So this is it, then? Winter solstice? It doesn’t exactly feel like it — too warm — but given that it’s 8 a.m. and barely light, and that it’s raining and looks like it will be doing so for a while, then I guess this must be the place. Today the corner is turned. (Technically, not until 12:30 a.m. tomorrow, in my time zone, anyway.) Enjoy it, Argentina. Because we’re coming for that light. Starts now.
That last link is a sound clip, and somewhat NSFW, depending on your office. From one of my favorite movies-nobody-else-saw: “The Limey.” Roger Ebert gave it three stars, or a half-star less than what he gave “Horrible Bosses,” which was so bad I couldn’t even last through the DVD, and that’s saying something. It was amazingly crude, and do you know what it takes for me to say that? I, who once worked in newsrooms? How did we get to this point? One minute you’re laughing at the semen-as-hair-gel gag in “There’s Something About Mary,” the next a character in a Judd Apatow movie is dressing down another for shaving his balls in the bathroom and leaving the hair in the toilet, so that “my shit looked like a stuffed animal.” This was in “Knocked Up,” which later took a tonal shift to suggest the main character is positively changed by the presence of a child in his life. In other words, they girlied it up to make it suitable date-night fare, which suggests there are women out there who sat through the turd conversation en route to the baby-picture montage over the closing credits, and were pleased. What a world.
Although I hope “Bad Santa” comes around on one of the cable channels in the next few days. Because that was one that did crudity right. More or less.
Excuse me, we have a correction: Technically the winter solstice is at 12:30 a.m. tomorrow, I’m told. In my time zone anyway.
I’m still waiting for the coffee to kick in, so how about a picture I stole from a total stranger’s Facebook?
That’s our own MMJeff on the left. I guess he brought the gold to the infant Jesus, although think, Jeff: If you were traveling by donkey, preparing for the flight into Egypt, would a ginormous candlestick be a practical gift? Still, nice that you played your part in the living Nativity — you really are a Boy Scout, aren’t you? There was one last weekend at the church next to my Kroger store. The camel-wrangler wore the traditional burnoose over jeans and sneakers, and took a few calls on his cell phone while children petted his dromedary. If the wise men lived at this latitude, they would most definitely wear sweatshirts beneath their kingly finery.
Shoes are always the Achilles heel of the period costume. At how many renaissance faires have I watched knights and ladies touring the grounds in Tevas? The Johnny Appleseed Festival in Fort Wayne featured electricity-free carnival rides — I always liked the wind-up spinning thing — run by people wearing Nikes. The true non-farb Civil War re-enactor pays through the nose for a pair of true Civil War-era reproduction boots, which did not come in left-right configurations until afterward.
So, speaking of movies: Alan and I have finally accepted the inevitable, and are doing the years-overdue adult chore of writing our wills. We had the signing at the lawyer’s office yesterday. Without going into too much none-of-anyone’s-business detail, I was delighted to learn that the living trust we’ve set up features a “stuff” section, designed to dispose of particular valuables and/or personal possessions, should that be important to us. We can hand-write our wishes there, amend and cross them out, which strikes me as a very cinematic thing to have in one’s safe-deposit box. The first person I knew in life who had a significant relative die came back from the funeral with the disappointing news that wills aren’t all they’re cracked up to be in the movies. There was no dramatic reading in a lawyer’s office with the women all dressed in black, clutching hankies in their grief. There was no itemized list of goodies, with flowery legal instructions about their disposition, just some version of “I leave all my stuff to X, Y and Z,” and they can sort things out.”
I may, just for laffs, fill out this section with a list of identical distributions, all but the last one crossed out, to suggest a mercurial temperament I simply don’t have.
OK, so, bloggage:
The tea party takes the reins of power: The queer-bashin’ Troy mayor’s path through public service continues to be rocky, and this time it has nothing to do with her I-heart-NY tote bag. She and her confederates defeated a long-planned transit hub in that city earlier this week, by a 4-3 vote, bucking the wishes of the business community, which turned on her with a vengeance this week. The project came with $8 million in federal aid, but they reasoned that with the government drowning in debt, they must do their part, and said no thanks. The Chamber of Commerce was furious — do you know how hard it is for a suburban mayor in Oakland County to piss off a chamber of commerce? — and yesterday a remarkable letter leaked from a government-affairs manager from a major automotive supplier, saying he would put the word out in the business community that they “no longer consider the City of Troy for future site considerations, expansions or new job creation.” Wow.
The mayor, for her part, claims she’s heard “nothing but congratulations and accolades.”
Cathy Cambridge falls out in a black evening dress, looks smashing. I kind of wish she’d put her hair up for events like this, however, if only so we can ogle the rocks.
Perhaps some of you followed the link to the latest story about embarrassing College Republicans yesterday; I think Cooz posted something in comments. A roundup here, at Romenesko’s site. A student tweeted something offensive about the president: My president is black, he snorts a lot of crack. Holla. #2012 #Obama. You know what bugs me most about that? That stupid holla. Y’know: I’m a racist, but I still want to use hip-hop slang.
OK, the Great Christmas Cleaning Project begins. Holla!
heydave said on December 21, 2011 at 10:18 am
We’ve got DAYS to go before Christmas. Don’t rush into things so!
Scout said on December 21, 2011 at 10:25 am
“The camel-wrangler wore the traditional burnoose over jeans and sneakers, and took a few calls on his cell phone while children petted his dromedary.” This, THIS is why I come back here every day.
Just the other day, while listening to “O Holy Night” for the 3,673rd time this year, I had to admit that bringing silver and gold to a child shivering in the cold wasn’t the most practical baby gift.
@ Jeff (tmmo) – you are very handsome.
alex said on December 21, 2011 at 10:33 am
A child whose mother reproduces asexually like a sea sponge? Why would anyone bother to quibble over the sartorial authenticity of people bringing implausible gifts to the baby shower?
Sue said on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 am
Oooh, excellent, alex. I was going to go with the “If they were women they would have brought a casserole and disposable diapers” line you hear everywhere this time of year.
coozledad said on December 21, 2011 at 10:38 am
I always wondered about that insistence on correct eyewear, boots and belts among people portraying an army whose conscripts had none. Do reenactors of Lee’s first Northern invasion take off their shoes and shit their trousers near Frederick MD.? Because all the contemporary accounts I’ve read indicate the poors who made up the gunfodder left a trail of dysentery in their wake. Also lice. Typhus.
They need to look at more pictures of the field at Antietam or the bloody angle at Shiloh.
A more sanitized starting place is Winslow Homer’s prisoners from the front, but it’s instructive, anyway. At least he pegged the demographics of the Army of Northern VA. elegantly. Roughly two dirt-farmers for every ponced-up officer.
Dexter said on December 21, 2011 at 10:43 am
Cathy Cambridge falls out in a black evening dress, looks smashing.
You got that right. Damn all to hell! Wowzer.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 21, 2011 at 10:46 am
It’s a vessel of myrrh, Nancy; the guy in the middle had frankincense, and the one on the right carried a box containing present-on-demand certificates from Goldline.
For the record, I wonder how this cell phone ban is going to work, thanks to my time by the road last night. We were on the north side of US 40 through Hebron, 200 yards west of OH Rt 13 (business), i.e. the main intersection. I-70 runs two miles south of us. That context is because we stood there, loosely arranged in an open fan off of the roughly crafted manger where Mary & Joseph, and my personal favorite, little Baby Jesus [shout movie reference here]. Some cars each year pull up, a mix of planned stops and impulsive visits, since 40 is wagon-turning wide still through Hebron, and people get out so the little ones can come up to the manger/cradle, see the baby, and then, with much more vigor, interact with the sheep, two goats, and a donkey penned adjoining us.
We wise men waved, and to pass the time, along with singing carols, we counted honks. I’d say we got 50 out of 300-400 cars passing by from 6 to 8 pm.
But it was hands-down 50-plus% of the drivers were holding up cell phones. They’re either just on the last leg home off of I-70 (so could you just wait five more minutes?) or got home recently and are off to the store for groceries or Christmas shopping (couldn’t you have called from the drive before pulling out?). Almost every car that went by our spot, in from of the New Life community center (my wife’s the worship team leader for this church; they worship Sundays in a middle school auditorium 5 miles east, and have a former auto dealership for the baby pantry/afterschool program/etc. which is what we were in front of), had just turned or was going to turn at the main intersection 200 yards east. The laundromat across the road is glass fronted, well lit, and showed us distinct outlines of drivers even with tinted glass. 50-plus percent were on phones.
As were three of the four passes by local police. I’m sure it was official business.
So it was both rewarding (those kids’ faces, ahhh), and educational. What on earth is going to turn that strong a trend around?
What ever Nancy intended by posting that picture, it probably wasn’t that, but there’s my Christmas season offering for today’s thread . . . and Happy Solstice! Not that we saw sunrise today here.
(Oh, and thank you, Scout!)
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 21, 2011 at 10:50 am
Oh, and as the proud possessor of a pair of straight-last pewter-buckled shoes and wool stockings from the suppliers for Colonial Williamsburg, I should note that it was the Civil War that brought about left/right, due to the trials of breaking in boots on the fly. By Antietam (1862) Union soldiers all had lefts & rights, while only Confederate officers had those, albeit tailor made. So it’s not entirely inaccurate for CW soldiers to have properly sized boots, but Revolutionary & before, it’s a Bozo-No-No. /endgeek
Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2011 at 11:11 am
When we would take the kids to the historic Fort Wayne in the summer we would always feel badly for the reenactors sweltering in their wool uniforms, but I never paid much attention to their feet. No R/L would be another layer of misery. Say what you will about the problems of today; I’m grateful for modernity, especially its medical advances.
Kim said on December 21, 2011 at 11:13 am
Agreed about “Horrible Bosses,” for the same reasons. Crude can be funny, but when it’s just doubling down on the crude to be, well, crude, not so much.
On yesterday’s Sweet Juniper link, which was a great tale: One of the neighbor kids recently became a falconer, a two-year certification in this state. Got his first bird, a red-tail hawk, a couple of weeks back in the Shenandoah. It’s the coolest thing to see this kid walking down the street with the hawk on his fist. Even cooler to see the bird hunt, then on a whistle and wrist tap head back to the kid’s outstretched, gloved hand.
That said, falconry strikes me as an idiotic sport – it is called the sport of kings – because you capture a bird in the wild not with the intent of truly taming it but conditioning it temporarily to a human involvement in getting food, the main part of the animal’s life. Eventually, these kept birds either get tired of the game and fly off while on a hunt, get released officially and get the hint after the human doesn’t intervene with mealtime, or die. But like I said, so cool to see up close.
adrianne said on December 21, 2011 at 11:13 am
For a totally secular and groovy Christmas tradition: Every Christmas Eve, the Town of Woodstock, N.Y., greets Santa in spectacular fashion. Last year a psychedelic minivan was hoisted by a crane, and Santa bungee-jumped from the back. Have a merry freakin’ Christmas, man!
Kaye said on December 21, 2011 at 11:14 am
In the absence of state or federal regulation a texting/emailing-while-driving ban begins 06 JAN in my community. In the few weeks since the council vote I have been noticed how often I consult my phone while driving. Is glancing at my phone-based to-do list a violation? Would looking at a pen-on-paper list be a violation? How will an observing officer make the decision to pull me over?
I am not advocating texting be permitted. Personally, it may be safer for me to drink and drive than to text while driving. I often talk on the phone while driving though; the evening commute is a great time to catch up with friends. Speaking of officers and phones, a friend recently wondered if the (apparent) increase in police-involved crashes may be cell phone related.
nancy said on December 21, 2011 at 11:20 am
Dunno about cell phones, but one of the cops in our community damaged a cruiser in an accident he had while he was checking the in-dash computer. That has to count.
Julie Robinson said on December 21, 2011 at 11:38 am
The GREAT state of Indiana passed a texting-while-driving ban last year. Not banned? Sending an email or posting to Facebook. I can’t wait to see the smoking ban our esteemed state legislators will thoughtfully craft. It’s agreed it should be place by the Superbowl, but then the bar owners want an exemption, yada, yada.
Joe Kobiela said on December 21, 2011 at 11:41 am
You wern’t kiding about the weather. I slid in to dtw from N.Y. about 5:30am and wow, cloud,cloud,cloud,lights,runway, just that quick. I think it was slightly less than 200ft ceiling and less than a half mile.
John G. Wallace said on December 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm
@Julie – I couldn’t believe that they didn’t include emails or web browsing. I’ve had my daughter yell at me for googling and address while driving (hey, at a stop light) so if a 21 year old gets the concept why didn’t the Indiana legislators. They do tend to be too literal in their legislation.
They banned “K2” and Spice but didn’t write the law well enough to deal with other brands of synthetic marijuana, or possible future derivitives of the active ingredient. The law here in Florida is stricter and includes language about the compounds in products. It’s still being sold pretty much in the open at the mom and pop Patel convienience stores without much fear of enforcement.
The racist tweeter student should note crack is smoked and useless if snorted. Just posting to have an excuse to say HOLLA!
beb said on December 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm
I work near the river just a few miles south of NN.c world headquarters. Driving in at 7:30 it was dark with light rain. By 11 AM it was pea soup fog. I hope Pilot Joe didn’t have to go out today. Find the runway? I think he’d have trouble finding the plane!
The Michigan Renaissance Faire has gotten quite bad about enforcing the period costume requirement. Pirates, I’d argue was not a part of the Renaissance. At least not the Johnny Depp kind of pirates.
The movie biz has been moaning the downturn in movie business this year. I wonder to what extent it can be tracked down to vulgar movies for the sake of vulgarity?
I see a lot of people talking on their cell phones while they’re driving, not so maby of them texting. But then I find texting hard enough to do with two hands and both eyes on the phone. I don’t know how one can drive and work that sucker as well. This is probably my age speaking. (Dang kids! Get off my lawn!) A ban on all use of cell phones in a car seems extreme and overly protective. After all driving with kids has to be every bit as distracting as talking on a phone. And there’s the question of just how accidents per year can be attributed to cell phones. One report I saw listed 320 deaths per year. Out of 40,000 highway deaths a year, I think cell phones are not our problem.
Rana said on December 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm
Your comment about the reenactors’ shoe dilemma makes me laugh, Nancy. As someone who participates in such activities on occasion, yet who refuses to wear bad shoes, I find it indeed tricky to find shoes that fit the look, won’t kill my feet, and are also capable of being worn elsewhere (because a $100 pair of boots is a $100 pair of boots, and damnit, I’m going to get as much wear out of them as possible).
Cooz, what always strikes me about reenactors is how healthy and well-groomed most of them look. And how unworn their clothing.
It’s interesting, actually, when engaging with cosplay communities (in my case, the SCA and steampunk), to observe for whom their outfits are worn like costumes and for whom they are worn like clothes. There’s something in how people handle themselves, and their garments, that marks the one-weekend-in-ten occasionals from the people who wear their garb to breakfast on a weekday. It’s like this one experience I had as an undergraduate at Reed. At a few points in the year they’d hold a formal social (as opposed to the show up in whatever and party socials) and most people dressed up for them. What I remember about the one I attended was seeing a fair portion of my peers, who otherwise went around in grunge and other scavenged hippiewear, dressed in cocktail dresses and tuxedoes… and looking at ease in them. That’s when you suddenly realize the hidden class backgrounds of your classmates, the privilege they’re so determined to hide on ordinary days. It’s not just that one owns a tuxedo; it’s that one has worn one enough to wear it like it’s just clothing, not a costume.
Brandon said on December 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm
no longer consider the City of Troy for future site considerations, expansions or new job creation.” Wow.
It sounds a little like this:
caliban said on December 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm
I think maybe Young Republican Lolita uses her Neti pot when she snorts crack. Merry Christmas to all of y’all:
I actually own a tux. Inherited from my dad, and one of these days, I’ll have the opportunity to wear it. His savoir faire in formals, probably not so much.
Jenine said on December 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm
Yay King JeffTMMO! The secret to good magi = funny hats. Interesting to hear the raw data collected on driving while gabbing. A co worker of mine (he’s in his early 30s) is convinced the younger generation is out to get us by texting behind the wheel.
alex said on December 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm
Rana, your post calls to mind a scandal on the campus of IU back in the ’80s. The president of the SDS was witnessed spending his Christmas break skiing in Vail. Oh, the horror.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm
It’s all about the hats! Crowns just don’t rock the Magi deal the same way.
As for the wood & leather straight-last shoes, the lovely secret about them is that after a break-in period (which can’t be long marches early on, hence the development of left/right at the Civil War’s outset), they snuggle down to your natural shape, and are in-CRED-ibly comfortable. I wore mine in a three hour pageant for three summers and they were very nice . . . but you can’t pass along a pair to someone else, once broken in.
Fugawee Co. in Tallahassee, FL is where I got mine, and I still wear ’em three or four times a year, so not much mileage, but they’re close to fifteen years old and are in excellent shape.
caliban said on December 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm
Woody Guthrie’s New Year resolutions:
brian stouder said on December 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm
Let me just say, I have zero-use for re-enactors. Once, I was walking down the sidewalk in Gettysburg, PA, and one of them leveled his weapon at me and said some gibberish; I somewhat gruffly asked him to move aside as I continued on my way. (leaving aside how dangerous even a blank-round would be, if he fired, I also didn’t want to be skewered by his bayonet).
Aside from that, if you get the chance to wander all over the fields south of Gettysburg (wearing comfortable 21st century shoes!), do it. It is an amazing place, and sobering.(reading all the markers and so on is interesting in itself. One notes that, back in the trees and so on, east of Cemetery Ridge, there is a line of markers for Union cavalry….so, whilst the fight unfolded on the ridge, if the notion to ease on back struck a soldier boy or two, the cavalry was right there to push them back into line, with the flats of THEIR swords)
One interesting thing – that might simply be delusional on my part – is that the “feel” or the “vibe” there (in Gettysburg) is very different than at Antietam, or at Shiloh.
Whereas there is all sorts of glitz and ‘camp’ (so to speak) at Gettysburg, Sharpsburg is much quieter; much more somber and funereal. You can tell that the Union army won in the fields south of Gettysburg, but mostly died north and east of Sharpsburg. (Pittsburg Landing, on the banks of the Tennessee River, is so terribly unspoiled and quiet, that it is all too easy to imagine just how far from home those fellows from places like Indiana and Ohio were, as their backs were pushed up against the river, and the day wore on into night)
But, we digress
Deborah said on December 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm
Yay for longer days.
Tomorrow we drive back to Santa Fe to look at some apartments for Littlebird. It’s too soon to actually go inside and all that, we just want to get a better idea of locations, proximity to groceries etc.
Took our morning walk and it was very icy so only went as far as the orthodox monestary (only about a mile down the road). I was taking mincey pincey steps the whole way and looking down so we cut it short by half. It is a beautiful walk when you can look at things besides your feet. Near the end we startled a flock of wild turkeys which set me and Littlebird to panicking after seeing those videos. They just flew away, their wings flapping loudly.
Peter said on December 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm
Jeff TMMO – Fugawee? Weren’t they the tribe in F Troop?
Joe Kobiela said on December 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm
The Fugawee tribe is a tribe of 3ft tall pigmy’s that live in the 5ft tall grass in africa. They get on one anothers shoulders look over the top of the grass and say “where the fugarwee”
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm
Connie said on December 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm
Jezebel.com has just chosen The Christmas Shoes as the worst Christmas song of all time. I seem to recall we agree.
Deborah said on December 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm
Littlebird tells me that a flock of wild turkeys is called a rafter. I figured there was a special name for it, so she looked it up.
Dave said on December 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm
My brother-in-law and his entire family were hardcore re-enactors, proper footwear and all, but family responsibilities slowed him down considerably. Looking at the picture of Jeff and his fellow Wise Men, I realized two of the three have on corrective lenses and I don’t think the Wise Men, despite their riches, benefited from that. As I’m grateful for my own glasses, I’ve often thought how miserable it must have been in olden times to live to an old age and look at the world through a blur.
I believe that any attempts to outlaw cell phone use in vehicles will result in the kind of wild disregard that the 55 MPH nationwide speed limit brought.
Haven’t been able to post for a little while, Nancy, congratulations and best wishes on the new, full time employment.
MichaelG said on December 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm
I think Cathy C is a very attractive young woman who could stand to gain a few pounds.
It seems that the primary argument against outlawing cell phone usage; texting or talking, is that it’s hard to enforce. That’s a way stupid argument and that argument certainly hasn’t deterred our esteemed legislators from declaring things illegal in the past. Think of trans racial sex. Think of alcohol sales and consumption. Think of intra gender sex. Grass. Think of many, many other like prohibitions that never made any sense and were unenforceable. Didn’t stop brilliant minds under assorted domes from declaring a plethora of activities illegal. Oral sex between consenting males and females was illegal in many states. Shit, maybe still is. The proposed ban is enforceable to the extent that observed transgressors can be arrested and it’s a tool to be used against those who cause accidents.
A prohibition against cell phone usage while driving, whether as a phone or a texting device, makes absolute sense. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people talking or absorbed in their screen doing stupid things while driving. Yes, I think it’s as bad as or worse than drunk driving. I think it needs to be declared illegal now. Y’all can live for twenty minutes without your phone.
deb said on December 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm
Nance, re the will, put me down for that fabulous black dress with the fringe. And please put someone in charge of burning all my letters.
Dexter said on December 22, 2011 at 2:45 am
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2011 at 8:04 am
Dave, there was much joking about “we three lenses” from the guy with the trifocals, I’m still just bifocular.
MichaelG, I agree – I just am amazed at how suddenly necessary talking on a cell phone has become. And I suspect entirely unnecessarily so. But the numbers make me suspect there’s going to be serious pushback . . . still should be ban-able, maybe like seatbelts, where you don’t mess with pulling over talkers, but can cite for that violation if they’re in an accident/incident. Proof-wise, I don’t see how you ever could make a charge stick for solely phone-use on a traffic stop.
The practical answer is to build into cars a disabling device for anything but a built-in, OnStar type sat phone in the chassis. Technically, it’s quite feasible. In Mexico, where civil liberties are (ahem) not quite as individualized and emphasized, some government buildings and churches have a cell-phone killer device installed. Inside the building, you just can’t use ’em, because they won’t work. I can see someone like OnStar using the issue quite profitably, but it seems the only way to reduce the usage I saw the other night.
Oh, and if you have/use a Kindle, and like mildly sentimental holiday short stories, I’ve got a Kindle book up. Link has been Lounge-ified for blog benefit!
Judybusy said on December 22, 2011 at 10:00 am
I am the proud new owner of a Kindle: my sweetie totally surprised me yesterday with one “for no reason in particular.” I believe I said, “You know I’m never gonna use this, right? You know I’m gonna f*****g love this, right?”
News from Maggie Jochild is mixed. She’s made huge gains medically and with PT. It also looked as if she would see an increase in home-based care services, including a specialized bed. She was to go home on Friday. However, there have been some major communication snafus with all the folks involved coordinating services, and at this moment, the additional services are in jeopardy. The bed will now not be delivered till the 30th, which means another week’s hospital stay. (And we wonder why healthcare costs keep escalating!) Maggie, however, is well-rested (not easy in the hospital) and ready, and I quote, “To get on the phone to kick some f*****g ass.” I doubt she’ll have time to check in here, but I will cut and paste any good wishes to her FB wall.
Jakash said on December 22, 2011 at 10:25 am
You certainly rock that regent’s outfit.
“Proof-wise, I don’t see how you ever could make a charge stick for solely phone-use on a traffic stop.”
Proof-wise, how is it any different than a cop pulling you over for running a traffic light or a stop sign? The cop says he
/she saw you doing it. That’s the proof. Or, as is often the case, am I missing something?
Rana said on December 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm
Thank you for the update, Judybusy. I hope they get things straightened out soon.