The natal-day weekend.

Hey, whaddaya know. Now it’s my turn:

cake

Today’s the day, but we celebrated last night in the usual fashion. My present this year was a pair of L.L. Bean moccasins, lined with shearling just to be extra-fancy. Dog-walking boots for every kind of weather.

Oh, and a waffle iron. But that’s more a house present.

Otherwise, a nice weekend. Kate and Alan worked for hours on a project for her physics class. The task was to construct a catapult that would fling a marshmallow 5 meters and land in a bucket. If you know Alan, you know this required multiple trips to the hardware store, math, power tools, drilling, testing, tape measures, more testing and, of course, marshmallows:

catapult

My job was to purchase the marshmallows. Wendy handled fielding the ones that missed the bucket. Given the rules — exactly five meters, one marshmallow, landing in the bucket — I feel bad for the kids who don’t have a handy dad. You can make one with a shoebox, rubber bands and a tongue depressor, but it won’t go five meters.

I think there are lots of non-handy dads in Grosse Pointe. One thing I’ve noticed, when I look at estate sales — the more expensive the house, the fewer the tools. And more sporting goods. Many, many more of those, skis and boxing gloves and hockey sticks and high-end bicycles and boat stuff and horse stuff. But rarely so much as a hammer. You hire that shit done.

Otherwise? I watched “Olympus Has Fallen,” and marveled once again at a few things:

1) Great actors can go a long way toward rescuing a dumb script.
2) American movies are just ridiculously violent. Torture and gunplay is really baked into our bones.
3) There’s a reason Melissa Leo is nearly unrecognizable. She probably insisted on that dark wig to conceal her identity.

So, bloggage? Here’s something I wrote, a little different sort of thing for Bridge, for a slow holiday week. Hit it and keep me employed.

We did this — mulch nearly all our leaves — this year, to cover the bare topsoil in the still-unfinished back yard, and hopefully spare us a winter of muddy dog footprints throughout the house. Interesting that policy is nudging homeowners in that direction now:

In the past few years, lawn signs have sprouted in this Hudson River village and across Westchester County, proclaiming the benefits of mulching the leaves in place, rather than raking them up and taking them away. The technique involves mowing the leaves with special mulching blades, which shred them into tiny bits. That allows them to quickly decompose and naturally feed lawns and shrubs.

Officials are encouraging the practice for its cost savings: Westchester spends $3.5 million a year on private contractors who haul away leaves in tractor-trailers and bring them to commercial composting sites in places like Orange County, N.Y., and Connecticut. At the same time, environmental groups and horticulturalists are praising the practice’s sustainability, devising slogans like “Leave Leaves Alone” and “Love ’Em and Leave ’Em.”

The new film “Philomena” tells the story of Philomena Lee and her search for the child she gave birth to in one of those notorious Irish slave-convents, a story I’d been unaware of until reading the pre-release publicity. Here’s a Guardian story about the book the film is based on. It is breathtaking to think this happened in my lifetime. Just awful.

Now, I’m off to have a happy birthday. For you, just another Monday.

Posted at 8:14 am in Movies, Same ol' same ol' |
 

98 responses to “The natal-day weekend.”

  1. beb said on November 25, 2013 at 8:32 am

    My grandfather had a whole shed devoted to tools. My Dad is almost as bad. I’d praise the professionalism of the catapult but — what part do Kate play in its creation?

    • nancy said on November 25, 2013 at 8:40 am

      They worked on the design and math together. She drilled holes and drove screws. Alan handled the saw work. He was basically the construction supervisor and she did the subcontracting work. The real collaboration came during the fine-tuning; the first adjustment basically flung the marshmallows straight into the carpet a few feet away, and it took a while to get it right.

  2. Deborah said on November 25, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I love, love, love the catapult. Must have been a bunch of fun figuring it out and making it. I especially like the socket as the marshmallow holder.

  3. Deborah said on November 25, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Oh, and happy birthday Nancy.

  4. brian stouder said on November 25, 2013 at 9:11 am

    As Deborah says – here’s wishing you a very happy birthday!

    And with Thanksgiving looming straight ahead, the catapult could be a handy table-tool, for passing the salt and pepper (if not knives and forks)

  5. coozledad said on November 25, 2013 at 9:13 am

    My wife and I recently spoke with a woman just a few years our senior who said her mom used to hold out the threat of shipping her to Ireland, and by inference, the Magdalene Laundries, if she was promiscuous.

    It’s strange how western religion vilifies women, and how deeply the homoerotic impulse toward men is ingrained in all its referents. There’s also a profound inability to back away from the allure of slavery. I have to wonder what moral equation permitted the Irish to turn a blind eye to the church’s experiment in concentration camp methodology, and why multinational corporations are permitted to deploy effaceurs to wipe out indigenous peoples by goddamn EATING them:

    In 2003, Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of Mbuti pygmies, told the UN’s Indigenous People’s Forum that during the war his people were hunted down and eaten as though they were game animals. In neighboring North Kivu province there has been cannibalism by a group known as Les Effaceurs (“the erasers”), who wanted to clear the land of people to open it up for mineral exploitation. Both sides of the war regarded the Mbuti as “subhuman” and expendable.

  6. Kim said on November 25, 2013 at 9:20 am

    My husband is an engineering physicist, so that catapult for the kids’ science education is a familiar project. For kids not fortunate enough to have a resourceful and clever parent, there is Google and YouTube.

    Happy birthday and many happy returns on it!

  7. Pam (the sister) said on November 25, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Happy Birthday! The cake looks good. The marshmallow thrower is quite a machine, but you’re right, I do feel for the kids whose fathers are not handy. Alan would be my #1 pick for a project like this. Here, Bill would have tried to figure it out and likely, had a flaw in the plan somewhere and Joe would have walked away because he couldn’t get it right in under 5 minutes. Boys just take so much longer to gel than girls.

    Your Bridge article was very interesting. I met a woman at the last auction I attended and spent a lot of time talking with her. I really liked her and we have several similar interests. But when I got home and told Bill about her, I said that we could just be passing acquaintances because her husband is a rabid republican who hates the President and I don’t think he would approve of me. And, if she’s like him, well . . .

    I’m not sure that this divisiveness is anything new in this country. But what is new, of course, is media, social media and other modern forms of communication. Fox News has made it seem like the sky is falling whenever they don’t get their way. And people get really worked up. The schools need to teach students how to think more logically, so they don’t have to rely on others to form their opinions.

  8. nancy said on November 25, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I really think a lot has to do with the cable news, Crossfire-ization of discourse. There are only two sides. There is no nuance. The more telegenic and shouty you are, the better. And so on. I have to say, while I was pleasantly surprised by the kindness the two Tea Party guys I talked to demonstrated, the attitude stated by so many on the far right, about the danger of any sort of compromise, just strikes me as madness.

  9. coozledad said on November 25, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Speaking of madness:
    http://wonkette.com/535073/strange-man-on-horse-yells-about-impeaching-obama-video#idc-container

    This is basically animal cruelty.

    • nancy said on November 25, 2013 at 9:53 am

      There was a guy that big who used to show jumpers in northeast Indiana. Their leg positions were equally bad, too. His poor horses used to make their rounds with their backs hollowed, eyes rolling back, and this 260-pound oaf landing on their kidneys like a bomb after every fence.

  10. BigHank53 said on November 25, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Pro-tip for wannabe 300 cosplayers: unless you think slightly drunk people would pay cash money to look at your torso, keep your damn shirt on. Also, it’s a damn horse, not a Harley-Davidson Electraglide.

  11. Deborah said on November 25, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Living in highrise buildings for the last couple of decades has made it hard to use tools besides a hammer and a screw driver. But now that we have the place in Santa Fe we have a garage and yard. We have acquired quite a few tools, both power and not. I even have a tool belt which I got at my building class at Beaver Brook. I love going to hardware stores oogling all the stuff, trying to figure out what I could make. In a few months we’re going to get a chop saw and I’m super psyched about that.

  12. Scout said on November 25, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Oh Happy Day! Happy Birthday to the best proprietress on the www.

    My spouse streamed ‘Olympus’ the other day and I got sucked into watching it with her. I really hated it. The violence was simply over the top.

    Over the weekend I saw the trailer for Philomena and have decided it is a must see.

    There are two good indie movies that are streamable on Netflix that I recommend – ‘What Maisie Knew’ which will piss you off and break your heart, but it is so memorable; and ‘Frances Ha’ which is just fun with truly likeable characters.

  13. brian stouder said on November 25, 2013 at 10:38 am

    That Bridge article is tremendous, and I especially liked the historical perspective that Nancy pointed out – including a United States Senator being beaten nearly to death on the floor of the Senate by a member of the House of Representatives.

    This passage from Nancy’s essay reminded me of another example:

    “We’re turning public affairs into entertainment,” said John Clexton, a librarian and another guest at the aforementioned Grosse Pointe Park roundtable. “They’re professional big-time wrestlers. They do their stuff and go home. But the rest of us don’t know it’s a show.”

    I think that, similarly, a good political “skinning” is as American as apple pie. Young Abe Lincoln – or possibly it was Mary Todd – pilloried a guy (Shields?) in the pages of the Springfield newspaper so mercilessly that he (Shields?) challenged Abe to a duel*. One gets the feeling that, for the young and oblivious Lincoln, it was all great fun, right up ’til it wasn’t.

    And indeed, Thomas Jefferson bought (or invested in) his own newspaper, to be sure the right people got pilloried (or defended); and editors occasionally got pitched into prison for whatever offending thing they wrote.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Oxy-Rush get pitched into prison, for his sex-tourism or for conspiracy to buy drugs (didn’t he dragoon his housekeeper into going to make the buys?); but not for his (100% American-as-apple-pie) political rhetorical excesses

    *Abe, as the one who was challenged, got to choose the weapons, and therefore chose broadswords – prompting Shields to drop the challenge

  14. MichaelG said on November 25, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Happy Birthday! Very nice catapult. When my daughter was a kid the project was to build a model of a mission. Same deal. Kids with handy parents had nice models. Those without didn’t. Fortunately the grade was a pass/fail. If you brought in some attempt you passed.

  15. Bitter Scribe said on November 25, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Not long ago a story broke about a prostitution ring run by the Sicilian Mafia that forced the women to have unprotected sex so they would get pregnant and their babies could be sold on the black market.

    As far as I can tell, the only difference between those Mafia and the nuns in that Guardian story is that the nuns didn’t force anyone to have sex.

    I’m jealous of Alan’s handiness. The half-dozen hooks, which I take it are there to alter the catapult’s force, are an especially nice touch.

  16. jcburns said on November 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Trebuchet or catapult? Whichever, I want one of those mounted on my car hood for getting the attention of distracted drivers.

    And happy birthday Nance.

  17. Colleen said on November 25, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Wishing you the happiest of birthdays!

    That catapult is something else. I used to hate projects like that because my parents were definitely on the side of letting me do it ALL myself. I had a particularly lame science fair project one year….

  18. Julie Robinson said on November 25, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Happy Birthday, Nance!

    Love, love, love the catapult, and don’t miss helping with science projects one little bit. But I’m always happy to sew up a pair of curtains.

    The Bridge article was on the mark. I’ve reunited happily with college friends only to be shocked at the change from open-minded, questioning, logical minds to rigid black/white thinking. But anyone who has seen political cartoons from the past knows it isn’t new. Your etiquette expert has the right idea when it comes to family dinners: change the subject.

  19. Joe K said on November 25, 2013 at 11:29 am

    First off, happy birthday! Neat catapult, one of my favorite episodes of northern exposure was when they flung the piano, and they also flung Chris’s biker buddy’s coffin. I’ll throw my movie of the week to watch, try finding The way,way, back, why movies this good are not successful is beyond me. Steve Carell plays a character, so far different from what your use to its amazing. I found it on demand, cost $6.00 money well spent.
    Pilot Joe

  20. brian stouder said on November 25, 2013 at 11:33 am

    We took Shelby (our 15 year old) and a friend to the movies Friday for the new Hunger Games installment.

    Stopped by at 7 for the 8pm show, and the line was huge. As I got closer to the tix wondows, the 8 pm show sold out; and then the 9 pm show sold out; I snapped up tix to the 10 pm show just before it did, too.

    Anyway, it made the young folks happy

  21. LAMary said on November 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

    I did a trebuchet manouver with a shovel and a dead skunk once. It cleared some rowdy kids out of the park behind my house at 2 am. It was pitch dark so they had no idea where the flying dead skunk came from.

  22. Charlotte said on November 25, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Happy Birthday Nancy — love the catapult. About 10 years ago I wandered into the fort at Les Baux in southern France without a clue about what it was — when I saw this huge catapult I actually jumped up and down like a little kid: http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g1819081-d243595-i31957246-Chateau_des_Baux_de_Provence-Les_Baux_de_Provence_Bouches_du_Rhone_Proven.html

    As for tools — my father, the ultimate foxhunting, Gatsby-wannabe was absolutely useless with tools and repairs of any sort. I now live with a contractor. Hmm … have always loved men who can DO things.

  23. Kaye said on November 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Brian – I think you will appreciate last Saturday’s Ohio State marching band half-time show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LbDQd8B5EI

    Mary – Without a doubt, a flying skunk, dead or alive, night or day, would send me running.

  24. Sherri said on November 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Nice catapult. My daughter’s project last year in AP Physics was a trebuchet that had to fling a tennis ball. Fortunately for my daughter, she has a mother who knows a little something about physics and how to build and debug things. (Her father does, too.)

  25. beb said on November 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Sorry for doubting Kate’s involvement with the catapult.

    Oh, and Happy Birthday. Yours is just 2 days after my wife’s.

  26. nancy said on November 25, 2013 at 11:56 am

    This just in via text: Kate’s catapult dunked the marshmallow on the first try. I can’t wait until the cardboard-boat regatta, later in the year.

  27. Judybusy said on November 25, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Happy birthday, Nancy! I hope it’s splendid.

    Joe K–yes, “The Way, Way Back” was a well-done movie. I got to see it at a cool second-run theater with the best popcorn in the city.

    Great job on the science project!

    That story on the Catholic women being so horribly abused was sickening. Those nuns denied a man who was DYING information on his mom. Where was the compassion?

  28. Jeff Borden said on November 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Happy birthday, neighbor.

    Regarding the discussion of polarized news, isn’t this really just a return to the 18th, 19th and early 20th century style of news, though admittedly in those days, there was only print? Weren’t there Republican, Democratic, Whig, Bulllmoose papers? Didn’t the Founding Fathers have their own friends and enemies in print? The mercantile Marshall Field clan launched a newspaper to counter Col. McCormick’s proudly isolationist Chicago Tribune. This is really nothing new.

    It could be argued the idea of trying to tell both sides of the story really didn’t emerge until post World War II in the U.S., when the political biases of the publishers and owners generally were limited to the editorial page. The Australian troll is probably most responsible for returning us to this state, but there were many, many involved and not least CNN and its decision to turn political debate into a pro wrestling gig with Pat Buchanan and the original overmatched liberal voice whose name escapes me.

    I’d been encouraged by the overall fairness of the Bloomberg service until word began filtering out that they heavily edit content from China, lest they piss for the news sources who feed them. So now, I can’t even be sure of them.

    I try to read a lot of stories from a lot of different sources and hope that somewhere in the murk I can discern the truth. This does not mean paying any attention to Fox or MSNBC, which wear their biases on their sleeves, but making a good faith effort to scan news outlets that at the very least seem to be trying to be fair. And I generally ignore TV news at both the local and national level. With rare exceptions, it is shallow dribble.

  29. Scout said on November 25, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Nancy, I too enjoyed your article at The Bridge; so much so that I even left a comment there, which I will repeat here: My parents taught me never to discuss religion, politics or money in social settings unless, in the case of the first two, all are known to be in agreement. The last one – never, under any circumstances.

    I don’t follow that advice when getting into discussions on the internet, but at private, in-person gatherings, always.

    Joe K and JudyBusy – add me to the list of people who enjoyed “The Way, Way Back”.

  30. MichaelG said on November 25, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Just a random thought but how do you press flowers with a Kindle?

  31. Sherri said on November 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    The same way you feed a carrot to a car.

  32. Prospero said on November 25, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    ACL injuries. Not just for the old and out-of-shape anymore. Finely tuned athletes get them too, UGA football team suffered an epidemic this year, including the best QB in the NCAA. Snakebit.

    Happy birthday Nancy.

    I’m the only person I know that is a fan of Henry James’ fiction, and What Maisie Knew is particularly good. Vladimir Nabokov famously didn’t like it, but hell, he wrote books about perverts and insane posts. The Turn of the Screw is the best. I read it when I was eight or nine and it scared the crap out of me. Daisy Miller is also very good.

    I intend to watch The Way Way Back sometime because I really like most of the cast. Problem is Steve Carell kicks off my gag reflex big time. I can’t stand watching that guy.

    Sherri and MichaelG. Pretty clever exchange.

  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Happy birthday, host! Did your daughter and crew have to build a submarine? That’s been the biggest school project surprise thus far.

  34. brian stouder said on November 25, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Kaye – I think I’d pay to see the half-time show, and skip the game! (sorta like Superbowl weekend each gameday at Columbus)

  35. Basset said on November 25, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Happy birthday, and be careful what you talk about at the party.

  36. Deborah said on November 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    My rightwing sister and I can’t seem to stop quarreling about politics via email but we don’t do it face to face. We don’t see each other that often anymore though, and I am always the one who travels to see her. She is the only person left besides me in my immediate family and she went through the loss of our mother as a young teen too (she’s a year older) so we have that in common. We couldn’t be more different in almost every other way.

  37. nancy said on November 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Borden’s right about the fragmentation of media being nothing new. However, in our lifetimes, the ethos of fair reporting as a cornerstone of journalism has prevailed. So it’s worth noting.

  38. Mindy said on November 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Happy birthday, Nancy. I’m glad your birthday cake is a cake and not a pumpkin pie disguised as a birthday cake.

  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 25, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    “At Eleven, four ways your Thanksgiving turkey could kill you! Only on Six OnYourSide.”

    Yes, I actually heard this the other night. And wept one tiny tear of sorrow.

  40. Peter said on November 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Re: jcburns comment: I would classify Kate’s device as trebuchet, not a catapault. But that’s just me.

    And congrats for getting it to work in class – how many of those devices work well at home and then when its showtime they fizzle out?

  41. paddyo' said on November 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Nice Bridge piece, Nance’ — and most shareable on Facebook, which I did . . . happy BD, too

  42. brian stouder said on November 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    I think the ideal is that with a “free” press (free of government domination) somehow some semblance of ‘truth’ will be out there.

    Really, I think the era of a “fair” press (say – from the 1940’s into the 1970’s?) was the anomaly.

    See 60 Minutes/Benghazi/Lara Logan versus 60 Minutes/GWB/USAF; compare and contrast

  43. Kirk said on November 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Jeff @ 39: Consider the source (and I’m sure you did)

  44. Bob (not Greene) said on November 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Hey, Nancy, was the unidentified liberal in your piece Jeff Borden? Just kidding, but it sounds like it could have been him! I know what the guy’s saying. You get tired of accommodating the stupid.

  45. Bob (not Greene) said on November 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Oh, and happy birthday, Nancy! I’ll be over later of rthe cake leftovers. No way just three of you could have polished off all of that!

  46. Bob (not Greene) said on November 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    *for

  47. Prospero said on November 25, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Guilty of being black. In the USA. Holy shit.

    An analysis of the Iran nuke deal by somebody that actually knows what he’s talking about and has no axe to grind. GOPers and Israeli politicians criticizing this deal need to pull their heads out of their anuses. If the Israelis had signed the NPT instead of building a secret nuke arsenal with fissionable material purloined from US stores and tech bought from the deKlerk government, they might have more credibility when bitchin about Iran. Iran is a signatory nation to the NPT and has every right to to develop nuclear means of generating electricity. Iran has also never acted in hostile fashion against a neighbor state. Neither of those statements is true of Israel, so it’s time to tell Netanyahu to shut his trap on this brokered deal.

  48. Prospero said on November 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Flinging something as light as a Sta-Puf more than 16 ft. with any accuracy is a tricky thing to undertake. If you tried to throw the mushmallow into a target that far away, you could really damage your arm. My second year Latin class in HS required a project, and catapults were very popular. I was leaning that way until I was told I couldn’t throw something large like a piano out on the front lawn by Seven Mile. That would probably have ended badly. I ended up making a facsimile of a doorpost mosaic in Pompei warning “Cave Canem”. I had other osaics in mind but those too got kiboshed by wiser heads.

  49. Prospero said on November 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Here’s a cautionary tale for everybody so willing to label the ACA website such a colossal failure and throw out all the ACA benefits like closing the prescription donut hole, existing conditions eligibility and the ability to keep people on their parents’ plan until 26 yo out with the proverbial bathwater. These things take time under the best circumstances, like not having to fend off Idalogue nutjobs Like Big Coochie Cuccinaelli and 30 other lawsuits.

    As obnoxious as Seth MacFarlane was with his juvenile boobs song on the Oscars, that offensiveness pales in comparison to killing off Brian Griffin, the funniest character on Family Guy by a mile. I’m hoping Brian comes back as a spectral presence, like the Kirbys on Topper.

    Flinging marshmallows is a better use for the things than inngesting them in any form. That weapon could be rendered dangerous by loading it up with year old Peeps for ammo. The idea of a war with marshmallow ordnance is amusing. Reminds me vaguely of Yellow Submarine.

  50. jcburns said on November 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    The next trick to practice is: launch marshmallow, have Wendy intercept it in midair.

  51. Julie Robinson said on November 25, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    That was an impressive halftime show, and also the only part of a football game that would interest me. Unless the band also performed before and after the game, too! They used to in the far-off days of my youth.

    And I almost forgot, throwing marshmallows at games was banned at my kids’ school after one hit someone’s eye at just the wrong angle, and he lost some sight as a result. To make things worse, he was a competitive marksman. Forget the Red Ryder BB gun putting someone’s eye out and hide your marshmallows!

  52. Deborah said on November 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Have you ever exploded a marshmallow in a microwave? Awesome!

  53. Deborah said on November 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    My medicine headedness (from my cold) is giving me ADD.

  54. jcburns said on November 25, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    That cardboard boat regatta’s goal is: “To use physics principles and Design Thinking to design and build a cardboard boat that can be paddled by two students across the pool and back.” First of all, what is Design Thinking and why is it capitalized? (And I ask as a designer.) Me, I think I’d use Magical Realism.

  55. Dexter said on November 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Deborah, my dear late friend Bruce told me the tale of the day he brought home his first microwave oven, over forty years ago. His first dish: warming up canned pork & beans. He checked the guide and it said something like “cover the microwave-safe plate and cook for 20 seconds.” Bruce said he set the time and hit “ON” and just then his phone rang. Of course the house phone was by the TV and easy chair so Bruce left the beans cooking, warming.
    Bruce had set the time for twenty minutes. He eventually returned to his kitchen and the biggest microwaved oven mess ever. He said it took a few sessions and three days before he got that nuclear-ated bean stew off the insides of that new oven.

    Happy Birthday, nance. http://image2.findagrave.com/photoThumbnails/photos/2006/27/CF46822158_113848062967.gif

  56. Julie Robinson said on November 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I can also report that you should never put those plastic bears of honey in the microwave to get the last bit of crystallized honey out. Even for a paltry time like five seconds. Unless, of course, you enjoy cleaning the sticky, vaporized honey from every part of the inside.

  57. Connie said on November 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Happy birthday Nancy. I was just wishing for a waffle iron, which I have never owned. Due to the blog post I saw the other day about cooking hash browns in the waffle iron. Guaranteed to always be crispy.

  58. Deborah said on November 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    A marshmallow first expands to about 20 times it size before it explodes. Well worth watching compared to the time it takes to clean out the insides of the microwave. Seriously.

  59. Sherri said on November 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Julie, if you put the honey bear in the microwave, it should be in a container of water. Or you can just put the honey bear in a pot of hot water to melt those crystals.

  60. Scout said on November 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Ooooh, waffle iron hash browns – now we’re talking!

  61. Deborah said on November 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    A couple of weeks ago while I was out walking I passed a guy who looked familiar, like a celebrity but I couldn’t place him. Just now I saw a post on TPM about Tom Daschle with a recent photo, that was who it was. This happened to me twice while I was in NYC a couple of months ago. I have since realized the guy I saw was Bill Pullman walking up 5th Ave, but I still haven’t figured out who the older woman was that I saw at the restaurant E.A.T. on Madison Ave. She’s a broadway actress but I just can’t put my finger on which one. This is what happens when you get old.

  62. LAMary said on November 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Happy Birthday.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ6tRB5egts&feature=player_embedded

  63. Little Bird said on November 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Happy Birthday Nancy!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTK0KLLcmVE

  64. Little Bird said on November 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    For those who want to see what happens to a cell phone in a microwave, that’s what I linked to above.

  65. nancy said on November 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm

  66. Bob (not Greene) said on November 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    OK, that’s creepy.

  67. Bitter Scribe said on November 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    OT, but you guys (most of you, anyway) will appreciate it if anyone does: Rand Paul is coming to Detroit to solve black people’s problems.

  68. MarkH said on November 25, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Happy Birthday Nancy! Sounds like the makings of a great day. Hope it is (was) just so. Also, what you said @37 (and Borden as well @28).

    Prospero, the Iran nuke agreement is a remarkable first step. But that’s all it is. It is not a slam dunk good deal. At least not yet. Distrust of Iran, particulary in the Arabian Gulf region due to its proxy war-mongering, is well-earned. The next six – twelve months will tell, if the deal holds.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/25/iran-nuclear-deal-congress-fight-looms

    Chuck Schumer is leading a Dem pushback on this.

    Jeff(tmmo) — I didn’t want to bring yesterdays leftovers to today’s Nancy birthday thread, so take a look at my last post from yesterday re: Oswald’s attempt on Walker.

  69. nancy said on November 25, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    There are so many:

  70. brian stouder said on November 25, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    George Zimmerman is wishing you a happy birthday?

  71. coozledad said on November 25, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Here’s a little something something via Rupert Murdoch, Wendi Deng and the Poodle. Happy birthday, Nance!

    http://wonkette.com/535158/tony-blair-denies-putting-his-danglybits-in-wendi-deng-murdochs-vengeful-chasm

    When I get older, losing my mind
    watching Fox and Friends
    Will you leave me for a spineless third-way whore
    child of Carrot Top and Pauly Shore
    If I’d passed out and pissed on meself
    Would you lawyer up?
    Will you massage me, or will you dodge me
    When I want to schtup.

    You’ll get ugly too.
    And you screw Tony Blair?
    I.Will.Report.You.

    I can be handy, fingers still work
    Though my cock have gone
    You could let me motorboat your sweater pups
    It’s all right there in the prenups
    Down on your garden, chewing the moss
    Just can’t do much more
    Will you still boff me, or have someone off me
    When I’m at death’s door.

    Every summer I can buy a coastal village on Capri
    and evict the Wops
    We’ll have many slaves
    Grandkids that look like me
    hellspawn from the grave

    Call my attorneys, yours are still mine
    useless to resist
    Indicate precisely that you mean to stay
    I own Tony Blair anyway
    whatever your answer, fill in the form
    Mine for evermore
    Will you still boff me, or just jack-off me
    When I’m at death’s door.
    Ho!

    • nancy said on November 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Winner winner chicken dinner!

  72. beb said on November 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    “This just in via text: Kate’s catapult dunked the marshmallow on the first try. I can’t wait until the cardboard-boat regatta, later in the year.”

    Live crew or doll? So, is duck tape allowed? When in doubt – duck it!

    I was going to make a smartaleck comment to MichaelG @30 but I see Sherri@31 beat me to it.

    Peter @40: A trebuccket is a gravity powered catapult. A long pole is balanced on an axis and a heavy weight on one end drops, swinging the other arm – with its payload – into the air. Kate’s device is powered by torsion making it a ballista.

    Waffle iron hash browns? Now I’ve got to get a waffle iron.

  73. Prospero said on November 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Mark H@68: The deal is a framework for reaching a treaty, so GOPers in Congress are just out of the loop on this. It isn’t a treaty, so no Senate approval is required. And GOPers in Congress that are attacking Obama over the deal are scurriolus assholes who don’t like it because Obama. One way or another, it’s a simple matter of foreign policy right now, and the President doesn’t need any GOPers on his side, although I think it would be a difficult town meeting explanation to constituents gor his opponents. What are they going to say? Bomb Iran> Launch another disastrous ground operation in the Middle East? They may as well sit on their hands and keep their pieholes shut, and not look like idalogue obstructionist. For now, it would make sense for the GOP to play the loyal opposition and admit that what the administration has accomplished is better than anything anybody expected.

    Iran is viewed with some distrust by other Middle East states, but nothing like the distrust for Israel, which periodically gets a wild hair and blows Lebanon to smithereens and is sitting on more than 100 and possibly less than 300 operable nukes in the Negev Desert at Dimona. Israel doesn’t admit to possessing nuclear weapons and refuses to sign the NPT. As a signatory nation to the NPT, Iran is within its international rights to develop civilian nuclear capability for generating electricity. Israel’s nukes are the problem.

  74. Prospero said on November 25, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Do modern marshmallows have any mallow in them or is it all corn syrup and trans fats? The thought of them makes me gag. Nothing ever ruined good sweet potatoes worse than Southren ladies putting marshmallows on them in casseroles.

    Hash browns in a waffle iron is a brilliant idea.

  75. Prospero said on November 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Cardboard boat regatta. Kittens for crew.

  76. David C. said on November 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    It’s a catapult, not a trebuchet. Actually a trebuchet is a catapult, as a catapult is an engine that throws things. What makes a trebuchet a trebuchet is that the energy comes from a counterweight. As the energy for comes from a spring, it’s a catapult.

    Our project in physics was to build a paper bridge that would span 4 feet and hold 100 lbs with the lowest weight the winner. I was too literal and mine looked like a bridge while the winners played fast and loose with the definition of a bridge. Of course they were right and deserved their victory. Live and learn.

  77. alex said on November 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Happy birthday Nancy!

    The marshmallow catapult reminds me of the work of an acquaintance, a local tinkerer who came up with a Twinkie cannon.

  78. Prospero said on November 25, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I suppose GOPers in the Senate can attempt to FUBAR the entire Iran deal by voting for enhanced sanctions, but the President can veto that shit and the whole world, including sensible Americans, will back his play. Otherwise, they are just out in the cold spouting lies and nonsense. It is going to be hilarious when they resort to bemoaning the President’s non-bipartisan approach on Iran. Cry me a river, whiners.

    According to the wingnutso echo chamber, changing the filibuster rules in the Senate somehow makes President Obama a master criminal. Sadly, predictably and inevitably some of the bleating from rightwing and Teabang idealogues presumes the filibuster has a basis in the US Constitution. You assclowns are just embarrassing yourselves when you spout that blather. Sooner than later, we’ll start to hear about the Tyranny of the Majority from these dickheads.

  79. Basset said on November 25, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Connie@57, waffle iron hash browns sound really tasty… and so does waffle iron dressing, http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/11/stuffing-waffles-recipe-thanksgiving.html

    I have the head of a seven-point buck… eight with a brow tine broken off, actually… In my shed, know anyone who needs to find it on their pillow?

  80. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Congrats, Basset, and thanks for clearing the roads. A galumphing deer just killed another biker down the road from me, but all the easy riders I know seem pretty philosophical about such encounters should they happen.

    MarkH, we’ll leave the leftovers for another day. High power rounds don’t tumble until they hit something hard, though. That’s the only distinction between a through-window shot and an open shot. But I’m not a Warren Commission absolutist. Hey, I’m a conservative, I’m not supposed to trust the government!

    Tony Blair always left me wondering what he was so nervous about. Or was that Hugh Grant?

  81. David C. said on November 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Prospero, maybe they’ll have old Ollie North lecture the President on the dangers of negotiating with the Iranians.

  82. Dexter said on November 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Life wouldn’t be worth living without a waffle iron. My brother lives in the old house my parents had and he found an ancient waffle iron in an old carton but I am scared to plug it in. Ever since I saw the HBO re-make of “Mildred Pierce” I have occasionally made fried chicken and waffles, which was Mildred’s ticket out of poverty as she featured it in her LA restaurant.
    Back ten years ago I was living in rural New Bern, NC for a while and a few times we ate at the Waffle House. The cook always plopped on way too much batter on the waffle irons and there was a huge overflow pile of waffle slag hanging off the side of the waffle iron bank. That cook was also dressed in a filthy apron and he also cracked eggs the normal one-handed way but then he exhibited awful accuracy in hitting the garbage can with the shells, and egg shells were on the deck everywhere. It was quite the filthy place. But memorable.

  83. Deborah said on November 25, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Dexter, I have a Waffle House memory too. I call it the Awful House because during one road trip we made down to Miami to visit my Dad for the holidays we stopped in a Waffle House somewhere in Georgia on I75. For some reason I ordered chili and the waitress served it by holding the edge of the bowl so that her bare thumb was full immersed in it. I didn’t have much of an appetite after that. The experience was also pretty gross overall.

  84. Kirk said on November 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I think you have to be drunk to actually enjoy eating at a Waffle House.

  85. Julie Robinson said on November 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Toddling off to bed, but this map might be fun for our discussions tomorrow:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/11/25/the-50-states-redrawn-with-equal-population/?tid=sm_fb

  86. MarkH said on November 25, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Indeed, Kirk. Many a night back in the day, after closing the campus bars, it was off to…

    Wait a minute. It was Cincinnati; so it was the TODDLE House.

    Prospero, I guess we all have our own ideas of the touch-feely-big-warm-fuzzy. Your current fave is the Iranian government. The pushback is not just a GOP gambit. Pay attention.

  87. basset said on November 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    The Hour House, right behind the optometry school in Bloomington – for the $1.69 “breakfast special,” two eggs, hash browns, toast and coffee. Some years later a Subway took the space over, the one where that Jared guy ate all those sandwiches and lost all that weight.

  88. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 25, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    I’d say not “Maumee” but “Wabash,” but I’m sure most of the regulars would prefer the author’s initial idea for a new name.

    Me, I’m stuck in “Scioto”. I guess they didn’t think “Big Darby” would work.

  89. Prospero said on November 25, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    MarkH@86: Don’t be a jackass. I couldn’t care less about the government of Iran. I do believe that a deal in which Iran is mainstreamed with other world governments is preferable to doing somethin as fucking stupid as the PNAC invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation, neither of which were legal in international law. I also believe that Hardcore right wingers in the Israeli government are the major source of tensions in the Middle East. And they are sitting on a nuclear arsenal at Dimona that they deny the existence of and they do refuse to sign the NPT. If the government of Iran is trying to build nukes, it’s probably in the interest of having a deterrent to a nuclear attack by Israel. That’s what analysts that consider the Irani government a rational actor believe, and there is no evidence in its behavior to indicate that the Irani government is not rational. If it’s funding Hamas that bothers people, they should remind themselves that Hamas ascendancy in the “Occupied Territories” is a direct result of the assasination by Israel of Yasser Arafat.

    Here’s an explanation of why pursuing a negotiated agreement with Iran is sensible, and mindless GOP opposition is stupid:

    http://www.juancole.com/2013/11/mideast-through-tehran.html

    Professor Cole is an expert on the Middle East, You could likely add up the sum of what Congressional Republicans know about the reason and not arrive at a similar level of informed information.

    I’ve had steak and eggs in the Awful Waffle many times. Not a prime cut of beef, but OK at 2am, when nothing else is open.

  90. Kirk said on November 25, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    In Columbia, Mo., it was Dale’s. One buddy of mine always ordered the “squirty eggs.” They knew what he meant. Ate there in the daytime only once.

  91. jcburns said on November 26, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I live in the land of a thousand Waffle Houses, but the south also has Huddle House, which has the very conditional-sounding slogan “Best food yet.”

    “Best”, that is, until you round the corner and see, well, any other restaurant.

  92. Sherri said on November 26, 2013 at 12:05 am

    BTW, sad news about Aaron Murray, Pros. He may be the most unlucky college QB ever. He comes within a tipped pass of beating Alabama last year, then comes back for his senior year only to lose his three top receivers and two top running backs to injury. He engineers a huge comeback against Auburn, then gets beat with the flukiest Hail Mary pass ever. Now he’s torn his ACL. Maybe he’ll have better luck at the next level.

  93. Dexter said on November 26, 2013 at 1:13 am

    It’s been over twenty years now that I worked with Mick in the factory. Mick was a transferee from the Toledo Dana plant , sent to the Indiana plant I worked in to finish out his thirty years and get a pension going.
    Mick was a nice guy and a joy to work around , he of the no-sleeves shirts and the FTW tattoo, for Mick was a bad-ass Harley biker too. He had spent six months in the old Mansfield castle penitentiary a short while before it was shut down forever.
    Mick had beaten a man senseless in a bar fight. (The union made sure he didn’t lose his job over that one.) He was a Vietnam veteran Marine , he carried a pig-sticker folding knife with which he’d poke another hole in his open beer can in a bar and then stick the pointy knife tip right into the bar top. I saw him do it…oddly, no bartender ever said a word to him about the knife-hole in the bar, but we drank in workingman dives.

    Mick had a lot of money; he owned a beautiful large home right on the water in Toledo and he owned a home in Flagler Beach, Florida, where he spent spring vacations. He also was in Daytona for Bike Week every March as well.

    Mick and his biker pals chipped in and bought an old truck, like an old milk truck or something, and fitted it to haul six Harley Hogs and six people, and it got 6 miles to the gallon. 6,6,and 6. They drove that old truck down I-75 to Florida several times that I recall.

    During Bike Week they camped at a place reserved for biker and beer-drinking, and when it came time for eats, they headed to a Daytona Waffle House…like twice a day.
    The menu is varied enough that they kept going there. Mick told me the secret to quick service and how to get the best cuts of steaks and pork chops: take really good care of the help there. They over-tipped intentionally and soon were recognized and never had to wait for a table or service. I usually had good service at almost all the southern Waffle Houses we stopped at, but to eat fourteen meals there a week…man, I couldn’t do that. :)

    Mick was a hard-workin’ son-of-a-gun; he worked installing storm doors as a side job, then did that full-time after he retired, as well as going halvsies on buying a Toledo beer bar. I suppose he’s down in his Flagler Beach by now.

  94. Brandon said on November 26, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Happy belated birthday.

  95. Rana said on November 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Add me to the belated birthday chorus!

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