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Ain't No Missing Link

I still got Ardi on the brain. This was a pretty big deal, paleoanthropologically, dontcha think?

I am persuaded that Ardipithecus begat Australopithecus, which begat Homo, but I remain fuzzy on whether the evolution of these creatures is incremental or sometimes involves a sudden leap. Like, did an Ardi descendant wake up one day and think, "I just don't feel Ardipithecine anymore," and realize she'd become an Australopithecine? Which of the "derived" traits toggles an early hominid into an entirely new genus?

It's all in the foot, isn't it? We see in Ardi a creature with an arboreal foot. Lucy has a terrestrial foot. It's the drama of the big toe. Lucy's big toe is aligned with her other toes, while Ardi's splays to the side. Lucy is adapted for long-distance walking and maybe some running, while Ardi hasn't yet committed to a life on the ground. So how and when did the Ardi foot become the Lucy foot?

We may never know -- because it could have happened rapidly, according to Tim White in his landmark paper:

"With expanded ranging and social adaptations associated with terrestrial feeding in increasingly open environments, the transition could have been profound, but probably rapid, and therefore difficult to probe paleontologically."

That was a big roll-out yesterday. White's article -- you can find it here, in addition to all the other articles (registration required but it's free, an unusual move by Science) -- is pretty accessible reading for the non-expert, notwithstanding a few flights into jargon. (Though I find the HTML text rather hard to read compared to the pdf.)

A key insight: Humans didn't evolve from chimps. Chimps have evolved dramatically since the Last Common Ancestor. The human hand is actually more primitive than the chimpanzee hand.

White's conclusion:

Ardipithecus reveals the first hominid adaptive plateau after the [last common ancestor]. It combined facultative terrestrial bipedality in a woodland habitat with retained arboreal capabilities inherited from the [LCA]. This knowledge of Ar. ramidus provides us, for the first time, with the paleobiological substrate for the emergence of the subsequent Australopithecus and Homo adaptive phases of human evolution. Perhaps the most critical single implication of Ar. ramidus is its reaffirmation of Darwin's appreciation: Humans did not evolve from chimpanzees but rather through a series of progenitors starting from a distant common ancestor that once occupied the ancient forests of the African Miocene.

This falsifies my own report, in Why Things Are (1991), that modern apes haven't evolved much. See the answer to the question "Why Don't Apes Evolve Into Humans Anymore?":

Because they don't need to. They do just fine as apes. They have virtually no predators. Food is plentiful. They can hang out. There's no impetus to mutate into a creature who goes to discos.

Apes have evolved only slightly compared with man's rapid transformation. If anything, they have become better apes, with longer limbs for climbing. [p. 254]

Actually, they've become much, much better apes. The foot has evolved into something as grabby as a hand. Ardi didn't swing from limb to limb the way a chimp does today. Ardi clambered on four legs on tops of tree limbs, and couldn't suspend herself from a limb like a chimp. [So please annotate that treasured copy of Why Things Are to note the new research.]

By the way, contrary to what you may have heard (last night on NBC Nightly News, among other places), there is no "Missing Link." Nothing is missing in the fossil record. It is just that the fossil record is something we assemble with great labor, one bone at a time, and the farther back you look the harder it is to find anything as elaborate as a skeleton. You get a tooth, a knuckle, a toe. When the construction crews have built only the first four floors of a skyscraper we don't say that the upper floors are "missing," as though someone absconded with them.


Jamie Shreeve's piece for National Geographic was at the top of my list of the best pieces on the Ardi research.

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 2, 2009; 7:38 AM ET
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Next: Two Guys With Much in Common


Reposted from previous Boodling:

I suggested that perhaps now there will be another race to find a lady ancestor between Lucy and Ardi, and afterwords thought of this ad for or something:

"SM paleoanthropolgist, late 40s, seeks lady 3.7-4.3 million years old for long nights of scientific study. Hopefully, you are at home on the ground as well as in the trees. Kids are OK and expected, as are big toes at a 45-degree angle and small sharp wisdom teeth. Please reply by text or email, though I expect you're more comfortable giving me an old-school hoot via voice mail. That's OK, too."


Posted by: -bc- | October 1, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -bc- | October 2, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

First again? Wow -- perhaps I should go out and buy one o' them lottery tickets.

Anyhow, I would argue that those "upper floors" which might be missing *is* because someone (or several "ones") did indeed abscond with them. Clearly, when the ability to read and think for oneself (not to mention the enjoyment thereof) is thought to be *elitist*, then at the very least the Republican Party did abscond with the upper floors of entirely too many people.

The rest of us, however, do engage our upper floors on a regular basis -- especially here. Well, you know, mostly. . . . .

Great set of articles and kits, Joel. Now I have to scratch my nose with my opposable toe.

Posted by: -ftb- | October 2, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Well, okay. bc absconded with first. I concede.

Posted by: -ftb- | October 2, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I think I have some appreciation of the psychology behind the concept of "missing links." Joel's skyscraper analogy is apt, except that most people have a hard time perceiving that the modern world is the *foundation* of the skyscraper, and upper floors go back in time. We flatter ourselves by imagining that our world is the top of the skyscraper -- except for my sore hand joints and poorly-designed coronary arteries, it's clear that I, personally, am the pinnacle of evolutionary progress -- then wonder what it is that is holding us up. In that conception, there is a desperate need to fill in the remaining floors quickly, before disaster (the wrath of G*d) strikes us down. Patience is not rewarded when Wile E. Coyote is standing on the open air.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 2, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

It's a wossname, a metaphorical skyscraper of understanding. A modern Tower of Babel...

Uh-oh, Joel.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps a better analogy would be a skyscraper so tall its upper floors (where we live) are above the clouds, and the "missing link" (the middle floors down to the foundation) lies beyond our vision.

Or something.

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 2, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

LiT. When you get down to $15 a day per individual, and still try to maintain a high level of dining, the challenge becomes extreme. I totally agree with your last post that we all do what they were doing--to a degree.

I am thinking that I was seeing something else. I might get a zucchini... one and do three different things with it. Basically, I will make single portion fresh dishes--rather than 4 single portion containers of the same thing.

It was really getting me down when I would do a large stir-fry and was eating the same thing over and over.

I have gotten my stir-frying down to saute pan size. Just thinking about it, I have a bit of steak left; an eggplant, a bit of tomato and some zucchini that I can season with rice wine vinegar; garlic; ginger; special soy sauce; and black bean paste and red pepper ... plus some rice = lunch.

Probably 1.50 to $2.25 tops. Cut and prep for 5 minutes, cook for 5 minutes. Clean up and put away, 2 minutes. Not a big investment.

Current favorites in the vegetable crisper: cabbage and fennel. Can't have enough?: onions.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 2, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Science Tim... so I have this thought that, at some point, one of those Ardi's just got tired of falling out of the tree because their foot wasn't "doing it." At the same time, that Ardi had a better land speed for catching up to things (like other Ardi's).

Posted by: russianthistle | October 2, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

This "missing link" discussion brings to mind the Piltdown Man hoax in England in the early part of the 20th Century. It took 40 years for the scientific establishment to finally accept the hoax, even though strong suspicians arose as early as 1915. Turns out the skull pieces were from a medieval burial, while the lower jaw came from an organutan. The forger filed some of the teeth to make them appear like an omnivore. Back then, the assumption was that modern humans evolved in Eurasia (certainly NOT in Africa!).

Posted by: ebtnut | October 2, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Weed -- you're makin' me hungry!

Posted by: -ftb- | October 2, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Well, so much for that gig...

From the home page:

"Chicago Out of the Running to Host 2016 Olympics"

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 2, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Looking to see if any reasonably common birth "defects" give insight on hand-feet. Or foot hands, or toe thumbs. Whatever.

The last one gets a little heavy for the squeamish, but not too awful I think

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 2, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

RT, I think that's how it's done in most busy families..plan wisely for money AND time. Make extra mashed potatoes tonight for use in potato pancakes or shepherd's pie tomorrow, or plan your meat dishes around the idea that later in the week you'll make cassoulet, not eat the same thing day after day. $15 a day is a tad extreme, but they also weren't feeding kids and they didn't use meat.

On kit, I'd just like to point out that this all leads to cool strappy shoes.

Have a happy day.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 2, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Scotty. Sorry about the news.

Sorry for the folks in Chicago, as well.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 2, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

There are apparently no children born with true ape feet. There are cleft feet, webbed toes, clubfeet, etc. but nothing that to the nonexpert (me) looks like some sort of reversion / mutation. The reason I'm interested is that although many claim the human hand as the unique thing about us, I say no, it's the human foot that is unique. No ape or monkey has feet like ours.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 2, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmmmm... Some Gainsville shenanigans:


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 2, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Ardi's robust thumb musculature and flexible midcarpal (wrist) joint are perfect for text-messaging.


Posted by: MikeLicht | October 2, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

ftb: I will make it worse from

Zucchini, Fennel & White Bean Pasta

* 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed
* 2 medium zucchini
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat penne or similar short pasta
* 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 1 cup cooked cannellini beans, plus 1/2 cup bean-cooking liquid, pasta-cooking liquid or water (see Tip)
* 2 plum tomatoes, diced
* 3/4 cup crumbled hard, aged goat cheese, or fresh goat cheese
* 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
* Freshly ground pepper to taste

LiT, yes. but the budget is $15 a week not a day, so it is extreme survival. I used to be a family, and now I am an individual and share with a friend. I was doing about $20 per week (and cheating by getting deals at the farmers market from friends).

For me, I start by picking out my veggies. Grocery stores also have "loss leaders" and I go for those.

Here's another tip: Meat departments will 30 or 50% items that have been out for a couple of days. They are fine, but may be showing the effects of air leakage or mroe likely from the fluorescent lights in the display cases and store. The meat is being held at 30 to 40 degrees, so it is fine--just looks old. Buy that. I do.

I know, for instance, that our regional meat merchandiser is coming by today, so I know that lots of pieces will be re-cut and the balance into the discount bin for quick sale. I will buy quickly.

So many folks riffle through the packages of food in a store looking at dates. They should know that almost every store will give a credit on a spoiled item, no questions asked. So, take the deal.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 2, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

RT, Oh yeah I meant a week. And that is extreme. But again, no kids and no meat. They have a defined budget which they keep a careful eye on...something that works for everyone, whether the budget is $20 a week for one or $10 a day for another.

In my area, new shipments means 2-for-1 sales.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 2, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

All this discussion of the $30 a week blog made me realize I have no earthly idea what I spend on food per week. My meatless Thursday experiment was spurred by something I heard on Science Friday about how if everyone went without meat just one day a week we'd eliminate X amount of fossil fuel use. As it turns out I eat best on Thursday because I am more mindful about what I'm eating and plan better.

Anyone up for a boodle challenge? How well can you eat for $15 a week? Pick any week, no need to drag family members along. Share a recipe or two. As for me I think I'll start on Sunday-but no stocking up allowed. I'll be in St. Paul so I'll have to live with whatever staples Mr. F left behind-and can't afford to stop for junk food on the trip down.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I'll take that challenge! And I'll publish it on Yoki's Kitchen, if anybody wants to blog their experience.


Posted by: Yoki | October 2, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I think I am a factor of several away from $30/week for our family. Between expensive locavore fruit, and the ever-increasing prices at the Giant, we're just not there, money-cost-wise.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 2, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Rio in 2016!

Posted by: seasea1 | October 2, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I think I spend more than $30/wk on flavored coffee creamer alone...

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 2, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I justify my costs because it's not only food, but at times it can also be hobby, entertainment, education, art, gifts and charity, etc. The center of my home is definitely the kitchen.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 2, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

All this talk of food and me just finishing a marathon morning of baking. I made snickerdoodles, an apple cake and a blueberry cake. We may see the granddaughters tomorrow and I usually buy them clothes. Being out of work, I'm not spending on anything except paint for the house so I thought that some sweets would be appreciated.

I'm sorry Chicago didn't get the Olympics but I would have voted for Rio too. South America deserves a turn at hosting.

Posted by: badsneakers | October 2, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Once had a budget of $10/week for lunch and breakfast in college.

That was back when my mom could feed a family of 7 on around $50/week.

Without staples or a garden, I don't think you can eat well on 15 dollars a week, not with significant variety.

Starch: potatoes, rice, pasta are cheap enough.

Vegetables: would suggest frozen vegetables for durability (if you were doing this across more than one week), also shopping fresh best you can, in season.

Fruit: too easy to buy juice for cost instead of fresh, but this would be a mistake. I never did it. It's the right season to buy apples and such in season.

Meat-- as Jumper says, old meat on sale is always good, you can get some nice cuts for less than 10 bucks.

Milk-- cost has gone way up, nearly 4 bucks a gallon, but I like it.

Cereals--expensive. I pick the least sugary types with actual nutrition.

Beans-- I tried buying dried kidney or black beans, but I never could get them cooked right in the slow cooker when I was at work, so I wound up paying extra for the canned types I like. I did buy dried lentils, split peas (green and yellow) and enjoy them.

I'd say a more feasible razor-thin budget would be 25 dollars a week, unless you already have staples. Buying dry in bulk saves money.

I managed to pretty much live on 150 dollars a month for groceries (barring lunch takeouts at work) and ate lots of vegetables too.

Not interested in this boodle challenge right now, although I'd say there's no better time to do so-- I already have my meals planned.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

LiT, cooking is always cheaper than paying others to cook for you-- and you eat better, especially if you cook as well as I suspect you do.

Your costs are fully justified :).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Lit. re your 11:42 if I did not know better I would say you spent time in my household when I was growing up, part of the almost weekly menu, Sunday Roast beef and potatoes, Monday, Shepherds pie, Tues potato pancakes. My mom made the best shepherds pie and all forms of potatoes.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 2, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: LostInThought | October 2, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Heck, I dropped $20 this morning for a cup of coffee -- and 8 croissants to take to a meeting. I think I may have eaten a third of them myself.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 2, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't do it, Frosti. I am making a Mexican lasagna tonight from a recipe in my local paper. I have been assembling the ingredients the last couple of trips to (cheap) markets. I just added it up, and even though it's vegetarian, it totals $6.97 without counting staples on hand. Of course, it makes 8 servings and I'm making it for the three of us, so there will be leftovers, but when you add in salad, beverages and dessert, it's $10 for the meal. Which is pretty good, but nowhere near the challenge range. I would have to cook the beans from dry, and make the tortillas from scratch. Perhaps the cheese, too.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 2, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I'll bet your mom also did dishes in order too. Glasses first, flatware just before pots and pans. And if it was in season, that's what's for dinner.

My mom made lasagna to use up extra cheeses. Never the same, always delicious.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 2, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm not surprised that Rio got the nod for the Olympics. Now, one ought to wonder what they are going to do about those infamous slums back up the hills around the city. I am not particularly enamored of the Os. The IOC is riddled with peculiarly unsavory types, and the USOC isn't much better. Not my cuppa tea, really.

Posted by: -ftb- | October 2, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

badsneaks may be in your area at the end of October can you freeze some snickerdoodles for me?

I am glad it is Rio in 2016, I do believe it is time the Olympics move around more than traditional countries, even if that means Toronto and Chicago miss out, it is a global event and the host cities should reflect that - hopefully an African nation will get an opportunity before too long - Cape Town would be a spectacular setting.

Re the $15/week - that is per person correct? Not sure how I could feed three growing children on that, the teen eats that in a meal.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 2, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I found myself not buying potatoes when I lived by myself.
It was too hard to eat up a 5 lb bag before they went bad, but I sure did grow up on all types of potatoes, dmd.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Lit, you must have know my mom. Correct on the dish order, although dishes were often our job, being the youngest I was in charge of drying the silverware - hated that. We did have a dishwasher but dishes were done by hand a lot. Mom was a clean freak - we all had to help.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 2, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I think the challenge should be for meals at home only.

Lunch costs at school or work are an entire separate issue.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I'll gladly freeze some or even make them again fresh if you're coming out this way. Let me know your plans and maybe we can meet, that would be fun.

Posted by: badsneakers | October 2, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

My last comment was to dmd, I was so excited at the possibility of meeting her, I forgot to use her name!

Posted by: badsneakers | October 2, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I just added up the cost of the vegetarian breakfast casserole we had for dinner last night, using faux sausages, eggs, potatoes, onions and cornbread - it only came to $4! And I had leftovers for lunch today, too. Still nowhere near that elusive $15/week per person, though. Heck, I spend more than that per week on diet soda for the three of us. You will pry my kids' cans of diet soda from their cold dead fingers. So to speak.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 2, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I will let you know when we book the flights badsneakers, we are going for a friends surprise 50th birthday so we will have, hopefully, time to spare before the party - looking to be Oct. 30.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 2, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I like being able to go to the grocery store early in the day to have a chance at the discounted meat. In fact, I bought two discounted filets yesterday for dinner tomorrow night. I always go for the specials and have a pantry that's bursting at the seams. Supper last night was soup made with leftover pork chops and leftover and frozen veggies. I thought *everybody* did those things, it's how I grew up.

Posted by: slyness | October 2, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The fungi's breakfasts run about $20 a week. He has 2 eggs, toast or bagel and cream cheese, bananas and about a quart of orange juice EVERY single morning. Sometimes he adds a small tin (85g) of tuna in olive oil on top of that and finishes with a can of v-8. Coffee for the 4 of us that drink it, the fungi doesn't, probably runs to about $12 a week. So, by 08:00 in the morning we are over the budget.
The dogs, cat and fish food probably runs around $30 a week as well. So I'm going to volunteer them for the challenge.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 2, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

No more Purina Pro-Plan for you busters. I hope you'll like Wallyworld's Sawdust&FloorSweeping special.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 2, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Achenblog quoted on one of my favorite (other) blogs:

Posted by: ScienceSpouse | October 2, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Reeling back on Kit for a moment, Ardi may indeed have the physical dexterity for text messaging or email, but I think I'd get irritated my her penchants for abbreviation and using numbers as shorthand and her complete lack of punctuation. Not to mention the forwarded jokes and the $exting with pics/video she sends. Lowbrow does not even begin to describe it.

An interesting idea that primate knucklewalking is an evolutionary trait evolved *to,* rather than away *from,* isn't it?

[Resisting the urge to make a case for Advanced P00-Flinging here.]

Off Kit again, I'm a Kitchen Person. I spend a lot of time there, in my house and in others', and I appreciate a good one. And the more room there is to cook, to bake, to painstakingly assemble a meal or throw leftovers together or just hang out, the better.

It seems to me that most folks have fallbacks for leftover disposal - some have lasagne, some cassoulet, some casseroles, some gravy, some chili.

Some's better than others, but I think it's all good.


Posted by: -bc- | October 2, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"It seems to me that most folks have fallbacks for leftover disposal - some have lasagne, some cassoulet, some casseroles, some gravy, some chili."

I would include young male dependants and their friends and large dogs in the means of disposal.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 2, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

SD, Purina pro-plan must be expensive--or the VLP eats way too much.

Wilbrodog eats nearly a bag of an upscale expensive brand (Blue Buffalo) per month, and that only comes to 50 bucks per bag-- the nice thing is that (and similar brands) are so packed that he only needs three cups a day plus 200 calories or so of leftovers. That makes poop scooping easier, too.

Sometimes the supermarket brands don't actually come out cheaper because of the lower nutritional density-- what you save per /kg you're actually losing on the amount you have to feed.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

bc, there is a direct (though speculative) connection between Ardi and guys in the kitchen. From a NatGeo article:

Instead of fighting for access to females, a male Ardipithecus would supply a "targeted female" and her offspring with gathered foods and gain her sexual loyalty in return.

Works for me! ScienceTim's been feeding me for 20 years now.

Posted by: ScienceSpouse | October 2, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Can't say enough about a man who can cook, dmdspouse has also been feeding me for just about 20 years.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 2, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

The VLP and the Ancient Giant Black Lab amount to 215 lbs of dog eating $70/40 lbs lamb&rice or turkey-barley dog food. They fart like a herd of cows if the food contains chicken.
Add 9 pound of cat eating $30/8 lbs oral-care cat food and about 100g of fish eating $9/125g fish food. The fishes ain't fussy, or are not telling, about their food.
I'm just happy the canine monsters don't need "special" food like the cat. The Liquid Cat develops tartar deposit on regular cat food and must have the fancy stuff. So it eats special cat food and the best morcels of the local rodent population when it can.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 2, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

*21* years! You forgot about shacking up before we got married.

I'm about to head home to get ready for travel tomorrow. The ScienceSpouse and I will be celebrating our 20th next Thursday, at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences (The Fightin' Sagans!). My talk still is far from ready. Oy.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 2, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Sorry. I'm not going to ever eat like a college student again. The advantage of having a job is being able to eat food you like.

My metric is fast food meals. A burrito and soda at Chipotle is $8, so a meal for two is $16. The same price goes for about any fast-casual place: Jimmy Johns, Cosi, Panera. Even the ratburger places don't give you much change for a ten.

So I just try to come up with something better and cheaper than a counter service restaurant. The cheapest meal I make at home is turkey spaghetti.

Pack of pre-cooked turkey meatballs: $4
Box of spaghetti (Barilla only): $1.25
A half pound of green beans or broccoli: $1.50
A bottle of Vitamin water: $1

That's $7.75 for two and I can usually get one leftover lunch out of that. Just barely less than half the price of eating out.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 2, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

SSpouse, 'targeted female' takes a left turn in my mind and leads to 'Bummer of a birthmark Hal.' Yipes.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 2, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The chicken causes gas for dogs, that explains a lot about dmddog, although I must say I am always amused when he is startled by his gas and looks around to figure out where it came from - I have mentioned he is not the smartest dog correct?

Posted by: dmd3 | October 2, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

SS, I'm glad that Ardi appreciates a guy that can cook.

Though I suspect that she also appreciated being taken out to dinner, wined and dined once in awhile ("Our chef he recommends ze roasted ginger, grub and ze mushroom appetizer; c'est magnifique!" [ArdiWaiter kisses his fingers]).

And that the male picks up the check.

Glad it's working for you, too, ma'am.


Posted by: -bc- | October 2, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Happy anniversary to the ScienceCouple.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 2, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

*Tim, Jewelry is more traditional than a speech for a 20th anniversary gift.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 2, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Where's the sauce, Yellojkt?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Happy SciAnniversary!!! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 2, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Dang. Forgot the most important part. One jar Barilla tomato-basil. Another $2.50, bringing the total to over ten bucks. So on the hipster budget I can cook three dinners and stretch that for a couple of lunches.

And that is before any microwave popcorn while watching Glee.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 2, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Yellow, do you consume the entire box/jar? What about the parm?

CpBoy and I get two meals plus one small lunch on a box of pasta and a jar of sauce...and sauce to make a one pizza.

But, let us also note ala FungiBoy in the Yukon, that Boy eats six full means a day. Second dinner, always.

Homemade pizza is our go-too meal and very well priced. I buy the dough -- cannot stage this with my crazy life these days. Three Brothers will sell me a pan of dough, but then again, I shop at their store on Kenilworth Ave.

Note: pasta and sauce are on sale all the time in a classic two-fer.....we stock up on these two-fers.

Eventually, I hope to go back to making sauce from scratch aways.

Burrito-like fare is another go-to...specially in summer.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 2, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I've tried to cut the recipe in half to right size for us empty nesters, but the proportions are never right, so I just continue to make too much.

1 box spaghetti/1 jar sauce/1 pack meatballs makes four-six servings. Two main courses and two, sometimes three, leftovers. Of course, when our son was at home, there were no leftovers since the two other servings went to him.

Another cheap meal is two frozen turkey burgers seasoned with spice mix and a double batch of either Kraft mac and cheese or those noodle in a bag with a sauce mix. The leftover noodle dish makes a meal or two on its own.

But I still have to do rice dishes every now and then. The cost of rice is negligible. A 25 pound bag lasts us months. But then I go up a grade on the meat. I grill thin-cut pork chops that have been marinaded in a soy/oil/vinegar/garlic/ginger sauce and serve with steamed veggies.

Let's say five bucks for a pound of chops and two dollars for the veggies with at least one leftover meal. Still about half the price of a sandwich combo eating out.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 2, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Looks like it's just you and me Yoki. Note to everyone else- the challenge is to see how WELL you can eat for $15 (per person) not to return to poor college days. No need to drag the pets into this (I already spend more on their food than mine). Estimates of the cost of using ingredients already on hand are encouraged, but herbs and spices will only count against you if you have to buy new. Things grown in your own garden are "free" even though we know there was some cost involved in production (for me that's only the cost of seed, I use home made compost and fish guts to feed my plants).

Can we begin on Sunday Yoki? Time enough for other boodlers to consider or reconsider.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

15 per day? Per week? Am confused. Will participate, at any rate.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 2, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

15 per week, per person, but you don't have to play as a family. Actually I think this approximates living on food stamps.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all.What an interesting challenge. I can't commit to joining the $15/person this coming week but it will inspire me to keep track of what I am spending.I have so much as staples - pasta, sauce, chicken stock - that my usual grocery purchases are meat (whole chicken or what's on sale), fruit, bread, and juice. Cereal, coffee, soda every other week. Vegetables from the market in season. It is the add-ons that get me, and heaven forfend I should let the Boy or Ivansdad come along. All sorts of things appear in the grocery cart.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 2, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom-you can take the "challenge lite" by just finding out what you spend and sharing an account of a particularly delicious and thrifty meal.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

No Parmesan cheese on spaghetti. When I am just needing a weekend snack, I will boil half a box of noodles (about 50 cents worth) and put some butter on it, about two tablespoons which is maybe 25 cents. The real splurge is to top it with about three tablespoons of real Romano cheese which costs about six bucks a tub. That still brings the whole meal in under a dollar.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 2, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

$15 is tough. Very tough. Not to mention some of my old poor folks tricks have ceased to work - the price of dry milk powder has skyrocketed since I was in college. Lowered subsidies or something. There goes the queso fresco. And figuring the costs for a 12 - 18 ingredient meal will be annoying. How much does a half-cup of flour cost? Two TBS of olive oil? Of course this could be fun, too.

Do I have to get radical and go dumpster diving? Wait a minute. I know the cheapest produce in town. I've been meaning to go there. Homemade bread is cheap... And I have a day to think about it. I'll think about it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 2, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

My gluten sensitivity limits my ability to participate in the challenge, but I certainly will do my best to share. I'm still using homegrown tomatoes in soup and on salads. Growing one's veggies is a stellar way to stretch the food dollar. Now if I could just get ahead of the squash borers and the tomato hornworms, I'd be golden.

Posted by: slyness | October 2, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

My wife just called and I directed her to spend half of my weekly food budget on some Mike's Hard Lemonade. Guess I'm not eating the rest of the week.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 2, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

$2.14 per day. Very, very tough. In any case I'm going to make a big pot of chicken soup soon just for thinking of all this.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 2, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

That's not eating, yello, it's drinking! DOES NOT COUNT!

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 2, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Think mooching opportunities, Jumper.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The American Ambassador to Canada was finally confirmed by the Senate and presented his credential today to our most excellent cougar and Vice-Royal Michaëlle Jean. I think 3 trade battles went by since he was nominated in May or June.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 2, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday I made a huge pot of 'ragu' sauce with odds and ends of ground meat products I found when cleaning the freezer. I bought some zucchini and sliced it thin and will steam it to substitute for most of the pasta (fewer calories) and will have garlic bread with it. I did buy a hunk of good romano cheese yesterday that would have blown two thirds of that $15 weekly meal allowance but I love good grated cheese and would rather skimp somewhere else if necessary.

dmd, I'll be here around the 30th so just let me know the details when you have them.

Posted by: badsneakers | October 2, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I dunno about home food. This year the two avocado trees bore for the first time. About $45 for the trees, more for mulch and fertilizer. Eight yummy fruits.

Yellow lentils are only now available in the local supermarkets; otherwise you have to go to the little Indian store.

Potatoes seem to be getting a bit pricey. It's almost a potato boutique at Publix, with all manner of odd varieties.

Susan Allport's book "The Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3s Were Removed From the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them" arrived from University of California Press (it was on sale). No idea whether it's worth reading.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 2, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

So now I've gotta clear the space between the two little mango trees, set up the on-sale trellis from Ikea and start planting cucumbers and radishes.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 2, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Was just thinking about coffee and wine. The Brooklyn couple, whose blog inspired the challenge idea, make good use of gifts of food. I have 6 bottles of gift wine left from a variety of events-so I'm ok there (although the drinkability of 2 is in doubt). Coffee is another matter. I don't think I can count the espresso roast Mr. F bought as a "gift."

Need to scope out a food co-op where I can get small quantities of spendy stuff. I see feeding two for $30 would be a lot easier than just 1 for $15. Might have to enlist the dott to join in on some things. Wouldn't hurt her or frostson-in-law to learn how to make more things from scratch.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Dave o the coonties: Corn, soy, and corn are the top reason why omega-3s are missing from our diet.

Grass-fed (or other-fed)livestock has more omega-3 than grain-fed livestock.

In addition, the xenoestrogenic and other effects found in soy and corn actually promote formation of saturated fat.

The second issue is processed food-- omega-3s go rancid easily and so do not contribute to long shelf life, while cheap oils derived from soy and corn (especially when hydrogenated for stability) do.

See if the prose is worth it-- the subject definitely is.

That's your mission: don't just eat cheap, eat better.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I'll provide a book report. I'll also look into whether soy sauce and miso is exempt from condemnation as 'bad soy'.

A news story at BBC says life expectancy is increasing rapidly; half of all babies born today (like my grand-niece) will live to 100. I wouldn't believe that for a minute if I were in Walmart right now. Blob people everywhere. If at the Publix supermarket frequented by retired WASPs, maybe.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 2, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Fermentation reduces xenoestrogens, so soy sauce's fairly safe there-- especially as it's more salt than oil.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

DotCC... my first thought on reading that was "what they don't say is that the other half won't live to be 55."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 2, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

DotC, literally today? Congratulations! Is this your first time being a grand-something?

Posted by: Yoki | October 2, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

In the interest of open source, and denying my urge to keep my low price sandwich recipe secret, I had one of these at a restaurant and recreated at my house. Feeds two or one hungry person.
Half loaf of Italian or French bread.
One full grown portabella, sliced into two thin saucer shapes. Most of a red bell pepper, with top and bottom removed and remainder cut into four flat pieces. One yellow squash cut into long slices. Piece of onion.
Saute the veggies in olive oil. Salt and pepper. Sit a pan on the slices and press them as they cook. Cut the bread into a top and bottom piece and toast. When veggies are tender (you could grill all those, you know) put some condiment on your bread. Pile on the veggies, sprinkle with cheese. Top of sandwich. Mash top down a little, and cut sandwich in two.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 2, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I count myself lucky that I was raised knowing how to cook, and how to make do when I had to. When I'm at the grocery store and see someone buying pre-made frozen pizza with food stamps, I wonder if they know how much more food they could get for the money or if they just want to splurge, or need the convenience.
I think $15 per person per week would be really difficult to do and still eat properly. In the 60's, when when I got married, I asked my mom how much to budget for food and was told $10 per person per week. Although you can eat cheaply on ramen noodles, they are empty calories. I'll try to keep track for a week. Since my husband lost his job and I work part time, I have more time than money, so we bake our bread (now we're hooked, so we also do it because we prefer it). Even figured out how to do raisin bread that comes to about $1.50 per loaf instead of the $3.50 or so at the store. The biggest expense we have is probably deli ham and cheese for sandwiches. Since we buy in quantity when it's a good price at the Big Box of Food or on sale (another luxury that someone living on the edge cannot manage)it'll be a little difficult to calculate. Also, being fall, my inner hibernating mammal has kicked into gear and the freezer is already pretty full.

Posted by: km2bar | October 2, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Ack, jumper, I'm hungry and that sounds fantastic.

I'm going to start the $15 challenge on October 18, after the move and Canadian Thanksgiving. I should be somewhat organized by then, and able to plan accordingly. And it will leave me free to indulge when I visit the Pacific Northwest, USA at the end of the month.

Here's a nice thing. I got a call from one of the Montreal partners of my old firm, very supportive and unhappy at my release, but not in a *dwelling* sort of way. And the most graceful thing about the call was when he apologized for being the first senior person to call me. He was, almost, more outraged at the treatment I'd received than I was. This is a man I'd worked closely with for years, and a top performer, so it meant a lot to me. And though I assured him that I am disinclined to look back, I have a feeling that he'll launch a little investigation. And he offered me a number of referrals to people "you should talk to." The best sort of help. Nice. Reassuring.

Posted by: Yoki | October 2, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

km2bar, I don't actually expect to succeed, but the attempt will be worthy. I think, really, the trick might be in having challenge-partners; one person probably can't eat high-quality food on that amount, and probably not two, either. But three or more? Possibly. A stone soup scenario.

Posted by: Yoki | October 2, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

A Boodlated Congrats to the ScienceCouple.

And to DotC.

I once spent a race weekend at Mid-Ohio seeing if we could "live off the land," camping out instead of going to a hotel and not buying any food whatsoever.

As it turns out, we did. But if we hadn't had Press Passes and availed ourselves of every eatin' opportunity for the Working Press (which we were), we'd have been eating old pebble-textured Tic Tacs and fossilized McFries fished out from between the van seats for at least one meal.


Posted by: -bc- | October 2, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

DotC, I love that description ‘blob people’ even tho’ I don’t go to Walmart (on principle), I see plenty of them elsewhere. I’ve been meaning to mention something about supermarkets and food but kept forgetting in the midst of all my cooking and baking. km2bar helped me remember. Yesterday when I was food shopping, I decided to pick up some frozen potato puff type things. I buy these maybe once a year as something different to serve to “S” with his meat and veggies. So I start looking in the freezer section for them and realize that this row, from the front of the store to midway back, is full of nothing but types of frozen potato products. I was amazed. I know you’ll probably be amused that I hadn’t registered this before, I was too. But it also made me understand how easy it is for people to just buy junk and heat it up rather than cooking, and how this could so often lead to being one of the blob people. I don’t think a lot of people do much cooking on a daily basis. I’ve tried to explain to #1 that if she doubles recipes and spends a day now and then just cooking in quantity, she could rely less on the ‘panic pizza’ meal. Ah well, I’m just old fashioned.

Yoki, good that you heard from someone and he had suggestions. Just what you need to keep your spirits up! Happy Anniversary to Science Tim and Mrs. Science and congrats to DotC.

Posted by: badsneakers | October 2, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

About this challenge. Are we allowed to use staples already in the house without calculating their portion-cost?

Posted by: Yoki | October 2, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Good plan Yoki. I'm starting so soon because I'll be in St. Paul where a wider variety of healthy inexpensive food is available than in Our Fair City (or anywhere near Our Fair City). Nice to see that at least one person treated you graciously, even if it was a bit late.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Should have refreshed.

Yoki-I don't know, what do you think? The $30 a week couple count everything, but they've been doing this a while and if they save one week they add it to the next week's budget. I say moderate use of staples, like flour to thicken a sauce, shouldn't count. But if it makes up the bulk of a dish-like a loaf of bread-it should count. An approximation of the cost would be good enough in my book.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm doomed!

But I agree, a tablespoon of this or that here or there should not count, but a meal built around flour or polenta or oatmeal should. I'd better get out the calculator.

Posted by: Yoki | October 2, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

I may just calculate what we spend for a week eating the way we do, then see if I think reducing it to $10/person a week is really doable. Like I said, I have a pretty full freezer, and I'll have to haul out the food scale and estimate what I paid for meat per pound, but I think I can ballpark it.
By the way, SD, thanks for the info on fish tongues yesterday. I had no idea they had tongues, tho I understand from checking it that they are more cartilage and not really like mammal tongues. Whether they are precursors to mammal tongues, who knows. Thinking about origins can lead to strange trains of thought.
Off to watch the last National Parks episode.

Posted by: km2bar | October 2, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

I really think I want to try cooking beans and freezing them in small quantities (say, 1/2 cup or 1 cup) so that I can pull out some of my own cheap beans when I want some instead of opening a can. I can buy a pound of dry beans for 80 cents, which will make at least 6 cups, I think. I paid $1.40 for a can of beans yesterday, two cups at most.

Have to say that the Mexican lasagna was "meh." Adequate, but totally uninspired.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 2, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Just thinking about it I am pretty sure I spend close to $15.00 just on coffee for the house, excluding any Tims, Starbucks etc I have in addition (usually at least once a day). Time to start scaling back on the coffee, now I just have to find something else I like to drink, other than coffee.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 2, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Also for Frosti, Rick Mercer is repeated (Monday's episode) at 8:30 EDT on CBC - if you haven't had a chance to see it.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 2, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

One of my favorite cheap meals is making potato piroshkies. One of my daughters had them at a Russian friend's house, and liked them so much I found a recipe (New NYT Cookbook). Sweet soft dough wrapped around cubed browned potatoes and caramelized onions. The little dumplings are brushed with egg and brown up nicely. They're a tad dry, but we love to dip them in mustard, like soft pretzels. It's a lot of work, but the cost is probably under $3 for a large batch.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 2, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Piroshski, pirohe, pirogy. Beautiful potato dumplings, however you say it.

Posted by: Yoki | October 2, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, what Mexican Lasagna? Surely not this one!

Ground Meat - Lawry's Mexican Lasagna 350

1 1/4 lb. ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 (1 oz.) package Lawry's taco seasoning
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can. diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
1 C. ricotta cheese
1 or 2 large eggs, beaten
6 corn tortillas
1 1/2 C. (10 oz.) shredded Jack cheese

Cook meat and drain off fat. Add taco seasoning mix, salt, tomatoes, tomato sauce and chilies. Mix well, bring to a boil, and then simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Combine ricotta and eggs in bowl.
Spread1/2 meat mixture in 11 x 8 baking dish. Place 3 tortillas over meat mixture. Spread 1/2 ricotta over tortillas, sprinkle with 1/2 the Jack cheese. Repeat.

Bake uncovered until cheese is melted and lightly browned, 20 to 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares. 6 - 8 servings

The Los Angeles Times, August 1998

I think this one is pretty good!

Posted by: nellie4 | October 2, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Nellie. That sounds heavenly. You see, it has *meat* in it. I am in one of the curious areas of purgatory where no meat is to be found - I live with two vegetarians. So mine was meh.

I just threw together one of those apple crumbles from the $15/week website - only I used dried cherries instead of cranberries. It's in the oven - we'll see! It was simple - had everything I needed on hand and I used the same bowl for the apples and the topping.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 2, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

No cheating, or else that $100 Virginia ham can be written off as "staples." 30 cents a pound for flour? Count it. Half a stick of butter? 25 cents? Count it.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 2, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, if the $15/wk people can not count their bourbon and wine, I think someone who used expensive ham as a condiment, or expensive Romano as a condiment, could get a pass.

Do y'all really pay $4/pound for your butter? I think it's about $3 here.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 2, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should talk about something else besides food?

I just helped take in a strapless dress for homecoming, so that it doesn't try to sag down to waist level. It's improved. We bought some of that two-sided dress tape - not Emmy quality! It doesn't stay stuck.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 2, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Howdy again. I'll certainly do a modified "pay attention" challenge. As our default meal is pasta (staple) with either red sauce (staple, guys) or vegetables on hand (raw or sauteed as approprtiate, me), and our other go-to meal is roast chicken with chicken leftovers later, we're really pretty economical. The older the Boy gets, the more food we consume. I expect this rising curve to last until he goes away to college.

Time to urge him to read a little French text before bed - he's trying to learn a years' worth in a few weeks, to justify the class he's in now. I remember much more French than I thought.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 2, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, in my limited experience with double-sided tape, there are certain fabrics that it doesn't stick to very well. I know this doesn't actually help you, but at least you know you're not alone!

Just watched the end of the national parks series and I feel very deprived - my parents never drove us 2,000 miles (one way) to the big parks out west. Geez, they talked like everyone except the inner city poor spent summers traveling to them. We went to the Cape every year but only because my aunt had a cottage there. Seriously, I did enjoy all the episodes, great history and stories of the parks' champions, can't wait to see some of them.

Posted by: badsneakers | October 2, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

It's about time for me to turn in, but I have to say that I've enjoyed the food discussion. Mr. T proposed a new restaurant for supper - Peruvian. He got triple points on his airline credit card for going. The food was really good, plantains, grilled corn, and a plate of steak, chicken, pork chop, and sausage prepared with Peruvian sauces. Needless to say we brought home most of mine for lunch tomorrow. And I'm still full. That place will go into the rotation.

If I'm going to save money on food, I have to stop eating out.

Posted by: slyness | October 2, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

When the ScienceSpouse and I camped at Monument Valley for the Last Pre-Kid Vacation, I was amused to note that in the tent-camper section where we were, we were the only ones speaking English. Everyone else was speaking German. English appeared as one walked through the RV section on the way to the public toilets (why are the public toilets near the RV's? Don't they have their own?).

In fairness to our fellow Americans, however: Monument Valley is not a national park or monument, it is on the Navajo Reservation (or at least, the visitor center is located there). In Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon, which are national monuments (or are they parks?), there were plenty of fellow Americans.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 2, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

sneaks-I shouldn't complain about my deprived childhood either, what with trips to National Seashores and National Forests and such. But I didn't see the Grand Canyon until I was 33 and we had a cat with us so he got to see it too (from his carrier) and he was only 3.

Have adjusted my travel plans for Sunday to make sure I can get to the farmer's market nearest the Hip Urban Loft before they're done for the day. Then Monday morning I'll fill in (if there's any money left) from an Asian market. Milk may be my undoing. Like many Minnesotans I drink far more of it than your typical American adult. We usually have whole, skim and half-and-half on hand.

dmd-thanks for the reminder. Missed it again, but caught it online just now. I'm amazed no one has ripped off Mercer's format for the US.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 2, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Happy Anniversary to the Sciences'. time, I must admit when I first read 'conference' and 'talk' I was thinking we might have to revoke your 'Most Romantic Guy On The Boodle 2007' card. On further thought, I'm willing to bet there are lots of things you aren't telling us. Which is as it should be.

But just in case, you know there is this place called Knitmap? It can help find all sorts of interesting places to take the Science Spouse tooin the vicinty of where you will be staying. Or so I have heard.

Flowers are good too. So is fudge. And none of that namby pamby lo-cal stuff either.

Posted by: --dr-- | October 2, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Well, yes, it's true that we are going to a scientific meeting for our anniversary. In my defense (or "defence" if you prefer the British version), let me say the following:

(1) The meeting is unavoidably necessary and it is scheduled on our anniversary. No one asked my opinion on the subject.
(2) We still can have another anniversary event after we get back.
(3) We are both planetary science geeks.
(4) The meeting is in Puerto Rico.
(5) In a resort hotel.
(6) Pre-paid pastry for breakfast each day, as well as pre-paid coffee.

So, I don't think there will be too much suffering.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 3, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I sincerely wish that my science courses had included more than "An Introduction to Astronomy" because Puerto Rico sounds cool.

Particularly with the pastry and coffee.

Posted by: nellie4 | October 3, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

One of our gray eminences has referred to coffee as "the fuel of science."

Probably about time for me to go do my packing. I can get back to working on software later. Think I'll be pulling an all-nighter.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 3, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy Puerto Rico Tim. And have a happy anniversary watching power point presentations.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 3, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the shout out, Slyness. The earthquake didn’t affect us. We did get rain and very strong winds, probably the tail end of Typhoon Ketsana. The strong winds doomed my phone line and internet connection. Another powerful typhoon was scheduled to hit the Philippines today. Good thing it changed course and would just clip the northern tip of the archipelago.

We had a couple of days of power outage though not caused by the flooding or strong winds. The department of electric services people blamed us for using too much electricity. I had so many candles lit around the house, it looked like I was worshipping cult.

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 3, 2009 4:13 AM | Report abuse

Interesting discussion on $15 per week per person on food. B$15 is doable for me if I cook lunch, but I very seldom do. My lunch is heavy – pasta or rice with 2 vegs and sometimes a piece of fish. If I don’t eat a heavy lunch, I’ll be snacking the whole afternoon so to avoid that, I eat a heavy lunch. Even though I don’t drink soda and my dinners are very light, like a couple of bananas (2/3 the size of a dole banana) or a couple of soda crackers or a potato with a bit of salt, I still can’t make $15 per week to happen.

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 3, 2009 4:18 AM | Report abuse

Tim, you had me at Puerto Rico. Resort hotel was also a big boost. And to be absolutely honest, I can't think of anything finer than night sky star gazing on a beach.

Romantic card fully retained.

Posted by: --dr-- | October 3, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. Happy anniversary to Tim and his lovely wife. Business and conference trips were the time I got to go to interesting places with my husband that otherwise would have been unaffordable. In retrospect, I'm sorry I didn't go on more of them with him, but we made up for it when I felt the boys were old enough to be left behind.

The $15.00 a week food budget is an interesting challenge, even for two people like us. Fish might be the deal breaker, I'll give it some thought.

We are allowed to eat out, occasionally, with no penalty, right?

Coffee's ready, OJ, blueberries and plain yogurt, whole wheat toast and new apple butter from the Shenandoah Apple Butter Festival in the ready room.

Posted by: VintageLady | October 3, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Happy anniversary Sci-duo!

Posted by: russianthistle | October 3, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

In other breaking scientific news, the Ig® Nobel Prize awards were announced last night and one of the winners was the inventor of a bra that doubles as a gas mask.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 3, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Wow, great breakfast, VintageLady. I hope you are doing well! Thanks for the food.

Rainforest, I'm glad to hear you're okay. Be careful with the candles. Of course, you already know that. They make me nervous, but then I'm in the US and we and Canada have the highest fire rates in the entire world. Since we are closing in on Fire Prevention Week, I can bring that up.

Posted by: slyness | October 3, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse


Wanted to mention that I enjoyed your post last night about your Peruvian Food.

Here is a recipe for Lomo Saltado.,1818,158166-231192,00.html

Easy to make at home and a really hearty meal. What can go wrong with a meal with not one but two starches in it.

Actually, you may have noticed that Peruvian cuisine often matches a potato with rice.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 3, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

From an AP story: "Archaeologists have discovered a smaller prehistoric site near Britain's famous circle of standing stones at Stonehenge. Researchers have dubbed the site 'Bluehenge' after the color of the 27 Welsh stones that were laid to make up a path. The stones have disappeared but the path of holes remains."

Neato find - A miniature Stonehenge about a mile from the better-known structure. But I found myself wondering how the heck they knew the stones were blue!

A little sleuthing turned up these better treatments of the material:

- -- - --
It turns out there were chips of the stones remaining in the holes, and the stones were quite possibly removed to be used in enlarging Stonehenge.

Posted by: bobsewell | October 3, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy asked the price of butter here, and as an experiment I decided to see how good the internet has become to answer my question. Obviously Google could throw up a lot of useless out-of-date information, unless there is some trick I didn't think of. (Since the price of butter has fluctuated wildly in the last couple of years, I literally had no idea! - "around $4" I thought) I did find one of my regular stores had a well-designed website that took me maybe two minutes to find the price of butter. Not bad for a first-time website visit. ($2.47 per pound - lower than I thought, at least today it's that price) Unfortunately, that's the higher price store. The lower price store has no way I can find prices on their website. However the specials they DID advertise were hot as a pistol. I ought to read that junk more often! (I throw away the junk mail too routinely). Although the "lower price" store uses dirtier tricks to scam the shoppers and get back some profits.

About 8 cents per tablespoon of butter. Half a stick 31 cents.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 3, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

It was chilly and rainy yesterday, time to think about boots, then I saw this article on the lastest women's boots, think I will just stay with my cougar boots for another season. Whoever designed these boots clearly has not tried to avoid slush puddles or scale large snowbanks on the street!

Posted by: dmd3 | October 3, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I really must pat Joel on the back for paleoanthropologically. This triumph should be rewarded. (Not with a haiku, however.)

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 3, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

dmd, those aren't snow boots. I'm not even sure those are leave-the-house boots. But these might work...

Posted by: LostInThought | October 3, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Thanks LiT, may have just found my new winter boots - I am fashion challenged.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 3, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

dmd, those are nice snow boots. I like the brown. Now that I'm north of the M-D line, I probably need those....might have to get 'em. Thanks!

Posted by: LostInThought | October 3, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

First of all, *Tim, have fun with the SciSpouse in PR. I've always wanted to skate the bowl at the Arecibo Observatory, hopefully you brought a board, dude.

dmd, LiT, thanks for booting the Boodle this morning (not-leave-the house boots, indeed!). dmd, you may want to consider renaming those boots of yours in light of that article you posted.


Posted by: -bc- | October 3, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

dmd, those are nice snow boots. I lucked into a pair of Columbia ones last year at a great price, to replace the LL Bean fleece-lined ones that are, oh, 20 years old. When you only wear them 5 times a year, they don't wear out fast.

LiT, those you linked to fit your persona to a T. Are you buying them?

Posted by: slyness | October 3, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Why do I have Kirsty MacColl playing in my head all of a sudden?

Posted by: yellojkt | October 3, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Secret video footage of an all-girl BPH. Complete with impractical footwear:

Posted by: yellojkt | October 3, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

YJ, the level of practicality of the shoes depends on the task at hand.

Slyness, I just might. But I just bought myself two pairs of higher-heeled ankle boots: one dressier (dove grey), one more motorcycle boots (black with big snaps). The 2d pair dmd linked to I could actually justify having in my closet (I usually just wear my hiking boots when it's really bad out).

Posted by: LostInThought | October 3, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I assume Japan (especially Okinawa) may provide a preview of a long-lived, productive society. The US might end up being more like Russia, with more soda pop and less alcohol. Or, likely, we'll end up a bifurcated society, Russian at the bottom, Okinawan at the top.

At the top, I've sometimes wondered at the number of dentists and lawyers who crash their small planes. Then there's death-by-stylish-vacation; I recall an affluent young Portland, Oregon couple being killed by guerillas while on a gorilla-watching trip.

Is it just me, or is teen homicide rising? Two kids knifed to death in southeast Florida schools during the past couple of weeks.

I haven't been to Puerto Rico since Junior High; the mighty new radio telescope in the karst country was just being finished. On the school field trip, I was more impressed by a digital-readout clock than by the massive structure itself. For whatever reason, I was even more taken by tropical biology.

The PR tourism industry never seems to have quite taken off, despite resorts like Dorado. The northwest corner of the island (Aguadilla, Rincon) seems to be attracting lots of reasonably affluent surfers.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 3, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

An interesting article, dmd.

All a miniskirt with knee-high boots has ever did for me is make me think "wow, that really makes her thighs look fat."

For skinny, longlegged women, this may be a prime selling point.

Alas, I am the opposite. They don't make boots that go much above the ankle for my leg build. Thank god for generous snow boot designs. I am a snow boot queen.

Dressed to the nines or not, I have to take the dog outside-- regardless of the weather. My footwear must be able to handle that.

I'd rather not totter or get my heels stuck in mud or snow while scooping poop or walking over tree roots.

Women have always crippled themselves for fashion, but it doesn't make it healthy or safe to advertise physical helplessness in public as an ultra-feminine fashion.

We might as well go back to foot-binding and dump women's suffrage if we think it's stylish to be sure a woman feels compelled to wear shoes that makes her even more unable to fend off an attacker than usual.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"We might as well go back to foot-binding..."

Oh, Wilbrod, you silly dreamer. Foot-binding is alive and well, as are many other fun body modifications. No need to look back.

Posted by: bobsewell | October 3, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Not to previous extents, Bob S.-- it's outlawed in China now.

The day when crippled ears become associated with luxury and wealth and socially prestigious is the day I'll subscribe to that concept.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

And no, I don't mean pierced ears. Y'all know what I mean.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

You and I live in a world in which people decide not to have cochlear implants, and/or not to allow their children to have them, because they believe (not entirely without justification) that membership in a thriving deaf culture is important.

The world is vast and variegated.

Posted by: bobsewell | October 3, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The thing is, cochlear implants don't work for many who are born deaf.

These need fully functional auditory nerves to work. Many who have refused them actually would never benefit from them anyway; I've met lots of people who didn't benefit from theirs well enough to offset the side effects-- such as electric shock sensations when wearing them, tinnitus, and other bizarre symptoms.

It's not a cure-all, and I do get annoyed when people think that drilling my skull open, implanting a magnetic plate and so forth is going to make me "normal."

No dice.

I do appreciate deaf culture a lot, but cochlear implants actually don't make people "normal." I think it's valuable for all deaf children, no matter their level of hearing (enhanced or natural) to learn how to communicate without barriers, to get a full language immersion, and to be connected to the cultural technology of deafness.

They can get answers to their experiences that their families alone can never give them.

So, no, I don't think cochlear implants alone are the barrier to deaf culture; it's the associated reasons behind getting the implants.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the world is varied. I wouldn't want to implant a very young baby-- my personal preference-- for the same reasons I wouldn't want to bind my children's feet just to make them more marriageable.

There's necessary pain and suffering from disease, accidents, etc. and then there's unnecessary pain and suffering imposed on an otherwise healthy child which does not even cure--when there are actual alternatives.

It's a moral issue. Some people can make that decision-- but often they do it because they are convinced all other alternatives are bad.

That attitude has been behind the oppression of deaf people for 100 years-- the idea that deaf people must be assimilated in order to be happy or worthy. That's not right.

Just like I think it's not right to make women feel they must buy certain footwear that doesn't fit their needs just to fit into society.

Interesting argument, though, Bob S.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

All I can say is that the high heels I wear fit my needs just fine :-)

Posted by: Yoki | October 3, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Just like I think it's not right to make women feel they must buy certain footwear that doesn't fit their needs just to fit into society."


And cochlear implants are similar to shoes how?

Posted by: LostInThought | October 3, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - You and I have (to the best of my recollection) never disagreed significantly about any issue of substance, and I don't imagine that it'll happen anytime soon. Debates with you are (to me)not entirely unlike cheating at solitaire...

That said, you've tossed a puny red herring with the loudly flatulent argument that cochlear implants don't work for everyone. What has this to do with the fact that some people choose not to have cochlear implants when they are known to be favorable candidates? I submit to you that damaged ears are, as a matter of documented fact, fashionable in some quarters.

Posted by: bobsewell | October 3, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Bob S.-- "known to be favorable candidates" as determined by medical professionals, not by the deaf community itself.

When I was a teenager, those implants were new. I knew a classmate who went more deaf because they operated on his better ear and accidentally cut the auditory nerve. Nothing that could be done about it. He was angry, saying they should have operated on his worse ear first.

Back then they were operating on everybody. I would have been considered to be a "favorable candidate" back then. When the data came in of who succeeded and who didn't, people like me were considered to be the least successful candidates all of a sudden.

Now, if you had asked a group of educated deaf back then, "do you think somebody can really hear again with a surgery if they have grown up deaf all their lives?" Most would have said no.

There was in fact evidence from earlier eye operations that blind people didn't always automatically adjust to vision. Nobody thought to generalize this to the idea of cochlear implants until the evidence came in.

Sadly, a lot of the people I first knew who got cochlear implants paid for the privilege of being guiena pigs.

I submit to you that one can have a perfectly valid complaint to being considered "broken" or a guiena pig for medically invasive procedures designed to cure, or for benefitting from knowledge gathered in this way-- without saying "hey, deafness is so fashionable, everybody should be deaf."

I find ASL to be neat, cool, awesome. I think everybody should learn some in school; some studies suggest that it improves visuospatial thinking.

Do I think one has to be deaf to use it? No. Do I think deaf is a matter of "degree" of hearing loss? No.

I'm more deaf than 99% of deaf people now, but I have friends who have functioned as hard of hearing much of their lives. They're as deaf as I am and they live it every day. Just because their version is different doesn't mean they're not deaf.

LiT-- I was talking about foot binding, actually. But look up cochlear implants and you probably could find a shoe that would be absolutely cute with one.

Everything connects with shoes sooner or later, right?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

As always, you win! I just make noise because I can.

Posted by: bobsewell | October 3, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Lit-- some pictures:

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

And the magnets mean you can use your head as a fridge!

How many of you would totally want one just for the fashionable look?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

(carefully /not/ looking at bc or Bob S.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

You win too, Bob S.

I happen to think Wilbrodog looks more fashionable and chic than a cochlear implant, but not everybody agrees.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm still perplexed as to how we went from boots to hearing issues.

But then, I'm just a guy; and one who's not too bright at that -- easily confused by shiny objects, footwear and cleavage.

And please feel free not to look at me; I see myself in the mirror every morning and believe me, you're not missing anything.


Posted by: -bc- | October 3, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod and Bob S, did I ever mention how much I love you both? What a great discussion. Scary photos, though.

Sometimes I wonder what doctors are thinking, when they try things on people. Good intentions don't excuse violations of the Hippocratic Oath.

Posted by: slyness | October 3, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I heard once that deaf people were all over the Blackberry before others knew Blackberry was cool. Then I stopped hearing about deaf people and Blackberry. I don't know why.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 3, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

You know, societal pressures are not always bad. Sometimes these pressures are there for a reason, as a way to help the society function. There's a word for someone who studiously ignores all societal pressures. Alas, it's a quite rude one.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 3, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

You just never know where footwear is going to lead do you? -:)

Just saw this for DotC, worlds best surfers coming to Tofino, paradise for you gorgeous scenery, flora/fauna and surfing!

Posted by: dmd3 | October 3, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Reeling merrily back on Kit here for a second, I really liked Joel's use of "begat" above -- very Genesis Ch. 6.


Posted by: -bc- | October 3, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Ah, well. . . Michigan State beat Michigan in overtime. Alas. . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | October 3, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

RD, I agree. That's why we should protest societal pressures we find highly harmful, rather than just ignore them.

The principle of assimilation I am talking about is not "empowering deaf people to be as equal as possible."

It's the equalivent of.. umm, I don't know, taking bipolar children off all meds, and hitting them for showing any kind of abnormal behavior, making them not show any physical moods, to the point that they wind up being inhibited from even the expression normal children have.

Oh, and they're also banned from art, writing, anything that is "characteristic bipolar behavior" and will attract unhealthy attention from society to treat them differently. They are taught that any kind of creativity is unhealthy.

Needless to say, they will not function as well in society as if their original condition was accepted and treated accordingly, and made allowance for as part of their education as they developed mentally.

If you think this metaphor is far-fetched, deaf children were banned from using their hands to gesture at all. Even italian gestures. They would be hit for it. They were often forced to move their lips and mouths by expensive instrumentation, not knowing what they were made to say.

All of this was done to make 'deaf people more like hearing.' Yet in doing so, those children were often treated worse than animals, taught to absorb suffering with passivity. Abuse was epidemic, especially the way it was set up, children and staff often couldn't communicate.

There are deaf adults your age or just a bit older who can tell pretty grisly tales of being denied sign and being forced to learn through speech alone. One man I knew left school early after being repeatedly assaulted as a youth, he nearly died from being forced to eat shellfish which he was allergic to-- which he couldn't communicate until AFTER he wound up in the hospital.

Many of these "orally educated deaf" have very poor literacy due to a primary language deficit caused by the prevailing philosophy that 'sign is bad,' and a denial of the original history of deaf education-- which was sign-based.

From the founding of the first school in the 1810's it was only 40 years before there were enough educated and bright deaf youth to justify the founding of a college in 1864 which would later be renamed Gallaudet. During this period, there were deaf writers, editors, scientists, so forth, even a female civil war reporter and poet. There were even more deaf tradesmen.

All of them were using their talents to be useful to society, while staying out of jail, and leading their lives to be as happy as possible.

What more should we want from a good citizen?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

This is a cool story:
Hope he does well. What attracted me to the story, of course, was the byline of J. Freedom du Lac.

Anyone seen Mudge lately?

Posted by: seasea1 | October 3, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

here is a movie review for the new Coen brothers film "A Serous Man" -- the hero is a physics professor.

Posted by: nellie4 | October 3, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

My point is that societal forces usually are there for a reason. If you simply oppose them without addressing, or acknowledging, this underlying reason you are probably not going to succeed in the long term.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 3, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Whew - couldn't log in for a while there. Very frustrating.

Well, the daughters are off to their dinners-before-homecoming and all is put back in order. Ventilation to rid the house of serious hair product fumes is complete.

Frosti, Yoki, or some other thrifty cooking Boodler - the $30/wk site is looking for someone to fill in for them posting once a day while they're on their honeymoon. It would probably have to be vegetarian. I know I couldn't take pictures as pretty as theirs are. If anyone here wants to give it a go I'd forward the recipe, price breakdown and a picture of my piroshkis, and the onion and potato quiche I posted on pi day a while back.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 3, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

I have to add that I'm very pleased to find that going to homecoming in groups of girls, groups of boys, and mixed groups, is the way it is done this year. Very pleased.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 3, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

RD, many societal attitudes are remmants of historical forces.

Reconstruction and Mainfest destiny marked a societal shift from tolerance to the need to assimilate slaves and Indians into the larger society.

We also saw the eugenics movement start in the late 1880s.

It is thought this, and Alex G. Bell's large fortune and his aggressive lobbying on behalf of speech-based education was a large reason why deaf education went backward so badly.

I hate to break it to you, but "societal forces" were the invention of the telephone and a very wealthy enterpenteur who managed to fund his vision of deaf education.

Think about this-- the next time you feel guilty about eating meat, it's not overall societal forces, it's due to intense social pressure by a small group attempting to influence larger society.

This is how we got abolition. It's how we got deaf education. It's also in part why disabled children have a right to mainstreamed education.

This is why we have civil rights.

"Societal pressures" can mask a lot of things.

The KKK, the know-nothings, etc, were all mainfestations of "societal pressures" resisting equality. That doesn't make their conduct legal or right.

Harlan Lane's "The Mask of Benevolence" is a very good analysis of all the "societal pressures" involved in how deaf people have been exploited by those supposed to be helping them.

Maybe you need to really define what you mean by societal pressures, RD. If you mean social norms, that's one thing.

If you mean bigotry, that's another thing. Pressures on minorities to be even less free than their rights allow them to be are nothing new.

Mark Twain showed this brilliantly in Huckleberry Finn when Jim was supposed to be chained to a bed and pretend to escape even though he didn't have to be-- and it turned out he had been free all along, he was freed in a will-- and Tom Sawyer didn't tell him, he wanted his fun. He had no empathy for Jim as a human being in particular.

To Tom Sawyer, all black people were slaves in chains, not whole human beings with jobs, lives, and families to worry about.

I am not born to fit the norm. Few of us are. The difference is that I can't pretend at it in the most basic things.

I'm not willfully ignoring it. I am simply, going to always be the outlier in any data set. I have a right to exist without violating any calculations or sense of order in the world.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Some love it fruit, others love it vegetable.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, you aren't addressing the issue. You are arguing shoes instead of cochlear implants.

I believe there is a legitimate need for hearing people to communicate with deaf people and vice versa. If you agree, then the question in my mind is the best way to achieve this.

If you do not agree that there is a need for this, then there is nothing more to discuss.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 3, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I may be way off base here, but I think RDP was simply trying to say he likes the sight of women in high heels.

Unless I'm missing something.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 3, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Backs out of room.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 3, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 3, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

True Wheezy. So true.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 3, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

It is surely apparent that subtleties, undercurrents, subtext hints and such are not my specialty.

I must go drive a group of 14 year olds from restaurant to dance. The car will now reek of four or five different perfumes for a week.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 3, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Actually, truth be told Wheezy, I like women in a vast array of footwear. Anything from high heels to fuzzy slippers. Comfy flats to black high-tops.

Including, of course, no footwear at all.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 3, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

So are we not communicating, RD?

Do you think in my life I have not faced the issue of communicating with hearing people, including my own family on a daily basis?

I am very grateful that I was given sign language. Without it, I would not be able to debate this with you as fluently in English as I am doing right now.

If deaf children do NOT acquire a primary language in infancy, they are forever handicapped in learning second languages in school-- written English, Russian, French, what not.

This is the fundamental formula on which all else rests.

Cochlear implants are not a surefire way to do this and they are very expensive, entailing hours of speech therapy and repeat visits to a doctor. In addition, parents may be encouraged to deny deafness and its social impact.

Even if the child can hear speech fairly well with a hearing aid (and even without, a bit) there may be hidden deficits that can show up in poor phoneme comprehension and problems learning to read-- what in people with normal hearing may be called "auditory processing disorder."

Sign language, on the other hand, has been proven to work for educational purposes from infancy onwards. Bilingualism at least is good for the brain.

I do not mind cochlear implants being used when appropriate; I do mind the mindset that rejects the essential point of educating the deaf-- language itself-- for secondary and more expensive goals.

Going back to shoes---
If you like sexy boots, hey, great. Go ahead and wear 'em. Don't ask me to wear 'em for you, is my motto.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

This will not be the week for us to conserve on food costs. A light dinner tonight: a smallish Margherita pizza on extravagantly thin crust (I prefer thick crust -- thin crust is a scam to convince you that you prefer for me to save myself materials costs), with water to drink, came to $20 even, including tax & tip. One of the hotel's restaurants sports an $11 hot dog and $16 hamburgers. These are the cheapskate downscale restaurants. The upscale restaurants will be rather pricey, I expect.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 3, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Volt was very nice and exceeding expectations. The downtown Frederick area was abnormally busy because of some sort of pre-Halloween festival. Dinner was fantastic but would have blown the eat-at-home budget for about a month.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 3, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Just blame any grammatical atrocities above on the comped heavy-pour cocktails.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 3, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey, sexy boots
Get on your boots, yeah

That's someone's stuff they're blowing up
We're into growing up
Women of the future
Hold the big revelations

Posted by: seasea1 | October 3, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

There still remains the key question:

Is facilitating communication between hearing and deaf important? And I don't mean over the internet, or with people you live with, I mean with strangers and casual acquaintances, as an integral part of social interaction?

If so, what is the best approach? Research into improved cochlear implants that lack the pragmatic problems you note? Making everyone learn ASL? Some other technology?

Or is this casual communication really not all that important? For this seems to be the position that some are advocating. That the deaf community is entirely self sufficient.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 3, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Please note, Wilbrod, that I am not advocating any particular position. Yes, I think, in principle, that social segmentation is not good. But I am not presuming to advocate what is best for deaf people. I am not debating *anything* except the need for specific arguments on these issues either way. You live this stuff, I do not. I just want to really understand.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 3, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Hello boodle. Spent all day training robotics team coaches and mentors. It was fun, but tiring.

Already the frugal foodie plans have been boosted by a couple of fortuitous events. First, I received 2 cucumbers and a butternut squash from the penultimate harvest of the after-school garden (free). They left pumpkins to be picked later. I'm going to buy some round dumpling wraps at an Asian grocery so I'll have butternut squash ravioli for a couple meals. Second, and twice as good,I received a coffee mug and a pound of Caribou espresso grind as a thank you gift for teaching the robotics class. Since this was a legitimate gift I am not going to count it against the budget and may remain fit for polite company for the entire week.

Wheezy-might need those recipes. Things are winding down at the farmers markets but potatoes and onions will be in good supply. I know I can't take pictures as pretty as the ones on the $30 a week blog.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 3, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

RD, at the moment I'm wearing fuzzy attack bunny slippers: large white bunnies, with four feet, tail, floppy ears, and an open red mouth with pointy white teeth.

I think they're very fetching. If a trifle bulky.

TIme to persuade the Boy towards bed. This is always trickier on a weekend, but hey, I'm sleepy, so he should be too.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 3, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Just received a phone call from the dance. Mommy, can you bring a pair of dark underwear over for E___? Thinking this was some sort of crisis, I said OK. I said are some from your drawer OK? No, not from my drawer, get some from A____'s, cause she has dark ones.

Now wait a minute - why do they have to be dark ones?

Because the black lights here are making E____'s white underwear show up through her dress.

E____ should have called her own mother. I'm mean. On the other hand, maybe that's why I got the call - her own mother said no, too.

I can just see myself wrapping a pair of dark undies up in a bag and sneaking them into the dance past the cops out front (why cops are necessary at a dance in a school with an average household income greater than the national income of a small African country, I don't know) and in to the girl's bathroom. Yeah, right. I would if it was a true crisis. Probably.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 3, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a crisis to me, Wheezy.

It's a little strange being able to read you all on the Blackberry, but being unable to post. However, still better than not even being able to read you.

I took a Reiki I class today (wondering if there's some way I can make the CPEs apply to my auditing certification yearly requirements). It was really interesting and felt wonderful. My right heel has hurt for months, and until a few minutes ago, didn't since early this morning.

Prior to seeing the course announcement, I wasn't aware that you could Reiki yourself (seems a little recursive), but you can. I'm looking forward to Reiki II in December and may go for a Master's weekend in January. . . it's been a while since someone told me I had hot hands!

Posted by: -dbG- | October 3, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

yellokjt, today was indeed the Frederick street festival, I was there this afternoon myself (only about 10 minutes up the road from me).

Beautiful evening, with a lovely moon in the sky.

Glad to hear you liked Volt; maybe you'll come back now, y'hear?


Posted by: -bc- | October 3, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

It is a restaurant!

I thought it was an electric car.

Posted by: nellie4 | October 3, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Well Wheezy high schools around here have a large assortment of high family incomes, cops/security are needed, more money available for substances that are illegal - not to mention alcohol.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 3, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

dbG! Good to hear from you! Since I don't know what Reiki is, I'll assume it's something good for bones/muscles and glad it made you feel better.

E___ was wearing a shear white dress and her white pants were visible through it in regular light. Adding dark underwear would make her look like a clown in any light.

Frosti, your squash talk is making me yearn for acorn squash, baked with butter in it. It's been a long year since I've had it.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 3, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Eeek - SCC sheer

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 3, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

and a bunch of medium earthquakes continue out on the edge of Death Valley.

Posted by: nellie4 | October 3, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I thought Volt was a movie! Guess that was Bolt.

Wheezy, you are mean. I'm sure the cops would understand about a wardrobe malfunction.

Off to Google Reiki.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 3, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Doh! A thousand apologies, Wheezy. I see what you mean now.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 3, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

RD, my first sign I teach cashiers, classmmates, etc. is "thank you." It does a lot to make the day more pleasant.

Causal communication requires recognition of the event then response. I can miss people waving at me if I don't look around as people approach (don't hear them). This can be misinterpreted as aloofness.

Somebody I knew actually decided not to use his speech when at a car rental counter once. He could speak, but he couldn't lipread (he was late-deafened).

Each time he said "I'm deaf, please write down your reply," they would answer back verbally. He would repeat and get frustrated, wondering who was the deaf person here?

So as an experiment, he gestured, "I'm deaf, please write." That day, he got his rental keys MUCH faster, no hassle.

I try and show people how to respond to me-- write, gesture. Others will use speech if they prefer that.

I'll say this: many deaf people really wish everything could run by visual signals without them having to ask for information from strangers.

Today, airports and many train stations now have monitors displaying ETA and actual arrivals instead of only broadcasting the information over the P.A. as they used to do. It's wonderful. I feel less frantic about missing trains and if my train has arrived or not. I still have this frustration with buses, though.

I don't think the deaf community is self-sufficient. It's too small to be.

But if the burden is always on the deaf person to integrate-- and keep in mind that a deaf person may be expected to blend in with 10-2000 strangers a day, depending on the environment-- that is unfathomably exhausting. It's not walking despite polio; it's like running a marathon with polio.

I used to get people glaring at me on subway platforms because they'd ask me the time or something and I wouldn't hear them. (Which is why I like those monitors that show the time and ETAs.)

I got so that every time I saw a stranger glaring at me I'd reflexively point at my ear, grousing at how hearing people love to talk to strangers' backs to ask them questions out of the blue.

So yeah, a lot of deaf people aren't keen on causal commmunication from strangers who are clueless about deafness. Who wants nasty looks all day, and to continually excuse themselves? Speech doesn't solve this-- I've heard horrible stories about people blowing up at hard of hearing people because they thought they were "ignoring" them.

So, teaching people a few dozen signs or so for causal communication sign so they can understand more than the gesture for "Sorry, I'm deaf," that's worth trying.

Even if only 1 in 10 understands that, that would be fantastic.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 3, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse


Coupla things. The shoes...don't worry, I won't ask you to wear mine. They're *mine* (said in my best 3-year old voice).

Those links you addressed to me...okay. But why? I honestly don't get the comparison between surgery and shoes, even FMPs (which reminds me...I didn't get your reference to an ad showing women as physically helpless by wearing heels. In my experience, kick-@ss shoes aren't an impediment, and can indeed lend more power to the woman wearing them).

Next...T2 was born with a lot of problems, one being some pretty significant eye problems. I didn't care if the best pediatric opthomologist was in Paris, she was getting an appointment. I did all I could for her. It paid, she's got better than average vision. (Sis1 wasn't so lucky...she was born too early.) I don't think you can make that decision for anyone, or for anyone else's child. It's far from universal; indeed, it is extremely personal. I would venture that some are more selfless than others, and don't view being a "guinea pig" as pointless.

Next, and I say this because I think you're smart and can put yourself aside long enough to see my point, but what the smack do you know about having polio? Probably about much as I know about being deaf. Regardless of how it may appear, no one gets it easy. In a much older sister/young aunt kind of way, I propose that doing some compare and contrast of one's life with someone else's is a recipe for unhappiness. I know I don't expect others to fully appreciate or accomodate my crosses, let alone bear them.

Yes, we all need to learn about others and their walks of life, and try to push humanity forward toward truly peaceful and productive coexistence.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 4, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

BTW, YJ....that song...watching DC beebop around the house to "In These Shoes" was worse than her singing "Fat Bottom Girls." Remind me to thank you for that one.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 4, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Yes, prompt intervention is important for eye problems, LiT.

To me the key intervention for being born deaf is language immersion, LiT.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING is more important than that. Not even hearing better. I feel like I've been saying this repeatedly and nobody is getting it.

There are a lot of eye operations that can restore considerable or perfect vision.

Cochlear implant surgery is not at that level, and it's irreversible, meaning you can't operate twice if technology improves.

This is my perspective. The problem is that people assume that language=speech/hearing.

There are a lot of people out there who have permanent language problems due to transient ear infections as child, or other unknown causes. They test as having perfect hearing, but their brain don't process words right.

Deafness is the only condition that can lead to a permanent loss of language potential in an otherwise intelligent, healthy baby. THAT is the true disaster of deafness.

Nothing right now will guarantee that a deaf baby will learn to use speech normally and you never have to learn sign language or other assistive devices, do special education, etc.

Anybody who tells a parent that is lying and inciting child abuse.

The window for language is so short-- the first year-- that all the fuss and deciding about medical intervention can actually hurt that baby's lifelong communication skill if the baby's not given the most basic treatment for deafness-- language in a form the baby can understand.

I have met very intelligent deaf people who can sign but will never be able to write fluently in English, and they've studied it ever since they entered school in first grade. They try so hard and they feel like idiots.

I've met people who can hear and speak with hearing people or so they think they can. They can't write an English sentence to save their lives. They don't speak grammatical English. There are deaf people out there who have NO COMPLETE FIRST LANGUAGE. They can barely make themselves understood in sign language.

This is what some people call "acquired mental retardation"-- because of no language.

If language is what makes us human, think about how deaf people have been treated before people knew deaf people could be educated.

Blind people always have been able to speak for themselves.

I don't care about saving ears, I care about saving minds and voices, in whatever language they have.

If you really think about this-- and think about this in how a deaf person with minimal language skills, no matter the hearing level, is supposed to survive independently in this society--

You'll see that yes, no cost is too great-- and why the deaf community is greatly afraid of this "medical solution" to deafness-- not because it works, but because it can make the problem worse.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 2:16 AM | Report abuse

LiT-- point taken, I don't wish to sound insensitive.

Neither did I mean to say that the surgery is itself bad. The problem to me is it is not enough, probably never can be. I fear that parents will be told otherwise.

Raising a deaf child is very, very hard. Doesn't really matter if the child has only miminal hearing loss or profound. That's contraintuitive, but it's true.

If the child is deaf enough to need help understanding speech, speech therapy, the child is so deaf that the child is in danger of having impaired language acquistion and all the social problems that can ensue from it. Surgery doesn't give you a shortcut there. Never will.

As to my polio metaphor--I do know enough about polio to know that people do overcome it, but overuse actually can lead to a relapse and worse symptoms decades down the line.

Run the marathon with polio if you want, but you pay for it much harder and longer than somebody without it would.

This is true of all disabilities-- it is always more work to compensate to a normal level than most people realize. It's unrealistic to expect somebody to do it all the time, without break or down time.

But that's what we do try to do. There's just no down time from being disabled.

Whenever people are impatient with others for causing bother by being disabled-- all I can say is, well the problem is 24/7 for that person.

To me, I think a few signs would make causal communication a lot easier for a deaf person. It could be a language life line for a deaf infant to have people in the community that already know some sign.

There are deaf people that have been institutionalized (or nearly were) as mentally retarded because their parents had no idea they were deaf. It's a very common story among deaf people of the Baby boomer generation. I've heard it from perfectly intelligent deaf adults older than me.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 2:29 AM | Report abuse

And no, no need to share my cross, LiT. Did you read the article about the women being unable to stand without tottering?

BTW, I prefer a one inch cowboy heel to my boots (unless they're snow boots).

I love these Buffy the Vampire slayer type boots. I can't wear or move in higher and skinnier heels.

I used to have boots with a skinny heel, they were terrible, never could wear them.

Basically, I got bothered by the article's implication that helplessness is the fashion appeal of those sexy high-heel boots, and that's the purpose of all sexy footwear, really.

That disturbs me. That was why I made the crack about going back to foot binding, and somehow wound up talking about deafness instead.

I'm annoyed by the misinformed idea that cochlear implants and such could be considered de rigeur for all deaf people.

It's just an medical intervention-- and it's an extreme one, not for everyone. I get defensive because I've had people suggest this to me soon after meeting me. I've even been faith healed for deafness without my permission.

All this boils down to one point-- "be hearing, please!"

To them, (not you) I say:

"Get real. I'm not going to be magically undeaf tomorrow just because you came up with the idea that maybe I could be.

I understand you feel sorry for me for all I miss out on. No, don't do that. Just know me, enjoy whom I am.

I have something to contribute to this world-- and that is the full "I" with deafness, annoying habits, and all.

If you believe in God, he made me this way. If you don't, then believe in whatever you wish, just let me be yet another individual in an godless universe, don't try and save me."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Anytime, LiT, anytime.

You should videotape dc's dance and post it on YouTube.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 4, 2009 5:21 AM | Report abuse

I should realize not everybody in the boodle is a food pr0n addict like me. Volt is a restaurant run by Bryan Voltaggio, a contestant on the current season of Top Chef, who is one of two dreamy brothers who are front runners to win.

His restaurant is in an old mansion but is very modern and contemporary and since it is in downtown Frederick there are many fine places nearby to get a tattoo or piercing either before or after your meal.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 4, 2009 5:41 AM | Report abuse

Toodles, boodle. I'm off to Tour Du Port.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 4, 2009 6:29 AM | Report abuse

What a glorious day for Football!!!actually, I always say that anytime I go to a football game.Whether the weather is good or bad,they are always fun.

I am looking forward to Ravens vs Patriots today,not attending it today,or getting much sleep as it is a 1 pm game.Snuke want to have a friendly wager?

I hope everyone's team does well today,except yours Scotty!!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 4, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Another rainy day ahead of us I'm afraid. We had a strong thunderstorm during the night, it's pretty rare that late in the year.
The good news are from the sport pages again this morning, both the Alouettes and Canadiens won. The Senators? Feh.

If that article doesn't turn you off commercial hamburger patties nothing will.

So don't read it if you wish to keep on buying cheap ammonia-washed hamburger.
As I mentioned before I've become a meat snob. One of the rare economic advantage of buying from my local butcher shops is getting free beef fat from them. I scored 2 1/2kg of nice white fat for my suet blocks recipe yesterday. I'll start the operation of the rendering plant later this week. Hummmmm, suet...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 4, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, everyone. It has been snowing lightly overnight.

Today is the last 'get organized' day before the packers arrive tomorrow morning. I showed off the condo to a group of friends last night after we'd all been out to dinner. One of them described it as "swanky." Hee hee.

From gwe's message, it sounds impossible that all the Boodlers can be happy with the result of today's games. This puts me in an awkward position. I was happy that the Flames won one of their games this week.

Posted by: Yoki | October 4, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

For your morning amusement I offer you, PM Stephen Harper on the Piano and vocals, with Yo-Yo Ma and others at the NAC in Ottawa. I may not agree with his politics but I give him full credit for having the courage to get out on that stage and perform.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 4, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle!

Wilbrod-I don't get the leap from high heeled, if not so safe, boots and cochlear implants myself. Boots are easily taken off and this year's fashion is often an impulse buy that need not have permanent consequences. All your points about deafness are well taken, and your knowledge deeper than I could ever attain. However, by joining the two, heeled boots are elevated to a level of concern they don't deserve and issues related to not being able to hear diminished. Teetering around on heels may indeed be a product of social pressure, and subject women to a level of vulnerability they shouldn't accept, but making a poor choice in this regard is easily reversed by taking the stupid things off. Would that all of life's choices be as easily reversed if they don't work out.

The experiment begins. I am eating/drinking through a few odds and ends in the Chez Frostbitten fridge for breakfast and will figure out the cost this evening. I'll count them in, but to adhere to both the letter and spirit of the challenge looks tough at the start. Given the choice of eating stuff I couldn't possibly afford, like roast chicken (bought already prepared, but on its 4th meal), or letting it go bad and get tossed-the choice was clear. Same goes for the whole milk with my (free) coffee.

Departure for St. Paul has been delayed-Mr. F pointed out this would be a good time to chip out and replace some grout in the shower since I won't be using it for a few days.

Dark and rainy here. A few shots in the distance at sunrise tells me it can't be too cold-the duck hunters are out.

Toodles boodle.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 4, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. This will be a drive-by, as it's almost time to leave for church. I've already been to take Mr. T to the airport, he has a meeting in Savannah. Maybe I should have gone with him.

Posted by: slyness | October 4, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Yoki-I've always imagined your condo as swanky, where you'll have lots of sophisticated gatherings with food to die for.

dmd-Mr. Harper did a nice job. At least your conservatives go to arts galas. I bet he's read a book or two as well. But, whenever I see him I have Kids in the Hall flashbacks.

Now I really must go, the grout is calling.

Happy football to them what watches it.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 4, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The other paper noted that our PM doesn't believe in "Arts Galas", he went, he wife was the chair, I am thinking he was under some pressure, also lots of political reasons for him to attend and even better perform. But that would be my cynical side I am sure he didn't think of that :-). He is above all a very good political mind and stragegist - a strength by many and a reason he is disliked by many.

The liberal leaning Star details -

Posted by: dmd3 | October 4, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

WWB -- I appreciate the detail about the critical period for language and that to have this occur with a real and immediate and "doable" language is a ticket into the dominant human community. Long ago and far away, CPBoy looked to have a tumor that could be of two types: one is associated with blindness should the optic nerve tissue grow too energetically. The other diagnosis was an auditory tumor that often resulted in deafness.

Turns out that he has neither, but did survive a brain tumor protocol. His hearing loss in the right ear (60 percent but very troublesome at high frequencies) creates problems for him. I only have a glimpse into this world. But, I do know that because he could hear and babble between birth and 24 months meant that his ease in community exchange was assured.

When I would lay at night during that first week of worry, I wanted to wish for the eye-version and not the ear-version. Being blind is very hard but you are in human community with language. Deafness at that time meant everything you say.

I too did not understand the reference to shoes; but I also think that we all have a personal inner map of connections that come from our experiences and thought processing. Hard to explain these patterns fully to others. I think my cognitive map relates flowers to everything and traces back to a purple clematis and fat pansy faces in my yard circa 1964. Sometimes I mention these flower internal references and confuse others. Hope that makes sense.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all.

Glad the Boodle was reBooted last night, ladies -- thanks.

Off to watch the Washignton NFL franchise play today. It likely won't be the best game ever played but, hey - the weather's here, wish the football were beautiful, as someone might say.

Have a great day, all and if you're watching the Washigton/Tampa game look for me. I'll be a guy in burgundy.


Posted by: -bc- | October 4, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Wilbrod, now I get it.

You, personally, are at peace with being deaf. You, personally, resent the condescending implication that you would be oh-so-much-happier if you could just hear. And you, personally, resent the expectation that you should adapt to the needs of the hearing world instead of having the hearing world adapt to you.


Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 4, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Howdy, y'all. Raining here, hurrah. It had been very dry recently. All the green sighs with relief.

I like frostbitten's take on the shoe thing - uncomfortable shoes, even dangerous shoes, may be fashion dictates but are not permanent or imposed on anyone. Also, you can take them off - even discard a pair, as I did recently. Bwa ha ha ha, said my feet.

Wilbrod, I appreciate your descriptions and discussion of the deaf world and cochlear implants; through you I can gain a dim but valuable understanding of something I don't know anything about. I also understand your passion, but having backboodled this whole thing, you know, nobody was arguing with you. Bob S noted that, in his experience, some deaf people chose not to have the implants regardless of what benefit they might get. RD asked, not about the merits of implants or any other communication method, but about whether casual communication between deaf and hearing folks is important. You did finally discuss that question, but it is not the same as the implant question.

Finally, I didn't notice LiT or anyone else say they felt sorry for you. I'm surprised you'd read that into the comments. Over several years Boodle folk have had the chance to get to know one another pretty well, and several of you have met in person. Given your obvious intelligence, humor, wit, and skill with language, feeling sorry is the last thing I'd expect anyone to be.

Well, it has been five minutes and the rain is harder. This is great!

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 4, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Something caught my eye in Yoki's post and I just re-read it. SNowing!!?? Wow. Here I am excited about cool rain. Someday I'm gong to visit your climate, Yoki. Ivansdad and I used to joke about moving to Edmondton (teaching job, long ago), but felt it would be cold.

Also, I'm glad Yello explained what Volt is. While I knew it must be a restaurant, I kept thinking of Frankenstein. Too much Abbott & Costello, I guess.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 4, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Web cam showing snow falling. See the tent-like structure in the middle? Just south of that is a row of rooftops; that is my condo complex.

Ivansmom, you are welcome to visit any time at all. Maybe not in January, though, it might be a shock to your system.

Posted by: Yoki | October 4, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

wow, snow already. i remember those days from moscow. now i'm a socal weather wimp.

yoki, good luck with all your organizing and moving.

last night i was trying to find the original 15 dollar challenge post, but it must be back a boodle or more. sounds like an interesting concept. i definitely spend too much on food right now, not having adequate time to approach things differently. ah well. this too shall pass.

happy sunday, everyone!

Posted by: LALurker | October 4, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Well, Yoki, the snow came just in time for the start of the hockey season. My beloved Red Wings are having a very slow start. Lost two in a row, back-to-back, to St. Louis, in Stockholm, FCOL! There are tons of Swedes on the Red Wings team, and maybe they were too tired after all that salmon and herring (not to mention an unending supply of potatoes (the *main* dish in Sweden)). But, optimist that I am, I recognize that this is the *start* of the season, and not the end.

Laundry's done, plants must be watered, and I'm gonna go do my "bookwork" now. Gorgeous day outside for outside things, including watching football games. Just talked with a friend who is going to the Redskins game, who told me that the beltway is jammed in both directions around the BW Parkway (accident, I think), so she's gonna go through the city. It's always good to be able to cobble together alternatives if you need to.

Cya later.

Posted by: -ftb- | October 4, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all!

Wilbrod, sorry I kept you up so late last night. Clearly, this is important to you, which is cool. I would like to say though that 1/only 3-year olds wearing Mommy's shoes 'totter', 2/the ideas you gleaned from that article (which I got something different out of) are those of one person, and are not meant to be a one-size-fits-all approach, much as your thoughts toward CI are yours and not meant for everyone, and 3/I buy shoes for me, not for anyone to me are art I wear, much like tattoos except I can change shoes to match my mood or my outfit.

BTW, both cowboy boots and thigh-highs look silly on me (yet oddly enough, biker boots look like I was born wearing them.) I rarely wear thin heels, and almost always match up a tall heel with a decent platform.

Off to yell at some football games; have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 4, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

$30, you say. For a family. For a week.

We just finished our breakfast buffet, for which we got a price break, because we are here as part of a meeting. Buffet for two, including tax and tip: $48.00. Without the price break, it would have been $50 plus tax and tip -- more like $63.00.

But the view is spectacular (though not as good as from Mauna Kea). The conference facilities are quite expansive (that is not a typo -- but they're also expensive, so you can read it either way).

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 4, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

RD, yes.

I'm already doing all I can. People just don't know. Not even other deaf people-- we all get dealt different hands.

CqP, I am glad CPboy has had the window of language as well. What a scary experience, to have uncertain diagnoses with such a young baby when so much counts on getting it right.

I know which tumor you're talking about-- often the auditory nerve has to be cut-- bye-bye all hearing, no cochlear implant even. I was tempted to get mine cut.

The only connection I have between foot binding and hearing loss is pain. I was born profoundly deaf, and with a lower pain threshold for loud sounds.

I was expected to use my remmant hearing with hearing aids until I was 12 to try and learn speech discrimination and lipreading. I did my best.

I never could learn anything. It was all noise. Speech was the worst due to the volume and frequency breadth.

I'd be told I had to jack my hearing aid up to hear the quieter sounds, and then I'd have to endure quiet, noise, and then pain. There was no perfect setting.

In addition, I constantly heard softer noise people told me didn't exist, noise I couldn't identify and localize. It drove me crazy, trying to hear and not being able to make sense of it at ll.

My only way to deal was to block out all thought of hearing-- and thus the pain, Even then, it didn't work.

As I got older, this pain became all-frequency noise at even lower thresholds.

Despite not wearing hearing aids in HS, I was subject to pain by walking past anything with loud vocal music, PA announcement system, out of the blue.

My heartrate would spike considerably, the pain was intense and lasted a few seconds every time. I avoided ALL social gatherings if I could. Proms, fairs, anything with music or loudspeakers.

I was withdrawn and antisocial. Tinnitis made my hearing even worse.

Then I became completely deaf. At last! It freed me from pain and allowed me to be more social again.

Now I had this pain because I have a deafness affecting the sensitivity of the cochlea itself, and maybe the auditory nerve. This likely never can be corrected, not even by implants.

You inflame a damaged nerve, you only get one thing: pain. That's what happened with my hearing aids.

Oh, the pain was worse than having a tooth pulled, if you're really curious and into pain and all.

My hand in life. I don't complain about it. Why should others?

Should I live alone in a shack in the middle of Montana just to spare others the "pain" of adjusting to my existence?

Oh, please.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Thank you LiT.

I was worried I had hit a raw nerve or something. Yes, we all have our body build and styles.

Enjoy the day. I'm off to clear my head before working on my writing again.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

A bit of sun is showing through the clouds. It does add a big splash of colours to the trees. It's mild , no snow anytime soon here.
I scored veggies that would make the $15/week.person challenge maybe a little less challenging. For their last weeks at the farmers market my usual gardeners had a good special. Any three 10-lbs bags of potato, beet, onion, carrot, turnips or cabbage for $10. The 5 lbs bag of sweet onions were also part of the deal. I got one bag each of onions, carrots and cabbage. But then again I bought fresh fish for 4: $21. One meal and more than a third of the budget is gone. I can't possibly make it.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 4, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

You educated everyone profoundly, Wilbrod and I am better for it now.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 4, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, did gwe say something?? :-)

A delightful yesterday evening with bc was sandwiched around the local Big Box o' Home Improvements store, purchasing lots of insulation and such yesterday afternoon, then running back over there this morning to bring it home (which I would have done yesterday if it weren't for pesky pieces of paper that a certain company couldn't FAX ((yes, I said FAX)) to another company).

*SIGHHH* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 4, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I am afraid my computer is dying. My mouse makes noises on the audio channel. I can't seem to upload graphics to my websites. My photo of my chicken soup, posed with a lemon and with fresh cilantro garnishing the bowl full, is not transferable at this time! It is creative chicken soup. The bell peppers were on sale for a dollar apiece, pack of three w/three colors! So it has half a yellow bell pepper. And one small homegrown poblano that was half red and half green. Jasmine rice. Has some allspice and some garam masala in it as well as more conventional spices, such as a hint of nutmeg. It also has a touch of tomato and some fresh lemon juice and some miso. The usual suspects, carrots, onion, garlic and celery, also.

I noticed there are apparently zero butcher shops remaining in Charlotte, excepting a couple of halal butchers, a few Mexican / Spanish language places, one Vietnamese place that wasn't listed; I just happen to know of it, and I think one or two kosher butchers I saw once before but not on the listing I was reviewing this morning. There is also no known large dairy farm that I know of in the entire region. Fresh milk is a pipe dream here. Until I moved here I happened to be near dairies and took it for granted until I was without fresh milk. It is available but rare. By fresh I mean that milk that tastes like vanilla ice cream.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 4, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Yes, thank you, Wilbrod. Your thoughts are illuminating.

When I went to change after church, I pulled out my Error08 shirt and it dawned on me that we had our IBPH last year this weekend. Now that was a seriously fun time, getting to meet all of you. Thanks to TBG, bc, BobS and others who did the groundwork for such a great weekend.

Posted by: slyness | October 4, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Ha, Scotty!

Nice sunny day here. Nippy, definitely fall. There has been some snow in the mountains already. Thinking of heading toward Mt Rainier sometime this week to catch some fall color.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 4, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting reading, these past 10 hours of boodling.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 4, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Some of you may remember that I put praying mantis egg cases out in my garden last spring. I saw them hatch, but never saw any after that - until today!

It's not moving much (sort of like this Boodle), so not sure how healthy it is, but I am thrilled that I'm finally seeing an adult.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 4, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

For a while there it looked like the Detroit Lions were going to Repeat. The Bears have come around but there is plenty of time left.

It doesn't rain, it pours. I'm not closing the pool, mowing the lawn or cleaning up the garden today. *sigh* Oh, oh, thunderclap not too far again.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 4, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Lovely pictures seasea, you raised a praying mantis - congrats!

The bower is very pretty is it scented?

Posted by: dmd3 | October 4, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The leaves of the Harlequin Glorybower smell like peanut butter when you crush them. The flowers had sort of a lilly-like smell when they first appeared. The berries should turn turquoise blue.

We're having spaghetti today with sauce made from the last of our tomatoes. I picked the last of the green beans, and have some large ones I'll try using for seed next year. I have lots of Scarlet Runner Bean seeds.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 4, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The Lions showed their stripes (or absence thereof) in the second half; no Repeat.

The pool is still open for business (at a refreshing 60F though) but there are a shepherd's pie and a pork roast on cabbage and apple in the fridge. My estimate for the shepherd's pie comes at $13 for 5-6 servings. I'd say the pork is the best deal at about $10 for 4-5 servings but only by a snout. This was a small .85kg/2lbs boneless roast. The cabbage and apples were a steal for the pork roast, it skews the results.

The VLP spent half the afternoon under the dining room table, making sure the sky wouldn't fall on its thick, concrete-lined, stupidity-filled head.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 4, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Oooops. Got to revise the shepherds's pie estimate. It's more like $17 than $13. The packet of instant demi-glace for the meat layer and sour cream and butter for the mashed taters ought to count for something...

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 4, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Cloudy and damp and chilly here-- not too bad with a solid jacket and a dog to walk.

All this talk of cooking in has made me want to go out to eat.

Reverse psychology, I guess.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

SCC please add rather somewhere.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 4, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm having a couple of chili & bacon & cheese dogs made with spicy smoked sausage. Not for the faint of heart (or for anyone who wants their heart to last to a ripe old age) but pretty darned tasty.

Posted by: bobsewell | October 4, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. D has made a mash-up of of "fruit pudding" with the classic Eve's pudding that looks pretty good. Her "fruit" is usually rhubarb, strawberry-rhubard, blueberry, nectarine or peaches but this time she used Martha's apple filling recipe for the Eve's pudding as the "fruit" in her pudding. It smells and looks good.

I'm doing dumb rib steaks with rub but the raw meat smells like deer, it's always a good sign. Late BBQs are always a treat.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 4, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Can of ranch style beans
Fajita size flour tortilla
sprinkle of shredded cheddar
dabble of salsa
squirt of rooster sauce

I eat one; CpBoy eats 3 to 5.

Wish for old-style price labels; bar codes are very hard to interpret.

Dessert: Granny Smith

Later: glass of red wine; perhaps a chaser of cheese

Hot coffee, reheated, about an hour ago. I feel a cold coming on. Blech. But, right upon time.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Yoki's Big Bowl of Goodness

Tiny bit of rare flank steak, sliced paper-thin
Soba noodles
Soy Sauce
Miso broth
Baby Bok Choy

Estimated cost (as CquaP says, bar codes make unit cost difficult to estimate) on the order of $2.90 - $3.20. Too much if I'm to eat on $15 one of these weeks.

Posted by: Yoki | October 4, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow my CSA share arrives. Paid for at beginning of season -- again hard to estimate.

The ingredients above will be made into ensalada: same open-faced stuff but with a mound of fresh lettuce.

Beans can be mashed into a paste, mixed with plain yogurt, and seasonings: dip and spread on toast.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

CqP, T1 used to eat like that (and down an awful lot of milk), and then, about the time I'd be doing dishes, he'd say he was hungry. And yet he stayed rail thin.

I hope you get the upper hand on that cold very soon.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 4, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Teenage boy metabolism.

It's one of the wonders of nature, right up there with a shark feeding frenzy.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Laughing, LiT; yes, the dairy product budget pushed us over mightily.

I wish for my dairy days of long ago and fresh fresh fresh cottage cheese.

CpBoy is not rail thin but slim. he is proud of his butterfly shoulders and pecks...the swimmy thingie. Hey, very good friend started BerkLEE in September. How is T-boy, the musical dude?

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

*faxing CqP some chicken soup in advance*

Posted by: -ftb- | October 4, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I feel the cold becoming the cotton batted filling inside my cranium. A bath soon with eucalyptus is in order. Perhaps no wine tonight but a hot toddy. The air is cool and this is wafting in my window:

fall blooming sweet autumn frutangia

wish I cold post scratch and sniff.

So good that the year I planted it, my neighbor said that the scent was perfect for


I think that she still follows the scent cue; as a moth to necter etc.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Y'all are making me hungry. As soon as I can get my family's attention we can eat.

Cool rainy day, a long day for the IvansGrandfolks at the dog show. I made a simmering chicken stew. Softened onion, garlic and bell pepper in bacon grease; browned potato chunks in more bacon grease; add a lot of chicken stock, water, fresh corn kernels, Cavender's Greek seasoning and a little cumin; four or five leftover roasted chicken breasts (frozen); some thin chunks of little sweet potatoes. It smells good so far. I also roasted the rest of the small sweet potatoes in chunks with olive oil and salt. Warmed focaccia from the farmers' market yesterday.

I hope someone eats it. May be faxing portions liberally.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 4, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

frutangia is a googlenope?
Frutania doesn't call up any plants.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Send your chicken stew
To my fax at Wilbrod's place
I'll eat it with love.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

WB, am having a rare senior moment with the plant name. Sorta like
Osmanthus fragrans

but not. in the Olive family....should have it soon.

Frutangia might be the cultivar; grown by an eccentric plant breeder. I bought it in 1985.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse


I'm looking for the picture more than the name.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Eleagnus pungens

I have that cultivar that is not so invasive: Frutangia

Not beautiful to look at, but the silvery leaves are nice. The scent, though, the scent is lovely.

And, a perfect hedgerow type plant that provides bird cover. I have wrens at ground level; cardinals higher, and mockinbirds at the top.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Mmmm, pheromones. Whether plant or animal-exuded.

Posted by: Yoki | October 4, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

The stew sounds yummy, Ivansmom, I'll take any leftovers. I heated green beans and filet from last night for my supper; I don't cook when Mr. T isn't around.

Last week I bought some local bleu cheese at the cheese shop. That was a mistake, I don't like it at all. The texture is too smooth and the taste doesn't appeal, so into the garbage it goes. Fortunately it wasn't expensive, so no great loss.

I do have some brie and a single serving of chardonney. Hmmm, may consume that shortly.

Posted by: slyness | October 4, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Dinner for me was roast beef, mashed potatoes, squished squash,

broccoli, and GRAVY. Cooked by someone else. Heavenly!

I just read and clipped this recipe from the Boston Globe. It looks so good.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | October 4, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

rickoshea, I make an apple/onion jam sometimes, to go with a bit of good roasted pork. It is OK.

Posted by: Yoki | October 4, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Slyness: shall raise my glass with you, and neither of us will lapse into that dreaded

drinking alone.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Apple onion pairs nicely this way:

turkey sandwich but instead of lettuce and cheese, tuck inside paper thin slices of onion and equally thin Granny Smith apple.

Vidalia and purple are lovely, but sometimes, a girl just wants that bite that sting of a white onion.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

RoShea -- squish squash! Yum. Another budget stretcher is one half pasta and one half spaghetti squash. I committed this on my children in the non-vegetable phases.

A comment on prices: a very good parmasan grated may be at least or more economical than the powdery mildew-escue parmescue cheeze in a shaker jar. No plastic to dispose of too. Less might be more because we eat less.

I have succumbed to the siren of shredded mozzarella though. I eat less cheese this way, which with the waist-loss of midlife, seems a reasonable push back against the pillowing of the self.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

rickoshea, I have a very similar recipe that calls for plums instead of apples. An easy dish that tastes much more complicated than it is. I also made a roast pork last week that called for (what seemed to me to be) an awful lot of celery but came out really good.

Hunting season has started, so I expect I'll be cooking with a lot of (free) fresh game for the next couple months.

Have a happy night all.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 4, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

When my son left for college our grocery budget shrank greatly. Mostly because of the cheese.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 4, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Very much like pear and blue cheese and walnuts.

Good night, LiT.

Posted by: Yoki | October 4, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Laughing, RD, but his teen self/glory of youth metabolism meant that no evidence of cheese the empty wrapper and perhaps crumblies on the counter. In other words, he does not wear his cheese.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 4, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm STILL reading the Boston Globe (and I'm a fast reader), and I found this article fascinating.

It's about the arguments over public/private health care during the American revolution, believe it or not.

It looks like we may have a few more years, decade, or centuries ahead of us on this topic.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | October 4, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

The stew turned out well; faxing leftovers to any and all. Sundry.

Time to clean the rabbit cage while persuading the Boy to study French.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 4, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Cheers, CqP! I enjoyed my Chardonney, what did you drink? You probably said, but I'm now too tipsy to backboodle. Such a nice sleepy feeling. I must wait for Mr. T to call and then I will go to bed and sleep well.

That wasn't nice, Yoki. I have to wait till tomorrow to purchase pears, good bleu, and walnuts. But I will!

You are so right about the parmesan, CqP. I have to remember not to use my fingers to pick the shredded cheese out of the container, so that it won't get moldy.

The chicken stew was delicious, Ivansmom. Now I'm full as well as tipsy.

Posted by: slyness | October 4, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The sweet potato is considered the equal of teenaged boys. They may eat three huge ones a day but it won't cost an arm and a leg. Their actual arms and legs will however grow large.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 4, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Regarding high heels, sometimes people wear them because they think they look nice in them rather than societal pressure. At least a few of my friends and I feel that. When I was in my late teens and started working, I wanted to be taller (I was 5’ almost 4”, already taller than most girls here, but I want to be 5’ 5 or 6”. I have no idea why I chose that height). I couldn’t so I cheat by wearing 3.5” high heels (Now that I’m old and clumsy, I’ve reduced my heels to 2.5”.) I know it’s an illusion but I feel good about being “taller”.

At that time, less than half the girls wear high heels. I probably helped to create societal pressure rather than being pressured.

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 4, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

rainforest, in heels I am 6 feet tall, or 6' 2", and I love being tall. I am 5' 9" barefoot.

And so I wear heels.

Posted by: Yoki | October 4, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

'Hey, Boodle. I'm here, seasea--just got back from weekend in Colonial Williamsburg celebrating our 27th wedding anniversay. Had a very cool time. Last evening our group (five couples) had a private dinner party cooked by one of the chefs at Wiliamsburg Inn, and we had a guest-- one of the W-burg interpreters, this one a man named James Ingram who portrays Gowan Pamphlet, a black preacher who was a slave working in Mrs. Vobe's tavern, the King's Arms, and who was freed. We had cocktails for more than an hour while he talked to us in character, and then he joined us for dinner out of charcter, so he could chat freely about being an interpreter, behind-the-scenes activities, etc. Here's his write-up:

A fascinating guy, both in and out of character. Toured the palace today (it was re-done recently to cover the period when Lord Dunmore was last royal governor). We also saw the debut of the Col. Wburg's new native American corps of five actor-interpreters. Went to a wine-and-cheese tasting yesterday,had two gouda cheeses from Wisconsin that were to die for. Four of the five wines came from barboursville Vineyard, a local NoVa winery some here will be familiar with.

My wife made an error of judgement, left me alone with two hours to kill, so I spent it in the Wm. & Mary bookstore in Merchant Square. Came away only mildly damaged, to the tune of $25. Got a remaindered book on Bob Dylan, a book of early Anne Sexton's pomes (very risque, the blurb says), and one I'm sure CqP knows: Mary Kinzie's "A Poet's Guide to Poetry." Sexton and Kinzie both 50% off.

In an antique store in Tappahannock found a rare commemorative plate from my old home town, Hatboro, Pa., that was issued in a limited quantity in 1971. What it was doing in Tappahannock I'll never know.

Meanwhile, local CBS channel here in DC is touting a story about a rumor Zorn (Redskins coach) is about to be fired.

How were the sw. potato/Old Bay fries, CqP? Did you reign as world's best mom?

Steelers kicking Bolts butts. Sorry, omni.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | October 4, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I used to be 5'9" or even a little taller. Somehow I have shrunk prematurely - I'm 5'8" now. So sad. I have never worn heels taller than 1-1/2 inches - I would break something.

I made the piroshkis today, along with lawnmowing and other things - I'm tired.

Oh, another Mom brought flesh-colored underwear for the girl in distress last night, so she was saved from further embarrassment.

And finally, Nate Silver at 538 has an ad urging one to "Punch Out Obama" which has an image of Obama with his fists up dancing around. I don't like it. I enjoyed the "Throw a Shoe at Bush" divertissements, I admit. But I can't imagine why Silver would allow this on his site.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 4, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Hi Yoki. That's a nice height. At that height, a lot of people have to look up to you. I generally could tell how tall a person is by how much I have to tilt my head.

Now, I have to go to the store which is half hr away. Then I'll blow B$3.50 for lunch in a Thai restaurant.

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 4, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Howdy boodle!

Spent $10.50 on groceries tonight, and figure I ate $1.96 in food already on hand today. At the end of the week I'll see how much I have left of a couple of splurges that were on sale- $2.99 for some good Parmesan (not the great stuff I would normally buy, but not the crud CqP decries above) and $1.98 for a full gallon of whole milk. I'll be surprised if I use more than half of each.

Here are some "free" foods I'm starting the week with-butternut squash and cucumber from the after-school garden, carrots from the home garden, fresh basil from Mr. F's pots brought in from the balcony. I also have basil processed with olive oil and frozen for making pesto (I'll figure out the oil cost after I use some). I am very lucky to have some gifts that count as free-coffee, a couple bottles of red wine, and maple syrup a friend made.

I did not get a picture of tonight's dinner, but it's a favorite this time of year so I'm sure I'll be eating it again.

1/2 link spicy Italian sausage, broken into chunks
1/8 of a white onion, diced
1/8 green bell pepper, diced
4 leftover boiled new potatoes, skins on, cubed
about 1 tsp olive oil
about 1/2 tsp butter

Sweat onion and bell pepper in oil, add sausage and cook through, add potatoes leave on the stove until suitably browned and crispy. I usually eat this with enough sour cream to break the budget, but tonight I used just a sprinkle of Parmesan. It was a revelation-much better. Total cost for this meal $1.21 not counting the free wine.

Herein lies a difficulty with $15 per person for one person. A salad would have been the perfect accompaniment, and the dish above made two generous servings. However, a salad worth eating would have broken me for the week already. Two can not eat as cheaply as one, but they could certainly eat better.

Tomorrow I'm going to bake bread according to the Mr. F method. My shopping included buying some yeast, but I will have to weigh and calculate the flour on hand. Having enough $ to buy wonton wrappers for squash ravioli is not looking good. On the other hand, I might be able to afford to just make the pasta.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 4, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

anybody up?

very busy week. went to pick monuments for display at the shop, and pick up our boy from a night at granny and papa's house, thus a day over the border, well spent. the shop should be open by the end of the week. open house in a few weeks, and everyone is invited. home made cakes and ice cream for all.

Posted by: -jack- | October 4, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Science Spouse wrote:
>Achenblog quoted on one of my favorite (other) blogs:


I don't see getting hydrogen from water in an efficient way on the list. That seems to me a top area to investigate. There's plenty of hydrogen potentially in the ocean, and, if we had that abundant source of energy, also plenty of water to drink in the ocean.


Posted by: Jim19 | October 4, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh, after calculating the clean up eating/drinking done at Chez Frostbitten, today's total was $1.96. The hardest part of the day was driving right by my favorite independent coffee shop in Grand Rapids, MN and ignoring the "Limited Time-Pumpkin Pie Blizzards" sign at Dairy Queen in Moose Lake. If today is any indication I may be hungrier than usual at times, but I'll be eating both better and less. Not bad side effects.

I never cared to wear high heels, despite being but 5'2" (when I inhale). Grandma Frosti was 4'11 1/2" (in her dreams, I towered over her) and always insisted on wearing heels because "I need the height." She did not appreciate being told that it would take stilts to make a significant difference. Recently Frostniece #1, who works at Macy's, sold me two pairs of shoes with moderate heels that are actually quite comfortable.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 4, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

So, Frosti, what did you serve? I can't imagine that $1.96 went very far.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 4, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Frosti, I was calculating the cost for the piroshkis ($5.16 for the batch, actually) and the five cups of flour in that was $.35, based on $1.25 for the bag (I had some recent receipts to check).


Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 4, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | October 4, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: -jack- | October 4, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

rt-$1.21 of it was dinner, and that was a big skillet full of food, though mostly potatoes and that would get old if done every day. The pricy bit of that meal was the half sausage link. We buy them 6 for $8 at the farmers market then freeze them individually. Not sure I could handle a whole one on a bun, even though I'm sure that's how a lot of people eat them.

The rest was milk in two home made lattes (remember the coffee was a gift, thus free), a chunk of roast chicken pulled off the carcass as it went into the garbage and some cottage cheese left in the bottom of the carton (cost estimates of food already on hand .75). I snacked on some carrots and cherry tomatoes out of the garden (free). Normally I do eat more than this, but between grout work and other chores time got away from me then I was in "might as well wait for dinner" territory.

Also-I did not calculate the cost of a smidge of oil, a dab of butter, and a pinch of Parmesan. I'm going to see how much I use and add that in at the end of the week. This is not how they do it on the $30 a week blog. They go by what they actually spend each week, but if they're under one week they can go over the next.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 4, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

On the subject of cost of meals, has the energy cost been considered? If I eat a frozen pizza with my hands, then I have only the cost of heating it, and zero cost for washing dishes and pots. Making my own pizza would likely cost more in cooking and washing energy than the frozen, where the energy cost for prep is already in the price of the product.

Using the "dishwasher load" as a reference measure, if eating take-out or frozen causes the dishwasher to be filled and run every three days, home cooking might fill it every two, or about 60 more times per year. The same applies to the energy required to cook the food. How would that change the calculations?


Posted by: Jim19 | October 4, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy-that sounds like a bargain at twice the price!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 4, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I got caught up on the first two episodes of Amazing Race with them in Tokyo and Vietnam. Extreme deja ju. We were at or near nearly every place in Saigon, er, Ho Chi Minh City they filmed at.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 4, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Jack. Yoki. Frosty.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | October 4, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

LTL-we're only considering food costs, which could make things like baking bread seem more economical than they are.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 4, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I meant at $.35 for flour you should be able to go ahead and make your bread and still buy the wonton wrappers, Frosti.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | October 4, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Yoki | October 4, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Wheezy, but I'm so close to the limit already and I have 6 days left.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 4, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Apple and onion-- one of those pairings that sound paradoxical, but is not.

Good taste in apples; Granny smith is one of my favorite major brands.

I prefer white onion, too.

Sometimes it's good to cry in gratitude for food.

Apple and hard cheese is good, too, but I am rarely in the mood for cheese.

I am at peace; a hard weekend's work is done. To bed for tomorrow.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 4, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see so many Boodlers tonight! Mudge, I'm glad you were off having a good time.

I never found that high heels did anything to make me taller - at 4'10", that's impossible. I gravitated more toward Earth shoes - comfort over style. Now I can hardly wear anything other than sneakers, sandals, or clogs.

I'm watching Battle of the Blades on Canadian TV. They're pairing a female figure skater with a male hockey player. That could be dangerous! It's surprisingly entertaining.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 4, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Rats, we don't get Canadian TV on the St. Paul cable.

Mudge-serious frenvy of your weekend.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 4, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

g'night Wilbrod, g'night Yoki, g'night seasea, Jack, Mudge, g'night boodle. Sweet dreams!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 5, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, you're very well-heeled. Oy.

I'm thinking five inches with shoes-- sweet safrassas, I'd be tottering.

I've seen rocker-platform shoes that were 18 inches tall at rest.

Even with those I wouldn't catch up with you, Yoki.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 5, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

g'night frosti.

Posted by: Yoki | October 5, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, this is what I think. That we all do well being ourselves.

And well, we're all just expressing ourselves.

I can't say anything else, and don't care. Just, softly softly with each other. Trust. Good love.

Posted by: Yoki | October 5, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

that gave me a tune cootie. let me share it.

Posted by: LALurker | October 5, 2009 3:46 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone.

Another day headed out to the undisclosed location. With no internet. But free coffee.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 5, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Seems like a good trade, rd.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 5, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. At least I think it's morning, because we've got the rain that Ivansmom had over the weekend and it's still dark out. I overslept but that's okay, no walk for me! The exercycle is in my immediate future.

Posted by: slyness | October 5, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

It must be morning, because coffee is brewing in the Ready Room. I've put out some fruit and will make eggs Benedict for anybody who wants.

Posted by: Yoki | October 5, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

*trying-to-be-seen-over-the-incoming-tide-of-paper Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 5, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, that was funny.


Posted by: russianthistle | October 5, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Now that I've exercised, eggs Benedict would be wonderful, Yoki! Thank you.

Posted by: slyness | October 5, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I'll take coffee, Yoki, but no eggs Benedict, thank you. Due to my highly dissipated lifestyle this past weekend, I need to go on the Bridge on the River Kwai crash diet for a few days.

Gustatorially speaking, I have been a bad boy. And they made me do it. It wasn't my idea. And now I must pay for my sins.

A little bread and water might do (hold the bread). Perhaps some thin gruel.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 5, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

OK, it's Monday morning. I might as well start off the week with some b1tching. At the top of this page at the moment there's an ad for "America's New Natural Gas." What was wrong with our old natural gas? Aren't our swamps any good any more? Is our supply of cow flatulence suddenly inferior? What? I don't understand.

Also, there's this ad on television now that I reflexively believe must be some sort of giant corporation BS, I just don't know whose or why. But its the ad that says CO2 isn't a bad gas after all, it's a *good* gas and in fact we need more of it. And that efforts to reduce it (by some unnnamed bad people, one supposes) "will cost us jobs"!!!

I don't know what this ad is about. Anybody know? Who's behind it and why? Except for the fact that trees like to drink it, what good is more CO2? 'Splain, please, Lucy.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 5, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Good morning boodle! I would not be able to survive the week if I couldn't have "free" coffee. The Saturday I gave up, which prompted the gift, was a small price to pay for many a morning latte.

This morning's frugal breakfast choice:

Breakfast Banana Split
Spread a dab of plain yogurt on one banana split in half lengthwise, sprinkle with vanilla almond granola, toss on a few dried blueberries (dried cranberries are better but I couldn't get just a few and wasn't going to spend 2.49 on a bag). Drizzle with just a bit of maple syrup.

Total cost .44
bought the granola and blueberries in minute quantities from the bulk section of a supermarket Mr. F suggested.

I'll bake some bread this afternoon. The dough I have in a bucket on the counter cost .66 to make. We'll see how much bread it produces. I think Mr. F would get two boule out of it.
Here's a link to the first "artisan bread in five minutes" video. The chefs are local heroes in the Twin Cities
We make half of this recipe because a 5qt ice cream pail cannot contain the recipe as given in the video (you were warned!)

Better get cracking. I plan to go to Ikea today, but only if I get enough work done to enjoy a completely guilt free weekday visit sans impatient family members.

$1.10 spent so far today.

Twins and Tigers play a tie breaker tomorrow!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | October 5, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

On Jim's point... the cost of prep (heat, acquisition, etc.) of the food were not part of the scenario. We mentioned that early on.

When I was doing about 30 a week as an individual, I did deal with acquiring things like olive oil and seasonings. That is the land of poor decisions. The strategies of buying the larger size and losing a big portion of your weekly budget come into play.

BTW, time is also a factor. One of the "richness" of foods factors is having fresh broth with which to cook. Broths are a cheap labor intensive/effort factors that can come to your rescue.

Finally, the one are that people skip by is the fabulous Legume. Even in cans, they are cheap and especially tossed into a salad, you can really extend your diet.

The best part, like the broth, when you soak beans over night you get same quality liquid to use in your cooking.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 5, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: Raysmom | October 5, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Frosti! I have a very close friend who is a musician who raves about a very similar breakfast. It is his religious moment in the day. He will not answer the phone until he is done.

Posted by: russianthistle | October 5, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"It's all in the foot, isn't it?"

I disagree. I think it is all in the shoulder and, alas, this little detail doesn't usually make it into printed material for the general audience. Anthropologists often spin scenarios about how bipedalism freed the upper limbs for tasks such as child carrying and exploiting the environment in new ways which ignores the costs of bipedalism. I think an increasing adaptation of the upper limbs for throwing accurately was in conflict with their use primarily as climbing instruments. Throwing was a more dominant adaptive trait and bipedalism developed to support it.

But I'm just an amateur. Tell me about the shoulder anyway.

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 5, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

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