Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

More Bloggingheads, Plus DC Baseball

[OK, so having blogged yesterday, and chatted online, and yakked on Post Radio, and answered various dyspeptic emails, and irritated everyone with the All Joel All The Time media-landscape carpet-bombing, today I will do something truly revolutionary and journalistically ground-breaking: Work on a story for the newspaper. I know, it's a big leap into the unknown. All those words sequentially ordered in an allegedly coherent manner that lends itself to the interactive process known as reading. The pressure!]

[Review of bloggingheads diavlog from an unimpressed viewer: "One can tell Mr. Joel Achenbach's elevated and professional writing ability, as opposed to Wright's non-writing ability, by his clever usage of the language e.g. words like 'squishy' and 'squirmy.' Ritalin might be the answer. Nah, alien abduction is definitely called for in extreme cases like Achenbach's."]

Another: "There is absolutely nothing redeeming about Achenbach's meandering, manic, rude, dross. Please remove the Wright/Achenbach diavlog immediately. It's insulting to the audience."

The truth is, these people are members of the Cult of Bob and they just didn't like the way I reduced Bob to a gibbering fool. I came out at the bell like a man possessed. I hit him hard and fast. It was Tyson against Michael Spinks. Not pretty, if you're in the Bobcult.

At some point let's discuss Bob's "business plan," because, as nifty as bloggingheads might be technologically, one wonders if at some point Bob is going to incorporate elements of revenue. From that, he might even consider rewarding his guests with, and I apologize for using such a vulgar term, payment. Right now everyone works for Bob for free. He asks you to go through all this rigamarole, and fuss with his gear, and do a dog and pony show for an hour, and he never for a second deigns to answer the What Is In This For Me question. Glory? Got that already. Need cash. Need some lettuce. I actually asked, at one point, if he would pay me to be on this thing and he began laughing so hard he appeared to be having a seizure. Violent convulsions. Very frightening to watch. I took that as a "no."]

Anyway -- or is the word I want here "Meanwhile"? -- what follows is my Sunday column, which never got posted this weekend.

"You've Gotta Have Heart"

It's a perfect night for baseball, and we're sitting in respectable, if slightly stratospheric, seats in the upper deck right behind home plate. We have a good angle on the action, and can see the game unfold in all its beautiful symmetry and timeless grace.

Pitch in the dirt. Our batter swings, a strikeout. The catcher fails to nab the ball, and it dribbles toward the backstop. The runner on first lumbers toward second, and the catcher, attempting to throw him out, hurls the ball over the shortstop's head. The runner on third, so slow he should be known as The Glacier, heads toward home. The center fielder dutifully throws the ball back toward home and, once again, past the catcher, all the way to the backstop. The Glacier scores. Eventually everyone stops running, and the ball is carefully escorted back to the pitcher, who presumably is instructed to hold it tight and not throw it over anyone's head.

Amid the cheering of the home crowd, my middle daughter, who came to the game thinking that baseball has four innings, says, "What happened?"

And I look at her and think: What happened is that I was too busy with my work to teach you how to recognize a play with a strikeout, a wild pitch, two throwing errors and a run. I failed to instruct you in the beauty of the game of baseball in such a way that you could appreciate its butchery.

Meanwhile, sitting in front of me is a man reading the New Yorker. Forget whatever is happening on the diamond: Check out the droll, arched-eyebrow prose in Talk of the Town! I'm mildly outraged. Also, I wonder if he'll let me borrow it.

At least he showed up, which is more than can be said for the untold hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who had the tickets for the excellent seats that remain vacant on the lower deck. I obsess over those seats the entire game. They are bright orange. They scream No Show. They scream Too Important to Come. They scream Fair Weather Fan. They are advertisements for a city full of law firms and media big shots and lobbyists and various other forms of egomaniacs who think that having a ticket for a great seat is more important than actually sitting in it. They don't put their butt where their money is.

When baseball returned to Washington last year, 33 years after the previous team, the Senators, was carted off to Texas, we were all ecstatic, and went to games, and watched our Nationals camp out in first place in July and remain in contention until the beginning of September, at which point Atlanta won the division for the 1,745th consecutive year. (The last team to beat Atlanta in the National League East was the Visigoths.)

This year the novelty's gone, and it's hard to avoid noticing that we're a mediocre team playing in an old stadium with terrible food. Will Washington have the patience to support a losing team? This is a town obsessed with poll results and approval ratings, a town in which one of the highest compliments is "electability."

Thirty-three years without a team hollowed out the fan base. And Washington is full of transplants who have no memory of Frank Howard hitting homers for the Senators.

So we have heavy lifting to do here. Fortunately, we'll have a new stadium in a few years, with the kind of amenities the average sports fan needs these days, like a luxury box and a tuxedoed waiter who will ask if you'd like Grey Poupon with that half-smoke.

And we have a new owner: Ted Lerner, a local guy with a billion dollars, which is enough to pay for three decent ballplayers, two superstars, or A-Rod. But Lerner needs to sell cheaper fluids. The good microbrews cost $6.50 a pop. At that rate, it's very hard, in good conscience, to drink four. Bottle of water: $4. For that kind of money I could have bought gasoline.

My friend and colleague Marc Fisher says I'm too cynical. "Over the next few years, this team will be in baseball's top 10 in attendance and profits, even if Washington remains cursed on the field," he says. "You need a refresher course in Washingtonians' love of futility. Rent 'Damn Yankees' and watch it with the kids. You've gotta have heart."

To be serious Washington baseball fans, we're supposed to know that song:

You've gotta have heart/All you really need is heart/When the odds are sayin' you'll never win/That's when the grin should start . . .

Maybe they'll play it during the seventh-inning stretch. What we lack in baseball nostalgia we can manufacture. We're good at manipulating reality here in Washington, and surely we can teach our kids to cherish the baseball memories we never actually had.

By Joel Achenbach  |  May 31, 2006; 8:58 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Blowback on "The Tempest"
Next: The Respiration Principle, etc.


Of course a new kit appears as soon as I hit the enter button.

Reposted from the last boodle:

Boodle Porching Hour Photos are up on the super-double-secret yellojkt Flickr account hosted from an undisclosed location.

If you are unfamilar with Flickr, it is a feature-rich photo hosting site. Just click on any picture to get a bigger view and description. Once in the photostream, you can navigate back and forth. You can leave comments and download pictures for your private amusement.

I will let someone else explain the whole arts and crafts project.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2006 9:38 AM | Report abuse

[Fifth para needs a transposition:
"He asks you go to [sic] through"]

As for payment for the diavlog, ask not what Bob can do for you, but what you can do for Bob.

Posted by: Tom and Bob fan | May 31, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of people who work for free...

Thanks, Fannie.

Posted by: Achenbach | May 31, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, I myself was THERE at the porching hour for nearly an hour and a half, and missed everything (I hadda leave early to catch the bus)--the hats, omni's arrival sans hair, DolphinMike's arrival, the threesome at bar, even the second Achenwaitress (the "original" and authentic Achenwaitress, MaryLynn, had the duty while I was there). That'll teach me to leave the scene of a crime before the CSI techs show up.

Cool pix, though, guys. (bc did brandish the roll of aluminum foil early on, so I knew what was in store. And I was seated in an ideal position to view whatever it was they were viewing at the bar, had the menage a' babes been there when I was.)

Fortunately, the possible attack of leprosy that caused me to leave work early yesterday turned out to be something of a false alarm--it wasn't leprosy at all but just a touch of scurvy, acquired during my early years aboard whaling ships. A draft of antiscorbutic elixir took care of it. I believe I may have had several booster shots of antiscorbutic citrus compound stuffed into the neck of my Coronas, just to make sure the first dose "took."

That antiscorbutic is wonderful stuff. I highly recommend it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 31, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Like the tinfoil hats. This explains why the reception was so grainy.

Joel, as I posted before, I really enjoyed the baseball article. It makes a nice counterpoint to all the evolution and global warming bits.

What you do not realize is that they don't sell regular food at the ballpark, they sell food that has been Officially Licensed by MLB. If you look closely you can see the Holograms of Authentication on the hot dogs.
Especially if you drink enough beer.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 31, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Isn't baseball better when you are not distracted by the surroundings of a new stadium? That way you can concentrate on the fine elegance of baseball.

I'm not really deeply into sports (well except for the curling thing), but living in a housefull of men, you end up watching a lot of sports. You end up going to a lot of live sports events. Baseball is my favourite live game. Live, with all the fans around you, the pace is just right, beer or no beer, just so long as there is peanuts in the shell, you know all is right with the world.

Posted by: dr | May 31, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Also Joel, I hope my earlier comment about the Achenblitz was not misinterpreted as a complaint. Rather, I was in awe of your stamina. I mean, considering that you are 45 and all, which, as Science Tim can surely confirm, is like, way different that 44.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 31, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse


If you're going to use a produce item to refer to cash then you should probably use cabbage instead of lettuce. I acknowledge that lettuce is acceptable but the kids prefer cabbage these days.

Posted by: mattvbh | May 31, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I had to leave the BPH about 7:30 to get home in time to buy dog food, so I missed the barside two-on-one canoodling. Also, I have poor waitress identification skills, so I have no idea when shift change occurred. I always have to get my wife to point out our server when it's time to get the check. My father, on the other hand, suffers from a rather conspicuous case of Waitress Ogling Syndrome.

WaPoRadio had a good interview a few weeks back with a Nats high muckety-muck (selling that broadcast rights synergy)that explained the pricing models of tickets and food. He explained that they look at the entire spectrum of possibilities ranging from expensive tickets and low-cost food to free tickets and $100 hot dogs. You have to realize it all goes into the same jar and the excessive beer guzzlers are to some degree subsidizing people with family-friendly choices of beverages.

I haven't been to a Nats game, and I love Camden Yards, just not enough to choose an Orioles game over say Dixie Chicks tickets (bought those on the album purchaser internet pre-sale).

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

My favorite part of the "diavlog" was when Achenbach zinged Wright for saying he needed to "look at the numbers" on global warming. Achenbach referred to Wright developing his ow cliamte model. Droll!

But also quite pointed. Bob Wright's can be an insufferable poseur. Any insinuation on his part that he has something to contribute to the scientific debate (such as it is) on climate change deserves to be ridiculed.

Posted by: trevor | May 31, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Guys, the pictures are incredible. Don't know about the tin foil hats, though, they didn't really match anything. I do hope you enjoyed yourselves. Maybe one day I can attend a boodle porching, but I hope I won't have to wear the hat?

Baseball is so much better if it can be watched up close and personal. It's been a long time since I've been to a baseball game. Like many sports, I'm not familiar with all the rules, but I enjoy baseball more and I guess that's because I played softball a lot when younger.

Posted by: Cassandra S | May 31, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

If I were to believe the menu of the barbecue he shared with us Joel should be paid in bacon. The Achenbachs are apparently gorging on meat like a pack of wolves.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 31, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

The joys of live baseball are misunderestimated. At its best, it's playing hooky from life for three hours. The fan participates in mass rituals and celebrates youth as they use their athleticism to perform superb physical feats, adjusting covered appendages, expertly separating sunflower seeds from shells and ejecting the detritus in a manly fashion.

Plus, with binoculars, you can witness amazing acts of cleavage.

Posted by: kindathinker | May 31, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Splendid BPH Photos, yellowjkt! My only complaint: There should be more. Mo, you've got to remember your camera. The aluminum foil fashion show must have been a hit at the bar. I admire such fun-loving, unselfconscious people.

Posted by: CowTown | May 31, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

>Plus, with binoculars, you can witness amazing acts of cleavage.

Now THAT'S funny!

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 31, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

omni was offering $20 to anybody who would wear their hat all the way home. I'm not sure if he got any takers.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Yes, yes, it's all very interesting, but back to religion from the last boodle. Now, an important effect of the Council of Trent on Vatican II ... oh forget it.

Speaking of religion, on baseball, I feel like Homer Simpson on the episode where he gave up beer.

Now golf on the other hand...first fun tournament tomorrow, and a great day predicted by the climate change models. No word on the clouds, however.

Great photos. The aluminum hats are a nice touch.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 31, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The second Achenserverlady was having a pretty good laugh with us over the foil hats.

My favorite Uncle Martin was going to take some extra pictures at the BPH, but his vehicle wouldn't start, and it never left the garage.

Mudge, I'm teeing you up, buddy.


Posted by: bc | May 31, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

If people weren't prepared to wear their hats home, then obviously y'all weren't drinking enough.

[Tune cootie time:

You can leave your hat on
You can leave your hat on
You can leave your hat on

-- from the song "You Can Leave Your Hat On, " by Joe Cocker]

Posted by: Achenfan | May 31, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I bought a 20-game mini season ticket plan this year. So far I've been to three games, including opening day. They have lost all three. One game I had every intention of going to was rained out. I've become a pariah. Somehow, Weingarten and I pulled some sort of "Freaky Friday" switcheroo.

On the plus side, I went to a Red Sox/Baltimore game and got a foul ball. Yay!

Posted by: jw | May 31, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Baseball is indeed the ultimate summer spectator sport. No major league baseball around here but we are blessed with a triple-a team. It's a great deal. The parking and tickets are cheap and the caliber of play is purty darn good. Most teams have a guy or two who will become someone in the majors. Its fun to play amateur scout and try to guess which one(s) of those youngsters will make it. It comes to about $30 for a family of four in my town before the program, the hot dogs and the necessary libations. The stadiums are smaller so you can be near enough the action to see the stripes on the flying sunflower seed shells. And of course there are amazing acts of cleavage and stupendous performance of suntanned thighs displays.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 31, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

>from the song "You Can Leave Your Hat On, " by Joe Cocker]

Dear Achenfan, I think it's Randy Newman.

Great song. See also: "In These Shoes?" by Kirsty MacColl.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 31, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey dr, can I ask a serious question?

What's with the hockey players on your money? What happened to pictures of kings and queens and historical figures like, um, Alex Trebec?

Posted by: jw | May 31, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

jw, hockey players are more important

Posted by: dmd | May 31, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

One reason I like baseball much more than any other sport (except curling of course) is that it is so personal. There are so many games that it becomes easy to get to know the players. You can see their faces and learn their body language. And because of the way the game is structured, it is easy to associate those familiar players with individual acts of greatness, as well as failure. Somehow you find yourself doing more than just cheering for the uniforms.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 31, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

For those not familar with Kristy MacColl (not to be confused with Kristy McNichol):

I once met a man with a sense of adventure
He was dressed to thrill wherever he went
He said "Let's make love on a mountain top
Under the stars on a big hard rock"
I said "In these shoes?
I don't think so"
I said "Honey, let's do it here."

So I'm sitting at a bar in Guadalajara
In walks a guy with a faraway look in his eyes
He said "I've got as powerful horse outside
Climb on the back, I'll take you for a ride
I know a little place, we can get there for the break of day."
I said "In these shoes?
No way, Jose"
I said "Honey, let's stay right here."

No le gusta caminar. No puede montar a caballo
(She doesn't like to walk, she can't ride a horse)
Como se puede bailar? Es un escandolo
(But the way she dances, it's a scandal)

Then I met an Englishman
"Oh" he said
"Won't you walk up and down my spine,
It makes me feel strangely alive."
I said "In these shoes?
I doubt you'd survive."
I said "Honey, let's do it.
Let's stay right here."

No le gusta caminar. No puede montar a caballo
(She doesn't like to walk, she can't ride a horse)
Como se puede bailar? Es un escandolo
(But the way she dances, it's a scandal)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Kirsty MacColl

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The $5 bill has both hockey players AND the Queen. The new design coming out has the Queen actually playing hockey, so we're all excited about that.

PS how was Pearl Jam?

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 31, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

SCC the current $5 has hockey players and Wilfred Laurier, not to be confused with Wilbrod.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 31, 2006 11:32 AM | Report abuse


Why don't we do it in the road?


Posted by: bc | May 31, 2006 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Some people also say baseball is an aquired taste, much like beer or Dutch licorice.

Posted by: RD Padouk | May 31, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I love the scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next where Randall P. McMurphy thwarts Nurse Ratchett's refusal to turn on the tv so the patients can watch the World Series. McMurphy sits in front of the dark television screen and begins to call the baseball game play-by-play. The other men join him in wonder, cheering imaginary hits and runs under his contagious enthusiam!

I also heart this poem:

Casey at the Bat
by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, "If only Casey could but get a whack at that--
We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despisèd, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped--
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar, Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey still ignored it and the umpire said, "Strike two!"

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville--mighty Casey has struck out.

Posted by: Nani | May 31, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

No Pearl Jam last night--just fun times catching up on work I've been missing. I was too apprehensive about buying tickets from random joes on Craigslist, after my first few attempts ended with people saying something along the lines of, "Oh, I know I was advertising the tickets for $xx, but someone JUST offered me $xxx. Want to make a deal?" Guess I'll just have to catch them next time.

Posted by: jw | May 31, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Damn you Canadians! Look what you made me go and do! You and your "advertising" and "flavours" and "colours".

Posted by: jw | May 31, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Dreamer said something about slurs on other religions going unchallenged.

Well, probably because we don't recognize them as slurs. I didn't notice any that Dreamer was talking about in recent times.

And let me say, I've explored many religions. I don't believe in one path to the truth.

Most enlightened people, Christian or others that I have talked to, don't actually believe there is one right path either.

One of the most enlightened people I ever met was a woman who read the bible daily. She told me a lot about the obscure prophets in the OT and what these books meant. I discussed other religions with her and she told me how she had taken the path she did.

I knew a woman who changed for the better after converting to Islam. I wouldn't say that it's the religion for me, but she was able to find a good path within it for herself.

Even atheism can be a good path.

What is one's slur is another's sincerity. I think that is what we need to remember here. If it's hate rhetoric, then yeah, that's when ACHENHOG needs to eat them alive.

May His Noodly Appendage touch us and may we get pasta this, hopefully with some pesto.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 31, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I just finished reading Christine Brennans new book, "The Best Seat in The House," and I found it to be very enjoyable. In it she writes about sports, her Father and growing up in Toledo, Ohio.
Fantastic reading for any sports enthusiast and a perfect Fathers Day Gift.

Posted by: cookkenusa | May 31, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Went to the Nats game on Saturday. The outfield "loge" seats (that thin little strip below the upper decks) are actually pretty good, you can see the whole field with only minor stretching. Food's not too shabby there (apart from tissue-paper-thin carrying trays that can't carry soda bottles for crap -- and WHY do they insist on not letting you take the caps with you?), and the boys actually played pretty well (apart from getting picked off second and throwing away the Dodgers' insurance run).

OK, so I'm conflicted. Gimme some tinfoil.


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 31, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Hockey reminds me of McMurphy and his fellow patients in Cuckoo's Nest. A bunch of guys wearing two different uniforms skate around for a minute. Then other guys jump in and the original crew leaves. After several minutes--and the excitement derives from the unpredictability about when this will occur--one guy thrusts his arms in the air triumphantly, and his teammates bump and grind and stuff.

The official hockey story is that this occurs when "the puck" enters the goal. But c'mon. Who's ever seen the puck?

Posted by: kindathinker | May 31, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I am So Impressed that my fellow Boodlers know Kirsty MacColl lyrics, or even who she was. [shakes head in wonderment] What a worldly crew.

Posted by: CowTown | May 31, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

>Kirsty MacColl lyrics, or even who she was

CowTown, I was introduced by WXPN out of Philly. Sad she died so young.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 31, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Error - I first heard "In These Shoes" on WXRT while driving like a maniac (i.e., like everyone else) on the Kennedy in Chicago. I laughed so hard I nearly had a very bad accident.

Posted by: CowTown | May 31, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

kindathinker, a keyboard was destoryed in you honour this morning! Even on a 9 inch black and white tv with really poor reception, in front of a campfire, Canadian males can pick out the puck. Maybe its a cultural thing?

Posted by: dr | May 31, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Here's a Kristy McColl lyric I heard more times than I can remember on WHFS:

There's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis,
Just like you swore to me that you'd be true. There's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis,
But he's a liar and I'm not sure about you.

Posted by: pj | May 31, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The Casey story a la Disney is one of my all time favourite cartoon memories. I can see him in my mind right now.

Posted by: dr | May 31, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Probably, dr. Now soccer--that's a different story.

I'll always remember the excitement I felt when the only goal in soccer history was scored.

By Denmark, I think. 1978 or 1979.

Posted by: kindathinker | May 31, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I second (or is third by now) that 'In These Shoes' is a great song.

Posted by: omni | May 31, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

That explains the exteneded cry of 'scoooooooooooooooooooooore' by soccer commentators.

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

Wilbrod, amen brother. Now, about dogs. What, if any, is your experience with Weimaraners (Vorstehhunds)? Did I spell that right? I'm thinking about getting two pups after I retire and able to spend time training and loving them.

Posted by: Nani | May 31, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

dr, I taped the Casey at Bat cartoon for my g-girls years ago off the Disney channel. Pretty soon, I'll play it for No. 1 gg-boy, son of No. 1 g-girl. She's adamant that he isn't going to watch tv, but agrees that these old cartoons aren't "tv"

Posted by: Nani | May 31, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

kindathinker, an American network, ESPN I think, tried to help the American audience locating the puck by putting an electronic tail on it. A little bit like when you set up a tail on your mouse cursor. The effect was maddening, the shiny purple comet tail moving across the screen was highly distracting.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 31, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

>tried to help the American audience locating the puck by putting an electronic tail on it.

I'll second that, although I thought it was Fox... I could be wrong because there tends to be a lot of beer in the room on those occasions. It *was* really annoying though. I'm not a huge hockey fan but I found it easy enough to follow the action after a few games. I'll say it again though, if these furrin' sports want US spectators they need to run up higher scores. It's only baseball that we tolerate single-digit scores for some reason. If soccer and hockey made each score 7 points it would change the whole deal.

Sounds stupid, and is, but I still think it's true.

Posted by: Error Flynn | May 31, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I know I've written of my mom's love of baseball. When she was being treated for her brain tumor, she found herself in the MRI machine a few times. She kept her sanity though those experiences (and she said through radiation as well) by reciting Casey At the Bat to herself, trying to remember every word and phrase.

I always wondered if that brainpower showed up in the MRI.

My favorite baseball to watch is little league or high school ball. Much more excitement and more action. I think baseball's probably the only sport that its more fun to watch people play who aren't great at it.

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Hi. I missed all the live chat action. And I missed so many fun comments, I'm sure. It's the first chance I get to visit since last Thursday. Wow! Almost a week.

I've never been to a baseball game. I don't think I'd have the patience to sit and watch for so long. I grew up going to soccer (futbol) games on Sunday afternoons with my dad and my brother. There were no numbered seats. We bought tickets for "tribuna alta" and just went up and found a good spot. Then you became territorial about your spot, and got to know all the people with the self-assigned seats around you. Food was cheap. We ate cookies, pork rinds, popcorn, strawberries and cream, ice cream sandwiches, and on and on. These games were not televised. We just got the highlights on the 10pm news. The TV crew didn't have an enclosed space. They set up their camera on a tripd a few seats above us. We tried not to get in their way, but often, we could see our hands at the bottom of the screen as we jumped up and down and yelled "gooooooooool" until we ran out of breath. My last year there, my team won the Copa Libertadores (South American championship). I had one ticket, but scalped it and partied in the streets surrounding the stadium with my friends.

Posted by: a bea c | May 31, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Almost as annoying, in my opinion, the virtual scrimmage line in football.

Posted by: dmd | May 31, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The television effect thing for hockey was Fox.

I'm actually going to come down on the side of liking the virtual scrimmage line (and also the virtual first down line).

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 31, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

dmd... The yellow line! It's great! It's not the scrimmage line, though, it's the first-down marker--where they're going; not where they've been.

I hate it when we get some lower-tier TV crew here covering a Redskin game and we don't get a yellow line. Drives me crazy.

But here's the sports-TV thing that drives me crazy: picture a basketball game on the screen. You see the floor at the bottom, the players in the middle and the crowd at the top of the screen. But where do they put the onscreen scoreboard? In the bottom part of the screen where the action is! Why waste that upper third of the TV screen?

Rant over. Thanks for listening.

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey, high scores aren't an American invention. Our football scoring is pretty much a direct carryover from rugby.

Posted by: jw | May 31, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Not that it matters, but I will be taking the kids to some minor league baseball games this summer (as I do every summer).

Much nicer experience for us than gettin' down to Camden or RFK.

Much less expensive, too.

TBG, I don't think that all basketball games are televised with the same production values as good 'ol Jefferson Pilot (or whatever that turned into).


Posted by: bc | May 31, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I have experience with Weinmaraners only as they socialize with my dog. Those grey ghosts are lovely dogs.

They're shortcoated so they will need a coat for lots of time in the snow.
They're built to run and should be a suitable jogging partner in warm weather.
Their houndy ears will need ear care.

Overall, they are sweet dogs but can be stubborn and slow to learn sometimes (varies by the dog), but they hate repetition overall and you have to keep them interested.

Firm obedience training is a must, and you don't want a weinmaraner that has poor leash manners You'll have problems enough when they try and chase bunnies.

Some weinmaraners can be dog-aggressive even if they live with their pack fine. They can be reserved around strangers and ready to protect their owner, so this is a dog you MUST socialize well from puppyhood (like most dogs, actually).

If you want a smart dog that's a bit stubborn and will test you but will give
you a lot when you show firm, gentle, and consistent leadership, a weimaraner is a good choice and most will be sweetie pies.

But this breed is not for the novice owner who wants a fur-baby who will lick anybody and everybody.

In short, weimaraners are very doggy dogs. They're hounds, they will love being outside with you, AND they are untrustworthy around cats and other small animals. They are not farm dogs, so if you want them to deal with livestock, socialize at a young age.

Their tails are traditionally docked to prevent them cutting their tails on bramble. They have thin fur so that is a significant consideration.

Beyond that-- read up on the breed and find a breeder with dogs you like.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 31, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

My sister's family (which includes a 3 yr old boy who eats, drinks, sleeps, walks, talks and dreams baseball) is traveling to Cape Cod this summer to watch Cape Cod League ball. Now that sounds like fun to me.

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

While we lived in Calgary, we used to walk down to watch the Cannons play. The 2 years we were there, Tino Martinez played with them. at an autograph session for the Jr. Cannons club, he was only mildy gracious. He was the only player of big note that I remember. There were a lot more fun players to watch though. There was a very, very big fellow, older, and though I have no idea what position he played, I do remember how he played with the crowd, and the kids. He loved making those games alive for the kids. He was at that same autograph session, and he made sure every last man jack of those kids had something signed for him. One kid forgot to bring along something to have signed, and he gave him his hat, and made sure the kid got signatures all round. That is the true spirit of baseball.

Heck that is what real sports and sportsmanship is.

Posted by: dr | May 31, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Just not with you on the yellow line, I never had a problem seeing the markers on the side line, (or seeing a puck). I just like to watch the sport, no helpful screen getting the way. Not sure about down there but the virtual ads that are put in here are really annoying.

Posted by: dmd | May 31, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

dmd... maybe its the way football is broadcast here, but you can't always see the markers on TV. They get too close up to the action, in my opinion. The best Redskin seats we ever had were in the mezzanine in RFK smack-dab in the middle of the end zone. It was like watches the Xs and the Os on every play. I learned so much football those years we had those seats.

It's frustrating watching TV because you can't see all the action and it's frustrating watching live because you don't have your Tivo.

Cain't win fer losin'.

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

SCC: it was like watchING the Xs and the Os

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

(The last team to beat Atlanta in the National League East was the Visigoths)

No,I think it was the Vikings.

Posted by: ILL-logical | May 31, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Wilbrod, you're very kind. Perhaps I should have just googled, but you have a way with words so..... I've never heard them referred to as "grey ghosts", but they do have that ethereal air about them. My 2 cats can handle anything (!) and the only farm animals around are my concrete pig, jackrabbit, horse, calf garden statues. Frequent ear infections give me pause as my old cocker spaniel suffered so with them.

Posted by: Nani | May 31, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

It was Fox indeed with the flaming purple puck, I don't know why I wrote ESPN. I like the first down line myself but the scrimmage line is quite useless. Another thing that is great about minor league baseball that someone else (dr?) noted is the access to the players and the generosity of the players toward the kids. In general, they are absolutely great. No Bonds attitude out there.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | May 31, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

has anyone else seen the write-up about the "voice" of the Mona Lisa based on the shape of her face?

Posted by: a bea c | May 31, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

What happens between the minor leagues and the majors. Not having access to minor leagues I have only seen major league players, some are great many NOT

Posted by: dmd | May 31, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

That's cool, a bea c. I love stuff like that.

Funny, too, to get another recommendation on an article: my sister just called to tell me to be sure to have my daughter read today's Post Style article on "the wingman."

She says it's important for LIttle G to understand that people aren't always who they seem to be--and to help her learn about "the game" (we have been talking sports here, haven't we?).

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Weimaraners would be a good name for a baseball team--perhaps in Wilmington or Waco or Westbury.

I kid about the games of hockey and soccer, of course. I never played them so I have feigned disdain.

Posted by: kindathinker | May 31, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I read that story - and am glad that the college student in my family is in a committed relationship. Now, the one who graduated a couple of years ago would be right there, having always enjoyed the bar scene. She's in a relationship now too.

Boy, I'm glad I'm too old and unhip for this stuff.

Posted by: slyness | May 31, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

For some reason this reminds me of pairs of cheetah males or lions working together to stake out territory and females.

But then again, cats are in it for the short haul, too.

Explains why I'm not much good at the dating game, I never know which species strategy I'm supposed to be using.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 31, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Ditto what Slyness said. All's fair in shallowness.

Wasn't there a comment on Friends about Chandler claiming he was a Kennedy just to chat a girl up once?

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 31, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Wilbord, two words.
Bonobo chimps.
Take the tests on yellowjkt's site to see if you're up for it.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 31, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

You should remember when reading that article--a side-effect of post-modern feminism is that the guys aren't exactly taking advantage of those girls. Those girls described in the article aren't wearing the barely-legal skirts, backless tops, and body glitter for nothing, after all.

I've never seen a fish hook swim up to a fish.

Posted by: jw | May 31, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

As I said, I like it when the virtual first down marker is displayed for ease of reference in the game ... oops, wrong conversation.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 31, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of intense competition...


Posted by: Scottynuke | May 31, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Boko999--I already know--- I'm too brainwashedly catholic to swing like a bonobo.
Besides, this bar scene is not exactly bonobo-like behavior, although many people certainly seem to aspire to that kind of hippiedom.

SoC-- of course, and lionnesses and female cats do like sex, too, and actually their reproductive system is oriented to needing sex in order to ovulate-- so a male lion may well mate a lionness dozens of times in a day and still not get the lionness bred and over with.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 31, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, the spelling bee was ruined for me after that kid passed out a few years ago. How do you beat that?

I do love Sportscenter's coverage of it every year.

Posted by: jw | May 31, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Ha. I read that "Wingman" piece earlier, TBG.

I guess I can't identify with that level of lying and scheming to meet young ladies, even when I was in college.

I'm showing this to my daughters, too.

I can identify with that guy drinking out of the pitcher though.


Posted by: bc | May 31, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Sports-rhetoro-query: Is a fake punt arter a virtual third down mandatory.

Posted by: Boko999 | May 31, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the cut and paste, but this just in from The Onion...

Critics Blast Al Gore's Documentary As 'Realistic'

NEW YORK-- The Al Gore-produced global-warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth is being panned by critics nationwide who claim the 90-plus minute environmental film is "too disturbingly realistic and well-researched to enjoy."

"I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief in man-made climate change for the first half-hour--and utterly impossible after that--which makes for a movie-going experience that's far more educational than it is enjoyable," said New York Post film critic Skip Hack. "Gore's film overwhelms viewers with staggering amounts of scientific information until nothing about global warming is left to the imagination, and that's just not good entertainment. Two stars."

Some critics have called the film's claims that sea levels could rise 20 feet somewhat sensationalistic, although most agree that this is not enough to save the film from being unwatchably factual.

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | May 31, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Nani, I urge you to also consider terriors. Large dogs in small packages. I have a cairin who is a clever, sociable, alert pixie. RD Padouk will agree, I think.

Posted by: CowTown | May 31, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

And if you want a dog the size of a weimaraner and the temperment of a terrier, consider an airedale. Very mild-mannered but fiercely loyal. My family had two of them. They are exceptionately good with kids as they are natural protectors. They were bred for hunting and were used as police dogs in Great Britain for a long time, which can be a plus or minus--they can be agressive when provoked and will bolt after small animals, but they have a very even demeanor and are good around people as long as they aren't strangers.

Posted by: jw | May 31, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Nani, from the Airedale Club of America's website:

Theodore Roosevelt described the Airedale as the breed that can "do anything any other dog can do, and then lick the other dog, if he has to."

Few breeds have performed as many different jobs as the Airedale Terrier. They track game like a hound, find and flush like a spaniel, and bring birds to hand like a retriever. As an all-round farm dog they catch vermin, herd livestock, and guard the homestead. The Airedale was one of the first breeds trained for police work. Airedales carried messages and equipment in wartime. Some have been trained for Search and Rescue or as service dogs for the disabled. They visit hospitals as therapy dogs. In performance sports they thrive in competitive obedience, agility, frisbee, flyball, and schutzhund.

Posted by: jw | May 31, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Q1. Does every city in Germany either have a dog or a food named after it?

Q2. Would Kennedy's speech have been funnier if he delivered it during the era of the Weimar Republic and said "Ich bin ein Weimaraner?"

In other news, NFL fans may be interested to hear that Ricky (oh, I inhaled all right, all four times) Williams signed with Toronto. There is also a spot available on our snowboard team. Ricky's agent, call me.

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 31, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Missed about a week's worth of everything here and really no hope (or time) to go back and catch up. I'll probably be returning to lurker status for the summer as there is much more to do in my new home than I had anticipated. (This won't come as news to anyone here who has moved into a "previously owned" house.) How does anyone who cooks or bakes at all work in a kitchen with only one drawer the correct size for flatware and utensils? You know where I'm going with this - I'll be looking at designing and installing a new kitchen.
Otherwise, the house is great, needs paint and decorating, but I enjoy that. We already painted the porch and arranged the furniture so it is my one sanctuary from the boxes and mess. The neighbors are friendly, the area is very convenient to everything. And to tie into the discussion a bit, we are also not too far from Cape Cod and Cape League Baseball, so I know where my 'roomy' will be spending his free time. The yard is gorgeous, many beautiful shrubs, trees and flowers. But the best part, we planted a small garden, and guess what we found at Lowe's - Mr. Stripey! So even tho' I won't be joining in the discussions much, I will be thinking of you all every time I'm out in the garden, watching him grow.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | May 31, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I see that the Homeland Security Dept. (motto: "Clouds are hard") is cutting funding to NY and DC by 40 percent, so you folks in Floyd's Knob and Sault Ste. Marie can get more and better anti-terrorist protection.

But hey, working only half a dozen blocks from the White House, I'm not the least bit worried.

(Memo to bc, mo, Dolph, TBG, et al., can we consider holding the next BPH at Iron Mountain, or maybe Dry Tortugas? Someplace further away from Ground Zero than 16th and M?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 31, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I guess there's no need to ask if the L-Mule had a good time at the BPH!

Posted by: ot | May 31, 2006 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Here's my first stab at the latin translation of the DHS motto (a little help over here? Loomis?):

Coelis Sunt Ardua

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 31, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse


also, the threesome at the bar? well, i guess you just HAD to be there... indeed, like a train wreck... can someone say "really big"?

Posted by: mo | May 31, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

also, i didn't "get" the magic of baseball until my first game at camden yards well after my 20th birthday - the yankees vs the o's... i instantly fell in love with the game! (die hard yankees fan - jw, go suck a lemon! :p )

football, on the other hand, didn't do it for me... even when i viewed it live...

Posted by: mo | May 31, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

ROFL, ot.

I wish I had those kind of Photoshop skilz.

Posted by: yellojkt | May 31, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

ot, that is GREAT! THANK YOU! I'm still laughing here.

I can't believe someone can actually make the picture funny NOT because there are five adults wearing tinfoil hats!

But I must say... we look mahhhvelous!

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Quite excellent, SofC.

But now I'm wondering if "Ardua Sunt Coelis" doesn't scan better? Hmmm. Lemme think about it...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 31, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, heres the list of who gets what for Homeland Security, perhaps you can choose your secure location. Memphis or Omaha seem like good choices.

Posted by: dmd | May 31, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"The Clouds are Hard?"

Isn't that the DJA motto?

I'd pick this:

Nebulae arduae sunt

(Arduus/a/um means steep, towering, lofty)

So it could also mean "those are some lofty clouds"

Aspera means "rough, sour, rough, stormy"

So again, if you go with

Nebulae (or Nimbae) asperae sunt...

You inadvertantly say "Those clouds are sure stormy."

Nebulae difficilae sunt...

Those clouds sure are difficult/obstinate...
to translate in latin without puns.

Nebulae durae sunt

Those clouds are some rough, tough, rude dudes.

But I think Joel was going for:

Nebulae inexplicabilae sunt

Those clouds are difficult, beyond explanation, inconclusive, without result.

I could go on... seems the Romans knew all about trouble. They must had great blues songs.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 31, 2006 6:24 PM | Report abuse

dmd... I forgot to tell you "THANKS!" for the link about Niagara-on-the-Lake. I really want to do some more exploring of the entire Buffalo/Niagara area. We really liked what we've seen so far.

Next time we're up there, we'll have to get together for a bi-lateral BPH.

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

So all together, in a meter sure to offend:

"Nebulae arduae sunt
Nimbi asperi sunt
Nebulae difficilae sunt
Nimbi duri sunt
Nebulae spissae sunt
Nimbi inexplicabili sunt"

Posted by: wilbrod | May 31, 2006 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Now, how many WaPo writers can brag they've been translated repeatedly into the Latin?

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 31, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

TBG no problem, it reminded me to check out what plays are on at the Shaw this year, they are doing The Crucible, one of my favorites. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a a common day trip in this house. Its funny when I was your sons age the drinking age was lower in NY and it was common to cross the river for an evenings entertainment.

Posted by: dmd | May 31, 2006 6:45 PM | Report abuse

If DHS doesn't want this it should be on the Achenblog Coat of Arms.

An arm with fist umber [recalling umbrage] on azure field [to signify shaking at the sky], with cloud argent ensigned [above].

"Nebulae inexplicabilae sunt" blazon [written]

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 31, 2006 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers....

I wish you all the best things in your new home. Just hearing the word "porch" tells me it's a great place, small drawers or not.

Moving is such a traumatic thing, whether it's across the country (haven't done that myself) or across the street (I've done that!).

How far did you move? From where to where (if you don't mind telling us)?

My sister and her family moved out of the house they'd lived in for almost 18 years. A couple of years later, the people who had bought their house called to say they'd found the message she left. What message? my sister asked. Turns out when my sister had the basement finished, she had written in magic marker on the concrete floor, under the carpet, "We hope all who live here live in a loving home." The woman who lives there now wanted my sister to know that her blessing was true so far.

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 6:56 PM | Report abuse

TBG: Niagara-on-the-Lake is beautiful in nearly every season. We've been there in spring, fall and winter and enjoy the awesome draw of the falls along with the great atmosphere of Buffalo. It's an underrated place to visit.
RE: Nats baseball...don't feel too discouraged, Joel. The Detroit Tigers are having their first winning season in ages. They had plenty of fair-weather fans when they were doing so terribly under the management/coaching of the 1984 World Series players. Now, you can barely get a seat at Comerica Park. Eventually, the Nats will be back. But I hope it's not this year, the year of the Tiger.

Posted by: JR | May 31, 2006 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I think it was the people of the receiving end of Roman "vastare" that had the best blues. I thinking of "Song of Zama", "Boudicca's Tears", "Paying the Denari to Tiberius" and "Masada Blues"

Posted by: SonofCarl | May 31, 2006 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod and SofC, you have me laughing here. They should be ours d*mmit.

It adds to Joel's international cachet for his blog to have its own coat of arms. Any designers out there? SofC has it pegged, all that needs doing is the actual picture.

Posted by: dr | May 31, 2006 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Looks like we've lost Loomis. :(

(I hope I'm wrong.)

Posted by: Dreamer | May 31, 2006 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks TGB, I moved from west of Boston to south of Boston, closer to the daughters and granddaughters who all live on Cape Cod. Yes, my porch is fantastic, big (24x16) and 3-season. My hammock is hanging there, but I'm afraid to get in it, too much to do. Tonight I am stripping wallpaper. The people we bought from lived here for 42 years, since the house was built. I feel a real need to honor their years here by keeping the house in good repair and being a good neighbor. The move itself was traumatic as I had the buyers from he11, but I already feel connected and very happy here, even with my way too small kitchen.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2006 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours in Niagara on the Lake last September and just loved it. It's the kind of place you could stay ten days or two weeks and never do the same thing twice. I remember reading that the Shaw festival put on Man and Superman some years ago. If I hear that they're doing it again, I'll make the trip. That's a play I'd love to see, even if it's a maranthon. It takes six or eight hours to stage, IIRC.

"He who can, does. He who can't, teaches.
No man should marry. Every woman should."


Posted by: Slyness | May 31, 2006 8:14 PM | Report abuse

slyness, I believe from the niagara-on-the-lake link I put on the bottom of the previous boodle and can get the schedule for the festival.

Posted by: dmd | May 31, 2006 8:19 PM | Report abuse

OK, it's really, really lame but remember I did it in just a few minutes while fixing dinner...

I hope someone can really do SonofCarl's design justice. (Get it? Justice? SofC is a lawyer? ha ha ha ha; I crack myself up at least)

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 8:25 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I just see the coat of arms with a fantastical animal, a unicorn or a griffen or something like that. But it's a good start!

dmd, they're doing Arms and the Man! That's a good one too.

Posted by: Slyness | May 31, 2006 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I went back to see about Arms and the Man, the only Shaw I know is St. Joan which I studied in high school and saw at the festival. It does look good might have to put two shows on my list.

Posted by: dmd | May 31, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse

This is really awful-- I don't have a blog so I hijacked somebody's account and posted a Geocites account. But it's the general idea of what SoC et al. said.

Posted by: Wilbrod | May 31, 2006 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I love the unicorns, Wilbrod. Now we just need the shaking fist.

Yours is better than mine, that's for sure. More coat-of-armsy.

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Bad sneaks, sorry to hear your new house has small cajones. But otherwise, congrats. And best of luck to your Mr. Stripey. Maybe one day we can arange a play date with yours, Padouk's and mine.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 31, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Excellent job, Wilbrod.

I'm tellin' ya, this Achenblog's got everything. Name me one other blog anywhere on the Internet that's got a coat of arms, a song book, a set of FAQs, a wounded tomato for a mascot, a couple of outstanding mottos (Clouds Are Hard, We Click, etc., tinfoil hats, a T-shirt, bumper stickers, a resident astronomer person, a quarterly retreat where communicants go for reflection, renewal, and Yuengling. Fisher doesn't have this. Drudge doesn't have this. Huffington doesn't have this.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | May 31, 2006 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey! Everyone! I just realized...

Sara's getting married tomorrow!

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 11:03 PM | Report abuse

No, no Wilbrod! Joel has cats, not unicorns in his household. We need lions. Or Tigers. (No bears.)

Posted by: nellie | May 31, 2006 11:04 PM | Report abuse

(Oh my!)

Posted by: TBG | May 31, 2006 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I could work on a lion on one side.

How did that Carroll rhyme go?

The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown
Some baked white bread, some brown
Others baked cake and drummed them out of town

Posted by: wilbrod | May 31, 2006 11:23 PM | Report abuse

My suggestions if we want a full coat of arms:

The top should be the rising sun, not the crown. The sun, light of reason and critical element of life.

The supporting animals don't have to be the same. One maybe a unicorn, symbol of life and humour. The other something for science related (maybe a Galapagos Iguana?

The motto might be on a scroll below, on a vine of tomatoes. Not just for our current obsession, but tomatoes are a good example of historical superstition overturned.

When I suggested the arm, I was thinking of the crest of the Royal Military College of Canada (minus the armour). TBG's is kind of cool - evokes the Man in the Basement. Wilbrod's also very cool.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 1, 2006 12:18 AM | Report abuse

you've got to see this - re hurricanes and climate change

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 1, 2006 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Joel, talk is cheap. You need to write a book for the average person...and a subject a majority of people find interesting instead of just you and your achengroupies (me included). This will bring you lots of lettuce. Elitelettuce or make the call. Aliens and George while facinating are just a little too left of center. And not too long, either. Watch those run away paragraphs / chapters with too much dribble. ...just trying to help with looming college educations and weddings...ouch. GLORY you have big time...advice you need.

Posted by: 853 | June 1, 2006 2:05 AM | Report abuse

You're right, Mudge, this blog has everything! Don't forget the Achendictionary, the resident fableist (you), poets, and experts on topics from early historical geneology to dogs.

I love the coats of arms - how creative. Pretty talented people to come up with those on the spur of the moment. A few days and we will have something to hang on the Achenporch. Put a panda in there, too. That was a mascot at one time.

Happy wedding, Sara and Jeremy.

I'm off for a fishing vacation in northern Wisconsin. We'll see how the bears and deer and fish like my lime green AchenT-Shirt. See ya later.


Posted by: boondocklurker | June 1, 2006 4:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. I'm up, and ready for that walk. I'm going to wait awhile for that, still dark. I like to walk early because it is so hot here. 90's everyday, plus humid. Maybe rain today. The best to you, Sara and Jeremy. A special prayer for one of our own, and asking all to join in. Loomis, where are you, we're missing you so much. Tomatoes have blooms on them. I do hope they turn out good. Bad sneakers, good luck with the move, and Mr. Stripey. Joel, you're on your way, I wish good things for you, and family. Love to all, and may God bless you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Christ Jesus.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 1, 2006 4:42 AM | Report abuse

Although I'm probably summoning a 'Mudgestorm, just like to point out that besides NYC and DC, the only major act of terrorism in the US in recent history has been Oklahoma City, and arguably Atlanta. And NYC and DC could have had all the antiterrorism funding in the world, and it would not have been enough to prevent 9/11. More funding for antiterrorism in those sleepy towns where the terrorists took their pilot lessons? Well who knows.

Also, its disingenuous the say that DHS cut funding to the cities, because these are grants. Just because a grant for X dollars is given in 2005, should that obligate DHS to that amount in 2006? Grants by their very nature will, and should, fluctuate from year to year based on need. The article states that funding for grants was cut this fiscal year, and that even though grants to NYC and DC were less this year, those cities and other major metropolitan areas still get a biggest cut. I don't have the data right in front of me, but from the table in the Post it looks like NYC is still getting more money than almost any other city by an order of magnitude. Also, since NYC and DC have recieved a huge amount of money already, it shouldn't be a surprise that grant money is now being focused on second-tier cities.

And that's all I'm going to say on that topic, because it hits a little too close to home for me.

Posted by: jw | June 1, 2006 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Wedding wishes to sara. I'm sure she is going to make jeremy a very happy spouse. No matter how bad and strange and weird the world gets, people will stil bond together in the triumph of optimism that a wedding represents.

I've never been very good at toasts.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 8:21 AM | Report abuse

As of 8 this morning, 177 people (not necessarily unique vistiors, it could be the same guy 177 times, but I doubt it) have checked out the BPH pictures. Of that, 105 took a closer look at the main group photo. Of the pictures of individuals, I won't name names in order to protect fragile egos, but it's pretty neck and neck for first place in the most viewed picture.

This is proof that people click, since to see the BPH pictures, you had to have clicked on the comments and then clicked again on the link. I have to think the Achenblog traffic is huge. Not Wonkette huge, but still big.

I have now Heisenberged the stats, as people will go and click on their picture to make them seem more popular. You will have to to a lot of clicking to become more popular than this picture of mine:

I love these little twisted social engineering experiments of mine.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 8:32 AM | Report abuse

jw is right. The issue with the DHS grants is that they are for equipment only. How many toys can you buy? After a while, even NYC will run out of places to put them. That's what's happened here. We buy the stuff, put it in storage, use it every once in a while, and have no funding for maintenance or replenishment. I haven't been able to make a connection between what's been purchased and increased safety in this community, and we are supposed to be a model for the rest of the country.

Posted by: slyness | June 1, 2006 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Well, I do have to admit we've done one thing that's helpful. We've used some of the funding for radio interoperability among the ten counties in the local region. At least all the public safety agencies can talk to each other. That's huge.

Posted by: slyness | June 1, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

SOme funny stuff on here since I bowed out yesterday afternoon, I'm just catching up.

On a not-funny note, I see that the WaPo is buying out some long-time staffers (again) as a cost cutting measure. Tom Shales, Courtland Milloy, Guy Gugliotta, all taking the buyout.

I really should have introduced myself to Guy when I had a chance, I really like his work.

Speaking of Guy, here's his latest on the "Hobbits":

No doubt Joel will Post up (ahem) on this at some point.


Posted by: bc | June 1, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Wonder who's getting their parking spaces...

Posted by: kbertocci | June 1, 2006 8:44 AM | Report abuse

On the plus side the Coast Guard is providing the air defense for the National Capital Region.

Posted by: jw | June 1, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, Thanks for the link to Drudge. I don't see that the head of the hurricane center has too much to do about global warming. He has everything to do with seeing to it that warnings are acted upon, and by all accounts, he did a good job of it last year. Even if the death toll in Mississippi was ten or fifteen times higher than it should have been.

As for NOAA, at least NOAA Fisheries manages to list endangered species.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 1, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I'll miss Courtland. Tom Shales already seemed to be on the Kornheiser-envy track. Shales is going to stick around under contract, which make him a double dipper.

You had to be 54 with 10 years of service to be eligible. How does Joel stack up on those requirements? I think Weingarten is eligible.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Getting back on the original kit point, at least the Nats managed to salvage one up in Philly yesterday. I'm going to have to do some real work today, since I'm blowing off most of tomorrow to go play with (real)trains up in PA. If you're up for a unique weekend excursion--

Posted by: ebtnut | June 1, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Gene's close, I think.

Joel's most of a decade away. If he doesn't get pulled away by Bob Wright's Universally Colossal Moneymaking Schemes, that is.


Posted by: bc | June 1, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Both Kathy Lee Gifford and Tom Shales will soon be in semi-retirement.

Balance has returned to the ether.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 1, 2006 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: omni | June 1, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Whoa, omni.

Those Wiki entries make me think of Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age".


Posted by: bc | June 1, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Because Mudge and jw have brought up the subject of DHS budget allocations, please know that the Homeland Security debate in these parts is coupled with the fierce immigration debate. Since so many headlines, nationally and locally, in the past month have dealt with various aspects of Mexican workers--both legal and illegal, I pondered to myself how long is our border with Mexico, even mentioning my musing about how many miles we share as common border with our southern neighbors to my husband.

Our local columnist Carlos Guerra, who is one of our top-notch local writers, answered the question I so recently asked myself (but was too lazy to Google) this past weekend in an op-ed that satisfied my curiosity and provided so much more--a listing of many border numbers and some surprising information about the Coast Guard that I had missed recently in the NYT. I'll let Guerra, with his goatee and Telly Savalas 'do, do the talking:

Perhaps an even more important issue left unaddressed, however, is that aside from our southern border, we also have two northern borders, and a lot more places where foreigners -- and security threats -- can enter that are still virtually wide open.

Most government agencies say that our border with Mexico is 1,933 miles long, and what most people think of as the Canadian border is 3,017 miles long. But that length excludes the Alaska-Canadian border and the Great Lakes. Add them, and the Canadian border stretches to 5,525 miles.

And land borders aren't the only way to enter the United States. There is also a 2,069-mile-long Atlantic coast, 1,631 miles of Gulf of Mexico coastline, 1,293 miles of Pacific coast, 6,640 miles of Alaskan coastline and 750 miles of Hawaiian coast.

Now, think back: How many times have we been told that whenever border-interdiction efforts are beefed up in any one area, the cross-border traffic will move to areas with less vigilance?

If enforcement along a partially walled southern border is beefed up, is there any reason to believe that the traffic -- in humans and security threats -- won't be diverted to our nation's coastlines, or the 341 ports on them?

And who is watching that?

The 39,000-person U.S. Coast Guard does that. But it is already so overwhelmed, the New York Times reported last week, that in many areas, guardsmen are alerting ship captains ahead of time that their ships will be boarded -- just to keep things moving. [I'm amazed that jw finds the time to Boodle ;-)!!!]

Why isn't this our top priority?

Posted by: Loomis | June 1, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Somebody forgot to tell Bob Wright that the Boodle had already trademarked lime green as a background color. ScienceTim took a picture of me in my (boring gray) WeClick shirt but I have yet to see it surface on the web. I think Tim's still working on the extortion demands. Little does Tim know his picture is already on my blog.

I made it through 15 minutes of the DivaLog. I think in that time, someone could come up with some lettuce for an internet business model based on people paying money to watch guys on webcams argue over global warming. Like mud wrestling for the mind.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse


I'm feeling stupid because I can't find an email address on the bloggingheads site, or anyplace on the site to submit/read comments. Bob said during the session, "We'll let the emails roll in, and see if they hate us," or something similar that implied he welcomed comments. But I don't see the link. Can one of you web-savvy techies help me out here?

Posted by: kbertocci | June 1, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Hi Loomis, I read that article the other day. I am not sure what is meant by top priority.

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Try this e-mail address, kb:

It's good to know Wright is helping the plight of the sinking nation of Tuvalu by registering his site there. I guess it's his little way of fighting global climate change.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Sixth box down on the right (or second to last):

About content:

Posted by: omni | June 1, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I'll miss Gugliotta tremendously. He used to pair up with science writer Rick Weiss a lot. Wonder if Weiss is still around as I haven't seen his byline much lately.

Had an interesting Tuesday night at the last public forum for the Main Plaza redevelopment project here. I decided to sit this one out and not speak at the mic. The politics are now starting to get interesting as heck. From May 10 through May 19, the city advertised it would be taking comments about the three proposed design schemes for the plaza.

Yet, on my birthday, May 17, an article ran at the top of the metro section saying the mayor had decided to keep two main east-west streets open above and below the plaza. (How many of the four streets to close around the plaza is the hot-button issue.) This means the mayor had to have talked to reporter Greg Jefferson on May 16, at the latest. (Greg is the one who reported about me standing up to George 41 on his son's war.)

Before this past Tuesday's meeting, I went to the city's website to see that Plan C, the third plot plan for the space of the plaza itself, was being displayed--with a date of May 17!

After Tuesday's forum, I talked with a young-middle-aged architect who has an interest in the project--but is not the spae planner for the effort. We discussed the abrogation of the democratic process. This lanky, lean young professional was funny and focused on how the city shenanigans were occurring before the public comment phase had officially closed.

He posed the question, "If you're going to ramrod through one particular design plan, don't you think Mayor Phil Hardberger could ramrod it through with more finesse?" "Doesn't it at least make sense for the comments period to close [on May 19], and then run an article on and date everything for May 20?" he joked half-seriously. His final quip: "Doesn't the mayor [early 70s] at least have handlers? What *were* they thinking?"

He also noted that anyone who attended the very first meeting several months ago could given his or hr e-mail address to be informed of upcoming meetings. His first notification was this last meeting on Tuesday. My first notification was for the May 10 forum. We both acknowledged that only way to truly know of the meeting schedule was to attend the meetings. The official e-mail informing those who signed up for electronic notification of Tuesday's session was posted only two hours before the forum was to take place. And if the plaza is renovated, they want to install wi-fi capability there--how ironic!

Yes, I would say that the mayor must learn how to ramrod with finesse.

Posted by: Loomis | June 1, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I knew I could count on you guys...

Posted by: kbertocci | June 1, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, do you have the link to that NYT story? I'd like to read it. First question that comes to mind is that there are two main reasons the CG boards ships entering the port--to protect the ship itself, or to act on intelligence that there may be some sort of illegal activity (anything from smuggling contraband to operating under illegal documents). For the first, it makes sense to notify the Capt ahead of time, the second not so much.

Posted by: jw | June 1, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

One thing you might not be aware of Loomis is that very shortly, people will need a passport to move between the US and Canada. This is going to slow things down at major crossings without a doubt. For the average crosser, its just going to be one of those gee whiz things that we will whine about for a few minutes and then we will all hunker down and accept.

Because the northern border has been so easy till now, its going to be interesting to see if there will be a rise in incidents at points without crossings.

There is a book out called Between Friends, which is photos all along the border. So many miles, and so much of it very very remote.

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

dmd writes:
I am not sure what is meant by top priority.

I assume that Guerra means that our top priority should be addressing the real holes in our national security and protection of our nation's borders rather than blowing up--out of true proportion--the immigration issues. (I offer as an example--English is the de facto language of our country, but must it also be de jure? Is that more important, than say, checking containerized cargo ships coming into major ports such as Los Angeles, New York, and Houston?) Several more grafs from Guerra's op-ed:

And regardless of how many times the two bills are touted as "comprehensive packages," neither addresses some of the most critical issues surrounding immigration and border security.

As noted earlier, one issue not really addressed is that 45 percent of the 12 million foreigners said to be living here illegally entered the country legally, with visas or border-crossing cards, and didn't leave when their permits expired.

Posted by: Loomis | June 1, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Is the U.S. the party insisting that Canadians have passports?

Posted by: Loomis | June 1, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Just this week, the fiancee was hassled by the Canucks while crossing the border. Apparently they were concerned that she needed a work visa because she was coordinating a meeting in Toronto. Maybe they're worried that all the cheap American meeting planners are stealing jobs from the Canadian ones.

Posted by: jw | June 1, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

jw, the NYT article is in the archives and therefore now expensive. Here's the abstract:

Some Ships Get Coast Guard Tip Before Searches

*Please Note: Archive articles do not include photos, charts or graphics. More information.
May 20, 2006, Saturday
By TIMOTHY EGAN (NYT); National Desk
Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 1, Column 6, 1289 words

DISPLAYING FIRST 50 OF 1289 WORDS -"Under intense pressure from shipping companies concerned about costly delays, the Coast Guard is tipping off some large commercial ships about security searches that had been a surprise, according to high-ranking Coast Guard officials. The searches began after the Sept. 11 attacks as part of a major revamping of..."

I read it when it originally ran. They seemed to be indicating there was now up to 2 days notice given for previously surprise boardings.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 1, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

dr, the passport/ID card issue has at last word been delayed. Obviously the border cities/states on both sides are lobbying due to the potential economic impact on both sides. Last I saw this morning was that there was a delay until 2008. Tourism is already down in our area as Americans believe they already need a passport to return to the USA, Canada is not insisting on the Passports for its citizens, it would be a US requirement to enter the states.

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I am a Luddite when it comes to the web -- I don't got no stinkin' HTML skilz. All my digital photos live within my opwn computer (and my two backups). Something that I need to work on, along with "talking street." Send me an e-mail at timtales at comcast dot net, and I will send you the picture so you can add it to your album.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 1, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Heres a link on the Passport issue

In the meantime come on up, NO PASSPORT REQUIRED FOR US CITIZENS, and for the most part we are friendly.

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

jw, This article is now a pay-fer because of the date. (But not for me, NYT select member, with lots of life experience...)

Some Ships Get Coast Guard Tip Before Searches

May 20, 2006, Saturday
By TIMOTHY EGAN (NYT); National Desk
Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 1, Column 6, 1289 words

DISPLAYING FIRST 50 OF 1289 WORDS -Under intense pressure from shipping companies concerned about costly delays, the Coast Guard is tipping off some large commercial ships about security searches that had been a surprise, according to high-ranking Coast Guard officials. The searches began after the Sept. 11 attacks as part of a major revamping of...

Posted by: Loomis | June 1, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

DHS PSA: Check out the US VISIT program which uses biometrics data to match visitors with documents. The idea is to move away from using the photos in passports (which can be counterfeited) and instead use biometrics to track foreigners moving in and out of the country.

Posted by: jw | June 1, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Damn that NYT!

Posted by: jw | June 1, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Part of how people become illegal aliens is out of pure stupidity by the U.S. We had some German post-docs with us. In each case, they had visas that expired while they were here, because the visa term did not precisely match the term of employment for their grant program. They also each had a spouse and children. In order to renew the visa, they had to exit the U.S. and apply at the U.S. embassy in their home country, although apparently the embassy in Canada also is willing to accept visa applications from Germans. There is no mechanism for them to renew their visas from within the U.S. -- at least, this is our relationship with Germany. With other countries, the situation may be different.

They were extremely unwilling to do this, because they were familiar with the visa process in Germany -- there was every chance that they would sit in Germany for 6 months, separated from wife and children, waiting for the visa to be processed. Or, their families could come to Germany as well, forcing them to accept the costs of maintaining two complete households for an indeterminate period of time. The only workable solution was to stay within the continental U.S. until their term of employment was up before returning to Germany. Of course it's illegal for them to stay past the term of their visa. But ask yourself if you can honestly say that you would do differently?

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 1, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I grew up in Northern Virginia in the 50's and early 60's when the Senators(both original and expansion)were in their prime. This meant seeing Maris and Mantle once hit 5 homeruns between them in a doubleheader at RFK when it was a new stadium(of course the Senators lost both games). It was sad as a kid to watch my father suffer through so many bad baseball games. I remember Robert Garowski(pardon me if I spelled the last name wrong),White House correspondent for NBC during the Eisenhower Administration telling me that his two favorite teams were the Cubs(he was from Chicago) and the Senators. It breaks my heart to this day to think of how hard it is to sustain enthusiasm for teams that never win. Having lived in Detroit for the past 40 years, I have seen the Tigers win two World Series. To this day fathers tell their sons stories of seeing Denny McLain win 30 games or Al Kaline play in his only World Series. A new stadium will help, but Washington will really come alive as a baseball town when the Nationals give them memories they can carry with them forever. Boston had Williams and Yas to keep the spirit alive all those years. Ask the folks in Detroit! Baseball has come alive there again this year because the fans have see signs of hope after so many years in the wilderness

Posted by: Carl | June 1, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

So here is my question: what, precisely, is wrong with having lots of immigration from Mexico, or Canada?

Will it collapse the U.S. economy? Excuse me, but they're already here and the economy is still going, so that's a false argument.

Will it create a lot of crime? By definition, it is a crime, so it creates crime in that sense. Nevertheless, the situation already is here, and most of our incarcerated criminals are home-grown, so that's not it.

Does it take jobs from American citizens? Maybe. However, the illegal immigrants already are here, therefore the jobs already have been taken. Furthermore, because most of the illegal immigrants have to be off the books, their illegal status deprives the U.S. of the opportunity to tax that labor and thereby fill the public coffers in accord wit the amount of work that is being done.

Does it allow terrorists to get into the country? Yes, because they are blanketed by vast numbers of illegal entrants who are not so well bankrolled in their ability to get in and do stuff.

It appears that if we can decrease the number of illegal immigrants, we can make it harder for terrorists to hide among them. We have been unsuccessful in stopping migrants from entering this country, so the only solution therefore must be to change the rules for immigration, so that more of the net supply of migrants enter under a legal status. This also makes their labor taxable, so it is a net gain for the U.S. -- those people already are here and working, so it is the nation's own rules that keep illegal immigrants from contributing their fair share to the public coffers.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 1, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

We hasseled someone? How very un-Canadian. The only border crossing I have done was at airports and in the west. The busier the crossing the greater the chance of issues. It probably was someone who had not had all their coffee. Between Canada and the US its always been very very fluid for the most part and we have all benefitted.

Since dmd has posted good data on the current situation all I will add, is that they will keep pushing the date off. There is no way the government, any bureaucracy could process that much paper to make it happen by the 2007 original date. As much as we are not ready for it, the US is not ready for it.

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

jw, the key word is to say you will ATTEND a meeting, not coordinate, organize etc. No visa required then.
Passport (including new standards) will be required for people coming by air in Jan 07. By surface it will be needed in Jan 2008. Since it is not required to enter Canada it is conceivable that US Citizen will be stopped from re-entering their country next January. That will be rather entertaining for Canadians in attendance. Cost of US passport for a family of 4 (2 teens): $360.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 1, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I have a radical notion, as an experiment to see what can be done about policing our borders and whether there is a solution to immigration problems that ultimately will fix everything: make the border shorter. How?

Buy Baja. The whole thing. It takes away a mighty inconvenient land border with Mexico. We take it over as a Territory, bring up the standard of living, all that good stuff. In exchange, we no longer have a Mexico-California border.

If that works out, we talk with Mexico about slowly buying up their other states and slowly introducing them to our Union as States #51, #52, etc. Eventually, we work our way down to the skinny part of Central America, by which time our border gets way tiny.

All those people want to move here to work, and send money home, because it's cheap to live there, because nobody has any money. The nation of Mexico ought to go pretty inexpensively, at least at first. It worked for the Louisiana Purchase. Why not now?

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 1, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how passports will make things safer from terrorist, if you wanted to enter our countries with the intent of doing serious harm wouldn't you want to enter with all your papers in order, to fly under the radar? As for immigration, it might prevent those who can't affort a passport, but how would it stop someone who has a passport.

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Re the buyout: I want to know, will George Will take it? Come on, he gotta qualify.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Boodlin' out of order as usual, what, no horse on the Achenblog coat of arms? How's about a Panda riding a Palomino stallion named "Gentleman Joel"?

I appreciate the doggie suggestions; my heart is set on brother and sister Weimaraners. Any suggestions for names? Something lovely, lyrical? I'm leaning towards "Vivian" (my mother's name) or just the old fashioned doggie name "Lady".

Lindaloo, I'm grateful for your posts and that you're so civic minded about my beloved city. If only it could keep its 1950s-70s charm. I know, I know, you can't go home again.

Bad Sneakers, we just moved halfway cross the country too. The people who lived here before left so many beautiful plants and flowers.

Posted by: Nani | June 1, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

ScienceTim: "you a genius"!

That's almost up there with my plan to move Israel to Cuba.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 1, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Surely a birth certificate would allow US citizens to go home without a passport?

We got our passports when we wnet to Mexico. Each time we have gone with people who did not have passports. Each time the non passport people were the people being checked over for excess weight, for baggage searches, whatever. Passports make sense.

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Shrieking Denizen, are you a Canuckistani as well?

Nice to see Cassandra is still here. You were pretty concerned that you wouldn't be able to continue, so it's nice to see that you didn't have to stop boodling.

Loomis, at your convenience, I would be interested in your comments on Dawkins' books as you alluded to the other day.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 1, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Umm, I'm not kidding. Admittedly, it will never happen, but that doesn't make it an inherently stupid idea -- just a politically impractical one. Nobody has to move, nobody's "official language" gets changed, nobody has to change which side of the road they drive on, and nobody needs to move any thousands-of-years-old temples (that would be the practical problem with moving Israel to Cuba). Taxation regulations change in Baja, we pick up more impoverished people to start with, but we get lots of suddenly-legal people to work in the suddenly-larger U.S. C'mon, there must be something good about Baja, otherwise why would so many Americans go there on vacation? Now, we can make it more expensive for them to do so (to the benefit of the locals) and enforce clean-air laws on them and their fuel (to the benefit of everyone).

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 1, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Clearly Canada is going to be swamped with forgetful Americans within the next few years.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 1, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, last night's comment about Sneaker's kitchen situation made me smile. Glad to have taught you a useful word.

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The history of US expansion in the 19th centruy followed two basic precepts:

1. If we want it, buy it.
2. If they won't sell, take it.

This strategy worked very effectively except for Canada.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Science Tim, don't forget about we northerners. While you guys would be busy buying up Mexico, we Canucks will take advantage of the inattention. Just think of what we could do. Bwhahahaha.

The fact of the matter is that North America for better or for worse functions, as one ecomonmic and geographic entity. Our borders really are just lines in the sand so to speak.

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Make an offer.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I have a hard time keeping track of the financial arrangements of all the people who "write" for the Post. My guess is that Will is an independent contractor to the WashingtonPost Writers Group and the Post just picks up his column. For a full list see here:

I was surprised to see Ellen Goodman on the list because she writes for the Boston Globe and I read her in the Balto Sun, not the Post.

Weingarten is both a Post writer and a syndicated columnist. I guess you have to be able to read their W-2s to really figure it out.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Tim, that's a wonderful idea! Will you please explain why it would be politically impractical? Politically impractical for the US, or for Baja? Both?

Posted by: Nani | June 1, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

3. If you can't take it, join the cultures so seamlessly that the average kid says at one point "that's a different country?"

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 1, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't think George Will is a WaPo staffer. I think he's a contract guy, like Shales will be.

If we do buy Baja, what do we rename it to establish ownership (Baja California won't do.)?
"South Canada"?
"Baja Fresh"?
"West Florida"?
"South Cali?"


Posted by: bc | June 1, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

>Umm, I'm not kidding.
Actually, neither was I.

>nobody needs to move any thousands-of-years-old temples (that would be the practical problem with moving Israel to Cuba).

The plan was to have Disney build replicas of the temples, because of course there are several "shared" among religions anyway. Just more problems. Build 'em new and you can provide better bathroom access as well as a new easy-to-get-to vacation destination for all the North Americans that don't want to fly all the way to the MidEast.

Think of the fuel savings.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 1, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Sorry count me out, I am a proud Canadian and wish to stay so, I am not anti American just proud of who I am. The reality is we have a huge border, and it is in the best interest of both countries to continue good/fair trade relations.

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Yes SoC, I'm from North New-York state. I'm actually in the Other Federal Capital, in view of the Peace Tower. This passport business will cause a major mess I'm afraid. New international passport standards are being developed as well. The US is pushing for a format that includes all kinds "queryble" biometric info (prints, retina pictures, etc) in addition to personal information (DoB, address SIN/SocSec number, etc). Theyre will be a hot market for the little passport readers. The bad thing is it won't affect the rather strong nightly traffic between the US and Candian portions of Indian reservations...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 1, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Buying Baja is politically impractical, because we now actually (pretend to) respect the opinions of people occupying land that we want. I suspect that the people of Baja would reject the purchase in a vote. At present, they can cross the border illegally, make money in the U.S., and then spend that money in Baja, where it can go an order of magnitude farther. The U.S. also would reject it: out of bigotry and out of concern over the number of poor people for whom we would be taking responsibility.

Penny-wise, pound-foolish.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 1, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Pretty good, SciTim. The logical place to stop would be the Panama Canal, since it is a water barrier and fairly hard to cross, and with only a handul of easily regulated crossings.

Even better, I've been pondering eventually retiring to the Maya Riviera, and it would be cool if I could still do that without leaving the U.S.! Can you imagine how cool it would be to have Quintana Roo as a state! Why, there are just huge expanses of the Yucatan jungle just ripe for massive exploitation, pollution, miles of tract housing---and just think, you could find spots for maybe 40, 50 Wal-Marts, easy! Maybe 600, 700 Starbucks...

We could trash that place in no time, and we've already got a leg up on it!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, just saw your reply to my request asking for additional information on priorities - thanks. Just imagine what could be done if as much attention was placed on preventing the deaths that occur daily, and are preventable from illness or accidents.

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad all this talk of offers and purchases came up, because I've been looking for a segue for some time now.

You know, I think the U.S. has had a great run, and sowed a lot of wild oats. Don't you think it's time to come on home to a consitutional monarchy? Let's just let bygones be bygones and admit that mistakes were made on both sides.

Now, I don't have full authority to speak for the Queen on this point, but I am quite confident some agreeable terms could be worked out. I know I would strongly recommend a settlement.

Just think about it.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 1, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

re: purchasing Baja and Central America isn't that replacing land borders with increased coastline?

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

On the other hand, maybe we should think about annexing places with higher ground and cooler climates (since everything's going to get hotter)...

dr, SofC, you guys got mountains up there, right? At least 50, 60 feet above sea level?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

George Wills is bieing reasonable again. Instead of winding everybody up, calling each other racist or heartless, why not try enforcing the laws already on the books.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Buying Baja and Central America would, indeed, increase the length of coastline. Coastline, unlike land borders, makes for vacation real estate. Thus, I view it as a net increase in wealth. The cost of illegal immigration goes up with a coastline -- after all, you need a boat. Thus, we get a better class of illegal immigrants with coastal borders, because they own property.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 1, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I guess that fits in with the theory of having everyone enter the US have a passport it will not preventing them from staying illegally or committing illegal acts while they are in the country, it just ensure they are not the poorest of the poor, they will take the higher paying jobs or be better educated criminals/terrorists.

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Hubby worked late into the night, past midnight, so has reprieve to get into the office around noonish. He's outside working on the brick patio, and I'll be there momentarily. Then off to the doctors this p.m. Will try to address Dawkins for you later today, more likely manana.

Posted by: Loomis | June 1, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Hey, SofC, I'm game! Besides, QEII always looked a bit like my Aunt Barbara, and William and Harry sound like cool dudes.

I wouldn't have to, you know, wear a powdered wig or anything, would I?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Now you've done it SofC, You let the cat out of the bag. So much for our nefarious plan to take them over on the sly.

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

bc asks:
If we do buy Baja, what do we rename it to establish ownership?

Bene Pendentes?
La Peninsula Buena?
La Tierra de Cortes?
Aguas de Pescados Grande?

Posted by: Loomis | June 1, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I support the idea of the U.S. government building a wall along the Canada/U.S. border. Not only would we be the best hockey players, we'd become handball/squash masters. The quality of U.S. graffiti artists would take a quantum leap too.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, only if you want to (powdered or not). Not saying anything, but the law here is very liberal with respect to sexual orientation.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 1, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

How did you yourself describe your hair after the first BPH photos made the rounds? Spiny oyster or some such? Maybe a powdered wig, would, uh, you know, possibly, improve your DNA-determined tresses? Sure to be a conversation starter on the bus. *w*

Posted by: Loomis | June 1, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

hey 'mudge - you keep your hands off of panama! *puts up her dukes*

Posted by: mo | June 1, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Border crossing stories:

On my honeymoon we were traveling from Vermont to Quebec and stopped at the border. I had recently renewed my passport just for the occasion. When packing I threw two passports into the suitcase. When I fished them out, both passports were mine. I had taken both the new one and the expired one and left my wife's at home. She fished through her purse and found a drivers license and voter registration card that the Mountie accepted as proof of citizenship. My marriage was saved.

The next time we went to Canuckistan, we toured the Finger Lakes first, bought some wine and then crossed into Canada at Niagara Falls. Later we crossed back to the American side to take the tour and were asked if we had any alcohol in the car. We mentioned the wine we had bought in New York. We were told that since the wine had not stayed in Canada for at least three days, we could not bring it back into the country. The border guard eventually took pity on us and relented, letting us continue our smuggling operation.

From there we went back into Canada and drove down to Niagra-on-the-Lake, bought some wine there and then traveled onto Toronto, so our Finger Lakes wine crossed the border twice each way.

Overall, I would rather annex Niagara than Tijuana.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, that is not necessarily true. Ask the people in Florida about their boat people from Cuba.

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Uh, didn't we give away Panama once already? That would make us Indian-takers. The Panama Canal Zone in its day was the world's only functioning example of state socialism.

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

Mo, I got George Duke and Duke Snyder. Is that enough Dukes?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 1, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

My sister-in-law is Vietnamese and married a Marielito. Neither speak English well. They had met at a community college ESL course. He was an "engineer" in Cuba and now works as a technician with the cable company. I asked why they named their daughter Jennifer. He said it just sounded very American. She is in the high school IB cirriculum. That's the way America is supposed to work.

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

Not enough??? how about Duke Kahanamoku?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 1, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Steal a country, cut it in half, then give it back. As a foreign policy I think this leaves something to be desired. Sanity?

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

How do we deal with the Great Lakes wall, some kind of giant water volleyball net ?
Right now its a little stupid, the fisherman who wants to dine on the opposite side as to find a marina with a customs/immigration office and self registered his entry. I'm just laughing when the immigration guy is giving us trouble. Does he/she thinks a bad guy would go through all that trouble ?
But the US coast Guard is on it, part of the solution is they will install some Ma deuce (.50BMG machine guns) on some of their vessels...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 1, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

neat story, yellojkt. I like that.

DolphinM, you forgot the worst one, David Duke.

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

dolphy - as long as your dukes can keep 'mudge away from my panama!

yello - you only gave us back the canal zone - thereby securing our chances at independence from columbia... (the occupation that is...)

Posted by: mo | June 1, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

we only gave the zone, does mean still own the rest (just kidding)...

Also don't foget John "The Duke" Wayne...

Posted by: omni | June 1, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Um, there's another one of those things. Kits. You know, where I say stuff. Just thought someone might be innersted to know that.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 1, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

And "Uncle Duke"--currently helping run Iraq as Mayor of Al Amok?

Posted by: kbertocci | June 1, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, you don't need a boat, just a car:

Posted by: jw | June 1, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Either I need to take a walk, or my brain is fried from the last one...sheesh!

Posted by: omni | June 1, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

and the Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl!

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


I don't think Alvaro Uribe, just reelected this past weekend, has any interest in annexing Panama. He's got his hands full keeping Venezuela's claws off the coal and oil on the opposite side of the country. Even 100 years ago, I don't think

Teddy R is not seen by Colombians as a very nice person. The Colombian government had plans to build the canal on its own and was looking for funding. The French were supposed to be helping, which may explain why they didn't succeed. When the US offered help, Colombia did not accept. The terms offered would benefit the US only. So the US did the only American thing to do and incited the people of Panama to break away. The US didn't have much difficulty since Colombia was in the midst of a civil war known as La Guerra de los Mil Dias. The General Rafael Reyes took over the country soon after this. He tried hard to make things better. His motto was "less politics, more administration".

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

omni - ya never OWNED panama dude! you occupied the canal zone! zat's all!

Posted by: mo | June 1, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Please line up quietly and proceed to new kit. No talking in line.

Posted by: nellie | June 1, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

If Richie Cunningham grew up to become Duke Cunningham is the Fonz Jack Abramoff

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Hi, team -- nothing overly insightful (or even on topic) to say, just wanted to weigh in and let everyone know how much I appreciate this boodle. It would indeed be a shame if it were to disappear completely (though Joel needing relief from the burden of near-daily writing is certainly understandable). Occasionally while chewing a sandwich at my desk, I will dip into some of the other WaPo blogs, and I am VERY glad I read this one first.

The level of discourse is just so ignorant, or gratuitously insulting, or both. The most egregious are that parenting thing "On Balance" and a political one by some guy named Chris Collizzi or Cozzillio or something. Ugh ugh and double ugh.

Thanks for being charming and witty and informed. I am sure you are all good-looking too. If a porch session is ever scheduled for an hour when I can make it, I would love to meet my imaginary friends in the flesh. (I work in Silver Spring so getting downtown much before 6 PM v. difficult, though admittedly easier for me than for the Canadians.)

Posted by: annie | June 1, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I am sure that, at some point, omni had a drink or two with a couple of dukes. Maybe a lady or two and a princess.

The evening probably ended with the princess and a pea.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 1, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

annie... the Boodle get-togethers only BEGIN at 5. They last well into the evening. I usually arrive at 6 (that's clearly when the cool kids get there). Please join us next time! And bring some wax paper, please.

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company