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Pity Party

One of the major activities in my circle of friends is Feeling Sorry For Oneself. It's the hot new hobby, bigger even than scrapbooking. Anyone can do it -- no special training or talent is necessary. Remarkably enough, you don't even have to have any problem that would objectively merit self-pity. You can be successful, talented, loved, cherished. You just have to find a way to get in touch with your inner pain -- and then, needless to say, share it.

The rules clearly state that when a person utters a self-pitying complaint, no matter how obscenely trivial it may seem in a world where billions of people have real problems, it is the obligation of the responding party to affirm the suffering. There is to be no talk of "bucking up," no falling back on that useless instruction to "look on the bright side." Let's say you're feeling blue because you overheard Sally say to Nancy that she liked Betty's hairstyle, while no one commented on your new highlights. Totally understandable reaction; anyone would be shattered by that.

Or perhaps you're upset that Christmas is less than nine months away and you haven't even started your gift list. That's terrible -- these lives we live are insane.

Is the newspaper's front page filled with stories that make you despair for the human race? You should call in sick and go shopping, pamper yourself a little.

Unfortunately, the popularity of our new hobby has created a great deal of self-pity congestion. Many people are feeling sorry for themselves when it is not their turn. Things have gotten so chaotic lately that we've had to institute a sign-up sheet. For example, I get to feel sorry for myself on Tuesdays. The new system is only a modest success. There are several people who are secretly feeling sorry for themselves on someone else's time. But you can't accuse them of cheating -- they'll get that injured look.

People also appropriate the sorrows of others. One of my friends, whom we affectionately call the Leper, is a recidivist when it comes to pity theft. She claims she's just being empathetic, but it's more like emotional grabbiness. She seizes upon others' problems and takes them to heart, sometimes launching into weeping jags. We have to tell her: "That one belongs to Sue."

Another problem is that many of us don't actually feel sorry for ourselves on our designated day, so we have to fake it. Last Tuesday I was actually on quite a high but didn't want to waste my one day of self-pity. I spent two hours meditating on various childhood humiliations, teachers who never "got" me, girlfriends who failed to be distraught when I broke up with them, and so on, just to get in the right mood to tell my friends that my life is a living hell.

Worse, one of my buddies, an emotional basket case whom everyone knows simply as the Black Hole, tried to argue the point and say that my life is actually great, that I have a good family, am gainfully employed, etc. But we all know why he so flagrantly violated the rules and refused to affirm my misery:

He's jealous. He wants to be the Misery King.

And I have to admit, when it comes to feeling sorry for himself, the Hole is a prodigy. We went to lunch one day, and he made a list of his usual complaints.

"I haven't had a new idea in 10 years," he said.

"I never had a new idea," I answered.

"At least you are good with those things. The whatchamacalls."



"I am not good with words. I can't even spot a cliche. I couldn't spot a cliche if it bit me in the --"

"But you're young, still."

"We're the same age. Actually you're younger, aren't you?"

"I don't know. I don't know how old I am. I feel 80."

"You're in your forties."

"Wow. My God. My forties! That sounds so old. Just hearing that makes me feel like I'm 100."

And so on. The Hole could discover he'd been a Beatle as a young man and still manage to feel sorry for himself. I wish I had his gift for finding the bitter fruits of despair in the great orchard of happiness.

Just another thing I'm not good at.

[From the Post magazine. Click here to see Richard Thompson's great illustration. Meanwhile Weingarten is naked and Von Drehle explains why bad news is good news for Washington.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 8, 2006; 9:58 AM ET
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Joel writes:
Is the newspaper's front page filled with stories that make you despair for the human race? You should call in sick and go shopping, pamper yourself a little.

According to Carl Bernstein, journalism--in general--is failing the American public with its emphasis on celebrity, gossip, and the trivial. Maybe it's these types of articles that make women call in sick, go shopping, and demand pampering? (Yeah, right.) I can't imagine a man doing these kinds of things over a story that ran A1, can you?

I need to pull out the notes I scribbled last Thursday night and do Bernstein some justice and not just blog about him bleary-eyed, with a throat that feels like it's been stung by 1,000 wasps. I shall talk about the crowd--or lack of it in Uvalde, my trick (hypothetical question) to Bernstein, and Bernstein's very first marriage ceremony. Maybe tomorrow morning when hubby has to go in early to the data center.

Posted by: Loomis | April 8, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday I chipped my molar. For a short period this was a far more important issue to me than Global Warming or Thermonuclear War. It hurt and I failed t understand why the rest of the Universe didn’t immediately conform itself to meet this overwhelming crisis. I think that my mindset, though doubtless annoying, was fairly normal. I get more concerned about those for whom pity is a means to self-actualization.

For example, when I was growing up my father continually complained about all the Stress he was under. I felt sorry for him and did my best to make his life easier. Today he lives in an excellent assisted care facility. This is probably the least stressful environment available outside the womb. Nevertheless, each time I call he complains about Stress. Stress that seems to focus on his supply of underpants, a subject that, evidently, is much on his mind. Clearly there are many legitimate ways he could seek my pity. That he relies upon the time-tested technique of claiming Stress suggests other forces are at work. I have finally realized that unless he finds himself in a persistent vegetative state, the man will continue to use Stress as a way to seek validation. I suspect this need to suffer is a genetic condition. It appears to skip generations since my son exhibits it also. He has huge amounts of homework to do but refuses because his foot is sore. The boy drives me nuts.

Not that I am seeking pity or anything.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 8, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Buckup. Joel.

Posted by: Fairfax | April 8, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I spent all day boiling some delicious beans. They had bacon and onion and stuff. Then on the home stretch, I burned them accidentally into black crud. Life stinks. And it's raining.

Posted by: Jumper | April 8, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, would love to hear more about Bernstein - I've seen him on a few talk shows or C-Span or somewhere recently and enjoy what he has to say. I respect him more than Woodward, whom I'm still mad at. Wonder what Bob thinks about King GWB declassifying information so it can be leaked? I'm outraged! Especially since I've had a clearance and had to make sure documents and such were always accounted for...Bah! At least being mad at this administration keeps the self pity at bay...

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

BTW, an american in siam posted toward the end of the previous boodle - always great to hear from him. Now, where is Eurotrash? Shiloh? jw and sara (we know you're busy with your respective upcoming nuptials, but sheesh!)? Nice to see more longtime lurkers leaping in!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I hope the taxes are going well. I'm pretty sure you aren't getting any weeding done. I hate rainy weekends. I get more rainy weekends than anybody else.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 8, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Joel writes:

"I wish I had his gift for finding the bitter fruits of despair in the great orchard of happiness."

I could give you lessons. . . .

Uh-oh, Jennifer Ouellette just said something nice about my comments over at Cocktail Party Physics, so I have to perk up and be happy again. Curses curses squared!

Posted by: Blake Stacey | April 8, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking writes/asks:
Wonder what Bob [Woodward] thinks about King GWB declassifying information so it can be leaked? I'm outraged!

I can tell you this, mostlylurking, that the Fitzgerald/Libby/Cheney/Bush leak story that broke on Thursday morning was foremost on the mind of Carl Bernstein on Thusrday night. Bernstein said that he was ateempting to read news reports of the story on his laptop in his San Antonio hotel [La Mansion del Rio? Hyatt Hill Country Resort? La Cantera Golf Resort?]when his ride to Uvalde picked up him up in the early to mid- afternoon for his soiree (fund raiser) at the Uvalde Country Club before his talk.

Here's what MoDo thinks of the story, written in her own extremely clever way and working the leak story into the end-of-week news about the Gospel of Judas (I providing just a few grafs form today's op-ed titled "Divine Right of Bushes):

So the aide turns out to have been loyally following his leader's dictates, rather than going around the boss's back to peddle secret information.

Scooter is a "good Judas," as it turns out, just as Judas himself was, according to a 1,700-year-old Christian manuscript found in the Egyptian desert that asserts that Jesus wanted Judas to betray him, so he entrusted his disciple with special intelligence.

Since President Bush seems to see his mission in Iraq as part of God's plan, he must have assumed that getting Scooter Libby to leak parts of a classified document on Iraq to rebut Joe Wilson's charge about a juiced-up casus belli was part of God's plan.

When other officials leak top-secret stuff — even in cases where the whistle-blowers feel they are illuminating unlawful acts — they are portrayed by the White House as traitors who should be investigated and fired.* (*Bernstein hammered on this point Thursday evening.) ...

Really, W. should fire himself. He swore to look high and low for the scurrilous leaker and, lo and behold, he has himself in custody. Since the Bush administration is basically a monarchy [playing on your King theme, motlylurking], he should pass the crown to Jenna. She couldn't do worse than this bunch of airheads and bullies. ...

(I include this graf that comes toward the end of the op-ed because it had me howling and spraying coffee in a wide arc.)
Instead, sounding very Lewis Carroll, the White House claims that when the president leaks something secret, it's not secret anymore. It's the Immaculate Declassification: intelligence is declassified by passing it on to a friendly reporter.

Posted by: Loomis | April 8, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

So far, so good, for those of you who wrote concerning the weather here. Thanks dr, sneakers, and good to hear from you, american in siam. It's raining a little bit, but nothing like the stuff in the news this morning.

As to the "pity party", I think all of us are guilty of that at times. Just human nature I think. RD, I laughed when I read your post concerning your father and your son. My dad is the exact opposite, he thinks he's still iron man, and as good as when he was twenty, the man is almost eighty. As to the headlines yesterday and this morning concerning the leak, I think a lot about what Imus said on his show a couple of weeks ago, and I believe I'm quoting this right, "Bush has lied about everything." When Clinton lied people didn't have problem keeping up, with this administration it seems no one reads the paper. Where's that special prosecutor when you need one?

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 8, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Out here in the southwest self pity has evolved into epic proportions. We now engage in group self pity, like an amorphous cloud swallowing our group psyche. We had a strech of 140+ precipitation free days where you couldn't take a shower without complaining about how dry it was. When the streak finally ended you could hear an exasperated sigh rumble through the valley, "Not on a Saturday!" Sadly I had to refrain. My scheduled day for self-pity wasn't until Thursday.

Posted by: grimmace | April 8, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

SCC: stretch...

Posted by: grimmace | April 8, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

It's sunny here, with an expected high in the 70s. Mrs. Bayou Self has the kids and is seeing a play. She's due to call in an hour or two, and I'm joining them for ice cream. I might give my old Mustang a quick wash on the driveway.

My taxes are done. There's some yardwork I could get after, but I'm going to take a shower instead.

That darned yardwork. How it mocks me.

I don't think this is really my day to complain.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 8, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Grimmace - I know the feeling. We need rain here in DC, but looking outside I can't help but wish it could have waited until Monday.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 8, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Blake, thank you for the link to Cocktail Party Physics. Her list of links is especially useful.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 8, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I spent many years of my “previous life” feeling sorry for myself. Ended up not liking who I was and pretty much exhausting my friends with my complaining. Now I subscribe to the belief that if there is something i can do to change a situation - I do it. If I can’t change it, I s*ck it up and deal with it. I tell myself that “this too shall pass” and as long as I”m doing what I can, I try not to worry. Of course, this doesn’t always work and I have spent many days and nights obsessing and fearing the worst that could happen. So far, “the worst” has never involved death, loss of family ties or bankruptcy. I am blessed to have a wonderful man (boyfirend sounds sooo high school) who lets me rant, rave and vent, then makes me laugh. Without him, I’d be a lunatic.

I think I’ve passed the ‘venting gene’ on to my daughters, of course they vent to me, generally calling in the middle of dinner or during Keith Olbermann. And many times they are venting about each other, as they are “as different as chalk and cheese” as my aunt used to say. These ventings are always prefaced by, “don’t tell her I told you this but...”

On second thought, maybe I’m not so good at avoiding self pity.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | April 8, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow.. it's great to see yesterday's new boodlers are still in the game. See, once you hit that "Submit" button it gets so easy.

RD, hope that tooth is better. I have the name of a good dentist very close by if you're interested (although it sounds like you already visited one).

Posted by: TBG | April 8, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I was not raised in a family of complainers. My brother is the ultimate tough guy. One Thanksgiving he had a sprained ankle and wasn't feeling too well, so his wife and kids went off to the extended family gathering without him. As the day went on, he felt worse and eventually he realized that he had appendicitis. He was out in the country, so he got in the pickup, drove down the dirt roads to the highway, down the highway to the turnpike, down the turnpike to the city, checked himself into the hospital, had the emergency appendectomy, and then called the family to let them know everything was okay. His kids are tough, too.

My daughter, being an only child, is less stoic, but I have a very low tolerance for complaining from her. When it starts up, I laugh and say, "Oh, I didn't know there was a 'whine festival' scheduled for this weekend!" Incredibly, that doesn't always cheer her up.

What I've noticed working with a lot of rich people is that the more privileged they are, the more they complain. And they complain bitterly about stuff that, if it happened to me, I wouldn't even notice. The car got scratched, their favorite tv series was cancelled, the new tile doesn't match the kitchen cabinets, the kid didn't make the dean's list at Yale...

The people in my neighborhood, who are much less affluent, are more cheerful by far.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 8, 2006 5:49 PM | Report abuse

It's funny to see this Kit today because as we were driving back home today, I was saying to hubby that I think my "religion" consists of pretty much 1) optimism 2) finding the best out in the worst.

For example, if you don't get the new job you interviewed for, a better one is probably going to come up later--one that you wouldn't have gotten if you'd taken the first one. Or if you didn't get into the college you were hoping for, the one you attend ends up taking you in a direction you didn't expect--and where you'll find your "special purpose." Get the picture?

Even when my mom was sick and eventually died, which was so far the worst thing that's happened to me, I was able to see the good things that were going on, too. The strength and abilities I had that I didn't know I had; the closeness with my family that only got closer; the fact that my dad lives in a wonderful place now, surrounded by friends and people and activities he wouldn't have otherwise (of course, he would have my mom, but I said I look at the bright side).

My husband says we should call it the Church of the Glass Half Full.

Posted by: TBG | April 8, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Rare SCC: ' out OF the worst' in graf one.

Posted by: TBG | April 8, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm kind of happy it rained today--I get to avoid mowing, fixing the deck, or filling in the hole that my neighbor's dog dug under my fence, none of which are in my "Top 50 Favorite Things To Do." Instead, my son and I, trapped in the house, worked on our electric trains, which is much higher on my list.

Of course, when my wife came home she reminded me that we have 15 people coming to visit next Friday, and we're years behind on cleaning the house, so the rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning.

So I guess in the end I'm complaining about the rain too.

Posted by: Dooley | April 8, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

TBG - I went to a nice dentist who works above a Starbucks. He saw me right away. I am scheduled for a permanent filling in about a week. Until then the good doctor filled my chipped tooth with a temporary substance that I believe is composed of sealing wax and morphine. My tooth feels much better. Plus, now I can hear trees sing.

Optimism is a wonderful life skill. I have a hard time believing in a passive sense of Karma, but I do think that, with work, we can produce good from the darkest evil.

But that might just be the dental work talking.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 8, 2006 6:30 PM | Report abuse

kberocci - "whine festival." Love it. Gonna write that one down.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 8, 2006 6:36 PM | Report abuse

OK.. here's something to whine about. Those floating pizzas. I hate them. When they are floating across my Achenpage at a snail's pace I can't click on a link or scroll down the page.

Get rid of the pizzas!

Posted by: TBG | April 8, 2006 7:09 PM | Report abuse

re: floating pizzas

Okaaaay... *removing sharp objects from the boodle*. I don't actually see any floating pizzas?

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 8, 2006 7:21 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, something my kids are tired of hearing me say: "Do you want some cheese with that whine?"

I spent today doing some maintenance on the mower on this rainy Saturday instead using it on the back 40 (well, back 2 really) like I'd hoped. Changed the oil & filter, replaced the plugs, changed the air and fuel fiters, dropped the deck, cleaned it out, and sharpened all the blades.

Actually, I feel pretty good today.


Posted by: bc | April 8, 2006 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness it's not just me that doesn't see the floating pizzas. I'll stop looking for my optometrist's number.

Posted by: Dooley | April 8, 2006 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Papa John's pizza ad on the right side of the page. Pizza floats from the left side, across the page, veeerrrrry slowly..... then lands on the pizza pan in the Papa John's page.

Does it make me want a pizza? Sure. A Papa John's pizza? No way, Giuseppe!

Posted by: TBG | April 8, 2006 7:39 PM | Report abuse

TBG (and also SonofCarl and Dooley),

Papa John's is a local pizza delivery chain. Their ads probably only appear on the browsers of those users of who have the local home page and not the national one. I know SonofCarl is not from this area. I assume Dooley is as well. No need to call the folks in the white jackets yet. Things are behaving as they should.

Oh, the flying pizzas bug me a bit too.

Posted by: pj | April 8, 2006 7:57 PM | Report abuse

The fact is: some people aren't happy unless they have something to whine about. I sometimes think it's more of a female trait, but then I'm reminded by the writings inside the Declaration of Independence., which I think was constructed by what we now call "The Founding Fathers". As for those who get depressed about rain, you should get a garden - On rainy days, you'll have dreams of flying red, white, and blue tomatoes before the 4th of July.

Posted by: Pat | April 8, 2006 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness, no floating pizzas for me either. There are advantages to being far, far away from DC.

TBG, I consider myself a pessimist, but like you, I try to make the best of a situation. So I guess I'm not really as negative as I paint myself at times. I'm also a bigtime counter of my blessings - I've had a pretty easy life, all around. Plus I take after my mom, who never complained about a thing, or gossiped about people - but she'd stand up for things she believed in. I miss my mom every day.

RD, you're making me laugh again. You can hear the trees sing - ha!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2006 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Pat, you're right about gardens and rain. I've been wanting it to rain because we have seeds sprouting - but I would have preferred that it rain during the week, not the weekend. Poor, poor pitiful me!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2006 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm a rain victim too. Whaaa! Give me money...

Posted by: Pat | April 8, 2006 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Out here in Colorado we'd love to have some of your rain--we usually get nothing unless we're up in the mountains or we get lots of wind and a few flakes of snow that quickly melt. Once in a while we get blizzards, too. I'm tired of replacing shrubs. No nirvana here. Not that I'm feeling sorry for myself or anything...

Posted by: FF | April 8, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I think pessimism and negativity can become habits in much the same way that optimism can. A person's outlook on life can snowball, or spiral outwards in either direction. It has been said that we can become "addicted" to our emotional states in the same way that we can become addicted to heroin or to any other drug or pastime:

"Who is in the driver's seat when we control our emotions or we respond to our emotions? We know physiologically that nerve cells that fire together wire together. If you practice something over and over, those nerve cells have a long-term relationship. If you get angry on a daily basis, if you get frustrated on a daily basis, if you suffer on a daily basis, if you give reason for the victimization in your life, you're rewiring and reintegrating that neural net on a daily basis, and that neural net now has a long-term relationship with all those other nerve cells called an 'identity.'

We also know that nerve cells that don't
fire together no longer wire together. They lose their long-term relationship, because every time we interrupt the thought process that produces a chemical response in the body--every time we interrupt it, those nerve
cells that are connected to each other start breaking the long-term relationship.

When we start interrupting
and observing--not by stimulus and response and that automatic reaction, but by observing the effects it takes--then we are no longer the body-mind conscious emotional person that's responding to its environment as if it is automatic."

-- Joseph Dispenza, D.C.

"What happens in adulthood is that most of us who've had our glitches along the way
are operating in an emotionally detached place, or we're operating as if today were yesterday, in either the disconnected place or the overly emotional reactive place, because they've gone to an earlier time in reality. The person is not operating as an integrated whole."

-- Daniel Monti, M.D.

"My definition of an addiction is something really simple: something that you can't stop. We bring to ourselves
situations that will fulfill the biochemical craving of the cells of our body by creating situations that
meet our chemical needs. And the addict will always need a little bit more in order to get a rush or a high of what they're looking for chemically. So my definition really means that if you can't control your emotional state, you must be addicted to it."

-- Joseph Dispenza, D.C.

"The thing that most people don't realize is that when they understand that they are addicted to emotions--it's not just psychological, it's biochemical (think about this: heroin uses the same receptor mechanisms on the cells that our emotional
chemicals use)--it's easy to see then that
if we can be addicted to heroin, then we can be addicted to any neural peptide, any emotion."

-- Joseph Dispenza, D.C.

Posted by: Dreamer | April 8, 2006 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to add that yes, I too see flying pizzas, all the way from Hong Kong. Which won't do Papa John's much good, but, if I can't keep a handle on my pizza addiction, it could bring in some business for my local independent pizza joint.

And yes, I find the flying pizzas distracting. (Still working on rewiring my brain so I won't automatically get angry when I see them.)

Posted by: Dreamer | April 8, 2006 9:31 PM | Report abuse

[Also forgot to note that the quotes above are Bleep quotes, just in case you couldn't tell.]

[OK, I'll stop being such a pest now. Bye.]

Posted by: Dreamer | April 8, 2006 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's me! Ironically, we do have Papa John here and I'm going to order pizza tonight. I'm going with Panago, however.

Related to the "pity me" issue is the "not my fault" phenomenon so central to litigation.

Speaking of litigation, as has been noted the Holy Blood, Holy Grail duo lost their case against Brown. Here's what Baigent had to say:

"Every point of copying we raised in the court, the judge agreed Dan Brown had taken from us. In fact, he said of Dan Brown that he didn't consciously lie. He was very tough on Dan Brown. So I think we've lost, by the law, but I think we've won the moral victory. That's good for us and for every other writer."

I think that from a lawyer's perspective the absolute best client in the world is one who loses, in this case probably has to pay six figures in court costs to the other side, and walks out calling it a "moral victory". Oh sure, I completely lost "by the law", but I think my point was made.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 8, 2006 9:52 PM | Report abuse

You want self-pity? Read Weingarten's column Joel referenced above. It's about Gene telecommuting while naked. So go the next step: think about boodling while naked. EEEwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Now we're talking major self-pity here.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 8, 2006 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer, are you using the same computer that you used back here in DC? The cookies that the WaPo server recognizes probably tell it that you still are here.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 8, 2006 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Tim -- no, I'm using a new laptop, purchased here in Hong Kong.

I guess there are only so many ads to go round, so once they've shown me the ones they think might be relevant to Hong Kong, they go back to showing me the same ones the rest of you see. Either that or the 'blog is the nexus of the Universe or a figment of my imagination. (Same thing?)

Also, I would like the record to note that I have never 'boodled naked. Now that I 'boodle from home rather than from work, I sometimes 'boodle in my jammies, but never nekkid. And they're always very decent, respectable jammies. (The ones I'm wearing now have purple sheep on them.)

[Speaking of jammies, I shouldn't still be in mine -- must . . . have . . . shower . . . and head back to filmfest.]

Posted by: Dreamer | April 8, 2006 10:15 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, I concur! Ha - I feel so smart now!

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2006 10:15 PM | Report abuse

And now I feel dumb - but maybe Dreamer still has the "local" setting for the WaPo...

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2006 10:17 PM | Report abuse

You will note that I posted my comment agreeing with Science Tim at the same time that Dreamer posted hers - but of course, Hal chose to display hers first...boodled out of order once again...How Achenembarrassing...

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 8, 2006 10:19 PM | Report abuse

"Mudge, I don't know about you, but I've reached the stage in life where I'm not real fond of looking at myself with clothes on, much less without them. EWWW indeed! When it comes to self-pity, I try to keep perspective. Like every human being, I have problems. I've decided, though, that I have a very decent set and I think I'll keep them. It would be too much trouble to change them out. When I see some of the problems other people have, especially those they inflict upon themselves, I am very grateful for mine.

Posted by: Slyness | April 8, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse

E'en though hilarity and nekkidness is ensuing here on the Achenblog, there's two excellent stories on the WaPo home page--"GOP Sees Disturbing Reflection in The Mirror" by Jim VandeHei and Juliet Eilperin, and "A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic"
subhed: "Prosecutor Describes Cheney, Libby as Key Voices Pitching Iraq-Niger Story" by Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer.

All this talk about flying pizzas (I see them too, from time, to time--very annoying when they don't actually force me to do something rash, which I'm going to do right now) means I have to go prowl the kitchen. I think there's a bag of unpopped Orville Redenbacher up there with my name on it...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 8, 2006 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Finished reading the Gellman and Linzer piece (to which Mudge referred moments ago)--with eyes just glued to the screen, and then jumped to NYT to read equivalent reporting.

These articles dwarf to nothingness the Boodling about jammies, nekkidness, and flying pizzas.

And, as Bernstein sadly pointed out Thursday, we are learning these details from a special prosecutor. More in the morning.

Posted by: Loomis | April 8, 2006 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, you guys feeling any better?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 8, 2006 11:01 PM | Report abuse

NYT has a nice headline for the Masters golf tournament story -- Lots of Rain, Little Golf, Many Holes Left to Play. A great haiku, despite missing a few syllables.

Posted by: jg | April 8, 2006 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute! You mean you ALL don't boodle while you're naked? You actually wear clothes? Why didn't I get that memo?

Yikes... now where are my pants?

Posted by: TBG | April 8, 2006 11:31 PM | Report abuse

My day included hockey, baseball, more baseball and very little of the yardwork.

The yardwork still mocks me. But it shall mock no more come tomorrow.

Meanwhile, pity me, please, for I am sore.

Mudge - You gonna get me that glass of water or not?

ps - A mosquito-spraying truck is making its way through the neighborhood as I type this. I'm in the south, but it still seems early.

Night all.

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 8, 2006 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I left it on your nightstand, Bayou--you had drifted off to sleep and I didn't have the heart to wake you. But I'm a little miffed at you insisting I had to get dressed, drive to Safeway, buy Perrier, buy a lemon, bring them back, cut the lemon into slices, and garnish your &*%$#@$&^%$ drink of water with four perfect ice cubes made with bottled water (I had to wait for them to freeze) and the middle (not one of the end) slice of lemon. Frankly, I think you're pushing your luck, buddy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 8, 2006 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Now I understand the posts about flying pizzas. I lost my vision 15 years ago, total darkness, which was 1 month after I got married. I will never see the adds or the light of day again. Can't tell you how many sisters-in-law and my wife's friends have undressed or breast fed their babies right in front of me. Two years ago, a 17 year old girl stripped in my living room so my wife could take her measurements to make her prom dress. I was right there on the couch. That hurt!
I dream in color and its the only time I get to experience vision. NyQuil helps, but since I've been refusing the flu shot, I quit getting colds and the flu. For some reason, I have pity on those who have to put up with flying pizzas. The most beautiful thing in the solor system is a naked woman, namely my wife who I can only imagine looks the same on our wedding day as she does today even after 4 kids who I love so much but I've never seen. That really hurts too. You know the old saying that when you're married, you can look but not touch? With me, I'm allowed to touch - it's only fair! People say life is too short, but It gives me the creeps to know I'll be stareing at complete blackness for another 10, 20, 30, or 40 years. Then I think that instead of losing my vision and experiencing total blackness, what if I lost my vision and my sight degenerated into complete whiteout, how would I ever be able to sleep again? I like to listen to peoples petty little problems because it makes me feel like I'm doing a great job at handling the major problems I've been delt. Never feel sorry for blind people. If you see one ask "Would you like some help?" rather than "Do you need some help?". Preference and need are two entirely different perspectives. Right now, I've got a beautiful woman on my waterbed. Nighty night!

Posted by: Pat | April 8, 2006 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, good, Pat. At least I can keep boodling nekkid in front of you.


Posted by: TBG | April 8, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Pat: I went to college with a fellow that had been losing his sight before I met him aand has long since become blind. From what I understand he is now a public school teacher. Self pity wasn't expressed in his daily routine. In college he swam the 200 'fly; in his present life he has achieved IMHO what few have the stones to reach. In those episodes when we wade into the dark side remember all of those that have been drawn into whaat I consider the path of least resistance. Being proactive sure beats being reactive. Get proactive...know what I mean...nudge...nudge

Posted by: jack | April 9, 2006 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Maybe "I Boodle Naked" would be good for a t-shirt or bumper sticker?

Posted by: ot | April 9, 2006 3:27 AM | Report abuse

hmmm..."I Killed the Boodle" might also be a good slogan.

Posted by: ot | April 9, 2006 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Just got back from the film festival, where I saw a simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking Thai movie called “A Bite of Love” (directed by Siwaporn Pongsuwan), a tale of a girl and her dog. I highly recommend this film to anyone who gets the opportunity to see it (not just kids, and maybe not *even* kids) –- perhaps it’ll be released in the U.S. at some point. (I’m wondering if maybe an american in siam and Boodling from Bangkok have already had the pleasure?)

Anyway: I don’t usually cry in movies, and I didn’t cry in this one –- it was “just a dog,” for goodness’ sake! -- but during the opening scene, I could’ve. A car pulls up at the side of a busy road, and a cute mutt is scooted out. The dog sits there for hours in an extremely dignified fashion, as if waiting for the car to return. (Such a sympathetic character –- so “human”!) Eventually she gets hungry and starts wandering the streets of Bangkok, learning to cadge food, which she takes back to a little cubby hole she’s secured for herself. Before long she has a litter of puppies, which she capably cares for, partly by ensuring that she herself is well fed.

But this equilibrium is soon disrupted when a well-meaning customer of a nearby restaurant, who's become rather fond of the pooch, lures her into his car with a tasty treat and whisks her away to the suburbs. She frets, escapes, and eventually makes it back to her ’hood, only to find that all but one of the pups have been taken away. (Good lord, what next?!?!)

This individual pup, whom the mother dog either no longer recognizes or is too grief-stricken to care for –- it’s not clear –- himself becomes a street urchin. Another I-almost-cried moment. (Oh, and the mother then gets hit by a car, by the way.) The pup is eventually taken home by a little girl who has also been abandoned -- her divorced mother has left her with her aunts and grandmother, supposedly so she can look for work in another city, although the family suspects her real motivation is to “pretend she’s single” and start dating again, unencumbered by a child. (The capsule review in the HK Film Festival programme notes that “compared to its human counterpart, the female hound’s dedication to its young positively shames us.”)

The little girl promises the puppy she'll look after him better than she’s been looked after, naming him Moo Ping (grilled pork). The girl’s nickname is Kaoneaw (sticky rice, the perfect complement to grilled pork). She must hide Moo Ping from her aunts and grandmother, who’ve made it clear they can’t afford to keep a dog; they can barely afford to keep *her*. Hilarity, sweetness (the doggie is just so darned *cute*!) -– and many a complication –- ensue. Although things go smoothly enough for awhile, Moo Ping’s adoption is by no means a happy ending; this is not the formulaic story it initially appears to be. And the film’s conclusion isn’t exactly a Hollywood one. Moo Ping and Kaoneaw become separated, reunited, and separated again. There are more cars and more car accidents -- but also some humor, so the audience’s emotional burden doesn’t become unbearable. (At one point, Moo Ping is adopted by a wealthy woman who re-names him Alex -- which SO-O-O doesn't suit him -- and who has ten other dogs, with names like Gucci, Fendi, and Kenzo.)

As the story unfolds, we’re reminded that both the human and the canine inhabitants of this world are divided into the haves and the have-nots. Some dogs –- and some children –- struggle to survive on the streets, while others are ferried back and forth in BMWs to doctors’ appointments, grooming appointments, and play dates. And whatever our species, our fortunes can change: we might suddenly find ourselves in a higher –- or lower –- realm of this holodeck we call life. But however wretched this perpetual cycle of birth, reproduction, and rebirth may become, there are patches of joy to be found.

Posted by: Dreamer | April 9, 2006 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Al Gore has a tee-shirt that reads, "I Invented the Boodle"

Posted by: Pat | April 9, 2006 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention; Dick Cheney has a tee-shirt that reads "I Shot the Boodle"

Posted by: Pat | April 9, 2006 8:14 AM | Report abuse

There's an interesting opinion piece on the WaPo home page by Caleb Carr, called "Let Them Have Their Civil War" [in Iraq}, and identifies Carr as the author of "The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians" and as a military historian at Bard College. But he is also author of the (excellent) historical mystery novels "The Alienist" and "The Angel of Darkness," which to my mind are rather like what would happen if Doctorow wrote thrillers (intended as a compliment to both).

(Speaking of Doctorow, a couple of you--perhaps including Joel--owe us all a book review of "The March." Surely one of you has finished it by now.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 9, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

One more thought on pity before I go tend to a rain-soaked yard that is far more difficult to deal with than anyone else's.

I suspect that some people grouse to the cosmos in the hopes that it won't send them any more trouble. To them, getting up in the morning and saying, "My life is so breathtakingly perfect!" might be viewed as an invitation for the universe to take them down a few karmic notches.

Oh, to have such problems.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 9, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow Dreamer, if the movie you describe is as powerful as your synopsis, I definitely hope it shows up over here.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 9, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Actually, RD, I've heard it said that the Universe gives us what we expect.
It knows no lack, only abundance, and when we ask, we receive. If we worry about or focus on poor health or a lack of money, we'll continue to get those things. (Ever notice how some people seem to have one bad thing happen after another?) If we operate within the "higher-energy frequencies," such as gratitude, optimism, joy, and compassion, the physical manifestations of those things show up in our lives. If we expect only the best, that's what we'll get. It's the "God helps those who help themselves" model. The problem is, most people don't dare operate this way. As you said, they grouse to the cosmos in the hopes that it won't send them more trouble, because they don't want to jinx things. Ironically, they may be doing just that -- the cosmos sends them what they're focusing on: more trouble.

Posted by: Dreamer | April 9, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

[Boodled out o' order. Thanks for your powerful-synopsis comment, RD.]

Posted by: Dreamer | April 9, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

American institutions meant to serve the public--press, government, and schools--are currently failing in their missions, according to Carl Bernstein, famous Watergate reporter, told a audience of 300 in Uvalde, Texas Thursday night.

"The dysfunction of both politics and journalism is causing huge problems because we need the two institutions to work in this country," Bernstein said.

Historically in America, the press played a leadership role by forcing the slower institution of government to respond to the its reporting, from Tom Paine's essays during the American Revolution continuing through to the New Deal, the Depression, World War II, Watergate and segregation.

Citing a recent Pew poll that showed that 45 percent of respondents believe little or nothing of what they read in newspapers today, Bernstein said today that "truth, a precious commodity, is harder to find."

Bernstein defined good journalism and good reporting as "nothing more complicated than the best obtainable version of the truth" based on reporters' "great perserverance, common sense, gut, and individuals who aren't easily intimidated."

Today's media is both illusionary and delusional, disconnected from the true context of people's lives, engaged in celebrity worship, gossip, and manufacturing controversy--especially talk television, shouting and name-calling. The culture of journalistic tittilation condescends to readers, he said.

Calling this current political environment "the roughest of times," Bernstein called on the press to challenge its readers, not just amuse them. The former Watergate reporter said the present administration with its sad record of draconian secrecy and not being truthful was hurting the American people, the press and Congress.

Bernstein said that what readers of print journalism should see on their front pages is the coalescing of the three huge current stories: the war in Iraq (how the United States got there, the situation on the ground, the geopolitical situation), the truthfulness of our politicians, and the war on terror (whether its being founght intelligently.) "We should never take our focus off these stories for a moment," he said.

Berstein mentioned schools only briefly. "Public education in urban areas is not working the way it should."

I'm going to end here, but know that Bernstein had a lot more to say--about the Downing Street Memos, the future platform of print media, current state of television-both local and national, the president, money becoming the business of the American Congress, and the fairly recent slide of American government instituitions into political oligarchy. In his talk, Bernstein borrowed from authors Marshall McLuhan, Bill Bennett, Harold Bloom, and particularly Neil Postman, as well as shared anecdotes from his own life.

It's hard to Boodle while trying to also "work" in the role of wife. Hubby is coming home from several hours of work early this morning in the data center and it's time to fix Sunday pancakes.

Bernstein did say that the best newspapers today are the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal--if one stays away from the WSJ's editorial pages.

I asked Bernstein what changes would he make at the Washington Post if he were to be in top management--a tough hypothetical, with no intention on my part of stepping on the toes of Len Downey Jr. or Robert Kaiser. Bernstein said that he would create a special bureau at the Washington Post to focus of the intertwined stories of the Iraq war, the global war on terrorism and the statements of top government officials, rather than have articles about those subjects filed piecemeal from overseas and from various political beats.

Bernstein also shared with me after the program the Loomis Chaffee grad and assistant managing editor at the Washington Post Robert G. Kaiser had been a best man at his first wedding.

"To [writer] Nora [Ephron]?" I asked.

"No, I had one before that," he said.

(How was I to know?)

I overheard the president of Sul Ross University, with a student body of 1,100 students, say off-stage that his grand paln for the evening was to have both Bernstein and Judith Miller on stage at the same time, but the package was too expensive. He mused aloud how much it would have cost to have engaged Tom Fiedman for the lecture series. I joked that that on April 6 of this year Friedman was speaking at Loomis Chaffee.

The auditorium where Bernstein spoke was brand new and gorgeous--for a high school. I overheard the Sul Ross president say that they had hoped that 1,200 people would turn out for Bernstein's talk, but [he had to have been disappointed that] only 300 did. Uvalde is deep, rural, conservative south Texas. What a contrast between Trinity University's Laurie Auditorium on Tuesday night, where former President George H.W. Bush packed them in to the rafters.

What I found, having attended both lectures, was Bernstein speaking truth to power and President 41 speaking about his son's policies or lack of them far less than truthfully.

Posted by: Loomis | April 9, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Any SCCs are the result of a deeply raw throat.

Mudge, since you asked last night: My husband is better, I really am not and if I am, only very marginally so. Doctor's appt. tomorrow, but feeling poorly generally is a real crimp in my plans to make progress in so many areas.

Posted by: Loomis | April 9, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Today: Some yardwork. And a quick errand in the old Mustang. And then an afternoon at the pool.

Yes, at the pool. The neighborhood swim team is having a kickoff -- okay, diveoff? Splashin? Grrr -- deal for signing up and such. The water will be frigid, even though we live in the south. I won't be going in. But please do have some pity on me.

Mudge - Thanks for the water, but what's with all those damned lemons?

Posted by: Bayou Self | April 9, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

From today's WaPO, article by Nedra Pickler:

The [Fitzgerald's] investigation is looking into whether Plame's identify was disclosed to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an Iraq war critic. Wilson had accused the administration of twisting prewar intelligence to exaggerate the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Wilson said Sunday that Bush and Cheney should release transcripts of their interviews with Fitzgerald. [Absolutely!]

"It seems to me that first and foremost, the White House needs to come clean on this matter," Wilson said on ABC's "This Week." "My own view of this is that the White House owes the American people and particularly our service people who have been sent into war, an apology for having misrepresented the facts."

Did I mention that my best friend is scared sh1tless that her son will be riding around in Iraq this coming November without the sufficiently protective body armor? Wouls the situation be different if it were your child--the one you may have taken to a science fair last week or be accompanying to the pool today?

Posted by: Loomis | April 9, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions—or bury the results.,9171,1181587,00.html

Posted by: Loomis | April 9, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Someone said the President should come clean, I thought he did? I'm always out the loop, never get anything right. Glad you got your tooth fixed, PD, teeth can really hurt. I've been to church, had my lunch, and am missing my child, and grandchildren so much. I haven't seen them in awhile. And if they were here, in an hour's time, I would be ready for them to go back. And who blogs naked? I'm like the person that said something about not wanting to see their body with clothes on, I know I don't want to see mine without clothes, not good, not good, at all. Enjoy your Sunday, the weather here is beautiful, a little chilly, but absolutely beautiful, sunny, blue sky, just stunning. Oh, the gifts and blessings that God gives us, so good to us, and all He asks that we love one another as He loves us. Love to all, in that Name above every name, Jesus.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 9, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer, I like your philosophy, although my personal experience is that the universe is shockingly unresponsive to my mental state. I take solace from the mean value thereom. That is, if I just keep breathing long enough the odds are some good things will happen to balance out the bad. Of course, purely as an excercise in wish fulfillment, it is a good idea not to deliberately irritate the universe. Which is why I never boodle naked.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 9, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I am going to stay right on topic today. Mens World Curling, in a well fought contest, we lost. And then my cleaning lady, called to say that she had to quit for medical reasons. she will be greatly missed, and hard to replace out here. Cest le vie.

Linda you pose and interesting question about how would anyone feel if it was our sons. I would hate it more than anything, and yet, I have this terrible feeling that it was going to come anyway, that there was not a choice. I kind of think there was only a choice in timeing, not that it was going to happen, in some way or other. For too long western nations have not heard, and I think it may one of those things we cannot avoid any more. No my country is not involved in Iraq, but we are out there in areas of the world where our sons are dying, and working to make it better, and hopefully to make it right. If mine choose that path, or if one day they are required to take that path, I would support them 100%.

Posted by: dr | April 9, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, dr, your problem with your cleaning lady reminds me of a classic upper-class whine from one of my co-workers. Her husband was out of town and she was complaining about how much more work she had to do because he wasn't home to do his chores. Especially, that particular day, it was weighing on her that "He usually writes the check for the cleaning lady" and that arduous task had fallen on her. Those of us who clean our own houses, with NO help from the spouse, let alone servants, did a sort of collective eye-roll.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 9, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

dr, you understand, I'm not comparing YOU to the complainer. What you said just reminded me, that's all.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 9, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Is Carl Hiaasen syndicated? And if not, why the heck not??! I wish every paper in the country were publishing his column.

Today's column starts like this:

"Good riddance to Gale Norton, the worst Interior secretary in modern history. Somewhere the ghost of Teddy Roosevelt is breathing a sigh of relief."

And continues in the same vein:

Posted by: kbertocci | April 9, 2006 5:53 PM | Report abuse

dr, I watched the final end of the curling championship. Had no idea what was going on, couldn't understand either team when they were talking - one was French Canadian, the other Scots (and I had more luck understanding French than whatever it was the Scots were speaking, although I think it was English!). Pretty entertaining, if disappointing for our Canadian friends.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 9, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Mickelson get another green jacket. In case he spills something on his first one.

When did Freddy Couples go gray? Sheesh! Like we're all, uh, he's getting old or something. Tempis fugit.


Posted by: DoubleVision | April 9, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

You could nay oonderstund the Scoots? Whoot's wroong wit yooooo?

Posted by: Achenfan | April 9, 2006 7:47 PM | Report abuse

In appreciation of your story of MS (the young lady, not the disease) and your steadfastness in the face of pain here is a brief commentary on “The March,” by E.L. Doctorow (finished 4/6/06). I had read “Team of Rivals,” by Doris Kerns Goodwin (Finished 3/26/06) and “Never Call Return,” by Bruce Catton (Finished 4/2/06). Goodwin’s book, a love letter to A. Lincoln, was a fascinating study of political adroitness when it was really needed. One shudders to think what would have become of the nation if Lincoln had been as incompetent as his generals. But in “Team of Rivals” battles are only signposts to measure progress through the war. Catton tells the tactics, strategies, and accidents that won or lost the battles. “The March” attempts, in my opinion, to do for Sherman’s campaign what “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Finished 6/13/05) did for trench warfare - bring to us the reality of The March on real, if fictional, people. I think Doctorow did a pretty good job. I suspect there were many metaphors that I missed, but one that I think I got was that Will and Arly were supposed to represent the political South. Will the yeoman farmer, common man, non slaveholder and Arly the quintessential Southern politician. I don’t know why Pearl’s color was white, but it was interesting to me that she knew that if she had a child by Stephen it stood a good chance of being black in color. It was a subtle suggestion or maybe reminder that Pearl’s mixed parentage was not unusual. Most of the women were strong and I like that because most are.
My credentials: Ga Tech ’59, ’61, UNCCH ’67. Lived in Winston Salem, Atlanta, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, now in Piney Creek, NC. Born in PA. Lived more than 50 years in NC.

Posted by: dgh | April 9, 2006 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm SO glad I didn't boodle out of order by having my silly Scottish comment appear after dgh's thoughtful "March" review.

Bravo, dgh -- and thank you for keeping the AchenBookClub alive.

Posted by: Achenfan | April 9, 2006 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I think I've brought the term "Boodle Killer" to a new level.

Posted by: Achenfan | April 10, 2006 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Nah - Achenfan. You didn't kill the boodle, I think most of the DC regulars were just recovering from spending the day outside. The weather was epic. There was brilliant sunshine coupled with a crisp breeze. In the late afternoon the moon was visible, giving an exotic touch to the sky. The sky itself was the intense blue that I associate with Seattle in the summer. In other words, staying indoors would seem, well, a pitiful thing to do.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 10, 2006 7:28 AM | Report abuse

"a pitiful thing to do"!
[And the 'boodle comes full circle]

Posted by: Achenfan | April 10, 2006 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning. Took the day off today to pamper myself...Well, I'll pamper myself after I find out what will happen to my finger with the odd bump on the knuckle. There, I stayed on topic.

Posted by: beacantor | April 10, 2006 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Then again, RDP, there are those of us near DC who spent much of yesterday indoors with necessary labor...

There, I joined the party!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 10, 2006 7:55 AM | Report abuse

would it be bad boodle manners if I changed my name? I cut and pasted a posting in an email to my husband, and he's emailed back that he'll start reading. He'll probably figure out who I am, but I don't want to make it soooo easy for him.

Posted by: beacantor | April 10, 2006 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Too late....

Posted by: Mike C | April 10, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Ha, beacantor, you're outed!

For a different look at the politics of pity, a story from this morning's WaPo that I found interesting:

Posted by: slyness | April 10, 2006 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I think a lot of people in the DC area went to Palm Sunday services, became inspired by the Passion of Jesus Christ, read this blog, and spent the rest of the day experiencing Agony in the Garden. As for me, I got a blister on my pinky and now it hurts to boodle.

Posted by: Pat | April 10, 2006 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Another case of worlds colliding, aka boodle breaching.

And here's my list of grumbles:

My newly dry-cleaned white cotton skirt has a bright green stain on it because I was carrying around one of those environmentally friendly grocery shopping bags.

Today at a "wet market" I saw a snakey looking fish Thing, the likes of which I've never seen before -- it had a snout, and I really don't know whether it was an actual snake or just a fish that looked like a snake, but that Thing gave me the creeps, and I'm probably going to have nightmares about it tonight, and . . .

We have these weird mushroomy Things sprouting out of a bamboo fence-ish Thing on our porch, because it rained for a week straight and the Thing never had a chance to dry out. Not that we can really use the porch right now, because some scaffolding work is being done on the floor above us, so there's no privvacy. [Double v intentional (British pronunciation)]

And it's really humid, and there are mosquitoes.

But I really mustn't whinge.

Posted by: Achenfan | April 10, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for using "whinge".

That thing you saw at the fish market was most likely a snakehead. They've been in the wild back here in the DC area for a few years now, efforts to eradicate them have failed. I've never met one, though I understand that they're rather nasty critters, and can even shuffle across land from pond to pond, like those 300-million year old fish tetrapod fossils we were Boodling about last week.

They are considered good eatin' in the far east, and there was some discussion that those in the wild here were actually transplanted (illegally, I should add) for just this reason.


Posted by: bc | April 10, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I just received an IM from someone who takes umbrage at your promiscuous use of the term "Thing", A-fan.

He requests that you only capitalize "Thing" when you're talking about him.


Posted by: bc | April 10, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

OK, this time without the MS Word musical notes:

Poor, Poor Pitiful Me

by Warren Zevon

I'd lay my head on the railroad tracks
And wait for the Double "E"
But the railroad don't run no more
Poor, poor pitiful me

Poor, poor pitiful me
Poor, poor pitiful me
These young girls won't let me be
Lord have mercy on me
Woe is me

Well, I met a girl in West Hollywood
I ain't naming names
She really worked me over good
She was just like Jesse James
She really worked me over good
She was a credit to her gender
She put me through some changes, Lord
Sort of like a Waring blender

Poor, poor pitiful me
Poor, poor pitiful me
These young girls won't let me be
Lord have mercy on me
Woe is me

Well, I met a girl at the Rainbow bar
She asked me if I'd beat her
She took me back to the Hyatt House
I don't want to talk about it

Poor, poor pitiful me
Poor, poor pitiful me
These young girls won't let me be
Lord have mercy on me
Woe is me

(Well, I met a girl from the Vieux Carre`
Down in Yokahama
She picked me up and she throwed me down
I said, "Please don't hurt me, Mama")

Posted by: kbertocci | April 10, 2006 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmm . . . I'm not sure if it was a snakehead. It was lighter in color (a silvery white), and its *body* was snake-like. The head was a little dolphin-esque -- but not in a cute way. Weird-o-rama.

On the other hand, maybe the spores from those weird mushroom thingies made me hallucinate.

Posted by: Achenfan | April 10, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad I didn't promiscuously capitalize "it," because then I might have umbrageified Cousin It, and I heart Cousin It.

Posted by: Achenfan | April 10, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse

OK, now we're just being silly.

And there's a new kIT!

Posted by: Achenfan | April 10, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I used to have a sign in my kitchen which read: "The more you complain, the longer God lets you live."
I believe that.
A real, personal, interesting complaint is not a ploy for pity.
It is an Art Form.
I also believe that.

Posted by: Irelawd | April 10, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Love Achenblog, Richard Thompson's illustrations ( are pure genius.

Posted by: bill | April 10, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

why is it so long

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

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