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Carl Hiaasen's Writing Method, Plus a Guest Kit

Carl Hiaasen drew a packed house at Politics & Prose last night. He read from his new novel, reminisced about snake-grabbing airboat rides through the tall grass of the Everglades (if you caught a snake you were supposed to throw it on the boat's pilot), and talked of being influenced by the writing of John D. MacDonald (who showed how you could intermingle plot with real-world topicality). Asked about inspiring kids to be environmentalists, he made a reference to the bad-guy developers who appear in his books: "I think my position is clear. I've run out of ways to dismember these people."

Hiaasen at 53 looks the same as he did at 28. His rage against scoundrels must be the elixir of youth coursing through him. Someone asked him in what genre his books belong. He said, "I write satiric novels that are suspenseful." He's also a great reporter. Maybe the most versatile journalist in America -- and generous with those of us who, back in the day, asked for advice. A friend told me that when he got a job at The Herald and took his first tour of the newsroom, an editor pointed to Hiaasen and said, "That's Carl Hiaasen: You'll never be that good."

Hiassen last night said some authors write the final sentence of a novel first, and then labor toreach that sentence. That's not his style. He doesn't use an outline. He's not big on structure. He endorses the Elmore Leonard philosophy: If you already know how the story is going to end, why would you write it in the first place? He said his method, in which his characters can surprise him and the plot can turn 90 degrees on a dime, reflects the way life actually works. And it must be a fun way to write.

The only catch, he said, is that his books don't have a structure that is easily converted to a three-act screenplay. And the narrative tone that makes his books comedic is hard to capture in a visual medium. He'll read the first 10 pages of an adaptation and know that it'll never get filmed. Which is better than having a book turn into a bad movie and spending the rest of your life answering the question, "So what is Demi Moore really like?"


Now, a guest kit from Curmudgeon:

Curmudgeon's Cure for All Human Misery

Now that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has wiped out the problem of hunger by renaming that condition "very low food security," I think we have here a glorious opportunity to rid all of mankind of some equally horrible and taxing conditions. All we need is a little mental agility and a vocabulary well-versed in governmentese and bureaucratic mindthink.

Just a few of my proposals:

thirst: underhydration; personal hydration overexpectation

drought: geophysical underhydration

flood: terrain altitude insufficiency (or, I suppose, the entirely predictable "geophysical overhydration)

tsunami: an SAB event (sudden aquatic abundance)

disease: wellness downturn

plague: mass wellness downturn

bubonic plague: rodentially transmitted rapid wellness deterioration mode

black plague: probabilistic, irreversible wellness termination

death: end-stage wellness

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Quadro-Equestrian Hardship Demonstration Team; also Mounted Eschatology End-Stage Wellness Unit

[Save the date: Chat with the Achenblogger at noon Monday here on the site. We'll talk about my magazine story on Alternative Energy, which runs Sunday and will pop up on the site Saturday. You can send in questions in advance as soon as they publish the Live Online schedule later today. You might wait until you've read the story first, though that's not strictly required.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 17, 2006; 7:52 AM ET
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Next: Another Way: Earthaven and Alternative Energy


Common cold: miserable, stuffed-head temporary wellness downturn.

Posted by: slyness | November 17, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

mudge - You've been reading government documents again haven't you?

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon: Semantic realignment specialist.

Posted by: CowTown | November 17, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Padouk, I have--and the funniest part is, they pay me for it.

The fools, the mad fools.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I'm glad they do, 'cause we get the benefit therefrom.

Posted by: slyness | November 17, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Aaaah - Demi Moore. "Strip Tease"
I get it now.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Tornado: Mass Wind-Speed Overabundance Cone

dr Im sure that mr dr still chuckles to himself remembering your reaction to the bats.

Posted by: Kerric | November 17, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I am just about beside myself for being in the same kit with the great Carl Hiaasen. When I saw he was coming to town I wondered if he and JA were going to get together and hoist a few brewskis. In fact, I suspect there may have been (or will be) a bit of a "reunion" of past Miami Herlad/Tropic magazine hands. Details from Joel would be nice, but I suspect we may be invading personal territory here.

By coincidence, I'm currently reading an old Gregory MacDonald "Fletch" mystery, "Fletch and the Widow Bradley." I am a great, great fan of MacDonald (this one AND the other one, yellojkt's idol), and can easily picture either Hiaasen or Achenbach (or both) as a sort of latterday I.M. Fletcher type. (I'm not crazy about the Chevy Chase version of Fletch, so please remove that image from your heads.) what IS Demi Moore really like?

BTW, Carl and Joel, don't use the three-act structure for screenplays. Use David Siegel's 9-act structure instead ( Works for novel-writing, too. Much, much better, with all due apologies to Syd Field and Aristotle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

But Mudge, you have to take it the next level. Articulated acronyms and buzz words. Instead of saying, "The people are dying from bubonic plague." You must say,

"By all metrics my optic on the in-country status supports a high-level ritterwiddum scenario."

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse


Did you mean "Aaaaah, Demi Moore" or "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH, Demi Moore!"


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 17, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"Irreversible wellness termination" is one of the most splendid things I have seen in many a day.

I modestly claim to be something of a specialist in the formulation of ludicrous euphemisms. In our laboratory, we often need to transport gas-laser tubes and gas cylinders. Unfortunately, the people in our shipping department have no real idea of what it is we do here. You mention "gas" and they get frantic. You mention gas cylinder and they freak -- never mind the fact that the gas pressure in the cylinder is less than atmospheric pressure, and the gas in question is inert. So, what we do is transport "cylindrical glass laboratory vessel, empty". Literally empty, it's at maybe 0.1% atmospheric pressure inside. Lasers can make them worried, too, so we transport "coherent monochromatic light sources." They are concerned about inventory control on property that could be fenced, so we no longer ship cameras, which require a lot of paperwork for even a cheap camera. Instead, we ship "rectilinear segmented imaging array devices." After a while, we get a little carried away: "personal thermal insulation" = winter coat for working in cold temperatures, so we won't have to write a justification for shipping necessary clothing. "Acoustic generation system" = speakers for computer. "Self-contained acoustic generation system" = boom-box. "Manually-activated acoustic resonator system (MAARS)" = banjo. And so on. (Yes, we really do ship this sort of stuff. Let me point out, we work 16-18 hour days at 14,000 feet elevation, often at 0°C, for a solid week or two or three. A little human comfort is not a bad thing. Which fails to explain the banjo, but whatcha gonna do?)

After a while, we keep doing it just for the entertainment value. Has anyone seen my cruciform rotational-fastener engagement tool (Phillips-head screwdriver)?

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 17, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Happy, happy. Hiaasen is wonderful. I'm jealous that Joel knows him personally. I stumbled upon "Tourist Season" years ago and I savored every page of it. Of course I have read every book he has written and along with the laughs, they have given me a greater understanding of the environmental issues and challenges in Florida. Add to this a funny guest kit from Curmudgeon and my day is brighter by far. Or maybe it's the sun trying to shine through the murk.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | November 17, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I meant to write an onomatopoeia of sudden realization, but the abject terror bit is way better.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Chubacca or whatever it was down in texas:

Unidentified non-domesticated post-mortal mutant canid.

It's definitely canine, could be vulpine (a fox). It looks very feral or wild to me. Given that I can't see what the fur naturally was, it looks a lot like a pariah dog to me, very heat-adapted in its build.

Bad bites do occur in dogs-- The "ugliest dog" had an underbite.

Overbites seem to be particularly chronic among long-nosed breeds such as poodles and greyhounds. Here's a picture of a greyhound with an overbite.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I need to read more Hiassen. Actually, I need to read more of anything other than having to proof-read the stuff I have to turn out in my day job. However, it's get that done, or the fertilzer will integrate with the rotating ocillator, thereby creating an acrid residue-due.

Posted by: ebtnut | November 17, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Said residue being elevated on all horizontal and vertical surfaces nearby, ideally positioned in a state of high potential energy for gravitional kinetics, ebnut.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I can sum up the travails of what I have to read, work-wise, thusly (actually, I just typed thudly, which also works):



Posted by: Scottynuke | November 17, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, I have seen your cruciform rotational tool for spiral-ribbed fasteners.

I believe Mudge was last seen taking it aboard his motorized multi-person nautical immersement and flotation device to rotate some spiral-ribbed fasteners within structurally integral bracing devices. Shortly after, I observed said rotational tool taking a graviational trajectory over the personal safety barriers on the floation device, into the mouth of an saline-aquaecous respirating denizen of the marine environment. The denizen had rather a redundance of tiny conical dental projections and a dorsal steering device.

It may be difficult to get your rotational tool back.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Hiassen should be stopped. He made me make a fool of myself too often. Most recently, I explosively spayed diet ginger ale out of my nose in a crowded airport.
I was reading the final scene of one of his book in which the proverbial Florida land developer gets eviscerated by a senile, blind rhinoceros. CH sure likes to kill these slimy developers in most unkind ways.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | November 17, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I just had to correct "contemporaneousity" to "contemporaneity." Jeez, don't they teach this stuff in 8th grade any more?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Mudge good job, very funny. While I consider you quite a master, I noted this quote from Pres. Bush today, speaking in Vietnam. It was an article on how Bush was comparing the Vietnam/Iraq scenarios. Sadly I don't believe the President is purposely trying to be as humourous as you.

""It's just going to take a long period of time for the ideology that is hopeful - and that is an ideology of freedom - to overcome an ideology of hate," Bush said after having lunch at his lakeside hotel with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, one of America's strongest allies in Iraq, Vietnam and other conflicts.

"We'll succeed," Bush added, "unless we quit.

Here's the full article,

Posted by: dmd | November 17, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

SCC Hiaasen, between others

Posted by: shriek | November 17, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Shrieking, do any of those developers die by tree roo-roo?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I always thought some of those mangroves looked like they might be into man-love.

Sorry, I forgot, tree pun day is over...

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, after yesterday the first thing that came to mind after "phenomenological" was "doo doo, de doo doo".

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


Exactly, but that would be SUCH a lost reference in this buidling... *L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 17, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

He won the Newbury Honor for "Hoot".

Okay, NOW I have to read Carl Hiaasen. All this peer pressure... just one book and then No is No...

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Sad news, Bo Schembechler has passed away,

Posted by: dmd | November 17, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I've read one Hiaasen, and I can tell you, Wilbrod, you will never be able to stop. And then you will be compelled to reread them. Its an awful thing to go through.

Posted by: dr | November 17, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

ScottyNuke - Dark Star?

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

As a fellow UF '74 grad I can attest to the formative years of the early '70s there: still idealistic and rebellious, but UF was named #1 party school by Playboy mag. in 1969 (I took 5 years to do an undergrad, I knew it would never be the same life after UF). Other UF writer grads of note: Harry Crews and one of my favorite: Kate Di Camillo (skip the movie, her 1st book is terrific). Today's YA (young adult) lit. is not to be missed. I'm a children's librarian and Hoot and Because of Winn Dixie have changed children's lives: for the better. So I mourn the lost Fla: funky Marineland and Cypress Gardens, but celebrate the Florida grown writers we have today.

Posted by: pmunden | November 17, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Ok, kids, now do it in haiku.

Posted by: CowTown | November 17, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, dr speaks the truth. I read my first Hiaasen novel a while back and devoured the rest about two a week until there were none left. I'm looking forward to the new one...

Posted by: omni | November 17, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

pmunden, you are correct, my daughter considers Because of winn Dixie a life changing event, she said she wanted everyone to read it so they could feel what she did when she read it - as a note she was terribly disappointed in the movie.

Posted by: dmd | November 17, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I want to post something, I really do. . . but the scintillating wit of Kit & Guest Kit give me Boodle Paralysis. I tremble, I faint, I have not a scintilla of wit to offer which could compare.

Maybe something will percolate if I sit long enough.

Still sitting.

Okay, I'll ruminate whilst enjoying the efforts of cleverer Boodlers.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 17, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Global Warming --> Climate Change (at least if you work for NOAA. It's official).

I'm reminded that for many years, one of Penn State's goals as a university was to be more like Michigan. Actually, I suspect that most public universities in the US have wanted to be more like Michigan, in more ways than one.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | November 17, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

pmunden - my daughter loved the "Frog Princess" trilogy. I am curious how well known these books have become.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

In the early 70s, someone at UF wrote a masters thesis on the local Hippie Ghetto, not to be mistaken for the Student Ghetto.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | November 17, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Pictures from the Columbus News Reporter of damage from yesterday's tornadoes:

Posted by: slyness | November 17, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, such terrible destruction, I feel for the victims.

Posted by: dmd | November 17, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Ivansmom, sounds like you're suffering from judicio-mandibular ruminatory stasis. Try a nice cup hot chicken soup it couldn't hurt.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

dmd... your Bush reference reminded me of a joke in Froomkin's briefing yesterday:

Q: What's the difference between Iraq and Vietnam?

A: Bush had a plan to get out of Veitnam.

ba-da chsshhhh

Posted by: martooni | November 17, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

nice cup hot chicken soup = .24 liters of thermally elevated gallinaceous hydration libation having potentially wellness-inducing placebo effect.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

and which has a p-value statistical probability >.05 of inducing wellness deterioration, nothwithstanding whether its ameliorative properties are positive or negative integers.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Geotome. Device with which an ecologist makes holes in the soil. Otherwise called a shovel. The early 20th century ecologist Frederic Clements also happened to have learned a lot of classics.

Posted by: Dave of the coonties | November 17, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, thanks, Curmudgeon. Your soothing concern, and the efficacy of the recommended wellness-inducing, food security enhancing avian liquid potable certainly elevated my cranial processes.

Now if I could only clear my mind.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 17, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

...had a plane to get out of Vietnam.

Posted by: LTL-CA | November 17, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

LTL-CA - Dontcha just hate those typos? I usually notice mine a few nanoseconds after I hit "Submit." But by then it is too late. I must accept that my error will soon be seen by dozens of people worldwide.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Lovely Delta launch. Cloudless sky. GPS satellite.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | November 17, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, you are amazing.
The greyhound photo you provided shows that that particular dog certainly does have overbite.

Posted by: Loomis | November 17, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

You were within one consonant of getting into trouble Curmudgeon. A gallicnaceous alcoholic libation would have done it.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | November 17, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I just finished listening to a briefing by a guy who actually used the phrase "mission-driven metrics."

No soup for him.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse


I thought YOU handled dark stars and other nebulous activities... Or is that SciTim?

Is it 5 p.m. EST yet???


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 17, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Dave of the funny plants, let me speak to endorse Climate Change as a term superior to Global Warming. Global Warming, in the vernacular usage, implies temperatures that are ever-warmer. One cold week, one cool winter, and pinheads will incorrectly deduce that there is no such thing as Global Warming and it's just a myth perpetrated by wealthy meteorologist greedheads (like there are so many of those). Since pinheads populate the halls and offices of this nation's central legislative body-accommodation structure (aka, the National Capitol), it is necessary to restrain them from making policy based on their limited personal experience.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 17, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

ScottyNuke - whenever I hear anything about phenomenology I flash back to the movie "Dark Star." I belive the quote is something like "Talk to the bomb. Teach it phenomenology."

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I thought Crosby, Stills and Nash were responsible for Dark Star. (A tune-cootie-less album, unfortunately).

Yeah, Shriek, I'm often only a consonant away from some sort of deep doo-doo or other. Especially of the [censored] variety you suggest.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Gotcha, RDP.

But I believe (as dangerous as that can be here) that SoC and I were making another Muppet reference.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 17, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps even worse than governmentese is the tendency by certain organizations trying to get their fingers on your tax dollars to turn every new program into a witty little acronym.

This afternoon I am wading through thick pile of proposals, including one for "Synergistic Photographic Observation Collector" or "SPOC."

Get it? Ha Ha. HaHaHa.


Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

ScottyNuke - I must admit ignorance of the phenomenological - muppet link. And I was a big fan.

I have lost face.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I can't find the link either. Care to walk us through the link with hand pupp-- uh, Muppets.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

>"Talk to the bomb. Teach it phenomenology."

I'm obviously going to have to fire up the old laserdisc tonight. It's been awhile since I saw "Dark Star".

Posted by: Error Flynn | November 17, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse


That's a great Fixx song, BTW...


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

Allow me to explain. One of the muppet songs was "mahna mahna" which when sang sounded like "phenomenon".

Incidentally, this link had more information than I cared to know about the Mahna mahna song:

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 17, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

EF - Somehow I knew you would be no stranger to the film.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

SonOfCarl - Oh of course! I know the song well.

I feel much better now.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

SoC, yer faster on the Wiki trigger than I am. Then again, I wasn't really sure how to spell "mahna mahna" anyway.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 17, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"Dark Star" established the John Carpernter rule that the quality of his movies are inversely proportional to the budget. The sequence where the guy chased the beach ball alien through the elevator shaft is one of the best ever filmed.

Since Joel name-checked the author I am second most obsessed about, I will plug my Travis McGee tribute post. Anyone writing about South Florida can only walk in the shadow of John D. MacDonald.

I heard NPR reporting on Bush in Vietnam and almost regretted the second paragraph of my blogpost today. Almost. I realized that Dubya was blatantly and pre-emptively diffusing any criticism he would get over why he was drunkenly neglecting his draft-dodging dodge while McCain was being tortured in ways that can only make Cheney wet his pants in jealousy.

At least Georgie is finally get his all expenses paid government trip to Southeast Asia four decades later.

Mudge, if that obfuscation talent was ever used for evil we would all be in trouble.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 17, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Geez, I came to lurk for a few minutes before getting out of Dodge for a week, and now I've got that silly Manha Manha song stuck in my head.
Elated Gratitude-granting 24 Hour Segment.

Posted by: LostInThought | November 17, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I googled "muppet songs".

yellojkt, wasn't the modern The Thing also Carpenter's? That's in my sci-fi top ten. BTW, kudos to you for apparently successful Achenaddiction self-treatment.

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 17, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh wait a second! It's not even 4 EST!

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 17, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse


I get one post during business hours.

Durn, I just blew it. Back on the wagon.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 17, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Good (as usual) Stephen Hunter review of the new Bond (James Bond) movie at

And for those who haven't read it yet, here's the wonderful opening graf of "Blood Money," Eugene Robinson's excellent column this morning:

"O.J. Simpson's forthcoming book, "If I Did It," could launch a profitable new series for publisher Judith Regan and her parent company, Rupert Murdoch's media empire. Let me suggest that she follow up with another snuff book, maybe "If I Shot My Wife in the Head," by Robert Blake, and then diversify into non-capital crimes with "If I Molested All Those Kids," by Michael Jackson."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, Travel Tips for Dubya was brilliantly scathing. MoDo quality.

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 17, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Yes, yello, applause from this cubby.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

This is one of those kits that is so over my head, I'm almost ashamed to say so. And Mudge, your kit seems like a lot of big words to say nothing? Is that the idea?

I read Eugene Robinson's op-ed piece on O.J. Simpson, and I thought why is this guy even talking (Simpson). I just don't believe that is something I would do. The word "flaunting" comes to mind. But perhaps he is trying to prove that he did not kill his wife and her lover, yet I'm thinking there has to be a better way to do that. He claims to be not guilty. I don't know. I do believe race played a big part in everything that related to Simpson and the trial. On both ends. People like to look at it from one side, but both sides looked a little iffy to me.

I could not wait to get home and look at the Simpson trial. I watched it every chance I got. And I think a lot of people in this country were doing the same thing.

It was all about the elephant in the room that no one, even now, wants to talk about.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 17, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

No time to post, but yes, yellojkt, Travel Tips for Dubya is great fun. Too bad he won't read it (not in the Bubble, man, got to get the Boodle in the Bubble).

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 17, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

yello, the blogpost is excellent. Such a shame he will never read it.

Posted by: Slyness | November 17, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, somebody could read it to him.

Posted by: Yoki | November 17, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, O.J.'s book is being reviewed -- and marketed, by him and his editor -- as a thinly veiled "confession". That is, now that he's been acquitted, he has written a detailed account of the murders he didn't commit, describing the crimes as he would have done them.

No matter what you think about his guilt or innocence, this is pretty sleazy.

Posted by: Ivansmom | November 17, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, using big words to say nothing is only part of it; that would probably be the case in academia and most scientific circles. And some people think it makes them sound "educated" to use high-falootin' words. In government, though, very often the purpose of those kinds of phrases is to hide or disguise what they're really talking about. Therefore, "collateral damage" hides the fact that someone has killed civilians and bystanders.

So the difference is this: in academia it is merely pretentious and usually relatively harmless. When government does it, it is often deliberate and intended to hide something.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Huh. Carpenter's "The Thing" would not make *my* top-10 SF movies.

The version with James Arness in the lead role wasn't much better.

John W. Campbell Jr. was a good pulp sci-fi writer and highly influential editor (of Astounding Stories IIRC), but the Thing movies didn't translate so well for me, anyway.

I don't think any of his other works were ever adapted to the big screen. And that's probably a good thing, as I don't think anyone could have made "The Black Star Passes" into a movie that I would have not walked out of.


Posted by: bc | November 17, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Running for the bus; gonna go out to a famous-schmancy restaurant with some friends.

Everybody have a good weekend.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Thus, to echo Mudge, the government has solved the hunger problem in America. Presto, no more hunger. Just lots of very low food security.

Oh, yes, and I liked the Hiassen piece too. He's one of my favorites, profane, incisive, funny, bizarre, and a good writer too.

Posted by: Ivanmom | November 17, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I see you use YouTube, yellojkt... any fees, any important signing over of your childrens' SSN numbers and so forth I should know about?

My peeve is that it's so hard to search the site, I never can find anything. Is there any method in the madness?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

On page 200 of "Hoot". Funny, not sure how I enjoy the Huck-Finnish themes and the implicit glorification of eco-terrorism quite yet.

Maybe if it turns out Mullet Fingers has been telepathically controlled by burrowing owls....

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the kind compliments. MoDo-esque is a very high honor. I hope y'all caught her most recent BushBash last week during TimesSelect open season. It was truly a work of art.

I just flirt with YouTube. The only limits are 10 minutes or 100MB and an ambiguously worded release no worse than WaPo Rule 6. I hate the video quality. GoogleVideo is better but it's all about mindshare. The random connectiveness of YouTube seems to be one of it's selling points. I notice that my Graceland video is about to overtake my Badmitton in Saigon video in total views. Searching "yellojkt" on the YouTube home page should get most of them. It's the advantage of having a unique alias.

I looked up a high school friend in Palo Alto this summer and he bragged about the number of views a video that he made for the industrial robot company he works for has gotten. It's pretty impressive:

Let's hope he has the Three Laws programmed into that thing.

I used to do work at the Florida Atlantic University campus and I will attest that disturbing burrowing owls is a huge concern. While no UCSC Banana Slugs, FAU Burrowing Owls does make a pretty good mascot.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 17, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

What was so great about the Stephen Hunter review of the new James Bond flick? Daniel Craig is ugly, so what if he gets a little more beat up about the brow than Pierce Brosnan? I hate, hate, hate the whole Bond genre.

A vendor, Hitachi Data Systems, at my husband's firm has planned a big James Bond party at our local multiplex, the theater serves serves eats (expensive cheap fare) and drinks, including alcohol, along with the show. The old theater, now refurbished, is not in the best part of town.

I said I would go, but am now having serious doubts--really digging in my heels--since I've always disliked the Bond movies: feminine stereotypes, high-tech gimmicks and gadgets, same predictable fast-paced plots, chase scenes, guns, explosions, etc., shallow character development, if any.

I struggle between playing the "good corporate wife" and remaining true to my own interests and values. Shall I go and drink myself to sleep in my movie seat? Can I sleep through the ear-splitting sound effects? Beg out with the pretense of a headache? I'd much rather steal across the aisle and see Borat, thinking that this bash-everybody comedy will be only slightly better, but my husband says that wouldn't be cool.

Posted by: Loomis | November 17, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

You could concentrate on the extras in the background and see if you can identify any relatives.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 17, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, good to know. I've never been able to access a Google video, I'm not sure, probably the wrong video mediaplayer format on my computer. YouTube has no problems in that regard, so it IS attractive.

Those robots are cool movers, remind me of the car-making robots in that commerical to the song of "bad to the bone"...

Hey, they move stuff from shelf to shelf!

This leads to one of my dreams ideas-- robotized supermarket shelves/warehouses, with controls accessible to the disabled and you never have to climb the shelves for that sixpack of paper towels, and supermarkets could then shelve as tall they wanted to, it's all automated delivery to the customer anyway.

Glad to know the US robotics industry is still living and breathing.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Show up, then disappear-- it's DARK in the theater anyway.

James Bond is what I call "male romance"-- cars, danger, women, thrills, shallow and dramatic plotting. Like a bodice-ripper.

Actually I like the hi-tech gimmicks and gadgets in James bond movies. They're the ONLY reason I will sit through one, and they're so parodyable.

Terry Pratchett in "Thief of Time" has this monk called Q who is always coming up with similar gadgets-- exploding rice bowls, anyone?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I hate everything Bond, but I think Daniel Craig is not ugly; I think he's the hotness. I have a fantasy thing about those knife-like dangerous boys; earlier my great passion was Jeremy Irons circa 1980-1990.

Loomis, I've struggled with the supportive wife/genuine human paradox for 26 years, and still don't know the answer. I try to attend one spouse-company sponsored event every decade or so, just to show willing don't you know. The great thing about railway engineers is, they really don't care whether the spice show up or not; they can talk about rail-wear modelling and superior turnouts quite happily for hours. When wives are present, we all get glassy-eyed with boredom and drink, and since the only thing *we* have in common is *them,* it's very borin'. If you were looking for a word to describe railway events, borin' would immediately spring to mind. God, it's so borin' (Sorry! Beyond the Fringe will out almost as often as Monty Python!)

Likewise, Himself could not find the intersection of development theory and law more dull if it had been developed specifically to sedate him, so he's happy to have me go to my firm's stuff on my own.

Posted by: Yoki | November 17, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Actually this may be the one Bond you enjoy, if at all possible. Its the first Bond novel, and every review has said its good, right down to the not classically handsome Craig. From the sounds of it, it will be a better more full fleshed character than all previous Bonds with less gizmos, and less of the babe thing.

Anyway, I do like Bond movies, and the trailers I have seen make me think it will be a very very good Bond. If its a good movie outside the genre, only seeing it will tell.

If you do go, please review, if you would, Linda.

Posted by: dr | November 17, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I go to my wife's corporate-socializing stuff because she is my wife and I love her and I want to be a significant part of her life. She goes to my events for the same reason. If the only things we had in common were sex and the mortgage payment, then there wouldn't be much point in being married. I have dreary and tiresome things that I must occasionally do for work, when the company of my wife makes it tolerable, and vice-versa. Shockingly, some of these things can even turn out to be enjoyable and I can find congenial persons with whom to talk, merely by refraining from telegraphing contempt for the situation. I'm fairly sure we all agreed to something similar to "for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health." Spousal social obligations present an opportunity to put the promise into action.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 17, 2006 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, as long as we're making comments about teh hottness, Daniel Craig, and bodice-ripping, I see that the FDA's 14-year ban on silicone bre@st implants has come to an end. The ban may be busted, but I believe that people are racked over the cleavage of opinion between the two viewpoints.

Speaking of spectacular views, don't forget that the Leonid meteor showers should peak near midnight EST tomorrow (Sat.), with reasonable viewwing conditions in the Washington DC area.
I'll be up for it.


Posted by: bc | November 17, 2006 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Tim, how very mommy-blogish of you.

Posted by: Yoki | November 17, 2006 6:58 PM | Report abuse

My wife has never seen a Bond film and certainly isn't going to for the likes of me. This is why they invented DVDs.

To properly enjoy the James Bond experience it is essential to be well versed in the subtle vocabulary that defines the movie. The destruction of government property. The naughty names. The colorful bad-guys. The unfortunate woman who falls for the Bond Charm only to suffer an unfortunate end. The ridiculously complex and consistently ineffective techniques of execution. And of course, my personal hero, Q.

Q is, like, a god.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 17, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

The Bond movies haven't been a worldwide smash success for 30 years for nothing. He's a man's man AND a lady's man. Courageous, athletic, smart and lucky, off on a mission of worldwide importance where he can break every rule in the book if necessary.

While always beautiful the Bond women have become progressively smarter, more dangerous (on both sides of the fence) and are now portrayed as EVERY BIT HIS EQUAL (or better) if anyone bothered to watch. One MIGHT think feminists would recognize that and approve, but I guess it's easier to just keep *****ing.

And he has the best toys on the planet. My wallpaper at the moment is an Aston Martin Vantage, and it just doesn't get much better than that.

That said, I can't imagine why they re-made Casino Royale. The one with David Niven and Peter Sellers is such a send-up of the genre that it's hard for me to imagine it being done straight. But I guess old Ian isn't making any new ones, so there we are.

Posted by: Error Flynn | November 17, 2006 7:22 PM | Report abuse

See, Error, what you identify as *****worthy by feminists isn't why I dislike, even detest, the Bond movies. I've seen, I think, six of them over the years, and have found the plots weak and the stuff you obviously love, the toys, completely unengaging.

I think that use of feminist as an insult similar to the coopting by the right of the word liberal. I've been a feminist as long as long as there has been a feminist movement, and it has nothing at all to do with movies.

Why all the hostility this evening, lads?

Posted by: Yoki | November 17, 2006 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I sympathize with you, like Yoki, my husband has had a lot of corporate events to attend, mostly IT stuff but not all. My husband is a social butterfly and is great a small talk, and can talk to anyone. Me not so much - particularly in large groups. Over the years I have learned to seek out one or a few people I have commonalities with and have great conversations with them. In the end we usually both end up enjoying ourselves - just in different ways.

As for the Bond movies, I can tolerate them, but have always preferred intelligent men to macho men. I will take substance over toys any time, and humour tops all. :-)

Posted by: dmd | November 17, 2006 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dmd. I thought I broke the Boodle. "My husband is a social butterfly and is great a small talk, and can talk to anyone. Me not so much" In describing yourself, you have identified my problem. Also I'm a bit hard of hearing in one ear, and large groups are particularly difficult under that circumstance, since I'm not good socially anyway.

I think the gap between Tim and me is probably very slim. The difference in the approach might be because both Himself and I have many corporate/firm things we have to do, which the other really doesn't enjoy, and since neither of us *minds* if the other isn't there (and sometimes prefer it), we're cool with the way we muddle along.

For instance, I went to a reception/dinner the other day (not put on by my firm, important for the firm to have somebody seen to be there). It was a gathering of about 400 oil industry people. I was sent there to work the room. Had himself been along, he would have been bored stiff and uncomfortable, because he doesn't know anything about oil & gas. And I would have been constrained in my role, because I would have cared more about making him comfortable than doing that which I was sent to do. So it worked out fine; he got to stay home and work on a beta-test of a system, which he enjoyed, and I got to do what I do, happily.

Likewise, last week Himself was entertained by a supplier (premium no-weld rail, IIRC) over a really good dinner. But they had to speak about what they had to speak about, and I was just as (perhaps more) happy to experiment with the awesome new "no-knead" bread recipe published in the (*gasp*) NYT.

Posted by: Yoki | November 17, 2006 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I understand completely Yoki, we also have many separate events, we are very different in a lot of ways. He recently had corporate seats at an Areosmith concert. The thought of going to that concert would not excite me, and being in a corporate box just seemed wrong, but he had a great time, and as the vendor paid for the event it was even better.

I have good hearing in both ears, but at large events I find it difficult to hear conversations over the music or multiple conversations, I don't think it helps my small talk any.

Posted by: dmd | November 17, 2006 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Error Flynn: /One MIGHT think feminists would recognize that and approve, but I guess it's easier to just keep *****ing.//

And you don't know any women interested in marriage? Go figure! :-)

Posted by: dbG | November 17, 2006 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, somehow the career of sexy, ruthless, promiscious, lethal lady spy doesn't appeal to me very long.

It seems a little stressful to kick people in stillettos, shoot a few dozen more, and then still lose out to some &*%^& guy in a tux who's had a few glasses of wine.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 17, 2006 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Enjoyed the kit today. My 16-y.o. daughter is reading Striptease. Sigh. But she's read all the rest of the Hiaasen catalog, so I can't really say anything. They are funny as all get out, and she likes them (as do I).

Just got back from an amazing game. College field hockey, NCAA semi finals, Wake Forest beat Duke in the second sudden-death overtime, after Duke came back to tie the score with two goals in the last 1:44 of regulation time. What seemed like an easy victory with less than two minutes to play turned into a real nail-biter. Wow. Lots of emotion at the end of the game.

Posted by: bigcranky | November 17, 2006 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh Wilbrod, you do have a way with words (and thoughts)! Excellent post! Also I think dBg is deeply cool.

Posted by: Yoki | November 17, 2006 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait for Joel's article. Will he lead with the sonic disruptor?

Posted by: bill everything | November 17, 2006 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Some Miami Book Fair panels on C-SPAN2 Sunday:
Keep your eyes peeled for kbertocci and TBG!

yellojkt, did you go to the Carl Hiassen reading and see our guy with the flyaway hair?

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 17, 2006 9:34 PM | Report abuse

SCC - Hiaasen - and I went back and found yellojkt's comment that he couldn't go.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 17, 2006 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Ooh! Ooh! Ooooh! The sonic disrupter! Wouldn't that be cool? Mudge will have to tell us how we can use the concept to make energy on a large scale today. Maybe it can replace nuclear reactors? Just read this week that the local power utility has revised the cost of the next proposed nuclear power plant from $2 billion to $3 billion. If the sonic disrupter comes in cheaper than that, we're in business!

Posted by: Slyness | November 17, 2006 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Yoki said: "Wow, Tim, how very mommy-blogish of you."

My intent was not to say "Here is how I live my life; emulate me, or you are a loser." I meant to convey that this is my recommendation of how to handle spousal social obligations (an unasked-for recommendation, I know), and that I do try to fulfill my theory in the actual practice of my own life. If it's good enough for me to suggest, then it's good enough for me to try it myself. Take what you will from my suggestion -- a little, a lot, or nothing at all.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 17, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

It was a very sweet post Tim.

Posted by: dmd | November 17, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Agree with dmd -- Tim's post made me smile.

Posted by: bigcranky | November 17, 2006 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's good to take a few for the team... but sometimes as Yoki says, not everything has to be a team effort.

Kind of like giving birth.

Posted by: WIlbrod | November 17, 2006 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, way behind on the boodle again. Mudge, you're simply brilliant!

I just finished a Hiaasan-like book called "God Doesn't Shoot Craps: A Divine Comedy" by Richard Armstrong. It's a lark, but touches on Pascal's Wager and quantum mechanics and other favorite topics of the boodle.

Posted by: Pixel | November 17, 2006 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I return from a great meal at a fancy Italian restaurant in a nice mellow mood, and find the boodle is making me turn a mite curmudgeonly.

Loomis and Wilbrod, I think you guys didn't read Hunter's review very carefully. For one thing, the point is this particular Bond -- and Bond movie --are deliberately atypical of the stereotypical (but accurate) view of the other Bond movies-- lots of high-tech gadgets, etc. Yes, it, too, has lots of shoot'em-ups, but that's not endemic to Bond flicks alone by any means. As for "lack of character development" it appears from Hunter's review this may be the ONLY Bond flick that DOES have some character development. And unlike some of the other Bonds, this one appears to actually have some good acting.

If you hate the entire Bond series, that's fine, Loomis. But at least acknowledge that this one may be somewhat different from all the other ones. (And I suspect if anybody else on the boodle trashed a movie they haven't even seen and whose advance publicity and reviews they are apparently unfamiliar with, you guys would be all over their case in a heartbeat. You know, keeping an open mind, not pre-judging, yadda yadda?)

And gimme an effing break, Wilbrod. You don't like movies with hunky guys running around? OK, fine. That only eliminates about 70 percent of the last 100 years of cinema. I can understand if you don't like Hunky Guy X or Hunky Y, but NONE of them? Pitt? Connery, H. Ford? Cary Grant? John Wayne? Colin Farrell? Denzel Washington? Cruise? Patrick McDreamy? Redford? Newman? Flynn? Eastwood? Alan Ladd? Donnie Walberg? Bogart? Crowe? Brosnan? Dylan McDermott? Gregory Peck? Gable? George Effing Raft, fer crying out loud? Does NOBODY make your heart go pitter-patter? But if that's how you want it, OK.

Point 2: Like ScienceTim, I'm going to take a wee bit of umbrage --or at least exhibit no sympathy whatsoever -- for all those boring social events of your husbands that you ladies have to go to. I got to five or six of my wife's work-related events every year (and even help out at a few of them)-- and she's in real estate for cryin' out loud. You have any freakin' idea real estate is? Have you ever heard any really good cocktail party real estate chat? XYZ Mortgage just lower there points from 6 to 4. Oh, Izzat so? For the title of World's Most Boring Shop Talk, I'll match real estate up against any of you. (And I already know from your posts what some of your husbands do.)

Plus my wife has MADE me go to week-long conventions in New Orleans, Chicago and San Francisco, where she had to sit in classes all day while my son and I were FORCED, yes, FORCED by horrible fate to spend our days roaming these awful cities, eating their awful food, touring their boring museums, wandering down the streets of their fanciest shopping centers and Million-Dollar Miles, going to FREE concerts (the Doobie Brothers, Chicago [the band Chicago])etc. Ohhh, it was just awful having to go to my spouse's events.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | November 17, 2006 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I confess to feeling like Cassandra and Ivansmom. I was consoling myself with the belief that I'm toast because I worked all day, but the truth is you're excellent! Do you have an alternate set of words for *male romance*?

bc, thank you for the reminder. I doubt I'll see much here in the land of the Iggles, but I have happy memories of driving my Jeep to the top of a dark plateau near a chapel, climbing onto the roof with a quilt, and lying back to watch the Leonids track paths in the clear, starry night.

Thank you, Yoki. Likewise. :-)

I rarely see movies before they're released as DVDs, so I've just seen the Philip Seymour Hoffman *Capote.* Brilliant. I'll probably watch it again tonight as I play with gems on the dining room table.

The whole OJ thing is disturbing. I read the money is going into trust for their children. Whether he did it or not, I wonder how they feel about everything and if they see it as blood money. I have to concur with observers who have written that the book seems like the ultimate narcissistic act.

Posted by: dbG | November 17, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Connery. Newman. Ladd ("Come back, Shane!") Grant. Bogart. Peck (with Audrey Hepburn, of course. Sigh.) Good memories all. Thanks, Sr. Curmudgeon.

For boring shop talk, education has to rank pretty high up there. Maybe not at quite the same level as real estate, but up there.

Posted by: bigcranky | November 17, 2006 10:31 PM | Report abuse

My wife got sent to a conference in Nashville. We honky-tonked on Music Row, visited Opryland and saw some great songwriters at The Bluebird Cafe.

A year later, I got sent to Stillwater, Oklahoma and my wife insisted on coming along. Guess who got the better end of that deal.

My wife is a huge Bond fan. I like them, but I don't obsess. Moonraker is one of the worst movies ever made, Bond or otherwise. The Living Daylights is the most under-rated one, but License To Kill was just awful. I have a lot of other strong opinions about the series, but they're kind of random. Bonds in order of quality:

Sean Connery (heresy to say otherwise)
Pierce Brosnan (suave, but unconvincing in the action sequences)
Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton (both uneven at best)
George Lazenby
Peter Sellers/David Niven/Woody Allen (the movies are self-parodies, no need for intentional humor)

Posted by: yellojkt | November 17, 2006 10:39 PM | Report abuse

In the interest of continued civility on the 'boodle, I humbly propose a moratorium on the words "effing," "ffffffing," and "*****ing." If it is absolutely necessary to express these sorts of emotions, perhaps a suitable alternative would be "Achen," e.g., "Are you Achen crazy!?!?!?"

In addition, I have serious concerns about the word "toreach" as used by Joel in the third para of this Kit.

Posted by: Tom fan | November 17, 2006 10:43 PM | Report abuse

bigcranky, I would take Gregory Peck in any movie.

Mudge, good post, I can relate, try spending an evening centred around bar codes.

Posted by: dmd | November 17, 2006 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Are BSG geeks allowed to use "frak"? Otherwise, I quit.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 17, 2006 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Thought you might enjoy Judith Regan's latest lie, er justification, for the O.J. thang:

Sicker by the minute . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | November 17, 2006 10:48 PM | Report abuse

me at 10:48; out of practice

Posted by: bill everything | November 17, 2006 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Please don't quit, yello!
Frak is A-O-K.

Posted by: Tom fan | November 17, 2006 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes she is just such a humanitarian Bill Everything. Yuck.

Posted by: dmd | November 17, 2006 10:51 PM | Report abuse

When I first saw the story about the "If I Did It" book on the evening news, I thought I was watching some sort of Saturday Night Live skit. I could almost see Tim Meadows playing O. J., saying "I didn't do it, but if I DID do it . . ."

Posted by: Tom fan | November 17, 2006 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I mean, it's one thing to say, "I'm in the entertainment business, if you don't want to buy the book, you don't have to . . ." At least there would be some intellectual honesty to that approach.

To wrap yourself in the protective cloak of "I am a victim too" is perverse.

Posted by: bill everything | November 17, 2006 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Hi, boodle, here's some boodler news:

TBG arrived safely at the beautiful Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International airport today. It turns out we don't have anything in common, we don't get along at all and we have nothing to talk about. Oh, and since Joel's article is coming out this weekend and the chat is coming up Monday, we decided not to go to the book fair after all.


This is how I get late at night. I haven't been drinking, I just have a slightly looser grasp on my self-control. (Could be TBG's influence...she would be here typing along with me, but I took her hiking in the swamp this afternoon and she was kind of tired by 10 p.m. so she's asleep now--she'll check in tomorrow morning.)

Joel, thanks for the Hiaasen preview. We're scheduled to see him at 10:00 Sunday morning. I love that line, "That's Carl Hiaasen: You'll never be that good." I'm going to be quoting that forever.

TBG has her state of the art laptop with her so we'll probably be able to (1) read the magazine cover story (2) prepare for the chat and (3) report from the field during the weekend. Good night, now!

Posted by: kbertocci | November 17, 2006 11:25 PM | Report abuse

kbert, that condition you describe is what my mother calls being "over-tired."
Get to bed immediately, young lady, before you start giggling uncontrollably and find you can't fall asleep.

[And I'm *so* Achenjealous. I wish *I* was going to the book fair with you and TBG! And I wish *I'd* just been for a hike in the swamp.]

Posted by: Tom fan | November 17, 2006 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Smelly theater, bad food, and Doron Kempel, CEO of Diligent of Boston, formerly of Israel and Harvard, flew out on Continental Airlines to talk about computing algorithms for storage devices for 45 minutes while the spouses who had absolutely no interest in this were a captive (captured) audience. The way the theater was set up, there was no social interaction. The CEO's presentation graphics were pretty awful and the overhead lights were on which washed out the images something awful. What were Diligent and Hitachi Data Systems thinking?

I saw the first three minutes of the Bond movie (much violence) and told (begged?) my husband to release me from my corporate spouse duty so that I could sneak down the hall and spend the evening with Russell Crowe and wine in Provence. I got back into the Bond show just to see some bloke get shot in the leg and the closing scene. At which point I threw both hands into the air and said "Yah!"

But what I did see were two completely different set of previews--all of which looked to be better than the Bond flick: a movie about a Mr. Wilson and how the CIA was formed, the next Spiderman movie, Blood Diamond again, Premonition with Sandra Bullock, something with Denzel, and a movie about the Zodiac murders in Frisco with Downey Jr., and Gyllenhall. A quiet little Bristish movie called The History Boys looks it may be quite good.

My husband and I saw different movies and both came home satisfied.

Posted by: Loomis | November 17, 2006 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Kbert & TBG, please re-read *Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why*
before you venture into that swamp again!

(Warned and prepared, I went to dog camp last summer--backpack with heavy raingear to double as shelter, first aid kit, compass, matches, utility tool, water, trailmix, ... and it came in very handy one day at the lake when we all would have died without the bug spray I bought. I had to refill on my way back to the B&B that night.)

Posted by: dbG | November 17, 2006 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Hate to say it, but Mudge I think you confused me with Loomis?

Points that I made:

James Bond is a "male romance"-- cars, gadget, lots of women, excitment, a little danger-- the typical thriller. That's okay, I can be a Dick Francis junkie.

I specifically said I rather like the gadgets in the movie, and that Q is highly parodyable, referring to Terry Pratchett's "Thief of Time" which I just love.

My major 'criticism' was of the glam image of the Bond Girl, directly in response to Martooni's idea of the feminism shown in James Bond movies. Yes, I dared be funny.

I didn't know I was gonna be sentenced to harpooning by an outraged whaler for that.

You may want to up that nitroglycerine before you watch this new 007 movie.

Since you asked about my *ahem* eye candy preferences, I will say the early Sean Connery hands down, and not just because I prefer to see men that DEFINITELY don't shave their legs.

Generally, sheer hunkitude doesn't keep me glued to the screen if the story's weak. I can think of a few characters on Lost.... what was I saying? oh, still never watched the whole show start to end, because they don't have those characters on long enough.

Now, Numb3rs is more like it in the terms of eye candy and plotting, and they had some James bond movie plugs tonight. Charlie Epps got some ego stroking when Millie compared him to the Sean Connery of the Math Dept-- young, cute, solves crimes.

Now that's more like it. Pierce Bronsan in a wetsuit, not that sexy.

As for Loomis-- maybe she'd rather watch Lord of the Rings than a Bond movie. More hunky men for the money.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 18, 2006 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Didn't see Loomis's post when I posted-- Oooh, that new Russell Crowe movie... was it as good as the reviews?

(Mudge, remember this is.. RUSSELL CROWE versus Daniel Craig? Loomis made the correct hotblooded heterosexual female choice. You really arguing with that?)

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 18, 2006 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Maybe that should have been *Boodle Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why*

Posted by: dbG | November 18, 2006 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Ahhh. Denzel!!

Posted by: Yoki | November 18, 2006 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. We're up, and moving. Going to a Prayer breakfast this morning, and went to a Missionary program last night. The children performed a "mime",(sp) and I enjoyed it so much. The children liked it, so I liked it. I just wish they were that way with reading and math, but I understand the difference.

I read somewhere that the money from the Simpson quest, the book and program, are going into a trust for his kids. That may be the case, and I really feel for his children, because this is their mother we're talking about, and the press from all of this cannot help their already stressful situation, yet it still does not smell good. If Simpson did not kill his wife, I keep thinking, why does he not try and prove that? If this is an attempt to do that, why the title? I believe that White America just will never care for Simpson or anything Simpson. And I am not for men killing their wives, or vice versa, but the overriding tidbit that galls me is the race issue.

No one gets upset when a Black woman or a Black man for that matter is killed. You see it in the movies and on television, if someone has to die, it is always the person of color, as if it is a natural event. And in America, it is a natural event, read the stats. I guess what I'm trying to say is, can we not have balance even in murder? Murder alone is horrific, but must we add the other horrible in there, race. Perhaps it is naive thinking, because race has been the reason for a lot of the killing done to African Americans, so I guess why should anything change. It all just seems to go back to that slave mentality to me. We really are bound to that threshold, and it isn't just African-Americans, Whites are tied up in that can of worms too.

I'm ranting this morning, and at such an early hour. Peace.

I hope your weekend is going good so far. I'm enjoying mine. We're going out this morning, and just let the day bring what it will after that. But certainly hoping for good things. That is my hope for you, and yours, and that always we come to know that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 18, 2006 6:34 AM | Report abuse

And Mudge, thanks for the explaination; however, I don't see putting new words to hunger and lack of food as diguising that situation. It may do that for the person that writes that bunch of crap, but for those of us that attend soup kitchens, we're always going to see through that.

Soup kitchens have been around for awhile now, but what is scary for me, is that those attending or needing this help have increased drastically, and I include myself in that need. And I keep thinking that if by some stretch of bad luck, the folks that do soup kitchens ( and they are saints and angels of the highest order) aren't able to continue, we're going to end up with a bunch of people that will not be easy to deal with. The potential for chaos is there, and none of it good. Sometimes this kind of chaos brings on the other kind,(use of force), and we won't like it. When people are hungry, anything they do, whether right or wrong, looks like moving up. I'm not condoning this kind of thinking or action, just calling it like I see it. Not good.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 18, 2006 6:52 AM | Report abuse

OJ trying to do something for his kids is a good thing, but doing it by further sensationalising their moms death is truly heinous. In the anals of awful stuff parents do to their kids, this ranks so low, that it can't even see the lower side of he11. IMHO

For any man this is awful, but for a man accused and tried for her murder, aquitted of that but civily responsible for her death? I'm not even sure that the underside of he11 is a good enough description of my opinion of his action.

Posted by: dr | November 18, 2006 7:51 AM | Report abuse

dr, I agree, how do you justify writing that book to your kids, money cannot make up for the damage caused.

Posted by: dmd | November 18, 2006 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, I am so sorry, but you have committed pretty much a mortal sin. CLOONEY, GEORGE, and FREEMAN, MORGAN.

Posted by: dr | November 18, 2006 8:08 AM | Report abuse

dr, I would add Sam Jackson, Luka (from ER - not good with actors names), and the guy (not Everett Rupert) who was in Somethng about Ernest - I have watched that movie repeatedly and only partially for the story.

Posted by: dmd | November 18, 2006 8:14 AM | Report abuse

In full agreement about the OJ nonsense. What's disturbing is that so many people are likely to watch it: "Hey, he's confessing to murder -- cool!!!"

That being said, the important news is that today is the MICHIGAN-OHIO STATE game. In honor of Bo Schembechler and his passing, I most fervently hope that my Michigan team will beat the "you know what" out of the other team. After all, the colors say it all. Blue beat red in the recent election, and I see no reason why that trend can't continue.

All together now:



Posted by: firsttimeblogger | November 18, 2006 8:15 AM | Report abuse

TBG and kbertocci, there is that burning question you forgot to answer. Did you wear the purple bow on your shoulder, or did you wear the green as the instantly recognizable but only to an Acheblooger recognition symbol. Did you use the secret handshake or did you just wave flags in semaphore. Details, I tell you details.

Now finish your coffee, there is book fairing to be done.

Posted by: dr | November 18, 2006 8:17 AM | Report abuse

dmd, Colin Firth, aka, Mr. Darcy.
This too is a mortal sin. How could I have missed him.

I am now verklempt.

Posted by: dr | November 18, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, To claim that "No one gets upset when a Black woman or a Black man for that matter is killed," isn't fair. I get upset whenever any innocent person gets killed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 18, 2006 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Thanks dr, it is very embarrassing to admit you have a big crush on someone but can't remember their name!

Posted by: dmd | November 18, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, if something happened to you we would all be very upset, and I hope you know that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 18, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

g'morning boodlers...

Been skimming the posts from last night and had to laugh at the exchanges over the Bond movie. Bond movies are to men what the Lifetime Channel and Meryl Streep movies are to women (and i know there are those from each gender who defy that generality, so don't get yer knickers in a twist). It's all escapism and that's not a bad thing (imho).

I'm in for a hectic weekend. My dear old bus let me down yesterday -- clutch cable snapped as I was pulling out into traffic. Managed to push her into a parking lot with the assistance of two Good Samaritans. Unfortunately, the new clutch cable won't be in until Monday so I get to share the grocery getter with Mrs. Martooni. Should be interesting to find out how much plywood and drywall will fit inside (or on the roof) of a Ford Windstar. It'll also be interesting to see what it's like to blend into traffic anonymously (for anyone wondering why I'm not used to being anonymous in traffic, this is my daily driver: ).

Cassandra... I hear ya. We have an abnormally high murder rate in my neck of the woods and victims are almost invariably black. They make the news, but the coverage is barely a blip when compared to the murder of a white person (especially a pretty female one). I don't know if racism is to blame though. I think it's more along the lines of people becoming numb to it all -- that it happens so frequently people are no longer shocked. Sad times.

[btw Cassandra, the two Good Samaritans who helped me push my bus off the road yesterday? They were two black men who were heading the other direction and had to turn around and cross traffic to come to this furry white hippie's rescue -- while all the white drivers just honked their horns and flipped me the bird for being in their way. Having "been around", I wasn't surprised in the least bit by this scenario.]

Anyway, this afternoon should be fun. After a morning spent relocating a load-bearing wall at the rental house, Little Bean and Mrs. Martooni and I are going to Chuck E. Cheese's for some kid-fun and nasty over-priced pizza, followed by a trip to the bookstore.

Hope everyone has a great day...

Posted by: martooni | November 18, 2006 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, Chuck E. Cheese, you and Mrs. Martooni are great parents, I get the shakes everytime my daughter mentions that place :-).

Posted by: dmd | November 18, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

My children used to fuss for us to take them to Chuck E. Cheese. Now they fuss for us to take them to wait in line for a Nintendo Wii.

Suddenly puts that big mouse place in perspective.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 18, 2006 8:56 AM | Report abuse

My friend the other day pointed out the story about people being robbed and killed waiting in line for a X-box.

He's a jock said he didnt understand the clamor for video games to the point those x-boxes were selling for over 300-400% list price.

He also swore he would never buy a single video game for his son... ping-pong tables are as good for rainy days (and do cost roughly the same as a X-box), etc. Keeping kids active beats vegging out before video games.

Hmm, let's see.

Posted by: WIlbrod | November 18, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning
There's Hard Porn, Soft Porn, and Cold Water Porn. "Male Romance" falls into the last category.

Posted by: Boko999 | November 18, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Compared to the Bond movie, "A Good Year" with Russell Crowe would be considered sweet and sentimental (and slow, by hubby's standards). I would have to say that it was not the best or strongest Russell Crowe movie I have ever seen.

My husband asked if it was a romantic comedy. There wasn't much to really laugh at, but it was a gorgeous film, thanks to France and the cinematography (in many scenes, I could have sworn that the backdrop was Napa, Sonoma or Mendicino).

I will contrast this to the stark and violent opening scenes of "Casino Royale"--described by the NYT today:

"Casino Royale" opens with a black-and-white sequence that finds the spy making his first government-sanctioned kills. The inky blood soon gives way to full-blown color, but not until Bond has killed one man with his hands after a violent struggle [after pushing his head violently into a toilet bowl] and fatally shot a second. "Made you feel it, did he?" someone asks Bond of his first victim. Bond doesn't answer.

Posted by: Loomis | November 18, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Ha, Boko! You made me laugh with that line.

Posted by: Slyness | November 18, 2006 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Ah thank you for that review, Loomis.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 18, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Hoot redeemed itself with its plot twists including the publicity campaign to save the owls.

The one really good line I can think of is:

'"Until we speak again on this subject, you and I," Miss Hennepin said. "I know when I smell a rat."
Yeah, thought Roy, that's because you're growing one on your lip. '

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 18, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, depending on where your clutch cable snapped, you might be able to drive it a bit. On my old bug, it snapped near the pedal, so I pulled it out from the engine and rerouted it over the top to my left side. When I needed to shift, I yanked the clutch with my left hand and shifted with the right (shift only going straight, and put it in neutral coasting to lights). I had to do something similar wheen my throttle cable broke (see a theme here?), easier to drive in that situation using the throttle and shifter with my right hand.

Also, I once limped a car 70 miles home from a racetrack without a clutch when the throwout bearing broke. Started it up in 1st gear, and could feel when the synchronizers would let me move it from one gear to the next with a minimum of grinding. When I came to a stoplight, I just rolled up real slow and turned it off. Started it back up in 1st when the light went green.

You can't do that with many newer cars, because they have the safety switches that won't let you start in gear without the clutch engaged.

Ah, well, I'm sure you'll have the van fixed back up in a jiffy.


Posted by: bc | November 18, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Joel's Energy Piece in WaPo Mag:


I know I will.


Posted by: bc | November 18, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I keep NPR books on my desktop at work, but I never get the chance to listen to the topic. I really do read the ones with excerpts and articles. This is one from this week that just is not leaving my mind.

The excerpts of the diary are compelling and I await the book with great interest.

I also read that the second of Eastwoods WW 2 films, Letters from Iwo Jima, will now be released in December.

Both these enterprises will, I hope, help us to learn that the other guy is not so different from us after all.

Posted by: dr | November 18, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

...for Bo, whilst reading from Melvilles,"Mardi" this morning, I came across this well-crafted chapter, fitting for a memorial, and in typical form from Melville, eloquent, to "boot," Go Blue!!!

Melvilles, "Mardi." Chapter LXXV, "Time and Temples."

..., Marco Polo tells us how the Great Mogul began him a pleasure-palace on so imperial a scale that his grandson had much ado to complete it.
But no matter for marveling all this; great towers taked time to construct.
And so all else.
And that which long endures full-fledged must have long lain in the germ. And duration is not of the future but of the past; and eternity is eternal, because it has been; and though a strong new monument be builded today, it only is lasting because its blocks are old as the sun. It is not the Pyramids that are ancient but the eternal granite whereof they are made, which had been equally ancient though yet in the quarry. For to make an eternity we must build with eternities; whence the vanity of the cry for anything alike durable and new and the folly of the reproach-Your granite hath come from the old-fashioned hills. For we are not gods and creators; and the contoversialists have debated whether indeed the All-Plastic Power itself can do more than mold. In all the universe but one original; and the very suns must to their source for their fire; and we Promethiuses must to them for ours, which, when had, only perpetual Vestal tending will keep alive.
But let us back from the fire to stone. No fine, firm fabric ever yet grew like a gourd. Nero's House of God was not raised in a day, nor the Mexican House of the Sun, not the Alhambra, nor the Escorial, nor Titus's Amphitheater, nor the Illinois Mounds, nor Diana's great columns at Ephesus, nor Pompey's proud Pillar, nor the Parthenon, nor the Altar of Belus, nor Stonehenge, nor Solomons' Temple,nor Tadmor's towers, nor Susa's bastions, nor Persepolis' pediments. Round and round the Moorish turret at Seville was not wound heavenward in the revolution of a day, and from its first founding five hundred years did circle ere Strasbourg's great spire lifted its five hundred feet into the air. No, nor were the great grottos of Elephanta hewn out in an hour; nor did the Troglodytes dig Kentucky's Mammoth Cave in a sun, nor that of Trophonius, nor Antiparos, nor the Giant Causeway. Nor were the subterranean arched sewers of Etruria channeled in a trice, nor the airy arched aqueducts of Nerva thrown over their valleys in the ides of a month. Nor was Virginia's Natural Bridge worn under in a year. And who shall count the cycles that revolved ere earth's interior sedimentary strata were crystallized into stone. Nor Peak nor Teneriffe were chiseled into obelisks in a decade; nor had Mount Athos been turned into Alexander's statue so soon. And the bower of Artaxerxes took a whole Persian summer to grow, and the Czar's Ice Palace a long Muscovite winter to congeal. No, no, nor was the Pyramid of Cheops masoned in a month; though, once built, the sands left by the deluge might not have submerged such a pile. Nor were the broad boughs of Charles' Oak grown in a spring; though they outlived the royal dynasties of Tudor and Stuart. Nor were the parts of the great Iliad put together in haste; though old Homer's temple shall lift up its dome when St. Peter's is a legend. Even man himself lives months ere his Maker deems him fit to be born; and ere his proud shaft gains its full stature, twenty-one long Julian years must elapse. And his whole mortal life brings not his immortal soul to maturity; nor will all eternity perfect him. Yea, with uttermost reverence, as to human understanding, increase of dominion seems increase of power; and day by day new planets are being added to elder-born Saturns, even as six thousand years ago our own Earth made one more in this system; so, in incident, not in essence, may the Infinite himself be not less than more infinite now than when old Aldebbaran rolled forth from his hand. And if time was when round this Earth, which to innumberable mortals has seemed an empire never to be wholly explored, which in its seas concealed all the Indies over four thousand five hundred years; if time was when this great quarry of Assyrias and Romes was not extant, then time may have been when the whole material universe lived its Dark Ages-yea, when the Ineffable Silence, proceeding from its unimaginable remoteness, espied it as an isle in the sea. And herein is no derogation. For the Immeasurable's altitude is not heightened by the arches of Mahomet's heavens; and were all space a vacuum, yet would it be a fullness; for to Himself His own universe is He.
Thus deeper and deeper into Time's endless tunnel does the winged soul, like a night-hawk, wend her wild way and finds eternities before and behind and her last limit is her everlasting beginning.
But sent over the broad flooded sphere, even Noah's dove came back and perched on his hand. So comes back my spirit to me and folds up her wings.
Thus, then, though Time be the mightiest of Alarics, yet is he the mightiest mason of all. And a tutor and a counselor and a physician and a scribe and a poet and a sage and a king.
Yea, and a gardener, as ere long will be shown.
But first must we return to the glen.

Why do I read Melville? For who amongst the throng speaks truer to the human heart and soul of men?

"Thanks Bo, for the memories."

Posted by: cookkenusa | November 18, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

cookkenusa - you're like, making my brain hurt.

Back here on planet earth, I really liked Joel's article. He's got this type of writing down to a science.

The Earthaven residents seem like people who are on an extended camping trip. Sure, they are sincere and doubtless good folks, but if they really want to establish a legitimate self-sustaining low-carbon footprint, there is a solution. It's called "The Amish."

And Joel also touches on a key problem to making even modest, though significant, changes in energy use - those pesky legal dependents. They 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 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Joel's article was v. interesting. Perhaps North Americans would be more aware of our energy use if we went back to measuring it in calories. We've become very good at calorie counting.

Posted by: Boko999 | November 18, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

cookkenusa - Melville? I thought you'd been reading E. R. Eddison.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 18, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Mudge didn't mention Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Day-Lewis, Adrien Brody, Sean Penn - oh, the humanity! I had lunch with my movie nut friends yesterday - we discussed seeing the Bond movie together, but it would mean dealing with traffic when I'm on vacation. If my kid wants to go see it close to my house while he's here, though, I will. I close my eyes when it gets too violent. But Bond films aren't my favorites, although I saw them all and read the books in the '60's.

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 18, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's a poem I "get" on Ottawa,government, and bureaucracy.

The City of the End of Things
Archibald Lampman (1861-99)

BESIDE the pounding cataracts
Of midnight streams unknown to us,
'T is builded in the dismal tracts
And valleys huge of Tartarus.
Lurid and lofty and vast it seems;
It hath no rounded name that rings,
But I have heard it called in dreams
The City of the End of Things.

Its roofs and iron towers have grown
None knoweth how high within the night,
But in its murky streets far down
A flaming terrible and bright
Shakes all the stalking shadows there,
Across the walls, across the floors,
And shifts upon the upper air
From out a thousand furnace doors;
And all the while an awful sound
Keeps roaring on continually,
And crashes in the ceaseless round
Of a gigantic harmony.
Through its grim depths reëchoing,
And all its weary height of walls,
With measured roar and iron ring,
The inhuman music lifts and falls.
Where no thing rests and no man is,
And only fire and night hold sway,
The beat, the thunder, and the hiss
Cease not, and change not, night nor day.

And moving at unheard commands,
The abysses and vast fires between,
Flit figures that, with clanking hands,
Obey a hideous routine.
They are not flesh, they are not bone,
They see not with the human eye,
And from their iron lips is blown
A dreadful and monotonous cry.
And whoso of our mortal race
Should find that city unaware,
Lean Death would smite him face to face,
And blanch him with its venomed air;
Or, caught by the terrific spell,
Each thread of memory snapped and cut,
His soul would shrivel, and its shell
Go rattling like an empty nut.

It was not always so, but once,
In days that no man thinks upon,
Fair voices echoed from its stones,
The light above it leaped and shone.
Once there were multitudes of men
That built that city in their pride,
Until its might was made, and then
They withered, age by age, and died;
And now of that prodigious race
Three only in an iron tower,
Set like carved idols face to face,
Remain the masters of its power;
And at the city gate a fourth,
Gigantic and with dreadful eyes,
Sits looking toward the lightless north,
Beyond the reach of memories:
Fast-rooted to the lurid floor,
A bulk that never moves a jot,
In his pale body dwells no more
Or mind or soul,--an idiot!

But some time in the end those three
Shall perish and their hands be still,
And with the masters' touch shall flee
Their incommunicable skill.
A stillness, absolute as death,
Along the slacking wheels shall lie,
And, flagging at a single breath,
The fires shall smoulder out and die.
The roar shall vanish at its height,
And over that tremendous town
The silence of eternal night
Shall gather close and settle down.
All its grim grandeur, tower and hall,
Shall be abandoned utterly,
And into rust and dust shall fall
From century to century.
Nor ever living thing shall grow,
Or trunk of tree or blade of grass;
No drop shall fall, no wind shall blow,
Nor sound of any foot shall pass.
Alone of its accurséd state
One thing the hand of Time shall spare,
For the grim Idiot at the gate
Is deathless and eternal there!

Posted by: Boko999 | November 18, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Patrick Stewart. He's not in the top ten, but he is on my list of sexy movie guys.

Haven't read Joel's article yet. Am looking forward to it.

I do try to keep the lightest carbon footrprint possible. But it's very easy for a family on one to do this! I don't have kids clamoring for energy-sucking devices.

I would love to see the day when designing and building "green" buildings becomes more than a boutique market for folks who can afford architects.

Wouldn't it be great if there were regulations passed on new buildings that mandated a certain level of enerfy efficiency and "green" devices?

Not only just building green homes -- but zoning for green communities. Chucking the crazy zoning ordinances that make it necessary to drive ten miles round trip to go by a gallon of milk.

I would hope that future suburbs and such are built to be multi-use and pedestrian friendly. And all the buildings take advantage of every energy saving technology -- both low and high tech -- that's available.

I would love to see this country salvage the sprawl that so many people are now living in.

I know I'm late on this kit -- but Mudge -- you had me laughing very hard. Thanks so much for a take on the absurdity of "food insecurity."

yello -- thnks for the Bush travel in Viet Nam link. Very, very good.

Posted by: nelson | November 18, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

geez -- how could I have forgotten Ralh Fiennes? Oy!

The first Hiaasen book I read was "Tourist Trap." I laughed so hard I teared up. I tried explaining the humor to my mother -- she didn't get it at all.

Feeding a negative, cranky, complaining retired New York woman to the alligator. Her monologue as she is thrown into the water is just fabulous!

Posted by: nelson | November 18, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I hope kbertocci and TBG wear their lime green Achenshirts and Theron bows so we can pick them out of the milling crowds at the book fair.

And omni - Eurotrash! Thought of him in the middle of the night. How are you doing, our Belgian friend?

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 18, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, now I'm feeling the urge to turn off my computer after reading this-- but not before researching more energy-efficient computers for my next upgrade, since unfortunately I rely on the PC as a phone.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 18, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

hmm, did anything ever come of this?

I am looking at EnergyStar specs. They only list for desktops and computer/monitor combos.

Are laptops not energy efficient at all?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 18, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

RD, and all of you, I would certainly be upset if anyting happened to any of you. Yet I'm sure you understand the place I'm coming from concerning the value placed on life in America. Everyone of you here know in your heart and mind that race touches everything in this country. It is just the way it is, but we have an opportunity to change that, and we've had that opportunity for awhile, but it seems we never avail ourselves of it. Case in point, Trent Lott, is back in business. We just cannot get rid of these racist folks. And they dont't hide, they're bold, and in your face. And sitting in the halls of democracy, don't you know.

There should be outrage that someone defended, and even thought that the Dixiecrats were as American as apple pie. But what do we get? Not a peep.

Posted by: Cassandra S | November 18, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Actually, nelson, there are programs for energy efficient buildings. It's called LEED certification, and that's about all I know about it. The new children's library/children's theater here in Charlotte is LEED certified, with recycled building materials and energy efficient fixtures, etc. So it's out there. And at least in this jurisdiction, the planning is for sustainable development, with density along the light rail corridors and connectivity. We'll see if it works.

Posted by: Slyness | November 18, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like there needs to be a new anti-racism coalition in the South, Cassandra.

Many of the dixiecrats jumped into the republican party a while ago-- Storm Thurmond for instance. It's hard to believe the civil rights movement was over 40 years ago.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 18, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

So I got the hardcopy version right here. Gotta be a kick to see your name in big type on the cover like that. I also see that Tom Shroder has an article.
Who edits that?

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 18, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I need to visit Charlotte sometime. A planner/consultant friend from Jacksonville retired there after encouraging his construction-manager kid to set up business.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | November 18, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

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.

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New kit alert.

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