Chippewa Herald * January 25, 2010    

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"Does he EVER stop talking?"

The year in quotes, 2009

by Tom Arneberg, Community Columnist

We sent out another "Arneberg Argus" last month. That's the name of our family Christmas newsletter, in which we try to capture the essence of ordinary life in a hectic household.

Any time we hear one of our kids say something funny or insightful, we write it down before we forget. Here are some of the entries from this year's issue, out of the mouths of Simon (now 9), David (13), Jasper (15), Alison (18), and Benjamin (20)...and a few others:

"I just feel bad for those who don't see how his mind works." -- Jasper, 12/12/08, talking about Mr. Nerbovig, his Algebra-Trig teacher.

"You haven't been home in a while, have you?" -- Alison's rhetorical question to Ben, 12/17/08 (the day he got home for Christmas vacation), when Ben suggested that he and Alison drive the 2004 car home from church and make Mom drive the 1993.

"Her iPod is like her cowbell." -- David, 12/24/08, helping Mom find Alison in the house by following the music.

"Wow...I've never seen one that wasn't riding his bike around town wearing a necktie." -- David, 12/25/08, watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir PBS Christmas special.

"It's so treacherous to sleep in here." -- Simon, in Uncle Paul's basement 12/28/08, using a typical Hardy Boys word to describe coping with Alison's snoring.

"If I had a 'D,' I might have added someone else." -- Simon, 1/11/09, explaining to Dad the poster he made at school listing things he likes, where the first letter of each word spells his name: "Snakes, Indiana Jones, Mom, Outdoors, Noise."

"Guess what, Mom -- I'm not left-handed!" >:-) -- Simon's sly comment (a la "Princess Bride") on 2/8/09. Mom thought she was beating him at ping pong, only to go down in flames when he switched to his right hand.

"His bad habits align perfectly with my pet peeves." -- Ben, 3/22/09, about his roommate at the Air Force Academy.

"How do Japanese eat cereal?" -- Simon, pondering the ethereal while eating with chopsticks at Tokyo Restaurant in Eau Claire on 3/24/09. (He decided maybe he could stab the hole in Cheerios.)

"Maybe we should've planned our China trip better." -- Beth, eating lunch with her scheming sons on 3/29/09, realizing that there would've been advantages to being on a different continent on April Fools' Day.

"Torture #1 is over, but torture #2 is coming up." -- Simon. 4/26/09, after the youth choir musical and before the piano recital.

"If communism doesn't even work with 30 people, how can it work for 300 million?!" -- Jasper's astute political observation, 5/31/09, while driving home from Scout Island where some of his fellow Boy Scouts were hiding to avoid the work of breaking camp.

"Can I use texting language?" -- Simon, 6/8/09, trying to update the rules of Boggle in a game against Jasper. (And how does he know texting language?!)

"Do hospitals have a sense of humor?" -- Simon, 6/12/09, the morning he was going with the Boy Scouts to Luther Hospital for the trauma drill simulation. (He wanted to pretend his double-jointed arms were pulled out of their sockets to fool the staff.)

"Maybe you should paint when you're combobulated." -- Simon, 7/18/09, to his mother after she spilled paint for the SECOND TIME that night. (She had told him that she was discombobulated after Stan Williams's death.)

"...and I pray that Ben's bunny would be plump." -- Simon's 7/19/09 bedtime prayer (during Ben's Combat Survival Training).

"No chicken dance." -- Simon, 8/23/09, giving the reason that he was a little disappointed in the wedding reception he was at.

"It unfolded just like it was supposed to!!" -- Ben's excited 08/28/09 phone call to his mother, after his first jump using the parachute he packed all by himself.

"I'd much rather have boys. Girls are so annoying." -- Alison's 10/16/09 retort to her mother's warning, "Just wait 'til you have a daughter." (Alison went on to admit that "I even annoy myself sometimes.")

"Dad, that's not right. It should either be 'Three Friends' or 'Tres Amigos.'" -- Simon's observation about language inconsistency in the title of the old Steve Martin movie during a 10/23/09 family movie night.

"So much for your undefeated season." -- Simon, after the 11/16/09 opening game of the middle school basketball season, which David's team lost 54-20.

"Brains, heart...what will this one need, intestines or something?" -- Simon, 11/21/09, speculating about the lion while watching "The Wiz" DVD (having no recollection of the original "Wizard of Oz").

"Does he EVER stop talking?" -- Jasper, 12/03/09, as soon as Simon left the house...after he had been pestering Dad to rate the "grossness factor" of his double-joint elbow 7:15 a.m.

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