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Boo! A Samuel Alito Halloween Primer

   Name: Samuel Alito

   Nicknames: "Scalito," "Samito," "Dorito"

   Key Halloween Morning Fact: Is not nicknamed "Scooter"

   Rumor to Watch: Sleeps in coffin; has aversion to garlic and daylight; favorite party trick is transmogrifying into bat

   Princeton Eating Club: Classified

   Judicial Philosophy: Strict Construction of Constitution, Magna Carta, Ten Commandments, Infield Fly Rule

   Chief Credential: Unlike previous nominee, has been a judge and can locate Supreme Court building without GPS

   Least Believable Statement in Opening Appearance at White House: "I look forward to working with the Senate in the confirmation process."

   Most Famous Ruling Involving Frosty the Snowman: "In ACLU v. Schundler, Alito wrote the majority opinion holding that a city's holiday display that included a créche and a menorah did not violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment because it also included secular symbols such as Frosty the Snowman and a banner promoting racial diversity" (Shannon P. Duffy).

   Glaring Omission: Failed to acknowledge religious sect that considers Frosty the Snowman a god.

   Most controversial ruling: Dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey suggesting that women must ask permission from their husbands before they have medical procedures or go shopping or try to "talk back" or anything like that.

  Justice O'Connor's comment on that case: "Women do not lose their constitutionally protected liberty when they marry."

   Alito's Likely Rebuttal to O'Connor: "In which Article, Section and Clause does it say that???"

   Odds of Confirmation, Barring Sudden Eruption of Scandal: 85 percent*

   Likely number of Senate votes : 64*

   * baseless speculation

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 31, 2005; 7:18 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Strange Man in My Basement
Next: Tom's Dumb Question on Dog Evolution


Am I the only one who first thought that the nominee was Judge Lance Ito from the OJ trial?

Posted by: Historian | October 31, 2005 9:15 AM | Report abuse

As someone noted on the Boodle this weekend, TypePad has been having all kinds of problems, and if they continue much longer I will either have to abandon the blog altogether or appeal to SCOTUS for some kind of injunction.

In other news, I'm on deadline this week and plan to ignore the blog promiscuously. That said, at some point we are going to see the return of a fan favorite, Tom's Dumb Questions.

Bulletin: No Rough Draft column next Sunday. I have not been fired (miraculously) but there was a layout issue and they realized that I am expendable, columnistically.

Sports Department: Redskins achieved a moral victory Sunday by forcing the Giants to kick a lot of field goals and thus fail to win by 70-0, which really by rights should have been the score.

So: The Dems going to filibuster? Does anyone out there know anything?

Posted by: Achenbach | October 31, 2005 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I was listening to W doing the Alito Shuffle (you heard it here first, someone please let Boz Scaggs know that his career may have registered it's first sign of a pulse in 20 years) on NPR this morning, and wondered a couple of things:

1. If English isn't a language that GWB is comforable using, shouldn't we let him use his native tongue and just use subtitles?

2. Not that it's their job to be unpredictable, but could the WH have done anything less surprising? Well, the WH needs friends right now, might as well give them something to crow about.

3. Frosty may be fringe stuff, but what's his position re. freedom of expression for more established religions like Pastafarianism?

4. Can anyone guess who I'm going as for Halloween?


Posted by: bc | October 31, 2005 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I thought when I heard of the new Supreme nominee JA wouldn't be able to get away with just using a Rough Draft as his blog item, he would feel compelled to actually write something on a Monday morning.

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 9:22 AM | Report abuse

He supports the Infield Fly Rule? Time to mobilize against the Unbeliever!

Posted by: wiredog | October 31, 2005 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Re the Loomis/Cassandra S/suecris contretemps,

As an occasional observer, and having read your collective prior inflammatory posts, the penalties in the Sin Bin should be:

Loomis: 10 mins. for excessive, repeated verbosity and a very nasty tone. We know too much about your thinking, it has been said.
Casandra S: 5 mins. for excessive whining.
suecris: 3 mins. for threatening to leave--you can't do that when colleagues will hang with you.
temecula--1 min. for butting in and violating the 3rd rail rule of JA never to criticize Loomis--but this time I think she earned it fully.

Posted by: temecula | October 31, 2005 9:41 AM | Report abuse

BC: Are you going as the wet noodle of the flying spagetthi monster religion?

It would fit right in with all the beltway happenings.

Posted by: aroc | October 31, 2005 9:44 AM | Report abuse

TypePad should soon bring more servers online, and that would be the last remaining obstacle to submitting blog items to the Supreme Court. Alito would probably like to know how many electrons are in favor and how many are against. There are a lot of nuanced opinions out here. We could send electrons with spin.

Posted by: kp | October 31, 2005 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Another item for the Sports Department:

jw ran -- and completed -- the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend.

Woo hoo!
[Or should I say "Hoo-aah!"? (sp?)]

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I had the infield fly rule explained to me once, but I forgot what it is.

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Hoo-aah is very Army.

Ooo-rah is Marine talk.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 9:48 AM | Report abuse

oops. 9:45:16 post was from me.

Posted by: temecula | October 31, 2005 9:48 AM | Report abuse

NO! The Judge Alito opinion was about women giving NOTICE to their husbands in advance about getting an abortion (so they could discuss it together), not getting his PERMISSION!! That is totally different! If Judge Alito's opinion had been the law, she still would have the last word.
This is so sad after that nice Harriet Myers had to withdraw, just because she is a woman. She had more credentials than Hilary Clinton, and we're supposed to like Hilary, right?
Now here is a nominee from Princeton and Yale. I am just so disappointed. Harriet Myers went to SMU and I went to OSU, and there shouldn't be this prejudice against non-Ivy League people. I am a single mother and worked my way through law school. What a shame. I wish Ms. Myers was still in the running.

Posted by: Dorothy from Columbus | October 31, 2005 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Time For Tea

The man sat on the small couch and sipped tea. With his rumpled suit and baggy eyes, he looked like a bible salesman recently chased by a mad dog.

"It's awful nice of you to put me up, Ms. Miers," said Scooter, reaching for another carefully trimmed sandwich. "I hope I'm not an imposition."

"Certainly not," said Harriet, "It's wonderful to have company again. Even in," she paused, thoughtfully, "these circumstances."

Every few minutes, Scooter would place his teacup down and gingerly part the curtains to spy into the darkness outside. "There's no one out there, silly," chirped Harriet, "Ever since yesterday, all the newspeople, Secret Service, everybody - they've all gone away." She said the last few words with a sigh of sad resignation. "I'm glad you came here," she said to Scooter, "I was starting to get lonely."

"Well, I really appreciate it, Ma'am. I hope this doesn't get you into trouble," said Scooter, settling back into the couch.

"Trouble? Poo! I'm invisible, now. Even a crowd of White House boys on the lam wouldn't attract attention. I could put up Osama bin Laden and no one would notice." She chuckled, "Though, I would make him shave, anyway."

"Ms. Miers, could I ask you about that thing on the wall, in the study?" queried Scooter.

"It's Harriet. And what thing are you talking about?"

"It's like a big red snake, with hundreds of tentacles coming out its sides. And it's got wings, and a hideous face," said Scooter. His voice betrayed a new nervousness, having nothing to do with the legions of police that searched for him as they spoke.

"Oh!" Harriet clapped her hands together, "My idol! The Flying Spaghetti Monster!" I pray to Him every night!

Scooter looked at Harriet incredulously. His tone was flat as he said, "You said you were a Born-Again Christian."

Harriet picked up the teapot and poured herself a cup. "Now, now, I only told the President that I was deeply religious. He took that to mean I was a Born-Again."

Scooter's jaw dropped.

"I mean," Harriet continued, "he's a very sweet man. But, you both know he's a couple 'a bucks short of a twenty, right?"

"So you're not a Christian," Scooter croaked, "You're a..."

"Flying Spaghetti Monsterist," Harriet said, brightly, "'FSM' for short. You know, like the Mormons, they're 'LDS'."

"Right," said Scooter, his face becoming pale.

"Wait right here," said Harriet, rising quickly, "I'll show you something." And, she rushed out of the room. Minutes later, she appeared at the archway leading to the living room. At 60, Harriet looked rather mannish in her gold satin pantaloons, cobalt blouse, and black carriage boots. Her black bicorn hat was embellished with the insignia of a skull and cross bones. And she wore an eye patch.

"My God in Heaven," Scooter whispered to himself.

"You like it?" Harriet asked. "It's what we devotees must wear when we pray to FSM."

She approached Scooter, sitting dumbfounded on the couch. She pulled a shining scimitar from her scabbard, and said softly, "Scooter, would you care to join me in giving praise to the FSM?"

Scooter jumped to his feet first. "You know, I think for your protection, I'd better leave now." As Harriet began to protest, Libby quickly placed his forefinger up to his pursed lips. "I know about these things," he whispered, "You were close to the President; your walls could have ears."

"And I think they've stopped watching the bus station, by now," he added. "We'd better run if I'm going to make the Greyhound to, uh, Mexico."

"Listen, Harriet, it's been great. And, I really, really appreciate your help," said Scooter, backing toward the door, "But, it's better this way."

Scooter slammed the door behind himself.

Harriet shook her head and walked sullenly into the study. She lit two candles at the shrine of her beloved icon. With a deep sigh, she raised her arms, with her right hand thrusting her sword to the heavens.

"Oh, Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, hear my prayer!"

The next day, as the President stood in the press room announcing his newest nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, his pants fell down.

Posted by: TopicCow | October 31, 2005 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Dorothy from Ohio,

You might say about this selection of a an AC for the SCOTUS:

"A woman's right to lose."

Posted by: gibberish | October 31, 2005 9:51 AM | Report abuse

SCC Entries: Oh, man. Too many to count. Was trying to edit out Karl Rove. Failed miserably. Going to join the silent millions now.

Posted by: CowTown | October 31, 2005 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Bravo, TopicCow!

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 9:56 AM | Report abuse

[The "Bravo" was for your initial post of 9:49:47 -- not because you're going to join the silent millions (please don't do that!)]

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The Hoo-aah from the Army is almost like just saying a word. The Marine OOO-Rah is always loud and from the gut.

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and thanks for clarifying that the 9:48:16 post was not me, "temecula." As for "Hoo-aah," I thought it was a marine thing. But what the bleep would I know. I'm sure jw will be able to set the record straight, when he surfaces.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Doh! Wrong again, plus I 'boodled out of order. SCC squared.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I spent time in both branches and there is a little difference. But you must have a trained ear.

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Achenfan, didn't your husband run the marathon, too? How'd he do?

Posted by: Sara | October 31, 2005 10:12 AM | Report abuse


TopicCow, it's a very good thing my coffee was empty before I read your 9:49

Posted by: dr | October 31, 2005 10:14 AM | Report abuse

That's right, Sara. He did pretty well for an old fart -- finished in the top 10 percent (overall as well as in his age group). And he can still walk today.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 10:22 AM | Report abuse


Oo0-rah brings back such fond memories.

You can hear it perfectly rendered in the TV trailer for the new Jarhead movie. Jamie Foxx voices it, slowly, but with feeling, at the end of the clip.

Posted by: melvin/a | October 31, 2005 10:27 AM | Report abuse

More mocking of poor Harriett Myers just because she is a woman! You should be ashamed! I thought Washington Post readers were nice, liberal people. Let's pull together and do better in the future.

Posted by: Dorothy from Columbus | October 31, 2005 10:31 AM | Report abuse

bc, off topic: aren't you the classical music aficianado? How are you on opera? Here's my dilemma. Know those tunes that get caught in your head? This one's a waltz. At every highschool talent/variety show, Diane Granzin would wear her red dress and sing the same Italian aria from the same Italian opera; her mother accompanied her on piano. Some of the kids, rock n rollers, booed and made fun, but Diane didn't care. She stood there in the spotlight, singing sweetly and proudly; it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard. I can only remember the first 3 words, which were in Italian of course. Mind you, she sang with a bit of a Texas twang, but it sounded like "Kwan doh me vah...." Last night I dreamt of her and now I want to buy the opera, or at least this particular song. I *must* have it! Not much to go on, but if you can identify this music, you'd make me very happy.

Posted by: Nani | October 31, 2005 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I just got invited to an "Autumn Celebration." Did the gods of polictical correctness kill Halloween when I wasn't looking? What's Alito's position on that? What if we throw in Frosty with a reindeer or two ... will that salvage the Great Pumpkin?

Does one trick or treat at an "Autumn Celebration" or just dance naked 'neath the trees?

Posted by: pumpable meat | October 31, 2005 10:33 AM | Report abuse


Is this the aria?

La Boheme - Quando M'en Vo'

You can listen to a brief sample from this page. It is track #4:

Posted by: pj | October 31, 2005 10:43 AM | Report abuse

[Finally regains consciousness]

There's going to be another Tom's Dumb Question!!! Just when I thought there was nothing left for Tom to ponder --after all, he's already covered the speed of light, the nature of time, and the significance of coincidences; what's left?

Moving on to other things, the recent attacks against Linda Loomis reminded me of the "New Achenblog Comment Policy," which Joel posted way back in April (April 28, to be exact), not long after the Comments function was enabled. An excerpt:

"For a couple of weeks we've allowed comments on this blog, and most of the comments have been entertaining and informative. But occasionally readers post comments that I know they regret later. They unintentionally come off as humorless, snippety and sanctimonious. This blog is a sanctimony-free zone. I feel as though I should PROTECT these readers from the embarrassment that inevitably follows their misguided comments. The most direct solution would be to turn off the Comments function altogether. We could restore the blog to its former solipsistic purity."

Bottom line: (apart from "solipsistic purity" -- Ha!)
The Kaboodle could be take away from us at any time. As a very wise man once said, just before Dark Blog Week, "Prepare yourselves accordingly."

Posted by: Tom fan | October 31, 2005 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Dorothy from Columbus:

I certainly don't intend to mock Ms. Miers. I thought she was a very nice person who was treated very poorly during her nomination episode. I thought I'd just give her a little revenge, Boodle style.

Posted by: CowTown | October 31, 2005 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Tom Fan,

That's cool, but if you want to do the boss's bidding, you need to cite (as in ticketing a violator) talk that creeps towards words that are read as racist by a participant, whether you read them that way or not. Also, the volume of posts is an issue sometimes, too, blotting out the intellectual sun as someone attempts to build a stack of reveries that is too high and too fat to ingest. Over and over again. We are all guilty of that at some time, but this one is a special case.

Posted by: Temecula | October 31, 2005 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I seem to have a penchant for straying away from the 'boodle around the times when things get personal and, well, interesting. I then spend countless hours (ok, minutes!) sorting through old 'boodles to try and decipher what went down, never really figuring things out.

So, could you all just stage some sort of spat here in this 'boodle and then have a designated narrator jump in to explain things in relatively plain english? I appreciated the times before when folks have given the cliff notes on recent boodling adventures, but I always feel as though missing the live event cheapens the thrill. Thanks.

Posted by: irregardless | October 31, 2005 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Pumpable Meat,

With a name like yours, the activities are obvious.

Wear an apron.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2005 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Please remember, just before ascending into his liquid form, Frosty vowed to return someday!

Posted by: esskay | October 31, 2005 10:52 AM | Report abuse


You have missed little. It's old news. It would rub salt in wounds.

Suffice it to say that you gotta be self policing here, and some people are more protected than others, no matter what they say or how many (many) words they generate.

I know which Ablog participant I am going to be tonight, but I won't go anywhere near the "celebration" that P Meat describes.

Posted by: temecula | October 31, 2005 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I forsee an epic battle between the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Frosty the Snowman for the souls of Mankind. It will get ugly. Beware.

Posted by: CowTown | October 31, 2005 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Cow, way to take the Pastafarianism thing and run with it!

May His Noodly Appendage be upon you.

Nani, while I do have a passing familiarity with classical music and opera (and punk and speed metal and...) I'm no expert. I'll have to think about which aria Ms. Granzin might have been singing.
It's easy to say "Aida", because it's so popular these days...


Posted by: bc | October 31, 2005 10:56 AM | Report abuse

SCC Entry: that's "soul" of Mankind. Or, I think it is, anyway.

Posted by: CowTown | October 31, 2005 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was sole of Mankind

Posted by: loveless | October 31, 2005 10:59 AM | Report abuse

News Flash:
Scientist report global warming directly linked to the decline of Frostyism.

Posted by: esskay | October 31, 2005 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I was meaning to ask you esskay, are you a scion of the family that owns a pork processing factory that produces

Esskay ham, Esskay sausages?

They are hmmmm, good.

Posted by: loveless | October 31, 2005 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I have no sole

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It will indeed get ugly, CowTown. But it'll be a great movie.

Posted by: Bayou Self | October 31, 2005 11:04 AM | Report abuse

First Majority Catholic Supreme Court

If confirmed by the Senate, Alito would be the fifth Roman Catholic to serve on the current Supreme Court, creating the First Majority Catholic Supreme Court, joining two Jews and two Protestants. Together, Catholics (24% of the U.S. population) and Jews (2% of the population) would constitute 77% of the Supreme Court membership, leaving Protestants (whose denominations constitute a majority of the American population) with the smallest minority on the court in its history (First Minority Protestant Supreme Court). There is no religious test to be a Supreme Court justice in the U.S.

Posted by: Majority Catholic | October 31, 2005 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Damn! Bush just HAD to announce this new hominee right when I was just proud of my Harriet Miers costume-- a smart lawyer suit, gold pins, earrings, and makeup to knock anybody's eye out, and a "Hello! I'm Harriet Miers" label.

Dorothy from Columbus, let us weep that Bush has not chosen to improve on Harriet, impossible as she was to improve on, but drastically dropped his standards.

Sigh...It's too bad Harriet never argued many cases before the Supreme Court, let won any. Then truly her dimissal would have been a travesty of justice and worth impeaching the whole Congress for. What could have been....

Alas, poor Harriet!

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 31, 2005 11:09 AM | Report abuse

IF it gets really ugly, it will be time for Achen Fan to invoke and wield the dreaded:


as a terrible swift sword to smite the villains

Posted by: loveless | October 31, 2005 11:09 AM | Report abuse


I missed stuff, too. I've been absent from the boodle since Thursday. I'm a bit lost. But I figure it'll all sort itself out in the end.

I just recently learned about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I don't remember how I heard of it, but I checked it out. Made me laugh. "Noodly appendage." Ha!
Hopefully that isn't sacreligious. I would feel bad if I offended a true FSMer.

Posted by: Sara | October 31, 2005 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Here's a short version of what happened: On Thursday, in the "All the President's Men and Women" 'boodle, Linda asked,
"anyone want to tackle Cassandra's rant/questions? I can't take the time this morning."

Cassandra took umbrage at this, as did suecris. (Personally, I think Linda was simply saying that Cassandra's comment merited a response but that she, Linda, didn't have time to provide one and hoped someone else would. Linda has acknowledged Cassandra to a far greater extent than have many of us, including myself; call me petty, but Cassandra lost me on September 19 with her comment of 8:43:04 am).

This resulted, among other things, in "temecula"'s comment about Linda's alleged "excessive, repeated verbosity and a very nasty tone. We know too much about your thinking, it has been said."

Of all the participants in the exchange, Linda was the *least* nasty, in my opinion.

At this point it might be worth reminding people of the possibilities of Internet "trolls" in a forum such as this. I hope Linda has not been run off permanently.

Posted by: Tom fan | October 31, 2005 11:17 AM | Report abuse

We have all kissed and made up. Dreamer, thanks for you post in "The Strange Man in the Basement."

Posted by: Loomis | October 31, 2005 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Is it me, or is it getting Testy around here?

Anyway, I think that what the S. Court will do now with Abortion rights won't affect America nearly as much as the new Fish on Friday law. This could get ugly.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 31, 2005 11:20 AM | Report abuse

You nailed it, Dolphin Michael. Further, the Sunday Hat Rule will be introduced, as well as the criminalization of Touching Oneself in a Manner Not Consistent with Personal Hygene or Waste Elimination Functions.

Posted by: CowTown | October 31, 2005 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Bravo to both jw and Mr. Achenfan.

Well done, gentlemen.

pj, that sounds like it could be Nani's missing aria. I should have remembered that you're the go-to guy for classical music.


Posted by: bc | October 31, 2005 11:25 AM | Report abuse

With the FSM figure the whole noodle string theory starts to make sense to me. Maybe Tomfan could add some loose conjuctures to complete the picture?

Posted by: Ur-divi-d-€U's | October 31, 2005 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Folks are wondering how to congratulate JW.

"Hoo-aah is very Army.

Ooo-rah is Marine talk."

But, JW is CG and there they say:
"What ho, old chap!"

I kid. After all, the CG is a service that does say, "You have to go out, ..."

Posted by: md 20/400 | October 31, 2005 11:27 AM | Report abuse

You're welcome, Linda. I'm glad to see you here today.

Posted by: Dreamer | October 31, 2005 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh ...

Main Entry: trans·mog·ri·fy
Pronunciation: tran(t)s-'mä-gr&-"fI, tranz-
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -fied; -fy·ing
Etymology: origin unknown
transitive senses : to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect
intransitive senses : to become transmogrified
synonym see TRANSFORM
- trans·mog·ri·fi·ca·tion /(")tran(t)s-"mä-gr&-f&-'kA-sh&n, (")tranz-/ noun

Posted by: Bayou Self | October 31, 2005 11:30 AM | Report abuse

There was a rumor over the weekend that Bush was considering a "three-fer" for the SCOTUS: he'd found a candidate who was a woman, a minority AND she had experience as a judge. But then George Will and Bill Kristol convinced Bush the Senate would never approva Paula Abdul.


Posted by: Curmudegon | October 31, 2005 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The CG is the mildest form of the military, where would we be without them?

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Weakness in the freshly nominated SC canditate: where does this guy come from if he things women could be quieted down by marriage. As far as my firsthand experience(s) indicates we men have no more say about anything but the lenght of grass (until it reaches the +5cm mark).

Posted by: Ur-divi-d-€U's | October 31, 2005 11:36 AM | Report abuse

...BTW: I missed out on the Loomis bits a while back, but would add that perhaps we've actually heard enuff about her Mayflower connections. She does write very well; would be interested to know what some of her publications are...

Posted by: Cowgirl | October 31, 2005 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"Achen Fan," to no one's surpise, takes the side of the angels. Time to call the SUD.
And she blames it on trolls.

Condoning nastiness must be next to godliness.

The AF anal-ysis will prove yet again that agents provocateur try to stir up racist thoughts, when, in fact, some things we say and do, or choose not to say or do, do that far better than any troll could.

If we knew the demographics of this "blog" and how many people of color have been turned off and fled, we'd be impressed.

Things could get sudugly, yes.

Posted by: temecula | October 31, 2005 11:49 AM | Report abuse

About "Fall Celebrations" -- we have them at our school. They are an attempt to continue Halloween traditions that kids enjoy without running afoul of evangelical Christians who view Halloween festivities as pagan devil-worship -- every year, there are a few people who rail about how we are unintentionally carrying on unholy pagan rites by dressing up as monsters, bringing pleasure and witless worshippers to the Devil. *sigh* Granted, there aren't all that many people who raise a fuss, but they exist, so this is a pre-emptive action to allow kids to enjoy Halloween without a lot of bother. Our school is having a Story Book Character parade today -- but I expect that the only literary figures who will be represented will be Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, and Harry Potter characters.

Posted by: Tim | October 31, 2005 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Remember, it's Halloween.

Which Ablog favorite will you be?

Posted by: Golconda | October 31, 2005 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Does this mean we are supposed to assume each other's handles today? And wear verbal costumes.

maybe after it's dark (east coast), say after 5pm?

good idea? great idea? let's hear your opinion...

Overwhelmingly, the sentiment is for doing this! What a great idea! Whoopeeeeeee!

Reminds me of a great uncle of mine, who started the All Hallows Eve custom in
Metalpit, Montana....

Posted by: Blastula | October 31, 2005 12:01 PM | Report abuse

5 Catholics on the Supreme Court?


Posted by: candide | October 31, 2005 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Loveless writes:
"was meaning to ask you esskay, are you a scion of the family that owns a pork processing factory that produces
Esskay ham, Esskay sausages?"

Sorry for the delayed response (this whole work thing). No, there are no genealogical links to this fine sausage family.
Esskay actually represents my initials (SK). Twenty some years ago a dear friend started referring to me in this way while corresponding in the pre-email age. She claims to have started this as a sort of irony because I was (in her mind) the very opposite of a hotdog.
I apologize for this excessive wordinesss..

Posted by: esskay | October 31, 2005 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I am going as Patrick Fitzgerald and stopping at 1600 Penn. Ave and 704 Jackson Place, NW.
I can hear the screams now.

Posted by: Mark | October 31, 2005 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, I think it's just a shame! At our school we had to change Christmas to Winter Solistice celebration and Easter to Vernal Equinox Break, and it was just silly! And you people who are criticizing Catholics and Italians should just stop. I can't believe Candide would say "Wops"!! You wouldn't use the N-word here in the liberal Washington Post, would you?
I am really getting disillusioned, people here are so mean and prejudiced (especially against women). I think I am lucky to live in Ohio.

Posted by: Dorothy from Columbus | October 31, 2005 12:14 PM | Report abuse

They may want to avoid the Harry Potter characters. I understand that there was a very authoritative article in the Onion linking the Harry Potter series to satanism.

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha, LB!

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 12:19 PM | Report abuse

It seems a tad, er, "funny" that some offenses don't get policed.

Does either of the two Blog officials want to say anything about the use of Wop, regardless of whether candide claims to be Italian or not?

Posted by: Temecula | October 31, 2005 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I went back to the original Kit and picked at random a SCOTUS-related issue on which to initiate discussion:

The strict constructionist approach to the Constitution always seemed foolish to me, "reading the words as they were meant." It requires a peculiar element of mind-reading to divine with perfect clarity what the words meant when they were written. I seem to recall that the original argument AGAINST a Bill of Rights was that stupid future people (us) might mistakenly believe that the Bill enumerates the only rights of the people, rather than merely singling out a few for special mention. Now we have "strict constructionsts" who claim that if the Founders MEANT for us to have "those" rights (privacy or whatever), they'd have listed them specifically. Doesn't this reading directly violate what we know the Founders meant, because they actually recorded arguments on the subject?

On the other hand, the Second Amendment protects the right of the People to keep and bear arms. In the 18th century, "people" still meant the whole populace as a group and was not the plural of person, as it is today. Thus, it's only a modernist interpretation that claims that individual persons have a protected right to keep and bear arms; the Constitutional right is, I think, more related to the legitimacy of the National Guard. Where do strict constructionists, like would-be Justice Alito, stand on this? Either the Constitution is subject to re-interpretation according to evolving social and linguistic standards, or it isn't. Pick one. I seem to recall that we had a war over this very subject about 140 years ago, and the re-interpretationst crowd won that one.

Posted by: Tim | October 31, 2005 12:22 PM | Report abuse

In the news:

NYT today... House adds 41 more terrorist-related crimes eligible for the death sentence including unknowingly aiding a terrorist.

(That's it. No more pulling over on the highway to help someone change a flat.)

WP yesterday... Krauthammer castigates Scrowcroft for being a realist.

(Makes you want to strew tacks on handicapped access ramps doesn't it?)

Everywhere... Stare Decisis

(And I thought it was an eye problem!)

Posted by: JAG | October 31, 2005 12:22 PM | Report abuse

All Boodlers - including visiting guests and neophites - are reminded to strictly follow the Boodle protocols prescribing civility and respect in all contributions, lest ye be smitten by His Noodly Appendage.

Posted by: CowTown | October 31, 2005 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention the branding iron brandished by CowTown, aka SternCow, in his role as Discipline Master of Achenblog University.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't want his limp noodly appendage anywhere near me.

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Then why don't you do something about the civility problem and slurs.

Did you say you were "Unter Blogger"?


Posted by: Temecula | October 31, 2005 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Oh pj! THANK YOU (caps are so justified). So quickly, with so little information! That's it! Isn't it so very beautiful? It brings tears to the eyes and chills down the spine. I can't wait to play it for Phillip Flavius, my new great-grandson!

Posted by: Nani | October 31, 2005 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Esskay: It probably won't surprise you to find that the meat packers' (yuk, yuk) name is also a version of the initials. I think that the company was "Schluderberg & Kurdle."

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 12:33 PM | Report abuse


Remain calm. Civility and respect are the responsibility of all Boodle Members. If you see it, call it. But keep cool, honey is better than vinegar (or however that saying goes).

Posted by: CowTown | October 31, 2005 12:35 PM | Report abuse

If confirmed, Samuel Alito will be the fifth Catholic justice of the Supreme Court (Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy, and Roberts being the others). That is 55% of the court as compared to 24% of the US population. (This percentage of the population is from a study titled "Americans Struggle with Religion's Role at Home and Abroad", released on March 20, 2002 by the Pew organization. A Harris poll in 2000 put that number at 19.9%). It would also mean that, of the 13 Catholics ever to have served on the Supreme Court, 5 would be current.
My question is whether this is coincidence or by design?
As I was brought up in the Roman Catholic Church, Baptised and Confirmed, and having a majority of my family still practicing (my mother converted to Catholicism seven years ago), I have a measure of respect and understanding of the religion. Many of my progressive/liberal beliefs are a result of the Church's teachings. So I am no knee-jerk anti-Catholic (or self-loathing Catholic).
So, what are we to think about this development? Is it coincidence that, since Roe v. Wade, Republican presidents have nominated 9 persons to be elevated to the Supreme Court and 6 are Catholics (not to mention Meirs, who was brought up Catholic, which would make 7 out of 9)?
The Church's position on politicians (and, presumably Justices) and abortion is summarized by the following paragraph from then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI):
"5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person's formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church's teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist."
Thus, bishops informed John Kerry, in 2004, he would not be eligible to recieve communion because of his position on abortion.
I'm not saying that a person should be rejected or confirmed based on his or her religious beliefs, but I can't help wondering if that is why these nominees were nominated and if the Pope's letter would influence/have influenced his vote on issues before the courts.
Gordon is right, the Pope(s)are responsible for making this an issue again.

Posted by: mj | October 31, 2005 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Bob S. - I have consumed Esskay products all of my life but never realized that the name was actually hooked on phonics.

Posted by: esskay | October 31, 2005 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Dorothy from Columbus -- are you serious?!? You're such a big fan of Harriet Miers and you can't even spell her name correctly?!? And to say that she had to withdraw her nomination because she's a woman??? That has nothing to do with anything! I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, that a big bone of contention for all of the people who criticized her was that she had no experience being a JUDGE. Also, her views on important issues weren't being fully disclosed.

Do your research next time before you go posting statements that don't make any sense!

Posted by: AchenEditor | October 31, 2005 12:40 PM | Report abuse


Did you mean to say:

"Remain honey. See it and respect are the responsibility of all Boodle Members. If you see a Member, calm it with Vinegar. Calming is better than civility. And a slur left unchallenged is as if there were no slur at all. It is part of our burden to suffer the wretched of the earth. But have a nice day."

And, I like being called honey--because I manufacture it!!

Posted by: temecula | October 31, 2005 12:42 PM | Report abuse

If evangelical christians choose not to celbrate Halloween then they must also choose not to celebrate Christams or Easter, or any ohter religious biggie event.

The early christian church amassed it's power by assuming the various celebrations and local customs of regions as it expanded. Early power brokers of the church understood that to take over something you had to consume it. Christmas is a celebration they co-opted from other custom's feasts at winter solstice, and Easter at the vernal equinox. Yes Easter moves now, but the church played with the calendar too.

If they really wanted to know, all they have to do is read about the early Catholic church, and keep right on reading it down through history. They choose not to, but as a former 6 year old wanna- be alter server in the days when girls were not allowed, I chose to read. Very interesting stuff.

Posted by: dr | October 31, 2005 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Suggest you leave the "big bone" alone, Acheneditor, but get your point.

Posted by: Golconda | October 31, 2005 12:44 PM | Report abuse

mj, are you accusing POTUS or the Roman Catholic Church of Intelligently Designing the makeup of the US Supreme Court?


Posted by: bc | October 31, 2005 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm laughing the whole time I'm reading this. It's good to laugh. Thanks

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 31, 2005 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Where in this definition from Merriam-Webster's (below) does it say that Conservatism means "push back the clock" or "veer away from the mainstream"?

Seems to me that most of the folks who are calling themselves Conservatives today want things to change, not stay the same. They want to move backward, not slowly forward.

I think it's time to take away the label "Conservative" from the right-wing radicals who are running this country and give it back to the true Conservatives. It only serves to legitimize a group of people who do not represent a majority of Americans.

Main Entry: con·ser·va·tism
Pronunciation: k&n-'s&r-v&-"ti-z&m
Function: noun

1 capitalized a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party b : the Conservative party

2 a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change

3 : the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change

For example, Roe v Wade was made in 1973! How much more established can that be?

Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 12:50 PM | Report abuse

can you make up w Loomis, Cassandra S?

we are all glad to see you today, I say, speaking for your many friends here.

Posted by: gibberish | October 31, 2005 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I am beginning to suspect that "Dorothy from Columbus" is perhaps not all she seems. Several things raise my antennae- the extreme use of exclamation points- this is just a personal prejudice I admit (but watch it, Nani, if I didn't know you so well that last post might have done it for you), the repeated reference to "the liberal Washington Post", the (perhaps) exaggerated PC sensitivity, and the imputation of gender bias in every post. Dorothy does not have much history here and it is entirely possible that I am wrong, but I continue to get the feeling of unilateral traction, sort of like one of my legs is being pulled.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 31, 2005 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Does Bush's evangelical base know that their favorite Supremes are Catholic?

Out here in Oklahoma, I know LOTS of evangelicals who do not consider Catholics to be Christians. Yes, I realize that that statement makes no sense, but whoever said the evangelicals made sense.

Posted by: TulsaFan | October 31, 2005 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Before making up my mind about Alito, a New Jeseyite, I'd like to hear what Tony Soprano has to say: they are paisani and fellow Jerseyites, Jersey is the most mafia controlled state after Louisiana.

Posted by: candide | October 31, 2005 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Er, kguy, don't get all mushy on us, in this case, paranoid, because the person is a newcomer and has unusual, to you, puntuation predilections. Ever notice how the three-handled one can quote everyone's entry from months ago? If there is something squirrely, she's gonna find it, because here theory is there is only one troll/interloper/badguy-gal in the entire blogosophere.

She's as good as NSA, but without warehouses worth of tapes to listen to. So, don't be nervous. We are being looked after, if you know what I mean.

Posted by: Temecula | October 31, 2005 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I think we might have a position for you at the FBBI.

Posted by: Tom fan | October 31, 2005 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey everyone, thanks very much-- and congratulations to Mr. Achenfan! I would have posted earier, but I woke up at 9 and it took me this long to walk to the computer.

And as to the CG, many of us hold dear the saying, "You have to go out, you don't have to come back." But there are others who believe, "You have to go out to lunch, but..."

Blog on the marathon coming later...

Posted by: jw | October 31, 2005 12:59 PM | Report abuse

May I please become part of the FBBI, Tom Fan?

Posted by: Temecula | October 31, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse


Good. I'm glad that was the right aria. Your phonetic Italian was excellent and made finding the aria a lot easier. Enjoy the music!

Posted by: pj | October 31, 2005 1:02 PM | Report abuse


"Now we have "strict constructionists" who claim that if the Founders MEANT for us to have "those" rights (privacy or whatever), they'd have listed them specifically."

Note that the ninth amendment to the constitution is on your side:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed
to deny or disparage others retained by the people."


Posted by: JAG | October 31, 2005 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Psychiatrically, Kurosawaguy, it sounds like you have been inside the Belway too long. We needn't be so suspicious.

And, as someone pointed out, this blog is being made safe for all of us. No need for any defensive measures.

Posted by: Golconda | October 31, 2005 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh, pretty please, Mrs. Tomfan: may I become part of the elite FBBI? I can help you uncover the constant nefarious intrusions that upset some people. I was taught by the best of them.

Your friend,


Posted by: Temecula | October 31, 2005 1:09 PM | Report abuse

JAG - I'm probably more libertarian than most, but I don't really think that most people are willing to restrict government regulation to only those areas specifically provided for in the Constitution.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey JAG: I asked a lawyer-friend about the 9th Amendment, many years ago. She said that it is practically useless as a legal argument for anything. It's a motherhood statement -- anybody can say that they favor it, then do whatever they want, anyway. Certainly, I look at the 9th and say "Since the Constitution does not specifically empower the state to intervene in matters of conception, pregnancy, and birth, the state has no legal right to constrain any individual decisions in these matters. Let Choice prevail throghout the land!" I do not recall having heard anybody argue that Roe v. Wade is protected by the 9th Amendment, however -- "penumbras and emanations" continue to be the preferred shelter for reproductive rights.

Posted by: Tim | October 31, 2005 1:12 PM | Report abuse

One of my favorite observations about life under totalitarian regimes (I think it was P.J. O'Rourke referring to East Germany, but I'm sure that it's been said before):

"Everything is forbidden that is not compulsory."

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 1:14 PM | Report abuse


Maybe substituting compassionate cons w/ compressed co-co-nuts would better describe the rightwing cabal running your country at mo.

Posted by: Ur-divi-d-€U's | October 31, 2005 1:14 PM | Report abuse

bc, Catholics don't believe in intelligent design. I mean really, we un-excommunicated Copernicus and Gallileo and all. How much more forward thinking can we get. We never did ex-ommunicate Darwin...oh wait he wasn't Catholic.

Posted by: dr | October 31, 2005 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Bob S.

Neither do I and the ninth amendment prohibits that idea.

The quote was from Tim's comment.


Posted by: JAG | October 31, 2005 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Entertaining as some seem to find it, could we give the intentional testiness and baiting a rest? It is, in fact, what it means to be a troll. After starting to respond to a few of these, I've mostly just shut up and deleted my post.

Shutting up, now.

Posted by: Tim | October 31, 2005 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Tim - Obviously, the commonly used counter-argument is, "Since the Constitution does not specifically empower the federal government to intervene in matters of conception, pregnancy, and birth, the federal government has no legal right to constrain any individual state's decisions in these matters."

If it was easy, we'd have figured it out before now.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I think maybe the testiness has to do with the traditional letdown right after Fitzmas.

Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The last thing we want to do is police the Boodle. It is a pain to do so. We have work to do. By and large the Boodle has been great, just spectacular, really, and we very rarely delete anything posted here. But we can, and will. There is no rule against a long post, or posting many times. People have the option of scrolling down. But when people start sending nastygrams and using vulgarity, it forces Hal and me to get out our instruments of punishment, which are akin to the ones wielded by Olivier in Marathon Man. Please behave. Say something interesting about the Supreme Court, or the Plame case, or Halloween, or the Autumnal Celebration, or the time change, or just offer up something that people will enjoy reading. But if all you have to offer is a gripe about someone else, you're not really contributing to the conversation. You are being a drag. You should just leave. There are plenty of other blogs where invective and hate are coins of the realm.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 31, 2005 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Shutting up, now, roger.

But please note that ethnic and racial slurs still stand unchallenged in the transcript of this blog.

If that's the way you want it, that's too bad, for America.

Posted by: Temecula | October 31, 2005 1:22 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Tim, I was just agreeing with your point that the 9th isn't especially helpful for much of anything.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Joel. We need your gentle, but firm hand. Kind of the equivalent of "Don't make me come back there."

(This is when you realize how hard it is to convey your true attitude in writing. Reading back the above it sounds like I could be using sarcasm. Please believe that I am not.)

Now... to Halloween. My 12-year-old daughter is dressing up in '80s fashion. Leg warmers, leggings, sideways ponytail, geometric nylon jacket with large shoulder pads. The sad fact is that everything she is wearing was found around the house.

Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 1:26 PM | Report abuse

We delete racial and ethnic slurs. We're doing it today and will continue to do it.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 31, 2005 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Dorothy from Columbus,
I think those of us who live in DC feel lucky you live in Ohio, too...

Posted by: Hallowed Weenie | October 31, 2005 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Please note that those of us who do not have the authority to delete, simply ignore. That's usually the best thing to do in this particular forum, since inflammatory language is usually posted only for the reaction, not really to make a point.

Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 1:38 PM | Report abuse

As requested, on time change. Last Friday I got up to go to work in the dark, and I went home in the dark. Today, after time change, I got up to go to work in the dark, and I will go home in the dark. In 2007, when time change happens one month later at this time of year, I will be getting up in the dark, and will be going home from work in the dark.

The notable change will be the spring time change, where I currently get up in the early morning light and go home in the light, I will, after 2007, be getting up in the dark and going home in the dark.

This is the perspective of the north. The benefit will be???? If I am not mistaken the rationale is to save energy, but up north we will actaully be increasing our energy consumption. While I might not be your north, Alaska is, and I think your congress forgot them.

Posted by: dr | October 31, 2005 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I remember the day I first felt old. My kids were preparing for Halloween and son 2 wanted to be 'a soldier, you know mom, like in the olden days. Like the Vietnam war'. Instant old.

Posted by: dr | October 31, 2005 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I just remembered that, before I got caught up in all this administrative stuff, I had a comment about the George Washington Rough Draft Kit:

[and OK, it's a little loopy -- but what did you expect?]

The words "yet somehow he doesn't really register oncoming automobiles, and I'm constantly yanking him from their path" reminded me that I have occasionally speculated as to what it would be like for, say, some prehistoric caveman to suddenly find himself in, say, my living room. Would he even be able to focus his eyes on anything? Not being familiar with cloth, metal, plastic, glass (and other smooth shiny surfaces), or sharp corners and straight edges, would he be able to recognize what was up and what was down? What was inside and what was outside? (Would he even have a concept of "outside"?) Would he be able to ascertain what was a solid object and what was just a shadow? What would he make of bright colors like purple and lime green, if he came from a part of the world where such colors were not to be found in nature? How would he react to finding himself in a high-rise building?

Would his senses even be able to stand it, or would he go dizzy -- possibly even passing out?

And what phenomena will exist in the future that we wouldn't be able to get our present-day minds around?

[end of loopy comment]

Posted by: Dreamer | October 31, 2005 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the time change is federally mandated. A number of jurisdictions choose not to change. I don't think Arizona does. I know Block Island, R.I. used to have it's own schedule which was different from the rest of the state.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 31, 2005 1:49 PM | Report abuse

dr- I believe that Congress decided to give Alaskans the "bridge to nowhere" in an effort to correct the oversight of how the time change effects them.

Posted by: TulsaFan | October 31, 2005 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Stolen from an unknown blog:

An old man in Jerusalem had prayed at the Western Wall every day for sixty years. When he was interviewed by a reporter and asked what he prayed for he said, "For understanding among Christians, Jews, and Moslems, and for peace and happiness for our children." The reporter asked what it was like, praying those many years. The old man responded, "Well, like talking to a freakin' wall!"

(I'm usually the last to hear a good story so please forgive me if this one is really old.)


Posted by: JAG | October 31, 2005 1:51 PM | Report abuse


At 6 o'clock the A/C in our office goes out and the silence is deafening. When you think about how much humming and blowing and buzzing noises we are surrounded by it makes you wonder how nice and quiet it must have been just a short few decades ago.

Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 1:52 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy: I hope I'm misinterpreting your comments insinuating (alleging?) that I posted comments and then signed off as "Dorothy from Columbus". I rarely comment on things political and I never sign off as anyone other than myself, Nani. Perhaps you only intended to convey your distaste of my use of exclamation points. To each his own. The hell with it. I'm going to listen to music now.

Posted by: Nani | October 31, 2005 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Desparately trying to change the subject:

West Wing was fairly good last night. But I'm just not buying the Bruno Gianelli character going over to the dark side. I do admit to being intellectually intrigued with Arnie Vinnick's problem of dealing with the anti-abortion wing and how it is intruding in his campaign. And his staff seems notably disloyal.

I miss Sorkin.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 31, 2005 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"HELL" from Nani!!! This place is going to heck in a hand basket!!!

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that's what k-guy meant, Nani. I think his reference to you was an aside to the main point of his post, and it was intended as a joke.

[See? emoticons *do* have their uses.]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 31, 2005 1:58 PM | Report abuse

dr, I'm a recovering Catholic, and am reasonably familar with the dogma.

I was just making jokes.

Good point about the rift between Protestant Evangelicals and the Roman Catholic Church.

Bible study groups that mix'em can get quite feisty (the whole 'Is-Mary-Divine-or Not' argument is a good icebreaker).


Posted by: bc | October 31, 2005 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, hadn't heard that story before. It's funny!

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 2:01 PM | Report abuse

You know how sometimes you step in it and then you step back and slip and fall in it and try to rise and fall again and before you know it you are covered from head to toe in "it"?
End of caps. Adios, amigos.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 31, 2005 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Time change -- I recall hearing that the strongest argument in favor of instituting the time change was related to the economic benefits of opening the NY stock exchange an hour earlier. Why that should matter, I really don't know. Whether it is true, I don't know. It would make more sense as an explanation if it were year-round.

Posted by: Tim | October 31, 2005 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I liked your comments on conservatism. Similarly, "liberalism" has turned into a dirty word of sorts when it's original use was quite different from modern connotations. European liberalism actually refers to liberalism in both social and fiscal matters. Democrats have adopted the social part of liberalism, but have for the most part ignored the laissez-faire ideals of fiscal liberalism. Republicans have embraced fiscal liberalism, but social liberalism is beyond them. It's too bad there isn't a political party to represent liberals in the original sense of the word. It might capture all of us moderates.

Posted by: TA | October 31, 2005 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I actually just finished writing a little something in my blog post today about daylight savings time and Arizona. Arizona and Hawaii don't practice it. It was great because while I was engaged, daylight savings time would sometimes bring my fiance and I closer time-wise together when he was home in Arizona.

Today is a "less than" blog day. Everyone seems to be either angry or hurt or taking things wrong or saying pretty awful things. Where's John Lennon when you need him?

Posted by: Sara | October 31, 2005 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Replace fiscal with economic in my post and it will make more sense.

Posted by: TA | October 31, 2005 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The greatest benefit of the time change is, of course, to science, my dark and mysterious mistress of multiple clauses and unrestrained comma usage.

Sunday morning, my kid and I were working on a science fair project, when I realized suddenly that we had a whole extra hour at our disposal. Excellent! Big school projects are rarely due in mid-Spring, so the lost hour at the start of daylight savings has little influence.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 31, 2005 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer Asks: "And what phenomena will exist in the future that we wouldn't be able to get our present-day minds around?"

Looks to me like a lot of folks can't get their minds around GW Bush's reelection in 2004 - and that was a year ago.

Personally, I think I'm going to have a tough time getting my mind around the Collapse of Western Civilization. Ok, Ok, I'll stop rehashing the 2004 election...


Posted by: bc | October 31, 2005 2:10 PM | Report abuse

TA: giving credit where it is due, I only commented peripherally on conservatism, I was picking on strict constructionism as a questionable judicial philosophy. TBG at 12:50:21 had the trenchant comments on whether modern conservatism earns its moniker.

Posted by: Tim | October 31, 2005 2:12 PM | Report abuse


You're always so nice to me!

Your friend,


Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2005 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Kguy, that must be like up here, where Newfoundland has its own time zone. Anyone who watches or listens to CBC knows this because a program listing is done as follows: 'Tonight at 7:00, 7:30 in Newfoundland'.

Saskatchewan is our sensible province. They do not switch at all and have not for as long as I can remember. The longing for a stable time falls under the saying, "You can take the girl out of Saskatchewan, but you cannot take the Saskatchewan out of the girl."

Posted by: dr | October 31, 2005 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, and leave me out of it! All I did was agree with Tim that it's problematic. (Add proper drily humorous facial expression)

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I think we should declare October 31 a National Day of Umbrage on the Achenblog. But it would be kind of like April 1 -- the festivities end at 12 noon.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it needs some new additions to the gene pool. Like when a buffalo herd starts to become inbred, they have to bring in critters from outside the herd.

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 2:44 PM | Report abuse

oh dear - kguy is covered in "it"... completely mental boodle today!

IT'S HALLOWEEN!!!!!! i love halloween!

Posted by: mo | October 31, 2005 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I meant "Day of Umbrage" in a good way. It would be a cause for celebration -- like Festivus.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Do you wear maybe just a teensy bit of orange on Halloween?

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 2:50 PM | Report abuse

achenfan - that's a good one about the cave man - i always feel so bad for ppl who are in a coma for long periods of time b/c when they wake up how do they adjust for all the time lost? (like austin powers)

i was thinking the other day about commercials - look at the commercial as if this was the 70's or 80's and think about how surprised you would have been to have seen that commercial back then...

Posted by: mo | October 31, 2005 2:54 PM | Report abuse

NOT A CHANCE ACHENFAN!!! no how no way! especially not today! today is the day to celebrate by wearing all black! (i also don't wear anything green on st. patrick's day!)

Posted by: mo | October 31, 2005 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I remember this TV show I loved as a kid called "Catweazle." It was about an old magician from the middle ages who showed up in present-day England (well, it was the '70s, I guess, since that was when I used to watch the program) and befriended a schoolboy. The boy wore glasses, so Catweazle called him Owl Face. He called electricity "electrickery," and the telephone the "telling bone." Oh, I loved that show. (And I had a bit of a crush on Owl Face.)

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Um, mo, how does wearing all black today differ from you wearing all black on all the other days?

Posted by: pj | October 31, 2005 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I forgot it was Halloween when I was getting dressed this morning, so I accidentally wore purple.

Posted by: Dreamer | October 31, 2005 3:02 PM | Report abuse

b/c today is HALLOWEEN!!!

Posted by: mo | October 31, 2005 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Have you seen "Three Extremes," at E Street? I really want to see that film -- it looks super creepy.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I hate the time change, although I must say the "fall back" is nice. I think all days should have 25 hours. Like dr, I am far enough north that it has very little effect on when I "save" light. I have the lights on right now, in the middle of the "day", because it is so flippin' dark...

If they want to do something about this, they should work on tilting the earth. Bah!

(SCC for all the quotation marks, but I'm trying to convey my meaning, if you get my drift.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 31, 2005 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Historian's first comment today was about confusion between Alito and Lance Ito. I heard a similar riff on Limbaugh about 1:30 today.

I want to be on the record as having made an Ito joke about this nominee on my blog a full 12 hours before Alito was announced. I defer all royalties due me by Leno, Stewart, et. al. provided they make a contribution to the Planned Parenthood Going Out Of Business Fund in my name.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 31, 2005 3:15 PM | Report abuse

i hadn't seen anything about it! imdb doesn't give a lot of info about it..

Posted by: mo | October 31, 2005 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Do you wear Burnt Umber (always one of my favorite crayon colors) on Umbrage Day?

Posted by: yellojkt | October 31, 2005 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer, I wore purple today as well.

I got all kinds of comments about Purple Shirts and the Joint Chiefs of Staff today.


Posted by: bc | October 31, 2005 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey yellojkt...

You forgot Judge Reinhold on your blog. Otherwise, good stuff there.

Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Burnt umber on Umbrage Day! Ha ha!

Re. wearing purple, I wonder if jw is wearing his purple Marine Corps Marathon shirt today? (Go on jw, admit it -- you *are* wearing it, aren't you?)

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow, definitely an odd Boodle today. Sometimes I search "achenbach" to see if he has anything extra to say amongst the rabble. Boy does he! Now I know how the achengirls feel when Dad gets mad.

Speaking of daughters: I have a heartwarming story to share that will maybe lighten the mood. (Not only that, it's true, and involves no stepping in it, as Kguy says.)

My 3-year old daughter helped us carve the pumpkins last night ... you should have seen it. Is anything better than that age of first conciousness meeting the Holiday season? She was SO happy to see the smiley face emerge, and SO industrious in carrying the pumpkin innards over to the bowl. I carved, she hauled the remains. We'll cook up the salted seeds tonight.

I can't wait to see her dress up as a dragon (not the red kind ... plain old green) and beg for pagan candy. Then comes Thanksgiving (which I think is on a Thursday this year), and maybe even the appearance of Frosty. Life is good.

Posted by: Kane | October 31, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

From Stephen Hunter's review:

["Three Extremes"] is like a bouquet of poisoned flowers -- beautiful, delicate and lethal. A trio of horror films from three "extreme" Asian directors, it shows how much evil fun talented bad boys can have on a very small scale.

The Chinese filmmaker Fruit Chan gets things off roaringly with "Dumplings," a study of the monstrosity of vanity. Fading TV actress Ching (Miriam Yeung Chin Wah), whose husband is having an affair, goes to a crummy Hong Kong apartment where Auntie Mei (Bai Ling) prepares her special dumplings, said to have enormous restorative powers. It works: Mrs. Ching gets younger and more beautiful, and when she learns what's in the dumplings . . . she wants them anyway. When the magic ingredient runs out, she . . . well, I can't continue. This one is at once perverse and beautiful, hysterically funny in a powerfully ill way.

In "Cut," director Chan-wook Park (famous for "Oldboy") shows off his talent for extreme melodrama: A young director (Byung-hun Lee) awakens to find himself not merely kidnapped but placed in a grotesque world where he must choose whether to let a madman cut off his wife's fingers. He can stop her slow ordeal by choppity-chop by simply . . . strangling a little girl. I am not making this up.

Finally, Japanese crazy man Takashi Miike (best known for 1999's "Audition") checks in with "Box," in which a novelist recalls a hideous occurrence of sibling jealousy and slowly unravels the secrets of what she did and what was done to her. None of it is very pretty.

The first is the best, the second most riveting, the third most disturbing, but all will stay with you for weeks.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 3:25 PM | Report abuse

If you feel like carving a pumpkin, try this cool site (love the domain name, by the way):

Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Kane - My girls - at age three - were each enchanted and terrified by Halloween. Take lots of photos and savor it. In a wink she'll be driving to her Halloween party and mumbling "uh, hum," when you tell her to be careful.

Posted by: CowTown | October 31, 2005 3:36 PM | Report abuse

cool pumpkin carving site

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Flashback to several days ago:
Time saving tips
(Sara, this is for you)
I just noticed that my wife has placed a small carpet just outside the tub. This eliminates the need to towel off the bottoms of your feet and yet keeps the water off of the main floor/carpet.

Besides, if I tried to towel off my foot, and then step out of the tub without getting my foot wet again, I would probably slip crack my skull open...

btw: cool pumpkin site, TBG!

Posted by: esskay | October 31, 2005 3:39 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- what a wonderful site!

I gave my dimples.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 31, 2005 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Esskay, don't give into the presence of the bathroom rug!

I have a system. I throw my towel down onto the bathroom rug, step on my towel to dry off my feet, then I finish drying off the rest of me. Keeps the rug from getting wet and prevents unknown steppage into gross, wet carpet while wearing socks.

This keeps you from dangerously balancing on one foot in the tub while trying to dry the other off but still gets the job done.

Posted by: Sara | October 31, 2005 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Since my son was three and wanted to be PeterPan for Halloween, I have always dressed up to match his imagination (I was Hook that year and the scale was perfect).

We have since added another son to make it a trio. It has been eleven years now and I feel that next year, I am back down to two (just me and the nine-year-old). But, I still have tonight. We are going out as three sight challenged rodents (not meant to offend anyone!). My wife is even helping out this year by following us with a carving knife and removed pieces of our anatomy.

Like CowTown says: "Savor it".

Posted by: esskay | October 31, 2005 3:44 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "my" = "mine"

A Monday moment, which I suspect we are all having in one form or another. Gotta stay resiliant, folks. Even, well -- nah, won't go there.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 31, 2005 3:46 PM | Report abuse

But Sara, I am a top-down dryer. I feel that if I started with my feet, water would drip down quicker than I am able to absorb it from other areas, making my feet wet all over again...

Posted by: esskay | October 31, 2005 3:48 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, I know its too many commas, but I was part of an open concept schooling trial the year they taught grammar and correct punctuation. I know diddly squat about either. I defer to anyone who corrects me. I cannot possibly SCC all my errors so I ignore them and try to do my pitiful best. It is pathetic.

As to all the quotes, I have no idea what the heck is up with that. A brain borborygmi perhaps?

Posted by: dr | October 31, 2005 3:53 PM | Report abuse

esskay - that's PRECIOUS!! makes me wanna have kids so i can dress them up - but only for one day...

sara - i have a wooden bathroom "rug" - it's very japanese-y and makes me feel like i'm at a spa when i get outta the shower - also aristotle can't use it to cover his litter so it saves me having to dig it out of the litter and wash it... (having a cat can be a gross experience from time to time)

i couldn't see the site! my company blocks it!

Posted by: mo | October 31, 2005 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm top down as well. I handle the wet hair by bending forward and drying my bod first, then wrapping the towel around my hair.

Posted by: TA | October 31, 2005 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Vaguely related to the earlier discussions of incivility:

I posted a while back about an intemperate (to the point of rudeness) e-mail my father (since retired) received from a subordinate office when he was at the Pentagon, and his funny-but-at-least-mildly-sarcastic reply. I sent him a message at the time, asking if I had relayed the basic outline of the circumstances correctly. Here was his reply (received today):

Hi Bob, I don't remember the specific incident, but you've certainly nailed the gist of many messages the headquarters got from folks in the field and our efforts to point out to them (of course with tact and good taste) the error of their ways. It's probably just as well we didn't have today's capabilities of scanning and attaching documents. I'd have been sorely tempted to append my favorite drawing of a man with his head totally stuck up his butt with a caption that reads, "Your problem is obvious!" - Dad

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I step on a fuzzy bath mat outside the shower to dry the bottoms of my feet, but I must still lift them to dry the tops.

I have a dog that on occassion licks my legs between my ankles and my knees when I get out of the shower, eliminating the need to dry these portions, but negating the effect of having washed them.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 31, 2005 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I am a comma hypocrite -- I like them when I use them, but clearly their use by other people is incompetent and should be abjured (Achenbach likes to do things promiscuously; I prefer to abjure them). I remember reading a tedious story by H. Melville in high school -- "The Piazza" -- and at one point, I couldn't take it any more. I counted the number of commas in the very next sentence, finding 11. 11! In one sentence! So, I always feel guilty when I discover that I have larded up a sentence with a lot of commas. Guilty, but I still do it. I also have a semicolon problem, but it's best not to step in that.

Borborygmus is a great word, although I had to look it up again. For some reason, that word just passes through my mind from one ear to another, making a rumbling, gurgling, sound as it goes.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 31, 2005 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of civility, I enjoyed hearing from the Post's new ombudsman, Deborah Howell, in yesterday's Post. I especially liked her concluding paragraph:

"Let me give you a couple of tips on how best to use your ombudsman. First, be specific. Don't just tell me that The Post is mistaken or biased. Tell me how and where and when. Second, be civil. I didn't bother to open the e-mail that bore this subject line: 'Gutless, slime-sucking bottom feeders.' On that note, I must say thank you to Charnya Fisher, a Bethesda reader, who called me during my first week to say that she knew I was going to be bombarded by negative comments and she wanted to say something nice. She loves The Post's coverage of the baby panda."

Posted by: Tom fan | October 31, 2005 4:04 PM | Report abuse

[I hope I didn't use too many commas in the first sentence of my previous post. But I do like commas.]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 31, 2005 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, T-fan, I noted & enjoyed that also. Anyone who gets a lot of communication traffic pretty quickly gets impatient with impolite traffic.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, really bad vibes coming from the boodle today. Everybody make up please. To me the most interesting thing about the earlier spat was Tom/fan/Achenfan/Dreamer's post saying "Cassandra lost me on September 19 with her comment of 8:43:04 am" - talk about being specific. Tom fan your attention to detail is downright scary!
I do have a comment about Christians and Halloween. First of all not all Christians are conservative far right fundamentalists. Second of all, as a Christian I am ambivalent about Halloween because it does glorify evillish things like witches and such. But my church is having "Halleluyah" night where the children come dressed up as biblical characters and I'm gladly dressing my son as Jesus on a pony. Of course most of us know that Christmas and Easter were originally pagan traditions but we have adapted them to symbolize Christ's life on earth so the original pagan background means nothing to us. I see nothing hypocritical or wrong with taking something and adapting it to your faith if you don't believe in the original purpose and that's what we've done.
Now I'm off to celebrate.

Posted by: omodudu | October 31, 2005 4:08 PM | Report abuse

What an incredibly insensitive and offensive posting. Just what to expect from this "news"paper.

Posted by: crusader | October 31, 2005 4:12 PM | Report abuse

i've been silent in this here boodle long enough. finally, i have something to contribute! Sara, have you considered drying off inside the tub (after turning off the water and opening the curtain) before you step on the rug? a pre-emptive drippage, of sorts.
speaking of, is a pre-emptive drip synonymous with a strategical leak of political info for personal gain? i rather like the idea of hearing talk of rove or scooter pre-emptively dripping.

Posted by: ghettoMuppet | October 31, 2005 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone heard from Reader? She still hasn't been heard of since Wilma. Hope she's OK.

Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 4:15 PM | Report abuse

gibberish- have made up

My apologies to those that feel weird because of my comments. Comments made from the heart usually make people uncomfortable sometimes, and it certainly was not my intention to make anyone feel that way. I suspect I am too sensitive, and inclined to whine at times, as one person mentioned. I do not apologize for my feelings or my race. I will in the future try to keep them in check. May everyone have a nice and scary Halloween.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 31, 2005 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I plan on painting my body blue and dancing naked in the woods tonight, anyone care to join me?

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 4:19 PM | Report abuse

not all witches are evil! actually, in wicca there really isn't "evil" or "good" or more specifically "black" magic vs "white" magic - you need "black" magic to kill something that might be "bad" to begin with, like a disease. it's all karma - everything comes back to you 3-fold so if you hurt someone with white or black magic, it will come back to you 3-fold... i'm not a witch but was very interested in wicca for a while...

Posted by: mo | October 31, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

It'll be about 47 degrees F tonight, so if I dance naked outside my body will turn blue all by itself. Of course, my wife will also have me put away. She just doesn't have that Halloween spirit.

Posted by: CowTown | October 31, 2005 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I think it will be a little colder than that here, so it may be a short dance, more like a jig.

Posted by: LB | October 31, 2005 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I knew someone would take umbrage at my use of the word "evil" so I changed it to "evillish". Mo - come on, you can give me "evillish" right? We can put that right next to "dissasembling".

Posted by: omodudu | October 31, 2005 4:23 PM | Report abuse

TBG - we heard that Reader is ok, but without electricity (still) due to Wilma. I've heard that some folks won't have power till Nov 22 (yikes).

Happy Halloween, everyone.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 31, 2005 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra S:

Don't go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before.
Don't imagine you're too familiar
And I don't see you anymore.
I wouldn't leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far.
I'll take the good times
I'll take the bad times
I'll take you just the way you are.

(Billy Joel)

Posted by: Nani | October 31, 2005 4:26 PM | Report abuse

omodudu - i spose i can give you "evilish" - some ppl think i'm scary cuz i'm goth, i only wear black and collect things in the shape of coffins but if you met me you'd realize i'm the furthest thing from scary - maybe somewhat evilish but definitely (did i get it right tom fan?) not scary!

thanks alot nani - now i'm gonna have that song stuck in my head!!!

Posted by: mo | October 31, 2005 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't remember where Reader was, but I know a couple of folks in Palm Beach who just got their power back today. Maybe she's just incommunicado for a bit longer than some others.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 4:30 PM | Report abuse

On the Metro on the way to the MCM on Sunday, I was fortunate enough to be seated near a runner who was dressed as a devil -- he had a shaved head with little plastic devil's horns stuck to it, all visible skin was painted red, and he was wearing a black cape and holding a trident. A face-painter to the extreme. ("I'm the Devil!")

Fantastic; absolutely fantastic.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 31, 2005 4:31 PM | Report abuse

You got it, mo; you definitely got it.

Posted by: Tom fan | October 31, 2005 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The image of Rove dancing naked while pre-emptively dripping may have ruined my Halloween spirit...

Posted by: esskay | October 31, 2005 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Anyone remember the song: "Kingston Calypso" from Dr. No?

I am off to celebrate...

Posted by: esskay | October 31, 2005 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I wish Scalito was Lance Ito - hah! Dark days ahead, I'm afraid. Although the backlash of overturning Roe v Wade might actually do in the Republican party, which I would view as a good thing. Now, if there were only another party to replace them...

CowTown, loved your story early in the boodle today.

Joel, glad you haven't been fired yet. Your Rough Draft column didn't appear online till late Sunday (for me anyway) - I was concerned. Not so much that you had been fired, but that Sydney would kill the blog because you didn't get your column done...

Sara, thanks for clearing up the foot drying technique. I thought that's what bathroom rugs were for. I drip dry in the tub, then dry with a towel, but not the bottom of my feet, step out onto the rug (thus drying my feet and saving time and light), then wrap the towel around my head. I suppose we should never share a bathroom.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 31, 2005 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Now picture Rove all painted blue and dancing in the woods with LB.


Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Nani
Lovely lyrics

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 31, 2005 4:49 PM | Report abuse

A World Without Witches
by Robert F. Potts

Can you imagine a world without witches,
A world with all people the same?
Where the only known dragons are hiding in books,
And children are terribly tame?
A world without magic would be sad indeed.
I cannot imagine the pain
Of having a world where there's no Santa Claus,
Where wizards are searched for in vain.

Can you imagine a world without spells,
That science and businesses run?
And think of the sadness a unicorn feels
When he no longer plays in the sun
Can you imagine a world without witches,
No elves, and no magical pools?
And can you imagine how dull it would be
If all that we had were the schools?

I cannot imagine a world without witches,
A world with no magical wand.
A world without beauty, or even a dream,
Or a wood sprite of whom to be fond
They say I should grow up and be more mature,
Like a normal adult ought to do.
But I'd rather, at night, go to dance with a witch,
And I'll bet that you feel that way, too.

Posted by: You're on, LB and Cowtown | October 31, 2005 4:51 PM | Report abuse

esskay, I am also a top-down dryer. I dry the top half of me and then I step out onto the towel over the rug and then dry the bottom half of me.

I realize that I make this more difficult than it needs to be. And I'm probably one of the only people on earth who are intensely bothered by wet bathroom rugs because that is the purpose of the bath mat (as mostlylurking pointed out). I don't expect everyone to jump on the "dry your feet first" bandwagon, but thanks for at least hearing me out.

Posted by: Sara | October 31, 2005 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Presumably (God, I hope) this reaction is just a few blowhards who haven't had much time to think yet but THIS is freakishly cruel:

"Cervical Cancer Vaccine Gets Injected With a Social Issue -
Some Fear a Shot For Teens Could Encourage Sex

A new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates who want to use the shots aggressively to prevent thousands of malignancies and social conservatives who say immunizing teenagers could encourage sexual activity.


Groups working to reduce the toll of the cancer are eagerly awaiting the vaccine and want it to become part of the standard roster of shots that children, especially girls, receive just before puberty.

Because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage. "

See "Cancer Vaccine Sparks Battle" on home page.
- or -

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I hope this doesn't sound too sexist, but you can bet that if this vaccine protected boys (i.e., future men) from getting cancer, no one would be fighting this.

Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 5:01 PM | Report abuse

ghettoMuppet, I do a pre-emptive almost complete dry before stepping out onto the towel over the rug, so drips are avoided. I leave my calves and my feet for the towel/rug step.

I'm not sure if any of that was clear.

Posted by: Sara | October 31, 2005 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Infield fly rule: the battter is out when, with runners on first and second or first, second and third and less than 2 outs, he hits a fly ball that can be caught with reasonable effort by a fielder within the infield (does not have to be an infielder)

Posted by: rocking rudy | October 31, 2005 5:07 PM | Report abuse

SCC. This one is too obvious for me to let go, particulary when I checked the dictionary for spelling. Brain borborygmus singlular, borborygmi, plural.

I love my spell checker, but I do not rely on it for everything. I once sent a request to our broker for a certificate of insurance, spell checked the request form, and merrily sent it off without reading it. The form actually requested a Cervical of Insurance. They laughed for days and I am told the request, all identifiers removed, is still up front and centre in their lunch room.

Posted by: dr | October 31, 2005 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I just want to point out that "Gutless, Slime-Sucking Bottom Feeders" would be a good name for a rock band, as would The Pre-emptive Drips."

Posted by: Bayou Self | October 31, 2005 5:09 PM | Report abuse

i'm not sure which is more satisfyingly random...achenblog or weingarten's chat. Sara, i now understand, and do empathize. my dog sleeps on the shower mat during the day sometimes, so i attempt to leave it dry for her. in the interest of full discosure: i'm a top-down, full body drying, single foot balancing, pre-towel stepping foot bottom dryer.
You're on, LB and Cowtown: thanks for the poem. i suspect we would all rather dance with a witch. but not painted blue with LB and Rove.

Posted by: ghettoMuppet | October 31, 2005 5:13 PM | Report abuse

On the subject of spelling & spell checking software, here's one of my all-time favorite bits:
by Charles P. Pierce

LET ME TELL you about spelling. I can spell. I am a spelling fool. I can spell in the morning, and I can spell in the evening, and I can spell in the (,oh, Lord) midnight hour. There are writers better than me, and there are reporters better than me, but there are very few people in this business who can spell with me. Don't bring your sorry no-diphthong-having, English-as-a-first-language, sad-sack, Tom Robbins-sounding, onomatopoeic, Hooked on Phonics ass in here. I got mad spelling game, no doubt.

In my house, we have a computer. This computer has a "spell check" device. It is to f***ing laugh, this thing. This spell check device apparently was programmed by lemurs. In my house, I am the spell check. My word is the goddamn law.

How did I get to be the laughing master of man and machine? Four words: Sisters of Saint Joseph.
Esquire Magazine - Sep 01 2000

Posted by: Bob S. | October 31, 2005 5:14 PM | Report abuse

If sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities, it's because they lead to the knowledge that you own your own body (and with it your own voice), and that's the most revolutionary insight of all.

--Erica Jong

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2005 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I've always wondered what the infield fly rule was, thanks for the clarification

Posted by: B. Giamatti | October 31, 2005 5:26 PM | Report abuse

ghettoMuppet and I are kindred bathroom spirits. (And just to prevent any one who could make something dirty of that, I don't mean it in a dirty way.)

I'm off for the day my friends. See you all tomorrow.

Posted by: Sara | October 31, 2005 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Witches--Erica Jong's book

Book Description
This witch's brew of a book is back in all its tantalizing glory to enchant a new generation of readers. Best-selling author Erica Jong here turns her attention to the fantastical and factual world of witchcraft. In beguiling poetry and prose, she looks at the figure of the witch both as historical reality and as archetype-as evil crone and full-breasted seductress, as a lingering vestige of a primeval religion and a projection of fear of the unknown.

Joseph A. Smith's powerful, haunting illustrations enliven each page, as Jong investigates the witch as a survivor of the age of sorcery, as a scapegoat for male-dominated church-state politics, as a remarkable natural healer, and as a hexer without peer. Real recipes for love potions and flying lotions, along with formulas for spells and incantations, make this book a rich journey of mystery and delight. Available in paperback for the first time, Witches has been a favorite since it was published more than 20 years ago-a testament to the enduring fascination with the myths and truths about these intriguing figures.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2005 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Rocking Rudy, there is so, so, so much more! In addition, it can't be a bunt OR a line drive (need definition of a line drive). And you are wrong about it being in the infield--it can also be in the outfield--for instance, if the shortstop was already deep, at the back of the infield, and only had to step back one or two steps into the outfield. Next, it doesn't matter who catches it--if an outfielder calls off the shortstop, say, and catches it--but IF the shortstop COULD have caught it easily. It must also be a foul ball--which is why the umpire shouts, "Infield fly if fair, batter's out." (The ump is supposed to shout this when the fly is at the top of its arch, which is not always or even often possible.) Pitcher and catcher count as possible recipients of the fly--so a catcher standing on home plate could conceivably be the ONLY player who could catch the flyball--but he has to be able to catch it with reasonable effort (and now we have to define "reasonable effort"--the age and competence of the player is factored in, as are wind condition, sun, etc.).

Correctly interpreting and applying the infield fly rule ain't for sissy, prissy "strict constructionists" (oops, sorry about the name-calling and personal invective) and people named Harriet, Lance, Scooter, Clarence or Anton, no sirree.

Scooter! (Contemptuously spits manly if metaphoric wad of tobacco juice.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 31, 2005 5:29 PM | Report abuse

SCC: must NOT be a foul ball

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 31, 2005 5:31 PM | Report abuse

SCC: top of its arc

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 31, 2005 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, if it's not an infield fly, the batter has to be tagged or thrown out at first base? Who came up with this anyway? Were too many batters coming up with high popups that let them get to first safe(ly)? Ah, those baseball players are a wily bunch...

I love this -
Correctly interpreting and applying the infield fly rule ain't for sissy, prissy "strict constructionists" (oops, sorry about the name-calling and personal invective) and people named Harriet, Lance, Scooter, Clarence or Anton, no sirree.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 31, 2005 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I absolutely need to make it clear that my idiot spelling item was not related in any way to the cancer vaccine post by Bob S.

Posted by: dr | October 31, 2005 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The Witch
by Adelaide Crapsey

When I was girl by Nilus stream
I watched the deserts stars arise;
My, he who dreamed the Sphinx,
Learned all his dreaming from eyes.

I bore in Greece a burning name,
And I have been in Italy
Madonna to a painter-lad,
And mistress to a Medici.

And have you heard (and I have heard)
Of puzzled men with decorous mien,
Who judged--the wench knew far too much--
And burnt her on the Salem green?

Of course the poem is more complex than the story in many ways. The whole idea that it is the same concept of woman as inspiration that leads to the idea of woman as witch may not be terribly new or profound today--but it certainly was revolutionary then. And it is possible to see the evolution of this idea in her writing.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2005 5:55 PM | Report abuse

weird boodle today...

I just wanted to say one thing - to Joel. Your Rough Draft column, "The Strange Man in My Basement" was amazing. You are such a wonderfully talented writer. Just keep doing what you do - writing articles, columns, interviews, blogs and books - and someday you are going to hit it BIG. Believe me. Your style and humor - the whole package is just waiting to be discovered by "the masses". I'm am absolutely positive about this.

Self-doubt? Frustration? Writer's Block? Forget 'em all! Just keep moving forward. One word at a time.

You're the man.

Posted by: ot | October 31, 2005 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, the witching hour is nigh, so I must depart. See you tomorrow, Achenbloggers.

And remember, if you see any horrific comments overnight, take no umbrage -- remember "Blastula"'s prophecy of 12:01:24; I suspect not all will be as it seems.

Happy All Hallows' Even, all.

Posted by: Dreamer | October 31, 2005 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Next thing ya know, you will be telling me what I like to drink. (Schlivovitz)

Take a night off, DreamerFan. You are too spooky for words.

Posted by: Blastula | October 31, 2005 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Mostlylurking, the idea behind the IFR is to prevent silly putouts. Let's say there's a runner on first and a popup is hit in the air. The runner stays put, because they're going to catch it. But the fielder could muff it on purpose, then pick it up and get the lead runner. In some cases, they could even turn a double play. So IFR keeps things on the up and up.

Posted by: Bayou Self | October 31, 2005 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I really will never understand the fine points of IFR, so I am taking my self off to shop, because I don't drink...much.

Happy Halloween.

Posted by: dr | October 31, 2005 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Everyone must be out trick or treating. Save me a Mars Bar!

Posted by: CT | October 31, 2005 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I just realized that this year I'm the house in the neighborhood with the REALLY CRAPPY CANDY. Just Tootsie Rolls and Dots. I'm surprised there are no Mary Janes in there.

Can I turn off the lights now?

Posted by: TBG | October 31, 2005 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I handed the last kid at the door a York peppermint patty, and he handed it back, saying that he didn't need it! So I gave him the last KitKat, hope that was something he needed! He looked to be about 3 and didn't have a costume, just a head of curly hair. Cute!

Posted by: Slyness | October 31, 2005 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self is pretty much correct about the IFR--it is designed to prevent the derfnese from executing a cheap double- or triple-play.

Interestingly (or, perhaps, incredibly even more boringly for most of you), there is an additional even more obscure rule along similar lines. Suppose there is a runner on first, or runners on first and third, in which cases the IFR cannot apply. The defense could still attempt a cheap couple of outs by having an infielder circle under an infield pop-up, muff it, and then execute the double play and or make a play on the runner on third if he heads toward home. The obscure rule, therefore, is this: you are NOT allowed to deliberately drop a fly ball to execute just such a play. The kicker is, you ARE allowed to let the ball drop untouched, and then try to execute the play. You just can't touch it and deliberately muff it.

Additional boringly obscure footnote (hey, this is fun! Of course, there's nobody out there reading this, but even so...): many people think that during an IFR the runners are "not allowed" to run, because the batter is out. In fact, while the batter is indeed out, the runners are still free to run at their own risk--and sometimes do.

Anybody having trouble falling asleep? I could explain the 13 kinds of balks...

Posted by: Curmugeon | October 31, 2005 8:51 PM | Report abuse

SCC: derfnese? Jeez, I gotta get some new fingers.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 31, 2005 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Seeds of leak scandal sown in Italian intelligence agency
Robert Collier, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Italian Parliament is scheduled to hold hearings about the La Repubblica allegations on Thursday, with intelligence chief Nicolo Pollari expected to come under heavy grilling.

The articles relied heavily on sources in the Italian spy agency, the Military Information and Security Service, known as SISMI. They provide a tantalizing account -- credible to some observers, baseless speculation to others -- of how President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair were snookered by fabricated intelligence about Hussein's alleged nuclear program.

Froomkin's WaPo column today:
If nothing else, Libby's public arraignment should bring out the media hordes. (Mark your calendars: it will be Thursday morning at 10:30 before Judge Reggie B. Walton in Courtroom 5 of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse.)

Posted by: Loomis | October 31, 2005 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Joe, you're wrong about the eating club stuff. See here:

Posted by: eating club | October 31, 2005 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I gather from a number of these posts that bathmats, once standard equipment in linen closets, have gone the way of hand towels and doilies.
(Daddy, what's a linen closet?)
The good bathmats are plain, thick cotton. I can't remember the last time I saw one in a department store. Maybe you can find them at a second-hand store stocked by Junior Leaguers.

Posted by: allbetsareoff | October 31, 2005 11:56 PM | Report abuse

O'Connor's reply to Alito's likely rebuttal. The 10th ammendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
respectively, or to the people.

I assume we can agree that the wife is considered a people

Posted by: Joel | November 1, 2005 10:36 AM | Report abuse

There is a new group climbing the beltway charts. SCROTUS and the Red State Ass Puppets. SCROTUS - Supreme Court Regressors of the United States.

Posted by: mootcourt | November 1, 2005 2:37 PM | Report abuse

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