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Showdown at High Noon

   [Sunday's Rough Draft column.]

   Years ago, in Miami, I fancied myself a genius of lunch, always dining with friends in some preposterously authentic riverfront fish shack or wonderfully cave-like burger joint. Sometimes we'd blast across the bay to the News Cafe on Ocean Drive, where we'd watch the models roller-skating down the sidewalk. The palm trees would sway in the sea breeze. We'd get refills on the iced tea. We were never rushed. We were our nation's future, and our nation would damn well have to wait for us to finish our excellent lunch repast.

   Times have changed. Work is harder. Leisure is something I do only in my leisure time. The success of lunch is now measured entirely by its brevity.

   My ritual is strict, beginning promptly at noon, when I decide to drink more coffee and put off lunch for another hour. At 1 p.m., I close all the applications on my computer and then make a random phone call and check my e-mail again and decide to delete a few hundred pieces of spam. Somewhere around 1:45, I notice that my colleagues are returning from lunch, cheerful, satiated, having enjoyed a fine meal and good conversation. I call these "the normal people."

   Finally, 2-ish, starved, lightheaded, I go to lunch simply as an alternative to passing out. On the street corner I pause to search for some environmental cue that will lead me toward a plausible lunch location. Options include Cosi, Au Bon Pain, Subway, the Korean place and the other Korean place. The Korean place is good, but the other Korean place is better. The problem is, at either Korean place you have to assemble your own plate of food, which is inherently anxiety-producing, because you are paying by the pound. You have to scrutinize the molecular structure of everything and analyze its deliciousness as a ratio to its weight. Who can handle that much pressure?

   Click here to read the entire column. For a Rough Draft archive, click here.


By Joel Achenbach  |  October 17, 2005; 6:49 AM ET
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Next: Bracing For Indictments


I'm driving to New Jersey for the day. Might blog later from the road, but could be tricky. Yesterday my buddy Mike and I hiked the Blue Ridge, taking advantage of the great weather, and we discussed the Judy Miller train wreck almost the entire time. I assume that's all anyone's talking about. I plan to obsess about it during the entire drive up I-95 and back.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 17, 2005 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Let's talk about hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Only in my dreams, these days--the closest I get is the Google Image search (e.g. as I am to my cubicle--but once upon a time, I did a solo, winter backpack from Front Royal to Waynesboro, that's the length of Shenandoah National Park, a very pleasant hike. I saw very few other people. I learned some things about myself, and also some things in general: Pens don't work at temperatures below freezing. If you think you're going to keep a journal of your winter hike, better take a pencil.

Posted by: Reader | October 17, 2005 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I've been lurking in the Kit and the 'boodle since the start and have to say that Joel continues to read my mind when he does these columns.

I work downtown (not Downtown, our city isn't large enough to have a Downtown) and there are so many choices when it comes to lunch that we end up going to the same two or three places to eat each week.

It has become so bad that several people who don't cook anything for themselves have desperately started bringing their lunches. These lunches are the remnants of the last several take-out meals cobbled together to resemble a meal.

How desperate do you have to be to combine leftover tortilla chips, stir-fry and half a sandwich and call it a meal. Why does everyone who opens a new restaurant either go spartan, the latest hot dog cart, or up-scale, the restaurant name that you can't even pronounce let alone decipher what kind of food they have on the cryptic menu.

Oh well, I have to go get some more coffee and try to make sense out of our latest Monday Morning Memo. Who came up with the idea that we needed to be hit with the latest thoughts from on high first thing Monday morning.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you are lucky to have your choices.

My office is in an Office Park in the 'burbs; fortunately we are in the building with the deli so lunch is just a short elevator trip away instead of a treacherous roadside hike. But c'mon...

We used to be in Old Town Alexandria, where the dining choices are endless and wonderful--and walking to and from lunch was a delight in inself.

Whoever came up with the idea of the Office Park should be shot--or at least forced to work in one.

Posted by: TBG | October 17, 2005 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Doesn't everyone else eat lunch in their car?

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm lucky to have a reasonable number of lunch choices in NW DC.

In my early twenties, I had two donuts for breakfast, a giantic cheeseburger and fries or all you can eat pizza for lunch, and steak or pasta for dinner. No responsibilites, and I was immortal.

20 years later, I have a cup of coffee for breakfast (sometimes a piece of friut with it), a salad or some baked fish for lunch, and chicken for dinner. Sure, I treat myself to red meat and fried foods occasionally, but these days I'm as concerned about my cholesterol level as finding a really good recipie for hollendaise sauce.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I usually eat lunch in my car. That way I can avoid the massive groups of "lunch people." I've never liked them, they're pushy because they're hungry and they're noisy because they have a fear of eating alone so they bring 8 of their friends and proceed to talk/yell over each other.

I'm not referring to the "ladies who lunch." They are polite and quiet and usually eat in country clubs so I never see them anyway. These 9-person "lunch people" groups are always accompanied by 9 two-year-olds who run around while their mother says too softly for even herself to hear, "Don't throw ketchup covered fries at the other diners, pumpkincakes. Oh, I'm sorry, ma'am, but isn't he so adorable?" No. He's not. I don't like your child.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 9:20 AM | Report abuse

With the exception of chocolate (in any form), I never get hungry. Eating and even planning what to eat is a chore.... which I perform usually just once a day because I DONT WANT TO DIE. However, I greatly enjoy cooking, especially for the grandkids because they think my food is hands down best. A simple piece of toast brings forth such ooohs and ahhhs that would rival LindaLoo's peanut oil pancakes, the recipe for which she REFUSES TO SHARE (hint hint).

kurosawayguy, the late 1940s Karnes City Texas was little more than the water tower and combination post office/general store. The streets were red clay (caleche) and the sidewalks were raised wooden floors. My sis and I, San Antonio, Catholic, city girls spent the summers there with Uncle Claude and Aunt Dora. No church of any denomination, so the only opportunity for worship was when an evangelical troop would pass through. Boy, Robert Duvall sure had those evanagelicals down pat in The Apostle!

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Who is harriet grant and why does she lunch with irving i. libby?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2005 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Hello Achenblog remember what I said last Friday about journalist especially WaPo and its reporting. Now read this about Judy Miller from her colleague Craig Pyes ..."She has turned in a draft of a story of a collective enterprise that is little more than dictation from government sources over several days, filled with unproven assertions and factual inaccuracies," and "tried to stampede it into the paper."

Need I say more? This is even worse when it comes to the Foreign Policy arena. There is little more than dictation. Look at the coming wars with Syria and Iran, will WaPo write the truth? or the silly sideshow conflicts between State and DoD over whether to bomb now or later. See NYT on Saturday about Syria - not a single quote from non-official or non-establishment sources about what is about to happen or the reasons behind it.

Posted by: Ray | October 17, 2005 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Sara, if I may call you Sara, for bringin this up.

When did it become acceptable for people to talk about their private lives while queueing in like at the grocery store, theatre, department store, etc. Not just on the cell phone, where people always seem to talk louder than they have to, but everywhere. I don't need to know what you and your significant other think of the latest happenings of your neighbors, who are cheating on each other with the yard boy or cart girl at the golf club.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 9:47 AM | Report abuse

SCC: too many to note. Please forgive me.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 9:48 AM | Report abuse

TV Presenter,

I agree. Whatever happened to discretion and the actual existence of a private life? When I'm in public and my phone rings, I either decide to call them back later if I know an actual discussion about something is going to take place or I answer and talk quietly, so quietly that at times the person on the other end of the line has to say, "What?" I don't want people to hear what I'm saying and I also don't want to disturb people near me that couldn't avoid hearing what I'm saying if I talk loudly. I've just about decided a sense of privacy is a rare virtue instead of the norm these days.

(I'm pretty sure that there are problems with my tenses in this post, so I'll just do an "in case of" SCC entry.)

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I can always tell when my wife has been with the yard boy. There are grass clippings in the bed.

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 9:54 AM | Report abuse

SCC? I'm too new here to be up on all the lingo and in-phrases.

My office has a 45 minute lunch period with a fixed time. 45 minutes is too much time to eat at your desk and too little time to go out. Our "office park" had a fast service Italian place open recently and if you aren't at the counter by 11:55, there's no place to sit. The line at Subway is 15 minutes most days. The fast food choices require fighting traffic.

So I usually eat leftovers at my desk and surf blogs.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 17, 2005 10:03 AM | Report abuse

SCC stands for Self-Castigation Club (the idea being that we correct our own typos but not anyone else's -- except Joel's).

Posted by: Tom fan | October 17, 2005 10:06 AM | Report abuse

A couple weeks ago, someone posted in Hax's chat that they thought it was RUDE for someone to NOT answer their cell phone when she called. And she wasn't talking about a husband or significant other. She thought it was slight for any aquaintance to not answer their cell phone. And people agreed! When someone calls me, I might answer and I might not. It might be because I'm somewhere that isn't appropriate for answering, or it might be because I don't want to talk. It's my choice, people!

Thanks, age of instant gratification.

Posted by: jw | October 17, 2005 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Joel writes:
"I don't really want any food at all. I'm post-food. Food is death. Scientists have proved it: Free oxygen radicals that damage cells are side effects of metabolism. Your life span is essentially fixed: You eat a certain amount, and then you die."

My father pulled me aside as a little girl to show me a very old, ragged-edge and yellow newspaper clipping of a group of Loomises who were living very ripe old ages for their times--late 1800s? Where is that clipping today? Did my sister (or mother) toss it, along with all the old Loomis family tintypes? Or are these family heirlooms sitting somewhere in the recessed of my sister's unberstuffed Del Mar, Calif., garage?

The photo image of a cluster of old Loomises stimulated my interest in longevity as a student in dietetics at Cal State Sacto. The calorie-depravation studies with rats date back to the '40s. But who, in his/her right mind, wants to eat significantly less food--which is laughable, considering our meals today are super-supersized and our obesity rates are soaring?

Or one can look at the studies of the pre-technology centenarians. Were the fair, blonde Hunzacuts of Pakistan's Hindu Kush really descendants of Alfred the Great? They ate many apricots--is Vitamin A the secret to a long life? What unusual minerals were present in the water of the Vilcabambas in Ecuador? Why was it so hard to get access to the aged Soviet Georgians in order to study them? Is author Bob Barefoot really on to something as far as the Okinowans and their coral calcium? Is an alkaline body healthier than an acidic one? Did you know your body's calcium level can be determined by the saliva in your mouth? How did the ancient Chinese come to know the benefits of Mondmilch in caves? Do these four centenarian groups owe their unusual longevity to genetic drift, or continental drift? Or are they simply linked in their old ages by a lifestyle with tremendous physical activity and an unadultered, unprocessed, spartan, healthful diet? Why kind of ground minerals are in place in the Hindu Kush and the Himalyas, where eons ago, two massive tectonic plates collided? Why did ingesting the tongue stones of Malta appear to impart health benefits? Why is it the bones of Cheddar man have lasted for hundreds of years in the caves of that region of Britain? Or are the reasons for longevity simply not exogenous? Is it all in our DNA?

Posted by: Linda Loomis | October 17, 2005 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Lots of choices around here, but they're all gut-and-budget-busting.

The Subway's is 15-30 minutes, depending on how you time your arrival.

I wish I worked in sales, they always have food at their meetings, and meetings all the time.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 17, 2005 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Hey, TV Presenter,

Speaking of discretion and getting it on w the cart girl....when are you going to fill us in on the mouse suits and the accompanying ritual? We can't wait.

Posted by: temecula | October 17, 2005 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The lunch place with sandwiches like "the Gertrude Stein" sounds like Panera Bread. I had to take my niece there the first time I went so she could show me the ropes. One place to order the sandwich, another to order the drink and then the pickups were in 2 different sections.

Does TV Reader perhaps work in Charlottesville? Sounds like our downtown.

I sort of enjoy overhearing bits of gossip about & from people I don't know. I find myself lingering around displays of products I don't care about in order to hear these urgently spoken words about intense events so I can understand what the heck these strangers are talking about. I have to make sure that I occasionally pick up something to check the price & never ever make eye contact.

Posted by: Mary Ann | October 17, 2005 10:13 AM | Report abuse

What if someone doesn't have their cell phone on them? Or the battery dies? Or the phone is in the other room? Or, as is always my case, the phone is on vibrate and you don't feel your purse vibrate? She'd probably be angry with them. She'd play it off as if she didn't care, but I'll bet deep down she would be seething and she'd think, "You should always keep your phone charged because I might call! What were you thinking?"

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Mary Ann,

Your Panera sounds complicated. Ours just has two places, one to order bakery goods, one to order food and drink and one pick up place for each. But you can still order a bakery good and a bowl of soup at the bakery goods counter or vice versa. Then you have to pick up in two different places.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 10:17 AM | Report abuse

There's a little book called something like, "Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From My Cat." One of the important lessons in there is, "Just because you're at home when the phone rings, it doesn't mean you have to answer it" (accompanied by a very cute illustration of a cat napping or some such thing while ignoring a ringing phone). I think there's a lot to be said for that.

Ya know, that Hax chat tends to attract a lot of very easily offended people (and I don't include you in that group, of course, jw).

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps I'm just fooling myself, but strongly believe I'll live until no one needs me anymore. (Waitaminnit, is it getting dark in here? who turned out the lights? what's this tunnel and what's that bright light at the end?)

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Didn't I read recently that they're backing off on the "less food = longer life" equation? The study I read about said they found out the reason skinny rats (mice) lived longer was they were too thin to be able to reproduce, which meant they were not subject to the physical trials of reproduction and possible death. Anyone else read this?

Posted by: sneezer | October 17, 2005 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I never knew the lunch hour was such a source of anxiety...I actually look forward to it as it's an escape from the office & a chance to catch up on my (non-Achenblog) reading...and since I work in NOVA, there are tons of great little ethnic places to choose from...

On the issue of cell phones, I agree...they really have ruined all social etiquette...

Posted by: C8 | October 17, 2005 10:27 AM | Report abuse

fortunatly I have a gym about a 10 minute drive from where I work, so that is my escape during the day. I would hate it if all I had to look forward to was going out and finding something to eat.

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Was that directed at me?

Posted by: C8 | October 17, 2005 10:35 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "recipe".



Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 10:39 AM | Report abuse


See Monty Python's Flying Circus, Episode 2: The Mouse Problem.

There was also an episode of CSI (not sure if it was the second or third season) that dealt with it as well.

As far as what goes on, well you'll have to find your local mouse club and do your own research.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The best lunch around my office comes from the nearest grocery store. Its the same distance away as all the fast food places, about 2 kms, and has a decent deli. On occasion I buy actual groceries and keep them in the office fridge. You can do a lot with a micorwave, and a carton of chicken broth and fresh veggies. (In case the cooking thingy sounds pretentious, the last time I did this was at least 8 months ago and I have the thighs to prove it. Sigh)

My previous cell phone's contract was finally up and I celebrated cell phone freedom day. That lasted for about 2 months before my family and employer said I really should have one. So I went out and bit the bullet. The only time any one calls me is when I am 5 minutes from my house. What a waste.

Posted by: dr | October 17, 2005 11:01 AM | Report abuse

At least one lunch hour a week (well, a half hour anyway) can be taken up by Fantasy Football Team Management Duties.

Now there's anxiety!

Still, this was a fine week to have L. Tomlinson playing for my team. I have the highest scoring team in my league, despite a dismal 2-4 record.

I attempted to start discussion of the Miller situation with people outside the Beltway, met with some blank stares.

On the other hand, I learned a lot about the latest generation of muzzleloaders. Apparently, blunderbusses and powder horns are antiquated; the latest pieces have cartridges, slugs, rifled barrels, and scopes. Still gotta hold the gun still if you want to hit something at 200 yards between the time the cap goes off and the powder ignites.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I refuse to carry a cell phone. Whenever I go hunting my wife makes me carry one and she has to show me how to use it. My kids think I am a dinosaur , but its my choice.

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Ooh, that last sentence from my 11:04:28 comment is a mess.

SCC: "One thing that hasn't changed is if you want to hit something at 200 yards, you need to hold the gun still between time the cap goes off and when the powder ignites."


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm just peeking into the Boodle for a minute before my meeting.

I am the only one who has dysfunctional anxious lunches? I wish I had a regular table in a restaurant where the people knew me by name and said, "The usual?" I wish I were basically an entirely different sort of person. I'm tired of being a scavenger and specializing in Depresso Dining. But nothing will change until I catch up on my work (in the year 2037).

Ray cites a quote from the Times story on Judy Miller/Scooter Libby. That jumped out at me, too. Did everyone read that story? It was written by a team of reporters, including my Herald buddy Don Van Natta, who is one of the best people in our business. But that had to be an excruciating assignment. The whole situation at the Times is tortured and full of confusion and self-loathing. Miller does not seem to have truly cooperated with her fellow reporters. I'm told the NY Observer has a piece saying she produced her own story at pretty much the last minute and made the other Times reporters scramble. The whole package yesterday produced more questions than answers. Like: Why did the great NYTimes go down this crazy road? (I may have to post something on this on the blog, but there are so many other bloggers who know the ins and outs of the case and for whom this is virtually a full-time job.) And who DID tell Miller about Valerie Plame Wilson? Miller's answer: she doesn't remember.


Posted by: Achenbach | October 17, 2005 11:22 AM | Report abuse


I know exactly what you mean about the Miller situation. Down here, in North Florida/South Georgia, if you try to talk to most people about anything that doesn't involve NASCAR or football you're met with blank stares.

Even the ones that, come election season, put the obligatory bumper sticker on their SUV of choice don't know what you are talking about when you mention their candidate.

Ask them about current events, like Supreme Court nominations, and the don't understand why it is important to them.

As long as they get up to the minute news of the latest SEC football and NASCAR update they are happy. Quite a few of the people I work with even got the Nextel phones because of the tie-in with NASCAR. Pretty funny until you hear them beeping each other on the walkie-talkie that the things come equipped with.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 11:24 AM | Report abuse

My cell phone is my only phone currently. However, have a tendency to go into hiding and avoid answering my phone or retrieving voice messages for days at a time. I usually wait until I have about 6 messages before I'll bite the bullet and start catching up again. The last time I did this was about 2 months ago; I think it's about time for another round of peace.

As for lunch around here the choices are: 1. Subway; 2. the hospital cafeteria across the street or 3. bring it yourself. Unfortunatly, I get Subway far too often.

And Nani, your boodling makes me laugh because that is exactly how I feel sometimes.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | October 17, 2005 11:25 AM | Report abuse

And a quickie about the Judy Miller/NYT chaos: "'Curiouser and curiouser!' Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English)."

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | October 17, 2005 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Are we sure that Scooter hasn't hypnotized Judy Miller?

Grand Jury: "Ms. Miller, how would you please characterize that conversation for us?"

Miller: *her expression suddenly going blank*

"He... said... Good Morning Judy...

What a nice day, isn't it?

AND, then, ... we said goodbye ..."

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 17, 2005 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The lunch choices around here are wide and varied. I have 45 minutes for lunch, and everything is relatively close, so I can go most anywhere. We have Subway, Panera Bread, Arbys, McDonalds, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunn Bros., Barnes and Noble, Taco Bell, Taco Time, Taco Johns, Zans Tacos, Skippers, Wendys, Burger King, Chipotle (I'm having that today), Noodles, Coffee Hag, The Hub, Culvers, Tav on the Ave, Pub 500, the grocery store (you'd be surprised how good their buffet is), Paglai's Pizza, Godfather's Pizza (worst lunch buffet in the history of Godfather's, though), and a few more that I can't remember at the moment. I don't eat the same thing very often.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Halloween is coming up in two weeks. This is a very big deal in my neighborhood, the Del Ray section of Alexandria. There is a costume parade with kids and pets in costume, many folks decorate their homes and wear makeup and costumes to hand out candy, jack-o-lanterns abound. I'd like to suggest a Halloween triple feature and ask a question. The triple feature involves F.W. Murnau's original silent classic "Nosferatu" starring uber-creepy Max Schreck, Werner Herzog's 70's remake "Nosferatu" starring super uber-creepy Klaus Kinski, and the more recent "Shadow of the Vampire", E.E. Merhige's tale of the making of Murnau's film with John Malkovitch as Murnau and Willem DeFoe as Schreck in what is at times scary and at other times hilarious. I suggest viewing all three in chronological order on successive nights. My question is just this- "What is the scariest film you've ever seen and why?" Off topic you say? Heck yes. Lunch interests me not at all, cell phones even less. Although I must admit to the occasional impulse while on the phone in a crowd to suddenly shout "Don't worry, there are no witnesses, and I cleaned up everything before I left!" Then silently slip away.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 17, 2005 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Although I've seen it many times, "The Shining" still gives me chills. I first saw it when I was 14 or 15 years old, and for a long time afterwards I was too scared to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom because I was sure I'd encounter those two creepy little girls in the hallway.

Not to mention that old woman in the bathtub . . .

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I saw the original "Nosferatu" at Visions (sigh) one Halloween night, and it was great...I have to think about my pick for scariest movie, though, that's tough...

I like to yell inappropriate things while speaking to pals who are on their cell phones, since people around them can easily overhear my'd think they'd learn not to call me...

Posted by: C8 | October 17, 2005 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Achenbach for noticing and finally for TV Presenter for mentioning the seemingly baffling willful ignorance people insist on.

Achenbach the questions to ask are these?

1) Who in their right mind believes Miller when she claims she does not remember who gave her the name of Valerie Plame (she wrote Flame in her notebook) and yet it was the same notebook she took to her interview with Libby though written in a different part - unbelievable!!.

2) Who other than Libby will have that name, did she speak to about Wilson or will just mention such a name in passing.

3) Better yet see WaPo's own Howie Kurtz questioning of Thomas Friedman (on CNN) my favorite smart ass when it comes to US Foreign Policy (both the premise of the question and the answer is beyond preposterous and tells you who is in the NEOCON club).

4) See the difference between Howie's going after the Jayson Blair story with relish - a story whose national implication and harm to life is zero and the "reporting" of what others are saying and the anguish of the poor NYT editors of Miller whose reporting at least bears a casual relation to thousands of death and the disrepute and cynicism of a whole profession.

5)The very very funny Judith Miller actually claiming that she proposed to her editors at NYT to pursue the story of the Bushies trying to destroy Wilson for the Niger story (though she declines to name the editor she spoke too and Jill Abramson does not recall such a recommendation).

6) The most sinister and creepiest of all that Miller had a Pentagan security clearance to sensitive materials that she could not even discuss with her editors - such as the pertinent information that Cheney was typing up intelligence reports for Bush to read (just a joke but you get my drift).

But this farce from NYT exactly validates my point about the "media" or "MSM" and how hopelessly they spout the "ESTABLISHMENT"/NEOCON view of the world. They expect you to believe that black is white, that Bush is a real president who makes decisions and even understands the speeches that are written for him, that when it comes to foreign policy whatever the neocons say is right and there is no other truth or fact out there but the NEOCON truth and fact. Yes Iran and Syria are the great enemies - beware the bogeyman cometh to destroy us all.

Posted by: Ray | October 17, 2005 11:56 AM | Report abuse

This will sound lame, kurosawaguy, but Arachnaphobia. Mainly because I suffer from arachnaphobia. I will only watch that movie with a man who allows me to bury my head in his shoulder and never once look at the screen. So really I never watch it anymore, I just listen and let me submit that listening is JUST as bad. The music, the spider hissing, the's almost worse because my imagination takes over.

That's the only movie that I've ever seen that truly scared me. All the others I can handle. Some of the latest ones, such as The Ring or The Grudge, I actually laugh at. And usually older movies don't have an affect on me.

I haven't seen Nosferatu. I take it you'd recommend it.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Would you consider the scariest movie the one that had the most impact on you?

I always thought, like Achenfan, that The Shining was one of the scariest, along with Psycho. These were the scariest for me because those two movies touched on thing that we could all imagine happening.

The scariest movie that had the most impact on me was Jaws. For many years not only could I not swim in the ocean, above my waist anyway, but could not even swim in the deep end of the pool unless I could clearly see the bottom.

Since I grew up a Navy brat the fear of the ocean was very hard to hide since quite a bit of our leisure time was spent on beaches. May explain why, while I live less than 10 miles from the beach, I've only been once in the last ten years.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The guy on NPR this morning was interviewing someone about the Miller/NYTimes thing and he admitted after reading a piece about it in the Sunday Times, he was somewhat confused. I guess you can relate to it if you are a reporter, but for the unwashed masses, "What the heck?"

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 11:59 AM | Report abuse

This lunch talk makes me think of our "food rule number one" while on our many and varied family road trips: we cannot eat at any restaurant that we could find at home.

No chains (that also exist at home) or fast food (ditto).

It has lead to some fabulous meals and also to some grouchy arguments (on Easter Sunday in North Carolina where nothing is open except McDonalds and the like).

We are allowed to eat at fast food restaurants that dont' exist in our home territory (Sonic, Whatta Burger and Steak & Shake come to mind).

We use Jane & Michael Stern's "Eat Your Way Across the USA" and "Roadfood" books as our travel guides, often driving miles and miles out of our "way" to get a recommended chili dog or BBQ sandwich.

Joel.. you gotta find yourself a great (Greek-run) diner while you're there in New Jersey. You won't have trouble finding one because they're on every corner. Mmmm... diner.

Posted by: TBG | October 17, 2005 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Lunch is a sore subject. At my previous job (as a civilian on a military facility) I enjoyed going out to lunch with 2-3 co-workers, and eating at a base restaurant heavily subsidized by you taxpaying folks, and getting a great lunch for like, five bucks.

But in my presnt job, here in cubby world, there's a new problem: Monday is Kurtz chat day. Tuesday is Weingarten chat day. Wednesday has just become Reliable Source chat, and often a chat concerning the previous evenings PBS show, usually a NOVA episode. Thursday is catch-up on the Achenblog, so that's four-eat-at-my-desk days shot to hell. And Friday is get-out-of-the-office-for-lunch-at-the-good-pain day. So it's all Howie's, Gene's, Roxanne's, Joel's and Liz Kelly's fault.

Fortunately, there's Staufer's and my leftover weekend cooking to sustain me in my hour of pearl. (Yes, I spelled it that way on purpose. It's a pun. Wake up, people.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 17, 2005 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that J. Miller's "story" reveals is that:

1) She is a horrible liar.

2) She thinks the people who she works for and the people who read the NYT are really dumb.

You would think a professional writer would be able to come up with something a little more believable. Fiction is apparently not her forte.

Posted by: jw | October 17, 2005 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I should have phrased my question diferently. It has always seemed to me that "scary" films break down into just a few distinct types. There is the religious or pseudo-religious type- possession by devils, demons, etc., where a real good vs. evil dichotomy is established. This would include everything from Rosemary's Baby and Dracula to ghosts, zombies, etc. Then there are the inhuman, impersonal, unstoppable "other" type- Alien, Jaws, the Blob. The only thing we know is that they are out do us harm. There's no arguing or understanding such antagonists. Then there is what I consider the scariest type of film, the human monster who seems just like you or me until he (usually a he) goes berserk. Silence of the Lambs is perhaps the best of these. I sure my time in hospitols and morgues has a lot to do with it, but I find this kind of film more believeable and therefore more unsettling. As for Arachnaphobia, I laughed all the way through it and loved the John Goodman role as the exterminator. Sorry, Sara. Would it help to know that spiders are much more afraid of you and that they generally have extremely poor eyesight? My attitude is that anything that eats insects can't be all bad.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 17, 2005 12:26 PM | Report abuse

jw is on the money here. Miller's fiction isn't nearly as good now as when she was collaborating with Ahmad Chalabi. Like Martin and Lewis, some collaborations are more than the sum of their parts.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 17, 2005 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Was Judith Miller using a spiral-bound notebook? Did she tear out a page or more when it came to the source of her information about "Valerie Flame?" And it begs the question of how Miller could take such lousy notes that she couldn't recall--or check her notes--the source who gave her the name of Wilson's wife? Two and two is not adding up to four at the NYT.

Paul Krugman suggested an interesting game in one of his columns in the last month at the NYT: that readers/bloggers compile a list of all those in high positions in the Bush administration who were put into their jobs based on cronyism--without the requisite experience that that particular government position/post demands.

Another interesting exercise would be to list all those reporters whose WMD/Iraq war reporting was inaccurate and less than credible. Sounds like an interesting exercise for some J-school grad student, or some blogger extraordinaire.

Posted by: Loomis | October 17, 2005 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"not her forte"! Way to tie in the pronunciation theme from the Stark-Raving-Mad Boodle, jw. Good work. (But is it fort, or fort-ay? Oh, never mind.)

Say, did anyone notice that Tom Sietsema included Oyamel in his recent Dining Guide? Looks like we really put that place on the map by holding the first official Boodle Porching Hour there.

[Oh boy -- I need to go and get some lunch. I'm so hungry I could cry.]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 17, 2005 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I hate the jump out and say "boo!" type movies. I can't deal with the tension leading up to the Boo! and usually yelp/jump when the Boo! happens which leads to embarrassment and general mockery from fellow movie goers. The thinking scary movies (Silence of the Lambs, Dracula) I'm fine with (until I try to go to sleep). But Boo! scary stresses me out much, much more.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | October 17, 2005 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I also use TBG's "new food" rule on vacation. Even if I am in a situation where I have to eat fast food, I can at least eat a new variety. The corollary to this is that I never, ever, eat McDonalds while traveling.

This rule is also useful in daily life. When given a choice between two chains, I will eat at the one whose closest branch is furthest from my house. When I am in Timonium, I usually eat at Qdaba or Moe's and never Panera Bread because there are two Panera Breads in Columbia. Unless my son insists on Cheeburger, Cheeburger.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 17, 2005 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Creepiest film. Henri-Georges Clouzet's Les Diaboliques (please do not confuse with the pathetic 1990's remake Diabolique). The wife and mistress of a sadistic boarding school headmaster plot to kil him. They drown him in the bathtub and dump the body in the school's swimming pool. But when the pool is drained, the body has disappeared and subsequent reported sightings of the headmaster slowly drive his killers (and the audience) up the wall with almost unbearable suspense. The ending is unexpected, to say the least, and astonishing.
Scariest movie - Psycho. Saw it at the drive-in. After the shower scene, you expected another murder at any moment, and Hitchcock would tease you with scenes that you just knew would contain another murder. Then when it didn't, you'd relax a bit and Bam, Hitchcock would terrorize you again. Those from-the-ceiling shots, Tony Perkins' birdlike features, his adam's apple bobbling up and down, the praying hands, the bloody water. Very scary stuff. I also felt enormous pity for Marian.

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I prefer the "thinking" scary movies, as they tend to stay with me longer than the slasher flicks (I grew up with Jason & Freddie)..."The Shining" is fantastic, the more times I see it the more I appreciate Kubrick...I also like "The Exorcist", but maybe that's because I used to skip Sunday School & hang out on The Steps...I'm sure a therapist could make some sense of that...

Posted by: C8 | October 17, 2005 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Scariest movie for me as a kid: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Those why-can't-the-rest-of-the-world-see-what's-happening storylines are the worst.

Posted by: TBG | October 17, 2005 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Of course I know lunch anxiety. Where I work there's an employee cafeteria--all you can eat for $2.00. So for the first two years I went there every day. But then you get into this weird social situation where you have your "regular" lunchmates and then it gets all complicated if you want to eat lunch with someone else or at a different time--so I started going "off property" (woo hoo) for lunch, which means either the supermarket or Burger King, (eating in the car) and I gained weight from that, and NOW, the Final Solution has arrived: I keep a box of Special K at my desk and use the free milk from the coffee room. It takes 5 minutes to eat lunch and then I use the rest of the time to take a nice walk in the tropical air. I'm healthier and happier and no more lunch anxiety.

Posted by: Reader | October 17, 2005 12:45 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy, no, that information doesn't help. I've been dived bombed by spiders before, so I don't know if I believe that "poor eyesight" thing. They're schemers. I'm mostly scared of banana spiders from South America (which I will hopefully never come into contact with because I don't plan on being a South American banana harvester anytime soon) and Brown Recluse spiders. I'm still not comfortable with the other ones, though.

I wasn't scared of Silence of the Lambs. Or Red Dragon. Or Hannibal. And Jaws and Alien didn't scare me either. I'm not easily scared unless eight legged, hairy freaks of nature are involved.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Has everyone seen the remake of Psycho with Anne Heche? That was a winner.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I've killed the boodle. That was sarcasm. I didn't really like the new Psycho was a winner of a movie. Everyone can come back now.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Dang it.

SCC: I didn't really think the new Psycho...

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 12:54 PM | Report abuse


Hopefully there was sarcasm dripping from you about the Anne Heche re-Psycho.

The worst Psycho sequal/re-make was Psycho 3 (I think that was the one) where someone was knocked unconscious by a guitar. My significant other and friends were in the theater when it came out and remembers someone yelling "El Kabong" during the scene. From that moment on the four of them could not stop laughing. Any mention of Psycho around them and they all shout "El Kabong".

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Sarcasm wasn't just dripping, TV Presenter, it was flowing.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of scary stuff, I went to the Marloff's Haunted Forest out in Middle 'o Nowhere, MD, and it was fantastic. Even the drive out there is spooky--the g/f wasn't too pleased when I would say "Spooooooooky Wooooooooods!" and turn the headlights out.

Posted by: jw | October 17, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

for why the Miller case is a" big deal'see Frank rich's column in 10/16 NYT.

Posted by: IJS | October 17, 2005 1:01 PM | Report abuse


Friends of mine always seem to rave about the latest Hollywood re-make of a successful foreign/older film.

I enjoy giving them a copy of the original, via Netflix, and having them compare. Of course they have to be able to handle the subtitles. I hate dubbed films and wouldn't subject anyone to one of them, unless it is a old Godzilla movie.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Joel.
I do go to resturants where I'm asked if I want "the usual" for lunch. The "guy rule" applies: if you found something you like, stick with it.

Movies don't bother me as much as books do. When it was first published, "Red Dragon" was the scariest piece of fiction I'd ever read.

These days, it's the NYT.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Scariest movie: the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," in 1956 when I was 10 years old. No other movies gave me nightmares, ever, but that one.

Endorse Nani's submittal, the original Les Diabolique, when the body is in the tub and the eyes open.

As an adult, had a bad moment at the end of Straw Dogs.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 17, 2005 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Lunch: I think I've had a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich every day for the last thirty-some years. The truly sad part about that is I actually enjoy them.

Scariest movie: for some reason, the movie that had the most affect (effect?) on me was a suspense that I saw many years ago. It was 'Dead Calm' and I remember my hands trembling, I was so wound up. I just watched it again recently and it had absolutely no effect. I suppose knowing what is going to happen changes things.

Spiders: Sara, I have an old farmhouse and I constantly tell people that I have no mice, because the spiders eat them! But really, now that it is getting cold, I have about five giant wolf spiders race across the floor evey day. They are suprisingly quick and I just can't squish them all. - stay out of the countryside.

Posted by: esskay | October 17, 2005 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Thinking about scary movies reminded me of a clown movie I saw once. Was "Killer Clowns from Outer Space" the movie with the clowns that spun people up in cotton candy-like pods?

I'm not saying it was scary because it really was the farthest thing from scary. Cotton candy pod people don't really frighten me.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Re. El Kabong.

Now wait just a minute there, Babalooie.

I'LL do all the thin'in 'round here, and don't you FERGIT IT!

Re. Spiders. Yeah, the wolf spiders are really active this time of year, but dogs and cats love 'em.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood when it first came out, early 60s I think. Mr. Nani was working night shift in those days, so the babies and I were alone at night. The book frightened me so that for weeks after locking up at night, I'd shove furniture against the doors and sleep on the floor in the children's room. There was a photo of just the eyes of the killers, Perry and Dick. There was no expression, just dead unfeeling eyes. The cinematography in the film version is amazing.

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that's Markoff's, jw.

I've been there a few times, it's not too far from my house. Good stuff.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 1:17 PM | Report abuse

*Sara, you may want to skip this entry just to warn you.*
I once stepped on a tarantula barefoot when I lived in southern California. Luckily, it was dark and I thought I had stepped in what was hopefully doggie doo but I went back the next morning and discovered differently. That cured me of most spider fears.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | October 17, 2005 1:18 PM | Report abuse

kguy, that cell phone comment was coffee spitting, but luckily not in the direction of the paperwork I am avoiding.

Whenever scary movies come up think of a time when I was maybe 8, and sick, and was watching the tv matineee movie downstairs. Mom was outside mowing lawn. The movie was about Richard III (likely based on Shakespere's play) and though I've blocked what I found so scary about it, I was cowering under my blanket and scared witless.

I would like to pretend I have recovered my wits somewhat, but mom tells me otherwise.

Posted by: dr | October 17, 2005 1:22 PM | Report abuse


There aren't too many of us that get that one. The people who were there didn't even get what it was from until I showed them the cartoon. If it weren't for On Demand(tm), Comcast would be pure evil.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Markoff's. K and L too close together. I'm going to have to fire my secretary now.

Posted by: jw | October 17, 2005 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Now that I read others scary movies, I realize, that there is not one I have seen. No Hannibal, no Silence of the Lambs, no Halloween. Heck I could not even get through Deliverance all the way.

In a late effort to redeem myself, I did watch Carrie after I saw and really enjoyed The Stand.

Posted by: dr | October 17, 2005 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else think Marathon Man was truly frightening? My husband and I went to see it in the theater when we were still teenagers and had to walk out, it was so disgusting (the evil dentist scenes). Later we saw it on TV and realized it was really a great film. Not so scary on TV.

Posted by: suecris | October 17, 2005 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember a children's television show from the 1970s called "Paulus the Wood Gnome"? It had this witch that scared me more than anything I'd seen before or anything I've seen since. My mother kept threatening to not let us watch the show any more, because it gave us nightmares -- but we kept wanting to watch.

I can't remember whether this was an American show, or a British show, or what. Actually, I seem to remember that it had a slight Scandinavian look to it.

The witch in "Snow White" used to scare the bejeebers out of me, too.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Still thinking about spiders, except to say that, yes, the original "Invasion of the BS" was very good, especially remember the scene when Kevin McCarthy and Dana Winter are fleeing the town full of Podsters and she drops exhausted and falls asleep for just a minute, but in that minute she is taken over and he's alone now. Great stuff. Sara, a really sharp eyed spider, a hunting spider like a tarantula or a wolf spider can see about two feet. No real need to see farther. They ain't cheetahs. Web weavers can't see diddly and rely on vibrations to locate food. When you see an orb spider, a web weaver, dropping on a thread, they're not attacking, they're bailing off the web because they've been frightened. Most all orb spiders (think Charlotte's Web) live only a year or less. There is great sexual dymorphism, the females are much much bigger than the males, and many times eat the male after mating. Just as well. The male exists only to reproduce and can't in many cases even feed once he reaches adulthood. Wandering spiders or hunting spiders like the tarantula can live 20 years or more and the sexes are equal size. When I used to take the Kurosawachick to the Insect Zoo at the Museum of Natural History when she was a toddler, she always loved to hold the Madagascar cockroaches and hornworm caterpillers and she cried because they wouldn't let her hold the tarantula.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 17, 2005 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Scariest movie for me . . . Stephen King's It. Of course, this is primarily because I first saw it when I was 8 years old. I'm almost positive it was on The Family Channel which is really odd now that I think about it (do they even have the Family channel anymore?). To this day, (15 years later!!!) I still can't get myself to watch it. God, how sad is that!

Posted by: L.A.G | October 17, 2005 2:00 PM | Report abuse

well, back from lunch. Saw "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" when I was a kid where Bruce Durn got his hand and head chopped off. Wouldn't reach around the corner in the dark to flip on a light for sometime after that.

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The flying monkeys in The Wizard of OZ creeped me out as a kid.

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I just want to know, it safe?

dr, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who really enjoyed the tv miniseries adaptaion of "The Stand".

jw, when you talk to your secretary, please have them locate my editor. My Ed. is completely failing of making my incoherence coherent.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The Wicked Witch's palace guards creeped me out more than the flying monkeys -- marching along to that creepy mantra.

[I just Googled them, and apparently they're saying "Oooh we love -- the OOOLD one." I never knew that before. I'll have to decide whether this new information makes the mantra more creepy, or less.]

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The old bag must have made them sing that because they didn't seem too upset when she melted

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Paulus the Wood Gnome?"

Hmm. I missed that one.

Now, HR Puffinstuff, I saw that.
"Oh, Jimmeeeeeeeee! It's Witchy Poo!"

Ohhh! This Kaboodle's getting scary, keeds! Even Count Floyd can't look!


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

Another creep:
The Childcatcher in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (played by Australian ballet dancer Sir Robert Helpman).

"Ice cream, lollipops, all free today!"

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes.. Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. I remember as a kid watching that while home sick and my fever actually spiked I was so scared.

Maybe it's just Bette Davis that scares me.

Of course, when I was really little (like 2 or 3) I used to run out of the room every time the MGM lion roared. Go figure.

Posted by: TBG | October 17, 2005 2:19 PM | Report abuse

L.A.G., I also saw It when I was about 8 years old and I loved it! I would watch it all the time. But then I saw it again when I was about 13 and it completely freaked me out.

peanutgallerymember, I read it anyway knowing that something awful was probably coming my way and oh my word. Ick. Hairy. Leggy. Many eyes. Scary pincers. I have the chills.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 2:19 PM | Report abuse

bc writes:
Movies don't bother me as much as books do. When it was first published, "Red Dragon" was the scariest piece of fiction I'd ever read.

These days, it's the NYT.

"Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, Aug. 6 - Sept. 30, 1945," by Dr. Michihiko Hachiya.

Posted by: Loomis | October 17, 2005 2:20 PM | Report abuse

There's a film adaptation of The Stand? I wouldn't mind seeing that...if it was a tv mini-series, can it be found on VHS or DVD to rent?

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I unknowingly stepped on and was bitten by a scorpion as a small child. Aunt Dora cut a raw potato in half and pressed it to the bite to draw out the "pizen". It obviously worked since I've lived to tell the tale.

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes TBG, the MGM lion. I thought his name was "Ars Gratia Artis" for years in grade school because that's what it said on the logo under his picture. It was a disappointment to later learn that that is the company motto (Art for Art's Sake) and the lion's name is Leo. Course now the Hollywood motto is "Show Me the Money!"

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 17, 2005 2:28 PM | Report abuse


To take it in a slightly different direction, try one of many biographies of Oscar/Oskar Schindler. To know about the horror that was unfolding and to do nothing about it was truly horrific. He did something. Thank goodness for humanity.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 2:28 PM | Report abuse

My first SCC: "....was bitten by a scorpion as a small child." The small child was moi, not the scorpion.

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan - I was just going to add that the childcatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang always creeped me out. He caused me great anxiety as a child, but I couldn't look away. I recently watched that movie with a 4 year old and was prepared for her to be afraid of him too. I was surprised when she was afraid of the Colonel Mustard looking guy instead! I tried to explain that he was a "good guy" but it didn't matter.

My poor husband whisked me away to a historic hotel in Harpers Ferry, WV to propose. I had only recently seen the Shining and the hotel looked JUST like the hotel from the movie-including red carpeting in the hallways. I fully expected to see the twins. I walked around all weekend saying "Red Rum, Red Rum."

Lunch: I used to work in Rockville and had a wide variety of food options. Now I'm in Alexandria and there's NOTHING-not even a deli in my building. I'd have to drive 15 minutes to even get to a Panera and there's just not enough time to drive, eat, and come back. I miss lunch.

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

Linda, no doubt that doctor's account is horrifying. I first read Hersey's "Hiroshima" when I was 10, and even now it never fails to remind me of the power of good journalism.

Sara, "The Stand" was produced as a TV miniseries in 1994 or so, and shown on ABC TV. The Sci-Fi channel reruns it every now and then, and I've seen the DVDs in Blockbuster. If you do manage to see it, I'd be curious to hear what you think of it, the sound track would be considered "classic rock" these days.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 2:33 PM | Report abuse

more proof that you have good taste in movies, similar to my bf. I've seen the original "Nosferatu" thanks to him and we also saw "Shadow of the Vampire". Both great movies. Ever since SOTV I have had a larger respect for Willem Dafoe.

The scary movie that most impacted me was "Halloween". Twice. First, when I was about 7 and saw clips of it on Siskel and Ebert. I saw enough of it to be too afraid to go on a father/daughter camping trip for Indian Princesses because I afraid for my mom while we were away. Then again when I saw the movie in its entirety at 13. I now avoid slasher movies, but like creepy ones.

A good scary book is "Ghost Story".

Posted by: TA | October 17, 2005 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Lunch is the highlight of my day. I am stuck with a crummy government cafeteria, so I bring my lunch frequently and try to go out somewhere good on Fridays.

Posted by: TA | October 17, 2005 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Where's mo today?

Nosferatu - in the original and Kinski versions - is/are seriously goth.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Where's mo most of the time lately? Maybe another kid came to work and she's distracted.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I read The Exorcist when I was about ten while on a family vacation to DC. Creepy and terrifying. Then my mother took me to the movie version when I was 13 and that was all I could handle.

I went through high school during the golden age of the lets-kill-immoral-teenagers era (Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc.) and avoided them all.

I do like things like Silence Of The Lambs, but even those are too scary for my wife, so no-go. She's a Julia Roberts fan and got suckered into Sleeping With The Enemy, but even that was too strong for her.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 17, 2005 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Let's just hope the kid isn't Chucky.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 3:06 PM | Report abuse

[The kid at mo's office, I mean.]

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 3:07 PM | Report abuse

bc: LOL at the Count Floyd reference. Always loved Joe Flaherty doing that. Well done.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 17, 2005 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I thought "The Mothman Prophecies" was pretty scary -- especially since it's supposed to be based on a true story.

"Chap. Stick"!

Posted by: Dreamer | October 17, 2005 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I've got two minutes to pitch in. Absolutely creepiest movie ever: "Bucket of Blood." 1950's b&w B-movie about a deranged "artist" who kills people and turns them into sculptures for artsie-fartsie beatniks (!) to admire.

I eat leftovers at my desk. I am a pagaent of excitement.

Posted by: CowTown | October 17, 2005 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Nosferatu will be shown Oct. 31 on the turner classic movie channel - 6:00 a.m.

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I second comments on Silence 'O Lambs, which was so got-dang scary I couldn't go into anyone's basement dungeon for YEARS, and on the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which combines the best of the SF, horror and thriller genres, which is to say, it's like one long bad dream. But the movie that scared the bejeepers out of me as a kid was House on the Haunted Hill, which in retrospect was probably just a by-the-book creepfest of skeletons and bloods and whatnot, but at the time did major surgery on my psyche and left wounds that have yet to heal. This is why I eat lunch alone, for example.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 17, 2005 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Ha! "I am a pageant of excitement." You slay me, CowTown. Slay me.

"The Mothman Prophecies" was kind of creepy. While "Dragonfly" with Kevin Costner was a complete waste of my time. Those two movies remind me of each other because they both have insect-like titles.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 3:13 PM | Report abuse

About the Judy Miller case: Can Sulzberger fire HIMSELF? I am just asking. This is not a suggestion. But if the owner wants to go to the people who set this train wreck in motion, and demand accountability, he has to start with his own personal self.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 17, 2005 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Night of the Living Dead, THAT's the scariest movie. Fright on multiple levels. I can't watch it now because I Know What Will Happen.

What does everyone think about the much-hyped Blair Witch Project. I never saw it, but it scared the bejesus out of my kids.

Posted by: CowTown | October 17, 2005 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I am now leaving the Boodle for the day, so everyone please behave. Remember: Whatever you do, don't stay on point. Even if you feel the temptation to stay on point, stifle yourself. We're just not that kind of blog.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 17, 2005 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"Dreamcatcher"; those butt weasels --ugh.

Posted by: Dreamer | October 17, 2005 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice that Joel keeps trying to bring us back to the Miller case?

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Showdown at High Noon
Where am I going to eat
Lunch is such a chore

Posted by: omnigood | October 17, 2005 3:20 PM | Report abuse

CowTown: When they eat their victims' internal organs, that's so intense. We used to sit in a graveyard on the gravestones and watch the movies playing on the huge screen of the Suburbia Drive-In. The movies were free that way, though you always had that unfortunate oblique angle, not to mention the monsters in the graveyard. When we were lucky my step-dad would sneak us into the drive-in in the trunk of the car. That's how I first became an aficionado of cinema.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 17, 2005 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Sulzberger can just say "I take responsibility for this", like Bush did after Katrina and everybody can just move on.

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the Judy Miller thing is a journalist obsession, I dunno. But it's all I can think about. I mean ... don't get me started. Let's just say that trust is something that a great news organization does not want to squander promiscuously. [It should be squandered much more carefully, I guess is how that reads.] [I TOLD you not to get me started.]

Posted by: Achenbach | October 17, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Joel, did you make up dialog or could you hear the movies at the Suburbia? That could explain your excellent writing skills. (suck up warning.. oops, too late!)

Posted by: TBG | October 17, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

now that's what every kid should do, watch night of the living dead from a grave yard.

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for reminding me: Yes, "The Blair Witch Project" was my scariest movie experience as an adult. So realistic. It looks like a cheap documentary, and what you *don't* see is what makes it so frightening.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Scariest movie:
"The Road to Falluja" by filmmaker Mark Manning.

Those U.S. cluster bombs have got thoe flying monkeys from "The Wizard of Oz" beat all to shame.

Posted by: Loomis | October 17, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I like cluster bombs. They are the coolest thing since sliced bread.

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea what you mean by that entire post, Dreamer...I'm going to have to Google.

CowTown, I thought the Blair Witch Project was a waste of my time.

Posted by: Sara | October 17, 2005 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Some of the best horror movies are those seen on MST3K (Mystery Science Theatre 3000). That's how I picture Joel and his buddies in the graveyard, commenting on the movies and making up dialog.

Did anyone ever see the MST3K with the movie, The Final Sacrifice? "Rowsdower...could you please put out my head?"

Posted by: TBG | October 17, 2005 3:27 PM | Report abuse

If I really start writing what I think about the Miller fiasco, I'm going to get all riled up and not be able to do any more work. And I'll probably say something that would end up getting Joel in trouble. I think the real question is, what is she getting in return for whoring her journalistic integrity to the WH, or are they running out on the bill?

Posted by: jw | October 17, 2005 3:29 PM | Report abuse

was she "whoring" or prostituting. You don't get paid for whoring, you just do it for fun.

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Somebody earlier mentioned "The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari", which I would class as more weird than creepy but well worth watching, and that made me think of Conrad Veidt who played Caesare the somnambulist (don't ask, watch the movie). Veidt married a Jew and hated the Nazis, fled Germany when he learned that he was on a Nazi hit list and ended up in Hollywood playing... Nazis. His other famous role was Major Strasser in "Casablanca". He's the one that gets shot at the airport at the end of the film.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 17, 2005 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Achenbach writes:
Maybe the Judy Miller thing is a journalist obsession, I dunno. But it's all I can think about. I mean ... don't get me started. Let's just say that trust is something that a great news organization does not want to squander promiscuously. [It should be squandered much more carefully, I guess is how that reads.] [I TOLD you not to get me started.]

I just can't get Joel's use of the word "promiscuously" out of my head. Especially as it relates to journalism.

Reminds me of a light moment at Camp Casey II the Wednesday evening in mid-August that I was there. Cindy Sheehan was onstage: "Ya know, many people have acused me of being a media whore," she said into the mic. "But would a media whore look like this?" she asked. She then used a hand gesture and brought her hand, in front of her, from her waist to the top of her reveal...shorts and a worn T-shirt, no makeup, and tresses without the benefit of a beautician.

The blog has already had a mention of P.J. O'Rourke's book, "Parliament of Whores."

And now Joel is giving us that same type of metaphor...oh, if only he'd blog about newpapers' readers trust being squandered more slowly...and let us say, far less promiscuously. I mean...don't get me started. I TOLD Joel not to get me started.

Posted by: Loomis | October 17, 2005 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Clarification on my seasoning-less haiku: The "Lunch is such a chore" refers to JA. Lunch is actually easy for me as I work in Bethesda with so many excellent choices for my many moods. For me it's dinner that's a chore, though it didn't use to be (possible SCC there?). Years ago when I would get home from work I would throw something in the oven to heat it up, but be so hungry that I would make a sandwich, essentially I was eating two dinners (maybe one and half). After a while I noticed I put on thirty pounds I decided that if I'm really hungry when I get home I'd have a sandwich and maybe a snack later, or a real prepared oven heated dinner but not both. A few years later the thirty pounds are off and have stayed off for the past three. But now days, not sure why, I can't seem to make up my mind what to make for dinner that I usually don't bother and just skip it and go straight to the snack: a handful of nuts or legumes.

Not sure if I should post this cause I imagine some people are going hate me.

Posted by: omnigood | October 17, 2005 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Sulzberger can just say "I take responsibility for this", like Bush did after Katrina and everybody can just move on."

I think it was Janet Reno who first stepped up to the taking responsibility plate after the horrible event at Waco. Thereafter, it seemed that all horrendous "mistakes" or "errors in judgment" could be swept away without further ado so long as someone said "I take responsibility."

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Here we go with the legumes again! (We couldn't hate you omniguy)

Posted by: TBG | October 17, 2005 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Oooh. Mothman. I need to see that movie. I grew up in West Virginia and still remember the newspaper articles & hearing the rumors about "Moth Man". Pretty scary for an elementary school age kid. Some think it was no more than a lost sandhill crane that was scaring the bejeebers out of people.

I am keeping track of the movies listed for future reference. "Carrie" scared me. My sister & I were afraid to go in the basement after we saw that movie, although what the relationship was between a blood-covered Carrie and our basement is not clear.

Posted by: Mary Ann | October 17, 2005 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"The mothman prophecies" - The guy who's life that's based on teaches at a university here in portland, and i think knowing that it was "based on a true story" gave me the creeps, even tho it's only very loosely based.

I'm a scary-movie fiend. Even if I know it's going to be bad I'll watch it, cause there really aren't enough scary movies.

Posted by: LP | October 17, 2005 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I thought the mothman prophecies was goofy

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Just a clarification on the Janet Reno thing. I credit her for taking responsibility and not passing it on to the jack-booted thugs who didn't have the intelligence or patience to negotiate a peaceful surrender.

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Isn't there some kind of Achenrule about staying on topic no more than 10 minutes of any day?

Posted by: dr | October 17, 2005 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I left out a subspecies, the horror comedy. The truly superior "Army of Darkness" and "Shawn of the Dead" come to mind, as well as lesser efforts like "Hocus Pocus" and Roman Polanski's "Fearless Vampire Killers".

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 17, 2005 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Shawn of the Dead was excellent

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Young Frankenstein

Posted by: esskay | October 17, 2005 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Coming up for air briefly.

Anybody get screamy over "Wait Until Dark"? I never, ever thought I could ever get worked up over a so-called "scary" movie, but that almost made me wet my pants.

Disappearing again. . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 17, 2005 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I often have just snacks for dinner too. As David Puddy in Seinfeld says, "Why can't dip be a meal?" Like you, I used to nibble while preparing dinner, only to end up overeating, so eventually I said, "Why can't hummus be a meal? (Or pistachios?)

Speaking of overeating, and getting back to turkey sandwiches:

When I used to work downtown I would occasionally get this really decadent sandwich from High Noon: turkey, cranberry sauce, and brie on a kind of dense raisin bread. But I didn't do that very often -- I just didn't feel right eating a sandwich like that; it was more like a dessert. I would have felt even guiltier if I'd known about all those people like Joel who have enough trouble just getting their hands on a regular, no-frills turkey sandwich.

Bah! Let them eat cake. (Or hummus.)

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 4:00 PM | Report abuse

firsttimeblogger: "Wait Until Dark," was my first date movie. Worked great. My date almost jumped into my lap when the killer whom we thought was dead leaped out of the darkness at Audry Hepburn.

Posted by: CowTown | October 17, 2005 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I did catch the reference to the bizzarrely awful horror movie "They Saved Hitler's Brain":

"Ideally I would be a brain in a vat, kept alive like a sponge in a fish tank."

Funny bit at the end of an early Simpsons' Halloween special with Mr. Burns' head in the vat and Smithers' head on a dog, IIRC.

Re: Dungeons - I inadvertently stumbled into an active one (thankfully, uninhabited at the time) not too long ago. I'm shuddering and completely creeped out again just writing this, as I'm thinking about it. Someone please remind me of this at the next BPH, it's an interesting tale.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I went to the movies on a first date in my first year of college.
The only movie playing was Richard Pyor's "Live on Sunset Strip".

Talk about uncomfortable!
We did end up dating for a year...

Posted by: esskay | October 17, 2005 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Fearless Vampire Killers - The last words she heard as she thrust a crucifix towards the vampire were: "Oy vey, have you got the wrong vampire."

Posted by: pj | October 17, 2005 4:05 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: esskay | October 17, 2005 4:05 PM | Report abuse

In Young Frankenstein that brain would have been from Abby Normal, maybe like Joel's.

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 4:06 PM | Report abuse

And I just want to say i just had quorn nuggets for lunch. I love me some quorn!

Posted by: LP | October 17, 2005 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"You don't get paid for whoring, you just do it for fun."

Me too.

Posted by: TA | October 17, 2005 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The original version of The Haunting is a great, scary movie.

Lunch today at a place called Mission Burrito.

I wish I could tie The Haunting and Mission Burrito to Judith Miller and The Times, but I'm not able. Okay, with only a little work, I could do that with The Haunting.

Posted by: Bayou Self | October 17, 2005 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Scary song: Robert Mitchum, serial killer posing as preacher, singing "Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarm, leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms" while stalking little children in Night of the Hunter. First and only time a religious song scared me.

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 4:09 PM | Report abuse

your secret is safe with me

Posted by: LB | October 17, 2005 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I saw night of the living dead when I was about seven or eight and while I thought it was good I didn't think it was scary. And in fact I don't really think any movie is really all that scary at all. But I do admit I reall liked Scary Movie, such a laugh riot.

Only one scene in a movie ever startled me, and that was the underwater scene in Jaws where the decomposing head suddenly comes into view through the hole in the bottom of a boat (do I remember that right). Of course that summer at the beach in Jersey was the least crowded ever, and it was great. My male cousins , brother and I would scare the bejeebers out of the female cousins and sisters about every fifteen minutes by yelling SHARK. hahaha, I've got a smile on face recalling that.

But I have read a scary book. Not that I scared while reading it, but in that it's the only thing that's given me a nightmare (as opposed to general anxiety driven nightmares). Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. If you haven't read this book I highly recommend it. I read it in a single evening, a declare it one of my all time favorites.

Posted by: omnigood | October 17, 2005 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, I tell you what else is scary, Nani: Robert Mitchum as Max Cady in the original "Cape Fear."

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 4:12 PM | Report abuse

SCCs: reall:really; a declare :and declare; and a bunch of spaces that shouldn't be there.Argh

Posted by: omnigood | October 17, 2005 4:13 PM | Report abuse

hit "post" too soon. The children, hiding in a barn hayloft late at night wake up to hear the singing. The little boy, John, looks out at the moonlit night, sees Mitchum's silhouette on the horizon and says to himself "Don't he never sleep?"

Posted by: Nani | October 17, 2005 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I'd say the creepiest was that Scary Movie with Michael Jackson. I got all creeped out just typing his name,blech.

Posted by: omnigood | October 17, 2005 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The scariest movie ever has not yet been made, but has been put into production:

Rocky VI

I wish I were kidding.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I love "Night of the Hunter". One of the most interesting things about the film is the way that all the sets are so cheezy, the production values are nil, the exteriors look like they are shot on the backlot of the old "Lassie" TV series, and yet the performances of Mitchum and Gish and the kids are so very very good that you just look past everything and buy the story completely. And the underwater shot of Shelley Winters in the car- priceless. Chilllldren...... chilllllllllldren...... now there's a scene to keep you out of basements for life.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 17, 2005 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey soldier, do you know who's in charge here?

Ain't you?

Sorry, flashback to Friday...

Posted by: esskay | October 17, 2005 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Unscientific office poll, scariest movie:

Poltergeist (he was 8 then)
Amityville Horror
Mark of the Devil (1969?)
Event Horizon

And the winner:
"The Birthing Process" - high school health class

Posted by: esskay | October 17, 2005 4:35 PM | Report abuse

TVP, I see your Rcoky VI and raise you a Rambo IV. The hits just keep on comin' don't they?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | October 17, 2005 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan, I have eaten a pound of pistachios for a meal.

Speaking of scary fiction, I do like Clive Barker's books, particularly his original "Books of Blood", which have spawned (ahem) a lot of movies and TV by themselves. "Rawhead Rex" went from to a pretty scary story to a rather dumb movie (but with one amusing bit), and the Hellraiser flicks - well, 'ol Clive may have been trying too hard.

"The Yattering and Jack" made for a pretty funny piece on the old "Tales from the Darkside" TV show. I still can't think about turkey dinners without thinking of that story. Well, that story and Mr. Bean.


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Would that be the original Amityville Horror, because I just watch the newer one this past weekend and thought it completely predictable (never saw the original, and only knew it was about a haunted/possessed house).

Posted by: omnigood | October 17, 2005 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Joel, perhaps you should consider lunching on leftovers. I am sure you have some about. You led us to believe that Angus was quite large.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 17, 2005 4:38 PM | Report abuse


I'd rather watch Throne of Blood another fifty times than watch one more second of any of Stallone's movies. Pure treacle.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 17, 2005 4:38 PM | Report abuse

They mentioned the original Amityville. However, she said she did not stay to the end (too scared). It was the longest she stayed at any horror movie.

Another guy just chimed in that Gramlins freaked him out...

Posted by: esskay | October 17, 2005 4:40 PM | Report abuse

(typing too fast)

Posted by: esskay | October 17, 2005 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I already posted earlier that no movies are scary in my book. The can be good, maybe even suspenseful, but to me not scary.

SCC watch:watched

I think the best "scary" movies are the parodies. But I did like the two "Final Destination" movies.

I don't think I'm making any sense.

I need some almonds and blorph to go with my liquid bread dinner tonight.


Posted by: omnigood | October 17, 2005 4:42 PM | Report abuse

how 'bout Alien? The "birth' of the creature is still one ofthe all time Boo! scenes.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2005 4:45 PM | Report abuse

dinner time showdown
what to eat, oh what to eat
almonds, blorph, and beer

Posted by: omnigoof | October 17, 2005 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Annonymouse: "Alien" Check. Best boo scene ever. That movie was better than any slasher movie since.

Posted by: CowTown | October 17, 2005 4:48 PM | Report abuse

And then there's the question of whether soup is a meal. I think it depends on whether you crumble crackers into it.

[Here the relevant Seinfeld episode is the one in which an annoying comedian colleage of Jerry's, Kenny Banya, gives Jerry a suit that has become too small for him because he's been working out. ("I'm huge.") He tells Jerry he can repay the gesture by taking him out for a meal at a nice restaurant. But when they get to the restaurant, Kenny decides he isn't very hungry and so will just have soup and "save the meal for another time." Jerry tries to argue that he doesn't have to take Kenny out again, that Kenny has "had his meal," but Kenny insists, "Soup's not a meal!" Eventually Jerry gives the suit to an annoying British friend of Elaine's (who is "one of those bounders"), just to get Banya off his back.]

[One of these days we're gonna have to discuss the Crazy Joe Davola episodes. Now HE is scary.]

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Did I kill the 'boodle again? Just call me Crazy Psychopath Achenfan.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 5:11 PM | Report abuse

That would like cool on a marquee: ACHENFAN BOODLEKILLER! I'll start on a film treatment.

Posted by: CowTown | October 17, 2005 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Scarier than the BTK killer. (And that guy is pretty, pretty scary.)

Posted by: Achenfan | October 17, 2005 5:21 PM | Report abuse

When I read this, I found myself giggling because I feel the EXACT SAME WAY AS JOEL about lunch! I work a couple of blocks from the WH, and the choices are either REALLY nice restaurants or Subway, High Noon, Corner Bakery, Starbucks, Au Bon Pain. Repeat. There is one decent sushi place and I inevitabilty find myself there at 2:00 p.m. ordering the same veggie gyoza and a Philadelphia roll three times a week, at least. It's better than McDonald's, though!

Posted by: pls | October 17, 2005 5:21 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: pls | October 17, 2005 5:22 PM | Report abuse

...judith miller seems to have been allowed
too much discretion for too long...the wmd
story failure...then this dramatic going
to jail to protect who? or promote herself and some coming tell all book?..the NYT is
a good paper where someone has failed the
basic rules of story management...........
....if cell phones are allowed to be used
inflight i hope it also is required to go
sit out on the wing....this idea surely is
such a bad one...these devices seem to have
come with a curse on shared public spaces..
....FRIGHT NIGHT from 1985 is always a
favorite this time of year...chris saradon
is the vamp...roddy mcdowell the has been
late night tv scary movie show host...lots
of humor/horror...good special FX...:-)..
....DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL from 1951 is
still good SCI FI scare fare...the theramin
other worldly soundtrack bits...the special
FX for that time very well done..and klaatu
(michael rennie) and the robot gort put the
scare into the whole world...shape up or
else.......pertinent then...still is.......

Posted by: an american in siam.... | October 17, 2005 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the Mystery Science Theater 3000 post way up there: the first time I saw Invasion of the Pod People was on MST3000 and it was pretty good. Then I saw it sometime later (minus the peanut gallery) and realized what a creepy movie it is.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | October 17, 2005 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I can hardly believe The Mothman Prophecy came up as a scary movie. I was underwhelmed by it. The movie was filmed in a tiny little Pennsylvania town where my sister lives - she's an extra in it. The town has a bridge that is similar to the one in W VA where it happened. My sis was really starstruck by Richard Gere. And the filming was the most exciting thing that has ever happened there.

Night of the Living Dead was also filmed near that area, so it mentions towns that I know and uses some of the local news people of that time. It is pretty scary.

The Shining is the scariest movie for me. Even the book was hard for me to read - sent shivers down my spine. Nazi movies scare the heck out me too. I have dreams where I'm being chased by Nazis - they always get me...

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 17, 2005 5:33 PM | Report abuse

an american in siam

Thanks for the Fright Night reference. I'd forgotten about it. Fabulous horror-comedy.

Anyone seen the 50's classic, GOG?

Posted by: CowTown | October 17, 2005 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I can't too interested in the Judith Miller thing. Maybe because I don't understand it. Maybe because instead of protecting a whistleblower, or someone who is trying to get information out that the government is trying to suppress, she's helping protect high administration officials. So I have no sympathy for her, or the officials who were trying to discredit Joe Wilson and his wife. Put them all in jail. Talk about high crimes and misdemeanors - she wrote stories fed to her by the administration that got us into a war that we should not be in. I wonder if she feels any guilt for the soldiers who have been killed or wounded or put in harm's way. Not likely. The one thing I remember from the story I read about this Sunday was that she said "I'm not a dope." Well, I think she is, because she can't tell the truth from lies fed to her by those in power.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 17, 2005 5:43 PM | Report abuse

SCC - I can't get too interested...

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 17, 2005 5:45 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, what is GOG?

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 17, 2005 5:46 PM | Report abuse

The scariest book I remember reading as a kid was "The Other" by Thomas Tryon.

My mother never let me watch scary movies--all my friends watched "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" and "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" and even "Psycho," but I didn't see them until I was an adult--as a matter of fact, I still haven't seen "Psycho"--but I've "read the book"--there is a scene by scene picture book of the movie, seriously. I guess I really do deserve my moniker...

There was a book of short stories that was passed around my school when I was 12 or 13 and I had it for a long time, I think it was called the Sea Green Horse or something like that. "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was in it, and there was also a story about some kind of creeping mold or crud that ate somebody's house--that made an impression, and I think about it sometimes when I'm cleaning my bathroom.

Posted by: Reader | October 17, 2005 5:52 PM | Report abuse


I don't remember the whole plot, but GOG was the name of a robot supposedly designed by the US military. It looked kind of like a wood chipper on catapiller treads. I think what happens is a sabateuer (sp?) gains control of GOG and everything else in this subterranean lab and kills a bunch of the film's charactors. It's deliciously tacky. But to me as a young boy, it was a scary "bad robot" movie.

Posted by: CowTown | October 17, 2005 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Reader |

Wasn't The Other about a boy and his murderous "Twin?" There was a movie based on that story that was absolutely chilling.

Posted by: CowTown | October 17, 2005 6:02 PM | Report abuse


Yes, the "good twin" was in a mental hospital and he was soooo creepy. At the time I read it I had never seen the plot device before; I was young. Of course most adults would see it coming but I was really knocked over by the plot twist. Great atmosphere. I read the Amityville Horror, but it didn't do anything much for me.

Posted by: Reader | October 17, 2005 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The Other is creepy - I read the book, which scared me enough not to want to watch the movie. Psycho scares the heck out of me too - the music, and knowing what is going to happen in the shower - ack. I had trouble taking showers when I was alone in the house after seeing that.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 17, 2005 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Reader, was it you who was talking about hiking in the Blue Ridge? Have you read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson? It's about hiking the Appalachian Trail and it's a hoot.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 17, 2005 6:20 PM | Report abuse

RD Padouk posted, 'Joel, perhaps you should consider lunching on leftovers. I am sure you have some about. You led us to believe that Angus was quite large.'

If I had a coffee, I'd have spit it.

Posted by: dr | October 17, 2005 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't get all the fuss about the Judith Miller thing, that is, the complaining that she hasn't come out with a big story. She committed an act of principled civil disobedience by refusing to testify and was duly sent to prison, no surprise. A waiver of confidentiality agreements signed under coercion is no waiver at all, so she did right as a matter of principle to keep her source confidential. What about the @$$hole who let her sit in jail for nearly 3 months before he finally came out with "I SAID I released her. What more was she waiting for?" Libby is not criminally culpable, but he certainly showed that either he really does have something from which to hide so that his release shows moral backbone; or, he has little moral backbone and he simply wanted to stay out of the public eye.

What always made Miller's case interesting was that she was the center of a journalistic confidentiality story in which she had NOT written anything about the matter at hand. I always assumed that the prosecutor was simply testing whether that made it difficult for her to claim the shield of confidentiality. She chose not to cave in to pressure, in order to avoid granting the prosecutor's wish, which would have been the first slippage down the slippery slope. She didn't write anything significant since prison because there was never a legitimate story for her to write -- there was no way to write about the disreputable activities of the Bush administration without revealing the kind of information that the Bushies were trying to disclose disreputably (although Ray would claim that she was actually in cahoots with them -- but how did she get into a cahoot by not revealing what they wanted revelead?); and she had no legitimate story to write about the actual fact of Plame's employment. If the recent story in the NYT is lame, isn't that because there was no story there to begin with? The Judy Miller story is NOT about Plamegate, Judy Miller's story is about the continual effort by prosecutors, once every decade or so, to test the limits of journalists' loyalty to the principle of confidentiality. Plamegate is an important story -- it just seems that it's not Judy Miller's story, and people are getting all upset that she hasn't produced a stunning report showing why we've been obsessing over her. She wasn't protecting a source, she was protecting a principle. Just as the ACLU protects the right of free speech for scum and vermin, she was protecting journalistic confidentiality even when the confidante is a dirtbag, because the next time a prosecutor wants a journalist to squeal, it may be for a matter that has more moral standing. It sounds like a good story to me, but it's only peripherally about the outing of Valerie Plame.

Posted by: Tim | October 17, 2005 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Any movie starring Barbra Streisand.

Posted by: kt | October 17, 2005 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I just remembered another movie that scared me as a kid: "5 Million Years to Earth".

It was one of those UK-produced "Professor Quartermass" Hammer B-movies, but better than the other ones I remember. An interesting mix

I think Joel hit the whole Judy Miller thing on the head this morning when he referred to it as a "train wreck". Other than Miller's going to jail to not reveal sources, it's tough to say if there was anything noble or well-thought out about any of it.

CowTown, get to work on the screenplay for "All the President's Women".


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 7:22 PM | Report abuse

bc writes:
CowTown, get to work on the screenplay for "All the President's Women."

Sorry to inform you, bc, but that was the title of a great op-ed by Maureen Dowd about two weeks ago. You're just gonna hafta be quicker on the draw, humor-wise. In the showdown at high noon at the O.K. corral, you'd be a goner!

Posted by: Loomis | October 17, 2005 7:34 PM | Report abuse

A comment on my comment. The date of the Dowd column, "All the President's Women," is Oct. 5.

As I recall, Dowd profiles Rice, Hughes, and Miers.

Posted by: Loomis | October 17, 2005 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Also, this evening on ABC (television) News, reporter Martha Raddatz shows, on camera, an Iraqi voting this past weekend not one--but seven times--for the Iraqi constitution. One has to wonder how much voter fraud there was in this most recent Iraqi election?

I can't help but recall Sy Hersch's piece in the New Yorker about the Bush administration manipulations before the Iraq election previous to this past weekend's.

Posted by: Loomis | October 17, 2005 7:50 PM | Report abuse

it's Sy Hersh, who, btw, would be a great one to do the Judy Miller Story as a TV movie. that's all it merits.

you can bet, she won't be the heroine.

Posted by: melvin/a | October 17, 2005 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Crazy Psychopath Achenfan, whoever you are--

Me thinks there's a rule not oft stated:

Only J. Achenbach can "kill" the boodle.

Others can smother or divert or repel or stink it up, but not put it to death.


Posted by: Detritus | October 17, 2005 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, the panda cub has a name - Tai Shan.

I think the next Boodle Porching Hour should be at the zoo.

Posted by: Caged Rabbit | October 17, 2005 9:16 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, I'm guilty of being asleep at the wheel. I'm sure I would do better and if someone paid me to write this stuff. In the meantime, I all I have to offer is my freeware...

And I was indeed assigning Ms. Miller to the the President's Protocol Harem with the other ladies you and Ms. Dowd mentioned.

I left some easy jokes there for anyone not watching the Colts play the Rams on MNF (ah, Hunter S. Thompson, where are you now?).


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 9:22 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Last sentence, 1st pgph 9:22:07: "In the meantime, all I have to offer is my freeware..."


Posted by: bc | October 17, 2005 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Other than the ghoulish physiognomy, sycophantic submission to unseen powers, and sharp elbows, Judy Miller has nothin in common with Gollum.

Posted by: HST | October 17, 2005 10:01 PM | Report abuse

has anyone explained why Niger would have yellowcake?

has anyone expalined the pissing contest between the CIA adn White House (including why George "Slam Dunk" Tenet would get the medal of freedom and Bush would accuse the CIA of influencing a presidential election)?

a little help on this Joel?

A backdrop to the tensions have been accusations from some Republicans that the agency sought

over the summer to undermine Mr. Bush's re-election. Mr. McCain, in suggesting that the agency

had been disloyal, has singled out the disclosure of intelligence reports about Iraq whose

conclusions were at odds with administration assertions about the war.

...Still, the memorandum that Mr. Goss issued last week advised his employees that the

agency's job was to "support the administration and its policies" and to do nothing to

associate themselves with opposition to the administration.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2005 10:12 PM | Report abuse

November 25, 2004
2 Top Officials Are Reported to Quit C.I.A.
NY Times

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2005 10:21 PM | Report abuse

From Sunday's Times:



This is a land of thatch-roof mud huts and malnourished children, of whom one in four dies by the age of 5. It's the very least developed country in the world, according to the U.N., and lives here can be saved for pennies.

Posted by: A senior administration office | October 17, 2005 10:30 PM | Report abuse

It's okay to cry, it's okay, men, in Southern California, if you are surrounded by other men who cry. We are hulking competitors in a full contact sport that Europeans don't understand, but it's okay to cry, as long as someone is watching.

Nobody is watching you Judy, except the roots of the aspens, who grasp you, like my release...of confidentiality.

Posted by: Matt Leinart | October 17, 2005 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Tai Shan, the Panda, is sooooo cute. Could we make him the archenmascot?

Saw Dracula, the play, last weekend. Pretty scary.


Posted by: boondocklurker | October 17, 2005 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Says bc: "I just want to know, it safe?"

You'll have to explain to me what you mean before I can answer.

Posted by: suecris | October 18, 2005 12:13 AM | Report abuse

bdl, I second your motion to make the baby panda, Tai Shan, the achenmascot. Everybody say, "Aaaawwww."

Posted by: Caged Rabbit | October 18, 2005 12:44 AM | Report abuse


Yes, I read Bryson's Walk in the Woods--it was my introduction to his writing. Since then I've read his book about England, and Europe, and even his Big Book About Everything--I don't remember any of the exact titles right now, but they are all worthwhile and the travel books are always chortle-inducing.

Posted by: Reader | October 18, 2005 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Scary/humorous: Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode titled Lamb to Slaughter. Barbara Bel Geddes plays a meek, loyal,long suffering housewife whose husband tells her that he's leaving her for another woman. She gives him a fatal conk on the head with a frozen leg of lamb, roasts the weapon and then serves it to the detectives who are investigating the case.

Posted by: Nani | October 18, 2005 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Niger would have yellowcake because it's actually really easy to get/produce. Yellowcake was a red herring.

Posted by: jw | October 18, 2005 8:29 AM | Report abuse

suecris: You'll have to explain to me what you mean before I can answer.

bc, doing his best Lawrence Oliver Nazi doctor imitation:

suecris, is it safe?


Posted by: bc | October 18, 2005 8:48 AM | Report abuse


Your talking points are about a month old. Miller's stint in jail wasn't the result of a principled act of civil disobedience. Although no one can really be sure yet what her motives were, the puzzle just doesn't fit together that way any more. If she really was taking a stand, then why exactly did she seek to decieve her readers by refering to Libby as a "former hill staffer"? And why can she conveniently not recall where the "Valerie Flame [sic]" in her notes came from? And why did Libby seem so surprised that the reason she was still in jail was because she was protecting him?

Posted by: jw | October 18, 2005 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Linda Loomis,

While tearing out the latest page from my book lover's calendar, I found this:

Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed The Course of World War II
by Jennet Conant (Simon & Schuster, 2003)

Millionaires tend to be patrons of the arts, but Wall Streeet tycoon Alfred Lee Loomis threw his fortune behind the sciences. In fact, Albert Einstein described Loomis's private laboratory in his secluded mansion in Tuxedo Park, New York, as "a palace of science." There Loomis worked with some of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th century, including Enrico Fermi and Niels Bohr. And once World War II broke out, Loomis offered up his vast fortune and his enormous energy to devising mobile radar systems for fighter planes to defend Britian and the United States from enemy air raids. A compelling story, beautifully told.

Posted by: TV Presenter | October 18, 2005 9:23 AM | Report abuse

TV Presenter,
Yes, Alfred Lee Loomis is my distant cousin. His work had two primary thrusts: the MIT Rad (Radar) Lab, and his funding/promotion of the Berkeley cyslotron, which led to the Manhattan Project.

There were actually two Loomises invovled. F. Wheeler Loomis took over the day-to-day management of the Rad Lab, thus freeing up Alfred Lee Loomis to work with Ernest Lawrence and the Berkeley project. Both F. Wheeler and Alfred Lee are Deac. John Loomis descendants and both were physicists.

I come from a different branch of the family tree, but they both are Loomis cousins nonetheless.

Posted by: Loomis | October 18, 2005 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"Or one can look at the studies of the pre-technology centenarians. Were the fair, blonde Hunzacuts of Pakistan's Hindu Kush really descendants of Alfred the Great? They ate many apricots--is Vitamin A the secret to a long life?"

Close.. you'll find it is the nitrilosides found in the apricot seeds, the foodsource with the highest concentrate of nitrilosides.. or sometimes called vitamin B17.

Posted by: stOneskull | June 19, 2006 4:31 AM | Report abuse

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