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Predicting the Next Big Earthquake

A quick note from the road, where I'm about to talk to some climate scientists, and will almost certainly become confused, and be forced to admit that I don't understand what anyone is saying. I've spent more than two decades doing interviews in which, at some point, I say something like, "Um. Gosh. Well. Gee. Are you saying the hydrogen sulfide doohickey fits into the oxygen receptor thingee?"

Anyway, faithful readers may recall that last year I went to Japan and Mexico and California and sort of rambled around on some sort of never-fully-discussed geology project. Finally, the fruits of that labor: The cover story in National Geographic on earthquakes. "The Next Big One." The link leads you to a brief excerpt, the nut section of sorts. The basic question is, "Can we predict earthquakes?" and the basic answer is, "No," plus another 4,000-something-words just to complicate matters.

While doing the story I met a lot of terrific scientists -- Carol Prentice, Susan Hough, Bill Ellsworth, Mary Lou Zoback, Mark Zoback, Cinna Lomnitz, Kerry Sieh, Hiroo Kanamori, among many others -- and got to trek pretty much the length of the San Andreas Fault, from the rugged seashore at Point Arena to the hottest place I've ever been, Bombay Beach, a village on the edge of the Salton Sea, where it was 118 degrees in the shade and the black flies, according to the flyswatter-wielding marina manager, "bite like small dogs."

For all the triumphs of plate tectonics, and for all the ingenuity of scientists as they figure out how and why earthquakes happen, it may be impossible to predict precisely when and where the next Big One will hit. Earthquakes may -- may -- be inherently chaotic. But more than that, they don't operate on human time scales. This is just another reminder that the world really isn't about us.

An excerpt of the excerpt:

...earthquake prediction remains a matter of myth, of fabulations in which birds and snakes and fish and bunny rabbits somehow sniff out the coming calamity. What scientists can do right now is make good maps of fault zones and figure out which ones are probably due for a rupture. And they can make forecasts. A forecast might say that, over a certain number of years, there's a certain likelihood of a certain magnitude earthquake in a given spot. And that you should bolt your house to its foundation and lash the water heater to the wall.

Turning forecasts into predictions--"a magnitude 7 earthquake is expected here three days from now"--may be impossible, but scientists are doing everything they can to solve the mysteries of earthquakes. They break rocks in laboratories, studying how stone behaves under stress. They hike through ghost forests where dead trees tell of long-ago tsunamis. They make maps of precarious, balanced rocks to see where the ground has shaken in the past, and how hard. They dig trenches across faults, searching for the active trace. They have wired up fault zones with so many sensors it's as though the Earth is a patient in intensive care.

Surely, we tell ourselves--trying hard to be persuasive--there must be some way to impose order and decorum on all that slippery ground.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 23, 2006; 11:55 AM ET
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Next: Bring Me the Head of Ben Domenech


Am I up first? Oh, oh, I love to bat first!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 23, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 23, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

>of fabulations in which birds and snakes and fish and bunny rabbits somehow sniff out the coming calamity

Given some dogs can apparently sniff out cancer, I'm all for listening to the bunny rabbits.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 23, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to the long discussion yesterday. Mudge, very thoughtful posts on the priorities for the Dems.

Everytime I hear about the housing prices in CA I think about earthquakes. Is is even possible to get insurance coverage for earthquakes there? I wonder what the rates are like.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 23, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow, two geologists with the same uncommon last name? What are the chances? Talk about a coincidence...

Posted by: jw | March 23, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Oooooh, so THAT's what you do at your "regular" job. I am so impressed. Very impressed, indeed.

Posted by: CowTown | March 23, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

As a relatively new Achen-fan (and never-before-Boodler), I was delighted to see the big article in NG this month. More, Joel, more!

Posted by: sundog | March 23, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Carryover from last Boodle...

Was MadCow implying that Republicans should really be called Ouroboricans?

And I think the seismologists should just find the weakest points in the faults and smack 'em with a hammer ever once in a while, to bleed off some of the built-up energy.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 23, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and there's a new JA pic on the NGM site!!

And I think we can officially start the "Joel's Places Not To Visit" list...

"I hope the residents of Bombay Beach will take no offense when I say that their town is uninhabitable."

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 23, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"smack 'em with a hammer ever once in a while, to bleed off some of the built-up energy". Wasn't that the strategy vs. Al Qaeda in the 90s?

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 23, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"this is just another reminder that the world is not about us."

pretty humbling when you think about it, that mother nature absolutely kills us puny humans in terms of sheer destructive power, without even trying. yet we continue to come up with new ways to kill things, people included, and destroy the environment. ah, what am i talking about. lets just go drill in the arctic to get more oil so we can release more CO2 so we can fry more quickly.

Posted by: tangent | March 23, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

>Is is even possible to get insurance coverage for earthquakes there?
Just read a story about that yesterday. Numbers were like $2400/yr for a $350k house, with a $50k deductible. A lot of people are apparently winging it, hoping the feds wil bail 'em out. I think if it was me I'd get the insurance. It's not a matter of if, it's when.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 23, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Nice work Joel... never a dull moment in your life eh? look forward to reading the entire article in NG and by the way... NICE PHOTO this time.

And Bombay Beach sounds like Brisbane Australia... where it was 45C in the shade and everytime we got out of the pool which was well shaded, we would sweat instantly before we even had time to dry off. Most people don't have air conditioning because the houses are open concept... imagine that.

Posted by: Miss Toronto | March 23, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Some guys look good, with their hair tussled by the wind, just so.

Wish I were one of them.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 23, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I've got to get a copy! Joel doing what he does best, science writing for the common man. It's an art form, and the boss is the master of the genre. A very nice photo too.

Several years ago I picked up the set of NG on cd all the way back to its beginnings. Its amazing to read them in order but I also wander through them by subject. I read all the hurricane articles from the first issue onward this past summer, and have begun reading all the earthquake articles. My only regret is that I don't have anything past 2000.

Posted by: dr | March 23, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

by the way Joel... like how the Achenblog covers various topics from Politics to Science to Beer butt chicken.

Which reminds me... in the Beer Store the other day, I got some raised eyebrows from the male cashier and male patrons as I made my purchase (Women rarely buy beer I've noticed, especially in our affluent neighbourhood). He gave me a free beer magazine and mentioned I might be interested in the recipes which I took a bit of umbrage with since the editor of this male targetted magazine is a woman and why wouldn't I want to read the other stuff in it.

I'm sure he meant well but I retorted "yeah, I'd be interested in the recipes... especially if there's one for beer-butt chicken" at which point I turned and marched out. I was very pleased with that quick comeback and I did get a smile out of the guys. Thanks to you Joel!

Posted by: Miss Toronto | March 23, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I’m going to go out on limb here, and predict that science will never be able to predict earthquakes. They can’t predict the weather, and that happens every day. They haven’t worked out any reliable predictions for anything since the phases of the moon, have they? I live in California, and I don’t want to know when the next one is coming. I’ll just continue to sit in the sunshine on the deck of my half-a-million dollar hovel, sipping my awesome $8-a-bottle pinot noir and continue to think of myself as the luckiest human on the face of the earth.

BTW, yes, we can get earthquake insurance out here, through the California Earthquake Authority (great name, don’t you think?), but it’s hardly worthwhile. The rates depend on location, type of dwelling, etc., and range from $1.10-$5.25 per $1,000 of dwelling value. The deductibles are ridiculous. I personally go ‘naked’, as they say.

Posted by: Slats | March 23, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

On their tiny farm out in the middle of nowhere texas, sans electricity, indoor plumbing, etc., Aunt Dora and Uncle Claude predicted the time of day and weather by sky and animal watching. Uncle had a fancy gold pocketwatch, but only wound it up and wore it on special occasions, like funerals or weddings. No clocks either, the rooster let you know when it was time to get up; and the sun would set at bedtime. "Rain's comin'for sure. Pigs is actin' up; Belle (cow)got spooked and tumped over the milk bucket, durn it. Yep, we got a rain storm headed this way for sure. But there won't be no milk today and that's for sure too. "

Posted by: Nani | March 23, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, Slats, I think weather prediction has gotten pretty good over the last couple of decades.

I'm telling ya, I think there's a future for this guy Achenbach as a science writer.

As a matter of curiosity, Joel, where is the "ghost forest" of dead trees caused by a long-ago tsunami?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 23, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

We can predict earthquakes. It's the level of precision and accuracy we need to work on. California WILL sink into the ocean in the next 1000 years. whether that time frame is too short for us to be of practical benefit is our fault for living too quickly.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 23, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

>"ghost forest" of dead trees caused by a long-ago tsunami

Wasn't that in Alaska?

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 23, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Here's an easy prediction: Build on a fault, and the quakes will come.

The eastern seaboard may be overdue for a big one-- and NYC only began doing building codes suitable for what, a 3.0 earthquake?

I've been to CA many times, but the only quake I've ever felt was right here in the DC area-- December 9 2003 earthquake (4.5 magnitude) I was on 6th floor and it felt like somebody had bumped my desk, hard, twice. A coworker felt it as well, but nobody on the ground did.

From the USGS: "Since 1885, earth vibrations felt in Maryland have been associated with sources for adjacent states and points as far away as the St. Lawrence Valley and Timiskaming, Canada."

The eastern seaboard is basically old dried-out sea... seems to kill intensity but radiate quake waves out pretty far.

"A magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 1925 (February 28), centered in the St. Lawrence River region near Murray bay, Canada, caused only moderate intensity effects, but was remarkable for the large area affected, which included all of eastern Canada and portions of the United States south of Virginia and west to the Mississippi River. This area covered approximately 2 million square miles. Damage was confined to a narrow belt on both sides of the St. Lawrence River."

It was felt lightly in B'more. No word on NYC, which is closer.

My CA friends talk about "quake weather." They mentioned once they saw horses going crazy the night before the World Series Quake.
Horses can feel low frequency vibrations (infrasound) through their hooves, so they probably can feel pre-shocks to major quakes.

Humans have some capacity to feel infrasound, this is why we get spooked by some bridges, houses that have lots of infrasound. Experiments show that infrasound will give people the heebie-jeebies.

Too bad we load our environment with so much infrasound we're probably half numb to it anyway, or we'd be on edge due to constant infrasound... hmm maybe this explains road rage... ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 23, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

118º in the shade. yeah right. is this another pack of lies kit. I'm going to reread the kit like a hawk with a magnifying glass, just to be sure there aren't anymore lies in there.

Posted by: omni | March 23, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Mega Tsunami... Error... Yes, we have to watch out for large land slides and Island cave-ins. Volcanic islands that have been destablized by water seepage into fissures and heating up and expanding.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | March 23, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Bombay Beach is real, in the interior of southern california. It's 71 degrees there right now, temperatures hits 90-100+ in the summer.
Doubtful about 118 degrees, but it's south enough to... if a bit too near water to. Maybe he detoured into Death Valley or the guy was having him on about the heat.

Of course, Joel is being his "overly credible, innocent" science reporter self.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 23, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

" A lot of people are apparently winging it, hoping the feds wil bail 'em out. "

There are a lot of people on the Gulf Coast that are learning the answer to that question the hard way.

Posted by: Bob | March 23, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I have the worse luck for earthquakes. Im always there when they happen. My parents were doing a research program in Mexico City in 1985 when a really big one happened, I just remember being pulled out of bed and then carried really quickly down the stairs of the building. My dad was in the shower when it started so I thought they had gone crazy, going out to the street on pj's and towels.

In subsequents visits to Mexico City, like once a year, I was always there when they happened. Then there was this one when I was vacationing on a beach, the place was the epicenter.

Undestandably I have grown vey afraid of earthquakes and I usually feel them before everyone else, which is really weird because when you're the one to give the alarm, for a few moments, people thinks you're, you know, just traying to be interesting, to get more attention. Once I was in a conference at my University and I felt one so I turned to a friend and told her: I think its trembling we should alert people with calm, she stand up from her chair yelling and none really believed her, until one of the panelist felt it too and just cursed and left the place running with no regard for the students present there. That was kind of funny.

Weird thing, I know the son of one of the scientist Joel mentions, six degrees of separation I guess.

Posted by: ChiquitaBanana | March 23, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

helplessly helping the world to be a better place by taking care of examples of the discrepancy of not allowing to become apparent as self destruction...

there are ways to create harmony by, destroying the illusions of harmony...

there is no way to describe it except to say that it requires absolute attention to being present and working with the affect of the energy present in the affecting situation...

and then moving that energy

the affect being truth appears as a emenation rather than as an insinuation.

see yah.

Posted by: that's cute..mrs smith.. | March 23, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I just double and triple checked the kit, and the eyestrain has given me a headache. The only other thing I found that might be a lie is the claim that the black flies "bite like small dogs".

I've been to Salton Sea. It's on the edge of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. I stopped at the Salton Sea Beach which is on the opposite shore from Bombay Beach, just a little farther north. It was a clear day and I could see all the way across. The east side of the sea is the same as the west side of the sea. THERE IS NO DAMN SHADE.

Posted by: omni | March 23, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

During the last big earthquake in California I was in New Madrid MO on an installation job. Peter Jennings was on TV with an earthquake expert, and says "Gee isn't it true the largest earthquake in the continental Unites States was 1811 in NEW MADRID MO?"

I look out the window and there's the sign, staring back at me. I was thinking "great, one side of the country just moved, you don't suppose the other would follow..."

Talking to people there the next day, they told me how the fields rose in 30ft waves, the river ran backward and drowned the old town center. Bells rang in Boston.

Driving to the job it was pretty chilling to imagine those fields.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 23, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I have read somewhere that those wave were rising and falling at fifty miles an hour. Check out wiki though. The big one was in Feb. 7, 1812, it was preceded by two others on Dec. 16, 1811 and Jan. 23, 1812. But this only the contiguous U.S. There was a bigger one in Alaska on Mar. 27, 1964.

Posted by: omni | March 23, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

SFC: wave=>waves.

Posted by: omni | March 23, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

From The Steely Dan Dictionary web site:

Tumbles into the sea
That'll be the day I go
Back to Annandale"
— My Old School

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 23, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

SFC:this only=>this was only (not even sure that fixes it).

Posted by: omni | March 23, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Wow. You know how much I hate to change the subject, but Wm. Arkin's Early Warning blog next door( the following hot exchange:

"Almost three years ago, I was invited to give a talk to a high-level military audience about "information warfare" as seen by a member of the media. I had been writing most of 2002 about U.S. plans for an Iraq war, indeed I had revealed what the Pentagon felt were damaging details of the war plan. At the end of my talk, a Marine Corps Brigadier General asked the question: 'Mr. Arkin, do you consider yourself a journalist or an American.'

General: 'Mr. Arkin, do you consider yourself a journalist or an American.'

I took a drink of water as my blood boiled.

Me: 'Well General, because I am an American, I cherish the fact that I can call you a f***ing idiot for asking the question.'

All hell broke loose: The general lodged a complaint up the chain of command to get me punished and my sponsors were reprimanded.

It was tough for the General to be faced with an inflammatory and insubordinate response that he could do nothing about. Too bad he learned nothing (happily for America, he has since retired)."


OK, back to temblors and black flies and such.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 23, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Solving the 118 degree mystery: If as omni says, there is no (natural) shade, then maybe the shade it was 118 degrees in was *inside the minivan* (!) You'd be lucky if it was ONLY 118 degrees inside the van if you left the windows up for a few minutes. You could probably bake bread in there, no problem.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 23, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

When I lived in California, I shared with my fellow "natives" an attitude of cheeky bravado about earthquakes. We chuckled at the fear and astonishment of visitors at minor tremblers. "Hell, that one was nothing. I was on the overpass to the Hollywood Freeway when the Sylmar Earthquake hit in '70." We regarded ourselves as chic nuveau pioneer-types, tough, resiliant, unshakeable. Earthquakes? Bring 'em on.

Now that I live in GreatLakesLand, my California buddies write with awed facination about all the tornados we get. Go figure.

Posted by: CowTown | March 23, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

It's clear that Mr. Arkin never worked with the military. My Dad and I have both noted the awesome capability of military personnel to use an innocuous one-syllable word of nominal respect to convey any degree of respect, from adoring admiration to stunning contempt, merely by control of inflection and timing: "Sir."

A militarily-experienced speaker would have been able to respond calmly "Well ... sir ... I consider my work as a journalist to be the highest expression of my citizenship as an American."

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 23, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I should note that I was at a military lab, hence justifying my signing as ScienceTim.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 23, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

On the shade issue, maybe they had an umbrella.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 23, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Joel, nice touch of Genius Flyaway Hair on that NattyGeo pic.

I haven't actualy been through a real quake, though when visting friends in CA, I've been awakened by a few rumbles.

To your point, Wilbrod, there seems to be a mildy rumbly area west of Baltimore and north of DC between Laurel and Westminster.

Lessee, Joel's just finished this Earthquake piece, there was the Bird Flu feature last December, and now he's talking to climatologists (presumably about global warming).

Joel, I think I see where your next book's going to come from. Update some of your stuff on asteroid and cometaty impacts, solar flares and eruptions, combine it with the previously mentioned work and there it is:

"7 Days of the Dog: How the Earth is Closed for Business."


Posted by: bc | March 23, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Temple Grandin coined a name for that kind of reaction-- "Curiously afraid."

Apparently even totally wild cows will gather around people lying down, motionless, and sniff and lick.

One movement and they'll be freaking out, but as long as there's no danger yet.. they'll be investigating.

Translation: your CA pals are curious about tornadoes but too chicken to come and find out ;).

Being macho is a way to deal with fear, as well. "Hey, I survived 100 earthquakes and I'm fine!"

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 23, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I believe that "Curiously afraid." describes how man discovered fire. It covers a whole lot of human behaviours, doesn't it.

Posted by: dr | March 23, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

me from that site.

Posted by: yeah, well apparently Arkin has decided to block | March 23, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

For Joel's next book, I'm picturing more of a "PJ O'Rourke tries to decide how the world will end" theme. You know, Death, Famine, Plague, Pestilence...the usual suspects. Earthquakes fit right in. Global warming could also merit a mention or two.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 23, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I am familiar with earthquakes. My earliest memory is watching my mother's beloved ceramic doves come crashing down from our living room shelf. Yet, earthquakes on their own, do not scare me nearly as much as what earthquakes can cause. Everybody knows about tsunamis, but what really makes my stomach tighten up is the concept of a lahar from Mt Rainier. A lahar is the massive wave of mud which could be easily shaken from Rainier and come screaming down the Puyallup valley. Where many of my friends and family still live. Kinda puts the whole dove thing into perspective.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 23, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Arkin was in Military Intelligence.

Speaking of matters military, enough time has passed that it can now be disclosed that the New Madrid earthquake was in fact the partially successful deployment of King George III's sonic disruption weapon (Code Name Excalibur). This weapon was deployed on this occasion only in support of Tecumseh in the Battle of Tippecanoe. The intention had been for the earthquake to occur at the decisive moment, however, the early design caused the earthquake to occur later that year at a location somewhat west and south of the intended target.

The weapon itself had been deployed from York (now Toronto). American agents learned of the weapon and sent a punitive expedition to York in an effort to capture it. The weapon itself was highly unstable and while it was capture, during the attempt to move it, a large fire ensued burning the majority of York on April 27, 1813. American forces were able to return with the plans, however, and these were immediately returned to Washington. This was eventually discovered by British agents. Under the cover of a retaliatory raid, Washington was captured in an effort to recover the plans. A partially built version was being stored during construction in the Presidential Mansion. During the attempt to remove the American version, a fire again broke out burning the Mansion and part of Washington.

Project Excalibur was closed on this day, March 23, 1815.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 23, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim you are right on the money about "sir." I have seen this many times. The only thing that comes close is the nuanced way my wife can deploy the word "dear."

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 23, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I clicked on that link and see no fly away hair or any other kind of hair. So, what are you all talking about???

Posted by: omni | March 23, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

omni, click on Scottynuke's link from 12:43 PM.


Posted by: bc | March 23, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks bc, I don't feel so left out and clueless anymore.

Posted by: omni | March 23, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Joel, As a former part-time climate guy Here's something that's easy to understand. About 12-15 years ago, scientists first started discussing global warming in low but urgent tones that something bad might be about to happen. The climate models of the time predicted that global warming would be strongest in the highest latitudes. Critics attacked the predictions, saying the models were primitive, etc. But once again we have another record warm year in the far north, with shrinking ice in the Artic & Greenland. Scientists consider a theories ability to predict future results is a far better measure of it's validity than just explaining current observations. On that basis, global warming has been confirmed.

Posted by: jfizz | March 23, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Joel, just got to thinking, I know you write regularly for NG (or is it more occasionally?) but I'm curious, is this the first cover story you've done with them?

Posted by: dr | March 23, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl reminded me "Arkin was in Military Intelligence"

Dang, I had forgotten that. Was he civilian, or military? Civilians can hear the "sir", but just can't pull it off. Like me and my goyische brethren with "oy."

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 23, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"Curiously Afraid" is a possible 'Boodle handle that is simply waiting for a handler.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 23, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

dr, I don't know if it was the "cover story," but here's the "compelling excerpt" from a major NG feature article the boss published back in 2001:

with field notes

Posted by: kbertocci | March 23, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

...and how could I forget the dinosaur article...that WAS a cover story.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 23, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse


Arkin's bio is here (it doesn't say what his last rank was):

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 23, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Bayou're right, it is! But will the handler bolt the blog before posting?

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 23, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Not so speak for Joel, dr, but I seem to remember a couple of NG cover stories hw wrote. There was one on early North American paleontology a couple of years ago, and there were a couple during the 90s that I recall off hand; one on Hawiian waves (Maui?), and one on the manned space program I think...


Posted by: bc | March 23, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

...and speaking of hazards of nature, since I work in a windowless office it was news to me when my spouse called a few minutes ago to tell me there's a major rainstorm happening out there--"wind! lightning! pouring rain!" he said, "If my car wasn't in the shop, I'd come pick you up!" Oh, well--wish me luck on the bike ride home. Actually, I'm not worried, usually these storms don't last long. What I'm doing right now is stalling a tiny bit to give it a little more time to be over before I leave. Luckily for me, I'm waterproof.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 23, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, I BOO once again, and an SCC: "hw" should be "he".


Posted by: bc | March 23, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

News Flash: It's snowing here in the Upper Midwest. Snowing. In late March. Again. And I moved from California, because....

Please continue.

Posted by: CowTown | March 23, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I'm sure we're all at least a little bit curious, and yet afraid, to find out.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 23, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, please wait until it stops lightninging!

Posted by: Nani | March 23, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

And it's sunny, 49 degrees here.

Um, was I supposed to continue the bad weather thread? Okay.

"Here, we're having a lava storm with brimstone fog. Freaky, a green tornado just ripped off a roof nearby and departed with a screeching noise that sounded a bit like a menancing laugh. Also, 30 minutes ago, demons broke out of the ground and started eating bystanders. Digsusting table manners, that's all I can say."

What the hey, makes Bombay Beach sound good.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 23, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt writes: "For Joel's next book, I'm picturing more of a "PJ O'Rourke tries to decide how the world will end" theme. You know, Death, Famine, Plague, Pestilence...the usual suspects. Earthquakes fit right in. Global warming could also merit a mention or two."

Was that a "Good Omens" reference?


Posted by: bc | March 23, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Wait! That's the actual weather for Sunnyvale, CA, right?

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 23, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

As to the local weather here, I now channel Steeler's Wheel:

Clowns to the left of me
Jokers to the right
Here I am
Stuck in the middle with you.

And boy, am I glad to be stuck here with my fellow Boodlers...

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 23, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, was that one of the methane-powered Sonic Disruptors? Easy to see how a Blue Flame Club-type accident could cause a large fire...

Mudge, you were around then, and seem to be a methane expert; can you fill us in on that? Or were you involved somehow?


Posted by: bc | March 23, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of brain eating (oh wait that was another blog: currently the fifth item down), Weingarten posted this link in his chat today: which I think would make a really cool screensaver.

Posted by: omni | March 23, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to say that Weingarten said: "Do not look at it, it might eat your brain."

Posted by: omni | March 23, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

That's it, I'm going home now.

Posted by: omni | March 23, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

uh, yeah, of course I was alluding to "Good Omens". (Note to self: Add "Good Omens" to list of books I need to actually finish someday.)

Posted by: yellojkt | March 23, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, Frost covered fire and ice... the bible the usual suspects, and science's covering global warming. Hollywood already covered metor strikes and alien invasion repeatedly.

However, we are not out of ideas for the demise of humankind or Earth.

I vote for the world ending in a nice light souffle. Although I wouldn't say boo to a good French toast.

Um. I think I must be hungry again.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 23, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse


Hungry as you must be, please don't eat your brain.

Thank you.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 23, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, your request is under consideration by the Bureau of Zombieland Security.

Please understand an exception to the non-brain eating rule for new zombie models can only be approved after filling all forms Z-1A through Z-101B, in exact order and delivered to the front office in same ordr.

If you chose to forgo this exception, we may send out a field representative out for immediate consumption of the offending brain. Press 1 to do so.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 23, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

>As to the local weather here, I now channel Steeler's Wheel:

Scottynuke, heard that just the other day. An early favorite, it's worn well.

Same with "Baker Street".

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 23, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I cannot hear that song, or even read those lyrics without thinking of the movie, "Reservior Dogs".

"I bet that smarts."


Posted by: bc | March 23, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I go away for the afternoon and I come back to find 75 or more posts on a Kit about earthquakes and California. It'll take the rest of the afternoon to read through them and I've got got some phone calls to return.

I did call Robert Kaiser at WaPo yesterday. Got right to his phone mail. I left a message. I was slightly nervous, but Bob hasn't returned my call yet. (?)

I did see that Snuke linked to your NG picture and field notes at NG, Joel. Now why can't you have a good picture like that at the top of the WaPo blog? The slightly windswept hair--gives you an air of ruggedness. I would pick the NG photo anyday over the one I saw yesterday for cover of your old book, "Why Things Are."

Advice about earthquakes and California? Always go to bed with--at least--your boxers or nightie on. Being even partially clothed saves time when you begin to feel the building shake.

Posted by: Loomis | March 23, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget to read Max Brooks'(as in son of Mel) book "The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead".

Funny stuff. If you need a break from reading it, see "Sean of the Dead".


Posted by: bc | March 23, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey, sundog, are you trying to steal my handle? [Just kidding.]

Re. weather:
It's rainy, windy, and humid here in Hong Kong. I just bought a dehumidifier, which apparently is essential if you don't want mold growing on your walls and in your curtains. It's such fun emptying the tank and seeing how much water the thing sucks up -- kind of like a science project. Even more fun is reading the instruction manual: "Do not drink the water collected by the unit or use it as pet feeding purposes." (That's OK -- I'm good. I'm sure the sucked-up water is purer than the tap water, but I don't think I'll be tempted.)

The weather has put all porching activities on hold until further notice. (I'm glad I got a couple of good days in before the season ended.)

Posted by: Achenfan | March 23, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

[You know, I'm starting to think the entire *planet* is uninhabitable.]

Posted by: Achenfan | March 23, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Water condensed from the air is pretty clean. There is probably lead or some other contaminant in the construction of the dehumidifier that makes the water no good for drinking. That and any mold spores that drift along and find a nice damp place to grow.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 23, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"To survive in this world, you must be more than a great eater."

Joel Achenbach
"Captured by Aliens,"
page 316.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 23, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, I was very nearly the final victim of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake near SF. A few months after the quake, I was staying in a ratty old plaster-faced hotel in Berkeley that still had cracks running through the walls. One evening I took a shower and went out to dinner. When I returned, the entire ceiling over the showerbath had collapsed. We're not talking sheetrock here--the tub was full of plaster, bricks, wooden beams, and God knows what else. I did not spend the rest of my business trip in that hotel.

I also experienced two earthquakes in Charlottesville in 2003 or so. The first one sounded like an extended distant jetliner crash, the second one shook the floors and ceiling in the glass-and-steel car dealership where I was sitting. Neither one was over 5.0, but I've experienced about all that I want to of earthquakes at this point.

Posted by: Scott | March 23, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Egads. If I was at home I would research before I asked questions. At work it's always under the pressure of who is watching me not work. I remember the dino article disscussion, and I think I read the story at that time. My memory card is apparently full.

I have tried to search for articles written by JA pre-2000 but it does not seem to like searches by author. Thank you for directing me to subjects. Lots to read now.

Posted by: dr | March 23, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

i distinctly remember my first earthquake in los angeles - scared the caca outta me! sure DC has hurricanes and the beltway but there's nothing like the ground doing the boogaloo under your feet! i was only in a cpl of earthquakes after that - and nothing major - but i'm glad to be back on the "right" coast and hope i'm never in another earth quake ever again! as for natural disasters, our earth has been changing and shifting for millions of years - just cuz we get spooked by it doesn't mean it's gonna stop! it would be interesting to see what it looks like in a million years - if the continents recombine and dinosaurs take back possession of the earth... unless we've blown ourselves up during that time...

and achenfan - i had to buy a HUMIDIFIER to keep myself from shocking myself and my cat to death - DC has been uncaricteristically dry lately and my new condo is SUPER dry - i already have frizzy hair as it is - sheesh! anyone have any good tips on dealing with static electricity in your home?

Posted by: mo | March 23, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

also, i know the music boodle is long dead but i HAD to add this one - all i thought of during that boodle was the "wreck of the edmund fitzgerald" by gordon lightfoot - one of the very first songs i remember ever hearing... (as a kid... besides, you know, nursery rhymes and such...)

Posted by: mo | March 23, 2006 5:36 PM | Report abuse

bc, second on Sean of the Dead as some pretty classic comedy (primarily for those that enjoy the zombie sub-genre). On the 'serious' movies in that group, the recent Dawn of the Dead was very good, and the first half of 28 Days Later (not to be confused with Sandra Bullock's 28 Days). I was disappointed by Land of the Dead.

How did we get on this? Weren't we discussing earthquakes. It must be the close association we have between natural disasters and the inevitable coming of the zombies.

Really makes you think. Or not.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 23, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse

My aunt Connie (Loomis) Smith drove over the Bay Bridge about one hour before the Loma Prieta quake. She has not set foot on the San Francisco Peninsula since. (true)

Since I've Boodled a-plenty about the quakes, I don't have more to add. Winona LaDuke was a breath of fresh air; I felt invigorated after hearing her speak--the only nursing mother ever to run for the office of vice president.

Posted by: Loomis | March 23, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

lindaloo - did you see my post about cannes??

Posted by: mo | March 23, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

and it seemed like an enmormous truck was driving by the house, grumbling and rumbling...

turns out it was a 5.0 or so, I finished my business due to my stalwart nature unfazed.

Posted by: I was sitting on a ceramic throne one day | March 23, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

The program said that LaDuke grew up in Los Angeles, yet she kept talking about home being in northwestern Minnesota. I asked how she made the transition from one place to another.

Her family lived in East L.A. Her father made a living by being hired as a American Indian movie extra in the many Westerns filmed several decades ago, including some John Wayne movies. LaDuke's dad would like the roles that required him to fall off a horse as the fall meant an extra $25 that day.

Her parents split up when she was relatively young, and she ended up living in Ashland, Oregon (not too far from Humboldt). She then went on to Harvard. We spoke too briefly and could have had plenty to talk about.) After college, it was back to the rez.

Posted by: Loomis | March 23, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

If you would like to watch my home slide into the Pacific -- I live to the west of the San Andreas --

Posted by: nellie | March 23, 2006 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes, mo! Thank you so much!

I came from the Mayor's office this afternoon, but I forgot that this is Council day, and the council was just getting rolling on zoning issues at 2 p.m., but I followed up my e-mail to Mayor Phil by talking to his assistant this afternoon. We shall see.

I don't want to volunteer at Cannes, but would want to be a guest of the festival or Sony Pictures, although I wouldn't rule out going as press--as long as I could see the movie on May 17--the whole point of my trip. I'm not through working this. I'm tuckered from running around the last 24 hours, but tomorrow I can also call the headmaster at Loomis Chaffee (whom I met briefly and casually for about 10 minutes--twinkling blue eyes and one of the best looking balding men I've ever met--reminds me of the boss on the old X Files TV series), Phillips Exeter and NORD.

I have a call in to my old buddy from Humboldt State, Jim Hoff, who received a Rotary undergrad scholarship for Europe the same year I did. He went to France and I went to Germany. Who knows, maybe he went to school with Jacques Chirac's daughter or the son or daughter of some other French luminary.

I'm working all the angles I can, and I do appreciate you going and seeking all the different levels of accreditation the Cannes Film Festival accepts. I'm indebted to you, mo, since I didn't even know that these levels of accreditation exist(ed).

Posted by: Loomis | March 23, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

mo, was that you sitting on the ceramic throne?

5.0 is rather small as earthquakes go...

Posted by: Loomis | March 23, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"sitting on a ceramic throne"!
"finished my business due to my stalwart nature unfazed"!

Ha! That's funny. :)

[Sometimes I become alarmed if I'm in the bathroom on a plane and the "fasten seatbelts" sign comes on. But then I think, if the plane were to crash, I'd be no better off in my seat than here. And if there were a lot of turbulence, I could be thrown only so far in such a small room.

My father tells the story of a man who was decapitated by a flying sheet of corrugated iron during Darwin's Cyclone Tracy in 1974. He pointed out that the best way to avoid such an occurrence would be to hide out in the toilet -- the smallest, safest room of the house (often the last room standing), too small for a flying metal sheet to fit into in the event that the house's roof gets blown off. I've never forgotten that advice, although fortunately I've never been in a situation where I've had to follow it.]

Posted by: Achenfan | March 23, 2006 6:03 PM | Report abuse

[No, I don't think that was mo.]

Posted by: Achenfan | March 23, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

lindaloo - now you KNOW that i wouldn't do a post about the ceramic throne! *sheesh*! also, i have no idea what the magnitude of my quakes were - i'm sure they were totally wussy ones that a native would scoff at me and say, "you call THAT an earthquake?"

i think that even if you get a press accredidation, you don't actually have to go AS press - it get you a ticket...
check out this site for a FAQ

Posted by: mo | March 23, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-- Robert Frost

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 23, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Nani, no worries, I didn't see any lightning at all. Got wet, but my trusty Nike "just do it" jacket kept me from getting cold, and it was a pretty fun ride overall.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 23, 2006 6:21 PM | Report abuse

and don't scoff at volunteering! i've volunteered for many film festivals and the spirit awards - you get to go behind the scenes and where all the "important" people are, free everything (including the gift bags the stars get!), back stage, rub elbows with the celebs (hey, THEY don't know you are a volunteer), and you don't get treated like a "volunteer" cuz they really need your help (film festivals are a mad house!) - i could do a LOT of name dropping cuz of my volunteering but i won't cuz you know i don't like to (but you can ask, if you want...;)

Posted by: mo | March 23, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

To do a free search on an author, the best way is to start with an established web directory such as There are many in the Yahoo directory under "news and media." Then make a list of the major periodicals in which the author has published. Next go to each of the home pages and look again to get the stragglers. It's fun.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 23, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

mo, yer makin' me feel old!!! "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" was the first song I ever played on a jukebox.

The legend lives on
From the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake
They call Gitchee-Goomee

The big lake it's said
Never gives up her dead
When the gales of November
Come early...

I could go on, but dinner calls...

And laundry...


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 23, 2006 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I tried RD's site, but hard to beat Google for ease and breadth of search. I found another picture of Joel:

This one kind of looks like Dustin Hoffman:

More to follow, I recall someone saying that more than 2 links causes problems.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 23, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

That last was me.

This was funny. Wikpedia's entry states: "He graduated from Princeton University in 1982 with an A.B. degree in Dweeb." It continues: "He makes a point of noting in every conversation that, during his freshman year, he lived next door to David Duchovny." (I thought Duchovny went to Yale, but sure enough, his undergrad was at Princeton)

Here's probably the most professional photo:

Finally, here's an article ON Google by our hero:

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 23, 2006 7:14 PM | Report abuse

*pst* sonofcarl - we did the wikidpedia entry... don't tell anyone...

Posted by: mo | March 23, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Remember SonofCarl, Google and Yahoo just search html text - they do not get to the databases. The largest amount of information on the internet is contained in databases. If you are going for something very specific, like a long stretch of text, the html searches rule. If you want something more general, start with directories. Internet searching is kind of a dark art, if you begin and end with Google you miss a lot.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 23, 2006 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks RD, I will definitely try some new methods. Can you recommend any databases or directories other than Yahoo (which you mentioned above)?

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 23, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

RD, I worked for Dow Jones for awhile and wrote an interface to their "text" database. It was pretty cool, they index a couple of hundred newspapers, magazines, etc. Nice boolean searches, you could really drill down. Very little of that was accesible via the 'net.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 23, 2006 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Aha, but I was trying to find JA's articles in my box of all NG on cd rom pre-2000, a whole different matter.

However, it would likely help if I did a search in the way you suggest RD, for all articles published in NG. It would likely get me there a whole lot faster.

Its not really that important. My goal on this lovely boxed set of CD's is to read every word of every issue ever writ. Its really a lifetime worth of reading.

Posted by: dr | March 23, 2006 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I experienced my first earthquake as a very small child in 1933- the Long Beach, California quake. It is also my first memory. Nobody blamed FDR for that quake but if we have one in the next two years we know very well who the Demos and the press will blame-a guy named Bush. Incidentally, I shed my liberal skin late in life. Bush is the first Republican I ever voted for. Boy, has the Democrat party changed. For the worse.

Posted by: mhr | March 23, 2006 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Hello, everyone. Haven't been able to pull up the WashPost on my computer until just now. Couldn't get other sites either, don't know what's going on with that.

As far as earthquakes are concerned, my first trip to LA, and I was so afraid of the plane ride, while I'm there the house starts to shake. The dishes are rattling, and everything feels as if it's moving. I'm thinking I would love to be on that plane right about now. The people there act as if this is an everyday occurance. I was so ready to leave that place. I didn't like it one bit. On the plane ride back to the East coast, a drunk on the plane tries to open the door. I don't know what they gave him, but when we reached our destination, he was out like a light. California, you can have it. Of course living where I'm living now, we're in just as much danger. I believe I'm living on a fault line. Our neighbors to the south experienced a small quake last year.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 23, 2006 8:14 PM | Report abuse

back to earthquake insurance in california - i live in san diego and i only pay $80/year with a $10,000 deductible. we don't have quite as many faults down here as they have in the bay area, but we get a 5.0 quake from time to time.

Posted by: lorgren | March 23, 2006 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I experienced some small temblors while living in L.A. , ca. 1979/80. The most interesting one woke me out of a dead sleep on the couch here in Chester about a year ago. The mirror was shaking on the wall as if the 1 o'clock freight train was passing through just up the street, train. The newscast the next morning confirmed a quake of about 3.5 or so centered somewhere in eastern Georgia. The newer dorms at my undergrad alma mater in Potsdam, NY had a cantilevered extension engineered on the top floor. The justification, through the campus grapevine, was that the towers would fall away from the quad in the event of an earthquake, since a fault line ran in the vicinity of Potsdam, and as noted this a.m. the St. Lawrence county region had experienced earthquakes in the past. Amazing amount of boodling yesterday...I am a registered independent. Almost pulled the lever for Gus Hall and Angela Davis in the '80 election out of frustration, but thought the better of it and cast a ballot for Anderson. Inform yourselves via the printed word and vote for those who best represent your interests, that have some semblance of a moral compass and that have a record of serving the better interests of the country in a broad sense (i.e.: environmental stewardship, world leadership by example, not as in the likes we've seen lately, taking adequate care to see that the least of all Americans are taken care of and taking care of everyone else without trying to spin it as if all were well...) Fewer of our elected representatives practice today democracy as it was intended; sometimes I long for a time warp that would place me and my family in the Shendandoah Valley, somewhere near Tanner's Ridge, about the time the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe discovered it.

Posted by: jack | March 23, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse


A day without the boodle is like a day without sunshine.

Good night, all.

Posted by: TBG | March 23, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

no, TBG, I just got here - don't go!

Have to boodle fast, and in backwards order. jack, I voted for John Anderson too. I was out here on the west coast, the results had already been announced by the time I went to the polls, so I figured, what the heck - give an independent a chance.

Have only been in a few earthquakes that I have felt - the last one a nearly 7.0 that shook the building I was in so much that I thought it would collapse. Pretty scary, but kind of exciting once you know you're ok and there wasn't much major damage. Oh, except to a highway through town, and a building I drove by every day that had a huge crack in it and was torn down later. As for earthquake insurance - I live high up on a hill, in a solid little house, so I'm chancing it...but I do have supplies stashed away...

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 23, 2006 10:39 PM | Report abuse

There is no doubt that I shall be shot for this:

Russ Weigel, head of Loomis Chaffee:

X Files FBI Assistnat Director Walter Skinner (actor Mitch Pileggi--a Texan, who would have thought it? And to learn that Joel formerly had David Duchovny as his next-door neighbor his freshman year? Too much.)

Certainly, someone must have made this look-alike, Doppelganger comparison before?

Posted by: Loomis | March 23, 2006 10:49 PM | Report abuse

When I was in LA I lived for a while on Flower St., near the Coliseum, right next to an exit ramp off the Harbor Frwy. Interesting to be white and living in the transition zone between Watts and downtown. There used to be a great taco stand across the street from the Coliseum, within a few blocks of work at the box factory on Broadway. Caught a Dead show at Pauley Pavilion that was among the best I saw...wonder what the ratio of republicans to dems. to independents was that night???

Posted by: jack | March 23, 2006 10:51 PM | Report abuse

mo, I have a friend who spends her vacation at the Seattle Independent Film Festival every year. She watches the Independent Spirit awards too - so please, name drop all you want - I'll be thrilled!

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 23, 2006 10:53 PM | Report abuse

David Broder wrote a fine column today about baseball. This is for jw:

Through some strange alchemy, the lack of hitting and complete absence of speed did not cripple the offense.

jw's mojo!

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 23, 2006 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Things got tetchy here yesterday (almost as if Joel were consciously inviting a Rovestorm. Almost). Anyway, I would like to note my own Pollyanna-ish view that we live in the best of all historical versions of the United States so far. We just need to try to elect officials who are worthy of their country and ready to help us become the even-better version of this country that we should be.

Not to be TOO Pollyanna-ish, though: it has long been my view that the singular beauty of the US Constitution is that it doesn't depend on electing men ... persons, of good will and vast ability to office. In fact, it rather assumes that there won't be a big stock of such persons, so instead it depends on pitting against each other persons of little talent, vast mendacity, and vaster ambition, so that their opposed villianies will cancel out and permit the approval into law of only those acts which the American people largely approve, because everyone's petty ambition points them in the same direction. The problem in recent history is that we have put all the power into the hands of just one party, a party with no tradition of internal dissent and argument, so that the natural balance has been abandoned. By golly, let's make sure to elect people who despise each other next time around!

Posted by: Tim | March 23, 2006 11:01 PM | Report abuse

My cat was absolutely no good as an earthquake predictor. He was as surprised as we were.

My kid moved to the Frisco area recently - one of my first thoughts was, oh no, they have BIG earthquakes there!

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 23, 2006 11:03 PM | Report abuse

do I hear a harumph for Tim? Well stated...

Posted by: jack | March 23, 2006 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I was going to say "Huzzah"!

Now, I must watch the figure skating finals.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 23, 2006 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I like the vision of the earthquake predicting bunnies..perhaps the creature of the cave of cair banor

Posted by: jack | March 23, 2006 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Tonight has a report that bloggers, using the vast search power of the Internet, are analyzing and comparing past work of the new Red America blogger, Ben Domenech, and have discovered several instances of plagiarism.

I see your late evening post. It's late here, too, but I just wanted to say that the most interesting aspect of Winona LaDuke's presentation this morning was her call not only for personal activism, but, more importantly, a complete paradigm shift in how we see problems/challenges and solutions.

She will not be teaming with Nader in '08, but spoke about the many ways she is putting her ideas to work locally in northwestern Minnesota. Her local issues are national issues.

Posted by: Loomis | March 23, 2006 11:31 PM | Report abuse

aspect was ----> aspects were

Posted by: Loomis | March 23, 2006 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see that Tim is back. Being called "Oh self-righteous one" and have your spouse drop in on the boodle all in the same day.

jack - I caught that reference. "Perhaps if we make so cross it will make a mistake"

LL: keep the updates coming on the Cannes adventure. You'll get there. Worst case: correspondent for the (what was it called - East Hooterville Spitoon?)

I'm still pretty new here. Did I mention how much more enjoyable the kaboodle is on non-Rovestorm days?

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 23, 2006 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Actually, bc, I was indeed involved in Project Excalibur, although it was top secret, so I can’t talk about it (in response to your post at 4:42 today, and SonofCarl’s original post at 2:59 p.m.). Ah, what the hell—it’s been nearly 200 years, I guess that stupid thing must be declassified by now. Anyway, if I tell you about it, what can they do? Throw me in jail?

This is going to be a long post, so boodlers may feel free to skim past it.

Anyway, first things first. The sonic disruptor was not powered by methane, as you conjectured (methane is much too smelly, for one thing) but by beer. Yes, but not your average European beer, but a 100-percent all-American (well, North American) 178-proof belly-ripping brainstopper that would cross your eyes and leave you with a headache the next morning the likes of which you just wouldn’t countenance. As you know, King George III (or G3 as we liked to call him) was mad as a hatter whose fez got shrunk in a Boston nor’easter. Well, it was G3’s idea one year to create a special technology task force to develop a special weapons division at Smedlington-‘pon-Tipsley, on the banks of the River Chortle. It was there that prototypes of the now-infamous sonic disruptor were designed and built. The first version, of course, was a wood-burning model, sort of a proof-of-concept thing, but of course was totally impractical, because you can hardly have a secret weapon that first requires several hundred stout yeoman to go out into the woods and chop down several hundred metric tonnes of firewood to power the damn thing. Takes too long and anyway the enemy would say, “By jove and yoicks, see that massive column of black smoke over yonder? The bloody enemy are firing up their sonic disruption weapon. I daresay we shall experience a surprise attack in another day or two.”

Well, you can’t have that now, can you?

So work continued. Steam was tried but with similar results. Candles? Zip. Toasted cheese? Actually counterproductive. Oil pressed from the glands of ferrets? Too smokey. Even methane was tested and rejected because if the wind was blowing from the wrong direction, the enemy would smell the sonic disruptor warming up. Finally, one day down at the pub, one of the discouraged engineers had a brainstorm (which was actually sitting in a tall mug in front of him): A nice room-temperature Watney’s ale. It’s potency would have to be dramatically increased, of course, but industrial chemists soon found ways to boost it to 178 proof by using special blends of brewers yeast and lengthening the fermentation period to three fortnights, a furlong, and two tuppences. Consequently, as you might imagine, man, did that stuff have a head on it. Wooo-eeee. It was like that urethane foam insulation they spray in your attic.

So the main source of fuel and power for the sonic disruptor was discovered and a new prototype was built. But where to test it? Obviously not in Smedlington-‘pon-Tipsley—why, such an infernal device would obliterate a good bit of the Cotswolds! The obvious solution was to pack up the thing in crates and ship it to Canada for final assembly and testing. A secret base was established near York (yes, now Toronto, as you point out), called Area XXXXVVI (the king always wanted everything spelled out for him the long way, and wouldn’t abide abbreviating it down to the much more reader-friendly version, Area LI).

Now, at this time I was a stringer for a couple of papers, the Liverpool Lackey back in England, and its North American “zone” edition, the Saskatoon Grit-Picayune, covering the Great Lakes region, St. Lawrence canal, Northwest Territory, etc. A few years earlier, I had even interviewed Clark of Lewis and Clark fame. Lewis wouldn’t come out of his tent, and claimed to be suffering from ill humours. There was a lot of moaning sounds coming from his tent, and Sacagawea (I use the old proper spelling of her name, not Sacajawea that Dye and Biddle screwed up, those clowns) was in there with him apparently trying to ease the pain. He must have had quite a fever, because I distinctly heard him beg her to “prime his powderhorn.” I figured it was the delirium speaking. The next morning he was remarkably recovered, though, and even had a kind of spring in his step. (You see how I was a keen observer of the human scene back then.) They set out in their canoes down the river headed west in search of the Pacific, and I made a prophetic note in my reporter’s notebook I can remember to this day” “Boy, guess we’ll never see THOSE guys again.”

But I digress. Neither the Lackey nor the Pick-a-tune (as we affectionately nicknamed the ol’ Grit-Picayune) paid worth a farthing, typical rags that they were, so I was augmenting my income as I traveled around the region by selling firewater to the Indians (hey, don’t give me that look; a man’s gotta make a living, and everyone knows journalists are moral scum). I was getting close to deadline and was worried about filing some sort of story. (Due to the slow speed of communication back then, shipping my parchment scribblings down the St. Lawrence and then across the Atlantic to Liverpool took so long that my deadline was “autumn.” File your story even one day after the first frost, and you missed the deadline and had to face an angry editor as well as the snickering of your colleagues, who had filed THEIR stuff no later than late harvest, the suck-ups.)

So there I was, thrashing through the wilderness, when I came upon Area XXXXVVI and the top secret testing facility where the sonic disruptor had just been completed. The place was surrounded by a tall split-rail fence that was electrified by Leyden jars every couple dozen feet. Fortunately, I managed to climb through the split-rail fence without getting electrocuted. When I got to the test facility, there was the sonic disruptor being loaded onto a giant sled so it could be dragged down a plank road that led in a southerly direction into the primeval forest. I had my press pass stuck in the band of my coonskin cap, of course, and after showing the British soldiers and engineers my press credentials, they told me they were shipping the sonic disruptor off for its first field test. I begged and pleaded to be allowed to come along on the expedition, and they reluctantly agreed to "embed" me, only because my deadline was autumn, and there wasn’t much chance my story would hit the streets—well, the footpaths—before the test. So there I was, embedded with a British Army unit in one of the greatest scientific endeavors of the age.

It turns out the British were a bit skeptical about how the sonic disruptor was going to work, so they came up with a scheme to deliver the weapon to a tribe of Shawnee Indians down in Indiana, led by a chief named Tecumseh. Yes, that Tecumseh. The British thinking was, best case scenario, the weapon works and Tecumseh and his folks defeat the Americans. Worst case scenario, the weapon backfires in some way or malfunctions, blowing up and killing a bunch of Indians and one embedded pesky ink-stained wretch from the fourth estate—moi. Meanwhile, the British soldiers and engineers are a hundred miles away, out of harm’s way.

So the British turned the sonic disruptor over to Tecumseh and his people, and beat a hasty retreat back to Canada, all as SonofCarl said. The Indians were initially pretty skeptical of me, but then I showed them a secret about the sonic disruptor. You may remember I said it was powered by a souped-up version of British dark beer, about 10,000 gallons of it. Well, it was darned hard work dragging that thing through the wilderness back home to the banks of the Wabash, and I had burned through my per diem long ago, so I started selling some of that beer to the Indians. Every couple of hours we stop for a rest, and I’d open up the tap, we’d all have a couple of snorts, fall asleep, wake up with awful pounding migraines, and proceed on our not-so-merry way. The good news was, every time we stopped to drain off some lager, the sonic disruptor got lighter in weight and was that much easier to drag. And Tecumseh had him a medicine man who had interned in pharmacology at Johns Hopkins. Aspirin hadn’t yet been invented, but the medicine man, a skillful hunter named Tom-Tom Sun, had found a way to use roots and barks to make an early form of acetaminophen. When hunter Tom-Tom Sun mixed the acetaminophen with a couple drops of laudanum (which was basically opium dissolved in alcohol), he had a pretty powerful headache medicine that would not only kill the migraine but give you a pretty good buzz, if not put you into a sound sleep. I gotta say, that hunter, Tom-Tom Sun, was one conscientious medicine man. He tested that formula every which way—injected it, smoked in a peace pipe, drank it, made pills out of it, stuffed it up his nose; he even made a bong out of piece of pipe from the sonic disruptor. You name it, hunter Tom-Tom Sun experimented with his special headache medicine until he got it dead right. And he didn’t just test it on his fellow Indians; no sir, he tested it on himself, repeatedly, by drinking more sonic disruptor beer than anybody else, and then taking large quantities of his elixir until he turned himself into a zombie. That was one dedicated medicine man.

Well, there came a day as we neared Prophetstown, Indiana, that our advance scouts reported the approach of the American force, led by Gen. William Henry Harrison, who was governor of the Indiana Territory. (Little-known fact: It was Harrison who coined the phrase, “Hey, baby, Hoosier daddy?”) This was in early November, and it was getting pretty cold; Tecumseh himself had gone far to the south, ostensibly to recruit more Indians to his Indian confederation, but I was skeptical, since he always seemed to spend the winter trying to talk the Miami Indians into coming north, returning every year empty-handed after Spring Break.

The night before the battle, the Shawnees were pretty hepped up about the coming fight. I opened up the taps that night to help them ward off the cold, and I guess we overdid things. That night around the Shawnee campfires, it was like the toga scene from Animal House. I mean we all got blasted. Blitzed. Blotto. During the long march down from York we had pretty much drained most of the beer from the sonic disruptor, and what little was left by the time we got to the Tippecanoe River we polished off that evening. The next morning, the Shawnees were one hung-over bunch of sad-sack Indians; I confess I was considerably under the weather myself. There was a small snowfall during the pre-dawn hours, and the sound of those snowflakes crashing into the earth was positively deafening. Hunter Tom-Tom Sun handed out copious amount of his laudanum-laced acetaminophen, but it was too little too late. You all know what happened next.

Harrison and his troops attacked and utterly defeated the Shawnees at what history now calls the Battle of Tippecanoe. We’ll never know how that battle might have gone had the Indians not been so drunk, or hung over, or stoned out of their minds on hunter Tom-Tom Sun’s medicine. Tecumseh’s war against the Americans continued on, of course, and melded into the War of 1812, which began the next year. And Harrison, now a war hero, when on to become president of the United States using the famous battlecry from that cold, miserable day in November, 1811: “Tippecanoe and Tylenol II.”


I never did tell you the secret of how the sonic disruptor worked—or was supposed to work. As SonofCarl noted in his post, the sonic disruptor was supposed to unleash a giant earthquake, which would unhinge the enemy and unseat him from his horse, if he happened to be riding one at the time. The ground would shake, trees would topple, chasms in the earth would open up, and so on.

Here’s how the disruptor really was designed to work. Next to the huge wrought-iron tank that held the beer was a giant bladder made out of stomach lining from sheep raised in the Orkney Isles of Scotland; think of it as a giant bagpipe device, or perhaps an exploding haggis (not a pretty picture, I know, but then, war isn’t pretty). At the critical moment the weapon was supposed to be fired, a small container of enzymes and chemicals was to be plunged into the tank of high-test, high-octane brewski. You all know what the byproduct of drinking a lot of beer is. Yes, let us not hesitate from saying it; we’re all adults here. Flatulence. The sonic disruptor operated by creating a dense cloud of beer flatulence so strong, so powerful, that its sudden release would make the earth shake and blow snowy owls from treetops a thousand yards away from ground zero. But in order to do this you had to collect the beer flatulence in the giant bladder until it reached critical mass and achieved internal nuclear fission. The sound wave and subsequent shock wave of the sonic disruptor were calculated to leave a crater 400 yards wide, 60 feet deep, and set off an earthquake of approximately 9.3 on the Richter scale if only the Richter scale had been invented, which at that time it wasn’t. And of course the sound would obliterate your eardrums, hence the weapon’s name.

On the afternoon of the battle, with victory already assured, Harrison and his troops seized the sonic disruptor. They knew not how close they had come to flatulent annihilation themselves. I myself missed the battle, since sometime during the night I had apparently crawled off into the bushes and woke up about two in the afternoon with a screamer in my head so bad that I could only open one eye all that day and into the evening. And as a war correspondent I was quite neutral in how the battle was fought, but for some reason Harrison and his men thought I was some kind of hero for “tricking” the Shawnee into drinking the sonic disruptor’s fuel supply. So hell, I played along. Thus is history written—and distorted, and legends made.

And again as SonofCarl noted, American troops dragged the sonic disruptor back to York, and intended to use it to scare the town into surrender. However, there was a problem. Over the course of time, the giant flatulence containment device—the sheep stomach bladder—had suffered greatly from gunshots and arrow strikes during the battle of Tippecanoe, and was in bad condition. As the Americans attempted to fire up the weapon, instead of containing the beer flatulence the giant bladder began to leak, setting fire to the city of York. The rest, as they say, is history. The British retaliated by sailing up the Chesapeake and attacking and burning Washington, D.C., and then Baltimore, where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star-Spangled Banner.

What is less well-known is what happened to the sonic disruptor after the sacking of York, Canada. American troops dragged what was left of the device—mainly its huge and heavy beer vat tank—back to the United States. They attempted to repair the giant bladder, and having no access to the special breed of Scottish sheep searched for a new kind of animal stomach lining with which to make a new bladder. Curiously and ironically, it was an Indian who suggested what became the solution. He said he knew of a tribe of Indians in the American Southwest who raised a special kind of goat whose stomach was so tough that it might do nicely as a material for the bladder. So the Americans sent an expedition into what is now New Mexico, and negotiated with the Hopi Indians to obtain several thousand head of their special mountain goats, with which to sew together a new containment bladder. This they did, and attached it to the sonic disruptor main tank. Transportation being such a problem, they decided to put the weapon on a riverboat and send it down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and then by clipper ship to Washington. (I last saw it as the riverboat departed, and I went back north to file my story. Oh fateful decision, that!). And you all know what happened next, but may not know the "why." During the voyage down the Mississippi, the sonic disruptor (which had been refilled with beer mixed with an especially potent blend of American-made moonshine) was constantly jostled by small wakes and waves on the river, and accidentally began to activate itself. The giant bladder began to fill with deadly beer and moonshine flatulence as the crew struggled in vain to figure out how to shut down the runaway reactor. A few miles north of New Madrid, Missouri, the giant Hopi cushion went critical and detonated. The result was the New Madrid earthquake, which scientists have retrospectively estimated to have been about 8.0 on the Richter Scale. The detonation and earthquake were so strong that the Mississippi temporarily reversed its course, and church bells in Boston rang due to the shock wave. The date was Feb. 7, 1812.

So that, bc and SonofCarl, is the never-before told story of the sonic disruptor and the New Madrid Earthquake. And I was there (well, not for the earthquake part).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 12:45 AM | Report abuse

what a great post.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 24, 2006 1:57 AM | Report abuse

A few earthquakes I remember

Bakersfield in early 50s led to the San Joaquin Valley cotton growers putting in sprinklers because the flood irrigation stopped working with all the new undulations in the land surface. They saved a lot of water as a result.

In maybe 1976 I lived two blocks from the beach in Coogee, Sydney, Australia and was "up all night" with some chemical assistance, when a quake came at about 5.30 am. The building briefly changed from solid masonry into a pile of individual bricks, and a wave passed through it (you could have ridden a skateboard down the hallway), and then settled back into a block of flats again. When the sun came up I walked to the beach, and saw it was wet nearly up to the wall, about 100 yards from the water's edge -- there had been a small tsunami. That was a magnitude 5 or so, as I recall, somewhere offshore.

Northridge quake came on the morning of daughter's 6th birthday party. We had the party anyway, and electricity came back on midway, as it gave the neighbor kids something to do while their parents were busy sweeping up the broken glass. They were able to come directly, going over the toppled block walls, without having to walk around the block. I happened to be awake at the time of the quake, and heard it coming -- an incredibly low pitched crescendo for about 15 seconds, followed by a BANG and the ground moving to the south, leaving many objects tipped over to the north, followed by a minute or so of the world as trampoline. When I asked daughter if she was okay, she said yes, and wasn't that fun. My first instinct was to contact her, so by the time I found a flashlight and had a look, I couldn't tell which way the water was sloshing in the toilet -- it had stopped. But the physical evidence of how large objects had moved made it clear which way the motion was.

Posted by: jg | March 24, 2006 2:16 AM | Report abuse

Bravo, 'Mudge, bravo! You've even surpassed your posting on 15-century Spain!

Posted by: slyness | March 24, 2006 7:34 AM | Report abuse

SonOfCarl: Anyone who seriously wants to uncover the depth of knowledge contained in the Internet should spend a few hours browsing the Yahoo Directory. It's like browsing in a library, sometimes you find the best books by looking for what is shelved together. Then check out some of the more specialized search tool sites I have listed below. They are fun. Better yet, find a nice librarian to help you. I flirt shamelessly with one of ours, and in return she gives me access to an amazing premium tool called LexisNexis. It's a twisted relationship, but it works.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the *great* report, Mudge.

When I wrote at 4:22 PM asking you what you knew about the sonic disruptor, I thought my references to methane and the Blue Flame Club would have let you know I knew a little bit about how it worked. Didn't know that they were sheep-based farts specifically, but I knew that flatulentce-sourced methane injection was involved somewhere.

It's a good thing that this sonic disruptor never caught on (anything other than fire). Poor Jared Diamond would have had to write a book called "Guns, Germs, and Farts"


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 8:30 AM | Report abuse

RD, your son might have online access to LexisNexis at home through his school's media center (which we used to call a "library"). I know mine does.

Posted by: TBG | March 24, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Thanks TBG - I'll check tonight.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse

The most viewed article on the site this morning is Howard Kurtz's synopsis of the RedAmerica blog:

Some very industrious, if that is the word for it, bloggers are searching Dan's written records back to his second grade report on photosynthesis for excessive reliance on the World Book Illustrated.

Since he was home-schooled, his **Permanant Record** may be a little thin on disciplinary action for dipping pigtails into inkwells. Good luck to them.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Just saw this on

"Based on your online lookups, the #1 Word of the Year for 2005 was:

1. integrity

Pronunciation: in-'te-gr&-tE
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English integrite, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French integrité, from Latin integritat-, integritas, from integr-, integer entire
1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY
2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS
synonym see HONESTY

Runners-up for Word of the Year were:
2. refugee
3. contempt
4. filibuster
5. insipid
6. tsunami
7. pandemic
8. conclave
9. levee
10. inept

Posted by: jw | March 24, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I imagine the reason a word makes the word of the year list is because it's a word that (1) is being used a lot and (2) people in general do not know what it means.

Integrity. Yep, makes sense.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 24, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci, glad you make it home okay. I got caught in an electrical storm while taking a walk (toting no. 1 g-girl around the neighborhood in a Red Flyer metal wagon). "Hold on tight!" I hollered, heading for home at breakneck speed while she clapped her hands and hollered "Faster Nani faster!"




The Festival de Cannes (Cannes Film Festival) is exclusively reserved to film industry professionals.

You need not request accreditation from the Festival if you make a request to the Marché du film (Film Market). The Marché du film (Film Market) badge also allows access to the Festival and its screenings.


Festival accreditation is required to gain access to the Palais des Festivals and the Marché du Film (Film Market).
This accreditation enables one to attend screenings according to the conditions set out in the practical information file which can be printed out on-line once your request has been validated.


The deadline for professional accreditation applications is April 22, 2006.
Any accreditation requests received after this date will be subject to severe restrictions: they will only be delivered on an highly exceptional basis upon presentation of supporting professional documents, and will be billed administrative handling costs.


Accreditation requests must be made on-line and will be examined by the competent body as determined by your business activity sector. The accrediting office you belong to sets its own registration criteria, so be sure to study them carefully.

Important: each office can only grant a limited number of accreditations.

Because the Festival de Cannes (Cannes Film Festival) is exclusively reserved to film industry professionals, if you do not belong to one of the below-listed categories, your request will not be taken into consideration.

Civil service, embassies
Artistic Agent
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Writer, director, composer
Lawyer, jurist
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For further information, please contact the Accreditations Department.

Festival de Cannes
Service des Accréditations
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Tél. : +33 (0)1 53 59 61 19 / Fax : +33 (0)1 53 59 61 17
Email :

Cannes Market, Producers Network, Short Film Corner -
Accreditations Dept.
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Tel : +33 (0)1 53 59 61 30 / Fax : +33 (0)1 53 59 61 50
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Festival de Cannes - Press Dept.
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Tel : +33 (0)1 53 59 61 85/ Fax : +33 (0)1 53 59 61 84
Email :

Posted by: Nani | March 24, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Ha, Nani, I can picture that wagon scene. I used to go to the laundromat with my little one when she was about 4. We would pull the wagon with the clothes in it, and by the time we were coming home, she would be tired and would sometimes ride back on top of the clothes. Fond memories--although I never liked laundromats, I did like spending time with my daughter.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 24, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, your story of the New Madrid earthquake is almost believeable, though it breaks my heart to hear of beer being used as a weapon. To think we humans could sink so low...

Nani, your story about g-girl's wagon ride was great. Can I get into Cannes if I'm a "best boy?"

Posted by: CowTown | March 24, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I've experienced two earthquakes in my life. One was as a child in of all places Lawrence Township, IN. The other was on vacation in SF August 17, 1999. This was a 5.0 magnitude quake 30 miles away in Bolinas. It barely shook anything at all and actually put a smile my face because I realized I could now say I survived a CALIFORNIA earthquake. Ha-ha. But what really got me thinking is it was a five minute window where I got off one bus and onto another. If the quake had occurred just three minutes earlier or later I probably wouldn't have felt it at all.

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Isn't the internet GREAT:

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 9:49 AM | Report abuse

When, not if but WHEN you get round to writing a book Mudge, you could call it A Curmudgeon's Adventures in Time, or maybe A Curmudgeons History of the World.

You are writing yourself into a class occupied by few but Patrick F. Mcmanus comes to mind.

Posted by: dr | March 24, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Achenbach's not the only science writer around here, ya know. (But in all candor, has anyone noticed he has this rather compulsive need to stick pretty close to facts, truth, and reality-based reporting? I like to think my oeuvre has a more subtle, more nuanced, more textured disposition and arrangement of postmodernist narrative structure. Plus I like flatulence jokes.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Here's an observation: has anyone else noticed that when this blog repeats a word, it is ALWAYS the last word on the first line, and never any place else in the text? Perhaps that's a clue for Hal the Schemer and his minions if they ever get around to repairing the stuttering problem. What an age we live in--the Internet has a speech impediment.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"Time Bandits" and "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" would *not* make good title's for 'Mudge's book.

Gotta say, I *would* pay full price for such a book.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Also, the repeated word doesn't occur if you use netscape.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I noticed that problem and reported it to the Big WaPo eMail in the Sky.

Dunno if anything came of it.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

TBG - You are right about NexisLexis. I checked the homepage and I think my son already has the correct paswords through Blackboard. Go Cavaliers!

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Is there such a thing as a "fault line" when talking about earthquakes? So much to know, so little time to get it.

Mudge, that post was toooooooooooooooo long for me to read. Yet I can imagine it is some of your best work.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 24, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Forgot to tell everyone to have a good weekend, and get some rest. Give God some of your time, through Christ. Kiss your wife, and your children, and be thankful for all blessings. Have the best weekend yet!

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 24, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The strangest thing happened this morning when I got into work: Tune cootie. I watched "Walk the Line" the other night and now can't get that song out of my head. The strange part is that it's Shelby Lynne who's singing it...

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Ha-ha: tune cootie cootie indeed...

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, a "fault line" is the line between two sections of the ground that move in opposite directions during an earthquake. San Francisco is built right on top of a doozy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

omni, do you happen to know what year that earthquake was in Indiana? I grew up just outside Indianapolis (NE of city). There was one morning that my father was veery angry with me for banging on the walls or some such and waking him up at something like 5 or 6 in the morning. Except I had been asleep. It was an earthquake. I was about 5 at the time, I think, so it would have beeen around 1967.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 24, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Padouk for taking the time to answer my question. Doesn't sound good for San Francisco. I live about two hundred miles from the Atlantic in what is called the foothills of North Carolina. There is a line that runs through my county, but I'm not sure what it is called. Going to have to do some research, any idea where to begin?

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 24, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Mudge's book "Sonic Disruptor and the New Madrid Earthquake would make a great epic film. Envision Mudge as the narrator (like Martin Sheen in Appocalypse Now), Billy Bob starring as Mudge, Graham Greene as Tecumseh. The producer will probably insist on a love angle (just to get some sex thrown in) so Mudge will need to create a female character; I suggest Sacheen Littlefeather. Weren't there any horses in this adventure Mudge? If so, I volunteer to take care of them. CowTown can be "best boy". K'guy might agree to direct.

Posted by: Nani | March 24, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I think it would have been 1969-70. I'm really not sure but I think I was around 7 or 8. But this was dinner time, say 5:30 or so. We didn't really feel anything it was that weak, but a couple of decorative dishes hanging on the wall rattled.

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Not to break the train of thought or anything, but I am shocked, appalled, amazed, flabbergasted, and almost completely unhuinged that Charles Krauthammer--yes, Charles Krauthammer, I swear I am not making this up--has something intelligent to say about Iraq.

Surely this is a sign of the apocalypse.

And no, I didn't call you Shirley.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

And in '67 I was no where near IN, I was at that time living in PA.

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Ha-ha, I have no idea why, but my last post is totally cracking me up...

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"Billy Bob starring as Mudge"


Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I was in the LA Airport during the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake. I was on the phone with a friend at home when I heard a sound like heavy contruction, or the Rip Van Winkle dwarves bowling in the roof. I said "hey, if I drop the phone it's because I'm running from an earthquake". He said "Do other people in the area notice anything or did you just have a wild night?"

By then I saw the signs swaying and everyone was stopped in their tracks. I said "No, it seems to be noticed by everyone. Bye!"

Nothing fell on our heads. I had breakfast with my girlfriend and we boarded the plane. All the time I kept thinking "oh jeez, aren't there aftershocks? What happens if one hits while we're barreling down the runway at 240mph?" I never heard more applause when the plane got off the ground. A little later that captain came on the PA and told us the extent of the damage so we knew it had been a big one.

I think I ordered 3 double Bloody Mary's, and the stewardess didn't even blink.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Time now for the famous late-in-the-'Boodle daily offering from Andy Borowitz ...


Questions on Medicare, Iraq Fielded From Bangalore

President George W. Bush announced today that he would no longer preside over so-called town
hall meetings across the United States and that those duties would now be outsourced to a
"presidential customer service representative" stationed in Bangalore, India.

The controversial decision to outsource town hall meetings to India was not motivated by the
increasingly acrimonious tone of citizens' questions in recent weeks, the president said.

"This move is designed to free up my time for other duties, such as wiretapping the American
people at random," Mr. Bush said.

At a town hall meeting today in Dayton, Ohio, attendees were surprised to be greeted not by the
president but instead by a speakerbox onstage leading them through a series of automated

"Say '1' if you want to ask about the economy, say '2' if you want to ask about the war on
terror, and say '3' if you want to ask about the prescription drug plan," the speakerbox said.

The town hall meeting was then conducted by a disembodied voice who identified himself only as
"Rajiv" and attempted to answer the audience's questions on a host of issues.

CNN's Lou Dobbs, usually an outspoken critic of outsourcing, said that the president's decision
to outsource town hall meetings to India was a rare case when outsourcing works: "For one thing,
Rajiv's English is better than his."

Elsewhere, a prison guard who used a snarling dog to intimidate prisoners at Abu Ghraib was
given a six month sentence, and the snarling dog has been transferred to work for White House
press spokesman Scott McClellan.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 24, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"For one thing,
Rajiv's English is better than his."

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

This morning
Mistuh Kurz he said
That Ben called Rall
a steaming bag of pus.
Boss Brady he said Hey,
We providin voices from as many perspectives as possible
That Joel he said: I'm not goin in those shark-invested waters. That Joel he's got education up to heah

It's like I said the other day
Ben's 24, his Dad is liaison for Bush, that's it
That's why they print his pompous ,
Or like Ben told Mistuh Kurtz this morning, "confidentially,
I fart with Bush on a whole host of issues".

Posted by: kindly old mister badger | March 24, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you may be interested in this.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Back on New Madrid, it is frankly a miracle that the true story, brought out yesterday by myself and expanded in great detail by Curmudgeon, has remained a secret this long.

Such events are hard to keep secret, and participation in the whole affair is part of the regimental histories of several regiments of the Royal Army.

One of the participating units was the Meigh-on-Toppe Fusiliers (later the 78th Regiment of Foot under the Cardigan Reforms, and whose history and honours are perpetuated by the Queen's Over the Borderline Regiment.

ANYWAY, most Americans will know the tune to the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Some will know that this was an adaptation of "John Brown's Body". Very few will know that this was in turn an adaptation of a Methodist hymn, "Oh God, Thou Art So Big". This hymn was a 17th C conversion of a popular drinking song which was also converted to a song popular in the Meigh-on-Toppe Fusiliers commemorating their participation in Project Excalibur. The song is as follow:

"From England fair King George sent forth a most peculiar gun;
Our fav’rite grog was the source of how this gun was run;
But the Fates would hold that Excalibur was lost before begun;
This fart could not be stopped.
Glory! Glory! What a terrible waste of beer!
Glory! Glory! What a terrible waste of beer.

Our entire store o’grog was into this contraption cast;
The Sergeant-Major said “look out, she’s surely ‘bout to blast”
Excalibur let loose a fart like the Colonel's daughter has in past;
This fart could not be stopped.
Glory! Glory! What a terrible waste of beer!
Glory! Glory! What a terrible waste of beer!"

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 24, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Everybody must check out this site. Really. I will accept no excuses.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

O SonofCarl! I am awash with tears of nostalgia, hearing once again our old marching song!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Got it, thanks again, RD

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 24, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra - from the usgs website.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

There's an article in today's paper about the guy who has the Red America blog. His resume is really, really thin. I don't think I'm missing anything by not reading it.

Posted by: pj | March 24, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

See Cassandra, it isn't that the Government isn't responsive, you just have to know the right people....

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I remember watching the news later that eveining in SF after the EQ in Bolinas, and they were showing a special report (a rerun actually) about the repairs to City Hall after an earthquake caused damage. It is currently the largest base-isolated structure in the world. I got to see the largest shock absorbers I've ever seen. I mean these things were huge.

And that is a cool site RD.

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I know I'm on the wrong side of this issue, but taking the contrarian view, I couldn't be happier that Domenech has made a total fool of himself, and has gotten so much exposure for it. Calling Coretta Scott King a "communist," just about the most reprehensible thing I have heard in a couple of decades, is just about the best thing that could happen to these people. The more these Limbaugh wannabes go over the top, the better, say I.

Yes, once upon a time, people used to buy into this wingnut crap. But the more people like Jeff Gannon/James Guckert, and Domenech, and Ann Coulter get exposure, the more people get to see what idiots they are. I say we owe WaPo a vote of thanks (seriously--I'm not being sarcastic about this).

Let this guy fulminate. I figure the good guys pick up a hundred votes every time he opens his mouth.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Check this out as well re: red blogger (er whatever the heck it's called):

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Great site RD. I had no idea that earthquakes were as common as the stats indicate.

Also, thanks for your post at 7:48.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 24, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Ben needs a soundtrack.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 24, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Bayou Self:
First song on that soundtrack: "Highway to Hell".


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

That site was pretty devastating, omni. But Domenech didn't "plagarize"; he merely outsourced his thinking to people who could do it better and cheaper. (OK, now I AM being sarcastic. This kid's toast. Bring on the next one!)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

mostlylurking - this one might interest you.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Quick, guys, we need to start a death pool. I figure Domenech resigns to "spend more time with his family" and/or "pursue other avenues of interest" before 4 p.m. today. Who wants 3 p.m.? Who wants 6 o'clock? This could be better than the Sweet 16 brackets!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Interesting piece on dealing with Moonquakes.

Interesting to consider the origin of quakes on bodies less active than the Earth, particularly when you're trying to set up Moonbase Alpha.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

We get cool stuff about foundations in here all the time. The articles about earthquake proofing is interesting even to my very nonscientific-self. Of course you have to learn to read around the technical jargon, and to do that efficiently I need and interpreter, which is where a guy like JA comes in darn handy.

Posted by: dr | March 24, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Maybe some Milli Vanilli?

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 24, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

>particularly when you're trying to set up Moonbase Alpha.

bc, don't forget SHADO! (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defense Organization?)

They've been there since '67 I think. All I can say is if you want people to volunteer for those missions just issue the old SHADO moonbase costumes. And don't forget the purple hair.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The Red blogger may want to grow a beard and hide for a while.

Posted by: dr | March 24, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Easy there, Error Flynn as Commander Straker.

SHADO's Moonbase was not called Alpha.

You got the wrong cheesy ITV series with an American actor in the lead role. One possessing an Oscar, IIRC.


PS My theme song for today "Highway to Dorksville". Where's Scotty and yellojkt to join us so we have four Dorkateers?

*sigh* Off to lunch now.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

RD, cool earthquake stuff--thanks. You're not too busy at work today, eh?

Oh... and I was a Cavalier.

Posted by: TBG | March 24, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The reply is coming from Paris:

Dear Madam,

We thank you for your interest in the 59th Festival de Cannes and are sorry to inform you that we cannot process your request for registration as this event is reserved to professionals of the film industry only.

We thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Pauline Ducoulombier

Assistante, Service des Accréditations / Registration Department Assistant

Festival de Cannes
3 rue Amélie
75007 PARIS

Posted by: Loomis | March 24, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

To which I replied:

(Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, ed., Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore , Md., 2004. Assistance provided by Robert Sewell, genealogist, of Canada, late December, 2004.)

Eleonore of Aquitane/Henry II of England (p. 3)
John of England/Isabel of Angouleme (p. 9)
Henry of England/Eleanor of Provence (p. 13)
Edward I of England/Eleanor of Castile-Leon (p. 16)
Edward II of England/Isabella of France (p. 21)
Edward III of England/Phillipe of Hainault (p. 23)
John of Gaunt, Duke of Aquitaine/Katherine de Roet (p. 28)
Joan Beaufort/Robert Ferrers (p. 77)
Elizabeth Ferrers/John Greystoke (p. 135)
Eleanor Greystoke/Ralph Eure (p. 363)

(Eure line, pp. 295-8)
William Eure/Margaret Constable
Ralph Eure/Muriel Hastings
William Eure/Elizabeth Willoughby
Ralph Eure/Margery Bowes
Anne Eure/Lancelot Mansfield
John Mansfield/ m. 2nd Elizabeth ?
Elizabeth Mansfield/Rev. John Wilson (p. 2 below)

(The Rawson Family: A Revised Memoir of Edward Rawson, Secretary of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, from 1650 to 1686; with Genealogical Notices of His Descendants, Including Nine Generations, by E.B. Crane, Worcester, Published by the Family, 1875. Book within the Connecticut Historical Society; assistance provided by staff genealogist Judith Ellen Johnson, May 2004.)

Rev. John Wilson Jr./Sarah Hooker (John Langdon Sibley's Harvard Graduates, Vol. I, 1642-1658, Cambridge, Charles William Sever, University Bookstore, 1873, p. 66. assistance provided by Barbara S. Meloni, Harvard Reference Archivist, November 2004.)

Susanna Wilson/Rev. Grindal Rawson (p. 7)
Edmund Rawson/Elizabeth Howard (granddaughter of Experience Mitchell, settled Plymouth in 1623) (p. 17)
Nathan Rawson/Mary Chase (p. 36)
Edward Rawson/Lucy Jones (p. 37)
Hannah J. Rawson/Benona B. Rogers (p. 72)

The Loomis Family in America (originally published in 1875 by Elias Loomis, L.L.D.; revised in 1908 by Elisha Loomis, Ph.D.; reprinted in 1981 by John E. Loomis. Available from the Loomis Chaffee School bookstore, purchased in the spring, 2003.)
( p. 370)
Emeline C. Rogers/Thomas Benton Loomis
Benton Benoni Loomis/Jenny Freiwald
(personal knowledge)
Merwin Benton Loomis/Lillian Swanson
Linda Loomis/Bill Barton

Posted by: Loomis | March 24, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

If you would like to watch my home slide into the Pacific without having to look at the rest of the US:

Posted by: nellie | March 24, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Why is there Mr. RD Padouk who is writing more and longer posts than Loomis?

ousckaputfuchedup, man?

Posted by: Karbala | March 24, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

TBG - I am multitasking. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry Karbala, I was just trying to share a little interesting information on the topic of the day. I didn't mean to offend.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

>SHADO's Moonbase was not called Alpha.

bc, surely you don't think I'd break security and give the actual name? They were both Gerry and Sylvia Anderson shows though. I have the whole UFO series with SHADO on DVD.

I will also admit to owning the entire "Thunderbirds" Super-Marionation series.

Must've been imprinted on my brain at an early age.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Ha, Error.
I don't have any of that stuff myself, but I'm more than a little familiar with the Andersons' work (and the outfits, and the purple hair). I gave the T-birds movie last year (?), a pass. Better with the marionettes, if you ask me.

My mom bought me the entire second season of Star Trek on DVD, I've managed to watch most of them.

And all that crap *was* indeed imprinted on our brains at early ages.

PS I always thought the cars that Straker drove were friggin' gorgeous, particularly that rust-colored beauty (if that was his).

Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

A shout out to Loomis:

Don't give up, lady!


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

>PS I always thought the cars that Straker drove were friggin' gorgeous, particularly that rust-colored beauty (if that was his).

Yeah, I know what you mean. Sounded like some kind of serious turbo/supercharger action in there, they made a geat noise. After watching the series again I had to wonder how hard it would be to replicate one of those things.

I saw a Speed TV show last night (with Dennis ???) and they had one guy who had fashioned a 55 Chevy body around a Lincoln Mark VIII! If he could pull that off it must be do-able.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

If you guys are on the highway to dorksville, so am I . I always thought those haircuts were cool.

Posted by: dr | March 24, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse


If I remember correctly, I think Wilbrod was a Cavalier, too, at one time.

Posted by: TBG | March 24, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Heeeere, kitty, kitty, kitty.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 24, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused -- was the friggin' gorgeous car on UFO, Thunderbirds, or Space 1999?

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 24, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, Mudge. You won the death pool.

Posted by: pj | March 24, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

hahaha tim

Posted by: mo | March 24, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Error, I think those cars were supposed to be turbines. Reproducing one is totally doable if you have the $ and the right people to help you out.

I helped a guy put a Corvette front end (including the SBC) and a Mustang rear under a Honda CRX.

I'm working on a couple of tubeframe cars right now. One will have a 46 year old British sportscar body over a new modern chassis, suspension, and drivetrain.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

oh dear - someone opened the dreaded box of car talk - i can smell the testosterone from here!

Posted by: mo | March 24, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

And so, Ben "Skeet" Domenech is gone.

"Pull!" Fwing! Boom! Splink!

Load up the next one, and ... pull!

Posted by: Tim | March 24, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Turn out the lights. The party's over.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 24, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

The cool car was on UFO - set in the futuristic year of 1985.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

>And so, Ben "Skeet" Domenech is gone.

Good grief, that was fast!

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow! A week may be an eternity in politics, but in the blogosphere eternities are measured in days.

I was starting to think the guy was being Swift-boated, but the links were very compelling.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 24, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Nice pull, pj.

'Mudge called the shot.

Well done, sir.
We salute you. FIRE!

Wave bye-bye to Mr. Domensch as he disappears into the Red Mist...

Tim, aside from making me snort with the 1:46 PM comment, here's a pic I googled up of Straker's car.

OK, by 1970 standards, I thought it was gorgeous; kinda like the Alfa/Bertona BAT show cars of the 50's...


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Poor boy probably wanted to spend more time with his family.

Tim and mo, loved your 1:54 and 1:55.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

You know, Ben's blog reeked of plagiarism: he was just repeating the "company line" and never had anything of his own to say, anyway.

And wow.. since 1:36 that post on the has generated 152 comments. I'm beginning to think we've got some competition here. C'mon boodlers, we can do better!

Posted by: TBG | March 24, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I want to submit this for a ruling by Tom Fan:

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations.

My dictionary gives the transitive verb "surface" meaning "to form the surface of, as by smoothing or leveling; to give a surface to" while the intransitive form means "to rise to the surface, to emerge after concealment."

I think this is a case of promiscuous verbification. Hey, I can make up my own words, since I'm not an EDITOR at a MAJOR NEWSPAPER.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 24, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

bc, great link to the B.A.T. cars.

I needed some new wallpaper!

>Poor boy probably wanted to spend more time with his family.

Mudge, I'm sure he just decided it was time to enlist. Smart young feller like ought to be in lieutenant training or something, right?

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I have heard: "Any noun can be verbed." Predates 'verbification' by at least a decade.

Posted by: Tim | March 24, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm just overly busy, all... Picking up my Dorkateer costume at the dry cleaners, actually...

Bloviating Ben couldn't even bloviate on his own??? I am SO surprised... :-)

Have a great weekend all!!

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 24, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I just have these vague disjointed memories of the show UFO. The image of the moon in tha daytime. Attractive British women in skimpy clothes. Something about a cat. Imagery without proper calibration metadata. More attractive British women in their undergarments. My mother shutting off the television.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

God, I leave town and all hell breaks loose (again!) in blogworld. Ben Domenech: Oopsie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Achenbach | March 24, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I actually demanded a F.A.O. Schwartz catalog one year to see the "UFO" toys for sale...

Back to the grindstone...

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 24, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse


Apparently when they surfaced the allegations, it impacted his decision to leave.

Posted by: TBG | March 24, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

And yes, TBG, it is a very boring day for me. I am batch processing about a jillion gigabytes of data on my ubermachine, and doing web surfing on my other machine while waiting for things to finish.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Domensch has been 'offboarded'.

Er, maybe 'outboarded'.

Joel: I think you're better off wherever you are. I doubt you'd have wanted to be around the WaPo offices on either side of the Potomac the past couple of days.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse


Treat yourself to the UFO megaset. Very interesting to see it with adult eyes in terms of how the mission ruins Stryker's marriage, he loses his son, etc.

(Um, not to mention the moonbase women in those painted-on outfits. Jerry Ryan as "7 of 9" wouldn't had some serious competition, that's for sure. And don't get me started on the girl in the submarine!)

They also explain why the UFO's have to do the abductions, etc. and why they're so evil. But I'm sure that's all covered in Joel's book, which is on its way to Chez Flynn even now.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, thanks for the reminder to pick up my Dorkateer cape from the cleaners.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Moonbase Alpha was the setting for Space:1999, a truly awful science fiction series starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain trying to bottle a little of their MI magic. I forget the plot of any particular episode but they crashed at least one Eagle every week. They must have had a space shuttle factory somewhere in one of those biodomes.

And as part of my dork-withdrawal program, I did not put my lighted Defiant ornament on the tree this year. It didn't fit in with the theme:

Maybe next year.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

E.F. I, literally, have just had a flashback going back some 36 years. There have been neurons in my brain, taking up valuable space, for three and a half decades dedicate to nothing but the image of that young lady and her crew.
Imprinted on our young minds indeed.....

Posted by: RD Padoukl | March 24, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

RD, just goes to show our brains know what's really important, even when we're not conscious enough to to realize it.

When you see some of the Earth party scenes you'll know where "Austin Power's Intl Man of Mystery" got their stuff.

Guess I know what to throw in the DVD tonight. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you missed the boat. Today's blog should have been about Ben. Now Jim Brady's getting all the love (379 posts! 6 trackbacks!).

Posted by: CowTown | March 24, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Joel's book is the last word on Alien Abduction, as far as I'm concerned.

At least until someone addresses the question: "What's the big fascination with the human anus?", anyways.

I should note here that I was encouraged to hear rumors of Speilberg's Amblin Entertainment ramping up "Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind" to address that question, though when I recalled his "greys" long, thin fingers I got skeeved out.

Though the CE3K drones' height did go some ways towards explaining things.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

buh-bye, Ben.

Box Turtle Ben is yet another example of hubris meeting reality. The right wing blogsphere is a pretty insular world and somehow having to tell the truth and not steal other peoples words doesn't rank high on the list of commonly accepted principles.

washpostblog is veritable feeding frenzy today. You can slice the schadenfreude like a fine aged Stilton. We need to verbify the moral of this debacle:

Domenreach: 1) To accept a position where past transgressions will immediately result in a closet full of skeletons coming crashing down Fibber McGee style. 2) An extreme application of the Peter Principle resulting in immediate resignation in disgrace.

Example: Why would he domenreach and take that job as a conductor when he can't even read music?

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Here's what I'm throwing into the stereo tonight. (Mudge, this one's for you).

La Vie En Rose

Des yeux qui font baisser les miens,
Un rire qui se perd sur sa bouche,
Voilࠬe portrait sans retouche
De l'homme auquel j'appartiens

Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Il me parle tout bas,
Je vois la vie en rose.

Il me dit des mots d'amour,
Des mots de tous les jours,
Et 硠me fait quelque chose.

Il est entr頤ans mon coeur
Une part de bonheur
Dont je connais la cause.

C'est lui pour moi. Moi pour lui
Dans la vie,
Il me l'a dit, l'a jur頰our la vie.

Et d賠que je l'aper篩s
Alors je sens en moi
Mon coeur qui bat

Des nuits d'amour ࠰lus finir
Un grand bonheur qui prend sa place
Les ennuis les chagrins s'effacent
Heureux, heureux ࠥn mourir.

Quand il me prend dans ses bras
Il me parle tout bas,
Je vois la vie en rose.

Il me dit des mots d'amour,
Des mots de tous les jours,
Et 硠me fait quelque chose.

Il est entr頤ans mon coeur
Une part de bonheur
Dont je connais la cause.

C'est toi pour moi. Moi pour toi
Dans la vie,
Il me l'a dit, l'a jur頰our la vie.

Et d賠que je l'aper篩s
Alors je sens en moi
Mon coeur qui bat

Have a good weekend everyone!

Posted by: Nani | March 24, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I should add, yes, I *have* seen the "South Park" episode that addresses the Alien/tushie question, but it's clearly a joke and not serious science.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see the new "Return of Chef" (or whatever they called it) episode?

Good grief. Never get those guys mad at you.

They "killed" Chef off and then turned him into a "Super Adventure Club" Darth Vader child molester.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Yup, I saw it.

Not really surprised though, are ya?


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Didn't miss boat entirely -- I will likely post a kit on Ben shortly. Things a bit turbulent at the moment.

Posted by: Achenbach | March 24, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

>Not really surprised though, are ya?

Well no, but when Chef starts propositioning the children they still managed to make my jaw drop.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Joel - have you read the responses to Jim Brady's post? There are sharks in the water. Are you sure you want to throw them more chum? I'm gonna go make sure my firewalls are reinforced before yet another storm is unleashed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 24, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

bc - Those are some cool cars.

Error Flynn - Here's from the eulogy ...

KYLE: "A lot of us don't agree with the choices the Chef has made in the last few days. Some of us feel hurt and confused that he seemed to turn his back on us. But we can't let the events of the past few weeks take away the memories of how Chef made us smile.

"We shouldn't be mad at Chef for leaving us ... we should be mad at that fruity little club for scrambling his brains."

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 24, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

RD, are you sure even your firewalls are big enough for this?

Posted by: dr | March 24, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Please don't launch a rovestorm at the end of the week. I'll never be able to catch up next Monday.

Posted by: omni | March 24, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Man, 480 comments on Domenech in two and a half hours! Rovestorm wasn't that fast, was it? Stunning. That's a Category 5 blog reaction. Or should we develop an open-ended measurement like the Richter scale?

Posted by: pj | March 24, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"Turbulent", indeed.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The cat memory comes from a shpeshifter who managed to land herself on the moon, and all the guys had the hots for her. Except Martin Landau. He had the hots for Barbara McBain, as was right for tv in that time and place. Space 1999 was an inferior show soley because the hair did not cut the mustard.

Posted by: dr | March 24, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

pj, your idea of a scale has merit.

RoveStorm Scale:
Category 1: 25-50 Comments Per Hour
Category 2: 50-100 CPH
Category 3: 100-150 CPH
Category 4: 150-200 CPH
Category 5: 200+ CPH


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing, Joel, is that a new Kit on Ben could easily be titled, "Predicting the Next Big Earthquake"

Posted by: TBG | March 24, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering if I should apologize to the General Public and to Joel for inciting a Dorkfest by bringing up Moonbase Alpha at 11:53 AM this very day.



Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Joel, if this is some kind of attempt to throw yourself on the hand grenade to spare Brady any more incoming fire, don't do it, man! Think of the wife and girls--keep your head down, man! If you think you've got to draw fire, kit on something like global warming.
Joel? Joel? god, I think they've cut the wire!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

And dr, IIRC that would be "Barbara Bain", not McBain. You must be getting confused with Iron Maiden's second drummer.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the comment-count on Brady's blog is very significant. I skimmed through -- none of the posts are really discussiing anything. They're pretty much just like RedAmerica, a screed against the opposition from an unexamined position that is assumed to be correct. Oh yeah, and screeds against WaPo for being among the opposition because it fails to precisely echo the screedster's point of view. In this case, the screeds are mostly from self-proclaimed liberals. Since I see myself as socially liberal, fiscally moderate, I don't claim these loudmouthed "shrieking denizens" as my soul-brothers.

Posted by: Tim | March 24, 2006 4:07 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, you just triggered my flashback for the day...

Ansbach, Germany, the day after the Wall fell. I've only just become aware of the stunning event because my then-wife (who happens to be German) shook me awake to tell me. I immediately said, "OK" and fell asleep again.

Went driving and was listening to AFN Berlin broadcasting the festivities (literally). The signal cut off mid-word, and I thought, "Well, I guess the Ossis changed their mind."

Oh, and the shapeshifter on Space: 1999" was named Maia, I believe. *rechecking the fit on my Dorkateer cape*

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 24, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

And yes, bc, Niko McBrain was not a cast memeber of "Space: 1999."

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 24, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

ok, ok - i'll give you the BAT cars - but that Straker car? U.G.L.Y.
looks like a pinto on lsd! bleh! (this opinion of course is coming from a chick - what do i know from cars!)

(oh, and i met martin landau at a film festival - he's quite the dirty old man!)

Posted by: mo | March 24, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

After having thanked the bloggers for their thoroughness this afternoon, Boss Brady added,

"We remain committed to representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ideologies".

Before the resignation he was claiming a duty to "provide voices from as many perspectives as possible".

One or both of these phrases plagiarized from somewhere? Don't be funny. Sophomoric-sounding? You're getting warm.

But what does it mean anyway, "provide voices", is it like when they dub the Simpsons? Joel's a voice, Froomkin's perhaps a deeper voice, anyway Brady "provides these voices" for us. A voice in itself is nothing but a bit of color. Cogs in a great wheel, a spot on the broad spectrum. To be complete you need to have the full spectrum, Shiite, Baptist, animist, and down the line.

It's true that the more we see into the worlds and into the minds of others the better for everybody. For that we read thoughtful texts, study foreign languages, and so on. It's a process that happens in the human brain or in a group of them.

What Brady thinks he's up to is something completely different. He sees little cogs in a great corporate wheel. You some kind of a non-bigot? Fine, but in the full spectrum of ideas and ideologies you have to make room for the bigots. You're just a voice, he, Brady, is giving you the whole broad spectrum of ideas and ideologies. He runs the Opinions Area, after all.

Could it be that this idea reducing human thought to little cogs in the great corporate sprocket wheel is what permitted them to hire this poor wretch without even looking at the actual content of what he had to say ? Or am I being kind again ?

Posted by: kindly old mister badger | March 24, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Could we please get a color chart to go with that RoveStorm Scale? And lets get some interesting colors, at that. Jonquil yellow, perhaps. And vermillion. Or perhaps magenta for the highest category, just because magenta is both fun to say and is also vaguely threating in tone.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 24, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

No bc, its sadly that memory overload thing. All this talk of old space shows is just too much. Its all coming back like a bad dream.

Too bad Joel did not title this kit 'Waiting for the Next Big One' versus 'Earthquake'. Then he would have been right on for today's events too. It would have been a double purpose kit.

Next time I'd bet WaPo hires someone who sees themselves as a journalist.

Posted by: dr | March 24, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

It goes without saying, I suppose, but I'll say it anyway. "Magenta" would make for a decent 'Boodle handle, if anyone is looking.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 24, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Space 1999

I had forgotten her name, but do you recall that Maia's startling distinction from humanity in her "human" form was that she had a set of bumps on her forehead in place of eyebrows? Very creative, that. My sister called her "Mashed Pea Eyebrows."

I liked the fact that their handweapons were clearly staple guns.

How come the Eagles had aerodynamic nose sections, but completely unaerodynamic fuselage? Yet they operated perfectly well in planetary atmospheres? How come vehicles designed solely for getting about on the Moon had an atmospheric capability at all?

These things have troubled me.

Posted by: Tim | March 24, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Tim, I agree with you. You've described exactly why I'm not paying much attention to the blog comments there.

Besides, they're not very funny.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to think of Magenta as being "intimidating" after seeing Rocky Horror Picture Show. Just sayin'.

Tim, I agree, there are a lot of liberals out there with hate in their guts. It's scary. I'm staying here in the Boodle Oasis. The cradle of Civlility. Koombahya.

Posted by: CowTown | March 24, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse


The shear awfulness of Space: 1999 is a memory I could have done without. I had Barbara Bain right in my 2:54 post just because my wife is a huge Mission Impossible fan (which also had Leonard Nimoy for awhile). If you really want to ignite some Dorkstorms just invoke any of these holy wars:

Buck Rogers vs. Battlestar Galactica (TOS)
Wonder Woman vs Incredible Hulk
Babylon 5 vs Deep Space 9
7 of 9 vs Janeway
Kirk vs. Picard

/yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater and then stepping away.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

oh, and i heard about the south park episode - wowzers! are they going to repeat it? definitely do NOT piss off Trey and Matt!

Posted by: mo | March 24, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

dr wrote; "All this talk of old space shows is just too much. Its all coming back like a bad dream."

Old space shows? Pshaw! You wanna talk old space shows, my friend, let's talk Tom Corbett and his pal Happy (now THERE was your total space dweeb). Let's talk Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon (my 9th grade Latin teach used to wear her blouse collar standing straight up like Ming the Merciless, so naturally that's what we called her). Let's talk Commando Cody.

Green kids. That's what they're sending me. Green kids. Sigh.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I know it's Friday afternoon and all, but please, "7 of 9 vs Janeway"? Let's get serious. Janeway couldn't even carry 7 of 9's lunch. Maybe 7 of 9 vs Tasha Yar. Jeez yellojkt, you're going to lose your Dork credentials proposing matchups like that.

How about old Battlestar Galactica vs new Battlestar Galactica?

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 24, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

No son of carl, one is sexiness of form, the other sexiness of mind. Its a fair match.

Dear heavens was that my inside voice.

Curmudgeon, DO NOT EVEN GO THERE. Please have mercy on me.

Posted by: dr | March 24, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

OK, let's see if the Dorkometer is turned on: Anyone remember "Super Car?"

Posted by: CowTown | March 24, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'll be the one to say it: definitely Janeway. It's those seemingly quiet, intense ones, not the "obvious" ones to go for. Mayybe 7 of 9 for a one-nighter or a long weekend and the hot tub. But Janeway's the keeper, and the one who makes you work for it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

was never a battlestar galactica fan but prolly watched every episode of Buck Rogers - so i propose the match

7 of 9 vs Col. Wilma Deering

watch a clip of the show on the 80's and boy did i wanna smack twiki - give me Data any day!

since we are talking old shows - how bout The Greatest American Hero? *watching out for tune cooties*

Look at what's happened to meeee
i can't believe it myself
suddenly i am on top of the world
shoulda been somebody else!!!

Believe it or not i'm walking on air
i never thought i could feel so freeeee
flyin away on a wing and a prayer
who could it be?

believe it or not it's just meeeeee

Posted by: mo | March 24, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Buck Rogers vs. Battlestar Galactica (TOS)
The pilot and first seasn of BR were entertaining, and that Erin Gray -- woohoo! Then again, the "socialator" on Rattletrap Crapactica was pretty interesting, as well.

Wonder Woman vs Incredible Hulk
Oh, please -- Linda Carter's acting vs. Lou Ferrigno? The man had the Method down cold. And then he turns into Eddie's Father? IH had everything!

Babylon 5 vs Deep Space 9
Deep Space 9 got better once they rediscovered the writers' xenophobic hostility. But Babylon 5 had better makeup effects, a amore believable and internally consistent FTL transportation system, and they had Alfred Bester, level 3 Psi-Cop. The show was a winner for the dorky homages alone. And how 'bout the episode built around Harlan Ellison and another guy wandering around the station as crotchety custodians? And the episode with a cameo by Scott Adams, concerned that his dog had plans to take over the world? Perfection.

7 of 9 vs Janeway
You're just kidding, aren't you? The aesthetic choice is obvious. But I would meekly submit to whatever Captain Janeway orderd me to do.

Kirk vs. Picard
Once again, no contest. Picard asks his helmsman's opinion about how fast they ought to go. Kirk tells Sulu how fast to go, and you know that Sulu never doubts him for a moment -- he'll pedal a bicycle, he'll get out and push if he has to, to get that ship to Warp 6. End of discussion. Picard may be my poker buddy, but Kirk is my captain. After all -- Four. Hundred (or so). Lives. Depending. On his. Every. Decision. You have to respect that dedication to chewing up all that dangerous scenery that might hurt someone of left out of control.

I f you want a real poser:
Max Headroom vs. The Prisoner

Posted by: Tim | March 24, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

For some reason my friends at don't seem that interested in me today. It's as though they're distracted.

By the way, has anyone used that Shrieking Denizen handle yet, or started a blog called I am way, way behind on the boodle, due to the terrible distraction of trying to REPORT AND WRITE AN ARTICLE. That is the problem with me as a blogger: I'm not really a blogger at all, but a newspaper hack who blogs part-time. And it's HARD to report and write an article, I have found. It's no wonder blogging is so popular, it's just plain easy.

I'm afraid to look at the comments on the Brady thing. I am guessing that not many people wrote, "Dear Jim: We realize this was an honest mistake and that this won't be a long-term distraction from the excellent work you've done to make washingtonpost. com the second-best blogging newspaper in America, featuring that funny Joel-dude" with a link to this:

Posted by: Achenbach | March 24, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

For Tim and Scotty's sake I'll don the Dorkateer cape.

Tim, the Eagles bothered me too. I think the forward section was also an escape pod/capsule, so that's why it was teardrop shaped. I suppose it is theoretically possible to get in and out of atmospheres completely on engine power and not going fast enough for lousy aerodynamics to be a problem, but where are the gigantic fuel tanks you'd need (providing those little tail engines and underjets could produce enough thrust).

I didn't mind the mashed pea eyebrows (ha!), but I never understood the fascination with Maia. Maybe it was a pheremone thing... While there could be some benefits to an SO that could shape-shift, there's also the down side that if she ever became angry with you, there'd be nothing left of yourowndamnself but some damp spots on the wall.

Regular human women are already all I can keep up with.

mo, dear, I should add that you might be of an age to not appreciate the stylin' of the late 60's/early 70s. Some (not me) would suggest that Pintos might be best appreciated in the manner you mentioned.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Emma Peel versus any woman in the known universe.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

How do you know that 7 of 9 is not secretly quiet and intense, and sexy of mind? I say give the poor girl a chance or a hundred.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 24, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

As previously mentioned within the Boodle...

Dr. Crusher, far and away.

Except maybe the green alien go-go dancer version of Vina in "The Menagerie."

And as for pegging the Dorkmeter...

"Time Tunnel"

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 24, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Gotta go, but I will pick up this Dorkateer discussion later.

I gots my opinions.

And mo, if you ever saw the episode of "My Name is Earl" where Earl and Randy sing the TGAH theme, it's great. Laughed until my eyes watered.

I will return.


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, Boss. I agree that like your "snarky and sarcastic writing tone.”

Posted by: CowTown | March 24, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, well, of course, Mrs. Peel. But she's married, you know. And anyway, that's just not fair. We were dealing with fair comparisons. Mrs. Peel is just too much. Have some mercy on the poor dears.

I have heard good things about Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg's predecessor on The Avengers. She was entertaining as P***y Galore ("I'm P***y Galore." "I'm sure you are."). The twerp who succeeeded Mrs. Peel was nothing, nothing, nothing.

These asterisks brought to you courtesy of the Wirty Dord Filter, which tried to consume my post the first time I tried to, er, "submit."

Posted by: Tim | March 24, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Emma Peel. MRS. (!) Emma Peel, talented amateur (pronounced with a hard T, so to speak: ama-turrrrr).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 24, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I have noticed that "Time Tunnel" is now for sale on DVD.

Posted by: Tim | March 24, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I am completely addicted to the new Battlestar Galactica and I think the original was one of the schlockiest shows ever aired, Space:1999 excepted.

When I found out that Ronald Moore was the developer of the show I understood why. Moore was one of the main writers for Deep Space 9 and moved to Voyager when the show ended. He butted heads with former writing partner Brannon Braga over how hokey Voyager was. Moore wanted a grittier drama emphasizing the hardships Voyager would face instead of the clean glossy TNG look.

Braga went on to destroy the ST franchise with the T&A laden Enterprise, while Moore's very dark BG seems almost a point by point rebuttal of awfulness of Voyager.

BG gets a LOT of goood reviews from the mainstream press, not just the fanboy circuit. The season finale of BG just stunned me. I have no idea how they are going to write their way out of that hole.

I am such a dork.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you have no sympathy from us. At least when you review the boodle you are arguably "working" while the rest of us are more unambiguously "building a case for management for dismissal with cause".

I also followed the link that Joel mentioned, and I have to say this is the worst fashion blog I have ever visited.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 24, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Peel indeed. Especially in "The Hellfire Club" I think it was. When she carried a boa, it was a REAL boa. They banned it's original showing in the US. I have *all* of The Avengers they've released. Please complain so they'll put out the 2nd half of seasons 64-66.

Recently picked up the release of season 1 of The Time Tunnel, the video transfer is *excellent* on that. I've been watching it Sat. mornings on the Encore Channel right after "The Green Hornet".

Life is good.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

So I'm geussing that if we did write to Mr. Brady, exactly as you have proposed, enmasse, he would not find it funny today, would he. Maybe next week?

"Dear Jim: We realize this was an honest mistake and that..."

Posted by: dr | March 24, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

What ever happened to Steed, anyway?

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 24, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record here are my picks:

Buck Rogers. If you are going to camp it up, go all the way. And wasn't one of the ships called the Asimov?

Wonder Woman. I was 14 when the show started. 'nuff said.

Deep Space Nine. Yes,DS9 is a blatant rip-off of B5, but DS9 hired real actors. B5 replaced the original Al Gore-wooden captain with the even worse Bruce Boxleitner.

Janeway. If you don't understand why, you never will.

Kirk or Picard. Toss-up. Depends on whether you want to trick the aliens or just kick their *ss.

Max Headroom. Truly just a little too far ahead of its time.

Emma Peel. What was the question?

Posted by: yellojkt | March 24, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Did they ever say what happened to Mr. Peel?

Posted by: dr | March 24, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Steed (Patrick MacNee) went on to later do a "New Avengers" which was just appalling. I believe he also appeared on "Murder, She Wrote" at some time, as a bad guy, of course. As did Patrick McGoohan. That show was just the death of guys named "PatrickMcSomebody."

Posted by: Tim | March 24, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Emma Peel! Unless I need to distract the leader of a third-world nation or a major league shyster guy. Then I send in Barbara Bain.

Joel, I predict that someone will soon post exactly what you suggested over there. It'll be me, if I get there first.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 24, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

>Did they ever say what happened to Mr. Peel?

dr, in the last show with Mrs. Peel they foil the bad guys, and at the end Steed is on the phone to Mother and you hear him say something like:

"Yes, I've heard. Yes, I'll be needing a replacement. I'll trust your choice Mother, you know my taste."

Mr. Peel was found in the Amazon where he'd been roughing it since his plane went down.

Steed and Mrs. Peel say good-bye, and she meets his replacement (Tara King) in the stairway as they pass. "He likes his tea stirred anti-clockwise" is all she says.

Mr. Peel shows up in a new Rolls (maybe Bentley) convertible to pick up Mrs. Peel. She looks at him with some amusement, and back up at Steed's window as they drive off. We never see Mr. Peel.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 24, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Eventually, Mr. Peel returned from wherever he had been and Mrs. Peel went back to private life and connubial bliss. Mr. Peel (I am told, I have never seen this episode) was played by ... Patrick MacNee.

Posted by: Tim | March 24, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

This just in. New Kit. It has nothing to do with Emma Peel.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 24, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I have to add that Diana Rigg/Emma Peel is the main redeeming feature of On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 24, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Eh, looks like everyone's moved onto the new Kit.

I'll just say that I sure liked Lt. Jadzia Dax on DS9, and leave it at that.

Though Jane Fonda in "Barbarella" took things to a new level. Particularly in the clear plastic space suit that Roger Vadim made her wear.

Way to go George Mason!


Posted by: bc | March 24, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

RD, thanks for the Mt Rainier link. Interesting that mud flows have occurred on average every 500 years, and the last one was, er, 500 years ago. But this is comforting:
Mount Rainier is carefully monitored for signs of volcanic reawakening, and an eruption that could produce a catastrophic lahar initiated by vigorous release of meltwater is expected to follow days, weeks, or even months of readily detected symptoms of volcanic unrest. Thus, it is likely that there will be opportunity for citizens and communities to prepare for an impending eruption.

I'll sleep well tonight.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 24, 2006 10:14 PM | Report abuse

It's the first time to visit and comment in your blog. so pleased to see the editorial boards guys blogging. I wanna see the same in my country. But blog is still considered kiddie stuff not for big kids, for some.
Blogger Indonesia

Posted by: Fatih | April 4, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

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