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MeatFest '06: The Angus Stew

The other day I dropped by my neighbor Angus's house and saw him tending a giant cauldron of bubbling stew. Feats of extreme cooking by Angus are harbingers of winter. Never mind that it is not even the halfway point of autumn -- Angus is already in survival mode. He's already taken to wearing his bulky rancher's coat and mud boots and fur-lined work gloves even as, outside, the temperature hovers around 58 degrees and a light zephyr stirs a few fallen leaves. He'll be prepared if there's a freak pre-Halloween blizzard.

"I sense a brutal winter," he will say. "We just have to get out alive."

I try to ignore him and enjoy the fine weather and the pleasing light as it angles through the trees. But I hear him over there chopping firewood late into the night. Autumn is a season that speaks to something deep inside him. A voice has said, "It is time to man up." And he obeys, not realizing that this is something that can be treated with medication.

He keeps a bonfire going at all times now, lest he somehow run out of heat. He spends most of the daylight hours burying acorns in his lawn. When I visit he's visibly edgy - clearly worried that I've memorized his acorn locations. It's absurd. I have plenty of acorns myself and zero interest in his. Which, incidentally, have always had an unusually gritty mouthfeel.

Angus thinks he's a better cook than I am, but he's just a larger cook. His pots are bigger. We both cook manfood, but he makes enough to feed an army, while I only make enough to feed the National Guard. Angus cooks in vats, sometimes steel drums. As a general rule, if Angus has made a meal, a cow has died. Possibly a buffalo.

This was the case when I scrutinized his stew, which had a meat theme. It was like MeatFest '06, a glorification of mammalian flesh transmogrified by heat. There were vegetables and potatoes in the mix, but they were busy dodging the hunks of beef. There were slabs of meat calving from other slabs of meat.

"The cheapest cuts are the best," he said. The Angus rule is that you must make stew from the cuts the butcher usually can't sell, the shanky bits that are mostly bone with a little meat and fat clinging for dear life.

I stirred the pot and a leg bone lurched out as if to attack me. Ribs, boiled clean and white, clanked against one another. I glimpsed something that might have once been part of a skull. Was this a meal or a crime scene?

I remembered that Angus was voted Most Likely to Become a Cannibal in high school, and with a shudder realized I hadn't seen our friend Geoff in a while. But no matter: It was definitely a heroic pot of food, though in my professional judgment it needed a little zest of orange peel.

[Here's the original Manfood column.]

[Click here for the Achenblog recipe for Quick Beans.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 24, 2006; 6:11 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Weingarten on Trudeau, and a Rough Draft
Next: Among the Lowest of the Dead


Psst. Penultimate sentence: "hadn't seen our friend Geoff in while."

[BTW, you call this a Kit?!? This ain't no Kit -- it's a column.]

[I suddenly find myself craving Osso Bucco. Mmmm . . . orange peel.]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 24, 2006 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Thank you! Operators standing by to learn of more typos.

Yeah, I thought it could be a column, but it did not make it past my editor. On account of how I have already written about manfood. But maybe she's just a vegetarian. That could be it.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 24, 2006 6:40 AM | Report abuse


Tom fan:

Rule #1: Curmudgeon is always right.

Rule #2: If he's wrong, refer to rule #1.

Rule #3: Everybody else is always wrong.

Exception to rule #3: Agreeing with Mudge dispenses you of being wrong. However, for said exception to apply, you are required to put on a cheerleader costume, and jump up and down while saying: "Oh Mudge, you are so funny, I almost wetted myself!"

Bob S, love the Weingarten piece about the French. I often quote it when "accused" of being arrogant. It's a label that many Americans who typically have not traveled beyond the borders of their own state are always fond of giving us. Of course, being accused of being arrogant by an American is like being accused of being silly by the 3 Stooges.

But the guy actually went to France and investigated the claim. Here is the part I quote most often:

"And so it goes throughout the day. The French people are open, not suspicious. They are self-deprecating, not arrogant. They are almost gallant in their treatment of a stranger. They are defying stereotype.
They are being contrarian. How damnably French of them."

There was one thing in his piece that I took some issue with: he quoted Polly Platt, who said in "French or Foe," her sort of unofficial guidebook for diplomat's wives, that the French have no word for "friendly." Which is idiotic (we have 22!).

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Joel, I'm still laughing. Is this food or a crime scene? And the part about when your neighbor cooks, the whole cow or buffalo. Great kit, Joel. I need to start the day off with a good laugh, and you certainly have provided that.

Pat, not walking today. Too, too, cold, and the hip is slightly hurting. Will try again tomorrow, God willing. I'm trying to warm up my apartment.

Have evening plans with some folks trying to sway my vote. Of course they're feeding those of us that show up, sort of like a barbecue. If it's real cold, I will not be there long.

I read Mr. Robinson's op-ed piece on Mr. Bush and the Iraqi war. Mr. Robinson makes some good point. I just wonder is anybody listening. Scriptures states that one needs good counsel in daily life, does anyone in Washington heed this advice? This morning in the news here a story about the death of young man in Iraq, blown up in one of those humvees, and he only been out of high school two years. Certainly not time enough to enjoy his life. This is what makes Iraq so very horrible, and the fact that it does not look like it is getting better. If getting better, why aren't we seeing that? The Post showed a mother and father greiving over the loss of their son in Iraq a couple of days ago, the online version, and that was sad too. It is just too much sadness in the nation, too much blood, it is just too much folks. And I don't know the answer, don't profess to know, just know it is too much.

Have a good day, friends, just think Friday is somewhere in the picture. Prayer has been said, and blessings asked, and most of all, the desire that all of us come to know that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 24, 2006 6:58 AM | Report abuse

So Angus is the name of a guy? I thought it was the name of some beef. Can Angus cook Angus? And would that be considered cannibalism?

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 7:01 AM | Report abuse

The time is wrong on these comments. I have 8:01am, and my post above is showing six something.

Good morning, superfrenchie.

Good morning, Nani and Error Flynn. *waving*

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 24, 2006 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Cassndra, time and greeting for you:

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the levity, Joel. It brings the old Bugs Bunny schtick to mind: "Hey Doc, what's cookin'?" "Why, you are..."

The past few days have been frought with worry over my Aunt's condition. The chemotherapy regimen will be changed to decrease the possibility of hallucinations, and the cardiac unit did a great job of bringing her away from the complications of congestive heart failure. Thanks to all for your kind words.

Posted by: jack | October 24, 2006 7:16 AM | Report abuse

MANfood... Hah!


Morning all! *wave*

I'm anxiously awaiting a brutal winter myself... Barely got past my snow withdrawl symptoms with last year's meager offerings. :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2006 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Over in one of the tech labs there is a coven of manly men kinda like Angus. Most are ex military who like to evaluate municipal principalities in terms of their concealed weaponry laws. Frankly, they scare me. But they do make some mean chili.

Several times a year they throw highly competitive chili parties during which each participant seeks to outdo the others in terms of protein content and Scoville rating. I have seen some pots full of little more than beef brisket simmered in a Habanero slurry. (Woe be to the unsuspecting epicure who asks for anything vegetarian.)

These concoctions are typically labeled something like "recycled roadkill," or "slow moving squirrel." (Thankfully, none mention anyone specifically named "Geoff.") It is traditional when consuming these creations to make witty declarations such as "Gonna hurt both ways!"

In theory, events like this require the approval of management. Management always approves. I suspect there is a feeling that such events help safely dissipate testosterone, which might otherwise rise to dangerous levels.

I just hope the competitions never get out of hand. Because some of these guys know a thing or two about explosives.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 24, 2006 7:34 AM | Report abuse


One might venture a hypothesis that testosterone breaks down at higher Scoville ratings, no?


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2006 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Bush does the Internets (and the Google):

Asked if he ever googled anybody, he responded:

"Occasionally. One of the things I've used on the Google is to pull up maps. It's very interesting to see that. I forgot the name of the program, but you get the satellite and you can -- like, I kind of like to look at the ranch on Google, reminds me of where I want to be sometimes. Yeah, I do it some."

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Description of El Nino winter scenarios--based on weak or moderate ocean currents--straight from the Cattle Network website:cooler for the Northeast, but down Texas way, hopefully, hopefully, hopefully wetter.
We won't be needin' Anguses (Angii?), but Macintosh raincoats.

A key challenge of this winter's forecast over North America and the U.S. will be predicting the intensity of the El Nino, WCS said.

"A weak El Nino is likely to produce cool conditions in the eastern U.S. and warm conditions from the high Plains westward. A moderate El Nino increases the probability of warm conditions across the entire northern U.S. and cooler and moist conditions across the southern U.S.," WCS said in the release.

When autumn arrives, do people ever say, "It's time to woman up"?

Posted by: Loomis | October 24, 2006 8:00 AM | Report abuse

SF great picture, and please tell me that quote is made up.

Posted by: dmd | October 24, 2006 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I remember it well. I was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt as I delivered the Washington Post one October morning. Maybe the 10th. It was drizzling and getting cold. I looked up at the streetlight and saw what looked like snow. Couldn't be, not in Fairfax City in October. No way!

As the morning wore on, the drizzle turned to snow. My hands froze, I had no gloves. I went in my house and put them under the cold water that ran from the kitchen sink. It burnt my flesh so I ran outside and brushed them in the snow. A strange thing happened, I could move my fingers freely, and the feeling returned.

So, cold and wet, I rode off on my bicycle to do my 2nd paper route. After I finished, there lay a half inch of fresh snow on the ground.

This is the point of my story: Several years ago, I met a guy who grew up in Fairfax, moved to San Diego, and back again. We carpool to the Metro several times a week, and I mentioned to him how it had snowed here in Fairfax City as early as October one year...

He laughed. He called me a total B-esser. He refuses to believe me. I'm never going to live it down. I've only got a few more days left this month for it to snow, or I'll be putting up with another year of ridicule. but I know it happened. I know it! I know it!

And I've searched and searched and Googled and Googled for hours and hours. To this day, I've come up empty-handed. Nothing, nilch, but then, searching for stuff for me is one of my greatest handicaps.

If someone wants to be my hero, and most of y'all seem to be experts at this kind of stuff, I need a link, just 1 timy, itsy, bitsy link. The only clue I can give is that it happened in the early to mid 80's.

Of course, I'll feel stupid if someone posts a link that proves my story within the next 20 minutes, but I don't care, I've got a lot of pride riding on this one.

Posted by: Pat | October 24, 2006 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Did you have to write this, Padouk?:

It is traditional when consuming these creations to make witty declarations such as "Gonna hurt both ways!"

Reminds me of a paragaph from Eric Margolis' 1999 book, "War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet," p. 84, about local torture methods:

Indian intelligence and security forces embarked on a campaign patterned on operations against Sikh militants in Punjab, to identify, infiltrate, and destroy the urban networks of the various Kashmiri resistance groups. Informers, coerced by threats to their families, torture, or bribery, would single out resistance operatives. A favorite torture, developed in Punjab, was ramming a kilo of fiery hot chili powder up a victim's rectum."

Hope this cooking spice isn't part of the CIA's new arsenal for extrordinary rendition?

Has anyone read or hear that Bush--and by dint of association, all Republicans and Republican candidates--are now going to drop the term "stay the course" between now and election day? Iraqis are now being asked to develop their own benchmarks for success, but there will be no reprisals if they fail to succeed in a year's time.

The linguistic jujitsu by the desperate Republicans is no more than a ploy to use (or in this case stop using) deceptive semantics. It's a reverse case of "cut and run." Bush & Ilk have been running at the mouth, and now they're cutting it out.

Posted by: Loomis | October 24, 2006 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Pat, I think is it and hope it helps:

The record earliest snowstorm for Washington --- Washington's earliest measurable snowfall occurred on October 10, 1979. National Airport reported only 0.3 inches of snow; however, much heavier snow fell to the west of Washington causing significant tree damage in the mountains of Virginia. The tree damage was especially severe because the trees had not yet lost their leaves, allowing huge amounts of snow to accumulate on the branches. The storm began on October 9th when a low- pressure area moved east through New York state and Massachusetts. Washington was in the warm sector of the storm and temperatures topped out in the low '70's before the trailing cold front swept through during the late afternoon. During the nighttime hours, unseasonably cold air surged down the East Coast. As cold air invaded the D.C. area, a second storm center took shape over the Carolinas. A chilly rain broke out that evening and continued all night. By midnight, the temperature had fallen to 50 degrees F. The relentless drop of the mercury continued during the pre-dawn hours and many people in the northern and western suburbs awoke to see snow falling. During the early morning a burst of 1 - 3 inches of snow fell in central and northern Montgomery County and a coating of snow accumulated in Fairfax and lower Montgomery County. The precipitation tapers off in all sections between 7 and 9 A.M. but by 10:00 A.M. a new band of heavy snow broke out this time centering its fury on the southern half of the metropolitan area. Huge snowflakes were accompanied by lightning and thunder. By noon, the worst was over and the snow tapered off. During the second burst 3 inches of snow fell in the central and southern parts of the region. A snowfall maximum of 3.0 inches was centered in Fairfax County. Aside from the October 10, 1979 storm, there have been only two measurable October snows on record. Those took place October 19, 1940 and October 30, 1925. (p. 86-87 Washington Weather Book 2002 by Ambrose, Henry, Weiss)

Posted by: Loomis | October 24, 2006 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Dumplings are a natural accompaniment to stew, and in our house stew brings out the he said/she said of the stew world, dumplings light and fluffy, or dumplings dense and rich? We have been going over this for 26, no, 27 years, and while I am always right with light and fluffy dumplings, I do cook his heavy sinkers once in a while. FYI the heavy dumplings are called knaedles, and are more commonly a noodle for soups except his mom made them larger for stew.

So what kind of dumplings does he serve with Geoff?

Posted by: dr | October 24, 2006 8:44 AM | Report abuse

dmd, would the Wall Street Journal make things up?

OK, I know, that's what they do every day on their editorial pages. But still, the quote comes from an interview on CNBC with money honey econobabe Maria Bartiromo.

Pat, I remember clearly a big snow day (about a foot or more) on November 11, probably 87 or something. I'm sure there have been some snow days in October, although I don't remember any of them as school-closing days.

Today is daughter Sophie's 5th birthday:

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Cannot help with snow in October, Pat, but how about _PaperBoy_, the BOOK, by engineering professor-writer Henry Petrovski? This might be a joy for you to listen to. Some of the family might appreciate this, also, since paperboys (girls, too) are practically dinosaurs.

The paragraphs on perfect folding, balancing the bags on bike bars, and of course throwing while riding....I think you would love this.

I believe that it is available through the Library of Congress talking books program. If not, we could both request it.

Posted by: College Parkian | October 24, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

All I'm going to say, Superfrenchie, is that you are too, too, much. *smile*

Getting dressed, have to go to the school to keep a promise. I hope the young man is as happy about it as I am. God is good.

I wish someone on this blog would tell me how they really feel about the war in Iraq. It bothers me so, and some of the people around here are bothered by it also. Some just don't know what is going on, but those that have family and relations that have lost someone are really hurt. I believe this war is the most serious issue we can consider in this country. I could be wrong, I usually am, yet I feel really bad about this. Perhaps we should ask the families of those that have lost their children what is the best answer.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 24, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I looked at the "Faces of the Fallen" this morning in the Wapo. It's so depressing. 20, 22-year old kids. Awful.

And what you see on American TV is so outrageously self-censored that you actually see very little of what is really going on. If you get access of it on cable or sattelite, put on some European channel to really see what is going on. It is really getting very ugly!

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I've just returned from a honeymoon in Quebec City. One of the (many fine) restaurants we ate at was Aux Ancient Canadiens in the old part of town. I had the Tres Mignons which was a plate of filets from a stag, buffalo, and carabou. So my wife's beef filet was, strictly speaking, a little better, but the three were still mighty good, and something I had to try....

Posted by: Les | October 24, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Well Cassandra, I do not agree with Iraq never have, the losses are very sad. I think a great many people care, but the answers are difficult.

I just noticed that our Armed Forces, are going for the realistic approach in recruiting, at the least they will be able to say they didn't sugar coat anything.

Posted by: dmd | October 24, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Padouk, going back to previous kit, from Grand Ideas, "Modern candidates who will pander to any audience and grovel for any campaign contribution might recall that Washington stayed on his farm and rued his cruel fate. Admittedly, this strategy wouldn't work for everyone."

I was just contemplating what your founding fathers would think this morning after listening to some of what is happening in Tennessee.

We need politicians with Washingtons view instead of having people who consider politics a career choice.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 24, 2006 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Les, I believe I ate at the same restaurant many years ago on a school trip, for us the meal was Boeuf Bourguignon, it was great (in a manly meal kind of way - just with more elan).

Posted by: dmd | October 24, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra: //Getting dressed, have to go to the school//

Cassandra, when you arrive to the school, check this out:

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra here is one view from up here, using both Iraq and Afganistan together, there are many viewpoints up here and this is just one.

Posted by: dmd | October 24, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, gold! After at least 5 long years, I can finally settle this score with this guy and retrieve my dignity. You're good, real good! only 26 minutes, but I'm assuming you spotted me at least 6 of those so I didn't have to feel like an idiot.

college Parkian, Paper Boy, gotta get it. I have a stack of stories to add. Stephen King, in his book "The Regulators", begins with a paperboy traversing the neighborhood. when I read it (listened), I couldn't help to think that he must have been a paperboy himself. Special people they are, spreading the news by their feet.

Posted by: Pat | October 24, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

OK, my promised report on the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting.

There were just under 1000 people in attendance, and around 600 talks and posters presented. These are some of the ones I attended that stuck with me.

Prothro and Liter gave a talk on the taxonomy of mammals called dromomerycids. This was of interest to me because it indicated that we have almost no hope of identifying the species of dromomerycid that my museum discovered in Virginia a few years ago.

Chun Li et al. presented on an amazing fossil of a marine reptile from China, that apparently lived and hunted in intertidal areas.

Robert Carroll gave a talk on marine reptile evolution and how the way you consider anomalous taxa (like sea turtles) can cause big differences in the assessment of relationships.

My friend Brooke Wilborn reported the first mammal tooth found at the Wyoming dinosaur site being excavated by my museum.

There were a couple of talks (by Barrett and Zhou, and Makovicky et al.) on some fantastic fossils of the dinosaur Psittacosaurus from China, including six babies that were buried together in a volcanic eruption.

There were several good talks on taphonomy (how fossils get preserved) including one by Behrensmeyer and Faith on a project to look at the bone decay of modern skeletons in Africa. The project is now in its 29th year, and they can still identify some of the same skeletons. In another talk by the same authors, they showed a picture of a cow leg bone, close to a foot long, that had been swallowed, partly digested, and then hocked up by a hyaena.

In one of my favorite talks, Daniel Fisher continued on a theme from last year, looking at evidence for musth battles in male mastodonts. Last year, he showed that a particular mastodont had been killed in a musth battle when it was stabbed in the jaw by another mastodont. This year, he showed that the victim had survived years of these battles before the one that finally killed him.

Brand et al. had a poster on trying to sort out the stratigraphy in the Ica Valley in Peru, the area where i've been working.

There were three separate talks, with no consensus between them, on the evolution of baleen plates in whales.

Stephen Godfrey and Larry Barnes did a talk on a Maryland relative of the Ganges River dolphin.

My graduate advisor, Judy Schiebout, and her current students reported on a new fossil mammal site in Louisiana, that less than a mile from the high school where I taught for three years.

There was also a "Town Hall" meeting on the teaching of evolution. This is something SVP introduced a few years ago, with the attacks on evolution in various places. It's a good idea, but it's a bit like preaching to the choir.

All in all, a good meeting, with a lot of good talks and posters.

Posted by: Dooley | October 24, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Loomis asks: "When autumn arrives, do people ever say, "It's time to woman up"?"

I have not heard that phrase. But, I suspect that some politicans may occasionally say "It's time to womanize." Is that close enough?

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 24, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

The 9:15 is me. Sorry. It was also me yesterday.

Posted by: dr | October 24, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Dooley, how many new fossils are coming out of China these days, and to what extent are they extracted/analyzed by professionals vs. amateurs. Are there concerns about authenticity. Also, how often do you folks find an entirely new species -- say, a new Jurassic dinosaur. Were there any talks on our favorite water-cooler subject, the K/T extinction? Any great leaps forward in the fossil record prior to 65mya? Thanks for the excellent report above.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 24, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Dooley wrote:
"Stephen Godfrey and Larry Barnes did a talk on a Maryland relative of the Ganges River dolphin."

Pray, details, Dooley for we Chesapeakans.

Pat -- will check out SK. I love his book on writing. No paperboy mention there, that I recall. But details on his mimeo newletter done with big brother and sold for a nickel.

Posted by: College Parkian | October 24, 2006 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Dooley - Thank you very much taking the time to write your report.

What will be the end product of your work in Peru? I mean, are you trying to make a geological map of the area, or is your work concerned with answering a more specific question inherent in the stratigraphy?

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 24, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

u'v convinced me JA... time to become a vegetarian :)

Posted by: Miss Toronto | October 24, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

CP: Isn't King the one who said that anyone who outlines a piece of fiction would much rather be writing a master's thesis?

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 24, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

China is a prime fossil location these days, with a kinds of new things being discovered. Many of them are collected by farmers, which has led to at least one well-publisized fraud that was published in Nat. Geo. Fortunately, China has a thriving professional paleontology community, which helps cut down on fraud. IIRC, all Chinese fossils belong to the Chinese government, so their sale is illegal, but there is a huge black market.

Early next year, my museum is displaying (on temporary loan) some of the Chinese fossils, including one of the feathered dinosaurs. My boss is doing collaborative work with some Chinese paleontologists.

There were several talks on mass extinctions, including one that disputed the role of humans in Australian Pleistocene extinctions, and another indicating a combined human and climate cause for Madagascar Pleistocene extinctions. Unfortunately, I missed those talks (busy schmoozing with the other whale researchers).

Discovering new species isn't terribly rare, especially in rock formations that haven't been studied extensively. I'm pretty conservative with naming species, but I've named 2 whale species, and I have several others that I'm working on, and I'll be a co-author on a new reptile if the paper is accepted. Of course, naming a species, and having it stand up over time are different matters--a few people have disputed the validity of one of my whale species (although they'll eventually see the error of their ways :-))

Posted by: Dooley | October 24, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

joel - the thing is, with the weather the way it is, he kinda needed that coat and gloves (i had to dig out my winter coat and gloves!!! it's COLD in dc today! {not that i'm complaining, i love the cold!})

cassandra - remember, there are a clutch of us that work for the gubment and aren't really, um... i would say that we aren't permitted but it's prolly better to say we aren't *encouraged* to give our opinions about the war, the pres, etc. those in uniform (military) aren't actually allowed to say anything derogatory about the pres while in uniform! (is that actually true jw?)

Posted by: mo | October 24, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

RD - i've had some of that chili and all i can say is... "ouch!"

Posted by: mo | October 24, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Pat writes:
Loomis, gold! After at least 5 long years, I can finally settle this score with this guy and retrieve my dignity. You're good, real good! only 26 minutes, but I'm assuming you spotted me at least 6 of those so I didn't have to feel like an idiot.

Pat, as I've said, you're *my hero*. It actually took me 11 minutes, because after my 8:25 post I read your 8:10 post. The credit is truly not mine, but goes to one of the best teachers I ever had--at San Francisco's Golden Gate University. He taught in the Telecommunications Management program. I can't remeber his name for the life of me, but recall his face as clear as day because he had one of those fringe beards that follows the jawline, but no moustache. He also used to create spittle at the corners of his mouth after speaking for a period of time--but I was very fond of him for his exceptional knowledge. He was the head of Lawrence Livermore Labs' data retrieval services.

I still have the college catalog course description for TM313 and, boy oh boy, does it make me feel old--like a real Silicon Valley dinosaur!:

Seminar in Viewdata and on-Line Commercial Information Systems

An advanced course in the develoment and use of sophisticated consumer and commercial information retrieval and management systems including Viewdata and videotex-like home-retrieval systems, APPLE II microcomputer-based systems, the SOURCE, MICRONET, NY Times Information Bank, UPI, DIALOG and other online commercial business information retrieval and news systems. "Hands-on" course with field trip. (I remember the night well--my first experience with NEXUS. I was hooked.) Interfacing these information systems to the "office of the future" and electronic mail networks and library facilities is analyzed. Problems in "human engineering" the system to theuser are investigated.

As I said, Pat, glad I could help.

Posted by: Loomis | October 24, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

StorytellerTim said: "But, I suspect that some politicans may occasionally say "It's time to womanize." Is that close enough?"

I hear that some of them are into pagination.


Posted by: martooni | October 24, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

For mo:

Know why there aren't any jokes about Panamanians?

Posted by: omni | October 24, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Because they have no sense of humour.

Posted by: omni | October 24, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

omni - um... cuz we aren't funny?

Posted by: mo | October 24, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

CP, it was a skull found some years ago in Calvert County. The Ganges dolphin is the only surviving member of a group of dolphins called platanistoids, that were among the most common dolphins in the world 10-20 million years ago.

There is actually a symposium coming up on the marine fossils of Maryland and Virginia. The symposium is free and open to the public (but I recommend paying admission and visiting the museum as well).

The symposium is being held at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, MD (near Patuxent River Naval Air Station) on Saturday, November 11, and is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Calvert Marine Museum Fossil Club. Stephen Godfrey is the paleontology curator there. There will be a full day of talks on Tertiary geology and paleontology. As I recall from the schedule, there are at least 2 talks on stratigraphy, as well as talks on molluscs, seals, sea cows, crocodiles, land mammals, and several on whales (including one by me).

Posted by: Dooley | October 24, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

hey! we do too! *pthhhhhtp*

Posted by: mo | October 24, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the *rimshot* was not exactly an appropriate pseudo-sound-effect to use when mentioning politicians and pagination in the same sentence.

Posted by: martooni | October 24, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

That's just the best I can do.

When JA asked for guest kitters the best I could come up with was to have JA announce there would be new kit up by omni in a few minutes. The whole of my kit would be:

'New Kit.'

Posted by: omni | October 24, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

groan! martooni... just... *groan!*

Posted by: mo | October 24, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Cute kid, SF. Good haircolor for an October baby.

You should never have hide n seek at her birthday parties if you want to ever find her again.

As for the Scoville ratings-- excess stress does drop testosterone, but it has to be prolonged rather than acute, so it's not one bite that does it, it's the ongoing agony of the aftermath that has a shot of cooling the jets of machoism.

I've tasted those "meat chilis" and frankly, I could just as well pour tabasco sauce on some steak and call it chili.

All those prizewinning chilis from chili cook-offs would get an uniform grade of F from me.

Real mexican chili has VEGETABLES in it, and I don't mean watery tomato sauce. And of course, corn and beans too. It puts the warmth back in your bones after a long day in the cold.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Very funny kit, Joel. Only, I'm beginning to think I may be a man! To review:

Hate to shop;
No fashion sense;
Do no crafts of any sort;
Focussed equally on family but ambitious in career;
Much rather work outdoors than in;
Easily bored.

If I hadn't had #1 and #2 (I remember it clearly) and if I didn't have a knack for cooking and home decor, I'd be shaken.

Posted by: Yoki | October 24, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I'm late to the party. Doing two people's work these days. Thanks for getting documentation, LindaLoo. I remember that October 10 snowfall. We only got about an inch or so here in the DC 'burbs, but I do recall the reports of signficant accumulation as close by as Poolesville. I also remember that Veteran's Day snowstorm. I was flying back from a conference in San Franciso, with the usual change at O'Hare. We were the last plane they let go to BWI, and we got in late, waiting for runway plowing. One of my colleagues and I managed to snag a cab, and it was very erie going down the Parkway, with cars down in the ditch, up in the trees, etc. When we got to the Beltway, headed west, we noted that the traffic on the inner loop seemed to not be moving. I only found out the next day that it was at a standstill from about the I-95 interchange (in MD) all the way across the Wilson Bridge! I slept at my folks' place that night, knowing that getting out to my house in the country (at that time) was not possible.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 24, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Looked at your list Yoki, mine would be almost the same except I do some crafts but limited cooking (the husband enjoys cooking and is territorial about it so helping is not advised).

Posted by: dmd | October 24, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Wilbord. She and her older sister (a September baby) have that hair color. Neither Mrs. SuperFrenchie nor I do. My guess is that I shouldn't invite my superhero friends for poker night as often. I did notice that SuperCarrotTop was lingering a little too long last time he came!

Did you notice that me and Cassandra are now talking in signs?

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

My favorite snowstorm story is from January of 1987. This was a one-two punch that blanketed the area. It was significant because I was flying from Seattle to Washington National (Remember that place?) to interview with a consulting firm. I got as far as Chicago before the company contacted me and told me to go back home. So that day I flew to Chicago and back just for fun. But eventually I made it out. And I got the job.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 24, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Happy birthday, Sophie. Joyeux anniversaires!

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 24, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Hey, men do crafts!

Many just prefer big saws and such instead of itty bitty tools requiring excessively fine motor skills.

Real men knit... with bolts and string.

Yeah, I do know guys who lack any handy skills while seeming to STILL have apparently functional arms and hands.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

ok, lots to talk about. first off rd, your boys have it exactly right. it is a crime to put beans or vegetables in chili. as for other man food, my friend greg makes a chicken soup that will cure the worst sinus trouble in the world. it is also likely to make you cry.

dooley: what do you know about the chinese river dolphin in relation to the three gorges dam? what kind of efforts are being made to prevent its extinction?

mo: what kind of restrictions are there on canal use? big boats only? i read somewhere a while back that it would be kind of silly to expand the canal because the majority of boats are built to canal limits. i guess the hope is that they will start building them larger (which they inevitably will)

pat: i was once in san francisco for snow in august. nobody believes this. i swear it's true.

and finally, a question for the canuckistani boodlers: i have a friend from canada who is always complaining aboot how cold it is, and when i point out that he is a) from canada and b) a wuss, he gives me some bull about how canadians are not actually more resistant to cold, they have simply developed better equipment to deal with it. i told him i would ask my imaginary canadian friends, so is this true? or is he just a wuss?

Posted by: sparks | October 24, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Ah Grasshopper

Your friend Angus is responding to the primordial racial memories of his people.
At this time of year the hardy folk of northern climes are antsy to boil anything remotely edible and stuff it into boiled bottles (death to lima beans).
This is not the time of man however; it is the time of Grandmothers. It is their duty to gather the clan, the peat and the foodstuff (see, stuffed food). Only Grandmothers have the authority to order the men out of the house, set the women to chopping and, wielding the wooden spoon of justice, keep little hands from putting more food into their mouths than into the pot.
As the dim, dank days of winter fall upon us we look to Grandmothers to save our bodies and soothe our souls.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 24, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Yoki: //Only, I'm beginning to think I may be a man! To review: [...]//

The test is very simple. Here it is:

- How many times an hour do you think of sex?

0 to 1: you're a woman
2 to 10: you're a man
11 to 20: you're a gay man
21 to 30: you're a Frenchman
>30: you're a Congressman

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Red hair is recessive so no need to suspect the redheaded poker partner, SF.

People who carry one copy of the redhead gene tend to freckle and have slightly lighter skin for their hair and eye color than others. I have a redheaded brother and everybody else except for one brother has freckled in their life.

My non-freckling brother used to be a sun hog. He has passed for hispanic and now actually gets mistaken at times for a lightskinned black when he has his tan on.

While, as you've seen, I've been known to glow in the dark.

So if you ever have freckled in your life, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Depending on where your friend is from he is either a wuss, meaning he probably lives in my area, or he lives where it actually gets really cold.

I think we do develop a tolerance to the colder weather but there is a seasonal adjustment period. However, friends from warmer climates tell me they have never adjusted to the cold and honestly I would have a similar problem living where it was very warm on a more consistent basis than here in the summer.

One Canuck opinion, from one of the more moderate Canadian climates.

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

Really? I know somebody who grew up in the tropics who all but rolled in his first snow and said he was never going back to snowless climes if he could help it.
Maybe your friends are just comparing themselves to those who seem to have antifreeze for blood.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse


no restrictions on the size of the boat... (in fact, a man once swam the canal) private yachts can use the canal - there is a high tariff tho - cargo ships are charged per weight - other ships are charged per length. the largest ship that can fit thru the canal is called a panamax ship - Panamax continues to be a noteworthy factor in ship design, with an increasing number of ships being built precisely to the Panamax limit, in order to transport the maximum amount of cargo in a single vessel.

The increasing prevalence of vessels of the maximum size is a problem for the canal. A Panamax ship is a tight fit that requires precise control of the vessel in the locks, possibly resulting in longer lock time, and requiring that these ships be transited in daylight. Since the largest ships cannot pass safely within the Gaillard Cut, the canal effectively operates an alternating one-way system for these ships.

Many modern ships, known as post-Panamax ships, are far larger than this (and hence cannot use the canal). This is the case for supertankers and the largest modern container ships; much bulk merchandise such as grain products is moved primarily on Panamax (or sub-Panamax) ships. U.S. Navy supercarriers are also in the post-Panamax class; the Nimitz class aircraft carriers are 333 metres (1092 ft) long overall with a beam of 41 metres (134 ft), while the flight deck is 76.8 metres (252 ft) wide.

there are already something like 30% of ships that are post-panamax size and plans to build many more, esp once the canal builds bigger locks...

Posted by: mo | October 24, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

wilbrod, i saw your chili comment, i will state once again that this is a crime: Original Texas-style chili

This contains no vegetables except chilis which have been prepared by being boiled, peeled, and chopped. The meat is simply bite-size -- traditionally, the size of a pecan nut -- or coarsely ground, with 1/2-inch plate holes in a meat grinder as standard. It must always be beef, venison, or other mature meats. Stewing meat also works well. Prime beef and veal, on the other hand, are not suitable for chili, as they tend not to remain solid. Many cooks omit the suet as being much too greasy, although it does add flavor, and New Mexico or Anaheim peppers are recommended. For an "elevated" flavor, one uses four pepper pods per pound of meat; for a milder "beginners'" version, use only 2-3 pods. Chili powder is a barely adequate substitute in the original recipe; it lacks the subtle sting of the pods. (A heaping teaspoon of chili powder is the approximate equivalent of one average-size chili pod.)

Posted by: sparks | October 24, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

cassandra, i'm pretty sure almost everyone here agrees with your feelings about iraq. in short, we are rapidly approaching the fubar stage (pardon my french), if we aren't already there.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | October 24, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

There was a pretty big snowstorm in DC on Nov 11, 1987. Here's the link:

Posted by: Emily | October 24, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Sophie, and many, many, more.

Superfrenchie, she is beautiful. And thanks for the sign.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 24, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Texan cook-off chili maximizes salt, meat, and heat. The cookoff chilis are not designed to be an actual meal unless you want to achieve takeoff.

It has very little relation to chili con carne. I was born in the Southwest and I KNOW what the mexican recipe is. It's a spicy STEW with beans and meat.

That said, if you like pure "texan chili", you may very well like Ethiopian cooking, they have a kind of goulash that's pretty spicy that you might enjoy.

The Indian version of chili (no carne) is called Ragma (kidney beans) and it's cooked with tumeric, salt, and chili (sometimes ginger-garlic added) on a typical fried tomato-onion curry base.

The complete frying of the tomato and onions is essential to the taste-- partial frying leads to a BBQ-like taste which would be better enhanced with sweet spices, not chili.

That said, I ain't no texan.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Superfrenchie, you'll probably enjoy this quote:

"The French have decided to ignore our self-proclaimed superiority, and this is translated as arrogance. To my knowledge, they've never said that they're better than us; they've just never said that we're the best. Big deal. There are plenty of places on earth where visiting Americans are greeted with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately, these places tend to lack anything you'd really want to buy."

"Me Talk Pretty One Day" - David Sedaris

Posted by: Bob S. | October 24, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Here's the paragraph which precedes the above in the Sedaris quote:

-- Every day we're told that we live in the greatest country on earth. And it's always stated as an undeniable fact: Leos were born between July 23 and August 22, fitted queen-size sheets measure sixty by eighty inches, and America is the greatest country on earth. Having grown up with this in our ears, it's startling to realize that other countries have nationalistic slogans of their own, none of which are 'We're number two!' --

Posted by: Bob S. | October 24, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Surely someone has already posted this article about "Paris Syndrome":

Posted by: Achenbach | October 24, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I will add that the Ethiopian recipe is similar enough to Texas style chili that I'd say there needs to be research whether Texas chili is actually derived from an African recipe. While chilis are not natively African, African cooking has long used native spices that produce similar heat.

No matter how you eat your chili and not-chilis, don't forget the veggies on the side.

And go easy on bread...

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I think he's a wuss. You really do get used to it; I've lived in Edmonton (really really really cold), Montreal & Ottawa (really really cold), interior northern BC (really cold) and Calgary (somewhat cold, occasionally extremely so). And I love the winter everywhere. The trick to getting used to it is to spend as much time outdoors as possible. When I have leisure to walk the dogs twice a day, ski on weekends, play in the snow with little kids (not so often any more), and the like, I don't feel the cold. When work intrudes on my schedule and I'm stuck indoors all the time, I suffer. Of course, having the right kit is essential; I have looked very peculiar on some of those long dog walks!

Posted by: Yoki | October 24, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

JA, I thought they were talking about that Hilton person, so I avoided the article.


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 24, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Bob S: :-)

Achenbach: :-)

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

In general, I take little cooking advice from persons who insist that there is only one recipe for a dish, their recipe, and that it must be made with precision and without alteration. This is the cooking of a robot, not an artist, and is not to be troubled with. Food should have variety, variability, style, personal flair. A single dish should be adaptable to a modicum of change in the availability of ingredients; perhaps, today, the eggplant is good, the sweet potatoes not so much. Perhaps tomorrow, the situation will be different, or you'll want to emphasize different flavors.

Not that all foods are equal, of course. But all meat-and-chili pepper-only chilis are, to me, equal: equally boring, equally flavorless, equally bad. Anyway, what is the point of comparing chili, when there are so few ingredients? It may be a good science fair experiment in food science, a direct comparison between the properties of the ingredients, but it's not food.

Posted by: Tim | October 24, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Joel, your daughter's name is Paris, right?

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

But isn't Paris a boy's name?

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 24, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I made some chili once and added beans. Served it to my friend John Henry, a Texan, and he got quite suspicious. "What's this!? Beans in the chili?!" I assured him that, no, it wasn't chili; I had simply added some chili to the beans for flavor. "It's beans, not chili," I said. He allowed as they were the best beans he had ever had. "You sure this ain't chili?" No, John. Beans.

Posted by: Jumper | October 24, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

i am not so opposed to vegetables in chili, as long as they are limited. beans, however, are an absolute no-no.

From Wiki:
Many chili experts believe, however, that beans and chili should always be cooked separately and served on the side. It is then up to the consumer to stir his preferred quantity of beans into his own bowl. Some cooks prefer black beans, black-eyed peas, or kidney beans instead of pinto beans.

A popular saying among chili purists is "If you know beans about chili, you know chili ain't got no beans".

re: paris syndrome
See, superfrenchie, all that french bashing isn't mean spirited, it is used simply to innoculate americans against paris syndrome!

Posted by: sparks | October 24, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

If you've got kids named Paris, you may want to check what's their teddy bear...

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I think we should leave Joel's kids out of any discussions. They will have enough issues as it is.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 24, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

good answer, jumper.

sorry tim, veggies are not really my friends. i will eat some of them cooked, but no raw vegetables, and no legumes (except peanuts).

Posted by: sparks | October 24, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Off for weeks due to uppity security settings: they change themselves late at night, to offer me more "protection" for my computer.

I too have been seized by an obsession about man food since the cold wave rolled in. I bought a whole ham just for a pot of green pea soup. Celery, onion, lots of carrots. I guess half of that ham, for the cold weather. Then the peas.

Simultaneously, I am planning the chili. I had to veer away from the meat counter; I was planning the pea soup and the chili at the same time. I must force myself to wait a week or so. I find myself dreaming of crockpotting a big chuck roast and adding a tube or two of pork sausage before adding the other things.
The other day, before the cold snap, I cleaned a whole bag of dried anchos and removed the seeds (but not the capsaicin-filled membranes!) then cut 'em into pieces with scissors, then chopped them in the food processor, then powderized it in the coffee grinder. A few dried red jalapenos and serranos and a couple scotch bonnets were in there too. The fumes from the grinding made everyone sneeze. Into a glass jar and stored in the freezer door. I have enough for 5 gallons of chili at least. I grind my own cumin, too.

Even then I see I was subconsciously plotting the man-food extravaganza.

Posted by: Jumper | October 24, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I thought I was reading an Onion article...

Posted by: omni | October 24, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I ate at a game meat place in Denver this summer called The Buckhorn Exchange. It's decorated with enough trophies to make Teddy Rossevelt blush. I had a sampler plate that included elk, bison and something else. They all tasted like steak.

One semi-chain Tex-Mex place I used to go to had on the menu:
ruined with extra charge

I agree with that sentiment.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The first time I heard of chili without beans it was the wife of a friend who said she won't eat chili with any kind of beans. I asked why and she said they give her gas. And I said but I thought women folk don't fart...She didn't like me to much after that.

Posted by: omni | October 24, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I have always made "girl-food." I can tell you that there are definite strategic and tactical advantages to being a man who cooks food that women like. It is pleasant to hear your wife brag on you to her women-friends, who are skeptical until she describes the menus. I am certain that Mudge will back me up on this.

Posted by: Tim | October 24, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Well if you're going to ONLY put chili in a spice, I can see why. Meat and beans, well, as Lewis Gizzard wrote as a book title: "Chili dogs bark all night."

Indians, being vegetarian, specialize in um, "debarking" beans by adding what are called carminative spices. The following list includes both Indian and European herbs and spices that serve as carminatives:
ginger, turmeric, fennel, sage, savory (the primary bean-spice used in Europe);
cinnamon, cloves, bergamot
(Which makes you wonder why Captain Picard was so fond of Earl Grey Tea); peppermint, dill,anise, caraway, licorice, marshmallow root, thyme, rosemary, oregano, valerian, motherwort, juniper.

Cayenne is an carminative, too but it doesn't always work so well for beans without some aid such as turmeric. It is also important to cook the beans very well.

The way a friend cooks bean-based dishes, I've never had "aftereffects" even once.

So in the hands of the wrong cook, chili shouldn't have any beans, that's for sure.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the article link, Boss. Oh, those poor fragile Japanese! God help them if they visit L.A. and get told bruskly, "We don't take reservations, everyone waits at the bar."
I found Parisians to be pretty nice, except for the guy who tried to pick my pocket in the Metro.

Posted by: CowTown | October 24, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the article link, Boss. Oh, those poor fragile Japanese! God help them if they visit L.A. and get told bruskly, "We don't take reservations, everyone waits at the bar."
I found Parisians to be pretty nice, except for the guy who tried to pick my pocket in the Metro.

Posted by: CowTown | October 24, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

SCC: too many to mention. My only defense is that I was overcome by the memory of gassy tex chili-eaters.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I too was uncomfortable with the idea of someone named Angus boiling beef. It does smack of cannibalism. Perhaps Angus is a new Douglas Adams inspired breed of sentient tucker. Does he want to be eaten? If not (writer slowly draws fingers away from keyboard, shaking head)
While my suspicious nature has been aroused I must ask. Are all the kits rejected columns? Are all the columns superior kits? Were the columns rejected because of their content or because of incorrect punctuation?
Enquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 24, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Ahem, for the record, I happen to like beans. They're good for you, you know. Carry on.

Posted by: CowTown | October 24, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Sparks, most vegetables in American restaurants are not worth eating. They cook them PLAIN and sometimes remember to put the salt and butter on them.

All vegetables need some oil for proper digestion.

Maybe eating asian food will help expand what you consider "okay" in vegetables. Worth a try anyway.

I have a friend who got his fiancee to eat eggplant and a lot of vegetables that she normally hated because they were cooked beyond recognition.

To start with, he smoked the eggplant until the skin was charred, peeled the skin off, dumped in with fried tomato-onion curry base, and added some spices and peas. Very velvety and smoky.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Faithful readers of Joel Achenbach understand that in his neighborhood some consider cannibalism an acceptable survival strategy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 24, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, please explain why salt, butter or oil would help the veggies.

I am a plain vegetable person, no salt, butter or oil and prefer them raw or slightly steamed. Is that not good?

Posted by: dmd | October 24, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks so much Superfrenchie. I'm not only a man, but a gay man (which, with my knack for home decor, makes perfect sense!). I'm happy about that; it means that I will soon develop a very fashion-forward personal style and will be able to make most straight women laugh out loud with a mere glance. Excellent!

Happy birthday to Sophie; she's lovely.

Posted by: Yoki | October 24, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Boko999 - Joel has stated in the past that some kits are indeed columns that his editor suggests might be better served in this forum.

Some are obviously motivated by the news of the day.

Some are collections of links in a shameful attempt to emulate Liz Kelly.

And others are clearly desperate cries for help.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 24, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, no wonder the boss-woman wouldn't let it by--I can see where she wouldn't want to start a tradition like, "It's October! Time for another cannibalism column!"

Thanks, RD--I had forgotten that one.

Posted by: kbertocci | October 24, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

nope, wilbrod, i'm just a meats and starches kind of guy. i also eat fruit, but usually only cooked or pureed. i have a freezer stocked full of cut up fruit for smoothies. vegetables just don't make the list though. they are what food eats.

Posted by: sparks | October 24, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, you left out asafetida (also known as asafoetida and devil's dung, hehehehe I just love them both). Yes, it is an extract of a species of fennel, but with it's own peculiar charm.

Posted by: Yoki | October 24, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

hah - on my weingarten chat group someone posted a link to the nova/rova achenblog entry - this is her comment...

//I thought it was funny that the comments for the NoVA/RoVA piece were longer much than the column itself.//

Posted by: mo | October 24, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

ladybird Johnson on chili:
"My feeling about chili is this: Along in November, when the first northern strikes, and the skies are gray, along about five o'clock in the afternoon, I get to thinking how good chili would taste for supper. It always lives up to expectations. In fact, you don't even mind the cold November winds."

Posted by: sparks | October 24, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Sorry that I've been scarce folks, but I'm still trying to visit the one friend in hospice while helping to plan the memorial for the friend that just passed away. Plus everything else.

Only have a little time. I am another cook that believes that recipes are for wimps. Cooking should be based on what food is good and finding a way to mix them into an attractive, tasty repast. I agree with wilbrod that if you insist that there is only one way to make something and that it must be precise that you are an automaton. You would make Henry Ford proud.

As for male cooking...pshaw. Note that a significant majority of professional chefs that cook a wide variety of cuisines are men. I grew up the son of a Chinese cooking instructor that tended to make her own recipes and taught them for many years. Although it is out-of-print, I still cook from my mother's cookbook and still get loads of raves from friends. I went to The Johns Hopkins University in the mid-80's and since JHU had only admitted women for the first time in the 70's, the ratio was still about 4:1 men to women. If you wanted to date, you had to either be rich or cook. Most of my friends learned to cook. So, of my college friends, most of the women do not cook or only cook limitedly and the men are the cooks. And my friends are good enough that they are frequently asked to cater special events. In fact, several of my college friends and I are getting together Monday and we'll be catering the memorial event for our friend that recently passed away. We do have women helping out as sous chefs though. :-)

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 24, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

has anyone been over to the mommyblog today? the vitriol seems to be lacking, at least for the first several comments. i don't see why nobody thinks she's faking cancer. i mean, that's way easier to fake than blindness.

Posted by: sparks | October 24, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I find asfoetida a little TOO Indian for me.

Dmd, the rationale behind adding oil to vegetables (assuming you eat them without any other oily dishes) is that they have fat-soluble vitamins that need a little oil for proper digestion. Anybody with digestive problems should definitely go with the oil and cooking.

Also if you're vegetarian, you often need to add a little oil or fat to the diet anyway (whether through nuts, avocadoes, dairy products, or oils).

Also, an excessively low-fat diet can also paradoxically raise LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels. The research is coming in-- while high levels of saturated fat can be bad for you, low-fat diets aren't so good either.

The best way is simply to try and balance saturated fat (from meat, milk, etc.) with unsaturated fat (vegetable oils-- preferably olive, canola, etc.).

I like raw carrots, salads etc as much as the next person, BTW. Just not as the only way to eat vegetables.

The chinese nearly never eat truly raw vegetables without vinegar or other forms of preparation. Stir-fried lettuce is surprisingly good, BTW ;).

Indians will eat raw vegetables but only certain one in modest amounts-- the risk of food poisoning is just too high for some foods. Fruit also is preferably eaten raw only when it comes with a rind that can be removed; otherwise it's too risky.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

And Sparks, Lady Bird Johnson used vegetables in her chili recipe, since LBJ had heart problems and had to cut down on the fat in his diet.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Something I never got to respond to yesterday.

Cassandra--as one who really dislikes proselytising religious people, I am not at all offended by your posts. To me, I respect people of all faiths that are very religious as long as they equally respect me and mine. I dislike those people who insist that if I do not follow their faith or believe what they believe that I am doomed H*ll or that I am damned.

However, I respect you that you have found solace in your faith and that you share the blessings of your faith with all of the boodle without judgement of them or their faiths.

On a tangential note--does anyone else find the recent V05 shampoo/conditioner commercial offensive? Or am I just too sensitive being Asian? Even if you are only identifying Communist China, they haven't been that monotonous in dress and hair style for years/decades and not that autocratic about variances in same. I can't believe that anyone would really find that commercial to be tasteful. Makes me think that their marketing team has the same juvenile and sophmoric attitudes that the Abercrombie & Fitch marketing team has.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 24, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Time again for me to plug my husband's essays at:

Posted by: TBG | October 24, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Meat Fest 06' has got to be one of the funniest things I've ever read. I am crying with laughter over here!!! I think its because I identify with him in some way. LOL!!!

Posted by: jason kirby | October 24, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

After I revisited the Quick Beans post I re-read some of the comments. Made me positively weepy with nostalgia.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 24, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

China Airlines has all its stewardesses in the same light purple uniform that goes well with the purple seat covers and carpeting. I've often seen dance troupes from China dressed in similar uniforms to do group dances. These dancers are always matched closely in height and build, hairdo, makeup, costuming, to a creepy degree.

I haven't seen the V05 commerical though. It might be making fun of a stereotype by exaggerating the same, but to sell shampoo, oh please.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

TBG, not sure what it says about me but my cooking style is close to your husbands, my husbands on the other hand would be closer to Good Housekeeping. Tell him I love the Limeade recipe, he had me at GET A LIFE. :-)

Posted by: dmd | October 24, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

TBG, inform your husband that it is not necessary to warp the pages of the tv guide (which, come to think of it, will no longer work in the new, larger format. simply lay your fork across the top of the cup noodles. this works fine.

Posted by: sparks | October 24, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

While I have not seen the VO5 commercial, I can definitively state that Chinese students do not wear Mao jackets or have uniform haircuts. I know because I had a potluck dinner with five of them last night and they were indistinguishable from the 'American' members of the school International Student Association, many of whom are ethnically Chinese.

If you look on my blog, you can see a picture of a high school student from Beijing standing next to my son. As a hint, my son is the one wearing the Mandarin shirt with embroidered characters on it. The Chinese kid is the one in the denim jacket.

Shall we engage in some fake umbrage?

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Dadwannabe... I saw that VO5 ad yesterday and thought the same thing. So weird.

Almost like they had put it on the back burner--20 years ago.

Doesn't it make you wonder where the dissenting voices were when they were 1) coming up with the idea; 2) casting the commercial; 3) filming the commercia; 4) finalizing the commerical and 4) selling the commercial?

Posted by: TBG | October 24, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse


The V05 commercial shows a very Mao generation totalitarian environment where the teens/young adults all have the same hair (close cut bobs) and uniforms. They are marched into a classroom where they are seated and ordered in a very regimental style. One young woman and one young man both reach into their desks and instead of notebooks like the other students pull out, they pull out V05 styling gel (or something like it) and do their hair in a very spiky, New York club hair style. Then they run out of the classroom and go walking hand in hand down the hallway until the teacher chases them out screaming at them. They run away just to show their "uniqueness".

I was rather aghast that they would consider this sort of revolting stereotypical depiction suitable for national television.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 24, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I will equally assertively state that Asian based airlines have very strict height, weight and grooming requirements. In Narita Airport I saw a group of JAL flight attendants walking in single file and they could have been clones for all I could tell. It looked a little like a 5/8 scale Rocketttes audition.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

So, the boys and men can dress how they want, but the women have to conform to a standard? Sounds about right.

The commerical sounds like it could have been done much more tastefully, all right.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Back to the kit for a minute-- Angus is of course from the latin "Angus" meaning "lamb", so on several levels the image of cannibalism is indeed disturbing. Well done, Joel.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Although there was in the early 80s a very funny English commercial for, I think, a temp agency. Colourlessly uniformed masses marching through the salt mines (very Dr. Zhivago) when one of the proletariat is singled out by "Kelly Girl" and steps out of line, takes on colour (and a nice suit) and walks away from the drudgery. Was it anti-Soviet? Absolutely. Political? Dunno. But it wasn't racist, and that may have been why it was funny rather than offensive.

Posted by: Yoki | October 24, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Here is the commercial in question:

Isn't the internet wonderful?

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy. This is clearly pitched to the "rebellious" teen set.

A question: would this be racist if it was broadcast in Japan or other asian-majority country?

Posted by: WIlbrod | October 24, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

TGB- Thanks for the link, I'll make use of it. Placing it in my favourites folder revealed the only good thing about the new Internet Explorer 7 I've found.

RD- Great article. This Angus person is extremely dangerous and he will have to dealt with sooner or later, gastronomically or not. I'm very familiar with the Mad Scot Syndrome because my maternal grandfather was from Edinburgh and my paternal grandmother was from a long line of Chisholms. I've found that a stout shillelagh (inherited from the other lot) will keep them at arms length, if not drive them away.
On the plus side I didn't know there was such a thing as blended whiskey until well into my thirties.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 24, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Public Service Announcement:

American Sign Language classes (Free) No Registration - Just Show Up!

901 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. (202) 727-2145

Please confirm room number by checking the bulletin board in the Outer Lobby.


Mondays & Wednesdays October 2 - November 29, 2006:
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Tuesdays October 3 - December 12, 2006: 12:00 Noon - 1:00 p.m.
Tuesdays October 3 - December 12, 2006: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Thursdays October 5 - December 14, 2006: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays October 7 - December 16, 2006: 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 Noon

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

dwb - i'm sorry but it seems to me that quite a few people have that stereotypical image of china - i mean, you are always seeing "news" clips about synchronized everything where all the children look alike... i think the commercial was really over the top, but then again, aren't commercials sorta supposed to be?

yello - dude, your kid has an awesome shirt! where'd he get it?

Posted by: mo | October 24, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Superfrenchie, any idea on the origins of the french surname "Amiot" (Amyotte, Amiotte)?

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

going by Boodle time, I feel like I'm cutting out work early. Be careful, don't miss your bus.

Posted by: Pat | October 24, 2006 3:35 PM | Report abuse

From The Washington Post ONLINE:::>

Limbaugh: Fox Is Acting in Ad

Radio show host says actor exaggerates effects of disease in ads endorsing stem cell research.
-Daniela Deane and Matthew Mosk 3:36 p.m ET

This garbage was on the home page of I find it about as stupid a move as one could make on the subject. Does the Post feel that the claim is true? Why put it out there as something that appears to be true.

How many people may read this and figure that Rush is in on some breaking news?

COME ON!!!! If you want to be with the move to web, be more responsible. Rush's suggestion that gets run without a serious rebuke from knowledgleable scientists and doctors in the field is totally off base.

WAKE UP Washington Post. I appreciate that you are trying to run with a web version with articles going straight to the online version, but when did you feel that you had to take on the New York Daily News or some rag that you can get while passing thorugh the grocery checkout line.

What is really news is the fact that Rush has no clue what Parkinson's is all about. Rush, get out and visit some people. Get to know them. See if you still don't agree with Michael J. Fox after a bit of learning and understanding.

AND WashPost, you should probably come out with some journalism work on the topic. There lies a bit of responsibility at your feet now. Look around, you may find it. Possibly go and talk to Fox and assertain if he was "faking." Do some serious reporting, would ya?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 24, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse


My son's shirt was bought while riding a river boat on the Perfume River just outside of Hue, Vietnam. It's a pretty common practice there to hit up the tourists for souvenirs when they can't easily escape.

Here is a picture of my son modeling an embroidered silk reversible robe that cost something outrageous, like ten bucks.

Clothing is pretty cheap in Vietnam. The overhead in getting there and back is pretty steep.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I think the point of the Rush article is to ridicule his frightfully callous opinion and indirectly support the candidates that Fox is backing (including Ben Cardin, which at least gives the story a local angle). This of course plays into the liberal MSM stereotype that people have of the WaPo. Rush baited a trap and someone took it. Rush has no credibility to lose and only publicity to gain. Overall, a tasteless gambit.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Jkt...

That's how you see it, but most people don't read like that. They see: Fox Is Acting in Ad. They also don't see anything else that suggests that this is probably not so.

The rest of the article was pretty lame... at best a sublte jab at Rush. Not much meat on the bones.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 24, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod - how's this site for learning ASL?

(i can't make any of those classes you mentioned b/c of my work schedule)

Posted by: mo | October 24, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

DM, nice to hear from you, when I looked that article it is linked to another article on Fox. It explains why he did the commercials and about stem cell research.

A quote from Fox following up on Rush's comment would have been nice.

Posted by: dmd | October 24, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

yello - DARN! that shirt is wicked cool! :(

Posted by: mo | October 24, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

After this news on Stem Cell research for Parkinsons the other day, Rush's comments seem like a cheap shot. Of course I am Canadian and have a soft spot for Fox.

Posted by: dmd | October 24, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

dmd, same back to you.

Yes, I always think that a reputable paper/web site should LEAD with the truth, because that is what most people remember.

I take jkt's point that they are subtlely mocking Rush, but that isn't what many people take away from it. For about 40% of America, they see the ad, they see the headline (assuming that any of the 40% read the WashPost online) and they think that it is true.

I hope everyone here is fine!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 24, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I see we are on the homepage. Now we are going to get all these protests from committed vegetarians.

And after all the nice things we said about her father.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 24, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

CNN is about to do a story on Micheal J. Fox 5:38

Posted by: Boko999 | October 24, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

It brings to mind that old saying 'all around a pigs ass is pork'.

Posted by: jorge | October 24, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

From Yesterday about Apples and Melville:

Wilbrod> It is our mistake to um, foist our elite cultivars on them, charge for them, and then leave the farmers to find out the cultivars aren't adapted enough.

Mostlylurking> What disturbs me is when seed companies patent a seed and make it illegal for farmers to save the seed from the plants, thus forcing them to buy seed every year.

... so the consensus is not so much that we're paying too little to acquire genetic material but that we're charging too much to lease it out.

If I were you, I wouldn't be posting any of this if I had an axe to grind.

There are nearly 10**4 (10,000) named varieties known in cultivation world-wide. Only about 10**2 (100) have any pretension to commercial use, and about 90% of the revenue extracted from the apple harvest is generated by just 10**1 (10) varieties. The number of rootstocks in common use is probably less than a dozen. We are at severe risk of an apple famine if some apple disease or other suddenly develops a more virulent strain than normal.

A third of the commercial apple crop is raised in China (Phillips). The paradoxical irony is that it is not US horticulturalists that are exploiting third-word markets. Indeed, US growers are being undercut by importers.

Apple propagation is peculiar because apples are not bred. Most varieties, whether they produce fertile pollen or not, require it to set and ripen fruit. Pollen from a closely related tree won't work. Thus, every fertile seed is a cross between two unrelated strains and will not grow true to either parent. However, our prehistoric ancestors discovered that valuable varieties could be preserved, cultured, and distributed by grafts.

From time to time, superior strains have been discovered as volunteer trees growing from discarded seed. Genetic sports with slightly better color or conformation have been noticed as a single branch growing on a parent tree. Relatively recently, large research institutions have been raising tens of thousands of seedlings to maturity and screening them for commercial interest to arrive at one or two of value every dozen years or so.

After a superior strain has been identified and tested, introducing it takes several years. I guess that patents are filed at the last possible minute. By the time a variety gains general acceptance and peaks in the market, its patent has probably nearly run out.

Take, for example, Honeycrisp™, patented by the University of Minnesota in 1988.

o Luby, Jim, and David S. Bedford. Apple tree: Honeycrisp. Regents of the University of Minnesota, assignee. 7 Nov. 1988. Patent PP07197. 24 Oct. 2006 <>.

Here is the story of its discovery. Reading past the hype, one dimly appreciates what an enormous investment is made in the endeavor to develop better varieties:

o Sponsel, Topper. "Apple Varieties." 14 Oct. 2006. Minnesota Harvest. 24 Oct. 2006 <>.

Presumably the patent and the trademark on the name create a brand in the mind of the consuming public that can be defended against acts that would dilute its impact such as nurseries palming off inferior varieties as Honeycrisp™, distributors selling poor quality fruit, and growers depressing the retail price by planting too many acres to the variety.

o Phillips, Becky. "Innovation, Specialization Grow with World Apple Market." October 29, 2004. WSU Today Online. Washington State U. 24 Oct. 2006 <>.

I should note that mistaking one variety for another is a likelyhood. Many commercial varieties are superficially similar. It takes an expert to distinguish those less common. The only stopgap is good record keeping. For lack of it, many less-than-outstanding heritage varieties have lost their identity and faded away since the dawn of the Industrial Age.

The lineage of Honeycrisp™ shows how critical good records are. The patent states that it is a cross between Macoun and Honeygold. However, DNA analysis shows that this is not the case. Rather, it is a cross between Keepsake and another, as yet, unidentified parent (Sponsel).

Big universities are no less mercenary than big agribusiness when it comes to extracting gain from their patents.

"As prices for apples have dropped, some growers have turned to illegal trees that can be planted for $2-$3 per tree compared to $6-$8 a tree for licensed, commercial trees."

The cost of arbitrating unlicensed plantings can be between $3 and $6.50 per tree, so it may be nearly as cost-effective to apologize after being found out than to plant legitimate stock to begin with.

"Most definitely there should be fewer apple trees planted, which will translate into fewer growers and an overall stronger apple industry.

"'We've got to get strong right now to fight the principle problem, which is China,' Ballew said. 'If it's just price, China will win out every time,' he said."

o Gentry, Karen. "Nurseries Want to Stop Illegal Trees." Fruit Growers News. 2002. 24 Oct. 2006 <>.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | October 24, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

any particular reason that the boodle is back on central time?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | October 24, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Today's kit was classic Achenbach man humor. So funny. And superfrenchie's 11:21 AM post was humorously true. Anybody who takes offense needs to go outside and count acorns for a while. Or clouds. Or cows....

Posted by: Random Commenter | October 24, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Edmonton might be cold but Saskatoon is colder, and Prince Albert even colder than that. One Christmas it was so cold on our trip back home that the plug in for the car's block heater broke off when mr. dr touched it.

And if you are not sure what a block heater is or does, you have not lived where its cold.

Posted by: dr | October 24, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Back in the 70's I revived a Datsun from a near death experience. It didn't have a block heater but I was able to buy an electric dipstick for it. Still makes me smile. Electric dipstick.

Breaking News:
Lou Dobbs just mentioned cartoonist Ralph Steadman memoir of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
Dobbs comment? "Kurt Vonnegut likes it, thats all you or I need to know"
I'm flummoxed.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 24, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Dang! I've been hungry for Cincinnati Chili (Skyline, in particular) for weeks now. I'll try to make some this weekend and let you know how it goes. (And what would go better after Skyline than Cincy's Graeter's Pumpkin ice-cream?)

DWB, just struck me as a typical commercial (i.e., dumb), but I can see how someone could be offended by the stereotype. The thing that struck me is that it's a love story (sex sells?). The initial smiles, the product (probably hair wax) is hidden in her desk as a surprise with a note. They both get kicked out together, . . . his hair looks better than hers--bringing A. Silverstone's *Clueless'* line of "He does dress better than I do. What would I bring to the relationship?" to mind.

In GW's online discussion today, he had a "pupdate" on his new dog. Wilbrodog, can we have a pupdate?

Posted by: dbG | October 24, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse

One of my more pleasant tasks is to make up the Christmas invites to the staff party. In fact its kind of a light day for for 2 of us. This annual ritual took place today.

Our invite is simple. It says "Please join us to celebrate the season at (insert boss name), (insert boss address) Best wishes for a wonderful holiday. rsvp to (insert contact name and phone number)"

This is the sum total of our invite. We worked on this for hours along with cute photo for the front of the invite. We took our time and agonized over wording. Sounds Ok, doesn't it.

We printed this up, and they turned out really nice. Except that right now the highly paid secretarial and managerial staff (me) is sitting here figuring out how to insert the date and time without making it look like we forgot it.

Posted by: dr | October 24, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Hi RD Padouk: Not sure about that Stephen King reference but can offer this gem I use when teaching about passive and active verbs:

From p. 122 of SK's _ON Writing: A Memoir of the Craft_:

Verbs come in two types: active and passive. With an active verb, the subject of the sentence is doing somthing. With a passive verb, something is being done to the subject of the sentence. The subject is just letting it happen. You should avoid the passive tense. I'm not the only one who says so; you can find the same advice in _The Elements of Style_.

Messrs. Strunk and White don't speculate as to why so many writers are attracted to passive verbs, but I'm willing to; I think timid writers like them for the same reason timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe. There is no troublesome action to contend with; the subject just has to close its eyes and think of England, to paraphrase Queen Victoria. I think unsure writers also feel the passive voice somehow lends their work authority, perhaps even a quality of majesty. If you find instruction manuals and lawyers' torts majestic, I guess it does.
Some students like the "cred" of SK better than Strunk and White. But others soften when I remind them that they already know White, through Charlotte and Wilber.

Pat, I like my "paper ladies" who deliver my post early in the morn, by van. Double bagging on rainy days, they customize service for the elderly and infirm, and new-baby family. They will leave the van and deliver to the porch for those customers.

Where are the paper boys and girls, these days?

I was a substitute on a paper route, long ago and far away, for the _Great Falls Evening Tribune_" Girls, with paper route brothers, could sub. We could also fold papers at the route house, for a quarter.

In my crock pot as I type, this upstart chili:

White Chili
Chicken breasts cooked to shreds
white cannolini beans (add at end)
broth seasoned with garlic, white onions, cumin, canned diced jalapeno chilies

Serve with rooster sauce on the side, AKA Tabasco brand

Posted by: College Parkian | October 24, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Sparks -- The Mommy blog did not take up the authenticity of the cancer claim, but did crab about the guest blogger's:

*misuse of her child as a "work assistant"

*specific and general worthiness of single mommy adopthood

*the ME-ness of wanting to be a mother before 40
Then I stopped reading.

Dear Dooley! Thank you so much for the bone alerts. I may be able to skip out on soccer for that day. We once went fossil hunting with Peter Kranz, the local dinosaur-guy. I think you are from way-up north. Next time you swing this way, you may want to look Peter Kranz up.

Posted by: College Parkian | October 24, 2006 6:39 PM | Report abuse

dr, your comment had me smiling. My older daughter wanted to have a Halloween party this year. So we helped do up the invites, including all the pertinent details, including insructions to the new house (a little difficult to locate) sent them out. Unfortunately we didn't reference a calendar. The day is right but the date is wrong.

I am now preparing for what is evolving into some sort of 11 year old extravaganza. There will be costumes (mom and dad included), a talent show (children arranged) that includes amps, dancing, younger children to keep number 2 happy, a paid musician to play guitar for the kids (dad arranged).

If I survive this weekend life will be good.

Posted by: dmd | October 24, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I never heard that putting beans in chili is some sort of sacreligious act until today. Hmm. Just made a big pot of it two weekends ago and, yes, I put kidney beans in it. I thought the only rule was that it had to be hot enough to make Satan squirm.

I also put veggies in mine (another faux pas, from what I'm reading), but I was under the impression these were the traditional ones -- tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, more peppers, more onions, more garlic, tons of cayenne and (my secret ingredients) curry powder, a beer and a few shots of Irish. I also throw in a generous amount of black pepper, crushed red pepper, and white pepper.

In other words, if you eat my chili you are guaranteed to have "monkey butt" in about two hours. I think the beans (while apparently not acceptable to purists) provide an extra explosive/ballistic quality that just adds to the fun.

dbG... glad to see there's another fan of Skyline here. I lived in Dayton for a while and that's where I was first introduced to the concept of pasta topped with chili. I was immediately addicted.

Regarding grandmothers and throwing things in a pot...

My great-grandma used to make turtle soup. Picture an 80-something straight-off-the-boat German woman pulling a 30 pound snapping turtle out of the creek behind her house (she'd catch them with giant hooks baited with parts of chickens she slaughtered herself). I'll spare the details of how she did the turtles in. In any case, turtle soup is one of the most amazing dishes I've ever had in my life. Western Pennsylvania snappers taste like every kind of meat you've ever met -- some parts taste like chicken, others like pork, others like beef (you get the picture). It was actually more of a stew than a soup (there were dumplings and the broth was very thick), but whatever you want to call it, it was delicious.

Posted by: martooni | October 24, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks CP - I think the paraphrase I referenced was from "Danse Macabre," but it has been a long time ago now.

I really liked the quote on passive verbs, although I fear I am now cursed to forever associate them with Queen Victoria getting all freaky with Prince Albert.

Coincidentally, this evening my son is doing a report on King's short story "The Monkey."

Later on I will get to review my son's work. History has shown that this can be an acrimonious process since, like many a 15 year old, he does not take guidance well.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 24, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I have a blog that's updated almost daily. I haven't gotten around to today (no photographs), but let's say we happened to be in Chinatown to enjoy the horses stabled out on F street awaiting the International horse show. Wilbrod didn't appreciate me trying to be a horse whisperer; apparently whining after horses is not "whispering". Like Wilbrod knows about sound, right?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 24, 2006 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Whoops! my blog is at:

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 24, 2006 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Hi RD.

Editing children is hard. Somewhere between 15 and 17, you may want to hire a college student for this. I sometimes refer my writing students to families looking for writing support.

I may recommend that short story to my 13 year old. He has been watching Alfred Hitchcock movies lately. In his writing journal he is to both write and collect paragraphs.

His writing curriculum indentifies these types of paragraphs:


His paragraph lately center around his reaction to AH movies.

Posted by: College Parkian | October 24, 2006 8:05 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, I never understood the appeal of passive verbs. Maybe it's in part to load the sentence with nouns, and not to think too much about the relationships in specific detail.

In ASL, the passive voice isn't really there unless you chose to be extremely literal in translating from English (and purists would say then you ain't signing ASL).

English uses the passive voice much more than you'd think for some common constructions.

"There is milk in the refrigator."

How would you write that without the passive voice whatsoever? Just to state the spatial location of the milk?

In ASL we literally use "have" like "hai" in Hindi (have) or "hay" (there is) in Spanish, almost.


So you can imagine that overusing the passive voice hasn't been much of a problem for me.

However I can remember one class assignment where my deaf partner, being the better typist, typed up a story, and she kept changing the simple past to the past imperfect in every case. It drove me crazy.

"We rode out." No, she had to write "We were riding out". "The dragon flamed at us", she had to write as "The dragon was flaming at us."
I never figured out why, because in many cases it was actually inappropriate.

Fortunately I got to present it and the interpreter read it and then chose to interpret it how I was doing it, bugger the 'ings'. ARRRGGGGHHHH. What motivation to learn how to type.

MO, you need to SEE the actual sign to learn them, because ASL has a lot of inflection.

This site has religious signs only, but you can see the actual signs at least. I can see I will need to research some good ASL video dictionaries online.

This will show you the various signs, but not the grammar.

Anybody other than MO up for a sign-language BPH?

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael,
Nice to see you again! I agree, the headline for the Rush idiocy could have been better. Like, Idiot Limbaugh Accuses Fox of Faking It. Rush has since apologized, but goes on to savage Fox anyway:

What a maroon.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 24, 2006 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Sparks, I've noticed that the Mommybloggers today seem to be protecting the guest writer.. Strange. Little humor, if any, though.

Wilbrod, I got off the escalator at the Verizon Center yesterday, took a wiff, and immediately recognized the danger from a past experience. Common advice I get from strangers, "Watch your step", which I translate into the boy scout motto "Be Prepared".

Posted by: Pat | October 24, 2006 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Ain't that whiff of horse wonderful?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 24, 2006 9:04 PM | Report abuse

On our cross-country trip this summer, my wife's one must eat was Skyline Chili. We found one just a few miles from the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson.

Also, I showed the VO5 commercial to our Chinese student and he was more perplexed than offended. He wasn't sure they were really speaking Chinese since he couldn't understand what they were saying. We also had to explain the concept of school uniforms.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 24, 2006 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I know that Skyline, yello. Good choice. White Castle, anyone?

Grad school at Miami-Ohio--although I'm happy to be living in cheesesteak territory again, I miss Cincy specialties.

Posted by: dbG | October 24, 2006 9:29 PM | Report abuse

The passive voice has its place, especially when the goal is to avoid placing blame or taking responsibility, e.g., "Mistakes were made."

Posted by: Tom fan | October 24, 2006 9:40 PM | Report abuse

My recommendation for autumn cooking: eat like Cro-Magnon!

And you don't even need a cave!

Just get a pierrade.

A pierrade is basically an appliance made of a stone (pierre => pierrade). In th eold time, you would heat the stone in the fire and start cooking your meat, vegetables, shrimps, etc... on top of it. In the not so old days, you'd put the stone in the oven. Nowadays, you just plug it in.

Here is a picture of a simple one:

The one I have is a pierrade-raclette combo. Ah, raclette, that would be my other choice for an autumn dinner. Here is the combo, with the raclette below the pierrade:

Since a typical appliance like this works for as many as 8, the 12 of you would need just 2 of those for a great Achenblog party (OK, 3 if you count Mudge's ego).

Let's end with a song!

L'homme de Cro,
L'homme de Ma,
l'homme de Gnon
L'homme de Cro-Magnon, pon pon
L'homme de Cro, de Magnon
Ce n'est pas du bidon
L'homme de Cro-Magnon

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 9:45 PM | Report abuse

haha - my google ads:

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Big Valley Buffalo
Premium USDA grass fed bison meat 8 T-Bones only $90 (shipping incl.)

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Posted by: L.A. lurker | October 24, 2006 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Tomfan, I prefer:
"Somebody cracked the gates of H** open, and out came some wicked demons to mess up the world, including my presidency."

Now that's REALLY assigning blame. Not.

We do have "messed up", "f** up" and so on as verbs in their own right, used much the same as in English. We do have professional terminology in ASL ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to say, Welcome back, omnidude! It's been awhile.

Loved your Guest Kit idea. I can see it now: The title -- "Guest Kit, by Omni" in big bold letters, and then, in the "body" of the Kit, in a more modest font, "Guest Kit."

There's something so *omni* about it.

Posted by: Tom fan | October 24, 2006 9:47 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod, do you swear in asl?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | October 24, 2006 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Nice picture of a pierrade-raclette combo at the bottom of that site:

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 24, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Just saw the Asian/Chinese whatever commercial. I thought it was cute.

My problem is that I am so old that political correctness came waaaay after I became aware of the world, and I often go out without my PC filter. The commercial hurt no one, had no bad language, no animals were killed, no person was naked, the people were happy. If it said, in some viewer's minds, that people in China/Asia are usually forced to conform to certain standards and welcome VO5 as a way to escape regimentation -- well, golly! Those viewers might go buy VO5.

I enjoyed yellojkt's remark that they had to explain the concept of school uniforms to their exchange student. Just as someone should explain to me what is offensive about the commercial.

Posted by: nellie | October 24, 2006 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Also, welcome back Les, and CowTown, whom I don't recall having seen around for some time. And Dolphin Michael.

[I hope I haven't left anyone out. Wait -- Kotter? (I know -- *groan*.]

Posted by: Tom fan | October 24, 2006 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I haven't tried cooking with rocks yet, Superfrenchie. Sounds like hibachi to me. But yes, very Cro-magnon. What kind of stone is preferred?

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 10:31 PM | Report abuse

sparks, you said

"pat: i was once in san francisco for snow in august. nobody believes this. i swear it's true."

Would that have something to do with the snowboarding and ski-jumping on Fillmore Street last year?

Posted by: ac in sj | October 24, 2006 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I haven't tried cooking with rocks yet, Superfrenchie. Sounds like hibachi to me. But yes, very Cro-magnon. What kind of stone is preferred?

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 10:32 PM | Report abuse


(A new emoticon?)

Posted by: Tom fan | October 24, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Re: the V05 commercial

First, I don't think they are speaking Chinese. I've played it several times and I can't really make the sound come close to anything resembling intelligent words in Mandarin (which is the more common dialect for movies/television/etc).

Second, the reason that it was perplexing to the Chinese student and offensive to Asian Americans is that it is a very bad stereotype of what Americans think of Chinese. The Chinese student was perplexed because it was about as accurate as Disney gets with their rewrites of classic stories (much as I love them, they deviate pretty far from the original material). The Asian Americans that were born here or have been here longer realize that this type of stereotype perpetuates some common misunderstandings about the Chinese. The concept that they are still under very strict 1950's Maoist communism with regimented ways, uniforms with very little individualism or freedom of even thought is about as dated as Ozzie and Harriet.

The problem is that these stereotypes cause all sorts of uncomfortable misunderstandings. As a middle-age native born American, I still get asked "Where are you from?" and when I answer "Pittsburgh" still often get "No...I mean where are you originally from?" What gave it away, my accent (I don't have one...if anything I speak Mandarin with a slight accent which usually throws Chinese off. Mainlanders think I am from Taiwan, Taiwanese think I am from the Mainland, etc). I've been asked, what "my" people think of things. Unfortunately, although my parents came from mainland China, they came over 50 years ago and even they are much more American than Chinese these days. These types of stereotypes keep a lot of Asians in mainstream America from being able to assimilate as easily as others do. They're always viewed as outsiders and Asians rather than as Americans. It's a syndrome called the "perpetual foreignor". As a native born American, I'm sometimes put into the position of being an outsider, different, not to be trusted.

In socio-economic terms, the "perpetual foreignor" syndrome causes Asians to get passed over for many things. Based on percentages, Asians are the class most discriminated against for management positions, tenured positions, elected positions, and government appointments. If you compare the number of people in those positions as a percentage relative to the percentage of the population, you'll find that Asians are the most underrepresented portion of the population in most non-education based advancement positions.

Sorry...this has hit a personal peeve. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 24, 2006 11:06 PM | Report abuse

That looks like a grinning Mad-Eye Moody emoticon, Tom Fan.

L.A. Lurker, since hands can always be washed with soap, ASL signers *do* swear, although probably not remotely as often as some comedians do.

1) ASL can leave VERY little to the imagination, especially with adept use of classifiers. The two most common slurs are the genderized B- cuss words since the signs are relatively neutral in appearance.

2) There's always an ongoing use of swearing euphenisms such as abbreviations, etc. You know what they mean, though because of fact number 3...

3) A lot of asl signers like to stop themselves from signing the actual obscenity and mouthing it instead in English. Even people who would NEVER swear in ASL routinely mouth the expletive in English (Ford and Saturn being the most popular ones, although I've seen A**).

Those same signers NEVER say "Pardon my English" afterwards, but they should.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 24, 2006 11:13 PM | Report abuse

i quoted a passage about ethnicity that might interest you in the previous boodle.
(see L.A. lurker | October 22, 2006 09:31 PM)

it basically supports what you're saying.

i also thought the commercial was totally dumb and weird because of its out-of-date communist stereotype.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | October 24, 2006 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm familiar with the perpetual foreigner syndrome (ahem).
I'll say that most of my asian classmates in HS and college were real asians--immigrants or foreign students.

As for "what do your people think...?" You ain't the only one who gets that kind of stuff.

I was told as a young child that when I shame myself, I also shame all deaf people everywhere. It was the meanest thing I ever heard in my life, and the truest, from a woman that I detested.

It's hard for people to look past the "difference" and see the person as a person and not a product of a stereotype, especially when the minority is really tiny (Deaf people are less than 1% of the population), and you may well be the first one that people meet.

At least since then, deaf people have been more and more represented on TV in various ways, so there's a little more awareness now than there was then.

There are still some stereotypes that ticks me and many deaf people off.

I can't begin to express how much I hate Children of a Lesser God. Even the title alone is offensive ;). The portrayal of deaf culture is quite flawed.

First off, It's also kind of improbable that an audiologist and speech teacher would have remained so oblivious of deaf culture. And that voicing everything she says? HOW annoying is that? He's more likely to be targeted for a homicide than of a romance, doing that. Smart ass.

It's necessary for the stage production, but the movie, come on!! Have you never heard of subtitling? Or voice overs? And I haven't even gotten to the real stuff. I quit in disgust midway through the movie.

My hard of hearing friend said in HS she watched it, liked it, and didn't see anything wrong with it, as she herself hadn't really learned sign yet, but when she got to Gallaudet and got fully immersed in the deaf culture she began to understand why people were so critical of the movie.

Aside from that movie, my main objection with the continuing TV and movie portrayals is that Marlee Matlin always seems to SPEAK when it's near the end of the show and it's crunch time even if she's been signing all along. That's fine for her, but not all deaf people can speak well.

Even those who can, often would actually break down and be tongue-tied, sound strangled, and/or stutter in high-pressure dramatic moments such as she breezes through. So reality is often swapped for cheap conventional drama. It gets a little cookie-cutter after a while. I don't think this is one hundred percent her dramatic interpretion at all, but the pressure of the expectations she has to work with.

I don't believe that commerical says anything about Asian-Americans to people, but as you say, many people have no clue that you're not COD direct from China so it does affect you.

Point taken.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 12:00 AM | Report abuse

LA Lurker--thanks. Over the weekend and yesterday I was only skimming the blog and ended up skipping large chunks of the blog and I missed your posting. Very interesting. I've hunted up Mary Waters original white paper and I intend to read it. Thanks again.

One of my sources for some of the terms and arguments that I whole-heartedly recommend is the book, "Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White" by Frank Wu. Frank is a lawyer and the first Asian American tenured professor at traditionally black Howard University in DC. It's an excellent read if you are interested in race issues, particularly Asian American ones.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 25, 2006 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Hey, DadWannaBe, I see your point.

I wonder if the commercial was intended to portray a contemporary China, or a more historical one. (Or maybe none of the above. Maybe the creators of the ad simply didn't think it through properly -- and I'm not saying that's an excuse.) If the advertisers think they're portraying a contemporary China, well, that's pretty disgraceful. And even if they intended to portray 1950s-era China, then, given that many viewers in the U.S. might not appreciate the differences between the two, you're right in saying that the ad only serves to perpetuate stereotypes. For many Americans, it simply isn't obvious enough that the scenario portrayed in the ad is a throwback to the 1950s.

Now, if an ad like that were shown in China, where people *would* appreciate the diffences between contemporary and 1950s-era China, that could be a different story -- assuming the advertisers got the historical details right and people weren't left scratching their heads, as they seem to be in the case of this ad. It sounds like this one was made for an American market.

And how weird if the people in the commercial aren't even speaking a Chinese language. (They're not speaking Mandarin, but is it possible they're speaking Cantonese? Or did the people at the ad agency just think they could make them speak some made-up nonsensical language and no-one would know the difference? If the latter, then wow, what ignorance.)

It would be interesting to know what they were thinking and also what market they intended to target.

Posted by: Tom fan | October 25, 2006 12:07 AM | Report abuse

LA Lurker--thanks. Over the weekend and yesterday I was only skimming the blog and ended up skipping large chunks of the blog and I missed your posting. Very interesting. I've hunted up Mary Waters original white paper and I intend to read it. Thanks again.

One of my sources for some of the terms and arguments that I whole-heartedly recommend is the book, "Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White" by Frank Wu. Frank is a lawyer and the first Asian American tenured professor at traditionally black Howard University in DC. It's an excellent read if you are interested in race issues, particularly Asian American ones. The book is available on

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 25, 2006 12:09 AM | Report abuse

"If you compare the number of people in those positions as a percentage relative to the percentage of the population, you'll find that Asians are the most underrepresented portion of the population in most non-education based advancement positions."

Class as in "ethnic class", I assume? Can you link to the sources of such info? Is this also broken down by gender, naturalized vs Us-born citizens, etc?

If you consider disability as a class, I suspect that class would replace Asians as the "most underrepresented" anything.

Thanks for sharing, it's important for others to understand this point about depersonalization of others by repeated exclusion, labelling, pigeonholing, etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the book recommendation, DWB.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 12:15 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I am also bothered by the general limited portrayal of Asian-americans on TV and the screen. I think that goes a long way toward perpetuating the foreigner syndrome.
It's nice to see some shows consciously go for a more natural casting array (I refuse to call it multicultural casting if all the characters are supposed to be Americans), but they are the exception.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 12:18 AM | Report abuse


I really think that the advertisers just didn't think. They came up with a cute idea (just the reaction some of the Achenbloggers had) and didn't think beyond that. The problem is that this type of behavior is socially irresponsible. Promoting outdated and misinformed stereotypes via large mass media advertising only makes said stereotypes more accepted and harder to change. It strengthens the subconscious perspective of said stereotypes.

Wilbrod--I understand. One of the problems that majority (whether they are the unimpaired, white or other majority) is that they frequently don't understand some of the underlying issue. The fact that the majority represent only themselves and that minority members seem to represent their minority is rarely recognized. A majority individual's behaviour is typically attributed to them as an individual. More often a minority individual's behaviour is considered characteristic of the minority.

I have to say that I love of my favorite movies, but I like it for the story, not the depiction of the hearing impaired world. Although I only know a little about the hearing impaired, I know enough to realize that it isn't very accurate. However, I also realize that most of the mainstream have no way of knowing that. I worked for several years with a hearing impaired woman who was a good friend. We were lunch companions for 3-4 years and she taught me to sign. Unfortunately, I only sign PSE and not ASL. Signing with me is like talking to a third grade kid. But I know enough to sign to music!

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 25, 2006 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod--there are a lot of references in Frank Wu's book that cite sources for the statistics. I've only given a remembered generalization, but he does give chapter and verse (at least through the footnotes).

And yes, I meant "ethnic class". I would definitely not bet any money against you on the issue of the disabled. I don't know the comparison, but it wouldn't surprise me that they were even less represented than any ethnic minority. And with several good friends who are blind, my wife and brother-in-law being visually impaired and knowing a deaf woman, I have seen from the sidelines many of the problems facing the disabled.

And I agree on your point about the limited portrayal of Asians in media. One theater group that I enjoyed reading about is a group called East West Players in the LA area. They do many theater standards with all-Asian casts to try to break down the barriers with seeing Asians in traditionally non-Asian roles.

As a theater actor, I prefer to work mostly in the community theater arena rather than the professional arena because in professional theater I would tend to be limited to Asian character parts or race-appropriate parts more often than note (even here in the DC area which is more race sensitive than most areas). In community theater, since talent level varies so much more, I get more opportunities to "go against type" than I would in the professional arena. Unfortunately, Hollywood has not advanced that much past this concept.

Think through television over the last 20 years and try to come up with more than a handful of Asians portraying characters other than stereotypes, like the Asian beauty/femme fatale, the Asian small business owner (who doesn't think of Pat Morita as Arnold), The Hawaiin detectives ala Magnum PI or Hawaii 5-0, and the Chinese bad guys like Fu Manchu or Chinese mafia types. BD Wong and George Takei are only two of the few that have managed to break out of the molds and not that far themselves.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 25, 2006 12:39 AM | Report abuse


i know the essay from an anthology (rereading america) that i used to teach freshman composition.

a couple of other intersting essays (if you feel like looking them up) are:

Ronald Takaki
"Race at the End of History"
it starts off with him being asked where he's from in a taxi.

Eric Liu
"Notes of a Native Speaker" (from The Accidental Asian, 1998)

Posted by: L.A. lurker | October 25, 2006 12:50 AM | Report abuse


Have you had a chance to see the new series "Heroes" on NBC? The only Asian character is a stereotypically nerdy, bumbling, clumsy, bespectacled Japanese guy. Much like those portrayed in the movie "Gung Ho" (which is a whole 'nother can of worms). You're right, Hollywood is not even close to where community theater is.

I live in Honolulu where a lot of the community theater talent, local television personalities and entertainers are Asian American or Pacific Islander. Sadly, it's difficult for these people to make it outside of the islands, even though many of them are incredibly talented. It's the shows about Hawaii with characters that don't reflect the local culture that seem to make it in the big time (as in your example of Magnum P.I. or even Hawaii 5-0).

I think the East West Players are a hugely underated group. They give APAs a great opportunity to play meaty leading roles in mainstream productions. Still, they are hardly a blip on the radar screen outside of L.A. proper.

And, while we're on the issue of Asian Americans and race in America - I'd like to suggest the book, "Margins and Mainstreams" by Gary Okihiro (Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia).

I'm sure my post is way too late for all of you and may get lost if a new kit is up by morning on the east coast. But, I thought I'd jump in.

Posted by: Aloha | October 25, 2006 1:37 AM | Report abuse

dbG... I didn't get a chance to commend you on your newfound ability to invite folks over at the spur of the moment.

I come from a family of neatniks; I am not one myself. My parents' house always looked like the houses on TV--no clutter, no piles of books or magazines. My sisters' houses look the same way.

Why is it that some of us can't invite someone to sit on the couch without moving the morning paper? Or a couple of books? Or a laptop or two? Or last night's dishes?

Anyway.. I'm proud of you.

Posted by: TBG | October 25, 2006 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes the sterotypes play to an advantage. My wife who was born in Vietnam is a elementary school gifted and talented math teacher, but she has never taken any math tougher than high school trig. My son is in his second year of AP Calculus, so they tend to assume my wife is the secret to his success. She has to explain that any genetic disposition for math did not come from her side of the family.

She also gets the "Where are you really from?" even from people who are Vietnamese since she does not look sterotypically Vietnamese. Everytime she talks to her mother, it seems there is more and more ethnic Chinese in her ancestry.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 25, 2006 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! *wave*

Given that the timestamps are already back on Standard Time, I shudder to think what might happen Sunday morning about 2 a.m.


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 25, 2006 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Just to throw a little gasoline on the fake umbrage fire, this cartoon ran in the WaPo.

I want to point out three things. I am just the messenger and the strip does not reflect my views. Second, the dog and cat are notoriously and intentionally dim-witted and obnoxious. Finally, the Swiss are the real victims of this joke. Josh of Comics Curmudgeon calls it "the first Holocaust collaboration joke in the history of the comics."

Direct all hate mail to Darby Conley, he's used to it.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 25, 2006 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Hello Aloha, or Aloha, Aloha...

I grew up to mid-High School in Honolulu. Your post brought back so much. I especially remember noting when my family moved to the DC area that Asians seemed to be so much more "similar" to each other away from Hawaii.

Here, they didn't tend to fill in so much of the wide spectrum of people in every day life. It has been several decades, and yet, your point is still a good one. We, on the East Coast, just don't see Asians in many roles ... or expressing their talents like they do in Hawaii.

Your point is very good. We do stereotype... we as a society stereotype most minorities. This, btw, makes it so much easier for us to deal with our own little "melting pot" challenges. Shifting gears a bit, I can't help but remember what we did to the Japanese during WWII and how we are on the edge of doing the same to Americans of Middle Eastern descent.

I remember back when I would play in the stream that now runs through the East West Center with my buddy Eric when we were 7 or 8 years old. We built rafts and forts and caught the little fish in the stream. Now Eric is a fine legal mind serving those people so wronged during WWII and the native Hawaiians as well as teaching at the university.

You know, I think back on the people and the fact that, for the most part, what was great was that race wasn't such a defining factor on how much money you made or where you went to school. Much like geologists can look at an exposed side of a mountain and tell you what might be going on under the earth, here, in the DC area, you can just look at someone and guess at so much about their life. In Hawaii, it isn't that easy.

In our efforts to sauve our souls, we often still suggest that America is the Great Melting Pot. Well, if that were so, someone forgot to turn the heat up high enough to really get things going. BUT, in Hawaii, that happened and we should all appreciate the results. It was not unusual at all for Eric's family to invite me over to eat and spend time with his relatives when they came by. It was not unusual for friendships to be built that would cross any religious, ethnic or class lines.

To me, that is the great treasure of our 50th state, not the beauty of the islands or the weather. Sure there are problems, but at least you are free of the standard stereotypes... parents own lunch counters and kids are all brainiacs with glasses...

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 25, 2006 7:30 AM | Report abuse

True, yellojkt, sometimes stereotypes can work to one's favor. When I was single I suspect my name might have implied to some young women that I had certain characteristics believed to be associated with Italian men. Of course, inevitably the awful truth would come out when they discovered that I couldn't cook at all.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Gosh DM - Thank you for posting that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, RD, i did a stupid post. Just memories.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 25, 2006 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Sound report:

DadWannaBe, I found the Vivaldi piece that I'm going to learn in rememberence of the departed family and friends of the boodle. Although this selection is not what would be representative of a normal funeral setting, I think it fits in perfectly with the creative persons we have here.

the name of it is "Concerto in A Minor". It has a bitter-sweet melody, busy and just as life itself, it moves, glides, some disonence marks dramatic episodes, and several chapters, especially in the end, finish most elegantly.

this is the banjo version. Whacky, but most of us have heard the orchestrated version somewhere along the way. The midi format makes it irritatingly cluncky to listen to, but it was the only version I could find.

After I get a little more material, confidence, and time, I want to take my guitar to the street. Perhaps I'll show up in front of M&S one day.

Posted by: Pat | October 25, 2006 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Just checking in, have a busy day ahead. I will get back later, probably much later. Have a good day folks. And remember that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Thanks, dadwannabe, for the nice comment.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 25, 2006 8:08 AM | Report abuse

No! No! No! DM - I LOVED THAT POST! Please forgive me if you thought I was being sarcastic!!!

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Just checking in, have a busy day ahead. I will get back later, probably much later. Have a good day folks. And remember that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Thanks, dadwannabe, for the nice comment.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 25, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Just checking in, have a busy day ahead. I will get back later, probably much later. Have a good day folks. And remember that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Thanks, dadwannabe, for the nice comment.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 25, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Just checking in, have a busy day ahead. I will get back later, probably much later. Have a good day folks. And remember that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Thanks, dadwannabe, for the nice comment.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 25, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Just checking in, have a busy day ahead. I will get back later, probably much later. Have a good day folks. And remember that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Thanks, dadwannabe, for the nice comment.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 25, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Please forgive me if you thought I was being sarcastic!!!

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Heck - my remorse is so great I ended up posting it twice.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Gesundheit, Cassandra. *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 25, 2006 8:13 AM | Report abuse

One more thought about stereotypes. My maternal grandfather held some rather nasty opinions about dark skinned people.

Except, of course, for the ones he actually knew.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 8:20 AM | Report abuse

RD, sorry back. It is odd what memories get triggered with a simple comment from Aloha. Thanks to technology, I could even go and find a Sat Pic of my old house w/ Google and then get "driving" instructions to the stream.

Funny, my last homeroom teacher ended up with a co-star role on Hawaii 50. He used to say that he would quit teaching when my class graduated. One evening when I was in college and eating dinner in front of the tube, I look up to see Mr. Harrington talking to Steve McGarrett...

I assume that they were arresting yet another Chinese smuggler.

AND, I have a dream, that one day, everyone alive who has played in a high school band and who has plaed the Hawaii 50 theme at a sporting event would get together in one place and play it en masse.

If anyhting can bring peace to the world, that would.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 25, 2006 8:23 AM | Report abuse

So sorry about those multiple posts. The comment monster said they didn't go through. I'm off. I am so embarrassed.*sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 25, 2006 8:27 AM | Report abuse

DM, I like that comment and the whole idea of turning up the heat on the melting pot. Our societies seem so bent on focusing on differences today. Its easier to foucs on the things that irritate.

Posted by: dr | October 25, 2006 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I have to admit, I'm guilty of stereotyping too...

I consider everyone to be a kind, intelligent being until they prove otherwise.


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 25, 2006 8:45 AM | Report abuse

resistance is futile.

Posted by: ac in sj | October 25, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Just when you think you've seen it all in politics:

'Alien' hoping to abduct votes

Web Posted: 10/25/2006 12:55 AM CDT
Tracy Idell Hamilton
Express-News Staff Writer

McQUEENEY -- The race for U.S. House District 28 features two Democrats and an alien.

The alien, Ronald F. Avery, wears other hats -- bar owner, architect, author, musician, and a jaunty tri-corner number he wears for patriotic events and government protests. ...

Then there is, named after his 2002 book, "Alien Physics -- the Physical Operation Performed Upon the Cosmos." That's the one where he sets out to heal the rift between cosmology and theology. It's also where he acknowledges his alien transformation.

Those who seek intelligent life in the cosmos need look no further than the Christian God, Avery says. It is God who "operated on" Avery, transforming him into "a new hyperspace alien capable of eternal life in outer space." The good news? The operation is free and available to all mankind.

Avery prefers the terms of modern science, he says, because he's trying to reach out to nonbelievers, especially those of a scientific bent.

Posted by: Loomis | October 25, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

DM - Hey, there are days when all that gets me through are childhood memories.

When I was a kid we watched Hawaii 5-0 every week. The theme song prompted many a spontaneous outbreak of air guitar fever. "Book 'em Danno" became a favorite schoolyard catch phrase. And, I am ashamed to admit, I always had a little bit of admiration for the devilishly clever Wo Fat and his mini-sub. As an adult, I can see how Wo Fat could be considered an offensive stereotype. But we just thought he was cool.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Morning folks. Bright, clear blue skies here in Metro DC with what the weatherpeople sometimes refer to as a "busy breeze". Definitly jacket weather, though I don't think it got as cold last night as the night before. Still at the grindstone, so I'll check in as I can.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 25, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I am hoping, hoping that it's not in the local water supply. Remember the Heaven's Gate cult of about 10 years back? Marshall Applewhite Jr. was the leader, and his cremated remains--following the mass suicide in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., that he instigated--are in their final resting place here in town. His father, pastor Marshall Applewhite Sr., was born in San Antonio.

The cult members committed suicide over a few days in late March 1997. They died in shifts, with some members helping others take a lethal cocktail of phenobarbital and vodka before downing their own doses of the fatal mixture. Police found an eerily placid and orderly scene on March 26.

Heaven's Gate members believed that Hale-Bopp, an unusually bright comet, was the sign that they were supposed to shed their earthly bodies (or "containers") and join a spacecraft traveling behind the comet that would take them to a higher plane of existence.

Posted by: Loomis | October 25, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

This is interesting in the Ignatius column today -- U.S. secretly meeting with insurgents:

"If the Iraqi army can't control these areas, the only alternative may be, in effect, a Sunni militia drawn from the ranks of the insurgency. U.S. officials have been meeting secretly outside Iraq with insurgent leaders in an effort to draw them into such a framework."

Posted by: Achenbach | October 25, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Hi, y'all.

I'm sorry I haven't had time to Boodle this week, but I've been very busy with work and my paternal responsibilites.

In my spare time I've been writing per spec for some magazines and preparing to do some auto racing in JA's home town of Gainesville this weekend.

If you spot a very brightly painted Dodge Charger being towed by a yellow Dodge Ram crossing the Wilson Bridge and heading down I 95 at 0 dark 30 tomorrow, please feel free to honk and wave. I'll try to wave back. If I'm not asleep.

I'll try to do a quick report next week.

I'm too tired at the moment to generate umbrage or enough lowbrow humor to make myself smile, much less giggle.

Joel, tis Kit is Rough Draftworthy. Some might say is Too Good for the Boodle, but as an American, *nothing* is too good for *me*.

My oldest and dearest friend is of asian descent, and as long as I can remember he's been put in situations where folks do not expect him to have command of the English language and/or expect him to be able to speak (name your favorite language spoken in the Far East/Asia, including French), and he couldn't, or now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps, *wouldn't*. I do know that being judged by his appearance really irritated him, and I can't blame him for that, though there were definitely some anger management issues that manifested themselves in our teenage years...

Have a good weekend, ya'll.


Posted by: bc | October 25, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse


I so agree. I feel that way aobut this crazy xenophobia that we are getting foisted on us.

All along, I think that we are told that we should not like or distrust segments of the national or world population in a way that then takes our eye off the ball, as it were. Somehow, putting up a 700 mile fence along the Mexican/USA border is going to solve the FORD motor problem.

Being white, I say that white people should worry about what white people do to white people right here and not what some phantom force is plotting to do.

I know I am going to get it for that, but who cares!

Every second, I hear that we are spending $6,500 in Iraq (I love these "numbers"), but just assuming that it is close... a human can actually live for a year on what we spend in a second in Iraq(also assuming that they don't live in DC and don't eat out (or well)). That would be 60 people a minute or 3600 people an hour, or about 85,000 a day.... 31.5 million per year. That is 1/10th of the population of this country.

I don't think that we would have attacked Ireland, if it were reported that the IRISH may have WMDs or that they really didn't like us. But, because there was a natural tendency to accept that we "have a problem" with Iraqis, and Middle Easterners in general, that it was "easier" to invade that country and overthrown their ruler and occupy the country.

Let's just say that it was a convenient fact that aided in this aggression.

My dearly departed father used to say of the Federal Government that one of its major failures often is one of its saving graces... that it takes so long to reach conscensus and act. This factor stops so many stupid and rash actions.

Well, in this case, the Dems didn't have enough power and they were steamrolled by demogogic factors and hid their contempt of the idea of attacking Iraq. DR, I think that absolutely, our national willingness to demonize Iraqis in general made this easier to swallow for most.

I am not suggesting anything here that is new, other than to also focus on the factors that made it easy for us, as a nation, to follow along and provide the support that allowed the 2nd Iraq war.

Curiously, our fear of gays may have also played a role in cutting the number of translators and cultural specialists that we had available to support the occupation effort. ... not to mention that we didn't really seem to welcome too many Americans of arabic speaking distractions to join up.

The xenophobia takes one of our strengths, that of a culturally diverse country, and removes associated advantages.

Or as President Bush has said, "people who don't LOOK like us..."

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 25, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Okay, then maybe it's time to stop calling them "insurgents"

("insurgent: one who revolts against authority; especially, a member of a political party who rebels against its leadership"--American Heritage Dictionary)

and start calling them something more accurate--I've been advocating "resistance forces" as an alternative. They are resisting a foreign occupation, not rebelling against their own party--they attack Iraqis who are collaborating with the occupation forces. (I'm not saying they are the "good guys"--they are killing civilians, and so is the U.S., and I'm not seeing any good guys in this picture.)

Posted by: kbertocci | October 25, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, I would also mention chapter 20 of "Captured by Aliens", called 'Heaven's Gate'.

My favorite line, the last in the chapter: "And so they returned the telescope to the store, and asked for their money back."


Posted by: bc | October 25, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Maybe someone linked to this already, but the Mallaby piece the other day makes a strong case that the US is at a new low in terms of global power and influence and ability to tamp down problems as they arise. Kind of ironic given the cowboy rhetoric of the Administration. This follows from our discussion in the boodle of a couple of days ago. Note the shout-out to American business in his final graph:

"I'm not predicting the end of the American era, not by a long shot. The U.S. business culture is as pragmatic and effective as its political culture is dysfunctional. But has there been a worse moment for American power since Ronald Reagan celebrated morning in America almost a quarter of a century ago? I can't think of one."

Posted by: Achenbach | October 25, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

DM, just one question by encouraging a stronger melting pot aren't you encouraging more xenophobia, i.e. being different is bad. How do you define which cultural characteristics require melting away and which are acceptable?

Just curious. Had this theory held when my family emigrated, in order to comply with accepted white policy of the day our religion would have had to change, I don't think that was acceptable then or now.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 9:30 AM | Report abuse

DM just remembered todays article on the Rush/Fox comments.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

LindaLoo my hair's on fire with a cover story but at some point I'll try to scare up a URL (they're hard to scare sometimes) or two of our Heaven's Gate coverage in the Post from 1997. Marc Fisher and I worked on that a fair bit. I went to San Diego right after it happened.

bc, have a blast in Gainesville! You are the next "Big Daddy" Don Garlits.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 25, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

My mother was a high school guidance counselor and for a long time the "melting pot" metaphor was ignored in favor of "The Great Salad Bowl". Every group brought their own unique flavor and the mix was a delightful combination of all the pieces.

I used to nearly wretch every time I heard it.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 25, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse


Fair question. My definition of a melting pot is one where all cultures can coexist side-by-side and blended together. I am not suggesting de- or re-cluturalizing groups of people.

Say in Hawaii, there are strong efforts to maintain Chinese and Japanese culture through cultural centers and schools, but as a whole, their individual cultures get blended and adapted by the total population.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 25, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

kb - It is true that much of the violence is being done by those who oppose our presence in Iraq, and if we leave it is reasonable to expect they will become placated.

The problem is that there is also a simmering conflict between ethnic groups.
If we leave, it is widely feared that a brutal and prolonged civil war will occur.

Further, such a civil war could easily degenerate into a renewed Iran-Iraq conflict as Iran seeks to support the Shiites.

Finally, there are radical Kurds in both northern Iraq and southern Turkey who might exploit the chaos to violently carve out portions of each country for themselves.

So yes, if we were to leave tomorrow the "resistance forces" would be deprived of a target. It's what happens afterwards that gives people night sweats.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 25, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Joel.

It wouldn't suprise you to know that I've been to Ocala to visit (nay, a pilgrimage!)the Garlits museum, and that I've met him a few times. One of his Swamp Rat dragsters is in the Smithsonian Museum of Science & Technology, not sure if it's on display at the moment.

Interesting guy, very interesting thinker, particularly in the areas of DIY applied physics and engineering.


Posted by: bc | October 25, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

That was me. The submit button is so unforgiving.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Are asian people discriminated against or marginalized in America?
This evidence may be only anecdotal, but I'm sure it signifies something.

Ooh, my Amyway package has arrived!

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey, y'all. Can't get streaming vid at work - what is Bushie announcing right now?

Posted by: PLS | October 25, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Bush is on the tube trying to explain the difference between bench marks and timetables. Apparently it has something to do with spelling and word counts.
I expect there will a massive call up of editors and punctuation experts. Pack your mukluks, I'll put a cauldron of poutine over the beaver chips.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Re: The Iraq situation--I don't claim to understand all of the forces at work, but from the reporting that's come out the current situation is mostly due to a low-level civil war between Sunnis and Shias. Saddam Hussein used brutal tactics to suppress the Shia and Kurds, which kept a lid on things, especially following the Iraq-Iran war (in which we gave substantial aid to Saddam). There are also elements in Iraq that may be associated with Al Queda that want to turn Iraq into a Taliban-style fundamentalist state. The American forces are caught between the warring sectarian factions, along with those who are specifically out to drive the Americans out. There has been some talk of essentially partitioning ("Federalizing") Iraq into 3 states divided along sectarian lines. However, who will govern such a divided country and how is still a big question. And does it give an opening for Iran to take de facto control over much of Iraq? Colin Powell was probably right in saying "you break it, you own it". However, what the administration has done is just open the doors and let the bulls run wild in the Pottery Barn, and the mess may be more than we can clean up.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 25, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

dbg, i love white castle. i drive up to jersey a couple times a year to get a case. man are those things delicious (hold the pickles.) i also currently have an intense craving for a sonic chili cheese dog, and it appears that the distance to the nearest sonic has decreased by fifty miles since the last time i checked...may be time to go to delaware.

martooni, vegetables are acceptable, it's the beans that i don't understand.

no, ac, this was quite some time ago (95, maybe?) and it was definitely snow falling out of the sky.

dwb, i was surprised to learn (at least until i thought about it) that memoirs of a geisha was the first hollywood movie with an all-asian cast.

re: the pierrade. there's a restaurant that serves food on such things in bethesda. i don't remember what it's called, but i know it's upstairs from night dreams, it's something or other pacific grill, i think.

Posted by: sparks | October 25, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

DM, thanks for the clarification, I agree, perhaps melting pot is not the best term anymore, Yello I like that salad analogy. The various cultures add their own unique quality to the salad some subtle, some stronger but in the end it blends well.

I am sorry if I went off, I am a nut on this issue.

Re Iraq, did anyone else see this, seem Hans Blix is somewhat spiteful or bitter.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Bush on Iraqi government: "They have to respect the fact that we have patience, but not unlimited patience."

He's gonna cut and run!!!

Posted by: Achenbach | October 25, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

ebtnut - "Let the bulls run wild in the Pottery Barn." You may have very well coined a phrase that will long endure.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Re the Ignatius column about the U.S. secretly meeting with insurgents: the news was on the front pages of the Euro papers... on Monday!

That's what I mean by Americans being grossly misinformed, due primarily to self-censorship.

Speaking of the press, the Worldwide Press Freedom Index is out:

- Northern European countries are doing a sweep at the top. Top 16 countries are European.

- France is 35th, down 5 places from last year

- The US (freest country in the world and all that jazz...) is 53rd, down 9 places.

- Iraq, where democracy is being installed as a model for other Middle Eastern countries, is 154th. That would be behind fellow Middle Eastern countries Kuwait (73rd) the UAE (77th), Qatar (80th), Jordan (109th), Egypt (133rd), the Palestinian Authority (134th), or even Yemen (149th). It is however in front of solid US ally Saudi Arabia (161st).

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it signifies that there is one Maryland congressman that has to be voted out, and Virgina voters have to kick out Davis, apparently he's not as moderate as we thought.

DWB, I think the key is to get good scripts. I was watching a documentary on racism in Hollywood, and this chinese-american woman was saying, man my family is so crazy they'd make a perfect sitcom.

And you know, she's right, I'd probably watch a sitcom like that. I enjoyed the Joy Luck Club, so why not?

But the powers that be... not gonna take the risk yet.

Jackie Chan has gone on record as complaining that he'd really like romantic leads like Robert De Niro, but no, so at least he's out there making people think harder about that stereotype. He decided to start his own production company in China instead, and he won best actor in China for his work in "the Myth." I'm looking forward to seeing it over here.

By the way, if any of you have cats, never let them watch Jackie Chan movies.

A cat I was catsitting once found Jackie fighting off 4 attackers at once so exciting that he decided to attack my feet out of the blue, and then try and kung fu on his back. He got put outside to cool off.

See, animal studies DO prove that TV causes violence.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse


Does he have a "timetable?"

Did you see his deck of cards?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 25, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, just read that blog post. the I/O burger is good, and they have the advantage that they will let you order as many patties on your burger as you want (although officially it only goes up to 3x3). Fatburger, however, is the best burger chain i have ever been to. they will grill your onions, their burgers come in three sizes (baby, fat, and king), and they will add any of cheese, chili, bacon and a fried egg to your burger. they're unbelievable. plus they have two different kinds of fries.

Posted by: sparks | October 25, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

To pre-empt umbrage about the Joy Luck Club (which basically is very slanted against Asian men, I know.)..

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

[start ridiculously obscure reference mode]

So sparks chills White Castle 'cuz it's the best, but he'll fly a Fatburger when he's way out West?

[end ridiculously obscure reference mode]


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 25, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I am not too sure what the stone of a pierrade is made of. I believe ours is ceramic, but I am not certain. I do recall that it was a factor when buying as we wanted something that would not break while being transported in the plane trip. So there are several types of stones being used. I just don't remember what they are.

Here is an American enjoying the raclette-pierrade combo:

Daughter Sophie had plenty of fun yesterday cooking her beef and chicken on the pierrade.

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Jackie Chan in Paris evaluating the manners of a young French woman smoking in a restaurant:

Jackie has his own blog. He mentions "White Night" in Paris and warns chinese readers not to "believe the moon is rounder in other countries compared to China" and embark on illegal immigration to France or other countries.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 11:03 AM | Report abuse

//to "believe the moon is rounder in other countries...//
That's wonderful, it's going straight in my pocket.

Posted by: Boko99 | October 25, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I've had a couple of those fiery chili/crime scene in the south west. In some cases it wasn't enough to slaughter all the barnyard animals; venison and other wildmeat had to be added. I prefer my version in which the meat plays the supporting role to the beans (pinto, kidney or black, it doesn't really matter) and the chili. The chili must be a good dried medium hot or hot pepper or a good mix, none of that hyper hot sauce with "a$$" in its name is needed.
Icelandic meatfest '06, whale meat chili for 2,000 guests:

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 25, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

This morning I heard part of an interview of the Australian Prime Minister, and he said they would be staying the course. Australia would do what would make the west a better safer place to live and that he felt that right now, staying in Iraq would make it safer. I have no idea when the interview took place, and like so many things, there was obviously more, but all I saw was a snippet.

In the news up here, a major portion of the terrorism law referring to religious affiliations, or political agendas, was cut down on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The expected result is that it will now be easier to prosecute someone on terrorism charges in Canada.

If the US cuts and runs, then what's next internationally speaking. Does it force the UN into action?

Posted by: dr | October 25, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

According to CBC radio, Lucy our australopithecine friend is going on tour. She will arrive in Houston later this year then tour until 2013. Mind you I heard this at 3 am. and haven't been able to confirm it elsewhere but I don't think I was dreaming.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Confirmation Boko

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"If we all made an effect to clean up after ourselves, then Paris would be the most beautiful city in the world."
--Jackie Chan.


Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If Jackie added..ourselves "and our dogs"...I'd have to agree with him.

Posted by: Steve-2 | October 25, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

He took a picture of a pile of cigarettes at a parisan street corner.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

dmd- Thanks, here's another. I must learn persistence.
What a wonderful teaching opportunity. Whoever's handling her should hire the P.R. firm that pumped up King Tut. Free ice-cream for the home schooled

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

dr: //If the US cuts and runs, then what's next internationally speaking.//

It will have to replace France as the butt of the "running" jokes for the next 65 years or so! (wide grin)

Considering how many times it has been running in the recent past (Vietnam, Somalia, Lebanon...), it's about time!

That's of course taking into consideration the oft-repeated mantra that y'all are very good at self-deprecation, and in addition are very tough-skinned when it comes to being mocked! (Correct me if I misunderstood something)

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

scottynuke, you know white castle fries only come in one size, right?

Posted by: sparks | October 25, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

The prisons are full of people who forgot to cut and run after they botched the smash and grab.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

bc writes:
Loomis, I would also mention chapter 20 of "Captured by Aliens", called 'Heaven's Gate'.

My favorite line, the last in the chapter: "And so they returned the telescope to the store, and asked for their money back."

Maybe I ought to pick up this book of Joel's, no? It was really easy to connect the Heaven's Gate incident to these former local residents, the Applewhites, because shortly after we moved here in '94, there was a ballot measure (turned down by voters, by the way) to build a reservoir just to the south or southwest of town to meet the city's growing water needs. If it had been voted in by locals and built, it would have been called the Applewhite Reservoir, because it would have been built on Applewhite land.

Like Ivansmom and SonofCarl, I'm just popping in and out of the Boodle this week. Hubby has back-to-back business trips to the Big D (Dallas) and Philly, so it's a chance to work on much that has been neglected on the house's interior.

Besides, the last two days it's been raining. martooni, I thank you much. Your family's turtle soup sounds delicious, as does Boodler's white chili.

Joel, so sorry to hear that your hair is on fahr.

Posted by: Loomis | October 25, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

About cigarette butts in Paris: I'm with you Wilbrod! A darn shame!

It's also a bit funny to see the Euro "green" types protest against pollution while throwing their cigarette butts in te streets.

A cigarette butt takes up to 25 years to decompose, and the chemicals contained in cigarettes (1,400 of them) infiltrate the ground and water where they affect plants and animals.

In the world, people throw away 4.5 trillion cigarette butts a year. It is the most common form of non-collected waste on earth: several million kilos every year.

Can't wait for the smoking ban to take effect in February! (although that may not do much for cigarette butts)

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, you may be interested to know that you own San-A has earned bragging rights over the mighty Washington DC with regards to snooty French Restaurant; your local favorite Le Rêve has been ranked higher than than the capital's Citronnelle by the Gourmet magazine in their 50 best snooty restaurant in the US.
It's not that I can afford either of them, I just spent waaay too much time in airports in the past few days.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 25, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Mr. SuperFrenchie: Today's mommy blog is discussing the pinkworker's paradise that is France. You may want to eavesdrop or inform.

My brother in law is French (about 38 and from near Nante). I always appreciate his perspective on things French-ical, specifically and EU-ish generally. He is quick to say, that he is not Parisan....then speaks about the perspective outside of large cities. His mother is from the Basque region, so he also feels claimed by that interesting language/ethnic group.

Happy birthday to your darling daughter. Ginger-hair is special, where-ever the genes came from. Nordic? As in the Norsemen of Normandy? We are all more related than we often admit.

Funny anecdote on stereotypes: Charlie Pride, the great Country & Western singer, lived down the street from me in Great Falls, Montana. He was one of a handful of black people living in MT in the 60s. He was a beloved son of GFs and headlined the county fair nearly every year. So, I grew up thinking that "Of course black people sing country music."

We apply our experience to the world, which is a kind of inductive thinking. So, to stereotype is rather human. But we are most human when we are aware of the limits of our thinking, and behavoir.

Posted by: College Parkian | October 25, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Nicely put CP.

Hmmm, recycling cigarette butts. You are correct, no one thinks of that as something that should be recycled. As a petrochemical product, so they should be able to put it into service as something else. Anyone of the science types want to wager what they could use it for?

The next stop on the way to sensible recycling is how to make it practical. You have to make people want to do it, let's say for a certain number of butts, you can trade for x many bucks (so that everyone starts picking them up) and for smoker's, more smokes? Or should it be that in order to buy smokes, you have to turn in butts?

Posted by: dr | October 25, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

College, what's the mommy blog? people here speak about it all the time but I've never really bothered to check it out.

My family on my father's side is from the Auvergne region in Central France. We do believe that it includes some Moor blood, since they made it all the way to Tours before they were defeated by Charles Martel in 732, and thus there must have been some people stopping by in Auvergne. It shows in family members like my brother for example, who could walk the streets of Tunis without turning heads. My mother's side is from Spain and the Champagne region. I was born in Champagne. On Mrs. SuperFrenchie's side, it's Champagne, Burgundy and Poland.

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Rude and filthy smokers that think the entire outdoors is their ashtray are not a purely Gallic phenomenon. Try to walk across the parking lot of a Walmart someday without stepping on a butt.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 25, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

superfrenchie, i am disgusted by smoking bans the world over. forcing smokers outside just moves them away from ashtrays, and gives them more incentive to throw their butts in the street. while i agree that everyone has a right to not breathe other people's smoke, is it not also every business owner's inherent right to decide what behavior is or is not acceptable in his establishment? do you really have a right to a smoke-free establishment everywhere you go? what about smoker's houses? are they next? why couldn't we just have the separate and separately ventilated smoking and non-smoking sections, which protected both the clean-air rights of the non-smokers, and the discretionary rights of the business owners?

for the record, i don't smoke. i'm just a libertarian. fear me.

Posted by: sparks | October 25, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

dr: people should get personal ashtrays!

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Sparks, as a smoker I would agree with part of what you say. Where I live you cannot smoke indoor, except your own home, there are even regulations on what kind of outdoor patio restaurants may allow smoking in. I worked downtown when the first bans were imposed and there was a large increase in the number of butts outside entrances to buildings, boxes on the outside of buildings for cigarette butts have helped somewhat, but more could be done.

That said, I actually like the restrictions, I do not smoke in my own home and enjoy the cleaner air where I work and eat. I particularly like the changes not that bars are included. Even as a smoker I found the air awful in bars, (planes were the worst). Yes it does limit my rights yet in the bigger picture I believe I do not have the right to hurt anyone else's health. By the way I believe despite their fears the bars are still doing very well and that some have reported more business not less.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

SCC now that bars are included.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Just received a schedule today for the Calvert Marine Museum Geology and Paleontology symposium scheduled for Nov. 11. The symposium starts at 10:00 am, and there are 17 talks scheduled, plus posters. It's expected to last until 5:00 pm.

Posted by: Dooley | October 25, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

sf: Here's a link to the "Mommy Blog"--actually called "On Balance"

Posted by: kbertocci | October 25, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

dmd, in montgomery county, when we first moved here 15 years ago, bars and restaurants could have a separate smoking section (maybe bars were allowed to be all smoking, i don't know, i was a little young for that then.) which had to be separately ventilated, and sealed off. i really don't understand what the problem with this is.

Stringfellow barr, who helped write the new program at st. john's college, wrote an essay called notes on dialogue, in which he discusses aids to dialogue: "The point is that, in dialectic, it does not matter whose mouth gets used by the dialectical process, provided all are listening intently and exercise the freedom to interrupt with a question if they do not understand. On the other hand, reading or writing while "in dialogue" is a grave offense against the common purpose of all, not because they diminish the number of speaking mouths but because they diminish the number of listening ears. (Doodling and smoking are permissible aides to listening!)"

Smoking was permitted in class at st. john's until the 1980's, i believe.

i apologize for the non-sequitur, the subject of smoking reminded me of it, and i thought you guys might be interested in the essay. here's the whole thing:

Posted by: sparks | October 25, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Saw this article about the movie Death of a President, it explains how almost all of the US movie distribution houses have refused to show the movie, and that CNN and NPR have refused to air commercials about the movie. It is a fictional movie, granted their is a portion showing Bush being assinated.

Apparently here, border towns, cities are planning on advertising in US papers that people can cross the border to see the movie.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

sparks: //is it not also every business owner's inherent right to decide what behavior is or is not acceptable in his establishment?//

No. Do they get to decide whether to cook food in a roach-infested environment? Of course not, because it's a health issue. Same for cigarette smoke.

//what about smoker's houses? are they next?//

I think we should seriously debate whether houses where children live should be next. We would not allow someone to inject children with acetone, benzene, formaldehyde or lead using a serynge, even in the privacy of their own homes. That would be child abuse. Why should it be allowed by using cigarette smoke as the delivery system?

//why couldn't we just have the separate and separately ventilated smoking and non-smoking sections//

Because from all accounts they don't work. Somehting like 5,000 people a year die in France every year from second-hand smoke, even though most restaurants have such a system. That's unacceptable.

//i don't smoke. i'm just a libertarian.//

I understand. But as the French say, "La liberté des uns s'arrête là où commence celle des autres."

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I gotta carry doggie poop bags for Wilbrodog. On a scale of 1-10 of disgusting, I think very few people would rate their own cigarette butts as far more gross than dog poop. At least poop is more biodegradable.

I've actually seen a smoker drop a butt, and then picked it up and then went to hand it to the smoker. If _I_ have to.

I also find the way smokers walk with cigarettes to be highly sissy. Men and women alike always light it, take one puff, and then waddle with nands splayed and the cigarette flared out ready to ignite passerby on crowded sidewalks, and of course sharing second hand smoke with 15 people for every puff they actually take. I keep wanting to say "snuff your cigarette between puffs!"

I find it very hard to imagine John Wayne walking around with a cigarette like that. He always hunches over and smokes in movies like he's trying to suck that cigarette dry.
I don't think we can ever visualize him doing a Pepe Le Pew act by wafting the smoke throughout crowded streets.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Sparks, re: separately ventilated room, we went through a period like that here. The problem still remained that employees still had to work in these rooms.

Recently there was a sad case up here, a woman who had been a waitress for 40 years (IIRC) died of lung cancer. She had never smoked, but worked in restaurants where people did.

The air in the ventilated rooms was always terrible.

The numbers of smokers are declining and hopefully I will soon be a non smoker again, someday soon perhaps smoking won't exist and our government (not sure of yours) will try to figure out a way to recoup the tax revenue, hopefully it will come from lower medical costs.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Money is behind the smoking bans. Insurance coverages are the root of it. If you go back to the mid 80's - early 90's when the issue first appeared here in Canada, there was the case of a waitress who had never smoked, who won her claim for workers compensation coverage for costs associated to her cancer treatments.

When my neices were little, they liked to be taken for 'coffee', but they always made sure that we would not go to the stinky Tim Horton's, the lone establishment that allowed smoking. That store is now blessedly smoke free.

Posted by: dr | October 25, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

dmd, great minds think alike. This is the same lady.

Posted by: dr | October 25, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

As someone who has been trying to quit for the last 2 years I would like to comment:
Smoking is stupid. Owning stock in a tobbacco company is evil.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree dr, probably my biggest regret in life is starting smoking again, I will work on quitting again, for those who never smoked quitting is not easy. dr, is there a total smoking ban in AB? Whatever the motivation it is much better now that the bans are in place.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Today at Gallaudet they used bulldozers and injured some students to the point of bloodshed, and assaulted students in front of schoolchildren.

Yeah, that's the kind of leadership I learned at Youth Leadership Camp. Not.

Ryan Commerson: "Despite what happened, not one student has physically fought back. I applaud you. Control is our strength. They're callist us a mob, anarchists, terrorists. They're the mob now. Keep yourselves under control. Tonight 8 o'clock at marketplace"

When they arrested the students on Friday the 13th, they used a backhoe to break open the gates.

Not on the scale of Kent State... yet.

However, if anybody dies as a result of this, I demand federal charges of extrajudical execution and terrorism be brought. In fact it should be done right now. It fits the profile to an T.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Not total but they are getting there. Most municipalitys either have or will soon have a ban in place. All provincial buildings are smoke free.

Posted by: dr | October 25, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Shreiking Denizen writes:
Loomis, you may be interested to know that you own San-A has earned bragging rights over the mighty Washington DC with regards to snooty French Restaurant; your local favorite Le Rêve has been ranked higher than than the capital's Citronnelle by the Gourmet magazine in their 50 best snooty restaurant in the US.

Thanks, SD, but it's not news to us.:

Prestigious ranking plumps up S.A. restaurant's reservations book

Publication Date : September 23, 2006

The caller from San Francisco said she had just picked up the latest Gourmet magazine and had to get her reservations in as soon as possible.

That's how Andrew Weissman found out his restaurant, Le Rêve at 152 E. Pecan St., had been listed as the sixth-best in the nation.

Gourmet's October issue, which hit newsstands Friday, lists its editors' choices for the top 50 restaurants across the country.

The local French favorite came in after such heavy hitters as Alinea in Chicago; Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif.; the third-place co-listing of Thomas Keller's two restaurants, the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., and Per Se in New York; Spago in Los Angeles; and Joel Rubuchon at the Mansion in Las Vegas.

Rounding out the top 10 were Masa in New York, Alan Wong's Restaurant in Honolulu, and Daniel and Le Bernardin, both in New York. The only other Texas restaurants to make the top 50 were Da Marco in Houston (29th), York Street in Dallas (41st), and Nava in Dallas, which came in at No. 50.

"It's pretty amazing," Weissman said of the listing. "We're pretty dang excited."

This is the first time Gourmet has produced a top-50 restaurant list since 2001. That year, Le Rêve was No. 35.

Many of the restaurants on the list are chef-driven, as is Le Rêve, which never opens if Weissman is not there. That wasn't a conscious choice on the part of the magazine, Willoughby said, but it does make sense: "When the chef's not in the kitchen every night, the food is just not as good."

It's been a big year for Weissman, who was nominated in January for the James Beard Award as best chef in the Southwest. That was followed by a lengthy profile in the New York Times in June. An article on the Sandbar, his seafood restaurant next-door to Le Rêve, is scheduled to appear in the November issue of Food & Wine magazine.

Also, the humongous new Toyota truck plant, as well as the Medina River Park, are now on the old Applewhite land. From Heaven's Gate to tailgates--boggles the mind.

Posted by: Loomis | October 25, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Passive, passive. Zap. Zap.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

sorry, not meant for posting

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Kent state redux (no deaths yet) at Gallaudet.

This morning DPS (campus security) used a bulldozer to tear down the MSSD gates, crushing a student's toe. A student was nearly hit by a speeding car, students were beaten and kicked, in front of schoolchildren.

Very impressive leadership. The full reports are not in yet but I'd say if anybody has died. even from the hunger strike, I want to see federal charges of extrajudical execution, murder, and terrorism brought against the administration.

The students have not fought back and they are being exhorted not to do so and keep their anger under wraps.

To review on Oct 13, they used a backhoe to break the gates open and arrest students. Today I hear the 6th street gates are destroyed (burnt) and cannot be closed again.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

SuperF: On Balance, as KB says. You have expertise for today's topic about the social safety net in France that I believe is boosting the birth rate in your motherland.

A warning: snipping, sniping, snarking,...and other uncivil discourse is a click away on that blog.

Others can say more. Pat was in the crossfires a few weeks ago. DadWannaBe is a regular and sensible poster there.

Posted by: College Parkian | October 25, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

yeah boko, it is, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be allowed to do it. bungee jumping is stupid too, but we allow that.

smoking won't ever go away completely, although i think we could do a great deal towards making sure people don't get tricked into a cigarette addiction by banning manufactured cigarettes. very few people who roll their own cigarettes smoke simply because they were told it was cool.

re: john wayne. i have actually seen someone smoke a marlboro red ("cowboy killers") in one drag. this was either the coolest or the most disgusting thing i have ever seen.

i have heard dmd, that people quitting heroin have a much higher success rate than people quitting cigarettes. this is probably primarily due to the easy, legal availability of cigarettes, versus the possibility of simply not associating with heroin users anymore. nevertheless, i have great respect for anyone who quits cigarettes, and anyone who makes the effort. the primary reason i have never started smoking cigarettes (apart from the fact that i have better things to do with my lungs) is that i don't want to ever have to quit them. my aunt quit in march, while i was staying at her house, and i acted as her personal cheerleader. i am sure the boodle would be glad to serve that purpose for you. just remember, the first three days are the hardest. after that, it's all in your head.

Posted by: sparks | October 25, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Business at the local "Gentleman's Club" has dropped by twenty-five percent. The owners blame the anit-smoking bylaw but I suspect it's because they switched to an inferior port:-)

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse


The difference (in my mind) is that the secondary effects of smoking affect more than just the abuser. Anyone exposed to the second-hand smoke can be a long-term victim. And the second-hand effects do not diminish. The smoke gets embedded in any porous materials including fabrics, wood, paper, paper goods and can still affect patrons and employees long even when no one is currently smoking. The separate ventillation system only lessens the effect but doesn't eliminate it. The build-up of nicotine and tar on the surfaces is horrible (notice those awful yellow stains?) And just walking by and touching a surface like the wood panelling, the wood arms on the chair can convey that tar and nicotine to your hands. Touching the paper menus that are used in that area can convey those substances. Not in large quantities, but enough that employees and regulars get exposed to even more toxic substances.

We regulate unhealthy and inappropriate behaviour in public establishments on a regular basis. Cleanliness of the dining are and food preparation area are regulated by the department of health for good reason. Smoking in a food establishment is inappropriate and the litter outdoors is less of a problem than the toxic contaminents indoors.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 25, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

OK back to food, just read an article about a Toronto chef, who is now farming with her husband they are growing organic, heritage tomatoes.

Those of you planning your 2007 gardens may want to reference here. No Mr. Stripey grown in 2006.

Here's the article

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael:

I know of Prof. Eric Yamamoto, I've heard him speak many times. He is a great guy and an amazing teacher and lawyer. One of the greatest civil rights leaders in our state. And, I have been to that stream in Manoa that you speak of many times. Sadly, kids (and people in general) can't play in it anymore, thanks to the leptospirosis that now taints the water.

I've never been able to explain the way the people of Hawaii manage (or not manage) to get along being of so many different ethnicities, cultures, nationalities and experiences. Perhaps it goes back to our plantation roots and having a common foe - the white plantation owners, or just having to exist with each other on a very small piece of land surrounded by the ocean.

At this point in the evolution of our state culture, it seems to be that the most divisive element that keeps us "beefing" with one another is not race so much as it is economic status. Those who have are very separated from those who have not. As it is in many parts of our country, I would say. Unfortunately, like the rest of our country, a lot of the have-nots are people of color. This makes things very complicated. I've also noticed that the once-oppressed groups are now the oppressors.

And, the inter-marrying of all the different races in the islands has produced generations of mixed race people who don't necessarily identify with only one ethnic group or culture. How's that for complicating things more? Not that that's a bad thing.

Thoughts anyone?

Posted by: Aloha | October 25, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

And now for a lighter note (ha ha), straight from pages of The Onion...

Daylight Saving Time Yields Massive Daylight Surplus

WASHINGTON, DC--Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced Monday that the country's seven-month-long effort to conserve sunshine has resulted in the largest national daylight surplus since October 2005.

"We have built up over 200 hours of this precious, life-giving resource," said Bodman, noting that "the sun's rays are not going to last forever." "We have decided it would be most prudent not to squander this valuable daylight by distributing it to Americans, instead suggesting that they all just wake up a little earlier."

Bodman said the surplus will be stored in the Strategic Daylight Reserve--a system of opaque, sealed-off underground tanks located in Arizona--and only tapped in the case of the sun burning out or a particularly rainy afternoon.

Posted by: TBG | October 25, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Dooley, paleontologists look like a pretty relaxed group. The local paper had a summary on the Saturday edition of a paper about the damage jousting male mastodonts were inflicting on each other. Testosterone was running the world back then too. It's just too bad that the weather did not cooperate with you. It actually snowed Saturday afternoon and we had a hard frost the following night that transformed the birdbath into the proverbial bird skating rink. I flew out Sunday with a bunch of your colleagues that were returning home from the SVP meeting, there was much ribbing and laughing. Much of them were very outdoorsy looking too I shall say. My former colleagues in academia were much more stuffy. The only meeting I remember where there was something to laugh about was in Washington. Somebody made tee shirts with a geeky slogan for the meeting:
Spectroscopists do it with f and I (frequency and intensity).

Bonus audio reports: The hard frost made the still-green leaves fall from the lilacs and hybrid linden. Early Sunday morning I could hear individual leaves falling in the brightly coloured carpet of crunchy maple and oak leaves. Later on the same morning the roar of half a dozen leaf blowers replaced this subtle post-modern melody.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 25, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I think it's the beautiful weather in Hawaii, Ahola. The fact Hawaii is relatively small and made up a series of islands does encourage a more cohesive community, I bet.

Never been to Hawaii, but sent my parents there and they loved it so much they'd have liked to retire there if they could have afforded it at all.

Dmd, because you are a woman you also should be getting a thyroid checkup around the time you decide to quit. In many, many cases, smoking actually causes and then masks hypothyroidism in women. This is why withdrawal symptoms suck, since you get hit with hypothyroidism symptoms all at once. And yes, they are not fun to experience-- fibromyalgia in the AM, aches and pains, constipation, etc.

FIND "smoking" on this:

My suggestion: increase iodized salt, some meats, vitamin C-rich foods, turn up thermostat a bit, sleep more than usual, and be prepared to feel very irritable and unfocused for a few days. It does end.

If it doesn't, you may have a permanent thyroid problem from smoking... all the more reason to brave it NOW before it gets worse.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

loomis, I never eat at French restaurants in the US. Overall, they are overpriced and not that great. If I want to eat French, I stay home! (bigsmile)

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

THANKS Wilbrod that was very kind. Good to know about the salt as the only salt I get is what is in the food I eat. I have quit before but I was in the very early stages of pregnancy, due to a risk of complications I was at the doctors right away and had ultrasounds at several weeks (very cool).

It was easy then, I was so tired I just slept through everything and blamed the crankiness on being pregnant.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse


Of course!

Slow and low, that is the tempo.


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 25, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

DMD -- thyroid problems.

Add selenium to your diet -- I take a 200 mcgr. supplement. Selenium is a catalyst in the Thyroxine-4 to Thyroxine-4 conversion. You need the conversion in all metabolic processes. The thyroid is the carburator for the body.

Also, add oily fish or fish oil capsules or flax seed oil. You need Omega-3s (and sixes) since thryoid problems are almost always a low-grade inflammatory process. I don't know what to say about the wild-farmed salmon debate.

I don't take fish oil capsules since they make me burp a fishy taste that reminds me of the Cod Liver Oil taken daily back in my pre-salad days.

Posted by: College Parkian | October 25, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod - that ASL site i mentioned does have someone actually doing the sign (quicktime viewer) if you click on the underlined word - some of them look weird.. like
just doesn't seem right?

smoking - bleh! i hate smoking!

as for the "melting pot" hasn't anyone noticed that we have quite the melting pot right here on the achenblog? the achenmeltingpot...

Posted by: mo | October 25, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, I went and spent some time on the mommy blog. Responded to a few things too... :)

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse


or Achenmenudo?

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 25, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Uh-oh, Joel and ScienceTim--there's trouble in space! This just in:

Mars Rover Beginning To Hate Mars

October 24, 2006

PASADENA, CA--NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists overseeing the ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission said Monday that the Spirit's latest transmissions could indicate a growing resentment of the Red Planet.

"Spirit has been displaying some anomalous behavior," said Project Manager John Callas, who noted the rover's unsuccessful attempts to flip itself over and otherwise damage its scientific instruments. "And the thousand or so daily messages of 'STILL NO WATER' really point to a crisis of purpose."

The "robot geologist," as NASA describes Spirit, has been operating independently for over 990 Martian sols--nearly the equivalent of three Earth years. However, scientists estimate that, in recent weeks, Spirit has been functioning on the level of a rover who has been on Mars for approximately 6,160 sols.

According to Callas, Spirit was operating normally until the onset of the Martian winter, whose shorter days and frigid temperatures typically mean a slower pace for exploratory rovers. "We began getting the occasional transmission along the lines of 'ANOTHER SOIL SAMPLE OF THE EXACT SAME COMPOSITION AS THE LAST ONE,'" Callas said. "Most of the time, she'd power down and not transmit much of anything, which, at the time, didn't particularly concern us."

But as the winter lingered, Spirit began producing thousands of pages of sometimes rambling and dubious data, ranging from complaints that the Martian surface was made up almost entirely of the same basalt, to long-winded rants questioning the exorbitant cost and scientific relevance of the mission.

Project leaders receive data from the Mars rover Spirit.
"Granted, Spirit has been extraordinarily useful to our work," Callas said. "Last week, however, we received three straight days of images of the same rock with the message 'HAPPY NOW?'"

Mission Project Scientist Bruce Banerdt said that Spirit will often roll down Gusev crater and up the opposite side for no apparent reason, missing "countless" potential opportunities for scientific discovery.

"Once, when we radioed her to please leave the lecturing and hypothesis-making to the mission project team, she responded by forming her robotic arm into an obscene gesture," Banerdt said. "That arm contains a state-of-the-art spectrometer meant to provide crucial mineralogy data."

Project organizers said the most distressing instance of erratic behavior occurred last week, when images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter revealed that Spirit had scrawled the message '[FORD] MARS' in the thick, iron oxide dust that gives the planet its characteristic red color.

"The orbiting Mars Odyssey has cut off transmissions from Spirit, which seems to envy the craft's ability to fly freely around in space," Banerdt said. "Similarly, data suggests Spirit is convinced that (sister rover) Opportunity has found water and isn't telling anyone."

Despite these malfunctions, mission leaders remain optimistic that the rover will eventually return to full working order.

© Copyright 2006, Onion, Inc.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 25, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The Spirit rover on Mars has shot a panorama from its current location, while waiting out the winter:

Links on the page can also give you the stereo version. Get out your 3D glasses! Personally, I have 4 pairs sitting by my desk. How about you?

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 25, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

It's happened again--one of those strange instances when George Will does a column that I like. He even implies that something good may result if the Dems take Congress!

Posted by: Dooley | October 25, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"the damage jousting male mastodonts were inflicting on each other." Hm-m-m. Must have been NFL Jurassic. ;-)

Posted by: ebtnut | October 25, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

George Will is much better when he is not being a lapdog. He'll never be much of a pit bull, but he makes a pretty decent Jack Russell terrier.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 25, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Achenborg, ha!

I was gonna say that the metaphor should not be a melting pot, but a stew, or a tout y faut (whatever's in the fridge).

Apparently they bulldozed the tents w/o checking to see if students were inside.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

RD - resistance is futile! (we aren't achenborg - we don't have one single mind/objective)... we could be an achenchili with everything thrown in... (even beans...)

btw - i have a cold. i'm not happy.

Posted by: mo | October 25, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

For mo:

Wilbrod will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the sign they show for CORRECT is in the sense of correcting papers or tests, i.e., grading. Personally, I find that ASL browser useful, but it can be misleading in that they pretend that there's a one-to-one correspondence between ASL signs and English words, when of course there's not, and there's no explanation of which sense of the English word the sign refers to.

Posted by: bia | October 25, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Aloha, since you asked:

The 1890 census for Hawaii showed:
40,162 native Hawaiians,
27,391 Chinese and Japanese laborers,
6,220 Americans, Britons, Germans, French, Norwegians, and Hawaii-born whites.

Given these numbers, it was natural that the haole would want nothing to do with democracy. For decades, they had effectively controlled the islands, and by imposing the "bayonet constitution," they had formalized their power. They had no desire to surrender it by adopting a system under which each resident of the islands would have an equal vote.

To back up a bit, we need to talk about sugar cane. Growing sugar is labor-intensive, but neither whites nor native Hawaiians were willing to work the fields. After considering several alternatives, planters began importing Japanese and Chinese laborers, whom they called "coolies." (A term actually derived from India, Hindu, IIRC.) The laborers came by the thousands after the reciprocity agreement was signed (by family member Ulysses S. Grant in 1876). That strengthened the planters' opposition to democracy, since universal sufferage would have most likely produced a government dominated by nonwhites.

A few years after the reciprocity agreement, King Kalakaua approved a constitution that secured the planters' power. It vested most authority in cabinet ministers, prohibited the monarch from dismissing any minister without the legislature's aproval, and set wealth and property qualifications for election to the legislature. Called the "bayonnet constitution" because it was imposed with the implied threat of armed force, it also gave all Americans and Europeans, even noncitizens, the right to vote, but denied that right to Asian laborers.

When Kalakaua's sister, Liliuokalani, came to power in 1891, she had different ideas. Lili was 52 years old when the chief justice of Hawaii's supreme court, Albert Judd, administered the oath of office that made her queen on Jan. 29, 1891. (You can easily Google the marriage of Samuel Loomis and Elizabeth Judd, so the Hawaiian Judds are family. It's Albert's father who most interests me.) After the ceremony, Judd took her aside and offered a piece of private advice. "Should any members of your cabinet propose anything to you," he continued, "say yes."

Had she, alpha female that she was, heeded this warning, had she accepted the role of figurehead and allowed the haole to continue running Hawaii, she might have never been overthrown after trying to implement a new constitution.

When I said I had my doubts about the United States being the greatest country on earth, I guess I've read too much American history and know how twisted and tortured our past history is.

Posted by: Loomis | October 25, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

why one should be discretionary when giving a wedgie...

Posted by: jack | October 25, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree. This sign can also mean "cancel" or "criticize" (signed more than once).

The sign is a bit larger than it would really be in a conversation, they're slowing it down and exaggerating it a bit for the viewer.

Those dictionaries won't be perfect substitute for actually talking to an signer, but they can serve as memory refreshers.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

SCC...use discretion...not the other thing...sorry. Long day.

Posted by: jack | October 25, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Academy, n. A modern school where football is taught.
-- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)

Any excuse to get Ambrose on the boodle.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

i've got the bottle, s'nuke's got the cup. C'mon every body let's get...!

Posted by: sparks | October 25, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

mo - I thought about that. I certainly do not want to advocate group think. I just thought "Achenborg" had a nice ring to it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Boko, you made me LOL. Bierce is sooo good.

Posted by: Slyness | October 25, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

that FUNKY monkey!

Posted by: mo | October 25, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, as I noted (yesterday? day before?), there is no denying that we have an ugly past in this country. The past is not destiny, however. If it were, then no alcoholic should even try to "recover", because his past already designates him as a failure. All crimes should be capital crimes, because redemption and improvement are not possible. These are ludicrously extreme positions, of course, but no more ludicrous than to declare that the U.S. cannot be great because it hasn't always lived up to its ideals. Our greatness is that we have an image of an ideal nation, that we measure ourselves according to that image, and that we try to better match those ideals from one day to the next. As my yoga teacher said, when I had time for yoga: "success is in the effort." The fact that we have not previously met our ideal is no reason to give up, and no reason to declare ourselves a failure. Of course, it's also not right to declare ourselves a success, so no more striving required. To invert my yoga teacher's affirmation: "Failure is in the lack of effort."

Posted by: Tim | October 25, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Maybe a little obscure, but I also like
"Chach Suey"

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

tim, you must have been reading all the thoughts escaping from my head...i have been reading about alcohol treatment, specifically alcoholics anonymous. this guy thinks it doesn't work:

Posted by: sparks | October 25, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The Achenblog is not like any other blog, so why should the Achenborg be like other Borg? I for one certainly feel assimilated and without complaint, too.

I think we do have a collective mind and one that is superior than the sum of its parts, just like the Borg. However, we are also individuals within the collective and hence are superior to standard Borg. They should watch out or they'll be assimilated into our Achencollective.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 25, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Awwww, just when the boodle as borg picture was forming in my mind.

Posted by: dr | October 25, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

true, true dwb - so... then...


Posted by: mo | October 25, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Or, as we used to say back when I was in high school (circa 1327):


Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 25, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

yay - the shop steward is back. all is well with the world again....:-)

Posted by: bystander | October 25, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

sf--sorry that you had to be subjected to the hissing and scratching in the Mommyblog. I am really not in the mood this week to deal with the pettiness and judgementalism there so I've been rather scarce there and mostly lurking.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 25, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse


Should that be translated to "Lord 'mudge has returned and the boodle may now resume its rotation upon its axis?"

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 25, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Besides mo, I've always thought you had a little of that "7 of 9" thing going on there.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

dadwb: Oh no, that was quite fine. I was well received, I think. Sure there were a couple of unpleasantries, but I'm used to it and I can deal with it. Strong, varied opinions are good. And nobody really challenged the economic facts I brought up.

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

RD - that is absolutely the SWEETEST thing anyone has ever said to me! you totally made my day and made me forget my cold! (man, i love this place!)

*hugs mudge* welcome back, my mr. perky!

oh, and *hugs RD for the compliment*

Posted by: mo | October 25, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I was just reading a book on Medieval history, Anglo-Saxon actually. Would this be akin to your high school yearbook?

Posted by: dr | October 25, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I think our hive queen, uh, fearless leader is having serious second thoughts now about the wisdom of letting the boodlers alone a la Lord of the Flies.

Resistance is measured in Ohms.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, on second thought, it couldn't be. I'm only up to the 700's. Perhaps a grandfather?

Posted by: dr | October 25, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

i had to read lord of the flies in high school. i thought it was profoundly disturbing, and my least favorite book i had to read for school since "my brother sam is dead". of course, then they made us read crap like "joshua".

Posted by: sparks | October 25, 2006 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Shocking news from the weingarten chat: Celebrities Not Perfect!

Posted by: sparks | October 25, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Sparks I am with you on Lord of the Flies, did not like that book. I can't remember what year I read it thought but there is a good chance it was in what I refer to as the dark year. Grade 12 (of 13 when I went to school), reading list included Hamlet, Heart of Darkness, various short stories, poems etc. all with dark themes. To put it in perspective Hamlet was one of the lighter stories that year. I never like Hamlet I think because I equate it with that year, MacBeth on the other hand I loved.

re Joshua - did you attend a religious school?

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

How 7 of 9 escaped from the Borg, er, Republicans.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

OK, folks, we have some work to do.

Scott Adams' blog yesterday, where he talked about curing his Spasmodic Dysphonia, got 1,007 comments.

One thousand seven. Come on. We can do it.

Posted by: TBG | October 25, 2006 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I am trying my best TBG!

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Mo-Seven, the borg have a certain goth touch, no? ;).

Superfrenchie-- I find "On Balance" tends to be unbalanced by anybody coming in and giving out actual facts to digest. Good job today, I learned something.

I read Lord of the Flies when I was 14. Somehow I survived the psychic scarring, but when I saw I still had the book recently, I looked at it, and said, "Do I ever want to read it again?" I wound up giving it away. It sears itself in your brain for life. Brrr.

Dmd, sounds like you had a clinically depressed English teacher (which is not uncommon, but usually they teach creative writing or journalism, not senior year.)

I read Chaucer my senior year, Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth, Hamlet as well, I think, Beowulf, etc. Senior year was English literature year.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

So that's it! I have spasmodic dysphonia. Arrr. Well, Scott Adams asked to hear about the best day ever of people's lives, hence the blog pile-up, mostly about dates, weddings, and births.

Not one of them said (at a quick skim) that "the day I bought XYZ was the happiest day of my life."

Maybe there's hope for America yet. People are easily pleased, really.

One of the happiest moments of my life was when I realized Wilbrodog was alerting spontaneously less than a month after I got him. I would guess the happy moments strung all together over the last couple years would equal more than 24 hours of continual happiness. Not bad for an animal that licks his butt.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 6:09 PM | Report abuse

No Wilbrod the curriculum is set by the Board under provincial guidelines. Perhaps it was just me, or there needed to be some levity in the mix. Also I found Hamlet to be a whiny little boy - very irritating. Heart of Darkness I liked but did find it disturbing.

MacBeth and the Crucible were probably my favorites, but I also liked Othello. Never took Romeo and Juliet, where I went to school the University bound program only did the dramas.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

sparks, mo;

Deliver Colonel Sanders down to Davy Jones' locker!

So nice to know there's no such thing as a too-obscure reference in the Boodle...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 25, 2006 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Hamlet IS whiny, I do agree. He's described as a doughy solider and all that, but he seems to have had his entire personality and brain arrested by grief and depression.
I like MacBeth myself.

Othello is based on the morality play tradition. Iago is a barely disguised Vice of Jealousy. Gallaudet University did a great Othello in sign some years ago.
The nicest dramatic touch I remember was when Othello started breaking down emotionally at the end, his sign dialect switched to a very broad black sign dialect. Very good interpretion by the student actor.

I saw Henry V at the Carter-Barron Amphitheatre in 1997 with Harry Hamlin. The costuming choices were great, the british were wearing plain combat outfits (kind of Klingon surplus) and they had UN-like translators translating from English to French when the script called for. And the French looked like fops, in King Louis XVI outfits.

I loved the "british army outnumbered by the French army" scene. You could see that it was a case of David vs Goliath here.

The british are on stage, and then here comes the extremely tall French, on the biggest, tallest platform boots I've ever seen, they were actually shaped with rockers on the bottom and elevated the height by over a foot. I think every solider was over 7 feet easily. It took a lot of work for those actors to learn how to march on those boots without clomping. I was impressed. One mistimed sneeze and I'd have expected a domino effect.

7-foot high french not-so-fops, oh my. Whenever Superfrenchie complains about the striped-shirt beret stereotype, I keep thinking that he ain't seen nothing yet.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I thought Hamlet was more a of doubty soldier.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a great production, we always tried to see the plays live, if not we would see film versions. MacBeth was he one play we could not see live, so we watched several versions including Roman Polanski's movie, our teacher that day brought his young son to class and we had to stop the movie and get him out of the classroom. Note to teachers - preview!

We did see Othello at Stratford and is was great.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 6:59 PM | Report abuse

All roads lead back to Cincinnati Chili!

Martooni, I hear you! (I read you?)

Sparks, never had Sonic. Skyline has great chili cheese dogs, but GoldStar Chili has miniature ones. A friend I've had since grad school called the other day. Previously, he'd call to have me sort out relationship issues with his girlfriend. Now he's married with 2 toddlers and the first words out of his mouth were, "I wish we could go to GoldStar for lunch. I'd eat a dozen of those little coneys!" Fatburger sounds like a (now closed) greasy spoon near where I work. They had a cheesesteak called "The Widowmaker," which had pepperoni, double cheese, double steak, and bacon (Never ordered it, although most of the men I work with did).

TBG, thank you so much! By nature, I'm like you. Not that it was spotless to start, but I've had contractors in
and out since last March. It feels great.

Now that I'm having 11 over for T'giving, anybody ever cook their turkey (fresh, organic, free-range) on a rotisserie/gas grill. Love to hear about it.

Wish me luck. I'm taking the labs to PetSmart and will be back if they don't inhale the place.

Posted by: dbG | October 25, 2006 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey, check this out -- Canada's version of the face on Mars.

[This might not be news to the Canuck contingent of the 'boodle -- maybe not to anyone else, either, but just in case you haven't seen it . . .]

Posted by: Dreamer | October 25, 2006 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod wrote: I saw Henry V at the Carter-Barron Amphitheatre in 1997 with Harry Hamlin. The costuming choices were great, the british were wearing plain combat outfits (kind of Klingon surplus) and they had UN-like translators translating from English to French when the script called for. And the French looked like fops, in King Louis XVI outfits.

Wibrod, I was one of many knitters in the community who knit "chain mail" for the cast....wristlets, cowls, etc. We used metallic yarn on a synthetic base, since wool itches to high heaven in heat and sweat. I think I still have a prototype we worked on. Harry Hamlin is very small in person. Nice enought.

Kelly McGillis -- in nearly every other production -- is toweringly tall. I helped make two of three corsets circa 1580-style for another performance: The Dutchess of Malfi (blood, blood, revenge, more of the same, repeat) She smokes like it is the last day on the planet. Lots of nervous energy under a mask, I think.

DMD - You mean Stratford as in Ontario? I have always wanted to visit since my Irish ancestor who crossed the pond in 1851 lived in Stratford until about 1867 when his clan immigrated into the US through Chicago. Two teen brothers from County Wexford were "stumpers," who followed the loggers to pull out the stumps.

Posted by: College Parkian | October 25, 2006 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod and Superfrenchie: in all the French/US banter about pride and excess, plus swipes at the French, I thought of this production of Henry V.

The script is anti-Frenchie, so perhaps Superfrenchie, some of our US swiping is a remnant of the British veneer. Shakespeare traded on this notion that the honest, earnest Anglo Saxons out "manned" the foppy, fashionable French.

It is very funny, but I wonder how it plays in France?

SuperFrenchie, how do you like our 1960s Pepe LePew cartoon, of the ardent French skunk wooing a black cat?

Posted by: College Parkian | October 25, 2006 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Also spotted by Google Earth: "hovering cars."

[Gotta love the Google. The Google is good for so much more than locating one's own ranch on a map.]

Posted by: Dreamer | October 25, 2006 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Yes CP, Stratford Ontario, it is lovely, went back just to wander around this summer as it is close to my parents house. If you get a chance visit, if Ivansmom is around she can also tell you about it as she had her honeymoon there.

It was a wonderful to grow up half way between Stratford for Shakespeare plays and half way to Niagara-on-the-Lake for Shaw plays.

My ancestors are almost all Irish as well but they originally settled in the Ottawa and Guelph areas. My uncle married a girl from Stratford and then then moved to Texas.

Do you still work on Costumes? Everyonce in a while they will profile the costumes used in Stratford the detail that goes into it is really incredible.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

TBG: Quality is more important than quantity.

Posted by: kbertocci | October 25, 2006 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer thanks for the link. I didn't you were in Oz. Does your name refer to the Dreamtime?

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 8:17 PM | Report abuse

And just when you thought things couldn't get any weirder, it's just come to my attention that Jimmy Dean now makes a product called Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick.

Forget smoking, global warming, and Angus's meatfests -- Jimmy Dean will beat them to the punch.

Posted by: Dreamer | October 25, 2006 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer: //And just when you thought things couldn't get any weirder, it's just come to my attention that Jimmy Dean now makes a product called Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick.//

Knowing that *weirder* is always possible is what gets me up in the morning!

I just bought rabbit dogfood for the labs. Rabbit. Dogfood. (Think I've been reading too much dooce?)

Posted by: dbG | October 25, 2006 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Actually, boko, I'm in Hong Kong, although I am indeed an Aussie. I check in with the Sydney Morning Herald most days -- as well as the WaPo, of course.

I guess my name *could* refer to the Dreamtime, although that wasn't my original intention when I coined it. The way I understand it, the Dreamtime is a timeless, intangible realm, although it is often used to describe a time before time, or before history began. It is the place where Aboriginal legends take place, such as the creation story.

My "Dreamer" handle is mainly a reflection of the idea, What if this life is really just an illusion? And, What can our nightly dreams -- and the sensation of "realness" we feel in our dreams, as well as the distortion of time during the dream state -- tell us about the reality of our waking life? But I think these notions tie in with the Aboriginal concept of the Dreamtime -- the world of the mind, beyond the physical, beyond time. The spirit world.

Plus, some would call me a dreamer for having such wacky New-Agey ideas.

Posted by: Dreamer | October 25, 2006 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I've tried several times to read 'Lord of the Flies' but I can never get past the part where they break Piggy's glasses. I just get too sad to read any more.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 25, 2006 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I've been a material reductionist ever since someone tried to insult me by calling me one. It saves me from worrying about imaginary friends and having things looking over my shoulder.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer, thanks for the link, I saw that picture earlier this afternoon in one of the Toronto papers, it was with a collection of great Google earth pictures but couldn't get a link for it. It is a beautiful picture.

Posted by: dmd | October 25, 2006 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer: //What if this life is really just an illusion? //

As Woody Allen would say, then I definitely overpaid for my carpet!

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 8:50 PM | Report abuse

dbG, I've done a fresh turkey breast on the grill. Ours is a Holland grill, which is sloow cooking, but the couple of times I did it, it came out okay. I have to be careful to cook it long enough, nobody seems to like underdone turkey. I did it on a rack on the grid, with a pan underneath to catch juices so I could make gravy.

This year, though, my brother will fry the turkey, as he did last year. That's really good and gets the guys involved. It has to be done outdoors, as the fryer is huge and has no thermostat. It can be dangerous.

Can you tell I don't particularly like turkey? Wish I could do a nice beef roast for Thanksgiving, but the family would never forgive me. OTOH, that might be the right way to get out of having to cook!

Posted by: Slyness | October 25, 2006 8:54 PM | Report abuse

A word to the wise... okay, for Joel. Don't make fun of dead dogs.

See the fallout here.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 25, 2006 8:55 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, about the Brits:

//SuperFrenchie, how do you like our 1960s Pepe LePew cartoon, of the ardent French skunk wooing a black cat?//

Not great. They're like Mudge's stereotypes, decades old and were already outdated by 1945:

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the animosity you feel is deep. It definitely isn't solely about this wretched Iraqi adventure, Canada and Germany declined to go along and we've barely heard a peep.
Remember the anti-French feeling in Britain and the rest of Europe comes from a feeling of cultural inferiority (and a reciprocal feeling of cultural superiority among Parisian waiters). France was a beacon of culture and enlightenment even through all the wars and power struggles. The early English court and the Russian court spoke French and no Englishman was considered educated unless he could speak French. Sort of a NoVa, RoVa thang. What do they think of Paris in, say, Brittany, not nice I'll bet.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 9:31 PM | Report abuse


Here is a what a very popular American site had to say when a fire took the lives of 17 people in Paris:

//And with any luck, there were nine goatf**kers and eight of their frog appeasers hopefully burnt to a f**kin' crisp!
All in the interest of fairness and equality, of course.//

Besides that, the animosity is not deep...


Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, that's disgusting, sf. I'd just as soon not know about sites like that. I'm sure there are all sorts of hateful things like that out there - hard for me to imagine why people would waste their time reading, much less contributing to that. Yuk.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 25, 2006 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I hate to say it, but there are occasions on which dead dogs can be funny -- for example, in cartoons where they have crosses for eyes and sticking-out tongues.

Say, do you remember that sketch on "In Living Color," where Jamie Foxx played an old man who carted around a dead german shepherd? I seem to recall that that particular dog had the crosses-instead-of-eyes look.

That said, I *love* dogs. Magnificent beasts.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 25, 2006 9:58 PM | Report abuse

My browser wouldn't display that link. I'll have to adjust the good taste settings.
Dragging the rantings of obvious dipsticks onto this site does not make your case. Every nasty bit of crud you've cited can be seen in the Liberal/Conservative, Yankees/Red Sox context. This is just the quaint way some North Americans communicate with each other.
Hormonal Hyperbole.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Returning to the theme of why Americans have this problem with people of different race, color, ethnicity, ideology, religion --- RD earlier stated

"One more thought about stereotypes. My maternal grandfather held some rather nasty opinions about dark skinned people.
Except, of course, for the ones he actually knew.
Posted by: RD Padouk | October 25, 2006 08:20 AM"

And this was the way I was brought up. Talk about a confused perception of the world!

Posted by: nellie | October 25, 2006 10:06 PM | Report abuse

boko: //My browser wouldn't display that link. I'll have to adjust the good taste settings.//

You have to remove the stars I inserted inside the url to make it acceptable to the Wapo filters.

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 25, 2006 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Make of this what you will. I had a girlfriend educated in Paris while her dad was serving at the Canadian Embassy there. When she got back to Ottawa some of the Quebecois treated her badly because they thought she was putting on airs by speaking Parisian French instead of our local Joual. She hung with us Anglos, lucky me. I wonder were she is now. Thinking of her, I will say:
Good night and good nurtz.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Good Morning! Ok. Right. I saw the site, I hope you don't mind if I don't thank you.
Hateful, evil stuff, and stupid. That kind of rank ignorance is all over the web. I'll make a deal with you. You stop visiting sites like that and I'll stop watching the 700 Club and presidential press conferences.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 25, 2006 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I love Pepe Le Pew. I don't think anybody takes it as a literal portrayal of France. For one thing, it's in pastel colors. Not one black coat, dress, beret, etc. anywhere in sight except for the skunk and cat.

You know, once I was playing chess with a male friend. Another guy watching suddenly started saying excitedly "kill the Buick, kill the Buick." I did a Buick-in-the-room count and came up empty. Unless it's me.
I said "EXCUSE ME????" disbelievingly.

He said "the queen."
"You can apply it to yourself if you want." (Shrug in a "if you really, really, want to" tone).

I laughed and said "No, thanks."

I'm sure in my place you'd have had him arrested for making death threats to you or otherwise showed the "Buick" description was particularly apt.

Now allow me to figure out all the stereotypes that you see that are not meant and not actually supported by the context.
One, it's not a dig at how little the French purportedly bathe or the promiscuity of french women.
One, cartoons show the French people (male and female alike) bolting the area whenever Pepe goes by. Statues melt. His odor is clearly not an acceptable odor in France. (Skunks are not native to France.)

This is ALSO not a slur on how the French always run from threats. EVERYBODY avoids skunks in America.

Tick off a skunk and he taps his hind feet and then does a handstand and sprays in your face. the spray smells awful, tastes worse and the spray can blind you, sting your nose and mouth as well. Also, skunks have a reputation for being prone to getting and carrying rabies. That's even scarier than the skunk spray.

My old dog tried to make friends with this fluffy, funny black and white kitty once. Uh-oh. I bathed her 3 times and finally dumped the tomato sauce on her and let it crust and she was outside for a week to wallow in her misery. I have a partial resistance to skunk odor, but I was gagging after the first 5 minutes and had to seek air at intervals while bathing her.

That was the first time I had ever seen her actually desperate to have a bath. Even your cats would be cooperative in being bathed after being skunked, and that's saying a lot.

This reaction is not a slur on the French courage, especially when you see big tough bulldogs fainting from the odor in the cartoon, too. Not poodles. Bulldogs.

Pepe Le Pew is just a cute cartoon skunk, repeatedly shown to be a bona fide cartoon skunk, who has absolutely no idea that he's one of the most repungant, unwanted creatures in the world. He goes around enjoying life and love in one of the best cities ever made.

Well, maybe his french accent is offensive, never heard it. It's funny-- the captionining always goes like this:
"I am zee locksmith of love..." "You are my peanut. I am your brittle."

You mean the French don't really say such silly things when chasing cartoon cats disgused as skunks?

I am verklempt.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 26, 2006 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Back to the Asian American thing, I just saw this posted on the Yahoo front page:

Guess AAs are the up and coming voter block.

Linda - thanks for the post on the history of Hawaii. You've done your reading, that's stuff we try to impart on our students in the public schools. I doubt that most Hawaii citizens know the whole story, nor do they think it's relevant. It's important for people to know the history so they understand why things are the way they are today. Course, it's tough to take it all in when the surf is up and the heat is at 89 degrees in the classroom without any breeze. But we try.

Posted by: Aloha | October 26, 2006 1:27 AM | Report abuse

re: dead dogs. May the great Dog Spirit forgive me, but I've always found this to be darkly hilarious:

Posted by: Bob S. | October 26, 2006 1:33 AM | Report abuse

My apologies to Wilbrod for what I'm sure is a naive interpretation of things.

re: Gallaudet excitement -
"We are THE voice of the Deaf World. Not Irving, not JK, not the IrvingBOTs.
We shall be the victors... love and pray for us."

Christine Roschaert

Aaaahhhh, the exuberance of youth! Let's see here... A bunch of privileged students get all het up over an administrative appointment, and decide that their cause is the cause of all the world's righteous folk. Yep, I've seen this one before.

(Before I catch too much crap over the "privileged students" crack - yes, I understand that many of the students are scholarship students from less-than-wealthy households. But Harvard & MIT have full scholarship students, too. Quite a privilege, I'd say!)

Given that (if I've done the math right) about two thirds of the funding for the university's operating costs comes from federal funding, I suspect that pressure applied in places other than the university president's office is the most effective route to long-term policy changes, if that's actually the goal. Alas, I don't think that concrete policy changes have a lot to do with this uproar. Some combination of, "See what you get for ignoring us?" and "Man, that chick pisses me off!" seem to be much more in play here.

As a specific example, one of the few coherent complaints I've been able to glean from the (somewhat extensive) reading that I've done over the past few weeks is frustration over the fact that large numbers of the university staff (and some of the faculty) are somewhere between subpar and illiterate (illingual?) in ASL.

It seems to me that "THE voice of the Deaf World" ought to be able to organize a few constituent letters to Congress, and institute some hiring practice changes. Of course, this assumes that a sufficient pool of talented and willing applicants is available. What number of ASL-fluent Gallaudet graduates make themselves available for hire as staff & faculty each year? How large is the pool of non-Gallaudet applicants (for, say, campus cop positions) who are as fluent as the protesters would desire? What's the pay scale here? For the right money (some tuition assistance now, and a guaranteed position down the road), I'll be happy to go into language immersion next week, and can promise you some semblance of fluency within a couple of years.

But heck, what do I know? I'm sure it's all the president's fault.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 26, 2006 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Aha! One of those nights when I have the 'boodle to myself, and I can ramble without repercussions 'cuz a new blog should be forthcoming in a few hours, and nobody will read this. Well, then, a few personal memories:

My first job upon moving to the D.C. area (1997) was as a customer service technician at a Best Buy store. I soon had a deaf customer. He didn't speak, and was apparently not a particularly good lipreader. On his first visit, he was accompanied by a friend (also deaf) who did lipread and speak, and she initiated the conversation about his equipment problem (a computer printer, I think, but it's not particularly relevant).

When I made my replies, I used a mix of speaking (mostly to him, but intentionally clearly and in full view of his friend) and jotting down notes. I didn't particularly plan this strategy out, it just seemed natural, and seemed to work.

A couple of weeks later, I had a message waiting for me at work indicating that a customer wanted to know when I'd be available because he wanted to speak to me particularly. It took a while for me to associate the name, but once I remembered the piece of equipment, I remembered the customer. Apparently, all it took on my part to be memorable to him (in a very positive way) was the willingness to jot down notes, and not to treat him as an outsider by speaking strictly to the companion with whom I could communicate more easily. Over the couple of years that I worked there, he came in fairly regularly, often bringing other deaf friends, sometimes just stopping by my counter to say hello. Gosh, it's easy to please some people, and sad to think that sometimes so few people make the effort.

When I was making a living performing real estate appraisals, I did two homes with deaf owners who were accomanied by non-signing agents whose main concern seemed to be that I be aware that the homeowner was deaf. After imparting that knowledge, they were pretty much useless, but kept hovering around. Well, as an appraiser, I already knew a lot (from the public tax records and real estate agent listings) before I walked into the house, so I generally had only a few questions, easily jotted down (and answered) on the notebook which I always carried. A quick note about the sequence in which I intended to examine things, a few questions, and on my way! In each of these cases, I got a very nice compliment (relayed through the lender who was paying me) about the fact that, unlike many other appraisers, I didn't ignore the homeowner in favor of communicating exclusively with the (hearing & speaking) agent. Again, some folks are awfully easy to please!

Posted by: Bob S. | October 26, 2006 3:24 AM | Report abuse

Well, it's 4:30 in the morning and I just got back a half hour ago from spending 7 hours with my friend who is now a widow of the man who spent the last several weeks in hospice care waiting to die of liver cancer and liver failure. Yes, I've now had 2 friends die in the last 4.5 days. I am now helping to plan out two memorial services next week and trying to contact friends of both friends to let the know the news.

Other than the good feeling of having helped a friend on the night that her husband just died, it's been a h*ell of a week and night.

Good night fellow boodlers and know that your support over the last week or two have been immensely helpful in keeping my personal sanity from shattering so that I could provide the necessary support for the family and friends of my two very sorely missed friends.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 26, 2006 3:32 AM | Report abuse

Bob S,

Unfortunately, you don't have the boodle all to yourself. I'm just trying to avoid going to bed after spending a good but depressing night consoling my friend who just lost her husband yesterday/Wednesday afternoon.

Although I agree that it doesn't take much to please some people, I know from my experience with a deaf friend (several years ago) and my experience with several blind friends and a visually impaired wife, they are so pleased with people who care, show they care and try to overcome the obstacles in a compassionate way. It's truly discouraging how few people make the effort to try to bridge these communication barriers. Congratulations to you. You deserve kudos for making the effort to communicate with your customer even when it is challenging. That's the type of compassion and understanding that will last you well in any career you choose.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 26, 2006 3:38 AM | Report abuse

Good night, DWB. Damn, it hurts, don't it? As long as your departed friends are in your heart, and you're there (as much as you can be) for your still-present friends, you're fighting the good fight. Peace be with you & them.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 26, 2006 3:43 AM | Report abuse

Ooops... source for Galludet budget (no baseless conjecture on this blog, darn it!):

: )

Posted by: Bob S. | October 26, 2006 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Bob--thanks. Yes, it hurts, but mostly since I know that my friend who died yesterday was still a newlywed. They were only married n Feb 05 and it just isn't fair. He was a great guy who truly made my friend happy. She married late (as did I) and she waited for the right guy...and now he's gone. I didn't know him well, but I know that he made her very happy and for that I will miss him as she deserved to be happy.

Good night...I'll see if I can sleep now.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 26, 2006 4:02 AM | Report abuse

from Aloha - "Almost one in five US-born Asian-American voters report having donated to a political campaign, larger than many other communities, studies show."

Hmmm... Traditionally, "black" & "latino" voter blocs are significant because they tend to vote predictably, not because they have a boatload of money. To what extent is this true of Asian-Americans?

Posted by: Bob S. | October 26, 2006 4:10 AM | Report abuse

DadWannaBe - It's been several years now, but my favorite aunt (everyone's favorite aunt) was unmarried well into her 30's, then she married Tom. Well, you can imagine that we were all a little suspicious of this guy who was suddenly the focus of "our" aunt's life!

He was a sweet, wonderful, fantastic guy. She had more time with him than your friend did with her husband, but he was taken away far too soon. He was a sports writer for the Atlanta paper, and was killed in a car wreck just a few blocks from their house when coming home late one night after covering an event.

I'm so glad that she got to know & love this wonderful guy, and that I got to know him well enough to understand why she loved him. It's awfully hard, but I'm pretty sure I'd rather experience the pain rather than never experience the love!

Posted by: Bob S. | October 26, 2006 4:23 AM | Report abuse

DWB, what a difficult week for you, I know there is nothing I can say that will make it better but I do wish you strength throught the next while.

Posted by: dmd | October 26, 2006 5:26 AM | Report abuse

DWB, I truly don't know what to write, except that I'm very sorry for your losses. Something about the fact that we pick our friends makes it even tougher to lose them. I'll be thinking about you and their families this week.

Posted by: dbG | October 26, 2006 5:39 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod: Let me concede this: If Pepe Le Pew was all the French-bashing Americans could muster, things would be peachy.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2006 5:41 AM | Report abuse

DWB, may God's peace be with you and your friends.

Posted by: slyness | October 26, 2006 6:23 AM | Report abuse

DWB - What horrible news. I wish you strength.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 6:49 AM | Report abuse

DWB, I hope you got some sleep. Please let me offer an analogy I sincerely hope will help you in this very difficult time.

Sometimes the most difficult parts of life can dominate your perceptions, as if it's an IMAX screen and you're in the front row, center. I've been there, and trust me, every day you'll move a little further away from the screen and see more of the rest of life. Remember the friends you have here.

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 26, 2006 7:00 AM | Report abuse

DWB -- I am sorry and will say my prayers for your friends this week. You are there for the long haul, so I expect you know to arrive, unbidden with lasagna and bread during the next 9 months or so. I like the Jewish custom of a service one year later, often associated with intalling a grave stone. That first year marker deserves attention and ceremony.

DMD -- I don't sew for the Shakespeare Theater in DC anymore, as I have no time! I would love to, but perhaps in my retirement years....

Posted by: College Parkian | October 26, 2006 7:11 AM | Report abuse

This made me smile.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 7:14 AM | Report abuse

As did this:


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 26, 2006 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Although the plight of the frogs is very sad, anytime anyone helps endangered animals it is a cause for celebration.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 7:22 AM | Report abuse

RD: So panamanians consider frogs to be a national treasure? I'll be darned!

Are Americans about to link us in their bashing frenzy?

Hi, MO!

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link Scottynuke, "functionally dumb" may become my new favorite phrase.

Posted by: dmd | October 26, 2006 7:29 AM | Report abuse


Although I have naught but disdain for ideologues like Limbaugh and his ilk (on both ends of the political spectrum) I must admit that I too have been known to exploit the stupidity defense.

When, as has been known to happen, I commit some minor domestic infraction such as forgetting to run the dishwasher, my beloved wife typically frames the event in two possible ways.

Either I deliberately refused to perform this most simple household task because I am a mean-spirited male-type person who cares not a wit for the difficulties and challenges of her life, or, alternatively, I am an idiot.

I find that embracing the latter interpretation is usually safer.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 7:35 AM | Report abuse

SF, just saw this article about Canada bashing in the Tennessee election and thought of you. It never fails to amaze me how nasty the US election commercials can be, there is a tendancy towards more negative ads here but not to the same extent I don't think anyways.

Is there any push back in the US to over the top negative ads?

Posted by: dmd | October 26, 2006 7:36 AM | Report abuse


Stupididity in a personal relationship is par for the course (pointing at my dunce cap in the corner); Limburger does it professionally, doncha know...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 26, 2006 7:41 AM | Report abuse

RD you have me laughing, of course you may just have given away my husbands secret!

Realized I forgot the link to the story on the ads in Tennessee.

Then I saw this article and much prefer it, it is a story on the former war museum in Ottawa, that has been purchased for a Centre for Pluralism by the Aga Khan foundation.

Posted by: dmd | October 26, 2006 7:42 AM | Report abuse

dmd: Canada bashing, eh?

Or, as Tucker Carlson would say, the "retarded cousins"...

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Hi SuperFrenchie! I liked learning from you about how France works, on the home/tax/daycare front.

I expect it is hard but exciting to be of two countries.

My sister and brother-in-law developed careers with huge summer swaths of time, so they can spend time in France and the Basque town. But as the children age, this is harder. My brother-in-law recently observed, somewhat surprised, "My children American!" His father said, "Naturally. And this surprises you?"

Funny note on how inter-related we all are. The name of his family is actually Irish. That man fled Ireland in the mid 1600s, serving in the French army as did many of his sons. Before the wedding, when the families met the talk of Irish/Norman/Breton connections was lively.

They correctly identified all the Norman or Breton Irish surnames in my mom's family. Her grandparents can from Wexford, where people tend to be very dark haired and rather tall. Roche, DeLacey, Tobin (St. Aubyn), Lyons, McQuillan (Hugelin), and others.

Their name:

Dalton in Ireland, but the Anglo-Normanis, of course, D'Alton!

Posted by: College Parkian | October 26, 2006 7:49 AM | Report abuse

To ScottyNuke....I keep hearing a voice, saying,

"Nuke me up, Scotty!"

Strange factoid: did you know that the mask in the Halloween series is that of William Shatner, spray painted white?

Posted by: College Parkian | October 26, 2006 7:56 AM | Report abuse


The pushback is to not vote for the idiot who authorized (or benefits from) the over-the-top ad. Then again, that tends to eliminate every candidate save "None of the Above."


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 26, 2006 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I know SF it happens, for the most part it doesn't bother me, particularly when it comes from the functionally dumb group, Carlson, O'Reilly, Limbugh etc. Truth be told there is an equal amount up here.

The only part that bothered me about the Tennessee situation was it was referring to our lack of helping in the world situation, like the US in Iraq, our losses in Afganistan have increased lately and it is a sensitive topic.

Posted by: dmd | October 26, 2006 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Here's your Delacey coat of arms--from a Stronbownian:

Posted by: Loomis | October 26, 2006 8:02 AM | Report abuse

College Parkian;

I often get asked to check the dilithium crystals... *L*

And I thought that mask looked familiar. Bet Shatner doesn't get residuals, though.

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 26, 2006 8:03 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Strongbownian

Posted by: Loomis | October 26, 2006 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Not voting for the person would be my choice Scotty, on the other hand it would seem that if negative ads had that affect they wouldn't be used at all.

Here is the Toronto star article on the Tennessee ad with links to the ad, the Michael J. Fox ad and the counter ad to the Fox ad. The Tennessee ad is too much, the comment about Canada in it is the least offensive part.

Posted by: dmd | October 26, 2006 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Citizen Loomis, we may be related then, or at least our ancestors stood in mud together.

Are you one of the Canucks on this blog?

Posted by: College Parkian | October 26, 2006 8:06 AM | Report abuse

College: //Hi SuperFrenchie! I liked learning from you about how France works, on the home/tax/daycare front.//

Ya, but the problem is that you shouldn't have to learn it from me.

In this sense: either you don't care (perfectly understandable), or you do care and the information carried by the press should be either accurate, or fair, or preferably both.

For example, no American that I know of, if asked which country has the lower corporate tax, would say France. Yet it is 39.3% in the US, and 35% in France. If you'd say that the unemployment rate in France is very comparable to that of the US, people would laugh at you. And if you'd say that average incomes for the average persons are higher in France than in the US by 11%, they would lock you up in an asylum.

Yet all of those things are true and can be backed up by easily obtainable numbers. So how come the Steve Pearlsteins and Wall Street Journals of the world never tell you that?

The answer: bashing is a lot more fun! (and you don't have to give a reason for being the greatest country in the world)

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Lou Dobbs of CNN was in town last night conducting a town hall on border issues:

Proving San Antonio is no monolith on the divisive issue of illegal immigration, CNN host Lou Dobbs got a fair share of applause and heckling Wednesday night when he led a live "town hall meeting" on one of the major issues in the upcoming election.

Posted by: Loomis | October 26, 2006 8:08 AM | Report abuse

As usual, SF, you've got your head up your --- and you're overlooking the highly relevant fact that no American givers a crap what the corporate tax rate is in France, and for good reason. No American knows what the rate is in the US, for that matter, also for a very good reason.

No American knows what the unemployment rate is in France, and doesn't give a crap. It's your problem, not ours. We don't sit around and routinely study the tax rates of foreign countries (much less yours), nor their unemployment rates. Why should we? We don't exactly "major" in French studies over here.

If we need to know that information, we look it up. It's that simple. Get off your effing soapbox.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 26, 2006 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Am interested. Just, so many ideas, so little time. I agree that reporting is piss-poor these days.

I serve on a committee about interdisciplinary scholarship and the professions on campus. We all KNOW that journalism schools should be two- year professional program, and not an undergraduate undertaking. Subject-area competency in reporters is at an all-time low. Further more, the dying print media does not support subject area expertise in its journalism structures.....

Having said that, thanks JA for all the well-written fun stuff and science alerts. I think you know what I am talking about. Off to teach. To impart wisdom.

Scotty, can you pre-nuke their brains so that the wisdom enter in....

Posted by: College Parkian | October 26, 2006 8:17 AM | Report abuse

College Parkian,

Born and raised in California, a year living in Europe during my college years, in Texas now for 10 years, Yankee and New England roots (on my dad's side), stretching back in Europe to the mists of time--Russia, Eastern Europe, Italy, Spain, France, and merry ol' England.

It was quite a surprise to learn that our family has Irish blood--in the form of Dermot MacMurrough, whose name, to this day, lives in Irish infamy! One of the five kings of Ireland, MacMurrough (he from Leinster) was responsible for the first British invasion of Ireland in 1169. (The underlying cause: sex--yes, sex.)

The mercenary he engaged, British (Norman) Marcher baron and knight Richard Strongbow, took, as his recompense, the hand of Dermot's daughter. The fighting continued for several years and when Strongbow arrived in 1170 to take Eva's hand as his prize, legend has it that the marriage took place on a battlefield so awash in fresh blood that the hem and lower portions of my distant great-grandmother's gown turned bright crimson! (Wouldn't that be an heirloom to be passed down!)

The British (Norman) invaders soon held the land from Waterford to Dublin, and when Dermot died in 1171, Richard "Stongbow" de Clare proclaimed himself king of Leinster.

Posted by: Loomis | November 11, 2005 12:40 PM

Posted by: Loomis | October 26, 2006 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I've been reading about danny rolling's execution this morning. Can someone please remind me why I'm against the death penalty?

Posted by: Achenbach | October 26, 2006 8:19 AM | Report abuse

DWB: Peace be with you. This sounds trite, but, be sure to take opportunities to rest.

BTW, the best chili in these parts (Clt. & envirions) can be had at this quaint hole in the wall otherwise known as Lupie's. Texas and Cincinnati recipes are both offered. I like mine served with cheese over pasta with pintos and onions and a piece of corn bread on the side.

Posted by: jack | October 26, 2006 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you are against the death penalty for the same reason you are against torture. Both assume that controlling authority can never be wrong.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, if nobody cares, why do they write blog entries about it? And why does it get 270 comments?

//We don't sit around and routinely study the tax rates of foreign countries (much less yours), nor their unemployment rates.//

You obviously never read the business pages of the Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal.

//No American knows what the rate is in the US, for that matter, also for a very good reason.//

Speak for yourself. Tons of Americans have to pay it, and tons of Americans know what it is.

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

What if there had been no definitive DNA evidence regarding the murder of JonBenet Ramsey? One day we would be reading about the profound sense of closure and healing that would have been afforded to her relatives after the execution of his remorseless confessed killer John Karr.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 8:34 AM | Report abuse

SCC: her killer

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

dmd asks: "Is there any push back in the US to over the top negative ads?"

Negative ads are not intrinsically bad: after all, if your opponent really is a scum-sucking evil-doer, it furnishes a ready-made campaign platform -- "My opponent is evil. I may be a fool, but at least I'm not evil. Vote for me."

We operate on the theory that candidates who indulge in unnecessarily negative ads, negative ads that cast unfounded aspersions, will pay for it at the ballot box. So far, the voters have been biding their time, letting these guys work up a really good head of steam, before they slap 'em down. Any day now. Annnnnnnnyyyyy day. Real soon. Then, blammo! Maybe not this election. Maybe not the next one. But soon, and for the rest of our lives.

Wait a second... that sounds familiar.

Posted by: Tim | October 26, 2006 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Mud slinging Canadian style,

Tim your post was very funny.

Posted by: dmd | October 26, 2006 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: kbertocci | October 26, 2006 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Only 14 democracies in the world still have the death penalty, and only 3 of them have carried out executions in 2005: the United States, Taiwan and Japan. 44 dictatorships also practice it regularly.

[start Mudge mode]

Huh, who gives a crap what they do elsewhere?

[/end Mudge mode]

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

For once, you're exactly right: I don't read the business pages of the Post or the WSJ. Reason: I'm not IN business, and have no need to know. But my larger point, which as usual you chose to overlook, was that Americans don't know the FRENCH corporate tax rate. Nor the German tax rate. Nor the Russian tax rate. Nor the Chinese tax rate. Nor the Japanese tax rate. (Are you beginning yet to sense a pattern here? Probably not.) Nor the Icelandic corporate tax rate. Nor the Spanish tax rate. Nor the Bolivian tax rate. (I can go on a bit further, but everyone else but you has gotten the point by now.) Reason: most Americans aren't international corporate tax accountants, a fact which has probably escaped ypour attention in your otherwise perceptive analysis of "most" Americans.

You also make the false assumption (as many of your assumptions are) that people are supposed to know their own tax rates. Give me one good reason why, if you are not aqn accountant, or otherwise engaged in some business where it is important? I have no clue what most of my tax rates are; I just pay 'em (almost all of them automatically, since they are deducted from my paycheck, and there's not a damn thing I could do about any of them even if I wanted to). My wife and I have an accountant, and every year we give him whatever records he requires, and we also have an estate planner who handles our money (very well, as it happens). So I have absolutely NO need to know what any given kind of tax rate may happen to be in any particular jurisdiction I'm in (up to three) at any given time. Neither do most other (sane) people who aren't specifically involved in corporate accounting.

As for people writing blog entries, only in your warped mind does that constitute any kind of evidence of ANYTHING.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 26, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

superfrenchie, in your 8:31 reply to Curmudgeon's curmudgeonly post (or whatever time it really was), aren't you furnishing the disproof of your own argument? Regardless of whether most Americans actually KNOW the corporate taxation rate or the relative unemployment rates between this country (the one in which most Americans actually live) and your home country (one in which, I venture to say, a small fraction of the American population lives), you indicate that this information is readily available in the Wall Street Journal and the business section of the WaPo. Therefore, the information is readily available to interested parties, and your point about a lack of knowledge due to poor reporting is disproved. It is a lack of knowledge due to understandable and predictable disinterest. *You* constitute an interested party, but that is because of the unique facts of your individual life.

You could argue that we SHOULD know more about statistical and financial comparisons between the U.S. and France. I will grant that this might be true. Quick now, what is the unemployment rate and the corporate taxation rate in the U.K.? In Mexico? In Canada? In Tuvalu? In Australia? Did you have to look up these numbers specially, or was it on the tip of your tongue? If it was on the tip of your tongue, either you do this stuff professionally or you are obsessive-compulsive, pretty much by definition. It is sufficient that the information can be located when it is desired. This is information that is useful if you have functional decisions to make in this arena; otherwise, it is just collecting answers to obscure and pointless trivia questions.

Posted by: Tim | October 26, 2006 9:03 AM | Report abuse

If I might expand on Tim's point when looking at the stats you also need to know how they are calculated, are you comparing apples to apples.

Posted by: dmd | October 26, 2006 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I like apples, particularly in pie but ESPECIALLY in applesauce cake.


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 26, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

The French marginal tax rate on deferred interest income not previously assigned to student loans, retirement, long term disability insurance or home mortgage alleviation stipends is 37 percent, except in the special tax district of Rochambeau, as I recall.

I have a sky report: this morning before dawn there were gobs of stars, even in the city. I think they're getting closer or something. I'm dead Sirius!!! hahahahahahahaha

Posted by: Achenbach | October 26, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse


Speaking of overlooking things, here is what I wrote:

"either you don't care (perfectly understandable), or you do care and the information carried by the press should be either accurate, or fair, or preferably both."

The "you" of "either you don't care" was specifically designed for people such as you who couldn't care less what others think or do, and would never let an outisde thought reach their minds.

At any rate, I thought for a minute of writing "either you're Mudge and you don't care [...]" but chose instead to make a slightly larger point, in the very unlikely event that there would be more than one person as opaque and narrow-minded as you are.

After reconsideration, that was unwise.

So let me rephrase:

"either you're Mudge and you could not care less what others think or do, or you occasionally care and the information carried by the press should be either accurate, or fair, or preferably both."

PS: Should the press decide to go back to ignore France entirely, as it was doing before it started pouting like a 3-year old because we decided not to back them off in their Iraqi adventure, nobody would be more delighted than me.

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I haven't yet read the article that Joel linked about Danny Rolling. I'm a little afraid to do so. Before I go there, I will offer the following, blissfully high-minded because I haven't familiarized myself yet with this case: You are against capital punishment, as am I, because you have a choice about whether to embrace your part of the responsibility for willfully killing a human being who no longer poses an immediate threat to you or anyone else. I'm sure that we can live with the knowledge that we killed him. We may even temporarily celebrate it. But it cheapens us a little more, every time we do it. Unlike a case of actual self-defense, we have options, and we have to live with the knowledge that we chose the option to kill, when the other option was plainly available to us. What scares me and troubles me is that there are so many people who appear to be untroubled by this knowledge. That's what I mean by "cheapens us."

Similar to Padouk's point, this argument applies equally well to torture, except that torture is an ongoing decision. Still, once you've made the decision to initiate torture, I'm sure that it's much less difficult to make the decision to continue to do so.

Posted by: Tim | October 26, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Already my experience in trying to reach the "Achenblog" is turning out to be the hardest thing I've done so far. I've commented this morning, but something ate it up. Oh, well, I'm back. Just wanted to say good morning, and hope your day is good, maybe even better than the day before.

A lot of comments, and I like the chili recipes. It is still cold here, so chili sounds good.

Have a good day. DWB, you've had a trying and sad week, I do hope everything turns to a brighter note for you and friends. My prayers are with you and friends.

Good morning, Nani and Error Flynn. And what's up, Slyness. I'm waving, Mudge. Hope you got some rest over the weekend in between the work.

Good morning, superfrenchie. Have a good day.

I've walked this morning, Pat, and the sky looked as if it was covered in a white and gray blanket, with bits of color peeking out like children hiding. It was a very calm scene. The lake was shiny and bright, and the ducks were swimming about. It was not cold, not the crisp kind of cold. I walked around part of the lake, and said prayers for all.

Enjoy your day, folks, and praise God in your hearts. And know that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 26, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

And people wonder why we don't like (one particular) French people. Go figure.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 26, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The second half of your 8:56 is over the line, SF.

And to be frank, your 9:42 pm displays what you are always harping that Americans do to the French, stereotyping.

If you really want to explain France to me, the high horse you sometimes ride sir, only proves the stereotype. Can you tell me about France without dissing anyone else. That is the France you so obviously hold dear, that I'd like to know.

Posted by: dr | October 26, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse


I did not create that debate. I was invited to go on the mommy blog because they were discussing French benefits for mom.

When I got there in early afternoon, half the comments looked like that:

- that's great, but look at how much they pay for taxes! And their economy is in shambles! And unemployment is sky high!

All that without a single fact or number to back it up. I gave the facts, and the numbers.

Nobody has to care what the French situation is. But somebody who writes, and I quote "France's economy is in shambles and unemployment rate is extremely high" should either back it up with numbers or not bring it up.

And my contention is that they write such things because that is what they read in the pages of American newspapers. Correct numbers are indeed readily available, but not from news organizations. Right or wrong, news organizations think every reader is a Mudge clone.

Joel, student loans by and large do not exist in France. Colleges are free of charge.

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

C'mon Mudge, you really didn't have to be so tetchy this morning. You need more coffee to perk yourself up back to usual. Superfrenchie was making a point of the generalizations fed to Americans "Oh, French pay more taxes than we do."

As you point, Americans aren't always interested in the details. But if Americans start talking about how the French pay more taxes as a kind of proof of cultural superiority... and it does happen, I've read it, then it's appropriate for SuperFrenchie to complain that the tax data is missreported in a way to give a misleading picture of the French taking to drink due to their tax bills.

It wasn't for you to reply, since you didn't bring up the tax point, nor as you indicated, are interested in tax rates.
Now, you two kiss and make up.

(I can see there's a good reason why I never went into diplomancy... honestly, schoolchildren would be easier).

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 26, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Let me back up further what I said.

Here is what Steven Pearlstein, the business columnist for the Washington Post, once said in an online chat about one of his columns:

"The thing you have to understand about the French is that they brush their teeth in the kitchen sink."

This is a business columnist?

Outside f**, I don't think I have ever seen a more irresponsible statement by a journalist (or pretty much anyone!) And I've seen my share of absurdities!

Besides, we have separate toilets in France! Unlike Americans, we don't pee in our bathrooms!

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only person who is incredibly tired and bored of the discussion being continually focused on national comparisons and arguments?

This used to be a fun place. If we can't have meaningful discussions on useful topics, and silly fun, I'm ready to go bye-bye!

Posted by: slyness | October 26, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

*faxing slyness a pair of Groucho glasses*

You sing base, I'll take falsetto...

"Tiptoe through the tulips..."

Or sparks, mo and I could continue our Beastie Boys quote wars from yesterday...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 26, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Here is another column from Pearlstein, titled "French Take to the Streets to Preserve Their Economic Fantasy"

Any facts or numbers in that column?



The number of billionaires. We have only 14. Britain has 24. Ouch!

That same week, Molly Moore, the Foreign Service correspondant for the same Washington Post, to describe the bad shape of the French economy chose to highlight the decline of ... international auctions of contemporary art.

Did you know that we've lost two thirds of the international contemporary art auction market in the last 10 years?

Gee, now I see why the students took to the streets.

The French stock market shooting up 37% during the period in question (Dow Jones during the same period: 5%), Airbus beating Boeing in 2005, Alcatel acquiring Lucent, Renault worth more than GM and Ford combined, why bother? Who knows, someone might get the wrong idea and think that there are actually some things still working in France!

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Me too, Slyness.

Tell me where you go so I can follow.

My feeling is that we should retire discussions about France for a while. Like, UNTIL THE 23RD FRICKIN' CENTURY.

Tim, thanks for weighing in on the death penalty. I don't quite agree with you there. And in a sense, reading the Rolling story is essential to having the discussion. In the abstract, yeah, it seems wrong to kill another person, absolutely. But if anyone deserves to be executed, it's Rolling. His crimes were extremely sadistic, serial in nature, took five lives, shattered five families (at least), and so on.

In general I don't think the death penalty is worth the time and effort and money, and RD makes the critical point that the government isn't infallible and we could wind up executing someone who is innocent. Witness many innocent people freed from death row in recent years.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 26, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Nope, slyness. I'm tired of it too. Not that it matters; I'll just lurk. Looking forward to seeing you and your colleague soon. *engaging cloaking device*

Posted by: jack | October 26, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Achenblog: A France-Free Zone

Posted by: Achenbach | October 26, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

slyness - I understand the feeling. We all understand the feeling. But please don't go.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Agreed in spades, slyness. I'll leave it to the boodle to figure out what the devisive influence is. As for me, this hasn't been any fun for quite a while, now. I think I'm gonna mosey on out of here for a little while, maybe see if I can find that front porch Nani's sitting on and singing doo-wop to her grandkids, maybe do a little door-to-door campaigning for Error, and take in that Toshiro Mifume film festival Kurosawaguy mentioned.

Pretty soon it it'll just be SF and Wilbrod, 24-7-365, because you know the crap's gonna continue.

Cassandra, you know by now I'm not religious, but I always appreciated being kept in your thoughts.

Scotty, you have the con.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 26, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, British news bits to the rescue:

___ From the Churchdown Parish Magazine:
'Would the Congregation please note that the bowl at the back of the Church labeled "For The Sick", is for monetary donations only.'

___ From The Guardian concerning a sign seen in a Police canteen in Christchurch, New Zealand:
'Will the person who took a slice of cake from the Commissioner's Office return it immediately. It is needed as evidence in a poisoning case.'

___ From The Times:
'A young girl, who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth, was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coast-guard spokesman commented, "This sort of thing is all too common these days."

___ From The Gloucester Citizen:
'A sex line caller complained to Trading Standards. After dialing an 0891 number from an advertisement entitled "Hear Me Moan" the caller was played a tape of a woman nagging her husband for failing to do jobs around the house. Consumer Watchdogs in Dorset refused to look into the complaint, saying, "He got what he deserved."

___ From The Daily Telegraph in a piece headed "Brussels Pays 200,000 Pounds to Save Prostitutes":
"... the money will not be going directly into the prostitutes' pocket, but will be used to encourage them to lead a better life. We will be training them for new positions in hotels."

___ From The Derby Abbey Community News:
"We apologize for the error in the last edition, in which we stated that 'Mr Fred Nicolme is a Defective in the Police Force'. This was a typographical error. We meant of course that Mr Nicolme is a Detective in the Police Farce."

Posted by: Loomis | October 26, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Science discussion diversion for you, I will not pretend to understand all of this, but it is a story about the NASA contest for robots for use in space.

You will note that even Canadian Rocket Scientist use hockey sticks :-)

Posted by: dmd | October 26, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

You can do it Joel. It's your playground. I mean, it's not like you would be suppressing free speech. There are many forums for such discussions including, I hasten to add, other blogs. I think it could be reasonably interpreted as an inflammatory term. Or flammatory. Whichever is worse.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Bob S., your viewpoint is similar to what I first thought of the protest back in May. I am particularly upset by the continued weak reporting (with lots of spin and media manipulation), so I went to deaf blogs and other sources to find out.

Fernandes threatened the BoT to back her up or COngress might investigate. She used the term "Fiducary" responsibility, meaning they would be held to a high standard when it comes to conflict of interest. Now, the board of trustees (BoT) are the one who pick the president. Those trustees were asked to serve by the outgoing president.

A bare majority are deaf, but only 7 (a bit over 1/3) are actually Gallaudet alumni. 4 others have tenuous ties to Gallaudet, having family who are Gallaudet Alumni. Most of the board members are late-deafened or oral. Some do not sign at all (including one with "gallaudet ties").
One board of trustee is the managing partner of an accounting firm. That firm got the contract to do external auditing of Gallaudet. That's a conflict of interest.

Because of conflict of interest, a couple of the deaf members had to sit out the presidental search; one was related to one of the applicants.

The chair of the Board of Trustees had to resign because he was applying for the job of President. This is Dr. Glenn Anderson. He didn't make the final 3 of applicants whom the BoT had to vote on.

Instead a Ph.D. student who is superintendent of the New mexico school for the deaf got in the final 3, as did a popular professor who isn't really administrator material.

And as for Fernandes being unpopular, well Umbridge was unpopular too. Doesn't mean the people protesting her are automatically wrong.
She has a Ph.D. in English literature. She is not a Gallaudet alumni (unlike IKJ). She came to Gallaudet as Dean of the Clerc Center. This is not a highly visible position. I sure didn't know who my principals reported to when I was a kid. Did you?

75 parents yanked their kids out of school because of ongoing chaos due to restructuring. They didn't yank them because they disliked Fernandes, although when they met with her to complain, they came out really angry with her instead.

Again and again, she's often been able to derail people from being angry at the issue to being angry with her instead. That takes rare talent. Have you ever worked with people whose response to issues so far overshadowed the original problem that you're still punching pillows when you think of such meetings? That's what I'm hearing she's like to talk with.

She doesn't listen, she orders people around that she shouldn't be ordering around (parents, etc.), and she talks to a script in her head that isn't what is actually going on around her.

Worse, she takes credit for other peoples' work. The parent who wrote in praising Fernandes was misled into thinking Fernandes set up a scholarship in their son's honor. That was the work of 2 other people. Fernandes told them about it and somehow they walked out there with the impression she was the one to thank for that wonderful idea.

That is not the action of a leader that values the people she works with. She also has not particularly showed she values the student at the university, either. It's nothing to do with being deaf.

Now, a Board of Trustees member indicated that while she was clearly the most qualified of the final 3 (indisputable), he didn't think she was the most qualified of all that applied.

And that's where the outrage started with: dislike of her, AND a feeling the process was cooked from the start.

Fernandes' being provost and now president-elect also shows the disregard of the administration for the voices of the faculty, which has been well documented and even admitted by Jordan that he made a mistake in appointing her as provost without the proper procedure (faculty vote and approval).

Now, was proper procedure followed this time in a search that disqualified a respected previous provost (who ran afoul of IKJ), and the ex-chair of the board of trustees? Both people who are much more qualified than Fernandes?

As an alumni I find this whole situation alarming. Many think that there are a lot of secrets that are being hidden by this whole "quick nomination process", possibly due to financial mismanagement.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 26, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Joel, that makes me feel better.

LindaLoo, the British news made me chuckle.

Joel, I understand completely where you are on the death penalty. But I'm beginning to think that life in prison is worse punishment. To be alive but confined to four boring walls has to be tough.

Posted by: slyness | October 26, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

You are my hero slyness. The Achenblog has become the home of the tiresome tirade.
Yo Achenbach, France-free 'til 2008 sounds about right. Go back there, I will certaily do too, but please shut up about it.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 26, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Tim and RDP, for your reasonable statements about the death penalty. I know Joel's question was rhetorical, but it cuts to the heart of the problem of the U.S. and capital punishment. I'm sorry that it reminded me once again of Yeats's line: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

At some point, to make progress, we do need to believe strongly in something, even if we can understand opposing views, and respect the people who hold them.

I personally believe strongly that it is wrong to take human life on purpose. That's why it's against the law. If it's wrong for Danny Rolling to do it, it's wrong for the professional executioner to do it, too.

Slyness, and everybody, I'm sorry for continuing a less than humorous subject. This, and the torture issue, which was also in the news this morning, I think they are both very serious problems that are dragging us down, as a society. We need to stand up for what is right.

Posted by: kbertocci | October 26, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey - I think in celebration of this event I will create a new drink called the "Martian Rover."

Now I just need to figure out the ingredients. Might need to go through a few trial runs before I get it perfect.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I've heard of cases even more horrible to me, here in Maryland. I don't doubt that there are many cases that test our opposition to the death penalty. There would be no debate if it were trivially easy to decide one way or the other. However, I don't think we should do it (execute persons) until we have fully retired the debate about whether it's the right thing to do. It's not like we can bring those people back, should we decide that capital punishment was not such a good idea, after all. The presumption should be in favor of opposition to capital punishment, since captial punishment is irreversible and unremediable.

Perhaps we should go with a system more like the ancient Greeks: provide unlimited prison time in reasonable circumstances (this is the part that is modern), in a cell stocked with effective tools for quick and certain suicide. Obviously, no guns or swords. Poisons and nooses would be perfectly acceptable. Let the miscreant make the decision to do the deed. We can provide a modest amount of encouragement, by also stocking the cell with depressing books and movies.

Posted by: Tim | October 26, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I'll only take the con if I can wear an eyepatch and fly the Jolly Roger...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 26, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I've been away from the boodle for the last week or so trying to finish painting and preping the kitchen, babysitting for three days and trying to stay away from home while the refinished floors dried. When I did manage to lurk, I wondered at the change in tone and content here. I am glad that some new "rules" have been stated 'cause this hasn't been "the place I love to come to" lately.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | October 26, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, if you had rolled over and ignored SF, he'd have sniffed and moved on.
Growling just sets off a dog fight.

And you know Snoopy always loses against the Red Baron.

Wags to y'all. I like cats but cats don't like me. Maybe I should be Pepe Le Pew for Halloween? Wilbrod says no flour in my fur, so I'll go in my heart only.

What are y'all going to be in your hearts for Halloween?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 26, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

DWB, my thoughts are with you. and your comments, and some of those which followed, call to mind a discussion i had a few weeks ago with my brother (incidentally, on my way to see scorsese's "the departed" which ends just like hamlet, with every named character dead but 2.) It had to do generally with pain vs. pleasure, and what you would do to get rid of pain. clearly anything less than losing pleasure would not be a fair trade in the eyes of pain, so let's assume that that's the trade. would you trade physical pleasure to get rid of physical pain? i said no. i would bet that the majority of people would choose the same. physical pain is endurable. generally, physical pain is not long term (chronic pain is a possibility, yes, but not a reality for most people), and physical pleasure, by its very nature, feels real good. but what about emotional pain? this is where my brother and i disagreed. i said that i would trade emotional pleasure to abolish emotional pain. he would not. i suspect that this has a lot to do with the emotional damage suffered by an individual, and their understanding of that damage, and how it affects them in their day-to-day lives. i would like to hear more people's opinions on this.

yeah, dmd, i went to a religious school. a catholic military school, actually. i kinda liked it. except for joshua.

and since we're back on the french-bashing, here is my obligatory frog-baiting for the day: "France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes." -Mark Twain

Posted by: sparks | October 26, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

New rule:

"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material, or any references to France or the French, will be removed from the site."

Posted by: Achenbach | October 26, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Good point slyness, nasty killers such as this Rolling guy or our own proud Canadian Clifford Olson (killed 11 kids in the late 70's early 80's) deserve that life between four walls. It is expensive as those guys need protection from the general population but it is worth it. And if a mistake is made the guvmint can do a little more than say oops!
3 people wrongfully sentenced to life in jail were freed in the past few years in Canada.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 26, 2006 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Word of the day:

zephyr: 1.a. The west wind. b. A gentle breeze. 2. Any of various light, soft fabrics, yarns, or garments. 3. Any airy, insubstantial, or passing thing. (Under "wind" synonyms, the American Heritage dictionary notes that zephyr is "chiefly a literary term.")

Thanks for your contributions to the literature, Achenbach!

Posted by: kbertocci | October 26, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

kbertocci, great word of the day. Its cool today I am going to keep my mind on a summer zephyr.

sparks, catholic military school, being a catholic school grad I got have to ask how strict was it? The book didn't seem like something that would be used in public school which was why I asked.

Posted by: dmd | October 26, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Scenario: You are playing chess and somebody suddenly shouts "Kill the B***" and you think it just might mean you.

What do you do?

Scottynuke: "Somebody said something?"

Wilbrod: "Excuse ME?"

Mudge: "Batten down the hatches, I'm gonna pump out some bilge right NOW!"

Mo: "Simbuereza! You always talk like that around women?"

Jack: "5 page essay on my desk, TOMORROW, about the origins of that word and its proper usage."

College Parkian: "Ditto Jack, plus 10 pages on the psychological impact of invective, with 20 citations from peer-reviewed journals."

Loomis: "Wrong, I'm a Loomis, which you would know if..."

Dmd: "What? I'm calling the SPCA, you ain't threatening my dogs again."

Cassandra: "I'm praying for you, with such hate in your heart."

K'guy: Yeah, that was a good movie.

Superfrenchie: recites 100 pages about French-bashing, counters with 4 pages of American-bashing. Complains that he shouldn't be stereotyped because France has a higher out-of-wedlock birth rate than America. The person leaves before he feels the urge to stab himself or SF with a chesspiece.

Nani: Oh, it wasn't a B** it was a horse that was killed on the news last night. Very sad, and it reminds me of something that happened once...

Joel: "Is that you, Angus? Remember your restraining order."

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 26, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I think life in prison is the right punishment for the worst offenders. Remove them from society. The problems with the death penalty are multifold -- I submit to you Von Drehle's masterpiece, "Among the Lowest of the Dead," which deals with Ted Bundy and, most prominently, John Spenkelink (sp?), the first person executed in the United States (in Florida, natch) after the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty. Spenkelink was no saint, but he also didn't deserve death (his was a classic second-degree murder case that somehow, through inept lawyering, got him on Death Row).

Posted by: Achenbach | October 26, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

sparks, sparks, sparks. We're a no-France zone now, man. That includes a no-bashing policy, even in jest. That particular jest was a little heavy-handed for Twain, but we should recall that he was equally uncomplimentary to the government of the U.S.

"We have the best congress money can buy."
"There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."
"Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

Just to give ourselves an intellectual challenge, we should see if we can avoid English words that devolve from when French guys -- uh, when the Normans -- ruled England.

Posted by: Tim | October 26, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

i'm sorry, i posted before i refreshed the page, so didn't see the new rules. please don't hate me.

wilbrod, i know you said don't make fun of dead dogs, but have you heard the song "dead puppies"? i was amused by it.

as for the death penalty, i would rather die than spend the rest of my life in prison. it amounts to the same thing, the only difference is if they execute you, you have to spend less time in prison. i think tim is probably right, even though i think he was probably joking. let them choose when they're ready to go. sometimes suicide is the right thing to do. anyone read sophocles' "ajax"?

Posted by: sparks | October 26, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse


No, I just beat them at chess.


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 26, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Sorry that was me.

Sparks, your choice to surrender emotional pleasure to abolish emotional pain is very buddhist.

So you're not alone in this perspective, although buddhists believe the universe is maya (illusion) so is emotional pain and pleasure, so I don't get the focus on avoiding emotional suffering. Or obscure riddles in the case of Zen buddhists. ;).

Nirvana= no wind, all is still.

Personally I like to see things in the Taoistic way and just realize that extremes of everything unbalance the soul. That doesn't mean surrendering pleasure or pain, just keeping it in perspective that the opposite will come right back sooner or later.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 26, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Wind names:

I like "Williwaw"

Posted by: Achenbach | October 26, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog: Excellent! You even got the right number of bloggers :)))

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

For Halloween, I'll be the blind begger, again. I will wear sandles, a begger's cape that my sister sewed up for me, and the best part is the white patches I wear over my eyes. Usually my wife will superimpose huge, bloodshot eyes on the patches. Or maybe I'll just take the right one out. Great effect, especially for the trick or treaters who try to figure out how I can see through the patch.

Posted by: Pat | October 26, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I've never been strongly opposed to the death penalty--as a proud Southern RoVa redneck, I've always considered "He needed killin'" to be a potentially valid defense strategy. I certainly have no strong moral reservations over Rolling's execution, although I won't be dancing in the streets over it.

But I keep coming back to the possibility of executing an innocent person. It seems to me that the evil of executing even one innocent person outweighs any societal gains in executing the guilty.

Posted by: Dooley | October 26, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Zephyr was also a not-so-good Ford/Mercury product of the late '70s. The 2-door "sporty" version was especially ugly. I learned to drive in one of those and it scarred me for life. The name is currently recycled by Ford for a luxury car, the Lincoln Zephyr.
The old one:

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 26, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

have only skimmed for a few minutes, but wanted to offer condolences to dwb. i'm so sorry about the loss of your friends. hang in there!

Posted by: L.A. lurker | October 26, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh no! Don't you see what's going on here people? It's the Freedom Fries fiasco all over again!

Posted by: Tom fan | October 26, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

In today's "News of the Cool", the STEREO mission finally has launched. I've been hearing about this dealie for at least 10 years. Within a few months, I expect, nifty-neato 3D images of the Sun, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and other good stuff, will be made available. Stock up now on your 3D glasses. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 26, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

And now for something completely different. Wind names. Was it Spinal Tap (I'm sure it was Spinal Tap) that sang "Break, Like the Wind."

They don't make movies like that, anymore.

Posted by: Steve-2 | October 26, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Forgive me for not going back over the past 479 postings on this Kit, but if anyone is interesting in a compelling story of an innocent man convicted of 1st degree murder, read John Grisham's new non-fiction book, The Innocent Man. I finished it in about 6 hours, it's a page-turner especially for us legal types, and it paints an accurate and thoroughly depressing picture of our criminal justice system.

Posted by: PLS | October 26, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

If you promise to use them for good, and never for evil, I may bring some 3D glasses to the next BPH that I attend. You know, just to lend a helping hand.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 26, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

//"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material, or any references to France or the French, will be removed from the site."//

[testing - testing - testing]

SuperFrenchie is a complete idiot! He should be shot!

[and testing - end testing - end testing]

Posted by: Supernothing | October 26, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, should have said you'd say that ONLY after you finished winning, Scottynuke, delayed hearing syndrome, you know?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 26, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

That counts as a personal attack under the old rules, so it does have to be removed.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 26, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Hm? What?


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 26, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod writes, "Buddhists believe the universe is maya (illusion), so is emotional pain and pleasure, so I don't get the focus on avoiding emotional suffering."

I'm not sure that the focus is on avoiding emotional suffering so much as avoiding the desire and attachment to the material world (the illusion) that actually produces that suffering. Life is pain and suffering; pain and suffering are caused by selfish desire; we can eliminate pain and suffering by elimination our selfish desires, etc. -- or something like that. I guess the idea is to treat the cause, not the symptom.

Posted by: Dreamer | October 26, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

JA said:
"...a second-degree murder case that somehow, through inept lawyering, got him on Death Row"
It seems that most death penalty cases are due to inept lawyering. Some states ensure inept lawyering by under funding legal aid and yet provide funds to the prosecution side for private lawyers to assist the DA. And just try to get elected in any office if you publicly state your opposition to the DP...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 26, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

on the death penalty: what about stanley "tookie" williams? here was a man who robbed and killed, who founded an organization which has killed more people that the mafia, but went to jail, spent a substantial amount of time, there, much of it writing books denouncing gangs and gang violence, showed great remorse for what he had done, and was then put to death. did he deserve it? probably. was his remorse genuine? almost certainly. what does remorse get you, in the context of a death sentence?

Posted by: sparks | October 26, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Rolling said he wanted to kill one person for each year he was imprisoned for past crimes. He went to his death singing hymns.
State Attorney Bill Cervone said the penalty should have been harsher. Tortured to death? Doesn't he believe God will take care of that?
This is all about vengence, nothing more.
What part does religious training have in these attitudes?
I feel sorry for the folks who believe they'll find "closure" in the death of another human being. I think this is a regrettable and ultimately forlorn hope.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 26, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

on the vhs version of spinal tap (ha, bet you guys thought i didn't know what that was, dincha?), there's a "making of" video for a spinal tap music video called "buick school". they're trying to film it at an all girls school. one of them gets confused and says something to the effect of "oh, an ALL girls school. that would make us look very manly. i thought you said a TALL girls school, which would make us look very short."

Posted by: sparks | October 26, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the British news bits. Here's one I read recently:

Corrections and clarifications

Saturday September 9, 2006
The Guardian

In our extract from John Sutherland's How to Read a Novel (Why Ishmael, page 19, Review, August 26) the text appeared to suggest that Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu began with the episode of the redolent madeleine. We should perhaps make it clear that the madeleine appears later in the narrative.

Posted by: ac in sj | October 26, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

SD: Very true in many cases. One of the key problems with the Death Penalty is just that, that it effectively discriminates against the indigent, blacks, blacks who kill whites, etc...But also fyi, a close friend of mine was the judge in the Rolling case (and anti-death penalty I believe) and I guaran-dang tee you that he made sure Rolling had a fair trial. The murders, let us also recall, happened in 1990, Rolling had many years to pursue appeals.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 26, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm busy with doggy brain teasers. I aced the puzzle of the food in middle of an empty cardboard cylinder and the food in the PVC cylinder inside the cardboard cylinder.

Now I'm busy swatting the ball (I'm very catlike), and getting food out of the pvc pipe inside the kong treat ball. Got that darn pipe out. Ah, now I got all the treats out. Elapsed time: 1:30 minutes. Dogs rule!

And this kong toy is supposed to keep dogs amused all day? Sure, right.

Mean owner, but I scored food anyway!

Now I'm reminding Wilbrod to eat, too.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 26, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

boko, i believe the article said he wanted to kill eight people for each year he spent in prison. if that isn't what they meant, then there should have been a comma. "eight people, for each year he spent in prison" but i don't want to start another round of grammar wars.

Posted by: sparks | October 26, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Talked Wilbrod into a short walk. We met a mama and a people puppy, oh boy! So big and cute, like a 16-week lab puppy.

Mission of the day: Get Wilbrod out for more walks.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 26, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

DWB, so sorry about your friends. My condolences.

Posted by: ac in sj | October 26, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Mine condolences, too. Want some fur therapy?

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 26, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

While we're on the subject of wind-names.

Away out here they got a name
For rain and wind and fire
The rain is Tess, the fire Joe,
And they call the wind Maria (ma RYE ah)

Wilbrodoggie: Funny, funny, funny.

SuperFrenchie, have you seen the video of the most improbable Western/Musical everywhere?

Paint Your Wagon, 1969 or so.

Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood singing!!!!!!!

You MUST, MUST, MUST watch this. Kiddy safe.

Posted by: College Parkian | October 26, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

More British satire:

Is television destroying our children's health?

Although television can be an educational tool for children, exposing them to information and situations that they cannot experience first hand, social scientists and the British Academy of Pediatric Scientists (BAPS) have raised specific concerns about the effect of television watching on child development.

A study carried out by BAPS gave a startling insight into the effects of TV on children. Children of the age 6 and under were subjected to 6 hours of TV per day for three months. The most common adverse effect of too much TV was the onset of ARSES (Acute Resultant Square Eye Syndrome). Of the 100 children studied, 43 had developed ARSES within a month. Dr Terrence Warwick says that the results were shocking.

SC Johnson recalls Toilet Duck over bird flu fears

A statement on the SC Johnson website read as follows:-

"After much testing, SC Johnson are now certain that all bottles of Toilet Duck sold during or after December 2005 are infected with bird flu. We encourage all customers who have a bottle of Toilet Duck to stay calm and check the date on the bottom of the bottle.

Consumers owning one of these bottles should NOT OPEN THE BOTTLE and contact The Bird Flu Mass Panic Hotline on 0800 34 43 53 between 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday - Friday, or 9.00am and 5.00pm Saturday - Sunday to arrange for a free-of-charge visit from a scary looking man in a biohazard suit to dispose of the product and scare your neighbours.

Customers who have opened their bottles may curl themselves up into a ball and hope for the best.

SC Johnson apologises for any inconvenience that any pandemic may have caused."

Posted by: Loomis | October 26, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the death penalty (several words substituted to pass the Hal bot):

Church furor continues over drawings

...Lee Stafford, 13, from Gadd Secondary School, has apologised and maintains he had drawn the peanutss through boredom and not out of disrespect. However, Senior members of the Church in England think that Stafford is being naive if he thinks an apology will make the furor die down.

An insider of the Church in England spoke to Crunt exclusively about the general feeling among Catholics on the subject.

"I think most of us might be a little less irate about the incident had the boy not drawn a condominium on the peanuts." said the insider.

When asked whether or not the boy should be given a good stoning our insider said that stoning was far too barbaric.

"Perhaps two thousand years ago, yes. But in the 21st century that would be simply barbaric. I think he should be burned on a stake."

Posted by: Loomis | October 26, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I don't have time to boodle today, not that I have time other days, but a pang of dedication has struck me today. Anyways, Wonkette is making fun of Jack Shafer of Slate for some reason and links to an article which quotes Joel about a David von Drehle report about a hurricane. (Diagram that you grammarians!) It's all sounding a little incestuous, but if you want to read it:

My apologies if you are already aware of it.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 26, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Hey, more than 500 comments and counting !

Sure JA, I'm sure that a lot of guys/gals would get the DP even with topnotch lawyers, sometimes the evidence is just overwhelming. Life sentences for people that are wrongly convicted are not good either, justice must proceed with care in all cases ! One of the guys recently proven innocent and freed here in Canada could have been released earlier if he had admitted to a crime he didn't commit and showed "proper" remorse to the parole board. This is a little sick.
All the while our buddy Olson shows no remorse at all for killing the 11 kids (he is diagnosed social psycopath ) but he just can't believe that such an important personage as himself is growing old in jail. Now that he has done the minimum of 25 years in jail he has the right to a parole audience every couple of years. He was denied this summer and don't hold your breath until he is released.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 26, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

RD - panamanian froggies! well, the panamanians love all exotic creatures to be sure but esp froggies... there's a whole beach on bastimentos island dedicated to the indigenous red frog found there - um... red frog beach... here's a pic of the frog
and the beach

Posted by: mo | October 26, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

(my new handle - hehehehehe)
and a pic of a green frog outside of the bat cave on isla colon

i love froggies...

Posted by: mo of 9 | October 26, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

mo - Those are beautiful. I must admit a weakness for frogs and amphibians of all kinds. Probably something to do with Kermit.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Just ducking in to say howdy -- I'm still catching up on the Boodle, I think I'm to noon yesterday. Survived the conference, very interesting, I will report. Off to a series of meetings this afternoon then, finally, back to my calm and uneventful existence lurking in my office.

College Parkian said editing 15-year-olds is hard -- I'm sure she meant their WORK, but boy did I laugh and agree. Even editing 10-year-olds is hard, and they're much smaller and more malleable.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 26, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

and wilbrod - i must do a belated SCC - it's actually simverguenza (not simberuenza)

rd - i could never eat frogs legs... i love froggies too much...

i'm torn on the dp - on the one hand rolling's crimes were particularly heinous and he pleaded guilty - on the other hand i do know of a case where the defendent is on death row and is prolly completely innocent...

Posted by: mo of 9 | October 26, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Consider the following. If we can form imaginary friendships on-line (not just on the Boodle, but on other blogs, listservs, newgroups, etc.) is it not possible that we can also form imaginary animosities?

Just as some of that quite genuine goodwill will not survive in-depth or in-person knowledge of the interlocutor, perhaps neither may the dislike.

Strangely, I've often heard how disappointed an acquaintance was to meet someone he had liked on-line, only to find that the amity did not survive; I've almost never been told the opposite.

Surely it is possible?

Posted by: Yoki | October 26, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

A question posed in the Panamanian frog article:
"If we do this for frogs, then do we do it some other time for the snakes?"

I say, "NO!"

I know this is showing my bias against legless reptiles, but there you have it.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 26, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

On the death penalty -
I'm against it in general, but some people who have been put to death, I don't lose much sleep over - Ted Bundy and Tim McVeigh in particular. Ted Bundy escaped from jail and went on to kill more people - but if you could have put him somewhere that he could not have gotten out of, that would have been ok with me too.

Charlie Rose interviewed John Grisham recently - the non-fiction book sounds interesting. Scott Turow also wrote one on the death penalty a few years ago - I believe he was involved with the cases in Illinois that were overturned.

(Haven't read the article that JA referred to yet - and would appreciate a link to von Drehle's article, if there is one.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 26, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

All I can say, Yoki, is that I've met TBG and corresponded with Cassandra, and they are both people I would be close buddies with, if we lived in the same town. Am going to meet jack week after next and will report in about him, as well...

Posted by: slyness | October 26, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking - Joel was referencing a book.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Books: the Other Boodle.

Posted by: WIlbrod | October 26, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I just met L.A. lurker this week and liked her, so you can count me as someone who met an on-line acquaintance and was *not* disappointed.

I think that your comment holds for real life, too. I've met people (live! in person!) for the first time and liked them, but friendship never developed between us, and I've had the opposite experience, too. I remember being in an art class and taking an immediate dislike to one of the students, but he became a well-liked pal as time went on. Lost touch with him eventually, but I've moved often and have lost touch with many people I've liked (alas).

Posted by: ac in sj | October 26, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The Other Blog, without the Borg:

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 26, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh My Word! 518 comments already! That's a record. My heartiest congratulations to the Boss and all Boodlers.
For an interesting and (the most, I think) thoughtful discussion on the death penalty, read Scott Turow's Ultimate Punishment. Turow carefully examines every argument for capital punishment. His ultimate conclusion is nuanced and very logical. Here's a review:

Cheers, everyone.

Posted by: CowTown | October 26, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I've only been to one BPH back in August. The people there were all as the seem to be on line. Intelligent, funny, and charmingly eccentric.

And perky. Can't forget perky.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 26, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom: parenting IS a kind of editing.

Laughing....thank you.

But what we really want is for them to assume the editing, right. Revising the self is one mark of adulthood.

Revising could be part also of saying "I am sorry."

Posted by: College Parkian | October 26, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

College parkian: //SuperFrenchie, have you seen the video of the most improbable Western/Musical everywhere?//

No, do you have a link?

//Kiddy safe.//

Oh! Never mind then. ;)

mo: //i love froggies too much...//

Hard to resist breaking that new rule, huh?

[speaking in sign language]

[/speaking in sign language]

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

i don't equate those from that country between spain and germany to frogs... never have, never will...

Posted by: mo | October 26, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Ever seen that Bushism?

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 26, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

CP, i think the actual most improbable western/musical ever is Cannibal: The Musical! by matt stone and trey parker (that's right, the south park guys). it's about alfred packer, colorado's only convicted cannibal. this is actually pretty much the reason trey parker got kicked out of school. (not because he wrote it, but because he was working on it instead of his homework.) there was a production of it running here about two months ago, but i missed it. you can grab it on video though, starring trey himself as packer.

Posted by: sparks | October 26, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks everyone for the condolences and support. It means a lot.

You'll excuse me if I don't chime in on one of the topics du jour (the death penalty), but right now, I've had more than enough death for a while, so I've just been skimming past the entire dialog. If you have anything for my attention, note that I won't see it if imbedded in any of the posts about the DP.

Wilbrodog--thanks for the offer of fur therapy, but my friend who just passed yesterday has two dogs and while sitting with his widow last night, I had a *LOT* of fur therapy. They were so excited to have PEOPLE! in the house since the house has been rather empty of late with everyone at the hospice taking care of the master.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 26, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm a trained professional, though. I give fur therapy only when needed.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 26, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Sparks - Thanks for the clarification. My point was the futility of vengeance. I wish I could remove my reflexive swipe at religion. I'll stay off my favourite hobby horse and give my psychic 'roids a rest. I wouldn't want to be thought of as a one trick pony.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 26, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

DWB, I'm so sorry for your loss.

I am vehemently against the death penalty. As Joel and others have pointed out, it is discriminatory and cruel. But more than that, it seems to me it demonstrates a lack of respect for human life at least equal to that exhibited by the criminals to which it applies. Given the discriminatory nature of the sentencing, most of the condemned come from severely disadvantaged backgrounds. State-imposed homicide merely masks the community's unwillingness or inability to address social problems. And finally, I think that, like torture, it degrades the institutions and individuals who practice it, at least as much and perhaps more than the recipient. And that is what I call immoral at the deepest level.

Posted by: Yoki | October 26, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

fyi I have posted a new microkit on the Rolling case.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 26, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, no matter how I'm dressed, I'm always a witch.

//I'm dead Sirius!!! hahahahahahahaha//
Another addition to the dead dog jokes! :-)

Took the day off for some medical testing and running around selecting things for the contractors to install. Tell Angus I'm going to make some Cincinnati chili now.

Posted by: dbG | October 26, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

You can learn a lot more about Alfred (or possibly Alferd) Packer, including a swell little poem, at this site:

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 26, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeech, I'd rather read about Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Here is a passage from the Idylls of the King:

That story which the bold Sir Bedivere,
First made and latest left of all the knights,
Told, when the man was no more than a voice
In the white winter of his age, to those
With whom he dwelt, new faces, other minds.

For on their march to westward, Bedivere,
Who slowly paced among the slumbering host,
Heard in his tent the moanings of the King:

"I found Him in the shining of the stars,
I marked Him in the flowering of His fields,
But in His ways with men I find Him not.
I waged His wars, and now I pass and die.
O me! for why is all around us here
As if some lesser god had made the world,
But had not force to shape it as he would,
Till the High God behold it from beyond,
And enter it, and make it beautiful?
Or else as if the world were wholly fair,
But that these eyes of men are dense and dim,
And have not power to see it as it is:
Perchance, because we see not to the close;--
For I, being simple, thought to work His will,
And have but stricken with the sword in vain;
And all whereon I leaned in wife and friend
Is traitor to my peace, and all my realm
Reels back into the beast, and is no more.
My God, thou hast forgotten me in my death:
Nay--God my Christ--I pass but shall not die."

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 26, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Sparks, you win, most improbable. But I counter and raise you with the actors:

Lee Marvin, tough guy, singing "I was born under a Wand'rin' star...."


"Dirty Harry" Clint Eastwood, again, singing, "And they Call the wind, Ma RYE, AH."

Posted by: Colle Parkian | October 26, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

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