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Time 'Person of the Year': good call

Good call! Ben Bernanke may not be a snazzy choice, but he's a smart one. I hate it when Time gets too cute with this annual tradition and decides to pick some reviled foreign despot (just to infuriate the easily infuriated) or some generic human or social construct (The Modern Child; The Chirpy Realtor; The Hopeless Layabout; The Yammering Ninny In the Seat Behind You At the Movie Theater).

Back in my day, weekly newsmagazines never had cover stories such as "The Case For Killing Granny," much less a close-up of Tiger Woods as a way of hooking readers on a story about celebrity culture (what a bait-and-switch). (Yes, I know, both examples are from Newsweek.) Instead, weekly newsmagazines had covers show boring middle-aged male Caucasians such as John Foster Dulles. Message: These great men rule the world and you can go back to your farm implement now.

This was the era when bankers were boring, too -- if it was Wednesday, they'd be playing 36, you know? But now all of that has gone to heck and you see the consequences. Cats and dogs living together; human sacrifices.

So in that regard the Bernanke pick feels a little bit like a flashback. You don't know what he does, exactly, but you know it's very important. It may involve the prime rate. (For some, the two sexiest words in the English language are "monetary policy.")

This was the year that the long knives came out for the Fed -- folks on both left and right think it has too much power. But the case has been made that Bernanke saved the economy from a much worse fate, that he was the right guy at the right moment, what with having spent much of his career studying the causes of the Great Depression. As Bernanke says in the Time interview, the global economy was really touch-and-go there for a while: "We would be facing, potentially, another depression of the severity and length of the Depression in the 1930s....this was not at all hypothetical."

McChrystal would have been an interesting but quirky choice, too. In Joe Klein's article about the general, we see him vouching for Obama's way of making decisions and trying to patch up any sign of a rift caused by his speech in London in September:

Within days, the Obama Administration's national-security hierarchy landed squarely on McChrystal's head. "Ideally, it's better for military advice to come up the chain of command," said National Security Adviser Jim Jones, a former Marine general. Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted that advice should be offered "candidly, but privately." Conservatives latched onto McChrystal's remarks, positing a rift between the President and his top Afghan commander, a scenario made more credible by the fact that the President had spoken only once with McChrystal since he assumed the Afghan command in June. "It was more a misunderstanding than anything," McChrystal says now. "I certainly regret anybody having the impression that there was an intent to cause a gap. I've been deeply impressed by the President's personal involvement during the Afghan-strategy-review process -- his rigor, his unwillingness to take shortcuts. He's not only allowed my personal assessments; he's demanded that I say what I think."

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 16, 2009; 8:23 AM ET
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Next: Al Franken shushes Joe Lieberman


More indecent, Sir
Are dogs NURSING lions, tigers,
and even kittens.


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

*sigh* I had voted for The Hopeless Layabout.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 16, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

OK, Mr. A. If you say so.

The case has also been made that the Fed chief was either asleep at the wheel or sleeping with those he was appointed to oversee. Either way, he was sleeping at a particularly inopportune moment.

And all that is sorta beside the point, anyway. Time's POTY award is a media-op stunt, designed to draw attention (and revenue) to the mag. It's Time's version of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. It's made-up news.

Posted by: MsJS | December 16, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

A question: was Greenspan ever Person of the Year?

I don't know, not sure it matters, but I am curious.

And it's far better than a few years back when they put a mirror on the cover and said that the Person of the Year was *me.*

Sheesh. I typically respond well to that sort of pandering, but even that one seemed a little desperate to me.

I always thought that was a make-up call because I didn't take People's Sexiest Man Alive.

At least I can take some solace that Bernanke didn't either.

Yet, anyway.


Posted by: -bc- | December 16, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

In addition to which, the SI Swinsuit Issue is still valuable months and years later, for looking up important sports information. I've still got a 1987 issue around somewhere that has important information on beach erosion in Ibiza.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 16, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the "Ghostbusters" reference, Joel. My own personal favorite (never heard on network TV) quote is -

Dr Ray Stantz: Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here.
Walter Peck: They caused an explosion!
Mayor: Is this true?
Dr. Peter Venkman: Yes it's true.
Dr. Peter Venkman: This man has no dick.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 16, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I do not have a lot to say about the Fed chief, but if anyone is up for a virtual lunch I have a cozy fire blazing in the fireplace.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 16, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

So, maybe Bernanke IS there sort of like the Foreign Despot, notable for the same reasons that it is news when the burglar gets hired as security guard.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 16, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Good Lord. With his reconfirmation hearing tomorrow the managed press picks Bernanke.
Edward Beranise would be proud.

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | December 16, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The managed press? OK, I'll bite. Who is doing the managing? Because I have a few bones to pick.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 16, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I, for one, am astounded.

How DID kguy get that quote through the Wirty Dird Filter???

And yes, Front Page Alert...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 16, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The Time magazine website that displays it Person(s) of the Year covers from 1927 to 2009--with links to the cover stories, has an interesting sort capability. It can sort these cover individuals by category. So, for the heck of it, I sorted the end-of-year celebs by the category Business and Technology.,31813,1681791,00.html

The sort came out as follows:

1928 Walter Chrysler

1955 Harlow H. Curtice (Anyone remember him? Hint: GM, when the car was still king!)

1997 Andy Grove (Hint: Intel)

1999 Jeff Bezos (, anyone?)

2002 The Whistleblowers (Women all: Can anyone name them off the top of her/his head? Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom, Coleen Rowley of the FBI, and Sherron Watkins of Enron. Note that that year Eliot Spitzer was also named Crusader of the Year.) A sad pick.

2009 Ben Bernanke Chairman of the Federal Reserve. An even sadder pick--rather like picking pilot Chesley Sullenberger or perhaps the captain of the Titanic.

Guess it was time for Time magazine to roll around and visit this category again? Me? I'm focused on NYT columnist Tom Friedman's visit to San Antonio to Trinity University in February, and I hope that during his speech he'll talk about American creativity and innovation, its business leadership--or lack of it, and America's place in the global marketplace--now and in the near future.

Posted by: laloomis | December 16, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you need to repair a word in the kit: second paragraph, "newsmagines had covers showING"

Posted by: nellie4 | December 16, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, dmd, I can't do virtual lunch. Today is office holiday lunch at a local restaurant. Should I bring back a virtual doggie bag?

Posted by: Raysmom | December 16, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

For the record, the full list (thanks to wikipedia and my mad editing skilz):

1927 Charles Lindbergh First and youngest single person chosen
1928 Walter Chrysler
1929 Owen D. Young
1930 Gandhi First non-American person chosen. First Asian chosen.
1931 Pierre Laval First European chosen
1932 Franklin D. Roosevelt
1933 Hugh Samuel Johnson
1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt First person to be chosen twice
1935 Haile Selassie I First African chosen
1936 Wallis Simpson First woman chosen
1937 Chiang Kai-shek and Soong May-ling First couple chosen
1938 Adolf Hitler
1939 Joseph Stalin
1940 Winston Churchill
1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt First and so far only person chosen three times
1942 Joseph Stalin 2nd time chosen
1943 George Marshall
1944 Dwight D. Eisenhower
1945 Harry S. Truman
1946 James F. Byrnes
1947 George Marshall 2nd time chosen
1948 Harry S. Truman 2nd time chosen
1949 Winston Churchill Man of the Half-Century; 2nd time chosen
1950 The American Fighting-Man Representing Korean War troops; first abstract chosen
1951 Mohammed Mossadegh First Middle Eastern
1952 Queen Elizabeth II
1953 Konrad Adenauer
1954 John Foster Dulles
1955 Harlow Curtice
1956 Hungarian Freedom Fighter Abstract choice
1957 Nikita Khrushchev
1958 Charles de Gaulle
1959 Dwight D. Eisenhower 2nd time chosen
1960 US Scientists Represented by George Beadle, Charles Draper, John Enders, Donald A. Glaser, Joshua Lederberg, Willard Libby, Linus Pauling, Edward Purcell, Isidor Rabi, Emilio Segrè, William Shockley, Edward Teller, Charles Townes, James Van Allen, and Robert Woodward
1961 John F. Kennedy
1962 Pope John XXIII
1963 Martin Luther King, Jr.
1964 Lyndon B. Johnson
1965 William Westmoreland
1966 The Generation Twenty-Five and Under (Baby Boomers) Abstract choice
1967 Lyndon B. Johnson 2nd time chosen
1968 The Apollo 8 astronauts William Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell
1969 The Middle Americans Abstract choice
1970 Willy Brandt
1971 Richard Nixon
1972 Richard Nixon 2nd time chosen; Only person to be chosen for two years consecutively; and Henry Kissinger
1973 John Sirica
1974 King Faisal
1975 American Women Represented by Susan Brownmiller, Kathleen Byerly, Alison Cheek, Jill Conway, Betty Ford, Ella Grasso, Carla Hills, Barbara Jordan, Billie Jean King, Carol Sutton, Susie Sharp, and Addie Wyatt
1976 Jimmy Carter
1977 Anwar Sadat
1978 Deng Xiaoping
1979 Ayatollah Khomeini
1980 Ronald Reagan
1981 Lech Wałęsa
1982 The Computer Machine of the Year; first non-human chosen; abstract choice
1983 Ronald Reagan 2nd time chosen; and Yuri Andropov
1984 Peter Ueberroth
1985 Deng Xiaoping 2nd time chosen; oldest person chosen (81)
1986 Corazon C. Aquino
1987 Mikhail Gorbachev


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 16, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse


1988 The Endangered Earth Planet of the Year; 2nd non-human chosen; abstract choice
1989 Mikhail Gorbachev Man of the Decade; 2nd time chosen
1990 George H. W. Bush Bush was referred to as The Two George Bushes — this is not a reference to George W. Bush but to how George H.W. Bush was complimented for international affairs and criticized for domestic affairs, including his quote, "Read my lips: no new taxes."
1991 Ted Turner
1992 Bill Clinton
1993 The Peacemakers Represented by Yasser Arafat, F.W. de Klerk, Nelson Mandela, and Yitzhak Rabin
1994 Pope John Paul II
1995 Newt Gingrich
1996 David Ho
1997 Andy Grove
1998 Bill Clinton 2nd time chosen Kenneth Starr
1999 Jeffrey P. Bezos
2000 George W. Bush First winner to be a relative of a former winner
2001 Rudolph Giuliani
2002 The Whistleblowers Represented by Cynthia Cooper, WorldCom; Coleen Rowley, FBI; and Sherron Watkins, Enron
2003 The American Soldier Abstract choice; 2nd time chosen
2004 George W. Bush 2nd time chosen
2005 The Good Samaritans Represented by Bono, Bill Gates, and Melinda Gates
2006 You Abstract choice; represents the individual content creator on the World Wide Web
2007 Vladimir Putin First Russian chosen since the fall of the Soviet Union
2008 Barack Obama
2009 Ben Bernanke

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 16, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Geez, so much for Intel and the 1997 Person of the Year award. Andy Grove was chairman of the board until 2005 and served as both CEO and President during his time with the Santa Clara, Calif. company.

I see that the lede story on the WaPo home page is how Intel engaged in anti-competitive practives for a decade and the FTC wants to do what against Intel?

Posted by: laloomis | December 16, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I like to think the 2006 award was mainly given to the Boodle, but Time felt it couldn't be that specific, and would offend some others. But in my heart I know it was you guys and Joel.

The Lone Mule not so much.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 16, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

UP journalists vote Tiger Woods atlete of the decade. They must be desperate for eyeballs. Lance Armstrong and Roger Federer are distant 2cd and 3rd.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 16, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

How DID kguy get that quote through the Wirty Dird Filter???


Posted by: kguy1 | December 16, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Peter Venkman: Or you can accept the fact that this city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.

Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?

Dr. Raymond Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky! Rivers and seas boiling!

Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...

Winston Zeddmore: The dead rising from the grave!

Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice. Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria!

Mayor: Enough! I get the point! And what if you're wrong?

Posted by: newengland1 | December 16, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Boodlers of a certain national persuasion having to do with poutine may have notice their total absence from the Time honors list. Be not upset: Time has created its own category of Canadiental winners, as follows (again thanks to wiki and my mad skilz):

1995 Lucien Bouchard: Following the Quebec sovereignty referendum of 1995, Time gave the Quebec separatist leader Bouchard credit for providing separatism a "nobler sound" "for people who think that ethnic secessionism runs to riots, bomb throwing and assassinations."

1996 Donovan Bailey: received attention for his performance as an athlete at the . Time thus said at the time that he "Ignites National Pride."

1997 Paul Martin: was the Finance Minister of Canada at the time, and was chosen for nearly eliminating the deficit and consequently weakening the Quebec separatist position.

1998 Lucien Bouchard (second time): Bouchard was selected for changing the Parti Québécois to cut the budget for social programs, winning the 1998 provincial election, and for the possibility of another sovereignty referendum. Bouchard's quote "I am not the great Satan" was also mentioned.

1999 Supreme Court of Canada: The Supreme Court was selected for its decisions concerning gay rights in Canada, Aboriginals (particularly R. v. Marshall) and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

2000 John Roth: Roth was the CEO of Nortel Networks. Time credited him with influencing the Canadian government to financially assist technology and education.

2001 John Manley: was chosen as the Foreign Affairs Minister during the September 11, 2001 attacks. He was also credited for trying to improve Canada–United States relations and rethinking rights in Canada for purposes of fighting terrorism, which Time suggested was the most radical approach to rights taken since the Charter was enacted in 1982. Manley went to Toronto to receive the honour in person from George Russell.

2002 Paul Martin (second time): After Martin had left the Cabinet, Time nevertheless noted that he would likely shape the government's future.

2003 Michael Leshner and Michael Stark: were selected for being the grooms of the first legal same-sex marriage in Canada. Steven Frank of Time also chose the couple as an emblem of "the year that Canada rethought what was taboo," referring to other events such as the loosening of marijuana laws. Leshner replied that "I really feel like we're Canada's new Mary Pickford... we are Canada's sweethearts... What better human rights story to send around the world that says Canada loves the Michaels, and for the rest of the world to wonder, what on earth is going on in Canada?"


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 16, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse


2004 Maher Arar: was a suspected terrorist extradited to Syria. Arar made news by openly advocating human rights and representing "how fear and injustice have permeated life in the West since 9/11." In Time's opinion, Arar thus forced the inquiry into his plight.[24] Arar thus prevailed over winners in the 2004 Summer Olympics, Auditor General Sheila Fraser, Paul Martin, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein and other candidates. One National Post writer criticized the decision as being too focused on "Victimhood."

2005 John Gomery: the judge overseeing the inquiry on the Sponsorship scandal, was complimented by Time for personal "charm and passion.”

2006 Stephen Harper: Time said Harper redefined the role of a prime minister in a minority government, and recognized his budget cutting and recognition of Quebec as a nation. Time speculated that "If Harper wins the majority he craves, in the election expected sometime next year, he may yet turn out to be the most transformational leader since [Pierre] Trudeau." Journalist Ted Byfield praised the selection as brave since Harper was a controversial figure, compared to the Canadian Press' choice that year, the Canadian Soldier.

2007 The Canadian dollar: During the year, the Canadian dollar surpassed the United States dollar for the first time in over 30 years and reached record highs.

2008 Stephen Harper (second time).

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 16, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

So it's Elvis manning the Filter controls?

I shoulda known...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 16, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

If they're wrong? Hm.

His: bones in backyard
Hers: scratching post, yarn, hairballs
Lawyers': All cash left.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Something tells me that "Dickless Elves" would not be a good name for a rock band.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 16, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't think John Roth will make the list this year as Nortel was basically put in liquidation. It was sold for parts. The end of a giant.

And we need Bouchard back to cut the bloated provincial budget some more.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 16, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

What, girl elves can't rock too?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone even read Time Magazine any longer? Except for the doctor's waiting room, that is...

Posted by: Gatsby10 | December 16, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

What, you guys don't know about the band "Dickless?" God, do I have to tell you people EVERYTHING?

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 16, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

So basically if you're not in business or politics, fageddaboutit.

I say harrumph. An emphatic harrumph.

Posted by: MsJS | December 16, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

So basically if you're not in business or politics, fageddaboutit.

I say harrumph. An emphatic harrumph.

Posted by: MsJS | December 16, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Most ironic: Nixon, twice, followed by John Sirica. They should have retired the award after that.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 16, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to be outside the "person of" categories. I don't want to be on the cover of Time magazine. I'd much rather toil in thankless obscurity, unheralded, unsung.

Speaking of singing, I sang Christmas carols today at work, along with a Hanukkah song. I do this every year. It is my own little tradition. So far nobody's told me to stop.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 16, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Thankless Obscurity, huh. Is that out near Gotebo?

Posted by: kguy1 | December 16, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"Back in my day, weekly newsmagazines never had cover stories such as 'The Case For Killing Granny...'"

This may be nostalgia talking. It was 1966 when Time Magazine ran a cover asking "Is God Dead?"

Posted by: tomtildrum | December 16, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I also think it was a good choice. The only other people I could think of as being deserving of that title was Geithner and Obama.

I also find it infuriating whenever Time names something like "the American solider" as the person of the year. I mean the term "person" does not denote a group of individuals, it denotes a single individual. Naming a group is named instead of a person I think "cop-out"! I'll never forget when Time named "YOU" as the person of the year, which is easily one of the top 10 lamest things I've ever seen in my life.

I can't say I agree with the author's stance on dictators. There are times when they are deserving of the title "person of the year" - case in point, Hitler. It's hard to argue that anyone did more to influence world events than Hitler during the era in question and honestly, Osama bin Laden should have been named "person of the year" in 2001 instead of Giuliani - Just think about how stupid that decision was - with it Time basically said that the person who played the role of cheerleader and morale booster in the ensuing aftermath of the event and who essentially reacted to an event played a more significant a role on the world stage than the person who actually set that event in motion? Now that was a limp wristed cop-out.

Posted by: cjpotter19 | December 16, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Time's "Person of the Year," is not, necessarily, an honor. At least not in the laudatory sense. It is a recognition of an individual who exerted great influence during the preceding year.

I mean, fer goodness sake, Hitler was picked.

All of which just means that choosing Bernanke is not, necessarily, an endorsement of everything that he did. Rather, it highlights how important he was to the process.

Whether or not you view his actions as beneficial depends a lot on your political views. Personally, I think he saved the economy. But people will be arguing about this long after we have all left the scene.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 16, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The Miami Herald's website is asking readers for "voluntary donations". Something I found out via Florida Trend's daily email of Florida news stories, which linked to the Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale), which ran an AP story. So here's what it looks like:

Ilya, the manatee who visited Cape Cod this summer and was shipped home from New Jersey, has left the manatee hospital and is resuming normal life in Biscayne Bay. Home. The Miami Herald has a video.

Over the long term, 2009 may end up being famous for something or other that didn't happen in (or to) the US. But for now, the Great Financial Freeze and Bernanke's efforts to thaw it looks perfect for Person of the Year. Much better than the 40 Republicans and Joe Lieberman who saved us from the Democratic health care bill. (On the side, I concur that if Obama were a good Machiavellian, he'd love to spend the next couple of years blaming Republicans and Sen. Lieberman for every last health care problem).

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 16, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Time's man of the year story for Hitler was a fine job. Congrats to whoever wrote it.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 16, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Time could give it a rest.

It does not mean that much.
Recognizing Ben for maintaining 0% interest rate is not a great accomplishment.
One can only hope that this does not qualify him to be head at the Fed for unlimited number of years like his buddy Alan.

Alan ran away when economy started to tank.

Posted by: 68b2b | December 16, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, Time Magazine is wrong again -- a bunch of pseudo-intellectuals selecting a pseudo-intellectual whose ego is too big to understand history correctly.

Rudy Haugeneder, Victoria,BC,Canada

Posted by: Rudy7 | December 16, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom --it would be a treat to hear you sing. Wanna burn a CD for the Boodle?

Posted by: -ftb- | December 16, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@68b2b -- I haven't researched it thoroughly, but I seem to recall that Greenspan "ran away" from the Fed job (a) *before* the economy tanked, and (b) after becoming quite old and therefore entitled to do something (anything) else, legal, that he might want to do.

Fending off an impending depression seems to me like a reasonably valuable accomplishment, although difficult to prove that it definitely *would* have happened had he not been there. Nevertheless, being the man responsible for managing the economic activities of the world's only (current) superpower and mightiest economy, during a time of extraordinary economic unrest and unhappiness, would seem to qualify for Person of the Year (PotY) status, regardless of whether you think he fulfilled the role well or poorly. For good or ill, whoever filled that role in the past year would have a good chance of being PotY.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 16, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@ those folks who decry Time's choice -- OK, fine, so they are pinheads who chose the PotY unwisely. Don't just throw sticks and stones, throw names: who would you, in your extravagant wisdom, have chosen instead?

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 16, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

For no better reason than I actually found a proper written version, I give you what was once a true holiday tradition 'round Beantown (Sneaks, rickoshea -- back me up here!):

Chuck Kramer's "Ode to Christmas"

Lord . . . and Taylor. Ann Taylor. Ann Klein, Calvin Klein, K-Mart, Kodak cotton polyester, budget stretcher, store-wide, half-off. Mr. Coffee, Mrs. B., E.T., GE, GI Joe, IJ Fox, TJ Maxx, Betamax, Pentax, woofer, tweeter, quartz heater. Atari, Tyco, Tonka, Yoka, Dolby, Barbie, Garfield, Smurf dolls, shopping malls, racquet balls, bouncing checks, turtlenecks, Memorex and Magnavox and ties and socks. Jontue, Jean Nate, Faberge, automatic lay-away. Digital, special, reduced, unique, rechargeable, portable, washable, water-proof, oven-proof, shock-proof, 90-proof, Cutty Sark, Chivas Regal, English Leather, British Sterling, Sterling Silver, Lady Schick, sure-stick non-stick, Water-Pic, Pac Man, Spider Manischevitz, Shrieve, Crump, Low, watt, crock, pot. Sale. Save. Now. New. Cash. You. Gift. Wrap. Shop. Lift. Plastic trees, two IDs, JVCs, [DVDs], all sales final, simulated wood-grain vinyl, freshness dated, pre-faded, efficiency-rated, gold plated. One step, two cycle, three-speed, four-ply, Seagrams 7, eight-track, 10-speed, 10-cup, 14-karat, 40-channel, 50-grand opening, green stamps, white sale, Black and Decker, what the heck, deck the halls with Hitachi, Nakamichi, Sansui, Sony, Seiko, Sanyo, Panasonic, Instamatic, anti-static, buttermatic, merry Christmas, praise the Lord almighty dollar days, step in line, nine to nine, Calvin Klein, Ann Klein, Ann Taylor, Lord and Taylor, good Lord. What have we done to Christmas?

Kramer was a commentator on WCVB in Boston, and he usually delivered it live during the 6 p.m. newscast. I simply must check Youtube later to see if there's a video version -- Kramer's timing and delivery were delightful to behold.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 16, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The prediction that Bernanke avoided a Great Depression sized collapse is still premature. His culpability in the run up to the crisis is also still very arguable. Some of the best firemen are arsonists.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I ask, Google provides:


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 16, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Being a layabout is the only sane response to a bout of haplessness.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 16, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that Scotty. I rarely watch CVB so it only rang a distant bell but hearing it made it more familiar. For old time's sake I wish he'd mentioned Lechmere Sales! I still miss that store.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 16, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

SciTim: Your challenge implies that Time's POTY award actually means something. It's simply a ploy by the mag to generate buzz. Offering up alternatives perpetuates the myth that the award has substance.

Scottynuke: Thanks for the link to Kramer's newscast. Here's a link to one of my favorite holiday tunes about the Commercial Spirit:

Posted by: MsJS | December 16, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks: Lechmere many of my college furnishings were from there. What memories!

Posted by: MsJS | December 16, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Are there economists alive who haven't spent a good deal of their time studying the causes of the Great Depression?

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | December 16, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

In the '80s I said to myself, they aren't actually going to BAIL OUT these thieves, are they? But then they did. All through the '00s I said to myself, surely they learned something from the '80s, right? No they didn't.

I don't want to be Fed chairman, that's ridiculous; I'm totally unqualified. So why was I able to see it coming, and Bernanke, all through the '00s, didn't?

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 16, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, MsJS, I was responding to several posts that seemed to take it as given that the PotY designation means something, and they felt it had been foolishly given. Note that it is not really an "award": it is a designation. It is not necessarily an honor (viz., the designation of Adolph Hitler).

I would claim that, as an evaluation of the present state of the world and how it got that way, one could meaningfully designate a PotY, regardless of whether Time is an authoritative voice in doing so. Your disagreement seems to be over whether Time has a valid claim to be making the designation, but the legitimacy of Time's standing is not really in question -- they are as valid in making the designation as anyone else, but they are privileged in being able to set the terms of discussion by virtue of wide readership.

Time, the magazine, exists as a mechanism to spur discussion and to disseminate reasonably accurately-reported information (if they honestly pursue their journalistic mission and enlightened self-interest in maintaining the trust of their readers). You raise the argument that they designate a PotY in order to generate "buzz". My counter-argument is simple: so what? In what way does their pecuniary self-interest invalidate the basic concept of identifying a PotY? I cannot see how Time's selection of a PotY candidate invalidates the concept of a unique PotY, regardless of whether their choice is valid. They make a choice, it prompts discussion, and thus the purpose of a newsmagazine like Time is fulfilled. And, as a side-effect, they win or maintain readership (they hope).

It may have escaped your notice, but every privately-funded mechanism for the collection and dissemination of information is required to accomplish some form of sales and attempts to establish and enlarge an audience for the purpose of maintaining its income. If you will invalidate information coming from anyone who has a personal financial interest in selling you information, then you will live a life of profound ignorance, indeed. Vigilance must be maintained, of course. Legitimacy is lost when financial self-interest is better served by selling false information than the good stuff. So long as long-term profit is superior from selling solid information, self-interest of the seller will serve the buyer of information.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 16, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, I was about to post that same Lehrer link, when I saw you'd beat me to it. Instead, here's another Boston-related carol for Scottynuke, this one courtesy of Walt Kelly.

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby Lilla boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Posted by: rashomon | December 16, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The corrections of the year:

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm still puzzled over the 1969 choice of The Middle Americans. What was up with that? Was that the tipping point in the start of Mudge's Curmudgeonaiety?

Posted by: engelmann | December 16, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Rashomon -- I *loved* Pogo, even if I didn't quite get some of the references when I was a young kid. After I "growed up," I certainly did. To have J. Edgar Hoover (a/k/a "Mary") be designated by the bulldog was genius. I'd love to find a compendium of Pogo toons somewhere (I think I'll try

Ah, memories . . . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | December 16, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

ftb, I didn't really understand Pogo as a kid either, but loved the strip by my teen years. It's a shame Kelly died at a fairly young age. I think he would have had a great time with the Reagan years. You can find most of the Pogo books on ebay at fairly reasonable prices, if you aren't too picky about the condition. A few are pricey, due to low print runs. This is the official list of titles:

Posted by: rashomon | December 16, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

As our unemployment rates climb
Bernanke is honored by Time;
The new Man of the Year
Was the first one to cheer
When mortgage rates sunk below prime.

News Short n' Sweet by JFD8

Posted by: jd121 | December 16, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Afternoon, Boodle.

The Christmas shopping is mostly complete, physics-boy is delivering the little Christmas tree that was in his and #1's apartment and has since been in storage, and #2 has finished her exams. It is a good day.

Now to bake something delicious.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

englemann, I think the Middle Americans were the Silent Majority. The ones not protesting against the war in Vietnam, or growing their hair long, or rioting in the streets, or criticizing Nixon. The ones extolled by Agnew (speaking William Safire's words). Just a guess - I read Newsweek back then.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 16, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Best correction of the century was in the July 17, 1969 New York Times when the Times admitted it had been wrong in 1920 in claiming that Goddard did not understand how rockets work:

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 16, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Say, Yoki, if you have any leftovers from the baking (yeah, right), wanna fax some to me? I simply do have a case of the hungrys right now, and I didn't defrost anything from the freezer.

Anyone wish to join me to watch the finals of SYTYCD tonight? I probably won't post anything until tomorrow, but it's gonna be interesting. I don't think the "old married couple" are going to win, and I think it's going to be between Russell, Jakob and Kathryn (even though I really like Ellenore a lot). Won't be surprised if Jakob doesn't win (especially since Brandon lost last season) -- good grief, he's gonna get employed by a dance company immediately after the show anyway. My hopes are on Russell.

Back to the mines before my rumbling stomach takes me to the kitchen.

Posted by: -ftb- | December 16, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I like that NY Times correction a lot, Tim.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 16, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks seasea, I suspected as much. Interesting to have called it "Middle". Early variant of the Palinesque "Real Americans"?

Posted by: engelmann | December 16, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

To tide y'll over till supper is ready: in the crock pot is black bean salsa soup. Warming, but the chili gives the kick that wintery nosed appreciate.

On the side board are homemade corn tortillas. And, if you really need them, rummage for some "Cool Ranch Doritos" in the party closer.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 16, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

They're having a party in Hell. Celebrating one of their own being named "being" of the year.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 16, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

ftb, what is your pleasure? I've got butter tarts, brownies, almond/pecan shortbreads, mincemeat tarts, apple buttermilk cake and ginger snaps. The fax is all programmed with your number.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

SciTim: I helped perpetuate the profits of some of the most well-known names in global capitalism for nearly 30 years, including Time-Life. I know of what I speak when I say POTY is a media-op.

Had I something against capitalism, I would have chosen another profession.

If you and the other Boodlers want to believe that a single individual deserves some sort of standout recognition as a POTY, you're certainly entitled to do so.

I believe this world to be filled with incredible individuals doing incredible things. Most we will never hear of, but that doesn't diminish their contributions. I would never be able single out a single act or individual based on what the media tell me because they miss so much.

Posted by: MsJS | December 16, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

The former office manager of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) has been charged with stealing more than $75,000 from the U.S. Senate, authorities said.

Ngozi T. Pole, 39, was indicted Tuesday on charges of wire fraud and theft of government property. The Waldorf resident could face up to 20 years in prison, according to the Justice Department.

Authorities said that Pole was Kennedy's office manager and was responsible for transmitting salary and bonus information to the Senate Disbursing Office to ensure employees were properly paid. From 2003 through 2007, the indictment alleges, Pole submitted fraudulent paperwork that boosted his pay and bonuses by more than $75,000. He hid his scam by giving Kennedy staffers documents that falsely showed he was receiving the proper pay and bonuses, prosecutors said.

Posted by: stephenwhelton | December 16, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Here's the Time article on the Middle Americans:
Kind of odd to read so many years later. And a lot of the characterization sounds like the "real" Americans. Lots of the same issues.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 16, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Seasea, there are a couple of great typos in that article.

1. Here's the first:

"The American dream that they were living was no longer the dream as advertised. They feared that they were beginning to lose their grip on the country. Others seemed to be taking over—the liberals, the radicals, the defiant young, a communications industry that they often believed was lying to them. The Saturday Evening Post folded, but the older world of Norman Rockwell icons was long gone anyway. No one celebrated them: intellectuals dismissed their lore as banality. Pornography, dissent and drugs seemed to wash over them in waves, bearing some of their children away. [an error occurred while processing this directive]"

Engelmann: I know I've tried to do my part in processing this directive.

The second:

"The Middle Americans tend to be groped in the nation's heartland more than on its coasts."

Engelmann: I've travelled quite a bit across the US and I can't say that I found one area's citizens more gropable than others.

Posted by: engelmann | December 16, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Yoki. . . .

What can I say, but simply . . . . *yes* (um, to everything, of course).

That reminds me of an occasion to celebrate a significant birthday at a very significant place more than a decade ago. We were working on the invitation, and when it came to "Dress" I opted for "yes" followed by "semi-formal optional". Some of the people came in formal gown and tuxedo and some came in jeans (followed by some embarrassment, but all was well). My, that was fun.

The holiday season in which I was to do a lot (and I mean *a lot*) of back-hoeing in the office and work the shredder on piles of stuff seems to be unraveling already. Not that I'm complaining, you know. I get to draft an opposition to a summary judgment motion (Ivansmom and englemann will explain it all to you). That means (as Maynard G. Krebs used to say) WERK! Which also means ability to pay mortgage and condo fee and the like.


Posted by: -ftb- | December 16, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Middle Americans:Hippies::Rudy Giuliani:Osama Bin Laden

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, okay, MsJS. I think it's clear that Time has punted numerous times on identifying a single individual as PotY, consistent with your sense that there are many important individuals out there. That doesn't make it an invalid intellectual exercise to *try* to identify such an individual: the effort is instructive in terms of clarifying the perception of what are the dominant influences on current affairs. It is a circumstance, like many in science and mathematics, in which a valid yet incorrect proposition is perhaps more valuable and instructive than a perfectly correct and acceptable proposition.

I disagree with your implication in the phrase "...based on what the media tell me..." as it implies that you are bravely rebelling against thought-control by a monolithic conspiracy, apparently in contrast to the rest of us. The job of "the media" is to present voices and ideas and information for your consideration. If you were not thinking about them and comparing them to each other and debating and dissecting them, then you would not be doing your job as a citizen. I am a tad irritated by your implication that one (meaning: me) is merely a good little sheep if one does not prejudicially reject the reporting and opinions in the news-media. I prefer to collect data prior to judgment, except in the case of George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and Michael Gershon, from whom I have heard quite enough already.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 16, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

My son had his wisdom teeth pulled today and is no passed out on the couch from painkillers. Time to cook some pudding for the poor dear.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Two comments:

How was the President, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate this year, not selected?

Fortunately, Michael Jackson wasn't selected, although he clearly dominated the news. He wasn't seriously considered, was he?

Posted by: Dungarees | December 16, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I feel for jkt jr. No fun at all at all.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

MsJS, I'm glad you joined our virtual group. You fit in well. Please know that the diversity among us is a big part of Who We Are. Please note though that 'You and the other boodlers' is a phrase reserved for sentences involving porching hours and other indulgences.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 16, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

The typo I caught in the 1969 Time article was a reference to High Sidey. Indeed.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 16, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Tried to get reservations at Volt for Restaurant Week. Ha! Good luck with that.

Instead I settled for Bezu, Finn and Porter, and The Caucus Room. None of which are on Connecticut Avenue.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

SciTim: I read gobs of media info every day. I also listen to many non-media voices, and I imagine you do too.

I have decided there is a lot the media don't know, or at least don't publish for public consumption. Others may draw different conclusions, that is their choice.

In no way do I imply that you or other Boodlers are sheep. That is your interpretation. I simply stated how I lead my life.

Posted by: MsJS | December 16, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

ylwjkt: Pudding works real well for the newly wisdom-toothless. You are wise.

LiT: Thank you for the advice. Duly noted.

SciTim: I like the way you think, even if I'm gonna disagree.

Posted by: MsJS | December 16, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

It sounds more like the Fox In The Henhouse Award to me...

Posted by: Wildthing1 | December 16, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

In the '80s I said to myself, they aren't actually going to BAIL OUT these thieves, are they? But then they did. All through the '00s I said to myself, surely they learned something from the '80s, right? No they didn't.

I don't want to be Fed chairman, that's ridiculous; I'm totally unqualified. So why was I able to see it coming, and Bernanke, all through the '00s, didn't?

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 16, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Who says he didn't see it coming yet deciding to do it anyway? Perhaps the situation was so serious that it was or at least seemed like the best possible solution given the circumstances, as distasteful as that sounds. I personally would have nationalized the banks and broken up many of these "too big to fail companies" but the thing is that solution would have been even more distasteful to the free market/laissez-faire crowd - the same crowd that was basically saying "let them fail" - which I am convinced would have been far, far worse than paying these sobs.

What I can't stand is that the moment someone tries to regulate these fools, many of the very same people infuriated by the bailouts cry foul over the governments attempt to regulate the very companies they are bailing out!

Posted by: cjpotter19 | December 16, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Double batch of chocolate pudding cooling as we speak. And the cook on the stove style, not the instant. I nearly died the time I saw my dear grandmother put pudding in the microwave.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Poor Yello Jr. Thank heavens the procedure has evolved, so that young folks don't have to spend two nights in the hospital, as I did when mine were removed. I trust he will feel better tomorrow, sustained as he will be by chocolate pudding.

Posted by: slyness | December 16, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

You do have it right about the Time magazine that used to feature on its covers "boring middle-aged male Caucasians such as John Foster Dulles." But that same Time would, from time to time, feature the antic art of Boris Chaliapin, including this cover of non-male Caucasian July Child from 1966 --,16641,19661125,00.html. But my favorite Time cover from those years was another non-male Caucasian (1966) --,16641,19560514,00.html

Posted by: TomGrubisich | December 16, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, that Time cover of Marilyn Monroe was from 1956.

Posted by: TomGrubisich | December 16, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Both easy to answer, Dungarees.

1) Obama was selected last year. (Were you not paying attention?)

2. No.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | December 16, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Kguy! Gotebo! and yes, it is a real town. I wouldn't be surprised if Thankless Obscurity were nearby.

Howdy lostinthe middle.

ftb, I only made a lullaby CD. I keep threatening to do a Christmas one. Several people held their phones up while I was singing today, apparently recording me. If technology permits and I can figure out how, I'll try and post a snippet. Just remember the source when considering those "ifs".

I sang "Deck the Halls With Boston Charlie" today. That song is the reason I keep forgetting the first verse of "Deck the Halls".

Cookies! Chocolate Pudding!

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 16, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

TIME used to have a contest -- guessing who the "Man of the Year" would be. I won a "perpetual calendar" in 1958 for guessing Charles DeGaulle.

Posted by: nellie4 | December 16, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, watching a new CBC Christmas musical you might like, Ed Asner as a Christmas elf - and he sings - well something approximating singing. :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | December 16, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Another meaningless award. The vast majority of persons chosen by "Time" have been American or European men. This tells you their perspective on the world, to usually leave out at least 90% of humanity from consideration.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 16, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

"My son had his wisdom teeth pulled today and is no passed out on the couch from painkillers."

yello... as the mother of teenagers and as someone who was with your son the other night, I have to ask... how can you tell?

Posted by: -TBG- | December 16, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

He's usually awake between 4 pm and 4 am. The last time I came home to him asleep on the couch, his appendix had ruptured.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

My favorite animal as a kid was the three-toed tree sloth. Teenagers have the same motion patterns.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

The Time Magazine Person of the Year is chosen for his impact on the news, unfortunately, not for his merits, and certainly not for his long-term merits. For example, Wallace Simpson was chosen in 1936; Adolf Hitler in 1938; Joseph Stalin in 1939; Charles de Gaulle in 1958; William Westmoreland in 1965; Richard Nixon in 1971 and 1972; Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979; The Endangered Earth in 1988; Newt Gingrich in 1995; Vladimir Putin in 2007. But it is entirely fitting that Time should pick Bernanke, because he has done as much as anyone to push that magazine into bankruptcy.

Posted by: remant | December 16, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse


Obama is a smart guy. The only reason why Bernanke is still the Fed chairman is to clean up the *crap* he helped make during the Bush administration -- not because he's some kind of hero who studied the depression like Time is writing about.

Let's review his confirmation hearing just a bit.

During his hearing he justified stopping one of the critical metrics that should've alerted the FED, and everyone around the world that the U.S. economy was in serious trouble -- yes that was the money supply metric, M3 = M1 + M2 + large time deposits, institutional money-market funds, short-term repurchase agreements, along with other larger liquid assets.

Furthermore, the FED, since 2002 accelerated the use of repurchase agreements, and continued to maintain interest rates so low, they were essentially printing money.

Why? to pay for the war and the tremendous amount of government IT, defense, and intelligence spending. Between Bush's tax cuts and the Republican's government spending policies our Treasury was really looted.

And, their only plan was to print money.

But they had to hide it... and one of the most important metrics that would have set off alarm bells, Bernanke, put a stop to tracking their bad policies.

Here's some info for you to check out Joel:

Posted by: FranknErnest | December 16, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, now. Russell won! I'm pretty happy, I must say. I don't think I was so surprised at the lineup and who went first, second, etc.

Posted by: -ftb- | December 16, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

yello, I hope the junior jacket is feeling better soon.

My own experience (as a young man) having all four wisdom teeth removed was not completely pleasant, as all of them were impacted, and were not so much pulled as chiseled into pieces small enough to... oh, never mind. My jaw still gets sore thinking about it.

I'm glad I went with the sodium pentathol and something-else cocktail for that one.

I, too, chuckled at the WaPo's "Best of the Decade" banner featuring a pic of GW Bush when I noticed it the other day.

Editors and publishers know full well that "Top 10," "Best of," "... of the Year" and like lists draw eyeballs on magazine racks and on the Web as well as generate discussions with references to the publication in question.

This is the way the popular publishing trade is plied, and heck, as humans, we like making comparisons.


Posted by: -bc- | December 16, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I had the same experience, bc, only I was conscious throughout so I could warn the dentist if he was about to break my jaw (no joke).

All that whacking made me feel like a horse for some reason. The extraction wasn't as bad as the constant niggling pain for days afterwards (first painkiller just made me sleepy, not painless. Second choice was better.)

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 16, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

New planet found, complete with Ice-7.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 16, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Same thing here, Wilbrod. I think I had a cold when I went to have them removed, so they wouldn't use a general anesthetic. All four, impacted, were removed under a local. I remember the surgeon repeatedly telling me that "You'll feel a little tap now," just before he banged a mallet into the chisel with a force approximating a straight right from Ali. He gave me a prescription for painkillers, and told me to be sure and take one as soon as I got home. Except that my mouth was so loaded up with novacaine that I...couldn't...swallow...anything...

Posted by: rashomon | December 16, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

R squared on the hypothesis "Bernanke did more good than harm" is Zero due to sample size.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 16, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Yello, I'd been meaning to post something about that super hot-tub world.

It'd make for a heck of a clothing-optional resort, and talk about taking a serious steam -- 400 deg. F's going to make me look like a lobster pretty quickly.


Posted by: -bc- | December 16, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I had the bottom two (impacted) wisdom teeth removed under local anesthetic at my regular dentist's office. He made me hold my fist under the jaw to brace it for his sledgehammer. I then drove myself home. Don't remember it being a problem. The dentist later committed suicide - for other reasons than the pain he caused me, I assume.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 16, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

If we're telling wisdom tooth stories, I'll join in (Yoki, you may want to avert your eyes). I've had only one wisdom tooth removed. I thought I'd be getting the laughing gas, which I have never had, but all the dentist used was novocaine. I remember it being a strange feeling, the chiseling out, and then all he recommended for pain relief was Tylenol. I went for a walk the next day, and I could feel each step in my tooth - or where my tooth had been. Other than that, he was a good dentist - great hands that made me relax instantly. But his dental assistant who did routine cleanings was like a German prison guard - brutal.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 16, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

I had a a wisdom tooth removed as well, like seasea it was quite easy, no laughing gas, just local freezing and advil after,other than that gap in my mouth didn't really notice anything different.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 16, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry, I had my wisdom teeth out years ago. Friday is much, much worse.

Posted by: Yoki | December 16, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

'gnight all. We are getting a small taste of the cold. Not Alberta cold, but still.

Never had a wisdom tooth removed but I remember a 4 hours stint in the chair for a root canal treatment on one of those deep molars. Complete with a broken file in one of the roots. Gawd I was happy to shut my mouth after that.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Picking Bernanke was just Time's way of spreading a little much needed Christmas cheer to to the poor worker bees on Wall St.

... and your Secret Santa this year is Julie from Human Resources ...

Oh crap, not a-n-o-t-h-e-r Faberge Egg !

Posted by: gannon_dick | December 17, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

My own story of wisdom tooth removal is pretty boring, but at my first real job I worked with a Chicago debutante who had a beautiful smile. When her wisdom teeth were removed, her mother had a necklace made that included 4 stations, each containing one of the teeth.

Ivansmom, how can we persuade you to make us a cd? Donations to the charity of your choice? Cookies? Lullabies, christmas carols, anything! Think of how, um, proud Ivan would be!

Posted by: -dbG- | December 17, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Lullabies. Does that look funny to anyone else?

Posted by: -dbG- | December 17, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Yes! Always has. Because it looks as though it should be pronounced lulla-bees, instead of the proper spelling which would be, in a perfect world, lullabyes.

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Ack! It's dead. I'm going to bed before the cops show up.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 17, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Yoki, didn't refresh in time to see your post.

Lullabies = sophorific marsupials.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 17, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Soporific.

Night, all.

Posted by: -dbG- | December 17, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

I see Times magazine’s “Person of the Year” award as Times having a bit of fun. I don’t think Bernanke takes it as that big of a deal.

Having said that, I think Bernanke deserve to be appreciated for what he did. Warding off a great depression that was very clear would happen is a big deal. Just from the little information that the public is privy to, we could tell how bad things were going to be. I could imagine those who are privy to confidential information turning pale when it was clear that there was no light in the tunnel and the US economy was heading into the abyss and taking the economy of the other parts of the world with it. The picture is very scary if you trace the source of the trouble (Wall Street) down to the companies, institutions and individuals in different parts of the world that will be affected. All the big outfits on Wall Street have subsidiaries and affiliates in just about every country on the planet. And these subsidiaries and affiliates do business with other subsidiaries, affiliates and ordinary companies. The domino effect is astounding.

At that time, nobody could trust what’s stated in another company's balance sheet because you can’t tell how exposed the other company is from just looking at their balance sheet. A lot of the companies here were affected adversely by the banks’ decision. The banks won’t give overdrafts facilities for new applicants. For companies with overdraft facilities, those facilities were reduced by half. When the companies receive payment from their client/customer, the banks will immediately take their share for payment of principal and interest leaving very little for their customer (company) to operate on. When this happens, the company’s labourers are the first to suffer.

Our company was not affected because we downsized before the melt down. A number of our ex-labourers approached us wanting to come back and work for us again. All of them told us the same thing. They were being owed an average of 3 months wages. When they do get paid, they were paid an advance, e.g. if their wages is $700 per month, they get an advance of $200 just enough for food. I feel sorry for them, but we have no position open. We have a Bangladeshi labourer working in Dubai. Since a couple of years back, he calls me a couple of times a year to see if he could come back and work for us again. I would gladly hire him if we have an opening but we don’t.

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 17, 2009 3:04 AM | Report abuse

SCC : all the wrong grammar. Sorry.

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 17, 2009 3:12 AM | Report abuse

The economy tanking is a built up of many events under Alan Greenspan’s watch. There’s a reason why people call Greenspan’s office a “bully pulpit.”

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 17, 2009 3:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm wondering whether creditors (or more accurately, the Sharia-compliant equivalents of creditors. I think co-owners would be the term) might start stripping Dubai of its goods, given the sudden shortage of money. Maybe a thousand containers of Toto toilets, another thousand of kitchen sinks?

That sounds too flippant, in the face of what's happening to the workers who were building Dubai and making it run.

The partly-built, partly-abandoned swaths of Miami after the 1920s boom would have been as nothing compared to Dubai.

Jacksonville had its own version of abandonment. A plush neighborhood of curving streets, San Jose, got started in the 20s. The street plan survived, as did a riverfront hotel building (now Bolles School), and a dozen or so elegant two-story stucco Spanish-style houses. Plus a few less elegant ones, completed on the cheap. Finally, in the 50s, San Jose filled with houses. Ranch houses.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 17, 2009 3:45 AM | Report abuse

For now, Dubai seemed to be holding since UAE came to the rescue. Later, if they cannot meet their obligations, whatever can be sold will be sold at fire sale prices. Contractors might get paid 40 or 50 cents to a dollar and still have to pay their legal fees. If they are lucky, they would incur a small legal fee rather than a huge one. Their workers will get probably get paid but not in full.

Our company has been there, done that,sort of, though not in Dubai.

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 17, 2009 4:32 AM | Report abuse

I just realised even my SCC is wrong. OK, I go make dinner for my dogs and won't post anymore until Joel post a new Kit. Hopefully, by then you all would have forgotten all my grammatical errors.

Oh, and before I go, Ivansmom, could I request you to sing "O Holy Night?"

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 17, 2009 4:58 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all! All the wisdom teeth stories overnight make me glad I was in the hospital under general anesthesia for the removal of mine. They were all four impacted and the dental surgeon jokingly advised me to jump out of a window. That was not reassuring, let me tell you!

Carolyn Hax used a comment I made in her column this morning. You all don't let me get all puffed up about that!

Hi Cassandra! Hope you're sleeping well in your own bed. And warm this cold morning!

Okay, pumpkin scones with butter and jam and a mixed fruit bowl on the ready room table.

Posted by: slyness | December 17, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all, lovely cold sunny morning here, just watching the Olympic Torch convey try to negotiate rush hour traffic on the highway in Toronto, hopefully skies will stay clear as the torch goes through the heart of Toronto today. 2 days til my city.

Today I will try to complete my Christmas shopping before the kids start their holiday break tomorrow, wish me luck.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 17, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Ah. Wisdom teeth stories.

I had mine removed when I was 25. I chose local anesthesia because I suspected the trauma to my mouth would be less if I were awake to help position things. And whether or not that was the reason why, I certainly recovered quickly and with a minimum of swelling.

Besides, by staying awake I got to hear the dentist crack the tooth and drill it out. Man, you just haven't lived until you see smoke curling up from your mouth.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 17, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Just a drive by to say hi and grab some pumpkin scones. Crazy busy. Our little nonprofit just received a 3-year sustaining grant-our first grant that explicitly covers things like heat, lights, salaries. Be back after Christmas. Take care of yourselves!

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 17, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Wisdom teeth? What are those?

*ducking-under-the-desk Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 17, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Ah, I see that Washington NFL Franchise VP of Football Operations (ahem, such as they are) Vinny Cerrato has reportedly resigned.

To make room for who/what, I would ask.

Hopefully, it's not a cost-saving measure to let the Ownership assume direct control of such operations, rather than allow for the hiring of a Real Genuine NFL-Spec General Manager.

Be still, my heart.


Posted by: -bc- | December 17, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Frosti! We knew you had mad grant proposal skills! Or should that be skillz?

Rainforest, you seem to have a very good grasp of macroeconomics. Is that your field, or are you a layperson? I don't meet many in this country who understand what's going on, aside from broad generalities. And it's exciting and scary to think of laborers, regular workers, going abroad to work.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 17, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. Sure RP Padouk, there nothing like the smell of burning dentine in the morning.
It's a fortifying morning by the way, -20C/-4F. The dogs were easily convinced to go back inside.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Well done on the grant, frosti!! :-)

With the 'Skins luck, Cerrano's resignation letter will miss Snyder's inbox, wide right.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 17, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations Frosti, well done.

Posted by: dmd3 | December 17, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

SCC there's

I need more coffee.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Great news, Frosti! I hope that means you have the employment you wish for. That, indeed, would be a wonderful Christmas present!

Posted by: slyness | December 17, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

ESPN reported a couple of weeks ago that Mike Shanahan was in line to replace Jim Zorn. IIRC, Shanahan wants full control of football operations. My guess, Dan-o wants Shanahan, a proven Super Bowl coach. Vinny would be in the way. Ergo, bye-bye Vinny.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 17, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Frosti, congratulations on the grant. Nice to know that smarts and hard work are rewarded.

Posted by: badsneakers | December 17, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Congrats on solidifying the cash flow. Sounds like money well spent.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

On kit, sort of: BB is bearded. So few politicians and high gov offies are bearded. What does this mean? We have the face-fashion answer that shaped Lincoln's decision to re-beard. A young "Virginia" type wrote him suggesting that the beard was prettier on him than no beard.

My dad had a beard for years: red, grizzle-red, red, then pure candy floss angel hair white. Now, no beard. I asked him recently and he said that the twin comforts of modern gel and excellent blades meant that shaving was not the sand-papering ritual of yore.

Is this it? Better shave technology? Could this be the male personal product candidate for the Tech o' the Decade choice?

Discuss. Me? Off to usher kidling-adults into the final rites of semester's close.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 17, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, that was Vinnie's first personnel move that really made any sense.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Sorry for all the football talk, but we have momentous matters to discuss, beside which global warming, the economy, war, famine, flood, new stars and planets, etc., are mere footnotes.

EBT, the football guys I listen to in the morning think Mike Holmgren has the inside track, not Shanahan. And there's a way distant outside shot that if Holgren comes as GM, he might keep Zorn. (But I think not.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

ESPN now saying Bruce Allen (whoever he is) will be the new GM. *sigh*

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the story which included the Ice & reference, yellojkt. I had missed that interesting detail.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

He's the son of former coach George Allen and brother of former Va. Sen. George "Macaca" Allen. He has ties to coach John Gruden ("Chuckie"), whose name now comes into play as a future coach replacing Zorn.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Is this Mike Shanahan of whom you speak the guy who used to own our St. Louis Blues? Because if he is, he's not a very nice person. I remember some sort of kerfluffle about him screaming obscenities at a secretary. 20 years ago, at least.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 17, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Sorry - it's a different Mike Shanahan. Though when you Google "Mike Shanahan" and "screaming obscenities" you get lots of current hits.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | December 17, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Been thinking about the Time Magazine Person of the Year topic overnight, and got a fortifying shot after reading Tim Egan's op-ed in the NYT this morning, titled "Clueless in Costco," (playing on "Sleepless in Seattle"?) in which he takes a swipe at the Washington Post's decision to close its far-flung domestic news bureaus.

It seems to me that after re-examining the Business and Technology picks by Time over the years, how the picks seem to be those of pointy-head Easterners.

In the 20th century and into the Aughts, think of the tremendous impact of motion pictures and Hollywood, the atomic bomb, networking technology and the Internet, the power of personal computing. Behind these life-changing inventions were people--working on the West Coast.

No Time magazine covers featuring either Ernest Lawrence, Hewlett or Packard, Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates (the latter shown with his wife Melinda and performer Bono as philanthropists, however, in 2005). The only two exceptions made by Time magazine are chipmaker Andy Grove (Hungary/City College of New York/Berkeley) and Internet book purveyor Jeff Bezos (Texas/Princeton/Wall Street/

Time magazine--truly out of touch west of the Rockies, or should that be west of the Appalachians?

Posted by: laloomis | December 17, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Ice 7, not Ice &.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. A good question CP. I think it has to do mostly with group identity.

Groups, especially groups dominated by men, tend to have a de-facto uniform. Adherence to this uniform confirms allegiance to the group.

Therefore, anything that makes one stand out from the group is viewed with suspicion. Now, ironically, in many groups having a beard, or at least facial hair, is an important visual indicator that one is a member of that group.

Beards are still viewed as a shorthand for members of the counterculture, environmentalists, outdoorsy people, and certain types of academics. Indeed, one reason men wear beards in such groups is to demonstrate visually that they are *not* "white collar" types.

And since white-collar professionals are typically all-to-eager to reinforce this distinction, beards among them are rare.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 17, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

RD_P & CP: Bernacke is an academic. In gummint, if you want to identify yourself as 'intellijent advizur with lotz uv edjacashun' and you're a man, the beard is almost mandatory. It identifies your status in the gummint hierarchy.

There are also many white-collar professions where beards are either a sign of 'out-of-the-box' thinker or 'I'm so important I can wear whatever I durn well please' (at least on men). Amongst certain consulting, advertising, and technology male professionals, beards are quite acceptable.

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I carry a sword, and shave with it to demonstrate to my enemies my prowess with the razor sharp steel.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Bearded men are fairly often also bald. This is perhaps a kind of compensation strategy. Follicularly challenged politicians (and many high govt officials are former and/or future politicians) seem to prefer toupes and transplants to going topless, despite the danger of ridicule and the charge of vanity.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

When I was going to DoDDS schools in the Philippines, most of the male teachers, who were civilians, wore beards. One wore longish shorts to class every day. It was all part of saying they were NOT subject to military dress and grooming regulations.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

You might do even better, Jumper, if you note that your sword must draw blood each time it is drawn, and therefore you must lightly slash your arm each time you pull it out. It shows that you're a hardcore kinda guy, not to be messed with. Even better if you can sack, pillage, and burn the occasional peasant village.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 17, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Length of beard says a lot too. Short croppped well-trimmed beards like Bernanke's say 'deep thinker'. Lots of architects I know, particularly the bald ones, go for that look. Hirsute scraggly beards say IT professional or Top Chef second runner-up. Three day growth stubble says unemployed or PLO leader.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

In my area, the wearing of beards is largely based on whether one has the DNA and hormonal requirements necessary to get a decent beard going. Myself, I just look scruffy or sleazy (two of the lesser-known dwarfs, relegated to an unpleasant tenement in the city) -- kind of like the guy you keep an eye on when you see him near a school-yard. It's not really a good look for me.


Originally, I discovered that I had typed "In my area, the wearing of bears...", which is not so much a consensual act, depending on whether the bear is alive or not. Even then, one member of the transaction -- me or the bear -- is unlikely to find the situation agreeable.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 17, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I check Doonesbury only rarely. Today's take on Tiger was worth the checking.

A long time ago, when I was a grad student, I noticed that the Institute of Ecology on campus seemed stuffed with bearded guys from the Northeast who tried to look kind of Woolrich-ish. The Natural Resources school next door (forestry and wildlife biology) was full of clean-shaven Southerners. At least once, I went to back-to-back seminars, one Ecology and the other Natural Resources, and noticed that I seemed to be the only person in common.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 17, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Two-day growth stubble says "Baby, I'm the bad boy your momma warned you about."

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 17, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

And in the Bell Tolls for Thee Dept.

NFL standout (for good and bad reasons) Chris Henry, dead at 26:

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 17, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Good point that Bernanke might be trying to show that he "isn't" a typical white-collar drone.

I think people sometimes forget just how really powerful male facial hair is to group identity.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 17, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Despite some on-air commenters pointing to Bruce Allen's Tampa Bay tenure as proof of his ability to field a champion, Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl before Bruce Allen got there. Gruden won the Super Bowl with a team assembled by Tony Dungy and GM Rich McKay. After two years of working with Gruden, McKay was ousted in 2004 and Allen was hired. Allen and Gruden were both shown the door a year ago. This guy may or may not be a good idea, but the main thing his record showed at TB was that he could coexist with Chucky. I think Washington fans have a Gruden in their future.

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse
Howard Dean's article.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'd heard the Shanahan/Holemgren/Gruden/Cowher stories before, and I'm not sure what good any of it will do.

I think that being a GM/VP of Football Ops and a Head Coach of an NFL Franchise is too much for any one person to do well.

Handing all that to one person - well, has it resulted in a Super Bowl championship for any team?

If that someone ever accomplishes it in Washington, I'm sure there's a Time Magazine cover waiting for them.


Posted by: -bc- | December 17, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

bc, right, I'm with your logic. Too much, like Speedos on large/out of shape men. Too Much. A recipe for disaster.

Posted by: russianthistle | December 17, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Russianthistle: That's a visually painful analogy.
*holding stomach and closing eyes with majorly grimaced face and loss of appetite*

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Seeing 'McKay' and 'Tampa Bay' in the same paragraph gave me bad John McKay flashbacks from the old Bruce The Pirate days. Please don't do that to me again.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

During the 80s, working in a computer geek organization, I was the only one in the room without a beard. Part of that was a hanging on of the counterculture long hair and beards, part was the casual fashion of the Pacific Northwest, not to mention the cold. My kid, who is not quite 30, has had a beard for a couple of years now, mainly because he doesn't like to shave. He keeps his hair short.

Posted by: seasea1 | December 17, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Grimace got promoted to Major?? Does Mayor McCheese or the Hamburgler know about this?

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 17, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Lawrence got his Time magazine cover on Nov. 1, 1937, Loomis.

So did Oppenheimer (two covers), Teller (1, plus the joint "scinetists" POTY cover). Nuclear weapions got 30 covers, and A-bombs alone got 10 covers. None got WMD of the Year, though.

Steve Jobs got his Time cover on Aug. 18, 1997:,16641,19970818,00.html

Oh, and four other times.

But you were right about Bill Gates. Ooops, No, you weren't. Gates was on the cover of Time only SEVEN other times, not counting the philanthropy thing you disdain. Let's see, there's geeky Bill with a floppy disk, April 16, 1984; Master of the Universe Bill, June 5, '95; Whose Web Will It Be? Billy G, Sept. 16, 1996; The Private World of [BG], Jan. 13, '97; My 12 Rules [of BG], March 22, '99; Busting Bill a few mionths later, Nov. 15, '99; and Bill and the X-Box, May 23, 2005. Not counting co-share of the Person of the Year.

Also, please identify "all" those pointy-headed Easterners you claim to see on the list, whether business/tech or not.

Loomis, if you can't get your facts straight and stop slandering poor old Time Magazine, I'm going to have to report you to the Ombudsman.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I might point out that fully two-thirds of Peter, Paul and Mary wore beards. I think the message is pretty clear on that one.

Meanwhile: Dixey Chicks: no beards. Spice: no beards. Pat Boone: clean-shaven.

I rest my case.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

N Sync: no beards. Buddy Holly: no beard. Roy Orbison: no beard. Heart: no beards. The Judys: no beards. Devo: no beards. Simon & Garfunkle: no beards.

Early Beatles: no beards. Late Beatles: hirsute.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 17, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry. I really am having some trouble now distinguishing "beards" from "bears". Thank you, ScienceTim. I note that none of the people or groups I mentioned earlier were regularly seen publicly with bears. It is entirely possible that some consorted with bears in private. Many of these people were most popular before cellphone cameras were ubiquitous. What may have occurred at that time remains (thankfully) obscure.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 17, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

All this talk of beards has made me think of Chaucer and "The Miller's Tale"-

Darling, my sweetest bird, I wait your will."
The window she unbarred, and that in haste.
"Have done," said she, "come on, and do it fast,
Before we're seen by any neighbour's eye."
This Absalom did wipe his mouth all dry;
Dark was the night as pitch, aye dark as coal,
And through the window she put out her hole.
And Absalom no better felt nor worse,
But with his mouth he kissed her naked arse
Right greedily, before he knew of this.
Aback he leapt- it seemed somehow amiss,
For well he knew a woman has no beard;
He'd felt a thing all rough and longish haired,
And said, "Oh fie, alas! What did I do?"
"Teehee!" she laughed, and clapped the, window to;
And Absalom went forth a sorry pace.
"A beard! A beard!" cried clever Nicholas,
"Now by God's corpus, this goes fair and well!"

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Did Dickless ever open for the Dixey Chicks? Perhaps on a triple bill with Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

Elton John had a beard for a couple of years. Then she divorced him.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I work with a consultant who does the two day beard growth thing (he's in his 30's, a semi-fashionista, and a dink) and he always looks like he's hung over. Which he may be but not good to advertise this to clients.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 17, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

yello, you beat me to the Elton John beard bit.


Posted by: -bc- | December 17, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Just heard that Bengals WR Chris Henry passed away from the injuries he sustained the other day.



Posted by: -bc- | December 17, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Can't contribute to the football discussion but agree that Chris Henry passing is tragic. Just when things were turning around for him.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 17, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Can't help but think about Sean Taylor, too.


Posted by: -bc- | December 17, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Departing a bit from football and beards, the University of Hawaii women's volleyball team competes in the final four today in Tampa. They play Penn State who has won their last 100 matches so, needless to say, we're the David going up against Goliath. After such a disappointing football season, we UH fans are hoping for a great showing in the final four for our Rainbow Wahine. Go 'Bows!

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 17, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Jerry Garcia: Beard.
Barry Sadler: No Beard.
Bruce Springsteen: Sometimes Beard.
Courtney Love: Beard.
ZZ Top: Beards.
Simon and Garfunkel: No Beards.
Hall and Oates: Mustache (well at least one).

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The distinguishing mark of public safety officers is a lack of hair. Firefighters don't have beards because they interfere with the seal of SCBA face masks, so it's a safety issue. Police officers, I dunno what their issue is, unless beards are prohibited by their employers. Often both will have short or no hair. Even when they're not in uniform, you can spot them at 100 paces.

Posted by: slyness | December 17, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Slyness - that's interesting about the firefighters. It makes sense.

I agree that police officers and beards don't seem to mix. But what about mustaches? Granted, I haven't done much serious study of the matter, but it seems like many police officers, especially motorcycle cops, go for the 'stache.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 17, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

You know how I can always spot a peace officer? By their shoes. Never fails. A cop friend taught me what to look for (while wearing the very thing he was semi-laughing at).

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes facial hair works-

and sometimes it doesn't-

and then there's this-

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Statler: mustache
Waldorf: clean-shaven
Miss Piggy: no beard
Kermit: no beard
Mighty Favog: chiseled jaw is cleanshaven
Poe: mustache
Hemingway: mustache
Virginia Woolf: mustache
Myra Breckenridge: 5 o'clock shadow
Dr. Frankenstein: mustache
Eyegore: clean-shaven
Lonely monk: beard
Monster: neck bolts

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Many curly-bearded men are tormented by ingrown face hair when society or their position encourages beardlessness. It should be more tolerated.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Cowboy: No Beard
Construction Worker: Mustache
Cop: Beard
Indian: No Beard
Biker: Beard
Sailor: No Beard

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

RD, in the fire department I am intimately acquainted with, mustaches are allowed, but only if they don't go beyond the corners of the mouth. Again, a safety issue. Once upon a time, there was considerable controversy about the prohibition but I think everyone has moved on. You don't do stuff that could get you killed.

Yeah, Yoki, shiny shoes will give a cop away anytime, anywhere.

Posted by: slyness | December 17, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I was talking about POTY Time covers, not covers in general. Was it necessary to repeat POTY in my fourth graf--since I'd used it in the opening sentence? For some, probably....

But isn't it interesting that both Grove and Bezos (Jeff's last name is the name of his adoptive father)--who both were named Times' POTY in years past, both had links to New York City, where, coincidentally, Time's HQ is located?

Posted by: laloomis | December 17, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, funny. You may recall fairly recently a few undercover cops in Ont. checking out whether protesters were going to get violent were outed by their boots.

Congrats to Grimace. I thought he'd never get beyond Captain as he's so visibly out of shape.

re: de facto male uniforms. I was at a meet and greet with a bunch of Brit officers and noted that practically all of them were wearing variations of the same striped button down shirt. Ha ha, bunch of conformists. Then I noted we were all wearing golf shirts and khakis.

Posted by: engelmann | December 17, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

What seems tragic is Chris Henry's domestic situation...from what little reporting has been sone...

Posted by: laloomis | December 17, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Of all the silly-@ss fights you pick, this is the stupidest. You're the person with the journalistic training, be precise and accurate in what you write. There IS a difference between a POTY cover and a Time cover. And Time is a NEWSmagazine (Luce invented, he gets to name it), not a technology or business magazine. Technology-oriented POTYs are a small fraction of the total 'awards', so getting your panties in a bunch over neglected West Coasters in a side category with a tiny, tiny sample size is ludicrous.

And if you added up everybody with a NYC connection as having some inside track with TWC, you've got one massive unwieldy conspiracy going. If you are going to go all quota on the system, complain that the Chinese have only been represented five times and they are 20% of the world's population.

And WTF does the fact that Bezos has the last name of his stepfather instead of his biological factor have to do with the price of beans anywhere anytime? Bezos is also a Princeton grad, so maybe it's all some blue and orange cabal.

***sending myself to the ombudsman's office***

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Good day all. Sunny but cold here. Nice to have the sunny part for a change.

I like a man with a beard, but that doesn't make smart-yet-clean-shaven men any less sexy. Further, Mr. Police Officer and Mr. Firefighter are my friends (and downright angels). Having said all that, Men Working are my favorite. Even the one directing traffic around the construction zone.

laloomis, you refer to 'pointy-head Easterners,' and seem to mean it as a pejorative. First, being a nerd or a geek is a good thing; being a dork isn't. Next, in order to make the cover of Time (for accomplishments, as opposed to serial killer stuff), you pretty much have to have a pointy head. Even those you mention could be described as such. Finally, seems to me the part of your argument that might be raising hackles is that you divide the US, rather than seeing the country as a whole. We should be proud of Americans' achievements regardless of which state they call home; they are one of Us. (Think about it: we cheer for Michael Phelps because he's representing the USA, not because he's from The Very Distinguished State of Maryland or The Fabulous City of Baltimore.)

Off to pick up my little darling (easy to spot in the crowd, as she's dressed like Pepto-bismol's answer to the Pillsbury Doughboy.)

Have a happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 17, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

No pointy heads here-

and guess what? It's in Texas!

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

It isn't just the shine on the shoes, but the stability of a wide and extra-thick sole.

I'd forgotten the outing of the OPP (?) officers. Thanks, engelmann!

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Baltimore is fabulous. Thanks for noticing.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

RIP, Jennifer "Bernadette" Jones...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 17, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I was back from the office Christmas lunch at 13:45. For the first 15 years of my carreer there was no such thing as returning from the Christmas lunch. That horror started 4-5 years ago. Sheesh.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Linda, Chris Henry died this morning. It's a little soon for the investigation into the incident to be completed, especially since the local story was that his fiancee was at his side in the hospital. Local media interviewed the neighbors, who didn't see anything, and talked to his fiancee's mother, who wouldn't say anything, appropriately, in my humble opinion. Google the story in the Charlotte Observer if you want the available details. Otherwise, I'd say it's none of our business at this point.

Posted by: slyness | December 17, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Funny beard discussion. I had wispy red beard hair, now it is snow white while by hair is "only" grey. So there is no way I'm going to grow a Santa-Claus beard even if I could.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 17, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the assertion of an "East Coast" bias is necessarily absurd. Certainly there are subtle biases born of familiarity.

But the dominance of East Coasters as POTY is so much more easily explained by the fact that both the political and economic centers of this country are in the East Coast. I mean, Occam's Razor is a useful principle because it is nearly always right.

Further, excessive conspiracy thinking is especially nonsensical in a highly connected world were everything is connected to everything else. So just establishing a connection isn't enough. Nor, necessarily, is establishing a correlation.

To prove an alternative thesis to the obvious one, you need to establish a *mechanism.* You can't just ask rhetorical questions. You need to explain a specific *verifiable* mechanism. You know, something involving memos or secret letters or *something.* Just telling a story, no matter how satisfying it might be to certain preconceptions, isn't proof.

And without proof you might as well be talking about space aliens building the pyramids.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 17, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I understand space aliens taught Egyptians how to make concrete from nearly-pure limestone and sand, RD.

They never knew what they had right under their feet until UFOs came and explained it to them.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 17, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

laloomis, really, what do we know of his domestic situation? Three kids, upcoming wedding. Not tragic. Three kids, upcoming wedding and dying, tragic.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 17, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, I can totally relate to your 1:25.

Though I will say that for me, the curly beard is really really uncomfortable.

loomis, I am dismayed at your reference to Chris Henry's domestic situation as "tragic." Are you implying something that I'm too dense to understand? Or do you know something that should be communicated to the authorities?

Add me to the list of folks who consider Mr. Henry's home life none of my business.

A young father and gifted athlete lost his life, and I think that's sad and tragic. His family, friends, and team must be devastated.


Posted by: -bc- | December 17, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Just to expound a bit on RD's response, the pointy-head types congregate where pointy-headed stuff happens. New York is still the financial capital of the world, and Washington is still the capital of the free world. Ergo, that's where a lot of the pointy-heads cluster. What might be interesting is to see where all those folks were actually born and/or raised. Bernanke, for instance, was raised in South Carolina, not normally considered pointy-head territory.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 17, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The final page seems to be missing from this story.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 17, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I liked Jennifer Jones, especially in "LIAMST." With a great title song -- which still holds up pretty well, I find -- and playing opposite Holden, it was a pretty good flick as long as you didn't think about it too much. The question of casting irks me a bit today, but back then it didn't seem so unlikely.

I didn't realize she was married to Morton Simon, although I knew about Selznick and the mental illnesses, and such. She always struck me as a classy woman who had a hard life, in spite of all the fame and glamor, and who deserved better. Glad she made it to 90.

Yanno, Holden made some damn good movies.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I liked her in Love Letters.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 17, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Enjoying the beard thread. I guess we could do a visual check on the bearded PotY designations.

In academia, the beard and corduroy/suede patched sport coat are fast becoming NOT the uniform. And, I haven't spotted a bow tie in the English Department since dear doctor P.Y. died.

I am very familiar with the unkempt look, which is the daily offering of my male students. I echo SciTim's comment that among many fair haired/light bearded youths, the look is not "Me? Rocking a post modern Euro look." Rather the sparse sprouted fawn nibs invoke the emerging serial killer look that reminds of Manson.

I find the mustache the oddest of beard-lite choices. We have on campus an academic with at thick German accent. He sports a waxed handlebar 'stache. Sort of like encountering Wyatt Earp-meets-Klaus Kinski.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 17, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Yet another reason why pointy-head stuff doesn't much happen in Texas.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 17, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

This seems appropriate:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Feel good story of the day:

Posted by: yellojkt | December 17, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Somehow, I seem to be reading POTY as POTTY. Does that make me pointy-headed, or just fun to be with?

Jennifer Jones died? *adding to the list of people whom I already thought were dead -- where have I been?*

Add me also to the list of people who don't give an *expletive* of the private minutia of other people's lives. Not only do I not give an *expletive*, I don't think it's *any* of my business. There so little privacy left for us, do you *think* you can keep it to yourself (note how I didn't say "yourselves" seeing as we know who it is).

*marching with yello off to the ombudsman* Wanna come with us, anybody? I've got a couple decks of cards -- we can play bridge! Woo-hoo!

Posted by: -ftb- | December 17, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I think I would be content if the only line I had ever written was "Once on a high and windy hill..." Don't need anything more than those seven words. The whole rest of the verse almost writes itself after that. (Sammy Fain wrote it. Who? you ask? The guy who wrote the second "Wagon Train" song, of course.)

And the original trailer:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I always wanted to learn how to play bridge, ftb.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 17, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

For you purists, the original Four Aces version, which won all the awards in 1955:

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

It's a terrific game, WG. I am farrrrrrrrrr from being a master at it, but I do like it a lot. Besides, during the 10 years my mother was ill, I used bridge as my drug of choice, and it certainly helped to be with friends and just plain play that game.

Posted by: -ftb- | December 17, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Or there's this.

Posted by: Yoki | December 17, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Jones in The Song of Bernadette

We used to play that scene of digging in the mud.
"But Mom, we are digging the fountain of Lourdes, like in the movie."

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | December 17, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

One diamond.

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

One diamond.

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm reading POTY as President Of The ?

That was jaw-grinding about the concrete at the pyramids, Wilbrod. I sensed the author barely understood the Professor, and I gained barely any knowledge of the concrete in question.

I'm under the impression that the Romans never added so much water as to make their concrete pourable; they added barely enough water to compact it by pounding on it. If they mixed their lime and clay in the right proportions (granted, by near-accident sometimes) they made a concrete superior in some cases to that poured today.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Two hearts.

(OK, what the hell would I bid?)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Much better article on the ancient concrete. I still will fuss about the so-called 150 year lifespan of modern concrete. Not in all cases.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 17, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

SCC: insert "else" would I bid.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer Jones as Pearl in "Duel in the Sun", yeah it's corn, but it's so sweet and so well cooked!

Posted by: kguy1 | December 17, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I like bridge but the younger generation finds it too complicated. My parents taught all four siblings to play and we always played it during family gatherings. I played it in college til the wee hours. But that of course was before the techno explosion.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 17, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Since You Went Away is one of my favorite movies, mostly because of Jennifer Jones and Robert Walker (who is one of my favorite actors). It's too bad that their marriage was falling apart by the time they made that movie. What torture it must have been for both of them when Selznick made them do the love scenes over and over again.

Posted by: MiddleofthePacific | December 17, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse


*scratching my chin*


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 17, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Actually I have taught my younger son and his girlfriend to play. They liked it. Must play more during the Christmas break.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 17, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I know-- ScienceDaily often has awful writing on science, but at least there are often links or citations you can follow for the REAL story.

The reason why I remember this is because I predicted that the pyramids would be found to use some kind of concrete technology.

Limestone is highly soluble in even mildly acidic water, it would have been strange if the Egyptians didn't know about this and used this to smooth out the surfaces and also mend any cracks in the stones, especially considering that they invented faience and made glass, frit, and pigments for painting.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 17, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Um, Mudge -- I bid 3 Not Rump. . . .

Posted by: -ftb- | December 17, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, the ancient Egyptians didn't have a Home Depot. 'Splains everything.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Two no.

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh darn, I see ftb got a bid in before mine. I'll pass.

Posted by: MsJS | December 17, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I cripple your Mr Onion with a perfect ninecard run.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 17, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | December 17, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I thought the elves built the pyramids.

I have one professional observation to make regarding Chris Henry's death. Thanks to a deeply unfortunate case, I know all too well how easily one may contract a fatal head injury from accidentally falling out of a pickup bed, even when the truck is moving very slowly. As a kid I occasionally rode in the back of my grandpa's truck, though we never stood up. Knowing what I know now, the Boy has not experienced the joy of the pickup-bed ride. I'm very sorry for the families involved.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 17, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

ftb, sorry I missed the SYTYCD discussion (again). I'm happy to see Russell won--I'm with you that Jakob will be fine no matter what. And wasn't Jakob/Cathryn's routine Tuesday awesome?

Posted by: Raysmom | December 17, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it was, Raysmom.

And, BTW -- NEW KIT!

*getting out of the way of the mad rush*

Posted by: -ftb- | December 17, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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