Boxing Day.

Hope you all had a great Christmas. I got a new camera:

Christmas table

Doesn’t mommy set a bourgeois table? Those cranberry candle things are embarrassing, but what the hell, how often do you get to use your late Aunt Edwina’s silver compotes, anyway? Note to lifestyle editors in the readership: How about a story on how to repurpose all those little maiden aunt hand-me-downs for the modern hostess? I have a cut-glass knife rest that will never support a knife again, but it seems you ought to be able to do something with it.

Anyway, Santa must have heard my plea the other day, because whaddaya know, the new camera shoots Tri-X:

Christmas mantel

That’s a setting called “dynamic B&W” (yes, as opposed to “smooth B&W”), i.e., Tri-X. I have to plow through a substantial owner’s manual to figure out just how many of the bells and whistles I’ll be using, and I’m hopeful I can figure out how to make run-of-the-mill crapshots like the ones above not throw 3.5 megabytes of shade on my hard drive. I think it has something to do with the delete key.

Also, I’ve heard you can get far better shots if you actually leave the house once in a while, but at the moment freezing rain is falling, and you know how that stuff is. I may be here until the thaw, at this rate.

It was a good Christmas. It continues through the weekend, after which the Great Housecleaning begins. I figure, I might not be able to sell my house at the moment, but at least I can make it gleam like a new penny. Of special concern this year: Closets. Beware, closets. I am coming for you.

From the comments, it sounds like everyone had a pretty good holiday, too. Sometime around 3 p.m. on the Eve, all my animosity about the holiday falls away and I find myself, usually unexpectedly, in the Christmas spirit. I think it’s because when the stores close, the jig is well and truly up, and you have to live or die with the preparations you’ve made, and perhaps by default, they’re almost always Good Enough. My final act was to throw a double sawbuck in the mail to my newspaper carrier, who along with many of us is going to be having a lousy 2009. (Unless that’s the year he finishes med school and starts his general-surgery internship, in which case he’ll be getting even less sleep.) I’ve never laid eyes on this man and wouldn’t know his name if he didn’t send me a please-tip Christmas card every year, but his outstretched hand doesn’t bother me. He does a thankless job well, and that’s the very definition of someone who deserves a little something extra this time of year. The day of our big blizzard last week, I went out to shovel the front step, which by the time I got up had already piled up to the bottom of the storm door. There were no footsteps on the walk and I’d assumed the carriers had been snowed in, too. And what did I find as I reached concrete? A New York Times, a Wall Street Journal and a Detroit News, all wrapped in plastic and perfectly dry. So he deserves it.

By the way, I think I’ve found the worst Christmas song ever, a new one to me. The local all-Christmas station played it on the Eve: A Soldier’s Christmas. Excruciating.

And now, the holiday in our rear-view mirror, we can turn our thoughts to other things, like contemplating the fate of the Lions. I’ll say one thing for this season: Sportswriters who had already turned it up to 11 after the fifth or sixth loss of the year have had to find new frequencies to wail at, some audible only to dogs. Drew Sharp in the Freep:

If you assessed the public mood eight months ago on the greater impossibility — the country shedding its shackles of racial intolerance and electing America’s first black president, or an NFL team going winless through a 16-game parity-driven schedule, the concept of perfect football imperfection would’ve comfortably won the argument.

The Lions have one-upped Barack Obama.

Passages like that make me miss the sports copy desk.

Let’s kick off Holiday Photos week, then. I actually have fairly slim pickin’s this year, mainly because you all made merry swapping links to Flickr pages in the comments last week, but no mind. This is a good one, Deborah from Chicago with her husband Steve, in happier meteorological times:


Light jackets! Short sleeves! Open water! The skyline of a thriving city! America, be optimistic — happy days will be here again. In the meantime, have a good weekend.

Posted at 10:05 am in Holiday photos, Same ol' same ol' |

51 responses to “Boxing Day.”

  1. Kirk said on December 26, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Bad urban-renewal news from the OSU campus area: Larry’s bar is closing tomorrow night.

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  2. Colleen said on December 26, 2008 at 10:41 am

    No, I nominate for the worst Christmas song “A Baby Changes Everything”. Kind of an homage to teen mothers AND Mary, all at the same time. Nausea inducing.

    Happy Boxing Day from Cleveland. Where we MAY be trapped due to ice in the Fort.

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  3. Bill said on December 26, 2008 at 10:48 am

    No Tribune here yet. Like you, I tipped the carrier (Diane) who can hit the driveway left-handed over the car roof. Now that’s a talent! A Trib semi jackknifed on the Ike. Totally closed it for 3 hours. I think my paper was on it.

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  4. William "Papa" Meloney said on December 26, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Ha! I got all of Edwina’s sister’s cruets and demitasse cups – and I still haven’t figured out what to do with them. Then you mentioned Tri-X and my heart skipped a beat. I didn’t know anyone even remembered my old friend (Ah, the sanctity of handloading Tri-X in the comfort of a familiar darkroom.) But, but… you didn’t tell us what kind of camera you received.
    The very best of the holiday season to you and yours…
    – Papa (Displace Michigander suffering faux winters in Philpot KY.)

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  5. nancy said on December 26, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I got a Panasonic Lumix from the point-and-shoot series. Alan liked the idea of it having a Leica lens.

    Oh, and Colleen: We were having burgers in a local bar when that Faith Hill “Baby Changes Everything” song came on. Kate said, “What’s this song about?” I said, “It’s a Christmas song.” She said, “What does a BABY have to do with CHRISTMAS?” The hazards of raising a child in a religion-free environment. Although, after my scowl, she acknowledged that oh-yeah-that-baby might have something to do with it.

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  6. coozledad said on December 26, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Lovely dining room. Ours is a horror. It used to have “My Old Kentucky Home” themed wallpaper that was predominantly putty-colored. The ceiling was papered with cigarette smoke stained gilt-veined sixties contac paper.
    I troweled a skim coat of joint compound over the lot and painted the walls an almost olive green. It is decorated with my nautical-themed paintings, which are chiefly of whales engaged in sinking three-masted ships and devouring the crews.
    I’m still in the process of making fake Delft tiles to cover the 50’s textured brick surround of the fireplace. The dining room suite is depression era walnut veneered cannonball Elizabethan, that I’ve been repairing with a technique involving super glue, Bondo with powdered colorants and some very tedious wood-graining. The china cabinet used to feature my wife’s collection of United States plates and a martini set someone gave us for Christmas after someone gave it to them for Christmas. There is a beige deep pile carpet in the room that is difficult to describe. One of the extremely elderly women who grew up here told us she was born in this room. I was tempted to ask her why they didn’t roll up the carpet first.
    One day I’ll send pictures.

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  7. basset said on December 26, 2008 at 11:48 am

    doesn’t anyone walk paper routes any more? all through middle and high school I had two, with one of those front and back canvas carrying bags; the Bloomington Herald-Telephone “motor route” driver would dump a stack of papers in our driveway, I’d load ’em up and take off on foot. when I got to the other end of town, there’d be a pile of Bloomfield Evening Worlds waiting for me at the grocery store, and I’d throw those on the way back.

    both of those papers have now merged and disappeared, one of them’s been online-only for the last few years.

    typing this right now in a 1983 suburban tract house, original popcorn ceiling and grass-cloth wallpaper. I’m no good at fixing it up but we did put on fresh vinyl siding this fall.

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  8. beb said on December 26, 2008 at 11:56 am

    The best part of Christmas was finding the free Big Band music channel from Comcast. For a couple hours I listened to lots of cool swing-style Christmas music most of which were songs new to me. There were several versions of The Nutcracker Suite Big Band style. Those were cool.

    So when does the picture contest start? I’ve got a great one of me covered in cats to share?

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  9. whitebeard said on December 26, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    mmmm, that Lumix is cool with the film modes and the Leice lense. I was given a pocket-sized GPS that has a vehicle mode and a walking mode and when I get lost I can look at a photo slide show and short videos and listen to Willie sing “On The Road Again” once I figure out how to make MP3s, whatever they are (I am into visual not audio so I will have to ask my 13-year-old grandson to help, if I can tug him away from his Christmas laptop).

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 26, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Cooze, just remember the Nixon’s dining room, and you’ll always feel good about how yours looks.

    I learned lots about business, customers, customer service (actual and perceived), and weather by delivering papers (Route 21-031, Gary Post-Trib, 1972-1977, started with 27 daily customers, ended with 61 and three clock-radios but never won the trip to Florida). Kinda sorry my kid will never have that particular experience unless he’s unemployed at 36 driving a beater at 4 am, delivering 300 to 400 tosses into driveways. I got my Christmas tippage by always putting it in the door, unless specifically asked otherwise (and no lawn cutting).

    The Post-Trib then was morning Sat/Sun, evening weekday, collect every other week. Great routine for a kid, and within eight blocks by six, fronting on two main thoroughfares on two edges. On my bike in two loops when i got the route count over 40, three for the “Progress Edition” in the spring and the Thanksgiving adbuster. Made enough to pay for three semester’s worth of books in college, and learned enough to still use thirty years on.

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  11. whitebeard said on December 26, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I delivered Toronto newspapers in The Soo, long walks with few customers, then later delivered newspaper bundles to the newsboys and newsgirls after I finished up on the wire desk on the Sault Daily Star.
    I volunteered to deliver a bundle to the Barnes drug store at Queen and Gore streets because I always dropped off a fresh copy to the publisher in the tavern (I forget the name, the tavern not the publisher) across the street.
    I also delivered a copy to the president of Local 2251 of the Steelworkers, because he always gave me good story quotes and unintentionally landed me a job offer from the Sault Star when they published a wildcat strike story I wrote for the Toronto Globe and Mail, forwarded by the Canadian Press wire without giving the Canadian Press any attribution, pretending it was their own story, and they must have felt guilty.
    Not really, the union boss would only talk to me, not to any other reporters in town, probably because I had worked for the steel plant in my younger days (well, a year and a half younger). It’s hard for a newspaper to cover the biggest union in town when the union president wouldn’t talk to the newspaper.
    That was probably because the newspaper ran a story of the union president being refused entry to the Michigan Soo because the U.S. thoughr he was a Communist because he, gasp, choke, had actually visited Russia.
    Canada, at that time, had an official Communist Party running candidates in the elections

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  12. MichaelG said on December 26, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I delivered papers for years when I was a kid. The Chi Trib and Sun Times in the AM and the Herald-American and Daily News in the PM. No tip this year for my delivery person, whomever he or she may be. A 96% Sunday delivery percentage is not good enough. Especially when two of those misses have been in the last five weeks. I had to walk down to the corner in the rain to buy a paper. Not so bad in itself, but I had thought that that was what I was paying someone else for.

    Worst Christmas song? The Little Drummer Boy. Gives me chills. The wrong kind. I did hear a country version of Oh Holy Night but that wasn’t the song’s fault.

    Nice looking table.

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  13. Bill said on December 26, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    I started delivering the local daily when I was 9. Shared a route with the kid across the street. After 6 months, he bowed out and I got the entire route (about 90 customers). The best part was getting a $2/week “bonus” for delivering one customer way across a city park on the edge of town. I delivered papers ’til I was 15 and then worked in the circulation department all through high school and the ad department during high school summers and college. The money helped pay for college. After college I worked for a daily in Iowa for the same chain (Lee). Only worked for a year, before going back to school, marriage and kids. But the newspaper biz was a great working and learning experience

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  14. nancy said on December 26, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Beb, e-mail me your picture: nancy –at– Easy-peasy.

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  15. MichaelG said on December 26, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Bernie Madoff would like to apologize to every American who suffered as a result of his machinations. He realizes that a blanket apology may sound hollow so Mr. Madoff would like to offer to each and every one of you a personalized, engraved apology. To receive yours, simply send $59.95 to …

    Stolen from NPR.

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  16. Lily said on December 26, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    My brother and I delivered the Marquette Mining Journal 40 years ago. The weather the state is experiencing now is why I only visit in August. (August in Marquette is the 4 weeks of bad skiing).
    I did, however, take my 10 year old son (native San Diegan) back in February a few years ago. When he stepped out of the small turbo plane on to the tarmac, it was white as far as you could see and 2 degrees . He exclaimed with pure delight, “Mom, how could you have left all this??!!!”
    God, bless the children…they have no nerve endings when it comes to snow.

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  17. Kirk said on December 26, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    I delivered the Washington C.H. Record-Herald for almost a year when I was in seventh grade, then retired from the route to become a part-time sportswriter — for less pay.

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  18. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 26, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Dec. 26, North Pole

    Santa Claus Enterprises, LLC, has formally approached the incoming Obama administration team for a share of the bailout dollars, or TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) Fund, saying that “Christmas toys for girls and boys” may be endangered next year if access to capital and debt relief is not provided.

    Kris Kringle, president and CEO, says “our operation has been a successful model for business success over generations, but when people are cutting back the way they have, we may not be there when the economy recovers without a boost to tide us over.”

    Mr. Kringle pointed out that they are, in fact, already needing to purchase supplies and materials for the 2009 Christmas season even before January. “Our supply chain is stretched tight, and we don’t carry lots of materials inventory through the Christmas season – we’re used to cleaning this place out, and then picking right up on Jan. 2 to get ready for next year.”

    Jimmy Jingle, senior provost of the Ancient & Honorable Order of Workshop, Delivery, and Transport Elves (also known as the “Little Teamsters”), agrees that a capital and credit guarantee is in order. “We think it is very important to maintain confidence in the entire North Pole operation — there are very few mass gifting and very-special-delivery models out there, and this one, with the active support of parents and grandparents and local retailers, is doing the very best they can. We stand behind, while standing on each others’ shoulders, the choices the Old Man has made that led us to this point, and are certain he will lead us into a brighter, more efficient, and new holiday season.”

    Kringle notes that in his initial contacts with Congress, he has made but sparing use of the fact that, in his words, he “knows who’s been naughty and nice.” Admitting that the senators and representatives he speaks to are aware of this capacity of his position, Kringle doubts that it has unfairly influenced any of the key committee chairs — or Mr. Obama.

    “President-elect Obama is acutely aware, through his two daughters, of how important continuity is to the Christmas morning surprise from year to year. We hope that no political considerations would end up endangering a smooth transition from one season to the next.” Kringle has not spoken to the Chinese government about their possible underwriting of his operation, but he does say “we have talked, and that channel will always be open as long as parents want cheap toys.”

    As a privately held company, there was no immediate response on Wall Street from the news of the bailout request.

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  19. MarkH said on December 26, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    My Newspaper delivery story mirrors yours, Bill. When I was 11, I started delivering the Pittsburgh Press (remember that, Dorothy?) which was the Steeltown Scripps paper, 1962-65. What I remember best is the route manager, the father of a schoomate. He was a real businessman, and saw it as his mission to teach all us boys the same. We learned how to manage the numbers for our routes and our money, ie, what it means to manage a profit, as our routes were our own little business. He was a great guy, really cared. I remember the first week that I netted $50, it was all the money in the world. I always appreciated being taught how to earn it at such an early age.

    In those days the Post Gazette was the morning paper, smaller than the afternoon and Sunday Press. Like how the old CJ was to the Dispatch, even though the CJ was the Columbus Scripps paper. The P-G survives, of course, alongside that Scaife paper.

    Then we moved to Cincinnati and I delivered the Post. Totally different. I was paid three dollars a week no matter how many papers we delivered and worked for some nasty people. That lasted about a month in late ’65.

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  20. James Moehrke said on December 26, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    My newspaper route story: When I was 13 or 14 I had the first of three different paper routes for our local twice-a-week paper. It wasn’t a walking route, I rode a big old bike with the bag hanging from the handlebars. I’d go door to door to collect the 75 cents per month subscription cost and was always bummed by the folks who’d skip out and stiff a kid out of his 25 cents a month profit. The hazards of delivering in one of the less savory parts of town, I guess.

    Later my dad was offered the job of circulation manager by the publisher, so I indirectly helped him change careers.

    Even later, I took a job at that newspaper, after college. I expected to stay a couple of years, but ended up being there 30. By then it had changed from two days a week to three, then five, six and finally seven days. The publisher son of the man that hired my dad sold it to MediaNews five years ago and it’s been downhill ever since.

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  21. brian stouder said on December 26, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I never had a paper route, but my older brother did, and tagging along with him on collection day was funny stuff. A time or two, knocking on someone’s door, you’d hear the music or tv within the house shut down!

    He got a puppie from a customer on Oxford Street, and we had that dog (Dusty) for 15 years.

    Anyway – amongst other cool things for Christmas, I got Laura Lippman’s “Hardly Knew Her” collection of short stories, and have been enjoying it even more than the inexhaustible supplies of cookies and brownies and and pies. (Shelby asked ‘Who is this woman you’re crushin’ on?’ – which made me laugh!) Despite myself, I am beginning to count how many times Pringles and Utz chips come up, and how many bad guys are named Brian (or Bryon)

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  22. Bill said on December 26, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I remember the first Christmas tip I got for delivering papers. It was $1! I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

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  23. Kirk said on December 26, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    The year I carried at Christmas, I had about 70 customers. I got about $40 and a box of chocolate-covered cherries.

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  24. Dorothy said on December 26, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Yes Mark I certainly remember the Pittsburgh Press! All four of my brothers delivered the newspaper when they were youngsters. I remember helping out more than a few times when they were unable to for one reason or another. I think they must have always done the P-G, though, because I remember very early morning deliveries.

    My dad was born 90 years ago today. He’s no longer here to celebrate – 4 years ago today was his last birthday. A little over 7 months later he passed away. Today is also my boss’s birthday. She’s a great person to work for.

    We haven’t opened gifts yet – that will be Sunday as my journalist-daughter had to work the holiday. She’s leaving Norfolk early tomorrow morning. We’re celebrating Christmas on Sunday.

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  25. jcburns said on December 26, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    My sister gave me a great present a few years ago…a Columbus Citizen-Journal newsbox…with the last issue they published displayed in the rack.

    The headline, of course: Goodbye, Columbus.

    I delivered the C-J for a couple of years listening to predawn 610 WTVN Radio in the late sixties.

    These days, I do prefer packet-delivered to tree-printed news. You can smell the freshness. By the way, I’m amazed that Nancy’s commentors include not one, but two people who have delivered papers in the Upper Peninsula. Having now visited several times in the winter, I can only shake my head at your hardiness.

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  26. Jen said on December 26, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    The WORST Christmas song EVER is “Christmas Shoes.”

    Sample lyric: Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please/It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size/Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time/You see she’s been sick for quite a while/And I know these shoes would make her smile/And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight. (found on

    But I also despise “A Soldier’s Christmas.” Neither are because I hate children with dying parents or soldiers – I just hate songs that are shrewdly designed to make you weep.

    In Christmas news, thank goodness the hubby and I got the stomach flu on the two days before Christmas and not on Christmas itself. Sure, we missed the Christmas Eve festivities, but so did most people, because of the nasty ice/snow mix. Eating our weight in cocktail weenies and Christmas cookies on Christmas was probably not the best way we could have chosen to reacquaint our digestive systems to food other than saltine crackers and chicken soup, however.

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  27. MarkH said on December 26, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    A real prize, that newsbox is, jc. I remember the CJ being the fun paper in Columbus, poking fun at the institutions revered by the Dispatch, like OSU sports for starters. Kaye Kessler was more fun to read than Paul Hornung. Whatever happened to that guy who was going to save the CJ in the mid-80’s, but turned out to be an empty suit? Didn’t he have everyone buffaloed for a significant period of time, right up to the day the money was due? RIP, CJ.

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  28. Dexter said on December 27, 2008 at 12:05 am

    My Christmas tips for delivering the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette to about 90 households amounted to about $95 and a couple boxes of candy “turtles” and a half-dozen boxes of choco-covered cherries, the kind that make you puke if you eat more than three of them.
    Back then (early 1960s) we had to collect every week as well as deliver every day,very hard work finding enough people at home to pay the big invoice . I was always behind on collections and it seems some weeks I only made $3 after paying the bill (at my expense for the money order). I am sure I only averaged about $6 a week profit. How they ever got kids like me to do that for years boils down to this: six bucks was better than nothing.

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  29. alex said on December 27, 2008 at 9:24 am

    I got chumped into taking a News-Sentinel route the summer of my fifth grade year. It was most memorable for a family that was months in arrears on its bill. They would strong-arm me for the paper by sending out their high-school dropout son, a big ogre whose ferocious mug was occasionally featured in the local crime reports. Most gratifying one day was the item that appeared in the paper about that guy’s wedding. He had knocked up the neighborhood slut across the street and their families were forcing them to exchange nuptials. Anyway, some sort of riot broke out at the rental hall and he and his bride were arrested along with a fair number of others for battery and resisting arrest. I think it might have been over nonpayment at the end of the party.

    Otherwise memorable was a dotty old broad who was preoccupied with the subject of race. “A coupla [,,,]s whizzed on my car,” she told me one day. “Know how I can tell? Because of the smell. Only […]s can pee anything that smells like that.”

    No wonder people are keeping kids on a short leash these days. It isn’t drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll they’re afraid of. It’s the neighbors.

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  30. coozledad said on December 27, 2008 at 9:43 am

    I’ve been to a few of those wedding parties. Everyone is wearing sunglasses to protect their identities, and their eyes when the cops inevitably show up with pepper spray.

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  31. nancy said on December 27, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Alex is, like, a magnet for these stories. He really should be a novelist, and just recycle them for money.

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  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 27, 2008 at 10:27 am

    You can make money from writing novels? Tell us more!

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  33. Julie Robinson said on December 27, 2008 at 11:37 am

    We are still recovering from our days away from the house, but like Dorothy we won’t truly celebrate until our oldest (eldest?) comes home, in January. This has been the first year without her and it’s felt a little hollow, but that’s the church biz for you–no holidays and few Sundays off. Our gift to each other was tickets to Seattle to visit her, and I can’t think of any material possession that could compare.

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  34. moe99 said on December 27, 2008 at 12:08 pm


    When are you coming to Seattle? They say the snow should be gone by the 6th of Jan. I just spent the am shoveling off my deck. Roofs are collapsing under the weight of the snow. If it’s after the 8th (when I get back from my Grand Canyon/Death Valley tour), let me know. Would enjoy meeting some NN devotees in person!

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  35. Julie Robinson said on December 27, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Moe–we’re not going until March, when the lad has his school break. Not the optimal time perhaps, but we’ll be together and that’s all that matters. Would love to get together and also to pick your brain for what we should see. Sarah spends her time in Kent/Maple Valley and doesn’t get into the city nearly as much as she would like. I’m on the gmail at julie.j.robinson.

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  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 27, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    USA Today poll on most respected men in America, and of course Barack Obama is Number One.

    Number Two?




    George W. Bush. Yep, sure, look it up; i would! (McCain is third.)

    Even more interesting is the tie for fourth place — Pope Benedict XVI, Billy Graham, and . . .

    Bill Clinton.

    Sounds like the set up for a bar joke: “The Pope, Billy Graham, and Bill Clinton walk by a bar . . .”

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  37. del said on December 27, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    I delivered 3 different newspapers for about 9 years — I think it made me impervious to cold weather. And J. Moehrke and Alex, I too delivered newspapers to some “unsavory” neighbors. Think dirt roads, chicken coops and motorcycles. Was told to beware of one area — known sex-crime guy lived there. Learned within the past year or two (sorry if I posted it before) that America’s first-female serial killer and “Monster” Aileen Wuornos had a few years earlier lived on my route — on a street near to the “bad” residents.

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  38. brian stouder said on December 27, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Over at (linked by Nance) Laura Lippman Memory Project, the challenge is to use precisely one word to express your New Year resolution for 2009.

    After pondering it, mine is:


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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 27, 2008 at 9:20 pm


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  40. Gasman said on December 27, 2008 at 9:43 pm


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  41. caliban said on December 27, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    I dlivered papers in Detroit. Well actually, Bloomfield Hills Township, which probably doesn’t exist anymore. My route manager was Mr. Shipinsky, and my mom wacked my brother Chris around the head and neck when she heard him refer to my employer as ‘Shit-pissie’. She only did that when we were eleven or twelve and she quit when we laughed at her efforts.

    There were a couple of dachsunds from the Seventh Circle on my route, most of which was a Pultevision called, improbably and uproariously, Lamplighter Green. Most dachsunds are sweet and amenable, but these twop were vicious, and it was hard to stay upright on the Schwinn two-speed while kicking the crap out of them and flinging the anti-Judge Crockett drivel onto Witch Hagee’s doorstep.

    The Schwinn was a marvel. Seriously streamlined, and you could change gears by backpedaling. There was an Andean hill at the end of my route, and I couldn’t have made it without that transmission. One mewspaper patron, and he wanted the paper in his mailbox. Once a month, that mailbox held the carnal glories of a brand new Playboy, and I admit, I stole it. Immoral? Yeah, but I’ve built Habitat houses as an adult.

    The Playboys made the rounds of 6th grade at St. Hugo of the Hills, along with underlined copies of Terry Sothern’s masterpiece Candy. The Sisters of St. Joseph were never the wiser, but I was caaught with a copy of The Ugly American and punished rudely and incessantly. Little Annie Fannie, si. Fidel, no.

    So it seems to me that 24/7 news is facing a life and death challenge. A responsible President not amenable to thongs andPepperdine vixen pudgy heat-seaking missiles who told her friends on a video she was taking her kneepads.

    After Nixon, did the Republicans think a hummer was going to get it? But a reasonable person would haveto say, this was a scripted event. So, when that didn’t work, the braintrust sent a letter to Bill Clinton. I think this was like, send moneymom, the tri-Delts won’t even look at us unless we’ve got cash to wave around. They’re Republicans and they’re neocons, and they go to Bohemian Grove to drown cats and worship Grover Norquist when the moon’s dark.

    So now, after gaining and keeping power by disappearing votes in Volusia and Cuyahoga Counties (In Diebold We Trust and real votes would have rendered Justice Long Dong and Justice Syill the Wabbit moot), Democracy they claim to want to export isn’t good enough for the USA.

    But never fear, you troglodytes that believe rich aholes have you covered, there’s always Fox News, now in Newspapers of Record.Oh Rupert, where art thou? Eight years of this kind of seriously pitiful bullshit to look forward to. Wanna bet the Illinois Senate vote was nearly unanimous and that dissenting votes were bought and paid for?

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  42. Bill said on December 28, 2008 at 12:12 am

    One word: hopeful. I love Caliban. We had to sell magazines to our newspaper customers. I always had an affection for the guy who ordered Esquire. (This was in the 50’s).

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  43. Dexter said on December 28, 2008 at 12:42 am

    caliban…I had one of those two-speed Schwinns. It was years after I quit newspapering, however. I didn’t like that bike, and sold it quickly for what I paid for it. I went through a few bikes on my route, mostly using a new Western Flyer coaster brake, narrow tire bike, but until it broke in half, I used a bike that had been around town for many years, a red delivery bike with a tiny wheel on front for more cargo carrying room.

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  44. del said on December 28, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Caliban, your disclosure of your sinful ways almost caused me to spew coffee over my keyboard. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Now go forth and sin no more. It reminds me of my paper route experiences for an apartment complex in Avon Township, MI. I was 16 years old delivering papers pre-dawn and inside a building I stopped in my tracks as I overheard lovers intermittent cooing, heavy breathing, and giggling — their aubade. I once heard the haunting sounds of fists to flesh, delivered wordlessly, shaking the floor on the floor above me. Once a guy propositioned me. That was novel. I kept looking over my shoulder wondering if a guy could sexually assault another guy. Once while “collecting” a young woman emerged from a shower wearing a bathrobe and bent forward to look at my collection book , letting her robe droop from her bosom while she watched my eyes to see if I’d look. I didn’t. Once I collected from an enormous Detroit Lions’ defensive end named William Gay who feigned rage at his debt and glared at me, growling: “I’m gonna rip the braces off your face, white boy!” Then he broke form and pronounced himself the world’s greatest actor.

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  45. MichaelG said on December 28, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    In addition to a sunrise serenade, “Aubade” is also a line of lovely lingerie. I used to be married so I know these things.

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  46. moe99 said on December 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    75% of Americans say they are “glad” Bush is done:

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  47. Dexter said on December 28, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    del…I know your story must be true, cuz it happened to me. I left it out before as too risque…but what the hail!
    While collecting for the paper, a girl answered the door. I knew her, two years older than me, and I was 14. She opened the door wearing only a small towel which covered only her chest, partially, and barely covered her bottom. I was shocked.

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  48. coozledad said on December 28, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    I always got the late-bloomers. I cant tell you exactly how many times as a rural carrier I delivered duns to women who had gotten only as far as the girdle and the bra, maybe a pair of socks, and then said “To hell with it. I’m just gonna sit here and watch Sallie Jessie.” Then I showed up with the third or fourth notice from the collection agency.
    Sickeningly enough, there were carriers at the station where I worked who’d have viewed that as a sort of Ruy Lopez opening of a sexual encounter.

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  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 28, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    I’ve never had to decline the Queen’s gambit — why do these things always happen to other guys, or in movies? This is all making me think of “Two Weeks Notice” and the intriguing innovation on chess played by Hugh Grant and some charming auburn haired lawyer. My wife says that’s the only time she’s ever actually found Mr. Grant appealing, but she had no interest in recreating the chess activity. Something about not having been in the chess club in junior high like some people . . .

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  50. mark said on December 28, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Belated holiday greetings to all.

    Um, just thought I’d, um, you know, stop by to let you know, um, you know, that I’m having a change of heart about, you know, Caroline Kennedy. It seems, um, that she, as a, you know, Kennedy, has, um, always had a sense, you know, that she had to work, you know, twice as hard as, um, everybody else. Not that she, um, actually had to, you know, work twice as, um, hard, or, um you know, work hard or, um, even, you know, work, but she always had that sense, you know. And um, so, you know, her sense is, um, that, you know, she’ll have to, you know, work twice as hard, um, in the Senate.

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  51. beb said on December 28, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Caliban, great story. West Bloomfield Township, as far as I know, is too rich to change.

    The closest I got to a newspaper route was a sleepover with a childhood friend who had a route. It was weird riding my bike in the middle of the night.

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