My e-mail program seems to be hosed. Oddly, I am unconcerned. I can pick up the mail in two other places (phone and web), and besides, I’m starting to see problems like this as not really problems at all. Weekends are good for unplugging, and I intend to do so. I might even like it.

It occurred to me the other day that making a writer work on a computer with an internet connection is a little like making an alcoholic insurance agent move his office to a bar. Which reminds me, if you haven’t read Sweet Juniper’s latest post, you should. It’s not about writing or alcoholics, but it is about insurance. Sorta. It’s also funny.

Two cups of coffee, and I can sense it’s already going to be a short-attention-span kind of day. Sometimes I hit the finish line of the week like one of those rubber-legged marathoners, and today has one of those hit-or-miss to-do lists: Meeting, buy sanding sugar, clean house, make elaborate Christmas cookies. Sometimes Friday turns out productive against all odds, because I don’t have to work four hours farming news at the end of it. I’m free to work myself into a frazzle and collapse on the couch with a glass of wine at its end. Plus, I want to make a giant dent in “Chronic City” this weekend.

I need to remind myself, however, that to-do lists are proof you’re alive, and if I wanted even the alive alternative, I could look up the Facebook photo of our own mild-mannered Jeff with a giant bandage taped under his nose. He looks a little like Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown,” only without the nice suit.

So with that, I’m dumping this thin gruel into the same ol’ same ol’ category and starting my day. Because that sanding sugar isn’t going to buy itself, y’know.

Have a great weekend.

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

72 responses to “Unplugging.”

  1. Dexter said on December 18, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Miracle. My computer crashed at 2:00 AM today and all indications, from support help to this morning’s call to my local tech indicated a fried motherboard. After I dug out my packing materials and paperwork to send it back, I plugged the computer in just to check…and it started flawlessly. Somehow it had gotten stuck on a website about snowfall patterns I was researching. “Beep beep…beep beep…” that was all I got…and now it’s fine. Hallelujah.
    We get by with a shared computer, but I have had it. We are getting a backup.
    It’s not cool to barge into the neighbor’s to use the computer anymore, and the wait at the local Carnegie Lending Library is not for this old man.
    Anybody actually read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals”? I think Santa is going to give it to me.
    BrianStouder, you read it didn’t you?

    837 chars

  2. Deborah said on December 18, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Today is ugly sweater day at work. I really get into things like this so I went out and bought myself a doozy at Filene’s Basement on my way home from work yesterday. It is just gloriously horrible, bedazzled Santa with gifts cascading down the front of it, the glitter even wraps around the shoulder to the backside. I tried to find jingle bells to sew onto it to be even more obnoxious but I couldn’t find any.

    I’m off to Abiquiu, NM on Sunday, will be there for the next 2 weeks. It’s another working vacation. I hope to have internet access but you never know in remote northern NM. In case I’m stuck sans internet out there, I’m wishing you all happy holidays now. Have some good ones.

    693 chars

  3. whitebeard said on December 18, 2009 at 11:05 am

    There is nothing like backup, Dexter. I have my laptop connected to my wifi router, my wife has a desktop connected to the same router by a fat phone cable, my grandson who lives with us has a wifi laptop and I have a flat desktop and another laptop not connected to anything but with all my freelance files so I can work offline, everything is PC, but I have a couple of old Macs that I play with. A computer fanatic, I know, I know, but I used to be the go-to guy when the CCI instructors and techs were busy before I retired five years ago.

    544 chars

  4. Sue said on December 18, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Note to Danny, if you’re checking in:
    Ahem. Wisconsin is on its way to naming its official state microbe. It is Lactococcus Lactis, the microbe that turns milk into cheese.
    This is why California will never replace Wisconsin as THE actual, authentic Dairy State. You will never have the forward-thinking elected representatives to make this a reality nor the population that understands why an official state cheese-making microbe is important.
    It takes more than cows, pal.

    571 chars

  5. whitebeard said on December 18, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Deborah, try writing a few postcards when you are in the no-internet zone; it’s like blogging comments, only much, much slower. have a good holiday

    147 chars

  6. brian stouder said on December 18, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Any­body actu­ally read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals”?

    Dexter, yes indeed! I was prepared NOT to like it, but it was very good; dare I say – it’s a page-turner.

    DKG has mini-portraits of each of the major ‘rivals’, which were quite interesting; I think her book includes a few passages of letters between Seward and (another fellow, whose name escapes me) that read like flat-out love letters. It was enlightening to see the different way people spoke; the different norms.

    Anyway – Doris Kearns Goodwin delivered a lecture here in Fort Wayne, before a packed house at a large church, under the auspices and just across the street from the now-closed Lincoln Museum, which I very much enjoyed. (and I believe that NN.c Board Member Julie & family was there, too)

    By way of saying – I liked the book very much, although I didn’t choose to satnd in line to have her sign it (maybe if she was more MILF-ey, like that rogue bus tour lady)

    977 chars

  7. whitebeard said on December 18, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I am chatty today, guys and gals, because I am sitting at my laptop in a hospital that offers wifi to its patients, waiting to find out why I had a massive GI bleed two nights ago.
    Ah, modern technology, ain’t it great and I can keep up with “Holy Joe” Senator Leiberman’s incredible antics and pound the floor with my cane

    325 chars

  8. Sue said on December 18, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Whitebeard, had you been following Joe’s antics prior to your bleed? Maybe there’s a connection. Usually in these cases your head explodes, but I hear you Canadians do things differently.

    189 chars

  9. Rana said on December 18, 2009 at 11:23 am

    It occurred to me the other day that mak­ing a writer work on a com­puter with an inter­net con­nec­tion is a lit­tle like mak­ing an alco­holic insur­ance agent move his office to a bar.

    Oh, yes. Sometimes the only way I can get anything done is to go to D’s campus, where my computer doesn’t have wireless privileges, and hole up in the back rooms of the library.

    385 chars

  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Mmmm, fried motherboard. With icing, and sprinkles . . . say, have any of you tried this Oxycontin stuff? Wow. Just wow.

    Whitebeard, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Bleeding inappropriately is highly disconcerting. Told my wife not to come back to post-op too soon, but she wanted to get an “A” in the best supporting spouse category . . . and got herself a cubicle of her own for an hour. But at least i know why i’m bleeding, and where.

    Deborah, i’m hoping for some landscape pictures, when you get back if not while you’re on site. I’ve never seen the Chama Valley area outside of May & June, but i did see Ghost Ranch with a light snowfall once, for about an hour. Then the clouds passed, and the snow vanished in minutes. But it was gorgeous while it lasted! I don’t recall Georgia ever doing any pictures with snow in/on them. Does the mission church in Abiquiu have a midnight mass?

    911 chars

  11. adrianne said on December 18, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Nance … Sanding sugar? Are you mad, girl? Stick with the simple recipes, and when all else fails, support your local bakery!

    126 chars

  12. Julie Robinson said on December 18, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Is sanding sugar that sparkly colored stuff you sprinkle on your frosted sugar cookies? That must be the liberal-elite-Birkenstock-wearing term. I keep a large collection of it even though it only gets used once a year, because you just have to have a huge variety to choose from.

    Jeff, I had Oxycontin after both my foot surgeries and it didn’t do much for me. I was neither pain-free nor whacked out, which seems a little unfair as I understand that’s how it works for most people. How about nausea?

    The DH and I did see Doris Kearns Goodwin in lecture and she was a great speaker. I’ve read some of her other books but I’m waiting for my tropical cruise for that one–it seems like it merits a huge chunk of time. Of course, since there is no tropical cruise in my future I may get the audiobook version for holding my mom’s hand through her cataract surgeries this winter. She is both a big baby and a huge Lincoln fan so it might provide good distraction.

    It’s not a tropical cruise but we’re headed to Florida next week for Christmas with my extended family, all six of us. Our hotel has wireless but I’ll have to fight for computer time. That’s maybe not a bad thing. Blessings of the season to all, whatever you are celebrating.

    1256 chars

  13. Rana said on December 18, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    whitebeard, I hope you’re okay. Jeff, you too.

    47 chars

  14. alex said on December 18, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Sanding sugar… Is that so the grit takes the enamel off your teeth instead of fermenting sucrose?

    100 chars

  15. nancy said on December 18, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Alex — it comes in colors, too. My cookies this year will be hallucinatory. Pix later.

    Meanwhile, one of those heartwarming holiday stories: Secret Santa.

    293 chars

  16. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I’m always fascinated by those stories about the valuable coins that go into a Salvation Army bucket, so even the ringer doesn’t know who dropped the double eagle, or whatever it is.

    Julie, the first Oxycontin didn’t seem to do a thing, but the second (4 hours later) much more, and the third has me floating a bit off the ground when i’m brave enough to walk around, mainly to change DVDs. Thanks to Nancy, i’m going to Chinatown next.

    The prescription was for Percoset, but the pharmacy switched it to Oxycontin. Have to research this a bit; didn’t think they were the same.

    Brian, my comment a few days back about FAPE in re: education — in Ohio, the FAPE clause has been interpreted as requiring equitable funding, and the State Supreme Court as declared the current funding formula unconstitutional . . . five times. On an individual student level, making FAPE an entitlement standard has meant that every complication with a student becomes a quasi-judicial IEP process. The IEP process is not helping educate, but it is making even more distance between parental involvement and administration in schools. Add in the weirdness of NCLB standards and subdividing student populations by IEP to measure educational adequacy, and you’ve got gaming out the gazoo.

    So i don’t think that “free and adequate public education” as a federal entitlement has actually helped teaching or teachers, nationally or locally. I could go on, with or without painkillers.

    1476 chars

  17. Jim said on December 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Dexter, I read “Team of Rivals” and enjoyed it very much. It’s hard to read anything about Lincoln and not be amazed.

    118 chars

  18. Jeff Borden said on December 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Now that I am free of graduate school readings until mid-January, I have been devouring books I want to read. My wife and I had watched the “John Adams” HBO miniseries on DVD, which greatly piqued my interest in those fascinating times, so I’m reading David McCullough’s “1776.” It’s a magnificent, warts-and-all history (the Father of Our Country was very uncomfortable with free blacks amongst the New England battalions, for example) that is also a page-turner. I also purchased his history of the building of the Panama Canal, which is voluminous. Whether I can read through that bad boy before I plunge back into the textbooks on Jan. 11 remains a mystery.

    661 chars

  19. brian stouder said on December 18, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Jeff, I also liked McCullough’s 1776 very much, and also his book about Truman. (when I read a book by him, his voice is the one in my brain)

    Cannadine has a book about Mellon that I really enjoyed, and Jon Meacham’s book about Andy Jackson – American Lion – was sublime!

    274 chars

  20. Jeff Borden said on December 18, 2009 at 2:18 pm


    “American Lion” is on my to-do list. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. It’s very useful, I think, to read in greater depth about those men and women who are woven so deeply into our history and culture, largely because they emerge as humans and not the sanitized idols some would prefer them to be. You also get a great sense of how much of history is about luck or, as the participants in the events of 1776 might prefer, Providence. Had weather conditions been different during the Battle of Long Island, the British would have decimated the Continental Army. Instead, a northeast wind kept their ships from sailing up the East River, which allowed Washington to ferry more than 9,000 men to safety from Brooklyn and march them north away from overwhelming force.

    787 chars

  21. brian stouder said on December 18, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Nance’s Secret Santa link was uplifting and Lifetime Movie worthy; you should read it!

    But then there’s the Secret SOB Best-Man link, which will douse all that ‘Goodwill toward men’ stuff


    about a Best Man who set up a device in the newly-weds’ bed, that would tweet whenever they had sex

    edit: Yes – the contingent nature of history is always amazing. American Lion has several memorable examples of that – including the death of the President’s wife (after a terrible ‘politics of personal destruction’ campaign) before he could be inaugurated (setting him off very much on an ‘us versus them’ paradigm), and the assassination attempt on him as he walked through the capitol building – which only failed when two different firearms mis-fired at point-blank range (a highly, highly unlikely turn of events), and so on

    942 chars

  22. ROgirl said on December 18, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    What do the people who wear ugly sweaters on other days wear on Ugly Sweater Day?

    81 chars

  23. Jeff Borden said on December 18, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I was thinking the same thing, lol.

    35 chars

  24. jcburns said on December 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Hello from the Apple Store Chelsea…the second Apple store I’ve visited today…and both on foot! Feels kinda organic. Nancy, I have a simple solution for that OS X Mail problem…get rid of that troublesome Magic Mouse. It has it in for you.

    243 chars

  25. Little Bird said on December 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I can attest that Deborah has TONS of landscape photos, mostly from the September/October time frame. I have them on my computer. But my computer died. Well, the screen did at least.
    The area we go to is beautiful in the winter, the snow is never deep, but looks like a dusting of powdered sugar. And the air always has a slight scent of burning piñon from someone’s fireplace.

    385 chars

  26. Jeff Borden said on December 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Nancy and those who follow her competitive film projects, here is a link to a video that has landed a South American filmmaker a $1-million deal with Ghost House Pictures.


    A story on Yahoo says this video, which runs about 4:30 and features giant robots and UFO’s attacking Montevideo, cost just $300. Man, that sounds like an apocryphal story to me. This is some bang-up work.

    With “Avatar” opening this week and everyone noting its $250 million to $350 million, it’s cool to see what clever people can do on a shoestring. The spirit of “The Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal Activity” lives on.

    651 chars

  27. Sue said on December 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Apologies to Mark and all those who are sick of the Palin-centric discussions here lately.
    Cue the late night talk show hosts:
    “You mean Sarah Palin can’t even finish a VACATION?”

    270 chars

  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    “slight scent of burn­ing piñon from someone’s fireplace” — ahhhh. Almost as calming as two Oxycontin. Lacking the Sangre de Cristos out my backdoor, time for meds!

    171 chars

  29. Dexter said on December 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Ok, Jim and brian stouder, I now will wait and see if Santa come through with the “Team of Rivals”. I have been a good boy so I see no roadblocks.
    The lodge I belong to put on the all-day free buffet today, and I stopped to eat after I got back from Indiana today. Nothing like an excellent turkey and dressing dinner to comfort a comfort-food lover. Lots of brown gravy , of course.
    You folks around Baltimore are really in for it, eh? The Chicago Bears flew out of Chicago today because the Baltimore airport may be closed tomorrow. It’s gonna get nasss-teee. Georgia to Jersey…watch out and be safe.

    630 chars

  30. Jeff Borden said on December 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Oh my yes because Sarah Palin just hates being in the public eye. This is why after her abortive run for vice-president last year, she resigned the governorship and retired to a life of quiet contemplation in her new house on Lake Lucille. Oh. . .wait. Sorry.

    Our Lady of Wasilla would not have attracted so much attention if she hadn’t blacked out the McCain logo on her sun visor, which meant a relatively mundane photo of a celebrity became a hot political story given her still simmering rage toward the McCain campaign staff.

    I guess she must be quite frugal. A new sun visor would cost, what, a couple of bucks at Wal-Mart? I thought she had millions after that book deal. And the reason why no cameras are allowed at her book signings are so fans must purchase pictures of St. Sarah from a website, so she must be raking in some money from the rubes there, too.

    What a moran.

    891 chars

  31. coozledad said on December 18, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    We have several inches of wet snow here right now. It was pretty warm here today, so I’m surprised at the accumulation. Tonight looks like freezing rain. My favorite. My biggest concern is the ground is too wet to support any ice laden trees should a wind come up.
    We were in town yesterday and I overheard several people talking up the whole “Snow for Christmas” thing. They’ve forgotten that December snows just suck hereabouts. It’s like begging to be clubbed on the head.
    There was also this overheard conversation near the checkout line at Tractor Supply.
    Stage Whisperer 1: I seen too many of my friends from school their deddies let em get away with anything and they wound up messing up. It’s like the more they got the worse they turned out.
    Stage Whisperer 2: I miss my deddy everyday. He was hard on me but I needed it. I only wish I’d a listened to him better. I called him just about every day when I was on work-release, and ask him if he needed any oxygen or anything, cause I’d a bought it for him.

    1018 chars

  32. LAMary said on December 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    That visor thing is pretty cheesy. It reminds me of a letter I got in college. I had briefly shared a dormroom with a passive aggressive perennial victim type. She dropped out of college mid-year, but managed to write one letter to me with the following sentence crossed out with one thin line through it: I’m pregnant and maybe engaged.

    337 chars

  33. Kirk said on December 18, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Sorry I’m late, but “Team of Rivals” is a remarkable piece of work, well worth how ever long it takes to get through it.

    120 chars

  34. Holly said on December 18, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    She wanted the attention she got. If she didn’t, she would have gone out and just got another visor. She bugs the crap out of me.

    129 chars

  35. Jolene said on December 18, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Another Palin achievement: Winner of Politifact’s Lie of the Year title.

    Just got home to my cozy quarters in the DC suburbs. Snow started about 45 minutes ago and is coming down fast. We may get a day of being snowbound tomorrow, which will be good for the spirits of many but bad for the economy.

    374 chars

  36. Dexter said on December 18, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    OD’d on cookies…need antidote…H.E.L.P.—redrum…

    Yeah, I slowly ate a plate of Christmas cookies while watching “Henry Poole is Here”, a terrible indie flick that STARZ was showing. It was a waste of time on a slim-pickins cable night. Luke Wilson seems to emanate a resemblance to Nic Cage, I guess, and Radha Mitchell is good as the neighbor/love interest, but overall, a real dog of an indie.

    453 chars

  37. brian stouder said on December 19, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Snow snow snow here; I got out of bed and looked out the window, and saw our 14 year old out there, shovelling off the driveway and the sidewalk (extra far, both ways), and……nobody asked him to.

    So now, here I sit – all warmly proud (proudly warm?). Gotta love the young folks

    283 chars

  38. Jeff Borden said on December 19, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Here I sit in Chicago, which is supposed to be the national capital of lousy weather, and we have a very lovely light snow falling while the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic areas are getting hammered. It’s lovely to look past the Christmas tree in the window and see the white stuff falling gently while I sip some hot coffee and read.

    Hope all NN.C folks who are dealing with the heavy snows do so safely, not just the driving but the shoveling. Don’t work yourself into a heart attack.

    486 chars

  39. LAMary said on December 19, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    It’s about 75 and sunny here. We have nearly 14 percent unemployment and there could be an earthquake any minute.

    113 chars

  40. crinoidgirl said on December 19, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Oh, hell, that’s probably the same unemployment figure as we have here in Michigan. And sunshine, too? And whining about earthquakes…

    135 chars

  41. Jolene said on December 19, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    It’s kind of fascinating to think about the amount of suppressed activity that a snowstorm can cause at this time of year. Airports are closed, so no holiday travel. How many holiday parties in the DC Metro area were scheduled for tonight? Must be thousands. Special Christmas services at churches and Christmas concerts. Shopping, obviously, has been almost nonexistent. A couple of the big malls in the NoVa suburbs opened today, but they’ve now announced that they will close at 4 PM. Buses in the city and suburbs have stopped running, and only the underground sections of the Metro are running. They’ve moved the Bears vs. Ravens game from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM tomorrow, but, last I heard, the Bears hadn’t gotten here yet. Conditions will get worse as night falls and ice forms.

    The local news stations are taking calls from public safety officials who are frustrated because they have to rescue people who go out and get stuck or get into accidents when they are having trouble dealing w/ emergencies, such as ferrying people who need medical care. There have been calls for people w/ big, four-wheel-drive vehicles to volunteer to pick up hospital staff and take them to work.

    But, in the midst of all this, Harry Reid has managed to bribe Ben Nelson into voting for the health care bill, so it appears that we will have health care reform–of sorts.

    1376 chars

  42. MichaelG said on December 19, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Here’s a heart warming story from my pal, Ken Levine.


    Look and laugh.

    106 chars

  43. Holly said on December 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    The only airline that I have traveled with that I liked was British Airlines.

    77 chars

  44. Jolene said on December 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    MichaelG, that video is hysterical. Did you check out the singer’s blog? He’s gotten a lot of mileage out of that incident.

    125 chars

  45. coozledad said on December 19, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    My wife found this. Absolutely heartwarming.

    88 chars

  46. Julie Robinson said on December 19, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Or how about this one from Craig Ferguson on his flying experience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqL14U7TtiA

    110 chars

  47. Holly said on December 19, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    I need a recipe for a cheesecake with a graham cracker crust. I lost the one I had. It was soooo good. Anyone have a great recipe that will save me. I am suppose to bring it to a family party. HELP

    197 chars

  48. MichaelG said on December 20, 2009 at 12:25 am

    I haven’t got one, Holly, but I’ll bet Google does.

    It’s easy to pot shot airlines. Especially when the weather is bad. I fly Southwest a lot. Enough to score a couple or three free flights per year for the last ten years. You know you’ve flown them many times when you recognize flight attendants and pilots from previous flights. I like SWA. A lot. Their seats have a larger (longer?) pitch than United, American or Delta. They don’t have a lot of amenities (OK, none) but then they’ve always pitched themselves as a no frills operation. Bring a book and bring a lunch on a long flight. I do. Check in on line in a timely fashion and you will have a good seat. Obviously most of my flights are from Sacto to one of the SoCal airports but I have flown SWA to the East Coast a number of times. In my personal experience they have a superb on time record. I got hung up after boarding at Midway one day. They offered updates every few minutes and let people off the plane with the caution that leaving might be sudden and those who left the aircraft were on their own. The plane left about an hour late because of the weather delay with all pax. The point is they made a very obvious effort not to imprison folks. The flights out of Sacto are always spot on because I take the first flight out and the plane has overnighted in Sacto. The afternoon flights out of SoCal are almost always on time which is kind of surprising because they all come from the east coast. No, SWA is not perfect and yes, as with everything in the travel world these days you have to make accommodations. Mentalize yourself in advance to be in tune with what the travel world wants and things will be easier for you. You are going to have to make the accommodations one way or the other, like it or not.

    That said, Craig What’shisname has an amusing riff but I never heard of people being hauled off a plane because it was overloaded. I never heard of people giving up seats in an overbooking situation without compensation. Airlines do commit egregious wrongs and should be brought to task for them but my guess is that the rate of these problems is not all that high as a percentage of flight operations. Especially if you avoid United, American and Northwest.

    2268 chars

  49. Dexter said on December 20, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I don’t fly much anymore, but I used to, and have flown on all the major carriers, and some that I bet some of you have never heard of. Oldtimers will recognize Flying Tiger Airlines as a freight hauler born after WWII. They also leased Douglas DC8 aircraft for transporting military personnel , mostly from California to Japan. My Freedom Bird out of the Vietnam War was a shiny new Flying Tiger DC8 which took us to Japan and then straight to Seattle.

    456 chars

  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 20, 2009 at 10:25 am

    I’ve seen a number of “overloading” removals, but it was on regional carrier smaller jumpjets, like Embraers. Usually when there are multiple plus-plus size folk (at 230, i’ve no room to talk), and it’s a question of rearranging the cabin, and if the cabin can’t be rearranged, someone is bumped to a later flight. Had it happen a couple times between SLC & St. George, and once btw Little Rock & Memphis.

    415 chars

  51. Jeff Borden said on December 20, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Count me among the Southwest Airlines lovers. I’ve never had a bad experience, even when their flights have been late or delayed. Someone in that company knows how to train workers to treat customers properly. I contrast that with a recent experience on a regional Delta flight, when my wife asked for a blanket or pillow to brace her bad back. Instead of apologizing for the airlines stinginess, the flight attendant sneered, “You aren’t eligible for a blanket or a pillow.”

    One interesting thing about the newer jets we have flown recently. They are much, much smaller in capacity. . .and the headroom is dangerous to a 6-foot-1 guy like me. . .but once you get into the seats, it’s heaven. Plenty of legroom.

    714 chars

  52. Jolene said on December 20, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Sigh. All the white stuff outside my window is pretty, but now it’s getting in my way. Was supposed to fly out later today, but it’s not looking like that’s going to happen. Heard on the news that 800 flights were cancelled yesterday. Not sure whether that was just National or both National and Dulles, but that’s a lot of flights.

    The taxicab companies aren’t operating yet, so I don’t have a way to get to the airport. The airline website tells me there are no available flights to change to, and the airline isn’t answering its phone.

    Wish me luck.

    567 chars

  53. basset said on December 20, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Gray and chilly all this weekend in Nashville, got rained on all morning when I was out in the woods trying to ambush Bambi’s dad and looks much the same for another attempt this afternoon.

    About backing up… if you don’t have two copies of your digital data, you don’t really have one.

    292 chars

  54. Dexter said on December 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Jolene, I heard on The Weather Channel that National and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airports will be going full-throttle this afternoon …and GOOD LUCK .

    182 chars

  55. beb said on December 20, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Frank Rich writes that Tiger Woods, not Ben Berenecke should be Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

    His argument is that Woods represents America’s willingness to be hoodwinked by bamboozlers. I think he makes a good case.

    286 chars

  56. Jolene said on December 20, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Jolene, I heard on The Weather Chan­nel that National and Baltimore-Washington Inter­na­tional Thur­good Mar­shall Air­ports will be going full-throttle this after­noon …and GOOD LUCK.

    Unfortunately, the taxis are still not operating, so I had to reschedule my 4 PM flight. Will fly out on 12/24 instead. Amazingly, and for reasons I don’t understand at all, the airline website (though it had nothing to offer for Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday) offered me a first-class seat for no fee. Takes the edge off a bit.

    So, I’ll have a shorter vacation in ND, but am am free to entertain myself w/ you all for a few more days. Coming soon: Links to some of the end-of-year lists that I’ve been bookmarking.

    726 chars

  57. brian stouder said on December 20, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Jolene – you GO, girl! (especially when you don’t go!)

    On the bright side, it is certainly better to be home when you find there is no taxi service, than to be at the airport when you find there is no taxi service.

    That must be a fairly long flight, from DC to ND; what? – 4 hours? First Class will definitely be a pleasant little bon bon for you (maybe literally)

    370 chars

  58. Julie Robinson said on December 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Looking forward to the better leg room as we take two flights tomorrow to my sister’s in Florida. We’re going through Cincy and so far the weather looks okay. But we have to get up at (gulp) 4am and some of us are not morning people. That someone would be me. Best wishes of the season to all.

    297 chars

  59. Dexter said on December 20, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    This is being linked at several websites; it’s an Adam Lambert kissing spoof…I don’t watch SNL much any more, and I am not familiar with any of these characters except movie star James Franco…whatcha think of this?

    248 chars

  60. brian stouder said on December 20, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Dexter – I must be gettin’ old; the article refers to an “X-rated kiss”, when (it seems to me) all it really amounted to was a Too Much Information/Public Display of Affection kiss.

    And then we also learn, from the Celebrity News desk, that Brittany Murphy died today, at 32 years of age. When I asked Pam if she knew who Brittany Murphy is, a stricken look came across her face and she said “Why? Is she dead?” While I couldn’t have picked that actess out of a lineup, Pam mentioned several movies that she starred in.

    Aside from that, the young folks and I watched The Wizard of Oz last night on TBS the way it’s supposed to be watched – with commercials!

    In watching it again, we were gabbing about how all the men in the movie are pretty much idiots, while all the truly powerful, consequential (for better or worse) people are women; there’s a home-truth in there

    884 chars

  61. Holly said on December 20, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    The last munchkin died several months ago. I always liked the Wizard of Oz. My Husband thinks it is stupid. When I watch it, I am always alone in the house. He makes comments during the movie and it gets me mad. Then we get into a fight. That is why I wont watch it with him.

    Brittany Murphy was an OK actress. I did not hear what she died from. I’m hoping it was not drugs.

    377 chars

  62. basset said on December 20, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Back in the early 80s I worked at a tv station in Wichita, Kansas, and one of our news photographers got sent home to change when she showed up in a t-shirt which read: “Auntie Em – Hate you, hate Kansas, taking the dog.”

    I really liked Kansas, actually… never heard of Brittany Murphy.

    292 chars

  63. Holly said on December 20, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    I lived in Wichita for over 3 years. We moved there in 81 and left in 84. I liked some aspects of the town, others not so much.I lived out near 37th and Woodlawn. It was always very hot. You would drive down the road and have to drive around cows. First time I saw tumbleweeds. They would just roll across the lawn. I got to the point that I could step outside and tell if there was going to be a tornado. First time I ever saw a twister. My oldest was born at Munson. We moved back because the family was all up in the Chicago area. We missed home. Also, my husband worked for Beech Aircraft and he knew his job was not going to last. If we stayed in Wichita, all my kids would have ended up with a funny accent. Instead of dog, it would be dawg.

    747 chars

  64. MichaelG said on December 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Dexter mentioned Flying Tigers. I knew some Flying Tigers people. One guy was a navigator on an old Canadair CL-44 (what Flying Tigers used before DC-8s). He once turned the aircraft 90 degrees left for a few minutes in the middle of the Pacific, then right, then right again and finally left onto their original course. The captain wanted to know what was up. The navigator (I forget his name) pointed to a tomato seed that had fallen from his sandwich onto the chart. “You wouldn’t want to hit that, would you?” There used to be several airlines based at North Field in Oakland back in the day. World (remember Ed Daley?) Saturn, Trans American, Air Cal and some others I forget. The 60’s and 70’s and into the 80’s were fun and exciting days at OAK. Trivia question still current: What airport has two concurrently operating control towers on the same property? OAK.

    879 chars

  65. basset said on December 20, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    We were in Wichita from summer 83 to summer 85, lived in Goddard the first year and near 13th & Zoo the second. Used to go out to Beech every once in awhile, including one time when they were flight-testing the 3/4 or 7/8 or whatever it was scale model of the Starship and Olive Ann Beech came out to watch. Black limo and a brief glimpse of a hand waving through a partially opened window, that was it.

    One of the most interesting things about Wichita was that you could see just about any kind of aircraft at any time, given that it had four major aircraft manufacturers, several smaller ones, a load of suppliers, and an Air Force base in the city – commercial airport on one side of town with Cessna and Learjet plants on it, McConnell AFB and a Boeing plant on the other with Beech’s factory airfield close by. Mrs. Basset worked at an animal hospital across the street from Beech, I went to pick her up one day and heard this awful noise in the sky… looked up and it was a B-52 just a few hundred feet up, flaps down, doors open and about to land at McConnell.

    1078 chars

  66. MarkH said on December 21, 2009 at 3:54 am

    I remember Flying Tiger airlines; my sister was a flight attendant (then stewardess) for them in ’61-’62.

    The press is starting to fill with stories of Brittany Murphy as a severe anorexic.

    192 chars

  67. Dorothy said on December 21, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Brittany looked pretty darned skinny to me in the pictures they were showing of her on the news this morning.

    Jeff (tmmo) you don’t have to apologize or explain your weight. You’ve got an excuse – you’re, like, 5’19” or something right? (and yes, I meant to type it that way in case anyone thinks I’m an idiot. But then again you might be right. But not necessarily about this.)

    My son has a friend who has been in teaching English in Czech Republic since August and she flew home to the states for Christmas. She got stranded in Newark on Saturday morning, so two of my son’s best friends jumped in a car in Columbus, drove 527 miles to Newark to “rescue” Lara, and got her home yesterday morning. I was thinking they were crazy to try that in the midst of all that storm that lay ahead of them, but they said the roads were actually very clear and had no problems. I’m just glad they made it there and back safely. It’s been sort of a neat story to hear about this week. Made me feel kinda warm and fuzzy!

    1023 chars

  68. Jolene said on December 21, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I didn’t know who Murphy was, but just saw some pictures of her w/ her collarbones sticking out–more so than w/ the usual skinny movie star. The anorexia explanation sounds likely.

    Your son’s trip will make a good story for years, Dorothy. Makes sense, too, in light of what’s happening here. The Beltway is relatively easy to clear, especially compared to clearing city streets, extricating cars that people abandoned on smaller highways, and dealing w/ the backlog of passengers at airports.

    500 chars

  69. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 21, 2009 at 9:52 am

    I’m only 5′ 17″.

    I’m embarrassed to admit that my one cinematic association with Brittany Murphy is with the single most unromatic sex scene i’ve ever watched in a movie, with Eminem in “8 Mile,” and it wasn’t just because it was with Mr. Slim Shady, either.

    5 days of applesauce, 7-Up, and an egg nog shake from McDs, and i’m nowhere near 230 any more, that’s for sure.

    376 chars

  70. Dorothy said on December 21, 2009 at 10:49 am

    It wasn’t my son’s trip, but two of his friends, Jolene. But you’re right – it’ll be a fun story for them to tell in the years to come! I just looked through the pictures Corey (the instigator/idea man for the trip) took on the road and they’re predictably fun. One of them was an overhead sign on the Interstate that warned of WINTER STORM WARNING. Corey’s caption simply said “my ass”.

    391 chars

  71. brian stouder said on December 21, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Hah!! Funny stuff, Dorothy.

    When the day arrives when they look back, they’ll say “what were we thinking?”

    109 chars

  72. Jolene said on December 21, 2009 at 11:06 am

    WaPo “digging out” story here. Some interesting details: 1000 people sleeping at National Airport; 1200 people working to clear snow from Fedex Field so that Redskins can lose tonight; federal government offices and all area schools closed today.

    WaPo reader photos here.

    Post photographer photos here.

    455 chars