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Cleanup time

The last time Jamie was in school was November 17.  All last week he had Thanksgiving Break; on Monday we met with his eighth-grade teacher, and on Tuesday Janet informed me that he was signed up for the YMCA in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, what with all the comings and goings around here in the past six weeks, it somehow escaped our notice that Jamie was not signed up for the YMCA that afternoon.

So the question is not, “how come you did almost no real blogging last week?” The question is, “how the hell did you manage to write that 3500-word response to Jodi Dean in one morning?” And the answer is, I dunno.  Thankfully, many of the words in that post were not mine, and all I had to do was copy ‘em.  But I’ve barely even peeked at the blog since then.

This year’s Thanksgiving was a lot like last year’s, except that we only had seventeen guests last year, and this year we had nineteen.  Twenty-three people for Thanksgiving dinner!  It was great fun, especially during post-dinner cleanup when we broke out this fine CD and began a half-hour Tito Puente Rhythm Jam in the Kitchen including Nick and his friend Brendan on congas and me on roto toms.  Roto toms!  I hadn’t unearthed those things since 1991 or so.  But it turns out that they sound pretty decent as makeshift substitutes for timbales, at least for the purposes of a post-dinner Tito Puente rhythm jam in the kitchen.  (I’m especially fond of track four, “Sacata.”) After a while Janet kindly pointed out that Nick and I hadn’t done any cleaning up.  “But we performed an important service,” said Nick.  “Quite right,” I added.  “We also serve who only sit and drum.”

Last year it was all about the water:

The most critical thing, of course, is plumbing.  Our house is about eighty years old, and its plumbing leaves something to be desired—like, for example, water pressure.  Water doesn’t flow out of our shower heads so much as ooze, and that can be a problem when large families want to take showers one person at a time.  The “indoor plumbing” thing was further complicated, this year, by the fact that one toilet had come loose from its moorings (oh, don’t ask), one shower stall was leaking to the floor below, and another shower/ bathtub had lost much of its caulking.  Fortunately, Todd’s boyfriend Hayward knows everything in the world about How Things Work, and better still, everything in the world about How to Fix Them.  So while Hayward replaced the toilet, recaulked two showers, weatherstripped a doorway and repaired a door, fixed an air vent behind the stove, and placed a jack under our bowing porch, I did what I do best, namely, sitting around making remarks about stuff.

This year it was all about the ceilings.  Hayward replaced that porch jack with a series of braces, thereby keeping the porch from collapsing and the house from rolling down the hill; he also compounded and reattached (don’t ask) the ceiling in Janet’s study before he and Todd repainted the room two or three times (experimenting with color and texture and paint quality), and, let me think, installed a couple of new light fixtures and kept everyone entertained with wacky and daffy downloads from the Intertubes.  Which, by the way, seemed to be horribly clogged and backed up with Ted Stevens’s email all weekend long.  I continued to make remarks about stuff, since last year’s remarks about stuff seemed to go over well.  Oh, all right, I admit that I did some painting and cleaning and air-conditioner removing and lawn-mowing too.  In fact, three years ago I did a pretty good job repainting my own study, solo.  But mostly I sat around and made remarks about stuff.  I tried to watch some football, but I don’t believe I have ever seen such a dismal season of football as this one.  My only interest now lies in seeing just how bad the NFC can get, and I thank the hapless Giants and McNabbless Eagles for taking the East to new depths of ineptitude this weekend.

But we didn’t let those sluggish Intertubes slow us down!  We had many fun games to play in analog space, including one I’m going to say more about, in an arbitrary way, this coming Friday.  Indeed, we did so many tasks and played so many games that by Sunday Janet and I had forgotten that we have “jobs.” Fortunately, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a profile of me yesterday, so on our way to Lowe’s for the eighteenth time (this time for switch plates and obscure varieties of halogen lights), we picked up a copy of the paper and reminded ourselves that we have to get back to work and be dangeral again.  Also, the mysterious Talking Dog just posted his interview with me this morning.  Merci beaucoup, le chien qui parle!  Your blog is very likely the most important fount of wisdom currently available on the planet, and I am honored to be interviewed on it.

However, I can’t say anything more about fun or work today, because today is the first day of deer season, and all the schools are closed here in central Pennsylvania.  So Jamie’s home for the tenth straight day, and because his desire to play golf with me yesterday was thwarted by that trip to Lowe’s (“maybe we can just play nine,” he said helpfully.  The kid’s a golfer already!), I’ve promised him that we can play today.  They say the high will be 62.  We should be fine, so long as we don’t run into any deer hunters.

Posted by on 11/27 at 10:31 AM
  1. They say the high will be 62.  We should be fine,

    That depends if you play 9 or 18. But who is this “they” who can predict golf scores anyway?

    Posted by John Protevi  on  11/27  at  12:22 PM
  2. I’m beginning to suspect that some forms of conservatism simply involve excessive deference to authority, and I’m beginning to wonder whether some conservatives don’t see the purpose of education as a matter of getting the kids to defer properly to the right authorities.

    Sad to say, you’re probably right. Too many conservatives see education as nothing more than employment preparation, and proper deference to authority is seen as a necessary condition to being employable. Conservatives also love stability and predictability, and what can be more stable than a world in which everyone knows and is at peace with his or her place in the social hierarchy?

    It’s one reason why antifoundationalism is a threatening idea to people—it necessarily implies change and adaptation. If humans make the rules, humans can always change the rules. That premise destroys even the illusion of stability.

    Posted by  on  11/27  at  01:02 PM
  3. Good one, John Protevi-bot.

    Posted by  on  11/27  at  01:16 PM
  4. Oh man… you’re a drummer. That explains so much. You know, I have this friend who has a theory about the psychological difference between drummers and non-drummers in your average Beatles-style rock band. It’s based on the notion that drummers sit while the rest of the band plays standing, and stands while the rest of the band sits to break. I disagree however, and have often asserted that the drummer gene is set apart by class - the expensive loud instrument versus the cheap practice-anywhere instruments.

    Mind you, percussionists are a different story, and I have no idea how this relates to antifoundationalism, except to note that drummers don’t usually think there’s anything particularly different about themselves.

    Posted by Central Content Publisher  on  11/27  at  01:48 PM
  5. You know what I learned from that profile?  Just because you’ve made it to The Show doesn’t mean you’ve escaped the days of painted, cinder-block walls.

    captcha: I thought the Big Team would hit the road in something more stylish than a Greyhound.

    Posted by Scott Eric Kaufman  on  11/27  at  02:38 PM
  6. Good thing I followed the link. Otherwise, I would have been convinced that there was no school at the start of deer season because hunters can’t tell the difference between kids and deer. Or do the deer carry books in backpacks?


    Posted by Derryl Murphy  on  11/27  at  02:39 PM
  7. Re: Golfing the first day of deer season.

    May I recommend the blaze orange plus fours?

    Posted by Gary  on  11/27  at  02:48 PM
  8. Fearless Leader is so modest.

    As WAAGNFNP MVP it is my duty to inform you that on the first day of deer season in the Duchy of Penn’s Woods the Evil Duke of Containment tried to thwart the mighty GNF. Our loyal comrade and CIGMODAO, Spyder, first detected the threat and sent word to Fearless Leader. Realizing that he was the only one who could reconnoiter the situation, FL used the Gojira-visualizer to snap a photo of the inner workings of the nefarious device while attending the Great Pumpkin Festival in disguise as Charlie Brown. Here’s the Evil Containment Device:


    FL, using his keen intuition and powers of delegation, saw that this was a job for B Q Rollins, WAAGNGNP Chief Scientist and Chef of the Future, who created the WAAGNFNP’s very own Super-Duper Bunker-Busting Long-Distance-Demolition Device:


    With one simple push of the button, Fearless Leader launched a might attack against the ECD. This is all that remains left of the ECD:


    It was a glorious weekend for the WAAGNFNP. Take heart and be of good cheer, for surely there is more glory to come with the CCST.

    Yours in service,

    Bill Benzon
    Minister of Visual Propaganda

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/27  at  04:33 PM
  9. I’ll trade you my Uncle Earl, my Eddie Giacomin card, and two picks to be announced later for Hayward. If you decide to take the trade, have plenty of beer in stock for Uncle Earl.

    Posted by  on  11/27  at  05:30 PM
  10. Chris, Hayward and Todd are not available for talks right now, but since they become unrestricted free agents at the end of the year, I’m authorized to let you know that we are most interested in what year your Eddie Giacomin card is.  Because if it’s the Vezina-winning year of 1970-71 (with Gilles Villemure). . . .

    Just because you’ve made it to The Show doesn’t mean you’ve escaped the days of painted, cinder-block walls.

    Actually, Scott, What’s Liberal devotes about a paragraph to that office and all it implies.  The sentiment-repelling nature of the cinderblock is the key.

    That depends if you play 9 or 18. But who is this “they” who can predict golf scores anyway?

    You forget, John, that State College is the home of AccuGolf.  And I am pleased to report that no one shot 62 over our nine holes today, and that I did manage to par five of the last six.  It took three holes to warm up—well, what did you expect in late November, wearing this bulky blaze orange vest?

    Posted by Michael  on  11/27  at  06:06 PM
  11. Speaking of clean-up, we’ve just added a second philosopher to the writing team over at the newly renamed and reformatted Objectivist v. Constructivist v. Theist, which officially gives us the longest and suckiest name in blogoramaville.  So if anyone wants to head over and suggest a new and improved name, feel free.  The Theist and I have been batting around a few silly ones, but have yet to hit comedy fool’s gold, even.  Don’t make me go ask The Editors for help, people.

    And in JLPGA news, someone is badly photoshopping fake nude pictures of Ai Miyazato and putting them on the intertubes here in Japan.  Speculation is rampant that some of the older stars on the tour are behind it.  Ah, the media coverage of this story remind me of home (just replace Ai-chan with Pelosi and the older JLPGA stars with Broderella).  On the bright side, now we’ll know when our own FL has really hit the big time (say, rising to the top ten in the world of professorial dangerosity):  when ACLA and Frontpage start circulating badly photoshopped fake nude pictures of him!

    Posted by The Constructivist  on  11/27  at  06:13 PM
  12. I am reading your _Public Access_ for the first time, and thought you may be interested in recent happenings at Dartmouth.

    Reported in Inside Higher Ed, I think a Boston paper ran a story on this, too.


    Posted by dmjohnson  on  11/27  at  06:30 PM
  13. you can’t possibly be making up a day off of school, but deer season???  we don’t even have a deer season in our neighborhood, but i’ve noticed the deer on our hill have all gone to ground.  or wait, maybe they just went over to the recycling center, where people feed them.

    Posted by  on  11/27  at  07:22 PM
  14. Playing roto toms along to pro-immigrant jazz instead of washing the pots is clearly the kind of hippified anti-family values acitivity that can only bolster your dangerous credentials.

    Posted by s  on  11/27  at  08:41 PM
  15. But who is this “they” who can predict golf scores anyway?

    Unless I’m very much mistaken, the legendary Angus “the Scot” MacTavish has been handicapping the major G-ball tournaments on CBS for years now. Tiger Woods has a lawsuit against the Scot—claims that Angus put some kind of Highlands mojo on him by skewing the odds.

    While I’m making things up, I’d like to point out that in my neck of the woods, we combine golf with the opening of deer season into one stellar event. Once I brought down a beautiful seven-point buck right on the green in only three strokes. I asked Pedro for my mashie, and, long story short, it was venison cutlets and Sazeracs all around in the clubhouse that evening.

    Posted by  on  11/27  at  09:44 PM
  16. WAAGNFNP DoJUST team getting to the bottom of things in the affair of Chris Clarke:

    Night-Digging Monster

    Bill Benzon
    Minister of Visual Propaganda

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  11/28  at  06:55 AM
  17. The following is a WAAGNFNP visual propaganda test
    by the WAAGNFNP’s technically challenged Minister of Justice. You should see a “thumbnail” of a painting by my upstairs neighbor. Clicking on it should give you a larger version of this picture. Let’s see what happens, shall we? 

    [url="http://img205.imageshack.us/my.php?image=lauramilaniba2.jpg" target="_blank"]
    lauramilaniba2.th.jpg border=0[/url]

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/28  at  08:58 AM
  18. OK, back to the drawing board.

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/28  at  09:07 AM
  19. OK, you can see a larger version of that painting here. I tested it where there were already some marging bursting visual propaganda images. (Yes,it’s more appropriate for “Crossing into the Blue”, but it was a safer test at the other page.

    Warning to the MVP: I’m not sure I know what I did to do that. Please have your office be prepared for future visual propaganda disasters from the MoJ.

    Yours in Trial and Error (but especially TRIAL, Herr Clarke!),

    Oaktown Girl
    Minister of Justice

    Posted by Oaktown Girl  on  11/28  at  09:45 AM
  20. No school here yesterday in the Pittsburgh ‘burbs either, though with Altmire’s victory over Hart, I understand that things will change next year. Apparently, legions of Armani-clad UN troops will confiscate guns on that day, sending half to Al-Qaeda and half to be melted down and used in abortion machines. Students, meanwhile, will attend mandatory re-education sessions where gay men demonstrate the use of condoms while chanting “Happy Holidays”.

    You forget, John, that State College is the home of AccuGolf.
    Ah, another potential victim of the electoral swing. Without Dogboy around to help them, AccuGolf will need to compete against those unfair Feds who can continue to provide citizens with their own golfing forecasts based on the data they collect on our behalf.

    And don’t know when exactly I will find the time to plow through 1100 pages of Pynchon, but apparently Against the Day touches on the Tunguska Blast (or GNF Beta 1.0 as the Demiurge prefers to call it.). Perhaps we could divide the reading up into 20 page chunks amongst the party members.

    Posted by  on  11/28  at  10:31 AM
  21. you can’t possibly be making up a day off of school, but deer season???  we don’t even have a deer season in our neighborhood,

    Well, that’s your problem, right there.

    Captcha: If I knew anything about golf, I could make a joke with hit19, but no such luck.

    Posted by  on  11/28  at  10:43 AM
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  23. Exactly what is this just I was looking for? Hopefully Jamie still doing well. Great stuff!!

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  36. yeah, I let the boys use my garage for their as well, they dont do death metal, but they do like super progressive rock, and that can be just as tough, maybe tougher, lol. Have fun, enjoy it, it wont last for ever.

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  45. Your blog is cracking me up!  The comments are even better!  My favorite part is the picture from Slapshot in the upper right hand corner.  How very fitting!  Keep up the writing, and plumbing!

    Posted by John C  on  03/14  at  10:56 PM
  46. My son’s name is Jamie, too. Though he’s just gone one, so it might be a while before I get any cleaning up out of him lol. Have you used the Roto Toms since, or did they go back into storage?

    Posted by Greg  on  03/25  at  05:09 AM
  47. Great Blog With Lots of Infos..
    And We don’t even have any such thing called as the Deer Season… :-(

    Posted by Sha Tin  on  03/25  at  03:55 PM
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