Chippewa Herald * December 31, 2010    

"Look up -- it's like going into lightspeed!"

The year in quotes, 2010

by Tom Arneberg, Community Columnist

We sent out another "Arneberg Argus" a couple of weeks ago. 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 10), David (14), Jasper (16), Alison (19), and Benjamin (21)...and a few others:


"Yeah, but I like it better when I have three lives." -- Jasper, using his driver's permit in Minneapolis for the first time on 01/30/10, when Dad compared dodging pot-holes to playing a video game.

"There should be FIVE seasons for sports, not three." -- David, 5/19/10, dreading having to decide next spring between concurrent sports track, baseball, and tennis.

"During my approach to Cape Canaveral, I noticed a new area of the map: 'The Arneberg Drop Zone.'" -- Superintendent General Gould, during his keynote speech at the USAFA "Wings of Blue" induction ceremony on 5/24/10. (He was giving a hard time to Ben, who had drifted way, WAY off the desired landing zone during their spring break parachute training in Florida, thus requiring him to carry the Stick of Shame everywhere he went the next day.)

"I feel like an avatar." -- Alison, 5/25/10, explaining why she likes to take big steps (and move fast relative to the stationary ground) while riding the walkway at the Denver airport.

"Why do they just TELL you that? It's so annoying." -- Jasper, 5/26/10, upon hearing that David was spoon-fed the quadratic equation in Algebra class without having to derive it. (He then proceeded to teach David how to derive it...just in case the need arises, such as if he forgets the formula while taking a test.)

"I think it's just an Arneberg trait." -- Jasper, 5/30/10, discussing the tendency to over pack when Tom's backpack weighed in at 58 pounds on a Philmont shake-down weekend.

"'re younger than my grandma!" -- Desiree Matthews, 6/2/10, a 4th grade classmate of Simon's, offering what she thought was a compliment after seeing Tom's "50" glasses.

"Ugh! I wish I could just have two lives at 20 and then pick which one turns out best." -- Ben, after meeting the Blue Angels fighter jet pilot on 6/5/10, still trying to decide whether or not to take a pilot slot after the Air Force Academy.

"Dad, it's probably no worse than bungee jumping." -- Jasper, in a less-than-stellar approach to get his father to try the "Power Tower" ride at Valleyfair on 6/15/10 (Tom's first visit since 1976!).

"It's just like a foot massage!" -- Simon, 7/2/10, as he put his bare foot into a bucket teeming with twenty live crayfish.

"I was hoping to find the divine in the ordinary, but this is not really ordinary." -- Beth, 7/3/10, quoting from a book she had read before a family canoe paddle down the Chippewa River, during which they saw two LIVE ELEPHANTS cooling themselves in the water. (They were still hanging around a week after the Renaissance Festival ended.)

"Whoa -- I want to stay there!" -- David, 7/4/10, after noticing the frisbee golf course set up in the prison yard.

"Does that mean if I run fast for my whole life, I'll live a little longer?" -- Simon, 7/4/10, after a family discussion of Einstein's Theory of Relativity following a DVD showing of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

"So, the free market is like duct tape, then?" -- David's interesting analogy while discussing how the free market solves nearly everything, at the dinner table on 7/10/10.

"Now that is a great name!" -- Tom, at the final Philmont meeting on 7/12/10, upon seeing the high-tech collapsible backpacking shovel that folds into a little case emblazoned with, in an Apple-style font, iPood.

"That's a bad question to ask a ten-year-old." -- Simon 7/18/10, when his mother absent-mindedly asked how late he should stay up.

"I wish they made shirts out of sham-wow." -- Simon, 8/12/10, after his first football practice in full pads (when the humidity was over 90%).

"Dad, with me that's impossible." -- Jasper, 9/4/10, en route to a noon kickoff at the Air Force Academy football game when Tom told the kids to 'eat until they're uncomfortable' since it was a long time until supper.

"Dad, look up -- it's like we're going into lightspeed!" -- Simon, 9/17/10, enjoying how falling raindrops look against the lights in a football stadium.

"Mom! It's college!" -- Alison's indignant reply to her mother's question of 9/22/2010, asking why she was bringing her slinky show choir dress to her UWEC dorm room.

"The tie makes up for the lack of pants." -- Jasper, 9/25/2010, rationalizing his decision to wear shorts to the Chi-Hi Homecoming dance.

"What do cross-country coaches do to punish their athletes -- make them play with a ball?" -- David, 10/09/10, while watching Jasper's meet. (His experience with other sports was players having to run if they are late or otherwise mess up.)

"Are you old yet?" -- Simon, 10/23/10, after Beth read Proverbs 23:22 at the breakfast table. (" not despise your mother when she is old.")

"They'd get a $75,000 fine if they were in the NFL." -- Simon, 10/23/10, referring to a new helmet-clashing rule while watching two rams butt heads on a "Planet Earth" DVD.

"It's kinda fun to see what American Culture was like in 1996." -- Simon, 10/28/10, while watching an old family video.

"HI, ME 5 cents." -- Simon, said slowly in a deep Indian chief voice, pondering the mysterious grammar (and surprisingly low price) on the back of a bottle of grapefruit juice at the breakfast table.

You can reach Tom at

Links: [Tom's column archives] | [] | [] |

This page is maintained by Tom Arneberg (
(Last modified: $Date: 2011-10-11 09:55:49-05 $)