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"You are a gob of bat poop"

Gittin' some feedback about the interactivity column. This from a reader who does not sign his or her name:

"You are a gob of bat poop. I bet you dislike Dear Leader Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, too. Fascist."

A more discursive response from someone who apparently didn't think the column was amusing:

"You might have to come to terms with the fact that there are actually talented people who have points to make without being - PAID, PAID, PAID. You seem to just be longing for the days when all you had to do was schmuze a co-worker into thinking your work was automatically OF VALUE, OF VALUE, OF VALUE. Tight social circles encourage tight closed thought. To be opened up to the idea that many don't think in lock step with a preconcieved version of every news story is a good thing. Whether mainstream journalists relish this fact or not, you will all have to accept it....Losing that 'Olympian' majesty must be tough, but doesn't it cross your mind that it opens a level of discourse 'us' 'unwashed' have been denied?"

And here's someone who liked the column:

"It has become all too common for one of my students to share a 'current event' with the class and use the trite answer 'the internet' when asked to cite the source of their information. Further questioning all too often leads to some blog or rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth group supporting one cause or another. Interactivity is nice but it concerns me that simply posting on the net somehow crowns people with the title of 'expert-in-the-field.' Nice thing the internet but, like Pandora's box, what have we opened?"

John in Ashburn writes: "Before the Internet, every village had its idiot, but all the idiots could do was sit and mumble to themselves in the village square. With the Internet, all the previously isolated village idiots were able to connect with each other, cross-breed their cock-eyed views, and concoct even more grandiose theories. So now we have... global village idiots. Most bloggers aren't idiots, but the principle is the same."

I got a lot of response on the f-word piece that ran in Outlook, and a number of people pointed to a new documentary on the fabled word. Here's a link to the movie's website. It'll be in theaters in the fall. The exec producer, Bruce Leiserowitz, says by email: "Our film deals with the origins of the word, how it acquired its various meanings & usages, and why it's still such a taboo word.... We include interviews with pro-F'ers and anti-F'ers, as well as film clips and other clips (such as the Nixon tapes)."

IMPORTANT PROGRAMMING NOTE: Today at 2:30 p.m. I'll be on Post Radio having a special, must-not-be-missed discussion about interactivity.

Now the rest of this space will be a comment from Linda Loomis, who tried to post it in the comments but had it gobbled up by the mysterious filter-bot:

Joel writes:
Instead, everyone will be an equal, fully respected partner in the news process, including nitwits, fanatics, the extremely daft and the recently straitjacketed.

But when the pressure from readers becomes too much, do writers and editors cave in?

Bob Richter: E-N merits criticism for headline about terrorist leader's death

Don't think that we haven't had our own little Hugh Hewitt-Rovestorm locally. We have, but I've kept mum about it. The local folks--and remember that we've got five or so military bases in town--wanted a jubilant headline that al-Zarqawi had been killed. The populace didn't get the b1ood-guts-and-victory headline they had wanted ('Terrorist's killing won't cure Iraq') and were out for editorial b1ood..

So the San Antonio Express-News' fairly new ombudsman wrote an opinion piece (to which I linked, above). The ones doing the loudest complaining in town about the headline and coverage were old retired military officers. We live in such a incredibly and rather frightful martial climate here in town. [Today, our local op-ed page announced it has added a new columnist, a retired military officer and analyst.]

But the real clinker here is that our paper's managing editor caved (I do really wish Rivard had accepted the job in Miami), since the ombudsman wrote:

"We wrote the headline mindful of the fact that the news of al-Zarqawi's demise would be a little more than 24 hours old by the time readers received their papers, and we did not want to simply restate what most of them already knew," said Executive News Editor Paul Hill, the headline writers' supervisor.

"Instead, we wanted to give them a fresh angle to the story and felt that focusing on the impact al-Zarqawi's death might have on the insurgency would meet that objective."

However, Editor Robert Rivard, who bore the brunt of accusations about the headline, didn't pussyfoot or mince words, noting:

"The readers, of course, are right and we're wrong, and we need to change what we're doing."

The latest story from Iraq to run in the Express-News--that the crackdown in Baghdad with 75,000 Iraq and American troops manning the streets and levels of violence and suicide bombing remaining the same--was buried very deeply in the A section several days ago.

This is, or was, the better headline: Terrorist's killing won't cure Iraq.

I get extremely nervous when journalism is delivered as a result of readers' whims or thirsts, rather than intelligent, honest, and reasoned editorial assessment of the situation.
"--Linda Loomis

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 3, 2006; 11:18 AM ET
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Next: Surviving the Fourth of July


>I get extremely nervous when journalism is delivered as a result of readers' whims or thirsts, rather than intelligent, honest, and reasoned editorial assessment of the situation.

Even worse when you replace "journalism" with "government", "readers" with "talking heads", and "editorial" with "career civil servants".

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 3, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Very much so, EF...

I wonder how various talking heads would do on the naturalization quiz Fisher's got a link to... I scored a 90... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 3, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if it's my browser, but JA, there's some weird formatting up top in the Kit...

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 3, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

scotty, I see the same formatting. There are break tags in the HTML. My guess is the teacher is using hard carriage returns and Joel's getting his mail in html and it just got pasted in that way.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 3, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Very possible, EF... Just odd that whatever page formatting setup WaPo has wouldn't drop the soft breaks in to avoid the white space next to the ad...

*listening to the snores from the rest of the Boodle* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 3, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

scotty, correct me if I'm wrong, but "Glob of Bat Poop" is still available as a boodle handle, isn't it?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Error, I have to disagree with you about the automatic character of a problem involving statements from "career civil servants." I'm much more worried about the temp workers, aka, political appointees. The career civil servants have devoted their working lives to their field. They have acquired expertise and awareness, and tend to follow where the real world leads. The political appointees at the top of the heap, on the other hand, are selected for a desire to bend policy to their will in a certain direction. This is fine, if the appointee's qualifications include genuine expertise in the subject of the appointment. All too often, and this administration is not the first, the appointee's policy bias weighs more heavily in his selection than his expertise. At those times, the career civil servants are the only ones standing between us and disaster. Bureaucratic inertia is the civil service version of the legislative super-majority. It's a check on the whims of the moment.

Oh, and I liked the column. The crank who wrote about JA's inability to cope with giving up the Olympian voice doesn't get irony, does he?

Posted by: Tim | July 3, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

As is "Puddle O' Guano," 'Mudge...


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 3, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Wha? Time to wake up, Scottynuke? Let me assure you all that state government is staffed at least at the same level as federal government today, according to Padouk & Curmudgeon. We're completely alert, too.

Some of the responses to Joel's interactivity kit seem to confirm his point even as they miss it. I find it interesting that there appears to be a whole class of people for whom the media is no longer an information source. I mean, they don't seem interested in the prospect of learning something they did not already know. Even if you don't trust the source, it is possible to garner information from it. These people seem more interested in widely disseminating their own belief (with or without any foundation in knowledge) on a topic. As the possibility of instant communication and response arises, the time for reflection diminishes. Unfortunately, that first response is usually the most emotional, least reasoned (or informed, there's that word again), and there goes your discourse. Used to be these people kept diaries, and wrote the occasional letter to the editor.

And if you really don't trust a source (like MSM, whatever you may believe that to be) why not stay away from it?

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 3, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm calling the Schemer, who is probably off on a five-day holiday or something.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 3, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

But Gob of Bat Poop makes a nicer acronym, GOBP, than Puddle O' Guano, POG, don't you think?

Just trying to keep this interactivity thing on a high intellectual plane here.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Gob of Bat Poop has a nice ring to it, too. Satisfying to say, with all those short syllables and nice hard consonants.

Almost makes you want to find someone to insult, doesn't it? Though one could recast it as a term of endearment, I suppose. That would open up the opportunities for daily use.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 3, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Shorter acronyms are easier to remember, 'Mudge...

And actually, I think Weingarten would probably claim copyright in any case.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 3, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Like, what Tim said.

Well, I'm heading out of here. My absent family is returning from a long weekend. I need to get home so as to carefully explain to my wife that the home improvements I undertook actually do, well, improve things.

Hey - you try and replace water-damaged ceiling drywall by yourself.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Wait up here. If Padouk was Acting High Sheriff or whatever today, and he's heading out, then who's minding that store? Mudge was right -- this IS the day to take over the gummint.

Posted by: ivansmom | July 3, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

That crank lacks a lot more than just a sense of irony, Tim. To whit: "but doesn't it cross your mind that it opens a level of discourse 'us' 'unwashed' have been denied?"

No one has "denied" you any levels of discourse, buddy. (Unfortunately, I might add.) (Offstage: Echoes of "Help, help! I'm being repressed! Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Did you see him repressing me, then? That's what I've been on about ....")

As for your being unwashed, well, it's a free country.

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

Excellent point ivansmom. I think, too, you'll find that in a lot of his speeches, Winston Chuirchill used "gob of bat poop" several times because of the short, punchy syllables and their latinate origins. (Usually used when he was talking about the Nazis, IIRC. Or am I confusing that with an episode of South Park? Well, one or the other.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, that line of thinking gives "gobsmacked" a whole new meaning, too.

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 3, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

And really, not to be persnickety, or impolite by correcting a grammatical error (which I would never do in the context of the boodle), but it should be "we unwashed". It illustrates the value of editing, no?

It's a bit disturbing to hear that Suskind's book has typo's and errors. I read a biography last year that clearly had not been proof-read - really irritating.

Now I must take that quiz.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 3, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I am pleased and smug to mention that scored 100% on the MSNBC citizenship quiz, so I, at least, am entitled to experience fireworks. I'll have to test the spouse and kids to see if they should be permitted to join me.

Posted by: Tim | July 3, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"...pleased and smug to mention that *I* scored 100%..."

Posted by: Tim | July 3, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Woo hoo - 100% for me too! But I had to guess on a couple of the amendment questions - and I would probably fail miserably if I had to come up with the answers rather than pick them out of a multiple choice. I had a philosophy professor in college that gave multiple choice tests - that just seemed wrong to me.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 3, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I only got a 95% due to my unfamiliarity with obscure INS form designations. I'm offically tied with Marc Fisher. Not that that should be any excuse. Boodlers should strive to do better than FishFans

Posted by: yellojkt | July 3, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

off topic to Nelson--my husband just bought a Toyota Yaris--new this year as a replacement for the Echo. It's roomy inside, 38mpg, and a Toyota, for less than $13k at Carmax. He's been very pleased w/it so far.

Posted by: Gran | July 3, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Gotta go run an errand (or run errant) uptown; back in a couple hours. Let's see...ivansmom, how 'bout being acting shop steward until I get back?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Honored and trembling with pride, Mudge. I've always said half of life is just showing up. Now the rest of y'all, naptime, y'hear?

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 3, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I guess the village idiot might have something important to say every now and then. Even though the title, "village idiot" does lower the expectation. I can imagine those that are part of the media feel they are better qualified to bring the news, and dissect it for that matter. It would seem the only job for the consumer is to swallow. And I won't even get started on that act.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 3, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I respect the village idiot's right to comment and dissect the news, along with that of everyone else. I just don't understand why they feel compelled to share their insights with me, in a forum not designed originally for that purpose.

I never read the "reader comments" section in the online newspapers. Can you tell?

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 3, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Tim, et al, you read me wrong:

" reasoned career civil servants assessment of the situation."

That would be a GOOD thing, and the opposite of "partisan political hack's assessment".

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 3, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I guess I should've just done this myself the first time. It goes like:

"I get extremely nervous when government is delivered as a result of talking heads' whims or thirsts, rather than intelligent, honest, and reasoned career civil servants assessment of the situation.

RDP, the black choppers are getting a little close. Please forward them the above, and my apologies for any cornfusion.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 3, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

*faxin' a "Get Outta Jail Early" card to Hal or whoever fixed da formatting*


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 3, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Our newest op-ed columnist (his writing to appear every other Thursday)--a very new arrival to the Alamo City--is Ken Allard, an MSNBC military analyst and contributor to local radio.

His first two grafs deal with his newness to Alamo City.

*You're surprised to be passed on the right by an SUV doing doing 80 m.p.h. while pulling a horse trailer? Welcome to town!

Grafs 3 and 4 look at the Spartans and Persians in the battle of Thermopylae--and claims that the soldiers' DNA from this ancient conflict has been passed to present-day Texas soldiers.

* Oh, please! What color is the tip of your nose?

Then he mentions how Lee and Grant (my Grant!) faced off at the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864, and Lee sent in fierce Texas fighters to save the day.

*Never mind that the Confederate cause was morally bankrupt. I begin to get the notion that Allard is beginning to equate the notion that might makes right.

The next five grafs have to do with the recent Iraqi War deaths of Alamo City-affiliated soldiers. He makes some outrageous claims.

*Texas soldier Kristian Menchaca and the young soldier from Madras, Oregon, were executed in a barbarous way. Is this not the same geographic area where U.S. soldiers raped a woman, burned her, and killed three members of her family. Have we learned yet if these atrocities against these two young men were retaliatory acts?

*CBS newswoman Kimberly Dozier's injuries and the deaths of two of her crew got more media attention that the Texas soldier who was killed accompanying them. It took several weeks for the Pentagon to release Army Capt. Funkhouser's name, as I recall.

*Our local paper puts Iraqi war deaths in prominent positions on the front page, while he claims that other local papers do not so honor the fallen. "Think this sort of thing happens very much elsewhere? Nope, neither do I..." It certainly would be nice to see Allard do some reaserch on this supposition rather than second-guess.

Hubby cries for lunch on this, his day off. But my dander is up.

Posted by: Loomis | July 3, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Actually EF, the black helicopters are only used when civil servants who are on call forget to turn on their pagers.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, I presume that as High Sheriff for the day you have control over the black helicopters too. I prefer to be reassured by this (vide the civil servant discussion earlier).

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 3, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Just remember that bat guano makes wonderful fertilizer, a fact we learned when entering the natural entrance to Carlsbad Caverns and other major caves we've explored. The stuff is fertilzer gold, truly! Joel, I'd take it as a big compliment, if I were you!

Some caves have million of bats living in them. At Carlsbad Caverns National Park research is being done to determine just how bats are living in the cave. Park rangers estimate that there are currently between three and five hundred thousand bats. All these bats translate into deep piles of guano!

Jim White, who explored Carlsbad Caverns a hundred years ago, estimated that a hundred-thousand tons of guano (bat droppings) were mined from the cave back in the early 20th Century. The guano was used to fertilize citrus groves in Southern California. Since becoming a National Park site, no guano has been mined.

Guano is more than a fertilizer. Many tiny creatures live and feed on the guano. Larger creatures eat the tiny creatures. It's part of a food-chain.

Who in their right mind would wade through tons of guano for the sake of education? Students might ask their teachers. Some Carlsbad teachers have braved the odor of bat guano. And for what? Just to go back to their classrooms and share first-hand knowledge of Bat Cave.

Posted by: Loomis | July 3, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, this here arid, no-good, scorpion-filled Texan land under your feet is somehow specially blessed by God, and us Texans are special people. And Texan drivers are specially weird.

Never mind that I see grannies driving horse trailers at 80 mph in Michigan and other parts midwest a lot. I have a better rejoinder, a texas traditional song.

(Cassandra, your sensitivities might be bothered here).

Oh, the devil in hell they say he was chained,
And there for a thousand years he remained;
He neither complained nor did he groan,
But decided he'd start up a hell of his own,
Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being shut in a prison pen;
So he asked the Lord if he had any sand
Left over from making this great land.

The Lord He said, "Yes, I have plenty on hand,
But it's away down south on the Rio Grande,
And to tell you the truth, the stuff is so poor
I doubt it will do for a hell anymore."
The Devil went down and looked over the truck,
And he said if it came as a gift he was stuck,
For when he'd examined it carefully and well
He decided the place was too dry for a hell.

But the Lord to just get the stuff off His hands
He promised the Devil He'd water the lands,
For He had some old water that was of no use,
A regular bog hole that stunk like the deuce.
So the contract was signed and the deed was given,
And the Lord went up to his spread up in heaven.
The Devil soon saw he had everything needed
To make a good hell and I'll say he succeeded

He scattered tarantulas over the road,
Put thorns on the cactus and horns on the toads,
He sprinkled the sand with millions of ants
So the man that sits down must wear soles on his pants.
He lengthened the horns of the Texas steer,
And added an inch to the jack rabbit's ear;
He put water puppies in all of the lakes,
And under the rocks he put rattlesnakes.

He hung thorns and brambles on all of the trees.
He mixed up the dust with jiggers and fleas.
The rattlesnakes bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mesquito delights you by buzzing his wings.
The heat in the summer's a hundred and ten--
Too cool for the devil and too hot for men,
And all who remained in that climate soon bore
Stings, cuts, bites, scratches, and blisters galore.

He quickened the buck of the bronco steed
And poisoned the feet of the centipede.
The wild boar roams in the black chaparral.
It's a hell of a place that we've got for a hell.
He planted red pepper beside of the brooks;
The Mexicans use them in all that they cook.
Just dine with a Mexican and you will shout,
"I've got hell on the inside as well as the out!"

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 3, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Just checked the backyard. Although the Better Boy still looks dead, I am amazed and delighted to report that Mr. Stripey is alive! Although some of the plant still looks wilted, much of it has recovered, and there is new growth.

That's one tough little plant!

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Huzzah for Mr Stripey! That's one intrepid tomato plant. You should definitely save the seeds from this one. He's on my list for next year.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 3, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations Padouk. When I go home I'm going to exhort my own Mr. Stripey and his friend Mr. Stripey, still looking sickly, with the tale of resurrection.

Maybe if I gave them little flags to wave.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 3, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I'm hurt. I didn't want to do this, but since all you folks took great umbrage at being profusely complimented, entirely missing the "RATHER THAN" clause the way the HH folks missed Joels' "opposite" I'm taking my private sector @ss off to another pool party.


Posted by: Error Flynn | July 3, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

You old schmuzer, Joel.

Incidentally, pre-Fourth of July, I have now read and much enjoyed Joel's The Grand Idea, the tale of Washington and his fascination with the Potomac.

This passage reminds me of many of our interactive brethren and bretherenesses. At the groundbreaking of the C&O Canal on July 4, 1828, upstream from Georgetown, the crowd gathered before the politicians and other dignitaries with speaking parts.

"Those who could hear must have sensed that the speakers were going to make this an epic battle of verbs and nouns and adjectives--oratory to the death," Joel wrote.

I wonder if the inventors of these internets ever anticipated blogatory to the death.

Posted by: kindathinker | July 3, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, BC, and that Joel guy - brilliant work. Loved the Stripey moment of silence, although, embarrassingly, it isn't quite dead yet.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Error, Error, I am in error! (please don't take that the wrong way). I apologize! You is right, and I was wrong, you said the right thing in praise of our noble career civil servants, but I misunderstood. I grovel in supplication for your forgiveness.

Posted by: Tim | July 3, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that's what happens when you're away from the boodle! Good work, yellojkt, with the call and self-promotion!

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 3, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse


The reason 'mudge left you in charge is so that he and bc could go on the radio with Joel. I called in since I never miss a chance to plug my blog. For the five other people that were listening, my blog is:

My point on the call was that blogs are a mutual admiration society where blatant cross-promotion is the rule. Joel doesn't get it and when he does he links, he does so in a rather passive aggressive manner. He needs to learn to play nice and share his fame as the world's best journalist homor blogger with the little bloggers like me.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 3, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I think they cut you guys off when you went off-topic thinking that WaPoRadio was some sort of high-falutin' NPR station instead of an AM antenna with the power of dim light bulb that the corporate masters keep broadcasting lest their license lapse.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 3, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

No matter the reason, yellojkt, the temporary promotion is still an honor. And SUCH a responsibility. Umbrage taken and all. On the other hand, the good news about Mr. Stripey was announced on my watch.

Those of us in the hinterlands never get to hear Joel on WaPo radio, or any of the rest of you famous blogger types.

Posted by: ivansmom | July 3, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much Tim. I shouldn't have left the substitutions as an exercise for the reader. Three was too much.

But I'm still off to the party.

Cheers all, and have a great 4th of July if I miss ya.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 3, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I hope some of you heard that. Mudge, bc, Achenbach, and the executive editor of the Post, Leonard Downie, Jr., together on WaPo Radio. It was madness. It was great fun. Mudge and bc did their best to stage a coupl. Plus we had the call from yellojkt (and yello, i guess we need to chat at some point about my failure to be linkier). I thought it was great fun. I WILL be fired, however.

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

Joel, is there any chance of a transcript available for those of us who don't live within reach of WaPo?

They can't fire you. I'd cancel my Weekly subscription! Not to mention the vast sums I pay to read the Post online. Truly, I do read parts other than Achenblog. Really.

Posted by: ivansmom | July 3, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Hi friends. I'm going to catch up now that I've said hi.

Posted by: Sara | July 3, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge and bc, a couple??? Who knew! :-)

*expressing severe self-umbrage at not being able to hear that*

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 3, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Joel, your job is safe. How many people actually listen to WaPo Radio. They are lower in the Arbitrons than Al Franken, who draws a 0.0 in most books.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 3, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

RD, congratulations to Mr. Stripey! He's almost a part of the 'boodle himself. It would've been sad had he given up the plant ghost.

Posted by: Sara | July 3, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I'll check on getting a transcript. Might be tricky.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 3, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

yello, so far as I know, you and RD were the only people who were listening. We may have had fewer people listening than we had IN THE STUDIO.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 3, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the past couple of days that I've missed I notice people have asked where the wedding photos are. They can be found under a link in this blog entry:

(I sometimes feel like a mooch by plugging my blog under JA's blog, but I have yet to be scolded for it.)

And RD, I read the description you gave in the last 'boodle. I am extremely flattered, thank you.

Posted by: Sara | July 3, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Sara, I WANT people to post links to their blogs here. It's all good. And congrats on the nuptials! (Gosh I love the word "nuptials"!)

Posted by: Achenbach | July 3, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I was listening, really! So that's 3 listening, 5 in the studio, right? (Ruh roh.) bc and Mudge, you did the boodle proud.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 3, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I'll keep on pluggin' then. And thanks for the congrats!

Posted by: Sara | July 3, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

all right -- like ivansmom, feeling left out here. Can't get WaPo radio -- all the *important* boodlers got to play and some of us couldn't listen!

What happened to the Web streaming that was mentioned a few kits ago?

mostlylurking -- glad that your hubby is getting a new car. I'll be getting a newer used car -- if I can swing it in the range of $7,000. But wow, it might even have airbags! It might be the first car I've ever owned that was built in the same decade in which I bought it!

Wilbrod -- very much enjoyed your homagae to the Devil and Texas.

I also caught many of the small grammatical errors and such in Suskind. I used to read books with a marker in hand to copy edit them and really got worked up about the sloppiness.

Now -- it's so prevalent to see the typos, grammatical errors, etc. I put down the marker and the umbrage a while back. Hard to read with indigestion.

But I do note it as further evidence of decline in the printed word.

Gobs of bat poop. Would be good for the garden. I'm guessing all these comments were e-mailed to joel, as I didn't read them in the boodle.

did I miss them somehow?

Just had NPR on in the car. Prgram called 'Left, Right and Center bills itself as the antidote to no-nothing screaming pundits and crazed bloggers.

But the right was represented by Tony Blankley, opinion page editor of the Washington Times -- the left was Arriana.

Huh? I don't get it. Are things so bad that Tony Blankley and Arriana are presented on NPR as calm, reasoned, informed voices?

Tony Blankley?

Posted by: nelson | July 3, 2006 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I was listening on the stream since I'm not allowed a radio at work. Normally I wouldn't be allowed to play audio on the computer either, but there is nobody within three cubes of me today.

The call screener was so astounded that there was a caller, I think she didn't know what to do. If the desired effect was to come of as deranged BoodleStalkers, we hit the mark perfectly.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 3, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for reposting the link, Sara. I did see the pictures last night. They are great!

I'll brag: I scored 100% on the quiz. When I was getting ready to take the real one, I was extremely nervous. I memorized all sorts of facts, factoids, urban legends, you name it. I was cutting it close to the 2004 elections and I didn't want to miss out on voting.

HUGE storm blowing in. Time to shut down the machine.

Happy 4th, everyone.

Posted by: a bea c | July 3, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Here is the link to listen to WaPo over the internet. You just need to define your streaming plug-in of choice.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The best part was when Downie wandered through the newsroom and I introduced him to Mudge and bc and then he agreed to join us in the studio for a direct taste of the anarchy that is modern journalism. I guess on the 3rd of July he doesn't have a very tight schedule. He IS going to fire me, however.

Posted by: Achenbach | July 3, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Holy Ford!!

We just received a notice from the IRS saying we underpaid our taxes for 2004. Mr. ABC is NOT happy. He's knee-deep in Quicken and TurboTax print-outs. There goes my new countertop.

Posted by: a bea c | July 3, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Just show Downie that shiny Pulitzer of yours. Oh yeah, you don't have one yet. Feel free to use any of us Boodlers as a reference.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 3, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

That's the second time you've said that Joel, is he really going to fire you? Perhaps you're giving him the idea by mentioning it so many times, you think? I love radio, but just don't understand it too well. I can imagine it was fun, the interview. Can someone get a transcript?

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 3, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I know gobs of bat poop, gobs of bat poop are not particularly friends of mine, but you, Sir, are *no* gob of bat poop.

I got 90% on the INS quiz - guessed wrong on the INS form (not something I have had to deal with) and missed the "selects" Supreme Court question (which is misleading as shown by their rather lengthy explanation of the answer). I can watch the fireworks tonight. Whew!

Joel, if they fire you will we get canned as well? Shop steward, what say ye? What protection do we have against the slings and arrows of outrageous blogdom?

Posted by: pj | July 3, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Almost forgot, RD, so happy about Mr. Stripey. I know you're proud. My tomatoes are getting so big, but they're still green.

Wilbrod, I read the poem, it's okay.

Ivansmom, sometimes people don't know they're the village idiot. They just don't see themselves that way. They probably think they're performing a public service, or doing some good. When it comes to things that are going on in this country, many people might feel like the village idiot, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be on that island alone. I read here in the Post that Medicaid is going to require recepients to prove their citizenship with documented papers. This is suppose to start today. On the surface that sounds okay, but once we look into that, it's going to open up a whole new can of worms. African-Americans that are on this program, the elderly especially don't have birth certificates. Why not? Because if by chance one was born before the Civil Rights Act, more than likely you were born at home delivered by a midwife. And there probably isn't a record of that birth. To make this mess really sticky, one cannot use information listed in the Bible. In most county register of deeds offices, registered birth only go so far, because African-American were not allowed in hospitals to give birth. So what do we do in a case like this? Cut the people off, and move on to the next step? You're right, ivansmom, no one want to hear this stuff, and I doubt seriously if anyone want to really deal with it either. But what about the impact on people's lives? There are so many things going on in this world, and so much of it not good, and it really does start at the top. Somebody thought of that idea about showing proof of citizenship, but did they think about the impact? And did they think that history would come back to kick them in the butt? I doubt it. Or maybe it's a case of just don't care?

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 3, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Cassandra, I didn't mean people don't want to hear about problems with Medicare, etc. At least, they probably don't but I certainly do. I'm relieved that I've been seeing that story in the news, too.

I also agree that often people don't know they're the village idiot. Most of us probably fit that label for something. I absolutely support discussion and additional information on all kinds of issues and topics, including the one you used as an example. I've been reading a lot about blogs and bloggers lately, and that has colored my perceptions. What I'm really talking about is this idea that people who report the news -- that is, those who research, talk to sources, write and have editors, etc. -- are on the same plane with someone who has an opinion on an issue but hasn't taken any steps at verification, etc., at all, maybe not even anecdotal ones. So my opinion on nanotechnology, for instance (about which I know virtually nothing) would be as valuable as Joel's, or ScienceTim's, or someone else who either already knows things about this or has spoken with people who have. I'm complaining about people who don't have any respect for information sources other than themselves, or ones they feel properly take their own ideas into account.

Off to play outside (in 95 degree heat).

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 3, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Explaining the title of this kit to my son I realized -- what I really take umbrage with is the idea that "you are a gob of bat poop" adds anything to a discussion, or is an appropriate way to address anyone, even a stranger. As we say where I come from, "Where are their mothers?"

Posted by: ivansmom | July 3, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"... and mo, TBG, Scottynuke, nellie, nani, Cassandra, slyness, RDPadouk Boodleaire, Dooley, amo, jw, kbertooch, Pixel, Wilbrod, Pat, Pj, and jack" and anybody else as I missed (as I was saying when I was so rudely interupted).

Yes, I apologize to those of you who didn't make the shout-out on the air. I had the entire list of about 40-plus names in front of me, and got maybe two-thirds of the way down the first column. But I had every intention of calling out the entire gang, if Litzinger had let me. But we DID get in the "moment of dead air space" in honor of Mr. Stripey. And then I read now he's alive!!!! I'm very happy for you, Padouk.

And thank you and well done, ivansmom, for keeping an eye on the boodle while I was away. Couldn't tell anybody what we were up to, but it was a lot of fun, on a number of counts, not the least of which was I GOT TO MEET THE MAN IN PERSON!!!! I refer, of course, to Len Downie. Oh, and I got to meet Joel in person for the first time, too (yawn). Seriously, it was fun. and we got to meet the legendary Sydney her own self, and Hank Stuever, and saw Paul Farhi while he was prepping to go on TV in the Post's "studio" (a raised dias in the middle of the newsroom, and saw Weingarten's cubby (his name board says "Dr. Weingarten"--don't know what that's about.) Saw Joel's legendary desk, which wasn't quite as bad as he made it out to be (let me put it this way: it was no worse than several dozen others).

bc and I had worked for several days, e-mailing each other with various ideas and "schtick," and I don't think we got to use much more than about 10 percent of it. So there's plenty more if they ever dare to invite us back.

I don't know how the sound was--everyone was worried about it, and one of the techs said it isn't very good with all four mikes open, which is what we had.

(BTW, for some reason I had assumed Sam Litzinger would be there, too, but in fact his studio is blocks away somewhere, and when you talk with him on the air, you're in a little soundproof room by yourself and he's miles away. But you get used to it pretty quickly, and god knows, the time flies by in seconds.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

"...and sara, and abea c, and Error Flynn, and Wilbrod, and The Lone Mule..."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I understand now, ivansmom. Blogs promote the culture you're talking about, but news people are sometimes really just talking heads. I think the issues that are so dear to my heart are really things that I don't know that much about. There is so much of that history that I am not familiar with, but age informs me about a lot of it because I was living during the Civil Rights Era, and before it. Coming into womanhood during that time, but can remember some things as a child. And not much of it good.

I went outside to mail a letter, and the heat is so intense here, I had to hurry up and get back inside. I'm waiting for the sun to go down so I can water my plants, and myself.

Sorry, a bea c, sounds like your Fourth might already be blown? IRS, nasty folks sometimes.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 3, 2006 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the details - I wondered if you and bc had worked on what to say. It was a hoot to hear your voices, and such a surprise! You all sounded good, although it was a little hard to figure out who was who at times. And yellojkt calling in - too much!

Hope it will be available for those who missed it, with a transcript.

I should go wash my car - or maybe I'll do that tomorrow. I haven't gone anywhere in days - just me, the boodle, Wimbledon, the Tuscany book, a nap...

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 3, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

In this jaded age it is easy to question the existence of miracles. Yet, if one simply looks hard enough and actively ignores all other plausible explanations for unexpected phenomena, they are everywhere.

Consider the case of Mr. Stripey, arguably the most famous tomato plant ever to be mentioned on a major news outlet the day before a national holiday.

At first this magical little plant was considered yet another senseless victim of excessive precipitation coupled with questionable soil drainage. The bitterness of this was almost unimaginable, given his earlier inspiring recovery from a vicious attack by vigilante bunnies.

It was the consensus of lettered experts in vegetable science that a case of Water Wilt so severe was inevitably fatal. Not for the first time, Mr. Stripey was given up for dead. Yet someone clearly forgot to tell this to Mr. Stripey. For after a woeful week of Water Wilt weakness, Mr. Stripey is showing signs of life. His leaves have opened, his stems have risen to the heavens, and new growth has emerged to add hope and optimism to an age that, as previously noted, is jaded.

Some may question miracles, but not here. Not now. For Mr. Stripey has proven that nothing can defeat the indomitable spirit of heritage plants.

That'll do Mr. Stripey. That'll do.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 3, 2006 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Very nice, RD.

The reason I love gardening is for these miracles. In spring especially, it's amazing to see new growth, new shoots from bulbs that I forgot I planted. This year I thought I had lost a tassel fern (no, TBG, not *that* kind of tassel!), but about a week ago it started unfurling new fronds -

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 3, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse

The website I linked to above has a nice description and pictures of tassel ferns. It's not my website (I am neither Paghat the Ratgirl nor Granny Artemis - but apparently they're here in Seattle too!)...They have their boodle handles already!

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 3, 2006 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Stripey Lives? Mr. Stripey Lives!!! Perhaps in the depths of the soil at Mr. Stripey's feet there lies deep down some bat guano.

I can personally attest that bat guano is an amazing fertilizer. We used to have bats in our attic. They crawled in a tiny place alongside our fireplace. The ground alongisde the fireplace grew lupins with 6 foot tall flowers and hydrangeas that are just not normal in this climate.

The 'bat poop' comment could be taken as a compliment if you choose to take it in the 'encourages growth, strength of stalk[character], and flowering [of the mind]' kind of way.

Posted by: dr | July 3, 2006 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I've been lurking the past couple of weeks and have been busy enough with the kitchen renovation that posting has been difficult. Caught the truck boodle; ours is a '70 ford F100 sport Custom, white on aqua, three on the tree. It's presently down again, due to seering linkage demons. I tink its time for an automatic column for steering purposes only and a floor shifter. That, along with the overly loud exhaust system, due to leaks, not Flowmasters ought to make our $500 beauty the envy of any aspiring redneck.
Regarding bat poop, I was cutting a hole in one of the baseboards in my daughter's room to wire up an outlet when bat frass came spilling out of the hole. We were plagued with the furry critters when we moved in and spent a few months ridding ourselves of them; the frass had to be their idea of a souvenier. In any case, I put my hand in the hole to clear any stray frass, dislodged some more from the wall cavity, wasn't satisfied and gradually worked my way up to nearly my elbow. Alas, I dislodged the keystone frass and enough cascaded down the wall to firmly entrap my arm. I was alone in the house. It took the better part of a half an hour to free my arm. Four BiLo bags later, the frass was cleaned up. Linda, the frass may make great fertydirt but at that point in time I was just as happy to dispose of it in the trash barrel. Happy Independence Day to you all. Think positive thoughts for my mother-in-law, as her cancer is back. She has a surgery scheduled for 13 July to excise a spot on her liver, hopefully only one spot.

Posted by: jack | July 3, 2006 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, glad to be of service. Congratulations on your appearance, Mudge, BC & Joel -- I hope to see a written rendition. By all accounts it was splendid.

Cassandra, I'm glad I finally was coherent. I hope it cools off for you there soon -- in the shade it was bearable here. We were fighting with wooden swords. Now watching Wizard of Oz, arguably the best movie EVER. I used to sing the whole thing in law school to keep my spirits up.

Remember: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal"; "We the People, in order to establish a more perfect Union"; "Fourscore and seven years ago"; "Ask not what your country can do for you". . . .
Happy Fourth, everyone.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 3, 2006 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey this is somewhat off topic, but Im fairly new to the district and was wondering if I could get some advice as to where a "good" spot would be to view the dc fireworks. Thanks =)

Posted by: discreet | July 3, 2006 9:17 PM | Report abuse

If anyone is interested in saving tomato seeds from their Mr Stripey or other open pollinated (non-hybrid) tomatoes, here's a pdf:

I save some flower seeds, which basically you just let dry, but I've never tried tomatoes. I have had them come up in the compost pile, though.

jack, hope your mother-in-law gets well soon. Wonder how Don from I-270 is doing...

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 3, 2006 9:19 PM | Report abuse

mostly: Thanks for the words of encouragement. I wish Hal would include spellcheck as an option. Of course, preview is always an option, but posting in the boodle has become somewhat of a rarity...I guess I got carried away with the excitement of having the time to post some SCC's slithered in. Steering and think are two that jumped out of the screen. Geek of the week. Best wishes to you, Don. I hope your convalescence is rapid.

Posted by: jack | July 3, 2006 9:38 PM | Report abuse

so sorry to have missed the radio gig. sounds like a riot. can't believe downie was there, too.

happy 4th everyone!

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 3, 2006 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I had a Better Boy from last year come up this year from seed. He's too little to produce anything, but growing just fine behind the Russian Sage and Boltonia 'Snowbank' that took over his corner of the tomato garden.

Sorry to have missed the boodle going live on the radio. Mudge, you're in hog heaven! Downie, Stuevert, Farhi, Joel, bc . . .

What a day to remember, to savor when you're painting the bottom again :-)

Happy 4th everyone. To discreet, new to the district, the Mall of course is *the* place to watch, but one has to get there very early and endure massive jams of humanity and cars.

I lived in the Kennedy Warren apartment building on Connecticut Avenue for a few years -- the roof is a splendid place to watch -- but i don't think it open to the public.

If you work in one of the buildings downtown (I worked at 15th and F, near Treasury -- in the Old Ebbitt's Grill Building) sometimes building management will let people who work there on the roof for the fireworks. Did this one year; it was great!

The building overlooks the White House. It's got plexiglass caging all around it to prevent snipers -- but it's possible to make out various personages on the lawn.

I once saw George the First, Barbara and Millie get out of a helicopter. Millie was running all around.

Good luck in finding a place. Wish I was up in DC for the 'works.

Hooray for Mr. Stripy! Padouk, may he produce long into the fall. His seeds may be the start of a lineage of especially hardy Mr. Stripys.

Posted by: nelson | July 3, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse

discreet, re: best spots to see fireworks, here's something from

"The Best Places to View the National Mall Fireworks

U. S. Capitol

Lincoln Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

FDR Memorial

East Potomac Park

Anywhere along the National Mall between 14th Street and the Capitol
Spectacular views of the fireworks can also be seen from Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) in Arlington, Virginia near the Rosslyn Metro station and areas along the Virginia side of the Potomac River that can be reached from George Washington Memorial Parkway. You may park at the Gravely Point parking lot, which is about a quarter mile from the 14th Street Bridge.


Hope that helps. Now, some advice: there's going to be a zillion people downtown on the mall and the places listed above. To get close to anything, you better get there around 4 or 5 p.m.--don't go, like, at 8:30 hoping to get close to anything. So you have to be prepared to basically "camp out" for a few hours. Bring lots of water, a blanket to sit on, cushions, chairs, bug spray, whatever. Be prepared to hike in and hike out, 'cause you won't be able to park your car within a mile. You may want to park a significant distance away, and take the Metro down to the mall--that's eminently sensible compared to trying to drive down there.

That said, there's kind of a lot to be said about watching fireworks from inside a crowd of half a million people. Some people love it, some hate it. If you hate the crowds and the hassles, etc., give some consideration to viewing from across the river, in Arlinton, etc., as the thing above suggests.

If I were you and was committed to going, I think I'd try to get into East Potomac Park in the afternoon, and just finding a nice spot, and staying there.

When it's over, be prepared to spend quite a bit of time (and hour?) getting out of there.

I went to the Tall Ships Parade/Bicentennial event in New York in 1976, and was in the crowd of 3 million (!!) in lower Manhattan/Battery Park that night for the massive fireworks, and it was beyond words. Being in the crowd was incredible. I wouldn't exchange that night for anything. But also, I'd never, ever, do it again. I now much prefer to watch local fireworks at the county fair grounds, or whatever. Granted it isn't as long a show nor as spectacular--but it isn't a zoo, either.

But to each his own.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 3, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Last time I watched fireworks from the Mall I did it from the side of the hill the Washington Monument is on facing the river. That was quite awhile ago since it was the first time I saw the Macarena. Arriving early is good advice for any fireworks show.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 3, 2006 10:22 PM | Report abuse

The best place I ever saw fireworks from was a roof in the Greenpoint? section of Brooklyn. It was right smack dab in the middle of the five fireworks barges in the East River and the view was awesome.

There were about 150 people on the roof, a hip-hop and merengue band, and I fell in love three times.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 3, 2006 10:33 PM | Report abuse

If this keeps up, I'm going to have to spring for a wireless card. I hope somebody will post a transcript of the radio interaction, I want to read it! At the time, I was riding a Pink Jeep on a tour of Sedona, Az, and enjoying red rocks.

Went to the Grand Canyon yesterday. What a magnificent hole in the ground. Spectacular. Fabulous. Etc., etc., etc.

It was also impossibly crowded. Hordes and hordes of people not speaking English. Took us half an hour to navigate the line to the entrance, and it was about 2 miles long when we left. We took a jeep tour there also, but it wasn't as good as the one in Sedona.

All the parks are closed to camping and hiking because of the extremely high probability of wildfires. Saw one at the Grand Canyon, which was "managed" and not extinguished. The rangers are learning the positives of fire in that park. On the other hand, there was a serious fire last week in Oak Creek Canyon above Sedona, and now there are signs all over the area thanking the firefighters for stopping it before it got to the town.

Didja know that the entrance fee to national parks is $25 for a seven day pass? Wow. Can't blame the Park Service, though, we gotta pay for the services somehow, and Congress hasn't come through in years.

Hot! Cassandra, it's 104 in Phoenix today. I'm looking forward to going home to Charlotte tomorrow, where it's only supposed to be 94!

Maybe I'll have time to sort and figure out how to post my photos so everybody can see the hole in the ground. Home tomorrow.

Posted by: slyness | July 3, 2006 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow! The weekend before Independence Day, and one of the most heavily visited parks on earth was crowded. Who'da thunk it! : )

Posted by: Bob S. | July 3, 2006 11:21 PM | Report abuse

For quite a while, fireworks in Jacksonville, Florida were launched from the roof of the tallest building downtown. The day after, the newspaper would report the toll in broken windows.

The Penn State campus in State College had roof decks, of all things, on some of the taller dorms. But summer students of my generation were too busy, too blase, or simply too poor to organize roof parties. To date myself, one such Fourth, the only thing to do in town was go see the one and only movie, Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch." I nearly barfed.

We hope to watch the Shuttle launch tomorrow, provided showers don't materialize. My second-floor office window is good. Also gotta plant two mango trees and two avocados tomorrow. The mangos have pretty names--Mallika and Lancetilla. The avocados are Brogdon and Monroe. They sound like a law practice. What a terrible way to name a fruit the Aztecs called ahuacacuauhitl.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 4, 2006 12:24 AM | Report abuse

If our male Dane, Droopy, had his way fireworks would be banned. Our wrought iron fence makes the folks in our neighborhood brave to the point where they harass both of our danes. When Droopy was a yearling, someone cast fireworks into the yard while he and Angel, our female, were out. The event spooked him so that he freaks whenever anything remotely sounding like fireworks reverberates through the neighborhood. Last year he clawed his way through the hollow core door in the back of the house; he is a mess from 2 July until about 7 July, when the fireworks in town are finally exhausted. BTW, the finest fireworks show in our area used to be during the Festival of Lights (now called Speed Weeks) in Charlotte, prior to the World 600. For some strange reason, some DJ in Charlotte got the idea that fireworks should be choreographed to music. It kind of wrecked the effect for me, although I must admit being scared doodooless of the noise as a child. The coolest thing is to use those 3D glasses to watch fireworks. Visuals without hallucinogens...what a concept.

Posted by: jack | July 4, 2006 12:28 AM | Report abuse

good Morning Everybody! Happy 4th! there is something out there that is really hungry for words and ate my last post before I hit the submit button. Nasty thing!

RD, I've been rooting for Mr. Stripey ever since the bunny maimed him. My first tomato plant I ever grew reached about 8 inches before the single tomato it bore pulled it down to the ground When it got ripe, I picked the tomato and ate it; pretty sweet, and I left the plant to grow. Two months later it produced more tomatos than the other 4 plants in the garden put together. I don't recall the variety of the plant, but the family call the tomatos wee picked from it "Charli Browners".

Anybody going to Fairfax Highschool for the fireworks? The authorities closed the entire parking lot this year so parking should be interesting. If you see a guy with a white cane stumbling across Old Lee Highway from a party across the street, that will be me.

Posted by: Pat | July 4, 2006 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Just trying to get caught up on the last few days boodles.

Firstly Happy Fourth of July - have a wonderful day.

Great news about Mr. Stripey!

Jack, we are going through a similar event in our family with my mom, I wish you and your family the best.

Have a great day all.

Posted by: dmd | July 4, 2006 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Had the walk, and just plain wore out. It is so hot out there this morning, I'm thinking it's going to be impossible to be outside today. They've already issued heat advisories for the area, Slyness, in the hundreds. The humidity is killing us, and combined with the heat, it's just too much. But this is the South, and what you get in July. Happy Fourth of July, everyone. I do hope you can enjoy your day in spite of the heat or whatever. Mudge I wish I could have heard your program on the radio, I know I would have enjoyed it. Maybe a transcript might show up? It seems the Achenblog is on a roll, a good roll. Prayers have been answered. Thank you, God. May you all come to know that God loves you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Jack, may the the Lord bless and keep your mother-in-law, and give her the best of outcomes in what she and your family are going through, in Jesus name I pray.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 4, 2006 7:10 AM | Report abuse

dmd: Thanks for the words of encouragement. My hope is that all will be well with your family.

Cassandra: Your prayers are greatly appreciated. May God bless you and keep you and your family. I'm right with you and the heat; the time/temp registers at the banks in Chester have shown in the 100's on a regular basis this past week. I'd rather the dry heat that Slyness speaks of. I've experienced it and although hot, it's not nearly oppressive. Everyone enjoy the holiday and fireworks. I'm off to Cheap Charlie's to get a package of thoroughly dangerous stuff. BTW, I noticed that msn has a list of patriotic baby names on their home page, as our computer boots up to it every time we hit the dial up connection. I wonder if Dick made the list?

Posted by: jack | July 4, 2006 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Happy Fourth to everyone. We shall raise a glass to the honour of your flag. If that is appropriate.

Speaking of flags, there is a fundamental change happening here. People are flying flags at Canada Day. It started right alongside the silly I.Am.Canadian beer adds from a few years ago. But cars fly them, campers fly them at campsites, and people have multiple flags mopunted along fences. Even Walmart is carrying flags. It's possible the we are showing patriotism in a whole new and previously not Canadian way. It is of course now 'the Canadian way'. In a country made by an Act of the British Parliament, and a Flag decided on by committee and an Act of Canadian Parliament, this is a good thing.

Posted by: dr | July 4, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Oh, dmd, I missed your post about your mom, my prayers are with you, and her for a good outcome. I hope you can enjoy your day.

Already it's hot. I'm going out for a little, but can't stay out there too long. I know we shouldn't complain, but it really is smoking here.

Anybody got the grill fired up yet, or is too early? I love mushrooms that have been cooked on the grill. Delicious. Mudge, can we find a transcript of the radio program? I so want to know what was said.

Nani, where are you? We're missing you, Nani. Come out and play, please.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 4, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

dr, I know what you mean about more flags, driving around on the weekend I noticed many flags hanging on doors, windows, fences and flag poles.

We always had a flag pole at our house but it was not the norm. I always enjoy going to the US to see all the flags on the houses it is very nice. Of course with the world cup on right now in this area there are flags of all sorts all over the place, however as Canada Day got closer the Canadian flag was often added in addition to the other flags.

Thanks Cassandra, we are doing well right now. Mom's pain has been controlled and that it the most important thing.

I will not complain about the heat here as it is still tolerable, hope it cools for you.

Posted by: dmd | July 4, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, a couple of Boodlers added a few "sorry, off topic" caveats. Then, full speed ahead.

I sometimes think babysitting this comments section must be a mostly time-wasting, and at least partially frustrating, exercise for the Main Actual Author, J.A. There have been lots of hints from that gentle soul, most recently in the Kit under which these remarks loll.

Is it a lost cause to wish for more on-topic posts in the Internet Age? Perhaps so.

But in one sense, it seems that many professional journalists have gotten behind on the learning curve of the internet itself. After all, who has time?

One friend of mine (journalist)has only recently discovered that Wikipedia is not (gasp!) totally reliable. So she dismisses it as useless (it is not). I chide her for not listening to me, and absorbing my greater net savvy on these matters. She's one step away from writing an expose of it! Yet it would be old news, wouldn't it?

A simile: "old style" centralized news as higher-calorie, if possibly adulterated, food, with "new style" internet news as having much higher roughage content. The new style of internet news allows everyone to discard obvious ranters, so the toxicity of the new style may be eliminated almost entirely by the prepared mind. Without filters, we worry the naive will be damaged by it. They swallow without the necessary cud-chewing.

Boodles = cud?

Posted by: Jumper | July 4, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra and dmd, I know our dry prairie heat is nothing like the humid heat you folks get, but weenie that I am, its too hot here. And dry. We were mountain camping again, and the forest fire levels were extreme. There was talk about fire bans and closing parks. About 50 miles north of where we were there was a very large fire, and south nearer Hinton a small grass fire along the highway. The smoke was in the air, and those clear mountain skies from a few weeks ago were very hazy from the smoke.

Posted by: dr | July 4, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

In the spirit of July the 4th I took the citizenship test on MSNBC, (quiet day in the office today). I got 80% much to my surprise and a few guesses. That almost equals what I got on the Canada Day quiz.

Are those really actual questions?

Posted by: dmd | July 4, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

dr: I couldn't but hope that you had some kind of etherial influence on the ESPN2 programming the other day when they featured the Women's Curling Championships. I hope you caught it. We didn't. It was family movie night and we watched Napoleon Dynamite. Speaking of National things, was touched by the way in which the SSB and Oh, Canada were performed, largely by the crowd, during the Cup games in Edmonton.

Posted by: jack | July 4, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Yes, DMD, those are some of the questions in the bank. I only got 10 questions from the hundreds of "possible questions" in the study guide. They asked me who the first president was, who was president at the time, the name of one of the Senators from my state, the number of stripes, the names of three original states. They were NOT multiple choice, either. But I aced the test. I'd been nervous about failing.

Cassandra, thanks for the kind words on the IRS thing. I believe we have it figured out, and it is a very fixable mistake with minor payments. We'll be tied up on the phone tomorrow, though. We didn't do it on purpose. I do believe in paying taxes. Unfortunately, I don't always believe in how they are spent.

Posted by: a bea c | July 4, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

First, happy Fourth of July!

Lots of catching up to do. Loomis, great poem the other day.

I'm proud to say I scored 95% on the INS test. I guessed (correctly) on the form, so got that one, but was thrown off on the voting amendment question; I thought the 19th was prohibition related.

I can't believe I missed J.A., Mudge and bc on radio/internet radio. If not a transcript, surely there would be a recording that could be posted somewhere?

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 4, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Mudge writes:
I went to the Tall Ships Parade/Bicentennial event in New York in 1976, and was in the crowd of 3 million (!!) in lower Manhattan/Battery Park that night for the massive fireworks, and it was beyond words. Being in the crowd was incredible. I wouldn't exchange that night for anything. But also, I'd never, ever, do it again.

The two opening grafs of Randy Shilts book, "And The Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic" (Sorry, but the event Mudge attended really made me think of this):

Juuly 4, 1976
New York Harbor

Tall sails scraped the deep purple night as rockets burst, flared, and flourished red, white, and blue over the stoic Statue of Liberty. The whole world was watching, it seemed; the whole world was there. Ships from fifty-five nations had poured sailors into Manhattan to join the throngs, counted in the millions, who watched the greatest pyrotechnic extravaganza ever mounted, all for America's 200th birthday party. Deep into the morning, bars all over the city were crammed with sailors. New York City had hosted the greatest party ever known, everybody agreed later. The guests had come from all over the world.

This was the part the epidemiologists would later note, when they stayed up late at night and the conversation drifted toward where it had started and when. They would remember that glorious night in New York Harbor, all those sailors, and recall: From all over the world they came to New York.

Posted by: Loomis | July 4, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

E.J. Dionne wrote fine op-ed for today's Washington Post. This is my favorite graf:

"Most reformers guard their patriotic credentials by moving quickly to the next logical step: that the true genius of America has always been its capacity for self-correction. I'd assert that this is a better argument for patriotism than any effort to pretend that the Almighty has marked us as the world's first flawless nation."

I will have a certain fondness for this holiday because I met my husband 23 years ago, today.

Posted by: Loomis | July 4, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Too bad there wasn't a woman among the JA, bc, Mudge, Len Downie radio crowd... *sigh*

Posted by: Loomis | July 4, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Jack, congrats to your team on winning the cup. The singing was pretty cool wasn't it? I think the fans in both cities raised the bar.

You never know about the curling. Even though its off season broadcasting if you watch the full schedule of games, its very compelling. I hope it will change, because there are some really great curlers below the 49th, and they deserve to be noticed. I am taking a vacation next winter when the Ford Men's Worlds are on. They are here and I have scored tickets to the whole shebang. I will no doubt post with great enthusiasm. It will once again, be all curling, all the time from me.

Posted by: dr | July 4, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jumper,

Since they have the ability to block users they could certainly prevent any constant off-topic poster from posting at all, but my guess is they prefer more participation (even off-topic) to less. Might also have something to do with ad revenue eh?

I don't really get the sense that Joel feels he has to "babysit" this exactly as he's mentioned having to remove very few comments ever, but it's really something only he can weigh in on. I personally enjoy a good Mr. Stripey report no matter the topic. And speaking of which, "frenzied interactivity" would be a good description for a lot of activity, off-topic or not.

Shame about your friend and Wikipedia though. That's an excellent example of a free community-supported service that's got valuable information, but which you do still have to take with a grain of salt sometimes, or cross-check.

I personally like the moderation system at Slashdot, as it allows the user base to mod down toxic rants, off-topic and garbage and promote good entries. But it also allows you to browse those things if you still want.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

John from Ashburn obviously has not read the novel from hence the term

Village Idiot

entered the vernacular

Posted by: omni | July 4, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I often type lol when I mean that's funny, but in a previous boodle martooni, you really did make me laugh out loud (twice). Especially the 'folk music' threat.

Posted by: omni | July 4, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I think the groundhog insurgency is spreading...

Looked out at the bird feeders this morning, and saw a rabbit, squirrel and chipmunk all sharing the space (and the fallen seeds, apparently). Even odder, the tomato plants nearby attracted not a whit of lagomorph attention. All three critters skittered away when one of them looked up and saw me in the window.

Some would call this a coincidence, but verily I say unto thee it is not.


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 4, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The tomato plant contains toxins, like pretty much all other solonacea. The vicious and unwarranted attack sustained by Padouk's Mr. Stipey is a rare exception, lagomorphs usually know better. I have to shoo lagomorphs of the Sylvilagus Floridanus persuasion off the petunias, gerberas, lettuce, peas, beans and more quite often but my tomato plant never get nibbled. Now, why a lagomorph associated with Florida (24 deg. longitude in Key West) is invading our area (at more than 45 deg. longitude) is beyond me. We had enough of a pest problem with the rodents, the marmota species in particular, without compounding it with the fording lagomorph. I personally think the marmota insurgency is in its last throes.
BTW I looked it up a few weeks ago, if the tomatoes are real Mr. Stripey this is an open pollinated American heirloom variety, so the seed may be saved.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 4, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

SCC Change longitude with latitude and add an s somewhere. Sheesh.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 4, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

>I think the groundhog insurgency is spreading...

scotty, I spent a fair amount of time yesterday standing under the large pine that serves as one of their main staging grounds. I observed the perp popping up from one entrance, then another, back and forth again and again, casting a wary eye while I smiled and attempted standard Vulcan inter-species hypnosis techniques, and I found myself channeling Bill Murray in "Caddyshack".

Recalling the erstwhile Mr. Murray lost that battle, and filled with visions of my 60' pine falling to the ground in flames I am putting in motion even now a Plan A and of course the required Plan B, neither of which involve plastic explosives shaped as a lagomorph or squirrel.

I have to say I'm gaining a new appreciation for the challenges of hunting.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking, I too have a problem with rabbits their population seems to have exploded in our area in the last few years. Not sure if they are the same Florida variety you have. My only annoyance with them is that I have a large dog, and when I walk him if I am not paying careful attention to what is going on I am liable to be dragged or have my arm ripped from the socket when he spies one of the rabbits.

Posted by: dmd | July 4, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Verily I say unto you, scottynuke, you are not mistaken. The seeds contain fat, and therefore a higher calorie count than the tomatos. Keep an eye on that squirrel, however...

One year I grew strawberries, in honor of my grandfather, who had a strawberry farm in Bluemont. Every summer he would appear with strawberries, honey in the comb (he was a beekeeper, too) and half-dollars for all the grandchildren. (Any wonder we grandkids would pester our parents about when Granddad was coming?) I prepared the ground, tended them lovingly, and watched as the tiny green berries grew larger each day. Soon the strawberries started to turn red, starting at the bottom, and I couldn't wait until I could harvest all this bounty, until...

One beautiful morning I went out to tend the berries, and found four squirrels in my strawberry patch. The beasts had very neatly nibbled the red off of every single strawberry! I scorched the air with the Sixty Sequential Sacrileges, ending with "@$&*$%! bucktoothed bandits!", and turned to see my brother literally rolling on the ground laughing. To this day he asks me when I'm going to plant strawberries for the squirrels.

Don't even get me started on raccoons...

Posted by: wiccan | July 4, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The overpopulation is due to a lack of predator species these days, and sometimes an increased adapatation by certain members of the various animals species to our urban landscape. Raccoon, bats, rabbits, coyotes, squirrels all thrive in urban environments. Add to this list in my neck of the woods, deer and occasionally moose. I had some lovely lilies once and a really thriving planting of wood violets but thess are candy to a deer.

Posted by: dr | July 4, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I just saw a thing on yahoo's main page from ABC news about how a lot of Americans don't know all the words to the national anthem, and how a group is trying to change that.

In case anyone is appalled, I just want to say that I am not sure I could sing the 'new' words to the Canadian national anthem if made to do it all on my own. I could sing the old words, I could sing the unchanged words, but the words the government, in its infinite wisdom, changed remain a mystery to me unless I am singing in a group.

I can also actually sing the American anthem, but no one lets me do it in public. It has to do with the high notes, the low notes, the in-between notes and my total inability to sing.

Posted by: dr | July 4, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

And in the quiet of the boodle, on this day when everyone else has better things to do (as do I. I call it work) and while my mind is thinking of anthems, there are some really great anthems out there, soul stirring, resonating with the sense of the nation just in the music alone. The Russian national anthem is particularly fine, or maybe I am thinking of the old Soviet anthem. No matter what your politics, its a wonderfully resonant anthem. My first and fondest memories of it were in the 1972 Canada Russia series, with the whole school gym full of kids, da-dahn-da-da-dah-da-dahn-da-da-ing along.

Posted by: dr | July 4, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

dmd, mine are eastern cottontail rabbits. They started out only in the US, along the eastern seaboard but they are now taking taking over the whole Eastern North America. Ford the groundhog insurgency, we are being invaded by alien species from south of the border -that's a much more pressing problem. We should build a wall, kind of about 18" high and have it patrolled by men armed with .22 air rifle. We'll get that illegal immigration under control.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 4, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Didn't get much sleep last night because of all the blankety-blank yahoos shooting off fireworks all night (and my neighbors were changing tires at 2 in the morning). Tonight will be like a war zone. Having grown up in PA where fireworks were strictly verboten, this is always a shock to me. I love the colors, man, but I hate the noise and smoke (not to mention the danger of fire or having a hand blown off). But I don't have to leave my front yard to see a pretty good show.

I'm going to pick some of my own blueberries today to throw on the strawberry shortcake. I need about 10 more blueberry bushes. I'm surprised the critters don't get them before I do, but so far, they have left them alone. I hate how the animals take one bite out of something - but I guess that's nature's way.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 4, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Happy 4th of July to all!

For some reason, my lovely city decides that rather than do the fireworks display on the actual holiday, they shoot them off the weekend (Saturday night) before. I was not yet back from camping, so, no fireworks for me this year.

Something that irks me: most of the "singers" who perform the national anthem at sporting events (and other public affairs) are so all over the place while singing that I have trouble making out what the actual melody is supposed to be. I don't know, call be crazy, but the national anthem is something that should be respected and sung, rather than performed with much fluttering and warbling. It's not about you, it's about honoring your country.
Ok, sorry, didn't mean to rant.

Posted by: tangent | July 4, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I've always preferred America the Beautiful. I heard Jimi Hendrix's version of The Star Spangled Banner in the car today - haven't listened to that in a long time all the way through - I like that better than what most singers do with it.

dr, I like the Soviet anthem too - I'm not sure if Russia has a different one now or if they kept that. I didn't realize the words to O Canada had changed. The French anthem is another good one (I won't attempt to spell it!).

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 4, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

dr, I believe that Russia went back to the old anthem, same music new words. It was always treat to hear it during the hockey games.

Wonderful lift off of Discover, watched the live stream from NASA at work, but now I can't get rid of the audio!

Shrieking Raccoons and squirrels are my biggest problem, squirrels eat every year one of my spring plants, I have never seen it flower because they devour it, I have tried pouring pepper on the plant in early spring but unless I do it daily it doesn't have a hope. The raccoons keep getting our garbage no matter what we do they find their way in the garbage bins. At the end of the summer we are moving to a house with a garage - that is my solution if I can't out smart the animals move. :)

Posted by: dmd | July 4, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Dmd, this is to stay on the dog and lagomorph subject. My big 10 years old black lab still chase the rabbits once in a while, despite its complete lack of predator instinct. It used to go that way: the dog chases the rabbit until the dog reaches the property like, I Whoa! the dog, the dog stops and the rabbit keeps on until it is a safe distance from the dog. Here how it's done now: the dog chases the rabbit right up the property line where both dog and rabbit stop dead in their track and resume their business of either munching grass or sniffing around. Sometimes the rabbit is within 10 ft of the dog. It reminds me of this cartoon with the constantly fighting dog and rooster (Foghorn Leghorn ?) that are punching their card in the clock at the end of the day and walking home together.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | July 4, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

>fighting dog and rooster (Foghorn Leghorn ?) that are punching their card in the clock at the end of the day and walking home together.

No, Foghorn Leghorn and the the Dawg were always feuding. The one you're thinking of was a big white sheepdog and a wolf (WOOOL-F WOOL-F!) but I can't remember their names. The sheepdog was always saying things like "Hey you look beat, why don't you take some time off. I'll cover for ya."

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking unfortunately when the dog runs, I am attached by the leash, he's part collie, shepherd and husky, 1.5 years old, not the sharpest tack in the world.

We have a new leash that has solved much of the problem, that and I let my husband walk him, I am not quite strong enough for a determined 75 lbs dog.

Although he is a very friendly dog, I would not let him go in the neighbourhood, his looks are quite intimidating to people, in our backyard he can chase the rabbits!

Posted by: dmd | July 4, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

IIRC, the dog was Ralph and the wolf was Fred. Or vice versa. Chuck Jones is a genius.

Posted by: wiccan | July 4, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking, cottontails aren't "supposed" to be in the lower Keys. Maybe you've got the Lower Keys marsh rabbit. Here's a photo from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 4, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

wiccan's got it. From imdb summary:

"In their first appearance in a Warner Bros. cartoon, Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog punch the timeclock and begin their workday, with Sam foiling Ralph's attempts to steal a flock of sheep. Among Ralph's strategems: advancing the timeclock to confuse Sam, and posing as Pan, the forest god."

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, EF, but I got the sheepdog wrong. Fred was my father's name; guess that's why I chose it. Do you remember "The Dot and Line"?

My first boyfriend was a lot like the Squiggle.

Posted by: wiccan | July 4, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

wiccan, fear not, according to imdb the first "movies" were different. The sheepdog WAS named Ralph and the wolf had no name.

Now who says we're off-topic?

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

You mean we are supposed to stay on topic?

Posted by: dmd | July 4, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of off-topic, is there a transcript of Friday's romp with Joel, Curmudgeon, and bc? If so, it should be bronzed.

Posted by: wiccan | July 4, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

>You mean we are supposed to stay on topic?

Well, there are those (undoubtedly with better educations and more respect for authority than I) who believe going off-topic somehow does violence to Mr. Joel's ownership and professorial guidance.

I, however, believe the medium ineveitably leads to what is more like a trajectory of topics and wouldn't have it any other way.

In other words, rock'n'roll.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, off-topic: The coils behind the fridge have to be cleaned?

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 4, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

SCC: inevitably

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Inevitably, eventually.

I suppose my fridge has coils, but I don't know for sure.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 4, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Yes, SofC, the coils behind the fridge have to be cleaned, and remember to clean under the fridge also. (Try to be suitably armed, you won't believe what comes out of there! Pays to be cautious.) The family has arrived, time for grilling, then off to Fairfax High School for fireworks. Have a safe Fourth of July, and Blessed Be to all Boodlers!

Posted by: wiccan | July 4, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes the French 'La Marseillaise', which I know in this world from Olympics and sporting events but mostly I remember its history from an old novel called 'Desiree'.

The Russian anthem is surely stirring music, and I really really like the words to the Star Spangled Banner. They are bracing, and brave, and speak of the always looking forward that is so much America, but I think the French anthem might be the winner for words and music.

Oh, Canada? Most singable, most repeated melody. Its hard to screw up.

Posted by: dr | July 4, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the anthem picks so far. 'La Marseillaise' would probably be my pick; recall the anthem scene in Casablanca.

IIRC, the last olympics' website had all the anthems (at least the music)?

Personally I like the music to Maple Leaf Forever more than O Canada, but the former's lyrics essentially commemorate the English victory over the French at Quebec, so not good for an inclusive anthem.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 4, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Local tomato update: several green tomatoes, nothing ripe yet.

One more thing and then I'm mostly caught up. Joel writes that he's "Paid. Paid. Not to rub it in. Paid."

True ... but I also read once that one layer of Hell has people doing things they love doing, but with bosses and deadlines.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 4, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

SoC, didn't Dante name that level "Bureaucracy?"


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 4, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow, on further reading, our anthem has a very chequered history and word changes and versions of verse galore.

Oh what tangled webs we weave, when we let government do it by act of parliament. Our national anthem officially became our anthem in 1970 for pete's sake.

Posted by: dr | July 4, 2006 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, true. The next level down is people who have permission to leave, but have to have their applications processed by the Bureaucracy level.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 4, 2006 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Nobody in Colombia likes the national anthem. It is horribly morbid. My departamento (province) has a beautiful anthem titled Liberty, and it is the best for singing at soccer matches. Here is my favorite stanza, roughly translated:

I love the sun because he roams free along the blue sky, and the hurricane because it whistles freely in the jungle. And I love the hatchet handed down from generation of mountain men to anohter because at each stroke, it lets out a song of freedom.

Posted by: a bea c | July 4, 2006 7:04 PM | Report abuse

beware the Trojan Rabbit

Posted by: jack | July 4, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

a bea c,
Those are great lyrics. Could we see the original Spanish too?

(Good luck with the IRS. One of the scariest moments in my life was getting a call from the IRS, wanting to know something about an audit. I finally recovered enough to say, We've never been audited. Turned out they were looking for someone with my husband's name, whose wife had a name similar to mine. Took 10 years off my life!)

dr, I love Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy - but it's a bit long (ha!) and complicated for an anthem, I suppose.

And I must say I wish the yahoos in North Korea would knock it off...

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 4, 2006 7:17 PM | Report abuse

jack, you are a true patriot.

I'd like to report Groundhog Anti-Insurgency operations are complete for the evening. Regrettably it has been confirmed that Maximum Leader has slipped through our noose, but they have been denied access to the Pine Tree HQ and it is believed several lieutenants have been caught in the rubble. It may be as much as 24 hours before a complete assessment can be made, but there has been no collateral or property damage so far.

As for Maximum Leader, we may have to go Plan B, as indicated in the "El Presidente" episode of Gilligan's Island.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Painted my bottom blue today, in sweltering heat and sun. Very grueling. Been a tough three days (counting Saturday and Sunday). But now I have a lovely blue bottom.

We finished at 5:20, and got home at about 6:30. If you live in the DC area and have been watching the weather news, you know a huge thunderstorm has moved just south of town and is passing through Charles County. On the Doppler map, there is a huge red blob over Charles County. I am in the middle of the red blob. (And what could be more patriotic? My scandinavian white skin, liberally speckled with blue bottom paint, and under a giant red blob.)
Wind gusts 60 to 80 mph, so they say. We drove through a deluge, and there was sleet along the road that made it look like winter. Temp. dropped 20 degrees in about 20 minutes.

I think our fireworks have been rained out here. Just a guess.

Spent the first 20 minutes after getting home (drenched--had to run from the hated old pickup through a cloudburst) washing myself with paint thinner, since I look like Mel Gibson in Braveheart, all covered in blue (we put on the last layer of gray barrierkote in the morning, so I had a nice underlayment of gray on me underneath a lot of the blue). I have a big glob of it in my hair on the back of my head (the hazard of lying on your back for several hours painting overhead). So I asked my wife if the big glop of gray paint was very visible. She laughed herself silly for 10 minutes, because my hair is "salt-and-pepper" and the gray is (so she says) completely blended in. Hahahaha, she says. Hehehehehehe. So you guys aren't the only ones I give great straight lines to.

mostlylurking, what part of Pennsyltucky did you grow up in?

regarding favorite national anthems, I always liked the one Mel Brooks came up with whilst doing his "2,000-year-old man" routine. According to Mel, the very first national anthem was sung by the cavemen in his tribe, and it went like this (picture Brooks singing melodically): "Let 'em all go to Hell, except Cave 76."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 4, 2006 7:51 PM | Report abuse

For fans of the medical show "House": two episodes, back-to-back, starting in 10 minutes (at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST; your time zone may vary).

Oh, by the way, Joel, bc and I had some discussion about getting a transcript of the radio show you've all be asking about. I can't promise anything, obviously, but wanted you to know we're working on seeing if its do-able.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 4, 2006 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, for what it's worth my father washed his hair with paint thinner for years. He also had an enlarged heart at 38.

Just sayin'. You might want to switch up to EverClear or something next time.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 7:57 PM | Report abuse

a bea c... that has to be one of the most truly poetic "anthems" i've ever encountered. beauty, simplicity, power... it's everything it needs to be and nothing more.

Posted by: martooni | July 4, 2006 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, EF. Actually, I didn't use paint thinner on my hair, just the rest of me. And it was only a one-time thing.

Um...why did he use paint thinner on his hair? (If you don't mind my asking. Got a feeling this is sensitive territory here.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 4, 2006 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Error... you mean to tell us yer old man warshed his hair with paint thinner? Great googlie mooglies... toss an onion or two (or several cloves of garlic) and a road-killed 'possum in a bucket-a-that an' you gotcherself a Western Pennsylvania martooni (my namesake). To think what people let swirl down their bathtub drains.

Posted by: martooni | July 4, 2006 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Not sensitive at all, he was an auto body fender/painter in the old days before they wore bunny suits and respirators.

I was there a few times. It was just a total fog of whatever color was going on, and I'm like "Dad, why don't you turn on the fan?"

Being a perfectionist, he'd say "Because it's not a proper booth and if I turn the fan on I'm gonna stir up a lot of dust on those I-beams, and it'll fall into the paint. They won't notice it, but I will."

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm about ready to disrupt the airspace around Youngstown, Ohio, with some explosives (and no... I didn't eat at Taco Bell today, so these are not bean burrito fueled). In Ohio, you can *buy* fireworks, but you're not allowed to *shoot off* fireworks. Kinda works like strip clubs. If I'm not back here within two hours, I've probably been hauled off to Guantanomo (or reduced to an ashy pile of bat guano).

Posted by: martooni | July 4, 2006 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry, martooni--getting bail for boodlers is one of my (routine) jobs as shop steward. Er, just in case...are you an organ donor? I can't check your dossier because the boodle HR office is closed for the holiday.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 4, 2006 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I fantasized about explosives while dealing with the Groundhog Nation today.

I really really have to watch Caddyshack again, but the Retroplex channel has been playing the Beach Blanket Bingo movies all day. And yeah, I own them all so I don't know why I'm watching broadcast versions.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm from western PA - about 50 miles NE of Pittsburgh. I don't believe you could buy fireworks legally in PA back then (not sure about now). We could see the town fireworks from our front porch - perfect, no noise, just visuals. People did go out of state to get fireworks. My uncle apparently was one of them - he lived out in the country and put on his own show (but I was an adult by then, living elsewhere, so I never got to see that).

Seattle is just nuts about fireworks. There are Indian reservations close by where they sell fireworks which are illegal to set off - but everyone does anyway. As long as you don't set something on fire, no one cares. Two houses burned yesterday, probably caused by fireworks (both had wooden shake roofs).

In typical Seattle fashion, it rained today. There was an early morning thunderstorm. I was glad I hadn't washed my car - but I did this afternoon, and bingo, another thunderstorm. So we won't have to hose the house down before the festivities start.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 4, 2006 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Revised boodle anthem list.

1. Still overall winner, 'La Marseillaise' followed closely by the Mel Brooks "Let 'em all go to Hell, except Cave 76."

2. Winner in the music category, still remains the Russian anthem.

3 Winner of the word category, 'Liberty' from the ---- department of Columbia, with Star Spangled Banner coming in a close second.

4. Most singable anthem, Liberty from Columbia with Oh Canada a distant, distant third.

5. Most favoured songs depicting a nation, in no particular order. They all are winners with me. The Canadian Railroad Trilogy, America the Beautiful, and the Maple Leaf Forever, and whatever the heck the theme song is to 'Caddyshack'.

6.For all out patriotic effort, Mudge, cause who else would have painted his bottom blue, and managed to be outstanding in a 'red' level weather event on July 4th. Giving me goosebumps.

Posted by: dr | July 4, 2006 10:44 PM | Report abuse

>Revised boodle anthem list.

Thank God "Freebird" didn't make it.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 4, 2006 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, good point about Medicare. It's not just african-americans, almost anybody born before 1960 could very well not have a birth certificate. My dad needed to get a birth certificate made up when he applied for a passport-- turned out he had lived for 60 years without one. He was born at home.

Just a refresher on the lyrics of Marseillaise (and a translation)

Impure blood watering the fields. Lovely.

I found the comments about how artists are "all over the place" singing the anthem interesting.

I don't generally like the rhythm of singing because it is too slow compared to the rhythm I tend to make up for the lyrics in my head. I was watching a documentary on Bob Dylan recently and I'm like "now this is a singer who keeps it right."

He was described as not having a pretty voice, but at least he was clear and... it made sense. Lipreadable. Not going for the sound effects.

Would Bob Dylan screw up the national anthem?

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 4, 2006 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I've made the pilgrimage to Columbiana, Ohio for the semi-amateur pyrotechnics. They gave me insane discounts because I saved them shipping costs, they bought me dinner, and they even got me a half-price hotel room (I spent a good bit of money, did you see that coming?), but they were extremely explicit about the fact that the goods were NOT to be consumed in-state.

Posted by: Bob S. | July 4, 2006 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I can guarantee that if I heard Dylan sing The Star Spangled Banner, I wouldn't know what he was singing till I picked up a couple of the phrases, near the end. I would probably prefer his version to most other singers, though.

Posted by: mostlylurking | July 5, 2006 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Arrived in California last night--Mrs. D's grandmother's 100th birthday is tomorrow. Just spent two hours alternately lost and stuck in traffic in inner city Oakland. The fireworks were nice, though.

For all you Canuckistanis, I've always thought Stan Rogers' "Northwest Passage" would have made a nice national anthem for you.

Posted by: Dooley | July 5, 2006 2:19 AM | Report abuse

We barely made it to the Fairfax High School fireworks show last night. As we were going to a party across the street, a thunderstorm blew down huge trees, powerlines, and our car got pelted by branches and debris as my family stayed inside the car and prayed for safety.

The power had been knocked out in the entire area and the whole neighborhood was mysteriously quiet. No air conditioners, no music, no inside lights which brought all the partiers outside to play. I liked it better that way because the loud musicmakes it more difficult to communicate with my friends, and that's why I'm there.

The firework show began well before darkness fell and the sighted complained that it wasn't very good this year. However, smoke filled the already steamy air and the smell of gunpowder was more prominent than I can remember. For some reason, I like the smell of gunpowder.

After the show was done, we went back to the party, where a generator was procured, and the music began blasting. The host fired off some of the "good" fireworks until a cop came to confiscate the illegal booty which was purchased in Pensylvania. Apparently there is a place in PA that sells "illegal" fireworks, but not to their own residents. An out of state drivers license is necessary to make the sale. Interesting.

Posted by: Pat | July 5, 2006 7:27 AM | Report abuse

IIRC, the "Caddyshack" theme is one of many Kenny Loggins movie specials, "I'm Alright."

It's more of a personal anthem, though...


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 5, 2006 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Had the walk, and getting ready for another hot day. Enjoyed the Fourth with my sister, and some of her friends. Got to eat cook-out. Have not heard from daughter and grands, still waiting. Hope everyone enjoyed their day, family, and friends. Have much on the list today, and must get started in order to get out of the heat. Joel, you're on your way I believe to bigger things, my hope is that God will bless you in your work and family. That is my prayer for each and everyone. God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | July 5, 2006 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Samuelson's rather inconvenient (but spot-on) today:

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 5, 2006 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Pat - The power in my house went out 5:00 PM. When I left for work this morning it was still out. This means my family will be spending the day at the mall. Buying things.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 5, 2006 8:39 AM | Report abuse


Batteries, right? And candles? A good book or three??


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 5, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Lagomorphs are everywhere in my neighborhood. My dog used to chase them, but either his interest or his eyesight is waning. Yesterday I went on a photo expedition and captured a few midleap. Today when I am not armed with a camera, they indolently crossed right in front of us with impunity.

Indolent Lagomorph would make a good Boodle handle.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 5, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - The problem is that my wife is stuck at home with two children who are addicted to massive amounts of audiovisual stimulation. Experience has shown that in the absence of such stimulation they will quickly turn upon each other.

The results are not pretty.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 5, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Back on-topic: Which is better, the press as lapdog or watchdog? Concluding grafs from Nick Kristof's July 4 column at the NYT:

Historically, we in the press have done more damage to our nation by withholding secret information than by publishing it. One example was this newspaper's withholding details of the plans for the Bay of Pigs invasion. President Kennedy himself suggested that the U.S. would have been better served if The Times had published the full story and derailed the invasion.

Then there were the C.I.A. abuses that journalists kept mum about until they spilled over and prompted the Church Committee investigation in the 1970's. And there are secrets we should have found, but didn't: in the run-up to the Iraq war, the press -- particularly this newspaper[NYT] -- was too credulous about claims that Iraq possessed large amounts of W.M.D.

In each of these cases, we were too compliant. We failed in our watchdog role, and we failed our country.

So be very wary of Mr. Bush's effort to tame the press. Watchdogs can be mean, dumb and obnoxious, but it would be even more dangerous to trade them in for lap dogs.

Posted by: Loomis | July 5, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

A few years ago, the summer vacation theme was One Lap Of Lake Ontario. On the leg from Niagra-On-The-Lake to Toronto, I had to keep reminding myself I was in a foreign country. Except for the weird highway numbers and distances in kilometers, nothing registered as unusual.

When I hit the Toronto suburbs and passed a car dealer with the biggest honkin' Maple Leaf flag in in the world flying, I realized that this was not the US, just an amazingly tolerant simulacrum.

And I always thought the Canuckistan national anthem was "The Trees" by Rush.

Posted by: yellojkt | July 5, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse

*taking off rose-colored glasses*

Ew, RDP, I see watcha mean...

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 5, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

New kit!!!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 5, 2006 9:15 AM | Report abuse

RDP, sounds like you need a generator! Cheaper than a 3-shopper day at the mall for sure. And of course whatever they buy will require power, so...

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 5, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I sat through the Fairfax City Parade just to see my son playing the saxophone while fighting heat stroke. I have to agree that such parades need fewer politicians and more vehicles covered with colorfully festooned chickenwire.

Back in my youth we had the annual Puyallup Daffodil parade. Now that was a party. Huge decorated floats often topped with winsome young teenaged women who waved with studied elegance (elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, wrist.)

Of course, as mostlylurking points out, we could also get killer fireworks from the Indian reservations. (I am using "killer" figuratively. Well, mostly.)

My brothers and I would create ingenious firework combinations that could be seen from space. Sort of what Rube Goldberg would have created if he had tendencies towards pyromania.

The firecracker-propelled tin can trick was also memorable. But of this no more, for legal reasons, shall be said.

Managed to get the hot-dogs grilled, cold beverages consumed, and baseball game watched (How about that Zimmerman guy?) just in time before the storm hit.

Then it was boom boom, out go the lights..

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 5, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Look Ach, this is all very interesting and amusing but, all of this "interactivity" on the internet is little different from the people on soapboxes who shoot off their mouths in front of public places like the White House or anywhere else where large numbers of people congregate.

I don't take any of it seriously. But I am concerned about how the American people have turned away from more reasonable discourse and outlets that furnish a more analytical look at the news and politicval events of the day.

One of the Founders--I believe it was Madison--feared the rise of factions and cautioned that the Republic's existence was grounded upon a well informed public. It is a bit disconcerting to see the mainstream media fawing over the likes of Ann Coulter and giving her a forum from which to dispense some of the most wretched rhetoric I have heard since the 50s and the tirades of Joe McCarthy.

Posted by: Jaxas | July 6, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

You are a glob of bat poop. But it's good bat poop.

Posted by: Michael Torpey | July 6, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, the good news is that bat poop from brown bats in the Northeast doesn't form a blob, other bats - who knows. So there is at least a reasonable chance that your commenter hasn't done his/her basic research.

The bad news is that your column ignores the long history of journalism as a megaphone for people who own a printing press (or its equivalent). Things have gotten worse as media empires have been consolidated. I do not know where interactivity will take us, but I am reasonably sure that the absence of interactivity would place severe strains on our democracy.

Posted by: Eric | July 7, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

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