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Strategy: Misdirection

Voters should hide the last couple of weeks before an election. They should sprint for cover, put on a disguise, stick their fingers in their ears and go nee-nee-nee-nee-nee. (In other words, what I do year-round.)

This is the period when anything goes, except intelligent discourse. The more you pay attention, the dumber you feel. This is generally a bipartisan phenomenon, though the GOP is particularly desperate at the moment, which is why a candidate in Virginia who demanded that we talk about "the issues" suddenly decided to go after his opponent for writing sex scenes in novels, and why a senator trailing badly in the polls in Pennsylvania accused his opponent of "aiding and abetting terrorism and genocide."

Invariably the dominant political story in the final days of the campaign season will be something that has nothing to do with anything -- like whether John Kerry insulted the troops in Iraq.

No question, Kerry's comment sounded like a direct insult to the troops. He says it was just a botched joke about Bush. Well..."botched" doesn't quite cover it. At the very least it was a classic political gaffe. The Democrats should rescind Kerry's First Amendment rights for at least a month. Or put him on KP duty. [Update: Kerry apologized. The prepared text of the speech appears to support his explanation: "Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."]

But Kerry isn't on the ballot Tuesday. More importantly, respect for our troops isn't a real issue. That's a manufactured issue. Just about everyone within screaming distance of the mainstream of American politics respects our troops. The issue is, what should we do in Iraq?

Here's Karl Rove's answer:

"Fight. Beat them. Win."

And here's what President Bush says:

"The Democrat strategy is to lose...the Republican strategy: Win!"

More Bush: "The Democrat approach on Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win, and America loses... The Democrat goal is to get out of Iraq. The Republican goal is to win in Iraq."

This is foreign policy as it might be designed by Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders owner who famously said "Just win, baby!" But that's not exactly what you'd call a strategy. And Oakland, let us point out, has won 2 games and lost 5 this season.

Americans would love to hear the White House come up with a winning strategy for Iraq. But in the meantime, stories like the one published yesterday by The Post's Amit Paley will make many readers suspect that "losing" and "winning" are absurd notions in a wartime arena in which it's hard to tell who's a friend and who's an enemy. The shattering quotes in the story do not come from partisan Democrats, but from American soldiers in Baghdad:

1st Lt. Cadetta Bridges shook her head in disbelief. "This guy is a crook and a liar," said Bridges, 31, of Upper Marlboro. "They're all crooks and liars."

"I wouldn't let half of them feed my dog," 1st Lt. Floyd D. Estes Jr., a former head of the police transition team, said of the Iraqi police. "I just don't trust them."

Jon Moore, the deputy team chief, said: "We don't know who the hell we're teaching: Are they police or are they militia?"

It is not clear to me that the person who owes these soldiers an apology is the guy who came in second in the 2004 presidential election.

[Greg Pierce in The Washington Times has a roundup of conservative blogger reaction to Kerry. David Corn wrote about the Bush comments and the Paley story yesterday. Meanwhile Mickey Kaus has a good take on the Kerry gaffe and the coverage by the NYTimes.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 1, 2006; 7:30 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Hacking Amazon to Save the World
Next: What Will the Democrats Do?


Missed it by 4 minutes.

Reposting from bottom of previous:

Speaking of Curmudgeon, there may have been a Curmudgeon sighting last evening. The California Highway Patrol reported seeing a strange figure in a very dirty cassock slowly wandering through the desert somewhere between Needles and Barstow. They said he looked a little like the Sundance Kid, though perhaps a little shorter and heavier. I figure that's almost certainly him.

Shriek, what's "Qc"? Quebec City?

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my goodness! Am I first?

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

Am I first? Joel, it is a great kit, but so discouraging. I always feel it is bad manners for a non-resident to comment on another country's politics, but I must say, this campaign has me wondering why there isn't a mass uprising of Americans telling the national committees and the politicians to stop! Just stop with the nonsense and negativity and start talking turkey.

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

Cmmrbnd, QC is the Province of Quebec.

I hope that poor old Cumudgeon did not jump off a cliff.

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 1:08 PM | Report abuse

You know, there have been reports of confused sea lions swimming up canals in California and getting lost on highways when they try and hitch a ride to the Atlantic Ocean. Guess they don't want to pay the toll at Panama. One wonders if Curmudgeon is considering becoming a sea lion coyote.
(Wouldn't that be a sea coyote? Wait, he's already a sea dog, right? I'm getting a little confused here now.)

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

Kerry...The gift that keeps on giving.

Posted by: D. | November 1, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Yoki! *waving*

I think about that a lot,myself. But the inescapable conclusion is that the politicians and national committees dole out the negativity and nonsense because we want them to.

My next post is directed to the pointy-headed among us, especially Joel. It's about an apparently hugely important breakthrough in stem cell research and the resounding silence with which it has been greeted by science writers.

Will paste the whole thing in given the linkiness issue, so it will be long. Feel free to skip, obviously.

Posted by: annie | November 1, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the well-wishes re Raw Fisher on the previous blog. If a man is known by the company he keeps, then one wonders what the collorary is about blog journalists.

But I actually had interview butterflies. It was not good to be reminded of all the people out there who don't have enough brain tissue to use as bathroom tissue without getting brown hands.

Fortunately the interview went well, but I will have to wait for a second round.

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

OK, pointy-heads, here goes:

The Big Stem-Cell Breakthrough
That you're not hearing about . . .
by Wesley J. Smith
10/31/2006 12:12:00 PM

DID YOU SEE THE SIZE OF THOSE HEADLINES? "Stem Cells Used to Create Artificial Liver," the New York Times screamed on its front page. "Breakthrough! Stem Cells to One Day Create Organ for Liver Transplant," was how the Washington Post put it. "Stem Cell Breakthrough Demonstrates Viability of New Science," yelled the Los Angeles Times. "Stem Cell Hope for People with Liver Disease," agreed USA Today. The story was so big that Katie Couric narrated a special report, expressing her profound gratitude for the hope these dedicated stem-cell scientists had brought to suffering humanity.

What's that? You didn't see those headlines? You say you somehow missed the story? Well, don't blame yourself. You are not out of touch. The above headlines never appeared, the stories have not been written.

Don't get me wrong: The breakthrough described in the fictional headlines is real. British scientists have created an artificial liver--from scratch--using stem cells. The research does offer tremendous hope for the alleviation of human suffering. But you probably didn't hear about this amazing achievement because the stem cells the scientists used to build a human liver did not come from embryos: They came from umbilical cord blood.

This made their scientific achievement politically incorrect. A story that doesn't validate the stem-cell mantra that embryonic stem cells offer the "best hope" for future cures isn't worth much attention. Even the most important adult or umbilical cord blood stem-cell breakthroughs usually receive only minor, inside-the-paper coverage. This is the primary reason why so many people still don't know about the many advances being made on a continual basis in human research with ethical, adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells.

HERE'S THE STORY: Two scientists from Newcastle University, Nico Forraz and Colin McGuckin, have built dime-sized human livers using stem cells found in umbilical cord blood. The livers are already sufficient for use in drug testing--perhaps in place of using some animals and humans as research subjects. The scientists believe that within five years, stem-cell generated liver tissue could be sufficiently perfected for use in treating human diseases caused by injury, disease, and alcohol abuse. Perhaps in 15 years, the technique could even be employed to manufacture whole human livers suitable for transplantation.

Contrast this general media's shunning of this major story with its sensationalistic reporting several weeks ago of the bogus story that scientists had obtained embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos. That story, unlike the umbilical-cord-blood-stem-cells-into-liver breakthrough, got front-page play and major television coverage. It was deemed news because it was seen as undermining President Bush's stem-cell policy.

Indeed, if this new breakthrough had been accomplished with embryonic stem cells instead of umbilical cord blood stem cells, the headlines would have been enormous. The second paragraph of the stories would have accused President Bush of holding up potentially life-saving cures. Notable scientists and bioethicists would have been touting the new dawn of regenerative medicine that was coming into being, despite Bush's resistance.

Instead, we hear the sound of silence--thanks to the news blockade that doesn't care much about stem-cell breakthroughs unless they come from destroyed embryos.

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture. His website is

© Copyright 2006, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

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

Hello all, back from some time away.

Garden hoses frozen solid. I thought I had more time! More time, I tell you!

Seems like a lot of reading to catch up. Welcome back Boko999.

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

Hello all, back from some time away.

Garden hoses frozen solid. I thought I had more time! More time, I tell you!

Seems like a lot of reading to catch up. Welcome back Boko999.

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

I got push-polled yesterday. A robot asks me if I will vote for Cardin or Steele. It then asks a series of leading questions such as "Do you support medical experiments on unborn babies?" - an obvious stem cell research attack.

Of course I do. I support research on Alzheimer patients and cancer victims and homeless beagles. Several babies I know owe their lives to various in utero procedures that must have been experiments at some point.

In one week this is all over for another two years.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 1, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

*Waving at SoC.* I thought I would have more time to decorate the front yard for Halloween. It was all planned for Sunday. When the temperature was -25 and the snow was blizzardish. Sigh.

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

SoC, welcome back. Hope the pipes didn't freeze with the hose.

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

Speaking of a sighting in the desert:
Is it really a flare test at Edwards AFB or Curmudgeon's methane in the night sky?

Or was Curmudgeon secretly an entry, or possibly the grand marshal--like former guests Lasorda and Reagan--at Barstow's Halloween Mardi Gras parade?

On to politics...
What Dowd discussed Sunday--about how Barak has so little foreign affairs experience, but how could he ford up the government any worse than Cheney and Rumsfeld now in office who between them have a gazillion years of experience, or Bush who has six years of the subject of her column today at the NYT. Her point: the greater the experience, the less likely the ability to lead and govern.

I'd like to see a column written by Gore Vidal expanding his remark on Sunday about Cheney being the S&M veep.

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

At least with that Mudge potential sighting we know that he might be back one day. Was he busting seguado cacti?

QC is the postal abbreviation for the province of Québec Cmmrbnd. At the constitution meeting the guy from lower Canada had this great idea, why not name the new province for its capital. It's been confusing English speakers since. In French, proper use of the articles indicates if the speaker or writer is talking/writing about the city or the province. ON is for Ontario. What's the sign for Wales? SRW, CNN, WW ?

Some languages are crually vowel impaired. Remember Hrbek the Mad Hungarian? I had a collegue of polish origin named Mrkch, no typo. Now get this guy to marry a Finn and you can name the kid Mrkch-Hameenniemi! Ha!

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | November 1, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The comments and quotes provided by the embedded reporter were grossly inaccurate and otherwise detrimental to the healthy and professional relationship that has achieved with some of the Iraqi Police. As ambitious as the reporter and other media outlets such as the Washington Post are eager to submit a story, they should be equally as eager to write the truth. The American people and the Iraqis deserve an accurate depiction; if this can be achieved the best remedy to writing a perfectly false statement/quote is not to write it at all.

Posted by: Truth | November 1, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod on the Raw Fisher GU discussion:

Wow. I learned so much from you and other posters. Is this why you asked Cassandra for some of her special kindness and prayer? You might be tired, at the least.

You model civility in discourse. I wish that more people spoke with care and respect for those who disagree with them. And even enemies deserve consideration.

Wilbrod for President. Or

Wilbrod for the Miss Manners--MacArthur Foundation Civil-Genius Prize.

Posted by: College Parkian | November 1, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to make that point on a separate issue for the last month. If you have better luck convincing the Post, let me know your secret.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

That Paley story was pretty discouraging, all right, Joel--and it is stories like that that are punching big holes in the Pollyanna world view Bush is trying but failing to promote. We're winning in Iraq, my a---. The decision made by Bremmer or Jay Garney way back when to disband the Iraqi police, the army and the Baathist infrastructure was not only a huge mistake (andorsed by Wolfowitz, Rummy, Bush, etc.)--after a certain point it was also irreversible. People who make mistakes of that magnitude (nevermind refusing to later admit them) cannot be trusted to run things, because they keep on making similar types of mistakes.

In a perverse sort of way, I actually kind of enjoyed Allen's attack on Webb's novel--you can almost see and hear the desperation in the Allen campaign. I don't think anyone much cares what Webb wrote in his novels, but I think people can sense what a pitiful exhibition Allen made of himself about it. And of course the hypocrisy angle is just beyond shamelessness. Not the least of which is the fact that Lynn Cheney, WIFE OF THE FREAKIN' VICE PRESIDENT, also wrote a novel containing some sex scenes, including a lesbian sex scene, and I don't seem to recollect hearing Allen getting very exercised about what kind of filth the Second Lady is spewing. To say nothing of the novel Newt Gingrich wrote that had a few naughty bits (Gingrich meanwhile having committed various Bill Clintonesque escapdes, from which he seems to have been pretty much immunized).

Pathetic, just pathetic.

Annie, I'd have to agree that stem cell research story does sound like a major breaktrhrough, but that guy's rhetoric was just way over the top. Yes, it's good and interesting that the liver was made from an umbilical-based stem cell--but that doesn't mean embryonic cells aren't also potentially useful in some allied research. Maybe they are, maybe they can be sidelined in favor of a different kind. But this story doesn't "prove" anything one way or the other.

But the notion that science reporters have overlooked the story because it goes against some sort of imaginary political correctness? C'mon.

And consider the source: Wesley Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute--which happens to be the leading proponent of "intelligent design." You want these people to be taken seriously by scientists? I don't think so. And Smith's piece was published in the Weekly Standard--that's Bill Kristol's Neocon rag. The Neocons have pretty much run their course (thanks to their wonderful Iraq policy).

It's not that the overall premise is wrong--the liver story might be pretty important. But the slant on it from a far rightwing think tank pretty much gives it very little credibility.

Welcome back, SofC. Hope everything's OK?

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Be kinda fun if Mrkch-Hameenniemi moved to Hawaii and changed his name.

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

annie, I don't have any solid facts as to why this story hasn't received trumpeted coverage, since it's not my area of science. I suspect that the main reason is that the press feel pretty burned after a few oversold stories -- the Korean cloning story comes to mind immediately. But the writer's notion that it's not covered because scientists and the press really, really want to kill babies so that they can be chopped up for spare parts, and this discovery supposedly argues against that, is kind of insane.

Maybe it's not covered because the scientists doing the research think that the coverage is not warranted and so they aren't seeking public notice. We've also had PETA folks claiming in the past that cell cultures and chemical tests are sufficiently well developed to replace animal testing for biomedical and cosmetics products, but you don't hear reputable scientists making the same claim. It's just possible that the scientists who are doing the work actually know a vital thing or two that is conveniently overloooked by writers with an axe to grind and a message to promote.

In any case, nobody has claimed that umbilical and adult stem-cell research is the province of idiots and fools. The only claim that has been made is that embryonic stem cell research appears to offer more promise, more flexibility, more opportunity. The ultimate goal, I gather, would be to learn how to produce stem-cells from adult cell-samples in order to develop therapies based on a person's own genetics. Research on embryonic stem-cells has been identified by knowledgeable scientists as the most promising road to get us there, based on what little we know before the work is done. If you don't understand what an embryonic stem cell is like, how can you really expect to have any luck in making an adult cell act like one?

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 1, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

They instead opted to see a session closer to the Paramount Theatre, where Dowd and Vidal were scheduled to have a conversation with Texas Monthly Editor Evan Smith.

When that event started, Smith didn't have to do much: He'd ask a straightforward question and then sit back while Vidal and Dowd fed red meat to the near-capacity crowd.

Vidal referred to Dick Cheney as "our S&M vice president" and opined that the evolution of the American presidency, from George Washington to George W. Bush, "made a monkey out of Darwin."

All of this was said without any audible demurral from the audience.

For her part, Dowd compared Cheney to Shakespeare's Iago and related how, a couple of years ago, Bob Woodward told her that she was being too tough on Bush and Cheney, which got a laugh from a crowd well aware that Woodward's latest book, "State of Denial," suggests that he has come around to Dowd's way of thinking.

This incident was also strange:

An hour later in the same room, "Angela's Ashes" author Frank McCourt was the focus of one of the day's oddest moments.

During the question-and- answer session, Richard Price, an Austin Community College adjunct professor seated in the second deck of the chamber, asked a nearly inaudible question about textbooks and then dropped a red Book Festival tote bag from the balcony and asked a baffled McCourt to sign it.

Price later explained that he wanted to auction the bag for a scholarship fund. Officers escorted him out but didn't ticket him.

Posted by: Loomis | November 1, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I was going to mention the Discovery Institute, whose stated goal is to eliminate science from any role in public policy, but Cmmrbnd beat me to it. Here are a few things, though:

The research was mentioned in the media--by the BBC, yesterday--the same day as the Discovery Institute's press release.

The results have not yet been published at all, much less peer-reviewed, so they can't be evaluated.

Two quotes from the BBC article:

Professor Malcolm Alison, from the Centre for Diabetes and Metabolic Medicine at Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, said the use of the term "mini-liver" constituted a bold claim.

"Many groups, including the Newcastle one, have been able to turn stem cells from the blood into cells that look like liver cells [hepatocytes], but these have been difficult to expand in culture into a mass of cells that was therapeutically useful."

Dr Stephen Minger, director of the Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, Kings College London: "This research hasn't been through the proper scientific channels yet - it hasn't been peer reviewed. It is impossible to know whether this work is meaningful or not."

ConoStem, the company founded by Forraz and McGuckin, said peer-reviewed papers are coming sometime in the future. If there results are correct, they may be very significant. But I think the US media can be excused for not broadly reporting on an unpublished scientific report announced overseas yesterday.

Posted by: Dooley | November 1, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Richard Price the novelist and screenwriter (Color of Money, Clockers, Night and the City, Sea of Love)(

Or different guy?

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Procedural note on science documentation:

Increasingly, scientists "pre" release tidbits from research to lay claim to a new or emerging area. This practice reflects competition by scientists for both reputation and research/commercial dollars. (Sidebar: scientists are very human AND pointey.)

Until quite recently, scientists used the "Letter to the Editor" option in many peer-reviewed professional and academic journals.

(I do not know the details in the story mentioned by Annie.)

But at a conference last month, a scholar of scientific citation noted that scientists were sometimes now using the "press release" form.

So, perhaps this is part of the process at work here.

Posted by: College Parkian | November 1, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, maybe that's because I'm used to people disagreeing with me so much. A lot of those people sound like people I've heard before, sometimes in amusing ways.

One poster would be spitting bricks, I think, to know she sounds just like an semi-literate deaf woman in India who is full of herself because she's always been the "big fish" in a very small world and has no idea of true achievement.

I'm glad for the others who said what I was thinking much better than I would have said.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, what is the reference to an interview? I didn't read the Raw Fisher comments very carefully -- there was a lot of stuff there, you know.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 1, 2006 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Now here's some science worth talkin' about, Willis:

"Red Wine Compound Promises Longevity, Study Finds

By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 1, 2006; 1:38 PM

"A substance found in red wine protected mice from the ill effects of obesity, raising the tantalizing prospect the compound could do the same for humans and may also help people live longer, healthier lives, researchers are reporting today. .

Doctor Doctor give me the news
I've got a bad case of lovin' you
No pills' gonna cure my ill
I gotta bad case of lovin' you

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

All is good - thanks for asking Cmmrbnd. I was actually having a little R&R with the family across the Strait from mostlylurking's turf. Despite being at quite nice places, none of them had a public internet station so I was going through boodle withdrawal. Apparently the knowledgeable boodleer stays at Days Inn where they have such amenities.

I have skimmed a bit. Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip Dooley. Ivansmom, sorry to hear about not getting the judicial position. I see that Curmudgeon is wandering in the wilderness and that we have a new Welsh poster. I think a great Welsh handle would be keepingupwiththejoneses.

Since no one seems to have responded to yellojkt's challenge - was it not Georgia Tech? Wouldn't the reference be everytime you type your handle? Loved the dog's costume, btw.

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 1, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse


Can't resist the amazing poetry possibilities in your bricks analogy:

spitting bricks
s*itting bricks
hitting bricks
fitting bricks

knitting bricks (wow. imagine this)
sitting bricks
flitting bricks (little wings?)

'kitting bricks' is a stretch but some limerickie online here can make a poem for us all.

Posted by: College Parkian | November 1, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Re Stem Cells, and the embryonic v. adult lines:

As part of a family with significant auto-immune disease like:

rh. arthritis
auto-immune nephritis
inflammatory bowel disease
Hashimoto's disease (fluctuating thyroid disease).

I footnote these conversation with this private thought: host-graft disease, immunosuppression therapy -- these are all horrible secondary problems when the immune system identifies alien cells.

Examining what is possible and probable with adult stem cells might sidestep some of the serious problems that result when the immune system begins to act like a police state.

Bone marrow transplants typically rely on adult stem cell donation.

Posted by: College Parkian | November 1, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely, CParkian. But the practice is frowned on, and unofficial--you don't get credit for a discovery until it's properly published. At least in geology and systematic biology, there are specific written guidelines on publication and priority.

Typically, new discoveries that are announced to the media are sent in an embargoed press release, with the embargo lifted on the day the scientific publication becomes available.

The press release announcements in advance of publication usually occur when a company (and patents) are involved, and a company is involved in this case. I don't know if patent law considers scientific priority--it's not commonly an issue in Paleontology!

Posted by: Dooley | November 1, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Now if they can only come up with Red Wine that doesn't give me a migraine I would be healthier, must resort to white wine only.

Posted by: dmd | November 1, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

SoC, I believe I made the Georgia Tech guess for exactly that reason.


And as long as we're talking about hiding from political ads, I was just about ready to bury my TV this morning after I saw Steele's younger sister "defending" him against Michael J. Fox. *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 1, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, are you still thinking about coming to the paleontology conference in Solomons on Nov. 11?

Posted by: Dooley | November 1, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I saw that too cmmrbnd, and I thought of Mudge out in the desert. You know, we could probably smoke him out if we put up wine tasting stations along the way.

Posted by: dr | November 1, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

And frankly, when the ads appear I put on my wireless headphones (preferably playing something with loud guitars) and go "LALALALALALALALICAN'THEARYOULALALALALA."

And I wonder why my cats stare at me so much.

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 1, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Dooley: Scads of money in biomedical therapies and devices. The "letter" option is emerging as a citation marker, but I agree with you about the poor ethos of the pre-press release. But the shift to this as an option is underway.

We are less formal and courteous in so many ways -- just another force at work.

Off to a meeting about,taDAH! CITATION and plagiarism in engineering documentation. Film at 11.

Posted by: College Parkian | November 1, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

One last note:

Vidal quoted a passage from Shakespeare's Othello (after Dowd talked about Iago) as easily he did the following lines from Chapter 2 of Ulysses S. Grant's "Personal Memoirs"--a thinly veiled reference to Bush's Iraq war.

"To us it [Mexico] was an empire and of incalculable value; but it might have been obtained by other means. The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times."

[Speaking of red wine or sangria...]

Posted by: Loomis | November 1, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

*Waving back at annie and saying "Hi!"*

Isn't sanguinary a wonderful word? I like exigent, too.

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I like to think thatCurmudgeon has a small backpack with a few crusts of bread, and one of those goat-skin wine sacks one always reads about in Hemingway novels, along with a canteen of water.

I anticipate that when he gets back from his penance (or perhaps its some sort of Forest Gump walk-across-the-country-three-times thing) he might have some astonishing stories to tell about his experiences out there in the wasteland of America. Kind of a little Paul Bryant/Run for Your Life, a little Route 66 Tod and Buzz, and not a little Canticle for Liebowitz thrown in for good measure. One never knows.

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I find I don't mind so much that Curmudgeon has gone walkabout. At first the Boodle felt hollowed-out by his absense (if his own report on the manliness of his physique were to be believed, that is not surprising). But how quickly we move on; 24 hours after Cmmrbnd joined us, the hurt is healed.

If Curmudgeon does comes back, he will no doubt have had visions and dreams to amaze us all. We've told him not to lick toads, but do you think he'd listen?

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Here's the link to MSNBC's poll of the worst of the negative election campaign ads. I have seen some of the ads in the Buffalo/NY area, pretty nasty.

Posted by: dmd | November 1, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I find that lack of water and food for over 24 hours and a full-ish moon in the woods tend to cause pretty good hallucinations-cum-dreams with spiritual value. That, or you wake up inside a bear.

There's definitely something to the vision quest tradition.

For maximum benefits, I suspect you should be thrown screaming and kicking from your normal life style, and you should go home long before you start talking to volleyballs.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"But the inescapable conclusion is that the politicians and national committees dole out the negativity and nonsense because we want them to. " Annie posted this partial comment earlier.

I don't think we want them to, I think that whatever marketers/strategists they are using, think we want them to do it because bad things make humans stop to look. Its like a car crash that you are compelled to look at. You really don't want to have cars crash, but if it's there... Negative advertising is a cheap and easy way to get your guys name in lights, and it does a great disservice to the people of any country they propose to represent.

What I want, if there are any political strategists out there listening is civil discourse, and intelligent debate. I want common sense platforms that can be delivered, not platitudes. I want to know what the candidate thinks on all kinds of subjects so that I can reasonably decide if he reflects what I want my
representative to reflect.

Whatever happened to manners?

Posted by: dr | November 1, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"I suspect you should be thrown screaming and kicking from your normal life style"

Robert Bly (silly) and Joseph Campbell (seriously wonderful) would agree with you Wilbrod.

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I like Campbell, but I don't know if he ever went on walkabout.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, how did the interviews go?

Pic of SF at Halloweeen when he was still a baby:

Also hope Mudge doesn't stay away too long. Whatever I may have said before, I like him a lot!

Posted by: superfrenchie | November 1, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

It went well. I was warned they may take a couple weeks before they can do the second round of interviews.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Where's Mudge?

from bc's diaries, July 4, 2037.

"My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Curmudgeon. The man we called "Mudge". To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time. When the world was powered by the black fuel and the black ink and the 'net. And the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel and daily newspapers and wireless access. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten, two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel and electronic umbrage, they were nothing. They built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped, 'net access vanished like a midnight breeze. Their bloggers talked and talked and talked, and the leaders followed their self-serving agendas. But nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. The cities exploded. A whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear, a Rovestorm of vituperation. Men began to feed on men. On the roads it was a white line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage, and smart enough to edit would survive. The 'loggers took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice and a few minutes of Boodling. And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed. Men like Mudge. The warrior Mudge. In the roar of an engine and the blink of a page refresh he lost everything. And became a shell of a man, a burnt out, desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past, a man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again... and maybe, *just* maybe, to Boodle."

To be continued.


Posted by: bc | November 1, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I doubt Campbell went on a vision quest. Though he was, I think he said, invited by one of the western native american bands that he learned from to participate in parts of some initiation ceremonies; sweat lodges and the like. I don't think he had himself hung up on hooks, but he certainly smoked and meditated.

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh, oh, oh. A JOB interview. Now I get it!

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 1, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Oops. I should have read the comments before I posted. Strike my 3:12. I hate Mudge!

Posted by: superfrenchie | November 1, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Although I wouldn't mind interviewing Storyteller Tim on his interpretion of "Stone Soup", "Cinderella", or another fairy tale of his choice for the Gnomics of Fairy Tales...

But yeah, in real life, it's about the day job.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The news commentary accompanying dmd's link says poiliticians have spent/are spending $170 million on negative ads, and only $16 million on posiutive ones. The simple fact is, whether we like it or not, negative ads "work." It's that simple.

The only way to "fight back" is to vote against the candidate who puts them out, whether you otherwise favor that candidate or not. Which raises the problem of how do you decide which side is "worse" if they are both doing it? How can you figure out "who started it"? Is it "negative" to point out something about your opponent if it happens to be factually and uncontestably true?

To me, I don't mind a factually correct message, such as "my opponent voted with [or against] Bush 98 percent of the time." At least, that tells you were the person stands. What I object to are the "code" ads that attempt one way or another to convey some message to a select part of the audience--the Ford "call me, Harold" ad for example.

But -- unfortunately -- on the allegedly "positive" side, I find ads that describe the candidate as a flag-waving American, proud daddy with a wife, three kids, a dog (sorry, Wilbrodog, but I gotta call 'em as I see 'em) and a pet hamster generally pretty sickening. I really don't give a damn if he/she has a spouse, children, pet racoon, goldfish, shakes hands with old folks at the church oyster roast, or gets all teary-eyed at that maudlin "Proud to Be an American" song. Basically it's ALL just Madison Avenue advertising BS, no matter whether its Red or Blue. (I used to write some of that crap, back in 1974-76.)

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

We know you don't like Mudge, Superfrenchie.

He's busy doing penance for offending thee.

I am afraid your remarks of how he is a cult leader may have caused him to wander forth into the desert for 40 days and nights only to come back with the fundamentals of a new religion.

Deserts are very dangerous places. We can only pray that he will come back with new ideas for creviche and desserts and nothing worse.

(Locust and honey creviche sounds good to me.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I think that seguado cactus baked in alumimium foil would be pretty tasty if seasoned properly.

For some reason the cable company gives us the Detroit stations of the major US network on cable for all of them, (NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC). We get a steady diet of Lion's NFL football, yikes. We use to have Northern NY stations (Watertown, Buffalo, etc) which was making much more sense since they are located within a couple of hours drive. Some companies even advertised specifically to Canadians on these smaller stations; Ottawa being seen as a big market compared to the local town.
Anyway now I am absolutely sick of the elections in Michigan. The Granholm and DeVos gubernatorial campaigns must be spending truckloads of money, as it is pretty much all-political advertisement all the time this week. The arguments are beyond silly as Joel noted. DeVos basically blames the incumbent for the seven plagues of Michigan. He trotted out the old saw about the 2600 murderers and rapists personally paroled by Grantholm in her mandate. All incumbents must get that, right? If one loses the election he/she can't parole anybody, obviously. Grantholm shows an Amway teddy bear with a made in China label to show that DeVos IS responsible for the jobs hemorrhage in Michigan.
Hummm, have you shopped for a car lately? What kind of value do you get from a car built by GM or Ford in Michigan vs. a Toyota, Honda or Subaru built in Missouri, Kentucky, Georgia or Alabama?
Nov 8th can't get around quickly enough to put an end to that nonsense, at least for 2 years.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | November 1, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Yoki writes: "If Curmudgeon does comes back, he will no doubt have had visions and dreams to amaze us all. We've told him not to lick toads, but do you think he'd listen?"

I dunno about the toad licking stuff, but I hope by now he's learned to taste the difference between peyote and coyote p00p after the first bite.


Posted by: bc | November 1, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Cmmrbnd, well said. You would hope that our paid elected officials (both sides of the border) would somehow rise above what you might see in a junior high school election.

Posted by: dmd | November 1, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

bc, if he's licking peyote, he'll be having some good visions for sure.

Posted by: dmd | November 1, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Joel: //More importantly, respect for our troops isn't a real issue. That's a manufactured issue. Just about everyone within screaming distance of the mainstream of American politics respects our troops.//

Respect is fine. But seen from the outside, that respect sometimes has a tendancy to look like excessive fervor and fanaticism.

Posted by: superfrenchie | November 1, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Cmmrbnd, it's okay. I don't agree with Wilbrod's politics much either. So, I would resent being used as a pawn for politics big time.

They just put the dog in the ad because they know if it was allowed, dogs would be voted into all public offices because they're cute and have so many advantages such as being easy to feed and working like dogs for no pay at all.

So they're tapping into that underground idealized picture of dogs as always loitering around waiting to save babies from burning fires, catch burglars, and help the blind and old ladies across the street as needed while at the same time remaining intensely loyal to their owners and tearing apart vicious intruders using their instinctive judgment while of course, being perfect gentlemen and ladies to proper guests and obeying as told.

In other words, every action-movie hero is basically written to sound like a dog, except for the obedience part. And that's what politicans want to look like-- heroes that can get away with slobbering and chasing tail.

I do feel sorry for any dog that has to live with a politican.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | November 1, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

And of course, let's not forget the part of being caught with things they're not supposed to have.

Some puppy eyes, a cringe, and whining always saves the dog to live until the next day and do it all over again when left unattended.

Not that I would do that, of course, mostly because I believe in the rules and live by them. I'm talking of those dogs who grow up without the rules.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | November 1, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree that "he's a paragon of family, religious and social values" ads are useless.

But what about an ad that runs something like, "I'm Curmudgeon and I have three priorities for my first term in office. I will work with theArmed Services Ccommittee to craft a strategy that will see US troops withdrawn from Iraq in strategic phases by the end of... I will argue that the No Child Left Behind Act should be amended to increase funding for schools in disadvantaged areas and to introduce curriculum changes that promote literacy and critical thought rather than teaching to the test. I will show up at [the summer barbeques of the social service groups/churches in the candidate's constituency] if you give my office 3 months notice and I am not required to vote in the Star Chamber on that date."

Wouldn't that be a positive ad that was useful?

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Sure, Wilbrodog. Unfortunately even a non-dog person apparently must have a dog if they are politicians. I am related by my father's side to Buddy, Bill Clinton's dog. (My mother is from the UK so that explains my mid-atlantic accent when I woof.) We were all pretty proud of him but it became clear to us watching him on TV that Buddy wasn't all that happy with Bill. To me, the guys in dark suit with things in their ears looked like better humans than Bill to Buddy. But eh ! what do I know. Anyway the poor Buddy probably never realized he was used as a prop. I was so sad when they annonced his death in 02.

Posted by: ShriekingDog | November 1, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

It would work for me Yoki.

Posted by: dmd | November 1, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Then his opponent would run negative Ads about "Curmudgeon's OTHER three priorities", showing him capering in that whaler drag, and whatever dirt they can dig up on him, even if they have to go 6,000 years ago back when he was tutoring Sargon's daughter to read and write Akkadian poetry.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I can so hardly wait for this entire election mess to be over. The desparation that has enveloped the Republican party over thier possible loss of power has spun them completly out of control. Arbusto and the Veep have all but said that the Democrats are traitors, and anyone who votes for them are fellow travelers. And why no "issues" ads? Because no one wants to raise them because they don't have any ideas on how to solve/address them. That goes for both sides. In my recent treks to the Steel City I've caught some of Little Ricky's ads against Casey. Joel nailed one in the kit. And this idiot thought he might run for President!!??! He was quoted in a local paper comparing the war in Iraq to the war against Mordor in Middle Earth. George Allen is pond scum. See today's WaPo editorial. And Ken Mehlmen says he had no idea what was going be in the Harlod Ford "Call me" ad. Yeah, right. And don't forget--Diebold is a major contributor to the Republican Party. Wonder if their controlled by Halliburton?

Posted by: ebtnut | November 1, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

At least he had a great lawn to run on. You ever see that big white house in DC, Buddy999? Not bad at all. And even if 100 reporters are watching you take a leak, that's 100 chances of getting a free pet. Always think positive!

Posted by: Wilbrodog | November 1, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

What I'm a bit afraid of is that when Curmudgeon comes back from his frog-licking, peyote-sucking wanderings in the wilderness, he'll have turned into something like Sybok in the opening scenes of Star Trek V ...and you all know that didn't turn out very well for anybody. And...well, I don't want to get into the cult leader thing, though frankly I don't think a cult that worships the goddesses Rachel Ray and Giada de Laurentiis and drinks copious amounts of Johannisberg Riesling can be all THAT bad.

Oh, don't be too rough on Wilbrod's politics, Wilbrodog. And when it comes to canines, I'm a big fan myself, and would gladly vote for a golden retriever over many of the politicians I know. (Or a lab, of course; never meant to slight you and your breed.) Kind, loyal, brave, intelligent, friendly, fun-loving, they keep your feet warm and fetch the newspaper; except for a little slobber, what's not to like? And when it comes to the occaisonal incontinent flatulence, I don't see much difference between a dog and George Allen, frankly. (And have you noticed, they kind of have the same eyes.)

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

That is exactly what I'd like to see, Yoki.

Its important to know what a fellow did, so voting record ads are fine, but if a whole campaign strategy is built around pointing out the other guys bad record, that fails me too. I still need to know what the candidate plans to do in the future. Which is where Yoki's ad style comes in.

I really like the sound of this Curmudgeon fellow. Sounds like my kind of guy.

Posted by: dr | November 1, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod: "Then his opponent would run negative Ads about "Curmudgeon's OTHER three priorities"

But that would not be as damaging as it now is, because so many voters would be impressed by the positive ad; the influence of the negative would be diluted.

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

That is exactly what I'd like to see, Yoki.

Its important to know what a fellow did, so voting record ads are fine, but if a whole campaign strategy is built around pointing out the other guys bad record, that fails me too. I still need to know what the candidate plans to do in the future. Which is where Yoki's ad style comes in.

I really like the sound of this Curmudgeon fellow. Sounds like my kind of guy.

Posted by: dr | November 1, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about that.

And while I am at it, SCC. I might not see it, but I am sure there are mispellings, bad grammar, and poor puncuation in most of my previous posts.

Scottynuke, I never did check if my blanket SCC card was still valid now that you are the shop steward. If I need to renew, let me know.

Posted by: dr | November 1, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Cmmrbnd writes: "...he'll have turned into something like Sybok in the opening scenes of Star Trek V ...and you all know that didn't turn out very well for anybody."

Especially William Shatner. Damn near wrecked the whole enterprise. Again.

Not like Berman didn't total it a couple of years ago anyway. They're going to need a salvage title to put it back on the road.


Posted by: bc | November 1, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Is it coincidence or causality that has this new Cmmrbnd show up, and suddenly bc and SoC and others, whom we haven't really heard from in weeks, start posting (and very amusingly too, I may say).

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

OK, enough of this "work". I'm going home and get a glass of wine and contemplate my sins, then get my absentee ballot in the mail. Maybe it will actually count. Cmmrbnd, if you get to Needles you might be able to hop a freight and ride into LA. They say it is slightly more civilized there than out around Furnace Creek.

Posted by: ebtnut | November 1, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Coinky-dink, methinks.

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The father of all political ads using pets as props:

Posted by: Loomis | November 1, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse


S'nuke nailed the party responsible for my miseducation yesterday. It was what is technically known as a "no-brainer." Four years of indoctrination have led me to look at all problems as a free body diagram. I am a Rambling Wreck and a he11uva engineer. It looks like the Jackets are bowl bound and NCAA basketball season starts in a month. I was checking stats yesterday and it seems that GT and Princeton have never faced off in men's b-ball. A meeting in 2004 of the women's teams resulted in a 60-50 spanking of the Lady Tigers.

So that we can properly identify ways to taunt and abuse fellow boodlers, I have decided we need to have profiles in a database for reference. I suggest the following information from all boodlers:

State, province, or country of residence:
Marital status:
Number and ages of children:
All degrees and granting institutions:
Names and types of pets:
Social Security Number:
Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status:

All responses will be kept on file at

Posted by: yellojkt | November 1, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Furnace Creek??!!??
(Why that's Death Valley territory.)


Posted by: Loomis | November 1, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Cool Kinky Friedman ad, Loomis. He'd get my vote. And quoting the Book of John, too...unashamed pandering. I love it.

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

And I'd swear that was Wilbrodog in the ad.. Wilbrodog, was that you? Tap your paw once for yes, two for...oh, I forgot. You can type. Never mind. My bad.

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse


Rick Berman is not solely responsible for the destruction of the ST franchise. The corpse has Brannon Braga's fingerprints all over it as well.

When the history of the 25th century is written, Ronald Moore will be seen as the real genius. I am now a rabid fan of the new Battlestar Galactica. So far this season they have taken on suicide bombing, puppet governments in occupied states, treatment of collaborators, and executions without due process. Just the usual light fluffy science fictiony stuff.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 1, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Actually Wilbrod made me do left for "yes", right for "no".

That's what I call blatant political brainwashing. But then again, I'm a southpaw, so it does kind of make sense.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | November 1, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Annie, thanks so much for posting that article.

ScienceTim, the hyperbolic way in which you satirize the fictional support for embryonic stem cell research seems to miss the point: If there's a much greater consensus among the populace to proceed with cord blood stem cells, why not use those instead of controversial embryonic stem cells? I don't pretend to be deeply knowledgable about one type of stem cell or another, but cord blood stem cells have definitely shown a great deal of promise:

Posted by: ticklishturtletoe | November 1, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I almost never disagree with Joel on anything more than the most trivial matters (since I know which side my bread is boodled on), but I think, Joel, you come out too strongly in defense of Kerry in this kit. Whether or not the comments were a botched joke, he sounded like the east coast elitist he's been accused of being, and *again* he was slow to see the political fallout and how damaging it is not just for his ambitions, but for the Party he should be representing. If there were ever a week to either not joke (if he can't do it properly) or to apologize swiftly and sincerely and abjectly, this is it. But no, it took him 48 hours and even then the apology sounded grudging and superior. Not smart at all. It makes him look oblivious and inflexible and that sounds like...

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I agree with you.

Moore's writing's in BG is pretty darn good.

I'd watch BG more often if the cinematographers weren't trying to detatch my retinas. What spells "visceral" to some spells "Ice Cream Headache" to others (like me).


Posted by: bc | November 1, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Myself, I have always felt that the only smear ads that were passably allowable were the retaliatory "he called me this, but i am that; he said I support such and such, but I support this; don't vote for the guy too busy calling me names to do or say anything useful" ads.

Posted by: Kerric | November 1, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of hyperbolic, last time I watched some of this election coverage I had to spend several hours after in a hyperbolic chamber decompressing.

Credit to Scottynuke; I didn't catch your answer in my skimming. So what did you win, anyway? (other than the usual satisfaction of a job well done)

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 1, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Yoki you're allowed to disagree with me on important things. But on the trivial stuff, I expect groupthink. I REQUIRE it. Like whether boiled peanuts are good. (Answer: uh, YEAH).

Kerry really scrood up. No doubt. I'm not sure why he couldn't have just flashed his text yesterday rather than wait a full news cycle and let his blunder become agitprop (am I using that correctly?) for those who say the Dems are all a bunch of Chomskys and Hanoi Janes.

Posted by: Achenbach | November 1, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

If they weigh the Dems, are they lighter because they have less gravitas than the GOP?

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Joel, how come over in the righthand column of the WaPo home page, where it says "News Columns and Blogs," it lists no less than 17 (count 'em!) spots--and not oneof them is this here blog'n'boodle. Sure, once in a while you get a spot over on the left under "Today in Opinions." But seldom if ever on the right...hey, wait a minute! Is that some kinda code thing? What are they tryin' to say?...

Anyway, they'r promoting some d--- piece on cauliflower, and what I'm sure is a riveting piece on the status of a Kansas City Chiefs running back (yeah, we got a WHOLE lotta interest in that topic in this burg). What gives, dude? You tick somebody off?

Posted by: Cmmrbnd | November 1, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Haven't had time to catch up on the Boodle today, but I heard about this on the radio today and found a good recap, believe it or not, on

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - By Brit Hume

New York Congressman Charlie Rangel is calling Vice President Cheney a "son of a b|tch" and says he should go to "rehab" for "whatever personality deficit he may have suffered."

Rangel talked to The New York Post after Cheney made the media rounds saying a Democratic takeover of the house could result in higher taxes.

Cheney said here on FOX -- "Charlie doesn't understand how the economy works." Rangel then ripped into Cheney -- and it isn't the first time.

Rangel told a New York cable TV station last year, "I would like to believe he's sick rather than just mean and evil." Asked by The Post whether he still believes that -- Rangel said "I don't think he's shot anyone in the face lately, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt."

[I just had my first "Held for Review." I'm guessing because of the word referring to a female dog.]

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

John Kerry has been hiding for 23 months and decides this week to put his foot in his mouth. I'm convinced he's on Rove's payroll. There is really no other logical explanation. Refute if you can, debate club alumni.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 1, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Since we're on the Kerry thing, when it comes to looking down your nose at the troops, you guys are amateurs; this is a Canadian area of expertise. Remember when I commented on the Olympic runner turned soldier that died recently in Afghanistan? Well, Canada's National Newspaper ran a big story on the weekend exposing what a dysfunctional person he REALLY was. Keep in mind that his death is so recent that his unit is still in Afghanistan.

Here's one of the bits that makes me mad:

"Although no longer the young marvel that he was as an Olympian, Pte. Graham was the fastest, fittest man in the infantry. At 33, he had been more places in the world and done more than most other members of the Royal Canadian Regiment.

[comment: actually, by 33 the average Canadian soldier probably would have served overseas at least twice, perhaps in Bosnia or more recently Afghanistan so there's a value judgment on what constitutes "done more"]

His fellow soldiers were younger men who had given up dead-end jobs in fast-food joints and paper mills to join the lowliest ranks of the military. Pte. Graham had trained alongside men who set world records.

The question is, what was he doing there?"

[comment: because apparently in Canada, you see, only a total loser would ever want to serve his country]

[for the record, just taking salary into account, a first year corporal makes just under 50K. I think there's probably a lot of gifted amateur athletes that make a lot less than that]

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 1, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

re: whether boiled peanuts are good. (Answer: uh, YEAH).

A friend of mine used to call boiled peanuts "hamster brains."

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

SoC, I did not see that article in the Globe, you are right to be angry.

I think the bigger issue concerning Kerry is why was he trying to make a joke in the first place, he is stiffer than SoC's hose right now. He should leave comedy to professionals and people capable of facial expression.

Posted by: dmd | November 1, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

i'm with everyone who's desperate for the election to end along with the smear-'em ads!

which reminds me - did we decide to do a post-election/voting bph?

Posted by: mo | November 1, 2006 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the big kerfluffle over Kerry ESPECIALLY after reading--at the NYT, when the story first broke--what Kerry's staff wrote as the joke and Kerry's super-duper mangled delivery of the lines.

He doesn't need KP duty, but a week's training in comedic delivery from Stewart and Colbert, or a month's enrollment at the Los Angeles Actors Studio.

He should apologize for absolutely muffing his lines. Or get a Raspberry Award this coming spring for worst political performance. He should be grateful the audience isn't throwing assorted rotting produce or bottles of ripe Heinz ketchup at him.

Posted by: Loomis | November 1, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

dmd, WHAT!

Oh, right, the frozen garden hose. Thanks for unintentionally bringing me back down after my rant.

Posted by: SonofCarl | November 1, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

That I am subjected to political ads from states where I can't even vote seems cruel and unusual punishment.

My wife said it best.

"Now I don't really want to vote for either of them."

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 1, 2006 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to show up at the BPH, yes. I think it was for Wednesday or Thursday?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Well.. I want to vote for half of them.

And let's have a post-election BPH on Wed., Nov 8, and all will be invited--no matter who you vote for (didja hear that Annie?)

Who's in?

Posted by: TBG | November 1, 2006 6:24 PM | Report abuse

From the WaPo's own article on the subject this afternoon:

The text continued: "It's great to be here with college students. I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."

Instead of delivering the lines as written, Kerry said after the "state of denial" remark: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Unfortunately, Kerry the chin wagger just roped the wrong steer. He's just got to be more careful, kinda like a toupee wearer in a windstorm. O.K., he did appear a little high-headed and snot-nosed, but this whole back and forth between the Dems and Republicans over the issue is about as meaningless as perfume on a pig. Really.

Posted by: Loomis | November 1, 2006 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Amen to that, RD. SoC, yes I do see the tastelesness and value judgments that are rampant in this article.

But then, in a way I'd like to go out like that with a lot of people saying "Who was that masked gnome, anyway?"

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 6:30 PM | Report abuse

There was great line from one of the chatters on the politics chat this morning, which I have altered (very slightly):

Then his staffers are idiots. Expecting John Kerry to tell a joke is like expecting George Bush to speak intelligibly.

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, that is an act of comedic incompetence NO comic tutor could save him from.
He must be tin-eared enough to confuse Mozart with Mick Jagger and alyrical enough to confuse Shakespeare with Seuss.

I used to memorize chunks of English dialog and deliver them in ASL by following the basic acting rule: Ham It Up, So You Don't Jam It Up.

You practice by delivering it with over the top drama so you have the rhythm of the lines, the expression, and the most salient words memorized.

If you have to pick between remembering the words and the rhythm, always go for the rhythm, the words will come as you go.

Let's try this visually or kinetically, in case he really can't think auditorily at all:

Education as the plateau.

Decline (speak quicker) by not studying, brains, intellectual laziness=
Rock bottom:
President's action in getting us in Iraq, rimshot: Bush.

Kerry's adlib was constructed education as a ladder to excellence, and then Iraq as the rockbottom for losers.

Jeez. Yale must have the worst drama and rhetoric department in the world or something.

I could make bad students= Iraq funnier than that if that was even a point worth making.

"Because of the No Child Left Behind Act's isn't working quick enough for Bush's taste, he has figured out a new solution for all those children who just won't do their homework, just won't think, just won't pick up their room, who are spoiled, won't listen to their parents or teachers, and who think guns are fun, who keep breaking the law by refusing to learn or think or study.

Bush, our most meritous president, knows all about moral fiber, work ethic and democracy, so he has decided on a new bill to send bad children to Iraq to help rebuild it by the good old fashioned American ethic of hard work, flag saluting, military might, and backbreaking child labor in other countries. God Bless America!"

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 6:57 PM | Report abuse

As I recall the 90s, the Republicans were up in arms about the possibility of placing our troops under any kind of military command but direct U.S. command (such as NATO or United Nations), particularly in connection with the conflict in the Balkans.
but now apparently our troops and strategy are at the whim of the Iraqi Prime Minister, and Muqteder al Sadr (I know my spelling is wrong).
WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE HERE? How many of our troops are going to get slaughtered because of bowing to the Iraqi command?

I understand that we need to create the illlusion at least that the Iraqis have established self-government, but if bowing to its strategic and tactical direction endangers our troops, it is wrong!

Also, given the demonstrated management and leadership incompetence* of President Bush in business fundamentals, shouldn't Harvard revoke his MBA? It would be interesting for a reporter to interview the Presiden't former professors & see if they have any second thoughts on the passing grades they gave him.

* Example: failure to hold subordinates accountable for performance; failure to have adequate financial controls; lack of strategic planning; poor communication skills; ethical lapses in management team; overspending, etc.

Posted by: Lindy48 | November 1, 2006 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, from that same political chat this morning:

Milwaukee, Wis.: Thanks for the chats. Here's what I think Senator Kerry should say when people call on him to apologize: I'll apologize after George W. Bush apologizes to the families of our dead soldiers. I botched my speech, I made a mistake with words, but I didn't make a mistake that cost us the lives of young Americans.

Posted by: Loomis | November 1, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

ok - i have a weird problem - my apt has become landing central for several ladybugs every nite for the last 4 days - i've had to liberate almost 10 of them in the last 4 days... i LIKE ladybugs but they throw my cat into a tizzy and i'm afraid he's destroy furniture in his persuit and that he'll eat them - are they poisonous to cats? i really try to liberate them all but... he just got to one i couldn't get out in time... i'd rather not be ladybug central (no matter how cute they are) and i don't know how they are getting in! any ideas/help/advice?

Posted by: mo | November 1, 2006 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Uh, jeez, I hate commuting without Boodle access...

*adjusting shop steward hat*

All Boodle SCC Cards expire on the 32nd of February, except on years where said date falls on a BPH. Or a BPH falls on that date. Or when the Achenfish falls during a BPH... Or something.

*removing shop steward hat and recovering with tinfoil -- the hat, not me*

SoC, I won a hot ecru-colored "I'm with this Ramblin' Wrecker" T-shirt, of course.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 1, 2006 7:30 PM | Report abuse


The ladybugs are just looking for warmth. They proabably walked in through the mail slot.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 1, 2006 7:42 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke: //The ladybugs are just looking for warmth.//

Aren't we all? :-)

Posted by: dbG | November 1, 2006 7:52 PM | Report abuse

mo, ladybugs are a common problem around here at this time of year, Scotty is right they are seeking warmth.

Several years ago we had an infestation of the regular ladybugs, cute and red, and chinese ladybugs, more orange and bite.

Keeping them out is tough, but if they are orange feel free to swat them.

Posted by: dmd | November 1, 2006 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm seeking cold right now-- apt is a trifle warm at the moment after a nice walk outdoors. I'll go and card all ladybugs I see at the window to be sure they're over 21. (Otherwise they'd be girlbugs).

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Ladybugs are a sign of good luck.
It sounds like your current plague might be a seasonal thing. But while you're waiting for the season to end, you could try sweet-talking them -- just ask them, very nicely, to leave. If they persist, you could try this:

Ladybug, Ladybug
Fly away home
Your house is on fire,
Your children all gone
All except one,
And that's little Ann,
For she's hiding under
The frying pan

-- Children's nursery rhyme, author unknown

Posted by: Dreamer | November 1, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I would keep that shop steward's hat out of Cmmrbnd's sight if you want to hang on to it.

For relative newcomers to the 'boodle who aren't familiar with the cummerbund reference, perhaps this will help:

Posted by: Tom fan | November 1, 2006 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Kerry had a spastic FITM episode. He's apologised for it but the comment will live forever as an example of democratic philosophy. I wish he'd stick to delivering a speech. Seconding what loomis said a while ago.

Save all of your lady bugs and make up a batch of 3 lb. orange.

Don't be surprised to see Mudge suddenly pop into the 8 Nov. BPH in a camel hair tunic and a mica coated hat fabricated from bearded lizards skin with a crust of honey and insect parts in his long beard.

Posted by: jack | November 1, 2006 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I think Mr. Curmudgeon is now a sadhu, wandering in the desert, licking toads and hoping that the local coyotes dispense something both caloric and delicious.

My own sad story is that for the last 24 hours, since we had so few trick-or-treaters last night, I've been wandering in the desserts. I can ill-afford the additional avoir-du-poids. That makes me a poids-du.

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Mo - Hey, it could be worse.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 1, 2006 9:00 PM | Report abuse

IPA Pronuncation of Poids-du best as I can find it: pwa-dy.

The nearest I can get to an english pronunciation is "a P'war-doo". Not getting the pun yet, Yoki. Care to translate?

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 9:10 PM | Report abuse

RD, I was just getting ready to post that same link for mo.

But didn't the paper version have a frightening picture of a WHOLE LOT of ladybugs?

Posted by: TBG | November 1, 2006 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I give all leftover candy to my 1st grade teacher friend. She uses it for rewards (at the end of the day).

Posted by: dbG | November 1, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I can't get ILA fonts on this comment screen either, so I'm approximating:

The pun works (or kind of almost works) because Sadhu *almost* rhymes or is a homonym with something close to: pwa (ILA) and du(umlaut) (German), pronounced together as one word. I think the closest English transliteration would be pwadoo (but that sounds neither like sadhu or an abbreviated poids-du, so I apologize).

Isn't this fascinating? It only works (kinda sorta) in spoken English.

Wilbrod, I will never forget a most educational (my education, you understand) vignette I observed about 30 years ago. I was walking along the river in Ottawa and saw a young person sitting on the river wall, signing to an older person, in a very mannered way. The older man was attending closely to the signing, which had long pauses between each of three (I think) phrases (is that an allowable term?). There was an especially long pause between phrases two and three. When the signer completed phrase three, there was a slightly longer pause as the older fellow processed it. And then he collapsed in laughter. It was a joke, and she'd just delivered the punchline (her timing was impeccable).

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 9:32 PM | Report abuse

RD, the asian lady bugs are the orange ones I spoke of, they were everywhere a few years ago.

Posted by: dmd | November 1, 2006 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Handle: ScienceTim/Tim/StorytellerTim
occasionally: ConceptualTim, TravelerTim

State, province, or country of residence: Maryland, the Free State, the Mid-Atlantic State with a Truly Appalling State Song

Gender: Male±epsilon
Age: >0
Marital status: 1 ScienceSpouse, no others
Number and ages of children: >0, >0 (that's not an emoticon, that's mathematical shorthand).

All degrees and granting institutions: B.A., M.S., PhD. from Johns H.'s Diploma Mill and Medical Device Factory

Names and types of pets: Cats. Dog. Snake. Fish(es). Names too numerous to enumerate.

Social Security Number: yeah, right.
ATM PIN: more humor!

Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: I never paid my tuition, so I never got to start flight training.

Posted by: The *Tims | November 1, 2006 9:48 PM | Report abuse

ticklishturtletoe: "ScienceTim, the hyperbolic way in which you satirize the fictional support for embryonic stem cell research seems to miss the point: If there's a much greater consensus among the populace to proceed with cord blood stem cells, why not use those instead of controversial embryonic stem cells?"

Actually, I wasn't satirizing, although I did edit for concision. The author of that article really did say that the supposed reason we had not heard the news of this press-released breakthrough was that it interfered with the desire of U.S. scientists and the media to derive stem cells solely by destroying human embryos. It was not clear whether he thought this was an inherent bloodthirsty desire, or merely opportunistic political opposition to Mr. Bush. Of course, as a later Boodler noted, the lack of press coverage may have a lot to do with the fact that the discovery press-release, and the press-release decrying the supposed lack of coverage, were released on the same day. Odd, that.

There are times in life that satire is redundant. This was one of those occasions.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 1, 2006 9:57 PM | Report abuse

D'oh I didn't even think you were going for a rhyme. That'll teach me to jump the pun.

Dhu is similar to du, although dh is more like the soft "th" of this.

How about this rhyme: Hamlet updated for rap: "Yo, my girl ain't no pearl, she be smelling like a sadhu, so I tole her, spa you"

Yes, timing is very important in joke telling.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Now that I ponder it, that's a powerful bit of PR being peddled by the Discovery Institute. The writer implies that scientists conspiratorially modify their scientific results and scientific efforts in order to influence a political outcome that the scientific conspiracy desires. This, of course, fails to comprehend that science works by every scientist being in friendly (or not-so-friendly) competition with every other scientist. The author is in cahoots with those yahoos who claim that scientific truth is merely a social construct, and that science's claim to approximate objectivity is a complete laugh.

Since gravitation is a result of scientific experiment and interpretation, and therefore suspect, I challenge these dimwits to test their own conception of gravity by stepping off the edge of a high precipice. One way or another, this bold experiment would trump bloviating debate on the subject of whether scientific "truth" is a mere social construct.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 1, 2006 10:07 PM | Report abuse

And I may burn in he!! for attempting rap writing, but given some of the rap lyrics out there, I doubt I'll be alone. I just pray I remain deaf, though.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I think >0 would make a great emoticon -- an alien, for example.
[At first I thought it could represent pointy-headedness, but then I though, duh, that would be <0.]

Posted by: Tom fan | November 1, 2006 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Then I *thoughT*, duh.
Duh. Clearly I ain't no <0.

Posted by: Tom fan | November 1, 2006 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Unless thats a dunce cap instead?

8 Pointy-sciency type with bowtie.

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


Pointy-headedness is less than zero? Hmm...

Posted by: Dooley <0 | November 1, 2006 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Hmm that got eaten up by the ACHENHOG. That's ominous. Trying again


Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Kerry has shown repeatedly that he has no ability to speak with genuine force or emotion. He can't tell a decent joke, and he can't do a decent job of ripping his opponent a new one. How in the heck did he become the Dems' candidate in '04? His major compeition was a one-term Senator, and a guy so liberal he makes me look conservative. Maybe it's time to give Biden another try, if he can just avoid plagiarizing speeches.

Posted by: Tim | November 1, 2006 10:21 PM | Report abuse

It does look a bit like a dunce cap, doesn't it?
Perhaps pointy-headedness could be this:


Posted by: Tom fan | November 1, 2006 10:22 PM | Report abuse

SciTim said "bloviating." What larks!

Without in the least wishing to insult pointy-science types (au contraire, my d'aire), the idea of scientists conspiring to alter their results in some common direction is, simply, risible. A total hoot.

Doing each other down, competing for primacy in publication, plagiarizing the fine work of grad students without attribution... absolutely! But conspiring? hahahahahaha.

Yoki used the word risible. Excellent!

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 10:31 PM | Report abuse

tim, it's not an either/or proposition. certainly there are social constructs and assumptions at play in science (although not with respect to gravity!). this is not just some ditzy right-wing idea, but a more serious problem raised by more left-wing "postmodern" philosophers. have you ever read anything by michel foucault? his book archaelogy of knowledge talks about this, although it is in other works that he criticizes psychiatry and, i think, to some extent, the medical profession.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 1, 2006 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Just happened to catch the last few seconds of an NBA game. LeBron James waearing white headband, the only one on his team to do so -- it might as well have been search and rescue pink, yellow or orange -> "Here I am! Pass to me!" I thought the word uniform means "all the same."

Sure this is more relevant to a sports blog, but I don't know of any. ;-)

Posted by: jg | November 1, 2006 10:46 PM | Report abuse

There you have it, Wilbrod. dh is a kind of elided th, and du (umlaut) is not a sound commonly in use in English. But we both know what we mean. I'm verklempt.

In the very clever rap you gave us, hearing people might not see-hear the consonance between "pearl" and *hu.

I would probably say, "Yo, my girl, she got no perfume, she be smelling like a sadhu, I think I might spew."

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Social assumptions tend to be in place when not enough science has been done. Before gravity was identified, they weren't all floating on air.
They had their own ideas (ahem social constructs), such as the world being made of water, etc... and we all know that water tends to stick together-- it's WET.

I think psychiatry is very much at the stage where social constructs are starting to finally meet some bottom-up science, such as fMRIs, biochemistry, etc.

Medicine as a science is actually less than 150 years old. That's not very long, and by science I mean basically epidemiology, germ theory, etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Actually I was going for a girl/pearl rhyme. And "spa you" was my rap take of an updated insult a la "get thee to a nunnery"

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 1, 2006 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Or perhaps "get thee to a scullery?"

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 11:01 PM | Report abuse

L.A. Lurker notes "this is not just some ditzy right-wing idea, but a more serious problem raised by more left-wing "postmodern" philosophers."

I meant to indicate that this was a "strange bed-fellows" scenario.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 1, 2006 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Even though "science" in one form or another has been around for milennia, would we really put Babylonian science in the same league as today's? I think we should have a vocabulary that makes this important distinction. Sure, the non- or proto-scientists will complain of discrimination after things are re-defined to exclude the Ptolemaic universe, but isn't that how the scientific consensus evolves?

Posted by: jg | November 1, 2006 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Handle: Yoki
State, province, or country of residence: AB, CA
Gender: F
Age: 48 1/2
Marital status: Way Married
Number and ages of children: 2, 20 & almost 18
All degrees and granting institutions: BA (Queen's) MA (Queen's) M.Phil (Cambridge)
Names and types of pets: Laird Broc o'Hampton [Broc] (Rough Collie) [[canine]], Oberland's Yeoman [Yeoman] (Bernese Mountain Dog) [[canine]], Elizabeth R to the third [Libby] (Bernese Mountain Dog) [[canine]], Felitan Strabo of LaChrista [bobohead] (Siamese) [[feline]]
Social Security Number: not
ATM PIN: nope
Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: require reading glasses or a longer arm

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 11:20 PM | Report abuse

i agree about the strange bed-fellows. i think that sciences vary widely in the ways and degrees that social constructs come into play. i'd say they come into play the most in the...ahem..."social sciences." they play a lesser role in life sciences and an even lesser one, if at all, in physical sciences. wilbrod's comment about the age of a science/discipline is also a good point.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 1, 2006 11:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm to be reckoned with because I have a rare pet that cost a lot of money. Well, sorry, I don't.

Posted by: jg | November 1, 2006 11:31 PM | Report abuse

jg: ??

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Actually, there is a WaPo sports blog:
Dan Steinberg blogged from the Olympics last year - very funny, did a lot on curling. I'm not so much into sports, so I don't know how good this blog is (he calls it a "bog" for some reason, I forget why).

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 1, 2006 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Huzzah for Panama!

Posted by: mostlylurking | November 1, 2006 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps as a small child he curled on the frozen slough.

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 11:50 PM | Report abuse

What is "science"? It's a process, not a body of fact, but does the difference between what we "know" and what the ancient egyptians "knew" allow us to say that two different processes are at work -- one is science, and by defintion, the other isn't.

Posted by: jg | November 1, 2006 11:55 PM | Report abuse

mostly, that is fantastic. Several years ago I was working on a regional electricity transmission integration project in Central America, and was lucky enough to work with a Panamanian lawyer. There were lots of rivalries among the various countries' working groups, and I could not figure out why. When I asked this very august Panamanian Q.C. he told me, "The reason the politics are so vicious is that the stakes are so very, very .... small."

He was obviously wrong.

Posted by: Yoki | November 1, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

//"The reason the politics are so vicious is that the stakes are so very, very .... small."//

This reminds me of long ago when I was an academic, at the department staff meetings.

Posted by: jg | November 1, 2006 11:58 PM | Report abuse

How can there be a Panamanian Q.C.? Do they have a Queen?

Posted by: jg | November 2, 2006 12:04 AM | Report abuse

maybe we can finally make some progress on our panamanian jokes.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | November 2, 2006 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Your question jg is very vaguely worded. Let me say that the process of science was not around when they were still mummifying people in Egypt.

Science as a discipline was not really formalized until the Age of Reason. Before it, it was called natural philosophy.

Experimentation was done before this period, of course. People also learn by trial and error. This is not science.

Science requires at the very minimum consistent recordkeeping, an effort to double-blind trials, particularly when investigating in a very subjective manner.

And a good experiment should be in theory be able to be duplicated independently by other people.

The goal is to arrive at a group consensus of reality by independent observation, experimentation, and verification. There is certainly a social component to it, like all cooperative human endeavors.

Science is often counter-intuitive to "common sense", yet can be used to model and predict events successfully. In turn, we don't take those successful predictions at face value.

It's said Mathematics is the Queen of Sciences, and that is true. Science rests on math-- the ability to analyze data, do formulas to predict things, to statistically analyze the margin of error, how uncertainity is propagated through calculations, and so on.

The ancients in India and elsewhere had a need of coming up with MATH to support agricultural civilization--how much to plant so not to starve, who owns what land, where to survey and draw land boundaries, how much to tax, etc.

So yes, in that sense math serves a social purpose. however no matter where you go, 2+2=4. It reflects an abstract reality of quantity. Godel, which you might like reading about in "Godel: Forever Undecided" or "Godel, Escher, and Bach: A golden braid", was a very hyperlogical mathematican. It is said that when Godel was headed to take his oath of US citizenship he wanted to talk about a loophole he had found in the US constitution that would establish an absolute dictatorship. His friend Einstein told him to NOT discuss that at his interview.

He also found a loophole in math itself. Math is a logically consistent system, meaning that you can pick up one part of math and then work your way out and prove almost everything else in math if you had the time, and it also means you can't have a formula in one field of math that can be used to prove 2+2=5 and then another area of math says 2+2=3, and so on.

Godel found that this was likely true, but that any logically consistent system such math can not in fact prove it itself is completely true and logically consistent; there must be aspects that are unprovable within that system itself.

I would suggest you study the issue of scientific truth by studying math and its history, introductory physics with a good lab teacher, chemistry, biology, ecology, psychology and geology.

That should give you a rough sample of the various methods used in the pursuit of science and the varying standards of "truth." Have fun!

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 2, 2006 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Glad to hear from you son of carl, and all of those missing from action here on the boodle. I know that's you Mudge, doing all that talking under that new name. I just know it in my heart, and I'm going to follow my heart on this one.

Somebody mention the book, "Conversations with God. Good book, I read it a couple of years ago.

As to Kerry's remarks, I suspect someone should have talked to him before he let go of that one, but for me, and just perhaps some other thinking folks, Kerry's remarks did not kill anyone nor will anyone die because he said them.

We have to realize we cannot continue to trivalize the loss of life in Iraq or Afghanistan. And when all is said and done, that is exactly what it boils down to. How many more young people are going to have die in Iraq because we don't have a working policy? That is the crust of all of it. Joke if you will, but the families of these children do not find the present administration's policies or the loss of their children funny one bit.

And I know many of you might not agree with this assessment, but when these folks were voted into office, why were they voted in? Did they have the necessary credentials to do a credible job? No. And everyone knew that. What influenced their rise to the top? What influences everything in this country? That monster that we don't talk about, unless it is to deny it's existence. That monster that follows us to the grave.

And if you don't believe the above statement, go back and read the events of the South Carolina primary in the first Presidential run. The words speak for themselves.

It's always about winning the war in this country while we win one somewhere else, and I'm sure many of you see that if you don't speak it. It's about staying on top, it's about power, at any cost. And it draws people in under one hat. Even those that might not agree on the tactics to do that.

I must go. I had asthma yesterday, was wheezing all day, and someone else had to tell me that I was doing that because I could not hear myself. I knew something was wrong, but did not know I was making that kind of noise.

Have a good day folks, and as hard as it may seem to you, there are people in this world that love no matter what is going on around them. I try very hard to be one of those people because I think there isn't really any other way to be.

We are not for this world long, we will leave it and its messes. Let us try to make it better while here. I invite you to join me in this quest, so that you and I will 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 2, 2006 5:12 AM | Report abuse

for the record, I haven't seen or heard of a single political add this cycle. I'm way out of touch. I'm thinking of using my truck driving friends strategy to determine who to vote for. The strategy: vote against the incumbant.

wilbrod, I read some of the Raw Fisher blog and I'm sending you serenity with my prayers.

Now for a bit of really sad, sad news. There is a tiny little 5 year old girl I've picked up and hugged for the past several years at my brother's Christmas party, as he and his wife are her godparents. The precious little girl just underwent her second heart transplant and things are not going well at all. the last i heard was the pregnant mother is having trouble eating. the only thing the mother has resigned to do for the last few days is hold her daughter's hand as she alternately prays and weeps.

Prayers for the family are requested.

Posted by: Pat | November 2, 2006 5:28 AM | Report abuse

pat, that is terrible news. That poor family, I can only imagine the pain and the stress they are feeling. How sad that the unborn child is a part of this kind of suffering before he even takes his first breath. I will pray for them, as requested.

Posted by: kbertocci | November 2, 2006 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Pat, my prayers will go out to the little girl and her family.

Posted by: dmd | November 2, 2006 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Sound report, we had a good frost last night, the air is calm and clear and you can hear the leaves dropping, it sounds almost like large raindrops droping on pavement. Unfortunately it is bothering the dog and he is barking at everything this morning.

Posted by: dmd | November 2, 2006 6:41 AM | Report abuse

My prayers go out to your friend and her daughter. Take care of yourself, Pat. *crying in my heart*

Posted by: jack | November 2, 2006 7:49 AM | Report abuse

This is horrible....

Md. Democrats Say GOP Plans to Block Voters
By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 2, 2006; Page B06

A recently distributed guide for Republican poll watchers in Maryland spells out how to aggressively challenge the credentials of voters and urges these volunteers to tell election judges they could face jail time if a challenge is ignored.

Democrats said yesterday they consider the handbook, obtained by The Washington Post, evidence of a Republican effort to block people from voting Tuesday....

Posted by: TBG | November 2, 2006 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Pat... I said the article above was horrible, but your news is truly horrible. Please know we're all thinking of you and the little girl and her family.

Posted by: TBG | November 2, 2006 7:58 AM | Report abuse


Of course my thoughts are with them.


'Mudge? Here?? Where????? :-)

Handle: Scottynuke (the Permanently Confused) aka The Ineffective Deputy Shop Steward

State, province, or country of residence: MD (what *Tim said)

Gender: Yes

Age: Younger than 'Mudge but older than mo and eons older than sparks

Marital status: Not, but also not a free agent

Number and ages of children: Less than a baker's dozen that I know of. The age range spans the voting age requirement.

All degrees and granting institutions: BA English/Journalism, University of Nude Hampsters

Names and types of pets: Murphy (DLH feline approaching incontinence); Nathanne/Queen of the Mews (tabby); Stella/Round Cat (rotund tabby); Midnight/Butthead/Punkinhaid/A----le (black tabby with inferiority complex compounded by severe rottenness)

Social Security Number: Greater than 2piR

ATM PIN: Am not a tailor, but am in posession of several residual straight pins from dress shirt purchases.

Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: Permanently grounded due to fear of flying

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2006 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Someone probably already posted this -- William Styron died yesterday. His novel "Sophie's Choice" is in my all-time Top 10.

Posted by: Achenbach | November 2, 2006 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh Pat, I feel so sorry for that family. I will send thoughts and prayers their way. Why does it take someone else's misfortune to make us appreciate what we have?

The sky report is gloomy today. Solid white sky with intermittent raindrops and most of the trees have let go of their last leaves. The one bright spot is a tree outside my living room window which is a glory of red-orange leaves.

Kerry is one of my senators and I voted for him, but I think his persona needs an overhaul. Supposedly, he isn't stuffy in private but I truly doubt this. You'd think that after his loss two years ago someone would have spoken to him about his presentation and helped him get a personality transplant. That said, I am so ready for this election to be over. The governors race here has been super nasty and I may vote for the independent candidate as a protest.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | November 2, 2006 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Handle: jack
State: Palmetto
Gender: fixed
Age: old enough to know better, nearly golden
Marital status: very happily
Number and ages of children: three; 13, in the throes of transecence, eldest girl; 10, realising that her sister's fate will soon be her own, middle girl; 6, all boy, WFO; all , along with Ms. jack, are the center of my life
All degrees and granting institutions: B.A., biology, Potsdam (N.Y.); M.Ed., Queens (Clt., N.C.)
SSN: washed in laundry countless times
ATM PIN: rusty
Glaucoma test pilot status: Ace (ret.)

Posted by: jack | November 2, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Pat, I am twice-blessed with proximity to Buddhist monks and Holy Child sisters. Both communities now know about this little girl.

I cringe at the number of well-meaning people who will say to your friend, the bromides of

"God's will"
"for the best"
"too good for this world"

I know that you and your family offer:

presence and heartfelt "I am so sorry"
practical, non intrusive help
lasagna, bread pudding, as needed

The mystery of all this is that sometimes we see miracles; most times we don't. Deserve has nothing to do with this.

Take care.

Posted by: College Parkian | November 2, 2006 8:30 AM | Report abuse


I actually covered a Kerry event as a reporter years ago, and he was very adept at humorously turning aside the somewhat problematic question I asked. And yes, he did give a straight answer once the laughter was done. I think JA should investigate how the aliens were able to surgically remove his "don't SAY that" language interrupt circuit before the '04 debacle.

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I think yellojkt was kidding about the stats because you notice *he* didn't give his. However, most of the information is available on his website and in the boodle archives (I think he revealed his social security number in May 2005--look it up.)

Be that as it may, I crave this information because it gets more and more difficult to remember "who is who," what with multi-tasking and encroaching senility and so on. So in the spirit of cooperation and peer pressure, I will provide my stats and request the same from all of y'all.

Handle:kbertocci a/k/a Reader (archives only)
State, province, or country of residence: south Florida
Gender: Distaff and proud of it
Age: 48
Marital status: married, forever and ever
Number and ages of children: one daughter, 19
All degrees and granting institutions: B.A. in Education and French (well *that* explains a lot...) from Tufts University 1980
Names and types of pets: one small black cat with white whiskers, Lilith a/k/a Lily
(It's not my cat! It's my daughter's cat!)
Social Security Number: xxx-xx-xxxx
ATM PIN: four random numbers
Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: ground crew only; I keep my feet firmly on the ground and occasionally break out the semaphore flags to guide one of the pilots in and ensure safe landing.

Posted by: kbertocci | November 2, 2006 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Handle: College Parkian
State, province, or country of residence: Maryland, America in Miniature
Gender: Malaclemys terrapin
Age: 40-something
Marital status: Married but Ms.
Number and ages of children: 23, 20, 13; F,F,M. As Mary Poppins quips, "practically perfect in every way"
All degrees and granting institutions:BA Philosophy/BS Biology; from Santa Clara (of Brandy-the-Bra Chastain-fame, DeeDee "Eyebrows" Myers, Kurt "Glasses" Rambus, and Steve Nash aka Haircut-Fund boy; MS from UMCP in Environmental Policy, random and assorted other courses, interrupted by death of two advisors and fun stuff like soccer and PTA.
Names and types of pets: Complicated, but one steady one is Spark Plugian, the wonder poodle.
Social Security Number: the next prime number
ATM PIN: Hey, I talk to tellers!
Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: Will fly with Pat aka Fo4 anytime.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I forgot the rest of the family...

Pets: Shadowood Garcia de Trier (Droopy), Shadowood Angela de Trier (Angel); our Danes; El Morro San Pedro de Trier (Pete), Belamour Tinkerbelle de Trier (Tink), El Morro Rena Bonita de Trier (Bonnie); our incorrigible Havanese; Freda the tabby and Iggy the cat, type unknown but presumably deranged.

Posted by: jack | November 2, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, I think it is all those years in the Senate that got Kerry's interrupt circuit atrophied. The endless production of hot air in the august chamber does that. They can go on with non-sense for hours and yet remain unchallenged. Remember the 20 minutes question Biden was ridiculed for during one Supreme Court justice confirmation hearing ?

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | November 2, 2006 8:49 AM | Report abuse

He took silk in Britain before going back to Panama, and once a QC always a QC.

Posted by: Yoki | November 2, 2006 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I have neither read "Sophie's Choice" nor seen the movie. I do know, vaguely, what it is about. This is why I am hesitant to read it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 2, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Gore Vidal talked about his meeting in Italy with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea. Said Hillary has a marvelous sense of humor that doesn't get conveyed to the public. Why not?

No one has yet mentioned this morning this breaking story from Florida:

Courtesy of The Ledger

WINTER HAVEN, Fla.-- Winter Haven Police Chief Paul Goward resigned unexpectedly Monday in the midst of a department uproar over an e-mail he sent entitled "Are you a Jelly Belly?" that portrayed some of his employees as fat and out of shape.

In a letter to City Manager David Greene, Goward gave no reason for his resignation, which was effective immediately.

"Although, under different circumstances, I would certainly be inclined to provide the traditional two week notice, my resignation is to be considered immediate," Goward wrote in the letter.

Greene on Monday night confirmed the e-mail had led to problems within the department and was a factor in the resignation.

Greene said "emotions within the Police Department and the relationship with the police chief became raw."

"He was a good police chief. He made a number of positive changes in the Police Department," Greene said. "I think the relationship with some of the officers in the department reached an uncomfortable point when he issued the fitness e-mail."

Goward, who served as chief for 2 1/2 years, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Goward sent the "Are You A `Jelly Belly?' " e-mail to employees Oct. 11 and some took offense.

"As I look around the department I see a disconcerting number of us that appear physically challenged with obesity and/or a general lack of physical fitness," Goward's e-mail said. "This is a tremendous concern to me because the literature, to say nothing of common sense, states that if you are obese and/or out of shape you are a predictable liability to yourself, your family, your partner, this department, the city of Winter Haven and the citizens of our city. So, take a good look at yourself."

"If you are unfit, do yourself and everyone else a favor. See a professional about a proper diet and a fitness training program, quit smoking, limit alcohol intake and start thinking self-pride, confidence and respectability. And stop making excuses for delaying what you know you should have been doing years ago. We didn't hire you unfit and we don't want you working unfit. Don't mean to offend, this is just straight talk. I owe it to you."

But some employees were offended.

An anonymous writer who identified himself as a police officer sent a letter to city officials and The Ledger criticizing the email and Goward.

"I have worked for the police department as an officer for a long time and I have never seen such a morale problem like there is and this letter from the chief of police is the icing on the cake," the letter says. "This letter (from Goward) shows the type of harassment and hostile work environment we have. The chief of police is constantly bad talking us in every way possible and we have had enough of his arrogance."

Posted by: Loomis | November 2, 2006 9:04 AM | Report abuse


I am very sad to hear about your god-daughter -in-law(?). Young lives that get cut short are the most tragic. I hope she recovers, but she will have my prayers either way.

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse

RDP: I made the mistake of seeing the movie before I read the book. That is the only time in my life I ever "lost it" in public--just went to pieces at the climax of the film because I didn't know it was coming. I was sobbing hysterically and really embarrassed myself. I have not watched the movie again, but I did read the book. It's an excellent book and a very well-made movie. (Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, it doesn't get better than that).

Posted by: kbertocci | November 2, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Since I started it, I might as well play. Having a blog, certain facts about me have been released to the public domain.

Handle: yellojkt
State of residence: erstwhile Floridian, former Tampan, current borderline Baltimoron.
Age: Over 40, less than dead
Gender: Melissa Etheridge fan trapped in a man's body
Marital Status: All the good ones are taken, figure it out
Children: male teenager
Degrees: B(no S)ME from the North Avenue Trade School
Pets: neurotic (and neutered) English Cocker Spaniel (just don't tell him he's a dog)
SSN: divisible by 3-perfect square-anagram of the last four digits of my father's SSN
ATM PIN: a prime number
GTP status: inactive and revoked

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Handle: ebtnut
State, province, or country of residence: Old Line
Gender: M
Age: Even older than Mudge
Marital status: Yes
Number and ages of children: Not that I know of
All degrees and granting institutions: U of Mudder, B.A. in Urban Studies
Names and types of pets: Bobby (large economy size tabby)
Social Security Number: Does it matter? Will there be anything there when I'm ready?
ATM PIN: Some of these, some of those
Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: The IFR hood kept giving me claustrophobia

Posted by: ebtnut | November 2, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Handle: Pat
State, province, or country of residence: Fairfax, VA
Gender: Male
Age: 41
Marital status: Married, 17 years
Number and ages of children: 15 yo girl, 11 yo girl, 9 yo boy, 4 yo boy
All degrees and granting institutions: george Mason dropout
Names and types of pets: black cat: Onyx, black & white cat Cookie, box turtle Shelly, Box turtle (missing right eye) Seemore.
Social Security Number: 123-45-6789
ATM PIN: ****
Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: Expired Jan 2006, application for renewal still pending

Posted by: Pat | November 2, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I will pitch in to the info database:

Handle: dmd (uncomplicated and uncreative - that is me)
State/Province: Ontario/GTA (says softly so as not to antagonize), provincial song - no official song but a really lame unofficial song, On-tar-i-ary-o, anyone over the age of kindergarten has enough self esteem to refuse to sing.
Gender: female, but seriously lacking in domesticity
Age: 43
Marital: Married happily but with big pot holes, newly repaved.
Kids: 2.5 - girls <12
Pets: One dog (collie,shepherd,husky) named after an animal in a Tim Allen Christmas movie, or a celetial body.
Social Insurance Number: Not
Degrees: BA (Law/History) from the Other university in Ottawa. Merits of distinction from the Campus Pub.
PIN: I would give it out but only works if you depost money.
Glaucoma Test Pilot: Hesitant Trainer, gave up when discovered a fear of heights.

Posted by: dmd | November 2, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Shrieking, you may be right about Kerry. I find it hard to believe that he could have spoken the way he does while commanding a swift boat in Vietnam, his crew would still be awaiting orders.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | November 2, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Pat, thinking of your friends and hoping for the best.

Posted by: Dooley | November 2, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Pat, I don't think I can convey what I'm feeling at reading your 5:28 AM. I hope you let those folks know that there are a lot of people sending good thoughts their way.

I saw the note that Styron had passed, and thought that "Sophie" was quite a legacy to leave the world.

jg, I thought I saw at least 3 Cleveland players (other front court guys, IIRC) with white headbands and started wondering when they'll change the team name to the LeBrons.

Handle: bc
State: Dazed & Confused
Sex: A life-affirming activity, to partake in as often as possible. And sometimes involving a person other than myself (i.e. my spouse).
Age: Physically, younger than Mudge, older than sparks. Emotionally, 12.
Marital status: whatever she says it is.
Number and ages of children: three girls; 15, 12, 6. Don't be fooled; it only *sounds* like I have 30 kids.
All degrees and granting institutions: BS in Ruler Trajectory Arresting from Our Lady of Inadvertent Flatulence
Hair: Migrating from my scalp down over my ears and neck to my back
Eyes: Still working
Distinguishing marks/features: Wouldn't *you* like to know? (Note that I did not use the word "Shamu" here.)
SSNs: Nautilus and Virginia
ATM PIN: 666
Glaucoma Test Pilot Status: Member of the 420 Mile High Club, and awarded gold Astronaut Wings (ret.).


Posted by: bc | November 2, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Handle: slyness
State: Tarheel
Gender: Failed
Age: Old enough to retire with full benefits
Marital status: in last and happy marriage
Number and age of children: F 24, F almost 21
Degrees & institutions: BA English, UNC-Charlotte, MUA (That's a masters in Urban Administration), UNC-Charlotte
Names & types of pets: Australian Shepherd (dog), 1981-1993 RIP
SS#: not available
ATM PIN: Never can remember which one it is...
Glaucoma test pilot status: totally inactive, not my scene

Posted by: Slyness | November 2, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Linda, I had a Florida story yesterday that I didn't get to share because I was working all day/night (gotta do some of that today too. Real soon.)

Our friend Will from Key West, an entertainer at the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration, was visiting yesterday (I missed it, but got the news by phone). He was an eyewitness to a strange "only-in-Key-West" type of occurrence on Halloween night, the 80th anniversary of Harry Houdini's death. One of the sunset performers is an escape artist named Michael Patrick. His usual act is to escape from a strait jacket while hanging upside down. Tuesday night, he put on the strait jacket and jumped into the Gulf of Mexico. And didn't come back up. Will was one of the people who jumped in the water to try to help him, but none of the would-be rescuers were able to find anything. Eventually the Coast Guard and police etc. were searching all night. Patrick turned up the next day at a guest house in town. Talk about an anticlimax. Patrick will be charged (estimate: $25,000) for the expenses incurred in the search effort and he's in jail now. ["Okay, guy, we've got your escape act for you, right here."]

Posted by: kbertocci | November 2, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

At article I found about the death of Brirish humor. The reasons laid out by the author?

Influence of political correctness
Modern political establishment prefers censorship to humor
Terror of giving offense
Death of shared values
Cult of victimhood
Dumbing down of education
Today's civic fabric

The famous British sense of humour has long been our most cherished national characteristic. We have valued it above historic military victories and great works of literature, above our rich scenic landscape and our talent for invention.

Comedians, not generals or sports stars or scientists or politicians, are the truly loved public figures of Britain. We sneer at other countries, especially Germany, which we believe lack our gift for humour.

"He's a good laugh," is the warmest personal accolade any individual can receive from friends. Our ability to make a joke of anything is supposed to have seen us through wars and crises, saved us from revolution and political extremism.

But, sadly, there are signs that the great British sense of humour is no longer what it once was. The eagerness for laughs seems to be receding, increasingly replaced by a mixture of priggishness and grievance.

Posted by: Loomis | November 2, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Kerry, didn't know if anyone had seen or posted this yet:

Yes, I think it's darn funny.


Posted by: bc | November 2, 2006 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Some sense of humor take a LOT of courage to convey to the masses. Certainly mihe would be. As Mo keeps saying, simvergenza!

S'nuke, maybe Kerry simply is better at one-liners than complex jokes. I've seen him joke on talk shows too.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 2, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Bad link, try again...

Posted by: Loomis | November 2, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh what the heck:

Handle: RD Padouk

State: The elitist part of Virginia

Age: A year younger than Joel (And always will be.)

Marital: A decade of bliss spread over 18 years.

Kids: Two: Hyper Boy, 15, and Grumpy Girl, 12. (But if you ask my wife she will claim there are, in fact, three children in the house.)

Pets: One excitable Cairn terrier, two psychotic rabbits, a lizard that seemed a good idea at the time, and an indeterminate number of tropical fish.

SSN: I believe it was deleted along with my fingerprints.

Degrees: One from that weird place that reminds people pf Star Trek, another from this huge university that is becoming a subsidiary of Microsoft.

PIN: I don't know. My wife won't tell me.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 2, 2006 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Just going through my news alerts now, blogs have recently been added to the alerts and I am bogged down everyday trashing them.

Today I saw this one and was curious, it is a photo from cottage country about 2 hours north of Toronto. The leaves are spectacular in this picture. Next time I lamely tried to describe the folliage around my home picture this.

Posted by: dmd | November 2, 2006 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh and regarding GTP: Heck, I never even got invited to those kind of parties.

Posted by: RD Padouk | November 2, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse


You did mean to say "blogged down," now didn't you?

And speaking of idiotic Halloween stunts, a brief in today's WaPo talks about an ex-inmate who took his daughter trick-or-treating while wearing his old inmate jumpsuit. They locked down the local jail while chasing the idiot, who ran from police.

*rolling my eyes*

Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Scotty I have a perfect excuse for myself today, I am wearing the wrong glasses. I have two pairs, one for the computer which I use for work, it allows me to see the screen. My other pair I am wearing today are for distance and reading, they allow me to sort of see what is on my computer screen, I have never adjusted to these glasses and my vision is foggy at all distances, I try not to wear them. Luckily I still am able to see far away without the glasses.

Posted by: dmd | November 2, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Handle: Wilbrod (The Gnome)

State, province, or country of residence: Indecision, Confusion, Cockayne

Gender: No.

Age: Younger than 'Mudge, but everybody is, except Robert Redford. Mo thinks I'm younger than her. Could be.

Marital status: Not.

Number and ages of kids: N/A. Don't keep goats.

All degrees and granting institutions: BA Biology, Gollyurdeaf U.

Names and types of pets: None. I do have a service dog that owns me.

Social Security Number: I'm supposed to have one? Uh-oh. You never saw me, okay?
(Ducking back into cupboard).

ATM PIN: Give me yours, so I can figure out what this strange American term is supposed to be.

Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: This licensing program doesn't exist in Cockayne. For a glimspe of this fair land:

Or just visit a BPH.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 2, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse


dmd, roll your chair a little further away from the screen. Your keyboard cable should be long enough.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2006 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Regarding "Md. Democrats Say GOP Plans to Block Voters"

One of my relatives (a lawyer) worked as a democratic volunteer for some years. One of his assignments as a volunteer was to hang out at polling stations on election day, especially in less affluent areas. Over a beverage one day, I asked him what, exactly, he was supposed to do there. He said that Republican workers, and occasionally the poll workers, would try to convince people that they weren't allowed to vote, by telling them they had to have a photo ID, or that they had to register a voting time in advance, and so on. He was supposed to listen for such things, and explain to the voters (and the poll workers) what their legal rights were.

I was appalled. I asked him if this was commonplace, and did both parties do it. He thought about that for a bit, then said that it wasn't universal, but that he'd seen it happen a fair number of times, and that he wasn't aware of Dems doing it. He didn't know if it was party policy, but the culprits were either Rep volunteers, partisan poll workers, or honest poll workers who just didn't know any better.

Posted by: Dooley | November 2, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

We should always be quick to offer an apology. There should be no reason to hesitate. To be sure, anyone who lived through the 60's knows that the idea of staying in school or going to Vietnam was common. Senator Kerry meant no insult to the troops. But it should have been no problem to offer an apology. The only reason to refuse is pride. The Democrats get to heights of anger because President Bush admits no errors. But he has made mistakes.

Posted by: Gary Masters | November 2, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Out of curiosity, are there any ramifications to blocking people from voting, federal offence etc. There have always been interesting goings on concerning voting here, most of the things I have heard happened in the past and involved get people out to vote (liquor was usually involved).

Scotty now posting from across the room from my monitor.

Posted by: dmd | November 2, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

IN 2000 I was told I couldn't vote where I was because I had moved "too soon before elections" and despite my drivers' card being updated with a change of address card, they hadn't gotten around to changing my voter registration and I had to drive 40 miles away to vote less than a hour before the polls closed. I was ticked because there are provisons for casting a ballot even if you're not on the voter rolls.

This year, I'm not repeating that mistake of moving before elections. Let's see how they can disenfranchise me now.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 2, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Dooley, I do believe I remember correctly that even our current Vice President was one of those Republican volunteers who, in the past, would go to the polls and "encourage" minority voters to skip the visit.

It is now considered much easier to provide faulty or severely limited voting equipment.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | November 2, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse


Looks much mo bettah. :-)


I moved earlier this year, and double-checked with the local elections board that I can vote in the new location, THEN fill out the paperwork to ensure I get the proper card for next time. Be interesting to see if any "monitors" show up at my polling place.


Posted by: Scottynuke | November 2, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Dooley -- will try on the 11th, the Solomon's Island thingie on fossils. Will you be there?

Posted by: College Parkian | November 2, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I'd be tempted to tell them to go monitor some blackboards instead. Which is why it is a GOOD thing I don't speak.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 2, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Handle: Dooley

State: RoVa

Gender: Gotta check on that...

Age: 37

Marital status: Yes, ma'am

Number and ages of kids: 1, 10

All degrees and granting institutions: BA-Geology, Carleton College; PhD-Paleontology, LSU

Names and types of pets: Molly (half husky, half "whoever sneaked in and knocked up mamma when no one was looking") Fizzgig (St. Bernard), cats MoJo JoJo and Seahorse (don't ask), hamster Sonny

Social Security Number: forgot to take that cark out of my pocket when I went diving

ATM PIN: Mrs. D does not reveal that information to me

Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: Got a call from Homeland Security when I tried to get that license.

Posted by: Dooley | November 2, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Handle: dr
State: of mind, otherwise Alberta but my heart is in Saskatchewan
Gender: sure
Age: younger than springtime, and old enough to know better
Marital status: 28
Number and age of children:26,25,22 Males. I tried to rent them out when they were younger, but never had any takers. Now that they have ripened up nicely, they are being snapped up.
Degrees & institutions: bachelor degree from school of hard knocks
SIN#: Its the same as Pats!
ATM PIN: If I were a rich man...
Glaucoma test pilot status: But the opthamologist said I didn't have glaucoma.

Posted by: dr | November 2, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "card" no "cark"--"d" and "k" are not even close to each other on the keyboard--how'd I do that?

Posted by: Dooley | November 2, 2006 10:19 AM | Report abuse

State, province, or country of residence:AB,CA
Age:old enough to know better young enough not to care
Marital status:not likely
Number and ages of children:see above
All degrees and granting institutions:97 farenheit
Names and types of pets:baby fire-drake
Social Security Number:lost
ATM PIN:changed
Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status:good, able to fall from the sky

Posted by: Kerric | November 2, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand why it is so hard to vote in some areas of the country. Shouldn't we have uniform rules or laws for this, or is it some "state vs. federal" thing? Maybe because I have always voted in smaller towns, 8,000 to 25,000 total populations, but I have never been asked for an ID, just pointed to my name on the list. Obviously the general public needs to be educated as to the requirements for voting long before the actual election takes place. It's easy to be intemidated by some "official" if you don't know your rights.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | November 2, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

My opthamologist once told me that eyeballs are just like the rest of you. "Things sag" was his best scientific explanation for improved myopia, with a loss of ability to see anything up close.

Posted by: dr | November 2, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who has been observing elections in recent years even in the most cursory manner knew that something like the Kerry gaffe was going to happen in the week before an election. A gaffe happens when a politician blurts out a politically incorrect truth, which is precely what Kerry did whetehr that was his intent or whether he simply blew his script in a sppech his aides prepared.

It is an embarrassing fact in America that the majority of our young troops--the ones who are affectionately called "grunts", not all of those hoo-hah young republican officers that always provide the backdrop to Bush's phony speeches before military audiences--join the services to obtain economic benefits that are unavailable to them otherwise. Anyone who has recently passed by any recruitment shop or national guard installation can read for themselves the perks and benefits that are offered to lure young people into military service.

The worst stink here is not Kerry's gaffe. It is how George W. Bush--one of those pampered young republican officers who know just the right anal orificen in which to stick their noses in order to rise in military rank and possibly launch a political career--happily dived into the cesspool that is this political campaign in order to protect his precious Congressional majority.

Kerry was simply being his usual stupid and cavalier lazy self. But Bush demonstrated something far more despicable: He demonstrated just what a lowlife sh!t he really is and why he does not desrve to stay in that office one more day.

Posted by: Jaxas | November 2, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

dr, you are tempting me to change my handle
things sag, it fits!!

Posted by: dmd | November 2, 2006 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Handle: Wilbrodog

State, province, or country of residence: Boredom. When will this computer get smell-o-rama?

Gender: Neutered

Age: Two winters old, as the natives say.

Marital status: Sure, like the law allows me to marry.

Number and ages of kids: Kids? Where?

All degrees and granting institutions: CGC, American Kennel Club; HHB; Achenblog. Body temperature: 101 Farenheit

Names and types of pets: Wilbrod (an high-maintenance gnome).

Social Security Number: Not allowed by law. I still have to do taxes when I turn 4, though.

ATM PIN: I don't handle pins. Only pencils, pens, chocolate bars, clothes, etc.

Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: Again, not allowed by law, although there are some dogs who have been busted as illegal test pilots in Canada, although I don't know how you can tell if a dog's too happy and spaced out.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | November 2, 2006 10:29 AM | Report abuse

College Parkian, I'll be there on the 11th--at this point I can't avoid it, I'm giving the 4:15 talk (guess I should start thinking about what I'm going to say.)

Posted by: Dooley | November 2, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I forgot.

Names and types of pets: cat, named...Cat. Its a long story, and related closely to number of children. When officially embarrassed by the name of cat, we submit Sir Catliness Meow, also related closely to number of children.

Posted by: dr | November 2, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Pat, I think losing a child is the hardest thing human beings esperience. My prayers are with the family.

Posted by: Slyness | November 2, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

WB-human: That painting astonishes. So, the plump peasants are sleeping under a table? Is that a flying saucer?

And (can't believe I get to write this word and Shakepeare is not even in sight) does one of the nappers sport an open or unattached codpiece?

Will Hal (great name) burp on this racy word.

And WB, I DID detect biologist in you. Me too, although I parade as an English teacher. And, like the old daytime Tylenol commercial:

"I am not a Doctor, but I play one in the classroom."

Shush. The Arch Wizard will hear this and take away my job.

Posted by: College Parkian | November 2, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse


Republicans vs Democrats
Dogs vs Cats

(Your pick)

Posted by: yellojkt | November 2, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Dooley, I'm thinking that ScienceKid #1 and I will be there on the 11th. We may have to leave early, since I'm appearing in a show in Laurel that night.

Posted by: ScienceTim | November 2, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

New kit. One that may attract the "wrong crowd", oh boy oh boy...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | November 2, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

My condolences for the parents and godparents. I do sincerely hope the mother starts eating again soon. I hope food can be brought to her, I suspect part of it is that she simply can't bear to leave to eat in case something happens and She. Was. Not. There.

I got the news on Halloween that a good friend to my family and my old dog had recently died after a second round with cancer-- he had survived cancer for over 15 years, I think.

He used to visit my dog with his dogs all the time. He stopped coming around with his dogs when he moved, did go to games with my dad, so my dog hadn't seen him for a few years.

When he came for my high school graduation party, my dog got one sniff and went crazy running away and coming right back and wriggling with joy. Dog language meaning something like "Where have you been? I thought you were gone forever?! Welcome back!"

He also gave sent me a card with a girl and a puppy on it and what he wrote made it clear that he vaguely recognized me as the kid belonging to my dog.

I'm still awaiting more information about his funeral, etc. He ran as "Ken the Dog Man" for Town Council.

He routinely owned between 2-5 dogs, all rescues, and a few extra cats (ditto) as far as I knew.
He was highly recognizable during the election because few other people would walk 5 dogs at a time down the streets of Vienna. He still came in dead last, but he got nearly 10% of the vote, anyway.

Posted by: Wilbrod | November 2, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Handle: SonofCarl

State, province, or country of residence: Prairie Rose province, arch-nemesis of the GTA, source of N.A.'s energy independence, scourge of planetary ecosystems, Saskatchewan on steroids, B.C. on methadone

Gender: Life-affirmer.

Age: Under 40, but long past "cool".

Marital status: M. Ever notice that marital is an anagram of martial?

Number and ages of kids: 1, 1

All degrees and granting institutions: B.Comm, LL.B. (Alberta)

Social Security Number: Foreign, remember? BTW, did you know that the corporate tax rate in Alberta is 34%?

ATM PIN: Is there someone caught in an ATM machine in a burning building? (Seinfeld reference)

Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: assigned to Project Blue Book; file Classified

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

For the sake of ease of reference I will post this in a dead boodle.

Handle: Shrieking Denizen
State, province, or country of residence: the Other federal capital, Haute Maine.
Gender: The heavy one.
Age: <50
Marital status: Living in sin since '84.
Number and ages of kids: 2 pony riding witches and 1 fungi. 19, 17 and 12 yo.
All degrees and granting institutions: B. Applied Sc. and M. Sc. (Metallurgy) from the institution founded by the first Bishop of Nouvelle-France in 1663.
Names and types of pets: Anthracite "Anthrax" the old lab and Chrysotile "Chryso"the cat, varied rasboras, corydoras, tetras and other colourful fish. We've been feeding birds for so long that the year along trusty residents are like pets to us, so I add tens of chickadees, tens of cardinals, 2 pairs of hairy woodpeckers, a pair of downy woodpecker, pairs of regular and red-breasted nuthatch, a bunch of mourning dove and a flock of blue jays. The crows do not trust us even if we feed them the good stuff such as mice I catch in the draughty old house.
Social Insurance Number: 9 digits
Hole-in-the-wall PIN: 5 digits
Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: Super Elite Platinum, revoked about 20 years ago

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | November 2, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

What Shrieking Denizen said re: this boodle.

Handle: dbG
State, province, or country of residence: Land of a Thousand Cheesesteaks (No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, . . .)
Gender: F
Age: Old enough to be hounded by AARP, young enough not to bite
Marital status: The past is what it is. Happily dating.
Number and ages of children: n/a
All degrees and granting institutions: B.A. (History), small rural college in PA, B.S. (CompSci), small rural college in Ohio, M.S. (CompSci), Miami-Oh. Typical Admin/DBA technical certs, CISA.
Names and types of pets: dbG's dogz: CG Cutter (*Cutter*), black lab, 8.5-14 years old, but who knows, OH farmdog stray from the shelter. Emma Rose, black lab, 3 next month, from a lab rescue.
Social Security Number: My best friend's sister's + 17
ATM PIN: Which account?
Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: Driving is bad enough!

Posted by: dbG | November 2, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

State, province, or country of residence: Born in the District of Columbia (none of the above, please note); raised in Northern Virginia
Gender: Mom
Age: Still in my 40s
Marital status: Married to DBG (but not the boodle's dbG)
Number and ages of kids: Son of G (almost 18); Little G (13)
All degrees and granting institutions: Lotsa BS, Poli Sci, large state cow college
Social Security Number: 000-00-0001
ATM PIN: Funny you should ask...
Glaucoma Test Pilot License Status: Retired
Favorite puncuation: The semi-colon

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

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