Yesterday I made truffles and some things from Marie Browning’s “Culinary Crafts” collection. Work was somewhat busy, and a number of friends came into the store, including both Cleverboots and Fine Soprano, who had books to recommend. Cleverboots is enjoying Chrismukka by Ron Gompertz, and Fine Soprano favors Feynman. If you are looking for something to read right now, those might be some good options.

I’m reading an economics textbook at the moment.

I often read stuff on economics. Candyfreak, The World is Flat, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma are all enjoyable books largely about economics. An interesting article in The Wall Street Journal sent me just the other day to track down the work of a guy called Joel Waldfogel on the question of the efficiency — from an economics standpoint — of Christmas gifts. I would have said that economics was an interesting subject.

Not according to #2 son’s textbook.

He is taking AP Econ and has his final today, and I agreed to help him grasp the key concepts from chapters 9 and 10. So last night I was quizzing him with the practice questions. “True or false,” I said, “Actual investment consists of planned investment plus unplanned changes in inventories and is always equal to savings.”

I tried to read these things out in an exciting voice, as though I were reading Little Red Riding Hood. As though, in fact, the words meant anything at all to me.

After a bit I switched to a psychoanalytical approach. “Tell me about military Keynesianism,” I’d say, stroking my beard.

Okay, I don’t have a beard. But I tried to say it as though I were interested. I resisted the nearly overwhelming impulse to say, “Honey, this stuff is so boring — let’s study that American lit again instead, okay?”

#2 son asked me to look over the two chapters this morning and be better prepared to quiz him. So I pulled up google first thing this morning and typed in “simple explanations of economics concepts.” I figure, if I know what the words mean, it’ll make all the difference.

One of the first sites I tried had this category: “Useless concept: Isoquant.”

Yep. right there before “Key Concept: Poverty NEW!”

Poverty isn’t new, and what the heck are they listing useless concepts for?

I must return to my muttons, or at least my aggregate expenditures model.

Ozark emailed me this list of carols for the mentally challenged:

1) Schizophrenia—- Do You Hear What I Hear, the Voices, the Voices? 
2) Amnesia– I Don’t Remember If I’ll be Home for Christmas
3) Narcissistic– Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me 
4) Manic– Deck The Halls And Walls And House And Lawn And Streets And Stores And Office And Town And Cars And Buses And Trucks And Trees And Fire Hydrants And………… 
5) Multiple Personality Disorder—-We Three Queens Disoriented Are 
6) Paranoid—Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Us
7) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder—Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
8) Agoraphobia—I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn’t Leave My House
9) Social Anxiety Disorder—Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas While I Sit Here and Hyperventilate 
10) Attention Deficit Disorder–We Wish You……Hey Look!! It’s Snowing!!!

None of these is the song of the day. Instead, I offer you this lovely Irish carol: “That Night in Bethlehem”. The link will give you both English and Irish words, as well as a midi for the tune. Here you can see the notes and hear it as a sprightly fiddle tune instead of a haunting ballad.