Such an honor.

Here’s how old I am: I am old enough to remember when Time’s December publicity event was called Man of the Year. The machine started early with the possible short-listers leaked for speculation, and finally: THE MAN OF THE YEAR. Ronald Reagan. Ted Turner. Anwar Sadat. And so on.

Now that I think of it, there were occasional women of the year. Wikipedia — for the purposes of this trivia, let’s call it an unimpeachable source — tells us Wallis Simpson won in 1936, her step-niece Elizabeth II in 1952. But it’s basically a man’s game, even if the whole thing was changed to Person of the Year in 1999.

I was amused, today, to see Twitter light up with the news Pope Francis was this year’s PoY, a few days after the story was floated that the finalists included Miley Cyrus. Great work, Time! Flogging a few seconds of the hive’s attention away from whatever it had been paying attention to a few seconds earlier, and then? The big reveal! A pope! Leap into action, Twitter!

I think what’s happening here is a reflection of something Hank put his finger on a while back: The web still isn’t real enough. Ask yourself why the college newspaper still exists. It serves a generation that’s been online since they were toddlers, digital natives. These should have been the first print publications to fall, and yet? They haven’t.

To quote Don Draper, who saw plenty of Men of the Year: You can’t frame a phone call. How will we know who Salon named the 100 Greatest Hacks of 2000-whatever? Just thinking of the search gymnastics needed to find that in 2023 makes my head hurt, but Time — there will always be a Time, on microfilm in some library, somewhere.

With its obvious, safe, not particularly interesting Person of the Year story. Now Miley — that would have been newsworthy.

How y’all today? I just realized I’ll be having some sick days coming up. My cataract surgery is a week from now, followed by a sedate period of lying-in to sleep off the anesthesia. And with that, I close a little over six months of eye nuisance. I had the first surgery close to the longest day of the year and the second on about the shortest.

I just want to drive at night again.


14 things people in Florida used a machete for in 2013. For reals.

Twelve stories of very bad Santas. The worst one we ever encountered was actually just baby Kate’s experience — my babysitter took Kate and her own two to Southtown Mall in Fort Wayne, thinking to miss the crowds at Glenbrook. What they found was a booze-stinking Santa who told all the kids gimme five, holding out a dirty glove.

The FDA is “taking steps” to “phase out” antibiotic use in livestock. I’ll believe it when I see it.

How to talk to Republican senators: A guide for women.

Over the hump. I think.

Posted at 12:26 am in Current events, Media |

82 responses to “Such an honor.”

  1. Deborah said on December 12, 2013 at 6:05 am

    When I was 4 years old I sat on the lap of a very questionable Santa in a department store. When we got home I cornered my mother about the reality of Santa Claus. Her response was the dead give away, “do you really want to know?”. So she told me the truth, and added that there was no Easter Bunny either. The Easter Bunny part shocked me, for some reason I never doubted that. Mom told me not to tell anyone, but of course I went right out and told my sister and some of the kids in the neighborhood. They weren’t surprised.

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  2. Alan Stamm said on December 12, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Really like the “web still isn’t real enough” observation, as confirmed by the survival of college papers. Solid insight.

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  3. beb said on December 12, 2013 at 8:25 am

    I learned a new word today. it’s called “Affluenzia” it’s where you’re so rich your parents have never tried to discipline you. And you’re such a victim of overindulgence that killing four people while driving drunk (he was only 16 at the time) merits only probation. What a country. Texas, of course. Can we give that state back to Mexico?

    Glenn Greenwald is POed that TIME did not name Edward Snowden their man of the year. Love him or hate him, the documents he stole have been a slow, steady acid drip that has revealed how pervasive and damaging the surveillance state has become. But then I don’t think “Man of the Year” has ever been given to someone who actually makes news.

    Neat bookend – MAN of the year leading into How to Talk to a Republican. To quote Ann Coulter, who once wrote a book on how to talk to liberals… “If you must, with a baseball bat.”

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  4. alex said on December 12, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Even if in a few short lessons the GOP could learn to stop sounding condescending toward women and minorities, what would it take to teach them to stop being so fucking condescending?

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  5. coozledad said on December 12, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Kathleen Sibelius should probably have read Dahlia’s piece before she got yelled at by “Manly John” Shimkus, whose last name refers to an old Sudeten German practice of duct taping one’s cock to a popsicle stick and back between the legs during holy week.

    Rush Limbaugh has actually given instructions to Republicans ’bout how to talk to the ladies and their tits, and you know Republicans got to listen, or do some punitive starfish licking.

    So let me offer a first suggestion, the first way to deal with this that came into my mind. You find yourself staring, looking at, casually glancing at a woman, but you know that it’s now socially taboo. You shouldn’t be doing it. And you think everybody is noticing you doing it and condemning you in their minds. You shouldn’t — so you walk up to the woman and say, “Will you please ask your breasts to stop staring at my eyes?”
    Try that. Might help. And you don’t know ’til you try it.

    And I think they should take that pederast at his word.

    Then they can all wear the Shimkus.

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  6. brian stouder said on December 12, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Beb, I’d say Edward Snowden is a classic example of “Nepotenzia” – where your parents are so connected you cannot help but fail upwards, and abstractions like “patriotism” and “trust” mean only what they have to mean, so as to justify every back you stab, and every oath you break.

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  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 9:03 am

    They represent less than 10 percent of the total, but may I say in these semi-confidential halls, with the theme we’ve established the last few days, that I am SO FUCKING TIRED of foster parents who are in it for the money?

    Yes, I feel better now. And for all our county foster kids, we have bikes for each who needs one, thanks to the Columbus OH “Bike Lady” whose work has spread into our county, thanks in part to the writing of Ann Fisher, formerly of Kirk’s Dispatch, who is now our morning NPR talk show host. So we’ve got THAT going for us.

    Hardly a week passes, though, when I don’t think that we made a mistake closing down all the orphanages. Now we only have “treatment foster care,” which has nearly half of our 366 current in-care kids from this county, and while most of their staff are heroes, you can’t convince me that most of the owner/managers of TFCs are in it for the cash, too. I know we’ve had some orphanage horror stories, but that’s not a reason to disperse our most helpless kids out across the landscape to a scattered archipelago of rural homesteads where the care ranges from loving to loathsome.

    But remember the Bike Lady. God bless her.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 9:32 am

    On a cheerier (?) note, I think this has something for everyone:

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  9. brian stouder said on December 12, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Jeff – that link is stupendously good, just based on the photograph that is right at the top….in fact, we should have a caption contest!!

    (I love the stance Eric Holder has, opposite Bush-43)

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  10. Prospero said on December 12, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Missing from the list of machete usage: Making cutoff jorts so short one’s nads hang out below the pockets; and, trimming split ends from mullets.

    Bill Moyers on the American Class War.

    I’d like to see Holder standing behind Shrub, slapping handcuffs on him for shipment to the World Criminal Court. Mass-murdering war criminal. Where are the Simon Wiesenthals to hunt Shrubco and the neocons, and every creep that signed the PNAC letter like dogs and bring them to justice? But as Hillary and the others seem to be saying, “Bless his little heart.”

    Brian Stouder: The Bike Lady is wonderful. It really put me in a Christmas mood. There is donation information on that web page. Thanks for posting that link.

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  11. Jenine said on December 12, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Jefftmmo, I am busy pondering the pros and cons of orphanages vs. foster care. It is a problem that doesn’t lend itself to a quick comment. I admire your pithiness. Do you ever want to take a vacation in December?

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Prospero, I can testify close-up and first hand that all donations to the Bike Lady are going right to where you’d want to see ’em go, if you want to see kids without bikes get them. Step two is finding “forever families” for those kids to park their bikes at. And I have to admit the work Dave Thomas did and his foundation has done since his death has me defaulting to Wendy’s when fast food has to do. The Dave Thomas Foundation is powerfully effective for and with adoption & supporting adoptive families.

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  13. Prospero said on December 12, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Jeff: I figure if I can give donations to politicians, I can contribute to helping people give bicycles to kids. And a charity organization that pays its own admin costs is to good to pass up. And 85-15 split is good. 100-0 is outstanding.

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  14. MarkH said on December 12, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Pastor Jeff(tmmo) dropping teh F-bomb. Well, Holy…(never mind).

    What Nancy said (and Alan Stamm @2) about “real web”. Excellent point.

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 11:01 am

    It’s been that kind of week, MarkH. Don’t look for it again in 2013 (I pray!).

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  16. Deborah said on December 12, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Shows how naive I am, it never crossed my mind that someone would be a foster parent for pay. Terribly sad for the kids.

    I know I’ve told this story here before, but a gay couple I know in Chicago, have two adopted children, that they got as infants, they’re two years apart but are half siblings, the same mom put them up for adoption. Those kids have such a great life now, they are 4 and 6 already, it makes me so happy whenever I see their pictures on Facebook. One of their dad’s is French so they speak two languages. Those guys, known as Daddy and Papa are crazy about their kids.

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  17. Deborah said on December 12, 2013 at 11:18 am

    And another friend of mine who got married to her partner just had a baby last week. My friend’s parents refused to go to her wedding because they don’t believe in same sex marriage. The kid is cute as a button and of course I haven’t asked whether the grandparents are planning to be a part of the life of this adorable child, but I wonder.

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  18. Charlotte said on December 12, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Here’s a heartwarmer for a cold, windy, grey morning in a week with a big birthday, a dying dog, and a community funeral that was as good as those things can get but still has a dead guy at the center of it:

    Annenberg foundation bought the Hopi masks and is returning them to the tribes …

    Now, off to see if this is a sinus infection, or if my face just hurts. Sigh.

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  19. Sherri said on December 12, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Brian, back @6, Edward Snowden’s parents are connected? A former Coast Guard officer and a clerk?
    Not usually what you consider candidates for nepotism.

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  20. Danny said on December 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Mary, you may remember us discussing this briefly last year. Well, it has been a year since the CALM act and I haven’t noticed much of a difference.

    The little TV I watch still has patches of loud, annoying commercials, but I did not really know this… from a commenter at slashdot:

    I’m an audio mixer for several of the national and regional networks. I deal almost exclusively in live sports, and I can tell you we are monitored to a ridiculous degree. We have averaging meters in our trucks (measured in LKFS), and the TOC monitors the show AND commercials (in DB on a 3s average). The TOC logs the averages with timecode and video thumbnails (for reference) and saves them, as they are the only defense they have against CALM complaints. The TOC is quick to notify us during the show if we’re too loud or too quiet and the averaging is out of compliance.

    The problem is, no one at home is smart enough to know the difference between a national spot, a local spot, and a spot that your cable provider inserts. So the complaint becomes “Fox Sports played a loud commercial!!1!!!1!!!one!!!” when the culprit is actually the Comcast head-end in Gary, Indiana.

    Between the meters, the logging, and the constant monitoring, broadcast is jumping through a lot of hoops to be CALM compliant. But the networks don’t have end-to-end control of their signal, and the end user is at the mercy of their local cable headend. Almost all of the problems you experience happen there. I can’t tell you how many times we find a surround downmix where the announcers are almost inaudible, because a cable operator (and sometimes even a satellite provider) is doing an improper downmix, and the 4.1 channels are blowing out the center on the stereo feed. The networks try to QC as much as they can – most of the network offices have receivers for every cable and satellite (and FiOS, AT&T, etc) service they can get their hands on, and constantly monitor as many of them as they can – trying to find and fix the problems proactively rather than wait for the vague and usually inaccurate complaints to roll in from the FCC.

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  21. Prospero said on December 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I’d imagine the undiagnosed narcissistic personality disordered Eddie Snowden is royally pissed off to find he’s not Time’s POY.How can people not understand how important he is?

    My thing about Pope Frankie is that his clarion thoughts on Capitalism as government have alienated the Christian right. I always got a creepy feeling hearing fundigelicals that previously called the Catholic Church a demonic cult or the whore of Babylon acting like the Church was all hunky dory with them now because Obamacare.

    Encouraging news about closing Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo. Should shut down the entire base. It serves np discernible strategic purpose. This is a perfect example of President Obama taking grief from the progressiver than thou for something out of his control, as GOPers developed the most virulent case of NIMBY I can remember. MRGO. Most of the detainees have never been charged with anything and should be freed. For those who can be charged with something, there should be trials in federal court in NYC, and the wingnuts should just STFU about it.

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  22. Danny said on December 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Prospero, I saw some headline yesterday that said Snowden was runner up.

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  23. Julie Robinson said on December 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Deborah, I’ve seen grandbabies be the source of reconciliation more than once, so fingers crossed for your friends.

    We spent three long & hard days working at my sister’s new place and it’s good to be done and back to internet. So, as I catch up, I have to mention a few things from the last few days: First, Alex wins for the year at the end of yesterday’s thread. Go back and read it now.

    Second, I don’t get all the hate for Little Drummer Boy. He’s an innocent giving his all, much like the widow with two pennies at the temple. I also like The Friendly Beasts for much the same reason. Peter Paul & Mary have a beautiful rendition of that on their holiday album, which is overall completely excellent.

    So there, I like sappy Christmas music and I don’t mind who knows.

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  24. Dexter said on December 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    When I jumped into AA 21 years ago, I was working lots of overtime and had gas money to attend meetings in all the surrounding towns, Wauseon, Stryker, Defiance, Napoleon, Archbold, Butler, Auburn and Waterloo, Indiana, Montpelier, Delta, all the way to Perrysburg and Toledo. I heard all sorts of tales, because while some people do not sink all the way to the bottom before surfacing and saving their lives, some people really do hit what we call a “hard bottom”.
    I heard both men and women at times tell of how their children suffered. Lots of cases of separation, kids shuffled around, lots of families endured years of various degrees of pain , and alcohol frequently just made things much worse. Alcoholic parents, frustrated and just plain drunk, acted out at times on their kids. When the state stepped in, through social workers and various centers for abused kids and counseling centers for abusive parents, people began the arduous process of getting and staying alcohol-drug free, and learning coping skills such as accepting no more enabling a spouse to keep the cycle of abuse going.
    I contacted an agency that counseled kids of broken families who were split up, living in foster homes, living under hard conditions with one parent, and so forth.
    I had put up our tree, my shopping was done, and I just felt warm and grateful; by that time I was no longer stumbling into the decorated tree, wasted on bourbon & beer boilermakers.
    We had a big order come in just before Christmas, and nobody wanted to work, so I worked 6 double shifts in a row (never do that, folks) and a 12 hours shift to cap off the week. I had a plan. It’s been a long time ago, and I am not blowing my own horn, and I have never told this story before. I took that entire giant paycheck and bought as many Walmart bicycles as the check covered, made arrangements with this counseling agency, and anonymously dropped them off for free distribution to any needy child who maybe could use some cheering up. And I found out, the adage is true: it is better to give….

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  25. Danny said on December 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Jeff, I wasn’t familiar with the practice of fostering-for-profit until about 10 years ago when my wife and I became interested in becoming the legal guardians for our niece. My wife’s sister is a lost cause who could not raise her children properly and she had let her eldest daughter go into foster care with a family in podunck central valley California who were doing the foster gig for the money. In the end, we couldn’t get custody because the foster family aggressively fought us and colluded with my addle-brained sis-in-law by giving her a kick-back. Odious people all around!

    The result was my niece stayed up in the central valley with this family, got pregnant as a teen and dropped out of high school (quelle suprise!!!).

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  26. Danny said on December 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Very cool, Dexter! That is a great story and I understand why you’ve never shared it. We may not have much else in common, but in this we are kindred spirits. Definitely better to give.

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  27. beb said on December 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I think the chief problem with Orphanages is who pays the bills. I’m sure an orphanage done right would be a good thing for all involved. What I fear is that like jails, public or private, the drive to reduce costs leads to horrible cuts in food, clothing, therapy, medical attention and supervision of guards. Maybe this is better than for-profit foster homes. It’s a toss-up for me.

    The CALM act has been about as effective as… Well, it hasn’t been effective. Just as I doubt that the FDA’s call for reduced use of antibiotics on feedlot animals will actually cause anyone to limit the use of antibiotics.

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  28. Prospero said on December 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Great story Dexter. I know you don’t want to hear it, but I am impressed and you should be proud of yourself. You did a great thing.

    Common sense way to re-fund SNAP and long-term unemployment benefits. And it isn’t a tax increase, no matter what Grover “Pigmeat” Norquist might say. And it’s a return to something R. Raygun did.

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  29. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Jenine @#11, I somehow missed your comment earlier, my apologies. Yes, a break in December would be nice [laughs maniacally]; I usually do a three-day silent retreat down at the Loretto Motherhouse in late January, since Christmas insanity and family crisis(es) spill over into a week or two of the new year. Loretto/Nerinckx KY is where they craft Maker’s Mark, a lovely if overpriced bourbon which of course you can’t buy in the county; Gethsemani Abbey, the Trappist monastery where Fr. Louis aka Thomas Merton lived and is buried, is about twenty minutes west, both are south of Bardstown. Beautiful country in any season, including winter; the road from Loretto to Bardstown comes out right where the Kentucky quarter view can be found, and it often looks just like that.

    Every hypothetical orphanage can’t be a St. Cloud’s*, but the dilemma is that while one toxic foster parent in the township outlying area can only mess with the psyche & soul of a few kids, not a whole orphanage as a toxic director could, you at least know they have each other, and the scene is playing out where others can, might, and do witness and could report. The trolls who masquerade as decent humanoids when at the CPS office and get kids to stock their spare bedrooms on a rural lane are much harder to detect until something goes badly wrong, and it’s the marginally devious and only slightly malign ones that worry me, who stay in service for years and decades.

    They are a minority, but . . . and I wish I could say I’d never heard of a play such as Danny describes, but his situation is not unheard of, least of all by me.

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  30. MarkH said on December 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Julie @23 – Me, too.

    Dexter @24 – You go! Great story at just the right time of year. Matthew 6:1-4 and all that.

    May I just say, forget the selfie kerfuffle: wtf. Were those three risking WW III? Although I will say again it depends on which side of the deal you’re on. If it was W leaning into the shot with his goofy grin, perhaps there would have been more braying about it here. Besides, judging from the first lady’s expression, the president might have heard enough about it later.


    Absent from the conversation here was the more serious story that really took away from Mandela’s ceremony, and could possibly have been lethal. How could this guy not have been vetted? A known violent mental case, NO sign language skills and he gets to, and remains on stage next to world leaders the entire time?

    I don’t know sign language, but even I could tell it was a lot of repetitive nonsense. No one else noticed and pulled him off the stage?

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  31. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    And in the midst of all this, we just ended the departmental holiday potluck, and I get pulled into the back hallway by the boss to learn that, while some budget numbers have to be crunched, the court plans to give me my first raise after seven years of work, couched of course in the rueful reminder “Mediation is not mandated by Ohio.” But the judge & administrator have noticed my work, and want to do something.

    It’s just all a bit ironic after I rant all over the place yesterday that Ohio ranks 50th (FIFTIETH!) in spending on child welfare services, and if we Buckeyes were to double our CPS spending? We’d be . . . (wait for it) . . . 50th. It’s that bad. And has been for decades.

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  32. brian stouder said on December 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Sherri – upon further review, you’re more right than me. I had it in my brain that Snowden was a suburban-DC kiddo with government-employed parents, and this is true – but not in the sense that the parents hooked him up…more like being a Detroit kid in the ’50’s, and snagging a job at Ford Motor Company…

    Snowden, who was born in 1983, spent his early years in Elizabeth City, N.C., before his family moved to the Maryland suburbs when he was 9. His father, Lonnie, was a warrant officer for the U.S. Coast Guard, since retired. His mother, Elizabeth, who goes by Wendy, went to work for the U.S. District Court in Maryland in 1998 and is now its chief deputy of administration and information technology. An older sister, Jessica, is a lawyer working as a research associate for the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, according to LinkedIn.

    Dexter, you are the MAN!

    And Mark H – I agree completely; lots more people need fired

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  33. Prospero said on December 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Great news about the raise, Jeff.

    This sounds like it’s worth a try.

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  34. nancy said on December 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    A photographer I knew in college was called as a witness in a police brutality case, and the photos he took of a particular incident were subpoenaed. When he took the stand, the defense attorney asked him about three questions: How many photos did you take that night? How fast does your camera’s motor drive run? How fast does a film camera run? In the time it took to answer those, he’d effectively demolished the whole idea of one, two or three still photos being an accurate representation of a moment in time. It’s all about context. (Look at the Rodney King tape as evidence that even a piece of video can be interpreted many ways.)

    There’s a famous closeup photo of a man’s face contorted in what looks like agony. The whole frame shows several people standing around him laughing, at which point the man’s agony changes in your perception to riotous joy.

    And then there’s this famous picture. Can the selfie story die already?

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  35. Bitter Scribe said on December 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Maybe Obama should have sneaked up on the Danish prime minister and tried to give her an unwanted neck massage.

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  36. Bitter Scribe said on December 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    beb @27: Maybe the FDA by itself won’t influence farmers not to overuse antibiotics, but when you throw in the antibiotic suppliers…

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  37. coozledad said on December 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    The “selfie” story is never going to die as long as the chief strategist for Lamar! is in the news for child porn. Remember, these are the idiots who believe in Santa Claus, and that a first century Judaean was not a browner shade of olive.

    No history, no perspective, no damned sense. You could sort of see it coming when all they could recruit for reps at both the national and state level were rapists and other assorted felons.

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  38. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    And not to feed anyone’s assumptions or preconceptions about the Mandela funeral atmosphere up in the security box, but if you’ve not been to many funerals recently, the tone and approach to funerals has changed dramatically in the last decade. In 2000 there was still a general default to a neo-Victorian ambiance to which everyone lived up, or down. Today, the idea of the “loved ones” dressing in black, the concept of people coming to calling hours or the funeral in formal dress, and the expectations around what music, speeches, or ornamentation of the casket (let alone the remains, if they aren’t already cremated and even if they are): that’s all changed, and I’m resolutely standing by my policy of not saying “and for the worse.”

    There’s no “Biblical model” for how to do a funeral, it’s a cultural norm, pure and simple. I do start to cast a curious eye at some of the “grave goods” placed in caskets “so Uncle Herb can go fishing in the Great Beyond,” and will not egg that practice on, but my concerns are much more with the rapacious, extortionate, costly trappings of funeraldom that go uncriticized among the other consumerist trappings of the modern American funeral.

    If the memorial itself is at the church, in our sanctuary, there are lines I’ll politely ask we not cross, explaining why, and that’s not been a problem yet in my experience. What you do see is more of a celebration of life default norm, and a more “everyday” feel from clothing to verbiage, and I don’t find it undermines the eulogy time I spend or the interpretation of scriptures used for comfort & guidance during the memorial.

    What I’m saying is that the whole “selfies at funerals” thing is less appalling, IMHO, than people think; it’s not callousness or unfeelingness as much as its a different approach to death. A little more candid, a little less fraught with the need to show “the correct emotions” which is not troubling to me in the least. If you’re just being a drunken jerk, then you get treated the same way as if you came to a wedding or a prayer service, but that’s different than not conforming to the professional mourner role for everyone who comes in the door, no matter what your connection to the deceased.

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  39. coozledad said on December 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    I would even go so far as to suggest Republicans take their selfie story and shove it up their cornholes.
    Looks like they’re trying to keep the hard drive for this story waaaay out on the ledge:

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  40. coozledad said on December 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Here’s a Fayum mummy portrait of someone who would have been a near contemporary of Megan Kelly’s “white” Jesus. The kind of guy Jesus would probably call a goyishe prick.

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  41. Danny said on December 12, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Oh be quiet. Look everyone is white, even Islamic terrorists:

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  42. Danny said on December 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    The way to get the “selfie” story to go away is to change it to the… Best. Selfie. Evahhhh!!

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  43. MichaelG said on December 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    That was wonderful of you, Dexter. Thank you.

    I have also heard horror stories about professional foster parents. Really makes you feel sorry for the kids.

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  44. Basset said on December 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    JeffTMMO, tell us more about that silent retreat… sounds interesting, although I suppose as a non-member I wouldn’t be allowed in.

    Funerals… talked to a funeral director down in Bloomington a few years back who said he’d just give the families a few minutes with the casket, tell em just to close it up when they’re done and he doesn’t want to know what they might have put in there.

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  45. mark said on December 12, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Note to Yemeni wedding planners: When Obama gets lampooned in the media, consider postponing any weddings.

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  46. coozledad said on December 12, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Note to Republicans: Quit fucking kids.

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  47. mark said on December 12, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Is the whole family gathering at your place for Christmas this year, Derrick? Nothing better than sharing the joy of the season with family. A blessed holiday to all of them.

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  48. Prospero said on December 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm


    The selfie story makes its purveyors look like idiots, but not nearly half as mindless as McCain grumping about Neville Chamberlain because the President had the good sense and sound manners to shake Raoul Castro’s hand instead of snubbing him. “Because Obama” is a cretin’s game, except that normally it’s low-rent unacceptable to make fun of the mentally impaired.

    I figure Rush likes staring at boobs because that slight tingle he feels reminds him that the dick he hasn’t seen in years might still be there.
    I’d pay money to see Limbaugh try is too funny line on one of these two women. Guy is revolting, boorish and subhuman. And no matter what any Fox Bimbette says, Jesus probably looked more like Arafat than Jeff Chandler.

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  49. Jolene said on December 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I know it’s tacky to pass along the juvenilia that appears on BuzzFeed, but some of these names are too funny not to share.

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  50. Danny said on December 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I figure Rush likes staring at boobs because that slight tingle he feels reminds him that the dick he hasn’t seen in years might still be there.

    That reminds me too much of Chris “tingles” Matthews and adds yet another nauseating dimension to the “tingle up his leg” story.

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  51. Dexter said on December 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Take a look at this photo, just for fun. It has been titled “Real-life Winnie-the-Pooh”.

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  52. mark said on December 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for the link, Dexter. This story, which was promoted on the same age, was pretty appalling:

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  53. BigHank53 said on December 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Lots of monasteries offer silent retreats, and they aren’t picky about who you worship. You’re there to be quiet. Typically you get a room, told when and where to show up for your meals, and get invited to the religious services.

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Basset, I used to go with about five or six other pastors; time & distance have pulled us in different directions, so you don’t get the debrief together afterwards (with our own smuggled in Maker’s Mark in honor of the locale), but I just go for three days and . . . don’t talk. Two or three days of it I didn’t check e-mail or other intertubal outlets, either. Prayer, reading, sleep (the most perfect form of prayer, the desert fathers tell us, because it involves absolute trust), and I’m usually there during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity so I get to be the token Protestant in da house as well. Canon law forbids me from indicating whether such as myself might be nearly-forcibly pushed into the communion line at chapel to receive or not, but there are stories out beyond Rohan’s Knob of such heresies and apostasies as this . . .

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  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Hat tip, Big Hank. ‘Zactly.

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  56. coozledad said on December 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Is the whole family gathering at your place for Christmas this year, Derrick?

    I’ll make a genuine effort to ignore the odd pathological effrontery of this, which brings to mind some Hitchcock villain getting ready to divulge some bizarre psychosexual predilection for chopping folks up at the holidays, and answer as honestly as I can.

    I can’t spend the holidays with my Republican relatives who are in jail, period. The ones who are outside of jail at the moment, and are trying to get the ones who are in jail out, are a drag on conversation.

    The ones who used to entertain themselves by gathering a bag of chestnuts and rocks to throw from their car windows at blacks in downtown Durham, NC are all frail sad creatures now, if not actually oozing fluids into a box, like the uncle who had it mentioned in his obit that he thought the Germans got a bum deal in WWII. Typical Republican position, I know, but really folks, save that one for the Klavern.

    Christmas day, I’ll probably get up, feed the quadrupeds, split some firewood, maybe paint or draw a little, cook something, eat something, have a nap, and read something. The whole time I’ll be discussing things with my wife, who will be busy pulling cash out of thin air.

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  57. Danny said on December 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Oh this cracked me up. A work buddy of mine just got engaged and his best friend queried him as to if he had stocked up on “toys” beforehand. Apparently the best friend had gone out the week before his own engagement and bought a bunch of stuff (like a motorcycle!) that he knew would not get approval from the “budget committee” afterwards. Heheh. Too funny.

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  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Assuming the facts as you share them, Cooze, a little chopping and wood-chipping wouldn’t seem entirely pathological.

    What always gives *this* Republican pause in thinking about Europe, 1940, is what would have happened if the Taft/Dewey faction had continued to keep the US out of the war effort, and if Hitler had not been so maniacal as to lauch Barbarossa into Russia. Counterfactuals aren’t often instructive, but the strange sequence of events through the Sizkrieg and then the Battle of Britain gives you lots to ponder. Robert Harris got a remarkably good book out of it (“Fatherland”, better than the movie), and it was Lucy Dawidowicz (sp?) in her “War Against the Jews” that gives us just this much hope — evil has its own not-so-tragic flaw built into it. The Nazis were so compulsively in love with their own cosmic assumptions that they invaded the East not to get into war with Russia as much as because there were Jews (and other subhumans) there to kill, and even as the tide set against them, the High Command in Berlin kept re-routing supply & reinforcement trains to let boxcar loads of Jews go through to the death camps, even if it undermined the work of armies in the field — Waffen SS or Wehrmacht alike. It was this kind of self-immolating tendency that helped Stauffenberg et alia finally realize that it was in no way traitorous to subvert and kill leaders like that.

    I’m probably going to read “The Coming of the Third Reich” by Richard Evans after the New Year, already downloaded onto my Kindle. The question of how a fringe group that never really got over 19% of the vote on their own took power in a democracy, however flawed the parliamentary system, that continues to nag . . . at all of us, I suspect.

    At any rate, you’ll always be Coozledad to me, big guy.

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  59. Sherri said on December 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I don’t believe WWII can be understood without understanding WWI and the Treaty of Versailles. To that end, my current reading project, in connection with the upcoming centennial of WWI, is to read more about WWI. I’ve read Tuchman’s Guns of August up to the point of the war beginning, and I’m currently reading Margaret Macmillan’s The War That Ended Peace. I’ve already read (and recommend) Macmillan’s opus on the Treaty of Versailles, Paris, 1919. I’ve also read Robert Graves’ war memoir Goodbye to All That and the first volume of William Manchester’s bio of Churchill, The Last Lion.

    There are (unsurprisingly) several more new books about the events leading up to WWI recently published; The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark is next on my list.

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  60. Kirk said on December 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I’ve read Goodbye to All That and The Guns of August, both of which do a great job of showing how imbecilic World War I was. More of same in Into The Silence, about the Mallory party’s assault on Mount Everest.

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  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Don’t skip “Lawrence in Arabia,” a new one on the Arab Revolt during WWI and the players leading up to and thru it; even if you think you’ve over-saturated on T.E., this is actually a four-handed deal of the cards, with an American, a Zionist, and a German followed as closely as Lawrence the Brit. Very insightful approach while digging deep into primary source material — it’s not the Peter O’Toole version, more LeCarre with a dash of John Irving, but solid history.

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  62. Deborah said on December 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Good stuff today. Dexter, my hat is off to you and don’t be embarrassed about sharing it here, it’s a great story.

    Jeff tmmo, while you’re down in KY, check out the Labrot & Graham, Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, they have a nice tour on beautiful grounds. Also, if you haven’t yet been there, Pleasant Hill, the Shaker Village nearby is fantastic. Shaker design is so inspirational. Here in New Mexico there are quite a few monasteries where you can stay, Christ in the Desert is a nice one outside of Abiquiu not too far from Ghost Ranch. It’s a gorgeous drive just getting there.

    I never paid much attention to WWI until I went here when we got back from that trip I started reading about it. Ghastly war. Next I want to visit the Civil War battlefields, that’s on my list too.

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  63. Prospero said on December 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Goodbye to All That is a spectacular literary accomplishment. Considering who wrote it, that’s not surprising. Still, I’d rather read I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Graves’ poetry is superb, at times exquisite.

    Hitler was hubristic in invading Russia. He had the example of Napoleon’s failure in the not distant past, but, you know, he wasn’t exactly a rational thinker, much less an actor.

    Danny: I’ve been meaning to tell you to check out Vintage guitars etc. It’s practically guitar porn. This was my first electric guitar. Christmas present. I wish I still had it. I’m looking to buy a tube amp, probably a Fender. I remember them as being sort of buzzy-toned. That guy going on the spending spree before his wedding, glad he’s getting with somebody he has such respect for. If Karma holds true, she’ll get the bike in the inevitable divorce. That is way childish behavior.

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  64. Danny said on December 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Pros, cool site. This is close to what I own as my best guitar, except I have a 1953 as opposed to the 1952 and mine is 14 serial numbers away from Steve Howe’s.

    Back in those days, Martin serialized sequentially across all product lines, so mine could have been the very next 00-18 made after Howe’s and may have been made by the same luthier.

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  65. Charlotte said on December 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    WW1 lives on in my family lore since my grandmother’s grandparents went down on the Lusitania. The Swifts brought them home in one of their new refrigerated shipping containers (along with several other Chicago people who hadn’t been in first class). It was a huge funeral, and, since no one after that thought to get a decent job or build a company, the beginning of the end of the family fortune. The reparations papers (and uncashed check) are in one of my grandmother’s boxes of family stuff …

    And as someone who had fairly toxic parents, and an unstable childhood, and who feels my life was saved by the solid adults who ran the summer camp I went to, I’ve always been in favor of good institutions. Rich kids get camp and good boarding schools when their parents drop the ball — I only wish it was possible for those less fortunate who really need it.

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  66. beb said on December 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    An aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander has been accused of possessing child pornography. The response by booman of the booman tribune blog was incredibly scathing.
    I don’t recall him very expressing such an intensely negative view of movement republicans. But as he says This is the norm in the conservative movement because it doesn’t attract well-adjusted people.

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  67. Prospero said on December 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Danny, I knew you’d like it. I like talking to you when you aren’t nutso incognito. A ’52 LesPaul all-gold finish? Holy crap. It’s God’s guitar.

    I’ve got a wonderful photo of my granddad Lowe in the cavalry. He has mammoth gloves on to do away with the brambles in the hedges the tanks passed over, and to do the smithee bidness he was hired for. Rakish SOB with a fine curled mousthache. Not surprising he blew Edna Lowe’s skirts up. I’d be interested to find what sort of Christianity would stick its ugly parts into …
    Danny, I enjoy talking to you about guitars. My best guitar is the Johnson 6-string my mom and dad bought at a private school auction. A really nice Johnson. But my Dean elec. 12 is the most fun to play, especially with pedals. I live in a condo building, so I really have to remember to plug in the phones.

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  68. Danny said on December 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    beb, politics in general does not attract well-adjusted people and it’s sad that so many people, Left and Right, are too blinded by their biases to see that.

    Naming no names, but if some of our favorite left-wing posters here at NN.C were instead strident, right-wingers, we’d be hearing about Anthony Wiener, Eliot Spitzer and William Jefferson (D- LA) every other week and how their indiscretions somehow mean that all Democrats are scum.

    Viewpoints like that are naive and hard to take seriously.

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  69. coozledad said on December 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Neither Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer nor William Jefferson stuck their dicks in a child, or worked to cut food programs for the hungry, or sought broad policies whose aims are the denial of agency to huge swathes of the population while screaming imbecilic shit about freedom or BLACK PANTHERS DONE STOLE MY SANTA CLAUS. But the worst thing about you motherfuckers is your clinical lack of empathy. One day the prisons and mental institutions will be packed with your asses, because we will finally have had enough of the sociopathic gene.

    Oh, and for all you vaginaphobes, a special little number from Michigan!

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  70. coozledad said on December 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    And for God’s sake cut that Steve Howe guitar are you twelve years old for fuck’s sake masturbation
    god damn.

    I’ll give you some fucking Yes. Heat of The moment. They were never any better or worse than that shit. And if Steve Howe played that shit on a goddamn Amati violin it would still chew through one ass to suck another one. Fuck Yes.

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  71. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 12, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Dexter, two double shifts in a row like to killed me, and that was a few decades back. Lots of ministers like to piously moan about being 24/7, but the worst week I’ve ever had as a pastor wasn’t that intense: glad you got the blessing back for what you did with it. Grace and peace to you, then and now.

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  72. brian stouder said on December 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Wiener and Spitzer both got tossed out on their ears, and their political careers are ended. On the other hand, there is a re-elected United States Senator (Vitter) who got himself re-elected despite his proclivity for diaper-wearing and prostitutes.

    And indeed, if Republigoons weren’t so intent on passing laws that specifically tell women what they must do and what they cannot do, and which literally extend the reach of guhmint into women’s bodies (ask Uncle Google about “invasive ultra-sounds”, for example), maybe you’d have a point.

    I’ve read that marvelous book Sherri points out – Paris 1919, and several other books around figures like Kitchener and Ludendorf and Hindengerg and Churchill; and overviews like Dreadnought (by Massie) – and The Great War never makes any sense.

    I think, ultimately, one must view the 20th century as a fairly relentless catastrophe; can we really separate the “First World War” from the “Second World War”? The interwar years were only long enough to raise another generation up and send them right onto the killing fields….and in that sense, nuclear weapons sort of did a good thing. It made the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics stare at each other rather than continue the slaughter.

    And, not for nothing, but the next time anybody makes a remark about how horrible Muslims or Islam or Jihadists are, one might point out that white Christian Europeans are second to none when it comes to wholesale, indiscriminate, relentless and merciless slaughter of one another

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  73. brian stouder said on December 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Cooze at 69 – that was a flat-out arresting statement, from the Michigan state representative; thanks for sharing it

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  74. Basset said on December 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Calm down, Cooze. “Heat of the Moment” does indeed suck, only because it’s a product of one of the later pseudo-Yeses. “Close to the Edge,” or most of the longer stuff from the Anderson/Howe/R. Wakeman version of the band… sublime.

    JeffTMMO, in a former life I visited a monastery in Kentucky that was about to shut down for lack of monks… they had some retreat space there and it looked interesting, but being what the Baptists call “unchurched,” I don’t think I’d have fit in too well. Some of those guys drank like fish, though… I could probably hang with that.

    My meditation time’s mostly in the woods … after a few hours the “high, thin whine of civilization” fades and one can get some thinking done.

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  75. Sherri said on December 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    William Jefferson is in the Federal penitentiary. At least he’s paying for his crime.

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  76. coozledad said on December 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I never meant for us to suck so hard
    I thought we’d put the speakers in the yard
    A look from you and I’d tend the barbecue
    And leave my 53 Gibson ES beside the pool
    Do you remember when we used to dance?
    And you could see right through my satin pants
    One thing lead to another we were high
    And I screamed “Jesus, I’m hung in my fly!”
    It was the meat at the moment
    Telling me what was important
    The meat at the moment screwed up the night
    And now I still find myself in ’72
    Listening to Camel and Eddie Jobson, too
    I could concern myself with bigger wrongs
    but I’m all hung up on my mangled schlong
    ‘Cause it’s the meat at the moment
    still being reconstructed
    The meat from the moment, it hung in my fly.

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  77. Deborah said on December 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Basset’s poetry: “My meditation time’s mostly in the woods … after a few hours the “high, thin whine of civilization” fades and one can get some thinking done.” this is how I feel on our land in Abiquiu.

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  78. Little Bird said on December 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I’m just waiting to hear what Coozledad could do with ” The Little Drummer Boy”. I bet it would be a hoot!

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  79. Basset said on December 12, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Appreciate that, Deborah, but I have to credit the part about the “high, thin whine” to John Gierach, fishing writer and one of the few fly “fisher”/gentleman angler types I think I could stand to be around for more than a few minutes.

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  80. brian stouder said on December 12, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    To go along with the link with the funny wedding names that Jolene posted, I got a kick out of this excerpt from the Proprietress’s link to the FDA/voluntary reduction of antibiotics-in-livestock story:

    Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), a microbiologist who has unsuccessfully tried to pass legislation limiting the use of certain antibiotics to humans and sick animals, called the agency’s efforts “an inadequate response” that “falls woefully short of what is needed to address a public health crisis.”

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  81. LAMary said on December 12, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Son Pete has to have surgery early tomorrow morning to repair his broken wrist. A plate and maybe some screws. The upside? My office is around the corner from the OR he’ll be in. I don’t have to use a vacation day. I also know all the nurses and surgical techs that work in that department. I always tell people I won’t hire someone I wouldn’t want caring for my family and now that idea will get real world testing.

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  82. Dexter said on December 13, 2013 at 1:38 am

    JtMMo: Blessings to you also. I do not know what pushed me into telling that little story; I never even told my brothers or my mom or dad, who are now long gone. I always worked lots of overtime in good economic times, but that week was just crazy, and without those bikes in my mind I never would have done it…jeez, thanks for all the nice words by almost everyone here, so I’ll give a little more here:
    At work a bunch of guys on day shift (I was usually on nights or all-nights) did a nice thing, they put out the call for everyone’s old junk bikes so they could haul them to a garage and re-build them and then give them to poor kids. The gesture was nice, but I remember to this day the Christmas morning in 1954 when I was totally surprised when I saw a brand new shiny bicycle by the tree. I know a used bike would be nice, but hey, not like a brand new one. Anyway, that’s why I went rogue and pulled my stunt. All the bikes I bought were 20 inch wheel bikes, and I hauled 24 of them altogether, making good use of my full-size pickup truck…I visited three different Walmarts to get them all.

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