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Boodle Getting Famous

    The Boodle is the buzz of blogworld. At CTBizBlogs, Sabine writes about "the amazing community that's sprung up in the comments" of the A-blog. (She heard about it from Stephen Baker in his Blogspotting column for Business Week; Baker took note of the large number of comments about the dog-pee item written by Tom Shroder.) She writes, "When readers leave comments on most blogs, the comments are usually about that particular post -- people weighing in with additional information, questions, corrections, opinions. But the comments on some posts here read almost like they're from discussion forums, with regular readers referring to comments made by other readers in past posts. The conversation weaves in and out of the posts and comments, and swirls around the various personalities who now know each other, online at least."

    More to the point, the Boodle operates even when the blog is otherwise inert, or, as we prefer to say, quiescent. This raises labor-law questions (such as the oft-noted issue of compensation and a benefits package for AchenTomDreamerFan) as well as the chronic concern over clubbiness (one of these weeks maybe we should have a Lurkers Week, in which people are allowed to comment only if they've never commented).

    Careful readers of the Boodle will recall that I've described it as an emergent phenomenon. The e-word is not loosely tendered. There are folks who describe this cosmos as being hard-wired for emergence. Thus matter emerges, galaxies emerge, life emerges, intelligence emerges, consciousness emerges, culture emerges, and finally, as the final step of Cosmic Evolution, the Boodle emerges.

    [Now if I could only figure out why TypePad thinks I'm an automated robot whenever I try to post a comment.]

    [More from the Boodle:

    TBG posts this from her spousal unit:

   I think you have to say viruses are alive, if by alive you mean members of the group "living things" and not "things that are currently working pretty good and are not yet 'dead.'" The two definitions get mixed up because we don't have different names for them. Viruses are "living things" in all respects. The big criterion is that they have a genome made of nucleic acids (although viruses like the flu virus are unusual in that the nucleic acid is RNA and not DNA). The fact that viruses can't live apart from a host cell and need the stuff in a host cell to replicate is bogus evidence that they are not "living things." It is like saying people are not living things because they cannot exist without eating food (mmmm, food). Richard Dawkins suggests that the term "living" might be applicable to any self-replicating thing. There could be critters (a technical term) on other planets that have genomes of some exotic stuff we don't even know about. He suggested ideas (memes he called them) were living things. Certainly by this definition computer viruses are living things.

    Dear TBG Spouse: Memes are not alive, no matter what Richard Dawkins may tell you. Some people fall in love with a notion and fail to see its blemishes. This is also true of the Gaia Hypothesis, the idea that the Earth has properties of a living thing. Quite true -- there are feedback mechanisms among the biology, atmospheric chemistry and geology of the planet that tend to keep the planet habitable -- but the Earth is not alive (unless you live in a commune somewhere, in which case the Earth is not only alive, she's really ticked off at the human race). Computer viruses have certain properties that remind us of living things, but they're not self-sustaining chemical systems and don't meet any standard definitions of life. Someday a computer program may achieve some elements of consciousness, but keep in mind that simply being attentive to a problem, or having a name for oneself, or being able to respond to a question, isn't what consciousness is about. To be truly conscious you have to be able to form a sense of regret for what you haven't done in the past and probably won't be able to do in the future. You need to combine scenario-building with some kind of irrational, self-defeating angst.

    As for viruses, I'd vote for them being alive, but my vote doesn't actually count. They're alive-ish, at the very least. Of all the requirements for life, the most crucial is the ability to evolve. If something doesn't evolve, it's not alive. Crystals replicate but don't evolve; thus they're just a bunch of dumb rocks.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 13, 2005; 2:33 PM ET
 
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Next: Look Both Ways

Comments

Or, as a very wise gentleman once said,

"Take enough far-out gee-whiz ideas and mix them together in a vat and something alive and conscious and technological will burble from the slime."

-- from "Captured By Aliens," by Joel Achenbach

[Taken from my personal copy, which is another "one of those ridiculous looking Captured By Aliens paperbacks that make it appear to be a book with actual aliens in it."]

Posted by: Achenfan | December 13, 2005 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Endangered Species indeed!

I thought of David Sedaris.

Posted by: sisjen | December 13, 2005 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Loved your thanksgiving story, L.L. I just didn't think that you would give us another great story. The one with your Dad and the turkeys was sublime.

Posted by: sisjen | December 13, 2005 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Joel, just like when you suggested awards, I was way ahead of you (in my own mind) on Lurker Week. I hesitated to suggest it, but I hereby endorse the idea. You know how many lurkers there are, or at least Hal does, so you know what percentage of participation you're getting. I think you could up the percentage by having Lurker Week (or, maybe--let's not get carried away--Lurker Day or Two). You would definitely need to babysit, to encourage the newbies, and it would be fun to watch.

Posted by: Reader | December 13, 2005 3:01 PM | Report abuse

And no fair just changing your handle to look like a newbie lurker (not that any one of us would even think of doing such a thing - in fact, I'm so ashamed of even raising the issue, I'm I'm going to beat myself with my USB connector, if I can find it...)

Posted by: CowTown | December 13, 2005 3:10 PM | Report abuse

This is the Final Step?

I think some people are going to be disappointed about the lack of beer volcanoes, stripper factories, houris, valkyries, mead, harps, angels, saints, enlightenment, and general eternal bliss.

Ah well, whether we're already in Nirvana or StoVoKor or wherever, there's probably a Boodle Porching Hour coming up.

On a final note, if I represent part of final step of Cosmic Evolution, somebody should get their money back.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 13, 2005 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Plus, when we couldn't air our voluminous opinions over here at A-blog, we'd probably hang out at one or more of our many spin-off blogs. That would strengthen them and encourage the blogosphere emergence dynamic, which is also a measure of the vitality of Achenblog.

Posted by: Reader | December 13, 2005 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I say start small; Lurker Hour, appearing randomly with appropriate forewarning (e.g., 15 minutes).

Labor laws?? This is a labor of love, obviously!

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 13, 2005 3:13 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, it would be the honor system. We can "handle" that. Ha.

Posted by: Reader | December 13, 2005 3:14 PM | Report abuse

This Kit has just been updated, fyi.
About Lurker Week: Maybe we should make it that week betwixt Christmas and New Year's when the blog will be dead anyway. The darkest week of the year. Seriously the blog will be completely shut down and a No Trespassing sign posted. I'm going to be off and won't even be around to do my policing and Boodle-sniping.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 13, 2005 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Wow. We're awesome! The celebrities of the blog-comment world. In fact, I have Geek Weekly on the phone right now about a photo shoot.

Posted by: jw | December 13, 2005 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I won't be around that week, either, so I'm fine with that being Lurker Week because I wouldn't be tempted to post out of order. Or the next week, I'll be on the road headed back to school and then moving into my new apartment and all that. So, again, I wouldn't be around to be tempted by the K'n'K and Lurker Week would remain unblemished, unless other regulars couldn't resist the urge.

Posted by: Sara | December 13, 2005 3:22 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, if NASA succeeds with that countertop meat machine, you're going to need a new handle anyway. You could do a "Prince" on us and become "the Boodler formerly known as CowTown" and have your own special ASCII symbol.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 13, 2005 3:23 PM | Report abuse

jw, only say yes if they agree to fly in the regular Boodlers from out of town!

Posted by: slyness | December 13, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

We need more themed weeks, that's for sure. This blog could use a tiny bit more structure. It needs that blogroll. It's needs the new non-geeky photo that makes me look like a man. It needs photos. It needs a special section for science and a special section for Boodle self-indulgence and a special section for Food Related Items. It needs a politics module. It needs a literary module, though I have a feeling that would be largely empty most of the time. It needs a Sports section and perhaps a horoscope in which, for example, a Capricorn would read things like, "If you think for some insane reason that the stars have anything to do with what's going to happen to you today, you will stub your toe."

Posted by: Achenbach | December 13, 2005 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Boss, no fair! Let's let lurkers post during Normal Operating Hours! At least one hour. We could get new blood (ummm, blood) and let newbies post without feeling intimidated. As for the snipers, at least they'll be contained to a brief period.

Question: What are we supposed to do with ourselves between Christmas and New Years? Write thank-you's? Sheesh.

Posted by: CowTown | December 13, 2005 3:28 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, what exactly are the symtpoms of Boodle Withdrawl? Palpitations? Dry heaves? Sweaty palms?

First Dallas and Detroit on Thanksgiving. Now this. I may wind up having to converse with Mrs. Curmudgeon and all the little Curmudgeons abd Curmudgeonettes that week. Ack! O the horror, the horor!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 13, 2005 3:29 PM | Report abuse

SCC: horror

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 13, 2005 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh my gosh, Joel.

I hope you don't think my spousal unit really thinks that computer viruses are alive. He'll never let me channel his 'boodling again.

Posted by: TBG | December 13, 2005 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I will spare you all a re-hash of my extremely unorthodox views re. the need for and likely success of a "Lurkers Week."

Posted by: Tom fan | December 13, 2005 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Modular blogs?

For some reason the phrase "Resistance is Futile" is coming to mind.

Is a blog with structure still a blog? Just think about the possibilities for not only boodling out of order, but boodling in the wrong section out of order...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 13, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse

That week is perfect for me as I'm off work, and I rarely read the K&K when I'm off because I'm a dunce who still uses a dialup at home.

Also I don't suffer from boddling withdrawal, it's boodle catch-up when I'm busy with work catch-up that's my problem.

Posted by: omnigood | December 13, 2005 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Remember the 'boodle mantra: Just click 'Post.'

Posted by: TBG | December 13, 2005 3:36 PM | Report abuse

SCC:boddling=>boodling. Told ya I'm a dunce.

Posted by: omnigood | December 13, 2005 3:37 PM | Report abuse

TBG: Did I misquote your spousal unit? I should be more careful with other people's words; with my own I'm fetishistic in my micro-management.

Here's a good piece in Slate by Bryan Curtis about Frank Rich: http://www.slate.com/id/2131911?nav=wp

But let me note that, when I run the Washington Post Company, I'm not going to let any subsidiary units mention anyone at Brand X.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 13, 2005 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Belated SCC: "On a final note, if I represent part of a final step of Cosmic Evolution, somebody should get their money back."

Sigh.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 13, 2005 3:41 PM | Report abuse


LindaLoo, I'm re-posting this here, cuz I'm confused as to where we are now.


Loomis,
I don't know what Texas has for liquor stores, but up here anywhere with a decent beer selection will have it. Usually it is packaged the same way as beer - the best ciders I have had are Irish, they tend to be drier, which I prefer. You can also find apple wines, which are basically the same thing only not fizzy, and those are usually found wherever has a good wine selection.

Posted by: LP | December 13, 2005 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of Lurker Week, but I also think they should get a prime time slot.

bc,
You're right of course. Any final step of Cosmic Evolution that includes you should have a money back guarantee.

Posted by: TA | December 13, 2005 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Joel.. you didn't misquote him, I think he just came off as a little misunderstood. I think he should have added a "but" in front of that line about by those standards computer viruses are living.

But he was only writing all that to me in an email and I asked for permission to 'boodle it (Is that a verb now--To 'boodle?), so he wasn't careful enough with his words since he didn't write it for publication--and he knows that I don't think he thinks computer viruses are alive.

Posted by: TBG | December 13, 2005 3:47 PM | Report abuse

He'll think it's cool, though, that you quoted him anyway, I think.

Sigh.

Posted by: TBG | December 13, 2005 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Holiday greeting that goes along with the cover of Aliens Captured: "I Believe", open hoiday card, "The Spruce is Out There".

When I first found out there was no Stanta Claus. My dad had gone outside to find the easter bunny, and kill it with a stick. Through my tears, my brothers told me that there was no Stanta either.

Posted by: sisjen | December 13, 2005 3:51 PM | Report abuse

TBG:
The word "boodle" can indeed be used as a verb. I also like omni's "boddle" -- that could be used to describe Boodling Gone Wrong (as it often does).

Posted by: Tom fan | December 13, 2005 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Boddle: Boodling Gone Wrong, hahaha, Tom Fan you're slaying me over here.

Posted by: omnigoof | December 13, 2005 3:55 PM | Report abuse

You know, reading those links in Joel's kit about blogging and metablogging and trackbacking (or is it backtracking), I feel like the old man at the end of the movie "Moonstruck."

I'm so confused.

Posted by: TBG | December 13, 2005 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy, lurker week! I can't wait, and neither can my friends Ozuguy and Nakadaiguy and Shimuraguy and Inagakiguy!

Posted by: mifuneguy | December 13, 2005 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I believe Lurker Week (or Day or Hour) will be for lurkers (people who read the blog, but don't post) not interloper(s).

Posted by: omnibad | December 13, 2005 4:01 PM | Report abuse

But wouldn't an Interloper Free For All Hour be riotous fun?

Posted by: CowTown | December 13, 2005 4:05 PM | Report abuse

re the 3:32:44 snort: BusWeek will also note what an attractively small, not just clubby, the group is. And the self-glorifiers like it that way. They have found: It is about you. YOU you you. Give yourself a big hug, but not there.

It was interesting that Ms. Omodudu showed up this week after the beating she took from the unterblogger a few weeks ago. Too bad she is not deemed genuine enough to be a participant on a continuing basis.

When JA, praised be He but never critized, relegates "lurkers" to a dead time, it shows that he knows how to but the cult in cultivate.

Posted by: FachenA | December 13, 2005 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Joel,

What eating club did you say you were in?

Posted by: omnigasm | December 13, 2005 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I am in favor of Lurker Week, with the proviso that all Interlopers be subject to a full body-cavity search at the door.

Posted by: Creamer | December 13, 2005 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Suggestion: We could all start posts with "I'm a first-time boodler." Sort of ike a radio talk show.

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 13, 2005 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The word of the day, sponsored by gallstones.

Main Entry: qui·es·cent
Pronunciation: -s&nt
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin quiescent-, quiescens, present participle of quiescere to become quiet, rest, from quies
1 : marked by inactivity or repose : tranquilly at rest
2 : causing no trouble or symptoms
synonym see LATENT
- qui·es·cent·ly adverb

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 13, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

[Looks like Lurker Week/Interloper Free For All -- same diff! -- arrived early]

Posted by: Achenfan | December 13, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

BS

A good idea. Maybe each would, in turn, voice the following: I am a lurker/first-timer/interloper/. I will be forever. And, I have sinned and am not qualified to be a continuing membre of this blogg. That said, I have this to sayy...blah blah. And then each can say what they think about the dozen people who comprise the blog on a continuing basis.
What do you think?

Posted by: Cordova | December 13, 2005 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I have a general question. Was there talk recently of doing a FAQ for this blog, or was that just in weingarten's chat? Or am I just thinking of the recommended blog links dear leader was speaking of?

I'm still totally confused today. First no kits, then two. I can't keep up...

Posted by: LP | December 13, 2005 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I distend

Posted by: Cow Town | December 13, 2005 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I think that by now any lurkers still out there would probably stay that way even if there was a Lurker Week.

Posted by: omnigood | December 13, 2005 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Wait.. there's nothing wrong with Lurkers. There's nothing wrong with Interlopers, either.

The problem is mean people. To [mis]quote an old bumper sticker, they just suck all the time.

Posted by: TBG | December 13, 2005 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Achenfan: I think you're right. The 4:25:34 PM is bogus. Here's the downside to having a Interloper Storm: It would be a sniper's free-for-all. Good side: The regulars wouldn't read it anyway.

Posted by: CowTown | December 13, 2005 4:28 PM | Report abuse

TBG

Define mean. We haven't seen mean for weeks, but I don't check in for days at a time and may have missed it.

Give us some examples, plz.

Posted by: Goombah | December 13, 2005 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Returning from our honeymoon in Mexico in 1970, Mrs. K and I were subjected to full strip and body cavity searches by U.S. Customs. It was not funny.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 13, 2005 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Obviously I can't speak for all lurkers (especially since I have posted two or three times before which might disqualify me depending on the rules), but to me having a Lurker Whatever would be a disappointment. What keeps me reading the boodle (when I really should be doing other things) is all of the interaction among the more loquacious members of the group. The idea of a Lurkers Week that just encouraged lurkers to participate without prohibiting the regulars would be good. A lurkers only boodle would be sort of like a Black History month event to which only African-Americans were invited (well, not exactly, but hopefully you get the idea).

Posted by: ABJunkie | December 13, 2005 4:30 PM | Report abuse

[roger that, Cow Townne]

Posted by: Fachen Fan | December 13, 2005 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I should have known that was bogus, CowTown. There's a space between "Cow" and "Town."

Posted by: Tom fan | December 13, 2005 4:31 PM | Report abuse

kguy,

were you carrying, man?

Posted by: Goombah | December 13, 2005 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Maybe every blog has a Loper as part of its natural ecosystem. But I think this blog needs more than just the one yowling Loper. I'm bored with the one Loper. We'll have the Lurker Week and then, separately, the Loper Week. During Lurker Week no one can post unless they've never or very rarely posted before. During Loper Week, only people who complain about the regulars can post.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 13, 2005 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Good eyes, AFan. I thought you backed up/saved every day several times so you could put in your Cray for key word and pattern searches, including for rotten handles. Ya know, using AI the way the supersleuths do. You run a mean blog. There's an opening for you in our Forces of Good, but please don't let them send yall to IIraq

Posted by: Cow+++Town | December 13, 2005 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Not to interupt (well, actually, yes, to interupt), but I'm chewing on this from Richard Cohen's column today:

"That entire collection of neo- and retro-conservatives -- George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and particularly Paul Wolfowitz -- made war not for oil or for empire but to end the horror of Saddam Hussein and, yes, reorder the Middle East.

"They were inept. They were duplicitous. They were awesomely incompetent, and, in the case of Bush, they were monumentally ignorant and incurious, but they did not give a damn for oil or empire. This is why so many liberals, myself included, originally supported the war. It engaged us emotionally. It seemed . . . well, right -- a just cause."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/12/AR2005121201251.html

All this comes in his discussion of "Syriana." Loomis, you just saw the movie. Is Cohen right (IYHO)? (I'm mean, right about the motivation. I have ABSOLUTELY no problem with "... inept... duplicitous... awesomely incompetent, and, in the case of Bush, they were monumentally ignorant and incurious.")

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 13, 2005 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Goombah:
You don't check in for days at a time?! Gimme a break -- you're here 24-7 (which is kinda Achentragic, dontcha think?)

The thing is, you ARE a regular. Maybe you think that should feel different to what it actually does feel like. I hate to break it to you, but this is as good as it gets. It isn't possible to *be* more included -- especially when you keep changing your handle.

[But why am I even having this needlessly nonsensical conversation?]

Posted by: Achenfan | December 13, 2005 4:37 PM | Report abuse

That's enough of that.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 13, 2005 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Nawww, Goombah, we were high on love! Seriously, there were only three people on the plane who were (1) under 30 (2) declared no alcohol (3) got held and searched and questioned. The other poor schmoe was still there when they let us go after 3 hours, and all he had was a backpack and a mandolin. I had taken the precaution of cutting my hair way short, so maybe that made the difference. Who knows?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 13, 2005 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"the vandals took the handle."

Posted by: Bob Dylan | December 13, 2005 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Gallstones reference was, well, removed, surgically or otherwise, from the word of the day.

2 : causing no trouble or symptoms

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 13, 2005 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Did it again.

2 : causing no trouble or symptoms, (quiescent gallstones)

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 13, 2005 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Success.

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 13, 2005 4:54 PM | Report abuse

One way to get more lurkers to participate (if that is indeed the goal) is to respond when they finally do post a comment...

Posted by: ABJunkie | December 13, 2005 4:56 PM | Report abuse

You know, this is the only blog I read on a daily basis - and while I post infrequently, I'm not in favour a Lurkers Only week. The comments from the regular Boodlers are often - no offense Joel - funnier than the Kit.

Posted by: Paul | December 13, 2005 4:58 PM | Report abuse

ABJunkie, sorry if you felt neglected there, I think everyone was momentarily distracted by Mr. Loper.

Meanwhile, in something FAR more interesting than whether the Boodle is too insular, there's some kind of spat going on betwixt dot.com and The Post newsroom:

http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/12/13/frm_qa.html

Posted by: Achenbach | December 13, 2005 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that.

Posted by: ABJunkie | December 13, 2005 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Woah! So I just caught up on stuff and I completely missed the "jw's engaged" news! I feel as though I'm always gone when big things happen. This is what happens when you get lazy and decide that work is overrated and you don't need to be there for a day. And Linda is right, we're a happenin' group. Births and engagements and porching hours. I love the Boodle.

Congratulations jw!

Posted by: Sara | December 13, 2005 5:03 PM | Report abuse

ABJunkie:
(see! I'm responding!)
Again, that raises labor-law issues. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: People who post comments here are more likely to get a response -- from someone -- than people who post comments on Live Online chats. But ultimately there is no one person who is responsible for moderating the Boodle -- except when comments need to be deleted, which is where Joel and Hal step in -- so some comments may get overlooked, especially on busy days (e.g., when there are Tom's Dumb Question Kits or other Meaning of Life Kits).

[As Joel has said before, this is a sweatshop!]

Posted by: Achenfan | December 13, 2005 5:11 PM | Report abuse

[And you even got a response from The Great Achz himself, AB.]

Posted by: Achenfan | December 13, 2005 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Re: The Froomkin Affair

Someone on Weingarten's chat posted the suggestion that Froomkin's column be renamed White House De-Briefing. I like that. In addition to it being vaguely salacious, it also makes it clearer that it is a column instead of a news article.

Posted by: pj | December 13, 2005 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Getting debriefed. Sometimes fun. Sometimes not so fun.

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 13, 2005 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Ask K-guy about his debriefing upon his return from Mexico.

Posted by: TBG | December 13, 2005 5:31 PM | Report abuse

jw, you've really got to update your blog. Says nothing about your betrohel (nice summary of Hong Kong trip, though). Congratulations! It's a Good Thing!

Alright, Dan Froomkin is not objective. To the Right Wing Detractors: Wah.

Posted by: CowTown | December 13, 2005 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. Maybe this White House needs the k-guy treatment.

Posted by: pj | December 13, 2005 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I hereby retract the only two comments I've ever made (not counting this one, which I also hereby retract)in order to qualify as a bonifide Lurker, so that I can participate in all or any of the upcoming Lurker events(what to wear, what to wear...)

Posted by: slats | December 13, 2005 5:50 PM | Report abuse

geez - i hope jw already proposed and we didn't let the cat outta the bag early! i don't remember him saying it, i thought lindaloo guessed...
and yes, i did mention a achenblog faq/dictionary is in the works to identify the achenspeak to newbies (is that ok boss?)
lindaloo - i tried to find a place in texas that sold hard cider but the closest i got was fla (total beverage) - anyplace with high end beer and hard lemonade should see cider - you MUST try it! there's woodpecker (a bit sweet) and strongbow (a bit drier) - i KNOW you can get it via the internet (but i'm not sure about texas alcohol shipping laws)

Posted by: mo | December 13, 2005 6:03 PM | Report abuse

It's OK, mo -- he already mentioned it (in the "Giant Bird Flu Story Sighted" Boodle).
His exact words were:

"I'M ENGAGED! WAHOO!!!
Posted by: jw | Dec 10, 2005 4:05:10 PM"

Posted by: Tom fan | December 13, 2005 6:06 PM | Report abuse

My plan is to spread the rumor that JW got married BECAUSE of the blog. That the blog has already spawned not only one conjoining but at least one baby.

slats sez he/she has posted twice before, but I found only this:, from Oct. 21, the Saving Time Through Efficient Movement item:

"I'm glad to see others are finally jumping on the time-saving bandwagon - I've been spending week nights sleeping in my car parked in the Starbucks' drive-thru lane for the last 2 years, to be the first in line when they open at 6 am. So far, I figure I have at least 320 extra hours on the books..."

See you folks tomorrow.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 13, 2005 6:14 PM | Report abuse

This is all so flummoxing.

Posted by: Will | December 13, 2005 6:23 PM | Report abuse

phew! that's one of the kits/boodles i missed.
who's the baby we spawned? tai shin?

Posted by: mo | December 13, 2005 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Wait a second. JW's engaged? Congratulations. If I said that before, it shows that my mind's inbox is full and the outbox is hinky, and the sent items file is full of jibberish.

This work thing is really cutting into my boodling time and it has got to stop.

Posted by: dr | December 13, 2005 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Paul writes:
"You know, this is the only blog I read on a daily basis - and while I post infrequently, I'm not in favour a Lurkers Only week. The comments from the regular Boodlers are often - no offense Joel - funnier than the Kit."

Paul, what you said was funny and we love you!

Saw the Frank Rich article via the Slate link from Eugene Robinson's column this morning and enjoyed both pieces of writing, Robinson writing about Richard Pryor's artistry and brilliance and, surprisingly, as a comparison, the art/painting world.

The Froomkin brouhaha is several days old, now old news. The new Post ombudsman Ms. Howerton (I believe that's her name) wrote her Sunday article about how the Post newsroom/top Post political editor feels about Froomkin. Froomkin wrote a rebuttal and linked to it in yesterday's column, I believe. I come down on the side of Froomkin, especially his last 'graph. His back stories of the White House are priceless and more reporters should be as challenging and as fact-checking as he.

Mudge, you want me to review the movie "Syriana"? I've come from a long afternoon of running errands around town. (Soon, I hope to get to your article about Sunday drives, and will then respond.) First, I'd have to read Cohen's piece and am eager to do so. Then I'll have to think about it--what Cohen said, what I saw, and perhaps a comparison or two to "Traffic."

Let me say this, I was standing outside our nearby theatre as my husband was purchasing our tickets. I was right in front of the movie poster for "Syriana," which features George Clooney with his mouth and eyes *that seem to be* bound with strips of cloth. This is a tip, if you will to Robert Baer's book, "See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism."

Apparently Clooney's Baer can speak no evil either. The dark portion of the poster over Clooney's/Baer's mouth is actually an advertising snipe to promote the words "Everything is Connected" and doesn't completely "wrap" Clooney's face.

If anything, the movie made me want to read Baer's book. It also made me wonder if the explosion of fuel tanks near London over the weekend had anything to do with terrorism--and about which there has been little detailed news of the explosion incident, other than the inital reporting that it was an accident, as it very well may be.

Perhaps a movie review from me in several day's time. But I have to fix dinner first. In several days' time, you will have had the opportunity to have seen the movie for yourselves, something I would recommend. Long story short: Gaghan does in "Syriana" what he did brilliantly in "Traffic"--take many disparate lives and threads and weave them together in a cogent whole.

If Joel wants a Lurker or 'Loper week of days or hours or minutes, that's fine by me, knowing full well that I'm one of the more loquacious contributors. I'm sure my husband would (unknowingly) appreciate the implementation of Joel's idea.

Posted by: Loomis | December 13, 2005 7:22 PM | Report abuse

We can all sleep more soundly, knowing that Achenfan has powered up her Cray and determined at 6:44 that someone who said he posted twice, actually posted just once, on October 21.

Creepy to be surveilled, eh? What's she got on YOU? Does it remind you of the 1930's in central Europe?

Posted by: FachenA | December 13, 2005 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Reaching way back to an earlier snippet: "H. G. Wells ... inventor of science fiction"

Not to raise a paternity issue or anything, but there is another candidate for that title, Jules Verne (1828-1905), for a number of famous novels in his fifty-four volume series Voyages Extraordinaires.

http://jv.gilead.org.il/biblio/voyages.html

Mathematics had a similar problem with so many worthy claimants to the title of "father of mathematics," but it was rather neatly settled when someone observed that "There have been many fathers of mathematics, but only one mother." [Emmy Noether]

Posted by: kp | December 13, 2005 9:13 PM | Report abuse

FachenA,
It was actually AchenBACH, not Achenfan, who made the comment about the person who thought he posted twice, but it really was only once. See the 6:14 p.m. comment.

And what type of Cray do you think Joely Bob was using: X-MP, Y-MP, or the Cray CS6400? Nice to know that you're conversant with the computing world? Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?

sisjen, thanks for the compliment. Like I said, my sister and I would stay there outside the turkey pens and try to imitate my father...Love to hear a little about your story, too--if either of you is willing?

Posted by: Loomis | December 13, 2005 9:26 PM | Report abuse

mo, it's Kansan (re your comment in the previous boodle about the kid who was suspended for speaking Spanish). Ha!

I'm so glad his father asked to see the written policy forbidding this (there was none). I read an article in the Sunday Seattle Times about this (probably from AP or the Post) - very good. I've never understood Americans' fear of foreign languages - well, there is that Seinfeld episode with the Koreans talking about Elaine...

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 13, 2005 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Joel, what do you mean the literary section of the boodle would be empty? We're quite well-read here, or at least we want to be! My reading list has quadrupled since I started boodling last summer.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 13, 2005 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh fine, after Christmas the Kit will be dark, Weingarten will be gone - have the news stories already been written? Just when I have a chance to boodle real time, too...I suppose I'll have to clean closets or something...

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 13, 2005 10:08 PM | Report abuse

This has nothing to do with current boodle topics, but is something I am sure that many on the boodle will appreciate. I was out shopping last evening picking up paperware and cups for festivius event in our office, and Walmart, purveyor of fine goods everywhere had run out of large bage and was sending people forth with their new purchases in... white kitchen garbage bags.

There's just something so, so, well, cosmically right about that about this picture.

Posted by: dr | December 14, 2005 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Mrs. Looms,

In reply: I am a computer scientist who works in a secure environment with very large systems. I either had on the wrong glasses or synapsed re attribution of the comment last night. I thank you for the correction.

Actually, Mr. Achenbach has all the tools to make such an analysis. Strangely, Achen Fan does the same kind of thing, and has--as part of ongoing investigations and boodle cleansing ops, it would seem. Probably does it through laborious logging, backups, etc. But she does it, including content analysis.

As it's all but impossible to be on the net during my days, I'll look in on the blog's sprightly conversations tomorrow am. Ta Ta.

Posted by: FachenA | December 14, 2005 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I hope Joel does a Kit on the whole Froomkin tiff. Personally, I like his little summary of left-leaning blogs and articles, but the point raised in the original Ombudsman column is valid. Many people don't know the difference between washingtonpost.com and the Washington Post. And you could very easily not understand that Froomkin is not a reporter for the paper. And it DOES raise a credibility issue if a large number of readers assume that this obviously left-leaning commentator is one of the people the Post has employed to report on the White House.

The interesting thing is that it seems that most people are on Froomkin's side, and for an interesting reason. They ignore the question of credibility; in fact they scoff at it. They complain that the Washington Post should be more critical of the administration, and that Froomkin provides a valuable service, since the Post reporters are apparently not doing their job. To me, credibility is a reporter's ablity to temper their opinions in such a way that they are able to report the facts in a critical manner, without any indication that their personal beliefs have bended their perception of events. And if one maintains this presupposition, then critics of the Ombudsman article actually wish the Post was LESS cridible. That it became a left-wing sounding board.

Am I in the minority that I thing that a newspaper adopting an obvious political slant on it's news pages is a bad thing? Personally, I think the paper is plenty critical of the current Administration (Washington Sketch is one example) but the paper is also fair in the reporting of facts. And hopefully, an intelligent reader is able to read these facts and form an opinion on their own. Opinion and slant on the newspages not only reduces credibility, it should be completely unneccessary, since an informed reader is able to form their own.

Posted by: jw | December 14, 2005 8:47 AM | Report abuse

And thanks to everyone for the congrats!

Posted by: jw | December 14, 2005 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Better to have the boodle quiescent that tumescent. You miss a day around here, you miss a lot. I vote against any further organization of the boodle. Josh from the Comics Curmudgeon ( http://joshreads.com/ ) put up a bulletin board to organize the out of control blog comment rambling and it nearly killed the community. Randomness is part of the allure of the boodle. You never quite know what to expect. Because no one expects the Spanish Influenza.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 14, 2005 9:01 AM | Report abuse

The boodle's main weapon is surprise and randomness...

The boodle's TWO main weapons are surprise, randomness and an almost fanatical devotion to Fearless AchenLeader...

The boodle's THREE main weapons are...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 14, 2005 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I love Stephen Hunter. Even when we don't agree, he's fun to read. Here's a line from today's review of the new King Kong-
"the death count is casually high, the tracer bullets that miss Kong atop the sky needle apparently sail on to pick off members of the Algonquin Round Table quipping over their martinis in the bar and nobody gives a damn or even thinks about it."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 14, 2005 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, just so you know our blogosphere is inclusive of any possible reference, please see jw's post below:

http://mojo-blog.blogspot.com/2005/10/no-one-expects-spanish-inquisition.html

Posted by: Reader | December 14, 2005 9:18 AM | Report abuse

jw, you raise the essential conflict in reporting. In the last 50 years or so, in the US, we have expected reporting to be as unbiased as possible. That's not historic; think Hearst and Pulitzer and yellow journalism at the turn of the 2oth century. It's not the norm in European journalism, either. But I think that the push for clarity and no bias is vitally important for a free press. We'll never geet there, but that's no excuse for not trying. Much of the problem with Froomkin is that there's only one side for him to comment on; if there were a liberal administration in power, it would be interesting to see what his commentary would be. The best example of the ability to skewer right and left is Garry Trudeau, but he's been at it for over 30 years and has had the opportunity to do in everybody.

Posted by: slyness | December 14, 2005 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I thought the first SciFi was written Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)

Posted by: omnigood | December 14, 2005 9:23 AM | Report abuse

For some reason I can't get worked up about "King Kong," even with Jackson behind the camera. As lovely as Naomi Watts is, as good an actor as Adrian Brody is, as goofy as Jack Black is, as good a CGI template as Andy Serkis is, it IS the same story. I think I'll enjoy reading the critics more.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 14, 2005 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Just incidentally, I saw Syriana last weekend with my spouse. I thought the most memorable aspect of the film was the visuals of the middle east--the cities, oilfields, palaces, people and so on. The plot was pretty thin. The theme, "everything is connected" is all very nice, but mostly the stuff in the movie was not pulled together credibly. I think LindaLoo has demonstrated the "everything is connected" theme much better than Syriana does. Basically, if everything is connected, then, so what? What I'm more interested in is when two particular things are more connected than average. Demonstrable cause and effect.

Plus, big warning: torture sequence, I can't describe it because I covered my eyes and ears and didn't experience it.

Also, my spouse hated the movie. As we were leaving, he was saying to the people around us, "That was a stupid movie, right?" "Total waste of time, do you agree?" and so on. He felt it didn't cover any new ground, that it just rehashed cliches.

We both agreed that George Clooney is very pleasant to look at. "Easy on the eyes" is the expression that came to mind as I watched him.

Posted by: Reader | December 14, 2005 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Many thanks, Reader, I could never doubt the blogosphere. :)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 14, 2005 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Shelley gets all the glory because it's a great springboard for a round of gossip over the incestous nature of the Romantics. SF as currently practiced is a more direct descendant of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, hopefully only metaphorically. The minute you start tracking back the SF-ish influences in all of literature, you race past Icarus and Daedelus making flying wings and keep going to Gilgamesh. And as in all pointless arguments it will end in a debate over definitions. Like what "alive" is and what "is" is.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 14, 2005 9:34 AM | Report abuse

And Scottynuke,

Thanks for the follow-through with the Python quotes. That was exactly what I was expecting of the Boodle. We are predictable in our randomness. The blogging embodiment of chaos theory.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 14, 2005 9:41 AM | Report abuse

What does incest have to do with it.
Who said anything about "as currently practiced"
Icarus, Daedelus and Gilgamesh: one word: mythology!

Posted by: omnigood | December 14, 2005 9:43 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, you are my kind of critic! Make all the connections back to the beginning of recorded time! Been a long time since I picked up Gilgamish, though. My first introduction to the Romantics was a biography of Elizabeth Medora Leigh, Byron's daughter by his half-sister. What a sad story: incest was only the beginning.

Posted by: slyness | December 14, 2005 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I'd add that the first chapter in the Book of Ezekiel in the biblical translation of your choice has some stuff of which hard SF is made.

I'd also toss in Voltaire's "Micromegas" circa the mid 1700's.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 14, 2005 9:57 AM | Report abuse

... Mythology, which today has been replaced by punditry.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 14, 2005 9:58 AM | Report abuse

You know I think some mitochondria back about a gazillion years ago thought up a story about living outside a cell (throw in a monster and some space ships). I think that might have been the genesis of science fiction.

Posted by: TBG | December 14, 2005 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I didn't realize that the "Book of Ezekiel" was considered fiction.

And arriving on Earth from the star Sirius hardly constitutes SciFi.

Posted by: omnigood | December 14, 2005 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Just a short comment or two this morning:

Reader:
I thought the torture scene in "Syriana" was mild--Clooney's Baer character had only the fingernails on his right hand extracted with pliers--and I watched it. I think the cases of extraordinary rendition employed by our own government are much worse than anything depicted by Hollywood in "Syriana."

Like you, I enjoyed the sights of the Middle East, and enjoy movies that convey me to locales as an armchair traveler--the Bourne Conspiracy movies as a case in point. "Syriana," if you stayed for the rolling credits, was shot in Morocco, Dubai, and Switzerland.

I must read Cohen's op-ed before making further comment.

jw:
As to the Froomkin tiff, I think Froomkin has found a reporting niche for his op-eds (does it really matter if his column comes via bits/bytes or the old fiber media?) and is outstanding at filling that niche--not your typical, run-of-the-mill reporter selling snowballs in a snowstorm.

Clearly, Fromkin writes op-eds, not hard news. If every political reporter at the Washington Post covering the White House were to write as Froomkin does, *then* we'd be in trouble as far as obvious bias.

Given the journalistic principles that guide Froomkin, as well as the Harvard group with which he is affiliated, I do believe that Froomkin would be just as hard on my distant cousin John Kerry (had he been elected), as he is on my even more distant cousin (time-wise) George W. Bush, who now occupies the Oval Office. For Froomkin, I believe, it's simply a matter of pointing out the President's (whoever he or she may be) strengths and weaknesses, or sucesses or failures.

As a sidebar or as a particular day's column, Froomkin could, I suppose, analyze the current Democratic party, but that's not the reporter's beat that he covers--it's the White House.

Posted by: Loomis | December 14, 2005 10:09 AM | Report abuse

And let's not forgot -- Lucien of Samosata, Johannes Kepler, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Jonathan Swift, also all writers who dabbled in what could be called Science Fiction (or what we acolytes of Harlan Ellison and Damon Knight prefer to call Speculative Fiction). Each used fiction to explore ramifications in the understanding of the natural world to the extent that it was understood in his day.

Verne and Wells pioneered in a solidly rationalist type of fiction -- the original "hard" science fiction, in which the plot progresses based on the behavior of humans interacting with a rationally-understood universe that required only small speculations into physics and other sciences beyond what was understood in their day. Definitely plot-driven fiction. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein would be more in the realm of "soft" science fiction, in that she had no technical understanding of the science on which her plot turned, and she did not require it; her story is about people and hubris, the nature of self-awareness and the meaning of life. All that squishy stuff. Ditto for the earlier writers I mentioned -- I doubt that Cyrano believed that one could harness the dew to fly up into the sky. Kepler took a voyage to the Moon in a dream, using it as a way to make exploration of celestial bodies a concrete concept. Swift gave pseudo-science and gobbledy-gook to his Laputans in order to satirize scientists of his day.

Not long ago, I found an amusingly deadly serious paper published in the 50's on whether Jonathan Swift really understood Newton's then-recent gravitational theory and encoded it into Gulliver's Travels. The conclusion of the paper -- naah, not so much, he just wanted to give the impression of erudition. Actual erudition was unnecessary to the story, maybe even counter-productive.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 14, 2005 10:09 AM | Report abuse

You're most welcome, yellowjkt.

And as far as I can see, science fiction IS today's mythology. Why the division? Can't all the literatures get along???

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 14, 2005 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Just an FYI:

Robert Kaiser, assistant managing editor of the Washington Post, will give his opinions about the current state of the presidency in an online WaPo chat today.

Posted by: Loomis | December 14, 2005 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Linda,

I agree with you that Froomkin fills a valuable niche, and generally I enjoy his column. I also think that the Ombudsman's (person's?) column was a little silly, because I don't really see how anyone could confuse Froomkin's column with news. But it is possible that people might think that he's a White House reporter, and that his online column is him saying how he really feels, and that therefore the Washington Post is a big left-wing rag with a bunch of bleeding-heart liberals on its staff; well, maybe that's a little extreme.

But did get a chance to read those comments from the blogs, or at least skim them? It's interesting to me that most of the commenters WANT the Post to be that left-wing rag. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised by that, but I am.

Posted by: jw | December 14, 2005 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, I have to disagree about Science Fiction being today's mythology. It CAN be, but it doesn't have to be. Mythology assigns meaning to the universe -- mere happenstance is transformed into The Way the World Had to Be. Some science fiction works that territory, but usually from the point of view of subverting easy explanations, rather than wrapping things up neatly with a bow. Of course, when I have read some Native American myths, I have been struck by the ethnocentrism of my understanding of myth -- many of these stories presuppose a much more surreal and arbitrary universe than European myth; a world in which the central message of the myth, to the extent that a European-lensed reader can understand it, ignores issues of plot and only casually assigns causes to observed phenomena. The concern is more commonly with the behaviors that constitute good character and virtue and cultural tradition. But of course, any attempt to generalize anything across the vast array of cultures that we European-derived folk call "Native American" is an exercise in hubris.

Posted by: Tim | December 14, 2005 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I was using the "incestous" word metaphorically since the Romantics were a pretty randy polyamorous bunch, although as slyness points out, some took it further than others. The origin tale of Frankenstein involves teen bride Shelley, her husband, and Lord Byron sharing ghost stories. One summary is here:

http://members.aon.at/frankenstein/frankenstein-novel.htm

Most definitions of science fiction include the use of current scientific ideas as the basis for extrapolation of the impact of science and technology on society. Frankenstein is an early example where "science" rather than magic is used as the premise of a fantastic story, hence its frequent citation as the first SF story. See, we're debating definitions already.

The line between fiction and mythology is thin. Lucas got a noseful of Joseph Campbell somewhere and decided he was making myths instead of well-written, entertaining movies.

Vonnegut said that the problem of being put in a pigeon hole labeled science fiction is that so many critics mistake it for a urinal.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 14, 2005 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon:
Is Cohen right (IYHO)? (I'm mean, right about the motivation. I have ABSOLUTELY no problem with "... inept... duplicitous... awesomely incompetent, and, in the case of Bush, they were monumentally ignorant and incurious.")

Cohen:
"George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and particularly Paul Wolfowitz --made war not for oil or for empire but to end the horror of Saddam Hussein and, yes, reorder the Middle East."

Curmudgeon,
Let me toss this question right back at you? Is this the reason that you think we went to war? Perhaps it would be easier to answer the question you posed to me yesterday, Mudge, if we knew more about Cheney's series of private energy task force meetings? Valero Petrol HQ is just down the road from me--I think their role in the oil-for-food program was highly underreported. Care to venture an opinion as to why we really waged the Iraq war, Mudge?

Posted by: Loomis | December 14, 2005 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Joel, this notion of a lurker week seems pretty interesting to me, but the timing is off. If you have a lurker week with no "regular" Boodle, how will the lurkers KNOW if there is also no Kit???

It seems only logical, Captain, that a Lurker week must occur during a time of normal Kit-production.

On the SF discussion, I am late to the party. Literally. I only started reading SF after college, and am hooked now. When The discussion of who wrote the first SF novel/story reminds me of a line about the discovery of America. What matters is not the Christopher Columbus was the first person to "discover" America, but that he was the last person to do so.

So who wrote the LAST first Science Fiction novel? Who made it mainstream?

Posted by: Kane | December 14, 2005 10:29 AM | Report abuse

jw writes:
It's interesting to me that most of the commenters WANT the Post to be that left-wing rag.

Jw, do you really think so? Perhaps the general public is just yearning for answers and honesty and detail--lots of detail. My lifetime best friend, whose son left for Iraq for his second tour on Nov. 28. and I had a phone conversation recently. Even she, a kindergarten teacher, says that Bush's mantra of "Stay the course" is boring and uninspiring--her adjectives, not mine.

Posted by: Loomis | December 14, 2005 10:35 AM | Report abuse

More about mythology: The area that really trucks in mythology definitely is politics, and history to the extent that politics recognizes it. History is a teacher to us all, but in politics, history is a justification. Anything you want to justify, you can justify through a "correct" reading of history, with appropriate embellishment and moral interpretation. All modern political actions can thus be seen as the righting of a grievous wrong in the past, justifying whatever preconceived political notion you may choose to espouse.

There are, of course, real grievous wrongs in the past that deserve to be righted. There are real lessons of history about what works and what does not, what produces justice and what produces injustice. The cynical abuse of history by some persons makes it that much harder to right the real wrongs and to make sensible choices, because all history is rendered suspect. It's even harder when you consider that this battle over the meaning and value of history has been fought since the first Western historians, Herodotus and Thucydides. Herodotus won, by the way, but Thucydides wrote a more readable book (I never did get far in my copy of Herodotus).

You are in luck, however; I happen to be exceptionally qualified and capable in understanding and interpreting history, and thus my judgements are infallible. Just listen to me, not those liars over there who claim the opposite of me. They are just wrong.

Posted by: Tim | December 14, 2005 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Re. SF-y stuff, I put a out quick-hit new blog item this AM, FWIW.

http://www.10thcircle.com/10/?cat=4

bc

Posted by: bc | December 14, 2005 10:40 AM | Report abuse

SciFi is myth: Two words (and a letter): James P. Hogan.

Posted by: omnigood | December 14, 2005 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I agree with jw, I thought the ombudsman's piece was a little silly.

Posted by: omnigood | December 14, 2005 10:48 AM | Report abuse

So, Tim, will you comment on the stylistic differences between Herodotus and Thucydides in the original? I'm glad to hear you're infallible, just share the word with us and we will consider it received!

Posted by: slyness | December 14, 2005 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I also thought it was a little disingenuous. When I started reading it, I thought, "Great! Some clarity on why sometimes the headlines are different than the print edition, why typos show up, etc." All of these would have been appropriate for an ambudsman column, closing with, "If you have problems with what was printed on washingtonpost.com, please write to them, rather than to us."

Instead, she switched gears and started writing about how the newsroom doesn't like Froomkin. Not only is this outside the Ombudsman's normal pervue, it's more than a little tacky. I don't go around talking about my office's little squables, and neither should a newspaper, especially not on the editorial page.

Posted by: jw | December 14, 2005 10:54 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "ambudsman" Yeesh.

Posted by: jw | December 14, 2005 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I'd have to say many variations of today's SciFi meet the basic definition of mythology -- explaining good v. evil in the world, writ now with lightsabers instead of Excalibur. SciFi does tend to focus on human emotions and actions and their consequences, just amplified with bionics, mutations, etc.

__________________________________


*fweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet*

I'm calling a humor foul on today's KidsPost -- the cyberdog mascot is hooked up to a Walkman, saying "My favorite music group is Three Dog Night." Kinda difficult to think of the primary KidsPost audience, born post-1995, listening to pre-1975 classic rock. Even if they sing "Joy to the World," I doubt they know the band. :)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 14, 2005 10:57 AM | Report abuse

*fweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet*

hahahaha

Posted by: omnigoof | December 14, 2005 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, you're reading KidsPost?

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 14, 2005 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes I get halfway through the KidsPost page before I realize it's KidsPost and not some weird Style section feature.

Posted by: jw | December 14, 2005 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, somehow I don't think the Post Kids' page is going to advocate Snoop Dogg.

"Ain't no fun" isn't exactly "Joy to the World".

bc

Posted by: bc | December 14, 2005 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of bad SF meeting mythology, let me offer L. Ron Hubbard for your consideration.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 14, 2005 11:17 AM | Report abuse

What, bc, you don't believe everything Hubbard ever wrote? He's the ultimate crackpot, isn't he?

Posted by: slyness | December 14, 2005 11:20 AM | Report abuse

please don't

Posted by: omnigood | December 14, 2005 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I sometimes forget the Post only has three pages of comics, yes... :)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 14, 2005 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Or is it that Lucas wrote a good scifi story that became myth? As did Star Trek.

The division between myth and scifi does become blurry over time, as the line does between most literature and myth. I've always thought that myth is a story, with real or fictional origins that becomes more than itself, that affects a culture's perception of itself.

Posted by: dr | December 14, 2005 11:26 AM | Report abuse

here's a new acronym for the boodle:

BOOO: boddle out of order.

Posted by: omnigood | December 14, 2005 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Kane, I think the idea of doing lurker week when there are to be no new Kits and the Kaboodle closed down was a joke. But then again I have tennis elbow.

Posted by: omnigood | December 14, 2005 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm currently suffering an identity crisis.

Posted by: omni | December 14, 2005 11:31 AM | Report abuse

and senselessness

Posted by: omni* | December 14, 2005 11:32 AM | Report abuse

and filled with prurient thoughts

Posted by: omnigasm | December 14, 2005 11:36 AM | Report abuse

New kit is up. Joel is trying to steer us back to talking about bird flu instead of our usual foobishness. Silly man.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 14, 2005 11:49 AM | Report abuse

bc, perhaps we could meet in the middle and agree that Lil' Bow Wow might have been an appropriate and recognizable choice?

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 14, 2005 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Identity crisis resolved (at least temporarily).

New kit, yeah.

Posted by: omnigood | December 14, 2005 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I are confused. What is this Boodler to which you refer? At West Point, it's the snack store.

Talk about identity crisis.

But beyond that, I think we have infringement here. Call JAG!

Better yet, get the ATLA on the line, if they aren't on with husky boys injured by evil Mickey D's, forced at gunpoint to biggie size against their will.

Cause I'm thinking Achen has deep pockets. Like mine, the holes add another 28 inches or so.

But I digest.

USMA (Woo Poo U) WebSite:

Barth Hall-The Camp Buckner extension of snack bar and Boodler service to
Cadet Field Training.

Official West Point Operations Order Excerpt:
Contract Boodlers catering for Day 0 and Day 1 and coordinate with the Arrival Station CIC; contract Boodlers catering for the Chairman's reception 2 NOV 05 and coordinate with the Reception CIC.
Contract the Mess Hall IAW Annex A. and coordinate the CEO lunch with the Senior Leader/VIP


Mission Statement: The Directorate of Cadet Activities (DCA) oversees extracurricular recreational, cultural, and social activities for the Corps of Cadets. DCA operates the Eisenhower Hall Theatre, the Cadet Restaurant, Grant Hall, Boodlers, the Cadet Store, and the Cadet Bookstore, and is responsible for the USMA Howitzer yearbook.

Please post a bagel with a schmeahh.

I'm starved.

.. and two hard boiled eggs.

Posted by: GovtStrangerThanFiction | December 14, 2005 12:13 PM | Report abuse

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