest Dog" was a shelter adoptee.

Michelle Rhee talks to teachers on the OpEd page today. Hope the light at the end of the tunnel for DC schools isn't a train. I'd have a lot more respect for the teachers, and their union, if they'd step up and admit there are tenured teachers (many?) who need to be fired.

Arlen Specter, or his minions, can't write like BO but I liked the conclusion to his OpEd
"'In politics,' John Kennedy used to say, 'nobody gets everything, nobody gets nothing and everybody gets something.' My colleagues and I have tried to balance the concerns of both left and right with the need to act quickly for the sake of our country. The moderates' compromise, which faces a cloture vote today, is the only bill with a reasonable chance of passage in the Senate."

Time to screw up my courage for the dentist visit. Replacing some wisdom tooth fillings originally installed in the early years of the Reagan administration by an Army dentist. I think he was gunning for some kind of award; others tried to get me to have them pulled.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | February 9, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Save those wisdom teeth. Soon we will all be cracking acorns in the wild. Perhaps we should be thinking about beginning agitation for the next stimulus package. In other words, being proactive.

I should write today. Everything's composed -- but not written yet.

Speaking of proactive, I wish the local newspaper could get it together. Apparently not only are they giving away the content free on the net, they haven't even managed to get ad-click pennies set up on their site. I guess years of making fun of "nerds" are paying them back. I went on a rant with my relative at the paper: either the cable company is going to own you, or you are going to own the cables. Decide now.

Posted by: Jumper1 | February 9, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I could be off my rocker, but it was just off to work. I actually got in on time today for like the first time in months. Flex hours are pretty handy.

Wednesday I'm off to Atlanta for business, but I hope to swing by campus and see my kid. He's got 4-8 free just for his dad.

Friday it's off to Columbus, Ohio for a factory tour. And not one that makes fairy doors, although that would be more interesting.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 9, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I think Dionne got it just about right, Cassandra. And I think those three or four Repubs caved just in an nick of time. It still seems to me that O is a very cool customer -- but I suspect he is fearsome if he ever gets truly angry, and I think if they had shown themselves to be intractable on the stimulus you would have seen one very angry president pull out the stops and starting kicking ass and taking names.

I think I've said it two or three times already, but a couple of times I've thought Obama was too weak about this or that issue, that he should have been stronger and shown some fire and brimstone-- and in every case so far, he's been right and I've been wrong. So every time I think he's not doing enough, I have to stop and rein in my own impulses. The thing about O is that he is a long-term thinker and player, much like the Japanese whom I usually praise for this very tendency. So when Obama is playing for the long term, it is sometimes very hard for all the pundits (and me) to see what he's up to, because we're all focused on the short-term, the immediate news cycle, and immediate gratification. Which shows me that Obama is simply a helluva lot smarter than the rest of us, and knows what he's doing, even if most of us don't see it.

I've concluded the whole strategy of conciliation with the GOP and this bipartisan stuff is very much a long-term thing. One aspect of such long-term thinking is that he's willing to disappoint the firebreathers and flamethrowers in his own party in exchange for sticking quietly to his long-term goals.

It occurs to me that O's proclaimed desire to change the culture of Washington politics is necessarily a long-term game, not a short-term one. Arbusto famously came into office proclaiming himself to be "a united, not a divider." Of course, that was bulls---- from the git-go, but I don't think it was BS from Obama. But the consequence of such a policy is that he has to take a lot of lumps from the GOP until he eventually turns them around. Which means he has to appear to lose a lot of early battles, or just barely squeek by, as he is doing with the stimulus package. The GOP has shown itself to be largely intractable. If they keep this up over a long period, it will kill them in the long run-- and it is Obama who knows how to play the long run game, not the GOP.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 9, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Ronald C. White was born in Minneapolis, but was raised in Salinas and Glendale, Calif. He still lives in California so that he may fulfill his duties as a visiting professor at UCLA.

The fact that his roots are Glendale makes him an old neighbor of sorts to David Ebershoff of Random House, who grew up in neighboring Pasadena, and who edited White's biography, out last month, about Abraham Lincoln.

White will be in Austin on Feb. 25, part of his national speaking tour, but no stops in San Antonio. Dates for White's national book tour are at White's website.

Note that this weekend both William Safire at the NYT and Kaplan at the Washington Post think the best one-volume biography of Lincoln is David Herbert Donald's 1995 effort. I perused White's biography of Abe this past weekend at the local bookstore (tempting but I had only one discount coupon to use), as I have perused Stauffer's book about Douglass and Lincoln, "Giants." Stauffer was at last November's book festival in Austin. Perhaps I'll talk more about Stauffer on Thursday.

Posted by: laloomis | February 9, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Completely different tone (vs. Dionne) from Krugman at the NYT this morning:

Now, House and Senate negotiators have to reconcile their versions of the stimulus, and it’s possible that the final bill will undo the centrists’ worst. And Mr. Obama may be able to come back for a second round. But this was his best chance to get decisive action, and it fell short.

So has Mr. Obama learned from this experience? Early indications aren’t good.

For rather than acknowledge the failure of his political strategy and the damage to his economic strategy, the president tried to put a postpartisan happy face on the whole thing. “Democrats and Republicans came together in the Senate and responded appropriately to the urgency this moment demands,” he declared on Saturday, and “the scale and scope of this plan is right.”

No, they didn’t, and no, it isn’t.

Posted by: laloomis | February 9, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I take it that's not the same Ron White whose alias is Tater.

Posted by: LostInThought | February 9, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

LiT, I believe they caught the ol' Tater.


Posted by: -bc- | February 9, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Did they catch him with the coopins?

Posted by: Raysmom | February 9, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

This article
made me think of an even more basic issue. I know they're talking about "shovel ready" projects. I hope part of the "ready" criteria is that they already have a contract vehicle in place. 'Cuz I don't know about you, but it takes *forever* to get anything out of our contracting shop.

Posted by: Raysmom | February 9, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"In the long term, we're all dead." -JMK

I'm going to have to study up on my redneck comedians if I'm going to keep up with the in-jokes today. It was easier for me when we were doing flatulent cetacean science fiction parodies.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 9, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Just read another article about what major businesses may be going under...

Sbarro's and Krispy Kreme are in trouble, and it's likely too late to put a band-aid on Rite-Aid.

Dank February morning with wintry mix, just like back in the DC area.

I'm not THAT homesick.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | February 9, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!

This weekend spent with friends, soooo, I'm hopelessly behindboodled. Is there a BPH this evening? I'd like to say au revoir before heading south and setting up the Grand South of the Sun boodling base. It will be about six weeks until I am regularly online. Might be able to find hot spots from where to send message bursts.


Posted by: Braguine | February 9, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I could say something about Tater, 8 seconds and "most of the time," but it's only Monday.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 9, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse


I think I'm about 6 days behinded.

anyhoo...HI boodle

As Brag asked...BPH tonight?

Same Boodle Channel, Same Boodle Time???

Posted by: omnigood | February 9, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Wibrod, I dunno about Sbarro, but Krispy Creme has been in trouble for years - expanded too fast and got creamed in the last downturn. I won't be surprised if they go under.

Posted by: slyness | February 9, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"Hit something hard; I don't want to limp away from this wreck."

Posted by: Raysmom | February 9, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

New kit coming soonish

Posted by: joelache | February 9, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And then find someone whose life gave them vodka.'

Posted by: LostInThought | February 9, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure he had coopins, Raysmom.
Hadda buy beer, didn't he?

Mudge, our President is smart and a cool customer, but I'm not ready to say that he's smarter than everyone else and that his (and his Administration's) decision-making is faultless quite yet (see: Daschle, Thomas).

For many years Repubs made hay on the idea that the Dem leadership arrogantly believed they were the intellectual elite, smarter than everyone else. This Administration is proving to be smart and capable, but just like any group or individual capable of exercising governmental powers there's a danger of hubris setting in (particualrly if they prove largely successful), and oversight and critical analysis falling off.

Many gave the Bush Administration a pass after those terrible events of Sept. 11, especially after they seemed to be doing what people expected them to. Eventually the flaws became apparrent and we ended up where we are today.

I think we've all learned from the past 8 long years, and one of the things *I've* learned is that I need to keep an eye on our Government. They need to keep earning our votes, even when they're not in the heavy parts of the election cycle (which is never-ending these days).

And I'm glad you're keeping an eye on it too, and that Obama and his team are still earning yours.

They're doing a good job earning mine, and I'm going to try to make sure they do even when they make mistakes (as they will continue to do - it's part of the nature of being human, I think).


Posted by: -bc- | February 9, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

New Kit is up, dahlinks

Posted by: Yoki | February 9, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

bc, I'm much more than perfectly willing to assert that a totally unknown rookie senator -- who happens also to be black, generally considered to be a drawback to electability -- and his team can outsmart Hillary Clinton and all her highly experienced staff and steal a primary campaign right out from under her when she was the "sure thing," and then deliver a thorough ass-kicking to the GOP, out-fund-raising them by a significant margin, and using the Intratubes and other new technology to assist in it?

I mean, bc, what's it gonna take for you to admit he's smarter than you and me? Does he have to walk on water?

Daschle wasn't his fault. He took the bullet, but it wasn't his fault.

"For many years Repubs made hay on the idea that the Dem leadership arrogantly believed they were the intellectual elite, smarter than everyone else." Don't buy into the GOP's argument and the GOP's framing of the question.

The guy's been in office less than three weeks fer crissakes, give 'em a break and stop worrying about hubris.

My entire point is that if someone is playing the long game, it is almost impossible to see what they are doing in a short-term, 24-hour news cycle world. Chess players think five, six, seven moves ahead. It is impossible to do one-move and two-move analyses of a guy who is a six-move player. That's how one losses chess games.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | February 9, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, thank God for that.

Posted by: slyness | February 9, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company