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Gosh I wish I'd written this, by Louis Menand in The New Yorker:

"The public concern over natural hearing loss--the Times explains that the medical term is 'presbycusis'--is part of a trend that started when Bob Dole told the nation that he had trouble getting an erection. Now television commercials inform us that thirty million American men may have trouble getting an erection. Wow. And these are big, friendly, touch-football-playing guys, with George Clooney smiles and luscious, adoring, patient wives. Decay is everywhere discussed, though it is always, weirdly, disguised. Young women with luminous skin explain the importance of fighting premature wrinkling. Thirty is the new forty. We know that this is just anxiety manufactured to sell products, but it does have an impact. People worry about being old before they get old. Americans are living longer but, somehow, aging sooner."

Read the whole piece, it's a classic Talk of the Town.

Next we have a hard-nosed political memo from Bill Galston, classic New Democrat, designated thinker in the West Wing early in the first Clinton term, and co-founder of a new journal called The Democratic Strategist, which we learn about via Broder. Galston is the ultimate realist:

"There is no - repeat - no-possibility that a politics of liberal purity that fully satisfies the base can garner a national majority anytime soon. Yes, we can choose to mount our own version of the Goldwater campaign and hope against hope that the politics of purity eventually turns into a majority. But given our country's downward slide, are we really willing to wait another 16 years to regain power? The alternative is a coalition in which the base understands that the majority of our majority can only come from people unlike themselves. And that means paying attention to what people in Columbus and Scranton think, not just California and the Upper West Side."

This morning there's a great story on ethanol by The Post's Justin Gillis. Is this the future, or just a fad? Gillis writes: "Perhaps the biggest issue is this: Time and again, the country has grown interested in alternative fuels only to drop the subject as soon as oil prices fell. Will the United States be able to make a plan and stick with it for the long haul?"

As it happens, last night I was rummaging through old magazines and came across a story in Smithsonian on people who power their cars with vegetable oil. Some used recycled cooking oil -- grease -- from restaurants. All interesting stuff if you're paying attention to alternative energy. But when you poke into this topic, you run into some staggering numbers about energy in this country:

"The National Biodiesel Board, a trade group in Jefferson City, Missouri, estimates that more than 2.5 billion pounds of waste cooking grease are available annually--enough to make 100 million gallons of biodiesel. Of course, America's appetite for petroleum is huge: 2004 consumption was nearly 315 billion gallons, including 139 billion in gasoline and 41 billion diesel."

Can I just note that my problem with diesel consumption is the mouthfeel.

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 22, 2006; 7:37 AM ET
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I've been telling my family that the increasigly neutral colour in the hair on my temples and in my moustache is blonde. I'm insistent that my hair is reverting back to the blonde of my earlier life. Ha!

Posted by: jack | June 22, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Better to pour recycled cooking oil into your gas tank than down your arteries and veins! The mouthfeel may be bad, but the satiety factor is high--wonder if your car's engine thinks so! A little fat will go a long, long way in filling you up--many human m.p.h. calorically.

Both WaPO and the NYT had articles ver recently about the cell phone ring tomes that young people can hear, but older adults can't because of hearing loss. The NYT allowed, in an interactive feature, the reader to play and hear the tones. I did--twice. My husband and I heard nothing, but our sheltie ran across our home office floor, crouched in a cowering position near my husband, with his ears up and stiff, as though they were cardboard. Frightened him horribly--he must have thought the bogeydog was after him.

Posted by: Loomis | June 22, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

To paraphrase Gloria Steinem slightly:

"My circumstances set me apart from many of my friends--for instance, I couldn't have children so I don't have their growth as a measure of time."

I have so few photographs of my husband and me around the house, and, since I'm in charge of decorating, it took me *years* to put up the limited number that I have (because I always felt that three people were missing), so there is no physical reflection of the fact we are growing older. "We are trying to behave as though the long middle plateau of an activist middle of life goes on forever."

Posted by: Loomis | June 22, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

bogeydog, haha

Posted by: omni | June 22, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Good morning every...hey! Am I missing a meeting?

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I bought a car this week, a 2006 Toyota RAV4. I would have bought something smaller, but my husband, who is a big guy, would have had a fit. I intend to keep this vehicle for a long time, but when it's time for the next one, I don't want to have one that depends solely on gasoline.

Hubby insisted on getting the bigger engine in the RAV4. Again, not something I would have done, but it has decent mileage: 22-24 city, 27-29 highway. It certainly beats his Dakota pickup, which hovers around 13 mpg.

Saw an article several weeks ago, on, I think, about a University of Illinois experiment with converting hog poop into diesel. Now there's a good idea!

Posted by: slyness | June 22, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

One thing to keep in mind--all those huge piles of corn stalks are going to SMELL as they decompose. Know that sort of sweetish yet annoying smell you find when someone has just put down fresh mulch? Multiply that by about a thousand. Similar problems have cropped up with swine production facilities in the mid-west as well. I'll say this once again--we need a comprehensive national transporation policy. Continuing to expect to have an ever-growing number of cars on the roads, whatever they use for fuel, is still a losing proposition.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 22, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Oklahoma is a big energy producing state, and while it has concentrated on petroleum based products it is also an agricultural state. As farming goes downhill, the possibility of biomass energy and ethanol has lots of people excited. In my admittedly imperfect understanding, the main problem with ethanol is it currently requires more energy to produce it than it puts out, and switchgrass is even worse. Sciencey types (someone else used that and I find it charming), what do you think?

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 22, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Here is a good link for BioFuels, from World Watch Institute.

There is also a link to reduced methane producing cows.

Posted by: dmd | June 22, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Just finished "Good Omens" the other day and no book has made laugh that much since reading "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" back in the 80's.

Also finished the illustrated copy of "The Da Vinci Code". Whoever recommended the Illustrated version (I forget, was that you Lindaloo), I just want to say thanks, the pictures and illustrations were great.

Yesterday I started a non-fiction book. In my next life I want to be Governor-General of the universe so that I can pass a law for non-fiction authors. If you're going to write a book about an historical figure that may or may not have actually existed MAKE THE DAMN THING INTERESTING. SHEESH, this is the third book of this type that I've bought recently and all three are the most incredibly boring books ever.

So anyhow, I set it aside and started on the sixth installment of the "Covert One" series.

Posted by: omni | June 22, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

And here I thought everyone would be riding Segway's by now.

Uh oh, Boss. You've reproduced mild criticism of the American Moonbat Community. Umbrellas, everyone.

Posted by: CowTown | June 22, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The New York article Joel referred to lists as synonyms for young people the following: "hooligans, yobs, scamps, ne'er-do-wells, scapegraces, ruffians, tosspots, and bravos."

Any and all of these are immediately available as boodle handles. Please contact scottynuke for registry information and current pricing. (We're offering a 10-percent markdown on "tosspots," if anyone is interested.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't stand it any more and had to look up "tosspot" to see if it was even listed in my dictionary. It was (origin circa 1568) and means drunkard.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

> "hooligans, yobs, scamps, ne'er-do-wells, scapegraces, ruffians, tosspots, and bravos."

Yeah, even British bad guys sounds classier than our thugs, gang-bangers, crooks, evil-doers, mobsters, gangsters, republi^H^H^H

Posted by: Pixel | June 22, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I proposed "ne'er-bood-well" a while ago but no takers. "Boodligan" might also work.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Grand and great-grandchildren are the best thing about getting older. They are your opportunity for redemption, your immortality! And, as a special added attraction, they're just plain fun! They think you're (I'm) fun too! They never think you're too old; they share their hopes and dreams with you. And no matter what you cook, be it an entire elaborate Thanksgiving Feast or simply a slice of toast, "Oh, Nani, this is SOOOOOOO GOOD!"

Posted by: Nani | June 22, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

By my cock's bones, that's some list of ne'er-do-wells!

And tosspot? Better than pisspot or chamberpot, I would imagine! Know the story on that one, Mudge?

And yes, omni, it was I who recommended the illustrated version. As I said, the art and architecture are half the fun. And how could you even get a feel for the Rose Line in the movie?

And my hubby is always filling our dog's head with stories of the bogeydog. Unfortunately, we tend to pronounce it "boogeydog." Strange sounds outside our house at night? It's the bogeydog. Strange dog howls in th neighborhood? It's the bogeydog. Our dog acting strangely? He's being stalked by the bogeydog...

Posted by: Loomis | June 22, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Ghana - 2
US - 1

good, now US can go back to concentrating on real spectator sports like baseball, golf, bowling, and NFL mini-camps.

Posted by: itsafinalnow | June 22, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

That's some of the fun of "Katherine," skyness--the language. You mentioned that your history concentration was not American history, I believe. What was it then? I'm quite curious. I would guess European--with a specialization in the Middle Ages.

I'm amused that Seton describes Thomas of Gloucester has having a bulldog-like face. Amused in a mildly pleasant way because this is Colin Powell's antecedent, and John of Gaunt's younger brother. And which puts Powell much closer to me on the family tree than Bush. Also found online yesterday a link showing Meriwether Lewis descended from Joan Beaufort by her first husband Robert Ferrers, which would put him even closer on the tree than Colin Powell. And I found the portrayal of Powell in PBS's "The Dark Side" fascinating. Wish Powell would write a book, darnit!

I found some interesting RootsGen chatter about the Thomas of Gloucester and Colin Powell connection yesterday. Seems like one of Powell's antecedents also allegedly liked to diddle with young boys. Oh!

Sir Eyre Coote (1760-1823), former governor of Jamaica and ancestor of
U.S. general Colin Powell is ejected from the Order of Bath for alleged
indiscretions with schoolboys.

Posted by: Loomis | June 22, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, my interest has always been Tudor history - 1485 to 1603. The first biography I ever read was about Elizabeth I and I was hooked - in the third grade!

Glad you're enjoying Katherine. I may have to get a copy and read it again, myself. It's been every bit of 35 years since I read it, so it would be new again.

Posted by: slyness | June 22, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

When I finished my cardo rehab program the other day, they asked me to fill out a discharge questionnaire. One part was a standard customer-satisfaction survey ("I appreciated nurses T, A, and J, who are pretty darned cute; nurse D didn't do much for me, seeing as how I'm straight and he's male"). The other part was a depression screening, for comparison to a similar screening when I started. My favorite questions were "Are you concerned about your health?" and "Are you concerned that you will not be able to live as long as you would like to?" Well, of course I'm concerned about my health -- I was in a cardio rehab program for people who have had coronary events. And since I would like to live to 140-150 years old, or so, I have my concerns about whether I'll be able to reach that goal. Asking the question seems a little silly.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 22, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, what's your favorite of the many movies about Elizabeth I?

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

No question: Butterfield 8.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Er...wrong Elizabeth, I guess.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I recently read a history of British sea power that, of course, has a section on this era. I desperately need a primer on some of the nautical lingo, because I don't know a jib from a jab. Most of it was land-lubbed down, fortunately. General rule seems to be to get upwind. Also, cross the T whenever possible, whatever that means.

Are the Hornblower and the series with Far Side of the World pretty land-lub friendly?

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm showing my age, SonofCarl, but I loved Glenda Jackson in the BBC series. Judy Dench did a great job in Shakespeare In Love, but other than that, I'm drawing a blank. No surprise there, given my age and decreptitude.

Posted by: slyness | June 22, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse


I read and enjoyed a couple of historical fiction books about Elizabeth I, so I decided to read an actual biography. I have Alison Weir's Life of Elizabeth I, but haven't started it yet. Is there a better one you would recommend?

Posted by: OK | June 22, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear about rehab Tim. Well, I guess it's good you ended up in rehab, because the alternative would mean that the event precipitating it was successful in it's goal of taking you down. All better now?

Posted by: LostInThought | June 22, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, I read Hornblower as a kid and understood it all. (War is hell, make no mistake about it, and war can be very complicated if you're on a single British frigate in the middle of the Pacific and the only woman on board is a Wellesley with the sense to deal with injured sailors. Just don't let me give the plot away.)

Go for it, you'll love it.

Posted by: slyness | June 22, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

slyness and SonofCarl, have either of you seen the 1939 film version of The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex with Bette Davis?. (Talk about showing one's age!)

Posted by: Nani | June 22, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The standard biography is J.E. Neale's, published in 1934. I haven't read Weir's, so I can't comment. I love David Starkey's book on the young Elizabeth; it gave better detail on the historical context that I have seen any place else.

Posted by: slyness | June 22, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I understand the U.S. scored a goal of its own, a novel feat for the team this year.

Small steps to world supremacy.

Posted by: kindathinker | June 22, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

No, Nani, but with Bette Davis, I'm sure it's good! Who played Essex?

Posted by: slyness | June 22, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

As for flicks, Kate Blanchette as E1 with Geoffrey Rush and a great supporting cast. As for a read about this Tudor heir of John of Gaunt, one might consider Rosalind Miles' historical fiction account of E1.

From Publishers' Weekly:
In a genre that often uses passionate love scenes to temper the drier affairs of history, a novel about the world's second most famous female virgin presents a challenge. There are love scenes aplenty, however, since Miles depicts the young Elizabeth as being as sexually obsessed as she is frustrated, her interest in men overshadowing affairs of state, religion and the succession to the throne.

Posted by: Loomis | June 22, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Nani, I haven't. For some reason I think that was recently on TCM?

I saw one of the BBC Hornblower episodes, and also Far Side of the World and thought those might be worth looking for as reading material.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

slyness, none other than our own Error Flynn! And Vincent Price plays Sir Walter Raleigh. Michael Curtiz directed it. It is indeed quite good. (It played on television when I was a child and one of Mother's favorites.) Now I must stop by the video store and order a copy. I suddenly must see it again.

Posted by: Nani | June 22, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

That does sound like it's worth a trip to Blockbusters, Nani.

Has anybody read the Elizabeth mysteries? I've just looked at them in the bookstore, haven't bought them, and would appreciate an opinion on whether or not they're worth the time.

Posted by: slyness | June 22, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Cate Blanchett is my favorite E1. Judi Dench is also great (but she's great in anything she does (used to love watching "As Time Goes By")).

Posted by: omni | June 22, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I suspect our burgeoning obsession with a youthful appearance is due to a crisis of rising expectations. Just as a population tends to riot not when things are bad, but when things are improving too slowly, people are getting testy about how they look because everything else is getting so darn advanced. It ticks us off that technology can make hyper-efficient electro-pneumatic whatnots while we, as individuals, still keep morphing into our great Uncle Mortimer. We demand better from Science.

And time, for some of us, is running out.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 22, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth was excellent, especially as a character study in her coming to terms with her responsibilities and status.

RD, I was thinking "what?", and then realized that you were on-topic.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Slyness. I've added those
to my list of books I need to buy as soon as I finish moving.

Posted by: OK | June 22, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Nani, I'm sorry that happened to you. And the attitude thing you mentioned is right on the money.

I realize that some of you cannot relate to the information concerning poverty, but I guess my point is, most of us can relate to some degree what happens when the problem is not addressed. And I don't say that to be mean or spiteful, but it is true. At some point the pot does boil over.

I am not going to touch the hearing-impaired subject, you know my thoughts on that one.

As to everlasting youth, who wants that? I mean if one looks really younger, and gets the guy or girl, when they find out your age, it's like "ugh". And they will find out. Your enemy will tell them, and if you look that good, you can believe me, you have enemies. Isn't the whole point of looking younger about getting the guy or girl?

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 22, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

RD, I like the medical advances brought to us through Science. I appreciate knowing how to make choices and take actions that improve my health, and having the option of advanced medical care should something untoward occur. I don't like to correlate the completely natural changes in my appearance due to aging with those technological advances. Culturally we all are under pressure to appear younger for no good reason that I can see. Changes in skin and shape and (so I'm told, not there yet) hair color as we age just happen -- and let's not even talk about what pregnancy and childbirth can do. All I can say is, even if I were the same weight as I was in college, I couldn't wear those clothes. Which, of course, is exactly what retailers want me to do -- wear clothes marketed to teenagers, that is. Bleah. I like to say I wasn't even interesting before I turned forty.
And I came to this conclusion BEFORE I started wearing reading glasses!

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 22, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

>No, Nani, but with Bette Davis, I'm sure it's good! Who played Essex?

>slyness, none other than our own Error Flynn! And Vincent Price plays Sir Walter Raleigh. Michael Curtiz directed it.

he he, OK ya got me. I have to see it now.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, Cassandra, right again. It IS that whole get-the-guy/girl thing. Have Ivansdad & I been married too long?
Regarding your comments on poverty, I posted a thank-you and supportive comment at the end of the last Boodle. When you think about it, the Youth Culture has a socioeconomic component too. Thanks to Wal-Mart & Target, we can all dress like teenagers and wear their makeup, but it takes some money to do special gym workouts, surgeries, etc., to really fool the crowds.

Whoever does the song lyrics, do you have them for Youth Culture? That's an Ivansdad song so I just barely remember it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 22, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I realized this morning that what's wrong with me/my attitude lately is that I've hit my mid-life crises. It's not everlasting youth that I want, and it's not about getting the guy (they tend to be so much work), but there is something disheartening to realizing that you're halfway through the game, and you still don't understand the rules. Or maybe the rules keep changing?

I don't begrudge the young their youth. I'll take experience (and therefore empathy, humanity, etc.) any day of the week. But I'm so far behind the eight ball, it does get a bit daunting. I wish I were the type that a nice pair of two-toned FMPs that I can't afford would snap me out of it. (Men buy sports cars, right?) Alas, that won't do. At least I won't hear the incessant cell phones ringing anymore.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 22, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, Ivansmom, I don't dress like a teenager; I certainly don't have the body to do that! But thank heavens for Lands End, or I would be naked. Read recently that Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are dropping their petite lines, because well-to-do women aren't short. (Was that a Robin Girvhan story?) Good thing I can't afford to shop those stores anyway!

Posted by: slyness | June 22, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

LostinThought, I always say for my mid-life crisis I'm buying a Harley. It will have to be a late crisis, though, since I don't want to set the boy a bad example (he's been told since preschool that he can have a motorcycle when he finishes college and graduate school and can pay his own insurance). You sound perfectly normal to me, what my husband & son call "not hip to the hyper". Make up your own rules.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 22, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The Cate Blanchett E1 was outstanding, but I thought the two-parter starring Helen Mirren a months or so ago on PBS was even better, if that's possible. I doubt Mirren's ever had a bad performance since 3rd grade--the woman eats up every scene. The script and all the support were excellent, too.

SonofCarl, the Hornblower series is very landlubber-friendly. Far Side of the World (aka the Aubrey-Maturin novels of Patrick O'Brian) is difficult to explain. On the one hand, no, O'Brian just loves to use the most difficult and obscure nautical language that leaves even us old sea dogs running for our reference books. But on the other hand, when he does this, its kind of an in-joke, and you don't really need to know what he's talking about, because in the context it's either clear or else not very important. So when he says Jack jumped from the futtock shrouds to the striker backstay, you say, "what the..." but it doesn't matter.

O'Brian's favorite joke, repeated through 20 novels, is that Dr. Maturin, the ship's surgeon is totally ignorant of ship terminology etc., but "thinks" he knows it, and so makes gaffes from time to time that Jack Aubrey must explain or ignore. So the short answer is, if Maturin doesn't ask, "Jack, what the hell are you talking about?" then you, the reader, can safely ignore the lingo.

Incidentally, you should read the O'Brian books more or less in order, since there's a lot of carry-over through the series, and characters die off from time to time, or other secrets are revealed, and it kind of ruins it for you if you read book #14 and discover somebody from book#8 is a traitor, or someone died, or whatever.
(You can pretty much read the Hornblower out of order. "Beat to Quarters" is generally regarded as the best of the series, and one of the best sea sagas ever written--at least until O'Brian came along.)

Now, "crossing the T." This is a highly desireable manuever when the fleet commander manages to get his line of ships to cross the path of the on-coming single-file of enemy ships--that way all his ships have an entire broadside of their guns facing the enemy, whereas the enemy ships only have two guns (the bow chasers) in position to fire back (and because they are single-file, many of those guns might be masked by the ship ahead).

At the Battle of Cape Esperance during the Guadalcanal campaign (are you paying attention here, Mr. Hewitt?), we won largely because Adm. Scott (by luck) managed to cross the T of Adm. Goto's "Tokyo Express" line of ships. At Trafalgar, on the other hand, Adm. Nelson deliberately allowed his column to have its T crossed by the French/Spanish allied fleet, then split the enemy fleet into sections, which he brilliantly demolished (tho he died doing so).

Getting upwind allows you to maneuver better than the enemy who is downwind. (No, it's not a methane/flatulence thing.) Jack Aubrey explains this to Stephen Maturin about every other novel (and Stephen never does quite get it).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

There you go -- another example of clever marketing strategy. Take it from me, lots of professional women, well-to-do and not, are short. Several of the high-end stores dropped their petite lines, not because they weren't selling, but because they tend to be more reserved (dowdy) and didn't appeal to the under-30 crowd. Saks recently re-thought this decision and is bringing petites back. Wonder if someone pointed out that, since their petite customers didn't just start shopping in the "teen" section, they were losing money?

I had to stand on a box for my wedding pictures with Ivansdad. The photographer just couldn't quite take the height differential.

Posted by: ivansmom | June 22, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Ivansmom. Normal is something I've never felt (disregarded too many rules, misjudged consequences, etc.), but it's nice to know that at least in print, I can pull it off.
Another sign that I'm old -- a Harley might be too loud for me. But then again, if the hearing is going.....

Posted by: LostInThought | June 22, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, I know its a picky detail, but its there for a reason. A lot of men will not say yes to those questions and then they and their loved ones suffer through a depression they don't know they have.

When my pop went through his stuff, a very wise doctor who was not his heart surgeon, but his vascular surgeon, warned us of the depression that can happen with heart patients as they are in recovery. We still had to go through his depression right along with him, and only now, some 4 years later, is he really seeing just how insidious it can be. Its hard for 77 (or is it 8?) year old gents to face stuff like that.

I hope you answered it truthfully and if MrsSciTim says you need to see your doctor about depression, moods, or things, please heed her.(I am sure you would not let it go so far, and I am sure you listen to her always, because she is a smart woman {She married you after all}).

Of course keep in mind that is really easy for me to sit here and say this, while I personally am vigorously avoiding going to the doctor to have that colonoscopy my mom is bugging me about, and that cholesterol thing my dad is bugging me about, and that stress thing that my regular doctor is bugging me about.

Wow, I'm almost veering right back to topic here. Getting old sucks, and we like to keep our heads in the sand as much as humanly possible.

Posted by: dr | June 22, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

just ordered "Beat to Quarters", thanks for the nudge mudge.

Posted by: omni | June 22, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

SofC, if you like audio books, I cannot recommend too highly the series of Aibrey/Maturin novels done by Recorded Books and narrated by Patrick Tull. (You can get them from the library, or buy them from Borders, which took the Recorded Books tapes and re-marketed them under their own label.) There are versions by other narrators that aren't as good--and there are abridged narrations that you should avoid at all costs. (Abridgements are an abomination. Don't get me started.)

The BBC Hornblower TV series starring Iain Gryffud or however the hell he spells it)is excellent, but be aware that they approximate only the first two or three Hornblower books when he is quite young and is a midshipman, whereas in the novels there are about 18 more books where he works his way up to admiral.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Ioan Gruffudd

Posted by: omni | June 22, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

dr, please go for the colonoscopy, we are currently waiting as my mom undergoes a battery of tests. Its really important.

I agree about the depression both my parents had (fortunately) small warning strokes, they have recovered but both went through mild depression after.

Re aging, I believe in aging with grace, wrinkles add character, only thing I can't cope with is the grey hair, I inherited the full grey hair which my hairdresser dutifully covers every six weeks. I find life in middle age better than ever, eyes and ears may be weaker but sense of self is so much stronger.

Posted by: DMD | June 22, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

um, the real question is: how the heck do you pronounce it?

Posted by: omni | June 22, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I know. I usually say the heck with it, and call him Ian Griffith. It's probably Welsh, and their alphabet never made a lick of sense to me anyway. If it really is Welsh, Ioan Gruffud is probably pronounced "Bob Johnston."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

i hafta admit to doing the hair dye thing but then again i'm prematurely greying (or least i HOPE so! i'm only 34!) so yes, my vanity does get the best of me when it comes to grey hair...

my mother is 55 and is constantly being told how young she looks (she really DOES look like late 30's darn her!) - the thing is, she ACTS young too - maybe there's a co-relation there? maybe she acts younger b/c she looks younger? or maybe she looks younger cuz she acts younger?

Posted by: mo | June 22, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. D is only 5 feet tall, with an atheletic build, and has a terrible time finding clothes--we'll drive hours to find the "You still have your teenage figure but don't want to dress like Britney" store. Which is especially interesting, since I'm a foot taller and 3 times her weight, and must shop at the "Big, Tall, and Round" store. Hard to find both stores in the same place.

She is often mistaken for my daughter, which I find mildly annoying since she's only 3 years younger, and has more grey than I do.

Posted by: Dooley | June 22, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

More books to read ! No! Aaarg! I should read this boodle with fingers in my ears saying la la la la...
I discovered Reg Hill's Pascoe and Dalziel series last year (about what, 24 books ?) and I'm halfway through them. Then Mudge praises J.L. Burke and his Robicheaux series and gets me hooked ( 2 out of twelve down, 10 to go). I just hate it when I find a series I like so late in the series.
And then I'm also trying to keep current with King, FForde (not a typo, the guy is from the Socialist Republic of Wales. Where it doesn't rain all the time), Connelly, Ian Rankin, etc

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 22, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Acting young has a lot to do with it. Having acquired a child in my mid-thirties, I've jumped into a whole new set of activities. Monster trucks and stunt motorcycles (once each), rollerblading, archery, soccer, and learning to throw a football, playing baseball, shoot hoops etc., hanging out at the park -- all have improved my attitude tremendously. I don't recommend trying to learn to skateboard after 40, though; that side-to-side movement just didn't feel right. Best of all, I don't have to do any of this well, since the point is to do them with the boy. Also, I get to show him museums and festivals, and he's my excuse to play with toys and color and hunt bugs and catch fireflies and do all that fun kid stuff. I may not have the energy I once did, but if I'd had him earlier I never would have had the patience.

Posted by: ivansmom | June 22, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't think people feel they are aging earlier. It's a case of unreasonable expectations. Your hearing, sight, speed, stamina, etc will go down with time. Deal with it. I have grey hair and I am happy about it, as the sole male of the extended family with hair of any color... I do not have the time and resources to fight the various aging process as some celebrities must surely do. Madonna's 2 years older than me yet she looks about 20 younger, that's got to be hard work in addition of being expensive.
Let the younger tribe members spear the mammoth I say, stay in the back and provide wise advice.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 22, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm going thru my second childhood with the g-kiddos. Admittedly not as spry as I once was, but I can still hopscotch, play jacks, and twirl my old highschool majorette baton pretty darn good. Once, long ago, I was lounging in our oversized wingback easy chair, upside down (teenager style), chewing Fleer's Double Bubble Gum, blowing giant bubbles, waiting for our kids to get home from school and Mr. Nani asked "Are you ever going to grow up?" I'm still contemplating....

Posted by: Nani | June 22, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"Americans are living longer but, somehow, aging sooner."

I'm afraid this has been going on for some time. For example, allow me to place in evidence this photo taken by my great grandmother in 1909 near a small west-central-Indiana hamlet. I know the nicknames of these jowly delinquents sprawling on the grass in their Sunday best but otherwise have no notion of who they were or what the photographer's intention was. I suppose that the piece was commissioned.

WARNING: The size of this still frame is nearly 2Mb, so you may want to skip it if you're on a dial-up Internet connection. links to,%20Brocie,%20Mac,%20and%20Mike,%20Taken%20Apr%201909.jpg

What struck me while scanning this particular frame from a glass negative was the ambiguity of the subjects' ages. The guy with the bandaged pinkie holding a cigar surely is just a kid. The others probably are buddies from the same school cohort and not relatives.

At first glance, they look a lot older than they are. What is the reason for this? Take your pick of these explanations:

o The old emulsions did not capture skin tone the way we are accustomed to view gray-scale images rendered from color photography. Thus, subjects appear ghastly. However, I've taken a little care to balance the density of this rendition to match the results supposedly typical of contact printing, and I don't think the likenesses are that bad.

o Hair styles and modes of dress change. When you view an old photo, you associate the time period with your older relatives whose appearance is similar and whose ages you know. However, with a photo this old, all such associations must be invalid; nobody knows anybody that old. A corollary is this: Your class photos (of people you went to school with) never look so mature as those in other yearbooks.

o Public health has improved. These guys no doubt chowed down significant portions of meat and potatoes, and their diet affected their appearance. That may be so, but I wonder whether they weren't a lot more active than recent generations and needed the reserve calories. Anyway, I'll bet their diet was more balanced than kids who grew up later during the Depression and whose class photos are notably at once more pinched and drawn.

o People used to spend more time outdoors, and their complexions were darker and more weatherbeaten. That would make sense except that this picture was taken in April.

o Adolescents back then dressed like adults. They were expected to act grown-up, and it showed. Today it's different. Kids nowadays dress like anything except adults. This was in the days before teaching became a profession. About the only thing that differentiates the teenage-girl teachers from their pupils in the old photos is stature, and even that distinction is minimal.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | June 22, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

did a little sleuthing and found this:

Ioan Gruffudd (pronounced /'joαn 'grIfIð/)


Posted by: omni | June 22, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Great photo, Entenpfuhl. The subjects look to be in their early 20's, at least to me. Wouldn't be interesting to find out how old they really were?

I don't know that I agree that we're aging sooner. When people did more physical work and didn't have the advantages of public health and modern medicine, their bodies wore out more than ours today. Just my opinion.

Posted by: slyness | June 22, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the comments. When I've had long-ish solo drives audio books were an enjoyable time passing device.

So if I haven't had a "coronary event", does that mean when I go to the gym I'm in "habilitation"? I think the studies in support of keeping active as a preventative measure have been "bunked" as well.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Omnibus reply:
I recognize the need for the depression screening, and even for the questions. It's just that the particular phrasing of the questions was such that any thinking person would have given an answer indicating that they had some concerns.

I don't particularly care about looking young, possibly because I have been blessed with an appearance that enables me to look like I'm a man of mediocre looks 10-15 years younger than I am, with no conscious effort on my part. Kind of like JA, complete with the bad hair. Just lucky, I guess. But I had a (mild) heart attack, so others at least may take comfort in the thought that I am going bad on the inside. 20 year old cheerleader-types do not interest me. If they were sexually interested in me, then I would be concerned for their mental health.

A girl I dated in high school -- okay, the only girl that I dated in high school -- anyway, her mother had completely gray hair at age 36. I thought she looked really good, except she was a moderately heavy smoker in those days. I just can't stand that. Gray hair is underrated for its sexual attractiveness, or overrated for its powers to quell desire.

I didn't reply on Cassandra's description of poverty because it seemed like a clear statement that didn't require a response. I don't disagree with anything she said. As it happens, I have spent substantial portions of my life in poverty, but not the same poverty as what Cassandra described. When I was a child, we would have qualified for food stamps, except that food stamps are not available to graduate students -- they operate on the pretense that a tuition reimbursement is discretionary income. When I was in junior high and high school, we weren't quite in poverty, but we were definitely lower middle class renters. When I was in graduate school, myself, I was pretty much in poverty. In each case, however, we had a gigantic advantage that isn't available to others in poverty at the same financial level: we had hope. Our poverty as a child never really struck me, because my parents always knew it was temporary. We were poor because that's what graduate school demanded as part of the apprenticeship until things get better. We were poor when I was in junior high/high school because my Mom chose to mostly sever financial connections when my parents divorced. If things got really desperate, she could have gotten more money from my Dad. So, we always had some level of choice in our situation. And my parents occasionally bailed me out when I just couldn't handle the bills while in grad school. I got a glimpse of what poverty looks like, but I never really lived it, because there never was any doubt that it was temporary, hazing before a richer and more fulfilling life. It was depressing enough, even when I knew that some day it would pass.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 22, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Entenpfuhl for sharing. It is, in my view, the rather hard expression in their eyes that makes them look so much older. Would you also share their nicknames? I bet they're something like Rocky, Jingles, Marty, kinda like the Dead End Kids.

Posted by: Nani | June 22, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Eh? what did you say? Type bigger, I can't read that pipsqueak font.

Ma Dooley probably doesn't like being taken for a trophy wife/daughter all the time, either. There's a tendency to see petite women as young-- even when they're 40+ and have a ton of skank tracks. Who wants to get a lolly for being a good girl at the doctor's office when you're knocking on menopause?

(BTW, as any made-up sea dog knows, skank tracks are set up next to the futtock shrouds whenever ladies of the night visit from the docks. But don't bump the striker's backrest when he's aiming, or you'll be in for a deck brawl. Avast.).

I loved the BCC series on Horatio Hornblower. I'll have to find the room for all of those books.

I've often wondered why I just like sea stories; certainly I loathe beaches, I don't like fish that much.

There must be a psychological je ne sais quoi about books about a group of people penned up together on a thing of wood.

Something like Huckleberry Finn, but with fewer shore leaves. Or women.

I'm now rotating my medicine balls in a Cap'n Queeg moment. They actually sell them at the Naval academy. So you know where Queeg got his...

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tim. I was thinking about not coloring my hair anymore (time consuming, financially silly). I started coloring my hair a long time ago, before it turned grey, because I have black hair that looks like it came out of a bottle, so I figured it would look natural if I colored it brown. (Yes, I know. With age comes wisdom...) But now, I think it qualifies as 'salt and pepper.' The only problem is growing it out. But thanks for saying that grey hair has it's own attractiveness. It's one more thing in the plus column.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 22, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

HAHA LIT - i have naturally brown/red hair that looks like it's out of a bottle so i dye it black...

Posted by: mo | June 22, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

>Your hearing, sight, speed, stamina, etc will go down with time. Deal with it.

Fans of The Beverly Hillbillies will recognize this as "Grannie's Syndrome". One day Granny tells Jed she has to go back to the hills to research a cure.

Jed asks what's wrong, and she says "Well, for some time now I noticed I can't see quite as good as I used to, and I can't hear so well, I can't run as fast and when I git up I get these pains in my joints..." and he says "Well Granny that's normal, you're just gettin' older."

"No" she says, "I gotta cure it."

And then she takes a nip of the jug and chases Jethro around.

This goes along with what some doc found, that a lot of his middle-aged male patients were complaining about various ill-defined gastric unease, and finally he realized most of them were just wearing pants they'd grown out of but wouldn't stop wearning. As soon as the belt was loosened and button undone they felt fine.

I find I take great comfort from these things.

Posted by: E | June 22, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Great photo and comments, Entenpfuhl. I always marvel at the old movies and newsreels where even the homeless guys are wearing suits and hats. You can barely even get lawyers and accountants to voluntarily wear suits now.

Slyness, no question that hard work etc in the olden days wore out a lot of bodies; I think the point is that we're subjectively aging faster; meaning that we're more sensitive to the aging process.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I think it's the lack of baby fat on them that makes them look different. Also, yes, jaws can grow a bit tougher and bigger on a more rough diet.

The pinched look of children in the Depression that somebody mentioned, that is a classic example of malnutrition and stress, it literally does inhibit the growth of the midface.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"Gray hair is underrated for its sexual attractiveness"

Absolutely. I've been telling Mrs. D (who is only slightly grey at 34) this. She appreciates me saying it, but I think she believes that I'm BS-ing her, just trying to be nice. But, in fact, I believe it.

Nani, I loved the mental image I got from your 3:21.

Posted by: Dooley | June 22, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, you crack me up. You're so going to be ready for Speak Like A Pirate Day.

I have a photo of my dad with his siblings during the Depression era, where they're little kids all sitting on the ground outside the homestead, complete with chicken in the background. A classic.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Aww, thanks, SOC.

I think we can all agree that Mudge will be the Pirate King (or Drag Queen) of Speak like a Pirate day.

When is SLAP day, anyway?

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

>E | June 22, 2006 03:59 PM

Duh, that was me of course.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

SLAP Day - September 19 (I think)

Posted by: OK | June 22, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Arrr matey, you done me a good turn there. No more deck swabbing for ye, OK.
You can help brew up the slop below decks in the gallery. First choice at the maggoty hardtack and jerky, of course, all you can gum.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

SLAP Day! Can the girls play too? Avast me hearties! Land ho me lads! Scribben the dreks! (I made that one up, but it sounds pretty good, no?)

Posted by: Nani | June 22, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of aging gracefully, here's some pictures of me in my younger days (as you scan down the page, the third, fourth and fifth pictures. (In the 4th picture, I'm second from the right.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Certainly the wenches can pirate too as well as play with the pirates. In fact they have some even saltier language to use if they want ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Why, I'd never have recognized you, Mudge!

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Dooley: Mrs. D is slightly gray at 34, and you're talking about knocking on Menopause's door? There's a long time yet to go. Be careful you don't go inadvertently squeezing out unexpected lower-case D's from that young woman, you wizened old lecher.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 22, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Drag queen? DRAG QUEEN???!!!!

Arggg, Wilbrod, ye be askin' fer me broad cutlass across yer throat a'fore I has yer keelhauled, ye son of a...

Ooops. Have to use my indoor voice. And no name-calling. Sorry.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Aye I be askin' for it, Mudge.

I know many a seadog who doesn't mind the tat o' lace and petticoat on shore leave-- with wenches inside or no. Grog does terrible things to a man's brain on shoreleave.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

There's a picture that has become emblematic of the Depression. It shows a tired-looking woman, showing some wear and creases in her face, sitting on the stoop of her cabin. She looks like a fairly attractive woman in her mid-to-late 40's, but achingly tired, maybe missing a tooth or two, wearing clothing made at home from scrap material. The picture description says she's 30.

We notice our aging because we are whiners, and we expect more. We're supposed to live until 80, when life expectancy was 40, so recently. Maximum lifespan hasn't changed that much, however, what has changed is the fraction of us who reach the maximum age. So, 40 is the same as the old 40, 60 is the same as the old 60. Nowadays, you probably will die with more of your own teeth than used to be.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 22, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

> Nani: "Would you also share their nicknames?"

This caption was penciled on the jacket for the negative: "Kib, Brocie, Mac, and Mike, Taken Apr 1909." ... fits, doesn't it?

The picture may have been snapped during a football game. See the crowds? ... but, seerwiously, games were played on bottom land by a creek. The bank further back was probably mowed to serve as a viewing stand.

I'm working on a mathematical algorithm to eliminate the striping in the picture, which is an artifact of flicker in the light source I used to scan the negative. Apparently, no one has developed a practical piecewise Fourier filter for the Linux world using *gimp* or *netpbm*, but, in principal, this may not be possible because of edge effects showing where the pieces are joined.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | June 22, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Now that I recollect upon it, I do believe it was my very own learned disertation (subtitled The Bosun's Bustiere) upon the history of naval signal flags that discussed the use of lacey undergarments by whalers and suchlike personages of nautical character.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Entenpfuhl: if you are just trying to correct one picture, there may be a more primitive solution for the striping problem. Scan the same picture at several different rotations, rotate and register them, and average the frames.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 22, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

E wrote: "Apparently, no one has developed a practical piecewise Fourier filter for the Linux world using *gimp* or *netpbm*..."

Actually, I did, several months ago. But the dog ate it.


Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Mudge, with a come-on like that, there has to be a story!

Posted by: Slyness | June 22, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"unexpected lower-case D's" May very well be right up there in the top 10 things ever said on the boodle. Boy is bc gonna be mad he missed it.

SciTim, I forgot to mention that the questionnaire was likely not made up by someone sitting in the chair that you and my dad sat in. You are right, it's not really the question they needed to ask to get the desired answer. I fear that time is the only way to get an answer to the appropriate question and healthcare is not about giving people time anymore so much as just getting them through the door.

Posted by: dr | June 22, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

yeah dooley - I'M 34 and NOWHERE in the vicinity of menopause thank you very much! *picks up her umbrage and barges out the door*

Posted by: mo | June 22, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

In Haute Maine a Fourier filter is what we bang the beaver pelts on to knock the bugs out.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Today has been a festival of futility. Soccer match a disaster. Desultory play by the USA in crunch time, I thought. Oh, I realize I still have TBG's book. My desk is piled up with stuff. Expenses that I didn't bother to submit and are now past the deadline for reimbursement. That's actual money down the tubes because I couldn't do the paperwork. Then I went through the rigamarole of videotaping a GREAT bloggingheads with Von Drehle, only to discover that an electrical outlet was not in fact working and one of the two laptops died and killed the entire 50-minute video. Just a series of disasters. My laptop is back in the shop. I have a column due and no ideas. [sigh]

Posted by: Achenbach | June 22, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

dr and SciTim, the question is clearly flawed. Void for vagueness, as it were. I suppose it's meant to be overly broad so that it catches all people that would subjectively say "yeah, I'm depressed" so that they can red stamp it "Crackpot", and then ask you follow up questions. The first question on the blood donor form is "Do you feel well today?"

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The ridiculousness of expecting something as everyday as an outlet to work, and finding it doesn't. (When you plug in the Christmas lights to see if they still work before putting them on the tree, and they don't, you never suspect the outlet).

Posted by: LostInThought | June 22, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Boss, which column are you looking for ideas for? You would think the boodle would at least be useful for that. Unless you want a column not involving poop. Then we got nuttin'.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone has made that money down the drain mistake. But it begs the there an incredibly wealthy troll somewhere? What would he spend it on?

Posted by: LostInThought | June 22, 2006 5:12 PM | Report abuse

>I have a column due and no ideas. [sigh]

Pirates seem to be popular. How about a comparison of old-style movie magic to new? What better excuse to chat up Johnny Depp?

I'll bet you can even work "gimp" in there for Entenpfuhl.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"Modern Man and the Pirates, Vikings, and Huns."

Good title, but can't think of nuttin to put in the body, other than it's a shame that grunting has gone out of fashion.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey now! I didn't bring menopause into this, that was Wilbrod! All I said is that Mrs. D has attractive, slightly greying hair! Mrs. D could be a d-producing machine if she chose to be, but one is enough, we think.

But I do like being considered a lecher before I'm 40

*seeing if the lower-case d wants to go play at the neighbor's house for a few hours*

Posted by: Dooley | June 22, 2006 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I figured out my column. See, it just took more coffee.

Seriously the vaporized Von Drehle bloggingheads video is now like a stonecarving on top of a steeple.

FYI, I apologize to everyone for being such a bad correspondent when emailed, and for not returned TBG's book, and for all the other manifestations of disorganization. I don't know why these Post people can't give me a staff. After all I do for them.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 22, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Nothing like getting "helpful suggestions" from the boodle to get the creative juices going.

You should have a contest of some kind and put us to work.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

By getting the creative juices going, I meant flying in the opposite direction from our fantastic ideas.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I have to say, one of my pet peeves has increasingly become the (dare I say it?) stereotyping that I'm faced with because of my age. Just as someone who is 60 or 65 would dislike for a twenty-something to make comments about their supposed affinity for Barry Manilow or the Bee-Gees, I don't appreciate articles like the one Joel linked to in the New Yorker. Simply because I'm "young" does not mean that I am an irresponsible, unproductive member of society (in fact, I've had a job since I was 14). I'm in my mid-twenties, I'm married, I'm a mother to a toddler, I already earn a six-figure salary and so does my husband. Yet when I go out to eat or go shopping (especially if I don't have my daughter in tow), I am frequently not treated with the same courtesies extended to people twice my age. I read a comment on another blog this morning from a woman who described herself as a baby-boomer; she was concerned that her daughters (who are also in their mid-twenties) would be negatively influenced by Britney Spears' bad parenting. Please, people, give us some credit. After all, who do you think is going to be paying for your Social Security and Medicare in 10 or 20 years?

Posted by: PLS | June 22, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Do you have any mammoth tattoes?

Having formerly been affiliated with the merchant marines, do you, Mudge, have any tattoes? My mother's oddest piece of advice: Never trust a man with a tattoo!

Science Tim:
Do you speak of famous photographer Dorothea Lange's work in the Central Valley--her famous shot of a white migrant mother? If not, who's the photographer?

Posted by: Loomis | June 22, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

> ScienceTim: "Scan the same picture at several different rotations, rotate and register them, and average the frames."

Yep, that would work, but I have about a hundred in the collection. Then, again, I've already fooled around longer than it would take me just to scan them all over by natural light or even, heaven forfend, find a professional who would do it.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | June 22, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Bee Gees? Barry Manilow? 60 or 65? I don't know where to start.
Besides, wasn't the focus on us geezers not only feeling like geezers, but having it pointed out to us often (like you did in your closing sentence)?

Posted by: LostInThought | June 22, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

By golly, Loomis, you have the right picture!

Although, she looked more attractive in my mind's eye. I think that the picture that I remember is one of the secondary pictures, showing the camp. I see that the accommodations weren't even up to the level of a cabin, just a crummy lean-to.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 22, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Short bio of Florence Owens Thompson, better known as "Migrant Mother":

Living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields and birds the children have killed...well, it's just gotta make a woman look years beyond her age.

Wikipedia also has an entry for Dorothea Lange.

Posted by: Loomis | June 22, 2006 6:07 PM | Report abuse

PLS, too many people of ANY age seem to follow the lead of celebrities.

It's just more apparent in the young because there's such more aggressive marketing and packaging for the young.

Also, people of childbearing age are the most likely to be influenced by Brittany Spear's bad example.

Certainly, I think Brittany Spear's example earned her universal scorn. The only people so impressionable would be women who literally do not know any better-- and reading about why her conduct was wrong, will have educated them to get carseats.

That mother with two daughters has only herself to thank if her daughters think Brittany's style is better than her style.

ROTFL. You just need to step back emotionally and admire her comment for what it is.... and try not to die laughing until she leaves the room.

Posted by: PLS | June 22, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, the 6:08 PLS was mine, mis-signed it. SCC identity theft. Sorry.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

>I'm in my mid-twenties, I'm married, I'm a mother to a toddler, I already earn a six-figure salary and so does my husband. Yet when I go out to eat or go shopping (especially if I don't have my daughter in tow), I am frequently not treated with the same courtesies extended to people twice my age.

PLS, if you're still around, can you give some specifics on what courtesies you are talking about?

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

> Loomis: "Dorothea Lange's ... famous shot of a white migrant mother?"

Here's an evocative description of that photo:

"One of the most haunting images to come out of the dark days of the dust bowl and great depression is this photograph by Dorthea Lange. She was commissioned by the Farm Security Administratrion to chronicle the plight of the displaced farmers during the dust bowl. Dorthea found this migrant mother on the road in 1936. The mother's eyes tell the viewer all he/she needs to know. The expression of fear and and hoplessness are reflected in her eyes as she appears to be looking down the road to a very uncertain future. This photograph became an American icon of the dust bowl days and brought an awareness of the struggles of the "Okies" by putting a human face on this tragedy. But sometimes things work out and this story has a happy ending. More than a decade after this photograph was taken our migrant mother was found living comfortably in California, the dust bowl but a bitter memory. Life had changed for her and her family and the move to California had been an economic boon. For many other "Okies" though the story ended quite differently. An estimated 210,000 emigrants came to California during the dust bowl, many of whom were forced to return home after failing to locate employment in the Golden State. Only approximately 16,000 remained."

o Randall, Guy. "Oklahoma Route 66." Shadows of Old Route 66: The Great American Highway. 28 Nov. 2004. Road Wanderer. 22 June 2006 <

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | June 22, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Here I go, feeling like a success at last, accomplishing what I want to accomplish, providing for my children and getting some societal respect. Then I learn that 20-somethings are making 6-figure salaries, while I'm still mired in the 5's. Grouse. Grump.

PLS, the reason you don't get due deference and respect is that -- bear with me now -- you don't deserve it yet. That's the truth, as I see it. Yes, you deserve the same respect as anyone who is taking responsibility to be a productive member of society, and taking the responsibility to raise the next generation of productive members of society. However, respect as a social nicety is one of the few vestiges we have left of a society that recognizes that brains and book-learning are not the same as wisdom. Wisdom comes from experience. When you have accumulated enough experience to gain wisdom, then you will be wise enough not to resent the gestures of respect that are extended to your elders.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 22, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Joel.. sounds like you should take SciTim's Depression Screening test.

And stop trying to make me feel bad. There are plenty of other people who do it much better.

Posted by: TBG | June 22, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, my body is a temple, and I would never desecrate it with a tatoo.

(By "temple," I'm referring to something like, say, Ankor Wat, Delphi, or perhaps the Valley of the Kings--old, decrepit, crumbling, chipped, dinged, falling apart, major pieces missing, no longer useful, desperately in need of restoration, to say nothing of a mere shadow, a mere chimera, of its former glory and majesty. Passageways blocked, mysterious cavities filled with debris. And with some calcium deposits here and there. That's the kind of temple my body is.)

If I had it to do all over, I think I'd get one of those whopping big chest tatoos of a clipper ship and a native girl in a hula skirt, a la Luther Billis.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim,
Dorothea Lange took a number of photos of the family at Nipomo, in the San Joaquin Valley, some with the faces of the children not turned away. There is a claim that the kids' faces were turned away from the camera on purpose to not show their lightheartedness, but the other frames Dorothea took shows the kids not laughing and smiling or cutting up. Just an FYI.

(By having only one visage in the camera lens, the emphasis is on the woman Thompson and her hardships--the children on either side, somewhat as props, to show that she is a mother.)

For Lange, who was from New Jersey, these images must have been quite a sight.

I chose not to write about my dad in the Father's Day Kit because in so many ways I think the Depression impacted him tremendously. I did laugh, though, about your lines about a young cheerleader type being mental if she were attracted to you. You are so far beyond a cheerleader type, if I may say so myself--meant as the highest order of compliment!

Posted by: Loomis | June 22, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Entenpfuhl, can't you write a PhotoShop or Photoshop Elements batch file to do all that processing? (When you rotate the photos, chose an angle of degrees that's a prime number or some number not very easily divisible by anything (to make the algorithm owrk harder), such as 117 degrees left, 91 degrees right, then 26 left (you'll be back where you started). Then throw in some degaussing, if necessary.

Agreed, SciTim: the mention of that 6-figure income (dual, yet), put me a bit off my feed, too.

Running for the bus. Back later.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Any chance she was including in the count the digits after the decimal point?

Posted by: LostInThought | June 22, 2006 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I think I pulled something laughing!

Posted by: Dooley | June 22, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Even before Mrs. D quit one of her job two weeks ago, we didn't make 6 figures combined (working 4 jobs between us). So much for science and teaching as routes to fame and fortune.

Of course, I get paid to go camping, so it ain't all bad.

Posted by: Dooley | June 22, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Satisfaction. It's all about job satisfaction. And benefits. And job security. See, we in the public sector do have things that matter as much as money!


Posted by: Slyness | June 22, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

>Entenpfuhl, can't you write a PhotoShop or Photoshop Elements batch file to do all that processing?

Mudge, keywords in Entenpfuhl's post are Linux and gimp. That's the Photoshop clone for Linux. Ain't no Adobe PhotoShop or Photoshop Elements there.

PLS, not sure what you've experienced, but if you come off in person the same way as in print I could see some people reacting to your attitude.

Oh and by the way, I've been paying for your parents Social Security and Medicare for like 30 years now - I started working at 14 too.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Nani, I hollered when I read your comment about upside down on the couch blowing bubbles. If I hold my head down for any length of time, I need 911.

PLS, nice to see you here, hope you stay awhile. Don't resent the respect or honor given to those older than you, I'm sure it doesn't take anything away from those things that you have accomplished in life. Someday you will be where many of us are now, and you too, will enjoy that privledge. I always try to commend and speak to those things that young people do that are good, because it is hard for our young people now with so many things to distract them and hold them back. I'm always encouraged when young people realize their dreams.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 22, 2006 7:06 PM | Report abuse

> Curmudgeon: "Chose an angle of degrees that's a prime number or some number not very easily divisible by anything (to make the algorithm owrk harder)."

You must once have been a prince among satyrs to feel you are now reduced to a "mere chimera" of your former self.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | June 22, 2006 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Entenpfuhl's info on the Okies failing to find work in California is scary. I wonder how many southerners, of both colors, went north to find work, and found none? All I can think of is Jacob Lawrence's "Great Migration" images, which I first saw at the Phillips.

My biological puzzle of the day is the behavior of crimson sage (Salvia coccinea), a red-flowered, short-lived perennial plant in the snapdragon family native to coasts from South Carolina to Brazil. It's a somewhat popular garden plant, and I periodically put one or a few in empty spots in beds. Despite some efforts to make spots favorable for seed to germinate, I haven't seen many volunteers. But thriving plants have popped up in odd places, like under the orange tree and lately in a thicket of caladiums and native blue palmettos. How on earth do the seeds make the trip from an established plant to these remote outposts 30 or 50 feet away? I don't think the lawn mower is doing it, and I can't imagine ants crossing the lawn.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 22, 2006 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Some people get extra deference because they NEED it. Would you complain about somebody ready to have an heart attack being rushed out the door ahead of you? People getting extra assistance because they need it due to disabilities?

There's a reason why many fine young men surrender their chair to anybody else who may need it more. It's not about kow-towing to rank or age. It's about giving consideration to other's NEEDs.

I would hope that I will never be treated like garbage because I'm ignoring your questions because I'm deaf, not getting out of your way quick enough because I'm slowing down (and deaf).

Or that you'll get impatient that an old guy gets seated first when you didn't notice he was walking in the place with a bum knee or was a regular, or 1000 reasons other than being an old silverback.

Gene Weingarten's chat this week linked to an old story about Katherine Graham's funeral. It talked about how Bill Gates, who earns more in 5-15 minutes than any of us make, ushered this writer to his seat.

He volunteered to be an usher. So he ushed, for free. Many books about personal success also mention the value of volunteerism-- UNPAID work.

You have to invest in social currency, not just money currency. I try hard to do this because I like giving back in spite of my myriad health issues.

And I was shovelling snow for money and doing odd jobs since I was 8, so there.

If you can't make anybody like you if your life depended on it, definitely plan to make a truckload of money-- you'll need it in your old age, every cent of it.

Thousands attended Mother Theresa's funeral. And that other lady's funeral, she was popular due to her charity work as well as her celebrity and untimely death in a car crash in 1997. Millions mourned her.
That was not because of the money in her bank account.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 7:26 PM | Report abuse

You know her name, right? Di something.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, when I'm elected President I believe I will have to make a new Cabinet position for you.

You have single-handedly restored my faith that there are people who can live in the spirit of being truly Christian, as opposed to whatever the GOP uses to beat up the rest of us.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Well said. PLS is probably long gone, but your comments and the others needed to be said.

I'm still struggling with what PLS could possibly be talking about. She specifically noted that the "discrimination" she faced was not while her toddler was present, and apparently only related to her age.

Maybe Joel can do a column on the forgotten plight of top 5% salaried 20-somethings and the ongoing age-ism they face on a daily basis.

Assuming, of course, that he's already done "Modern Man and the Pirates, Vikings, and Huns."

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Back to the theme I've expressed a couple of times recently about the atomization of media and the loss of common facts. A futurist named Paul Saffo will be Live Online here tomorrow at 11 a.m. to talk about "Farewell Information, It's a Media Age".

In an essay already posted, he says:

Individuals can select from a vast cyber-sea of media and utterly saturate their information space exclusively with information sources that reinforce existing world-views. Each of us can create our own personal media walled garden that surrounds us with comforting, confirming information, and utterly shuts out anything that conflicts with our world view.
This is social dynamite, for shared knowledge and information is the glue that holds civil society together."

Posted by: kindathinker | June 22, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I wasn't trying to make you feel bad, honestly, I was just expressing my own self-loathing for not sending you the book. I have some kind of mental block when it comes to anything involving postage and envelopes. That is not an excuse; it is a diagnosis. I can't bring myself to deal with the stuff on my desk. They probably have a pill that solves that problem. Organizaxil. Efficiagra.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 22, 2006 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Error, I think Cassandra would make an excellent Secretary of State or barring that we would love to have her as the US Ambassador to Canada.

Posted by: dmd | June 22, 2006 7:56 PM | Report abuse

>utterly saturate their information space exclusively with information sources that reinforce existing world-views

This does seem more prevalent today, but wasn't it always true in a way? Could it be just that we notice it more today? In the "good old days" you grew up with a couple of home-town newspapers and picked one or the other. Your circle of people was smaller due to less mobility and company town mentality.

Wouldn't that create the same groupthink? I always thought that was what inspired the Beat Generation to move out, hit San Francisco or NYC...

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 7:57 PM | Report abuse

>Error, I think Cassandra would make an excellent Secretary of State

dmd, that would work, but I was thinking more along the lines of "Secretary of Inner Peace and Kindness".

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Joel, there's your column. Expand on the virtues of Organizaxil and Efficiagra.

Posted by: Slyness | June 22, 2006 8:03 PM | Report abuse

True to a degree, Error Flynn. But most papers ran stuff from the wires and by the '60s we had Cronkite and the other two anchors telling us "the way it is". Now we all get to choose the way it is.

Posted by: kindathinker | June 22, 2006 8:03 PM | Report abuse

This one's for you. By bad on not double-checking the spelling for the plural of tattoo...

Maritime tattooing and the full-rigged sailing ship have been found together since tattooing first entered modern western culture with early sailors in the South Pacific. While many maritime tattoo designs will use a ship for various reasons, there was also a very specific reason for a tattoo of a full-rigged ship -- the singular and dangerous accomplishment of sailing around Cape Horn (the rocky headland of Chile, south of Tierra del Fuego, at the bottom tip of South America).

{This is kind of fun info...]Alternatively, it has also been noted that a sailor who sails around the Cape is entitled to a small, blue five-pointed star tattoo on the left ear. Five times around the Horn earned one on the right ear as well. Two red marks on the forehead meant that the sailor was a mighty voyager, having rounded the Cape ten or more times.

In the age of modern ships, however, the great peril of rounding the Horn is likely not the motivation for most maritime tattoos that use the clipper ship. Instead, these modern tattoos are a nod to the fascination of sailing, the traditional tattoos of a bygone era, maritime tradition, and also the classic Americana or Old School style of tattoos.

Ship lights are another of the older maritime tattoos that are rarely seen today. The port (left) ship light is red and the starboard (right) is green. By seeing the orientation of the colors of the lights at night, a sailor can tell if the vessel is sailing away from them or toward them (on a possible collision course).

Posted by: Loomis | June 22, 2006 8:04 PM | Report abuse

>by the '60s we had Cronkite and the other two anchors telling us "the way it is"

Good point. Is there anybody who doesn't miss Walter Cronkite?

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Well... I wasn't trying to make you feel bad, either, Joel.

I think with a little help you can lick your postage problem. We can all work together as a Boodle to stamp out Postal Phobias altogether. Don't worry, if you let us, we'll deliver you from your anxiety.

Posted by: TBG | June 22, 2006 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Joel, if you happen to find some Organizaxil or Efficiagra on your desk, could you possibly send some my way. I don't just have a desk or a cubicle at issue, I have a whole room. A big room, proabably 350 square feet of piles and piles of stuff.

Posted by: dr | June 22, 2006 8:12 PM | Report abuse

The problem with Organizaxil and Efficiagra is that if you take them simultaneously you get the most dreadful side-effects (vertigo, ennui, misdirected Schadenfreude, scurvy, goiters, furry tongue, tennis elbow, bee's knees, etc.).

Posted by: Achenbach | June 22, 2006 8:30 PM | Report abuse

In my morning post I was alluding to the fact that I must be in denial regarding advancing age. My left knee was injured pretty badly in a soccer mishap when I was about 32. I didn't have health insurance at the time so that one went untreated and has left me unable to both sit crosslegged and ride a bicycle for long distances. I married at thirty five and became a father at thirty six, thirty eight and fourty three. I got bifocals at fourty along with a diagnosis of bone spurs on my thoracic vertebrae. My arms take turns falling asleep and going numb, depending on what I do. When we started restoring our house, repetitive motion pains started to the point where a heavy day of scraping is followed by a week or so of recuperation. I turn 49 on Sunday. Sometimes I still feel like I'm 15 years younger. I've resigned myself to the physical part of aging. Depression, alcoholism and cancer run in the family like dreck through a tin whistle. I'm lucky to have a wife that supports me through thick and thin, a wonderful compliment of loving children, and the comfort of knowing that things could always be much worse. Like being eliminated from the World Cup.

Posted by: jack | June 22, 2006 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Error, I've got it! For Cassandra, Secretary of Reconciliation...

Take THAT, partisans!

Posted by: Slyness | June 22, 2006 8:45 PM | Report abuse

>Error, I've got it! For Cassandra, Secretary of Reconciliation...

mmmm, yeah I like it. May be reason enough to Vote for Error.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Joel, it was very brave of you to admit to your mail dysfunction. A lot of guys are too embarrassed to talk about that sort of thing. Thank goodness we're all adults here and can speak openly and frankly about this in a mature manner. The ol' Postman Doesn't Ring Twice, know what I mean? Whether it's stress, or being too tired, or maybe a little too much to drink, mail dysfunction is nothing to be ashamed about and happens to most of us at one time or another. (Not me of course. No sir, never had that particular problem. Not once. Uhn-uh *shakes had* Nope. The ol' Pony Express rider always gets through.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge. I wonder if non-alcoholic beer is as detrimental to monitors and keyboards as the real thing when shot out the nose?

Posted by: martooni | June 22, 2006 10:01 PM | Report abuse

And Mudge... since you seem to be the expert on mail dysfunction:

Why is it so hard for a guy to have his mail temporarily forwarded to a newer, more exotic and exciting location? Whenever I hint around about this idea, the lady at my post office gives me dirty looks and threatens to have all deliveries stopped.

Posted by: martooni | June 22, 2006 10:10 PM | Report abuse

There is an old saying that a clean desk is the sign of a diseased mind.

My desk is usually spotless.

My shelves are a mess though.

It has been a very long day.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 22, 2006 10:18 PM | Report abuse

martooni, I'm working on my fourth or fifth answer, trying like a maniac to get something I can post without being arrested or permanently banned.

I really wish you hadn't asked.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 22, 2006 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Dear martooni (cousin/past life of T martooni?)

Do you really build you own proper wooden shutters? That's way cool - I could use some of those.

>the lady at my post office gives me dirty looks and threatens to have all deliveries stopped.

As strange as it may seem, she's probably trying o do you a favor... otherwise she'll have to report you.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Joel, in reference to your comment about the people at the Post giving you a staff, I dare say, you have one. All of these folks that post comments on your blog, seriously, there has to be some ideas here that you can work with? There are so many discussions going on here about so many subjects. Of course, you would probably have to read the comments.

Thanks Error Flynn, a nice thought, and all of you that expressed the same thought.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 22, 2006 10:26 PM | Report abuse


A nice Truth, and one we're all better for.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 22, 2006 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Mudge... you were really pushing the envelope with that.

Posted by: TBG | June 22, 2006 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Sure, I'd like to see Cassandra living it up as Sec'y of Reconcilation and telling it like it is ;).

Satyagraha -- Truth Power.
Vote for Honest Error, not Lies.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if Mudge delivered his answer in a plain brown envelope...

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 22, 2006 10:57 PM | Report abuse

The Post office is a complex organization with many rules and regulations. However, you just have to deal with it unless you want to go back to hand delivery.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 22, 2006 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Just so you know, the ice cream sandwiches appear to have mostly held together. The one I tested (for scientific purposes only, since they're for the kids) was stickier than usual, a little warped, and the wafer was of uncertain consistency. But it still looked and tasted like an ice cream sandwich.

Back to your regular programming.

Posted by: silvertongue | June 22, 2006 11:52 PM | Report abuse

In honor of the Dorothea Lange-Okie theme, one of my favorites from one of my favorites:
Do Re Mi, by Woody Guthrie

Lots of folks back East, they say, is leavin' home every day,
Beatin' the hot old dusty way to the California line.
'Cross the desert sands they roll, gettin' out of that old dust bowl,
They think they're goin' to a sugar bowl, but here's what they find --
Now, the police at the port of entry say,
"You're number fourteen thousand for today."

Oh, if you ain't got the do re mi, folks, you ain't got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot
If you ain't got the do re mi.

You want to buy you a home or a farm, that can't deal nobody harm,
Or take your vacation by the mountains or sea.
Don't swap your old cow for a car, you better stay right where you are,
Better take this little tip from me.
'Cause I look through the want ads every day
But the headlines on the papers always say:

If you ain't got the do re mi, boys, you ain't got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot
If you ain't got the do re mi.

Posted by: silvertongue | June 22, 2006 11:55 PM | Report abuse

PLS, I feel guilty for picking on you so harshly. Sorry about that.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 23, 2006 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I think that clerks in various stores call PLS "honey." And this upsets her. I must tell her that I am so much older than she is that she would NEVER believe I was still able to think, or type --- and they call me "honey," too.

By the way Linda, I think you moved Nipomo over to the east by a couple of hundred miles...

Posted by: nellie | June 23, 2006 1:06 AM | Report abuse

i have suffered from piling disorder since childhood, although i've learned to manage the more serious effects of this condition as an adult. when applying to colleges, i even wrote an essay "my pile," celebrating my illness with a detailed description of the contents of the enormous pile at the side of my bed. you think i'm kidding? well, i'm not. they even admitted me to several esteemed institutions of higher learning, thinking that they'd gained some insight into my soul. ha! what little did they really know...

Posted by: L.A. lurker | June 23, 2006 2:05 AM | Report abuse

...straying on topic...many apologies..

I'd read anything by Louis Menand. "The Metaphysical Club" was excellent. And SoC, if you're still looking for books on tape, check out his "American Studies", a collection of essays on topics from Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. to Rolling Stone. The reader is very good also, tho I can't remember the name.

Efficiagra - now there's a medicine my wife would actually appreciate someone inventing for me.

Look at the time, willya? The thunderstorms are gonna sink the house tonight for sure. (Tonight's theme music: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald)

Posted by: fizz | June 23, 2006 3:12 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Today is the last day of VBS, and I'm really dragging. I'm up, moving, although, slow. It has been good, and I've enjoyed it the most. I think my grandchildren have too. It's been so hot we can't go outside after lunch, so we're stuck in the house until the sun goes down. Have much to do this morning, but wanted to check in with you guys. Hope you found something to write, Joel, I can understand your problem to some extent. Have a good day everyone, and know that God loves you so much more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 23, 2006 5:12 AM | Report abuse

I thought furry tongue was only a side effect if we took them together? I just barely sniffed Efficiagra and well...

Quick, someone call the FDA and get me a razor.

Posted by: dr | June 23, 2006 7:34 AM | Report abuse

My desk accumulates a large amount of paperwork. Some of this can be bribed into vanishing, but much of it insists on sticking around. In fact, some of it claims a legal requirement to do so. In years past I have kept track of this paperwork through a technique known as Making Many Little Piles (MMLP.) I should note that the use of MMLP by others within the Federal Government is not unknown.

The linchpin of MMLP is respect for the sanctity of the piles. As a result, there used to be several sacred spots on my desk that were clearly defined as being zones of ultimate avoidance. I was careful to never jostle them or even allow my gaze to linger upon them for fear of compromising the subtle organizational scheme they represented.

Unfortunately, these piles started to get ominously large. I feared that even the slightest seismic event might inundate me with draft Statements of Work.

The time had come to file.

And so, I obtained a late-model four-drawer file cabinet with independent locks. It was thing of beauty. Nothing was too good for my paperwork. I began the process of filing with great anticipation. Alas, the results have been somewhat disappointing. This is because I am, by nature, a clumper.

Instead of creating a separate file for each major contract, I tend to dump them all together into one large file called "Tax Dollars At Work." I have a similar mega-file called "Things That Could Get Me Fired." And, of course, I have an entire drawer of poorly differentiated documents labeled "Is Sicrit."

While this magical cabinet has failed to usher in a new era of organizational nirvana, at least it gets stuff off of my desk.

My shelves are another matter. I just try not to stand too close.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 23, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse

A photo (don't worry, it's work safe) of a very lovely Wench who works at a place where it's "talk like a pirate day" every day of the year.

Posted by: omni | June 23, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

here's the link:

Posted by: omni | June 23, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Your 8:37 has been laughing as I start my day at work and scan my various piles, assortment of file holders.

Posted by: dmd | June 23, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Um, Omni. That link goes into my "things that could get me fired" pile.

And REAL pirates don't wear pink anyways. Everybody knows that.

Posted by: CowTown | June 23, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Error and Cassandra, upon election to hte offices of President and Secretary of Inner Peace and Kindness of the Achenbach Village, you'll surely need clerical assistance. I've loads of experience, have never accidently or on purpose erased any tapes and can type 120 correct WPM. Rest assured that if hired, I would represent your offices with the utmost decorum (no sitting upside down, no chewing of bubble gum).

Lindaloo, I had hoped you'd post comments about your father on the Father's Day boodle because frankly I'm curious about the parenting of the inimitable Lindaloo. Please don't take my interest as nosiness, because I mean it as a compliment.

I was going to write something about ScienceTim/StorytellerTim/Just PlainTim on Father's Day, but didn't know if he'd take umbrage.

Posted by: Nani | June 23, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

This wench, *ridiculously suggestive* I must say, who talks pirate is from Alberta, Canada. So, a landlocked pirate-talking wench, really faux-faux-faux--and a bottle of rum. Fantasy-fantasy-fantasy and a bottle of rum.

Yes, Nipomo is really between San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria on Coastal 101. I fudged a little bit, but Thompson only arrived and put some tent stakes down there because their (the man she lived with) car broke down. Most of the migrant camps where she had previously worked were Central Valley--Shafter, Porterville, Merced Falls, then north on up to Oroville. What's a few hundred miles for these East Coast types? *w* Good catch, though.

Posted by: Loomis | June 23, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Pirate Wench has a mini boat she sails on the Bow River in Calgary.

Posted by: dmd | June 23, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Um, yeah, on second thought maybe CowTown is correct. Whatever you do, don't click on that link.

(and never said she was a pirate, she's a tavern wench)

Posted by: omni | June 23, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

In short, my father was a complex creature--isn't everyone? But it's hard for me to separate his parenting role from his spousal role. Let's leave it at that.

Posted by: Loomis | June 23, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

What were you going to write about Tim of many hats?

Posted by: Loomis | June 23, 2006 9:41 AM | Report abuse

or the Glenmore Reservoir
or Chestermere Lake
or McDonald Lake

Posted by: omni | June 23, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

John Edwards on poverty:

Posted by: omni | June 23, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

If the pirate-talking wench has the apparent [note position of hand] need to scratch in broad daylight, perhaps she has crabs, also known as public pediculosis, or itch mites. Of course, if the sight of her makes all you sailors Jolly Roger, what am I to say?

I mean, if Joel can raise the question of Bob Dole's organ at the start of this Kit, c'mon?

Posted by: Loomis | June 23, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

omni... I wish I'd been there to hear Edwards' speech at the Press Club yesterday. He's incredible live. He's the "preacher" I think we need to get this party motivated and get our country on the right track.

Maybe his message will hit home with the "regular folk" who seemed to think Bush was one of them:

From the article...

Noting that past declarations of war on poverty have fallen short, Edwards said there are huge obstacles ahead, particularly in helping young African American men break out of the poverty cycle. He said new thinking must be part of the solution.

"The debate on poverty is so stuck in the old policies of the past, the old days," he said. "We've got one side driven by guilt and then we have another side who just doesn't believe government can do anything effectively. . . . The truth is that both sides should recognize that our whole economic future depends on providing upward mobility for everybody."

Posted by: TBG | June 23, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Didn't mean public, one too many letters...

Posted by: Loomis | June 23, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse


Sorry Error. I didn't mean to try to railroad YOUR campaign. I think your "move cuba to Canada" platform is still the way to go!

(that was your original platform, wasn't it?--or was it move Canada to Cuba? I forget.)

Posted by: TBG | June 23, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

That Edwards/Obama ticket is looking better all the time.

Posted by: dmd | June 23, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Lindaloo, many boodles ago "Mike" (not the most recent mike) bombarded the boodle with racial slurs and hatred for African Americans. Many of us responded to tell him that comments of that nature are not welcome here. Many also pointed out his poor grammar and spelling. Each comment, and there were many, just made Mike angrier and more volatile. It was really kind of frightening. Back and forth it went until finally one of the Tims spoke up. He kindly and gently asked Mike "WHY" he felt that way and "WHAT" made him so angry and asked HOW he (Tim) could help. Mike immediately calmed down. It turns out that Mike had a pretty sad story. He grew up in Appalachian poverty. His uneducated father had a small family business. It wasn't very lucrative, but there was enough money to put a roof over their heads and food on their plates. He died suddenly and Mike had to drop out of school to become the man of the family and support his mother and siblings. Mike was able to eke out a living of sorts. He married and had children. Then he suffered a back injury with permanent and painful disability. The government refused assistance. Mike said he'd always done what he thought was right, work hard, take care of family, pay taxes, vote and support his community. He was outraged that "lazy blacks were hogging" the disability programs, welfare, having babies for more welfare income; and he was scared for his family's future.

Tim's caring and respectful approach to Mike that day made me think he is probably one great father.

Posted by: Nani | June 23, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I also didn't mean to say "get this party motivated"...

I meant "get HIS party motivated."

I know that this Boodle practices Freedom of Party. It was a typo, really.

Posted by: TBG | June 23, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

> Dear martooni (cousin/past life of T martooni?)

Not that I'm aware of, Error. But who knows? There are a lot of things from my drinking days I'm not aware of. ;-)

> Do you really build you own proper wooden shutters?

I suppose it depends on what you mean by "proper", but yes, I made them from scratch (well, from pine, actually -- scratch is expensive, y'know).

I'm pleased with how they came out, though. They're "faux" shutters that are for decorative use, but I would imagine if I slapped some hinges on them they'd work fine. If I did that, though, I'd have to sand, stain and finish *both* sides and that smells like work.

We could have used functional shutters here yesterday -- got hit with a very wicked chain of thunderstorms with nickel-sized hail. Our back yard is now a lake. Maybe my next project should be an ark.

Posted by: martooni | June 23, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I'm laughing here because I was thinking the thing.

Most decidedly on topic.

Posted by: dr | June 23, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Don't get me started:

From Edwards' speech, according to Bob Herbert at the NYT:

"It's wrong," he says, "to have 37 million Americans living in poverty, separated from the opportunities of this country by their income, their housing, their access to education and jobs and health care -- just as it was wrong that we once lived in a country legally separated by race."

According to Joel:
Now television commercials inform us that thirty million American men may have trouble getting an erection. Wow. And these are big, friendly, touch-football-playing guys, with George Clooney smiles and luscious, adoring, patient wives.

Boy, this country is really screwed up!

Posted by: Loomis | June 23, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

TBG - great idea move Canada to Cuba, the climate change would be wonderful. Although I suggest we slice of the top frozen portion to avoid melting the ice cap/permafrost any quicker than is currently happening. Mojito bars in the hockey rinks now that would be fun.

Posted by: dmd | June 23, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I just hopped over to bc's playhouse to reread his musings on the World Cup, such funny writing, and noticed that so far his predictions for making it to the second round are 12 of 13. Based on where the remaining teams to play stand I expect he'll finish at worse 13 of 16. Wow, I must say I'm impressed.

Posted by: omni | June 23, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I thought EF was going to move Isreal to Cuba? The Cubans themselves would remain in Florida, and Canada would change places with Mexico.

EF, it might be best to maintain some ambiguity on this issue.

fizz, thanks for the recommendation.

re: pirates. I know I mentioned SLAP day yesterday, but we can't get ahead of ourselves. Calgary BPH seems to be in order in September, though. BTW, landlocked Alberta could so have pirates. Did you know that Alberta has more shoreline than any other province? KIDDING! No hate mail please.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 23, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

>They're "faux" shutters that are for decorative use, but I would imagine if I slapped some hinges on them they'd work fine.

I have an old house and have been wondering what it would take to actually get working shutters, but yes, it does smell like real work. I'm too lazy to do even faux ones myself.

Nani, I'm afraid a certain amount of upside bubble-gum chewing would possibly be required. We need people to get a different perspective, and I can't think of much different perspective than that.

TBG, no worries about the campaign, we have to compete in the free market of ideas. The big foreign policy shake-up was to reconcile with Castro and convince the Israelis to move to Cuba. Disney could recreate the sites, and the tourist trade would go way up because it'd be a quick flight from the US. The Cubans living in Miami could trade real estate there for real estate in Cuba, opening up Miami for a national vacation lottery. (It goes without saying that Gitmo would have to go.)

The Palestinians could go back to the lands they were dispersed from so the Arabs would have nothing to complain about and the price of gas should drop because the ever-present disruption of pipelines and general strife in the area should go down.

In Iraq I believe we have to draw down troops to reduce casualties, cost, and the sense of occupation. The Iraqis and going to have to rebuild the place. If it fractures along sectarian lines, so be it. We cannot guarantee it won't become an Islamic republic and probably shouldn't try, but they do owe us something for getting Hussein out and that should be dibs on oil production, especially in times of shortages. I don't think it's too much to ask that the American taxpayer gets something for our $300B.

Now back to work!

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 23, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Completely OT but since there is no email address available for Charles Krauthammer I had to find another WP outlet to set the story straight regarding his misrepresentation of an incident in Australian parliament and what it REALLY was about............
"In the Australian House of Representatives last month, opposition member Julia Gillard interrupted a speech by the minister of health thusly: "I move that that sniveling grub over there be not further heard."
For that, the good woman was ordered removed from the House, if only for a day. She might have escaped that little time-out if she had responded to the speaker's demand for an apology with something other than "If I have offended grubs, I withdraw unconditionally." (Khammer's opening lines).
What didn't Khammer tell you..............below:

"You see, it was a culmination of a sequence of events which resulted from Toni Abbot "himself" having called The Shadow Minister for Human Services and Accountability 'Kelvin Thomson' a sniveling grub the week before. When Toni was asked to withdraw his comment, he simply said "If I have offended grubs, I withdraw unconditionally".
Deputy speaker Peter Lindsay accepted his withdrawal.
(From Yahoo message boards and The Age)

Yes, Tony Abbot, the Australian Health Minister (Liberal - read Conservative and ruling party in Australia) called a member of the opposition (Labor) a sniveling grub and was not censured in any fact used the same line to 'excuse' himself === and was excused...unlike the Labor member.

So....Charles Krauthammer writes some glowing account of Australia depicting it as a satellite of America and he gets the entire initial premise of his story wrong. The issue in Australia wasn't that Gillard (an up and comer in Labor) called someone a grub and only got tossed out for 24 was that the next potential deputy PM (Sorry folks, it will be Costello and Abbot for Liberal) used the exact same words against the Labor opposition and got a pass.

Is Khammer that stupid? Australian Parliamentary proceedings are always raucous... this was a prime example of favoritism for the 'ruling' party and Gillard's reason for using that particular phrase (a week after Abbot) was specifically to demonstrate that. And Khammer missed it completely. Wow.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The photo of the pirate wench makes me realize how much my idea of beauty has changed.

The most beautiful woman I know is 85. She has glorious snow white hair that's always nicely done. Granted, she has some wrinkles on her face, but her skin is a lovely pink that sets off her blue eyes. Skinny she isn't, but she always wears tasteful clothes that compliment her coloring.

She's the epitome of a gracious Southern lady, but she's tack-sharp and minces no words. Her expression radiates love and caring for all those around her. Her life hasn't been trouble free, but she has had a long and happy marriage and her children bless her, as we all do.

Several years ago, she sent me the card my mother sent her when her father died, complete with the original envelope, and a sweet message about how she had appreciated my mother's card. I cried, and count it among my most cherished treasures.

I hope, if I live to be 85, that I will be half as beautiful as Virginia.

Posted by: slyness | June 23, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about ducking out early yesterday - had to pick the little one up. Anyway, thanks for all the comments. To clarify a few things - I certainly don't begrudge anyone of any age the respect they are given for any reason. I think one of the problems with our society is a general lack of respect for others, regardless of their age. Simple things like getting up and offering a seat to an elderly person, a pregnant woman, or someone on crutches on the Metro, for example. Or simply holding a door open for the next person behind you. Mabye that's just my Southern upbringing coming out.

As far as what I was referring to when out shopping/dining without my toddler (or husband), I'm talking about being ignored by salespeople or being given the worst table possible in a nice restaurant even though there are others open. Seriously, though, I usually brush things like that off and just chuckle about it. But for some reason (chalk it up to a bad day), I was just rubbed wrong yesterday.

Posted by: PLS | June 23, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, my husband is 35. :-)

Posted by: PLS | June 23, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Interesting article vaguely on one of the topics, seems adults are more immature now.

Posted by: dmd | June 23, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Sniveling Grub is available as a boodle handle, but better act now! I have a hunch this one may go fast.

I'm getting very, very worried about Conservative (so he claims to be, anyway) pundit Andrew Sullivan. He's making eminently good sense. I recommend everyone read Howie Kurtz's column today that quotes Sullivan extensively.

Some money quotes: "Readers know that I don't support any timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. This puts me in the excruciating position of supporting a war conducted by an administration whose key players are manifestly incompetent and reckless. ... But as long as Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are running the show, I cannot say I am optimistic that such a sane strategy will be employed or that it will succeed. It's like asking Ken Lay to turn Enron back into an ethical, profit-making company.... And Rove will ruthlessly exploit the war for partisan gain, as he has from the beginning. He has no scruples. ...If you stick to your anti-war position, you are left with hoping for catastrophe, which a great political party should be better than."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 23, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Edwards that access to Education is a huge part of the problem for those living in poverty. And Nani's reposting of Mikes story shows that sometimes those who most need a good solid education are forced out of school and into the workplace. Even for those who get a good solid highschool education, the cost of secondary schooling can mean that its out of reach.

The most fundamental way anyone can help another is to teach a them something. The old adage of feed a man a fish and you feed him a meal, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Posted by: dr | June 23, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Ron Suskind, the guy who wrote "The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11" which was one of the core documents for the Frontline "Dark Side" report the other night, is having a chat at 2:30. Should be good--"must-see Internet."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 23, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

> I have an old house and have been wondering what it would take to actually get working shutters, but yes, it does smell like real work. I'm too lazy to do even faux ones myself.

They're actually not that much work. I built four of them in one evening after work -- and that included almost two hours spent experimenting with different construction/assembly techniques. All you need is a table saw and a sander (a router is also handy). The finishing can be tedious, but some people actually enjoy that part. If you want to try your hand at making them, let me know and I'll whip up a web page with the plans.

Posted by: martooni | June 23, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Joel, if you're monitoring the boodle, I just sent you a fairly urgent non-boodle-related e-mail.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 23, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Mudge: Have you been secretly hopping over the border to shoot the Doodlebops? The character Mudge is kind of short with his fellow cast members when they bang on the dressing table mirrors to simply ask a question. Just curious.

Posted by: jack | June 23, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I do agree that there is a large lack of consideration on the Metro. I've seen people looked ticked off when they couldn't grab the disabled-only seats. And they're not disabled. In fact it seems like the disabled seat signs are disappearing too.

If metro yanks more seats and puts in those hang handles, I will expect far more problems since a lot of kids are too short to grab those straps and have their feet reach the ground. And so many short adults will be, too.

I'm glad people at least make sure your kid gets a seat on metro.

They did a study of who survived airplane crashes and it was predominantly middleaged businessmen-- they simply were able to charge to the door first, no helping anybody. They never heard of women and children first?

So when you hear stories like Barbaro's owner saving a planeful of kids, it's like okay maybe not everybody has forgotten the basic rules!

Once I was recovering from foot surgery, just off crutches but not healed, and I realized it was standing room only on the bus. My foot and leg hurt, I couldn't reach the straps, and the disabled seats were full of people who weren't.

I couldn't really ask people to surrender their seat directly so I wrote the bus driver that my leg was really bad right now and could he ask if anybody would move? Sure, he did, and I was able to sit down for 40 minutes.

It'd have been nice for people to get up for me without asking, but I didn't look hurt or disabled, so couldn't expect them to KNOW.

By the way, I've learned that many handicap accessible vans need the extra space on the side to load and unload the wheelchair/crutches. So stealing an handicap parking space when you're not disabled is really nasty-- it may force the person to straddle two parking spaces to get in and out.

And you can bet that person, if he has seen you enter or leave, will be finding a way to bust you for being faux handicapped, some handicapped people I've talked to have even phoned the police in once they have observed how unhandicapped the person is, to fine the person.

So yeah, there is a lot of lack of courtesy out there and a ME ME culture that comes with large cities and anonymity.

Now, imagine you live in a small town and then suddenly park in a handicap spot in a small town. 10 people will be knocking at your door to ask what happened to you, they heard you were parking in a handicap spot, is something wrong?

And then you might be prepared to hear that your official sins now include stealing handicap spots and they will probably mention it at your funeral.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 23, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back PLS!

Unknown poster: in defence of K-Hammer, the "sniveling grub" comment seems to have been just a funny lead-in to show that Australians speak their minds etc.

In that same article, Haute Maine kind of gets the back hand as having considered sharia. So I offer a brief explanation.

For many years, Roman Catholic and Jewish people that want to do civil actions and divorces according to their religious doctrine have been able to do so through arbitration. Arbitration in legal terms is effectively a contract that the parties will live with whatever the arbitrator decides. The normal rules of contract law still apply, ie if a person doesn't know what they're actually agreeing to or doesn't have capacity, the agreement will not be enforceable. So far, it's pretty much "whatever floats your boat", right?

So along comes sharia and some groups saying, "hey, we want to do sharia divorces like the other religions".

The background to this point can be read here:

Well, because sharia has a lot of aspects that aren't exactly big on equality, this party crashing pretty much brought the whole arbitration issue front and centre.

Sharia arbitrations were rejected, of course, and the others will probably get prohibited as well (which is sound legally, since you're just setting up a discrimination action if you allow one and not the other). The end of the story can be read here:

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 23, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I grew up in one of those small Southern towns where everyone knew everyone's business! And true, I am always on my very best behavior when I go home. (Not that I go around stealing handicapped spots ever).

I used to be a Metro rider, up through my 8th month of pregnancy. I was HUGE, obviously pregnant, and still there were times when no one would offer a seat. I started driving into work and have been driving ever since (now I drive because I have to pick the little one up at daycare on the way home).

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 23, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

SCC: name-stealing on the 11:54 am post. That was TO Wilbrod, from me.

Posted by: PLS | June 23, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to guess that the 11:54 wasn't actually Wilbrod.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 23, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

This just in from AP:

"ATLANTA (AP) -- A worrisome superbug seen in prisoners and athletes is also showing up in people who get illegal tattoos, federal health officials said Thursday.
"Forty-four tattoo customers in Ohio, Kentucky and Vermont developed skin infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The infections occurred in 2004 and 2005, and were traced to 13 unlicensed tattoo artists, according to an article in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report."

...and the line I like best:

"One Ohio tattooist used a homemade tattoo gun made from a computer ink-jet cartridge and guitar strings..."

E'en as you read this, I am busy composing new lyrics to "Zing Went the Strings of My Art."

Now, if I could just think of a way to hook up an old Stratocaster to my HP 7500 printer, I just might get that clipper ship/hula girl chest tattoo after all.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 23, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Jack, but I am utterly clueless about your 11:47.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 23, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Mudge I'm in transit but will check it soon and if necessary leave a msg on voicemail 334-7261

Posted by: Achenbach | June 23, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

It's a show on the Disney Channel that I watch with my son. During the school year its on at 8; summer vacation airtime is 10.30. *Attempted humor; geeked out* Maybe I'll adopt the handle blithering idiot.

Posted by: jack | June 23, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Sof C, looking for a little clarification, please.

In the bbc article, the writer states: "Mr Mumtaz Ali, the first Muslim to qualify here as a lawyer".

The writer seems to mean Canada. I'd have a hard time believing that he is the first Muslim to become a lawyer.

Posted by: dr | June 23, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, what do you think Andrew Sullican would have to say about this?:

American leaders would have done well to reflect on the fate that befell the British when they tried to subdue Iraq after World War I. Iraqis launched a revolt against the colonial regime in 1920. The British sent the troops to suppress it but soon found themselves caught in a spiral of horrific violence. Their occupation, which they expected to last for only a few months, dragged on for nearly 35 years. In 1955, they left behind a weak, unrepresentative political system that ultimately produced Saddam Hussein.

"What happened in Iraq," the Britiah historian Niall Ferguson wrote in 2004, "so closely resembles the events of 1920 that only a historical ignoramus can be surprised."

Source: Stephen Kinzer's "Overthrow"

Posted by: Loomis | June 23, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The Who sang a a little ditty about tatooes. It goes a little somethin' like this: (My children liked it cause of the rooty toot toots)

Me and my brother were talking to each other
'Bout what makes a man a man
Was it brain or brawn or the month you were born?
We just couldn't understand

Our old man didn't like our appearance
He said that only women wear long hair

So me and my brother borrowed money from mother,
We knew what we had to do.
We went downstairs, past the barber and gymnasium,
And got our arms tattooed.

Welcome to my life, tattoo!
I'm a man now, thanks to you.
I expect I'll regret you,
But the skin-graft man won't get you,
You'll be there when I die, tattoo!

My dad beat me, 'cause mine said "Mother",
But my mother naturally liked it and beat my brother,
'Cause his tattoo was of a lady in the nude,
And my mother thought that was extremely rude.

Welcome to my life, tattoo!
I'm a man now, thanks to you.
I expect I'll regret you,
But the skin-graft man won't get you,
You'll be there when I die, tattoo!

Now I'm older, I'm tattooed all over.
My wife is tattooed too.
A rooty too too, rooty tooty toot too,
Rooty toodle toodle tattoo too to you!

Posted by: Nani | June 23, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

PLS, that's just evil not to give a pregnant woman a seat. Unfortunately I've heard that people have offered certain moody feminists and they go "AHM Pregnant, not disabled" and refuse seats.

Maybe they have problems getting out of the seats once they sit down, or only have 1-2 stops, but no need to encourage a spirit that pregnant women should never be offered seats on metro.

And SoC, stranger things have happened ;) Looks like PLS and I are even now.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 23, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

It's humor day on the Mommy blog. Since you guys are the funniest group of people I know, I would like to encourage you all to take a minute or so to post a funny family story to that blog. Not to do the boodle injustice, but us stressed out parents could really use a much needed dose of comic relief. Good luck!
I'm just about to leave for a camping trip with my wife and kids. Last time I went, about 10 years ago, I woke up about 3 am in the morning like I usually do. I got lost on the campground looking for the picnic table. Then I had to pee, real bad. I ended up disturbing a lot of campers stumbling through their lots and as quietly as possible,yelling for help. How embarrassing. This time, I'm bringing an empty milk jug...
Get back with you all sometime next week, that is, if I don't get eaten by a bear.

Posted by: Pat | June 23, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

>If you want to try your hand at making them, let me know and I'll whip up a web page with the plans.

Thanks for the offer matooni, but that would mean I'd need to clean up the garage to set up a workspace for the table saw and whatnot, and then do the actual work. And then I'd have a table saw staring at me, saying why won't do another project, and well... you get the picture.

While we're on policy and education, here's mine:

Someone paid for me to go to public school, and a solid education is the surest way out of poverty, so I support public schools. But if your choice is to send your kids to a private school of some type I don't see why you should pay twice, so I support vouchers. Some complain this would starve the public schools, but if they went back to teaching just the core subjects and made everything else a la carte it should reduce the cost of the taxpayer-funded part. I know there are already a lot of costs that parents bear themselves, but they are your kids. You don't have to have them. I didn't, yet 3/4 of my property taxes go to pay for $11M worth of fields for our local school sports empire, a full-blown TV studio, and Spanish teachers for 2nd graders. There was much wringing of hands when they cancelled the $500,000 bleachers and $300,000 in landscaping. That is not education, and won't make a fig's difference to getting Jr. into a productive citizen. We need strong math, science, English and history. Nothing will stop parents from banding together as Mudge has eloquently described his Little League experience. If you want your kid to go on trips, play sports, learn to be a TV anchor that's terrific, but I don't know why singles and retirees should be paying for it.

We should strengthen and reduce the cost of community colleges and state colleges, (mainly by reducing the building costs with virtual classes) and put more emphasis on vocational areas too. We need more plumbers, people. It's a good living and can't be outsourced.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 23, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Good find, Loomis. I'd hope Sullivan would say what I'd say: that a piece of information like that comes from the fact-based, reality-based world, but clearly isn't useful in the faith-based/fantasy world of the Cheney administration.

I always thought they ought to have partitioned the damn place from Day One.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 23, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

martooni: I'd be interested in conjuring up some shutters. We have some that are original to our house that are louvered. Yours sound simpler. Trouble is that we have fourty or so windows to shutter; money is a limiting factor in our iteration of restoration.

Posted by: jack | June 23, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted you to know that my hubby bought me GenTeal--long before you recommended it. Long-lasting comfort, but pretty thick and goopy after application. Thanks for the thought, though, some while back.

Posted by: Loomis | June 23, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

poverty is a big problem in Panama. my mother spent a lot of time lamenting about it, but as some one mentioned the adage - give a man a fish... she did the cutest thing in bocas del toro - there was a little boy who was obviously poor who had broken shoes - she asked him if he was going to buy new shoes and he said yes. she then asked him if he had any money and he said no - she said "come with me, i'll buy you new shoes" and proceeded to the next store where he picked out a pair of sandals (bocas del toro is a carribean town) and she paid for them.

i wanna be like my mom when i grow up...

Posted by: mo | June 23, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

to the anonomous poster of 11:08

I don't know where you got access to that CK column, both the paper and net versions has his e-mail at the bottom:

Posted by: omni | June 23, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

And once again, Eugene Robinson:

Posted by: omni | June 23, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Be careful out there, Pat! Yesterday's big news around here was that a guy who shot a 235 pound black bear eating the peaches in his backyard faces fines. That happened in one of the small towns in the north end of the county. As far as I know, there hasn't been a bear in Mecklenburg County in my lifetime. The fauna are coming back!

Posted by: slyness | June 23, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

One more before I go. I was sitting in one of the side handicapped seats on the Metro one day when I heard some women babbling nurses talk about pregnancy. I cut in the conversation and asked one of the women if they were pregnant. She was, so I offered her my seat. She refused at first, but I insisted. She finally gave in and took my seat. From the conversation I overheard, I assumed she was a nurse and asked her. She replied with a indignent tome of voice, "No, I'm a lawyer." I then responded, "Oh, in that case, can I have my seat back?" Laughter ensued.

Posted by: Pat | June 23, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

That's a nice sentiment, mo, but "growing up" is sooooooo over-rated, and I'd urge you to resist (you've done pretty well so far). Don't make me start quoting Billy Joel... ("Don't go changing...")

Posted by: Curmdugeon | June 23, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

dr, that has to be wrong. Buddy being interviewed must have said it and it was accepted without checking.

Wilbrod, stranger things have happened!?

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 23, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Nani, thanks for thinking so kindly of me. On those occasions when I manage to take the high road with someone who really is ticking me off, it's usually after writing and deleting several earlier, more cantankerous versions of what I want to post. Real life, unfortunately, does not offer so much opportunity for reflection before speaking.

I once knew a guy who was really, really offended by handicapped parking spots. He felt that the only persons entitled to such "preferential" parking were those who had been injured in service to their country. Presumably, there would be some sort of affidavit process, you would have to show your "service to the country" certification, and so on. I guess you'd have to be ready to whip out your bona fides at the challenge of any random passing stranger, otherwise they might call the tow truck on you. If you simply were born with some problem or received it in an accident, presumably you would be screwed.

I have chosen to believe that this sort of idiocy is principally an affliction of the young. This thought enables me to believe that this guy is not necessarily a complete @$$hole, it's just a phase, from which he might have recovered by now (it's been about 20 years). Of course, I also was young when he said this to me. My jaw dropped, drool puddled, my eyes whirled around, I asked if he had been carefully training to be such a nitwit, and similar expressions of disbelief and disgust.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 23, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

very true 'mudge - very true -
mom keeps asking me when i'm gonna grow up - i tell her, i'll grow up when she grows up... that's the kinda growing up i'm talking about...

Posted by: mo | June 23, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Pat, if you're actually going to be in bear country, 95% of camp site encounters can be prevented by keeping food, cooking, toothpastes, and deodorants away from the camp site. In the backcountry we string that stuff up a pole well away from the sleeping area.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 23, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Mudge writes:
I'd hope Sullivan would say what I'd say: that a piece of information like that comes from the fact-based, reality-based world, but clearly isn't useful in the faith-based/fantasy world of the Cheney administration.

The next to grafs from Kinzer, that follow the passage that I quoted:

There is no stronger or more persistent strain in the American character than the belief that the United States is a nation uniquely endowed with virtue. Americans consider themselves to be, in Herman Melville's words, "a peculiar, chosen people, the Israel of our times." In a nation too new to define itself by real or imagined historical triumphs (Kinzer having reported from fifty countries on four continents), and too diverse to be bound together by a shared religion or ethnicity, this beleif became the essence of national identity, the conviction tht bound Americans to each other and defined their approach to the world. They are hardly the first people to believe themselves favored by Providence, but they are the only ones in modern history who are convinced that by bringing their political and economic system to others, they are doing God's work.

This view is driven by a profound conviction that the American form of government, based on capitalism and individual political choice, is, as President Bush asserted, "right and true for every person in every society." It rests on the belief that Western-style democracy is the natural state of all nations and that all will embace it once the United States removes artificial barriers imposed by other regimes based on other principles. By implication, it denies that culture and tradition shape the human psyche, that national consciousness changes only slowly, and that even great powers cannot impose their beliefs on others by force.

I think of Charlotte de Beers failed efforts at image crafting, David Kay's former SAIC-company's failed media efforts in Iraq. And Karen Hughes, is she really changing any hearts and minds in her Middle East PR slot?

Posted by: Loomis | June 23, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Once many years ago I hopped on a bus and sat in one the seats reserved for seniors, people with handicaps and greater need (this is where the pregnant women come in), and this senior guy begins to berate me for taking this seat. There all of three people on the entire bus as we were at the beginning of the line. Many stops later the bus is full, all seats are taken and several people are standing. Next stop an elderly lady gets on the bus and guess who stood up to offer her a seat? ME! Senior guy's response was a clearly audible harrumph. What an (bad word rhyming with bass (fish or beer, not musical instrument)) crossed my mind.

Posted by: omni | June 23, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

A letter to the editor of today's Tallahassee Democrat:

If anyone doubts the priorities of our Republicans in Washington, they need only read of Wednesday's Senate vote defeating a raise in the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour from the current $5.15.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., reassured the working poor struggling beneath the poverty line that their sacrifices uphold his belief in "the marketplace, the competitive system . . . and entrepreneurship" and reject the fantasy that "government knows better and that top-down mandates work." Apparently, Florida Sen. Mel Martinez agreed.

With income disparities greater than ever, permanent tax breaks for the rich, and CEO salaries sky-high, the marketplace is clearly working for some. Apparently, those poor losers among the one in five Americans without health insurance should show more gratitude that they've got any job at all, and continue to hope that one day government will work for them as well as it does for others.

Meanwhile, the House leadership will not even permit a vote, fearing that there, the interests of the poor might actually prevail. Heaven forbid.

Posted by: Nani | June 23, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Dave of the Coonties, "How on earth do the seeds make the trip from an established plant to these remote outposts 30 or 50 feet away?"

Birds. Gophers. Nature taking its course.

I regret missing so much of this Boodle. The piles on my desk prevented me from reaching the keyboard. I'm only a lowly state employee now, but I honed my piling skills working for the Feds.

Posted by: ivansmom | June 23, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I got on a bus once in Ocean City, MD, when I was about 8 months pregnant. My husband, my 4-year old son and I climbed on the bus and it was standing room only. The tiny little woman driving the bus didn't move. She shouted in a very booming, not-tiny-at-all voice, "Someone better give this woman a seat or I'm not moving."

My husband told me he was about one second away from saying the same thing, but with much less authority.


Wilbrod, I'm wondering about that statistic:
"They did a study of who survived airplane crashes and it was predominantly middleaged businessmen.."

Isn't that who travels predominantly? Aren't they probably also the largest group of nonsurvivors, too?

Posted by: TBG | June 23, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

FYI - new kit

Posted by: dmd | June 23, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Good catch, TBG!

New kit!

Posted by: slyness | June 23, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

jack (and Error, if you decide to take the plunge)... I'll try to get a page up with the plans tonight after work. Or tomorrow, more likely.

Cost-wise, these are very cheap -- only about $6.00 - $8.00 in materials for each one -- but they look like something you'd pay over $100/pair. They're really easy to make, to boot.

Nani... When you look at how these guys vote themselves a pay raise every year, you'd think they'd consider giving those on the bottom-most rung a bone -- it's only been, what, 10 years since the last increase? Makes me sick.

Posted by: martooni | June 23, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

For some reason (starting out with the Miami residents picked up as "terrorists"), I wandered into this Brookings Institute piece on the Decline of the Underclass.

The authors point out that "The latest census data from 2000 show decreases in the 'underclass' and the behaviors that define it--unmarried teen pregnancy, dropping out of high school, chronic joblessness, and participation in crime." but they also cautiously comment "It may be that risky behaviors such as crime, violence, unplanned teen pregnancies, and drug use move in cycles with each generation learning from the immediately previous one the devastating consequences of such behaviors, and then these lessons are lost on the next generation. "

Anyway, Miami is still a rather underclassy city, and I doubt that tax breaks for those who dwell in condos at the Beach will improve the situation.

Ivansmom, as best I can tell, these salvia seeds have no means of dispersal, unless the ants are into major expeditions. We have mole tunnels everywhere, but I just don't see them doing the job. Nor can I imagine seeds sticking to hummingbird beaks. I'm still puzzled by that crimson bunch of flowers sticking out from among the caladiums.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 23, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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