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Having That Third Kid

Rob Stein has an interesting piece this morning on rising fertility in wealthier nations -- including the United States, but most recently in some countries that had seen dramatic drops in childbearing. [See this Gallup Poll showing a change by the early 1970s in what Americans considered to be the ideal number of children.] The experts had been worried that the developed nations would run out of kids. Too many people would be old, retired, needing support, without enough workers to support them.

But there's an inflection point at which fertility stops dropping as a society grows richer. Instead, it bounces back up again. The "replacement rate" for any given population is considered to be 2.1 children per woman. The experts in Rob's story can't seem to decide precisely why fertility rises again at a certain point, but they're focusing on the increasing professional options that allow women to work and also have children.

I think there's an additional factor: Increased family size flexibility. I have no data on this, but I'm guessing that as a society we've become accepting of different sizes, shapes, and structures for families (including "alternative" families that consist of two parents of the same sex). Women's empowerment over time should give them greater flexibility in determining whether they want kids at all, or just one, or two or four or six or whatever. There is no stigma to being nulliparous, and on the other end of the scale, the cost of the third or fourth or even fifth kid can be absorbed thanks to higher levels of income (it may not feel that way today but that's the historical trend and the whole point of the research Stein is writing about). It would be interesting to see a trendline on the marginal cost of a child as a fraction of personal wealth -- and what if that wealth was inflated by the real estate bubble? Maybe the pendulum will swing back.

Meanwhile, sticking with the topic, there's this weird story on women getting better looking [via Arts & Letters Daily]: But I'm confused a bit by the story. I think what it's trying to say is that more attractive women have more children (not just more daughters). Since attractiveness doesn't count if you're a guy (discuss), there's no selection pressure favoring better looking men. But inexorably women will evolve toward greater attractiveness.

From the story:

If more attractive parents have more daughters and if physical attractiveness is heritable, it logically follows that women over many generations gradually become more physically attractive on average than men.

In men, by contrast, good looks appear to count for little, with handsome men being no more successful than others in terms of numbers of children. This means there has been little pressure for men's appearance to evolve.


I knew it! Marino is the Comeback King, not Elway. [Was it my imagination or was there NFL football on TV last night??]


I'm not the only one with tomato issues.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 10, 2009; 8:03 AM ET
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I think it might be more accurate to say that attractive men are no more likely to be married with children. But who fathered the children of many of the unattractive men married to attractive women?

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 10, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

First? And wearing my editor's eyeshade and drumming my fingers over "nulliparous" when the perfectly good (and understandable) "childless" would have done as well (or better).

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I don't know, Tim -- but if I ever get my hands on that sumb1tch...

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that increased fertility has to do with the difference between a family that can survive on one income and one that cannot. If the family requires both adults to work, at least part-time, the incremental costs of children in terms of child care, not to mention trips to the doctor and other care-giving activities, really is linear (if not more so) with increasing children. But if the family can afford to survive on one income, then the incremental costs drop. (Assuming none of the children require exceptional care in which all bets are off.)

Of course, in any situation, I think the most profound economic division is between those with no children and those with children. That is, the difference between the Double Income No Kids (DINK) lifestyle and the single child lifestyle is vastly greater, in my experience and observation, than the single child and triple child experience.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 10, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

'Nulliparous' is the word of the day. Scream as loud as you can whenever you hear it, kids.

My personal theory is that the third kid is Stay-At-Home-Mom Insurance. Once a woman has three children she can make the argument to the megabucks breadwinner husband that juggling the activities of three kids of varying age is a full-time job and that she should never go back to work.

My brother and his wife who have three boys and a newborn girl are an example of this. His wife is a fully vetted CPA that has never worked since the birth of the first kid.

My other theory is that the proliferation of fertility treatments has made multiple births so much more common that it is easy to overshoot the planned family size. I call this the Jon and Kate Effect.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

But nulliparous is a fun word.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 10, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm just going to sit back and watch the responses roll in to yellojkt's 10:00 AM.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 10, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I'll have to be the one to point out to yello the error of his words...

If his SIL has four kids, believe me... she works. She may not work as a CPA, but she's got plenty to do.

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

YJ, I love ya honey, but sit a little closer, would ya? I can't quite reach you to thwack you a good one. But wait...I can hurl this coffee cup, maybe hit the broadside of the barn you were born in.

Hasn't worked? HAHAHAHAHA!!!! I think you meant to say 'hasn't worked for a paycheck.'

Besides, even if the mother works outside the home, ever heard of the concept of the second shift? Sheeze Louise.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 10, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Think we'll need to open the bunker, Tim?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Yello, that is kind of cynical don't you think?

Besides, the notion that staying at home with three children is "easier" than going back to work is probably not a notion that will find universal support.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 10, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see LiT has things well in hand.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 10, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I'll divert some attention away from yello's poor choice of word. Jay Matthews has an excellent essay today about staying in college and touches on some discussions we've had here in the past...

Posted by: -TBG- | August 10, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Just wanted to drop by and say hello. I hope all is well for everyone. We're under a heat advisory today, temps expected to be near one hundred, and the heat index near 105.

As for the kit, I think attractiveness may not always be the "kick" for women in choosing their life partner or even to having the occasional fling for that matter. For some, I'm sure that's a part of the equation, but not necessarily the whole thing. In my youth, I liked tall men, but as I aged that didn't seem to matter as much. My second husband had the most beautiful eyes, and my first husband was very tall. I do believe women, like the females in the other kingdom, are attracted to males much like our closest or not so close kin in the animal world.

I also believe that for the men, attractiveness is the big ticket, the look, although that could change with other factors thrown in there. Needless to say, I won't go into those factors here on the blog. Three guesses, and the first one is right.

Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, Yoki, and everyone here, a big Southern hello from North Carolina. We're starting our summer rivial at church this week. I'm looking forward to it. I'll keep all of you in mind through prayer while there.

If it's hot where you are, stay cool. Have a wonderful day, folks, and check on your elderly neighbors. *waving*

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 10, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Let's take a vote, should I make a fresh pot of coffee? Will anyone share?

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

I think that male attractiveness certainly does matter to women. In particular, the idea that tall men are not considered more attractive than short men is ludicrous. (Not that I am bitter or anything.)

I think that the difference is that men can overcome a lack of physical attractiveness more easily than women can. In general, women are better at seeing past physical imperfections than are men.

I agree, though, that male attractiveness does not translate into improved reproductive success. Indeed, sometimes I think being an extremely attractive man might actually diminish the willingness to settle down and have children. This is called, technically, the "George Clooney Effect."

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 10, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Fax me a cup, Weed. The stuff here is swill.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Pour my cup over ice, RT. Thanks.

I think yj means well.

However, I am a second shifter since 1983! As in the work-volume done for economic goodies and non-economic goodies is among the highest I know. As children leave, this work-balance is changing as it should.

I do not have a scientific sample on family work distributions....but, let's say that I agree that we are not "there yet" on the equality burden in families. And, of course, YMMV greatly.

Arlie Russell's book The Second Shift should be required reading.

Having said this, I find homemaking and keeping and childrearing highly creative and beautiful. I am sorry that homemaking/keeping is not valued for the practical and aesthetically rich activity it truly is.

The reasons for more than one or two children vary widely. I am a product of a big family (7) and wanted one very much, on the order of say 4 or 5. Did not work out that way, but the desire was there. Money limited this. Had I been a higher earner or linked to a higher earner, would have done so.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | August 10, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

No coffee for me, please. My desire for coffee disappears at high altitude.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 10, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse


Arlie Russell Hochschild
Another good book by ARH is The Commercialization of Intimate Life.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | August 10, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I believe that Thailand is presently the world leader in that sort of commercialization. According to what I read in the papers.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 10, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

You mean someone is using sex to sell products? Or even sex itself?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, the presumption that "stay-at-home Moms" don't work.


Leaving yello aside in his self-made swill (just a gentle teasing, yello), to thwack Mudge (and others) upside the head for, albeit truthfully, dissing the Detroit Lions. Geez, you guys, can you *not* give the Lions just a wee bit of empathy, or do you gotta be a Supreme Court justice first?

I tell ya. . . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | August 10, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Wow, yello. Just, wow.

CP, I'm with you on the beauty and importance of child-raising and homemaking.

RD_Padouk, you made me laugh. You really did.

On a completely unrelated note, we moved between office buildings last week; my Department had a week in our new quarters before everybody else arrived this morning. During that brief, halcyon time, our computer systems were wide open so that I was able to open my various and sundry personal web mail addresses. Now that IT is installed in their new home, all those sites have been blocked again. *Sigh.* This work business sure interferes with my social life.

Posted by: Yoki | August 10, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Sorry that it took so long, but coffee is on.

*fax to cQp... one cup medium roast*

all other cups delivered per instructions.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 10, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Tim, care for a filtered water? Or juice? trip to Thailand?

Posted by: russianthistle | August 10, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

IT ... they ruin your personal life, then they wander around the office and just sit on your desk and start conversations with "so, babe ..."

Yeah, IT.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 10, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Attractive men are smart; funny; kind to children, old people and animals; not necessarily of the same political leaning but doesn't think my stance is ill-informed; isn't squeamish; appreciates that my extended family is important to me and makes allowances for my brothers. Other traits that would be nice, but not absolute requirements: knows how to cook, knows how to throw a spiral, understands why The Blue Collar Comedy Tour can be funny.

And let's face a straight man *you know personally* who dresses well. By himself. (Sorry guys. And S'nuke, I love your pink dress shirts.)

Off to deal with a vendor. Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 10, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

yello is on to something but here's how I'd analyze it: in larger families, specialization of tasks brings larger economic advantages than in smaller families. A full-time cook is efficient for five, not so much for two. (and cooks can tell you it's almost as easy to shop and cook for 10 as for 3) Same with other home tasks, which are indeed "work."

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 10, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

*raised unibrow*

I've moved on to lime green today, LiT.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 10, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I'll have you know that I dress myself quite well. True, I sometimes have trouble with those tricky buttons, but after enough tries I can usually get them right.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 10, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

LiT, I only know one man who dresses well on his own, and that's Mr. T. I've bought him a few dresses shirts in my time, but he does so nicely by himself that I just don't worry about him. Obviously, he's one of a kind and that's one of the reasons I married him.

He has more clothes than I, and spends more on his clothes than I ever thought about. And this is a man who wears a dress uniform to work, so he doesn't have to buy professional attire.

He doesn't cook, but he's a lot neater than I am and he loves working in the yard.

What can I say. He's definitely a keeper.

Posted by: slyness | August 10, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

While acknowledging that "nulliparous" is a 50-dollar word that, on its face, is ridiculous, I chose it with the vague hope that it would be perceived as not only technically accurate but free of any cultural/social baggage that a term like "childless" might carry. But this is an exact science, this writing thing.

Posted by: joelache | August 10, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I always thought that a real man can hit a tennis ball really hard and a golf ball softly--both with good results.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 10, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

You're supposed to dress well? I never got the memo...

ftb, just pulling your chain about the Lions. I knew I was gonna get an upside-the-header from ya. You know my kidding about the Lions is purely affectionate (remember, I'm a Nats fan). Dallas...not affectionate. No. Not at all. Un-uh.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I find myself in full agreement with yello, except for that bit about the CPA "that" hasn't worked (but he's done so well lately). Yes 3 children are "work" but 3 seems to be the magic number that makes women feel justified in demanding to stay home with their children and their SO's agreeing to the arrangement. Whether or not it should require 3 kids for this to kick in, or if either parent should need justification to stay home is another argument.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 10, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I loved "nulliparous" and its meaning is immediately clear if one knows "parous" which I did. However, I'm appealling to Boodle wisdom to define "Laocoönesque" in Hunter's essay. I've seen it before, and all I can see is it has something to do with doing the dirty in church, or else warning against Greeks bearing gifts. Two unrelated meanings, I might add! And appealing to context is getting me nowhere either.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 10, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse


Eight straight wins...

Norman, coordinate...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 10, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

slyness, your description of Mr. T fits Raysdad as well. His wardrobe fills three dressers and two guest room closets. I gave up buying clothes as gifts for him long ago--his taste is frankly much better than mine. Although there is that small matter of short-sleeve dress shirts.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 10, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Certain types such as FBI agents are also reportedly notorious clothes horses.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 10, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Snakes, Jumper...that's what I associate with Laocoon, but here's the Wikipedia entry:

Posted by: slyness | August 10, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, I took Hunter to be referring to Winkelmann et. al.s "Laocoon's Body and the Aesthetics of Pain," which argues against "aesthetic theory's cruelty to the body."

But I could be wrong.

Posted by: Yoki | August 10, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

ftb, I wasn't ignoring you--was out of town for a couple of days. Jeanine deserved the win; did you notice how many of the judges' favorite dances of the season featured her?

*applauding dbG for her aplomb in resigning gracefully and without undue Snoopy dancing*

Posted by: Raysmom | August 10, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 10, 1846, President James K. Polk signed a measure establishing the Smithsonian Institution, named after English scientist James Smithson, whose bequest of half a million dollars had made it possible.

Posted by: -pj- | August 10, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom, that's not an issue for Mr. T. It's going to be close to 100 here today, but as usual he went to work in the long sleeved white dress uniform shirt, with a white undershirt underneath. Why he doesn't have heat strokes, I'll never know. But he looks fabulous.

Posted by: slyness | August 10, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

pj, great notice. One of the main industries of the nation's capital. We have K Street; lawyers; accounting firms; associations and universities. And, lots of tour buses.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 10, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

(Red faced - should have read the entire wiki article rather than skimmed it a while ago) Death by sea-serpents, this punishment misinterpreted as to exact crime. Okay.

If women are chosen for gracile characteristics, and men for robustus form, as often happens the offspring will just as likely express either. This is known as God having a sense of humor.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 10, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

LiT, many straight men dress well, especially if they're out chasing women (or money, depending on their career), and want to make that first impression count like gold.

And I'm with Cassandra. Tall doesn't count as much as the whole package. It just makes a guy more noticeable at first glance, if he's the tallest in his group.

Of course, a guy of "average" height feels very tall to me.
Six-footers (or plus) just come across to me as big slabs of guys rather than potential sex symbols.

I can barely see their faces from below, you know, and it's hard to get enthralled about a fuzzy underchin.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 10, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I dutifully submit for my smacking. Thank you, ma'am. May I have another.

Housework is work. Believe me, I know that. It's only paid work when you are doing it in someone else's house. Every two weeks a very nice immigrant couple come to my house and spend two hours performing cleaning chores that would take my wife and I the better part of a day to do since we have no financial incentive to complete them. By paying for the service we are insuring that they get done at a far higher quality then we (especially me) would have done ourselves.

My wife dislikes being home when this is going on, so we usually go out and engage in some sort of social activity like attending a movie or shopping. So the cost of this activity is a reverse opportunity cost and the housecleaners cost us far more than what we pay them. Feel free to rate the irony of the situation.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

dbg, glad the resignation went well and that you are on your way to a much saner life.

concerning stay-at-home moms, a friend of a friend told me this: she stayed at home for a few years with her two boys. her husband held a full time job. because the woman was a lawyer, at a certain point she went back to work and the husband stayed home as the primary care give. her husband will confirm that staying home with two small boys is MUCH more difficult and exhausting than an office job.

Posted by: LALurker | August 10, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Since I am in the doghouse already, I might as well keep digging.

The economic value of traditional domestic work has been eroding steadily as our ability to outsource these tasks increased. My mother baked from scratch, sewed her own clothes, and kept a garden. All valuable contributions to the family. However, most of these activities remain mostly as hobbies in lieu of survival needs. It's far more economical for a spouse (of either gender) to get a job buy the clothes, get take-out on the way home and grab some vegetables from a roadside stand.

Take sewing for instance. Nowadays the cost of materials and a pattern kit exceeds what you pay for a third-world garment worker to make the same thing and ship across the globe to BigBoxOfStuff.

It's a global division of labor thing. The one exception is childcare, which I will address shortly.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I kinda figured out nulliparous from the context, but I had to look it up to be sure. That's my index: if I hev to look it up, that's pretty much a sure sign the word gets the hook. I still don't know what "parous" means, at least beyond a guess from nulliparous. But I never heard the word before (and hope not to hear it again).

"Laocoönesque," I am familiar with, only because of my extensive high school Latin, and my Latin teacher, poor benighted Mr. Monk (yes, but not the Mr. Monk from the TV show) going on about Laocoön. I take the word Laocoönesque to mean something on the order writhing in a death agony (in his case, being strangled by snakes). Laocoön and his two sons were so strangled in the Aenid (and in other places), principally for offending Poseidon, although other sources give other causes. Laocoön is/was famous for being the guy who warned the Greeks not to accept the Trojan Horse, and nobody listened to him. In this regard he is like Cassandra, a seeress who was also ignored.

That irritating umlaut over the second "o" in Laocoön turns out to be pretty important, because it's the only clue one would have to the proper pronunciation, which is lay-o-ko-WAN, and not lay-o-koon. Thank you, Mr. [Frank] Monk. See? I was not nearly as dense and inattentive as you thought. Arma virumque cano, yadda yadda.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Jkt, I really enjoyed your discussion there. Applying logic to anything like cleaning is how we ended up with the Appalachian Trail extending all the way to Buenos Aires.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 10, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Famous statue of Laocoön here: not exactly safe for work. If ya know what I mean.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Yello... we know you mean well, don't worry. I think Frosti's right and it was really the "that" that set me off.

I worked part time when my kids were little. I only went to the office for our production cycle, which was seven days in a row (with a weekend in the middle); then I had two or three weeks at home (depending on the month).

I called the office job my "easy job." There was no comparison. But the beauty of the job was that by the time my office schedule came around I was anxious to be there among adults and get to that job. After the work cycle was over, I couldn't wait to get back home with my kids full time.

It really was the perfect balance and I wish every parent could find a job (and childcare) that allows such a life.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 10, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"His wife is a fully vetted CPA that has never worked since the birth of the first kid."

You try raising kids and say it's not work

Posted by: gm123 | August 10, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I do like Joel's word choice because it is so clinical in avoiding words fraught with undertones.

The late lamented WaPo MommyBlog was infamous for it's parenting wars. No button is hotter than the SAHM/WAHM/Working Mother continuum. Note the common 'M' denominator. Except for the Ted Koppelish outliers like LALurker's friend most dads don't give the concept more than a passing thought.

As the nature of domestic work has changed, the time division of a stay-at-home parent's day has changed focus from the household to the children.

In the not-so-golden-age of Leave It To Beaver/Mother's Little Helper SAHMs, they were usually so distracted with domestic chores that children were sent out as free-range livestock warned only to return by dinner time. Nowadays with more time on their hands and less measurable economic activity to do, they compensate by over-supervising and over-scheduling their kids. Hence the rise of helicopter parents and the daily multi-stop Moms Taxi as parental practice

Some moms make themselves busy because they need to feel busy. And they take it out on their kids with endless activities. And then there are the families that go the next level and homeschool. (more)

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Apropos "women getting better looking",

Posted by: williamalink | August 10, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

yello, I'd smack you too but I think you're starting to like it.

RT, so, babe . . . /idly kicking your wastebasket as I sit on your desk /

I'm supposed to be teaching 2 colleagues how to do a specific set of tasks. One is out this morning, but will be in this afternoon about half an hour after I leave. His co-trainee suggested that since I had to train them that I'd have to stay late. No. My days of working overtime for /insert company name here/ are over. I am not responsible if they're not here when I am.

I told him this, he suggested that I spend time teaching them something else also that he's interested in. Um, if we have time. (I actually do feel bad for this one--he's so anxious about all this he can barely talk.).

Posted by: -dbG- | August 10, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

While Joel's blog reflects in part his own contribution of 3 beautiful (I'm guessing) daughters I think the glamorization/rationalization of having three or more children be they beautiful females or possibly ugly but smart males is missing the far more serious problem of overpopulation and the expanding carbon footprint in affluent explained here:

My parents produced 4 offspring...two of whom died in childbirth/first year of life. They replaced these precious children with adopted precious infants and thus prevented each lost child ultimately adding "about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent - about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is responsible."

To further my rant shows like "Eight is Enough" and other multiple births reality shows are disastrous for promoting greening the earth. Every child is precious, yes. But population control is critical to the survival of the planet and better lives for all the beautiful children.

Posted by: Windy3 | August 10, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I would suggest that overpopulation and outlier families are not going to be a problem if all the regular folk don't soon mend their ways.

Posted by: Yoki | August 10, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Because of the misperception of raising children as an endless vacation of bon-bons on the couch briefly interrupted by having to ferry kids to some activity or another, many moms feel the need to rationalize staying at home by going the home-schooling route. In essence, they are hiring themselves as their kids' private tutor.

When I know people contemplating this I ask: "So if you were hiring a private tutor what sort of credentials would you expect in the form of education, experience, and references? And would you yourself meet the criteria you would set for others? For example, would your next-door neighbor hire you to teach their kids?" I've lost a few friends with this thought experiment.

But homeschooling meets all the needs of a determined SAHM. It requires much of the day. It fills a need for the family that dislikes the quality or bent of the public school systems. And it strikes a sympathetic cord in a certain socio-political mindset. And the economics of it make no sense whatsoever except on ideological grounds.

The interesting special case is kids with special needs. These children have extra-ordinary demands that often require full-time supervision. Taking care of a special needs kid is a true labor of love.

But even here there are some odd hypocrisies. In a very religious family I know, the wife is licensed pediatrician who worked at government clinic just long enough to pay off her student loans. She then went the SAHM/home-school route except for her youngest kid who had special needs. For her, they enrolled her in public schools because the government funded services provided at no cost would have been exorbitant if bought on the open market.

So public schools are the enemy except when they aren't.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I think what you're describing is a distinctly upper middle class/suburban thing...not that there's anything wrong with that, but please don't generalize it to all parents, especially mothers.

I don't think most of these decisions are made with calculating rationality. I read recently that half of the births in the US are there's that to consider too. I think most of us just try to cope as best we can. I've been the primary wage earner in my family, but we didn't set out to do that. Mr seasea doesn't do well working for someone else, and has many more car repair/home restoration skills than I do, and he was a stay-at-home dad too. But we didn't sit down and say, let's try this - it just worked out that way.

And the same goes for falling in love (not being a rational decision). I suppose I should read the article before I start to comment...

Posted by: seasea1 | August 10, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I never got the war between the work-outside-the-home and the stay-at-home mothers. Just too peaceable, or too tired, to care.

Both the dottirs were almost 6 months old when I went back to work; the elder stayed in daycare (to save her space) while I was at home with the younger. My exhusband would have preferred that I stay home, but I refused. I decided long ago that I would never, ever depend on another person financially. Fortunately, I had excellent daycare, which made the decision somewhat easier, and a job I could leave at 5 pm.

Women don't have much of a choice, IMHO. Work outside the home and be exhausted, stay at home and be exhausted. Life is out to get us, either way, so take your pick.

Now the choice I REALLY don't get is home schooling. Unless you're a teacher by profession, how can you possibly teach kids what they need to know at home? Again IMHO, the social aspects of school are just as important for kids as the curriculum.

All this said, I LOVELOVELOVE being retired and staying at home now. Not that I stay home that much, I'm involved in lots of activities and have more projects than I'll ever get done.

Posted by: slyness | August 10, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I often say that the problem with the American workforce is that there are not enough challenging part-time jobs out there. The perfect job for a parent with young children is a 9-3 25-30 hour a week job with medical benefits. Because health care is a fixed cost independent of salary or work hours, employers are loathe to offer such positions and only create them to retain highly valued current employees.

I stand by my statement. I have never stayed home to look after small children, but you have never met my sister-in-law. She does not work. She gets the kids dressed and off to school, but she would have to do that regardless of her employment status. I have never seen her prepare a meal or heard evidence of her having done so. She schedules camps and activities for all the kids old enough to do so all summer and even during winter breaks. By necessity, the child ferrying is split with my brother, but working parents have to do that as well.

In her defense, her house is immaculate and four kids do generate plenty of laundry. For her, raising children was a lifestyle choice and I doubt she would have done it had it been more effort for her.

My sympathies lie with the woman that needs to be in the workforce for economic reasons and still has to do all the child-rearing and housework because she has (or doesn't have) a partner willing or able to divide the shared labor of a household and family.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Yj, perhaps you are winking all along. Hard to tell from the words alone.

My goodness, we just try to get along, as seasea says. Parenting and schooling are best left to the family to decide the most reasonable and preferred/selected course at that time for that child (ren) in that family given what is available in the community and against competing needs....etc.

Preferences reflect our selves and what we construct to live in. I think you mean to be ironic....but hard to tell in this venue.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | August 10, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

There was a study a couple of years ago that proved conclusively that, in Canada at least, homeschooling is primarily driven by religous concerns. That is, parents who homeschool are removing their children from the mainstream on religious grounds.

There is no basis at all to think that yello is correct that the choice is motivated by mothers wanting to justify their choise to be full-time SAHMs by keeping busy.

yello, I totally get it that you are being provocative, but it grows a bit tiresome when you are simply making assertions for the sake of provocation.

Posted by: Yoki | August 10, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Some religions just don't try for converts:

In today's research, additionally there's a German literary work on Laocoön (a restored statue it seems) which along the way delved into aesthetic meaning and manly good looks. Which sort of is kit-related. And bare-legged-man-in-flip-flops related.

On good looks in general, I believe attitude (aka "comportment, demeanor" and other squishy terms e.g. "aggressive", "peaceful nature", "overly desperate" etc., etc.) has far more to do with attractiveness than anyone wants to say.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 10, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Joel's kit links to an article describing large families as an upper-middle class trend. I was offering up my relatives as a case study. An MBA, a CPA, one job, and four kids. It's a luxury few families in the US (and hence the world) have.

My wife stayed home for almost a year while our son was a toddler, but not an infant. While having a super-clean house and regular meals was nice, it was driving her stir-crazy. Being under-employed as a secretary was a great balance for her. She went into teaching not out of deep altruism, but because she realized that it was career that fit well with having flexibility for a family (Summers off, generous sick leave, low pay).

It required her to spend 15 months going to school fulltime while being unemployed (and paying tuition) to get her masters while taking night courses to fulfill undergraduate pedagogical requirements, but it has paid off handsomely in quality of life.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

On a completely unrelated note, I want to give Steven Pearlstein a shout-out for his totally excellent column Friday on the Republican misinformation campaign on health care:

One of my favorite lines: "By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems."

Posted by: Raysmom | August 10, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

An examination of state by state fertility data might lead one to the conclusion that political and/or religious conservatism is a factor in family size. Utah leads the nation (by a mile) in birth rate with 21.2 births per 1,000, then come Texas at 17.1, Arizona at 16.3, Idaho at 16.2, and Alaska at 15.8. The national average is 14. Maine and Vermont tie for the lowest birth rate at 10.6 births per 1,000.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 10, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, my favorite false rumor... that the government will mandate (no pun intended) sex change operations. Hopefully, their other rumors will solve the problem as there will be a very very VERY long wait for the service.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 10, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

How about Sarah Palin's statement that she didn't want to have any member of her family appear before Obama's "death panel." Yup, a real problem-solver she is.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 10, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Highly religious families are also more likely to desire large families (e.g. that other freak family reality show), so the lots of kids/homeschooling synergy fits in well with beliefs that place women in subservient roles.

As RD mentioned, large families have a certain economy of scale. I've always been told that two kids are tens time as much work as one, which may be while I quit while I was ahead.

A dad I knows describes three kids as having to go from man-to-man to zone defense. And my brother says that once every waking minute is spent doing things for your kids (and I think he doth protest too much), it doesn't matter how many you have.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I still just think nulliparous is fun to say. It stimulates the cilia in the esophagus. And stimulated cilia are happy cilia, I always say.

But about men and clothing. I, like many men, am a minimalist when it comes to clothing. By which, I hasten to add, I mean that my wardrobe consists of a relatively few basic items that can be randomly combined without inflicting too much aesthetic damage on my environment.


Now I would like to claim that I do this so as to avoid devoting too much mental energy to my wardrobe. You know, like Einstein, or Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly." But the truth is I just lack the requisite aesthetic judgment.

And so I am always willing to yield responsibility for picking out clothing to willing females. So long as they make it very clear which items go with which. (I hear that little animal shapes sewn into the labels can be helpful.)

But I did pick out some really nice new work shoes yesterday all by myself. They are shiny and black and have high-quality nylon laces.

And they pretty much go with anything.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | August 10, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I have 1 question first.

I have heard this before, about the "replacement" rate being 2.1 kids per woman. Why this doesn't make sense to me is because its not like after you give birth, you die. So there are usually 3 generations alive at a time in a family. Plus, each kid then goes on to have 2.1 of her own, so I'm not sure how the population would not grow under this system.

I also want to argue about the attractiveness thing. I actually think what is more likely than women evolving to be more attractive is actually our definition of attractiveness changing over time. What was cosnidered attractive by our society 100 years ago is not the same as today. Beauty is completely a societal idea, there are no set standards of beauty to judge women against to say they are beocming more or less attractive.

Posted by: EAR0614 | August 10, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I am meaning to discuss, not provoke. People are very irrational when discussing the economics of families.

The amount of housework that needs to be done can be summarized as HW=(Base load + Incremental load * # of family members) * Quality factor.

As the number of family members increase, either more housework has to be done or the quality level has to decrease. This is independent of the employment status of the family members. Assuming the parents are the primary housekeepers the amount of work done by the spouse can be summarized as follows:

Work hours = Paid work + (fraction of household work done) * (HW - work contracted out {housecleaning, take-out meals, daycare})

It's well established that FOHWD-F (fraction of household work done-female) is always greater than FOHWD-M. So as FOHWD-M approaches zero and if WCO (work contracted out) is kept low, total work for a female household member will increase when an outside job is taken provided that the quality factor is expected to remain the same.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

by not having more kids Americans create the need to import wage slaves from india...
in other words, we are turning America over to descendents of newly arrived immigrants because we are no longer populating our country...
we enter the age of wage slaves and genocide...
as one supreme court judge said...
I thought we used abortion to limit the population of undesireables...
seems to me the biggest victim of abortion have been black people because they seem stuck at 13% of the population while Latinos are near the 50% of the population mark in the next decade...

Posted by: DwightCollins | August 10, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Except Bermuda shorts. Too many visitors to Disneyworld forget that.

The real issue of fertility in developing countries is the lag between the increase in expected life and the decrease in birth rates.

In developed countries the problem is the opposite. Because of those pesky child labor laws and the exorbitant cost of school clothes, children are a luxury good. A rather illiquid one at that with large carrying costs. Is it any wonder that their popularity goes down when their Veblenian cachet goes down. Their only real value is as an excuse to make another round of purchases at Ethan Allen to fill out the McMansion. Children's wallpaper is so cute but it's kinda creepy to decorate with it if you don't actually have a kid.

Much like shopping at Forever 21 by yourself.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

A universal female beauty standard: wide hips.

Those pointy little heads have been evolutionary optimized to be as big as possible while still letting mom live long enough to have the next 1.1 kids.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

EAR0614, I suspect your question about the 2.1 replacement number comes from wondering about that "point-one" (.1) part of the number. Yes, 2.0 children would replace the two biological parents (in theory). So why the point-one? It is to replace all those people who never reproduce, but who also die off (which might include infants and children who die before reproduction age/opportunity, gay/lesbian, infertile people, etc.). I suspect that the 2.1 figure is actually a lot more complex in it's make-up than might appear; that it isn't simply just 2.0 plus .1. That may be its sum, but it isn't a representation of its components.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

yello, the matter of "housework" or "chores" is further complicated by differing criteria of acceptability which roughly range from the teenaged boy "My feet don't stick to the floor, the bathroom's fine" to the mother-in-law "Did you make sure to vacuum behind the dishwasher?" Whose criteria are used?

Then there's the inclusiveness of the term "housework." Is this limited to laundry and cleaning inside the house, or does this include yardwork? Gutter cleaning? Auto maintenance? Bill payment? Malodorous emergency plumbing tasks? Errands? Balancing the checkbook? Tax computation? Pest control, including but not limited to confrontation and/or elimination of all arachnid, insect, rodent, reptile, and sundry invertebrate invaders? Pet care, including but not limited to disposal of dog and/or cat waste? Gardening and compost? What do you call it when the condensate drain on the AC unit in the attic plugs up and the drip pan fills and overflows and somebody has to climb up through the scuttle hole into the attic at 1 am to set up a siphon hose to stop the dirty water from ruining the upstairs ceiling? Is that "housework"?

Posted by: kguy1 | August 10, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Dwight, Dwight, Dwight, Dwight. *sigh*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

*woo detector twitches*


Yep, Front Page Alert...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 10, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

That is why I have a Quality Factor multiplier with 1.0 being a standard level of throughness. The probable range goes from 0.1 for a college dorm room to 5.0 for Martha Stewart.

The unit of measurement is weekly labor hours. For irregular tasks the formula is Time Required X Frequency of Event.

There is a certain diminishing returns and geometric decay involved with some of the tasks on your list. Killing an unwanted invertebrate organism and reaching a bowl on a high shelf are both unlikely to reach measurable quantities in the magnitude of laundry or food preparation unless your house is unduly susceptible to invasion or the kitchen is profoundly poorly laid out.

And the definition of chore and task is something I suggest all parties agree upon before entering any cohabitation situation. When my wife went back to grad school, I was asked to take on the food preparation chores as a way of balancing the FOHWD ratios. When the classes were over, that ratio did not get adjusted back. Over the years my personal QF for that item has varied from about a 1.2 down to a 0.5.

My wife claims that her adjustment of expected household cleanliness from a 1.5 down to a 0.75 is probably responsible for the success of our marriage.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

In the Home Front chat, someone linked to a "chore chart" which laid out weekly and monthly cleaning tasks. Some of the "monthly" tasks fall into the "rarely, if ever" or the "you're supposed to clean THAT?" category in our house. Hey, it's all I can do to keep us from suffocating in a pile of dog hair.

Posted by: Raysmom | August 10, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I like what you say, kguy.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 10, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if they'll take PayPal...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 10, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

And in the interest of full disclosure, the assignment of meal prep duties to me was part of a swap where I transferred meal clean-up to her. She was unhappy with my QF level on the task which was a 0.9 (pots and pans able to be used for the next meal with no immediate health effects).

Her standards were a 2.0 (all counters sanitized between the prep of items, no more than one dirty dish in the sink at a time and all prep items cleaned and put away before serving the meal).

She later transferred her duties to our teenage son whose standards were a 0.5 at best (dirty pots left on the stove overnight). Somehow I became responsible for picking up his slack which created many heated discussions between him and me and me and her.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Martha Stewart. Harumph! You haven't met my MIL. A la Spinal Tap, better get an "11" added to that scale of yours.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 10, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

And then of course there are these guys-

Posted by: kguy1 | August 10, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I think Raysdad's meal cleanup standard is that it gets done when all the wine glasses are dirty;)

Posted by: Raysmom | August 10, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

With a cat in the house, we're more likely to find just the cricket legs, kguy.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 10, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Your MiL wouldn't happen to resemble Doris Roberts by any chance?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Please note that Google images hits over 200 images of camel crickets before the shots of desert dromedaries and British ballplayers begin to show up. Those little beggars are ubiquitous and prolific.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 10, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Yello, man, you've walked yourself out on that plank, and I dunno how you're getting back without some significant groveling.

I, for one, *know* we've got some great lady Boodlers with multiple kids, jobs, careers, etc. who can work my backside into the ground and look fabulous doing it.

Er, I mean "outwork."
I think.

I'd add, yello, you may consider how many children the guy that writes this blog has, as well as the lady who sounds like she's going to lovingly box your ears with a coffee mug next time she sees ya.

I honestly don't know how people describe my own personal attractiveness, but of course, it's relative. I simply hope the phrase "does not induce vomiting" can be invoked.


Posted by: -bc- | August 10, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Lede WaPo front page headline: "Series of Bombings Kills..."

When you read the story, you learn that there are *two* series of bombings, not one single series. The hed should read "Series of Bombings Kill..."

The rule is:

A series of tests is planned...
Three series of tests are planned...

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Poor Yello, you really stepped in it today!

I didn’t work outside the home when the girls were small. The ex made enough money that it wasn’t necessary and I really didn’t want to work then either. I can look back and regret not going back to school then so that when I did start working, it would be at something more stimulating, but ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda.’ I do not know how couples who both work and have children can keep a clean house without outside help. It’s hard enough for us to do that without children - or it was before I got laid off. I used to be a clean freak but I have mellowed. I hate clutter and dust and can’t stand a full laundry hamper or a dirty kitchen. Luckily “S” is wonderfully helpful and will do anything around the house except cook. I have known a few women whose cleanliness was extreme and a few who were very casual about it, I like the middle ground myself.

Posted by: badsneakers | August 10, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Why did I do a massive kitchen cleanup with bleach right before I sealed up the house and turned on the AC? The fumes..

I suppose it's a good time to throw the venetian blinds into a bathtub full of hot soapy bleachy water as well. It's a chlorinated day.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 10, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I have yet to find where I need to grovel. So far I have said the following things:

1. Moms with three or more kids find reasons not to work outside the home. Face it, most moms would if they could. (When you factor in the cost of daycare, this is defensible if the mom's income level is low or the dad's income level is high (adjust genders based on situation as required for single parents, gay and lesbian couples, emasculated husbands, etc.))

2. Parents who homeschool put a higher premium on indoctrinating their kids than taking advantage of free public education and/or employing both spouses.

3. Holding a paying job and raising children is more work than staying at home and raising kids if you don't relax your quality standards or get your spouse to do more around the house. (I suspect this is where I am encountering the most umbrage since this is the central battleground of the Mommy Wars.)

4. My sister-in-law is high maintenance.

Feel free to categorically refute any of these.

I admire and respect all mothers, wherever they work and whatever they get paid, which is inevitably too little.

And private message to TBG (and probably mudge, although I suspect he has completely given up on me): I have a grammar guide which state that 'who' and 'that' can be used interchangeably. I will quote chapter and verse someday.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

yello... you have a grammar guide THAT states.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 10, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Don't bother.

And yes, I've given up. A long time ago.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

*triple snort*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

not so sure about your math, yello. two kids can play with each other, saving time, although they can also fight. in large families, the older kids often take on parental roles in addition to helping with chores.

i think housework and other parenting duties are a lot more complicated, change over time, and reflect other things like the relative age(s) and genders of the children.

my grandmother was the 11th of 12 kids in a large iowa farming family. the positive net work capacity of a large family was actually part of the point (and 9 of the kids were boys).

Posted by: LALurker | August 10, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Here is Ezra Klein's most recent blog post here at dot com land. This could go down as a classic in bad examples:

Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford. He currently teaches at the University of Cambridge. Oxford and Cambridge have something in common: They're both in England. Which makes this editorial in Investor's Business Daily unfortunate indeed.

[start clip] People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless. [end clip]

Sigh. You could write some long response to the rest of the lies and distortions in that IBD editorial, but the more appropriate reply is to just warn people against ever reading the editorial page in Investor's Business Daily. It's not just that they didn't know that Stephen Hawking was born in England. It's that the underlying point was wrong, as you'll note from the continued existence of Stephen Hawking. They didn't choose an unfortunate example for an accurate point. They simply lied.

Posted by: -pj- | August 10, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's the link to Klein's page:

Posted by: -pj- | August 10, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

and my great aunt, after helping raised her brothers and sisters, did not feel at all inclined to have her own family.

p.s. i'm responding to yello's earlier comments. can't keep up as usual.

but i did get tbg's joke.


Posted by: LALurker | August 10, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Actually, yello has a grammar guide THAT STATES.

Posted by: -pj- | August 10, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

One step at a time, TBG. That book does explain between 'which' and 'that' and I clearly messed that one up.

I keep telling my wife that I'm trainable, but she keeps insisting the dog was more so.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Just checking in after a very hot, and bugged filled day.

LiT - smiling at your "well dressed man comment", I am married to one, he is quite fussy about how he looks - surprising that he would marry me as I have never been known to be overly worried about how I look. This last weekend up at a friends cottage dmdspouse took quite a lot of teasing for being inappropriately dressed while at the cottage, good golf shirt and dress shorts not normal cottage attire.

Yello - what can I say that the others haven't - what were you thinking :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | August 10, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

'good afternoon all. Interesting discussion on motherhood. Mothers can't seem to be able to make their own choice without becoming the target of another mother or group of mother. Live and let live.
The most extreme case of religion influencing the make up of the population is Israel. Fundamentalist Jews are having families of 8-10 kids while secular Jews have less than 2, on average. After 60 years of that the fundamentalists are now 8% of the population while they started at around 1% at the birth of Israel. Still long ways of becoming a majority but that is an interesting phenomenon.

I did climb a pile of rock just because it was there. It was a biggish pile of rocks, 300m in 2.5km, not the one the kids were planning on (1200m on about 9km). It was a nice day to do so, sunny and warm. Off to do the guacamole for the tacos.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 10, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Don't tell me, let me guess. Does the title begin with "The Idiot's Guide to..."?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Farms are the clear exception to the utility (or lack thereof) of children. Which is why the transition from a rural economy to an industrialized economy is one of the triggers to a steep decline in birthrates (another being improvements in sanitation and the resultant lowering of infant mortality rates). My grandfather was the oldest of nine; my father the oldest of four; I'm the oldest of three and my son is an only child. So far. Knock wood.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

That same grammar guide also says that "ain't" is perfectly, like, totally normal to say, you know.

Does it lapse into Pepe le Pewsque-speak too?

If so, I think that's the same guide I wrote after a three-day polyglot bender.

I should sue, just as soon as I get my legs straight and the ground not wobbling quite so much.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 10, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry. I just couldn't resist. I've been soooo good all day.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I figured that "state" was a typo, but the "which" was just plain wrong.

I'm not usually one WHO throws stones as I have most certainly sinned myself--and my house is made of quite fragile glass.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 10, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

yello... I think access to safe and reliable birth control had a LOT to do with the lower birth rate.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 10, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt-- If I had to guess, the main beef would be with the phrase: "Moms with three or more kids /find reasons/ not to work outside the home."

It's a little like saying that a person with appendicitis will "find reasons" to get medical care. Well, yeah. Of course moms will "find reasons," and those reasons are named Timmy, Tammy, and Tommy. (Or Jim, Jan, and Obediah.)

It also implies more or less directly that staying at home with three kids is easier than working (else why would women "find ways" to do it?) and also implies that women are hatching intentional schemes to get out of "real work." Nine more months of discomfort, painful labor, and then spending all day every day with the unholy terror of three kids for 10 or so years, while giving up any chance for career advancement, financial independence, and the company of regular adults. Hmm, what a treat. Also consider that the cost of childcare for three children will usually far outstrip a woman's salary, and there you go.

If that's not what you're trying to say, I apologize, but it sure does look like it from this angle.

Posted by: schala1 | August 10, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I think rural electrification also had something to do with a declining birth rate. Couples had something else to do at night.

Posted by: -pj- | August 10, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, I guess I'll have to look up when to use which vs that. I think I default to that most of the time, am more careful about who now. Given the state of egrammar though, this has got to be a losing battle. (Or a "loosing" battle, as I most often see it. If I got a dime for correcting every misspelling of "lose" on the Internets, I wouldn't need to find a job.)

Posted by: seasea1 | August 10, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

It appears the temp "only" made it up to 96 here today, not the 98 or 100 they feared. Anybody got a report for the DC that says anything higher?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 10, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Excellent point, TBG. People have known how to tie knots in sheep intestines for a long time. In England the reduction in Gross Reproductive Rate (as opposed to Net Reproductive Rate which declined much more slowly) began its extremely steep decline in 1890 before bottoming out in the 1940s. This was long before The Pill. See the graph on page 2:

This paper finds a lesser link between fertility and income than between fertility and female literacy. Ultimately we have a correlation versus causality link that is nearly unprovable since income, literacy, population densities, and lots of other factors were going up at the same time that birth rates were going down.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

We flirted with 86F/30C for the first time since St-Jean-Baptiste, back in June. So the summer-like temperatures are welcome.

The birthrate dropped like a stone in Quebec when the pill became available (1960-61). So having a safe and efficient birt control method conrolled by the women and that was not abstinence was important too.

Off to do the tacos filling. The guacamole's not bad. I wish I had cilantro.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 10, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

SCC birth, between others.

Mudge I resent that you criticized my excellent book, "Simplified and Reasoned Grammar for Dislexic Dummies".

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 10, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Despite the heat am making homemade pizza. I LOVE the Slap Chop bought earlier this summer. Homemade pesto on one version; homegrown onions minced on the other. Not a bit of tomato sauce or paste in sight.

Cheese and onion pizza reminds me of the Rutles and their classic:

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | August 10, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Very exciting just went out to look at one of my moon flower vines - it is loaded with blooms, a few close to flowering - if the weather co-operates might have blooms in a day or soon. Tomatoes are still green though.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 10, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt wrote: This paper finds a lesser link between fertility and income than between fertility and female literacy.

Erhm, does the correlation go like this?

"Not tonight, dear. I'm at the good part in this book."

Or is it more that girls who get to school don't get knocked up at age 12-18 and have 3 kids or more even before they hit their peak childbearing years?

Female literacy is good because it is the biggest predictor of decline in infant mortality: any child benefits from a mother who can find the doctor's office and read pill bottles, or even read home medical care books.

The word isn't in on the relative health value of homeschooling quite yet. It does beat the horrible free boarding schools of the 18th and 19th century where children starved and died of epidemics, but I don't think our modern public school system is anywhere near THAT bad.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 10, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Total change in subject (what?!?)...

What do you do when you find old friends on Facebook and then discover you abhor their political views?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 10, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I hear from my pro-Obama friends that it happens a lot, and most advise to ignore the friend or the views. My BFF from high school turned into a right wing fundamentalist. I try to avoid politics with her. Also with my Oscar party friends, as I suspect they are much more to the right than I am. If touchy subjects come up, I try to gently correct, but I know I'll get into a heated argument if we stay at it too long, since no one will budge...(much less me, when I know I'm right!)

Posted by: seasea1 | August 10, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse


I think you have hit the gist of what I was implying although not quite that cynically (but cynical nonetheless). The news article Joel linked to hypothesized that rising fertility rates had something to do with increased affordability of child care in developed countries. I'm not sure that is true. To go over a Net Replacement Rate of 1 (two kids per couple), somebody has to be having three or more kids.

There is some tipping point between a woman returning to the workforce and staying at home. That number seems to be three kids. As you note, the opportunity cost to reclaim the second spouse's income with three children is much higher than with two.

Anecdotally, the decision to have a third kid seems to occur when the second child is about three or four and about to enter preschool. At that point there is often a go/no-go decision about whether a mom will re-enter the workforce.

Having a third child tips the balance against getting a job outside the home. Whether this is done deliberately or not I can't say. I just know that few of the moms I know with three or more kids get jobs (outside the home (this PCness is killing me)) again while most of the ones with one or two do. But that is my very narrow protected perspective.

Do some women want a third kid just to not have to go back into the workforce? Some do. Some may not realize they do.

I don't know why given the reasons you gave (cost, pain, trouble, risk) anybody would have more than one kid once the novelty of seeing that your reproductive organs work has been proven. Still, people have them, so the little tykes must have some redeeming features. My dad calls children The Ultimate Pet.

There are also far less mercenary reasons than that to have a third kid. I bet you the Boy-Boy-Girl sequence is far more common than chance would allow in families with three kids.

For a long time I have labeled the youngest of three as either the Stay At Home Forever Kid or the I Want A Girl Kid or the I Wanted A Girl And Now I Have Three Boys Kid (plus the gendered reversed three girl families as well). Cynical? Yes. Completely unrealistic? Perhaps not.

Some people just want to have kids. Some moms 'have' to work no matter how many kids they have. That's not for me to judge. Family size, work arrangements, and the division of parental duties are intensely personal decisions that only the involved parents can make. And nobody should make the decision to have a kid or not as a completely financial decision. Every child should be wanted as a human being.

Please continue the flogging since I dare to say what I think.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

You can unfriend me, TBG, if you feel it necessary.

Posted by: Yoki | August 10, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

TBG... don't facebook ever again? Become an internet monk?

Or...let them know your political views?

In RL I generally state my views, listen to (say) Republicans state why they support a given candidate and keep my mouth shut-- or find common ground.

Parties evolve over time, and it might be one major issue (or propaganda) that drives a person to one side or another.

However, hateful rhetoric recycled from the media wingnuts sadly doesn't make for easy discourse.

If they're posting highly offensive material, feel free to tell them they have their head up their cracks, and also possibly infringing on copyrights.

With my right-winger friends, keeping it real is the key.

I say, discuss issues you do know something about; I want to hear what YOU think, really think about this issue. Why do you think this approach is right? And I do the hard thing-- listening.

I really do want to understand how they think about things, plus it tends to kill hot air pretty fast to be taken seriously.

People often have unexpected connections between current events and their backgrounds that drive their thinking. I've never met anybody who agreed with everything a politican said.

Actually, I find it hard to believe that POLITICIANS agree with all their own words.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 10, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Were you checking out yello's Facebook, TBG? :-)

I don't totally agree or disagree with yello, but I will point out that a large % of dogs come into rescues/shelters because a second child is born or close to being born.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 10, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

A Facebook friend (friend of a friend that I friended out of a misguided sense of fraternity) does nothing but post links to articles with right wing talking points all day long with no personal or social information. I've been tempted to hit the Ignore button several times but the links are funny in a misguided wing nut way.

Similarly, my dad sent me a forwarded e-mail claiming that last night's Hannity would have shocking new revelations about Obama. I turned it on for five minutes to see Hannity and two Pretty Young Things harping on how Obama's six-month ratings are lower that W's were at the same point. I was gagging so hard I could barely hit the DVR fast enough to catch up on Degrassi instead.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Today's depressing.
Trolls rappelling in boodles,
Moms kicking dogs out...


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 10, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Darn phone books and teeth--
You know where to get gnomes spayed?
Got to keep my home....


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 10, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Golly gee. EYE didn't kick the dog out when the second kid came along. The dog was good company and very protective of both of the kids. As well as not nearly the trouble, but then we had a half-acre fenced back yard for her to do her thing in.

Posted by: slyness | August 10, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I need serious love;
Petting, promises, and cuddles
Makes me trust again...


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 10, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Here's an example of one of said wingnut's posts:

Does this video show the president's snipers targeting Americans?

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Big sloppy kisses
To Slyness, wise mom of two
And dog owner too!


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 10, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Wibrodog, her name was Angel, which described her character. She was a blue merle Australian shepherd with a blue eye and a brown eye, and I still miss her very much.

Posted by: slyness | August 10, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, with your kind heart and common sense, I would have been shocked if you had!

When I did dog evaluations for a lab rescue, I did a number where baby #2 was the precipitating cause. The saddest (@ first look) was where the mom had had medical issues throughout the pregnancy and they all loved the dog dearly but knew she was being shoved aside and they wanted better for her. The dog, actually, had taken over some mom duties with regard to the toddler. @ second look, the dog went to a very similar family with 3 kids, but the parents and 2 of the kids were older. Kind of the same family, 10 years more settled. Within a few weeks, the dog wasn't the mom anymore because the new mom had that covered. The dog became one of the kids.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 10, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Ah, sounds like a good outcome for the dog, dbG!

We have a new dog in the neighborhood, a Jack Russell terrier that a neighbor scooped up at Petsmart after someone put her out and drove away. Another neighbor adopted her, and she's a very lucky dog. It makes you wonder about someone who would do a thing like that.

Posted by: slyness | August 10, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I do too. I often fear that such dumpings sometimes are dognappings done out of spite-- ex-boyfriends, etc.

Or, if not, sometimes the dognapping might not have "taken"-- i.e. the dog didn't cooperate and magically fall in love with the new owner. This happened to a friend's dog-- a purebred pomeranian male, intact, who was stolen by a couple of boys.

The boys' mother finally returned his dog a few days later-- much thinner. Apparently the dog had refused to eat at all and had barked nonstop in protest, and she had finally found out where they got the dog from.

A happy ending-- the dog lived to 15 with the same family as ever, but it made me wonder how many stolen dogs eventually wind up in the shelter as 'neglect and abuse' cases.

And I do say stolen-- not rescued, even if the person claims to have rescued that dog.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 10, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

My last dog was adopted from a coworker who had 'discovered' he was allergic to dogs after five years with it. His wife was pregnant with their second kid and they were moving to a new house. He was eager to get rid of the dog because he wanted the new house to stay allergen free.

I suspect to this day that the dog did not get along very well with his older daughter and he was afraid for his kids. Regardless of his motives I got to love that dog for seven years, so I am grateful for whatever the reason.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 10, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

But what about the third dog?

Posted by: Yoki | August 10, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Or the third cat? We had three cats when the Fungi, Witch no.1 and no.2 were born. If I've had 10 bucks for each time I've heard "But now you are getting rid of the cats, Shirley?" I'd be retired by now.
How much of your day does it take to take care of 3 cats that are free to go outside? Not much.

We got the Giant Black Lab puppy when the kids were 2, almost 7 and almost 9. It was a most excellent decision. We had only one cat by then though.

The tacos turned out pretty good. The fresh-pickled cucumber and onions were good too. They'll be better tomorrow.

A storm is gathering to the west. *sigh*

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | August 10, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

We had three BMDs in the latter years in the interior of BC and early years in Calgary. *Super* fun. Attrition has, sadly, got Himself down to one and a Collie. I don't suppose those days will ever return.

Posted by: Yoki | August 10, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

It started to rain here just as I finished watering the front and the back yards. Sigh. Hasn't rained much, but this is the most rain we've had in months, and is supposed to stick around through tomorrow.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 10, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Don't suppose anyone answer yello's Greek Alphabet question the other day. One is uppercase, the other lower:

Δ looks like this Δ
δ looks like this δ

I have a question about Digrams!

Posted by: omnigood | August 10, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

D'oh, I see TBG caught it.

Posted by: omnigood | August 10, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if I'm one which plays fast and lose with who, which, and that. It's good to have someone, actually, that will correct them on these matters.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 10, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Greetings, Good omni!

Jumper, Hah!

Posted by: Yoki | August 10, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Interesting discussions today. The choice for a lot of people I know has always been can I afford to stay home or does the nanny/daycare/babysitter cost more than they would make.

Childcare here is 400 to 500 dollars per child for a full time spot (my info is a couple years old, it might be more). 2 kids is the border. 3 kids and you can hire a full time live in foreign nanny for 8 hours per day for about 1500 dollars per month. The nanny job is childcare, not housekeeping, not cooking, zip nada, only childcare. But if a mom stays at home, her work is worth 0 dollars. That never made much sense to me.

Posted by: --dr-- | August 10, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I must say that on reading the headline without reading the kit, my gut feeling was to shout, "its too late now, Joel."

Posted by: --dr-- | August 10, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

600 - 1200 here dr, (perhaps more closer to Toronto). Although it is tax deductible to a point. Still a major cost.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 10, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I just looked into this, with a tax lawyer. About, averaged across Canada, 700 per month (ranges from full private daycare in Toronto, Montreal or Calgary roughly $1400 to a subsidized rate in Quebec of $4/d) per kid. Tax deduction per? Somewhere between 29/m to 150/m to 0/m for the subsized.

The math makes no sense. Lowest-wage earner in the 'average' two-parent (like there is such a thing!) family with three kids would be better off financially as a full-time caregiver. That doesn't count opportunity cost, mental stimulation, ambition, all those unquantifiable parts of the calculation.

We know *nothing* about how families work, and we shouldn't presume we do. Economics is usually a very small part of the equation.

Posted by: Yoki | August 10, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Ah, good ole quantum flux:

The scifi writer's magic power.

Posted by: mathumom | August 10, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

In the US, flexible spending accounts are very popular for day care expenses. Since they are non-taxable income, high income participants benefit the most.

Posted by: mathumom | August 10, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

If there were a way to value domestic household work, the gummint would find a way to tax it, so its for the best that we can't.

Posted by: mathumom | August 10, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Interesting day in the boodle. My wife and I gave a lot of consideration to bringing a third child into the world. I honestly can't explain how we managed financially with the first two, as our child care expense was something approaching a second mortgage, although it was worth every penny. When we decided to have our third child, it was based largely on the fact that we had moved to our little hamlet, and Grandma and Grandpa were willing and able to take on child care while we both went off to our teaching jobs. The joke was on us, however as we were convinced that #3 would be another girl. We had picked a name years in advance. Then the ultrasound revealed the turtle. We were thunderstruck. He finally received a name so long that he will never be able to bubble it into any form. Raising three has been a financial juggling act, and we've been able to keep three in the air because we both work. We're just about in the spot that many in the boodle are in, facing college with limited resources. Difficult, but not impossible. It's quite fortunate to have kept it all between the lines over the years. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

It's 12.01, and today is a school day. I spent the day loading in my new digs. Carpeting and a smart board. Life is good. Thus, the rites of the end of summer...

Posted by: -jack- | August 10, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

School so soon? My girls do not start back until after Labour Day Sept. 8, the school boards tried to move school opening to the week before Labour Day - unheard of around here, the outcry quickly had them change their minds.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 11, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Oh jack, I just love your late-night links and news. Last night's Lightnin' cover totally rawked. Tonight's Dead doesn't suck either.

All hail the turtle.

LIfe *is* good, isn't it? Full of delightful surprises.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

It's a testing game, dmd. first semester ends before Christmas. Semester exam results aren't as good when they're administered in January, for as you know, any good intentions to study over break go by the wayside at holiday.

Posted by: -jack- | August 11, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Always aim to please, yoki, even though I *know* that my musical tastes are quite nichey. We're about two work days away from a final on our project. All of the paint, linseed oil and window glazing makes that tired structure smell new again...

Posted by: -jack- | August 11, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

oh, and I almost forgot. Big Time wrestling was live from Calgary tonight. Sgt. Slaughter was the guest host. Passed it over in favour of Star Wars, episode 4. I thought good thoughts, anyways.

Posted by: -jack- | August 11, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: -jack- | August 11, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

jack, I'm laughing. Good decision.

I have nothing to say about professional wrestling (except, psst... Stan Hart and his boys). Calgary is still a big, big stop on the glitz circuit.

Glad your structure is smelling new-ish. I bet all the edges look sort of sparkly.

Did you know that you can buy "new car smell" in a spray can? I didn't, until recently. You don't wanna know from.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I love the smell of linseed oil in the morning. It smells like... art.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

//We had three BMDs in the latter years in the interior of BC and early years in Calgary. *Super* fun. Attrition has, sadly, got Himself down to one and a Collie. I don't suppose those days will ever return.//

Look on the bright side, Yoki! If I die, Himself gets Emma. :-)

I feel that having 3 dogs would brand me as, well, a lunatic (whereas a family can have 3 dogs without seeming so). Please don't disabuse me of this. It's the only thing that keeps me @ 2 dogz.

That and my kitty-corner cube mate who is happy to come look at labs on Petfinder with me, but then always says, "No, you can't get him/her," before walking away.

Someone has to be the adult.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 11, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

We ran into a huge retrospective of Ferdinand Waldmuller's work at the Belvedere in Vienna; the bestiest 4 hours of this trip so far (grammar mavens, it's best, bester, bestiest, right?)

On topic for YJ's post (you wanted pictures, right?), the linked painting was one of my favorites. It's not popular on the web, so the only reference I could find was in a pdf report on New Zealand farmers. Look to Appendix I, "Exhausted Strength". Use your imagination to make it a large, darkly beautiful painting on wood. Footnote 7 on page 9 has a description.

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 11, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

I find men with dimples very attractive.

Here Muslim families have more children then non-Muslim families. The main reason non-Muslim families (average 2.5 kids) have less kids is cost.

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 11, 2009 3:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning/good evening, rainforest!

Posted by: russianthistle | August 11, 2009 4:59 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!

Tropical Storm Felicia (née Hurricane) seems to have passed north of us and the outlying winds were not sufficient to create trouble up here at 14,000 feet. We have data. Joy!

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 11, 2009 5:24 AM | Report abuse

I am wondering just how many tons of water per minute is being pulled out of the residential air by HVAC units right now.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 11, 2009 5:25 AM | Report abuse

Tim, are you at MLO?

Posted by: russianthistle | August 11, 2009 5:30 AM | Report abuse

Breeding for greater attractiveness is not surprising. It obviously happens in the animal world, when one considers some of the extraneous features evolved by many species. Among humans, culture can create perverse incentives that differ from the notion of greater reproductive success through the ability to produce superior offspring. However, cultural standards change. During the Renaissance, the beauty standard among the wealthy (those who could commission paintings) seems to have favored what might be described today as moderate morbid obesity. During much of the 20th century, the U.S. standard tended to favor less adiposity. Judging from what I see at the Mall, the standard among the teens-to-twenties seems to be heading back towards a Rubensesque fashion.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 11, 2009 5:32 AM | Report abuse

No, MLO is across the Humuula Saddle, on Mauna Loa. I'm on Mauna Kea.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 11, 2009 5:34 AM | Report abuse

Tim, that is fantastic! You know, from what I see from the observatory web site, you can add your humidity to our relative humidity and reach 100 percent.

Could you ship some dry air?

I wouldn't mind a bit of a chill, myself, either.

Posted by: russianthistle | August 11, 2009 5:38 AM | Report abuse

Now that my son is gone, I have wrested control of the laptop back. Last night I watched two episodes of My So Called Life. My wife fears I am secretly a teenaged girl. So I watched an episode of Burn Notice just to shake off the angst and recharge the testosterone. Both shows are on Hulu. Which has nothing to do with Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all. I read this morning in the paper that a heat wave is officially defined as five days of temperatures five degrees above average. So we're not there yet!

See, there's still something to be said for reading the morning paper in the dead tree edition!

Jack, good to hear that everything is going well in your neck of the woods. I hope you'll be happy in the new school.

On the subject of children, my girls were 13 and 9 when Mr. T and I were married. He and I thought about having a baby but decided against it. I would have been 43 and he 45 and I wasn't up for the work of an infant or, more especially, the cost of daycare. When I start to regret that, I have to slap myself. I am done with college tuition and am retired because I can afford to be. With a young teenager, I'm not sure I could have done that.

Posted by: slyness | August 11, 2009 7:11 AM | Report abuse

R.I.P., Eunice Shriver...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 11, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Digram, also known as a digraph.. The combination of two letter making one sound. Like th or ei.

So there are consonant digraphs and diphthongs (these are exclusively vowels).

So my question is: Why do vowels get one special word, whereas consonants need two?

And another thing, why are there three consonant digraphs in diphthong, but no actual diphthongs.


Posted by: omnigood | August 11, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Ruh-roh. Trouble brewing north of the border, and I don't mean another pot of Tim Hortons. This could be war.

Trade war that is.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

This one's tricky...

I'm leaning towards the view that it's inappropriate to drag the Obama girls into this, since they're not decision-makers. It would have been perfectly good code to say "Sidwell School" or something, IMHO.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 11, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Scotty. Over the line. Kids are off limits.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

It has been a sensitive topic here for a while Yello, in my town there is a big kerfuffle over the bricks being used for the new Performing Arts Centre, a US company was chosen for the bricks. In an area that produces a great deal of bricks - it was not a popular choice.

I do not like trade restrictions or buy "America" or "Canada" policies is just spirals down the line, but short sidedness is ever popular.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 11, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Wow, looks like WaPo has took down Jacoby's discussion concerning Palin's "lies" about health care reform...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 11, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I agree, yello -- a cheap attention ploy by the group.

And sorry ftb, but the Red Sox had to win again versus someone... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 11, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

SCC: has taken down...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 11, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I knew you agreed with me Scotty. I was just noting that in my mind it wasn't even a tricky call. It's too big a leap down a slippery slope. by invoking Obama's kids WHO go to a private school, it invites class envy. It is disingenuous because it equates vegetarian food with 'healthy' food. (Not that I don't think vegetarian meals shouldn't be offered but I dislike the inference that a omnivorous meal is unhealthy.)

I was watching that Bravo chef competition show the other night and they had to make a meal for Zooey Deschanel WHO is hard vegan as well as gluten intolerant. Talk about putting yourself in a box. No wonder she is so skinny.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle. We are supposed to get some rain today, which is very exciting; good for the plants and will reduce the humidity, one hopes. Of course, you in the east would laugh in the face of what we call humid.

I am on the final stretch negotiating my mortgage for the condo and have a consultant reviewing the condo documents; less than 36 hours remain for me to waive all the conditions on the offer. I manage to forget, between property purchases, that it is just about a full-time job for a short while.

In other housing news, #2 has rented an apartment with two friends for the next school year. She is very excited. I feel sorry for Himself; he may be a bit bereft when she moves at the end of the month.

Have a good day, Al. Try to stay indoors and cool.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Good luck on the purchase, Yoki. Keep those real estate industry workers employed.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I consider this purchase to be my own little stimulus package, for sure. Doing my bit for the housing market.

It was sort of interesting to have three financial institutions (my bank, Himself's bank, a joint venture of two other large banks) competing for my mortgage business. They were ruthless and tricky. I would fear for anybody who wasn't moderately financially acute. They did tricky stuff (not unethical, just trying to shift terms around subtly to make themselves look more flexible than they really are) and tried to exert pressure. I'm happy with the deal I'll seal today.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Good for you Yoki. We have used our credit union for 3 home purchases in a row now, precisely because they don't play those deceptive games. At least not that we're aware of.

Frostson was 18 before the dott joined our family so I know nothing about raising more than one child at a time, and would slit my wrists before finding out. Interesting talk from the Aspen Ideas Festival by Harvard Psych. Professor Daniel Gilbert on MPR yesterday.
He's made a specialty out of "affective forecasting" and spent quite a bit of the talk on why, if parents say their children are their greatest pleasure in life, parents are consistently less happy than non-parents in every academic study ever done on the topic. (This includes parents whose children are successfully launched and long since out of the house.) Summarizing clumsily- heroin. Heroin is one of the greatest scourges in the world, not because it isn't pleasurable-it most certainly is pleasurable, perhaps the most pleasurable thing people have ever felt. The problem comes with what people will do, and ignore, to keep getting it-like personal hygiene, social taboos, the law .Not unlike how children make parents behave.

Supposed to be 84 here today, 88 tomorrow, before cooling back down to around 70ish. We're havin' a heat wave, a tropical heat wave! (or not since it's just 2 days)

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 11, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Yaaay Yoki! I will be glad when it's all said-and-done and you are happily moved in.

The family lawyer, who is a good friend, always says to look at the final figure of what the mortgage is going to cost and just don't worry about it. It is such a humongous figure that it's scary, but we have to take the long-term view and remember that we will have the money month by month to pay that sucker off. At least we plan to be employed and have the money...

Posted by: slyness | August 11, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Stimulus news-the frostrents have purchased a new vehicle, hell to freeze over. The last brand new vehicle purchased by this couple was a Ford Comet circa '64. The vehicle traded under "cash for clunkers" was a '93 Chevy S10 V6 with 260 thousand miles. The new vehicle is a 4 cylinder Ford Ranger made in the St. Paul factory. Ma Frostbitten reports dealerships in Tidewater VA are picked clean.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 11, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Yoki, hang in there.

Today in Nautical and Aviation History

Aug. 11, 1958: At 9:47 p.m. EDT the USS Skate — the third nuclear-powered submarine in the American fleet — pokes through a break in the ice near the North Pole, the first submarine ever to do so. Soon after her captain, Cmdr. James F. Calvert, radios the news to headquarters in New London, Conn. The Skate is the second submarine to sail under the Pole (eight days earlier, the Nautilus reached the pole but never surfaced). Calvert went on to become an admiral and the 46th superintendent of the United States Naval Academy, He died June 3, 2009, at his home in Bryn Mawr, Pa. He was 88.
1962: The Soviet Union’s Andrian Nikolayev orbits earth 64 times in Vostok III in 94.5 hours, becoming the first person to log more than one million miles in space.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Disingenuous, Yellojkt? Understatement.

That group is basically a vegan arm of the PETA, pushing vegetarian and vegan food. Their online crud will claim that soy cures everything and not mention the serious health complications that can arise from eating too much soy, especially for still-growing children.

"A nutrition researcher." I want to see proof of actual research, as in science lab work, rather than "researching how to push an agenda on the public."

Already, school lunches require that chicken patties be a certain percentage soy-- something I found out only after getting sick from a soy-chicken patty at my school, and then quizzing the management. They told me that they were required to provide those patties per school lunch law.

Not everything that has soy in it is labelled, so I steer away from anything that looks too processed.

Because how an product is prepared affects its allergenicity--

And things like textured soy protein and such are prepared in a relatively new, untested manner that potentially makes them far more allergenic than fermented soy products, we could be exposing an entire generation to a high risk of soy allergy-- for somebody's propaganda that soy is healthy (and also cheaper than meat)?

Add to this the fact that soy is in almost all processed food (soybean oil is very popular), and used in daily product such as newspaper inks. (As I have found out. I have to be careful what books I buy, and I refuse to be in the same room as certain newspapers.)

We're looking at seriously disabling people's quality of life by this type of allergy.

You can't mandate what people eat, nor sneak ingredients into school lunches and not label them.

That's wrong. That's just plain wrong. (Responsible medicine, my hiney.)

THe top 8 food allergies:

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 11, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Note, I do like various vegetarian meals, but because school lunches are required to have a specific amount of protein (and rightfully so)-- this tends to favor processed protein items-- soy, peanut butter, etc.

Now, bean tacos and such would be good vegetarian options, yet I don't see them offered half as much as I do processed soy gunk. There must be cost reasons.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 11, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

When I was in grade school back in the early 70s one staple of our school lunches was something called the Big Boy Burger. Its texture and taste sure did not seem like beef. As with most school lunches, speculation about what it really was ran wild.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Morning Boodle,
Since my last day is tomorrow, they're keeping me busybusybusy at the soon-to-be-former job and I had no time to drop in yesterday, but I thought I'd share how Southwestress and I feel about multiple children. We've decided to have at least two. There are lots of reasons, but one of our favorites is the effort to hold off the Idiocracy.

Posted by: Southwester | August 11, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

And with peanut allergies rampant (and I have my own theories about that epidemic), there is another non-meat protein source that is problematic at best.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

While I've become mildly lactose intolerant in my old age, I'm not allergic to anything. Bring on the fish & shellfish fried in a wheat/egg/milk batter, topped with a soy/peanut/cashew sauce. MmmmMmmmm!

Posted by: bobsewell | August 11, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Belief in the "Marchin Morons" theory of human eugenics is probably a poor reason for reproduction, SW. Consider adoption? It was worked for several Boodlers (or, for the Canadians, "Boodleurs").

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 11, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: ScienceTim | August 11, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Attended a funeral yesterday of the father of a friend of mine. She's an only child of only children. To say the group was sparse is being kind. I laughed to myself that the room held fewer people than just the *spouses* of my cousins would equal.

I told Daughter last night that one reason I had her was for Son of G's benefit. I know my sisters have been amazingly important to me in my life, especially the hard parts. When we had to deal with my mom's illness and death, my sisters were there. When it was Dad's turn, my sisters were there. We're always there for each other and I see my kids doing the same.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Ah, yello, hope today is better than yesterday.

kguy, I worked for woman when I was much younger that put a pot of grits under the couch to test my cleaning her house. Needless, to say, it was under there for some time. I did not consider moving furniture part of the deal. A big couch.

I suppose some folks pick their mate in an effort to improve the looks of their offspring, but that's just not foolproof. I mean what if the kid goes back in the gene pool and picks up an unsuspecting bad gene as in looks and health?

And of course, no one mentioned the fact that perhaps some folks pick mates to avoid "color". That's a taboo subject. Right. This also goes under the heading of the gene pool.

I believe people should pick their mates according to their heart. What a novel concept. Love.

Yoki, Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, and everyone here, have a cool day. We're still under a heat advisory. *waving*

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 11, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Ah, yello, hope today is better than yesterday.

kguy, I worked for woman when I was much younger that put a pot of grits under the couch to test my cleaning her house. Needless, to say, it was under there for some time. I did not consider moving furniture part of the deal. A big couch.

I suppose some folks pick their mate in an effort to improve the looks of their offspring, but that's just not foolproof. I mean what if the kid goes back in the gene pool and picks up an unsuspecting bad gene as in looks and health?

And of course, no one mentioned the fact that perhaps some folks pick mates to avoid "color". That's a taboo subject. Right. This also goes under the heading of the gene pool.

I believe people should pick their mates according to their heart. What a novel concept. Love.

Yoki, Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, and everyone here, have a cool day. We're still under a heat advisory. *waving*

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 11, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

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

Morning, friends. Ah, yello, hope today is better than yesterday.

kguy, I worked for woman when I was much younger that put a pot of grits under the couch to test my cleaning her house. Needless, to say, it was under there for some time. I did not consider moving furniture part of the deal. A big couch.

I suppose some folks pick their mate in an effort to improve the looks of their offspring, but that's just not foolproof. I mean what if the kid goes back in the gene pool and picks up an unsuspecting bad gene as in looks and health?

And of course, no one mentioned the fact that perhaps some folks pick mates to avoid "color". That's a taboo subject. Right. This also goes under the heading of the gene pool.

I believe people should pick their mates according to their heart. What a novel concept. Love.

Yoki, Mudge, Slyness, Martooni, Scotty, and everyone here, have a cool day. We're still under a heat advisory. *waving*

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 11, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Very taboo, Cassandra, but real; whatever gives an mate an edge in a hard world helps, and more "mainstream" attributes always will have their takers.

Sad though; there are people for whom that doesn't matter at all.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 11, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the triple posts, my computer is messing up real bad today.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 11, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the triple posts, my computer is messing up real bad today.

Posted by: cmyth4u | August 11, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Me living up to my boodle name....

Do we really want the public school system to be accomodating special diets? Where will that slippery slope end? Is it fair to have all kids eat kosher diets? What about fish on Fridays? Gluten-free, dairy-free diets for all? What about Types 1 and 2 diabetes? It seems to me that there is a choice for accomodating special diets, and that would be to pack a lunch.

Special diets, whether for religious or health reasons, is something you have to live with your whole life. Would we be setting unrealistic expectations as to how the real world works? Isn't learning to adapt for dietary restrictions or observances part of the childhood learning experience for us all?

Posted by: LostInThought | August 11, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

@SciTim: Well, it's really a tongue-in-cheek reason, but when I hear of the travails of Jon and Kate or Octomom, Mike Judge's dystopic vision doesn't seem so far fetched.

Posted by: Southwester | August 11, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

My concern is that school lunches shouldn't trigger the NEED for special diets, LostinThought. I do agree that special catering to all allergies isn't possible; variety should be sufficient-- AND labelling.

I sure wasn't allergic to soy as a kid; textured soy protein didn't exist back then like it did now.

The first time I ever found soy hard to handle was the first time I ate textured soy protein at a vegan restaurant. It began to snowball slowly from there.

Allergenic proteins are tricky; often if they're cooked and fragmented so the inner parts show (being hydrophobic, they wouldn't normally), this ups their allergen risk because they mimic bacteria proteins and/or are more likely to attach or enter through cell membranes, triggering the immune system-- when the same protein, reasonably cooked at lower temperatures, deformed (cooking alwyas deforms protein) yet intact-- wouldn't.

(Note: this is my interpretion of some science papers on the subject; I may be jumping beyond the data thus far, which does show that the type of cooking and subsequent protein degradation has an major impact on allergenicity.)

Peanut allergies are probably so common because peanuts are normally roasted at high temperatures, and processed with lots of fat (as in peanut butter, etc.), which would seem to encourage an more allergenic presentation.

Another point to consider in the allergy surge would be drugs. I've been told by a doctor that there was an antibiotic a decade or two ago, (now off the market) that actually tended to have the nasty side effect of making a person allergenic or intolerant to whatever food they were eating at that time. She found out first-hand as a patient.

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

I always thought Marino was a better quarterback than Elway. (Hey, cut me some slack. I'm just trying to stay on-kit.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Interesting food discussion. LiT, I agree with you -- seems to me that one of the things children could/should learn in school is to assess options and decide what's right for themselves.

Call it a thought exercise... and I think it's time for lunch soon.


Posted by: -bc- | August 11, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Yay, Yoki!

Mgt has decided that since they never had backup for me while I was here that I need to train at least! 2 people for every task I can teach them. This has meant having 2-3 developer/programmers at each session, none of whom have ever been a dba and all of whom have many (insert expletive here) questions and diversionary topics. Plus, none of them *want* to learn it.

I can see I'm not going to have a free minute here for the next 8 days. I should have eloped.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 11, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Southwester, I trust you have your tongue in cheek on a reason to have children.

No guarantees, my friend. Weird genetics, accidents, no known reason, all can produce a child with disabilities, special needs, etc. Some of the most intelligent and physically beautiful people I know have mentally disabled children. What are you gonna do if they don't meet your standard for brains or looks? Push 'em out on an ice-floe?

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Even if they had been a dba, they'd just never be a dbG.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

When picking colleges to apply to, many years ago, I noticed that the Big Public University didn't offer special diet food for dorm dwellers, but a rather prestigious one (that probably wouldn't have admitted me) did. Back in pre-Internet days, that was the sort of thing that gave you hints as to what a college was about.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 11, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "critical thinking and reasoning -"

And Mudge, for me, it all depends on what standards I used to assess QBs. For all of Marino's glittering stats, there's always the issue of the Ring.

Of course, you could use this argument to make the case that Trent Dilfer was a better QB than Marino.

Having said that, when the chips are down and we're behind by 6 with 2:00 left in the game and the ball on our own 20, I'd rather have Elway or Joe Montana under center. Or even Johnny Unitas.

Nothing at all against Marino, but I like a gamer who'll do anyhting it takes to win.



Posted by: -bc- | August 11, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Let's look into which offensive line has the most comebacks. Then we'll talk.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

As much as I hate and loathe and despise his team, may they rot in Hell, I might want...Staubach.

There. I said it.

Now I need to go and bleach my fingers.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

bc, the trouble with "the Ring" as a benchmark is that a lot of good teams (read: the redskins) have won Rings with only "good" QBs but not "great" ones. Surely I don't have to remind you, of all people about the Trilogy: Rypien, Theisman, Williams.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Timmy, Timmy, Timmy. What can you have been thinking?

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Diet food in college dorms, Dave? What are we talking about, here, Miller Lite? Amstel?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I remember Staubach in blue and gold, and have erased all mental pictures of him in that horrible blue, white, silver and whatever that metalic blue silver color is called.

Much prettier picture, no?

Posted by: LostInThought | August 11, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

@Yoki: I would never suggest the ice floe treatment for the handicapped or people with developmental disabilities. That fate should be reserved for usurious financiers, serial rapists and their ilk. I am also not so naive as to think smart people only have smart kids and clods only produce more clods. But there's still a part of me that fears a world where my kids are outnumbered 10 to 1 by the children of "Birthers".

Posted by: Southwester | August 11, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Nothing on earth can pretty up the picture of that *&^%$#(*&^% beating you by come-from-behind last-26-seconds drives week after week and year after year.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Luckiest quarterback with a Ring - Williams or Dilfer? Discuss.

Towson University has a fully kosher line in their dining hall. Just sayin'.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Rex Grossman, no question. Couldn't start for Little Sisters of the poor.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Towson pulls a lot of students from the Balto. area, including Pikesville and Resiterstown, which are heavily Jewish enclaves.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 11, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@yello: Dilfer or Johnson. Doug Williams may not have had a HoF career, but he turned in one of the all time great QB performances to win his ring. He was the SB MVP, even with Timmy Smith setting the record for rushing yards.

Posted by: Southwester | August 11, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Eli Manning, no question whatsoever...

Ratzinfratzinconsarned... Meh.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 11, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@Mudge: None of the 'Skins QBs were bad, though. In fact, each of them had the ability to be truly great, but they couldn't do it consistently over a career. Theismann didn't win an MVP for nothing and his career was cut short by ... well, I don't like to even think about that. Williams put up excellent numbers in '87, but he only played in five games, and he put 300+ yards, 4 TDs in the SB even while Timmy gained over 200 on the ground. Rypien had a couple excellent years and he won SB MVP, too. He had a great arm and great accuracy, but he couldn't scramble to save his life and once the Hogs were too old to hold the fort, he was toast. Sure, I'd rank all three lower than Sonny and Sammy, but I'd rather have any of them some others with rings (Terry Bradshaw comes to mind).

Posted by: Southwester | August 11, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

SCC: ... any of them THAN some others ...

Posted by: Southwester | August 11, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I thought the story was about a girl who wanted a vegan diet..a choice, not a health issue. (Why do I keep coming back to the thought that during the Reagan years, ketchup was a vegetable?) Don't have time to go back and re-read the article...time for me to get the car loaded up and head out. I get a free day tomorrow, so I will be contemplating the best way to address my troubles while paddling down a river. With, of course, DC perched in front of me.

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | August 11, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

If it's Tuesday, this must be Prague, dear
I fear I never wanna go home...

Posted by: DNA_Girl | August 11, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Poor pooped DNA-Girl: always the Praguematist.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Just Czeching off those sights.

Posted by: engelmann | August 11, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I blame the salad bar for the degradation of our diets. Once upon a time in Texas I found a buffet called Luby's that had salads far better than anything I with my limited imagination would assemble. And seemed better than anything I saw other people assemble off a salad bar. Yet truly great salads are not widely available. These expert salads are above my pay grade and the sort of thing I want vegan cooks to create. And they usually do. The problem with "vegetarians" is the over-reliance on cheese. My god, it's cheese this and cheese that and too much danged cheese! (although I love cheese let's face it: it's concentrated fat) I could happily eat vegan most of the time. I have a chuck roast in the fridge however. I ought to start a restaurant called the Cheatin' Vegan.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

On kit, my vote for more seems to be oddly ineffectual. Something about no procreation without representation.

Sorta on-kit, I see that Ridley Scott will be doing Brave New World. Only he could do it.

Off-kit, finished BSG 4.5 on the weekend. Satisfying ending.

Posted by: engelmann | August 11, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The problem, Jumper, is that your Cheatin' heart would tell on you.

Posted by: engelmann | August 11, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell has a confederate flag in his booth at a gun show in Richmond!

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Having watched the NFL since 1963, I've seen my share of great players. Certain ones seem to have some extra something, an ability to impose their will on the game, to convince themselves, their teammates, and their opponents of the inevitability of their success. Joe Theisman was as feisty and competitive as anybody ever, but he didn't have this quality. Among runners I'd say Jim Brown, Emmitt Smith, John Riggins, Earl Campbell all had "it"- a look that said, "Give me damn ball and get out of the way!" Among QBs I'd say John Unitas, Joe Montana, John Elway, and the aforementioned Roger Staubach. No Marino. Much of his rep is based on stats and he spent his career in a historically weak division playing home games in a warm weather passer friendly environment on a team with no run game. Put him in a Bears jersey on a team with Walter Payton and Marino wears a ring for sure, but his career numbers suffer greatly.

Posted by: kguy1 | August 11, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Englemann, what is BSG 4.5?

Frostie, which book(s) did your tutee chooose?

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama live doing a town hall up in yah neck a th' wadds, Scotty, in Pahtsmith, New Hamshah.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I saw that stoy yesterday on the CBC, they noted the original decision was made locally. I was going to post it but the comments were nasty!

Posted by: dmd3 | August 11, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, 'Mudge, I've been following the events via the local rag (which I once wrote and edited for), and I'm sad to note so many "I want to yell so no one can discuss this" kind of folks there.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 11, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Can someone explain to me about school cafeterias - grade and middle school. All I know about them I learned from TV shows, so I am thinking it is not that accurate.

Do the kids pay? Options to bring your own lunch? Peanut products are allowed in schools?

I and my kids have always brought lunch to school, there is occassionally pizza or sub day and milk in the vending machine but that is all. Both girls have classmates with severe peanut/nut allergies so any product with peanuts is not allowed. They eat in the classrooms so there is a need to keep it peanut free.

Now each class is given a basket at the beginning of the week filled with nutritional snacks, fruit, juices etc - has proven to be very popular (no payment required).

Posted by: dmd3 | August 11, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Battlestar Galactica final season, just released on DVD.

Posted by: engelmann | August 11, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I have been following this story for a while, the lengths to which someone must go to to prove they are who they say they are. Not sure how long our government is willing to let this drag out as they have been on a long downward spiral of looking like idiots re this case - (my opinion of course).

Posted by: dmd3 | August 11, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

dmd... the public school cafeterias around here provide hot or cold lunches, milk etc to kids at subsidized prices.

The price for students in HS for lunch is $2.75 but there are many a la carte items. The elementary schools usually have a fixed meal each day and the cost for that is $2.65. There's always a salad option, no matter what the planned meal of the day is. And there's a published menu each month so you always know what's for lunch.

Kids can bring their lunch or buy it at school. (my kids have rarely taken their lunch) The kids all eat in the cafeteria. What you see on TV and movies is pretty accurate.

The nice thing in Fairfax is that we can put $$$ on a lunch account for the kids and they punch in their number to debit the account. Now we can even top it off automatically, or fill the account online if you want to keep track.

Of course, kids can also qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, based on family income. There's no way to know, either, which kids are getting these services, so there's no stigma attached.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Ohh... there's usually a peanut-free table or area, too.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Here is the HoCo high school lunch menu from June:

Many days had a vegetarian selection and every day had a salad bar or cheese pizza available. The standard lunch was $3 and the 'Coach's Corner' (bigger portions) was $3.75.

For comparison, here is an elementary school menu:

Lunch is $2.50 with milk being 50 cents extra. Again, cheese pizza on whole grain crust is offered every day.

My wife's only complaint at elementary schools is that they charge teachers a higher full price but give the kiddie portions.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

My goodness gracious that beats preparing/shopping for school lunches - I so dislike that - of course we would have to have cafeterias built in the schools.

I had a cafeteria in high school, I remember the fries, coffee and a pasta dish and the burgers (awful burgers). Well and of course jello.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 11, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Won't #1 have a cafeteria in her high school, dmd?

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

YES - so excited.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 11, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Yello-adults pay more for the kiddie portions because all children's lunches are subsidized, not just the free and reduced price. (For the edification of others, I'm sure you knew that.) However, some cafeteria managers are slavishly devoted to portion sizes for adults, some not so much.

I liked Prince William County's school lunches pretty much, though the pizza was pretty disgusting. They had free community taste testing in the summer where any interested person could preview the things they were considering and voice an opinion on taste and quality. The lunches in our local school district are pretty underwhelming. Parents of middle school kids are particularly unhappy with the menu that leans more toward duplicating fast food joints than teaching healthy eating. Thus far the administration has avoided making any changes-I think the head lunch lady must know where all the bodies are buried and if she doesn't want to change no one will force the issue.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 11, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The middle school kids at my kids' school aren't allowed to buy more than one order of fries. That's the only rule *I know about.*

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Anybody here understand the mechanics of live feeds, such as the WaPo live feed going on right now? My question is this: how come I can listen for five or six minutes, and then it begins to break up, and I start getting the "erp... ip...ap...bop.." and I have to refresh to clear it up. What is it that's happening at 5 or 6 minutes out? Does it happen to everybody?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I got your Confederate flag right here:

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

This just in:

Rove, Miers Transcripts Detail Campaign to Oust U.S. Attorney

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 11, 2009 2:12 PM

The dismissal of New Mexico U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias in December 2006 followed extensive communication among lawyers and political aides in the White House who hashed over complaints about his work on public corruption cases against Democrats, according to newly released e-mails and transcripts of closed-door House testimony by former Bush counsel Harriet Miers and political chief Karl Rove.

A campaign to oust Iglesias intensified after state party officials and GOP members of the congressional delegation apparently concluded he was not pursuing the cases against Democrats in a way that would help then-Rep. Heather Wilson in a tight releection race, according to interviews and Bush White House e-mails released Tuesday by congressional investigators.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

True. All school lunches are subsidized. Just some more than others. In HoCo, if you pay for the full year in advance, you get a discount equal to about two weeks free. Plus then your kid doesn't have to carry lunch money for the bullies to steal.

My son's senior year his lunch costs doubled because he left for his internship before lunch and grabbed fast food on the way. Much more expensive and probably not nearly as healthy.

The teacher pay full freight but as the old, old joke goes, not only is the food bad, but the portions are so small.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge - Either your connection speed, the source's connection speed, or your system's available memory for caching the stream is typically the issue. In the situation you've described, I'd bet on the latter.

Posted by: bobsewell | August 11, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Mark Bittman's 101 salads in the NYT a couple or three weeks ago was something of a marvel. And apparently wildly popular.

Why did it never occur to me to squirt soy sauce on tomatoes?

Florida's in the season of imported tomatoes. Plum (Roma) are still cheap and in good supply.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | August 11, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The rich get richer and the poor get children.

To address Tim's earlier: the Venus of Willendorf is quite Rubenesque. We tend to think of those who lived so long ago as being true to their essential evolutionary natures and not subject to what we perceive as unnatural and modern distortions of that naturalism. Whether that's merely another culturocentric affectation of ours is another matter.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

A meat salad. Why does this strike me as quintessentially American? They taste good and all... it's just... meat salad.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Is Rubenesque not good? I am not overweight I am rubenesque - I like that :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | August 11, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I discovered three innovations to the kabob. The first is to soak the bamboo skewers in something tasty rather than water. Candidates are soy sauce, pineapple juice, coconut juice, etc. My second is to pre-caramelize onion pieces prior to kabob assembly. The third is a single piece of fresh peach flesh in the center of each kabob.

Now some will say it's perverse to criticize a meat salad yet put fruit on a kabob. They are free to hold their opinions.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Rubenesque is good. So much so that some play their cards close to the vest, and don't reveal this to the uninitiated.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I agree with you about vegan salads, I adore lavish salads (and I dislike cheese)

Once when having a vegan friend over, I simply made a basic salad and had set up a mini salad bar (all vegan ingredients) because I didn't know what toppings she liked. I would do that again anytime.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 11, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Discussions of "Rubenesque" should be as specific as possible to avoid any confusion as to which Rubens is being referenced-

Posted by: kguy1 | August 11, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Um, Jumper, I might want to add you to the *I wanna eat at your house* list, too. What a good idea to soak the bamboo sticks in something other than water. Cool idea.

Now, just how surprised are we to learn that Miers and Rove stacked the deck on the U.S. attorneys? I'm shocked! Shocked!


Feeling inexorably lazy today, but I still have to slog through discovery requests from the "other side" and prepare responses by the deadline (less than a couple of weeks). Yep, gotta do it. So, here I go. Here I go. Um.

And, in other news, the younger sister of the Crown Princess of Sweden is also engaged to a handsome young attorney at a mega law firm in Stockholm. But she still has to wait for big sister to marry first (scheduled in June, 2010) before she and her roommate to march down that aisle themselves. Ah, all those rules and regulations. Much too tedious for my taste. But I was living in Stockholm when mommy and daddy got married and it was really a hoot to be there with all the pomp and circumstance. Not for the faint-hearted, that's fer sure.

And now I'm going. Yep, I'm really going. Now.

Posted by: -ftb- | August 11, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I am Pastramiesque.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I am lobsteresque.

Wish I was, anyway...

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 11, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

mudge: //Even if they had been a dba, they'd just never be a dbG.//

Thank you, mudge! That is so sweet!

Posted by: -dbG- | August 11, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm more BLTesque.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Seems the Rep/plutocrat strategy is to simply accuse the opposition of whatever they are guilty of. I definitely sensed a "doth protest too much" situation when they started trying to fabricate election fraud charges against Democrats after 2004 to the extent that they fired those who wouldn't go along with their nefarious Rovian plans.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I am lobster bisque.

Posted by: Southwester | August 11, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Would Mo be mortadella-esque?
Me, speckled-esque.

Any body remember pimento loaf? I dreamt of the butcher in our town growing up...and his case of cold cut delish-deli offerings.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | August 11, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I had you pegged for a chowdah, Scotty.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I love that Rovian has become an adjective. Like Jovian only far more evil.

When my wife and I go to museums with renaissance art, she just sighs and laments that she was born in the wrong century.

Color me grouperesque. And definitely not that second variety of Rubenesque. That is why God (or a related diety) invented the DVDs. Somethings just shouldn't be tolerated in a theater no matter how much bleach they use.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Sure, I remember pimento loaf, CqP. I love its close pimento-less counsin, which used to be called "veal loaf" and whioch Dietz and Watson now calls "deluxe loaf." But D&W don't seem to distribute it down here, so whenever I go to Philly I bring back some deluxe loafed (shaved). D&W has pimento loaf around here, though.

I 'spect Padouk will chime in soon and say he is Lebanon baloney.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Dr G sometimes buys luncheon meats called "loaf." They usually list "pork lips" first in the ingredient list. No thanks.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

As long as it's NE clam chowdah, 'Mudge, sure! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 11, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you should *never* read the ingredients. Why do you think they print it in 2-point typeface? Ditto the "Nutrition Facts: chart.

At the moment, I'm drinking a Safeway brand diet orange soda, whose front says it contains "other natural flavors." Above the Nutrition Facts chart it says: "Contains No Fruit Juice." So now I'm wondering what "natural flavors" it might contain but which are not fruit juciful. All around the bottom of the can there are what appears to be various runes and pictographs of some sort, perhaps left to us by the Ancients.

You see? You should never read this kind of stuff. No good can come of it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 11, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Just saw this at NYT.

School Lunch Report Card
By Kim Severson

Although many parents are still boiling corn and shaking the sand out of bathing suits, their focus will soon turn to school and the cafeteria food that goes along with it.

To that end, the School Nutrition Association, tomorrow morning will release its bi-annual State of School Nutrition report.

The survey, which is based on information from 1,207 school food service directors in 49 states, shows that school food is slowly changing for the better — even though almost all districts rely on highly processed commodity meat and dairy products and directors say the federal government doesn’t spend enough on school food to cover the cost of serving healthy meals. Read more…

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Boston Baked Bean, myself.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Future CraigsList ad:

Baked potato in search of hot tamale. Must be spicy but promise not to cause pain in the morning.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I think I am something big and white and fluffy and sweet. Maybe a dim sum barbeque pork bun.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Saturn's rings disappear tonight (or at least they disappear to us). If only we knew someone with an enormous telescope that could take a picture of that.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

rickoshea... half-baked, you mean. :-)

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I totally can see you as an angel food cupcake, Yoki.

With creative if slightly scary colored whipped cream frosting.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 11, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

And a very cool looking military aircraft spotted down at Pax River.

Even if it doesn't need a pilot.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 11, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Memo: dogs not food.
Also, (nice) people not food
Must not bite kind hands....

(now disturbed by hunger for boodlers)--

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 11, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

TBG, do you mean not totally stoned?

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

My frosting is not scary, it is hardcore.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Hardcore frosting with
fluffy soft angel food cake
at core? My head hurts.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 11, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

A cousin e-mailed last night with news of an address change. They aren't moving but the county has tired of the expense of replacing signs stolen by people who like to advertise their, perhaps former, recreational pursuits. The old address- Stoner Memorial Drive

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 11, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Mmmmm, humbow...

Posted by: seasea1 | August 11, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Those stoners need a memorial or no one would remember at all.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

ftb, that it very funny.

Posted by: LALurker | August 11, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

You know, I really *don't remember* the sixties...

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

oops, i mean frosti.

Posted by: LALurker | August 11, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Hot Cretaceous rain is insinuating onto my roof. Bituminous imps of steam erupt from the shingles where each falls. Swampy swarms of bloody bugs gather in the gloom. Don't open the door.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Hot Cretaceous rain is insinuating onto my roof. Bituminous imps of steam erupt from the shingles where each drop falls. Swampy swarms of bloody bugs gather in the gloom. Don't open the door.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 11, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

From Jimi "Not necissarily stoned,but beautiful"

Back in west by god a day earlier,going to try and catch the Perseid's Meteor shower tonight.There will be a moon around midnight and the skies are threatening now.But i am hopefull it will be a wonderous show.

Out for a dinner obligation.

Are you experienced?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | August 11, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Spooky, Jumper! And funny.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

S'Nuke, are people allowed to carry loaded weapons strapped to the legs in New Hampshire?

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Back from vacation, checking in. No time yet to backboodle. Nulliparous is a fine word - as Joel says (I haven't got beyond this), no "fighting words" connotations there.

Ivansdad dresses himself very well and always has, appears to have passed it on to the Boy (accounting for teenage fashion, of course).

Mountains were cool and lovely, no humidity. Can't say the same here. Uncharacteristic August rain has the ecosystem knee-high (my knees, perhaps your ankles).

Weed, if it isn't too late I'll take a cup of that coffee. Time to leave. Back later.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 11, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Anyone there?

Yes, it's alarming that someone could get that close to a presidential event with a gun...but supposedly he was being watched closely. I heard that someone who tried to get into the town hall with a pocket knife was arrested and they found an illegal gun in his car (not sure if that's been verified). There's also a book out that claims the Secret Service is cutting back on protection, which I'm hoping is not true.

What a country!

Posted by: seasea1 | August 11, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

SeaSee, I think there must be a sporting event on the teevee tonight or somethin....

I am myself watching a program called Better Off Ted, and I think it's very funny.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Just finished watching the first episode of SYTYCD Canada, it was good - the Toronto auditions - one girl did an ethnic Mongolian dance very unusual and brilliant - she made it through.

Posted by: dmd3 | August 11, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Busy sorting stuff to be donated to a flea market booth for the local Boys and Girls Club on Saturday. How did we move every couple years and still accumulate all this carp?!

Fatuous garden comment- August is the glory month for zone 3 gardens. Liatris, echinacea (purple and white), black eyed Susans, poppies, day lilies, phlox, obedient plant, nasturtiums and cosmos are all peaking right now. Blue salvia is in a second flush of flowers, despite being moved to the front of the sunny bed. We'll have nothin' but flowers until frost. Even the hostas, not grown for flowers, are putting on a little show. I think the corn grew 6 inches today, our first above 80 since early July. Our heat wavelet may turn into a true 5 day wave. Tonight's dinner was totally from the garden, mixed leaf lettuce (still hasn't bolted!), carrots, snow peas, a few nasturtium blossoms for color and peppery taste, and a lone but exquisitely ripe cherry tomato. One of our city council members was lamenting deer damage last night, a fine red cabbage eaten to a nub with nothing else touched. Nothing else perfectly ready to harvest we guessed. Deer, squirrels, raccoons-they all know the absolute best time to pick produce and are always available to do it. Never stuck in a meeting when a strawberry is at its absolute prime.

Toodles boodle and sweet dreams, though I sense a few might be all but asleep in a comfie chair already.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | August 11, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking rickoshea0 and seasea1 and I could sneak in a little book-talk (CquaP? dbG? TBG?) whilst the rest are watching sports or whatever.

I've been playing in the fields of familiar literature, re-reading old friends. Middlemarch, Scarlet Letter, Villette, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, you know... all the old friends. Very rich.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Hi Yoki... I'm currently reading "Bad Girl" by Vina Delmar, written in 1928 and quite a scandalous book at the time... and a best seller, of course!

This is after reading a few books by Beatrice Burton written in the mid-to-late 1920s. Some great expressions, descriptions of clothing and interesting social mores.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 11, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

New Hampshire is an open carry law and he had the permission of the church property he was on. Doesn't make him any less than a nut.

Posted by: mathumom | August 11, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm part of the way through Middlemarch which I somehow have never read, but it keeps getting pushed down in the stack...and it's long. I will have to get a copy of my own. I made it halfway through the latest Mma Ramotswe book while taking a class at the unemployment office today. I've mostly been knitting lately.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 11, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Hi, mathumom! Yes, he may have had the right, but it makes me exceedingly nervous. On the one hand, at least it was obvious he had a gun. Hope he likes the extra attention he may be getting...or at least that I hope he's getting from law enforcement.

Posted by: seasea1 | August 11, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Though I don't knit (not reely) I see that it is like reading. Both an approach to and a retreat from the world.

TBG! I have a library (a very small library) of historical 20th Century best-sellers. The mannered writing and social mores are fascinating. I think what we believe is fabulous now will one day be assessed the same way. Very few keepers in any one generation (but some). Why I love physical print-books. There is a chance that some future person will pick one up in a used book store and take pleasure. Kindle-only will disappear with the medium.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone read West With The Night? It's a biography about a woman living in the decadent East African British ex-patriot 20s era. It's quite scandalous. And fun.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'm back. I have to get ready for bed, but as long as we're talking obscure 20th century fiction has anyone read "Anthony Adverse"? I first read it as a teenager and liked it. I still do, though more as a guilty pleasure now than anything else.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 11, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Two rather scandalous noms! I've read AA, but not rick's WWtN. I must get a copy.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

X-47B your call sign is Tin Man.

Coconut Juice? Is that the water, the milk or the cream. I love coconut water ice cubes in a good bourbon.

Natural flavors come in three varieties:

Most products that say 'Natural flavorings' are of the second variety I believe.

1. Synthesized from natural foods. Cannot contain type 2 and 3.
2. Synthesized through chemical process to create identical chemical flavors found in nature. Also known as Nature-identical. Cannot contain type 3.
3. Artificial. Not found in nature, and used as flavor enhancers.

Posted by: omnigood | August 11, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I give you Fielding's Joseph Andrews. Extremely witty and also bawdy. Good reading.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

And, of course, there are those wicked Mitford sisters.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes there are!

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Not sure if I'm going to be able to catch the Perseids tonight, gwe, I'm socked in here.

If not tonight after midnight, there should be some tomorrow evening just after dark, as the actual peak is tomorrow afternoon (good for those folks on the other side of the planet)...


Posted by: -bc- | August 11, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Have you ever had the feeling that you've revealed too much? And then been slightly mortified? And then said to yourself, "Meh."

I have! Quite recently.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

So why couldn't y'all have had this book boodle last week, when I was in Austin with the chance to scavenge through Half Price Books for these titles? I still did well, though. I bought a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery that I didn't remember reading before, though I must have, and now I'm on to Persuasion. My favorite Austen heroine, and I didn't own it, so now that's rectified. Also bought The Unconsoled and The Poisonwood Bible; we'll see when I get to them now that classes are starting up again next week. Summer's almost over, folks.

Posted by: -bia- | August 11, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Allingham! Well done, bia.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

On the boodle, Yoki? Or in general? Either way, sure, though boodle-wise I tend to be tentative enough in my posting that it doesn't happen often. Doesn't mean the tentativeness is a good thing, though.

Sorry to post and run, but J's gone upstairs and I'm going to follow. G'night, Al. Over to the night shift.

Posted by: -bia- | August 11, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

But I would just hope you've read The Bean Trees. Because The Posionwood Bible is hard. Like clouds.

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

The (somewhat) discussion of early 20th century leads me to remember an article I read recently about The Wind in the Willows.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

finished with the evening's chores. Thankfully, no slugs. There's a feral cat hanging around the grounds that I have half a notion to set a trap for. Hit the ground running today, more of the same for the rest of the week. Open house on Thursday. First day of class next Monday.

...and this, just because Lyle Lovett came to mind

Posted by: -jack- | August 11, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

bia - NOOOOOOO! *in a primal scream sort of way*
Why does summer seem so much shorter than winter?

Poisonwood Bible, not my favorite Kingsolver, but I loved it. Anne is my favorite Austen heroine as, wait, Eleanor. No, wait, Elizabeth. Yep, I'm sticking with Elizabeth, for now.

I've put Yoki's and rickoshea's recommendations on my list. They sound very intriguing.

Posted by: Kim1 | August 11, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I love The Wind in the Willows. Poop Poop!


Messing about in boats.

And, the washer-woman. "Fat of body and of very evil mind."

Posted by: Yoki | August 11, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, Poisonwood Bible isn't hard; it's just long. What an indictment of western ideas transplanted badly into Africa. Good reading.

Posted by: rickoshea0 | August 11, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Very good reading. I just didn't like it. I didn't, don't, admire it as a piece of writing; the aesthetic, the sensibility, the message, leave me cold.

It was a bit *preachy* for me, you know? I don't like, in general, message-y novels.

And since I have spent a lot of time in divers African countries, I especially don't like being preached at about Africa.

I didn't think it stood on its own as a good work of fiction. And her subsequent works have proved to me that she has a message, a pulpit. I don't like that. Write a story, on its own.

But that is just me. With all my loves and prejudices on display.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

What I meant to say is that I don't admire any novel that is political.

My life-long fascination with novels is that, to the degree possible, they let me know how people *are.* And messaging, political, works of fiction, are filled only with types, not people.

They do not let me indulge my curiosity to *know* people.

I admit, real people would be better subjects of study. Since that is impossible for me, I have only poetry and novels to teach me. And so I discriminate.

Posted by: Yoki | August 12, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Back to bed in a few minutes (and only 5 more days of this, YAY!).

One of the many things I love about libraries is finding books librarians have marked as special in some way. A month ago I found one on a kiosk as I headed towards the exit, John L. Parker, Jr.'s, _Once a Runner_, touted as the best book ever written about long distance running. Well, I read a lot of books about climbing mountains, so why not.

I love this book so much that when I saw Amazon still had copies (it's out of print), I bought it; it arrived yesterday. I try not to buy books because I just don't have the room, but in some way, looking past the storyline to the underlying explanation of why one does what one does, this one really spoke to me. I hope it's not just about the relentless of the job I'm about to leave compared to ld running.

gwe, I envy you the meteor showers. Too much light pollution around here.

Posted by: -dbG- | August 12, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: -dbG- | August 12, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

My favorite Coconuts can be seen and heard here:

Not the best recording or their best song, but only one of three on YouTube I could find.

Posted by: omnigood | August 12, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

By coconut juice I meant either coconut milk or water.

Posted by: Jumper1 | August 12, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday we had the mother of all lightning bolts. My dogs and I were on the driveway. I saw dark clouds forming in the distant horizon. Suddenly without warning, the sky became very bright followed by a very loud clap and a boom. The dogs and I ran back into the house. The dogs to hide under the table, me to shut down the computer. Fortunately, the computer is okay. A lightning less strong killed my office fax.

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 12, 2009 3:30 AM | Report abuse

When I cook curry, I out lots of coconut milk in it. My curry is never very tasty because there’s no meat in it, and I don’t use stock either, just different types of veg.

I'm not a vegetarian, just a vegetarian wannabe. I do eat meat 4 or 5 times a year, about the same number of times I eat tofu. And I like meat better than the tasteless tofu.

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 12, 2009 3:47 AM | Report abuse

SCC : what’s that “out” doing in there I do not know. “I ADD lots…"

Posted by: rainforest1 | August 12, 2009 3:54 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle.

Today in Yachting and Submarine History

Aug. 12, 1660: Holland delivers a present to England’s King Charles II, which becomes the royal “yacht” Mary; the gift also introduces the word yacht (which derives from the Dutch phrase ter jacht gaen – “to go hunting”) into the English language.
1914: With World War I only a few days old, John Holland, Irish-born American inventor of the modern submarine, dies of pneumonia at age 73, in Newark, N.J. Much of Holland’s early work was financed by Irish revolutionaries seeking a weapon to sink British ships; ironically, in two world wars, the Germans use Holland’s weapon to do exactly that, and almost – but not quite – succeeded both times. Holland narrowly missed seeing what he had wrought.
2000: A test torpedo aboard Russian submarine Kursk explodes, killing a good many of the 118-man crew as the sub sinks near Murmansk. The Russians are slow to react, and disdain outside help, which probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway. At least 23 crew were known to have survived for at least several hours and perhaps as long as several days in the stern compartments.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | August 12, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Boodle.

I'd rather be snowed off the mountain than fogged out. At least with snow, you know where you stand (or slip and fall).

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 12, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everybody! Ham biscuits on the ready room table, help yourselves.

Such a great discussion overnight and I wasn't here. Even if I had been up, I couldn't have participated; we had a power outage.

So, bia, great for you to be buying books! And Persuasion, my all-time favorite novel! True story: when the Elderdottir had an internship in Paris several years ago, she had the opportunity to visit Oxford with a friend. I asked her to go to Blackwell's and buy me a copy of Persuasion. So she did! And it's a beautiful edition, I'm trying to get them all so I have the complete collection.

Mr. T is headed towards Kim's neck of the woods today, to make a presentation at a conference; he'll be back tomorrow. It's a long trip for a short stay.

Hopefully, we'll have some rain today, storms last night bypassed us. Did you have rain, Jumper? How about you, Cassandra?

Everyone, have a pleasant day!

Posted by: slyness | August 12, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Morning all... got up early this morning after a lonely, but sleep-filled night (no snoring!) with Dr G off in Vancouver for the week.

May I add, please, that the word "literature" should in no way be associated with the books I'm currently reading. These popular novels from the 1920s are historical in that they really show what life was like back then, but they are, for the most part, published magazine serials. Lots of flappers and plenty of "petting."

One book, in fact, is called The Petter and is about a girl who gives herself a little too freely to men. Of course, she's giving kisses and that's all. Even with such titles as Bad Girl, The Petter and Easy, you couldn't say there was anything prurient about these books.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Morning all...

Hadn't heard about the 2nd Amendment nut, and I'm not familiar with NH gun laws. FWIW, my recollection of the layout near Portsmouth HS (where NukeSpawn starts in a couple weeks!!! :-O ), he wasn't anywhere near close enough to be a threat. Just doing the 'ol "ATTRACTING ATTENTION TO YOURSELF" (as G. Carlin once said) bit.

Too many clouds for meteor-watchin', dangit.

Speaking of reading, a relevant semi-quote from the latest addition to my library:

"... mankind is divided into two basic sorts: those who find the unknown future threatening... and those who find it thrilling ... the rupture between those two sides has been responsible for most of the bloodshed in history. If change threatens you, you become conservative in self-defense. If it thrills you, you become liberal in self-liberation ... the Threateneds are frequently more successful in the short run, because they always fight dirty. But in the long run, they always lose, because Thrilled people learn and thus accomplish more."

*thrilled-to-be-here Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 12, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

I am in cloud-land.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 12, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

*faxin' SciTim a squeegee for the lens* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 12, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

*Looks up at SciTim and corrects that to cloud-cuckoo-land.*

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | August 12, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

A tune cootie just for SciTim on days like this:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Of course, one might prefer the Jo Stafford:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

‘Morning everybody. They just interviewed Mr. Miller, the man who was so contentious at Spector’s town hall meeting yesterday. I don’t know how to say this tactfully, Miller is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I believe that many of these protesters are like him and I don’t know how anyone could placate them. Between him and the guy with the gun in NH, who Matthews interviewed last night, I feel sort of hopeless for any real conversation taking place on health care or anything else for that matter.

I made the mistake last night of drinking iced coffee with dinner. I fell asleep at 4 am. Of course I am toast today and it may be affecting my viewpoint on the above. Thoughts?

Posted by: badsneakers | August 12, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you badsneaks. I can't imagine why anyone with any intellect wouldn't want to have a reasonable discussion about this important subject.

Posted by: -TBG- | August 12, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Concur, sneaks. Obama himself yesterday picked up the line Jon Stewart had a night or two ago, about the absurdity of people saying "Keep the government out of health care, especially Medicare and Medicaid!"


What nobody will do, though is come right out and say the blunt truth: a lot of the American public are basically idiots, AND they are deliberately being whipped into a frenzy by the GOP. The media have been entirely too treluctant to call a spade a spade.

It isn't that these people aren't entitled to their opinions; they are. But they aren't entitled to be stupid, and to be led by the nose.

To me the interesting thing is that people complain about politicians being cowardly. Well, all these people (Obama, Specter, Cardin, Hoyer, etc.) are deliberately going out into the lion's dens and telling people harsh truths (perhaps for once) -- but they aren't getting credit for it. I have to give them credit for guts. One can despise an Arlen Specter all you want...but there he is, out there taking flak like a B-24 over Ploesti.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

New kit coming soon and it's on-boodle, insofar as it addresses (a little bit at least) the health care/town hall issue.

Posted by: joelache | August 12, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"On-Boodle"??? Joel's coined a new Boodlism! That's terrific!

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | August 12, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Uh, question asked and answered, TBG ;)

New kit is up!

Posted by: Raysmom | August 12, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I think Obama has lost the narrative thread on his health care package. He has gotten trapped in the same Wonk-Bog that the Clinton plan sunk into. He needs to clearly describe the problem and how his plan solves it. It needs to be clear and simple and fit on a sign board.

Here are my sample slogans:

Health Care For (Nearly) Everyone

Lose Your Job But Keep Your Doctor

Higher Taxes For Healthy Rich Guys

We Won't Pull The Plug On Grandma - That's Your Job

Government Death Panels are Kinder and Gentler Than Insurance Company Death Panels

Free Proctoscopes For All

I'm always glad to be of help.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 12, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

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