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Truth Still Matters Part 37

Little, Brown has yanked from bookstores all copies of "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life," by Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan. She says she unconsciously copied passages from two books by another author.

Meanwhile Paul Farhi reports that filmmakers feel no obligation to stick to the facts when making movies about 9/11.

Key line: "Our mandate was to what Paul wanted to say with this movie. We're not journalists. Paul is an artist."

Journalists vs. artists: Discuss.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 28, 2006; 8:52 AM ET
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Filmmakers don't feel an obligation to stick to the facts when they make movies about anything. Why should a movie about 9/11 be any different? If you want the facts about an event, go read a non-fiction book about it. Since when do we depend on Hollywood to be our journalists? They are entertainers.

Posted by: PAinDC | April 28, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Well, it seems to me that journalists and artists are both trying to get at or to truth, but from different angles. Journalists try to fit facts together, and artists try to express truth in different media. Sometimes the two coincide, but not often. And how often truth is exposed is a matter of opinion.

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2006 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Viswanathan has inspired me to write my very own novel. I am going to call it "The Amazing Expedition," and it will be about two pet turtles and a guinea pig who are left behind by a family, but follow them across the entire country to finally be reunited. It's such an amazing idea, I can't believe it just popped into my head like that!

Posted by: jw | April 28, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Plagiarism is not truth.

Art is always someone's truth, even if it's only the artist's.

And the NYT had an interesting take on the Viswanathan affair...

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, can't something plagarized still be art?


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Paindc wrote: "Filmmakers don't feel an obligation to stick to the facts when they make movies about anything. Why should a movie about 9/11 be any different?"

Mel Gibson's film, The Passion, comes to mind (

As to the journalist I am still trying to figure out why/how she is arguing that she "unconciously copied passages"
I suppose it's the same reasoning as the murderer trying to say he/she was sleep walking when they committed the crime and therefore isn't AS bad...

Posted by: discreet | April 28, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Boy does that article recall the GW artcile in his FAQ's about Frank W. Dixon.

bc you raise an interesting question. It goes back to what is art and that is a question which can be highly personal. My own definition of art, is something which illuminates my soul, so for me something plagarised could be art if its sowing another face of the thing plagarised.

What constitutes plagarising? Does Warhol's soup can plagarise the original designers art for the Campbells soup can?

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

SCC, Showing. Preview and I still get it wrong.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Repeating someone else's truth doesn't seem to meet the definition of truth, bc.

But whadda I know? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Andy Warhol made a famous painting of Campbell Soup cans. Is that plagarizing?

I dunno, but I don't think it's art, either.

As for fictionalizing 9/11? That's annoying and exactly what I thought would happen. People dramatizing something tragic for personal gain.

But it's not unexpected. What would be unexpected is for them NOT to.

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I really don't think I'll ever need a 9/11 movie. It'd never stand up to the memory.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Helen Keller once got in hot water for plagarizing as a kid-- she wrote a story that happened to be one she had read years ago and forgot all about. Or that's how it went.

Most beginning writers rely heavily on cliches, usually without realizing it.

I had a creative writing teacher say politely before the semester started that "a lot of writers seem fascinated with the twin theme" and go on to discuss some of the reasons why... in hopes of politely showing the students all the beginning writer cliches on twins before they even put pen to paper.

I thought that was terribly tactful of him when he must have been thinking "if I read another wish filfullment story in which the author meets his long lost twin and has Parent Trappy adventures, I WILL SCREAM."

He once said that he had to take plenty of time between reading poems and pieces, especially after reading something rather good... becuase he didn't want the other students' writing to suffer from comparsion with the better students' writing.

Famous authors have succumbed to the twin syndrome-- Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain was originally conceived as a siamese twin story, but then he had to really edit the book because it was getting so awful. In an irony, the plot was turning into a siamese twin instead. He cleaved the plot.

The book is notable for its first literary (or otherwise) use of fingerprinting to solve a crime. And there is a Poe story about a doppelganger. Something like Wilson Wilson, I think.

Twins were all trendy once, but it's all obselete now.

Now, triplets will be the next wave of bad amateur writing, no doubt.

"Boopsy, the triplet who was always left out." ... because three's a crowd, bing-bang.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 28, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Nah, Wilbrod, it'll be clones... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Relative to an event like 9/11, I would look for a journalist to describe and explain. I would expect an artist to try and evoke a response or reaction. As long as the artist is not trying to pass off their work as a literal truth (a documentary) I think the work should be allowed some license if required to support the result the artist is going for.

Posted by: Steve-2 | April 28, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I know "The Tragic Adventures of Boopsy, the Lost Quark"
....has very little to do with plagarism per se, but basically, what I read was plagarized wasn't that good.

Some nice turns of phrase, yes, but she didn't go "hey I can go that one better?" or use her life experience. She's a Harvard Student, she probably has promise as a writer, but she should go into journalism if she doesn't have the instinct to spurn the ludic clichés of the hoi polloi.

A few years covering curling teams, and she'll learn a lot more about life than malls.
"170 specialty shops."

Oh right, I forgot malls are like, major to teenagers, and therefore everybody must read about those earth-quaking temples to commercialism and pimply mating rituals.

"Sweet and woodsy smells?" of the beloved? Has this author EVER been in a locker room?

I'd rather read about sweet and woodsy bears eating teens than reading about teens going to the mall. Even bears who are long-lost twins to each other.

Scottynuke, Clones WERE trendy already. While they provided a lot more plot fodder, clone stories are starting to clone each other.

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

On the 9/11 film, my first instinct was no way will I watch this film. When I found out that it was supported by the families and that part of the opening day profits go to them, it changed my view. I felt so helpless then, and if I can do something now, I have no problem with it.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

mo, the refresh thing has got my computer. I am going to try all the stuff recommened yesterday, and will reset my links. Maybe that will help. Oh woe is me.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

off topic:

have people been following the Sudan/Darfur/Chad conflicts? my question is: why the heck are we sitting on the sidelines doing nothing??? you want to talk about hundreds, if not thousands of people dying every week to violence and famine, look at that situation (there's a photo gallery on WaPo's homepage) how can the U.S. not justify intervention, yet claim that they wanted to free oppressed people in Iraq (after the whole WMD thing didnt work out)?? human rights violations are going on all over the world, and they are especially heinous in Darfur and Chad right now. and we do nothing but say it's horrible.
"Hotel Rwanda" is a great movie, by the way, same sort of issue.

ok, back to regularly scheduled kit.

Posted by: tangent | April 28, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I dunno. I think taste enters into it. My personal opinion is that tragedies need no dramatization nor inflation. Sometimes the message is the tragedy itself.

And I think that can be art, too, on some level.

The Vietnam War Memorial comes to mind. The artist simply put everyone's name on a wall; it covers fact, it evokes an emotional response and the message was the tragedy -- and it's art.

Another would be the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. Recently they had a show on CNN re: the anniversary and it just showed the memorial of empty stone chairs, one for each person lost. On one side it said 9:01 am and on the other side it said 9:03 am. It still gives me goosebumps. Again, it's about facts, it evokes an emotional response and the message was the tragedy.

I only hope the 9/11 memorial does the same thing.

The one further point I should like to make is this: Isn't it possible to run out of original ideas? I seem to remember something once about music: Since there are only so many notes and only so many combinations for those notes, won't there be a day where there will no longer be original music...when we've maxed out combos of tempo, notes, inflection, etc?

Couldn't that be true for stories, too?

In fact, I bet there are critics out there who would argue that's already true...LOL

Also, it is possible to always have read or been aware of everything already written? For example, in my admittedly limited sphere, perhaps there is a book on Andalusian shepherds that I haven't read and so should I come up with a concept for a book about Andalusian shepherds I would always (possibly) run the risk of plagarizing something to some extent? I think it depends on how picky, picky ou are. I do think two identical passages kinda beats the odds, though.

You can only research so much, right?

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Storyteller Tim once responded to my comments by encouraging me to submit a children's story to Carus Publisher's Cricket magazine. Convincing myself that he wasn't being sarcastic, I googled Carus (wow, they pay 25 cents per word!) and sat myself down to write. Titles and ideas for two stories, "The Five and Ten Cent Store" and "My Invisible Horses: Serafina, Sonata and VidaBlue". That was weeks ago and I still haven't written one decent line. When unconcerned about whether anyone will like it, the words just spill out and flow. It's the same here in the boodle. When I really *try*, it comes out forced and fake. When I don't worry about others' opinions, it comes out effortless and true.

I won't see 9/11, ever. Nor Gibson's Passion.

For old movie buffs, The Birth of a Nation will be shown May 2 on the Turner Classic Movie channel. (I've never seen it.)

Bad book, Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, made into great film, "A Place In the Sun"

Posted by: Nani | April 28, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Scotty: what is truth?

Remarkably, I didn't make that up.
Doesn't make it less true though.

Geez, I really do have somethings to say on this topic, but I'm quite busy until this afternoon. Hopefully I won't be repeating someone else's Original Thoughts.


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I plagerized "VidaBlue" for my invisible black stallion's name from the boodler known as VidaBlue. VidaBlue, in the unlikely event of proceeds, if I give you a cut, may I use your handle?

Posted by: Nani | April 28, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to several of you who informed me after my Post last night what a horrible day it was on the Boodle yesterday. I just didn't feel able to Boodleskim last night. And thanks to Mudge for pointing out the new handles of some of those who joined us yesterday with (what adjective should I use? unsavory? contrarian?) opinions.

I had quite a day, too. I thought I was going in for a simple optometric exam. The junior staff member who escorted me from the waiting room did a brief exam, and after he started flipping and clicking the wheel of various powers of correction for the left eye, we both discovered that nothing was working and I could only read the largest line of letters. He dilated my eyes and I was escorted to the optometrist. He

The kind Hispanic optometrist, Dr. Orozco, saw occlusions in the left eye, which he didn't really fully explain to my complete satisfaction, but wanted to whisk me in to see the retina specialist who was coming in in the afternoon to do some laser surgeries.

The perky, tall and funny retina specialist from New York, Dr. Mark Singer (no relation to Isaac Bashevis) (Boston University to USC, to Texas--the great American diaspora...I read his wallpaper while waiting) gave me the scoop. An occlusion behind the left eye with a secondary side-vein occlusion, and leakage. I simply cannot see through the blood in my own left eye. They charted the vision change over the three visits, so it's now 20/100 in the left.

Dr. Singer cannot explain the "why" of the occlusions in me, a person of relatively young age who, as far as probablilities, should not be experiencing them. Is it a circulatory system problem? Is it hidden diabetes? Does it have something to do with my rare genetic disorder?

So Dr. Singer is sending me back to my brand-new primary care doc so that my GP can send me out to undergo a battery (and I do mean battery) of blood tests--testing for various proteins in the blood. I shall become a human pin cushion.

Meanwhile, Dr. Singer wanted pictures of the blood behind the left eye, so in the mid-afternoon, I got my pictures taken, not without consequence however. They injected green die into a vein in my hand that travels into the eyes within 15 to 20 seconds. I was told that it was possible that I could throw up, and a trash can was placed quite close, at the ready. Instead, I passed out after five minutes of having the die injected and lots of rapid-fire pictures taken of both eyes, but especially the left one.

The passing-out incident escalated because someone called EMTs and told them that my heart had stopped beating (which was apparently incorrect information.) I came to ever so slowly after Dr. Singer broke four smelling (salts? ammonia?) under my nose, and I heard Dr. Singer call out the BP reading: 80/40. Dr. Singer kept saying, "Stay with me." I kept replying, "I'm trying." He asked me the month, the day of the week. I was given the contents of two bottles of orange juice through a straw.

Within moments there were about six to eight men in the hall, just outsie the camera room. I asked to lay on the floor, and then these six to eight men, whose faces were a blur, hooked me up to every conceivale apparatus. I had my heart monitored, a BP cuff on my finger, a small paddle down my underwear on my lower hip, oxygen face mask, a man with a laptop taking notes. Ever so slowly, my blood pressure rose. Half the crew left, and then two stayed until my husband showed up.

Since my hubby's car is in the shop, he had gotten a ride with a co-worker, who typically leaves work around 3:30 p.m. I had asked him to come since I had had both eyes dilated, and wasn't seeing well out of the one good eye. The two EMTs had to state that their recommendation was that I should go to a hospital, but I wanted to go home. In the evening, the feeling of nausea finally came, and I was still light-headed and dizzy, so spent a quiet evening in bed.

The eye doc wants the results of the blood tests before making further evaluations. I I have new eye drops, apparently--according the package insert--given to patients post-cataract surgery. Dr. Singer thinks there is a possibility of reabsorption of the blood behind my eye given my relatively young age--so wants to give me two months to determine if and how much I can heal. Depending, he may laser the eye to remove the blood and/or give me steroid injections into (?) the eye. It'll going to be a wait-and-see (very punny) game for two months. Meanwhile, I remain truly one-eyed as far as vision.

Attempting a late full-court press as far as lobbying the Cannes Film Festival or Sony Pictures to try to "see" "The Da Vinci Code" at its worldwide opening on the southern coast of France on my birthday is now definitely out. Why fly halfway around the world to see the movie with just one good eye? I will just wait for the May 19 general release of the film and see it in the theater one and half miles from our home. Hard to give up on the dream or fantasy, though.

Thanks for the well wishes last night from SonofCarl and jack. I just have to be patient and see how it goes. I assume I may Boodle less? Today, I've off to get a prescription filled, restock the larder, take the dog for a good walk. Boodle on!

Posted by: Loomis | April 28, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

No previous post here is good enough for me to plagiarize. Your loss.

All films depicting historical events or eras necessarily contain some fictional elements. The difference to me is whether the artistic fiction significantly changes the best version of "reality"--or what really happened. The 9/11 movie supposedly does not; JFK did, in my estimation. Others, such as Munich, fall into a murky area. The problem, of course, is that uninformed viewers often can't distinguish among gradations of "real".

Fortunately, that problem does not occur on the internets, where posting untruths and distortions never occurs.

Posted by: kindathinker | April 28, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

OK, I realize the "Our mandate was to what Paul wanted to say with this movie" part is a direct quote, but I don't get it. Is there a word missing, or something? (Is it somehow related to Brady's being a spokeswoman?)

Mudge, what do you think?

Posted by: Tom fan | April 28, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"If you copy, it's plagerism, if you footnote, it's research." See, "The DaVinci Code" court opinion. I'm sure any one of us who is well-read, and occasionally tries to string words together over several pages have inadvertantly "plagerized" something somewhere. On the other hand, if you realize what you're about to write is from another source, you better acknowlege it or not use it. Now of course some of this is contextual. If you're writing for your own self or private correspondence, who cares? It's when you try and pass it off in the public realm that you get in trouble. Sample: Suppose the poet muse decends upon you occasionally and you put your words down in a private journal. One of them starts out, "I don't think I'll ever see a poem as lovely as that flower'd tree". You know it's a Kilmer knock-off. So what. Ten years later you show your journal to someone who says "Wow, this is great stuff. You should publish!" Well, then, you better go back and note any attributions, purposeful or not, or suffer the consequences.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 28, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Somewhat off topic but will try to keep to the theme. I will be visiting Washington shortly for a quick visit with some time to explore outside the business function I am attending. Staying close to the core/White House area, any suggestions for a valuable must see (not necessarily regular tourist attraction, perhaps a hidden gem). Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse


It does clearly demonstrate the hypocrisy of this Administration. Freedom from ethnic cleansing & torture is good enough for the Iraqis but not the Sudanese? Kind of puts the lie to the whole neo-con position, doesn't it? The Bush Admin opposes the ICC option, as well, because he doesn't want to legitimize . So who's going to hold those responsible for their war crimes, I wonder?

I think it has to do with Sudanese oil, myself, and possibly who is in control of it and if we want any of it...Right now, China's invested billions into Sudanese oil and we may not wish to offend China for obvious reasons.

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Great googly mooglies, LindaLoo!!! :-O

I revise my earlier remarks -- tell those doctors to sit up and fly right! At least there are some suggestions as to how to reverse the situation, and I sincerely hope they do so pronto!

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Tangent, Darfur is a UN issue. If you want an idea of why making it better you have to read Romeo Dallaire's "Shake Hands with the Devil". It give you a very clear understanding of not just why the Rwandan genocide happened, it also shows what anyone who is trying to work within the UN striccture faces. And yes you should be scared for the people of Darfur.

Look specifically for the part where Dallaire describes how the UN gets supplies out. Look for references to a push system rather than a pull system.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Always write for yourself, Nani.

Just a note on historical dramas. If you know history and see how it's twisted in movies, it can set you up to have fits. If you're oblivious to history and see a film, you'll say, "That was a cool flick."

Cases in point.

"Braveheart"/William Wallace never had an affair with Isabella the She-Wolf, but Mel Gibson uses my distant great-grandmother Isabella as Braveheart's romatic lead. Grr..

Ridley Scott in last year's "Kingdom of Heaven" also twisted mightily the details of the romantic triangle between Eve, Baldwin of Ibelin and Hugh de Lusignan, de Lusignan and Eve being on two branches of my family tree. Eve was crazy in love with de Lusignan, as history informs us. Grr...

Better to go to movies uninformed and uneducated to appreciate Hollywood.

Posted by: Loomis | April 28, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Good heavens, Linda!

I hope you get the medical care you need to deal with this and your other condidtions.

It's a shame that your dream of seeing a premiere of the DaVinci code didn't work out. I was really pulling for you.


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Possible SCC, Stricture was supposed to be Structure, but I think stricture is exactly right.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

dmd, get thee to the top of the Hotel Washington, best view IMHO in DC. Not a hidden gem, I'm just a tourist too.

Posted by: newkid | April 28, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

dmd, there are almost too many to mention...

If you've got the time (and a spot of extra cash), try and do lunch on the rooftop patio of the Hotel Washington, 515 15th St. NW

There's also the Octagon, a little-known museum and home of the American Architechtural Foundation, 18th St. and N.Y. Ave. NW.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

dmd, there's the Spy Museum, which I've never been to but everyone says is good. You could go to a Nationals game if you like baseball--they have a short home stint the second half of next week and you can always get tickets day of game.

Posted by: jw | April 28, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks newkid, just did a quick google and the rooftop terrace looks wonderful.

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Linda, I'm sure you gave the office staff quite a fright by passing out on them! I don't blame you for not wanting to go to the hospital, but if you had, you wouldn't have to wait for the battery of tests...At any rate, I hope the blood goes away soon. May you be blessed with uneventful days.

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

dmd, my advice comes as a non-local that has had the chance to visit DC a few times. With so many locals on the boodle, it might be funny that I reply, but as a fellow tourist I can give you my two cents. You didn't provide much info, so I will base my advice on my experiences.

Priority 1: walk the length of the Mall (or drive/cab as long as you stop at the Lincoln Memorial and the WH)
Priority 2: Air and Space Museum

After that it's individual. For me, next up was Arlington. Air and Space (Udvar-Hazy) would be next now.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

dmd, Joel has a porch. That's where most of us hang out when we're in the area.

Posted by: kindathinker | April 28, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"Gladiator" gave me fits for its historical accuracy, Loomis. Maybe its a Ridley Scott thing.

Posted by: jw | April 28, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Linda Loomis: What an ordeal you are going through! Have you been seen by an ophthalmologist--is that what Dr. Singer is? If not your GP should certainly recommend/refer you to one.

dmd: If you like reading and eating there's a great bookstore and restaurant called Kramer and Afterwards. It's a real gem and has been in existence since sometime in the seventies. I never visit DC without going there. If I think of any other spots that are not too typically "touristy" I'll let you know.

Posted by: aroc | April 28, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I think there is a shuttle from the Air and Space Museum out to the Ulvar-Hazy Museum. If you're into machines that fly and have the time, it would be worth the cash for the shuttle.

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

dmd, let us no when you visit, and maybe we can schedule a BPH in your honor (That's my must see in DC recommendation).

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

SCCargghh, no=>know

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Y'all are making me miss D.C.
(I *heart* Kramerbooks & Afterwords.)

dmd, don't forget McCormick & Schmick's at 1652 K Street, official venue of the Boodle Porching Hour and home of the Achenfish. (And no, I'm not talking about Joel's drinking habits -- it's an actual fish.)

Posted by: Achenfan | April 28, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

jinx, omni!

Posted by: Achenfan | April 28, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

At some point we simply MUST start charging M&S a fee for driving traffic to their door to see the Achenfish.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

dmd. Two thoughts. The national building museum just to see the interior (that is, if you like buildings). And, go see the Lincoln Memorial, Korean Veterans Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial (they are close together) after dark.

Posted by: Steve-2 | April 28, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

dmd, also the Botanic Gardens is beautiful, there was a magnificent Orchid display a few weeks ago.

Lindaloo, can I plagarize the other well wishes or just say ditto, hope all goes well.

Posted by: newkid | April 28, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Thank you all, some great ideas, due to time limits I know I can't see many things, and I have in the past done the White House tour, Air and Space Museum and Arlington although way to many years ago. I will check out the places you mentioned and add them to my list.

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I guess I should make some attempt at commenting on the actual topic of the micro-mini-Kit:

A couple of nights ago while I was 'boodling I was half listening to a documentary on TV about Alfred Hitchcock. There was this one quote I remember:

"Drama is life with the dull bits cut out."

Posted by: Achenfan | April 28, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

i wish Viswanathan would just admit to plagarizing and not use the lame excuse - when compared side by side, the plagarizing is pretty blatant...

as for the 9/11 movie - i've been reading a lot of reviews of this movie (i'm of the mindset that it's too soon) and everyone has been saying how emotional the movie is. it made one reviewer very angry. basically, the bottom line seems to be, if you think you can handle seeing the movie then you should see it... i wonder what creative license they will take with the twin towers movie - we have absolutely nothing to show what the passengers on those two planes were thinking, no phone records, nothing... and how do we portray something so completely horrific as the people jumping out of the buildings? i get teary eyed every time i just think about it... i'm not ready for either of these movies...

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Now back to that Achenfish:
That thing always reminds me of that "Billy Bass" singing fish that was a popular Christmas gift a few years back. There was also a "Billy Bones" -- a mere skeleton of a fish -- which sang "I-I-I-I-I-I-I ain't got no bo-o-o-o-dy."

[LindaLoo, I hope all this levity it cheering you up. You have my sympathy and my best wishes.]

Posted by: Achenfan | April 28, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, mo -- boodled out of order to the max.

Posted by: Achenfan | April 28, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Linda, welcome back. I hope your eye heals well. When you join us on the Boodle, you'll be forgiven for misspelling - at least until your eye patch comes off.

Hey, boss. You got almost as many posts yesterday as WaPo Blog. Good work!

Posted by: CowTown (unpreviewed) | April 28, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"Film makers feel no obligation to stick to the facts" indeed. My ex-husband was a fire chief. Not much of a movie fan, he did agree to go see the 1991 movie "Backdraft" with me. Let's just say it got a tad uncomfortable when he started yelling at the screen "you don't go into a burning building without your breathing apparatus on!" He just couldn't buy the explanation that Hollywood would have wasted a bunch of money to have Kurt Russell cover up his cute mug for most of the film. Anyway, I believe it was the last movie we attended together...

Off-topic (not that the above was necessarily on) the update regarding my son-in-law who was recently wounded in Iraq and currently at Walter Reed: His right arm was severly damaged in an IED explosion which killed his buddy. They have made extensive surgical repairs and he will keep his arm and hand, and re-gain some measure of use, but the extent is unknown just now. Future bone grafts and lots of physical therapy will move things along. Thank God he has a wonderful, supportive family, including my daughter and their first child on the way, due in Sept. It's a very humbling experience to visit Walter Reed and see the catastrophic results of this war - I recommend it every citizen.

Posted by: Slats | April 28, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

HAha, this is so funny evryone should check it out:

which of the seven dwarves do think is a drug dealer?

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

tangent, I find the Darfur situation frustrating. I (i) know (/i) that a single infantry battalion from a NATO country could make a huge difference for a lot of people.

Personally, I don't think it's an "oil" issue, but amo's comments are an example that a lot of people do. The fact that a lot of smart people think that any mission (which would not be easy by any stretch of the imagination, and I note that OBL felt the need to specifically mention Sudan)is tainted before it even gets off the ground makes me reluctant to support any mission there. And so it goes.

Mind you, the war in Congo also deserving (arguably more so) of our attention. It, however, gets zero press despite causing more deaths than any conflict since WW II:

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I really should look before I post. Time for a walk.

Slats, Good to hear the good news re son-in-law.

LindaLoo, I also send my well wishes for your eyes.

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

dmd, one more thing since you've seen my 'must do' list. If you're up for it, the Holocaust Museum is very powerful. I've been to Dachau, but DC's museum is a very, very moving experience.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I had the same test done, lazer surgery and all that stuff done. The doctor was nice, he gave me 5 more years to see. It took 2. Since you injected a little humor in your post, so in sticking with the previous content of the Boodle, where we have blind, deaf, and musicians, I will attempt to cheer you up with a little politically incorrect joke:
Q: Why did Helen Keller play the piano with only 1 hand.
A: Because she liked to sing along with her other.
Pretty lame, I know, but the good ones, I'm afraid, people may take umbridge.

Posted by: Pat | April 28, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Thanks SoC, the Holocaust Museum was something I hadn't thought of and would interest me greatly. I am a history major so it is right up my alley. To keep on topic I have never been a huge movie fan for the very reason that it drives me nuts when historical facts are altered or ignored to improve the story.

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

dmd - don't forget to see Tai Shan at the national zoo! i also like the (fd) roosevelt memorial and roosevelt island is a lovely walk!

achenfan - you didn't booo - i'm still having that refresh problem so i don't see posts till i actually post something - dr, sorry to be contagious but i'm glad i'm not the only one!

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The possibility of the US assisting Chad's dictator is a bit perplexing. (?)

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I have a question, regarding the idea behind exporting American democracy - a worthy and noble cause - yet who decides which countries require this export and which do not. I thinking Chad as an example.

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Someone should take umbrage at the the Philadelphia Inquirer stoty quoted in Kurtz's column.
" Another worry is that, as a medium, the blog does not value well-crafted writing. Except for Mark Steyn and James Lileks, it's hard to pick out even three beautiful writers from the millions of bloggers "

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 28, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse


Since you're a history major I won't feel as nerdy when I also recommend Bull Run/Manassas, which is a short drive from DC.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

No need to feel nerdy at all SoC, it the same for me not only history major but also combined with law (undergrad).

Also wanted to thank jw for the National suggestion however, as a fan of the Expos growing up finally getting to go to one of their games when the left Montreal would be too painful. Closest I got was a tour of the Big O on a school trip, the Expos were practicing and I thought I was in heaven.

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I think we have to look at intent when discussion fictionalized accounts of real events. If the intent is to make a complex story more comprehensible by omitting extraneous details, simplifying certain events, or combining minor characters, then I think it is fine. If the intent is to warp historical events to conform to a given political agenda, then it is morally wrong. Of course, into which catagory a given work falls is a matter of opinion. I think that Stone's movie "JFK," and "Nixon" for than matter, distorted reality to advance a political agenda, and so they irritate me no end. That there was actually no spoiled rich heiress named Rose on the Titannic bothers me less.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 28, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Sorry this is off topic, but the event I've been waiting years for has happened.
An American politician has finally called for a war on violence.
Mayor Bloomberg of NYC called for a war on gun violence, but thats close enough for me.
Nuts, Nuts, Nuts

Posted by: Boko999 | April 28, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Also, SoC, I think oil's a part of it, not all of the issue.

I think the US tends to have no cohesive policy on how to deal with situations like this: Rwanda is one example. Or how about East Timor? (That one was one Clinton's watch) Somalia was handled differently, as was Bosnia...It seems so subjective, and one can find no pattern at all in our responses to those genocides. We desperately need to make a policy - any policy - and follow it. Otherwise, it does seem random and subject to such explanations as oil rights, racism, vested interests, manifest destiny or whatever the theory of the moment might be.

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

oh, a word on the spy museum - my co-worker went and said it was the worst museum he'd ever been to - it's expensive ($15/person) and way over crowded - there's no timed entry and the museum is not designed to handle large crowds so exhibits are hard to see - also it's designed to go in one direction and is difficult to go back - no "strolling" of the exhibit...

oh, and dmd, as a history buff - if you ever get the chance to spend more time in DC i would recommend making the drive up to Harper's Ferry (just shy of an hour drive) it's where maryland, va and west va meet...

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

dmd--the Washington Cathedral--beautiful any time, especially wonderful on a hot summer day (so cool inside), and the wonderful Bishop's Garden and grounds.

Posted by: lom | April 28, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Bizarrely, when I lived in D.C. I liked to visit the Postal Museum near Union Station.

(I am *such* a geek. And I didn't just go there the once -- I went many times! Partly because the bathrooms there were way better than the ones in Union Station, but partly because I just liked going there. I liked to buy my stamps there. I liked to browse in the gift shop. And it was always so quiet there -- a sanctuary, almost.) (As I said: geek.)

There's a similar arrangement at the General Post Office here in Hong Kong, although it's nowhere near as grand as the D.C. version. (Yep, that's right -- I've already checked it out.)

Posted by: Tom fan | April 28, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I've been to numerous Expo games in the Big-O dmd, that place was so wrong for baseball ! I'm sure it contributed mightily to the Expo's demise. This tomb was cold in the Spring and Fall, very few seats close to the action, etc. I saw those games around 77-81, the S'pos had an excellent team in those years. Carter, Dawson, Cro, Steve Rogers, etc. I follow the National, quite loosely I shall add, out of nostalgy.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | April 28, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

LINDA, I did not boodle all the way. Oh my.

I will keep good thoughts flowing your way. I know they say that good thoughts for someone's well being don't make a whole lot of difference, but hey what do 'they' know.

I am really sorry that this is going to stop your Cannes bid. I thought it was a great plan, and really admire your ambition to do it.

One of my favourite Star Trek TNG plots has a character saying 'Go carefully, Battai'.

Go carefully Linda.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, I forgot to add Guatemala to the list above re: countries that have had genocides.

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, thanks for the link. That is the saddest thing I have read all week.

As usual the BBC has it but no one else seems to notice. Truly appaling. Our governments need to do better. The UN needs to do better. We need to do better.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Okay, one more quick comment/story and then I have to do some "work". Tom fan, if you're a philatelist, Swiss Post has a catalog and a website you might want to check out. I read a story in '99 that they were making stamps that you could put your own drawings or photos onto (they were the first, others do that too now). Anyway, I ordered one set and after that I always received their catalog and (typical Germanic thoroughness) quarterly account summary (SF 0.00).

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry you're not feeling well, Lindalo, hope you feel better and everything is okay with the eye. Your writing is beautiful Nani.

kbertocci- emailed you again. I'm sorry I forgot to list my address. I hope I sent everything you need. I'm such a dunce.

journalist-artist It would be nice to get the truth from either outlet, but that may be too much to ask for. I believe sometimes it just a tool for propaganda, so it's permissable to lie. And why should anything be different when so many other issues have been clouded and under the veil. It's business as usual. I often wonder where are those folks that were making all that noise when Clinton was in the White House about truth and morals, did they all die at once, and are no longer with us? Scriptures says there is nothing new under the sun, and that's a truth I can hang on to, because it certainly speaks to the times.

As to Darfur, Africa, much of this country is horrendous, and trying to move people's consciences to do something is like climbing a mountain with flip flops on. I'm guilty as the rest. We will be held accountable for our brothers and sisters in Africa, not for their plight, but for our response to their need. And that is as it should be, we can do better. I can do better.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 28, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

To situation in East Timor was a 20 year tragedy ignored by all western governments.
Noam Chomski was the only high profile person I can recall even talking about it.
The last country that suffered from foreign govt. sponsored terrorism in the western hemisphere was El Salvador. Thats why the US can't support the ICC.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 28, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Nani -- Linda is right, write for yourself. Or maybe for your grandchildren. But not for "the public," that will just scare you to death.

Linda -- excellent job reporting on yourself!

Posted by: nellie | April 28, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Slats, hope your s-i-l is better soon. I will not complain about my own finger any more. I'm sure that IED did more to his hand than my surgeon did to mine extracting one tiny tumor.

LOOMIS, is this in any way related to your throat misfortunes of a few weeks back?

About today's topic, I don't think I'll watch the movie, either. I think I know everything I want to know about Flight 93. I don't need the details. The important thing is that the passengers did something heroic and gave their lives to save those of others. To me, at least, the details are not important, factual or fictional.

About plagiarism and such, my son, who is three and utterly obsessed with anything Star Wars, brought a book from my daughter's room to me a few weeks ago, and asked me to read "Snow White and the Seven Droids". I've been thinking of writing that interestingly updated version of the fairy tale since. I would try to plagiarize as little as possible, though.

Hey, it is the anniversary of the mutiny on the Bounty.

Posted by: a bea c | April 28, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

dmd, where are you from? (meaning, do you know about eating crabs? esp. the Maryland crab?) I don't think it can be done "properly" if you stay close to mid-town DC, because a "proper" steamed crab dinner (a.k.a. "picking crabs") requires a somewhat funky crabhouse (preferably on the water), a table covered with butcher paper, beer served in pitchers, and sleeves rolled up (so the dripping butter and crab seasonings can roll down your arms; it's not a "coat-and-tie" meal nor a good "first date" dinner, unless you are really "sure" about the woman).

amo asked a question I'd like to respond to: is it possible to run out of story ideas? Basically no. (One given person might, but overall, it is never possible for the totality of writers to run out.) The old TV show "The Naked City" had it right (though now a forgotten cliche): "There are eight million stories in the naked city; this has been one of them." (Meaning in a city with a pop. of 8 million; i.e. there's at least one story about every single person, so no end of stories, ever. Which I believe.) And the reverse of this numbers game is something Faulkner said (I think it was Faulkner; anybody know otherwise?): There are only two things worth writing about: love and death." (Which I also believe.)

Hunch, this morning you called amo a "hypocrite." We may rant and carry on a bit here, from time to time, but in general we don't insult each other directly. If you're going to stick around here, try to keep that in mind. You wanna trash a politician or a celebrity, be my guest; we do it too. But leave amo and the rest of the inmates of this asylum alone. We tend to take umbrage. We're already aware we're mostly pointy-headed ding-dongs; we don't need it pointed out to us.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Except for bc, who is always fair game.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Though's not a ding-dong.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

This Sunday is the rally for Darfur in Washington and from what I read other US cities as well. In situations like that I always feel so helpless, I will probably attend if nothing more than to gain some information.

Shrieking Denizen, for me the Big O was far enough away that the practicality of how cold it was didn't matter, I remember those players often watching the French telecasts just to see them play (similar for the Habs). When I finally made it to the stadium how cold it was did register. Skydome (now Rogers Field is similar).

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

In fact, he's kind of...what? mo, achenfan, help me out here...he's sort of, well, best I can think of is dong-ding.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Lindaloo, your posts are so wonderfully graphic! I had visions of Charlize Theron (pronounced "Throne" by the way and with a roll of the "r")playing you, lying on the floor semi-conscious; David Strathairin as handsome, compassionate Dr. Singer kneeling beside you, tenderly waving smelling salts beneath your nose and as you come to, he realizes that he's fallen madly in love with you. Enter Mr. Lindaloo, played by a younger Christopher Plummer or Sean Connery. Dr. Singer declares his love for you; Mr. Lindaloo pulls off a glove, slaps Singer's face and challenges a duel to the death. "No, no! A thousand times no!" you shriek, "The patio isn't complete; there are promises you must keep and bricks to lay before you sleep!" Dr. Singer conveniently has swords in his office and they fence and fight to the finish. Dr. Singer has Mr. Lindaloo trapped in a corner, sword at throat. Fade out. Can Mr. L save himself? Who won the fair Lady Lindaloo? I don't know yet, this is a cliffhanger, see for yourself at the next Saturday Matinee at the Majestic Theatre.

Posted by: Nani | April 28, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

But dong-ding in the nicest possible way, of course.

Not the bad kind of dong-ding. The good kind.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Aw, dmd, if you were an Expos fan, you definitely have to go to a Nationals game!

Posted by: jw | April 28, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, you always make me laugh out loud.

Nani, you are such a hopeless romantic. I know, I am too.

Posted by: slyness | April 28, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I just sign a petition here:

Posted by: omni | April 28, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Nani, that's classic!

Mudge, I like to think of bc as a goofball -- and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Alternatively, you could borrow from the Seinfeld lexicon and refer to him as a hipster doofus.

Posted by: Achenfan | April 28, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the link, omni. I've signed and sent it on.

Posted by: a bea c | April 28, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking: At least we know which blog is a shining example of well crafted writing.

Posted by: jack | April 28, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that theatres in my modestly sized city have only eight daily showings scheduled for United 93. The quality films, such as Scary Movie 4, have upwards of 20.

Seems theatres may have jitters about whether the filmgoing public is ready for this.

Posted by: kindathinker | April 28, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

What ever happened to artistic licence?
"In Cold Blood" and "The Executioner's Song" leap to mind.

Posted by: Boko999 | April 28, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse


To answer your question I am from Canada, Ontario to be more precise. As enjoyable as you made that meal sound, I have yet to acquire a taste for any seafood, beer sounds good though.

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

We had talked about a BPH at the Hotel Washington roof terrace. Anybody ready for another? When will you be in town dmd?

Posted by: TBG | April 28, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

thinker, some people are not ready, but there are other factors affecting those numbers. The majority of the filmgoing public is in the 15-28 demographic, or so I've read. They want to go to the movies for laughs and suspense, not for tragedy.

Posted by: a bea c | April 28, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I arrive this Saturday. Planning well in advance is not one of my qualities!!

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Slats: Best wishes to you and your family andfor your s-i-l, wishes for a quick convalescence. I have former students that have already done tours in Afghanastan and Iraq, and some that will be heading over for their first tour by the fall. I have the utmost respect for those that serve in the armed forces.

Posted by: jack | April 28, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I tend to think of bc as a gnod-gnid...

In the best possible way.


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Crab shack by the water" Recommend Jimmy Cantler's joint just north of Annapolis. They even still have their inclined trolley to haul the crab baskets up from the dock to the restaurant. All the basics inside--wood mallets, big sheets of brown kraft paper on the tables, outdoor deck, etc. There is the parking issue, however.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 28, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

scotty, you're definitely correct that bc has a lot of gnod-gnid in him, but he's pretty sensitive about it, so I wouldn't mention it in front of him. Here he comes! Sssh. Mum's the word. *nods head, winks*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

But I thought the word was...

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. OK.

*nod, wink*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Loomis--that's quite the ordeal--even worse than yesterday's posting. I hope it works out well.

I spent four hours this morning trying to get in to see an optomitrist for an eye exam. Called every one in town (12, I think)--no openings until mid-June.

In general I don't like "historical" movies, I'd rather just read the history. I did like "Apollo 13", which I think was fairly accurate. I loved "Rob Roy", even though it was pure fistion except for the names.

Saw a clip of "Passion" and a Mel Gibson interview, and was so revolted I never went to see it. I can't watch any Gibson movie, now, he just turns my stomach; we sold our DVDs of the "Lethal Weapon" movies.

dmd--I would suggest Museum of American History, too--especially since, in a few months, they will close for 2 years for renovations.

Posted by: Dooley | April 28, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of plagiarism and the Da Vinci code I just ran across this:

Some legal opinions are harder to decipher than others.

Posted by: gah | April 28, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, you stay away from those crab dinners, y'hear?

Yeesh, I thought you were about to start peaking through the butcher paper the way you were carrying on about the crab eating experience.

Posted by: CardiologistofCarl | April 28, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Gah, that's actually pretty funny. Nice to see that the judge has a sense of humor--although maybe too much time on his hands. Actually, maybe its all the work of some rebel clerk?

Posted by: jw | April 28, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he always had a yen to be in Her Majesty's service in a different way.

Posted by: Wilbrod | April 28, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Dong-ding? (Heh, I don't think I mind the sound of that one. Empahasis on, well, you know.)

Is this the best you can come up with?

Jimminy chistmas, I'VE abused myself better than that! (and how!) (and more!).

C'mon, you buncha spineless greedy right-wing baby-eating anti-intellectual alcoholic tree huggin' Esperanto-speakin' unimaginative agnostic star gazin' white wine drinkin' rant writing thong wearin' (that's YOU, Mudge) pierced tatooted talkin' on the cell phone while SUV drivin' left lane hoggin' Al Gore apologizin' xenophobic South Park likin' plutocratic tin foil hat wearin' closed minded protectivist oversexed comic readin' blog havin' alien abductee poseur posers!

Fie upon ye!

Need a minute to catch my breath here...


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, your 12:44 comment reminds me of one of my favorite Jackson Browne quotes:

"Don't confront me with my failures...
I had not forgotten them."

("These Days")

Posted by: kbertocci | April 28, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Apparently it's already been solved. This link has the answer, so be warned if you want to try and solve it yourself first.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse


*I* do not drink white wine, thank you.

But I do eat babies... Baby chickens, of course. (Oh all right, embryonic!!! Picky, picky...)


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "Christmas".

-Yr hmbl dong-gnid.

Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Ooooh, I just love it when bc talks like that!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

man 'mudge! you totally just made me hungry! now i gotta see if my fav grungy place Captain White's is open yet for the season!

and what is bc? hmmm...

tbg - i'm ALWAYS ready for a bph! i was just thinking of that yesterday...

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

bc - i do not drive an SUV and leave my thong outta this thankyouverymuch! i thought you LIKED my tatts! :(

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Joel, it's kinda hard to know precisely all that happened on Flight 93 because EVERYBODY ON BOARD WAS KILLED BY TERRORISTS. The complaint that the movie somehow deviates from the "known" facts makes little sense in this context, since NO ONE LIVING could know exactly what happened at every moment onboard that aircraft.....

Posted by: Huntsman | April 28, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

mo, I'm sorely tempted to make a joke involving the phrase "nice tats", but I won't.

Your ink is fine.

I was referencing Mudge's thong. Don't ask me how I know (though I don't think Mudge is aware of his VTL situation in any case).


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Huntsman, good point, but only up to a point: The article by Farhi makes clear that the movie not only fills in "unknowns" but disregards the evidence in certain respects, such as, whether the passengers broke into the cockpit (in the movie, yes, but not in real life, according to investigators) and killed one of the terrorists (ditto).

Sorry to butt in.

[Crafting as hard as I can.]

Posted by: Achenbach | April 28, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

so could we say that W is an artist, too? How'bout Karl?

Posted by: a bea c | April 28, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Parking in downtown DC is a CIB (i.e., bad). If you can take Metro from wherever you are staying, so much the better. My suggestion is to walk the Mall, but start at the Capitol building and work your way south. That way you walk up on the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial sort of suddenly. Then you can continue to the Lincolm Memorial to finish the walk. Plan to spend the morning doing this.

If you have a car, go to the Marine Corps memorial across the river in Virginia. Go at sunset, and look at the Lincoln, Washington Monument and the Capitol all lined up in a row. It's a cool spot. Bring a camera.

Posted by: cranky | April 28, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse


South from the Capitol leads one to the Anacostia... :-)

And the Vietnam Memorial is on the north side of the Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln and the WWII Memorial, west of the Capitol.

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

cranky: Work your way south?? IIRC, the Mall goes west from the Capitol.

Posted by: ebtnut | April 28, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge, for coming to my defense. And I thought chivalry was dead....

And I can't stand those idiotic, narcissistic, uptight, selfish, budget-bankrupting, cronyistic, scandalous, no exit-plan having, buttinski, witless, environment-eroding, gas-guzzling, propagandizing, jingoistic, fear-mongering, useless-yellow-and-orange alert generating, FEMA-gutting, Homeland-Security underfunding, shipping-container-non-checking, corporate-welfare-giving nincompoops at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The rest of you are okay by me.

Man, I need a nap now.

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Wandering back on topic for a moment, I guy I know (a friend of a friend) had a book (fiction, FWIW) published recently.

In order to focus on writing and to reduce media influences, he pulled himself back to just basic dial-up internet access for email, stopped reading books & news, ditched his cable TV holed up in his flat and just WROTE. He decided that he wanted to be a producer rather than a consumer, lo and behold, his book was received well, is selling better than expected, and he's been commissioned to write another book and a script for the stage.

He's single (no kids), this is his only job, and, well, so far, so good.

On the other hand, I've been trying to get some traction on something I've been trying to write for months, and as I've been doing research and staying abreast, er, on top of, eh, um, *keeping up with* developments in this area, progress is going more and more slowly.

Paralysis by analysis, certainly, but I'm also finding that some original ideas I thought I had in terms of structure are not at all.

That and I'm distracted by life and all.

Oh, and I also sketched out two more stories that could be books or screenplays because I didn't want to lose the ideas.

I think I could write a lot better if I just stopped thinking completely.

I a twinge of sadness for Ms. Viswanathan, with her literary career shattered into a million little pieces before she's even, what, now old? Hey, 19?


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Vietnam and Lincoln memorials are already on the list. Mostly we will be walking or cabbing. Thank you all for the tips, most helpful.

Posted by: dmd | April 28, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "how" not "now".

Ding-dong-dang it.


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Rama-lama-ding-dong, bc??


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but I'm a day behind.

Pretend it's yesterday:

Good heavens, I missed quite a day on the old A-blog! I can't believe the boodle degenerated into d*ck-size wars (disguised as brain-size wars), along with Godwin's Law kicking in early and often. What's next, SAT scores?

I can actually name something good that Bush did: The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. The amount of out-of-pocket $$$ that elders pay for life-saving drugs is obscene. The fact that the process is so complicated is also obscene, however. I know how to do it now, so if anyone has any questions, maybe I can help.

I've been sprung from my week of medical research guinea-pigging at NIH, where I am certain that the experiments they did on me cost a pretty penny. By participating, I'm making sure that my (not insignificant) tax dollars are being spent on Me, Me, Me! See, liberals can be selfish, too!

Posted by: Pixel | April 28, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I guess the question about "filling in the gaps" in a movie like "Flight 93" has to do with how it is done. Is the story crafted to provide the most plausible scenario, or the most dramatic? If too much license is taken in interpreting events, then I don't see the point. Such a movie starts to become something like "The Perfect Storm" where all the good parts are pure conjecture, and the term "based on a true story" becomes disingenuous. Because emotions are still so raw in regards to 9/11, I can see why this question is so important to many. For me, though, it is something of a moot point. I doubt I will ever see "Flight 93" for the same reason I have never gone through the Holocaust Museum. I have a hard enough time sleeping as it is.

Posted by: RD Padouk | April 28, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Rama lama ding dong? I feel a doo wop song comin on....

Performed by Doo Wop Queen Betty Everett
backup singers, Cassandra S. and Nani

Hit it girls!

Does he love me? I want to know
How can I tell if he loves me so?

[Is it in his eyes?]
Oh, no you'll be decieved
[Is it in his eyes?]
Oh, no he'll make believe
If you want to know
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
If he loves you so
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
It's in his kiss
[That's where it is, oh yeah]

[Or is it in his face?]
Oh no, it's just his charms
[In his warm embrace?]
Oh no, that's just his arms
If you wanna know
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
If he loves you so
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
It's in his kiss
[That's where it is]
Oh, it's in his kiss
[That's where it is]

Whoa, hug him and squeeze him tight
Find out what you want to know
If it's love, if it really is
It's there, in his kiss

[How about the way he acts?]
Oh no, that's not the way
And you're not listening to all I say
And if you wanna know
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
If he loves you so
[Shoop, shoop, shoop, shoop]
It's in his kiss
[That's where it is]
Oh oh oh, it's in his kiss
[That's where it is]

Posted by: Nani | April 28, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Pixel!

Thanks Nani, exactly!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I am NOT tatooed, sir!

I may very well be spineless, greedy, right-wing, baby-eating, anti-intellectual, alcoholic, tree huggin', Esperanto-speakin'[actually, not that, either], unimaginative, agnostic, star gazin', white wine drinkin', rant writing [] thong wearin' (that's YOU, Mudge) *I don't deny it!* pierced, talkin' on the cell phone while SUV drivin', left lane hoggin', Al Gore apologizin', xenophobic, South Park likin', plutocratic, tin foil hat wearin', closed minded, protectivist, oversexed, comic readin', blog havin', and an alien abductee poseur poser. But I have definitely NOT deflied my perky person with any clip art. (Does a girl in a hula skirt on my chest count? Just enquiring, 'cause I'm thinking about it....)

Shriek: delighted to find there's another Thursday Next aficionado in the boodle. (Delighted, but not surprised). And share fondness for Jackson Browne with the Bertoocher. Love "The Load Out/Stay."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I have VTL?????


Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

what makes you think i wasn't referencing the non-ink tatt? *evil grin*

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse


Curious about your take on the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. If only 1 million out of 21 million eligible people are actually using it and the price of the program is spiraling out of control, I'm not sure I'd consider that a rousing success.

Apparently, there is a coverage gap of about $1350.00 that is not covered and which the enrollee needs to pay. Yikes.

Premiums and deductibles can vary, although no deductible can be higher than $250 in 2006. That does, however, leave room for deductibles to be raised in subsequent years.

I'm kinda scratchin' my head on this one. If they have an out-of-pocket deductible, a monthly premium, a co-pay for each drug that is tiered, a gap in coverage the enrollee must cover and the possibility of deductibles & even premiums being raised in subsequent years, where's the savings?

And it's expensive, too.

I'd be interested in hearing more, Pixel. You might have a unique perspective on this that I haven't heard or read before.

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I'm sorry to hear that the Cannes adventure has to be POSTPONED (not cancelled). You can start working on your media credentials for next year. Yes I know DVC comes out this year, but it would still be quite an experience.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

How DARE (!!!!) those Latino and Hispanic persons corrupt our sacred National Anthem, the sacred tune of which Key plagarized from an equally sacred English tavern drinking song? Habla they no RESPECTO?????

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I bought my father a yellow tie with a hula girl on it from the Five and Dime Store for his b-day one year. Very colorful. Green grass skirt of course, and a fuschia lei to cover her tatas. My sis said it was tacky, Mother looked a little crestfallen, but to my 8 yr. old eyes, it was beeyootiful. He actually wore it to Sunday Mass! Me and old Dad, we understood each other.

Posted by: Nani | April 28, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

amo, *that's* the spirit!

Mudge, glad you liked that.

mo, good heavens, I'm blushing.
I think Santa has you on his "nicely naughty" list.


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

What's VTL?

Posted by: Nani | April 28, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

And what outrage is next? Singing O Tannenbaum in German? Singing La Bamba in, uh, Bambanese? Or Guantanamera in Guantanamertanic? And I suppose some smart-a** Canadians like dr want to start singing Alouette, Jaunty Alouette and Fairy Jackie Door May View in French!

What is the world coming to?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

VTL= visible thong line.

*sniffs* Some people find it attractive on me, bc.

Not that YOU'D ever notice.

*tears welling*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I *like* the espanol version. Honestly.

As much as I like Hendrix's, and WAY more than Roseanne Barr's (her crotch grabbing and spitting aside).


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

At least you're spared the horror of Visible Cummberbund Lines, 'Mudge...

Oh, wait...


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The medicare prescription drug IS complex - maybe convoluted is a better word. The complexity can be partially explained by the number of interests - drug companies, hospitals, insurance companies, consumers, etc. that all had to be accomodated in the plan.

The "donut hole" in the middle of the plan is a result of compromises made to accomodate thre different philosophies: 1) everyone should see some benefit, 2) everyone should pay something, and 3) there should be an overall cap on everyone's out-of-pocket expense. That's my understanding, in any event.

My own personal experience is based on my in-laws. Big prescription drug users who are paying a lot of money into private health insurance, including prescription drug coverage. They are saving about $250/month due to the plan. My own parents, not big prescription drug users (knock on wood), see very little (if any) benefit from the plan.

Posted by: Steve-2 | April 28, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

hey, bc, this friend of yours is (i) single (/i)?????? *batting eyelashes furiously*

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Bambanese", ha!

Mudge, I noticed. How could I ignore that bright pink tube top you're wearing?

I guess I'm not the guy that's going to look at your hairy a$$ and find love.

Though I'll admit that very intricate personal topiary thing was a funny surprise.


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Yes he is, mo.

He lives in the UK though.


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

No no no, bc, that was ME with the topiary...

Some people have NO memory... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I thought we were calling him "Cummerbuns" now.

You certainly will when you see Mudge in the pink tube top, the thongerwearfloss, and the leather chaps, with kabuki makeup and hair.

I see a musical..."Madame Cummerbuns"...


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

If not "M. Cummerbuns", then how about "Onagata da Vida"?


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, wasn't yours was the one shaped like Munch's "The Scream"?


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

verse 1

oh say can you see, a la luz de la aurora?
Lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?
Sus estrellas, sus franjas flotaban ayer
en el fiero combate en senal de victoria,
fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertad,
por la noche decian: "se va defendiendo!"


oh, decid! despliega aun su hermosura estrellada,
sobre tierra de libres, la bandera sagrada?

verse 2

sus estrellas, sus franjas, la libertad, somos iguales
somos hermanos, es nuestro himno.
en el fiero combate en senal de victoria,
fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertad,
por la noche decian: "se va defendiendo!"


(not that i agree with it necessarily)

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, scotty--he may be referring to my chest hair. I used to wear it in a French twist, but When I had my quadruple bypass I had to part it in the middle and braid it. But that was three years ago. So maybe it was you he meant, after all.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

No no no, bc... It was shaped like Warhol's Campbell's soup can.

*executing a perfect Moebius strip-like return to the topic of the day*


Posted by: Scottynuke | April 28, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, bc, that's the outfit I wear when I cut the grass on Saturdays! How'd you know?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, "oh say can you see" is the same in English as in Spanish.

BTW, spare a thought for poor, lost topic. Journalists v. Artists, I hardly knew ye.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Que tengas un buen fin de semana mijos y mijas!

Posted by: Nani | April 28, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Just an educated guess, Mudge.

I saw that "Rip Taylor Activewear" catalog peeking out of your briefcase awhile back, and I just put three and one together.


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, I'm one of those liberals, but I don't agree with a Spanish version of the Star Spangled Banner.

Not on principle. If you want to speak Spanish in your home, fine. But no Spanish street signs, no Spanish options on the voice menu for phones and no Spanish version of the US national anthem.

No, no, no.

Posted by: amo | April 28, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

dr - is your refresh still having problems?

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

That's cool, amo. But I just think it's better they sing it in Spanish than not at all. And I don't think that's its remotely worth making a big fuss about one way or the other. But overall, yes, I agree that sooner or later they need to be integrated into the English language. But I don't think they need to be penalized for being Hispanic.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Journalists vs. Artists

Journalist's defense ought to be able to keep them in any game, keep it close. But if Artists can get someone to light up their offense - maybe that Bush kid from USC - they'll take 'em this year.

Posted by: Steve-2 | April 28, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I second what Mudge said at 4:36 PM.

I haven't read much about it (heard it online, though), but it seems to me that if you wanted to be persnickety about it, you could make a case for it being a teaching tool to help people to learn English.

Though you don't hear "o'er" anywhere else much these days.


Posted by: bc | April 28, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Now, I don't speak Spanish other than having taken a single evening course, so take this for what it's worth (ie nada [oops there goes 50% of my Spanish]). I happen to be an amateur song wrecker, however.

Why not "y de valientes" rather than "la bandara sagrada"? I'm not sure if that makes grammatical sense, but it sticks to the original more, and still would sound good at the baseball game.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

OK... I went to several anagram sites to find a good one for "ding dong." These are the results from each site: gave me:
anagrams to
'Ding-dong.' gave me:
Anagrams for "dingdong"

Andy's Anagram Server gave me:
Here are some phrases that can be made from that query:
ding dong
dong ding

Apparently bc is really just a ding dong. And I mean that in a good way.

Posted by: TBG | April 28, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Steve-2, ha! I think I like the odds on journalists if it goes into overtime, however. They're grittier.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Using the Elvish name generator, Ding Dong in Elvish is Celebrimbor Telperiën, but this crowd probably already knew that.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

From the descriptions, United 93 seems like a classic "Hollywood" distortion of the actual events. Producers of Hollywood movies believe that people who go to movies care want excitement and action, as opposed to plot and character development. For one, I think they're idiots.

I'd like to take a step back and review what we know about United Flight 93. We know that the passengers of that flight learned that two planes had already hit the twin towers. (I'm not sure if they had learned before they attacked the cockpit that the Pentagon had been attacked.) From that point they knew the "rules" of hijacking had changed. The old rules said they should cooperate with the hijackers and wait the whole thing out. But the knowledge that two other aircraft had been used as enemy missiles changed everything. Cooperation was out. They were dead anyway and they decided not to allow this aircraft to be used as a weapon. They gave away their last few minutes of life to stop the hijackers from getting to their destination. From that moment, bin Laden or another terrorist could not have used an aircraft as a weapon because the passengers would fight back.

Sound like a good story to you? It does to me Just showing the bravery of our fellow Americans, our own people, is more than enough for me.

And have you ever noticed those movie makers who try to exaggerate real circumstances often create scenes that seem contrived, outlandish and stupid? Movies and mini-series that stick to the truth come out better in the end. What you want to appear on a screen or in a theater is truth or something that seems real. If it's not real or doesn't seem real, it can't move you. And if a movie like this one can't move you because it's turned a great moment (and I mean that) into an action flick, then it's a waste of time and money - mostly our time and our money.

Posted by: InChicago | April 28, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't see what the fuss is about. I mean the natonal anthem already begins with "Jose, can you see?"

Posted by: TBG | April 28, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Alouette, Jaunty Alouette and then there is something about plume array?

I am strictly uniligual here unless, you are counting the grunting patterns of Homo Sapiens sub species teenage male as a language. I am pretty good at interpreting that.

Mo, still seem to be having refresh troubles, but different from this a.m. Maybe our computers just need some good old soap and wter to refresh them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 28, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse

hah dr! i tried that once... didn't work...

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I know it's late on Friday, but since this Kit will prolly be up for at least one other day, I'll mention this now and hope it gets some notice:

I propose a BPH on Tuesday, May 30. Perhaps at the rooftop of the Hotel Washington, but that can be decided later.

What do you think?

Posted by: TBG | April 28, 2006 5:54 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* TGB, I just wish I could be there...

Posted by: Slyness | April 28, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

you KNOW i'm there!!!

Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

The whole discussion about United 93 strikes me as a bit silly. Those of you who are "strict constructionists" who require perfect fidelity to "history" have made a de facto claim that such a movie cannot, by definition, EVER be made--because what "really" happened is unknown and unknownable. Ditto "Braveheart." Ditto "The Passion of Christ," ditto "The Alamo," or any other piece of drama. Your "requirement" is an impossible one to meet, and your default position logically has to be,"If they can't make it accurate they shouldn't make it at all."

But I don't think you folks really believe that. "The Perfect Storm" already exists before us (as both a "non-fiction" book and then a movie), which is no different than United 93 in this regard. Nobody knows what "really" happened, and yet a good writer can do (and in the case of Perfect Storm, has done) a pretty credible job in portraying what "most likely" happened, and what people "probably" said and did. So the first part of the "solution" is simple: proper labeling of what it is you are reading/watching.

In Perfect Storm (and in his new book) Sebastian Junger does a good job of explaining what is "known" and what is supposition. That being so, where is there a problem? I don't see it.

Starting at about the age of about 6, I submit that all of you began forming a fairly reasonable idea of what was "true" in Hollywood movies and TV, and what wasn't (and that most of it wasn't). Almost the very first thing any of us ever hear/see/learn are fairy tales and the like, so almost from Day One we learn to distinguish fiction from non-fiction and maybe-fiction, etc. It ain't real hard.

At some point, we all (well, except for bc) learn there is no Easter Bunny, there is no Santa Claus, there is no Hantzel and Gretel, and no Ted and Sally. But there really was a Davey Crockett, and he did die at the Alamo. No, he probably didn't look like Fess Parker (and I'll punch out anybody who asks, "Who?"), and he probably didn't look like John Wayne. Only within the last few years did ANY of us learn there's some probablity Crockett was lined up against a wall and shot by a firing squad, rather ignominiously, rather than goin' down swinging in a blaze of glory.

So does the "truth" of Crockett's death matter much? Actually, not very, and I'd say not a bit. It's an interesting detail--but it doesn't alter how the Alamo was perceived at the time, and it didn't affect in any way, shape, or form what happened afterward. So it became a legend, so what? Would Huston NOT have won at San Jacinto if everybody knew Crockett was executed, instead of shot down in combat?

There is this rather annoying tendency to try to over-think things.

I'm as bad as anyone else; I snarl at the TV when I see something "wrong" on TV (and I see just as much as the rest of you that's "inaccurate," could never happen," etc.). One night my wife slugged me in the ribs because she was watching JAG, and an F-14 Tomcat "landed" at Pax River (where I worked," and in the background there was a mountain range (the Sierra Madres? Anybody know what's near Miramir or Fallon? I don't), and I went nuts.

The fact is, 99% of the stuff that is "wrong" is also highly inconsequential. Loomis may be right that William Wallace never had any affair with so-and-so -- but so what? Did it affect the overall movie? Did it affect the outcome of the battle at Stirling Bridge/ Did Wallace really have a humorous Irish sidekick and paint his ass blue? How is it relevant? Most of it isn't. {But indeed some of it is, and that's the part TV and Hollywood need to get "approximately" right. Braveheart probably got most of it right and a bit wrong--and how was that different from any other movie? I'd bet $100 that before Braveheart came out, 99.98 percent of the audience never even HEARD of William Wallace. I hadn't--and I'm a wide-reading history buff. He'd just never entered my radar screen before. So whether he "really" boffed ol' what's-her-name is largely irrelevant.

Somebody mentioned Gladiator in a derogatory way. But did anyone have ANY expectations whatsoever that we were watching The History Channel? I didn't. And I actually thought the first 20 minutes was especially cool and "realistic," being set in snowy Germany rather than in some cliched part of Italy. Who didn't think the Coliseum stuff wasn't cool? Was it "real"? How the hell do I know? And why should I care? There was a Coliseum and there used to be gladiators. That version was as good as any and better than most (pace, Spartacus). But whatever faults the movie had it wasn't a "reality" problem.

My view is that artists can do pretty much anything they want (which is why they are artists) AS LONG AS there is a clear understanding of when they are making stuff up or purporting to "tell the truth."

Journalists, on the other hand purport to tell the truth virtually all of the time, so they are especially burdened with the necessity of double-checking and clearly labeling everything. I don't care if a journalist speculates or "analyzes"; all I ask is clear labeling.

I frankly don't see the difficulty people have with this.

(P.S. Commentary and opinion-writing, op-eds, etc., are NOT journalism. I don't care that the commentariat THINKS they are journalists; they aren't. The word "journalism" used to be an honorable profession -- for about 20 minutes-- once upon a time, and as far as I'm concerned still should be.

Pardon my French, but I need to invoke an old saying you've all heard: "Opinions are like a**holes; everybody's got one."

The problem isn't that we have too many opinions; it's that we have too many a**holes.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

BPH!!! I'm there!!

Everybody have a good weekend.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

hey 'mudge... who?


Posted by: mo | April 28, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Fess Parker was yummy to behold. A very manly looking man.

Boy that sounds shallow. Is it ok to be shallow on Friday.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

mo, I'm glad it was you that asked. Most of us were thinking it.

I agree with all that. The only quibble I have is that I think semi-fictionalized (or even fictionalized) accounts do matter, because they tend by shaping opinions to become The Truth, for all intents and purposes. That, in turn, has real-time consquences.

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

It goes back a few kits, Sofc, but you speak of how things turn into myths. I came across an urban myth of sorts here a couple of weeks ago, but I knew it to be true. You know how it is, if they tell 2 people, and they tell 2 people, and so on and so on... Movies tell a whole lot of people, and become part of your perception of something even as far back as sword and sandal epics.

I read today that the Vatican is strongly urging people to boycott the Da Vinci Code. I understand their reasons, they are running scared, but by doing this, they are only re-inforcing the feeling that they are hiding something.

It is a story, based on some thin research which may or may not be true. Reasonable people will understand that it is a story, and there is, as they say,'the rub'. The story and film delve into areas where some people are not reasonable.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Are you telling me they used a STAND-IN locale? Are you telling me JAG was fake????

I only watched that show for its killer plot lines, it had nothing to do with hot men in uniform.

Posted by: dr | April 28, 2006 6:47 PM | Report abuse

The Da Vinci thing is a somewhat good example. The Church cannot be seen to do "nothing", as that can also be seen to be acquiescence. Brown gets himself off the hook by saying whenever asked "it's fiction", but personally I see a wink and a nod as well. You probably saw the press recently that said something like 15-25% of people believe the DVC scenario that Jesus survived (funny: I typed crucifiction). Not just doubt the biblical account, believe. Depending on your point of view, that's fiction taking flight.

I don't really have much faith that somehow "reasonable people" usually manage to find the truth of the matter. Personally, I think the more common result for well intentioned, reasonable people is to conclude the truth "is somewhere in the middle", which is how you get intelligent design's encroachment.

I think it was Nani that mentioned much, much earlier that Birth of a Nation will be on TCM next week. There's a good example of a portrayal of history that helped build "a" truth on the Reconstruction era.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 28, 2006 7:14 PM | Report abuse


My first attempt at using the Medicare Prescription card, the pharmacist told me the medicine was not on the company's list of medications. That meant I could not get it, and they didn't have generic drug listed either. This is the first time I use the card. I'm so disgusted with this card. The pharmacist sends me back to the doctor's office for something else. Tells them to call the insurance company, and prescribed what's on their list. I'm outraged because the medicine the doctor prescribed works, and that's what I want, something that works. And this is hard on me because the phone is not my friend any more, so that means I have to get in the car and go to these places so I'll know what they're saying to me. I'm not ungrateful, not really, but that plan is a nightmare. It may get better, but right now, one cannot get the prescribed drugs, and God forbid it's a name brand drug, you're really not going to get that. They're giving old people generic medications, and some of these drugs can do more harm than good. All the studies aren't out with some of those generic drugs. It's risky taking the name brands, so one can imagine what it's like with generic brands. Old people really do catch it, of course unless they have money they might miss some of the stuff that shoved at old folks. Friends, I want you know that one day you will get old, all you have to do is keep breathing.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 28, 2006 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Look over me and the above post. Forgot to say have a good weekend folks, kiss your husband or wife, and your children, give God some of your time, and enjoy your weekend, and don't forget to get some rest.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 28, 2006 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I guess that is the beautiful thing about historical fiction. It truly is fiction, with a bare minimum of historical truth involved. However, the grand, foolish masses will tend (and I give far more credit to the masses than I believe is due) to take any historical fiction as near historical fact. Personally I've always found that the best way to view film is with the mind in the OFF position. (But then you have to flip it back on afterward....) It's like a good sci-fi book, if you ignore the lack of actual known physics you can enjoy it. I like to watch and read all media twice. Once with the mind off, and once with it on to properly analyze the quality and truth to the story.

Posted by: Kerric | April 28, 2006 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I must say, I'm a little disappointed that my comment on Billy Bones singing "I ain't got no body" go absolutely no reaction. (I mean really -- that's gold, baby!)

But I guess there was a lot going on today. I don't think I've ever seen such a multi-topical boodle! "Busy" is probably a good word to describe it.

And SonofCarl:
Thanks for the follow-up on my Postal Museum comment. (SF 0.00 --ha!)

Posted by: Achen- and Tom fan | April 28, 2006 8:46 PM | Report abuse

SCC entry:
"got" no reaction, not "go."
And it looks like I go' a double-word repeat, as well.
(No wonder there was no reaction to my initial post -- I write gobbledygook!)

Posted by: Achen- and Tom fan | April 28, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I sympathize. I'm on a maintenance medication, and my insurance now requires that I purchase via mail rather than at a local pharmacy. The first time I tried, the prescription never came. I went round and round with them on the phone and ended up writing two indignant letters to the company president before they saw my point. The worst part was being told by a customer service rep that it was my fault for not calling them back, when actually I didn't understand their procedures, never having dealt with them before. Not fun at all.

Posted by: Slyness | April 28, 2006 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Hi Nani. No, I wasn't being sarcastic, you're really good. Carus doesn't pay much. However, children's literature is a very competitive market, I gather, so Cricket is able to be very picky. I have seen a number of excellent children's books which had first been published in Cricket. It's a big plus for a story that might later be a stand-alone children's book. Still, unless you get numbers like the Magic School Bus or Arthur books, you would have to expect that you are publishing for the joy of reaching children with your story and keeping the memory of your sister and your childhood alive. Fulfillment.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 28, 2006 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, Linda. Get well.

Posted by: Tim | April 28, 2006 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Nani, I know what you mean about writing a story down. I have tried to write some of the stories that I tell, and it's very hard. I feel like I have stuck a pin through butterfly. On the other hand, I have forgotten numerous stories, because my kids aged out of the bracket in which I told those stories to them, and the stories dropped out of my mind. I wish I had written them down, just as a reminder. I have a few that I really love. Having told them in public many times, they have become refined to what I really like. I need to write them and follow my own advice to seek publication.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | April 28, 2006 9:45 PM | Report abuse

dmd, you should visit the scale-model solar system on the Mall side of the Air and Space Museum. This is indirectly a self-plug, as my boss was the principal mover behind making it happen, so it indirectly validates my own career choices in that I have followed him into education and public outreach work. Nevertheless, I think it's pretty cool.

Posted by: ScienceTim | April 28, 2006 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Aww, darn. Rush limbaugh's been arrested on another prescription drug charge.

Can you say "schaden-effing-freude," boys and girls?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | April 28, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't think its necessary for a movie to be factual in the same way that a newspaper, documentary, or historical book does.

I do think however that people who consider themselves artists are willing to sacrifice anything and everything for the sake of art, and I honestly dont think that these people could give an adequate definition of art, or a satisfactory explanation of why it's worth the hassle.

It seems to me that concepts arise from observation of reality, from facts. Contemporary art has rejected, forgotten, or ignored this and sees concepts and facts as polar opposites. The underlying assumption of contemporary art is that concepts need to have as little to do with reality as possible, and be obsure enough to confuse even the person who came up with them. The contemporary art world values work based on 'concepts' and decries work based on facts. In fact, the worst criticism that a piece of art will recieve today is not that it is bad art, or ugly, but that it is 'not conceptual.' Because of this Truth is seen as either irrelevant, or opposed to art.

This has resulted in a wide spread reluctance to be factual or straight forward, and a tendency to make art that is so concept-based that it cannot be appreciated at any level by merely looking at it. For someone to appreciate art, it needs to be explained- either by someone who (god knows how) is in the know, or by a lengthy and confusing artist's statement. The work itself is no longer the focus, but rather the concept it (supposedly) embodies. The ridiculous part of this is that art has seemed to have forgotten its visual aspect. It's not only Truth that has gone out the window, but Beauty as well.

anyway, I guess that this kind of drifted off topic, but i go to art school and need to rant...hope it made sense.

Posted by: penny lane | April 28, 2006 10:00 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, what made the story about Limbaugh all the better was the note at the end that abusing narcotics causes profound hearing loss. There is a God!

penny lane, you made perfect sense. Now I know why modern art does nothing for me. I couldn't understand it if I tried.

Posted by: Slyness | April 28, 2006 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Nani, I'm going to edit your story a little bit and make a call to casting as well...

Lindaloo, your posts are so wonderfully graphic! I had visions of Charlize Theron (pronounced "Throne" by the way and with a roll of the "r")playing you (*check*), lying on the floor semi-conscious;

David Strathairin (*strike*...recast Harold Ramis, just about the age in was in Ghostbusters, insert lifts to his shoes for added height, fluff the hair a bit)

as handsome, compassionate Dr. Singer kneeling beside you, tenderly waving smelling salts beneath your nose and as you come to, he realizes that he's fallen madly in love with you.

Enter Mr. Lindaloo, played by a younger Christopher Plummer (oh, Nani, any day of the week) or Sean Connery.

(Actually, hubby looks more like a cross between Rutger Hauer and George Kennedy, but the picture of Hauer's character Morgan at the site below is a good approximation):

Dr. Singer declares his love for you; Mr. Lindaloo pulls off a glove, slaps Singer's face and challenges a duel to the death. (*strike*)

(rewrite) Dr. Singer declare his love of his profession and pulls out a prescription pad to save my eyesight. At the pharmacy tonight the receptionist informs us the cost of the new eye drops (.3 fl. oz. is $30). Mu husband slaps his forehead in disbelief and challenges the young woman by asking how much the insurance co-pay was. She steps away momentarily, checks some records, and informs my husband that the insurance company paid $40 toward the small, precious vial that I grip closely to my breast. Mr. LindaLoo threatens under his breath to kill the handsome retina specialist and the hard-working Asian pharmacist, especially if the cost of future prescription drugs for my eye are as expensive.

"No, no! A thousand times no!" you shriek, "The patio isn't complete; there are promises you must keep and bricks to lay before you sleep!" (Great stuff, Nani! Brick laying to resume after my hubby's trip to Philly next week.)

Dr. Singer conveniently has swords (*strike*...words) in his office with Mr. Linda Loo and they fence and fight to the finish over (the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs...Dr. Singer's final concealed weapon--the estimate--scribbled in his hard-to-read scrawl, on a piece of letterhead--of the cost of the laser surgery!)

Dr. Singer has Mr. Lindaloo trapped in a corner, sword at throat (*strike*...strangling Mr. LindaLoo with Mr. LindaLoo's own checkbook and paycheck stubs!) A duel to the death for dollars! Fade out.

Can Mr. L save himself (and his bank account)? Who won the fair, (yet blind) Lady Lindaloo? I don't know yet, this is a cliffhanger, see for yourself at the next Saturday Matinee at the Majestic Theatre.

Posted by: Loomis | April 28, 2006 10:13 PM | Report abuse

(Hopefully two-eyed) Loomis, this is a movie I would pay money to see!

Posted by: Slyness | April 28, 2006 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Hope you're feeling better and will get both eyes working soon. Gosh, what an ordeal. I hate all those eye tests - had to go to an opthamologist when I was diagnosed with diabetes, and they told me about the dye test, but luckily I didn't have to have it.

What was the topic today? Oh yeah, plagiarism. Since yellojkt's been absent lately, I'll plug his blog for him since he covered this already:

(See the April 25 entry, Plagiar-lists)

bc, what is the title of your friend's book?

Oh, and my Chinese tree peony is blooming - magnificently. It has huge, pink flowers - that go from a dark shade of pink to almost white. Just a light scent, not the overpowering fragrance of regular peonies. I lusted after this plant several years ago, and it has fulfilled my expectations. The one I have is an inexpensive, unnamed variety I found at the nursery. There are really wonderful ones with names like Black Dragon Holding Blossom.

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 28, 2006 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Loomis: a county pioneer from Arroyo Grande died last weekend --- related to you?

Posted by: nellie | April 28, 2006 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I just watched a neat little play by Catherine Bush (I think not the novelist), "Unhinged", in which the protagonist, an aspiring playwright named Catherine, visits the grave of William (Bill)Inge on her way to a workshop. Is it fair to enlist a deceased playwright, who's presumably enjoying the next life, as a character?

At the moment, my standard for truth-telling in the theater is Ulster playwright Gary Mitchell, who I think has been in hiding from the Loyalists since last year. His "Loyal Women" was indeed shocking.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | April 28, 2006 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I got my state senator's "session report" in the mail today. Usually these are pretty dry, and I don't do much more than glance at them. But at the end of his first paragraph summarizing the report was this:
"And all this in a Grammatically Correct format suitable for precocious children."

Ha! Turns out he's a former newspaper reporter. Sounds like he's been blogging...

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 29, 2006 12:42 AM | Report abuse

I think I just experienced the refresh problem. I didn't see Nellie or Dave's posts until I had posted...Hal, are you there?

Posted by: mostlylurking | April 29, 2006 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Can't sleep, so I'm up. It seems I'm getting up earlier and earlier. I know I need to sleep, but it eludes me.
Nani, that song is in my head for good. And as to your writing, I think it's great. Keep at it. Don't worry about what people might think, move forward.

I've read the lead opt piece on the opinion page about the businessman that been to Iraq. He definitely thinks we should stay until the folks there get on their feet. He has a son in Iraq, so I guess he is qualified to form an opinion about us staying there. It may take Iraq a long time to get on their feet, and what then? Of course, he brings a business perspective to the issue, getting your money's worth, I suppose. And we have spent a lot of money in Iraq, but is that more important than the lives lost? I doubt it to my way of thinking, but I'm sure there are some that disagree. He points out that the soldiers know their mission and want to finish that mission. And that could very well be true, they want to come back with victory in tow. But other than killing everything there, is that possible? I don't know the answer, and it seems those in charge don't either.

Posted by: Cassandra S | April 29, 2006 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I learned everything I know about the prehistoric world from The Flintstones. Are you telling me that it wasn't completely accurate?

Posted by: TBG | April 29, 2006 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I am NOT ignoring you. I'm still not getting the email. I got 75 emails yesterday, but not one from you. I did get the message on my blog, though. Go there and leave your contact info. I'll copy it down and then delete it off the blog.

God bless you and I hope you have a wonderful Saturday.

Posted by: kbertocci | April 29, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Post people. Someone took a shot across your bow at another highly ranked blog -- Stuck in the 80s. Gotta admit -- they're strutting with a little more ganas over there.

Posted by: Adam Sandler | April 29, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

"I've always found that the best way to view film is with the mind in the OFF position. (But then you have to flip it back on afterward....)"

First caffeine-destroyed keyboard at home award goes to kerric. Maybe the problem is that too many people forget where to on switch is located.

Posted by: dr | April 29, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

SCC 'where the on switch is.'

note to self: write, preview, edit, submit.

Posted by: dr | April 29, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Regardless, dr, I got the point...although I guess it's a good thing that we have preview now! And yes, kerric was good.

Posted by: Slyness | April 29, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Amo, Cassandra, et. al... Regarding the prescription drug benefit: It is horribly flawed, IMO, but better than nothing. I have only a single anecdotal sample to go on, and everyone's experience is going to be different, depending on income level, additional insurance coverage, and geographic location, just to name a few variables.

One great thing is that the website allows you to do everything on-line. The problem with that is, duh, most senior citizens aren't exactly "power users" if they're users of the 'net at all. The lady I have been helping has never touched a computer. She has minimal income and no other insurance besides Medicare, so she qualifies for the maximum benefit. Last year, her out-of-pocket expenses exceeded $1500. This year, now that I've finally negotiated all the crazy twists and turns of the program, she will likely pay less than $200 out-of-pocket. That's huge for her.

The data I had to collect, and the amount of reading I had to do to understand the process was substantial. I was extremely aggravated and angry that they would expect elderly people to figure this stuff out. Many of the instructions actually say [paraphrasing] "Have one of your children or grandchildren help you with the web site." That's a pretty rude assumption, if you ask me.

Anyway, once I figured it all out and entered all the drugs that my friend (who has neither children nor grandchildren) is currently taking and identified the pharmacy she uses, I got a long list (~75) of plans in the area that she could subscribe to. The cheapest one had no deductible and a small co-pay. That's the one we chose. It happened to be Anthem. Now, that plan would not even show up for someone of greater means. If you can afford more, they are going to make you pay more.

As flawed as the system is, and it is very flawed, it's better than nothing. Yes, it's expensive for the government, but I believe that one of the purposes of government is to help people who really need it. Otherwise, let's just throw senior citizens to the wolves or push them out on an ice floe and be done with it. We really don't treat our elders with much respect in this country, judging by my recent experiences.

Cassandra, you can change the plan you're enrolled in. If you want to review your options, I'd be happy to try to help you, though I am in no way trained or certified to do so. You can email me at katt @

Posted by: Pixel | April 29, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to think that the American business model, especially the pharmasutical industry, is designed to milk the handicapped. I can go on and on about how the money I pay out of pocket for a bottle of insulin with insurance coverage is the same amount I paid 20 years ago without health coverage. The products I need to manage diabetes aren't covered at all. In order to get my perscriptions, I need to visit the doctor 4 times a year and then I get taxed extra on the co-pay for some specialist fee and juiced again for specialized tests. Sheesh!
The ipod thing really burns me up the most. I bought 1 for my daughter for Christmas. I tried unsuccessfully to load some songs on it for hours. Then I figured it out. The ipod software was designed in such a way that my voice synthesis program, Jaws, couldn't read the text on the screen. Upon further internet research, I found that there is, in fact, a $30 program that provides a work around solution for the blind. Great! Blind people get to pay more! Ain't that special? Now you've got me going...
I apologize for the rant, or I mean, I regret the inconvenience and thank you for your patience. I'm going to go out and work in my garden. Dirt loves everybody just the same.

Posted by: Pat | April 29, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Nellie sends along this obit from The Tribune in San Luis Obispo and asks if there is relatedness:

Arroyo Grande lost two prominent residents recently -- one, a member of an area pioneer family and a lifelong local resident, the other, a successful business owner who lived there 29 years. John B. Loomis and Edward Mullahey died Sunday and Monday, respectively.

The 80-year-old Loomis, whose grandfather Edward C. Loomis ran the E.C. Loomis Grain and Feed Mill in 1910, grew up in Arroyo Grande in the 1930s and '40s.

He was jovial, generous and loved to make jokes, Loomis' cousin, Gordon Bennett, said Wednesday. The cousins published a book called "John and Gordon: The Good Old Days."

The boys were part of a close-knit community and attended first grade at Arroyo Grande Elementary School in 1932 when the town had 900 residents.

Loomis was born Feb. 17, 1926. He graduated from Arroyo Grande High School and joined the U.S. Marines, battling in the South Pacific during World War II.

Nellie, I think by far the great majority of Loomises in the United States are related. Did I know there were Loomises in San Luis Obispo, not far from my hometown of Bakersfield? No.

As far as the grandfather, Edward C. (according to our Loomis genealogy tome, last updated in 1908):

There was an Edward Coffin (10880) born Aug. 1, 1890, location unknown, although his three older siblings were born in Otummwa, Iowa. They are the children of Edward Coffin (7272), who was born in Ravenna, Ohio, on Feb. 10, 1852, who in turn was the son of Joseph Loomis (3565), a merchant, who was born in West Springfield, Mass., in 1822 and who was married to Lydia Coffin, hence the family name. When I saw West Springfield, it gave me a big hint that it might be my Samuel branch of Loomis from Westfield, Mass.--and by tracing it back, I can see that it is, and can see where the lines of descent split.

There is another, less likely, possibility. There is an Edward C. Loomis (9561), born in 1868, apparently in Boston, son of Charles E. Loomis (5669), who was born in Booth Bay, Maine, and served in the 57th Regiment in the Civil War. Charles E. was the son of Abner Loomis (2595), who according to the genealogy, was from Booth Bay and a noted sea captain who made many cruises and who died, lost at sea, in 1857.

However, there is a Loomis descendant who is quite prominent who died just yesterday, according to our local paper this morning. Julia Stimson Thorne, 61, died of cancer in Concord, Mass., yesterday. She was the first wife of Sen. John Kerry amd mother to their two daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa.

Our paper, in an AP article, has remarks about Julia Thorne made by historian Doug Brinkley, with whom I exchanged e-mail, through his assistant, several years ago. Julia's great-grandmother was the sister of Alfred Lee Loomis (and married her brother's business partner), whose work on WWII radar and the Berkeley cyclotron is chronicled in Jenent Conant's book, "Tuxedo Park" as well as Brinkley's biography of Kerry' service in Viet Nam, "Tour of Duty."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 29, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Dirt loves some more than others, Pat, especially toddlers... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | April 29, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Pat, I see that you are online and talking about insulin. May I ask whether your blindness was brought on my diabetic retinopathy?

Did the vision in one eye worsen before the other? Or were both eyes undergoing decreasing vision about the same time? Did you have laser treatment? Were you suprised that your vision lasted only two years after your doctor informed you that you might have five years left of vision?

Do you have type II, adult diabetes? At what age were you first diagnosed? Thanks so much for your help in answering my questions.

Posted by: Loomis | April 29, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to mostlylurking and Achen-fan for actually noticing my absence. It's very touching. One definition of love is missing something when it's not there. Thanks for the love.

I have been taking a self-imposed exile for a few days to do things I actually get paid to do. Also to prove that I could. I fell off the wagon this morning to find I was three boodles behind, so I am now going to try to achive a new world record for Boodling Out Of Order.

In the Sagan kit, on April 24, dreamer/*-fan talked about lychees and durians. This inspired me to post on my largely dormant side-blog about my quest in Vietnam for durians.

I had previously blogged about lychees which are delicous canned (as you nearly always find them in the States) but nearly heavenly sublime fresh.

I dare not tempt the SchemerSpamFilterâ„¢ by linking a third item in one post but I will reboodle with some other links to my much ignored Asia Trip 2005 blog that have been relevant to recent boodles. (Not that relevancy is really a necessary or sufficient condition to post.)

Posted by: yellojkt | April 29, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey yellojkt, nice to see you're back. Three days of self-imposed exile, eh? You are truly a tower of iron will, at least compared to me; I have dropped in to do some of the work not done during the week. Two points to whoever can point out the flaw in my plan.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 29, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Last summer my family went to Vietnam for vacation. It was the first time my wife had been back to her birthplace since her mother and step-dad moved to Florida in 1972. We came back from the trip with several hundred pictures and a lifetime of memories. I have a photoblog (see link at the bottom) where I am slowly (verging on imperceptibly) blogging about our experiences. If you are impatient, or if you find my prattling annoying, the best 173 pictures can be viewed here:

I only get two weeks of vacation in the summer and I wanted my son to see Japan since we were in the "neighborhood". That left us nine days to see as much of Vietnam as we could.

Saigon and Hanoi are just a little over 1000 miles apart, roughly the distance from Baltimore to Tampa, a trip I do way too often. The train ride from Saigon to Hanoi sounded like a great idea until I did the research. It is a 30-hour ride and costs $60 for a first class sleeping cabin. We may have had to buy a fourth ticket to make the cabin private. Flying on Vietnam Airlines takes two hours and costs $100 per person and includes a full meal. A no-brainer for a person on a tight schedule. Plus foreign airlines are plush, even in coach. I talk about it in my side-blog here:

The pertinent quote if you don't care to read the whole post is:

"National pride also immunizes [government-owned airlines] from the cost cutting rampage that has destroyed service in the domestic United States."

When I read the Train kit and the boodle post from bruce (April 25, 3:44 pm) about how primitive the train ride from Saigon to Hanoi was, I realized how right I was to fly instead.

I have had wonderful train experiences in France and Japan, but I refuse to hand over my memories to the WaPo legal department. I will someday write my own blogpost about it and be sure to pimp it here.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 29, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Yello, I surfed through some of your pictures a while ago. That must have been a great trip. In Guatemala my friend and I did some travel on the grossly overcrowded converted school buses. It was a real experience, but a thousand miles is a different matter.

Pat, dirt loves everyone, but as a former infantry officer I have to add that that love gets taken to a whole new level in the infantry. I seem to recall a song about that. I think it went something like this (to the tune of Jesus Loves Me)(I think the original was an ode to a trench, but we're talking about dirt today):

My dirt loves me! This I know,
For the Sargeant tells me so;
Infantry in dirt belongs,
We are weak but dirt is strong.
Yes, my dirt loves me!
Yes, my dirt loves me!
Yes, my dirt loves me!
The Sargeant tells me so.

My dirt loves me! I won't die,
Artillery just flies right by;
Bullets pass over my head,
Dirt's my friend, I am not dead.
Yes, my dirt loves me!
Yes, my dirt loves me!
Yes, my dirt loves me!
The Sargeant tells me so.

My dirt loves me! saves my soul,
Safe and sound here in my hole;
Let them shoot their clips away,
Up we come, it's time to play.
Yes, my dirt loves me!
Yes, my dirt loves me!
Yes, my dirt loves me!
The Sargeant tells me so.

Posted by: SonofCarl | April 29, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Actually I haven't boodled since April 21st. I did manage to catch up on boodle reading Wendesday, but couldn't post from my undisclosed location. SonofCarl and I seem to have a lot of procrastination and work avoidance in common today.

My last batch-boodle before I disappear again:

In a way I am glad I was TiVo-ing Achenblog and missed the Bush-bash boodle. I'm amazed at how each of these neo-RoveStorms brings out a hitherto lurker for a full day of "debate" only to never be heard from again. I don't mind the discourse, especially since I consider myself a moderate Republican (which puts me somewhere between "lib" and "pondscum" on the Coulter-Hannity Index). What saddens me is that they never stick around for the regularly scheduled programming once the politics light is turned off.

My reaction is that Bush is proof that the Peter Principle is not infallible, but does seem to have an upper limit.

I do want to thank mostlylurking for doing a little surrogate blog-pimping in my abscence. I do have one piece of advice for all the boodlers that link to other blogs (even when they aren't mine). Please link to the exact post rather than the home page of the blog. A person as behind as me on boodling will be sent to that persons current post and might not be able to find the relevant post that was being discussed.

For example, the Seven Dwarfs Do Drugs blogpost

is now the the third item on this blog despite only being linked to yesterday. And I think Sneezy has been dipping into the merchandise a little too much.

Links for an individual post can be found by right-clicking on the permalink (usually the time-stamp at the bottom of the post, sometimes the hyperlinked title) and selecting "Copy Link Location".

Sorry to sound kvetchy, just trying to pass on some tips.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 29, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I've killed the boodle. I'll come back next week.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 29, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I've go one last thing, then I'm gone, honestly. My favorite place in DC is the FDR Memorial on the Potomac side of the Tidal Basin. The place is just gorgeous and peaceful and scenic all year, but particularly during cherry blossom season. And except for during weekends of the Cherry Blossom Festival, there is always parking somewhere along the river.

My wife is starting a running joke about how many pictures of Fala I've taken.

Posted by: yellojkt | April 29, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, you're a Republican and you still do the FDR memorial? I agree, it is a tranquil place. I love your comment on Bush and the Peter Principle, how completely apt! I'm still thinking about it, but I may have to spring for a Cheney/Voldemort bumpersticker. That one cracks me up.

Posted by: Slyness | April 29, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I've posted my Sunday column, which is about my brother in Boulder (a familiar figure on this blog). Glad to see you back, yellojkt. Lindaloo, good luck with your eyes. Now let's all get offline because it's such an excellent spring day! (It is acceptable to be momentarily online via a wireless connection if you are on your porch.)

Posted by: Achenbach | April 29, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

These are different issues. One is about plagiarism, which is always ethically and artistically unacceptable. The other is about poetic license when creating historical fiction. I would expect Achenbach to be able to discern the difference. There is another separate issue about the bad taste and insensivity of marketing a movie that exploits the suffering of 9/11 victims.

Posted by: Ruth | April 29, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I *think* I can do the 30th.

Location sounds good to me.

I've been outside doing yard work, a little maint on one of the cars, and repairing some door trim.

Didn't find the Easter Bunny anywhere.


Posted by: bc | April 29, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Plagiarism itself is an art. By extension anything plagiarized is an art.

"Scotty, can't something plagarized still be art?"

Posted by: dunston checks | April 29, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, yellojkt -
Thanks for the tip on posting links to specific blog items. That's what I intended to do, but couldn't figure it out instantly. I enjoy your blog and check it often.

I've got to schedule a visit to DC. I haven't seen the Vietnam War Memorial, Metro, the FDR Memorial, the Holocaust Museum. Of course, when I lived there, you could still drive past the White House.

See you in the new boodle...

Posted by: mostllylurking | April 29, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, if you were looking for first class travel and accommodations, why choose Vietnam instead of Las Vegas or Cozumel or Gstaad? If I had wanted to see VN, a 2nd class train trip might have been just the thing -- to see the people and countryside, not the inside of a plane and blue haze out the window. That was roughly how we toured the Malay peninsula, by bus and train, two star at best. But then all my ancestors are German and from the Midwest, so Vietnam wouldn't be a place I escaped.

Posted by: jg | May 2, 2006 12:28 AM | Report abuse

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