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What Lurks Beneath

My filing system at home consists of stuffing things in various drawers and cabinets and closets and crawlspaces in the basement, attic and garage, supplemented by the car trunk. This morning I had to find a particular mortgage-related document, so I geared up (helmet, gloves, oxygen tank) and dove into the basement storage compartments. I didn't find the document, but I found all kinds of other stuff, all of it worthless, useless, yet awfully hard to throw away.

Like my file on Snowball Earth. Maybe I'll need to write something on Snowball Earth. You will argue that it's all on the Web, that I don't need the printouts. But if I did find it on the Web I'd just have to print it out again. And don't we all need a copy of Paul Hoffman's 1998 article in Science, "A Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth"? Keepin' it!

How about this: "Body odour preferences in men and women: Do they aim for specific MHC combinations or simply heterozygosity?" Hot stuff, trust me.

And everyone needs a copy of this: "Engineering biological structures of prescribed shape using self-assembling multicellular systems." You need to know this stuff if you want to "print" organs and tissues the same way you print out a story.

And here's a story in Nature titled "Sheep don't forget a face." An individual sheep can remember the faces of 50 other sheep for two years. I'm supposed to throw this away?????

Digging deeper, I find an old green folder labeled Taxes/Finances, which has almost nothing in it about taxes or finances, but instead is jammed with photos of the kids and various stories they wrote and valentines and Father's Day cards.

A story: "Once in February, a very caring but clumsing cupid wanted to make something fall in love. On Valentine's Day, cupid by accident hit a bird with a chocolate arrow. Suddenly, the bird fell in love with a mole..." And so on. The mole has a long-lost girlfriend named Laverne. The bird falls in love with the mole who, blind, believes the bird is the aforementioned Laverne. They live happily ever after. "The mole never new why the bird ate worms for meals." Save it.

And these photos: Who are these children? Look like mine but so much younger.

And who's that young, skinny guy carrying a kid on his shoulder, both soaked to the bone in a rainstorm, and grinning?

OK, put it back, keep it all. It's not just stuff, it's life itself.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 22, 2009; 8:45 AM ET
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Excellent. I fear that the only way Chez Frostbitten will ever be truly clean is if there is a form of dementia where one forgets how to read, and cannot therefore be sidetracked, but remembers how to clean.

However, I am hopeful that the Blackberry that is to be purchased this week will end the "phone number bucket" practice. This is the bucket hanging on the wall full of business cards and scraps of paper with phone numbers jotted down. Yesterday was the last straw, after two days of looking for the private cell phone number of an executive who is impossible to reach otherwise I found it when I flipped a piece of paper over to put on the copier.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 22, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

It's easy to waste a couple of hours rifling through those boxes, is it?

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 22, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Now, see, this is exactly what I can relate to. Really. The office is what I call "my filing cabinet on the floor." In several piles. I know (I KNOW!!!!) I have to go through things and file or toss, and then there's the shredding . . . .

Some of this stuff I don't even see anymore. Clearly, if it's important, it goes in a much more easily findable place. But the other stuff just goes into piles.

Nice to know I'm not alone, eh?

I know people who no longer have any filed cabinets (i.e., lawyer people), because they have scanned in everything and it's all on their computers. I use Mozy Pro for backup and I still have an external hard drive which I use for backup, as well. But I do feel a bit uncomfortable giving up the paper. I do indeed.

Conference call -- gotta go.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | April 22, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Sounds just like a man whose eldest is about to graduate from high school.

We have a couple of big boxes downstairs full of stuff called "mementos of the dependents." These are full of the typical assortment of family flotsam. The funny thing is, sometimes the most trivial induce the greatest response. I mean, old stories and macaroni pictures are great, but when you pull out an old pair of Spiderman jammies, that's when the tears start.

I mean, there is no way I could fit into those jammies any more.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 22, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

What lies beneath a trip to Iowa...

Is this lesson: Always remember to pack a tie.

*scurrying-off-to-the-local-Kohls Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 22, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

That is an exceedingly cute story. Clearly a keeper.

My son used to write stories all the time when he was a small boy. Of course a common thematic element in such tales was super heroes who engage in frequent Epic Battles with various Evil Monster Creatures.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 22, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"The wonderful thing about being disorganized is you are always making exciting discoveries." A.A. Milne, paraphrased.
Nevertheless, the un-wonderful thing about being disorganized is you cannot find the damn' mortgage document that you urgently need.

Posted by: jamkidd | April 22, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

RD, can YOU SEE my JAMMIES?????????????

Damn the internet!

Posted by: russianthistle | April 22, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

We have containers for each of the kids momentos as well. Last week I spent clearing out the crawl space and attempting to de-clutter - less stuff went back in the space but not by much.

Did find the fathers day picture I made for my Dad when I was in grade three, made from scrap material and felt, there was also a similar project I made for my mom - really how could you throw that out.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 22, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I've been rearranging the house. A recent decision was to toss the old 35 mm film camera, including a couple of lenses I picked up when I was a graduate student. All obsolete.

Also lots of books.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 22, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The Robin William’s movie “One Hour Photo” has a beautiful soliloquy on the importance of family photos:

“When people's houses are on fire.. What’s the first thing they save after their pets and their loved ones are safe? The family photos.

People take pictures of the happy moments in their lives. Someone looking through our photo album would conclude that we had led a joyous, leisurely of tragedy.

No one ever takes a photograph of something they want to forget.”

I think this is true for mementos in general. We keep the teddy bears and blankies. We do not keep the IV tubes or the heart monitors. And even things that are not immediately suggestive of good times – like an oddly shaped plastic baby bottle for infants who cannot form suction - can become pleasant after years have gone by. Memory is kind that way

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 22, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Please RT. Don't be paranoid. But you might consider checking that third button.

I also have a bunch of old boxes in my basement from graduate school. I hate to throw them away because they represent so much work.

Besides, I really don't want to jostle a few of them because they are starting to glow.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 22, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse


I don't know if you've heard, but Paul Hoffman is speaking tonight at the Geological Society of Washington. Free and open to the public. (And you should join!)


Posted by: callanbentley | April 22, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Carefully taped into my travel diary is the identification bracelet from when I was hospitalized in Hilo after accidentally (really! it was an accident!) drinking antifreeze. I also have a file of material from my angioplasty. Unfortunately, I never got a collection of fluoroscope images on CD from when the catheter was stuck into my heart. I tell you, the radiation damage from that fluoroscope is gonna get me, yet.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 22, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

When I graduated from college, I caught up with my personal belongings in Hawaii where my dad was stationed. My mother pointed to the closet full of boxes and told me to mail whatever I wanted to myself because whatever was still in the closet was going to get thrown away.

I narrowed it down to one box of books and one box of memorabilia. The 'junk' box had a bunch of old boy scout patches and neckerchiefs, team Little League photos and a ton of letters from I girl I had known in ninth grade but had kept up a pen-pal relationship with all through high school.

That box is now at the bottom of a tall pile of other boxes topped with several acrylic blankets and our emergency stash of spare suitcases, beach bags, and backpacks. Someday I'm going to empty that closet and get to that box of old junk and look at it and read those old letters and cry all afternoon and not get anything else done.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 22, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I have already sent the link on the Snowball Earth paper to ScienceKid#1. I love ocean chemistry depicting worldwide events. How come nobody told me in school that geologists could work on that kind of thing? All that academic geologists ever seem to want to talk about is belemnites and other molluscidae. Ho, hum. More reinforcement for my thesis that we train students in academic subjects in an entirely wrongheaded manner, emphasizing historical development rather than relevance to modern academic frontiers.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 22, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Tim, just because someone puts it in a tiki glass and puts a straw and umbrella in it doesn't mean that you should drink it.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 22, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, what a delightful Kit!

Posted by: bobsewell | April 22, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

We don't need pictures of bad times because they are remembered well, if not clearly. And as RD said, memory is kind that way. Ma Frostbitten says the best that can happen for any holiday or family event is for it to be forgettable. The Christmas Frostdaddy was in Vietnam and the entire dinner went tragically wrong was not photographed. However, it is the Christmas that always comes up in a Frostsis confab-and quite fondly too.

Frostdottir has a few boxes of keepsakes we happily sent with her when she moved into her own apartment. She mentioned the other day that the "Polly Pocket" shoes are a bit rank. I dare not ask why she was sniffing them.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 22, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Looking for a boodle-based friend who can give me a 10 minute tour of battery/generator/converter tutorial for some high(-er) demand electrical needs that I have.

Not that I discount the value of prayer, but looking for a cheap and do-able continuous power solution.


Posted by: russianthistle | April 22, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

My mother is ruthlessly decluttering and it is hard not to take it a little personally. I had to liberate the (still-living) shamrock I gave her way back in grade 4 or it would have been gone. Ditto for all the old report cards etc. So now I have most of those things, and am the Owner of my Past and filled with existential dread.

So strange. Most people only have names of their great-grandparents, if they're lucky or research it. Descendents of our generation will be able to assess the elementary school development of many of their ancestors.

Posted by: engelmann | April 22, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

There is, indeed, a way to get infinite power this way RT. But I am afraid it requires the ceremonial sacrifice of a sheep.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 22, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Earth Day. *sigh* A rather depressing first hour of the Diane Rehm show about overpopulation and consumption.

I had an experience on Saturday, March 14 that left me convinced me that I wouldn't tell the story until today. My husband and I were at our regional multi-acre park, across the street from our subdivision, for a walk with our dog. Just as we were finishing, we ran across a van going from picnic site to picnic site emptying the trash can at each site. The crew consisted of two or three men.

This shouldn't be unuaual. But they were using a van, with deeply tinted windows, and the can was full of people--people who were not helping, but sitting inside as the van drove from site to site. I approached the man who was expending the most effort in collecting the garbage. As I passed by the van, I could glimpse that the faces inside were young ones.

My curiosity was heightened, so I spoke to the man who appeared to be the supervisor, Eddie Davila of San Antonio Parks and Recreation. I asked him why he was doing the majority of the work while a number of individuals remained seated inside the vehicle.

Those seated inside the van were juvenile offenders who had already gotten up early that morning and done hard labor. Davila said that they had six months to clean Leon Creek, which runs from outer north San Antonio, snakes across the northwest quadrant of the city, and eventually flows to the south part of town. This was the second weekend of the project to clean up the creekbed. Each weekend they had cleaned up five to six dumpsterloads of trash.

Abandoned furniture, tossed out major appliances, discarded building materials--all manor of trash, from very large to small. Apparently, citizens here, in better neighborhhods and poore ones, aren't reluctant to discard what they own--they just do it where their neighborhoods end--in and along the banks of the creek. Improper and illegal dumping--massive quantities of it.

Thanks to knowing what I now know about the pigs who inhabit Alamo City, Earth Day in San Antonio will never wear a pretty face.

Posted by: laloomis | April 22, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Freudian typo? SCC: The van was full of people...not the can was full of people

Posted by: laloomis | April 22, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

In another closet I keep my used durable medical supplies. It includes a pair of crutches, a left knee brace, a right ankle boot, and an igloo cooler with a cooling pad and pump. Hey, I paid for them (or my insurance company did) and you never know when you might need theme again.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 22, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Hot off the interwebs, NASA provides us their answer to the pesky question of know-nothings and utilitarians, "What has NASA done for me here on Earth?". I quote some of it to you here, despite the fact that it uses "impact" as a verb:


WASHINGTON -- NASA has launched an expanded version of an interactive online program that allows users to discover some of the many NASA technologies that positively impact everyday life. The interactive "NASA at Home" and "NASA City" sites are enhanced with many new features, including green-related information to coincide with Earth Day 2009.

(four paragraphs of puffery go here)

To view NASA at Home and NASA City, visit:

To learn more about NASA technologies that improve life on Earth, visit:

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 22, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

catching up again

Posted by: omnigood | April 22, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

DH and Little League, and strangely enough my mind leaps to "Lady Chatterley's Lover"

DH makes no sense to me.

I mean throwing and catching...all well and good fun...but if I can't hit the danged ball...what is the point.

Imagine for a moment a Designated Kicker in KickBall!


Posted by: omnigood | April 22, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Another site you might enjoy, NASA's semi-organized photo album:

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 22, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I saw the NASA site linked on a local paper earlier and was just starting to explore the site, when computer issues made me shut down the internet, then I fell asleep. Will get back to it later.

Are bookmarked/favorite sites the new memory boxes. :-) My collection always seems to be growing.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 22, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I believe I've mentioned before that my office desk is a facscimile of the geological strata of a tectonic plate. It looks like a jumbled mess of paperwork strewn about, but it's actually a very subtle and specific organization based on the daily workflow of information and documentation that coalesces onto my work area (I call it the Work Crust). The organization is based on need, usage, and the fact that I'm right-handed but left-brained. My co-workers typically display surprise when I locate a specific memo, spreadsheet, or presentation deck within the Work Crust in under a minute, especially if it was created during the Clinton Administration.

And sometimes they don't even have coffee rings on them.

I don't have a lot of car parts around anymore (depending on one's point of view), but I still have a few sentimental pieces that date from cars I owned during the Carter and Reagan Administrations.

Believe it or not, at home I can put my hands on the last 10 years' tax forms in under a minute. But they're filed away in boxes, and even labled correctly, done in a spastic fit of organization, if you will.

I can be a bit of a pack rat, particulary where books are concerned. But I'm fighting it, I really am.


Posted by: -bc- | April 22, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Good morning. I combine "organize by piles" with "organize by files", but the key is the "organize". At home I like things neat, meaning put away. Years ago I made the unpleasant discovery that if you don't go through mail every day, you may miss important things. Some of them, like bills, are also important to other people. And as long as I'm going through things, I might as well file or recycle at the time. At work, I have piles - but I know what is in them. Really I do.

Although I try fairly successfully to combat my own pack rat tendencies, I can do nothing about those of Ivansdad and the Boy. Consequently our house is full of things I just itch to send off to a new destination. I also don't include memorabilia in this category. The Boy's infant artwork, early stories, cute photographs - all in boxes or files or bookshelves somewhere.

Also, I moved into my childhood home, so was confronted (like engelmann) with my past. Some of it I still have. I was finally able to part with those old high school and college English papers. Alas, Ivansdad has not yet let go of his, though his parents certainly sent them up to us once we had a house of our own.

From last Boodle: thanks for the Pompeii pictures, yello. I admit the first thing I thought of billeverythingAR was a pirate tag -aaaarr!

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 22, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

So how long does one have to keep old bills, tax forms, settlement papers, etc? 3 years? 10 years? How many keep their high school yearbooks? At home we tend to do a lot of filing on Peter's High Shelf (anyone know the derivation of that term?). It's gotten a bit better since we had to find stuff for the refinancing gig. Re: 35mm cameras - I'm reluctant to part with my old Nikons, even if one of them seems to have developed a light leak. We do have digital cameras, but they don't have the sharpness and clarity of good ol' film prints. BUT, since the price of digital SLR's with more the 10MP resolution has been coming down, I'll probably make that jump this year. Maybe with the tax refund?

Posted by: ebtnut | April 22, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I meant to tell you earlier that I'm glad that your gb procedure went well and that you're on the mend.

I'm sure the chemicals help.

I actually don't mind cleaning and organization; I've always enjoyed geology, paleontology and archaeology and I'm a heck of a junkyard hound when I allow myself the chance.

Call it time travel on a budget.

Don't always get the chance to put stuff away, but I always like the trip.


Posted by: -bc- | April 22, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

My first job out of college necessitated getting some lighting for the apartment. Sears had this porcelain living-room end table light with a mysterious blue and metallic glaze (or paint) that might perhaps have been applied by lifting the piece upward through a deep container of water with a scum of glaze at the surface. It's still doing living room duty and the glaze is still mysterious.

A vacuum cleaner is from the same period.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 22, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Bettie Page

Posted by: omnigood | April 22, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

The soon-to-go camera is Minolta. Without a functioning body, no point in keeping the lenses, even though the optics from some years ago seem perfectly good.

A few bits of Old Stuff appreciate. Francis Harper's scholarly edition of Bartram's "Travels" is long out of print and irreplaceable. Same for Carlyle Luer's book on the orchids of Florida. Luer was a physician in Naples who made a hobby of native orchids. His photography (and production of the book) set very high technical standards.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 22, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I think if Ivansdad had his way we'd keep old bills and tax returns in perpetuity. That's a law term meaning "forever". I resist. He didn't object when I got rid of all my pre-marriage stuff (we've been married 17 years, I think), or when I dumped our pre-move stuff (we moved here in 1993).

I am considerably aided in my sorting goals by having neither a basement nor a working attic. We do have a part of the attic which is theoretically accessible, though unfinished, but it is occupied by spiders and snakes (in season) so we don't disturb it. I have no garage either - my dad built a carport specifically so he wouldn't be tempted to use it for storage. I do have a tool and equipment shed, but it is no use for storing papers and memorabilia. Even in sealed plastic boxes, the humidity, squirrels, wasps and fiddlebacks will win.

I went in there one winter looking for some old documents my mom had stored. When I looked down, I saw that a ring of fiddlebacks had come to stand around my feet, just waiting. I decided I didn't need the paperwork right that minute.

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 22, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Dave, check the mounts on those lenses. Aren't they still usable on digital SLRs? I don't know the answer to that, but am hoping that my 80-200 may have new life someday.

Posted by: engelmann | April 22, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Happy Earth Day Everyone
The earth out here in west by god is a soggy muddy mess.With the recent rains(heavy) all the streams are constantly flowing.The river is flooded and the road is impassible.I must come and go by way of the mountain entrance which is fine,but a little bit out of the way.

I save everything and up to about a year ago,always said "Yes" when somebody offered something.Now that I am looking to sell my home,I got all this stuff "Junk" and I wish somebody would say Yes. Most of it can be burned or packed into boxes and stored away for a future trip down memory lane.

Well,off to work.

Everyone have a Great Earth Day!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 22, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Just looked up fiddlebacks Ivansmom, Ewwww.

Interesting find in the Arctic - land based seals.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 22, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Marilyn Chambers

Posted by: omnigood | April 22, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the seal link, dmd, it's pretty cool. The comments are, um, 'encouraging' in that they show that Canada has creationist pinheads just like we do, and they look for opportunities to be stupid just like they do here in Yankistan.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 22, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Sadly Pinheads are universal SciTim.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 22, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

This makes me so happy. I'm finally able for the first time in weeks to read a full kit and boodle, and it's such a good one. (Not that the sciency ones aren't technically "good," but it's a topic I can relate to. The battle against household flotsam is a one-step-forward-two-steps-back kind of thing. For example, I went through the garage the other day and threw of several pairs of sneakers that had been demoted to "gardening shoes." Today Raysdad will arrive home from a business trip with promotional trinkets from vendors. Which, you may not know, are required to age approximately 18 months before they may be thrown out.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 22, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Hi all. Great kit. And great comments. FB, you made me laugh.

I've moved twice in the past year (well, mostly...there are still a few boxes out there that haven't quite made it to the current address). Besides mementos and files, I've moved things I just never get rid of because as soon as I do, I'm pretty sure I'm going to need it. Like a crib...I know the second I donate that thing, someone's gonna give me a grandchild.

And because I try not to tempt the gods, I hang on to all sorts of medical equipment, like a blood pressure monitor and the thing you wear over a leg cast so you can get in the shower (but doesn't work all that great in say...the ocean).

Then there are the shorts. A good 18 years ago now, when Thing 1 was 6ish, he had a pair of denim overall shorts that really held up well to the beatings he gave them. At the time, I set them aside for Thing 2 to wear three years later. She also gave them a workout, and they still stayed looking great (and washed like a rag). So I set them aside into a memento box. Last fall, I took them out...Dear Child should fit into them this summer.

Wanna guess when I donated that first crib?

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | April 22, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

dmd, so glad the surgery went well.

Posted by: Raysmom | April 22, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Lenses: Minolta's old lenses were more or less obsolete (replaced by Maxxum automatic lenses) before Konica-Minolta was bought out by Sony. So thoroughly obsolete.

Polo ponies: The Palm Beach Post, building on an interview with the affected Venezuelan polo team's coach in La Nacion (Argentina), has a rundown on what may be the culprit, a vitamin supplement from Europe called Biodyl. If you read Spanish, it's well worth checking out the interview.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 22, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Save those lenses, Dave. If necessary strip them out of the fixtures, or give them to me or someone. I regret throwing away my fine prisms once. Of course I had a need for them within a year.

I am on the verge of getting rid of my vinyl records and turntable. After putting all my CDs on my computer as MP3s I acquired all the vinyl albums' music on the 'net as well. I hesitate to get rid of my albums, however. My elderly neighbor next door has a ton of music. And by "ton" I mean ton. Maybe two. I'm talking about 2,000 lbs. of records, tapes, CDs. Prime old reel-to-reel machines. He's a music teacher and music book writer. Bud Orr. Wrote for Mel Bay. Still in print.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 22, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse
Angry reporters, executive bonuses during staff austerity.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 22, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

It's funny you mentyion LPs

I have an old combo unit. The radio lights don't work, so I have no idea what station it's on. The CD player don't word. The tape player don't work.

The phonograph works as good as new though.

I only have about 150 LPs and five 45s though compared to about 500 CDs or so.

Posted by: omnigood | April 22, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

LiT, love the thoughts on Saving Karma.

And the idea of holding on to something as a form of, er, Prevention.

My oldest daughter found my box of old concert t-shirts and now wears several of them. If you see a 17 year old lady wearing a Rush t-shirt from the "Moving Pictures" tour in northern MD, that's probably her. [I really do *not* want to contemplate the Karmic implications of my daughter wearing these shirts. Oy vey.]

I still wear some of them myself from time to time, too - got some nice comments and approving nods on Boston/Rhode Island college campuses over the past weekend for a classic Queen t-shirt.

Is it a truth about things that if you give it away/get rid of it, you'll need it or want it at some point? As Joel points out, we hang on to stuff, because we hang on to life - and love. Who was it that said that all we really have are memories?

For some reason, all of a sudden I'm in a mood to watch "Memento" and "The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" soon.

But tonight, I'm going to hang out with a friend and watch basketball and hockey in a sports bar.

Am I trying to forget, or trying to remember? Or both?


Posted by: -bc- | April 22, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

One of the things I was going to do when I retired was get into the box that contains the remnants of my education. It's on the shelf in my closet - a good sturdy box for copy paper, including the lid. So I've been retired almost two and a half years and have yet to take that box down. One day.

OTOH, I've gradually been cleaning out drawers, cabinets, and closets when I get a chance and take a mind to. It's theraputic to know that I'm cleaning out. And I think of my children shaking their heads, after I'm gone, saying to one another, "Why the heck did she keep THAT?"

You see, I had the experience of cleaning out behind my mother and my mother-in-law. Both were children of the Great Depression who kept just about everything. We filled the dumpster with the stuff out of my mother's 1000 square foot condo; it was amazing and completely disgusting. Mr. T and his brother took 3 and a half years to clean out their mother's house, and finally brought in a local junk dealer to finish the job.

I do not wish to do that to my children.

Excuse me, please, while I go clean out the mess in my mail box.

Posted by: slyness | April 22, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I have never owned an LP. I do have about a hundred cassette tapes that I either haven't replaced with CDs or aren't available in any other format (e.g. a Philippine edition ABBA Greatest Hit collection which has two songs not on ABBA-Gold). I haven't listened to any of them in over a decade. Not likely to either. But I can't bring myself to throw them away. I have driver disks on 3.5" floppies for hardware I don't own. Sorting the wheat from the chaff is just too hard.

I have about ten photo albums full of 35mm pictures from about 1985 to 1996. All the negatives and unused prints are in about 8 large shoe boxes labeled by year. I ran out of shoeboxes and the ones from my last vacation with a film camera, which was about 2003, are in a paper bag at the foot of my bed. The photos since 1996 have never made it to albums. In a fit of ambition, I ordered ten photo albums to transfer and update all the boxed pictures. The albums, except for two, are still in the box they came in.

I've had two Minolta Maxxum cameras and still have lenses and flash for them, but as DotC hinted at, Minolta was late to market with a digital system and all its technology has been transferred to Sony which is a half step behind Nikon and Canon. I have no idea if Sony even uses the Minolta lens mount on any of their cameras and the Maxxum autofocus has to to be completely obsolete. I do miss a split prism focusing mirror.

I'm on my second Canon DSLR body, this one being an XTi to replace the Japanese purchased Kiss n (350D, equivalent to the Rebel XT) which just gave up the ghost, so I was able to reuse the lenses.

My better pictures I post on my Flickr account and I just broke the 4,000 image marker there. Many thanks to the people that don't mind my constant picture prostituting; it strokes my ego that even a few people enjoy them. I'm still running across images I've never sorted and uploaded. I was late to work this morning posting the College Park Aviation Museum pics which date back to a daytrip to kill time while my son was at a robotics competition two years ago. I've got a lot more to go. For example, I don't think my shots from Bath, England last Spring have made it online yet. The Austenphiles should be livid with me.

My wife and I are both packrats in different ways and those chickens will someday come home to roost since I've been in my current house nine years, tripling my previous record. I say that people should either move or pretend to move every five years. And by pretend to move, I mean move every single possession onto the front yard and then only bring back in the things they still want. To be immediately followed by a yard sale for the remainders.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 22, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

slyness, I had that same experience cleaning out my dad's place - several dump trucks of junk, as well as a dealer. We found his elementary school report cards, some of my mom's, and wondered "why?". There were neat things that we just had to let go because we had no room for them - and we did not let ourselves look at the books, because we would have been tempted to keep too many. So I'm pretty good about not keeping too many sentimental things - but I'm sitting at a computer piled with CD's and papers, in a room with more piles. I just threw out a stack of gardening magazines from the early 90s that I could not bear to part with till now. Small steps.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 22, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

In a fit of good sense I scanned all (!) of my old prints.

The website for the CPAM had the names of all their planes if you get ambitious and want to annotate your photos.

Posted by: engelmann | April 22, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I need to get a scanner...

Since Mr. T and I acquired a digital camera, I have not printed a photo to keep. I have backed them all up on CD's, because we have taken many, many. (Just today, I took my photos of the first year of my favorite twin boys to their mother. There were a mere 195.)

It's really ridiculous, because I have a photo-capable printer. Just haven't had a need to look at any on paper.

Posted by: slyness | April 22, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

seasea, slyness,

My father-in-law bought in bulk without regard to rate of consumption. The amount of laundry soap in the garage could have filled a pallet and served as a through-the-years exhibit on Procter and Gamble packaging. My wife just had a junk hauler take everything in the garage.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 22, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse


Re, your 11:21. If you need straight dope on juice, I'm da man. Catch me on the Backboodle.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | April 22, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* I think it was about two-thirds the way through the 3rd graders performing the recorder medly that I had a sudden sharp twinge of regret that we didn't have our oldest daughter's tubes tied when she was about 17.

I swear, if they've just played recorder numbers instead of waterboarding him, KSM would have revealed all a lot sooner.

Afternoon lacrosse game starring #1 grandson rained out. I am home, writing, trying desperately NOT to go through my file cabinets where I keep old high school photos, my various and sundry x-rays and other important medical memorabilia (wrist name tags? Got a handful...).

I have had enough recorder music to last me the rest of this particular lifetime, thank you. But now, I shall have to sadly decline your kind offer to loan me the cassettes of your child's recorder performance.

Really. I have a loaded gun in my hand, and I'll use it!!! Put that recorder down!!

*sound of gunfire*

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 22, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, lenses to Jumper, maybe?



Magazines. A few back issues of "Plant Talk" remain. Quite a few of a near coffee-table book magazine.

Travel books. Sent a bunch of guidebooks to the library's used-book store on the logic that someone might appreciate them while they still retain some relevance.

Clothing--just sent great gobs to Goodwill. Firmly limited by new closet space limits.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 22, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

If only I were linky. I'd be strongly tempted to provide Mudge with YouTube children recorder videos. You know they're out there. Truly, you have my sympathy. The recorder in competent hands is a fine and venerable instrument, but small children playing en masse is a subtle form of torture.

We have lots of LPs, but also still have a working turntable. The Boy may be the only person among his peers who has seen and heard a "record".

I do, however, have several shelves with boxes of 3.5 floppy discs for the old Macs. The first ones, which are now fishbowls. I have told Ivansdad that, for my part, I have no idea what is on the ones I brought to the marriage and would just as soon run a big magnet over them all and discard. He is reluctant. Who knows, perhaps this is how we'll communicate with the aliens when they land (or rise from the sea).

Posted by: Ivansmom | April 22, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Pack rats are not doing any service to the surviving family. A colleague just got a huge problem when his father, an ailing 96 yo, just inherited the Saskatchewan homestead farm from his younger brother (a 94 yo who took a bad fall and things went down from there). The farm has all the implements ever used since the farm was started in 1902 or so. There are 4 tractors, including 2 with steel wheels with cleats, no rubber. They all work. About six cars, including a model T, a 47 plymouth, a 61 meteor, etc. all cars work too. The old guy was mechanically minded. The house and barns are filled to the rafters but the roofs leak badly. The brothers have been in daily contact since the older one left for the East in 1938 or so through ham radio. So there is a collection of ham radios from 1938 or so to the present. Some rooms are packed solid, there is not a path to come in. All the water bottles he ever bought as well (the well went kaput 10 years ago...) A nightmare.
And his father's house is almost as bad.
My co-worker is retiring in a year or thereabout, I know what he will be doing...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 22, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Beg to differ. Not subtle. Not subtle at all.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 22, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Taking a break from those blasted black helicopters, I participated in the Washington Navy Yard's Earth Day Base clean-up. Wandered around with a trash bag, picking up cigarette butts and trash that the regular cleaning crew ignores.

I've earned the honorary title, "Buttman".

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | April 22, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Two retired couples on my street have garages stuffed to the ceiling with stuff. One couple sold their house, moved to New Jersey, then came back to the house next door--bringing back the same stuff.

There was also the potted plant episode. One couple's driveway gradually became clogged with potted plants. Eventually they had the landscapers plant everything in the back yard. I don't think they realized how big the Bismarckia palm would get (Bizzies are named for the Iron Chancellor and are suitably big and impressive).

I just planted nearly all of my potted things. A pair of very nice African cycads, too big to place in the yard, went to a local botanical garden's plant sale along with a surfeit of big orange bromeliads. Who would've thought they'd proliferate so fast?

Next year's yard surplus may be begonias, notably a fuzzy-leaved variety named Boomer, an effective ground cover thanks to its big leaves.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | April 22, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Don, Funny Funny. This would mean that I am Plastic Bag Gal.

Mudge, I played recorder in a massed band in grade 6 -- Canadian visitors. We played

O Canada
God Bless America

and the Disney Cinderella song

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes
(When you're fast asleep)....

Forgive me, for I did not know what I was doing.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 22, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Hee hee, Mudge. I thought you might differ with me on the degree of subtlety involved in that particular torture. In fact, I can't really justify its use in connection with the school recorder recital.

You notice, however, that I'm keeping the memory in the forefront of your mind. Encouraging you to think about it, compare it with other forms of torture, dwell on the details.


Posted by: Ivansmom | April 22, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Mudge I still might be able to play Beethoven`s Ninth on the recorder - shall I seranade you? Would like to point out I taught myself this song - so you can imagine how lovely it would sound :-)

Posted by: dmd2 | April 22, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

LOL both CP and IM.

CP, confession is good for the soul. I hope you feel a little better now. Go and sin no more.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 22, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Elementary school music concerts are designed to be true tests of the love for a child. If something not carrying your DNA made those noises, you would shoot it just to put it out of its misery.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 22, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

shriekin' D, if your colleague's new inheritance includes old bicycles, some photographs might be enough to induce me to make the trip to Saskatchewan (ever been there!) and help relieve him of those items. Similarly for old cameras. And typewriters.

I bet he could pull the tubes from those old ham radios and sell them individually for a decent piece of change -- folks who are still running old tube-based amplifiers have no choice but to scavenge for replacements.

And I'm sure that bc would love the idea of picking up one or two of those tractors for an action-packed yet interminable drive home to MD, 25 mph going flat out.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 22, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"ever been there!"? That was supposed to be "never been there!"

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 22, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

It takes observing just one incident like the following to severely curtail one's packrat tendencies:

The identical twin crackheads lived across the street for a while much to my frequent annoyance. After a while, one of them ran off the other one, and times got worse, I guess, for #2 soon got his eviction notice. He had amassed a pile of weatherbeaten and warped plywood and some sawed-off 2x4s with nails in them, so that in case some big building project came along he would be prepared. In other words, he stored a big trashpile in his front yard.

As he packed up and moved out, I was amazed to see him transport his entire precious trashpile away, to his new home, an informant told me. To sit proudly in the front yard of his new place.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 22, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Great kit!

I woke up 2 nights ago wondering if a certain chair that had belonged to my great-aunts was in the garage. It isn't. I wonder who I gave it to, and when.

I may have to go with yello's pretend move. When I moved from a much larger house in Ohio, the grad school friend helping (making) me clean out the garage convinced me that all my notes/textbooks from college2 and grad school should be ditched. Not that they were that old--I'd only been out a few years in a 2nd career. His point was if I ever had to take Calculus again that not having notes from the first time would be the least of my problems. He's been right 99% of the time, but I wish I had my Stochastics text so I could surprise CqP with a pithy phrase once in a while.

dmd, glad to hear you're okay!

Thanks again to gwe for the composter and blue bells. The flowers are beautiful, I'm having a lot of fun filling the composter. Sometimes it's not just move it out, it's move it on.

Posted by: -dbG- | April 22, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Before I forget again, thanks all, feeling really good - only slight twitches of pain, way better than the attacks I had before the surgery.

In our recent clean out we got rid of an old hand me down dresser we had and an end table - we put them out in our regular bulk garbage. The next morning as I was putting out the regular garbage my neighbour across the street said that they had picked up the dresser and table for their child who was going off to college.

I am not sure anything we have put out for bulk pick up has been around for the collection people usually claim them prior - not going to the landfill though so all is good.

dbG, jealous of your composter - I have asked for a rainbarrel for Mother's Day and the Composter is number 2 on the list - might have to wait for my birthday for that.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 22, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute? Recorders actually make noise?
I thought that was like the Emperor's new clothes for kids... "blow and believe hard enough, and music shall come out."

Let's just say music class would have been an actual musical experience for me had the teacher usedwith drums, guitars, banjos, xylophones, any KIND of percussion or string instrument with a tactile component.

%%&^%&^%$ teacher. No wonder she passed me with a high grade for reading in the back of class instead of trying to play the blasted instrument. I thought I had just cracked the recorder code.

I sympathize with you, Mudge. No good sound can possibly come out from a piece of perforated plastic tube filled with kid spit and played upon by grubby little fingers laden with germs.

You may need an anti-scourbic to keep your immune system up now.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 22, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

CP, Mudge, I liked the Catholic banter. Made me smile. That particular saying always makes me think..shouldn't it be "go and sin *in this way* no more"? Seems a much more realistic goal. (I'm thinking something must have gotten lost in the translations.)

Posted by: LostInThought | April 22, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Vowell on the recorder:

"So: I was doomed at the trumpet. I was also acceptable at the baritone, shaky on the xylophone, and putrid on the piano. But there was one instrument for which I had an innate knack, an instrument I could play with some semblance of grace. It was, unfortunately, an instrument already on its way out of fashion during the lifetime of J.S. Bach: the recorder. I taught myself to play it, and by fourteen, I was perhaps the youngest member of the American Recorder Society, reading their journal, American Recorder, and practicing the Elizabethan and baroque music I special-ordered with my baby-sitting money.

I found out about an amateur ensemble that met once a week in my town, playing mostly Elizabethan standards like "It was a Lover and His Lass" at a tempo marked on the metronome as Post Office Slow. The members of the Bozeman Recorder Ensemble, as we were called, included a retired high school music teacher, two Montana State University math professors, and a number of housewives, one of whom had a daughter in my grade. I was the only member under the age of forty and most of them would have been eligible for the senior citizen discount at the music store. I played with them for a couple of years, until my pals Margaret and Leota--the wives of the dean of the College of Arts and Architecture and a physics professor respectively--and I broke off to form out own trio. The three of us just liked each other, liked playing. At school, in all those actual hours of actual classes with actual teachers, music felt more like a job. Playing with Leota and Margaret was the first time--the only time--I actually enjoyed playing music..."

The whole piece is best consumed via audio from This American Life, I think the show title is "Music Lessons."

Earth day was a great success at the after-school program, except for the tragic failure of the USPS to deliver 2lbs of red wiggler worms in time. When they are finally delivered, most likely tomorrow despite paying a premium for failed "2 day express" (they won't guarantee overnight to our zip from ANYWHERE), they will have a very nice home. Here are the plans, executed very well by a bunch of kids who can't believe worms will eat our garbage (the vegetarian bits anyway).

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 22, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, I'll still believe the recorder actually plays music when I hear it.

Which is probably never, but thank you for trying.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | April 22, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

By gosh, Joel really is on that Appalachia documentary.

"If you stood on a bluff, you would have seen an ocean of trees. And if you're George Washington or someone of his culture that would have been a resource. It would have been an ocean of boards. It was an ocean of masts for ships. The big goal was not to live in the landscape and adapt to nature, it was to change it."

And about a battle in French and Indian War:

"This is a situation in 1755 where George Washington so easily could have died. He was right in the thick of this massacre, one of the greatest military debacles in American history where Washington has four bullets through his clothes and he has two horses shot out from underneath him. And yet somehow he emerges unscathed. It is a remarkable thing. He was like the James Bond of the 18th century. You just could not hit him."

GW as a land specualtor:

"It is all about real estate. Washington had a really strong sense his whole life that he wanted to get the back country early on when it was really cheap and wait for it to rise in value."

All spelling, grammar, and transcription errors are my own.

I hope a certain Pulitzer-less reporter appreciates the work I do for this blog. I want time and a half.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 22, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, I was thinking the same thing about band concerts.

I don't know how my parents survived so many of them (both of my sisters and I played instruments-a clarinet and 2 flutes).

I really wanted to play the snare drum, but the case was bigger than me, so that was out. I ended up with the flute.

My parents actually bought me a recorder in elementary school. Maybe their ears were already damaged from all the band concerts. Dunno.

Posted by: Moose13 | April 22, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Bless me, Father Mudge,
For I have sinned.
It has been three weeks since
my last confession and these are my sins:

.... (venial)
....................... (Mortal)

Mudge mutters the penance through the grill.

I say...

I firmly resolve with the help
of Thy grace (God's grace not Father Mudge's)
to sin no more and
avoid the near occasion of sin.

And, I always think of this verse

Create in me a clean heart O God
and renew a right spirit within me.
LiT -- I used to think that meant that my soul was now shiny chrome spit polished or white sheets flapping in the sun; for the right spirit, that felt like a A+ and Good Job stamped on the paper.

Here are the other translations (worth seeing the bodily literalism of the Douay-Rheims version, which is the Catholic version of King James (old and ponderous but sometimes very beautiful):
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a faithful spirit within me.

King James Bible
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

American King James Version
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

American Standard Version
Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me.

Bible in Basic English
Make a clean heart in me, O God; give me a right spirit again.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels.

Darby Bible Translation
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

English Revised Version
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Webster's Bible Translation
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

World English Bible
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.

Young's Literal Translation
A clean heart prepare for me, O God, And a right spirit renew within me.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 22, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, love that excerpt.

Fello Canucks - didn't the Friendly Giant play the recorder?

Posted by: dmd2 | April 22, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

DMD -- Montanans, too

Harp and recorder playing the sad, sad song about love gone wrong.
Long version about Halloween

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 22, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Dmd -- here are the lyrics to that old tune from Friendly Giant:

Early one morning, just as the sun was rising
I heard a maid sing in the valley below
"Oh don't deceive me, Oh never leave me,
How could you use, a poor maiden so?"
Remember the vows that you made to me truly
Remember how tenderly you nestled close to me
Gay is the garland, fresh are the roses
I've culled from the garden to bind over thee.

Here I now wander alone as I wonder
Why did you leave me to sigh and complain
I ask of the roses, why should I be forsaken,
Why must I here in sorrow remain?

Through yonder grove, by the spring that is running
There you and I have so merrily played,
Kissing and courting and gently sporting
Oh, my innocent heart you've betrayed

How could you slight so a pretty girl who loves you
A pretty girl who loves you so dearly and warm?
Though love's folly is surely but a fancy,
Still it should prove to me sweeter than your scorn.

Soon you will meet with another pretty maiden
Some pretty maiden, you'll court her for a while;
Thus ever ranging, turning and changing
Always seeking for a girl that is new.

Thus sang the maiden, her sorrows bewailing
Thus sang the poor maid in the valley below
"Oh don't deceive me, Oh never leave me,
How could you use, a poor maiden so?"

Our Ivansmom could sing this beautifully. Here are the von Trapp children singing this song about a maiden undone by a bad, bad man who did a bad, bad, thing.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 22, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

The 'Music Lessons' episode of This American Life is here:

Sarah Vowell's segment is Act 2.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 22, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

DMD -- this line is from Wikipedia:
The music was played on recorder by Bob Homme (the actor who played the titular giant), with harp accompaniment by John Duncan.

Perhaps Sarah V and the Big Friendly Giant redeem the world with their cleansing recorder tunes.

DMD -- would you like some red roasted peppers lightly dressed in EVOO? Or, perhaps Yoki can send a brioche with a pale primrose yellow butter pat on the side?

You will soon be among the foodies again, early g-bladderless child.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 22, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

liT -- tried to email but bounced back. My email server is in spammy trouble again. I fear my extension makes me look like a baddy.

Will retry later from another account.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | April 22, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Smiling CP as I had just watched the Halloween version - amusing to see how low budget it was - but charming - I so wanted to be the person rearranging the furniture in the castle when I was young.

Had an actual supper this evening, lasagna with tastes of ice cream and lemon cookies for dessert - heaven!

Posted by: dmd2 | April 22, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Love this Kit Joel. It’s very bittersweet to come across papers from ones children.

Mudge, I feel your pain, but it’s part of being a grandparent, as you well know. I remember going to an elementary school concert where a quartet of fourth graders played a piece on their flutes. They were slightly flat and the tempo was a bit slow and I got the giggles. I couldn’t laugh out loud or make it obvious in any way that I couldn’t stop myself, so I sat hugging myself, shaking with tears running down my face hoping no one would see me. Afterwards, another mother came up to me and remarked on how much I’d enjoyed the concert. I don’t think she was one of the flutist’s mothers - at least she wasn’t angry at me.

#2 played violin in the school orchestra from grade school thru’ middle school. She was quite good and the orchestra, led by “Mr. D” was excellent. I never had a laughing fit listening to them.

Yello, I agree wholeheartedly that everyone should move or pretend to every five to ten years. I have friends whose children are going to curse them when they have to sort thru’ the stuff in that basement.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 22, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

And, by the way, how does one get a "1" to follow his blog I.D.? I didn't ask for it, but just accepted. Now, I see that seasea1 has one too.

What"s with us, anyway.


Posted by: Lowen1 | April 22, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Lowen, it happened when we were asked to re-register and forgot our roriginal passwords, so we had to create new identies. Our original handles were "taken" because we couldn't remember the old password. So I became Curmudgeon-1 instead of my original Curmudgeon. You, too, I would guess.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 22, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

The numbers relate to your status in the boodle. The higher the number, the better your standing.

Posted by: nellie4 | April 22, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Lowen-for most of us I believe the 1 was appended against our will when we had to register to post comments, even though we had already registered with WaPo before with our desired handles. At least that's what happened to those of us who didn't discover the super cool underscore work around sported by _TBG_ and other smarty pants boodlers.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 22, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Not only not a smarty pants, not fast either.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 22, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Yello-thanks for the TAL link. Off to listen.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 22, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Right, for me it happened when I changed my email. I suppose I should have re-registered with the snazzier dashes or underscores, but I was hoping I wouldn't have to change my name again, and it didn't tell me (much less ask me) that it would append the silent 1. nellie4 - ha!

sneaks, that's a funny picture of you at that concert. I remember a "winter" concert at my kid's grade school. Our neighbors, from Vietnam originally, were laughing out loud at the kids trying to sing. "It's just noise!" They were pretty bad.

Went up north Monday to see the tulips (not quite to Whatcom County). Can't remember if I mentioned that. We saw some lovely fields of daffodils and tulips, and a display garden where nearly all the tulips were out. Now the tulips in my yard are blooming too.

Posted by: seasea1 | April 22, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I seem to have completed whatever penance I was directed to do, as I shall be arriving home on the morrow.

For which I am truly glad.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 22, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

The ScienceKids, who may have to be re-designated as the OtakuKids, are going on Saturday to their first exclusively Animé/Manga convention-type event, OtakuFest at Centennial High School. They will be attending as professional illustrators, showing portfolios and attempting to sell original artwork. If they succeed in selling anything, then they will qualify as actual professional illustrators. Until then, it's actually just "would-be professional illustrators."

* Otaku = a distinctively Japanese sort of socially awkward, pale (etiolated, even), housebound geek. Like an American/Canadian geek, but purified of all lingering taint of social grace.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 22, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I’ve got notes and papers of different sizes piled on top of one another all over my desk. I can’t file them away. If I do, I won’t be able find them when I need them.

In the 10.5 years that I was living in the US, I had collected quite a lot of stuff. When I was getting ready to leave for good, I had to throw away most of my school notes, newspaper clippings, newsletters and some other stuff. I felt like I was throwing part of my life away. It was a very unpleasant feeling.

Posted by: rainforest1 | April 22, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Hah! ScienceTim, those Japanese people who don't come out of their bedrooms for 10 years? And their parents contend they thought this was normal?

Man, I know way more about Japanese society than I really want to.

Posted by: Yoki | April 22, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

The best part of working evenings is that I'm still winding down while Jon Stewart shows clips of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove asking for things to be declassified. How convenient to no longer to have the "it's not classified because I say it's not" power any more.

"Using power point for evil!"

Posted by: frostbitten1 | April 22, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Recorder is the instrument for which Prof. Harold Hill developed the Think System.


Posted by: Jim19 | April 22, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Evening all
I saw a strange sight taking the back way home, 2 deer that when the saw or heard me coming ran into each other running away from me.I instictively said "ouch" That musta hurt. Really I am sure they are fine.

It figures the year I get serious about hockey, my team which everyone picked to advance is now on the brink of elimination.You folks were right about having a hot goalie makes all the difference in the playoffs. 3 in a row for the Capitals,seems unlikely to me.

Congrats to Yoki and her Flames getting even with Chicago in the series.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | April 23, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. A good kit JA, and one I can relate to. I'm a pack rat of the worst kind, even saving mail, the kind one throws in the trash. I keep thinking I can use the stuff at a later date. I never do.

The inspections are over, and everyone can breath a sigh of relief. The g-girl is here so we have to get ready for school, and I have a date at the laundry room.

RD, there was a bad fire down Myrtle Beach way, I hope your family isn't involved. And Slyness, it is so sad about the young woman getting killed while standing on the porch of her home. The killing of our young people is the reason I started the radio program. It's always so sad, and I believe preventable.

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

There's a lot of discussion about releasing the memos on torture, and some it pretty ugly. Yet I think the ugliest part of it all is the fact that "we" did this. I know the world is an ugly place, and evil deeds are done on a daily basis, yet I feel bad about the whole situation. And, yes, I was one of those that wanted to scorched the world after 9/11. Those feelings may alleviate the pain then, but it doesn't take it away, because it never really goes away, one never gets back what was lost. And I have first hand experience with that.

Since I've started getting ready for school in the mornings, I feel quite young, and even more so, since I'm getting ready for kindergarten, but, oh, the body does hurt, which kind of zaps the feeling of youth. Oh well, I guess one can't have it all.

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 23, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Not a lot to report...but somebody tell me what the headline on the G. Will op-ed on the front page has to do with the actual column? What satire? Did they not update the column?

April 23, 1778: John Paul Jones returns to Whitehaven, Scotland, the small seaport from which he first put off to sea at the age of 12, 19 years earlier. The visit isn’t nostalgia; Jones is raiding British seaports in his ship Ranger, and driving the British Admiralty crazy. Jones spikes the guns of the fort, but decides not to burn the town.
1915: Lt. Patrick N. Bellinger, Naval Aviator No. 8, sets a seaplane altitude record, taking a Burgess-Dunne AH-10 to 10,000 feet over Pensacola, Fla.
1918: British Adm. Sir Roger Keyes’ squadrons raid the German-occupied Belgian harbors of Ostend and Zeebrugge to scuttle cement-filled “blockships” in the channel entrances to deny the ports to marauding German subs stationed there. Although the raids are a tactical failure, they provide a resounding propaganda boost to the Allies; eight Victoria Crosses are awarded for gallantry.
1945: The Bat, the world’s first missile with automatic homing capability, is used in combat for the first time by a pair of PB4Y bombers (the Navy version of the B-24 Liberator), which sink two Japanese ships in Balikpapan, Borneo.

Wafts of coffee smell and slyness's biscuits are drifting from the Ready Room. Let's go, peeps.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | April 23, 2009 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Biscuits coming right up, Mudge. Got a good deal on country ham at Costco, so we are set for a while.

Cassandra, I was glad to see that police have arrested a couple of guys in that young woman's death. Murder is always horrific, but she was an innocent bystander. What punishment is commensurate for that crime?

Locally, we are being entertained/pained by the antics of a person who was elected to the bench last fall. He is a member of a local mercantile family who has a law degree but has never practiced. He ran against the judge who presided over his divorce and won. Now he faces censure because he did not resign from a corporate board, per the rules for judges, and argued with his boss about it. This morning there's a story about a speech he made, in which he criticized the state supreme court judges. I hope he's forced off the bench. For the record, I did NOT vote for him.

Posted by: slyness | April 23, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse


I used the verb "was" in the sentence about the fire, which was wrong. It seems the fire is still burning, that according to ABC news. Still, I hope none of your family is involved.

Posted by: cmyth4u | April 23, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle. gwe, thanks! It was a great game, very fast and physical, and the Flames did fine. One of the stars of last night was Olli Jokinen, familiarly known as Joki.

The Habs are swept out of the playoffs after Washington's win. Sigh. But the Caps looked great.

Posted by: Yoki | April 23, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

My pleasure. Hunting down links is yet another of my underappreciated services here.

I had heard that Centennial was hosting an anime event and was taken a bit aback. That is quite a paradigm shift. Although of anywhere in HoCo to do it, that's the place.

Next they will be begging to go to Otakon, the biggest J-culture convention on the East Coast. I went once a couple of years ago:

Are the SciKids going to have costumes as good as any of these?

Have fun.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

This Gothic Lolita (not what you think) picture is the most popular one I have ever put on Flickr and it isn't even in my main account:

Posted by: yellojkt | April 23, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Good luck to the ScienceKids, eldest was asking if she could go to the big Anime convention in LA - that was a no - apparently the best band is playing there.

Eldest spends most of the available free time drawing Anime characters.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 23, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone. I'm wearing a tie today and everything.

Cassandra - thanks for that alert. I am told that the fire is not close to where my in-laws are. Which is good because my father-in-law doesn't move too quickly.

dmd - I remember the Friendly Giant too! He always had a seat just for me. I like that in a giant.

I always associate recorder music with these cheesy Christmas tapes my daughter used to love. So I am of mixed mind on the topic.

Well, busy morning, and then I have to present a briefing to some new folks.

Which explains the tie.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | April 23, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. I saw my first Eastern Kingbird this morning, what a nice elegant bird. It’s a good sign of spring as they are eating only insects.

The Habs had one good game in them, the first one. The second game was ugly on both sides (who needs crosschecks across the face?) and the last two were all Beantown's. Good luck to the Bruins.

Yes Science Tim, there is a good bit of money hidden in that huge pile of stuff. But who has the time to unravel that ball of yarn and get maximum value for most items? My colleague’s father has his own collections of radios and he his very knowledgeable on the subject but at 96 he is to frail to travel. My friend is brushing up on the value of old cars, tractors, farm implement and he is planning a three weeks vacation in rural Saskatchewan. That last clause is not something you hear often by the way.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 23, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

SCC too frail, for one...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | April 23, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Just watching some video leading up to the meeting at the White House between Obama and bank representatives for the purpose to discuss the credit card business.

What would happen if the Federal Government started charging banks 29% on monies that they borrow at 1 or 2 percent currently?

Posted by: russianthistle | April 23, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Not that I have followed hockey since the days of Bobby Orr, but I am pleased that the Bruins have advanced. They’ve been a pretty mediocre to poor team for many years, it’s nice to see them doing well. I’m sure that husband of #1 is beside himself with joy.

I’m looking forward to a warm weekend with a much improved back. Maybe I can plant some seeds for lettuce and pea pods in our newly fenced garden. Happy almost Friday everyone.

Posted by: badsneakers | April 23, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Late to the party as usual.

dmd glad to hear you are feeling much better, badsneaks, good to see that it is finally doing better too.

I was so far behind reading the boodle but the planet stuff looked so interesting, so I started there, It has taken me a couple of hours to get caught up. Great boodling.

Posted by: --dr-- | April 23, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

bad sneaks, our weekend weather looks fantastic as well, warm, warm, warm - close to hot - Yipee.

Take care of that back planting - so easy to twist the wrong way.

Posted by: dmd2 | April 23, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

And late breaking news Joel, there is corrigendum to the sheep article. Maybe you ought to print that for proper storage as well. You'd hate to have the worng information saved, wouldn't you.

Posted by: --dr-- | April 23, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Anybody see this?:

Sen. John Ensign talking with Chris Matthews about torture committee report ... that "democrat committee report."

Ensign: We put our Navy Seals through way worse that what we put Al Qaeda through.

Ensign: That was a "Democrat Report."

Does that make Torture or Enhanced Interrogation a Republic(an) Tactic?

People have been held accountable for Abu Ghraib.

"People getting their jollies"

Boy... what people will say even in the Senate of the United States of America.

"It didn't go any higher than the field commander who was in charge at the time."

Congressperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz leads off the clip with Matthews.

Posted by: russianthistle | April 23, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse
Good video, high-alt balloon.

Posted by: Jumper1 | April 23, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: Raysmom | April 23, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

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