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The Respiration Principle, etc.

Bumped into the legendary journalist Richard Ben Cramer, whose many accomplishments include the best campaign book ever written, "What It Takes" (sorry, Teddy White). Cramer's book persuasively shows that the people who run for president aren't like you and me. They have levels of ambition that the rest of us can't imagine. They're physically and mentally strong enough to endure the grind of the campaign trail. He asks, and answers, the question, "What in their backgrounds could give them that huge ambition, that kind of motor, that will and discipline, that faith in themselves?"

I asked him if he thought Gore was running.

"Oh, he's running," Cramer said. "If he's breathing, he's running."

I think this might be a good assumption for the lot of them. You occasionally hear the rumor, for example, the Hillary Clinton might not run (husband too much of an albatross, some allege), and that she'll distribute her $20 million in campaign funds to Democratic senators and thus ensure that she'll be elected Senate Majority Leader if the Dems gain control. But the Respiration Principle says she'll run, thus joining half the Senate on the presidential hustings.

[Um, remind me, what's a husting? Can it be a singular?] [No, apparently. Webster's: "any place where political campaign speeches are made...the toure followed by a campaigner for public office..."]

[By the way, I once did a profile of Gore, in June of 1992, and brilliantly suggested that he might run for president in 1996. Nowhere in the long article did it broach the possibility that he would be tapped by Clinton as a running mate. My track record when it comes to predicting who will run for president, who will get the nomination, and who will win: Always Wrong.

Here's the start of the Style piece in '92:

The Senator From Planet Earth
By J.A.

You walk into Al Gore's office and pivot to your right and BOOM! there's the entire planet Earth in your face. It's that famous photograph, the one taken by the astronauts back in the '60s, the Whole Earth, the blue marble in a field of black. And this isn't just a poster: It's as big as the head of the Wizard of Oz, blown up so many times it has to be pieced together in three panels, like some Renaissance triptych. It's hoisted high on the wall, demanding that the viewer crane the neck reverently.

The senator points to another, smaller photograph of the Earth, a satellite shot taken at night. Little dots and splotches of white, yellow and red are sprinkled across the darkened land masses.

"The white are the lights of the cities. The yellow represent gas flares. And the red are the burning forests," he says.

The Big Picture: That's the obsession of Al Gore Jr., senator from Tennessee. It's only fitting that he will lead the U.S. Senate delegation to the United Nations' "Earth Summit" next week in Rio de Janeiro: Earth is his political turf, he's been staking it out these last few years, reading everything, digesting stats, meeting with scientists, convening with clergymen, holding Senate hearings, sound-biting on the "Today" show, jetting to the Aral Sea, dropping by the North Pole and the South Pole, and finally pouring his ideas into a book called "Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit."

It's about a lot of things. The book's index has entries like "Goddess worship" and "Hydrological cycle" and "Pinatubo, Mount, eruption of." Basically it's about the future of the human race and of the Earth itself.

"I think we're in the middle of very profound change in our whole civilization right now," Gore says.

And he doesn't need to add: He wants to be right there in the middle. As a leader. As president of the United States. As the guy who sees the Big Picture.

If Al Gore runs for president in 1996, he'll have laid many a foundation brick in 1992....]

[Meanwhile, here's a link to a review of the Gore global warming movie, from the folks at]

[Sports section: Great column by Wilbon on the Arenas arrest on South Beach.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 1, 2006; 11:17 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: More Bloggingheads, Plus DC Baseball
Next: Humans as Composite Organisms, etc.


In George Stephanopoulos's book "All Too Human" he reports on one of Bill Clinton's famous rages with awe. George wonders if you have to be a little crazy to want to be President.

Also, I remember that profile on Gore. It was good then and better now.

Wow. 14 years ago. When I was 30.

Talk about your inconvenient truth.

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

repost from last boodle:


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

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

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I'd like to see a Gore/Clinton ticket in 2008. I think Gore has done a fine job of shaking off the "sore loser" tag and Hillary has proven to be quite capable in her own right as a leader.

Though Gore isn't as much a liberal as I'd like, he is definitely left of center (and therefore a turnoff to conservative voters). Maybe Hillary's moderate stance would be enough to balance it out.

I'd really *really* like to see Jerry Garcia run for president, but then he doesn't exactly pass the Respiration Test.

Posted by: martooni | June 1, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Ok, here's the deal - almost everyone you ever voted for has been a disappointment. An Error. A Voter Error.

This time, do it on purpose. Vote Error Flynn in, um... what year is it again?

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 1, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

E.F. in 08

It just sounds good.

When anyone asks you a tricky question on the campaign trail, just look meaningfully into the distance and say,
"Well. Clouds are hard."

Shoo in.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 1, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I heard this morning that some Re-pig-licans and talking up Rick Santorum as a Presidential candidate. I guess I could kind of wish that would come to pass, because then the Dems could just cruise into 1600 Penn. What a blithering idiot!! Have any of you listened to him for more than 5 minutes? I'm amazed that Pennsylvania would elect him to anything (course there's been a bit of dispute about whether he's actually a Pennsylvania resident). And the silly season is just beginning!

Posted by: ebtnut | June 1, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

My favourite campaign book is "Fear and Loathing on The Campaign '72" by some Duke guy

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Joel, IIRC, a husting was the Saxon community meeting in which governmental policy was set by the male members. Also the place where the meeting was held.

Posted by: slyness | June 1, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Ebnut, sounding smart is obviously not a requirement.

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

If there is a Gore/Clinton ticket, could I reuse my Clinton/Gore buttons with the names in Hebrew? They are cool.

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

hey a bea c - why the interest in panama? i mean, i love that you know the history but not very many people do (just those from and descendants of - do you happen to be either?)

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

My favorite campaign book is "It Looks Like a President Only Smaller." I found it a witty yet profound exposition of a more innocent time. Brilliant. Well worth a read.

Although the author does look a little goofy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 1, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

a bea c: Yes, and it's amazing he can sound like anything with his foot always in his piehole.

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

If Curmudgeon runs for president in 2008, he'll have laid many a foundation brick in 2006....]

I'm a pundit on par with Joel!

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

Can't we do something about this rule? Do the Republicans occupy 2/3 of the house? I thought it was less.

From Will's column:

"Speaker Dennis Hastert has a "majority of the majority" rule: Nothing comes to the floor that does not have the support of a majority of Republicans (75%)."

This effectively locks out any democratic bills-- but at least it locks out the dumber presidental ideas... I THINK.

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

Here's my campaign prediction: McCain vs. Clinton. Hillary runs as the conservative and John goes after the liberals.

My dream match up is Al vs. Jeb. Won't happen. It's a long time since we allowed a "loser" a second shot. Nixon was the last.

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

I just go this in an email and it's ruined my day:

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

I suppose you could, a bea c. Come to think of it, they could just have all the past Clinton/Gore supporters recycle their old signs and buttons and use the savings to buy more t.v. time.

I know Bill can't run for President again (dang!), but I seem to have forgotten my old civics lessons -- could he run for VP? Now *that* would be one heck of a ticket.

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

I was having such fun at the tale end of the previous boodle--about five of you made me LOL and I didn't get a chance to say that.

Gimme some time to catch up here.

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


I was born and raised in Colombia. My 10th grade Latin American Lit teacher was a really cool guy who told us stories all the time. He related all our reading to what was going on at the time books or poems were written. Several presidents of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Colombia were very talented writers. We read some of their stuff.

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I just gave that game a try and got in front first on second try in 19.4 seconds. While trying to get in back first I realized this is a great game to give you carpel tunnel, so I quit while I was ahead...

Posted by: omni | June 1, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Hello yellojkt, poor John won't ever get near the liberal or progressive vote. He has burned too many bridges. The only way to get back in the good graces would be to burn all of his right-wing "Christian" pandering bridges that he has most recently constructed. That would take him to about 20% popularity.

Curiously, for many of the same pandering reasons, Clinton "most likely" won't win the Democratic nomination. She has been pandering away to odd bedfellows for two years.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 1, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The chattering classes seem to be stuck in Casablana.."round up the usual suspects." in re 2008. Let's first see what 2006 brings before we start counting our"winnings"

Posted by: ILL-logical | June 1, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse


I finished the parking game with a score of 152.4. Thanks. That was fun.

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

I need remedial parking lessons!

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

Any cool ideas for DC stuff to do with kids? I'm meeting my cousin and her kids there on the 27th. She's from Israel and has never been. Both her kids and my kids will be there. Ages range from almost 4 to 13. We're going to the zoo, and my kids have requested a trip to see the dinosaurs at the Smithsonian and riding the metro. Any other kid-friendly venues? We'd rather not drive, which may limit our choices.

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

TBG, please, whatever you do, do NOT tell us what you need the wax paper for.

Now if you were going to go with the plastic wrap, you may want to advise people before hand.

Did Al Gore talk about his environmental interests much while he was on the Clinton ticket or in his VP years? Not a whole lot of news comes out about VP's except for Cheney, but then he is a really interesting fellow.

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

You GOTTA see the dinosaurs! The Air and Space Museum also is cool.

Glen Echo Park is fun for kids. I'm not sure how close the closest Metro stop is. There's a good playground, and kids love the carousel. You'd be amazed how much kids love a chance to just play on a good playground, even though adults think it's kind of dull (of course, you also should go to the Washington Folk festival at Glen Echo on June 3-4 -- sadly, before your cousins arrive). The Discovery Creek Children's Museum at Glen Echo is fun -- you should call ahead for accessibility, they seem to me to have weird hours and weird open days, so it helps to check, first.

Takoma Park has a good Farmer's Market, open on Sundays, and you can get there by Metro. The city of Takoma Park has fun shops to visit, like the House of Musical Traditions (instruments and music).

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

Renaissance Triptych? (from Joel, of all people???) Pointillism in the land-sat photo? Any hidden messages? "So dark the con of man" perhaps? Goddess worship? The feminine sacred? Fibonacci sequences? The plot thickens...

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

a bea c,

On my way to the BPH, the Living History hands-on center in the American History Museum was packed with kids, as was the brand spanking new Mammal Hall in the Natural History Museum, they are right next to each other and each has a pretty decent, if expensive, food court.

Here's a plan:

Get to the zoo early, by car or subway. Catch the pandas before the line gets too long. Then walk up to Woodley Park, catch the red line to Metro Center and either get off there if the weather is cool or transfer to the Blue/Orange line and get off at Smithsonian Station. Run the kids up to the base of the Washington Monument then walk over to NMAH. Take another outside break and look at the Capitol and do the NMNH. American History is open until 6:30 and Natural History is open to 7:30.

Try not to do too much all in one day. You get tourist fatigue. Two museums max and don't bother with all the exhibits. Just go to things the kids want to see.

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

a bea c...just remember.. it will be HOT. Very HOT. Take lots of water. Take lots of breaks. Don't walk the kids to the point of exhaustion and they'll take away great memories.

My husband saw the National Gallery of Art when he was 12 and still talks about. Stick with the west wing. Get the headsets.

Ride the carousel on the mall. Take a sight-seeing tour and hop on and off where you see what you like.

Have the kids do the planning. They'll find some cool stuff. Riding the metro is great, but make sure you go out far enough where it's above ground. More fun that way. The subway stops in Virginia are in the median of the highway (Route 66) so you can race the cars.

Email me if you want to have a kid-friendly BPH: Boodler[at]


Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Dear ILL-logical,

We have at least two brand-new contestants right here already. I've formally announced some time back and I believe Mr. Curmudeon may have been drafted.

So no worries, mate.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 1, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

National Geographic Society also has a little museum at their facility on 17th, I think it is, that the ScienceKids enjoyed.

Take the MARC train from Union Station up to Camden Yard in Baltimore and visit the Inner Harbor, including the Baltimore Maritime Museum, the National Aquarium in Baltimore (there seems to be a National Aquarium in DC, too; I know of no one who has ever visited it), and the Maryland Science Center (much more hands-on than the Smithsonian. You could get a cab over to the Baltimore Railroad Museum.

Dumbarton Oaks is good for grownups. You got art, you got history, and you got topiary outdoors for the kids to run around. I don't know about Metro access.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 1, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, it must be a plot. Maybe he's channeling again. I thought something was fishy with the title, because the first aid course running right next to my desk, has been practising breathing all morning.

Man I wish I had walls.

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

a bea c, for your friends from Israel the Holocaust Museum is a must, see You should register ahead for tickets (its free, but "timed passes" are just about required. You can "try" to just show up when it opens at 10 a.m., but you'll never get in. Go for the passes.) Be warned, though: the museum may be a "must see," but it is a harrowing experience, as you may already know. They let kids in, but to me it perhaps ought to be people 16 and older. It's not a "fun" day.

The Air and Space Museum is THE most-visited museum in the country--but of course it depends on how one feels about planes and rockets and stuff. (Do the IMAX movies there, though--they're great.)

You could spend a week here just doing the Smithsonian stuff and never leave the mall.

Also, you might try the Spy Museum--that's kinda cool.

And of course there's the Official Porching Hour Site (not yet recognized as a historic landmark, but we're working on it) at 1652 K Street.

If you want a break from all the concrete, head down toward the Jefferson Memorial for the tidal basin, cherry trees, paddle boats--and then the "waterfront" is cool.

Check out the Kennedy Center for lots of kid's shows and matinees.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

a bea c: you can take the free shuttle from the main Air and Space Museum to the hangar out in Dulles where they have all kinds of airplanes, as well as the space shuttle Enterprise. I went last weekend and had a lot of fun, but I love old planes.

Posted by: jw | June 1, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

But if you're only going to be here the one day, a bea c, the zoo is pretty much going to wipe out your day. You might get one other event/venue in, but you'll all be dragging.

What you might do the "pack in" as much as you can in a short time span is find one of those open-bus-type tours that ride around the main part of town--they way you (and the kids even more so) don't wear out your feet, and they'll run you past the White House, Wash. Monument, Capitol, Ford's Theater, etc., and you get to "see" all the big-name locations in an hour or two.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

The National Conservatory on the Mall is good. The shows are a little dull, but it features nice places to sit down for lazy grown-ups, and it's a chance for kids from Israel to see lots of plants from the U.S. that will strike them as totally weird.

Great Falls, and the C&O Canal towpath. Lots of greenery, American history, wading birds, and waterfalls that will scare the snot of you.

By the way -- more about the Washington Folk Festival (WFF, pronounced woof). There's an excellent Israeli-born teller at the WFF, Noa Baum, and Arianna Ross (very multi-culti) will be telling at the Cuddle-Up Stage. Again, no good for your cousins, but good for you.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 1, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I went to the National Aquarium in DC on a lunch break years ago. It was a basement full of fish tanks in the Commerce Building on 14th Street. Don't bother.

Baltimore would be a full day side trip. The National Aquarium in Baltimore is a huge world class facility. I haven't been to the Aquarium since the Australian Outback exhibit just opened or to the Maryland Science Center since they expanded as well. Three blocks north of the Aquarium is Port Discovery which has a lot of hands on exhibits for kids. These all cost money, which is a shock if you're used to the free Smithsonian.

Closer to DC, Theodore Roosevelt Island in the middle of the Potomac is a hidden gem. A nice nature walk and the best hidden Presidential statue in Washington. Getting there is a little tricky. Check a map.

I have to plug the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial on the Potomac side of the Tidal Basin. Kids like climbing the pile of stones and it is wide open so they can run around a little. Not something that would interest real little ones though.

On the Mall, the Hirshhorn has modern art that can be a little disturbing to young kids, but it does have the least crowded and cleanest restrooms on the Mall. It's also a good a/c break if you are walking from American History to Air and Space. These musuems are not near each other no matter how close together they look on a map.

The best Smithsonian food is in the American Indian Museum, but the exhibits are better for a third or fourth trip after you've seen all the bigger museums. I'll second ScienceTims's plug for the National Geographic Museum, but it's a little off the beaten path if you are walking.

Make sure to get the all day pass ($7.50) if you are going to make at least three legs on the Metro.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

a bea c - if you are going to be at the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs, take the kids upstairs to the Orkin Insect zoo. Good kid stuff of the eewww, yuk variety.

Walk down constitution avenue to the Einstein statue at 22nd street. There's always kids climbing on it, for some reason they seem to get a kick out of it (OK, I've climbed on it too - had to push a couple of the little buggers out of the way).

Cross constitution to the Vietnam veterans memorial and then on to the Lincoln memorial. Neither may have much personal meaning for someone from Israel. But this is a town of monuments, and these are two of our best.

Posted by: Steve-2 | June 1, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

a bea c -- FWIW, hate to disagree with the person who recommended the Spy Museum, but I took the ten-year-old son of my best friend and he was bored out of his mind. A lot of it had to do with expectations, I am sure. He thought it was going to be super-interactive (people shooting darts out of umbrellas, talking into shoe phones or whatever). But while it's the SPY Museum, it's in fact the Spy *MUSEUM*. You have to be interested in the subject matter at a certain abstract contextual level -- and you have to read the exhibit cards which are not written at fourth-grade level and good for them -- and he was bored. And I was annoyed at having spent the money, since it's not a Smithsonian museum and it's not free.

All kids love Air and Space. Those Tourmobile things can be a fun, not-too time consuming way to get the big-picture vibe of the city and might be especially attractive if it's boilingly hot.

QUESTION: When is the next convocation of the Porch Sitters?

Posted by: annie | June 1, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

i second annie's review of the spy museum (not having been there myself) - a co-worker said it was very expensive and really not worth the cost! and please take heed of the water/hot warning - it's not just the heat, it's the humidity! it's can exhaust you in minutes... so don't over-do it! and note that the zoo is built into the side of a hill so at some point you are going to do a lot of uphill walking... (i remember as a kid getting soooo tired at the zoo)
the holocaust museum is bar none but VERY intense - if the adults can separate from the kids or they sometimes have video screenings... check out the website...

and i'm ALWAYS up for another BPH!!! :)

Posted by: mo | June 1, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

a bea c: I would note that the Metro Smithsonian station is quite a ways down the Mall from most of the "big" museums. It is close to the Holocaust Museum, though. Air & Space is right near the L'Enfant Plaza stop, and the NMNH, NMAH and National Gallery are essentially a stroll across the Mall. Off the beaten track, but for old airplane buffs the museum at the College Park Airport (oldest operating airport in the world!) is a 10-minute walk from the College Park Metro station. The Spy Musuem gets good reviews, but it does charge admission. Glen Echo is kid-friendly, but entails a long bus ride from downtown. Unfortunately, the trolley line was killed in 1960. Re: Baltimore, I believe the city runs a shuttle bus from Harbor Place over the the railroad museum.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 1, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

and a bea c - not a columbiana! sheesh! you know panamanians and columbians don't get along! well, ok... here in the boodle we do! *grin*

Posted by: mo | June 1, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Glen Echo Park is not near the metro. I think there is a bus there, but I have to find out myself.

I think Curmudgeon's idea is excellent, and the zoo is great but very draining if you're not used to walking further than to your parking spot. Add in the heat, and yikes!

But if your group ABSOLUTELY must see the zoo (I understand that feeling!) on a hot day...

I would go in the early morning-- 8 AM on weekdays, preferably, and then bail by 11 AM and walk very slowly, finding an AC restaurant on the way back to the metro, maybe a 2 hour lunch, and then see if there's energy left for the Mall. Take the new bus that goes around the Mall (I wonder if that has any relation to the guy who started targeting tourists recently), stop off at any museums of your choice, and then finish by 5 PM and call it a well-done day and hang out chatting.
And all in bed by 8 PM :-P.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Gee, you guys all jumped at the tour guiding opportunity. So much for the politicos' ambition discussion. I can't understand why a reasonble person would spend pretty much all his or her time sucking up for money or votes. These multi-year campaigns are probably discouraging most good candidates that have an actual life to live.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 1, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Mo, I can traverse 8/10 of the entire National zoo in a single visit of 3 hours or so (including 3-4 houses).

Even as a kid I was the least tired at the end of a zoo trip of everybody ;). It's my parents that were the walking dead.

The zoo is adding a new trail soon. It's worth remembering that it's impossible to see the whole zoo.

So you have to decide what you want to see anyway. The Pandas and cheetahs are close to the main entrance, at least.

The stuff at the extreme end of the zoo: Lion and Tiger pits, Amazonia (rainforest and aquarium with huge freshwater fish), The petting zoo. Lots of stuff on Olmstead walk on the way there.

Always quit while you have energy left, never stop into a house on the way towards the back of the zoo, only on the way back... that way if you tire faster than you thought, you still saw what you really wanted to see.

Soon they may need to put in a monorail or a toy train tour of the zoo.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

a bea c, we also have a relatively new bus service, called the Circulator that has two loops around downtown--here's the link. Download/print out a copy for yourselves--that may make it easier than going underground (and you see more). And the buses themselves are really, clean and modern.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Circulator, that's the bus service I meant. Those buses are way funky, and they really do stop all around the mall. Finally there's something for the physically disabled, energy-challenged, or lazy of leg!

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I second wilbrod's idea. I haven't ridden the new bright red Metro circulator bus, but at a buck a trip it sounds like a bargain. Of course the guy that charges $20 for the all day pass to the Tourmobile (which includes guides) is livid about the idea.

The Smithsonian Metro stop is on The Mall (with an exit on Independence as well, so don't get turned around). It is the closest stop to the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. The Federal Triangle station is closest to American History and Natural History. Archives/Navy Memorial is closest to Natural History and National Gallery.

Do not go to L'Enfant Plaza no matter how close it looks to something on the map. It is on the the wrong side of the railroad tracks in a business district that is dead on weekends. The Zoo is halfway between Woodley Park and Cleveland Park, so it's a half-mile walk no matter which you pick. I think the restaurants are better in Woodley Park.

The Metro has a pretty good website:

Good luck kid wrangling.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Eh, I did a quick take on my solution to Global Warming:


Posted by: bc | June 1, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey Shriek: "These multi-year campaigns are probably discouraging most good candidates that have an actual life to live." Understand that for polticos campaigning IS their only life. Ask their spouses/kids (and note Joel's comments in the kit). And campaining always includes grubbing for bucks. That's one reason the Abramhoffs of the world do so well--they can filter a lot of money to their favorite office-holders, and get paid attention to as a consequence. It's not quite bribery (else the entire congress would be in jail) but damn close.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 1, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The Circulator Bus concept is great!

I ride them... one terminus is right in front of my building. It is a quick trip and they run very often.

Still not solved is what to do when rush hour hits and there are buses stuck in the gridlock.

Other issue, they don't run very late, so if you go out to dinner on one, you may have to find alternate travel methods to get back.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 1, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Ah, L'Enfant Plaza, the old DOT hang out. I use to visit there, back when DC was the murder capital of the US. I always found rather disturbing all the warnings and disclaimer my DOT collegues were piling on me: don't come back here at night, on't walk around the building, etc. And yet we were darn close to Congress. Have things improved ?

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 1, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

One other tip: if you can, try to eat lunch early, say 11. It's almost impossible to get in anywhere at noon--if you think the zoo is a zoo, try a restaurant at 12 or 12:30 on the mall.

One place I might recommend if you are on the mall around 11 is the outdoor cafe/sculpture garden at 7th st. on the mall Food is sandwiches and salads and stuff, it shouldn't be too crowded yet, nice place.

I wouldn't go into a restaurant inside one of the museums at noon with a gun to my head. Eat breakfast early, then an early lunch. And you'll be ravenous by 4 anyway, which is good. (And if you didn't have all those kids with you, about 9 of us would meet you at McCormick & Schmicks--where else can you get a (great!!) cheeseburger platter for $1.95????

Hmmmmm. Gang, think McCormick & Schmick's would object to a couple kids? (Don't worry, a bea c, we'd provide the tinfoil hats for you and your group. They'd make wonderful souvenirs to take back to Israel, too.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Capitol, not Congress. Time to validate some more data.

Posted by: shr | June 1, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Good point-- there are few places to eat dinner on the Mall anyway (The National Museum of the American Indian has a decent cafe, but it's $$).

Museums close at 5, so if you hop it, should be okay?

Seconding BC... L'Enfant plaza is also very confusing to exit on weekends, since they have 3 exits and one is shut on weekends. I had to beg the station manager to tell me how to get the &*%^% out of there.

I like to walk down from Cleveland Park myself, would then walk to woodley park myself from the zoo if I was headed into DC.
This is because I feel the hills from Woodley Park to the zoo are steeper going to the zoo than they are from Cleveland Park.

Not to mention that the escalator seems a LOT longer at the Woodley Park zoo.

You can't see the end when you get on, so there's always a moment where you wonder if you'll be handed a harp when you step off at the end.

But the bridgephobic might not like walking from Woodley Park to the zoo, since there's quite a downwards view to the trees under the bridge on Conn Ave before the zoo.

So, claustrophobia and hills versus gephyrophobia... Ah, take your tequila shot 'n' go.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

thanks everyone for the kid-friendly tourist information. I can't wait. I don't know if we'll be up for a kid-friendly BPH, but I'll let everyone know as the date gets closer.

I've copied large chunks of this into an email to my cousins. We've never met in person. She's the oldest daughter of my dad's oldest sister. I think we'll have a great time. Unless she decides to cancel the trip after I tell her she's taking a tour based on advice from my imaginary friends.

Airplanes may be interesting. I'm not sure if it is this cousin or her sister who flew helicopters for the IDF.

I believe we'll skip the Holocaust museum. I went there soon after it opened. Got tickets and waited around for hours for the time printed on them. Finally went in about 25 minutes prior to see the "no ticket" part and sat and cried and couldn't stop, then walked out and gave the tickets to some lady standing in line for next-day tickets. I guess I could try going in again. Back then, the pictures of the people all looked like the pictures my grandmother kept on her dresser. They were pictures of the family who didn't make it out of Germany. My grandmother had passed away just a few months before, and I was still grieving. It was just too hard. Then again, as my mom says every time the subject comes up, the Holocaust museum was created for people who didn't grow up surrounded by survivors. Why go?

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Shrieking Denizen, how do you think I feel? CG HQ is on Buzzard Point, with nothing but the cement plant and public housing to keep us company.

Posted by: jw | June 1, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you on the Holocaust museum, a bea c.

By the way, I'm 100% fictional. The others are just imaginary.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

gephyrophobia: n. Fear of crossing bridges.

Thanks for the new word.

I think my cousin and her family would be up to a BPH. I'd have to talk my dad into it.

By the way, to clear up the confusion, I AM Colombian, and now I'm also American. I've only met one Panamanian guy in my life. His name was Fernando and he was very nice. We got along great and NEVER discussed history. :)

Posted by: a bea ,c | June 1, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm usually frictional, and often factional as well as factual.

Almost never functional.

And more flirtatious than fictitious.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Note that there is a Metro entrance at L'Enfant at 7th & Maryland, just a half-block from the A&S & Hirshorn. See:

Posted by: ebtnut | June 1, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

FYI, Joel's buddy Bill Gray is mentioned in this Rocky Mountain News story about the upcoming hurricane season:

Busy hurricane season ahead, CSU experts predict

Researchers debate global warming's role in strong storms

By Jim Erickson, Rocky Mountain News

June 1, 2006

The Atlantic hurricane season starts today, and Colorado State University forecasters say it's likely to be very active but less destructive than last year's record-setter.

The latest forecast from William Gray and Phil Klotzbach calls for nine hurricanes, including five major storms with winds of 111 mph or higher and 17 named tropical storms. There's an 82 percent chance, the CSU team said Wednesday, that at least one major hurricane will strike the U.S. coastline this year.

"If the atmosphere and the ocean behave as they have in the past, we should have a very active season, but that doesn't necessarily translate into storms that produce as much destruction as last year," said Gray, who has led the forecast team for 22 years.

The CSU forecast is similar to one issued last week by the National Hurricane Center. Federal scientists are predicting 13 to 16 named storms, eight to 10 hurricanes, and four to six major hurricanes.

Last year, the Atlantic produced 28 named storms, including 15 hurricanes. Seven of the hurricanes were considered "major," and a record four of them hit the United States. Colorado scientists are at the center of a heated debate over global warming's role - if any - in recent powerful hurricanes.

Boulder researchers presented dueling hurricane studies in May's edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research argue in one article that "we are likely already experiencing more intense tropical cyclones as a result of global warming." The article's NCAR authors are Richard Anthes, Greg Holland, James Hurrell and Kevin Trenberth.

But University of Colorado researcher Roger Pielke Jr. and colleagues in Florida and Maryland contend in another article that it's too soon to say if human-caused climate change has strengthened hurricanes.

"I think everyone accepts that global warming can play a role," Pielke said Wednesday in an interview. "But there continues to be an active and vigorous debate in the scientific community about what's been observed and how to interpret it."

The NCAR-led team points out that the 2005 Atlantic season spawned the greatest number of named tropical storms and the most hurricanes on record. It was the only year with three Category 5 hurricanes (winds of 156 mph and higher) and produced the most costly storm on record, Katrina, with some damage estimates as high as $200 billion.

Temperatures in the tropical oceans, which provide the fuel for hurricanes, have warmed 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970, and the NCAR-led group said there is "little doubt" that the recent warming is due in part to the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, released by the burning of fossil fuels.

In addition, there's been a big increase over the past 35 years in the number and proportion of intense hurricanes, they said. "This is the type of signature that would be expected from global warming changes rather than from natural (climate) variability alone," they conclude. The best-available evidence, they say, suggests that future human-caused warming will intensify hurricanes and that "this process has already commenced."

But Pielke and his colleagues say the NCAR group doesn't present a shred of evidence linking observed hurricane behavior to human- caused climate change. "We should not make the mistake of confusing interesting hypotheses with conclusive research results," Pielke wrote in the article.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

...And I flagellate like a proud Par-american in this great petri dish of humanity.

I think I'm going to enter that in a "bad writing contest."

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

It'd make a good phrase for an amoebi-tious politican, though.

And so we spirochete back to the original topic....

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, Bulwer-Lytton is THE place for bad writing.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | June 1, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

They had me at 'Sphincter, the gladiator, girded his loins'.

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The Detective winner for 2005 was brilliant-- a whole plot in a sentence and a backhanded slam to a plot cliche.

The Fanasty one was similar, but not as deft.

The children's lit winner was inspidly bad.

I like the dishonorable mention involving the Cowardly Lion-- although that sounds like it could be a line from "Wicked". (maybe it IS...)

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is a LAWYER first, last, and formost... which is why she makes former Dem's like myself so disgucted when she tailors every message instead of just saying what she thinks.

Lawyers tailor their message to a jury or a judge and it can be 180% each time they speak depending on the case and crime or matter before the court. This is their training.

In other words, lawyers who behave as Hillary does - in an official capacity as they would in court - display behavior that is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE OF LEADERSHIP.

I'm an independent now.

Posted by: Long Beach, CA | June 1, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Long Beach, forget "independent"-- form the Shakespearian political party.

"First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

We could promote Shakespeare's political philosophy nationwide and totally change the nature of the nation's discourse.

I'd like to see more politicans immolate their careers due to tragic flaws.

Posted by: Wilbord | June 1, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Scc, Wilbard, not Wilbord.

Posted by: Wilbard | June 1, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I got it... Stewart/Colbert.

The scary thing is if they *did* run, they'd probably stand a better than average chance.

What's scarier is that they would probably do one "heck of a job" better than the current monkeys in charge.

Posted by: martooni | June 1, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I have a question -- what's the deal with bears on The Colbert Report?

Posted by: Tim | June 1, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Electing lawyers to write laws is like electing exterminators to clean up congress.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

From Mudge's post:

'But Pielke and his colleagues say the NCAR group doesn't present a shred of evidence linking observed hurricane behavior to human- caused climate change. "We should not make the mistake of confusing interesting hypotheses with conclusive research results," Pielke wrote in the article.'

There are two Roger Pielkes -- Sr. and Jr. Senior is a climate scientist, Junior is more of a policy guy. Junior is saying here that the link hasn't been proved. But he's not saying it's not true. He's just saying that if you look at warmer sea surface temperatures and then look at more strong hurricanes that doesn't conclusively show that one thing leads to the other. A common monkey wrench thrown into that equation is that if you have a warm Pacific -- an El Nino event -- the winds blowing across to the Atlantic ought to obliterate a lot of hurricanes before they can get organized. But everyone should also grasp that the consensus on global warming isn't built on the hurricane data. It's built on CO2 and methane etc. going up and an observed rise in temperature that seems to correspond to it in a way that fits our understanding of how these things act as "forcings" on climate. Plus you got stuff melting. You got ice cores that give you a long record of temperatures and associate gases in the atmosphere. The hurricane studies are, as I understand it, statistical analyses.

I am sure I have cleared this up very nicely.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 1, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut wrote: "Note that there is a Metro entrance at L'Enfant at 7th & Maryland, just a half-block from the A&S & Hirshorn."

True...but it depends on which exit/stairwell you take. The northern ones are a block or so away from the museums. On the south side exit at 7th and D, there's nuthin' there to see...but me.

You do the math.

I'd hate to think of innocent children coming all the way from Israel, tromping all over one of the world's great cities...and then coming upon a curmudgeon rifling through the GPO style manual and muttering curses and imprecations under his breath. Better they should run into a couple of winos, or a lobbyist or something.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I favor running into elephants, myself.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Re the "If he's breathing, he's running" idea----

My favorite Republican (it's a small group), Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, when asked on one of the Sunday news shows about whether he planned to run said, "Everyone who isn't in rehab plans to run." Good line, I thought.

Posted by: THS | June 1, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Jim Erickson of the Rocky Mountain News is the reporter who got Dr. Vince Fulginiti to go on the record about the little-known clinic to treat, in the early 60s, the worst of the worldwide smallpox-vaccine injured. I've spoken to Jim. *Very nice* guy.

Just a thought on Al Gore. His undergrad roommate at Harvard was the actor Tommy Lee Jones, whose former father-in-law is San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger, who's behind the current Main Plaza redevelopment project. I read somewhere quite recently that Gore and Jones hate it when the rommate connection is brought up.

If Jones' last film was "the Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada," do you think Jone's next film might be "The Political Resurrection of Al Gore?"

Posted by: Loomis | June 1, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Bears are evil picanic basket stealing critters that sleep half the year and scare unwary hikers the rest.
What's not to get. Unless, of course, YOU SECRETLY LOVE BEARS. In which case you are in violation of myriad state and federal statutes and I advise you to immediately consult a lawyer. Or, google bearlove.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Long Beach... I appreciate what you are saying. I don't know if Hillary's selective message crafting is a lawyering trait or a learned trait from politics.

All professional politicians want to put "the back foot out of their batter's box," if you know what I mean.

I am with you, stand in the damn box. Let's see where you are and I will take into consideration those positions with which I agree and those with which I disagree and then compare with the other candidate.

I would have to say that we waste too much time characterizing liberals and conservatives when we should be just asking what do you believe or what would you do.

Let's compare what candidates would do. Get down to brass tacks.

May I add that I think, done well, most solutions are better than a hodgepodge of inaction and knee jerk reactions based on momentary political capital chasing.

I want to hear about 4 to 8 year plans that have 4 to 8 years worth of work and a goal in mind. I also would say that I agree with George Will when he states that neither party owns and controls the "moral highground."

Let's get a majority to agree on what our country needs to do for OUR PEOPLE and move forward. Let's take time to look at the Real facts. Let's see what everyone has to say. Let's not just assume that if there is an R or a D after the name in Parens that they have a clue or don't have a clue.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 1, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noted that the late, great master of political come-backs, Richard Nixon, made an appearance on the then top rated TV sketch comedy show, Laugh-In (Sept 16, 1968)? Of course that was late in the election cycle but nowadays 30 months before the next presidential election might not be soon enough for an appearance on SNL.

Maybe it's more like "If he's breathing and he's showing his wild-side he's running". OK, SNL might not be the top rated TV show today and saying, "Sock it to me," is pushing the wild-side thing a little.

Posted by: Roofelstoon | June 1, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Joel, from your (well done) attempt to clarify things, I infer that correlation has been proved, but not causation. Is that fair?

Posted by: Steve-2 | June 1, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Need to catch up on this afternoon's boodling, but I want to post this before too many folks go home.

This is the first piece of writing that absolutely thrilled me; I read it in high school--I think Freshman year. I read this passage from Thomas Hardy's "Far From the Madding Crowd" and I could smell the day he was describing. I think it was really the first time that I just fell in love with the way something was written.

I always think of it as June begins, and I want to share it with the boodle today (through the miracle of Google):


It was the first day of June, and the sheep-shearing season culminated, the landscape, even to the leanest pasture, being all health and colour. Every green was young, every pore was open, and every stalk was swollen with racing currents of juice. God was palpably present in the country, and the devil had gone with the world to town.

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Nice, never read Hardy (time to remedy that soon)....

May you all NOT dream of bad writers/poets reading their work to you.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The hurricance causation thing goes like this:

(1) warm sea-surface temperatures have a well-understood correlation with the probability of a hurricane forming.

(2) warmer sea-surface temperatures correlate to mightier hurricanes.

(3) increased sea-surface temperature is a logical consequence of global warming.

(4) increased global temperatures correlate strongly with increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

(5) therefore, one predicts that the rate of hurricane-incidence, or the magnitude of hurricanes, should correlate positively with the history of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The observed data show that the rate of hurricane-formation is about the same as for a long while back. The fraction of hurricanes which get up to Category 4 or 5 is linearly correlated with the atmospheric CO2 concentration. The problem is that good hurricane data mainly date from the advent of weather satellites, so there are only about 40 years of data. Hurricane processes have some cyclical behavior of their own, so the skeptical response is that the CO2-linked hypothesis is not a unique solution. The rebuttal is that there is, in fact, sufficient data to identify a statistical distinction from the (formerly) usual probabilities. Furthermore (I may have this part wrong), the track record of hurricane cyclical behavior controls the rate of hurricane formation, not the fraction that reach the highest categories. These are the terms of the debate.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 1, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

a bea c, sorry to chime in late, but...

If you happen to be touring on a weekday, the all-day Metro passes are only good AFTER 9:30 a.m. And the Zoo is most definitely UPHILL from the Woodley Park Metro. The Cleveland Park stop has a few restaurants, but starting there and then walking DOWN to Woodley from the Zoo is always in order.

Hope that helps.


Posted by: Scottynuke | June 1, 2006 5:57 PM | Report abuse

TBG, lovely writing quoted in your post.

I usually look forward to the first cool day at the end of the summer. When I was in Louisiana, living without air conditioning, there was a morning sometime in late October when the air was clear. The summer haze was gone. I could look outside my window and see every leaf on the oaks all the way to the tops of the trees. The leaves also made a different rustling sound when the wind blew through the trees, as if they knew it was almost time to fall. When I left Baton Rouge and moved to Memphis, I was surprised when that day came in mid-September. I ran into a coworker's office and tried to explain it, the clear air, the leaves on the trees. He was a serious number cruncher. He just stared at me and said, "Yes, the forecast called for cooler weather." What a dork.

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Metro all-day passes.... the other day my son and I were walking into the Vienna Metro station and a very nice guy (who, by the way, was carrying a case of beer) handed me his Metro all-day pass and said he was done with it and would I like it.

Would I? (won't go there) It was great! And when I was done, I passed it along to someone else. I looked and couldn't find anywhere on it that said "not transferrable" or whatever the proper term would be.

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I've read Tess, and the Mayor of Casterbridge. There are some lines near the end of 'Casterbridge' that formed a complete picture in my mind the moment I read them, and even as I read your quote TBG, the picture came to mind. A wordsmith to be sure.

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

TBG- If you check one of those passes I bet you'll find that it states that it is non-transferable. You have just confessed to felony fraud in the online version of a nationally read newspaper and I advise you to immediately consult a lawyer. Or, google bearlove.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Al and Hillary? Good grief. How about Al Gore and Ron Paul? That would shake it all up.

Clouds are indeed hard.

Posted by: Jumper | June 1, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Boko999, the fine print on my pass did not say it could not be transferred. I reallly looked. Not that I wouldn't have transferred, I just would have been a little more discreet about handing it to someone (just looked for the clueless folks staring at the Farecard machine).

The new refillable SmarTrip cards are cool but they actually COST five bucks. That's lost money. Doesn't get you anywhere. Then you add more money to it to pay your fare and your parking. But my son figured out you just have to wave your wallet over the reader to open the gates. Don't even have to take the card out first.

But I'm such a dork that I paused one time to see how much was left on my SmarTrip card (a little digital readout appears on the gate) and the gate actually closed before I got through it! I had to talk the guys in the booth into letting me through because I had used up all the credit. I'm not sure if the AddFare machine will add to a SmarTrip card. But again, I'm such a dork.

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news...Finola Hackett has advanced to the spelling bee finals. She comes from the small town of Tofield, Alberta, just down the road from me. Way to go Finola.

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was the NATIONAL Spelling Bee?

Where's that border fence when we really need it?

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse

and dr... it's a good thing she didn't add your extra "u" to the word "bdelloid."

It would be an honour to have someone from your area win (Way to go Finola!).

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Never been to I want to really sell it!

Posted by: Catherine Daniel | June 1, 2006 6:53 PM | Report abuse

TGB - You have been libelled in the online version of a nationally read newspaper and I advise you to immediately consult a lawyer. Or, google bearlove.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of bees, I just saw the first firefly of the season. Okay, it's a stretch. But when I was growing up we didn't have fireflies, so I'm compensating a bit here.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 1, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

My copy of "It Looks Like a President Only Smaller" arrived today from Amazon (albeit the Used-Book Department) and this time I AM NOT LETTING IT OUT OF MY SIGHT.

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Boko... I'll hire SonofCarl (who I just typo'ed as SonofCarol).

SoC... what IS your mom's name?

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I keep telling ya we're takin' over.

Actually it is the National Spelling Bee. "The 9- to 15-year-old spellers who made it to the bee qualified by winning local contests in the United States, as well as in American Samoa, the Bahamas, Europe, Guam, Jamaica, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands." It seems American territories as well as those from the 50 states. Canadians have entered only the last 2 years. Hey wait a second...

Shouldn't we Achenaddicts be paying more attention to the spelling bee? I mean we are at the forefront of wordiness and archane usage, aren't we?

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 7:03 PM | Report abuse

TBG - Be sure to write a good review of Joel's book for Amazon. Then you can watch the review proliferate without attribution to every site on the web trying to sell books. It's easy and fun!!

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 1, 2006 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Ok, that 'h' was not in arcane when I hit submit.

Posted by: dr | June 1, 2006 7:05 PM | Report abuse

dr - I take great umbrage at your assertion that we denizens of the Achenblog indulge in gratuitously wordy expositions. Why anyone with a modicum of the most rudimentary sentience would instantly comprehend that these posts are exemplary representations of acute pithiness.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 1, 2006 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Never ever take my advice, I know I never will. I'm surprised Stephen Colbert hasn't been picketed and/or sued yet. Bears have a very powerful lobby and are known to be persnickety. I recommend that he immediately consult a lawyer. Or a diversity consultant.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 7:24 PM | Report abuse


Clearly you have my favorite bumper sticker on your car: Eschew Obfuscity.

Posted by: pj | June 1, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I feel so humbled I never heard of any of those words in the latest round of the spelling bee.

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Catherine Daniel, I don't recommend DC in July-August, it's pretty darn hot, although sweating is always worth it for the Smithsonian Folklife festival. The weather never fails to be sizzling, though. Sometimes it rains.

DC is a tough place to stay (expensive) but certainly there are a lot of free places to go.

Your best bet is to find some poor schlemiel you went to college with, are related to, or otherwise can impose on them without paying rent. Of course, don't expect hotel/maid service or "southern hospitality", as the last person who played me for a poor schlemiel found out ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 1, 2006 7:50 PM | Report abuse

> when I was growing up we didn't have fireflies

How you prepare them now? When I was growing we would have partridge. How many fireflies to feed a family of four?

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Sonofcarl, I'm going to tomorrow and get things in order, so I should be around this month. Thanks for asking. This is my birthday month. June 12, 2006. Today is my son's birthday. He would have been thirty-five years old. I've talked to my grandsons, and the rest of that crowd. My grandsons say they might see me the weekend. That will be work, but I haven't seen them in awhile, so I'll enjoy it.

A Gore/Clinton ticket sounds interesting, although Clinton doesn't embrace issues, kind of skirts around them. They certainly can't do any worse than the crowd that holding down those jobs now. I laughed so hard at the guy that said they're running if they're not in rehab. Most politician seem like they're off their meds. And in Washington it looks like they all need therapy.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 1, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

You should see the way the kids light up when I say "fireflies for dinner!"

Fireflies should always be sauteed; never fried. Fried Fireflies is just too hard to say.

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Is there a firefly season down there? It's pretty much open season on insects in Canada, edible or not. I'm not sure whether stretching bees could be construed as animal cruelty or not. I recommend that you immediately consult a lawyer. Under no circumstances Google "bee stretching"

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, glad to see you back. You know when I first started here at the Achenblog, you, Loomis, were one of the people that encouraged me to talk. I thank you for that, and for all of you, and your kindnesses to me.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 1, 2006 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I don't know the correct way to say Happy Birthday for your son. I know this must be a terribly hard day for you. You do know that you are in our hearts and we feel for you on a day like today (and every day, when it comes to your son).

I learned when my mom died that there's really no 'wrong thing' to say to someone about their loss. Just having the loss acknowledged means so much.

So I guess I'll just say "I'm sorry." I hope you see your grandsons this weekend and give them big hugs. They're lucky to have you.

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 8:25 PM | Report abuse

TBG, talk about dorkiness...that's me! In the Vienna Metro Station getting one pass for $20 when I needed 5 $4 passes to get my crowd downtown to the Smithsonian and back. I abased myself to the station manager and he was very kind to me.

The fireflies have been out here for several weeks. Wouldn't catch them to eat, though, that would be cruel. Fireflies are to enjoy in the yard. In my world, very small people are allowed to catch them, but must let them go before their bedtime.

Thanks to heat and my intense watering, both my Early Girl and cherry tomato plants have little green tomatoes on them. It has rained all around us for the past ten days, and we have had nada, zip, nothing. The green beans are almost to the top of the bean tower, and the squash plants in the big pot are growing nicely. My gardenia is in full bloom and fills the whole yard with its lovely scent.

Posted by: Slyness | June 1, 2006 8:34 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you said it all. And I thank you all.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 1, 2006 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Where do they find these words for the bee? I'm learning new stuff.

Cassandra, have a wonderful weekend. I'll be visiting my parents in NC (Wake Forest) and I'll think about you.

Boko, are you a google executive? I thought posts here had to be non-commercial. Watch out or Hal and Co. will kick you out.

Posted by: a bea c | June 1, 2006 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I feel I must clarify the meaning of my earlier posts decrying the behaviour of "bears". I was referring to members of the genus Ursus and not the large, hirsute gentlemen of the gay community. I in no way believe that you sleep six months of the year and am quite certain of your ambition and industriousness. As for the stealing of picanic baskets, I am confident in your ability to prepare your own, in fact I'm quite sure that they are very nice indeed. Both bear marriage and bear adoption are legal in Canada and I completely support this progressive legislation. I deeply regret any offence I may have inadvertently given. Please forward any legal papers, hate mail and explosive devices to SonofCarl Edmonton, Alberta.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Boko999 ,

You had me at the Yogi pronunciation of "picanic"!


Posted by: Error Flynn | June 1, 2006 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Thankyou Error
I invite you to sign a petition I am preparing in an effort to assuage my guilt. It will recommend turning Stephen Colbert into a nice rug, or considering his relative size and hairlessness, a bathmat.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 9:17 PM | Report abuse

My daughter just showed me this:

Google "elgoog" and click on the first result.

Hilarity ensues (or seusne).

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 9:21 PM | Report abuse

dr... your girl Finola is ROCKIN'!

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 9:29 PM | Report abuse

TBG that was funny, makes me wonder where people find the time to create those things. Since dr isn't around I will announce that the Canadian girl in the spelling bee is do great down to the final four.

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 9:30 PM | Report abuse

TGB very funny
However I'm concerned that your daughter may suffer from dylexia. I recommend that you immediately consult a physician.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 9:33 PM | Report abuse

dmd... my daughter said a boy in her class (she's in 6th grade--still elementary school here) told her about it and she visited the site.

When her teacher walked in the room, she looked at my daughter's screen and cried, angrily, "Hey! Why is Google backwards?!" like LittleG had somehow broken the computer.

That just cracks me up. You can hear me cachinnate from up there, I'm sure!

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 9:38 PM | Report abuse

TBG my daughter is in grade five here, I am convinced that there are teachers out there with absolutely no sense of humour (or humor if you prefer). My daughter is watching the spelling bee with me first interest she has taken in spelling ever.

Posted by: dmd | June 1, 2006 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee?

I think it's my second-favorite Broadway show, after Spamalot.

It's lots of fun and a great close-up view of some incredibly talented and funny people.

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 9:47 PM | Report abuse

In honour of Finola, we'll say sense of humour tonight!

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Haven't seen nor heard of it. I recommend that I google it immediately.

You saw Spamalot! I'm green with envy.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Esquisse! What the...?

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 9:57 PM | Report abuse

LittleG: "A silent P?!"

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 9:58 PM | Report abuse

uh, Boko999, is there a reason you want us to Google® "bearlove"? Just post a picture of your fuzzy self and let us admire. I'm sure we can take it.

I saw 25th PCSB about a week before the Tonys and was very glad the guy from the cast that won did. The theater is very cool because the lobby and everything is decorated with all these school banners and fliers. I "auditioned" to be one of the audience spellers, but didn't get picked.

It's touring now, but I don't think it would be as good not in-the-round.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 1, 2006 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I think the hardest thing a human being ever has to do is bury a child. You and your son will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow.

Posted by: Slyness | June 1, 2006 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I learned a very important lesson today. Don't recommend googling anything until you've checked it out yourself. As for posting photos of myself, no one needs more pictures old skinny white guys.

The soundtrack of 25th PCSB is available on amazon and gots 4 out of 5 rating.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Finola just lost, on "weltschmerz." The winner just got both kundalni and ursprache right.

Jeez, I thought this was supposed to be the English language.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I'll just reiterate what my daughter said:

A silent P?!?!

We were pulling for Finola and were sad to see her lose, but her face and expression were beautiful when she saw her opponent win. That's what should make her parents so proud.

I will repeat what yellojkt said the other day and what I think whenever I see young people in action: "The next 20% is on its way."

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, isn't that kundalini?

*cough cough*

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 1, 2006 10:18 PM | Report abuse

David Hyde Pierce

and Hank Azaria

autographing programs after Spamalot. Tim Curry was being a prima donna and not leaving the dressing room.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mudge... the English language and the National spelling bee.

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Only this group would stay up late for the Academy Awards and the National Spelling Bee.

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I used the word "maiesiophiliac" in my blog awhile back. I don't think that it will be used in the NSB. That some post had a link to Bear Magazine. I'm not reposting it here. You're on your own.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 10:26 PM | Report abuse

MY picture of Hank Azaria at the stage door:

and just because I also had it handy

Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies signing my daughter's ticket in Baltimore last November:

(both pictures taken with cell-phone camera)

Posted by: TBG | June 1, 2006 10:27 PM | Report abuse

>Only this group would stay up late for the Academy Awards and the National Spelling Bee.

Uh, actually "South Park". Sorry. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 1, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

And "Puppets Who Kill"
For anyone interested in "Bee Stretching" I recommend immediately linking to:

Posted by: Anonymous | June 1, 2006 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Awright, already. Sheesh. SCC: kundalini.

Like, you knew what it was, right? Some kind of elongated pasta?

Posted by: Curmudgein | June 1, 2006 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Barenaked Ladies are on my just keep missing list. I will someday take my son to see them.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 1, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

>Like, you knew what it was, right?

Yoga class in Cambridge, when I lived in Waltham, Mass.

Look man, you run for President, you gotta know these things.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 1, 2006 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Fer cryin' out loud, I knew weltschmerz and ursprache (3 years of Deutsche). I can even do weltanshauung und schadenfreude. Think George Bush can? I don't do yoga, only pasta.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 1, 2006 10:58 PM | Report abuse

They would've had me on the "weltanshauung", I can tell you that.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 1, 2006 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Is schadenfreude what most Canadians feel about Conrad Black's troubles? I'm sorry, Lord HAHAHA.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 1, 2006 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know when they replaced the ice cream shop in the bottom of American History with a subway? My brohter and I just returned from Cali after being away 7 years. I was shocked and disappointed. Anybody else feel the same way?

Posted by: av | June 2, 2006 12:13 AM | Report abuse

I now realize I've been in a state of weltschmerz since late 2000...

Main Entry: welt·schmerz
Pronunciation: 'velt-"shmerts
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized
Etymology: German, from Welt world + Schmerz pain
1 : mental depression or apathy caused by comparison of the actual state of the world with an ideal state
2 : a mood of sentimental sadness

Those kids were great!
(Where is Bayou Self? Hope he's just too busy to boodle.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 2, 2006 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Here's my last salvo in the Boodle Stage Door Celebrity Shoot-off: The cast of Three Days of Rain including Julia Roberts (with a side helping of Julianna Margulies).

I miss the American History ice cream shop, but the overall quality of the food at the Main Street cafeteria is very good, if you don't think the Subway is the only place to eat.

I despaired when Air and Space put in a McDonalds, but it has actually been a change for the better. The old food was sub-college cafeteria. I always wanted to go to brunch in the Castle, but they ripped that restaurant out before I got a chance.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 2, 2006 5:52 AM | Report abuse

Here's a transcript of last week's divalog (that's so much more correct than "diavlog")between Joel and Robert Wright about global warming, growing your own food, Al Gore, road trips, cats, and the Big Picture.

Posted by: kbertocci | June 2, 2006 6:09 AM | Report abuse

I can tell turists season is beginning in DC. In fact, on the Metro ride to work this morning I heard phrases spoken like "Excuse me", "Oh, I'm sorry", and "Pardon me, sir". I havn't heard these words on the train since spring break.

Posted by: Pat | June 2, 2006 7:42 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci, you are a treasure.

Thanks for the transcript.


Posted by: bc | June 2, 2006 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Thank you very much for posting the diavlog transcript. Although I had listened to the whole thing over the memorial day weekend, I think I missed a few subtleties. There were two dogs running around at the time. Plus, alcohol may have been present.
Although the transcript made me feel very dumb and unsophisticated, it did so in a very delightful way.

Joel - I actually grew backyard corn for a few years. A variety called "Kandy Corn" known for its intense sweetness and purple tassels. Well worth the effort.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 2, 2006 8:20 AM | Report abuse

There are no words to console a mother who has lost her child, but if there were I'd say them over and over to you Cassandra. Grandchildren are wonders to behold, aren't they? I know you'll enjoy having them this weekend.

Posted by: Nani | June 2, 2006 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, thanks for propagating the term "divalog", k.

RD, "Kandy Corn" sounds like an exotic dancer.


Posted by: bc | June 2, 2006 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I 'll be thinking about you and your son today.


Posted by: bc | June 2, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

You should see how those purple tassels spin.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 2, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci - Thanks for the transcript .
I couldn't watch the show myself (dsl boondocks) and from the reading the commnents about it I got the impression that it was some sort of acrimonious slugfest. The transcript reveals two guys who respect each other but suspect the other may be slightly nuts (Joels right).

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Yes, thanks kbertocci. RD Padouk, I also grew corn in my yard/garden. The cobs were quite small, but very tasty. Do you recall a singer named Trini Lopez? He had one hit record (I think it was "If I had a Hammer"). He was a poor Latino lad from the Barrio. The story goes that with that one hit record, he purchased one of those grand homes in Beverly Hills for his parents, who immediately tilled up the front yard and planted corn.

Posted by: Nani | June 2, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I think Dreamer would like Mr. Wright.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I meant to say that I did get to watch the diavlog. Joel was quite droll and witty. I couldn't tell if they were acrimonious or just slyly pulling each other's leg and affectionately insulting each other.

Someone mentioned Nixon's SNL cameo. Sure wish those who missed it could see it. Instead of accenting the first word of SOCK it to me, he said Sock it to ME.

Posted by: Nani | June 2, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I *heart* Mr. Wright, Boko.

Posted by: Dreamer | June 2, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Nani- I love that story! Wouldn't it be great if everybody dug up their silly over-fertilized lawns, garaged their noisy CO2-belching mowers, and planted corn? Then, in the evenings, we could go out into the yard to get some excercise and maybe actually talk to the neighbors about the weather.

I think I need either more coffee or less coffee. Can't decide.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 2, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I've seen that Nixon Laugh-In segment, it was great. Might even have it around on VHS. Some sat. channel was playing Laugh-In regularly not long ago and it was amazing how good Dan Rowan was doing the "News From The Future", especially in uniform. Quite a bit was still topical.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 2, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Nani - I think you me Nixon's "Laugh In" appearance.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 2, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Nani - that was Laugh-In. SNL was still a hazy woozy dream at that point.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 2, 2006 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, everyone for cheering Finola on. She did great didn't she. We are very, very proud of her. Not only did she make the local news, but she made the local news before they talked about the Carolina Hurricanes going to the Stanely Cup finals.

I can only reliably spell the word 'a', so its fair to say Finola is my hero.

Posted by: dr | June 2, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Wow - we all pounced on poor Nani over Laugh In. Perhaps it is because I have such strong memories of it. My parents weren't sure if they should let us watch it, but I think they assumed much of it was "over our heads."

They were wrong.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 2, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

This boodle is like one of those cocktail partys discussed in the divalog. You know, about being nice to the people you meet there?
I must confess to some difficulty in living up to this standard. The beer busts I'm used to attending aren't considered a success unless a fist fight breaks out.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

dr, I don't know if you saw my comment about Finola, but the look on her face when the other girl won was beautiful! She smiled and looked just as proud as if she had won it herself. I really think that's what her parents should be most proud of.

My daughter and I were watching it as closely as any sports event (of course this is the family that competes in Improv Comedy and Oddysey of the Mind) and decided we couldn't bear to see either of them lose. But the way it happened made it OK.

You could tell Finola just didn't know whether it was a V or W. Poor thing knew how to spell the rest of the word--the hardest part!

You should be very proud of her. I am and I live thousands of miles away!

Posted by: TBG | June 2, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I thought you might be interested in this tidbit. I want to know who the heck has the time to care about stuff like this?

Posted by: dr | June 2, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

If you were old enough to watch TV in the summer of '74, you saw Nixon's "Sock it to ME!" R&MLI clip many, many times.


Posted by: bc | June 2, 2006 9:29 AM | Report abuse

>The old food was sub-college cafeteria

yellojkt, when was the last time you were in a college cafeteria? I've been amazed on these colleges tours of how the dining halls have turned into food courts!

I remember getting whatever was on the menu that night slung onto a plate and handed to me. Now it's your choice of the brick-oven pizza, the salads, the grilled focaccia sandwiches or the "home cooking" section, which is basically the old-school cafeteria-style meat and potatoes.

These young whippersnappers don't know how good they've got it, dabnabbit!

Posted by: TBG | June 2, 2006 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Laugh-In it was. I yam beneath contempt.

Posted by: Nani | June 2, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"You really think we need the exclamation point? Because it's not 'Top of the muffin TO YOU!!!'"

-- Elaine

Posted by: Achenfan | June 2, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Found this on a Laugh-In fansite:

Nixon went on during the 1968 election campaign just to say "sock it to me". The producers offered the same opportunity to his opponent Hubert Humphrey, but he declined. In the event, Nixon won the election by only a million votes. Dick Martin admits; "A lot of people have accused us."

Posted by: TBG | June 2, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

>Laugh-In it was. I yam beneath contempt.

No, it was a SNL moment alright, just pre-SNL. I still do that Artie Johnson bit: "Verrrry interesting. But SHTUPID."

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 2, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Laugh-In was quite daring for those times. As was That Was The Week That Was. Our kiddos loved the guy that rode the little tricycle and kept falling over. Mr. Nani couldn't take his eyes off Goldie Hawn. The Smothers Comedy Brothers Hour was another great show. "Mom liked you best".

Posted by: Nani | June 2, 2006 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Readers of *enter Your City* Sun papers can't live without a front page bathroom story. The results of recent elections confirms this. For a right-wing newspaper chain purporting "family values" theirs are the newpapers with the scantilly clad models on the inside page. They also carry all the escort ads. Add to this Fox network, which has the most salacious entertainment programming with the most self-righteous news shows ,the hypocricy and bogousity of the right wing is revealed.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Please excuse the disjointed ramblings of my last post. The over-simplification of complex issuses and the blind partisanship displayed in the Sun newspaper chain angers me. I used to read the Toronto Sun's witless attacks on Pierre Trudeau just to get my blood boiling and help wake me up. They didn't even quit after he died.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I hate to stray on topic here, but I think Gore could win the election on the Alternate Universe platform.

Posted by: TBG | June 2, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. I've had the walk, and fixed salmon patties for my neighbor. Have bills to pay today so will be out most of the day. Thank you so much for your kind comments regarding my son, and grandsons. I hope they show up. And boko, I'm still laughing at your 9:30 comment. When younger I've been in places like that. Please know that God loves you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Christ Jesus.

On the news this morning, a CNN reporter alluded to the situation in Iraq as a PR nightmare for the military. I don't see it that way, for me it is so much more. I believe it places our men and women in much more jeopardy than the usual bombing they've encountered. I agree it's a nightmare, but much more than a public relations situation. It's a life and death situation, always has been, and that hasn't changed, just made worse.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 2, 2006 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, kb for the link.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 2, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the transcript, kbertocci! Those guys are a hoot! I'd rather watch (or listen to) them than Letterman.

Sara's getting married today. It's a good thing.

Posted by: CowTown | June 2, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Best moment watching Laugh-In: I was tending bar at Naval facility EM club. Laugh-In was de regieur, and the bar was always SRO. Two of the TV company appeared, one holding a small black box. One asks the other, "What's That?". "It's Soul Soap". "What do you mean, Soul Soap?" "Honey, it may be black on the outside, but it's all pink on the inside!" as the box is opened and a bar of pink soap slides out.
The bar exploded, and nobody could say or do anything for about 15 minutes. In those days, THAT was really pushing the envelope.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 2, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I saw the Smothers Brothers a few years ago with the Symphony. They were wonderful still.

boko, no problem. I started reading them because they were the only online non subscription local for a while. They were certainly not a paper we ever brought home, not with 3 teenage boys in the house. They have cleaned up a little bit, but they still are really just a blurb paper with photos and not a 'real' newpaper.

Posted by: dr | June 2, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Bush has put your country and your troops in an untenable position, you can't invade and crush a country and then try to win their hearts and minds. Even were that possible your forces are trained to "break things and kill people" when what are needed now are peace-keepers who have a different mindset and training. Unfortunaley, deploying peace-keepers into the situation in Iraq would be and may have always been suicidal, all sides have to want peace and I'm not sure this is true on the ground yet. Major General MacKenzie the Canadian commander of NATO in Bosnia stated that U.S. ground troops should never be used as peace-keepers, the suspicion and resentment towards the "big boy on the block" is to strong. Americans should provide air and logistical support.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Just tossing a bone to the "on-topic" crowd: Mr. Gore has developed one very favorable attribute for a presidential candidate: He's likeable. Ever since Nixon, Americans have favored presidents who exude charm, friendliness, and casual self-confidence. We loved Reagan's image as grandfatherly and self-assured. People liked Carter's humility and grace, for a while. We were seduced by George I's promise of a "kinder and gentler" administration - before he hired Lee Attwater. And, Bill, come on, who didnt' love that charming rouge (excluding fulminating right-wing talk show hosts). Even George II, affable, plain speaking, was able to exploit his hard-drinking background to win the favor of American men.

Gore now stands among the pack of potential candidates as the Person Most Likely to Get Invited to Our Backyard Barbeque.

Thoughts, anyone?

Posted by: CowTown | June 2, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I said that I'd discuss Dawkins with you today and I shall. As I mentioned, I recently bought Dawkins' 2004, "The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution," named "A 2004 Notable Book of the Year" by the NYT Book Review.

You are specifically interested in human evolution, as I recall, and bought, in the last week, Dawkin's now-quite-old 1976 "Selfish Gene." You do know that Dawkins was born in Nairobi of British parents, and has been associated with Oxford for much of his life, having been educated there and having taught there for a number of years and with many accolades, except for a stint at Cal Berkeley from 1967-'69 (those must have been the days!).

I now own this latest book by Dawkins, but plan to finish Baigent's "Jesus Papers," move to National Geopgraphic's "Lost Gospel" (especially in light of news today that the same imaging techniques used by the N.G. team will now be applied to Europe's oldest book that dates to 340 B.C.), then squeeze in Winona LaDuke's latest that deals with the sacred, from a non-Judeo-Christian perspective, as well as contemporary Native political issues.

"Ancestor's Tale runs more than 600 pages, but the first 100 pages, deal with human evolution. I mentioned that the book imitates Chaucer to a large degree; so to begin, Dawkin's offers us a General Prologue and The Pilgrimage Begins, which contains The Farmer's Tale (Did you see the news yesterday, where scientists made a discovery of charred remains that contained five burned, preserved figs, which now leads them to speculate whether figs were the first cultivated crop, rather than grains and legumes?) and Cro-Magnon's Tale.

At Rendezvous 0 (zero), Dawkins divides the subject matter into five groups: All Humankind (The Tasmanian's Tale, Eve's Tale), Archaic Homo Sapiens (The Neaderthal's Tale), Ergasts (The Ergast's Tale); Habilenes (The Handyman's Tale), and Ape-Men (Little Foot's Tale, and the Epilogue to Little Foot's Tale.) Rendezvous 1 deals with chimps and bonobos, and Rendezvous 2 discusses gorillas.

But don't think that with these divisions, Dawkins won't take you on the journey of his own devising. In Eve's Tale, for example, you will learn of the backwards tracing of a gene to its coalescent, and in the next breath learn of Queen Victoria's haemophilia gene and bonny Prince Charles' blue eyes. The Handyman's tale will delve into brain size in proportion to body mass. In the Ergast's Tale, as a last example--and close to home, Dawkins tells of the story of "real footprints" and recalls memories of time in Texas in 1987 wading through the Paluxy River examining and putting his feet in dinosaur footprints preserved in smooth limestone.

This book isn't an easy read, but rather a challenging one. You will have to anticpate unexpected twists and turns in each chapter. (Who would think that in The Lamprey's Tale, you will learn about haemoglobin?) I think "The Ancestor's Tale" will be worth my time, so I recommend it to you.

Posted by: Loomis | June 2, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

From the "Whew!" department...

Keith Richards has made a "complete recovery" from the head injury he suffered in Fiji, and the Rolling Stones have rescheduled their European tour to kick off in Milan, the group says in a statement posted Friday on its Web site.

The European leg of the band's "A Bigger Bang" tour was scheduled to start in Barcelona last Saturday, but the first 15 dates were postponed after Richards suffered a concussion on April 27, reportedly after falling from a palm tree, while on vacation with wife Patti Hansen in Fiji.

"Excuse me, I fell off of my perch!" Richards, 63, says in the Stones' Web posting. "Sorry to disrupt everyone's plans but now - it's FULL STEAM AHEAD! Ouch!!"

(Stolen directly from

Posted by: TBG | June 2, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Clinton wore rouge?
Who knew!?

[Sorry, CowTown -- I know that wasn't very SCC of me, but I couldn't resist.]

Posted by: Tom fan | June 2, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Thanks TBG I will sleep better now with that knowledge.

Posted by: dmd | June 2, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

>you can't invade and crush a country and then try to win their hearts and minds

Or you have to crush them so completely that they lose faith in their institutions
and politcal, cultural leaders.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't about Gore being very likable, but I do think he's much smarter than the average bear and could do the job.

I never liked Reagan. I had respect for Bush I due to his time in the CIA and elsewhere, but thought he was too out of touch with real people.

I thought it absurd that people felt they could sit down and have a beer with GWB II, considering he stopped drinking.

Gore would bum out a backyard BBQ. You'd all be depressed in ten minutes. I'll wear a silly hat, play some good music and do tequila shots.

VOTE FOR ERROR! You have before!

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 2, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

TBG Thanks for the news, but I wasn't too worried, Kieth Richards will out-live all of us.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"I'll wear a silly hat, play some good music and do tequila shots."

That is a campaign slogan that would hook me.

Posted by: dmd | June 2, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

People should know by now that I can't spell to save my life. Corrections and ridicule (did I spell that right?) are expected, well deserved, and welcome.

Posted by: CowTown | June 2, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Cowtown writes:
Gore now stands among the pack of potential candidates as the Person Most Likely to Get Invited to Our Backyard Barbeque.

Thoughts, anyone?

I think you, Cowtown, mischaracterize Gore in the zeitgeist. Gore is as bright as they come and very wonky in his approach to government, as was Clinton. Clinton had the benefit of dual persona and background to be able to work his charms--Arkansas upbringing and Ivy League education and Rhodes scholar. Gore has the Tennessee roots, coupled with a prep school upbringing--living in D.C. hotels as a kid, the Harvard education, and the years of being a journalist--in Vietnam and well as working on a daily. Gore ought to be a master of press briefings.

I like Gore because he's extremely bright, knows how to present material coherently, and obviously paid attention while sitting in classes that he took in his teens and his young adulthood. Gore needs to appeal to the common folk to get their vote, but don't forget that he's Ivy League with a world-class education, a passion for the environment as well as the communication and educational opportunities afforded by worldwide web. I believe he's got a great grasp on the future and its chalenges and opportunities. Paul Krugman at the NYT did an op-ed in the past week about how prescient Gore was, several years ago, about the diplomatic track we should have taken with Iraq.

After defeat (?--was it defeat, notice the link last night on the Achenblog to the Slate piece by Kennedy), he may indeed rise like a phoenix from the ashes. I think Gore would sip and beer and eat barbecued ribs, but a conversation with him wouldn't be like any I've had at barbecues around these parts.

Joel mentioned that Gore in his book mentions goddess worship. Look how bright Gore is--and capable of discussing comparative relgions and religious history on page 260 of my copy of "Earth in the Balance":

"The spiritual sense of our place in nature predates Native American cultures; increasingly it can be traced to the origins of human civilization. A growing number of anthropologists and archaeo-mythologists, such as Marija Gimbutas and Riane Eisler, aregue that the prevailing ideology of belief in prehistoric Europe and much of the world was based on the worship of a single earth goddess, who was assumed to be the fount of all life and who radiated harmony among all living things. Much of the evidence for the existence of this primitive religion comes from the many thousands of artifacts uncovered in ceremonial sites. These sites are so widespread that they seem to conform the notion that a goddess religion was ubiquitous throughout much of the world until the antecedents of today's religions--most of which still have a distinctly masculine orientation--swept out of India and the Near East, almost obliterating belief in the goddess. The last vestige of organized goddess worship was eliminated by Christianity as late as the fifteenth centiry in Lithuania."

If any politicain uttered those words at a Texas barbecue, I think I'd fall over deader than Santa Anna.

Posted by: Loomis | June 2, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

No matter who wins the Democratic nomintion their top priority will be to monitor Republican voter fraud.
The Republicans are masters of it because they practise on themselves.
Abramoff and Rove earned their chops swiftboating opponents in the College Repupublicans.
There is a culture of dishonesty from the religious right personified by Falwell, Robertson and now Ralph Reed to big business as manifested by Enron, Exxon, and the drug companies.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Error, I wonder if anybody liked Nixon? Oh, I'm sure Gore'd be at the back of the party yakking away with a couple of people and enduring jokes about his being so stuff, he should be thrown on the fire.

Kbertocci, thanks for the transcript... I assume this is actually accurate? It seems a little surreal to read. I now figure Joel would be a lipreader's nightmare to follow.

Bob and Joel clearly know each other well and enjoy razzing each other, and it's like the camera wasn't on.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 2, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, thanks very much for your thoughts on Dawkins and the recommendation.

Speaking of book recommendations, in my attempt to skim yesterday's boodle, I noted some recommendations for Wilbrod for Hardy books. Wilbrod, "Jude the Obscure". Fantastic.

As one of Error's self-appointed campaign managers, I add that another benefit of voting for Error is that once you vote him in, you'll never have to worry about voting again. Vote early, vote often!

CowTown, gotta be McCain to the BBQ. I hate it when he gets those flashbacks everytime you turn the hotdogs over, but he's a prince. Hillary is going to have her work cut out for her.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 2, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe I missed the posting on whale back legs, when I work on whales!

Ironically, I spent the last 2 weeks in the field, excavating a fossil whale.

Still trying to catch up, but Al Gore's "Da Man"!

Posted by: Dooley | June 2, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The words that tripped up the finalists at te National Spelling Bee were "ursprache" and "weltschmerz?" I'm laughing! Wilkommen an Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, und Munchen!

Posted by: Loomis | June 2, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, do you know Molly Ivins? Maybe she could lead the boodle when Joel needs a day off.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

OOO, should have been posted a couple of days ago.
The Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society is dissing the GW skeptics.
"None of the dissenters showed up at the science congress this week, said Ian Rutherford, the association's executive director.

"They never present their arguments at a forum like this which is a completely open, free forum. They just don't come here.
Scientist group issues statement calling for action on climate change By DENNIS BUECKERT OTTAWA (CP) on CNEWS
"They want to make their arguments in the press or in front of an uneducated public. They don't submit their stuff to the scrutiny of their peers.

"They don't make their arguments with the people who say they're wrong. They just go away and hide and then they come out and issue press releases."

Media reports in the United States have documented numerous funding links between the oil industry and scientists opposed to action on climate change in that country.

The congress statement Thursday calls on governments around the world to work together toward a single international agreement to address climate change, describing the Kyoto Protocol as an important first step. "

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 2, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Dooley, we've missed ya! Me (I) in partickyouler!

My bad, it's Frank Rich (the man who holds my heart in his hands) at the NYT who wrote these words on Gore, not economist Paul Krugman:

An anti-Hussein hawk who was among the rare Senate Democrats to vote for the first gulf war, Mr. Gore forecast the disasters lying in wait for the second when he spoke out at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Sept. 23, 2002. He saw that the administration was jumping "from one unfinished task to another" and risked letting Afghanistan destabilize and Osama bin Laden flee. He saw that the White House was recklessly putting politics over policy by hurrying a Congressional war resolution before the midterm elections (and before securing international support). Most important, he noticed then that the administration had "not said much of anything" about "what would follow regime change." He imagined how "chaos in the aftermath of a military victory in Iraq could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam."

At the time, the White House professed to ignore Mr. Gore's speech, but on cue in the next five days Condoleezza Rice, Ari Fleischer, Donald Rumsfeld and the president all stepped up the hype of what Mr. Rumsfeld falsely called "bulletproof" evidence of links between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Democratic leaders in Congress, meanwhile, blew off Mr. Gore for fear that talk of Iraq might distract the electorate from all those compelling domestic issues that would guarantee victory in the midterms. (That brilliant strategy cost Democrats the Senate.) On CNN, a representative from The New Republic, a frequent Gore cheerleader, reported that "the vast majority of the staff" condemned his speech as "the bitter rantings of a guy who is being politically motivated and disingenuous in his arguments."

Posted by: Loomis | June 2, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I've been in the same room with Molly Ivins and it was SRO, it my case I sat about on the floor about 10 feet from her--and got her autograph. Molly filling in for Joel? I see all sorts of legal hurdles--perhaps. Molly's doing admirably after her latest bout with cancer. Such a fierce fighter and always good for howling hoots!

Posted by: Loomis | June 2, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Dooley, whose field were you in?

Posted by: Loomis | June 2, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

5 of the last 12 words Finola had to spell were French words:
Guilloche, Douane, Machicotage, Esquisse and Tutoyer.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 2, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I think this is pretty cool.... how many folks here are in Canada? What's your connection to Joel and/or the Post? Did you just stumble in one day and notice the hilarity ensuing?

I'm beginning to wonder if there aren't more Canadian boodlers than metro-DC-area boodlers!

Again.. I think it's pretty cool that you're here.

Posted by: TBG | June 2, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Gore cannot win. Nor can Hillary (anyone who thinks she can is living in some alternate universe ... perhaps one where that pesky Global Warning thing has been resolved). All is lost unless the Democrats can come up with someone who can speak to the people in a way that is not condescending. Yes, it's all about that, unfortunately. It doesn't matter how "smart" you are, it's how you deliver the message. We live in a world of soundbites and short attention spans. Understand that, deal with it. By the way, while I'm ranting, celebrity endorsements are the kiss of death. While people are obsessed with celebrity (the unsurpassed popularity of People, US, Star etc. magazines), they in turn resent and despise them for their privileged lifestyles. I particularly love those celebrities that are "green" all the while driving their gas hog SUVs and live in 5,000 or more square footage homes that suck up more energy in one week than most of us do in a month. Yes, it's okay for the rest of the unwashed masses to conserve energy, just so long as their lifestyles are unaffected. In my opinion, they're no better than the Bushies. At least they're more transparent in their world view that the rich are exempt from sacrifice. Sorry, but I have a difficult time with people that preach one thing and live another. Actually, no one in this country that has any means (i.e., money to live comfortably) wants to sacrifice. They talk the talk, but don't walk the walk.

P.S. Joel, you were great on bh. As funny in person as in print. But, of course, I did not expect any less.

Posted by: jlessl | June 2, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Read an earlier post about your thoughts on Gore being likeable. Interesting point. Could it be that more people have come around to his message and thus they are more likely to accept him into their brains?

I think it is pretty natural to mock someone with whom you disagree. Of course, even if you agree with what someone says, it doesn't mean that you will like him. Gore has always been pretty middle of the road on most issues. He has just recently gained so much attention--though the message has been there for a decade.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 2, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately to some who think they know STUFF, Gore can absolutely win. CowTown is right. His positives are way up.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 2, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

jlessl... I particularly love movie stars who command millions of dollars per movie who appear on AMC to ask me to send $20 to help preserve the old movies.

Excuse me? Yes, it's a very worthy cause. But MY $20?

The AMC website says "In the past, AMC has raised over $1.5 million to support the Foundation's six member archives."

That's just Julia Roberts' monthly coffee budget!

Posted by: TBG | June 2, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

TBG, but it's Julia Roberts!!!

Please lay off that waif-like woman.

Talk about an actor who can portray a wide spectrum of roles.

Posted by: Dolphie Michael | June 2, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I just had an entertaining, though scary, conversation with an extremely intelligent but ideologically rigid coworker about global warming. I am convinced that even if iguanas end up basking in the Yukon, many will refuse to believe human activity is to blame. Keep an eye out for those "Anthropogenic Global Warning is Just a Theory" bumper stickers.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 2, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

My point is, people don't necessarily vote for the smartest candidate. If that were true, how did Reagan and George II become president? People vote for guys they LIKE.

Now, anyone see Gore in a recent SNL skit? The one where he pretends to have been president for 6 years? What a gem of self deprecating (spellcheck, please, Tom Fan!) humor! Who could not like the guy!

And, his passion about global warming: It's PASSION! Something people were saying before he didn't have.

Remember the complaints about Kerry? It wasn't that he wasn't smart enough. He was seen as "aloof," "patrician." George II, on the other hand, was a "regular guy." So, he won.

Posted by: CowTown | June 2, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

CowTown, it bothered me that, during his campaign, Gore tried to distance himself from Clinton (it looked that way to me and I questioned not only his loyalty, but also how this would affect voters). And, he and Tipper appeared to be trying too hard to show that they are a happily married, FAITHFUL, couple as opposed to Bill and Hillary. They probably are happy and faithful to each other, but it just came across as phony. I was devastated when he was defeated by GBII. Mr. Gore **does** come across as more human and likeable. He is extremely intelligent and I think he may have won had he run against Bush a second time.

Posted by: Nani | June 2, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone altered their lifestyles due to the increased gas prices? Yes, those that do not have disposable income. Haves and have nots. That's the direction of this country. It's shameful and depressing. Speak to those people who are struggling to drive to and from work now about global warming. I'm sure it resonates with them. Okay, that's it for my killing of this boodle. Sorry. I rarely post, but I am passionate about this issue and the uneven playing field (which has always been the case but not as disparate, I believe, as it is now becoming). Hmmm, maybe I should go back to lurking and get off the dang soapbox . Resume with more wit and style, boodlers!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 2, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

But, Anonymous, at least you have Passion! That counts for something.

You raise a great point. Now, ownership of an SUV, and proflagate use of gasoline, will be another marker of elevated social class. It's like that in Paris. Only the very rich drive SUV's, since gas is $7.00 a gallon.

Posted by: CowTown | June 2, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

RD, I personally am startled about the non-Global Warming issues, even in our own area in the DC area.

Anyone can see the affects of man on the estuarial areas in the region. Water table changes and drainage. Every cubic foot of cement and every pound of fertilizer has an impact.

Look at what raising large numbers of chickens on the Eastern Shore has done to our water quality. Anyone who has seen the arial shots of the wetlands can see that it can't be good.

Of course, I am not even close to being a scientist, it just takes two eyes and a willingness to accept that this can't be good.

In many ways, the global warming issue, while huge, seems to distract and pull in all of the ecological and environmental attention away from many other issues. I would reverse the argument and suggest that, if we see all of these other bad things happening with 50 miles of our large cities, why can't we believe that the same can be true with the atmospheric situation and the temperature.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 2, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the nice comments, TBG!

WP, and also the NYT, are both international in their "reach". It's not like we've all descended on the website of the Floyd's Knob Intelligencer-Bee. With respect to Joel, while some of his kits and columns have local aspects, he isn't a "local writer", of course. Anytime he's in his forte - sciency stuff (but also history and politics) - the audience goes far beyond the DC area.

I do admit that having been to your area several times makes it more readable when either the kit or the boodle goes on to local topics (or tourism recommendations such as yesterday).

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 2, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I was fascinated by your elctoral process in 2000, and I watched carefully. In 2000, he was stilted, and every time he took off his tie, it looked false. He was sadly a man with Ken doll hair. (The same principal happens with Hillary Clinton. Too perfect)

Gore is looking better than he did in 2000 because he is speaking about what is obviously a passion. His beard period made him human, as did his not caring much about what the media thought. Staying out of the spotlight politically is bringing him back IN the spotlight.

But this is my outsiders point of view, and what the heck do I know anyhow.

Posted by: dr | June 2, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I think I'm jumping on your bandwagon, CowTown. Like I said earlier, Gore can run on the Alternative Universe platform.

You know, give folks the chance to feel like they can correct their horrible mistakes in '00 and '04.

But the main thing is whoever runs has got to push, push, push against the Republican trash that's hurled. Not hurl back, but call it what it is: lies, trash, manipulation! Point out every crappy thing the Republican candidate does against the Democrat.

It worked for Tim Kaine in Virginia. His Republican opponent spent the campaign hurling trash and Kaine just kept pointing it out.

Posted by: TBG | June 2, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Oops, didn't mean to be anonymous. 12:04 ... 'twas me.

Posted by: jlessl | June 2, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm regular reader of WaPo, NYT, LA Times and the Fort Worth Star Telegram(for Molly Ivins). Slate,Salon,........
I don't think you can be an informed world citizen unless you read at least WaPo and the NYT. I was originally attracted to Achenblog by the title but have hung around for the humour and lack of invective displayed by the boodlers. There are lots of other places for "sound and fury signifying nothing"

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Interesting global warming article from the Arctic region.

Posted by: dmd | June 2, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Changing lifestyles, yes.

I do much of my weekly travel around town by mass transit. I use the car for hauling work or trips where I need the car. I moved near my work to simplify my day and regain commute time. As Chance the Gardener said, I like to walk (sort of what he said??)

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 2, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Thats who you need to run in 08 - Chance the gardener!

Posted by: dmd | June 2, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

So how do Canadians end up here? Wapo is the first thing to think of when looking for an American perspective on politics, and yes it was the 2000 election, the first election since we installed the satellite service. I started reading Kutz's disscussions, and then Rough Draft, and Sally Squires, Weingarten and some other personal favourites. When Achenblog appeared, I read faithfully and enjoyed gratuitous mirth ever since. It all fits with my personal motto,'Time is precious. Waste it wisely.' There is no better place to do that than here.

Posted by: dr | June 2, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Dophin, you have the advantage of mass transit. Many areas do not. Detroit (suburb), where I reside, does not. I am always amused at the comparison of gas prices here and in Europe. Mass transit and condensed population/employment opportunities allow Europeans to not have to travel by car, unlike the majority of places in the U.S. Thus, the price of gas affects us so deeply. In addition, we transport, by truck, across these vast United States, our produce and products. Increased gas prices affects the cost of everything.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 2, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Shoot. Keep forgetting to put my name. 12:26 is mine. Leaving now. Embarassed enough for one day.

Posted by: jlessl | June 2, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

TBG, thanks for the nice comments. As Boko said the WaPo is a global paper. I started to read the online NYT and London Times quite a while ago while grazing my daily salad. Then the local dead tree rag, definitely NOT a global paper, picked up a couple of Achenbach Rough draft and I came to look for more.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | June 2, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I think what sunk Al Gore the first time was that he wasn't likeable. All people talked about were how stiff, unhumorous and boring he was. Cardboard analogies come to mind. I remember many people telling me that they were voting for "W" because they liked him.

That said, I think that his public appearances since then have showed that he does have a sense of humor, that he is human and that he has concerns about the future and current policy. People can relate to him more, so now I think he has a shot at running--and not in (Bill) Clinton's shadow.

Posted by: GyppedOne | June 2, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

And here silly me always thought that to be an informed world citizen you had to be a faithful reader of the Floyd's Knob Intelligencer-Bee!

It always made me feel little cool when I was a kid to know that people around the world read my local newspaper. And we always had good comics, too! (Although my husband brags that when he was kid back in the stone age the comic in the St. Louis paper were in color every day!)

I got absolutely addicted to Google News when it first came out because it was so much fun to read the way different papers everywhere saw the same stories. If they could just weed the blogs out now it would still be that way.

Posted by: TBG | June 2, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod--the transcript is accurate, but not slavishly so. Occasionally someone starts a sentence and then backs up and tries again, and only the second, more successful try is recorded in the transcript. Also, a number of "you know" and other filler phrases were left out. But it's not just a reconstruction, it's an actual transcription.

Re: Julia Roberts--don't want to say she's jumped the shark, but she used to be Christian Dior, and now she's Avon. I'm just saying.

Posted by: kbertocci | June 2, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"Floyd's Knob Intelligencer-Bee" That's fun to say. Like "ozone."

Posted by: CowTown | June 2, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

>Not hurl back, but call it what it is: lies, trash, manipulation!
Amen! And tell the truth. Richard Clarke, terrortist expert got it right when he was acussed of "spinning." He said it was putting your best foot foreward. This is miles away from the outright lies, and flagrant mischaracterization of their opponents position that is the stock and trade of the neo-cons. Both sides don't do it. When John Kerry supporters attacked Bush unfairly he disavowed it and told them to stop. Contrast this with Bush's response to the despicable Swift Boat attacks. The dots are there to be connected and the connecting should begin now. The Abramoff swamp is a good to start, these guys were all in the College Republicans together and that's were they learned their tactics and "family values."

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

hey, it's Friday. And only 9 days of school to go before I can read, read, read, and nap.

I don't know if people voted for Bush because they liked him for being a regular guy, or as regular as you can be with that much money. I thought people voted for Bush because he would stop abortion and prevent gay marriage. This was rather silly, IMHO, since neither is an issue that affects the daily lives of most Americans. When I argued that point with anyone, that anyone invariably told me I was going to hell. Jews don't have a hell, so I guess I'm going nowhere. I'll be here boodling forever.

Posted by: a bea c | June 2, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

When I was in college, in the early '80's, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had color comics every day. This was a bad thing, because nobody asked the cartoonists what colors they wanted, the paper chose to print only in 2 or 3 colors, and they didn't try too hard to register the color fill with the outlines. The result was that many days, you just threw away the comics because they were hideously ugly or actually unintelligible due to the big blobs of pale blue or pink or yellow ink slopped around on the page.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 2, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim, perhaps your 12:51 post would be better suited to Weingarten's chat, as he is the comics expert !

Posted by: GeneFan | June 2, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

>As one of Error's self-appointed campaign managers, I add that another benefit of voting for Error is that once you vote him in, you'll never have to worry about voting again. Vote early, vote often!

SonOfCarl, thank you so much and remember, NEVER stay on the talking points, or someone may figure out what they really are.

>The last vestige of organized goddess worship was eliminated by Christianity as late as the fifteenth centiry in Lithuania."

Not if you count me drooling over Robyn the bartender last night!

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 2, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Science Tim, perhaps your 12:51 post would be better suited to Weingarten's chat, as he is the comics expert !

Posted by: GeneFan | June 2, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

>As one of Error's self-appointed campaign managers,

SonOfCarl, thank you so much and remember, NEVER stay on the talking points, or someone may figure out what they really are.

>The last vestige of organized goddess worship was eliminated by Christianity as late as the fifteenth centiry in Lithuania.

Not if you count me drooling over Robyn the bartender last night!

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 2, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon something special for you today, after your great list of people the other day. Canada Post has released a new series of stamps, called Canadians in Hollywood. Who is in it? Lorne Green, Fay Wray, John Candy, and Mary Pickford.

Posted by: dr | June 2, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse


My days of slinking uninvited around fields, risking a backside full of buckshot, are mostly over (it would reflect poorly on my employer). But this particular field is a quarry in eastern Virginia, blissfully with no TV, email, and very little telephone, and no risk of buckshot.

It was a bummer missing "House", though.

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

Did all the comments for this Kit disappear?

Posted by: Loomis | June 2, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Looks like we had one of those technical-type problems.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 2, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that was scary. The Movable Type Machine apparently broke loose from its moorings and stormed about the Washington Post campus until it was tranquilized by technicians with blow tubes. Or something.

Posted by: CowTown | June 2, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I am using a brand new computer today and just spent the last hour playing with settings only to find out it wasn't me.

Posted by: dmd | June 2, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Whew... I was having Canadian withdrawal there.

Posted by: TBG | June 2, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Help, Help I'm being repressed

Posted by: Boko999 | June 2, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I finally kitted.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 2, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Close your eyes, think Louis Armstrong...can't you just hear him?

Grab your coat and get your hat, leave your worry at the doorstep
Just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street

Can't you hear that pitter pat? That happy tune is your step
Life can be so sweet on the sunny side of the street


I used to walk in the shade with those blues on parade
Now I'm not afraid
This rover's crossed over

If I never have a cent, I'll be rich as Rockefeller
Gold-dust at my feet
On the sunny, the sunny side of the street!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Posted by: Nani | June 2, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

well, I am so far behind all this boodling.
Not only am I in a farnorth timezone 4 hours behind you all, I am also actually working (REALLY working for the first time in 6 months and only for the next few months). So my reading time both real reading (ie actual celluose pages and digital) is limited to about 30 min a day.
Saw three bears, two black and one cinnamon, a porcupine, two deer and a bald eagle on the way to buy groceries today. Just to give some perspective....
The view from the ground up here in the Arctic re: global warming is: it is real, it is happening, the glaciers are melting, the summers are warming, the tundra is burning. Maybe you have to see it to believe it but it is frightening. Used to be we couldn't put in the garden until after Memorial Day and now it's unusual to plant after May 1. Just observation on the ground, ma'am.
One little plug for my bro-in-law's book Patron Saint of Plagues, an entertaining and provacative fictional take on epidemics and politics in the near fictional future for all you Balticon fans....

Posted by: farnorth | June 3, 2006 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Hi! Very interesting! pbtoknbgj

Posted by: John S | June 30, 2006 8:29 PM | Report abuse

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