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Return of the Achenbro

[Faithful readers will recall that some weeks back I visited the Achenbro in Boulder during a reporting trip, and prepared for a weekend barbecue that promised to be the all-time Big Smasher. The events of that day and evening are hereby reported without embellishment. This is my column in the Sunday magazine.]

My brother, Kevin, is a rocker and a sports fan. He lives in Colorado in a rented house with five guitars and four televisions. He likes to play his guitars really loud and drink beers and smoke cigars and watch a ballgame on his 52-inch flat-screen high-def TV while barbecuing giant slabs of meat on his Weber grill. Kevin's place is Guy Heaven, a realm devoted to all things masculine. The only way it could be better would be if it were a cave.

Let me be clear that he is too much a Renaissance man to kick back with a stogie and watch a ballgame on the big screen and do nothing else. No, he also will watch a different game on a second television, the 27-incher, which is on the shelf above the fireplace. He is as deft with his TV remotes as he is with the frets on his guitars.

I've argued that his house ought to have a table to eat on. You know, like the thing that civilized people have for "dining." He has no available horizontal surfaces on which to eat, other than the coffee table and the floor. I asked where he ate, and he looked at me as though I were a madman. The recliner, he said. Right in front of the TV. I showed him the area between the kitchen and the couch where he could put a dining room table. "I need that for the guitars," he said. And for the concert speakers. And the amps and the recording gadgets and all the cables and wires that are necessary if you are a rocker.

He started playing at age 13, which was 33 years ago. In the early '90s his band, Rox Diamond, was in a studio in Los Angeles, recording its first CD in the genre of "melodic rock." During a break, the lead singer, Paul, went to the adjacent studio and listened to some stringy-haired musicians who were also cutting an album. They were terrible. Their music was just . . . noise. The awfulness of the group bolstered the lead singer's confidence in his own band's future. But Rox Diamond was destined to be, at best, a cult success. The horrendous band next door did quite well. Its name was Nirvana.

Years ago, Kevin lived with a woman he wanted to marry, but she married someone else. He's not bitter. He is content, works hard as an office manager, is well-liked by his colleagues and sticks to a routine. I know a lot of women who ask, "Where are the single men?" You can find one of them in a suburban cul-de-sac, in a house with no decorations, lawn ornaments or hint of life within. It's a demographic no doubt overlooked by statisticians. Hidden men. Lone rockers.

My most recent visit occurred during the NCAA Final Four, when our childhood team, the Gators, was in contention for the national title in college basketball. "Sportsfest!" Kevin announced. We would have to have a barbecue of heroic dimensions.

The guys showed up randomly over the course of the afternoon. Some played guitars, some just showed their talent at beer drinking. Kevin made a pot of beans, then took up his position in the recliner. He went through a lot of beers and a lot of cigars and shouted "Gators!!!" every few minutes. Occasionally he paused to make an observation, such as:

"They found this ancient text, written in 5000 BC, instructions on how to live your life. One of the instructions was, 'He who drinks a lot of beer must drink a lot of water.' That was the wisdom of the ancients."

Kevin had bought steaks as thick as mattresses, plus we had chicken, sausage, a leg of lamb, gumbo and halibut caught by Kevin's friend Bill in Alaska. Bill had also shot an elk, and there was a rumor he was going to add elk to the beans. "Elk beans," they call that.

Never once, despite the prodigious display of food, did we have a meal. We ate standing. We just sort of . . . grabbed the meat.

"Do women ever come to these things?" I asked at one point.

Kevin nodded, but grimaced.

"They get scared," he said.

As the night wore on, and the meat smoke merged with the cigar smoke in a nearly impenetrable fog, I got a little edgy, for I sensed that any moment there might be demands for a human sacrifice. Kevin probably wouldn't notice if the other fellas announced that they were going to grill me.

But I survived, and you surely know what happened with the Gators: They won the national championship.

"This validates our entire existence," Kevin said.

The genius of DNA allows a nearly infinite range of recombinant possibilities when two people contribute genetic material to their offspring. Thus brothers of the same parents can be so different as to be barely of the same species. I got all the angst genes. I worry; he rocks. Sometimes I think Kevin could live his life differently, and I lecture him to that effect. He nods politely, thanks me for my advice, and then he keeps on rockin'.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 29, 2006; 3:03 PM ET
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I knew if I came out of hibernation it would trigger the posting of this week's Rough Draft. This way I can go back to the last boodle and post all sorts of things that will never be read.

My brother-in-law used to live in a Unabomber cabin in Marin County. He and his guy friends liked it because they could prep for Burning Man without any complaints from the neighbor (which happened to be George Lucas).

Posted by: yellojkt | April 29, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey Joel... too funny! yes, genes are strange things but I'm sure you have more in common than you think... it comes through in your writing. Okay... back to the garden... got to stop and steal the flowers! ... time for a grand assault on the garden... then it's back to the 80 inch screen for movies and beer :)

Posted by: Miss Toronto | April 29, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse


I'm seeing a pattern here.

AchenBro mention, Miss Toronto visits the Boodle.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 29, 2006 4:07 PM | Report abuse

This was such a cool kit. Joel, I am sure that in your estrogen intensive household, you must occasionally covet your brother's lifestyle. I also do not doubt that he feels the same about you.

My younger brother and his wife have no children. My wife and I have two shockingly demanding offspring. My brother has learned to take nature photographs suitable for National Geographic. I take awkward digital shots of kids in Halloween costumes. My brother grows garlic plants that are frequently mistaken for corn. I grow weeds that are considered threats to homeland security. His wife makes jewelry. My wife makes lesson plans. They go birding and attend Shakespearian festivals. We go to band concerts and Disney on Ice.

I envy him. He envies me.

This is the nature of life

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 29, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

RD Padouk, do I detect a "lifestyle swap" in the works? Dumping your kids on them for 2 weeks?

Granted, at certain ages, to inflict your kids on ANYBODY is an act probably deserving of prison time. ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 29, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - Both my bro and I would love a lifestyle swap. Unfortunately, he is on the west coast, while I am on the east.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 29, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

RD sez: "We go to band concerts and Disney on Ice."

Been there, doing that (vice versa). You haven't lived until you've seen Power Ranger Live On Stage. The things people with kids do that no sane adult would bother with.

That Achenbro rock-star manqué lifestyle is definitely for the childless.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 29, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt- not only did I go to the Power Rangers stage show, but I kept the magic reflector to prove it...

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 29, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Although let's be honest. Glamor and envy are a matter of perspective. For example, I look at Joel and his beautiful wife. I see his three seemingly healthy and strikingly beautiful daughters. I see his succesful career, his tall stature, and his good hair.

Wait. I was going somewhere with this.....


Posted by: RD Padouk | April 29, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I've a single brother about to turn 40.

Lives a suburban life, but with some eccentricities:

At Christmastime, he does his house up in a manner that would shame Las Vegas. Nothing inappropriate for kids, just loud and bright and lots of it. As that point, I start worrying that the wheel in his electric meter is going to shoot right out and fly over the horizon.

He's got the big TVs and remotes and the Barcalounger the leather furniture, though he has a small kitchen table. The table is a nice place to accumulate a month's worth of mail at a time, the occasional mail order big block Chevy inatake manifold hwn it comes in, or host the odd carb rebuild.

Other than there are no doors on the bathrooms, it's pretty normal.


Posted by: bc | April 29, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Also yellojkt, I have strong memories of the Pokemon show, but that is mostly due to the young women who played Jesse of Team Rocket.

I also once took vacation to stand in line for Barney. But we shall speak of this no more.

Now I had best help with dinner lest I experience the single life once again.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 29, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Ooooh, the Achenbro's a musician...rrrowww (that's the sound Roy Orbison makes in Pretty Woman - mo, I'll explain the reference to you later!). I'm sure he could have as many shallow relationships as he'd like - too bad about the woman he wanted to marry. A colleague of mine is going to marry someone he met through

I read something about how siblings often have opposite characteristics - haven't reas about it in depth, so I have nothing more to say than just that. It sounded interesting to me. My older sister and I are a lot alike, but we're different too. I'm much quieter and shy, calmer and more laid-back - relatively speaking, at least.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 29, 2006 5:35 PM | Report abuse

It's raining here, so I am boodling guilt-free.

The music business is a strange thing. Who can explain how/why Nirvana was so successful? Why some acts last, and others are just a flash in the pan, or fade into obsurity while still toiling away, making great music? (Leon Russell, Tom Rush, Arlo Guthrie come to mind.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 29, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I was surprised several years ago to find out that my sister, the rich one with the perfect body, lots of money, beach house, lots of money, beautiful neat home (and housekeeper) and did I mention lots of money?, was jealous of poor, overweight, messy me.

Why? Because I have a nice, smart, fun husband that I have a great relationship with. Turns out she didn't.

Posted by: TBG | April 29, 2006 6:35 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking: You'd know more about Leon Russell than I do (although he does come from my hometown, more or less), but I'd like to say on behalf of Arlo Guthrie: He has lived his dream, and he has changed the world, at least the part of it immediately around him. Superstardom wouldn't really suit him, and I don't think he strove for it. Not knowing whether he would live past middle age might have given him an appreciation for what's important in life. This is from his website,
With songs like "Alice's Restaurant", too long for radio airplay; "Coming into Los Angeles", banned from many radio stations (but a favorite at the 1969 Woodstock Festival); and the definitive rendition of Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans", Guthrie was no One-Hit-Wonder. An artist of international stature, he has NEVER had a hit in the usual sense.

But I agree with you about the music business. The same is true of any artistic field. Anybody who spends time among artists can't help but be amazed at how some supremely gifted individuals just barely survive in the marketplace, while others who are only marginally talented are relatively rich and famous.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 29, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

My sister is a singer/songwriter/guitarist. She played bass in an all-female folk-rock band called Collective Measures. They produced a cd but nobody was able to "quit the day job," as they say.

She is single. To pay her bills, she does construction, renovation, remodeling type work. Once the bills are paid, she doesn't think about work again until another bill is due. She spent three weeks in Hawaii this winter. She travels to Michigan every year for the women's music festival--that turns into a 4-6 week trip. She rents a 260 sq. ft. cottage on 8 acres in the mountains of North Carolina, with a shed for her tools and a hammock out front. She's really the female version of the Achenbro.

When my sister and I were younger, we thought we were opposites, but we're not that different. I don't envy her and she doesn't envy me, because we both do what we want.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 29, 2006 7:23 PM | Report abuse

well, well Scottynuke... there are lots of things I could say about that but it would take up too much space in the boodle :)... and it's more fun to read what other boodlers write.

I also see a pattern... I think Achenbro sounds like your father Joel... who drove a motorcycle and showed up with snakes in cans. He sounded pretty free spirited as well.

Anyway... takes all kinds to make a world as my grannie used to say. She was a wise old woman. Always had these great one liners. We'd role our eyes but it's just now that I'm appreciating the wisdom of her words.

I also have a sister... she dropped out of highschool and drove a motorcycle and lives life on the edge. I always admired her because she was a huge risk taker. While my lifestyle is quite the contrary and ultra-conservative by comparison... it was great having an older sister like her.

Posted by: Miss Toronto | April 29, 2006 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I went to college with a guy who, after graduation, would spend 6 months (Spring and Summer) working for Minnesota's mosquito control board, picking dead mosquitos out of funigated field samples, and save his omney fanatically. After 6 months, he would quit, and drive to California of Baha and rent a house on the beach and do nothing but party through the fall and winter. After about 6 months, the money would run out, and he'd drive back to MN and get re-hired by the control board (it's hard to find people to pick dead mosquitos out of soil samples). As far as I know, he did that for 5 or 6 years before he went to graduate school.

Posted by: Dooley | April 29, 2006 8:30 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci- I'm on it. I sent the email, sorry you didn't get it. I'm going to really love that tee shirt when I get it.

yello- glad you're back, hope everything is okay with you.

Joel, your brother sounds like he enjoys himself and his lifestyle. I'm the odd one in my family. Both sisters were more settled and conservative. I, on the other hand, might come out any kind of way, and usually did. All that has changed for me now. Yet in some ways still feel kinda like the odd man out.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 29, 2006 9:14 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, I've posted again on your blog with the needed information, at least I think I've got everything there. Old folks are kinda slow. Thanks again.

Here we had such a beautiful day. It wasn't too warm, just right. I went to Lowe's and looked at all the plants, so many flowers, so many people. I didn't buy anything, but enjoyed looking. I'm going back and get some tomato and cucumber plants, and try my luck with those. The store was full, and believe everyone was buying flowers and shrubs. Life is good.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 29, 2006 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, do you find the garden center at Lowe's to be overwhelming, like I do? I wish I were a better gardener and knew what goes together. I've been to Lowe's twice in the last 24 hours, last evening to purchase a big pot, to repot my ficus, and tomatoes, and today to purchase the right size pots for the impatiens previously purchased for my front porch.

I have discovered, though, that the way to deal with plants is to cut and pull with abandon. They will grow back.

Posted by: Slyness | April 29, 2006 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra: Information received--thank you for perservering until we finally made contact.

~~Matthew 7:7-8~~

Posted by: kbertocci | April 29, 2006 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Great kit! I just got done jamming on my Peavey T60, quietly of course because my kids are asleep in the living room right in front of the amp. I bought that guitar when I was 13 at Chuck Levins with my paper route money I got from delivering the WashPost. Wow! that was almost 30 years ago and It has lots of dings on the neck and a crayola sticker has replaced the pot leaf on the headstock, but it still plays in mint condition. When my girlfriend (now my wife)began showing up at my place, my favorite song became Hotel California. When I hit the B-minor, the glass figurines she brought in through the threshhold would get rattled off the TV stand, and the F# took care of the junk on the coffee table which I would kick under the couch the next time I got up for another beer. Great fun until they invented beany babies; my amp just didn't have the horsepower to get those silly animals to rattle, rock & roll.
Loomis, Hope your eyes get better. I'll get back with you later. Right now, I'm afraid that posters would take umbridge if I played a Boodlers Blues when the tone is set to Great Balls of Fire.

Posted by: Pat | April 30, 2006 4:12 AM | Report abuse

Quick note to respond to TBG's question in previous kit: TBG, "The Flintstones" is something of an anomaly among historical movies, in that it paid scrupulous attention to detail. In particular, John Goodman and Rick Moranis are well known for their intense dedication to historical accuracy (see Goodman's work on West Wing, for example, and the large body of work Moranis compiled at Second City). There's a story--perhaps phal-- that Goodman made them re-shoot an entire scene because he discovered he was wearing the wrong color leopard skin outfit (the species of leopard NOT being native to that area). And of course the work of Halle Berry and Jonothan Winters speaks for itself.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 30, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "phal" is shorthand for apocryphal. Have no idea where the apocry went. But I suspect Hal's devious hand at work. Or my lack of coffee so far this morning. One or the other.

Loomis, you darn well better be resting that eye today. *shakes finger firmly*

OK, off for another 9-hour day of construction.

Tomorrow, peeps. Enjoy.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 30, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

It's true that siblings can be so radically different as to arouse suspicion in the father. (I have been lead to believe that suspicion in the mother, while not unknown, is less common.) My own dear sweet children seem to have little in common except an unnatural fondness for the word "whatever." However, I suggest that Joel and his brother are more alike than either might realize, or at least admit. If you replace the word "guitar" with "laptop" and change a few critical details in the highly contingent world of romance, the Achenbach family resemblance becomes even more profound. Of course this assertion is based entirely on the public personas presented by Joel. I could be completely wrong. Whatever.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 30, 2006 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Miss Toronto, all I do is notice patterns... Nothing else is implied, really!


And how's this for dissimilar siblings? (SEMICOLON ALERT!!!) Starting from the oldest, I have: a sister who manages a resort condo complex; an ex-Broadway actor brother who now teaches execs how to speak in public; a physics-teaching brother who also writes software and books; me (who knows how they all see me); a tourist-assisting (and acting) brother, and a bohemian baby bro who does various things for income and raises sheep at home.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 30, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Wow Scottynuke. I imagine you must have some very interesting family get-togethers. Also, off topic, I am pleased to see that the "Green Nukes" movement is taking off a little. There may be hope for the planet yet.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 30, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I have two Rox Diamond CDs and enjoy them more than Nirvana.

Posted by: Jumper | April 30, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Earlier I wrote "highly contingent world of romance." This has got to be one of the stupidest phrases ever to curse this good blog. I simply meant that if Joel had never met the right woman, or if his brother had, their lives might have ended up being much more similar.

Reminder - drink the coffee FIRST.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 30, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Joel, back to basics: Let me suggest that you buy the Achenbro a folding table for his next birthday, or Christmas. Then you have a chance of finding a horizontal surface when you visit. Get one that fits in a closet in in house, so that it will survive.

Posted by: Slyness | April 30, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I quite like the phrase "highly contingent world of romance."

Posted by: OK | April 30, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Peter Matthiessen gave a lecture here last Monday. I couldn't go, but this was in the Seattle PI:
The 79-year-old nature writer and novelist, best known for "The Snow Leopard," told the large crowd at Benaroya Hall, "My view of nature and mankind has not changed ... we are an animal, a terrifying animal; we see that over and over, in the Holocaust, in Rwanda, in the way we are massive polluters of this planet ... although that doesn't mean you cannot laugh about it. I intend to laugh all the way to the box."

Nani, I also read a blurb about an author you and I might like - Tom Groneberg. He's written The Secret Life of Cowboys (no Brokeback jokes, please) and One Good Horse. I haven't read them, but ordered them from the library just now.

I learned today that a good friend of mine in DC has passed away - a light has gone out of the world with her. I may be lurking more than usual for a bit, and in great need of levity.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 30, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci- It did my heart good to read your post today, and the Bible verse with it. I'm still smiling, and I thank you so much.

mostlylurking, I'm so sorry about your friend, and I hope that you can find peace and comfort when thinking about her life and the light it diffused. I will pray for you and her family that God will send that peace and comfort through His Son, Jesus.

RD, I just love the way you talk, I never see an error in anything you say. I think you express yourself magnificently.

Loomis, I hope you're doing okay, and that eye is healing.

Nani, how goes the move? I'm still thinking of that song, can't get it out of my head.

Scottynuke,yours sounds like an interesting family, and I'll bet get togethers are really good.

I've been to Sunday school and service today, and had a really interesting lunch of scramble eggs and maple tasting little link sausages. Both are not what I'm suppose to eat, but it's what I wanted. I do hope everyone is enjoying their day. I don't know what I'm going to do for the rest of the day, maybe read. Slyness, I'm going back to Lowe's as soon as possible and get some of those plants. I'm going to try my hands at gardening. Wish me luck.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 30, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse


I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. A dear friend of mine died last month and there is still an empty spot in my heart for her. You have my sympathies.

I just read your last post in the last boodle concerning places in DC you want to visit. My family moved here when I was four and, other than college, I have lived here ever since. I *still* haven't been to the Vietnam Memorial, the Holocaust Museum, or the FDR Memorial. I have been on Metro, though. So I'm a very small step ahead of you.

Posted by: pj | April 30, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I know this isn't perhaps the time to ask this, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot. We all come here and talk and tell what we think about one thing or another, but no one ever says anything about what to do if one of us passes away. How do we inform one another when one of our family here is no longer with us? I come here everyday, even if I don't have a comment concerning the day's kit, just to check in, and say hello, and see that those that come on a regular basis are okay. We know that if one of us dies, that person cannot tell that, so what do we do? Just keep wondering what happened to them? Like a family, I would want to offer some words of consolation, but wouldn't be able to do that, not knowing. I believe we should give some serious thought to these questions. Friends are rare, and a community of friends are precious. I don't mean to be gloom and doom, it has been on my mind for awhile now. Let me hear your thoughts, and you too, Joel.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 30, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I was thinking the same thing the other day. I guess that means we are all truly friends now.

I was wondering what this boodle what have meant to me when I was going through the terrible time when my mom was sick and dying. I have a great support system in my life anyway, but like mostlylurking says, sometimes I just need the laugh I get from this amazingly smart and funny group of people.

And speaking of mostlylurking... I'm so sorry about your friend. If there's anything I can do for you as a DC local, please let me know. [I hate to do this without asking first, but kbertocci has my email address and hers has been posted here several times lately, so write to her and then she'll get the message to me. I don't think she'd mind.]

I don't know the answer to your question, Cassandra. Maybe we'll just have to all keep on boodling even after we go.

Posted by: TBG | April 30, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, thank you so much for the kind words. I very much enjoy your posts too.

Many of us have established informal off-line networks. For example, TBG and Achenfan know who I am and have shared the information with others. Likewise, I understand you and kbertocci have been in touch. Barring a terrible tragedy at a mega BPH the word should get out.

As to Joel, like most important things in life, he has thought it through...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2006 6:27 PM | Report abuse

6:27 was me. Getting ahead of myself once again.

Also, mostlylurking I am very sorry to hear of your loss. Should you get too sad, please head down to Puyallup and look up my younger brother. He will be able to tell you embarrassing stories about me sure to keep you entertained. He is easy to find. Just look for the freakishly healthy yard.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 30, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

RD, I'm so glad you posted that link. I forgot that I haven't received my Dorito Aficionado this month. Joel?

Posted by: TBG | April 30, 2006 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Your unsigned post gave me an idea. I actually enjoyed guessing who had written it.

Someday we should declare "anonymous day"--everybody post unsigned, clues allowed but no outright give-aways. In addition to possibly bringing in some shy lurkers, and providing entertainment for the gamers and mystery fans among us (what makes me think we have some of those...)--it is also a sly, passive-aggressive kind of rebellion against THE RULES. Will they delete an entire caboodle if nobody signs one day?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse

6:48 was I--did you guess?

Posted by: kbertocci | April 30, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse

That's kbertocci at 6:48, isn't it?

Posted by: TBG | April 30, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: TBG | April 30, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

That's funny kbertocci. Personally, I always think my prose reads more purple than an eggplant. I don't actually talk the way I write. It's just that I find complex words funny. Something about slightly over-the-top language amuses me no end. I'm stupid that way.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 30, 2006 6:59 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you're not getting any prizes for that!

You did make me laugh, though.

RDP: I love multisyllabic postings on the 'boodle, writing and reading them. I told my husband, this is what I love most about Achenblog: I can use ALL MY WORDS!

Posted by: kbertocci | April 30, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Have to sign this one, of course...

mostlylurking, my condolences on your loss. May your memories of her always be a comfort.

And yes, I think an unsigned day would be great! No one allowed to admit to their posts until the following day.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 30, 2006 7:21 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking, my condolences on the loss of your friend. It's never easy to let people go, is it?

Cassandra, your lunch sounded good to me! I tried Mudge's strawberries with walnuts on lettuce with raspberry vinegarette and it was fab...I recommend it!

An anonymous day...hmmm, that would be interesting. I could pick out Curmudgeon, LindaLoo, Nani, Cassandra, and maybe some of the rest of you. But I was never good at games like this. I'd try, though...

Thanks to kbertocci, I ordered my very own Achenblog tee-shirt yesterday and look forward to its arrival! I haven't said anything to my husband about this addiction, but I suppose I'll have to own up when the shirt comes. He'll understand; he's on the Inside Carolina blog all the time. If something happened to me, he could let folks know. I could add it to the instructions for my memorial service, come to think about it...

Cass, you got room for a 20 inch (diameter) pot for flowers? I bought it to repot my ficus, but that was the size of the pot it was in, so I had to go buy a bigger one. Lowe's had one, I'm glad to say...we patronize Lowe's because it's the local company, being headquartered in Mooresville (they moved recently from North Wilkesboro to be closer to Charlotte).

Posted by: Slyness | April 30, 2006 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the all the kind thoughts and even offers of help. You all are too much. RD, I love the column you linked to - I missed that one (and it's even got the infield fly rule!). What do you call it when you're laughing and crying at the same time? Hysterical comes to mind, but that's not quite it...

My friend was one of those people who gave and gave and gave. She deserved a long life filled with grandchildren and leisure and exotic trips, and it's a shame that she didn't get that. But I'm sure she's at peace now. I just miss her terribly. She was one of the people who made my years in the DC area so wonderful, and was more like family than a friend.

Thanks again.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 30, 2006 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about your friend.

I sometimes wonder about that too -- if someone suddenly stops posting comments, does that mean something bad has happened to them? Or are they just taking a break? In the early days of the 'boodle, when we didn't know each other very well, we sometimes used to speculate about missing 'boodlers in a joking sort of way -- had they died, gone to prison, or, more likely, been sent to a mental institution? (We were all strangers back then, and there was a lot of frivolity, so none of those possibilities were any cause for umbrage.)

But seriously: I think the word would get out in the case of 'boodlers who have friends and family members who know about their A-blog activities. For example, my husband knows how much time I spend on the 'blog, and I like to think that if I died or became otherwise indisposed, he'd post a comment here to that effect, or let someone know, or something. Other people's significant others also know about the blog -- some of these individuals have even made guest appearances, e.g., the ScienceSpouse and jw's "old lady," -- and they would probably let us know about any unfortunate events.

I'm not sure what would happen in the case of people who keep their 'boodling a total secret. I guess it could be a good idea to tell at least *someone* about it. (Would it be going to far to mention it in one's will?) And it also helps when people mention that they're going to be out of town, etc., so there's no unnecessary worry.

In the meantime, I think it's best to assume that 'boodlers aren't going to be turning up dead very often. I hope y'all will be around for many years to come.

Posted by: Tom fan | April 30, 2006 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Oops -- almost forgot:


Posted by: Tom fan | April 30, 2006 9:40 PM | Report abuse


I am very jealous of your sister. One of my lifelong dreams is to just attend the Michigan Women's Music Festival. Alas, due to an accident of birth, I will never be able to.

And Cassandra S.:
Toni Morrison in "Jazz" has a very moving section about the segregation on trains traveling from the South. Your comments back in the train kit reminded me of that book.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 30, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

A while back, in the middle of a nasty political dispute day, I posted a website address that has streaming video (and sound) of an eagle's nest on an island of the west coast. The eggs are due to hatch anyday now. A nice diversion. Here is the link again:

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 30, 2006 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I assume you would be notified of my passing by mysterious rolling thunder from a clear sky, a faint whiff of sewer gas, a dictionary falling open to the word "sesquipedalian," and such-like signs and portents.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 30, 2006 11:04 PM | Report abuse

to add to the family history:
my oldest brother: mountain climber and photograher, married, one child
me: artist and vagabond, married, no children
younger brother : bartender and writer, single
next youngest sister: doctor, married lesbian, one child
next youngest sister: artist, bicyle-racer, married, no children
next youngest sister: ex-Olympic equestrian, married, two children
next youngest sister: speech therapist, married, two children
next (and last) youngest sister: teacher, married,three children.
We live in Colorado, Alaska, New Mexico, New York, Washington and Texas.
The youngest sister just turned 40.
Full family reunions only happen about once every 6 or 7 years and it's like meeting a whole new group of people each time.
Though I don't know you all too well yet, I want to extend get well wishes to Loomis and sympathies to mostlylurking.
Hope you've all had a great weekend!

Posted by: farnorth | May 1, 2006 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks so much for your response to my question concerning our demise. Kbertocci does have my mailing information and email address, and when my tee shirt gets here, everyone is going to know that I blog with you guys. I'm wishing us many happy days of being together here, and know that you are greatly loved by God through Christ, and me too.

yello- I've read Toni Morrison, but not that particular book. It is now at top of my to do list, thanks.

And mostlylurking I am hoping that you're feeling a little better this morning.

Slyness, yes I do. And thanks.

Good morning everyone. I'm off to the doctor this morning. I have been dreading this for months, and have missed two appointments, but I'm going today. I hope everyone had a good weekend, and being fully rested, brigh-eyed and bushy tail, ready to embrace another week of work. Too much to ask for? I've said my prayers, had my coffee, talked to my best friends in the world, I'm ready for this new day that God has so graciously allowed me to see. May God bless you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus the Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 1, 2006 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the photos from your Vietnam trip in the previous 'boodle. (I just love the shape of the mountains in that part of the world.)

I can't stop watching that eagle! I feel a little bit sorry for her -- talk about being stuck at home (and with no Internet access, TV, DVDs, CDs, or books).
Life-affirming, though. ;)

I currently have two copies of Explorer open so I can listen to the eagle sounds through one and do whatever else I'm doing on the other. I was just sitting on the porch sending some e-mails whilst monitoring the eagle cam, but at one point I thought I'd better turn the sound down, because I was worried the loud squawking might upset the local birds. (There are a lot of hawks, falcons, etc., around here.) Then it started to rain, so I had to come inside. It's stopped raining now, but I just know it'll start up again if I go back out.

Posted by: Achenfan | May 1, 2006 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Achenfan. There are a lot of hawks around here too, but I try to keep them in line.

Puns. The lowest form of humor.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 1, 2006 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Saw this headline on the WaPo home page, and for a moment I thought SciTim had gotten his well-deserved recognition:

"Students Meet Star Scientist"

Still, good to know they're intrigued by someone other than an athlete or pop star.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 1, 2006 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Kbertocci, since you have been in contact with both of us, will you email me Cassandra's email so I can get in touch with her about sending her that big pot? Thanks!

Posted by: slyness | May 1, 2006 8:13 AM | Report abuse

My brother is well on the path of Joel's. His wardrobe consists of random t-shirts of old band tours that he buys at Goodwill. His roommate got married, and rather than find another apartment, he sequestered himself in his bedroom and ceded the rest of the appartment to the married couple. He is now the weird guy who emerges from his room only to leave the apartment or use the fridge, causing people to wonder, "Who the hell is that guy? Does he live here?" He just bought a Harley. He reads, but only serial westerns and fantasies. He grew a mustache and shaved his head bald once, just because he wanted to see what he would look like.

Posted by: jw | May 1, 2006 8:15 AM | Report abuse


MY husband hangs out on the Inside Carolina boards, too! Sometimes we're sitting on the couch together, with our respective iBooks, chuckling away about our respective boodles. And now it turns out you are too!

He mostly lurks, and may have posted a bit. Lately he's been enjoying the skewing of the "who should go on the basketball Mt Rushmore" poll. What's your husband's "handle" if I may ask?

(Now he REALLY wants to make sure we have a BPH in Charlotte this summer.)

Posted by: TBG | May 1, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Don't be too harsh on your brother, jw.
Finding an apartment is *hard*.


Jerry: What is it she thinks you can't do?

George: Find a job. Get an apartment.

Jerry: How *did* you do those things?

George: Never mind. The're done. All I have to do now is redo them. You know, if you take everything I've ever done in my entire life and condense it down into one day, it looks decent.


[Actually, jw, your brother sounds more like Kramer. And, as always, I mean that in the nicest possible way.]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 1, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

My younger bro is living and working in a foreign country and that is something I always thought I'd do. I may still, once my daughter is grown & doing her own thing.

He lives this opposite schedule, but he's always been a night owl. How happy he must have been to move to a place where there's a 10 hr time difference. How completely normal for him!

Mudge, re the last kit; Did you think I was advocating penalizing people for being Hispanic? I'm not sure how you deduced that from my post, but honestly speaking if I moved to France should I request an English version of La Marseillaise, street signs in English and English options on the phone menu? I think sooner or later they'd actually expect me to learn French to operate in their country - and rightly they should. It is not their job to accommodate ME, it is my job to acclimate to my new country. I think it would behoove Americans to encourage our immigrants of all nationalities to speak English. What's next? An Urdu version of the national anthem? A Korean version?

Which begs the point, if we're all going to be such rugged, uncompromising individualists then what's the point of having a 'national' anthem?


Thanks for the explanation. It's good to here the plan benefits somebody. I'm torn between the idea of helping todays seniors versus bankrupting/mortgaging our children's futures. I think the major problems have to do with wage suppression and a little bit too much 'free market' thinking from corporations. If they didn't gut pensions like they do, or drop health coverage for seniors, then there would be a lesser need for the government to provide this program and it would probably be less expensive and add a substantially lower amount to our already growning deficit. Corporations are not held to accountability in this country and are expected to maintain profit margins to please executives, boards and shareholders no matter what the cost.

I betcha if CEO pay dropped to only, oh 175 times the average worker's pay, there'd be a lot more money available to shore up pension plans supporting current retirees.

Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 8:36 AM | Report abuse

SCC: hear, not here. I shoulda previewed.

ETA: I think that people aren't going to be able or willing to save enough for a good, comfortable retirement because of current lifestyles and wage suppression. The scary thing is, we're living longer. So we'll be living longer on less.

Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

One other quick comment:

I have never met a married/committed man who converted his basement to a Sex Dungeon, or operates it for "fetish photography" as a source of extra income or anything else.

I'm not sayin' that Achenbro or my brother for that matter *does*. I'm sure they don't.

At least, I've been through my brother's house, and everything I've seen in his freezers (what little there is of it) looks like it was purchased at a grocery store (and yes, I did check to see that that head-sized package was actually a chicken)...


Posted by: bc | May 1, 2006 8:49 AM | Report abuse

slyness - I must admit that when I first read your post I mentally skipped over the word "big." This, like, changed the meaning quite a bit.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 1, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't it the Unibomber's brother that turned him in?

Posted by: Pat | May 1, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Pat, I believe you're correct.


Posted by: bc | May 1, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The Unibomber's brother turned him in after great soul-searching and much turmoil. It was a very heroic thing to do. I've talked to my kids about it, telling them the story and how, although it's very important to stick by your family, you've got to think of the rest of society, too, and how they are affected.

Can you imagine what it was like for David Kaczynski to come to the conclusion that he had to turn his brother in? And his mother, too? Such heartbreak.

Posted by: TBG | May 1, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Joel writes:
The genius of DNA allows a nearly infinite range of recombinant possibilities when two people contribute genetic material to their offspring.

She has thinner finer hair like my mother's--and brown hair, but whose? My father had jet black hair. I have my mother's hair color, blonde with a infintessimally small spattering of red highlights, and my father's hair texture--lots of body and waves and curl. She has my father's A-positive blood type; I, my mother's B-negative. She is my paternal grandmother's apple, I am my mother's pear.

When camping at Sequoia, there had been a good squall of a rainstorm, and we two sisters, we teens, were coming back to camp together, down the the trail that pretty much paralleled the creek. The normally placid stream had started to swell, and everything was wet. My sister spied a good-sized, fallen tree crossing the creek, but its bark was slick. She wanted to return to dinner faster than I, to get back to our parents' campsite. She carefully navigated the log, and crossed to the other side, while I adamantly refused and trudged about an extra mile to reach the safety of the old stone bridge that spanned Ldgepole Creek. Then I had to hike another mile back up on the asphalt road to that point on the creek where our paths divereged.

She was the one who took risks, who smoked marijuana in college, who dated with a prediliction for gay men, who ultimately had an abortion at sometime in her young adult life, who wore, for her first wedding, a white wedding gown while several months pregnant. I'm the one who played it safe.

We both have the rare genetic disorder that my father carried, but it is not her greatest worry. My sister suffers from my maternal grandmother's rheumatoid arthritis, to the point that she has undergone experimental chemotherapy (more commonly used in the batle against cancer) treatments to ease her pain. Her hands are beginning to change into distorted shapes, to become contorted and hard to use. She, like my mother, had two children, and like my mother, had fibroids in her uterus and a hysterectomy before the age of 50, just weeks after her second marriage.

We used to talk with gallows humor about our parents' problems that came with the onset of old age--my father's Alzheimer's and my mother's breast cancer. We used to kid that we would probably each have one or both bosoms cut off, but wouldn't be able to remember because of the dementia and fog of memory loss, that our beautiful chests were gone.

Yes, Joel, the imbecility and idiocy of DNA allows a nearly infinite range of recombinant possibilities when two people contribute genetic material to their offspring.

Posted by: Loomis | May 1, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I think it's worth noting that you did pass your genes down one generation with the three Achendaughters. On the face of it evolution favors your lifestyle over the Achenbro's.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 1, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Are we worried about the AchenBro becoming an AchenBomber or just staying an aging AchenRocker?

Posted by: yellojkt | May 1, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

You know, those of us who are married with children are quite fortunate. We actually had a life before, but now are in the after(kids)life, our reward. Children are God's blessing. And, yes, it's hard to attract chicks with a Cheese Doodle stuck to your behind, chillin' in the Grand Caravan, but I have found that most college coeds don't find 45 year olds to be much of a hunk anyway, rocker or not. I'll stick with my wife. My day I decided I am a lucky fellow was one day at the Ob-Gyn, with my wife swollen with number three. I sat down beside her, not noticing a woman to my left. When her name was called, I realized I sat next to a national news anchor who could never conceive. All that money, all that power, and I got four kids free. Like my mom, she has adopted and is living the Mommy lifestyle (albeit with a few more bucks than I). I wouldn't go back to the single childless days for anything. I love being a Dad.

Posted by: LuckiestManintheWorld | May 1, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, TGB, I don't know what his handle is, or if he has one. I'll ask and report back...

RD, I'm giggling here...It's a FLOWER pot! I thought Cassandra might enjoy having it...for FLOWERS. Or maybe vegetables. But not THAT!

Posted by: slyness | May 1, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

As they say in Show Business: "The show must go on":

Posted by: omni | May 1, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

What's wrong with women nowadays? Here's a perfectly civilized, well-groomed, hard-working young man living in a beautiful part of the world. He has minimal vices other than beer and cigars, he's MUSICIAN, and has a piquant sense of humor, and he's probably handsome (if he's a full brother to Joel).

So what's the problem? Oh, he doesn't have a "dining room table," or "living room furniture,"and lives a "feral lifestyle." Sheesh, there's just no pleasing people.

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Some could argue that the longer animals are left in the wild, the less likely they are to make a successful transition to domestication.

On a side note, perhaps there should be a wildlife webcam in Kool Kev's nest.

Or not.


Posted by: bc | May 1, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I like kbertocci's idea of not signing posts. It would be a great challenge of sorts, because people would have to ponder their "style" and make sure they sounded like themselves. They'd also have to stick with their usual formatting (though this will be a dead giveaway for An American in Siam).

CowTown, the issue is not that women can't appreciate my brother, it's that he's wholly self-sufficient, and content, and likes a simple life, and would only get married and have kids if they agreed to live in some other house, or at least in some different wing of his estate.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 1, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I like your final observation. Maybe some people are just destined to be the Dad, while others are destined to be the way-cool Uncle. Both can be good.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 1, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

CowTown, maybe Achenbach, in playing up the beer and cigars, is leaving out the fact that he (or his apartment) smells "feral".

A friend of mine dated another friend of mine who owned a unneutered tomcat who was rather fond of spraying everything he owned. The date, not a catlover, was grossed out by the cat placing rump to dining table, walking over furniture, and most of all, that good ol' feral tomcat musk everywhere, and the ineffective kitty litter. She was gaspng even after 20 minutes.

They went out, and she could smell urine and all on his coat. Needless to say, that was a date killer.

Some men just really don't know how they sabotage themselves as romantic prospects.

Somehow, living feral is a lot more sexy outside with pine and cedar trees around as deodorizers, rather than inside a small urban apartment.

Of course I do not know this man.

But "feral lifestyle" is a statement that, thinking about the people I know of, could hide a lot of flaws... blue fuzzy spaghetti on the stove, oddly stained linoleum with unremoveable smells, rotten chicken in the fridge, moldy teabags that nearly poisons a mildew-allergic guest with a lethal dose of mildew, and so on.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 1, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

My first comment got eaten!

I was asking if "feral lifestyle" means the apartment smells feral... I've known men who turned off dates for life, with nightmares, by how their apartment looks or smell.

One of the most vivid dating disaster was a guy who had an unneutered tomcat that painted everywhere with his personal scent, even (as the date found out) his jacket when they left the place.

She became an anti-cat person after that day. 30 minutes of gagging on ammonia and tomcat musk in a small apartment will do that to you.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 1, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I like that idea, too.

When do we start?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

To the poster known as "bc",

We have considered your post and think that it is a fine idea. We at the FBI are always looking for ways to promote interest in and access to justice. The link below is an ongoing webcam that we maintain of Mr. Achenbach's premises on a 24/7 basis.

Thank you again for your suggestion. You may now resume the boodle in progress.

PS "Scottynuke", you dropped something behind your chair. "RD Padouk", you shouldn't drink so much coffee in the morning. Isn't that your third cup?

G. Incognito
Special Agent
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I do remember times when I wished some of my kids lived in a separate wing of my estate. Those wishes were usually connected to guitars and loud noise issuing forth from massive speakers.

I've often wondered how the neighbours survived.

Posted by: dr | May 1, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, your example very aptly fits the definition of "feral lifestyle." Actually, in my sarcasm, I was overstating the feral aspect of Brother Kevin's lifestyle. He probably keeps a reasonably clean house. By "feral" I meant the kind of lifestyle to which men naturally devolve when not subjected to the civilzing influences of a woman. Or, at least that's what my wife thinks.

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Umbrage! Umbrage being taken over here! Sorry Loomis, but the Coen Bros. gave me carte blanche to cast my screenplay, "The Enigmatic Lindaloo". Therefore Harold Ramis is out and David Strathairn is back in as Dr. Singer.

CowTown, my kitchen/diningroom "table" isn't used for dining It's for me to sit at and my cats to sit on, while we daydream and look out the window on rainy days when we can't get out to play. My daughter always looks askance when she sees my kitties on the table - she does lace tablecloths; I do cats.

Posted by: Nani | May 1, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

TBG, that was a very difficult decision to make.

I think it was aided by two facts: one, that the Unabomer might well have wound up hurting himself or getting himself killed one of those days. Two, he was not entirely in his right mind, was he? Had he gotten treatment, maybe this would not have occured.

However with the laws against forcing medical treatment down the mentally ill unless they are provable dangers to themselves and society, you all but have to report their committing crimes to get them involuntarily committed.

The problem especially with paranoid schizophrenics is that they WILL refuse treatment, period. I think their senses do get physically altered when they're having a psychotic break with reality. I know of a young man who went from "I am allergic and intolerant of milk" (raised as if he was lactose-intolerant based on family history) to believing he was poisoned by all food and that the only food that was safe was if it was in milk-- milkshakes, etc.

That response is intriguing given that calcium channels are involved in taste and smell, but never mind that. I think for him the milk taste helped dilute whatever "tasted poisonous." (Milk does help bind a lot of various tannins and other substances in food, so he wasn't completely crazy on that.)

He was not paranoid schizophrenic, but a variant of maniac depression that strongly resembled catatonic schizophrenia at times.

He's on heavy medication now, back to "normal" although he feels his thinking and creativity is dullened on his medicine. The milk compulsion went away after he adjusted to his meds.

But he wouldn't go off his medication again-- I believe he understands the risk, (although if he skipped once by accident and went way maniac... good luck there).

So maybe it's not such a hard decision after all-- it's just emotionally tough to accept the decision is there to be made.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 1, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Joel's comments of 11:03 raises an interesting question. The feminist saying "a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" has no male oriented counter.

If the whole purpose of a clean well-furnished house is simply peacock feathers, and AchenBro just doesn't feel like strutting, there is no harm, no fowl.

We do not have enough info about AchenBro's romantic life to tell whether he actively persues women or whether he's just given up. Does he have a string of "just friends" hook-ups (f-buddies, to use the vulgar phrase), or does he hunt down a one-night stand when the gaskets get too overheated, or does he just keep the gear shift in neutral?

Having seen "Failure To Launch" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" recently, the life of the straight-but-confirmed bachelor is of vicarious interest to me. Note that in both of these movies, the loner guy does meet his match. The target audience demands it.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 1, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Agent Incognito:

You need to switch the labels on your cams. That was MY third cuppa joe, and RDP's always dropping things... Usually hints.


And going off-topic, did anyone else think Stephen Colbert was spectacularly unfunny at the WH Correspondent's Dinner? Saw an extended clip on CNN and it was painfully bad.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 1, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

You are right about that Scottynuke. It's kinda of a bad habit I need to correct. One of these days somebody may show up at my cubicle wanting all their hints back.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 1, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt - You get today's award for clever use of allegories. "No harm, no fow." Hah!

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Maybe your daughter will feel better if you TELL her that the table is not for dining after all. Cats sitting on food prep surfaces makes me nauseous. Just knowing that it's not a dining surface would help a lot.

My dog doesn't "counter-surf" (scrounge food from counters, or get on the counter), so I'm a little offended by a feline rear being waved in my face when I'm trying to put away groceries.

Mind you, putting lace where you're supposed to eat is an totally different kind of offensiveness. ;-P.

Lace is HARD to wash, it's all holes. I never saw the point of having a lace tablecloth-- doesn't protect from spills, doesn't wash easily, tends to attract kittens with stuck claws like velcro.

Clearly, the fashion of decorating tables came about because lace was expensive.

Aha, in the Renaissance, when lace was invented, the results were more precious than gold.

Hmm, didn't cats actually invent openwork fabrics (lace?). Right, nobody kept many cats then.

Since cat labor was not used, it took 3 nuns 3 years to make 15 yards of narrow Elizabethian lace. There's a Jeopardy! question in there somewhere.

Of course, native Americans did make "openwork fabrics'-- just not as frilly. Guess mountain lion clubs just can't do the fine work.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 1, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Of course, I meant "fowl." I am an idiot.

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Bombing at the Correspondent's Dinner is a time honored tradition. I remember Imus putting in a painfully tone-deaf performance one year. Are there video clips of Colbert anywhere on the web? I'd like to see this train wreck for myself. The only clips I've seen are Bush with doppleganger.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 1, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The "kinda of" was an honest typo. Pairing "somebody" with "their" is more ominous. I have succumbed to "singular their" disease. It's sort of like industrial disease but less melodic.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 1, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, re: "fowl". I am groaning in the nicest possible way.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - I beg to differ. Stephen Colbert was more than funny Saturday at the White House Correspondents Dinner. I can see how supporters of this administration may not agree but you've got to admit it takes courage to be brutally honest about this President right in front of him. Colbert is not only a genius, but he's got b@lls.

Posted by: LizCov | May 1, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

My last boyfriend *was* the '40 yr old virgin'; unfortunately he was also unfit for a serious relationship. He could never get out of the 'bachelor' groove. We dated for a year and I think he really wanted to try, but was uncapable of giving up the lifestyle he loved.

He wanted my daughter & I to move in, but he wouldn't compromise on the weight room (the second bedroom), the tanning bed (in the middle of the dining room) or the (gotcha beat!) TWO 52-inch TVs side by side in the living room (which left really no room for seating). He wouldn't put a dining table in the dining room...He would ridicule my books and movies while spending ridiculous amounts of money on cable sports packages to watch every AAA and AAAA team no one ever gave a damn about. (There was a sports package for every season, and sometimes two. He'd have every weekend pre-mapped out for months in advance which kinda precluded going on any 'outings'. I dragged him, literally kicking and screaming to go FISHING and to the Gators 'Orange & Blue' Spring Game. I resolved not to try after that; we continued to go out different places like museums and stuff and he'd stay home to watch games -- always the beginning of a "Great Divide")

We ended it because I didn't really want to change him anymore than he wanted to be changed. He mourned the loss of the relationship, and called me for months after, but I think he would have mourned his extended childhood more.

In short, he had been on his own for so long he simply became incapable of integrating on any significant level with other humans (especially females). He had poker nights with work buddies, and occasionally went for drinks at a bar but that was it for social contact. (We met at the aforementioned bar...)

Sad, really. On one level, I think he's happy because he doesn't have to go beyond his comfort zone (and he's very comfortable there) - but he's also a very lonely man and can't seem to get around that.

Must be quite a conundrum. Occasionally, I still here from him and he says he wants to change, but I can't ever go back. It's just too sad for us both.

Some people aren't meant for marriage & family. It's less painful for all involved if they admit it, and live their lives without trying to be who they're not.

Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I believe we create our own destiny and that each of us makes daily decisions about what that destiny will be. We choose to exercise, or not; eat well, or not; seek a doctor's opinion or suffer, drive or take the metro, fight for what we believe in or turn our backs and ignore injustice, worship money or seek a deeper truth. Each of these decisions can lead to a a number of other decisions, other paths, other options, other outcomes.

While it's true that the majority of people marry and have children, some people actively choose not to. Just as we're not all destined to choose the same career, not everyone wants or needs marriage and/or children. Not everyone wants to travel the world or be launched into space, or become the Queen of England.

Having the freedom to make deliberate choices is what separates humans from animals. If only we could all live and let live.

Posted by: Pixel | May 1, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

SCC: hear, not here. Man, that's the second time today.

I think it's because I don't feel well.


Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately, Mrs. Dooley has just enough testosterone to allow my less wild masculine flights of fancy, including my model trains in the guestroom. I don't have a guitar or smoke cigars, but Mrs. D has a range of musical instruments in the living room and a pipe that she keeps in the bedroom. For our anniversary 2 years ago (from me), and her birthday last year (from her father), she got basketball tickets (OK, they were WNBA, but still...and my son and I like them too).

Since we work five jobs between us, keeping an immaculate house is low on the list of priorities--this is made worse by Son of Dooley's Private Zoo of 2 dogs, 2 cats, a hamster, 2 beetles, and a tadpole.

We do get some looks from my mother and grandmother, when they (rarely) come by for dinner, since before setting the table we have to shoo away the cats and move the tadpole tank, and after dinner the dogs pre-wash the dirty plates before they go in the dishwasher (the plates, not the dogs).

Sometimes we have parties just so that we're forced to clean up the house.

Posted by: Dooley | May 1, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

amo, probably good call getting out of that one. Unless a guy (or gal) takes ownership of the whole change of lifestyle thing, then you end up financially and emotionally invested in someone that now resents the changes.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

In bad form I will answer my own question. Colbert at the WHCD is available here:

I counted two genuine laughs from the audience, one from a global warming joke (insert Global Wariming Tuesday allussion here).

In fairness, that has got to be toughest room in the world for a comedian.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 1, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I've always heard that by forty, a single man is un-marriageable. There is a reason he hasn't yet that is unlikely to change.

Having started dating my wife at the age of 17, I take it as a compliment directed at me personally whenever someone says all the good ones are taken.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 1, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse


Taking the time to understand where a Boodler is coming from can prevent the sorts of misunderstandings you display. Take a look at what I've posted, particularly in the "Worst President Ever" Boodle. I am no fan of this administration. Did you listen to the Colbert clips? What I heard in terms of audience response could charitably be considered polite laughter. His schtick wasn't inventive, he wasn't clever. "Misery accomplished?" Puh-leeeze.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 1, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Not to say that a successful relationship requires doing everything together at all times. My wife and I both enjoy football and we have season tickets. We sit on opposite sides of the stadium, however - her with her mom in seats kept going from her dad's company seats, and me with two friends.

(I did try to get a ticket next to their seats for two seasons before taking the plunge, but one never became available)

For some balance, I should say that some women have a few "interests" not typically shared by men (I do concede they are rarely as time-consuming as an obsession with sports). My wife told me later that before our first date she moved her giant beanie baby collection off the couch lest I bolt.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse


For those of us rapidly approaching 40, (let's say within the next 5 yrs) that's depressing news...Most of the men I meet are in the 'just around 40 if not over' age group.

Unless, of course, that gives us carte blanche to go after younger men. *waggles eyebrows*

Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I got the exception that proves the rule. My husband is an exceptionally sane person, didn't leave home till he was 36, never dated anybody before me, started going out with me when he was 42 and married me when he was 44. Of course, moving into a house with three female types, one a teenager and another a preteen, was quite an adjustment for him. But he survived and the marriage is a very happy one. I think that's because he's low-key and laid back. On the rare occasion he raises his voice, he gets instant attention and obedience.

Posted by: slyness | May 1, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey, look at Warren Beatty--he was over 40 when he settled down, and now he has a wonderful wife and 4 kids. For a man, if it can be done, this may be the ideal life. Women don't have the same option, due to the biological constraints of childbirth. But I admire Warren. The only thing left for him to achieve is to be elected President.

Posted by: kbertocci | May 1, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Court Backs Anna Nicole Smith...

Posted by: TBG | May 1, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt reminds us: "The feminist saying "a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" has no male oriented counter."

For some reason I was reminded of this:

Just like all men left to their own devices don't become Unabombers, mass murders, or predatory deviants, all women left to their own devices *don't* end up like Ms. Knueven. Though we men *are* good for scooping up cat litter clumpage and taking the trash out, once we've been domesticated that is (*sigh*).

yellojkt, a couple of years ago I wrote an article for a car magazine about a guy in Joel's home state that built a racing car out of a hulk that was abandoned in a field for years, and became a roost for chickens that lived on the property. I'm pretty sure that I referred to the car being worse for the wear from prolonged exposure to the "fowl Florida conditions"...

You made me laugh though.


Posted by: bc | May 1, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, to each his own. I don't explain my lifestyle to anyone. I've removed the screen from my kitchen table window so my kitties can jump in and out at will. There's a tree just outside the window where they nap on the branches, or sometimes just stare inside at me.

Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.
Vague dream-head lifted out of the ground,
And thing next most diffuse to cloud,
Not all your light tongues talking aloud
Could be profound.
But tree, I have seen you taken and tossed,
And if you have seen me when I slept,
You have seen me when I was taken and swept
And all but lost.
That day she put our heads together,
Fate had her imagination about her,
Your head so much concerned with outer,
Mine with inner, weather.

Posted by: Nani | May 1, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Tree at My Window by Robert Frost

Posted by: Nani | May 1, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I just remembered a mens' counter to the quotation cited by yellowjkt:

"Women. Can't live with 'em. Pass the beer nuts."

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse


I am very happy for you. Your husband sounds like an overlooked gem. I wonder if there is a diference between never-married middle-aged guys versus ones on the second (or more) go-around. Just curious. I know a lot of guys that are much more family oriented after taking a mulligan.


To get really depressed, you might want to look up Maureen Dowd's take on finding love over 40. I think it just comes down to not narrowing you're search criteria too narrow. Afterall, as I like to say (demanding Rule 6 exemption here): Love comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 1, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

One more thing. bc, your early post to this kit about your brother reminded me of Cruise's character in War of the Worlds. The engine block on the dining room table was a nice touch.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse


I'm as sure today as I was yesterday that there's someone out there for me; and even if there isn't, that's okay. I'll have a fulfilling life anyway.

Amo jr will see to that, as will my own interests.

I think men my age & in their 40s also tend to look for women younger, (and therefore more malleable ?) than myself to marry. Since they seem unwilling to change or compromise, maybe they feel they will get more willingness & mileage out of a younger partner?

Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse


Sometimes the male's the younger partner in the relationship, yanno... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 1, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

My Perfect Day

It's 70 degrees out, the azaleas are blooming in my back yard. The birds are singing. I began the day with a 2.5 mile walk around a local lake with a friend and saw a great blue heron take off after being startled by us; a hawk and a crow fighting in the air; lots of other critters and birds.

My house is freshly cleaned (by someone else!). I spent the rest of the morning with my sister, her 3 yr old son and my healthy 82 yr old dad. Now I'm boodling in my clean house, the back door open, the cat basking in the heat of the sun there, watching the birds on the deck.

My kids are happily at school. My husband is at a job he loves (nope! he just came home--even better!).

Does it get any better than this?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

That was me. I guess I'm just not as perfect as my day...

Posted by: TBG | May 1, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen the Smithsonian "Space Day" ad on the webpages? You can steer the astronaut around with the arrows on your keyboard. So fun.

ps-isn't "astronaut" a fun word? Like the Argonauts, only different.

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

In the spirit of your happy post:

The hedges and trees they are so green,
As green as any leek.
Our heavenly Father, he watered them
With his heavenly dew so sweet.
The sun shines bright, and the stars will give their light
A little before it is day.
So God bless you all, both great and small.
And send you a joyful May.

It's not Greek, TBG, but something that was no doubt sung by a various bands of medieval minstrels, warbling to the tinkle of their gitterns, in merry ol' England on a Mayday such as this.

There is an even older surving line from an earlier Mayday ditty, "Sumer is icumenin, lhude sing cuccu."

How many towns today will encourage skipping, singing and the winding of the Maypole? Hopefully, many of you can push away from your office desks for a nice lunch under sweet breezes and warm rays of sunshine.

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

We are back from the dog show world...spent the weekend in the coastal plain between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach...the operative words of the weekend were "...we're not quite lost..."Mostly, I wish you condolances regarding your friend's loss. I've seen many ciomments alluding to the comfort brought by the collective in this corner...I concur...take care.

Posted by: jack | May 1, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I'll go with the 'lovely' posts. Thursday last week was the last day of snow in my yard, and yesterday the leaves poppped out.

Posted by: dr | May 1, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

TBG, My Sunday was like your perfect day!! I counted 11 redbirds all at one time playing in the water sprinkler. The grass was freshly cut; the aroma was heaven. It was cool and breezy outside and lots of sunshine. My "new" home here is a tiny house built in the 50s with hardwood floors and real tile in the bathroom. It's a rental, at my age I don't want a mortgage. The yard is great with daylillies, cannas, pinecone lillies, amyrillis, gardenia, mexican heather and one of those old rose bushes. there's a great site for my Virgin Mary statue where I can gaze at her from my kitchen window. Mary is more than a statue. She's been first base in many a backyard ball game and home in games of tag. The girls used her as the center pole for their "tent" made with one of my old quilts. I taught no. 1 g-girl the Hail Mary prayer by that statue. She said it as "HEY Mary full of grace...." It was so adorable, I didn't correct her.

Posted by: Nani | May 1, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey it's MayDay! Why, that's the Russian New Year. We can have a parade and serve hot hors d'oeuvres...

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 1, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

dr, great, isn't it? I think I'm going to have to mow the lawn this weekend.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I'd forgotten about that, SoC (much as I was trying to forget the rest of that movie).

My bro does not have kids or an ex-wife, but does have a gorgeous 60's era muscle car.

He's actually much like Achenbro in that he's a relatively High Functioning Long-Term Bachelor. He's got a good career, he's responsible, and an all around great guy.

He just likes things his way.


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

Just got back from my third twenty minute walk today. As my afternoon walk is usually at 2PM, I may take a fourth around 3PM. It really is a lovely day out there. Nice temperature. Nice cool breeze. Blue skies as far as the eye can see.

Posted by: omni | May 1, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, actually been *shudders in horror* working all morning, writing a snarky, argumentative memo. The things one does to pay the mortgage. Sigh.

amo--no, I never meant to imply that about punishing anybody. Don't know how my post actually read, but never intended it that way. I just meant in a general, societal way, that it "punishes" Hispanics. Never intended any literal/criminal connotation, nor did I think you did.

Also, amo, too bad that potential boyfriend didn't want to go fishing. I think he may have let a really good catch slip away. But it also sounds like not only his loss and but your gain. (He didn't sound like a keeper; better to throw him back and try again.)

Yes, Steven Colbert did bomb. But then, he had an impossible audience for his brand of schtick. He was faced with the choice of being brutally honest (and ballsy), or funny. He chose the first one. I don't think I have an opinion on whether that was the right choice or not. I suspect if he'd altered his schtick too much and just went for Bob Hope lines, he'd have been criticized for going soft. The best course of action that evening might have been to decline in order to spend more time with his family.

One could argue that as a comedian, it was Colbert's job to be funny first, and gutsy only a far distant second, and trhere's something to that (your "job" is your "job"). But by the same token, if you not only change your "persona" and also suck up to the president, tell "funnier" jokes, you thereby trivialize the whole event, and give the impression that we're all just really pals at the end of the day, and the issues aren't all that serious we can't just joke about it, blah blah blah, and that may be the biggest sellout of all.

But no, he wasn't funny.

Didn't get home until 9:45 last night (with every muscle and bone aching). Missed all of West Wing and all but 2 minutes of Sopranos, and fell asleep 10 minutes into Grey's Anatomy. Did I miss much of anything? (I did see Tony suddenly stop making it with Julianna Margolies, which I knew he would).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

In honour of Russian celebrations of all kinds, a toast for you.

Russian origin
"Мой прадед говорил: "Я имею желание купить дом, но не имею возможности. Я имею возможность купить козу, но не имею желания". Так давайте же выпьем за то, чтобы наши желания совпадали с нашими возможностями!"

"Moj praded govoril: "Ya imeyu zhelanie kupit' dom, no ne imeyu vozmozhnosti. Ya imeyu vozmozhnost' kupit' kozu, no ne imeyu zhelaniya". Tak davajte zhe vyp'em za to, chtoby nashi zhelaniya sovpadali s nashimi vozmozhnostyami!"

"My grand-grandfather said: "I have a desire to buy a house, but I have no opportunity. I have an opportunity to buy a she-goat, but I have no desire". So, let's drink to having correspondence of our wishes and opportunities!"

I have abosolutely no idea if tha above Russian items are exactly what it is translated to be, but I do have experience in drinking to eastern European language toasts. Just don't drive while indulging.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

amo: Don't give up hope. Some of us take a long time to get settled. After a series of short relationships, I spent 12 years in a good relationship with a woman 7 years my senior. The only real drawback was that, having been seriously burned in her first marraige, she swore she would never to that again. Finally met my wife (who granted is 4 years younger) and we married, both for the first time, when I was 54.

Posted by: ebtnut | May 1, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of killing the boodle (or at least grossing it out completely), I must share my cat-on-an-inappropriate-surface story.

Years ago in college I met my boyfriend's parents for the first time by having dinner with them at their friends' house. Boyfriend's Mom and I were helping out in the kitchen making salad, washing vegetables, etc. when a cat kept trying to hop into the sink. I shooed the cat away and resumed rinsing vegetables in the sink. The cat, undeterred, hopped back up again.

Puzzled by a cat who seemed to *want* to take a bath, I asked the woman whose house it was what the cat was doing. Her response, unbelievably, was that she'd trained the cat to pee in the sink and just ran some water down the drain afterward. (Never mind that there was a perfectly good litter box five feet away.) Boyfriend's Mom and I looked at each other in horror, both thinking "I can't eat food prepared in this kitchen!" then made tracks for the patio and started drinking margaritas in earnest. I like to think that the alcohol sanitized the meal that followed.

For the record, I like animals and have a cat, but... yuck!!

Posted by: Boodleaire | May 1, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Channelling Gene W:

Boodleaire, are you married or in a long-term relationship? If you are, there's about a 99% chance that your husband/boyfriend has peed in your kitchen sink.

Posted by: jw | May 1, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

The Russian toasts are me, though I thought you'd guess by the spelling errors.


Posted by: dr | May 1, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

JW: Nope, not married or in a long-term relationship. I fear that I am becoming the female Achenbro. However, if men routinely pee in their Significant Others' Sinks, I may be happier being single. Are you talking about drunken college guys or "adult" men around my age (35)?

Posted by: Boodleaire | May 1, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Dating tip to Boodleaire (regarding JW's observation): date short men. We don't have the ...uh...requisite stature to do that.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

jw, as I'm guessing you're not putting yourself into the 1%, I have to tell you that this is not a common occurrence. I forgot to bring in a recipe the other week, so I offer this advice that will prevent an incident that a thousand coq-au-vins will not rehabilitate.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

All men do it. It's one of the side-effects of our apparatus that we grow up to view the world as our bathroom. Gene did a poll and found that sink-peeing is pretty epidemic. Not that most people are pathological about it, but given enough time and every guy is faced with the "I have to go and she's going to be in the bathroom for half and hour doing her girly things" situation. Sometimes you just have to go.

Posted by: jw | May 1, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

SCC coqs-aux-vins? Never a damned gendarme around when you need one.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Peeing in the sink? Oh. My. God. I didnt' do that even in my primative, I-thought-all-tile-grout-was-black, smoking on the toilet, bachelor years. That's just wrong!

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord, jw, stop digging!

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Of course (i)I(/i) have never ever peed in a sink. Ever.

Coffee cup while driving down the highway though...that's another story.

Posted by: jw | May 1, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I challenge any high-functioning woman to develop a fulfilling relationship with an Achenbro type. They have little interest in anything other than their recliners and sports packages' programming. I stopped dating one fellow as soon as I visited his home, which resembled Achenbro's place except that this guy had more PCs than TVs, plus no horizontal surfaces and no veggies either. I don't know any single women of any age who lack a dining table, even if it's a low-cost or interim solution like a card table. Gentlemen, the reason you repel women is that since you're not interested in much, you're not interesting to others. Ladies, refine your searches to community & civic events & causes, volunteering, sports, performing arts, adult ed classes, etc. That's where you'll meet like-minded people who want to make a contribution to their communities or improve themselves instead of wasting away in 'guy heaven.'

Posted by: metak8 | May 1, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

UGH!! Note to future self: Buy house with at least 1 1/2 baths.

Posted by: Boodlaire | May 1, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse


Did you watch 'Big Love' on HBO last night? There was a whole segment about sink-peeing...I was flabbergasted that anyone would think of doing such a thing, but then I suppose I am naive. I never knew there were 'shower-urinaters', either. I guess I haven't yet begun to live, as I commonly use the commode (except when camping).

I've also done the math; when amo jr is off to college, I'll only be 44. I'll be fit enough fight the 2nd round with plenty of time to spare. In fact, a late-in-life marriage may well suit me, as long as the groom is 'up' to his part of the bargain.


Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

SCC: BoodlEaire. I can't even sign my own name properly.

I'm off to have lunch with Male Friend, his wife, and their Adorable Baby. I'll inquire whether Male Friend is in the 99% or the 1%, although I suspect he's toilet-trained. In the meantime, jw, minimize your fluid intake. I don't want to come back and find pee on the boodle.

Posted by: Boodleaire | May 1, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Boodleaire, that's hilariously awful.

Re. peeing in the sink:
I think that Gene (or whoever brought that up in his chat) was channeling Lenny Bruce.

I heard that bit for the first time myself, um, a long time ago.

Put me down as one of those who has never, ever peed in a kitchen sink, even though I most certainly *could*.

I just go in the daggone toilet and deal with the consquences. I'm man enough for that, at least.


Posted by: bc | May 1, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse


12V Battery connected to bottom of your sink with jumper cables. It may be the only way to be sure which way a potential prospect goes on this issue.


Oh sure, while driving is a completely different story. Open top cup sounds a little messy potentially. The wide top Pepsi bottles on the other hand...

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I saw a Great Horned Owl this weekend. In the woods, flapping by, then taking up a position on a tree branch, from which he surveyed me dismissively. I think that counts for as much as 11 redbirds.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 1, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Joel, nice timing. Is there a little flag that pops up on your desk when the boodle turns to issues such as misuse of sinks?

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record (and in defense of my embattled and much-maligned gender), jw's statistics and claim are not only way out of line, but also considerably distort Herr Professor Weingarten's findings. Gene's poll found that:

42.8 of men NEVER pee in the sink (presumably the bathroom sink; no mention of kitchen sink was ever made in Gene's poll);

49.6 admit to having done it, but very rarely;

4.6 percent admitted they do it with some regularity

Only 1.5 percent said they do it "often." (So jw had the numbers almost exactly reversed);

1.5 percent declined to answer the question.

So take heart, ladies. We may be fools, knaves, scoundrels, feral creatures, etc., but we ain't THAT bad.

Poll results at


One of the 42.8 percent

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Count me in the 1%...

I'm SO potty-trained I once mightily aggravated a field-grade officer by breaking ranks out of a motor convoy in the middle of Saudi Arabia to do my business, as opposed to using a bottle or some such.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 1, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Joel, the owl was probably not sizing you up dismissively, it was probably sizing you up as a potential meal. From what I've heard, great horned owls will eat anything--bunnies, puppies, cats...apparently they are the only natural predator of skunks. They get sprayed, they just don't care (yum, spicy!).

Posted by: Dooley | May 1, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Scotty! So YOU were the one who left the rest of us sweltering in our convoy while you trekked up over the sand dune with a copy of The Sporting News while we sat like clay pigeons buttoned up in our armorless Humvees! *feigns outrage*

(And you came back with toilet paper trailing from your combat boot, and nobody wanted to tell you 'cause we were all so mad.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Talk about a BOO!!!

Count me in the 42.8 "never" category!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 1, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking, thank you so much for the book recommendations. I googled One Good Horse and it sounds like a must read! I just ordered three books, The Endurance (thanks jw), Black Swan Green (David Mitchell). and A Death in Belmont (Sebstian Junger) and just finished The True Story of Mutiny on the Bounty.

Last Friday, Nellie posted,was the 200 year anniversary of that mutiny. I wonder how many mutanies there have been? Caine Mutiny was a great film. Based on a true story perhaps?

Posted by: Nani | May 1, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, it all worked out in the end...

I got a LOT of latrine duty...


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 1, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

What are red birds? We have cardinals in our back yard. Two nesting pairs, to be exact. And, I think the males are from the same clutch of eggs; they quarrel like siblings. During the worst of our Winter, a red fox took up residence under our shed. He/she would prance about the back yard, oblivious to us marveling at him/her from our window.

Apropos of absolutely nothing. Just wondering about those red birds, then started gabbing. Bah, back to work.

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Joel, are you a true birder or just a dilettante? If it is the former than you and my younger brother have something in common. Besided having eccentric older brothers, that is.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 1, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

On weekends I walk my dog off-leash down the long gated road to the neighborhood elementary school. My dog invariably finds all sorts of discarded fast food that I have to wrestle away from him.

This weekend in the middle of the road was a wild turkey. My dog was so busy sniffing for turkey sandwiches, that he completely missed and/or ignored the native fowl that was taller than him. The turkey leisurely strolled back into the woods unbothered.

So no redbirds to report, but by weight the turkey must have exceeded all the other birds I normally spot.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 1, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I planted shade plants this weekend, coleus and creeping fig; wandering Jew, impatients, ivy & fuschias. The next day when I woke up, I saw a bunny eating my newly planted plants and I don't even live in a rural area...

I'm a pacifist, but at that moment I truly believed I could have killed, skinned and eaten a rabbit. I settled, however, for scaring it out of the yard and putting up chicken wire fencing.

What I wouldn't have given for a large predatory bird, or even an owl, to have come along to even things out.

Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Metak8 - in the eye of this beholder, Achenbro is a delightful kind of guy! Hey, the man plays guitar and cooks magnificent beans! If I had an unattached daughter, or granddaughter old enough for a meaningful relationship (whatever that is nowadays), I'd play matchmaker in a heartbeat!

Posted by: Nani | May 1, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

okay... boodle is getting out of control. Peeing in the sink!!! what next. I gave an Australian heck when he admitted to peeing in the shower because his toilet was in a separate room (old Queensland home)... he thought I was such a square... but we don't have such feral activities up here in Canukistan.

okay... Joel... time for another blog... and everyone, back to work now!!!!!!! :) (extra SEMICOLONS for Scottynuke)

Posted by: Miss Toronto | May 1, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Nani, the American Navy has officially never had a mutiny, although there was the somewhat confusing "Somers" affair in 1842, during which several sailors (including the son of the Secretary of War) were arrested and charged with plotting one.

The British Navy has had several mutinies; the largest and best-known was a series of mutinies that took place in the Nore (mouth of the Thames) and at Spithead in 1797, over the issue of p[ay. Spithead was resolved more or less peacefully, but at the Nore 29 men were hanged and many others flogged or sent to Australia (prison colony).

The other famous British mutiny was the Hermione, a ship with a notoriuously brutal captain named Pigott, who with some of his officers was murdered. By all accounts, he deserved it.

Otherwise, the most famous mutinies were the Russian fleet turning Bolshevik/Soviet at the end of World War I, and a major section of the French Army mutinying in the middle of WW I. About half the army (54 divisions) refused to fight, and ultimately 400 men were given death sentences; 50 were shot and the rest had sentences commuted and were sent to Devil's Island.

(N.B. In high school our theater dept. did "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial"; I played a (rather good, if I do say so myself) Capt. Queeg. I can still recite the breakdown monologue after all these years: "'Kay, now, the real truth is I was betrayed and double-crossed by my own crew, and the executive officer, and this precious gentleman Mr. Keith, who between them corrupted my wardroom, so that I was one man against the whole crew, without and support from my officers. 'Kay, let's take the strawberry incident...")

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, I think the "redbirds" I spoke of are actually cardinals. The 11 in my yard were mostly female (bright red); some of which were still quite young and small. The males aren't as red. One of the baby redbirds lighted on a trellis near my kitchen window. I whistled and she immediately fluffed out her feathers which gave her the appearance of a bright red-koosh-ball. Mother bird began frantically chattering (probably a warning,"don't whistle back to strangers)and the koosh-ball flew back to join the group.

Posted by: Nani | May 1, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Nani's other question: Caine Mutiny was not exactly based on a true story; however, there was a notorious incident during WWII when Adm. "Bull" Halsey's entire fleet sailed into a thypoon, and during the typhoon three destroyers actually foundered (sank), like the Caine was about to do. So Wouk had that incident in mind when he wrote the novel, and wondered what might have been going on aboard one of those ships when they foundered. (Since everyone died, no one knows. So far as I'm aware, there were no reported "near mutinies" aboard any of the surviving fleet.

I'm not sure you'd call it a "mutiny" (more like a defection combined with a mutiny), but "The Hunt for Red Oktober" was based on a true story, when a Soviet frigate officer and one of his crew in 1975 made a break to escape from Riga (a modern frigate is an oversize destroyer, nowadays armed with guided missiles). The officer locked the capt. in his cabin and took over the ship (which would be mutiny). The Soviet fleet eventually caught up to him just a few miles short of his goal, Swedish territorial waters, crippled the ship, and he was executed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Nani, the bright red Cardinals are the males. The females tend to be brownish, tan or somewhat yellow.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Since jw mentioned Space Day -- there will be Space Day events at Goddard Space Flight Center (in the beautiful People's Republic of Greenbelt) this Thursday. I'm not precisely certain on how admission to the center will be handled, but I am supposed to be on hand to talk to students of about 6th-grade level. I think there will be some mechanism to make it possible for normal people to enter the center to the relevant areas without having to meet the usual "stringent" security requirements.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 1, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Thypoon? No freakin' wonder they went down with the ship.

Loved "Canuckstan."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Yikes. Check out the new "hot" blue on the WaPo home page!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Nani: With cardinals, the males are the bright red. The females are brownish with some red streaks. In common with almost all birds, the males have the showy plumage. The other potential "redbirds" would be the scarlet tanager and the summer tanager. I've never laid eyes on the latter. I've seen a couple of scarlet tanagers. Their bodies are such a bright red they almost glow, and they are set off by jet black wings. Truly a sight to behold. Last one I saw was maybe 20 years ago up near Westminster, MD. Related note: has anyone else noticed the sharp decrease in the variety of birds in our region over the last decade or so? The aforementioned tanager; the meadowlark; the bob-white; various warblers?

Posted by: ebtnut | May 1, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Did some one say Cardinal?

Posted by: omni | May 1, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Exactly once in my life, I peed in a sink, and that was a laundry utility sink. I hardly think that counts. Even so, I felt guilty and vile, and ran water through the sink for a long time to be sure it was cleared of evil.

The shower is another matter. After all, the water is already running down the drain. What's the big deal, if I add a little? As long as I pee early in the shower, so that there's plenty of water to rinse things clean. And I aim for the drain, for good measure.

Posted by: Tim | May 1, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

oops... I spelled that wrong... should have been Canuckistan. Glad you liked that Curmudgeon :)

Joel---we need a spell check for the boodle to speed things along.

There! we do have some good ideas up here.

Posted by: Miss Toronto | May 1, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I adore the Patrick O'Brian books and have read & re-read them time & time again. Chalk that up to a Naval father who was also an Anglophile & a war buff...

O'Brian referenced the Pigot mutiny in one of his books, and apparently Pigot was huge on the morale-killing kind of discipline and in the end, his belief in it caused his death and the deaths of several of his officers before the carnage ended on the 'Hermione'.

The book was 'Reverse of the Medal', I believe. And I believe the story was also pilfered for the 'Horation Hornblower' series - which is also excellent (especially the movies on A & E), but I don't remember which novel.

It was probably up there as one of the more bloody mutinies on record...

Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Real birds:

Posted by: omni | May 1, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

More real birds:

Posted by: omni | May 1, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Well Tim---you obviously don't do the household cleaning. My motto is "less is more" :).... must admit that we spent $25K on our bathroom renovation so peeing in the shower is just not an option in our household. Did I mention I'm high maintenance?

Posted by: Miss Toronto | May 1, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

And that concludes omni's PSL (Public Service Linking) for the day...


Posted by: omni | May 1, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Tried to post this awhile ago and had my "connection refused"... Da noive!!!

'Mudge, how could you forgot the Unicorns on the Ark???

Miss Toronto, thanks for the semis! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 1, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

There are a couple of GHOs that inhabit some woods about a half-mile from my house on a really desolate road that I use as a cutback to get to Rt 70.

My family and I make a game out of who can spot one first. I startled one (rather, I think we startled each other) when it was feasting on some roadkill, those birds look *huge* with their wings spread over your windshield. No, I didn't hit it, but I got a very close look. (Joel: great opportunity to try to get some advertising revenue from New Line Cinema here for "Hoot" opening this Friday!)

On a related note, I have some relatives that keep rabbits. I was over there recently when they had one of the bunnies in a small open pen in the yard, when one of their kids looks up and says, "Why do those hawks keep circling over the house lower and lower?". They put the bunny back in the hutch pretty quickly when I explaied why.

I saw some Turkey Vultures working on a deer carcass the other day on my way to work (just on the other side of the sheep farm, if you must know). Damn ugly things, but fascinating. A flock of those things sitting on a fence is spooky, even in broad daylight.

Hmm. I have bluebirds living in the treehouse out back, and when my 6 year old and I were walking around the yard, we found some robin egg shells (hatched), but couldn't figure out which tree they came from. My daughter kept the shells, putting them in a little box, just like I did at that age.

That's all the birdbrained stuff I have for the moment.


Posted by: bc | May 1, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mudge, I got the redbird gender thingie backward. Oooh, you got to play Queeg?! That's such a great role.

Posted by: Nani | May 1, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Years ago, I recall hearing an interesting tidbit on the radio (it might have been the Diane Rehm Show): the guest mentioned that in traditional Australian Aboriginal society, it is the ordinary course of life to marry with a large age difference. An older man marries a young woman and, when he is dead and she is old, she gets a boy-toy. Culture gets passed down through extended contact between the old and the young, and lecherous oldsters get what they want out of the relationship. The desires of the young do not appear to be valued heavily in this arrangement. The guest, at least, felt that extra-marital affairs were pretty much understood to happen all the time.

I have no idea whether any of this is true. Perhaps Achenfan could comment. Given that she is also Dreamer, and prehistory is the Aboriginal Dream-Time, perhaps she knows about this stuff.

As with the majority of human social arrangements, it lends itself to abuse, but also has some positive social value -- the part about continuity of culture, and the stabilizing influence of the old upon the young. Then again, it sounds like sexual desire and lechery may be unfairly one-sided in such relationships.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | May 1, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I'm not out of bird stuff.

The annual march of the Canuckistan (ha!) goslings is on in our neighborhood pond.

The furry little guys have left the nest at some point over the last week, and are now marching around the neighborhood as they learn to forage. Fortunately, this is an annual occurrence now, and everybody knows to drive very slowly around the pond. Oddly, a big grey goose has joined the flock of Canuckistan geese in the pond, and even helps watch over the 'lings as they swim around.

I'm hoping to find a nest nearby that contains a couple bottles of vodka.


Posted by: bc | May 1, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

My sister and I once found a fallen nest with newborn baby birds in it. They didn't even have feathers yet. Mother scooped them up, nest and all into a shoebox she first lined with a piece of flannel. She cooked some cream of wheat and fed it to them from an eyedropper. Mother stayed up all night with those birds, warming the creamy cereal and feeding them. Mother was never a crybaby or a whiner, but she wept over the demise of those little buddies. Her tears startled us. But then we made her laugh by making silly faces and doing impressions.

Posted by: Nani | May 1, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Getting back to the topic (heh heh): Tim, I agree that peeing in the shower is only a venial sin. You may recite three Hail Marys and you are forgiven. Peeing in the kitchen sink is, however, the lowest form of depravity and in all cultures is grounds for a severe flogging and banishment from the community.

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

amo, I love the O'Brian series, too, and just finished my third or fourth read of "Reverse of the Medal" a few months ago.

The Hornblower movie "Mutiny" was based on the second Hornblower novel in that series, "Lieutenant Hornblower." (Which was probably based on Pigot and the Hermione mutiny--we certainly owe a debt of gratitude to evil Capt. Pigot, don't we?) BTW, Ioan Gruffudd was a terrific Hornblower, don't you think? Better than Gregory Peck in his version.

By the way, the three adds below begin with "Your BBQ sucks" and ends with "Rocking Chairs in Stock." What gives?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It's a little known fact that the Aboriginal custom described by StoTim was actually an ancient tax avoidance system. By the system described, the original elder's estate is rolled over tax free to the young wife due to the spousal exception. The estate could potentially have estate tax otherwise payable to the Chief postponed indefinitely as long as the marry-early-marry-late system continued without interruption.

The lack of tax revenue eventually led to financial collapse and the end of Dream-Time and the start of Get-Real-Time.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, don't you know those are called Hey Marys now?

Posted by: TBG | May 1, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

TBG - You're right! Of course. Reminds me of when my younger daughter used to sing the particular Christmas hymn: "Glo-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oria! She makes Chelsy's day-oh!"

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

What kind of adds should be with a pee kit?

On second thought, I do not want to know.

Posted by: dr | May 1, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Make that a pee boodle. You know we could blame all this on Gene.

Posted by: dr | May 1, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Or, is that "Chelsea?" Can't spell to save my life. Sheesh.

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

It's all been a thypoon in a teapot.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I just have the one ad and it's about gold.

Self-restraint, SonofCarl, self-restraint.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

This is a test of the Ads by Google system. It is only a test:

Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Griffith

That concludes our test of the Ads by Google system. Had this been an emergency, you would have been direct to purchase all items provided therein. Thank you for your continued cooperation.

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Tim writes: "Then again, it sounds like sexual desire and lechery may be unfairly one-sided in such relationships."

Talk about give and take in relationships!

I remember that Madonna used to advocate peeing in the shower because folic acid kills the germs that cause athlete's foot. I don't think that this has anything to do with Madonna's Special Kabbalah Water.


Posted by: bc | May 1, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Isn't that a thypoon in a theapot? or is it a peathop?

Posted by: TBG | May 1, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Hah! Now check out the Ads by Google. What meaningless fun!

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, is this what you see?

eReleases PR Services
We are targeting experts, sending your release to wires + journalists

[I just figured out that referring to Achenbro as a rocker was what lead to the rocking chair ad]

Posted by: TBG | May 1, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh my! now it includes this one:

Help Brain Tumor Patients
Learn how your support can help the lives of people with brain tumors.


Posted by: TBG | May 1, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Things you can pee on: jellyfish stings.

Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Gotsa go and pick up my young'un. Peace out, WaPo.

Posted by: amo | May 1, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Nope--still got the same three ads. Could it be that Google knows our personalities and is targeting us individually and specifically? TBG, are you OK?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Windex also works on jellyfish stings, but who am I to criticize what kind of treatment methods a person would like to use?

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

See ya, amo.

I'm bailing out, too, before Google ads for water sports and water parks start popping up. If they do, blame jw and Weingarten.

Oops, now got the eRelease PR services ad, too.

I wonder what it is the "e" is releasing? Don't think I wanna know.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

My ads are back to BBQs, La-Z-Boys, and rear-projection TVs, which seems to bring us full circle back to the Achenbro. I'm off to do some work, but here's a short tribute to the Achenbro to the tune of Margaritaville:

Baseball on Sunday,
Football on Monday;
I wonder what kind of steak goes with this beer?
Dining room holds my engine
Not bound by convention
Hear the doorbell
The pizza is here.

Wastin' away again in Guy Heaven,
Searchin' for my lost remote control.
Some people claim that there's a woman to blame,
But I don't know; I don't get WTN.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone wonder what Tomfan/Achenfan/dreamer must think when she checks out the boodle every morning?

Regarding jellyfish stings and the aforementioned off topic topic, its the ammonia that helps take the sting out.

Posted by: dr | May 1, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Way to go, Anna go girl. Lotta money there.

Apparently the Supremes liked her a lot.

Posted by: thereIsaidit | May 1, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

boodleair - i think i'm the female equivalent of achenbro too... (tho younger)

i have a dining room table - not sure why...

my cat pees in the bathtub - it's gross but i can't get him to stop...

Posted by: mo | May 1, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

and i should add for nani that i am smitten with the achenbro - unfortunately, i'm not the "boulder, colorado" type of girl...

Posted by: mo | May 1, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

no signing my name wouldn't work for me... i give myself away just by typing... say, for instance - just GUESS who this is?? go ahead...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2006 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Hah, mo! You nailed it.

Posted by: CowTown | May 1, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

mo, some people have success with putting tin foil out where they don't want the cat (they don't like the feeling on their paws/claws). This didn't work on our cat, but fortunately our cat only goes outside the box when it's time to "send us a message" that we've been neglecting the state of the kitty litter.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 1, 2006 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Consider, if you dare, the potentially catastrophic implications if the Justices had ruled against dear Ms. Smith. The ability of horny old rich men to seduce surgically-enhanced exotic dancers might have become irreparably damaged. Oh, what a dark and hopeless place would the world then be.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 1, 2006 6:18 PM | Report abuse

No Weingarten chat this week! No poll!

I need to go lie down.....

Posted by: Tim | May 1, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

RD, I am willing to contemplate the world wherein old rich horny men can't seduce young, surgically enhanced exotic dancers. But then I've always been one to make my own money and control it myself.

But good for Anna Nicole! I hope the son has invested wisely so there is plenty of loot to go around.

Posted by: Slyness | May 1, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

In absence of a Weingarten poll, and if the redoubtable Liz of no pants fame, cannot do it on her own, then we should. Someone has to keep up standards here after all.

So what will the poll subject be?questions?

No more than 4 questions, and we bow before GW (but not as deeply as we bow before Achenbach) we will not do comics. Agreed?

Submit subject and queries now.

Posted by: dr | May 1, 2006 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Having just returned from a longish lunch, I can report that the Male Friend Who Is Impeccably Toilet-Trained admitted, reluctantly and in front of his wife, to once having peed in a kitchen sink at 4AM when both other bathrooms were occupied by people who had passed out in them. On the other hand, he also swore he rinsed and scrubbed the sink out with Comet afterward. Just goes to show, you never know... I do like SonofCarl's suggestion about the 12-volt battery, though.

All of my Google ads seem to be BBQ-related (must be the weather in CA):

Your BBQ Sucks
Learn to slow smoke meats right. Mouth watering competition style.

Free Barbecue Grill
Finish 3 Easy Steps and Get Your Free Gas BBQ Grill!

Spring 06 Park Grill Sale
Superior Park Grilling At Home. Irresistible prices! 888-846-2693

Posted by: Boodleaire | May 1, 2006 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh Slyness, I hope you know I was just joking. Anytime I say anything ill-tempered, pointless, silly, foolish or just plain rude it means I am joking. I tell this to my wife all the time.

Also, I think Weingarten is brilliant but I fear his dark influence on this blog. This is a gentle peaceful place. Begone ye spirits of inappropriate urination. Begone!

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 1, 2006 7:30 PM | Report abuse

eep! the yankees and the red sux are playing each other tonite...


Posted by: mo | May 1, 2006 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I know, RD, I was kidding back! But really, I'm glad Anna Nicole has a chance at the millions. I can't be against her, you see, because my mother was 28 and my father was 56 when they were married...

Posted by: Slyness | May 1, 2006 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and about Gene: I enjoy his work but I laugh a lot more on Achenblog.

What I really love about this place are the wonderful, human stories. It really is high tech, high touch. May we be friends together for many moons!

Posted by: Slyness | May 1, 2006 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little disappointed that no one caught my botch at 4:29 PM. Not even me.

SCC: Uric acid, not folic.


Posted by: bc | May 1, 2006 9:10 PM | Report abuse


I guess none of us did well on the acid test.

Posted by: TBG | May 1, 2006 9:23 PM | Report abuse

TBG --- your are funny. (With caps and an exclamation mark, if is allowed.)

Posted by: nellie | May 1, 2006 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, I read it carefully. I just didn't look at it. Are two errors in one line a record?

Posted by: nellie | May 1, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow, dr, you really ARE a troublemaker, aren't you, suggesting we supplant the mighty Weingarten with a poll of our own. I'm impressed! And being a troublemaker of the first rank myself, I cannot resist. Let's do it!

We could be making serious Internet history here, people: the first blog every to up and take over a whole 'nother chat! A hostile blog-over! Weingarten leaves town on some assignment or other and WHAM! the Achenblog strikes! Today, the Weingarten chat...tomorrow...DRUDGE! *Cackles evilly*

OK, we DO need a poll; dr's right. We need something edgy, but also something uniquely Achenbloggy. And also a man/woman differential. (And let's leave poop, pee and other excreta and bodily fluids to the experts; we're rank amatuers over here on the Achenblog, and as Clint Eastwood says, "A blogger's got to know his/her limititations.")

Suggestions? Ideas?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 1, 2006 10:18 PM | Report abuse

The boodle is amazing: civil depravity. Years ago there was a great billboard in Rockingham County, just outside Harrisonburg..."Got a leak in your sink? Feel free! It's your sink." Not to worry folks...urine is nearly sterile when it is excreted. Otherwise, we'd all be walking about with...oh never mind. It attains its familiar odor only after the terrestrial fauna get to it. Slyness: our yard has just had its first seasonal shearing...the weeds have been cut down to a reasonable depth. I don't believe in lawn chemicals, so the grass we have is mixed with spring bluets, various mints, white and red clover, plum, oak, mulberry, ivy, juniper seedlings and various other things. When its shorn, it all looks green...can't tell its not a lawn unless it begins to get overgrown. Landscaping is low on our list of priorities until the house is nearly finished. We do, however have various antique rose beds about the yard and a couple of lovely climbers just insisde the front gate, along our sidewalk. I do hope that we can arrange a BPH here at some point with our families, and maybe some other Achenbloggers.

Posted by: jack | May 1, 2006 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, we have an owl too. It lives in one of the wretched pecan trees in the perimeter of the yard. I keep waiting for it to hoot seven nights in a row for good luck. Been waiting for many years now.

Posted by: jack | May 1, 2006 11:15 PM | Report abuse

How about a queaf poll?
No, no, no..
How about a boy/girl, husband/wife methane poll?
Enquiring minds want to know!

Posted by: Pat | May 2, 2006 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Just read this article about broadband upgrades

It's not central to the article, but there is mention of realtime monitoring of a person's medical condition over the internet, and how net neutrality could damage the "brave new world of telemedicine and wondrous economic and personal benefits".

Is it just me, or is the concept of someone continuously monitoring your medical condition a little frightening? So NSA could not only monitor my phone, email, internet searches, TV, and library card, but also my blood pressure?

Or even worse, my HMO. I can hear my cell phone ringing now..."Our medical condition monitor detected that you just took a bite of a Snickers bar. As you are already overweight, we must insist that you put the Snickers down and step away immediately. Noncompliance will result in an immediate 30% premium increase."

Posted by: Dooley | May 2, 2006 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Peeing in the sink? I leave for ten hours and this is what I return to?

Well, it's nothing I haven't heard of before,(being a single male under 30 years of age) but not the standard I expect from the kakaboodle.

*Pauses to wash sarcasm out of mouth*

On the plus side my boys eked out a victory tonight and took their series... sorry Detroit but... DELETED

Posted by: Kerric | May 2, 2006 2:55 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Kaboodle... all of your excretive jokes and there I go with a Fruedian slip.

Posted by: Kerric | May 2, 2006 2:58 AM | Report abuse

Joel, may we boodle today?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 2, 2006 5:52 AM | Report abuse

jack, a BPH at your place sounds wonderful! Maybe we can get our act together with TBG and family come south for college visits.

Posted by: slyness | May 2, 2006 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Was the Supreme Court pandering to special interests with Anna Nicole Smith? It was really refreshing to hear that the White House stepped to the plate on that one, too. That was a regular Mrs. Smith goes to Washington, affair.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 2, 2006 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I was up all night studying for a urine test. I hope it all sinks in.


I'll be here all week.

Be sure to tip your waitress.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 7:53 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I have tried, but I have yet to get her to fall over. She's a might sturdy.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 2, 2006 7:58 AM | Report abuse

*setting up snare and crash cymbal to accompany all these comedy gems*


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, I'm going to let you have a Gene W. moment here:

I think I saw ye pumpin gas into your Scooby yesterday. Was that you at the Red, White and Blue gas station in Clarksburg at about 5:50 yesterday evening, wearing a light blue shirt and a look of disdain?

I did a driveby verbal assault, but I don't think you caught it.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 8:24 AM | Report abuse

My bro-in-law can top your bro's bachelor pad: custom built rambler on 170 acres; 10-recliner media room with 6'x9' projection HDTV surrounded by 4 52" HDTVs, all hooked to satellite (he's way into college football -- yes, he gambles); 4 guest bedrooms with king waterbeds; 50'x50' Great Room with pool table, ping-pong, hot tub, weight station, bar-style shuffleboard table, beer in soda machine, kitchenette and booths. Outside is a swimming pool, another hot tub, and a full-size basketball court. Sadly, he lives in Nowhere, Mississippi. And he's practically a recluse. Best party house I've ever seen, wasted.

Posted by: Tarheel | May 2, 2006 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure the Weingarten Chatters Yahoo! group is hosting a poll today.

And, moving on to other unsavory bodily functions, my fiancee has discovered that I am gas-propelled and virtually silent in my releases. She is not amused by this at all.

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 8:34 AM | Report abuse

So, jw, I guess you should change your handle to SBD.

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse


That was a case of mistaken Boodlerism, I'm afraid. 'Twas not in the Clarksburg vicinity, nor was I pumping petrol. Luckily, my doppleganger's disdain categories seem to extend to listening skills, too.

And a Gene moment, me??? I'm sure he has a much better moustache.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 8:39 AM | Report abuse


All she has to do is add some broccoli with cheddar sauce to your diet...

Not that I'm speaking from personal knowledge or anything.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 8:40 AM | Report abuse

And speaking of gas-propelled, it seems even NBA superstar LeBron James enjoys a good SBD, according to the recent cover story in Sports Illustrated.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

It's too bad we don't have a dog, because they always make good scapegoats when it comes to flatus.

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 8:46 AM | Report abuse

For those suffering Weingarten Withdrawal, I offer the following poll:

What is funnier:
A. Visible Panty Lines
B. Farting
C. Boogers

What is sexier:
A. Visible Panty Lines
B. Farting
C. Boogers

Please mark your answers with the following demograghic information:

Under 33-1/3:Over 45
Hovers Over Toilets:Pees In Sinks
Attracted to Overweight, Marginally Humorous, Barely Syndicated Columnists:Straight Male

Oh, and poop.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, well, I tried.

jw, a bit of advice: don't ever take the future Mrs. w so much for granted that you don't even bother to keep things quiet.

Part of keeping a spark in marriages is keeping an element of surprise.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Poll possibility...reporting your metrics

If you were asked by a researcher to confide how much you weigh and how tall you are, would you tell the absolute truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, Justice John Roberts? Would you fudge and if so or if not, why? (And yes, there is a man, woman differential in the responses, it appears...)

Truth be told, San Antonio is even fatter
Web Posted: 05/02/2006 12:00 AM CDT
Don Finley
Express-News Medical Editor

Women fudge the truth about their weight. Men fudge the truth about their height.

And that, Harvard researchers said Monday, is why the federal government's state-by-state estimates of obesity are wildly underestimated.

That could have major implications for San Antonio, which has ranked among the most obese cities in the nation in recent years based on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an annual telephone survey of Americans' health.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found the BRFSS telephone survey underestimated obesity levels nationwide by more than 50 percent. It compared the findings to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a much smaller, more rigorous study conducted every few years that includes door-to-door interviews and physical examinations.

The Harvard study, using 2000 survey data, found that Texas had the highest percentage of obese men and women of any state -- 37 percent of women and 31 percent of men.

The original telephone survey results for Texas that year found that 24 percent of men and 22.2 percent of women were obese.

Obesity is calculated by body mass index, or BMI, a height-weight measurement. A 5-foot-7 inch adult weighing 195 pounds is considered obese.

Majid Ezzati, associate professor of international health at Harvard and the lead author of the study, found that both men and women tend to exaggerate in telephone surveys -- but about different aspects of their bodies.

"On average, women underestimate their weight," Ezzati said. "And men didn't -- on average. And when it came to height, they both exaggerated their height, although it was somewhat larger for men than for women -- in the younger ages at least."

Ezzati found male obesity was about 7 percentage points higher that previously thought. For women, it was 15 percentage points higher.

More here:

Posted by: Loomis | May 2, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse


Second bit of advice: Burps generally go over better that farts, too.

But don't be surprised if she can out-burp you.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, glad to see you're amongst us today. How's the ol' eyeball?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 2, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

For the record, I am 5'-9" and weigh 178 pounds in my underwear, at least as of last Thursday. I used to put my weight as 175; I now round up to 180. I want to weigh 160, maybe even 155, no less. I was 125 whein I graduated high school. Don't want to go back that far.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mudge, are you as relieved as I that Anna Nicole had her "day in court," so to speak? That poor, poor woman.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 2, 2006 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Anna Nicole Smith: A role-model and inspiration for gold-diggers everywhere. If she can make it, anyone can. Only in America.

/cue patriotic music
/run montage of waving American flags and out-takes from The Anna Nicole Show

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we should do reactions to Stephen Colbert Saturday Night Live performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner? (We in Flyover Land may be a day behind.) Colbert was the thrust of Dan Froomkin's blog yesterday, and gets top billing in Howie Kurtz's column this morning.

I used Froomkin's link to and listened to the three Colbert segments. I listened silently, observed Colbert pounding the president with irony, watched the audience reaction or, more specifically, lack of it. There were some laughs among the assembled journalists and guests, but I felt that some of the audience members were doing a lot of s*cking in of individual breaths at some of the jokes. The Joe Wilson "most famous husband" joke was priceless.

My hubby worked late, we had dinner out, I spoke of the video of Colbert's schtick on Saturday night, and linked again, on my hubby's computer, to Youtube so that he could see the same Colbert segments before he turned in, then I trotted downstairs. For the next 15 minutes, what I heard from our downstairs bedroom were spontaneous bursts of laughter from my husband.

What I think is that at the next White House awards presentation Stephen Colbert should receive the Medal of Truthiness from President George W. Bush. What kind of press award do you think Colbert deserves? The Pulitzer? Or better yet the Elijah P. Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism? Is there an industry award for courageous comedy?

Posted by: Loomis | May 2, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

You found me out Curmudgeon. I'm one of those quiet ones who sits back in the corner and raises cain.

We did take that hockey series. (insert small, decoruous cheer here) Since we are currently in the middle of a snowstorm, I wonder if St. Pete was backing Detroit.

Posted by: dr | May 2, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, good to have you Boodling again. *hugs*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Very funny, Joel. Equally amusing is Achenbro's equal-but-opposite counterpart--the live-alone schoolmarm. My sister of that description, "Henrietta," has made of her home a universe devoid of germs and disorder. Everything has its place according to an organizational scheme more elaborate than The Periodic Table. Nobody is allowed to help her with the dishes because she once caught a guest putting a Number 2 fork into the Number 3 fork sub-section of the silverware drawer. She is happiest when guests leave, and reaches for the Lysol and rubber gloves as soon as they pull out of the driveway. Her daily routine--when to eat, shop, watch TV, go to the bathroom--is as strict as any you will find in a prison. Henrietta does not envy married women because she was once married, a long time an Achenbro.

Posted by: mrk | May 2, 2006 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I am sorry to have abandoned the blog, but I'm under orders to stay away as much as possible until I finish this long magazine story. I think I can post a new kit this afternoon, however.

I don't have anything to offer on whether Colbert was funny or not, or courageously brilliant or mean-spirited. My tux attended the dinner, but I didn't. This is how you know you're a loser: When you have to loan your tux to a real reporter, and then drive him to the dinner. I will ask my tux what it thought of Colbert.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 2, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse


In medieval times, only the court jester could make fun of the king. I don't think ours gets the joke.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I boodled out of order and accidentally landed on topic. That will never happen again. At least not to me.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I read some comments that Colbert's monologue wasn't funny. I hadn't seen it, so I found a transcript and read it--I almost fell out of my chair laughing, after my jaw dropped.

Mrs. D. wondered what the White House was thinking. Had they ever SEEN the Colbert Report? Were they so clueless as to think it's a real conservative talk show?

On The Daily Show last night, Jon Stewart gave Colbert high praises, and said that Colbert was under the mistaken impression that he was supposed to do what he does every night on his show.

His video of being stalked by Helen Thomas was pretty good too.

Posted by: Dooley | May 2, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Joel... please have mercy on us and write a new kit post haste. We are spiralling fast.

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Dolph, I weep for the anguish that poor woman (Anna Nicole) has been through, poor child. In fact, I'm thinking of composing a coronet piece to play in her honor--sort of a strumpet solo. *rimshot*

I e-mailed Joel a proposal to see if we could "take over" Gene's chat this afternoon. Haven't heard back yet.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 2, 2006 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if the military channel we get here is the same as the programming you see on US tv, but last night there was a program on about George McGovern and his military service in WWII. He is without a doubt an interesting man who has led a more than interesting life. It makes me wonder if the current crop of politicians on this continent will stand the test of time as well as Mr. McGovern.

Posted by: dr | May 2, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

As you can see by going completely off topic here, I am trying to raise this boodle from yesterday's new low.

I am also trying to dissassociate myself from any connection to the poll idea in case it gets out of hand, which is, of course, the whole point.

Posted by: dr | May 2, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The eyeball is the eyeball. Nothing has changed much except that after I made two phone calls--both aggressive and inquisitive--yesterday to the opthamology clinic, the optometrist from the opthamology clinic finally called me back around 6:30 p.m. and patiently answered my questions.

Yes, I should continue the hot compresses on my eyelids for five minutes morning and evening for the blepharitis (extreme dry eye). Yes, I should continue with the eye drops when my eyes feel dry, and it doesn't matter what OTC drops I use as long as I use the Nevanac first (3xday) and wait at least five minutes before putting in the moisturizing drops. (Didn't like the Refresh free sample I received--too sticky, but loved the Soothe free sample, so bought more.) The Nevanac drops are expensive, Dr. Orozco acknowledged, and their purpose (my question) is to prevent the build-up of certain chemicals (proteins? substances?) that could lead to secondary glaucoma. I was instructed to use Nevanac for about two months--until the eye lasering.

The question I really wanted an answer to was whether it was a good idea or a bad idea to purchase/use a (pirate's) eye patch for the left eye, since having one good eye and one bad eye really is starting to bother me a great deal under two situations: when I read and when I drive. Orozco said it doesn't matter either way--a patch or eye covering won't help or hurt the eye. He said most drug stores sell patches, and there are even patches available for the lenses of glasses, so it goes over the glass of your lens, rather than rest over your eye socket. He says the eyes, as a pair, adjust to the differences in vision of the two individual eyes over time (oh, really?), but cautioned that covering the eye with a patch can really affect peripheral vision when driving, and I have to agree with him on that point. So maybe I'll go for being a pirate just when I read. I find that many times, I 'm already closing he left eye lid in something of a squint when driving and especially when reading. (I am very much enjoying the book slyness recommended to me, "Katherine." Seton has certainly done her reseach.)

I asked if it was too early to inquire about prognosis, considering that the blood work is still in the near future--and more significantly, because so much of my life is "reading-based." He said that it's generally a bell curve--that after the lasering, some people recover vision almost to 20/20, while a few show no improvement, but that most fall somewher in the middle. But an improvement in vision after the lasering would then not be further improved by corrective lenses. So should my left lens simply be replaced by clear glass after the procedure? I asked him about having the same type of occlusions in the right eye, and he said that it's extremely rare for both eyes to be affected, and the problem doesn't "spread" from one eye to another. So, it's about two months of blurry vision in the left eye, as Dr. Singer, the retina opthamology specialist, informed me last Thursday. And there it stands.

And thanks to you, Mudge, for inquiring, and to Joel and the many, many other Boodlers who have wished me well.

What is harder to accept is that Loomis Chaffee Headmaster Russ Weigel had called, at the end of March, the Cannes Film Festival and had spoken to them on my behalf. I have also exchanged a pleasant volley of e-mail in the past week or so with Rev. Robin Griffith-Jones, Master of the Temple Church in London, on whose floor the effigy of my distant great-grandfather lays--part of Dan Brown's book and the upcoming Sony movie, as you all know. Griffith-Jones book on the "Code" and Temple was issued last weekend. (I had a choice between it and NYT science reporter Nick Wade's new book on genetics and evolution and the great human diasporas, and please don't tell Griffith-Jones, but picked Wade instead.)

Knowing that nothing will change in the next eight weeks as far as my eye, part of my heart would still like to go to France--now probably more impossible than ever since the repairs to my husband's car this week will total about $3,000.00. In this household, if it's not one thing, then it's quite truly another.

Posted by: Loomis | May 2, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I bet your tux didn't have fun without you! When my son was 9 he played on a recreation center baseball team and the coach almost but not always made him sit the bench the entire game. Now, I was not one of those wild-eyed monster-mommies who obsess over their children's sports activities, but when coach had the nerve to ask my son to loan his uniform shirt to the "best" player (whose mother had forgotten to wash his uniform), and then had my son sit the bench bare chested, I went right down on the field and gave him a piece of my mind. The other mommies, whose sons were also bench sitters gave me a standing ovation. My son was not so thrilled, however, and I promised not to intervene (interfere?) any more. I kept that promise.

Posted by: Nani | May 2, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"Chatological Humor" isn't on today but "Tell Me About It" is. Hhmmm. What to do, what to do???

Posted by: omni | May 2, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Lindaloo, for what it's worth, I said my Rosary last night for you.

For those interested, don't forget Birth of the Nation tonight on the Turner Classic Movie channel. I've never seen it. When we first got here, the local news was filled with the story of a 14 yr. old African American boy who had been beaten and choked by 4 guards/officers at the boot camp he'd been sent to for a probation violation. The beating was taped and it was reported to have lasted 10 minutes. The 5-6 second part of the video that was shown on the news channel was horrendous. What was so chilling to me is the fact there are video cameras all over the facility so that the officers had to have known they were being taped. Made me think that this type of behavior was not unusual. The medical examiner said the death was related to sick cell disease. The parents, outraged, demanded another autopsy which showed that the boy died from asphyiation (sp). THe guv was to meet with the Reverends Sharpton and Jackson. The boy, a tall lanky youth (no match for 4 officers) was said to have been a good student and popular with teachers and students. His dad said he'd recently started to run with a different crowd and had a "smart mouth" sometimes. I don't know what crime he committed, other than it didn't involve violence. Youths who commit violent crimes go to jails or detention centers. Boot camp is supposed to rehabilitate the young so they don't end up in jail.

Posted by: Nani | May 2, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Linda: This is superfluous and unsolicited, so take it at face value. We were showing our dogs this weekend and our conversation turned to eye drops, as one of the dogs needed medicating. The brand is called Gen-tel (Danny and Robin both pronounced it gen-TEEL). I'm thinking that they might have gotten it through their vet, but they both use it and swear by it, especially when their eyes get irritated. FYAI...I hope your prognosis is good...with the mention of occlusions and the like, your condition sounded vaguely like macular degeneration. Regardless, I wish you well.

Posted by: jack | May 2, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Now I am really, really feeling guilty.

This Weingartensque spiral into urination habits started with a mention of an tomcat doing what tomcats do, after Scottynuke's "feral lifestyle" comment.

Obviously, the presence of a litterbox mention degrades this chat irrevocably. Speaking of which, somebody once litter-trained a horse (see! see! I'm falling victim to this.... ARGGGGHHHHHHHHHH)

Check out this trainer's resume at

She's gotten cows to say "yeah, it's time to get hot n heavy with a bull."
Chickens to do Wild west shows,
...and pigs to line up for blood.

Very cool training techniques with targets on her main site.

This has been your Dr. Dolittle PSA.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 2, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Nani, I think we need a 'Mudge ruling on whether or not such uniform-swapping would violate any rules.

But for what it's worth, you were exactly on-point to give the coach what-for.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Hope your morning and day are good. Started my garden yesterday, got down and dirty. It was so much fun. Went back to Lowe's and just hung out and got plants and the works.

I see I missed a lot yesterday. Peeing in the sink and the "f" word. Oh well, perhaps that was a good thing, missing it I mean. Peeing in the sink? I'll never look at a sink the same way again. The weather here has been beautiful. Just blue skies and nice. Not too hot, and just a slight chill in the air. Glad to see you're back Loomis, hope the eye is healing okay. And glad to see you back, Nani, and hope you're enjoying your new home. It is my hope that the day is good for all, and that God in His infinite wisdom blesses you more than you can imagine through His Son, Jesus. This is always my prayer for you with lots and lots of love. And Joel, don't let anybody tell you different, you're a great writer.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 2, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I said "feral lifestyle????"

*looking for my ginko biloba*


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I claim authorship of the phrase "feral lifestyle." It's mine. I thought of it first. I claim all credit, tribute, and accolades. It's mine, I tell you. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Posted by: CowTown | May 2, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, I'd be afraid of a feral cow even if it didn't laugh maniacally.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I saw the Colbert monologue and the Helen Thomas video, and I agree with Froomkin and the Loomisii that it *was* funny, but more angry and courageous than anything.

He skewered just about everyone in the room; people were too uncomfortable to laugh much.

That bit was NOT for the people in the room. It was for everybody else in America.


PS I have a Weingarten bit to post in a little bit.

Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse


Not according to Rule 6. WaPo Intellectual Property Appropriatorsâ„¢, Inc. now own "feral lifestyles" lock, stock, crate and barrel.

Oops, now they own "Crate and Barrel". There is no end to their insidious scheming.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

For those of us suffering from Weingarten Unavailability Stress Syndrome (WUSS), I've taken the dramatic and unwarranted step of not calling Gene and having the following conversation with him:

[Phone Ringing]

GW: Hello, this is Gene.

Me: Wowza! Either I just dialed into a talking fax machine, or this is Gene Weingarten. Oh, I'm sorry, that's my bad - hi Gene!

GW: Who the [expletive deleted] is this? And how did you get this number? And that last pun was terrible!

Me: Whoa, easy there, big guy. I'm [my name here], and I'm calling on behalf of your fans, who are missing your chat terribly this week.

GW: What? Look, it's just wonderful that I have panty-throwing stalkers who follow my every step in and around the city, but I'm on vacation this week. Leave me alone. And English is your second language isn't it?

Me: Look, I have your cell phone number, and I'll post it to the Yahoo group if you don't sit still for a very short phone interview. Which I intend to post verbatim, except where I edit it to make it funnier.

GW:[pause] OK, Mr. Instant Karma terrorist. Ask and be damned.

Me: That's the spirit! And don't think I know you're going to change your number anyway, I'm just telling you now that I'm not gonna post it.


Me: Oh, right. I'm asking the questions here. Um, are you losing any sleep knowing that you're going to have to wait another year to see if "The Great Zucchini" is going to win a Pulitzer Prize?

GW: Oh, so you're the [expletive deleted] that keeps asking about that in the chats.

Me: And you and Liz don't answer.

GW: The answer is: no.

Me: Liar, liar, pants on fire!

GW: Hanging up now...

Me: Posting phone number now...

GW: One more question.

Me: Three.

GW: Okay, two.

Me: Done. Ok, where was I?

GW: You accused me of lying about whether I was anxious about winning a Pulitzer for my "Zucchini". And that's question number one.

Me: Wha- dammit, dammit, dammit! Ok, fair enough. What do you enjoy writing about the most - curious characters, old music, digestive excretions, sex, or comedic phone conversations?

GW: Well, at this point in my life, I'd have to say the phone conversations, especially when there's an idiot on the other end of the phone.

Me: Really?


Me: Uh, oh.

GW: [crickets]

Me: I'm going to be reading about this phone call in the Washington Post Magazine in about 3 weeks, aren't I?

GW: Yup, Mr. [my name here] at [my phone number here]. Enjoy your 15 minutes of looking like an ass in glossy print.

Me: What a revoltin' development! OK, you win. I'll disarm, and I won't publish. But before you go, I need you to say it.


Me: C'mon, you know you want to.

GW: All right.




Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I've been considering this business venture for a while to supplement our teaching salaries: Badger-in-a-birthday-cake...for those special occasions. Think it'd fly?

Posted by: jack | May 2, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I don't think they can own 'crate & barrel' without a little $$ changing hands first...

No matter what Rule #6 says.

Posted by: amo | May 2, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Jack, probably as far as my Weazels in the Pudding went. We were ok until one of those critters scampered up Bill Cosby's arm and bit him on the cheek.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 2, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

DM, was that a Frank Zappa reference?


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

bc, I was thinking, it's too bad that you didn't offer to bring Gene to the race track with you. I think he would have had a lot more fun with you than with that Corvette dealer (driving an automatic, no less!).

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse


Comedy gold. Weingarten's prank phone call stuff never gets tired does it. Not. If only you had managed to fit in some sort of comic strip reference, it would have captured the spirit and tone perfectly.

Thanks for the smile.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, DM, and also to you and bc for the Zappa references whether they were intentional or not.

Posted by: jack | May 2, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I prefer "Jazz From Hell" myself...

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

dr, great game last night.

McGovern's wartime service as a bomber pilot is also the subject of a book (The Wild Blue) by Stephen Ambrose (also author of Band of Brothers). Very readable. I'll have to lend it to you when we have a northern BPH.

re: Anna Nicole. The court was impressed by her briefs, I guess. I haven't heard how much of a factor the oral submissions were in the court's decision.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, does Carl ever read this blog, cause if he does, he is going to wash your mouth out.

Darn, just when we were tutning the blog to a higher plane.

Posted by: dr | May 2, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

The Official Mudge ruling on the uniform shirt is that there's no particular rule against switching shirts like that. However, Nani was entirely within her rights in beating the coach to within an inch of his life, and no umpire worth his salt would have (or should have) interferred. Well done, Nani.

BTW, most official Little League organizations have "mandatory play" rules that require ALL players to get a certain amount of playing time, no matter the score or game situation. Some leagues are more strict about enforcement than others, though. The league I was active in for 17 was especially vigilant, and we had tough enforcement and even suspensions of coaches who violated them. We even had a "cumulative" rule which said that if a player didn't get his mandatory time in a game, that time had to be added to the immediately following game, so that he (she) got TWICE the mandatory minimum next time. And if that meant if you had to play your absolutely worst, most-stumbled-footed player for three innings in the critical championship game, well then too bad, because either that kid played or you forfeited the game.

There were still ways to try to "cheat" this rule, and blocked all of them, even requiring substitutions be made by the fourth inning (to prevent coaches from trying to put in subs in the last inning--and hoping darkness or rain would terminate the game early.

I think Little League stands apart (and above) a lot of other youth sports orgs in this regard, and our own outfit (in Waldorf, MD) was especially good about it. *pats self and fellow board members on back*

Oh, and we won SIX World Series titles over the past 25 years, so we don't want to hear any crap about this playing of "weak" subs "ruining" the quality of play. (We won three consecutive girls 16-18-year-old softball World Series, and then two more in the next four years.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 2, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Hi Cassandra! Thanks for the good wishes and prayers. They are always most welcome. I've been trying to catch up on the boodles I missed. I went to the garden center at Walmart last weekend and planted tomatoes, squash and green peppers. The manager of that section was quite unique compared to the other garden workers. They, guys and girls, wore jeans and tennis shoes. The manager, a lady, wore a bright red suit, red wide-brimmed straw hat, and red shoes (heels no less!)and bright ruby red lipstick. She stood at the door and greeted everyone, then broke into song "Oh What a Beautiful Morning"

Posted by: Nani | May 2, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Linda, I think your poll is good, Weingartien overtones without the bodily function factors.

I consider myself an unusually honest person, and I'm not particularly vain, or especially fat (some extra middle-age pounds, but not in the obese range)--but I ALWAYS lie when I have to say my weight. For the drivers license, when I donate blood, etc.

When I lived in Key West, whenever I went on a trip to the mainland, the first leg of the flight would be in a 7-seater airplane. One passenger sat next to the pilot. He would always say, "Hi, I'm Captain Bob Johnson, and this is my co-pilot--what's your name?--oh, Jane Smith." Ha. On those puddle-jumper flights, they would weigh the luggage, and as the passengers boarded, they would ask their weights. This was to be sure the plane wasn't overloaded, I presume. I wanted to yell at them, WEIGH the passengers! Or just look at them and estimate! Don't take their word for it, THEY ARE LYING!! Those little planes are scary enough without that added anxiety...

Posted by: kbertocci | May 2, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

jw, how do you know I *didn't* make Gene an offer to drive something cool?

yellojkt, I really did consider making a comic book reference, but I decided to keep it simple.

Glad you liked it.

Mudge, your work with America's youth is commendable.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Glad to hear from you. Just to let you know that you are absolutely correct on how I lost my vision. Both my sister and I got diabetes at age 8, she is 5 years younger than me and no other person in the family has been diagnosed with the disease so far. The discovery of diabetes for me is a story of horrifying suffering which I may write about when it becomes necessary to flog the blog when too many posters start whining about petty problems like how the price of gas is becoming more expensive than bottled water. Anyway, the medical community thinks that poor control over diabetes is the culprit over my blindness, but I have to add that I hung around friends that idolized losers like Jim Morrison and treated my body more like a chemistry set than a Temple of the Holy Spirit. However, I was very disciplined in my excersize routine having a WashPost paper route which meant I would get up every morning at 4:00 am, ride my bike for miles with 40 pounds of papers on my back. This lasted 7 days a week, 365 days a year for about 15 years. The very day of my paperboy retirement, I noticed a real small spec of dirt on my glasses, which I couldn't seem to wipe off. Also I had been noticing that when I read the WashPost, some letters were missing from some of the bigger words, and this was without the aid of hallucinagenics. The next day the spec that followed my eye around got bigger and turned red. At that point, I knew that it was only a matter of time. So I scraped up some money to see the eye doctor who sent me to another specialist, did the vegetable dye test and confirmed the worst, just like I expected. Then I remembered that little child's poem -
Cross my heart,
Hope to Die,
Stick a needle,
in my eye.
The red speck got bigger and bigger and began to flow, like a beautiful waterfall that pooled at the bottom of my eye, which was kinda cool because, since the eye inverts the image as it projects the light on the retina, the blood waterfall was upside down with the pool of blood at the top. If I shook my head real hard I could completely obscure my vision with the blood inside my eye producing somewhat like an etch-o-sketch effect. The left eye was soon to follow. Another thing that happened that was really cool was the capillary network that nourished the retina went haywire and began to proliferate and grow into the retina. This warped, doubled and further contorted my vision like the reflection off a crinkled piece of tinfoil which I was well aquainted with. With in the next few years, I underwent about 7 victrectomies - a surgical procedure where the eye jelly is removed. Sometimes I went under general anathesia and sometimes I would go under with local anathesia with "some sedation". One time I remember asking the knock-out doc if I could get "one for the road". I had my last surgery in October 1990, a week before I got married to the wonderful girl I'm spending the rest of my life with. As poor as my vision was, I did get to see San Fransisco on my honeymoon. Three weeks after I got married, I lost my job. then on Thanksgiving Day, as I gazed into my wife's beautiful eyes, everything got dark. I realized that I would never see the light of day again.
Take care of yourself Loomis, Joel, Mudge, BC, JW, Padouk, Tim, SonOfCarl, Shrieking D, Cowtown, Scottynuke, , Wilbrod, Nani, Yellow, Dolphin Mike, Cassandra, and all you other posters that a b, d, e, g, p, t, v, or z in their initials. Maybe, if my faith stands up to the truth, I'll see you all on the other side.

Posted by: Pat | May 2, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

What me, a Zappa reference?????

Music, humor, and intelligence in DC??? no!!!!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 2, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

bc - You saved the Boodle. Bless you.

Posted by: CowTown | May 2, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, well, when I saw the article at first, I figured that it MUST be you. But then I thought, "bc's not a car dealer." Are you!?!

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Pat, I don't know what to say except thank you for sharing that.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Pat, thank you for joining us here on the Boodle and for your wonderful contributions. We're all the better for knowing you. Hopefully you'll come to a BPH!

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

ok jw - you get a neener, neener for the sox win last nite, but i get a neener for johnny damon! (and now that he's in yankee stripes he doesn't look like a gorilla! wow - who knew joe torre could clean him up so good!)

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Oh Pat, the best to you. Thanks for writing that piece. Mudge should fold up a paper boodler crown for you.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 2, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

darn - i think my refresh is screwy again - HALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

did i booo? i think i booo'd...

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Haha...and they say there's no such thing as clutch hitting. Way to go Papi!

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

No, jw, I'm not a car dealer.
I'm actually pretty honest.

Pat and Loomis, thanks for making us all a bit more aware of some important things we take for granted.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Pat. Welcome to our little dysfunctional unit...

Posted by: amo | May 2, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

mo, don't worry, I think Damon's still a gorilla at heart.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Shucks, you all. I just wanted to say that I like you, which means, of course, that my wife doesn't.

Posted by: Pat | May 2, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

between papi, mirabelli and damon on the "evil" side at fenway, it was a pretty good game...

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

mo, THANK GOD Mirabelli is back. Wake's last game was just painful to watch. Luckily it didn't take Francona and Co. very long to figure out that someone can't learn how to catch one of the best knuckleballers in baseball during Spring Training.

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse


We have quite a contingent of disgruntled spouses--it's almost a requirement. In addition to calling our fearless leader "Archie" as a term of non-endearment, my better half has taken to referring to my hobby as "boogling."


Posted by: kbertocci | May 2, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse


I just finished re-reading the boodle. Yes, Ioan is a much better Hornblower - much more of what I pictured while reading Forester. I wish they would make more of those movies for A & E but I believe Gruffudd's moved on to the bigger screen (albeit to crap like 'Fantastic Four')

I heard there may be a new HH script in the making. I sure hope that's true!

Posted by: amo | May 2, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Pat writes:

The discovery of diabetes for me is a story of horrifying suffering which I may write about when it becomes necessary to flog the blog when too many posters start whining about petty problems like how the price of gas is becoming more expensive than bottled water.

Pat, you gave me my great laugh for the day with the sentence above--despite its deeply tragic overtones. (I was wrong in one respect about my "guess" that caused your vision to deteriorate--I suspected adult-onset diabetes, rather than juvenile diabetes.) I *do* appreciate you sharing your story with me and the Boodle. But your attempt at humor--or the sad truth-- reminded me so much of something NYT columnist Bob Herbert wrote yesterday, part of his article about an HBO program "Baghdad ER" that wil air on May 21. Because of the similarity of what you both wrote, I feel compelled to share several of Herbert's grafs:

Above all else, war is about the suffering of individuals. The suffering is endured mostly by the young, and these days the government and the media are careful to keep the worst of it out of the sight of the average American. That way we can worry in peace about the cost of the gasoline we need to get us to the mall.

"Baghdad ER" is going to tell us right in the comfort of our living rooms that there is really horrible stuff going on over there in Iraq, and whether we think this is a good war or a bad war, we need to be paying closer attention to the human consequences.

Pat, I wrote several pieces about diabetes back in the days when I was a PR writer for a small community hospital in California, so I hae some grasp of the subject matter, along with personal knowledge of the horror stories told by the pink ladies (women who were volunteers in the hospital auxiliary) whose mates suffered from the complications of diabetes.

I myself have had only one (not so) close brush with it: my spy-boy boyfriend had diabetes. I was close to turning 30, but he was 40--and it was one of those "intense attraction" kind of affairs. Our age difference gave me great qualms much of the time. I met him the night a blind date went horribly wrong. He was not the blind date, but someone I met several hours after the fiasco.

After bumping into each other that first evening, "Bo-bo" and I met when we could--and every time I learned something new and different about him. His father was acquainted with Reagan's Ed Meese, or so he said. At breakfast one morning in Carson City, he showed me three completely different sets of ID. Who was he really? Perhaps he was married? He fascinated me in my house's hot tub with stories of Abscam, the Mafia, and Oriental gangs in San Francisco. I was bound physically to the lake and my reporting job, he was based in San Francisco or Oakland and traveled a great deal. One night we met for a tryst in Placerville, and after dropping his drawers, I dropped my jaw to find a gun strapped to his calf. (Is this normal D.C. spy apparel?)

I think in some respects, he may have been my most zany and exotic lover. But one New Year's Day, he came to the lake for an overnight. We ran around a lot that day without eating lunch and that early evening he began to go into diabetic shock. I fixed a turkey sandwich as quickly as possible, along with some juice. I never saw him carry any insulin injections or blood glucose testing parphernalia. But he was full of secrets and apparently his diabetes was one of them.

But I never saw as much of him as I would have liked because of our distance, because of our schedules. Our time together was just hours and catch-as-catch can.

Posted by: Loomis | May 2, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse


I think the technical term is "hoogly boogling."

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Pat: Thanks for sharing. Your queaf survey idea was priceless. Perhaps we could calculate the proportion of humor/obtuseness/irreverence to individual levels of dysfunction. I respectfully submit that the correlation would be high.

Posted by: jack | May 2, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Or as Jerry Reed might say...

Boogly boogly boogly!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I think Pat and jack have been secretly attending the BPHs. What do you guys think? mo?

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

There WAS that table of suspiciously boisterous people in one BPH pic, TBG... *nodding*

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Kids! Wanna read a story? It's a little late, but still topical. Kind of...

Posted by: CowTown | May 2, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of BPH'ing.... is everyone OK with Tuesday, May 30, for the next gathering of The DC Boodling Society?

We had talked about the roof terrace of the Hotel Washington. Not exactly a budget BPH, but it will have a great view.

Always open to ideas for locations. But I think we need to come out of the dark M&S cave for spring/summer, don't you?

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

*furiously cranking the mimeograph machine*

Posted by: CowTown | May 2, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Ummmmmmmm........ I can smell that purple printing already, CowTown.

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

As the President emerged from his meeting, he found Karl Rove in the hallway, appearing to study a large painting of John Adams, his hands clasped tidily behind his back.

"Hey, TB," said the President, giving Karl a slap on the back, "What's up."

Turning only his head, Karl addressed the President, "Good morning, Mr. President," and then continued to study the painting. The two men stood in silence for a moment, hands clasped behind them, as if studiously admiring the portrait.

"Well," quipped the President, "Art class is over, TB, do you have something else to talk to me about?"

Karl briefly regarded his shoes, then he turned to the President, hands still behind him, "Uh, the meeting you just had..."

"Oh," the President waved dismissively toward the meeting room, "just some falderal about FEMA again. It's like herpes - keeps comin' back." He raised his eyebrows and tilted his head toward Karl conspiratorially to share the joke.

"Ah, it's just that I would have liked to have been there, that's all," murmured Karl, turning back to the painting.

"Karl," the President took a soothing tone, "We've been through this already. You handle the politics, and leave the policy agenda to, ah, other people."

"I know, but, I could help you from the sidelines," Karl said, his excitement barely contained, "You know, I could - visit Iraq. Take a delegation there."

"Uh, Rumsfeld and Rice were just there, Karl."

"Ok, well, you know, I've got some ideas on this immigration issue," Karl said. The President put up his hand to silence him.

"Walk with me, Karl." The two walked slowly down the hall. "You know, Josh thinks this Fitzpatrick guy-"

"It's Fitzgerald, sir," Karl interrupted.

"Ok, Fitzgerald. Josh thinks the guy's just shooting for the rafters. He's just doin' his job, but he's got to make it look like he's checkin' all the doorknobs. You understand?"

Karl nodded gravely. "But in the meantime," the President continued, "I need you to remain calm, and fight our war on a different front."

"But, I've got some great ideas to try out," Karl replied, "and we don't have a lot of time."

"Karl, Karl," the President started to sound exasperated, "Why don't you, uh, Swift Boat, somebody? You enjoy it. You're good at it. It's important work."

Karl looked crestfallen, "I know, sir, and thank you for the kind words. It's just that..."

"Karl," the President stopped and put his hand on Karl's shoulder, "I'm counting on you to handle the political battles. Not just for me. It's for our party. You've got to stay focused," the President raised a fist for emphasis, "Concentrate on the mission."

"Yes, sir," I'll do it. For you," Karl said, looking at the floor. After a moment, he muttered a good bye and began walking back to his office.

"And, Karl," the President called to him, "Uh, could you stay out of the kitchen?"

"Mr. President, I have a great recipe for veal scaloppini," Karl began.

"No, Karl," the President shook his head slowly, "And, the garden."

"I'm really good with roses, Mr. President," Karl gushed, imploring.

"Karl," the President commanded, raising his fist again, "Focus!"

Karl nodded, and giving a shallow wave goodbye, walked away.

The President continued briskly down the hallway until he came to a dead end. He paused briefly, stared at the wall, and slowly turned as he touched his chin distractedly.

"NOW where the hell am I?" he thought to himself.

Posted by: StorytellerCow | May 2, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Excellent story, Cowman! Thanks!

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the very open tale of your eyes. As I am on the backside of forty (just barely), I start worrying more and more about the end game. I can adjust to things like needing knee surgery, but I desparately hope that things I use most like my sight and my mind go last.

However, despite not being an academic type, I have a lot of absent-minded professor syndrome symptoms. Forgetting what I walked into a room for. Asking the same question several times in a row. Having three things to do and only remembering to do two.

My wife only half jokes that she will have no clue when I come down with Alzheimer's. That particularly scares me because the disease is so slowly progressive. Not being able to recognize loved ones or engage in critical thinking truly frightens me.

Staying humble involves a good bit of realizing that so many people do much greater things than I do with a lot more obstacles in their way.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

>"NOW where the hell am I?" he thought to himself.<


Posted by: omni | May 2, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse


Great story. A lot of truthiness in it. Oh to be a fly on that wall. The only catch is that I don't think Dubya is quite that articulate. I'm sure the WHCD imposter was told to really play it broad so the audience would know the difference.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

i *heart* you storyteller cow!

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Dang it, yellojkt, I was going to make a comment but I forgot what I was going to say.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

look at this picture and go back and re-read - HILARIOUS i tell you! hilarity ensues!!! cowtown, you really nailed that one!

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

tbg - scottynuke does bring up a good point - that table did have a lot of lookie-loo's...

adams morgan has a bunch of outdoor places... i agree we could come out of the m&s cave for the season...

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, I hope at least you have your blood sugar under control (and a thryoid check always helps).

Those can mimic alzheimer's, but are reversible/preventable-- and very common in geezers like yourself.

I'm cursed with AMPS myself (absent-minded professor syndrome). My thyroid imploded at age 25, and I might as well have had Alzheimer's. I was too tired to care, I blew up mid sentence because I couldn't follow a basic conversation. I'd forget if I had poured myself a glass, I'd be looking at that glass, and "is it mine?" Days went past in a fugue. I slowed down to a crawl.

Proper treatment-- hey I've got most of my marbles back. Ba-ba-ding, babyyyyy.

Hypothyroidism is prevalent in the elderly, and combined with even slight blood sugar issues it can put you in Alzheimer's land mentally-wise. I'm not so convinced that Alzheimer's isn't related somehow.

(The protein that goes bad in alzheimer's disease is counterbalanced by a protein that transports thyroid hormone... Verra suspicious, I'd say).

Now I'm dealing with "prediabetes" and I have to say, if this is pre-diabetes I don't see how people can endure the full progression to diabetes without noticing.

The symptoms-- oy vey with gravy. I'm doing something wrong. Maybe too much boodling.

And by the way:
Forgetting your keys: normal.
Forgetting what keys are: full alert!

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 2, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

TBG, et al. - I think I'd mentioned on the previous Boodle that the 30th works for me, BPHwise.

Roof terrace, Hotel Washington (yikes, gonna need some real money for that one. No $2 cheeseburger dinners, I'd wager).


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of killing the boodle.....
Say a prayer for me, folks. I'm going under the knife tomorrow for prostate cancer.

As a public service reminder to all you feral males out there (and you know whow you are): get yours checked each year, by somebody who knows what he's doing. That means all, repeat all, you men. Just because you're not as old as 'Mudge yet, doesn't mean that you shouldn't bother. If you're old enough to know what it's used for, you're old enough to get it checked. You get your car's engine tuned up regularly, right? Odds are that 1 in 6 of us men will get this crud. So, I've just covered the bases for: 'Mudge, jw, scotty, tim, and pat. The rest of you - go get tested. 'Nuf said, I'm done ranting. Now, go..... get..... tested. Yes, I mean a PSA *and* a, ahem, finger wave. Now, go, go, go...

Posted by: Don from I-270 | May 2, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

yellowjkt - I share your frustration with memory. I hate it when I forget the names of things mid-conversation. My wife complains that I can recite the name of the drummer for Buffalo Springfield, but I can' remember where I put my jacket. Drives her nuts.

Posted by: CowTown | May 2, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Good point, Wilbrod.

I get annual physicals at the doc, and I have them check my blood sugar levels as well as my thyroid/hormone levels.

So far they've found nothing unusual in that area.

Still, I have to endure an annual cholesterol level lecture...


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Don from I-270: My thoughts and prayers are with you. Keep us posted after your recovery. But no Boodling from your hospital bed. You'll need to rest.

Posted by: CowTown | May 2, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Pat and Lindaloo, my mother had diabetes and gave herself insulin injections every day. She didn't talk about it much, but she would test my sister's and my urine every other month or so, dropping a tablet into a cup of urine; if it turned blue, that was a danger sign. It never did. Mother was naturally slender and didn't diet. She didn't drink alcoholic beverages. She prepared very nutritious meals for us (never peeled any veggies, insisting that all the vitamins are in the skins). We always kept orange juice on hand in the ice-box and she carried a Hersey Bar in her purse. Despite the injections and good diet, Mother frequently went into shock. We could tell when, because her speech became slurred. We'd quickly give her juice and call the doctor. Back then doctors made house calls and he always came within the hour. For two years, my father was sequestered in a TB sanitarium in Colorado (Mother, sister and I lived in SA Texas), so as very young kids, we learned to watch for signs of shock. We did this very well. All sibling squabbling came to an immediate halt. On one occasion, we were downtown waiting for the bus and Mother's speech became slurred. For once, she had forgotten to put a Hershey bar in her purse. We rushed over to a traffic cop and asked him for help, telling him that Mother was "sick". He approached her and upon hearing the slurred speech, accused her of being drunk. We tried to explain that she was sick (at that time we didn't know the name of her illness). He said "I know you call it "sick", but your mother should be ashamed of herself, drunk with two little girls." He threatened to take her to jail. Bystanders surrounded us and someone finally recognized what was happening and called an ambulance. She went into a coma and almost died. Mother rarely spoke of her diabetes; she was not a shirker or a malingerer, nor did she expect special treatment. She was a fascinating woman and put all the other mothers in the neighborhood to shame with the amazing things she did for us and for herself too (Lindaloo reminds me so much of Mother). If we ever do a Mother's Day kit and boodle, I'll tell you all about her.

Posted by: Nani | May 2, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, Don. Hope all goes well for you. I'm glad you told us about it and you should keep in mind that we're all pulling for you and will be thinking about you tomorrow.

Make sure you check in as soon as you can so we don't start worrying!

At this point, I don't think there's anything that could kill this boodle.

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse


Make sure you read Nani's 1:44 post. Mother's Day is coming up and we can always hear a good Nani story.

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I see everybody forgot what their keyboards were for already... man, you guys are too suggestible.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 2, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I liked the science-fiction story, CowTown. But who was the character talking to Rove? Up until the very end he was intelligent, a good people handler, decisive and in charge, knew what to do and how to do it. I didn't recognize him at all.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 2, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it was another robot.

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

ps--Tom Cruise bashing over at the Celebritology blog--make sure you get your digs in!

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse


My fingers are crossed for a very boring procedure and a swift recovery. Come back when you're able.

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, Don.

I hope for your speedy and successful recovery from the operation.

For you guys, while doc is checking your prostate, don't forget to discuss checking for colorectal cancer (don't forget to ask for a copy of the neat "Fantasic Voyage Into Your Own Colon" video they'll make of your colonoscopy. And no, Raquel Welch isn't in it. And neither is Jane Fonda as Buttberella). And don't forget to have them check for testicular cancer, too.

We guys hate to go to doctors (maybe we don't like to ever admit something might be wrong that we can't handle?), which is why we don't go as often as we should.

But we need to have those nooks & crannies checked out, lest evil lurk there.

Too many guy I know have suffered from problems that could have been uncovered early by regular doctor visits.

Don, I'll be thinkin' about ya.
Hopefully, it will just be a short vacation from work, and you'll be up and at it in no time.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, ha! That adds a new category of people. Some see a glass and say "half full", others say "half empty", and now some say "Is that mine?".

In deference to dr I will refrain from saying anything about prostates. Good luck, Don. PSA: prostate cancer kills as many men as breast cancer kills women, yet receives 1/10 the funding.

Great story, StoryCow, but I'm a sucker for any story that works in the word "falderal".

Loomis, good luck with your eye as well. This eye stuff is very scary busines.

Finally, thanks for that Nani. Now I gotta go for lunch.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse


Good luck with your operation. I forget what color ribbon you are supposed to wear for prostate cancer, but it affects as many men as breast cancer affects women. I have a history of it in my family and had my first exam at age 39, but I have been foot-dragging on what should be bi-annual or annual physicals. Very feral male behavior on my part.

Not to scare you, but read this article in today's WaPo before they put you under.

The scales fell off my eyes about the quality of our health care system when my son was hospitalized for nearly two weeks from appendectomy complications. I became a very "aggressive advocate" (read kvetchy trouble-maker) when he was not getting the quality or quantity of care he needed. Do not be demure. Speak up and make them justify everything.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

...and don't forget breast cancer either! 1 in 100 men gets it, and it is much more agressive in men than in women.

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

As an aside, I get lipomas, so I'm always getting freaked out about some new lump or another. Although it does give me the opportunity to ask people if they want to feel my tumor, which is nice.

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Good thoughts, Don. Check in when you can but not too soon if it still hurts when you laugh.

Posted by: newkid | May 2, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I was diagnosed with Type II (adult onset) diabetes 16 months ago. Prior to that, I had NO symptoms of any kind (diabetes sometimes is like that), other than the high blood sugar readings. Fortunately, I was (and still am) a "lab rat" in a pre-diabetes clinical testing program at Georgetown, so my blood suagr had been closely monitored for several years prior to the diagnosis, as it slowly climbed.

The moral is, just because you don't think you have any symptoms doesn't mean you don't have diabetes.

In my case, I had been "anticipating" getting diabetes for 20 years. My father had it, and I had all the pre-conditions and knew it was only a matter of time. So when I got it I wasn't shocked or surprised or even emotionally affected--it was just like (yawn), OK, what took you so long? (But I understand I'm different from most diabetes people in that regard.)

As it happens, I'm "going under the knife" tomorrow afternoon myself--have to have an infected (diabetes-related) toenail removed. Compared to what Don's going to go through, mine is trivial. Good luck, Don.

Official theme song for the next BPH: "Up on the Roof." I'm there.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 2, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, for prostate cancer you don't wear a ribbon--you wear a Black Watch tartan plaid cummerbund.

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

I'm afraid that Hax is onto us:

Oh no, not *them*: So, are you looking forward with unrestrained delight to all the Weingarten chatters showing up in your chat, because he's gone this week, and yours is in his usual timeslot?

Carolyn Hax: From here, you all look the same to me. Unhinged.


Seriously though, best of luck to you Don. I hope everything goes well. I'll be thinking of you.

Thank you, Pat, for your extraordinary post earlier today.

Posted by: pj | May 2, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

In 24 hours we have gone from peeing in the sink to PSA awareness. Truly a full-service boodle.

And the word "kvetchy" in my 2:02 boodle is my euphemism for a similar word that begins with "bi" that didn't make it through the Worty Dird Filterâ„¢ for whoever is keeping the George Carlin Memorial Canonical List.

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

Oh crap, I'm getting senile. Been meaning to post this for an hour or two: there's a really good column (and good reporting) by Ruth Marcus at relative to the topic of the previous "Truth Still Matters Part 57" kit and boodle t'other day, on how that girl got into Harvard and got the book deal in the first place. The thing just gets worse and worse.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 2, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

GREAT quote from today's Mommy Blog:

Does anyone else wonder why some of the people who post here don't just see a psychologist instead?

Posted by: | May 2, 2006 09:04 AM

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that link, yellowjkt. Good insight to the "joys" of being hospitalized.

My wife is a R.N., and plans to be with me round-the-clock. I thought at first that she was making a bit too much fuss over this. Now, I know why. I did a short stint as an orderly 30 years ago in both the E.R. and a Med-Surg floor.

I'm having mine done at Johns Hopkins, Bayview. They are going to use some robotic monstrosity that looks like something out of a Tim Burton nightmare to do the slicing and dicing. It looks like Edward Scissorshands meets the Terminator robot. Their website touts it as, "computer controlled, voice activated". Hey, I know a little bit about computers. I can just imagine what happens when the surgeon sneezes in the middle of some voice command while the Terminator has his scissors down inside my, ah, stuff. I'll be singing soprano, that's what. Sheesh.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | May 2, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The whole "admissions councelling" schtick has gotten pretty bad the last few years from what I've heard. It's pretty much a given that these services write your personal statement for you as well as fluff up you application with as much meaningless extra-curricular crap as possible. You'd hope that admissions officers would be able to smell these things coming from a mile away, but given that they probably only spend a few minutes on each applicant before they give them a thumbs-up or down, they have bigger things to worry about. It's kind of sad that people are willing to go to such lengths, and it's also unfair to students who can't afford to have a professional polish their statements up.

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

TBG, that's funny.


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


The odds of getting into the highly competitive colleges, even for the uber-students is less than one in ten. You can't sweat getting into these super schools as a life or death issue.

Here's a WaPo article on the phenomenon:

I think these "consultants" are just stealing money. I'm sure admissions officers can recognize patterns and apply the appropriate BS filter.

I made my son read this article which is a very good reality check.

There are a lot of good places to get an education and getting hung up on brand names is a recipe for disappointment.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Don, a point of technical clarification: would you consider that area your "stuff" or "junk"?

I would add that I think they have a "cough" button for the voice control system, like they do for broadcast radio.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

My son's school PTA president has a great editorial in this month's newsletter about "helicopter parents." Those parents who are so into their kids' business that sometimes it leaves the kids unprepared for the real world.

I get involved, but I take my kid to the figurative "door" and leave him there to make it -- or not make it -- on his own.

How do these kids fare later who use these methods to get into college? I've always thought even taking an SAT prep course is a mistake because why would you want to get into a school where you might not succeed on your own? Those test scores are supposed to SHOW something, not just serve as a goal to meet.

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Admission counseling is no different from using a career or resume coach, a tutor, or other paid advisor to help you gain an edge and fine-tune your application and position you to win. Might as well teach these kids how to compete for college admissions since they'll have to do it again and again during their working lifetimes in order to outshine other candidates in hiring situations and any other competitive pursuit.

Posted by: metak8 | May 2, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The only reason I took an SAT prep course was becaue a girl I liked was taking it. Guess how much I learned. We did do practice SATs in school. I don't think going into standardized tests cold is really a good idea, because they *are not* tests of knowledge, they are test of skill. And as with any other skill practice is important. Practice tests are important, if only so that a student gets a feel for the time constaints, how long to spend on a question before moving on, etc. But I think the test prep courses are a waste of time--they are, in effect, inventing a market for something that's unneccessary.

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

metak8, I disagree that it's " different from using a career or resume coach..." College applications are supposed to be representative of the student, not the person they paid to "help" them write their essay. Getting someone to polish your resume is one thing--what these students are doing, in effect, is hiring an actor to show up at their job interview.

Posted by: jw | May 2, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Jay Matthews is having a chat as we speak defending his annual ranking of high schools based on the number of AP tests taken.

It seems like a pretty shallow metric, but it sells magazines. The good thing about AP tests is that they are achievement based and nationally comprable.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Don and Mudge, good luck with your procedures tomorrow. I'll be thinking of you.

Posted by: Nani | May 2, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

metak8, I think you need to read Marcus' article first. The "advisor" who helped her get into Harvard got paid $30,000 for the job. That's insane, meta, just plain insane. And it was this counselor who got her the book contract so she could put it on her college app resume, and helped her outline, etc.

$30,000 is more than my entire college education cost (OK, it was 1965-69 dollars at a state-related college), and more than any car I've every owned. $30 grand. Just absurd.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 2, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Lookie-loo???!!!I'm 71/2 hrs south, but anyone is welcome on the big porch. Mudge and Don: Best of luck to the two of you tomorrow. I'll add the two of you to my prayers tonight. Don: Ask your MD about Avastin and whether that should be part of yourpost-op regimen. It atrophies the blood vessels around tumors. It probably saved my M-I-L's life.

Posted by: jack | May 2, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Don: Best of luck on your procedure. I had radioactive seed implants done in March for prostate cancer. Even though I had a clean biopsy in 2000, and no significant rise in my PSA, my urologist decided "just to be safe" to do another biopsy in January which came up positive. Forunately, mine is early enough that the seed implants look like all I'll need. I second all the previous admonitions to get checked regularly. The disease is very treatable when caught early. The longer it goes undectected, the greater the difficulty in treatment.

Posted by: ebtnut | May 2, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

More than my college too. And I changed my curriculum twice. Took 5 years. Of course this was a community college for an AA.

Also more than I ever paid for a car. But the one new car I bought came close after all the darn interest.

Posted by: omni | May 2, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I guess that you're on the DL in the "This Little Piggy" fantasy league.

Good luck with that, dude.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

ah, booo, but one what can one expect with a boodle that is really really really all over the place...

Posted by: omni | May 2, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

more dimensions than a theory of strings...

Posted by: omni | May 2, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

bc, To answer your question of 2:41. After tomorrow, all of my "stuff" down there will just be medical waste, even if the Terminator-scissorshands doesn't hiccup. I just hope the big guy is gentle with me. It gives me the willies to think that I'm putting myself under the literal knife of something that is controlled by the same kind of circuitry that's in the box on my desk (that I wallop with disgusting regularity).

I just thought of something. When you take your car to the service center to be fixed, they will usually offer to give you back the all old parts that they had to replace......

Posted by: Don from I-270 | May 2, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

not really an SCC because I meant to type 'of strings', but upon reflection I probably should have typed 'on strings'. Soo what would that make it? A pseudo-SCC? A meta-SCC? Ah, hek, I'm taking a walk.

Posted by: omni | May 2, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

definitely another BOoO

Posted by: omni | May 2, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Don and Curmudgeon, best wishes to both of you for an easy procedure and a fast recovery.

I've had excruciating pain in my leg for over a month, and being physician-averse, have put off going to see anyone about it. I finally caved and made an appointment for this morning, only to completely forget about it. Yep, that's right, made the call only yesterday afternoon, and less than 24 hours later, had forgotten all about my 9:30 appointment. So obviously the leg pain isn't the big problem, it's the galloping dementia...

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | May 2, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm the kind of guy who gets the old parts back and looks 'em over. If anything looks like it may be useable, I keep it.

If not, it goes to the junkyard.

Don, if you want to chat while you're convalescing, please email me at

You're facing this with humor and grace that I'm not sure I could muster, sir.

Gads, all of you folks out there facing really tough stuff with your heads held high are impressing the heck outta me.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

like the saying goes, when I go I want to go peacefully in my sleep, not screaming like the passengers in his car.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

SCC " my sleep (i) like my grandfather (/i), not..."

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

SoC, I think you left the "like my grandfather" part out.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

jw, speaking of testing and admissions, have you already gone through all that LSAT nausea?

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I'll take the BOO on that, SoC.

Damn me.


Posted by: bc | May 2, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

And here I thought SonofCarl was just being honest about his own marginal driving skills.

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | May 2, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Nani, I read your post about the African-American young man that was beat to death at the boot camp. Nani, that happens more often than you think, and not necessarily in a boot camp setting. A sad story, but that does seem to be the life of African-Americans in this country. Not the whole life, but many times the life. When I hear the questions raised about immigration, I always think, at least these folks are getting paid, my ancestors didn't get any pay, and got beat to boot. And still get treated bad, even after their free labor.

I also read your post about your mother, she does sound like a unique person, Nani. My father admitted to me the other day that he has diabetes after denying it so many times. Now I'm going to have to check myself. The diet will probably be the biggest obstacle for me.

Mudge, Don, I'm praying for both of you in those procedures. Take care and do what the doctors tell you. And Mudge be especailly careful with those feet, that is really a weak spot for diabetics. We love you, hurry back.

I don't know what to do about my father because he won't allow anyone to help him. He has a eye appointment this month, and I took him last month, but already he's saying he doesn't need me to take him this time. I can't knock the man down and make him do anything, so I stand by feeling helpless. He doesn't want to be dependant on anyone, I know this, but what he wants and what will be, aren't necessarily the same things. At some point we all become dependent on each other whether we like it or not. Just go to the nursing homes and elder care places, and it will stare you in the face, and guess what, you can't run and you can't hide. Lord have mercy on us all in that Name that is above every name, Jesus.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 2, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

i was one of the brainy children who took my sat's when i was 12 - mom took me to a sat-prep which i think was the best thing cuz a 12 year-old isn't really all that prepared for a test like that...

i wish i had taken a prep for my gre's... that test was a dog!

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse,,2001310000-2006190303,00.html

Posted by: omniha | May 2, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: SCC:omnihaha | May 2, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

mo, I took the GREs in the first year they were computer-based, and you remember that if you got a question wrong, the computer would give you an easier question next (and conversely if you got the question right, you'd get a harder one). So in the math portion, I was doing so badly (mind you, I hadn't taken any math classes in 25 years, nor did I spend more than a few hours reviewing for that portion of the test) and answering so many wrong that I got the following question: What percentage is best represented by the fraction 5/6? What is that, 4th grade math? I'm such a loser.

For those of you wondering, yes in fact I did get in to graduate school! And will earn my Ph.D. in about two years -- but in a non-math discipline.

And I still don't know what percentage best represents the fraction 5/6.

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | May 2, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Pshaw! Mine's nothing. Don's the guy to worry about. But thanks for the thoughts, everybody.

Nani! Guess what just arrived in the mail from "The Best of the Duprees" CD and "The Skyliners Greatest Hits" CD. (Now it's gonna take me 20 minutes to open the *%$#@^$ things.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 2, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I obviously have know idea what I'm doing...see you all tomorrow merry gang of boodlers.

Posted by: omni | May 2, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

SofC, no deference required. I have 1 husband and 3 sons. Continue to disscuss important medical info that most men will not disscuss.

Don, in my daily list of things to do, I will remember to say a little prayer for the early demise of certain little cells on your behalf. May your total recovery be speedy.

Curmudgeon, get out your sandals. Your toe will need them for a few days.

Posted by: dr | May 2, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

There's so many good posts in this boodle I'm now too intimidated to write a new kit! It's like, how do you compete with Pat? That's a classic. Don and Mudge, good luck. bc, good advice. I swear reading this makes me want to go to the doctor right now and have a highly invasive exam.

I've had the occasional bout with hypochondria. Nothing like Gene, but it can be pretty disabling, even as it is ridiculous and somewhat pathetic. Tip: do not research symptoms such as "trembling" on the Internet. All symptoms on the Internt lead invariably to Lou Gehrig's [sp?] Disease. When in fact you might merely need to try the decaf.

I find it helps to accept the fact that death will happen. My death isn't my worst case scenario for the future. Not even close.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 2, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse


And yes I did that in my head cause I am a geek (or is that nerd?)!

Posted by: omnimath | May 2, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse


HOW could I be so stupid to have the right answer in my head, but type the wrong answer in my comments? I really must be going now.

Posted by: omniDOH | May 2, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

HAH! snarky - i broke out into a cold sweat when it got to the math section - and then, do you remember - they had a english section, writing section, math section then another english section - when i saw that second english section i thought "oh cr@p! please don't let there be another math section!!!!!!!" i had a mini panic attack! (i also don't know what percentage that is... math was never my strong suite and my master's - when i get it - is in forensic science)

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I think I'm going to the gym, actually.

I turned in my story. I think it's about 10,000 words at the moment but needs to be 7,000. The problem is, the 7,000 words it needs to be aren't AMONG the 10,000 words currently in the story. If you know what I mean.

Also I need to insert, even though it's kind of last-minute, the point. Of the story. It's a very delicate surgical procedure. Usually it goes in the 14th paragraph.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 2, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

But what percentage of the total paragraphs is that 14th paragraph?

I remember that cold sweat, mo!! I felt it, too. I remember thinking at that point that I really didn't need graduate school all -- fulfilling one's dream, bah! How Hallmark-Channel-ish. Nope, I decided right then and there, if I saw another math section on that danged test, I was going to march right down to the nearest fast food place and demand entrance to Hamburger University (where I am reliably assured that no math whatsoever is required beyond the ability to count to "one" pickle slice per burger).

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | May 2, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Joel === from the NYTimes Obit For JKGalbraith

He continued to rise early and, despite the seeming effortlessness of
his prose, revised each day's work at least five times. "It was usually
on about the fourth day that I put in that note of spontaneity for which
I am known," he said.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 2, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

HAHAHAHAHA!! snarky, i thought the SAME EXACT THING! graduate school/shaduate school - i can be happy being a failure! who needs all that money and success anyway? *whew* i'm glad i'm not the only one!

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

dr, the "deference" comment comes from the many, many juvenile jokes that flow from prostate exams, and that umbrage was taken earlier. I'm trying to limit myself to one Gr.8 level joke per kit.

re: computerized GRE. That's interesting that it adjusts mid-exam. That's kind of like in court when the judge asks "who are you acting for again?"

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I have read that writing is like giving birth. This was not an easy birth I take it. Is this baby colicky, and will it turn into a raving teenager, who will with much nashing of teeth, slowly painfully and finally, gracefully turn into an adult of whom you will be amazed and really proud?

Just keep telling yourself that most 'kids' turn out just fine.

Posted by: dr | May 2, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of grandpas dying peacefully in their sleep:

I was driving south on A1A when an off-duty security guard went into a diabetic coma, crossed the yellow line and tried to hit me head on. I swerved off the road, but he still sideswiped me, shearing off the mirror and destroying both driver side doors.

Some guys behind me did a u-turn and gave chase, eventually running him off the road and called 911. The guy's temperature was 108 and he didn't remember a thing.

When I tell this story I usually get half the listeners very sympathetic to him despite the fact that he very nearly killed ME because he did not take the medicine he needed to operate a vehicle safely.

The car was driveable after the mirror was replaced, but I felt like spray-painting on the doors "Not My Fault" as I drove it the 1000 mile home to the body shop.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 2, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

and when they had the word questions in the math section? my head started reeling! there was one question that it took me a minute to realize you had to scroll down for the rest of the question and i'm like - "how is anybody going to answer that? there IS no answer for that!" then i realized, d'oh, there's more to the question... still didn't figure out the answer - the words kinda all starting blurring together...

gre's... the bane of my existence... isn't it enough you graduated freakin undergrad without having to feel like a total maroon after taking the gre's?

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I am pleased to note that I also computed 83% in my head. So there. But I was too nice and mellow to post it. Being an experimental scientist, I rounded it to two significant digits, though I considered going so far as 83.3%. In fairness, I consciously practice doing arithmetic in my head, because it's such a cool party trick. All the kids love me down at the elementary school.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 2, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"So many good posts"? Well, some. But Joel, I suspect you skipped over the urinary portions of our commentary (as well you might).

Snark, I don't care how many advanced degrees you get, I'm STILL not going to address you as Doctor Snarky Squirrel. No, don't beg or plead. I'm not gonna do it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 2, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Gene Weingarten nearly killed me, the bum. I got his hypochondria book in order to give it to my sister and just decided to keep it myself. I read it over Christmas. When I started having chest pains, the ScienceSpouse and I both assumed that it was hypochondria brought on by reading about all the terrible things that it could be, but probably wasn't. Until they kept getting worse, day after day, so I decided to go see the doctor. Who thought it was probably nothing, but sent me to a cardiologist, anyway. Who thought it was probably nothing, and gave me antacids, but agreed to do a stress test, anyway. Which showed I had a problem. (In between, I cadged a cursory examination from another cardiologist. Who thought it was probably nothing).

After a few months, my stents are settling into my reopened coronary artery very nicely, thanks.

Posted by: Tim | May 2, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

SCC strike "flow from", insert "relate to". Nearly violated my rule.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

SofC, I missed the mark again. Ignore my sorry attempt at silliness. No umbrage taken.

Posted by: dr | May 2, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

dr, in that case, SCC strike "relate to" insert "finger" ;)

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

It is my goal to have my brilliant children be so dumb that they never, ever, learn to say Kaddish.

Because I do not know how to tell a joke (I hear that timing is the essence of comedy, you know), I will explain:

Yiddish-speaking shtetl resident to second Yiddish-speaking shtetl resident: "Your son is so smart, he should learn to say Kaddish before he's 8." (Kadddish is the mourner's prayer)

Translation: Drop dead.

Posted by: Tim | May 2, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

*snort* you gotta love yiddish humour!

Posted by: mo | May 2, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

*Snort* indeed! YiddishTim, I know just the person to whom I intend to address that benediction at the next family gathering. Heh heh.

Mudge, I'm sorry, I will have to insist on Dr. Squirrel. Respect must be shown to those who successfully negotiated an auspicious graduate career that began with such a complete lack of understanding of elementary school math. Props are due!

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | May 2, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

dr, writing is indeed like giving birth and I'm starting to get a lot more worried about the resemblance of my written product to the Menendez brothers.

Tim, another (appreciated) medical story. Yeesh!

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if you were symptom-free, or just thought you were? My service dog was the one who made me get tested. True story.

Some days he was bugging me at work, usually when I hadn't eaten lunch just yet (1-2 hours late) and I had a headache, and I'd be saying leave me alone... I literally was not exactly going "Good girl, Lassie!"

One day I rose to scold him and wham I had a headache (he started alerting BEFORE I had a headache), and I finally realized he was alerting me to my headaches. But what was it? I suspected blood sugar issues, but first tests were normal. Then later on I finally got a fasting 12 hour test. It took a few months and doctors before I was told "prediabetes."

I really don't think I'd have thought to get myself tested so aggressively without an obnoxious dog pestering me so much. And other days being a total angel. Now I'm made aware of my symptoms, I sure notice them a lot. But like hypothyroidism, I was sliding without noticing the symptoms (such as excessive boodling).

Mudge, It's good you had your prediabetes monitored, maybe diet and other changes made it "controllable?"

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 2, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

What's the saying from the Bible: something about sharper than a serpent's tooth to have a thankless writing product?

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | May 2, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Of course, I must point out the symptoms indicate reactive hypoglycemia rather than fasting high blood sugar. Yet everytime I take a glucose test, I test high rather than low.
Just one of those things. Now that there was a breakthrough last November that the brain in fact produces insulin for itself.

I'm strongly wondering if I have type 1 diabetes in the brain, not my pancreas, if that makes sense. Sigh.

(Just what I need! They don't make insulin pumps for brains yet....)

I just love coming up with new weird hypochrondic diseases nobody's even proved exists yet... NOT.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 2, 2006 5:35 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod, how did the dog know something was wrong?

Posted by: newkid | May 2, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if I can get this in before Wilbrod gives us the straight scoop: I theorize that dogs are extremely attentive to our behavior, and thus may perceive a distortion of personality. I think it's more likely, however, that the dog could smell that his body chemistry was out of whack. I gather that the dog nose is something like 1000 times more sensitive than the human nose.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 2, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

sci tim, I've seen reports about dogs sniffing out certain cancers, but a headache?

Posted by: newkid | May 2, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse

All this talk has been very interesting, but the Lassie thing has me suddenly, after decades of not having this feeling, yearning for a bowl of Campbell's Soup.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 2, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Here's an invention for someone looking to keep busy:

Toilet paper that doesn't need a cardboard roll. Or paper towels, for that matter.

Do you supposed this has been possible for years but the cardboard-roll industry has used its powerful lobby to put the kabosh on it?

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

newkid, when your body chemistry is off balance you would smell different to a trained and familiar animal. Diabetic ketosis, for instancegives off a rotten apple odour. I am sure there is something far more sublte that a dog would smell far ahead of diabetic ketosis.

Posted by: dr | May 2, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

TBG, when I read your idea, I was thinking, but how could you unroll those with one hand? Then it occurred to me that the roll holder would act as the support. I think you're on to something. The folks at WaPo Intellectual Property Division will be proud of you (in the non-compensatory meaning of that phrase) when they appropriate your idea.

DM, all this Lassie talk has been interesting, but now I have an overpowering urge to check to see if there's trouble at the old mill.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 2, 2006 6:21 PM | Report abuse

TBG- I needed a laugh, and you certainly provided that with the toliet paper/paper towel comment.

And Joel, with all the comments here today, probably don't need a new kit today, perhaps tomorrow will look better.

Unfortunately, I have another doctor appointment tomorrow. And another one the week after. I don't even want to get started on doctor appointments, and their impact on life, the good and the bad.

Have a good evening, folks.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 2, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

newkid -- chiming in on dr's explanation of my post, Wilbrod's headache was only a symptom of a severe underlying problem. The problem was the undiagnosed pre-diabetic condition, not the headache itself. I wouldn't be surprised if the dog could smell the diabetic condition.

Any number of illnesses can produce a smell that even human noses can pick up. Certain cancers and other non-digestive disorders can produce foul breath like rotting meat, not to mention the smell of bad teeth. Urine smells differently depending on what you've been eating/drinking (asparagus being only the most obvious); surely some of our other fluid excreta (sweat, tears, mucus) can be altered. I can smell excessive doses of certain vitamins in the body odor of other people, although I am not extremely sensitive to it. An internal organ failure should produce a particularly distinctive aroma, as the body is failing to get enough of something we're used to smelling, or failing to effectively remove something that we don't want to be concentrated in our blood.

However -- please note that this is all in the realm of data-poor (not data-free) speculation. I remain, as ever, a physicist, not a physiologist.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 2, 2006 6:45 PM | Report abuse

SonOfCarl, or June Lockhart. .... hope Joel doesn't evict me from the Boodle.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | May 2, 2006 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Pat's observation about putting problems into perspective made me think. If we were a truly rational species, then the suffering of others would make our daily trials seem trivial. But they do not. Problems, no matter how small, always seem much larger when they are directly in our face.

My son was complaining to me earlier that life isn't fair because some of his classmates get a car when they turn 16. I showed him the picture in the Post of the children of Rivesaltes and pointed out that he was quite right. Life is not fair, and he should be grateful it is not. For a moment he got it, but just for a moment.

I am no better. I know all about Darfur. I am keenly aware that a huge mass of unspeakable human suffering swirls around us. Yet last night I couldn't sleep because I think our heat pump needs to be replaced.

Perhaps we are just wired this way. The salient always looms unnaturally large in our constrained primate brains. Maybe it is a survival skill honed over generations. Or, perhaps focusing on minutia simply helps us to crowd out larger horrors. I don't know. For whatever reason we are all a little crazy. Now and then, though, it is nice to be reminded what it might be like to be truly sane.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 2, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I have been trying to catch up on today's Boodle!

dr, I heartily second your advice to Mr. Curmudgeon, that he pull out his sandals for several days. Birkenstocks could be quite comfortable and would certainly put you, Mudge, in the category of casual spiffitude! (Unless someone on the bus accidentally steps on your foot!) As far as the procedure, I can only think of George Clooney's ordeal in "Syriana."

So sorry to hear about the loss of your cajone(s)? Since I know nothing of this procedure, do they take one, both, or none--or just go in and do some judicious snipping? Where is Bob Dole when I need him? I hope the doc gets all the nasty cancer out of there, too. As far as your procedure, I can only think of a short and sweet essay by Sarah Ban Breathnach about the difficulty and necessity of pruning what's no longer needed or useful.

Seriously, you two, I hope your respective procedures go well and, thanks to modern anesthesia, are relatively painless.

Without a new Kit in the last several days, this Boodle is dancing in strange territory. First the pee-in-the-drain discussion, now toilet paper.

I can only add that hubby and I heard a discussion perhaps six months ago (NPR?) on whether one uses flattened toilet paper or bunched. We took a quick survey of our household of two to learn that one of us uses flattened toilet paper while the other uses bunched, but the person who uses flattened formerly was a "bunched" user.

To do your business, what you do with after it comes off the roll should be your own business. Really, is nothing sacred anymore?

Posted by: Loomis | May 2, 2006 8:12 PM | Report abuse

O.K. a Tom Shroder-type question. *WHY is it* (Science Tim or Wilbrod or Dooley or anyone else in the know) "that the dog nose is something like 1000 times more sensitive than the human nose," as Tim queries?

Posted by: Loomis | May 2, 2006 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I propose a Carl-Sagan-type answer to your question, i.e., "Why not?"
Anything and everything is possible, and the dog's reality represents merely one of those infinite possibilities.

". . . why five fingers? Why fingers rather than tentacles? Why the agonizingly slow data processing in our neurological systems? Why not multi-spectral infrared sensing? It's easy to think of a wide range of anatomies, physiologies and sensory modalities that have not been adopted by humans or indeed by any other creatures on the Earth."

-- Carl Sagan, as quoted in Joel's column "The Sagan File"

Posted by: Dreamer | May 2, 2006 8:30 PM | Report abuse

My theory on dog noses: Hunting strategy. Dogs have taken the path of poor visual acuity, social hunting, and the ability to run over long distances to chase down prey. Thus, they need to be able to detect prey at long range. Cats use short-range attacks, usually ambushing prey. They thus have excellent visual acuity and forward-facing eyes like ours, for stereo vision. Both dogs and cats exist, representing different carnivorous hunting strategies, one with the good nose and one less so. We hunt (prehistorically) by entirely visual means, hence our noses never felt a selective pressure for high sensitivity.

This is my theory. You would have to ask a real paleontologist for evidecne to confirm or refute. Dooley, for example.

I gotta go.

Posted by: ScienceTim | May 2, 2006 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Snarky, you'll soon understand why I cannot ever call you Dr.

The Boodle is probably the only place in the world I can tell this story vaguely enough to avoid giving away my brother's identity...

I hope.

Given my brother's last name and some college shenanigans never fully explained (all for the best, I'm sure), he was given a nickname, the same nickname of the intrepid driver/spearcarrier/etc of one Dr. Quest, father of Jonny. Then, once he'd received his M.S. in physics, he suffered a fit of ego and demanded everyone call him "Master Race."

*standing quite still to ease the chore of those throwing rotten fruit*


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 2, 2006 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Don and 'Mudge, you'll be in my prayers tonight.

Busy day here. After work, I fixed dinner and took to a friend who has been having serious problems with low platelets. Seems that his spleen is destroying them. He can say the name of the condition, but after "ideopathic" I was lost. He may have to have the spleen removed.

TBG, the fire department has installed paper towel holders wherein the towels spool from the middle down a cone, so you don't have to touch a lever (or deal with a tube). Of course there is a downside: You never know you're running out till you try to pull the last one out (with wet hands, natch) and it won't come. They are expensive, too; our business manager fusses about that. The design is a good idea that needs a little more work...

Posted by: Slyness | May 2, 2006 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, after extensive consultation with my colleague Dr. Squirrel, we believe you may be suffering from a relatively rare disease called Snausage's Syndrome, which occurs when a relatively obscure area of the brain called the threemusketeerium produces an excess of a gluconougatic substance that coats the synapses of the neuron pathways, slowing down nerve signal transmission. The byproduct of this, of course, is a subtle change in body chemistry that is easily detectable by dogs.

Alas, there is known cure. I'm sorry to be the one to have to break this to you.

Er, Loomis, I don't think Don's going to have anyone going near his cajones. The prostate is located a little further inboard. The prostate is like a donut that surrounds the urethrea very near where the sun don't shine. He's basically going to have a donutectomy. We guys instinctively feel his pain.

Yeah, I already know I'm going to have to wear a special slipper--I already have to wear one anyway because of the infection. I have one of those devilishly attractive "universal" things they give you in the hospital that fits either foot interchangibily, and which I refer to as my Bulgarian Beach Flip-flop.

Whoops--time for "House," the TV show where I get most of my medical knowledge.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 2, 2006 9:00 PM | Report abuse

The washbasins in the bathrooms of our local dim sum restaurant consist of four individual Chinese ceramic bowls set inside a common trough. Each has a different pattern, and no attempt seems to have been made to match any of the patterns up (my kind of decorating approach), but each one is incredibly colorful and elaborate. I can't remember what the toilet paper and handtowel situation is, but I'll never forget those washbasins. Magnificent. Oh, and the steamed pork buns are to die for.

Posted by: Achenfan | May 2, 2006 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of death:
[And no, I'm not going to say "Death is nature's way of telling us to slow down"]

"Discard everything except these few truths: we can live only in the present moment, in this brief now; all the rest of our life is dead and buried or shrouded in uncertainty. Short is the life we lead, and small our patch on earth."

-- Marcus Aurelius

"In the life of man, his time is but an instant, his substance ceaselessly changing, his senses degraded, the flesh of his body subject to decay, his soul turbulent, his fortune difficult to predict, and his fame a question mark. In a word, his body is like a rushing stream, his soul an insubstantial dream, life is warfare, he is a stranger in a foreign land, and even after fame comes oblivion.

"How can a man find a sensible way to live? One way and one only -- philosophy. And my philosophy means keeping that vital spark wihin you free from damage and degradation, using it to transcend pain and pleasure, doing everything with a purpose, avoiding lies and hypocrisy, not relying on another person's actions or failings. To accept everything that comes, and everything that is given, as coming from the same spiritual source."

-- Marcus Aurelius

[Quoted from the book "The Spiritual Teachings of Marcus Aurelius," by Mark Forstater]

Posted by: Dreamer | May 2, 2006 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I think ScienceTim, as usual, has it right. Dogs noses are just one of many possible evolutionary solution to the problem of hunting in the same way that fingers are just one possible evolutionary solution to the problem of articulated digits.

I am intrigued, though, by the deeper implication of your observation about infinite possibilities. One of Stephen J Gould's observations was that not every characteristic of an organism had to have an evolutionary purpose. Most evolutionary environments are tolerant enough to allow a little slop. This means that there very well may be things about an organism that, to quote Mark Twain, "Just happened." Since a big part of being human is consciousness, this, to me at least, suggests there might be a lot more stuff floating around our minds than is strictly necessary.

Some of that stuff might be quite interestingly peculiar.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 2, 2006 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I have had a great time skimming this boodle. I wish I had more time to read about everyone's sibling comparisons. My own siblings are very different from me. My husband sometimes says I am the most normal of the family. I don't know if that is good.

Joel, I think you are better off with a single Achenbro than one married to an obsessive vegan with a squeaky voice like Elmo's. I hope my sister-in-law is too busy reading her romance novels to read this comment.

My own kids are so different from one another, I keep a journal of their different reactions to situations, music, etc. There is only a 20 month difference in their ages, and they are best buddies. They balance each other well. I'm so happy to have them.

Posted by: a bea c | May 2, 2006 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Just back home from giving a final exam.

There was some study recently trying to train cancer-sniffing dogs, that was pretty successful, as I recall.

Last year one of my cats developed an abcess on the top of his head as the result of a fight. Both my dogs were freaking out trying to clean the top of his head for two days before he showed any symptoms visible to us.

I think ScienceTim is probably right on about dog/cat smell. There aren't a lot of skeletal signs that indicate "smellability"; the complexity of the nasal passages, and the size of the cavity for the olfactory lobes.

Dogs hunt for prey over long distances, and use their stamina to try to exhaust escaping meals. You have to have some way to track that prey, especially at night.

Sunny the hamster escaped from her cage the other day. After we searched unsuccessfully for hours, we put Molly, the pampered, untrained half-husky mutt on the trail. She found Sunny in less than 10 minutes, hiding in a box under a table in the back corner of the guest room. She once spent two hours tracking a wild mouse that was loose in our bedroom before finally catching it.

Cats pretty much never engage in an extended chase, because their stamina is pretty poor (in terms of running); generally if a cat has to chase something for more than 2-3 minutes, it says to hell with it and gives up.

Those strategies are reflected in other parts of the skeleton. Dogs have long, slender, low-mass legs for running, and relatively large lungs and heart. Cats have huge muscle attachments--pound-for-pound, they can slaughter a dog, if they can catch it.

Humans, on the other hand, are descended from mostly herbivorous tree-dwellers--a good sense of smell is of almost no use, and that's true of primates in general. Almost everybody smells better than we do.

The exception are sea mammals. Whales lost their sense of smell at least 15 million years ago (no opening for the olfactory nerve)--modern whales have even lost the olfactory lobes of the brain.

Posted by: Dooley | May 2, 2006 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh migosh.
Feel like crying and laughing alternatively. Just checked in with an old friend who went through tongue cancer all by himself this winter(he's the independant -- and faraway -- type).
Makes my menopausal weight gain the insignificant speck in the universe it truly is even though it doesn't feel like it when those pants I just bought 6 months ago don't fit today....

Posted by: farnorth | May 2, 2006 10:06 PM | Report abuse

... and of course, best wishes to all for all you will be enduring tomorrow...

Posted by: farnorth | May 2, 2006 10:08 PM | Report abuse

OK, it's getting late, but I'm going to drag the boodle down a little now. When you guys were asking us women the other day if we ever, er... lusted in our hearts... I forgot about one thing:

Gilbert Arenas

So, I guess my answer is... uh.. yeah.

Posted by: TBG | May 2, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, RD.
I think there's a *lot* more stuff floating around in our minds than is necessary. It's been said that if we could transcend this "monkey mind," we would be well on our way to understanding the secrets of the Universe.

And yes, I think a lot of things in this world *do* "just happen," and a lot of them aren't good -- cancer, tsunamis, famines, wars.

On a related note, "The Gospel of Judas" and "The Lost Gospel: The Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot" finally arrived in my local bookstore here in Hong Kong. (Of course, I had to make an exception to my while-I'm-not-working-I-get-all-my-books-from-the-library rule.)

Although the gospel itself is a little dificult to grasp (and large chunks are missing), the accompanying essays are quite illuminating. Here's an excerpt from Bart D. Ehrman's essay that I found interesting:

"According to a wide range of gnostic groups, the god who created this world is not the only god and in fact is not even the most powerful or all-knowing god. He is a much lesser, inferior, and often ignorant deity. How can anyone look at this world and call it good? Gnostics saw the disasters around them -- the earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, famines, droughts, epidemics, misery, suffering -- and they declared that the world is not good. But, they said, you can't pin the blame of this world on God! No, this world is a cosmic disaster, and salvation comes only to those who learn how to escape this world and its material trappings."

[Easy to see why this line of thought was regarded as heresy and probably always will be. And yet it makes sense . . .]

Posted by: Dreamer | May 2, 2006 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the tip-off, Dooley.

A new study reported by the National Geographic has revealed that dogs can detect cancer by smelling a patient's breath. Domestic dogs can distinguish between infected lung and breast cancer patients and healthy subjects after just a few weeks training. The study was conducted by Pine Street Foundation, a California based cancer research organization. ...

Lung and breast cancer patients exhale patterns of biochemical markers in their breath. "Cancer cells emit different metabolic waste products than normal cells," Broffman continued, "The differences between these metabolic products are so great that they can be detected by a dog's keen sense of smell, even in the early stages of disease."

The researchers trained five dogs. After inhaling breath samples from 83 people, the dogs identified 55 lung and 31 breast cancer patients. The dogs gave a positive reply by sitting or lying down in front of a test station. The research study was between 88 and 97 percent accurate. The results remained accurate even when considering whether the lung cancer patients were current smokers.

Canines' sense of smell is generally 10,000 to 100,000 times superior to that of humans. Although it is not clear what makes dogs good smellers, they have a greater convergence of neurons from the nose to the brain than humans do. Moreover, the dog brain is more devoted to the sense of smell than the human brain is.

Posted by: Loomis | May 2, 2006 11:30 PM | Report abuse

The achenbro sounds a lot like the clangbro before he got married twice and ended up with 7 kids. Pre-kids, he was in the air force. I went to visit him once and found four PFCs living the high life in a luxury unit. Many more PFCs and other military types, particularly married military types, would visit regularly. The bulk of these visits seemed to coincide with large sporting events being telecast. Spooky. Although I never did fully understand the customs of this tribe, it appeared to me that a gift was required in order to enter the special military type world. The gift needed to be made of a dead animal or in the case of vegetable matter, it needed to be in the fermented liquid state. One night my brother and his married military type friends gave me and their wives lots of money and very considerately told us that we looked tired and needed a good night out. Go to the casino, they said. Here is money. Stay as long as you like. When we returned, there was a great big long queue of military types standing about 20 feet away from a large palm tree - by large, I mean approximately one fooy across at the base and maybe 25 feet high. The military types were taking turns at shoulder charging this tree. Yes, head down, they would run as fast as they could at this poor tree and hit it with their shoulders.

The next morning there were many sleeping military types in different positions around the lounge room. One by one, they rose and when asked how are you, each allowed that they weren't too bad, thanks - '... but by geez, I don't what I did to my shoulder.'

Posted by: clang | May 3, 2006 3:41 AM | Report abuse

There WILL be a new kit in a bit. I promise.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 3, 2006 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Was just over at Raw Fisher and read today's comments...

Ah, the smell of straw men burning under the glow of benighted isolationism in the morning...

*SIGH* :-(

Posted by: Scottynuke | May 3, 2006 8:03 AM | Report abuse

No problem, boss. We've had a real pleasant time, chatting amongst ourselves for the past three days...

Posted by: slyness | May 3, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, unfortunately, I do know how often these types of incidences (boot camp beating) occur. I've seen mistreatment of African Americans, Hispanics, other ethnic groups and poor Caucasians all my life. There are two worlds. And it seems never the twain shall meet. But we have to try to help each other, don't you think? I truly wanted to join this young boy's family and supporters last week when they marched to and protested at the Capitol. My fear of crowds got the best of me though.

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face,
tho' they come from the ends of the earth!

Rudyard Kipling

Posted by: Nani | May 3, 2006 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I am trying to post a new kit and the software is balking. Please stand by.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 3, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Joel, as long as you get the best 7,000 words into that story, and get your point inserted, all will be well with the universe.

14th pgph - and *I've* been accused of taking too long to get to a point after 5 paras.. hmph.

Other notes; TBG, can't really blame you for the Gilbert Arenas thing. The tough thing about changing the toilet- and paper towel- roll standards is that there is a global infrastructure in place that supports them. It would be tough going to supplant that with whatever paper dispensing architecture, infrastructure and standards you decided to go with.

But I have an Idea: Make a deal with Bill Gates to include a free copy of Your New and Improved Toilet Paper and TP Delivery System with each copy of MS Windows. Pretty soon about 1/4 of the world will have legit copies and the other 3/4 (who wouldn't have paid for it anyway) will have illegal copies that manifest the standards anyway.

I guess I'll come to the point here at the end: What to MS Windows and TP have in common?


Posted by: bc | May 3, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

On a lighter note, Mudge, my fave doo-wop group is The Flamingos! Love Mo-Town too. Those cellophane wrappers CDs come in drive me batty! Here you are, just dying to listen to an album you've waited weeks for and you can't get the darn thing open. Oohwah oohwah doowah diddy, talking bout the boy from New Yawk City!! Isn't music the greatest invention ever?!

Posted by: Nani | May 3, 2006 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Hey Linda Looooooo. Great info there. WOW.

Just don't let the Bush Administration hear about this ... we will be replacing Johns Hopkins hospital with a large PETCO.

BTW, I was out cheering for friends this weekend on the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer and was very very impressed with both what the walkers did and what the Foundation does.

Someone mentioned earlier that so much more money is spent on Breast Cancer than on Colon and Prostate Cancer.... well there is a reason. Part of it has to be the organization and drive of the Avon Foundation and the women and men who have taken the cause to heart and work tirelessly to make it a success.

If you saw the 2,500 pink walkers out there on Saturday and Sunday winding their way from the Kennedy Center to Kensington Maryland and back, please note that they raised about 6 million dollars on this one effort through their pledges. 40 miles over two days starting with 26.

Funny, some people think walking 26 miles is a piece of cake, after all, it's *just* walking! Try doing any physical activity for 11 hours straight and see how you feel! No, those walkers were in great shape. Anyone wanting to really get into shape and do some training for several months for a big personal feat and work for a good cause should look into the walk for next year!

(oh, yes, Avon provides a number of grants to operational groups that fill in the holes where our institutions and insurance companies don't cover such as community outreach and care ... The Avon Foundation, for instance, supports groups that assist those in need of special help during their personal ordeal, such as groups like Food and Friends that delivers meals and groceries to those in need... so if there are men out there feeling left out, just do the Avon, get rid of that beer belly and help out our fellow men living with Prostate cancer, or AIDS, or any of those debilitating diseases that can make normal living more than difficult.)

A special shout out to the survivors and the hundreds of walkers who gave me a high fives at 19th and G at Washington Law Books!!!! Especially Team Hope and the Johns Hopkins walkers... Did anyone see Carmen Miranda and the pink cammo walkers?

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