A ‘Christmas Story’ story.

So, in the recent enthusiasm for what’s inevitably called “the high-wire act of live television,” Fox did a live musical version of “A Christmas Story” the other night. Hank hated it, and I will take his word for it. I, too, have grown weary of “A Christmas Story,” mainly because I’m tired of all its, what’s the term? Brand extensions. So to speak.

That would include, a few years back, stories about the guy who bought the house that played Ralph’s house, in Cleveland, and turned it into a museum. I wrote a column on an entrepreneur in Fort Wayne – surely there are dozens more – who started building and selling leg lamps. (“Of course they come in a big box with FRAGILE stamps all over it,” she enthused.) The where-are-they-now/you-won’t-believe-how-the-actors-look-today junk slideshows turn up in social media for weeks every year. And then there are the wags upon wags who trot out the familiar lines at office mixers, in elevator small talk, and everywhere else from Halloween through New Year’s: You’ll shoot your eye out, kid being only the most familiar.

It hurts. I used to love this movie. It was so sweet and charming. Then NBC sucked up rights to “It’s a Wonderful Life” and turned its annual screening into a national celebration of commercial television. So the thing you used to find in your holiday insomnia, playing on some UHF channel at 2 a.m. when you were likely to be feeling dark and hopeless, like George Bailey was in most of Act II, is now a primetime spectacle clogged with ads and celebrity interstitial moments and GET IN THE SPIRIT, AMERICA admonishments. “A Christmas Story” became a kind of counterprogramming on cable, with the 24-hour repeat broadcast on TBS finally wearing through whatever veneer of goodwill toward men I still have by Dec. 24.

Or, in so many words, “A Christmas Story” is now the TV version of Aretha’s “Respect” – if I never see/hear either again, I’d be perfectly happy.

(Meanwhile, another Frank Capra film from the same era, “Meet John Doe,” with a strong Christmas plot line, is ignored year after year. Go figure.)

And all of this is happening after the death of Jean Shepherd, the humorist whose story “A Christmas Story” is. I think a few years I wrote about the Clinic, which was a tradition at the Columbus Dispatch, where I used to work. The Clinic was our annual all-staff, year-in-review gathering (even though it was held in March), at the publisher’s family’s garishly decorated country retreat, the Wigwam. We’d have a few speakers, and then break for cocktails and dinner, followed by more drinking among the cigar-store Indians and various souvenirs of the family’s considerable influence in Ohio – a framed thank-you letter from Spiro Agnew, who had once been lodged there when a snowstorm cancelled his flight, was a highlight of the many glory walls in the place. The evening was raucous and absolutely drenched in alcohol. Very Mad Men, very Front Page in many ways; it has since been significantly revamped, and is dry, I believe.

My first year, all the young people on staff except me ate marijuana-laced brownies on their way to the Wigwam and I guess they kicked in sometime during the speakers’ portion of the event. As I recall, the keynoter was the president of the Associated Press, and just about as scintillating a public speaker as you’d expect from that outfit. Anyway, he repeatedly pronounced the 50th state Huh-WHY-yuh, with each repetition setting off muffled giggles in the rows around me, which should have been a clue what was going on, but honestly, I had no idea. I only learned of this much later. I suspect the management eventually did, too, because in a subsequent year, one of the brownie-eaters – the film critic – was made chairman of the following year’s Clinic. The naming of next year’s chairman was the climax of the evening, indicating a mix of favor and let’s-test-your-mettle assessment by upper management. He or she had to plan the whole shitshow, with wide latitude, and when the critic’s Clinic rolled around the keynote speaker was Jean Shepherd.

The two had met when the critic had gone to Cleveland to report a story about the making of “A Christmas Story.” I’d never heard of Shepherd, but suffice to say, he could pronounce Hawaii and knew how to hold a room. (He was, in addition to a writer, a successful actor and superb radio personality.) He didn’t talk about journalism at all, but just told wonderful shaggy-dog stories about his childhood. He skillfully wound it all up with the Ovaltine anecdote, and that’s what I remember when I see it in the movie: Shepherd acting out the Little Orphan Annie decoder ring action up there at the podium, building to the punchline, with the historically inaccurate murals of Indians all around. The story, as he told it, had nothing to do with Christmas.

Anyway, I wish he’d lived to see all this. At the very least, he could have used the money.

So, as we skip to the bloggage, let me see a show of hands of those who are watching “The Crown,” or just have an interest in the British upper classes…only a few? Pity. Well, you’ll still want to check out Nicole Cliffe’s Twitter thread about British boarding schools through the years. Or you will after you watch “Paterfamilias,” a positively wrenching episode of “The Crown” dealing with Prince Philip’s insistence that his firstborn son attend the brutal Scottish academy he did. The place was a veritable penal colony, and is said to have been the seed of the father-son estrangement that followed. Anyway, Cliffe’s thread is both funny and fascinating:

I recall, as a child, lapping up stories of English children away at various schools/penal colonies/great houses isolated in hostile countrysides. I loved “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” best of all.

If you have approximately a week to fall down a YouTube rabbit hole, I suggest Freshout, the series about life in and out of, but mostly in, prison. Fascinating material covering everything from sex to gangs to recipes for a County Taco.

And if you have an interest in Everest, you should enjoy this lavishly presented NYT piece about the removal of corpses from the highest reaches of the mountain. It’s no easy task. And it’s a good story.

As for the rest of the day’s events, well.

Posted at 5:54 pm in Movies, Television |

121 responses to “A ‘Christmas Story’ story.”

  1. Jolene said on December 19, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Link for Everest piece is missing, Nancy. Until Nancy fixes it, impatient readers can find the story here.


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  2. Scout said on December 19, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    The hurrier they go, the behinder they get. (Old PA Dutch saying.)

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  3. nancy said on December 19, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks, J. I fixed the link.

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  4. David C. said on December 19, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Every Christmas, no matter when I make my call to my parents, I hear “A Christmas Story” in the background. I think my dad keeps it on all day. I remember laughing me ass off the first time I saw it. Now, I just think “Really, again?”.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on December 19, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    A Christmas Story is my mom’s favorite movie, and we saw the live stage version last year, so you bet we watched. And harrumphed. It wasn’t as bad as many of the live musicals have been, but let’s face it, that bar isn’t set very high. I wish they would just film live musicals on stage with an audience, like they did with Newsies last year.

    And yes, A Christmas Story has been loved to death. Time to find good story-telling elsewhere.

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  6. Jolene said on December 19, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Every vote counts! In a recount carried out today, Republicans lost control of the Virginia House of Delegates by a single vote.

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  7. Suzanne said on December 19, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Speaking of votes, I am watching The Voice finale because this girl from Ft Wayne is in the finals. I have never watched this show before. I am not sure who are contestants & who aren’t most of the time and there is a lot of moronic filler skits with the judges. I was most impressed by the drag queens. I guess it’s been on for over 10 years & I don’t have any idea who previous winners were. In a nutshell, not impressed.
    So, get off my lawn, you kids.

    We watched Christmas Story live. It was ok but let’s face it, after that gawdawful Sound of Music or Peter Pan, things can only go up.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on December 19, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Suzanne, you and me both! I despise these kinds of competitions anyway, and I don’t really like that style of music, and there is WAY TOO MUCH SINGING OFF-KEY. But my daughter insisted we watch the last hour tonight, because Addison is from her high school. Blech.

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  9. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 19, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Waiting on the McCabe testimony. Interesting that not a word has leaked.

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  10. basset said on December 19, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    I refuse to watch “A Christmas Story” – “dark and hopeless” is pretty much this time of year for me. Mrs. B and I didn’t get invited to a single holiday gathering this year, there’s one work-related mob scene usually but we didn’t make the cut for it this year.

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  11. Dave said on December 20, 2017 at 12:03 am

    I first read Jean Shepherd’s “Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories” and remember laughing all the way through it, this a long time ago. I had no idea who he was then, this long before the Christmas Story movie.

    I grew up two miles from the Wigwam, knew it was owned by the Wolfe family, and always wondered what it was like back there, as you could see nothing from the gated entrance on State Route 204.

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  12. MarkH said on December 20, 2017 at 12:15 am

    Suzanne and Julie – Better not let Brian Stouder know your Voice sentiments. Especially with a Ft. Wayne native in the Final Four. Personally, it’s the only show of this type we watch, comes down to talented singing only. The off-key vocalizing is eliminated quickly, yvmv. The four tonight are all quite good, even the country guy, and those guys normally grate me.

    I first discovered Jean Shepherd 45 years ago when he wrote a monthly column for Car and Driver magazine (remember that, basset?) and a terrific half hour PBS show, ‘Jean Shepherd’s America’, where he traveled the country spotlighting interesting locales and people, a la Charles Kuralt, only funnier. Raised in Hammond Indiana, he had a broadcast voice to die for.

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  13. Dexter said on December 20, 2017 at 2:16 am

    My wife is having terrible complications from knee replacement #2, is in a re-hab center with a temporary spacer where her knee should be, facing more and more surgeries, and perhaps months before returning home. Then today our poor frail 16 year old Jack Russell terrier , who was physically gone, unable to drink or eat, was euthanized at the vet’s. So I had to take the old gratitude inventory, ya know? People in California, Houston, and many other places have had a worse 2017. Last year it was that slew of celebrities who died all throughout the months, and 2017 has been more personal, hospitals, nursing home surgical re-hab stays, then this big problem with wife’s knee gone all to hell. The dog dying had to happen, but it puts a hole in a man’s soul. I vouch for that emotion.

    Jean Shepherd … my Chicago (formerly) brother always told me how great he was, but I never heard him speak a word. My friend Larry, who among his various early jobs was an engineer at WGL ( and may have engineered nance’s show there a few times), told me Shepherd was a Ham radio guy too, like Larry. Larry considered Jean a friend…but as a lifelong Ham radio operator, Larry knew Joe Walsh and Marlon Brando, fer crissakes, just regular joes on that radio set…I guess.
    Today’s NY Post has an update on the kids and cast of A Christmas Story…I didn’t read it or link it because I did that here 5 years or more ago…it’s getting old for me.
    That live show? Shee-itt! It was pathetic. I lasted about 9 minutes. Live? Live shows should be commercial free. Remember when Death of a Salesman was presented live, 30 years ago? You know, the one starring Dustin Hoffman, the one in which during costume changes Hoffman was feeling up his 17 year old assistant? I don’t think that one had ads, but, oh, so long ago, and now that then-girl and a whole wagon-load of ladies say Hoffman is a creep who does everything to young women including “inserting his fingers into my vagina…” , said one…and this shit is barely off the ground. Who is next? Any guesses? Nah…who wants to play that game, it’s so fucking sordid. Don’t mind me, I am dealing with a dog missing, and for some reason the rainbow bridge bullshit is killing me. My little old dog is dead.

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  14. Suzanne said on December 20, 2017 at 6:06 am

    Sorry to hear of all your troubles, Dexter! Makes my dislike of the Vocie seem pretty trivial. Hang in there.

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  15. Connie said on December 20, 2017 at 6:23 am

    I have never watched “a Christmas Story” and I greatly dislike “It’s a Wonderful Life.” So there’s my bah humbug. I have the first season of “The Crown” home for the holidays, so there is that.

    Sorry for your troubles Dexter, sounds tough.

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  16. Nancy P said on December 20, 2017 at 6:45 am

    I’ve read “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” approximately one thousand times (along with “Midnight Is a Place”). Seeing a reference to it this morning made me smile.

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  17. alex said on December 20, 2017 at 7:24 am

    The Fort Wayne girl placed second. (I wasn’t really following it either.) Nothing to sneeze at. I’m sure she’ll be headlining at local pageants and parades for years to come and maybe even score a job crooning on cruise ships when she’s old enough.

    Can’t believe Christmas is upon us and I couldn’t really give a flying fuck. This year my gift to the family will be a full-on effort to make pogacsa biscuits like my Hungarian grandmother used to make and present them as a surprise at dinner. No small undertaking as it’s the one Hungarian food item that was so difficult to master that my mother gave up on trying to learn it. They’re very labor-intensive, a layered pastry with caraway seeds and bacon cracklings. Online there are bazillions of recipes. Here’s one I may try. Forgot to bookmark another one which utilizes multiple batches of dough, each with a different composition, rolled together. I believe that’s more like the one my mother found so impossible.

    I was surprised to learn that pogacsa and focaccia share their linguistic origin, even though they’ve evolved to have not much else in common.

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  18. basset said on December 20, 2017 at 7:28 am

    MarkH, I surely do remember Car & Driver, back in the days of Lindamood and Bedard and Davis… then some of em peeled off to start Automobile, which was good for awhile but is now just another glossy advertising venue.
    Jean Shepherd was really funny writing about Hohman, Indiana, one of the Russians’ top targets.
    Sorry to hear about your issues, Dexter, everything is gonna get better.

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  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 20, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Dexter – love your gratitude inventory idea. Reminds me of this (speaking of musicals):


    The thing about live TV musicals is that they’re like the legendary dancing bear. The amazing thing is not how well it dances, but that it dances at all.

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 20, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Basset – and we of “Da Region” will never forget that it’s actually Hammond, Indiana. I did like that the TV production gave the story firmly back to the Hoosier State. The movie weirdly jumps back and forth from Cleveland to northwest Indiana (“over Lake Michigan” & “monsters of the Midway” vs. Higbee’s and Terminal Tower in the background of the parade), but the show set us concretely in Shep’s own origins.

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  21. Connie said on December 20, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I have been trying for years to make the Dutch Christmas pastry, krakelingen. Ingredients are flour and butter, than shapes are rolled in sugar before baking. It is supposed to be crisp and crackly, but mine tend to turn out like pie crust. This year’s attempt will involve freezing the butter before mixing. Any tips from any pastry cooks out there? https://recipeland.com/recipe/v/krakelingen-or-dutch-pastry-coo-36740

    Or perhaps I should just go to the bakery while we are in Holland on Saturday.

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  22. Suzanne said on December 20, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I spent some time living in the Hammond, IN area (da region!) and I thought the Ralphie house in the Christmas Story Live was altogether wrong. The movie house looked perfect! To me, the whole mood of the movie was Hammond.
    Much to my sadness, I discovered a few years ago that Phil Smidt’s had closed up. I had always wanted to go back one last time, but we never did and now we never will.

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  23. nancy said on December 20, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Connie, that’s a terrible recipe. Anything with a pound of butter and four cups (!!!) of flour needs a little more instruction than that.

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  24. Peter said on December 20, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I guess I’m the contrarian here, but I LOVE Christmas Story, and we’ll have it on all day at the house.

    One of the reasons why is that except for a couple of scenes at the beginning and towards the end, you can watch the scenes in the film in any order and you haven’t missed anything. It’s like an episode of Seinfeld – a set up, a whole lot of sketches about nothing, a conclusion, and Chinese food.

    Walter Becker from Steely Dan wrote an article about Jean Shepard some years back – it seems that Shep had some problems towards the end….

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    • nancy said on December 20, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Daniel Fagen, not Walter Becker, and the story is linked to Shepherd’s name, above.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on December 20, 2017 at 9:46 am

    We saw White Christmas at our local theatre and the entire cast sang on the pitch, unlike what I heard on The Voice last night. I’m a complete music snob and off-key singing makes my ears hurt.

    Dexter, I’m so sorry for what your family is going through. Looking for what’s still good is a great coping mechanism. I’m trying to work on that with Mom, as we just commemorated Jeri’s birthday on Sunday and are facing the first Christmas without her.

    Christmas parties? Who wants to go to Christmas parties? Not this introvert!

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  26. Judybusy said on December 20, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Dexter, I am sorry about your wife’s knee and the loss of your furry pal.

    For a long time, I’ve made a concious effort to be grateful. Overall, my life is pretty fantastic. I know that can change at any time, so I try not to be irritated by small shit, like the post office not opening till 9 this morning, instead of say, 7:00, so I could mail a package on my way to my office, instead of having to walk back this morning. But it’s all skyway connected, so I won’t have to go outside.

    One of the folks I cook for at the care home has this to say about living life. I’ve known him now for 7 years, and he is a great guy despite having tons to deal with.

    One of our friends, a breast cancer survivor, just found out she has liver cancer and there are lesions on her spine. She’s only about 57. This is what I mean by things can change at amy time-as we are all too well aware here.

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  27. Dave said on December 20, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Donald Fagen, not Daniel.

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  28. alex said on December 20, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Yeah, what’s with all this raspy trilling being passed off as singing? When I heard Fort Wayne girl’s rendition of a Judy Colins’ ‘Both Sides Now” I was absolutely astonished that anyone thought that mess of vocal fry could be considered singing. YouTube it and you’ll see (or hear) what I mean.

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  29. alex said on December 20, 2017 at 10:21 am


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  30. LAMary said on December 20, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Jean Shepherd used to do press conferences for high school papers and I attended one. It was good. I used to listen to him every night on WOR radio.

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  31. Mark P said on December 20, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Hmph! It weren’t for humbugs, we’d have no bugs at all.

    Christmas has not been much of a holiday for us for a while. The last of our parents (my mother) died almost five years ago, and we have no kids. My wife and her brother are estranged, and, in an almost perfect example of the universe’s timing, my brother received a cancer diagnosis right before Thanksgiving. It’s pancreatic, metastasized to the liver. At least he got to see his younger son married — performed the marriage, in fact — but he won’t live to see any grandchildren.

    It sounds like it was probably more enjoyable to see Jean Shepherd perform than it was to live with him. I had forgotten that he wrote for Car&Driver. The fact that he did is probably the reason I picture Brock Yates every time I hear Jean Shepherd’s name.

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  32. Dorothy said on December 20, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Since I work in the Dept. of Music at UD, I thought I’d share this nice little video. I know many of the kids (they’re kids to me since I’m 60) in the video. It opens with lovely Emily who is a student recruiter in my office. This was just completed this past weekend so maybe it will make some of you smile. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7t8wGEcHn4

    I binged The Crown season 2 last weekend and really enjoyed it. Now I’m seeking out the “what’s accurate and what’s not” articles about it.

    Dexter I wish I had a magic wand to make everything better for you. Having lost two old dogs in the last year I can certainly identify with your hurt. Nestle continues to make us smile with her puppy-ness and her adoration of us, too. I just wish she wasn’t so fearful of strangers. Our daughter is coming for a long weekend next month and I’m hoping eventually Nestle will warm up to her. It will be a good test to see how she does. And on Sunday our son, daughter-in-law and the baby are coming to spend the whole day with us. Josh adores dogs so it’s killing him that Nes is so suspicious of him when they visit. So far she’s been sweet with little Olivia, who turned 9 months old this month. Having the baby and the new pup gives me a good focus because this is also my first Christmas without my mom.

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  33. Jenine said on December 20, 2017 at 11:01 am

    @ Dorothy – loved the 12 days of Christmas, thanks for that link.

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  34. adrianne said on December 20, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Jean Shepherd’s radio shows were a treasured part of my dad’s cultural bequest to his kids. That, and “Casablanca.” I’ll take it!

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  35. Judybusy said on December 20, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Mark P., I am also sorry to hear of your brother. It sounds as if the prognosis is dim. I hope he lives near you so you can see him as much as possible.

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  36. Deborah said on December 20, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Dexter, you certainly got hit with a double whammy. So sorry you are having troubles visited upon you.

    I watched that Jean Shepard traveling TV show a long time ago. For some reason I thought he had turned into a big right winger towards the end of his life. I’ve seen the Christmas Story movie, thought it was funny but it was never a big blip on my Screen. A guy I worked with was totally obsessed with it, made us all go watch it on the big screen during the workday, it was fun seeing it with work colleagues.

    Despite Trump, this has been a pretty good year for me and mine, I’ve had worse. I’ve got a lot to be grateful for these days.

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  37. Bitter Scribe said on December 20, 2017 at 11:25 am

    If a framed letter from Spiro Agnew was a “highlight” of any place, I wouldn’t go there unless I absolutely had to. The most worthless POS in modern American politics right up until the current POS POTUS.

    Sending Prince Charles to Gordonstoun, the prep school Nancy refers to, was an act of child abuse. The place even looks like a dungeon. It was filled with little shits who wanted to prove how tough they were by pushing around the future King of England.

    As for “A Christmas Story,” for some reason, every time I tried to watch it, something or other would annoy me and I’d turn it off. Maybe I should force myself to sit through it this year just to see what all the fuss is about.

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  38. Mark P said on December 20, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Judybusy, my brother lives about an hour and a half from us. I didn’t see him much because, you know, he was always going to be there. Or so I thought. I’ll see him more now. I just hope his two sons, who live a good bit further away, can see him more.

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  39. Charlotte said on December 20, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Jane Gardham’s Old Filth trilogy is pretty terrific on how the brutal child rearing practices of the English, especially the overseas English, just went on and on and on. They’re also three of the most beautiful novels I know …

    In good news — Bernard Cardinal Law is dead. Time for a festive, and loud, playing of that Elvis Costello classic — Tamp the Earth Down. Another evil bastard on the big slide downstairs.

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  40. Icarus said on December 20, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    A Christmas Story is one of those movies I’ve never seen from start to finish but have seen enough clips and heard enough quotes that it just doesn’t make any sense for me to invest the time to watch.

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  41. susan said on December 20, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    An exposition of how we got to this point, with exhortations of not to forget. Driftglass has been in the trenches for a couple of decades, shovelling this shit up and out. He needs to be heard far and wide. He and Bluegal have a wonderful podcast.

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  42. Heather said on December 20, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Same for me, Icarus @ 40. For me the ultimate vintage Christmas movie is “The Sound of Music,” even though it has nothing to do with the holiday. There’s an annual sing-along at the Music Box, a beautiful old theater in Chicago, but somehow I always miss it. Probably because it’s hard to find someone who’s willing to be uncool enough to go with me.

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  43. Jeff Borden said on December 20, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I will be avoiding television and radio news all day. I can’t stomach the braying of the Orange King and the mewling of his sycophantic Congress as they crow and crow and crow about his awful tax bill, which also will throw the health industry –one sixth of the U.S. economy– into turmoil with the repeal of the individual mandate. As much as I despise the bloated bag of shit from Queens, it’s Paul Ryan I’d like to punch repeatedly in his shriveled balls. What a fucking bastard.

    Once the deficits explode again, the Visigoths in Congress will attack the Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid benefits I’ve been paying for since I got my card back in 1967. It’s all part of the master plan.

    We have to burn the entire Republican Party to the ground. The entire fucking party. It is cancerous.

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  44. Jolene said on December 20, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Wise choice to avoid TV, Jeff. I am always torn between the horror of what they are saying and feeling like I need to keep an eye on what they are doing and saying. I just watched the opening of a cabinet meeting. Trump spoke at some length, putting forth the usual mix of self-congratulation, resentment, and vague predictions about great things to come. That was followed by a prayer by Ben Carson, the “wall of separation” having apparently collapsed. Then Trump invited Mike Pence to say a few words. Of course, he responded with his standard mix of sycophancy and unctuous religiosity.

    I plan to start drinking early to recover from all this.

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  45. Jolene said on December 20, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Did the edit button die?

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  46. Jolene said on December 20, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Never mind. It took a few seconds to appear after my post above. Odd, but not important.

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  47. Deborah said on December 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I’m already drinking.

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  48. Deborah said on December 20, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Heather, I’d go with you to the Music Box sing along, if I’m in Chicago at the time.

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  49. Judybusy said on December 20, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Deborah and Heather, we did a sing-a-long a few years ago and it was super fun. One thing I really remember was that a black friend came with us, and I think there were 2 or 3 other POC of color in the crowd of 300 or so. We talked about how entertainment is really segregated here. He was there because his white GF wanted to go–I don’t think he’d ever gone on his own.

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  50. Connie said on December 20, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Heather, if I were anywhere near you I would happily go to the sing along. Even though I can’t carry a tune I do like to sing.

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  51. BethB from Indiana said on December 20, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Dorothy, the “Twelve Days of Christmas” video was wonderful. Those U of D kids are very talented.

    Dexter, you have me scared about my husband’s upcoming knee replacement surgery on Feb. 14. He’ll be 85 in January and always said he’d not do it. First thing I know, he comes back from an appointment to get a cortisone shot in his knee with a surgery date instead. I really like the doctor (he did my hip replacement three years ago), but this is just nuts. John is never a good patient–very stubborn, and I know he won’t do the things he is supposed to do. He already is not doing the pre-surgery exercises he is supposed to do to build up his knee and leg. He has a “knee surgery education” class tomorrow that may shed some light on all of this. I definitely will be attending with him!

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  52. Icarus said on December 20, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I’m more of a Brew and View than a Music Box person. But maybe the Chicago commentari can all meet for drinks beforehand.

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  53. Deborah said on December 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Icarus, I love that idea!

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  54. Deborah said on December 20, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Is this sickening or what? One of the Koch bros sons https://mobile.twitter.com/adamjohnsonNYC/status/943368771988795392/video/1

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  55. Bruce Fields said on December 20, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    ‘Judy Colins’ ‘Both Sides Now”’

    Joni Mitchell’s! Though Collins’ version may have been the bigger hit?

    Maybe I’m not tuned in to it, but I don’t hear a lot of vocal fry.

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  56. Julie Robinson said on December 20, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Not sure that I heard vocal fry; definitely heard a lack of breath support, which is common when you’re nervous. What I also didn’t hear: consonants. I couldn’t understand her lyrics, even when I already knew them.

    My daughter says this style of singing is acceptable in the pop world. Guess that’s why I don’t listen to the pop world.

    Again, I understand that I sound like the worst kind of music snob. I’ve been exposed to so much great music that I’m spoiled.

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  57. beb said on December 20, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    I had overdosed on A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life by the time A Christmas Story came out so I’ve never wanted to watch it. It seems like all xmas movies are basically horror movies. All hellfire and damnation. We need to reform the calendar so that the winter solstice is by definition January 1st. Then we can celebrate the start of new life, new years, grace and forgiveness in one massive party.

    Virgina shows that Republicans will do anything to steal elections. After the Democratic candidate was declared the winner by one vote the R’s produced a ballot that had been discarded because the voter had marked both candidates. Now the Rs are arguing that the voter clearly intended to vote for the party of pederasts. This makes the election a tie and will be decided by a coin toss.

    I’ve been avoiding both nauseous xmas and politics by watching cooking shows. Even when the meals being prepared are contraindicated by my so-called diet (being diabetic I should be avoiding rice, potatoes and pasta) it’s entertaining to see what artery clogging concotions these cooks come up with.

    So the Amtrak train was going 50 miles an hours over the speed limit for that curve, and the Positive Speed Control gear was not activated. Freight lines have been opposing installing the safety device. Another examples of how deregulating industries kill people and causes unnecessary property destruction.

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  58. Heather said on December 20, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Well, we’re on for next year then! I think this year’s run has already ended, unfortunately.

    Everyone’s posting the boot-licking of Prez Cheetoh by Pence and Cabinet members today but I can’t even watch, it’s so embarrassing and pathetic.

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  59. David C. said on December 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Mary’s mom was telling us to look up some Christmas movie that she said was good. Come to fine out it was a Hallmark Channel Find and Replace Holiday Theater movie. Even though I have “A Christmas Story” memorized, I’d watch it over Hallmark.

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  60. alex said on December 20, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Well, I hope you’ll all pardon me for being a philistine but I didn’t know “Both Sides Now” was Joni Mitchell’s song. Being a Gen-Xer I only knew Judy Collin’s perky pop version, and I was a widdle wee one when that was a top 40 hit. Upon hearing Joni’s rendition for the first time I have to say the young gal from the Fort did the song more justice than I’d given her credit for. Still weak on the vocals and enunciation, though. I’d listened to the performance a week ago and not before posting it today, and recalled it as sounding like an emphysema patient having a seizure.

    Here’s Judy Collins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Xm30heHms

    On edit: Whoopsie again. I see Judy’s came out in ’67, Joni’s in ’69. Possible I heard Joni’s version and didn’t recognize it as the same song. It’s that much different.

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  61. Dexter said on December 20, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    bethb-indiana: I have a long-time friend who jets between her properties in Fort Myers and just off her tribe’s rez in NY state…her step-father lives in Lakeland FL, and is 87 and he just drove up to the rez to spend the holidays…in the past 2 years he has had a shoulder replaced twice (he tripped over his wife’s grave-stone and busted the first replacement) and a knee done, what is called “total knee”…and he was up in just a few weeks, and yeah, I said 87 years old. My wife inherited a genetic disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, named after the three doctors who isolated the disorder. It affects many parts of the body, and has much to do with surgical results…stubborn as John is, he may be able to have the knee “done” and respond remarkably well. I wish you the best and I believe in surgery and science and so, well, good luck.

    I guess I needed to feel worse, so last night I watched Martha Raddatz’s wrap-up show about her NatGeo series “The Long Road Home”. This was about the real men and families her show was based on, and it was great journalism if you can stand a lot of heartache. The wartime period was when Moctada al-Sadr, classified in western circles as “a radical cleric”, raised ire against the Americans, especially focussing on Sadr City in 2004. The show set was constructed right on Fort Hood, Texas…must have cost many millions to build that man buildings. The show was fast and violent, the reflective capping of the production with the real soldiers was eerie and sobering. This last show, with the actual men and women and kids, may be the most well-portrayed showcasing of PTSD I have ever seen.

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  62. Suzanne said on December 20, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Deborah, is that really a Koch Brother son?? Speechless.

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  63. susan said on December 20, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    suzanne, “it” really is, Wyatt Ingraham Koch. Gack! Son of one of the other Koch bros, Bill. I like the shirt he is wearing that has money bags and paper money printed all over it.

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  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 20, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Lines mostly ad libbed by Bill Murray at the conclusion of “Scrooged” —

    We should be taping this. How did that happen? That happened because it’s Christmas Eve.

    I’m not crazy. It’s Christmas Eve. It’s the one night when we all act a little nicer. We…we smile a little easier. We…we…share a little more.

    For a couple of hours we are the people we always hoped we would be.

    It’s really a miracle because it happens every Christmas Eve. And if you waste that miracle, you’re gonna burn for it. I know. You have to do something. You have to take a chance and get involved.

    There are people that don’t have enough to eat and who are cold. You can go and greet these people. Take an old blanket out to them or make a sandwich and say, “Here. l get it now.”

    And if you give, then it can happen, the miracle can happen to you. Not just the poor and hungry . . . Everybody’s gotta have this miracle! It can happen tonight for you all!

    If you believe in this pure thing, the miracle will happen and you’ll want it again tomorrow! You won’t say, “Christmas is once a year and it’s a fraud.” It’s not! It can happen every day! You’ve just got to want that feeling! You’ll want it every day! It can happen to you!

    I believe in it now. I believe it’s gonna happen to me, now. I’m ready for it! And it’s great. It’s a good feeling. It’s better than I’ve felt in a long time. I’m ready. Have a Merry Christmas. Everybody.

    Calvin! Did I forget something, big man?

    [Calvin:] “God bless us, every one.”

    Think of your fellow man

    Lend him a helping hand

    Put a little love in your heart

    You see it’s getting late, so please don’t hesitate

    Put a little love in your heart

    And the world…

    Will be a better place

    And the world will be a better place for you…

    And me

    Just wait and see…

    Another day goes by…

    And still the children cry

    Put a little love in your heart

    And your world will be a better place

    And the world…

    Will be a better place…

    For you and me

    So just you wait and see…

    Another day goes by and still the children cry

    Put a little love in your heart

    Put a little love in your heart

    Put a little love in your heart…

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  65. Jolene said on December 21, 2017 at 5:09 am

    Nancy: I happened across this Brookings report on the role of higher education in Rust Belt revival. It’s part of a series called Tale of Two Rust Belts. Not sure whether this sort of thing would be of interest in your new job or whether you may have already seen it, but passing it along for whatever it’s worth.

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  66. David C. said on December 21, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Who on earth buys Young Master Koch’s creations? I have plenty of problems with Buffett, but his attitude of giving his children enough money so that they could do something, but not enough so they could do nothing seems like about the right thing for a rich bastard to do. They seem to have turned out OK. Young Master Koch seems to have been given enough to do something that’s worth nothing, and he’s a dick to his ex-fiancées.

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  67. Suzanne said on December 21, 2017 at 7:48 am

    I am not at all surprised young Mr K has an ex-fiancée. Seeing the pic in that article, I’d venture a guess that she was going for the money, not the man, as I surmise would be true of 99% of the women he meets.
    I am also guessing that the people who espouse the political views his father & uncle support won’t be buying his shirts.

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  68. Peter said on December 21, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Jolene, when I saw that bootlicking Pence praise Trump like he’s Jeebus it put me in orbit.

    Someone’s comment on the Track Palin assault story summed it up for me: “What I wouldn’t give to go back in time to when the Palin’s were America’s craziest political family.”

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  69. Suzanne said on December 21, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Jolene, that Brookings Institution article is interesting, as are the others in the series.
    The mentality of too many tea party types in so many of these states can be summed up in the quote below from the book I mentioned previously (Strangers in Their Own Land) and that I am now reading.
    The quote is in regards to why people in an area that has been ruined by pollution from toxic chemicals of several nearby companies. It’s the same mentality of people in Midwest states who would want to cut funding to their world renowned (read: liberal minded) universities.
    A man named Harold tells the author “We’re on this earth for a limited amount of time. But if we get our souls saved, we go to Heaven, and Heaven is for eternity. We’ll never have to worry about the environment from then on. That’s the most important thing. I’m thinking long-term.”
    This is why they will always vote for the huckster that might ruin the environment and destroy their way of life and let their universities languish. As long as he or she claims to pray and be anti-abortion, it’s all for the greater good.

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  70. Diane said on December 21, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Connie @21, the reason your cookies come out like pie crust is that is pretty much your basic pie crust recipe. You might try substituting a little vegetable shortening for some of the butter to get a little more flakiness but I’d look for another recipe.

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  71. Bitter Scribe said on December 21, 2017 at 10:52 am

    For me, the best part of the Koch spawn’s video was the segment when he was chatting up a hottie in a “discotheque” wearing a shirt patterned with handcuffs.

    If I were female and some guy came on to me wearing a shirt like that, I would leave skid marks. Especially if he looked like that. Double especially if he called it a “discotheque” and pronounced the word with four syllables.

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  72. 4dbirds said on December 21, 2017 at 11:08 am

    I’m am so sorry for everyone’s ailments and losses of late. This getting older suck although I recently found yoga and it has helped immensely with my balance.

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  73. Deborah said on December 21, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I need to start Yoga. I have to work on my balance, I used to be able to freestand when I put my jeans on one leg at a time. I can do it only with my right leg on the ground now, so I can put my left leg in the jeans but I have to brace myself to balance on my left leg to get my right leg in my jeans. My husband can’t do this for either leg any more, he’s 3 years older than me. We’re both perfectly healthy (knock wood) in every other way. I don’t walk as much as I used to either because I kept having foot problems, getting old sucks.

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  74. Connie said on December 21, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Everyone I see going to yoga is young and thin. I need the class for klutzy old fat ladies.

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  75. Deborah said on December 21, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve been to two yoga classes in my life at different places. I found both of them to be impossible because everyone was so much more advanced than me, so I wasn’t motivated to continue either time. I need to find a beginners class or try to do it myself with videos. I got a book about yoga and osteoporosis which I think someone here recommended. I haven’t been motivated enough to do much with it so far.

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  76. susan said on December 21, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    connie @74 – Find a “gentle” yoga class. There are a few in my town. I go to one that was started originally for cancer survivors by an RN who works with cancer survivors, but it’s open for anyone. So, stiff old me with multiple fake joints goes. I recorded it a couple times on my iPod (with her permission) so I can run through the moves at home, as well.

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  77. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 21, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Deborah, that’s what my wife says, too.

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  78. Suzanne said on December 21, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    I went to a yoga class for quite a while that was perfect for me. Slow, steady, and the instructor was wonderful. For some reason, after about a year, it was no longer offered so I tried a “power yoga” class. Oh, my no. The instructor there was great as well, but it moved way too fast for me and there were too many poses that I simply could not do at all. So, I would go and spend a lot of time just sort of doing not much of anything.
    I love yoga, but I have not found the right class since the slow flow one no longer existed.

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  79. Jolene said on December 21, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Hospitals, YMCAs/YWCAs, and JCCs often offer classes that are geared toward older people or people with health problems. Also, the people at the yoga place that isn’t right for you may have broad awareness of what’s available in your community. Worth saying, “This is a lovely place, but not right for me. What can you recommend?”

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  80. Scout said on December 21, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I thought this was hilarious. ymmv

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  81. 4dbirds said on December 21, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Connie, I found the old, pudgy, clunky yoga class. It is called gentle yoga. The first thing they say is this is noncompetitive and don’t do anything that hurts. I love it.

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  82. 4dbirds said on December 21, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Also, my gentle yoga class uses equipment. I can’t sit directly on the floor and cross and ankles. I find I have to use four of their blankets to put me high enough to get comfortable. I also have to use a strap to bring my leg up in certain poses because I have little flexibility along with little balance. One thing I’m ok with, is the plank pose. Go figure, must have been those years of army push-ups.

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  83. BethB from Indiana said on December 21, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Dexter, thank you for the added information about your wife and her struggles. I am so sorry for what she goes through each day. You were very kind to tell me about her. My thoughts are with both of you as you face the coming months.

    We had to let our sweet cat Izzy go in June. She had cancer of the jaw, and it was time. You are right–it puts a hole in a man’s soul.

    We went to the knee surgery education class this afternoon, and my husband came home and cancelled his surgery. He’s been taking a sustained release, arthritis-strength generic Tylenol for the last couple of weeks and has decided that he feels so much better that he doesn’t want to have the surgery. I think the info that he would be on a walker at first did it–that would make two of us on walkers. I have MS, and it has progressed now to the point that I need a walker to navigate even a few feet. I DO think the added med has helped him, but it is kind of like we are one disaster away from assisted living.

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  84. David C. said on December 21, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I am doing a Tai-chi class. I feel it’s been great for my balance and I don’t have to twist myself into a pretzel.

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  85. alex said on December 21, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    If I were female and some guy came on to me wearing a shirt like that, I would leave skid marks.

    On his sheets you mean? Or on the shirt? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Surprised that poor little rich boy doesn’t go try his luck in Slovenia.

    Well today I gifted myself with a one-year subscription to the Washington Post. I’d been reading the Post Most that arrived unsolicited in my e-mail every day since I can’t remember when and just recently the firewall started going up on the articles and I finally relented and paid for the danged thing. And it’s overwhelming. I could waste my whole day reading it. The Post Most was nicely curated and saved me time.

    Then I come home and discover that a secret Santa bought me a subscription to the Advocate. It comes with a cover on it but you can go to the web site and request that they send it naked if you’re unconcerned about incompetent temp postal workers placing it in your redneck neighbors’ mailbox, possibly inciting them to burn down your house. Wow, the Advocate. Haven’t seen it in years. The ads are all worthy of Vogue and GQ, and quite a lot of them — diamond rings and Cadillacs and haute couture and fragrances — and my tired eyes are struggling to find the editorial content hidden amongst the bling.

    Tomorrow’s the last day of what’s been a killer work week, then I get four days of nonstop cooking and social gatherings. Not sure when I’ll get a chance to catch my breath and read my new subscriptions.

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  86. Deborah said on December 21, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    We’re back in Abiquiu until Christmas Eve day, then back to Santa Fe for festivities, with some friends of LB’s. Then we come back to Abiquiu on Christmas Day and then stay for a couple of days after. On Jan 2nd my husband’s younger daughter and her family come out here for a few days. She’s the god botherer so not really looking forward to that, although hopefully spending time with the granddaughter will be fun unless she has been steeped in it from homeschooling since we saw her last.

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  87. alex said on December 21, 2017 at 10:06 pm


    Before we go to a new post just gotta comment on that. I thought it was a Hoosierism. First time I heard it was from a grade-school teacher whose hometown was Huntington, where they refer to bell peppers as mangoes. It was one of my first inklings, though not the last, that some of my educators were uneducated. And that was back in the day when you had to be a college grad with an education degree. These days they’re hiring just about anybody off the street to work the public schools. You’re liable to get somebody who thinks Huh-WHY-yuh is a city in KEN-yuh.

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  88. Brandon said on December 22, 2017 at 2:13 am

    More on the “Ha-WHY-yuh” pronunciation at Slate’s “Lexicon Valley” podcast (from 14:00).

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  89. Jerry said on December 22, 2017 at 2:44 am

    I’d support DavidC’s reccmendation for Tai Chi. Very gentle, non-competitive and good for balance. It’s recommended, along with Pilates, over here for people with arthritis.

    And there is so much to learn its good for keeping the brain active.

    And while I’m here: Happy Christmas and may 2018 be better than we fear and may the good guys win, at least some of the time.

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  90. Dexter said on December 22, 2017 at 3:33 am

    bethb-indiana: Me too…I have used canes, walking sticks, and walking poles for years, and now I need at least one cane at all times. About 2 1/2 years ago the V.A. gave me a sturdy rolling walker like you see oldsters using everywhere. I use it, too, just set it in the van and take it with me when I know walking long corridors or a few street blocks is in the offing. I had my mind set on a hip replacement several times over the years but when the MRIs and X-rays and doctor’s consultations were over, there was always some reason to be told I should wait a while. Now, frankly…I don’t give a damn. Worst part: as a lifelong bicyclist, I can no longer stand to pedal…the pain is fierce when I do. However, I am joyful: Saturday the Columbus part of the family are driving up and we are having Christmas in the surgical re-hab room. I have a 6 year old adorable granddaughter and I bought her a great present…all is well. https://i.pinimg.com/736x/80/3a/69/803a69adfa0f9bf7f670736ccf4e41c8–christmas-graphics-christmas-art.jpg

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  91. alex said on December 22, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Brandon, that was a great podcast. And here I thought cranky old farts were just mangling foreign words to be ornery.

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  92. Jill said on December 22, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Dexter, my sympathy about your dog. No matter how old they are, they go too soon. And I hope things turn around quickly for your wife.

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  93. susan said on December 22, 2017 at 9:13 am

    re: Huh-WHY-yuh. Well, I was raised in Uh-HIGH-uh. Lots of people who are from there say Uh-HIGH-uh.

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  94. Deborah said on December 22, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Lots of people say Mizzur-rah for Missouri, I always pronounced it Mizzur-ree. Some people say warsh instead of wash. My dad always said poosh for push and feesh for fish.

    Bell peppers as mangoes, that I never heard before.

    I can’t listen to the podcast because I’m too remote in Abiquiu.

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  95. BethB from Indiana said on December 22, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Dexter, sounds like a wonderful plan for your family Christmas.

    My mother was from Ohio–she always said warsh and poosh, and she called peppers, mangoes. Don’t know why since mangoes probably weren’t common in Cadiz, Ohio, in the 1920s.

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  96. Andrea said on December 22, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Chicago-area folks who are looking for gentle yoga can try Beverly Yoga Center too. It is on the south side. I’m a fan.

    I have been doing Pilates for about 18 months now, and I notice that it has really helped me with my core strength and balance as well.

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  97. 4dbirds said on December 22, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Mom and dad were both from Missouri. Only one small farming town apart. She pronounced it Mizzur-ree, He pronounced it Mizzur-rah. He came from farmers. She from teachers. Not sure if that was the difference.

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  98. Jenine said on December 22, 2017 at 11:06 am

    My grandmother and great-aunts from the gulf coast of Florida said Huh-wy-yuh. They also pronounced hurricane something like ‘hair-kin’. I miss hearing their stories about watching storms come in.

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  99. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Yes, I got 40 of 40 on this… anyone else want to test their knowledge of this tribe? Bonus point: I caught an error in one set of answers, curious to see if anyone else catches it.


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  100. Sherri said on December 22, 2017 at 11:40 am

    37 of 40; forgot which was the first plague, and proudly didn’t know the answer to a couple of the questions about modern Christian music, which I dislike intensely. (Jars of Clay vs dcTalk, who knows, don’t care.)

    I didn’t notice the mistake.

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  101. Jakash said on December 22, 2017 at 11:50 am

    90% “You definitely grew up Evangelical!” it says. Uh, no. My heretical Catholic education was enough to allow me to get most of them. Guessing on the ones with ridiculous alternatives didn’t hurt, either! Interesting quiz — many *very* easy, but about — oh, I’d say 10% where I had no clue. Of course, they don’t seem to realize that Notre Dame University is actually the University of Notre Dame, so points off from the quiz-masters for that. ; ) I thought the frogs came before the blood, too, Sherri. If you’re ramping things up, seems frogs falling out of the sky is less scary than the water turning to blood, but I guess not. But, hey, Matthew was a tax collector, too, wasn’t he? How am I supposed to know he wasn’t found hanging out in a sycamore tree!

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  102. Minnie said on December 22, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Missed three. Not bad for someone who left there running more than 50 years ago. Like Sherri, I know nothing of Christian pop, though the old hymns are stored deep.

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  103. Sherri said on December 22, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    You didn’t spend summers in Vacation Bible School, Jakash.

    Zaccheus was a wee little man,
    A wee little man was he,
    He climbed up in a sycamore tree
    For the Lord he wanted to see.

    And when the Savior passed that way,
    He looked up in that tree,
    And said, “Zaccheus, you come down!
    For I’m going to your house today.
    For I’m going to your house today.”

    The old hymns are deeply wired in my brain too, Minnie. Even more so since I did a stint as a church pianist for our small country church when I was in high school.

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  104. A. Riley said on December 22, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    I grew up in Logansport, and even as a little Berry, I recognized that some people said fish and other people said feesh. My mom used to scold us kids if we said crick instead of creek, etc.: “We are *town* people and we don’t talk like that.”

    If I’d called a green pepper a mango she would have washed (not warshed) my mouth out with soap.

    I read somewhere that the reason some Hoosiers have that country twang and others don’t is that the state was first settled south to north, up to about the Wabash, and then from north to south, down to about the Wabash. The first settlers, back in the earliest days, crossed the Ohio from Kentucky and Tennessee, and then later, New Englanders came via the Erie Canal. And then everyone stayed where they were for generations, solidifying the different speech patterns and different social customs.

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  105. susan said on December 22, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    When I saw the title of the quiz, “How Much Do You Actually Know About Evangelical Christianity?” I said, who gives a shit? I know nothing about it and don’t give a rat’s ass about it. Wasn’t raised any sort of xtian, and don’t give a shit about any of it, except that I wish it would all go away and leave the rest of us be. And stay the fuck out of our government.

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  106. Deborah said on December 22, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    The hymns do stay with you, don’t they? This one was my favorite https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UVduV0ustWw it’s an Easter hymn so the wrong season, but still beautiful.

    My Dad was from Iowa, but his family goes way back, from Virginia, I think, so maybe that’s why he had that twang. He also said banquet in a really weird way that I don’t even know how to spell it out phonetically the way he said it.

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  107. David C. said on December 22, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I got up to question 2 and knew damn well Ringo wasn’t an apostle, and figured the rest was just like that so that even a heathen like me could probably get a decent score.

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  108. Peter said on December 22, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Well, I’m closing up shop early today, so I want to just say happy holidays to everyone here and best wishes for a better 2018.

    Pilot Joe, safe flying this weekend; Dexter, so very sorry about your loss, and hope for better days ahead; Cooz, whatever you’re saying right now about 45 may it go from your mouth to God’s ears; and in the words of Firesign Theatre: wherever you go, there you are, and in the next world you’re on your own.

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  109. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 22, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    In the words of Prince, “Punch a higher floor.”

    (The questions do get progressively harder, though.)

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  110. Joe Kobiela said on December 22, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Much thanks, and the best to you and yours, and the the best wishes to the rest of the gang on this wonderfully wacky web sight, best one there is.
    Pilot Joe

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  111. Deborah said on December 22, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Is it just me or my iPhone in remote Abiquiu, NM or was there another typeface change? It looks good.

    Finally there’s some snow on the mountains across the way, the Sangre de Cristos. It always looks better when there’s snow up there.

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  112. Jolene said on December 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    How did you manage to finish that quiz? I kept being interrupted by ads claiming that I had won things. So annoying and, I feared, likely to produce troublesome outcomes.

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  113. LAMary said on December 22, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    I watched White Christmas yesterday and have been meaning to revisit the Tom and Lorenzo recap of that movie all day.
    Right this minute I’m watching Guys and Dolls. I like the musical, the stage version much more than the movie, but there are some great songs and dialogue. Stubby Kaye is in the movie so that makes up for a lot.

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  114. Suzanne said on December 22, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    96% on the quiz. Thank you parochial education! I missed which was the first plague and the words to some Baptist hymn I’d never heard of. How I got the CCM songs/bands correct is a mystery because I really dislike that music genre. I also disliked the pop ups telling me I’d won gift cards. But it’s good to know I can pass for an evangelical if needed.

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  115. Dexter said on December 23, 2017 at 3:45 am

    It seemed to me that the Hoosier twang started just south of Marion and by Gastown the speech was well on the way to Kentucky-ese. At work one day I asked a guy what was he eating, and he said “mango”. Then I saw it was a red bell pepper. That was the first time I heard peppers called mangoes, in Auburn, Indiana. We always said warsh, too. Did you know that well into the 1960s, old folks still called refrigerators “ice boxes”? Even on TV shows. On American Pickers I saw a McCray ice box sold for nearly a grand. My grandmother had one and was ecstatic when the ‘fridge came and the ice box became firewood and junk. My wife’s mother never said “car”. It was always “automobile”.

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  116. Suzanne said on December 23, 2017 at 7:27 am

    When I was a kid, the sofa was always called a Davenport. And I didn’t know green peppers were not mangoes until I got older. Also, we never, ever called coke, Pepsi, or any other soda but always pop.

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  117. Dave said on December 23, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Whoops, first of all, I cleared out my memory and now I’m not certain what e-mail address I’ve used here so I might go straight to moderation.

    Suzanne, mango is all I ever heard for bell peppers when I was growing up. I thought that’s what they were.

    I remember old folks calling cars machines. I well remember older folks calling refrigerators ice boxes.

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  118. Jakash said on December 23, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Yes to having heard mango for pepper, warsh and icebox a lot. There are maps showing the regional breakdown of “pop” vs. “soda” vs. “Coke” as the generic word for soft drinks in the U. S. I’ve always lived in solid pop country…

    “Food historian Karen Hess and author of ‘Martha Washington’s Book of Cookery’ told Segal that in 18th-century England there was a demand for Indian-style pickles like fruit mangos stuffed with spices and kept in a vinegar brine. Mangoes weren’t available in England so they used substitutes such as green peppers. By way of English cookbooks printed in America, the recipe for stuffed mangoes using peppers spread across America.

    Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana use the dual name, possibly because of the large Amish settlements (fond of pickling) in those states. As time passed, even unstuffed peppers continued to be called mangoes.”


    For the Northwest Indiana folks, there’s a relatively new restaurant in Chicago called “The Region” catering to expatriates’ desire for their local burgers. As a guy on Yelp puts it: “The Region makes no bones about it – this burger was born in that Mordor across the border, the land of belching blast furnaces and shrieking horror. It’s smashed flat, the edges are lacy and crunch like the most delicate french lace cookies but made out of tallow and sinew; into the mouth this goes and crisps, explodes with fecund flavor, hallelujah!”


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  119. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 23, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Jakash, I gotta try that restaurant!

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  120. LAMary said on December 23, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I knew Karen Hess. She was my neighbor in NYC. When I knew her she had just published a book about bread making. I haven’t thought of her in years. Very nice person. I lived in a interesting neighborhood.

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