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Monday Morning Quarterback

Tonight at 8 sharp I'll be watching Mr. Tony on Monday Night Football, and let me tell it like it is: Kornheiser will rock hugely. He need not be nervous: The first moment he says something that's not reverential about football, he'll be a blast of pure oxygen. At some point back in the Lombardi era, professional football decided to take itself seriously, to the point of suffocation. Every game aspires to be legendary. The players are gladiators, though better paid. Civilization hangs in the balance when the Bears meet the Packers. If the NFL had its way, the color commentary in the booth would be handled by Zeus.

Tony is a natural talent, very funny, and will quickly adapt to live television if Joe Theismann lets him get in a word edgewise. I don't really like the comparison to Howard Cosell, because Cosell was a self-important windbag, whereas Tony has the gift of self-loathing. What Cosell did, by force of personality, was help make Monday Night Football a cultural event. Now, because of rise of cable sports channels, prime-time ballgames aren't special. All the theme songs and special effects and fireworks at the start of MNF can't change that.

The experiment with Dennis Miller, the last non-jock on MNF, didn't quite work. Miller's explanation was that, as the third man in the booth, he was always at the end of the queue, waiting for the play-by-play man (Al Michaels) and the former jock (Dan Fouts) to finish before he could jump in with just a couple of seconds of allegedly humorous commentary. But Miller also relied too much on scripted obscurantism. Worse, it seemed like he was never quite speaking into the mike. I swear I never understood a word he said. All across America, football fans would spend Monday nights going, "What did he just say?"


In the Sunday NYT there was a fine essay by Verlyn Klinkenborg on buying a fancy new TV. The one thing I wish he would have mentioned was the problem of Remote Profusion.

You know: Too many remote controls. The fact that you cannot go into someone else's house these days and turn on the television. There used to be a on-off button, and a dial for the channels. But I tried to change the channel at a friend's house the other day and essentially destroyed the television. Pressing the "channel" button on the remote was, apparently, a disastrous way to try to change the channel. I am pretty sure their TV is still broken. Meanwhile at my friend Mit's house you need to use THREE different remotes to turn on the television and watch South Park. And my friend Mike has no fewer than 8 remotes. He literally has a pile of remotes, the way some people have a basket of fruit. Anyway, here's Klinkenborg:

'We ourselves are the tuner in the television set, modulating all these inputs, carrying them to the new flat-screen panel for viewing, one by one. The idea of sitting down in front of "the television" and watching "what's on" seems almost romantically archaic. Until you try it. Then it just seems archaic.'


Must be fun to be Marisha Pessl.

By Joel Achenbach  |  August 14, 2006; 8:31 AM ET
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Next: Welcome to America, George Allen



At least you didn't make the mistake of discussing "Ricky Bobby" and generating waves of NASCARumbrage...

Is there a NASCA Rum? Kinda sounds Yucatan-ish, if'n ya ask me.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 14, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

...thanks, bc.

Posted by: jack | August 14, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse


Where's the Babelfish translation tool for that Marisha Pessl piece?


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 14, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I love the phrase "scripted obscurantism". that pretty much sums up the Miller style. He gets half his laughs from doofuses like me that snicker just to make sure we let everyone else know that we get the joke, whether it was funny or not.

I paid good money once to see him in a comedy club rehearse material for his next HBO special. There were as many misses as hits. My favorite phrase was about a postal employee that "Fitzcarraldo-ed" a package from the back room.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 14, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I was disappointed to be reading Thomas Ricks' book, "Fiasco" and see him using sports analogies (*sigh) midway through the book--just about the time he starts using the eff word several times, starting on page 150.

If you want to see one reporter on offense put the entire government on defense, read Ricks' book. I don't think there isn't one high-level government official Ricks doesn't tackle and knock the wind out of and crush. (Hubby asked if there were any heroes in the book. Yes, precious few.)

The more I read Ricks' probe into the numerous eff-ups of the Iraq war, absolutely the angrier I get. Apparently those Medal of Honor recipients--Bremer, Franks, Tenet--should have their medallions of dishonor rescinded.

Posted by: Loomis | August 14, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I just stopped by here long enough to correct your spelling (queue: didn't you learn ANYTHING in France?)

Now, I'll be back in the previous boodle, hanging out with Luigi (Mr. "HELLO for all american girl that I LOVE")

See ya!

Posted by: kbertocci | August 14, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse


Part of the problem is that one of Liesl Schillinger's (the book reviewer) pet affectations is to cram as many movie allusions into the review as possible. She fit in at least eight by my count into the Pessl review. She manages to link Beverly Cleary and Nabokov in the first paragraph of a review she wrote for WaPo:

The Humbert Humbert namecheck in the review is particularly intriguing since Marisha Pessl played Lo in a "surreal adaptation of Edward Albee's Lolita" according to this bio:

The website has a pretty hot headshot of her too.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey, this is why all the French people are hanging out with us (on the Cafe Society Boodle)--Achenblog is above the fold on French Yahoo today!

Posted by: kbertocci | August 14, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I think the most important thing for Tony to do is to tee off on Theismann, as Riggo points out.

Tony's good live, though big question will be how much time Tirico has to call plays between Theismann and Kornheiser's yammering.

Or how much oxygen's left for Tirico to breathe, for that matter.


Posted by: bc | August 14, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh crap. I forgot Theisman is doing Monday Night Football, too. Isn't there some kind of high-tech electronic device I can buy that automatically mutes Theisman's voice every time he opens his yap?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Actually, that's an article about the Rough Draft article, but I didn't see a link. Our commenters may have had to go look for the article, but they would have been prepped by this Yahoo columnist, who appears to have taken the Rough Draft as a serious cultural critique and missed the humor completely.

He calls Achenbach a "journaliste du Nouveau monde." (a New World journalist) I think he meant it as an insult.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 14, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

That is my take on it. It's like the time the Chinese took something from the "Onion" seriously.

Humour doesn't always translate between cultures.

Posted by: dr | August 14, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Excellent, kbertocci.

"French Yahoo", also an excellent potential title for Joel.


Posted by: bc | August 14, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, I see that the big decision for Pluto's status is this month:

Also off-topic, I wanted to see but missed the interview with Ahmenajad (sp) last night. The CBS website has a lot of the interview. He didn't do a lot to improve the Iranian Yahoo image, speaking of yahoos.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 14, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

kb, don't know the language (french) but it might just be an insult. perhaps the french believe the insult to be them?

it would be nice to get a kit that I can put my arms around. it seems the french are pissed, and now we have monday night football. what a monday.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 14, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

This just in: France has surrendered to Joel Achenbach.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 14, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, here's what happened, in my humble opinion. The article on French Yahoo was very clearly written, in French, so all the French people understood perfectly what that guy said, and what he basically told them was that Joel was criticizing them and their culture and their country. He characterized the Rough Draft column as a "Sunday editorial" which makes it seem like a serious article. Now, coming from that, they went to the article to read it for themselves. They expected a serious article, and because it was in English, some of them failed to realize that the Yahoo guy had missed the point. Most of them appreciated Joel's article, though. Some of the others may not have even read it, but just commented based on what they read in Yahoo. Once again we see the importance of going to the original material.

Posted by: kbertocci | August 14, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, I've been following the Pluto story for awhile, I'm looking forward to hearing what the IAU decides.

Your 1:24 made me snort.

I'll take my Royale with Cheese now, please.


Posted by: bc | August 14, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I love the phrase, "Tony has the gift of self-loathing." Exactly. No one with such a gift can be unredeemably obnoxious. And it's why Theismann and that poseur Miller, especially, drive us to homicidal urges. We loathe them, and they're unable to glimpse why. Nicely done, Joel.

Posted by: otto | August 14, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Since I have been banned from using Babelfish in the Boodle, I went and blogged about the article and its translation myself.

Humor does seem to be tough to translate well.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Can we get over the phony Kornheiser angst? If he were so worry why did he take the job? His shtick is wearing thin. Of course the Post will never be an honest critic, i.e. the television show Listen Up. Kornheiser is good writer but it is all about him. Let's wait and see whether he is good or just another want to be.

Posted by: joe | August 14, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

SofC, your 1:24 has made me snort coffee all over my cubby. I mean ALL over. A record-breaking snort. Epic, even. Nicely done, sir.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Will there be an alternative commentary service provided to those viewers who have no clue what Tony is talking about?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | August 14, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Love your point about football taking itself way TOO seriously. Every college football game is a "clash of the titans" and so on, until you'd believe from what those guys are gassing about that this is the very scene where a divine prophecy shall be filfulled and somebody will draw a stone out of their swords (I think that particular cliche's gonna be in the last Harry Potter book, actually. Whaddya think?).

And I'm like, come on, it's a bunch of D students with 50 tons of padding on banging into each other to make the college some money from alumni who donate when their alma mater has a hot football team.

(No offense to the A++ students on the team, BTW. You student atheletes are America's dream and future. But confess up, not everybody on your team is that bright or as academically motivated as you. Please don't hurt me.

But doesn't it piss you to make college on a football scholarship and have to work hard, stay fit and healthy and play hard just to stay in school? After all, a football career can make a lot of money, but with luck you're playing 10, 15 years tops, and then your body is set up for permanent arthritis. An education is a lifetime and hurts less.)

Of course, I'm biased. I was gonna say the one nice thing about sports is there are no "special holiday specials" in which every sitcom attempts to find the Real Meaning of Hankkuah.

Then I heard about the Turucken thing done on Thanksgiving every year and... sorry. There's just nothing Good about football except maybe watching the game. Preferably with sound and captioning off.

After all, who wants to experience the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and such blatant emotional manipulation by guys who can be some of the MOST incoherent people around? I'll let a good author manipulate my emotions instead, or get some actual exercise outside, thanks.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Sports commentators can often take the GAME too seriously. They should all take a page from the Irish/British/Welsh/Scottish fellow who sometimes is on the Golf channel. I have no idea who he is (you have to listen a lot harder to the Golf channel than I do to know), but he is the silliest man with a similie out there, and he just makes me laugh.

Posted by: dr | August 14, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"He's hitting that ball like Armstrong, the gravity is going, going, and gone! Lookit at that lift!"

Like that, dr?

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Tony has that faux false modesty that is de rigeur for the WaPo staff. I seriously thought it had been ghost written by Joel.

I also hope this boodle is a asfe haven from the Bastille stormers over at the last kit. I find the Frenchies insulting us in French to each other right in front of us floor-rolling funny.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I spent $300 to get one remote that allows me to push one button to turn the TV on. I had to have a tech come out and program it, but it works great. My wife is, of course, astounded that it takes 300 bucks to now do what we used to be able to do for "free."

(POTENTIAL AGEISM ALERT! STOP READING IF EASILY OFFENDED!) I knew it worked well when my grandparents babysat the kids and were able to watch their ballroom dancing program without assistance.

Posted by: Boodler | August 14, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

dr, you are thinking of David Fenerty (sp), he is Irish and yes he is very funny.

I was alway a fan of Don Merideth (sp) sorry cannot spell today, he made the game fun.

Posted by: dmd | August 14, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Omega makes a killer remote that can run all your units on one handheld device

Posted by: Daniel F | August 14, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, I can understand almost all of it with a little sweat too. Sweet!

I don't know if Francophones will ever get why their serious remarks sound so.... hoity-toity. Maybe it's because we're engrained to think of French as the language of poetry, food, and song, not internet trolling.

Or maybe it's because I'm so bad in French that the idea that anybody can type it fluently in anger is very funny.

Apparently the French do have an idiom for "get up on your high horses" too... It's the et de monter sur nos grands chevaux... (de français plus intelligents que tout le monde.)

My guesstranslation is "And getting up on our high horses... about the French being the most intelligent of all the world (anybody)."

Inutile donc de se braquer, looks like (without doing the research) "It's useless now to brake...

So... "It's useless now to brake and get up on our high horses about the French being the smartest of all."

...Well, yeah, not unless gas prices go really high.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

If I confess to being able to attach Fenerty's name to the silliness, will that show anyone how much I end up watching the golf channel?

My husband's new night time white noise channel is the Golf channel. I am starting to dream of golf. My husband finds this intensely amusing.

Posted by: dr | August 14, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

dr, If it makes you feel any better I voluntarily watch the Golf Channel and would have no problem spending the day watching Golf during the major championships. We could have gone to the Ladies LPGA tournament this weekend passed but well the timing wasn't right.

Posted by: dmd | August 14, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Our TV remote disappeared somewhere in the house about 10 days ago. My wife located the remote for the TV in the back bedroom and we thought, problem solved. Except that she couldn't find the code book for it. I tried using the codes for the lost remote (differnt brand), but no luck. Finally broke down and bought a new one. I got the same brand as the lost one, and fortunately the codes worked in the new one. The buttons, of course, aren't in quite the same place as before, which upsets my wife.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 14, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Watching Monday Night football is an activity that I do with the sound off, and a radio on. The radio broadcast always has better play by play. I'll do the same when a NASCAR event is televised. The MRN folks are always on top of the action. Anyone else is usually a lap behind or too busy obfuscating. Same with the commentary on MNF.

Posted by: jack | August 14, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, kb for the explaination. The comments from the kit seemed as if someone got offended, and did not find the humor in the kit at all.

Wilbrod, I am laughing at the rant on sports. I must say you summed it up pretty well.

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 14, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

as a former Wisconsinite, I assure you that civilization most certainly hangs in the balance when the Packers play the Bears!

(Just as the fate of the free world is dependent on the outcome of the Redskins-Cowboys game)

Posted by: former wisconsin | August 14, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

And now I see from the promos that some network is going to broadcast a show this fall based on the film, "Friday Night Lights". Great, more teen football angst (yeah, I know, get that 18-36 demographic). For another slant, check out today's Tank MacNamra.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 14, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

SCC: MacNamara feh!

Posted by: ebtnut | August 14, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I try to avoid football. It isn't that I dislike sports, it's just that I get way too into them. When our teams lose I get depressed for days. And who needs that kind of angst? Baseball is bad enough.

We have a cable box fed through a DVD recorder and a VHS player (technically known as a "heritage device.") In order to get the television to work properly you need the electronic equivalent of a Grand Alignment of the nine (is it still nine?) planets. The last time we had a power outage my wife called me at work to talk her through the procedure for getting back Nickelodeon.

It all makes me nostalgic for those old television dials. Remember the cool zipping sound they made?

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

former wisconsin, Did the rate of depression rise in the state like it did around San Francisco the last couple of years?
I gave up my season tickets last year after not even attending a game the year before. Last year was the frist time in decades that the 49ers were sold out.

Posted by: bh | August 14, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

For added commentary on sports vs. the rest of the world, I submit the following from Barbara Eherenreich in "Time":,10987,1218047,00.html

Posted by: ebtnut | August 14, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Connected to the TV in the family room is a cable box, a DVD player, a VCR (VCwhat?) and two gaming consoles. The DVD player has built in surround sound, so I take the audio out from the cable box and feed it into the DVD player.

I need the cable remote to change channels, the TV remote to select the video input, and the DVD remote to adjust the volume. Recording something to the VCR adds one more remote.

It is possible to watch just basic cable with one remote, but I don't recommend it.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling this person is not complimenting the cafe column:

I posted a comment in English...that's probably offensive, too. But I just don't see how I can be accused of being anti-Paris when that's what my wife and I named our first-born.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 14, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Laughing at "heritage device," Padouk. I think in the Navy it would be "legacy equipment."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

My french is rusty but I only saw one that appeared to take real offense.

Posted by: dmd | August 14, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Joel, which comment? I saw one comment that apparently said that Bush had mastered the art of doing nothing.

Which is funny and very true.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

My husband has DirectTV, which requires two remotes. I can turn the TV on and off, but have issues with changing the channel. But that's okay. I don't watch much anyway, and I run rings around him on computers. We coexist in the den by his using earphones to listen to the TV while I Achenblog and play Snood. It's not perfect, but it works for us.

Posted by: slyness | August 14, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt correctly notes that no franchise of La Madeleine will ever match a French cafe:

Posted by: Achenbach | August 14, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

SCC NOT sold out

Posted by: bh | August 14, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

SCC NOT sold out

Posted by: bh | August 14, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

So much verbage on monday night, and it hasn't yet begun. Who says the youth of today is pointless.

Posted by: checking blogs | August 14, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Why's everyone worried about remotes? I just blink to change the channel...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 14, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

This will be incentive to burn your TV remotes now. New line up for Dancing with the Stars announced. It includes Tucker Carlson and Jerry Springer.

Posted by: dmd | August 14, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else noticed the recent problem whereby the TV picture and sound suddenly freeze, then the pciture sometimes "pixelates" before all is restored? Is this some new hassle resulting from digital programming? SciTim, you on to this problem?

Posted by: ebtnut | August 14, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, that happens with our Satellite feed during bad weather, and is one of the reasons we are switching to Digital cable at our new house. Digital cable has the same problem?

Posted by: dmd | August 14, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Digital cable streams are essentially fancy MPEGs... If the streams are interupted, you get pixealtion.


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 14, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes, ebtnut and dmd, I get that pixelating/freeze thing on Comcast from time to time, maybe once or twice an evening. Have seen it on different channels, too. No clue what it comes from. Thought maybe it was just my own Comcast box, or maybe the Comcast transmission system.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Joel, that just so typically arrogant that you can't even see how offensive it is. You probably named her Paris so that you could order her around in your imperialist manner. ;) (or at least until she became a teenager and vetoed every Achenbach family resolution)

Mudge, "French Umbrage Monday". too funny.

Man, RD, you're old (just a friendly reminder). I don't recall any "zipping". Our tv went "clunk". "What's on 13[note to younger readers - the highest channel at the time]?" "clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk" [note to younger readers - all while STANDING IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION]

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 14, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the notice, Joel. In five nights in France we ate at two places that were one person shows. The three others were very small places of maybe ten tables tops. And all were in the same block as our restaurant. Tres quaint.

You are making me want to go back so bad.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

ebtnut, mudge, et al

I was getting the pixelating problem real bad. I have two analog converters and one digital. It seems if the analog signal on the basic stations is not very strong, the andalog to digital convertor pixelates it. As a test, the same stations that are pixelated on the digital convertor are "snowy" on the analog boxes. That's my working theory.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm boodling out of order here because I haven't read the comments yet, I'm just jumping in and this topic may have already been exhausted--but we even have 5 remotes for the living room television and 2 for the bedroom. In the bedroom you turn on the TV with one remote and then never use it again. In the living room you have the surround sound, the DVD player, the VCR, the X-box and the TV remote. And two of those are supposed to be "universal." They don't work that way though.

Posted by: Sara | August 14, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

SoC, you forgot the channels on UHF! Did anyone ever get a clear picture from them?

Posted by: dmd | August 14, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

We've been using TiVo for the past year or two. Lately, we have had a number of incidents about mid-way through a show in which the sound suddenly stops and the picture updates only once every second or so. This goes for about 5-10 seconds, and then returns to normal. This seems to happen on pretty much every show. Most TV shows are sufficiently predictable that this creates no major plot problems, but it can be troubling on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. The fact that this happens on the Disney Channel, Comedy Central, and Cartoon Network suggests that it is a problem with our cable provider, not with the data that are being provided to the cable company. As to the details of what makes it happen, you would need a networking guru like the ScienceSpouse or Error Flynn or one of the other guys.

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 14, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

And my point in that post was to illustrate that even newlyweds in the thick of college barely making ends meet are still burdened by that many remotes despite the cheap and primitive entertainment centers we have.

Posted by: Sara | August 14, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, we all know the Comcast s**ks big time, and I think we now have determined that the problem in on their end (though I'm sure they would never admit it). And I pay over $60 a month for BASIC service!!

I think remotes are kind of like clothes hangers--they tend to reproduce in dark places when no one is looking. Let's face it--virtually any entertainment device you buy today is going to come with it's own remote. But 90% of the time you only want to be able to turn it on and turn it off, along with the other items sitting on the shelf unit. So you go out and buy a "universal" remote. But you can't throw the other away because they have some features unique to the unit that the "universal" doesn't. So the remotes pile up in the cubby at the bottom of the shelf unit (and reproduce, of course). Maybe we should go back to "The Clapper"!?

Posted by: ebtnut | August 14, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Probably my best memories of Paris include sitting at an outdoor cafe and people-watching, which is the REAL French spectator sport. House wines were usually great and not too expensive. Food is expensive, but hey, you're paying for the view. I'm sorry some Parisians took umbrage at your Kit, Joel, but at least now you have international exposure.

On Topic: How many college football players does it take to change a lightbulb?
The entire team, and they all get a semester's credit.

Posted by: CowTown | August 14, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the pixelating and also the sound thing (which I also get), I think it's the French doing it, actually.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

dmd, re UHF. Dare I say it? Only the French channel came in clearly on UHF.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 14, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Our air conditioner has a remote.

Posted by: Sara | August 14, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else having the problem of posting something in response to someone and it jumps up several posts above the post your responding to? Mine about the air conditioner remote just did that...

Posted by: Sara | August 14, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how Cheyenne abd Isabella came by their names?

Posted by: Loomis | August 14, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Sara! Hello! You know the whole remote thing has gotten out of hand when the CD player you have installed in your car has a remote. For whom? Back seat passengers?

Posted by: CowTown | August 14, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Ha, Sara! You made me laugh.

Good to hear from you!

Posted by: Slyness | August 14, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

See? Those two should be below Loomis and CowTown...

Posted by: Sara | August 14, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I think Scotty called it correctly.


Posted by: bc | August 14, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I've wondered if Joel and his wife have anxiety about having named their daughter Paris, now that Paris Hilton is so famous. People years from now may think their daughter was named after her - ewwww.

My son gave us his TV when he moved. I still haven't gotten used to the remote - have to put my glasses on to find "mute", for example. And there's a button that makes the TV totally and completely non-responsive to the remote! We haven't figured out which one that is, but every now and then, apparently we hit it. The only remedy is to walk over to the TV and power it off for awhile. Sigh.

Sara, welcome back! You have to go check out the boodle from the previous Kit - lots of French people taking umbrage!
We have a standing electric fan with a remote.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 14, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Hm-m-m-m. The wormhole is reforming. bc's comment is listed as posted at 4:49. But my clock (and watch) say it is only 4:45.

Posted by: ebtnut | August 14, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, to RD's point, if you turn that dial that goes "clunk, clunk" across 10 stations or so really fast (like from "7" to "UHF"), it makes the zipping noise he describes.


Posted by: bc | August 14, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

bc, I hated the fact that after a few years, the dial eventually broke, broke off, or stripped, and if it got lost, you had to turn the station using a pair of pliers. Car radios were more fun, zipping up and down the dial until that string that carried the tuner needle broke. Then you were SOL!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Re: Cheyenne and Isabella. I suspect that they arrived after trips to, respectively, Wyoming and Spain. That's my theory. I have a colleague whose wife gleefully related to me why their son has the same name as the manufacturer of her father's old sailboat. Grandpa, apparently, was appalled.

The ScienceKids have middle names that relate directly to scientific instrumentation used by me and the Spouse (SK1) and to my scientific research subject at the time (SK2). I suggested an instrumentation name for SK2, as well, in order to maintain perfect parallelism. The ScienceSpouse did not approve of the particular suggestion that I offered, however. I mean, she REALLY did not approve. REALLY. Apparently, naming your kid after an infrared beam-splitter is not acceptable, but cross-dispersed UV spectrometers are fair game. Who knew?

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 14, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Testing . . .

It wouldn't let me comment.

It's good to be back. I've missed this place. Summer is the busy time for photoshoots though, so I haven't had much free time here at work. I can't wait for school to start up again. I need stimulation.

Posted by: Sara | August 14, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the time stamps on these comments depresses me. It's only 3 p.m. here. I'm still working for two hours.

Posted by: Sara | August 14, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Jeez. I'd of had to name a couple of my kids BWI Gate 24, Sherry's office, and Out of the Blue.

And several grandkids all named Ooops.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 14, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Sara, the boodle's been going on the fritz periodically. Apparently there's something wrong with the servers that only bc knows how to fix. Or at least he gets Hal's attention about it, and Hal fixes it. It's somewhat disconcerting. You may need to get in the habit of copying your comments when the "post" function dies.

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 14, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I am really ashamed of myself now, especially knowing that Joel has a daughter named Paris, but I had this picture taken just so that I could say that I had been "in" the Paris Hilton.

It's not something to be proud of.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

My son's name is Matt, but it really should be Kitchen Table.

Posted by: anonymous | August 14, 2006 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Mrs. Sara!

Tim, I know a guy that named his children after car parts. Really. Though using the "where were you" protocol, I suppose I could have named my kids Dodge, Honda, and Shower.

Mudge, when the TV dial broke off, we clamped on a set of vice grips onto the stub and kept goin'.


Posted by: bc | August 14, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, now I'll never meet a person named China and wonder if she was ahem, made in China.

Ditto for anybody named India, Asia, Macy, Kohl, Erie, Venus, Mercury...

Although since my real name has been pre-empted by an brand, I'm dreading the day I'm actually asked whether I was "made" on that brand.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2006 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if I re-read all those french comments before bed I'll wake up remembering how to write decent French?

Maybe Joel should write something overly ironic about muslims so we can learn Arabic. "Is that a threat of death or stinky feet?"

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

New consumer terror threat--catching on fire! Just think, you could be a quasi- Richard Reid without even being aware of the threat that you pose!

As reported this afternoon by the NYT:

Published: August 14, 2006

Dell is recalling 4.1 million notebook computer batteries because they could erupt in flames, the company said today. This will be the largest safety recall in the history of the consumer electronics industry, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

Dell, the world's largest PC maker, said the lithium-ion batteries were made by Sony and were installed in notebooks sold between April 2004 and July 18 of this year.

The recall raises broader questions about lithium-ion batteries, which are used in a host of devices like cellphones, portable power tools, camcorders, digital cameras and MP3 players. The potential for such batteries to catch fire has been acknowledged for years, and has prompted more limited recalls in the past. But a number of recent fires involving notebook computers, some aboard planes, have brought renewed scrutiny.

Posted by: Loomis | August 14, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

To get the television dial to zip you had to really turn it fast, which was guaranteed to infuriate my father. He felt the tuner would surely collapse from the strain. In his world it would take, like, all day to go from Channel 4, which was probably playing news or something, to Channel 11, which played a lot of Star Trek reruns.

Joel, so you have people who have interpreted a humorous comment as being mean? Welcome to my life. At least in your case you have only irritated a major European power. When I do this the offended party is usually my wife. And trust me, the French are a lot easier to mollify.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

We named our son after the upper atmosphere, but spelled it like the Scottish island.

SciTim, what are your kids' names? I have no clue - Oscilloscope, Prism? No, that's not right...(Sara, let this be a warning to you! I kind of like Prism as a name, but I'm one of those old hippies.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | August 14, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - when I was in college we had a lot of Taiwanese students. And yes, many of them had novelty T-Shirts that read "Made in Taiwan."

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt - you are absolutely right. When the analog SNR gets too bad the AD converter goes all kaflooey. Check the connection into your house for corrosion. That's a common source of the roblem.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2006 6:06 PM | Report abuse

My guesses on the SciKids' middle names are:


Let me know if I'm getting warm.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 14, 2006 6:06 PM | Report abuse

roblem? I appear to be channeling Scooby again. Hate it when that happens.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I commented on the last boodle of the possibility of an article by Joel from the Muslim world. The French flew off the handle [aside: take that Babelfish]; maybe the notoriously calm and self-deprecating Muslim world will take such an article in stride. Maybe a couple of cartoon illustrations will help.

The last boodle has to be one of the classics. An article featuring a fond reminiscence of an afternoon in Paris nearly exploding into an international incident.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 14, 2006 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Going against the football tide, but back into the main stream topic of this boodle, my husband is going to be SO depressed to find both Joe and Kornheiser on Monday night football. I think we moved from DC just to get away from both of them.

Posted by: nellie | August 14, 2006 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Geeeeeeez!! For once I had it right, and I wasn't even here to enjoy it!!!

*kickin rox, which is a bad idea when one has a sore toenail*


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 14, 2006 6:29 PM | Report abuse


Yeah. I'm surprised that women in America didn't rise up in sisterhood and protest over Joel's Paris Kit.

I mean, think of the alternatives from our perspectives, we women who have just fallen off the hay wagons:

men with comb-overs
men who look and smell like they just came in from the hayfields
men who wear bright-colored clothing and T-shirts--haute couture
men with guts that hang over their belts
men with pants that expose their cracks when they bend over
men who don't trim their excess hair in all the obvious places
men who wear athletic shoes or baseball caps on many occasions
and the list goes on

Posted by: Loomis | August 14, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you Linda. But...

This is my last remaining preconceived notion about Paris and indeed Europe. Let me live with it a little longer. I am still trying to get over the notion of plastic lawn chairs at Paris's sidewalk cafe's.

Posted by: dr | August 14, 2006 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Good Golly - I just read the comments from the French. Wow, talk about lost in translation. To me it was clear as crystal that Joel was poking fun at Americans by comparing them with this idealized Frenchman. Man, subtle humor must be a tough gig.

Hang in there Joel!

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2006 6:51 PM | Report abuse

By the way, we toyed with naming our son "Walt" but thought better of it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2006 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, it may not be my place, but when a bestseller is "French Women never get Fat" or something like that and American women buy it as a "diet guide"...

I think the sisterhood of America already has an inferiority complex to those trim Frenchwomen who exercise far more, smoke more, marry less, and have fewer kids than they do. And believe less in God, too.

It's enough to make you a chain-smoking out-of-wedlock atheist mother eating your tiny slice of quiche with a single carrot rose garnished with parseley, a few olives on a single leaf of fancy lettuce, and downing it with a couple glasses of wine and more cigarettes and complaining about world affairs.

But oh! To be thin and sexy. Break out the quiche!

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2006 6:57 PM | Report abuse

They found the obesity gene in Paris?
You're making me laugh.

Liked the ingo on Goya a great deal, BTW.

Posted by: Loomis | August 14, 2006 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow, it has been a while.

Yellojkt, loved skimming your flickr pics. Nice shots of the family at the Grand Canyon! Do you just constantly travel?? You and JA ... living the good life.

Happy Summer, all!

Posted by: Kane | August 14, 2006 7:46 PM | Report abuse

I just want to say that there's nothing wrong with hay wagons, nor with any erstwhile wagoneers. Mary Ann over Ginger, any day.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 14, 2006 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Tony is doing great. Very poised. But the broadcast seems smaller, very cable, now that it's on ESPN. Of course, it is preseason football, the very definition of all that is meaningless, pointless, and noteworthy only to the degree that it causes stupid injuries.

Posted by: Achenbach | August 14, 2006 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Now you mention erstwhile wagoners, I definitely can think of worse dates than a hayride myself.

Glad I made you chuckle, Loomis. I thought "why are they looking for obesity genes if they're all so thin?" ;).

My art history teacher that study of Goya, so she took care to share her analysis with us. A very good teacher.

She raised my awareness of architecture from "barn vs skyscaper" to actually identifying Victorian gothic all on my own.

Considering that I used to think identifying building design by fancy names was on a par with stamp collecting, that's a big change for me.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2006 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I see what you mean about the broadcast. It is as if the commentators realize that they are no longer the Gods of Monday Night. Somehow there seems a little less swagger. Tony sounds fine to my ear, but I must admit I am not sophisticated enough about football to evaluate the substance of his words.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 14, 2006 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Here is an unrelated feel good story of the day. The lottery here recently topped out at 43 mil (not taxable here). There were four winning tickets. The link shows one of the tickets, a group of eight people who worked together at a Dollerama store. Each person in that group will get 1.3 million. The picture alone is a poster for political correctness, or the diversity of Toronto - take your pick.

Posted by: dmd | August 14, 2006 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I justed checked in on ESPN to see what the kit was about this guy Tony. Must be an inside joke in the DC area. As far as I could hear and see, ESPN was the Suzi Osborn show.

Posted by: bh | August 14, 2006 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Tony Kornheiser is an sports columnist for the Washington Post. He's been on local news shows and there and here... radio too, I think.

But that such a face as Tony's can get on TV is a testament to his sheer personality.
(No offense, Tony. We all know that the Lord giveth and he taketh away.)

Good for him and ESPN.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 14, 2006 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Wilbrod. Out here in southern Oregon we don't get much local Washington Post news insider news or Washington radio sports. I thought Joel's kit was suposed to appeal to the masses (those out side the beltway). I guess I was wrong. At least the previous kit brought some outsiders.

Posted by: bh | August 14, 2006 10:20 PM | Report abuse

and BTW, I like the smell of new cut hay. Also maybe the guys cutting nd bailing might smell like they have been putting a good days work.

Posted by: bh | August 14, 2006 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Reader Interactivity comes to Monday Night Football:

I sent an "Ask Tony" message to ESPN inquiring if he'd been approached by ESPN to run ads on his forehead during the in-booth shots, but they took the same question from a "Nick in Virginia".


Tony did fine, and managed to remain awake for the duration of the game. As far as I can tell, anyway.


Posted by: bc | August 14, 2006 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod and SoC: I had the same thought about a kit related to our Muslim brothers and sisters but I'm afraid that our CPU's would share the same fate as those 4.1 million Dells.

When we were kids in Chicago we had an old RCA b/w set that had a ground fault. If you were careless enough to touch the metal cabinet at the same time as the selector dial, you'd get shocked. We used to watch Ray Raynor, and some old guy named Andy that would run Three Stooges and Journey to the Center of the Earth episodes. Andy always prefaced the Stooges pieces with a don't-do-this-at-home speech. Of course, me and my bros being eight, seven and three, respectively would ALWAYS heed his advice while we were watching, then get out Dad's more benign tools and go to town when it was time to play. Our youngest sib has a short fuse to this day. I can't imagine THAT had anything to do with it...

Posted by: jack | August 14, 2006 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's one of those nights when I've arrived late, and will drop in a comment or two before I've really internalized the previous 'boodle.

(I love this part, where I'm allowed to babble senselessly, and am hardly ever called to task, because the new Kit will have drawn all of the taskmasters away to more important things!)

I DID do a sort of scan, and didn't see this addressed very deeply:

For emotional reasons that I can't properly analyze, let alone explain, I'd feel better if we waited until sometime next year (i.e. at least ten years after the man's death) to change the status of Clyde's planet.

I have no idea (whatsoever) why this matters to me, and I'm sure that he's beyond caring. In fact, I'm pretty sure that this debate was already delayed for his death. Mildly morbid, probably true.

He knew that I know that you know that the astronomers know that Pluto is a little strange!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 15, 2006 1:03 AM | Report abuse

I think that Kornheiser will need just a bit (not much, he's a quick study!) more time to optimize the mix of personality/funny stuff/sports insight/interested silence that he brings to the broadcast. It was a pretty good debut, I thought, and it doesn't hurt that he's got street cred as both a sports-smartass AND a regular-smartass!

Posted by: Bob S. | August 15, 2006 1:07 AM | Report abuse

just finished reading all the comments in the previous blog. too funny.
joel, maybe next weekend maybe you can post a disclaimer, preferrably in french, not to take anything you've said too seriously.

some of you were going a bit rough on the french guests, especially considering that quite a few native english speakers don't even get the humor.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | August 15, 2006 3:06 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and NASA needs to brush up on its record-keeping... *SIGH*

PTANG, PTANG! Come in, Buzz Alrdin...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 15, 2006 7:50 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Aldrin, of course...

*beating head against wall*

Posted by: Scottynuke | August 15, 2006 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Right on, S'nuke. This gaffe belongs right up there with the risk managenent strategy employed prior the the ill fated Challenger launch.

Posted by: jack | August 15, 2006 7:54 AM | Report abuse

The dedication of The Grand Idea reminds me that Joel's child is not Cheyenne, but Shane. Not Wyoming, but cowboy movies must be important here. What hath Alan Ladd wrought?

Posted by: ScienceTim | August 15, 2006 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Here's an interesting twist on that, Scotty:

As I understand it, the transmissions came into a receiving station in Austrailia, and what NASA got back here in the US was actually from a TV camera pointed at a monitor in Austrailia (which is why the quality was so awful, and perhaps has something to do with why it was upside down on the big screen in Houston).

The orginal tapes would have been made in Austrailia, and ( I guess) shipped to the US for storage. Lots of opportunity for loss, IMO.

Bob S. - I actually wrote something about the planet thing in my blog a few months back:

and am writing a follow-up right now. Stand by for transmission.


Posted by: bc | August 15, 2006 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Good, good, morning friends. May God's love and goodness shine brightly in your lives supplying your needs and desires more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Nani, if you're listening the exercise with the sunflower seeds was excellent. The children went crazy over it. I'm going to do it again in the math and reading program this fall. Thanks so much. And thanks Slyness for the pot.

Much love to you Error, wherever you are.

I feel like a lively stone this morning. Good to hear from you, Sara. I hope the French get to see the humor in Joel's kit. Perhaps someone will help them with that. I hope your day is very good. This morning for the walk, the weather was like a fall morning, crisp, perhaps not so clean, and just plain beautiful. Love to all this morning.

How does one know when someone is loving them? For example, how can a woman tell if a man is secretly in love with her?

Posted by: Cassandra S | August 15, 2006 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm no mathemetician, but there's a fascinating story in the NYT science section about Dr. Grigory Perelman, who has written a proof for the Poincare conjecture. And now, attempting for the first time, to be linky...

Posted by: jack | August 15, 2006 8:27 AM | Report abuse

SonofCarl writes: "Mary Ann over Ginger, any day."

I'm going to paraphrase Arianna Huffington on the MaryAnn/Ginger topic: It's the 21st century, why not a three-way?



Posted by: bc | August 15, 2006 8:33 AM | Report abuse


If it's love, it ain't no secret...


Posted by: Scottynuke | August 15, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, watch his eyes when he's looking at you.

If they're open wide, that could be an indicator of love. If they're narrowed, he's got something else on his mind.

Oh, and if he brings flowers and tries to help you with things, that's a good indicator too.


Posted by: bc | August 15, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Paul Farhi is calling Tony's bluff on the lowered expectations schtick.

It only helps to self-flagellate yourself if underneath there is some quality. I somehow missed the Golden Age of Kornheiser and just don't see what this emperor is supposed to be wearing. But then I didn't watch the game, so all my opinions are based on hearsay. BTW, Kornheiser is a national figure since he does that Pardon The Interuption show on ESPN. Moving him to the booth is just good synergy on the part of Disney/ABC/ESPN.

I like that the Achenblog is partially regional, a little national, and soon to be burned in effigy on the Champs d'Elysées. It gives it a well rounded feel that too many single issue blogs can't capture.

Finally, George Will is coming around to the "law enforcement" model of combatting terrorism:

Especially since the "round up a lynch mob and burn down the village" model isn't working so well. Particularly when you burn the wrong village.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2006 8:46 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt - I find myself agreeing with George Will now and again. This alarms me, as I am sure it would him. I think the fallacy of a military deterrence against terrorism was shown on 9/11, when possession of the largest thermonuclear arsenal in history failed to protect us from a few maniacal extremists armed with sharp knives.

Regarding Joel and the French. Look, you gotta admire the influence of Mr. Achenbach. He has somehow managed to provoke a sense of Gallic disdain. Clearly this is an unprecedented and historic moment in trans Atlantic relations. I mean, until his column was posted it was my understanding that we in America were universally loved and admired by those in France.

Posted by: RD Padouk | August 15, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I think the French have taken enough flogging in the last few years, they don't need a blog flog.

I arrived late in the afternoon in Connecticut in May 2004, had to set up my tent, and went to bed without dinner. I awoke starving, and decided to check out the Winsted, Conn., diner--an unusually small box set at an angle off the town's main street. That morning arborist Dick Zimmer (IIRC) bought me breakfast when he heard I was trying to locate my Connecticut family. I bought him breakfast about a week later.

Trudi Gillette had the diner up for sale--she managed, cooked, washed dishes--in effect, ran the place since her father retired. The walls were covered with pictures and letters from people from across the States and world who had eaten at this Winsted hole-in-the-wall. There was even a black and white photo, taken some time ago, of Joe Lieberman sitting on one of the dining counter's swiveling stools.

I couldn't get over the fact that Trudi proudly served Freedom Toast and Freedom Fries. On Mother's Day morning at the diner, she gave me and all other women who were there that morning (a few) a yellow carnation, but decided with great flourish to place my order before me, announcing in her best blaring, megaphone voice, "Here's your Freedom Toast."

I couldn't stomach the phrase any more. I never went back, preferring to eat at the log cabin restaurant at the top of the hill just up from the campground instead for the remainder of my stay. Food at this nearby eatery had normal sounding names.

Posted by: Loomis | August 15, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, you may want to click on the link in Joel's 2nd pgph above.


Posted by: bc | August 15, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Mighta asked for mayo for those Freedom Fries, though that might have been too subtle.


Posted by: bc | August 15, 2006 9:26 AM | Report abuse

bc, Duke's on the fries just doesn't sound appetizing to me, much less subtle.

Posted by: slyness | August 15, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

My bad. I meant to link to this article:

Money quote: "It was enough to make one yearn for Dennis Miller."

I really haven't figured out the whole point of this good cop/bad cop routine they're pulling. MNF is on ESPN for goodness sake. Nobody is watching except real fans and people with points available in their fantasy league. It's not like they are going to go back to cheerleader championships on Monday nights from when ABC didn't want any real sports cannibalizing ratings.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 15, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Is it safe? Are we back up? Has the Department of Homeland Security raised the boodle warning level to fuscia?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Trivia question: what did Iran rename Danishes after the cartoon brouhaha?

bc, re: Mary Ann/Ginger. You are SO going to get us in trouble.

(sotto voce: that's some fine life affirming)

re: NASA original footage lost. Well, that's just Fording great. You would think that just maybe once the conspiracy theories started in, oh, August 1969 that would try to keep track of these things.

Posted by: SonofCarl | August 15, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: tonk | August 15, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

FYI, from the Weingarten chat:

What's in a name?: Hi Gene. Thought you'd get a kick out of this- I was on the Metro recently and was seated behind a young woman and her daughter. Little girl was about 18 months, and we're playing and giggling across the seat. She was adorable. I asked the mother what her name was. She said -- and I am not making this up -- "Cialis."


Not sure why she would name her child after an erectile dysfunction drug, but there you go. I vote her a "Toxic Parent," cause that's just WRONG.

Gene Weingarten: Wow! Is that how it was spelled. Not that it matters, I guess. You name a kid Dyareea, it's still pretty bad.

Maybe she was named as a testament to how she was conceived. Achenbach named his daughter Paris because Paris was a particularly important romantic venue in the birth of that child.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | August 15, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I awoke at 4 this morning with a sickening start because I realized I'd written "unredeemably" yesterday sted "irredeemably." Man, I'm abashed.

Posted by: otto | August 15, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

But you're not irredeemably bad, Otto.

Posted by: Wilbrod | August 15, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the proliferation of remotes. We used to have the same problem with one TV, one VCR (yes, we still use it), one DVD, the cable box, TIVO, and the audio system with the CD player attached to that. We needed a remote table just to hold all the remotes which included remotes from older devices which I never threw out.

The solution was to buy a remote which can be setup for as many as 10 devices. We've had it now for 2 years and we all know how to use it.

Neighbors and friends stopping by look at it with great concern until we show them how to operate the TV which is remarkably similar to the "standard" TV remote.

Back in the day, it was tough to set it up. Nowadays, the new remotes from Logitech and other companies have made it simple.


Posted by: Stan | August 15, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

"I thought Joel's kit was suposed to appeal to the masses (those out side the beltway)."

Posted by: bh | August 14, 2006 10:20 PM


Wow, talk about not getting it! (Remind me again, what was Joel's ideal target audience size & demographic stats?) : )

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2006 10:22 PM | Report abuse

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