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The evapo-day

I typically wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and, after brushing my tail, make a cup of strong coffee and compile a list of Things To Do that is Napoleonic in its ambition.

Some people reach for the stars, but my reach is extragalactic. The impossible dream is the baseline interface with society. If it weren't for delusions of grandeur I'd have nothing left.

This sense that the day holds such promise, such wonders of achievement, is ramped up to new levels when I rise early, long before the Sun has roused itself from its nightly slumber in the Atlantic or wherever it is that it goes at night, astronomically. There's nothing better than having a Things To Do list completed before dawn. Better yet is when you can quickly check off several key, priority-one items (Admire Self In Mirror; Floss Space Between Remaining Two Teeth; Tell Cat To Shut The Eff Up).

And yet this same feeling of momentum can so quickly turn on itself. Trivial chores, unlisted, unplanned, intervene. Suddenly there are other people who have arisen, and they want to converse; they have demands; they don't realize that the stuff they want me to do is off-budget, unplanned, unscheduled, not something To Do.

"That's not on the list!" I scream after my second, crude-oil-thick cup of coffee.

They fail to comprehend. They don't realize it's already 7:45 a.m., and the day is slipping away, and I haven't yet finished the item I had hoped to check off by that point in the morning (Feel Centered).

Further derailment ensues. There are e-mails that cannot be ignored. There are stories in the paper that, improbably, must be read to the end.

There are agate sports scores to peruse.

Digressions come out of the woodwork, like vermin.

Suddenly you look at the clock and realize it's 9:00 a.m., and the sun is above the treetops, and, in that glaring light, your day is rapidly evaporating. You know this kind of day, from bitter experience: The evapo-day.

The process of evapordaytion, as scientists call it, has steadily intensified with the proliferation of distractive technologies. Worse, people are expected to accomplish much more these days. There was a time, and we all remember this era, when people didn't do hardly a thing. Everything was so sloooooooow. Conversations were slow. Physical movement was slow. People would chat over the back fence for an hour. TV shows were glacial. You can't even watch a movie from the mid-1970s, pre-Star Wars, because all the flicks were so sloooooooow.

But now we live in the era of this conversation:

"Did you get the e-mail I sent you?"

"No, when did you send it?"

"About two minutes ago."

So we're supposed to do more with, in effect, less time, against higher odds, in a crazier environment, and with the Sun, relentless, beating down upon our day and creating this evapordaytion process in which by dusk our list will be a shambles, a mockery, a farcical compendium not merely of delusional thinking (what's so wrong with that?) but of failure, now documented, now provable right there on paper. What seemed like ambition in the morning turned out to be a prophecy of what would not happen, what could not happen, not on this earth, not on this day.

But there's always tomorrow.

By Joel Achenbach  | October 21, 2010; 8:28 AM ET
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Next: Baseball vs. literature


Boodling before conference call ... *check*

Posted by: ftb3 | October 21, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I am certain the internet has something to do with this phenomenon.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 21, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Now, see, the problem is that the to-do list is seen as set in stone once created in the morning. Instead, let's consider it open to amendment. Specifically, when something comes up and is dealt with, it gets added to the list and checked off. (ftb's got the idea.) Then at the end of the day, who cares if there are still things left unchecked -- look at that whole long list of things that got done!

Posted by: -bia- | October 21, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I always feel as if writing it down means it will actually get done.

Fortunately, many people believe this. Else how to explain their happy departure when they ask about something they've requested and I say it's on my list.

Great kit.

Digging in my desk for more irrational ideas. Hey, how about the one where if you xerox a technical article you'll understand what it means?

Posted by: -dbG- | October 21, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The trick is in listing the right things-

Achieve full consciousness- check!
Maintain healthy intestinal flora- check!
Eschew watching morning TV, Today, GMA, etc.- check!
Promote prostate condition with prompt morning bladder exercise- check!

Now see, five minutes into the day and already four items checked off the list.

Posted by: kguy1 | October 21, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The first item on my daily To Do list is:
1. Broom the To Do list.

So I locate the nearest circular file and voila!

The euphoric sense of accomplishment is beyond words.

Posted by: MsJS | October 21, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

The first week of my trip with my husband was slow time, a long overdue couple-vacation. We traveled no further north than Boston (never did make it to Charlestown), and no further south than the turnoff to Cape Cod. Delicious slow time, marvelous meandering, moments to be long savored and remembered. Time to sit in the car amid pelting rain and watch a funnel cloud descend from swirling sky and then be reabsorbed into the dark mass at First Encounter Beach on the Cape.

The second vacation was one where my freind and I were on the move. Sights missed. The need to prioritize. Slight accommodations made for the unexpected, the novel, the unusual. I had not seen my friend for 20 years. The tensions and difficulties that arose from our differences: someone who likes to rise with the roosters and chickens (I) versus someone who likes to roost with the night owls (she).

Want to meet a aggressive agenda, self-determined? Go it alone. Work or play only with those individuals with whom you're intimately acquainted. What good is some sort of understanding if it's not broken almost immediately?

Posted by: laloomis | October 21, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

SCC: ...if it's broken almost immediately.

Posted by: laloomis | October 21, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I have a time-tested, ironclad procedure for handling my daily Things-to-do list. First, I burn it. Then I run its pathetic little ashes through the shredder, just in case. Then I vacuum up the shredded ashes and flush them down the toilet (minimum three flushes; you can't be too careful). Because at my house, a Things-to-do list is synonymous with a honey-do list, about which I may have commented a time or two before.

Because lurking among the seemingly mundane chores (Joel calls them "trivial chores," as though such a thing existed. What a sweet, naive child he can be some times. There is no such thing as a "trivial chore," because lurking under every chore's seemingly simply exterior there is invariably a buggered screw, whether literally or metaphorically, which refuses to come out and which turns what ought to be a two-minute job into a 30-minute nightmare that might also require a trip to Lowe's). My Things-to-do list (given to me by Herself) not only contain things such as "Go to work, earn family's bread" and "Bring home the bacon," but also things such as "End world poverty," "Solve hunger in Africa," or "Nile has turned into River of Blood; please fix." Because somehow it will be implied that the Nile having turned into a river of blood is somehow probably my fault in the first place, despite the fact that I have no known Nilist ancestry, friends, connections, or associations with. It's still my fault, and there it is on my list to fix. By lunchtime.

So therefore the only thing to do with such a list is destroy it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"Evapordaytion", eh. OK, I'm going to go really Old School. Somehow Joel has channeled Bill Gold, who used to pep up his District Line column by asking readers to invent neologisims, made-up/crunched up terms. Joel has coined a good one. Can I remember any others at this remove? No, but Mudge probably can.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 21, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I sort of go with the mental checklist,rather then the actual physical checklist.But everytime I use the mental checklist I forget something.Maybe if I ran my day like I do when I go to the grocery store,everything would get done.

hmmmmmm let's see,take out the screens,prep for taking down the awnings tomorrow,call bank of america again,go for a walk,eat lunch on the walk,go to work for the flippin 10th day in a row.I am training a new girl at work and we have had to start at the basics,basic math,spelling,writing,word usage,everything.She said something to me the first week we started " you know,the chicken thingy,that wakes you up in the morning"I figure if I can get her trained to be a usefull informative employee.Then I can train anyone,even a rooster girl that giggles constantly.....Oyshhhhhh!!!!

See I didn't write it all down and forgot some of it already,old age has a lot to do with it.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 21, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

We interrupt this Boodle to bring you the latest on the Rally to Restore Sanity.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

Los Angeles

As the clock counts down to the Oct. 30 "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in Washington, the number of sister events in support of the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert extravaganza is exploding.

You can actually go to the event's [W]eb sites and watch the number speed upwards in real time. As of this writing, the tally of "meet-ups" - which includes everything from a few buddies at a sports bar to the grand second- and third-city events planned for Chicago and Los Angeles, complete with pricey jumbotron screens and city permits - is 801 cities in 67 countries.

"This is growing faster than any online meet-up we've seen," says Andres Glusman, vice president of strategy and community for, the firm behind the little widget on the events' sites. He spoke from a Manhattan street corner where he had just emerged from a meeting with the Colbert Report team.

His company, founded in 2002, has powered the online grassroots organizing behind the 2004 Howard Dean presidential bid and the tea party movement. He says he would not be surprised to see the Colbert/Stewart rally surpass the numbers put up by the tea party by the Nov. 2 election. Tea party groups currently have about 2,500 events scheduled on the website.

The next question, of course, is what this will all mean come election day.

Will it inspire voters? Will it help Democrats?

Some suggest the rally could boost voter turnout. Ten percent of online conversations around the Comedy Central rallies on the top 400 forums and blogs mention voting, while 5 percent talk about the midterm elections, according to Networked Insights, a firm that analyzes web topics.

"This is a growing movement," says CEO Dan Neely, who adds that the largest demographic participating in the conversations is people aged 35 to 54.

If true, the rallies could help Democrats, some say. "The speculation is that it will likely be heavily slanted in favor of the political left," says Mr. Kownacki.

This view, despite Stewart's protestations that the event is merely to "restore sanity," is bolstered by the recent imprimatur bestowed on the event by one of the president's biggest celebrity fans, Oprah Winfrey. (Does this support augur a Jon Stewart jump to Oprah's own network when it debuts next year? Stay tuned).

All this bottoms-up activity combined with the top-down support from Viacom, the cable channel's corporate parent, which is carrying the full event live, makes this an unprecedented intermixing of politics, entertainment, and big corporate interests, says Washington-based digital strategist Brendan Kownacki.

Such a tacit corporate media endorsement is an important cultural turning point, he says.


Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse


Traditional firewalls that divided political news and the entertainment world are falling as hybrid events like this one cross the line between news and what is entertainment.

"No such broadcast took place for the similarly controversial Glenn Beck rally, even by Fox," says Kownacki.

Given the grassroots enthusiasm, it is no surprise that President Obama will appear on Stewart's "Daily Show" Oct. 27, while it is taping in the nation's capital the week prior to the rally. Comedy Central will carry the entire event live, as well as stream it on the Web.

Had this been an actual emergency, well, you'd have been SOL. We now return you to your regularly scheduled conversation.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The above CSM article raises the question of whether we should duly register the Boodle meet-up on the rally site.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

What, and end up with a buncha hoi palloi, 'Mudge? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 21, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

The editor of the WaPo Outlook section believes the rally should be cancelled:

I (gasp!) don't watch the Daily Show, so I can't comment on his logic. But isn't this the guy that decided to publish that "5 Myths About Sarah Palin" POS?

Posted by: Raysmom | October 21, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Evapordaytion, I love it. Those expansive days with nothing concrete scheduled and a list to pare down never seem quite to align. The temptations for digression abound.

Speaking of digressions, how 'bout dem Giants?

Posted by: edbyronadams | October 21, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The phenomenon that Joel so eloquently describes is more of a weekend thing for me. I always have a long list of Really Productive things to do, but seldom get through them all. A large part of this is that I seldom allocate sufficient time. (Replace flapper valves: 72 seconds.)

But much of it has to do with the electronic distractions Joel mentions. I will go downstairs to bring up a bunch of sodas for the refrigerator (one of my Core Functions) and foolishly decide to check my e-mail. Which, of course, means I need to check out this super-awesome video sent to me by my son, because, you know, that's what a good father does.

The next thing you know a 60 second task has expanded by an order of magnitude, as is helpfully pointed out by my slightly irate and marginally dehydrated wife who is patiently waiting for me to appear with the Caffeine Free Diet Cokes.

My workday is actually less susceptible to this, both because I often work alone, and because I have gotten really good at getting the computer to do a lot of my work for me. (Really, I have a special genius for this.) Sometimes I just need to monitor the machines and make certain the little dial doesn't get above seven. Because that would, you know, be bad.

The problem then becomes the stultification of routine. My days are often so structured that I need not actually be awake for much of it.

In fact, there are days that I suspect this all might just be a dream and I should fall backwards on my chair to wake myself up.

But if I'm wrong I might injure myself. And there's a lot of stuff I want to get done this weekend.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 21, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

These anti-rally screeds have a strong odor of panic on them. Here is Timothy Noah in Slate being equally incoherent:

They also have a tone that Jon Stewart is rising above his station and should sit down and be a good boy. Astoundingly patronizing.

The rally is tongue-in-cheek, it's for a good cause and it appears by all signs destined to be wildly successful.

What are they afraid of? Sanity? Talk about keeping fear alive.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 21, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Well,sure, Raysmom -- the WaPo appears to disdain freedom of assembly (heads up, O'Donnell -- *that's* a First Amendment right, too) if the assembly isn't put on by Glenn Beck. After all, lefties like us are too educated for our own good, which means our sense of outrage, combined with our sense of humor, tends to confuse the masses (a/k/a the "real" Americans), which just.won'

I just wish I could be down there among the masses, whom I decree to be the "real" Americans! Because I can, of course.

Posted by: ftb3 | October 21, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Evapordaytion is, of course, just one part of the employment cycle.

Condescendation follows, in which the evaporated day is treated as part of the natural order by the employee. Unless this condition is reversed, which is unusual once the process has begun, the overall condition of stasis will be deteriorated by the evapordaytion leading to a change from stasis to whatsthis on the part of supervisors. The evaporated days have not, of course, disappeared but rather accumulate, eventually reaching critical mass.

This in turn can lead quickly into next stage, precipitancy on the part of the supervisor. Run off ensues.

Eventually, new employment is obtained and the cycle begins anew.

Posted by: engelmann | October 21, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Goodness. I agree that this Rally is a terrible idea because it might get the far-right all worked-up, and we want to make sure they stay all calm and placid.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 21, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

All you ink-stained wretches: Newsweek is looking for a new editor and it could be you. This video explains the process:

This is your opportunity to be the most important person at a proud and glorious newsweekly. I'd encourage everyone to apply except I'm not sure TBG could take the pay cut.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 21, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Ebnut, aquadexterous. Capable of adusting the flow of water into the bathtub using either foot.

Posted by: -dbG- | October 21, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Evapordaytion is highly correlated with the ability to browse news sources around the country via the internets. Prior to that, you'd have to subsist only on the meager news that could be delivered to your door in dead-tree form.

And let's face it, without being able to browse the tubes, we might miss out on highly entertaining quotes such as the following (in today's NYT) by a Tea Partyer running for Congress in southern Indiana:

'"It’s [global warming] a flat-out lie,” Mr. Dennison said in an interview after the debate, adding that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. “I read my Bible,” Mr. Dennison said. “He made this earth for us to utilize.”'

Sometimes I think we just need all these people to get elected at once so we (as a nation) can purge this from our system. Maybe two years from now we could then try to return to some sort of serious, intellectual governance (from both parties).

Posted by: Awal | October 21, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I think that would fall into the "be careful what you wish for" Awal.

Love this kit Joel. I do not make lists too much, I used to but as I aged/matured I came to realize I am way to easily distracted and I would get upset about all the things I wanted to accomplish but didn't. Decreased expectations has saved me :-).

Posted by: dmd3 | October 21, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I tried to post a comment on Carlos's idiotic article, but I have a suspicion the WaPo's server(s) is being massively overloaded at the momemnt; it won't let me in, just spins forever.

Carlos really needs to find a new line of work.

Over on Slate, Tim Noah's primary argument seems to be that Stewart and Colbert are primarily entertainers, not civic leaders, and therefore shouldn't interfere in the nation's politics, other than to be on-air satirists. He seems to forget that both Limbaugh and Beck likewise claim NOT to be political leaders but merely "entertainers" also. So what Noah is saying is that it's OK for Beck to be an entertainer holding a faux or pseudo event on the mall, but it's NOT OK for Stewarty/Colbert to hold a pseudo event on the mall.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Ebnut, aquadexterous. Capable of adusting the flow of water into the bathtub using either foot.

Posted by: -dbG- |

With all due respect, I believe you mean ambiaqudextrous. In the rare event a thusly endowed individual were to also be a confirmed fragilist, well that would just be ambiaqudextrous fragilistic espialidocious.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | October 21, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I find that, as I get older, I rely more and more on lists so as to not forget stuff. Now if I could just remember where I put my list...

Posted by: Raysmom | October 21, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom... so nice to see you here more often these days!

Your post reminds me of the New Yorker column years ago where Steve Martin tell us about labeling his Ginko Biloba pills as "Memory Pills" so he wouldn't forget what he was taking them for.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Instead of aquadexterous or ambiaqudextrous, could we not agree on the more politically correct "nonhydrodichotomically challenged"?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

A key reason I stopped making so many lists, I would forget them or more often than not make them then forget to check them, I have just eliminated a step - production efficiency, it takes less time to forget what I am supposed to do.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 21, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

This is pretty interesting-

I especially like the rubber hand illusion (third window down).

Posted by: kguy1 | October 21, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

On occasion, I have been known to make a list by writing each task on a different note card. In this manner, the tasks can be shuffled so as to obtain a truly optimum sequence. A process that can keep me busy for hours.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 21, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

kguy, you might enjoy this TED seminar by VS Ramachandran of the mirror box fame:

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 21, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Since Mudge already hijacked the boodle and hit on the blurring of the line between news and entertainment, I thought I'd come out of my usual corner and ask the following thing, which has been niggling at me lately.

Why is it that when I go to the WaPo's homepage, most of the articles I click on are under the Blogs/Columns section? I recognize that these are not "journalism" per se, and play a little more fast and loose with things like facts and neutrality, and that worries me a little. Is it me, or is there more of that at the expense of good, old fashioned news?

Posted by: tomsing | October 21, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

There is LOTS of water on the Moon. Let's get going.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 21, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The dirty little sectret of journalism answer, tomsing, is that "opinion" and blog stuff is simply cheaper to produce than actual news. Opinions and chat don't cost anything to acquire, whereas news requires trained personnel and infrastructure. That's why the explosion of pundits all over the Inter Tubes.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

It's also why there are so many polls nowadays asking readers what they allegedly think about this or that. It's a virtually cost-free way of supplying content. All you have to do is ask a question or supply an introductory paragraph, then provide the coments software mechanism, and off you go -- all the subsquent content (the comments) come in free of charge, and you acquire miles and miles of copy for nothing.

It's always all about the money.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

tomsing, given that the Blogs/Columns list is getting longer and longer, I suspect you're not alone.

Has anyone else noted a writing affectation that appears more and more, and not just in the WaPo? It's where the writer is listing attributes of a person, event, or thing. And then, to add one more item to the list (where fuds like me would write, "In addition..."), they write "Oh, and..." I'm not quite sure why I find this annoying, but I do.

Dagnabbit, git outta my yard!!!

Posted by: Raysmom | October 21, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Always happy to be the straight man, as it were, vim.

Ft. Lauderdale on vaca in 2.5 weeks. Can't believe it's so soon or that I'll make it.

Hoping it all works out, Cassandra!

Posted by: -dbG- | October 21, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Great Kit Joel. I am a list maker. Sometimes I will add an item that I have already finished to the list just so I can feel even better about having done it already. Today the items are getting checked off fairly well. I am cooking for #2, who is home from the hospital but very sore. I'll run stuff down to her tomorrow morning but I'm meeting a friend for dinner tonight so I have to get everything finished this afternoon. Then we have a wedding to attend tomorrow night and I'm working Saturday, so time to get items completed is at a premium. Why am I posting this instead of getting stuff done?

Posted by: badsneakers | October 21, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Okay, need some Boodle opinion. Who has read "Love in the Time of Cholera," and what did you think?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Among my more pathetic attempts at organising my work day was the creation of an Urgent To Do folder in Outlook into which I would drag messages of particular import. And then I'd remember to look in that folder about once every six weeks.

Posted by: Yoki | October 21, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, I'll add that blogs/columns also play fast and loose with formality.

Of course it comes down to money. Has the Post done anything to acknowledge this dirty little secret? A promise of improved news coverage and quality editing is something I'd be willing to pay for. Oh, and moderated comments. :-)

I can't be alone on this. There's got to be a market.

Yello, I had a conversation with my wife on our last long car trip arguing that the internet has, on the whole, made our society worse. The noise ratio of even "legitimate" news sources plays in my favor, I think.

Posted by: tomsing | October 21, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

tomsing, I have argued in this Boodle more than once my belief that, on balance, the Internet has been much more destructive to human society than it has been useful.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

For those of you needing a Howie Kurtz fix, here he is weighing in on the Juan Williams firing:

Posted by: yellojkt | October 21, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, I'd meant to say earlier I saw that item about the Maine papers suspending online comments, and I smiled at the thought of people being responsible for what they post. I'm smiling again now, in fact.

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 21, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and color me absolutely gobsmacked that James Harrison, the Steeler who was fined $75K for helmet-to-helmet hits, has decided he doesn't REALLY want to stop playing football as he intimated earlier this week.

Gobsmacked, I tellya. *eye roll*

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 21, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'd looked forward to reading it, but found it long-winded and mainly dull. The perversion in the last half ultimately skeeved me out. Not a fan of pedophilia.

Sorry to say, the Internet makes my life easier in more ways than it makes it harder. I think the current obsession with working ourselves to death hurts us more.

Posted by: -dbG- | October 21, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Psst, psst, Snuke. Gotta spring this on you- Alec Baldwin didn't move to Canada after all, and about those bears in the woods, well, they do.

Posted by: kguy1 | October 21, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

One of the reasons I asked, dbG, is that I've only now just started reading it (am on p. 3 or something like that). Didn't know there was pedophilia in it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, if the work (printed or visual) has no: gunfights, car chases, three-headed space aliens, or nekkid wimmin, why in world would you even bother with it?

Well, part of the story takes place on a ship. That's 'bout the only redeming quality it had.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | October 21, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Back to the kit for a moment, I do notice that evapodays seems to happen only on my days off. Rarely on a workday.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 21, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I think I may have Love in the Time of Cholera, as I loved 100 Years of Solitude so much, I wanted to read more by Marquez. IIRC, I started Cholera, got to maybe page 2 or so, and put it down, never to take it back up. Some books are like that, I guess. Now that dbG has disclosed the guts, I have no interest in wanting to read it, now 35+ years later (guessing).

Posted by: ftb3 | October 21, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Evapodays. It is the story of my working life. Fortunately my string of evapodays has not led to condescendation. Actually, my work - the stuff they pay me for - is quite current. Outstandingly so. The problem is all those other things I plan on doing during my working hours. That stack keeps getting moved from desk to briefcase to house to briefcase to desk . . . . I did finally complete my annual insurance sign-up today. My boss promised our HR person I would do it, and checked. Because I knew it would only take about five minutes online I kept putting it off.

I tend to long-term lists - X project did I promise to help Y organization with due Z - mixed in with short-term to-do today items. I too may add an item to the list just in order to cross it off. Only very occasionally do I create a whole new replacement list of what I actually did during the day.

"ambiaqudextrous fragilistic espialidocious" made me laugh out loud. It sings well too.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 21, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Embarrassing Literature Confession: I may have read "Life in the Time of Cholera". I certainly own it. I simply have no idea whether I've read it. If I did I don't remember. I feel it would be cheating to find it and look at it to see whether anything comes back to me. One would think, based on its being Great Literature and all, that if I'd read it I would remember. Sadly, I know this may not be the case. I am entirely capable of having read even a Great Book and letting it slip through the sieve I call my mind.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 21, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you on that, Ivansmom!

*now where did I put my mind???*

Have to re-up my professional liability insurance by mid-December, and gawd it's expensive. I'm checking around to see who wants to sell it to me for less.

The cost of doin' bidness, yanno.

Posted by: ftb3 | October 21, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I saw the movie. It was pretty good. It had that guy who killed everybody in that other movie.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 21, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Instead of aquadexterous or ambiaqudextrous, could we not agree on the more politically correct "nonhydrodichotomically challenged"?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 21, 2010 1:30 PM |

That's MUCH more euphonious!

I was thinking of you this afternoon, Mr. Mudge as I wandered through the used book sale at the Intelligencer in Doylestown.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | October 21, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

veritasinmedium... I'm come to realize that there is no world but the boodle.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 21, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

You were at the Intell in D-town, veritas??? WOW!! Is it still in that old building kinda/almost on the corner across and down from the courthouse?? MY OLD ALMA MATER!!!

Tell me more. I assume you live in that area?

Any good books? Like, maybe, a signed Michener or something? A signed Pearl Buck? Does the Intell still exist? Who owns it? Still affiliated with the Courier-Times down in Bristol? That was my first "real" newspaper job, and first editor desk/copy editor job. They say you never forget your first. I have a ton of fond memories of Doylestown. My first two murder cases (Storck and Chase-Mears), the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia (good old Alexander Dubček, such a blessing to headline writers such as me, a 6.5-count word).

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | October 21, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

When I had a job, one of my Friday afternoon tasks was to create the list for the coming week. I based it on the current week's list, plus what was on the calendar for the coming week. I kept them clipped together on my desk; they were quite handy to have, when time came to write down my list of accomplishments for my annual performance appraisal.

So far in my jobless life, I haven't had enough deadlines to worry about making lists. A glance at the calendar is usually sufficient. I've already got a 2011 calendar, I need to put it in the Filofax soon.

Posted by: slyness | October 21, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Ixnay on the signed Michener, although there are thousands of books and I couldn't possibly rule out the possibility. I think it is the same location you mention. It is on the corner, as you said down from the courthouse on Broad Street and on the other street down from the post office. Calkins Media own them and they are still associated with the Courier-Times. Mike Scobey is the Publisher. I've met him; he seems like a nice fella. They are struggling. They dropped the Saturday edition this year.

I do, indeed, live nearby. I honestly love Bucks County. Of all the various places I've lived in this country, and the list is not short, I love it here the best. Frederick, MD was a close second, tied with Vermont. Here I get the country without giving up the cities.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | October 21, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, Mudge. Hard journalism at its best. This link is on the front page right now...

Posted by: -TBG- | October 21, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Is the old Doylestown Hotel still there across the street and down the block? I used to eat lunch there pretty often. Reasonably inexpensive and reasonably fast, and half the courthouse ate there.

I used to like that Saturday edition best, because it was smaller than the weekday editions and had almost no local news in it, just wire stuff (because very little ever happened on Friday afternoons and no reporters ever wanted to work Friday nights. The managing editor, the desk editor, (who got me my job there) and I used to put that thing out pretty much solo, just filled it up with wire copy, which was fun (I always loved wire copy on those long sheets of teletype paper).

Yes, I love Bucks County, too. Would move there if I could, in a heartbeat. And this time of year -- autumn -- when the leaves turn. Just phenomenal. A drive up River Road north of New Hope, maybe dinner in Upper Black Eddy or the Lambertville Inn. Nothing better in the whole world.

This is some weird ballgame, BTW. Halladay versus Lincecum. I think that was a foul ball, but I am not nearly as certain as McCarver. Whenever I look at Jayson Werth I think of Zonker Harris. Can't help it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | October 21, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dbG, and it's good to hear from you, Raysmom.

Mudge, I think I saw the movie, didn't care much for it.

Posted by: cmyth4u | October 21, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

The World's Most Interesting Man is answering phones on the Night of Too Many Stars fundraiser. How come Brag didn't tell us he was going to be there.

Posted by: dmd3 | October 21, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: nellie4 | October 21, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Locked myself out with too high a level of security. Hopefully it is all better now.

Posted by: nellie4 | October 21, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

The whole Juan Williams thing makes me shake my head. I don't really care about whether he should or shouldn't have been canned. What I shake my head about is the national need to suddenly talk about how afraid we are of "the Muslims".

9/11 was nine years ago... why must so many people start peeing down their proverbial legs now? Were they just wearing depends all these years, and needed to finally get it off their chests?

Posted by: baldinho | October 21, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I think it's because the President is Muslim...very scary.

I haven't agreed with Juan Williams on much since he went to Fox. Never felt like he was much of a counterbalance there. I got so angry about something he said while talking to Scott Simon on NPR that I wrote a letter (email, rather). I think it was during the health care fracas.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 21, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Y'know, I just annihilaboodled an hour just catching up from last night. Nothing but subatomic particles spiraling gently off to nowhen.

Everything in my life seems to take twice as long as I think, which makes me think I should already be dead by now.

And I still won't get everything on my To-Do list crossed off that yellow Post-it note. I think I can salvage my conscience by just renaming the little pale yellow piece of paper a "To-Don't list."

Ah, the rationalizations that keep me from the Abyss.


PS Mudge, I has that Jayson Werth/Zonker Harris - Separated at Birth thought, too.

Posted by: -bc- | October 21, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

veritas, I live in Philadelphia near the Bucks County line and used to live in Bucks; work in Willow Grove.

mudge, what made you ask just a few pages in? I don't know that I'd call it porn, but the visceral reaction I had to parts of the book, which grew after I finished it, is strong. I wouldn't read anything else by him.

I'm happy to say Sestak's chances are looking better in multiple polls. He's done some good ads comparing Toomey to Santorum and the one about cleaning up someone else's mess includes his very cute family dog.

More political ads should include dogs.

Posted by: -dbG- | October 21, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

On a side note about Juan Williams, NPR (ahem) reported that he's signed a new contract with Fox News for $2M over 3 years.

I wonder if he feels a bit less sting from being released by NPR?


Posted by: -bc- | October 21, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Knew y'all would want to see the ad.

Talitha? Everything okay?

Posted by: -dbG- | October 21, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

That is a good ad, dbG. Love the fluffy doggy.

I've been fast-forwarding through the ads here. But the tea-partier Keith Fimian, who is running against our freshman Dem. congressman Gerry Connolly has signs up now that say "Take America Back!"

I suggested to Connolly on his Facebook page that he point out he would rather Move America Forward.

Posted by: -TBG- | October 21, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I doubt he feels any sting at all. From the Daily Dish:
"The RNC/FNC's concerted campaign to turn American Muslims into the new "other" - while, of course, pandering to a Republican base that believes that the president is a Muslim (and therefore legitimately viewed as a potential terrorist) - is thereby ratcheted up a notch."

I ride public transportation with people in "Muslim garb" every day, and so far, no terrorism. Lots are kids on their way to high school, texting and iPod'ing away. Some of their clothing choices are creative and interesting. I will admit to being a bit shocked when I was in a cafe waiting for my Census crew, and a woman in a hijab at the next table was ranting to her friend in broken English, every other word a curse word.

What a bunch of idiots Americans are.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 21, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I like that ad dbG. It's refreshing to see a clever one after so many, on both sides, that just blurt out half truths and fear.

This Kit has inspired me. As I was getting dressed for dinner tonight I went looking for my brown boots, only to realize that I hadn't changed over my shoes from summer. When I got home, I switched all my shoes and boots (and crossed it off my list).

Posted by: badsneakers | October 21, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Phillies win, 4-2.

'Night, Boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | October 21, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Vaya con queso, Mudge. Buenos gnocchis and fondue.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 21, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, here is my on kit comment, with linkies:

eVAPORated makes me think of the Brit PoppyRockers The Vapors, who gave us the catchy tune about Turning Japanese:

Oh, the 80s....such vaporous ditties that make me feel young and wittily over-EuroProduced in a new wave way...

And, then Bill Nye riffied this into the Staticticity song-

And, today I biked half fast along the Anacostia tributaries, still feeling pnemoniacal..but this song helped with the up tempo.

Cassandra -- how is the water therapy? Hydrated and with bananas on board. I also meditate on this quote while swimming: "In whom we live and move and have our being." And, "To be a feather on the breathe of God." Since we will not be skydiving anytime soon, water will do.

Hi Talitha....thinking of you.


Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 21, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Who says New Wave is dead? Or that I'm not turning Japanese?

Posted by: Yoki | October 21, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

seasea, the xenophobia and Muslims as the new red menace here in NH is astounding. I bet 90% of the worst offenders in that regard have never met, talked to or worked with a muslim.

I meet and work with muslims all the time. They are professionals and are as normal and as "American" as anyone. None are the silly stereotypes that the bucktoothed goobers rant and rave about.


Posted by: baldinho | October 22, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

I used to write up a Things-to-do list. I didn’t put it on the fridge (for personal) because when I’m not in the kitchen and don’t have the list staring at me, I forgot I had a list.

For the work related Things-to-do list, I’d leave it on my work desk. By the end of the day, it would be under some files or sheets of paper. Since I don’t see it, I forgot I had a list.

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 22, 2010 3:59 AM | Report abuse

This is an interesting article:

…..US Tea Party should keep its hands off Hitler…,1518,724418,00.html

Posted by: rainforest1 | October 22, 2010 4:18 AM | Report abuse

Another shoe drops in the Clarence Thomas tale:

This story may have as many legs as a centipede.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Just read the Post story about Clarence Thomas' past girlfriend, the one that didn't testify. Now she's talking. Why? And who cares? She knew Anita Hill was telling the truth yet she kept her mouth shut. She claims to protect her job. Perhaps. Tight-lips then would serve even better now, for the simple reason, a woman scorned. Clarence Thomas was as Anita Hill defined him then, and the word that comes to mind begins with a "P"!

The wife of Clarence Thomas is attempting to clean up the past for a lily-white, pardon the adjective, legacy. Not going to work. That dress is simply not going to fit.

I never make a list. I know the chances of me doing the things on a list are zero. I do set goals like taking a bath, getting dressed, brushing my teeth, etc. When I've accomplished said goals, I feel like a winner! I feel like I should get the gold! I'm so happy, and pleased with myself, despite the process of doing said goals makes for comedy relief by anyone's definition. Even I get a good laugh! These old bodies, ugh! One doesn't know whether to laugh or cry!

Have a wonderful day, folks, and love to all.

Slyness, what's happening in your city that's good? That doesn't involve blood. We had a drug raid here. Always before or during elections.

Posted by: cmyth4u | October 22, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse


The water therapy is going good. I'm taking Gatorade, multivitamin, and drinking water. I have to get the bananas, not so crazy about them, but will eat them to keep from getting cramps. Cramps just hurt so bad. The pool is full, mostly seniors, some of them fully dressed, even with the shoes! I feel odd with a swimsuit on. Yesterday a pregnant lady joined in, and the stomach was hanging all out. I thought, if that baby could see, it would probably start bawling!

Posted by: cmyth4u | October 22, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra!! *HUGSSSSS* :-)

Well, we've hit that time of year when the sunrise coincides with my arrival at the upper floors of the building, and I've been quite spoiled by the beauty of the past few days' Apollonian arrivals. Today was no exception, with the horizon framed by burning clouds before the sun broke its chains and leapt into the sky.

*really-struggling-internally-over-whether-its-worthwhile-to-peruse-the-headlines-before-another-big-meeting-with-international-guests-and-oh-by-the-way-it's-TFSMIF Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all.

I can't help but think Ginni Thomas is a much better Real Housewife of Washington DC than anyone Bravo cast. Except maybe the Salahis, who seem to have a similar grasp of reality.

Lots to do today so I can work this weekend on other stuff like a Halloween costume, get the storm windows in (and the screens out), rake leaves, etc. Have a very happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 22, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

LiT, I'll be over after class to do the storms...and then, you can do mine: together!

Yoki, thanks for the link. Off to school by bike playing the Turning Japanese version of fake it until you feel it.

Chilly today but so nice to put on a cardigan....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 22, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. I'm living the kit. I've been up three hours, at work for one and a half and I feel very evaporative. I've accomplished nuttin' I set out to do.
Last night was so cold and blustery a few flurries from the sky would not have surprised me but nothing came. A sad sighting made walking the VLP yesterday: a dead otter. It was hit by a car crossing the main drag. The small creek that runs near our place goes inside a pipe under this main road and the otter decided not to go in there but to run across. Bad and fatal decision.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning and happy Friday, everyone! Hi Cassandra!

So far this morning I have gotten up on time, walked my 2.5 miles with Mr. T, eaten breakfast, stripped my bed and put the sheets in the washer, and to him to work. Since we're going to the mountains this afternoon, it saves time to pick him up there instead of having him come home.

I still have to pack, figure out what to take to his father's family reunion tomorrow, make Brunswick stew to feed the contingent of homeless women we're hosting at church this week (my two partners bailed on me, oh well), and go to the grocery store. It's doable, but what a day...

Good news, Cassandra? I guess it's that the explosives in that house didn't destroy the neighborhood the other day. The mother's still in jail, I don't know about the kids. So sad.

Onward...I'll check in when I can.

Posted by: slyness | October 22, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Good morning les Boodleours!

Happy Friday, you all.

According to my meticulous research, Evapodays are best confronted by the diligent practice of energetic naps.

Haff a good weekend. :)


Posted by: Braguine | October 22, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Just a beautiful morning here today, cool but the sunlight this morning was stunning, dropping the kids at their schools I was struck by the golden light hitting the fall foliage.

Slight fall tie in, this looks like fun (via Dave Barry),

Posted by: dmd3 | October 22, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The Doylestown Inn as they call it now is still there. It hasn't been open in a few years. It isn't really near the Intel building though, so I think the Intel is probably in a different location than you remember it. You know, after years of wrangling, they are about to build a new courthouse?

-dbG- I used to live in Willow Grove a couple of decades ago. My family is from Jenkintown, originally.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | October 22, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra -- there's another food item that packs a lot of potassium: parsnips. I'm aware that there are a lot of people who don't like them, wouldn't try them, etc., to which I can only say "Oh goodie, more for me!" They are probably an acquired taste, but they have a sweet taste and I like them a lot. Had some for dinner last night, in fact. Try to get the small ones. The larger ones can be woody.

*lovin' my root vegetables"

Will try to boodle later. Have a good one.

Posted by: ftb3 | October 22, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Ruh-Roh -- I appear to have kilt it.

Posted by: ftb3 | October 22, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

If we have any Hoosiers in the house, they might want to consider voting for this gal-

Posted by: kguy1 | October 22, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Talk about cognitive dissonance, kguy!!! *L*

No worries, ftb, we're just writing our lists for the day. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes my day evaporates because something is happening NOW, one time only, and I miss it. Usually this is the boss's fault. ("Condition red! We need you elsewhere!" Later, "Why didn't you... oh, yeah.") Other things get put back on the to-do list, at the bottom. There is no avoiding these.

Posted by: Jumper1 | October 22, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I love the way she gradually escalates from sounding somewhat reasonable to downright radical and keeps going right on through to Whackadoodle Land without pause as the pace and style of the camera direction mimics that change, going from slow pans and zooms to whip cuts and extreme close-ups..

Posted by: kguy1 | October 22, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Not the first time the Boodle has been brought to a complete standstill by a turnip endorsement, ftb.

Meanwhile, over in the WaPo's "On Leadership" colyum, which purports to be showcasing "the best of the web" [sic], some Millenial type named Joe Frontiera has written an essay about the many sad failing of the boomer generation. (I think he's among many who have recently picked up that notion from Michael Kinsley's article in The Atlantic, but that's another issue.) Frontieri lays out a list of many famous people who have failed in their roles as national, business, cultural, political and religious leaders. Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, the Koch Brothers, etc.

Only one, teeny-weeny tinsiest little nit-picky thing wrong. Half of his exemplars of failed Boomerism aren't boomers. And his one "true" boomer disaster? Sarah Palin, born about five minutes before the boomer boom closed up shop for the night (Feb. 11, 1964). So if you guys wanna consider Sarah a boomer, be my guest. Speaking on behalf of my generation, though, I'd like to point out we've kicked her to the curb, boomerwise. I've checked the Woodstock attendence roster very carefully, and she was out that day (she was only 4 at the time). She had nothing to do with the Peace Movement, Marches on Washington, Civil Rights, etc., never watched Bandstand -- and I'm pretty sure she missed the Sexual Revolution and the Marijuana Era we had goin' on back then. Yes, I suppose she can come to the Boomer 46-to-64th Reunion (big sigh) if she wants...but she's sitting at the far table at the back of the room all by herself.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is only nine days older than me. If only we had gone to the same high school...

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse


Haven't tried parsnips, but love root vegetables, don't see a problem. Thanks for the advice.

And thank you, MsJS.

Another neighbor has passed. She died this morning at the hospital. She had been a frequent member at the Bible study until her health got so bad that she needed oxygen. Seems like all I'm doing is buying sympathy cards and flowers, and trying not to cry.

Posted by: cmyth4u | October 22, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton is only 5 days older than me, yello. If only I had ordered a late-night pizza...

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

dbG, to answer your question about why I asked about LitToC when I'm only one page 3, I suppose the root cause might be the movie "Serendiptiy" with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. The book features prominently in the love, and Cusack reveres it as this great love story yadda yadda (he neglected to mention the pedophilia). And of course I'm aware of Garcia Marquez and his Nobel Prize, "100 Years," etc. I tried to read "100 Years" about three times, but just could never get into it. And I'd never read any kind of literary work that used magical realism, about which I had heard. So I thought, well, I'll give GGM another try, since he's a Nobel winner, and Cusack raves about LitToC, etc. So then I read the Wikipedia discussion of it, which references the novel's original NYT review written by no less than Thomas Pynchon (whom I also cannot get into). Well, Pynchon raved about it. So I thought, ok, I gotta read this book (which I had bought for 50 cents at a flea market uop in New Jersey this past summer--and it has a girl's name on the inside cover, but I'm not gonna stalk her in part because I have no idea who she is).

So then I thought, "I wonder what the Boodle -- which as we all know is the font of much [read: all] wisdom -- thinks of LitToC?" So that's why I asked, even though I'm on page 3. (Maybe p. 8, now. Juvenal just visited Saint-Amour's hidden mistress/widow to tell her the bad news, which she already knows.) Am looking forward to the sex scenes and the pedophilia. Oh, and Don, there's supposedly guns and shooting and boats, plus a parrot. No car chases, that I'm yet aware of.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I live on a street where ambulance visits aren't so rare, but no fatalities this year. Best wishes with the cards and flowers.

Thinking of otters, that super-sophisticated British submarine that's stuck in the mud happens to be next to an otter rehabilitation facility, and someone there has uploaded video of the sub and the tug trying to get it loose. The situation brings the "Liberty Meadows" comic strip to mind. Of course that was set somewhere around Beltsville, not a remote site in Scotland.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 22, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

While this is certainly an "Oooooops" moment, it's more than a little unfair for the NYT blogger to point out the sub's stealth aspects. Stealth and navigation are not directly related. *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The only Marquez book I have ever read was 'Memories of My Melancholy Wh0res' in which the elderly patron requests of his favorite matron an underage virgin for his 90th birthday. As I said in my mini-review, "the book is both beautiful and unnervingly creepy." You can read the rest of my thoughts here:

(bowlderized for the Wirty Dird Filter)

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I think a lot of really small-minded people are completely overlooking the fact that NOBODY on the Isle of Skye had ANY idea that sub was there until it ran aground. I mean, didja see that video? That sub got, like, right to within 50 or a hundred yards of Skye before it was discovered. You might say it is now land-loched.

I suppose it could try submerging, but like many of us it probably doesn't much care for Skyediving.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, stealth sub meets stealth Scottish mud.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | October 22, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. I am taking a furlough day and enjoying a quiet morning at home. We have had steady gentle rain all morning, interspersed with very bright lightning and loud thunder. We really need it. I'm sitting in front of an open window just listening.

Later I'll run errands, do some chores, attend a memorial service. My list today is only as long as I want it to be.

We've had a furlough day a month since July. Given the possible alternatives none of us have complained. However, They are suspending the furloughs for November and December. Yay!

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 22, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. It's been a rough week. My body decided to take my contrary streak to its logical extreme and have an allergic reaction to the NSAID I've been taking for my ankle. I've been popping Benadryl like it's snack food trying to keep my airways open and the swelling down. Breathe in, breathe out. So far so good.

In other news, I saw this Gerson opinion piece this morning and thought it was share-worthy. It mirrors a lot of the points my historian husband rants about whenever someone mentions America being founded as a Christian nation.

Posted by: MoftheMountain | October 22, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of stealth, I seemed to have picked up a stealth tickle in the back of my throat that presages a cold or somesuch... *SIGHHHHH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Exactly the kind of unnervingly creepy he exhibits in cholera, involving a very young girl and very old man, yello. Really, even now I want to take a shower.

That's how I came to the book, too, mudge. I've only seen the movie on tv, where they never discuss how great thebook is, only Cusack looking for it since Sara wrote her name and number in it.

Posted by: -dbG- | October 22, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

*faxing Snuke some giggles to go with the tickle*

Posted by: ftb3 | October 22, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Hope your uvula doesn't run aground, Scotty. What color is your throat? Hope it isn't Skye flu pink.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey, y'all! Love this kit and just backboodled (linkages included) its entertaining entirety.

Subjectively, I've just experienced an Evapoweek (if not month). In answer to dbG's query from yesterday --- not really. Hewhohenceforthshallnotbenamed let another shoe (or three - the man's a millipede) drop and all my emotional progress went south. Have spent the week regaining functionality. To you and to CqP, your dear thoughts are a bolster, made of sturdy silken brocade, at my back. *HUGS*

Mudge, count me as another who didn't make it past a few chapters of "... Cholera", and not for lack of trying. As I recall it was placed at the bottom of the 'to-read' stack by the side of the bed never to resurface.

As evidence of my mindslippage I wanted to comment on the link about visual illusion posted yesterday but can't remember who posted it. In any case, it is a subject dear to my heart. The juxtaposition of colors (same color against different background, for instance) to create an effect is one I employ in my work. I studied Josef Albers' work on this years ago ... also used to entertain children in art class by letting them prove it to themselves with paint. Anyway, thanks for the diversion and to DNAgirl for the follow-up seminar link.

Waving at all of you in thanks for being you ... I'm of a mind, like TBG, that the boodle *is* the world. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, MotM, that's a great Gerson piece.

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

It's very good to see you here, talitha. Congratulations on your regained functionality! The boodle is with you.

Posted by: -bia- | October 22, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Functionality is sooooo overrated.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm... L.A. Lakers benchwarmer Sasha Vujacic and Maria Sharapova?,0,6487324.story

Yeah, I can see that.

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of books, it broke my heart to learn shortly before I departed for New England that the Texas Book Festival had moved this year's event up by two weeks. It was held this last weekend, featuring about 225 authors. This news of the date change came as a shock, since I discovered the date shake-up at the bookfest's website at the very same time that I was attempting to add one more week to my trip to the Northeast.

Boston held its book festival last weekend, too, but I was too busy packing things up and shipping boxes on Saturday, and then flying home Sunday. The Boston book festival and Obama at Boston's Hynes Convention Center were still not enough of a draw when there were more important tasks that absolutely HAD to be accomplished.

Luckily, once I arrived home, I was delighted to learn that I had not missed Edward O. Wilson's talk at Trinity University. It's Monday. I can't wait.

I had learned, in speaking with a professor following Sarah Hrdy's lecture this past spring, that Wilson had been booked for October.



Posted by: laloomis | October 22, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

MoftheMountain, I liked Gerson's piece, but recall being made to recite the Lord's Prayer every morning in fourth and fifth grades, in a public school.

A lot of people think it's an un-American, anti-Constitutional outrage that the Lord's Prayer is banned.

The other day, O'Donnell, the hapless Delaware Senate candidate, was presumably expressing the notion that this is a Christian (or Judeo-Christian) nation whose government isn't allowed to pick favorites among the Christian denominations. I've never figured out how the Unitarians or Latter-Day Saints fit into that scheme, much less Buddhists and Hindus.

I guess that for conservative Christian students of history, the Unitarians never happened.

Along those lines, the NY Times recently reported that Manhattan's oldest Catholic church had researched its own history and found that an early Christmas observance drew an angry mob, angry enough to kill a police officer. I suppose that an outdoor nativity scene would have been ripped to shreds.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 22, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is good, as far as he goes. But it seems to me that there was more than heterodoxy in the air. The founders remembered the religious upheavals of the 16th and 17th centuries and were determined to avoid those conflicts. Rightly, of course.

Posted by: slyness | October 22, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Blinded by the light. Says it all.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, I've been to see #2 and confirm that she is breathing and mobile. I brought her some food and did some laundry for her and swept up her house a bit. In the middle of all of this I managed to get in the middle of the two dogs and get nipped by one in a moment of jealously (the dog's, not mine). So now I am sporting a nice series of cuts on the back of my hand which will go well with the dress watch whose battery I took the time to replace on the way home so I could wear the watch to the wedding tonight.

I am happy that you are feeling better Talitha. Break-ups are roller coasters of emotion but in time the highs and lows level out more and more. Hang in there.

Cassandra, I am so sorry about your neighbor. It's sad how these things seem to come in bunches.

Posted by: badsneakers | October 22, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I often read Gerson. He has this Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged feel about him. He realizes that many of the things he once held dear about the GOP (ability of government to work for good, need for people to be respectful of other places and thing, others) are slipping away, and yet he is still there trying to keep some of them viable.

I think he was a perfect GWB staffer. GWB to me was ultimately done in by his faith in his own beliefs and inability to question them. Gerson I think has similar faith-based beliefs, but he is more prone to working within flawed systems to try to do good.

He occasionally gives in to the standard partisan rant, but most of his pieces are attempting to make a point and teach something and get GOP people to think.

I get the giggles reading all the commenters to his Op-eds. It seems to partisans he is both a fascist bullyboy and a RINO.

Posted by: baldinho | October 22, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Bite your 'shift finger' off, yello! ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is an apparatchik who has refused to drink all his Kool-Ade.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

How can this be Caps Lock Day? They lost their last two and besides they don't even play today so... oh... never mind.

Posted by: kguy1 | October 22, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was sub loch day.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, read when I was 20. Yes, it gets skeevy. The character DbG mentions is 14, and it does not end well for her.

However, if you want a good portrait of an emotionally unavailable man who can't get over being rejected and treats almost every woman he gets involved with shabbily or cruelly as a result, this book is it. Those kind of men do exist. Cholera also means anger and ire.

Up to you if you want to finish it, of course. Honestly, I think it can't be remotely as tough as the sexual themes in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo--" the emotional difference might lie in how much you were empathizing with the main character despite his repeated hints of how skeevy he is up to then.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Add Tom Shales to the growing list of WaPo buyout takers.

Maybe he can pass over his Pulitzer to Joel.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

One of the things I find interesting about this discussion about LitToC is it has this tremendous reputation, as does GGM himself -- the Nobel prize. Yet people whose literary opinions I respect -- you guys -- find the book skeevy and full of pedophilia, etc. So what fascinates me is how a guy wins a Nobel and writes what is widely regarded as a "classic" -- yet many of you guys seem to hate it.

It seems to me there are a lot of highly regarded "classics" out there that people just can't stand, which you gotta admit is strange.

For most of my life I always had this same question about "Lolita"-- how it simultanesouly got to be this high-falutin' "classic" -- yet it's about a pedophilic rapist and murderer as the "hero." (Protagonist? I dunno what he is.)

(I never read Lolita, either; just never seemed very interested in it, despite all this buzz I've been hearing for decades.)

CqP, you out there? You got any thoughts on this?

Can a "work of art" also be skeevy? (I'm not talking about to skeevy to rightwing/fundamentalist types who find everything to the left of Walt Disney as salacious. We know where their heads are at.) I suppose in a way this is similar to our abbreviated discussion the other day about the difference between p0rn and er0tica. Can a great work also be p0rnographic -- or if you will, er0tica? (I don't think anyone said it, but I always thought the difference between P and E was "artistic merit" and the author's intentionality, whether to have some pretnsion toward art, or to merely be prurient.)

I'm also interested in the discrepancy between a point of view such as wilbrod's, that the hero of LitToC is emotionally unavailable and can't take rejection, and consequently mistreats all those women -- versus the contrary notion given by Pynchon, in "Serendipity," etc., that this is somehow some noble, tragic love story. How do we reconcile these two wildly divergent viewpoints?

Since I haven't yet read it myself, I'm not disputing those two viewpoints, because I don't know. But I think what I might be saying is I don't understand how something (a plot, a character, an artistic expression) can have two so wildly different interpretations. It strikes me that there is something inherently wrong in writing something so deliberately ambiguous. I want the author to take some sort of "stand," to have a point-of-view. I think I don't like it that in this case GGM may be saying, "Well, I'll let you, the reader, decided if this guy is good or evil." Doesn't he know? What's the point?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Sneaks, good to hear #2 is recuperating. Wouldn't it be nice if there were some kind of workman's comp for injuries gotten in the line of motherhood duties? Maybe an extra Mother's Day for every three times blood is spilled?

Posted by: LostInThought | October 22, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's full of pedophilia, but what's there is very disturbing.

Posted by: -dbG- | October 22, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Wiki's got part of your answer for cholera and Lolita. Some people are so charmed they turn their skeeve alarm off.

Posted by: -dbG- | October 22, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I think that it is entirely possible for one to read something that inspires such intense and yet such unpleasant feelings that the reader feels both revulsion at the material and admiration at the writer's skill.

And on a mostly unrelated topic, I've always thought "Prurient" would be a good name for a girl. Much better than Charity or Chastity or Faith IMHO.

Posted by: kguy1 | October 22, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'll tell ya, Mudge -- I've read some of the "literature" by Nobel Prize winners, and I can still fervently state that I can't stand Faulkner for all the reasons I've mentioned before.

I also can't stand Saul Bellow, primarily of how he treats women in his books. Bleah! Simply horrible.

I *loved* 100 Years completely, totally, inexorably. The supernatural nature of the prose excited me more than it made me scratch my head wonder what the *expletive* was going on. When I figured out that the only way I would know which generation I was reading about was by the names of the women, I burst out laughing and with total, complete, inexorable love.

The Nobel Literature Prize is so fraught with politics (on so many levels), that -- at least to me -- there is a taint to it. I would still like Ngugi wa Thiong'o to win it, tho.

Also, your last point in your 2:38 post about whether he would know if the guy is good or evil is *not* the point. The reader always has to make that choice, and readers will invariably be variable in what is chosen. Just look at the comments (not after having eaten, btw) about the whole Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas episode (and, please, let's not leave Ginny out).

Just my own thoughts to toss into the stew.

Posted by: ftb3 | October 22, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

'Lolita' has a protagonist, not a hero. He is an unreliable narrator and you are not expected to empathize with him.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of cholera-

Posted by: kguy1 | October 22, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I accept all those points, yello, ftb, kguy and dbG. Perhaps one of the things bothering me is that I've always had a sense of estrangement from "the great books," the "classics, because the higher the reputation of the book, it seems, the more I was less likely to admire it. I, too, can't stand Faulkner, Pynchon, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, a whole busload of writers I am "supposed" to like. And so I ask myself, what is it I am missing? What don't I get? How come people rave about these books and I can't stand them? Many others i have read and "got," but am largely unimpressed. I like Steinbeck okay...but no great fan. Intensely dislike nearly everyone in the 19th century except Conrad, whom I love. I feel the same way about a lot of poetry (I've discussed this with CqP often): there's a ton of stuff out there that is supposed to be "great" -- and which I simply cannot abide. And I assume the fault is mine, not theirs...but I am not quite convinced it's me. There's others who can't stand many of the "Greats," too. Which raises the question, how did they get to be "Great"?

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Typing quickly between student conferences these aspects of art we must always consider:

we do not always like or enjoy art, this does not mean the object is not art;

art should elevate, but this might mean a truth about us, which might be very uncomfortable

Do not know LitToC. Do know Lolita -- the genius of V.N. in writing that book is that he makes us care for H.H., despite knowing what an evil and predatory person he is.

And, finally, we get to choose what we read, view, look at, listen to, etc.

We can chose to not experience the art.

I admit to being so scared and so moved by art that I am very, very careful to refuse lots of "opportunities" because I can be harmed by some objects.....

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 22, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

And, my opinion on erotica --- not widely shared, I realize -- is this two-pointer:

why read or view, when you can engage in the real experience with a beloved (assumes, I know the beloved is here, and etc.) AND

when I read or view, I blush not as a bluestocking but because I am very sensitive to art and I feel as if an intruder or overseer etc.

Your miles may vary. My same sensitivity also means that I really enjoy art experiences; find them totally transporting....then, am easily moved. A sunset, still, makes me gasp.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 22, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

mudge asks: Can a "work of art" also be skeevy?

From the movies:

Carnal Knowledge
Star 80
French Lieutenant's Woman
Dangerous Liaisons
Cruel Intentions
Monster's Ball

And in art, nothing has ever disturbed me more than 'Étant donnés: 1° la chute d'eau, 2° le gaz d'éclairage . . . (Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas . . . )' by Marcel Duchamp at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I saw the movie, LiToC. It was 125% chick flick. Essept for the nice shots of the boats, no redeming value.

My wife's family on her Dad's side are from the Isle of Skye. I can just imagine what they are thinking 'bout their latest visitor.

Actualy, the Brits were practicing a secret new manuever. They were stealthily sneeking up on the ground. Mission accomplished. They got right up on it before the ground even knew that the sub was there. I s'pose more than a couple of Naval officer's carriers are over.

Posted by: Don_from_I-270 | October 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The 'Greats' (Jacqueline Susann, the novels of Harold Robbins, etc.) illuminate the human condition in a novel and interesting way, revealing Truth if not always Beauty.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, CqP. If I'm not careful, I'll be haunted for days, for good or evil. Now that I'm *through* menopause, I'm not so quite easily moved to tears, but still I am easily touched.

There is plenty enough evil and violence in life, where I have to deal with it. I feel no need to *read* about it when I wish to be transported to another place. No desire to read Nabokov.

Posted by: slyness | October 22, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, the book is a treatise on love, and the guy sleeps with women while remaining emotionally faithful to the woman who rejected him. He idealizes this love, like Don Quixote and his Rosalinda. Only, he's a lot sleazier and does no windmills.

Hence, my emotionally unavailable comment. He has pledged himself to a vision of love he can't have-- but he's about as chaste as a cat and sees no paradox in it.

He seems cold in all his affairs-- his most real emotional link to a woman is to a woman that is his friend only and will forever only be his friend-- mutally decided, it seems.

So a lot of paradoxical relations towards women in one character, and yet it all seems plausible--and appalling. Lots of sex scenes, BTW-- across 50 years plus.

Morality to him doesn't seem to be as important as idealism. That's always a dangerous attitude which can end in exploition and cruelty. It just is displayed in a more intimate sphere here, but it applies in all things.

I really think Curmudgeon can handle it and will know when he can't handle it anymore.

There is a saying that literature is full of fools and villians. Fiction is about conflict. We can't have only nice people who behave reasonably.

All I can say is that I finished the book with mixed feelings on whether it was worth reading, but I still remember the blasted book after all this time. The prose is really good, but it's the detail that haunts me-- the exaggerated romanticism vs the dirt.

I have no desire to read Lolita, period. Between the two, I think I'm happy with the one I wound up reading.

I liked Saul Bellow as a teenager, especially his early novels. But I won't apologize for him.

Both authors have one great trait-- they write excellently, and should be read by writers. They are worth learning from, even if you loathe them. After all, Ovid said, "it's proper to learn even from an enemy."

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

SCC: The Giants

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, the authors you named are definitely not light reading, and I don't really like them too much either. I can go on about all the "big names" that I want to upchuck on, as well as the big names I love that others are horrified by.

We are all entitled to our tastes in literature, whether petty or great. You tried 'em, you said "no thanks." Your job's done.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

yello, didn't both Kirk and Spock contribute to that bit in your 3:52?

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 22, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

So they did, Scotty. The 'Giants' also include a lot of cussing since everybody did it back then. Who are we to say what future generations will revere as our contributions to literature? And Shakespeare is much better in the original Klingon.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 22, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

If there is something it's colder and blusteryier than yesterday.

Looks like HMS Astute got off her bud bank. She's letting off an awful lot of steam. They say it was her rudder that got stuck. That's a good thing as the anechoic tiles she's covered with is expensive stuff and a dry-docking would be mandatory to do a repair to them.

I never got the acknowledged master of the "nouveau roman" Alain Robbe-Grillet. I read La Jalousie, Les Gommes, Le Voyeur and saw "L'Année dernière a Marienbad" and got nuttin'. However I loved most of Michel Butor's work even if he is considered a journeyman of the nouveau roman. Go figure.
I got nothing on GMM, I haven't read a line even if we apparently own most of his work in both French and Spanish. (Witch no.1 is considering a major in Spanish-written lit in addition to her translation bachelor degree)

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification, wilbrod, I see your point now.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | October 22, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Shriek -- Among all those things on my list (gee, I'm now on-kit, suddenly) is to read Les Miserables and Mort d'Arthur in the original French. I can sorta, mostly, sometimes read French, but I haven't studied it for, um, >45 years now. But I'm facile in languages, so some things never die -- they merely hide in various folds and valleys of what's left of my brain, coming out now and again to scare the *expletive* outta me.

Have you read those books (I would assume you would have read them in French) and would you say they were difficult? Just curious.

If possible, it's such a treat to read books in the original language, as good translations are very, very difficult to find. When I read "100 Years" it was shortly after I had read a New Yorker profile of Gregory Rabassa, who translated that book into English. It was, indeed, a masterful translation. I mean, when you remember the name of the translator, *that's* meaningful, alright!

Dearest Yoki -- my Red Wings throttled your Flames last night, and I send you condolences while I celebrate. And I mean that sincerely. Really.

Posted by: ftb3 | October 22, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I've thought about that too as I don't really appreciate many of the greats, and the best I could come up with is 'great' must be something along the lines of inclusion in academic studies coupled with some combination of awards, sales and publicity around a book/author. The It factor that no one can explain. Like the popularity of Jerry Lewis in France.

Or maybe great is decided by some goofy poll.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 22, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Like CqP and slyness, I am moved greatly by art and literature and must tread lightly lest I become overwhelmed. Doesn't mean I haven't trod and tripped my way through a few things considered classic, but I've primarily thrived and grown by most of what I read and viewed over the years.

Speaking of which, I happened across (on TCM at 4:00am) a movie I'd never seen ---
"Ecstasy" 1933 (Ekstase, in German), starring Hedy Lamarr under her original film name of Hedy Keisler. Very beautiful and moved me beyond words. I imagine boodler cinephiles are familiar with it.

As for Lolita ... I read it so long ago that I don't remember my reaction to it. I emphatically do not like the film. Sue Lyon did not a convincing nymphet make to my eyes, although James Mason got HH down well.

And that concludes my movie review of the evening.

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of goofy polls:

Posted by: MsJS | October 22, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I really don't like Mort d'Arthur. Just too much rape and wenching in the first few pages. I love all the authors who have made good stories from that source material, though.

However, I read enough of it to know its original language is Middle English, with sources from French and English-- 13rd century French vulgate romances.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod's mention of Mort d'Arthur reminded me of something. Were any of you who studied Lit extensively ever required to learn "Old English" (Anglisc) in order to read Beowulf in the original? That was more taxing for me than four years of HS/two of college Latin to read Caesar's Gallic Wars. Have mercy!

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I loved the Mort d'Arthur when I read it in my early 20s. The story has everything; wenching, all kinds of smiting and cleaving, magic, tragedy.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

talitha, I learned it. Though I'm with my old professor who insisted we call it Anglo-Saxon. His best line, "Well, you don't call Latin Old Italian, do you?"

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I've only read a very few of the so-called "great" books. Those that I have read I have certainly enjoyed, but didn't emerge feeling a sense of profound admiration. But this is partly because I am simply too ignorant to really understand the context. I guess it's like going to a museum. Sometimes things are appreciated best when you understand the world in which they were created.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 22, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I've only read a very few of the so-called "great" books. Those that I have read I have certainly enjoyed, but didn't emerge feeling a sense of profound admiration. But this is partly because I am simply too ignorant to really understand the context. I guess it's like going to a museum. Sometimes things are appreciated best when you understand the world in which they were created.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 22, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

A rare Padouk technological faux-pas. I'm buying a lottery ticket.

The Fungi will be home for October/November Break. Luckily there is plenty of leftovers.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | October 22, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Very brave of RD to post that confession twice.

I confess to no longer remembering much of what I read in the distant past. There was a lot of it, but it blurs together like a Monet painting left in the rain.

Posted by: MsJS | October 22, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I had enough trouble learning Shakespeare's English in high school. Oddly enough, reading Hamlet in Jacinto Benavente's Spanish translation was easier than tackling it in the original.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | October 22, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, interesting you should say that. My professor preferred we use "Anglisc" or "Anglo-Saxon", too. I used "Old English" thoughtlessly.

Well, I'm off for a few hours to watch some DVDs the sonchild sent to me. A great Friday evening to all ..... and thanks again for helping me to preserve a sense of normalcy and balance these days.

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse


The neighbors usually chip in and buy a community flower, but with all of us living on fixed incomes and this being the end of the month I doubt seriously if that's possible. I will get a card, and everyone will sign it, but the flower I will probably have to get myself. Already got a beam on it, and whatever is short I will see if I can get the florist to hold out until the first of the month. We've already bought a flower this month.

I think it would be a good idea to start a flower fund, that way getting a flower won't be such a chore.

Thanks for the hugs and good thoughts. I sat outside all day, just coming in. It was just a beautiful day, yet tinged with a little sadness, but aren't they all.

Posted by: cmyth4u | October 22, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Talitha, the Gallic Wars are much more simply written than Beowulf is, sure ain't poetry with kennings.

I however have had to study Anglo-saxon alliteration.

"I love my love with a H because he is happy, I hate him with a H because he is hideous.
I feed him with ham-sandwiches and hay and he lives on the hill.."

Bonus points to whoever gets this ode to Haigha right off.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

*faxing peach-blossom-oolong tea to talitha*

And of course, *faxing hugs and comfort to Cassandra*

Where would we *be* (existentially, of course) without our boodle?

Posted by: ftb3 | October 22, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

'scuse me.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 22, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't 'off' yet, Wilbrod, getting supper and the DVD set up. You're right about the Gallic Wars, damnit. Still and all, learning an obscure (i.e., no longer spoken in modern life) language can be a chore when all one really wants to do is absorb the history or the beauty of the poetry.

Jumping in with both feet, ASL is a modern language, for example, visually and otherwise poetic, as well as profoundly utile in communication. For both those who employ it because of their own hearing impairment and those who wish to communicate more clearly with them, it lives and breathes and speaks.

Modern Latin, perhaps for some ... Anglo-Saxon for scholars. I won't go further for fear of treading on toes of technical or scientific jargon far beyond my ken.

I do understand Wilbrodogese very clearly, for the most part, and miss those wise sweet words lately. ;)

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

ftb, many thanks for the tea ... peach is perfect, despite my reputation for being, as Sir Elton says, "a rotten peach rottin' in the sun".

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Sweet flattery, bah!
My dinner first, then haiku--
On strike for chinese.


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Through the Looking Glass. Messengers.

I liked Lolita the book.

I also liked Mort d'Arthur - used to read some of the translation to the Boy at bedtime. I dabbled in Anglo-Saxon, Old English, whatever, for Chaucer and to sing early music. Fun stuff.

Cassandra, I am so sorry about your friend.

After all this talk about Lovein the time of Cholera I feel convinced I must not have read it. Surely I would have remembered something. Like MsJS, things blur over the years. Back when I was single and at loose ends I'd read a book a day sometimes. If it was mysteries, two.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 22, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

See, I take it all personally because my MA thesis was an examination of the irreconcilable dichotomy between 'correct' religious feeling and nature imagery in medieval English and French Dream Poetry.

So I needed to be able to read the near-original scripts.

I *still* can't reconcile why their God would have given them a beautiful world but demand they look beyond it to death, forsake the richness of nature for fear of the afterlife, but it was an extremely interesting door to open, and an even more interesting mystery that I failed to plumb. My supervisors liked it too.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I killed it with dream poetry. Ah well, there are worse ways to go.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Dammit, you all are talking Anglo-Saxon and I'm on the road. We're up the mountain safely, thank heavens, but no thanks to the traffic on I-85.

I studied Anglo-Saxon with my advisor, who was a linguistics specialist. I didn't get into it nearly as far as Yoki (lucky soul!) but enough to enjoy it. If you pay attention, you can figure out what it's saying. Great stuff. I loved reading in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles.

Hmm, Mr. T is attempting to light the pilot of the gas logs. It is now officially fall. Two weeks ago, the leaves were just beginning to turn. Now they are mostly on the ground.

Cassandra, you and your friends will be in my thoughts and prayers. I hope your little community won't experience any more losses for a long time.

Posted by: slyness | October 22, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

*faxing Scandihoovian runes to Yoki and slyness*

Along with some aquavit.

Posted by: ftb3 | October 22, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Angles and Saxons? I'm more of a Jute man.

Posted by: baldinho | October 22, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, sigh. That poem is one of the great tree poems...even if the treeness is hidden by other themes and tensions. I read it boldly as a a tree poem and was a bit slapped at for this. Oh trees. And specific woods: mistletoe for treachery, oak for endurance and workshop, holly for hope in dark, lean times, willow for how we ought be (rooted and flexible)....

Later, much later, Blake in his romantic way replete with flight and excess said:

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the
man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.

- William Blake, circa 1800 in The Letters

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 22, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, why couldn't you reconcile that?

I am brushing up my Romance languages before I try and add enough basic Italian grammar to read Dante in the original. I almost can do it right now.

Now Wilbrodog insists on a walk.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

It's the contract, gnome.
No four-legged tyranny here
as your tone suggests...


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear you're sad, Cassandra.

Grieving is like work; the more you do, the more you get handed. And sometimes it comes in torrents.

I have been sensing angry grief around me lately, unspoken.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

That's gruff anger,
gnome. It's a beautiful night,
time to live life up!


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I went through a Nabokov phase when I was a teenager, and took a college lit class about his writing. He loves to play with words and leave clues and such. His memoir, Speak, Memory, was probably the first of his books I read. Pnin and Pale Fire are a couple of my favorites - both have unreliable narrators. I re-read Lolita not too long ago - what sticks with me is the reaction of Lolita to his advances - boredom, almost. If she had been traumatized I probably wouldn't have liked it so well - but that made it seem real to me. Not that the relationship isn't skeevy, it is, but somehow it rang true to me. Must have been quite shocking when it was written. I don't like the movie, either, although James Mason was great. There was a remake with Jeremy Irons, which I don't think I have seen.

My brother said learning Middle English ruined his spelling.

Posted by: seasea1 | October 22, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

This is one of my favorite passages from Lolita:
"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita."

And I'm probably glossing over the trauma to the poor girl - but she's fairly blase about it (of course, it is Humbert's point of view).

Posted by: seasea1 | October 22, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Loved loved still love Nabokov, but only for the word play and the obsession with detail. The man was a genius linguist.

Been collaborating with dance faculty and students, playing at the intersection of biology and dance. Tonight was opening night for our investigation of 'synthetic life' in the context of evolution. Sometimes I can't believe I'm actually paid to work with students. This haiku made it to the program:

Yesterday I was
gifted potential in code.
Tomorrow I'll be

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 22, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations! Glad you enjoy your job :).

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I have read Nabokov, just don't want to read Lolita in particular.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Sweet flattery, bah!
Even a frog in the distance
feels the pondwave stir.

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

oops, two too many!

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Read Lolita (twice) many years ago. I think it's a great book, using lightness and irony to do artfully what the true-crime genre does through the conventions of rigid reportage. I don't recall anything salacious about the book -- more that it's a glimpse into an arid, exploitive personality.

A lot of books that are considered classic I find have a big energy barrier to get into them, but when I'm done I'm usually glad I managed it. The question is, which ones are most worth your time, and fashions do change. Trollope was overlooked for years, then fashionable for years. I don't like him, but do like Henry James. Like ftb, I have a head for languages, and I like varieties of English like King James Biblish or Henry Jamesian. Never attacked Anglo-Saxon (known to old-time students as Old Anguish), though. The prosody of alliterative verse is incredibly intricate; those bards in the true oral phase before anything was written down must have been like jazz musicians.

It *is* a matter of having time, I think. We call things "classics" in order to get the young to accept a sufficient number of challenges to find out what they like. As life wears on, we get more critical and think about which books we want on our bucket list.

(You are a lit geek if your bucket list includes books.)

Posted by: woofin | October 22, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Or just one beat off?

How about a song?

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

A dog laps water
and suddenly hears a frog
make a water-fart...


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 22, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Entirely appropriate to me that we have a full moon here at 1:38 AM. I'll be starrrting my Saturrrrrday rrrrrrrrunning wild through the crisp dry cornfields with the wind in my hair and roaring in my ears, all scents and blood rush, hoooooowwwwllllling howwwwllllling hooooowwwwoooooling (gettin' my lycanthropy on).

Please bring your pets in tonight, folks.


P.S. I remember reading that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so's skeevy, I think.

P.S.S Cassandra, thoughts heading to you.

Posted by: -bc- | October 22, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

on the songlist ...

and this one, which I've been humming all day as 'on-kit' in terms of lists and accomplishing same ...

Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: talitha1 | October 22, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm runed!

Here is an idea for other singles of a Friday evening. Eat, walk across the street to some sort of underground scene (in my case, tonight, improv comedy in a derelict electronics recycling facility), then home to cookies (in my case, homemade chewy chocoloate-chip) and milk. And now, bed. Goodnight, Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | October 22, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Yo, Yoki, if there's no street to walk across ... except treachery on the other side of the tracks ... what do you suggest?

Posted by: talitha1 | October 23, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

That's an easy one, T: make your own scene.

Posted by: Yoki | October 23, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Rune, Yoki, rune! The Sandman's coming!

Just took Wilbrodog out wabbit hunting instead-- finishing up chores.

Tomorrow night will be an art gallery thing.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | October 23, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Well, Yoki ... I HAVE made my own scene.

Then sabotage and betrayal once again crossed the tracks into my own yard. My knees are still skaking. Can't explain. Still standing in awe.

Posted by: talitha1 | October 23, 2010 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Would this help for redemption?

They say ev’rything can be replaced
Yet ev’ry distance is not near
So I remember ev’ry face
Of ev’ry man who put me here
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

They say ev’ry man needs protection
They say ev’ry man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above this wall
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

Standing next to me in this lonely crowd
Is a man who swears he’s not to blame
All day long I hear him shout so loud
Crying out that he was framed
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

Posted by: talitha1 | October 23, 2010 4:19 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dylan - apolpgies for not acknowledging ya.
But everyone knows.

Posted by: talitha1 | October 23, 2010 4:24 AM | Report abuse

scc: apologies

apologies ...
write it one hundred times on the blackboard
and don't allow me back into the classroom
until I can behave properly.

Posted by: talitha1 | October 23, 2010 4:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: talitha1 | October 23, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Talitha, get some sleep! Myself, I've had 4 or 5 hours after the wedding last night and now off to work. Big nap coming up this afternoon!

Great wedding, learned some interesting family info I never knew and found out about a connection between "S" and some of my cousins that none of them was aware of before. Have a good Saturday everybody!

Posted by: badsneakers | October 23, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

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

Good morning, friends. Talitha, you don't get much sleep or do you sleep in-between posts? Well, I'm up, having slept most of the night, not the whole thing. Got work this morning, but still wanting to hug the bed.

I think it's the weather, the cool nights. It makes for good sleeping. Oh, well, lets us not drag on with this. Time to get moving.

It is time to enter the room of all rooms. That room where truth and light can be sobering, and no room for error. Delusions don't work in this room, no role playing, just hard, honest, fact. Dreams don't work either. Once the light is on, confession must be made. And the always question faced, what happened to my body? And is this really me or did someone give me another body during the night? The smallest but the most formidable room in the house. The bathroom.

Have a delightful day, folks, and love to all.

Slyness, hope you're getting some rest. Enjoy.

Posted by: cmyth4u | October 23, 2010 6:49 AM | Report abuse

That torture chamber
is where demons must be slain;
the rest is easy

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 23, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to sneaks and Cassandra for my sleep-wishes. I've been a nightowl all my life ... 'specially when I'm pondering upon life changes. Not to worry. I spent some time writing and editing words best left unsaid ... all the while listening to music (I didn't post the opera arias).

It's Saturday, I stocked the pantry, paid the bills, fed the birds, filled the gastank, did the banking, boodled, talked to family ... all on a Friday ... boodled into Saturday morning and can nap whenever I want! How's for an on-kit thought? My list is open for entries.

I'll be in the loom tomb if ya need me. Working on some multi-green rugs today ... with a touch of bleeding heart.

Happy Saturday to all!

Posted by: talitha1 | October 23, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Sneaks, glad your daughter is doing ok, hope she continues on that path.

Posted by: cmyth4u | October 23, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

On my to-do list today:

Give old bathmats and pillows to the local animal shelter.
Give old clothes to Goodwill.
Give some old furniture to the family of one of my wife's students who are living out of cardboard boxes.

I see a pattern.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all.

Talitha, I know you know this, but you'll come out the other side. There's the grieving process to go through (bleh), but after that, there's happiness to be had just for the taking.

SoG, you out there? You'll find this funny. DC told me she didn't think we should eat at our local Chinese restaurant anymore. When I asked why, she said "you know the board where they write the specials [out on the roadway]? Yesterday's lunch special was human beef." (I find it really funny that she sat on the info for a day. What the heck did she picture the kitchen looking like?)

Full moon you say? Happy Birthday to the werewolf.

Have a very happy day all.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 23, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

MCC is always so beautiful. Thanks. The Treveling Wilburys were out of print for many, many years. When they came out with a deluxe reissue of both Volume 1 and Volume 3, I immediately bought it. Now if only the Hindu Love Gods would ever hit CD.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

My wife noticed the full moon last night. She said that explained her week. Off to check for carcasses on the roadside.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

LiT- very wise words about the grieving process! And I loved that story about DC.

Of course, whenever one combines Chinese wood, werewolves, and sadness one ends up with Warren Zevon.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | October 23, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Morning, all. A chilly 35 at the farmers market this morning, but with jackets we survived. Instead of fixing breakfast here, we bought fried pies to eat there. Great stuff, but I'm facing the doctor's scales first thing Monday morning, so not so good for me!

Even worse, we are going to a family reunion at lunchtime, for Mr. T's dad's family. Covered dish, of course, no diet food there! Naturally all the comestibles will be fabulous.

I lead *such* a difficult life. *sigh*

Laughing, LiT. I hope you explained what Hunan is...

Cassandra, yes, no getting away from stark reality in the bathroom. Hope you have a wonderful day in spite of it!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Posted by: slyness | October 23, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Dear Lady LiT and DC, rejoice in these days for they are fleeting and full of grace.

I just tried to make a list (I actually had two columns - male and female- [sue me]) of the boodler 'voices' that I now know. The reason is that when my son was here last summer he so enjoyed my laughter and occasional recitations from you that he inquired, "how many boodlers are there?"
I'm up to 102. I know I've missed many.
What a great lot of folks, one and all.

Posted by: talitha1 | October 23, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

scc: I wrote "102". What I meant was that I'd seen that many different nomens here, not boodlers. Oh, WTF ... I'm a doofus.

Posted by: talitha1 | October 23, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

We used to have even more nomens. Between the *Tims, the omni*s and the cow*s we used to have a couple of dozen of them alone. But some of us just have one reliable name which telegraphs our personality and we stick to it.

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | October 23, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Warren Zevon, you can listen to Hindu Love Gods online:

Or you can buy the mp3s at Amazon:

But to get the actual physical album, you need to go to the secondary market.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 23, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Mo_MoDo, you're *bad.*

Heck, there are what - six curmudgeons, the chollywickywhatevers.

FWIW, I've only used the one handle all this time.

And thanks, LiT. You wouldn't believe the Wild Rumpus I must have had last night. Quite a mess in the basement, and the consistency of what I tracked in is remarkable. I don't even want to know what I did or ate (possibly some form of Chinese prep of beef? Or simply wild game - the Canuckistani geese are pretty easy to get around here these days), but I have a feeling I'm going to find out in the next day or two. These are just a couple of reasons why newspapers are important to me...


Posted by: -bc- | October 23, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: DNA_Girl | October 23, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

CqP, thank you for the William Blake last evening. Trees. Ents.
Those that hold the earth to the sky.

Every tree today is shouting a final glorious note in distracted harmony with his fellow.

Then each will rest awhile and silver out with frost
bear the weight of snow or
be bare and wait.

Posted by: talitha1 | October 23, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Greetings from west by god
I have such a to do list today,well I have 3 days to really do it all.
Starting with the the critter living in my attic,although I didn't really hear it last night.I picked up a have a heart trap from a former girlfriend and will be baiting it shortley(so bc,hang it there perhaps I could deliver you something special)but really I guess the lure of the hunt is what it is all about.
there is also porches to be swept,loaded with accorns.I need wood,it was chilly here last night and I had a fire.The leaves have started falling,may as well get a leg up on them.I need to fix the split rail fence,visit with friends before they head south.
Then there is always kayaking,fishing and I really want to swim in the river one last time.
But as the kit suggests,sitting here drinking coffee,reading about the Rangers etc is pretty darn nice too.

Have a great day everyone!!!!
oh and viewing the leaves and taking pictures,west by god is quite spectacular now!!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | October 23, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Talitha, trees, truly, reasons to love and live. Right? I hear you. Off to bike ride, with songs to pace me as I am still off. Will be cruising to the Dingoes....the Ausie band of the seventies made new. Check them out at

Tracks -- the reunion album, on iTunes, 'natch. The bass player is the science teacher of CPProgeny...

But, will open and close with Turning Japanese...sometimes a girl needs a head-banging pace tune to start and end the trek.

Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 23, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I am testing to see if this is a dead boodle or a living boodle.



Posted by: CollegeQuaParkian1 | October 23, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

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