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Blogging Over the Yukon

    The flight to Chicago is the warm-up for the 13-hour, 10-minute flight to Tokyo, which seems fundamentally unnaturally. You are not supposed to fly to the other side of the world. It taunts the gods. It insults the Earth. Even now, as I type, looking out upon the unpeopled, lake-stippled landscape of the Northwest Territories (for crying out loud we seem to be flying to the North Pole!!), I feel that this is not a sight for mortal eyes. You should have to be an astronaut at the very least.

    I fear repercussions for such hubris.

    Also the sheer duration of the flight is a challenge. I should embrace the expanse of empty time, but people who live in a rush are suspicious of unplanned and unstructured living, and fear at the depth of their being that they might discover themselves momentarily bored, or, worse, unproductive. My pathetic laptop with the alleged five-hour battery reports to me that, fully charged, it is still only good for 90 minutes. The pressure to type fast! Mostly I will read. I packed The Post, The Times, three New Yorkers, a New York Review of Books, the Lonely Planet guide to Japan, an old paperback of Granta travel literature, Michael Connelly's "The Narrows," and finally, because I wanted something truly punishing, Don Delillo's "The Names." Naturally when I got to National Airport I immediately stopped in the bookstore, on the off chance that I would read all that stuff. I bought Cormac McCarthy's new novel, "No Country For Old Men." I'm about 100 pages into it as I type this, and I think there've been 12 violent murders. I'm not sure why so many people are dying. They know a lot about tracking animals and people across the desert. They are handy with guns. The pace is much faster than in the Border Trilogy, where McCarthy had his boys riding aimlessly and endlessly through one desolate valley and over one wind-swept mountain and into one dusty godforsaken borderland village after another, until the reader would pray that the protagonists would stumble upon a city, a place with some decent nightclubs. McCarthy's writing is full of guttering candles and reefing rainclouds, and guys with snakeskin boots taking shelter in the scree. And all the while he's single-handedly trying to destroy the quotation mark in American fiction. He doesn't use them. There've been about three commas. I read somewhere that he thinks the semi-colon is the most absurd punctuation ever invented. Can't argue.

    Most alarming of all is the time change. You leave Washington on Saturday morning and land in Tokyo late Sunday afternoon. I've been trying to sort this out, studying the time zone charts, doing calculations, and it just makes no sense. WHEN IS SATURDAY NIGHT? Apparently there is no Saturday night this weekend, but NEXT weekend, when I fly back, I have two Saturday nights. And that, again, is taunting the gods.

  [Later, over Alaska...]

   In the back of the plane some dudes are standing around killing time. I got in a long conversation with an astrophysicist named Asif. He studies big stars, ones so bright they don't last long, the photons blasting off the surface so violently they spew away the starstuff in what amounts to an astrophysical jif. We got to talking about the Hubble Constant, and the question of whether the universe will expand or collapse or somehow just cruise along, and he said there's a new discovery that the Milky Way is not a normal spiral galaxy but rather a barred spiral, with a bright bar running through the center that we can't see because it's edge-on and hidden by dust. (I didn't ask how anyone found it if it can't be seen. Maybe with a camera mounted in the next galaxy over.)

   He made a key point that I hadn't thought of: If inflation theory is correct [this is the idea that, in addition to the expansion of the cosmos we observe today, there was at least one very brief but incredibly intense period of cosmic inflation soon after the start of the Big Bang, in which the tiny universe became very large virtually instantly], the overwhelming majority of the cosmos is too far away for us to see or have any causal interaction with, and is thus essentially a parallel universe -- or a virtually endless series of parallel universes.

   All of which made this planet seem yet smaller. We may need to expand.

[I typed this in the air but filed it when I got to Tokyo, by the way: You can't literally blog over Alaska as far as I know.] [At the moment I'm monitoring CNN and this very scary storm heading straight for New Orleans. Unless it veers this could be a major disaster -- the "worst single hurricane of our lifeline," Aaron Brown is saying. Not good.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 28, 2005; 4:59 PM ET
 
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Comments

I am in Japan now and will at some point post the thrilling tale of how I sniffed out the Starbucks like a big-game hunter tracking a jaguar.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 28, 2005 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Travel safe, Joel, and raise a glass to New Orleans - it'll likely be gone within 24 hours. This is not a drill.

Posted by: C in AC | August 28, 2005 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the post, and do enjoy all the fish.

Posted by: Michael Parekh | August 28, 2005 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Sad to say, but I bet CNN, MSNBC and all the rest are thrilled with the prospect of a Hurricane Katrina. This August has been SLOOOW. And 'Trina is Da BADDEST BITCH.

Posted by: Momz | August 28, 2005 11:04 PM | Report abuse

(All hip-hop folks nod their heads knowingly, while the kaboodle furrows its collective unibrow!)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2005 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Joel, your McCarthy comments will certainly stir the passions of such a grammar-obsessed group as the SAO-15, and are of a piece with today's Times' accounting of Judge Roberts's "strict constructionist" approach to the language.

An excerpt:

"It was a typical remark from a legal scholar who is said to have never lost a local spelling bee as a child and who once wrote an entire White House memorandum in French. In fact, an obsession with rhetorical precision is a central Roberts trait, said friends and former colleagues of the man nominated by President Bush to become a Supreme Court justice."

The whole Katrina sitch has me thinking about a great New Yorker article a couple/few years ago about efforts to deal with what officials/scientists/et. al. knew to be a potential tragedy in the making (i.e. a hurricane striking a city that sits below sea level). Ideas like giant iron gates to wall off the city from the sea were being discussed, but you mostly came away with the idea that all ideas would be mired in bureaucracy and the city would be left defenseless to face the real threat on its own, should it ever materialise.

We can all sleep well tonight, though, knowing that various area aquariums have shipped their dolphins to hotels that have converted their pools to saltwater, while the people "unable to vacate" N.O. will be well-housed in the Super Dome. I'm hoping Katrina takes an unanticipated detour to a less inhabited spot on our southern borders. More signs of the apocalypse...

Posted by: AchenStopAnyTimeIWantTo | August 28, 2005 11:33 PM | Report abuse

The semi-colon really is the most pointless punctuation ever invented. A professor I had a few years ago spent an entire class period drilling into us the appropriate uses for the semi-colon. I used it correctly for the rest of the semester and then promptly forgot every correct use for the semi-colon. I just try not to use them.

I always get the music magazines from the airport bookstores. I figure the time spent flying is a great time to catch up on the latest music.

Speaking of the latest music, did anyone see the MTV Video Music Awards tonight? They may have been the worst ones I've ever seen. I usually really enjoy them, but "Diddy" isn't funny. He isn't entertaining. He's...I don't know. Nothing he should have been as host of the VMAs. Green Day and My Chemical Romance and the not so well sung but really rocking Kelly Clarkson finale were really the only parts I liked.

I've come to the conclusion that any year Green Day puts out a record, everyone else should really just hang it up until the next year because you can't beat Green Day. They're that good--they'll just walk away with it all. (Or is it, "They're that good; they'll just walk away with it all?")

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 12:13 AM | Report abuse

What should I find but a late night Kit - er, early morning, er - whatever! Joel, glad you survived the plane ride and found Starbucks.

The hurricane is plenty scary - I started watching CNN this afternoon and couldn't stop. I'm headed east, where the aftermath of Katrina may catch up with me in a few days. I packed my old, tattered rain jacket.

I tried watching the MTV awards, but I agree, Sara - I couldn't take it for long. I like Green Day - haven't heard much of their music, but what I have heard, I like. I just got American Idiot from the library, but haven't listened to it. Maybe I'll turn down the TV sound and put it on. Shakira was kind of amazing...I've never been able to move like that.

A colleague of mine uses semi-colons where he should use colons. It really bugs me, although no one else seems to notice. I tend to substitute dashes, since I think semi-colons look a bit pretentious, especially in email. But I overuse dashes, along with ellipses...Hope that's what the 3 dots are called...

GW Bush's speech patterns must be like fingernails on a blackboard to Judge Roberts!

See y'all next week, the Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise! Ganbatte!

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 29, 2005 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe inflation was supposed to happen between the first 10^-34th of a second and 10^-32 of a second after the big bang.

I'm as open minded as the next guy, but I'm extremely skeptical of something that's a shoe-horned as inflation seems to be. They get the right number by fiddling with parameter values until it comes out the way they want.

It's not science, its curve fitting...

renormalization anyone? (inside joke)

Posted by: Jeff | August 29, 2005 1:15 AM | Report abuse

My husband and I were in Switzerland a week ago, and actually found our way around most of the old city of Zurich by way of a Starbucks visit! It helps that my husband manages a Starbucks in Rockville, and it was nice for him to speak with foreign barrista! I figure when Joel was flying over the Northern Provinces of Canada, that may have been the only place on Earth that there was no Starbucks somewhere underneath his flight path! I shouldn't complain, as the company supplies part of my household income, but, c'est la vie! Looking forward to reading the Starbucks story from Japan...

Posted by: Erica Snipes | August 29, 2005 1:24 AM | Report abuse

I keep trying to use commas and Word (aka M.Gates) won't let me, insists on semi-colons. Kick him for me if you see him.

Flying over the vast northwest a few years back was thrilling, loved the occasional lights in the middle of sweeping icefields, occasional supposed roads/paths, maybe streams. Amazing how little we occupy the planet.

Suspect that the next French Quarter will be lots of reconstructed antebellum style but new buildings.

Posted by: Ruth | August 29, 2005 7:01 AM | Report abuse

I watched the new HBO series, Rome, instead of the MTV VMAs. I think it's got promise. It looks like they're trying to actually hold true to the history, or at least more than the dreadful Gladiator. And I already love the way they've written and cast Brutus.

Semicolons: there's a quote about semicolons implying that the men who use them are a little soft, but I can't find it. Does anyone know what it is?

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Earlier this year I had a rushed work trip to Guam. Twenty hours of flying with 6-8 hours of layovers here and there. As we were comparing notes on the way back we realized that we lost a Saturday night going over the date line and then gained a Wednesday night (leave Guam Thursday morning, arrive Hawaii Wednesday night). As my co-worker put it "That just ain't right"....

Posted by: Les | August 29, 2005 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Thirteen hours? You're a lightweight, Joel. Try flying straight to Bangkok or Johannesburg from NYC - 18 beautiful hours cramped in coach with hundreds of grouchy people. That's why alcohol on international flights is free.

Posted by: pa | August 29, 2005 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one to defend the semicolon? So little used, so neglected, but so satisfying when used appropriately. One could easily attribute my affinity for her to the grammar snob in me, but I think not; I have had a love affair with the semicolon since the 6th grade, before the spelling nazi, before the corruption of Harlequin romances. When does she fit? When does she not? This is her mystery, her hidden treasure, but when applied gently and sparingly, she fits like a glove.

Posted by: TA | August 29, 2005 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I made that Chicago to Tokyo flight a few years ago. When my contact picked me up at the airport he actually tried to talk business during a long car trip while I felt like a zombie from Night of the Living Dead. I think I mumbled a lot. Good luck on making the transition to Tokyo time.

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one bothered by the ending of the first sentence of today's Kit? "fundamentally unnaturally." Huh?

As for intercontinental flights, my main concern is that I will not be able to stay awake the whole way and my apocalyptic snoring will vibrate the aircraft to pieces in mid air. I try to read something light but lengthy like Patrick O'Brian.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 29, 2005 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Why do some people love to brag about how long they've been on planes and how far they have traveled? Travel is a wonderful eye-opening experience, but doing so does not put you a notch above others who have not traveled or are too polite to brag about their own travels.

Posted by: grouchy | August 29, 2005 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Go back to bed, grouchy.

Posted by: pa | August 29, 2005 9:07 AM | Report abuse

TA, I'm in agreement. Why has everyone got to be hating on the semi-colon?

Posted by: LP | August 29, 2005 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Inflation is just a theory anyhow. The seven days of creation theory should be taught in schools side by side with inflation. That seems fair in a pluralistic society. Next we'll deal with the fourteen decimal place accuracy of quantum electrodynamics, also just a theory. We'll compare that with the `Let there be light' theory.

Posted by: justatheorist | August 29, 2005 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The difference between inflation theory (or any scientific theory) and creation theory is that it can be proved or disproved through analysis and reason. Religion by it's very nature is impervious to such scrutiny.

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I wanted to watch that Rome show because I'm studying all that stuff. Greek and Roman art are my emphases. Those kind of shows are really interesting to me. I like to compare the shows to the actual happenings and the actual culture and see how well they've done in creating the show. I don't have HBO, though. I had it, realized the movies on that channel didn't really excite me, and got rid of it. THEN got hooked on all the shows. I've watched all the seasons of Sopranos on DVD. If this Rome thing takes off that's probably what I'll end up doing. It's cheaper to rent the DVDs than it is to pay for HBO and hardly watch it. But hey, the lack of HBO leaves me open to watch wonderful programming like "Diddy" on the VMAs. What kind of name is that?

And kurosawaguy, I also noticed the first sentence. It's really hard to say.

Must be nice to be impervious to that sort of scrutiny. Maybe I'll align myself with religion and no longer be subject to certain types of scrutiny. I haven't figured out how to do it yet, but anyone with an idea is welcome to share it with me.

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 9:25 AM | Report abuse

But you know what punctuation I can't stand - exclamation points. It's like laughing at your own joke.

Posted by: LP | August 29, 2005 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Grouchy,

It's because we humans LOVE to compare notes about our awful travel experiences to share our misery with others as in, "my commute was 2 HOURS today." We want to share our suffering. It gives us some sort of "one-uppmanship" over those people with dinky 15 minute commutes. Those people are wimps!

Posted by: AJ | August 29, 2005 9:29 AM | Report abuse

LP, it's really annoying when exclamation points are overused. I get letters from people that say things like, "How are you?! I'm fine! I slept so well last night! I had a dream about a pink elephant in tap shoes! And then I got up and brushed my teeth!" Then I picture them actually talking like they are writing to me and it's pretty funny. But what's with the "How are you?!" Are they yelling that in an incredulous fashion at me? Because that's how I picture it and it makes no sense.

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Agreed.

Posted by: LP | August 29, 2005 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I've always considered any device to transport a person or thing as a time machine, even if it's just plain old space-time.

Jumping time zones can get one a bit disoriented; jumping international date lines, I'm not sure you're taunting gods as much as becoming one. Hopping back and forth through time as you will certainly sounds godlike, though a capital 'G' god would probably not worry about losing his luggage or joining the Mile High club.

I wish I'd have been there for the conversation with Asif. I'd noted the bar spiral finding a couple of weeks ago, and thought about what painstaking research it must have taken to gather infrared data on the Milky Way and then sort out the positions of all those old red stars in the center of the galaxy to determine it's shape. Of course, it's ultimately just running data through a program, but there were a lot of shoulders for those folks to stand on to see that far. Your idea of a goalpost cam in the next galaxy over made me chuckle though.

To his suggestion of the universe being infinte for all practical human purposes, I've often thought about that. Anywhere we look with those Hubble deep sky surveys, there are galaxies and galaxies and galaxies... IIRC the estimates are somewhere between 80 and 500 billion that may be observeable. As our tools and methods of observation become better, more seem to be springing into view. Did these galaxies exist before we Observed them?

Could there be enough for all of the parallel universes to cover all of the possible bifurcations of waves in the Higgs Ocean? Maybe. At this point, Tim

Here's one for the coincidences people...
An entire galaxy - with it's own varations of physical laws - for every human that ever lived or perhaps, ever will. Put that into your Afterlife Calculator and smoke it. And for those of you thinking of the angels talking to each other in Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life", you're not the only one.

I use semicolons, and well, I've never had the problem that jw mentions.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 9:43 AM | Report abuse

jw, you should read Popper! The difference between creation theory (or metaphysics) and scientific theory is not reason and analysis, but that science is falsifiable - you can imagine an observation that proves it false (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability).

I like semi-colons because sometimes a period is too much.

Posted by: Videlicet | August 29, 2005 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Glad to see all the new voices. Welcome. About the semicolon, it's a handy way to express related thoughts in a complete sentence; the second segment of the sentence can have its own verb. I do rather like the idea of dispensing with quotation marks, though adjusting to their non-use can be difficult and disconcerting.

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I did in fact read "All the Pretty Verses", er, "...Horses", all the way through. It's fine writing, and a decent story. I suppose the lack of punctuation makes readers pay more attention than they would otherwise (helpful in slowly unfolding stories), but I couldn't help but think of it as kinda gimmicky.

Tom fan, have you read any Cormac McCarthy?

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 9:50 AM | Report abuse

TA, your tribute to the semicolon was quite moving. Where else but on the Achenblog would one find such a poetic post devoted to the semicolon? Well done.

AchenStopAnyTimeIWantTo - what a great handle!

Posted by: Susan | August 29, 2005 9:51 AM | Report abuse

My husband and I [and no, I'm not about to deliver the Queen's Christmas message] missed the changeover to the New Year this year because we were en route from Honolulu to Sydney.

As for bragging about how long one has been on planes [see previous paragraph], I don't think it's so much a matter of believing oneself to be a notch above everyone else as a desire to share an experience that is, quite simply, an endurance [now I really do sound like I'm delivering the Queen's Christmas message]. For the last several hours of the journey, one feels as though one is in Hell. It is a tripus horribilus.

TA:
I'm a big fan of the semicolon as well. Actually, I like most punctuation marks, with the possible exception of the exclamation point. (Oh, and by the way, I hope you saw my apology to you in the "The Terrible Power of Fresh Eyes" Kaboodle.)

AchenStopAnyTimeIWantTo:
I'm so happy to see you here today. :)

Posted by: Tom fan | August 29, 2005 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of dreams, my dream last Sunday involved shooting an arrow through my far bedroom wall and then waiting for it to reappear through the wall behind me, and then disappear into the far wall again in an endless loop. I had some idea that I could somehow time the disappearance to reappearance to measure how far apart the walls were.

My problem with exclamation points is deciding at what point an experience is so fabulous that I need to add one. "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" by Lynne Truss is a fun book.

Posted by: Videlicet | August 29, 2005 9:53 AM | Report abuse

SCC from 9:43AM: "At this point, Time's Arrow still only points one way, so you still couldn't go to the next Universe over to change The Horrendeous Mistakes Of Your Life."

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I like plane rides because it's the only time I can read a novel straight through. Being a compulsive planner, I always carry double the number of books I need on any trip. On some trip I will spontaneously buy something in an airport bookstore. Must start planning for this.

Posted by: Videlicet | August 29, 2005 9:56 AM | Report abuse

bc, I'm thinking that it would be God's joke that even if She gave us the power to change our Horrendeous Life Mistakes, we'd commit them all over again. Perhaps Sarte was right in that our choices, including our screwups, define who we are.

Posted by: Videlicet | August 29, 2005 9:59 AM | Report abuse

bc:
No, I haven't read any Cormac McCarthy. I did purchase "Stranger in a Strange Land" over the weekend [not Cormac McCarthy, for anyone else reading this], per your suggestion. (I noticed there was an "Uncut Version," but I opted for the smaller, cheaper regular version; I hope I made the right decision.)

Getting back to exclamation points, I once took an editing class at Georgetown, and the teacher said something like this: A person is allowed only three exclamation points in his lifetime, so he'd better save them for emergencies, e.g., "Fire!"

Posted by: Tom fan | August 29, 2005 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Bad or long travel stories are like war stories - I love to tell the one where I flew to Ireland.
Takeoff was three hours delayed, I had the flu, when we finally did board the plane we were 17th in line for takeoff from Logan, and then once we did get in the air the captain announces the flight will take an extra hour because the wind was against us (So now, even God hates us). All I wanted was a shot of something strong, but I wasn't 21 yet and all the cold medicine I had taken was now preventing me from sleeping. And yet, it did manage to get worse; an hour and a half into the flight, a lady on the plane had a heart attack, and we had to land in New Foundland to get her to a hospital. (Of course, FCC rules prevent deplaning until your scheduled destination, so even getting off the plane for some air was out of the question.) And remember, I had the flu, and everytime we had to take off or land my ears drums felt as though they were exploding. By the time we actually got to Shannon, we were something like 6 hours late and the bus driver had gotten their on time to get us, so had just been sitting in the pub the whole time, and was plastered, leading to one of the most terrifying trips up the coast of Ireland, which is another story.

Posted by: LP | August 29, 2005 10:05 AM | Report abuse

That's what I meant, even if I didn't say it that way. But I wonder about where the real line between science and faith is. Suppose you have a physicist who has devoted his life to proving a certain axiom, which is then authoritatively refuted. Would he accept that his life's work had been fruitless, or would he hold to the shreds of his disproven theories? Falsifiability may be what separates science from religion, but the ability to accept the falsity of one's beliefs is something that crosses that line.

The truth is, of course, that there is no thought that is truly fruitless. The greatest discoveries of science were built on the foundations laid by false ideas.

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 10:08 AM | Report abuse

bc:
You ask, "Did these galaxies exist before we Observed them?" I've often wondered the same thing. I also wonder if the strings and parallel universes of string theory existed before we Observed them. Looking into the microscope and seeing ever diminishing worlds seems to be the same as looking out into space and seeing ever exanding ones. We're just looking in a different direction.

***********

"OK guys, it's time for a course correction on the trajectory of our journey. . . the Universe is much larger than we thought it was. And it's ALWAYS larger than we think it is."

-- William Tiller, Ph.D., in the film "What the Bleep Do We Know!?"

Posted by: Dreamer | August 29, 2005 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Tom fan, I have the uncut version if you decide to follow up with that.

Videlicet, perhaps we should update the old saw, "Wherever or whenever you go, there you are."

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes I feel I don't fit in because unlike Achenbach and most posters, I'm not into punctuation points. I think they are handy tools but I get my language kicks more in a verbal way then a written one. Or rather vocabulary beats grammar for me.

So I was wondering if someone could answer me this query: Are punctuation marks standard in most languages that use Latin caracters? Does a semi colon do the same in Polish as it does in Italian? Do Sweedes punctuate the same as Slovenes.
I know of one exception and that is the spanish inverted questionmark that starts a "question phrase".

Posted by: Eurotrash | August 29, 2005 10:13 AM | Report abuse

To prove the point I was making about grammar knowledge, I misused a full stop. It is of course: Do Sweedes punctuate the same as Slovenes?

Posted by: Eurotrash | August 29, 2005 10:22 AM | Report abuse

jw, I guess the disappointed physicist would hold onto the shreds of his disproven theories. It usually takes a generation of new scientists to embrace the latest. Kuhn's "paradigm shifts" has something to say about this.

I was thinking about the image of the cuddly Einstein. He always looks so avuncular in photos. People seem to ignore that E=mc2 lead to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Where are the polaroids of the angry and demonic Einstein? I smell propaganda.

Posted by: Videlicet | August 29, 2005 10:28 AM | Report abuse

bc, Dreamer,
Have we reached a point in our blogging relationship where you will explain what you mean when you capitalize "observe"? I am interested.

Achenfan(it feels weird addressing you twice under two names in the same post, but so be it),
I haven't yet found your apology in the other kit, but it is entirely unnecessary. I felt bad about it, as I don't want to be a troublemaker and cause confusion or sound insensitive to your interloper problems.

Long flights are unbearable to me. I can't sit still longer than 2 hours unless I can stretch out and sleep. I will say, I think I know where the grouchy person is coming from, since the travel bragging happens a lot in DC. Almost like when you meet someone, you spout your travel resume in order to prove your worthiness.

Posted by: TA | August 29, 2005 10:29 AM | Report abuse

LP:
My Irish nightmare journey occurred in 1979. The charter airline I had booked used only DC-10's. Problem was, all DC-10's everywhere had been taken out of service because of a horrible accident in Chicago where a DC-10's engine fell off while the plane was taking off. We had to fly standby on PanAm, eventually boarding an ancient 707 (!) to take us to Shannon. We had a 11 delay on our return, as, though DC-10's had finally been approved for use, our charter company couldn't scramble enough together to meet the sudden demand. I remember passing over some Arctic plain and feeling a combination of dread and fascination as the dawn / twilight revealed the topaz in the shadows of the sheets of ice. When we landed, every passenger cheered.

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Dreamer, there's been a lot of interesting literature in the past re. relative scale in the universe. I happen to like Voltaire's "Micromegas", Dr. Seuss' "Horton Hears a Who" ('Grinch' also takes place in Whoville), and "The Incredible Shrinking Man". Richard Matheson's final soliloquy (in movie or book form) still sends shivers up my spine.

"I was continuing to shrink, to become... what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being? Or was I the man of the future? If there were other bursts of radiation, other clouds drifting across seas and continents, would other beings follow me into this vast new world? So close - the infinitesimal and the infinite. But suddenly, I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet - like the closing of a gigantic circle. I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God's silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man's own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends in man's conception, not nature's. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero.

I STILL EXIST!"

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 10:40 AM | Report abuse

TA:
I think bc was the first one to use a capital O for Observer here on the 'blog, and as soon as I saw it I knew it was appropriate.

I think of the Observer as the soul, as consciousness, as the part of an individual that would be reincarnated if there is in fact such a thing as reincarnation. It can also be looked at more scientifically (and bc will probably do a better job of explaining this) as the part of the mind that "collapses probability waves," or calls into view the various waves of quantum possibility as particles of experience -- the experience that I as an individual will be having.

"Is this observer -- which is so intricate to the wacky, weird world of quantum particles -- is this, then, The Observer?"

-- Ramtha

"I think of the Observer as the ghost in the machine, the spirit inside the four-layer bio-body suit."

-- William Tiller, Ph.D.

"We know what an Observer is, but we don't know what an Observer looks like. That doesn't mean we haven't tried. We've gone inside every orifice you have looking for an Observer, and there's nobody home . . . . and yet we all have this experience of BEING an Observer."

-- Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D.

From the film "What the Bleep Do We Know!?"

[As you may have guessed, I'm a big fan of this film. I think it has broken important new ground in summarizing in easily understandable terms ideas that could previously be found only in books.]

Posted by: Dreamer | August 29, 2005 10:41 AM | Report abuse

bc, that soliloquy just sent shivers down my spine, too. Thank you for sharing it.

Posted by: Dreamer | August 29, 2005 10:43 AM | Report abuse

SCC entry:
"We know what an Observer DOES . . . ," not "is."

Posted by: Dreamer | August 29, 2005 10:48 AM | Report abuse

LP,
I love your Ireland story. The drunken bus driver is such a realistic example of the humanity of us all.

Posted by: TA | August 29, 2005 10:49 AM | Report abuse

bc, if you like thinking about the infinite, check out Russel Hoban's "The Mouse and His Child," a story about a wind-up toy mouse and his son, and their quest to become self-winding. My Mum read it to me when I was about 6 or 7, and it's how I learned about infinity in the first place. Specifically, check out the passages on Bonzo's Dog Food.

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 10:50 AM | Report abuse

From "Mouse and His Child," on the Bonzo Dog Food Label:

"What doesn't it mean! There's no end to it--it just goes on and on until it means anything and everything, depending on who you are and what your last visible dog is."

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Eurotrash,
Spanish uses inverted exclamation points and question marks at the beginning of sentences that are ended with right-side up exclamation points and question marks. Also, depending where you are, > are used at the beginning of quotes rather than the quotation marks we use in English.

These marks are used more frequently in Spain than in Latin America. Haven't figured out why yet...

Posted by: sweetiefur | August 29, 2005 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Okay, my Spanish quotation marks didn't come out right in the last post. And I meant that they are used at the beginning and closing of a quote, not just the beginning. They are basically double arrows/side carats/greater-or-less-than signs. What are those actually supposed to be called, anyway?

Posted by: sweetiefur | August 29, 2005 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Dreamer, thanks for summarizing the nature of the Observer and how we ended up there. I don't think I would have begun capitalizing it with out you making me think.

To date, I'm not aware of any scientific research that's captured the nature of consciousness other than the result of a bunch of neurons firing in a brain, and that there are probably corresponding quantum effects thereof. There are moves afoot for representation of consciousness in scientific papers as a requirement or a goal for a "Theory of Everything" (TOE).

I first saw the movie version of "The Incredible Shrinking Man" as a kid, that ending really made think. Matheson wrote a lot of interesting stuff over the years, you might be surprised if you Google him.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 11:15 AM | Report abuse

SCC entry, 11:15: "without".

The more I do, the more mistakes I make.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 11:17 AM | Report abuse

If you don't make any mistakes, you're not taking enough risks. Keep doing, bc.

Posted by: Dreamer | August 29, 2005 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The first darned thing to know about the semicolon is that most dictionaries, along with The Associated Press Stylebook, say that it is not hyphenated.

The semicolon is inherently evil. It can't make up its mind. It's not a comma, coming up for air in the midst of a sentence while signaling that there is more to come. It's not a period, with all of its finality, telling readers that there's nothing more to see here and that it's time to move along. It's muddlin' around in the middle, like a hard, awkward tap on the brakes down the road of a sentence.

Yeah, in rare spots it does fit like a glove. But most of the time, it brings with it a a distinct memory of OJ Simpson. (Insert Johnnie Cochran joke here.) It often forces a reader to pause for a moment, to ponder what the heck is going on. Good writers don't want the readers pondering the grammar, and that's one reason why they avoid the semicolon. Good writers avoid overly complicated sentences, and that's another good reason to avoid the semicolon.

Pick up a newspaper and see how many semicolons you spot. The ones you do see will be lonely, like the wallflower at a party. The commas and periods and even the quotation marks will be all gathered around by the bar, getting refills and telling jokes. The few semicolons will be other there, by the potted plants, shuffling their feet a bit, checking the time, adjusting their pants and just kinda killing time.

No wait, there are a couple of handsome semicolons over with the group at the bar. These are the semicolons used to put placemarkers in sentences that help the readability of a sentence due to the inclusion of numerous other commas in the sentence. They're not the life of the party, mind you, but they are helpful and do use their powers for good and not evil.

Can we all agree, however, that the most ridiculous grammar foulup is the use of multiple exclamation marks? Like this!!! Bah.

I took Joel's first sentence to be a mere typo. No biggie. He likely doesn't have a fussy copy editor to help him with what he wrote.

Even Shakespeare had a copy editor. I don't know if that's true, but it sounds good, doesn't it?

Posted by: Bayou Self | August 29, 2005 11:25 AM | Report abuse

OMG!!! I feel totally the same way about exclaimation points! LOL!!! CU L8ter! ;)

(Grammar and punctuation will be dead in a gerneration.)

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 11:29 AM | Report abuse

VMA tangent: my kids were stunned to find 10 year-old Green Day CDs in my collection.

My oldest made off to her room with them, I handed her some Ramones and Clash CDs to go with. Didn't mention that I listened to that stuff when I was her age...and the music was brand new at that point.

Oh, and we had a discussion about the lyrics to "American Idiot". It's all good.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, TA. Ah, Humanity, indeed.

Posted by: LP | August 29, 2005 11:34 AM | Report abuse

In the same vein, Stephen King has some interesting things to say about using adverbs in "On Writing." Mostly that they are the work of the devil.

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 11:35 AM | Report abuse

OMFG u rawk jw

eye hart u

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 11:35 AM | Report abuse

What I don't inderstand is "creatively" spelling words to make them LONGER. WTF? (Ha.)

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Re. Stephen King: He should know.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 11:43 AM | Report abuse

And don't think for a minute that I don't know that I need an editor.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Bayou Self:

Brilliant posting. Thank you. Now I'll have images of drunken, dejected semicolons hanging out in the parking lot and picking on the exclamation marks walking to their cars.

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm cringing inside.

bc, your music tastes "rawk" my world.

My boyfriend is always surprised, sometimes even a little put out, about how little I know of the hip hop world. I just remind him that I was raised on rock and Ludicris (Whose name I just realized last night isn't spelled "Ludicrous." I felt so white and proud of it.) just doesn't measure up to bands like Aerosmith, The Ramones and Green Day. Though I am partial to Fifty Cent's beats. (I'm thinking of writing his name "$0.50" in keeping with my Ludicrous/Ludicris mistake.)

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 11:48 AM | Report abuse

CowTown,

Those drunken semicolons picking on the exclamation marks could be friends with the bouncing bananas that leer at smaller fruits.

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I would never try to impress someone with a travel nightmare because unless you were killed, lost a limb, or were horribly burned, someone can always top you.

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I don't think the semicolons, be they drunken or not, are tough enough to go around pickin' on exclamation marks. But come to think of it, those exclamation marks, what with their "look at me, look at me" loudness could probably use a butt kicking.

Thanks for the nice comment, CowTown.

Sara, leering bananas. There's an image!

Posted by: Bayou Self | August 29, 2005 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self,

It is a great image, isn't it? In the "My Personal Architect" Kaboodle the subject of bananas came up and that's where the leering bananas came from:

Does anyone else find that bananas seem to overpower everything? It's like you're throwing a fruit party in your mouth but only the bananas showed up. Or, the bananas came and bounced everyone else out. That's a better description.

Posted by: Sara | Aug 26, 2005 9:40:23 AM

I peeked into the Boodle just to see what's up. I have to go into a meeting now, but I'll have a smile on my face. I'm going to be visualizing surly bananas crashing a party, leering at the blueberries, drinking all the beer, and picking fights will small fruits. Thanks for giving my morning a pick-up.

Posted by: CowTown | Aug 26, 2005 10:11:26 AM

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 12:16 PM | Report abuse

The only Loomis descendant to have attained the White House was President Millard Fillmore. (The Windsor Historical Society in Windsor, Conn., can corroborate this.)

So I find it pleasantly ironic, Joel, that you recently returned from California, which was admitted to the Union in 1850 during Fillmore's tenure, and have done a short about-face and are now headed to Japan, which was opened up for trade (after being closed to outside commerce for two centuries), also during Fillmore's time in office.

American ships, in the mid-1800s, roamed the Pacific searching for profits in whale oil, silks, and tea. The United States began to trade with China in 1843. After Napoleon's French troops seized Honolulu in 1849, Fillmore, in 1851, gave Napoleon a "hand's off!" warning that extended to some degree the Monroe Doctrine to that region. With the blossoming of Oriental trade in the 1840s, Hawaii had become far too important a Pacific supply depot to allow it to remain under French control.

To promote trade in the Far East, Fillmore dispatched four warhsips--an act of intimidation, to be sure--under Commodore Matthew C. Perry to Japan to secure pledges from the Japanese that they would assist shipwrecked American sailors, provide U.S. vessels with coal and other supplies, and open at least one port to U.S. trade. Twice during his presidency, Fillmore sent letters to the Japanese mikado urging trade, and after the end of Fillmore's presidency, the emperor eventually sent a favorable response. It gave Fillmore great satisfaction to know that it was during his administration that the barriers to trade with Japan had begun to be lowered.

Who knows what Fillmore would have thought of the semi-colon? His beginnings were more than modest, since he was the first president to have authentically been born in a log cabin? But as an avid bibliophile, well-aware of his humble roots, Fillmore amassed a personal library of 4,000 volumes and as president encouraged the creation of the first permanent White House library. (That's quite a collection of reading materials that you've taken with you.)

Family pride, Joel, family pride. Enjoy your trip. I look forward to your postings from Japan during your stay.

Posted by: Linda Loomis | August 29, 2005 12:18 PM | Report abuse

While we're on the topic of music and this blog, I went to see Steve Miller at Wolf Trap this past Saturday evening, courtesy of a friend.

Old music has this curious effect of causing people to reminisce. While I certainly did so, I was a bit surprised to find myself thinking of the Kaboodle and 'boodlers here and there.

Odd but pleasant.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I've been working far too hard over the past couple of weeks and haven't been able to keep up with the blog. It's feels like a gaping hole in my life! Yes, I *do* have an addictive personality, thanks very much.

Joel, though your flight to Japan was probably not what anyone might consider 'pleasant', be happy you were not traveling via military transport, wedged up against a tank or two. My return flight was on a C-5A Galaxy, which refueled in the air over Hawaii. I highly recommend avoiding that particular experience, no matter how interesting it might sound.

Posted by: Pixel | August 29, 2005 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Trying to sleep on the ramp of a C-130 is almost as fun

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I once flew from CT to OR on a C-130. It was freezing, and I had to wear earplugs the entire time. The bathroom was a curtained off port-a-potty sans walls. The only good part was the pilots let me hang out in the cockpit for a while.

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 12:29 PM | Report abuse

That's why I said TRYING to sleep, that ramp gets really cold.

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Sara:
Bayou Self appears to have been absent the day the bananas and small fruits were mentioned. To the best of my knowledge as Kaboodle Archivist and Historian, Bayou Self first appeared in the "Blogs Loving Blogs" Kaboodle and made the following amusing comments:

I don't know about kanoodling, but canoodling is when people, particularly couples, are starting to get frisky. Yes, that kind of frisky.
So I'll pass on the online canoodling, if not the kanoodling or kaboodling.
Posted by: Bayou Self | Aug 22, 2005 6:39:36 PM

Also, as to the Kit, Joel says he fears many blogs may be taken over by machines. "Kit" was the name of the special car in the "Knight Rider" TV series.
Coincidence? I think not.
Posted by: Bayou Self | Aug 22, 2005 6:41:18 PM

Joan of Argghh! would be a good name for a rock band.
Posted by: Bayou Self | Aug 23, 2005 10:51:19 AM

[Just trying to make up for being remiss in my KA&H duties this past week.]

Posted by: Tom fan | August 29, 2005 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Pixel:
I was wondering what had happened to you. Was sorry you couldn't make it to the Porching Hour.
Welcome back.

Posted by: Achenfan | August 29, 2005 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Also, if anyone hadn't noticed, Karen Bertocci has sworn off the blog in "Fresh Eyes." She did leave and email address, I think, if anyone really misses her.

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling K will still be around. :)

[And OK, I didn't want to say it at the time because it was a sad, serious moment, but the jackass in me is just dying to ask: "Sheesh, was Joel's hair really THAT bad, Karen?"]

[Actually, it's more likely that my hair was the problem, not Joel's.]

Posted by: Achenfan | August 29, 2005 12:43 PM | Report abuse

All the tales of travel travail remind me of a favorite Monty Python sketch called "The Four Yorkshiremen" wherein four old farts with impenetrable accents discuss their childhood hardships. Each tops the last, until the fourth OF describes being raised in a paper bag at the bottom of a septic tank, receiving a beating for breakfast every morning, etc., etc. and then the sketch concludes with the definitive geezer complaint- "And if you told that to the young people today, they wouldn't believe you!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 29, 2005 12:52 PM | Report abuse

bc, The Incredible Shrinking Man is scheduled to be shown on the Turner Classic Movie Channel October 18, 8:00 p.m. Thank goodness Ted Turner has stopped vandalizing these great old b/w films by "colorizing" them. I boycotted his station for a couple of years in protest. ISM is one of my favorites. We first saw it when it debuted at the Trail Drive-In in San Antonio back in the 50s. A hot summer night, we watched under a starry sky, sitting on the hood of my Dad's 47 Ford.

Posted by: Nani | August 29, 2005 12:53 PM | Report abuse

jw, I did notice. I'm hoping she changes her mind. Though we wouldn't know it was her because she said anyone using "kbertocci" in the future would be an imposter...

I've thought a couple of times of swearing off the blog because it's just gotten too big. But us regulars are are still the main force here, so I'll stick around until it gets to be too bad. It was getting there on Friday evening, apparently.

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 12:57 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy:
I love that sketch. [Resists urge to add an exclamation mark.]

(A paper bag at the bottom of a septic tank? Luxury!)

Posted by: Achenfan | August 29, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

A bit of wisdom I heard a while back is that "no man listens long if you don't tell him about himself." The problem with most travel stories is that you are telling me about you; what do I care? Tell me about me. A travel story is interesting only if you can tell me about something in the human condition that we share. If you tell me that your whining is justified because you've had it so damned hard, then I am practically required to try to top you, just to save myself from your complaining and to earn some sympathy for my own wretched life. If the Irish travel war story could come back to tell me about the status of the woman with the heart attack, the only person who suffered a genuine injury in that story, then we could share the moment of concern for another person's pain. Frankly, compared to her experience, it's not such a big deal to be stuck on the tarmac in a plane, you know? The part with the drunken bus driver works, because it speaks to the fear each of us has about putting our life in the hands of another person. Achenbach's story works, not because he's complaining about his difficult life and suffering, but because he is ironically commenting upon the pettiness of humanity that we should feel aggrieved when we are given the gift of flying to a fanatastic new land, for free, in an incredibly short period of time. Even funnier is that as soon as he arrives in that marvelous new place. he immediately seeks the comfort of a chain "restuarant." Just like any of us would.

Posted by: ScienceTim (aka StorytellerTim) | August 29, 2005 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Good point, Science Tim. However much I complain about long trans-Pacific flights, I always like to remind myself that it must have been a heck of a lot worse when people had to travel to foreign lands by ship -- especially for those in steerage.

It's all relative, I guess -- as can be seen from kurosawaguy's "Four Yorkshiremen" post.

Posted by: Achenfan | August 29, 2005 1:16 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim- "no man listens long if you don't tell him about himself." This is why we love dogs so much. They are either dumb enough (or smart enough) to grant full attention for extended periods of time. Of course then there is the Far Side wherein Larson shows what dogs hear- "Blah blah blah Ginger, blah blah blah."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 29, 2005 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Tom fan, I wasn't here that day. And I'm usually not able to pop in and out in the same day, for that matter.

But those semicolons get me so riled up.

Sideline: My post about Kit the car received a stern rebuke. Someone pointed out that it was Kitt or K.I.T.T or something. I took my rebuke stoically, without, for example, any use of exclamation marks.

ScienceTim: Good point. But Joel hasn't seen Lost in Translation (at least I think he wrote that he hadn't) so there are way too many lost opportunities for humor in that department. Sigh.

Posted by: Bayou Self | August 29, 2005 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Achenfan, our trip from San Francisco to Manilla by ship in 1952 was the greatest two weeks of my young life. All the parental units were sick as dogs the first week and my brother and I spent long hours at the rail watching for dolphins(!) and flying fish(!) and whales(!). And.. oh no, Geezer alert! Geezer alert! Lucky for you my G5 has the latest release of AppleHipSentry which stops the user from anything uncool like maudering reminiscence. It was probably the exclamation points that triggered it.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 29, 2005 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Achenfan. I was very sad about missing the Porching Hour and am hoping that there is Porching Hour #2 on the horizon.

LB & JW, I did the C-130 thing on various legs of that trip, too. The temperature in the belly of the plane sitting on the tarmac in Panama was definitely not freezing, as I recall.

I got the cockpit invitation on my way from Offut, NE to Charleston, SC since I was the only passenger. Flying into the sunrise over that flat, flat land was spectacular.

Posted by: Pixel | August 29, 2005 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Um, that would be "maundering" sorry.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 29, 2005 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm making "maundering" my word of the day.

Main Entry: maun·der
Pronunciation: 'mon-d&r, 'män-
Function: intransitive verb
Inflected Form(s): maun·dered; maun·der·ing /-d(&-)ri[ng]/
Etymology: probably imitative
1 dialect British : GRUMBLE
2 : to wander slowly and idly
3 : to speak indistinctly or disconnectedly
- maun·der·er /-d&r-&r/ noun

Posted by: Bayou Self | August 29, 2005 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self, that was me mentioning that the car in Knight Rider was called K.I.T.T., an acronym for 'Knight Industries Two Thousand'.

Nani, thanks for the info re. "The Incredible Shrinking Man". I don't remember if my cable system carries Turner Classic, but I'm definitely going to check.

I'm up for a second Porching Hour, should we wait until JA gets back to schedule?

bc

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Don't say that, bc -- he might never want to come bach!

Posted by: Achenfan | August 29, 2005 1:49 PM | Report abuse

What is so wrong with the semicolon? I'll admit to over use of the exclamation point, but I can't be convinced to do away with the semicolon!

Posted by: kenju | August 29, 2005 1:57 PM | Report abuse

SCC: double bc at 1:46:54.

Achenfan - 1:49::56 made me snort.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Where's mo today?

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah pixel, the climate control on those planes lacks a little something.

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 2:24 PM | Report abuse

so was there no rough draft this weekend?

Posted by: LP | August 29, 2005 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see one, but then the one from last week also isn't showing up...maybe there's a glitch somewhere.

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 2:49 PM | Report abuse

There was a Rough Draft in the printed magazine, but I can't find it on the Washington Post's Web Site. It was very funny. The title was something like, Girl Food May be Pretty, But It Ain't Beer-Butt Chicken" (or maybe that was just the subtitle -- I can't quite remember). The drawing that went with it was also great. I loved the part about it being OK for a man to eat fish as long as the fish still has its head and its mouth is "gaping in horror."

Maybe someone will post the column as a Kit if we're lucky . . .

Posted by: Tom fan | August 29, 2005 2:54 PM | Report abuse

SCC entry:
Missing open quote mark before "Girl Food . . . ."

Posted by: Tom fan | August 29, 2005 2:58 PM | Report abuse

well, now someone with a paper copy is just going to have to type it into the boodle so the out-of-towners may enjoy. As a public service, you know.

Posted by: LP | August 29, 2005 3:03 PM | Report abuse

LP, I'm such a geek I just might do that. Well, maybe not -- but I could probably type up some choice quotes. You'll have to wait 'til tomorrow though, because my paper copy's at home and I'm at work (or perhaps I should say "in the office," since "work" is a pretty loose description of what I'm doing right now).

Posted by: Tom fan | August 29, 2005 3:07 PM | Report abuse

You're a pal, Tom Fan.

Posted by: LP | August 29, 2005 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Tom fan: I just read your FBBI bulletin from the "Fresh Eyes" kit. I actually went back to look for kbertocci's sign off (gosh, I'll miss her) and ran into the bulletin in the process. The funny thing is that I did something similar (not nearly as well done - but with essentially the same list of names) the other day and then didn't post it. Anyway, well done. Treat yourself to a well deserved coffee break in the FBBI cafeteria!

Posted by: bostonreader | August 29, 2005 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The VMAs sucked. "Diddy" was an egomaniacal idiot. Plus, any awards show where U2 can lose to the Gorillaz (multiple times) isn't worth its airtime.

And Katrina...so sad. My mother's name is Katrina, and she's thinking about changing it to Kate after this! She's gotten endless teasing (it's amazing how you can turn weather forecasts into dirty innuendos, apparently).

Truly, New Orleans will never be the same.

Posted by: PLS | August 29, 2005 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, bostonreader. I'm glad you liked it, because I was worried I might have been treading on some toes by issuing that bulletin. After all, you, Cubedweller, and kbertocci are in charge of the FBBI, not me. But I figured, everyone's on vacation, so I'll just appoint myself Acting Assistant Director and get this thing out.

Posted by: Tom fan | August 29, 2005 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I didn't know I was in charge. I thought YOU were in charge. Well, I guess that's just par for the course. Anyway, now that I know I have some responsibilities, I recommended we place the identikit photo in post offices around the nation under the heading "10 LEAST WANTED".

Posted by: bostonreader | August 29, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Tom fan - Just to make sure you have no doubts - there was not a single name on your list that I didn't 100% agree with.

Posted by: bostonreader | August 29, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Let me restate that for better clarity: I agreed 100% with every name on your list, Tom fan.

Posted by: bostonreader | August 29, 2005 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, bostonreader. It was a fairly conservative list -- I didn't want to accidentally implicate any bona fide 'boodlers.

Some names that didn't make it onto the list are on a separate list of "Persons of Interest," which has not yet been released by the Bureau.

Posted by: Tom fan | August 29, 2005 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Tom fan, just read the FBBI and while it was informative, you're not on the mark. I'm a lurker, not a/the interloper. I have better things to do than pretend to be somebody I'm not. I don't expect to convince anybody who already believes otherwise, but I wanted to get this off my chest. There are still people out there who believe in decorum, and while I may make jokes about making poop jokes, I'd like to believe that I'm one of them.

On the subject of lurkers versus 'lopers, I think you underestimate the number of people who do read the 'boodle on a regular basis and do feel like they're a part of it. The regulars here are funny and bright and it's great to take a break during the work day to read somebody's observations on the blog, the news, life itself, and think "oh my god, that's brilliant!" or "oh my god, I agree 100%!" or just laugh aloud and have your coworkers wonder why you're laughing at loud at the computer screen. After reading not just the kit but the kaboodle as well for months, I thought I'd join in with a comment or two. Maybe the timing was bad with the interloper wreaking havoc, but I think that some people are being a bit harsh on those of us who have finally decided we'd like to participate a bit more actively in Achenworld.

Posted by: sweetiefur | August 29, 2005 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Don't get too impressed with Joel's Starbucks -hunting abilities. Finding a Starbucks in Tokyo is about as hard as finding one in Dupont Circle. Seven-Elevens are fairly common too.

I have slept, and rather soundly, on the ramp of a C-130 between the Philippines and Korea. The seats were made of parachute strap and the ramp was the only flat comfortable place to stetch out.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 29, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I took a huge helicopter (maybe a C-130 - but I'm not sure) off an aircraft carrier years ago. It WAS freezing, and oil was dripping on us from somewhere above, but the thing that really marked the trip was when the guy sitting next to me turned around to look out of the window and in leaning his elbow against it, pushed it out! As the window vanished, we all looked at each other in horror - first wondering what else on the machine was about to fall off, second hoping somebody in a field below (we were over land by then) wouldn't be killed, and finally worrying how much trouble this guy might be in for destruction of government property. When we landed in DC, the cap on the trip was when the wetsuit kind of thing I had to wear wouldn't come off. The neck was so small I couldn't get it back over my head. I held onto the railing on the steps off the helicopter, while a crewman pulled with all his might. I thought all my hair had gone with it, but the suit finally came off! I haven't ridden a helicopter since, thankfully.

Posted by: bostonreader | August 29, 2005 3:41 PM | Report abuse

There was a Rough Draft this weekend, but I'm not sure why it wasn't posted on the Post web site. I can't find it. It was about "Manfood", aka heaping piles o' charred animal parts, and Girlfood, which is described as "a delicate glass plate, with sprigs of eccentric greenery, decorative squirts of fat-free raspberry puree, some anorexic carrots, a radish sculpted to resemble a tulip, and , finally, anchoring the ensemble, a half-dollar-size medallion of boneless, skinless, meatless chicken."

Now, I have often suspected that I am not really a girl, outward appearances to the contrary. This description of Girlfood leaves me with little doubt. I guess I'd better break the news to my husband.

Posted by: Pixel | August 29, 2005 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps this sweetiefur is a different sweetiefur/Sweetiefur from the one who posted the following comments:

APOLOGIES TO EUROTRASH, that last post was for me and directed to his/her query. Being an interloper is bad enough, don't want to be a nasty interloper (yet).
Posted by: Sweetiefur | Aug 23, 2005 4:42:30 PM

lurkers joining in the fray: yay! glad I'm not the only one!
interloper: boo. go back to high school.
Posted by: sweetiefur | Aug 25, 2005 9:49:18 AM

but LB, apparently purchasing your very own harajuku girl as a souvenir is all the rage. You can name them and dress them like your very own human barbie doll! I think joel should bring back a few and they can do battle with gwen stefani's posse. It could be another step towards Joel's world blog domination.
Speaking of which, poor Joel, everybody wants a piece. Have a great trip! We'll make do with you, even if it means me and Sara stoop to the poop (jokes, that is).
Posted by: sweetiefur | Aug 26, 2005 12:59:51 PM


However, at this time the FBBI believes this possibility to be about as unlikely as Scenario 2 in Tom's Dumb Question on Coincidences.

Posted by: Tom fan | August 29, 2005 3:58 PM | Report abuse

sweetiefur

Just keep contributing. Your real identity will become known to the regulars, and an interloper's attempt to appropriate your handle will be recognized as, eh, interloping.

Regards,
OneWhoseIdentityHasBeenAppropriatedOnSomeOccssions

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I streached out on the ramp because it was the only place to streach out, but I guess because of the altitude, it was like laying on a block of ice.

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I repeat, I've never engaged in poop jokes and I was a little offended that sweetiefur would think I would.

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Bostonreader a C-130 Hercules is a rather large fixed wing aircraft with four turboprop engines and weighs around 75 tons. No carrier take offs or landings with this baby.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 29, 2005 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks CowTown, aka my partner in CA hamburger crime. And Tom fan, I did write those comments. They were totally silly, because I spend all day at work doing fairly serious stuff and I like to be silly in my free time. Maybe my sin was in replying to an interloper (comment 1), not using proper grammar or punctuation (comment 2), or making a semi-obscure and VERY sarcastic reference to a current pop star (comment 3) (there was a really fantastic article about this in Salon a couple months ago, by the way, if anybody else finds Gwen Stefani's appropriation of Japanese counterculture as offensive as I do you should definitely check it out). I'm not really sure, and I'm feeling better after writing my previous posting so I don't think I care.

My sin in this posting is overusage of parenthesis. (I am addicted.)

Posted by: sweetiefur | August 29, 2005 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to highlight that, Sara -- perhaps I should have chosen a different example (but I thought that was a good one, not only because of the writing style used but also because the poop-jokes part of the post was kind of strange).

I wouldn't be too offended if I were you. It's hard to know what sweetiefur really thinks. I know I certainly don't think of you as a poop-joke kind of person.

Posted by: Tom fan | August 29, 2005 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Sara

Not even a Gene Weingarten-style poop joke? Not even about baby poo? Just testing parameters, not chiding. There's no pressure here.

And I'm diggin on all this talk about Large Military Planes. HooYah!

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I just sent washingtonpost.com an e-mail asking why this week's Rough Draft column is not on the Web site. Also, neither yesterday's nor last week's column appears in the archives.

Let's see how long it takes them to check this out and respond.

Posted by: pj | August 29, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Read Delillo's "The Names." It took a long time.

Posted by: Joe | August 29, 2005 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't know kurosawaguy, a C-130 can take off and land in a pretty short distance. I bet Jimmy Doolittle could have done it.

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 4:21 PM | Report abuse

That's completely fine, Tom fan. No apology necessary.

I just wanted anyone who hadn't seen my previous "I don't not engage in those types of jokes" post to see it so that they wouldn't think I was that type of person.

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 4:21 PM | Report abuse

This is making me wish I knew more about planes so that I could join in the conversation. I'd attempt to fake the knowledge but I know I'd fail miserably.

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 4:23 PM | Report abuse

DeLillo's "Libra" is also a great book.

Posted by: LP | August 29, 2005 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Sara, really, military aircraft is not terribly sexy unless you can weasel your way onto a fighter jet or something. A C5-A is something like a flying WalMart. It is vast and cavernous and slightly horrifying, but for $10 (the cost of flying "space available") you get what you pay for! The C-130 and C-140 are just medium-sized cargo planes with no seats, just nylon jump-seat type things that fold down from the side and are not at all comfortable. The bucket-behind-the-curtain potty is, well, a good advertisement for Depends.

Flying over the Panama Canal in a Huey with no doors was much more fun than the cargo planes.

Posted by: Pixel | August 29, 2005 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Just a year after I'd moved to the Midwest, we joined in a neighborhood 4th of July parade that terminated in a park. The mayor of the city came out to a stage erected for the occasion, and he let the crowd in singing patriotic songs before rushing off in his limo (probably to the next neighborhood parade / spectacle). HOWEVER, right after the mayor left, three huge, lumbering C-130's did a fly-by. I was already blown away by the parade, mayor singing, etc. (very, very different from blase L.A.), but to have big transport planes Flying In Formation overhead, was astonishing.

Sorry. Boring musing. Please continue.

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 4:34 PM | Report abuse

You're right Sara we would spot a faker in a minute.

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 4:34 PM | Report abuse

kurasawaguy and cowtown: It was a huge helicopter with a rear end that opened up so that tanks and things could drive in. I don't remember exactly, but it seems to me it just had a big blade on the top - no wings or propellers. I remember thinking that if they would close that rear door it wouldn't be so freezing in there, but they kept it open the entire trip. What's another huge military helicopter used for transporting equipment?

Posted by: bostonreader | August 29, 2005 4:36 PM | Report abuse

flying nap of the earth with the doors pulled back in a Huey can be a treat if you don't fall out.

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 4:37 PM | Report abuse

bostonreader, if it had two props on top it was a CH-46, if there was just one it may have been a CH-53

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Bostonreader

Sounds like a Super Stallion. That's one of those twin propeller helicopters. Kurasawaguy, your thoughts?

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 4:39 PM | Report abuse

One more and I swear I am done hogging the blog. Just wanted to apologize to Sara for any misunderstanding, because I did mean it as a light-hearted and not in any way mean-spirited joke. I think we all know your comedy is on a much higher plane than that.

Posted by: sweetiefur | August 29, 2005 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Cowtown, I LOVE fly-bys. My favorite is before the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. First you hear the "thwump thwump" and the big army helicopters go overhead, and then you have to watch closely and not blink or you'll miss the F-18s as they swoosh by. (I don't know why, but after that description I feel it incumbent upon me to say, "Go Navy. Beat Army".)

Posted by: bostonreader | August 29, 2005 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm fairly doubtful that even a modified C-130 with only enough fuel for take-off and a dozen JATO tubes would be able to get off the deck of, say, the USS Carl Vinson, rather than taking a nose dive into the bow wave.

However, if you're looking for that perfect velocity-enhancing upgrade to your automobile (e.g. a Vincent Black Shadow) and don't want to shell out for a supercharger, a JATO tube or two is just the ticket.

Posted by: Raoul Duke | August 29, 2005 4:44 PM | Report abuse

No problem, sweetiefur. No hard feelings or anything.

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I figgured if they could fly bombers off of the deck of a WWII carrier to bomb Tokyo, then a C-130 might be able to make it, but then what do I know, I was just a grunt

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Helicopter experts: Does it help if I tell you it was 1981 or 82 (we were taking off from the USS Carl Vinson, where we had been observing the sea trials)?

Posted by: bostonreader | August 29, 2005 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, bostonreader -- Go Navy! (please note that this is an entirely permissible use of the maligned exclamation point).

I missed all you guys last week while I was on vacation. It's good to be back, with a fresh pile of acorns and a speedy internet connection.

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | August 29, 2005 4:48 PM | Report abuse

CowTown- The CH-53 is the Super Stallion (or, depending on your vantage point, the Super Stallion is the CH-53). Marine Corps helicopter, one large overhead rotor and a second on the tail (in a vertical plane). Primary purpose is transport of cargo/equipment, so it may indeed fit the bill for BostonReader's comment.

Posted by: Raoul Duke | August 29, 2005 4:49 PM | Report abuse

That's a bit eerie that you used the Carl Vinson in your example, Raoul Duke!

Posted by: bostonreader | August 29, 2005 4:50 PM | Report abuse

LB I'm not a military plane expert by any means, but the B-25s Doolittle flew over Tokyo was about half the size of a C-130.

A C-130's wingspan would make life on a flight deck really interesting.

But not as interesting as an emergency landing of a loaded C-130 on a rolling flight deck (C-130 does not equal manuverable). Should there even be room, I wonder what an arresting hook would do to that airframe.

It didn't occur to me until this afternoon to go back and Observe the goings on over the weekend. Kudos to Tom fan and the rest of the FBBI for trying to make this a better virtual place for real people.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 4:51 PM | Report abuse

LB- There is a significant differential in weight between the B-25 Mitchells used in the Doolittle raid on Tokyo and a C-130; in addition (and please note the use of the semicolon) the C-130 is a product of the jet age, whereas the B-25 was propeller-driven. Even then, the B-25s had to be stripped down for the long-distance haul, and were ditched in China as they lacked the fuel capacity for the return trip.

Posted by: Raoul Duke | August 29, 2005 4:52 PM | Report abuse

those B-25s must have been little suckers

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Raoul. I think this conversation thread is an appropriate follow-up to JA's alleged Rough Draft column of Sunday. He wrote about Man Food. Now we're discussing Man Fascination With Military Aircraft.

Now, no eye-rolling. Please continue.

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Well the "work day" is over, outta here

Posted by: LB | August 29, 2005 4:55 PM | Report abuse

While we're having all of this military equipment talk, it reminds me to ask jw if he caught the Fox news network show on the Coast Guard this weekend. I didn't see it as I was not in reach of a TV, but I thought of you earlier in the week when it was advertised. The title was "Guardians of the Sea: The US Coast Guard".

Posted by: bostonreader | August 29, 2005 4:56 PM | Report abuse

LB- If you ever have a chance to visit the Dairy State and arrive/depart through Milwaukee, the airport there is named in honor of Billy Mitchell; to complete the homage, a B-25 sits at the entrance to the airport. Yes, the planes were small by current standards (or even the standards of the day, as both the B-17 and B-24 were larger bombers than the B-25).

Posted by: Raoul Duke | August 29, 2005 4:57 PM | Report abuse

CowTown- In line with your comment on the fascination with military aircraft, one of the coolest things I've seen was the fly-over of the F-15s at the procession of President Reagan's casket to the Capitol Rotunda. Impressive stuff.

Posted by: Raoul Duke | August 29, 2005 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I thought Sly Stallone was the Super Stallion. Maybe i'm thinking of somebody else. I begin to maunder....

Posted by: kurosawaguy | August 29, 2005 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Don't even get me Started on jet fighters. I love them. I worked long ago for a military supplier to a manufacturer of jet aircraft, and Grunman flew an F-14 to a nearby airport so we employees could look at it. It was huge, and it sounded like the Wrath of God when it took off. Totally cool.

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Raoul Duke, isn't the problem with adding JATO tubes to your car keeping your wheels on the pavement? Maybe if you added a spoiler.

Posted by: Videlicet | August 29, 2005 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Raoul, I think you may have meant that JATO velocity enhancement device to your Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle, don't you?

Jets are cool, but the feel and sound of a bunch of RR Merlins on the deck with the throttles open pulling a bunch of P-51 Mustangs and/or Spitfires along, WOW.

Glorious noise.

The loudest noise I've ever felt is standing at the starting line at an NHRA drag strip when a pair of Top Fuelers leave. 16,000 HP going off a few feet away
is enough to knock over the unwary. I won't even get into the fumes and rubber all over the place.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 5:08 PM | Report abuse

This has been a test of the Emergency Male Empowerment Network. Had there been a true Emasculating Event, you would hear male-affirming discussions on jet aircraft, military equipment, auto racing, mountain climbing, and snake handling until the emergency passed. Thank you for your patience and kind cooperation.

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 5:20 PM | Report abuse

The JATO tube comment was meant in jest, or perhaps as a gonzo-journalism comment. The problem with JATO tubes and cars (or motorcycles) is indeed keeping the wheels on the ground (and a spoiler would have to be massive to assist in this cause). It's a thrust-to-weight ratio problem: the JATO tube was designed to help heavy planes take off from short runways, so they kick out a thrust sufficient to that task. Applying that kind of thrust- even with just one tube- to a car or motorcycle simply overwhelms the vehicle and it looses all semblance of its normal functionality, and thus becoming airborne is the problem- as is survival. See The Darwin Awards for a reference on this.

Posted by: Raoul Duke | August 29, 2005 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The Achenblog will never again be mistaken for a chicks' blog.

Posted by: Achenfan | August 29, 2005 5:21 PM | Report abuse

So very true, Achenfan.

I'm off for the night, Achenfriends. I will see y'all tomorrow.

Posted by: Sara | August 29, 2005 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't expecting a kit today (yesterday). Just wan't to post about my longest flight: I can't sleep on flights at all. But once I almost did. A missed connection in Miami meant spending the night in Hotel where I got four hours sleep. Next, just as I felt myself falling about five hours into a flight to Brazil, a child in the seat in front of me looked back to say hi. Now I'm wide awake again. So he climbed back and talked for a while. A real sweet kid. But then I was awake for good, even my connecting to Brasilia kep me wide awake. It's now evening, and I meet a friend, and go out for the night. She is completely amazed when she hear's the story, because apparrently I'm immune to jet lag of any kind. Now here's the funny part. When we landed in Miami and we're told we missed our connecting flight to Brazil we're point to speak to some United employees about a Hotels and such. Now I don't get Jet lag but I do get major league hearing blockage. At this point I couldn't hear out my left ear at all. So I'm rotating my head and body to put my right ear to hear better, and the entire time the United employee is orbiting to the left. I was very annoyed at the time, but had to laugh later.

Posted by: omnigoof | August 29, 2005 5:34 PM | Report abuse

An appropriate Heinlein read for this Kit is "The Number of the Beast". Where 666 is actually 6 to the power of 6 to the power of 6, and that is the number of posible universes.

Posted by: omnigood | August 29, 2005 5:36 PM | Report abuse

how true that omnigood, but Heinlein got his math wrong in that book.

Posted by: omnigoof | August 29, 2005 5:37 PM | Report abuse

don't be an a** omnigoof. if the math was right, the number would have been longer than the rest of the book.

Posted by: omnibad | August 29, 2005 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Omni, step away from the Jim Beam. You hear me? STEP AWAY FROM THE JIM BEAM.

Posted by: Achenfan | August 29, 2005 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan sounds serious, Omniperson, better do what she says.

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 5:43 PM | Report abuse

It's for his own good; he'll be grateful in the morning.

Posted by: Achenfan | August 29, 2005 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Jim Beam? Blorph.

Posted by: LP | August 29, 2005 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh, but I'm on holiday. No regrets on Holiday.

Posted by: omnigoof | August 29, 2005 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Blorph the name of that cute/cuddly alien/creature on "Lost in Space"?

Posted by: omnigoof | August 29, 2005 5:51 PM | Report abuse

dunno, but I'm going home - night all!

Posted by: Lp | August 29, 2005 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I missed the CG thing on Fox, I depend on my mom to call me up in a tizzy whenever the CG is on tv, but she may be getting less vigilant. I'll see if it's on again though.

Posted by: jw | August 29, 2005 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, but my mind has been purged of jet fighter imagry. Now, I'm laughing and trying to think of other usages for "blorph."

Posted by: CowTown | August 29, 2005 6:06 PM | Report abuse

substitue for blegh, I think.

Posted by: omnigoof | August 29, 2005 6:11 PM | Report abuse

oh, here's a good one: when someone says something really stupid or incomrehensible respond with 'Blorph'.

Posted by: omnibad | August 29, 2005 6:15 PM | Report abuse

with inflection, like a question: 'blorph?'

Posted by: omnigoof | August 29, 2005 6:16 PM | Report abuse

SCC: last post post should be preceded with 'or'

for meter

Posted by: omnigood | August 29, 2005 6:18 PM | Report abuse

In light of the military aircraft talk, I once had a really close encounter with one, that scared the living daylights out of me. We used to farm in central Saskatchewan. Joel went over Saskatchewan before he hit Yukon airspace. At the time there was not a whole lot of stuff in the entire province, but grass, birds, deer, farmland and hockey and curling talk.

I stepped out of the house and was almost blown off the stoop by the big noise of a low flying military plane. I have no idea what kind it was but it was from your fair nation. It was big, noisy and flew in a grand arc behind our machine shed, low to the ground. It is just not something you see in the backwoods of the western Canadian prairie. I found out later that several hours south in a small city, an airshow was being held.

On a side note for the geeks in all of us, the hinterlands of Saskatchewan now contain a brand new synchrotron at the University of Saskatchewan. We are now home of the cool and highly scientific.

Posted by: dr | August 29, 2005 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Not as dramatic dr, but though I've been to many air shows, the most impressed I've been has been driving near White Sands NM when I saw two F16s fly overhead, then do some impressive dog fight maneuvers before flying off to the horizon. wwow.

Posted by: omnigood | August 29, 2005 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Raoul, I'm pulling your leg a bit, too.

I've built motorcycles, cars, and some model rockets and even remote controlled airplanes. I've got some idea how stuff works.

The old Darwin Award with the milspec JATO unit is an old legend/myth that predates the public Internet by a long time. It's a funny story, though.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 29, 2005 10:46 PM | Report abuse

man! i missed a good boodle today! i was out sick on mon - celebrating my bday early and wayyyy too much... LOVED the punctuation marks at the bar! and i love exclamation points!!!! as for semicolons, used 'em in school but don't really see a point for them now; tho' it is kinda cool to smush two ideas together and get away with it by using a semicolon. i like hypens - they seem to emulate the way i speak...

LOVED the ireland story. worst plane trip i had to going to italy with tickets that my mother won - that being said, if you don't pay for your tickets they torture you and make you wish you had... flight from DCA to chicago to Birgmingham england (for an 8 hour layover) to Dusseldorf then Milan!!!

Posted by: mo | August 30, 2005 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Spiffy
???

Posted by: Anonymous | August 30, 2005 4:26 PM | Report abuse

funny ringtones

Posted by: cvmdd7v@mail.com | August 14, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

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