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The Literary Life, With Side Effects

    [From today's Rough Draft column.]

    Brunched with Updike at the Cosmos Club the other day, and we traded the usual literary-life horror stories. Pushy fans, thick-headed critics, impossible deadlines. I confessed my fear that literature no longer flows so easily from my pen. John laughed, said all artists feel that way. He told me to remember who I am: America's greatest author of fine-print prescription drug information.

   The kind words gave me a boost as I worked on the text for Zyklor (methylprophylacetinthelene-3-zinthrexyphyl), a drug that combats the spaciness that is common in people who overmedicate with Skangipex (another of my clients). I've written a passage that builds nicely, though it lacks the iambic pentameter that made the Skangipex text so sublime:

   "May cause anxiety, irritation, crankiness, fussiness, snippiness, persnicketyness, a sense of being just a little bit out of sorts, a general 'craziness,' flights of outright insanity, fidgetyness, sewing-machine leg, finger drumming, tongue clucking, pig grunts, sweaty feet, earbleeds, uncontrolled doodling, sniveling, unrememberable dreams, and a loss of libido so severe it's like your erogenous zones have just up and died."

   My editor dislikes that final verbal thrust, preferring that I compactify to the more technical "anorgasmia." To my ear the word is coarse. The industry has been crawling into the gutter ever since Viagra appeared. I said to my editor, "I write literary prescription drug information, not smut."

   Updike told me as we were walking to Kramerbooks (and, FYI, I persuaded him to take on the text for a new anti-inflammatory medication) that he's nearly finished with the operating manual for the John Deere 7000 Series Harvester Combine. I always tell Updike: You're bigger than machinery; stick to fiction and the occasional pharmaceutical text. But he just loves to describe the various sprockets and widgets.

    Click here to read the entire column.

   

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 4, 2005; 8:46 PM ET
 
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Comments

Anorgasmia. Is that really a word? Wow.

Boss, you made me laugh out loud with this one...better than Weingarten this week!

Posted by: Slyness | December 4, 2005 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Excelled column, Joel. Thank you. Now, I wonder if you could tell me how I can get a job writing assembly instructions for IKEA furniture? I admire the almost Zen-like simplicity of their instructions, when they actually use words, that is.

Posted by: CowTown | December 4, 2005 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Your last few Rough Draft columns have left me in awe. I think you have broken the code as to how to never again be accused of sounding like anyone else. I hope you continue to write these brilliantly absurd, and charmingly subversive, first person accounts.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 4, 2005 9:56 PM | Report abuse

This really is a fine column - glad I'm home so I can laugh with abandon. I love "persnicketyness" and "fidgetyness" and "uncontrolled doodling".

You have outdone yourself. "Method writer" - ha!

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 5, 2005 3:16 AM | Report abuse

Your blog is one of my favorites, and this column is special. Great satire.

Posted by: Hattie | December 5, 2005 5:29 AM | Report abuse

Ruh-roh. Gotta vaporize that quick.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 5, 2005 7:21 AM | Report abuse

I think you forgot "hairy tongue syndrome", (lingua villosa) a commonly observed condition of defective desquamation of the filiform papillae.

http://www.maxillofacialcenter.com/BondBook/mucosa/hairytongue.html

DEFECTIVE DESQUAMATION! The horror. The horror.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 7:40 AM | Report abuse

So is this a complete pack o' lies, Joel? Or have you ever "sold your soul"?

Posted by: ot | December 5, 2005 7:47 AM | Report abuse

This RD definitely had me snickering over my coffee yesterday morning.

There's some frolicsome wordplay in there.

bc

PS. I came in late, and hesitate to ask what had to be vaporized. On the other hand, perhaps it's better I that I don't know.

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Pack of lies. Totally. Though if you know of a way to fetch a good price for a soul, talk to me, I'll consider all offers.

This morning I have to go interview a scientist about a bunch of stuff I don't understand -- this is the story of my life -- and will try to put up a kit this afternoon. We are expecting snow, though there's a chance it will be just your basic Paralytic Flurry.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 5, 2005 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I just watched "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid", for the first time since it was in theaters. I love Rigby Reardons solution to Hairy Tongue Syndrome!

I wonder what Updike would think of this piece. Time to spread some rumours: The Upjohn Company was started by John Updike.

Of course, now Upjohn is owned by Pfizer.

Posted by: mizerock | December 5, 2005 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I just watched "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid", for the first time since it was in theaters. I love Rigby Reardons solution to Hairy Tongue Syndrome!

I wonder what Updike would think of this piece. Time to spread some rumours: The Upjohn Company was started by John Updike.

Of course, now Upjohn is owned by Pfizer.

Posted by: mizerock | December 5, 2005 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I love the Ikea instructions, CowTown. Every time I see the weird blobby with the squigly mouth to illustrate that he's assembling his shelves the wrong way, I laugh out loud.

Posted by: jw | December 5, 2005 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Whoops, sorry - I was TypePadded & forgot that there's no need to repost when they throw the letter test at you (formally known as a "Captcha").

= Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart

Posted by: mizerock | December 5, 2005 9:23 AM | Report abuse

An ingenious solution to getting around Captcha.

http://www.boingboing.net/2004/01/27/solving_and_creating.html

Posted by: mizerock | December 5, 2005 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Not to change the subject, but there's a new multicultural version of "Fiddler on the Roof" currently in an out-of-town tryout before they bring it to Broadway. There's a relatively new actor playing the role of Tevye, seen in the attached WaPo link singing "Tradition!"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/05/AR2005120500198.html

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Every chemical comes with a MSDS, a Material Safety Data Sheet. I think this might be a fertile field for a writer of your talents. Back in the Pleistocene before images were digital, there was this thing called "photography" which involved lots of stinky chemicals. There is one I remember particularly. It gave instructions on what to do if swallowed and began "If conscious, induce vomiting immediately." There was something about those first two words that always grabbed my attention. Fraught with meaning yet wonderfully concise, like maybe you were not going to have a lot of time for reading the MSDS!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I should add for the DC-area locals that the paralysis appears to have already started.

I love arriving at the office pre-pissed off. Just makes the morning that much more invogorating.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Google had the same reaction to "Zyklor" as I did:

Did you mean: Zyklon

Posted by: mizerock | December 5, 2005 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I think double-posting is the best indication of humanity...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2005 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I think double-posting is the best indication of humanity... humanity... humanity... *click*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2005 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The closest I came to being a "writer" was my job at a small real estate office, writing ads for teh Homes for Sale classified section of the San Antonio Light newspaper. "Honeymoon Haven for Newlyweds" and "State of the Art Fixer-Upper" (the boss made me delete "not for the faint of heart").

Now Curmudgeon's got me humming "If I were a rich man, yabba dabba dabba deedle deedle dum, all day long I'd biddy-biddy bum......"

Posted by: Nani | December 5, 2005 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I thought the vaporization comment was a continuation of the pack-of-lies theme; Joel was (I think) referring to the comment, "Your blog is one of my favorites, and this column is special. Great satire."

(Some of these manly types find it difficult to accept compliments.)

Posted by: Achenfan | December 5, 2005 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Nani;

Terribly sorry, but now Im seeing the Flinstones version of "Fiddler"... *LOL*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2005 9:32 AM | Report abuse

SCC: I'm sted Im...

Feh Humbug!!

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2005 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of drugs, tangential though the question may be, is there any truth to the rumor that Pfizer might have snagged the formula for Viagra from drug giant Upjohn?

Posted by: Jim BRODHEAD | December 5, 2005 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Hey.. c'mon... there's a lot of beauty in the phrase:

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 9:49 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I finally updated.

www.mojo-blog.com

Posted by: jw | December 5, 2005 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Um, that's www.mojo-blog.blogspot.com

I am really bad at self-promotion.

Posted by: jw | December 5, 2005 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Nani, that was exactly the lyric that popped into my head when I saw that photo, too. Can't get it out of my head now, either.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Also.. wasn't the Free Playboy a political statement?

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 9:50 AM | Report abuse

How do I get a link in there?

http://www.mojo-blog.blogspot.com

Posted by: jw | December 5, 2005 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I call it "Haiku with Ellipses":

Lather, rinse, repeat...
Please to assemble part A...
--Ikea Updike

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Ah. Thanks A-fan.

I've had a bit of a cold over the weekend and I'm on DayQuil just to remain functional, though I'm not as sharp as my usual bowling-ball self.

Fortunately, I've reached the Guacamole stage, so even though my head feels like it though it's one big raw potato, the end should be near.

Re. the RD, I would have loved to see Pynchon write the Olestra disclaimer. Especially the early ones regarding "leakage".

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 10:03 AM | Report abuse

If you want to add a link to your name when you post, just hit "Post" before you enter anything and you'll get the secret TypePad wonder page. (I would leave "Email Address" blank, though.)

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 10:13 AM | Report abuse

With a rare genetic disorder, I was prescribed medication that, in effect, treated a symptom of my disorder, rather than cured it. It was a grand experiment, to be sure, and in trying different drugs, I became a drug guinea pig. The one medication that seemed most beneficial caused dry mouth in me in extremis.

My skin is exceptionally dry, as are my eyeballs, so contact lenses were out of the picture ages ago--as I learned the hard way. But then a medication on top of that that causes dry mouth? What's it like?

Only one person, to my knowledge, has given the world a sense of (medication that causes) cotton mouth--Jim Carry in "Me, Myself, and Irene." I laughed so hard I practically cried--no small feat, and there was that sense of instant recognition. Carrey is such a brilliant physical comedian, who, in my opinion, has not received his due in Holywood.

Long story short, I decided living with the downside(s) of the disorder is less troublesome than the side effects of the drug in question, dry mouth being just one of them. What are doctors to do--go in and operate on each of the millions of cells in my body to repair the DNA code? Are medications simple a question of proteomics?

But it is not the furry mouth that Joel described, and nothing like the graphic pictures of same that k-guy provided this morning. (Wow, so that's what furry mouth *really* looks like?)

Note to k-guy: You seem to have lots of scientic knowledge and have proved to us that you have an extensive knowledge of critters. If your background is zoology, k-guy, I would like to ask your help with one question--regarding the origin of camels (camel precursors) in North America. If you think you may be able to help, please indicte "yes" and let me ask my question to you, please?

Joel has given just one example of writing on the dark side, in the corporate world of pharmaceuticals. Anyone have some funny or unusual real-world life experiences in this realm?

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2005 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Nani,
[Since you formerly wrote ads for the San Antonio Light, as you mentioned today, and] also some time ago, you asked me if the Light is still around. I didn't reply, but since you mentioned the newspaper yet again today...

We moved to San Antone in March '94--with two years after that in the most southern part of Indiana. The Light was defunct in '94, so don't know when it officially went belly-up...

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2005 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The potential side effects of the eyedrops I'm using to reduce pressure are "lengthening, thickening eyelashes" (terrific if I were a young girl) and "upper respiratory infection" (that seems a little bizarre). The warning reads "Do not exceed 1 drop per eye". Can't see a thing without my spectaculars, so can't see one drop from another. Let's see, did that feel like one drop or two? No. 1 G-girl says that in some states, folks with glaucoma can legally use marijuana. Now Mr. Nani and I indulged a time or two (ok, more than a time or two)back in the 60s and I recall it was quite pleasant. But that was then and this is now. This is also Texas. So I just can't see myself in a darkened alley purchasing the happy weed.

Posted by: Nani | December 5, 2005 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Linda,

Love life's situations like that, eh? Damned if you do, damned, if you don't.

Best wishes. Was it John Wayne who said to the buggler, "Spit boy, spit!"

Anyway, this is far too heavy a conversation for a guy like me. Here I sit. It is Dec 5th. The 11th Annual BB&T classic is just hours away.

This is the only remaining chance to torture Novak for what he did in the Plame outing. Since the powers won't act, it is up to the GW Colonials to ruin his day again.

Note to Bob, why don't you lay out your red slacks to go with that red sweater? Go with the full College Park.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 5, 2005 10:42 AM | Report abuse

bc,
Your comment about the "guacamole" stage of your headcold was about as welcome as a frog in the guacamole dip...

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2005 10:43 AM | Report abuse

PS: I don't have glaucoma; the doctor just said she "suspects a tiny potential for glaucoma". (Just in case anyone starts worrying about me, please don't).

Posted by: Nani | December 5, 2005 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Great RD column. I wonder if "If the Impressionists Had Been Dentists" ever entered Joel's thoughts while writing this piece?

Today's style had a strong Woody Allen flavor which left me wondering what makes up the literary history of juxtaposing artists into more banal mediums (with no offense intended towards the artistry of dentists and medication copywriters)?

Posted by: Lotire Fitipo | December 5, 2005 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael
"The 11th Annual BB&T classic is just hours away."

Explain? I'm lost with the acronym...and Novak dressed in red...(sorry)

Just a note on Bobs--Novak or otherwise.

Frank Rich wrote a powerful op-ed in NYT Sunday on Woodward. And he used the Joan Didion reference/flap. In summation, Rich chronicled how Woodward moved from being an administration outsider during Watergate to a current administration insider during Iraqgate. He lists some strengths of Woodward's recent reporting, but criticizes Woodward's general inability (coziness with sources) to see the forest for the trees.

If Mudge and Reader like Camus, Frank Rich the opinion-editorialist does it for me--he seems to hold my heart in his hands as a result of writing, as no other seems to do.

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2005 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Loomis,

I take eyedrops for an eye condition. They have changed the color of my eyes; they used to be hazel and are now blue-green. The weirder part of that is that the side effect is supposed to make your eyes darker, not lighter, but mine have definitly gone to blue. I was alittle dismayed when I saw it starting to happen, but hey, some people but contacts to make their eyes this color, so it's the best thing I've gotten from bad genes yet.

Posted by: LP | December 5, 2005 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"I love arriving at the office pre-pissed off. Just makes the morning that much more invogorating. "

bc, you brought tears to my eyes.

Every once in a while I try to read those adds in magazines by taking off my bifocals, and getting really close (I am nearsighted), but this tiny print defies reading.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2005 11:05 AM | Report abuse

D Michael, GW may be ranked #19 vs MD's 20, I suspect that this year's result in that matchup at the BB&T might be a little different. At least, I hope so...

"Go with the full College Park..." Hey, I'd pay to see Novak sporting the full Fightin' Testudo mascot outfit.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Alas, Loomis, having worked quite a bit on the Dark Side, most of my war stories are not funny and unusual but sad and all too commonplace.

I've worked a fair amount with engineers (both in civilian and military contexts), and by and large, although they are usually punctuation-challenged, they have been fairly reasonable people and willing to learn and be edited.

The SOBs have usually been advertising people, PR people, and--worst of all--people doing "marketing" and "branding." The branding people, in particular, in my experience, have been the least comptetant as well as the most ethically challenged. One normally thinks of a typical P.R. flack as having no conscience, but I've met branding people who make White House press secretaries and used-car salesmen seem like Boy Scouts. And I'm not even talking about marketing and branding in the context of Madison Avenue and selling shaving cream and sugar-loaded cereal to the unsuspecting public. I'm talking about marketing and branding people who work for the government, both civilian and military. The more powerful they are, the closer to charlatans they seem to be.

Way back, I used to think that the "sucker" born every minute" that P.T. Barnum talked about was the average man-in-the-street and the average Mary Homemaker, who bought Madison Avenue's stuff hook, line and sinker. But I've learned that Joe Six-Pack and Mary Homemaker are a lot smarter than I first thought--and that Admiral X, General Y, and Adminstrator Z are a lot dumber.

Wish I could provide details, but I can't. Maybe in my memoirs.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 11:08 AM | Report abuse

My brother-in-law really does write manuals for John Deere, in Waterloo, IA. And I can tell you, that John Updike can't hold a socket wrench to Jim when it comes to "put tab A into slot B".

BTW, have you actualy SEEN Deere's latest harvesters? Talk about a small rocketship!!

Posted by: Don from I-270 | December 5, 2005 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon: Your comment about engineers being more "willing to be edited" than P.R. types reminded me of a phrase from my childhood: "Waddaya want, good grammar, or good taste?" (a followup to complaints about Winston cigarettes' slogan, "Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should.")

Linda--I Alta-Vistaed BB&T (I don't Google) and bc is referring to a basketball tournament--BB&T is the sponsoring company. I didn't find out what BB&T stands for; I guess it's like IBM, if you don't know it stands for "International Business Machines" they probably won't tell you that on their web site. Bonus points for knowing what 3M Company's three M's stand for.


http://www.covers.com/articles/articles.aspx?theArt=63343&tid=29&t=1

Posted by: Reader | December 5, 2005 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Loomis, I'm not a scientist. I don't even play one on TV. My brother and his wife are both biologists, herpetologists in fact. My wife is an anthropologist (always marry brains, it's so much easier then working to get them). In my checkered career I have been a grocery clerk, bus driver, cabbie, Pepsi man(yech!), hydraulic hose fitter, warehouseman, cabinetmaker, furniture builder, house photographer for a symphony orchestra, home inspector, wedding photographer, photo lab tech, medical photographer, lab manager, aerial photographer, manager for a homeowners' association(double yech!), and "digital imaging specialist" for a couple of different federal agencies, all the while leading a secret life as a master criminal as cover for my true identity as a covert operative for the ASS, the Alien Spleen Service.
Now, what was the question? Camels? Nah, I was always more of a Marlboro man myself back in my self-poisoning days.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing.

Do I win anything? Or just the usual: the undying gratitude of the blogosphere, etc. etc. Darn.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I believe that "BB&T" stands for B_____ Bank and Trust. It's prosaic stuff.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I always wanted the job as the announcer who reads the disclaimers at the end of a commercial. In the old days, you'd say things such as "your milage may vary" and "not FDIC insured." You'd say it in a confident, manly, authoritative way. You'd be almost the voice o' god, with a deep, inspiring tonal quality. Broadcasters in the know would say "nice pipes" after hearing you talk. And, of course, you'd deliver the message -- that something isn't really what this commercial claims.

Nowadays, you'd be voicing the drug commericial disclaimers.

Nani, I've edited real estate copy. Game room: two words. Sunroom: one word. Why? Because even when it comes to the dictionary (disclaimer announcer voice begins here) your milage may vary, as may your persnicketyness.

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 5, 2005 11:32 AM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy:
What does being a "Pepsi man" pacifically [sic] entail?

Posted by: Achenfan | December 5, 2005 11:33 AM | Report abuse

OK, it stands for Branch Banking & Trust and it's one of those North Carolina bank cannibals that go around the country absorbing local banks like the Blob and growing faster than a Republican PAC war chest.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Dilute! Dilute! Dilute! DON'T DRINK SOAP!!!

That is all.

Posted by: Pixel | December 5, 2005 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Bayou Self:

...and where do they get those people who read the car ad disclaimers--auctioneering school? Or is there a special class in broadcasting school for Velocity?

C-mudge: Well, I'm impressed. That's probably the only reward you'll get but maybe it's better than nothing.

Posted by: Reader | December 5, 2005 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Branch Banking & Trust, well that reminds me of the best bank slogan I've ever seen, from Florida Keys First State Bank: "Where others have branches, we have roots."

Posted by: Reader | December 5, 2005 11:41 AM | Report abuse

bc,

As they say, you may be right. MD is lucky to catch GW before Regis Koundjia becomes eligible in a couple of weeks. Pops is way off of his game after sitting out his 3 game suspension. Akinbade, our quiet but very talented backup center is redshirting this year, so MD has timing on its side.

This year, MD is trying to get better by subtraction, and it may work.

Hobbs has been working in Freshmen, so we have been looking a bit inconsistant on paper. BTW, if you have a chance, look at GW's bench tonite, as you will see Cheyenne Moore, who transferred from Clemson... you know the team that killed MD last year?

Anyway, it should be a gem of a game! You know that speed kills, and in this game, it can draw 20 thousand people.

Linda, BB&T is a Washington bank and sponsor of a local basketball "showcase" which raises money for charity. This year, it will include 6 local teams in one night. All the teams here except Georgetown which seems to have an allergic reaction when it comes to playing local schools.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 5, 2005 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Remember the Old Gold cigarette commercials? Oversized replicas of the Old Gold cigarette boxes worn by dancers with gorgeous legs? And Edie Adams' Muriel cigar slogan "Why don't ya pick me up and smoke me sometime!" followed by a sexy smile and wink of an eye.

Bayou Self, we had what Mother called the please room. It was the one room in the house where nothing was forbidden. Feet on the coffee table, jumping on the sofa. We could do as we pleased.

Posted by: Nani | December 5, 2005 11:52 AM | Report abuse

A friend just e-mailed me this press release, which apparently has come from the North Koreans. Perhaps it's a measure of my perversity, but I've always been vastly amused by this kind of stuff. I don't know which tickles me more, the general syntax and grammar, the catchprases and idiotic slogans, or just the general notion that anyone, anywhere--even on the "other side"-- can read this stuff and not be laughing.

Maybe I should offer my services. They could use a little wordsmithing:

"U.S. Chemical Warfare Denounced

"Pyongyang, December 4 (KCNA) -- It is the aggressive nature and brutality of the U.S. imperialists that remains unchanged though century and the times have changed. [great lede, guys--missing only 4 of the 5 W's]
"The U.S. imperialists' loudmouthed "peace" and "anti-terrorism" seek dangerous plots for aggression and their nuclear and biological and chemical weapons are gravely threatening the existence of humankind.
"The U.S. imperialists used to mobilize a lot of modern military equipment including tanks, airplanes and missiles in wars. As they could not attain their goal with them they have indiscriminately used chemical weapons in the wars of aggression against progressive countries.
In this regard Rodong Sinmun Sunday in a signed article says:
The U.S. imperialists' chemical warfare in Fallujah City, Iraq, clearly showed their brigandish nature and brutality of making no scruples of doing anything to attain their aggressive and predatory object.
The U.S. imperialist aggression troops in Iraq encircled the city and poured chemical shells and other bombs into it in a bid to stamp out the struggle of the Iraqi people who rose up for the restoration of their sovereignty. The U.S. imperialists' atrocity of burning the most of the city with chemical weapons is the most vicious inhuman crime that cannot be overlooked nor be pardoned.
The Korean war is a living evidence fully proving massacres of people committed by of the U.S. imperialists in their wars of aggression with chemical weapons.
Their chemical warfare against the Korean people was the most barbarous and brutal one unprecedented in its method, intensity and scale. The U.S. imperialists' biological and chemical warfare in the Korean war is the worst crime which should be condemned by the Korean people and other people of the world.
The U.S. imperialists are now using a chemical warfare as one of their main military operations in wars of aggression.
They launched the Persian Gulf War, Balkan War, Afghan War and Iraqi War before and after the 21st century, which were wars of indiscriminate murder and natural destruction by use of bombs and shells of various types as destructive as nukes and chemical weapons.
The people of all the countries who defend independence, love peace and aspire after social progress and national prosperity should wage a more vigorous struggle against the U.S. imperialists' biological and chemical warfare so as to prevent miserable war disaster by the U.S. imperialists and safeguard world peace and security."

bc, did you write this? Are you pulling our leg again?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Ah so, Achenfan-san. Welcome to my dojo of PepsiCo. You wish to learn the Tao of Pepsi. First you must don the uniform of the PepsiCo. Then you must drive the large truck from the Temple of PepsiCo to the dozens of stores, gas stations, and vending locations where Pepsi is sold. You must load and unload many cases of Pepsi, while preventing the thieves from stealing your product from the unattended truck and fending off the attempts of the evil minions of the Coke Lord to usurp your shelf space. You must learn to drink only Pepsi products and never ever be seen with a Coke in your hand. You must at all times hold in your mind the image of the Queen of PepsiCo, the great Joan Crawford, and you must repeat the mantra, "Join the Pepsi Generation, Join the Pepsi Generation." The road is steep, the way is narrow, but if you succeed, then you will be able to drink an entire 16 ounce Pepsi without pause for breath or foaming nostril, and burp the contented burp of the Pepsi man at last.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of science...

I saw a report on TV this morning that there are people that think that Kimchi can cure avian flu.

If so, I wonder how long it will be until McDonalds puts Beef Bul Gogi burgers on the menu, with super-sized Kimchi sides.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 5, 2005 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The new John Deere equipment is sure priced like a small rocketship.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2005 12:06 PM | Report abuse

My goodness, k'guy -- I can see why you said "yech."

If there is life on other planets, and if these beings ever make it to Earth, I imagine they'll be quite puzzled about the effort and expenditure that goes into convincing people (successfully!) that one brown fizzy caffeinated beverage is better than the other brown fizzy caffeinated beverage.

Posted by: Achenfan | December 5, 2005 12:07 PM | Report abuse

So do we now refer to k-Pepsi instead of k-guy??? *confused as usual*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2005 12:08 PM | Report abuse

A science question...

I was just looking at the Doppler radar ...

http://www.wusatv9.com/weather/weather_popup/Doppler_9000_Loop.htm

Seems that commonly, there is a time where the rain or snow just won't hit us, but forms a dry donut hole over DC. Is that from the City's heat?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 5, 2005 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Reader, the commercial disclaimer announcers mainly work freelance, like the writers. They find them here, there and everywhere, often by referral from someone who is currently a commercial disclaimer announcer. These announcers sometimes get together for lunch and talk shop. The sound is that of a sweet duet of authoritative honey. (Memo to SNL: Announcers meeting for lunch is a good sketch icea. Cue the disclaimer announcer. "Unless it really sucks.")

Posted by: Reader | December 5, 2005 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Now we know why K-guy got into the alien autopsy business. Good career, move, K.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin;

I always thought that was the Unreality Zone inside the Beltway...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2005 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I would say that the "donut" effect is caused by warm air from Chesapeake Bay being pulled in by the weather circulation. As the system moves east, the circulation will eventually shift so that air is being pulled in from west. When the colder air comes, then the snow will start.

Posted by: jw | December 5, 2005 12:23 PM | Report abuse

The center of the Donut hole is the Washington Post building. Do they control the weather? Is it Joel? Does he have a gizmo?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 5, 2005 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Reader,

One of the local banks here, Burke and Herbert, responded to all the bank mergers a few years ago with a bumber sticker that said "Do you know the name of your bank this week?". I laughed when I saw it because my bank had just been bought by Bank of America.

Posted by: pj | December 5, 2005 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, please to not be inferring that I wrote that release.

I vigorously heart use of the word "brigandish", though.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey k-guy, my husband worked a temp job years ago (while getting his PhD) at the Pepsi place near Seminary Rd. He worked at night and was supposed to receive and count the change brought in by the drivers during the day. He spent HOURS trying to reconcile the drawer, sometimes getting home at 2 a.m. after trying to find 3 or 6 dollars in "lost" change.

On his last day, he found the jar of change under the counter that the regular guy used to make sure his accounts were straight.

I think he would triple-yech that job.

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Mudge writes:
"But I've learned that Joe Six-Pack and Mary Homemaker are a lot smarter than I first thought--and that Admiral X, General Y, and Adminstrator Z are a lot dumber."

Like you, k-guy, I'm beginning to think I have a Rod McKuen-like resume. (Thanks for telling me you weren't a scientist. That puts my question to rest in a real hurry.) But this post of mine has much to do with the smarts of the Average American consumer/purchaser. Mudge, you give them too much credit.

When we moved to San Antonio in '94, my third job in rapid succession was as a call-center grunt working for QVC, the shopping channel. (The first job was as literally a transcriptionist for scripts for in-store retail knife-set demos/sales and training videos, a really small schlocky company run by Seventh Day Adventists. The icing on the cake was after I had had a D&C/miscarriage and immediately gone back to work, the boss said I was "creating a riot" among the female employees by sitting in a chair next to the copying machine as I was completing copying jobs. The second job was in a Sears appliance call center. I had completed two weeks of training and had just completed my first four hours on the the phones. One of the calls that came in was "A bird is caught in my appliance (air conditioner...I forget), and how do I get it out (without killing it)?") By that time, the employment offer had come from QVC. Imagine going from a good high-tech Silicon Valley salary to $5.25 an hour.

My husband and I had both been worn out (worn, worn, worn) by eight years of long hours of commuting from Tracy into various parts of the Bay Area. We lived on the far western outskirts of San Antonio and the new QVC call center was only a four-mile drive.

I took numerous calls over the months--"Thank you for calling QVC. My name is Linda. How may I help you?" Always the same script. But the stories! And all too often, I saw the uber-shoppers, and the compulsive shoppers, and those who were throwing themselves into debt because of frisky phone fingers--and the loneliness of much of America. For what???: kitchen widgets, candles, junk of all sizes and descriptions, and jewelry by the truckload, much of it cheap cubic zirconia.

We got a fair amount of crank calls and calls from sexual perverts. But the call I remember most was this.

A woman called me late in the afternoon and said that she was Cher's personal secretary. She said Cher had been watching the Halloween show in early October and had ordered lots and lots of Halloween masks, chains, and other Halloween paraphernalia. She said the rep who had taken Cher's call had taken care of her, but Cher had no sort of payment information on her at the time, and she was calling to provide a credit card number. It was not out of the ordinary to receive this kind of phony call.

But something in the woman's firm, yet begging manner, and her knowledge of some details made her sound credible to me. I summoned a supervisor. Sure enough, the woman was Cher's secretary.

But most do not have pockets as deep as Cher's to cover what for some were almost daily calls/expenditures. And I have other tales of writing in the marketing, branding, P.R. world, and they are not pretty, but unfortunately an errand to run.

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2005 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Is the BPH still on for tomorrow night? McCormick & Schmick's at 5? Damn the white stuff?

(Of course, if it snows from this afternoon until midnight then all should be fine by 5 tomorrow night. Around here a snow day is usually followed by a 70-degree day.)

Also.. how do I find you? Ask for the 'boodlers?

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"Brigandish" leaped out at me, too. I'll have to work it into conversation once I figure out what it means. I thought the bit about war being "living evidence" was interesting, too, if somewhat oxymoronic.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 5, 2005 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Is BPH serious? if so, which M+S?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 5, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

TBG-

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. Trust me, you'll find us.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael:
It's the McCormick & Schmick's on K Street (1600 block). All welcome!

Posted by: Achenfan | December 5, 2005 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I loved "brigandish," too, but then in the very same sentence came this: "and brutality of making no scruples of doing anything to attain their aggressive and predatory object."

Wah...?

I realize it's a pissant little country, but you'd think they'd spend a dollar and a half for a decent translator. For people who are obsessed with "face," you'd think not being laughed at or riduculed would be a high priority.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 1:06 PM | Report abuse

D Michael, I don't think I'd call it *serious*, as there's an awful lot of laughing, but what there is will be at the M&S on 1652 K St.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Some may not know that Joan Crawford married the CEO of Pepsi in the late 50's and was a company spokesman for decades and sat on the board of PepsiCo after his death. For those who may only know her from "Mommie Dearest" or Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, I'll say that although not a great talent (she won an Oscar for "Mildred Pierce") she was durable and driven and at least in her early years was a total babe!
http://www.imdb.com/gallery/mptv/1403/Mptv/1403/6094_0015.jpg?path=pgallery&path_key=Crawford,%20Joan

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 1:11 PM | Report abuse

IIRC it's near the Farragut North stop on the Metro.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 1:11 PM | Report abuse

OK, if you're interested in the baby panda, check out
http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas/

Warning: Due to excessive sweetness and use of exclamation points, may cause severe disgustive reaction, especially in males.

I'm not sure why they use the European convention for the date on the pandacam - today is 05-12-05. That always confuses me. I can deal with year-month-day constructions, having dealt with computers for so long. And why aren't they using 4 digits for the year? Have we learned nothing from the year 2000 mess?

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 5, 2005 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Thinking about camels made me remember a piece I read years ago about Saudi camel racing. The animals race over the open desert and the spectators follow the action in their Mercedes sedans and BMW SUVs. They use small boys as jockeys, the smaller and lighter the better, and these kids have Velcro sewn onto their pants to keep them in the saddle. In the event of a camel falling of course the jockey can't jump clear and gets crushed. For this reason the serious camel racers buy children from impoverished Pakistanis to train as jockeys. Nice, huh?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or are there a lot of baby pandas in the world? Or is this just the same one over and over? Not that I have anything against baby pandas. I like to have one.

Have fun at the BPH tomorrow! I'll be jealously thinking of you as I'm stuck here in freeze-your-nostrils-shut cold.

I was going to take the afternoon off and go hang out at Barnes and Noble because I have nothing to do today, but it would require walking from the building to the car in the parking garage and then from the car to the bookstore and then back again. I don't know that it's worth it.

Posted by: Sara | December 5, 2005 1:32 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I'd like to have one.

You know, to pal around with and stuff. My panda and me.

Posted by: Sara | December 5, 2005 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Camel races in my old neck of the woods...

With cries of "Giddy Up! - Go!", very large beasts of burden and big galloping birds [ostriches] will get the dirt flying on the Comstock as the Virginia City International Camel Race event takes over the town.

Virginia City is the only city in North American claiming to be the first to hold camel races within its city limits. The camels are scheduled to return for three days of spirited racing at the Camel Dome Amphitheater, just a few blocks down the hill from C Street.

Please note that Virginia City is an historic mining town built on the side of Mount Davidson. Streets are steep and not always paved. The Camel Dome Amphitheater is a rodeo-type arena on dirt. Due to nearby construction, the ground can be rocky and the area dusty. This is NOT Disneyland! This is the Real West!!

The camels will race two, three or four at a time (almost never just one at a time) with the winners advancing to Sunday's finals. The camels are likely to run in any direction or, as sometimes happens, not to run anywhere at all. This has never bothered the excited crowd that pours into Virginia City over the weekend.

http://www.eventsnevada.com/camelrace.htm

Virginia City International Camel Races
Began as a Practical Joke

The Virginia City Camel Races are today one of Northern Nevada's most popular special events, taken quite seriously by the competitors who come from Australia, Africa and Saudi Arabia.

It's hard to believe it all started as a practical joke.

Nevadans have always loved a good hoax and one of the best was hatched in 1959 when Bob Richards, then editor of Virginia City's Territorial Enterprise newspaper [Mark Twain's former employer], decided to print the results of camel races held in that town.

The fact that no such races were held did not deter him.

The article generated little local interest -- folks in Virginia City were accustomed to Richards' tall tales -- but was noticed by editors at the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, who passed on the race results to their readers.

The following year, when Richards announced the upcoming running of the "annual" camel races, the Chronicle decided to call his bluff. The newspaper hired a couple of camels and issued a race challenge.

Not to be outdone, the Phoenix Gazette and the Indio, California Chamber of Commerce accepted the challenge, and suddenly the fictitious race became a reality.

Additional camels were provided by the San Francisco Zoo and a "ringer" was brought in to do the jockeying, namely director John Huston, who was in the area filming "The Misfits," with Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. Miraculously, Huston beat all comers and since then, Virginia City has continued to celebrate this unusual event during the first weekend following the Labor Day weekend in September.

In recent years, the event that began as a joke has attracted as many as 50,000 people to Virginia City for the races.

Ironically, when Richards cooked up his spoof, he was drawing from a real episode in Virginia City's colorful past. In September 1861, two Virginia City men, Marius and Louis Chevalier, purchased nine bacterians (two-humped camels) to haul salt that was used in the process of refining silver.

At that time, Virginia City was the focus of an intensive silver and gold boom (in fact, one of the biggest in history) and any labor-saving device could be worth millions. The Chevaliers figured that camels would adapt well to the dry Nevada climate and would be cheaper than mules or horses (as they played into the early history of Bakersfield/Kern County).

The business was initially successful, and at one point the brothers commanded a fleet of more than two dozen camels. In 1864, Sam McLeneghan introduced his own 10-camel freight train using dromedaries, which are camels with one hump.

Business was good for a few years, but began to wane after several incidents during which the camels spooked and stampeded horses, who were not accustomed to their strange appearance, behavior and smell.

In 1875, the Nevada State Legislature passed a law prohibiting camels on public highways, which effectively closed down any camel freight business. Some of the camels were moved to other states, but many were turned loose in the desert. Wild herds were reported as late as the mid-1930s.

The camels for the modern Virginia City races are imported from the Wild Animal Training Center in Riverside, California. These camels are generally used in movies and on television and race only at the Virginia City event.

Each year, dozens of businesses, service clubs or individuals sponsor camels. The sponsors can either select a jockey, pick one from a waiting list, or call for a volunteer from the audience.

Achenfan, this is for you:
In past years, riders from Alice Springs, Australia -- the only other place in the world to hold regular camel races -- accepted a challenge from Virginia City to compete for a four-foot tall trophy called the International Camel Cup. They took the cup "Down Under" in 1987 and 1993.

The winner keeps the trophy until the next race, which alternates each year between America and Australia.

Races are 100-yard dashes on a straight dirt track (unlike the Australian races which are held on oval tracks with trained camels) and involve untrained camels. The result is that just finishing is the key to winning.

In addition to the camel racing, the event boasts bull and ostrich races. Participants in the latter ride in lightweight sulkies pull by the powerful flightless birds who may be even harder to control than the camels.

Spectators are invited to enjoy the races, walk the historic wooden sidewalks of Virginia City, or relax in any of the city's many 19th century saloons and restaurants.

http://www.travelnevada.com/story.asp?sid=49

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2005 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Sara, that's like my gf and puggles. Every time I say anything about a Christmas present, she gets this crazy glint in her eye and says, "You got me a puggle! I know you did! They're so bad-ass!"

I think these new "designer" breed mixes are hilarious. My mom likes to tell me about our first dog, a lab-poodle mix. "Back then, we called her a mutt, and we got her from the pound," she says. Who knew people would pay hundreds of dollars for her now?

Posted by: jw | December 5, 2005 1:51 PM | Report abuse

K-guy, for you and any other old movie buffs, The Third Man will be shown on Turner Classic Movies tv station Saturday night. Saw it as a youngster and while I couldn't really follow the plot, it was visually exciting. And the zither theme song was really zippy! Mother bought the record (those old 78s) and we played it over and over and over. Wonder what happened to the beautiful actress Valli? I can't recall which actor, but as an aspiring young actor upon meeting Orson Welles, he (actor) gushed how much he loved OW's work. He said Welles rudely interrupted.. "yeah, yeah, I know, I know, it changed your life and from that moment you knew that films had to be a part of your life" and walked away He was crushed.

Posted by: Nani | December 5, 2005 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Nani, was it Michael Rennie? Our family's standing joke was that my mother never saw the end of the movie. For some reason, she would always fall asleep.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 5, 2005 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Kurosawaguy:

I read an article a couple of months ago in Wired magazine that said the Saudis are replacing the urchin jockeys with specially designed computers--robots, if you will. It's an interesting article, but I couldn't find it on the web. It's a much better system than child slavery.

Posted by: Reader | December 5, 2005 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Pixel, you nailed it! The goal of any commercial writer should be to write product use instructions in the manner of Doctor Bonner. All one! All one!

Posted by: CowTown | December 5, 2005 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Okay, slight correction, K-guy. I'm pretty sure the article was about Qatar, and a more recent report says they will be joined by the United Arab Emirates. I can only assume the Saudis will follow suit soon.

Posted by: Reader | December 5, 2005 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I have a Dachshaund (I probably butchered that spelling--anyone feel free to correct me) and Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie) mix. When we bought her they labeled her a Dorkie.

I also have a Husky/Malamute. Gorgeous. She has a crooked nose though and tends to follow it when she walks, then she straightens herself out and then follows her nose again. She walks in a serpentine fashion. And her lip catches on one of her teeth on one side so she's constantly doing an Elvis smirk. She had a hard life before we found her, that's why she's kind of crooked.

And she (Sasha) thinks she's Kati's size so she likes to jump up on my lap. She's actually about my size. We can dance easily.

Posted by: Sara | December 5, 2005 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Do any of you remember The Lazslo Letters, by Don Novello (Dr. Guido Sarducci)? He wrote crazy-ish letters to corporations and politicians and published his letters and their responses.

One of my favorites was when he wrote to the company that makes Mr. Bubble to ask why the box says "Keep Dry."

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 2:15 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I wish I could find that book, great book!!!! Every letter was packed with Novello-esque chucklers.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 5, 2005 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Today's word o' the day, sponsored by the government of North Korea.

brigandish

\Brig"and*ish\, a. Like a brigand or freebooter; robberlike.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 5, 2005 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey gang! the snow's just started in Washington, and it's time for a song! Fortunately, I've got one, and it goes a little something...

like this...
Pandas on cam'ras and camels in races
Pepsi deliveries and Korean faces
Redskins front lines without any hogs
These are a few of my favorite blogs.

Alien autopsies and branding of banks
Hoopsters and puggles and anorgasms, thanks,
Updike and Upjohn and bleary-eyed fogs
These are a few of my favorite blogs

John Deere's new tractors and cool things mechanic
Snowflakes are coming, so it's time to panic
Silver white winters that melt into bogs
These are a few of my favorite blogs

When the kit's new
When the boodle stings
When I'm feeling mad
I simply remember my favorite blogs
And then I don't feel so bad


P.S. Not Michael Rennie but Joseph Cotton, whose name in the movie/book was the unlikely Holly Martins. Go figure. Greatr movie, though.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2005 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Who just posted that song? It's great!

Posted by: Sara | December 5, 2005 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Thenk you, thenk you ver' much.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael, there are several copies of that book for about $2.95 here:

http://www.alibris.com/search/search.cfm?qwork=3782506&wauth=Don%20Novello&matches=87&qsort=p&cm_re=works*listing*buyused

Posted by: Sara | December 5, 2005 2:24 PM | Report abuse

And by "several copies" I guess I meant 87 copies.

I'm sending applause your way, Curmudgeon. (Does anyone else get angry when someone says, "I'm applausing you!"? I get angry. Or "I'll borrow you a pencil.")

Posted by: Sara | December 5, 2005 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I can't hear or read the name 'Michael Rennie' without thinking; "Gort, Klaatu berada nikto."

But that's just me.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Cotton was a very good actor.

The Snow is like Andy Williams Christmas special type snow.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 5, 2005 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, you are good. Very, very good. Now I will hum the song for the rest of the day...and you didn't even have to tell us the tune!

Enjoy the snow. It's just rain here. Thank goodness.

Posted by: slyness | December 5, 2005 2:29 PM | Report abuse

bc, just as long as you don't say it out loud, ok?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 5, 2005 2:30 PM | Report abuse

No, not just you, bc. Michael Rennie is forever ruined in my mind, too.

Can't think of Andy Williams Christmas specials without thinking of Claudine Longet shooting Spider Sabitch (in that great SNL skit).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Ha!
I hadn't thought about that SNL sketch in a long time, Curmudgeon. Almost as long as it's been since I heard the name "Spider Sabitch".

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I gotta go out to the store now and stock up on milk and bread before the hoarders get to it!

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 2:42 PM | Report abuse

jw,

Your mother had the original achendog; a laboodle.

Posted by: Lotire Fitipo | December 5, 2005 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, I knew that song was you! I like the way you worked in "..and it goes a little something like this."

Joseph Cotton is in 3rd man, but he isn't the young actor who (whom?) Welles snubbed. During 3rd Man, I kept falling asleep too in the backseat of Daddy's old 47 Ford, waking every so often to ask "Are there any horses yet?"

Posted by: Nani | December 5, 2005 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Want to replace Michael Rennie with Bruce Campbell? Watch "Army of Darkness" for the "Gort, Klaatu berada nikto" reference.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 3:01 PM | Report abuse

PS: that's just one of many great things about drive-in movie theatres. You could bathe and get the kiddos ready for bed before leaving for the drive-in. They could sleep in the backseat of your car. We kids usually fell asleep when it was a double feature.

Posted by: Nani | December 5, 2005 3:03 PM | Report abuse

The only time I ever remember going to a drive-in was to see My Fair Lady. I don't recall much about the movie. Somehow it doesn't seem like a good one for a drive-in. I envision it in a Belle Epoch or Art Deco palace...

Posted by: slyness | December 5, 2005 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Nani, in my earlier 'tweener years my brother and I would be in our pajamas at the drive-in.

However, in my later teenage years (and without my brother or parents along) I seem to remember some partial undressing and dressing taking place actually AT the drive-in. And no pajamas.

And uh, no sleeping.

But oh yes, those were the days...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 3:14 PM | Report abuse

The last time I went to a drive-in, I saw a double feature of "Patton" and "M*A*S*H" - an interesting pairing.

Posted by: pj | December 5, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon writes:
"Yes, Nani, in my earlier 'tweener years my brother and I would be in our pajamas at the drive-in.
However, in my later teenage years (and without my brother or parents along) I seem to remember some partial undressing and dressing taking place actually AT the drive-in. And no pajamas."

Uh, Curmudgeon, was anyone else involved?

Forget I asked. I don't want to know.

(just teasin', dude.)

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The only time I remember going to the drive-in as a child it was a triple feature. A little something for the whole family. First a war movie (dads choice), then a romance (for Mom), then "Night of the Living Dead" (something for me brother and I (we were 8 and 7 yrs old)). Talk about interesting pairing.

Posted by: omnigood | December 5, 2005 3:29 PM | Report abuse

bc, a gentleman doesn't disclose certain details.

Unless, of course, you're on the Jerry Springer show.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, omnigood! That is an odd group.

Posted by: pj | December 5, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Drive-in memories: some drive-ins charged per car, some per person. For the latter, we would crowd into the trunk and pay for two instead of four or five. Eventually the theater operators got hip to that dodge and stationed a guy at the back of the lot to watch for trunk lids opening. Then you had to modify the car to allow passage from the trunk to the back seat. This also allowed one to circumvent any age limit. I gained my first exposure to the works of Mr. Russ Meyer through this method. For those not familiar with RM's oeuvre, he was responsible for such titles as "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!", "Mondo Topless", and of course who can ever forget the immortal "Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 3:34 PM | Report abuse

k-guy

Ha! Russ Meyer!
There were cars that allowed for passengers to move from the trunk to the passenger seats w/o modification (i.e removal of structural bracing 'twixt the trunk and back seat), such as the Chevy Nova hatchback ('73-ish IIRC), and Dodge Dart with the "sportback" (circa '73-77). Don't ask me how I know.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 3:43 PM | Report abuse

A bit more seriously, and not to take the boodle in a salacious direction, but I once had an eye-opening conversation with a friend of mine in college. I grew up in the suburbs, and our entire--shall we say--romantic experience pretty much took place in cars, if not at the drive-in then at the local submarine races. The subject came up in conversation one day, and my friend (who was much better-looking than me, and had a series of dyno-mite girlfriends) said that, as a pure "city kid," he had never once made out with a girl in a car, and didn't know any of his high school peers who had--cars just weren't part of their culture. They made out either at the girl's house (in the den, etc.) or at the guy's house. In my suburban culture, that was very rare (if you got lucky), but the car was ubiquitous. (I was basically the Richard Dreyfuss character in American Grafitti, looks, clothes, even personality, all transmigrated to the Philadelphia suburbs. I had an unrequited crush for years on a girl who was a ringer for Cindy Williams. When I see that movie today I get all verklempt. Talk among yourselves.)

A year or two later, dating my first "significant other," she too was a "pure city-raised" kid, and had no previous experience of car-induced romance--nor would she deign to start. Not even after four years of a relationship, not once ANYTHING in a car. Nothing. City kids didn't do it in cars, and suburban kids couldn't do it UNLESS there was a stick shift nearby.

Eye-opening, and a bit weird that the suburbs/car versus city/no car experience was so stratified. (Your mileage may vary.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The Chevy Nova. In 1970, Chevy decided to put a 4-cylinder engine in some of their Novas. Bad idea. There was enough room in the engine compartment to store luggage on either side of the engine. I learned how to drive a stick in it. Three-on-a-three. It was a dangerously underpowered vehicle. The car was way too heavy for four cylinders. I think they only made them that one year.

Posted by: pj | December 5, 2005 3:59 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Graffiti

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Cowtown's in his lederhosen, while Curmudgeon is obviously wearing his liederhosen today.

I can just feel myself running --or jumping up and down--the steps of Schloss Mirabell right now!

http://www.stadt-salzburg.at/internet/extras/bildgalerie/imggallery.asp?id=2&doc_path=website%5Cinternet%5Cbuergerservice%5Ct2_38124%5Cp2_38126.htm

When the kit's new
When the boodle stings
When I'm feeling mad
I simply remember my favorite blogs
And then I don't feel so bad

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2005 4:02 PM | Report abuse

pj, my theory is that the 1970 Vega was designed as Junior's First Car. Sporty looking so he's cool; underpowered so he's less dangerous. They should make more cars like that - out of rubber, preferably.

Posted by: CowTown | December 5, 2005 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The Volkswagon Beetle was a truly terrible make-out car, but the front trunk was watertight, and you could load it up with ice and beer, and pray the drive-ion attendents didn't make you open the trunk for an inspection on the way in.

A friend of mine (a senior who owned a huge Buick convertible) was dating a girl (also a senior) and i (a junior) briefly dated her younger sister, a sophomore. With yet a third couple, we all went to see "Judgment at Nuremberg" in that battleship, two people up front, and us other two couples in the back. I remember Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich, Max whatshisname as the prosecutor, Burt Lancaster. Then my memory gets a little fuzzy...did the bad guys get convicted?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 4:08 PM | Report abuse

And Linda, I would only wear Leder- or Lieder- hosen in the dark. By myself. The horror. The horror.

Posted by: CowTown | December 5, 2005 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I plan to be at M&S tomorrow for the BPH, wearing multiple hats, if you know what I mean, but I might be in lurking mode if I sense danger or erotic excitement. So try to pick me/us out. Have a contest. Mel, the maitre 'd, knows who I am. Just don't report me to the gossip blogs.

Posted by: goombah | December 5, 2005 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Curmudg.

In that big Buick, you could not tell who was doing what to whom in the backseat, it was so big. Just think, your first bisexual experience!!

Posted by: cordova | December 5, 2005 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Cowtown, did I see you as Frank N. Furter in the road company of Rocky Horror?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 4:14 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy - Hahaha! I'm way scarier than that!

Posted by: CowTown | December 5, 2005 4:18 PM | Report abuse

No foolin' around in a car? That's just not right. A car is not a teenage experience until it is also viewed as a possible place for heavy breathing and whatnot, with an emphasis on the whatnot but, more often than not, not. Your mileage may vary, indeed!

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 5, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Alas, cordova, nobody got much further than first base. It was 1962, after all. But first base for a junior in high school! You have no idea! For maybe 15, 20 seconds!!!!! FIRST BASE! (Outside, of course.)

But yes, that was a primo make-out car.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

it's best in the trunk, but that's only one woman's view.

Posted by: cordova | December 5, 2005 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Childhood drive-in memories: Footied pajamas and a playground to keep us busy until the movie started. My brother and I would fall asleep after the first movie. One night my brother stayed up for the second feature and it was The Godfather. He had nightmares about horse's heads for years.

Teenager memories: My Dungeon and Dragons group wanted to see The Pom Pom Girls at the drive-in and I wanted to see Dr Strangelove at the art house. Since I was the only one with a license, I won. We did drive in the theater through the exit and saw the last 30 minutes of Pom Pom Girls for free and either we missed the good stuff or the entire movie sucked. They never asked me to take them to the drive-in again.

I am such a dork.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2005 4:29 PM | Report abuse

yes, you sure are

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2005 4:29 PM | Report abuse

It is 4:30pm and there is no snow coming down here in the windowless alien autopsy theater!
I feel like going home and reading Three Men in a Boat (to Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2005 4:34 PM | Report abuse

...in the trunk (!?!)...hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Joel starts the boodle with lunch at the Cosmos Club and hours later it comes down to this.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 4:39 PM | Report abuse

It was the D&D that tipped us to your dorkdom, yellojkt.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2005 4:42 PM | Report abuse

yes, the trunk, C'dgeon. Just think of the rubber tire and the sharp tools clattering around, and sound of the springs. Ask another woman. Better yet, invite one of your gf's from this blog.

Posted by: cordova | December 5, 2005 4:51 PM | Report abuse

cordova, you've made me think about a bottle of transmission fluid, a luggage restraint web, jumper cables and a couple of oily rags in a way I've never quite considered before...

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

I know, I know. Before somebody else says it, "Get a garage, you two!"

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Is the glass half full or half empty?

Yahoo! News headline (Reuters):
Texas judge dismisses part of DeLay indictment

WashingtonPost.com headline:
Judge Upholds Some Charges Against DeLay

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Sara, no, there aren't many baby pandas at all, which is why I get so excited about them! There are only about 1600 pandas in the wild. There are 2 baby pandas that I know of in the USA, one at the National Zoo and one at the San Diego Zoo. If you look at
http://www.sandiegozoo.org/wordpress/index.php?cat=8
and scroll down to the Oct 11 entry - there is a picture from the Wolong (China) Panda Daycare Center.

I'll stop now.

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

DC area boodlers, have fun in the snow! Hope it doesn't interfere with the BPH. Please take pictures and record the hilarity for us geographically challenged boodlers. You can sing Curmudgeon's excellent songs!

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 5, 2005 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if they tried to breed the pandas in a car ...

A favorite panda-related headline, as best as I remember it, from long ago. Something like "Ling Ling and Tsing Tsing did their Thing Thing."

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 5, 2005 5:52 PM | Report abuse

With apologies to 'Mudgeon and his real talent)...

Pandas: A Poem

People smile at them in the zoo,
But folks are cryin' 'bout them, too
No more pandas? That's just bunk!
Breed the pandas in the trunk.

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self, TBG - you slay me!

(I lived in DC when Ling Ling and Tsing Tsing were at the National Zoo. So exciting! I remember visiting several times - they were always asleep, or moving so slow they might as well have been asleep. Ha! I promise - no more panda talk from me - but I won't mind if others do.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 5, 2005 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon gets my vote for boodler of the week - with his "favorite things" song.

very clever!

Posted by: ot | December 5, 2005 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Mmmm. Panda. It's Finger Ling-Ling Good!!!

Posted by: DK | December 5, 2005 7:22 PM | Report abuse

I second, third, and fourth that nomination. Curmy is a card.

Posted by: goombah | December 5, 2005 7:24 PM | Report abuse

My one drive in was with a car load of girls, and I was driving an old Rambler which had seen better days. Dad had just gotten it at an auction for a song and wanted my sister and I to torture test it. So off we went to a town about 50 miles away to the drive-in. I don't remember what the movie was, but I sure remember the ride home. By the end of the movie, it had started pouring. Like any sensible driver I turned on the windsheild wipers. And the faster I went the slower the wipers went. If I went 40 miles an hour I had a visibility of zero. After about 10 minutes of the fast slow thing, we settled on the blinding speed of 20 miles an hour to go the 50 miles home. About 3 in the morning we crawled into the first girl's yard. Her dad was up and waiting. We had to take him for a drive before he beleived us. And my dad laughed like a loon...for days.

Kids these days cannot have fun like this. They have no idea what they are missing.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2005 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I think Joel hates us. He didn't enable Comments on the new Kit (posted 20 minutes ago at 8 pm or so).

Maybe he was afraid we might go off topic or something.

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self: "Maybe if they tried to breed the pandas in a car ..." ROTFLMYAO. And kudos to TBG, too.

Curmy. I knew that was coming. I expected Loomis to get around to it, eventually. But it was goombah.

Sigh.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2005 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I AM NOT CRAZY.

There was a kit posted around 8 p.m. Where did it go?

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I have been blogging in Draft mode for publication in the morning, and hit the wrong button and for about 2 seconds something got published, but I vaporized it faster than you can say "persnicketyness." There'll be a new kit first thing in the ayem, I vow. Operators stand by. This offer not valid in Utah.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 5, 2005 9:15 PM | Report abuse

"Blogging in Draft mode." That's an expression you didn't hear just five years ago.

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2005 9:26 PM | Report abuse

"Blogging in Draft Mode." So that's what you crazy kids are calling your vehicular back-seat activities these days.

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 5, 2005 9:52 PM | Report abuse

dr, your story made me laugh.
And believe it or not, it made sense to me. AMC used engine vacuum-operated wiper motors until the early 1970s or so. Some fireds of mine have have Model A Fords that have a similar arrangement. A little vacuum leak in the system and the wipers have the problem you describe, where the wipers won't work with the engine revving much over idle.

When I was a freshman in college, I had a'69 Plymouth Road Runner (yes, the horn really went "Meep, meep") that developed a heater leak, and being a little pressed for time, I just disconnected the heater hoses to the interior heater at the firewall, and connected the inlet to the outlet and voila' - no problem. The 383 put out enough BTUs that I didn't miss the heater until an ice storm struck when I was on my way over to pick up my g/f for a date, about a 30 mile drive. The wipers froze solidly to the windshield as ice layered up on it. A sane person might have stopped, but me at the age of 18? Ha!
I rolled my window down, put my sunglasses on to protect my eyes, stuck my head out and drove that way for over 20 miles. My head was pretty much frozen when I got there, but thawing it out was fun.

I didn't even mind the itching.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 5, 2005 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I saw that too. It vaporised and I had this strange feeling I broke the kit. As I now see, situation normal, i.e. slightly left of normal!

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2005 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Here I am back in the boondocks after "barging" in France for a few weeks -traveling by barge through Provence.(We saw no riots, just a burned out tourist bus - tv coverage made it seem worse than it was.) The corn and soybeans have been harvested and the snow and cold are here. I am not a farmer but live near them.

In between getting back to work I have been reading the kits but may not get through all the boodles for some time. Things, however, seem as usual which makes this blog so endearing. From pharmacy to press releases to pepsi to pandas to poems to parking in drive-ins, etc.

Thanks for the "favorite things" Curmudgeon, and also adding "brigandish" to the words of the day. Perhaps, Joel you can use it in one of your medicine descriptions - e.g. this pill will cause you to have brigandish tendencies if not used in moderation.

Do you know who write directions for putting together Christmas toys at midnight Christmas eve? That must be a plum job. Have a great BPH, we'll be thinking of you in flyover country.

bdl

Posted by: boondocklurker | December 5, 2005 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm coming in late on this, but this is a tremendous column. Reminiscent of Eco.

Posted by: JonL | December 5, 2005 10:41 PM | Report abuse

dr, TBG, bc, etc - you all have me laughing like a loon. Thank you so much, Joel too, of course - I had a really stressful weekend oncall and the boodle was a welcome refuge. I saw the phantom column too, then poof! And when I saw the email instead of comments function, I thought, Ruh-roh...

First there is a mountain
Then there is no mountain
Then there is

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 5, 2005 10:43 PM | Report abuse

bdl - nice to have you back. Barging in France sounds wonderful - well, it looks a little funny, actually, but I bet it was a great vacation. Now that Aaron Brown is off the air I've been watching Rick Steves' travel shows - what interesting places there are to visit.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 5, 2005 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I can hardly believe I shell out $1.46 each Sunday to read Rough Draft, (that, and Tell Me About It) but after this past Sunday's "Warning..." I can affirm that its WELL worth the pocket change. Joel, you are a madman disguised as a humorist... a most delightful combination.

Posted by: jm | December 6, 2005 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I can hardly believe I shell out $1.46 each Sunday to read Rough Draft, (that, and Tell Me About It) but after this past Sunday's "Warning..." I can affirm that its WELL worth the pocket change. Joel, you are a madman disguised as a humorist... a most delightful combination.

Posted by: jm | December 6, 2005 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Cordova,
Sorry for my misinterpretaion, but "It's best in the trunk" reminded me of the famous urban legend involving the Newlywed game and a subtle miscommunication on the meaning of 'unusual place'.

As far as automobile romance, it's obvious that Cake's warning on stickshifts and safetybelts fell on deaf ears. Unfortunately, 'truck driver love' is now almost completely relegated to a couple sharing one side of a diner booth which, besides being more nauseating than the eponymous act, hardly improves the couple's on-base percentage.

Posted by: lf | December 6, 2005 11:53 AM | Report abuse

'misinterpretation' would have been nice

Posted by: lf | December 6, 2005 11:56 AM | Report abuse

URGENT URGENT URGENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My heart goes to the people who have been ripped off by Bank Of America and their Employees

I can not explain in right words what Bank of America has done to me
They have ruined my life; this Bank is full of CIRMINALS. Employees are looting, and those! BIG SHOTS are just watching and doing nothing.
We the people who put our trust in them to protect our valuables.
"WHAT A SHAME" Please raise your voice and join me. I will be holding Press Conference within two weeks. Send me your Email for the date and time.

Please go to my website for details regarding Bank of America!!!!!!!!!

www.bankofamericaextortioninsidejob.com
lailasltn@yahoo.com

Thank You

Posted by: Laila S | December 16, 2005 9:15 PM | Report abuse

URGENT URGENT URGENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My heart goes to the people who have been ripped off by Bank Of America and their Employees

I can not explain in right words what Bank of America has done to me
They have ruined my life; this Bank is full of CIRMINALS. Employees are looting, and those! BIG SHOTS are just watching and doing nothing.
We the people who put our trust in them to protect our valuables.
"WHAT A SHAME" Please raise your voice and join me. I will be holding Press Conference within two weeks. Send me your Email for the date and time.

Please go to my website for details regarding Bank of America!!!!!!!!!

www.bankofamericaextortioninsidejob.com
lailasltn@yahoo.com

Thank You

Posted by: Diane Bubonoic | December 16, 2005 9:19 PM | Report abuse

URGENT URGENT URGENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My heart goes to the people who have been ripped off by Bank Of America and their Employees

I can not explain in right words what Bank of America has done to me
They have ruined my life; this Bank is full of CIRMINALS. Employees are looting, and those! BIG SHOTS are just watching and doing nothing.
We the people who put our trust in them to protect our valuables.
"WHAT A SHAME" Please raise your voice and join me. I will be holding Press Conference within two weeks. Send me your Email for the date and time.

Please go to my website for details regarding Bank of America!!!!!!!!!

www.bankofamericaextortioninsidejob.com
lailasltn@yahoo.com

Thank You

Posted by: laila | December 20, 2005 7:40 PM | Report abuse

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