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Becoming Pre-Digital

    For a while we've talked in the neighborhood about staging an Eighteenth Century Weekend. This would not involve dressing up in silly outfits or wearing powdered wigs or rarely bathing or having bad teeth or anything like that. The idea is not specifically based on any particular culture in any particular place. We just think it might be neat to spend a weekend without using the car, the cellphone, the TV, the computer, and the other technologies that shrink the world, change the pace of day to day existence, and accelerate communication to the speed of light.

    In theory, we'd discover lots of simple, old-fashioned pleasures, such as talking directly to our neighbors while desperately beating the laundry against a rock. Come to think of it, we'll keep the washer and dryer plugged in. Also the fridge. But there will be a hard and fast rule: No one can use one of those automatic ice dispensers in the door of the fridge. When we turn back the clock to the Eighteenth Century, everyone will have to reach all the way into the freezer compartment to get ice. We'll just "rough it."

    I was reminded of the idea (which will probably never actually happen) by Marc Cooper, who recently posted a blog item he titles "Blogging Ourselves to Death?" [Cooper has a vast media empire, ranging from his pieces in The Nation and The L.A. Weekly to his recent book on gambling in Vegas.] He links to Andrew Postman's essay on Jay Rosen's PressThink blog, in which Postman discusses his father, Neil, and his highly influential book "Amusing Ourselves to Death." The younger Postman talks of a professor who asks his students to go 24 hours without any electronic media -- an "e-media fast." Students apparently find it to be a life-changing 24 hours.

    Cooper says of "Amusing Ourselves" that it "warns that as a society we allow and encourage the advent of new technologies without ever first reflecting on what consequences they will bring. We invent 'solutions' for problems that don't really exist. And without thinking about it - usually until it's too late--we radically reshape our own environment with no regard to the concurrent consequences. Neil Postman recurred to a clever device to make his central point. He juxtaposed two different but equally dark visions of a totalitarian future: George Orwell's 1984 and Aldus Huxley's Brave New World. In the former it is Big Brother who watches us. In the latter vision -- the one that Postman most feared -- we volunteer to watch Big Brother. We most risk being enslaved by what we love rather than by what we hate and hates us."

    [Incidentally, I interviewed Neil Postman in 1990 after the Milli Vanilli lip-synching scandal, part of what seemed to me at the time to be part of a Reality Erosion phenomenon. Postman told me, "The whole culture is becoming a kind of pseudo-event."

    From the article:

    The science of manipulating truth has advanced faster than our ability to detect phoniness. It is hard to imbue cynicism among people who are ignorant of even the basic facts of the world. Geology, for instance. The sum of most people's knowledge of geology is contained in the opening sequence of "The Beverly Hillbillies," when Jed Clampett is shooting for some food and up through the ground comes a-bubblin' crude. Oil, that is. Black gold. Texas tea. If not for this we wouldn't know that oil sometimes spurts from the underbrush when hunters fire errantly.

    Please, no Cheney jokes.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 15, 2006; 12:12 PM ET
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Next: Cheney's Hunting Mishap: What Really Happened


I think you meant "communication" in that last sentence of the first paragraph, Joel.


Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse


JA, perhaps you meant "accelerate communication" in the first graf?

Happy to help. :)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I BOOO'd, bc... *bowing to the faster typist* :)

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I've spiked my laptop (after autographing it with a Sharpie I pulled from my 'mudge-edition-cummerbund) and am doing an endzone dance.


Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Pre-digital, hmmmmm, no fingers?

Posted by: newkid | February 15, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

bc, you never told us you owned a Toughbook! *impressed*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

How about getting Joel to live-blog that 18th century weekend. The problem with people that watch too many costume dramas, present company included, is that we all envision ourselves as being part of the aristocracy. And if not the Darcys, at least no worse off than the Bennets.

Let's roll play the starving Irish farmer or the raped mulatto slave girl or the displaced aboriginal North American and then decide how much we like the 18th century. On average, I think I prefer the 21st century and I think I'll like the 22nd even better.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 15, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"Eighteenth Century Weekend?" Joel, it's called camping. It's better when you engage in this exercise in a beatiful setting (best are National Forests) where there are few people, save for like-mined techno-refugees. No phones, no email; best, no one even knows where you are. Bliss.

Posted by: CowTown | February 15, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Change "roll play" to "roleplay". You would think a former Dungeon Master would know better.

I am such a dork.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 15, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

CSS The word "mined" is hereby amended to read "minded."

Thank you for your continuing cooperation and attention.

Posted by: CowTown | February 15, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Eighteenth Century Weekend would be camping, just with no nylon, insect repellent, or propane. The biggest cross-generational shock when my son became a Boy Scout was the ubiquity of propane camp stoves. It seems so few places allow open fires for cooking, that it has become a necessity.

They also now frown on trenching around your tent every night.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 15, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't, Scotty.

All of my comments from 12:44 on were posted my pocket-model Liebnitz calculus ratiocinator Classic Mk II. If you're not familiar with it, imagine a Blackberry made out of paper cards, marbles, and walnut.


Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

When I drive my car to work, I always think about whether I am on time or whether I might be running late, what's the speed limit, how fast is the traffic going, can I make that light, why isn't the guy in front of me turning, already. None of it is high-anxiety, but it's just a little running commentary inside my head. I was never even aware I was doing it until I started riding my bicycle to work. On my bike, I know it's going to take a while and there's a limit to how fast I can go. And also, I'm not affected much by traffic, since I have my own lane. So all the time-related stress goes away. It's really great.


Neil Postman was one of my early heroes, because he co-wrote a book called "Teaching as a Subversive Activity." A classic.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 15, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Brand name is "Leibnitz", or "Leibniz" if you bought one of the European models.

I'm not letting the 18th century weekend hold me down.

Even if I ratchet all the inputs down to the 18th century, I still get Fox news (and, natch) on my "Leibberry".


Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse


That's quite a nice Difference Engine you have there. Does yours have Ada Babbage compression algorithms? I've been thinking of getting a mechanical to pneumatic convertor so I can interface with the Grand Napoleon OSX.

Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

My husband calls the newspaper the "paper Internet" and the little slips of paper he uses to keep track of stuff his "paper Palm."

I guess those are their post-digital names.

Posted by: TBG | February 15, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or does everyone, every six months or so, have to unjam the damned ice dispenser in the door of the fridge?

Posted by: Bayou Self (AKA Error Flynn) | February 15, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, whoever you are posting as *me*.

I'm happy enough with the MonadSystem I OS (it's served me well for a long, long time), not sure I'm willing to add the Babbage or Turing updates.


Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Along this same line (living without modern machines), check out Eric Brende's book Better Off about his 18 months living in a "amish-y" community.

Very interesting!

Posted by: Rebecca Hartong | February 15, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Dear Bayou: Beat ya to it! See previous boodle.

Ice dispenser? Don't tell me you folks have dishwashers too? My house was built in 1870, so I often have the experience, at least when in the basement. Inside looks more like a dot com.

Considering I've built three versions of a project in the last 24 hours I may have to interface with some of that Grand Napoleon OSX after work myself.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 15, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

it's gone too far... nothing is "real" anymore. There are twenty-somethings buying multi-million dollar apartments in Manhattan with the enormous bonuses they received for buying/selling shares in companies that make money by means of bookkeeping rather than manufacturing. All over the country, people spend hundreds of dollars every month for television and internet services that they won't give up for a few days because they really can't afford to do anything else with their time (no matter what kind of special Wal-Mart is running on soft drinks & chips). And, of course, there is the fact that nothing will panic the population nearly as much as a "terrorist attack" on either the internet or broadcast infrastructure. Won't we all be willing to get back those first few stations and websites after an attack? Won't we be so relieved that we will barely notice that our ability to get a variety of points of view has vanished?

We will, inevitably, take that trip back in time you suggest, but, I am afraid, that it will not be a time-travel adventure of our own choosing. We'll know what they tell us and nothing else (and our neighbors are hardly likely to know anything we don't ever again).

Posted by: DeeLuzon | February 15, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

It just occurred to me that Joel may have been put up to this 18th Century Weekend thing by That Guy Who Lives in his Basement.

I'd also add that That Guy might be able to provide some perspective on the Burr/Hamilton/hair-trigger Dick (TM) thing since he worked with (and had some strong opinions of, IIRC) the aforementioned pair.


Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Oooooh no, fella. If you're going to go all neo-Luddite on us, you've got to go all the way. No toilet paper. Emptying the chamber pots every morning on the way to the stables to milk the cows and muck out the stalls before you hitch up Bessie for that Beltway gallop. And no toilet paper. Every dinner by candle light. And no toilet paper. Reading aloud to the spouse and offspring every night, followed by a good night's sleep on the cornshuck mattress. And no toilet paper, dagnabbit!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 15, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for simplicity, but I think I'll keep 21st century medicine, even with all its problems. As a woman, I much prefer obstetrics in its current form.

Posted by: slyness | February 15, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I can't resist reading "Hints from Heloise", even though I know that it's going to drive me crazy. Is this a serious problem?

"Dear Heloise, whenever I feel myself getting dizzy and lightheaded, I have the perfect solution. I just open my mouth and breathe in some air! It's so easy and uses things you already have around the house--like lungs!"

Posted by: jw | February 15, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

k-guy, I think you're crossing the line into The Lonemule's territory there. Just saying...

I'm trying to remember the name of a movie I saw back in the 80s that ended, or maybe not ended, but at least contained a sequence where these people of the future become addicted to watching their dreams. They completely stop interacting with eachother or the rest of the world as they are mesmerized by their own dreams. Does that ring a bell to anyone? I don't remember anything else about the movie.

Posted by: ABJunkie | February 15, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

k-guy, what're you complaining about a lack of TP for?

Just get a daily sub to the NY Times or the Wall Street Journal.



Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Joel lives in a home with four count 'em four female persons. Life is not worth living without toilet paper under those circumstances. He knows what I'm talking about.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 15, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Last time I had to go 18th century was a couple of years ago during a localised blackout. It happened during the winter and I noticed that I longed for the comfort of lightbulbes rather quickly.
I missed my computer, my television or the radio since it was to dark to read beside my puny candle. (I was not prepared for the end of civilisation.)
Anyway, my 18th century experience ended with me going to bed at a rediculous early hour.
The next morning was spent joyously setting all the clocks again. Glad that life was back to what it should be.

Another time I felt that I realy couldn't cut it in the past was when I went camping in Norway. My Norwegean friend and I were going to rough it in the middle of nowere. (Jotunheimen) We were going to be Grizly Adams and his bear.
Tents were packed, trecking shoes were bought and dehydrated food was shoved in our overweight backpacks.
It took us until the second eveing to decide that hiking back for 40 minutes to the car, and driving another 30 min to get a pizza in the last town we crossed was realy worth it.
It was the best pizza I ever had.

Posted by: Eurotrash | February 15, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

forget the bed, you will need those cornshucks for other purposes!

Posted by: DPR | February 15, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Ok, so a starving Irish farmer, a raped mulatto slave girl and a displaced aboriginal North American go into a bar, and..."

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 15, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Back in my post-apocalyptic survivor fantasy days I used to view "Alas, Babylon" and "Malevil" as a utopian dreams. I had a full set of the Foxfire books to use as reference manuals for when the bombs fell. I was going to be able to butcher hogs and grind corn and do all those pre-industrial activities until a new dawn of libertarian freedom could re-establish civilization from Liebowitz's shopping list. Then I decided I liked technology too much. Once someone broke my glasses, I would be just Piggy waiting for the savages to finish me off.

No thanks. Give me orthoscopic surgery and an iPod instead of leeches and my cousin playing the pianoforte any day.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 15, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to figure out all the buttons and menu instructions on the cell phone the G-girls gave me for Christmas. But I might have held my own on the PBS reality show, Frontier House. The mid to late 1940s summers I spent with my aunt and uncle on their tiny farm, (no electricity, no indoor plumbing, no telephone, and no running water)have prepared me for that 1800s weekend; bring it on! On second thought, I was a child then and the grownups did all the work. Aye, there's the rub.

Posted by: Nani | February 15, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

During an exceptionally bad snow storm here in North Carolina a couple of years ago, everything was dead. The power was out, the roads were blocked, even the major highway, and people could not get to the hospital. At the hospital the roof fell in, and the patients were almost eating their bedcovers, for lack of staff. I called a random number in New York while the phone was still working and ending up talking to someone at the New York Times that had not one ounce of sympathy for me or the fact that I was snowed in. The snow was up halfway the door, and I couldn't get out. In fact she was downright nasty. I had a small kerosene heater that I had down to the lowest level to save on kerosene. When finally able to go outside I cooked outside on the grill, and the first things I wanted was a cup of hot coffee. I believe I would have run naked through the snow to get that coffee, and believe me that would not have been a pretty sight. We were without power almost two weeks. I read a lot during the day, and tried to sleep at night. It was so cold. I believe we had about fourteen inches of snow, and then ice. I thought I would never see television again. And as far a the toliet paper is concerned, well take that where you want to. Where I live, there are still a couple of outside toliets in existence. Of course I believe they should be museums, and a price charged for looking.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 15, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

boring, eh?

Posted by: vulvix | February 15, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

k-guy - I, too, share a house with 4-female persons in a similar configuration to the Achenhaus.

Gone camping with 'em too; they're pretty tough when they have to be.


Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse


I wonder if what you discribe is common to everyone. I had the exactly same faze.

Like you said, a longing for it all to end and having the chance to rebuild civilization slowly and justly.
Of course, one always survives global disaster unlike the 6 billion others. (My favorite post apocalyptic book was Lucifers Hammer)
And then as with you, I grew up and reality hit me. I'm as blind as a bat and not realy your big manly specimen. I'd either be killed, or would squeel like a pig while *insert your own Deliverance image here*.

Posted by: Eurotrash | February 15, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of 14th century behaviour:

I normaly try not to get involved in the Iraq war discussion because I feel that I might be seen as the cliché Anti American European, which I'm not.

But the pictures were shown on our news broadcast and believe me, they are much more horrific then the ones seen until now.

(I think there is some kind of self sensorship going on on msnbc, because the video they link to on that page shows pictures that are nothing compared those I've just seen.)

Posted by: Eurotrash | February 15, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

My mother inherited part of the family farm when my grandfather died and eventually built a home there. In the meantime, we had a vegetable garden and just enjoyed being out in the country. Since there were no facilities within walking distance, we built our own privy. It had a tin roof (from the barn, that was half demolished in a tornado), and tin on the sides facing our normal lounging places, but it was open on the other two sides. The openness meant that it didn't smell like closed privies generally do, although it was plenty breezy in the winter so nobody lingered. Somebody found a toilet seat, and it had a stick to hold the TP, so it accomplished what we meant it to. Nope, don't care to go back to it.

I'm rather fond of 21st century medicine, too, as opposed to 18th century medical practices, especially in obstetrics.

Posted by: slyness | February 15, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

bc, at least you migrated from the Von Neumann Neuralytic 1.0 to something with REAL analytical muscle...

And k-guy, why stop at chamberpots?? That's technology too, yanno. *evil grin*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I remember the simple days when my sister and I would ride our bikes across a busy, six lane road to get ice cream from the BP.

I didn't have a computer till they were pretty fast. I remember getting the internet for the first time, and now I'm totally dependent on it. My mom is over in Kuwait, so the only way I can get in touch with her is through email. I can't go anywhere without my cell phone, or I end up feeling totally lost. If someone can't reach me within a few hours, they freak out and think I'm kidnapped or dead. It's a small world, afterall.

My friends and I just spent over half an hour looking for a multiplayer fighting or shooting video game, cause there's no better way to spend time with friends than by beating them to death on a tv screen. We live vicariously through our Playstations and Xboxs.

Posted by: twbk | February 15, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

So right about the 4-female household, K-guy. It'd be a living Hell.

(While I'm at it, K-guy: Cool Runnings.)

My wife and I already have a sort of variation on the 18th Century Weekend thing. We are close friends with two other couples, and whenever one of the couples has had an especially bad week (at work, personal/family problem, household problem such as broken water heater combined with college tuition bill due, etc.) and the stress levels are peaking, one (or both) of the other couples invokes the Non-Decision Weekend. The NDW means that the stressed couple is treated to an enire-R&R-filled weekend, no honey-doos or chores, and most of all no decision-making. It may involve a weekend at a resort, or just a weekend at the other couple's house or boat. They do no cooking or meal-planning, no driving, no nothin'. The other couple does the meals and clean-up, decides what to do (a drive in the country, a cruise on the river, a visit to a winery, a movie matinee, an DVD movie marathon, a visit to a new or favorite restaurant, whatever--all done with due consideration and preferences of the recipient couple's known likes and dislikes, of course). We have done it maybe once or twice a year for some years now. Very relaxing.

I read Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" a few years ago and was blown away by it. Very thought-provoking book. If I'm not mistaken, he also comes up with the "monastic or monastery theory" of how to survive in a world gone mad (like this one). (Joel, correct me if I've got Postman confused with someone else.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 15, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

boring, eh?

Posted by: vulvix | February 15, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid, my grandpa still stooked his grain and stacked the hay by hand. For their 50th anniversary in 1967, I helped dig the hole for the new outhouse with 4 holes, 2 on the ladies side, 2 on the mens. Ahh, good times, good times.

I watched Pioneer Quest and I knew that though it would have been fun for a week or so, after that, I'd have been the biggest whiner on the planet.

Give me my power, give me my heat. And my toliet paper.

Posted by: dr | February 15, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

As far as multiplayer games, twbk, you need to get World of Warcraft. It is Consuming My Life. In a good way.

Posted by: jw | February 15, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Eurotrash, the American public got its first glimpse of the true horrors of war during Viet Nam, when the media actually went onto the frontlines and we saw the reality of war on the evening news broadcasts. There were protests, demonstrations and riots opposing the war. So, now "they" tone it way down in an attempt to stem the growth of dissention and keep the Cindy Sheehans at bay.

Posted by: Nani | February 15, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Yes! We have a winnah! Mr. C. Mudgeon of Boodleville wins the first round of our $1 million trivia challenge with his answer of Cool Runnings.
Now on to the championship round. Mr. Mudgeon (may I call you Cur?), for the championship and $1 million, answer the following senior trivia question-
Where in hell did I leave my prescription sunglasses?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 15, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

SCC or Boo (I don't know which). Of course Eurotrash knows all that.

Posted by: Nani | February 15, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"Cur" is just fine.

You left them tucked behind the sun visor of your car. C'mon, ask me something hard.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 15, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Final answer? Awwwwwwwwwwww, too bad. They're not there, I looked this morning. You don't win the mill, but here's Don Pardo to tell you about some lovely parting gifts....

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 15, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

We spent 8 days without power after Hurricane Isabel came through. I missed lights at night more than anything - even more than hot water. I find the semi-dark very taxing (I don't even like dimly lit restaurants). As I recall, we played some games, but pretty much just went to bed early.

When we first moved to Monterey we didn't have a TV. For evening entertainment we'd listen to 91.9 FM Radio Stevenson School, Pebble Beach. When the kids weren't broadcasting the stationed played the BBC. I loved the radio stories (I'm sure they're called something else, but really, I have no idea what). "The Picture of Dorian Gray" was my favorite. I'd never read it, but it was really chilling to listen to on the radio. Eventually we got a TV, I'm sorry to say.

Posted by: ABJunkie | February 15, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I think k-guy must have left them in the hall closet as he was retrieving another roll o' TP... *nods*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Can I appeal it to the replay officials up in the booth? (after all, there's amillion bucks at stake here.) The glasses were there last evening when your wife got into the car, and they fell into her lap. So she put them in the glove compartment for safekeeping. But they question wasn't "Where are they now?" It was where did you leave them. Which I answered correctly. I can't help it if somebody took them and didn't tell you.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 15, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

ABjunky, you can hear those plays while boodeling.

Nan, no SCC or BOO needed. :-)

(Yep, I have used a smiley. It's normaly not done, but this time I had to make an exeption.)

Posted by: Eurotrash | February 15, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Cur, you scare me. You realy are Big Brother.

Posted by: Eurotrash | February 15, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

K-guy, did you take them in and leave them by the toilet? I'll bet you were in a hurry to go when you got home.

Maybe not. My husband thinks that is merely a female problem...

Posted by: slyness | February 15, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

This must be another first - boodlers helping k-guy find his glasses. I mean really, do you think such a thing would happen in any other virtual community?

Thanks for the link Eurotrash. Not that I really need another distraction from work, which I really am supposed to be doing. Maybe I'll stream it at home instead of listening to NPR. Yep, I'm ready for 18th Century weekend.

Posted by: ABJunkie | February 15, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey, a million bucks is a million bucks. And I got an 11-day Caribbean cruise featuring my wife's girly bling-buying to pay off.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 15, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

But tell you what, K-guy, we'll let this one slide. I've got The Band's The Last Waltz on my earphones while I'm working here, so I'm feeling pretty mellow, despite the 400-page piece of bureacratese I'm grinding my through.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 15, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Alllllllllllllrighty then. We have Mr. Whiny Cur back on the program, since there seems to have been some confusion about the correct answer to the $1 million question. (But I still can't find the dang glasses, that seems clear.)
We've give ol' Cur a chance at the Lightning Round-
Here we go!
What is your name?
What is your quest?
What is your favorite color?
What is the terminal velocity of an unladen swallow?


Sorry, you lose again. But that's why we call it the Lightning Round. Come back and see us anytime. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. And take off that ridiculous cummerbund!

I'm your host Nit Picker, and this has been another edition of Million Dollar Super Trivia Fest, brought to you by Carnivorous Cruise Line, where our motto is "After a Carnivorous Cruise, you'll never fit in coach seating again!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 15, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Eurotrash for being such a gentleman.

ABJunkie. I recently read the book and there's an old b/w film Picture of Dorian Gray with George Sanders and an oh-so-young, beautiful Angela Lansbury. She sings a charming little ditty, Goodbye Little Yellow Bird and Dorian falls in love with her. Of course George Sanders is a scoundrel and a cad.

Posted by: Nani | February 15, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Back when I was a teen we did the 18th-century week every summer and the 18th-century weekend every winter. It was an extended family get away to Stone Mountain in upstate PA near a town called Towanda which is an Indian word that means two fierce battles in one day I'm told.

No TV. We had a radio but the reception was mostly so bad, mountains you know, that it was never on. There was a phone but no one ever used it. The only modern luxuries were refrigerator/freezer stove/oven and indoor plumbing. Nothing to do but talk, play board games and cards, hike and read. It was on one such trip that I found the time to read "War and Peace".

The last trip up before the place was sold someone brought a TV so someone else brought a VCR (reception again), younger second cousins (or something) brought their nintendo and a bunch of games. It was an almost horrible experience. I spent all my time hiking and swimming naked in the stream (around the bend) because hiking in the mountains in summer really warms you up and that stream was mighty cool.

Another story coming up in just a bit.

Posted by: omni | February 15, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

>What is the terminal velocity of an unladen swallow?

European or South American?

Watched it over the weekend. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 15, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, glad you caught that roleplay SCC! And I concur with your observation that we shouldn't romaticize the past like that Luddite Achenbach. In general, I don't want to live during a time before germ theory. Or Listerine. But I think that may be redundant.

Posted by: Kane | February 15, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

>What is the terminal velocity of an unladen swallow?
European or South American?
Watched it over the weekend. :-)

Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Sir Lancelot: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your name?
Sir Lancelot: My name is Sir Lancelot of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
Sir Lancelot: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your favourite colour?
Sir Lancelot: Blue.
Bridgekeeper: Go on. Off you go.
Sir Lancelot: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.
Sir Robin: That's easy.
Bridgekeeper: Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Sir Robin: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I'm not afraid.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your name?
Sir Robin: Sir Robin of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
Sir Robin: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is the capital of Assyria?
Sir Robin: I don't know that.
[he is thrown over the edge into the volcano]
Sir Robin: Auuuuuuuugh.
Bridgekeeper: Stop. What... is your name?
Galahad: Sir Galahad of Camelot.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
Galahad: I seek the Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your favourite colour?
Galahad: Blue. No, yel...
[he is also thrown over the edge]
Galahad: auuuuuuuugh.
Bridgekeeper: Hee hee heh. Stop. What... is your name?
King Arthur: It is 'Arthur', King of the Britons.
Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
King Arthur: To seek the Holy Grail.
Bridgekeeper: What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
King Arthur: What do you mean? An African or European swallow?
Bridgekeeper: Huh? I... I don't know that.
[he is thrown over]
Bridgekeeper: Auuuuuuuugh.
Sir Bedevere: How do know so much about swallows?
King Arthur: Well, you have to know these things when you're a king, you know

And you have earned your name. I dub you Sir Error.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 15, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Okay, don't romanticize the past. Live now, but use the technology that makes your life better. Don't just blindly follow the crowd and assume that the latest gadget is an improvement because you didn't have it before. Or that more is better or bigger is better or faster is better.

We can have the best of everything because we have choices. Making wise choices requires, well, wisdom. Think about it.

I've never had television, never had a cell phone, don't use air conditioning, spent more than half my adult life with no car, have camped and backpacked in the wilderness numerous times--all by choice, and my life is better for all of it.

I daresay I had a lot less trouble getting through the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma (17 days with no electricity) than most people.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 15, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse


Whom are you lecturing? We get the point, but there is a certain tone of, perhaps, unintended arrogance in your description of your life choices. You don't mention people or companionship, though.

Are you claiming your lifestyle is better than others? I fear that some would read your account and feel you are deprived and feel sorry for you. I don't, but it comes across a bit, well, superior.

Posted by: Julie Goldfarb | February 15, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

>And you have earned your name. I dub you Sir Error.

Aw shucks... I'm deeply honored.

Now, in what movie did Peter Lorre say:

Time, time, what is time?
The Swiss manufacture it,
the French hoard it,
the Italians squander it,
Americans say it is money,
Hindus say it does not exist.

I think Time is a crook.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 15, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Kguy, do you have your regular prescription lenses on while you are looking for the sunglasses.

Sorry, but your quest made me lugh.

One of my personal favourites things about glasses is that I have to have a set of computer glasses for the office. Its pretty sad when you can't see your computer with your regular lenses. I drive home with them a couple times a month. I really hate that.

I am very near sighted, and as I age I am becoming less so. My eye guy told me by way of explanation everything sags when you get older. He has a very Achenbachian sense of humour.

Posted by: dr | February 15, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Aw, no fair! African swallow or European?


1) Arthur, King of the Britons
2) To seek the Holy Grail
3) If I'm Lancelot instead, it's blue. If I'm Gawain, it's, wait...Yellow! If I'm still Arthur, I don't answer, because I've tossed the bridgekeeper into the gorge. (But the answer would have been royal purple, me being the king and all, wot?)
4) Like I said, African or European? 47 of the 74 species are African, ya know. It's a simple question of weight ratios. A 54-year survey of 26,285 European Swallows captured and released by the Avian Demography Unit of the University of Capetown finds that the average adult European swallow has a wing length of 12.2 cm and a body mass of 20.3 grams.4

Because wing beat frequency and wing amplitude both scale with body mass,5 and flight kinematic data is available for at least 22 other bird species,6 it should be possible to estimate the frequency (f ) and amplitude (A) of the European Swallow by a comparison with similar species. With those two numbers, it will be possible to estimate airspeed (U).

In order to maintain airspeed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?Actually, wrong. By comparing the European Swallow with bird species of similar body mass, we can estimate that the swallow beats its wings 18 times a second with an amplitude of 18 cm:

Species Body mass Frequency Amplitude
Zebra Finch 13 g 27 Hz 11 cm
European Swallow 20 g ≈ 18 Hz? ≈ 18 cm?
Downy Woodpecker 27 g 14 Hz 29 cm
Budgerigar 34 g 14 Hz 15 cm

Note that even the tiny Zebra Finch flaps its wings no more than 27 times a second while cruising.

If we ignore body mass and look only at bird species with a similar wingspan, we can estimate an average frequency of 14 beats per second and an amplitude of 23 cm:

Species Wingspan Frequency Amplitude
Budgerigar 27 cm 14 Hz 15 cm
European Swallow ≈ 28-30 cm ≈ 14 Hz? ≈ 23 cm?
Downy Woodpecker 31 cm 14 Hz 29 cm
European Starling 35 cm 14 Hz 26 cm

By averaging all 6 values, we can estimate that an average European Swallow flies at cruising speed with a frequency of roughly 15 beats per second, and an amplitude of roughly 22 cm.

Last month's article on The Strouhal Number in Cruising Flight showed how simplified flight waveforms that graph amplitude versus wavelength can be useful for visualizing the Strouhal ratio (fA/U), a dimensionless parameter that tends to fall in the range of 0.2-0.4 during efficient cruising flight.

For a European Swallow flying with our estimated wingbeat amplitude of 24 cm, the predicted pattern of cruising flight ranges from a Strouhal number (St) of 0.2.

If the first diagram (St = 0.2) is accurate, then the cruising speed of the European Swallow would be roughly 16 meters per second (15 beats per second * 1.1 meters per beat). If the second diagram (St = 0.4) is accurate, then the cruising speed of the European Swallow would be closer to 8 meters per second (15 beats per second * 0.55 meters per beat).

If we settle on an intermediate Strouhal value of 0.3.

We can estimate the airspeed of the European Swallow to be roughly 11 meters per second (15 beats per second * 0.73 meters per beat).

Airspeed can also be predicted using a published formula. By inverting this midpoint Strouhal ratio of 0.3 (fA/U ≈ 0.3), Graham K. Taylor et al. show that as a rule of thumb, the speed of a flying animal is roughly 3 times frequency times amplitude (U ≈ 3fA).5

We now need only plug in the numbers:
U ≈ 3fA
f ≈ 15 (beats per second)
A ≈ 0.22 (meters per beat)
U ≈ 3*15*0.22 ≈ 9.9
... to estimate that the airspeed velocity of an unladen European Swallow is 10 meters per second.

With some further study, it became clear that these estimates are accurate, though perhaps coincidental.

An actual study of two European Swallows flying in a low-turbulence wind tunnel in Lund, Sweden, shows that swallows flap their wings much slower than my estimate, at only 7-9 beats per second:

"Compared with other species of similar size, the swallow has quite low wingbeat frequency and relatively long wings." 7
The maximum speed the birds could maintain was 13-14 meters per second, and although the Lund study does not discuss cruising flight in particular, the most efficient flapping (7 beats per second) occurred at an airspeed in the range of 8-11 meters per second, with an amplitude of 90-100° (17-19 cm).

Averaging the above numbers and plugging them in to the Strouhal equation for cruising flight (fA/U = 7 beats per second * 0.18 meters per beat / 9.5 meters per second) yields a Strouhal number of roughly 0.13 indicating a surprisingly efficient flight pattern falling well below the expected range of 0.2-0.4.

Although a definitive answer would of course require further measurements, published species-wide averages of wing length and body mass, initial Strouhal estimates based on those averages and cross-species comparisons, the Lund wind tunnel study of birds flying at a range of speeds, and revised Strouhal numbers based on that study all lead me to estimate that the average cruising airspeed velocity of an unladen European Swallow is roughly 11 meters per second, or 24 miles an hour.

I don't think it was very fair to put a time limit on this question. Did anybody else in the boodle get it?

*receives standing ovation, wild cheers*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 15, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

*presenting k-guy with the Golden Coconut Husks*

*applause and confetti*

Speech, speech!

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

'mudge, you've earned our money today.


Posted by: bc | February 15, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Omni, that reminds me of going up to Drummond Island ("Gem of the Huron") when I was a kid. My grandparents bought some property there when it was pretty well unheard of. Okay, so it's not exactly famous now, but more roads are paved and they have an airstrip (thanks - or no thanks - to Tom Monaghan - of Domino's Pizza fame). You still have to take a ferry if you want to get there by car. When I was a kid my grandparents just had a camper there. There was no running water so we had to pump it out ourselves, which I generally thought was pretty cool when it wasn't so cold (even July mornings could be rather nippy back then - global warming seems to have corrected that problem). No electricity. Our nights consisted of sitting around the campfire and looking at the stars. Days were filled with reading, either down on the rocky beach, or out in the rowboat on the cove. We didn't do too much reading when dad decided to take the rowboat (by that point fitted with a motor) out of the cove into Lake Huron. No, it's not the Pacific, but two adults and two kids in an itty bitty rowboat on the big lake on a windy day can be quite harrowing.

For bathing we had either the 40-some degree cove or a solar shower. You had to be pretty quick with the solar shower as it didn't hold that much and you had to wait a good while for more water to heat up.

I still go back there when I can. My grandma has a house there now, with electricity, TV, VCR, computer, etc. When she's by herself she always eats inside, which I don't quite understand. Maybe since she's there all the time (well, not Winter) she isn't as greedy for it as I am. I'm glad for the hot showers, but I ignore the rest of the amenities and enjoy being remote from civilization and unplugged. Just thinking about it makes me feel more peaceful. I always think of Drummond as my place to heal - so far not from any physically manifested wounds or illness, just from the daily wearing down of one's soul from the demands of time and life in the 21st century.

Posted by: ABJunkie | February 15, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

*looking desperately for another set of Golden Coconut Husks for 'Mudge*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, you disappoint. "Not fair" is the plaint of the innocent, the naive, the childish. You and I are men of the world, we expect it to screw us, and smile knowingly when it does. Or perhaps we are ironic and cynical, like Claude Rains in Casablanca-"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" But we know better than to expect fairness. A cynic is nothing but an old experienced idealist.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 15, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I bow to K-guy when it comes to Asian flicks. But when it comes to velocities of our ornithological friends, laden or unladen, well...I am The Man.

*consults manual on humility, decides he may have overreached a bit. Rents [read: tears] own sackcloth garmet, covers self with ashes. Considers use of scourge, but decides doesn't much care for sight of own blood*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 15, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, I admire your choices. It sounds like a very nice way to live. My husband and I didn't have cellphones until this past summer, but finally gave in under the pressure of trying to coordinate childcare for kids in two different daycares. The cellphone in and of itself doesn't bother me though. It's the fact that the kind of life we lead necessitates a cellphone that bothers me.

I know my and my family's lives would be better if we didn't watch TV too, but I don't know how you go back from that one. Once you've got it, it's hard to unget. I could probably break my habit, but my husband? Not a chance. And I definitely don't have the willpower to avoid it if it's still in the house with me. Our compromise was in not getting cable. We tried it for a few months (during the last World Cup Soccer championship) but were both terrified by how much TV we watched then that we didn't consider keeping it when the promo period was over.

I agree with you about choices, but find it very difficult to swim against the societal current. It's like choosing broccoli over french fries. If you grew up eating broccoli, it's not nearly the impossible choice it becomes if you grew up eating french fries and everyone around you is eating french fries.

Posted by: ABJunkie | February 15, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

*surreptitiously slipping 'Mudge some ketchup to avoid the need for scourging*

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 15, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I am reminded of the story of the protective mother on the first day of school who tells the teacher "Tommy is very sensitive. If he misbehaves, just hit the child next to him." Perhaps you could make someone else bleed for you, eh?

Actually, this is exactly what some societies do to assuage grief. It is known as "making someone else cry" to anthropologists. Your brother dies. You travel to another village and kill a man there. Now his family takes your grief and you feel better. Sort of "Tag, you're it."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 15, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon - The whole swallow thing. Intense. My mind reels. Or whreels.

Posted by: CowTown | February 15, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

ooops, left out electricity. can't run the fridge and stove/oven without it.

Now for something entirely different:

A couple of years ago I broke my fridge and was worried about the consequences of telling my landlord. I actually went about a without before finally getting fed up ennough to let my landlord know that it was broke. He asked few slightly accusatory questions about defrosting (it was one those really old icebox thingies). I answered with my most innocent voice. And the fridge was replaced. whew. Problem is, the replacement fridge consumes about four times as much energy.

Posted by: omni | February 15, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

SCC: that's a year... about a year without.

In other late breaking news: I have not started reading the non-Ludlum Ludlum novel. Instead I have started reading a book I got in the mail the other day... "The Third Policeman" by Flann O'Brien.

Time to go bye-bye.

Posted by: omni | February 15, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Peter Lorre as Julius O'Hara in Beat the Devil

Posted by: DPR | February 15, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, CowTown, I kinda felt that way too when I cut-and-pasted that sucker in there. What would an 18th Century Weekend be without Google? A vast repository of ignorance, I guess. (Which I guess the 18th and earlier centuries pretty much were.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 15, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Cheney admits having one beer. Wonder if he shotgunned it. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Posted by: Shakytown | February 15, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Similar Story: While in college, I shared a room at the co-op with two other students. It had an ancient "mini" fridge (ancient in that it had its condenser on the top, like a hat) that sat next to the bathroom. One evening, it suddenly shuddered, and emited a sharp clap accompanied by a brief flash of light. In our typical feral fashion, we determined not to investigate, deciding that no news would be good news. We deferred investigation of the matter for about five weeks, whereupon we finally opened the refrigerator and found that all the food within had become specimens in a bizarre science project. I remember that one can of condensed milk had actually grown a pair of black and gray sideburns. Ah, youth.

Posted by: CowTown | February 15, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

In the interests of full disclosure, I guess I oughta attribute that section to its true author, Jonathan Corum, at 'cause I don't wanna get Hal the Schemer or Thursday Next after me. (Actually, I'd kinda like having Thursday Next come after me, now that I reflect on it. She's a dish.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 15, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

>Peter Lorre as Julius O'Hara in Beat the Devil

YES! Give DPR a cigar!

Wow, what a crowd.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 15, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh Cow Town how could you?

Just when I had gotten the visions of the fridge at the bachelor pad out of my head.

Fie on you.

Posted by: dr | February 15, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

RE: "kbertocci--
Whom are you lecturing?"

To Julie Goldfarb and the many others who agree with her but were too polite to say so:

I expected that reaction. The word I was braced for was not "arrogant" but "smug"--I know I sound like I'm all superior when I get on my soapbox and I knew I'd have to apologize. Sorry! I apologize for the tone. I need to practice more, to get it right. I don't apologize for my choices. Maybe I should emphasize that I respect each person's right to choose his own lifestyle.

I do think people in general aren't conscious enough about their choices.

...and anticipating that I would be making this followup comment, I also considered channeling Steve Martin, thusly:




But I decided that would't be very nice.

So, believe me when I say I have lots of friends and many of them don't even know I have no tv or air conditioning. Most of the people I work with don't know I ride my bike to work. It just doesn't come up. It came up here because Joel was being called a "luddite" and being accused of "romanticizing the past." Couldn't let it go by.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 15, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The sun was in his eyes.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 15, 2006 6:09 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, the relevant word here is "choices". Many, perhaps even most, people in our society don't think about their lives in those terms. Cell phone? Gotta have it. Cable TV? Ditto. Broadband internet? Absolutely a must. Yet if you said to those same folks, "I know how you can save $1500-2000 a year" they'd be all excited. Until you told them that all they had to do was do without those three things. Two words that are not in our national vocabulary- do without. I don't care what anybody does with their money and their lives, but I hate to hear the complaining about how tough it is from folks who never sacrificed for anything they wanted. Want a house, a car, a baby? Do without. Save. Sacrifice. Only the Congress can go on deficit spending indefinitely. For the rest of us the bill comes due sooner or later.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 15, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Cheney doesn't exactly "emote," does he?

Posted by: Achenbach | February 15, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The only thing I could think of that would be worse than having to interview or have a meeting with Cheney, would be Cheney and Rumsfeld together. Not nice guys.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 15, 2006 6:21 PM | Report abuse

So I catch some of a local conservative radio talker this afternoon, running clips of Cheney. And he says it makes perfect sense to let the lady in Texas call a local paper which will lead to an AP story later, rather than calling his own press people and being done with it. Excuse me while I smack my forehead. (And never mind that both Ari Fleischer and Marvin Fitzwater say Cheney and his people didn't handle it correctly.)

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 15, 2006 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the local talk radio guy is on our "Newsradio" station.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 15, 2006 6:27 PM | Report abuse

an 18th century weekend is not a bad idea, but one luxury at a time. Like Electric lights.

People'll finally get plenty of sleep for once-- especially if they shoot out all the headlights of the cars coming up the street when they're trying to sleep. And let's not forget the street lights.

Then we can go back to the original night-lights-- the stars. And the 1000 planes in the sky, search beams bouncing off the clouds.

Does anybody else get the feeling that 21st century civilization is a wee bit afraid of the dark?

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 15, 2006 6:32 PM | Report abuse

>I do think people in general aren't conscious enough about their choices.

Well each to their own as they say, and I'd say many people simply aren't conscious at all - but possibly by choice.

Personally, I love my TV and the work of the people who've gone to such lengths to amuse me. See "Peter Lorre", above.

But I understand, some people didn't like acid either.

As for being a luddite, try a wooden bicycle and let us know how it works out. I'll bet there's nothing backwards about the alloys in your crankset.

Now, I've just got to go finish the 2nd season of Green Acres (they meet the beverly Hillbillies on the 2nd disc!)


Posted by: Error Flynn | February 15, 2006 6:42 PM | Report abuse

This weekend my house lost power. I learned many things from this experience. I learned that cordless phones need electricity to work, and that rechargeable batteries do not recharge in a blackout. I found that I no longer own a transistor radio. I realized that having a supply of candles is not useful if you cannot remember where you put your supply of matches. I encountered a panic of exceptional nuance when I realized that all that stood between me and a flooded basement was an emergency sump pump of questionable structural integrity. I discovered that keeping my flashlight in a dark closet is stupid.
We are all dangerously vulnerable to technology. I think that, as a matter of public safety, going back to the 18th century now and then is a good idea. At least for a few hours.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 15, 2006 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Pepper popper peppers pardner.

Beer? What beer?

Posted by: Loomis | February 15, 2006 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I keep my matches in the left cupboard above the stove, flashlights on my nightstand. I neither own a cordless phone nor a radio so no use crying over those.

I'm vulnerable to not being able to call out in a blackout, too.

But think, are you alone in the world? Come on.

I alas, was on VRE train that killed 2 boys. The train was delayed by 3 hours. I had a ride waiting and no cell phone, what to do? How did I solve this overwhelming emergency?

I asked somebody to call for me.

At the very minimum, Everybody should have the caveman technology of a long stick or two (I suggest a nice long dowel), a knife, spare string (I have plenty near my matches), and primo firemaking stuff.

A clean, large loincloth AKA a towel would be nice, too.

With that you can hunt, gather, and cook food like a 18th Century B.C. dude. Arrr.

Posted by: Wilbrod | February 15, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self,
Appreciated your video clip on the Achenblog of the Corpus Christi sheriff doing the CSI bit. The spray pattern of birdshot was pretty interesting for us non-hunting types.

Seems the mention on the MSNBC website earlier today that Dick Cheny drank a beer on Saturday afternoon has already been scrubbed. Heard on the radio that the Corpus Christi hospital wouldn't say if a blood test had been done on Whittington and refused to release results, if any. A blood alcohol test *may* have been performed.

Katharine Armstrong, of ranch by same name, claims that antelope, jicama salad and camp bread, washed down with Dr. Pepper, was served Saturday afternoon before hunting got under way. But she's changed her story slower than a hound dog in August. Only after the press pounded her did she the truth pop out like a spit watermelon seed.

Better for her to have said, "We had beer here." She should fess up to whether there were enough drinks on the ranch to float the battleship Texas.

Some money is bound to be made from this accident/affair by John Nichols, who wrote the book, "The Rise and Rise of Richard B. Cheney: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Most Powerful Vice President in American History" (The New Press).

Of course back in his Yale days, Cheney's idea of a seven-course meal was a six pack and a toothpick.

Course, you know what they say in Texas about drinkin': after one drink, you're irresistible; after two, you're indispensable; after three, you're invisible; after four, you're bulletproof.

Too bad Deadeye Dick doesn't submit to a breathalyzer test for honesty.

Hear that the city of San Antone is trying to woo the Republicans to hold the '08 RNC here. A heap of hilarity is about to ensue.

Posted by: Loomis | February 15, 2006 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Joel you asked us not to do Cheney jokes, and then you do the "emote" thing. I know I shouldn't laugh but I can't help it. I can imagine this is not the image the vice-president wants to be remembered by. Everyone is talking about his legacy on television, and folks are wondering if this shooting thing will stick like toilet paper?

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 15, 2006 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, you've outdone yourself. Laughter abounds.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 15, 2006 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Beers would be an excellent reason to wait a day and then have the ranch owner report it, after Cheney had returned to Washington.

Excellent reason.

They're like potato chips - how often do you have ONE beer?

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 15, 2006 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Knowledge is addictive. The more we learn about something, the more we want to know. We crave information like it is a narcotic. It keeps those synapses firing. The problem is that in the digital age the drug of choice seems to be predigested information that can be absorbed without any actual thought. Now a healthy dose of gossipy news is fun. (Goodness knows we imbibe a lot of it here.) My concern is that this kind of information may become like crack cocaine. I realize that this is the same thing that was said about that vast wasteland known as television - and yet civilization has endured. However, the sheer scale of the shiny pretty infotainment available today seems unprecedented. And you can usually get much more than just the first sample free.

Posted by: RD Padouk | February 15, 2006 10:02 PM | Report abuse


Cheney did not go to Yale. Unless you are related (possible, eh) and can confirm that thru family channels, I am afraid you are mistaken.

He would not have fit in there at that time, also. Guys like Bush would have shunned him.
Kerry, too.

Posted by: Vulvix | February 15, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

What I know is that if you're the vice president of the United States, and you shoot somebody, you then notify the your press people (who will also notify the White House press people) instead of having somebody notify the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. No offense to the CCCT.

That guy who did the shooting demonstration was a photographer at the paper.

At least Cheney didn't say he'd only had a couple of beers, which is international code for "more than two beers and quite possibly quite a bit more than two beers." I'm writing this while having a beer, in the interest of full disclosure. I may have a couple of beers before the evening is done.

I read that, when asked if Whittington had a blood-alcohol test, the hospital people said "no comment."

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 15, 2006 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Cheney did go to Yale briefly but dropped out and went home to Wyoming.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 15, 2006 10:54 PM | Report abuse

[Martha] RADDATZ [ABC News White House Correspondent]:

Well, the Texas authorities say they interviewed the vice president. They also say the investigation is over. They actually said they were told that there was no alcohol involved. There was no mishandling of any of the equipment or the rifles or anything like that. But it ended very quickly, Terry. I have to assume that some small town Texas officials, when they're met by Dick Cheney, are a little taken aback. But the truth is, Terry, we don't know the answers to all these things yet.

Similarly, as Lawrence O'Donnell has pointed out on the Huffington Post weblog, a February 14 Los Angeles Times article quoted San Miguel as saying that "[t]here was no alcohol or misconduct." Though the Times noted later in the article that "no one from that agency [the sheriff's office] interviewed Cheney until Sunday morning," it did not question the basis for San Miguel's conclusions.

"This was a hunting accident," said Gilbert San Miguel, chief deputy of the Kenedy County Sheriff's Office. "There was no alcohol or misconduct.",0,868408.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Vice President Dick Cheney, who was forced to leave Yale University because his penchant for late-night beer drinking exceeded his devotion to his studies, and who is one of the small number of Americans who can count two drunk driving busts on his record, was doing more than hunting quail on the day that he shot a Texas lawyer in the face.

Knowledge is what is known. Seeking the truth/facts is what is addictive.

You may also want to check Dr. Lawrence Altman's article, up for tomorrow's NYT, about how the pellet in Whittington's heart got there.

Posted by: Loomis | February 15, 2006 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I need to get the stench of this whole Cheney thing off me....

Oh...not even I can come up with a good tag line for this s#%t...........

Remember the Ducolax!!!!!!

(The old stuff still works)

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 15, 2006 11:34 PM | Report abuse

This blog, although amazingly erudite, funny and sophisticated in so many ways that it's my favorite daily read, seems to support the argument of "blogging ourselves to death".

Posted by: jg | February 15, 2006 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, it's the boodle, not the blog that deserves recognition, but I think the point stands.

Posted by: jg | February 16, 2006 12:07 AM | Report abuse

For reporters and editors, from Texas to Washington, D.C., the details of the shooting itself and the immediate aftermath are the top unknowns, they say. As news staffers continue to pursue the story, many contend that the lack of detail is so vast that offering a clear picture of events is nearly impossible.

"The whole chronology of the accident, what occurred," Leonard Downie, Jr., executive editor of The Washington Post, said when asked what details he would like to know. "There is a lot that we don't know yet. We have to find out."

Specifically, those who spoke with E&P Wednesday cited details ranging from how far Cheney was standing from the victim (less than the 30 yards as claimed?) to why law enforcement investigators were turned away from the ranch Saturday night. "I would love to have a videotape of exactly what happened," said Robert Rivard, editor of the San Antonio Express-News, which has three reporters on the story. "It is a real reporting challenge because it is after the fact. There is not much of a record. The vice president left the state without so much as a statement. How is that?"

Katy Garcia of the Caller-Times, who helped break the first story on Sunday, today called information on the victim "vague....If we could get in to talk to him, that would be great," she said.

Questions also surround key witness Katharine Armstrong, the ranch owner: How far was she from the shooting scene and could she really see what was happening? Why has her story changed about how much involvement the vice president had in getting the story out on Sunday? Why did she downplay the victim's injuries so much at first?

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Joel, dress up in your warmest clothes and spend the night sleeping on the sidewalk. Lots of our brethren do that. After that you will appreciate the comforts of home.

Posted by: samtheoldaccordianman | February 16, 2006 4:04 AM | Report abuse

Ah but us baby boomers, I mis-speak - I'm a pre baby Boomer , born in 43. We suffered through teh analog age - waiting for the radio to warm-up, watching dad walk around the room with the TV antenna, topped with tin foil, so we could watch the nighly news, sponsored by Camels. Television then brought a family much closer - due to the fact the screen was only ten inches - and freedom for us kids - riding our bikes with out a helmet ( wind in your hair), sitting up front on dads lap as he navigated our pre air conditioned 1948 Buick (all parts made in the good old USA) down route three to the Cape (Cod), and of course the greatest of all - walking to school, and not back and forth once, but twice (in elementary school we had too go home for lunch) and Mom was there with, in the winter dry socks, home-made chicken soup and a sandwiches with the crust cut off - we were middle class. And as a after though - and why so up tight about the digital age. remember the anolog age brought us Duck and Cover - that age produced the BOMB> Who needs digital when you got analog. oN by the way can you tell me where to find vacuum tube - NO not for your Orlick - for my old Emerson radio...

Posted by: redrightreturning | February 16, 2006 4:51 AM | Report abuse

Dear redrightreturning: There's a guy named Tony -- this is true -- who runs a little shop called European Electronics on 9th Street near M, across from the new Convention Center. He has vacuum tubes for your Emerson radio. He has all the old stuff. His shop is a wonder. You're walking 40 years into the past when you enter. But he could retire at any minute, so hurry.

Posted by: Achenbach | February 16, 2006 8:17 AM | Report abuse

That's why cable is so good, now I can save the tin foil for my hats.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 16, 2006 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow, it's been a long, long time I used a vacuum tube doubt Tony has one in there. I may have to check it out the next time I'm down there.

Personally, I couldn't be happier spending an afternoon wandering through an old-fashioned pick'n pull junkyard. Went through one a couple of weeks ago that had some really neat stuff (e.g. about 30 brit roadsters & sportscars, including a couple of real old race cars with cheezy rollbars and number balls on the side).


Posted by: bc | February 16, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

The lady, Margaret Carlson, is saying it best in terms of humor and Gungate:

``It was one of the worst days of my life,'' Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News's Brit Hume yesterday, in his first public remarks on the Feb. 11 hunting accident that he had kept quiet for 18 hours.

I wonder if it wasn't the very worst day for Harry Whittington, the 78-year-old lawyer and Bush supporter left hospitalized by the blast from Cheney's shotgun.

We don't know what all the other people present [Ms. Armstrong drove an old Jeep with Mr. Cheney, Mrs. Sarita Hixon--Armstrong's sister, Ms. Pamela Pitzer Willeford, State Dept. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and Mr. Whittington: see Ralph Blumenthal's article, Feb. 16 NYT]
not deputized by Cheney have to say. He's kept the whole thing as secret as an energy task force meeting.

He (Cheney) also insisted the trip was private, despite the use of Air Force Two [your hard-earned dollars hard at work] and an entourage of Secret Service, medical and communications staff paid for by taxpayers. [We have the local sheriif's report, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission report--remember Ms. Armstrong heads this. Why not release the Secret Service report?]

Whittington is expected to spend as many as 10 days in the hospital. Does he have a time-share at Christus Spohn Hospital? Who in this day of managed care gets to spend 10 days in the hospital when they're doing just fine? [Certainly getting info about Whittington's blood alcohol level would be an importnt detail. What exactly were the "freshening up" activities that mid-Saturday afternoon on the ranch?]

I, for one, am ready to take the White House advice to move on to more crucial business, despite the 18-hour gap, such as how Cheney withheld and disseminated information on weapons more important than his shotgun.

In his next interview, it would be nice if Cheney took responsibility and retracted his claim that, ``Simply stated, there is no doubt Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction.''

As for "blogging ourselves to death," I prefer information more readily and rapidly available on the Internet. Reporters, sure, must still gather the information, but it beats the dead-tree dissemination and asphalt-road distribution system. Of course, the caveat is that the information--the nouns, verbs, bits and bytes--is only going to be as strong or as weak (as evident in this blog and Boodle), as either the people
doing the reading, reporting, or commentary

Thanks for the PressThink link, Joel. I'm impressed that you interviewed the younger Postman. Neil Postman's classic sits just over my left shoulder in one of four oversized bookshelves in our home office. It's a great topic you raised, but few tackled in terms of media or cultural literacy--preferring to discuss other forms of technology, yesterday.

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

For the movie buffs among us, a tie-in to Gungate:

While the incident continues to unfold, the Bush administration is pressing a new budget in which oil companies would receive what is called "royalty relief," allowing them to pump about $65 billion of oil and natural gas from federal land over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government, costing the U.S. Treasury about $7 billion. For Texas royalty like the Armstrongs, it would amount to a windfall profit.

The curiosities surrounding the vice president's accident have created a contemporary version of "The Rules of the Game" with a Texas twist. In Jean Renoir's 1939 film, politicians and aristocrats mingle at a country house in France over a long weekend, during which a merciless hunt ends with a tragic shooting. Appearing on the eve of World War II, "The Rules of the Game" depicted a hypocritical, ruthless and decadent ruling class that made its own rules and led a society to the edge of catastrophe.

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

'Mornin', Loomis. My, you got the wind up today. Keep giving 'em hell.

I just love it when George Will, of all people, has a hissy fit over something the Bush administration does. Today he seems to have discovered (I know this will come as a shock to many of you) that Bush's concept of his unfettered right to do what he wishes, since he's C-in_C, may not be constitutional after all. Yeah, I know. There's gambling in the back room at Rick's cafe, yadda yadda. Not only that, Mr. Will finds humor (he uses the word "risable," but then, what did you expect from him?) and perhaps irony in the Bushies taking a position about imagining and interpreting unstated rights in the Constitution--kinda like all those nasty liberal jurists the admin. otherwise doesn't like. Hilarity might ensue, but as usual you have to read George's column with your dictionary open by your side. The column actual martials some good points, and if you're Umberto Ecco, it might even be light reading. Good luck with it, those of you who dare.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Possible SCC: Guess that might be "marshalls" instead of martials as a verb, huh? Not a bad Freudian slip, though, if I do say so my cigar. I mean myself. Almost wish I had intended it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

What, no Gameboy? No laptop? No digital cable TV? Nevermind, no microwave! Dude, how're we gonna heat the mac n cheese?

Man, that just ain't livin'...

(According to my 8 yr old)

Personally, I'd be happy to read a book. (I actually show my daughter books periodically. "See, honey, this is how you open a book. And these? These things are called pages.")

She just rolls her eyes at me like I'm a hopeless loser.

What remains to be seen is who will survive in the long run? Mom, the Dinosaur --or Techno-Kid, the next generation?

Posted by: amo | February 16, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

In seeking information on Gungate, it is important that we avoid a scattershot approach, but barrel straight on to the truth, pump the principals for details, refuse to be taken in by a shell game, accept no stock answers, find out what triggered the incident, pepper the White House with questions, and choke the facts out of them.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 16, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Dear (fellow) hopeless loser:

Yeah, I been there, too. Our house has thousands of books. I'm not even sure the kids are or ever were more than vaguely aware they weren't more than just three-dimensional wallpaper, like wallpaper with really protuberant flocking. (Relax, Hal, relax.)

I keep trying to comfort myself with the old saw, "In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king." I interpret this to mean that we who love and appreciate books and learning are way ahead of those who don't.

Trouble is, that notion doesn't seem to be working.

I, too, keep sort of hoping for a post-Canticle for Leibowitzian Dark Age, when our skills and talents will emerge triumphant.

(What's that, daughter? Canticle for Leibowitz? It's a book, dear. Yes, a novel. What's a novel? It's a story, dear, something that didn't happen, that the writer made up. Yes, dear, like James Frey, only better. Like Moby-Dick. He was a whale. And Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Yes, like the guys in the DVD, only better. Would you like to read those books? I have them right here on the shelf. Oh, you're too busy. I see. Well, you are 23 years old, now, but I really do think you might...hey wait, come back!)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The thing to remember about George Will is that he received his undergraduate degree from Trinity University in Hartford, Conn. Don't know how far that is from the old, long-gone, symbolic Charter Oak, the tree being the symbol for the state--at least on the license plates. May be the state slogan as well.

In short, I think Will has great respect for the colony's history, as well as the documents that undergird our nation's founding.

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

That's our K-guy, as always on target, working at a fast clip, and no stock replies, either. There's a wesson there for all of us.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"up and running, and giving them hell", good point, and even better description, if I may say so.

I have a two year old granddaughter that I'm reading to, and talking about books, like the poster above, saying this is a book, and these are the pages, and it is opened this way. This two year-old has a mini technical thingy that plays Spongebob with the disc things, and the book just does not hold the fascination as this technical thingy. As you can see I am totally lost, because I don't even know the name of this technology. The two-year old is years ahead of me already because she can manipulate this toy while I'm still trying to figure out what the heck is this.

Posted by: Cassandra S | February 16, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm rather pleased that my daughter devoured the actual written pages of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and then wanted to read the rest of the Chronicles, too!

I've also had to prod her into actually getting and using an e-mail address, so perhaps there's hope for this coming generation.

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

[Checking in from the Kinko's bureau again, mainly because I had the urge to 'boodle about balm.]

Anyone ever heard of a product called Bag Balm? I was in CVS yesterday, looking to purchase some hand cream, when a lone cube-shaped green and pink tin caught my eye.

It just so happens I have a small collection of Chinese balms at home, which came about when I was actually in need of some balm but grew out of control when I became attracted to the balms' exotic packaging. According to the list of indications, these balms are supposed to cure everything from burns to coughs to flatulence -- although they are strictly for external application; go figure. (Frankly, I've found that all they really do is stink.)

Anyway, when I saw this "Bag Balm," I thought, "Another balm?" I considered it ironic that I'd wandered the streets of Hong Kong looking for the perfect balm while this prize was just sitting there on the shelf of my local CVS. I snapped it up without a further glance.

When I got my precious Bag Balm home, I noticed that it was a product of the Dairy Association Co., Inc., of Lyndonville, Vermont. According to the text on the tin, "Since 1899 [sorry to be so post-18th century], Bag Balm has been the farmer's friend, helping keep dairy cows from becoming chapped from the harsh Vermont environment . . . . This protective ointment helps keep superficial tissue moist and soft. In case of deep puncture wounds seek medical help. . . . Keep this and all medications away from children."

[I'm not even going to mention the references to udders and teats.]

Bottom line, I don't think I'll have much use for this product. [Stop right there -- don't you say *anything*!] But why was it being sold among the fancy scented lotions at CVS? CowTown, maybe you can answer that one for me.

Anyway, I do rather like the tin, so I will include this exotic balm from Vermont in my collection.


"Who told you to put the balm on? *I* didn't tell you to put the balm on!"

-- Jackie Chiles

Posted by: Achenfan | February 16, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you are giving the greatest gift possible, a love of books. I will always be grateful to my parents for reading to me, teaching me to read early, always encouraging me to seek answers in books, and never stopping me from reading any book. I remember reading Mein Kampf in sixth grade and talking to my dad about it. I told him I thought the guy was crazy and I couldn't understand the book at all. He just said that he wished more people had read the book and had my reaction in the 30's.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 16, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra S:

The electronic thingy doesn't have a lap, does it? The two-year-old can't snuggle up and share laughter and love with it the way she can when you read her a book. The combination of the sound of your voice and your physical presence does more for her intellectual development than all the computers at NASA could do. Hang in there. Don't give up. You'll build your relationship with her and pass on your love of books, and she'll thank you for it. You are a priceless, irreplaceable asset to her. God bless you.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 16, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Along with Corn Huskers Lotion, Bag Balm is a product that has made its way from agricultural applications to more main stream uses. The same qualities that make it beneficial to the cow's milkateria apply to your skin.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 16, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, as I mentioned in the boodle's lengthy book-clubbing on Narnia several months ago, be careful of that last book in the series. I was appalled when I re-read it after decades of consciousness-raising and free-thinking. When I was a kid, and still knew fellow kids in school who thought the n-word was useful, "The Last Battle" appeared innocuous and inspiring by comparison. Heck, I was so oblivious that I didn't even get the Christian allegory, I thought it was just a story (I was even more shocked on my second occasion reading Lord of the Flies). When I read the whole Narnia series aloud to my own progeny, I discovered that the last book required copious on-the-fly editing, which I later discussed with my kids outside the context of reading the story. All the bad guys have dark skin, which could be only an incidental detail if it weren't for the fact that Lewis continually remarks upon the dark skin color of this bad guy, and how those bad guys over there have dark skin, and oh yes, the teeth shone white in an evil grin against the dark face, and so on. Jeez. The bad guys also are from a nation that is depicted to clearly resemble the Ottoman Empire.

With appropriate care, it's a great opportunity for a discussion on history and race relations. You should definitely comment on it, so your daughter won't just take Lewis' racial fixation as an example of acceptable discourse. And then send her to read Huckleberry Finn.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | February 16, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, k'guy! I might give it a whirl.

Posted by: Achenfan | February 16, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

kguy - Being a reporter on this type of story would be a blast.

Loomis - As to the oil royalties giveaway, well, wowzer, up from the ground does come a'bubblin' crude.

Foggy memories of my youth include those tube-testing machines in radio shacks, hardware stores and elsewhere. Shoot, those things used to be practically everywhere.

And I'd just like to say that I love the name samtheoldaccordionguy, a name I don't recall seeing here before. If Sam's been around before, I regret not catching the name. If not, welcome Sam, and please don't just be pushing buttons.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 16, 2006 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I forgot to mention how great it is to see asdg's new "Error Flynn" handle appearing here on a regular basis. Here's a song in honor of the occasion:


Convict state
It just don't rate
He want to get higher
Apple Isle, the inbred smile
He's going to get by'a
His mother's hand
He could not stand
He left for the islands
To fish and hunt
He take a punt
The New Guinea Highlands

Ohhh Errol
I would give everything
Just to be like him
Ohhh Errol
I would give everything
Just to be like him

He had to go
The Sirocco
He's sailin the high seas
Hollywood, Captain Blood
He's billing the Nazis
Took a rebel stand
Coast of Mexico
He want to pounce
Like an animal
To girls he just can't say no

Ohhh Errol
I would give everything
Just to be like him
Ohhh Errol
I would give everything
Just to be like him

He had them all
Screamin for more
He play the wild scene
Ah scandalise, no compromise
He's down on his knees
He was the King
The toast of Tinseltown
They build him up
They took it all
And then they just cut him down

Ohhh Errol
I would give everything
Just to be like him
Ohhh Errol
I would give everything
Just to be like him

Dont tell me its true
I dont wanna hear about it

Ohhh Errol
I would give everything
Just to be like him

-- Australian Crawl

Posted by: Achenfan | February 16, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The one topic not discussed at all in relation to Gungate are Cheney's meds:

Source 1: Daily Kos blog
Cheney must consume a virtual cocktail of drugs every day because of his heart condition. I wonder what kind of reaction throwing alcohol into the mix might have.

Any doctors in the house?

Update: Here's video of Hume talking about his interview with Cheney. You see, according to Cheney, they drank beer but no one drank beer:

Source #2: TPM Cafe blog
(I putting these out of order to list the medical first. Note to Boodlers, note how closely these match my arguments in my 9:02 a.m. post. *she says feeling proud*)

4. The medications Cheney was on should be made public along with their side-effects when mixed with alcohol.

Now how can we get at the truth.

1. The other woman witness, Pamela Willeford, must be interviewed by competent law enforcement officials.

2. The blood alcohol level from the hospital blood test of Whittington should be released.

3. The secret service after action report should be made public and the secret service agents on duty must be asked to testify as they were in the Clinton impeachment.

Now for the personal side of the story. My mother has had many problems with her meds in her later years--underdosing, overdosing, bad combinations of prescriptions without real consulation by a pharmacist until the problems became evident, and her refusal to consume much, if any, salt in her diet which has involved ambulance rides and extended hospitalization on two occasions.

You men on the Boodle have talked of hunting for radio tubes and old car parts, but no mention of how new tech--and women in the workplae because of new tech--has changed family dynamics.

Well, my sister and I farmed out my mother to the corporate state in 2002, without much discussion between us. "It's time" was about all that was said. It costs an arm and leg to house my mother, in her early 90s, in a *Del Mar, Calif.* Marriott Brighton Gardens. And it costss far more than a pretty nickel each day to ensure that Brighton Gardens delivers her meds in proper doses each and every day.

Neither of us want to deal with her paranoia (There are, too, Mexicans living under my trailer) nor her hypocondria (Oh, the expense for paying for male attention--since she never got any from her own father nor my father.) And, yes, I have horrible guilt for not *being there* for my mother, but as it is I'm three states away, and Texas is a very tubby state, geographically and boundary-wise.

My father, stuck in Depression-mode thinking since the Great Depression, kept us living in near-poverty while he socked every available penny in the bank. We can now pay for Mom's care from this nest egg, providing my sister keeps from raiding it to pay for cruises for her family to Mexico and Alaska--to which I am never invited along. Sis handles Mom's money and she keeps me in the dark (I could make some snarky comparison here to the Bush administration.)

So, Mudge, just know that cruise is a *very dirty word* in my household. *L* I don't want contact with my sister because it's ALL and always about money and "Me--Cheryl." Maybe my sister just thinks she needs to reward herself for dealing with my mother, who wants little to do with me because I couldn't give her the grandkids she so desperately wanted. Heaven forbid that my mother could ever talk to me about the trials and tribulations of being a woman working in the corporate world, she a stay-at-home muu-muu mom. Maybe I should read "The Ruins of California." Whaddya think, Joel?

Yeah, Mudge, I got my wind up today. (Flatulence jokes will probably ensue.)

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

HEre I go again with another cutesy g-child story. By age 1 1/2, I started taking the g-girls to the library every other Saturday. The first time we went it was a lovely sunny day, we sat outside on the library steps and read. The second time, we got caught in a bad thunderstorm. The third time, as we got into the car to drive to the library, 2 yr. old g-girl says "Nani, don't go to that raining library, let's go to the sunshine library." Both girls still enjoy reading; No. 1 g-girl began reading to gg-boy while he was in the womb.

Posted by: Nani | February 16, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I get just a little bit misty eyed every time I see "Error Flynn."

Hey folks, I could use a hand with something. Back when, Joel had a kit about corporate sponsors. So, that day, I was adding corporate sponsors to my name. "Bayou Self, sponsored by Acme" and so on. I thought I was so damned clever. But now, whenever I start to type in Bayou Self in the Name space, my browser brings up all those other handles. Anybody know how to clear that out? I know that I could fire away from a distance of about 30 yards, but I'm looking for something a bit less drastic.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 16, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Talk to any observant Jew about how spending 24 hours every weekend without using electronics. Well, the lamps are set on timers, so maybe that's not quite 18th Century. It can be a rather peaceful time, and it's amazing the way it brings people together on a Saturday afternoon. It's also a great excuse for a long nap.

Posted by: jg | February 16, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Bayou Self-- scrolling down and hitting Shift+Del for each will clear each of those names.

Posted by: jw | February 16, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Mudge writes:
Yeah, I been there, too. Our house has thousands of books.

Heaven forbid, Mudge, what our house will look like in the Napa Valley--if I combine my books with yours. If you bring them along out of Alcatraz, you will surely sink the Slyness craft. You (and perhaps Shiloh) could handle the cooking show while I open the first pay-per-read library in Philo, Calif., out of our abode.

Slyness is already on board to come with us. I've talked to some real estate friends in the area about acreage. Also possible are bed and breakfast opportunities. I've been thinking about the name for the Achen commune. (Does this make us Achencommies?)

Reporters in Flight Repose
Achen Lazy Acres (kinda too much of Geritol feel and I'm really thinkin' that that pesky WaPo lawyer Kevin and his ilk--hey, there are elk in the area--will come after us. Kevin What's-his-name? Maybe you could devise a dish around wild elk. I'm sure you could friccasee something better than Armstrong Ranch antelope. Then we could invite the exclusive members of the Bohemian Club to beat drums and dance naked on our commune/game preserve/spa/restaurant/library.

Other suggestions from the Boodlers? (Go ahead, Methane (aka TRL), make my day!

The possibilites are endless, Mudge. If we plant grapes, maybe we can have a winery operation in 10-15 years time? Maybe Joel can join us from time to time on a writers retreat--certainly he'll need some time away from THE GARRET. Book talks and signings.

The possibilities are truly endless ....................

On to my *real* day. *L*

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Cur, ya never know about the kids. My older child, who never cracked a book she wasn't required to read, says she is turning into her mother. Now that she's on her own, she has to have a book to read in bed before she goes to sleep. Maybe there's hope.

Of course, I'm turning into MY mother, too. And that's not a good thing! I hate the forgetfulness...

Posted by: slyness | February 16, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

jw - Doesn't work, he wrote, while shaking his fist at his computer.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 16, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, count me in as the gardener! But I hate to tell you, I come with an extensive library too. When my husband and I got married, he asked how many of the books would stay. All of them, of course! One of my first tasks in retirement (10 months, one week, one day...) will be to sort and discard.

Posted by: slyness | February 16, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse sure? Are you using Internet Explorer? When all the options pop up, are they in a little box under the entry box? If they are, hit the down arrow until it's on the one you want to get rid of, and hit Shift-Delete. It should work. Must be operator error...ha ha.

Posted by: jw | February 16, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Been usin' Bag Balm for years and years, my wife's family were local (to DC) farmers up to the late 1980s.

My kids go looking for the green tin of BB to treat their various scrapes, with no prompting from their parents.

Loomis, I don't have a parent in need of care, though when we built our house, we put two bedrooms and a full bath on the main floor with the kitchen and family room, just in case. My wife's self-employed and works out of the home office (currently one of those bedrooms). I understand where you're coming from with more and more women working in offices alongside the men, and the challenges it presents.


Posted by: bc | February 16, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

My husband has threatened me with divorce over the amount of books I own.

*but with a bit of half-truth to this*

Dust, too, in copious quantities, is a serious household issue.

Trying to leave Boodle for remainder of day to--gather me dustbunnies while I may.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

The first line of the poem "To the Virgins [Old Crones], to Make Much of Time," from the middle of the seventeenth century, by the English poet Robert Herrick. He is advising people to take advantage of life while they are young:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, bc.

*metaphorical hugs and kisses*

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse


Considering my daughter's hard at work on a Rosa Parks poster (and needed no prompting to explain why Ms. Parks was so important), I'm looking forward to a very cogent discussion with her on that topic. I knew there was a lot of quasi-Biblical metaphor in Narnia, but the skin tone angle is new to me. Much obliged.

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 16, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Bayou Self, try rubbing the keyboard in Bag Balm.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

jw - It's just as you described, but it isn't making them go away. I'm using Firefox. And I'm on a Mac.

It's Cheney's fault!

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 16, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Bayou Self,

The FBI probably has your computer set so that it will hold the info until they download it to your master file. Once that happens, they'll probably clear it out for you. Don't be so impatient. Trust your government. They know what's best.

Posted by: kbertocci | February 16, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm...try Command (apple key) and delete?

Posted by: jw | February 16, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Bag Balm. Got it. Thanks.

Posted by: Bayou Self (sponsored by Merriam-Webster) | February 16, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Bayou Self... I'm on a Mac with Firefox and it works just like jw said it would:

Click in the box; use the arrow key to scroll down to the entry you want to delete; hit Shift-Delete. All gone!

jw is my hero for the day!

Posted by: TBG | February 16, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Bag balm is kind of like axle grease with a slightly more pleasant fragrance (or a less unpleasant fragrance depending on your point of view). One of my Dad's money-making schemes was to be a distributor of fruit juices, snack food, and oddly enough, a product similar to Bag balm and another balm that was mentholated. Mentholated axle grease. The fruit juice tasted like dish detergent and had adverse effects on the digestive system. The snack food was totally inedible. He couldn't sell any of the crap and ended up paying for all of it. He was never much for reading the fine print...

Posted by: 1st_timer | February 16, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Bayou Self... not Backwards Delete, but the Delete button that's above the arrow keys. If you have a laptop without an extended keyboard try Function (the key to the left of Control)-Backwards Delete.

Good luck!

Posted by: TBG | February 16, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Good idea but no luck, jw. I tried all the combinations of control option and apple and shift and right-handed and left-handed and so on.

Posted by: Bayou Self (sponsored by George Will's literary agent) | February 16, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm afraid you're going to have to throw your computer away and get a new one. At least now you have an excuse to by one of the new Intel Duos.

Posted by: jw | February 16, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

No luck, TBG. Upon further review, I'm using Safari and not Firefox. (Safari nicely spots up the Boodle where I last left off, when I hit refresh. Plus, it leaves my computer minty fresh.)

Posted by: Bayou Self (sponsored by Bette Midler) | February 16, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

BS, have you tried White-Out??

Posted by: Scottynuke (sponsored by Michael Nesmith) | February 16, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Never mind Mr. Bayou Self. He'll go to any length to get attention. The nerd.

Posted by: Bayou Self's Public Editor | February 16, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I *am* being slightly unfair to my daughter; she reads 20 mins a night, albeit because the school makes her.

She's read the first two Harry Potter books, and is now on the third one.

(Of course, as a reward I bought her the "Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire" Gameboy game...LOL)

She has expressed an interest in some things literary, but if you gave her a choice she would choose, by an overwhelming majority, Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel.

That makes me sad, if only because I view the television as a tool (one that has it's definite place) and not as a life-sustaining device.

I had to ban Cartoon Network in the house, or nothing would get done. She was like a junkie looking for a fix; she'd sneak peeks at Cartoon Network while she thought I wasn't paying attention. Now, it's verboten.

The experts will tell you how much television is bad for your kids, and they will tell you how you're failing them if you let them watch too much TV. What they won't do, however, is come over to your house and help you get your recalcitrant and disbelieving offspring off of the couch.

I really think I'm just going to have to throw the bloody thing in the street.

Posted by: amo | February 16, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Errol Flynn got me thinking about one of my favorite Genesis songs:

Blood on the Rooftop

Posted by: omni | February 16, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I take a cocktail of heart meds every day, too--Plavix, Altace, atenolol for HBP, a bunch of diuretics (my, aren't those fun!), etc. Of course, I'm no cardiologist (though I play one on TV) and don't know what Cheney's taking. But I drink very moderately (per the BPH), and in general modest amounts of alcohol not only don't have any affect (at least in terms of my heart med interaction). I'm even under doctor's orders to drink a glass of red wine a day, which I generally do (unless I'm substituting something else).

Hate to defend the SOB, but don't think heart meds had any role in it. Nor drinking a beer at lunch (assuming that's all he had, of course). And much as I REALLY hate to say it, I don't think he was snockered (though I'd love to be proven wrong) only because I suspect as a heart patient he knows not to drink too much.

Which isn't to say, yes, absolutely, all the medical records and facts should be made public. What these -- (well, I was about to use a term frowned upon by the rules of the boodle) -- these "people" just don't get is that withholding info just feeds suspicion. But then, god knows, they've done infinitely stupider things.

I'm intrigued by this report that several local police were turned away from the ranch Saturday evening? How the **** do you turn away cops after a shooting?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

A song about my one true role model! How cool!

Bayou, thanks ever so much for the handle.

Haven't tried the shift-delete trick but if you're still having trouble there should be an option to delete the auto-form-fill entries somewhere. In Firefox it's under Tools->Options->Save Form Information, hit the "Clear" button and that should do it. In Internet Explorer it's under Tools->Internet Options->Content->AutoComplete.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 16, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, you turn away the cops with your incredibly superior firepower, heavily armored SUVs, earpieces and mirrored sunglasses (at night).


Posted by: Scottynuke | February 16, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

You show your "Oil Dumpling Gang/Bush Administration Get Out Of Jail Free Card" to them, 'mudge.

Looks like it works in Texas, anyway.


Posted by: bc | February 16, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

dark sunglasses was the first thought that popped into my head.

Posted by: omni | February 16, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Ahhhhh....Give me the good old days....Just me, the lingering effects of last night's chili, and a few well worn pages from the Sears and Roebucks catalog!!!!!

"For gentle overnight relief...Try Exlax"

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 16, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse


Safari Form Auto-Fill

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 16, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Cheney did go to Yale, flunked out. A couple of DUI's, he has said. Returned to our local Junior College, in Casper, associated with the U. of Wyoming at Laramie. Then went on down to Laramie. He and wife, Lynn, then went
--i think to Michigan where she had a teaching job (would have to check that for sure) then Georgetown? where he attracted the attention of not-yet-pres.
Gerald Ford...At the time, I rented an apartment from one set of wife Lynn's grandparents. They were great, old-timey people , none to complimentary of the grandkids' ambitions. As part of the Great AMerican Something, in high school Dick was captain of the football team and Lynn, head twirler...which she seldom talks about as it most likely seems...gauche, or something. Fellow Democrats of ours have threatened facetiosly to chip his name off the local post office and rip up the artifical turn he donated to the very same stadium in which he played.

i think he is addressing the Wyo. State Legislature some time today.

Posted by: thereIsaidit | February 16, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

ThereIsaid it,

LOL, if that's Cheney's bio, looks like I'll have no probs in my bid for Veep.

Posted by: amo | February 16, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Error Flynn. Problem solved. Life is good. No, life is better. I'm now a better person all around. I'm standing just a bit taller, even when seated. I'm a bit more handsome, too. And feeling a bit smarter, for all my dumbness, which frankly may or may not be such a good thing.

The short story, for anyone who might care, is that I went in to preferences through the Safari main menu. All was revealed.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 16, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

For Achenfan, use that bag balm for all those rough dry skin areas. Its a big seller up here in our very dry winter climates to help keep our hands, and elbows soft and sexy. Yes you might smell like a cow, for a tiny while, but if you use it before bed only your spouse knows for sure!

Mudge, I was thinking along the same lines regarding your VP's heart, but my only reference is my dad, and he has become a kind of stickler about beverages. He still however has his customary shot of Manischewitz Kosher wine after church on Sundays.

As to books, some kids will be readers in the read-every-printed-word they see meaning of being a reader, and some will hit middle, and some will be resistant. I think its part of who they are not how they have been raised. My most computer literate son is the guy who inhales books. My Christmas gift from him was 'The Thieves of Baghdad'. He had to buy a second copy because he was not done reading it before Christmas, and wasn't sure how I would take to a 'used' book. In my eyes, books are best 'used' and the saddest thing I ever saw was a 5 year old book in a school library that had never been taken out and read.

Posted by: dr | February 16, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Omni - That's also a favorite of mine. Genesis did a bunch of good work before becoming what was largely Phil's pop band.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 16, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

i was thinking of organizing a little hunting trip. my guests will be furnished with slingshots and marshmallows. i, of course, will use my trusty LAW. anyone interested. how about my old buddy, mr. lonemule?

Posted by: butlerguy | February 16, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

>Thank you, Error Flynn. Problem solved.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 16, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Still trying to get men alone in the woods, eh???

Butter..I mean Blubber...I mean Blubberbuttguy???

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 16, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

dr, how sweet of your son! Last year, my elder daughter bought me Eat, Shoots & Leaves for Christmas, which I loved. Those of us who were English majors have to enjoy grammatical support wherever we can find it!

Posted by: slyness | February 16, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

A favorite old album cover ...

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 16, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

thereIsaidit writes:
think to Michigan where she had a teaching job (would have to check that for sure) then Georgetown? where he attracted the attention of not-yet-pres.
Gerald Ford...

Thanks for telling us this link between the two men--how Cheney and Ford hooked up.
Thanks for your story, too.

Must tell you a funny story, try to brief. My hubby and I were on our vacation in Wyo. back in 2000. Had little cabin near stream in Jackson Hole for about 3 days. Arrived so late at night, reservation was almost in jeapardy. Decided to eat at best restaurant in town next a.m. Big lodge, big/historic for downtown J.H. that is. Annoucement just made (in press, too) that Cheney would be Bush's running mate, and would change his residency/statehood to Wyoming from Texas (because of Constitutional requirement).

I eavesdrop at breakfast on two old-timer men. One says: You know there are two men around here who just don't impress me at all. His friend replies: Yeah, who'd they be? Man answers: Dick Cheney and Harrison Ford. Launches into why. Friend laughs and replies: Yeah.

Keep us abreast, thereIsaidit (ever consider a shorter handle? *w*) on Cheney's remarks in his home state today?
(Do know difference *L* between sheep and cow teeth, since there were lots of Basque sheepherders in Bakersfield when I was growing up--sheep and herders now long gone.) Thanks!

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

So, Mudge the doctor (patient), is in the house.

Mudge queries:
I'm intrigued by this report that several local police were turned away from the ranch Saturday evening? How the **** do you turn away cops after a shooting?

Oh silly boy: Secret Service trumps Kenedy County sheriff any day of the week--Saturday nights included.

(Fascinating read for you sometime: The Hidden Stories and Politics and Shenanigans and Tales of Sexual Intrigue of Kenedy County and its Big-Ranch Families--not that the thing is written yet.)

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I believe they weren't so much "turned away" as they were "empty handed." When they arrived at the ranch, nobody there at the time knew anything about the shooting. At least, that's what the sheriff's report said.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 16, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse


You were right and I was wrong re Cheney at Yale. I don't think he and GWB overlapped, but if they had, GWB would probably have broken a beer bottle over his head at a frat party.

I am wise, but not infallible, cute but not beautiful, comfortable but not rich, a slight pain but not insufferable.

Thanks for the correction.

Posted by: Vulvix | February 16, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Ah, dr, a Manischewitz man--a man after my own heart. In case, couple of glasses before church, rather than after, would be much better.

After Loomis, slyness and I set up our little boutique winery in Napa or Sonoma, we'll have to send him a couple bottles to sample.

Linda and sly, I've been thinking about what we should grow and produce. Here's what I've come up with so far:

Boushois du Chez Ney: a dry, humorless, red state-bottled wine with notes of disdain for its pressing, with an aftertaste of contempt. Arrogant, and serves itself chilled. Pairs well with Texas cow patties.

Dom et Dommaire: Grapes from the Roushe L'Imbaux region of Faux Chanelle are blended with a premature harvesting of Shoen H'Annuitee grapes to produce this bombastic blush varietal featuring notes of incredulity and s'marme ordinaire. Pairs well with motes de rien.

Scou Terre Libee: A derivative of the Karlrove varietal, follows ordeurs and suggests notes of indifference. Pairs well with leeks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self writes:
I believe they weren't so much "turned away" as they were "empty handed." When they arrived at the ranch, nobody there at the time knew anything about the shooting. At least, that's what the sheriff's report said.

Bayou Self, you've seen the sheriff's report? Tell me more, tell me more... What deputy talked to whom? What was said or unsaid?

This from today's Editor and Publisher:

Wait until more evidence seeps out. Here's a fresh tidbit: Late Tuesday, the Secret Service related that the shooting actually took place at 5:50 p.m. Saturday, 20 minutes later than previously stated--and therefore approaching the 6:18 sunset.

[So perhaps the sun was in Cheney's eyes? I may grant that--tht Cheney was blinded by the sun, and that it violates the good rules of hunting--but there are still too many loose ends on this story to much satisfy me at this point in time.]

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Current Vineyard de Philo offerings:
Boushois du Chez Ney
Dom et Dommaire
Scou Terre Libee

Marketing 101 truth: Bottle, label and sell 'em while they're hot!

Dollar signs, Mudge, I see dollar signs...$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Of course, with Slyness tending the garden, it'll be a three-way split...

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

In response to Linda's question about where I am and everyone else's comments yesterday--I really am still here. And I will be back on a regular basis once things settle down and I get into my new apartment and all that. I just have a horrible internet connection (and computer) at my current apartment. I'll get better at hanging out here again, I promise. Plus, my new job actually keeps me busy.

Posted by: Sara | February 16, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Do ladies of a certain age (middle) frequent your CVS? Bag balm is popular with quilters--those little needles are sharp.

Posted by: lom | February 16, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

My experience is with vegetable gardening, Linda, but with dollar signs out there, I'll learn tending grapes in a hurry!

Don't Cur's descriptions sound divine? I'm so ready to jump on this project!

Posted by: slyness | February 16, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Slyness is going to need some of that bag balm ofr this new gardening venture.

See Achenfan. Dozens of uses for bag balm. Thanks for the input lom.

Posted by: dr | February 16, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse


On Saturday February 11, 2006, there was an incident on the Armstrong Ranch during a quail hunt in which Harry Whittington, a guest hunter and personal friend of Vice President Cheney was accidentally shot.

Due to a lack of communication the personnel manning the front gate upon Kenedy County Officer's arrival did not have any information and were unaware of the incident. Sheriff Salinas was informed shortly after the incident by Secret Service Agents by phone due to incompatibility of radio equipment. Mr. Whittington was transported to the Christus Spohn in Kingsville and later transferred to Spohn Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX.

The investigation reveals that there was no alcohol, or misconduct involved in the incident. Mr. Whittington's interview collaborated Vice President Cheney's statement.

This Department is fully satisfied that this was no more than a hunting accident.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 16, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

And yes, lom, ladies of a certain age do frequently frequent. Please continue frequenting.

Posted by: dr | February 16, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what a day outside! Just left the building to go get a sammitch, and durn near didn't come back. Afraid to tell you taxpayersout there beyond the beltway that I have a strong suspicion your federal gummint ain't exactly humming along with its usual efficiency (I know, maybe that's a good thing). Whole lotta fellow bureaucrats out there in shirtsleeves taking in more sunshine than currently allowed under present HR regulations, methinks.

This is unreal for February.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Will think about a new handle soon. Wyoming has many, many tourism-related businesses. Much of our state-something like 52 or some such %-- is either state land, federal grazing land,National Park Service, wildlife refuges, protected grasslands, etc. The Indian reservation is home to Arapaho and Shoshone tribal people... There is a lot of competition for deer, antelope, various birds, moose, etc., licenses ; outlanders have to compete and apply for licenses, kills are closely regulated and tagged and inspected by game wardens, as you would expect. husband and I and son are not hunters as we would rather just see the animals in their natural habitat. Much discussion lately is about de-listing wolves and grizzlies. A mistake, we think.
Many celebrities vacation here in the state and want their privacy so there is little attention paid to those we might recognize. A cousin and husband, recently retired, lived year round at the famous Eaton's Ranch, near Sheridan in northern Wyoming, where I grew up; sometimes I would get out of her the guest list---Cary Grant's ex-wife and daughter, Don Johnson and the "Miami Vice" crew, once "Prince" and his entourage. It was great fun to go with the relatives to eat in the exclusive dining room, which we did a time or two.
Once I was asked, at a writing conference, if I had "Always lived in Wyoming," and I said, "Not yet..." More later, perhaps.

Posted by: thereIsaid it | February 16, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

From Froomkin's column today (Perazzi! Pizza! Paparazzi!--it's a great read.) Last graf:
From "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" via the New York Daily News :

"So it turns out Dick Cheney's gang weren't even walking through the woods hunting. They were in a car. He was in a car. They drive along, they get out of the car, he shoots a friend in the face and then they get back in the car and they go hide for 18 hours. That's not hunting, that's an episode of 'The Sopranos.' "

thereIsaidit: Welcome, new head of Wyoming Boodle bureau.

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

thereIsaidit, how about YOmin for your new handle? Short, pithy, accurate.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, that book on Kenedy County hasn't been written yet, as I teased, but, in reality, in certainly could be compiled by feet-on-the-ground reporting and compiling years of press clippings.

Just an FYI that I was joking, but not joking.

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

thereIsaidit, aren't wolves quite shy by nature and only approach humans if their habitat is compromised? Do herds of wild horses still run free in Wyo? Or is that Utah?

I once "visited" North Florida for 15 years.

Posted by: Nani | February 16, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

As for your parody of the wine labels from our fantasy vineyard, you do know, don't you(?), that former presidential candidate and also former Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour comedian Pat Paulsen had a large winemaking enterprise at one time in the neighborhood of Asti, Calif. (home to the huge Italian-Swiss Colony company--don't know how viable it is today).

So, there are indeed many possibilities...

Vulvix--Live and Learn--or Learn and Live, say I.

I do have a funny Lonemule-type of true story from Wine Country that I think I shall save until the tail [sic] end of today.

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Loomis: Just sent you an e-mail.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, Pls don't do this publicly. *L* *n/L*

Posted by: Loomis | February 16, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Curmudgeon and LindaLoomis. No fair! Tell us what you're plotting!

Posted by: slyness | February 16, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

They're planning the AchenBirthday, of course!

Posted by: Scottynuke | February 16, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if you could sneak those wine names into a well-known publication, like the guys who submitted verbose-but-bullfeathers scientific papers and got them published.

I'd love to hear someone in a restaurant order the "Boushois du Chez Ney"!

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 16, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Offer a screw cap line of bargain jug wine- Chateau Neuf du Mom an' Pop.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | February 16, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Reminds me of the MOnty Python sketch.

"Chateau Nui sans Wagga Wagga (sp?):A good fighting wine, heavy, with the bouqet of an aborginies' armpit."

Posted by: Error Flynn | February 16, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Boodle drink too much wine. Boodle napping now. Boodle try not to shoot anybody.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"Another good fighting wine is "Melbourne Old-and-Yellow", which is particularly heavy, and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat."

I do love the Australian browns.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Boodle had some of this:

"Quite the reverse is true of "Chateau Chunder", which is an Appelachian controle, specially grown for those keen on regurgitation -- a fine wine which really opens up the sluices at both ends."

I am just old enough to remember going to the drug store and testing the vacuum tubes at the little tester stand. A client of ours has a large industrial boiler of late 40s vintage that went out at the peak of winter. The culprit was a burnt out vacuum relay. An internet search located probably the last tube of its type in existence for about $5. Don't know what they'll do when that one burns out.

Posted by: yellojkt | February 16, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Totally on topic, I am pleased to inform you af a superior wine, which you may or may not have seen in your local wine store (depending entirely on how high or lowbrow your tastes are), Old Fart, and Old Fart's Wife. Search for it. Not our favourite wine, but our favourite label.

Posted by: dr | February 16, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I remember the drugstore testers. And before that, when your TV broke, you called a repairman. (Kids, this was back in the day, when electronic devices were actually repairable, and by humans pretty much just like you and me, though with what we used to call "traning." Can you say, "Training"? I knew you could.) The repairman actually came to your house or apartment (I swear, kids, I'm not making this up) in a panel truck that had what were called "parts." (Can you say "parts"?) He (it was always a "he," boys and girls, except sometimes later on in the Penthouse letters columns, but that's another story) removed the back of the TV and there were all these tubes, big tubes and little tubes. Often you could spot the "bad tube" because it had turned black. Sometimes Mr. Repairman could just reach into his black bag, find a tube, replace it, and presto, your TV was fixed. Occassionally he had to go out to the truck to get a part. Once in a while, the repairman said the dreaded words, "I'm afraid we'll have to take this to the shop." Sometimes this meant the repair was too difficult to do in your home, boys and girls, but more often than not it was a way to extort more money and bigger repair fees from you.

Usually the problem was the horizontal or vertical hold failed. You boys and girls don't know what that looked like, but watching Howdy Dowdy and Sally Starr while the TV screen was rolling would hurt your eyes and make your little brother cry.

Later on, color TV was invented, and the cost of TV repairs increased algebraicly. That's a big word that means "a whole lot more." You could turn lots of dials and make people's faces blue and make Daddy say bad words when he came home to discover somebody had messed with his perfectly adjusted TV set.

And it was no longer possible to fix the TV in your house; everything had to go "to the shop" when you had a color TV. And then they even stopped coming to your house, and you had to lug your big heavy TV in its Louis the 14th wooden cabinet complete with record player to their repair shop, all on your own. Can you say "hernia"?

Isn't learning about oldtime technology fun, boys and girls? Now go back to your rooms, plug your iPods into your brains, fire up your XBoxes, put the latest Christine Aguilera CD in your CD player, turn on South Park, and let Daddy go surf the Internet for ... for ... ah...stock tips. Yes, that's the ticket. Stock tips. Just don't look at the screen if you come into the den, OK? Is mommy still cleaning out the cellar? Good. Now go play.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | February 16, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Ah, that glorious time when color TVs came out. And that even more glorious time eons later, when almost every home in America had a color TV and my dad finally bought one. Oh the Magic in the Self home. "Even the commercials look better," my mom said, excitedly. And the joke was on me because I'm color-blind and, yeah, it looked better and everything, but not all that much better. Just for fun, they used to ask me to adjust the color or tint and maybe hold the end of the antenna just so, as long as I was there.

Posted by: Bayou Self | February 16, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Is it me?? Or, does corn just seem to keep coming back...Again and again and again!!!

Remember...Senokot...It will set you free!!!

Posted by: The Lonemule | February 16, 2006 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Testing... Testing...
Permission to enter!

Posted by: TApence | February 16, 2006 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Come on in, the water's fine!

Posted by: pj | February 16, 2006 6:46 PM | Report abuse

OK, so learn some geology, and learn about oil sands. Ten years out, Alberta will be outproducing Saudi Arabia. Really. So here's your next vacation:

"Experience the Energy of Fort McMurray with a tour of Syncrude Canada Ltd. or Suncor Energy mine sites. See the earth move before your eyes as shovels carrying 100 tons load 380 ton payload trucks with the rich, black oil sand. Follow the process from mining to pipeline and see how the sand is reclaimed as a productive partner in the natural environment."

Posted by: John Nagle | February 16, 2006 8:23 PM | Report abuse

The other boodle is a little scary (and on topic), so I'll post this here - a funny column by a local print news guy. I don't read his column often - he's in the sports section - but this is pretty good (he works in the shroud, too, and ice):

Hey, sara, glad you dropped by!

Posted by: mostlylurking | February 16, 2006 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Scientific evidence disproving shot scatter Cheney claims in shooting of 30 yards. More like 15-18 feet. 28 gauge bird shot same length barrel accident recon demonstrates BBs don't penetrate more than 3 millimeters into flesh at 30 yards. Scatter pattern of 18 inches on the victim from upper torso to face is inconsistent with shot from 30 yards. Shot pattern and penetration only consistent with a discharge of 15-18 feet.

Posted by: Teemu Lundqvist | February 19, 2006 10:55 PM | Report abuse

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