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Strategic Pudge Reserve

   [Today's Rough Draft column.]

   As you know, my primary New Year's resolution was to Get Fatter. To get heftier. To be hegemonic with my personal flesh. To become a man whose good fortune and contentment are advertised everywhere he goes by his jiggly amplitude.

   I can report that I'm making great progress. I'm becoming formidable. I'm becoming someone who could merit a nickname like "Bubba" or "Hoss." I'm nearly at the point where I could walk into the most elite fashion-designer parties in Paris or Milan and "pull off" a big plaid.

   You should get with the program. There are three reasons why this is a great time of year to resolve to gain weight.

   First, it's going to happen anyway, and we might as well claim it's part of a plan. At this very moment we are in the heart, the meat you might say, of the Fat Season, the one time of the year when it's acceptable to look as though you're wearing a parka when you're actually in a T-shirt.

   Second, people respect and admire anyone who seems happy as a jumbo individual. We may not say it out loud, but we are in awe of anyone whose relationship with an All-U-Can-Eat buffet is one of total mastery. You see a guy working his way down the line, heaping food on his plate without care or conscience, just destroying the vat of mashed potatoes, and it's like witnessing Genghis Khan laying waste to the Asian steppe.

   Third, we need to get bigger for reasons of national security. America has many problems right now, foreign and domestic, but take one look at us in profile and you'll see we're not about to wither away. Flesh is our last dominant global industry. We've even out-competed the Germans. We've put the gross back in Gross Domestic Product. We're a nation that has made aggressive investments, down to the cellular and molecular level, against the possibility of famine. If the average American is 20 pounds overweight, that comes to an approximate total of 6 billion pounds of emergency backup fat. Military planners call this the Strategic Pudge Reserve.

   My big concern is inequality. Not all the extra beef is distributed evenly across the continent. On the coasts and in big cities, people tend to be borderline emaciated, their skin stretched over their skulls, their necks seemingly too small to contain both a throat and a spine. I know men who train for triathlons by running marathons, and who look like medical textbook diagrams of the inside of a human being: a mass of veins, arteries, muscles and tendons.

   Then there's that classic urban moment when a waiter comes by the table with the dessert cart, and everyone reacts as though he's wheeled in some roadkill. Finally, one person will shrug dramatically and -- Cuttin' loose! Goin' crazy! -- order the fat-free lemon square with three raspberries on top. Everyone else will stare ravenously, until the waiter has mercy and brings eight forks.

   I don't believe in making sweeping generalizations, but if you go about 50 miles west of Washington, you're suddenly in the Land of the Giants. You stay that way for pretty much the entire continent, until finally you cross the Sierra Nevada and find yourself among the skeletal sprout-eaters.

   I know a little bit about farm country. My mom's a farm girl. When we visit the family farm in the Midwest, there are guaranteed to be three very square meals a day, all including bacon. If you go to one of the local restaurants, the menu consists of cheeseburgers, cheesecake, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese fries and that Midwestern favorite, cheese-covered cheese. Check out the customers, and you'll notice that every person could be subdivided into two or even three Washington-size people. It's an entire society devoted to food processing.

   If I were a senator from a Midwestern state, I would demand that federal dollars be apportioned not by population but by quantity of human meat. I'd want to be able to say, "Measured by weight, my state is bigger than California!"

   Perhaps the Constitution should be amended. You get two senators per state, but a third, a "bonus" senator, if you can top 220 pounds per capita.

   I know, you scoff at the idea. But that's not your main reaction. Admit it: This is making you hungry.

   [Click here for the Rough Draft archive.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 15, 2006; 9:23 AM ET
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Joel, I can hear the shrieks of protest already. Those who will accuse you of poking fun at the chubby. Those who will protest that you really aren't fat and hence don't know the true heartache of adipose. Those who will accuse you of gross generalizations because their second cousin is from the Midwest and is like, totally fit.

The message for me was about losing control of my body. I have been skinny most of my life. Indeed, next to my high school graduation picture it lists as activities: "being skinny." Suddenly, though, calories have become real. The Seinfeld notion of a male pectoral support product isn't quite so funny anymore. That one might deal with this through humor, instead of morbid revulsion, is a comforting concept. It made me smile on this post-playoff Sunday morning.

And yes, it also made me hungry.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 15, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Of course, the extra insulation does help with those heating bills that were discussed the other day.

Posted by: esskay | January 15, 2006 9:49 AM | Report abuse

On our first date, my husband brought me a dozen long-stemmed red roses, and we had a picnic-type lunch in a park nearby to my office building in downtown Palo Alto.

On our second date, we decided to make a day of it in Monterey and Carmel, starting with the 17-Mile Drive, and ending on the beach at Carmel--for a long swim and lunch. We picked up a bottle of wine in downtown Carmel and carried it to the beach, along with the lunch I had packed and kept in a small cooler: sandwiches on whole wheat rolls, with chunks of chicken breast that I had cooked, along with generous helpings of avocado and sprouts.

It was late afternoon when we finally wined and dined on a blanket in the sand, but my husband, who stands 6'2" and hails from Missouri, ate only half his sandwich. Several years later, the truth came out: he didn't like avocado and sprouts.

Visiting his family in Kansas City the first year that we were married was a revelation. There was little conversation during meals--time better spent in eating as rapidly as possible, breakfasts always involved some type of typically greasy breakfast meat, and favored dining spots were buffets. My brother-in-law's kids were normal some 20 years ago, but now the entire family--with the exception of the one daughter--is morbidly obese.

Our one attempt at a joint family vacation in Branson, Missouri, about eight years ago was a disaster. They wanted the buffet lines and every night a different sit-down entertainment venue, while I wanted to swim, hike, and bike.

Sure, there are heavy people on both coasts as there are skinny people in-between, but as for a sweeping generalization, Joel's humorous piece today nailed it (if it's indeed possible to nail a sweeping generalization).

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Did the NSA help Bush hack the vote?

By Bob Fitrakis
Online Journal Guest Writer
Jan 11, 2006, 02:26

What do we make of the president boldly proclaiming that he has "spy powers?" Does he have X-ray vision too?

When he and his cronies crawl up into Cheney's bunker with the sign on the door "He-man Woman-haters Club. No Girls Allowed (except Condi)," do they synchronize their spy decoder rings and decide what new absurd folly to unleash on the world?

Illegal invasion of Iraq, suspending writs of habeus corpus, secret CIA torture dungeons, or election rigging? Most people outgrow such childish games and fantasies by the time they're 10 years old. And by age 12, most understand that the president is not a king. Or a dictator. That U.S. citizens have inalienable rights.

That there are such things as search warrants. If the executive branch of government is going to conduct surveillance on the American people, they have to get a warrant from the judicial branch specifying what they're looking for and the reasons for the search.

The Bush administration's utter contempt for the U.S. Constitution and the specific information we now know about its use of the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance network should further call into question Bush's 2004 presidential "election." In a recent revelation, we have learned that the NSA shared the fruits of its illegal spying on behalf of Bush with other government agencies.

What are e-voting machines and central tabulators that pass the voting results over electronic networks from the Internet to phone lines? No more than data easily spied on and tapped into. The Franklin County Board of Elections, for example, tells us that it was a "transmission error" in Gahanna Ward 1B, where 638 people cast votes and Bush, the Wonder Boy, received 4,258 votes. It's not magic, nor is it an accident or an act of God. If the vote total wasn't so hugely illogical, no one would have caught it.

Bush and his cabal are notorious for collecting raw intelligence data and using it for their political gain. While many progressives accept the fact that our government manufactured an illegal war in Iraq and routinely violates human rights worldwide, many are reluctant to accept that they would spy on John Kerry and rig the election -- which is very easy to do when the NSA does your bidding.

What part of the headline in the Columbus Dispatch: "Diebold vote machine can be hacked, test finds" don't people understand? The electronic hacking and monitoring of votes by U.S. intelligence agencies has a long history, from mainframe computers in the 70s and 80s to DREs in the 80s and 90s. In fact, W.'s father appears to be one of the first beneficiaries of e-voting fraud with his victory over Bob Dole in the 1988 New Hampshire primary.

Most voting rights advocates are well aware of Al Gore's infamous loss of 16,000 votes in the 2004 Florida presidential election, which allowed Bush's cousin at Fox News to call the election for Dubya. How do we explain the bizarre "rob georgia" Diebold file that Bev Harris of Black Box Voting found on the Internet after the stunning upset of Senator Max Cleland of Georgia.

The recent revelations about hacking of Diebold voting machines and the findings of the General Accountability Office as to the insecurity of the e-voting networks cannot be separated from the president's criminal use of the NSA to spy on American citizens. As much as we rejoice in the resignation of Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell and the pending lawsuits by shareholders against Diebold, it should not obscure the massive continued potential to hack the vote.

Both Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines ran November 2004 cover stories on how easy it is to hack the e-voting machines and their communication networks. In one famous cartoon, a teenage hacker was announced as the president.

This is precisely the type of game George W. and his He-man authoritarian boy's club would engage in. Recently, Professor Steve Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania spoke at a New York election reform forum and told the audience that a third of the Kerry voters who showed up in exit polls in rural Republican-dominated areas simply don't show up in the actual vote tally. Not just in Ohio, but throughout the nation.

Would a president who believes he has spy powers, the right to torture, the ability to wage illegal wars based on bogus, manufactured intelligence reports, simply refuse to spy on Kerry and rig an election electronically? In Ohio, two burglaries occurred against the Democratic Party in Lucas County and Franklin County, just prior to the 2004 election, involving computer theft.

Congress must investigate whether Bush used the NSA for partisan political gain during the 2004 election, and whether any NSA Bush operatives or other members of the security-industrial complex had access to e-voting machines, central tabulators or the communication lines that delivered the voting results.

Bob Fitrakis is the co-editor of Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election? with Harvey Wasserman and co-counsel with Cliff Arnebeck in the Alliance for Democracy suit against the Hocking County Board of Elections.

Copyright © 1998-2006 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Posted by: che | January 15, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

From a friend, now in her 70s, in California, who is a former Weight Watchers employee...source unknown.


"'Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house,
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd tasted
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).
I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rare,

The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese,
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."
As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt---

I said to myself, as only I can
"You can't spend a winter disguised as a man!"
So---away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.

Every last bit of food that I like must be banished.
"'Til all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won't have a cookie---not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.

I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore---
But isn't that what January is for?

Unable to giggle, no longer a riot,
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse


"...I know, you scoff at the idea. But that's not your main reaction. Admit it: This is making you hungry."


Joel, I am just speechless here. This totally goes over the line and it's not funny. Yes, humor derives from truth but when it hits this close to home, well, ouch.

On the other hand, I am laughing right now, so I guess this is an example of "painfully funny."

Someday, you'll get an award and it will be for something like this. The "hitting the nail on the head" award.

Posted by: Reader | January 15, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, Joel, I'm on a cruise ship, fer cryin' out loud. Gimme a break here. On this ship they strap food to your body during lifeboat drill.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 15, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

January 15, 2006
Scientists Discover Gene That Confers Sizable Risk of Diabetes

Scientists have discovered a variant gene that confers a sizable extra risk of Type 2 diabetes and that is carried by more than a third of the American population.

The finding is being reported on Monday in the journal Nature Genetics by researchers at Decode Genetics. The company specializes in finding the genetic roots of human diseases by studying the Icelandic population. Decode Genetics first found the genetic variant in Icelanders and has now confirmed the finding in a Danish and an American population.

An immediate practical consequence of the discovery, Decode's chief executive, Kari Stefansson, said, will be a diagnostic test to identify people who carry the variant gene. If they know of their extra risk, he said, they will have an added incentive to stay thin and exercise.

Posted by: Loomis | January 15, 2006 7:02 PM | Report abuse

The only people that post on this thing are:

A. C- students who like putting forth opinions that are not fact-checked
B. Federal Employees who take time out from surfing the internet for new porn sites while at work to post "I hate George Bush" notes
C. Gender confused pseudo scholars that believe this equates with being "published"
D. Greedy old folks that just learned how to use a computer at the local seniors' center and now wish to bash the guy they believe may cost them a nickel of their precious Social Security!!


This thing STINKS!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: The Lonemule | January 15, 2006 7:31 PM | Report abuse

As a frequently published (thanks to this blog) former "C" student who works for the government, I'd like to take time out between Bingo and wheelchair aerobics to thank The Lonemule for making me smile tonight as I worry about my Social Security check coming late next month. Oh yeah.. I hate George Bush.

Posted by: Mules Galore | January 15, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Two points-
The other day I took a little poke at Shelley Winters and now she's dead. In justice to the lady I will say that she won two oscars, demonstrated real talent and longevity and acted in some pretty impressive stuff: Night of the Hunter, Patch of Blue, Place in the Sun, Alfie, etc. She seemed to have a good sense of humor about her increase in size and made it to 85. R.I.P. Shelley Winters.

Secondly, Lonemule, I really really really hope you are a big Redskin fan and are enjoying the beginning of the offseason.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 15, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Shelly Winters was the grandmother on the Roseanne Show, too, wasn't she? My husband couldn't stand her, but I agree, she was a good actress, and seemed to know how to have a good time.

And this is a good time to post the lyrics from my favorite Jethro Tull song, Fat Man:
Don't want to be a fat man,
people would think that I was
just good fun.
Would rather be a thin man,
I am so glad to go on being one.
Too much to carry around with you,
no chance of finding a woman who
will love you in the morning and all the night time too.

Don't want to be a fat man,
have not the patience to ignore all that.
Hate to admit to myself half of my problems
came from being fat.
Won't waste my time feeling sorry for him,
I seen the other side to being thin.
Roll us both down a mountain
and I'm sure the fat man would win.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 15, 2006 10:03 PM | Report abuse

We know when we are being snowed. We need to see the reports from the weekly weigh-ins to be sure you are putting your money where your mouth is.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 15, 2006 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, this RD's a goody, the Genghis Khan sentence still has me giggling.

Thanks for the motivation to drop the winter insulation, Joel.

Mmmm. I love avacado, but I'm trying to keep by cholesterol level below 1000, and my blood from undergoing a phase transition from liquid to Silly Putty, so avacados are on my "I wish I could quit you." list.


Posted by: bc | January 15, 2006 10:49 PM | Report abuse

In the straw patch
Straw patch
You call yer men
whose antigen

Suffocates the wayward few
whose slippery pew
knocks girls to knees
whose pleas

Knead the dough
in my pocket through
that rich bitch laughter
whose dumbass daughter

Ain't mine - that ruckus
flatter and ducats
rhyme with West Side
Sunny side up cried

Died sour and sexy
like bulletproof plexy
shiny glass lodged
whose trustfund dodged

The reckoning jesting
In the means speckling
that spattered Blood
whose biblical flood

Unravels and travels
the distant marvels
and a justice clogged
with veiled women hogged

By the pharoah
whose arrow
sought the dastard
the gangly bastard

Whose final gambles
displaced his shambles
the Royal death rattle
confession barked of prattle

Philip Sidney and Master P
slap Womyn in the the V
whose dainty lines give relief
to a solemn shampooed queef.

Posted by: Champ Bailey | January 16, 2006 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Thank heavens I read this after I had eaten. I can visualize the Martians landing, and not being able to kidnap any of us because their UFOs won't be able to carry us away. National security!

Speaking of memoirs - which we started discussing on Friday ---

I am currently reading an adventure story titled "The Keeper's Son." by Homer Hickam who wrote at least two "real" memoirs about life as a coal miner's son in West Virginia. I ran across the first, "Rocket Boys," as a talking book on the way to a fishing trip in the northwoods. "Rocket Boys" was made into the movie "October Sky." You're probably all familar with the story of the lad who built rockets near his father's mine site and went on to become a rocket scientist. It's a great story as is "The Coalwood Way" which also describes life in a mining community. If you are interested in learning about life in the coal mines these are great books.

I was interested to hear that Mr. Hickam spoke Sunday at the memorial service for the Coal miners who lost their lives. He is a thoughtful person who opines about mine safety as well as space craft safety.

"The Keeper's Son" is an adventure about a lighthouse keeper's family off the Carolina coast during WWII, and features U-Boats, Nazis, the Coast Guard, and even ventures into the Pacific Theater of action. It is pure fiction told by a great storyteller.

His books about the mines are memories of his childhood with the usual disclaimers found in memoirs.

Liked your Calypso, Mudge, and all the Boodlers' poems, songs, etc.


Posted by: boondocklurker | January 16, 2006 3:55 AM | Report abuse

Trivia: "October Sky" is an anagram of "Rocket Boys"

Posted by: Reader | January 16, 2006 5:19 AM | Report abuse

Joel the Hutt???

And 'Mudge, don't let them strap any protein to you during the lifeboat drills. Stick to fresh veggies, it's easier to latch on to a manatee that way.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2006 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Reader - cool trivia. Thanks!

Curmudgeon - My mom once told me that there are only three things to do on a cruise. Eat, drink, and something else that I have suppressed to avoid therapy.

Lone Mule - You make me sad. What noble reason do you have for posting? You are clearly bright. Change your name and become a friend.

Joel - If you go in today I hope you enjoy the parkling space. Although maybe you should deliberately park far away and walk.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 16, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Since the government is off today, I guess no one will be posting comments on this perennially malodorous blog.

I had a letter published in the "Free For All" on Saturday. Does that make me legit?

My theory on the national weight problem is that the invention of stretch fabrics has enabled and encouraged our global expansion.

Posted by: Pixel | January 16, 2006 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Pixel, O ye of little faith. You think we don't have connections at home? *G*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

"Super Size Me" had some great demographic data on obesity. The fattest town in America was in Texas. We need to have the great folks at at Health and Human Services create an obesity map so we can chart the fat of the land.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 16, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Google is amazing. Check out this site with CDC maps by state.

Truly alarming.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 16, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Is ther a link, pixel? Or give me a page number. I may be able to still find Saturday's WaPo in the recycling.

My grandfather was a curmudgeonly letter-to-the-editor writer. I'd have to think that if he were still alive, he would be dropping his pithy one liners over at Free Republic or someplace suitably reactionary for a retired Army Lt. Col.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 16, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Alas, I only made the second-rate "Free for All" rather than landing on prime op-ed/Letter to the Editor real estate.


The 'Norfolk 4' Belong in Prison

Posted by: Pixel | January 16, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

E. People who like cheese-covered cheese.

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 16, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

speaking of fat, why is Deborah Howell in the tank and for the Repugnant Party. She is a GOP hack. An ombudsfool.

Posted by: SF | January 16, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

yellowjkt writes:
""Super Size Me" had some great demographic data on obesity. The fattest town in America was in Texas. We need to have the great folks at at Health and Human Services create an obesity map so we can chart the fat of the land."

If you're fat in Texas, don't despair--one if by land, two if by sea, three if by air...(and yellowjkt--we are here!)

The article on May 7, 2005, by business writer Travis E. Polling was just below the banner on Page 1 of the San Antonio Express-News: "British tycoon sees fat market in S.A.: 'Rebel Billionaire' to team with Humana on health insurance."

As the article explains:

San Antonio's status as one of the fattest cities in the nation is driving famed British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson to bring his brand and bravado to San Antonio by launching new health insurance here.

"San Antonio has the least healthy people in the whole of the U.S.A.," said Branson, whose Virgin Group empire includes an airline, record label, music stores, mobile communications--and now health care.

With health insurance giant Humana Inc. as its partner, Virgin is launching Virgin life care in the United States later this year or early next year for people in San Antonio and Tampa, Fla.

In 2003, a Center for Disease Control survey said San Antonio had the largest percentage of obese adults. And the city was No. 2 when it came to percentage of (both) overweight and obese adults.

The idea is to give incentives to people to get healthy [lose weight] and track their health improvements for such rewards as lower health premiums, music, mobile minutes or airline miles. ...

"Before we came in to experiment on San Antonians, we experimented on South Africans," Branson said.

At the end of the trial nearly 300,000 South Aricans were working out for free in health clubs and on the whole, showing improvement in their overall health as htey logged their information, Branson said. ...

Except, after the article ran, San Antonio never heard another word about the joint life insurance effort or Sir Richard Branson, nor was there any further reporting by the San Antonio Express-News. ???

Posted by: Loomis | January 16, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I laughed out loud, belly shaking. The shaking is much more impressive since I moved back "home" to the Midwest from DC, somehow accumlating 30 extra pounds in the move. I think they issued it to me with my driver's license.

Bacon, as every Midwesterner knows (because it's a traditional first-birthday present) is God's Greatest Gift to Mankind. For those whose religious beliefs prohibit bacon, I can only say that the Almighty pulled a fast one on you, and it still makes His own healthy gut quiver as He giggles about it.

Posted by: Midwestern Tub of Goo | January 16, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

If I could have a nickel for every time something is announced or has a first media splash, and then quietly disappears. It's one of the media's major failings. I've been there, as a reporter, and the discussion goes something like this.

Reporter: So we could to a follow-up report.

Boss: Follow-up on what?

Reporter: On how nothing has happened.

Boss: What's the news in that?

Reporter: They said they were going to do this, that and the other. They said it was important that they do this, that and the other. But they didn't do any of it. We should ask why the didn't.

Boss: We've got another story for you.

Reporter: Okay. But first, I'll get lunch.

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 16, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

First in the neighborhood, in nearby Helotes, was the 30-year old landmark Mexican restaurant, El Chapparal.

In 1999, just as we were leaving Alamo City for two years to live just outside Louisville, Ky., began the slow trickle of development to our northwest, now just 1.5 miles from our second San Antonio home. But beating the mega-complexes, about .5 miles from us currently, was Panchito's (Perico's) Mexican Restaurant.

Brought by the explosion of strip centers just to our north came Salsalito's Mexican Cantina, along with the following at the expanding freeway intersection:

Chili's and Johnny Carino's and Panda Express and Chick-Filet-A and McDonald's and Chucky Cheese and Las Palapas--and Marble Slab Creamery and Cold Stone Creamery and Baskin Robbin's--and Fire Hut Grill and Opa's Greek restaurant and Luby's Cafeteria and Jim's Coffee Shop and Cheesy Jane's and Malik Rose's Famous Philly Cheesesteaks and Hot Wings Sports Bar and Golden Corral Buffet and IHOP. (More restaurants are currently being built and are under way.)

Then, to our immediate south at the Wal-Mart complex, a Tink-a-Taco (or a name that's close), not to mention the mom-and-pop taquerias, and the old, established Mexican restaurant that sits on the banks of Leon Creek--and Taco Cabana and Pop-Eye's Chicken and Kentucky Fried Chicken and Wendy's and...shall I go on?

May I propose that the last thing we need in the neighborhood is another Mexican restaurant con manteca (with lard)?

Posted by: Loomis | January 16, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse


maybe you could do a "truth still matters PART DEUX"...

focussing on what a lying bitch Post "ombudsman" Deborah Howell is....

Posted by: paul lukasiak | January 16, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Pixel: Kudos on your letter to the editor. I consider such action as the moral equivolent to volunteering for jury duty. Thank you.

I suffer from the dread "one pound a year (for twenty years) pernicious weigh gain creep" syndrome. It's the product of mental conditioning. When you can pound down copious amounts of cheeseburgers, BBQ, burritos, chili fries, corndogs (ummm, corn dogs), and cheese omelets with utter NO CONSEQUENCE to your beltline all through your teens and twenties, it's hard to suddenly eschew these fine foods when you reach 35.

Isn't it interesting how our Mass Culture Overseers have embraced obesity and made it good? It seems every sitcom now features a corpulant main charactor (male, at least), and the dudes you see in commercials dealing with air fresheners, automobiles, and - of course - food, are all chub's. This from a culture that eats photographs of lettuce. Go figure.

Loomis: Oh, Glory! Mexican food in San Antonio! Such wonderous memories. I'll be right over.

Posted by: CowTown | January 16, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Aboard M/S Maasdam, 500 miles north of Puerto Rico, seas 10-12 feet and rough (the swimming pool on the Lido Deck is shipping green water over the hot tubs).

Think I've got to respectfully disagree with you, K-guy, although we're usually in agreement on most things. I don't see Lonemule as being a Redskins fan--in fact, I don't see him as a football fan at all. Although we football fans fire poitshots at each other all the time, they are ultimately good-natured. And being a sports fan of any kind is generally a pretty humanistic thing--ya gotta like people, gotta like the give-and-take, ya gotta be able to take it as well as dish it out. Lonemule is none of that--he's just bitter, angry, isolated, single-minded, and has no sense of humor whatsoever (I think you'd have to agree with that last point most of all). That's not a sports fan--just a lone fanatic. Whereas sports fans can indeed become obsessed, at the end of the day they still have a sense of humor and take the ups and downs being a fan requires. And virtually all sports are "people" events--and Lonemule just ain't a people kinda guy. Yes, he's a loser--but not in the sense of being a Cubs fan or a Red Sox fan--those people know adversity much too well to be so bitter.

I don't think Lonemule is any kind of competitive sports fan.

I'll say this for Shelley Winters: when she was young, she was one good-lookin' woman.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 16, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Lonemule, may be an ass, but also someone to admire. I like the earlier suggestion about trying to turn her into a friend. However, don't think she is an enemy. She simply has a point of view about the content of this blog. And frankly, she's pretty much right.

Like, JA, I look forward to her zany posts.

Posted by: vulvix | January 16, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

C'mudge - Be careful while eating soup aboard the ship as it pitches about.

For me, lunch at Mission Burrito!

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 16, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I hope everyone is enjoying their day off in honor of a great and courageous human being, Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr. There really is something about this day that everyone can celebrate!

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 16, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why so many people dread the thought of jury duty. I thought it was fascinating, though I didn't expect my two-week peek at the justice system to have such a long-term aftermath.

Spouse was on the Marv Albert jury... Talk about wacky!

Posted by: Pixel | January 16, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra S.:

You are so right.

Dr. King was a rare individual, indeed. One who not only understood the big picture but was able to explain it to others; who not only saw the flaws in our society but worked to make a better world, and not through force and violence, but with the power of love and sacrifice. I feel our loss when I look around to find today's leaders--where are they?

I hope that Dr. King's speeches are being broadcast today because they are just as relevant in 2006 as they were when he first wrote them.

Posted by: Reader | January 16, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse


Welcome back, glad you've rejoined us.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

And now, an annual rant. The local TV news across the country today will include many items regarding MLK day. Parades. Picnics. Gatherings. Etc.

Damn few will actually do a story about his life. Damn few will actually run a large hunk of the "I have a dream" speech.

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 16, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

BS, you SO right. Hey, how about we replace "American Idol" with "American Orator" and have the winner re-enact MLK Jr.'s speech each year??

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self, Aaron Brown aired the entire "I have a dream" speech - not sure if it was last year, or when. It seems to me it runs about 15 minutes or so. You see how Aaron was rewarded! I just checked and there is a CD of 12 MLK "landmark" speeches called "A Call to Conscience" which would be nice to have. He was an amazing leader with such wisdom and vision.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 16, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

WaPo ran an article about how the Dream speech is still under copyright which is held by his heirs. I don't know what the policy is for broadcasting or airing the speech, but it sounds like something people might shy away from because of legal issues.

The words need to be heard.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 16, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Curm the worm: Why are you smearing Lonemule? He's not the loser, but perhaps people who are so intolerant of any criticism at all, are. You would be one.

Your crank positivism is actually one big negative--you are not open to challenge, as intolerant in your ways as anyone else on this blogue. You screenout or damn what you dont wann hear.

And your heroic, homoamericansus claim that she (Lonemule) must not be a sportsfan is just hilarious. YOu're quite a guy, c'udgeon.
I can see you now in gut hanging over the belt as you coif beer and eat those pringles while you root for ole whogivesadouchebag, as if it were your alma mater. Don't forget to save the last dance on the boat for your wife. She's undoubtedly earned it.

Posted by: Note to curmudgeon | January 16, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday I watched a PBS special on the life of Dr. King that included much of his "I Have a Dream" speech as well as his last speech in Memphis.
My favorite of his works has got to be "Letter from a Birmingham Jail".
I wrote an essay last year called "What Would Dr. King Say About Abu Ghraib?", using his words from "Letter".
Could any man have endured the role of conscience of this country for the past 30-plus years?
It would have been a marathon job. It might have been too much for any man. We glorify the martyred, certainly.
Would he hold sway today? I certainly hope he would.
What a loss.

Posted by: DoubleVision | January 16, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Copies of the "I Have a Dream" speech, whether on audio or video tape, shot by news crews or individuals, would not be subject to any limitations for use on a newscast. Mass producing such tapes and trying to sell them might be another matter.

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 16, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

i admire the amplitude of your sense of humor mr. aschenbach
Seattle Pschoanalytic Institute + Society
Visiting Scholar, German U. Washington [a.D.]


Posted by: michael roloff | January 16, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I went looking for the quote I remember when Dr. King explained the power of love, didn't find it, but here's a good one:


Was not Jesus an extremist for love -- "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice -- "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ -- "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist -- "Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God." Was not John Bunyan an extremist -- "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist -- "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist -- "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice--or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment.

--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by: Reader | January 16, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I know I should just ignore this. But I'm stupid this way. A reasonable criticism of anything should be exclusively dependent upon the subject matter. Saying, for example, "This Blog Sucks!" is silly because you could simply replace "This Blog" with the phrase "Banana Parfait." This is sloppy thinking. I get enough of that at work. Be specific or be quiet.
I need to go take my medication now.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 16, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I remember doing some research in school many years ago and came across an article about how Dr King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" utilized the exact same phrasing and structure as a Bach aria. I've never forgotten that little nugget of knowledge and I found it to be an excellent example of Dr. King's great skill of oration.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | January 16, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

When I was in grad school I taught a remedial physics class that was almost exclusively black. Being the whitest white guy on the planet, I initially felt very self- conscious. Then one of the students pointed out that MLK taught us that no one should be judged by his pigmentation. MLK's teachings gave the students permission to like me. I have always been respectful of his legacy because of this.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 16, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Yes, you should have ignored "this," but as you say, you are "stupid." [ you said it, not me.]

You assert that a reasonable criticism of anything should be exclusively dependent upon the subject matter. This is not true of your 4:2:38 post. Sui generis, its ffin stupid. If Dreamer were here, she would settle the argument--probably, in error, in your favor though.

Saying that this is just sloppy thinking is itself sloppy thinking. It mushes your banana parfait on your pants. So be specific or be quiet or go fy. I know you admit "I get enough of that at work," but that is because of who you are and what you say--and if your logic holds, I can see why they pummel you. So, Mr. RDP, be specific or be quiet.
I need to go take my single malt now.

Posted by: Message for RD Paduck | January 16, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon - wanna go halfsies on this "Message for/Note for" person. I know some guys.....

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 16, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I apologize for that last blog. My latin blood was up. It was disrespectful on MLK day. He taught that non-violence and societal pressure will promote positive change. I will rely upon that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 16, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

RD, 'Mudge, allow me...

"note to/message for" SUCKS!!!

What it sucks, however, remains to be seen. Never mind its recourse to profanity, it's actually paying us a favor by assuming we'll understand its abbreviations, instead of having the courage of its convictions to use the words (or having the mental thesaurus to actually impart meaning instead of emotional volume.)

RD Padouk's point stands. Repetitive use of a single phrase instead of attempting to lay out anything resembling a real comment doesn't really count as criticism.

That said, it's not really a boodle until Lonemule chimes in. Sort of like football's two-minute warning.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 16, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

peanutgallerymember, nice of you to chime in again. That's an interesting connection between Bach and MLK. Jack Bruce, bass player extraordinaire, says that Bach wrote the best bass lines of anyone. Does anybody have suggestions for some good Bach selections? My classical music knowledge is from Bugs Bunny and figure skating, I'm afraid.

yellojkt and Reader, thanks for the MLK quotes and link. When Aaron Brown played the whole speech, I believe he mentioned getting permission from the King foundation. And he may have taken a break in the middle - it is very long for commercial TV. I love the "Let freedom ring" part near the end...

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 16, 2006 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I saw Brokeback Mountain today - Reader, you're right, it's very good and probably won't be seen by the people who need to see it the most. Halfway through I was thinking it was ok, but didn't see what the accolades were about; by the end I was weeping, along with most of the audience. It's so powerful and sad, and unfortunately, so real.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 16, 2006 7:12 PM | Report abuse


For the Bach pieces, I would suggest the cello suites, the lute suites, or the Brandenburg Concertos.

For the cello suites, I suggest either Yo Yo Ma or Janos Starker, 2 cd sets each.

For the lute suites (usually played on the guitar these days), check out Christopher Parkening or Julian Bream. As a side note, Andres Segovia's arrangement of the Chaconne (part of a violin sonata) is a classic piece and a stunning arrangement. Segovia, Parkening, and Bream all perform it brilliantly.

For the Brandenburg's, which are orchestral pieces so the bass part may be a little more obvious, try Trevor Pinnock and the Engish Concert. But there are many very good performances of these that can be picked up cheaply.

Posted by: pj | January 16, 2006 8:33 PM | Report abuse

in a cadillac with plastic covered seats, full of black guys...we paid the driver to cut down on costs and so we could sleep while he drove

being the token white guy they asked my what "white people thought" about _this_ contreversial topic

I said I don't know I'm pink...there are no white people....

I worked with inner city blacks and country rednecks in a factory putting trucks together while I determined that a working class hero was an illusion....

rednecks are predjudiced and so are any seperated from the rest of the world minorities.....whether by economics or beliefs.....

jewishness is really an ethnic thing, like being puerto rican....are puerto ricans black, spainish or indian or mulattoe...and how come they get meaner when they get to new yawhk

so fry me, have anice day.

Posted by: I used to ride to work at the factory.... | January 16, 2006 8:59 PM | Report abuse

glenn gould are nice if you want to reach a heightened state...

of awareness....try toning too..

Posted by: the goldberg variations by... | January 16, 2006 9:08 PM | Report abuse

NPR radio had some interesting features today about Martin Luther King. Stories about the march to Selma and how Alabama reacted. It would be great if he were still here today to give us his opinion on the Katrina disaster and other happenings in this country.

Pixel, good for you for your letter to the editor and serving on that jury. I was on a jury about 20 years ago and it certainly influenced my view of the judicial system. So much depends on the particular judge and attorneys. The case I was on was a reckless homicide where the defendant hit a snowmobiler standing by the side of the road. The jury convicted him but it was not an easy verdict. The defendent's attorney couldn't remember the judge's name which didn't help his cause. Everyone should serve on a jury just for the experience.

We hope you survive the high seas, Mudge.


Posted by: boondocklurker | January 16, 2006 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I used to own a large one-volume collection of M.L. King's letters & speeches. Great stuff. It wasn't unheard of for me to tear up while reading them. I'm gonna search around and buy myself another copy. I've also got two volumes of Lincoln's letters & speeches. Fantastic. He's often as touching as MLK, and brilliantly witty.

Jefferson and Washington are more of a chore to get through. Both the stylistic differences of the 18th century, and the relative lack of a sense of humor work against their easy readability.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 16, 2006 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh....Brokeback Mountain. Liberals finally get their own version of John Wayne.

Dr. King: One truly great man.

This BLOG....STINKS!!!!!

Posted by: The Real Lonemule | January 16, 2006 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Not that either of them are around to be offended, but I'll amend my remarks about Washington & Jefferson:

I'm sure that they had senses of humor. The examples of their writing that I've read, however, tend to lack a sense of playfulness.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 16, 2006 9:21 PM | Report abuse

pj, thanks so much! The Brandenburg Concertos were where I was going to start (I did a search on my local library and came up with about 4000 Bach selections!). And I love Yo Yo Ma. He plays some of the music in Memoirs of a Geisha, which to me was the highlight of that movie.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 16, 2006 9:48 PM | Report abuse

that don't.

We tend to call those that can pass through their colons what others tend to or seem to want to hold onto rather than lose.....looser' in those that are able to lose shit rather than hold onto it...or the unanally rentitive....not liberals.

This word has been stolen by the colon cramped, and bastardized to "losers," which is another word entirely....although if you think about what getting rid of shit means as far as personal health and smell you'ld want to be a loser if that is what it implied....

As they say on tralfamador, "I've got a mirror to steal"

dancing and farting on the bar can be leathal in the wrong company....ask aunt sally

Posted by: there are no liberals, just those that have bowel movements and those | January 16, 2006 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, mostlylurking. It is nice to be back on the boodle after a hiatus. As far as good Bach pieces go I agree with pj and Goldberg Variations selections and also add Bach's Mass in B minor as well even though the length is a bit intimidating. I would recommend attacking that one in sections and you might even find a few English language versions floating around.

Posted by: peanutgallerymember | January 16, 2006 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Loomis, Salsalito's has some damn good chimichangas! I spent 2.5 years stationed up in San Angelo and our idea of culture was driving the 200 miles down to SA. I wish we could get some decent Mexican food up here, but this place stinks for anything that's not seafood.

Posted by: Kevin in AK | January 17, 2006 12:25 AM | Report abuse

"Super Size Me" scared me so much I *still* haven't gone to MickeyD's since watching it.

That CDC map is a trip. According to Super Size Me, Texas has the 5 of the fattest cities in the US but the CDC map has no data. (->W<-)onder why that is....

Of course, I'm engaged in masochism these, pilates and cardio and I haven't had a sweet dessert in eons...See, I quit smoking and well, we ex-smokers tend to put on pounds.

It's all for the cause, dear.

Posted by: amo | January 18, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

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