It’s All Downhill from Here!

The comic strip above is from 2003. Imagine a fifth panel, where Arlo’s sled flies off a cliff and write “2016” on it. There. It’s been updated. I know I haven’t been around much the past few weeks, but I hope it will help when I tell you I’ve been busy coordinating painters and masons and laborers who are working on the parsonage restoration. Those guys start early! That’s right; I’m spending the money you so generously contributed. And working on that book, too! It’s quite a unique experience to have a lot of help for a change. However, I’ve been demoted from architect, engineer and craftsman to “gopher.” But I’m not complaining. Soon, I’ll post pictures and further information about the project. Oh, and… Happy New Year!
Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"

103 responses to “It’s All Downhill from Here!”

  1. Thank you for another wonderful year, Jimmy! And I’m hoping for a good year ahead for all the Villagers and lurkers!

    Congratulations on nine years cancer-free, Jerry!

  2. Good morning Village! I love the retro and it’s perspective on life. It has gone entirely too fast.

    Thank you emb for the invitation. We’re I to come north you would have to buy me a buffalo fur coat to wrap around me like a Mountain Man Explorer to survive the weather.

    Although I did want to tell my waitreSS that Tulsa classical music performances did not require elegant apparel but I thought that if at her age she was going to first such that I hoped it would be as elegant as possible. Of course the music is the same, no matter what you are wearing.

  3. Thank you Jimmy for so much of what made 2016 bearable not to mention the humor was probably the most educated and subtle in a year of often blatant bad taste jokes screaming at us.

    Good wishes and love to the Village and all the Orphans.

  4. Wooeee! Got new batteries in my scales and I am down 12 pounds that I had gained back. Now I must lose all the rest of the regained weight and start on that old entrenched weight that is dug in and barricaded.

    I can do this! I should know, I have done it hundreds of times.

  5. P.S. Jimmy I am excited to hear the progress being done on the parsonage. Of course, excited by book. I think your book is so much better a legacy, as is the parsonage, than any record I may leave on this earth.


  6. emb I am going back on my campaign to meet all possible Villagers in 2017. Just thinking about that. Thank you for the invitation.

    Debbe being in town at her dad’s house made me think of driving there to visit her while I am at my daughters in Illinois. It isn’t so far to Indiana.

  7. To All My Friends in the Village (and I’m lookin’ at you, too, Jimmy):

    If you’ve been paying attention it will come as no surprise that 2016 has put some significant dings in the usual and customary Ghostly Sangfroid & Joie de Vivre ™. Early indications are that 2017, at least the anterior portion of it, may not be appreciably better along those lines. Should I have to drop off the grid for a while, I will try to provide advance notice, as it seems the last time I did that it caused some minor apprehension in The Village. To the point, as I understand it, sandcastler™ was considering the issuance of a Silver Alert for me. (Really, sand? A Silver Alert?)

    Along with my wishes of peace and prosperity for all of you, I add my thanks for you “being here” for me during the past twelve months. Your expressions of concern for me, as well as my knowledge that many of you have dealt with vicissitudes of life that were as bad, if not worse, was of great aid to me. I pledge to deal with the personal tempests I see coming in a way that will allow me to not only survive but thrive. Oh, and to try my best to ride life like 1983 Arlo did.

    This is for all of you today…Strength and tranquility to you as you pursue your worthy goals in the coming year. I believe in you. Non deficere.

  8. Damn it Ghost, you are allowed to disappear off the radar, none of us can prevent that, but you have so many here that care about you, as ethereal and wispy as you are. You can’t come into so many hearts, engaging their love without causing fear and concern in their minds.

    No one I have ever cared about has ever stayed in my life but that is just a personal observation. You are as real as a character in a book, a movie, a performance, yet we all believe you are real, a human we have come to love and worry about.

    So yes, damn it, it isn’t fair. You have a lot of hearts won here.

  9. GR6, The Desk Sargent wouldn’t issue an Amber Alert, something about the young lady was over 18 years of age. His only suggestion was to issue a Silver Alert since it sounded like you were of questionable mind and character. 😉

    Have a Frothy New Year and drive like you want to get home safe.

  10. Michiganders, We survived the game, but you had me worried. It was an exciting game. Now on to the Alabama teams. Good luck JJ. I become a temporary football fan at this time of year.

  11. Being a rainy afternoon in the Deep South, I’d probably be watching the Washington-Alabama game by default, even if I didn’t enjoy bowl, playoff and championship games.

    Also, based on a glimpse of them, the Million Dollar Band Color Guard makes me think they should be called the Cleavage Corps.

  12. My contractor moonlights literally with a band that plays local honkytonks and they invited me to come listen tonight. But I am tired and have a lot of groceries to put away. Since I neither drink nor smoke local bars present a double problem since they are definitely full of both. No one bothers me but I don’t fit in well, I am always sober and I think I scare them off with the uptown look and sobriety. And Tony runs protection anywas.

    Think I will get into pajamas and finish ordering garden seeds for spring. That is the positive affirmation of life I do every new years day. That and eat black eyed peas and greens. Tomorrow’s lunch will be Texas caviar on new mini greens lettuces and greens with some slivered cold pork roast and cheese for protein. I must cook some corn bread. The good luck is dependent on the blackeyed peas, greens, pork and cornbread. No rules exactly on how it must be served, creativity welcome.

  13. ‘Texas caviar on new mini greens lettuces and greens with some slivered cold pork roast and cheese for protein. I must cook some corn bread. The good luck is dependent on the blackeyed [now in dictionary, probably thought it was two words] peas, greens, pork and cornbread. No rules exactly on how it must be served, creativity welcome.’

    I’d be there if I weren’t here. What’s Texas caviar?

    I’m a New Yorker and have been in Times Square often [usually on the way somewhere else], but never on NYE. Last time in late Dec. ’02, en route home w/ Elaine from Christmas in Prague Smithsonian tour. Highly recommend that one. Wrote about it here before.


  14. As we put this year behind us, it’s time for my annual borrowing of words of wisdom from Neil Gaiman: “Be kind to yourself in the year ahead.  Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It’s too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand.”
    Happy New Year!

  15. Here is a recipe for classic Texas Caviar, also known as blackeyed peas salad.

    I will use big bowl of micro salad greens including a veggie chop of kale, beets, spinach, Brussel sprouts, etc. For extra crunch. Some heirloom tomato slices, green onions. The Texas caviar will go on top along with slivered pork loin, some chopped crisp bacon, some slivered crispy garlic onions, garlicky croutons and some multi color tortilla crisps. Thinking of Vidalia onion dressing.

    Touch of grated Mexican cheese on top. Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, the dressing is 30 calories for 2 tablespoons and you use small portions of all the tasty things on top except that blackeyed peas mix which I make low fat with olive oil.

    May whip up some blackeyed peas soup to go along, one of my favorites. The cornbread is thin, crisp crust with corn, green onions, tomatoes mixed in as well.

  16. Happy New Year to all the Villagers (JJ is Villager #1)

    Jackie stop off on your way to see emb – I am in a direct line to his place.
    Debbe knows how to contact me.

    Bill did mention it was the slow movement. (LVB #4)

    If a person is experiencing “bad” no one has experienced worse,
    at that particular moment.

    Going to Rochester tomorrow to visit friend that is doing Chemo.

    Jackie tell Debbe GM

    Hugs to all that need them.

  17. I will call Debbe tomorrow to wish her Happy New Year from everyone. I think she is doing better, eating better. She has gained weight which she needed.

    Hope she gets a car although she is in town now with sisters in town as well.

  18. There were 3 nights each year that I made a point of parking for the night: New Year’s Eve and the 2 nights we changed the clocks for DST. The time changes were hard to log properly (port authorities were confused by them) and the roads simply weren’t safe enough with so many more folks driving with alcohol in their systems. Y’all stat safe out there tonight!

  19. I could hardly wait to see if Janis would show up in the 1-1-17 cartoon in just a top hat. No luck with that, of course, but she did appear once in just lavender underwear, and once in lavender underwear and a pair of skinny jeans that didn’t seem to want to go completely on. So, not a bad start to the New Year, I suppose.

  20. I realized today that 2016 was not a total loss because I found a brand of bra in my size that was both pretty, sexy, fit me well and I could afford them. You have no idea how hard 42DDD is to find.

    Then I found today there is a 42FFF that meets all the above criteria and fits even better. Of course I bought one to try, along with 42G one to try. The bad part is they are expensive. Knowing Ghost he probably knows all about sizing of said garments and what the sizes mean but I did not.

    Of course they are European. American companies don’t seem to have anything to fit but what’s new?

  21. Happy New Year, everyone!
    Jimmy- sounds like you’re making a lot of progress 🙂
    Jackie- that looks really really good. And congratulations on the egg!
    Hugs to everyone……….

  22. Hugs to you Llee and everyone else too. I have been ordering all.kinds of vegetables and potato starts so I can bring you veggies this spring.

    We may have another egg by tomorrow!

  23. One of the 6 packs I picked up at the nearest municipal liquor store before Christmas was Hey-Hey Polka King Porter, from the Door County Brewing Co., Bailey’s Harbor, WI. No ABV listed*so just went on line. Verbiage about xxx hops and zzz barley, etc., then:

    ‘ABV 5.3% Recommended glassware: mason jar.’

    Haven’t tasted it yet, but am favorably inclined.

    Gubmint requires # fat g./serving, and such. ABV or proof, as appropriate, should be on all EOH beverages. Cannot do % RDA; varies too much per individual.


  24. One of the weather girls (excuse me…On-Air Meteorologist of the Female Persuasion™) on TWC this morning is wearing a dress with one of those new-fangled asymmetrical hemlines. (Perhaps the fronts of her legs are sexier than the backs?) The other On-Air Meteorologist of the Female Persuasion™ is wearing a sheath dress that is entirely black in back and fuchsia (or whatever) in front.

    I don’t get it. If watchin’ girls in symmetrical clothing was good enough for my grand-pappy, it’s good enough for me. 🙂

  25. New year…but same husband eating toast, same silly squirrels in the yard, same dust on top of the bookcases…thank you, God! I think my life is wonderful!

    Thank you all for the New Year wishes, and back atcha!

  26. Happy January, folks! It’s a rainy day in Georgia, so I doubt I’ll be getting out, but that’s okay. Dinner tonight will be roasted chicken, rice, blackeyed peas with ham hocks, and sauteed cabbage. Nobody here but me likes collard greens, and I don’t cook them nearly as good as my late mother-in-law did, so I don’t bother.

    Hi Ghost Sweetie! Please do give us a bit of notice if you must be gone from the Village, and do be careful. We don’t want to lose you!

  27. Happy New Year to all you regular Villagers and also to those whose names I didn’t recognize—glad to have you check in with good wishes. (Also Happy Birthday to my husband Jim.) Everybody stay safe and stay strong.

    Raining in the desert today—always a good thing.

  28. Yes GR some of us still do write checks. I write about 4-5 month for certain bills which cannot be taken care of online. Mostly local providers of services who still do business in the old fashioned time honored way of working on an honor system of payment with the canceled check being the receipt. Works great, and with one provider has for the last 40 some odd years.

  29. Ghost: count me as a check writer – no username/password required, harder to hack, and not that much slower than the new, “improved” chip cards.

  30. Good afternoon, Dickens and I just shared blueberry English muffins for breakfast. I had a Diet Coke and he didn’t. He is curled up in the tray for mail and napkins on table on top of his fleece coat.

    So glad to see so many Villagers here yesterday and today. I do worry about so many of you when you disappear. And yes, when I start back traveling my goal is to meet as many of you as I can. You feel like family to me.

    Much love for 2017. May what we can control in our lives be the best we can do. What we cannot control may we handle as well as we can, realizing we cannot control it, only our reaction to it.

  31. Re the above, all my life bras have been a source of irritation, literally and figuratively. To reach the age I am and finally find there are bras that fit, are comfortable, pretty, sexy and well made is kind of ironic.

    Why have our manufacturers foisted ill fitting, uncomfortable garments on us all these years? I consider it another form of discrimination. I once wenthe to a museum that had a display of historic under garments for men and women shown. Basically only affluent people wore them, the poor did not.

    That such garments survived from hundreds of years past is amazing.

    Or maybe they didn’t fit and just got saved?

  32. One more 2016 passing of note: William Christopher, AKA Father Francis Mulcahy on M*A*S*H. He was always my favorite character, good for an insightful comment and, sometimes, jocularity!

  33. I think I saw W. Christopher locally in a production of “Church Basement Ladies” [or some similar name]…maybe 2-3 years ago. Does that title sound correct, anyone?

    Count me as another check-writer. I prefer not to have financial info in so many potentially hackable places. Writing checks also gives me a feeling for where the funds go, and how much to expect to need for, say, gas this month. In the register I record the CCF of gas used each period. For water, also CCF; for electricity, KWH.

    Recently, the gas company’s bill told me we had used 4.4 times as much gas this November as we had in November 2015!!! Yet, their own records said November 2016 was warmer than November 2015, so why would more gas be needed? Consider – not just a tad more usage, but 4.4 TIMES as much.
    I phoned in with my numbers and logic, and the woman answering agreed. Company was to send out an agent and reread the meter. The conclusion was that the reading was as shown, and they were not going to adjust anything. So what had happened? I don’t know – perhaps the November 2015 reading had been screwed up.

  34. Jackie, it’s possible that most of those garments are designed by men who never ask the models wearing them if they’re comfortable. Of course, there are lots of dresses and so on that are designed to look good, but also look like they’re torture to wear, so what do I know?

  35. Hope everyone enjoyed their New Year’s celebrations, as loud or quiet it may have been. Warm wishes for each other, and high hopes to the world at large.

    Jimmy, some may not call it art, and many think I’m young. But today’s current makes an old dude not from Nantucket *snort* in a very fun way. Cheers.

  36. Ursen, et al, I want to live in your world of bookkeeping (always a fun word to type), but my credit union just had another name change/expensive remodel. And another tattooed across her breastbone (how dare you judge my sororities poor judgement) teller makes me long for days of patience and posting all deposits before payouts. Not to mention passing off an inflated administrative cost onto your customer (sorry, client) by charging for paper statements.

    Ruth Anne, am not thrilled with the chip card *delay* that causes the user embarrassment for their questionable improvement.

    end grump [I hope]

    c x-p, you may have a way to cause them anguish if nothing else. You can make the case that if their numbers are accurate the only reasonable explanation is a leak, causing danger to health and welfare of the community. They must investigate their liability. Unfortunately, that means they could dig up your property and all your neighbors easements. First step would be to see if you are the only one. Local utilities have learned from Verizon and others: overcharge first, argue second, reap profits.

  37. c x-p, I did not ask: Mains natural gas, or propane pig? Same idea different details.

    My parents had purchased a home that included an over-sized propane tank as real property belonging to the homeowner. Two years later, price shopping the competition, they allowed the old provider to remove this high value asset from their property. Without compensation. They decided not to pursue and now their tank and fuel both belong to their vendor.

  38. Morphy, we have “main gas”. Leak seems unlikely, as such would have to be on the house side of the meter or inside (!). The quantity would certainly be detectable by smell from the ethanethiol added just for that purpose.

  39. The leak belongs to you if it is between meter and house or in house. Have the tee shirt. Prior owner had sloppy pipes that broke down and my contractor who became city inspector was no better twenty years ago. A miracle we didn’t blow to he’ll. We had several leaks including one in house.

    Gas company shut off and locked down meter for about two weeks while we hassled repairs by a plumber they’d accept and got it inspected by someone they’d accept. It cost a lot, it was annoying, we didn’t blow to hell.

    I recommend calling gas company.

  40. Oh, I agree completely with your assessment. But the responsibility to prove where all this gas went still rests with them. Or at least could be argued.

    A theoretical leak next to the meter could be venting product to the neighborhood and would be their hazard, not yours. But your property loss if the worst were to occur.

    Or, accept the extra charge. Both approaches make sense.

    Glad you are warm this season.

  41. c x-p, the gas company has already given their answer, hoping you won’t press. I would compare stories with other consumers in your area to find a gouging pattern if it exists. It is not likely that they are out to get you individually. But may be casting a larger net to spread loss/increase profit for 4Q 2016.

  42. Happy New Year to all y’all.

    It appears that my 2016 problems will continue into 2017. My ISP screwed up my DSL connection on Thursday and still hasn’t figured out how to correct the problem. The “fun” will continue this week. They decided to do a major renumbering of their network and it appears to have caused all sorts of problems. Wait time for tech support is well over 6 hours. C’est la vie.

    Spent a quiet day relaxing. I was going to make bean soup but I soaked far too many beans and lentils. I decided to add brown sugar and molasses and make it into tasty baked beans. My daughter is busy pickling beets and eggs right now.

  43. When New Year’s Day is on a Sunday, it always messes up my schedule. Usually sleep in and eat breakfast just in time to watch the Rose Parade and all of the Bowl games. I work for a company that gives us 3 floating holidays, but one of them is not tomorrow. So I take the 2nd as a vacation day. I have let everyone know, but I’m sure that I will be called tomorrow asking where I am at.

    I need to take Friday off as my wife is getting her periodic colonoscopy. She had one 3 years ago and the prep was difficult and her BP was high during the procedure. I had mine done a few weeks later and zipped through the prep with no issue and ended up with a 10 year reprieve. This is one of those times that I really wish that I could do this for her. But hopefully we will have peace of mind when it is done.

  44. Gary, you may have my beets, to pickle or do with as you wish. The only two foods I’ve never been able to convince myself to eat again are beets and liver, especially beef liver. The former tastes to me the way dirt smells, and eating the latter is like chewing my own tongue.

    Good fortune to your wife, Steve.

  45. I spent all afternoon wrapping gifts for my grandson, Paw Patrol toys in Paw Patrol wrapping paper. I had packed them in big black garbage sacks to sneak into her house a d wrap there. That plan got ditched when I got sick.j. am assuming he will not start ripping the paper off in driveway.

    If you do not know what Paw Patrol is it is because you have no children aged 2.5 to 7 years old in your immediate family. It is a Nickelodeon television show featuring a half dozen canine rescue dogs who talk English or whichever language of country being shown in. They operate firetruck, bull dozers, helicopters, etc. And mint money for Nickelodeon by the armored truck load.

  46. So where have you been Ghostly mystery man all my life knowing how to properly fit bras for busty women?

    I still am working on that. I had no idea there were G bras, besides G men, G strings and G other things but not bras.

    Your namesake cat is adorable and every one’s favorite. While I was wrapping gifts he kept getting in middle of it all, playing in tissue papers, getting into boxes. My pet care helper loves him to pieces made photos of him for me for Christmas. I am going to frame them if not him.

  47. I could probably fit you for a bra, Jackie (Heaven knows I’ve critiqued enough of them), but be aware that would require a certain amount of hands-on work.

  48. JJ, if you were to draw that fifth panel, I’m guessing that Arlo would be wearing a warm cap with ear flaps and a scarf. After all, he’s more bundled up in each panel so far, and that’s the next obvious step.

  49. No problem with that. No one except me has any claims on me.

    Well, maybe my dog but he is more dangerous with kissing than biting. Loud bark but faster tongue. Only ten pounds of lovable fur.

    I just unpacked a bakers dozen of many colors including a cheetah that I swear looks like the one from 9CL. All same company so I have high hopes.

  50. Another reason why I love New Orleans, a group calling themselves The Krewe of Chewbacchus organized a parade in honor of Carried Fisher and her Star Wars character Princess Leia. Only in New Orleans.

  51. I hear you Ghost. Beets (whether pickled or not) are not one of my favourite foods. I can eat them if I have too. I am really not a fan of Brussels sprouts either (nasty, bitter objects) but I like cabbage. I never like the shoe leather that my mom called liver. I tried calf liver in a restaurant and was surprised when they asked how I wanted it done: rare, medium or shoe leather. I found rare with tomatoes and bacon was quite nice. I also like liver pate.

  52. I miss New Orleans too and have for years but I don’t know that the city I loved is still there.

    Me, I would rather go somewhere like Franklin, Louisiana where I know not much has changed and I feel I stepped back in time safely. The spirit is there.

  53. Gary, Brussel sprouts sliced thin and lightly sautéed in browned butter and olive oil and some sliced walnuts thrown in is delicious.

    A nice beet salad of red, white, gold beets that have been undercooked and then shredded like carrots with a light sweetest dressing is lovely.

    You got the answer on the liver already.

  54. I see Jackie just beat me to it, Gary, but I was going to say that small fresh, not frozen, Brussels sprouts cut in half, dusted with flour, and sautéed in a butter/olive oil mixture until lightly browned, are quite tasty. Sliced cauliflower flowerets may be prepared the same way, which entirely changes their taste. (I’ve known cauliflower haters to rave over them fixed like that.) But preparing B-spouts and cauliflower that way likely negates their value as a healthy veggie.

  55. Not too badly if you slice thin and skip the flour coating, stir fryou quickly and throw in the coarse walnuts, black pepper.

    You know you and I most likely cook and eat similarly Ghost. Cooking with compatible men is something else I enjoy with men besides the obvious. So far I have only cooked with two men, they are hard to find.

  56. I will call Debbe today. She has stepped back in time at her dad’s house with one wired land line phone, no Internet, no computers, think she may have cable but may not. Don’t think she owns laptop but she’d need wi-first access. She has no car and someone must be with her dad. This might be peaceful.

  57. T-shirt recently seen at the gym: Sweat Is Just Fat Crying

    Based on the TV commercials shown during football bowl games, this must be the only time of the year most people get concerned about their weight.

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