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Cheney's singing the praises of waterboarding. It worked (he implies) with Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He agrees with a talk radio host's suggestion that the debate over waterboarding (widely viewed as torture) is "silly." From the transcript:

HENNEN: Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

CHENEY: Well, it's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there I was criticized as being the vice president for torture. We don't torture.


Wow: They're still finding remains at Ground Zero. Lots of them:

"Utility workers discovered remains while digging at a manhole last week under a service road along the site's western edge. Workers have since uncovered more than 200 bones -- ranging from inch-long shards to full arm and leg bones."


Gerta Keller says Chicxulub didn't wipe out the dinosaurs:

"The story that seems to be taking shape, according to Keller, is that Chicxulub, though violent, actually conspired with the prolonged and gigantic volcanic eruptions of the Deccan Flood Basalts in India, as well as with climate change, to nudge species towards the brink. They were then pushed over with a second large meteor impact.

"The Deccan volcanism released vast amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over a period of more than a million years leading up to the mass extinction. By the time Chicxulub struck, the oceans were already 3-4 degrees warmer, even at the bottom, Keller said."


Mountains can cause an ice age. Who knew.

"The rise of the Appalachian Mountains may have caused a major ice age approximately 450 million years ago, an Ohio State University study has found.

The weathering of the mountains pulled carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, causing the opposite of a greenhouse effect -- an "icehouse" effect.

Scientists have suspected that our current ice age, which began 40 million years ago, was caused by the rise of the Himalayas. This new study links a much earlier major ice age --one that occurred during the Ordovician period -- to the uplift of the early Appalachians .

It also reinforces the notion that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are a major driver of Earth's climate."


From the Times, a visit with Roz Chast:

"Other people," reads the text of one of the cartoons in her book, "know how they want their living rooms to look. Other people lead complicated, rich, secretive personal lives. Other people are not enraged by jars of dried pasta used as décor. Other people," says the last panel, "know exactly what the Federal Reserve is."

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 27, 2006; 7:14 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Among the Lowest of the Dead
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The way I read this, the solution to global warming is to build mountains. We can do that...

Posted by: Steve-2 | October 27, 2006 8:00 AM | Report abuse

weeee 2nd to post....horaay

Posted by: punxnbutter | October 27, 2006 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I love Roz Chast. I just shared "When mothers dance" with all my friends who have teenaged daughters.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 8:12 AM | Report abuse

"It also reinforces the notion that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are a major driver of Earth's climate."

Great, we knew that. Does this mean that since we don't know how to get a mountain rising, we're just victims of Mother Nature here?
Now I understand why Bush rejected Kyoto - even he doesn't have the faith needed to move a mountain.

Posted by: Overseas | October 27, 2006 8:16 AM | Report abuse

What happened with the rise of the Cascades, the Sierra Nevadas, and the Rockies?

Posted by: Loomis | October 27, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

How old is that photo of VP Cheney? He is looking a little portlier than in other photos I have seen of him. Or is it just the angle the photo is taken at?

Posted by: dr | October 27, 2006 8:28 AM | Report abuse

*reposting from last Boodle*

Ooooooh, Mommy Blog's taking on the topic of staying civil! And here's a unintentionally spot-on summation of how some people over there blog...

"I agree that attacking a person instead of their views is the best way to go."

I mean, I HOPE that poster meant the opposite, but you never know...



I think we obviously need to goose the mid-ocean ridges to speed up and therefore make more mountains to combat global warming. To say nothing of the increase in skiable acreage...

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Quote of the year: "We don't torture."

That's up there with "I am not a crook." for shear ironic hilarity.

I threw some molotov coktails in the last kit just to stir things up, but one item I was serious about, so I'll repost an excerpt.

Charles Krauthammer is running the Draft Obama campaign out of the goodness of his conservative heart. Be careful whose advise you take, Barack.

Obligatory nerdish commentary: Chuckie K, despite being a med school grad and all, completely muffed his metaphor about potential and kinetic energy. Somebody should have stayed awake during Physics class. We have some rocket scientists around here that can straighten him out.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 27, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse

As long as we're talking about debating...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey Aloha,

I caught your remarks a few kits back and very much appreciated them. Yes, you have the exact same and most wonderful professor in your sites as my childhood next door neighbor.

I remember when we made the big Willie Mays for Mickey Mantle baseball card trade. I also remember when my mother "tossed" my cards. Ohhhh, what they would have been worth today!

Aloha, here's one for you... I used to swim at UH as a child with the youth team HSC with Coach Sakamoto when there was a pool right in the middle of the original campus. I remember that you couldn't get into the pool and do your assigned laps until you had Coach personally check your strokes and breathing ... it didn't matter if you swam in the olympics or were a national record holder or just a beginner.

Aloha, you made a great point about economics being a seperating factor. I would say that it may be easier in Hawaii to bridge those gaps, but it is never really easy. As our society's family income stagnates at the median point, we are experiencing some of those pressures here.

Aloha, I hope we can keep talking. I think that you bring a perspective that really can't be summed up by the history of Hawaii, with all due respect to Loomis. It is a place where there probably still is a respect to the lore and spirits of the old Hawaii.

You know, at nap time from 1st grade on, we used to have a story teller come in to tell the old stories of Hawaii. They would run up to weeks long. Those stories gave us a feeling of morals and ethics and power and caring that may be found in various other sources, but were so important to me as I grew up.

I guess that is part of the culture that becomes part of the "salad."

Talk soon!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 27, 2006 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Linda, how do you think Coors stays so cold?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 27, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Re Cheney:
Is it ok that I am officially scared that this guy is next in line if Bush kicks it?

Posted by: tangent | October 27, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - regarding debate. I have a double-ruby pin somewhere. I pray you have no idea what I am talking about.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 27, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Some very thought provoking comments on the last kit. I see no absolutes in either issue, only shaes of grey, and I find myself wondering if that is a picture of a healthy society. Fewer absolutes, and more shades of grey.

Now back to more Friday stuff, how come no one is talking about baseball? Its the world series. In the absence of baseball, I submit we should disscuss curling. Locally the big news is that mr.dr's team is on a winning streak. They fully expect to be back in losing streak mode any day now.

Posted by: dr | October 27, 2006 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I will read & post on this Kit later. I just wanted to register my chagrin -- I missed the death penalty discussion! It is just my luck that during four days when I could not check in, the Boodle finally discussed something I know something about. I have lots of professional expertise on this issue -- in large part, it is what I do -- and I Missed It. Ah well.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

"this guy" is also in line when Bush is removed from office following impeachment..

Posted by: not one of the 15 | October 27, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I-mom! You didn't really miss anything--the boodle is an amorphous blob, I mean blog, outside of time and space, unconstrained by any sort of linear-time conceits.

Please post about the death penalty and don't deprive us of your point of view / expertise.

Posted by: kbertocci | October 27, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Here's the Cheney line that bothered me, where he refers to, "a robust interrogation program without torture". Robust? I also picture him smirking through those comments, could be because I watch too much Jon Stewart.

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Scotty -- ha!
There also seems to be some dismay at the idea of meta-blogging, or "blogging about blogging." Someone needs to go over there and introduce those people to the Ouroboros -- I dare ya!

I did learn something new, though: When one person posts under multiple handles and has conversations with him- or herself, it's called "sockpuppetry." I did not know that.

You know, reading the new civility policy on the Mommy Blog brings back memories. Seems like only yesterday Joel was delivering his own version of the let's-be-civil speech (aka the "beneath contempt" Kit):

Key words: snippety, sanctimonious, Parcheesi

Ah, fun times.

Posted by: Achenfan | October 27, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom! Welcome back! I really, really missed you, esp. in the death penalty boodle. Totally understand if you are too busy to go back over the previous boodle. (My own position with boodles is the same as my position with back issues of the dead-tree version: If it's more than three days old, forgive yourself, acknowledge that you will never catch up, and move on, vowing to do better in the future.)

But . . . the death penalty one was just yesterday. It would be SO INTERESTING to me, and I bet to others, to hear your perspective, if you can make the time to go back to yesterday's boodle.

Un abrazo,

Posted by: annie | October 27, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

This is quite off topic, but I received an email with this link to the Dove campaign, it shows a model from start to final photo. For anyone with young girls, teenagers it is a good look at what is behind the photos. I have a vague recollection of something like this being posted that I didn't have time to look at, if it is duplicated I am sorry.

Ivansmom, I would also like to state that I would be very interested on what you have to say concerning DP.

I am off to a luncheon later, where our Prime Minister will speak, if later in the day I seem snarky or edgy just keep this in mind.

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I was thinking of you yesterday, when I saw a car sporting a "Boy on Board" bumper sticker. (Never seen *that* before.) I thought, Ivansmom? THE Boy?

And then I wondered, Do they make "Girl on Board" stickers, too?

Posted by: Achenfan | October 27, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse


Ruby slippers?? What???

I'm terminally confused, you know that.


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Annie, when I was doing an article on live cell therapy (related to monkey gland therapy) in which they basically inject lamb cells or solutions that supposedly have this into rich people at expensive spas, I found my attitude towards stem cell therapy changing overnight.

However, embryonic stem cell RESEARCH remains valid. the problem with simply using adult stem cells is that there are so many varieties and every stem cell lines specializes into a certain cell type.
It's easier to go back to earlier stages and then figure out what it takes to mature a stem cell line into a specific cell type, rather than trying and backing up an stem cell line meant for a different kind of tissue to an earlier stage, and then redirecting it into a new stage.

We can phenotype those cells by gene expression patterns.

I do believe that eventually that will be what happens in order to make stem cell therapy at all viable. I don't think we are there in terms of knowledge yet unless we understand the A-Z of how a stem cell line matures from embryos onwards.

Oh, and by the way, I'm against in vitro fertilization. I feel so unpopular saying that, but it leads to far more destruction and loss of embryos than a simple abortion does. And let's not forget the increased incidence of multiple births, premature births and life-long learning disabilities.

It makes much more sense to ban that for humans outright first of all before you tackle abortion.
But it won't happen, cause it's all about "in vitro fertilization makes babies" and "abortion kills babies."

Since when did the ends justify the means in baby-making, anyway?

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

this just in: Bethesda Metro is closed and Shuttle bus service requested between Medical Center and Friendship Heights.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Checked wmata... damn, another jumper suicide. DO NOT DO THAT, suicides.

Secret Service Snipers are always armed and ready if you really want a quick, sure death.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, A Double-Ruby is an award given for High School Debate. I was one of *those* kids. I spent most weekends going to debate tournaments. I went to debate camp. The name of my debate partner and I struck terror in the hearts of fellow members of the National Forensic League. In other words, I was one of these:

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 27, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

The post has an article on Metro.

'The reason for the 9:15 a.m. collision was not immediately known, and the name of the person who was hit was not released.'

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 9:50 AM | Report abuse


The only debating I ever did was in Model UN. I'll tell you about it sometime...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Isn't Cheney being next in line why there were no impeachment papers?

Posted by: LostInThought | October 27, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

RD, were you one of the group in the hot tub, or alone in your room? There are debate camps? I have so much to learn.

All kidding aside, your experience shows in the way you communicate.

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Allright, bad taste joke.

But that's the problem with suicidal depression, it makes people only think about themselves. They don't think about their family, friends, and the thousands of strangers who have to see their fricassed remains. They forget they're not alone. They despair.

I have already been on 2 trains that struck people, and I cannot begin to say that this is one of the most gross way to commit suicide. The people operating the train that hit you will be traumatized for life. They know about physics and all but they can't help wishing it didn't happen for the rest of their life.

And do you think there'll be much of you left to bury or indeed identify? If you think the impact will kill you instantly, it won't. With luck you'll be concussed into unconsciousness immediately just before you get dragged right under the train. If not, you will feel the breath knocked out of you and be stunned by pain before you die.

I've been hit by a car, I know what I am speaking of. I would never choose suicide by any kind of vehicle if I wanted to go.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse


I'm not sure what the humor is in the Onion article. It sounded just like every Model United Nations trip I went on while in high school. Like the time we turned a bathtub into a beer cooler. Or the time someone showed XXX 8mm films in the room and charged a cover for free booze. Or....

Good times, good times.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 27, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

RD Padouk -- that was hilarious. I wish I had known you in high school. Anyone who can cause actual DEBATE TEAM MEMBERS to quake in fear is someone who has his mojo working.

Posted by: annie | October 27, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

WMATA site says witnesses said the guy jumped in front of the train as it came in. Bethesda metro has the bumps and all that, very hard to do that accidentally.

So my umbrage at suicide by train stands.

If this keeps up, we need to add a new destination on the charts for all train stations: The Celestial line: "Heaven/Limbo/Hell/Gehenna/Paradise/Nirvana" with a special fare that would at least trigger a call for suicide hotline help.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is the Internet in general, and this blog in particular, one giant Revenge of the Nerds scenario?

I have an idea for a blog item that I'm going to post this weekend, about how "Captured by Aliens" refers not just to extra-terrestrial life but also to alienated humans, and how Achenbach is captured by them and also has inadvertently collected a bunch of them on the Achenblog. There will be Vonnegut references.

Posted by: kbertocci | October 27, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

It might have been the way he snapped his rubber bands out of his braces and played his armpit everytime he made a triumphant point, Annie. Or maybe it was his impressions while debating. ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Actually I regard this blog as invaded by gnomes, pixelated pixies, trolls, bards...

But each to their own imagination. ;) Post your blog and I'll like reading it, especially since I ain't no Vonnegut scholar.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

dmd - Yes indeedy there are debate camps. Not nearly as fun as band camps, but still the source of pleasant memories. Of course, they weren't usually called camps. They were called "Debate Institutes."

For an ubergeek like me Debate was a lifesafer. It was a peer group. I have kept in touch with most of my friends from that time, including my old debate partner who is now a very highly paid lawyer now.

In fact, most of them are highly paid lawyers.

And the rest work for Microsoft.


Posted by: RD Padouk | October 27, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - "Braces?" Oh how I wish...

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 27, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Braces ain't all that, RD. Trust me.

Anybody up for BPH this month, or have we all been so demoralized about the sufferings of the world and the little cross-fire battles that we can no longer lift a cup to achenblog syne?

Here's hoping that I may be an employed gnome again in November. (Big knock on wood here).

And yes, personal attacks and trolling should have been deleted more aggressively in the last 2 weeks or so.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse


I definitely will want to read the CBA/Vonnegut post. Being captured by aliens is a common KV motiff since it happens in both 'Slaughterhouse Five' and 'Sirens of Titan'.

And I have always thought the titular aliens in CBA were clearly metaphorical.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 27, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Nerd scenarios, aliens, institutionalized debaters . . . requests for shuttle bus service . . . I fear I'll be having weird and wacky dreams tonight.

Posted by: Dreamer | October 27, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I believe "titular alien" is still available as a Boodle handle.

Posted by: Achenfan/Dreamer/sockpuppeteer | October 27, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod is correct, the Post just updated the article (10:56AM).

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

A November BPH would seem eminently possible... :-)

And you should see the Mommy Blog... They keep saying they get the most traffic of any WaPo blog, and that there's no such thing as a civil blog. I ain't even gonna touch those!


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

kb, can't wait to read that post.

"There will be repercussions" used to be one of my favorite lines, but it's not as good as "There will be Vonnegut references."

Posted by: Achenbach | October 27, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

And at least their timestamps are an hour off too... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I am definitely up for a BPH -- and we better get on it, before holiday parties start absorbing all our time.

Who's in?

Wednesdays are out for me but otherwise am in town next week, and still cherishing my dream of getting there early enough to meet Curmudgeon and have a 99 cent cheeseburger. Hey, it's important to have goals.

Wilbrod, I agree with your point that committing suicide by jumping under a train maximizes the horribleness of the act itself, by making creating an unwitting accomplice, and so many unwitting witnesses, to it. I grieve for anyone in a state of such despair and, let it be said, such rage. And I give thanks that my extreme fear of pain has kept me from seriously considering any such thing, even at times in my life when despair has had me in its grip.

It's very dreary and cold here in Washington today, out-of-town boodlers, which may account for the dark undertones of our discourse today. I realize that our Canadian brethren and sistren are probably laughing at us, thinking "You people don't know what cold weather is." And of course, you are right.

I am focusing on my mental image of Yoki curled up with Bernese moutain dogs at her feet and warm-laundry smells filling her house. It makes me more happy than jealous.

Posted by: annie | October 27, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, I would love to read your opinion on the death penalty. I hope you can check in with that.

I don't know, the Vice President looks like a man that one would not mess with. To me he looks rather mean, but in a cunning sneaky way. He is not someone I would want to meet late at night on the street. And he may be a nice person, but the personna just does not exude that for me.

Annie, you were clear on your feelings concerning the question posed, I still feel the way I feel. Killing in any form is not good, and it does not matter who does it.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 27, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Where to start...

"By the time Chicxulub struck, the oceans were already 3-4 degrees warmer, even at the bottom, Keller said."

Good to her that Keller is actually acknowledging the impact--last I had heard she didn't think there was an impact at all (which was my view before Chixulub was discovered). However, I think most paleontologists would agree that you need a variety of coincident causes to make a mass extinction as large as the K-T extinction.

"The rise of the Appalachian Mountains may have caused a major ice age approximately 450 million years ago"

That's an interesting idea--I'll have to think about that one. There might be a correlation between the hypothesized "supercontinent cycle" and ice ages, but there are a lot of variables involved.

Himalayas are a much smaller uplift than the Appalachian uplift (which includes mountains in Scandanavia, Scotland, and Morocco). On the other hand, there was a talk at SVP that indicated that uplift in the Himalayas + Tibet resulted in climatologic changes that caused a drop in mammal diversity in North America during the Miocene.

Another major common factor between the Pennsylvanian-Permian (the Ice Age when the Appalachians formed) and the Pleistocene (the last Ice Age) is the presence of a land mass at the pole. You can only build up an ice sheet if you have a continent to build it on, and that was true at both of those times. Or current global climate (for the last 30 million years) has been primarily driven by the Antarctic Ice Sheet. I wonder if both factors might be required (polar continent and fold-thrust mountain belt)?

Incidentally, this should apply to subduction zone mountain chains like the Andes. Any potential CO2 sink would be offset by the CO2 emmitted by volcanic eruptions in those chains.

Scottynuke-"I think we obviously need to goose the mid-ocean ridges to speed up and therefore make more mountains to combat global warming."

One problem there (only one?)--when spreading rates increase, the average temperature of the ocean crust is hotter (not as much time to cool off). This makes the crust less dense, so it kind of rides higher on the mantle. This effectively raises the seafloor, making the volume of the ocean basin smaller, and pushing more of the ocean up onto the continents. This probably has a greater effect on sea level than even the presence of ice caps.

Moreover, if you increase the spreading rate, you also increase the subduction rate, which increase the amount of volcanism at the subduction zones. Volcanoes produce tremendous amounts of CO2, so you would also make global warming go even faster. You might actually be able to flood all of the interior of North America between the Appalachians and the Rockies!

Posted by: Dooley | October 27, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Tony Snow this morning, according to Dan Eggen:

White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters this morning that Cheney was not referring to waterboarding in the radio interview.

"You know as a matter of common sense that the vice president of the United States is not going to be talking about water boarding. Never would, never does, never will," Snow said, according to the Reuters news agency. "You think Dick Cheney's going to slip up on something like this? No, come on."

Posted by: Achenbach | October 27, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra -- //Annie, you were clear on your feelings concerning the question posed, I still feel the way I feel. Killing in any form is not good, and it does not matter who does it.//

Umm, Cassandra, where are you getting the idea that we do not agree?

Posted by: annie | October 27, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse


Oh, you're no fun anymore...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

'Titular' is one of my favorite words. I have used it no less than four times on my blog.

Another words I love, but don't use enough is 'defenstrate'.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 27, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Another word... (no plural)

Posted by: yellojkt | October 27, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I am deeply immersed in the wacky world of steel, and am submitting this because it is just too goofy. In the world of steel there are things called S shapes, W shapes, and WF shapes.

Logic implies that something named an s shape would look S like, a w shape, w-like but nooooo. In the world of steel they all look suspiciously like a capital I.

I think I am being had.

Posted by: dr | October 27, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

So Tony Snow is saying Cheney is advocating actually drowning suspects during interrogation? Is this better? Snow is so sharp he may cut himself.

I will jump belatedly in with a capital punishment opinion but want to finish skimming first.

Dooley, are you saying that making mountains would raise global warming in the short term? If it would have the end result of cooling everything off, maybe that short term is worth it for our remaining, extremely hardy descendants. We have to think big here. I bet RD has access to some raising-the-mountains plan. Hey, maybe that's the secret administration plan Conrad Burns was referring to for ending the war -- turn Iraq into a large mountain range overnight, thus ending hostilities and making a bold statement about global warming in one fell swoop.

Are you sure you missed me?

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

No fun? See you at the beach in eastern Colorado. We can charter a boat and dive down to see the flooded remains of the Kansas Dept of Education offices...

Ivansmom--an increase in volcanoes (as opposed to folded mountains like the Appalachians) might increase global warming in the short term because of CO2 release. If this new study is correct, in the long run it might balance out, because the increased weathering would eventually remove the extra CO2 from the volcanoes.

Posted by: Dooley | October 27, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Eugene Robinson explains the 'code':

Here's the ad he refers to:

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse


Absolutely sure. :-)

Dooley, if Kansas keeps going like they have, you might see the Dept. of Education ark floating by... *L*

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

An S shape is Slender, a W shape is Wide and a WF has Wide Flanges dr. A round HSS is a round Hollow Structural shape by the way, not a pipe...
I didn't looked it up but this is the way I remember it. But again I have been known to be wrong once in a while...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 27, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

There seems to be an impression out there that water-boarding is painless. Ever had your sinuses filled with water? I have and it is excruciating.
The Mexican police use an interesting method of interrogation. They shake up a soda, force the prisoners head back and release the soda up his nose. Very effective and leaves no marks. Does anyone doubt that pouring water up a prisoners nose is any less painful?
Only *s.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse


Is it possible to reach you by email?

Posted by: Dooley | October 27, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Ivansmom - ixnay on the ountainmay plans.


Posted by: RD Padouk | October 27, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Thoughts about the death penalty, Part I: Societal acceptance.

Yesterday Steve-2 remarked he thought people were more inclined to support a death penalty that was, broadly speaking, local in nature. I think that is right. In the United States this penalty is carried out in particular localities. States with the death penalty impose it only in their jurisdictions, and the crimes tend to be widely publicized. Where a Federal sentence is carried out, it is within a particular federal jurisdiction, and the crime receives wide publicity in that location. These crimes are usually horribled in either the method of death, the activity before death, or the choice of victim (or a combination, of course). The people in those locations often have a personal sense of the case and use that to form an opinion about the justice of the sentence.

Although many people say they support capital punishment, it is my experience that jurors actually faced with imposing this sentence never take it lightly. Time and time again, jurors who thought they were for the death sentence say that it was extremely difficult to actually decide to impose it, even in the worst of crimes. Requiring public viewing of executions, as *Tim suggested, may bring the reality of this decision home to more people, but it may not.

While some families do receive a certain amount of relief from the execution, many find that the death of the murderer does not provide the closure they expected.

Still to come: pro and cons of the process itself, how it works.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

SD, I'm laughing here. Are you sure you don't work in my office?

Posted by: dr | October 27, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Just finished a Dionne op-ed piece that put a crazy idea in my head. Imagine the Republicans realize that they may lose the House and the Senate and strong arm bill through which repeals the part of the constitution in Article. II. Section. 1. (Quoted here)

(""No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;"" neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.)

So that they could run Arnold in 2008, and the Democrats nominate Gov. Jennifer Granholme of Michigan, and she wins the general.

The crazy part of this isn't our first women President, but two foreigners running against each other. Granholme's from Canada.

Wouldn't that be cool?

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

Only if you could get 2/3 of the states to ratify the Constiutional amendment before then, omni...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, i think what krauthammer was saying was that he needs to raise his elevation, and therefore his potential energy. that was the way i read it, anyways.

joel, you broke it. we were so close to 1009. oh well.

bph? i'm in.

Posted by: sparks | October 27, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"Foreigners" omni? Umbrage may be taken. To me, "foreigner" has quite pejorative undertones; kind of xenophobic. We prefer to think of ourselves as citizens of Canada *or of Quebec* (and, of course, uniquely polite, welcoming, clean and cold-tolerant). Oh, and we know how to make love in a canoe.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Harold Ford is mighty light-skinned. From his pictures, I wouldn't know he was black. It's a good thing his rascist opponents have ways of pointing that out to people via code.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 27, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

OK Yoki, change 'foreigner' to 'naturalized citizen'.

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Death penalty part II: Offenders.

I noticed the Boodle discussion focused on serial killers. Actually the typical person on death row has not killed more than one person. He's male, probably white (there are more white people in the country is all, capital sentences are certainly disproporationatly given to black males but that is another topic), and starts out young. Most capital crimes aren't committed by evil people. Like all other crimes, they are committed by stupid people, or people who have poor impulse control, or occasionally just someone who made a really bad choice. Substance abuse is often involved. Many are crimes of passion, or what I call career choice crimes -- if you rob convenience stores for a living eventually you're likely to kill someone. Often, once on death row these folks grow up, get some schooling, maybe get religion (truly, not for show) and bear little resemblance to the guy they were at the time of the crime. The popular conception of capital murderers as evil people is far too simple.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

It's really good to get the lawyerly POV around here from PLS, Yoki, and all.

Hope you get that judgeship, Ivansmom. What is the average age at which one gets sentenced to death for capital crimes? I always have the impression it's fairly young, given how gung-ho people are to try teen murderers as adults so they're eligible for the death penalty. Research shows that the brain continues growing until age 25 or so, so those people in fact might grow up a bit even out of prison. (the problem being, they might mature into different crimes instead, of course.)

I've never found the actual statistics on ages of people at sentencing, though.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Omni, you mean Granholmes is an ALIEN ?
US customs use to have ALIEN and US Citizens boots. I always stand proudly in the Alien lines, trying to be as green as possible. They don't use the Alien signs anymore, the Dept. of the Fatherland Security has sucked the last bit of levity out of air travel.
I am happy to report that we are safe from the flip-flop bombers. This summer's fashion trend had the kids and women wear flip-flops and those almost-not-there asian slippers, but still they had to be removed and x-rayed at security screening to reveal their secret compartments. Sanity seem to have left the buillding at the DHS, with excuses to RDP.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 27, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

As the only one around here who's actually served hard time in lock-up: Is anybody really working to repeal the death penalty for doggies?

I was in for 2 months and I smelled dogs heading to death row.

And all I did was grow big fast, maybe break a mirror or two, and generally love too much. Nobody taught me anything about obedience then. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to jump or bark or anything.

I don't want to think about it anymore.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 27, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Annie, as you noticed, correctly, I might add, I did not read closely. Ran through the post real fast, and probably need to go back and re-read. I believe what I was responding to was your "it's my body, I can do what I want" assessment. And I probably didn't read that thorough or maybe did not understand.

Ivansmom, what do you think we, and I mean the country as a whole should do about the death penalty? We know it is not done fairly, and sometimes, wrongly. In the state I live there was talk of holding off for a couple of years until things could be looked at a little more closely. I can't think of the word for that, but the last time I checked, we're still killing folks.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 27, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Death penalty, last part: Process

What does the death penalty reliably and unarguably do? It deters that particular offender from committing another crime -- difficult to do after death. It does not cost less than life imprisonment or life without parole (simple numbers, available lots of places). It does not deter other criminal offenders from committing capital murders. As I noted in my last post, criminal offenders are just like other folks. Overwhelmingly, at the time of the murder they are acting on some strongly felt emotion, are unable to judge the consequences of their action, or simply don't think as far as the end result. Some believe they won't get caught, of course, but truly most folks don't go that far. As many posters noted, innocent people DO get convicted of capital crimes, and do get executed wrongly. DNA review alone will not solve this problem, as not all cases have DNA evidence.

Although details differ among jurisdictions, the death penalty can't be imposed for every murder. There must be special characteristics which take it outside the usual realm of killing. That is why these crimes are so often so horrible -- otherwise, they wouldn't be death cases. The issue becomes whether this person, who has committed this extra-bad murder, deserves to be killed. For this reason, the sentencing stage of a capital trial is not about the victim, it is about the offender. While juries now hear about the victim's sterling qualities (when there are any, this makes some victims unequal but that is also another topic), the focus is on the good and bad characteristics of the defendant, his life history, and the circumstances of the crime.

Some people argue that capital punishment is an extension of society's responsibility to protect its members. I personally believe that civilized societies should not kill people as punishment. However I've sworn an oath to uphold the constitution and laws of a state with capital punishment. I reach an uneasy balance in this ethical dilemma by conducting the most thorough review possible in each capital case I work on, to ensure that insofar as I have any influence the sentence is truly appropriate within the law. Does it always work? No. Will I be able to do this indefinitely? Probably not. However, in an odd way, violating my own principles in order to do my job properly may actually help the system work better than if I did something else.

Please return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

-If a relative leaves you a creepy looking something-or-other (House, Book, Key) in their will, just bulldoze it or sell it.

Posted by: Zamora | October 27, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Whoops, wrong blog!

Posted by: Zamora | October 27, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

One important (IMO) fact about the death penalty in the US: when jurors are chosen, they are asked specifically their opinions about the death penalty. if they say they are against it, they are taken automatically out of the jury.

The obvious (to me) consequence is that death penalty cases juries tend to be made up of stricter, more law and order-type people.

Which, in turn, tends to make those juries give out death penalties sentences more easily. Again IMO.

PS: I have posted my opinion of the Achenblog and its aversion for dissent on the mommy blog, if anybody's interested. (smile)

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 27, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, exciting news about possible work emerging in November. We won't jinx this by asking too many details but bravo.

Annecdote on seamless garment approach -- or the consistently pro-life stance:

Long ago and far away, a lovable death-penalty favoring relative revised two stances:

One: Death Penalty
He held his pro-life (read anti-abortion, if you prefer) stance up against seamless garment approaches and with difficulty and uncharacteristic humilty, revised his position on the death penalty.

He would LOVE TO SEE THEM FRY OR HANG OR BE SHOT (Way out West, you know) but knows that the moral code he confesses calls him to live beyond his feelings.

TWO: Anti-Nuke Initiative (1979?)
He also voted FOR a nuclear-freeze state ballot initiative, again with grumbling, but acknowledged that an examination of conscience compelled him to vote for "life."

OK, he is Roman Catholic. But he "submitted" to thinking outside his feelings. Does he LIKE being anti-death penalty? Not at all.

Your mileage may vary. I respect other experience, other opinion.

My point is that we can be most human when we move beyond our feelings and quick-thinking. We need more thoughtfulness: science, knowledge, data, etc AND values, codes, morals, philosopies.

Humanity means we can choose to operate out of a code.

Yes, codes compete. Hard to solve this. Civility and conversation and political debate trump abolutism.

Posted by: College Parkian | October 27, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Okay, final thoughts on the death penalty. Cassandra is referring to a moratorium on executions. Illinois instituted one, and it has been proposed in other states. The goal is to find a way to make the process fairer by, for example, having fewer racially disproportionate sentences, and reducing the execution of innocent people. I say "reducing" because I don't think you can ever eliminate that risk; all human systems are fallible. Various things may be considered, including methods of jury selection, which vary widely from state to state; police procedures, such as requiring all interrogations and confessions to be videotaped. This would actually go a long way to curing several common problems with criminal trials. I don't know how all that will work.

There is a big flap over the method of lethal execution. Without going into tedious detail, it concerns the particular drugs used, their mix, and the timing and method of their delivery. The goal of execution is to kill the offender quickly and painlessly (you may not agree with this goal, which is based on notions of punishment in a civilized society, but that too is another topic). The concern is that the current method may in fact (and most likely does) have one drug subject the offender to incredible pain, which he is unable to express in any way due to the paralytic effect of another drug. Oklahoma was the first state to use this method. The real problem is that, since we adopted it, and other jurisdictions copied us, there have been advances in medicine. Simply put, changing and refining the drug types, mixture and amounts per drug would solve this problem. The difficulty is, some jurisdictions prescribe these things in statutes, not regulations, and statutes must be changed by legislatures. I think we all know the problems with that.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Ivansmom for your informative (and informed) posts. Great reading.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes Ivansmom - That was fascinating. One of the things I really like about this blog is the breadth of experience among its participants.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 27, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse


I used to know a DoJ lawyer whose favorite accomplishment was getting a mentally retarded murderer off of death row. The representation he had was just abysmal. There was no doubt of his guilt, but just whether he should die or not.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 27, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

According to the Post Bethesda Metro service returned to normal operations shortly after noon. According to the WMATA web site it hasn't. Accordining to my eyes I see people entering and exiting the system. Also the Post reports it was a woman not a man as originally believed.

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

SF, let me say this: Your opinions on specific issues are useful, actually.

Secondly, you did specifically make personal attacks on Curmudgeon, for the past 2 weeks, snide and purportedly humorous digs in violation of the specific guidelines of the Achenblog, civilty and respect. That came across as very petty, not funny.

I happen to know a lot of permanent residents and naturalized citizens and I'm used to the constant criticism of both cultures as a symptom of culture shock.

"Cross-Cultural Communication" by Nicholas Dima, a man who escaped Communist Romania, is a good read and explains the emotional effects on expatriates as they become both dissatified with both their old homeland and the country they have chosen.

I've lived with culture shock at home and aboard, and I know it does bring out ugly reactions. Each to their own; one man's fish is another man's poisson and all those cliches.

Cicero knew about exile. "Exile is terrible to those who have, as it were, a circumscribed habitation; but not to those who look upon the whole globe but as one city."

He recommended: "Politeness and an affable address are our best introduction."

He also counseled that: "A perverse temper and fretful disposition will, wherever they prevail render any state of life whatsoever unhappy."

He also said "Anger should never appear in awarding punishment."

Further, "Hatred is settled anger."

He also specifically counsels that:
"Every man should bear his own grievances rather than detract from the comforts of another."

He also spoke about opinion thus: "No wise man has called a change of opinion inconstancy."

He also said: "It is peculiarly a fool's habit to discern the faults of others, and to forget his own."

He said that yes, a man should stand by his convictions, not public opinion.

Yet, "That man is guilty of impertinence who considers not the circumstances of time, or engrosses the conversation, or makes himself the subject of his discourse, or pays no regard to the company he is in."

I merely quote from our common Western civilization heritage. Our customs of discourse differ, but the rationale behind polite discourse have rarely altered since classical times.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"It's really good to get the lawyerly POV around here from PLS, Yoki, and all" - Wilbrod

Gotta say it again, just in case the Law Society of Alberta is monitoring this blog (hahahaha): I am not a lawyer, and do not play one. I have been in the legal business for a long time. When I was working for the correctional justice programme, I was one of the few staff at the law school (I was, officially, Executive Editor of Publications) who had interviewing skills, was not afraid to enter prison walls, and could take the time to go with the law students, who mostly staffed the files, to show them how it was done. I had the time because we mostly produced publications during the summer when the profs had time to write, and mostly interviewed prisoners during the school year when students were available. As soon as the lawyer/profs were sure a particular student could handle the duties and environment themselves, I'd move on to the latest crop.

So I've done lots of legal stuff (and still do, like writing regulations for upstream oil & gas for a West African country) but I don't do lawyer stuff. Nope, not me.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Answers to Everything lead to More Questions

If you step back and squint, our death penalty looks a lot like ritual human sacrifice. I have a feeling that Bushco won't ever be happy until Iraq duplicates our criminal justice system precisely, emulating Texas as the example. I don't think they know that's what they want, but I suspect that's it.

I wonder what the effect on climate might be if the Bering Strait closed up. I also heard that due to gravational anomalies, the water on the Pacific side of Panama is 20 feet higher than on the Atlantic side. So a sea-level canal might not be a good idea...

I've been trying to find out data on the volcano that caused a serious ash-cloud and/or sulfur-cloud to circle over Texas every few months in '79 or so. I remember it blocking out the sun, making it almost cool in the summer Texas heat. It was strange. In 1980 I then moved to Ohio and it got down to 24 below zero that winter of '80-81. I was trying to find evidence of a connection on the web, but no luck so far. Then I got sidetracked into research on the Ixtoc I oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst accidental spill in history, which most people have forgotten about. Except when they get tarballs on their feet at Port Aransas. And after all this time, who knows which spill specifically they come from? Then I got sidetracked into reading about George Bush the Elder and Zapata Drilling, and then I gave up on all that and tried looking at the Panama Canal on Google Earth, and it was slow to load so I came here. It's raining and work was cancelled.

Posted by: Jumper | October 27, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian -- I am with your uncle, as it happens(and also with Ivansmom, in her commitment to the necessity of operationalizing values she does not hold).

I would much rather be for the death penalty than against. I would much rather be pro-choice than pro-life. I am the most reluctant Christian you could ever hope to meet. Anyone who sneers that people follow Christ because doing so gives you easy, pat answers or provides some sort of spritual pablum simply doesn't know what he's parler-ing about. As my man CS Lewis put it, the question about Christianity is not whether you find it easy or useful, but whether you believe it to be true. The honest man, if be believes it to be true, will follow it however hard the going may be; if he believes it not to be true, he'll leave it alone however much comfort or advantage it might bring.

Procedural note: I do not know, but I strongly suspect, that many times when a jury votes the death penalty, they do so because they believe, rightly or wrongly, that it is the only way to ensure that the guy never gets out on parole. If there were (or if there already are)ways to guarantee that life means life, and no parole means no parole, and if juries clearly understood and believed that, I bet fewer would vote for capital punishement.


Posted by: annie | October 27, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod -- nice train of thought. I might have to think about changing my secret crush from ScienceTim to you.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 27, 2006 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Oooooooohhhhh. A secret imaginary admirer! I feel honored. LostinThought, are you aware that Wilbrod and I differ in the gender department? If that's no problem, well then, hmmmmmm...

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 27, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

It's about time to get serious with these bandwagon-jumping writers who misuse the word "comprise." They've heard it; they've read it. They want it. They just can't get it right. They seem to think it's a synonym for "compose," like "the team is comprised of 9 players."

Well, they're wrong. I say, if they can't look it up, they shouldn't mess with it! They're in over their heads! They appear to be fools! Thank goodness they don't show up on this blog.

Posted by: Jumper | October 27, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Ha, LostInThought, you just outed yourself.

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Let me hijack this here blog for a moment to make an announcement:

Tim the Storyteller will be telling "Cinderella, a Rough Sailor's Tale" in the Laurel Mill Playhouse Variety Show, starting at 8:00 PM, on November 10 and 11, 508 Main Street, Laurel, MD 20707. Call 301-617-9906 for reservations.

I'm not sure whether tickets are free, or what, but I know that no one has mentioned paying me, so I believe that this can qualify as not violating the Rule against commercial advertising.

Although, I do expect to have copies of my CD available for sale.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 27, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I however, claim Storyteller Tim, ScienceTim's cousin with a huge HQ.
(H.Q. = humanities quotient)

I dream he will tell me a story, in front of a fire (real logs releasing C02 and everything), with two cats in they hard, life used to be so hard.

Our House is a very very very fine (imaginary) house.....

Posted by: College Parkian | October 27, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

See how flustered the infatuation phase is!!

Revise the sound track to my fantasy life with Storyteller Tim (egads he lives up Route One in Laurel!):

...with two cats in the yard
Live used to be so hard.

Crosby, Stills, Nash (Young or not?)

Posted by: College Parkian | October 27, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

My twiterpation continues

LIFE used to be so hard.

I quit. Back to grading papers and private mistakes.

Posted by: CParkian (under cover) | October 27, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

You're right. I'll just go back to lurking.

Posted by: LostInThought | October 27, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I believe that Neil Young is in that one, CP. It's from the Déjà Vu album.

I am so glad that you corrected the lyric; I was very concerned about whether it was an intentional paraphrase... I get flustered in groups, you know, and the reference to "they"; well, I was concerned.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 27, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

LostinThought, those words are mostly Cicero's... unfortunately he's long since dead, but I imagine with time-travel, universal translators, or holodecks, he'd make a fanastic dinner companion. Great orator.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

//one man's fish is another man's poisson//

Oh Oh Oh. I feel validated, but rest assured I promise to pun responsibly.
Funny I never heard that before. Did you make it up, Wilbrod?

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry StorytellerTim. I don't want to get you in trouble or make you blush.

Ahhh. Neil Young. That is my constant, faithful crush. CPnNY4evr

So, we are breaking up. Online. I am so cold, but I'm

Looking for a heart of gold....

Posted by: CParkian (under cover) | October 27, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I did, Boko. From the first day I learned that word for "fish", I always thought a misspelled poisson was the original source of the proverb ;).

The Germanic riff on that saying is "One man's present is another's _Gift_."

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

I think "one man's fish is another man's poisson" is one of those things that comes to multiple people. I've used it (and also the variation "one man's meat...") and later seen it in print.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Ah, fugu. Now I get it. hehehe

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I still like the idea of making mountains out of molehills. If we don't want to admit starting in Iraq (sorry RD) there are the Flint Hills in southwestern Kansas, which really are little more than molehills now and would be great fun transformed into mountains.

Annie, that's an interesting question. To some extent I think it is true. However, in Oklahoma and some other states we have life without parole (or LWOP), and jurors are now instructed that it means what it says. Having that alternative certainly means some death sentences are not imposed.

And speaking of baseball, who else is hoping that the Tigers prevail in the next game to keep the Series alive? I've been really torn. As an Astros fan it is hard to cheer for the Cardinals. As a believer in the National League it is hard to cheer for an American League team. But hey, it's all baseball, right?

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

yeah, ivansmom, i've always kind of wondered about why we use things like lethal injection (with paralysis followed by pain, which is rendered inexpressible by the paralysis) and the electric chair (don't even get me started) when we have quick, effective, and much more humane ways to kill people, which seem to have been banned simply because they lend themselves particularly well to public spectacle (i.e. the guillotine, hanging).

it's also interesting to note that murder has one of the lowest recidivism rates among any crime. we think "murderers should be locked up or put to death", but most of them, if you let them back out on the street, will never do it again. thieves? rapists? drug dealers? almost all of them will do it again.

as far as the death penalty goes, pretty much everyone has an opinion, some well thought out, others not so much, and most of us have heard the arguments for each side. but there are other irreversible punishments which would probably do much more to protect society, but which aren't under general discussion, probably primarily because they aren't in general use. so let's change up the discussion a little bit: how does everyone feel about chemical castration for serial rapists/sex offenders?

Posted by: sparks | October 27, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, it's a pretty obvious pun if you don't go by the sound but by the printed word, Yoki.

Posted by: WIlbrod | October 27, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Good one, Omni! Not what I meant precisely though...;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

My Google ads:

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Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

With chemical castration, (or actual) the offender could clandestinely get access to pharmaceutical testosterone and defeat the whole deal.

As a matter of fact, right now I have a testosterone patch one one shoulder, and a nicotine patch on the other, and I feel like a menace to society at this very moment. Just kidding!

Drugging as punishment (or criminal management)is a big can of worms surely. It suggests a synthesis of psychopharmological treatment and penal theory. "Guilty AND insane" the sentence might be. A brave new world.

As a society, we have not really knowingly gone here before. This suggests offshoots such as drugging terrorism suspects, or even sentencing malefactors to bad LSD trips, etc. Is there not an alternative?

Posted by: Jumper | October 27, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I know, but I did have to google it first.

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Google ads was me. Not that it matters, except I'm admitting I'm ignorant.

Posted by: ac in sj | October 27, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Ah. CEMS = Comprehensive Emergency Management System

But CEM = Customer Experience Managment

Have to keep those straight.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Dang. That was me again. I'd better go get a cuppa tea and go back to lurking for a while.

Posted by: ac in sj | October 27, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I believe in this case it stands for Chemical Emissions Monitor System.

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

And thus do we return to methane, omni...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to back up a bit, but to RD Padouk: I too have a double ruby pin stashed away somewhere. I'm not sure that my partner and I ever struck fear into anyone, but we did reasonably well for ourselves. (And he did the Ivy League law school NYC big firm thing, which is something of a cliche but still great. Me, not so much, though I did manage to eventually finish college.)

A few weeks ago I was photographing a college debate team, and it brought back a few good memories. Of course, everything nowadays is on laptop computers -- no index cards, no giant cases to carry said index cards. One of the debaters had actually heard of my high school debate team, which was a nice suprise. Of course, none of them had been born when I was debating, but that's just one of the everyday reminders of my advancing age.

Posted by: bigcranky | October 27, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Eureka. I saw the common thread in two of the Kit items. Cheney, scary-looking in a mountain-man-shaved-with-money-and-power way, is from Wyoming, home to mountains, energy sources and guns. Emergence of mountains has an effect on energy resources and global warming. Cheney, as the Grey Eminence, is behind the secret plan to win the war and stop global warming by turning Iraq into a mountain range. It's okay, RD, you didn't tell us.

I'm not going to talk about criminal law any more today, except for one comment: chemical castration for sex offenses is ineffective because those are crimes of violence, not passion.

I didn't get that judgeship, by the way. There were 41 applicants, though, so I don't feel bad. Besides, if I'd got it I'd have to do the job (divorce court).

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Rent "A Clockwork Orange" or read the book. I think it's genius, separately and collaboratively, on the part of Anthony Burgess, Stanley Kubrick, and Malcolm McDowell, that they make you feel sympathetic towards the horrible vile monster that is Alex, the protagonist. If one is going to have capital punishment, then Alex certainly qualifies for it. However, Alex lives in a society that has outlawed capital punishment in favor of behavior-modification. Alex is conditioned to be unable to commit crime, regardless of his actual desire to do so.

In the book, Burgess has Alex reform somewhat -- he's not only conditioned against acts of evil, he actually learns some empathy for the victims of crime IIRC. However, he continue to be treated as the scum of society, fair game for any brutality. That makes it easier to feel sorry for him at the end, and to forgive yourself for feeling that way -- he really has become a marginally better person, and we feel that he could have been encouraged on the path to redemption. Alex could have reformed.

The movie, on the other hand, is pitiless towards us. Alex is a monster. He becomes a shackled monster, and is tormented by representatives of a society that is as monstrous as he is, but puts a better face on it. Ultimately, Alex frees himself from his shackles and we are made to feel a glow of satisfaction, until we recall that Alex is a complete sociopath, who cheerfully rapes and murders for an evening's entertainment. Alex's society creates its Alexes, and it deserves what it gets.

It's a fabulously disturbing movie.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 27, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, omni.

New ad:

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Posted by: ac in sj | October 27, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

And my google ads (only have one) just changes from something to do with knowing your credit score to reliable fax service. Huh...what's up with that. I mean first I only get one (is that fair) second neither of them have anything to do with blog.

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse


In 1991 I was working at IBM and a manager, normally a reserved, pleasant, keep-your-head-down sort of bureaucrat, emerged from his office one day with his voice raised and said "That's it! No more acronyms! I've had it! I'm done with it!"

He became my God for saying what we all thought. I have striven to emulate his profound realization since. I refuse to keep more than a modicum of them in my head. Demand conciseness and eschew obfuscation, I say.

Posted by: Jumper | October 27, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps there's hope for the local justice system yet...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Got to keep my SCC membership current:

insert 'the' before 'blog'

Posted by: omni | October 27, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

That's ok omni. All I have is

Place Newspaper Ads
Advertise in almost every US daily, weekly or business newspaper.

Posted by: dr | October 27, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

OK, so the mailroom guy just came around with his cart, and the only thing for me was, inexplicably, a catalogue called "Explorations" (

It's apparently a joint venture between National Geographic and an outfit called Lindblad Expeditions. Now all I can think about is how much I want to go see the fjords and northern lights, and the polar bears, and the Dalmatian Coast, and the Greek islands.

I have been feeling so restless anyway, but all those places look absolutely breathtaking.

Posted by: annie | October 27, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Acronyms, bah. I can't even use online shorthand correctly -- what is IIRC, anyway? I keep forgetting. I don't use emoticons either -- I'd probably send a completely different message than I thought.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Dalmation polar bears?? Doesn't that ruin the camouflage??? What???

*very confused, as always*


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael

I know of Coach Sakamoto, he used to coach my husband's family who were all swimmers (and related to Keo Nakama, National Swimming Hall of Fame inductee). That guy's a legend. He used make the kids on Maui swim in the irrigation ditches because they didn't have pools back in the day.

You mention the storytime that you had in elementary school (what school did you go to, by the way?). In the last five or six years, the Hawaii State DOE has put Kupuna (Hawaiian elders) into the classrooms a few times a week to teach the kids about Hawaiian culture and history. My kids are learning all about Hawaiian lore and legends as well as the history of the monarchy. I'm waiting for them to get to plantation history in high school, that's when things get really meaty.

One of the biggest issues in Hawaii (besides the earthquake damage) is the increasing number of homeless in the islands. We have our share of the homeless who are mentally ill or hooked on drugs as in many other states, but we also have a large number of families who live in tents on the beaches because they can't afford the high housing costs in the islands. Most two-bedroom apartments rent for 1 ½ times what many of these people make in a month - and that's assuming you can even find an apartment that's decent to live in. There is a rental housing shortage on most of the major islands because real estate sales boomed and gave landlords the opportunity to sell their properties at inflated prices. A lot of the buyers turned these rentals into "condos" or tore them down to build their own houses to live in which took a large number of rentals off the market.

Oh, and did I mention that wage scales here are at least 20% lower than those on the mainland? So, even if you get a better paying job, you still can't necessarily keep up with the rent. The haves and the have-nots will grow further and further apart.

I guess that's the price we pay for living in paradise.

Posted by: Aloha | October 27, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Sparks, if it worked I'd be all for it. Unfortunately there are too many instances of men raping while impotent for me to be convinced.

Right now, the chemical castration stuff in place is not proven to actually work, and pedophiles often exhibit low sex desire to start with. As Ivansmom says, they are crimes of violence.

We need to address the BRAIN, not the weapon of offense. Although hormonal therapy just might help that...

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse


If you recalled correctly, then you could use If I Recall Correctly...


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 27, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

actually, jumper, your note about lsd reminds me of an interesting point in history: the concord prison experiment, wherein psilocybin was used in an attempt to reduce recidivism rates in prison inmates. wiki:

also, i was just reading hax's chat, and there was a question about suicide, which reminded me of something i wanted to say in response to someone's response to the metro incident this morning: there are far more gruesome/publically damaging ways to kill yourself than jumping in front of a train. i probably should not bring this up for fear of being committed, but several of my friends and i have sat around discussing the merits of various ways of killing oneself, and believe me, some people are creative exhibitionists. the one i've got on hold for when i decide it's just not worth it anymore is not that bad. i intend to scale mount everest, and attempt to strip naked as quickly as possible, so as to be completely nude by the time i freeze to death. i will therefore be unique in human history as the only (or, at the very least, most) naked person on top of mount everest. plus, i assume nobody would bother dragging my frozen, naked ass down from the top, leaving me there as an interesting landmark for all to see.

i have now been reminded of a japanese film called suicide club. there is a scene in this movie where something like 200 people jump in front of a train at once.

Posted by: sparks | October 27, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Hi bigcranky! I was 1N/2A with Impromptu and Expos as my IEs.

Yet I feel like turning in my NFL certficate at your news.

No two-drawer file cases full of file cards? What do they do, hold the computers while speaking? Or do they, horror of horrors, use the podium?

Please tell me they still use the four color pens. Or do they take notes entirely on notebooks too?

Of course, I was involved during the Carmandale Ferandez era, so I am hopelessly out of touch.

Although the Onion article still rang true.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 27, 2006 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Although in an obvious fit of neurolinguistic Stockholm Syndrome, I am proud of coining the acronynym PITA. As in "the PITA factor" when pricing a proposal. Factoring in the "Pain In The A."

Posted by: Jumper | October 27, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I am back from the luncheon, where topically the Prime Minister used the occasion to lash the opposition for holding up his crime bill. Not a great speech, but the women I attended with had a fun time making snide remarks about just about everything, (not the most mature I will admit).

For those will legal experience, I am curious to learn what you believe would be changes that could be made to the system or society in general to reduce crime.

One other note about the event, was how low key it was, no ID required, secret service was visible but not intrusive, PM signed autographs after, had his picture taken etc.

RD, hope my message about the debate club wasn't misinterpreted. My school did not have a debate team, a band, only a few sports teams - so my comment about the camp realy was surprise. My friends children attend some really great camps at the local university, engineering/robots, science etc.

I have never aquired the composure necessary to debate, I get way to riled up so I admire people who can comment calmly.

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, the Dalmatian polar bear (Ursus maritimus maculata) has evolved from the regular ones due to global warming. the snow coverage isn't what it used to be.
Besides, as I have ranted about it before the polar bear should be called the northern bear, the boreal bear or the marine bear. There ain't no polar bear at the South Pole.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | October 27, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Suicide on Everest

Make sure to have manufactured a framework of structural struts made of mothballs, which will slowly evaporate; even more slowly at the frigid temperature of the top of Everest. Pose yourself in a classic stance, and freeze, and over the next few months the struts made of mothball material will disappear, leaving only yourself in the classical pose, upright. This will entitle your estate to a postumous National Endowment of the Arts check to go to your surviving family members.

Posted by: Jumper | October 27, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Scottynuke! I seldom recall correctly, so perhaps I'll just eschew that abbreviation.

RD, you scare me. I debated for a year in high school (though I was better at extempore speaking, what a surprise). Despite my toe in that water, I have no idea what you just said. I'm so relieved.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

You know which bear I love best? The Spirit Bear on Vancouver island. It's a regular black bear, but with an albino mutation found only on the island. Long sacred to the indigenous people there.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Sparks, somehow I ain't surprised at this uh, revelation.

Since suicide is a cop-out when we all die anyway, I haven't given it much thought most of the time.

I do remember when I was a kid I once stomped out barefoot in the snow and decided to die of cold and then they'd come find me and all be sorry for how they treated me. A very common sentiment in the young. Mt. Everest seems... the pinnacle of that dramatic impulse.

But I just wanted to gross people out on the choo choo suicide idea because I'm frankly tired of running over people on the way to and from work.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

dmd - No! Of course I didn't take any offense! I realize Debate is not exactly a mainstream activity. Yet I have very fond memories it. The Debate team was the first time that I actually felt a sense of belonging. And I was good at it. After having been "cut" from 7 separate sporting teams, (It was a more brutal time.) I could actually succeed at something outside of the classroom. Granted, this was Washington State, not exactly the heartland of High School Debate. Yet my debate partner,"Z" and I still took the state championship. (Only to get destroyed, of course, at the national level.)

To this day I remember standing in front of a big crowd and feeling my dopamine levels go through the roof.

Anyway, I apologize for this little walk down memory lane.

I'm out of here now. Have a good weekend everyone. I'm going to try hard to stay offline and get ready for Halloween.

We take our Jack-O-Lanterns seriously around my house.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 27, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, you're confusing mockery of a pompous, arrogant, self-important writing style with personal attacks.

Such mockery was meant as sarcasm.

And was mocking said style, not the person.

Writing style being what the blogger chooses to expose of him or herself, I do not believe that to be out of bounds. Perrsonal opinion of course, but I find that it is no different than the mockery of a weird personal opinion, or of a strong case of grammatically challenged writing.

To be honest, it was also meant as a mockery of the cheerleading and applause coming from the 11 other bloggers any time such affected style was used.

Of course, poor as my own mocking style may have been, the difference with a personal attack may indeed not have been very clear. For that of course I am sorry.

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 27, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Looooong time lurker here making first post. Please be gentle, as I already knew you would be and thus I have chosen you (all) as my first.

Today's *Dilbert* cartoon compels me to come forward.

That probably didn't post as a real link but find today's Dilbert by any means possible. I thought of the Achenblog immediately.

Wonderful, eclectic bunch of geeks and such here. Can't keep up, however. Still don't have the genders indexed properly and forget about remembering everyone's QTH (location). (I'm an outside the braces kind of quy.) And it's: red, white, and blue, not: red, white and blue. What I do have is that mo is panamanian and superfrenchie is, I think, French. Wilbrod is deaf, but hears more than most, Pat is blind, but sees more than most, and 'Mudge is, well, old, but writes better than most.

Me? I used to live in Loudoun Co. and miss it very much, having had to move to SC about three years ago. Cassandra is here someplace, no? Anyhow, no BPHs for me, not that I would actually attend one. I have one of those "invisible" personalities. Some think that I am shy but I am not.

I am for the Death Penalty. Some people "just need killin'", which is what I think the 'bach man was alluding too. But I also want to be very careful about how that is applied.

I am for a woman having control of her body, at *least* equal to what a man enjoys.

I believe the Second Amendment affords every law-abiding citizen the RIGHT to possess firearms. Those who champion the First Amendment will not need to wonder for very long what will happen to free speech and the press if the 2nd is ever abolished. I am also for swift and sure punishment for anyone who abuses that Right.

Sky report for Pat: Cloudy and rainy all day here in Charleston. NFTR.

Oh, SF? As gently and as kind as I can say it, you are, from so many perspectives, just plain wrong dude. And, yes, so were some others. There is little that this or any other blog can do for you. We can all see that wrongs were done but you are looking in the wrong direction.

Am totally appalled at the long-term inability to keep the blog's load-balanced servers sync'd to the correct time. Time servers connected to atomic clocks are readily available on the net.


Posted by: DLD | October 27, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Bonjour, Monsieur DLD. Welcome to the Monkey House.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 27, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Ahh, I remember my first post. Such and innocent time...

Posted by: Dooley | October 27, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"an", not "and"

Posted by: Dooley | October 27, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

DLD welcome.

I see WAPO jumped the gun on the time.

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

If you think the failure to link to atomic clocks is bad, you should see the error message you get when try to post here but you have set your browser to not accept cookies. It's incomprehensible.

Posted by: Jumper | October 27, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

DLD, welcome. I remember well the feeling of taking a deep breath and just diving in to make that first post to the Boodle (since it was only a couple of months ago). My biggest barrier? The 'regulars' know each other well and are so clever and funny. Being neither clever nor funny myself made it feel very risky. But after Joel published my guest kit, I guess the imprimatur of the Boss made it easier.

SF has been somewhat wrong from time to time (as which of us has not?), and Mr. Curmudgeon was uncharacteristically humourless and even bullying in return, so I think Joel's decision to shut down that whole subject of conversation (which applies to you, too) was very wise.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

To supporters of the Second Amendment, I advise the following thought experiment: Imagine yourself defending your right to own surface-to-air missiles armed with nuclear warhead tips.

I actually support the Second Amendment, but I have already done this mental exercise and adjusted my thinking accordingly.

Posted by: Jumper | October 27, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, DLD!

Yoki, when was your guest kit? (Date, name, anything -- want to look it up, I must have been out of town or dealing with houseguests or something.)

Amazing to me, that your self-image might be other than clever or funny. So many people seem to have self-images at odds with how the world sees them. Like beautiful women who look in the mirror and honestly see a wildebeest staring back at them.

You are one of my favorites to read, in fact, for what that is worth.

Posted by: annie | October 27, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, and the thing is, I can't help thinking if they met they'd get on wonderfully-- kind of like Spock and Bones.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

at the risk of offending all the good people here, it occurs to me that when dogs take to attacking people, they have to be put down. is it too outlandish to suggest that when some humans take to murdering others (e.g. the Amish girls' killer, the killer of the college students in florida, j. dahmer) those people have to be put down, as well. there is a wonderful passage in saroyan's 'the time of your life' that gets at this issue. the problem is that that much of govt has become so corrupt that it's hard to trust the verdicts that are rendered in some jurisdictions.

by the way, cheney is a coward and a punk. he would not last one day where i grew up.

Posted by: butlerguy | October 27, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I agree with Annie, I really enjoy your posts, your post to Martooni last night brought tears to my eyes.

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh...quite a bit to skim to catch up...

I have to admit that although I didn't to on-topic, I knew what the double ruby pin was/is. I did LD debate and Impromptu and my favorite event was Extemporaneous Speaking. And now, I do theater and I have to say that my Forensics background has been very helpful. First, I can project my voice fairly easily in most spaces. I also know how to think quickly on my feet which is great for reacting in live theater.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 27, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, that was my *whole point* in talking about "imaginary enemies" as well as imaginary friends, the other day. Not that I haven't liked most of my on-line friends that I've met, but that 'Mudge and SF might be imaginary enemies and really like each other in person.

Thanks Annie. Guest kit was on July 15, 2006. "Kiterature" under my old handle "Stampede." Here's a story I haven't told; when Joel emailed me to say he wanted to run it (as the very first guest kit in that run of them!!!) I was deeply pleased, as you can imagine. I wrote back saying I was "tremulous" with delight. And he wrote back saying "I love the word tremulous." So that was a good day.

Love, Wildebeest

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod (3:21pm): Very likely.

And let me add this: to help out, a glass of wine (or beer, whatever he fancies) will be on me.

Same for everybody I may have ever offended here.

Wait, did I do that 12 count right?

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 27, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Dogs kill fewer people than people kill people. Or people kill dogs. Still, there are more rabid dogs than people.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 27, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

There are literally hundreds of us, and we're all coming to Washington for the next BPH!

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I suggest live webcam BPH!

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

dmd, brilliant. Let us do just that. A virtual BPH.

When you were at the Prime Ministerial lunch, did he do his "my government is tough on crime" schtick?

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Better make that a keg party, then, SF, and bring in some of that Romulan ale.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Do you want my honest version, or the politically correct answer :-)

Yes he did, and moaned about the changes made in committee, which at first glance don't seem that bad and are made with some logic.

He used the speech at a Chamber of Commerce to slap down the opposition for not be open and making changes in committee (which is the purpose of committiee review/revise), he wants them to use the house to do this, while he goes off in front of business people to express his views.

One clarification, after I hit submit, I realized webcams are often used in a slimy way, I DID NOT MEAN IT THAT WAY!!

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I saw some coverage of His Honourableness complaining that Opposition members are messing with his "Accountability Act" which, of course, is meant to muzzle his ministers and the caucus and the civil service so that we only hear from His Prime Ministerialness.

Can you tell I'm not a Conservative, even though I live in the depths of it's black heartland? I'm actually a card carrying member of both the federal and provincial Liberal parties; when I go to fundraisers and other Liberal events in Calgary, all 14 of us meet up once again!

Posted by: Yoli | October 27, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Brian Wilson did a miracle in recreating the lost Smile album. It's as if a fresco artist accepted a commission to recreate a work after his original was destroyed by an earthquake or similar cataclysm, it's like sorcery: provides the '60s with a "reset" button.

Posted by: Universal Solvent | October 27, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Geez. I know the difference between it's and its, and still, every time I post, I type it wrong. Sorry Wilbrod, you must be cringing.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Joel -- I'm still trying to post.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 27, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Welcome aboard, DLD!

You said "you're confusing mockery of a pompous, arrogant, self-important writing style with personal attacks."

I think you're confusing what you think is "pompous, arrogant, self-important writing style" with what I consider a hilariously hyperbolic, humorous writing style.

There's a fine line between teasing and a personal attack, and mockery is right about where that line is. Sometimes what amuses you might be insulting to the recipient(s).

I'm sensitive to this because I have a former friend who thought mockery was funny, but it was actually only amusing to himself. And he also thought that if he made fun of someone and they didn't laugh, that they had no sense of humor. And he thought it was rude if anyone teased him. He stopped being fun to be around. So your attempt at humorous mockery didn't go over well with me.

But anyway, you didn't offend me personally (much), but you can buy me a beer, anyway! It will have to be a virtual one, though.

Posted by: ac in sj | October 27, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I hear you Yoki, pretty much how I felt in that Luncheon today. Not to mention they said Grace and Toast the Queen. Until today I was quite ambivilent on separation of church and state, but at that event the Grace really bothered me, not only out of place but the guy doing it really milked his moment in the spotlight.

Have to go home, we are preparing for the party of the century (daughters).

Have a great weekend all.

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

ac, I'm with you on the fine line. And virtual beer it is! In fact, virtual champagne if you want!

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 27, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Have a great weekend dmd. I was exhausted just reading about your halloween party the other day!

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Have a great weekend dmd. I was exhausted just reading about your halloween party the other day!

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

To be perfectly clear, there is a reason why there are only 14 liberals in the heart of conservative country.

Posted by: dr | October 27, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

DLD, welcome to the hotel achenblog.

feel free to check out anytime you like.

just be aware that you can never leave.

tim, are you aware that the american edition of clockwork orange ends a chapter early? in the /real/ last chapter, alex does actually reform. sort of a boys will be boys lesson.

whoever posted the packer link, thank you. i am enthralled.

Posted by: sparks | October 27, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Superfrenchie picking at Curmudgeon:

We drove to San Francisco over last weekend, and one book we listened to was "Knockdown" by Dick Francis. In it, one of the characters says something like -- "The way to break down a group's resistance is to take down the strongest member."

Posted by: nellie | October 27, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

So *that's* sf's scheme! Well, it won't work.

I just stopped in SLO on my way back from LA Tuesday. Had a nice cup of coffee there. I left LA on Monday but spent the night in Buellton because my car broke down on the 101. (bad spark plug wires)(190,000 miles on my Civic and hoping for 200,000 before I give her up)

You did say you're in SLO, didn't you?

Posted by: ac in sj | October 27, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, DLD. Watch out. I went from tentative to insufferable in about five seconds. Ah, those were the days.

DadWannaBe, I've been out too long, so accept my heartfelt condolences now, please. And, not to dwell on them, changing the subject: are you a tenor, baritone or bass? I'm guessing not countertenor, or you'd be making lots of money as one of six guys singing obscure music. Just remember, as we airhead soprani say, tenors get the applause but the women go home with the basses.
[Basses are singers. Bass are fish. They sound different too. As a non-fisher, I used to get in a lot of trouble over this.]

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 27, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

a good friend of mine once warned me against dating sopranos. i don't at the moment recall what the reasoning behind this was.

Posted by: sparks | October 27, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I think that is called the Acheneffect. You read for a while, and then you get suckered into posting, and then whammo, full addiction mode is upon you.

Posted by: dr | October 27, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

butlerguy says: "...much of govt has become so corrupt that it's hard to trust the verdicts that are rendered in some jurisdictions."

I think that this is a misimpression caused by the heavy coverage of certain extraordinary cases -- think of OJ, Oliver North, that sort of thing. Those cases were really distorted by half-assed attempts to find juries that were impartial, because they mistook impartial, indifferent, and ignorant as being all the same thing.

I have only served on one jury. It was a depressingly ordinary attempted murder case in Baltimore. Two white jurors (including me), the rest African-American. Black defendant and victim. I cetainly had by far the highest educational level of the jury, being in grad school at the time. The foreman was an older man. Whatever biases or expectations you may entertain about juries, I was struck by how extremely diligent and serious every member of the jury was. We all paid very close attention to the evidence and strictly observed the judge's instructions. We started to deliberate and again, everyone took the situation extremely seriously and aimed to consider the evidence in an orderly review before coming to any conclusions. Ultimately, we were undercut by courtroom jiggery-pokery which prevented us at the last moment from doing much more than introducing the idea that we were about to deliberate -- the defendant chose to retire his defense and accept a guilty verdict in exchange for leniency. Too bad, because I found out as we were leaving that every juror was prepared to find the defendant innocent. I remain convinced that he actually was innocent, but he surrendered because he imagined that he couldn't get justice. It appeared to be against his defense attorney's advice.

Anyway, the point is: the jury system works. There are problems, but my anecdotal experience suggestes that the problem is not in the character of juries.

As far as "corrupt goes" -- I assume that this is a reference to cases tried before a judge, without a jury. Name this corruption of which you speak. I don't recall a significant torrent of examples of overt corruption in criminal cases

Posted by: Tim | October 27, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Yoki -- I went to the archives and read "Kiterature" and it was lovely. What inspired the change from Stampede to Yoki? Anyway, I dug around a little bit, and your guest kit turns out to have been just before I started hanging out on Achenblog. August 7 will be my Achennversary. Am already planning the BPH (Superfrenchie will be treating).

My family is like yours; we are constantly reading things aloud to each other from books, magazines, and of course, the Post. The paper has been such a fixture in our family for generations -- which is why when we become annoyed by it, our reaction must seem so mystifyingly disproportionate. As much as I DO NOT GET people who care deeply about Katie Couric, or before her Uncle Walter or whomever, I really don't have an inch of high ground to stand on. My reaction to "my" paper is the same thing, only arguably even more bizarre, since WaPo isn't even a person.

We have a hard time parting with books, too. It's compounded by the fact that we are people who tend to stay put: my parents have lived in the same house for almost 50 years, I have lived in the same co-op for 10, one of my brothers, except for dorm rooms during college, has lived in precisely two houses: our parents' and the one he bought when he graduated 18 years ago.

A lot of shelf space in my house came back on line when they invented CDs and then, God bless them, iTunes. I do think that album covers are a form of art, and I miss that, but for God's sake, you have to compromise *somewhere*. So now all my music is in iTunes, with a very few CDs thrown in for hold-outs like Frank Sinatra's estate which refuse to make that catalogue available on line.

The revolution in recording technologies put much, much bookcase real estate back on the market at my house. It didn't happen a moment too soon, either, since my grandmother died and I inherited most of her library.

Then I instituted some new rules for myself: (1) No more paperbacks (except trade paperbacks). The paperbacks you already own can be gradfathered in, if you really really love them. But the thinking was, if you don't like it enough to buy it in hardback, then get it out of the library rather than buy it. (2) All detective fiction: up and out. Even the complete oeuvre of Agatha Christie. All of them, and anything purchased in an airport to kill time -- off to the beach house with the rest of the nondemanding fiction for which the beach is so perfect.

So far, the system is working. I hate parting with books, but I hate a cluttered house too.

And finally, I am awed by you for choosing Ikea for your back-up bookcases. If the three most beautiful words in the English language (after "I love you") are "you've lost weight," surely the three most dreaded are "some assembly required."

Chapeau, dear Yoki.

Posted by: annie | October 27, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

sparks, I have an American re-issue of A Clockwork Orange that includes the last chapter from the British edition, along with an introduction that discusses the issue of why it was left off, put back on, changes in interpretation of the story, yadda-yadda.

Posted by: St | October 27, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I believe it is nice that folks join us here at the "Achenblog", and we get to share our thoughts and ideas. This is not my blog, the owner and writer is Joel Achenbach. It is nice that he allows me to participate, and I enjoy it.

That said, where is Mudge? I don't want to fuss or offend anyone, but the folks that see fit to pull Mudge out for some kind of war on words need to know that here we love Mudge very, very, very, much, and we just cannot take kindly to that kind of behavior.

Mudge, we miss you and love you so very much, and a blog without you just is not a blog we want to visit. Wherever you are, please join us, and bring that sense of humor and that self that we so deeply miss. Do you need anything, Mudge? I don't have money or clout, Mudge, but I know someone that does. Please feel free to ask what you will.

Have a good weekend, folks. Tell your family you love them, and show them that. Give God some of your time, and get some rest. Much love to all, and peace.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 27, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

some assembly required. pfft. the three most dreaded words in the english language are "you're still away." assembly is no problem. i have been dealing with some assembly required since i was three years old. there is photographic evidence to prove this.

Posted by: sparks | October 27, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Annie, I'm smiling at your description of giving up the paperbacks, but Dame Agatha? Say it ain't so. I'm sure they all found a good home somwhere.

I don't fly a lot and have only bought one lone book at the airport. Usually I am well prepared but our first trip to Mexico, I picked up Amy Tan's 'The Bone Setters Daughter' and finished it in the first 3 days. I gave it away because something in that book left me with an uncomfortable feeling, but the story never left my head. I've since bought another copy, and have read it many times. I find I am entranced by the old story combined with the new, the roots, the baggage and the history between mother and daughter.

Anyway, I can't automatically discount airport books. Over time, I have been brutal while culling and am going to have to be so again one day very soon.

Posted by: dr | October 27, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Richard Dawkins has an interesting analysis of the jury system.

"Trial by jury must be one of the most conspicuously bad good ideas anyone ever had. Its devisers can hardly be blamed. They lived before the principles of statistical sampling and experimental design had been worked out. They weren't scientists. Let me explain using an analogy. And if, at the end, somebody objects to my argument on the grounds that humans aren't herring gulls, I'll have failed to get my point across."
Full article at:

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I feel the same way about Mudge, and I hope he'll be back soon.

I don't think it's wrong, though, for someone to take a break from this forum. This should be fun, and enlightening, and intriguing, and not an irritant, and Mudge got irritated and who can blame him for hitting the road for a bit.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 27, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Sparks -- dating sopranos is fun and good for you. Your friend was simply mistaken. Look at me and Ivansmom, for crying out loud! Good that you can assemble things. But if you live in DC, look out: you will be pressed into service.

Cassandra -- I don't mean to start rumors or anything, but am I the only one to notice that Curmudgeon's absence coincides with an eerie silence from Mo? This can only mean one thing: Scandal! You have a good weekend, too, and thanks for the blessings.

DLD -- don't be worried about addiction. I mean, honestly. Speaking for myself, I can quit anytime I want to, I just don't want to. So just try it a few times. See how it makes you feel. The first few times are on the house.

Tim -- my experience with jury duty has been the same. The conventional wisdom is that any 12 people who weren't smart enough to find a way out of jury duty aren't smart enough to be entrusted with administering justice. But I have not found that to be true. The people all seemed like they took their duty very seriously, everyone was decently dressed (no sweatpants or bling or cleavage), most people had books or the paper to read to kill the (extensive) waiting-around time. It left me with a lot of trust in the system. It was impressive.

Tim --

Posted by: annie | October 27, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

DLD, great post, and great Dilbert cartoon. Thanks for jumping in.

Posted by: Achenbach | October 27, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Dooley, if you're still out there (and why would you be??? it's late, even if the time stamps say it's not), I can be reached at this email:

Posted by: Achenbach | October 27, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey speaking of time, doesn't daylight saving time turn off this weekend?

Speaking of books, I was at the bookstore the other day, the full price kind, and was in the process of grabbing "March"by Geraldine Brooks. My ride showed up and so I just grabbed and ran. I got home, ready to dive into the book, took it out of the bag, and found not March, but another book. Drat. Never heard of the author and I have no idea what its about. Let the adventure begin. March will have to wait for next payday.

Posted by: dr | October 27, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I think we all feel that way about Curmudgeon. I just can't believe that he'd leave permanently. He'll come back when he's ready, if he ever is. This is his home virtual place, isn't it? The precondition is probably that we need to be light and witty and fun to be around for several weeks, as I'm pretty sure he's reading, at least. I hope Nani and Error Flynn are too; I never posted when they were active but I had lurked and admired them a lot.

Annie, thank you for your kind words about Kiterature. It was exciting to be published by Achenbach!

I changed from Stampede to Yoki because I was getting a feeling of what I thought was undeserved hostility from some of the regular Boodlers (goodness knows, not everybody likes me, but outright "ignoral" is unusual, even for me). So I went back over all the Boodles from the date I had first posted to the Achenblog. There were very very occasional posts from me (as Joel said in his introduction to the kit, I almost always lurked) and several horrible *fake* "Stampede" posts that I had not written. Not my sort of comment at all. Once I had it figured out, I just changed my handle, which outed the fake, and he stopped posting.

The worst thing about being ghosted was that I think I know who it was. Someone who had heard me mention the Boodle and the Stampede handle in a completely different, dog-related forum and had a dog-related grudge (I do rescue for my breed in Alberta, and have run up against some people who do not regard dogs the way I do).

Anyway, I haven't seen anything even remotely like those inappropriate posts since I changed to Yoki. Everything worked out fine. Yoki came from The Bare Naked Ladies song "Be My Yoko Ono." We had a chat about that the day I changed.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

You had me laughing dr, with your riposte re: 14 Liberals. Touche!

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, for pity's sake SF.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I was going to say that there were actually 33 liberals here, but I thought that might be exaggerating it. I'm glad you took it as I meant it, as a silly.

I'd like to hear about your dog rescue work sometime. Sounds interesting.

Posted by: dr | October 27, 2006 5:49 PM | Report abuse

dr- Yes it is.
I've suspected all week that the boodle timer has been an hour behind due to the machinations of an anti-daylight saving time cabal. This shadowy group is funded by the candle and light bulb lobby. They obviously have something nasty on someone at WaPo.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

If an October BPH is still feasible, Monday is the best bet, not Halloweeen.

That said, an early November BPH is fine by me.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

dr, if you want to discuss dog rescue, you can correspond privately with me at Then I'll reply with my real email address. Then we can talk!

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

fear not. mudge will be back by monday. if he isn't, things will be done about it. (this will consist of an email in which i beg him to return. if this fails, the police may have to be called.)

annie, your experience was skewed, as you live in the district. district residents, for those of you who don't live here, get called for jury duty about once a year. about the only thing you can do to get out of jury duty is commit a felony. my dad actually wants to serve jury duty, (we don't live in dc) but the only time he ever got summoned for it, they asked for occupations, and he got disqualified for being an engineer (apparently).

Posted by: sparks | October 27, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I went off and read the article by Dawkins, linked by Boko999. I have now read a few things by Dawkins from links posted here, I have heard him on the radio, and I have seen him on The Colbert Report. My summary judgment is that Prof. Dawkins is a bit of an a$$ when it comes to human doings. He is extremely articulate, intelligent, and well-educated, and he sounds wonderful when he speaks. He's still a self-important preening a$$ who doesn't understand why everyone isn't as brilliant as himself. This is not a new phenomenon -- William Shockley was famously a bustard; Linus Pauling got two Nobel Prizes, yet he went off the deep end with ludicrous and extravagant claims for the value of Vitamin C. And one more word: Aristotle.

Dawkins mentions the power of one vocal member to sway a jury. I wonder if he means himself?

The purpose of a jury is not, in point of fact, to get 12 independent judgments of the data. The judge almost certainly is better equipped than any juror to evaluate the facts of a trial. However, the judge is just one man, and may be corrupted. The judge is just one man, and may miss something. The judge is just one man, and has only one man's experience of life on which he can draw. The jury is expected to synthesize their judgments in order to counter the individual biases of the jurors and determine whether it is, in fact, possible to persuade the whole crew of jurors to accept a single conclusion. The jury is there to certify, to the community, the legitimacy of the court proceedings. The jury must be small enough that every juror can functionally contribute to the synthesis. The jury must be small enough to avoid mob rule. The jury must be big enough to reduce the ability of one (or a few) biased person to sway the verdict to a particular conclusion. The jury is an even number, so that a vote of the jury cannot be won by a single vote over opposition -- there must be a difference of at least 2 votes. Whether the jury is composed of 8 or 10 or 12 or 16 is somewhat arbitrary. A plurality of the jury may decide the verdict in a civil case, but is only a starting point for decision-making in a criminal case. And, of course, there is a huge apparatus for appealing decisions. My expectation, in my jury, was that I would disagree with some of my fellow jurors and we would need to debate the issues. In point of fact, we would have been unanimous, given the opportunity.

Dawkins commits the very common error of interpreting outlandish awards in a few civil cases as being (a) par for the course, and (b) the final word on the result. Neither is true. And it's certainly not applicable to a criminal case.

Posted by: Tim | October 27, 2006 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Dictionary Time!

SNIDE: containing indirect and unkind criticism. Usually considered to be derogatory in a malicious, superior way.

"Sacrastique" doesn't really cover this term.

Other definitions are: False, counterfeit, deceptive, dishonest; unworthy of esteem, low; slyly disparaging; insinuating.

Sacrastic mockery does not go over well, especially when done without cause.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Any Canajuns want to predict who will win the Liberal leadership race? I like (former)Premier Bob Rae and I always have. He tried to make the best of a bad situation in Ontario but OPSEU and the NDP turned on him.
I'm saying this as a former member of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (dodged a bullet there).
I'm going to go find out if Micheal and David Ignatius are related.
Could anyone take Prime Minister Ignatz seriously?

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Welcome, DLD. Now I have to sort out the three boodlers who have multiple d's in their handle. I have added the prefix "mad" to express my displeasure at the tone of the boodling for the past few days. *pounding the keyboard* This will pass.

We're off to the State finals for marching bands tomorrow at 7.15. The dogs are still cycling; male dogs still bonkers. Our cats are bonkers. The rain that has been falling since early this morning may necessitate construction of an ark. I'm laying out cubits.

Posted by: mad jack | October 27, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I think it will either be Bob Rae or a dark horse like Kennedy. I felt some small support for Iggy early on when I went to one of his meetings in Calgary; he had some really interesting things to say about immigration (pro!) and innovation. But he has certainly dug his own grave and jumped into it over the last couple of weeks (well, months, since the Israel/Lebanon conflict). I think David Ignatief is Michael's brother, isn't he? Whom Michael has treated badly all his life?

The reason I don't think it is a walk for Rae is his history as Premier of Ontario. There was a lot of hope and support when he went in, and he squandered it. I think he also suffers from a disability; he's really really intelligent, but in an otherworldly, professorial way. Not down and dirty and practical enough for the big job. I like and admire Rae as a person; I think he's at his best when doing real public service (Air India, etc) and not so good in the political trenches.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Dilbert (see DLD | October 27, 2006 02:54 PM)...

Hampered by rare syndrome, Dilbert cartoonist talks again

By RACHEL KONRAD, Associated Press Writer

Friday, October 27, 2006

(10-27) 09:56 PDT DUBLIN, Calif. (AP) --

A balding, bespectacled working stiff inexplicably loses his voice -- except when speaking in rhyme or pinching his nose.

It may sound like a farcical plot for a popular cartoon satirizing American office culture, but "Dilbert" cartoonist Scott Adams says he recovered less than a week ago from just such an affliction.

Posted by: ac in sj | October 27, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I posted two jury duty stories on my blog just recently.

Judt go back a few posts.

In MD, they show you a movie about how trial by jury replaced trial by ordeal. That's a good thing. It had some unintentionally funny scenes that reminded me of the 'Holy Grail' witch/duck scene.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 27, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

And juries are not tabula rasas, of course. Everybody has an opinion about crime and those who commit it, whether they have anything specific to admit or not.
Humans are certainly swayed by fellow opinion, but let's face it, there are hung juries all the time and people rarely concur.

The study is overly simplistic. suppose the herring gull chicks learn by mimicry. They have no idea what to do to get food, right? They see a chick peck and get food, they're going to try that too. They're not going to gamble on that other dot when they know this dot means food.

It is a characteristic of animals that they learn very specifically. If a squirrel gets scared by a cat when going past a bush, that squirrel will avoid that bush or be sure to have escape routes ready. The squirrel will have the details seared in his memory-- the smell, the sounds, the movement of the bush, the surprise. This is called episodic memory.

Take a dog. A dog can learn learn when the owner stops the engine and gets out of the car, the owner will open the door for them and that they must wait for a certain stance from the owner before they try and leave.
This is because the owner has blocked the exit and then straightened up before tugging on their leashes or whatever. Dogs anticipate commands by the behavior right before the commands.

Dogs read body language, commands, and the environment as one whole.

Let's say early in a dog's training that I always deliver a command when standing up. If I sit down to give a command, the dog may or may not obey. When giving commands from a lie-down, the dog may well NOT obey until I insist. This is because the dog remembers the command episodically, not abstractly-- that I stand and do this, and he is expected to sit.
The more I vary the command in different environments and postures, the more likely my dog is going to divine the one constant= the actual sign SIT given in a command inflection always means "sit."

My dog is able to learn words well, but I don't see very much evidence yet that he is able to learn about things through words alone. I use words a lot to describe things and add information about things when he is looking at it, and he seems to react well ("maybe I'll get food for listening"). I know he associate words with things.

But can I describe something he's never experienced before to the point he can recognize and understand it when it occurs? I'm somewhat doubtful. I keep trying, but I don't believe that words are concrete enough to him to construct mental images with. This is probably a good thing.

A jury trial, of course, is ALL ABOUT constructing mental images from words, with minimal physical objects, a lot of body language.

Every juror listening and trying to follow the case is continually filtering the words through their own mental reality, dictionary, and worldview.

I don't think the comparsion to gull herring chicks is appropriate. This is a case of Dawkins operating outside his field.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 6:44 PM | Report abuse

mudge is the funniest commenter on this blog, imo, and i love his style.

imho, sf's 5:41 violates the new rule and should probably be zapped.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | October 27, 2006 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science, Yellojkt?

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 6:49 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, Linus Pauling wasn't completely looney. He made some strong claims, but in his times, they were also saying DDT was the wonder pesticide. They thought things were simpler.

Linus Pauling died of cancer.. at 93. That's not bad, considering he was diagnosed with a fatal renal disease (Bright's disease) at age 40. and went on a low-protein, salt-free diet to control it for life.

I have a disorder that increases my need for extra vitamin C among other things, and I am not convinced we know the symptoms of sub-scurvy that well.

Did you know that vitamin C works in the same pathway that statins affect? Vitamin C is far cheaper (Statin drugs cost 100 bucks a month), safer, and you don't need routine liver monitoring on those drugs.

It's always worth trying that first before you go on an expensive life-long treatment that may or may not buy you a few years of life.

Stress can use up your vitamin C stores 10 times quicker than normal. Vitamin C is necessary in the manufacture of norepinephrine, serotonin, and other catecholamines.

Studies of vitamin C biosynthesis in rat showed that they synthesized vitamin C at rates as much 500% normal when sick or injured.

Our native diet as fruit eaters was very high in vitamin C; one reason why we lack the ability to synthesize it anymore. We can store roughly 3 months' amount of vitamin C in our bloodstream. Even raw meat would have had some vitamin C, especially the kidney, thymus, etc.

The more I learn of biochemistry, the more convinced I am that Pauling had a very good point. I can see its impact in my own life, as well.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 6:51 PM | Report abuse

L.A. Lurker, I agree. Achenbach needs to have somebody empowered to zap.

I promise to use such powers only for good. Like every politican claims, of course. Bwa ha ha ah ha ha...

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 6:56 PM | Report abuse

L.A. lurker-
I agree with you, both about Mudge and the 5:41.

Posted by: ac in sj | October 27, 2006 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Tim - Some thoughts on your objections to Dawkins,his demeanor,and ideas.
I'll admit that Dr. Dickey isn't as warm and fuzzy as Carl Sagan, but Sagan wasn't as ticked off. It's post 9/11 after all.
Dawkins in a scientist who demands evidence to arrive at the best description of objective reality. Winning debating points is fine for theology but I wouldn't to hang anybody on that basis.
The jury, not the judge is responsible for determining the facts.
You could have 9 or 8 jurors under Dawkins proposal as they would be independent opinions. There would be no ties or penalty kicks. This is only about maximizing the odds of a correct determination of the facts.
A jury is there to determine the facts not justify the system. That's why we have open courts. A star chamber, if honest, could determine facts, but nobody would have any evidence of it's impartiality.
How many people constitute a mob? Persuasive people have misled people before. I suspect that's easier with a small group.
I think Dawkins used the ridiculously high awards as an example, however (?) a 5% error rate in civil cases is an anomaly, in capital cases its 5 dead innocents for every hundred truly guilty.
Sorry, I tend to write in bullet points.
I save my most telling argument for last. He was pals with Douglas Adams and George Harrison, how bad could he be?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 27, 2006 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Superfrenchie calling Curmudgeon thin skinned is hilarious.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of which, did they ever find Mudge's comic version of the Sumerian King List (detailing improper details, of course), that got him running out of Uruk right into Sargon's waiting Assyrian army? Good thing Sargon was in an "the enemy of my enemy is a friend" mood.
Time went by and Mudge wound up teaching Enheduanna how to read and write. Her hymns still stand as the best example of copy-edited Akkadian.

Later, he would pen in a moment of nostalgia, "Et in Accadia Ego" (I too in Akkadia), only sloppy scribes later copied it as "Arcadia", which implied he was a video gamer, or worse, Greek, and the phrase was later ripped off by Virgil, too. The memory burns him no end to this day.

But back in Sargon's day, Mudge was an one-man cunieform factory, as you can imagine. He didn't dare suggest improvements because Sargon had quite a temper about the purity of the Akkadian language. As he said to Mudge once, "you can't have your Akkadian and edit too."

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog: You're wrong. One of us was on death row for 2 months, the other isn't even 3 and already in her 3rd (but forever) home.

Just wanted to say, we're so proud of you! Blogging for such a short period of time and your blog is already worth $1,129.08. That's a lot of kibble!

And Wilbrod, all good things with a job in November.

Posted by: dbG's dogz | October 27, 2006 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Scrub the the 9 or 8 point, you'd still need an odd number. sigh

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Dawkins on Herring gulls, ring species, lawyers,and the abortion debate:

No more. Promise

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 7:39 PM | Report abuse

GOOD EVENING, TEAM -- sad news waiting for me when I got back home here an hour ago. Voice mail from my best friend asking me just to call him. Did so, with dread, because normally his voice mails average about 40 minutes -- and that's when there's no actual news.

His girlfriend's ex-husband has just died. They only just finalized their divorce this past summer for a variety of complicated reasons (my friend was *not* "the other man"), and they worked hard at remaining civil to each other for the sake of their eight-year-old daughter.

The ex-husband, Ken, had asthma his whole life, but he had it under control. But a few days ago, he apparently had a horrible attack and couldn't get care in time, or something, I'm a little unclear on the details. But one way or the other, it caused him to go into cardiac arrest. His brain was deprived of oxygen for way too long and, after the ventilator was removed, he died.

He was 36, and his daughter is eight. He was a waiter at the Inn at Little Washington which, for the out-of-towners, is America's only five-Mobile-diamonds restaurant. Waiters there make a lot of money, and they live in a rural area where there's nothing to spend it on. (It's a "destination" place. One of the unusual things about Washington, as opposed to New York for example, is that you don't have to drive very far at all out of the city to be really in the country. It depends which direction, of course. To the south, it's now one long stretch of suburbia all the way to Richmond). But Little Washington is only two hours west from Big Washington, and it's a town of fewer than 300 souls that serves as county seat for Rappahannock County, pop. 2000+/-. It's a place so small that the bluebloods, the hippies, and the rednecks all have to hang out together and get along.

So now his widow is left alone in the middle of nowhere to raise her child on what she makes as a housekeeper to one of the bluebloods. The only ways to make money in Rappahannock are to inherit it, work for those who did, or else work at the Inn. There are exceptions but they are few. Since they moved there for his job, she will probably just go back to New York. But on the other hand, her child, having just lost her father, probably doesn't need to lose her friends, school, and home just yet.

There's going to be a memorial service in the next few days, followed by a benefit dinner that the Inn is organizing for the daughter's college and other expenses.

The whole thing is just so unbelievable.

Posted by: annie | October 27, 2006 7:56 PM | Report abuse

My condolences, annie. Lots of cliches could follow...take care of yourself and lend an ear to your friends; just being there is often the best one can do.

Posted by: jack | October 27, 2006 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying not to speculate about Dawkin's sexual tastes right now.

Humans are a ring species, yes, but we do not form a ring species with chimpanzees. While we are closely related, we have considerable structural, sexual, behavioral and cognitive differences.

When was the last time you had a relative want to elope with a chimp?

Consider this: Dogs and wolves differ by only 0.2% in mtDNA. Chimps and humans differ much more widely in mtDNA-- up to a 8.9% difference.

Humans are generally less diverse in their mtDNA, having descended from fewer maternal lines (mitochondrial eve isn't so fictional). It takes a lot of sex selection to transform a female chimp into Marilyn Monroe.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Horrible news Annie. I hope you can find the strength to help the mother and daughter in whatever way you can. My thoughts are with you and with them this evening.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 27, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Annie, I'm so sorry. For your friend, but more his friend and her little girl. I've lived in one isolated spot (Revelstoke, BC) with low employment prospects, and really do understand the difficulty in staying, or going.

Is there anything at all that anyone can do? Does the friend's friend need leads on other potential work? Referrals? Anything?

Is there anything you need that I can supply?

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 8:09 PM | Report abuse

That is difficult, indeed. It's nice the Inn is doing something immediately. They need the time before they think of relocating.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I want to hear about the cabin in the mountains. Where? How big? Are you actually building it yourself? Having that AND a blue-bottomed boat is a tall order!

Hubby and I had the luck and sense to buy a place under construction, so we didn't have to do anything but move it and fuss about what was wrong. What's not to love about that?

LindaLoo, did you folks get enough rain to make a difference this week? We've had it all day and I'm ready for the sun to shine tomorrow.

DLD, Charleston, did you say? Wonderful place to visit, do you enjoy living there? Welcome!

Ivansmom, thanks for the insightful posts on the death penalty. I learn so much from being here.

Posted by: Slyness | October 27, 2006 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I want to hear about the cabin in the mountains. Where? How big? Are you actually building it yourself? Having that AND a blue-bottomed boat is a tall order!

Hubby and I had the luck and sense to buy a place under construction, so we didn't have to do anything but move it and fuss about what was wrong. What's not to love about that?

LindaLoo, did you folks get enough rain to make a difference this week? We've had it all day and I'm ready for the sun to shine tomorrow.

DLD, Charleston, did you say? Wonderful place to visit, do you enjoy living there? Welcome!

Ivansmom, thanks for the insightful posts on the death penalty. I learn so much from being here.

Wilbrod, hoping for early news of new employment for you!

Posted by: Slyness | October 27, 2006 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post. Terminal clumsiness here.

Posted by: Slyness | October 27, 2006 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I have it on reasonable authourity that
Richard Dawkins is married to a very attractive female primate named Lalla Ward who worked with Douglas Adams on the Dr. Who TV series.

I wish Dawkins had made it clear whether the gulls don't breed because they don't recognize mating signals or because they can't produce viable oofspring due to genetic divergence. Any help?

Posted by: The Monkey999 | October 27, 2006 8:38 PM | Report abuse

DbG's dogz, thank you for speaking up as well! We'll get those people trained to remember that dogs have feelings, too.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 27, 2006 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Annie- My condolences, it's so sad when someone dies so young. It effects so many people and clouds the future of those left behind.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Annie, so sorry about your news.

re: Cdn Liberals, I would bet on Dion/Kennedy however they decide to work it out, I like Iggy but I think he is a little to professorial for the general public - although I have heard that while he lacks one on one skills, he is a great speaker to a large venue. Bob Rae, so much baggage for Ontario voters, still a lot of hard feelings. For some levity close your eyes and picture Ken Dryden winning, I love the guy, great writer but couldn't utter a short sound bite if his life depended on it.

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 8:57 PM | Report abuse

*waving at dmd*

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 9:00 PM | Report abuse

dmd- Imagine a politician who had enough respect for his audience to speak in coherent sentences. You're right, he's doomed.
Are you in Ottawa? I grew up in Riverside Park, near Mooney's Bay. I now live in Jasper, just south of Smith's Falls.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 9:03 PM | Report abuse

No I am in Ontario, but lived at Moody's bay for a year during university (Carleton), no jokes please about Carleton.

Jasper, AB? If so I am terminally jealous, spent two days at Jasper Park Lodge and cannot express how beautiful it was.

This for Yoki, Kennedy is not bad on the eyes either!!

Posted by: dmd | October 27, 2006 9:07 PM | Report abuse

We did get rain this week--about three-quarters of an inch--which made Wednesday delightful. Did it make a difference? Everything is green and filling out in leaf. We noticed this in partcular at the park on the wilderness (so to speak) trail, and it's just plain weird, because this should be happeneing to plants in April, fer cryin' out loud! It hasn't made a difference yet as far as watering restrictions (but if it's rainin', we don't need to be waterin'). The good news is no more A/C. Doors and windows open during the day.

Hubby is home and one of the first things he did was install my new monitor--since Hal killed the last one :-). We were going to get a real sweet deal on an old-tech CRT for $70, but decided to spring for a 19" LCD because of my vision. This should cut down hugely on the typos, but I have to get used to it--because just a wee bit of the Achenblog fills the entire screen! Right now, it's feeling like 64 pt. type.

As for Mudge, I'm left wondering if he ever complimented the woman at his bus stop, the one who was attractive and dressed so nicely. If he did, I wonder what her response was?

As for you, slyness, are you retired yet? If so, congrats! Or going back into consulting? I wasn't sure from your posts.

And Dolphin Michael (in response to Aloha), I think that you misunderstood my Hawaii posts. I'm looking forward to responding to you next week. Glad to see you resurface on the Boodle. Aloha nui loa!

Posted by: Loomis | October 27, 2006 9:27 PM | Report abuse

dmd- I live near the tiny villge of Jasper On. I know Carleton like the back of my mind.
Carleton ran a free school during the summer for HS students(1969). A few years later I almost married a woman ( I wrote girl, she'd a killed me) studying Soc. there. A Brooklyn girl whhose Daddy taught at NYU. He was so thrilled over his little girl marrying a truck driver.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 9:28 PM | Report abuse

999, do you mean, Why don't the herring gulls interbreed with the lesser black-backed gulls?

Perhaps they, too, are victims of discontinuous thought patterns. Maybe those herring gulls sit around asking each other, "When was the last time you had a relative elope with a *black-backed gull*?!?"

Posted by: Dreamer | October 27, 2006 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Married to Lalla Ward, you say? Excuse me, I just have to go breathe into this paper sack.

Annie, that's very sad news. I can understand why you feel shocked.I feel very sorry for the little girl.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 27, 2006 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Annie, I'm so sorry to hear your friend's news. The whole sequence--asthma, removing the ventilator, the little girl, it's all so sad.

Posted by: dbG | October 27, 2006 9:40 PM | Report abuse

From the time I first saw that Sesame Street skit with the crotchety man eating lunch in Grover's dysfunctional restauraunt and vowing, "Next time I'm bringing my own lunch in a paper sack!" I have found the term "paper sack" to be incredibly funny. (We call them "brown paper bags" in Australia. "Paper sack" -- ha!)

Posted by: Achenfan | October 27, 2006 9:40 PM | Report abuse

ac in sj -- yes, I live in SLO,off Los Osos Valley Road. I knew you were going to LA and had mentioned a small BPH but we were out of town last weekend and the one before.

First weekend to check on my aunt who recently lost her husband, last weekend for a family reunion in San Francisco. No family members live in SF, but 19 of us wanted to go there!

Maybe next time you come thru here, we can can have coffee together.

Posted by: nellie | October 27, 2006 9:45 PM | Report abuse

[I probably should have expressed some sympathy for Annie's friend's girlfriend and her daughter before I started giggling about paper sacks. I apologize. It is indeed a very sad situation. I don't really know what to say.]

Posted by: Achenfan | October 27, 2006 9:48 PM | Report abuse

StorytellerTim - Yeah. Lalla Ward, daughter of Lord Bangor.
Dreamer- Perhaps it's just the herring gull's breath.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was the black-backed gulls' breath. (Clearly they are the inferior, shunned gulls.)

Posted by: Dreamer | October 27, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse

So, I Googled Lalla Ward, just to see what she's up to since Dr. Who. I found that she has an asteroid named after her, and she is, indeed, married to Richard Dawkins. I went to a page of asteroid names and found her. Nearby, in the list, is the name of one of my colleagues. And that, at last, brings me to a point: at the most recent planetary science meeting, a small clutch (klatsch? covey?) of colleagues permitted me to join them only after I confirmed that I, too, do not have an asteroid named for me. We enjoyed our obscurity in manly camaraderie -- as manly as planetary astronomers get, at least. Since none of us are geologists, I'm afraid that sets the bar particularly low.

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 27, 2006 10:01 PM | Report abuse

nellie, I'll let you know next time I'm going to be in your vicinity. I'd be happy to meet you for a Boodle Coffee Hour.

That's funny about your reunion in San Francisco. I understand completely...I go up there as often as I can.

Posted by: ac in sj | October 27, 2006 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Black-backed gulls are classified as a separate species from herring gulls at this moment. Laurus marinus (or Laurus fuscus) vs Laurus argentatus.

The greater black-backed gull is generally silent, herring gull laugh and mew, and the lesser black-backed gull has a deep kau kau kau.

The answer probably is just that they can't get a proper conversatiom going on that crucial first date.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Annie, my condolences to your friend's friend and the young man's family. That's so sad.

Posted by: ac in sj | October 27, 2006 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm kind of chuckling, not in amusement, but recognition. Himself grew up in Ontario, latterly in Kanata. At the time (late '60s) the only high school available was in Stittsville. So he bused there and back daily.

When we met in '79, we both lived in Kingston, as did my Mum. His Dad still in Kanata, my Dad in Ottawa. Our early dating/married life was spent traveling Highway 15 between Kingston and Ottawa for Christmas, summer holiday visits, etc. Kingston, Joyceville, Seeley's Bay, Elgin, Crosby, Smith's Falls, Franktown, Carleton Place. Hang a right at Carleton Place onto #7 and straight into Kanata.

dmd, if you loved Jasper Park Lodge, you really should come for the Western Canadian BPH. Stay with me, and we'll hit Banff for a day and have lunch at the Banff Springs. It's (yes!) pretty wonderful.

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 10:21 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, you have an asteroid named after you? That is one for posterity. How did you discover it?

Posted by: Yoki | October 27, 2006 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I thought SciTim said he *didn't* have an asteroid named after him?
(Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Posted by: Achenfan | October 27, 2006 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod-Thanks for the link. When I played the gull recording Buddy999,the dog, got up and did his head cocking routine. With that and the puffin pictures I'm overwhelmed with cute. Please tell Wilbrodog I enjoyed the pictures of the otters on his site. I used to play my harp for the otters at the Vancouver zoo. They would float on their backs and gather just below where I was playing. So cute I reached down to pet one. Nasty little blighter just missed my fingers. They definitly were not lap otters.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 10:37 PM | Report abuse

SCC Stanley Park Zoo
I live 12 miles south of Smith's Falls

Posted by: Boko999 | October 27, 2006 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Aw thanks, I think.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 27, 2006 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Cardinals won the series:
The infield fly rule was called in the 5th inning or so...

Anybody running the Marine Marathon this year? ABC had a touching piece about a widow who is running in her husband's memory - he was killed in Iraq. So sad.

Boko, a friend of mine was bitten by an otter in the Seattle Zoo - he was trying to pet it. Very embarrassing - we never let him forget it.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 27, 2006 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow-- more people succumb to the urge to pet wild animals than I thought. Apparently petaphilia is a true compulsive disorder.
This explains why "do not pet" doesn't always work for Wilbrodog.

I was cured of any tendency towards reckless petaphilia after being bit by a lab as a child.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 27, 2006 11:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad it wasn't an giant otter from the Amazon, it would have taken my arm. A river otter has a deceptively friendly smile on it's face, all the better to hide those evil, pointy teeth. A cunning beast, lightning fast, and ever ready to strike it's bumbling slow-witted prey.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 28, 2006 12:13 AM | Report abuse

North American river otter, that is.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 28, 2006 12:19 AM | Report abuse

annie--my condolences. As one going through similar pain (I had two good friends from two different activities die within 4 days of each other), I wish you the strength to help your friend through her difficult time.

Please remember to take care of yourself. If you burn yourself out, you cannot take care of his widow and child. For those of us close to those who died too young, that is the real danger.

Pat--I was thinking of you tonight. My friend whose husband died on Wednesday asked my wife and I to prepare a piece to play at his memorial next weekend. A piece that was special to them was HOUSE AT POOH CORNER. My wife is practicing to play it on the guitar and I'll sing. Normally, she sings herself, but it's very short notice for her to learn both words and chords and since I already know the words, I'll sing it. I was thinking about you learning the Vivaldi piece for the memory of those recently lost and this made me think of you. I hope all is well with you and yours.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | October 28, 2006 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Annie I am so sad to read about their loss. DWB's loss the other day too. There is just so little I can add except that I am so sorry to hear that.

annie, when I was a little kid we grew up in a herd of kids, my aunt and uncle lived just down the road. They were 8 kids, we were 5, and we just ran and did kid things together. There were 6 of us older kids, who were staggered over about 3 years. After high school we lived with more cousins in a house some of our dads owned, while we went to school, established ourselves, and generally just were just a bunch of friends. In 1977 at the age of 21, the oldest of us died, my cousin Durant and I miss him still. He died of an asthma attack exactly as you describe, annie. I am immeasurably sorry for the little girl's loss.

Pat if you are out there a chorus of that piece for her dad too.

Posted by: dr | October 28, 2006 12:40 AM | Report abuse

I like Dawkins' writing quite a lot, arrogance and all. I don't recall ever having read anything by the man that didn't cause me to think. I have occasionally disagreed with his tone and/or conclusions, but I really don't ever recall thinking that his point wasn't worth considering.

superfrenchie has never offended me in the least. I've disagreed with some of his broader generalizations (about Americans, about 'boodle denizens). I've thought that some of his individual retorts were sharper than most of the 'boodlers would normally employ (although 'mudge certainly seems to have enthusiastically crossed swords with him there!) or enjoy. I've even wondered why he never shares any good [censored : ) ] recipes with us.

But I've certainly never thought that he had anything other than my best interests at heart. He's just trying to inform and advocate, and even sometimes to learn.

By the way, enough already with the invocation of "rules", and calls for deletions of posts, already! I don't think that JA was seriously suggesting any particular changes to rules, or even any intense enforcement of those already in place. I think he was really just pleading that we see what we can do to pick up after ourselves, and keep the place reasonably civil.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Already, already! : )

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 12:43 AM | Report abuse

After all, I'm far too capable (and occasionally culpable) of throwing out an inconsiderate zinger to want it to be an unforgiveable infraction.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 12:49 AM | Report abuse

And from the sorrowful to the ridiculous... its a sad thing when the most important thing we get from our politicians is good sound bites. There is a distinct eastern Canadian tone to the liberal race. Not a whole lot of connecting happening with western Canadians. It would just be nice if someone in the liberal party preteneded there was something between the Ontario and BC borders.

Posted by: dr | October 28, 2006 12:57 AM | Report abuse

I can confirm dr's thesis. The Google map assures me that there is, in fact, something between the borders of Ontario & BC. The area appears to contain dozens of outposts, housing hundreds (or possibly thousands) of settlers!

: )

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 1:06 AM | Report abuse

See, that's exactly the sort of thing I meant. : )

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 1:09 AM | Report abuse

I've never been offended by SuperFrenchie either but his constant harping on the bigotry of Americans is tedious. In June, after Science Tim had the temerity to gently critisize my limericks I blasted the whole boodle, picked up my marbles and left swearing never to return. Hah! Have you been out there? It's a cold, nasty, unreasonable place, even on blogs like Salon and the Huff. Post where you'd think you could find civilized discourse. There is no place like this on the web. I would lurk like a kid with my face pushed up against the windowpane cursing myself for a fool. After feeling like a stalker for a while I tucked my tail between my legs and posted a goofy apology. I haven't heard a peep(about that,I think I've been insulted a couple of times tonight), like friends who are embarassed for you but too polite mention your tantrum.
You can vent here, you can whine a bit, you can even vehemently disagree and chuck in a dig. The only thing that I would hate to be accused of is to be boring. I'm afraid SF is skating close to that edge.
Mix it up a little.
Count the cliches all you like. I'm not being paid.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 28, 2006 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Nicely put, Boko. I only vaguely remembered the June contretemps (contra-Tim?) when you announced your return, but thought that it was considerate to have offered the (totally unnecessary) apology.

This little space has turned into something that's unusual. A fairly diverse group of regular contributors (maybe 30-50? I'm making this up as I go along, but I think that's about right for the number of folks who post at least a couple of times a week with a consistently recognizable handle), and probably at least twice that many consistent readers who chime in occasionally, and the periodic massive influx of the fascinated and aggrieved.

Somehow, with very little direction from the blog author beyond, "Here's a discussion starter, take it and run, and try to be fairly civil to each other", the space here has managed consistently to ignore Achenbach's subjects resolutely, skewer every sacred bovine known to humankind, and trade decent recipes, poems, & jokes, all with relatively little bloodshed. And (superf's occasional accusations are not entirely justified here, I think) it's really not so very incestuous or smug. No point in naming names (it's happened several times, with several different folks), but when even the most beloved of regulars get upon high horses and stop being much fun, it tends to be pointed out by others. Sometimes gently, sometimes humorously, sometimes irritatedly, sometimes annoyingly sanctimoniously, but defintely it gets pointed out!

I personally have not often run across a smarter bunch of smart-asses who can still get along fairly well, most of the time!

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 3:11 AM | Report abuse

I too suffer from petaphilia.
I was once bitten by a scarlet macaw called Pepe in Costa Rica. He occupied a large perch/jungle gym thingie in the garden of our hotel. He would greet the guests in both English and Spanish. That bird was alright.

There was, of course, a "Do Not Touch" sign adorning Pepe's home, but one day, for some reason, I got the idea that Pepe was just itching to jump onto my forearm and say Hola. I reached out, and on he hopped. I thought things were going pretty well until one of the housekeeping staff, somewhat alarmed, ran up to us with a broom, which she poked in Pepe's direction so he could climb onto it. Unfortunately, Pepe started biting the broom handle, and, invevitably, my nearby wrist. It was a little bit painful. I still have the scar as a memento.

When I later told my brother about the incident, he was incredulous. He had previously thought of me as his sensible older sister. He said, "That's got to be the stupidest thing you've ever done!"

Posted by: Achenfan | October 28, 2006 3:35 AM | Report abuse

Ummm... I can only plead youthful energy and ignorance and altruism here:

When I was a teenager, I heard some younger neighbor kids out in my yard one afternoon. Upon investigation, it turned out that they had treed a young 'possum, and were throwing rocks at the critter. As I was telling them to knock it off and get out of my yard, a couple of drops of blood dripped onto me (they had struck home with some of the rocks). At this point, I decided that the young joey (I'm pretty sure that's right for a juvenile opossum) needed my help, so I started climbing the tree.

Let me set this up properly: the tree was a tall but slender pine tree with no branches in the first 10-15 feet above ground level. Then there were a couple of very small branches, then (about three feet further up) a reasonably substantial branch upon which was crouched/clutching our bleeding marsupial. For some bizarre reason, I was convinced that if I could reach this creature, I could render some sort of useful aid, and would be appreciated for the effort.

Aaaah, the impetuousness of youth! I was able to shinny up the tree without too much trouble, but was slightly exhausted (and covered with even more opposum blood) by the time I got to the relevant level. You will probably not be as surprised as I was that the creature was not at all appreciative, and displayed (what were to me) shockingly large claws, and the ability to use them. A fairly impressive display of smaller but none-the-less intimidating teeth accompanied my clawing, and a hasty retreat/fall down the tree was accomplished.

I left the stupid possum alone, went inside to wash the blood (mine and the possum's) off, and by the time I checked again, he/she/it had gone off to more comfortable surroundings.

"Petaphilia", man, it's dangerous stuff!

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 4:02 AM | Report abuse

Lest anyone be concerned for the fate of the vicious tree-weasel, the 'possum's injury was a laceration to one of the "fingers" of the same paw which it used to rake a pretty good set of stripes across my arm, and then (presumably) used to climb down the tree. The only help the little bugger needed was for me to chase away the rock-throwing hooligans. Lesson learned.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 4:20 AM | Report abuse

I love this line:
Humanity's record with animals is poor. 'We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation,' wrote Dean Inge, 'and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.'

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 4:29 AM | Report abuse

Bruce DeCell, whose family received remains of his son-in-law, Mark Petrocelli, on five occasions since the attacks, said the rooftops of area buildings should be searched again. He added that the entire search should not be handled by the city.

"I think it should be put into the federal government's hands," DeCell said, adding that city officials "really have done a haphazard job altogether."


Oh, yeah. When I want a local job done right, my first thought is to call in the Fed's!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 28, 2006 4:33 AM | Report abuse

Ooops. The above was from me. The story was one of Joel's Kit links.

Search for Remains at Ground Zero May Grow

By Amy Westfield
Associated Press
Friday, October 27, 2006; Page A07

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 4:37 AM | Report abuse

Bob S. said: "I personally have not often run across a smarter bunch of smart-asses who can still get along fairly well, most of the time!"

Hear, hear! (no offense to the hearing-impaired of the boodle).

I would add that I've come to appreciate some of the more controversial, sometimes irritating, voices (or keystrokes, rather) of certain Boodlers for being just that -- controversial and irritating. They keep things interesting, if nothing else.

The comedic factor also cannot be ignored.

Sometimes you need a foil other than the shiny crinkly type used to keep CIA-NSA-Frankenstein-sponsored satellite transmissions from permeating and subverting your grey matter.

Sometimes it's okay to mix beans in your chili.

Stew report:

Last night I loaded up the crock pot with some chunks of lamb, potatoes, a bag of mixed frozen veggies, an onion, loads of pepper, and a good measure of basil which I then ignored for 12 hours resulting in... WOW! It ain't chili, but it's still a slow-cooked simmering meat-based concoction that is not only dee-licious, but new-tricious.

Post-stew report:

Mrs. Martooni's dumplings (as in the kind you put in stew) are terrible. They are not fluffy, nor are they of the stick-to-your-ribs variety. They were basically just tasteless lumps of flour and egg which added nothing of value (except ballast, maybe) to my crock-pot masterpiece. I am suspicious that she made them this way on purpose in order to undermine my superiority in the kitchen.

Posted by: martooni | October 28, 2006 4:41 AM | Report abuse

Bob said: "As I was telling them to knock it off and get out of my yard"

Why do I have this mental image of a Mudge-type person instead of a teenager? "Damn kids! Get the hell off my lawn!"

Next thing you know, you'll be telling us how you plowed a Mercury Grand Marquis through a crowd at a farmers' market and that it wasn't your fault they didn't get out of the way fast enough.


I *so* need to avoid the computer on these early morning bathroom trips.

Posted by: martooni | October 28, 2006 4:53 AM | Report abuse

For sf, a slight fiddling with the words of Ambrose Bierce:

"Infidèle : à villes Américain, qui ne croit pas à la religion chrétienne. À villes Français, qui y croit."

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 5:01 AM | Report abuse

Martooni - dammit, it was MY 'possum, to fling stones at in my own time! (possession, 9/10th's, all of that)

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 5:04 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of dumplings, the only time I ever tried to make them I was unimpressed with the results. I'm perfectly capable of doing recipe research & experimentation, but if anyone has surefire methods, I'm always happy for advice.

I've tried several of the recipes offered up here, and no disappointments yet!

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 5:15 AM | Report abuse

"Happy for advice"?

Maybe, "happy to receive advice"?

Anyway, me, advice, happy!

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 5:17 AM | Report abuse

Bob S., re your 4:29 a.m.

I read this somewhere long time ago and it stuck with me: "We have not succeeded in making this Earth a paradise for humankind, but we certainly have made it a hell for every other living creature."


Annie, I'm sorry to hear that tragedy has struck so near to you. As you wade in and try to help, don't forget to eat, sleep, and check the sky once in a while.

Posted by: kbertocci | October 28, 2006 5:49 AM | Report abuse

Annie, when I went to bed last night I remembered about some books my daughter has. She is 11 now, but they would be very age appropriate for an 8 year old. It is a series of books put out by American girl. The is one that deels with Feelings, with the death being so sudden it may be hard for her to deal with. These books are great full of quizzes, and comments from other young girls and there is advice to help them sort through their feelings and advice telling them when to ask for help etc. I read the books before I gave them to my daughter and was very impressed, we have quite the collection and she still references them from time to time.

Boko and Yoki, I am laughing my university boyfriend living in - you guessed it - Kanata. Boko forgot to say I am west of Toronto, on the western edge of the GTA or just outside it depending on your perameters (sp it is too early).

Yoki if I get out west I will let you know, thanks very kind and a reciprocal offer is extended. On the same trip to Jasper we stayed in Banff and travelled up the Icefield Parkway to Jasper, saw lots of wild animals but never had the urge to pet them.

dr there are Liberals who care about the west, trust me on this. It a problem how do you get representation from the west, if there are no liberals out there, Yoki interested in running? I was involved in the Oil & Gas industry for years, and my dad still is so I am aware of the issues, I think it is time to let the past go :-).

It is always difficult with the population skewed the way it is, just saw the provincial breakdowns for population the other day and between Ontario & Quebec there are 20 mil people, how do you balance the priorities of such a sizable portion of the population with creating balance for a nation built up of varied economies? Our continuing struggle.

re Sound bites - I don't think it is the best form to judge a leader, my kind of leader would be the kind who spoke what he/she believes in and not necessarily what the polls tell him to say, unfortunately that is not often the most popular.

Last point, OTTERS BITE, I am so disalllusioned, there are so cute, I spent time at the Zoo in Stanley park and them and the Belugas were my favorite animals.

dr, here's the link to Rick Mercer's rant for this week, on the Williams/Harper issue, a reverse NEP situation sort of, just keep in mind we all have out issues, my colleagues tell me BC is ignored, as does the maritimes, quebec etc. My solution - Laugh.

So for what are probably many spelling, grammar and typing errors, much to do today and not enough time.

Posted by: dmd | October 28, 2006 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Otters are nothing but vicious water weasels.

I could watch the cute little buggers all day! Golly, they're fun to look at.

No petaphilia!

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 6:53 AM | Report abuse

One last clarification, my solution for life is not to laugh at people, but to seek out humour at much as possible and appropriate.

Posted by: dmd | October 28, 2006 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Annie - I've begun (and then deleted) several messages over the past several hours, and know that none of them would be adequate to help address your friend's girlfriend's (and her child's) loss. I can only hope that you slightly exaggerated when you said that she's all alone in Rappahannock, and that your friend is able to give some sort of support (at least emotionally).

Life sems awfully capricious sometimes.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Life "seems" ...

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 7:10 AM | Report abuse

dmd - This concept you have of humour "where appropriate". I'm proud of you, but I'm afraid I'm lost on that one. I've given up (years ago) on trying to figure out how to keep my humour appropriate. Now I just try to keep it only mildly offensive, most of the time.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Ivansmom, sorry you did not get the judgeship. Did you really want it? Annie, so sorry to hear about your friend, my prayers for you and his family.

Good morning, Slyness. *waving* Good morning, Nani and Error Flynn.

Mudge, I guess you're just busy, and as Joel said, needed to take a break, good morning to you too. *waving*

Did not walk this morning, but the sky is clearing up. And it does look and feel good outside. A little chilly, but it's good.

I dreamed about my son last night, as if he was very much alive, even in school. This morning has been an effort, but prayer and Scripture turned the tide. God is good.

Please enjoy your weekend, and try to get some rest. Take a break, and renew that spiritual energy that we so often lack, and many times don't see the need of. I am convinced, and do hope you see, that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 28, 2006 7:20 AM | Report abuse

HI, EVERYONE -- thanks for kind words. I am of course thinking about what to do for the best. I'll go to the benefit dinner at the Inn, obviously -- beyond that, it gets tricky. I did not have a relationship with the deceased, but the people he leaves behind are dear, dear, dear to me. I am thinking the best thing may be just to make a point to remember the anniversaries of his birth and death, and to reach out at the holidays.

When my brother died, and I had my checklist: "Call caterer. Order tombstone. Write obituary and call newspaper" etc., I was OK. But when I got to the end of my To-Do list, it was another story. By then, all the out-of-town friends and families had gone home, and I had gone home, and it was just me, and it was also right around the holidays. I know it sounds insane, but I really think that, deep down, I thought, "Yes, yes, I understand that he's *dead.* Of course. I am an educated, enlightened rationalist, and I get that. But it's Christmas! Surely some sort of furlough, two-week pass kind of thing, is in order here."

My point is that it taught me that the stuff you think is going to be hard (funeral, interrement, etc) is comforting, and the stuff you think is going to be comforting -- blessed normal life -- is unbelievably hard. When I was at my worst, right around the first anniversary of his death, I was able to tell someone just what I needed: not to be alone, but not to have "company."

He got it. He just got it. I think I even said, "I just want someone in the apartment when I am here, but I still can't bear to eat, and I don't want to have to make conversation, I just want a piece of human furniture, I guess, and that's a very rude thing to ask, I can't ask it."

He not only thought it was a perfectly legitimate thing to ask, he stayed a week. And he was a "second-tier" friend to me, as I am to Ken's widow. He was an older retired guy, so he didn't have work obligations to press on him, but surely he had more productive (and God knows, more fun) ways to use his time. But he was precisely what I needed when I needed it most. He didn't nag me about the inability to eat, he didn't ask me how I *felt* about losing my brother abruptly, he didn't tell me I would feel better if I would cry, he didn't critique the fact that I had to have every light in the house blazing at all times, even when I went to bed. He just was at the breakfast table reading the paper when I woke up, and he was there in his room when I went to bed.

I hav never thanked him properly; how can you? I do so publicly now in this forum, and I hope that in whatever way she needs, I can repay to Ken's widow one-fortieth of the kindness that was shown to me when I needed it most.

RIP, yesterday's red-line jumper.

Posted by: annie | October 28, 2006 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Since I am on the receiving end of so much advice on how to behave, let me offer a somewhat spirited defense of myself. I would sort of prefer to let the old posts speak for themselves, but I'm also not beyond an attempt at setting the record straight, however biased that may appear.

It all started by me posting on my blog a critique of an illustration in Joel's Travel section column representing a [censored] car from the 60's. As the car had not been produced for over 30 years, I thought it wasn't the right way to illustrate what amounted to a travel advice column.

I then posted a link to that post entry in the Achenblog. I added that I found the column (and previous ones) to be funny, and while it threaded on stereotypes, there was nothing wrong with that per say.

Joel welcomed me warmly, said that he did not commit the illustration, and said that he preferred not to comment on his own column. Fine.

Several other people commented in various ways. Most were curious and asked questions. Everybody was very nice, very respectful and overall very interesting.

Then Mudge posted. Several long-winded comments, with withering criticism not of my arguments, but of me. I was thin-skinned, I was humorless, [censored]-bashing is all just a little joke that shouldn't be taken seriously, and I basically was a serious irritant who should just go away. Plus, he made clear, I committed the worst sin, that of lese-majeste: I criticized Joel's style! Because, listen to this, saying that a column threads on stereotypes amounts to saying that he writes in clichés. Serious offense vis-avis a columnist, in his book!

OK, that's fine. I can deal with that.

But something else happened. The people who just a few moments earlier had been so welcoming and nice started cheerleading on Mudge, applauding his rants against me and basically calling him brilliant, amazing, imaginative, and a genius!

I was like, huh? Is that a cult around here, or something?

Then a few days later, Mudge posted a guest column. It started like this: "Sometimes I have such good ideas I just amaze myself. [...] Call me brilliant, call me imaginative, call me a creative genius."

It was a cult! Mudge was God, that much he had made clear, and he was revered.

It turns out, I don't like religions! Things were not starting that well after all.

Then there was the episode of why senators can't get elected President of the United States. I said it was because of their voting record, Mudge said it was because of lack of foreign policy experience. We certainly could have left it at that. But no: I was wrong! No, not because my arguments were wrong, mind you. But because, and I'm not making that up... Mudge was right!

Well, he's God. That ought to suffice!

Finally, it turned out that just like in every religion, God hated the infidel (that would be me): after being offered to join the regulars here, Mudge made clear it wasn't going to happen. "Over my dead body," he held. Go back to it, and if you find that he was just doing some good-natured ribbing, let me know. As far as I could tell, and speaking of lifeless bodies, he was dead-serious.

From that point on, alongside completely unrelated comments, I occasionally mocked the Achenbloggers cheerleading, cult-like behavior, and Mudge's God-like style.

So we come to my 5:41.

Yes, I did find it a bit ironic that someone who welcomed me here by calling me thin-skinned would have trouble dealing with occasional mocking, however humorless it may have been.

I'm done with my "defense", and will not add or comment further on it. Delete it if you wish, ban me if you wish. On the other hand, if you prefer to start over, let's do it. I have long made mine the Oscar Wilde adage: always forgive your enemies! (for nothing annoys them so much)

Posted by: superfrenchie | October 28, 2006 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I am, to put it as modestly as possible, an absolute wizard with dumplings. I prefer the fluffy flour and egg type that go in stew (though we make them mostly with chicken, seldom with other meat-based stews). That said, I am as adept with spaetzle, pierogies and gyoza.

One trick to get truly fluffy cloudlike dumpligs is to keep the batter as dry and stiff as possible; you add only enough egg and milk/water mixture as required to make a very stiff dough. And you do that as quickly as possible to avoid using up the leavening outside the pot.

Next, make absolutely certain that your broth/gravy in the stew is *barely* simmering; it might seeth slightly, but you don't want to much bubble activity.

Once you've got the dumplings in the pot and well spaced to give them room to realize their potential, cover it, and *do not uncover,* even if your life depends on it, for about 15 minutes. At that time, you can test them as you would a cake. Some people think you need to turn them over at about 7 minutes, but this is a grave error, and defies the rule to keep the lid on it.

And the best way to get light dumplings? Live at high elevations. I was always good, but I became magical when we moved to Calgary at 3440 feet above sea level. Much better than Montreal (118) or Revelstoke (1499). Next time I'm in La Paz or Quito I'm going to see what happens. Perhaps they'll just float off into the mountains and start a cult.

Posted by: Yoki | October 28, 2006 8:03 AM | Report abuse

SCC: seethe. And "too." I should really get coffee before commenting.

Posted by: Yoki | October 28, 2006 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Well, in my neck of the woods (fifteen miles southwest of the White House, forty miles east of the Inn at Little Washington) the rain has stopped, the temperature has risen, and I did take a walk.

The sky is still mostly full of gray guncotton, streaming northeast at a brisk pace, but carrying with it occasional patches of pure blue, like rare voices of reason amidst an angry mob marching on the nations capital.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 8:20 AM | Report abuse

That is, of course, the "nation's" capital.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 8:26 AM | Report abuse

No sky report from, suffice to say weather report is three days of rain, it is accurate so far.

Last night coming home from work, I noticed that once again it is the time of year when the sparlings gather in huge flocks, at one stoplight the hydro lines on three sides were full of the sparlings, best guess, 500-1000 birds, on a darkening grey night it is a little creepy. I have seen them completely fill several trees after the leaves have falled and then almost at once they will depart, sort of resembling a loose black cloud.

Bob S. did I say I use humour at all the appropriate times? I wish.

Back to cleaning.

Posted by: dmd | October 28, 2006 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I was impressed by your 6:45, dmd. And no, I have no ambition to hold public office, even for the Liberals. I do work hard on all the election campaigns (too many in the last couple of years!).

It is true that the hard-line, old school Conservatives (ex-Reform) still try to exploit the whole Western alienation thing. And it's (yes!) getting very tired. With the economic surge (though we'll see how long it lasts) in the west, the time for the region to step up to adult responsibilities within Confederation is now. I despise the provincial Conservatives particularly, because under RK (feh!) Albertans did not only not lead debate where they could, but refused to debate at all. Positions were taken before issues were discussed, such as at First Ministers' conferences and the like.

This attitude of separatism arises in part out of the naturally deeply conservative nature of the resource-based economy and its owners; ranchers and oil & gas CEOs are more alike than different, though their training and net worth differs greatly.

I think it will slowly change (heaven knows I've been working at it), but it is an evolution. Edmonton is a liberal city because it is more mature, intellectually and culturally, than any other place in the province. Calgary is barely into adolescence, and it shows, in the lack of cultural institutions and the monolithic politics. The rural areas are what they have always been, and I think the homogenous politics and social views probably serves such a vital purpose in binding community members together (as is necessary to survive) that it will be almost impossible to change, even if we wanted to.

Nonetheless, there is hope for at least vigorous debate on the merits of left/right positions. I was particularly struck, when at a black-tie energy-industry dinner on Tuesday, that out of the 300 guests, I would guess about 1/5 of the guests were women, and women at quite senior levels in their organizations (or they wouldn't have been there). Even ten years ago when I first moved to Calgary, I was frequently the *only* woman in the room; whether it was an industry association meeting, the Chamber of Commerce, you name it. And the men were deeply patronizing and stunningly unaware of it.

Why does the number of women make a difference? Because it shows that social change is possible, and women have always led societies to be more inclusive and flexible.

Posted by: Yoki | October 28, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Yoki - that was helpful, but not complete enough for a thick-head like myself. To what leavening do you refer? I'm assuming it's not yeast, but are baking soda/powder used, or is this just a concoction of flour, egg, and milk/water?

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Yoki - "Why does the number of women make a difference?"

That sounds like the first line of a fascinatingly large number of jokes. Good jokes, bad jokes, rude jokes, clever jokes.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Aloha, Aloha...

Thanks for writing back. I was lucky to be able to attend Hanahau`oli School. Then went to Punahou. As you have probably guessed, my father taught at UH. We did a decent amount of traveling.

I was a gym rat, so that was my home most of the time ... I spent my last summer at Punahou working at the tennis center. Nothing beats 10 hours a day on the tennis courts, especially if you enjoy playing after a rain/Manoa Mist.

Aloha, since I don't have family in Hawaii, I haven't gone back, but with many regrests. I have heard about the families who live at the beach. We have situations like that here in DC, but we really don't appreciate what truly high housing costs are. In DC, we do count on a lot of recent immigrants to provide much of our lower paid work. Often, they share family homes several to a room.

As our social services get squeezed by limited funding, we also face growing homeless issues. At least, in Hawaii, you don't lose them to exposure, as we risk here. We have an on-going problem in that area. Even with shelter space, it is a challenge to get some folks inside. Here, they often sleep and live their days out on the steam grates located near large government buildings.

In Hawaii, you truly do have scarce housing resources. Every time a new person arrives in Hawaii and they move into a place, someone gets pushed off at the bottom of the ladder. Given that problem, it makes land owners and those with rights to the land leases most inclined to build for the most advantaged when they have an opportunity to build. I also guess that in Hawaii, there is a pronounced isolation of those with means from those without. I have heard reports about "areas where you don't want to go."

I would think that these unusual housing patterns provide a major challenge to the community. In DC, we have a situation where, because of the constant employment engine of the government (including the military) in the area, we have a very stable economy and that too keeps our housing market on the higher end of the scale. With the growth in the population here and the transportation and commuting infrastructure max'ing out, we had a super-heating housing market where many people were finding themselves spending a large portion of their budgets on housing. For those owners who were holding property for a while, it also produced a windfall that stretched the gap between the haves and the havenots.

As George Bush has said, "the haves and the have mores" are doing fine and that probably is true for those of you in Hawaii. Hidden in the averages and means and medians and quintiles is the painful truth that large portions of our population in Hawaii and on the mainland are going to have real problems within the next decade if we don't make some serious changes to our approach to social welfare services.

There is a price that we pay for "turning back the clock" on our willingness to share our wealth with those less fortunate. Just like the deficit, it's out there somewhere in our future. Possibly, because of the economic nature of the islands, you are seeing it before the rest of us and should probably take note.

Aloha, Aloha.

... another memory, being able to see Kui Lee perform months before he passed. That was a different time and a different life.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 28, 2006 8:40 AM | Report abuse

When being patronizing, I ALWAYS endeavor to be stunningly aware of and brazen about it.

(If ya' got it, flaunt it, I always say!)

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

SF... NIcely put. Thanks. You are very interesting when you're not on the attack. And remember that we defend the people we like when we feel like they're being attacked (remember your kids at school? not exactly on the same level, but think of it as being in the same "mode").

It will probably happen on your behalf one day, too.

So, YES! Let's start over. Play nice, everyone (and I mean everyone).

Just one more thing... And remember, please, that this is not in defense of anyone here. But please note this definition from Webster's Online Dictionary:

Main Entry: cur·mud·geon
Pronunciation: (")k&r-'m&-j&n
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
1 archaic : MISER

2 : a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man

- cur·mud·geon·li·ness /-lE-n&s/ noun
- cur·mud·geon·ly /-lE/ adjective

Now, don't make me come back there, kids!

Posted by: TBG | October 28, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Hey TBG, can you come back and talk to me?


Oh, my goodness, what is that breaking through .... its THE SUN!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 28, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

TBG - ummm, I'd make the observation that it has already happened on Msr. sf's behalf, more than once, even within the past twenty-four hours!

: )

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Baking soda. Here is my recipe for plain dumplings (some cookbooks say you can add herbs, cheese etc. but I find any additions interfere with the rising and can make the dough too wet, better to sprinkle additions on top after the dumplings are cooked):

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
whole (homo) milk.

Sift the dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl.

In a one-cup measure, lightly beat the egg with a fork or whisk. Stir in just enough milk to make a total of 1/2 cup of milk, and mix with a fork.

Working quickly, stir into dry ingredients just until the dough coheres into a ball. You may not need to add as much egg/milk as you have, or you may need to add a little milk if your flour is very dry. Keep the batter stiff.

Quickly add tablespoon-sized dumplings to barely simmering gravy *well spaced and in a single layer* and cover the pot. Cook for fifteen minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Serve immediately.

Yoki notes: if your batter is sufficiently dry, you may need to use two spoons to get the dumplings formed and into the pot quickly (like making cookies). I prefer to use one spoon, coating it lightly with gravy before forming each one so that they drop easily into the pot.

Essentially, you want to steam the dumplings, not boil or roast them, so they want to sit lightly on top of your base dish. I find I need a minimum three-inch depth of stew or soup to support the dumplings as they steam, and not hit the bottom of the pot where the heat is high enough to cook them too quickly to let them rise.

Also, if you want to make a double batch of batter, use two eggs and only enough milk to wet the batter. If you use two eggs and enough milk to make a full cup measure of wet mixture (double the original recipe) it is too much liquid. Don't know why, but that is my experience.

If you do make a double batch, you will need at least two pots of stew to cook them; a single batch properly spaced will take up all the surface of your average Dutch oven or slow cooker (which is ideal for dumplings because it never gets hot enough to do damage).

And there you have it.

Hahahaha. I referred to logorrhea the other day, and now seem to be suffering from the disorder. Also, when I wrote layer I first typed "lawyer." Perils of the trade!

Posted by: Yoki | October 28, 2006 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Please forgive me if my commentary is less-than-usually scintillating, but I'm distracted by my work on "A Paean to Waterboarding".

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

TBG! I'm so glad to see you. How are you doing? Is the grief bearable, or does it still slap you down when you least expect it? You've been missed!

Posted by: Yoki | October 28, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I dunno, Bob S. If you combine dmd's web cam and my "how many women" and start making jokes, we'll all be kicked off the boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | October 28, 2006 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, that's not the half of it! I'll be prancing around the kitchen with my "homo" milk and muttering kindnesses about waterboarding. It's not gonna be pretty!

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

"Isn't it called homo milk in the States?" she asks, *widening her eyes to convey utter innocent perplexity.*

Here I am, trying to exercise my cross-cultural skills and I get mocked! Umbrage! General upheaval and misery on the Boodle!

Posted by: Yoki | October 28, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Bob I always thought if you are going to be patronizing go all the way.

Yoki I saw RK grade of Harper so far yesterday, good giggle. Two things contrary Albertans need to consider, their resource is not renewable, without more thought the rapid expansion will begin to take a terrible toll on the environment and will leave a huge repair bill for a future generation (not all that distant).

Water is an issue, CO2 from the Oil Sands,damage to the boreal forests, not to mention just the infrastructure required. Many problems that going alone will not help - note to Quebec not much different.

Elitist Ontario rant over.

TBG nice to hear from you, was just wondering how you are doing.

Posted by: dmd | October 28, 2006 9:19 AM | Report abuse

And in that general vein, I leave you now to shop. #2 is creating a halloween costume out of a red tank top, green sleeves she sewed herself, green long-johns, red men's briefs worn over the long-johns, "boots" consisting of black knee socks and ballet slippers... She is the Boy Wonder, Robin!

I don't know what it is about kids these days. She is fully, though occulty, exploring the subtle (hah!) homoerotic subtext of the original Batman series. I wasn't that sophisticated when I was 17.

Posted by: Yoki | October 28, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Non, no, nyet, the fault was all mine! Your usage was perfectly proper. My insensitive troglodyte came out for a moment. "Homo" milk is ....

OK, OK, I can't keep it up any longer!

No, that particular usage isn't especially widely used. It's certainly comprehensible, just not widely used.

It reminds me of asking where I could buy "sod" for my back yard in England. They knew exactly what I meant (they would have referred to "turf"), but found it hilarious and a little perverse.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

dmd - Well, golly! Are you telling me that Alberta has resources other than wheat & wind? I thought that they were both fairly renewable.

(Since that other country is off-limits, I have to practice my ignorant stereotyping skills somewhere! That's what we do, you know?)

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Bob, you are referring to the great province of Saskatchewan, and the birthplace of dr - step lightly.

Posted by: dmd | October 28, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Aaaahh, got it! Alberta's the one with the big rodeo, right?

: )

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

SF, I KNOW you realize that Curmudgeon can be extremely funny. Sequels are the boring, uncreative formulas of Hollywood.

When he wrote "Sometimes I have such good ideas I just amaze myself. [...] Call me brilliant, call me imaginative, call me a creative genius." before he proposed a sequel, he was being funny, parodying the Hollywood producer ego as well.

I have been re-reading the kit you refer to at:

Curmudgeon attempted to explain and justify the american POV as being harmless. You disagreed at great length.

Mo said don't consider everybody prejudiced against the French.

Kbertocci said: I don't agree with Curmudgeon on this issue, and I think French-bashing is just as offensive as anti-semitism.

Most of us were very uncomfortable having you quote TV idiots we do not even watch as somehow a indictment on the current American culture. There's a little thing called freedom of speech-- and the freedom to change the channel.

This is why we became progressively sick of the subject. Tucker Carlson was the last straw. I never even heard of the guy.

Mudge: "BTW, I think Tucker Carlson is a moron. (And I never watch him anyway.) But that wasn't the point."

Mudge said he was sorry for your daughter's experience and that he didn't have a good answer to your problem, but that he did not consider the Achenblog to be a place where anything but good-natured kidding should take place.

You also declared war on Mudge:
" The fact that you don't like the way I fight back is probably a good indication that it may just be the right way to do it. I'm sure you'd prefer compliments, or presenting the other cheek. Tough luck!"

But Mudge wasn't the enemy then. He didn't throw bricks through your window, bully your daughter, or make fun of the French people as cowards on national TV.

His response:
"Sup, if any of us was around when somebody tried to humiliate your daughter, every damned one of us here would be standing with you shoulder to shoulder. Every one. No exceptions. No argument. They'd have to get through a couple dozen of us before they got to you or your daughter.

As to spitting on the grave of your ancestors, I don't think anyone here has done anything remotely like that. And I don't think any of us would tolerate that for a second if we thought that's what it was."

Then we invited you to the BPH. I think your memory has been a little colored by the intense emotion you were recalling as you discussed your disappointment with the french-bashing flavor of American culture.

Posted by: Wilbrod | October 28, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning .....I'm sorry to alarm you.
SF - After submitting last nights post I was concerned that I had been unfair to you and so reviewed the archives. To put it simply most of your posts were interesting and fun, but it is the ones that were not that stick in the mind.
You bring a unique perspective to the boodle and it would be a loss if you were to become alienated. No one can be banned, the most, and it would be the worst, anyone can do is ignore. (shiver).
France provided a haven and a roost from which many of greatest English speaking writers gained a clearer perspective of their homeland and themselves. James Joyce, Samuel Beckett (OK so he wrote in French), Mavis Gallant, WO. Mitchell, John Dos Passos, and the boor who wrote like a god, Ernest Hemmingway. The boodle couldn't handle the list of artists and intellectuals, black and white, who found refuge and inspiration there. France was the hospice where Oscar Wilde, one of the greatest smartypantses ever, retired to die. You French fellows and fellets have done well.
Thank you for your attention. Resume the dance.

Posted by: Boko999 | October 28, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Oooohhh, I know I'm gonna hate myself for this, but...

Actually, I'm not gonna do it. I just wiped out several paragraphs of thought, because (while I found it helpful to ME to expound on some issues) very few folks here need my help in understanding anything.

I figure that the best I have to offer is not good enough, so I'll stick to wry observations.

By the way, I prefer my rye without the caraway seeds. I prefer my pontification pithy. And I prefer fewer (rather than more) repetitions of the obvious.

I'd rather not have to keep hearing the same thing.

I'm averse to endless recycling of old ideas.

I hate it when people keep saying the same thing over & over.

OK, I was kidding. I actually love it!

: )

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Let me specific about my question here:

Did my earlier modification of the Bierce quote result in anything resembling a properly worded aphorism?

I'm not so concerned about any agreement with the (rather sarcastic) sentiment expressed, since it wasn't originally mine. Just wondering about the manipulation of a language not my own.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

New Kit, if anyone hasn't already noticed.


Posted by: Scottynuke | October 28, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

You stole my line!

sf, I would only add, that sometimes you are like a pit bull and won't let go of a subject. It gets tiresome. As has been said, you can't be banned, and no one is "invited" to be a regular - you become one by posting, that's all - you are one. None of us think Mudge is "God" (I don't think), but he's funny much of the time and he's missed when he's not around. I don't think what you say about us all agreeing is true - but we try to keep the disagreements civil and about the idea, not the person who posted the idea.

Tell us about your favorite books, movies, bike trails. Pixel, who hasn't posted for a long time, is an avid biker and Tour de France fan.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 28, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Lemme tell you about tiresome: _____, __ ___, _________, and __ _ ____ always annoy me. Then there's the sophomoronic antix of ____ ______ and ___ - ______. And, please, please, don't get me started on the impropiety of virtually every (non-food-related) remark ever offered up by ______ _________.

Ban 'em all, and let the FSM sort 'em out!

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

It was an accident, but the more I see the word "impropiety", the more I like it! I think that I may be using it going forward.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 28, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I hope there still is time to save your daughter from a horrendous mistake, a terrible faux pas!

Robin, the Boy Wonder, does not wear boots (at least, not in the original Batman). He wore little yellow slipper dealies and green tights. I notice that his skimpy little shorts always appeared to be bumpy. I was never clear what that was -- chain mail? Captain America's shirt is supposed to be, in fact, form-fitting chain mail (NOT a good idea), but then CA is Marvel and Robin is DC.

Please note that in the Revisionist Batman, aka The Dark Knight Returns, by the brilliant but violence-fetishistic Frank Miller, the new Robin is a girl with red hair. There is a second volume to The Dark Knight Returns, but it is weirder and less coherent than the first volume. It is not necessary to have both volumes in order to have a satisfying story arc, and I consider the second volume to be a decidedly lesser work.

This has been your comic-book geek interlude for today.

Posted by: StorytellerTim | October 28, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Once the Sun comes out for real, ScienceKid #1 and I will repair to the woods, where we will nail model butterflies (baited with mealworms) onto trees in order to test the effectiveness of alternative forms of camouflage. Meanwhile, ScienceKid #2 has been making important observations relevant to the interpretation of the physical phenomena behind wind-chill.

Man, it's good to be a geek!

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 28, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

do you know what a illegal immigrant and a woman have in comman=


men over 17 years old have to have one

Posted by: bernie yoksh sr | October 29, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

do you know what a illegal immigrant and a woman have in comman=


men over 17 years old have to have one

Posted by: bernie yoksh sr | October 29, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

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