The Christmas Caller II

Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"
Yesterday, Steve from Royal Oak immediately picked up on the same thoughts I was having as I dug up this old series, specifically how difficult it was, in my youth, to get to know a girl over the phone. Or at least how difficult it seemed! I think I launch far too many old-fogey threads as it is, but I think it’s a worthwhile subject: what is it like for kids today, who are connected, individually and collectively, to one another on a constant basis? You want to talk about a societal ground-shift. Or maybe it’s just as difficult today to cold text that cute young thing in third period algebra.

181 responses to “The Christmas Caller II”

  1. I’d say MEANINGFUL contact is still just as difficult. The ability to Snapchat, text, post on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media is routine… try to get one of those highly connected teens (or 20-somethings!) to actually make a voice call. That is much harder.

  2. My daughter is a sophmore in high school. Based on what she tells me, it is still awkward. She has two friends who liked each other for over a year before one got up the courage to ask the other out. What may be different is that the girls now understand just how awkward and nerve-wracking it can be to ask a person out . Another friend finally asked the boy she liked out and was turned down in a less than polite fashion.

  3. Ghost Sweetie, thanks! I do love that carol! No, no bad eggnog, just two pies and a rice pudding made with it. 🙂 Don’t know when I’ll ever get to Houma LA (I’ll have to look it up on Google maps) but if I do I’ll try the sushi. Is it, by chance, made with gator tail?

  4. Personally, I prefer to hear the lilting tones of the girl’s voice. Texting “I love you” “no, I love YOU” for an hour would not be the same.

    Our Bard has hit numerous home runs in exploring this theme. One of the best was a phone call to Ruth (now doubtless living on the Rive Gauche) that ended with “Happiness is knowing the girl wants to talk to you.”

    Mary Lou was the dark horse in the marital sweepstakes for Gene; Ruth looked like she had the inside track for quite a while. But the water-ballooning Susan treated our protagonist in quite a shabby fashion at the last, and she is now likely appearing in a Mean Girl Reality Show.

    Gene has come a long way from going to his first boy/girl party where he was, quote, “expected to talk and junk,” unquote; the Dog of Love commencing his journey across the 8-lane highway of life, as Someone Put It.

  5. Fog and +35F out now, very gentle breeze, high of 37 predicted. The 2-4″ we have on the ground are collapsing, water dripping off the roofs. Not sure it went below 32 last night, 34 predicted tonight, mid-30s tomorrow. If it doesn’t snow for 12 days, or snows just a smidgen, we’ll have another brown Christmas. First I’ve experienced since ’58 when we moved here was sometime in the last decade. I wrote it in a logbook, but have buried that somewhere.

  6. It might be a bit easier to talk to a girl with all of the social media. I wouldn’t know as it has been 33 years since I had to stir the courage. But I think that you can learn a lot (sometimes a bit TOO much ) about a person by looking on Facebook.

    People that know me, find it pretty hard to believe that it took me all the way through college to actually take a girl out on a date. I am very friendly and a decent conversationalist, but I was so afraid of rejection that I rarely asked a girl out (Still have that fear, but that is a good fear if you’ve been married 32 years!) I also lived in a rural area, so we did not socialize much with friends outside of school. I wish that I had overcome that fear, but ended up with a great wife, so no complaints from me.

    Loved today’s strip. I’ve mentioned this fact a few times here and it is kind of fun to point it out to people. Since my birthday is on the shortest daylight day of the year, I have paid a little more attention to it than others.

  7. Went back to check the after bedtime posts. Debbe posted this:

    To the fried egg on cat’s left was a short, repeating video of a Lesser Panda licking an apple slice. To me, this is the world’s cutest adult mammal, except Janis and her ilk, of course. You can likely find better portraits of LPs using a search engine. The world’s ugliest is probably Africa’s Naked Mole Rat.

  8. So, I went to youtube and found dozens of “Deck Us All In Boston Charlie’s” and started trying to post one of the links here. Help!

    I can find them and I can’t post them! Someday I am going on a trip to Alabama or another state where some of you literate Villagers live and take lessons before I die in how to post and copy to a computer. Which will be obsolete by then!

    One thought on obsolescence is that when my husband threw the thousands of tapes and things his mother had copied off television into the dumpster he also destroyed perhaps thousands of hours of youtube pleasure for others.

    Of course someone would have had to transfer that lifetime of copied television to youtube and it wouldn’t have been me! I was in favor of putting it in the casket so she could take it with her, therefore baffling future archaeologists should it be found. But it filled a commercial dumpster partway up, so we would not have been able to afford such a luxury.

    We had a lovely and reverent funeral with a hand carved wooden casket for her cremains with a velvet liner and a solid brass plaque, all lovingly built by my son in law and daughters, decorated in beautiful hot pink azaleas, an excellent Methodist minister, Cokes in glass bottles and hot beignets. Then we all went for really good Cajun food with friends down at the Blue Dog Café in Lafayette, LA. A restaurant built by my father in law.

    Oh yeah, we started on “Boston Charlie”. Can someone link the vocals of the Walt Kelly Memorial Choir?

    Love and good morning, Jackie

  9. 1. I don’t live in Houma. (Although I spent a month there one weekend.)
    2. There is no place in Houma that actually makes Blackened Cajun Sushi. (As far as I know.)
    3. In fact, there is no such thing as Blackened Cajun Sushi. (As far as I know.)

    And Jean dear, I have no doubt whatsoever that some sushi itamae is preparing gator tail sushi even as we speak.

    However, I will not repeat the story of the stoner who went into a pet store, thought it was a sushi buffet, and ate $1500 worth of tropical fish. (Oh, wait. I just did, didn’t I?)

  10. Jackie, your story of the TV show tapes reminded me of a comedic commercial I once saw (probably on SNL) for “The Time-Life Complete Weather Channel Collection, on 12,000 DVDs.” Think about it.

  11. Several years ago I “managed”/babysat the bosses salesman son, from Arkansas who thought he was God’s gift to women. Anyway, one day when he was too “sick” to make his appointments he said he was really ill from some bad sushi he had eaten in Ferriday, LA.

    Good sushi would have been a miracle, as Ferriday is best known as home of Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart and has a population of about 3500, none Asian to my knowledge!

    The “boy salesman” was actually 28 and a graduate of the University of Arkansas.

    Love, Jackie

  12. Jackie: ‘The “lessor “panda is far cuter than the greater panda. Is there relation to the raccoon?’

    The Giant Panda is a bear, family Ursidae. Settled decades back anatomically and confirmed / DNA analysis, I think. I’ll check / Lesser Panda’s ID.

  13. Jimmy, keep up this slant on things. It’s a hoot. As a baby boomer, I relate so much to your
    strips, I have always been a fan since I first saw your strips in my newspaper way back.

  14. Jackie: The Lesser or Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens, seems to be more closely related to raccoons than bears, but its classification is still argued. Some put it in its own family, Ailuridae [-idae is the standard family ending in zoology], others in the subfamily Ailurinae within the raccoon family, Procyonidae [-inae = standard subfamily ending]. To see items on classification and natural history of A. fulgens, + lots of photos, type Ailurus fulgens into a search engine. Thanks for the chance to update my panda knowledge.

    NB: zoologists never capitalize the specific modifier [here fulgens] even if it is derived from a proper noun [e.g., the Canada Warbler, Wilsonia canadensis.

    Peace, emb

  15. Lots of trips to zoos and museums with children and now a grandchild sometimes gives nebulous animal information in your mind. I was thinking they were raccoons but you must remember my youngest child is 40 now, so classification may have changed!

    Fascinating isn’t it, that things change along with our knowledge of them? And it can be living things, not just technology.

    Me, I hope to never stop learning and changing even if I had to grow up. What is it the other Buffet says, “Growing older but not up?”

    Love, Jackie

  16. Ghost Sweetie, thanks for the YouTube link! The choir did a really good job with Boston Charlie.

    Did you know, Villagers, that if you do a Google search for Boston Charlie you can read “the amazing gay origins” of the song, or “the amazing Prison slang origins” of it! There’s probably more, but my brain sort of seized up and I quit reading.

    And as I doubt I’ll ever get anywhere near Houma I’m not going to worry much about missing the sushi. 😉 I’ve never tried fried gator tail bites, and I’d be suspicious of gator tail sushi, too.

  17. Jean, you can come visit me and we can go have some Cajun blackened bolognaise. Which was offered to me as a lunch special at a “trendy” restaurant that had opened down in the mountains alongside the Arkansas border but on Oklahoma side.

    I told the waitress I had never heard of that despite being a Ragin’ Cajun graduate and married to one? I asked what type of meat or seafood it was done with? She said “Well, honey it is done with bologna! You know, they cut it into thick slices and fry it up!”

    Love, Jackie

  18. Hmmmmm… both Ludwig AND Mary Lou made their debut in 1993… the same year that the amazing films “Tombstone” and “Gettysburg” premiered. Coincidence? I think not! 🙂

  19. Much as I love the old Mary Lou cartoons (and Ruth too for that matter), I wanted to comment on today’s new strip (in The Boston Globe, JJ 🙂 Thank you for setting me straight on the sunset vs solstice thing, Jimmy! I had always (well for years anyway) thought it was the other way around. I even figured out why (mine rational was based on sidereal time moving faster as the earth approaches perihelion). But hats off: Jimmy is of course right! Here is one explanation

    Being up here in NH, I’m thrilled to be wrong! Later sunset is just as good as longer day to me!

  20. Here is something really good, speaking of time. This morning around ten o’clock, I heard the radio announcer tell us that today is 12 – 13 – 14, and is the last sequential date to happen in the 21st Century. And she continued that since it was then eleven minutes past ten, at that very moment it was 10 – 11 – 12 – 13 – 14. I felt this was really special, memorable and enjoyable. And if we can remember tonight, this moment can be enjoyed again at ten eleven, so watch for it!

  21. Did everyone know that New Hampshire was one of the nine top travel spots in America named today by a large group of travel writers who voted on it? New Orleans was there too.

    Will try to refind the article!

  22. I don’t even remember what *I* was doing in 1993.

    Lady Mindy, if Blacklight gets too obnoxious, you could always put a stamp on her and mail her. Probably to just about anyone in the Village.

    Debating whether it would be worth it to devise a recipe for bologna bolognaise…

  23. Here’s the top travel destinations for 2015 according to Lonely Planet: 1) Queens, NY 2) Western South Dakota (think Sturgis)
    3) New Orleans, LA 4) Colorado River 5) North Conway, NH 6) Indianapolis, IN 7) Greenville, SC 8) Oakland, CA and last but not least 9) Duluth, MN

    Truthfully, I have been to all nine but I am not sure I saw them as the travel writers did!

    I loved South Dakota and all of the far north western states. Have not been in New Hampshire for about 50 years but remember it as beautiful.

    Always interesting to see what the travel writers recommend as they are seldom the “big destination” places you might expect.

    Love, Jackie

  24. January issues of Sky & Telescope come with a separate two p. sheet called Skygazer’s Almanac, for 40 N. lat. We’re over 45 here, but it will do. The 2013 and earlier ones are taped to the inside of my office door. Unfortunately, I mislaid the 2014 one about a year ago, but the 2015 SGA is up there now. It has evening dates down the left side, morning dates down the right side, and is an hourglass-shaped diagram of the night sky from 1 Jan-31 Dec. Traces all 5 naked eye planets’ times of rising, setting, and crossing the zenith, same for several prominent stars and other distant objects [Pleiades, Orion Nebula, etc.], ‘sun fast and sun slow’ line top to bottom, winding around the midnight axis, that being the result of the different speeds of Earth when we are farther and closer to Sol. See sidereal vs. solar day, above. Twice, when I’ve mislaid [geezerhood again] the current issue of Sky & Telescope, I’ve put together my monthly star column entirely or mostly from that chart. I think you can buy it separately from S&T, and also get it in a larger size.

    There are two others, I think, one for approx. 0 degrees, and one for 30 degrees S. Since they also run from 1 Jan-31 Dec, they are less graceful, the one for 30 S. being roughly barrel-shaped.

  25. Did say I had probably not seen them as the travel writers did. I didn’t want to insult Indy Mindy by putting Indianapolis on the list of places Ghost wouldn’t go to. It is like that commercial where no one wants to go to Tulsa, OK, which actually is a pretty good town. A lot like Houston if you took away about 7 million population.

  26. Dear eMb, you probably know that you can read Sky & Telescope online (can’t tape it to the office door, unfortunately). A lot of information without paying for a subscription, tho more is available w payment. But I haven’t seen the chart you tell of, sounds elegant … will take a look later. Must fix supper now.

  27. Jackie – No insult to me – *I* don’t like Indy! Then again, I’m not someone who gravitates toward population centers and retail establishments. Most years for my birthday, I spend an afternoon taking pictures of wildflowers and wandering around the Mississinewa battlegrounds. When the reenactment isn’t happening, it’s one of the quietest and most beautiful spaces in Indiana.

    For the history buffs –

  28. Because Mike is in such pain and choking a lot, I have tried to stay in this half of house to be with him. But he hates being disturbed, so little dog and I hang out in office. I wonder if I can write at all given the circumstances?

    I know this is writing but I mean something longer than one paragraph?

    Jimmy’s comment about Mary Lou was especially meaningful, that he introduced a character whom he had NO idea would end up marrying Gene or that she would have a child out of wedlock or change the course of the entire comic.

    I have heard that before from writers, that they create them with no idea what they will become. I think that even more than prose writers, a comic writer is having to tell a story in continuity with often no idea where it is going. I think Jimmy has done this with great economy of words and simplicity, which I greatly admire.

    Love, Jackie

  29. Indy Mindy, that was fascinating to read. I am surrounded by the tribes, the names in your battle and war. I had a Great Great aunt named Tecumseh (known as Aunt Cummy in genealogical accounts) but of course the town of Tecumseh is right down the highway near Oklahoma City.

    Here we have many Wyandotte, Miami. Pottawatomie, Shawnee, Muskogee, Creek and countless other tribal nations. History surrounds you if you live in the old Indian Territory towns.

  30. Having recently read more about the union general with that middle name and President Lincoln I no longer view Lincoln with quite the same regard as I did previously. My view of Sherman and his army is best not described. (but) With 620,000 Americans having been killed in the war it had to be ended but the scorched earth policy gave license to commit every criminal act imaginable.

  31. Oh, and my story: Headed back to the store after dropping off the deposit on Thursday, I noticed flashing red and blue lights several blocks ahead. For some odd reason, I knew instantly it was a funeral procession. Now the intersection I was coming up on is normally pretty quick to get through (4 way stop), but it was backing up instead of clearing out (no one wants to wait). Two vehicles were causing the back-log: a senior shuttle and a panel delivery truck for some local company. I was two vehicles behind the panel truck, and I got to the stop sign as the procession did. In retrospect, I truly believe the shuttle and panel truck were ensuring their place at the final turn of the processsion. Thursday was bitterly cold here, but that did not stop the two motorcycle officers nor the 100+ bikers leading the massive enclosed vehicle procession that followed. It took several minutes for the procession to get through. The driver of the panel truck parked, exited the vehicle, and stood sentinel in a short sleeved T for the whole thing. The shuttle driver didn’t exit, but had obviously been waiting for the same reason. My guess is neither driver could get out of work to attend the service, so they did what they could to pay their respects. I did a bit of investigating. The deceased, it turnes out, was a metalworker, motorcycle guy, former military, and volunteered several places, his passing unexpected.

    There had been discussion about loss and grief during the holidays. Retail pretty much ruins the holidays for me, and this year is going to be awkward without mom for sure, but seeing such an outpouring of respect and love for this gentleman brought tears to my eyes. This was why we live – to go forth and do good and be good to each other, and if we are extremely lucky, this good touches others and they do likewise. Unfortunately, not everyone is so blessed. I am so glad that I am one of the lucky ones.

  32. Jerry, I’ve read that Sherman’s march north was the 19th Century equivalent of a bombing raid and that the intent was to show the civilians that their government couldn’t protect them against an enemy. I also gather that his long-term strategic goal was to come up on General Lee’s rear, making it impossible for him to retreat from the Army of the Potomac.

  33. 1993: On Nov. 1st, I paid off our house mortgage!! ‘Twas a financial turning point, as you may well realize.

    Places: Except for mom’s birthing hospital, I was born and raised in Queens, NY, and lived there until college at 17, grad school at 21, and marriage at 22 removed me permanently. As I do not like driving in NYC and refuse to fly to get there, visits back stopped when my parents left for FL in ’72. Did go back for mom’s funeral service in ’81; not since.

    I like N. Conway, NH, and all the rest of H as well! Spent a number of vacations on the eastern shore of Winnepesaukee and also a honeymoon there. Parents had honeymooned at the same establishment (The Wawbeek) in ’36, which is how I got the idea.

    Greenville & Duluth were fine with me; Indianapolis is a nasty bear when driving! Mid-SD is nice; haven’t been to the western area. Have not been to the remaining trio.

  34. Jackie, either you’ve been wandering around in my mind (poor baby!), or you’d make one hell of a travel agent.

    No, Indianapolis was not one of the three, as I’ve been following some bloggers from there recently, and it seems like there are more cool people there than I’d have imagined. An opinion reinforced by Lady Mindy’s story above. And to her last paragraph, all I can add is “Amen, sister.”

    Miz Charlotte, I also have free S&T subscription and get regular updates in my in-box.

  35. Jerry and Jackie – I’ve been to the reenactments once, Mississinewa and Feast of the Hunter’s Moon in West Lafayette. In both instances, I believe there was so much more to be said on behalf of the Native nations. Their legacy is both commercialized and marginalized. It is shameful in my opinion. That is why I go in the spring time, alone. There is something almost magical (although that is not the correct word I want, it will have to do) there. It is almost as if the past is not past, and if I were to wander off the path into the woods, I would find myself in a different time.

  36. About authors and their characters. It happens, and I may have said much of this before. In my over 16 years of contributing columns to the local daily, I’ve done one major piece of ‘cardboard character’ fiction. Thought I’d do a couple of fiction columns about a nerdy Anatolian girl who noticed that there are 8 naked eye ‘planets’: Sol, Luna, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus [not spectacular, and very slow wandering, but visible]. The couple of columns turned into five, + an explanatory 6th.

    Here’s an excerpt from the 6th column: “To speculate on a possible eight-day week, I had a fictitious ancient person notice that Uranus moved. But that’s not enough. The Seven Wanderers are prominent; Uranus is not. My observer would have to understand that Uranus didn’t just move, but fit in the same category as the other seven. So she (it turned out) had to be odd. I invented a bright, OCD, asocial kid who was obsessed with the starry sky, and who had prodigious innate numerical skills. I set her in a non-patriarchal, preliterate, herding tribe in Anatolia ten millennia ago.

    “Nobody’s going to heed a young girl’s sightings of an obscure “star,” but they might be impressed by her vast knowledge of the sky, and by her insights into striking celestial happenings. I got there via solar and lunar eclipses. Also, Raki couldn’t have much influence if she were a permanent nerd, so her older brother Hakon (“Goat”) came along to bring her out of her shell.
    “After publishing the first installment, I remembered a minor epiphany I had decades back while driving home at sunset from Lake [Barnacle]. South of [Lilyblack’s] Resort, a half moon rose over a sumac clone to the east. But wait: only full moons rise at sunset! Then I recalled that a lunar eclipse was due, and realized I was seeing Earth’s shadow half-covering Luna. I hadn’t thought about it much since then, but now Raki came along, took it from me, combined it with her earlier knowledge, and had a major Copernican epiphany.”

    I had more fun writing that than I’d had in ages. I had no idea how the details would work out, nor what her life stages would be, and I cried when she died [the usual peacefully, surrounded by folks, that they cite in obits]. I’ve had some good feedback.

    Peace, emb

  37. The article about William “Wild Bill” Guarnere reminded me that December 16th will be the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the so-called Battle of the Bulge, which lasted until January 25, 1945, and claimed the lives of 19,000 Allied troops and wounded 70,000 more, making it a much more bloody battle than the D-Day landings and the ensuing Battle of Normandy.

    Staff Sergeant Guarnere’s awards included the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, and of course, the Combat Infantryman Badge (2) and Parachutist Badge with 2 combat jump stars. A brave man among brave men.

  38. Speaking of re-enactments – and Sherman, we were at the 150th anniversary of the battle of Fort McAllister in Richmond Hill, Ga., today. A beautiful day, a good crowd in attendance both to participate and to observe. After the battle (which only lasted about 15 minutes, as did the real thing) they continue to portray what happened; tonight the Confederate “prisoners” will be sleeping outside on the ground, while their captors will be in tents. A few lucky ones will be inside in quarters built into an earthen mound. Predicted low is about 31 – these guys are committed!

    If I were at home on my desktop, I’d insert a link here. Just typing a message this long on my tablet is enough work for tonight.

  39. First time I asked a girl out I tried to get my mother to make the call. She and the girl’s mother were friends. Needless to say, that didn’t go over, but both mothers had lots of chuckles.

  40. Dearest Ghost, I had no idea you were interested in astronomy. How did that come about? Can you see the night sky well from where you live? Do you like to observe the constellations?

  41. Charlotte, I took an elective college class in basic astronomy, which ties in with my general interest in science and technology. I was fascinated with the night sky when I was young, back in the day when good eyesight and lack of pollution allowed me to clearly observe the Milky Way on a clear night and contemplate the distances and number of stars it represented. Away from city lights, this area is fairly good for observing.

  42. William Tecumseh Sherman and his men burned every home in my hometown parish of Tensas, LA when he joined Grant’s forces in the siege of Vicksburg. We were part of his scorched earth policy and the only home left was the one Grant headquartered in.

    My ancestor aunt was most likely/definitely not named for Sherman but for the Native American chief. My family often favored classic writers like Cicero and native American names like Tecumseh. And famous Americans of historical note.

    You have only to live here among the relocated and displaced Native Americans to recognize they were treated both treacherously and unfairly. They do not discuss it or demonstrate hatred but it is a constant in their histories.

    In my front yard is an iron frame of a child’s bed from the boarding school established in Tahlequah, OK where the Native American children were taken from their families and sent to be made more Christian/European and removed from their cultures by the Indian agents/government. The school burned and this frame is a surviving reminder to me of what we do in the name of “civilization”.

    I keep it planted in flowers and if I try and make it neat and tidy it just doesn’t like it. So, it tends to be disheveled and wild.

    Love, Jackie

  43. Dear Jackie, so much sadness, injustice, and greed. We are lucky to be living in a more civilised and peaceful world. But how long will this last? A long time, we hope … but we can’t see the future. I’m glad you and lots more in the Village are fighting injustice every day.

    Lots of love to everybody. Good night for now,


  44. Forgot to answer Ghost: I did all Mike’s homework for his second degree in Travel Industry Management. He had an A average.

    I was also always a top salesman when I sold, it takes a little mental telepathy and being in someone’s mind to do that. And I have a keen recall too about people and that helps when you are in sales, which is what makes a good travel agent. (A dying profession)

    My beautiful possum is out on the baker’s rack behind the computer. I think I will name him Pogo, trite but I love Pogo. “I go Pogo” for President. Hope this doesn’t ensure someone shoots him.

    Now the apricot cat is out there with the blue gray one. I think I will take some food out, possum got it!

    Love, Jackie

  45. Tortoise shell Mama Cat is out eating with her largish gray kitten and her apricot and white kitten. OK EMB, what are odds on sexes of those two? I can’t catch them to find out!

  46. Okay, Comment, Take Two!

    Since we’re Decking the Halls, there’s always this one-

    Jackie, if I ever get to Oklahoma I might just take you up on the Bologna Bolognaise! Speaking of traveling, I have lived in South Dakota, and while the western side is not bad, I have been known to say the eastern side (particularly the southeastern corner) is like living on the back parking lot of a K-Mart on a summer Sunday morning-flat, deserted, and murderously hot.

  47. Good morning Villagers….

    Indy Mindy, Gal said it best “spiritual’, thanks for the pics of “Blacklight”, and the link of all links (yeah, I concede)….anyway, it made me start thinking of “Angel Mounds” just a couple of hours from here. In all the years I lived in Evansville, I not once made it there…may just have to do that sometime. My husband and I once went to New Harmony…another Southern Indiana historical sight.

    Here’s a link to Angel Mounds and some history on it:

    Yesterday with the teens drove me to drink last night….yup, came home and slammed down some lager…. 🙂 There is so much play in those two 15 year olds…….and I was not in the mood for it. One had to leave at 11ish as he had a family reunion to go to. I told him no, and then I asked about the food….it was an Amish family reunion…..I then (couldn’t help myself) asked him if they were getting together to “build a barn”? His mother’s maiden name is Stoll, and it’s Mennonite/Amish. He left at 11, and then it was “Skittles” and me. He got on the phone with The Boss and was wanting to scrap all the metal at the 3 & 4 dump site…..lots of old steel auger there. Said he needed Christmas money, I hollered in the background….”work more hours” The Boss told him to put a business plan together, how much gas it would take to haul it and what percentage would he get…..I just started laughing. Hey, The Boss had to buy it in the first place. But Dakota said that scrap metal was low right now.

    Looking out my computer room window, it look’s to be a damp, cold, dismal winter day….gray.


    GR 😉 my husband loves to listen to that group…will play it later for him.

  48. Arrggghhhh..just got a call from Dakota…..they had a belt wrap around the black roller that pulls the canvass belt and brings the eggs in….it’s not good when that happens….the teens just don’t pay attention.

    The belt must have wrapped so bad it put tension on the belt tray in the front, and the belt tray snapped and broke in an upward position that it cut off a hen’s head as she had her head out feeding from the feed trough…..I am not a happy camper now.

    later……………………………….gotta go in…..need to find the maintenance guys, Ian and Andrew, which I suspect they are incognito now….and no cell phone.

    Nope, just made a phone call and Ian and Andrew are there now……Amen

  49. OK, so I scrolled back, landing on the wrong date but I thought it was applicable too and read it, then came back to read Debbe’s comments again for right date, then thought she might be speaking of the REAL daily, so went there. Finally landed on the “Happiness is knowing the girl wants to talk to you” strip!

    Which all made me notice that back in those days of 2008 Jimmy did not have many comments posted by us, the Village, like he does now. Did anyone ever figure out how to find those old comments? I think Ghost did.

    Having said that, go back to paragraph one above and you figure out the likelihood of me landing on them anyway.

    Good morning all. I think the instant sweet rolls are burned already!

    Love, Jackie

  50. So, I am sitting here reminiscing about the ‘old days’….let’s go back to 73…

    I was living in Corpus Christi…and one Christmas Eve night I called into the local radio station, kept him on line for at least a half an hour….giving him ‘tunes’ to play…..finally a friend got through on the land line (yes, that’s all we had back then) and said “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for at least an hour”….”you’ve been on the phone again with the radio DJ again…right, I know your tunes” Sandy said….I wonder how she is doing now…..never kept track of who I left behind when I left Corpus that night with a broken ankle and a black cat that had a club foot….my Stepmom was sent down by my Dad to “retrieve” me And I am glad she came and got me….otherwise I would not be a “poster” here.

  51. I probably mentioned I have always wanted to have chickens (for pets, not to eat) and honey for the honey comb. I ordered myself all the Dummy books on beekeeping and hive building. Does anyone here have experience with beekeeping in a semi-rural setting, meaning we aren’t in a city, I have a large double, make that triple lot and no restrictions of any kind.

    My other bucket list item is chickens. The next door neighbors have some and have since I lived here, I hear the roosters. I am looking at prefab chicken houses on the net which are probably cheaper than my possible builders. Although there seems to be some Amish maybe who build storage sheds, barns and such locally including chicken houses.

    Any ideas?

    Love, Jackie

  52. Jackie…go with the Amish on building the hen houses…trust me on that one, they know how to build a barn. Just saying, from living around here in SIN with the Amish, they can put up a whole barn in one afternoon….the whole community is involved.

  53. Sam’s Club did sell them but, as with everything they sell, when you see it, buy it because they’ll never have it again. Jackie I did not realize that you had a tortie. Cilla and Spunky are both torties and look like they must be sisters but they are not. Cilla is one year older (is sitting at my feet at the moment) and talks to me constantly. As a consequence I understand much of what she is trying to tell me. If not, I just ask her to show me. That’s why I said that Arlo would never refer to Lud as “the cat”. I worried all night that I may have offended some people by my comment about Sherman. That was not my intent and I apologize if I did. My brother has been extremely active for years in civil war reenactments and would probably prefer to die on some battlefield if he can manage it. I’ve never been to one and can’t imagine what the appeal is.

  54. Jerry, it is interesting that I am learning all I am about my home in Louisiana. We still own it and the property around it, yet I never learned any of our history nor the parish/county history. I knew we were all living in poverty, that wasn’t hard to figure out but the why has been interesting.

    Sherman did more to ruin and destroy our countryside and its’ economy than the rest of the conflict did. I have been trying to find how anyone had the money to rebuild anything after the war, as our house was a post war small plantation? My grandfather bought it at a sheriff’s auction and it seemed to pass through many hands before ours.

    We must all be willing to examine and learn about the past if we can protect/save the future. We seem to keep reliving and fighting the same wars it seems to me.

    My skin is pretty thick, so the Village can discuss just about anything and I will find it educational!

    My first tortie was Madame Pele, whom I acquired in Hawaii. I have her ashes still. I think I have always had at least one tortie ever since. Meow Meow is a tortie and sleeps on my head/pillow mostly. Mama Kitty is getting tamer and lets us get close now but not catch her, she lives outside.

    Love, Jackie

  55. Jerry, we all should know by now that war is hell on earth. It displays the worst of human nature and (at best) denotes a failure of politics to determine an issue in a fair and timely way. The only positive thing that can be said about war is that it (sometimes) settles big issues that cannot be settled any other way.

  56. Jackie [I think]: “Tortoise shell Mama Cat is out eating with her largish gray kitten and her apricot and white kitten. OK EMB, what are odds on sexes of those two? I can’t catch them to find out!”

    As far as I know, 50:50. The gray I know nothing about: whether it results from a single locus [probably] or multiple loci [possibly]. I think gray is equally likely in males and females. I think the apricot and white is one of the loci on the X-chromosome that is part of the story. If so, such kittens are equally likely to be male or female, since males carry one X. Does it also have dark, brownish spots? If so, it’s a calico, like a tortie but splotchy rather than fine-grained, as it were. Torties and calicos are females, thus are XX, with a gene for the orange/white bit on one X and a gene for the darker pigment on the other X.

    Dave: The simplest thing would be for us each to ask JJ to share our email addresses w/ each other. The series is copyrighted, as are all the columns I submit to the paper.

  57. As my Vietnam platoon buddy and best friend likes to put it: “War is hell, actual combat is an SOB, but peace is a Mother F’er.” While war and its anguish is never easy on the war fighters, it is the civilian population who suffers most. Seventy years after WWII, the scars are still visible throughout Europe. No one continent has ever paid such a high price. Russia paid the highest price in casualties, 27+ million, plus uncountable loss of cities, etc.

  58. The Little Angel on the Top of the Christmas Tree!

    One particular Christmas season a long time ago, Santa was getting ready for his annual trip but there were problems everywhere. Four of his elves got sick, and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones so Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule. Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her Mom was coming to visit; this stressed Santa even more.

    When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out at heaven knows where. More stress.

    Then when he began to load the sleigh one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys. So, frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered that the elves had hid the liquor and there was nothing to drink.

    In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the coffeepot and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw it was made of. Just then the doorbell rang and Santa cussed on his way to the door. He opened the door and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

    The angel said, very cheerfully, “Merry Christmas Santa. Isn’t it just a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Isn’t it just a lovely tree? Where would you like me to stick it?

    Thus began the tradition of the little angel on top of the tree.

  59. Thanks for the grin Ghost. I’ve been outside watching for meteorites but only spotted what I thought might be a satellite, but it was moving roughly from north to south. Do any of them do that?

  60. Wouldn’t have time (see previous comment). I understand that they asked former vice-president Cheny today if torture was illegal and he referred the question to his lawyer. Oh, wait a minute.

  61. It is just now 6:58 and I am going for a nap. Then I get up and stay awake until the new comics come on, go back to bed again.
    Of course I have to throw the clean clothes in the dryer, the dirty ones in washer and make the bed up again.

    Of course I could just fall into the dirty sheets full of cat hair.

    Love, Jackie

  62. That was my guess. Would that be the right direction? Hostage situation in Sydney, Australia. Until he quit his job recently my son was frequently near that location.

  63. Also, day highs in the 40sF, most snow on the ground is gone. Snow that will stay may show up before 25 Dec.; at present, we expect ‘wintry mix’ [= one or another irksome combo of rain, snow, and sleet]. No wind, though, when it’s foggy.

    There are worse things than below 0 temps.

    Peace, emb

  64. Thinking that spy (excuse me, surveillance) satellites use polar orbits, thereby covering the entire Earth as it revolves.

    Jackie, you are the first person I’ve known to operate on Comics Standard Time.

  65. And another carol to add to the list. I love this particular version, especially the camels.

    Ghost Sweetie, that’s one of my favorite Christmas stories!

    With five inside cats and four outside ones, and all but two of them kin, I have one black cat (Malkin) several black and white ones, and two black-and-gray striped ones with cream undersides. Of the other two, one is orange with gold eyes (Pumpkin) and the other-Toby-is a Tuxedo cat, but instead of being black and white, he is dark gray and white.

  66. I went back outside and saw one shooting star. I found the object that I saw before and kept checking on it. At the same time I was watching a DVR’d episode of How the Universe Works, picturing the perceived motion of the stars as the earth rotates and at the same time picture in my mind an object in a set orbit and how its perceived background will move and all of this while I’m trying to wrap my mind around quantum mechanics. All I can say is too soon old and too late curious about things that my younger mind might have grasped, but no longer. My problem is that I never focused on one thing and now I know a little about many things but not a lot about anything.

  67. Trapper Jean – That is from the California Raisin Christmas Special. One of my favorites. The best part is the reoccurring gag with the two “hosts.” The one slowly loses his cool as various other characters mangle the lyrics to ” Here We Come A Wassailing.” The whole thing is on YouTube.

    Fell asleep on the couch right after work yesterday. Woke up at 1:30 this morning. Guess I will go in early.

  68. Debbe – Being nocturnal with a day job does that to you. And yeah, I think you set the most consecutive posts award. 🙂 Yay Monday! ( YUCK! 😛 )

  69. Well, my internal alarm clock messed up and my six o’clock nap ended at about two something in morning, so I said what the heck? and went back to sleep. I got the sheets changed before I fell into the bed with cats and dog but they aren’t washed, still on bathroom floor and the blanket was in the washer so I ended up sleeping in my clothes with no blanket! This confused animals, who ended up mostly cuddling all night which helped.

    Picking up where I left off, it rained seriously here last night and I see the stone mason helper out with a shovel, so I am assuming the leaves from all the neighbors are down in the new drain to the ditch! This is why the new ditch has no ponds nor waterfalls nor recirculation features. We will be lucky if leaves are all that go in, usually there are a lot of beer and soda cans, fast food cups, and similar debris.

    That and fact Mike observed early on that any carp would be washed into the lake with first big storm.

    Love, Jackie

  70. Mark, thanks for the link! What a neat song!

    Mindy, yes, I just forgot to say Claymation or California Raisins. I beg lateness of hour. And yes, the “waffling” is always funny. 🙂

    Ghost Sweetie, how about this one: fry the bologna without cutting the edges and it makes a little cup, then put a good spoonful of mashed potatoes in the cup, and one of green peas over that. My mom used to do that for her canasta parties.

  71. Jean dear, that would be fine, except for the green peas, which would probably be OK had not the elementary school cafeteria version of green peas not ruined them for me forever. I would substitute turnip greens, as my sister and I both loved mixing our greens with mashed potatoes and adding a splash of white vinegar. With, of course, cornbread in the side. (Try it; it’s much better than it sounds.)

    I believe I’d still have to go with the Bacon Bowl Maker (As Seen on TV!) I mentioned the other day.

  72. Ghost Sweetie, I heartily agree about elementary school green peas! The only kind I eat now, other than fresh when I can get them, are the frozen petite peas. I really don’t understand the British thing for canned mushy peas. As for greens and potatoes, I prefer kale, sauteed in a bit of bacon fat, and then mixed with the mashed potatoes. For turnip or collard greens, I usually go with rice, black eyed peas, and cornbread.

  73. Jean dear, I can tell that you have “Southern cook” stamped all over you. Well, all of you I can see, anyway. 😉

    I have heard that fresh green peas are a horse (well, a pea) of a different color, and perhaps someday I will be able to overcome the memory of those overly green and loathsome lunchroom legumes and try them.

  74. Ghost, if you get your hands on any English peas fresh, steam them in a Chinese bamboo steamer with a layer of lettuce on bottom. If not, use any steamer with same layer of lettuce.

    Whole other vegetable.

    Canned peas are useful to make creamed pea soup but drain off the liquid before you blend them.

    Canned petit pois are edible with new potatoes and a few other improvements. Frozen petit pois are pretty decent if not overcooked.

    I come from a long line of women who began lunch/dinner right after they washed the breakfast dishes. I do not, I am into fast cooking and steaming, light sauté, that sort of cooking. My poor mother chews the green beans and spits the main part out, same on sauté of greens.

    Did notice some greens out in garden, so I should cook her some.

    It is ironic to me that Southern cooking is now so stylish. I am actually good on “Soul Food” because that is how I learned to cook and Cajun/Creole I learned in Lafayette and New Orleans.

    On bologna subject, I do believe it is part of Oklahoma’s official
    meal. One thing they do up here is smoke it and barbque it as well. One of my favorite restaurants serves a huge sandwich which I believe has bologna, hot links and brisket and some other stuff crammed in.

    Personally I love their “Bruben” which has brisket substituted for the pastrami.

    Love, Jackie

  75. Jackie, there were chickens and bees on our old homestead (it was in central Florida, just east of Orlando). You shouldn’t have any trouble with the bees, but consider checking with your county Ag agent first. They could give you good advice for your area.

    Wonder if Arlo and Janis are going to head over to the kids’… to both help out and share Christmas?

  76. Jackie, why would you think I might not have a Chinese bamboo steamer? 🙂

    Even though I have an aversion to most green pea-ish dishes, I find split pea soup to be quite palatable.

    I can believe that bologna could be an ingredient in Oklahoma cuisine. After all, in Hawaii, Spam sushi is a thing.

  77. Actually I figured you had a bamboo steamer which is why I mentioned using one! Now me, I have no idea where mine is nor if it has been donated, lost or stored!

    Having graduated from a bonifide agriculture school, I ALWAYS go bug (pun) county agents for information, so I will on the bees as well as read all I can first. Turns out my part time gardener whom I rehired knows all about chickens but not bees.

    Now I am thinking about free range chickens if I can get my yard fenced. The front yard is coming along slowly but coming. Mike says it is Kyle’s retirement project, meaning he will work on it until he is ready to retire!

    Watching birds outside on feeders makes me think I need to put some more in my line of sight from office. I have moved into metal feeders, the kind that squirrels can’t get to and chew up.

    Am not sure if the river through my front yard or the trellised raised garden in back yard cause more comments. When I add a chicken house and a fancy fence that will probably get more traffic! Actually fence isn’t fancy but stainless steel cattle panels framed in cedar panels. Not common around here though.

    Love, Jackie

  78. [The Black Hole of Moderation Strikes Twice. I’ll try with a different link.]

    Again, words fail me…

    And I always thought this was just a joke…

    “A pickup truck carrying four male students from (insert name of the college/university you most enjoy denigrating) left the road and submerged after running into a lake. The two students in the cab escaped and swam to shore, but tragically, the two riding in the bed of the truck drowned when they were unable to lower the tailgate.”

  79. As I recall, the next step in the Gene/Mary Lou saga was Gene going looking for Mary Lou the next time the family hit the coast. Had she not called him here, I wonder if he would have gone looking for her…

    And I recall correctly, Janis held the opinion that any girls calling boys had to have the decency to refer to themselves as “hussies.”

    JJ, we need an indexed strip locator on the new site. 😉

  80. What a day. I shall leave it at that. Well, my day was okay, but some of my co-workers … not so much. Spent three hours trying to untangle three days worth of confusion st another store to help out a newbie manager. I really ought to work on those Christmas cards….

  81. Back in very early 90’s I sold Lincolns to mainly fairly elderly customers (and Mercury Grand Marquis after they fainted at the Lincoln’s price) Our dealership was owned by a lovely lady, ex-Vegas showgirl, who believed in real customer service. She had in fact written and ramrodded the Ford-Mercury-Lincoln customer satisfaction program.

    So, not only did we demonstrate how to operate everything in the cars, we set keyless doors, cell phones, radios, voice activation features, heaters, CD players, the adjustable seats, etc. but we drove with them and taught them how to drive the bloody cars if needed. How about teaching a woman who has never driven a stick shift to drive one in Houston traffic?

    Anyway, we had plans A-B-C-D for crisis, like a duplicate key we kept in the dealerships safe/files on all sold cars, those who sold the car had to go find the little old lady and her purse inside car and get her inside, or open trunk and get the hidden numbers that would let us override her codes, or push the button that released the feature that stopped the car by turning off the gas when hit from behind gently/bumped.

    My mama who at 93 has bought about 8 cars in same period I have driven the same pickup truck (maybe 9-10 actually) has not once had a salesman even show her how to do anything on a car.
    Nor would she accept my help in buying one nor Mike’s help and we are excellent car salesmen. Mama once bought a van with a built in CD player front and back and a babyseat that added a ton to the cost and never knew she had them!

    Yes, I WILL believe anything I hear on cars/car salesmen/buyers!

    Loved the Aggie joke, Ghost!


  82. Scuze me, I meant to say two DVD players, front and back, headphones for them, multi-play CD players, a built in baby seat, a moon roof, built in cell phones, all when these kinds of things cost lots of extra $$$$. She wouldn’t trust me to help her pick one out of course so she got ripped off constantly. She loved to show off to salesmen how much money she had, always a bad thing to do!

  83. Should have gotten around to this earlier. That animated video of ‘We 3 Kings’ was a hoot, including the three camels, of obviously a different ethnicity. But you need to know something about camelids [O.W. camels + their S.A. relatives]*. True ruminants [4 stomachs] have NO upper incisors. Camelids [3 stomachs] have one much reduced incisor, and its not in the front of the upper jaw. Those big buckteeth were funny but most misleading. Here’s a skull of one of the S.A. camelids, a guanaco [wild ancestor of the llama]:

    *Why the disjunct distribution? The earliest camels originated and diversified here, in N.A., moved into Asia via Beringia and more recently into S.A. via Panama, then went extinct here, possibly assisted in that by humans that migrated here via Beringia.

    Peace, emb

  84. Jackie, I drive a 2011 Crown Vic, not because I’m an old fart, but because “it’s got a cop motor, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks”…well, you know the rest of that. Oh, and a big trunk for carrying, ah, stuff. Being basically a 1992 automobile, it’s pretty easy to figure out all its features. I think that resetting the digital clock twice a year is about the most complicated thing about it.

  85. That news story about the couple getting locked in their car all night was certainly … “interesting”. And has resulted in some good stories from Jackie and Ghost. I’m careful always to keep the owner’s manual right in the car, and what’s more, I have read it from cover to cover and try to follow its advice. I’m driving a year 2000 Dodge mini-van, which we bought used in … 2004 or 5 and have had very little trouble with. Everything is very simple to operate, and to fix! I will bet that you can guess what color this car is!!

  86. I would be totally remiss if I did not laud the fourth panel of this retro strip. The cartooning skill evidenced in depicting Gene’s face is worthy of Schulz (the acknowledged old master.)

    It is sort of like admiring acting in a way… when the emotion is conveyed and the audience relates to it. And brother, do I ever relate to Gene there!

  87. Ghost, I never meant to infer that you were an old anything! And yes, I knew you drove a Crown Vic. I didn’t know it was a 92 but in that case I could sell it to you.

    I had a couple of trite car jokes, “What is the difference between a Lincoln Towncar and a Gran Marquis?” “$24,000”

    “How big is a Lincoln’s trunk?” “Mam, it will hold at least ten traveling salesmen in my experience.” Silly stuff like that.

    The Crown Vics and Grand Marquis were well made and were like riding in a big sofa, they rode so well. And the motors were awesome.

    I have to go move some laundry around. I have decided I am so tired because I haven’t had 5 uninterrupted minutes for some time now, at least not conscious.

    Actually I enjoyed selling cars but even that has changed a lot. I suspect I would fit in more with today’s style of selling where honesty seems to count.

    Love, Jackie

  88. Speaking of Spam, another dish my mom would make was to dump the block of Spam into a skillet and pour a mixture of mustard and catsup over it as a sort of imitation barbeque sauce, then bake it for 15 minutes or so. Serve with instant potatoes and (shudder) green peas.

    Ghost Sweetie, I learned to cook in self-defense, and most of that was watching my dad’s mom, who was one of the (in my opinion) great Southern farm cooks.

  89. Good morning Villagers…

    So Indy Mindy, your Monday was like mine….horrendous. We had TWO augers out, and the water line had been pushed to the front of the cages, and the water nipple got hung up and had poured water into the feeding trough…..and I packed, stacked, and wrapped 9 skids of eggs. I was one tired puppy.

    My spare bedroom, the “I don’t know what to do with it so I’ll throw it in here” room, had become Santa’s storage room. It’s full of toys and stuff for little Kyle and Brooklynne Rose. Kyle’s mom is lucky that I enjoy wrapping.

    GR 😉 yes, what a coincidence. I have her Christmas CD. I grew up with that whole album playing every Christmas….mom loved Brenda Lee.

    Mark, I couldn’t pull up your link…will try later…..

    ….oh, and I love peas and mashed taters together.

    I have my three month check up today with my doctor. The good old FDA changed my pain meds to a certain class of narcotics, and now I have to see her every three months….but, there would be no way I could work without them…good old Aurther and his buddy Itis….hips and legs are the worse. And I do a lot of walking and twisting and standing on concrete…right now it’s cold concrete.

    Ya’ll have a blessed day……

    today’s grin:

  90. You can’t send a text to the cute little girl next to you in Algebra class unless you already know her phone number. So, there’s still the awkwardness of asking for her phone number….. 🙂

  91. Started to type “good morning” and decided it wasn’t!

    Hello Villagers!

    Anyone else besides me ever have nightmares about rioters/thieves/whatever tearing out the contents of historic homes that seem to have been loaded with great carved (enormous) wooden trim, statuary, gilding, iron works, etc. and stealing them faster than you can defend the house? And other heinous crimes as well.

    This is one of those repeated nightmares that get worse and worse with the retelling. I am not in a good mood this morning and the weather reflects my mood. The dogs all want in to stay warm and to bark at each other, pee on the floor. Dogs are historic as well.

    Need to finish packing and get ready for a trip to Tulsa with Mike and Mom. I pack because I never know if we will be staying when we get there. So, I may be missing although I intend to take computer along if I can find the cords? It does work on a battery as well.

    Things are not going well with Mike or mom although cardiologist says he can find nothing to account for the constant angina. I only bought one “transport chair”. It is ironic that I am the mobile one!

    Love you all, Jackie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.