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Dry Rain Again

   It hasn't rained in Washington in the month of September. This morning a front is moving through, but I fear it will once again bring that meteorological anomaly we call dry rain.

    Dry rain is what you get when a rainstorm fails to precipitate moisture. You've heard the saying: "Too dry to rain." This is because the clouds are made not only of H2O, but also of a much rarer molecule, H3O. When you get enough H3O combining with H2O, the resulting liquid lacks the characteristic of wetness. Some water is so dry it's actually gritty.

    Occasionally you hear reports of a shower or a sprinkle, and you rush to the scene to confirm the sighting, but invariably the surface is powder-dry, and the witness says, "I swear it rained!" But there's no proof. There's just an assertion, which is no better than a rumor. A lot of the confusion is caused by a lack of knowledge about weather. The average citizen can't name the six physical states of water (ice, liquid, vapor, plasma, tap, sparkling). Some people don't even know the difference between "weather" and "climate." (The first refers to events involving wind, the second to events involving temperature.)

    In any case, if you go outside you'll see we're having a series of dry thunderstorms. Some of these thunderstorms actually suck water FROM THE GROUND. It's true: The wind has a wicking effect, with the water vapor latching onto surface moisture via the famed "hydrogen bond" and carrying it aloft. The result is that after the storm blows through the ground is completely desiccated.

  The other big problem we sometimes have around here are the torrential droughts. People have been drowned in droughts around here. When the weatherman on TV starts talking about drought, that's when you need to make sure your gutters are cleaned out and your sump pump working.

    Because Washington is neither really a northern or southern clime, we also have a lot of "freezing rain" and its converse, "hot snow." The hot snows are almost worthless for sledding or making snowballs. There have been some hot snows around here that were practically scalding.

    But most of this remains unknown to the general public, because of the failure of our schools to teach science adequately.

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 29, 2005; 10:55 AM ET
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I would think to truely understand what you are talking about, our schools would need to teach science "aqueduct"-ly.

Posted by: JamesB | September 29, 2005 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Joel, for the weather/climate elucidation, and especially for reminding me that the capricious Washington winter is just over the horizon. I never knew we had hot snow; I was under the impression that the only precipitation we ever got is the dreaded "Wintery Mix."

Posted by: Pixel | September 29, 2005 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Main Entry: des·ic·cate
Pronunciation: 'de-si-"kAt
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -cat·ed; -cat·ing
Etymology: Latin desiccatus, past participle of desiccare to dry up, from de- + siccare to dry, from siccus dry -- more at SACK
transitive senses
1 : to dry up
2 : to preserve (a food) by drying : DEHYDRATE
3 : to drain of emotional or intellectual vitality
intransitive senses : to become dried up
- des·ic·ca·tion /"de-si-'kA-sh&n/ noun
- de·sic·ca·tive /'de-si-"kA-tiv/ adjective
- des·ic·ca·tor /'de-si-"kA-t&r/ noun

Posted by: Bayou Self | September 29, 2005 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"A dry rain's gonna fall!" - Bob Dylan

Posted by: Bayou Self | September 29, 2005 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I always thought that "weather" referred to what's happening right now outside your window (or tommorrow or yesterday), while "climate" refers to TRENDS in weather. Like an ice age. "Boy, it's been snowing for two years straight! I think our climate shifted!"

At least, that's what I learned in my meteorology class.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I changed it to desiccated. But gosh that looks weird. Anyway thanks for the heads up.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 29, 2005 11:13 AM | Report abuse

On second reading, I believe this whole Kit is one giant scientific inaccuracy, and it's our job to point them all out. Like those "What's wrong with this picture" tests.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget the seventh state of water: flat.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 29, 2005 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I think of climate as being not a "trend" but the typical range of conditions experienced in a given place. Which is why climate CHANGE is worrisome. Biology adapts to climate; change the climate rapidly and suddenly things go extinct or invaders move in. Weather is what's going on at the moment right outside. I think.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 29, 2005 11:16 AM | Report abuse

JW, you are correct. This is called a Pack of Lies Kit. Based on a seed of truth. Like it really hasn't rained more than a smidgen all month, and if this front blows through without dropping any moisture I'll be steamed.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 29, 2005 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Maybe there's no water because Congress used it all up making metaphors in the Congressional Record.

Posted by: Reader | September 29, 2005 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The thing with climate is that it's determined more by global forces. In order to change the climate of DC ocean currents would have to shift, which would change atmospheric circulation. Some precession of the Earth's axis wouldn't hurt either.

But a thunderstorm or blizzard or hurricane is caused by very local effects, which admittedly have climatic roots, but are local nonetheless.

Describing the DC weather, you might say, "It's raining." Describing the climate, you'd say, "It's a humid, temperate coastal zone." Or something like that. Relates to weather, but not exactly tied to it.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"True fact"--some lightning starts at the ground and goes up. What do you know about that, JA? No, I mean, really, what do you know about it?

Posted by: Not a Scientist | September 29, 2005 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Ah-HA! I'm on to your evil tricks Achenbach! I'm reporting you to NOAA.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Five straight days of 100-degree-plus temperatures in San Antonio--smashing all records.

I read, a day or two ago, this blog by Stu Ostro, senior meteriologist at the Weather Channel, and thought it was good. I'll post only a portion; the rest of his blog/thoughts on this topic are at the Weather Channel website.


Stu Ostro, Senior Meteorologist

I figure if that got your attention, you might be willing to read through this long blog entry written in my sleep-deprived Hurricane Rita stupor.

But no, in the title above I'm not referring to Rita -- more on it in a moment. I'm talking about the heat wave and its associated big hot ridge of high pressure.

While the headline-getting weather news story has been Hurricane Rita, temperatures have been ridiculously high for this time of year across a good chunk of the country. I mean, c'mon ... highs in the 90s all over the place and even 100+ degrees in many locations, within a week or two of October?!

There was a time at which reading anything more into that would have been the last thing you'd ever hear from me. I was a certified Global Warming Skeptic. As most climate scientists came to conclude that humans were changing the climate and those changes were significant, I, priding myself on also being an Objective Meteorologist, vehemently resisted as a result of what I felt was insufficient evidence.

I eventually came to the judgment that I was wrong and global warming was real, largely caused by human activities, and profoundly changing the planet on which we live. Even so, I was particularly opposed to the notion of "blaming" global warming for any single weather event. To this day I think that a lot of discretion needs to be used in making such connections.

But when it comes to warmth, increasingly frequent and strong extremes in temperatures such as the recent spell are what add up to changing climate averages. That doesn't mean some extremes in the other direction (cold) can't still be part of the mix, or that every hot day everywhere can be attributed to global warming.

It's the intensity, duration and geographical expanse of the recent hot weather at this time of year that I think must be directly linked to, if not outright caused by, the changing climate.

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 29, 2005 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Too much going on personal-agenda-wise

Posted by: LL | September 29, 2005 11:33 AM | Report abuse


We're all doomed.

Posted by: LP | September 29, 2005 11:35 AM | Report abuse

One word: Virga.

Posted by: md 20/400 | September 29, 2005 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Ha! I love the Pack of Lies Kits. They're my favorites.

I have a cousin who was going to be a meteorologist. He loved weather and loved collecting pencils. On the last day of school when were in elementary school he found a pencil on the ground and got all excited. My cousin and I looked at him and said, "Put that down, it's summer." He pocketed it anyway. It was about the length of my pinkie and someone has chewed on it. It must have been crawling in what we termed "cooties" back then.

I meant to talk more about weather in this post, but the pencil story took over. I don't think he's as fired up about being a weather person as he used to be, though he is proud of the barometer he got for Christmas a couple of years ago.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 11:49 AM | Report abuse

He loved collecting pencils? Sounds like my kinda guy.

As for "dry rain," what bothers me more is the phenomenon of "dry drink," e.g., cranberry juice -- the more of this stuff one drinks, the thirstier one becomes. Combine it with a Steinbeck novel and it could be deadly -- at least in your case, Sara.

Posted by: Tom fan | September 29, 2005 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Now on to Ice 9...

Posted by: PeterK | September 29, 2005 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Sara - or a salty dog coupled with Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Posted by: Nani | September 29, 2005 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't need a dry drink for a Steinbeck novel to completely desiccate me, Tom fan. I'd hate to see the outcome of that pairing.

And yes, he loved those pencils...I asked him a couple months ago if he still collected and he said, "I like to have some around . . ." He looked sheepish. 12 years later he still loves pencils. Short ones, plain ones, chewed up ones, personalized ones (even pencils personalized for others). This might make a good Dr. Seuss story.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Or is it Suess?

I actually realy enjoyed Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I thought it was fun.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Fun? Interesting. I had no idea the word "fun" had left my fingers before I posted that.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh! And SCC: "really."

My gosh I am scum today.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I like to surround myself with colored pencils and felt-tipped pens. Green ones, purple ones, blue ones, pink ones. (I'm not a big fan of the red ones, though.)

Posted by: Tom fan | September 29, 2005 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I miss having one of those giant boxes of Crayola crayons. Maybe I'll go buy myself one today. And just leave it on my desk and let people think what they think.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I myself am a fan of Sharpies. It's the best brand to happen to writing since Bic.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Ya know what's crap? RoseArt crayons. You may as well melt a candle and try to color with that.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Oooh! I love a good Sharpie. They're good for pretty much anything. And in times of mortal distress, you can always sniff'em.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Cryola is the ONLY crayon, as far as I'm concerned. RoseArt is crap. They don't even taste good.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Ya know what tastes good (to kids, not to adults)? That glue paste that came with a spreader stick (or handy eating tool) that they told you not to eat. If they don't want you to eat it, they shouldn't make it minty.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I always wanted one of those giant boxes of crayons. But when I was a kid, the basic 8 was all we got. Mom used to tell us they cost too much. Seems like it could not be, but when you bought your gorceries and your monthly incidentals from the sale of the cream from a couple of cows, I guess it would have been too much. I wonder what a cream can full used to sell for in 1964?

Posted by: dr | September 29, 2005 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The only beef I had with the giant boxes of crayons was the dumb sharpener in the back. I never worked. So I'd always be left with a few crayons that were all stumpy because they were popular colors. Poor burnt sienna never had that problem.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 12:42 PM | Report abuse

My first really large box of crayolas came in a handly plastic carrying case with a handle and stadium seating for the crayons. You could see the names of all the crayons without pulling them out. I color coordinated them because I'm anal. There was a sharpener on the side. It was glorious.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:43 PM | Report abuse

IT never worked. Maybe I didn't either.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Crayons are the most underappreciated medium out there.

Crayola is, however, crap.

Posted by: LP | September 29, 2005 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Crayola is crap? But they're THE crayon. Not too waxy, rich in color, and the paper around the crayon actually matches the color that the crayon colors.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh how I truly loved this Pack of Lies Kit.

The most important thing to watch out for when lightening travels from the ground to the clouds the the change of molecular structure from H20. It skips over completely H30 and becomes H40 -- thereby causing rain to fall that creates the smeary, blurry condition on windshields. Combine H40 with wind and you must absolutely pull off the highway until the weather clears.

Posted by: janet | September 29, 2005 12:49 PM | Report abuse

We have a lot of H40 in Minnesota then.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:51 PM | Report abuse

We're all doomed.
Posted by: LP | Sep 29, 2005 11:35:12 AM

One word: Virga.
Posted by: md 20/400 | Sep 29, 2005 11:40:21 AM

One more word: Viagra

Posted by: Anonymous | September 29, 2005 12:51 PM | Report abuse

WAY too waxy. Not blendable at all. A good crayon you should be able to rub your finger over and blend into the paper; crayola will either lift right off the page, or just bond together into little crayon-boogers.

Posted by: LP | September 29, 2005 12:52 PM | Report abuse

You have a point with the bonding together thing.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I am not going to say anything because I killed the boodle on the Geena Davis item. It was going good, and I killed it with a comment plus a Pack of Lies Kit. I am a lethal presence in any boodle. But I do have to point out that recently I saw the World's Largest Crayon at the Crayola Factory store in Easton, Pa. The one problem with seeing the World's Largest Crayon is that, after you've seen it, you feel like there's really nothing left to do in life.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 29, 2005 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey, when I was 5, I wasn't so concerned with whether I could blend the color into the paper as I was with staying inside the lines.

Plus, I loved the Mr. Rogers when they showed how Crayola crayons were made.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 12:54 PM | Report abuse

JA, that's how I felt after seeing the Corn Palace.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 12:56 PM | Report abuse

What color is the world's largest crayon? It should be burnt sienna, to repay the color for giving it such a crummy name.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 12:56 PM | Report abuse

H30 and H40 prove that an intelligent designer was behind the whole thing.

After all, He/Her would want dry rain for purposes of neutralization in case there was too much of the wet stuff, no?

Posted by: GR | September 29, 2005 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I remember that episode! wow, my memory must not be as shot as I thought...

Like I said, crayon is a beautiful medium. If you apply heat to it with, say, a blow dryer, you can blend them and use them almost as a paint. It's called encaustic painting. It won't work with crayola, however. Too waxy.

Posted by: LP | September 29, 2005 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The laws of thermodynamics sure weren't behind it.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Sara - you are right. After the Corn Palace everything is just ho hum.

Minnesota could possibly clear up its H40 problem though with installing more lightening protectors near each of the states many lakes - thereby reversing the atomic flow of electrons just before releasing the resulting lightening from the ground to clouds. This action I am led to beleive will reduce the molecular change causing H30 to form in greater quantities.

Posted by: janet | September 29, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Sara, I've see the Corn Palace! That place was mind-blowing. We pulled up in front after driving way far out of our way, giggling like idiots, screaming "Hard Pore Corn!"

Ah, silly youth....

Posted by: LP | September 29, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Could you make a candle out of a bunch of crayons. That would be cool.

Friday has set in a day too early.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I liked this Kit, reminded me of the SAO-15 days, way back when.

You had me at "H30".

By "wetness", there were tears of mirth trolling down my cheeks like a pair of drunken Eastern Shore johnboatsmen (Who said Joel didn't have a Theme this week?).

I'll add an 8th state of water: Domestic Light Beer. OK, and a 9th: Coke from a soda fountain at an Italian resturant.

And Tom fan, I'm stunned! No red pens?
GREEN proofreader's marks? PINK?!



Posted by: bc | September 29, 2005 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Say, what is the color of the world's largest crayon?

JA, enquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: LP | September 29, 2005 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to have to see what I can do, janet. Though that sort of high tech equipment for about 10,000 lakes might be a bit costly...maybe we could just install near the bigger lakes. Or just around my town.

Ha! Hard Pore Corn? Did you go into the Corn Palace? I didn't go in, just drove past it. Crazy place, that Palace.

You can make a crayon candle. But it smells like melted crayons when you burn it and it's not that great.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 1:05 PM | Report abuse

All this silly crayon talk is making it difficult to keep my coffee down.


Posted by: CowTown | September 29, 2005 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I was always partial to the burnt sienna myself. It was much fancier than brown or red and I was attracted to its individual qualities.

I do remember one incident when the family dog ate a box of crayons when I was a wee munchkin. Never had such as much fun de-pooping the backyard after that.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 29, 2005 1:08 PM | Report abuse

From laughter or revulsion, CowTown?

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I went to the Corn Palace in 1978! What a place. Followed by a visit to Wall Drug in South Dakota! All on a road trip from Connecticut.

Oh - yeah, we also saw Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, etc.

But oh the Corn Palace and Wall Drug!!!!! Memories!

Posted by: janet | September 29, 2005 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Wall Drug! That place is cool. I got the prettiest jewelry from there. And all the free water I could drink!

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Please ignore the "such" in the last sentence. I rehashed that sentence at the last minute and neglected to properly proofread.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 29, 2005 1:11 PM | Report abuse

According to Crayola's website, Dubya's favorite crayon color is "blue bell." Who knew!

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Also this tidbit: "Indian Red was renamed Chestnut in 1999 in response to educators who felt some children wrongly perceived the crayon color was intended to represent the skin color of Native Americans. The name originated from a reddish-brown pigment found near India commonly used in fine artist oil paint."

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Wall Drug is the silliest place on earth. The bartenders from that strip of bars there got my friends and I so silly drunk, and themselves, they forgot to charge us anything. Met the city councilman and almost convinced his friend to give me his pants. (not IN his pants, I just wanted his pants. They had chilli peppers on them) He got them around his ankles before his friends were laughing so hard at him he whimped out.

But I digress. Inside the Corn Palace is down-right anti-climactic. Just a gift shop.

Yes, memories:)

Posted by: LP | September 29, 2005 1:14 PM | Report abuse

crayon boogers! HAH! i loved those big boxes of crayons and always used silver and gold. i would keep my crayons pristine and i hated when i would go to a place to play and they had the big crayon box but all the crayons were broken or didn't have wrappers. (*pst* sara, i too color coded my crayons! yes, i am anal - all the bottles in my shower must face the right way!)

i googled the crayon question and low and behold:

The World's Largest Crayon was unveiled at Crayola's 100th Birthday party in Easton, Pa., on Oct.11. Breaaking the old Guinness record of 10 feet, the World's Largest Crayola Crayon weighed in at 1,500 lbs., 15 feet high, 16 inches wide, in America's favorite color -- blue.

by the by - what's the Corn Palace?

Posted by: mo | September 29, 2005 1:23 PM | Report abuse

What's the Corn Palace?!? YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THE CORN PALACE IS?!? Um...I don't know.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 1:26 PM | Report abuse

mo, it's an entire Palace made of corn. I think it's in South Dakota...Or Iowa. It's so cool! They did individual designs with the kernels and stuff. They used whole cobs. They thought of things to do with corn that I would never have thought of. And if I remember correctly, they have to change it all every once in awhile because the corn goes bad or something...maybe I'm making that up, I don't remember.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 1:26 PM | Report abuse

There's a place in Ohio that has a field filled with giant concrete ears of corn.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The world's largest crayon was unveiled on October 11? Why, that's the date of the next Boodle Porching Hour! Coincidence? I think not.

Posted by: Dreamer | September 29, 2005 1:27 PM | Report abuse

You should go there.

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 1:27 PM | Report abuse

It's in South Dakota.

Posted by: LP | September 29, 2005 1:29 PM | Report abuse

south of the border was also a big disappointment! i mean after all those signs that it's coming up in x # of miles and all it is is a bunch of gift stores and a ride... bah! i was expecting a mexican paradise!

did you guys ever color over a lightbulb to melt the crayon? that was fun but the crayon was pretty much toast after that and it smelled funny.

i think the best place i've ever been was Hershey's Park and Herskey PA - the whole place smells of chocolate! life after that was never the same!

Posted by: mo | September 29, 2005 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh! They have a web cam!

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I can't look at the webcam while at work, apparently. I hope nothing exciting is happening at the Corn Palace right now.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 1:34 PM | Report abuse

More corn oddities.

Words cannot describe.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 1:35 PM | Report abuse

jw, great comments, all!!!!

BTW, I have the largest crayola set that I can find in my office ... lots of paper. When brainstorming, I think adults do better with crayons and paper than a white board.

(it also serves as an IQ test... people trying to make a big point in lemon yellow.)

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 29, 2005 1:36 PM | Report abuse

uh oh Dreamer! not the coincidink subject again! (but i do think it's not just a coincidink! by the by {i like saying that})

oh, and a question that i posted in the old boodle after bossman achenboodecided it:

my question is: in our quest to finally make a woman potus - would you vote for her if you didn't agree with her political views just to get her into office??

Posted by: mo | September 29, 2005 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It would depend what her favorite color is.

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 1:38 PM | Report abuse

According to Crayola's website, Dubya's favorite crayon color is "blue bell." Who knew!
Posted by: jw | Sep 29, 2005 1:12:06 PM

And, jw, do you know why?

I would say, "think high-fat Texas ice cream first," then possibly, think "flowers all over central Texas second." 'ceptin' we called 'em "lupines" in California; in Texas, they're known as "blue bonnets."

And do you really know the story behind "burnt sienna?"

Posted by: Lind Loomis | September 29, 2005 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I googled the Corn Palace. After some searching, it turns out that it's made of concrete. Each year, the exterior receives an entirely new set of murals and decorations made out of corn. Lots and lots of corn. But not enough corn to rebuild an entire building each year.

Anybody ever read the comic book "Nexus"? If so, remember the restaurant Eat the Monument? Clonezone the Hilariator's preferred meal was the Corn Palace -- he was very offended when the waiter delivered the Kremlin. If you haven't read Nexus, you're probably too old and tired to like that sort of thing, anyway.

Posted by: ScienceTim | September 29, 2005 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Er, I would just like to state for the record that I was onto JA's Pack of Lies Kit before I posted a response. The "sparkling" sort of tipped me off.

Posted by: Pixel | September 29, 2005 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Once in second grade, I told Pat McClain (not a friend, his desk was next to mine, sucked his thumb on occasion, got in trouble with the nuns alot) that he could borrow some of my crayons. After some time, he accidently broke one in half. Being an accomodating person, I told him he could keep the other half. He then proceeded to borrow other crayons and "accidently" break them. "Oh, I'm sorry. I broke another. Can I keep it?" He went through a third of the box before I caught on; half the box was gone before I worked up the courage to tell him to stop and I took my crayons back.

Perhaps this explains all my unresolved anger issues.

Posted by: CowTown | September 29, 2005 1:42 PM | Report abuse

mo writes:
"my question is: in our quest to finally make a woman potus - would you vote for her if you didn't agree with her political views just to get her into office?"

Mo, would you? How many views would you have to agree/disagree with? What would be your tipping--or bursting--point?

Posted by: Loomis | September 29, 2005 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Bluebell is the lamest Crayola crayon. It's the Crayola crayon that is most like a RoseArt crayon--no matter how hard you press, you just get a really wimpy color. Burnt sienna is the opposite of that, a really dark rich color, a little metallic, beautiful. My favorite was forest green.

Posted by: Reader | September 29, 2005 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Linda, what story about burnt Sienna??? other than it is (plus an N).

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 29, 2005 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I thought burnt Sienna was discontinued. I can't believe I'm talking about this.

Posted by: CowTown | September 29, 2005 1:47 PM | Report abuse

We had some torrential drought here a few weeks ago. The weatherman was lamenting the total lack of precipitation in the area based solely on National Airport numbers, one day after we had a gully-washer in Bethesda. I guess weather ends at the Beltway. (P.S. Never ever say Reagan National Airport. What's next, renaming the baseball team?)

Posted by: Jack | September 29, 2005 1:48 PM | Report abuse


You are right, but I think that there was a "backlash" that cause Crayola to "backoff".

Burnt Sienna is a base color for most artists doing portraits.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 29, 2005 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Joe's next weather explanations will be from valley bottoms in Wyoming, where only snow seems to fall; later, it evaporates. Water in liquid form doesn't occur spontaneously in the local environment--it arrives from somewhere else, via the Big Horn River.

After that, Portland, Oregon, which is 100 degrees and desert-dry only on days when it's raining in the real Oregon desert.

Posted by: Dave | September 29, 2005 1:52 PM | Report abuse

That's Awesome. I think you better share this information with Alpha Omega Labs.

If too much of this h30 falls to the ground it may put them out of business.

Joel. I think you are now qualified for the post of undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. Although your science background should be highly scrutinized.

Posted by: RichieRich | September 29, 2005 2:00 PM | Report abuse


Your earlier point about how one decides to vote for a candidate is a great one. Many of my friends wonder why so many people voted to bankrupt their country and line the pockets of the rich even though their driving force was to stop Gay Marriages.

We need to understand how we have developed so many single issue voters (or who appears to be so).

I also want to thank you, Linda, for your observations about handlers. It makes you wonder where Mahatma Gandhi would have ended up if he had been "handled."

I trust your sense that the Cindy Sheehan that we first knew is now possibly some sort of trademarked movement figurehead.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 29, 2005 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Hahaha...I like this part:

If you take our "H3O concentrate," with a very acidic measure of under pH 0.5, and you test it using spectrometry, chromotography, or any other analytical chemical measure (other the pH), what do you get? You would appear (though erroneously, read Stability) to have nothing more than an aqueous solution of diluted sulphuric acid ("normal 1.8" or about 10:1 dilution ratio) -- except this is a solution you can easily swallow (more comfortably if diluted to a pH of 2.0, granted) at acidic levels, which, if we were talking about any other acid in the 0.0 to 0.5 pH range, would have potentially severe health consequences.

Hmmm...maybe because it IS sulfuric acid?

Posted by: jw | September 29, 2005 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Corn Palace Schmorn Palace! You ain't seen nothin' 'til you see this-

Posted by: kurosawaguy | September 29, 2005 2:11 PM | Report abuse

RichieRich, Joel Knows Why Things Are.

Do not doubt The Great And Powerful Achz.


Posted by: bc | September 29, 2005 2:13 PM | Report abuse

But that's in Malta, kurosawaguy!

The Corn Palace is a piece of Americana harkening (love that word) back to the earliest days of road trippers!!!!

Posted by: janet | September 29, 2005 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Mike, I think that question is the premise of the book _What's the Matter with Kansas? : How Conservatives Won the Heart of America_ by Thomas Frank? I haven't read it, but it's on my list.

Posted by: Pixel | September 29, 2005 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Alllllllllrighty then. You want roadside Americana, you got it-

Posted by: kurosawaguy | September 29, 2005 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The Cadillac Ranch! I've been there! My cousins live really close to it.

And jw, those giant ears of concrete corn are a little bit disturbing.

Has anyone heard the Prairie Home Companion story about the world's largest pile of burlap bags?

Posted by: Sara | September 29, 2005 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey Pixel,

Yeah, I guess I was saying something like that. This is what I have on that book:

"When I read Thomas Frank, I hear a faint bugle in the background. It's the cavalry-to-the-rescue call: There you are, surrounded by Republicans -- outmanned, outgunned, and damn near out of both ammunition and humor -- when up shows Thomas Frank. A heartland populist, Frank is hilariously funny on what makes us red-staters different from blue-staters (not), and he actually knows evangelical Christians, antiabortion activists, gun-nuts, and Bubbas. I promise y'all, this is the only way to understand why so many Americans have decided to vote against their own economic and political interests. And Frank explores the subject with scholarship, understanding, passion, and -- thank you, Mark Twain -- such tart humor." --Molly Ivins

=== for those who are interested, available everywhere.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 29, 2005 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much for the Malta link. The book I'm currently reading is about Nicolas Stensen (or Nicolai Steno, in Latin), the father of modern geology, and the tongue stones of Malta figure prominently in the book. Thanks. Steno the Dane knew Copenhagen, which ties into your recent trip.

Dolphin Michael, I'm *loving* your posts, but free time is not what I have a lot of today. FYI, Time Warner broadband customer service (bleep!) &%#@$*^!()%%gggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Cowtown, you gave me a nice segue to write something with your Crayola anger issues, but no time today, really. I can't believe you're discussing crayolas either! LOL

Gee, yesterday's dicussion was good--all those lurkers really had some good--and important--things to say. And, too, some of the criticims of CiC were spot-on (but not Joel's).

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 29, 2005 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Anyone heard the Prairie Home Companion (or was it All Things Considered) story about kernels of corn raining from the skies in Evans, Colorado? No cornfields near the area; nearest grain elevator 5 miles away. Reporters visited the site and saw the phenomenon for themselves. As the corn was falling, they searched for a prankster with a slingshot but found none. Oh, and once in a while a pinto bean appears amid the corn.
LindaLoo - At age 18, I voted for President Kennedy because he was Catholic and reminded me of my father. Much older when I voted for Clinton, though I personally disliked the man.

Posted by: Nani | September 29, 2005 2:37 PM | Report abuse


And here I sit trying to process Broadband orders for customers who don't know their telephone numbers...

I guess I should be working as well!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 29, 2005 2:55 PM | Report abuse

lindaloo - that's why i asked the question... cuz i don't know how far i'd go just to make sure a woman got into office - i mean i'm pretty middle of the road for the most part so she'd have to be a anti-abortion, anti-gay, card toting member of NRA, anti-hispanic, religious fanatic woman (you know, a female dubya) to make me not vote for her... somehow i don't see that happening...

Posted by: mo | September 29, 2005 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Since you seem to pretty up on your genealogy, do you happen to be related to a Catherine Loomis of New Orleans? I just read her account of her evacuation here ( and was curious if you had any relatives in the city.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 29, 2005 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael: Thanks for the book endorsement. I've just reserved a copy at my library. Every copy is out already; see how many people read this blog? It's amazing.

mo & lindaloo: I've engaged in some parlor conversation with friends about the female president hypothetical. Most of us agree that an acceptable candidate would have to be a moderate with absolutely NO baggage (sorry, Hillary), a commanding wit, solid temperment (sorry, Ann Coulter), and lots of leadership experience. Candidates would come from industry or state government (sorry, Boxer, Pielosi, and again Hillary). Politically, the candidate could be somewhat right or left of center, but not far in either direction (sorry, Greens and Wingnuts). We're accepting names for consideration and submission to the Executive Committee, once we appoint one.

Posted by: CowTown | September 29, 2005 3:59 PM | Report abuse

cowtown - Caroline Kennedy.

Posted by: LP | September 29, 2005 4:04 PM | Report abuse


The "Champion of civility" - Caroline Kennedy. Excellent. Thank you. She's definitely on the list.

Posted by: Cowtown | September 29, 2005 4:08 PM | Report abuse

------Alllllllllrighty then. You want roadside Americana, you got it-
Posted by: kurosawaguy | Sep 29, 2005 2:18:55 PM

Err... that's a Texas attraction ... we want an American attraction - tee hee...

Seriously though, you want real America you should stop in Dubois, WY (that's pronounced Doo-Boys). Its home to a creature only an intelligent designer could make: The Jackalope! Here's a link:

Posted by: Sully | September 29, 2005 4:11 PM | Report abuse

oh, and speaking of bones (we were weren't we?) i went to a museum (in a church) in Rome, Italy that was decorated with the bones of the dead monks - chandeliers, etc were made outta bones... well, of course you knew i HAD to see it being as i'm a goth! (it was in tour guide book of italy from a guy who does travel shows on discovery i think - he's GREAT!)

Posted by: mo | September 29, 2005 4:15 PM | Report abuse

A candidate without baggage??? You must be living in Fantasyland! (Disneyland)

Thanks for the link to the NOLA Catherine Loomis. As I said before, I believe that most Loomises are related--it's just knowing which of the eight tribes, so to speak.

Oh, so very briefly. When Joseph and Mary White Loomis arrived Boston harbor in 1638/Connecticut River Valley in 1639, they brought with them eight unmarried children--five sons and three daughters. Sarah Loomis, for example, married Capt. Nicholas Olmsted of Pequot/Mystic Ft. fame, so that's how we end up with Frederick Law Olmsted on the tree. The Loomis genealogy tome, last published in 1906, accounts for some 8,000 or 9,000 male descendants (the book is not in front of me, so this is from recall), but the authors (several of whom were mathematicians/scientists) contend that if you were to add in the female lines, the number would be closer to one or two million!

My sister, unknowingly, in her first marriage, ended up marrying a cousin about 13 times removed. And I thought I was genetically screwed up! Oh, the things I discovered when I started poking around on the family tree!

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 29, 2005 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The houses in Sienna, Italy are one of two colors: burnt sienna, and raw sienna.

si·en·na (sē-ĕn'ə)
A special clay containing iron and manganese oxides, used as a pigment for oil and watercolor painting.
[Short for terra-sienna, from Italian terra di Sienna, earth of Siena, after SIENA.]

The color chartreuse is the only color named for a liqueur. Do they have a chartreuse crayon??

I made candles with crayons in elementary school! The biggest component was white candle wax, with some crayon shavings tossed in for the color of your choice. I thought it smelled great, but then again, what kid doesn't associate the smell of crayons with Fun?

Posted by: mizerock | September 29, 2005 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"My sister, unknowingly, in her first marriage, ended up marrying a cousin about 13 times removed"

And she was seriously worried? In many states, it's legal to marry your first cousin; the risk of having children with genetic problems is quite minimal. At 13 times removed, heck, could a lab test even tell?

Actually, I think you meant 13th cousin; the "removed" part refers to generational distance. Is it even remotely possible to have a tree big enough where one branch had 13 more generations in it than another??

Posted by: mizerock | September 29, 2005 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I once visited the world's largest bottle of catsup. Ironically, there was nowhere nearby to get a burger and fries. Seems like a missed opportunity.

Posted by: cap girl | September 29, 2005 4:47 PM | Report abuse

also i like eileen collins for president. gotta love a candidate who literally had her head in the clouds...and beyond.

Posted by: cap girl | September 29, 2005 4:49 PM | Report abuse

mizerock - it's ironic you should say that b/c i happen to have a map on my blog that says where it's legal to marry your first cousin!

Posted by: mo | September 29, 2005 4:54 PM | Report abuse

mo, I've seen that church on several travel sites and I really want to go to Italy to check it out (along with visiting the catacombs both in Rome and Paris). The only European country I've been to is Greece which has a pretty good collection of bones but I was only there for 8 days and didn't get a chance to get to any other countries...sigh! What's the age limit to stay in youth hostels? I think I may need to plan a backpacking trip.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 29, 2005 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Have any of you seen the Mentone Egg in Mentone, Indiana?

Posted by: TBG | September 29, 2005 5:10 PM | Report abuse

OK - I'm going to be roadtripping from Cleveland to Minneapolis on Saturday, any Corn Palace-ish sites that I can't miss?

Posted by: pipermkd | September 29, 2005 5:15 PM | Report abuse

pgm - it's really small - i thought it would be bigger... it's cool tho! we also went to the cell where st. peter was holed up in and supposedly made water flow from the stones... i like going off the beaten path to see unusual things in other countries. you know, i've been to rome and paris and haven't done the catacombs! i have a thing about roaches so i'm a little chicken to go into them (not that i know if there are any roaches in them) but also there's just so much to see that i always forget about the catacombs! the louvre alone takes two full days!

Posted by: mo | September 29, 2005 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The jackalope has also been spotted in such wildnerness areas as Wall Drug, Hoover Dam (that's home to the Dam Jackalope), Grand Canyon AND I have even caught a fleeting sight of the jackalope in Rhode Island.

Jackalope for President!! Hehehe

Posted by: janet | September 29, 2005 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I would only vote for a FEMALE Jackalope :-P

Posted by: mizerock | September 29, 2005 5:19 PM | Report abuse

For a more local sighting of a jackalope there's a collection of stuffed ones at a restaurant in a tiny hamlet somewhere between Staunton and Bath, Virginia. I don't know precisely where it was since I was on a bus that broke down for about 3 hours when I came upon the jackalopes. I'm pretty sure their habitat includes forests and deserts. Well adapted creatures those jackalopes.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 29, 2005 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm . . .

Female Jackalope for President -

No baggage - check
Centrist - check
Leadership Capabilities - check
(Den Mother for jackalope scouts)
Witty - check
Easy going temperment - well maybe

Posted by: janet | September 29, 2005 5:25 PM | Report abuse

cap girl

Eileen Collins is great. But I'm unsure she's best for the #1 position yet. But I'm not the final word either; could be another John Glenn.

Posted by: CowTown | September 29, 2005 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Jackalopes for President? Oh, come on. They're as flighty as you can get. You get a herd of them in your backyard in Winter, and we you just open your back door a crack, Whoosh, they scatter in all directions. Too skittish, sneaky, and even...snarky. Won't do at all.

Posted by: CowTown | September 29, 2005 5:36 PM | Report abuse

To get somewhat back on track (what track?), I always thought that CLIMATE is what you expected, and WEATHER is what you got.

Posted by: Dikkon | September 29, 2005 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Was at the Hill, the Secretary of Defense testified this afternoon before the House Armed Services Committee, and he said a measure of progress in Iraq is that the number of "tips" from ordinary Iraqis to the military about insurgent activities has gone from 480 in March to 3300 last month. A huge surge in tips.

Meanwhile, not to distract anyone from the Corn Palace etc., but I thought this post by "Susan" on the previous boodle (which I essentially killed with my invasive prattling) would be worth reposting here:

from susan:

"was I a Neanderthal or even your basic Cro-Magnon for not perceiving the great leap forward that Commander in Chief represents, and so on."

Yes, Joel, I'm afraid so. But you so seldom miss the mark that I'm overlooking it this time. When I read the Kit yesterday I was not amused. In particular, the remark about "nationalizing the shoe industry" hit a sour note for me. I wondered if I had temporarily misplaced my sense of humor. I seem to be a tad bit touchy on the subject of women and power. Maybe its because I'm in my fifties and remember what it was like when it was a given that most girls would grow up, marry and have children. Careers were considered optional and tended to be in the helping professions. When I interviewed for my first job out of college the male interviewer asked me if I was in a serious relationship or had plans to marry soon, the assumption being that I would quit my job if I got married. Yes, those were the dark ages. I sometimes think that women today in their twenties and thirties may not realize what it was like to grow up before Title IX. I came of age when women like Gloria Steinem and others were trying to increase women's options. I hope in my lifetime to have the opportunity to vote (and elect) a woman president. And I hope I'm not ninety before this happens. I do regard CIC as a positive step in this direction.
As to whether this country is ready for a female president, I hope so. I can't think of another woman besides Hillary who has the star power or the fundraising ability to attempt a presidential run. Would I vote for a presidential candidate based solely on her gender? Probably. Unless it was Ann Coulter.

[end Susan]

Posted by: Achenbach | September 29, 2005 5:38 PM | Report abuse

well said, susan.

Posted by: LP | September 29, 2005 5:42 PM | Report abuse

i have an autographed pic of Petey the Jackalope - he was the stud muffin at my old job and he and i kanooled a little - he liked my perfume! i felt a little bad tho b/c his girlfriend was at the time stationed in Okinawa but it was all so harmless... jackalopes are known to be a little loose... we had to end it b/c he took up the bad habit of smoking... still Petey will always have a special place in my heart - that furry little vixen!

Posted by: mo | September 29, 2005 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Nikkon: No, Climate is what you move to, and Weather is what happens when you get there.

Boss: Susan's got a good gripe. Actually, I don't think she's talking just about history. In my office, I occasionally am called upon to explain something to a customer that was already explained to that person by a female employee. What's with that?

Posted by: CowTown | September 29, 2005 5:56 PM | Report abuse

And, Ann Coulter's off the list anyway.

Posted by: CowTown | September 29, 2005 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I'm way late on this as I got tied up with actual work today, but when I posted the dictionary definition of desiccated way back there at the top of this, I did so simply because it's an interesting word. If I found a spelling error in the process, it was by accident and not intended to be at all snarky.

Posted by: Bayou Self | September 29, 2005 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Bush's Fembot (below)? If CiC's MacKenzie Allen starts to "Fembot repeat"...well...I give new season shows two or three episodes before making a personal "thumb up" or "thumb down." And I watch very little TV as it is.

(Actually David Brooks had an outstanding op-ed today at the NYT Select...on DeLay and politics as a team sport. Would Brooks rap my fingers if I copied over a 'graph? I find Sen. Chuck Hagel refreshing for his honesty, and Brooks mentions Hagel for his recent, fairly consistent deviation from Republican groupspeak.)

From Kessler's reporting today on Karen Hughes' trip to the Middle East:

In her public statements, she stressed common support for goals -- such as a Palestinian state and ending the violence in Iraq -- while ignoring or downplaying deep concerns over U.S. tactics to achieve those objectives. And Hughes used the power of repetition, saying almost the same thing, word for word, in almost every interview and public forum.

Sometimes the result was banality: In Ankara, she gushed, "I love all kids. And I understand that is something I have in common with the Turkish people -- that they love children."

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 29, 2005 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I think the glass ceiling was far more apparent in larger centres and in very urban areas than it was for small towns. When I was growing up a lot of women worked, I had no teachers who were Miss, they were all Mrs, Sister, or Mr. The nurses and administrators in the hospital were either Mrs, or Sisters too. Stores were mom and pop and many generations, and the post master was a lady. I think that in small towns, everybody's ceiling was closer to the same level, partly because there was not a lot of competition, but also because there were a lot more people who looked at the work they did just as a job, rather than a career. We just did not feel it in the same way. Perhaps it was the house I was raised in that makes me feel this, and remember this. If it is, I have to thank my mom and dad.

Posted by: dr | September 29, 2005 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Sure glad to know the concept of "the pack of lies kit." Til then I worried, from time to time, about you joel.

Posted by: leo | September 29, 2005 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I wish to lodge a gentle and respectful protest regarding the timing of this blog. I suspect that I am not alone in being unable to post a comment until many hours after the appearance of your "Kit." Alas, by this time, ravenous hordes of daytime Kaboodlers have stripped away most of the fleshy parts leaving nothing but a barely recognizable collection of desiccated bones.
For example, I found this morning's Kit to be a provocative treatise on mythical weather, a subject in which I happen to have several learned degrees. (You lie. I lie.) However, I see that the original topic quickly mutated into something about crayons, about which I can say little except to point out the self-evident fact that the ones with the embedded sparklies are way cool.
Perhaps you might, at your discretion, occasionally post an evening edition. Maybe something thoughtful and scientific that harkens back to your "Why Things Are" roots. I, for one, would love to hear your thoughts on giant squids. (Have the paparazzi finally gone too far?)
We creatures of the night need fresh meat too.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 29, 2005 8:22 PM | Report abuse

RD Padouk,

Regarding your very valid complaint in your first paragraph, you haven't seen the worst of the phenom that you so ably describe.

Posted by: Gene La Douche | September 29, 2005 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey, guys, don't be drippy. Let your waves of comments wash over the page here in the ebb tide of the boodle.

[The cool thing about this format is that it is accessible 24 hours a day, and you can read or skip over as much as you want.]

I'm afraid I'm over my head in these watery metaphors and my canoe has no paddle and I'm about to go into the drink. But then if the pump goes dry and I run out of them, you won't be able to say I went overboard...HELP!

[Also note that savvy morning/daytime kaboodlers always check out the late night comments the next morning, while waiting for Joel's new kit. So your wisdom will be duly noted, in due time.]

Posted by: late night kaboodler | September 29, 2005 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Here is a question that I would love to get some comments on, but fear will be lost in the tide that is tomorrow's Kit. (Hey these watery metaphors are fun!) Does climate even exist? I mean, is there a stable set of long-term meterological parameters than can be applied to a region? Regardless of global warming, the global record shows frequent change in mean conditions. As a culture are we ready for this?

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 29, 2005 9:52 PM | Report abuse

RD Padouk, I'm with you - i read the Kaboodle after everyone's gone and feel weird posting. But usually I just go with the flow. Addicted boodlers read all the comments, eventually.

I guess I believe in the long-termness of regional climates. Whether the strange weather we're experiencing (dry in the NW, too hot in the South, etc) is long-term is something we can't tell yet. What I think is interesting is how small a change - 1 degree increase in ocean temperature - can affect weather - hurricanes - so drastically.

I was afraid Sara would get thirsty reading the Kit today...

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 29, 2005 10:28 PM | Report abuse

..growing up on a small wisconsin dairy small town rural
were never far from weather as a talkabout
when around other farming folk............
...wisconsin's climate is to some degree
a four season one....although there are
those who describe it as being a two
season one...winter and roadbuilding...:-)
...i worked for DELMONTE CORP. for a number
of years where much my work was outdoors...
day and night....harvesting was a very
weather affected activity...and so you
were always fine tuned to what was forecast
and what was currently going on............ you gained much respect for the wind
and rain a major thunderstorm could bring
and understood that mans scale compared to
these planetary atmospheric forces was no
match and you best always understand that.
....there is an interesting article in the
TO GO AROUND" by andrew c. revkin that may
appeal to those following the ice cap part
of global warming trend lines............
...another interesting story from the LA
david p. barash has relevance for those
who are following the intelligent design
give and take.............................
......crayola color names are fun but
visiting any paint store and viewing paint
chip color names is far more rewarding as
the range is much wider in each color ..:-)
..FL WRIGHT used a color called CHEROKEE
RED for trim at FALLIING WATER..........

Posted by: an american in siam.... | September 29, 2005 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Achenbach,

I don't know a lot about "blogs" - but this is NOT a blog. This is a FORUM.

This one topic with comments thing is not working. "Your people" need THREADS! If someone wants to talk about crayons, it can have it's own thread - it shouldn't be in the DRY RAIN section. If someone has a question for you about G. Washington book, they could ask in a separate section entitled: "QUESTIONS FOR JOEL".

Or whatever.

With some good forum software you could do so many interesting things.

Just my two cents...


Posted by: off topic | September 30, 2005 3:02 AM | Report abuse

Maybe there should be an addendum (addenda) for third shifters, or night owls.

Mitchell,SD home of the Corn Palace, is on the way to Chamberlain, SD, located on the banks of the Missouri River. After traveling over the barren landscape one comes over the hill and sees this lovely green oasis - a town surrounded by grassy knolls and sunflowers. I went on an archeological dig there about ten years ago under the supervision of the infamous Army Corps. of Engineers where we found relics of an Indian Village, circa 1500 AD. It is also a favorite stopping spot for HD owners on the way to Sturgis for their annual rally.

I usually read this "after hours" so I've never posted before, but have learned a lot from the Kit and Kaboddle - like how to tie sneakers and what to buy at Costco, definitions of goths, porching, weather & climate (today.) or is is (today).? This is like a talk show or soap opera online - it's great.

I live in the corn country of the midwest between Sara and CowTown. Crops did poorly this year because of drought. We had little "wet" rain but maybe some "dry" which must have sucked out the moisture.

bdl (boondocklurker)

Posted by: boondocklurker | September 30, 2005 4:51 AM | Report abuse

Off Topic: You state "This one topic with comments thing is not working. "Your people" need THREADS! If someone wants to talk about crayons, it can have it's own thread......"

The beauty of this blog is the discussion part with all the topics interchanging and intermingling - one leading to another - like a roundtable or dinner table chat where everyone gives his/her opinions of the moment. It sets it apart among all those blogs with "threads" where one gets lost clicking from one place to the other.

Leave it the way it is, is my humble opinion. It works because of the "regulars" (SOS-15 or whatever) who all seem to be part of an extended family. Join in with all the other archenaddicts.

My favorite crayola color is purple as in "Harold and the Purple Crayon."


Posted by: boondocklurker | September 30, 2005 5:51 AM | Report abuse

I'll say it because most of the guys are thinking it:

The thermonuclear St. Angelina Jolie for President. And no, I do not advocate waiting until she's 35. Possible First Man Brad Pitt didn't wait and neither should we.

"SOS-15" - ha!


Posted by: bc | September 30, 2005 8:33 AM | Report abuse

much more interesting that daytime chick chatter/braying off to the showers I go...

Posted by: Gene La Douche | September 30, 2005 8:41 AM | Report abuse

BC, in addition to the age requirement, presidents must be from planet Earth. I'm afraid that rules out Angelina. Did you see her playing tonsil hockey with her brother at the Oscars some years back? EEEWWWWWWWWW!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | September 30, 2005 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Interesting news overnight in the sense that all national news is local...

A large number of people in east Texas are in dire straits after Hurricane Rita, and officials at different levels in government are scrambling (as I mentioned in the blog two days ago) to provide aid and shelter, so San Antonio has been proposed as an evacuee location for them.

What is in question is how many are coming (and the communication of the issue), who/what agency will handle the shelters (and the contracting), and press access.

A Texas state official said yesterday that emergency planners are looking at opening shelters to house up to 12,000 East Texas evacuees. But yesterday, officials from San Antonio, the county (Bexar), and the American Red Cross, which has operated the local shelters for the past month, said they weren't aware of plans for another 12,000 coming into town. The number they were given was 3,000.

William Ayres, spokesman for Texas' division of emergency management, said the Red Cross wasn't informed because it might not oversee the shelter. (I can fully understand volunteer fatigue, as San Antonio processed 13,000 evacuees after Hurricane Katrina in four primary shelters. As of Thursday, we have 4,700 people from both hurricanes in local shelters, 2,500 of whom are Rita evacuees.)

FEMA officials are preparing a request for proposals to have a private firm oversee operations at the San Antonio shelters, with a contract awarded as early as tonight (appropriate period for consideration/review?). County officials want to see local companies "get a piece of the action," and directed the county emergency management coordinator to convey this idea to the feds. Local officials said they currently knew of no contenders--local or federal--for the work.

In discussions of what company might be able to handle the management of evacuee shelters, the county emergency management coordinator said that Fluor, a GLOBAL ENGINEERING FIRM (caps mine), was used as an example. Fluor recently received a $100 million contract for emergency housing in Louisiana, one of several companies with strong Bush administration ties to have received the largest hurricane relief contracts thus far (bid/no bid?).

In another development, the American Red Cross announced new media guidelines sharply restricting reporting from San Antonio shelters. Yesterday, the Red Cross said that journalists are PROHIBITED from reporting from three of the four shelters, KELLY USA being the exception, where access is limited to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Our local paper is formally protesting (via letter) the new rules and is calling for open access to all the shelters, for both reporters and residents.

(I ask, are these temporary homes for the hurricane victims shelters or concentration camps?)

Kudos to reporters: Elizabeth Allen, Mariano Castillo, and Peggy Fikac.

Posted by: Linda Loomis | September 30, 2005 9:33 AM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy writes:

"BC, in addition to the age requirement, presidents must be from planet Earth. I'm afraid that rules out Angelina."

I guess that would rule out T'Hillary, too. Again. And definitely Tom Cruise.

Please to explain why you think Ms. Jolie is Not of This Earth?

"Did you see her playing tonsil hockey with her brother at the Oscars some years back? EEEWWWWWWWWW!"

I didn't actually see that, but I suspect she had to substitute her brother at the last minute because Brittany Spears and Madonna were busy. If unusual sexuality were a real issue for Presidential candidacy, well, we'd have had many different presidents than we've had over the last 100 years, I think. This reminds me of a version of the "Aristocrats" joke I heard involving the entire Bush family.
Completely disrespectful, and I will not repeat it. Yes, I laughed.


Posted by: bc | September 30, 2005 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Linda Loomis: Thanks for your report. Flour is a huge organization that builds pumping and refining operations around the world. And WHY is the Red Cross (the Red Cross, for goodness sake!) enforcing a news blackout?

Also Welcome New Boodlers: RD Padouk, boondocklurker, late night kaboodler, and Gene La Douche (I'm sorry if I missed anyone). Great reading your comments. Stay with us.

Posted by: CowTown | September 30, 2005 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Wow, you're right Linda.

That's good reporting. And a very sad statement regarding emergency management at the higher levels in this country.


Posted by: bc | September 30, 2005 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks. Yesterday, Dolphin Michael kidded me greatly about my verbosity, but sometimes (almost daily, given the news coverage...BTW, have you seen Jeff Morley's article in today's Washington Post?), I find it very hard to sit on my hands.

Dolphin Michael asked me, jokingly, what got me riled up. Quickly, DM:

My distant great-grandfather Rev. Thomas Hooker, rode the same ship, the Griffin, to our shores as Bush's distant great-grandmother, Anne Marbury Hutchinson.

There were six Loomises at Valley Forge.

Our family has a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

...and that's just for starters.

Posted by: Loomis | September 30, 2005 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The case against Angelina Jolie- Exhibit A: the aforementioned open mouthed sibling smooch in very public context, obviously intended to test the limits of human tolerance. Exhibit B: marriage to Billy Bob Thornton in attempt create hybrid race of ultra-weird humanoids. Exhibit C: Lara Croft films designed to assault the intelligence of all viewers, and degrade many lower brain functions as well. Exhibit D: during the filming of "Anaconda", her father Jon Voight lapsed into an accent in his portrayal of the snake hunter which was clearly no language spoken on this planet.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | September 30, 2005 10:14 AM | Report abuse

re L Loomis re American Red Cross:

Obviously, a worthy organiztion with a unique charter from Congress, ARC should not be mistaken for just any only volunteer organization. It a very large PAID staff typical of comfortable nonprofits, and tens of thousands of volunteers around its chapters. It presides over a $1 billion (yes, billion) blood products business that is a profitmaking business and somewhat of a cartel. ARC is also capable of diverting funds from one campaign to another, as it did after Sept 11, directing $200 M to other causes without telling the donors. It was caught and is contrite on that strategem. It is not at all surprising that it wants to manage its delicate image.
That said, ARC plays a role--but needs to be watched.

Posted by: Gene La Douche | September 30, 2005 10:17 AM | Report abuse

ARC definately plays a role and the country would be hard pressed to replace its services and educational programs.

That being said, like any other large nonprofit (United Way and others come to mind) they need all of us to be watchdogs to keep them on track of what a responsible non-profit is all about.

Posted by: janet | September 30, 2005 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Re Susan "Maybe it's because I'm in my fifties and remember what it was like when it was a given that most girls would grow up, marry and have children. Careers were considered optional and tended to be in the helping professions."

I'm in my 30s and my Texas cousins still seem to think that's the way it is. Everytime I visit, I get grilled on why I haven't popped out a kid yet and why I work. My favorite question was, "What do you DO with yourself since you don't have kids? Do you travel a lot, like go to Tahiti?" Hmmm, I WORK and I do the same things she does except not chase 3 kids around.

Things haven't changed all that much in south Texas, at least in my family. My cousins have an average of 3 kids each and I have 0 - so I'm abnormal. I think it's great that they have their kids, but I chose a different path. It's just irritating that they constantly grill me on my choice. Now back to work!

Posted by: AJ | September 30, 2005 11:04 AM | Report abuse


Yesterday I teased you about your SHORT posts. My feeling, is someone is going to spend the effort to write a lengthy post filled with interesting rationale and information, I am, time allowing, going to read it. In fact, the longer the post, the more likely I will have a better understanding of the writers intent and the complexity and worthiness of the discussion.

Personally, I am a guilty party, too and it can drive people nutz.

I am unashamed to admit that I am a socialist solution guy when it comes to basic quality of life issues. I have owned and operated businesses my entire working life. I have a degree in economics and have continued my interest in that subject.

Statistical analysis has been part of my life since 1973. AND, I enjoy discussing the problems facing this country and the rest of the world with anyone--just as long as the other party doesn't start a discusssion with a "conclusion" and that person enjoys and allows a back-and-forth discussion.

The charm of this blog is that

1) we have a most charming and brainiacal owner who really contributes far more than just the openning salvo

(2) The 15

(3) The occasional but steady posters and especially those who just can't stand something and blurt out a post once a month.

(4) The width of opinion represented.

(5) The absence of name calling

and (6) the fact that it is like a several neighbors hanging out on Joel's virtual Porch

(7) unlike the rest of the world, no one cuts you off.

Linda, when you don't have time for a good long post, I just feel cheated, some how.

I will stop this BS post by noting that I looked at the Bill Bennett Radio Show web site and note that Bill tells us of his show that this is "where the most important voice is yours." Curiously, I now find a certain small amount of comfort in that motto.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 30, 2005 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone else read this morning's post article "Bennett Under Fire for Remark on Crime and Black Abortions". Please do, here's the link It made me sick that those words could actually come out of someone's mouth and an ex education secretary no less!

Posted by: omodudu | September 30, 2005 11:05 AM | Report abuse

D. Michael--what is "the 15" and what is good about them? what is not?

Posted by: Gene La Douche | September 30, 2005 11:21 AM | Report abuse

for those of us who were not on the Mayflower
or at Valley Forge: other than historical ties, and if you are lucky, $$$$, what is the social significance of such a lineage, Ms. Loomis?

Posted by: Polyglot | September 30, 2005 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Here we go again . . .

Posted by: Tom fan | September 30, 2005 11:24 AM | Report abuse

[re. the "15" question, I mean]

Posted by: Tom fan | September 30, 2005 11:26 AM | Report abuse

omodudu, Bill is new to the game and hasn't had time to develop the FOX method of starting every rash or crazy statement with


That way, he can say anything, true or not, and not have to defend it.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 30, 2005 11:26 AM | Report abuse

don't understand your reply, Tom Fan. Where are we going?

Posted by: Gene La Douche | September 30, 2005 11:29 AM | Report abuse

do you achenjob tom fan! get busy on that past boodle research! *smiley emoticon*

polyglot - isn't pride in your lineage enough significance? lindaloo has a TON of historical ties to some of the major founders, inventors and leaders of our country. She's got some interesting stuff there! i'd research my family tree but i'm afraid of what i'd find... besides, my grandfather was adopted and third world countries don't keep adoption records like the u.s.

Posted by: mo | September 30, 2005 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I think I'll slack off on that job today, mo -- "Gene La Douche" has been given an answer to that question many times before.

Posted by: Tom fan | September 30, 2005 11:32 AM | Report abuse

cool, but I wouldn't press one's ties to the Bush family. it's not pc in some crowds, including this one.

Posted by: polyglot | September 30, 2005 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Tomm Fan,

Won't you share your knowledge with all of us, even the new people? Pretty please?

Posted by: Gene La Douche | September 30, 2005 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Gene La Douche:

I think it's high time we had a "canned" orientation blurb for new Boodle members. Anyway, as I understand it, "the 15" are the original Achenbach Disciples that inhabited this forum/thread/comments section - whatever. Some of the original 15 (Tom Fan, bc, Sara, et al) can give you a better description. We have a bit of frivilous - alright, dumb - fun, but it's all in the spirit of maintaining a blog community.

Posted by: CowTown | September 30, 2005 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"My ancestors didn't come over on the Mayflower, but they met 'em at the boat."
--Will Rogers

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2005 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Cow Town. no one's dumb on a blog, BTW. enjoy yourself.

Posted by: Gene La Douche | September 30, 2005 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The "SAO-15" stands for Select Audience of Fifteen, and that is a JOKE, it's HUMOR. Joel said that his aim in his writing is to create a limited audience, ideally 15 people age 18-35 and with high levels of disposible income (going from memory, now--Tom fan can check the archives to correct me). After Joel said that, various people self-selected into the SAO-15 and it was determined that "15" is multi-dimensional in cyberspace and that the SAO-15 would accommodate any number of self-selected individuals. There is no exclusivity on Achenblog--even if the regulars don't like what a "newcomer" or "interloper" is saying, the only defense they have is to retreat, and leave the field to the newbies. Joel says he is tolerant except for "vulgarity" or "hatred." Excessive bickering will also get the comments closed, though.

Posted by: Attentive Lurker | September 30, 2005 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Attentive Lurker, very well said. I'm going to copy your posting and save it for the next newbie orientation.

Posted by: CowTown | September 30, 2005 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The significance of Linda Loomis's family heritage is that it exists, and that she knows about it and lets us in on it. I find geneology fascinating and I love to read about a family who took the time to record. It adds a fascinating historical perspective to almost anything. In so many ways it is the real history of the world. The small stories, and great and small people are what drive that big picture. By understanding and knowing the small stories, the big picture gets a whole lot clearer. If you understand what is behind history, the people and motivations and connections that drove them, then you can begin to understand what happens today and maybe tomorrow.

Posted by: dr | September 30, 2005 11:49 AM | Report abuse

AJ, my husband and I just had our 13th anniversary this week and it's only been recently that people have stopped pestering us about kids. Over the years, I've come up with a variety of answers, from "We forgot" to "We're not able..." (omitting the minor detail of the snipping) and every answer in between. For some reason, people think it is perfectly appropriate to ask such personal questions, so if I embarrass them with my answer, maybe they'll think twice before asking someone else the same thing.

Posted by: Pixel | September 30, 2005 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I once lived with a girl who was related to four American presidents.

She was CRAZY. I'm talking certifiable, please give that girl some meds, crazy.

I'm not meaning to imply anything about our Lindloo, her geneology is fascinating I'm just saying being a mutt isn't half bad either. :)

Posted by: LP | September 30, 2005 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Back when dinosaurs walked the earth and the blog was young, JA once referred to his loyal bloglodites here as the "select circle of fifteen" or some such, in a self deprecatory aside. This is how legends are born and also how the cogniscenti make the new bloggerati feel that they have entered into a select brotherhood and sisterhood (but no kissing!). I have occasionally considered that "Jargon" would make a fine name for a Japanese monster movie, you know, "Jargon vs. Megagodzilla", "Jargon IV, Battle of the Testosterones", "Jargon and the Dipthong of Death", etc.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | September 30, 2005 11:51 AM | Report abuse

and thanks to you Att. Lurker, I feel better already. I will serve up no vularity, hatred, or bickering, although I note the latter is somewhat popular here.

I've only seen a little hatred in perusing of old blogs at this site, and that seemed directed at new people, who are called "interlopers."

now I got it all straight, courtesy of you.

Posted by: Gene La Douche | September 30, 2005 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Hmm... if being early matters, my ancestors arrived from Europe before Jamestown, and I got distant kin in N'awleans, and am related to half the people in Canada (if only that). Mais oui, we speak the old language of diplomancy...
Cherchez le Francais!

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 30, 2005 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The only bickering today will be between me and Mo, but that's only because she's in denial about the thrashing the Yankees are going to recieve in Fenway this weekend.

Posted by: jw | September 30, 2005 11:56 AM | Report abuse

gene la douche - it may be somewhat confusing looking at the old blogs as Joel has deleted some of the more, shall we say, outrageous comments... newbies aren't 'lopers - trolls that come in and call us wasps, elitists, what have you, without contributing productively to the conversation i might add, are refered to as the 'lopers as there only intent seems to be to insult those in the boodle. you are most welcome in the boodle.

Posted by: mo | September 30, 2005 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Pixel - Someone made a comment about my lack of kids just the other day. I replied, "Oh, wait. Where did I put them? I must have lost them somewhere around here." He smiled and shut up. Most people up north just ask, "Are you planning on having kids?" which is pretty personal not as bad as my my southern relatives asking "WHY don't you have kids?" Like there's something wrong with that.

Posted by: AJ | September 30, 2005 12:02 PM | Report abuse

HAH! in your DREAMS jw - this is our year! we are taking back the series... i've said it before and i'll say it again... "what curse? you all just sucked for 86 years!" fenway or no fenway! i'll make a bet w/ya... whoever wins this weekend (or best of) has to wear the other teams hat for a pic at the bph!

Posted by: mo | September 30, 2005 12:03 PM | Report abuse

JW: In a vein utterly consistent with the Kit, I heard on Morning Edition today that fans sing "Sweet Caroline" at Red Socks games. Are you familiar with this tradition?

Posted by: CowTown | September 30, 2005 12:03 PM | Report abuse

what's that about thrashing, jw?

Methinks Wang will be showing Wells what's up.

Posted by: LP | September 30, 2005 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I think that, for the most part, so-called interlopers are targeted when they hijack someone else's "handle" or screen name.

There was one time, if I recall correctly, that someone was making pretty hurtful comments and calling themself Sara (an original SAO-15 member). That was when the spit really began to fly.

New folks always seem to be welcome.

Posted by: TBG | September 30, 2005 12:08 PM | Report abuse

In the absence of a new Kit, read Eugene Robinson's Op-Ed today:

It's about Tom DeLay's indictment and includes this line, with which I couldn't agree more:

"These days Goldwater would be thought of as a libertarian more than anything else, a firm believer that what people really needed was a good leaving-alone."

Posted by: Pixel | September 30, 2005 12:18 PM | Report abuse

THAT'S RIGHT LP!! jw u are in trouble now! i've got back up! and LP delivers a mean right! *chuckle* LP and i stand united in the Yankees front line! we are brothers (sisters? i'm a female, are you?) in the fight for what's right!

Posted by: mo | September 30, 2005 12:27 PM | Report abuse

CowTown: It's true, in the 8th inning of every game there's a "Sweet Caroline" sing-along. No idea why it's stuck around, except that it's one of the great sing-along songs. I think the girl who runs the music played it one day and got such a reaction that she kept playing it at each game. Now it's stuck.

I always thought "Dirty Water" by the Rondells would be more appropriate. But most people don't know the words.

I can't make that wager because there's no way I could honor it. That's like asking a Jew to eat pork. A Yankees hat will never touch my head.

The Post had a good article about AL playoff implications of this weekend that I'll probably blog about later:

Posted by: jw | September 30, 2005 12:34 PM | Report abuse

that would be sisters, mo. :)

It must be lonely, being jw, rights about now.....

Posted by: LP | September 30, 2005 12:34 PM | Report abuse

It's quite interesting to me that I only got 1 comment on my posting about former education secretary William Bennett racially charged comment on his morning talk show. Are people just scared stiff about having discussions on race?

Posted by: omodudu | September 30, 2005 12:35 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, I'd rather sing "Sweet Caroline" than "Thank God I'm a Country Boy". And I live in MD. But that's just me.

mo, and jw, yes, I did notice that the O's are compiling a notable lack of success since '97.


Posted by: bc | September 30, 2005 12:40 PM | Report abuse

i read it and i has horrified! he DID try to back up by saying "That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down." but why even say it at all? *sigh* omodudu - i just don't know what to say anymore about race... we had huge race discussions following katrina and it just makes me sad... so i keep my mouth shut b/c i don't have any answers...

Posted by: mo | September 30, 2005 12:58 PM | Report abuse


My answer after sampling this blog would be: yes, people on this blog are reluctant to discuss race. I don't know why. The insiders have only one person of color and have seemed skittish and defensive on this issue before. But have at it. It's a new day, and maybe you will be overwhelmed by their thoughtfulness, constructiveness, and implied self-brilliance. Good luck.

Posted by: Polyglot | September 30, 2005 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I'll comment on William Bennet. I'm not afeared!

I think it was a stupid and ham-handed use of rhetorical hyperbole. He was trying to make an absurd point in order to discredit a statement made that the legalization of abortion has lowered the crime rate (Freakonomics?). The problem is that in the process, he implied that the majority of black children grow up to be criminals.

The problem is that the hyperbole was so poorly worded the the rhetoric was completely lost. What he intended was for his statement to be taken as completely absurd, which you can tell from its context. But he brought race into it and that's always just stupid. If you took the word "black" out of his statement, it makes complete sense.

Make no mistake about it. Making a blanket statement that black children are destined to be criminals smacks of racism, whether you're using it as hyperbole or not.

Posted by: jw | September 30, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

results already!!

Posted by: Polyglot | September 30, 2005 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Tom fan?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2005 1:07 PM | Report abuse


The book he was most likely refering to is Freakonmomics, which is a great read, but what Bennett was saying was a bastardization of the thesis that the authors of freakonomics were putting out. Bennett is obviously a nutcase - why concern yourself with something so inane?

Posted by: LP | September 30, 2005 1:08 PM | Report abuse

er - freakonomics.

Posted by: LP | September 30, 2005 1:09 PM | Report abuse

do we only have one person of color? and is that person me? i thought we had a chicana here too?? i don't think i'm a good spokesperson for "people of color" since my mother says i pass for white even tho i don't think of myself as white...

and yes, jw - you are right - it is racism pure and simple. i was horrified he said it but how would i feel if he had said substituted hispanic for black? i would be FURIOUS! i already get bristly when ppl talk smack about illegal immigrants! my only consolation is that we are becoming such a melting pot - so many mutts, so many inter-racial/cultural co-minglings that in the future the question of race will not be an issue - how can you be racist against someone who is half white and half other? i know... i'm naive but it keeps my spirits up!

Posted by: mo | September 30, 2005 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone explain what the arguement was in Freakonomics for the tie between abortions/crime rate?

Posted by: jw | September 30, 2005 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm out. I can't engage in a discussion of a woman's right to lose her bebe.

Posted by: sarrat | September 30, 2005 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your responses,

I read this column all the time and enjoy the comments but I sense a real reluctance to discuss race issues which I think is quite sad given the brilliance of the posters of this blog.

To jw's point - of course he didn't mean that all black babies should be aborted and he said that was "impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible", however, he went on to say "but your crime rate would go down". That implies (rather explicitly) that the babies that are instead not aborted will most likely grow up to be criminals thereby increasing the crime rate. Am I missing something here? The point made in Freakonomics was that poor, single, unmarried mothers were most likely to have babies that will become criminals and that by legalizing abortion we reduced the number of these babies. That makes Mr. Bennett's hypothesis even more damning in my opinion.

LP - I concern myself with commenters with Bennett because they have many many listeners, listeners who agree with their viewpoints and that is plain scary

Posted by: omodudu | September 30, 2005 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Dear polyglot:
Did you catch the very intense discussions on race that ran here immediately after Katrina? If people were reluctant to discuss race, I wonder why they posted hundreds of comments.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 30, 2005 1:16 PM | Report abuse


may I suggest one change to your very nice presentation of the facts and good analysis, as well...

Bennett only may be suggesting that Blacks commit more crimes per capita than the Texas average per capita, so be eliminating Blacks, one would thusly, lower the total average of crimes per capita in the state. I don't think that there was an implication by Bennett that most Blacks commit crimes.

(if I am correctly reading your post, as well)

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 30, 2005 1:17 PM | Report abuse

For example:

From that day's blog:

I'm still working my way through the comments about race that were posted here yesterday, heretofore known as the Day of the Race Riot.
The intelligent and thoughtful opinions were, unfortunately, bracketed by some seriously ugly rants. Commenter Peter discerned "an intense stream of ignorance and hatred that ebbed and flowed." I did personally wonder how someone of those people could type their comments while wearing those awkward white hoods.
Terecico wrote that "if Hurricane Katrina would have hit Long Island, NY and the Hamptons flooded, food and water would have been there within 24 hours." Maybe that's true about the food and water, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CREME BRULEE???
Someone named Sheila wrote, "This whole issue of race is stupid," and several other commenters objected to the way that the media and certain pundits and politicians have supposedly "injected" race into this crisis. I did ask myself, as part of the personal audit I do every 24 hours to ensure that I'm still a good person, whether I had erred in blogging about race. Was I just trying to sell newspapers, as they say? (And can you sell newspapers with a blog? How does that work?)
Here's the bottom line: Race is central to the story of the United States. I didn't inject that into the narrative. Race is an issue today in NOLA and it was an issue two weeks ago and it has been an issue for roughly four centuries. We had a war over it. We had a century of Jim Crow and then a Civil Rights movement. Someone tell me when race ceased to matter. Just because your favorite athlete is Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods doesn't mean you have an exemption from ever thinking about race again. The "colorblind" society is perhaps a noble goal, but it doesn't exist yet. I don't mean to get all Huey Newton here on the blog, or act like I'm an expert on this topic (those of you who are new to this blog should know that I'm actually out of my depth on almost any issue other than astronomy), but I think it's good that people talk about race openly (while maybe not jumping so fast at the obvious race-baiting and KKK prattle).
Sometimes you hear people say that "race" is not as relevant as "class." But let's not contort ourselves into some awkward semantic position in order to avoid talking about race head on. If nothing else, it's good to know what people think, where they stand, how they perceive the world. Read Gene Robinson's column today and you'll read of a black schoolteacher who believes the levees of New Orleans were intentionally built to keep the white parts of town dry. As for the unrest at the Convention Center, what provoked people was the way the food was shoved at them by rescuers hovering in helicopters -- a demeaning gesture, as though they were Third World refugees.
The race story is not necessarily a tale of woe and conflict. One of the great strengths of the country today is that it's multicultural. It's definitely more interesting than living in a racially and ethnically homogenized society (such as the place I just returned from). I'll take America over any of the competitors.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 30, 2005 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I shall read those comments with interest. Thanks.

Posted by: Polyglot | September 30, 2005 1:21 PM | Report abuse

And by the way, I posted a new kit. Another pack of lies!!!!!

Posted by: Achenbach | September 30, 2005 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael: the whole blacks commit more crimes per capita issue was one that I really didn't want to get into, it being a Friday and all. But that's what I was thinking he was implying as well.

Posted by: jw | September 30, 2005 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I would have commented on Wm Bennett, but I have strange neurological condition that causes me to react to the names Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, William Bennett, G. Gordon Liddy, Greaseman Tracht, and a few others with a brief seizure- my eyes roll, I shudder and gibber momentarily, and then things return to normal. In this case, as with most pronouncements by this group, there is not much to discuss. The guy is a jerk.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | September 30, 2005 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I heard extended replays of the Bennett show (though edited) when I was driving home last night. I think the discussion was about someone's statement that we could have had a Balanced Budget based on tax revenues generated by those individuals who would have come to term and been born and then become productive citizens in the USA IF THERE HAD BEEN NO ABORTIONS.

Bennett was having a conversation with a caller and they were making statements about who gets abortions, ... they assumed, by a vast majority, it was poor unwed Black youth. (INCORRECT)

I believe there was some discussion about the cost of bringing so many Blacks into the world who were poor and costing the US Tax Payers money, and then on the amazing quote about abortions and their benefits (He was clearly saying his abortion statement, in jest (from his perspective), BUT THE WHOLE DISCUSSION was inappropriate in the manner in which it was presented.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 30, 2005 1:26 PM | Report abuse


Yes, I see, just trying to a bit better than those of whom we may be discussing. As in trying to be fair ...

jw, as I just posted, out of context, the Bennett comments only seem HamHanded as you suggest, but I found the whole discussion to be "troubling."

I guess I would say that, while Bill Bennett is a bright man, he plays in racist areas and class areas that should be handled better than he. While he may be fine in that area and smart enough to speak in code, some of his million or so listeners are HEARING something else that they thrive on.

I guess I am suggesting that you can't really measure his words as he says them, but how they are heard.

Does that make any sense?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 30, 2005 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree, no matter what his intent was, his comments were in very bad taste. And they probably reflect some overriding prejudices on his part.

Posted by: jw | September 30, 2005 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I kept hoping (beyond hope) that Bennet's comments were made for 'A Modest Proposal'-esque intention but I just don't think he is capable of that sort of intellectual satire...

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | September 30, 2005 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I had no idea about the prior comments about who gets abortions. It definitely casts what he said in a much different light. Very poor form.

He spoke at my school once, and all I can remember is that he was a pompus ass. Oh well.

Posted by: jw | September 30, 2005 1:43 PM | Report abuse


If there were a holier than thou halo, Bennett should wear it. To top it off, on my morning commute down into DC, I got to listen to Bill discuss this "misunderstanding" with Hannity recorded from last night.

100's of people have suggested that Bennett should apologize to those offended by his remarks, to which, since one of them happened to be Ted Kennedy, his remark was, Ted Kennedy is not worthy of being my moral beacon (or something to that affect).

To which, I guess if Laura Bush asked him to apologize, we would get the same response?

Also, in my books, those aren't the comments of a christian man, though that is how Hannity introduced the segment. It was pointed out by many who I have talked to today that there are a lot of really bad people who go to church all the time.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 30, 2005 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I read the Post article about Bill Bennett's remarks. I'm very far from a fan of Bill Bennett, but I think he's being unfairly vilified. If we shout down the Bill Bennetts of this world because they are inarticulate, then we will not argue with their ideas on the merits, and the Bennetts and their ilk will become even more firmly assured that they are right in all things. Bennett didn't come up with an effective way to say what he wanted to say, and he is being punished for it, ignoring the actual content of what he said.

Bennett was trying to argue *against* an economist's suggestion that crime rates have dropped because of the widespread availability of abortion. Based on what little the Post article reported, it sounds like most people would agree with Bennett on this one. He was trying to enunciate a similar, but wholly outrageous, hypothesis for a relationship between abortion and crime rates. He wasn't advocating it. He chose an argument that any sensible person would see as repugnant, in order to damn the other fellow's ideas by analogy. I read Bennett's remarks as immediately repudiating any such notion, within the same sentence. He didn't wait until someone yelled before he discovered a sense of morality. Bennett was trying to show that statistical correlation is not the same as cause-and-effect. The resulting hurricane of criticism shows that he failed at his rhetoric (or is that just a coincidental correlation?).

Bennett is being criticized mainly for the implication in his remarks that African-Americans are more criminal than whites. I don't know Bill Bennett's mind, and it's possible that he really did mean something that obnoxious. What I think is more likely is that he was referencing the well-known bias in our country's justice and prison systems in which minority groups, particularly African-Americans, are heavily over-represented among the imprisoned population. There are lots of hypotheses on why the disparity exists, some identifying unjust justice, some identifying inequality of opportunity, and so on. You don't need to know the definitive cause of the disparity, however, in order to see the effect. It is true that if you conducted genocide among a population that is overrepresented in the criminal justice system then you would decrease the crime rate, so long as you define "crime" to ignore the act of genocide. Bennett's problem is that he meant for the listener to perceive the idea as preposterous and horrific, but the audience thought that he actually meant it as a serious policy recommendation.

Bennett deserves a pass on this one. He actually is on the side of the angels here, even though he does not speak like an angel.

Posted by: Tim | September 30, 2005 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael,
Don't even get me started on these people who claim to be Christian but by their undertones you can denote hate in their hearts.
Tim - I won't even bother commenting on the false sense of outrage the Bennett tried to fake after his outrageous hypothesis.

Posted by: omodudu | September 30, 2005 1:58 PM | Report abuse

It is always good to talk about subjects and issues that are important to us as a people and as a country. Sure, sometimes what is said hurts, and cuts like a knife, yet sometimes it needs to be said. Race is an issue that this country needs to talk about, and talk about honestly, without hiding behind denial and the over used lie, "I don't see color". I do not agree with Bennett's remarks and I do believe it was a racist thing to say. Living in the South we are constantly coming in contact with people that truly in their hearts feel the way Bennett talks, and they can't hide it, no matter how hard they try. And it isn't just limited to the South, it is all over the country. I agree with Joel, racism is very much alive and we would do well to start talking and stop being in denial. We had a war, and people, you can believe if you want to, some people are still fighting that war. Listen to them talk sometimes, and you will hear it. Racism hurts the country and the people, because it does not allow us to reach our potential, and that applies to both sides of the isle. Let's talk. We've had the war, let's try the peace.

Posted by: Cassandra | September 30, 2005 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra and omodudu,

We now have to threads going on the same topic, so we might as well go to the next one.

Decades ago, I worked on equal rights cases in the south. The whites were fine by themselves and very welcoming (as long as they didn't know what I was doing) and the blacks were great as well. They were almost the same, cordial and giving, but not mixing. I guess it is the same now.

I hear that we now have segregation in schools at a 1968 level. --- mostly in the north.

My cynical view is that we have very little to hold control of the power in the government for the Republican majority other than issues of personal rights. The code words that are spoken are with meaning to maintain a rationale to keep the religeous right in power. The common joke about the religeous right is that it is neither Religeous nor Right.

What we heard was Bennett playing with blasting caps and he got caught.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 30, 2005 2:22 PM | Report abuse

In the introduction to his book, The Good, the Bad, and the Difference, How to Tell Right From Wrong in Everyday Situations, Randy Cohen does an excellent job in explaining why William Bennett, who is espousing "old-fashioned virtues" and supposedly should be admirable, or at least harmless, instead gives me a creepy feeling that something's just not right. Basically, Bennett's worldview is based on "individual" virtue, and the fallacy there is that virtue in has no meaning in that context: it is all about how your actions affect other people. I recommend Cohen's book and here are just two short excerpts:

As Bennett notes, there are various lessons to be drawn from any story, and it is often interesting to see which one he emphasizes. For instance, to him "John Henry" is a story of courage and pride. But while it would have gladdened the heart of, say, Andrew Carnegie, if each of his employees had seen it that way--choosing in the face of dreadful working conditions not to petition for improvements, but to work harder, even to work themselves to death--the United Mine Workers, for example, might read this story differently.

...real virtue lies not in heroically saving poor orphans from burning buildings but in steadfastly working for a world where orphans are not poor and buildings have decent fire codes. (p. 15)


Posted by: Reader | September 30, 2005 2:26 PM | Report abuse

omodudu said:

"Tim - I won't even bother commenting on the false sense of outrage the Bennett tried to fake after his outrageous hypothesis."

I'm not talking about the aggrieved pseudo-apology made after he discovered that people were ticked off. I mean that in the *same sentence* in which he made the outrageous suggestion, he identified it as evil. Admittedly, it sounds a good bit like Richard Nixon's recorded comment "We could do that; but it would be wrong." I still think Bennett was TRYING to say something outrageous, as a (clumsy) rhetorical device. He meant for you to be outraged, but he thought that you (and I) would be joining him to share a sense of outrage. He meant for the listener to come to be outraged by the concept of justifying abortion under any circumstances, for any reason. I happen to be one of the persons who strongly disagrees with him on that subject.

If we keep picking on guys like Bill Bennett because we choose to mis- or over-interpret their remarks, we will convince him and his kind that "we" (in my case "us liberals") are unable to counter them on facts or logic. They'll retreat into their little shells and keep their noxious little ideas to themselves, secure in the knowledge of their rightness. That's the reason we have the First Amendment to our Constitution, so that the Bill Bennetts of the world can bring out their ideas to the light of day, where they can be scrutinized. Right now, the attention paid to his poor rhetoric is distracting us from the essential anti-abortion argument that he was trying to make. His language is getting lots of scrutiny, his ideas -- not so much.

Posted by: Tim | September 30, 2005 2:27 PM | Report abuse


GOod explanation... more in line with Reader's comments.

BUT, I still have a concern that one can't even mention something as evil to get a pass. Let's see if I can create an image of my rough thoughts here....

Say, a strong black leader, when asked how we could possibly improve the number of minority students getting into Maryland without quota's would suggest: "well, it would be evil, but we could abort all of white babies south of Baltimore for a while..."

Tim, am I making a point here (not sure myself)? Say the black leader clearly is speaking in hyperbole and is a respected PhD holding corporate head. With an apology, would white people in Montgomery County, MD have the guy over for dinner even after the Post explained his hamhandedness?

I think this hypothetical situation may suggest what putting the shoe on the other foot is really like. I agree with reader, there is something off with Bennett.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | September 30, 2005 2:39 PM | Report abuse

In the South, it's a case of distrust. I don't know if anyone can understand this, but African-Americans in the South live with their captors. The folks that enslaved them, that abused them. Even after the war, African-Americans were left with the very people that they were suppose to be free of. Is anyone getting this? There is distrust on both sides. And to this day they live separate lives. I graduated high school in 1968, the last class of a segregated school. Do you see what I mean? An uneasy life, a region still divided. The atmosphere so thick with racism sometimes one can almost cut it with a knife. And corporate America hires these folks to run their businesses knowing exactly what they are. And they still expect to do business, because they believe no one is paying attention.

Posted by: Cassandra | September 30, 2005 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I think there were a few Northerners who enslaved blacks, too. "Even after the war, African-Americans were left with the very people that they were suppose [sic] to be free of." Well, what exactly would you have had the government do? Return them to Africa? They tried that in the 1820s/1830s but the colonization movement was a colossal failure and today is considered racist. And lynchings and beatings were hardly unknown in the West and North.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2005 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin, Cassandra, et al, I think we can come back to this stuff on Monday when the blog fires up again. I think it's all interesting and important and with a little prodding from the official achenblogger himself (I guess that would be me, wouldn't it)and maybe some re-posting of good comments (like Cassandra's at 4:25) the conversation can continue. I also want to get back to whether America is ready for a woman president. While reserving the right to post my usual ridiculous comments on dry rain and Led Zeppelin.

Posted by: Achenbach | September 30, 2005 6:01 PM | Report abuse

After the last presidential election (*gag*), a friend of mine, who grew up in Florida, told me that her 81 year old father said that the South fought the Civil War for more than 150 years and they finally won.

Now, that says something, doesn't it?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | September 30, 2005 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Achenbach is that a directive to drop the subject? And to the poster that asked the question, "well what was the government to do, send them back to Africa". No, that wasn't what I meant. I was just trying to show how such actions have impacted the life of African-Americans in the South. Perhaps we as a race of people, don't exactly feel that freedom that most Americans enjoy. These comments are not meant to harm or hurt anyone's feelings, just trying express what so many African-Americans feel but sometimes just cannot put into words. We know we cannot turn back the hands of time, and we cannot change the history, but we do have a choice about the future. And I say let's talk about race, let's stop shuning the subject, be brave, and face it head on.

Posted by: Cassandra | September 30, 2005 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra -

I just finished reading the last third of this boodle, and I have to say, you are clear-headed and calm and not SHOUTING in your posts. And I find that remarkable, given what you've told us about yourself. I feel like shouting after watching Bill Bennett trying to justify himself just now on Fox (watch it sometimes just to see what they're saying). And this didn't help:

"Bennett deserves a pass on this one. He actually is on the side of the angels here, even though he does not speak like an angel.

Posted by: Tim | Sep 30, 2005 1:56:03 PM"

As far as I'm concerned, Bill Bennett wouldn't recognize an angel when he ran one down at 90 mph in his Hummer.

And yes, I know "on the side of the angels" is an expression not meant to be taken literally.

Anyway, I found this whole race discussion tonight to be a refreshing, intelligent conversation after the babbling about crayons and rock groups in the other boodle.

Posted by: suecris | October 1, 2005 1:49 AM | Report abuse

The important thing to remember about dry rain is that even though it doesn't wet, it still flows downward into valleys. So if you live in a flood zone and a dry rain comes through, GET TO HIGH GROUND! There are myriad documented cases of people drowning after a particularly fierce dry rain. Of course, normally it is mistakenly diagnosed as asthma or unexplained asphyxiation.

Posted by: CousinoMacul | October 1, 2005 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I find that it is often easiest to understand confusing concepts through the use of analogies. I use the example of a wordless article as is often found in the publishing industry. It inspires the same emotions that might be evoked by a worded article, such as a story about a man who beats his dog. The wordless article will prevoke curiosity, pity and anger, but without any words, just like dry rain ruins a picnic without any drops.

Posted by: Christena the Editor | October 1, 2005 3:48 PM | Report abuse

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