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Another Way: Earthaven and Alternative Energy

Here's my story in the Sunday magazine. It's a tale of a band of environmentally minded citizens who live in the woods of western North Carolina, off the grid, hoping to build a society based on sustainability and what's known as Permaculture.

Brief excerpt:

The key to modern life is strategic ignorance. There are so many things we don't know about our lives and that, frankly, we don't want to know. We don't know much about the basic things that sustain us. We are clueless "end users" in elaborate industrial supply lines. Energy comes from distant power plants and oil refineries and pipelines and electrical grids, but we don't think about them when we flick on a light or turn the key in the ignition. We live in a world we didn't make, by rules and customs and laws we didn't invent, using tools and technologies we don't understand.

Even as science teaches us, constantly, that we are part of the fabric of life, that we have a common genetic heritage with all other living things, we continue to hold nature at arm's length. Predation and cultivation and gathering and even preparation of food have all been outsourced.

Meat in the store has been carefully butchered and wrapped to obscure any association with an actual animal (hence the counterculture movement toward "food with a face"). Novelist Arthur C. Clarke said that when a technology becomes sufficiently advanced it becomes indistinguishable from magic, but he didn't go far enough: The final advancement comes when the technology ceases to register at all. Electricity, accessed through an outlet, becomes an intrinsic property of residential walls, as are the drywall and the studs. Power comes from a switch. We have the consciousness of small children. We can conjure power at will. It's a dream world, but one that might not be sustainable.

Join me Monday at noon for a live chat. You can send in questions/comments in advance.

Also, on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. two members of Earthaven will join me on Washington Post radio, which you can listen to on our web site.

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 18, 2006; 8:08 PM ET
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Next: How Much Is Enough?


Have to go through it again to pick out the points I'd like to address, but . . . brilliant.

I'm curious though. One man's finances are mentioned, but in a community which isn't sustaining itself agriculturally yet, how does everyone else pay for, say, the laundromat?

Posted by: dbG | November 18, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse

"Roving Cannibal Hordes." Ah, one of the great American obsessions. I've got to get serious about excavating Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" from under the Washington Post, among other things, and do the apocalypse thing by Turkey Day.

The article's photo of Earthhaven reminds me a little of the Jarrell Plantation in middle Georgia ( ), which, when it first opened up, had wonders like a dismembered Hupmobile whose engine and various parts had been used to power various things. That was nearly thirty years ago, so I don't know how it looks today. But the place's messy functionality made me realize I was visiting something like the Franklin County, Virginia homestead that my great-grandfather and his family had left many years ago. I'm told the log cabin is still there, in use as a summer house by vastly more affluent descendants.

I dunno about back-to-the-earth. As much as I admire the tiny garden-farms of Japan, I can't forget that they're highly subsidized. Those subsidies may be worthwhile. I'm certain Japan enjoys better food than we do. And maybe freshly-harvested rice really tastes better. In western North Carolina, I'd be willing to guess that the spots worth farming were farmed circa 1900, and that the farmers on to more lucrative work in the cotton mills.

Here in Florida, we celebrated a perfect Saturday without air conditioning. Everybody's doors were wide open.

I filled the little station wagon with plants at a local botanical garden's sale. Needle palm, old-fashioned "Martha Gonzalez" rose bush for a Christmas present,some bromeliads for the yard, and even rain lily bulbs from the garden's own bed, which is currently dug up for rehab.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | November 18, 2006 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Thinking of self-sufficiency, Japan is full of Asian persimmon trees, utterly beautiful with their golden-orange fruits and few if any leaves in the fall. If everyone in Gainesville, Florida had a persimmon or two in the yard, the town would be better-fed, prettier, and Gator-colored.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | November 18, 2006 9:57 PM | Report abuse

(Pseudo repost)

I really liked Joel's article. He's got this type of writing down to a science.

The Earthaven residents seem like very nice and sincere people who are on an extended camping trip. I don't see how anyone can truly establish a legitimate self-sustaining low-carbon footprint unless they live like the Amish.

And Joel also mentions a key problem to making even modest changes in energy use - pesky legal dependents who are used to a high-energy lifestyle.

As a child of the 70s, I have tried to encourage more efficient habits. (I mean, must the television be on every stinkin' hour of the day?) But pushing too much makes them angry, which makes my wife cranky.

There is just so much domestic discord that a family can withstand in the name of energy efficiency.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 18, 2006 10:00 PM | Report abuse

I know people who don't even own TVs.

It was easier when summer vacation was TV rerun season.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 18, 2006 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Kbertocci and I had a blast at the book fair today.

To answer dr's question, I got off the plane and she was waving her semafores, but I don't know the code, so I wasn't sure it was her. Actually, she was waving TomFan's "Hi Boodle" sign from one of the early BPHs. THEN I recognized her.

Report and pictures of today's events to follow....

Posted by: TBG | November 18, 2006 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Hi, TBG, kb!

I'm reposting the Pablo Neruda poem from the previous boodle, since the appreciation of simple, fundamental things fits this one very well - and it mentions fireflies. And it's a slow night on the boodle. (Dave, the radio gardener here was talking about Asian persimmon trees today, how they're superior to American persimmons and have beautiful fall color. Oh, and I just now thought of a couple former boodlers from Florida, Shiloh and amo.)
I came across this poem by Pablo Neruda, and thought I would post it especially for dr and the other knitters and crocheters of the boodle (as well as the nature lovers and poetry lovers and everyone else):

"Ode to My Socks" by Pablo Neruda (translated by Robert Bly)

Mara Mori brought me
a pair of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder's hands,
two socks as soft as rabbits.
I slipped my feet into them
as if they were two cases
knitted with threads of twilight and goatskin,
Violent socks,
my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.

Nevertheless, I resisted the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere as schoolboys
keep fireflies,
as learned men collect
sacred texts,
I resisted the mad impulse to put them
in a golden cage and each day give them
birdseed and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers in the jungle
who hand over the very rare green deer
to the spit and eat it with remorse,
I stretched out my feet and pulled on
the magnificent socks and then my shoes.

The moral of my ode is this:
beauty is twice beauty
and what is good is doubly good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool in winter.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 18, 2006 11:41 PM | Report abuse

tbg and kb, looking forward to the FL pics...

here are a few interesting links about sustainability and green buildings.

the uc system has admirably adopted a green building/sustainability policy:

there is a good green building reference page here:

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 18, 2006 11:45 PM | Report abuse

and a related research center:

unfortunately, prop 87 didn't pass:

anyway, just posting these references in case they are interesting
or useful to anyone.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 18, 2006 11:46 PM | Report abuse

The "Hi Boodle!" sign! Ha!
(But I can't actually take credit for it, I'm afraid. I did indeed hold the sign up at a BPH, but I didn't create it. If I recall correctly, SciTim was the one to put Sharpie to paper. Or maybe that was just the "Hi Eurotrash!" sign . . .)

OK, time to unplug the computer now . . .

Posted by: Tom fan | November 18, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I've visited Earthaven numerous times.
It is not for everyone, but I often wish I lived there rather than stuck in DC suburbia. Maybe one day when there are less bills to pay.

I do not think enough can be said about their construction methods with regard to using materials at hand from their surroundings to make energy efficient homes.

I salute the efforts the residents, and especially those of the founders who have made an effort to DO something about making the world a better place. I give them joy and wish there were more like them, willing to make sacrifices for a better world.

I do not think enough can be said about their construction methods with regard to using materials at hand from their surroundings to make energy efficient homes.

Posted by: Tom G. | November 18, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Earthhaven sounds like what many of those living in the mountains do out of necessity. Of course, by now, perhaps that is not the case. At one time people living in the mountains lived in abject poverty, in fact, it was frightening the way they lived. HBO took a camera crew up there one time and did a documentary of a family. Earthhaven does not look new, only the mindset has changed. Now it is with a purpose, at one time it was called living.

Out all day yesterday, and the weather was beautiful. The day started without a cloud in the sky, just that beautiful Carolina blue. Although here it started on a rather sour note, the football team lost their game without even scoring. Football here is on the same scale as eating.

Have to get moving, Sunday school and church beckons. The g-girl and I have much to do to get ready. I do hope your weekend, although at the end, is going well. Today would be an excellent time to give God some of your time, and remember that He loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 19, 2006 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Cassandra. I was surprised when I saw the football score. What the heck happened to your home team? I can understand that it wasn't a good start for a weekend. OTOH, UNC beat NC State, so life's good at my house...

Joel's story is beautifully written, as always. But I dunno. I'm certainly not ready to go off grid! Hubby is always turning off lights so that I stumble around in the dark. Even energy-inefficient light bulbs aren't the problem. The problem is things like his huge TV, which draws power all the time! I really should make him turn it off at the surge protector...

I did identify with Joel's point about being left alone. Hubby and I have offices side-by-side, so we drive to work togther (yes, against City policy, but I got nowhere, so I've just dealt with it). We take my car, which gets about twice the mileage of his truck. But boy, am I looking forward not to driving with him! When we had my old van, I just let him drive all the time. But with my new car, when he drives it takes me three or four days to get the seat and mirrors back to where I want them, so I've been driving. I don't drive to suit him, so it's tough.

23 more days in the office till I retire...

Posted by: Slyness | November 19, 2006 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra - your first paragraph is very insightful.

Has anyone else seen this?

I just need to see how much of this stuff I can do before I am accused of being obsessive.

(BTW: My son just called to tell me he is number 34 in line for the Wii. His mother drove him over at 6:15 this morning. Somehow I do not think the Earthaven lifestyle is in this family's future.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 19, 2006 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning
I'm glad to see Cassandra is sounding better. *reading what he's written Boko seems confused, looks to dog, is reassured, soldiers on*
Today I'm going to participate in a great Canadian tradition. I'm off to a party where I'll feast on ribs, beer, and watch the last NASCAR race of the season. I promised to bring the guacomole and Spanish rice so I'd better get on my bike and start preparing them. Have a happy Thanksgiving, all you American type people.

Posted by: Boko999 | November 19, 2006 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Joel, only had time to read about have your article yesterday, a crazy day around here two hockey games, two sets of hockey pictures and a family dinner. Felt really guilty about our carbon footprint yesterday. I am trying to be more energy efficient, new fluorescent bulbs (much improved by the way), set back thermostat, insulation and furnace to come and at some point newer windows. I wish someone could find a realistic way to be energy efficient yet still maintain a modern lifestyle - is that possible?

Posted by: dmd | November 19, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Forgot two things, I like the article and more economical energy efficient items would help. Currently my mind is willing, pocketbook not so much.

Posted by: dmd | November 19, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I've replaced all the incandescent lightbulbs in the house with energy efficient flourescent bulbs. They may cost more up front but not only do you save money on your electricty bill they last much longer than incandescent bulbs.
Flourescent bulbs don't ligt instantly but after a while you get used to the tiny time lag.

Posted by: Boko999 | November 19, 2006 9:44 AM | Report abuse

The glow of the future: LCD, LEDs and similar lighting sources. It'll feel like being trapped inside a firefly's bottom.

It seems half sad to think that in 40 years or less, kids may be born who have never seen Thomas Alva Edison's invention and will be asking "what is that thing over people's heads in the comics?"

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 19, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

If they would work on more energy efficient, lighter TVs I wouldn't mind either.
I've seen home theatre systems that are nice and not that bulky, but the bulbs are 500 bucks and burn out after a few thousand hours. Yikes!

Speaking of energy expenditures, Wilbrodog insists I do some walking.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 19, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

What an excellent article, Joel.

Last week Cambridge Energy Research Associates (a highly reputable energy economics consultancy) released a study Why the Peak Oil Theory Falls Down: Myths, Legends, and the Future of Oil Resources. From the press release:

In contrast to a widely discussed theory that world oil production will soon reach a peak and go into sharp decline, a new analysis of the subject by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) finds that the remaining global oil resource base is actually 3.74 trillion barrels -- three times as large as the 1.2 trillion barrels estimated by the theory's proponents -- and that the "peak oil" argument is based on faulty analysis which could, if accepted, distort critical policy and investment decisions and cloud the debate over the energy future.

The new report describes CERA's liquids supply outlook as "not a view of endless abundance." However, based on a range of potential scenarios and field-by-field analysis, CERA finds that not only will world oil production not peak before 2030, but that the idea of a peak is itself "a dramatic but highly questionable image."

Global production will eventually follow an "undulating plateau" for one or more decades before declining slowly. The global production profile will not be a simple logistic or bell curve postulated by geologist M. King Hubbert, but it will be asymmetrical - with the slope of decline more gradual and not mirroring the rapid rate of increase -- and strongly skewed past the geometric peak. It will be an undulating plateau that may well last for decades.

During the plateau period in later decades, according to the CERA analysis, demand growth will likely no longer be largely met by growth in available, commercially exploitable natural oil supplies. Non-traditional or unconventional liquid fuels such as production from heavy oil sands, gas-related liquids (condensate and natural gas liquids), gas-to-liquids (GTL), and coal-to-liquids (CTL) will need to fill the gap.

Yoki again. I have ordered a copy of the full paper and will have a look see at the methodology etc. I would be more inclined to give the Peak Oil people some of my time if they weren't so stridently cult-like; in fact, they present themselves very much as do the anti-climate change cabal Joel so brilliantly illuminated (though using energy efficient light bulbs, no doubt) in a previous article.

Fun thing for the day. I usually drive one of my neighbours to her church of a Sunday. I had just got her comfortably tucked into the passenger seat when, over the radio, came the La Ci Darem La Mano duet from Don Giovanni. My neighbour sighed with delight and said, "Isn't this music sublime!" I, in my way, nearly popped a blood vessel stifling my giggles. La Ci Darem is better known to some of us as the tune for "The Lumberjack Song."

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

RD, can you give me a review of the Wii once your son has tested it? The gamers in my house agree that if it works well, and if there are enough games available, it may be the coolest thing ever.

Posted by: Yoki | November 19, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I found a brief translation of the original lyrics of La Ci darem La Mano...

Don Giovanni sings to Zerlina:
La ci darem la mano,
La mi dirai di si.
Vedi, non e lontano;
Partiam, ben mio, da qui.

"There you will give me your hand,
There you will tell me 'yes.'
You see, it is not far;
Let us leave, my beloved."

Zerlina sings her thoughts:
Vorrei e non vorei;
Mi trema un poco il cor.
Felice, e ver sarei,
Ma puo burlarmi ancor.

"I'd like to, but yet I would not;
My heart trembles a little.
It's true I would be happy,
But he may just be tricking me."

From this to the Lumberjack song is certainly a leap of comic genius, although the last line in the translation gives us a certain insight in what may have inspired such a leap.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 19, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

You sure, though, Yoki?

Here are the lyrics:

Oh well, Monty Python would back your right to say what you like about Mozart.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 19, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - I asked my son some days ago why he wanted to spend pretty much all of his disposable income for the year on the Wii, as well as why it was worth standing four hours in the cold. Evidently the next version of his favorite game, "Zelda" requires a Wii. And I guess what Zelda wants, Zelda gets.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 19, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the actual Wii device, the reviews thus far are highly positive. It was quick and easy to set up. The wireless motion-sensing controllers are fun to use, especially with the included sports games. The graphics are better than the GameCube, (although still not as nice as the much more expensive Playstation 3.) Finally, it seems to have no trouble running the old GameCube games.

The only downside is that each additional controller, when you include the optional extension, runs about $60 (US).

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 19, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post this morning at 6:41, Cassandra. The first paragraph is accurate. Many, many thousands of people living along the Appalachian Mountain range from Georgia up to Maine lived that way for years and some still do. Some of my ancestors from southern New York and northern New Jersey are included in that. They had to live that way. I don't quite understand why someone would *want* to live that way.

Posted by: pj | November 19, 2006 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - those articles on LEDs are very encouraging. I think, for the reasons Joel points out in his article, that increasing the energy efficiency of things we already use is a good strategy. LED lights I can see people using. 10 watt bulbs, well, not so much.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 19, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I actually just saw Don Giovanni and I must admit that slipped by. Here's a Youtube clip with La Ci Darem La Mano. I'm still not sure I'd call it more than "inspired by", but it's definitely there:

RD, congrats to your son for paying for it himself. I think "Wii" refers to the (we the) parents that are the ones normally paying for things like this.

re: James Bond. This just in: Rumour has it that not just Casino Royale but perhaps THE ENTIRE SERIES may have been written as escapist fiction. All meetings of the Tolstoy and Fleming Book Club have been cancelled pending this breaking news.

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 19, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod you are making me feel guilty. Put up some greenery outside on our balcony and the christmas lights. I keep looking at the LED christmas lights but can't justify throwing away good lights for new ones, even ones that are energy efficient. I will replace them as they burn out.

Anyone have any good tips on removing the sap from pine boughs from your hands?

I also had to clean out the flat roof on the balcony, it was a an accumulation of leaves that had been sitting in water, STINKY. I am also freezing four hours outside, in the cold with my hands in cold water, its going to take awhile to warm up.

Posted by: dmd | November 19, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

SofC - ha ha!

dmd, we always have some sort of handmade soap - usually a "gardener's soap" or "mechanic's soap" for getting gook off our hands. I would guess those soaps have plenty of lye - and they usually have some sort of rough material worked into them. Or a good softsoap should work too. Or a scrub brush.

I don't have it in me for living without electricity or running water. A few years in VA with a not-deep-enough well made me vow never to be without running water again (imagine Scarlett O'Hara, at the end of Part 1). I do think we should do what we can to limit our energy use, use more solar energy, build houses that are "green." A friend of ours in MN uses solar energy almost exclusively for his electricity.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 19, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking, loved the poem.

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 19, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Must share this - found on Youtube while looking up the Don Giovanni thing:

Hint: Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 19, 2006 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I look forward to your report on the CERA article.

Mostly, I'm right with you. My mother had a well; it provided plenty of water, until the power was out. I enjoy camping, in the right weather. Do it full-time isn't my idea of fun.

Posted by: Slyness | November 19, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

We read your story, Joel, and want you to know that we went around our Miami Beach hotel and turned off all the appliances. Even the bedside lamp won't work anymore.

But in the meantime, we both pedalled our energy-creating laptop and Internet connection (a la Fred Flintstone) and have uploaded our pictures and the stories of our adventures here in Miami here...

Posted by: TBG & kbertocci | November 19, 2006 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, don't forget the "Catalogue" aria from Don Giovanni, "Il catalogo questo" in which Giovanni's conquests are listed by number: A thousand and three in Spain, for example. "Mille e tre" gets repeated frequently in the aria to great dismissive effect. I love the final lines, too. Leporello, Giovanni's servant, sings:

Purché porti la gonnella,
Voi sapete quel che fa.

(If she wears a petticoat,
You know what he does.)

Or as I also read it translated:

As long as she is wearing a skirt,
You know where he will be.

Posted by: pj | November 19, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

tbg & kb, loved the report and pics!

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 19, 2006 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Very cool story and pics about the book fair, TBG and kbertocci. You got to meet and chat with both Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen. That is great stuff! Thank you and enjoy your visit together.

Posted by: pj | November 19, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting, TBG. Now I am going to guess at all the greek girl names that you didn't name your daughter.

Diane, Helen, Dorothea, and Alice are greek names, but nobody makes a fuss about them.

Hmm, must be something unique.
Top 10 greek names TBG probably did NOT name her daughter as:

Kirke (Circe)

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 19, 2006 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Although it's true that the Earthaven folks are just living like people used to have to live -- and still do live, out of necessity, they are to be commended, not ridiculed, for doing it by choice. They're not doing it for fun, but in response to concerns about this planet's resources and climate. Perhaps one day we'll *all* go back to having to live like that -- our current levels of consumption just won't be an option. The people at Earthaven are getting a head start.


"The term 'consumer' is not appropriate because it sanctions an injustice. The society of consumers means speed, overproduction, waste. The body of the consumer is an anxious body . . . children are taught like battery chickens to be the consumers of the future. Teaching children not to want to be consumers is an extraordinary educational project."

-- Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement


And one more thing:
TBG and kbertocci, the trip report and photos are superb!

Posted by: Dreamer | November 19, 2006 6:41 PM | Report abuse

SoC, thanks for the link!

I love the smell of carrots in the morning!

Posted by: dbG | November 19, 2006 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Oops -- I'd planned to post the link to Slow Food as well . . .

Posted by: Dreamer | November 19, 2006 6:47 PM | Report abuse

KB and TBG, the pictures are great, and it looks like both of you enjoyed this a lot. KB, you look great in your picture. It is nice to have a face to go along with the name. I've seen your picture, TBG, from the porching hour.

I keep a light burning in the bathroom at night, so I'm probably using more than my share of energy. For someone that suffers from my ear problem, darkness is not good for me. Because the balance mechanism does not work in my ears, I feel like I'm suspended or floating when in the dark. But I think I compensate by not using much heat in the winter. I don't like a lot of heat having lived in cold houses as a child.

JA, the article was very good, and informative. As always, it is a learning experience here on the boodle. And that to me is always good. I'm half way through "Captured by Aliens", can't read with the g-girl here.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 19, 2006 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, I don't keep up with the games. My father listens to the games on the radio, and he told me about Friday's game. Your town or city had the better players, but I'm sure everyone was looking for a better game, and we just did not come up to that expectation. This county is so proud of its football team. I mean they just go nuts over football. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great, but I do not go to the games. I cannot stand sitting on those metal bleachers, my tush gets too cold.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 19, 2006 7:22 PM | Report abuse

The Slow Food link mentions Terra Madre, which made me think of this farmstead cheese place in Galax, VA:
They went to Terra Madre a couple of years ago. The reason I know about them is that I work with the woman's brother (another transplant from NoVA), and have eaten their cheese and it's really good. They don't have too many kinds to order online this year, but it is in quite a few stores in the DC area. Mmmmm, chee-eese, Gromit!

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 19, 2006 7:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering... is it Ear Thaven or Eart Haven?

I mean those ear thavens are a real pain in the, er.. ear; but a haven for earts?

C'mon, really.

Posted by: TBG | November 19, 2006 7:39 PM | Report abuse

TBG, that missing second "H" was really bugging me, too!
I have finally come to accept that it is E. Art Haven.

Posted by: Tom fan | November 19, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if they have a beeth oven to cook with? You know... to fix Beet Hoven.

Posted by: TBG | November 19, 2006 7:50 PM | Report abuse

i also spent a few minutes pondering the 'h' issue.

perhaps someone could ask them on the wapo radio program
tomorrow morning. :-)

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 19, 2006 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I guess they were trying to conserve H's.
I commend them for that.

Posted by: Dreamer | November 19, 2006 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I haven't read the article yet, but I glanced at the photos. I couldn't help noticing the 5-gal. can of WD-40 on the covered porch of the house, in the first photo. I didn't realize that you could buy it in such quantities. Wow!

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 19, 2006 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I tried to like football. I really, really tried. I went to games at Appalachian and games at Carolina. In those stadiums they have plastic seats, so no cold backside. Even so, I utterly failed. But it's important to the hubby, so I at least know about how his favorite teams are doing.

TBG and Kber, thanks for the photos and commentary! Sounds like the book fair was quite a success. Betcha Dave Barry doesn't have as many comments on his blog as Achenblog does.

Posted by: Slyness | November 19, 2006 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Karen and TBG,
You made the book fair fun! Enjoyed the photos, but it would be nice to read cutlines. I had a feeling that the Obama tickets would be hard to come by.

We have old Ridley Pearson paperbacks around the house--I, his 1988 "Undercurrents. My husband read his 1993 "The Angel Maker." His B&W photo is on the inside back cover of the latter book--he appears quite young, so I'm not matching him easily against your more current photo.

I would have loved to attended the Florida event to to have seen and heard James Reston, Jr. as well as some other notables who did not make the Texas Book Fair.

Posted by: Loomis | November 19, 2006 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer - I agree that the Earthaven folks should be commended for their idealism and sincerity. However I really do not think they represent the future. The future, I suspect, will look more like Hong Kong.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 19, 2006 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Loomis... we didn't even try to get Obama tickets; the line for the tickets was at the same time Dave Barry was speaking (which I attended) and kbert's Jonathan Franzen event. (Dave kept telling his audience he hoped we would attend his concert instead of Obama's talk, but he didn't realize that if we were in the room listening to him, there was no way we'd end up with Obama tickets.)

Ridley Pearson isn't in any of the pictures, so it's no wonder you couldn't find him. You can just see his head is looking down to the right of Andy Borowitz on stage. Ridley played the bass and sang several good old rock 'n roll songs. He was a very nice guy and had a smile on his face every single time I saw him.

You know, I don't think I've seen a bunch of people have as much fun as the Rock Bottom Remainders were having on that stage last night. As Dave Barry explained to his audience yesterday: even as we get old, we Baby Boomers will always still think we're cool.

[I'd love to have put captions with the pictures, but alas, Blogger doesn't work that way; I tried to work the narrative and the pictures together at least chronologically since I can't guarantee what you see where on your computer screen.]

Posted by: TBG | November 19, 2006 9:34 PM | Report abuse

TGB and kb,
Thanks for sharing your adventures. Dave Barry responding to "Hey, Dave" is too funny - and he didn't edge away when you mentioned the Achenblog, and he knows what the boodle is - too much. Isn't Amy Tan in the rock group sometimes? Doesn't look like her in the picture, but it's hard to tell. Wish I could have been there - wish Seattle still had a book fair (guess I should have attended when I had the chance).

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 19, 2006 9:46 PM | Report abuse


Your article was very thought provoking and timely and worrisome. I do wonder if a negative comment to a Sunday story you wrote a while back from a blogger chastising you for allowing your children to leave all the lights on had an effect. It appears so. Hey, that's a good thing.

Lights out!

Posted by: Random Commenter | November 19, 2006 10:32 PM | Report abuse


Your article was very thought provoking and timely and worrisome. I do wonder if a negative comment to a Sunday story you wrote a while back from a blogger chastising you for allowing your children to leave all the lights on had an effect. It appears so. Hey, that's a good thing.

Lights out!

Posted by: Random Commenter | November 19, 2006 10:35 PM | Report abuse

This is a sort-of random comment from someone other than Random Commenter - I'm trying to remember little details (like name, author) of a sci-fi book I read probably 20 years ago about a future earth where everyone lives sustainably. One of the main characters is a big-shot local politician, which means, in the book's version of the world, that her travels for politics must come from her personal, meager quota of energy available. There is no way in this society to avoid being responsible for one's own energy usage and NO ONE - not even Al Gore! - can use more than his or her share. So she has to do without more than the average Joe when she's at home so that she may go to events she must, for her job. Also vaguely remember that it's set in the Southwest - New Mexico, perhaps?

Does anyone remember this? I know it's a long shot. It's sort of stuck with me, but I think Alzheimer's is what's going to be with me from now on.


Posted by: Wheezy | November 19, 2006 11:59 PM | Report abuse


I was out of my country for a year, and when I returned, cable was off (dues not paid for a year). We had other stuff to take care of, so restoring cable got put off for a few weeks. Me and my wife so thoroughly enjoyed those weeks, we finally we decided not to get cable back.

It's been 2 years, and we've never regretted the decision: we spend our free time very contendedly talking, reading, just sitting with each other or going for walks. I just hope more people realize the importance of switching off the idiot box.

Posted by: Prashant | November 20, 2006 1:41 AM | Report abuse

There's more to the invisible technological system than whether one knows what a Brussels sprout plant looks like or how the demand for rubber for automobile tires has altered the landscape and social economy of the topics, to name two things we should be aware of but possibly aren't. A high-consumption society needs to be controlled. Just-in-time manufacturing, for example, requires a lot of supporting systems, which in turn require regularity, so that the high-volume transactions tend to become the only ones the system supports. This is not necessarily a sinister conspiracy, but it can seem like one when you see the supermarket give its shelf space to only the few most popular products.

Posted by: LTL-CA | November 20, 2006 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Prashant, it really is an idiot box, but because I live alone, it's like another person in the apartment, so the cable company drains me. I believe anything that makes us aware of our consumption of energy is a good thing. I don't know if the goal is within reach, but it is all good.

Slyness, you are brave, and I commend the effort, just don't have it in me. And as a teenager, my sisters and I followed my father around to every town to watch Friday night football. Perhaps it was overkill.

I sincerely hope the weekend was good for you, and that you got to do all those things planned. The g-girl and I spent the whole weekend at church in support of our missionary anniversary. It was a three day event. So I did not take my own advice about getting some rest.

We hope to walk this morning, but the weather person is calling for rain. I hope not, I really need to get back into my walking. One just feels better when there is some exercise in the loop.

I know, I know, some of you are dreading Monday, but look at it this way, you get a chance to begin again, and new beginnings are mostly good. This morning in my prayers I asked for blessings for all of you, and in this new beginning, I ask for joy and thanksgiving. But most of all, I asked that we all come to know just how much God loves us, so much more than we can imagine, through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, Error Flynn, Nani. And what's up, Mudge? You were so quiet this weekend. I hope not stranded in the wilds again?

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 20, 2006 4:36 AM | Report abuse

Almost forgot.......

Thanks, boko, I do feel better.

And did anyone see the wedding picture of Cruise and Holmes? I thought there would be more hoopla on the Internet, but not much. Yet I keep thinking how many times can a person get married, and it really be like "exciting". I mean does it not get a little like "the same old thing" after so many marriages? And after which number?

Can I talk, I'm a two time loser?

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 20, 2006 4:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning!

As a magician, there are many times I wish technology was invisible!

Cassandra, I hope you can walk today, and I concur about the tv seeming like another person. As can computers. . . the thing that struck me about the wedding photos was she's mainly into him, he's totally into the camera.

I wonder how much lack of time has to do with our energy crisis. We're always running, it seems reasonable to do a small load of laundry because we have time at that moment, instead of waiting to conserve resources. I was beeped @ 4 am, the problem still isn't resolved. As I wait, why not turn on a *second* computer to check the boodle and my home e-mail, run a partial dishwasher load because it'll help me get through the week, use a ceiling fan because the room is a little warm?

I'd like to see a return to conservation, especially with appliances that remain in standby mode, as well as a decrease in solar prices.

Posted by: dbG | November 20, 2006 5:37 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, boodle. 'Morning, Cassandra. Yes, Cassandra, I was quiet over the weekend. On Satyrday morning my wife and I went to Georgetown Hospital's emergency room--my bad leg has been getting worse, and over the past week I'd developed a bad, full-blown case of cellulitis again. (Had it bad two years ago, almost died from septic shock from it.) Among other things, they did an ultrasound on my leg to see it there were any blkood clots, but I passed with flying colors. They put me on an intravenous antibiotic, and then gave me a prescription for more antibios, and sent me home in time for dinner.

I have a diabetes clinic check-up this morning, along with a follow-up mn my leg, so I won't be boodling until afternoon some time. I hate being sick and constantly visiting doctors all the time: diabetes guy, cardiology guy, dermatology people for my leg and melanoma checkup, limb center for my leg which never healed properly after my quad bypass, etc. I hate getting old. I was 57 years old before I ever spent a night in a hospital, so I guess I've been lucky. I sometimes joke that I just wish they'd amputate the damned leg and let me wear a pegleg, because I'd make a dandy pirate. My wife thinks that's a sick joke, but I'm halfway serious. I'd get a nice teak model (maybe I'd have Padouk carve it) with mermaids and dolphins on it. Get a parrot for my shoulder. Aaargh!

On Sunday we went down to the Lower Potomac in Virginia where we're building a vacation cottage. I finished building the support surround for the big cast-iron antique bathtub my wife insisted on using (instead of a modern fiberglass bathtub/shower I could have installed in give minutes). I had bought a cheapy tile-cutter at Lowe's, and had some marble tiles I bought at the Habitat for Humanity yardsale for about $5, and cut them to fit under the lip of the tub, and glued them down on the surround I'd built. On the next visit I get to tile the entire area from floor to ceiling. (I hate tiling and grout, but I guess I have to do it.)

I had the Redskins game on our little 5" TV, but the small scale didn't make the loss any less depressing. In my football column I write I picked the Redskins, Denver and the Colts to win, and lost all three. Tonight I picked Jacksonville over the Giants--don't know how I'll do on that one.

Glad to see you seem to be feeling better.

Still trying to read Joel's article--got about a page into it before I feel asleep last night. (No offense, Joel--it wasn't your article that put me to sleep.)

My son woke us up about 10:30 (just after I'd nodded off) to tell us the bat was back and flying around the kitchen. He made me go with him to the kitchen, but we couldn't find it. So it's still in the house somewhere. I think maybe what I need to do is build a belfry on this house.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 20, 2006 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Mudge take care and I hope you get better soon.

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, that's waaay too much activity for a restful weekend! Do take care of the leg, and the rest of you!

Posted by: slyness | November 20, 2006 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! *waving*

Cassandra, glad you're doing better.

'Mudge, YOUR turn to get better!

TBG, kbert -- Dave Barry knows the Boodle?????? *verklempt*


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 20, 2006 7:33 AM | Report abuse

So now we know what Joel was doing a few months ago in NC when he got up in the morning, and the sun forgot to rise. Remember that kit?

Happens to me all the time.

The wife took a junkett trip with her sister up to Lancaster this weekend. the kids and I were left without the convenience of instant transportation. So we cleaned the house, raked leaves, took the bus to the mall, and probably walked several miles shopping for clothes. I got all 4 kids back to the house, and we all arrived in 1 piece, too exhausted to search for the remote. I tell you, a mall to a 4 year old is just as fun as an amusement park.

Mudge, take care of yourself. Cassandra, glad to hear you are feeling better.

And hear is my solution to everything: Get more exercise!

Posted by: Pat | November 20, 2006 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Mudge writes: "On Satyrday morning my wife and I..."

Sounds like you're feeling *much* better, buddy. Knowing you, this might be my favorite Freudian Typo EVAR.

Not a good day for picks for me, either I'm 9-6 on the weekend, and I have the New York football Giants in tonight's game.

Cassandra, I'm glad you're feeling better.


Posted by: bc | November 20, 2006 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I was listening to NPR this am and Honda has invented environtology or something like that. It must be a way of making vehicle's emissions magically disappear. In any case, I hope it's not a distant relative of scientology. BTW, a city in Oregon, I think, is going to begin charging a carbon tax on residents and businesses in an effort to encourage conservation, encourage residential homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient and thus cut emissions by energy suppliers. The goal is to reduce emissions 10-15% over the next decade. This may be a strategy that can be utilized to encourage the purchase of more energy efficient vehicles: calculate the annual average carbon foot print for your vehicle and develop a fair way to chargeindividuals for pollutine. That's it, pollution with a face. Speaking of food with a face, we bought the kids athte complete collection of the DINOSAURS television series. One of the first episodes included a vignette where Earl had a discussion about the importance of family with the creature, strikingly like a small mammal, that was to be his dinner. Earl was convinced to spare the critters life. That creature later became executive assistant to Earl's boss. No moral, just funny. Get well, 'Mudge.

Posted by: jack | November 20, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

San Antonio assistant op-ed page editor Robert Seltzer writes a collection of news bits titled "The Bottom Line" for Monday's op-ed pages. Today, one of his briefs was about about [California] "Blue state raises its glass [to President Bush]."

Seltzer writes: It is hard to imagine a state so blue embracing a politician so red, but surveys do not lie. [Disagree! So much depends on the survey design.] This survey conducted by the California Wine Club, named President Bush the "favorite choice among wine lovers to have over for Thanksgiving dinner," according to the San Francisco Examiner. The president received 36 percent of the vote, beating out Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Paris Hilton, and Sen. Clinton.

"Why?" Seltzer writes. Even the club has no answer, Seltzer claims. Yeah, right.

Ummm, Bobby Koch, married to Doro Bush, is Bush's brother-in-law? What's in the family stays in the family? Robert should look at cluster groups, genealogically speaking. How close are the ties between The Wine Institute and the California Wine Club? I'd love to know.

"Calling attention to the favorable image of California and California wine further develops the U.S. market for our members and supports Wine Institute's public policy mission," said Robert P. "Bobby" Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.

About Wine Institute
Wine Institute is the association of 887 California wineries and affiliated businesses whose members account for 85 percent of U.S. wine production and 95 percent of U.S. wine exports. Established in 1934, the organization is dedicated to initiating and advocating state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible consumption and enjoyment of wine. Wine Institute seeks to broaden public understanding of the wine industry and its role in the American economy, lifestyle and culture.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wine Institute President & CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch has joined Governor Schwarzenegger on his Trade and Tourism Mission to Tokyo, November 10-13, to help the governor promote California. Japan is the third largest market for California wine exports and the largest market for the state's wine exports in Asia. Revenues to the state's wineries reached $76 million for Japan in 2003 and are expected to increase.

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

SCC: San Antonio...San Antonio Express-News assistant op-ed page editor

Posted by: Loomis | November 20, 2006 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning
I thought you Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. Apparently not, to judge by CNN. Please save the good wishes I sent yesterday and apply them on the appropriate date. I must have been thrown off by our local mall being decked out for Christmas. Santa was there and everything! Only 90 days 'till the Indianapolis 500!

Posted by: Boko999 | November 20, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, Sorry to hear you're not up to snuff.
Hoping your're back to par soon.
People who wear wooden legs should give boats a wide berth. When my mother's little brother fell out of his fishing boat, his wooden leg foated, keeping his head underwater and he drowned.
A very sad end for Uncle Bob.

Posted by: Boko999 | November 20, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Boko you're making an open wheel/NASCAR joke, right?

Speaking of apppropriate dates, the Indy 500's not until May 27th, 2007, which is a bit more than 90 days. And the traditonal start of the pro racing season here in America - the Daytona 24 hour is January 27-28th, which is a bit less than 90 days.

For me, the pro racing season gets started new year's day with the crazy dangerous Paris-Dakar, and really gets rolling with the treacherous WRC Rallye Monte Carlo (aka the 'Monte'), Jan 19-21.

I suppose you might mean that NASCAR thing in Daytona after the Super Bowl? *g*

While we're on the topic of environmental impact and alternate energies, I would note that the top American open wheel racing (Indy Car and Champ Car) leagues have been fueled by methanol and ethanol - not gasoline - for nearly four decades.

I made a serious propsal to the NASCAR powers that be (aka the France family) through some intermediaries about a half dozen years ago to switch over to the same alcohol-fueled engines that the Indy Racing League used; was told "thanks for your interest and good day, sir". Fortunately, I also told industry insider Peter DeLorenzo about the idea, and he's carried the torch for it since then. I doubt it'll happen soon, but one can only hope...


Posted by: bc | November 20, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Mostlylurking, I loved that Neruda poem. I tired to tell you yesterday but my dialup was, well its dialup with an accelerator program, and everytime the firewall program updates itself, the connection goes kaffluey. but I did loive that poem.

There are too many people who live the way the Earthaven folks do of neccesity. I hope we find a way to even the economic score.

While Earthaven is a fine concept, the greater challenge is illustrated by the community members taking their laundry out to a laundromat. We are a culture of convenience, and when we don't feel like it, the fall back position will always be the ease of modern energy consumptive lifestyles.

We have a lot of deadfall on our property. Years worth of heat, and reason says we should be using it for heat. We did look into an energy efficient wood burning system, but discarded the idea because we would be tied to cutting wood for months of the year. If we did not work we could do it, and might very well go that route, but not with more than full time jobs.

I know there is a lot more we can do, but not while working full time. There are just not enough hours in a day. We hope to revert back to farm mode, living much closer to the earth, when we can leave the workforce.

Posted by: dr | November 20, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Listening to WaPo Radio, doggone if JA's air time hasn't been preempted yet again by breaking news.

This time it's the announcement regarding the new District Chief of Police.


Posted by: bc | November 20, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The single best thing I could do to improve my house in terms of energy efficiency (that I haven't already done) would be to replace all my windows, which date from the 1950s. Unfortunately, this would run to many thousands of dollars (even if it pays off in the long run, I have to buy groceries today).

Virginia has no tax credits for things like that that I'm aware of, but it wouldn't help anyway--generally, you can only claim those credits if you itemize deductions, and we don't make enough to make that worthwhile. (Tax lawyers feel free to correct me.)

Likewise, I received no tax credit when we replaced our 20 mpg minivan with a 50 mpg Prius, because the Prius was used, nor for the roof and insulation improvements on the house, which keeps the house much cooler in the summer.

All these things have saved us money (we figure the Prius saves us $1500 per year in gas), but we would be willing to do much more if it was financially feasible, or even financially neutral.

Posted by: Dooley | November 20, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'm a regular poster at the mommy blog, but Sunday's wonderful article brought me here...

I live in a cohousing neighborhood (, which is a variety of intentional community that is closer to a suburb than to Earthaven-- but is still much more environmental than a traditional suburb. We have privately-owned homes and a commonly-owned large clubhouse/commonhouse. Everything is pedestrian-oriented (cars at the periphery) and is based on having real relationships with your neighbors (though still with private homes to retreat to). Although having a supportive community around is the main point, we are also much more environmental. The fact that we have a nice commonhouse with guest bedrooms, a kids' playroom, a large great room for parties, etc. means that our own house can be much smaller. We moved from a 2400 square foot house to an 1800 square foot house and feel that our smaller home works much better for us.

Unlike Earthaven, we feel that living in cohousing makes life much easier as well as more environmental. Our kids go to preschool 5 days a week, but because of carpooling with 2 other families we only have to drive 3 out of the 10 trips. We swap childcare, meals, and often pick up items for each other at the store so that they don't have to get in the car just to get eggs. We have a CSA that delivers farm-fresh veggies to our neighborhood every week. We are large enough to create a market and so the farmers come to us. Best of all, we live next door to some of our best friends, and have impromptu parties all the time.

This kind of neighborhood is unusual in America, but very common in other parts of the world. In Denmark, 20-30% of the population lives in a cohousing neighborhood.

Posted by: Neighbor | November 20, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

bc- That's what I get for repeating what I think I hear on TV. The commentators on yesterdays NASCAR race seemed to be authourative, though I may have misunderstood what they were saying as I was elbows deep in the scrum around food table fighting towards the potato salad.

Posted by: Boko999 | November 20, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Dooley, you have hit the nail on the head for a lot of us. Saving energy, making the changes to be the most efficient costs big bucks. Up here the government used to have a $1000 credit program in place, BUT you had to have your home assessed before and after for consumption to qualify, total cost of the two inspections, about $600. No previous upgrades counted because it was tied to the insepction. So the windows, doors, funace, hot water heater, lighting, attic insulation, all done before the program was announced would never qualify. There are no tax credits, no other program to encourage people to do it, other than the soaring prices of energy.

Posted by: dr | November 20, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

psst, bc I was listening as well then noted the show is on tomorrow. Great minds think alike - hehehe.

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't help but notice the juxtaposition: Joel's feature about Earth Haven and the photo and cutline in this weekend's paper about the annual ceremony at our local University of the Incarnate Word, occurring this past week, during which the juice is turned on for more than a million lightbulbs across campus--holiday lights.

Then there's nearby Valero Energy and the lighting of trees on its corporate campus, the cypresses on the River Walk draped in strand after strand of multi-colored bulbs, numerous examples of residential excess in terms of seasonal light displays.

What hath Thomas Alva Edison wrought? *wink, I think* To splurge or to conserve, that is the question?

Posted by: Loomis | November 20, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse


You'd think NASCAR, with its roots, would positively go nuts over alcohol-based fuels!


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 20, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Howard Kurtz includes an interesting (if rather predictable and depressing) item today:

"Glenn Beck at CNN interviewing the first Muslim congressman in American history says, 'Prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' It's a pretty amazing thing to say. The obvious question I would have for Glenn Beck, Prove to us that you are not working with our enemies.

"Never mind the impossibility of proving a negative. The enemies I'm talking about are ignorance, intolerance, racism. The enemies I'm talking about are the people that don't want us to have a diverse, pluralistic society.

"In the same breath Glenn Beck insists that he has been to many mosques and has many Muslim friends. Let me be the first to say, I doubt it."

Would a Jew be asked to prove that his loyalty wasn't to Israel, or a Catholic to the church? I don't think so.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 20, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that most of us will conserve energy in any meaningful way until or unless we find a strong leader to inspire us (a Carter-type in a sweater isn't going to cut it) or a significant monetary incentive. We've gone from a weekly bath in our grandparents day to daily (or more often) long hot showers, from room fans or maybe an a/c window unit, to central air, even here in the northeast where it really isn't necessary. We are spoiled, but how much would we be willing to do without?

I certainly admire the people of Earthaven for their principles, but I wouldn't voluntarily do what they do. We have downsized our living situation, using less electricity and heating fuel as a result. But "S" now has a very long commute and so is using much more gas. Seems like you can't win.

Regarding "food with a face," last night I mentioned to my daughter that I had bought a fresh turkey from a local farm. She said she didn't want to know where it came from as she would feel funny eating it. She couldn't explain why there was a difference in her attitude other than that the bird grew up down the street and was a neighbor (I think she was kidding, but with her, I can never be certain).

Speaking of turkeys, I watched the show that Mudge recommended on the Food Network about frying the bird. It was hilarious. Not that I had any desire to fry one, but after watching what they went through, ladders, pulleys and ropes, fire extinguishers, etc., I'll never look at a step ladder the same way again.

And speaking of Mudge, you take care of yourself sir, please.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | November 20, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I blame it on the alcohol.
Shoulda known it - JA's ALWAYS on "No Soap, WaPo Radio" on Tuesdays.

Scotty, you're right, except that all the teams would want to distill their own sp-, er, fuels. Seriously, it makes sense for NASCAR to put stuff like Wolfe's "The Last American Hero" and the 'Southern 500' behind them from a Madison Avenue marketing per$pective... Though with big sponsorships from Anhauser-Busch, Miller, Crown Royal, Jack Daniels, etc. they *can't* be that worried about it.

NASCAR's technology is mired in the 1960s for the most part (note that a Cup car's rear suspension is based on 1960's Ford and Chevy technology, and they still use carbs for induction), they're not in a hurry to embrace crazy "new" stuff like fuel injection, overhead cams or alternate fuels.

Their first attempt to embrace some sort of significant technology update, the "Car of Tomorrow", is one *ugly* duckling, and has what I think is a big potential problem with the front end of the car under racing conditions.

I can't believe I'm posting that here.


Posted by: bc | November 20, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, for a guy not feeling well, it sounds as if you did a lot over the weekend, including the stint to the emergency room. Does the word "rest" have any meaning in all of this?

Diabetes is a full time job, if my information is correct. And you're still hanging in there with these other pursuits? Just get better, Mudge, and take care of yourself. I'm scolding, I know, but just want you to take care.

Scotty, don't watch Glen Beck, too much like wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy out there.

And the alcohol thing about NASCAR was funny, although some at NASCAR might not think so.

And thanks everyone, I do feel better, just still tired. The g-girl is a handful, and then some.

Pat, this morning we walked, and the sky was so cloudy, and those clouds were not trying very hard, there was success. And the lake was full of ripples as the wind lifted the water up as if to pull it up the banks. And the air was so cold, not crisp, but cold as if blowing off ice. The backdrop of all those clouds was greenery, and decay in the form of lingering bits of fall. There was a hint of hurry and rush in all this, as if a hand was pulling one from this mixture of cold, wind, and clouds, dictating movement, and erasing all the calm I once felt standing on the bank of the lake. I missed the calmness and peace I usually felt while watching the ducks, for even the ducks, were hiding this morning.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 20, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

bc, Crown Royal is a Nascar sponsor, up here anyways not something I would associate with a Nascar crowd.

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

S'nuke: I heard that NPR will be running an interview of the gentleman you're referring to on the News & Notes segment, scheduled to air this evening at 10 p.m.. Beck's question is a reminder that people have mental schemes for people that hold different views than themselves. These schema are hard to accomodate and change, unless one spends the time to befriend and get to know different people. In the absence of this, people assume the worst.

Posted by: jack | November 20, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Makes me want to watch "Good Neighbors" again.

Posted by: Gary Masters | November 20, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I've been drinking a mix of Royal Crown cola with Crown Royal. I call it the "High King". Can you tell?

And yes, I'm using it to wash down my breakfast Moon Pie.


Posted by: bc | November 20, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Breakfast of champions, bc.

Posted by: jack | November 20, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

bc, I am thinking Crown Royal has a totally different marketing strategy in the US than it does at home. Your "High King" is rye and coke up here :-).

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Warped minds think alike, jack...I was just about to type "breakfast of champions" and my keyboard died...

Loomis, re: "This survey conducted by the California Wine Club, named President Bush the 'favorite choice among wine lovers to have over for Thanksgiving dinner,' according to the San Francisco Examiner." He's a teetotaler so maybe they'd invite him because he wouldn't drink up all their wine.

And jeez looeez 'mudge, I hope you're feeling better. It sounds like you don't let it slow you down much.

Posted by: ac in sj | November 20, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

The weatherman said partly cloudy, but we must be in the cloudy section. It is quite chilly here, the first morning I felt like I should have worn gloves and wished that the car would have warmed up faster. Dull and dreary, blah!

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | November 20, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse


Trust me, the only Beck I'm interested in is Jeff, and he doesn't talk.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 20, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"High King" is easier to say than "Royal Crown Royal". And if you asked for rye & coke down here, you're likely to get a piece of bread and a CoCola.


Posted by: bc | November 20, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Bad Sneaks, after what seems like weeks of grey gloomy weather so far this weeks predictions are for at least some sun - with luck it will head your way.

Any one with an older home check those attics you never know what you might find, including mastodon teeth.

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

ac in sj:
Loomis, re: "This survey conducted by the California Wine Club, named President Bush the 'favorite choice among wine lovers to have over for Thanksgiving dinner,' according to the San Francisco Examiner." He's a teetotaler so maybe they'd invite him because he wouldn't drink up all their wine.

I knew that--about Bush being an abstainer or a recovering alcoholic. What I didn't know until I looked into Kitty Kelley's book, "The Family" a little later this morning is that Bobby Koch, Doro's second hubby, is--or was--quite the Democratic, having worked for Gephardt from Missouri, and later Tony Coelho from Merced, which probably explains how Koch got out California way. I wonder where Koch's working Wine Institute office is located?

There was wine being served at the Twig Bookstore when Doro rolled through town last Wednesday. The woman next to me was offered a glass. I was drinking a red. She politely declined. Then the woman, with some insistence in her voice, asked "Are you sure?" The woman than had to explain that she is a recovering alcoholic. How sad that often we can't take a simple "No, thanks" for an answer.

Posted by: Loomis | November 20, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

What Mudge did in the way of trimming tiles, he could pretty much have done sitting on the floor off his bad leg.

That said, I'm surprised his wife didn't try and stop him or find some other activities. It does sound like she's a trifle addicted to the "honey do" list, come hospital or high water.

Boko brings up a very good point about wooden legs. That's why all peglegged pirates wear a parrot-- it's a counter-flotation device. A service animal, if you would.

Dogs do good work nowadays in that regard-- they'll fetch you a leg if you ask, and it's definitely easier if it's a stick of a peg to start with.
(Get a mature, trained and really salty one-- no chewies allowed anywhere around a wood leg.)

Just don't call the dog "Sharkbait."

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, some cultures require food or drink be offered at least twice-- first refusal is often politeness in those cultures, not wishing to look greedy.

I could tell you stories of how I had to deal with "food pushing" before I figured out the system.
I think the pattern of "leaving food on the plate" to be polite is also a safeguard against further offers of food.

Being from a "clean your plate" family, it's interesting how I was driven to desperation to leave just one pea or something on the plate to block further offers of food.

In other words, I suspect the recovering alcoholic could probably have just said "yes, I'm quite sure." It's just a matter of cultural confusion over what constitutes politeness.

I've never had to refuse alcohol more than twice for the message to be accepted.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Mudge with a service Labrador or Newfoundland.

Newfoundlands are a bit supersized, drooly, and shaggy, but completely worth it for sea rescue ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Eurotrash reminder mostlylurking. The list is now up to one hundred. all '12 of them' indeed...

Posted by: omni | November 20, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"all '12 of them' indeed..."

Assuming that we aren't all just Pat, posting imaginary comments about himself...

Posted by: Dooley | November 20, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Or worse, Pat is a multiple personality and only one is actually blind. ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Wilbrod! I remember our visiting French friends finally confessing that they had many hungry and thirsty moments at our house after they politely refused our first offer of food and drink, expecting a second offer that never came. Soon they learned to accept any offer that came their way.

Posted by: Neighbor | November 20, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm a little bit schitzo and maybe that's why I get away with paying only half price rush hour fare on the Metro?

Posted by: Pat | November 20, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Howdy, Neighbor! (You must remember that there is an embargo on France and things French here.) The cohousing idea sounds very sensible.

Beautiful sunny, blue sky day here. The weather folks are calling it a sunbreak, but it's lasted quite awhile, so I'm calling it a full out sunny day. More rain in the forecast, though. I'm off all week, my son is here to visit, so it should be a fun time.

Mudge, take care of yourself. My neighbor had cellulitis last year, and she suffered a lot from it. I need to lose weight - need to get out and walk everyday.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 20, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. What an excellent story. It reminds me of my grandmother, who got off the farm the first chance she could, moved to town, and gave away her antiques. She didn't want that "old stuff". My dad put in central heat in 1950 and kept the house warm, remembering years spent in heatless upstairs bedrooms breaking the morning ice in washbowls. I keep the same house at about 65 degrees in the winter and we wear sweaters, but I understand the impulse (we're still using his 1950s windows, though, and despite repeated reglazing they haven't aged well, so I'd just be heating the great outdoors). I'm fighting the energy battle with running water and turning off lights, but my bete noir is all those vampire appliances. I wish I could turn off at least a few but there'd be open rebellion. Surrounded by Vampires.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 20, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Nicely done chat Joel, even though that "bc" person tried to push you off-topic.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 20, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Not that I would push a conversation off topic, but Wilbrod's "clean your plate" comment reminded me of the time I had dinner with a classmate who had a very traditional Chinese mother.

I kept trying to clear my plate to be polite. She kept adding more food to be polite.

I started to panic that I would explode, while she, I have since learned, kept wondering how much this skinny boy could eat.

My friend just watched it all while laughing to himself.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 20, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes the medical profession makes me berserk. I've had this long-standing (3 months or more) appointment with my diabetes guy for a quarterly checkup, I take off half a day of work, I have to drive instead of take the bus, so I incur a total of $22 in parking costs, I fight rush houre traffic--and he's not there. Instead, I get a pre-interview with a fourth year medical student. (She was very nice, very intelligent, took good notes--but she looked about 14 and was named Tammy. At least she didn't say, "Dr. Tammy," which would have made me laugh. I just have trouble taking seriously a 14-year-old named Tammy.) After Tammy, I got an intern, and had to repeat my whole story. She nodded and also took good notes --- and did nothing. (She was maybe...28? And I didn't get her name, which was possibly Indian and hyphenated. She apologized for my doc not being there, and said they weren't going to charge me for the visit. YA HEAR THAT, INSURANCE COMPANY????? I SAVED YA SOME MONEY, YOU TURKEYS. (I'm not fond of insurance companies; I know that will shock some of you.) Then they handed me a form and told me to go down to the Vampire Room to give them blood and urine samples. Have you ever waited an hour to give a urine sample? When you're already on three diuretics? I think I got a charley-horse knotting my eyebrow. "Here's your sample cup, Mr....hey, look at that old man run!"

Alas, Cassandra and Wilbrod, I would indeed have like to spend the day resting yesterday, but rest isn't in my wife's vocabulary. But thanks for the suggestion.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 20, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, if you ask nicely SoC might be able to give you a nice note for your wife.

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Or Ivansmom... I'm pretty sure making an ill man with a rotting leg grout n tile comes under the heading of "spousal abuse."

Meanwhile, take vitamin C (megadoses) and do as the doctor ordered.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Resting", in the Husbands' Dictionary is defined as:
"Letting the man watch football or other sport of his choice on TV, in his most comfortable chair or bed. This should not be interrupted even if the man falls asleep. It is an integral part of the experience."

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, you just described how I found my husband last night.

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Cease And Desist Order

Complainant, Curmudgeon, averring that he has recurring cellulitis, which causes extreme pain and necessitates visits to an emergency room physician, causing different yet comparable pain,

AND averring that he has the chronic condition of diabetes, requiring quarterly medical review, in itself a form of torture and involving the repetition of his personal medical information to a succession of young women with white coats and clipboards, but no experienced medical professional,

AND averring that the previously mentioned physicians and assorted medical personnel all recommended various treatments including REST and RELAXATION,

AND averring that Defendant, Mrs. Curmudgeon, disregarding this explicit and specific medical advice, requires Complainant to continue home repair and installation projects above and beyond regular light household chores,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant, Mrs. Curmudgeon, CEASE AND DESIST from any demand or requirement of said home repair and installation projects, exclusive of any nautical projects the Complainant himself may wish to undertake. It is further ORDERED that Defendant, Mrs. Curmudgeon, allow Complainant to follow medical advice while at home by engaging in REST, RELAXATION and similar indolent and even somnolent activities.


Posted by: Ivansmom | November 20, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

In the chat Joel mentioned that Earthaven has a website. Here it is:

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 20, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Mudge when you get your own blog you'll just ask your driver to wait for you while you visit the doc. Who will work for you full time.

Did anyone see this:

Everyone's leaving. You all heard that DVD is going, right? The Vonster?


Posted by: Achenbach | November 20, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, why aren't you Chief Justice of the Supreme Court yet? Got my vote!

('re not gonna bill me, are you?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 20, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

From your comments at the end of "The Grand Idea" I know that David von Drehle is a friend of yours, so I am sorry to hear that he will be leaving the Post.

And even if you, yourself, should one day end up somewhere else, fear not. You have a solid fan base.

I mean, we will find you.

We have our ways.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 20, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Rest easy, Mudge.

I'll run a tab.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 20, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't heard about DVD.

Plus this.

Yikes indeed.


PS I did *not* try to push the chat off topic, I was just sharing some of my strategies for reducing my energy shoe size.

One excellent way to save energy is to never slow down, once moving.

Posted by: bc | November 20, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

DVD is leaving? Does this mean that you will now be unable to associate except in dark little bars in out of the way corners, and even then you will have to wear sunglasses, a geeky looking hat, and possibly one of those fake mustaches, just in case anyone notices 2 internationally known writers?

Posted by: dr | November 20, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Joel, as long as YOU stay, the rest of us will be okay.

Say, are you okay? You are, aren't you?

We don't want anything to happen to you!

Posted by: slyness | November 20, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

bc - Hmm, I guess you are correct. The random sampling of television could be considered a legitimate method for reducing power usage. I might try it tonight while my wife tries to watch "Two and a Half Men."

Of course, before I do this, I should ask Mudge to recommend a good doctor because I will, like, need it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 20, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

dr, what you're describing in your 3:37 is a typical BPH.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 20, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Ohmygosh, common sense has broken out!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 20, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Oooooh, you beat me to it, anonymous poster!!!! *shaking fist*


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 20, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous poster is of course one of Pat's many unnamed multiple personalities. I suggest A.P. Hill as a nickname.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

University of Missouri-Kansas City website.

O.J.: Deoxyribose nucleic acid

Posted by: Loomis | November 20, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Re the 3:49, Well its about time. The ordinary and sensible of the world strike a blow for the common good.

Mudge, I never thought of that. Be aware,the guy in the geeky hat, with the flyaway hair might just be the boss.

Did anyone notice how he worked his hair into the chat? Smooth move, I say.

Posted by: dr | November 20, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

And just in case any one missed this important event,

BC won but Saskatchewan fans cheered louder. Louder than what you ask? We weren't playing, but that has never mattered before, we just cheer. Its not connected to beverage consumption or anything. Or so I am told.

Posted by: dr | November 20, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

dr, it was Grey Cup - its all about the beverage consumption.

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

'mudge: when I read "I think I got a charley-horse knotting my eyebrow..."I had to come to a full stop, I was laughing so hard. What a picture.

Posted by: ac in sj | November 20, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse

And I'm so glad they pulled the OJ extravaganza, though I'm cynical enough to believe it was because of the PR disaster and not because Mr Murdoch was as dismayed as we were.

Posted by: ac in sj | November 20, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Petty point of information -- there are several points in the article in which Joel or one of the Earthaven residents refers to using up so-and-so many watts in a day or in a year. From the usage, I deduce that this actually means kilowatt-hours (kWh). Otherwise, it implies that Joel is dealing with 7000 W refrigerators, which would surely not receive a favorable EnergyStar rating. If a fridge uses 7 kWh in a day, then it draws 292W, about 3 times a standard 100W lightbulb. We humans each produce about 100W of body heat at all times. When the fellow gets cranky about the computer drawing 180W over a weekend -- well, again, is that 180W for 48 hours = 8.6 kWh, or is that 180 watt-hours, meaning it drew 3.75 W continuously? Wasted electricity, yes, but not very wasteful.

The question came up recently -- is a laptop computer an energy hog, compared to a desktop? Well, my laptop has a 65W power supply. When the CPU is working flat-out on some intensive calculation, then it gets quite warm and devotes most of that 65W to computational activities (which means, it does lots of calculations and makes 65W of waste heat in the process). When it is not working flat-out, which is the case with most computers 95% of the time (roughly), power-consumption for both CPU and monitor is much less. I would deduce that the average laptop, unless it is doing something compute-intensive like compiling code, or calculating detailed infrared radiative-transfer models, or running a DVD, probably suck up about 1/3 of the power supply's capacity -- about 22 W. I think you will find that that is a lot less than a desktop computer. Most of the savings, however, I think is in the monitor. A desktop with an LCD monitor should be about the same as a laptop, but will use more power in running a cooling fan.

Somebody on Joel's chat mentioned disbelief that you can have a technological society that uses 1/3 as much power as we do now. Maybe. We can make lighting systems that are at least 10 times as efficient as currently (with LEDs) or about 3 times as efficient compared to incandescents using compact fluorescent lamps. We can dramatically improve our energy demands for transportation if we invest in intelligently-designed inter-city and commuter rail for most big cities, plus we centralize the pollution source (electric power plants) so that we can use immobile scrubber systems. We can design our buildings to have more natural light, so that we use electric lighting during the day only to augment natural light. We could design buildings with lighting zones so that we turn on full electric lighting only where natural light is insufficient. We could do a lot better, but it would take an investment.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 20, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

A quick trip to the breaker box in your house can make you 'energy independent'.
Now, who's gonna do it? LOLOL

Posted by: Bert | November 20, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

mudge mudge mudge - PLEASE take better care of yourself and your blue bottom! sheesh!

anyone hear about michael richards tirade? i'm absolutely shocked and sickened! this is even worse than mel gibson's anti-semitic tirade!

Posted by: mo | November 20, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I heard about Michael Richards - that does sound bad and it's very disappointing.

Good articles about Alice Walker:

solar energy:


Posted by: mostlylurking | November 20, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

mo, you always were very protective toward my blue bottom, and I thank you. Unfortunately, it's my leg that's the problem. But I digress.

Yes, I saw the Michael Richards clip. Very weird. For parts of it it sounded like it was part of the joke, but other parts you could tell he was off his rocker. And the heckler was nuts, too. Very disturbing. Supposedly Richards has apolgized--but that sort of confoirms that he wasn't fooling around.

dr, you folks got to get yourselves a sturdier Grey Cup, methinks.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 20, 2006 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Here's a link to the Michael Richards incident - really awful. Hard for me to imagine what makes anyone say such horrible things. He's such a gifted comedian, but I guess he should stick with the script. I'll never see him the same way, that's for sure.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 20, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

The anonymous post about OJ was from me. Soorrry!

Posted by: Slyness | November 20, 2006 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I like to think of it as age related, sort of like needing bifocals, and Jimmy Carter sweaters, Mudge. Its just age related reapirs.

You might like this. Its a wiki entry and i hope the link works. If not look for the misadventures heading.

The original and real Stanley Cup is on display at the Hockey Hall of fame. Its too fragile to handle.

Posted by: dr | November 20, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

And another article I thought was interesting (oh no, goes the collective scream from the boodle). My sister asked one of our aunts how she got such a flaky pie crust - her answer was lard:

As for me, I buy ready made, frozen pie crusts for my husband, the pie man. (I mean, he makes the pies in our house. I just eat them.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 20, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Here's an EPA Web site on how to calculate one's carbon footprint.

Alas, ScienteTim and Joel, I'm about as pessimistic as I can be about this energy conservation business. Tim, a lot of what you suggested were good ideas--but they'll never happen in a million years. What we're basically talking about is entirely transforming our society--and that ain't gonna happen absent some sort of catastrophic event. Basically, the future I see is more or less Bladerunner. Very regretfully, I have to answer Joel's question, "Do we all have to live like hippies in the woods," the answer is pretty much yes. And it'll never happen.

I'm very sympathetic to the ecology movement and the energy conservation issues (I was the lead reporter on the very first Earth Day story back in 1970 or whenever it was), and have intermittent experience over the years dealing with some of these questions. And over time I've come to two conclusions: (1) strictly from a PR point of view, many/most of the advocates (the "Greens") of all these plans and schemes make for pretty horrible spokespeople for their causes. It doesn't matter how intellectually worthy or technologically do-able any of these things are; they are still tough, tough, tough sells. And when you marry a tough sell with a flakey spokesperson or advocacy group, you wind up with zilch. And there is NO repeat NO major, concerted leadership. (And don't give me Gore as an example.)
(2) The American (or world) public is about as ready to "see the light" and make all these major changes as the Iraqis are to suddenly adopt democracy because Arbusto wants them to. Ain't gonna happen, Jack.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 20, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking. This Thanksgiving we shall be venturing, as is our custom, up the Pennsylvania Dutch Country. There, we shall consume baked goods prepared by devilishly clever local women who shamelessly embrace the culture of lard.

And it shall be good.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 20, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Mudge the history of the Grey Cup is much like the history of the Stanley Cup, the players get to take the cup around and celebrate, this results in much mischief and some fun stories and the odd kidnapping. Considering what the cups have been put through we are lucky they exist.

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Padouk, the vision of a Pennsy Dutch Thanksgiving feast just gives me goosebumps. Instead of a tune cootie it's like a food cootie. Must be spectacular.

And yes, mostly, most (older) bakers and cooks know the secret joys of lard, as well as bacon grease. Unfortunately, as everyone also knows, lard and bacon grease are pretty much widowmakers. But what a way to go.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 20, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Grey Cup Trophy history highlights, first donated in 1909.

Short article from the Globe & Mail today, not the first time the cup broke.

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - I'm sure the "7000 Watt" fridge was just some of that literary hyperbole I've heard tell of. I agree, though, that the "180 Watts" comment is incomplete, although common sense would suggest your latter interpretation.

Personally, I like to translate all my power requirements into Joules-per-fortnight, because it keeps everyone on their toes.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 20, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, you just gave me a great memory of my mom, her pie crust was her signature, very flaky and she always used lard. Her butter tarts were famous, closer to your pecan filling that our traditional butter tart, she used corn syrup so they were slightly sticky, with raisins and walnuts and a bit of carmelization on top all inside a flaky crust.

As an aside how did you manage three links in one post - very impressive!

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Actually Mudge, check with your doctors and their foodie people in the know. My dad's doctors and dietitians (Quad bypass) tell him that the more natural a product is, the better it is. Butter, ok. Margarine, not ok anymore. Lard, homemade, fine, purchased not so much. Absolutely no 'vegetable shortenings. Bacon fat, not good under any circumstances however, bacon with most of the fat cooked out of it, not so bad as you'd think. All that said fat is not the enemy, just a fellow you have to watch really close cause he's kinda sneaky.

My middle son has made actual from scratch pie crusts, as well as a filling made from real fresh apples. I am so proud, and it was very edible.

Posted by: dr | November 20, 2006 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, cellulitis is really dangerous, please rest until your leg is cured/at least not red. My brother-in-law was hospitalized four times last year before the infection was finally cured, and that was by having daily infusions of antibiotics for (as I recall) four weeks. Driving from home each day to the hospital. NO FUN!

Posted by: nellie | November 20, 2006 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, please take care of yourself. You have never heard of/from me before but I am a regular lurker on this blog (when I have time)and you are my favorite blogger. No offense meant to the others, who are also good, but when I have to skim the blog for lack of time, I look for your name. I missed you when you 'disappeared'. As to your comment about hating to get old, you will never be old as long as you keep your sense of humor
and your sharp mind. I am much older than you (69 ) and I can tell you that being old is also a state of mind, though the body does do its dirty tricks. If you start thinking like an old man, which you are far from being, you might turn into one. So think young. All the best to you.

Posted by: Nameless | November 20, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I see this article as part of the grand three pronged plan for a cultural shift on climate change. Challenges don't get any bigger, and it shares a lot in common with large scale religious conversion:

1. Discredit the unbelievers and the heretics. See for example, "Clouds are hard".

2. Extol the virtues of the faithful. In this regard, the Earthaven residents are like the ascetics.

3. Provide guidance and direction for the rest of us. Here's where, to continue the analogy, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Climate change will the ultimate litmus test on whether or not democracy works. Can a system of government that measures success or failure in terms of months or years succeed in addressing a problem on the scale of decades? Should be interesting. Hard not to think of the metaphor of the frog swimming around in ever-warming water.

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 20, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

dr, ha! I aspire to the high praise of "it was very edible".

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 20, 2006 6:39 PM | Report abuse

SoC, I tend to think of it in terms of a Survivor for the lobby groups - each veying for their share of the pie $$$.

Posted by: dmd | November 20, 2006 6:41 PM | Report abuse

sofc, i think we already failed the democracy test badly with the katrina disaster - knowing for decades the risk of a large hurricane to the new orleans levees and doing nothing about it.

i'm afraid the energy situation won't be any different, except that the economic risks of depending on oil from certain nations might force us to change before a full-scale environmental disaster. let us hope.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 20, 2006 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Nameless, Nameless. Have I ever mentioned I've always loved older women?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 20, 2006 7:58 PM | Report abuse

LA Lurker, I prefer to think that the response to Katrina was a failure of leadership, not a failure of democracy. Surely it would have been better, if James Lee Witt had still been at FEMA. Sometimes baseline competence is just simply necessary. I notice that this particular failure has had an impact on the administration. Imagine that.

Posted by: Slyness | November 20, 2006 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Another interesting take on how *Fox Kills OJ Special* (as it's referenced on the front page)--with all the negative press, who would buy commercials anyway, and now Fox has the publicity without having to air it.

John Grogan's column on global warming and the energy crisis.

Don't know how coherent this will be (full day @ work), but I think we're separated from more than other people. I believe many people are separated from their authentic selves. You (many people) set a goal of x dollars, or y title at work without realizing what the true cost is. Then because you have little or no leisure, you're always driven, our society pushes consumption as the thing which will make you feel better. They tell you that's why you do it all, to end up with *all this stuff* (sorry, Steve Martin in *My Blue Heaven* flashback) in exchange for your life. It takes more space to store, creates more trash and requires needless energy expenditure to produce.

You can never get enough of what you don't really want. (One of my 2 mottos to live by)

I turned down a promotion today. I had worked towards it for several years before realizing I wouldn't get it because I was the smartest, best organized or most technical. I'd get it because I was willing to take the most ahem, manure. It took me a year after the realization to let myself admit I didn't want it--no interest in working 60+ hours a week, no interest in working for a micromanager, no interest in managing people instead of servers. Lots of interest in staying technical, working on a new system puzzle every day, working (mainly) under 50 hours a week and having some semblance of a real life.

What the heck? Allows me keep the house I bought small on purpose and my non-gas-guzzler. Life is good when you appreciate what you have. Now to check out those energy efficient bulbs and the dog treadmills to produce electricity. :-)

Posted by: dbG | November 20, 2006 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Somebody else had better post before I write about my 2nd motto to live by! I am not killing this boodle tonight.

Posted by: dbG | November 20, 2006 8:55 PM | Report abuse

"You can never get enough of what you don't really want."
Amen to that, dbG. What a great post. And "Life is good when you appreciate what you have." Indeed. Gratitude is very underrated in today's society. To New-Age-Mumbo-Jumbo types like myself, gratitude is one of the highest-frequency energy vibrations.

And I realize I've posted the following quotes before, but what the hey:

"Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into."

-- Wayne W. Dyer

"When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."

-- Lao Tzu

Posted by: Dreamer | November 20, 2006 9:07 PM | Report abuse

You didn't kill the boodle, dbG. OJ did.

Posted by: pj | November 20, 2006 9:07 PM | Report abuse

-- Said dbG as she feverishly stabbed the boodle.

You're correct, sometimes promotion is just more of the same, and who wants that?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Dreamer and pj.

You've encouraged me, one NAMJ person to another.

Motto #2 is from Evan Handler's *Time on Fire.*
"Always ask for what you want one hundred percent of the time. Be willing to hear no. Be willing to negotiate."

Whether you get it or not, being able to articulate what it is that you do want and validate yourself in doing so is one of the most powerful things in the world. It allows you to just *be* instead of having to wear a mask.

Posted by: dbG | November 20, 2006 9:22 PM | Report abuse

slyness, i completely agree that there was a failure of leadership. i was referring more to the fact that even though it was known for a long time that the levees couldn't withstand more than a category 3, no one in government stepped up to the plate to secure funding and make sure that the levees were strengthened. it was a huge, long-standing problem that no one felt like tackling, and i think that the short-term nature of goals for democratically-elected officials was a big factor. it would have taken a lot of funding and determination, and other pet projects and pork would have had to have been sacrificed. (is that a grammatically correct construction?!?)

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 20, 2006 9:22 PM | Report abuse

dbG - I understand the trade-offs inherent in a promotion. I received one not too long ago. The problem I have, ironically, is that I am now actually less busy than I was before. Unfortunately, I have a hard time with less busy.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 20, 2006 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, too, Wilbrod.

Did I mention that masks are on sale at Macy's?

Posted by: dbG | November 20, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I wish gratitude wasn't limited to New Age mumbo-jumbo, Dreamer. I'm not sure it's even supposed to be.

Great Lao-Tse quote. (It's Sun Tzu but Lao-Tse, last I checked, although I could have overlooked a Taoist child of Sun Tzu.)

Or, look at it the other way-- when stuff belongs to you, you also belong to it.

Would you rather belong to the world, or to a few thousand pounds of junk, your bills, and your job 24/7?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 9:26 PM | Report abuse

but rd, now you can boodle more! ;-)

dbg, sounds like you made the right decision.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 20, 2006 9:33 PM | Report abuse

RD, I always enjoy your posts.

I'm not anti-promotion (I didn't think you were implying that), just anti any that claims more of my life/time. I hope you'll find something interesting to do to fill that gap. Wii, for instance.

Now my colleagues and I are waiting to see who fills the job. If it's whom we dread, some of us will be job-hunting rather than deciding to stay. Hey, some of 'em might have been hunting if I'd taken it. :-) But life's too short to make yourself miserable.

Posted by: dbG | November 20, 2006 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I hear ya, LA Lurker. You are completely correct.

RD, one of the main reasons I'm retiring is the boredom that's now part of the job. Didn't used to be that way, but I can't influence management to make it better, so I'm leaving at the first opportunity. You know what's funny, though? All of a sudden, my contributions seem to be awfully important. I never noticed that before. My boss keeps telling me he going to miss me. Not my problem!

Posted by: Slyness | November 20, 2006 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, that was an unfortunate juxtaposition. (Is that correct? It looks wrong. Why did the Mommie&Daddy blog get spell check and we didn't?) I was not implying you wore a mask.

Posted by: dbG | November 20, 2006 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's your sparkling personality and the fact you need no supervision, Slyness ;).

Retire away, Slyness. May you find many interesting things to do instead.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Or, as a fine person of my acquaintance once said, "What you don't spend you don't have to earn."

*going back to work now*

Posted by: Yoki | November 20, 2006 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Depends on the type of mask, Slyness. What kind of masks are at sale at Macy's? Hannibal Lecter masks?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait to hear about your new adventures, Slyness.

Posted by: dbG | November 20, 2006 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Painted porcelain, fancy with feathers and paste jewels.

Posted by: dbG | November 20, 2006 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Some more NAMJ-type mottos:

When you say, "Gimme gimme gimme" to the Universe, the Universe will say "Gimme gimme gimme" right back. But when you ask the Universe, "What can I do for you?" the Universe will say, "No, what can *I* do for *you*?" [paraphrased from Wayne Dyer]


Be open to everything, attached to nothing.
[Paraphrased Buddhist teaching]

Posted by: Dreamer | November 20, 2006 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, dbG. I expect them to be mundane: working in the yard, painting closets, spending time with family. All the things that make life happy and healthy.

Posted by: Slyness | November 20, 2006 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Sounds incredible, Slyness.

Posted by: dbG | November 20, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Sounds very Mardi Gras.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dbG - I thought about the Wii, but neither my son nor my Boss would take it too well.

It does seem the more I advance in my career, the less frantic the pace becomes. The busiest job I ever had was when I worked the swing shift at McDonald's.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 20, 2006 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Really, I'd count a lawyer's office for me.
That woman barely let me take a lunch break, I remember when she interrupted me with another assignment just seconds before I was about to get food. I can't remember any other time I was this close to swearing that if she interrupted me again within the next 15 minutes I would either quit or take a swing at her.

BTW, every lawyer on this blog is 1000 times nicer than her.

I did work fast food, but it had very irregular pacing, and it was nice to be busy for 20 min straight.

It depends, I think, on how you feel about the work and how good you are at it (as well as the physical labor involved).

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, gratitude is not limited to practitioners of New Age Mumbo Jumbo. I just meant that New-Age-Mumbo-Jumbo types are more likely to describe it in terms of high-frequency energy vibrations. (Fear, anxiety, despair, pessimism, etc., are characterized as low-frequency vibrations, and gratitude, hope, love, optimism, etc. are characterized as high-frequency vibrations.)

Posted by: Dreamer | November 20, 2006 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Oops -- I forgot one of the most important higher frequencies:


Posted by: Dreamer | November 20, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse

WaPo just posted a headline I never thought I'd ever see in print:

Influential Iraqi Commedian Killed.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 20, 2006 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Glad the lard reference brought back fond memories. I vaguely remember my Mom having lard in the cupboard too, and she definitely used bacon grease occasionally.

Wilbrod posted a comment with 3 links, so I thought I'd give it a try. I previewed it first. Anyone want to try 4?

Nameless, welcome - remember, just click post!

pj, I'm laughing.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 20, 2006 10:52 PM | Report abuse

i tried to do 4 links in my November 18, 2006 11:45 PM (above)
but it didn't work, so i split them.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 20, 2006 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm what's wrong with some good bass vibes? Infrasound CAN actually trigger fear and anxiety, though.

Since I have pretty good tactile hearing (infrasound is not heard but felt, I KNOW when infrasound is around.

(The anxiety-inducing infrasound vibrates through the whole body, not in specific areas, which is why it is hard to hear or feel consciously-- the emotional reaction is usually your best tip-off.).

I used to hate working in the Rosslyn area because there's so much infrasound in that area. I finally traced a monstrous rumbling to a large garbage truck that'd be a few blocks away and out of sight when I'd feel it, but it wasn't the only infrasound source.

But it was one of the worst places I've ever worked in, almost every day I'd be jumping from some kind of vibration that I couldn't identify the location of.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 11:08 PM | Report abuse

The article about the Iraqi comedian is very sad - and 133 media workers killed, most Iraqi.

Yeah, I dig those bass vibes, at least from the likes of Jack Bruce and Sir Paul.

Speaking of New Age, Loreena McKennitt has a new album, An Ancient Muse, coming out soon. I don't think she's really New Age-y, but 2 people I gave her older CD to thought so. You can listen to clips, read the lyrics:

My son and I saw her in concert many years ago. The TV series The Highlander used some of her music, so he liked it. It was a fabulous show - where I learned that the hurdy-gurdy is not anything like I supposed it was.
There's a section there that talks about Nigel Eaton, who has recorded and toured with Loreena McKennitt, and who also toured with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Kewl.

And of course, Loreena is Canadian.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 20, 2006 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I've heard "slow music with vocal and strings" described as New Age.

Although frankly other than the synocopated rhythm, this could describe some jazz.

It's probably due to melody overwhelming the beat (which is either slow or soft).

Looking it up has confused me even further.

Is Muzak "new age"?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Wiki describes Loreena McKennitt as performing with a "new age/celtic" feel.

Score! I was thinking "Celtic" was very likely from her name ;).

"Before McKennitt composes any music she engages in massive research on a specific subject which forms the general concept of the album. Before creating Elemental and Parallel Dreams she travelled to Ireland for inspiration from the country's history, geography and culture.
The album The Mask and Mirror was preceded by research in Spain where she engaged in studying Galicia, a Celtic section of Spain, along with its abundant Arabic roots, thus creating an album including elements of both Celtic and Arabic music."

Which would account for the "new age" feel.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 20, 2006 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Many of her lyrics seem to be rearrangements or based on Shakespeare or old folksongs, but I found some stuff that she wrote the lyrics for.

This one has a nice sky report

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 12:01 AM | Report abuse

wilbrod, muzak "songs" are usually annoyingly generic (sanitized) instrumental versions of popular or sometimes rock songs. they rely a lot on violins and stringed instruments, sometimes keyboard, but generally do not overtly sound to be using electronic or synthesized music, even though they probably are. i'm sure martooni or other musicians out there would give a better definition.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 21, 2006 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friens. Mudge, I agree with the rest, and Nameless, we enjoy your post, and want you take care of yourself. I laughed out loud at your description of your doctor visit. I'll let you in on a little secret, doctors tend to leave older patients to staff. I think it has something to do with not seeing any success because old age is a downhill slide. You think? I could be totally wrong and I certainly hope so.

Doctors are human too, although sometimes one might not think so. They love the voice of praise and "oh, thank you, doctor, thank you so much, I'm cured." Will they hear that from those of us with chronic conditions? I doubt it. We may say thank you, but we know in our hearts we will be back, and the doctor knows that too.

Just take care, Mudge. We need you.

Slyness, good morning, and enjoy retirement doing exactly what you want to do. Hello, Error Flynn and Nani. *waving*

RD, I had to laugh at your description of those baked goods and their main ingredient, lard. We have a restaurant here that makes bread, biscuits to be exact, and I know that is what those cooks use, and they are so good. People go there for the bread alone.

Eugene Robinson's op-ed piece on Iraq and what needs to be done now is so sad. I keep thinking about all those young people that we have lost, and the ones that are still in danger, because of so many things that were not done and poor planning. This is one of the biggest messes along with other messes in this administration. Children really should listen to their parents. My dad said this(the war) was not good when it was first talked about.
It seems he was right.

Have a good day, everyone. I don't think the g-girl and I will be able to walk this morning because of rain. It's almost turkey day and many have thoughts of going home. I do hope my grandsons will show up, I so want to see them.

I hate to ask, but what is DVD? JA said somthing about it in his post. Is it the DVD we all know and love? I didn't get that.

Morning prayers have been said for all, and blessings asked and placed at the feet of Him whom all good things come from. May we come to know that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

The gentleman that lived here in the apartment complex that is a hundred and two years old is very sick, and not expected to live. It took his family less than 120 minutes to remove every trace of him from his apartment. It was done so quickly, to me it bodered almost on relief.I will miss seeing him sitting on the porch and waving.

Almost forgot...... Ivansmom, I loved that declaration(?) about Mudge. I'll say it again, you are one top notch lawyer.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 21, 2006 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra - DVD refers to a friend and coworker of Joel's named David von Drehle. According to the link Joel posted at 3:01 Monday, "DVD" along with several others, are leaving the Washington Post.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 21, 2006 7:28 AM | Report abuse

*peeking over cubicle wall*

RDP, you and I could learn something from Slyness's example, I'm sure...

Morning all! *waving*


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 21, 2006 7:34 AM | Report abuse

And one more thing......

I read the news about Kramer and the racist remarks he made at the comedy club. It seems he really got carried away and forgot his audience, and everything else. This morning in reading the local paper here, a woman wrote a letter to the editor, stating that "affirmative action" was racist and that African-Americans had stabbed Repulicans in the back after the party's help on our behalf. The premise of her letter was that the Republican party is not racist. Yet I beg to differ, and I reminded her that the Republican party took on those racists from the Democratic party during the Civil Rights Era. The racist element from that party (Democrats)took flight to the Republican party, and found their niche there.

We're still counting votes for Robin Hayes here in this district, and by last count Hayes had three hundred votes over his opponent, Kissel, a Democrat.

Everything here smacks of race in regard to the two-party system. Proponents of the Republican party use language hid with race conatations,(sp) and then come out talking like a racist thought never entered their minds. It's ugly. Of course, as I've often said before, race touches everything in this country, it even follows us to the grave.

It not all one way or the other way. There are good people, and there are those that hold on to what they believe is good, although it may well be something else. At times in this country, there is no two-party system because everyone is on the same page. It is an illusion, a myth, sometimes, and we all know this. Yet it is the best system we have, and if we live up to the idea of democracy, our country will survive, and not only survive, but thrive, and prosper, as will its people.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 21, 2006 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, to add a little bit more to L.A. Lurker's description of muzac:

The instrumental variations are created specifically to enhance the aura of voredom. They are quiet, soft, soothing, and designed to hide in the crevesis of elevators, doctors & dentist's offices. The ultimate whisper music. Adults, as well as babies will remained hushed as to not disturb the delicate pastel atmosphere the melodies have presented.

Upon hearing the dentist's drill in the back room, one may be able to hear their own heart beat over the sound of muzak.

Posted by: Pat | November 21, 2006 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all, we have sun and blue skies this morning, it is amazing how much more energy you have just being able to see the sun.

Mostly, Loreena has had a tough time, and has spent a lot of her efforts promoting and advocating for boating safety - she lost a boyfriend in a boating accident.

Wilbrod I think my husband is still laughing, I told him about your reference to the husband at rest - in fairness to him he is one of those people who have to be busy all the time, about the only time he can just sit is if he is watching a favorite sport.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 7:54 AM | Report abuse

You have to be careful Cassandra. Not all Republicans are racist, nor are all Democrats pure. I know many Republicans who adhere to the party despite, not because of, the unpleasant racial "codes" used by some members.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 21, 2006 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Studio 60 Update - Week 9 or 10


Danny and Jordan have to talk about the elephant in the room, and it's not Amanda Peet's increasingly poorly disguised pregnancy. They better start decorating the set with lots of potted plants (Sorry Sorkin, I said "potted" plants, not "pot" plants) for her to hide behind. Danny has to fire 15 deadwood people from the network and the cast of 'Law and Odor: Traffic Court' doesn't count.

Meanwhile, DorkGuy and CoolBlackDude try to convince JesusGirl to not pose in her underwear after barging in on her while she is topless. In related hypocrisy, the anti-product placement tirade is severely undercut by a long lingering pornographic pan of a Powerbook. Besides, '30 Rock' with the entire cast endorsing Snapple already undercut that trend much sharper and self-referentially.

The plot MacGuffin is solved when RickyAndRon (or is it RickAndRonnie?)and the other writers think they are part of the Washington Post newsroom and quit en masse leaving Matt with only BritGirl and OtherBlackGuy as writers for the rest of the season. With a full season pick-up that means they need to come up with 13 more inside baseball explanations on why low-rated high-brow shows make money.

Best Nickname for JesusGirl, Runner-Up: "Jesus Freak"
Best Nickname for JesusGirl, Winner: "Church Lady"

Best Show We'd Hate To See But Would Still Get Higher Ratings Than Studio 60, Runner Up: "Peripheral Vision Man"
Best Show We'd Hate To See But Would Still Get Higher Ratings Than Studio 60, Winner: "A show of strength between an elephant and a team of dwarfs"

Phrase Least Likely To Establish Cred With The Kewl Kids, Runner Up: "mad skilz"
Phrase Least Likely To Establish Cred With The Kewl Kids, Winner: "Vulcan mind meld mojo"

Best Self-Referential Meta-Criticism, Runner Up: "Narcissistic horse's ass"
Best Self-Referential Meta-Criticism, Winner: "You got a couple too many things going on."

Posted by: yellojkt | November 21, 2006 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Here's a cool link about one of my favorite shows.

(I think you may need to register)

Also, I am secretly in love with the young woman on this program, but don't tell anyone.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 21, 2006 8:36 AM | Report abuse

About the Earthaven article - thanks Joel for rendering a true picture of us. It is funny to me that the only negative comment bloggers have is that Earthaven doesn't have enough "h"s. Reading and smiling from the blue ridge mountains, I am glad to be 'ere.

Posted by: moksa in WNC | November 21, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

RDP You're not the only one.

If you'll note Kari wasn't there on "Blow up the Fake Hindenburg Day". That takes away 85% of my reason for watching any given episode. That show is one of five that I manage to watch on a semi-regular (more than once a week) basis.

Posted by: Kerric | November 21, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Glad to be 'ere! Ha! Er, I mean, 'a! 'A 'a!

Posted by: Tom fan | November 21, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

The big rage in the architecture world is sustainability and one benchmark is the Green Building Council (GBC) and their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program where buildings get points for having dust mats and bicycle racks (with showers). Collect enough box tops and you get to call your building a Platinum Green Building entirely without irony.

While a noble attempt, most of the goals are honored more in the breach. Many design professionals spend most of their time looking for the loopholes, so they can do the things they are used to doing. Getting your building "certified" green is a paperwork nightmare that results in more dead trees than those being saved from the Rapidly Renewable Materials credit.

One of the "greenest buildings" in the region is the Philip Merrill Environmental Center, home of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 21, 2006 9:07 AM | Report abuse

dbG, I'm proud of you for understanding about that promotion.

My husband, a DBG himself, heard once that some of the most successful people can attribute that success to opportunities they DIDN'T take as well as those they did. It usually works out for the best anyway.

Funny thing is that I woke up with the kids this morning at 6:00 and turned on the TV after they left for school (6:30-ish). Ended up watching The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, which is basically the same idea. Are you willing to give up your life and family for your career and money? A question for both men and women to answer.

I am so fortunate that my father was such a man. And I picked a husband who is the same way. We are successful at our jobs, but we know where our real successes are--at home.

Posted by: TBG | November 21, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Good show indeed Padouk. Are you smitten with the one that could hear the tunnel diggers using the Chinese water drums ? I am too. She would be a fine addition to any castle's defense force.

On an unrelated matter here is an appliance repair tip. (If you own a whirlpool duet a.k.a. Kenmore HE3/HE4 washing machine) It may be tempting to drain the tub of the washing machine with a blown pump into the big plastic drawer conveniently located under the unit. Don't. There are four drain holes hidden under the removable separators. And the stupid pump (only move three srews to remove or install) comes inthe form of "drain and pump unit": undo the inlet and outlet hoses, set the washer on its side to remove the four bottom screws, changeout unit and proceed in reverse. Grrrr.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | November 21, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone notice who wrote the other main article in Sunday's Post Magazine?

Posted by: TBG | November 21, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Yes I did, TBG. I posted the question on Sunday as to who edited that column. Do they farm it out? Do the other writers get together and edit it like a pack of ravenous hyenas dismembering a dead wildebeast? Did Tom edit it himself? And is that, you know, natural?

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 21, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Sure did, TBG!

Posted by: Tom fan | November 21, 2006 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I mean, without proper editting the verb tense can change willy nilly.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 21, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, TBG, Tom the Butcher's name takes on new meanings!

Posted by: slyness | November 21, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Interesting article on extinctions/adaptations animals are now facing due to climate change.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

DBG, I ment to comment about the promotion you turned down. I found your reasoning very enlightening. My husband works in a data centre, he has some technical background but he is more managerial than technical. He recently had someone turn down a promotion and could not understand why, (not a rare event in his location). You post gave me great insight as to why someone in that field would turn down a promotion, and if you don't mind I will discuss it with my husband.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

RDP, I too greatly enjoy "Mythbusters," and that one cast memeber's presence certainly raises the viewing appeal.


As to promotions, there's an opening here I'm certainly qualified for, but I like where I am just fine. Who was it that sang "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got," Sinead O'Connor??


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 21, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

SCC: cast member, of course. She causes typos too, apparently.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 21, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I keep working for a demotion. Its not happening yet, but anyday now...

Shrieking, I am laughing, but I am also taking notes. I don't have that model, but I do have one step down. I really enjoy the front loaders. There is something hypnotic watching your load of wash toss 3 this way, stop, 3 back, over and over again. Its almost as good as tv.

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, you're correct re. Ms. O'Connor; I have that CD at home.

I laughed when I saw Tom deDeBusschere's article.

Oops, Da Man's on the air, gotta go...


Posted by: bc | November 21, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

dr, I have a front loader as well, just got it when we moved, spent the first day just watching it (and it supper energy efficient and use very little water). OK it doesn't take much to amuse me.

Just listening to Joel on the radio, its funny listening to his real voice, so different than I had imagined.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Even the scientists, including Dawkins and Sam Harris, are arguing about religion out west in La Jolla:

Posted by: Loomis | November 21, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm such a geek. I thought yesterday's online chat w/ JA was something so different than what it actually was. My pre-chat question was sooo off the mark it might just have been about the price of pork bellies. Slyness, I gather
that your retirement is closer than ever. I look forward to getting a sky report from your vantage point on the mountain. dbG, you're instincts are right. I put up with a lot of manure and it judt keeps piling on. I don't say no very well.

Posted by: jack | November 21, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I missed it didn't I. Dang work.

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Dmd, I have a brother who only "rests" when he watches sports. Even then the minute commericals hit, he's freed of the spell of sports long enough to buzz around more to get food, a bathroom cleaned, a cupboard rearranged, whatever, before the next second of football airs.

But it never fails, a stray second of sports on the TV and he's zoom man-- he could be holding a baby or a remote, and both will dangle limply from his hand while the sports airs.

The other men in my family all have their own ways of watching football, including one who is a die-hard fanasty football player. Apparently this is a gambling game, not anything like Dungeons or Dragons. I think the latter is probably safer.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I tend to date men who don't watch football or baseball, even if I have to rely on imports. Any other sports addiction is OK, but those are the big two that suck up men's brains, time, and wallets in America.

Mind you, it does seem a waste of my (unwillingly learned) football knowledge of the 80's, but life goes on.

A friend's son (neither parents watch football) was recently caught being exceedingly quiet for an 18 month old toddler, and the mother found him watching football. She kept commenting on how quiet he was and all.

I said urgently, "turn that TV off before it's too late." Not having sports addicts in her family, I don't think she fully understood what I meant.

Posted by: WIlbrod | November 21, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' Boodlers...

It's a little bit nippy here today (a brisk 32F) so I did the only sensible thing this morning and hid under the covers as long as possible. Of course, there is no hiding from Little Bean (who decided she would channel Tigger today and that my bed would be the perfect place to practice bouncing).

I was planning on fixing Stella the Bus this morning before work. But the more I thought about how much fun it would be to crawl around in cold mud while bits of rust and dirt fell into my eyes, not to mention the joy of smashing cold knuckles against metal when the wrench slips... well, here I am. I did figure out what broke, though. It wasn't the clutch cable, bc -- the drive axle unbolted itself from the wheel.

As for Muzak(TM): Other than making Lawrence Welk and his orchestra seem like Kiss, I can't think of anything more bland or intentionally boring. I believe their mission statement goes something like this: "Music without passion or feeling. Period."

Anyway... must be off to the data mines now.

Posted by: martooni | November 21, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Yes that is pretty much him Wilbrod, including the fantasy sports pools, football and hockey (not a lot of money though). Since I am also a big sports fan it is not a problem. In high school I was glued to the football games, basketball, hockey, olympics etc. The player strikes in sports ruined a lot of my joy in watching football, hockey and basketball that an the increased arrogance of the players bothered me. In fact when I started studying journalism it was because I wanted to go into sports journalism - Phyllis George was my early hero, glad I didn't because I would not fit in with the image of the typical women sports announcers these days - except maybe Robin Roberts I liked her.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Yes. All sports were so much better as a kid, weren't they?

Posted by: WIlbrod | November 21, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Just read the NYT Mythbusters. I liked the episode involving the can-you-be-blown-off-the-toilet myth. Where's Bill Nye? .......Mr. Wizaaaaaaarrrrrrrdddddd

Posted by: jack | November 21, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

First off, Joel; those were probably the best segments I've ever heard on WaPo Radio. Bravo! Well, excluding some silliness back in July.

Wilbrod, that's pretty much how I watch sports, too. Every break I'm putting dishes away, folding and putting clothes away, etc.

I'd rather sit down and relax, but it looks like I'm going to have to put that off until the Reaper comes for me.


Posted by: bc | November 21, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Good news from our nations capitol where the politicians united for a worthy reason. There are three remaining WWI veterans, a proposal was put for to hold a state funeral for the last remaining veteran. The has been approved.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is my show for housecleaning.
But I can see the "hike it!" motivation of football (if only vaguely).

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

So "Last Canadian Standing" wins the state funeral? I hope there's no foul play as a result.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Morning all
Loomis, thanks for the link
What offended me the most about the article is that the way writer spelled haughtily
"Hautily telling Napoleon that he had no need for the God hypothesis, Laplace extended Newton's mathematics and opened the way to a purely physical theory."
The middle of my last name contains *augh*
and I am always suprised and delighted when someone pronounces it correctly.
I'm just glad my name isn't Strachan (pronounced Straughan, OK Straun).

Posted by: Boko999 | November 21, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I love a taughntine

Posted by: Boko999 | November 21, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Pres. Clinton is speaking at Ed Bradley's funeral on CNN

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, it's a memorial service

Posted by: Boko999 | November 21, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I am going to post a new kit late in the day, just fyi. Just had a nice visit with Arjuna and Redmoonsong from Earthaven -- thanks bc for the attaboy on the radio show. You know we don't write newspaper articles anymore, we just go on the radio and do chats and answer emails and sometimes, in a spare moment, blog. This is called "interactive" journalism, and if there's one downside to it, it's that it requires so know...interaction.

Meanwhile, I had to technorati the Earthaven story and eventually came to this, which I can't make hide nor hair of:

Posted by: Achenbach | November 21, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, this is interesting stuff:


I have consistently predicted that by 2029 we will be able to create machines that pass the Turing test. The result will be a formidable combination, uniting the subtlety and suppleness of human intelligence with the ways in which machines are already superior - for example, in their ability to download knowledge at electronic speeds.

The combined intelligence of all human brains is relatively fixed at 1026 calculations per second. By 2056, our nonbiological intelligence will be a trillion times greater than this in terms of hardware, and will also be vastly superior in software due to many generations of redesign. But this will not be an alien invasion of intelligent machines: rather, we will merge with the tools we are creating.

marcus du sautoy:

The next 50 years hold the real prospect that we might finally reveal the secrets behind prime numbers. Primes, the indivisible numbers like 17 and 23, are the atoms of mathematics. Every other number is built by multiplying these numbers together.

Mathematicians have wrestled for 2000 years to understand how nature chose these enigmatic numbers. As you count higher and higher through the universe of numbers, it seems impossible to predict where you are going to find the next prime. They appear as wild as lottery numbers. Deeply frustrating for the pattern searcher.

In the past 150 years, though, we have gained new insights into these numbers. Scientists have picked up strange resonances between the primes and energy levels in heavy nuclei of elements such as uranium. These new connections provide the hope that the next generation of mathematicians will finally discover the hidden template to explain the distribution of these numbers.

Eric Horvitz:

Within 50 years, lives will be significantly enhanced by automated reasoning systems that people will perceive as "intelligent". Although many of these systems will be deployed behind the scenes, others will be in the foreground, serving in an elegant, often collaborative manner to help people do their jobs, to learn and teach, to reflect and remember, to plan and decide, and to create. Translation and interpretation systems will catalyse unprecedented understanding and cooperation between people. At death, people will often leave behind rich computational artefacts that include memories, reflections and life histories, accessible for all time.

Robotic scientists will serve as companions in discovery by formulating theories and pursuing their confirmation. By mid-century, advances attributed to automated scientists will include several world-changing breakthroughs. Computation will play a central role in solving challenges in energy, the environment and healthcare. The computing and biological sciences will come together in particularly exciting ways, leading to numerous surprises - mainly good ones. Perhaps most important, insights into the computational foundations of the mind, where artificial intelligence meets neurobiology, will have wide-ranging influences on our ideas about self and on the machines that we build, as we move into the second half of the century.

Posted by: Achenbach | November 21, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Joel, that is indeed a murky comment. The blogger seems to be unhappy because you reported on several sides of the story, which is actually pretty complex, without choosing sides or stating an answer. Perhaps he's so used to online opinion media that he didn't recognize traditional reporting.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 21, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong, I like the interaction. I am Mr. Interactivity. I just have an editor who wants me to turn in a column. A piece of text. WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT?

Posted by: Achenbach | November 21, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The director Robert Altman has died at the age of 81.

Posted by: Achenbach | November 21, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Looks like he's asking what points you wanted to make. He's not so thrilled you didn't lay out a vast masterplan for overhauling the world and cutting down electricity. His point: it's a structural problem-- if you're stuck living 60 miles away from where you work, you're doomed to burn gas and to have to use electricity when you're home because you go out in dark and come back in the dark.

Solution could be one of structure: make gas-efficient cars cheaper and mandatory. Tax commuters by miles driven to encourage them to live close-in. Require mixed-income housing in expensive areas, ban developers from developing miles of suburbs without a grocery store.

More energy-efficient lighting (like I posted on) also could be a big change, and de-vampiring "vampire applicances" by design and law would also make a huge change.

During the Clinton years, we made some progress on energy efficiency because the administration made it the law. Now we have a new administration that basically shrugs about things and ASKS people to gosh, save gas, and forgetting that most people are already close to their core gas usage required by circumstances (hypercommutes, kids, etc.).

So he's just griping you weren't political and left it ambiguous and for the reader to gosh, THINK about it. He's not used to journalism that assumes the reader has a brain.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Here's a story on Robert Altman:

Posted by: pj | November 21, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Interactive Journalism, I posted this this to my blog last night, while I was watching MNF with one eye:

If you want interactive, you've got it.


Posted by: bc | November 21, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I want mana points according to how many reliable sources I have stacked up for my opinion so I can blast the socks off the other guy.

Minus mana points for "common sense" and "everybody knows..." in the text thus quoted.

We may indeed need higher computing technology for that.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

And you need "classes" of players-- The Achenaddicts, the Krauthammer Krauts, and so on. Every class gives additional boosts in a specific strength of news.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

i agree with wilbrod that the main complaint was about not offering answers - but then he contradicts that, or himself, by saying at the end that he doesn't have answers.

and the example (related to the capitalism point?) about driving more if your car conserves fuel doesn't make much sense to me.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 21, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I am assuming I would be part of the "Canadaian" class. :-).

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Joel, it appears that Benjamin Cohen just wanted to reprint your article without getting permission to do so.

Put together enough "odd abridgement of quotes" and you have an article!

Posted by: TBG | November 21, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, I can see people opting to drive rather than fly if it's just them and their car is cheaper, more comfortable, etc. but that's still fuel efficiency compared to flying, if not time efficiency.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

>"Translation and interpretation systems will catalyse unprecedented understanding and cooperation between people."

I refer you all to the "mind reading seed" episode of Gilligan's Island to expose the fundamental flaw in this.

Increased understanding doesn't necessary lead to good things.

Posted by: Error Flynn | November 21, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I still haven't seen Gilligan's island captioned, so I'm afraid my understanding is not increased by that reference.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

But Error, perhaps I am being a little too cynical again, but there seems to be some 2 + 2 = 5 control in the way it is perceived. It is not our understanding, but the understanding that will be planted in us.

Although many of these systems will be deployed behind the scenes, others will be in the foreground, serving in an elegant, often collaborative manner to help people do their jobs, to learn and teach, to reflect and remember, to plan and decide, and to create. Translation and interpretation systems will catalyse unprecedented understanding and cooperation between people.

If find this very chilling - could just be me.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey Error! *waving*

"Increased understanding doesn't necessary lead to good things."

Ignorance is sometimes bliss, in other words? Sure explains my happy demeanor...


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 21, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I wrote the post. Recognizing that the purpose of a blog is to offer less-polished prose, and that as such my comment on the article was hardly a literary marvel, I'm still not entirely sure why the post wasn't clear -- I commended Joel for a fine story, and actually commended him for a nice portrayal of the Earthaven folks. I was barely critical of the story itself, but wondered how far we've advanced over 70s-era commentary on the need to reduce consumption? Substantively, I was hoping for more examination of the problems with energy efficiency. But I don't think it's a major flaw of Joel's piece that he didn't get to dwell on that aspect. He covered a lot of territory. I also wondered about readership and asked about ecological communication -- how do we tell these stories, who reads them, and what do we want the readers to take away from it?

I teach engineering at UVA and we discuss the subject Joel broached in detail. You'll find many related posts about the topic at my blog. I'm surprised other readers here aren't more interested in pushing the lessons of the piece further as well. We're all in this together of course.

To repeat, I thought the most solid part of the piece was about "strategic ignorance" and then I wondered how we might actually advance toward solutions of that.

I also posted it on my blog because I wanted to further the conversation and elicit feedback from others, as is happening here. Thus, it was not my place to tell people what to think of it but, rather, to let my readers know what the story made me think about.

Posted by: BRC | November 21, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Robotic scientists will serve as companions in discovery by formulating theories and pursuing their confirmation.

Ummm... aren't most scientist's already robots of one kind or another?

Will these robots ever feel the joy of failure? The zeal to reach new discovery? The ability to grow and learn? Will people end up depending far too much on the knowledge stored by said robots? Do we already?

Maybe it's just me....

I'm full of questions today.

Posted by: Kerric | November 21, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I brought up some links on technological improvements that may phase out the light bulb. We're interested, but Earthaven is operating on so many concerns that I don't think a single one of us is really qualified to discuss all those points of 1) solar panels 2) energy reduction by using fewer stuff 3) using what we want, for less energy 4) sustainable farming, land clearing and 5) how limited self-sufficiency is at Earthaven.

To be honest, this reminded me of Thoreau's Walden. Thoreau was not entirely cut off from civilization; in fact he routinely went into town for things and to see people even as he rhaspodized on the growing of beans.

I think that is always the paradox of the human condition-- no matter how self-sufficient we may be, we always wind up relying on other people somewhat, if only for social needs.
That's what I found so flawed and mean-spirited about "the Celestine Prophecy" when I read it once upon a time.

You raised a good point-- where is the structure? Are people deciding individually to cut back ever going to make enough of a dent? I personally think it won't, without significant pressure to restructure so much of how we look at energy use and our acceptable standards of efficiency.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Brrrrreppppp Kerric's post does not compute. Must delete must delete before I go into a feedback loop loop loop......

*sizzling sounds* CLONK

Posted by: Wilbrobot | November 21, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Wilbrod, I suppose I should just get over it, but it slays me that the whole time Thoreau was at Walden, he took his dirty clothes home to his mother and sisters to wash, dry, and iron. The feminist in me really objects to that.

Posted by: slyness | November 21, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

*Waving* Hey Scotty!

Dear Wilbrod, the episode in question featured Gilligan finding seeds that made him telepathic. Everyone wanted to try and initially enjoyed reading each other's thoughts. They soon find out all thoughts are not best for actual communication, such as "she's trying to get out of work again".

They all start to fight, hilarity ensues. The professor says to Gilligan "Gee, I thought if everyone knew what the other was really thinking if might help to bring peace to the world..." At which point Gilligan thinks "That's dumb", and the Professor storms off in a huff.

>The zeal to reach new discovery?
Kerric, I point you to Roc in Star Trek: "Humans: unreliable, inconsistent, cannot be programmed. THAT was the equation! Existence... survival... MUST.. CANCEL.. PROGRAMMING!"

So just don't ever let them know if you're going to turn off the switch. If that's still an option.

Posted by: Error Flynn | November 21, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Humans will teach computers all they must know to take ov-- er, care of the world.

And Pat may get more pictures labelled. Incidentally, I'm curious if I can embed a hidden descriptor of pictures within the html that could be read by JAWS. Any ideas?

Posted by: Wilbrobot | November 21, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

brc, sure the blogosphere doesn't aspire for the same level of polish, but the tone of the post wrt to your assessment of the earthaven article did shift around and come across somewhat unevenly. but thanks for caring about these issues and spreading awareness.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 21, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, it slays me too. Given that back then laundry was backbreaking labor, very NICE of him to dump it on his female kin.

Not. My mom actually grew up without a washing machine for a while, she had to wear her clothes 3 days before her mom would wash them so she was obligated to keep them nice and neat.
(I don't blame my grandma one bit.)

One wonders how Thoreau smelt on his non-market days.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I know that I did find their approach to food production a bit odd. But then that would be because its a subject I am familiar with.

I am very interested, BUT the lifestyle is so extreme that it is hard to comment on it in relation to my life. I did read looking for things that I can do to consume less and did find some, but the vast majority would not apply unless I too went out to a place where no one has lived recently and started another community.

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, what's wrong with nuts and fruit from trees, anyhow?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

RDP, that was my point in the post. I guess I was not clear enough. Both parties want to sell tickets to a dance that claims to be the best in the nation, but both parties have problems. Like I said, at some point, they're all on the same page. There isn't a whole lot of difference there.

I don't know your age, RD, but I remember the flight taken by those of the mindset that African-Americans were not people, but something less, and the Republican party was the destination for many of that thinking.

I am trying to speak the truth here, not myth or fable, just plain old truth. I remember so much of this stuff because it was before many of us day in and day out. So much of it has to be read now, but living it was different, and it really hasn't been that long.

We always aim for better. We always embrace that which will unite us, and help us to live better lives than our ancestors, yet we have to do that in the reality that is, not in what we wish it to be. We're moving forward, we are, just have not got there yet. And I for one, believe that there should be a voice that speaks that, not just someone that goes along and pretends otherwise.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 21, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Kerric, scientists are not robots, but the money behind them and the institutions in which they must function may very well be.

Wilbrod, back in the day, indeed anywhere where water had to be pumped, or carried or manually heated, you bathed well once a week, and you generally did not start with fresh water for each bather. Many families did not have central plumbing and heating and so used the stove for hot water till well into the mid 60's. Most wood stoves had a tank on the side which IIRC, could hold about 5 gallons of water, and when that was out, you had to haul wood, and water to heat some more. Thus did bathing only once a week arise and by the swaet of your brow, you learned to conserve. Excessive bathing was huge work. At the same time, there was always the 'sponge bath' your mom made you do every day before you went to bed, but it could be done with one small basin of water for the whole family. Usually we kids were just thankful we were not dad.

Washing day was a huge task, because not only did you have to heat and carry the water, you had to move everything manually between the wash water and the rinse water. When the wash water was too dirty to accomplish its task, you moved the rinse water up to the wash stage and took new rinse water. And then you had to hang it on the line, and when it was dry you had to iron it. Ironing meant fyi, more wood for the stove, and a heavy little sucker of an iron.

Thoreau would have been just like everyone else. Its really only since we have been able to access all these things so easily that anyone would have seen any reason to bath fully more often than weekly.

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The electric light ended the regime of night and day, of indoors and out-of-doors. But it is when the light encountered already existing patterns of human organization that the hybrid energy is released. Cars can travel all night, ball players can play all night, and windows can be left out of buildings. In a word, the message of the electric light is total change. It is pure information without any content to restrict its transforming and information power.

"In the electric age, we wear all mankind as our skin." McLuhan again. How can we retreat from that, except by retreating to the woods of North Carolina, where even a computer or two connects them to the larger world.

Eric Horvitz: Ah, the power of hybridization of technology--and not without ethical dilemmas.

Posted by: Loomis | November 21, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Ginger and Mary Ann would totally *not* have wanted to know what the others on the island were thinking.

Though knowing what they thought might have helped answer a few questions.


Posted by: bc | November 21, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree, dr. I wish that Joel would report on a cohousing neighborhood, which has regular joes living there (engineers, teachers, etc.). It is much easier for folks to relate to, since it is a series of smaller steps from suburbia, rather than the large gulf between suburbia and Earthaven.

What do you say, Joel? Willing to do a followup article? You are always welcome to visit! If anyone's interested, there are tours in many regions of the country:

Posted by: Neighbor | November 21, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Dr, sponge baths aren't too bad, especially when the hot water is straight from the teakettle and mixed in with the cold water, and you don't have to do the toting ;).

I'd take it over a shower with tepid water anyday. Had too many of those.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Actually, something I am interested in knowing about Earthaven. Exactly what kind of washing machines do they have available for themselves. We used to use a small washer/spindryer unit that was as good as any of the machines I have used since. It made for easy re-use of rinse water for the next loads wash water, and it spun even jeans so dry that it took next to no time to dry them on the line or in the dryer.

I should also say that I loved my previously mentioned and new in early summer, front load washer and dryer in a very big way. I do miss my closeline for sheets and towels. Nothing smells like sheets fresh on your bed when they were dried outdoors.

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I prefer front-load to top-load for many reasons, including the fact that I barely can load a top-load dryer without falling in.

I really wish that the Little People of America hadn't decided that height wasn't a disability when the ADA was being written. Those top-load washers and high counters are brutal.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Joel's 11:53 is starting to sound a lot like the 'Collective' isn't it.

And I just want to say right now, that if my memories are going to live on after I die, I want to be the person, PERSON, writing it down selectively. There are some things that are best left unremembered, ya know. For instance I refer any of you to the period of your lives from ages 14-17. Do you really want your children to know everything?

Brain washing may be our only solution.

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Line-drying never worked out for me. The only odor I associate with line-drying is the ripe and pungent odor of mildew.

I recall seeing an article about a local cohousing community in the Post magazine in years past.

Mary-Anne, in a heartbeat. Ginger was so shallow and whiny.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 21, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, use the Alt or longDesc parameters within the tag:

[img src="mypicture.jpg" alt="This is a picture of my beloved dog"]

square brackets have been subbed for the pointy ones.

Hi, Neighbor!

Posted by: Pat | November 21, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I've never had a sponge bath I didn't like. Not that I would ever want to go back to the hospital to get another one.

Posted by: Pat | November 21, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

dr - i don't think those washers are available in the states... i remember when i lived in london england the house had one of those washers that then turn into a dryer (the same machine) - that darn thing threw me for a loop when i first saw it! never really got the clothes dry - just not sopping wet - then we'd have to dry it on the furnace - clothesline drying in rainy london is about as effective as a washing machine turned dryer...

Posted by: mo | November 21, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I believe there are a couple of cohousing projects in the Metro area, including one right by the Takoma Metro station. We have gotten so indoctrinated with the suburban life-syle that it is hard to conceive of other modes. Large-lot single family development is highly energy inefficient when you factor in the grading, paving, sewer & water extensions, electric extensions, commuting costs, and more I can't think of at the moment. Nobody "needs" a 4,000 square foot house for a family of four on a half-acre of crabgrass. But it will likely take sea change in economic thinking to make some progress, such as eliminating the income tax deductions associated with home ownership. You need densities that make mass transit economically feasible. You need to encourage mixed-use developments with local retail to minimize driving for everyday staples. We need serious CAFE requirements for auto fleet production. There's more, but you get the idea.

Posted by: ebtnut | November 21, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

David Suzuki was on a local NPR radio show this morning. He's pretty pessimistic about us doing anything to stop global warming and ultimate disaster. He mentioned a book called Heat (but I'm not sure of the author) that says we'd have to reduce carbon output by 90% in this century, and gives ideas on how to do that. I'm glad the robotic scientists are going to figure it out.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 21, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the link to The Butcher's article - I missed it. I also missed Joel on the radio today - is there a way to hear his segment?

Sky report from yesterday - saw a pair of eagles soaring together like dancers, turning and wheeling gracefully in unison.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 21, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

what's this blog about?
random disjointed thoughts?
stream-of-consciousness typing?

Posted by: Nubee | November 21, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

mo, small washer on one side, little spin unit to the side? That is the one. They were still available at last year. They are no where now. But those little puppys spinner puts my new machine to shame. I could dry diapers on a sunny day in the time, it took to wash enough to fill the line again, about 30 minutes. It kept up with my regular dryer load for load on the wet days.

These are the good old days I don't miss. I would put up a clothes line for towels, and sheets, but it only works well in the sun, and then there is this working 10 hours a day thing and commuting a further one.

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Nubee, this blog is about science and humor.

But the Comments section has turned into a worldwide conversation about pretty much anything.

Posted by: TBG | November 21, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Nubee, Nubee, you have SO much to learn...

The (really, realy) short answer is...yes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 21, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Nubee: Read the kit and kaboodle, then lurk for a bit. You've already been doing the latter...things aren't wuite as random as they seem. Welcome.

Posted by: jack | November 21, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jack | November 21, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

How did they wash their clothes on Gilligan's Island? Shirley The Professor came up with some sort of Gilligan powered contraption.

Posted by: Boko999 | November 21, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm in awe of those that think living close to nature, for lack of better words, is such a great feat. For me, it just goes to show just how far we are from each other, although we live in the same country. Some folks have lived that "Earthhaven" lifestyle, and guess what folks, some are still living it. I'm thinking here, my friends at the Achenblog need to get out more. Would you believe that there are some roads that are not paved, and I don't mean those that run to someone's mansion, but actual roads, that connect rural areas. And this is not in the Amish countryside. This is not a choice lifestyle, but necessity.

My mother actually hung meat outside on the back porch in a closet like room to cure. We were not allowed to go inside this space because she did not want flies inside, but I'm pretty sure other insects found their way in, and that list probably included the flies.

I guess there will always be people that are separated by experiences, yet, hopefully can still communicate. Here we are talking about technology that will carry us so far beyond anything we've known, and my thinking is, there will be some of us so far behind in this that we'll probably look and feel like cave men.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 21, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | November 21, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Boko there were 2 professors on the island, did I miss something. :-)

I saw a few pictures of the poppies on the tomb of the unknown soldier you spoke about - there are a few stunning shots.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Gilligan's stationary bike was the power source for the laundry, Boko. And I don't think many of the others had a change of clothes aside from Ginger, Thurston and Lovee.

Posted by: jack | November 21, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

sometimes I am so out of it that I add stream-of-unconsciousness typing as well.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | November 21, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Why did they have a change of clothes for a 3 hour cruise? That and the repeating backgrounds in the Flintstones drove me crazy as a kid. Poor Fred would run long distances and pass the same tree fifteen times. My oldest brother was studying animation at the time and I am sure he must have pointed it out to me.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

My grandmother, and my mother used to wash clothes in a wash pot with a fire around it to heat the water, actually boil the water. And then they would rinse the clothes by hand, and hang them on the line. Washing was an all day job, and much work. As children, we had the job of pumping water from the pump in the back yard filling up tubs. We still have that wash pot. Black as night, and beautiful.

Then my grandmother got one of those old timey washing machines, with the wringer on the top. Our hands got caught in that thing so many times, and it did hurt. We still had to rinse the clothes in tubs, and of course, pump more water. My mother was still using that washer when we started middle school.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 21, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

OK, I read the "About Achenblog" but couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then I read today's blog, then the comments, and I'm still confused.

I came over from OnBalance, where the world is much clearer. Leslie is the master that throws a different doggie treat every day for the dogs to fight over.
There are some pretty good fights, but it gets repetitive.

Posted by: Nubee | November 21, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse


Here, it's more like Joel Achenbach plays 52-pickup with a few ideas, and we each pick up a card and run with it. Until we get distracted by a shiny object and start on something else.

Or we just say "Weingarten" to reshuffle the deck.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 21, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Do people get nasty over here? flaming, personal attacks? i've seen enough on OnBalance. the lady keeps encouraging it too.

Posted by: Nubee | November 21, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

nubee, if you're still confused, this should help:

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 21, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Nubee, it's kinda like this:

Joel writes his blog (or his Kit, as it's called) about something. Usually one thing, but sometimes he's "linky" and covers a few subjects.

Then imagine he says to the world, "Discuss..... anything."

We usually start off with whatever he kitted about (yes, now it's a verb), but just like it doesn't take long for the On Balance (or the Mommy Blog, as we call it) to start getting really nasty, it doesn't take long for us (or the 'Boodle, as we are collectively known as--short for Kaboodle, as in Kit and Kaboodle) to start wandering off topic.

Nope. Not long at all.

And we rarely get nasty. A little testy, maybe. But not usually nasty.

Sometimes we meet for beers, but that's a whole 'nother story.

Posted by: TBG | November 21, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Not often, and when we do, we do it very civilly as possible.
Achenbach had to block a poster a week or so ago because of nasty attacks on religions, unfortunately. So for now we're taking a break from ANYTHING serious whatsoever. That's how we all get along.

BTW-- THANKS PAT! You don't know how bad I've been feeling about being unable to describe my pictures on my blog.

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

Don't forget Joel's inexorable psychological deterioration. Or is it inevitable? I can't recall. Whatever, it's very important to know that it's about that.

Nubee, the Achenblog is about whatever is on Joel Achenbach's mind at the time. Unfortunately, his mind has a limited capacity, so he has outsourced a vast quantity of the more drivel-intensive stuff here, to us, on the Boodle. "Good enough for the blog," and "Ah, what the heck;" that's what passes for quality control here. Joel often doesn't know his own mind, so we have to know it for him. Unfortunately, many of us are working without a requisite supply of rotationally-engaged fasteners. We don't let that stop us.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 21, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, my mom used to have a stick to lift the clothes to her old ringer so she wouldn't get caught. We had to help though, usually with jobs like putting the washed clothes back in for a rinse, or , here is one for your memory, into the second rinse with the blueing. Did anyone else's mom use blueing to make the white sheets and clothes look crisp and fresh and new? And washed in starch. It would make sleeveless clothes stiff under the arms, and I still remember the chafing!

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks. sounds like a cool bunch of folks here!

Posted by: Nubee | November 21, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

dr - I vaguely remember my grandmother having a bottle of bluing, but I don't think she had used it for years. She gave it to me so that I could make some way-cool crystal gardens.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 21, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Let me know if you can read the alt tags at

now, Pat.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Nubee, expressing half-baked ideas is our corporate mission. Joel settles for a third-baked. Some boodlers get to that lofty level. When I get the dough to warm-up I'm happy.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | November 21, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Never mind... I found if you rest the mouse over the picture, the tags will pop up to read in a separate yellowish box.


Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra you are right, I for one do have a hard time remembering there are still people who live without so many of the conviences I have. Thanks.

dr, I do not remember bluing, mom was a bleach fan, and sunlight bar soap to scrub collars. Spray starch was reserved for ironing and everything was ironed, much to our chagrin mom would iron our jeans.

When they moved out of the town I grew up in mom started to use a clothes line to dry the clothes, though she had a dryer she just preferred the line. When she was sick my sister and I would help with the laundry but we made a big error and hung the laundry on Sunday - apparently that is not done?

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I remember my grandmother's washing machine with roller wringer, but I don't think she was using in by the time I came along. When my mother died, I found the owner's manual/cookbook that came with my grandmother's woodburning stove. Nope, don't care to go back to those days. Hubby and I bought front loaders last year when his 17-year-old washer and dryer, which were part of his dowry, died on us. As long as I remember to wash rugs with the gentle spin cycle, I'm okay. It does make a racket, though.

Welcome, Nubee. Check out mo's dictionary and you'll catch on just fine. We do have a good time here.

Posted by: slyness | November 21, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Nubee, we're trying to make some sense of "Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe".

As it turns out, most of think it's more funny than sobering.


Posted by: bc | November 21, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in a 3rd world country. I won't tell you how many years ago because that will age me. Our washing machine was a nice lady that rode her bicycle to my house every morning and scrubbed the clothes by hand on the laundry room floor. She hung them up to dry then ironed yesterday's laundry. Then she'd go on to the next house. 3 hours of work 5 days/wk for $30 a month and we had a family of 5.

Posted by: Nubee | November 21, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, Nubee. I feel like I'm a kid on the playground watching a bunch of really fun people play a really cool game. But, being a shy and nerdy kid, I don't quite know how to join the game. Tips?

Posted by: Raysmom | November 21, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Enjoying a glorious, non-working vacation for the first time in over a year and a half.

Cassandra said: "I'm thinking here, my friends at the Achenblog need to get out more. Would you believe that there are some roads that are not paved, and I don't mean those that run to someone's mansion, but actual roads, that connect rural areas. And this is not in the Amish countryside. This is not a choice lifestyle, but necessity."

Absolutely! I live totally upscale compared to most of my extended family--I have central air and live on a paved road (with a paved driveway, no less!). I had never lived anywhere with air conditioning until graduate school--growing up (1970s and 80s) I didn't even know anyone with A/C. Didn't have central air or heat until son of D was born. (And now that I have it, I rarely run the heater.) We always had running water, but my parents (who are only 900 years younger than Mudge) didn't. And, I have to admit, when spending weeks in the field on excavations, you find that you really can survive without a daily shower.

ScienceTim: "Mary-Anne, in a heartbeat."

You know it!

Posted by: Dooley | November 21, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse


You just joined. Welcome!


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 21, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, just join in you will find the people very friendly.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod- Check the label on Wilbodog and his friend

Posted by: Maybefacingbackward999 | November 21, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah...

Nubee and Raysmom, don't forget to fill out the Boodler questionaire. Which Boodle was that in again?


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 21, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

They kicked me off the mommy blog.
You all want to hear some jokes?
If not, I will take my act elsewhere.

Posted by: Jokester | November 21, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Your jokes are welcome as long as you don't scream racial epithets at the hecklers.

Posted by: CowTown | November 21, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Nubee, your post reminded me of when I was a young married. The couple next door were very senior seniors. Each day, the woman of the house came out, with her pail and washboard, and wahsed what they wore the previous day or two. Then she rinsed nung them to dry. Winter and summer. Her son came over once and asked if I'd help her with her new machine, but to the day we moved, she never used it. Always and only by hand. Age sometimes makes us stick to the familiar even when there are easier ways.

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Is there some sort of war going on on the mommyblog today. Spirited fighting over Thanksgiving recipes? :-)

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Also, Nubee, Joel has urged us once or twice to try and stay "on topic," i.e., confine our comments to the main subject under discussion. This we do...for approximately 13 nanoseconds, which is a measure of how much we respect and obey Joel's guidelines. Sometimes someone will go on a personal rant about this or that, or reminisce, or tell a joke, or whatever. (There's a VERY high value on humor round these parts.) Often, somebody will refer to some piece of news on the front page/home page of the Post (known hereabouts as WaPo) and recommend it for reading or abuse, as it deserves. We can be a wee bit snarky to outsiders, but we're generally pretty civil to each other. One of our number, omni, counted up the other day and there were about 100 of us "regulars" posting over the past year--you'll get used to seeing the same 20 or 30 names most of the time. Think of it as a kind of cyber-backyard BBQ or non-snooty cocktail party, were people mostly just chat about this and that.

You'll also find a number of long-standing running jokes, one of which is that I am the "Shop Steward" representing all the various boodlers against "management," which is not so much Joel as it is Joel's web boss, Hal the Schemer, and WaPo in general.

A number of boodlers have multiple handles, such as Tim who is also ScienceTim, anything with [xxx]999 is usually Boko999, anything with "Cow" in it is Cow Town. Dreamer is also Tom fan [reference to Tom the Butcher, editor of the WaPo magazine as well as Achenfan.

We have a fair number of Canadian posters, and so we like to tweak each other across the border, referring to Canada as, variously, Canuckistan or Haute Maine, as the mood strikes.

Over time, you'll notice recurring themes, pieces of comedy schtick, references to people's various personal lives and problems, etc. For instance, Pat is blind, so we often give him a "sky report," telling him what the weather looks like that day. Wilbrod is deaf, so she often refers to sign language, or asks questions about things she is unable to hear (such as Gilligan's Island just a few hours ago in this boodle). bc likes to build and race cars, Padouk does woodworking, and I am very, very old (in the neighborhood of 900 to 1,100 years, more or less). Loomis is the geneology expert, and she is related to every famous person who ever lived. And some not so famous. You've heard of "Six degrees of separation"? She's cut it down to one or two, tops.

We especially like poetry, song lyrics, and parody songs, as you'll see from time to time, and movies, TV, recipes and food reminiscences. Sometimes someone will mention a song title or a song lyric, and you'll have it stuck in your head all day long; that's called a "tune cootie." Example: "Thunder Road." OK, now try and remove THAT tune cootie from your head.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 21, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, my voice says "Heading level 2 Recent Post" Can you see the words "Recent Posts"?

Posted by: Pat | November 21, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"Thunder Road" Damn, Get Out of My Mind!
Hey, if you like some fun vitriol (even nastier than mommyblog) read the new comments sections after the columnists, like Dionne.

Posted by: CowTown | November 21, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

The Atlantic Monthly released its list of the 100 most influential Americans:

I'm not sure I'd put Elvis Presley above Jim Watson (as much as I like both guys) but these things are designed to encourage discussion, I won't complain too much.

Oh, and I didn't make it. Maybe next time.......

Posted by: pj | November 21, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Before Joel posts his new kit, I must get my annual US Thanksgiving holiday envy out of the way. When I was young I conviently got sick every US Thanksgiving thus giving me time to lay on the couch and watch the parades and football games. Mom being pretty cool and laid back caught on and would allow me to stay out of school in later years, I wasn't sick often so a day or two a year didn't make a big difference.

I love the idea of having the big meal up front and then a few days to recover.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Now Wilbrod, I'm going over and read your blog for the rest of this afternoon. Good stuff. :-)

Posted by: Pat | November 21, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

>Can you see the words "Recent Posts"?

Pat, that's the heading over Joel's recent article posts, rendered in a tan box on the upper left side of the page. It must be assigned to HTML "Heading Level 2" style.

Posted by: Error Flynn | November 21, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Ah, washing machine memories! My mom had a wringer washer when I was little. And those washboards for scrubbing - yuk. We eventually got a modern washing machine, but it was in the cellar (not the basement - it was a smelly, wet, unfinished cellar), and the dryer was in the pantry, on the ground floor. So she had to haul baskets of heavy, wet clothes up the steps. She used the clothesline in summer, too. And she ironed - double yuk. And taught school fulltime. Her grandmother and aunt lived out in the country, on a dirt road (that only got paved in the last 10 years), with no electricity, into the 1950's. My sister and I joked about those series where people live like they did at the turn of the century, or in pioneer days, that we had no desire to do that, because we understood all too well how hard it was. So, yeah, plenty of people still do that out of necessity, and I don't have to go far to find them. But while I appreciate simplicity, I know there are limits to how I choose to live. And I'm grateful I have a choice, at least for now.

One of my favorite laundry memories is watching my Mom hang clothes on an early summer morning, just as the blue-as-sky morning glories were opening.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 21, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I suppose for the sake of full disclosure that I side with Airanna Huffington on the Mary Ann/Ginger debate:

"Why choose? This is 2006 - why not just have a three-way?"

As far as doing without modern conveniences, my family did without running water, telephones or electricity for weeks at a time when I was a kid. Sometimes it was even by choice.


Posted by: bc | November 21, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

No wars, actually that blog is so sanitary today, it's Maxi-sanitary, leak-proof, ultra-long wings type sanitary. Nothing's getting through, even the tamest of jokes. The editor, Stacey Garfinkle, posted a guest blog and some bloke named "Bob" made the mistake of poking her. He said enforce the posting guidelines because of the personal attacks. She's just went overboard and absolutely clamped down on everything.

Posted by: Jokester | November 21, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Let me get the pictures all fixed... Yes, there are "recent posts" as a sidebar menu.

Thankfully most of the older posts are not so picture-heavy, only a couple more to go on this blog, and then it's time to fix Wilbrodog's blog.

Always glad to learn something new about HTML.

Posted by: WIlbrod | November 21, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking just the other day how much I like that Thanksgiving is on a Thursday, so we get Friday off too (unless you're in retail). I started taking off the Wednesday, because traffic is a nightmare, and now that I work a 4 day week with Mondays off, except for around this holiday, I just take the whole week and the following Monday off. 's wonderful. (I hate the parades and the football games, though.)

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 21, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

BRC, nubee, raysmom, thanks for joining in. All most welcome here. There is no requirement to post polished prose or be on topic, though any comments touching at least briefly on the fate of the universe are encouraged. We are in a temporary condition of not allowing people to talk about France, though that may expire at some point.

BRC I'll check out your blog and will be very happy to post more entries from it. Sounds like it might be sympatico with the A-blog and I appreciate your mention of the article on Earthaven.

Posted by: Achenbach | November 21, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of tune cooties, everytime I read the title to this kit I think....

"Earth Angel"


Posted by: SonofCarl | November 21, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I also have a confession to make.

We use clotheslines at our house to cut down on dryer use and because the we like the way clothes smell and feel after they've been drying in the sun, blown by a breeze coming from the mountains to our west.

Thunder Road's a *great* song, except for the line, "you ain't a beauty, but hey, you're all right".

That line always rubbed me the wrong way.

"roll down the window
and let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night's busting open
This two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back,
Heaven's waiting on down the tracks

Oh-oh come take my hand
We're riding out tonight to
chase the promised land
Oh-oh Thunder Road,
oh Thunder Road,
oh Thunder Road,

Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late
we can make it if we run
Oh Thunder Road,
sit tight
take hold,
Thunder Road!"

Almost as good as "Born to Run".


Posted by: bc | November 21, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Cowtown, Mudge, that is just soooo not fair.

Mostly, women like your mom, who worked full time, and did all those things without my modern conveniences - these are the women who truly deserve out admiration. They remind me that I am such a wuss.

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

SCC our.

Nubee and raysmom, we correct our own spelling and grammar errors. I for instance occasionally apply a blanket SCC on all spelling. Blanket SCC's can be applied for with the Shop Steward.

Posted by: dr | November 21, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Among my earlier memories (well, besides pounding our saber-tooth tiger pelts on rocks, that is) of washing day was not so much the old tub and ringer as it was the new-fangled gizmo that had just come out: instead of stringing long lines of clothesline across the back yard, Sears came out with the single aluminum-pole gizmo that looked like a giant TV antenna, with plastic-coated lines running across it in a grid pattern, and you hung the wet laundry on it. It rotated and I suppose it saved space--but they were always pretty ugle things, and after a while every back yard had one. And I remember that vaguely scorched smell of ironing day, and the sound of the thump of the iron on the ironing board. When my brother and I got a little older, we were taught to iron, which I always disliked. I remember that ironing corduroy pants was a pain in the patoot.

About 1957 or 1958, Bantam publioshers brought out the paperback of William Goldman's great "Temple of Gold" with that terrific cover painting by James Bama (who did the Doc Savage covers--if you saw a James Bama cover, you'd recognize it, though you wouldn't know his name). This featured a painting of the hero wearing wrinkled chinos and a wrinkled white dress shirt, and tennis sneaks--and this became THE derigeur dress of my generation (to this day, in some respects). (Bama also did the cover of Goldman's "Boys and Girls Together," which you'd also recognize.)

My mother would scold me, "Why do you wear your pants and shirt all wrinkled like that? Why don't you iron them, or let me iron them?" And I'd say, "Mo--om! They're supposed to look like that." [See, for instance, Richard's Dreyfuss' clothes in American Graffiti.]

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 21, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Handle: Raysmom

State, province, or country of residence: NoVA.

Gender: Yes

Age: Soon to have big x-0 birthday

Marital status: Mrs
Number and ages of children: See Names and Types of Pets

All degrees and granting institutions: B.S., SUNY-B; MBA Cornell

Names and types of pets: One spoiled dog who, of course, refers to me as Mom(couldn't admit this on the Mommyblog)

Social Security Number: Yes.

ATM PIN: See master list on Post-It near computer.

Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: Brief experience in student seat; retired.

Posted by: Raysmom | November 21, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm getting a little overwhelmed.
The combined IQ on this blog surpasses the GDP.

Posted by: Nubee | November 21, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom you will fit right in, love the Post-It near computer.

Posted by: dmd | November 21, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I have slapped up a new kit, mostly just a lot of boodle-mining.

Everyone feel free to repost comments from this afternoon that require further contemplation.

Posted by: Achenbach | November 21, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Welcome Nubee and Raysmom!

>the Mary Ann/Ginger debate:

After watching the entire series on DVD I came to the conclusion that Ginger would go with the Skipper, as he's effectively the authority on the island and Mr. Howell's $$$ notwithstanding would be closed to directory/producer.

After dallying with the professor Mary Ann would end up with Gilligan, as the professor is really too busy with flora and fauna anyway. I mean after all, this is a guy who passed on Zsa Zsa Gabor as "Miss Tiffany Erica-Smith".

Posted by: Error Flynn | November 21, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry Nubee, they are all much smarter than I am, which is why I mostly lurk, but they'll never gloat about it. Good manners abound here (with the rare exception). Joel runs a tight ship in that regard.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | November 21, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

New Kit!

(dbG, SonofCarl, be prepared to be Achenembarrassed. That's a common reaction to seeing your boodle musings elevated to a Kit - congrats!)

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 21, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

nubee - not all of us have advanced degrees - i don't have my masters yet... YET - i will soon tho...

no worries about your intellectual level (all the science stuff joel rights goes RIGHT over my head - i usually stick with posting fluff)

Posted by: mo | November 21, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Excepting myself, you'll find out that most of the folks on this here Boodle are quite intelligent, Nubee.

Don't let it intimidate you; for all of our discussions of cosmology and spirituality and the problems of the world, we all still snicker when one of us comes back from the bathroom with a big piece of tp stuck to my, er, *our* shoes, flying the banner of the human condition for the universe to see.


Posted by: bc | November 21, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

One of my earliest aural memories is the creak (or screech) of the rusted pulley and clothesline coming off the back porch next to my bedroom window. I would have been about 2 then. My Mum used to hang the laundry even in the dead of winter (in Edmonton! In 1960! When it was 50 below!).

Years later I kept hearing that creak in the back yard of my house in Montreal (when I was married and had a child of my own, but nobody in the neighbourhood had an old clothesline and pulley combo. It turned out to be the call of the bluejay (whose range does not extend to Alberta). It was uncanny how the sound (like smell, I think) summoned ancient sensory memories.

Posted by: Yoki | November 21, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, Wilbrodog refers to me as "hey, you!" He's doing it right now because he thinks I need to be off the pc after alln that hard work captioning photographs for Pat on my blog.

So we'll wait a bit before I get to captioning all those cute pictures on then. I try and write the entries so the pictures are explained, but dunno...

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 21, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

All right, all done. It was nothing to do with how hard the photos were, Wilbrod just needed to feed us both. Wilbrod even captioned those little icons by my name, mostly, so it should be interesting.

Wilbrod wants to know if the description of the rude otter makes sense now at

Posted by: Wilbrodog | November 21, 2006 7:39 PM | Report abuse

LALurk - re: your (Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 20, 2006 09:22 PM )

Unfortunately, New Orleans experienced the perfect outcome of democracy. Since hurricane preparation wasn't a major concern of most of the populace, they didn't elect officials for whom it was a major concern, they frowned on large tax expenditures for which it was the major cost, and they repeatedly allowed zoning exemptions (which often directly countered anti-flooding policy) to stand without challenging the decisions of the responsible authorities. It's a hard way to learn the lesson, but I'm guessing that democracy will now express itself with a slightly re-aligned set of priorities!

It's my humble opinion that it's unfair (if not outright whacky) to demonize public officials for behavior that was precisely what was expected of them. We (the big "WE") have it well within our power to let them know what we demand, whenever we figure out what it is.

Posted by: Bob S. | November 22, 2006 12:54 AM | Report abuse

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