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More of Tom's Dumb Questions

Tom Shroder asks:

"Why does no one eat goose anymore? There seem to be plenty of them around. And why does the moon not spin when it goes around the Earth even though the Earth spins as it goes around the Sun?"

That is verbatim what he asked me in a voice mail, only with the words changed to make the questions more sensible.

I will ignore the implication of the first question, which is that when we see geese migrating at this time of year we are supposed to think, "Look! Geese! Let's kill them! Free food!" I assume the answer is that some strange people still eat geese (known, when converted to a foodstuff, as "goose") but only on certain holidays that are so saturated with tradition that everyone agrees to overlook the fact that geese taste kind of nasty. I mean, aren't they greasy -- worse even than duck? (I have not tried the new McDonald's "goose nuggets" -- has anyone else?)

As for the second question, the moon does spin. It just spins once a month, meaning the same side always faces the Earth, like an obsessed lover. (Who among us has not, at some point, looked at the moon and said, "Stop staring at me!"?) The definition of a "month" is complicated, because you can use as your standard one lunar rotation relative to the fixed stars (a "stellar" month) or one rotation relative to the Sun (a "solarium" month) or the time it takes for the full moon to wane and then wax again to fullitude above a given point on the Earth's surface (a "terrestrium" month) -- except during Leap Years, when the month lasts 29 days in February. Got it?

Obviously the moon, being so close to the Earth, has become gravitationally locked. It's one of those gravity things that emerges from the equations -- the moon (mass X) is gravitationally locked with the Earth (mass Y) because the angular momentum of the moon's rotation is less than X times Y divided by the square of the distance between the two spheres (Z) multiplied by [the Hubble Constant divided by the Planck Length] cubed.

I hope that answers the question.

Now what I want to know is, why has no one invented a cafe table that doesn't wobble?

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 13, 2006; 1:45 PM ET
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I think goose is a traditional Austrian Christmas dinner, but I'm not Austrian or a goose-eater myself so somebody may have to verify that.

"Goose nuggets" does not sound like something I would want to put in my mouth. Ever.

Posted by: sweetiefur | April 13, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

But the real questions is, can you measure a month by the relative wobble of migrating geese?

Posted by: Paul | April 13, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid I had a well-dented globe of the moon. The side that faced us was all bright with the names of all the craters and seas and everything. The other side was done much darker and had way fewer place names. It gave the impresion that the side of the moon that faced away from us was always dark, when really it gets just as much light, if not more, than the side that faces us.

Pink Floyd to the contrary, there is no dark side of the moon.

And for the uber-geeks, I remember reading a story where a stranded astronaut avoided being baked by the sun by racing moon-dawn around the moon until a rescue ship could arrive. Is this logical or practical? Of course, the latitiude he was at when he started would make a difference. As well as where he was longitudinally on the "dark" side.

Anyone else remember this one?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

We used to have goose on holidays when I was a kid. If I remember correctly, the recipe used mushrooms and rice (it was like a casserole), so perhaps that helped with the whole 'greasy' problem. Also, my best friend (who is quite into the consumption of wild game) says that the only way to have duck is to slow-cook it wrapped in bacon, apparently that takes away the 'gamey' taste that makes duck an acquired taste. Like everything else, I guess this makes it taste like chicken.

Posted by: twindad | April 13, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Goose is available, frozen, at most of the local grocery stores. It is very fatty, so it should be elevated above the bottom of the roasting pan on a rack. It is not very commonly eaten, so it's only available frozen. Like duck, I have found that it is good prepared with something sweet in the stuffing or as a sauce. I've had great success with roasting my unstuffed birds at high temperature, basting with apple cider.

I like goose, but the ScienceSpouse does not care for it. The ScienceKids have both gone vegetarian, so I don't cook anybody's goose any more.

Posted by: Tim | April 13, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

And if wild geese ever become a delicacy, my wife knows of an elementary school playground where the budding gourmand can get all he wants. These geese make recess very challenging. "Loose as a goose" is a very apt scatological metaphor.

/begin "wild goose chase" puns and allusions now

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

sweetiefur? Paul? I never heard of you people! You're newbies...and you got first and second dibs! Unbelievable! Well, welcome to the boodle anyway.

*grumbles as he walks away, pondering whether to use "gooth" or "geeth" in a post. Wisely decides not to, heeding Bayou's advice that sometimes ya just gotta let it go. Or was that Padouk? Well, whatever. It was good advice, anyway*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 13, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, let's see here now. I have just looked up the lunar diameter at 3476 miles, so it is 10920 miles in circumference at the equator. Synodic period (rotation period with respect to the Sun) is 29.531 days. So, your astronaut would have to keep moving at an average of 10920/29.531 = 15.4 miles per hour. That's a pretty good clip for a runner. With a vehicle, no great problem. Yes, he can move with less force on the Moon, but he has to move a much greater mass (himself plus life-support). He'd better have a nuclear Moon-buggy, since a solar buggy would have to get out in the Sun all the time in order to get enough juice to operate.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 13, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Tim, Tim, Tim. "I don't cook anybody's goose any more."

Never saw it comin'. *sigh*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 13, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Last kit 'mudge posted a Broder link about the true size of the national debt. I for one wish the gummint had invested my $750,000 in a nice condo on Connecticut within walking distance of a Metro station instead of a failed foriegn adventure. That way I'd have something for my old age instead of a bunch of worthless 30 year T-bills.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Hi curmudgeon, I'm a regular reader but an irregular poster. I think I last posted when ScienceTim was discussing black holes and the surface of Titan . . . mmmm, tholins.

Posted by: Paul | April 13, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, what's the real answer to why the moon's rotation and orbit are synchronized? I have as many dumb answers as Tom has dumb questions; it appears to me a possible explanation would be that the moon is lopsided with respect to mass, so the "heavier" side is attracted more and stays closer to the Earth. Data-free! It's such a liberating concept! Okay, now, slap me down. I will feel better after being put in my place.

One explanation I will not accept is that it is a *coincidence* that the moon rotates once each time it orbits the Earth. That would be too weird.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 13, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Could it be because the moon is in a cheesocentric orbit? Just throwing that out for discussion.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 13, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Mudge.... Let it go.

But if I could just get my upstairs neighbor to turn down the Jethro Tull... it is reverberating through the floor joists.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 13, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The only duck I've had was Peking Duck, at a friend's mother's restaurant. It was really good, but was also chased with much saki.

We were on an ultimate frisbee road trip to Pennsylvania, and stopped at his "mom's Chinese restaurant" in New Jersey. We all expected a take-out place, and were all in shorts and t-shirts. We pull up, and the parking lot is full of black Mercedes sedans. We walk in, and there's pictures of celebrities on the wall (only one I can remember is Brooke Shields). The place is full of Chinese businessmen in suits, and we're standing there like idiots in ratty t-shirts. We were ushered to the table of honor, where we each had a personal server (there were about 15 of us). As soon as we finished something, our plate would disappear and instantly be replaced by another, full of food. We literally went through about 5-6 whole ducks, carved at our table. The whole rest of the trip we kept teasing the poor guy about his mom's Triad connections.

Posted by: jw | April 13, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Domestic goose is pretty good with a fruity sauce or stuffing (apple, raisin, prunes). As CookingTim has explained the bird's got to be on a rack so that the cook can siphon off the excess fat during cooking. Wild birds are a different thing. No fat there, except maybe the Giant Canada geese that refuse to migrate and stuff their face all year in a public park near you. If seagulls are flying rats these things are flying raccoons.
Old wild geese is as tough as leather. Young ones are pretty good when cooked slowly by a wet method (braised, stewed, etc)- never even try to roast one.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 13, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

One of our nation's military academies has an ULTIMATE FRISBEE team!?

Oh, yeah ... Coast Guard.


Posted by: md 20/400 | April 13, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

See, I "know" the answer to kb's question, but the way the question is phrased, I can't come up with an explanation that isn't both long-winded and factually suspect. Even explanations on the web confuse me:

Wikipedia has way more info about the lunar orbit than I can digest.

Aren't the internets wonderful?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I have invented a cafe table that does not wobble. I'm serious about this.

Every time I see a wobbling table, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The whole problem is so simple to solve. And yet I — a geometry genius — am apparently the only one in the world who can see it. Unfortunately, my solution is apparently not patentable. So I can't make any money off of it. And so it remains, locked in my brain.

A bigger person might just give away the solution. A bigger person might look out for the good of all society. Such a person would also save for the world the unfathomable number of napkins and sugar packets that are shoved under table legs in an effort to stop the wobbling that is so inherent in the modern, internationally prevalant cafe table design. Fewer beverages would be spilled if my solution were put to use, a point that does touch my heart.

But the beverages will continue to spill and the sugar packets and napkins will continue to be wasted. I'm not giving in. I will go to the grave with my solution, unless I stand a fair chance of raking in the megabucks.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 13, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

HAHAHA. That's just way too easy.

Posted by: jw | April 13, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Once, under the influence of some rather strong migraine medication, I tried to explain the planets and their orbits around the sun to a 4” tall stuffed bear named Schubert. He was quite confused, poor thing. When I finally realized that I was having a serious conversation with a stuffed bear being ‘animated’ by my bear-crazy friend, I knew that he’d never let me live it down – and he hasn’t.

I can’t stand geese, they are all around our office park this time of year and you have to step carefully to avoid their poop. I once worked for a company that had a trained Border Collie, he did a great job of keeping the geese away. We should be feeding them birth control pills. Had a very memorable meal of duck in champagne sauce at a restaurant in Provincetown, MA years ago; still rates as one of the all-time best meals ever. As I grow older, frankly, I’d just as soon eat chicken.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 13, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

My posts are being held hostage!

Posted by: amo | April 13, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I think kbertucci is right, one side of the moon is regular cheddar the other one is light cheddar. So we always see regular cheddar.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 13, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Okay. Here it is.

To fix the cafe table problem ...

(Time for a late lunch. Answer coming after that. Yep, a 'Boodle cliffhanger.)

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 13, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

***If this gets posted more than once, all apologies.***

This link is interesting, if only for the picture in the upper left-hand corner.

And if you didn't already know this, you probably don't own a goose farm:

"Most turkeys today are pretty mushy as a result of being over-bred. Geese have been spared this fate because, unlike turkeys, geese can’t be easily inseminated artificially. So we’re stuck with the cycle of nature: Eggs are laid in the spring, geese are generally born in June, and mature birds are ready for slaughter somewhere between late September and mid-October."

Posted by: amo | April 13, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, the obvious solution to the cafe table problem is to make three-legged tables. Not as stable I guess, but I'm not planning on taking one off-roading.

Posted by: jw | April 13, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

An inelegant--cheesy (sp?)--solution to the tipping table would be to have a screw type insert in each tubular leg.

Another idea would just be to turn your eating experience into a seance--channeling the Kitchen God.

Posted by: aroc | April 13, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The Moon is tidally locked, aka in resonant rotation. I don't have the math to back it up, but I can wave my hands. Tides act on rock, just like on water, but water is much more malleable, being a liquid and all that. The Earth raises a tide in the Moon, which bends and cracks rock, creating heat. That heat energy has to come from somewhere -- it comes from the Moon's rotation and orbital motion. As the Moon rotates slower, it bends the rock more slowly and thus creates less heat, meaning it also takes less energy from the rotation. When it slows to essentially no rotation (with respect to the Earth), it also achieves the point at which the tidal bulge simply stays fixed. No new bending, therefore no creation of heat, therefore no theft of energy from rotational motion. I guess energy has to have come from the orbital motion, as well. Anyway, you reach an equilibrium when you get to the point at which there is no further bending of the rock. At that point, the rotation is exactly synchronous with the orbit. Any small deviations from precise synchronization, and you get a little gravitational tugging on the tidal bulge that pulls everything back into synchronization.

Gotta run off to a meeting!

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 13, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: omni | April 13, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Pink Floyd said: "There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark."

Posted by: omni | April 13, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I ate goose for my first married Christmas in Kansas City in 1985, and have only eaten it since when dining on Goose McNuggets or Goose von Trapp (being Austrian and all) at various bistros. The real adventure is eating the goose nuggets atop a wobbly cafe table. Of course, the solution is stick one of the crispier goose wontons under the table leg.

Mudge, please stop picking on John Noble Wilford, as Noble is one of my bloodlines, and I question whether I might be related to him on his matrilineal line.

The Nobles were among the founding families of Westfield, Conn., and the line is a tough one to extend to find cousins. There is the Noble who grew cucumbers with Mr. Heinz, and their pickles were a hot item in western Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the story is obscure about why Noble's name was no longer carried on in the business, why the Heinz name predominated, and better known is why Theresa Heinz Kerry, second wife of my distant Phelps cousin, now heads the Heinz empire.

Then there's the "Lifesaver King" Edward J. Noble who sold the Lifesaver company in 1928 for $22 million and invested in Sarnoff and Paley's cast-off network "Blue" that eventually became ABC, his first full year of ownership being in 1944.

I may be related to both Nobles I mentioned, to just one, or to neither. If I had a choice between the two, I'd choose the television guy over the pickle guy any day of the week. I'm just uncomfortable doing dill.

Posted by: Loomis | April 13, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

As I remember it, a leading theory has the moon starting out as a broken-off chunk of the Eyrth back in 'Mudge's youth.

Thinking out loud, it occurs to me that as the proto-moon tore away from the proto-eyrth (if it occurred slowly), it may not have any angular momentum relative to its orbit about the earth.

I am formulating a smart-alecky answer, I'm writing this while on the phone.


Posted by: bc | April 13, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh. Finally a subject not about doilies on which I have some actual knowledge. Most commercial table legs do have screw type inserts for leveling and all tables may have been level at one time or other. For a thousand and one reasons, tables are moved, and will never be in that exact position again, so Instead of making things better, levelling tables, makes it worse. The other thing that happens is that the little leg thingys (technical term) fall out. The only solution is to shim it. So bend down and look under the restaurant table... No I'd rather have a shaky table, and just lean on the wobbly side.

Posted by: dr | April 13, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I found two "Stormy Petrels" that are not:

UMBRAGE can be GIVEN, intentionally or not. But we all knew that, right?
And I've misplaced the other one.

Posted by: omni | April 13, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I realize the boodle is moving along nicely on the twin themes of geese and lunar orbiting fractaltude, but I feel duty-bound to go off-topic and bring this important news item from AP to the boodle’s attention, and which should be of interest to many of you foreigner personages, such as dr, Achenfan, and Eurotrash (and dammit, where IS Eurotrash just when you need him?) who do NOT worship at the one true shrine of American football.
(And as Joel’s bud Dave Barry says, “I swear I’m not…yada yadda)
(There will be a quiz following the news item, BTW.)
(Oh, and please, no posts saying this is really a very serious issue and we shouldn’t be laughing at it, etc. etc.)
Here goes:

FIFA says it can't stop prostitution

GENEVA (AP) -- Soccer's governing body insists it has no power to stop forced prostitution in Germany, which is expected to increase during the World Cup.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Thursday his organization is obliged to comply with international and national laws, but its main task is to ensure its competitions adhere to regulations.

"FIFA places great importance on respecting human life and the physical integrity of human beings," Blatter said in response to accusations that his group was not taking stronger action on this issue. "Prostitution and trafficking of women, however, does not fall within the sphere of responsibility of an international sports federation but in that of the authorities and the lawmakers of any given country," he added.

Germany legalized prostitution in 2003. The European Union said it had no clear figures on how many women might be forced to work as prostitutes in the 12 host cities.

[OK, here’s the key sentence:]

The German Women's Council estimated 40,000 extra prostitutes would be in Germany for the event, but did not know how many would be there against their will.

About 3.5 million visitors are expected in Germany for the World Cup, which runs June 9 to July 9. The European Union said it had received assurances from Germany that it will be vigilant.

On Wednesday, the Council of Europe - Europe's main human rights watchdog - urged Germany to set up and publicize multilingual telephone help lines to allow women to request emergency assistance.

A Swedish official recently urged the country to withdraw from the World Cup to protest the expected surge in prostitution. The suggestion by Claes Borgstrom, Sweden's equal opportunity ombudsman, was rejected by the Swedish soccer federation. The soccer group warned that the country could be excluded from future competitions if it boycotted the event.

OK. Let us begin.

(1) What kind of name is Sepp Blatter?
(2) Where does one get 40,000 “extra” prostitutes on short notice?
(3) Who was the demographics expert who sat down and calculated how many “extra” hookers were needed? Is there a rule or ratio on this? And just how many hookers were there in the first place, that they counted and said to themselves, “Whoops, we’re 40,000 short”?
(4) Is there going to be, like, an Olympic Village that they’re going to build to house those 40,000 prostitutes? What about their pimps? What about parking garages for the pimpmobiles?
(5) Does the 40,000 figure include trannies, gays, Jeff Gannon, etc., or is that just…ya know…oh never mind.
(6) How did I know without ever having read anything about it, that Sweden just had to have an equal opportunity ombudsperson?
(7) Have Kornheiser and Wilbon booked their travel requests yet?

You may return to your normal workaday concerns now.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 13, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

whenever I go to a cafe I bring my diamond coated drill bit, cordless power drill, a screwdriver and a couple screws. I do get the funniest looks though.

Posted by: omni | April 13, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

No offense intended, Loomis, but I (or any of us) had to lay off inadvertently commenting about one of your bloodlines, none of us would have anything to do all day, and I'd have to go back to copy editing stuffy government reports.

BTW, I hope you aren't related to Sepp Blatter or Claes Borgstrom. If bad.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 13, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

When I was in Brasilia years ago after the end of morning tour the tour guide said that two blocks behind my hotel is where the prostitutes hang. Then he said that all the prettiest ones are trannies.

The following week I was in Rio, and met up with another friend (also from USA). One day after doing our separate things we met up in the evening at an outdoor cafe for drinks (wobbly table and all, as I left my tools at home). As I'm sitting down I tell my friend a trannie just asked me if I wanted a date. My friend asked me how I knew it was a trannie and I said "'cause he/she was pretty."

Posted by: omni | April 13, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse


Now I'm all flustered about FIFA. I think the economics of this need to be adressed:

1. How many foreign visitors are expected for the tourney?

2. What is the rate of prostitute patronization by the foreigners?

3. What is the going rate per visit?

4. How much of the gross income, and I do mena gross, will be spent in Germany versus taken back to the home country of the guest sex-workers?

5. What is the Duke lacrosse team doing on their Spring Break?

In an unrelated issue, why is Joel italicizing "verbatim" except to taunt us?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Achenbach threw down the human evolution gauntlet.

First, we look at our extant relatives to see how we differ genetically, including the easy stuff, chromosome rearrangements

Okay, did everybody get a nice nap reading that?

Now, all great apes have 48 chromosomes. Humans have 46. This was caused by a fusion of two chromosomes into our current chromosome 2.

Here is a nice 1987 article outlining a "scenario" for this translocation/fusion of the chromosomes, based on what we do know.

Nearly 20 years later, the evidence does indicate that chromosomes do drive speciation... but that some species have "chromosomal races" as part of natural variation and remain interfertile.

Unless the 46-chromosome people had an extra advantage, this could have just as easily occured in humans.

Recently, the sources of chromosome translocation are being studied.

The most "natural" chromosome screwups (not caused by bad maintenance mechanisms) tend to occur in intraspecific (or interspecific) hybrids. New species CAN arise from hybridization to closely related species.

It seems like we had an awful lot of species of hominids running around a few million years ago, didn't we?

What's to stop a few hook-ups from producing a few 47-chromosome hybrids?

I'm with Achenbach here. Animal language seems innate, heck, praire dogs apparently can converse about the colors humans wear.

Humans have some innate expression and gesture, but we have developed complex, unstable, unlearned languages that distorts and partially masks our innate communication abilities.

Could it be because the first human forecursors with language were stuck without a stable basis of understanding innate language thanks to hybridization between two species?

This does occur with dog-wolf hybrids. They can exhibit highly unpredictable body language, half wolf, half dog.
(Dogs are bred for eye contact to understand human communication-- wolves avert eyes but will do long, aggressive staring. Dogs virtually never do.)

Also, language evolves surprisingly easily among deaf children. They go around and see if everybody understands what was said, and everything gets repeated over and over until there is a consensus, and a new word is born.

But do you ever see animals checking to be sure other animals understand? They go straight to the snap or growl ;).

"The Man without Words" is an interesting book on a man who grew up without any real language. Since it was published, the author apparently has had 20 more years to learn more about this... I hope she will write another book.

Anyway, this is my flaky "human origin theory", and it is patented, copyrighted, etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 13, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Omni, you must hate tile floors.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 13, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Item 4: change "mena" to "mean"
Item 5: change "Spring" to "Summer". That may change the whole cost-benefit analysis.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I thought we were talking about outdoor cafes. Must be the really nice weather here abouts got to my brain. If it's indoors I don't need the diamond coated drill bit.

Posted by: omni | April 13, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Shreiking Denizen, except during a blue moon. Then we see Roquefort.

My first attempt at cooking Christmas dinner as a young bride was duck l'orange. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Posted by: Nani | April 13, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse


Sepp Blatter is brother to the far better-known Tages...

*waiting for Loomis to throw something at me*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 13, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Mudge -- the answer to your second question is not likely to be very funny. Except for that, everything you write is, usually.

Posted by: Russian Hill Lurker | April 13, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

omni, umbrage can also be burnt, although it doesn't have to be if one uses a cooking rack.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 13, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I was in a chromosomal race once. Finished 19th in a time of 1:52:36. Later found out I only have 14 chromosomes, and was disqualified for missing two gates and using steroids. Bummer.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 13, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I've always had the scientifically unsound theory that the Basque people are remnants of a mixed Neanderthal/homo sapiens culture. I've read very good reasons why it is not so. However, the Basque language is completely different from the surrounding Indo-European tongues, and that would be one explanation.

I think I like data-free hypothesizing.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't know whether to be amused or frightened by the fact that the advertising at the bottom of the kit is all about geese. I've heard of targeted demographics but c'mon!

Posted by: grimmace | April 13, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I thought that umbrage could only be burnt in the it doesn't really apply to the rest of the universe does it?

Posted by: omni | April 13, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

And so the boodle dies.... don't actually try to plow through that first link unless you have the guts for that much scientific roughage.

The second one is much more readable.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 13, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Here's what I see:

Ads by Google
Get Rid of Geese
Golf courses, fields, lawns, parks. Over 100 Products. Bird-B-Gone

Goose Control
The Latest Online Source You Will Find It Here!

George Bush Bill Clinton
Who Is A Better President? Vote Now To See Who's Winning!

huh, what???

Posted by: omni | April 13, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I want italics damnit!!!

Posted by: omni | April 13, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

This is the one I have:

Get Rid of Geese
Golf courses, fields, lawns, parks. Over 100 Products. Bird-B-Gone

Goose Control
The Spot To Find It! It Is All Here.

No Goose Zone
A new product on the market. Get rid of geese and their mess.

Posted by: grimmace | April 13, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Almost time for the 4:00 p.m. whistle. Hope you folks have a great long weekend.

Got fly off with the rest of the gaggle!

Posted by: aroc | April 13, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Joel, the Boodle is affecting your work.

The methane noises from yesterday's Smithsonian piece, and your fourth and fifth paras today. Fullitude? *snicker*

"stellar", "solarium", and "terrestrium" months - ha!

And that fifth para; dude, I didn't think you worked blue, but the evidence is right there in 0s and 1s 'afore me. Oh, and nice work mixin' cosmological and quantum scales on that linear measurement between the two spheres.


Posted by: bc | April 13, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Following JA's suggestion, I have some beans soaking at home and am planning to make something with it, and sausages, this evening. The talk of goose settles what that will be -- cassoulet. I wonder if I'll find some goose at Whole Foods on the way home. I need just a bit, not a whole bird.

Posted by: jg | April 13, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

As shop steward around here, aroc, I'm obliged to remind you to remember to punch your time card when you clock out, and remember to take home any food in your locker or the breakroom refrigerator if you're leaving for the weekend.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 13, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

LOL... The Basques are the remmants of the first colonizing Europeans. The Etruscans, who ruled the roman people early on, also had an line unrelated to anything else. Greece has a few names that are clearly non-Indo European as well. Mentha (leading to our mint)-- not I.E.

Rhine, Rhone, Danube all seem to come from non-Indo European languages, I think.

Right now the major European linguistic families (EXCEPT FOR Finnish and Eskarra-- Basque tongue) are all Indo-European, and related to Sanskrit.

The logical cause is a swamping of herding and farming peoples from the north Middle East/Central Asia over the local hunting population, cultural hegemony, and so on.

Kind of what has almost happened right here in North America and native american tongues.

Celtic actually used to be spoken in most of Europe, not just the UK. Roman rule replaced the native dialects with dialects of Latin, hence romance languages.

The Basque territory keeps a nice population genetic database-- run by the police department there. You can get a look at Eskarra, Spanish, and English translations of the same stuff. I didn't see any "Neanderthals", sorry. People have tried to check out Northern Europeans for neanderthal blood, but apparently they are only similar in being adapted to cold climates.

Neanderthals were much more hyperborean in their adaptation. (New vocab word for ya)...
They're short, with more massive and compact bodies, larger heads than any modern-day human not on steriods.

If you want to learn about body size and shape and climate... go ahead and look it up. It's a fascinating "rule" and it holds true for humans as well.

"Race" in humans is largely looks x ecological adaptation..

But it's weird, don't ya think? The more we dig up bones, the more we keep coming up with hominoids of all sizes that could fit our ancient ideas of trolls, hobbits, dwarves, kobolds.

Maybe we HAVE already been down this "explore our origins" road before ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 13, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

bc, you've never heard of the cosmoquantical scale?


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 13, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

And what is Dubya gonna do when he finds out we are all human-animal hybrids?

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Just for fun. Let's see if we can change the ads.

Transexual Dinosaurs, Duck Soup, Pease Porridge Hot, Lemon wedges, rosemary and olive bread, Jessica Simpson, the Horsehead Nebula, crappie, grouper, bass, and minnows.

OK, now, everybody!

Posted by: CowTown | April 13, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Back on subject
Talk about "Coals to Newcastle"
I worked in Petaluma (30 miles north of the GG Bridge) the 30 years before my retirement and often enjoyed the succulent Peiking Duck in SF China Town.
(Then govenrnor Jerry Brown gave Chinatown a special exemption for Peking Duck to be allowed to hang in the Chinatown windows without refigeration) Then one day I found that the Reichart Duck Farm in Petaluma delivered hundreds of fresh duck to Chinatown daily. But back to the begining, On my first trip to Hong Kong about 10 years ago I went up to the top of Victoria Peak like all the other first timers and what did I find? Petaluma Duck
on the menu. The Reichhart Duck Farm was founded on 10 ducks from Hong Kong in 1910.
Achenfan could probably verify if this is still true

Posted by: bh | April 13, 2006 4:07 PM | Report abuse

He'll be a monkey's uncle.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 13, 2006 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Also, expect photo ops with orang-utans and chimpanzees as he talks about saving our endangered cousins.

But no....... we gotta invade yet another country instead.

Posted by: Wilbrod-ape | April 13, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention a couple more things - I had glanced at the FIFA position on the prositiution matter, and thought better of looking further. Thanks for doin' the research in this matter, Dr. 'Mudge.

On a completely different topic, I've been invited to celebrate the second night of passover with in-laws, so I need to blast off momentarily to take care of a few things before seder. I haven't been to one since I was a child, and I'm looking forward to it.

I'll boodle more later if I can. And I'm not embarassingly loopy on Manechevitz, that is.

Shalom, y'all.


Posted by: bc | April 13, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I went to one site that was talking about mass geese extermination; apparently, they are pests, but I don't see that many geese way down here.

Sandhill cranes? Yes. Geese? Not so much.

Posted by: amo | April 13, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

1. Sepp Blatter is apparently Swiss. As a citizen of the *other* country that doesn't give a damn about soccer, I had no idea who he was. A google search shows that there are entire alternate boodle universes in which Sepp Blatter is discussed ad nauseam (italics).

2. By my count there are 56 comments to this kit already. Definitely some pent-up boodling.

3. "Goose Control Products", "Goose repellents", "Get Rid of Geese". I all have to say is honk if you love geese.

4. In response to Curmudgeon's questions on the prostitution requirements of the World Cup and the numbers involved, the first thing that came to mind was "how much wood would a woodchuck etc. Long story short, I couldn't make the rhyming work in this particular circumstance. Discretion is indeed the better part of velour.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 13, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I was going to make some pithy comment about Mudge's chromosones and FIFA's hormones but figured it may be in bad taste...

Posted by: amo | April 13, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'm back from lunch.

And what a lunch it was. A buffet at a place called Souper Salad. I sat in a booth. The table didn't wobble.

Now, isn't it always the case that somebody ruins a good cliffhanger? In this case, it's jw, who is also apparently a genius.

Just make the tables with three legs. The parts touching the floor will always lie in one plane. With four legs, it's virtually impossible to get all four landing in one plane.

Damn you jw, (insert echo effect here) daaaaaamn you!

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 13, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Mostly lurking, but stumped on how you can go from 48 to 46 chromosomes when two of the 48 join to be one.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 13, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Here are a couple of links to sites with information about the very real problem of human trafficking and how the World Cup events may be related. Note one estimate that 100,000 women and children may be trafficked in a year: so it might not be a stretch to say that 40,000 could be sent to Germany for a particular event.,2144,1888926,00.html,1518,404955,00.html

Posted by: Russian Hill Lurker | April 13, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised a nautical guy like jw didn't suggest just nailing the sucker down.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 13, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

amo, the cranes should be doing their annual flyover pretty soon. I can sit on my back deck (sorry not a porch), coffee in hand, buried in warm blankies, and watch as they head north riding the updrafts going round and round. Its a wonderful sight.

Posted by: dr | April 13, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Good for you, dr, I'll take that as a "honk".

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 13, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Amo - Each goose poops 2 pounds per day. This is a huge problem around any body of water and golf courses up here in the Northeast. It’s overpopulation and the fact that they don’t migrate. They are also quite combative creatures. Some guy in the Boston area last year was arrested for killing one. I forget whether he ran it over with his car or strangled it. There was an uproar – cruelty to animals and all that, but honestly, I could sympathize with his emotions, if not his deed. They hang out in my office park parking lot as we are next to the Charles River and they can be scary, especially this time of year when they are making more little goslings.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 13, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The ground conditions around any goose colony make the area unusable. They are a nuisance animal and should be treated as such.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Stepping into ScienceGrandpa's territory a little bit: we have 23 chromosome pairs, but we had 24 pairs back when we were apes. A pair of chromosomes fused with another pair, thus costing us one pair and making other interesting things happen.

Given that all the chemical attachment points for the original 24 chromosoms still should be pretty much there, one can't help wondering what would result from a human-animal hybrid made in the, uh, the, uh... "old-fashioned" way. Brainiac gorilla? Or wimp chimp? Or blob of unsuccessful protoplasm?

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 13, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

So many topics, and only a few minutes to catch up before heading down to Gordon Biersch for the First Tapping of the Maibock! I'm taking the metro, don't worry.

Goose is fantastic. One time, a friend and I got a fresh goose from Dean & Deluca, boned it, then stuffed it with figs. But not just any old figs. These figs were themselves stuffed with a foie gras and black truffle mixture. We rolled it all up and braised it in Normandy cider or something over-the-top like that and it was fab-U-loso.

The whole "duck is greasy" thing is exaggerated. About a mile from my house is the Peking Gourmet Inn, home of the best-ever Peking duck. I can't help eating there at least a few times a year despite its fame as a Bush family hangout. Trust me, you'll be fighting over those crispy bits of duck skin.

Bottle caps work pretty well for table stabilization on my patio.

Mmm... Maibock. Prost!

Posted by: Pixel | April 13, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse


Lets not get into territory where we have to start delving into the more unsavory crackpot theories about the origin of HIV from SIV.

In a(n un)related matter, "The Planet Of The Apes" is now available in a box set that includes all five movies, the tv series and the cartoon.

I always thought Zira was kinda cute.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 13, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

wouldnt it be easier if there were 13 months?

13 x 28 days = 364 + 1 (or 2 on leap year).

better than "30 days hath september..."

Posted by: pete | April 13, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

There was a golf course round here that moved some of its resident goose population to a wilderness area because of a severe goose 'infestation' (golfers were being mobbed by geese). They were moved responsibly, and safely and not just slaughtered. This is a contravention of the Wildlife Act in that they are interferring with wild animals. They are in deep goose do-do.

Posted by: dr | April 13, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

re: 13 months

or 12 x 30 with 5 days of holidays as per the French Revolutionary calendar:


Posted by: SonofCarl | April 13, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Ooooh! I propose a boodle Ape-athon.

Haha...sorry to ruin the surprise, Bayou Self. Great minds, you know.

Posted by: jw | April 13, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Read the second link on my original post. This discusses EXACTLY how the translocation might lead to a 48-46 chromosome set, in nice and clear language. Once again:

If we start to boodle explanations we'll be here all night until we mutate into the post-human condition.

We should focus on going ape. Anybody catch the Great Ape chat yesterday?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 13, 2006 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Shakes fist at jw, but in a nice way.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 13, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Dogs aren't bound by the Wildlife Act, are they? I'd just go golfing with a border collie in tow, or insist the golf course provide one as an escort.

What? You don't think the Scots really went golfing in sheep pastures without any dogs to keep the sheep in order? Think of the bunker shots you could have off sheep with a well-trained collie. "Shep,move the sheep to the tree over there. Face 'em right, that's very nice, hold 'em ... wham BOINK off a ram's horn into the hole.

"No, no, don't fetch the ball! Good Boy!"

Somebody called golf a good walk spoiled. I agree. What is a good walk without a dog?

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 13, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

If the boodle is going Ape, then I submit the following.

He's free as the breeze, He's always at ease
He lives in the jungle and hangs by his knees
As he swings through the trees without a trapeze
In his B.V.D.'s

He's got a union card and he's practicing hard
To play the guitar
Gonna be a big star, yeah, he's gonna go far
And carry moon beams home in a jar

He ordered Chet's Guitar course C.O.D.
Makes "A" and "E" and he's working on "B"
Digs "C" and "W" and "R" and "B"
And me and the chimpanzee agree that one day soon he will be a celebrity


Git it, git it, git it, git it...OW!
Gitarzan, he's a guitar man
He's all you can stand
Give him a hand, Gitarzan
Ahhh (Jungle Yell), Ahhh, Ahhh

He's got a girl named Jane with no last name
Kinda homely and plain but he loves her just the same
Cuz she kindles a flame and it drives him insane
When he hears her sing, she really does her thing
It's her claim to fame, come on, sing one Jane

Baby, baby
Ow, baby, baby (scat)
Baby, baby

Well, they got a pet monkey
He likes to get drunky
And sing boogie woogie and it sounds real funky
Come on, your time boy, sing one monkey

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Let's hear it for the monkey
On saturday night they need some excitement
Jane gets right and the monkey gets tight
And their voices unite in the pale moonlight
And it sounds all right, yeah, it's dynamite, it's out of sight
Let's hear it

Baby, ahhh, baby, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Baby, ahhh, baby, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

Git it, git it, git it, git it...ow!
Gitarzan and his jungle band
They're all you can stand
Give 'em a hand Gitarzan

Written by: Ray Stevens
Bill Everette

My favourite line of this song, which appears to be noted as just '(scat)' is 'Shut up Baby, I'm trying to sing'.

Posted by: dr | April 13, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Sweet heavens, I've killed the boolde.

Posted by: dr | April 13, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Yup, I've really done it. Lets see if I can revive it.

Posted by: dr | April 13, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

dr, did someone really write "wash me" on the windshield of the lander in the first "Planet of the Apes?"

It's important.

Posted by: CowTown | April 13, 2006 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Only on this website. But keep going. This site is quite achenboodlable.

Posted by: dr | April 13, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

*image of dr, fist hammering chest of near comatose boodle - "Live, damn you! Live!*

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 13, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Lunar cycles!
German prostitutes!

There may be a pulse...

Posted by: grimmace | April 13, 2006 6:27 PM | Report abuse

As long as I don't have to say "It's dead, Jim" I'll be ok. Traumatized but ok.

Posted by: dr | April 13, 2006 6:30 PM | Report abuse

dr, don't be afraid to say:

"Dammit, Jim, I'm a Boodler, not a doctor!"


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 13, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

and remember - goose poop has no bacteria... well, not that is harmful to a human...

The types of bacteria (and other microorganisms) that occur in goose poop have been the subject of several scientific studies - the best scientific information available indicates that goose poop rarely contains organisms harmful to human health.

i learned this from a navy ensign who i can only assume spent much time face down in goose poop for his pt.

DAMMM i need italics!

Posted by: mo | April 13, 2006 6:36 PM | Report abuse

to show the foreign origin of the word poop, no doubt (Fr: poupon)

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 13, 2006 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Mo! Scottynuke! Grimmace! SonofCarl!

The boodle lives. I can save the nashing of teeth for next time I almost kill the boodle.

Posted by: dr | April 13, 2006 6:39 PM | Report abuse

i was chased by a goose once - they are quite uppity!

can't bring myself to eat duck much less goose. just. can't. do. it... i keep seeing daffy ducks face - and a cute little rubber ducky... can't eat rabbit or deer either... i'm with sneakers - i'll just stick with chicken... nuttin cute about a chicken (well, an adult chicken that is)

Posted by: mo | April 13, 2006 6:41 PM | Report abuse

glad to come to the rescue dr! my office has been in disarray for the last two days (they tore down the old cubicles and put up swanky NEW cubicles) so i've been pried (kicking and screaming) away from my computer and the boodle - took me all afternoon to catch up!

you were looking for me dolphy?

Posted by: mo | April 13, 2006 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Number two daughter sometimes chicken/goat/dog/cat sits for one of her neighbors. They had a chicken named Lord HaHa (I asked why it wasn't "Lady" but got no sensible answer). She was a "fancy" chicken, whatever that is. Did see a picture of her and she sure was pretty for a chicken. Sadly, her looks didn't save her from Mr. Fox.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 13, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Number two daughter sometimes chicken/goat/dog/cat sits for one of her neighbors. They had a chicken named Lord HaHa (I asked why it wasn't "Lady" but got no sensible answer). She was a "fancy" chicken, whatever that is. Did see a picture of her and she sure was pretty for a chicken. Sadly, her looks didn't save her from Mr. Fox.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 13, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Opps, sorry for the double!

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 13, 2006 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Mo, if you can't bring yourself to eat duck, might I suggest a turduckan (sp?). Giblets and whatnot are stuffed inside a chicken. The chicken is then stuffed inside a duck. The duck is then stuffed inside a turkey. Everything is then roasted (or deep fried if you really want to set the mouth watering). You could call it a compromise. I call it delicious!

Posted by: grimmace | April 13, 2006 6:56 PM | Report abuse

And now after successfully calling it another day in Porchville, I'm leaving for the deck.

Posted by: dr | April 13, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Great. Y'all had Tom's Dumb Question Day without me.
*That* hurts.

Posted by: Tom fan | April 13, 2006 7:26 PM | Report abuse

grimmace - you CAN'T be serious! you're just pulling my leg! i've never heard of such a thing! seems so... completely over the top!

Posted by: mo | April 13, 2006 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Tom fan--don't feel bad. Here's a little something to cheer you up. Last summer when Tom was guest-hosting the blog, I mentioned that I was a kind of Tom fan myself because of Tropic magazine (is anybody sick of hearing about that yet? well, just wait.) I said then that there was one column in particular that I remembered Tom for. Since then, I have found a way to access the vintage Tropic articles, through our library system, and I went back and found that column. I'm working on a Tropic website that will have links to numerous articles, but it's just under construction now. But especially for you, Tom fan, I uploaded this editorial gem from Mr. Shroder, "Filthy Rich," from March 19, 1989.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 13, 2006 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Mo, I kid thee not. One of the best Thanksgiving meals I've ever had.

Posted by: grimmace | April 13, 2006 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I am laughing so hard at your post about the prostitutes. I can't stop laughing, and it is sad, but you made it so funny. Mudge, is there anything I can do to help you get the top job at WashPost? You really should get paid for what you do. I know when I read your post, I'm going to understand a situation that I didn't understand or I am going to laugh until my stomach hurts and tears run down my face. While I read the other comments I was still laughing. You're good, there is no doubt in my mind about that.

And the person that wrote about the ads at the bottom of the page, I couldn't believe when I saw that.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 13, 2006 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Aaron Brown, formerly of CNN, was pretty well-known for doing a segment about turducken--at least two years in a row, right before Thanksgiving. He got the idea from his producer David Borman, who ate the concoction down south, around New Orleans, if I recall correctly.

Posted by: Loomis | April 13, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

P.S., resipe and photos included in the turducken link, but you have to scroll down pretty far. Spoiler: not for the squeamish.

Posted by: Loomis | April 13, 2006 9:22 PM | Report abuse

The "top" job at the Post? Are we talkin' Len Downie, or me being adopted by the Graham family? (Although why I should even quibble is silly, since I'm game for either one.)

Sorry I made you cry and your stomach hurt, Cassandra. Usually I have to cook my famous liverwurst soup for that to happen.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 13, 2006 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self, I figured the answer to wobbly tables was 3 legs. I know this because of my previously-mentioned-in-the-boodle visits to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. The floors in the living room are stone, very uneven, and he insisted that the Kaufmann's have 3-legged chairs. Don't know if he got the patent.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 13, 2006 9:58 PM | Report abuse

When daughter 2 was maybe 3 we went to the local golf course to dispose of an old loaf of bread by tossing it to the ducks in the lake. Daughter ended up frightened on my shoulders, out of reach of the aggressive goose that came to claim ownership of that pond.

Posted by: jg | April 13, 2006 10:14 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking - Me, you, jw and Frank Lloyd Wright. I can live with that company.

But Paul Simon still isn't going to write a farewell song about the other three of us.

Moving along, when I hear the word "turducken," I hear the voice of John Madden. And I always will. John Madden, by the way, in younger days when he was a stouter man, made use of a three-legged device to steady himself. Prototypes had four legs, and even Madden could put together the Xs and Os and see that it would inevitably wobble.

Okay, I made up that last part..

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 13, 2006 10:27 PM | Report abuse

It's funny, because when I hear the word turducken, I think about Paul Simon's farewell to FLW. Weird.

Posted by: grimmace | April 13, 2006 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I just had to share this. Ran across this while dealing with my occasional homesickness by websurfing LA-related sites:

"Franklin Square is that rare commodity: the traditional homogeneous neighborhood with grid-pattern, tree-lined streets, sidewalks and an adjacent commercial/service area. A short walk to the market, school, the post office or for a meal is not an impossibility in Franklin Square. Most homes were built in the 1920s and ‘30s and are classic California bungalows with period revival influences. Franklin Square is an excellent starter home neighborhood, as most home prices are below $800,000."

"Excellent Starter Home...$800,000"

Homesickness over!

Please continue.

Posted by: CowTown | April 13, 2006 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I've had "duck fingers" at a restaurant that is perched on a steep slope near a wooded lake. Of course the dipping sauce was orange. It was great.

That's all. Just thought I'd chime in.

Posted by: CowTown | April 13, 2006 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Back from a successful day of hunting for new fossil exposures in VA/NC, and finally caught up on posts.

I have always been a fan of the idea, which was popular among paleontologists for awhile, that modern humans (all of them-not a particular group) were a result of hybridization of early humans (Cro-Magnons) and the Neanderthals. I've struck by the fact that the Cro-Magnons were actually taller (average) that modern humans, and seem to me (I've never quantified this) that features like brow ridges were even less pronounced.

Unfortunately, it appears that there are many problems with the hybridization theory, most especially with the timing of neanderthal and human populations in any given place. I haven't totally abandoned the idea, but it's looking like I might have to soon.

That's too bad--I do so wish that I was part Neanderthal.

Posted by: Dooley | April 13, 2006 11:24 PM | Report abuse

The things you can learn by reading the boodle...I feel like I've earned at least a couple of college credits on science facts alone, not to mention learning what "loosey-goosey" really refers to. On a more serious note, I find I'm going to be traveling from California on Saturday to be with my daughter at Walter Reed Army Hospital, visiting my son-in-law who was wounded in Iraq on Saturday. A roadside bomb killed his buddy and sent vicious shrapnel into his right arm, basically pulverizing his elbow and wrist. We are hoping for the best, that's apparently a good place for great treatment.

Posted by: Slats | April 13, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't know that Paul Simon song! I don't think I've ever listened to the album it's on (played their first 2, maybe 3 till they wore out). I tell ya, it's amazing what I learn here on the boodle. I can say that I have no appetite just now for goose, duck, chicken, turkey, turducken. I have vegetarian friends who tried tofurkey (turkey-shaped tofu) for Thanksgiving once. It was not a success.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 14, 2006 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for boodling out of order, Slats. Sorry to hear about your son-in-law - hope he recovers soon. There are no words to take away the pain he must be going through.

I hate war.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 14, 2006 12:12 AM | Report abuse

OK, I've figured this out correctly, yes?

ALL things that eat ANYTHING will eventually eat some goose, whether they intend to or no... (AND)

ALL things that orbit ANYTHING will eventually, whether they intend to or no, face the same way (in some relative fashion) while they eat the goose.

Is that about right?

Posted by: Bob S. | April 14, 2006 2:47 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I don't claim to know exactly whereof I speak, but I think it's true that none of the tidal flexing (and posing) would accomplish much in the way of changing orbital & rotational positions if it weren't for the actual exchange of matter and/or energy taking place every day. This ain't all theoretical math crap!

Posted by: Bob S. | April 14, 2006 2:58 AM | Report abuse

I would like to wish all you Christian Boodlers a Good Friday, and a good Friday for all you non-Christian boodlers. My prayers go out to the suffering.
Some other thaughts:
The moon has something to do with Easter Sunday, and I wonder if all cultures have a seven day week. I also wonder why I'm up at 4:45 in the morning?

Posted by: Pat | April 14, 2006 4:45 AM | Report abuse


I'm sorry to hear you are visiting on our fair city under such mixed circumstances. The Post has done a lot of stories about how dedicated the health care professionals at Walter Reed are.

Take some time and visit the Smithsonian and go see the pandas.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 6:05 AM | Report abuse


May your visit be as pleasant as possible, and may your in-law's recovery be as swift and complete as possible. If it's at all doable, visit the National Zoo (I have a feeling the Walter Reed staff can get you some short-notice tickets for Tai Shan, Boodle mascot extrodinaire) and bring back some digital pictures for your in-law -- a break in his routine would very likely be a good thing.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Don't look now, but the Google goose ads are still there...

And why didn't Google pick a goose for its mascot?? "Google Goose" -- pure marketing gold.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I received this question in an emai late last night from one of my community college students, that's vaguely relevant to one thread of the boodle. To set the stage, we have discussed evolution in class, but not specifically human evolution. I've edited out identifying information:

"I was curious if you could answer an evolution question that I’ve been pondering. If humans were descendants of Apes and they’re our ancestors then why are Apes not continuing to evolve and change into humans?"

My response:

"It's a common misconception that chimpanzees, gorillas, or some other modern ape is a human ancestor. Those apes, plus orangutans, and numerous extinct forms, and humans, are all members of the family Hominidae. That means they are all descended from a common (shared) ancestor. So humans didn't come from chimpanzees; humans and chimpanzees are separate branches from the same ancestor.

We shouldn't think of humans as "more highly evolved" than other groups, or as evolution marching toward humans. Human ancestors underwent a particular history, and experienced certain selective pressures, which resulted in thinner hair, larger brains, upright stance, etc. Meanwhile, chimps experienced some other set of selective pressures, that resulted in their particular set of characteristics. They, like we, are well adapted to their particular ecological niche.

Moreover, chimps and other apes ARE still evolving in response to their environments. But there's no reason to suspect that their environment would select for characters that would make them more like humans--maybe they're being selected for better camoflage, or better ability to find their foods, or climbing ability, or resistance to a particular disease, or all of these and other things as well. We would still be evolving, too, except for our medical technology. Remember that for evolution to work, you have to have differential survival--generally, it means that some young are more likely than others to die before sexual maturity, BECAUSE of characteristics they inherited from theeir parents. That's rarely the case for humans anymore, so our rate of evolutionary change is probably close to zero."

When I get questions like this from a student, especially one that's not a science major, it lightns my heart--I'm not wasting my time teaching after all.

Posted by: Dooley | April 14, 2006 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Head-shakingly horrifying story by Spencer Hsu on the home page about how FEMA mis-spent a BILLION dollars in the Katrina clean-up. Jeez. Good thing these fiscally conservative and skilled-at-money-management Republicans are running things.

Why am I not surprised that one of the few reasonable, intelligent assessments of the immigration issue is (continues to be) Eugene Robinson's piece? The guy hasn't written a bad--or even mediocre--column yet.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

WARNING: Off-Topic Baseball Conspiracy Theory Item

Baseball is a numbers game; statistics play a large role in knowledageable discussion of it. Where would baseball be without the records - DiMaggio's 56 consecutive games with a hit, Hammerin' Hanks 755 career HRs, Barry Bonds' 73 HRs in a season, etc.

The Elias Sports Bureau reports that to this point in the '06 MLB season, balls are flying off of bats at a record rate, far above last year, and greater even than during the Steroid Era (Which is over. We think. All that's left are the legal proceedings and the books, right?).

Batting average is up, runs/game is up, HRs/at bat is up, etc.

Experts are claiming that this year's balls are "juiced", or have been constructed differently so that they're more "lively".

Some might say I'm wound kinda tight (ahem), but let me pitch a theory anyway:

You're Major League Baseball, and you're working to remove steroid and other chemical performance enhancers from the game (and facing resistance from the Players Union), but your lack of willingness to face the problem for the past 15 years or so leaves some huge statistical anomalies in the record books.

Asteriskable anomalies.

So, if you're MLB and you think that this huge spike in numbers in the 1990s and early '00s might make you look bad, would you consider doing something to smooth the numbers out over time? Such as altering construction of baseballs so that there were more hits and HRs? Would you offer it to the Player's Union as quid pro quo for stringent steroid and perfromance-enhancing drug testing?

If you did such things, and hitting statistics for a "post-steroid era" remained roughly consistent with those from 1990-2004, wouldn't it weaken arguments made to put asterisks beside hitting records? Or weaken arguments to keep players of the "Steroid Era" out of Cooperstown 5-7 years from now?

Wouldn't it help make the whole thing just go away a few years down the road?


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Just a few SCCs of the many posted at 9:13 AM"

"performance-" and "Hank's". I'm sure there's more, I just don't have time to confront all my inadequacies right now.


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Oregon has an odd goose problem--some subspecies of Canada goose from the Aleutian Islands are quite limited in numbers because foxes were introduced to their breeding grounds. They winter in specific spots. Lurking among them are abundant and utterly un-endangered subspecies. In fact, they're making nuisances of themselves. So Oregonians are encouraged to hunt geese, but only if they learn to tell the huntables from the un-huntables.

Here in Florida, we don't have pesky lawn geese, and we're content to watch white ibises probing for bugs in the lawn.

If the St. Johns River marshes and the Everglades are properly restored, ibis flocks might darken the sky once again.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | April 14, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

If only the Nationals were included in your analysis, bc. *sigh* 13-4 last night. I don't think they got the "stats are up" memo.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

What made you decide to teach? What made you choose your particular field? Did Laurence McKinley Gould have anything to do with it? Any possibility that Carleton's Gould is distantly related to Stephen Jay Gould? In one of my mother's letters (if I can find that one particular letter somewhere in the house), she mentions partying in Los Angeles, I believe in the mid-1930s, with members of a polar expedition--and *I think* it was Byrd's.

You're from Roanoke, graduated Carleton in '91, then at some point returned to Roanoke--you went home (judicious Googling). Any regrets about not plunking yourself down in a bigger metropolitan area to pursue your profession?

I passed through Roanoke in '04, just after Memorial Day weekend, full of bites on my legs after leaving the state campground just several stone's throws from Appomattox. I packed up my tent in Winsted, Conn. still very damp from the previous night's rain. Two evenings later after driving out of Connecticut, I was almost forced to choose to camp to dry out the tent and to eliminate the mold smell that was just beginning to emanate from the tent in the rear of my Honda.

Drove into Roanoke's downtown by mistake, there was a big accident that blocked the main driving artery, everybody and his brother was abandoning this highway in droves, and I inched over many of Roanoke's back streets before finding another main roadway that would deliver me to the freeway. I will say that the western side of Virginia is incredibly beautiful.

Posted by: Loomis | April 14, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, the Nats pitching and defense is playing right into my analysis.

They're helping bump this season's MLB average of 10.8 runs scored per game WAY up by allowing 13. The additional 4 they scored helps a bit, too.


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse


Ya think mebbe the various groups bidding for the Nats have already revised their $ numbers downward? *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Dooley, your students are so fortunate! They will remember you fondly for years to come. It's been 30 or more yrs. since I read Konrad Lorenz' On Aggression. I recall he wrote of his deep love for animals, becoming aware of evolution at quite a young age and spoke eloquently of his teacher, a Benedictine monk, who freely taught his students Darwin's theory of evolution and natural selection.

Posted by: Nani | April 14, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Very appreciative of your posts yesterday. I found it interesting your mention of dogs being bred to make eye contact. Your overview of the human diaspora associated with Sanskrit and Indo-European languages wasn't new to me--Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza of Stanford and his son Francesco (any relation to the Dukes Of Milan Sforzas?) devote a good deal of discussion to language dissemination in their book about population genetics, "The Great Human Diaspora," specifically in their seventh chapter, "The Tower of Babel."

I don't know, Wilbrod, if you're aware of the same type of language dispersal here on the North American continent? I don't know which I learned first--the story of the connectedness of Athabaskan or the story of the Navajo code talkers (made into a pretty bad movie with Adam Beach and Nick Cage). The link I provide gives an overview:

The language is found furthest north in the Alaskan Yukon, then into southern Alaska and British Columbia and northwestern Canada (but as far east as dr's Alberta?), spreading along the Pacific Coast into Oregon and northern California (the Hupa being one set of mountains over in the Coastal Range from Humboldt State, my alma mater, and further east into the northern, upper Sacramento Valley), then terminating at its southermost reaches in the languages of the Apaches and Navajo. Who would think that the language of the Navajo of the desert Southwest would be strongly linked to the native languages of Alaska?

I wonder when Joel will deliver on his promise to Kit about early human migrations?

Posted by: Loomis | April 14, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I know, bc, I know. I'm just depressed at their start, and wanted to whine.

In a related matter, C'MON, PEOPLE! IT'S ALREADY 10 O'CLOCK! LET'S GET THIS BOODLE MOVING! We need some quips, we need some potentially salacious material! Anecdotes! Rants! Rovestroms! Hup, hup, hup! Don't gimmee any of this lilly-livered "It's Friday, and I'm not in the mood" crap.

*Already hating this whole shop steward thing*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Well, each of us could talk about one of our own "life's most embarrasing moments"? How's that for salacious? Other suggestions for the cranky, slave-driver shop steward?

Posted by: Loomis | April 14, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, gotta agree with you on Eugene Robinson's columns. His words have helped me immensely in thinking through the illegal aliens problem and deciding where I stand on it.

Concerning FEMA, you're not surprised, are you? And did you see Daniel Gross' story on ATM in Slate this morning? You know, as a civil servant, I don't mind being taxed, as long as they use the money wisely. Past time to throw these a**holes out and get in a set of fiscally responsible polititians. Ha!

Re identifying your health issues, was it yesterday we discussed health? A generation ago, I had a professor in grad school who said that the most reactionary union in the nation is the American Medical Association. Still true, I'd say.

Posted by: Slyness | April 14, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I haven't been around earlier. It's a holiday for me - the first since MLK Day - so I've been to the grocery stores and generally focused on domestic errands this morning. Coulda slept in and was awake at 5:10, though I didn't get up till 6:50...

Posted by: Slyness | April 14, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

bc, you may be on to something concerning MLB. The only thing I would interject would be that it we be hard to keep a major redesign of the baseall a secret for very long. Purists at Rawlings would have vociferous objections. Not to mention a redesign would cost money. K2 (Rawlings parent company since 2003) would want to issue a market alert to let investors know that they will be reaping more of a profit from MLB in the near future. It's not outside of the realm of possibilities though. I say someone needs to take one the HR balls that the Nats are giving up in droves and submit it for analysis.

Posted by: grimmace | April 14, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Am heading up Lancaster County to visit the in-laws with my dependents.
They seldom serve goose.
The grandparents will, as usual, give my children more presents for Easter than I received for Christmas. They are a giving people. I will torment my offspring by reminding them that when I was a child we received a single modest basket of candy each. Which was delivered while we were at Mass.

And we liked it.

I would like to wish everyone a good holiday.

Please apply the denominational filter of your choice when processing said good wishes.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 14, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Going waaaaaay back to the global warming issue, I stumbled on this:

Posted by: jw | April 14, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It's Friday, but Sunday's coming.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | April 14, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Also going way back (to the spaceman running around the moon):

ScienceTim, things depend on the latitude also. There's no reason that the hypothetical spaceman needs to run around the equator (the longest parallel). He just needs to stay far enough away from the poles to be safely in the moon's shadow.

This could be far enough below 15 mph to be convenient even at a walking pace.

("A leapin and hoppin in the moon's shadow. Moon's shadow moon's shadow" - Cat Stevens. Did not realize that this song was actually the premise of a sci fi story.)

Posted by: fizz | April 14, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the good thoughts, yellojkt, scottynuke. While I'm in DC I guess I'll be reading the hard copy of the Post, which will be very weird for me, I only read it online for the comments.

I'm hoping we can see some sights, I have a feeling the sights at Walter Reed are not going to be pleasant - this war is real, this war is hell, and this war really sucks.

Posted by: Slats | April 14, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I've got this boodle comment tagging along after me -- can't even remember the author, but I copied it from an obviated boodle (Smithsonian does climate change?) and somehow it keeps turning up, I actually FILED it to my editor accidentally, and here it is:

I realize I’m very late on this comment, but I think Dooley might be
overemphasizing the case for natural processes explaining recent warming
trends. For one thing, it doesn’t necessarily follow that because it
happened before, it is happening again. It sure seems likely that it will
happen at some point, but that doesn’t mean human systems didn’t interrupt
the process early, and if we compound a natural trend that is unfavorable
to our survival, its still a bad thing. As a grad student in an
agricultural field, I recently studied the evolution of early human
agriculture. One of the more interesting things to come out of my studies
was the suggestion that warming trends correlate well not only to recent
carbon emissions, but also to the advent of human agricultural. As far back
as 3000 years ago, the chinese were cultivating rice in rice patties, which
releases methane, which could play an important role in regulating
atmospheric temperature. Agriculture was also developing rapidly in the
middle east at the time. As temperatures rose (which they did), the
mediterranean climate became more and more favorable for agriculture, which
in turn spread. Is it possible that we have been evolving socially to
manipulate our environment to such an extreme degree all along and only
recently took notice of it? I think usually when we think of humans as
manipulators of the environment, we think that cut down a few trees to
build a house. But in truth, as a species, we have coopted global systems,
and the fates of other species (corn, the pig or the goat, etc.) throughout
our evolution on a grand scale. I suggest this, less as a good or bad
thing, and more as an awesome thing.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 14, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

That was by "p.t."

Posted by: Achenbach | April 14, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Also going back (but not too far);

RDP, here's another environmental supporter of nuclear power:

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

In Melbourne, there's discussion of renaming the Airport road to MLB in honor of MLK.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | April 14, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Nani, thanks for the nice comments.

Loomis, I no of no connection between the two Goulds. Larry Gould was way before my time at Carleton; I was never fortunate enough to meet him.

Teaching is only a part-time job for me; I'm primarily a researcher. I wish there were some grand reason for me wanting to do it, but the reality is, I started teaching (high school) years ago because my wife and I both lost our job, and we needed the money. Now I teach in the college at night because, well, I still need the money. I admit though, I'd probably keep doing it even if I didn't need the money; I do enjoy it most of the time.

I was born in Roanoke, but I didn't grow up there--Roanoke was the "big city" for me. I grumble about Martinsville, where I live now, not having anything to do, but there are advantages to living in a town with only 15,000 people, especially when you hate traffic as much as I do. If I lived in DC, I would eventually be in the WaPo--headline: "Road Rage Driver Kills 30 with Tire Iron, Batters Hole into Wilson Bridge with Forehead".

Posted by: Dooley | April 14, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I've also seen some commentary to the effect that humans started having some greenhouse influence starting with the beginning of agriculture (in the Atlantic, perhaps?). This also reminds me of the extinction of large game mammals in the Americas and Australia around the time of first human arrival.

We may be noticing the impact of global warming now not because we are affecting the biosphere on a planetary level for the first time, but because we are capable of conceiving our impact on that scale for the first time.

Posted by: fizz | April 14, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Forgot that today is Good Friday. OK, you guys can slack off, for once. But I expect you all back here Monday morning all bright and chipper and ready to go. (Not that I will be bright and chipper, by any means. Hypocritical? Sure. See, I'm gettin' the hang of this management thing.)

Uh, am I the only one uncomfortable with the phrase "cyberbanging" currently being used on the WaPo home page? (I understand WaPo didn't make it up, the gangs did. Still...)

Hey, on the religion front we got a twi-night doubleheader goin' here. In the first match-up, we got the Pope saying Judas was a double-crosser, contrary to the newly released Gospel of Judas. And meanwhile in the second bout Tom Cruise says he ain't gonna have his expected new baby baptized in the Catholic Church (Katie being apparently an ex-Catholic now). Meanwhile, we got some Jews taking umbrage (and I agree) over some evangelical Christians appropriating the Seder for Jesus.

Ah, Easter weekend! Why can't we all just hide the damned hard-boiled eggs in the backyard and have a nice, tranquil couple a days away from the sweatshop. Religion would be so much nicer if it didn't have all these religious people stirring up trouble all the time.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

grimmace, I don't think reengineering a baseball to make it a bit more "lively" would require a major redesign.

Changing the density of the cork at the core, the thickness or even the modulus of the rubber surrounding it (by it's compostition), or the tension of the wool and cotton string wound around that could be enough to change the properites of the ball and the acceleration of it off of a bat (skipping discussion of potential energy, kinetic energy and acceleration in the interest of time). Even the compostion of that "wool" or "cotton" might change the equation slightly.

Heck, there might even be small gains had from small changes to the weight distribution of a ball without changing overall weight.

Materials science is a very interesting business.


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Here's a question to ponder:

What do we owe future generations? Versus, for example, what we owe ourselves and our fellow citizens of the world right now? Let's complicate the equation: Let's say that, 50 years from now, barring disastrous nuclear war and/or climate change and/or economic collapse etc. (this is just a mental exercise), we project that per capita adjusted income will be three times what it is today, but that by taking selfish actions now we can alter that projection such that per capita income will be only twice as high in 50 years. Why not kick out the jams now? Why not borrow affluence from the future?

Actually, I think that is current U.S. fiscal policy.

I think it was Jefferson who said, "The Earth belongs in usufruct to the living," causing countless scholars to run around for the following two centuries trying to figure out what "usufruct" means. It may have been a typo.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 14, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Umm, yeah. Just noticed my last sentence pretty much duplicates Joel's. Not a Ben Domenech, quite, but let me acknowledge that it happened.

Posted by: fizz | April 14, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, you get back in your Easter Bunny suit NOW.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 14, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

'Mudge, I was going to write something about the origins of Cyberbanging, which goes right back to Al Gore's discovery of the Internet and its impact on the Clinton Administration.

Who can forget those immortal words:

"Wanna Cyber?"


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't mind a Cider.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 14, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

JA, that sounds like an anagram to me...

Or was it a pallindrome?



*desperately awaiting chocolate influx come Sunday*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Thinking of a butterflied Leg of Lamb for Easter... yogurt marinade...

Any Ideas?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 14, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Joel, do I need to start soaking the beans?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 14, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Isn't borrowing affluence from the future how the Clinton Administration balanced the budget?

A related question: what do we currenly owe past/existing generations? Should I start cutting my Mom checks? If so, how much? Can I do her landscaping and yard maintenance in trade?


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

bc, they owe us, or at least that is my theory.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 14, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

On borrowing from the future:

Well, since we're eliminating the estate tax while (attempting to) privatize Social Security, current policy is more specifically that *rich people* get to borrow affluence from the future.

But the question seems to be reduced to a purely financial and budgetary question (rather than, say, environmental). So that if I were borrowing from future-me instead of future-somebody else I'd have no moral qualms about it (although I might doubt its wisdom).

Given the assumptions, I can make a moral argument for borrowing from the future that I don't really believe. First, I note that I *do* believe that progressive taxation is ethical. If futurepeople are really significantly more affluent than todaypeople, how are they different from other wealthy people who find themselves paying more according to their (in this case, temporally) privileged position?

This is actually a pretty complex question, and a good answer would require consideration of who ends up paying, the utility of relative vs absolute wealth, and the importance of risk (i.e. we don't really know *for sure* that futurepeople are affluent).

Posted by: fizz | April 14, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

My cousin does my grandma's landscaping and yard maintainance. But it's in exchange for babysitting on Monday afternoons while he's doing it so he can get an afternoon off. So it's not complete charity to past generations. So, nevermind.

Posted by: Sara | April 14, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

usufruct: (LAW) The right to utilize and enjoy the profits and advantages of something belonging to another so long as the property is not damaged or altered in any way.

I really love Thomas Jefferson.

Trivia note re: "founding fathers" it is my understanding that in modern textbooks they are referred to as "the founders" to avoid any appearance of sexism--notwithstanding the fact that they were all, you know, "male."

Posted by: kbertocci | April 14, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

OK, I saw pt's post yesterday, but since it's here again I feel I have to respond. So here goes.

"For one thing, it doesn’t necessarily follow that because it happened before, it is happening again." True, but it's a good indicator.

"that doesn’t mean human systems didn’t interrupt the process early, and if we compound a natural trend that is unfavorable to our survival, its still a bad thing." I absolutely agree.

"...warming trends correlate well not only to recent carbon emissions, but also to the advent of human agricultural....As temperatures rose (which they did), the mediterranean climate became more and more favorable for agriculture, which in turn spread. Is it possible that we have been evolving socially to manipulate our environment to such an extreme degree all along and only recently took notice of it?"

Early humans, like all organisms, evolve as a RESULT of environmental conditions. Now by definition, all organisms are part of their environment, and so they influence it, sometimes dramatically. Until recently, humans weren't the biggest factors in that regard--it was probably elephants (including mastodonts, mammoths, etc) which can mow down whole forests in no time.

The evolution of agriculture (technically, a coevolution of plant morphology and human behavior) undoubtedly had a dramatic effect on ecosystems, but agriculture still evolved in response to natural warming trends, not the other ways around.

When it comes down to it, we know for sure that Earth's temperature flucuates without the influence of human technology, and even in the absence of humans. So the Earth can get warmer, all on its own. There is NO evidence discovered so far for global warming that is inconsistent with past warming trends, so we shouldn't resort to unusual, unique scenarios like emissions to explain rising temperatures.

If we do say that emissions are solely responsible for warming, then we have to say that, after each of the first three glacial periods in the Ice Age, the Earth rapidly warmed up. But coming out of the 4th glacial period, the Earth started warming up just like it always had, but then stopped for no apparent reason. Then human emissions took over as the cause of warming, with the warming continuing on about the same curve. I don't see this as a very strong argument.


We do have a very sound chemical and climatologic model that indicates that human emmissions SHOULD cause the Earth to get warmer. The fact that geological and climatological data are consistent with past warming trends does not invalidate this model.

So we know the Earth is getting warmer, but we can't currently tell for sure if the warming is natural, emissions-induced, or both (my money is on both). Given that the stakes are so high, my opinion is that we have to work on the assumption that the emissions model is correct, in that emissions are at least a partial factor in warming. After all, it's the only variable we can do anything about, and at the worst, the Earth will keep getting warmer but we'll have less air pollution.

Posted by: Dooley | April 14, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

My parents through the dint of hard work and frugality are now living a very comfortable retirement. My father draws a military pension equal to 75% of the inflation adjusted pay of a colonel in the armed services. Since military pensions start at retirement, he drew that money all through his decade as a pilot with TWA, allowing him to contibute the maximum allowable to the company 401(k). My mother learned she had accumulated just enough tenure to get a pension from the local school district.

The days they turned 62, they both began drawing Social Security. By my count, that is four government checks they get every month as well as substantial tax deferred savings. When I get my W-2 every year, I just want to circle the deductions and mail it to them as a birthday present.

Don't talk to me about what I owe future generations, I'm still paying on the previous one.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

What do we owe future generations? An excellent question, but not a very difficult one, IMHO. At bare minimum, not to leave the joint any worse than it was as we found it. If we can actually leave it even a wee tiny little bit better than we found it, so much the better.

Speaking of landscaping and gardening, I was there on the scene way back when, when they invented grass and lawns and such. (I think it was the late 1600s, but you know how you tend to lose track of time). I told them it was nuthin' but a bad idea, but did they listen? Noooooooooooo.

Joel, I only took the bunny suit off for a little while because it was getting hot in there, and people were coming around to my cubby to laugh at my ears.

*zips up suit, adjust sitting on that *^%$#@ cottontail*

At Christmas, we got a gift certificate from somebody for one of those gigunda spiral-cut, honey-baked hams, and today my wife is going to the Gigunda Spiral-Cut Honey-Baked Ham Store to redeem it. Yummers. (And since I'm not allowed to eat chocolate bunny rabbits and especially not allowed to eat those wonderfully dense cohocolate-covered coconut cream eggs I used to mainline when I was a mere youth, gigunda spiral-cut, honey-baked hams are My Only Reason To Live.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that the choice is not between making future generations twice as wealthy or three times as wealthy as we are. Hard times are coming, and future generations are going to be burdened by debt and obligations that have ALREADY been incurred, as well as clean-up chores that are already there, awaiting them. China's future generations may very well be twice as wealthy as their current citizens, but Americans are probably going to need to scale back their expectations.

The best we can do at this point is to try to mitigate the hardships that we have already bequeathed to our children and grandchildren.

The way I see it, there is no conflict between our obligations to the present and our obligations to the future. If we are responsible stewards of the Earth and its resources, then we will be better off and so will future generations.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 14, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"Religion would be so much nicer if it didn't have all these religious people stirring up trouble all the time."

Curmudgeon, you're my hero. I want to be just like you when I grow up.

My extremely agnostic family is having a seder tonight (15 people with only 2 [my wife and brother-in-law] of Jewish descent), fossil collecting on Saturday, and an Easter egg hunt on Sunday. To be followed by more pagan evolution studies in the Smithsonian collections on Tuesday.

Posted by: Dooley | April 14, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

bc, I apologize. Maybe redesign was not the correct word. Re-engineering would be more appropriate and exactly what you described. Somebody would have to run all of the mathematical modeling of differing material ratios involved in baseball production, not to mention the extensive testing involved (you wouldn't want a new weight distribution resulting in the unintended consequence of dropping ERAs by a half point). I'm probably short-changing the Rawlings R&D staff though. The research has probably been done for years and was sitting in a secret file in Bud Selig's office. Much like the President has the "Football," all Selig had to do was to pick up the Red Phone, crack open the appropriate file case and recite a string of 64 alpha-numeric characters.

Posted by: grimmace | April 14, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

***Begin Rant***

A recent WaPo book review discussed the likelyhood that our sons and daughters will be burdened by extortionate school loans, skyrocketing housing and health costs, and diminishing income or retirement security. Now let's add to their misery by tossing them the inevitable tax increases that will be necessary to fund our present and future obligations to seniors, veterans, and whomever else we've made promises to. David Broder's article yesterday revealed that if you count federal spending using an accrual basis (used by most American businesses) our actual deficit is over $760 Billion! This is the legacy we're passing on to our kids.

Oh, of course, we'll "grow" our way out of this mess through tax cuts...

****End Rant****

Posted by: CowTown | April 14, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

fizz, just a sidebar comment about current earnings. (I hate to be serious about much here, so excuse).

What is scary about today's work world is that the majority of today's working population are seeing their real earnings drop. There is an erosion of our disposable income base here... overall the average is rising and somewhat masking, for those not wallowing in the numbers.

Most Americans are, as we used to say, worse off than we were 5 years ago. We are somewhat placating the masses with meager tax cuts that we can ill afford. The bulk of the cuts, which are even worse on the long term welfare of our nation, are going to those who, over the past 5 years, have reaped large increases in earnings.

To make up for the loss in earnings, millions of Americans have harvested realized rises in residential values.

If you are poor and rent, you have just taken 5 years of lumps. The owners just borrowed against the value of their homes and went on... the top group, hey they are happy as clams.

There are a few of us that feel that it may be good to reconsider allowing people in the lower group a chance to deduct non-mortgage interest payments again. The argument that they may just use this to run up more debt, while somewhat logical, doesn't seem fair, since the same may be said about people using their availability to get million dollar mortgages subsidized by all of us, to buy a house that could drop in price and send the loan upside down.

Again, the question of if we are borrowing from our future generations comes down to who are we referring to when we ask the question. The rich, yes, the poor, well they are doing their best to pay now and later.

Know your means and medians. Fizz, there are so many logical arguments for a progressive tax program. It makes sense for the rich, as well. (though they feel the pain now, it actually helps the nation and their assets in the long run).

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 14, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

It is my belief that the horrible trends that are predicted will never come to pass. The system reacts. This has happened in the past, and I believe it will happen in the future. The nation probably won't go bankrupt. The world probably won't turn into Venus. We won't let it. I believe this because with each passing year we understand the forces that control our planet and our society just a little bit better. Knowledge is the best legacy we can offer.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 14, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Dooley writes at 11:40:
Loomis, I no of no connection between the two Goulds. Larry Gould was way before my time at Carleton; I was never fortunate enough to meet him.

Dooley! I think I pretty much mastered basic addition and subtraction by third grade. *w* Gould's bio is an incredible life's story, and I *know* that you didn't cross paths with L.M. Gould in your respective liftimes. I just wondered if you headed up to Minnesota because of Gould's reputation/ influence?

Who knows why we pick the colleges we do? Secondary reason: My parents had a horrible marriage and I wanted to get as far away from them as physically possible within the state of California.

Primary reason: We had camped at Patrick's Point near Humboldt several times during my teens and it is drop-dead gorgeous, appealing to me in so many ways. I love/d the area--without hesitation. I picked my college based on the sheer, rugged beauty of the northern California coast.

I had top-notch grades--3.96 GPA out of high school. I applied only to Humboldt (not a strong arts program...San Jose State would have been a much better choice)--and didn't get in because of some strange system of picking every fifth name on a list of all those who applied to the college who had a GPA of 2.5 or better.

My father and I met with the principal of my high school. We then met with the Bakersfield's mayor, who just happened to be on the California State College's board of trustees. Long story short, I got into the college of my choice. And those days at Humboldt were some of the happiest days of my life.

Posted by: Loomis | April 14, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The Alternative Minimum Tax is really the Steve Forbes flat tax in disguise. It eliminates deductions and exemptions, which hits large families, owners of huge houses, and residents of states with high taxes (mostly the blue ones) disproportionately.

Since it is not indexed, it is steadily gobbling the upper middle class into its ranks. Inflation will get us all there eventually. People that love a flat tax get a rude awakening when they realize it actually makes their taxes go up. Then they cry to Congress when their ox gets gored. Congress knew exactly what they were doing but just dare not admit to it.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the country by definition cannot go bankrupt. There is always an out AND you are right that there is a heuristic aspect to models and systems that adjust for imbalances.

I would suggest that, much in the way that Joel commented on the climate and assumptions there, we can't assume that we have seen what might happen to us with an imbalance, since we have never experienced an economic situation like this before.

(though arguments can be made that we have had similar situations)

We 1. can't forget how depressions were hard on the poor in the past.
2. the poor have had a number of bad years already.
3. our government support systems have been trimmed over and over to make up for the short falls, so we are ill prepared to deal with a true economic crunch.

Finally, on an apples to apples basis since the Clinton Administration, the "real" unemployment rate is about 7.6% now. The difference is taken up by the definition of actively seeking work, which doesn't really indicate one's willingness and desire to work.

The increase from the 4.5% to 7.6% is taken up by social welfare programs and the kindness of friends and family.

This represents another weight on the people of this country to absorb a downturn.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | April 14, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt --
If I understand you correctly, you are unhappy that your parents, through careful planning are supporting themselves, and are not living in your guest room?

Posted by: nellie | April 14, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

On a lighter note, the Easter turducken:

A Cadbury Egg surrounded by Peeps stuffed into a chocolate bunny. Just enough to slip me into a coma.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

RD, I hope you enjoy your time off with family and friends. And everyone here, Happy Easter, and hopefully everyone gets that long weekend. As a Christian, I am looking forward to my regular schedule, Sunday school, morning service, and I do hope my grandchildren show up. I really do wish each of you the best weekend and holiday possible with family and friends. God is good, and may He bless each and every heart through His Son, Jesus.

Mudge, the laughter did me good. Sometimes one needs to laugh. I can get really serious about stuff, and take so much of it to heart, that a little laughter is good for me, not to take myself so seriously.

And when we talk about our children's future as to taxes and things that we buy now and pay for later, who's children are we actually talking about, the rich or the poor?

I read somewhere that Barry Bond will be tried for lying, are they going to try the rest of that group (baseball) for lying?

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 14, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse


They need to go one more level and put Reese' Pieces inside the egg... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Reese's...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, that might be the best link I've ever seen. Thank you from the bottom of my soon to be induced diabetic coma. Long live the Easter turducken!

Posted by: grimmace | April 14, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Loomis, no comment on you math skills was implied.

I new nothing about Gould when I decided to go to Carleton. Gould was still alive, but had retired to Tuscon. I actually planned to be a physics major and study astronomy, but found (loads of irony here, see above) I wasn't all that great at math (at least at the calculus -level). Big factors (compared to William & Mary, my other choice at the time):

1) Carleton gave me more financial aid (my family was very poor)

2) Carleton's football coach was a very good recruiter (I played for two years there)

3) Carleton does not have any fraternities or sororities--probably the one unifying factor among the students there

4) Most important--Carleton was too far away for my parents to easily visit, while W&M was only a 4 hour drive away (that should sound familiar to you. My parents separated during my freshman year).

I know, I ended up moving back home, but there you go.

Posted by: Dooley | April 14, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Re-reading my post I think I may not have effectively expressed my key point. Given our inability to always correctly understand the present, I am pessimistic about our ability to correctly predict the future. We have been pretty poor at it until know. Clearly we shouldn't do obvious things to trash the place up. On a more subtle level, though, I believe the most important thing we can give our offspring is a good set of tools. We need to give them the understanding and knowledge they will need to deal with whatever weirdness the future holds.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 14, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

now. know. whatever. I'm outa here.
Peace. Love. Happy babies.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 14, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

No chocolate, no special Sunday meal, just another pleasant, warm spring weekend. If there's reason to celebrate, it's because my hubby is taking off all of next week to finish the larger (of two, the last to be complete) brick dining pad/patio out back. Yes, yes, yes!

Posted by: Loomis | April 14, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm... University selection criteria for me:

1) UNH had a Journalism program

2) I had in-state tuition

3) The campus had housing for non-traditional (read: married) students

4) I had in-state tuition

5) The old homestead and family was less than an hour away

6) I had in-state tuition


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I think Snuke (scottynuke) invented/gave us this Boodle shorthand:
*w* = wink
*l* = laugh
Are there others?

*word* = italics
*action* = stage directions

Posted by: Loomis | April 14, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse


When you put it that way, I look pretty shallow. Which I am. And I appreciate all of you paying your taxes as well. My parents have another cruise coming up next month.

I don't begrudge them their well earned golden years. My father, born on the tail end of the Depression, laments that none of his children took to his fiscally frugal ways.

I freely admit that they were smart ants and I am a foolish grasshopper still out here fiddling. I took to the Travis McGee model of enjoying my retirement in pieces. I fully expect to work as long as someone will write me a check.

In the meantime, my fiscal situation looks like the federal government less 6 or 7 zeroes. I just have to keep the income rising enough to service the increased debt every year. When the next round of hyperinflation rolls around, I'll be the one that looks like the financial genius.

I think when my son starts working I'm going to garnish 60% of his wages to support me, just so he'll get used to the idea when Social Security collapses.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, do I look like Al Gore??? *L*

I make no claim on inventing emoticons and such...

*L* - laughing
*LOL* - laugh out loud
*ROFL* - rolling on the floor laughing

*S* - smiling
*BS* - big smile
*G* - grin
*VBG* - very big grin

*words (or long phrases) to indicate actions other than typing*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I always knew you were non-traditional.
You were married during your college years?

You know those photos you had a link to, beyond the BPH you photographed? There was one where you are dining with a gorgeous older woman. I'm assuming she is you mother? If not, if she's an aunt or good friend, she is stunningly pretty.

Have a good weekend all. After two weeks in bed and a horrible week with my eyes, the outdoors is calling me--eeee---eee!

Posted by: Loomis | April 14, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The following was sent to the Achenblog Phantom Zone. For some reason, I managed to rescue it.

grimmace, no need to apologize.

I think that those with intimate knowledge of baseball design and construction know how to manage ball performance.

As far as Barry Bonds being charged with perjury - if he's convicted at the end of his career and is sent to a cushy Federal "country club" prison, but complains about the media's treatment of athletes all the way, how would the headline read?

"Barry's jock b1tch, relief coming from gold Bonds powder."

I tried way too hard there, didn't I?


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Just hitting a couple loose ends here:

1) Running around the Moon: True, I was lazy and kept the astronaut to the equator. I recall that the standard daily march for Roman legionnaires was 25 miles, carrying armor, camping equipment, rations, and so forth, and building a fort at the end of each days' march. A reasonable analog for an 82 kg astronaut lugging about 136 kg of equipment on the Moon, bringing his total Moon-weight to aboput 80 lbs. (but mass unchanged, of course). Figuring that he can only keep going for about 8 hours per day if he is to keep this up for many days, that gets us a fellow travelling at 3 mph. From an equatorial high of 15 mph, he would have to be traveling at about 78° latitude. He'd have to luck out an be pretty near the poles if he were going to march ahead of the Sun.

2) Lots of megafauna (technical for big critters) went extinct around the time that humans arrived in Australia and North America. Maybe. Joel has reminded us, in an earlier boodle, that human migration is more complex than we used to think. Humans probably were here for thousands or tens of thousands of years before the major extinctions in North America. It seems more likely that it was over-specialization of animals for an ice age climate that did them in, possibly combined with predation from our ancestors. In Australia, my dilettantes' reading suggests that the timing remains pretty vague, so you'd be hard-pressed to establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

Obviously, we defintiely are responsible for more recent extinctions like dods, passenger pigeons, Steller's sea-cows, Great auks, and so on.

3) How long have we been changing the climate? A little Google research to find human population doubling times and history indicates that a mere 200 years ago, there were less than 1 billion of our species on this Earth. Before then, populations were reasonably stable -- growing, but fairly slowly. Our relatively small numbers would have limited our global influence. More important, I think, is that our technologies were mostly just applications of processes already at work in the natural environment. Rice agriculture is mainly just the organization of a process that happens haphazardly, anyway. This is fundamentally different from the rapid consumption of the world's subterranean hydrocarbon resources, which we are doing today.

4) Is there no evidence for an unprecedented character to current climate change? According to James Hansen, NASA's Dr. Climate, there are distinctive attributes to current events. In previous warming events, CO2 concentrations lagged a few thousand years behind temperature increase, with an eventual equilibrium established between CO2 consumption and production, achieved at a higher temperature than what we currently have (all this from the last 0.6 Ma ice cores). This sounds like a potentially good thing -- since solubility of CO2 in water decreases with increasing temperature, the CO2 equilibrium must have been achieved by greater productivity of flora, which is something that we would like. Current events are distinctive in that the CO2 concentration is leading the temperature change, and much of the CO2 is being produced by non-equlibrium processes. There is no natural restoring force that naturally limits our ability to produce CO2. At least, no GENTLE natural restoring force. Current CO2 concentrations already are greater than anything in the ice core record, according to what I saw of Hansen's colloquium presentation, at least. T

This is a relatively minor quiblle. I agree with everything else Dooley said.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 14, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I got a little garbled by accidentally posting before I was done editing. The last thing I was going to say was that there is no sign of a CO2 equilibrium being reached any time soon. If previous correlations between temperature and CO2 concentration hold up, despite the fact that this time it is CO2 leading the temperature, then we are due for a very much warmer climate than the Earth has seen in a very long time. The Earth definitely has been very warm in times past; but it also had rather different ecology than what it has now. Experiencing the transitionis unlikely to be fun.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 14, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, lotta typos in my long verbose post. Plus, I screwed up -- if the guy goes 25 miles in a day, then he has to average about 1 mile per hour, which means he has to be at a latitude of 86° or higher.

Also, the word is "quibble."

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 14, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

So.... what'd I miss?

Have returned to the world of the nonroadripping. Back at my desk, catching up on a week's worth of work, not to mention days of boodling to go through. I may have it all read by Sunday.

Sunday. By the way, NOT Easter Sunday. It's Palm Sunday for some of us this weekend.

Just saying.

Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Did Gore make up the shorthand?

That joke yesterday about the Tages relatives went right over my head, Snuke.

I couldn't Boodle yesterday much because I was trying to get an optometric exam. But the optometrist refused to give me one because my eyelids were too red, swollen, and inflamed for him to believe he could get accurate measurements. We scheduled the exam for two weeks from now to try to correct increasingly bad vision in my left eye.

Thank goodness the opthalmogist I saw on Tuesday afternnon found no underlying, more serious pathological problem for the left eye's decline.

So last night I had to put a cream, with steroids, in my eyes that made it feel like I'd used Superglue. Why did I need this ointment? Because the curt, abrupt, no people-skills opthamologist whom I saw on Tuesday diagnosed me with blepharitis (extreme dry-eye)and gave me a free sample of a product that didn't agree with me at all, apaprently...

I was instructed by this brash, young opthamologist to apply hot compresses to my eyes five minutes morning and evening, apparently for the rest of my life. (I hate this kind of information.) And the opthamologist gave me sample eye drops that left my eyes feeling like someone had left sticky candy in them, but, *what's worse*, he gave me a free sample containing four occular wet-wipes for removing the body oil from the rims of my eyes after the hot compress treatment. (Get the oil out of the eyelids with the hope of increasing tear production.) This Oc-Wipe label indicated it's for sensitive eyes.

But the optometrist informed me these Oc-wipes contain SOAP! (I call my sensitivities the princess and the pea syndrome, after the brother's Grimm story. I can hardly tolerate perfumed laundry detergent or clothing that's been washed in it.) So, I've been about as blind as a bat for 48 hours. Well, O.K., very blurry vision.

And the opthamologist talked to me about putting either temporary or permanent plugs in my tear ducts to block what little moisture is in my eyes from draining down through the tear ducts. News to me, since I didn't know the tear ducts are a drain? I thought they are the source of tears, an outlet for emotional pain. For the record, I hate prosthetics--even if it's a dental crown.

Am I p*ssed at the med establishment this week? D*mn straight! $50 out of pocket correcting two previous doctors' mistakes and ineptitude.

I HATE being a mutant, but do realize that my disorder's got cancer or diabetes beat by a mile. If only a doctor who knows my rare gentic disorder and its implications lived nearby.

*sigh, so I did explain my problems.*

O.K., good weekend, everybody.

Posted by: Loomis | April 14, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Although nonroadripping sounds like fun, I'm sure you know I meant


Just saying.

Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, regarding "greater productivity by flora," I must advise you in the strongest terms that, as flora's shop steward, she is already working as hard as she can and in compliance with all existing contract specifications. Any requested increases in productivity must be negotiated and approved by the labor relations board; I'm sure this will involve time-and-a-half for overtime, as well as additional 15-minute breaks at apprpriate intervals.

Also, she likes to have a fresh flower placed on her desk every morning.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, scotty's joke about Sepp Blatter being related to "Tages" was a pun on the names of various German newspapers, such as the Gottinger Tageblatt, Badisches Tagesblatt, etc. I'm guessing scotty knew only two people on the face of you earth would get it, you and and me, and if you hadn't been distracted by your illnesses you'd eventually have sussed it out. But scotty definitely wins the Dennis Miller Really, Really Obscure Reference Gold Star for that one.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

TBG - I imagine that's the only Orthodox thing about you...

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 14, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt –

Since I am roughly of your parent’s generation, and was a military wife, I took major umbrage at the idea that the military romp happily thru life until reaching a glorious retirement. During those 20 – 30 years the pay is low, the housing sucks, most military bases are in weird locations such as Guam, and have weird fauna like cane spiders and giant roaches, a tour of duty is about two years so you move constantly, the kids love changing schools and tell the parents (constantly.) You must have noticed some of this --

Ask your dad about why he stayed in. Our generation had this silly little quirk called *love of country* or *patriotism* or some such out of style emotion. And we had good friends and fun, of course.

While your Travis Magee lifestyle sounds great --- don't end up in YOUR kid's guest room!

Posted by: nellie | April 14, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, thanks for the explainer on the Tagesblatt reference, and yes, I'm sure an undistracted LindaLoo would have done the same.

*polishing the DMRRORGS before hanging it proudly in the cubicle* *S*

That said, I also attribute the following to LL's medicated state:

Linda hon, I've Achenmentioned my GF before, but not extensively. I'll just let her know about the "stunningly pretty" woman part (with which I wholeheartedly agree *VBG*). She and I are actually just a few years apart.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Ganz richtig! Ja, ja...Tagesblatt, und so weiter...die deutschen Zeitungen. Naturlich! Jetzt verstehe ich. Ich bin Dumkopf, aber mit meiner Augenkrankenheit...

Deine Liebes-Freundin, Herr Nuke, ist sehr hubsch! Viel Gluck dass du dieses Fraulein getroffen hast, nicht wahr?

Gute Wochenende!

Posted by: Frau L. | April 14, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Vielen Dank, Frau L.! :-)

Es war nur der Augenkrankheit, keine probleme...

Der war der glücklichste Tag meines Lebens, absolut!

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse


Career military life is no picnic. I am an eyewitness to that. My dad served a year in Vietnam and had close friends shot down and taken POW. He also had a one year unacompanied tour in Korea while I was in tenth grade. All my friends thought my mom was a single parent, which in a way she was.

We moved every three years on the dot, which worked okay for my school but messed up my brother really bad. They transfered to Italy the summer before he was a senior in high school. That sucked. I don't think our life was any better or worse than any of the other suburban middle class families we always lived around. I can't say I ever truly wanted for anything I genuinely needed.

Whey did my dad do it? Simple, he loves to fly. He was an F-4 fighter jock for as long as he could. When he got a desk job, he used his GI Bill benefits to get a commercial pilot's license. On his last tour of duty, he moonlighted as a pilot for an island hopper service in Hawaii. As soon as he was retired, he drove cross country and interviewed at every airline and eventually got hired by TWA, whre he flew 747's and 727's for another ten years.

When he was laid off from TWA for six months, I hooked him up with a pilot buddy of his I had met who ran a small courier flying service. Now that he is truly retired, he owns a vintage Stinson Flying Station Wagon which he takes to flying shows. On the weekends, he flies the tow-plane for a soaring glider club.

He has spent his life doing what he loves and raised three children at the same time.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

hi everyone. very tired. just posted some comments for Dooley re: genetic mixing of Neandertal and early H. sapiens populations.

Then I deleted the post. Which may have been a good thing -- dunno how much sense I was making.

(Would love to discuss Loomis' post on the
work of the Cavalli-Sforzas. I have one of their books on the genetic spread of languages throughout Europe and Indian-sub-continent here somewhere -- can't find it -- too many books. Another time.

Back to Neandertals:

Dooley -- this is a very hot topic amongst those studying interface of Neandertal -- early H. sapiens in Europe.

There was overlapping in time of both species.

I'll post more later
(maybe). But short version is: some researchers believe that Neandertal population was absorbed into "Cro-Magnon."

Others believe Neandertal died out without leaving any genetic heritage. They could not compete with early modern humans.

A recent study (sorry -- too tired to look it up right now) on a DNA sequence of some Neandertal remains showed little overlap with modern humans.

But the debate hasn't been quelled.

My 2 cents on this topic: I doubt there was much to attract early modern humans to Neandertal populations --- vice versa. Cultural and physical difference (as well as language)probably big.

I can envision a scenario where war and rape would have mixed the gene pool up a bit. But Europe was a pretty empty continent 60,000 years ago (give or take a few tens of thousands). Don't know how much pressure on resource base there would have been. They maybe just avoided each other -- who knows?

My gut intuition is that the two groups may have engaged in limited contact -- some folks have speculated trade between the two . . . but the differences probably too much for inter-species coupling on any large scale.

sorry for the generalization here -- with no links to research.

Joel may be up to speed on this topic . . . Joel?

Google the name Christopher Stringer. He's done some work in this area -- he's in Britain. Most of his work is one the replacment theory (Out of Africa). That one species of H. sapiens replaced all existing ones across the Earth as it spread from the African continent, starting about 70,000 to 100,000 BP. This species would be the descendants of mitochondrial Eve.

This argument has pretty much won the day over those who theorized that there was intermixing of older Homo species (including erectus) and newer arrivals in various areas to create the modern human species.

But on the matter of Neandertal-early modern human mixing, there are still questions.

okay -- back to dazed and confused.

A nice Easter weekend to all! Curmudgeon, don't get too hot in the Bunny suit! If you should falter, don't forget the immoral images of Paticia Shroeder in her Bunny Suit at the Great Wall of China lo these many years ago!

Ouch . . .

We may actually get some rain down here --that would be a wonderful Easter gift!

Posted by: nelson | April 14, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey, is this one erudite boodle or what? You don't see no obscurely hilarious puns in German at the Raw Fisher blog, no siree bob. We got freakin' ee-roo-dition comin' out our earen over heiren.

I'm outta here, peeps--everybody have a good weekend. Remember: limit is TWO coconut cream eggs or ONE giant chocolate bunny per customer. (But if there's any sugar-free York Peppermint Patties to be had, my mailing address is ...)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Here is more information on the astronaut problem I posed earlier. It was from the story “A Walk in the Sun” by Geoffrey A. Landis. I had the premise completely backwards. A pilot crashes on the moon with no vehicle and needs to keep her solar powered suit in the sun for 30 days until a rescue ship can come. It originally appeared in the October 1991 issue of Asimov’s.

Geoffrey Landis, according to his official website, is a scientist on the Mars Exploration Rovers team, so he must know a little bit about non-terrestrial logistics. His web page is here:

I read the story because I attended the 1992 Magicon World Science Fiction Convention in Orlando. Since I wanted to be an informed voter, I read as many of the nominated works as I could. According to my records, I voted for “A Walk In The Sun” which went on to win for Best Short Story.

I also voted for winners “Beggars In Spain” by Nancy Kress for Best Novella and “Terminator 2” for Best Dramatic Presentation. I thought “Bone Dance” by Emma Bull was the best novel, but it lost to “Barrayar” by Lois McMaster Bujold.

The story is collected in Landis’s collection “Impact Parameter” which I have already put on reserve at the library.

I am such a dork on so many levels. It's left to the reader as an exercise to count the examples in this post alone.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

And thus I reveal my novice boodle status *w*

But I must say, Loomis, that I'm impressed by how well you can type, considering what your keyboard must look like in your current condition.

And now, to global warming...

CO2 increases now are a little unusual, but possibly not unique. If I remember correctly (I'm going farther and farther onto the thin, shaky branches of what I know), in the Eocene and Cretaceous the CO2 trends are more similar to what you see today, although the evidence from that far back is more difficult to interpret.

I do believe the CO2 increase is due to us and significant, but there are past corresponding examples, I think.

And don't even get me started on the possible correlation of human migrations/hunting and Pleistocene megafauna; I'll be here typing until I whither away from starvation and pass out on my keyboard, and at my size that will take a LONG time!

Posted by: Dooley | April 14, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree with everything Nelson said on Neanderthals, with one exception:

I bet Neanderthal women were HOT! (5' 0", 115 lb Mrs. Dooley notwithstanding)

And now, I have to go get ready for the party, more correctly known as "The event that forces us to finally clean the house".

Posted by: Dooley | April 14, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow... Firefox is so smart. Look at this Firefox extension that I just found--a perfect description, if you ask me:

Kaboodle, by Kaboodle, released on Mar 8, 2006

The Kaboodle extension for Firefox has everything you need to use Kaboodle with your Firefox browser.

Kaboodle is the best way to collect, compare, share and discover things you find anywhere on the web. Things that you are looking for, things that you wish for, things that you have or things that you just find interesting! Cool thing about Kaboodle is that when you find a thing on the web, it can automatically summarize it for you - identifying the right picture, title, brief description and even a price when it exists on the page. People use Kaboodle for wish lists, gift shopping, comparison shopping, planning trips, collecting fun stuff and even looking for other people.

Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Mudge and Scotty,

I really should have spent more time actually studying German during the three years I took it in high school. I knew there was a joke in there I was just too illiterate to get it. In fact, from the November 1993 isue of German Playboy I keep in my desk, the only joke on the Party-Witze page I understand is this one:

“Hören Sie mal, junger Mann, warum bringen Sie meine Tochter erst um fünf Uhr früh nach Hause?”

“Dumme Frage! Weil ich um sechs zur Arbeit muss.”

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, when you and I finally meet, I think we'll have a lot to talk about.

And I mean that in a dorky *good* way.

On a related topic, wasn't there a NASA proposal (or two) for a rover or manned lander on Mercury that would crawl along the Mercurian day/night terminator?

IIRC Mercury rotates really slowly, with an rotation/orbit ratio of 3:2 or something like that. Granted, Mercury's orbit is like 80something days, but definitely doable.

As to why "South Park" is relevant again, see this:

Offensive, certainly. But they didn't win a Peabody Award for nuthin'.


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

*** crickets ***

*** a wolf howls ***

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 14, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I come not to praise the Boodle,
but to bury it.

Et tu, Tim?


Posted by: bc | April 14, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Well my office is serving beer in 5 minutes and then tomorrow I go to New York to have Easter dinner at Lupa's and then see Julia Roberts in "Three Days of Rain". I will be back boodling no later than Tuesday, but I may check in via cellphone if I get desperately bored.

Hold down the fort while I'm gone. If you really need something to do, run my German joke through Babelfish and see if it makes any more sense than in the original.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

How Google translated yellojkt's joke:

"hearing it times, young man, why you bring my daughter only at five to o'clock early home?" "stupid question! Because I around six to the work must."

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 14, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Here's my hopefully more idiomatic translation:

“Listen up, young man, why are you bringing my daughter home at five in the morning?”

“Stupid question! Because I have to go to work at six.”


Es ist warum Babelfish saught.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Hello all. Sorry, that was me with the wolf howl while I read today's posts.

Do none of you get today off?

TBG, I thought the Julian Calendar was two weeks later. I know there's a somewhat complicated formula for Easter. So Orthodox Easter is next weekend?

*pointing to sign on head worn here saying "Non Scientist"* It seems to me to be pretty unlikely that human activity prior to the Industrial Age affected climate to any significant degree. I stand to be corrected.

Re: walking around the moon. Wasn't there a movie within the last 10 years (apparently quite forgettable) in which the approaching sunrise was a major McGuffin?

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, you may be thinking of Deep Impact. There was a scene where they were on a comet and it's rotation had reached the point where the sun was causing the comet to start venting and everyone started running to avoid getting blasted off of the comet. Then again you may actually be thinking of a good movie that I never saw.

Posted by: grimmace | April 14, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse


Yeah.. it's next week. There's an explanation here somewhere (, including an algorithm on how to figure it out, but it's all completely beyond me.

The important aspect of the timing of Greek Easter to my family is that the candy has been marked down at the stores.

Where are you located, SonofCarl? I was in the Buffalo area this week and wondered if any of our Canadian boodlers were anywhere near there. It's a strange site to see the sign that says, "Bridge to Canada, 2 miles"

Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

My self-deprecating movie viewing habits might have been clearer if phrased in the following manner:

"Then again you may actually be thinking of a good movie. I don't watch those."

It's hard to SCC a thought process...

Posted by: grimmace | April 14, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm way out west in Alberta. dr is somewhere out here too- I think Saskatchewan. There was a few posts recently by Miss Toronto; that's pretty close to Buffalo (assuming that's her location).

Too bad I didn't find Achenblog about a year ago - SpouseofSonofCarl and I were in Baltimore and DC last August. (Side note: I've actually made it to DC five times- everytime in August. Let it be noted for the Achenrecord that this is not wise).

MotherinlawofSonofCarl is Ukrainian descent, so we get to go for Christmas Eve dinner again in January and go for Ukrainian food again on Orthodox Easter.

Back to movies. Thanks grimmace! Isn't the asteroid one Armageddon? Or did that happen in Deep Impact as well? I think the one I was thinking about was Chronicles of Riddick (oh, so forgettable -I wouldn't have even seen it except the movie listings were wrong and it was the only one left at that point). If I'm right, and IIRC, there's a point in the movie where the key characters are in big trouble because the day/night difference is about 900 degrees and sunrise is coming.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

grimmace and SonofCarl, I think the movie that you are thinking of is Armageddon, not Deep Impact. Both came out about the same time. Deep Impact was actually not all that bad, and it had Tea Leoni (Mrs. David Duchovny), a very big plus. Both involved nuclear weapons in an attempt to mitigate a cometary hazard, not generally considered a good idea by serious thinkers about cometary impact avoidance. Armageddon, unlike Deep Impact, was bad in every way that a movie can be bad -- it had a stupid premise, handled stupidly; it had bad sound (at least on our rented DVD copy); it had bad music; it had a bad script; it had bad acting; it had bad direction; it had bad special effects. Heck, it had bad titles. And it had Billy Bob Thornton commit the ultimate sin, that ticks us off no end in this business: he pronounced his agency's name "Nassau." Nobody, NOBODY, within the agency pronounces it that way, and they never have. Instant loss of willing suspension of disbelief.

Deep Impact, on the other hand, consciously approached opportunities to employ movie clichés, and then swerved aside to be sensible, instead. The scientist discovers the comet, and is then killed in a traffic accident because he's excited and driving badly, since his network was down. It really is an accident. The kid discovers the comet and the government soon comes calling because they want to... learn more. The intrepid reporter discovers that there's a big bad secret, confronts the President and... the President caves, and agrees to release the information. The citizens of the DC suburbs get into a traffic jam trying to evacuate the sea coast, and they... face the inevitable with resignation and love for their families. The heroes face down that comet and commit suicide to save Earth, and they succeed, but only partially. A big chunk of comet still reaches Earth, but rather than kill everybody or joyously miss, it... wipes out the entire Eastern seaboard up to the Appalachians. And the intrepid reporter turns down the opportunity for salvation that is extended to her only because she looks like Tea Leoni and the President has taken a fatherly interest in her, because she is not prepared to abandon her curmudgeonly father to death. So she joins him, instead, and they die together on the beach when the tsunami hits. A little tear-jerking, yes, but it was willing to portion out nobility to a lot of people, not just a distinct few exceptionally noble windbags. And, it had Tea Leoni.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 14, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

hey, yello - have you heard of clayburn moore and "frazetta's princess?"

Posted by: mo | April 14, 2006 5:49 PM | Report abuse

SCC: i meant "immortal" when posting about Pat Shroeder's Easter Bunny antics in China -- not "immoral."

sorry -- although I may have been right the first time.

Dooley -- I dunno about HOT neandertal women. Although I'm sure there was great appeal for neandertal guys to the early modern human gals. MUCH bigger and hunkier than their guys. Strong and silent type!

Posted by: nelson | April 14, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Frank Frazetta, purveyor of all science-fiction and fantasy images of semi-nude women with big, firm, ripe posteriors. They weren't too small, squishy, or under-ripe in the forward department, either. Bit of a fetishist, that Mr. Frazetta. Would have been right at home with Neolithic mother-goddess imagery.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 14, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

so tim - i have a lit ed sculpture of frazetta's princess - any info on how to get rid of it would be of great assistance!

Posted by: mo | April 14, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, "Nassau": not even southerners?

On movies, It was indeed Chronicles of Riddick, AKA Pitch Black 2, AKA Two Hours You're Not Getting Back. Excerpt from Ebert's review:

"Riddick, played by Vin Diesel, is a character we first encountered in "Pitch Black," the 2000 film by the same director, David Twohy. Although a few other characters repeat from that film, notably Abu "Imam" al-Walid (Keith David), there's no real connection between them, apart from Riddick's knack of finding himself on absurdly inhospitable planets. Here he fights for life on Crematoria, a planet whose blazing sun rockets over the horizon every 15 minutes or so and bakes everything beneath it. That you can shield yourself from it behind rocks is helpful, although it begs the question of why, since the atmosphere is breathable, the air is not super-heated."

As a public service announcement, I have to implore everyone to not see this movie. If you're desperately curious of how Vin Diesel, who looks remarkably like a thumb, managed to make it big, go rent this movie's predecessor, Pitch Black.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"lit ed" ? Lighted?

If I were you, I'd try eBay. Of course, that didn't work out too well for me with my old copies of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Next thing, I'd find a mule (say, me) to try to hawk it to a dealer at the Baltmore Science Fiction Convention over Memorial Day weekend.

Looking on eBay just now, prices ran up to about $35 for a Frazetta Princess Christmas Tree ornament ("You put that stuff on your mama's Christmas Tree?"), still in the original packaging. Original packaging appears to be very important -- in other words, the expectation is that the buyer is the last fool in a chain of "Greater Fools", each buying something they don't care about in order to sell it to the next drip at a profit. If yours is out of the box, you may have trouble.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 14, 2006 6:09 PM | Report abuse

mo, is Frazetta's princess the loincloth-wearing statuette you were referring to before?

I missed the significance of the name until SciTim included the first name. Yeah, he does have his own "style". I think he practically invented the Implausible Outfits worn by countless female warrior types.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse


I was referring to SonofCarl's query regarding the major McGuffin caused by an approaching sunrise. I don't remember a scene like that in Armegeddon, although there is not much I choose to remember about that movie. I know it happened in Deep Impact because Ron Eldard (who channeled the spirit of the DareDevil in the short-lived ABC drama "Blind Justice") failed to lower his helmet's visor as the sun crested and was blinded as a result. What's up with the blindness with this guy anyway? *Bad Pun Alert* Didn't he have the "vision" to pick better roles?

BTW SonofCarl, I never saw Chronicles of Riddick, but it's predecessor was Pitch Black (both starring uber-thespian Vin Diesel). The premise for Pitch Black was that protagonists crashed into a planet that was (almost) constantly ablaze with sunlight. Every so often a certain alignment of the planets caused the planet to go...ready...pitch black. Then the monsters come out to devour everyone. I never saw that one either but I imagine it should probably contain a scene where a sunset is cause for much concern.

Wow. The amazing part about that is that I referenced two bad movies that I haven't seen. I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

Also, Tim's right, Tea Leoni is enough to pull Deep Impact out of the bad movie category altogether.

Posted by: grimmace | April 14, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

(Uh-oh, a new version of *Tim!)

If I were you, I would give up on the idea of disposing of it in a financially-remunerative way, and turn the disposal of the statue into some kind of artistic statement. It probably lends itself well to some gibberish about feminine empowerment (it has to be gibberish -- we're talking about statuary erotica marketed to pubescent boys and their older geek comrades. It's just not that significant.). For instance, reclaiming feminine dignity from the petty purveyors of female imagery who would reduce women to nothing but their sexual characteristics. Or, reclaiming control over feminine sexuality from those who would enslave it to masculine ends. Or, it could be liberating the minds and penises of pubescent boys everywhere from the filthy sexual tastes of the men who market fantasy magazines and art (I wonder if this will pass the Wirty Dird Filter™?). You know, something overwrought like that.

Now, as to the actual destruction... Trebuchets have been done, most visibly with the piano on Northern Exposure. Catapults have been done, most notably in a book I own ("Catapult: Jim and I build a medieval weapon"). Hmmmm. Smashing? Trash compaction? Explosives? Dropped from aircraft?

Here's one I thought of... I'm just throwing it out there... might not get past the WD Filter... You could construct a larg-scale version of a rubber-hose slingshot, fixed to the ground, and use it to fire the statue at a super-size ceramic model of a... uh, a... boy-part. Smash them both. Make sure to acquire high-speed video and other photographic records of the destruction.

What do you think?

Posted by: ConceptualTim | April 14, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Gotta get faster on my posts I guess...

Posted by: grimmace | April 14, 2006 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Pitch Black wasn't too bad. Kind of an "under siege" movie like Night of the Living Dead in outer space.

The secret of Vin Diesel's success is strep throat.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2006 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention -- there has to be an associated party. Wine must flow. Black clothing must be worn by everyone. Perhaps stock snooty phrases could be assigned to everyone, with a prize for success in identifying who has which snooty phrase assigned, vs. just talking that way all the time. Make sure to film the party and get releases from everyone. The party itself has to be part of the art, especially anyone who proclaims its high artistic significance for using an act of destruction as the ultimate expression of creativity, or some-such blather.

Posted by: ConceptualTim | April 14, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Tim, sounds to me like you've designed your next ScienceKid science-fair project!

Posted by: TBG | April 14, 2006 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I feel honoured to be present at the beginning of Tim's newest persona!

Second on disposal of Frazetta's masterpiece. I think the bloom is off the rose on ebay. Small collectors and buyers trade objects for small value, and the only ones getting anything out of the deal is the recipient of the overpriced postage (I recently bought an opera DVD for half local price, but after S&H I shouldn't have bothered).

Of course, the only way to destroy such an artifact is to carry it by hand across the land of Dorkdor, and send it to its fiery end in the flames of Mount Social Awkwardness.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I think the school might frown on a project exploring "The Physics of a Collision between Neo-Neolithic Sexualized Figurines and a Mighty Ceramic Dildo."

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 14, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

PS I was going to link to a Frazetta for an exemplar of his work for the convenience of the boodle and came across three Frazetta princess figurines currently going for less than $10, each apparently in original packaging.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2006 6:43 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl says: "Of course, the only way to destroy such an artifact is to carry it by hand across the land of Dorkdor, and send it to its fiery end in the flames of Mount Social Awkwardness."

I *LIKE* that! Find out where Frazetta lives, travel there with copious video recording of the pseudo-epic journey, meet Mr. Frazetta, and bite his finger off. No! No! I mean, get him to help you raise a mallet and smash the figurine to bits.

Remember, wear those safety glasses.

Posted by: ConceptualTim | April 14, 2006 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Too late, saw Chronicles of Riddick, although I wondered how they could hide behind the rocks and not get burned with heat that intense, wouldn't everyting be hot? I summed it up to make believe, which so many of the movies are just make believe. Without the rational thought. I guess they believe everyone that watches is like a robot, just sit and watch, mindless. And when Riddict poured the water on his head before rescuing the damsel in distress, after saving her, and they returned behind the rocks, his head was smoking. I believe sometimes these movies just aim at making White people look invincible. Most of the time, Black folks are killed off or sent to prison, which mimicks real life for them. And even other ethnic groups when they're real smart in the movie, they don't have sense enough to survive whatever calamity shows up. But I guess a movie is only as good as the story line and the director.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 14, 2006 6:43 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, of course, it would never be accepted at the Science Fair.

ConceptualTim, have you considered NEA funding for this masterpiece of performance/conceptual art?

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2006 6:46 PM | Report abuse

C-Tim (with mo), you're seriously on to something. That sounds like an absolutely hilarious indie movie (or a Michael Moore vehicle)

Alternatively, it could be the "conch" at the BPH (but I think the Achenconch would probably be more appropriately sci, not sci-fi related).

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 14, 2006 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Perhaps I can talk ScienceTim's ScienceSpouse into letting me; uh, him; uh, us; uh, them into buying a better video camera. Let the project take wing!

You'll notice that mo has long since sighed, shaken her head in disgust, and wandered off.

I am amazed that I was allowed to post the word dil... better not to do it twice.

Posted by: ConceptualTim | April 14, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse

just got home from work - C tim - it is a limited edition, numbered and signed, in the original box statue of the princess. and now, now, now - we can't limit the expresion of art just because we don't agree with what it is portraying! we don't censure here at achenblog! *shaking her head* i'm not concerned about hawking it off, i want it to go to someone who would appreciate it's... um... ART... (italics sorely needed)...

and yes, SoC - it is indeed the loincloth wearing statue - a loincloth would cover more than what is really on the statue!

and you men will NEVER understand the true magic that makes a vin diesel "vehicle" - i've watched pitch black AND chronicles - you mean there was a plot??? *g* i heart vin diesel...

Posted by: mo | April 14, 2006 7:09 PM | Report abuse

see - women can reduce MEN to their sexual characteristics too!

scc - censor!!! sheesh! feh!

Posted by: mo | April 14, 2006 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm probably the only one here who has had a larger-than-life Frazetta reproduction hanging in the living room. My husband is pretty good at painting reproductions. He's done some really beautiful Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas,and Gauguin paintings. He also reads a lot of books and he went through a fantasy/sci fi phase about 20 years ago. He read the entire "Michael Moorcock" series. Anybody heard of that? I treated those books like they were radioactive; I didn't go near them. But he read out loud to me sometimes, for laughs. About the same time, he became interested in Frazetta and he painted a really large study of a loin-cloth clad jungle girl doing battle with a tiger. He loved that painting. We kept it a long time. He finally sold it, but it's burned into my memory. That mental real estate is forever occupied. I think it's a waste of good brain cells.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 14, 2006 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I love Julian Calendar's chicken pot pies. And her cherry cobbler, too.

And in this part of the nation, Safeway sells Frazetta pizzas, which are just OK. Never thought of trying to catapult one, though. Usually use the discus toss instead.

I'm just saying.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 7:38 PM | Report abuse

To dispose of said statuary, how about putting it inside the chicken before you give it the beer butt treatment?


Posted by: DoubleVision | April 14, 2006 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Nani, you there? Right now here in Maryland, the local public TV station has one of those telethon specials running, featuring a bunch of the old doo-wop groups. Right now it's Jimmy Beaumont and the Skliners doing "Since I Don't Have You."


Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Vin Diesel also the stalwart soldier in "Saving Private Ryan" who blows hisself up real good trying to attack a panzer with a "sticky bomb?"

And frankly, I can't watch that movie for more than about 10 minutes at a time. I get serious adrenaline shakes. Even during the calm parts.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 9:17 PM | Report abuse

actually snuke - i think he gets killed trying to rescue that little french girl from a half building...

yep - that's a real heavy film - but you gotta admit, some excellent acting!

Posted by: mo | April 14, 2006 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Yup, yer right, mo.

Damn film always jumbles the synapses...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 14, 2006 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Frazetta created the brass bra fashion statement later ripped off by Lucas for Princess Leia in TESB.

Moorcock is a genius at the Heroic Fantasy That Is Really Much Deeper genre. The Elric of Melniboné (the accent mark is critical) series is a must-read for any swords and sorcery geek. A lot of his stuff gets very meta. In some ways he is a little Kilgore Troutish in that too much of his work only appears with lurid covers.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 14, 2006 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Diesel's character's name was Adrian Caparzo (Caparzo is also the name of an excellent Italian wine--don't know if they gave him the name as some sort of joke or not).

The first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan (beginning right after the cemetary scene opening) is one of the greatest sequences in war movie history--probably the single greatest sequence ever shot.

Much as I admire it, I cannot watch the scene where Mellish gets bayoneted while Upham stands by helplessly. I have to look away.

One of the most amazing things about it (in my view) is the large number of incidents that are basically prosecutable war crimes (basically the number of times a captured German gets shot). What is genius about this is that this aspect is never commented upon, or especially highlighted. Next time you watch it, count the number of times you can say, "Uh, I understand why you just did that, but technically you just broke a law, dude." It's amazing. Just about every character commits at least one, and I can't help but think Spielberg knew what he was doing about this; it wasn't just some accident in the script. I'm convinced it's Spielberg's commentary on the nature of warfare--not that "everybody does it," but that "there's no way to NOT do it."

And as mo pointed out, the acting really is something, especially the ensemble nature of it--Tom Sizemore, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Jeremy Davies and most especially Giovanni Ribisi (who steals every scene he's ever been in, anywhere, anytime). Even Paul Giamatti has a good cameo.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 14, 2006 10:27 PM | Report abuse

The story yellojkt refers to way at the top of the thread, about the stranded astronaut racing around to avoid getting baked by dawn, is by Arthur Clarke, I think, and is definitely about Mercury, not the Moon. On the Moon, the sun could only give you a bad sunburn, not incinerate you. And Mercury is a lot smaller than the Moon, so he had to cover less distance.

Posted by: Ben | April 15, 2006 1:36 AM | Report abuse

I can't help noticing that Gene Weingarten used the phrase "kit and caboodle" in his column today, and he spelled it correctly.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 15, 2006 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Well I for one have no alternative but to say kit and kaboodle because I ban't pronounce the letter "b"--please don't ridibule the handibapped.

Posted by: Mr Smoketoomuch | April 15, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Woke up late this morning, turned on the TV and caught a few minutes of Chronicles of Riddick. Enough to see some weird fighting and camera work and to see someone get fried by the sun.

Couldn't really watch too much as it was so awful (sorry mo, Vin doesn't do much for me) but I was thankful for yesterday's discussion. Of course, I would have flipped right past it if yesterday's discussion hadn't happened. See how important the boodle has become?

I'm just saying.

Posted by: TBG | April 15, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Folks, I just posted my Sunday column. A new kit will come Monday -- I vow! Been working hard on a cover story for the magazine, making good progress. And now am heading to the country for peace and quiet and pastoral beauty and all that nonsense. Everyone have a great weekend! Thanks for all the great boodling the last few days while I was on the road.

Posted by: Achenbach | April 15, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

In which alternate solar system is Mercury smaller than the Moon?

Posted by: Bob S. | April 16, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I am so sorry I missed Boodling re. Frank Frazetta. Believe it or not, mo, I think I know someone who would appreciate that piece of, ahem, *art* for his office.

No, it ain't me, it's a relative.

I'll check in with ya later.


Posted by: bc | April 16, 2006 9:50 PM | Report abuse

"Now what I want to know is, why has no one invented a cafe table that doesn't wobble?"

Apparently they have ...

Posted by: tomcave | April 17, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

pxkqpckp [link]test4[/link]

Posted by: John S | July 1, 2006 11:33 PM | Report abuse

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