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December 12, 2005


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My wife and I were having a similar conversation the other day. We were talking about the lost art of the welcome wagon. Remember when a new family would move into your hood? Some people might bring a cake. Others might stop by to introduce themselves? What happened to that? Is is us? Or did people stop doing that because they were afraid an ax murderer might have moved next door. Just wondering!


Do I know if that crank call had more in common with Beckett than Chekhov, No. Do I know that it is cracking my shit up right now? Yes. Laughing. . .still.

I have totally had similar thoughts on "lost arts," usually while watching Billy Wilder movies contemplating how every higher up had a wet bar in his office. I am totally going to buy a wet bar for my office, and offer everyone who comes in a drink.


Been lurking over here for a little while, MD, and I decided to come out of the woods to say that you (and Dutch) really crack me up. You're two of the funniest, geekiest, smartest, strangest and most adoring daddies blogging these days. Those are all compliments in my book!


I long for the days when cashiers would actually count your change back to add up to the amount you gave them. Oh, and they'd give you the coins first.

Chocolate Makes it Better

Mate you totally have to come out on one of our weekly hour long work lunches where we drink waaaaay too much and sledge people (Aussie version of talking trash). After that we hitchhike back to the office, (usually in a minivan full of German tourists) and make crank calls for the rest of the afternoon.

Seriously a few lost arts that I like to do every now and then

Making bread from scratch

The picnic

Sitting around listening to the radio

Playing games instead of watching tv (uno, cards, scrabble etc)

Roast dinner on a Sunday night

Rick C.

When my divorce was finalized about 10 years ago, my best friend decided that we needed to go on a serious bender. He drove me down to Mexico where we sat on the beach and drank ourselves into total oblivion for 4 days. We drank tequila , passed out and moaned in despair. I've got to say it was one of the most cathartic and therapeutic experiences of my life. Hell, it was better than therapy. So I'm with ya, MD. There is truly merit in the lost art of the bender.


You know what the problem is? You don't know enough teenagers. Plenty of them are trash talking. My son had a friend over today and they had me laughing hysterically as they trash talked each other over a FIFA soccer PS2 game. The friend is Ugandian and man, he knows some really funny trash talk.

Plus, both of my kids do plenty of crank calling. And get crank calls. There is a way of blocking the caller ID so that you come up "UNKNOWN" and they do that so nobody knows who is calling, and then they go to town. I don't have any objection to it as long as they don't get obscene or nasty, and they don't.

As for binge drinking, knock wood we haven't gotten there yet, but it probably is coming eventually.

Lunching? Haven't done that in years. I'm the "yogurt in the fridge" kinda person. Lunch never lasts more than 10 minutes, mostly because I wanted to leave work earlier.


What, you think you got a blog here, Mister? You think you can invite commentary? I'll show you commentary!

Lunching....who the hell gets to go eat lunch? Whenever I'm working, I usually just eat at my desk. Ridic. Lunching is such a decadent privilege, I can't imagine lunching out (defined as "away from a desk")more than 2 of 3 x a month. That's sad.

Benders. Oh, how I've loved a bender or two in my day. If you ask me, the Brits do it right by combining the whole bender/lunch thing, especially on Fridays when work pretty much shuts down post 2 pm. Sure miss those days.

Thanks for making me think of crank calls too...kinda makes me sad to think Peanut and her generation of slumber parties will never call and ask anyone if their refrigerator is running....


How about the lost art of keeping secrets? I have about 15 secrets to keep right now and I don't want to keep any of them.

Cam c.

Brent, the Welcome Wagon (TM) exists; they're a marketing outfit that basically brings a bunch of direct mail-type flyers, useless free samples and coupons for local businesses to you when you move, have a baby, etc...

After our child was born, I made the mistake of saying "Sure, stop by" and then giving up an half hour of our time while some poor woman part-timing through her golden years went on and on about the great offers. It's not a lost art, just corrrupted by modern corporate crap...


I have noticed over the past few years that no one TP's houses anymore. Now THAT took skill and finesse. We took our craft quite seriously and would plan for hours. I did see a lame attempt in our neighborhood at Halloween. I could have done a MUCH better job.

In college we switched from TP'ing to "forking." We had a friend who would steal every plastic fork or spork from fast food restaurants until the trunk of his car was nearly full. Then we would go out at night and fork someone's front yard. I have to say, my normally humorless parents almost crapped their pants from laughing one morning when they saw the thousands of forks standing at attention in our own front yard.


Now about those phone calls ...
If I get a wrong number call and the caller apologizes I can't resist saying - "No worries, it was ringing anyway."


Is the bender a lost art? Really? Nobody told me. But then I don't remember much about what happened from '94-'03.

But the trash-talking and lunching are spot on. I say we mike up the players and listen to THEM during the game instead of Greg Gumbel. And even when I actually have an hour for lunch I still end up taking my nutrients through a drip. Tragic.


I have heard from other parents that in Little League, the team in field is not allowed to do the "No batter no batter swing batter" Chant. They want the kids to respect the other team. "No Batter" is what basball is about. OR "he's not a pitcher Just a belly Itcher" is somehow Taboo now on little league fields.


Lunch? What's that? The last time I went out to lunch during the workday was about 5 years ago. You know what's even worse? Those days when you arrive at the office and leave the office without ever seeing the sun all day. The funny thing is I'm far from a workaholic. It's just that there seems to be this attitude that only wussies go out to lunch.


I agree with all of your lost arts. I too miss actual lunch hours and going on benders.

In my opinion, here are a few other lost arts:
- Dressing appropriately for an occasion (jeans are acceptable for a rock concert but not the symphony)
- Knowing how to slow dance (cupping a woman's butt and spinning in a circle is not a waltz, gentlemen!)
-Common courtesy (No, really, I enjoy holding a squirming 22 pound toddler in one arm while standing and trying to find something to hold on to on a crowded, swaying subway car during rush hour. Please, just stay in your seat and continue to ignore me. Thanks!)
-Cueing (Lining up for all you American folks.)


The mixed tape. With a mini-photo collage taped together as the cover and the song list lovingly hand-written. Only one copy existed in the world, and when you got a great one it could stay in your deck all summer, and even though it got annoying fast-forwarding through that "Oh L'Amour" track, at least it was the last song on side one, and side two started out with "Jane Says." How nicely does the ipod playlist contrast with an old-school mixed tape; a playlist takes a few minutes to make, is mostly for one's own listening pleasure, and will live forever in its cold digital form, while a mixed tape took you all night to make, exposed your inner feelings, and once you handed it over to your crush it was destined to either get lost, stolen, or thrown out a car window in a moment of teen angst...


When I first started at Intel, my team would daily trudge down to the cafe to eat the brown bags their wives packed for them in 30 minutes.

Being single with no wife, that meant I had to eat crappy cafe food.

I started dragging the old farts off site to the various local resteraunts 2-3 days a week.

Being single, I'd order a huge platter of food and that would be my only meal of the day.

After 3 years, the team was taking 1.5 hour lunches every day and every single one of them had gained 50+ pounds.

:) I was the only skinny one. Seems their wives were still cooking big meals for dinner.



You'd better believe I take a full hour for lunch at least three times a week. Gotta stick it to The Man, says I.

As for benders - pains me to say that this weekend we may well be reviving that lost art; found out yesterday that my wife's grandma has liver cancer. Can you recommend a good Scotch?


You fogot about the days of the drug-infested office party where secretaries snorted coke, made out with their bosses, and then threw up in their Mercedes.

NOT that I ever did that.


I`m really sad that I was born too late to burn my bra -- why don`t women do that anymore? Are they now made of nonflammable material, or is it something more insidious? (....Or do they just cost too much?)


I get an hour lunch each day and I normally spend it sitting at my desk working and eating through my unpaid lunch hour. A couple days a week I'll drive home to check on my rugrat and make sure my mom is alive and well (mom voluntarily quit her job to take care of said rugrat during the day).

My bender days are over and I now have a once a year bender weekend, normally during my office christmas party and my husband and I just make it last all weekend.

As a soccer mom I have been told not to talk trash at the games. It's rather hard for a sarcastic couple to sit on the sidelines and just cheer for my daughters' team and not make any smart ass remarks.


As the basketball coach for a gang of 5 year old boys, I want you to know that I'm singlehandedly trying to bring back the two-handed bounce pass and the pull-up jumper. Maybe some of these guys will go pro in 20 years and we'll see a renaissance in the NBA. Who knows?


Ok, well my friends and I still talk trash. And kids do it too, it's called IM to them. Trust me, I have a couple of 14 year old cousins. I loved to crank call, damm I'd forgotten how fun that could be. I only TP'd once, because I got caught and had to clean it up. In high school (I went to a small private school) we used to pull pranks on any new teacher. My favorite was when we took the new History teacher's car, rolled it down the street and filled it to the top with newspapers. We thought we were so freaking cool. Actually now it sounds kind of lame. Oh well.


I think I'm the most saddest about the lost art of letter writing. Oh, and lunching will never die out amongst teachers. I'm only observing now, and I'll be student teaching in January, but my lunch coincides with other teachers' lunches so it's kind of fun to talk with them about movies, books, rotten students (j/k! kind of), etc.


How about the kaffeeklatch? I always wanted to have one, because it's such a great word.

Oh, yeah, and I wanna be a lady who lunches.


The Lost Art of...A Great HouseParty!

Ah, the days of being back up in a corner, in the dark, with a girl, talking trash (props to your recent post of pick-up lines). Can't do that now, since we're married and all...I guess that's why it's a lost art (to some).

My kids are old enough to go to house parties, but no one has them anymore. (And I guess I should thank GOD for that...)

Mr. Big Dubya

It is rumored that Larry Bird was the most devious trash-talker in the NBA- once he was in your head, it was over, Johnny.

Ah, benders. My army buddies would start one on a Friday afternoon at 3 and wrap up some time Sunday night - German trains are great - we once found ourselves in Frankfurt and no recollection of the trip. And, I've hitchhiked back to Ulm from Munich on New Year's Eve.


the lost art of doing absolutely nothing. i lost that art back in vail in '01.
i haven't done nothing since.


I had an amazing Manhattan recently and the bartender's secret was Czech bitters. Can the Angosturas and find some good bitters. That's my tip of the day.


Let's see...the thank you note is out the window thanks to email and text messaging. Which have also contributed to the lost art of grammar and punctuation. Common courtesy is definitely a thing of the past; really, I enjoy going to the movies and listening to your cell phone conversation in addition to trying to listen to the movie dialogue. No problemo.

At least I enjoyed a bender last year. Although I don't recommend getting blitzed after watching a horror movie. In my half-passed-out drunken stupor, I mistook my cats for zombies more than once. If I'd been sober, I would've thought to close the door when I went to sleep. Ah, good times.


"Chocolate Makes It Better" is right, MD - the cocktail, the lunch (or better yet, the Cocktail Lunch), the bender, hitch-hiking, and talking trash have never gone out of style here in Australia...

Queen of Ass

I work in education. We ALL still take hour breaks for lunch, if not longer. Hell, most of these people don't even show up until almost noon!


Metro ...

About those crank calls. All you have to do nowadays to block your caller ID from going out when you call is type *67 and then the number you wish to dial.

When Peanut gets old enough, introduce it to her.

Or hell, try it yourself and give some of your old buds a run for their money. Would make for an entertaining night at home.


Nice blog, by the way, I've been lurking for a while.



Me: Is this Arcadia Bowling?
Guy: Yes.
Me: Do you have 10 lb balls?
Guy: Yes

I owe someone a thank you right now. I'm usually pretty good about it.

girls gone child

Sigh.... I was a big fan of the crank call and am young enough to remember when caller-ID spoiled all the fun. I was in highschool calling my friend's Dad in "low, sexy, voice."

"Hello Mr. Carlisle, what are you wearing?"
"Um. Rebecca? Is that you."
"No! Fuck. What?"

Yeah, that sucked. No more calling ex-BFs blasting love songs, not that they didn't know who we were, pre-ID but still.... ah-- the crank call.

What about the Lost art of the "date"? I have only recently been married but for the past seven years (pre-married life, post live-at-home life) I dated close to a dozen guys and went on MAYBE three real dates. Come to think of it, my husband never took me out on a real date until I asked him to months into our relationship. What the fuck, man? It's the damn internet. No one leaves the house anymore and when they do, they just sorta freeze.

Which brings me to The lost art of flesh and blood friendships. I think we ALL know what I'm talking about here.

What about the Lost art of the one night stand? Oh yeah. I'm married now. No wonder.

Great post, MD...


As others have pointed out, trash talking is far from a lost art. It's moved online, to video games and IM clients, largely unmoderated by parental influence or referee interference.


I'm totally with Luper on the lost art of the mixtape.

Check it:



*67 blocks the caller's # from the callee's caller id.
we can bring back the art of the crank call if you really want to. keep hope alive.

Anne Glamore

I would sit by the radio with my tape recorder so when my favorite song came on I could TAPE IT and listen to it over and over! So cool!

To this day, when I hear "Shake Your Groove Thing" I first hear in my mind the dj saying "It's Wednesday afternoon!" as the music starts.


I definitely mourn the lost lunches. When I was little, I remember my grandfather coming home to a full, home-cooked meal and then taking a half hour nap before returning to the office! How lovely!

And about the crank calls, wow, my friends and I LOVED doing those! Caller ID eventually kicked our butts, but we had a few glory years. Ours ranged from the subtle, heady ones like you posted to a few really assinine ones. The one that still makes me laugh to the point of tears to this day was a really silly one we did after perusing the phonebook one day. We found a listing that not only had the family's home number listed, but below also had "The Children" listed. We decided these "children" must be snots to have their own line listed in the phonebook, so we called them up. The "child" who picked up was some pubescent boy whom we serenaded with "You are the world; you are the CHILDREN...."


Best crank call was at my expense in 7th grade. I didn't know about three-way calling (I was born a po' white child). My girl friends pretended one of them was a boy next door who'd fallen in love with me through their stories of me and a photo. I didn't have a TV either (hippie parents) and so they pretended he was a model and brought in a magazine picture of some TV teenie bopper. Those phone calls went on for two weeks before I realized what was going on. Anytime I heard giggling in the background they pretended it was his sister in the next room . . .


Re: mixed cocktails. they are not a lost art in Portland. this town is an honest-to-goodness bar town the likes of which i have never seen before. bartenders here take their shit seriously. here you can find a perfect martini or whisky sour or pimm's cupp in almost any bar in town. i can't believe not everyone knows this, but I think Portland likes it that way.


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