Re: Accumulation and Pruning

1

Could be worse--your mother's cats could have ruined everything via pissing and scratching, with her oblivious to that fact.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:10 AM
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True! It would make some questions easier to answer, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:13 AM
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Can you make a list ahead of time (or at least think about it) of things that you know you really don't want to give houseroom to but will be tempted by in the moment?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:19 AM
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Ooh, my wife gets to do this next year, her parents are moving from 3 hours away to a smaller house a couple blocks away from us. Recently her mom said she found a bag of baby teeth and asked if my wife wanted them. Inspired by this, we are throwing away our kids' teeth as soon as the tooth fairy has converted them to coinage.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:23 AM
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That's not a bad idea.

One area where I start to cycle down a rabbit hole is when I think, "I don't want it now but what if I want it in the future?"

The answer is, "Heebie, you like buying things. There is no shortage of stuff in this world, in the future."

The counterquestion is then, "But what if I want that specific, sentimental item?"

This is in fact something that will happen - something I say no to will be something I regret, and something I keep will end up being something I resent. So I should just accept that I won't guess right. Still, I go in circles trying to think everything through.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:24 AM
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"I don't want it now but what if I want it in the future?"

Trick a sibling into taking it and then guilt them out of it if you want it later.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:26 AM
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4: Buck, being sentimental, saved not only the children's but the dog's baby teeth. Being insane, he thought a good thing to do with the baggie of the dog's baby teeth was to put them in a small compartment of my jewelry box. Without telling me. Which freaked me the hell out when I found them unexpectedly years later.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:27 AM
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6: IIRC, this specifically is a problem -- the siblings wont take anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:28 AM
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I didn't know that dogs had baby teeth.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:29 AM
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8: Heebie's siblings must be clients of my family counseling business.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:30 AM
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Neither did I. Leaving me puzzled and horrified by the inexplicable scraps of bloodstained bony material in my jewelry box.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:30 AM
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Inspired by this, we are throwing away our kids' teeth as soon as the tooth fairy has converted them to coinage.

We used our baby teeth for science fair experiments. Maybe there's something cool like that you can do.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:32 AM
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When my mom has stuff she doesn't want, but doesn't want to throw away, she just mails it to other people. This seems to be an irritating but effective strategy for getting other people to keep things, at least for a while.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:33 AM
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Usually they swallow them.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:34 AM
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For serious though the OP thing sounds like something I would want some time with. Can you take pictures/make lists this weekend, and then make a final decision later after you have time to stew over it for a couple of weeks?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:35 AM
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I think my rule of thumb is that it has to be:
1. something that will get used or displayed immediately
2. something with a very clear future use (ie a book for older kids or a gift for a specific person)
3. Things that were made by a member of the family


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:36 AM
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You can live blog the process, and when you feel like you're being tempted to hold on to too much stuff, you can declare an auction and start accepting bids.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:37 AM
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I think 15 can be a category too, as long as I write down the specific item that I'm torn on.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:38 AM
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Is the choice you or the dump? That is, is there anyone else they'd give stuff to? Because if there was nice stuff you didn't want, you could pass it on to RL friends and acquaintances, if that would work with the family dynamics.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:39 AM
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14: And everything else. Our second dog ate June bugs until he vomited and then started again.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:41 AM
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I can tell you how not to do it. When my grandparents moved out of their house in FL my parents moved a bunch of the stuff they thought my brother and I might want, like furniture, into storage, with the plan to drive down and get it some time. The cost of renting a truck and driving aside, we never bothered to do it, so the cost of storage ended up several fold the value of any of the furniture or anything else. For all I know it might still be down there after... I don't know, 12 years?
So anything you don't an immediate use for, burn.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:41 AM
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ate June bugs until he vomited and then started again
Cue Elton John song.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:41 AM
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Definitely friends or other people who might take items are being taken into consideration. I consider it a win if an item is given to someone who will love it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:42 AM
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So that's a category, too: "I want it only if no one else wants it."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:44 AM
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My in-laws have young labradors that keep needing surgery because they won't stop eating rocks. Dogs are the worst.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:45 AM
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So anything you don't an immediate use for, burn.

The asbestos sweaters will stay in the family forever.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:45 AM
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I think you should set a limit for small, medium, and large items. Like, no more than five pieces of furniture, but up to twenty books. My parents diligently saved all sorts of stuff they thought we'd appreciate as keepsakes. Report cards, art projects, etc. They're planning their next steps, and I'm going to feel like such an asshole turning the stuff down. My mother has hundreds of little tchotchkes, as does her mother.

It is really stressful to get rid of large amounts of stuff. When we moved to DC, it started off as a nice, liberating process that ended up just depressing and full of petty arguments.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:47 AM
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25: Dogs need to swallow a few rocks so that they can grind food in their gizzard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:48 AM
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I went through this process recently when my parents moved out of their home of 32 years and I was pretty brutal. To be fair, most of the stuff I didn't keep was replaceable like books and clothes, but for instance they'd kept a bunch of stuff from my time at school which realistically would get stuck in a box in a cupboard and never looked at again. The only things I kept beyond a handful of books were photos.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:48 AM
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There is a gigantic trunk full of all of our childhood artwork. I think it would be nice to save 1-2 particularly charming pieces from me and my brothers, each. This of course means sorting through a gigantic trunk full of childhood art and I think I'm breaking out in hives now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:49 AM
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The whole situation does sound horrible and like a recipe for mental and emotional overload.

For me, when I'm trying to get rid of my own clutter, the biggest problem is that when I get tired I just start thinking, "I can't make a decision right now, I'll just hold onto it, and come back later." I end up not getting rid of enough.

I think the most difficult thing is getting out of the mindset that (a) the default is to keep everything, and it requires an active choice to get rid of items and (b) therefore you are responsible for anything that you chose not to save. If you can figure out how to break out of that mindset you're doing better than I would.

Good luck.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:50 AM
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Also every item has a story. The stories slay me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:52 AM
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21: Describe the stuff. Maybe it was featured in an episode of Storage Wars.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:55 AM
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We moved about 4 weeks ago, and I thought I was completely ruthless with our clutter [and thought I was completely ruthless last time we moved]. Then, when unpacking everything and building more bloody Ikea furniture, I realised that I'm completely mental. Because I clearly needed to bin at least another half a dozen boxes worth of crap.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:55 AM
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In the Geebie household, the keepsakes are divided into two separate yet equally important groups: the things that might be useful and the things that are purely kept for sentimental reasons. These are their stories.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:56 AM
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bloody Ikea furniture

You kept all the baby teeth too?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:58 AM
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30: Scanning or photographing everything would probably be faster and less taxing than sorting and deciding. There are 2-3 4x2x2 boxes like that for me.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:59 AM
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In the future all the keepsakes like kid's art or report cards or furniture will be digitized so we can keep it in the cloud forever.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 10:00 AM
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37: 3-d items that you photograph and throw out, you'll be able to replicate with a 3-d printer in the future, if you decide you need them.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 10:02 AM
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You know, I wouldn't suggest this to anyone else, mostly, but it seems as if it might work for you, given that you really like stuff generally, and the family sentimentality is something you're invested in, and you like traditions, and and and.

How would it work if you gave yourself permission to be overinclusive -- took things you're going to actively use, but also said that it was okay to take things if you just feel bad discarding them. And then, whenever they come into your possession, pack the things that aren't immediately useful up away someplace. And then set a reminder on your calendar, and every six months or so open one box, and deal with it -- discard things that it was insane to keep, start using anything that's become appealing, give away anything you can find a home for, and pack anything that still breaks your heart to make a decision about back away.

I would rather be shot than set up a process like that, and maybe you would too, but it sort of seems like the kind of thing you might like. You could make it a semi-annual thing to do with the kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 10:04 AM
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There is a gigantic trunk full of all of our childhood artwork. I think it would be nice to save 1-2 particularly charming pieces from me and my brothers, each.

Charming is not the word I'd use to describe my childhood artworks. Or indeed my artworks now, if I were to make any.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 10:05 AM
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On our whiteboard is a reminder for me to scan/organize our pre-digital photos by January. I believe it was initially referring to January 2011 but around this time every year I can feel like I'm on top of it. And the longer I wait the cheaper the storage to hold the files will be!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 10:07 AM
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My parents just emptied their home put it on the market. My sister got all the nice rugs and outdoor furniture I wanted. I got the 4-foot-tall, ebony giraffe.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 10:57 AM
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Hey, I think my parents had the matching kudu. But it broke a long time ago when something fell on it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:00 AM
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I got the 4-foot-tall, ebony giraffe.

Winning!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:01 AM
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43: Sounds to me like you got the better of it!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:02 AM
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Pwning!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:03 AM
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Yeah, I really have no use for an ebony giraffe. Maybe I should add some varnish and stick it out in the garden.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:05 AM
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49

Put a pigeon mask on it and put it in your living room.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:09 AM
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48: Can't you use it to change a lightbulb?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:11 AM
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I just put a piece of my kid's "artwork" into a frame we had lying around from Costco. I took the mat out to fit the work, and it looks pretty nice, in a shadowbox kind of way. However, my wife insisted that we keep the mat - just in case we want to put something else in this exact frame some day. I think this is kind of nuts, but didn't press the point.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:14 AM
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I think this is kind of nuts, but didn't press the point.

My marriage counselor is small plastic device which plays that message whenever I press a button.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:16 AM
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50: The government outlawed all the giraffe-enabled lightbulbs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:19 AM
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53: Damn you, Obama!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:22 AM
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Trick a sibling into taking it and then guilt them out of it if you want it later.

Mrs y and her siblings do this to each other all the time. Their mother died 12 years ago and there's still stuff going round in circles. I keep right out of it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:22 AM
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my wife insisted that we keep the mat

I would definitely keep the mat. That artwork might not stay in there forever! Mats are expensive!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:32 AM
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When my grandma died, I went with my Dad to keep the peace between him and his sister. His sister would have salvaged blank envelopes to make scratch paper. Dad would have made a quick pass with a flamethrower.

Now I worry about Dad's garage, but hope that his flamethrower attitude will persist when it is his own stuff.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:39 AM
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Can't you just put the picture in front of the mat instead of behind it to save it for later use?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:53 AM
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It's a drawing on some kind of thick board, almost as thick as the mat itself, so the back of the frame wouldn't close with both of them in there.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 11:57 AM
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Ok, I was just trying to think inside the box.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 12:19 PM
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Also every item has a story. The stories slay me.

This might have been said already, but are there items that you can take a picture of and then throw out the artifact? Digital pictures are easier to store and might elicit the story.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 12:21 PM
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yeah, I was pwned.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 12:24 PM
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Having managed to accumulate quite a bit of crap over time without really meaning to, I generally now just don't worry too much about it. If others need something, I probably have it, somewhere.

Although I'm still pondering what to do about a bag of several hundred googly eyes. The original plan was to decorate my front door with them, but then I stopped sleeping with the person with whom that idea was hatched, and the concept has lost part of the charm. They might have to go up in the dining room.

That probably makes very little sense if you haven't been over.


Posted by: Grumbles | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 12:33 PM
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63 requires photos.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 12:38 PM
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My mother has a "corner" full of crazy stuff she's kept for decades. It's a built-in shelf right next to her TV watching armchair, maybe 3'x3'. A couple years ago, my father asked me to clean it out while he took her to lunch, imagining that she might not notice. It was basically an enormous pile of disorganized paper. It included mis-matched stationery (she used to write more pages per envelope than each set allowed, so she ended up with dozens of envelopes), knitting and sewing patterns from the late 70s to present, a comprehensive collection of Sunset and Better Homes and Gardens, gridded notepads, colored pencils (2 sets), and several books on landscaping and gardening. I suspect it had never been tidied (the house was purchased in 1977). They came home when I was almost done and Mom started pulling stuff out of the recycling bin - "But I might make that sweater! How am I going to write Grandma with no envelopes!" I prevailed. Next time I'm there, I'm hoping to winnow the bookshelves. She refused to get rid of college texts on good activities for gym classes "in case she decides to go back to work." She's been retired for about five years, and she hasn't taught gym since before I was born (she was a substitute teacher). I really don't want that to be me.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 12:46 PM
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Googly eyes are just what Grumbles' front door needs.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 12:53 PM
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There are several boxes of my childhood stuff sitting in my parents' basement, and my mom wants me to go through it. Not having seen it for years and years, I think I will now be able to get rid of most of it with not problem. Maybe cull it down to yearbooks and a few other things. Smearcase and I have almost no storage in our current place, though. This makes me feel a bit silly about my three boxes full of computer and audio cords. I thought I was so minimalist until this last move.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:09 PM
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I'll post photos of all items I'm indecisive about to the flickr pool.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:12 PM
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63/4/6: I actually thought the butterflies painted on our front door already had googly eyes, but now I'm not sure and still in bed and checking seems so much effort.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:14 PM
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68: Can we make bids?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:17 PM
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It would be much better than the glitter butterflies, and a reasonable differentiator with my gothy neighbor. Although he's leaving, and I'm hatching a plan to take over that space, so it might end up being googly eyes everywhere.


Posted by: Grumbles | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:19 PM
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The bidding for lot # 37 begins at two commemorative bricks.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:27 PM
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Whoa, I went to the pool to see if anything was there yet and instead found LB's daughter beating the shit out of stuff.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:29 PM
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OT: Does Slate have editors? The typos are one thing, but Yggles made a LoTR genealogy error.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:39 PM
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Actually, he corrected it once, but it's still wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:41 PM
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The caption for this story originally stated that Arwen and Aragorn are half-elf and half-human. Aragorn is three-fourths human and one-fourth elf. Arwen is 3/16 human, 25/32 elf, and 1/32 Maia

Is this wrong? Please let us know! Enquiring minds!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:48 PM
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||

This is something we need to talk about if we are to maintain our reputation as filthy-minded cock-obsessed weirdos. Unfortunately, I can't really check it out with the kids around.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:51 PM
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Not that part. I never counted to see if that was right. He says both Aragorn and Arwen are descended from one of the two elf-human pairings when they are both descended from both of the two elf-human pairings.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 1:51 PM
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Now that my mom is gone, my dad is talking about getting rid of some of the stuff that fills their too-small-for-big-antiques ranch house. His plan is to drive things in his truck from Missouri out to New York and Massachusetts. So at his request, I have been keeping a running list of the things I would want. So, straight from the Notes on my phone:

wall mirror?
chest by downstairs steps
small school chairs
child chair made by mom's dad
Sylvia Kreuger steamer trunk
Schnarre farm painting
Hugo School lamp
Germ.-lang marriage certificates


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:03 PM
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Sylvia Kreuger was a woman in my church who used to bring me dolls from everywhere she traveled. She had been a school teacher in Chicago (the big city!), never married, and traveled the world. How she ended up in our little town, I have no idea. She was born sometime around 1900, I think. My grandmother was one of the two people who sorted her things when she died. Boy, was that a lot of things.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:05 PM
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Whoa, I went to the pool to see if anything was there yet and instead found LB's daughter beating the shit out of stuff.

I don't fly out till tomorrow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:12 PM
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Well if you want to get rid if anything apparently Sally is happy to destroy it.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:15 PM
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Newt had been waffling for a while, and Sally grew impatient.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:17 PM
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This sounds gory.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:24 PM
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83: You all look incredibly happy; I want your life. Also your books.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:29 PM
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This won't be a problem with my stuff from my parent's house. There is now no sign that a teenager ever slept in the room I grew up in. It's so color-coordinated, well-organized, and inoffensively-decorated that it looks like a hotel room and it has since I first went back there after high school. This is not the result of unusual organization by either me or my parents, though - they rented out the house after I graduated from high school, and moved back into it eight years later, so they basically started fresh. As for my stuff that used to be in the attic and barn, my parents unloaded it on me as soon as Teresa and I bought our house.

I don't know if they did that to beat Teresa's parents to doing the same deliberately or just got lucky, but either way they got lucky. Apparently Teresa has a lot of stuff somewhere I've never seen. My father-in-law keeps complaining about too little space for his stuff, but he has a hell of a lot more space we do in our row house. One of the projects on our list of home improvements (new cabinet, stuff like that) is digging out the crawlspace under our house and turning it into a basement. It would cost at least $20,000 so it's not high on the list, but we'd really need to do that before we get any more stuff.

I'm in the process of sorting my collection of Magic cards. After a lot of thinking about it, I've come up with a method that should be work for me. I've made Teresa cry once from spending too much time working on it, but I'm a little more than halfway done and I've already identified about 3,000 cards I can sell, give away, or use for arts and crafts. Reclaiming that much shelf space is probably worth some time.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:30 PM
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85: There's nothing like sudden acts of ultraviolence to bring joy to a family's heart at the Christmas season.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:45 PM
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My brother and I have a decent number (him 3000 me 500) of 80s era comic books, stored in plastic bags in cardboard boxes. Unfortunately that's when people said "Hey all those old comics no one took care of are valuable so let's save these!" So they're probably not worth much. My brother convinced me to buy one from him for $50 when we were kids, I hope that ones at least worth something.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:54 PM
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Aaaand it's for sale on Amazon for $19. Asshole.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:55 PM
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We seem to have had decent enough disposal practices, comparing with the rest of this thread. My mother asked me to go through a box of old stuff, and I wanted to keep a big folder's worth of miscellaneous journals, newspapers, and comics I produced from around ages 6-8, but the rest wasn't compelling (part may be my brother's).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 4:35 PM
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88: I've been debating whether to sell mine to the local comic shop for the shelf space alone. I'd be hoping for 10-25 cents a book on average, which given that I shoplifted most of them might turn out to be a net profit.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 4:58 PM
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In my experience, for my mindset, 40 is brilliant and gets it utterly right. It's close enough to what I've done with my mom's stuff, which included some (but not a lot) of my dad's stuff, and a fair amount of my grandparents' stuff. It's meant storing a dozen large tubs and more boxes of things in the basement for four years now, but as I go through them, there are treasures. My mom's jewelry. Crafty things my grandmother made, which I remember from childhood.

The culling, after the fact, works quite well: I can tell fairly instantly what I'm thrilled to find and what I care not about. Of course I tossed a great deal in the initial cull: I really wasn't interested in baby teeth or 2nd grade valentine's cards, which my mother had bizarrely kept.

My chief regret so far: a child's stepping stool, which converted to a little chair. It was around forever, used by 3 generations, and was cute as hell, and I would use it now.

68: I'll post photos of all items I'm indecisive about to the flickr pool.

I'd be interested to see this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:20 PM
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Are there services where someone will go through your family's stuff and sell the valuable things (collections, usable clothes, small kitchen stuff, etc.) on eBay, and they keep a cut of the profit as payment?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:28 PM
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a child's stepping stool... used by 3 generations
Probably enough lead paint on that thing to use it at Fukushima.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:30 PM
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There's no such thing as lead paint. Don't make up stories, SP. Why, if there were, living in old houses in this area would be a terrifying journey into unknown levels of potential brain damage.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:34 PM
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Ah, so you had to sign the form, "Officially I have no idea if this 80 year old house with glowing yellow trim paint has any lead in it and it is therefore perfectly safe to raise children here"? As long as the windows have been replaced and the trim isn't actively peeling you're fine. I've heard that deleading can actually stir up more dust than leaving it alone. Of our four kids, one had a 3 ug/dL reading once, and all other readings for all the kids were


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:40 PM
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Well that's suspenseful.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:41 PM
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all other readings were <2. Our house just turned 100 years old.
Apparently my html skill has suffered from eating paint chips.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:41 PM
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96: we got all the trim painted just in case, and we're replacing the windows in the spring when we might want to open them. So yeah, we'll probably be fine. But it's an exciting adventure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:46 PM
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93: Yes. Estate sales people do a lot of this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:50 PM
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The caption for this story originally stated that Arwen and Aragorn are half-elf and half-human. Aragorn is three-fourths human and one-fourth elf. Arwen is 3/16 human, 25/32 elf, and 1/32 Maia

Oh good lord. I know the guy who sent in this correction; was even at his wedding (a Halloween-weekend, Victorian/steampunk/etc. dress-up in SF, natch). He probably reads more of Slate than their editors do.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:50 PM
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We got a lead paint test kit to check out the doors, but rather than the simple 3M swabs, we ended up with some hardcore one with all these vials, and tools for scraping off or gouging out little paint samples. Seems like scraping or gouging a surface that might have lead in one of the underlayers would be counterproductive.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:53 PM
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101: I found the Gawker correction of the correction quite persuasive! And there's an unfogged connection in there, but I am not sure of the etiquette of pointing it out.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:53 PM
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The link in 103 is wonderful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:59 PM
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It is persuasive. I thought maybe the 1/4 figure for Aragorn was an estimate of combined ancestry based on royalty marrying cousins and such, but it is beside the point.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:02 PM
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Also, the link in 101 is quite amazing. I don't even know where you buy British barrister wigs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:04 PM
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94: Well, that's depressing, SP.

And yes, 93, 100: Of course there are estate sales people who specialize in exactly that, except they're not expecting to sell it on eBay. They tend to separate it out: call in booksellers to make an offer on the books, furniture dealers similarly. Small collections, eh, depends on what they are: some might go to auction. Or if the estate presents itself as a whole, on site (in the house of origin), an estate sale might be held right there -- after the books and any better furniture, as well as the general crap, is gotten rid of.

I don't know, though, what their commission generally is. As far as I know, nobody's going to go through your family's baby teeth. You do have to do that part yourself.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:05 PM
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If I cared about quality journalism, I'd send Yggles the link to family tree of Elrond and Elros to show him how Aragorn and Arwen aren't just descended from one of the elf-human pairings, but all of them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:11 PM
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Having done a lot of OP activity over the last year or so, I have sympathy but not a lot of practical advice. We are at the stage now where my Mom asks something like:
"I couldn't find my good ceramic Christmas ornaments, do you know where they might be?"
"Good fucking question, Mom. I 'd say:
1) someone in a chain of Goodwill or other donations is saying, 'I can't believe someone gave away such nice ornaments.'
or they are in a:
2) landfill
3) box in my basement or garage
4) box in my sister's attic or basement
5) one of your boxes in your storage bin in the basement of your apartment building.

And no one is feeling like looking through 3, 4 or 5 at the moment."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:11 PM
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I guess I don't think of anyone in my family as having an "estate" but the wealth connotation and term of art are probably quite different.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:12 PM
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I am in the process of liquidating my mostly-late-80s childhood comic collection. 95% of them went straight to Goodwill. I've successfully extracted a few hundred bucks from the remainder in small lots and single-issue auctions. The supposed market price of comics is mostly BS. Except for the really valuable ones, I'm getting 10-20% of the supposed value if any given issue.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:18 PM
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I'm the one with the most storage space, so I ended up with boxes of things my mother had saved when we cleaned out the house. (Also the carousel horse, but that's another story.)

Occasionally I look at one of them. Tonight I was tearing things apart looking for knitting needles* and came across a beloved childhood book (precious), some random fabric (could be useful) and some old clothes I had no compunction about tossing.

*After ~25 years, I do still remember how to knit. And you can do it using ballpoint pens, turns out.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:19 PM
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Speaking of journalists some of us sort of personally know, Ezra's leaving WaPo?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:20 PM
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I suppose I could take my 1980s baseball card collection to a dealer. I doubt they'd be worth anything at all -- they were nothing special at the time, and some have gotten warped over the years.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:20 PM
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113: I liked* how the Times sneaked a crucial fact into the the last line of the story -- Klein is apparently married to an NYT reporter.

*Disliked.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:21 PM
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I switch between not looking forward to my family's version of the OP process and thinking it will be OK because I have siblings who will be more willing to take items than I am. (I am pretty sure my present almost-successful minimalism is a reaction to my mother's tendency to coat every flat surface with things.)


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:22 PM
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...oddly, I feel I might not mind inadvertently acquiring a carousel horse.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:23 PM
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115: It's pretty standard for newspapers to disclose potential conflicts of interest. Do you disagree that this is a conflict of interest or think that newspapers should not disclose conflicts of interest?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:26 PM
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117: It's actually really gorgeous, and visitors love love love it. It's just heavy and fragile and it kind of contradicts my general policy of not having (potentially) valuable, unusable objects. Plus, I like my house to be small-child-friendly, and the horse is not really that.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:26 PM
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118: Neither. I think it's a key fact that speaks to the potential veracity of the story and should have been mentioned much earlier.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:27 PM
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Klein is apparently married to an NYT reporter.

But only apparently. Bob Woodward replaced the officiant at the wedding with a fake so the ceremony was invalid.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:28 PM
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I had some Mark McGwire cards that were briefly worth far more than I ever spent on baseball cards during the very short time I bought some of them. Some time later the box got lost during a move.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:29 PM
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110: estate sales are my very favorite thing in the world. It is not a status-y meaning of the word estate. Plenty of middle class homes do this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:33 PM
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113: Ezra's leaving WaPo?

What? Man. It was in the cards, pretty much, but ... okay, what's going to happen to the Wonkblog?

I guess I should read the link. I'm a tad distracted, because while talking with my brother earlier, he disclosed that he has a guest. He let me natter on for 15 minutes before mentioning this, and I was (a) embarrassed, and (b) excited.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:35 PM
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123: If who are still alive sell stuff, you're not at all moved.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:36 PM
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I must admit that neither the fragility nor unfriendliness-to-small-children occurred to me. I confess I was mostly thinking of the unlikelihood of my living quarters' accommodating it successfully. It would fit, but only in a crazy-quilt way.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:37 PM
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125: come again?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:38 PM
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52 made me do a spit take. Too true.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:38 PM
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Except that there is no link.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:39 PM
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127: I was making a joke/wondering aloud about why estate sales, as opposed to any other sale, were your favorite.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:40 PM
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124: I thought it was explicitly a part of his project to make a space for wonkery at the Post(dotcom), and I guess I would expect the proteges who are prominent at Wonkblog now to carry it on - unless the present story, which I haven't read either, suggests substantial hostility to the project.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:40 PM
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131: Right. Fine with me that a space for wonkery has been made at the WaPo. The assembled crew seems fine. What's Ezra moving on to, though? For I do hope it's not something craven.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:45 PM
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One doesn't want to spread rumors, but: Oh. Srsly?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:53 PM
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It sounds like he wanted an expanded site for explanatory journalism beyond wonk stuff. That seems kind of like a good idea.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:57 PM
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Or, still wants, according to the NYT article. He's looking for backers for an independent site. To add to Witt's point: 1) the Times doesn't present Klein's marriage as a potential conflict of interest explicitly - it's just a statement of fact; 2) newspaper stories have an effect on investment climate.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:00 PM
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I was admittedly answering w/r/t Wonkblog, and not wondering what Ezra's next step would be, but I'm not sure it's possible to evaluate that without further information. (For instance, will the expanded site 134 refers to be well-positioned to actually exert influence? I'm not sure I want to play the cynic here, especially when I'm about to hit the hay, but a little craven-ness might help there.)


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:03 PM
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Before retiring, though, I am marveling a little at my suddenly and instinctively referring to politico-media figures by their given names. I feel as though I'm being over-familiar, but it was quite natural.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:06 PM
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Sounds like it. From the reporting, there's no way to tell whether the 8-figure thing is about starting up a new thingy employing, presumably, dozens, or what.

It's not clear to me why such a thing is needed, at least with Ezra at the helm. There are places that do just that sort of thing, and do it well, no? The Monkey Cage just moved over to the WaPo. Explanatory journalism is all over the place. The idea was to put it under the WaPo name, with the eyeballs that come along with? And Ezra is the person to do it?

I like Ezra. I think he's being premature. He doesn't have enough to offer yet, that's different enough.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:06 PM
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138 to 134.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:07 PM
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Referring to Ezra by his first name is not a problem here, because he's a friend of the blog. Even if that seems completely stupid (Yglesias is a friend of the blog too, and he's last-named for good reason), EK does good hosting work on MSNBC. He's not an ass.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:12 PM
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I'm more or less aware of why I did it, but I am at the very least entertained by my having done something I wasn't likely to do before debuting here.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:18 PM
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After The Monkey Cage moved to the Post, I sort of forgot it existed. But that's probably more because I stopped regularly checking my old politics RSS feed list. I don't really know if explanatory journalism is everywhere, but it's certainly around here and there. I'm pretty sure there isn't really a site dedicated to it, though. I have no idea of the readership of Wonkblog, but I doubt it's near 538 level, or even that Sullivan guy who's still blogging somewhere, so it might be tough to set up independently.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:28 PM
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Just don't start referring to "Yggles", okay?

But yes, I stare and listen to myself sometimes when I -- very rarely -- do that sort of thing. I think it's only with respect to Klein.

Actually ... we should stop it. Think of how many Sunday morning talking head shows feature people talking about "Grover".


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:31 PM
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They generally mean the muppet, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:37 PM
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I'm kidding. I had no idea those shows were still on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:38 PM
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142: I don't really know if explanatory journalism is everywhere, but it's certainly around here and there. I'm pretty sure there isn't really a site dedicated to it, though

I hadn't taken "explanatory journalism" to mean much of anything, but it's possible that it does. Wonkblog sometimes puts up these "Everything you need to know about [x]" posts, which are somewhat remedial to my eyes, but there might be a need for that.

It should not be paywalled.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 9:38 PM
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NYT story is here. It's not all that informative about what he has in mind for the website, but it does make it clear that the Post was not interested in sponsoring it. There's also an implication that leaking this story might be part of the negotiation:

Still, it is possible that Mr. Klein could remain at The Post if talks about his plans were rekindled.

Hm, yes, "rekindled," possibly by, say, an anonymously sourced article in a competing newspaper.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 10:08 PM
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Although the story was apparently broken by HuffPo two weeks ago, including this line:

At the same time, Klein is still in talks with the Post about possible next steps in his career, and he may end up staying at the paper, the source said.

It's not clear if the talks the Times describes took place before or after this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 10:11 PM
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Man I wish I got to negotiate better terms and conditions via articles in the New York Times.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 3:48 AM
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Also, the link in 101 is quite amazing. I don't even know where you buy British barrister wigs.

Chancery Lane, of course.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 4:14 AM
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I haven't flown childfree in 18 months.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 4:22 AM
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re: clear-outs

I gave the last couple of [massive] bags/boxes of books to charity shops, even though I could probably have done OK with selling them as selling books is a PITA.

However, I cleared out most of my camera stuff this year, and did pretty well. In fact, I'd say, apart from one thing, I made a decent profit on almost everything over what I paid for it [at some point in the last 10 years] despite, allegedly, the bottom falling out of film camera sales.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 4:24 AM
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I got to the gate an hour early. Now I'm trying to upload some photos to flickr from my last visit home (and failing).


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 4:24 AM
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Ok, I added 3 old photos. Obviously I'm not taking the doors, but I always thought they were cool.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 4:41 AM
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154: Ha! Tribal mask thingies. My FIL collected a number in his travels. a few rather nice, but they fared somewhat poorly in the last ten years of his life from half-a-dozen moves plus being in the abode (and under the care) of a man who was essentially blind. But now we have them. Some on display but most in boxes. Are they our style? Dunno.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 6:31 AM
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Everyone in wife's family enthusiastic and insistent on preserving them and other "artwork". Indignant that I arranged low-cost mover that took over a month to get his stuff to my house. Total items they have agreed to take in the ensuing 1¾ years: one (1) nice Persian urn and his travel photos.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 6:42 AM
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||

Start your day right. The new Veronica Mars trailer is abornin'.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 8:40 AM
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157: Eeeeeeee!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 8:50 AM
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Hah, I've been posting that around the internet too. And the Prince Charles cinema is doing a Season One marathon next weekend.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 8:53 AM
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I haven't seen Veronica Mars, so I'm just going to assume it's a Firefly knockoff.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 10:00 AM
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My parents have moved twice since I left home, so that's all been done. There's a big box of photos, and that's about it. I have all the children's books that my brother and I wanted to keep 20+ years ago. I suppose there are some bits of jewellery, but nothing else that takes up space.

I can't imagine wanting to keep my brother's kiddy art. Why?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 10:40 AM
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C's mother, otoh, still lives in the house she has lived in since he was 1. She got him to clear out quite a lot of his stuff when we got married, but recently his sister has cleared out most of the rest of the attic, and C acquired the world's ugliest leather jacket (miles too big for him, must have swamped him 25 years ago, and with raggedy fringes) which we immediately gave to a passing teenager, a denim jacket on which he had graffitied band stuff and various "deep" pronouncements which kid B wears, and a tin of rice pudding (presumably left over from a festival in the early 90s).


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 10:46 AM
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I had a couple of boxes of crap (childhood books, comics) that I had left at my mom's house lo these many decades. I had thought I'd bring them to my new house and sort through them, which would probably have never happened, but then today they got destroyed when her pipes burst and flooded (most of) her house so... problem solved, I guess?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 10:51 AM
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Now you just bring in gorillas to bail the water out of the house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 10:53 AM
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The supposed market price of comics is mostly BS. Except for the really valuable ones, I'm getting 10-20% of the supposed value if any given issue.

From watching Pawn Stars I get that same impression, that there's really rare and valuable and then there's everything else.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 11:09 AM
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The Berkeley Economist makes a bold prediction:

As David Frum Just Said Somewhere, I Would Bet That Ezra Klein's New Venture-to-Be Will Last Longer than the Washington Post


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 11:37 AM
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There is a tool that allows you to search for the ebay auctions with the most bids:

http://www.watchcount.com/bids.php


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 11:48 AM
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I haven't flown childfree in 18 months.

...and boy are my arms tired.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 11:50 AM
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The other thing with comic books is the existence of pirated electronic copies.

I had been considering buying all the Strange Tales that Steve Ditko illustrated, but they're evailable electroncally. Also BD-- getting Moebius' work stateside in physical form is really expensive.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 12:05 PM
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The other thing with comic books is the existence of pirated electronic copies.

Presumably the markets that sustain high prices for (a select few) old comics and the markets for pirated comics are completely distinct. People aren't paying hundreds of dollars for some first issue to read it.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 12:09 PM
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http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/70marvelpanel19.JPG


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 12:13 PM
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161.2: mostly because over the holidays I found some of my mom and uncles childhood art, pieces where they'd worked hard, and found them charming. I'd frame a piece if it grabbed me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 7:13 PM
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I don't want my own artwork, but I'm fond of my grandmother's terrible, often unfinished whitework (domestic embroidery). She did not want to be an angel in the house. She wanted to elope to South America and be wild! And parts of that turned out pretty well, even.

And her resented monogramming is still more complex and done with finer thread than almost anything new. Well, no wonder she resented it, it takes forever.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 2:05 AM
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As I believe I've mentioned before, I visited my mom for a week this past summer to do this sort of thing. The stuff had been accumulated over several decades by my dad's parents, who basically just never threw anything out. My mom had done a basic pruning of the total junk (which took months) shortly after they died, and most of the remaining stuff had been in a storage unit for years. We managed to go through it all and close out the storage unit, but it took long days of work for the entire week to do it.

My dad was a very talented sketch artist, so a lot of the stuff was his drawings from childhood and adolescence. And I mean a lot: thousands of pages, including his school notebooks from high school and random pieces of scrap paper, in addition to more formal sketch pads. Most of it was of soldiers and weaponry and so forth. It was impressively well done, but SO MUCH. We kept a few of the best pieces and threw out the rest.

(There was also a lot of interesting stuff that we ended up keeping, which is why it was necessary to go through it all. Letters to Boeing that my dad wrote as a teenager asking for detailed blueprints of a bomber that he was making a model of, his real-time notes from listening to radio coverage of the Cuban Missile Crisis, etc.)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 2:15 AM
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Teo, that sounds both exhausting and kinda cool. I can't imagine an entire storage locker of interesting stuff to sort. I guess it's better than an entire house. In my family, the equivalent for me will be photos (and slides, grr) and recipes. Is that a relative or a neighbor in that photo? Which cobbler recipe is the one we all loved? What was the real name of the dessert we called by a nickname?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 8:27 AM
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I thought it was pretty fun, actually. My mom was less into it. "Storage locker" would be an understatement, though; this storage unit was about 10'x15'. There was a bunch of old furniture and stuff in it too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 4:16 PM
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The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was inventing "stuff."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 4:18 PM
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