Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Bruno Kirby

[My appreciation of Bruno Kirby from today's Style section.]

Bruno Kirby wasn't a movie star. That was one of his great charms as an actor -- his ability to look and sound like a guy who just walked in off the street and had no idea he was playing a role in a movie.

He was like that in life, too. He wasn't interested in being the star in the room. He made everyone else feel like they were playing the lead.

He died late Monday in Los Angeles, less than three weeks after being given a leukemia diagnosis. His wife, Lynn Sellers, was with him throughout his illness, which swept him away with terrible speed. He was 57.

I was lucky to be among a large number of people to benefit from Bruno's friendship. Some years back, Sellers, who went to high school with my wife, brought her boyfriend to a high school reunion at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. He was a famous actor. Few of us knew what to expect of this Bruno Kirby fellow. By the end of the night, after much carousing, he was just "Bruno," and it was hard to remember that he hadn't always been everyone's great pal. He had the gift of becoming your old friend, instantly. [Robert Byrd, one of the classmates, told me by email, "Bruno quietly blended into this mix of friends who rarely see each other but can still finish each other sentences. He didn't win us over, he just squeezed in next to us to question, listen and watch." And soon became like family.]

You probably knew Kirby as Billy Crystal's best friend in "When Harry Met Sally" (in which Bruno famously says, "You made a woman meow??"), or as Crystal's thrill-seeking buddy in "City Slickers," or as the uptight military DJ opposite Robin Williams in "Good Morning, Vietnam."

Film buffs recall his breakout role as the young Clemenza in "The Godfather: Part II." He played the wiseguy nephew of Marlon Brando in "The Freshman." He was hilarious as the Sinatra-worshiping chauffeur in "This Is Spinal Tap," forced to drive around a bunch of conceited rock-and-rollers who don't really understand "Frank."

On screen he could be edgy and quirky and a little wound up. They call someone like Kirby a "character actor," which probably means that he didn't have the matinee-idol oversize cranial structure and the twinkling white teeth and the kind of hair in which each lock requires its own stylist. But the best character actors, like Kirby, can steal a scene like a pickpocket.

"There was no pretentiousness about him. He was a class act, and yet he was still from the neighborhood," his brother, acting coach John Kirby, said yesterday. "He never went Hollywood."

They grew up in Hell's Kitchen in New York, on 51st Street between Ninth and 10th avenues. Their father was the actor Bruce Kirby (who is still acting, and was recently seen in "Crash"), with whom Bruno had a long creative relationship, John said. He said it was obvious that Bruno would become an actor in first grade, when he was brilliant singing a song from "Oklahoma!"

"There was nothing ever calculated about his comedy, and yet it was so genuinely human and funny. He had the same way with drama. He would reveal his guts in his drama, and yet you loved him and he broke your heart with it. He had one of those personas where it was really hard to dislike him," John Kirby said.

Bruno believed in civility. When Post movie critic Stephen Hunter, then working in Baltimore, digressed from a review to take a swipe at Sean Penn's relationship with Madonna, Kirby called up Hunter and said the personal jab was out of bounds. Hunter agreed, and vowed never to make the same mistake. Years later they ran into one another, and Kirby thanked Hunter for hearing him out.

"But the truth is, he was the cool thing: He defended a pal in a very decent way," Hunter recalls. "Class."

Kirby took pride in his work, and thought he could have carried a movie on his own. But you had to dig that out of him. He turned down a lot of roles because they didn't meet his exacting standards. He was never the loudest voice in the room, but you'd listen to everything he said, because he had the best stories.

I'm sure he had as much ego as anyone, but he didn't put it on the line in every scene. He met a journalist not long ago who had never seen one of his movies. Knew nothing about him. Bruno didn't mind. He happily described his 35-year career, which included working with some of the legends of Hollywood. Only after his death, while reading through his filmography, did I realize how understated he'd been about his professional history. All these movies and Broadway roles -- he never mentioned them.

Instead, he talked about restaurants. He loved a place with history and atmosphere. This summer, in Washington for a charity event, he took a shine to Martin's Tavern in Georgetown. He worked the room, chatted up the staff, and if possible he would have packed the whole place in his luggage and flown it back to Los Angeles.

He could also tell you where you could find the best pizza in Manhattan -- Lombardi's, in SoHo. Of course, the pizza was better if you had Bruno there rhapsodizing about the magic of the coal-fired oven.

He never got mad if he lost at poker. He never insulted his poker hand, so far as I can remember. You take what you're dealt. And that was his tone in the hospital, too, diagnosed with a killer disease. His attitude was: I get a little rash, and it turns out to be leukemia? You kiddin' me?

The last time I saw him, we all went to Cleveland Park to watch my middle daughter play soccer. He loved it. How many movie stars -- how many people -- want to see some other guy's kid play soccer on a Saturday afternoon?

He was a great talent and a sweet guy -- no act.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 17, 2006; 6:08 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Welcome to America, George Allen
Next: Searching for WeeFee in Paree


I was saddened to hear about the loss of a great actor. I never knew the personal side of him, but looking back on his work I'm now thinking every guy would have liked to have had him as part of a circle of friends. He seemed so real. Thanks for sharing. You take care.

Posted by: Steve Rogers | August 17, 2006 6:58 AM | Report abuse


"Robert Byrd, one of ? classmates"

Where's A-fan?

That's a great tribute to your friend and a fantastic actor. Thanks for reminding me about his role in Spinal Tap - he was hilarious in that one.

Much too young to leave us. What a pity.

Posted by: ot | August 17, 2006 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Joel. Eloquently said. You did the man proud. In the end I guess humility and simple human kindness really are what matter most.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 17, 2006 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Joel.

Posted by: JayCee | August 17, 2006 7:49 AM | Report abuse

JA, my thoughts and prayers to you and your wife for the loss of this sweet friend

Posted by: newkid | August 17, 2006 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Joel: Afer I read your piece I couldn't w pair the face and name. A quick search refreshed my memory. There are some folks that become part of our circle of friends that are just plain nice. I second RD's comment and am sorry for your loss.

Posted by: jack | August 17, 2006 8:03 AM | Report abuse

We rarely notice the quiet professionals until they're gone. Requiescat In Pace, Bruno.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 8:06 AM | Report abuse

That's probably the most appropriate word-doubling I've seen on the Boodle.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Bruno Kirby was a great That Guy. His characters never had real names except things like Best Friend. I loved his character in When Hary Met Sally. 57 seems much too young. It's good to know he is remembered so fondly.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 17, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Good catch ot. Now fixed.

Here's Bruno's filmography:

Posted by: Achenbach | August 17, 2006 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Joel, thanks for giving us a glimpse of Bruno that we wouldn't have otherwise seen.

My sympathies to you and Mary and Bruno's family and friends.


Posted by: bc | August 17, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Beautifully written and heartfelt piece Joel. I wish I had had the pleasure of knowing Bruno. It's obvious that he was a rare jewel. My thoughts go out to you and to his family. When I finished reading I happened to turn on the Today Show and Ann Curry was interviewing Paris Hilton. Talk about role models, who would you rather emulate? I am completely disgusted with television news pandering to the lowest common denominator. Even Keith Olbermann, who I normally find a pleasant change from this trend, spent 40 minutes last night on JoBenet Ramsey. I have to assume that the new manager of MSNBC, Dan
Abrams who used to have a show that spent a lot of time on that case, might have made that decision. I fear for our values when skinny, no-talent, morally bankrupt airheads get exposure (no pun intended) on a major morning television show and stories that could be told in three minutes get more airtime than serious news that could actually affect peoples' lives.

That is why I enjoy this boodle so much. Smart people who can discuss issues with insight and humor. Thank you Joel, for making it happen.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 17, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I move we declare today's Boodle a JBR-free zone.

Do I hear a second?


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Joel, thank you for that sweet and gentle remembrance of someone who sounds like he was a sweet and gentle man.

Posted by: pj | August 17, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I'll second it, scottynuke.

PJ, thanks for the link to the Bruce Froemming story. Yes, he's a hero of mine (we even look alike, in our umpire duds, though I'm on a smaller scale, but approx. the same height-to-weigth-to-attitude ratio). When he's behind the plate, he has a peculiarly characteristic way of holding his hands out to the side, and clenched into fists, like he's straddling a set of parallel bars, or a bodybuilder pumping up. To my knowledge, the only ump who stands that way. (There's two or three "approved" places to put your hands, which mainly involve protecting the jewels, as it were. Froemming's stance is, "The hell with my jewels, I wanna punch somebody!"

I DO wear a better cummerbund than he does, though, I gotta say.

Nice piece on Bruno, Joel.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, call me can even ban me from the boodle....but I think the JBR case is fair game for comments. It's interesting on several levels, not least of which is, why did people leap to the conclusion that one or both of the parents did the crime? I actually did some reporting on that case many many years ago but never actually produced a story (too tabloid?).

Posted by: Achenbach | August 17, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

That was really lovely Joel. My sympathies to all of you who knew and cared about him.

Posted by: dr | August 17, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Since Joel brought it up and I plugged Medium Large yesterday, here's a bitterly humorous take on JBR:

I think the whole bombshell brings up more questions than it answers.

Where was this guy for ten years and how did all the crack detectives on the case overlook him?

What was with the quasi-phony ransom note and all the other odd red herrings?

Did the parents know or know of this guy?

Who the heck pushes their kids into baby beauty pageants anyways?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 17, 2006 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't think scotty would disagree JBR wasn't worthy of comment, Joel; I think he's just weary of hearing about it one more time. He's just got JBR burn-out; me too. And Natalie Holloway burn-out. And Chandra Levy burn-out...and O.J. Simpson burn-out...

In fact, perhaps we can coin a new phrase for the syndrome: Geraldomization. I've just been Geraldomized over JBR, that's all.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse


There's no way you're tabloid, but I'll certainly call the whole JBR affair the worst sort of tabloid fodder. If the carbon-based lifeform actually confessed (and the cycnical side of me can't help but wonder if anyone's done a mental competency check), well and good. I just don't see the newsworthiness for the whole nation, especially since it'll be 99.9% recap at this point.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse


'ZACTLY. Hate to be a broken record, but there are, oh I dunno, an infinite number of things more worthy of society's attention.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I had to look up Bruno Kirby's face to confirm he in fact was Lt. Hauk on "Good Morning Vietnam." He was brilliant in that role.

I remember when he was facing the loss of his radio show and told he wasn't funny.

"Sir... in my heart, I know I'm funny."

(lip quiver and a hint of a tear.)

I was a little surprised Achenbach didn't quote Hauk to the French.
Hauk was doing worse "Frenchy" cliches than him, of course.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 17, 2006 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Joel, perhaps THAT'S the next kit topic for you: why people like scotty and me (and I'll bet milliosn of others) are just burnt out on JBR and related topics (Geraldomization). If I hear one more reference to Paris Hilton in ANY context, I think I'm gonna scream. I don't care if Vince Vaughan is engaged to Hermione Gingold, let alone JA (uh, the "other" JA)(or hell, maybe YOU, for that matter). I don't care that some PR flack has done a makeover on Christine whatsherface. I don't care who's in rehab. I don't care who just came out of rehab. I don't care who escaped from the Planet of the Rehabbed Apes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse


What if Froemming had a makeover??


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

SCC JonBenet. I'm with Mudge, who are the people who care about all this trash? Who are the news organizations targeting and is it really a money-maker for them? Aren't there more people turned off by this coverage than turned on?

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 17, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

If Froemming had a makeover...hmmm. That's a different story...

Actually, without thinking about it, I think I stumbled on something interesting: I've inadvertently linked a murder of a child with Hollywood gossip; that's how far TV and the tabloids have gone in mixing up and "celebritizing" some stories, so there's no difference between JBR and whether Kate Hudson sleeps around. It's ALL just prurient grist for the mill. And that ain't right.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

JBR's parents were likely suspects because violent crimes without a clear financial motive are overwhelmingly done by close relatives or friends. The ironic truth is that love can easily mutate into rage. Both are a manifestation of the same primal passion.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 17, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

*doing the bobblehead "yes" nodding thing to 'Mudge's epiphany*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

What we should disscuss is 'Geraldomization' (Good word Mudge.) Why is it that TV and print media feels the need to do this? It cannot be for lack of stories worth reporting about. There are so many that never get their day in the sun that desperately need to get their day in the sun.

I've never seen them go gaga over say something important to all mankind, like the problems arising worldwide from culture and its affect on the spread of Aids, or on worldwide literacy. I'd like to see a little newsguy gaga over warlords and inter tribal fighting in Africa, I'd like to see some coverage of the Kurds with half the resources they put into something like JBR. I'd like to know about the problems and the successes, and the passions of people and places that we are losing our sons and daughters to in the same intense way they cover stories like this.

We've all heard before that JBR sells, but I don't buy it. In the absence of everything else, JBR might sell over aliens giving birth on earth, but if news was as informative as it should be, with the farreaching coverage it should have, with some depth, then people would not be forced to submit to Geraldomization.

Posted by: dr | August 17, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

The thing is that JBR wasn't some anonymous, normal little girl. She was pretty, blond and there were lots of pictures and video tape of her all tarted up and strutting her stuff. Even ten years ago, before the country went totally nuts over "missing white (and usually blond) women," this was sensational and had the networks in a frenzy. Call me a cynic, but based on how many times those same photos and videos have been shown in the last 15 hours, I can see the connection to Hollywood glitz and gossip. And I bet the networks are rubbing their hands with glee. Of course, what gets lost here is that she was a little six year old who was gruesomely abused and murdered.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 17, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Don't think its on his imdb list,
but Kirby was extremely memorable on his many, many appearances on "Its Garry Shandling's Show" as Shandling's manager, Brad Brillnick. The name was a combination of Shandling's manager's names, Sandy Wernick, (legendary) Bernie Brillstein, and (conroversial/now-head of Paramount) Brad Grey. Kirby was parodying Brad Grey in the portrayal, which was just plain brilliant. He had one show in which his father Bruce played an aging star trying to get Brad to manage him. One could sense the affection between father & son that you mentioned. (His father also helped win him the young Clemenza role from Copolla, too - he lied & told Francis that Bruno could speak Italian to get him a read for the part. But Bruno had been on a short-lived tv show w/ Richard Castellano, who played 'old' Clemenza, and Bruno could impersonate him perfectly, winning him the role. (And, like DeNiro would later, Kirby put on lots of weight for the role.)

Rest in peace, Bruno. You made a lot of people in this world smile.

Posted by: Jerry | August 17, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"It's ALL just prurient grist for the mill."

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

How many hits does Liz Kelley's "Celebritology" blog get per day versus, say Froomkin's or Marc Fisher's or even this one [*sniff*]?

We love celebrity, and we love examining what we find under rocks when we turn them over. The shinier the top of the rock, the better.

I will resist making references to Bread and Circuses or "Give the People What they Want".


Posted by: bc | August 17, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

One can be fascinated both by tabloid and hard news. The two often serve the same purpose, which is to help us understand the world and our place in it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 17, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

There is a nasty little fact that much of what goes on in the world is far beyond our control. Sure, in some abstract way as a member of a democracy we need to be informed, but for all intents and purposes our relationship to a lot of so-called "hard news" is much closer to the tabloid than we would like to admit.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 17, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Froomkin seems to get a lot of traffic since he specializes in shrill politics, the second most popular topic on the internets. I gotta think Joel is more popular than Liz, although she has the advantage of not wearing pants to work. But then Gene admits he doesn't either on occassion.

That Mommyblog creates a lot of heat too, just not much light.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 17, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

This is a great eulogy for a friend JA. He was a great actor period, there is no need to qualify him as a character actor. There is so many of them discreet, decent, great stage and movie actors that honor their profession. They redeem somewhat the square-jawed or waif-thin Hollywood types that can't get enough of their pictures on the front pages of the celebrity rags. Stop buying the stupid thing, please, they will go away.

Children abuse is my least favorite subject and this JBR business seems to be about that. Investigate, catch the sob and throw them in jail I say, that is not national news. The JBR obsession was sickening 10 years ago and still is today. As Bad Sneakers said it's probably because of all the available video materials and still pictures. The personalities of the parents willing to show off the kid probably helped as well. But enough, please we have had enough yet.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 17, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Bruno Kirby also teaches a lesson about fame. Sometimes a little is better than a lot.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 17, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"but for all intents and purposes our relationship to a lot of so-called "hard news" is much closer to the tabloid than we would like to admit." It may very well be, but what else is out there?

Maybe that is why I spend more and more time reading news at the BBC. They somehow seem to go beyond just tabloid style headline at least for their international coverage.

Posted by: dr | August 17, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Excellent point at 11:36, there, RD.


Posted by: bc | August 17, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Even more remarkable about Kirby's humility and "just one of the guys" behavior was that he grew up in a show-biz family. That means the opportunity and "push" to become just another out-of-control celebrity brat potentially existed but was successfully resisted (no doubt thanks in part to his family). How rare is THAT? Nice to see--and also demonstrates that if you happen to be burdened with sho biz parents, you still don't have to grow up to be a jerk. Just one more reason to miss the guy and honor his memory.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

very nice eulogy, joel.

as for jbr, geraldo, et al, the question is why does this stuff sell? it's all about the bottom line.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 17, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree dr, when I watch the news on TV, it's almost always BBC World on public television. There's so much less glitz and glam, and they don't seem to sensationalize as much.

Apt Daily Show quote: "CNN: the leading source of AHHHHHHH!"

Posted by: GyppedOne | August 17, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I refer to one of the local network broadcasts as disaster news. The point that was made about what is peddled as news is largely superficial, ratings driven stuff. I used to watch the News Hour on PBS until household/kid responsibilities intervened. Aaron Brown (dare I mention him???) was good. Nowadays, I'd rather be watching Froemming call a game at Wrigley, with or without a makeover.

Posted by: jack | August 17, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

hey, mo.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

it's such sad news about bruno! what a wonderfully understated, yet classy and crafted actor! he will be missed! beautiful write-up on him joel!

Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

This just in: a federal judge just ruled that NSA's warrantless wiretapping rpogram is illegal, and ordered them to stop it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

you telling the future again 'mudge?

Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

No; it just got posted, 2nd lede story. I'm betting the WaPo will move it to top story soon. And Dana Priest just canceled her chat, which I'm betting is almost certainly because of that story.

But my 12:48 was written AFTER yours, mo--but slipped into that time warp thing that's been going on, and is now posted ahead of it. Weird.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Yup, now top story. Can I call 'em or whut? Just call me the Bruce Froemming of news budgeting.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

ah the achenblog - nuttin like breaking time!

Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Around here, we ususally refer to a certain grasping, self-important tabloid-oriented wanna-be journalist as Horrendo Revolver.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 17, 2006 1:11 PM | Report abuse

*wondering why no one's picked up on my suggestion for a Boodle Birthday Hour*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

oh THAT'S what you meant by BBH... i'm in!

Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

That's a good idea, Scotty.


Posted by: bc | August 17, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

whose bday do we have so far? 'mudge, s'nuke, me...

Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, there are so many of our birthdays clustered around the end of Aug./early Sept., it seemed to make sense.

*note to self -- no orange sponge cake for mo* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm in...if you promise there will be no "Over the Hill" crap!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

whose bday do we have so far? 'mudge, s'nuke, me...

Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

sorry for the double post... 'snuke - only thing i'm going to say about jbr is (forgive the caps)


Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

also firstimeblogger on the 29th

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Mudge wrties: "Yup, now top story. Can I call 'em or whut? Just call me the Bruce Froemming of news budgeting."

Who's the Earl Weaver of the news?

I realize that the best I could aspire to would be Yogi Berra.


Posted by: bc | August 17, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

crap - we are creeping into the future again!


Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Let's declare a BUBBH... Boodling birthday and unbirthday hour.

Or else everybody's gonna lie about their birthdays just to get some booze.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 17, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I think the servers are still just a hair out of sync (3 minutes or so would be my guess).


Posted by: bc | August 17, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Mine is on the 22cd, got to be a virtual BBH for me. I'm staying in Haute Maine for a while, next time in the US looks like St-Louis in late September/early Octoberish.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 17, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

mo has used up a year's worth (for her anyway) of caps in just two posts!

Glad you liked the article on Froemming, Mudge. "Height-weight-attitude ratio" is a hoot. I see why you like the guy. But I will take you in the Battle of the Cummerbunds.

Posted by: pj | August 17, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Cummerbunds, maybe. Arm-wrestling, maybe. 100-yard dash, you got a lock on it. 6-yard dash, ditto. But infield fly rule? NEVER!!!!!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

How does everyone know everyone's birthday? I must have missed the birthday sharing hour. Mine's November 6th, for the record. I'll be a whopping 22.

Posted by: Sara | August 17, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Mudge. Who wins the 12-ounce press? Or will that be a draw?

Posted by: pj | August 17, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

My b-day ain't till February, and so far as I can tell I've got everyone beat age-wise (might as well come in first at something - :-0 )

Posted by: ebtnut | August 17, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

PJ, in my prime, you would have trembled. Yes, trembled. But now... it's like those westerns with the old, retired gunfighter versus the Kid.

I figure I can whip your butt in Sunday afternoon nap, though. Punk.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

22, huh? Sara, you're just makin' me cry.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

22, huh? So, it can truly be said: get your eyes back in your head, buddy. You're twice that girl's age.

44, since June 18.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 17, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

They are looking for the worst smell in New York.

I once inspected a place located between a rendering plant and a tannery, within 20 ft on both sides. In August. When all the windows were open in the old plants. The stockyard located a hundred yards away was adding a little pastoral touch to the mix. About 5 days later somebody took the same car from the pool and complained about the smell in the car. The car was parked with its windows closed, the odor came from my clothes.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | August 17, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I was once at a subway station in New York (I can't remember which one) and to this day I still remember the smell. I've never smelled anything so horrible in my life. It can't even be explained. It wasn't the normal bad subway smell. It was in rare form that day.

Posted by: Sara | August 17, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

The Day After The Day After New Year's Eve.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 17, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

if any one can do math they can figure my age

Posted by: omni | August 17, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

So do we think M&S would mind if we brought a sheet cake to a BBH?

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

As for me, I'd just as soon pass on the cake (diabtes; I have to conserve my glucose intake to important things like Tom Collinses). But suit yourselves.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

BTW, speaking of aging boomer tricks, did you see the pic of GWB sitting on that Harley? Where in the h*ll did he get those specs???

Posted by: ebtnut | August 17, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I'll pass on the cake too, just because I don't like cake. Unless we're talking icecream cake, then maybe.

Posted by: omni | August 17, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the live chicken smell - I spent several months living downwind of coops, and you never, ever forget that smell.

Posted by: axe | August 17, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I could go for some cake. We had a Wal-Mart cake at my reception in Minnesota. Oh my goodness. Best cake on earth. Good frosting. Good raspberry filling. Who would've thought Wal-Mart could perform so well?

Does anyone else feel like the swamp thing today? (Sluggish and annoyed. I imagine the swamp thing moves and thinks sluggishly and is often annoyed.) I feel like the swamp thing. I think I need a nap. I get off at 2 p.m. today because my department is not allowed to work during graduation. We have nothing to do with graduation and are on the other side of campus, but I'm not going to complain about it. Anyway, I'll be taking a nap.

Posted by: Sara | August 17, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse


You and Paul McCartney have the same birthday. Except that he's 20 years older than you. Mine's also in June, so happy belated birthday!

Sara's only going to be 22? Wow, I vaguely remember 22. It was a mere 28 years ago.

Posted by: pj | August 17, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, when I was 22 they hadn't invented movable type yet. IIRC (it's hard to remember back that far).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Now I re-read my post and realize it was pointless...see? I'm sluggish and less intelligent today than I normally am. I need an apple or something. But apples are boring. Halfway through one I've forgotten what I was doing. But they wake up you.

Posted by: Sara | August 17, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

When's the Achenblog's birthday? That should be joyously celebrated by us all every year.

Posted by: Sara | August 17, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, apples are my favorite fruit.

Posted by: omni | August 17, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I think we ignore the Achenblog B-day and celebrate the the boodle B-day. But maybe that's just me.

Just kidding.

Posted by: omni | August 17, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, we could bring you some book paste if you wanted to look like you were enjoying frosting... Anything for a friend, yanno.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, omni.

I always get excited for apple season in Minnesota and we go to the apple store and taste all the varieties we could buy. And then I eat one and then I'm done for the season. I'm always kind of disappointed in myself for that.

Posted by: Sara | August 17, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of cake, got to go get some for a collegue who is departing for other opportunities, then go get a CAT scan of my head (wonder if they'll find anything?).

Posted by: ebtnut | August 17, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I remember as a kid one year I snuck into a neighbors back yard and stole a bag full of apples. I hid them in a brown bag in the back of the refrigerator. I didn't one my mom to think of me as an apple thief. Best dang apples I've ever had.

Posted by: omni | August 17, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm certainly up for a BBH. After all, we old f*rts gotta show them young'uns how to behave at our age (hahahahaha).

So, sometime after Labor Day? Don't need any cake, myself (gotta lose 35 lbs). Just good company. Oh, wait. . . . Okay, a glass of wine, then.

Say, let's invite Joel!

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 17, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

SCC:one=>want. feh.

bc, I thought Mudge was born before writing was invented.

Posted by: omni | August 17, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Hi Sara.

The A-blog's birthday is Jan 17th, the Boodle's April 7.

C'mon, Mudge, when you were 22, they hadn't even invented the printing press yet. This being, what, your 860th birthday? 960th?


Posted by: bc | August 17, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: omni | August 17, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

DOUBLE-SCC: the second 'one' not the first...

Posted by: omni | August 17, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected here, Mudge.

Moveable type was invented in China in the 1040s, so even if this is your 960th, you're still technically younger than that.

I wonder how they covered the supernovae in 1006 and 1054, or the Battle of Hastings. Back then, a command to "Stop the Press", was a big deal.


Posted by: bc | August 17, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

My work day just ended. achenlater.

Posted by: omni | August 17, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I am exactly two years older than Cindy Crawford. I'm always telling my wife that if Cindy had gone to our high school, I could have been dating Cindy instead of her.

I get a lot of eyerolls and "yeah, right"s from that braggadocio.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 17, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

25 June (49 at this posting, last I checked, not counting the possibility of the boodle tiome warp).

Shriek: Rendering plants are the worst, followed closely by hog farms.

Posted by: jack | August 17, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Awful smells? The hide tanning place by far, but rendering lard comes a close second.

Posted by: dr | August 17, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I'll be 26 a week after Sara. Youngin's gotta stick together...

Posted by: GyppedOne | August 17, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

In the stinky category, don't forget paper mills... EW!!!!

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 17, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

i was driving through mexico (baja california) to ensenada (from LA) and smelled the most horrible smells ever ever ever - not sure to this day what is was but it was ever other like 20 miles - i think they were burning garbage but i've smelled burning garbage down south (in the us) and nothing like that smell!

Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Jack, I vote for rendering plants, too. There used to be a huge one somewhere in Secaucus, NJ, and when you drove up the NJ turnpike toward New York (I'm thinking in the mid 1950s here)...

bc, I was thinking more about Gutenberg for moveable type, rather than the Chinese (I actually gave old Johan the idea, but that's a longish story --possibly involving methane, IIRC -- for another day).

Hastings! Now there was a fight! And Harold was doing so well, right up until that lucky shot. (I had a hand in copy-editing the Bayeux Tapestry, by the way; boy, if that sucker wasn't a b1tch to spell-check! Had to pull out all those stitches, and all those little stick figures running around. Constantly going back and forth between my Saxon dictionary and my Norman dictionary, when my head was really full of Viking [Harold had just come from beating the Vikes up north at York a few days earlier, and jeez were my feet tired! That was some forced march down to Dover. And I barely had time to file my dispatches along the route. Had crossed the Thames before I could write "XXX" at the end of my report. Next thing I know, there comes that bast--d Bloody Bill (he was illegitimae, and William the Bast--d was actually one of his nicknames, ya know, but most us didn't have the nerve to call him that to his faceshield) and the Frogs across the channel.])

And we didn't shout "Stop the press!"; we shouted "Stop the loom!" At least, for the tapestry, anyway.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

oh, mo, you know not what you say! (In reference to the smells of Baja, California). All will become clear in a few days or a week or so. But somewhere bc is rolling on the floor, laughing too.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mudge, I caught mo's Baja reference, too. LOL.

I thought there was something up with methane-powered presses early on, figured you'd know about it.

XXX [*snort* you're a funny boy, Mudge]



Posted by: bc | August 17, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

42 on January 25, 2007. I did the life calculator and I'm supposed to make it to 62. Great! Only 20 more years of complete darkness, but who's counting?

Posted by: Pat | August 17, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

um... i dun get it!

Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I know, mo; sorry. The joke is, the kit (a 4-parter) that bc and I wrote has a great deal of reference to some bad smells in Baja, California, including some burnt smells. Can't say any more; all will become clear when the kits are posted.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

i googled baja california and i still don't get it...

Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

ok - THAT'S ODD!!! don't you think that's a weird coinkidink?

Posted by: mo | August 17, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Lovely blog, Joel.

I still remember thinking, the first time I saw When Harry Met Sally, what an excellent actor Kirby was, as well as how *funny*, and how layered; a nice guy, acting like a nice guy, and showing us his being acted *upon* the way nice guys are. He was great. Not a bad legacy, to have people smile when they remember you, either because they knew you or because they loved your work.

Posted by: Stampede | August 17, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes; that's why bc and I are laughing our heads off. Apologies to everyone else, though.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 17, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Omni, my favorite apple is the Granny smith, although some other heritage apples are good too-- I just need them so tart that they pack more vitamin C than an orange. Now that's real taste!

Red Delish? Golden Delish? Not very much vitamin C. Golden Delish at least has taste. Red Delicious doesn't.

I have not had the pleasure of smelling rendering plants, although paper mills are pretty bad-- but it's more in an unavoidable pollution way, rather than that one whiff sends you sprinting for the horizon.

I would nominate 3 day-old rotting chicken in the freezer after an outage occured while you were out of town one of the top gross smells.

Chicken poo is not the worst, but doesn't help. I find I may be allergic to feathers, and the smell of too many live chickens together is overwhelming. So I don't intend to investigate a chicken farm to find out how bad it smells. Besides, there's always bound to be a few dead chickens in the bunch.

However, for instant "run mode", I'd nominate guinea pig musk for the sheer shock value. It cleared a classroom in a second, if I remember right.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 17, 2006 5:27 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid and we went from our house in Fairfax to upper NW DC to church (yes.. we drove that far), we took the Whitehurst Freeway as the beltway wasn't built yet. We always called the Whitehurst Freeway "the smelly way."

My dad still gives directions by saying, "Take the smelly way to the Rock Creek Parkway..."

I seem to recall that there was a sign painted on the side of one of the buildings that said something like "The bad odor you smell does not come from this plant."

Was it a paper mill? A rendering plant? Mudge? Do you know the details?

Posted by: TBG | August 17, 2006 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm back in town now after a 12-day, six-state odyssey with the family. I'll upload pictures of the First North Carolina BPH as soon as I can find the camera's USB cable.

In the meantime, I'd like to pass along my sincerest condolences to dmd and her family. I skimmed the recent boodles and saw that her mom passed away last week.

It's such a hard thing to go through and I'm glad to know that the boodle has helped her a little bit.


Posted by: TBG | August 17, 2006 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Long time lurker and Bruno Kirby fan, whose physiog attaches to the character Clemenza who introduced for the first time Vito Corleone to crime, "Hide this bag of pistols for a few dinner times until the door-knocks across the hall stop." This paraphrase in Kirby cadence delivers forever a tribute to the pantheon for those who didn't know him personally, an enduring prayer for a man who died too young.

JBR: enough with it. Morning line odds that the Bangkok suspect is a DNA match and murderer, and not a false confessor bent on fifteen hours of fame: 12-1. He said he drugged the child. No evidence of drugs were found in the autopsy. He said her death was an accident, and not a murder. The child was bludgeoned in the head, and a noose narrower than a raquetball garotted her gullet. The confessor said he knew the family. Mr. Ramsey said he never heard of the guy before.

This story has more to with the media's atonement to the Ramseys, and the confessor's fifteen days of fame than JBR or her murderer.

A re-signed Alfonso Soriano or a resigned Alberto Gonzales is a story that matters more than this pathetic journalist's exhumation.

Posted by: Bill Samuels | August 17, 2006 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm 68 and still remember vividly the smell in the hen house my dad make me clean every saturday morning before heading off the the hills with my buddies. Nothing like holding ones breath between scrapes and shoveling to get one's chores done quickly.
I used to lay awake a night visualizing various mechanical designs that would accomplish that task from outside the hen house.

Posted by: bh | August 17, 2006 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know where Cassandra is? Cassandra? you out there?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2006 8:02 PM | Report abuse

May 11.

Sara, I have shoes older than you (true: high school football cleats). So needless to say, you didn't have a lot to contribute on the Apollo 11 discussion. You would have been only 3 when the Challenger blew up?

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 17, 2006 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I am back, Joel beautiful kit, I loved that you expressed what made Bruno so special were his simple human qualities. So often it seems people seek success in life and forget that it is the little things in life that can touch people the most, such as attended a soccer game.

Spent the last few days learning to the little things mom did to touch others lives. It was a wonderful ceremoney, but coincidence it coincides with a family reunion on my dads side so many relatives were able to attend (we cover both the US and Canada, with a few spread around the world). My Uncle performed the serice, and I managed to get through the eulogy. My inspiration was my daughter (11) who when they asked at the funeral home if anyone wished to speak volunteered to read one of her favorite poems.

My BD June 30, 43 years old.

Posted by: dmd | August 17, 2006 9:52 PM | Report abuse

My least favorite smell is baby powder.
It is also my most favorite smell.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 17, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked. Always liked him. I remember as teen going to see "The Harred Experiment." He was very young then, and seemed to be the only real actor in that (bad) movie.

Posted by: johnnyg in NE DC | August 17, 2006 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I didn't recognize Bruno Kirby from his name, but I remember him from the comedies. Sounds like a great guy, who died too young - and so suddenly. What a shame.

JBR - what a shame too. Bad Sneakers, I watch Olbermann too - Dan Abrams did a segment on JBR last night, which if it had lasted 1 minute longer, I was going to turn off the TV. I just hate the wall-to-wall, sensationalized coverage. Maybe someday we'll know who really killed her and why the DA and police couldn't figure it out. I'm not sure the guy in Thailand is the one.

Sara, when the Achenblog birthday rolled around, Hal put balloons by Joel's picture. It was very festive. Mine is in Feb - just after Valentine's Day. And as omni said, if you can do math...I was 17 when Armstrong walked on the moon. (I'm old!)

dmd, it sounds like you have a great family - and you're all going to miss your mother. Glad to hear you delivered the eulogy. It's all I can do to get through the service at funerals. I went to one for a friend who died too young from cancer - and just sobbed through the whole thing.

It seemed like the boodle had gone far afield today, but it looks like today's theme was birth and death.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 17, 2006 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Stampede, nice to hear from you again! TBG, we've missed you.

BTW, the French boodle is still going - mostly in actual French now, so I'm lost. I used to joke that I could almost read French even though I've never studied it, but that's not true (ok, warning labels, maybe). But I think they're still not getting it. For those of you who haven't checked it out, it is quite entertaining.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 17, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Smells? I once lived about 3/4 mile from a knackery, as it was called in Oz, which dealt mostly in horses. Maybe twice a month it seemed to be directly across the road because of how the atmosphere was behaving.

One horse who lived down the road and was asked to survive on the grass in a back yard without other feed, was on its way there. She was discovered by a teenage girl who was told she could have it if she could find a place to keep it, although she lived in the city with no room. She asked if the horse could live in my stable and graze the 6 or so acres I was renting, wihch I didn't use -- the acres were good for growing vegetables and pot, but otherwise a horse could have them. The girl would spend weekends living in the stable, and for the first month or so while the horse was pretty feeble (initially looked like a skeleton with skin) I would also fix meals of special food during the week. She developed into a beautiful, tall, red-brown 14 year-old mare who had once been a pacer in races and also had been trained in dressage, which the girl got her to demonstrate after her health returned. She would let me ride her without a saddle or bridle (perhaps because I fed her the high-protein supplement during the week for the first part of her recovery), but when she'd had enough, she'd sweep me off against the nearest tree, or the top of the doorway to the stable.

Posted by: jg | August 17, 2006 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty close to sharing the 'boodle b'day (April 8th for me), but I've long since stop considering my own birthday to be particularly fascinating. Any excuse will suffice for the gathering of fun folks, though!

mostlylurking, I was wondering about the Frogstorm (I know that's a terrible term to use, and I promise not to do it again, but [in its own ugly way] it's amusing and apt), but hadn't checked back in. I left a couple of (somewhat malt beverage-influenced) remarks late in the 'boodle.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 17, 2006 11:12 PM | Report abuse

I visited Abilene, TX, one year shortly after they had "fertilized", and that was pretty powerful after baking for a time in the Texas sun. The locals called it the "brown breeze".

And I've spent time in chicken houses, and that's fairly serious stuff.

But when I lived in Savannah, GA (in the 60's), the world's largest paper plant was located there, and it was the source of smells so horrific that I don't believe they can easily be topped without approaching actual 'people-dropping-dead' toxicity!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 17, 2006 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I also neglected paper mills. A hamlet near Hanover, Pa., Springs Mills, lies in a steep valley. The paper mill is undetectable until one crests the valley, then the smell is gut wrenching. It becomes worse as you proceed through town at the bottom of the valley. The residents must smell of the effluent. Thankfully the descent and ascent through the valley is short enough to get by with holding your breath and exhaling about four times. yuk.

Posted by: jack | August 17, 2006 11:40 PM | Report abuse

There's a story:

about a woman who was brutally abused by her husband, filed a civil lawsuit for damages (in addition to getting a divorce, natch), and got a good chunk of dough. I'm for it, of course! Sue the battering bastid for his last nickel!

But there was a brief foray into legal patterns that perplexed me:
"Domestic violence victims in the Washington area rarely have stepped into the civil arena, experts said, for a variety of reasons, including reluctance to tangle with the legal system again, difficulty in finding a lawyer willing to take the case and inability to get money from a batterer even if they win."
Well, these seme like perfectly valid reasons not to begin the process of litigation, althought I'd point out that the difficulty of finding willing lawyers is a result of other factors, not a primary cause of the lack of litigation. I don't think that an "old boy network" of legal minds is protecting wife-beaters in the Washington area!

But there's another factor that's worth considering, I think. Since penniless defendants aren't worth pursuing in (often expensive) civil suits, I'll restrict the discussion to husbands with money: Abusive (and wealthy) husbands usually end up paying more than non-abusive husbands in the divorce settlement. In no-fault states, the situation is usually settled out of court, but the result is functionally the same as if a judge had handed out the settlement.

It seems imprecise to speak of the relative lack of battered-spouse lawsuits without mentioning the other legal routes by which this is approached.

(By the way, this isn't a subject about which I'm especially passionate. Well, I'm passionate about the abuse [I'm against it! A lot!!], but I'm not especially passionate about civil lawsuits in this area. I just noticed that one of the main reasons for the relative rarity of this type of suit against well-heeled defendants wasn't even mentioned.)

Posted by: Bob S. | August 18, 2006 1:49 AM | Report abuse

i just read eugene robinson's piece on allen. and it got me thinking about how there were several posters defending allen with similar talking points. someone replied that they were quoting similar conservative blogs and should acknowledge their source. but now i'm wondering if they were paid to do it and/or working for the allen campaign. wasn't someone on this blog talking about a job possibility where he could be paid to hang out on blogs and defend the company name or something? maybe i'm being cynical or suspicious, but i could totally see this happening as election season nears.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 18, 2006 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Before I get crucified here, I'll quickly add the following caveat:

Abusive husbands whose wives have competent legal advice usually end up paying more than non-abusive husbands in the divorce settlement.

This is explicitly addressed at court in at-fault states, and is the primary bargaining chip of the aggrieved wife in no-fault states (since the divorce can't proceed without agreement from both sides, and divorce is usually the husband's only alternative to criminal charges and/or wider exposure as an abuser).

But this obviously assumes that the wife has been removed from the threat of physical intimidation and that she has competent legal counsel. Absent those two factors, she may well have no good recourse available. She's certainly not likely to be filing lawsuits!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 18, 2006 1:59 AM | Report abuse

hi bob s.! didn't know anyone else was up.

i have one more thought related to the whole allen thing. i think the dems should assign people of color to shadow all republican candidates, at least in the south.

here's the article:

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 18, 2006 2:04 AM | Report abuse

L.A.Lurker - I just sent Robinson an e-mail telling him how much I enjoyed the piece!

I had a discussion yesterday about the Allen comment uproar, and covered most of the same ground as Robinson (although not nearly so well!). Allen's not (I think) a horrible guy, but he's a reactionary clown in some situations, and I'm not even sure that he knows it. He obviously can't admit it. I didn't vote for him before, I'm not likely to do so in the future.

Robinson is a columnist who I like very much for his ability to express strong opinions without becoming shrill or hysterical.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 18, 2006 2:05 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I meant that I had sent Eugene Robinson an e-mail just a few minutes before your post. It was interesting timing!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 18, 2006 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Lurker, yeah, you're definitely right about the "blog marauder" job thing! I can't remember who it was (if I don't figure it out, one of the morning crew will quickly set us straight!), but I remember that he(?) was a little creeped out by the whole thing.

I'm not much of a conspiracy-theory kinda guy, but it would hardly amaze me to find that campaign volunteers and/or staffers surf for blogs that mention their favored candidates, and then try to spin things positively.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 18, 2006 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Another youngun here. 25 late this November.

Foul stenches? Bah, you get used to it. Try working at a mushroom farm with 200 degree chicken poop, and wet hay ;and a rendering plant and two feed plants upwind of you. Whee the fun smells that place has. So very glad I no longer work there.

Posted by: Kerric | August 18, 2006 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Kerric - I'm laughing! Yes, I'm sure that it got old very quickly!

Time to grab a little sleep for me. Good night, all!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 18, 2006 2:34 AM | Report abuse

You want to talk stinky? Try living downwind of a cheese factory. We were almost 2 miles away (as the crow flies), but if the wind was just right... was like a cross between sour milk and dirty diapers.

Posted by: martooni | August 18, 2006 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Here is another appreciation of Bruno Kirby. Not as personal as Joel's, but just as heartfelt.

On the current topic, in high school I worked at a Wendy's and occassionally had to empty the pickle bucket full of grease that collected from the grill. That is the most wretched smell ever. Sometimes I could only carry it three or four steps before having to set it down and dry heaving until I could pick it up again.

In elementary school we took a factory tour of a paper mill. They were trying to convince us how clean and ecolgical (that was the cool word then) they were while we had to wear masks just to breathe.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 18, 2006 8:46 AM | Report abuse

SCC: ecological

Posted by: yellojkt | August 18, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

OK, we're back to Big Stinks. Paper mills are certainly near the top of the list, though many have cleaned up their act in recent years. The mills at Luke, MD and the one noted at Spring Grove (not Mills) PA are not near as bad as they once were. TBG, there did used to be a rendering plant along the Georgetown waterfront. In the summer it would stink the place up even after it had been shut down for a few years. Another stink that's gone came from the Calvert whiskey distillery just south of Baltimore. That sickly-sweet sour mash odor could be real pungent as you rolled up Rt. 1. And yes, driving through the mushroom belt along the Delaware-Pennsylvania border on a summer day could water your eyes, too.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 18, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Joel, I am so sorry about your friend. I've seen him in lots of movies, and he was good. Striking face, but did not put the face with the name. The kit is beautiful, and your friend I suspect was a beautiful person too.

G-girl gone back to mom. Missing her a lot, but so tired. Didn't get a chance to boodle yesterday, had a lot of work to do. Plus a little sad too.

I've been to church every night this week for revival services, and have thoroughly enjoyed the services. Can't hear a word, but love being there. It's true when one loses a sense, the others do double time.

On the television the only news is JBR and they show the old footage over and over again. I keep thinking that has to be hard on the family looking at those pictures, and it doesn't stop. They go to commercial, and come right back to the same thing.

It looks like rain here, very cloudy and gray looking. We need some rain, so that's okay. But it certainly matches my mood today. I do hope your day is good, and that I, along with you can remember, especially on days like this, that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 18, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

S'nuke -- I think that will work for me. What time?

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 18, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Good to see you back, Cassandra. :-)


Back to the BBH discussion...

How does Labor Day evening, Sept. 4, work for everyone?

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 18, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Re: BBH-Might work. We may go to Pittsburgh that weekend, but if we do we will certainly come back on Sunday, not Labor Day.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 18, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

That won't work for me, Scotty, though the next night will.


Posted by: bc | August 18, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I'll be out of town on vacation all that week, but that shouldn't stop you guys from doing it. Go for it, if you've got a quorum.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 18, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know the nature of the feud between Bruno Kirby and Billy Crystal, and whether they ever made up?

Posted by: Zachary Kretchmer | August 18, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

No--and there's nothing on the Internet about it, except a few vague references to the fact there was one. Kirby was supposed to be in City Slickers II, but IMDB says he was "unavailable" for the role, and the part was re-written to be Crystal's brother, rather than Kirby's character, and the part went to Jon Lovitz. But that doesn't explain whether Kirby's "unavailability" was the cause of the feud, or the result of it, nor who started it, and over what. So, basically, the question remains unanswered.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 18, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Here's an essay from this month's Esquire by Tom Ciarella called "How to Write a Eulogy." Joel obviously doesn't need any pointers, but it's an interesting meditation on a genre of writing that many of us may, unfortunately, have to tackle at some point.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 18, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

scc: Chiarella (sorry!)

Posted by: kbertocci | August 18, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I lived by a rendering plant years ago in South San Francisco, AND a paper mill in Charleston, SC. I can see why the first smells, but what do they do when they make paper to cause such a stench? You would think it was just a matter of cooking sawdust and water, but something else must be added. Anyone know?

Posted by: nellie | August 18, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Lifted from the Straight Dope:

Chemical pulping uses chemicals, heat, and pressure to dissolve the lignin in the wood, freeing the cellulose fibers. In the "kraft" process, the wood and chemicals are cooked in a digester to remove the sugars, about 90-95% of the lignin, and anything else you don't want in the final product. The waste from the digester is known as "black liquor," and it's often burned at the paper mill as an energy source. Kraft mills account for about 75-80% of all pulp production in the U.S. An older sulfite process is used in a handful of mills (fewer than 2%), where acid is used to modify the chemical structure of the lignin, which is then washed out of the cellulose.

The smell is only partially a result of the sulfur compounds used in the kraft process; mostly, it's a result of the cooking out of the lignins and sugars in the wood. Remember too that trees contain some natural sulfur compounds, which are liberated during the pulping process.

Posted by: omni | August 18, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Never mind, I looked it up on Wicki.

By the way, I am over three times as old as Sara, and still learning things --- it is a pity we never learn it all!

Posted by: nellie | August 18, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

One entry found for lignin.

Main Entry: lig·nin
Pronunciation: 'lig-n&n
Function: noun
: an amorphous polymer related to cellulose that provides rigidity and together with cellulose forms the woody cell walls of plants and the cementing material between them

Posted by: omni | August 18, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. If Mudge is out that week, I think a BBH won't work.

As far as smells, a farmer not too far from me keeps an old-fashioned cess pool for fertilizing crops. I get to enjoy it twice daily on my way to and from work.

Granted, it's not as bad as some of the other items mentioned, but on really hot humid days, the smell really hangs in the air, almost like a soup. Cess soup, mmmm, mmm good.


Posted by: bc | August 18, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, omni, I shouldn't be so impatient.

The "sulphur" at a paper mill does not smell like the rotten-egg sulphur one smells around an oil refinery. Must be the mix with sugar.

Posted by: nellie | August 18, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

bc where I come from they call that the smell of money. Growing up, our principle cash flow came from hogs. The pit was actually fairly benign.

Smell was not the thing to fear growing up with hogs, and barn chores. No, the thing you really feared was dropping the long handled gutter cleaner that you pushed all the muck into the pit with, into said gutter. When that happened, your only recourse was to reach under the muck, and pick it up. I've been up close and personal with that 'feel' of money a few times.

Posted by: dr | August 18, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

yeah, not so sure the 4th works for me either (out of town to a yankees game! whopeeee!!!!)

i just thought of some other bad smells - i went to an open air meat/seafood market in panama when i was 12 - 22 years later i can still remember THAT stench! remember panama is on the equator so it's HOT and humid! ice is a premium and they had only scattered fans - this place was about the size of a football field... i couldn't wait to get out of it but even blocks away you could still smell it - i guess eventually you can get used to any smell - but it made my eyes water...

also, breweries don't smell to great - the first two months i lived in los angeles (in the valley) i had to pass a budweiser brewery to and from work - the over powering smell of hops was cloying indeed!

Posted by: mo | August 18, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I'm so sorry to hear about your mother's death. My condolences, and apologies for being so slow to send them.

Thanks mostlylurking!

I'm just back from an *interesting* trip to Nairobi and Kampala. July 24 route out: Calgary-Toronto-London Heathrow-Nairobi -- 38 hours. August 13 route back: Nairobi-London Heathrow-Toronto-Calgary -- 94 hours. Not only were we coming back through LHR during the worst of the long line-ups and flight cancellations, but the colleague and friend with whom I was travelling is a Canadian/British citizen of South Asian descent. Scrunity is not the word for our experience on the way back. And neither is privacy. Fortunately, we'd already shed everything except wallets, passports and tickets, so it was only our backgrounds, associates, morals and orifices that required investigation. I will say for the British security personnel with whom we, um, interacted, that they were as respectful and kind as they could be, under the circumstances, something some of their Canadian counterparts haven't mastered.

Nonetheless, it was heaven to pour off the plane and into the arms of my dear family. Found #1 and #2 charged up about getting back to school, husband pleased with his new position as managing engineer, and the dogs not as ill-groomed as I had feared (I am the groomer, behaviour specialist, trainer and all round dog-authority in the family). And the house was even cleanish, so it doesn't get better than that. Madly getting ready for friends of #1 visiting from Japan while trying to get my mind around the work resulting from the trip (and all that piled up on my desk while I was gone).

No immediate plans for more travel until I hit Washington in the fall, fortunately.

49 next March 3. Hmmmm. I don't know if Alberta boasts the sort of porches required, but we might have to assemble the SoCs, drs, Stamps and any other Canadian boodlers for a reasonable facsimile of a BBH in the spring of 2007.

Posted by: Stampede | August 18, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Thenks for the geographical correction, eb. Springs Industries is a large textile concern in these parts. Mills on the mind, I guess. Spring Grove is an interesting name, considering its former odor.

Posted by: jack | August 18, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Stampede wrote: "I am the groomer, behaviour specialist, trainer and all round dog-authority in the family."

Stamp, my wife is the "groomer, behaviour specialist, trainer and all round ... authority" in my family, too. Unfortunately, we don't have any pets, and finally have gotten rid of all the kids. So guess who that leaves for her to practice her trade on...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 18, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

We can find a porch I am sure.

My niece traveled to Boston last week and thanks to some very good information from boodlers, had a great time. She had no travel troubles at all until she came back home. Canadian customs were less than nice. They took a very dim view of a young person who went to a port city for just a few days for pleasure, and only bought 38 bucks of stuff. I guess to someone who is used to looking for nefarious doings, she looked nefarious.

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


Boston is a hotbed of liberalism, obviously...


And it looks like we'll have to hold the BBH in abeyance at least a week; it's inconCEIVEable that we could hope to have it without 'Mudge.

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 18, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Busy catching up with the real world (i.e., work), but here's a quick link to evidence of the Official Southern BPH...

Posted by: TBG | August 18, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Aw, shucks *blushing*

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 18, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

So long as she uses clicker training (positive operant conditioning), Curmudgeon, I'm sure you are doing fine.

Posted by: Stampede | August 18, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

That's why you are supposed to signal when you want to go outside.

Posted by: Stampede | August 18, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

It's getting whacked on the snout with a rolled-up newspaper I'm not too crazy about.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 18, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

When I visit my in-laws in Lancaster County I am frequently greeted with what my father-in-law calls "Country Fresh Air."

They raise a lot of cows out there.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 18, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

DR, glad your niece had a good time in Boston. It's a great city and the weather was beautiful last weekend. And yes, liberals rule around these parts!

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | August 18, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Stampede said:

"July 24 route out: Calgary-Toronto-London Heathrow-Nairobi -- 38 hours. August 13 route back: Nairobi-London Heathrow-Toronto-Calgary -- 94 hours."

That sounds like a total nightmare. I thought 24-30 hours to get to Vietnam from Baltimore was pretty much as far apart as you could get two destinations. The return flight sounds like a lot of unscheduled waiting.

I've heard stories of 30 pieces of obscure information everyone going from London to North America must be able to regurgitate on command. If people starting asking me for my grandmother's county of birth, my eyes would start bugging out. Do tell what was the most ridiculous or inane hurdle you had to jump.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 18, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Why is Liberal a dirty word?

One entry found for liberalism.

Main Entry: lib·er·al·ism
Pronunciation: 'li-b(&-)r&-"li-z&m
Function: noun
1 : the quality or state of being liberal
2 a often capitalized : a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity b : a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard c : a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties d capitalized : the principles and policies of a Liberal party
- lib·er·al·ist /-b(&-)r&-list/ noun or adjective
- lib·er·al·is·tic /"li-b(&-)r&-'lis-tik/ adjective

Posted by: omni | August 18, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, omni, and not only that:

lib·er·al (lbr-l, lbrl)adj.

Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.

Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.

Tending to give freely; generous: a liberal benefactor.

Generous in amount; ample: a liberal serving of potatoes.

Not strict or literal; loose or approximate: a liberal translation.
Of, relating to, or based on the traditional arts and sciences of a college or university curriculum: a liberal education.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 18, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Omni, I think liberalism gets a bad name because a lot of people think they are the only ones who know what is good for the human race. The idea that others are capable of making their own decisions scares many people.

Posted by: dmd | August 18, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

yello, I'm laughing. Can you imagine the security lines if one were required to disgorge before embarking?

The worst thing on my trip was when they took my colleague away for a private interrogation, and he was gone for *hours.* I didn't enjoy the full body search complete with rubber glove, but I can kind of zone out when something unpleasant is happening to me; it's when I was worrying for his safety that I nearly fell apart. You may remember that over the last several years a couple of Canadian citizens of visible minorities have been "rendered" to countries that practice torture, and I just didn't have any feeling of confidence that I would see my colleague again any time soon.

In retrospect it is a bit embarrassing that I burst into tears and threw my arms around him when he appeared in the boarding area (as we behave impeccably professionally at all times) but I think he's forgiven me. I was just at the point where, had I had a cell phone, I would have been on to the consular officials at the Canadian High Commission to try to get them to intervene.

Posted by: Stampede | August 18, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Can I ask for help on this blog on an unrelated topic? I've been asked to start up a website for a speciality interest since I obviously have too much spare time to boodle and so on.

I like the idea, but I'm looking for a good webhost that can give a polished look (click on hypertext to go to hidden URLS).

Basically, I wanta lot of MBs and pages for low cost and no pop up ads (ads on page is OK)-- it's intended to be a reference website, and I may be having original content added, such as video clips etc. Also, I'm considering a possible link to a blog page.

I need to state that I do not like any site that only takes paypal, BTW.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 18, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

And yeah, my total webpage making experience is limited to an "easy and free geocities package" a generation ago, Internet-time wise.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 18, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

dmd, but that's exactly opposite what Liberals are all about. What you've described sounds a lot like a conservative to me...

Posted by: omni | August 18, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I heard an interesting liberal/conservative definition the other day:

Liberals thing that government is the best answer to any problem except for anything requiring the military.

Conservatives think that all government is incompetent, except for the military.

My personal definition is that a conservative is a liberal that has been muggged and a liberal is a conservative with a pregant girlfriend.

In reality the political definition both liberal and conservative are very fluidly defined depending on the circumstances and the goals of the speaker.

Spot quiz: Which party believes in fiscal restraint?

A. Trick question. Neither. They just argue over what to spend our money on.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 18, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Omni, it goes to differences in thinking. For broad examples, where a liberal may believe in a social net a conservative may believe each person should on their own look after themself. For free speech a conservative may not believe in say flag burning a liberal may find it an acceptable form of protest (or at least not a criminal offense).

I am also coloured by the differences in conservative/liberal in Canada vs the US. Several months ago I read an excellent article in the Seattle paper describing the British Columbia election and explaining the various political parties and provided comparisons to the US.

The two intertwine, do conservatives believe people can make up their own minds concerning abortion, invitro, stems cells or do they believe in regulation?

I think its hard to say conservatives or liberals are consistent on all things.

Posted by: dmd | August 18, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse


If it's just a blog, (a wholly owned subsidiary of Google™Universe®) is free, easy, and relatively robust. For static webpages, I suggest you investigate any storage that comes with your ISP. I have never used my multimegabytes of storage on Comcast for anything except some cheap graphic hosting, but it's there if I ever wanted it. .mac accounts also come with personal web pages.

Beyond that, the Heinlein TANSTAAFL rule starts to apply. You can get some pretty cheap low bandwidth hosting accounts from places like GoDaddy for under ten bucks a month, which is still more than I'm willing to pay.

I still have an ancient Geocities page hidden somewhere, but I dare you to find it.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 18, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I could change my ISP if I move, so I don't wanna lose the shebang...

I'll check on that score, though--thanks.

TANSTAAFL? I'm not that fluent in Heinleinspeak, although I grok "grok" and I knew a cat who walked through walls.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 18, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm willing to forego the BBH until more people are around. Especially Mudge, since I want to know what 60 looks like (. . . .).

To Stampede -- despite the awful logistical traveling travails, what did you think of Kampala? I've only been to the airport in Nairobi (too many times to count -- not my favorite airport down there). I thought Kampala was very interesting. That there is not much infrastructure with respect to roads and highways, I noticed first off that there were maybe only two traffic signals. The traffic otherwise was controlled by roundabouts (traffic circles). I kept trying to get in on the "wrong" side of the car, as they drive on the left there. Were you able to go to any game parks?

You have really awakened the "wanna go back" juices.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 18, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

Posted by: omni | August 18, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, although due to this nature of the interest, prices could be cut by ad and bookstore links.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 18, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey, ever seen a dalminatin riding a bicycle? I guess he missed his fire truck ride...

The Japanese strike again with their zany videos!

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 18, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

SCC dalminatin, should be Dalmatian aka Fire Hydrant guard dog.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 18, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Stampede, what an ordeal, I would think under the circumstances your co-worker understood your reaction.

Posted by: dmd | August 18, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for your appreciation of Bruno Kirby. I've always enjoyed watching him on screen and it's nice to know he was such a good guy off screen.

Posted by: marlee | August 18, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

You all realize yer givin' JA all sorts of Web ideas, doncha???

With all the attendant corporate sponsorships, of course...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 18, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't worry about losing data if you change ISP's since you would probably want to keep a local back-up of all the source files. When you change ISP's just reload the webpages to a new server. I would also invest in a vanity url to make the hosting site more transparent. I own

but it just redirects to my blog right now. If I ever got really ambitious, I could point it to whatever hosting service I use.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 18, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

OMG!!! I just time-warped BEHIND yellojkt's post!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 18, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, I already accidentally write when I haven't had my coffee yet.

So that would not be a bad idea...

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 18, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I tole Hal that he still has a 4 minute problem.


Posted by: bc | August 18, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

'Zat like a 3-minute egg, bc?


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 18, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

FTB wrote: "I want to know what 60 looks like."

Uh, no you don't. It ain't pretty. Avoid it if you can.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 18, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

If Hal has a four-minute problem, perhaps a little Viagra or Cialis could help...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 18, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I love this quote from Bush on the NSA wiretap court decision:

from WaPo: Speaking to reporters at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland, Bush said that "those who herald this decision simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live."

I think the problem is some people simply do not understand the Constitution of the United States.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 18, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

talk about crazy videos:

Posted by: omni | August 18, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Hah, I knew Presidente Arbusto was up in my neck of the woods, I saw the green & white choppers going back and forth along I-270 yesterday.

I should note that the new Marine Ones are much quieter than the old ones.

Mudge, I'll forward Hal your suggestion for chemical help, and my own that he think about baseball.


Posted by: bc | August 18, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, okay, Mudge. In 11 days' time, I can look in the mirror and see what it looks like. I guess I would rather see it on someone else.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 18, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse


I din know they had the new whirlybirds yet... I'm sure I saw an "old" Marine One today.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 18, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Great pix of the boodlers and the carolina's BPH, TBG. Finally pairing up names and faces.

Have a great weekend, everyone. We're off to Tn. for the weekend.

Posted by: jack | August 18, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Scotty - it's possible that what I saw were the old ones, though I distinctly noted that the fulsiages was a bit slimmer than I remember and they seemed rather quiet.

On the other hand I *was* in bumper-to-bumper traffic blasting Accept's "Fast as a Shark" about as loud as it would go on the Bose, and the windows were vibrating a bit. Along with my eardrums. And retinas.


Posted by: bc | August 18, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

firsttimeblogger, I kind of enjoyed Kampala. I confess, because it was a business trip we didn't really see a whole lot: arrive Entebbe (better than Kenyata, for sure!), limo to hotel, limo to meeting at a local law firm, lunch at a good Indian restaurant in the city centre, more meetings, dinner out. Oh, we did have a blast at a place on Gebab Road that evening; huge partially open bar/nightclub with dancing. "Al's?" Something like that. Then back to the hotel and off to the airport first thing in the morning. As we were being driven about it struck me that Kampala has a sort of town-ish feeling to it; identifiable neighbourhoods and a friendly atmosphere. I didn't find the driving-on-the-left thing too hard to get the hang of, and I was delighted to see that a lot of intersections had traffic cops directing things. After driving in India I found the traffic fairly sedate! Given the nature of business trips and the lack of time, I enjoyed it. I've known some of the people we were meeting with for years, so we had some laughs (which is the really delightful thing about the culture, I think, the readiness to have fun). I'd love to go back and spend more time. I know Kenya and Tanzania better so Uganda needs more attention.

Posted by: Stampede | August 18, 2006 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Check out Heller Information Services. They ain't dirt cheep, but they're good.

Posted by: a happy customer, really | August 18, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Stampede -- I went to Tanzania after my week in Kampala (taught an E-Commerce Law course at the International Law Institute there) and took a safari in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater and went up to Arusha. The jacaranda trees were in full bloom then and everything was dusted in the most beautiful lavendar color from the blossoms. Oh, I *do* want to go back.

You're right, the people are very friendly and fun loving. Great sense of humor.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 18, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Here's a nice article re: labels of liberals and conservatives. Written by Thomas Moore in the May/June 2005 Spirituality & Health magazine. I don't post much (ever), but thought ya'll might like it based on omni's 1:15 post. This is a great group of people here....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Reluctantly back from vacation -- moderately warm days, cool nights, lots of rain. My family had to make me return. I'm still skimming previous missed Boodles.

Dmd, so sorry to hear about your mother. I did a eulogy when my mother died, and it proved to be cathartic. She had Alzheimer's, and preparing for the funeral allowed me to reconnect with the person she had been before the disease took hold. Lots of funny stories, and discoveries of her effect on others.

Remember me at the Birthday Boodle Hour -- I'm 46 on August 30th.

Posted by: ivansmom | August 18, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, ivansmom. BTW, how did the Titus Andronicus production go?

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 18, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for asking, SonofCarl. The production was pretty good. The director made the decision to go "bloodless", wrapping cloth strips around for the hand stumps, etc. This was a little disappointing in a show with three hands cut off (two people), a tongue cut out, two decapitations, and several deaths by stabbing. However, it made for a much neater stage. Our big problem was the weather -- when it is consistently 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above, it is hard to convince people to come to outdoor theater. We assured them it cooled off at night, but they knew better. They actually called the show (that is, cancelled the performance) one night when it was 108 degrees and we had a statewide heat advisory.

The show is so obscure it was probably the experience of a lifetime for both the Boy and Ivansdad, but we were all glad when it closed.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 18, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Running for the bus--everybody have a good weekend.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 18, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Hi Ivansmom -- great to have you back.

My mom, too, had Alzheimers and I also gave her eulogy. Cathartic and difficult all at once. Alzheimers is called the "never ending funeral" -- you so much want relief from the decline, but the relief means that your loved one must die, which is not necessarily the point. It's such a sad and stressful disease -- for everyone. Although, I must say that my mom sure came out with some funny stuff in the relatively early part of her illness. I still remember some of it and still crack up. She would, too, if she were still here and all there, if you catch my drift.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | August 18, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse

ivansmom, one more question - any opinion on the 1999 movie Titus now that you've become so familiar with the play? I keep seeing in at the local rental place, but haven't picked it up yet.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 18, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, welcome back and thanks for the thought, delivering the eulogy (or sharing doing so was helpful). I have a friend who's mom now is going through dementia, and had an aunt who had Alzheimers it is so difficult.

Posted by: dmd | August 18, 2006 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Bob S and L.A. Lurker, the boodler who interviewed for the job reading blogs was Bayou Self. Where has he been anyway? Hoping all is well with him and his journalism teaching job - he's a funny guy and we miss him here.

The blog reading job sounds great to me - ok, a little weird, but after the week I've had doing computer support, I'm ready for anything. And I'm on call this weekend, and I have to go in on Monday (my normal day off) to do fun security stuff.

Wilbrod, I use OLM as a web host -
Never had any problems with them. I built my husband's site with Notepad - it's very 1995. I can't recall if they can do all the fancy Dreamweaver/FrontPage type stuff. Their servers are Unix, which to me was a plus.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 18, 2006 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm here for my late-night check-in!

mostlylurking - Thanks! I hadn't worked up the energy for an archive search. I also miss Bayou Self. The job did sound intriguing, and no more underhanded than a couple of "secret shopper" gigs that I undertook for a marketing company, checking out retirement homes. I hope that my mother will forgive me for adding a couple of decades to her age (and piling several physical & mental infirmities onto her other troubles) during the "shopping" interviews!

kbertocci - My French is essentially non-existent, but my subsequent reading makes me think that you got the flavor of the "prend un billet et degage la bas" line just right! "The complaint forms are RIGHT OVER THERE!" seems to be a pretty good equivalent.

I'll suggest that (if you haven't run across it already) you might enjoy Douglas Hofstadter's, "Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language".

It's a fascinating intellectual romp, more-or-less centered on the difficulties inherent in language translation generally, and the translation of a particular French poem specifically.

Posted by: Bob S. | August 19, 2006 4:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Welcome back, ivansmom. Glad you enjoyed your vacation. I have the worse cold or allergies. Just really feel lousy. I've been up since three o'clock. Felt an asthma attack coming, couldn't breath. That's a feeling one does not want to experience.

Real busy yesterday. Trying to get a program together for the community center dealing with obesity in kids. Attempting to get parents and kids together to work on losing weight or at least maintaining their weight. In other words, not gaining. I'm joining the fight too. If I could just not eat the sweets.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. Get some rest, tell your family you love them, and give God some of your time. I'm going to try real hard to have a good one.

Concerning smells, try living in an area that raises chicken and hogs. Stepping outside not only opens up the nose, but everything else. It is just awful, and the folks that own these businesses try to make light of the situation when people complain. Plus Perdue has a plant in this county, so one has it coming at you from all directions. And the county wants to accept an offer to allow a waste management company to haul in trash from every where in the country. I'm told we'll have mountains of garbage. Won't that help every ailment of body known to man? The fact that we're a tier-one county leads our elected officials to talk to the most base people in an attempt to bring business here and build up the tax base. I realize their predicament, but do we have to do garbage. And the money isn't that good.

Have a good one folks, and remember that God loves you so much more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 19, 2006 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Bob, Thank you for that book recommendation. It sounds great. I will definitely get it.

Cassandra, good morning. Good luck with that education program. And I hope you feel better. <3

Posted by: kbertocci | August 19, 2006 7:00 AM | Report abuse

I guess there will be some anxiety in Boodleland today and tomorrow as people open (or click on) the Sunday Magazine and have to decide which to read first: Michael Dolan's paean to the porch (this is the man who literally "wrote the book" on porches) or Joel's Rough Draft from Paris...

Posted by: kbertocci | August 19, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Article on Stephen Lewis, a Canadian, who gave the keynote speach at the Aids Conference in Toronto.

Posted by: dmd | August 19, 2006 9:00 AM | Report abuse

For those who can't wait, here's Joel's RD from Paris:

I'm disappointed he didn't go for the Royale avec Fromage.


Posted by: bc | August 19, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't wait.

I'm not sure whether this will generate a new French Umbrage Monday. The key the last time was that it was picked up by the French site and paraphrased in French in such a manner that apparently was insulting.

I hate to admit it, but I ate at McDonalds twice in Paris. The first time was after a classic rude Parisian waiter episode. I actually speak basic French, but I was struggling through something and the waiter made a huffing noise and simply left our table, never to return. I heard later that your likelihood of this type of experience is inversely related to your proximity to the Eiffel Tower. No problems elsewhere.

The second time was when my friend and I were short on time. Sometimes you just don't have time for every meal to be a cultural experience.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 19, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha, SonofCarl. I couldn't wait, either - needed some levity, even if was a cliche-filled jab at the French (not that I think it was - I thought it was funny, in that subtle, Joel-type, hard-to-translate manner). Bob S, I ordered the book from the library - thanks for the recommendation.

Lovely day here - and my morning glories are starting to bloom. One is opening today that is the color of the Seattle summer sky - and many more buds on the way. There is another heirloom variety called Grandpa Ott with small, deep purple fading to pink flowers that is starting to bloom. Ths is the best I've ever done with morning glories here (although they don't compare to the 10 foor tall towers I've seen back in the hot and humid East). And I have some beautiful zinnias blooming in a flower box by the back deck - they're tall enough that they're "in your face" as you sit there, doing nothing.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 19, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Massively funny column by Joel. Gosh I hope there is no Gallic displeasure. I fear that Joel may barricade himself into the Washington Post headquarters and refuse to come out.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 19, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm pre-posting for tomorrow's kit (figure that one out, Hal). I've taken the liberty (liberté?) of mistranslating one of tomorrow's Rough Draft paragraphs.

Here's what Joel actually writes:

Also there are pigeons. We are housesitting in a charming place on the Avenue de Suffren, and in the heat the best spot to hang out is the little patio in the courtyard. France doesn't have much in the way of mosquitoes; perhaps they are intimidated by the language barrier. But the space is always inhabited by turkey-size pigeons, so huge it's surprising that the butcher hasn't made a full sweep of the place. Then at dusk the bats appear. They flit overhead, harmless but still a bit unnerving. In my ideal world the pigeons would eat the bats, or vice versa.


Here's how the French will read it:

Also there are pigeons. We are mooching off friends on some old broken street in Paris and the best place to act like a lazy Frenchman is a tiny spot in an alley. The French are too "smart" to have mosquitoes, but instead they have large pigeons. So large, in fact, that the French eat them like turkeys. They also have bats, further evidence that France is filthy like the rest of the world and not clean and perfect like it is here in the Good Old U.S. of A.

Posted by: TBG | August 19, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I'd thought about that, calling it "Gall-o-Vision" or "FrancoVision" or something. Your pgph is perfect, how about doing the rest of it (if you have time)?

I'm looking forward to French Umbrage Monday, personally. Hugely entertaining, IMO.


Posted by: bc | August 19, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

TBG attempts to parody:
They also have bats, further evidence that France is filthy like the rest of the world and not clean and perfect like it is here in the Good Old U.S. of A.

Bats doing the tourist thing

Web Posted: 08/14/2006 11:53 PM CDT
Scott Huddleston
San Antonio Express-News

Holy bat guano!

A mild winter and seasonal migration of Mexican free-tailed bats has led to more sightings of the winged mammals in San Antonio. Several thousand have roosted at one high-rise hotel with a spectacular downtown view -- one they probably can't truly appreciate with their light-sensitive eyes.

Tim Hanks, owner of Commercial Bat Control, said he's had numerous calls from local stores, schools and hotels.

"About 100 of them flew in the lobby" of a downtown hotel last week, said Hanks, who's worked with bats for about 20 years.

What are pest control experts doing about these critters often associated with vampires and the macabre? They're caulking cracks and sealing openings where bats can enter but generally leaving the bats alone.

Mexican bats look creepy, but they protect South Texas crops from insects from spring to fall. And their guano is good fertilizer.

The world's largest bat colony, Bracken Cave, with 20 million to 40 million bats in the spring and summer, is about 30 miles northeast of downtown. The mild winter left an abundant supply of insects for the bats to eat.

Posted by: Loomis | August 19, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Joel in Paris, that romantic city, so I'm told, and he ends up hugging a McDonald's. And judging from the end of the kit, he loves it. Even to recommending it, like a fine French restaurant. Will wonders ever cease. We do love our air-conditioning and other comforts. If in your place, Joel, I suspect I would have acted much worse. Don't know how the French are going to like this new kit, they may take umbrage. Heat can be a real kicker, meaning it brings out the worst in most folks with very few exceptions. Oh, are the people friendly? I didn't get that in the kit. After reading these kits, I don't know if I want to go to Paris. Not that that's a real pressing problem at the moment, but still it doesn't sound real promising. How are people treated in Paris that look like me, Joel? People of color.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 19, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

As a child my brothers and I would spend each summer afternoon at the local Elk's club pool. The eternally cool lobby seemed almost decadent, as no other place in my universe was air-conditioned. When I moved out to Washington DC this notion of air conditioning as a luxury did not persist long. I soon realized that a home without AC was considered as primitive as one without indoor plumbing. It took just a few months of summer heat to see why. Out here, AC is ubiquitous and ordinary. But I still remember when it was magical.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 19, 2006 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Here are a couple of sites to help us get ready for Lundi d'Ombrage...

Posted by: TBG | August 19, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Hooooray!!!!!!!!!!!! Got my home computer back, up, debugged, spyware mostly removed, processes straightened out, new RAM chip, and good to go. Jeez, you have NO idea what it's like to go without your home computer for 15 DAYS!!!!!


OK, taking a deep breath. Skins loosing 20-7 at the moment, not real happy with that. Now, got to start reading the last 24 hours of the boodle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 19, 2006 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Just read Joel's RD. "...the French equivalent of a croissant"--LOL! But oh, yeah, we are going to be in deep doo-doo on Lundi d'Ombrage.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 19, 2006 10:28 PM | Report abuse


The dog riding a bike is hilarious. My wife wants me to take my dog bike riding because he just whimpers until I get back. Maybe I can teach it to ride too. Since my dog doesn't even fetch, that could be a long time.

In Tokyo last year, we were channel flipping in the hotel room and we came across a Japanese stupid pet tricks show. One dog would like it's owner's legs when it came out of the shower just like my dog does. Some things are universal.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 19, 2006 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, your dog is telling you he needs better water in his bowl, hence the "dying of thirst" act.

A tip for your dog:

Whenever he makes messes, he should grab something he's not allowed to, run to his mess with angry human in tow, drop object and bark for maid service.

My human thinks I should carry my dishes and such whenever I want a refill. Not until he gets finest bone china dishes, no way I'm carrying those icky dishes.

My best tip is: Pretend your human is a brilliant trainer and keep the treats coming by doing all the stupid things as asked.

Keep this going until you get bored. Then pretend your brain blew up then do what you want-- fetch, or roll over and relax like the French.

This will keep your human happy and disciplined.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | August 19, 2006 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Great RD. Er, Rough Draft. Not that the other RD isn't great, too ...

Posted by: nellie | August 20, 2006 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Thanks kb, didn't see your comment concerning the books, and the program. Glad you're back, Mudge. Getting ready to go out the door this morning, runny nose and all. Going to God's house, and sit, and pray, and just be there.

I can remember the times I woke up on Sunday morning with a hang-over to kill. I would go looking for the thing that gave me the hangover. Not now. Now I get up putting on clothes to go hear a word of peace and consolation. I'm so glad Christ pulled me out of that hole, and I love Him for it. Because He loved me first. Oh, people you just have to try Him, just try Him. Christ is good for it all.

Didn't walk this morning, but going to try tomorrow if God is willing. Have a good day. Give God some of your time, and remember that God loves you so much more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Christ Jesus.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 20, 2006 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Roe vs. Sheehan in Austin, Texas

More than 50 protesters gathered outside the Renaissance Austin Hotel before a pre-dinner reception with a pink banner saying, "Rove: Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity" and signs including "War is not the answer."

Protesters moved inside the hotel lobby after several rented rooms to qualify as guests.

Just a few feet and a velvet rope separated protesters casually attired in T-shirts and sundresses from Republicans in suits and party dresses at the reception in the lobby. Several protesters unfurled a pink banner from a seventh-floor interior balcony reading, "Rove v. Truth. No contest. Pink slip Rove."

Others chanted, "Try Rove for impeachment." Sheehan, who has protested outside President Bush's Crawford ranch and has purchased property near his, joined a group of demonstrators who gathered outside the closed doors of the banquet room where the dinner was held.

Sheehan read a list of allegations against Rove as protesters chanted in response, "citizen's arrest." Rove attended a private reception in the hotel and made an appearance at the larger reception but did not mingle with attendees near the protestors.

Posted by: Loomis | August 20, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Loomis | August 20, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, as I'd pointed out previously, the Washington NFL Fracnhise's preseason means next to nothing. I think that they'd won something like 1 or 2 preseason games *total* in the seasons they won the Uber Bowl.

Gibbs, being a man of consistency, knows that losing preseason games means a better chance of winning the Big One.

Cassandra, your question about race and France is an interesting one, and one I know next to nothing about. I did notice that there were some significant riots there last year, with a tally kept of cars burnt per night (as a measure of what - other than appearances of the le Geico Gecko - I don't know). I seem to remember that a member of the French Government said something stupid - along the lines of G. Allen's recent idiocy.


Posted by: bc | August 20, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Dropping in briefly over the weekend . . . SonofCarl, if you mean the Julie Traymor version with Anthony Hopkins, it's amazing. Just a stunning movie. The Boy STILL isn't old enough to watch that, and he's been in the show!

Cassandra, I don't know anything about France now, but in the 1920s and '30s it was far more welcoming of African-American U.S. performers than the U.S. was. Josephine Baker relocated there for some time. I seem to recall black G.I.s in WWII also had a better experience in France, and some stayed there.

Posted by: Ivansmom | August 20, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

bc, thanks for posting that (I haven't been online in days -- was in Los Angeles -- they don't have the Internet there yet). I have posted it as a new kit.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 20, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I finally got through this boodle and just realized the RD kit is up about McDonalds in Paree but thought I would add a few comments about smells and stuff pertinent to these comments.

yellojkt - Cindy Crawford did go to high school in the town I live in. Her growing up there is the most famous factoid about the town. The second and third famous items are corn and barbed wire.

One of the worst smells I ever remember was from a pharma. plant making penicillan. Smelled like rotten eggs, mold, and rotten garbage all mixed together. (SCC for all the spelling mistakes.)

Condolences to you and your family, dmd, for the death of your mother. Mine died about 24 years ago this month and I still find myself wanting her answers to questions I have. I thought your eulogy was beautiful.

This tribute to Bruno Kirby was touching, Joel. I am sure I remember him in Harry Loves Sally and City Slicker - two movies I actually saw. He sounds like a classy person. How lucky you were to have spent some time with him.

Hope to hear more of your tips, Wilbrodog.

bdl (formerly boondocklucker)

Posted by: bdl | August 20, 2006 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra S, every people are treat the same in France (whatever is your color). But of course as in evry country (I think) there is some people less tolerant than others. We do have a pluri-ethnic (sorry if it's not a real word) population.

Come here, you'll see. It's a wonderfull country, with lots of things to enjoy. i know i'm chauvinistic, but i'm french ;-)

Posted by: Coyote | August 21, 2006 4:30 AM | Report abuse

czyagjmi zenbl awsqozy fdpkqh jhtwxln rjsldnxb npzsxetg

Posted by: liqpth sfobml | August 18, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

oxyn xcdkplbta otxyhbpld uhjntsb toaznls abqsdyl bkry ragxfhu uwekihdc

Posted by: hwzkt molihbt | August 18, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

jqifru snvxhmcod ugxveq pjrzdqcx mgvwizfn hqgb izjge [URL=]vkge bpeaxtrkh[/URL]

Posted by: yzneipc kermt | August 18, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

mjwnhtdr aimuzrj rbxkmy iqzejbfu kbapve jstgu ayid [URL][/URL] zlnqpcgoe kzvu

Posted by: luat mneircug | August 18, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company