And a parrotlet in a pine tree.

My sister-in-law has a parrotlet that she dotes on — Max travels with her, and squawks with alarm when she leaves the room. He eats what she eats, and has a fondness for firehouse chili, and before you exclaim in dismay, be advised that her birds live as long as Methuselah. The last one, a parakeet, was well into double digits when he finally fell off the perch. Anyway, Max came for Christmas, and as soon as his cage door was open, went directly to the highest point in the room:

Next year’s Christmas card! (Yeah, the molting feathers throw the effect off a bit, but oh well. I cropped the picture with him off to the side to indicate where the holiday greeting would go.)

He didn’t want to come down, but Jenny waved a Kleenex at him and he immediately surrendered. Bird’s got a thing for Kleenex, evidently.

And that was the best picture of Christmas I got this year, unless you count the few snaps Kate got at the Electric Six concert last weekend, but that only took on a holiday feel when they covered “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

We haven’t really discussed Christmas, have we? The Derringers got a new turntable, which wasn’t in the plan, but it’s how things ended up. Kate asked for and received a few vinyl items, but when we went to play them, discovered the cartridge on the old one was toast, and the cost of a new one was about the same as a new platter-spinner, so that’s how it happened. All my records are in the basement, but I’ve found a few I needed to rediscover, particularly the “Repo Man” soundtrack, introduced to me by Jeff Borden many moons back. It’s a great sampler of L.A. punk bands of the early ’80s era, including the Plugz and Suicidal Tendencies. I’d be over the moon if Kate would add “Pablo Picasso” to her small repertoire, pottymouth lyrics and all, but I can’t talk that kid into anything, musically. Maybe I should try some reverse psychology — if you dare to sing that foul song, you’ll be grounded, young lady. Whatever works.

I see you guys are reduced to the smallest of small talk in the previous thread, so I guess I best get this posted before someone points out that Chauncey, Ohio, is actually pronounced “chancy.”

Any bloggage?

No. Nothing. And I don’t think it’s going to be any better tomorrow. So why don’t we close the books on 2011 with this (unless there’s a particularly good picture waiting at the Saturday-morning market). It’s been a great year, and I hope 2012 has a few pleasant surprises for all of us.

Happy new year.

Posted at 11:15 am in Holiday photos |

90 responses to “And a parrotlet in a pine tree.”

  1. coozledad said on December 29, 2011 at 11:34 am

    We don’t have a Christmas tree, but if we did, Balto the cockatiel would either gnaw on it or hump it, while providing a simulacrum of new fallen snow you need a cold chisel to remove.

    We just learned the shrieking is referred to as “flock calling”. It means your psittacine is afraid of being left alone by its peer group. I think that’s how we came by our bird. His original peer group decided he needed some time outdoors.

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  2. Mindy said on December 29, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Pablo Picasso was a Modern Lovers tune back in the day. Along with Dodge Veg-o-matic and Rockin’ Shopping Center, my favorite. Feeling old all of a sudden.

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  3. LAMary said on December 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I like the molting feathers look. It would be too perfect otherwise.

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  4. coozledad said on December 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Mindy: I was so much older then:

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  5. MichaelG said on December 29, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Further small talk. I’ll see your Perus and raise you one Piru. There’s a Piru in CA pronounced “Pye-rue”.

    Funny you should mention it, Nance. I’ve got several boxes of vinyl with a lot of stuff I’d like to hear. I’ll have to try to resurrect my old system and see if I can make some sounds.

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  6. Dexter said on December 29, 2011 at 11:47 am

    You would not believe the quantity of items my kids got me for gifts. I’ll just say this: breakfast today was silver dollar pancakes topped with real Vermont maple syrup. The pancakes were made on a silver dollar griddle…seven round compartments in the griddle. The coffee is made with ground beans they found in some specialty shop, so aromatic even before grinding,and all this, including the pancake batter, were gifts, and I had nearly a van-load more stuff.

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  7. LAMary said on December 29, 2011 at 11:50 am

    My kids gave me lovely pair of antique moonstone earrings and a turquoise ring. Very nice.

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  8. caliban said on December 29, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Merry Christmas, fans of The Wire. Sorry, crummy Tom Waits cover.

    You just need to nail their feet to the perch.

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  9. Dexter said on December 29, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I have vinyls going back to 1963, all stuff I bought new. I have a working turntable and speakers, but since I got satellite radio I rarely fire up the stereo. Once I had over a thousand vinyl LPs and maybe 500 45s. Over the years I traded most of the LPs off for books and other stuff , and I gave all my 45s to the junk man.

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    In the spirit of self-serving-ness mixed with sincere memorialization, on this anniversary of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota, let me offer this entry from another blog where I sporadically get to guest post:

    And if you’ve not heard of this key moment in US history by some odd chance, all the better. Most of you would never have heard of Moorehead, which is probably no loss to any of you, but he’s a pivotal figure in American archaeology, and the subject of a painfully long-gestating biography for which I have too much research and still too few confirmed details to commit yet to print. OU Press and my OHS friends keep pestering me, though, and someday . . .

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  11. Peter said on December 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Nancy, I’m sorry, but Mindy’s right – nobody did Pablo Picasso better than the Modern Lovers.

    Besides, it would be more appropriate and a higher honor if your daughter’s band did Old World from the same album: “…well I had a New York girlfriend, and even she couldn’t understand, how I could love my parents, and still love the old world…”

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  12. toney said on December 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    One of my all time favorite soundtracks. It’s right up there with Times Square

    The Circle Jerks know old advice is still good advice folks!

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  13. caliban said on December 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Lord knows how many times I’ve seen the Modern Lovers:

    JRichman was sort of ahead of the (rapper) times by rhyming Picasso with asshole. Actually, lots of folks have covered his songs, Iggy, Joan Jett, Bowie, REM, Sex Pistols. Iggy pronounces Picasso with a very flat short-a sound to make it really rhyme with asshole.

    The great Modern Lovers tune, for people that lived inside the 128 bletway triangle, was undoubtedly Roadrunner, with the references to the ring road and the Stop-and-Shop (best recording I’ve heard):

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  14. alex said on December 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Fascinating story, MMJeff.

    Hadn’t mentioned it previously, but the girl murdered in Fort Wayne is descended of the Lemmon family of Hamilton, Steuben County, which is a familiar family to me through genealogical research. They are descended of two esteemed nineteenth-century figures from Ohio, John Sloane and Philemon Beecher.

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  15. Judybusy said on December 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Although not at all related to the thread, I think people here will be glad to know that Maggie Jochild is home from the hospital! She hasn’t posted from home yet, so I expect she’s catching up on rest and re-bonding with her cat. Neither rest nor cat were readily available at the hospital!

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  16. Hattie said on December 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I have the original MC 5 album in my basement somewhere.

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  17. Scout said on December 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    My daughter got me a Kindle for Christmas. My nose has been buried in it ever since.

    We briefly resurrected the vinyl several years ago, amused ourselves with it for a while, then went back to streamable radio because we’re lazy.

    Love love love the picture. Best holiday photo I’ve seen so far.

    on edit: Thanks for the Maggie update, Judybusy. Glad to hear she’s home and reunited with the kitty.

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  18. Jolene said on December 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Just saw that Amazon is selling the Kindle version of M. Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale for$1.49.

    Not my favorite novel, but may be worth rereading now, given the GOP’s recent emphasis on controlling women’s sexual behavior.

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  19. caliban said on December 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Hattie, there were two versions of the original, live MC5 album. The Detroit flagship Department store Hudson’s refused to sell the album as it was recorded, on which Rob Tyner shouts Kick out the jams, m—erf**kers”, so the record company made another version, dubbing in “brothers and sisters”, which Rob actually did say in live shows, just as frequently as the MFers version. I’ve got both on vinyl, and Back in the USA, a great, and grossly underrated, album:

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  20. Scout said on December 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Jolene, we actually bought that daily deal today. Whenever we buy the reader version of a book we already have, we give the hard copy away.

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  21. MichaelG said on December 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Good to hear about Maggie.

    I was thinking of getting one of those turntables that will send vinyl directly to your computer so you can download it to your i whatever. It just seems like so much work and time but there’s a lot of stuff on those old records that I don’t know if I can replace.

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  22. Jolene said on December 29, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Sounds like a good plan, Scout. I am trying, too, to pare down the amount of stuff I own.

    Have been listening to news of the Iowa caucuses, and it is looking more and more likely that Romney will win. He will almost certainly win NH too, and that will be all she wrote.

    I find this prospect depressing, as it means he’ll have more time to tell lies about Obama than he’d have had if he’d had more formidable opponents.

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  23. JWfromNJ said on December 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    My daughter has a conure like the bird in Paulie. He seems pretty smart – calls the dogs by name, messes with them by making a door knocking sound, if we’re eating one of his favorite things like an omelet, turkey, or homefries he will demand, “Come get Tico,” or “What about Tico,” and it’s very clear what he’s saying. He also spends a lot of time grumbling under his breath as he inspects his feed mix. It sounds like an old man but we can’t catch what he is saying. He’s an artist when it comes to flicking a peanut or corn kernal at the unsuspecting dogs.
    His best or worse trick depending on your POV is to squawk very loudly like 6-7 times then yell (in my voice), “Tico, shut the f_ _ _ up!”

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  24. brian stouder said on December 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Apropos of nothing, this article about alternative energy was interesting to me, and I thought I’d share it (call it “guest bloggage”)

    You know that scene in The Graduate where the guy has one word for Dustin Hoffman? (“Plastics”). In the 21st century, biofuels are the big thing, and a plentiful, easily processed feedstock for biofuels is the holy grail. And the one term to watch out for is…? MSW*, baby!! keep that MSW comin’!

    Leaving that aside, I have a very slight disagreement with Jolene. If Romney grabs the steering wheel of the clown car and runs down all the others early on, that’s OK with me.

    It will give the malcontents in their electorate all the more time to simmer over how unfair it is to get stuck with a serious person who wants to govern, rather than a self-indulgent bomb-thrower….and then the chance of a third party is all the larger (and really, wouldn’t this serve the hard Right right?).

    And in any case, incessant lies about Obama are a given, whatever happens.

    *Municipal Solid Waste – which lends itself to any number of puns

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  25. coozledad said on December 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Jolene: Nate Silver has made some noises that Ron Paul might snake Iowa from Romney, but those counter-narratives fail to take the history of the Republican party into account. If you can’t encode your racism in beltway Navajo, you’re obviously a parvenu, and more than likely to squander the last opportunity the party has to gut the electoral process and run the proposed Iran War grift.

    Ron Paul done failed that test. He’s useful for the Republicans in the sense that he can siphon some of the stoner vote from the Dems, but there’s no way in hell the Bushes and Romneys of this world are going to split their Krug with Stormfront. The Paul family has been pigpiling with militias and hard-money glue sniffers from the outset because they aren’t smart enough to realize the country doesn’t look like Oklahoma. Not yet.

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  26. LAMary said on December 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I was so hoping that MSW was Master of Social Work.

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  27. Rana said on December 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Love the parrotlet on the tree! Very cute and photogenic.

    I’ve never had a bird of my own (unlikely between the cat and a mild feather allergy) but I’ve known a few. There was the parrot who liked lasagne (which led me to learning that they are omnivorous and not just seed-and-fruit eaters); the parakeets I sat for a friend (and thus I learned that if you have 4 or more, the “flocking instinct” gets triggered, meaning that if one gets freaked, soon you have a room filled with shrieking flapping birds); the grey parrot owned by some friends that learned to call the cats… then laugh at them when they ran in, bewildered. Lots of personality, parrots.

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  28. caliban said on December 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Waste to energy should be a target for governmental money for research and implementation, Brian. Somebody should ask Willard Windsock why, if the USA is the greatest country in the history of the world, we can’t cooperate to produce technologies friendly to the environmentally effective and economically efficient techniques like those employed in Sweden (aside from high quality universal health care): (check out p. 8)

    Makes a whole lot more sense than robbing the world’s pantry for corn ethanol at 0.9:1 energy in/out ratio, when people are starving.

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  29. Jolene said on December 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Willard Windsock is a great nickname for Romney, Caliban. Hadn’t heard that one before, but it’s a perfect fit.

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  30. moe99 said on December 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    C’dad, the Dead Kennedys are simply following in an earlier song tradition set by Sweet Pie (who used to perform in the nude) with his boogie woogie song, “Too Drunk to Ball.”

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  31. coozledad said on December 29, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Moe99: You’re right. I’d never heard that one before. It just reminds me that no matter what came before or after, the sixties did it louder, dirtier, and crazier.
    I see Sweet Pie became a naked book salesman once his wild days had come to an end.

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  32. moe99 said on December 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    the very last of his song seems to be cut off by that youtube, which is a shame, so here’s another attempt:

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  33. caliban said on December 29, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Well, of course, there was always Hasil:

    Mostly late 50s, I believe. Gave birth fairly directly to Exene, John Doe and the Cramps.

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  34. alex said on December 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    If the sujet du moment is punk, howz cum nobody’s talking ’bout them raunchy Slits?

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  35. James said on December 30, 2011 at 12:31 am

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  36. Dexter said on December 30, 2011 at 1:27 am

    I picked up a bad cold virus in Columbus. Today it manifested itself: I started chilling and feeling sick and coughing late this morning. I took to my sick bed, as the old folks used to say,and spent most of the day watching the final five episodes of Showtime Network’s “Homeland”.
    Actually, I got Showtime because so many people I know were raving about this show; I had never had Showtime before; I thought they called themselves SHOtime. Wrong.
    This series is great. I completed all 12 episodes and I recommend it to anyone who likes spy stuff.

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  37. Jolene said on December 30, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Yikes, no Nancy until next year. What will we do for three whole days?

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  38. JWfromNJ said on December 30, 2011 at 10:54 am

    @Dexter – feel better soon. I too have enjoyed Homeland. It’s nowhere near as forced or farcical as 24. Good acting by Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, & Mandy Patenkin. I also like the teenage daughter – she’s the one who questions Brody’s ability to remain himself if his fellow captive has been turned. Knowing a 2nd season was coming did ratchet down the tension of the finale for me though.

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  39. Jolene said on December 30, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Agree, JW. It’s going to be interesting to see what they do with a whole new season. Hard to imagine that it will be possible to keep Brody’s changed loyalties secret much longer.

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  40. Dorothy said on December 30, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Glad to hear about Maggie’s return home. Good wishes to her, moe, etc. – anyone who is fighting a good fight against all sorts of illnesses.

    My hubby’s aunt and uncle used to have a mynah bird named Bill. He neglected to tell me this before he took me to meet them back in 1973. We walked in the back door and I instantly heard this maniacal cackling – I thought they had a resident crazy person locked up in the basement or something. I was frightened to go much further than the kitchen, that’s how loud and scary this sound was from the damn bird! I’m not a fan of birds being close to me, even inside a cage. We put out LOTS of birdseed for them, suet feeders, sunflower seeds, etc. They’re lovely to look at – but once the wings start flapping I’m so gone.

    Happy New Year friends. See you all on the flip side!

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  41. Judybusy said on December 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Dexter, thanks for the Homeland tip–we are going through MI-5 withdrawal, waiting for the last season to be available this side of the pond! I hope you feel better soon!

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  42. Kirk said on December 30, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I used to work for a guy who was a heavy smoker and had a consistent smoker’s hack. He wound up dying of lung cancer. One day, after the guy died, I was visiting his wife and suddenly heard the guy’s unmistakable cough. It was their mynah bird.

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  43. Dorothy said on December 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Kirk – the bird Bill, when he talked, could sound like Mike’s Aunt Adeline, or like Mame, his grandmother who lived there too. Sometimes it was hard to know who was actually talking they sounded so much alike.

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  44. nancy said on December 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Yes, birds will imitate anything they hear often enough. A guy at the pet store where I used to pass the time with toddler Kate, talking to the birds, said he had a customer whose parrot picked up the sound of their newborn’s colicky crying. Like the cancerous cough of your dying husband, that’s a noise that, once heard, you never want to hear again.

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  45. Joe Kobiela said on December 30, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    For all the formula 1 fans, I just finished watching Senna on netflixs. Not a f1 fan but what a good documentary.
    Pilot Joe

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  46. JWfromNJ said on December 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    When TV remotes worked by a sound burst (ultrasound? I dunno. JCBurns?) I’ve heard it wasn’t uncommon for parrots to change the station or turn the TV off.

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  47. Dexter said on December 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Take Pilot Joe seriously on this one…no matter what walk of life you are on, this doc will grab you. Documentary excellence.

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  48. brian stouder said on December 30, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    It has been a busy day, but I wanted to say that Dorothy got me cackling (so to speak) with her bird story. Very trippy; and in fact, Chris Hayes had an interesting story last night about Alfred Hitchcock’s move The Birds – which literally does involve an onslaught of innumerable ‘trippy birds’ (something about a toxin in the fish they were eating, causing wild behavior back in 1962, which was front page news in Moe’s part of the world, and which inspired Hitchcock to make that movie).

    The F1 announcers on Speed channel (where one routinely hears “alumineeum” and “GArage” and references to ‘sleeping policemen’* and the like) have uniformly raved about the Senna movie. That terrible weekend (1994?) was just before I became a big F1 fan; in the aftermath, Damon Hill showed great bravery in climbing into the Williams car and racing Michael Schumacher (who immediately became my favorite, for some reason) to the end of the season.

    I’m pretty sure I would not be a race fan if this was the end of 1971, instead of 2001; and I’m certain I would not have been in 1961. Too much death. The cars are infinitely safer now than they used to be – with much more driver protection and fire suppression and all the rest – and still, every so often, it still happens. My favorite race driver, back in the day, was Greg Moore, and his death at Fontana cooled my enthusiasm for the American-brand of open wheel racing, very much. (that, and Tony George’s antics, but we digress)

    *speed bumps and high curbs, providing passive enforcement of where one can race, and where one cannot

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  49. brian stouder said on December 30, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    And, here is an article that, in itself, justifies the bookmark I keep for the Logansport Pharos Tribune…and it is about the metropolis known as GalVESTon, Indiana:

    The lead:

    Galveston’s utilities superintendent and utilities clerk have submitted their resignations, saying they cannot work with new town council members and the citizens group that got them elected. But the chairman of Galveston’s New Voice said the group and newly elected officials have simply tried to hold current council members and town employees accountable. The group backed all five new town council members, who knocked out all incumbent council members in this spring’s primary and this fall’s municipal election. Those new members will hold their first meeting next week.

    and the prize quote from the “chairman of Galveston’s New Voice”:

    Chet Cree, chairman of Galveston’s New Voice, said much of what is being considered lies is simply concerned citizens asking questions about government business. For example, Cree said, town audits in 2005 and 2007 show a shortage of $25,000 and more than $29,000, respectively. He said when his group asked about the shortage, it evolved into people accusing clerk-treasurer Russell of stealing the money.

    “We did not accuse her of stealing nothing,” Cree said.

    The article, about this B-league for the minor league known as the Tea Party has one bon bon after another; go check it out!

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  50. mark said on December 30, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    New Year’s greetings from Bangkok. Six am on the 31st here, and the streets are already busy. I really love this city.

    Safe celebration wishes for all.

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  51. brian stouder said on December 30, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Same back atcha!

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  52. alex said on December 30, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Was actually gonna mention gal-VEST-en the other day, Brian, but I mentioned it the last time the folks at nn.c were discussing oddly pronounced place names.

    That Tea Party town council story sounds very much like things I’ve heard about the Huntington County school board, formerly appointed but of late elected, where people who didn’t finish high school now get to micromanage people with Ph.Ds and meddle in curricula and other things they don’t know the first thing about.

    We should consider ourselves lucky that the Fort Wayne city council wasn’t swept by Teabaggers this year. In fact, it’s being predicted that the new council will be the most civil in years now that Liz Brown is gone. She epitomizes the very sort of elected official we’re talking about here, lightweights throwing their weight around and making complete asses of themselves.

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  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    I don’t recommend the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis this week except for the profoundly deaf & deeply imperturbable. Anyone with any sort of nervous condition should avoid the place like the plague until school starts again.

    But the kids had a great time. Learning? Eh.

    I strongly recommend the Jingle Rails display and downstairs children’s zone at the Eiteljorg Museum. The permanent exhibits are good enough, but you’ve really got to be a fan of Western & Indian art to want to pay $8 for just that — they’ve added enough to make it a joy for all of us, young & old alike. Just wishing I could have snuck out of the house to see the Werner Herzog movie of the Chauvet cave art tonight at the IMA.

    Indy is just a great city. Glad to get home tomorrow, but this is a truly great city, even without the mixed blessing of a Super Bowl, about which everyone keeps talking.

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  54. moe99 said on December 30, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Alex, I thought you might get a kick out of this:

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  55. Connie said on December 30, 2011 at 11:24 pm . I did not mean to copy the link, rather the headline that at this moment reads gantlet.

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  56. nancy said on December 30, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    The gantlet-vs-gauntlet question, explained. (Edit: link repaired.)

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  57. moe99 said on December 31, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Nancy, your link doesn’t work for me. Here’s what I found:



    A gantlet is a flogging ordeal, literally of figuratively.

    A gauntlet is a glove. To throw down the gauntlet means to issue a challenge. To take up the gauntlet means to accept a challenge.


    GANTLET; GAUNTLET: Although the latter is more common in most senses, the former is still preferred in one of them. One runs the gantlet (= a kind of ordeal or punishment) but throws down the gauntlet (= a glove). The trend, however, is to use gauntlet for all senses. Like many trends, this one is worth resisting: keep gantlet for the ordeal.

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  58. brian stouder said on December 31, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Alex – Fort Wayne is very lucky indeed, with our new city council and particularly with our superb board of trustees of Fort Wayne Community Schools.

    And indeed, we’re always within one election cycle of crashing into a tree (Evert Mol’s run for the board – and resounding rejection – notwithstanding)

    Jeff – one of the coolest things I saw in Indy was the Benjamin Harrison home, which I was reminded of when I read your linked essay on Wounded Knee.

    And if you’re in Indy during the summer, go to the Indiana State Museum – and after checking it out, wander down to the canal-walk. Very, very beautiful

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  59. Dexter said on December 31, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Best moment of 2011 for a Wolverines fan?

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  60. Dexter said on December 31, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Ebert’s list: 2011, best docs.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 31, 2011 at 11:33 am

    My imagined Dec. 31 in 1945, Bedford Falls a few days later:

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  62. Kirk said on December 31, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Among the many books I received for Christmas was The Limit, by Michael Cannell, which covers the 1961 F1 season.

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  63. caliban said on December 31, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Gary’s new mayor.

    Happy New Year, y’all. Sister Re rings it in.

    The gantlet was a form of torture for captured enemies devised by the Iroquois nations. The two words have nothing whatever to do with one another etymologically, unless the Iroquois somehow picked it up from French traders. I’ve also heard speakers substitute gauntlet for gamut.

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  64. brian stouder said on December 31, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Jeff – superb!!

    And, as a bonus, at the foot of your essay about Mr Potter and George at New Years, there was this linked news article:

    AKRON, Ohio (WTW) — Police in northeast Ohio say a couple who lost $12,000 caught a lucky break this week when the money was found and returned. A 63-year-old Akron woman told police she found a tan, cloth bag of money in the middle of a road while walking with her husband Wednesday night. Police used other paperwork in the bag to track down a couple in nearby Springfield Township who planned to use the money to buy a house out of state.

    The Akron woman, who asked to remain anonymous, tells the Akron Beacon Journal her father was a minister who taught her to do the right thing and says that’s what she did. It wasn’t clear exactly how the money was lost. Akron police say such a recovery is rare.

    Kirk – you know, I was rethinking whether I’d be a fan or not, in those days, and it hit me: the 1961-style fan would have to read about it in the newspapers and car magazines, and that would be about it. Live coverage is the thing I was taking for granted; the sort of carnage and fire and death that they used to have would be unwatchable on a big-screen color TV….and indeed, such coverage is a relatively new thing.

    Really, TV and the mass-appeal (and mass scrutiny) it entails is probably just the thing that improved the sport from it’s charred and bloody history. Check out this bit of black humor, which I had (apparently inaccurately) heard was a prank that Bernie Eccelstone pulled on Niki Lauda:

    Thirty years ago Niki Lauda crashed at Bergwerk during the German Grand Prix. The Austrian was trapped in the flaming wreck and had to be rescued by fellow drivers Arturo Merzario, Brett Lunger, Harald Ertl and Guy Edwards, who stopped and pulled Lauda from the remains of his car. He had suffered terrible burns but prompt action by the Ferrari team to have him flown to a hospital in Mannheim that was equipped to deal withy serious burns, saved Lauda’s life, although he was seriously scarred. Lauda’s recovery is now part of F1 folklore and the man himself has been an inspiration to generations. On Saturday afternoon Bernie Ecclestone, Lauda, Merzario, Karl-Heinz Zimmermann (an Austrian restaurateur and caterer to Ecclestone) and Matthias Lauda (son of Niki) went to the site of the crash, had some photos taken and enjoyed a drink to mark the accident.

    Zimmermann is renowned for his unusual sense of humour and had obtained a couple of pig’s ears which Lauda pretended to find in the grass beside the road.

    Speaking of car books, I’m nearly finished with Once Upon a Car, which is a marvelous, unsettling, and enlightening look at Detroit and the industry crash and come back. (My opinion of Bill Ford is way up, and Rick Wagoner looks much more understandable. Kirk Kerkorian? Bleh)

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  65. moe99 said on December 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    The headline is simply the best. Loves me some Doghouse Riley:

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  66. coozledad said on December 31, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Don’t you just love it when the waterboys and team managers of the right jump off the bench a’ swingin their dicks?

    Tell you what, Governor Guanciale: I’ll give you a samurai sword and a Kevlar vest, and I still say the twelve year old girl with a billy club takes your ass out in under three minutes.

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  67. MichaelG said on December 31, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Geez, Cooz. I actually have Guanciale in my reefer. But not from N.J.

    Happy New Year, everyone. May 12 be better than 11 and may everybody see health and prosperity.

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  68. Jolene said on December 31, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Another good Kindle tittle on sale for next to nothing.

    Read this several years ago and really liked it.

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  69. Jolene said on December 31, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    And, yes, everything good to everyone here in 2012.

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  70. brian stouder said on December 31, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Same to you, Jolene. That author was plagued by a bit of a plagerism, a few years back…

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  71. caliban said on December 31, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I sure as shit want Tech to fail. They go on about their academic standards. Like that management major. Whatever that means.

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  72. caliban said on December 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Jeff, that is wonderful. Potter as somehow a decent human? Only Sherman. Whatever you think, I’d be happy to be the forgiving person you posit. Then again, old man potter deserves being beaten to a pulp.

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  73. Bob (Not Greene) said on December 31, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Jeff, yep that was great, although I’m not sure Potter is being a good guy. His plan to ruin George backfired and what the hell is another $8000 to him anyway. He can give back the money and soothe whatever pang of conscience he had left. So, what happened at dinner, Jeff? I always wondered how Mary and George ever broached the subject of that Christmas Eve in the future.

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  74. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 31, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    That’s what I don’t know – what does Potter have in mind, and does it even come up? Could it be that the old SOB just figured the only way he could maintain moral superiority, at least in his own mind, was to put the Baileys through a long and agonizing evening . . . or did he just want someone to talk to, and figured giving the money back (hey, he thinks, it wasn’t my fault the idiot uncle shoved it into my hands) warranted him having to sit at his long, long dining room table?

    The more hopeful version of this, in my mind, involves the long-suffering, Karloffian looking servant who pushed his chair around finally saying to the Boss, in heavily accented English: “Sir, what you did vasss not dzjentelmenly. Sir.” (Turns and leaves room.)

    But I didn’t write this assuming the extra happy ending, it was just imagining my way into the reality that, no matter how lovely the outcome of that series of events, life goes on. What was it like to wake up the next morning, and figure out how to face the next week’s worth of apologies from Uncle Billy, or the need to go over across town to Martini’s and (the story I originally meant to write, and may yet) apologize himself to Mr. & Mrs. Welch, awkward though the encounter would have to be? And so on.

    Somehow, the question of why Potter was the way he was, and what he’d do next (still owning half the town, and those buzzards never die, in my experience) just bobbed up to the top. Glad anyone enjoyed it, and to one and all — blessings of your own auld lang syne, and prospero ano y felicidad!

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  75. Deborah said on December 31, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Happy new year one and all, NNCers. I’m still working on my one word resolution, but I’m leaning toward “read”. I realized tonight as we were driving back from our land to where we are staying this trip that the time I have between now and when I retire is a little more than 9 months, so about the same time as a pregnancy. So I figure I have that time to figure out what I will do with myself in a creative way between now and then. A lot to ponder.

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  76. moe99 said on December 31, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Just read your piece Jeff, and it was excellent! I’ll be passing it on to friends. I don’t know if I mentioned it here, but I read in another forum, a discussion of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and one writer said he always took the view that George actuallly died and the denouement to his situation as revealed in the movie, is actually his fevered imagination in his last moments. Makes the movie immeasurably darker.

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  77. Dorothy said on December 31, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Happy New Year dear sweet friends! I have nothing left to say after a big day of cooking lots and lots of food for the Kenyon basketball team. Each of the young men was so polite and ate up a storm and best of all, they went back to campus 67 minutes after they got here. I’m spent – taking to the couch to finish reading “This is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Troper.

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  78. caliban said on December 31, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Jeff, that is mild-mannered, and very well written. If I were George Bailey, I’d want to turn the greedy bastard out of his whicker wheelchair and show he can actually walk. I’d also want to throttle Billy for his rank stupidity. Not really, but James Stewart for his bad acting and Raygunism? What a jerk. What in the world ever made anybody ever think J. Stewart was a good actor? Made a huge pot of red beans and rice for the new year.

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  79. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Deborah, just saw some lovely views of Abiquiu in the 1920s & 1930s at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis. John Sloan and another fellow whose name I’m not recalling after too many cheese puffs & pizza rolls. Plus a Georgia O’Keefe painting of red cliffs above your home, which you’ve doubtless seen too often.

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  80. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 31, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    For Deborah – number 44 (the O’Keefe is not far away, but I’m sure you’ve seen it, #40).

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  81. Deborah said on December 31, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Jeff tmmo, thanks, very familiar. Georgia O Keefe painted from her home studio as well as out and about in the area, It’s amazing how often you can be driving around and see exactly where she painted from. Her home in the village of Abiquiu is so worth the time to tour. Her place looks out on what we call “our mountain”, just like we call the Hancock building “our mountain” in Chicago. Same proximity.

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  82. moe99 said on January 1, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Indiana leads the way again:

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  83. Kirk said on January 1, 2012 at 3:43 am

    Jolene @68: a superb, hugely informative book. Highly recommended.

    Happy New Year to all.

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  84. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 1, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Moe, to be fair, Michigan was there first (along with Massachusetts), so Indiana can’t lead the way. But I hope to hear that the Hoosier State smacks this stupidity down before it can start to blaze a new trail. And there better be plenty of Republicans pouring cold water on this initiative, given how much more intrusive and involved this makes government in people’s lives. “Keep on file for two years”? For pity’s sake.

    Well, off to see how many people show up to see the supply preacher fill in on this New Year’s dawn. I get to be Lutheran today, Julie! (ELCA, of course.)

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  85. Dexter said on January 1, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Did you folks read the quotes from the Youngstown, Ohio residents regarding the earthquake? Some were shaken out of beds, one said they thought the snowplow had crashed into the house. It scared thousands of people, most probably experiencing their first shaker.

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  86. Deborah said on January 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Dexter, I read that they speculate that it might have something to do with nearby fracking, two quakes in a week orvsomething like that.

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  87. Joe Kobiela said on January 1, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Made it to midnight for the first time in years. I was @9000ft over North Carolina on the way to Raleigh.
    Cheers to all
    Pilot Joe

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  88. caliban said on January 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    There is actually a version of the Star Spangled Banner that should be official, and it’s an instrumental version by Jimi. No feedback, purely stately, on the Rainbow Bridge album. Sounds like 10,000 electric guitars. Perfect. And these morons do know that the Pledge was written by an avowed Socialist, and God was added years later by the Knights of Columbus. Last refuge of a scoundrel, without a doubt. Dulce et decoru est, pro Patria mori.

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  89. Deborah said on January 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Another one word resolution that might be appropriate is “make”. As in make things, or make things happen, as this is the year it begins for me, all be it at the end of this year, but still. I don’t know about you but I’m glad 2011 is over, not a good year at all, mainly economically.

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  90. Julie Robinson said on January 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Oh my goodness, as I am catching up here It’s a Wonderful Life is on the flatscreen. Mary is about to be revealed as, horror of horrors, a librarian. What I cannot help being struck by is how many in our society are channeling the spirit, if not the actual words of Mr. Potter. (And indeed, my husband just said “you could put Gingrich’s head on Mr. Potter”).

    Thank you, Jeff, for imagining that Mr. Potter can be changed for the good. In my wildest imagination I can’t believe the R’s will have a similar change of heart. Can we make them watch an endless loop of Wonderful Life and Christmas Carol?

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