Time Travelers Beware!

The headline that caught my eye was “China Bans Time Travel“.

My first thought was that here is another unnecessary restriction against an imagined threat – like Oklahoma banning sharia law.

Reading into it a bit, I discovered something with a little more nuance. It wasn’t an outright ban, but rather, an official expression of displeasure. Though in China, what’s the difference? If the declaration on the right means what the New York Times ArtsBeat Blog says it means, the authorities in Beijing formally frown on time travel as a theme in TV shows because such dramas are lacking the required “positive thoughts” area. Also, the plots of such shows “casually make up myths, have monstrous and weird plots, use absurd tactics, and even promote feudalism, superstition, fatalism and reincarnation.”

So?

It is a stretch for free Americans to imagine living in a place where the entertainment is not built atop “monstrous and weird plots,” and the government dictates the scenario, but perhaps it’s not as bad as we think. After the ArtsBeat article appeared, others chimed in with a slightly different reading – that China has not banned time travel stories outright, but simply cautioned writers and producers against misrepresenting exalted figures of the past when they should be treated with total adoration.

Still.

One blogger pointed out that here in the USA, our exalted figures of the past are all fair game for pretty much anything – witness the effort now underway to make a film out of “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.”

Another possibility that has apparently occurred only to me – China did in fact launch a brutal crackdown on all use of time travel in fiction and in fact, but mysterious people from the distant future swooped in and switched the documents to soften penalties that would otherwise apply to their favorite authors and filmmakers someday – thus avoiding significant pain and discomfort for the very people whose creative anarchy inspired them to become time travelers in the first place.

Well, why not? It could happen. If I were a technologically sophisticated interloper from the future, I’d do what I could to keep Irwin Allen out of jail simply because he gave us Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and this: The Time Tunnel.

Oh, wait. To the people of 1966, I AM a technically sophisticated interloper from the future.
But I still can’t travel through time. Not here, and certainly not anywhere in China. Dang it.

When have you run afoul of an official policy?

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93 thoughts on “Time Travelers Beware!”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons:

    Well, constantly. Anytime I am involved with an system of any kind, whether it is my employer or my family I run afoul of “official policy.” Since learning to talk I am forever the person who says the thing that should not be said. And I cannot NOT do this–it just happens. It just happened on Sunday at a family gathering, as follows:

    My sister: You should have seen what I had to do to get mom to go to Aunt Mary’s funeral. Mom just does not want to be around crowds anymore. So I pulled out my trump card, saying, “Mom, Peggy Sue will be there.”

    Niece: Who’s Peggy Sue?

    Blabbermouth Jacque: Oh, she was Grandma’s favorite grandchild, so everybody had to show up for her activities. It was her step-mother who died so everybody had to go to the funeral according to the family rules.

    Room: Shock and Silence.

    Inside of Jacque’s Mind: Oh, you did it again. You are not supposed say those rules out loud. Now everyone will make an excuse for this even though we all know it’s true.

    And they did make excuses for Grandma having a favorite.

    To me it always seems perfectly obvious, so I say the thing without realizing that other people know NOT to comment on the unspoken stuff, then I am in trouble for saying the unofficial, official policy.

    Sigh.

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    1. have the same problem, except lack your moxie. I can keep my mouth shut in those situations, but the TMJ is sure to catch up with me any day now.

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    2. great story jacque. the disfunction that we all live with is there alright.i use a quote i heard somewhere “those other people are alls crewed up, you and i are the only ones who are ok, and i’m not always certain about you.”

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      1. There’s a version of that saying in the 1931 “Dracula,” delivered by one of the comic Cockney characters. “They’re crazy. They’re all crazy, except you and me. And sometimes I’ve got me doubts about you!”

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  2. Morning all! I LOVED this show when it was on. The concept of visiting different times and places does appeal to me, as long as I don’t have to stay there.

    Run afoul of official policy? Came close to getting arrested at a No Nukes demonstration at the old Honeywell complex (now Wells Fargo) a couple of decades back, skipped school for a week during the late sixties (I was in 7th grade) to help protest against the Vietnam War (my middle school was right next to Webster College), and, of course, there was the “skirt made from a tablecloth” incidental, also 7th grade. These days I am known at my office as the person who knows how to cut every corner and occasionally skip a step or two of the official process, but since I’m still employed after 2 decades, I’m guessing I’m not too afoul!

    June… if you’re here today… I loved hearing about how long your planning process took and I love the phrase “credit card camping”!

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    1. Yep, “credit card camping” is going into the Baboon Dictionary. I’ve been saving these for a while now… Jacque, did you say you were keeping track of some of them?

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    2. I’m here – albeit late! Thanks for the shout-out. I too was thrilled to see the “Time Tunnel” promo clip, it was absolutely one of my favorite TV shows of my youth. Hadn’t remembered that wonderful intro with the car driving into the “hole” – has such a Twilight Zone aura!

      Barb, I am honored to have an entry in the Baboon Directory!

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  3. Hmmm, wondering what that “lacking in positive thoughts” area rule could do for the news here…..

    I was raised to be a rule follower and fearer of “the authorities”. I had kept my nose pretty clean, not out of virtue, but out of simple fear of getting caught and sanctioned.

    Of course, then I quit the Ph.D in Anatomy to join the theatre and also became a mother, so really, all that line towing was for naught.

    My current compromise is to search out places that have rules I don’t mind following-I find it easier than trying to bash this square peg into the nice round hole.

    I find the Trail to be nice place with pretty flexible holes for all the different pegs trying to fit themselves in.

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    1. I’m with you, MiG – it seems easier to find places that have rules I can live with and work with (or around) than be in a place where the rules chafe.

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      1. sometimes, the choices of “where to be” can be limited, or you find out after you are well settled in someplace that there are rules that never even occurred to you in full force.

        of course, there is also the matter of not choosing the family you are born into.

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      2. i hear you. i know the real world doesn’t allow choice as easily as my little la la land. as for family. i am lucky there. my family is great. the relatives on occasion are challenging but parents and sibs are good. ..except for that one sister.

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  4. In my current job, part of the duties include making sure that the 1100+ users I work with (virtually) follow the rules. I get some flexibility in deciding how to apply those rules, but some are rules dictated by Our Great Government (e.g., copyright and trademark), so I have to stand firm on those. There are days I come home feeling like I have been Cranky Mom all day with my (virtual) charges. And yes, I do get the digital equivalent of putting someone in a Time Out Chair…

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      1. Sometimes I wish I could make people write, “I will not copy images from Google Image Search” 100 times on a virtual blackboard…(or “I will not post coupons on my web site” or….)

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  5. ebay is a kick. you put stuff on there and some guy comes in and says it was not exactly what he thought it was or took longer than he thought to get a reply and gives you negative feedback and if you get one more you are kicked out of ebay for 30 days until you prove yourself worthy again. then you can be closed down altogether. the guy can be totally off base but ebay wants to be sure there are no unscrupulous sellers out there. i am so surprised that no one has come up with an ebay alternative yet that i am feeling inspired.

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  6. Well, there were the parties in college that would get raided for underage drinkers, and you’d be lucky if you got out the back door. Living with Husband before marriage was problematic for my folks. But my “favorite” would have to be my former NfH*, who finally decided to threaten us with exposure if we did not 1) leash our cat; 2) keep our son from using ilicit stuff in the back yard; and 3) make sure we were burning legally in our firepit. I was almost ready to call the Police Department to see if they wanted to deputize her.
    * Neighbor from Hell

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  7. Good morning to all,

    I actually like good rules or policies that make the world a better place to live. The people who are some of the biggest rule breakers are some of the people in government who are actually supose to be making rules and policies that benefit us. Enough said on that.

    I recently got my name in the paper as a rule breaker for passing a school bus that was stopped and had it’s signal arm out requiring traffic to stop. I didn’t see this bus which was stopped on the other side of a busy street in a business area. Apparently the bus driver, who was retired shiriff, saw me and took down my license number.

    I had to go to court and pay a fine. Fortunately I got some good advice and talked to the county attorney before going to court. He told me that he knew that it was easy to miss seeing a stopped bus on a busy city street and he could get the charge reduced. That was good because you can sometimes lose the use of your driver license as part of the penalty for this violation.

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    1. Jim, the same thing happened to my son. You can even get jail time for it. It is considered a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota. It was reduced to a simple misdemeanor in my son’s case. Conviction for a gross misdemeanor could potentially prevent travel into Canada, by the way. It is considered in the same category as a DUI

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      1. There was another person in court who had also passed a stopped school bus and said she didn’t even have enough time to stop when the bus pulled over coming from the other direction. The judge and county attorney were also willing to reduce her penalty. I knew a convition for the full penalty would be bad, but I didn’t know it could be as bad as you have indicated, Renee.

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      2. He was even fingerprinted. He had never ever been in any trouble before, and it shook him up so much that he burst into tears on the stand duirng the trial. He is 6’5″ and 240 lbs and I think that the tears let the judge and prosecutor know he wasn’t a flagrant scofflaw.

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    2. These are good laws of course, as I know from nearly having my child run over. But lots depends upon the driver to help the other drivers, as the drivers in the district where I worked were trained to do. This is a big issue on the North Shore and my kids rode the bus up Hwy 61. If one of our drivers reported someone, their boss would ask about the situation to avoid these moments. The drivers would pull over at many places to not build up cars behind them on Hwy 61. On other roads they would be sure the driver had leeway, enough time to react. I was very proud of our drivers and their poss for how they handled all this.

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      1. I do always make a good effort to stop when I should for school buses and I don’t know what happen when I got my ticket for not doing this because I didn’t see the bus. I had to accept the word of the person who turned me in. I don’t know if I really did violate this law.

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      2. They do not pay bus drivers enough. Tough job with very odd hours and low pay. Watch the street, control the kids you can only see in the mirror, make sure no one gets killed, inside or outside the bus. This should make them sensitive to other drivers, but as per human nature, they sometimes do the opposite.

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  8. Hmmm…have I ever run afoul of official policy? You’re asking me this just as I’m preparing to file my tax returns? Just what are you implying?

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  9. I entered my undergraduate college as a smarmy, servile dweeb who couldn’t imagine doing anything to offend The Powers That Be. Year by year I grew more fractious until everything exploded in the Tom Jones incident. After that I had to invent a new identify for myself as someone too thorny and rebellious to suck up to The System.

    In the years that followed I instinctively sought out jobs where I was my own boss. I got along with that boss pretty well. When I did experiment with working for a larger organization again (a unit of the U of MN), it was an utter disaster. So I became a freelancer for four decades. As long as I didn’t have a boss, I didn’t have to worry about cheesing off the boss. And nobody could tell me what to say or think.

    Late in life I got a “real” job again, working in a cubicle as a writer for the DFL party. Getting a regular paycheck sure was nice, but I didn’t like living in terror of offending people more important than myself, which was everybody except possibly the janitorial staff. I almost got fired several times because it seemed there were no rules but in fact there were many, they just weren’t written down.

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    1. Interesting, Steve. I’ve always avoided being my own boss because I think I would be much harder on me than anyone else!

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      1. Verily and Steve,
        Yup, that regular infusion of cash is a very good thing, and if somebody is going to be making up the rules as they go along, would just as soon it would be me.

        On the other hand, I am, as you suspect you would be, Verily, a very tasking sort of boss. I also don’t have good skills on negotiating compensation for my employee (me). sigh

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      2. what I like in that situation is that the boss and I agree on hours and priorities. She is a slavedriver, though.

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      3. My boss is on a rampage now, and I hardly dare to breathe. He just fired the bookkeeper and accountant, but not before torturing them (tying them to chairs and playing tapes of MB speeches for hours and hours). I’m keeping my head down.

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    1. Aarrgggghhhhh! I did actually read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (10-hour car drive – other books on CD had been gone through already) and I thought it was just awful. So much could have been done w/ this idea and it just stunk. Too bad.

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      1. I could always put a quilting book inside the cover, I guess. Still have to track down the latest Jasper Fforde (there is a new one, right)-even my SPPL librarian is in awe of your spreadsheet, Verily, and confirmed, we don’t have the level of hold sophistication you do in Minneapolis (yet)

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      2. Library just e-mailed me that CD of “One of Our Thursdays is Missing” is in transit for me. Guess I know what I’m doing this weekend!

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      3. should you need a break, the Textile Center Garage Sale is on Saturday-you never know what you are going to find! Got my current sewing and knitting machines there for very little cash.

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  10. Morning–

    You mean the stop signs with the white around them being optional? Like that kind of official policy?
    I fully believe in ‘It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission’. I learned early on that when the answer is “No”, it means I just didn’t phrase the question right…

    Such a fun group here… great stories the last few days. And Thanks Dale!

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    1. Ha ha ha… I just used the phrase “easier to get forgiveness than permission” yesterday. To my boss!

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  11. in china the consequences for getting nabbed on one of these stupid charges is real. they have a setup where if the wrong person wants you in the pokey you will never get out. i knew one guy who got his hands cut off for being an unscrupulous business man. another who was caught trying to get into a city where you needed the correct paperwork like a visa to enter. he had something wrong with his paperwork even though he was ok to enter and he was scared to death because it can take forever to get out of the pokey to discuss your case over there. i had an incident where at the train station on my way to the airport an hour away i was schlepping 2 suitcases a backpack and 2 cellos. i got out of the cab and these 4 guys came up offering to help me carry my bags. i was ok with that but you negotiate the deal very precisely and up front and the offer they want is 5 dollars each and the offer i put on the table is 4 dollars for the whole job. they argue for a couple of minutes with themselves whil i am getting the stuff ready to carry myself on one of those little trollys. they say ok and then take me a back way to the destination so as not to alert the athorities as to their capitalistic ambitions, halfway there the police catch them and the drop my bags and run. two get caught and they are bawling with grief knowing their life was screwed. the stuff we put up with here is nothing in comparison. jim able to talk his way out of an oversight is possible here. not there.

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    1. tim, I guess traveling in other parts of the world can be very interesting to say the least. Very good story. It reminds me of Bill Holmes’ book on his experiences in China, “Coming Home Crazy”.

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      1. Excellent book, Jim. Because of this book, I made sure I took a Red Cross pocket knife with me when I went to China. And Bill Holmes was right, it was really useful!

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    2. i heard bill holms after his return from teaching in china , must have been on the morning show… dale? … he was talking about how the chinese people loved the new influx of t shirts with english on them. they didn’t know what they said but they loved the t shirts. well, he had this little this little girl in his class, i had her pictured about 6 or 7 and she showed up one day with the t shirt that said… too drunk to f*** . no one else had any idea there was a problem but bill had to figure out how to get her a different t shirt.

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  12. It’s hard to teach school very long and not believe in 1) sound policies and rules of the clearest and most limited nature possible and 2) the humane application of the same. Any other attitude makes long-term educators martinets or bitter or burns them out fast, which is how schools come to have some of difficult employees, or one way anyway. In schools you know the kids and that helps apply rules. And you try to listen first. I reported homes for abuse three times by asking why a student was acting up. A real conversation that occurred in front of a few senior high students, with a key change.
    Me: “______, why are you being a pain today?”
    _____: “Does the fact my grandfather raped me again this morning explain it?”
    My wife, the small-town librarian, was a genius at applying and forgetting rules sat the right moment.

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    1. Clyde, I am in complete agreement with what you say about rules and how to use them. I was never a full time teacher, only a sub. It is almost impossible in schools today, if our school district is typical, for a substitute teacher to avoid problems with getting students to behave. I was not strict with students and they somewhat took advantage of me. I think the bad use of rules by some of the teachers is one of the reason I had problems with behavior. However, I didn’t think that I should be heavy handed since I don’t approve of the heavy handed approach taken by some teachers. I did enforce rules when I thought it was necessary.

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    2. its hard to remember that stuff goes on but it does doesn’t it. as a teacher you realize there are all sorts of homes the kids are coming out of. it has to be hard not to be judgemental but those stories just have to get ot you and your perception of what a kid has to go through to get to the next step in life. wow

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      1. A good friend, like time football coach but very decent man and all around excellent educator, became the Dean of Students, which meant he dealt with all the problem kids. He decided his coaching discipline would do some good. At Thanksgiving I asked him how it was going. Her said he started listening to them and wanted to take them all home and love them.

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      2. I very impressed with something I heard when I was subbing at an alternative program in the school district for students that were not doing well. This came from a person who did a lot of volunteering at that program. He said he was giving these students a lot of leeway and not being very hard on them because he knew that some of them didn’t get very good treatment from their parents.

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  13. I tend to run afoul of the unwritten rules, the mores or folkways or whatever, as if I could remember the distinction between them. I did it last night, as I often do when doing pulpit supply. I did four Wednesday Lenten services at one church, last night the last of the four. So right before service last night the music leader confronted my about how I was not correctly doing the Holden Evening Service, very commonly done in churches for Lent, by which he meant I missed a subtle nuance they had.

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    1. some people are jerks, that guy is a jerk . you cant ever do right by jerks so get past he idea that what that guy says matters at all. it is intersting how you cant tell about a person until they open their mouth then you cant help but know more than they intend.

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    2. I had no idea there was a “right” or “wrong” way.
      That hardly seems to be in the spirit of Holden.

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    3. It never bothers me, just makes me laugh. Could tell you many such tales.
      Catherine, they reread the Gospel text from last week before the Magnificat and I was supposed to do the sermon after the Magnificat.

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      1. oh, I see-here I thought something was amiss with the singing bits-so did you do the sermon too early, thereby giving the inattentive the idea that the service was nearly over long before it really was? that would be unkind :)

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  14. One of the rules of the modern mind is that we cannot follow a news story for more than 2-3 days or 7-8 if it is really bad. So updating the numbers in Japan: 14,000 dead, 15,000 missing. 150,000 homeless. How do we grasp numbers like that?

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    1. how do you not put it on the news to let people see the needed level of asistance they need. abc cbs nbc maybe these places have expensiuve shows that could not be bumped out of the way but how about all the news channels and others who could do a docu story that would be meaningful and touching to help the world understand

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  15. A folkway of MN, and maybe everywhere, is that on a rainy day like this, especially in the spring, is that you are supposed to complain about the weather. My wife and I find days like this very attractive. The rain beats perfectly against my office/studio window in our new apartment.
    I was just out grocery shopping. When the check-out clerk complained about the weather, I told her it was beautiful out. Ah, the disgust on her face!
    A good day to be inside, but I may take a walk after awhile. Maybe I will meet those other lovers of rainy days, Calvin and Hobbs.

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    1. i learned to love rainy days working construction. they would work you for 15 minutes then give you the day off. gotta love the unions. lots of rainy day stuff that you would never think of doing on a sunny day.

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    2. I have gotten a few funny looks the last few days when I have said, “I hope it rains.” We need it to wash away the crud, to get rid of the ambient stuff in the air (that is making me sneeze), and besides that, I love the way it smells when it rains in spring. Bring on the rain!

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  16. (Obviously I am avoiding getting to work on the apartment, but we are close to done, really.)
    Dale, nice blog today. I once heard that the French loved Time Tunnel and the cast was hired to make an additional episode just for France in which the characters went back and gave DeGaulle’s mother birth control pills at the key moment.
    The French, by the way, may be the world’s greatest scofflaws.

    And so to work . . .

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    1. Speaking of birth control, I was in line at the Target pharmacy yesterday. The kid ahead of me said, “I need just one pill. Can you sell me a Morning After pill?” And I thought, “Well, someone has an interesting story to tell!”

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  17. Feel like a time traveler today. We’re staying with the grandkids for the weekend while their parents are on a brief getaway. The boys are 12 and 8, the baby girl is 1. Whole different thing living the life again instead of having the grandma role. Baby wants to go outside, never mind that it’s cold and wet. Our dog and baby are learning how to get along, but baby is frustrated with dog’s ability to dodge her attentions. Distinction between dog toys and baby toys is difficult for either of them to discern. We’re having a great time and everyone is behaving wonderfully well so far, but the only way I’d want to go back to the full time parenting years is if I get to be that age again too. This is not a job for the elderly and I’m feeling quite elderly.

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    1. One of the very elite people–well, they are all elite in that show–is my wife’s dear high school friend, Judith Kinghorn. Wish we were going.

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      1. What does she make/sell, Clyde? We may go, as our Winona friends will be displaying Bernadette’s glass jewelry.

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  18. Good Evening Kids!

    I wouldn’t call it breaking official policy, but one time I told a principal to suck an egg. Until that day, he’d always displayed a good sense of humor.

    Speaking of eggs, do you know why Peter Cottontail married Humpty Dumpty? He wanted to become the first Easter Bunny to lay an egg.

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