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Are Newspapers Doomed?

That guy working out of his car in the Frank Ahrens story on the Fort Myers News-Press: No, he's not at Carbucks. Carbucks is a sublime place in which one enjoys one's java in the comfort of one's strategically parked automobile. Ideally you'll have a view. You don't work on a laptop at Carbucks, because the true Carbucks experience is a bit like hanging out in a Left Bank cafe. Carbucks is all about freedom. If you don't like your Carbucks you can go drive to another one. So don't tell me the "mojo" is working at Carbucks as he sits there trying to file a Gannett micro-local news nibble to his paper's web site.

It's more like he's working in his carbicle.

Ahrens reports an alarming development in Fort Myers:

"Next spring, the paper plans to run a large story on a topic it would not identify. It did, however, say that the reporter on the article will accompany News-Press ad salespeople on trips to advertisers as the paper seeks a sponsor for the article. The logic: The reporter understands the project and can explain it best to potential advertisers. Though the reporter will be in sales meetings, he or she will not be part of the sales pitch. Nevertheless, the practice violates one of journalism's fundamentals -- maintaining a leakproof wall between the news and business sides of a newspaper."

But this worries me more:

"...The appointment of a managing editor in charge of 'audience building' who reports only to Marymont. The editor monitors Web traffic to make sure popular stories stay high on the page. The editor meets weekly and shares data with the paper's marketing and sales staffers."

Which reminds me that I need to blog more about Brad and Angie and find a way to combine it with an ode to our local department stores.

("I think Brad and Angie would love what Macy's has done with its cosmetics section.")

We could post a "Are Newspapers Doomed?" item every day, potentially. My best guess is that information (in all its various forms, from breaking news to comics to movie listings) becomes more valuable over time, not less. There are just some delicate issues to be resolved. Like, how to still make money. How to still cover important beats and important topics even though they might not generate a whole lot of page views. How to resist the temptation to maximize page views on a minute-by-minute basis.

Last week Jack Shafer pointed out that newspapers have been in trouble since at least the Ford Administration. And when I called him today he said the problems go back even farther: "The newspaper has been dying since 1921 when the first commercial radio stations appeared." Here's Shafer's assessment of shrinking newspapers:

"Whatever you do, don't mistake the decline of newspapers with the decline of journalism. Much of what we're witnessing is the delayed right-sizing of newspapers and newspaper publisher and editor egos in the multimedia age."

[Here's the Paul Farhi piece that ran in AJR last year saying all is not bleak for newspapers.]

Last week a certain Holman W. Jenkins Jr. wrote in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) about various moguls who are hovering over some of the country's best newspapers, hoping to buy them:

"Buyers in the next round may well be able to afford to throw out the presses, replace the staff, rip up the old business model and start over from scratch, without having to worry about how to nurse the old print model to a delayed grave in order to generate cash to pay off the purchase price."

Jenkins also discusses the "culture problem" at newspapers, which is basically that many journalists want to write about things that interest them, rather than things that interest the public.

I find such journalists repugnant.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 4, 2006; 12:48 PM ET
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Next: Back to the Moon?


"carbicle", nice.


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Where is everyone?
Things I love about the dead-trees version:
1. I can read it on the train without a computer in my lap. And it won't lose connection in the tunnels!
2. I'm not limited in my reading choices to those things I THOUGHT I wanted to read. Some of the greatest articles are about things I'd never heard of before.
3. No time required to download comics.
4. It has Haverty's ads on Sunday so Hubby and I can play "Which Piece is the Ugliest?"
5. It comes in a nice plastic bag just the size and thickness required for picking up dog poo.
Seriously, the thought that I might have to go online for all my news gives me the shakes. I spend enough time on the computer as it is.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 4, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I liked "carbickle" too, but also thought that since some cars have an extensive trunk full of survivalists stuff, jumper cables, blanket, flashlight, etc., especially during winter, and since they may be used to escape and/or hide out in (i.e., away from home), that "carbunkle" might also apply.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Don't you mean 'carbunkerl?'

Posted by: maggie o'd | December 4, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom: good point about the picking up of poo. This laptop does an execrable job of it.

Posted by: byoolin | December 4, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The managing editor's quote about whatever you spend your time and money on is news. What planet is he from? That's old, not new.

What's the readership draw on a calendar-signing event attended by one couple? And why is that couple described as a senior citizen and her husband? Does she have herself a boy-toy?

Posted by: LostInThought | December 4, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

As newspapers move online, they need to remember that in the IT age, bulk sells over quality, but this is the wrong way to go.

People do want quality. IT vendors just don't know how to market it as anything other than quantity or expanded bells and whistles; that's the problem.

Sometimes what is most useful is not the bell and whistle part.

If this post website could be downloaded to a PDA in simplified format for a couple bucks a month, that's nice. Heck, I'd read this on an etch-a-sketch. But I'm hoping the Post lasts long enough for E-newspapers to be real.

I will also say that this may be a temporary dip and that remarketing and trends will make newspapers in new format popular.

If that means e-paper, at least trees will be saved and that means more owls to divebomb people who still read old-fashioned newspapers on PAPER.

Speaking as one who is acutely allergic to newspaper ink thanks to having been a paperboy, I can't say enough about how wonderful it would be to drive all newspapers extinct.

Unless I need to look at the want ads, or read something with a little more meat than the shrieking heads on TV tell me. Or when I run out of logs for my wood stove or buy a canary.

I no longer watch TV news anymore. Too much gore, too much bodies. I once thought I was watching CSI and then I realized it was "news". To this day I don't know why the anchors were wearing anitrile gloves to read the news.

Damnit, can't they find good news, like what Dick Cheney was wearing and how it affected global politics?

Or why DC drinking water tastes and smells like alien sweat thanks to chloramines? Who authorized that?

I mean, the movie industry looked on the outs due to videotapes, with theatres closing all over, but Hollywood is churning out more movies than ever and still profitable with DVD, game, and theatre deals, and new theatres have been built all over in the last 15 years.

And Bollywood is making its minor dent into America, too.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, 11 bucks buys you 105 poo bags. That's nearly 2 years of the Washington post.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I want my newspaper delivered with a chocolate mint tucked inside. How about that idea? Think it'd sell papers?

Posted by: WIlbrod | December 4, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod: It sure won't sell papers in those hot DC summers. And Raysmom may think she's getting pre-read material.

Posted by: byoolin | December 4, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

>If this post website could be downloaded to a PDA in simplified format for a couple bucks a month, that's nice.

Seems to me I used to do just that, but I think it was free. It's called AvantGo.

Here it is:


Posted by: Error Flynn | December 4, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The daily newspaper is not doomed in small town America. The indispensable local serving a population of about 30,000 costs 50 cents for about 30 pages six days a week, and $2 on Sunday (with plenty of advertising inserts). Sports is about a third of the package, local stories and politics usually on the front page, school announcements and awards detailed in between, and a lively editorial page with strong letters in plain language.

What it will take for the large-scale papers will be a change in technology. "Electronic paper" has been in development for quite a while, but no push or protocol seems to have emerged. What it is is a large format sheet, probably plastic, with the capacity to plug like an electric blanket and get pixelated with regular looking pages. Once large newspapers get away from the logistics of inking and distributing trees, while keeping the tactile pleasure of the big page, they will have plenty of subscribers as well as the ability to reduce production costs.

But maybe this is too much to expect of American papers. This sort of innovation will more likely happen first in an Asian nation, consistent with their more advanced use of high bandwidth services at very low prices, not jacked up by protected telecommunications providers.

Posted by: On the plantation | December 4, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I see the NY Times listed, not the Post. And Wilbrodog is in the mood to be reading the newspaper outside rather than inside.

Good point Byoolin. Maybe seasonal offerings, then--

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2006 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Joel, when they reprint excerpts from your Magazine stuff in the 20th Anniversary issue, do you get paid again? If so, how much?

Posted by: Jake | December 4, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

repost from earlier Boodle:


"Cat Scratch Fever" was the basis for the only good one-liner I ever managed to fire off in high school. In my freshman year, no less...

I was in welding class, and we were discussing arc welding. One way to start an arc-welding pass is the tap/scratch method. I knew the Nugent melody in passing, so I busted out with "Tap Scratch Fever" and got a few laughs. Even avoided detention somehow...



As to dying newspapers, I'm reminded of the scene in "Minority Report" where the "paper" is actually a flexible monitor and the content is updated AS YOU READ IT... Kinda cool, but kinda scary. I like the relative permanence of hardcopy news.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

In addition to the traditional pleasures of the dead-tree broadsheet, newspapers provide people with the high-fiber information they need, which is not necessarily the sugar-frosted information they want.

Further, in an age where information is increasingly fragmented by both ideology and geography, thoughtful people will always need the kind of credible in-depth reporting traditionally provided by newspapers.

And, I assert, they will be willing to pay.

However, if the credibility of newspapers becomes compromised by corporate sponsorship, or a market-driven reliance on focus groups, then the newspapers will end up alienating the very people who are needed to keep them solvent.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 4, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

More quick notes:

Is it me or does that mojo down in Ft. Meyer look like Kurt Cobain?

A few weeks ago, I proposed an idea to make online news a more engaging experience for the 21st century by combining it with online fantasy gaming, an idea I call "Worlds of Newscraft"

I am still entertaining offers to purchase the idea.


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

>I see the NY Times listed, not the Post.

That's just a small display of what's available. There are probably hundreds of "channels". If you click on "Learn More" there's a "Search Channels" input box. The Washington Post is most definitely supported.

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 4, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"Tap Scratch Fever", ha!

Somehow, I'm not surprised that you learned to weld, Scottynuke.

6. Handy if you run out of TP in a public restroom.


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse


I passed the class, but that doesn't mean you ever want to see me with an oxy/acetelyne torch or arc flux stick in my hands...


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

i gotta mishmash of stuff to say:

first off - THANKS to whomever it was who said johnathan on survivor sounds like alan alda! it's been killing me trying to figure out who he sounds like! howard stern was the closest i got! it's soooo weird to hear that voice come out of him! i mean, he sounds EXACTLY like alan alda!

'mudge - what's a .45?

i had an interesting weekend - i found myself at a bar on friday nite in adams morgan with 3 prior Cheney aids!!! i was the only non-republican at the table! i feared for my life! i made it out without having to gnaw off my foot...
saturday was a xmas party at the lodge at seneca creek
anyone looking for an interesting place for a party, it was a lovely setting! rough hewn log cabin and huge fire place!
sun was the annual xmas sing along at wolftrap - put me right into the xmas spirit!

'snuke - you made me look up alan reed - turns out he was sally tomato in "breakfast at tiffany's" (one of my fav movies)! cool!

Posted by: mo | December 4, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

*surprised "flux stick" made it past the Wirty Dird Filter*


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

coincidentally, alan reed was also in the beverly hillbillies...

Posted by: mo | December 4, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

All I remember from my 8th-grade welding class (that would be 1976) is Mr. Buscemi's admonition: "'A' before 'O' or up you go."

I think (hope) the red tank is the Acetylene and the green is the Oxygen.

(Note to self: 1976! Holy &$%^# I am getting old.)

Posted by: byoolin | December 4, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

and the jetsons!!!

Posted by: mo | December 4, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Dwane Wade is the SI Sportsman of the Year...

Works for me.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps we should just compile a list of ways that paper newspapers are superior to laptops. For example:

1) You can spill coffee on a newspaper without tears.

2) If you leave a newspaper on the bus 35 cents will get you another one.

3) Nobody ever makes you boot-up a newspaper before getting on a plane.

4) You can chuck a newspaper across the room in Sudoku Frustration without damaging the wallpaper.

5) Smacking a rude child with a laptop is likely to get you a visit by social services.

6) You can stuff a newspaper into your back pocket without injuring yourself.

7) Ever try to start a fire in your fireplace with a laptop? It's not pretty.

8) In a newspaper the lingerie ads are just kinda there.

9) That whole "paper training" business.

10) After the Big One falls and EMP has destroyed all electronic information, you can read old newspapers while waiting for the marauding hordes of zombies to arrive.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 4, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

ontheplantation, I would think that the e-paper interface plugged into an Internet- capable cell phone would be all you'd need.

If you don't have Bluetooth or access to public broadband at Starbucks, Borders, etc., that is.


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

In a pickle here, since 'Mudge WON the Mazda Miata and the other stuff behind the door where Carol Merril was standing.

Mudge -- working on it. Stay tuned. Parkian keeps her promises.

In the penultimate boodle (not sure it works but love that chance to type the word), several mentioned the musical theme to "Johnny Quest."

All I can say, is my first crush was on the assistant, Race Bannon.

Can I go back and name my son 'Race.'

Race was the cartoon version of Lyle, who wrestled alligators, etc., while Marlon Perkins of "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" looked on, Walt-Disney like.

Back to the active kit:

without newspapers, what will happen to early morning routines?

Wilbrod and Pat: when oh when are digital readers and ebooks coming? What do they look like? Will they be sensual at all? I don't mean porn, soft or otherwise, BUT, you know, paper in the hands, etc.

Also for Pat: crinkle sounds of paper.
For Wilbrod: the look of that little machine with levers of paper, each with the magic of words on 'em.

Miracle really: reading and books.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 4, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The decline in newspaper readership has been going on for years, beginning well before the advent of the Internet or online services. The real challenge posed by the Internet is to the business side of newspapers, not the news side. More specifically, the Internet is just a much better way to present and access classified ads. General classified sites such as Craigslist, and specialized sites such as Monster, for employment, have been cutting deeply into newspaper classified revenue. This revenue is disproportionately profitable (indeed, it's nearly all profit) and used to support a lot of the other activities of the newspaper, such as, say, newsgathering. With classified ad revenue on the decline, the entire business model of a newspaper is at risk.

Newspapers are not doomed - but they will become something different than they are today. Of course, to some folks that looks a lot like doom.

Posted by: Steve-2 | December 4, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The Myers experiment wants to develop a local readership on the Internet. Is it not an oxymoron ? Just look at this bunch of boodlers, the Chesapeake bay area provides half of the participant at best.

Little correction here Mudge. The frigates are still smaller than destroyers, the "Fig" 7 are a bit over 4000tons but the Arleigh Burkes destroyers (DDG 51) are over 8000 tons. It's just that both classes are getting bigger. The late WWII and post-war destroyers were getting so big the RN and the USN introduced the smaller corvettes, frigates and destroyer- escort. I think that the navies also like to go to the government and ask for money for a frigate program vs a destroyer program or a new destroyer design vs a new cruiser desigjn, it just sound cheaper. The Canadian Patrol Frigate was approved on a 4300-4400 tons basis. I doubt very much any of the 12 ships left the shipyards under a mighty 5000 tons that would dwarf a 1941 era 2100 tons Fletcher Class destroyer.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 4, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Laptops make poor packing for on-the-cheap moves.

You seldom see a hobo pulling laptops over him/herself against the cold on a park bench.

Laptops are not suitable for folding into boats or playing Pooh Sticks.

Fish and chips are not the same served on a laptop.

Posted by: Yoki | December 4, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

byoolin', "A before O" indeed.

Some friends of mine are artisan-class welders - even with aluminum - so I hardly weld at all anymore. I don't have my own welding equipment, so I have to visit one of these friends when I need something done. When I try to weld anything they start making snide comments about how I missed my calling as an blacksmith for the Holy Roman Empire, and I pretend to get irritated and throw everything down and say, "Here - YOU do it, Michaelangelo!"

And then they do a superior job to mine (I'm not afraid to admit it), while I watch and drink a beer.

I can accept Dwayne Wade as SoY, FWIW.


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

RD P--loved the list! I must be a fossilized old thing, but I love paper newspapers, books, magazines. And am I the only one who has to print documents to truly be able to read and understand them? And don't get me started on on-line bill paying.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 4, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Re. Captian Mudge, frigate about it.


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Old newspapers are good for packing objects when moving. Also good for peanut shells. And touch-up painting. I also enjoy opening a box packed years ago and learning a little of what was happening on the date of the newsprint and maybe where I was living at the time.

But newspapers still shed black ink which gets on your hands, etc. Can somebody fix that?

Regardless, I like the portability of a newspaper and sometimes need a change from the rigid, eyeball drying computer screen. And it is easier to physcially scan a page of newsprint, unless you have a really big monitor.

The newspaper delivery plastic bags are good for doggie doo, too.

However, "On the plantation's" 3:01 post probably has it right about the future of electronic newspapers. We must get on the knife's edge people.

To enhance credibility we will also still need reliable souces of information. That includes you, Joel.

Posted by: Random Commenter | December 4, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

bc: I just love to say the word frigate, I admit it.

Point taken, Shriek. I was thinking in terms of the old Fletcher and Sullivan class destroyers of WWII as the size comparison model. Beside them the new Arleigh Burkes are practically pocket battleships (now THERE was a neat class!) The FFG (long hull) at 453 feet is the ideal size for me. I like a ship that'll turn on a dime.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Add to the list: using newspapers to catch potato peelings, then balling up the paper to toss it into the trash. This Irish tradition has been in effect since the days of Oliver Cromwell.

Posted by: maggie o'd | December 4, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

THis makes 4th grade boys laugh even today --

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

- Emily Dickinson

Posted by: maggie o'd | December 4, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

No, no, no - don't put the potato peelings and newspaper in the trash, put them in the yard waste (if you're in recycling-conscious Seattle, that is).

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 4, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I have a theory that there is just too much news as it is. I have not figured out out to rectify the situation while maintaining the current article length to lingerie ad ratio that seems to be a critical component of the newspaper business model.

I currently get 18 newspaper bags thrown on my driveway a week. My dog does his business approximately 1.5 times a day, giving me a net surplus of about seven bags a week. I need to either get another dog or fewer newspapers.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 4, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Ah, maggie, the Vegetarian Epicure would have you save those potato peelings in order to make Potato-Peel Broth. Myself, I never have to catch the potato peelings, as I have yet to meet a potato dish that I didn't like better with the peels included.

Posted by: CulinaryTim | December 4, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Also, never try to line the bottom of a birdcage with a laptop. You can do it; you just won't like it very much.

Or wrap fish.

Or make papier mache pinatas.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

CulinaryTim - even mashed potatoes?

Posted by: dmd | December 4, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

My mother-in-law used a layer of newspaper to cool cookies on the counter, and now I do so myself.

I always buy a newspaper the day a baby is born; they usually find it a fun thing to read when they are about 16.

What about all those movies with reporters with the press ticket in their hat bands? You don't see "Web" tickets, now, do you?

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

>The Myers experiment wants to develop a local readership on the Internet.

Actually I read the local paper(s) online. In one case I despise them enough to cheat them out of the $0.35 and would love to see them go out of business, I just read on of the columnists. In the other I just don't care much about the ads and want to know about local zoning variances and whatnot.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Culinary Tim - I rarely peel potatoes - just wash them and cut out grungy parts. Mashed potatoes especially are better with the skins.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 4, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Culinary Tim,

I hope you post the potato peel broth so that it can be added to the cook book.

And, Mostly Lurking, I don't even own a house plant!

Posted by: maggie o'd | December 4, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

In addition to all the superior qualities of newsprint already mentioned, don't forget the crossword! Yes, I know one can do the crossword puzzles online but it is much more satisfying to pencil in (notice I didn't say "ink") the little letters, then erase as necessary. Or not, I'm sure, for some of you.

I object to the Florida experiment at least in part because it is so "community" oriented that it is easy to have a paper with little or no actual news in it. Our local paper has slowly climbed out of the hole generated by being, arguably, Worst Paper in the Nation. They got rid of the editorial bias in stories and began printing actual news, even using editors. However, now they have a massive online effort with "citizen journalists". Argh. NOT news.

Joel, the best thing about print journalism is it reports on things that interest you, and probably will interest me when I read them, even though I was completely ignorant of them beforehand and never would have sought them out. I think part of "news" is "new".

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 4, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Also, when my wife cuts my hair, I put down a circle of newspapers about six feet around, the catch the hair trimmings. Then its easy to just ball up the newspapers and hair, and throw them out. I'd sit on a laptop when having my hair cut, but I don't think the laptop could stand it, and even if it could, it wouldn't gather up any hair that way.

Shriek, I've always contended that tonnage was a dumb way to talk about the size of ships, or even the number of them. When the stat tables say the Germans sunk, say, 2 million tons of shipping, that's a totally incomprehensible, useless number. When you say they sank 4,000 ships, that has meaning. To say a Burke class destroyer is 8,300 tons means nothing. When you say it is 505 feet long, whereas a frigate is 453 feet long, means something useful.

(I've been telling those guys at Lloyds of London this for 200 years, but will they listen? They just slurp their Lloydbucks coffee and ignore. [Lloyds was the original Starbucks of its day, ya know.])

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Boats and hats are also diffucult to craft out of flaptops, although my flaptop is a satellite.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

A laptop with a little bit of flour and water does not become paper mache, even though it still might make a good pinata.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 4, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Florida Today, based between Rockledge and Melbourne, is the ur-Gannett newspaper, the original. As of now, there seems little reason to bother with the paper version, other than to obtain advertising & coupons. Being a male, I don't understand the coupon stuff, but it seems cosmically important to some.

Fort Myers is sort of an odd place, too far north to fully participate in the ridiculous wealth of Naples, but not downscale enough to be Immokalee or Port Charlotte, either. And the local population/economy are growing like crazy, or at least they were until storm insurance became more costly than property taxes. How do you write a paper for people who just might flee to North Carolina if they can sell their houses?

Come to think of it, the weekley real estate section might be the model for survival of remnants of the dead-tree newspaper. Just advertising.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 4, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

One way out of the doom is to step deeper in the muck:

But here's the good news for you newsroom managers wringing your hands over new technologies and the loss of younger audiences: Because the Internet so values calling b.s., you are sitting on an as-yet largely untapped gold mine. I still believe that no one is fundamentally more capable of first-rate b.s.-calling than a well-informed beat reporter - whatever their beat. We just need to get the editors, or the corporate culture, or the self-censorship - or whatever it is - out of the way.

Posted by: Loomis | December 4, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what kind of [...]bucks Boswell sucked up to Dr. Johnson in.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Doomed because they don't do their job:

'Although given little public credit at the time, or since, many of the 126 House Democrats who spoke out and voted against the October 2002 resolution that gave President Bush authority to wage war against Iraq have turned out to be correct in their warnings about the problems a war would create.

With the Democrats taking over control of the House next January, the views that some voiced during two days of debate four years ago are worth recalling, since many of those lawmakers will move into positions of power. They include not only members of the new House leadership but also the incoming chairmen of the Appropriations, Armed Services, Budget and Judiciary committees and the Select Committee on Intelligence. . .

The day after the House vote, The Washington Post recorded that 126 House Democrats voted against the final resolution. None was quoted giving a reason for his or her vote except for Rep. Joe Baca (Calif.), who said a military briefing had disclosed that U.S. soldiers did not have adequate protection against biological weapons.

"As a veteran, that's what hit me the hardest," he said.

Lee was described as giving a "fiery denunciation" of the administration's "rush to war," with only 14 colleagues in the House chamber to hear her. None of the reasons she gave to justify her concerns, nor those voiced by other Democratic opponents, was reported in the two Post stories about passage of the resolution that day.'

Posted by: EllenG | December 4, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I just finished reading this article in today's New York Times about the redesign (shrinkage) of the Wall St Journal.

Posted by: maggie o'd | December 4, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I stopped buying newspapers about 14 years ago. I subscribed to the Sunday Washington Post because I could read the weekdays edition in the library at work. But the newspaper person frequently forgot to deliver, so I'd have to get dressed, go to a 7-11 and try to find one before they were all sold out. Then I'd spent the entire #*&@^%# day reading the newspapers, getting ink all over my hands and removing the cat from the middle of the newspapers while I was reading at the table. A few weeks' worth of Sunday editions would stack up nose-high before I'd haul it to the curb for removal by the trash folks.

So, I moved further away from the Metro area where we don't have trash pick-up OR dependable newspaper delivery. There is no corner 7-11 so I'd have to go further afield to find a copy. You have to haul it to the recycle place yourself. That first winter the Sunday Posts stacked up in my basement. I nearly got a hernia hauling it to the recycle place. So, I went cold turkey....

I no longer get a daily or Sunday newspaper. I can pull it up on the internet, read whatever I want without all that superfluous stuff like sports, real estate, classifieds, President's day ads, editorials. I just cut to the chase and home in on what I want to read. The cat doesn't fight me for table/newspaper space. No more inky hands. I don't spend all bleedin' Sunday reading the newspaper. I can print out recipes without having a pair of scissors in my hands. I don't own a dog so I don't need that plastic bag. I don't own a bird so I don't need it to line the birdcage. I finally got a life without the Washington Post. If the Grahams become destitute, point them to a homeless shelter.

Posted by: Southern Maryland | December 4, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

eBooks are here, the key is to make the "e" part more like the BOOK ;)-- completely hand-held and readable in any dimension-- and less than 1 pound each (preferably 1/2 lb), with only a few pages.

Given how much you can store on a chip vs paper, this would save a lot of schoolchildren from back trouble from carrying books without sufficent PE cardio & strength training.

I mean, 48 pound kids with still-growing bones carrying 25 lbs of books?

And we wonder why they are computer addicts and nearly ignore books...

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing that'd be a Watneybucks, boko.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I also wanted to note my appreciation for the brilliance of "carbicle". And "carbunker". That oughta bring 'em down to earth -- takes the fun right out of it.

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

Yup, we're linked on the Home page.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the usefulness of newspapers, paper-mache used to be the fodder for making bowls for washing before plastics became prevalent-- make the bowl, paint it with waterproof paint, and voila! a lightweight bowl that can be broken without tears.

Most of us forget about it when we no longer are kids (or have little kids) but it does come in handy, I modified a basket for Wilbrodog's mouth by padding the handle with paper-mache. It worked very well and is surprisingly resistant to drool.

I think I had better buy some newspapers to make boxes out of for moving now; who knows can't be worse than the *&^&*^% boxes I have. ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse


This is highest quality 'linky' post you have ever done. You start with a newspeg link to your employer. Great way to enhance the newsiness of the dead tree articles. Then you have three pertinent or tongue-in-cheek links to previous posts of your own.

And you have three outside links to known bloviators, one being a famous-for-the-internet star at your corporate sister, Slate. Although, Jack Shafer is getting a bit of a rep as a one-note johnny about the death of newspapers.

Really an excellent job, and I say that with no sarcasm intended or inferred. Hal should give you a gold star for this one. Get this linked on the front page, pronto, and set the warning to Condition Vermillion.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 4, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

About Plastics:

Just a thought here...

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

>and readable in any dimension

I'm not sure pan-dimensional beings would necessarily have hands to hold the paper.

Maybe they'd be little mice hands.

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 4, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom - I agree about preferring to print things out before reading. And I'm not the only one. That's why the "paperless office" concept (remember that space-aged idea) has never come to pass. This is why if I had money to invest I would put it in this:

(free registration required)

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 4, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

For really strong papiermache use half water, half white hoofglue.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Direction, damnit... that's one heck of a freudian slip.

Although it'd be nice to have a e-Newspaper you can read when you're in hyperspace. We all need something to take the mind off of being turned inside out, no?

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that's what I'm jazzed about-- electronic paper that can be erasable. Stuff like that, which makes paper much more reusable. I would totally invest.

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

In the large corporate environment, the other advantage to erasable paper is that printed information gets erased. They go to huge efforts to control the disposal of documents. With this, just zap! So, sorree, we were just trying to save a tree!

Posted by: On the plantation | December 4, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

That Robert Novak is sure on the ball: he's got a column saying Bush has a dilemma: Iraq. That guy is sure one savy pundit. I'm not even gonna bother with a link.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt, thanks. I am starting to get the hang of linking and next I want to learn how to indent.

EllenG, thanks for your comment and for posting the Pincus piece on the Dems who got no attention when they warned of dire consequences if we invaded Iraq. But I am not sure the failures of the media in the runup to war make newspapers irrelevant today or financially doomed. After all, you are citing a Washington Post story that ran in this morning's paper -- by Walter Pincus, who wrote, before the war, that there were serious doubts about WMD.

Kurtz's big story on all that is still online:

Posted by: Achenbach | December 4, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Dave, we do NOT want any more Floridiots in North Carolina. Let them stay in Fort Myers! (Of course, the idiots with Florida tags who can't drive in the NC mountains are probably from NY State or north of there.)

Being a child of a newspaper reporter, I literally do not recall a time I didn't read a paper. Now I read the local paper in the dead tree edition and WaPo online. I'm with Raysmom, I like the experience of holding the paper and reading it. My kids, on the other hand, only like the paper for the advertising inserts. I couldn't care less about those. But I'm in the cohort that's done all the buying it needs to do.

Posted by: Slyness | December 4, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Hoof glue. Is there any other kind?

Ah yes, the two quaint formulas:

rubber cement

Posted by: College Parkian | December 4, 2006 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Someday we may even have Achenpictures. But perhaps I dream too big.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 4, 2006 6:26 PM | Report abuse

>Kurtz's big story on all that is still online:

What made me crazy the whole time was I didn't see anyone writing "Ever play poker? Ever hear of a bluff?" and of course that little problem of trying to prove a negative.

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 4, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

The George H Bush story in the anniversary section provided a small clue to George W. It made for interesting reading.

Posted by: dr | December 4, 2006 6:36 PM | Report abuse

To the moon, Alice!!!!


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 4, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Presidente Arbusto may have found a welcome location for his Presidential Library. That's right, the Moon.

Also, it will serve as a waystation for getting Rove back to his homeworld of Miranda and the rest of the Reavers.


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2006 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Great minds think alike, Scotty.

SCC: please remove "and" and sub "with".


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2006 7:21 PM | Report abuse

All day long I have been trying to decide if I like electronic news or a real paper better and the answer is I can't decide. I love the immediate nature of online news and the ability to read news from around the globe.

Yet there is something about holding anything in print that just feels right. It provides a sense of calm that I don't get reading online.

To drastically change topic (such a surprise from me). We are having our first snowfall, big fluffy white flakes, just took the dog and my daughter for a walk in the snow - at this time of year it is just a delight, the monotony will set in around January. For now - happy dance!

Posted by: dmd | December 4, 2006 7:21 PM | Report abuse

DiCaprio Film May Hurt Diamond Demand

I'm ready to try the b.s. factor on the copy within this Reuters article on the WaPo home page. It may take some time, and dinner is now ready.

Posted by: Loomis | December 4, 2006 7:52 PM | Report abuse

It's the 10th photo you want to see on the link I provided.

Posted by: Loomis | December 4, 2006 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Another thing about paper newspapers vs. their LCD/CRT/Plasma counterparts...

You can't spread a laptop (or in my case, a desktop) over the couch, coffee table and floor. I got hooked on newspapers when I was a kid -- laid on the floor reading the comics spread out all around me.

To this day, I'll never understand the appeal of "Mary Worth" or "Rex Morgan, M.D.". It's the *comics* page, fer cryin' out loud.

Posted by: martooni | December 4, 2006 8:05 PM | Report abuse

It's really no good when the cat sprawls out on the laptop, either.

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2006 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, friends.

Slyness, I saw that story on the news. It is sad.

Pat, this morning when I arrived at the lake the sky was every shade of gray one could imagined, yet while standing there looking at the lake, which looked like a mirror in sheet form, the gray moved aside and the light from the sun came through in a big way. And all the colors from that ray of sun could be seen, every orange, red orange, even blue appeared and the gray hurried away. It was so cold this morning, not a crisp cold, but a hurting cold, a cold that grips you and won't turn loose. Before I left the lake, a sunny day was in progress, and it was full speed ahead.

As to the demise of newspapers, I certainly hope not. My mother and father always read the newspaper in our home when we were children. I love reading the paper(the kind that you hold in your hand), although I read the paper online. In our small town, letters to the editor sometimes cause quite a stir, and we can hardly wait for the next day's edition.

There is much going on with my little family, and it is very stressful. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. And know that you are in mine. God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 4, 2006 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, you are always in our thoughts. You kinda do that to people. Always in a good way.

Think of us to help you through the stress and this hard time.



Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2006 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Well I can't say I'll miss "real" papers. I stopped getting them years ago because I was tired of throwing them out. On a decent-sized widescreen LCD you can put up a few pages at a time, change the font to whatever works for you, follow links to sources and further information. see great color ads of almost nekkid wimmin in bikini's as well as actual video of events. And talk back to the reporters and columnists if they allow it.

To say nothing of meeting "imaginary" friends while posting to a blog. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 4, 2006 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Tonight I used the nyt book review to sop up the fat from the roasting pan of a small rack of lamb that we had for dinner. I found that it worked as well as the used paper
towels that I usually use. Later, I used some more pages to clean up some dog barf. I can't imagine life without a paper newspaper!

Posted by: maggie o'd | December 4, 2006 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Years ago, before the Internet was part of my world, we decided to stop getting the paper because it was piling up too much.

I started it up again pretty quickly. I had never noticed how many conversations begin with, "Did you see in the paper today....?"

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2006 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Somehow I don't think our various and sundry uses for the newspaper have brightened Joel's day very much.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 9:15 PM | Report abuse

But Mudge, all of our uses are for newspapers that have been read! Right?

I don't feel bad about getting the dead tree edition because I *always* virtuously recycle them. Thank heavens for the curbside recyclables pickup. I fill my bin full every week.

Posted by: Slyness | December 4, 2006 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Of course, when all is said and done, the best way to keep newspapers alive and well is for them to keep on employing people like Joel.

(And martooni, I find that both Mary Worth and Rex Morgan MD improve immensely if one imposes upon them an implied narrative of repressed sexual longing.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 4, 2006 9:43 PM | Report abuse

>Somehow I don't think our various and sundry uses for the newspaper have brightened Joel's day very much.

Seems to me there's a business opportunity for delivering sheafs of unprinted paper for people to use in various ways. A blank newspaper would be pretty cheap to produce.

>Of course, when all is said and done, the best way to keep newspapers alive and well is for them to keep on employing people like Joel.

Yeah, but I wouldn't have known about Joel w/o his online presence and he would've sold one less book.

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 4, 2006 9:55 PM | Report abuse

It's not just the paper media itself, Mudge. The paper's transient, like HTML rendered on your browser onto a computer screen, or sound waves coming out of a speaker.

The thing is the ideas and the stories *in* it.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: No matter what the media; the walls of caves, clay tablets, papyrus, vellum, wood pulp paper, telegraph, phonograph, radio, film, magnetic tape, television, random access memory, hard disk, or the various internet protocols, all of our best stories - our human stories - remain the same.

The beauty of information well-presented or a moving story told well; that hasn't changed in thousands of years.

And I don't think it ever will.


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2006 10:01 PM | Report abuse

And, I should add, there will *always* be a place by the fire and a share of food for the storyteller.


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2006 10:05 PM | Report abuse

RD, you mean that you add certain phrases relating to bed/sheets/covers to almost everything Mary Worth or Rex says?

I'm trying to apply this to today's Rex. Nope. Doesn't make sense.

It did work for today's Mary Worth, especially at the end of the little yellow box commentary.

This doesn't change today's Garfield one whit, though.

So far the "Bed" trophy goes to today's Foxtrot. I found two good places to put such phrases in.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2006 10:12 PM | Report abuse

i have never subscribed to a paper newspaper because i can't even keep up with a monthly magazine. i skim the news online almost every day because i do not *gasp* own a television.

the idea of not having printed newspapers bothers me a lot less than what economic forces do to news and journalism. even when i had a tv, for example, i could not stand to watch network news. the consumer-(ad-)driven programming for the lowest-common-denominator audience makes me sick. (bbc news and jim lehrer's news hour are the only news programs i can stomach.) it is sad to watch the same thing happen to newspapers. there will always be a market for quality news and journalism - it's just that probably only the top few newspapers will survive as real newspapers. the rest will rely on articles from news services and local fluff.

and speaking of online ads and such, the westin ad with the fish pond causes my browser to crash more often than not. it drives me crazy.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | December 4, 2006 10:19 PM | Report abuse

There was some ambiguity in ahrens' story that may lead some people to the wrong conclusions. There is no "secret" story; I'm not sure who said what to give him that impression.
As far as the reporter speaking to advertisers and the crossing of the line allegation: The reporter he refers to is working on a year-long community service project in public health. Advertisers have absolutely nothing to do with any stories, story topics, photos, or any other journalistic aspect of this. But as a community project, there may be public events, providing a few sponsorship opportunities not unlike what the newspaper itself already engages in ... like sponsoring a local art fair or 5K race. Those events don't suddenly become things the paper can't cover.

Posted by: atfortmyerspaper | December 4, 2006 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Newspapers SHOULD be doomed, if they insist on being history books instead of newspapers. For eighteen months, the Washington Post couldn't tell me ENOUGH about Bill Clinton's sexcapades, and shady land deals, but when it comes to uncovering the greatest lie ever perpetrated on the American people, it takes the Post more than two years to finally tell us what the ENTIRE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY was trying to tell us BEFORE the war: that there were no nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons in Iraq. But it's ok. You guys got to keep your jobs, and you still sell ad-space.

The mainstream press has been exposed for the STENOGRAPHERS that they are, and the sooner you go out of business, the better.

Personally, I feel betrayed by the mainstream media, and everyone in this country should feel the same.

Posted by: Tim | December 4, 2006 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I agree completely with your 10:01. And Storyteller Tim should take comfort from your 10:05.

Let me just say that I am subscribing to the Seattle PI now, even though I don't always read it before recycling it. The phone solicitor caught me at the right time, after Joel had done one of these "newspapers are doomed" stories. I do pick up on stories I might not otherwise.

I saw the movie The Queen today. Very good - Desson Thomson called it a tragicomedy, and it is quite funny at times - and very well acted - Helen Mirren is wonderful.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 4, 2006 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone mentioned that newsprint is unsurpassed for starting charcoal in a BBQ chimney, and relatively good insulation compared to many other kinds of paper for keeping the wine or beer cold en route to the picnic (roll several layers around the bottle)?

Posted by: LongTimeLurker-CA | December 4, 2006 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Iggles just tied it up, 24-24. I had intended to go to bed at the end of Jon Stewart, but now it's just too late...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 11:31 PM | Report abuse

// Personally, I feel betrayed by the mainstream media, and everyone in this country should feel the same. //

Tim, there was a time when the institutions in this country acted like institutions, even though they may have been privately owned. (Institutions, you know who you are.) But 30-odd years ago an education campaign started to educate the owners of the instututions that the only purpose of capital is to Make Money for the Owner(s). And the owners lapped it up, of course. Now they owe nothing to their communities, their workers, their country, or anybody else -- this is repeated daily and I'm afraid the next generation is going to grow up believing that because they can't imagine any alternative, or perhaps it has already happened. The same thing happened 70 years ago, and it took the Depression to reveal the other side of the story. Now there are few left who remember the Depression, few voices to remind us.

In other countries institutions are more likely to be under public, not private, control. Here the right wing idiots are trying to get even the few remaining ones like Social Security into private hands.

IMHO it's not about the media, it's a lot broader than that.

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 4, 2006 11:31 PM | Report abuse

AWWWWRIIIIIIGHT! Dawkins intercepted, and ran it back to the Carolina 37. Now Westbrook takes it down to the 25...

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Football? At THIS HOUR?

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

How does one come to learn that it matters who wins a pro football game?

Posted by: LTL-CA | December 4, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

YES!!!! Great Leto Shepherd interception in the end zone, Iggles are gonna win it!

Ah, I can go to bed a happy man.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2006 11:57 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod, monday night football is scheduled so that both coasts can watch it.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | December 5, 2006 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Oh my - this is the link I'm seeing on the WaPo home page:
Achenblog: Cuba's Future, Beyond Fidel

But the link actually goes to Eugene Robinson's column, which is about Cuba. Oh dear. Or Joel's future Kit is about Cuba - I'm very confused.

Maybe it's the online synergy at work.

Goodnight. I trust this will all be straightened out by the time I check in tomorrow night.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 5, 2006 2:18 AM | Report abuse

Yellojkt's Studio 60 Recap®

Episode 11: Yes Virginia, There Is A Sentimental Side To Sorkin


This week was the Very Special Christmas in Hell-A Episode where a series of inexplicable holiday miracles occur. They make fake snow out of real coconuts. Kevin Eubanks appears on air without Jay Leno making a dope joke. A movie producer tries to trade sex for a role and fails. A network executive offers to resign on a matter of principle. Sorkin plagiarizes a Spy magazine article (the miracle is that it was so easy to catch). And most unbelievably, Jordan totally checks out Danny's butt.

Bonus Interactive Recap

Aaron Sorkin is considered a master of dialog. To prove this point I have selected a series of questions, rhetorical and otherwise, that were actual lines of dialog in the episode. I hereby present them completely out of context. Feel free to supply your own answers.

Why were you at the doctor?
Who's the father?
What are your plans for the future?
You need coconuts for a Christmas show?
How do you open a coconut?
Why do I even talk to you?
What the hell did you do to my tree?
How come Europeans decided [Jesus] looked like Doug Henning?
What were you doing visiting a twelve-year-old girl in the middle of the night?
Aren't you just marginally talented?

Unsnarky Statement

The end of the show musical tribute to New Orleans and its musicians will bring a tear to the eye of even the most cynical member of the ultra-elite Studio 60 target demographic. Well over a year after Katrina we need to remember that lives are still being rebuilt.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2006 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Joel's "Cuba" link is still there. No one's watching the store there at Dot Com.

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2006 6:39 AM | Report abuse

My other complete drain of time and resources is a blog where commenters do nothing but ascribe sexual innuendo to Mary Worth, Judge Parker, and Mark Trail. It's like a post-camp deconstruction of everything lame on the funny pages.

btw, WaPo ranks a distinct second in quality and quantity of online comics. The page needs a little more web-pizazz as well. Gotta keep up with the times if you are going to run with the big dogs on the interwebs.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2006 6:40 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt - you mean it's not just me? How frightening.

I agree that the WaPo should push the online comics more.

And I see that the part of Joel Achenbach is still being played by Eugene Robinson.

So what would be worse, people looking for the Achenblog and finding Robinson, or people looking for Robinson and finding the Achenblog?

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 5, 2006 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. I'm up and moving about. The g-girl still sleep. We will not walk this morning, just too, too, cold. I went outside, and it looks like a winter wonderland, without the snow and ice. And just really too cold to take the little one out.

Tim, I agree with your post about feeling cheated by the mainstream media about the lie that was told about weapons of mass destruction. I bought a newspaper so I could read Starr's report of Clinton's mess during his administration, and it read like a sex novel. Everyone knows Clinton was wrong in that event, but was it a wrong that put the country at risk in the sense that lives were lost? I don't think so. I don't condone affairs in marriage, and I don't believe we as a country condone such acts, yet this I don't believe was an impeachable offense.

As to newspaper being doomed, I think if newspapers can allow the public to interact with that news or whatever is being printed, they can stay around for awhile. I don't believe the news should be subverted to keep people reading, truth in news is very important. And I would like to know who decides what we the people read about the news? Do we get all the news or just part of it? Are there some things we should know or not know? And my biggest question is, why didn't the mainstream media know that there weren't any wmd?

Have a good day, folks. I do hope we can get outside for little while today. I'm sure the g-girl would love to go to the park. We haven't been there since she got here. Frolicking around at the park with a three year old has to be the height of adventure, don't you think? I'm like Dudley Moore in "Arthur", I love the park.

Prayers have been said this morning, and as always blessings and every good thing asked for on your behalf, my friends. I love you all, and want you all 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 | December 5, 2006 7:37 AM | Report abuse

The Achenblog link is still screwed up and the line:
"As many conttactors as SOLIDERS" needs fixing too.
The Internet WaPo editors are having a bad headline day.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 7:56 AM | Report abuse

There are still traces of yesterday's snow on the lawn, looking like powdered sugar on Christmas cookies. The clouds seem to be thinning out, showing some washed out blue through the white.

I'm with dmd on the newspaper issue. I seem to get most of my in-depth news online but still like to scan the paper every morning. I have noticed a big difference, however, between the Boston Globe and the Washington Post online versions which seems to be true of the hardcopy Globe also (I haven't seen the hardcopy Wapo, so I can't compare them). Right now, the online Globe homepage is totally local news and fluff, the hardcopy this morning has one national story, about Bolton, under the fold. In the hardcopy, there aren't enough opinion columns and national and international news isn't given a lot of space. The Globe does do a good job on their "Spotlight" series, when they cover, over a period of days, a big issue such as a recent series on collection agencies. And Savage has written extensively about Bush's signing statements. But in general, it's not the newspaper it could be.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 5, 2006 8:08 AM | Report abuse


The Globe hasn't been itself for many many years... I'm always shocked when I visit and see how thin the reportage is... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2006 8:16 AM | Report abuse

S'nuke, yeah, you're right, I guess I didn't really notice until I started to spend more time reading news online. Where are you from?

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 5, 2006 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Born and raised in New Hampshire, Sneaks. I enjoyed the Globe until the NY Times bought it out... *SIGH*

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse

It goes without saying that I prefer online services when I want to hear what the professionals have to say about the world. We get driveway delivery of the Washington Post on Sundays though, and I love it when my kids read me the comics.

My daughter also reads me Weingarten, which I can never find online. What's the secret? The online version has over 200 links on the front page and that takes a lot of time to swim through to find what I want.

Also, I want to weigh in today to encourage anybody who gets the paper version delivered to their house, in the spirit of the holiday, to tip your paperboy. In the rare case where the paperboy knocks on your door to collect the bill, please refraim from unloading a bag of grapefruits that you bought from the Lion's Club to him as a gift.

Posted by: Pat | December 5, 2006 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Ah, New Hampshire. One of my daughters went to UNH. I love Portsmouth, they've done a nice job revitalizing it. And of course the mountains for hiking. I have fond memories of a few summers on a small lake there too.

I don't understand why the sale to the NYT made the Globe worse, but you are right, again.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | December 5, 2006 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Pat, your request to remember the paper boy reminds me of an old Johnny Carson joke that my mom always loved:

"My paper boy sent me a Christmas card. It said 'Second Notice' on it."

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2006 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Pat, sky report for you, we have a beautiful clear blue sky this morning, sun is shining brightly and the ground is lightly covered by a light coat of pure white fluffy snow. It is quite cold, but an invigorating cold (about -9c), just walked the kids to school with the dog it was refreshing.

I would love to tip my paperman but three months in they still have not located my house, I have pretty much given up. We do get the local paper, published three times a week, that is something I would never read online, it is purely local news and advertising. From the time I was a kid that paper was special as that is where they cover local sports and activities. There is nothing like being a child and seeing your name in print - just not the same online. That feeling of community, to me, gets lost online. We do tip that paperboy/girl, they collect once a month and we tip them each time. Payment is sort of optional as even if you do not pay you will get the paper but I have always given the max amount - it is so little why not.

On the otherhand yesterday I read the discussion from Canada's national paper with one of their top political writers. He had some interesting insight on the liberal convention and the interaction was a nice addition to his column. Hope fully both the hard copy and online versions will continue - the more information you can get the better in my opionion.

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 8:49 AM | Report abuse

We have a beautiful light blue sky over Ottawa this morning. A full moon shines brightly in the west corner while the sun is lazily rising through a light haze in the Southeast. Large flakes of condensation were falling earlier; this is the cold weather dew.

Mudge, at least the naval tonnage has a physical sense i.e. it relates to the actual mass of the ships. Reading the tonnage rules for some classes, the cruise ship or the chemical tankers for example, would make your head spin. I think we should get back to the number-of-gun classification for naval combatants. CPF:1-gun, Oliver H. Perry: 1-gun, Arleigh Burke: 1-gun Spruance: 2-gun Ha!

(I show contempt and ignore the Phalanx as a gun, even though its puny 20mm caliber technically make it a gun)

And the line "more contractors than SOLDIDERS in Iraq" is still on the front page.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Mudge, I watched MNF too.

That was a heck of a pick by Shepard.

Wilbrod, this year the Sunday and Monday night games start at around 8:20 PM EST, which is a lot better than the previous starting time of 9:00 PM.

With the earlier start time games are ending before midnight; the 9:00 games typically ended at around 12:30 AM, and if the games were tight, or went into OT, it could run up close to 1:00 AM.

This makes a difference for me, as my alarm clock goes off at 5:30 AM.

Speaking of which, a quick morning sky report: I saw the sun reluctantly poke its head over the eastern horizon and into the tangerine sky like a shy little boy who couldn't face the full beauty of his sister moon, who beamed at him from low in the western sky. What the boy didn't realize what that she was at her most luminous glory when she looked him full in the face, refelecting the love she's always had for him. The mother looked upon them both and felt happy, even as winter set in.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

bc, your comments about the sun and moon this morning - very poetic - thank you. I saw the moon as well still so bright even in the lightening sky, unfortunately I slept like a log last night, I love waking up in the winter when there is a full moon, looking at it reflect on new snow is an absolute joy - the middle of the night is best for this especially now as there are so many Christmas lights on the street that it is after midnight before it seems to get dark. :-)

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 9:05 AM | Report abuse

TBG, thanks for your wonderful comment. It does the soul good. I meant to say so earlier, but got distracted by the g-girl.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 5, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Shrieking D, Capt. Mudge, since you're still talking about ships and boats this morning, (and there is nothing in the world quite as satisfying as messing around with boats, as the saying goes) I offer you a peek at this little Naval gem.

No propellors, or rudders. Goes like a bat outta he11.

Mudge, what's the deal with your blue-bottomed beauty? Is it still C-4, or have you gotten the fuel tank leaks fixed?

Posted by: Don from I-270 | December 5, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Whoa, Don, no fair Swift-boatin' Capt. Pike. Er. I mean Capt. Dunsel.

Doggone it, I mean Capt. Mudge.

Do hydrofoils count as boats, seeing as when they're at speed they're drawing as much air as draft as water? I mean, it's not a hovercraft, but still...

SCCs for the crappy application of nautical terms and poor sentence construction of that second to last sentence. And now this one. Feh!


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

After our discussion about George Washington, the War of 1812 and Iraq, my husband finally found this article he remembered reading in an old American Heritage magazine.

It was written in 1971 and is called "England's Vietnam: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION" by Richard M. Ketchum.

It's amazingly prescient, relating to today's George and Iraq (even more than Vietnam). Read it and you'll find yourself constantly saying, "Oh my gosh..."

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

To help prepare for a possible public backlash, the World Diamond Council, a trade group, earlier this year hired a crisis public relations firm to design a campaign stressing the industry's efforts at reducing the number of b1ood diamonds. The campaign included full-page advertisements in national and international newspapers and an educational Web site,

High-end retailer Tiffany, which said it tries to assure the responsible mining of all materials used to make its jewelry, said it encourages consumers to ask jewelers how they support efforts to promote responsible mining.

"The film 'B1ood Diamond' serves as a horrific reminder of the terrible costs of uncontrolled diamond trading ... and we are hopeful it will contribute to ongoing international efforts to assure history does not repeat itself," Tiffany told Reuters in an e-mailed statement.

Blue Nile, Zale and Signet did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

[Why no response? If Tiffany sales folks are prepared to discuss their efforts to screen out the conflict diamonds, I think it would be an interesting reporting exercise to go to our new La Cantera outdoor mall and give it a test run in Tiffany's store.]

In 2002 diamond production companies and most countries involved in the mining and trade of diamonds agreed on the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, which is a process designed to prevent blood diamonds from entering the mainstream diamond market.

These are the grafs from the Washington Post in an article by Martinne Geller of Reuters, also picked up by the NYT yesterday--that had me in such a tizzy fit last night. If you want to find the article, it's the first one listed if you click on the entertainment section.

It leaves out more information that it covers. What is the World Diamond Council? When was it formed and what is its purpose? Why did the author not write about the activities of the Belgium-based Diamond High Council?

Perhaps more importantly, what is the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme? Why is this group so named? Who are its members? How long has it been around? Why was it formed? How long has the certification process been in place? How effective is that process today? What is happening presently in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Monrovia, Guinea?

I shall attempt to answer some of these qustions later this morning or today. Steve Coll's article about the violence in Sierra Leone--with a picture and links in the 20th anniversary salute to the launch of the Washingpost Magazine magazine--did more to cover the politics within the coastal West African country than the cause of the violence--the b1ood diamonds, although diamonds are mentioned about sever or eight times by my rough count.

Of course, the Washington Post has the apex of the story--a story gathered at great peril by the Washington Post West African bureau chief at the time, Douglas Farah, which ran on A01 on Nov. 1, 2001: "Al Qaeda Cash Tied to Diamond Trade: Sale of Gems From Sierra Leone Rebels Raised Millions, Sources Say." I serched the Washington Post archives last night and it's out there for purchase for $3.95.

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Pat, the easiest way to find Weingarten's columns is to get to the Post Magazine and to the bottom of the list of articles. Its easiest to find that under the little 'News' on the menu bar below the header, but I'm not sure how that would translate to your interface.

Without Gene's chats, we are going to need a quicker easier to find link to the articles.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

SCC: sever should be seven...
definitely a Freudian typo, of you knew how many pairs of hands (and/or feet) had been chopped off the citizens of Sierra Leone by the RUF.

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Right bc, hydrofoils are the thing to go fast.
If you want really fast Don, this baby got to 63 knots in 3-4 foot waves. It is on display in a small maritime museum just East of Quebec City. A former boss a mine was in the development team at de Havilland (an aircraft manufacturer) in the sixties.

The US Navy had the purty darn fast Pegasus class of hydrofoil stationed in Key West in the early 90's when I visited the Navy's Marine corrosion center. They have decommissioned them for some reason.
They were used for drug interdiction I believe, but I had to laugh at the Harpoon anti-ship missiles fitted on the things. You could imagine the headlines if a boat had Harpooned a millionaire's yacht my mistake. I'm surprised Hiassen hasn't used one of those to off a Florida real estate developer, or has he? I offer this idea free of charge Carl

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I also love this line from Michael Kinsley's SLATE article about the Bush family's lack of conviction about this war...

"So, it would appear that George W. Bush's daughters are not Amy Carter or Chelsea Clinton or Karenna Gore. So what? Are you surprised?"

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I would like to leave one more thought in your minds before I address b1ood diamonds later today. Let's lead with one more passage from the Reuters reporting:

James Hurley, an analyst with research firm Telsey Group, said the movie will likely affect sentiment with its star power and advertising push.

But he doubts people will stop buying diamonds, which would hurt retailers such as Zale Corp., Tiffany & Co. Inc., Blue Nile Inc., and Signet Group Plc, which operates the Kay Jewelers chain, as well as diamond processor De Beers Group, which is 45-percent owned by mining company Anglo American Plc..

"What a diamond means and what it stands for has been ingrained in people's psyches for decades, if not centuries. That's a pretty powerful attachment to ... destroy with just one film," Hurley said

I would like to counter the argument (America buys 80 percent of the world's diamonds) of the psyche with this, a passage from the book "B1ood Diamonds":

"There's nothing that can ruin a carefully crafted mystique better than the stink of reality."

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, this link might help, has a description of the Kimberly Process. The link is to the National Research Council in Canada in reference to Canada's growing Diamond mines (very far north).

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

SCC sorry should be Natural Resources Canada.

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Some "frostbite diamonds" are marked with the polar bear logo.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, dr, I found it. Easy, if one knows what they are doing.

Posted by: Pat | December 5, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Ethical diamonds, from Igloo Diamonds.

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

dr, the lack of an easy Weingarten link might be a good impetus for me to finally add some links to the margin of this blog.

I will try to post a kit later today, possibly on this Back to the Moon plan (does anyone think this will really happen???).

Posted by: Achenbach | December 5, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

since the end of daylight savings, i leave work in the dark - last nite i'm walking out minding my own business when all of the sudden, like a magnet, my gaze is pulled upwards and there, like a spot light, is the bright full moon. i keep sneaking peeks at it during my mile walk to my car... and then it leds me safely home like my own private beacon...

i love full moons...

Posted by: mo | December 5, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Romenesko links to the boodle! Cites Raysmom's comment (no. 2 on this thread) on why she likes the dead-tree version of the newspaper:

Posted by: Achenbach | December 5, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Nope, bc, Shriek, this is not a hydrofoil. It is a full displacement, wave piercing catamaran, powered by waterjets. Yes, hydrofoils could go faster, but they had a limited payload, as well as a host of other limitations.

More pics....

Notice one of the last pictures in this gallery, of the Admiral driving the ship. Note carefully his right hand. You'd think that it's just sitting there, right? Nope. His hand is covering the effing steering wheel! Steering this tub is more like adjusting the volume on your car radio. Sheese. Mudge would be soooo dissapointed.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Joel, could you include for a less than science type like me, the value/purpose of missions to the moon.

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I know all about the HSV Swift, Shriek; wrote a story about her when she came to DC a few years ago.

I also wrote a story and got to take a ride on an 80-footer the Navy had at the Wash Navy Yard about 8 years ago; took my youngest, who was then 12 years old with me. The boat was a high-speed (75 knots) boat designed to drop off SEALS and such. They took a bunch of us out onto the Potomac, and zipped down to the Wilson Bridge. Instead of a traditional whell, she was steered with a small joystick, and everybody was belted in to these special seats. The highlight was a 180-degree turn at flank speed--it was like a flume ride at Wild World--man, that was something. What a neat toy. And the boat can be (just barely) transported on a trailer that can be airlifted in a C-141 or C-5. Really cool.

Don, over the winter I have to buy a new tank (circe 1,200 bucks) to put in my boat, which is up on the hard for the winter. A few weeks ago, we saw a 36-footer that was for sale at a VERY reasonable price, and I'm currently thinking of ways to get my wife to go for the upgrade. (Which ain't easy.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

From further down on the Romenesko page:

How should papers deal with staffers with personal blogs?
American Journalism Review
The Spokesman-Review is tackling that issue in an updated code of ethics. ...The Spokane paper is also discussing time management. S-R editor Steven Smith says his reporters who blog find the instant feedback addictive -- so much so that it's tough to find the right balance between blogging and filling the print edition of the paper.
Posted at 3:00:42 PM

Posted by: kbertocci | December 5, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Here's a piece in AJR about newspaper blogs:

Posted by: Achenbach | December 5, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Karen, thanks for highlighting that passage...doesn't bring any particular newspaper reporter/blogger to mind, I hope.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 5, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I think that Moon Base at the South Pole of the moon would be an ideal spot to build that half-BILLION-dollar G.W. Bush Presidential Library.

BTW, why did they pick the moon's south pole? Wouldn't it be, like, really cold there? Are there penguins? Eskimos? Oil reserves? Will Halliburton get the no-bid picobazillion-dollar contract?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The likelihood of America establishing a base on the moon by 2024 is roughly equivalent to the moon developing a breathable atmosphere by then.

And Mudge, they picked the south pole because it's warm - it and the north pole are about the only spots that get year-round sunlight. Elsewhere, as Pink Floyd correctly noted, "it's all dark."

Posted by: byoolin | December 5, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Shales gives thumbs up to Stephanopolopolis.

Mudge I am guessing it gets sunshine but fewer meteors, just as a matter of orbital geometry etc?? Plus it famously has frozen water. Check Leonard David story:

Posted by: Achenbach | December 5, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

free 30 day subscription to if you want to read the Jenkins story about moguls.

Posted by: SnakeOilGuy | December 5, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I guess that , strictly speaking, I meant "close-to-year-round" sunlight.

Posted by: byoolin | December 5, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

i'm still mystified by how you find out who's linking to this blog. when i clicked on the technorati link, there was a blog reference, but a different one from the one discussing raysmom's comment.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | December 5, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I hoped you'd get to that Moon plan today, Joel.

Don, I assumed that 10:55 is you, I looked at that hull and assumed it has some sort of hydrofoil properties because it appears to me to be designed to tunnel air between those outer fences and the keel.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

One more comment on newspapers. Reading the newspaper in the evening or the weekend is a event - a pleasurable, relaxing event - that can't be fully replaced by online news.

The disadvantage that you can't "click here for further information" is offset by the fact that you can browse an entire section of the newspaper for interesting diversions quicker than you can investigate the content of headlined online stories.

Having said all that, I haven't purchased a weekday paper in years.

Posted by: SonofCarl | December 5, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

One more comment on newspapers. Reading the newspaper in the evening or the weekend is a event - a pleasurable, relaxing event - that can't be fully replaced by online news.

The disadvantage that you can't "click here for further information" is offset by the fact that you can browse an entire section of the newspaper for interesting diversions quicker than you can investigate the content of headlined online stories.

Having said all that, I haven't purchased a weekday paper in years.

Posted by: SonofCarl | December 5, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, re location of the GW Bush presidential library, see my 7:15 PM above.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

SCC: 7:19 PM above.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Ooops, bc, sorry to steal your thunder. Must have missed going that far back in the boodle. (But then, "great minds think alike," n'est-ce pas?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

bc, you're correct. My bad.

Also, I shoulda known that Mudge already knew about "my baby". That guy: knows everything, has done everything, has been everywhere, met everybody, and has written about it all. I guess that's the advantage of having been the third mate on Noah's Ark. :-)

Back to work, sorta. The only reason that I could even surface today from my desk mounted ball and chain is, the office Christmas Party. Since I pay hard-earned money for the privilege of attending, I'm going to go and get my money's worth of grub.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | December 5, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

That AJR article had 10 rules for newspaper blogs. I reprint them here with editorial comment in parentheses:

1. Be brief and informal. Breezy, conversational tone is good. Two hundred words is too long. Go for the quick hit, light touch, witty aside. Attitude required.
(We have attitiude to spare around here.)
2. Don't be too proud to blog.
(Classic Motown allusions always appreciated.)
3. Respond to previous blog postings. This is about conversation, after all. It's the back and forth that makes a blog engaging.
(We are back and forth, up and down, sideways and diagonal.)
4. Vary your topics. Don't be a wonk.
(Not a problem here. There's nothing that is not Achenfodder.)
5. Don't write anything you wouldn't want your mother to read in the paper.
(My mother reads my blog. She hasn't found the Boodle yet. I'm still safe.)
6. Use hyperlinks.
7. Incorporate interesting, provocative reader e-mail. The best blogs are two-way streets.
(RoveStorms optional)
8. Be quick to correct yourself.
(The SCC is alive and well.)
9. Don't feel obligated to answer all blog-generated e-mail.
(Especialy if you still have to write for the dead trees.)
10. Don't over edit; but designate a blog boss.
(It's good to have Hal to blame.)

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I read somewhere that some scientists beleived there was glaucoma medicine on Mars, canals=boats=rope=hemp, but the discovery of ice on the Moon is even more important. The moon might become a new source of friction tape. Ice=skates=hockey players=hockey sticks=friction tape.

USS Intrepid is under way

Posted by: Boko999 | December 5, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Intrepid is under tow.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 5, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Beware the Undertoad!

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Boko, they are towing her backwards (stern first)--how humiliating.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

hehehehe (sorry, i know this is weingarten territory, but i just *couldn't* resist!)

Flatulence, not turbulence, forces plane to land
Passenger lighted matches to hide odor

For The Tennessean

Flatulence brought 99 passengers on an American Airlines flight to an unscheduled visit to Nashville early Monday morning.
American Flight 1053, from Washington Reagan National Airport and bound for Dallas/Fort Worth, made an emergency landing here after passengers reported smelling struck matches, said Lynne Lowrance, a spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority.
The plane landed safely. The FBI, Transportation Safety Administration and airport authority responded to the emergency, Lowrance said.
The passengers and five crew members were brought off the plane, together with all the luggage, to go through security checks again. Bomb-sniffing dogs found spent matches.
The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal body odor, Lowrance said. The woman lives near Dallas and has a medical condition.
The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane.
"American has banned her for a long time," Lowrance said.
She was not charged but could have been. While it is legal to bring as many as four books of paper safety matches onto an aircraft, it is illegal to strike a match in an airplane, Lowrance said

Posted by: mo | December 5, 2006 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Shreik and dmd,
Thanks for the links. I didn't know that Canada had a burgeoning diamond industry. And the one article is correct in its brief mention that the group Kimberley Process formed in 2000.

Ed Zwick, who directs the Leo DiCaprio film "B1ood Diamond" that opens Friday, will be involved in a WaPo chat about the movie in just minutes, if anyone is interested. Yes, I submitted a question, which really is four questions.

Hubby is at work currently paying for our spots at a small-work-group company Christams party at a Chinese restaurant on Saturday and putting in for seven more days of vacation starting Thursday after his week of vacation that ends tomorrow. My blogging here on the Boodle will be sporadic at best. But I will tackle the questions I raised about conflict diamonds sometime in the next 24 hours, even if it's the middle of the night!

Given the Canadian angle, there's lots of reporting that can be done, and I promise not even to touch the Viktor Bout and Condie Rice angle!

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2006 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I'll be waiting. You get to places and do research I can't since I steal time from my boss to boodle.

Did anyone else note the Leonardo di Caprio almost looks grown up in some scenes in the movie trailer. Sweet heavens, his youthful looks make me feel old. Its almost as bad as seeing the current crop of hockey players without the helmets.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

No problem, Mudge.

We do think alike, that's true.
The "great minds" part, that's debatable.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 12:12 PM | Report abuse

dr, your comment about the hockey players hurts, at am at that stage in life where there are few if any players my age or older. This is new - I am not adjusting well!

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

All this nautical talk has solved one of my Chistmas present dilemas. Now that the Harry Potter books has my 14 yr. old nephew interested in reading I'll wean him off that nonsense and introduce him to C.S. Forrester's Horatio Hornblower series.
Maybe some Monsarrat too.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 5, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Canadian angle... I just went into the convenience store across the street from where I work and the radio was playing Bob & Doug McKenzie's version of "The Twelve Days Of Christmas." The young lady behind the counter found it hilarious and said she'd never heard it before.

I got to tell her it was older than she was.

And dmd, it sounds like you and I are in the same boat. I hate it when those thirty-year-old punks try to fly by me to crash the crease.

Posted by: byoolin | December 5, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Don, 's OK, dude.

I'm tempted to get my wife to read this Boodle as proof that I *am* correct, once in a while.

But really, no good could come of *that*.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

byoolin, perhaps you could use my husbands strategy, he plays defense, and rarely ventures far from the crease - safes skating and he doesn't have to show how he has slowed, and he plays oldtimers hockey - he should be one of the young bucks (relatively speaking).

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Good advice, dmd. But I do like to make a foray across the blue line once a game. (Which is about how long it takes me to get there and back.)

Posted by: byoolin | December 5, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

dr, dmd, I hear you. Even the players I refer to as "older than dirt" (Chelly, for one) are younger than me!

Posted by: Raysmom | December 5, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

byoolin - too funny.

boko if you are out there I am going to a Christmas Party at the ACC Saturday (skating party) any sort of good luck hex you want me to spread on the ice. As I have not skated in years I will be in close contact with the ice.

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I thought Curmudgeon was making a joke about the $500 millions GWB prez library. He wasn't. This is as much they want to spend on the building and foundation that will contain the wise utterances of el Arbusto. Re-writing history doesn't come cheap.

Thanks Linda. The mines that are operational are all in the Arctic. This is good for the Innus as they were left behind prior to these discoveries in the mining, petroleum and hydroelectric royalties department. The mines are all modern operation that are supposed to have reasonable environmental impact as well. We shall see.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't count on filling up on any of that moon water quite yet.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 5, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

There is already a GW Bush Presidential Library of sorts, and I recommend it to all:

It would be absolutely hilarious if it weren't so sobering. When you think about it, that is.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

RD, I wasn't going to jump in with the idea that JA's reference to the possible presence of water ice (from Clementine, etc.) hadn't been proven or disproven yet.

It's still up in the air, as it were.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Just saw this article comparing the top ten searches on Yahoo, in the US and Canada. They make a point of noticing the differences.

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that list shows is that Canadians are more interested in the weather than Americans. Considering that stepping outside your house improperly dressed in Canada can be lethal, the importance of the Eviroment Canada link is understandable.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 5, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Stepping outside "improperly dressed in Canada can be lethal"?

Why, the unofficial motto of the average Canadian is "Cold? I've been dragged naked behind a snowmobile in weather worse than this!"

Posted by: byoolin | December 5, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I didn't notice that Revenue Canada was on that list. I've applied for a job with them so keep your fingers crossed. A nice job with the Feds would just about solve all my financial worries.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 5, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree Boko - the only thing that surprised me was that all the topics we light issues in both countries.

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Good luck with the job hunt Boko.

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

*crossing my fingers and toes*

Posted by: mo | December 5, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

and thus committing boodle-cide... oh the horror!

Posted by: mo | December 5, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The Achenblog community sticks with you all day. I just got off the phone with my insurance company in San Antonio, and thought of Loomis when the woman told me how cold it is down there.

Then talked with a nice guy at my bank card company in Ottawa and thought of all my Canadian Boodle Buddies.

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

No boodle-cide, mo.

We're all just waiting for JA to post his "Ft. Luna: Harsh is the Moon Mistress" Kit.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I've got USAA too, TBG. They are mighty nice folks too. The auto loan department quits a little early Saturday nights though.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of sticky Boodlers...

BPH next week? Anyone?


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Since somebody brought up Canada, WaPo today had a cross-cultural comparison of English wirty dirds vs Quebecois ones. All without actually using any.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 5, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Didn't we declare Dec 6 or dec 12 or some such number?

I and the mutt are in, if reservations for the front table are called in advance to establish happy hour priced service.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 5, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

ooo, that's right! it's the 12th isn't it? ok, shock of shockers... I"M IN!

Posted by: mo | December 5, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Yup, the 12th was the date "to date," I wuz just checking... And of course we can call in a reservation for the "good table!"


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Yup, I have it as the 12th as well.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Canada is such a boring country that even if a Russian spy admits in court that he is a spy and agrees to be deported to Russia the story doesn't make it to the national newspaper in the US. He didn't poison anybody with polonium so that might explain the lack of interest.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't the Pegasus program canceled after it hit a log up by Seattle and lost a hydrofoil?

Posted by: bh | December 5, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey yello,

as they said "Quebecers continue to use the words in highly inventive ways -- as expletives, interjections, verbs, adverbs and nouns. One could say, for example, "You Christ that guy," to mean throwing a person violently. "

My favorite use as a noun : "crisseur" (Christer) from "crisser" (throwing violently) used for grocery bagging boy or girl.
As in: Je travaille au Loeb comme crisseur.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Is someone taking a head count for the reservation for BPH? Count me in.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 5, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Mosee Tabernack, I didn't know dat st was short for host. Youse smartypants gars really press my nerve.

Posted by: LeBoko999 | December 5, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Wait a second SD, boring? I remember some excitment happening a couple of years back. Let me think...what was it that happened?

Actually I think that is one of the charms of the relationship between the US and Canada. The day to day stuff stays under the radar because it generally works. It's not newsworthy. A good thing for all of us.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I think a rough head count will do (we need to reserve the "front table" and can always grab more chairs).

I'm in for December 12.

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm in.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Joel, forgot to mention, thank you for thinking of adding the links to important stuff like Weingarten's column. It will really help when withdrawal starts to set in. Its a real bugger to try and hit all the little icons with the mouse when your hands are shaking.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I really suffer reading about BPH plans.

Posted by: Yoki | December 5, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, those maroons always grab tiny tables near the kitchen and bathrooms so it's pretty much steaming hot all night. I'm amazed my fur stays on at all during a BPH, I tell you.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | December 5, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Wilbrodog. As a woman of a certain age who is pretty much always hot, I appreciate the discomfort you are willing to endure to support Wilbrod's social life (though I hear the cheeseburgers at M&S have a fan with four legs).

Posted by: Yoki | December 5, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Actually the Russian spy did not admit to spying, but he did nothing else either. I wonder what he was spying on. A paper has a better story, you can't trust those Tv guys:

bc, something exiting 2-3 years ago ? Must have been the men's curling championship in Gävle, Sweden. We went undefeated (9-0) but the US faltered (2-7). It was a pretty exiting time, I recall now.

I'll raise a glass or two in the general direction of the BPH on the 12th.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, thanks for linking that article. There are also watered down versions ie "tabernouche" that are like "fudge".

That's the first time I've seen the spelling of "hostie". The pronunciation I always heard was "stee" and it was so common (at least in the company I kept) I thought it was the franco "eh".

Posted by: SonofCarl | December 5, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, those cheeseburgers ARE digestible, and much better than McD's, which always gives me a quick diarrhea bout and that good ol' greasy feeling all day.

And I never refuse people food, dog manners dictates that you eat like a starving hyena, you know ;).

Their chicken stuff is OK but I still prefer homecooked food anyday.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | December 5, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Which M & S?

Posted by: Raysmom | December 5, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The McCormick and Schmick's on K street between 16 and 17th. The address is 1652 K Street NW (the phone is 202-861-2233)

We usually meet around 5:00. Someone will call and make a reservation for the "front table" so look for us there (or wait for us there!).

I hope you come, Raysmom. It's always nice to meet our imaginary friends in person. The first time's always the hardest (they say that, don't they?) but lots of fun. We promise to be gentle.

December 12 it is, then, OK?

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

'stie SoC, 'stie.

The Grand Master of the 'stie is Elvis Gratton. "Think big, 'stie!" There is 4-5 movies, each dumber than the other but funny.

SoC, did you know that the APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) also stands for À pied calice ! (On foot calice!)

NOT for work, training in québécois swearing:

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

December 12. I expect to be there.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 5, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I WILL at some point post an item on the new NASA Lunacy, but in a way I've sort of already mouthed off about it. Mike Griffin said I was too pessimistic.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 5, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Everytime there's a BPH I feel so left out. I know one day I'm going to show up, I just hope it is soon. Have a good time, my friends.

I can't wait to try one of those cheeseburgers that you folks are always talking about. You can see where my head is, right?

As for the moon, what would be the purpose of going again? I mean are we going to start a colony or something? Is someone going to live on the moon for awhile? Perhaps we are just going to collect stuff?

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 5, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the Moon... Someone (can't recall who) said that any advanced technical project with end goals more than five years in the future was a pipe dream.

I'd love to see a big, crash NASA project with the goal of cutting the cost-to-orbit by an order of magnitude in a safe, reliable system. That would change things.

Posted by: Les | December 5, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Why go back to the Moon:

(1) To become competent to operate in space -- in the sense of building suitable equipment and developing expertise.
(2) To learn how to locate resources in space environments suitable to sustain further exploration.
(3) To learn how to process those resources so that they can be used in space or back home on Earth.
(4) To investigate the structure and composition of the Moon in a way that we can't with the few-hundred pounds of not-necessarily-representative rocks that we have from 1969-1972. We can learn about lunar and planetary formation theories. I have recently been introduced to the notion that the Moon may preserve terrestrial meteorites (formed in collisions, similar to the Mars meteorites that we collect on Earth), which could provide a record of pristine material from the Earth's earliest continental rock. This material can be investigated to understand early atmospheric chemistry and maybe to search for microfossils of the earliest life on Earth. A long-shot investigation, but an exciting one.
(5) To establish permanent facilities for investigations of the space environment, without the long time scales required to build fully self-contained satellites. Maybe even machine-shop and laboratory facilities on the Moon (eventually) so that equipment can be constructed and deployed right there.
(6) To establish long-duration astronomical facilities that can be maintained and upgraded.

I doubt that this will figure high on any stated priority list, but I think it should be there -- the Moon offers a good place to work on chemistry experiments that are too dangerous for Earth. Lots of things explode or produce poisonous gases. On the Moon, you just place those operations outside of the pressurized facilities, and they'll be harmless. This includes Earth atmospheric chemistry research, studying species that are so highly reactive that they don't last long enough to do good work on them within the Earth's own atmosphere.

There's lots of laboratory research that requires a vacuum. The natural environment of the Moon offers a cleaner vacuum than any lab on Earth (so I hear). Just open a valve to your research enclosure, and you have clean vacuum.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 5, 2006 5:59 PM | Report abuse

The only way I would support a permanent presence on the moon is if it could be sold as a worthwhile end in itself. I would need to see tangible benefits to science and technology that could only be achieved by blasting our fleshy bits into space and hanging out on the lunar pole.

I do not find the stepping stone argument compelling because I do not find the concept of manned space exploration compelling. I think the vast distances and extreme hostility of the space environment make manned space travel a dead-end concept.

Without some kind of magical new technology, I do not see us going much further than the moon. And I question if going to the moon is the best way to develop such magical new technology.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 5, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

The main magic in getting a much better propulsion system is finding a diplomatic solution to putting nuclear weapons in space. They make for a dandy rocket, but there is the problem that they also are extremely hazardous. You might say.

With nuclear reactors in space, we could build more powerful ion drive systems, but I don't know whether it would be enough of an improvement. Direct nuclear-powered heating of reaction mass might do the job. I'm not especially worried about sending nuclear-powered spacecraft out into space. I'm a bit perturbed about having them come home, in light of what might result from a navigational error.

As Les says, above, the ability to explore space by any means will be dramatically improved by a major decrease in the cost-to-orbit. That's the main spin-off that I would hope to see from the manned space program; I think it's a reasonable expectation, since it is central to the core technologies required by the program.

Ultimately, I admit that we're operating on hope -- on the hope that we will uncover useful things as a result of developing the ability to readily exploit the space environment. Exploration of new real estate has generally paid-off in the past, so it's not unreasonable to hope for the future. In this case, there are no signs of any indigenous people who would be made to suffer for our explorations, so that's a welcome change.

I am a scientist. I like science. I think it is one of the most important features of human society. However, remote exploration with unmanned probes is a good bit like spending all your time exploring the world by watching Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel and Nova. Educational, yes; but sterile, unless you eventually get out of the house and go explore that big world on your own. It's just a matter of how much cable do you want to watch before you go and do something yourself.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 5, 2006 6:32 PM | Report abuse

>I think the vast distances and extreme hostility of the space environment make manned space travel a dead-end concept.

What he said.

I grew up on the Mercury and Gemini missions and the first thing I ever wanted to be was an astronaut, so I'm partial to it. But the benefits we've seen lately of the unmanned probes is astounding at a very reasonable cost, and I don't think it's worth the $$$ at this point to be establishing bases and risking lives.

We can't even take care of the ISS in low-earth orbit.

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 5, 2006 6:34 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - your chemistry lab is an interesting argument, but is going the moon really and truly the best way to improve lab safety and obtain a superior vacuum? And wouldn't it be better and safer to explore those rocks and things with remotely controlled robots and the like? Wouldn't money spent advancing such robotic technology be more scientifically prudent?

Finally if we do go there, how much time will we really have to do great science? I am afraid the the major accomplishment of a lunar colony will be to keep itself alive - much like the space station.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 5, 2006 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I saw this headline and thought it was about a fearless children's singing group cleaning up their act...

Intrepid Wriggles Free of Thick Mud

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2006 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Which subway stop is the M&S (want to make that S&M) at for the Boodle-in-Person gathering on December 12?

Posted by: College Parkian | December 5, 2006 7:22 PM | Report abuse


We NEVER S&M in public!!! *L*

It's Farragut North on the Red Line, use the southern exit to get right onto K St.


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2006 7:46 PM | Report abuse

RDP, funny you should say that; that was also MY major accomplishment noted on my last review.

Posted by: SonofCarl | December 5, 2006 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree SciTim, that the path into space is nuclear. George Dyson's book "The Orion Project" should be required reading for anyone who is really serious about space.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 5, 2006 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Yep SofC, staying alive is always good. (And if you can say that phrase without thinking of John Travolta, you are a better person than am I.)

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 5, 2006 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Farragut North. SciTim, why stop with chemistry? Why not build a secret nuke factory there-- ample energy for everybody, and we can drop nukes on China when the planets are aligned right.

Actually even a plain old rocket would be devasting at re-entry speed.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 5, 2006 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I guess I also think that a focus on manned spaceflight shows a lack of imagination. As EF points out, amazing things have already been done with probes. Think how much more we could accomplish.

As SciTim so eloquently describes, there is something fundamentally satisfying about being somewhere in person, yet for the foreseeable future of manned space exploration this experience will always be the exclusive domain of an elite few.

Imagine a probe so advanced that its data stream could mimic the sensations of physical presence. I wouldn't mind feeling as if I were standing on the moons of Saturn - and sharing that experience with a few billion friends.

Space exploration also seems a logical motivation for advanced AI. Even if the intelligence we send to the planets is electronic and not biological, I would be happy. That is, so long as there were some good stories to be told.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 5, 2006 8:18 PM | Report abuse

CP, the other stop is Farragut West on the blue or orange line. Only a short block and a half if you come up the easternmost steps, then just cross the square and turn right on 16th. But you're probably coming in on the green line, so it would be easier to hop on the red line at Fort Totten or Gallery Place, then get off at Farragut North.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2006 8:23 PM | Report abuse

.I wouldn't mind feeling as if I were standing on the moons of Saturn - and sharing that experience with a few billion friends.

Great way to raise money and engage the public imagination. You get kids growing up on that stuff and you'll get an enthusiatic generation of scientists.

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 5, 2006 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Since private manned spaceflight is becoming a reality by and by, it does make sense to stake out the Moon before somebody else does.
I just think anything Bush backs is not going to be that well thought out.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 5, 2006 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to come to the BPH too, but I have newbie jitters...

Posted by: maggie o'd | December 5, 2006 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm so sorry. I killed the boodle.

Posted by: maggie o'd | December 5, 2006 8:52 PM | Report abuse

SCC: ".I" sub ">I" quoting RDP of course.

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 5, 2006 8:54 PM | Report abuse


I will try to be there, so you won't be the only one.

The only risk, I understand, is that your visage might be captured in sculpey.

The hurdle I have to leap concerns an asthma-dude who gets twitchy this time of year, with leave mold and other cool-weather triggers.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 5, 2006 9:00 PM | Report abuse

maggie o'd - my ridiculously complicated domestic life has allowed me to attend but a single BPH, yet I found it one of the most delightful evenings of my life. (Well, for me at least.) The BPH regulars are a great group of people. There is much wit.

And if you don't like cheeseburgers, I strongly recommend the mussels.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 5, 2006 9:05 PM | Report abuse

maggie o'd,

The simple fact that you can think the sentence "I killed the boodle." means you will fit in just fine at a BPH. Don't worry. I remember RD's appearance and that evening was a most enjoyable time. Just show up and be yourself. There are a lot of fun people there and we don't give out grades. Whether you have a bunch to say or just roll with the flow, you will be welcome.

Posted by: pj | December 5, 2006 9:21 PM | Report abuse

you must go! Like Yoki, I am so envious of people who can go to the BPH - but they're fun even from afar, so the more the merrier!

Nice to see Don from I-270 today.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 5, 2006 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday's boodle mentioned the song "Battle of New Orleans" a few times. It was written by Jimmie Driftwood, who was a high school principal. As I recall, the song originally had a bunch (50? 60?) verses that were trimmed down to a more manageable number by the time it was released by Johnny Horton. (If you put the whole song on 45s, you'd fill the back of the station wagon to get it home from the record store.) The version of it I remember is the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's from the mid-70s.

Driftwood also wrote "Tennessee Stud" which all of us Doc Watson fans remember very, very well. He also did it with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" in the early 70s. That group was on a very creative roll for a few years back then.

Posted by: pj | December 5, 2006 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see you again, Don from I-270. I hope you are doing well.

Posted by: pj | December 5, 2006 9:50 PM | Report abuse

RE Boodle-Doodle next week. Do we bring lots of one dollar bills so we can pay the waiter easily?

Is this the cheep-eets night? Not that I am counting pennies or anything like that, but I think I recall boodle sticker-shock on one night.

Posted by: College Parkian | December 5, 2006 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Cardiac arrest was it. That's why I made sure we could

1) move seats for Wilbrodog's sake-- poor dog kept getting his rear end in the waitress' way whenever he tried to get a little air and breeze and away from all the body heat.

2) STILL get the M&S Happy Hour Meals (M-Thursday).

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 5, 2006 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I had forgotten (or maybe didn't know - if I knew, I learned it only recently, probably from you here) about the connection between The Battle of New Orleans and Tennessee Stud. I remember the Johnny Horton version, but I was a child. Leon Russell also does a version of The Battle of New Orleans on Hank Wilson's Back, which came out in 1973.

I learn so much here! The article about the Quebec curse words is so interesting - and I remember dr mentioning the Canadian diamond industry some time ago (I had no idea).

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 5, 2006 10:06 PM | Report abuse

CP, the sticker shock was only on a Friday night when it turns out there is no happy hour.

The cheeseburgers are $1.95; the beer is closer to six bucks (for the Yuengling). And the Achenwaitress is usually able to keep track of us with separate checks (kept on a single, long tape).

Wow... what a great Holiday Boodle-Doodle if College Parkian, maggie o'd and Don from I-270 all show up!

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2006 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Importing high quality vacuum from space is a cheap communist trick thing to do. As far as I know (I don't know much but Mrs Denizen is a hard core Transmission Electron Microscope TEM operator) western technology can match that quality of vacuum. It cost a quite a few bucks per liter of vacuum sure, but nothing compared with the space-imported stuff if humans are involved in the flight.
Spending billions for a lunar base isn't worth it. Now, if nil gravity was invoilved that m,ay be a different story...

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 10:18 PM | Report abuse

"if nil-gravity sex was involved"

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 10:22 PM | Report abuse

>It cost a quite a few bucks per liter of vacuum sure, but nothing compared with the space-imported stuff if humans are involved in the flight.

I have a friend who did vacuum work on the Tokamaks. Call me for a good deal on 10x-12 tor now....

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 5, 2006 10:29 PM | Report abuse

in a previous life I had to get all kinds of permits and approvals to blow up things in a quarry that has been drilled and blasted for the best of a hundred years. This wasn't making sense but the neighbours, used to the slow gas producing explosions of ammonium nitrate explosives were reactimng to the sharp bang of military high explosives. It is annoying, counterproductive, cost money but it can be done, given time. On the opher hand I released many moles of HCl while doing extractive metallurgy on Uranium containing ores in the 70's. I'd rather deal with the hassle than release tons of pollutant these days.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 5, 2006 10:32 PM | Report abuse

pj- Thanks for reminding me of Doc Watson. I just ordered Memories. I wore the LP out.

I think one of the boodlers mentioned that they had been taught by Jimmie Driftwood.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 5, 2006 10:42 PM | Report abuse

While at Amazon I also ordered ,It Looks Like a President Only Smaller,Why Things Are, The Grand Idea, and Captured By Aliens.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 5, 2006 11:01 PM | Report abuse

SD Were you in Elliott Lake during the 70's? Me too.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2006 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I compliment you on your book choices, Boko. Nicely done.

There have been several recent compilations of Doc and Merle Watson's music recently. There's one called "Remembering Merle" and another called "Black Mountain Rag." They aren't quite turning his catalog into Elvis's but they might be trying. ;-)

Thanks, mostlylurking, I remember the "Hank Wilson" record from when it came out. I haven't thought of that record in many years. The good Doctor Watson's coming here early next year to a club. I gotta make sure to go see him. The number of chances are diminishing....

Posted by: pj | December 5, 2006 11:44 PM | Report abuse

so you guys are having a bph on the 12th? bummer. i'll miss it by 4 days.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | December 6, 2006 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Re the Canuck Diamond Industry (what, they already exported the Expos, guess they have lots of baseball diamonds to get rid of now)...

"Polar bear diamonds." with etched polar bears. Sheesh.

Watch out for further branding of Haute Maine's proud mineral heritage...

Yellowknife Moose Gold nuggets
Beaver Emeralds
Lynx Onyx
Timberwolf Beryl...

And I can't wait to pump Stormy Petrel Petrol.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 6, 2006 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Re: discusion on the advantages of real newspapers. We seem to have inspired at least one editorial cartoonist.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2006 5:56 AM | Report abuse

I seem to recall that other companies do use other images on Canadian diamonds but I couldn't find a link. I think part of the reasoning is to prove they are Canadian and promote that they ae mined in a safe and ethical manner.

Other minerals I can think of Amethyst from the east coast and Jade from BC, in BC the jade would definitely be available in an assortment of animals.

Posted by: dmd | December 6, 2006 6:49 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Guess what? It's Wednesday, Bible study day. There is much to do. And it is so cold here. I mean really cold. No walk.

I suppose if we can go to the moon and find new things that will help us here, going to the moon is a good idea, but it does cost a lot of money. Will that new thing pay for itself?

I really believe that there is a cure for all the oil we use, no one has found it yet. If we could find a reliable source of energy instead of oil, just think, we might be able to have world peace or at least have peace in the Mideast.

Have a good day, everyone. The g-girl is up and in the bathroom trying to put my sneakers on. She must think we're going walking. I need to walk, but it is so cold. We did get a chance to frolick in the park yesterday, and we cried when we left. Please remember that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 6, 2006 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! *wave*

Cassandra, you'd be surprised how a simple scarf over the face makes a morning walk in the cold bearable. :-)

Oh, and Sky Report!!! Got out to the car and saw the moon was kind enough to play the "eye" in a vast expanse of cloud, two wings spread across the Western sky, one curling tendril reaching up between so as to cause any hobbits in the area to run for cover from the dragon...

And yes, most excellent to see Don from I-270 has joined us again!


CP & maggie, I do hope you can make it. We don't bite and only occasionally make fools of ourselves!

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2006 7:28 AM | Report abuse

I'll answer the questions I raised in the order of their complexity, starting with the easiest.

Martinne Geller in her Reuters article about movie, "B1ood Diamond" opening Friday with Leonardo DiCaprio, mentioned the World Diamond Council:

In the late 90s, news began to break worldwide about African conflict diamonds, and more drastic measures were taken by diamond houses and sellers, including the formation of the World Diamond Council in Belgium in 2001. Its purposes were several: to represent the entire diamond industry--from the mines to the storefront, and to interact with the United Nations about conflict diamonds. Two UN resolutions were sanctions against acquiring diamonds from the African rebel group in Angola and the Sierra Leone RUF and a third banned the import of Sierra Leone diamonds until a certification process could be established.

Author Greg Campbell simplifies the World Diamond Council's role even further, "The World Diamond Council's only purpose is to handle PR and spin control for the conflict diamond issue."

In his public relations role, Eli Izhakoff, chairman of the WDC, after it was suspected that Sierra Leone diamonds had been used to fund the 9/11 hijackings, issued a statement along with Matthew Runci, president of Jewelers of America, "It has been known for all too long that bandits masquerading as rebels have been using the proceeds from the sale os stolen diamonds to finance their criminal behavior in some African countries. Nations involved in the diamond trade--as producers, processors, and importers--must construct and effective monitoring system that protects he legitimate supply chain from the small percentage of illicit stones obtained by criminal elements."

Spin control. Next, the Kimberley Process Certification Program.

Posted by: Loomis | December 6, 2006 7:45 AM | Report abuse

While I am linking to comics this morning, guess who this one reminded me of?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2006 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone's ever commented before this that my butt is perky. But thanks for noticing, yello. (Er...I shouldn't be worried about this, should I?)

Ruth Marcus has a wackily sensible idea for fixing Social Security that I like, at .

I got up and came to work early (grumble, grumble, I'm not a morning person) because I have to leave work early to go to my wife's company's Christmas party tonight. So here's my sky report, Pat: pretty dark. In fact, night-like. I suppose the sun may have come up, or will be up shortly, I dunno, my cubby is too far from a window. Sorry, that's the best I can do for you. I'm headed for my second cup of coffee; I think there's a window in the conference room (where our coffee machine is).

Grumble, grumble. It's darn challenging being so perky this early, but I guess I have to set an example for you young whippersnappers.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2006 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Kimberley Process Certification Program:

There is history here. In the Vaal River valley, 700 miles north of Capetown, lies the Kimberley Mine, which has yielded some of the best and most valuable diamonds ever discovered. The mine is also called the Big Hole, the excavation taking over a century to bore down more than 1,300 feet, the deepest open pit mine ever dug by human hands.

The group the Kimberley Process was organized by the South African government and held it first meeting in May 2000 in Kimberley. As Greg Campbell points out, the issue the group tackled seemed simple in fact, but was frustratingly complicated--how to ensure that diamonds sold around the world by legitimate houses, retail stores, and producers are not from African rebel groups.

Several ideas were proposed. The practice of branding the diamond rough with identifying lasering is not really workable since half of the diamond's weight is lost during cutting--although the end-product diamond stones from Canada are lasered, according to Boodlers who have provided links. Another was to create an international database of chemical and physical properties of diamonds from all the locations where they are found throughout the world, by the kimberlite pipes or veins and primarily by their impurities. This could be impractical for several reasons. Companies would have to give up sensitive information. Also, because diamonds are often found in alluvial deposits, diamonds can be washed downstream miles from their original source. Another proposal is for diamond sellers to provide a tamperproof paper trail for goods being sold--but this solution is full of traps and potential for fraud.

Because of the chaos caused by our 9/11, author Greg Campbell missed a meeting of the Kimberley Process on the same date in Twickenham, Britain, about an hour outside of London. On that day, representatives from the U.S., Russia, Canada, England, South Africa, Botswana, Egypt, Australia, and Bangladesh, as well as other nations, were holding a public discussion about African rebel groups and the unwanted publicity and news coverage that had ensued as a result of buying conflict diamonds from them. As Campbell said, "I missed the opportunity to see the dirty laundry of the diamond world publicly aired."

The roundtable meetings migrated from country to country around this timeframe, with the goal of devising methods to cut off the flow of b1ood diamonds from rebel groups--hard to do, as Campbell pointed out, since taking the moral high ground is bad for business. Although in practice this would be next to impossible--stones are often only pebbles, are very easily transported, and their province of origin so often lied about--the efforts of the certifying group, as well sa the Kimberley Process, would at least appear to be providing positive response to mounting industry criticism.

The U.S. Congress even flirted briefly with the Kimberley Process Cerification Program, and the House passed a much watered-down, compromise measure less than a month after Washington Post's Doug Farah's article about the connection between b1ood diamonds and a possible al Qaeda connection broke. In March 2002, the bill was read twice in the Senate, and went to the Committee on Finance, where it had languished when Campbell's book was issued in 2004. pj, has the bill, Rep. Tony Hall's Clean Diamond Act, ever made it out of the Senate?

Sorry if this is slightly disjointed. Hubby turned on NBC morning program and I've been listening to the news with one ear. Later today, the fascinating Diamond High Council.

Posted by: Loomis | December 6, 2006 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Pat, a fine snow is falling from the very dark sky. There is a faint glow on the southeast where I would expect the sun to be at this hour. It is a rather gloomy day but it will improve, I hope.
I startled a big doe which was munching on old cauliflower leaves in the garden. The old dog with the cataracts didn't even see it in the dark morning but got all exited when it caught the scent. So the dog had a good morning, there is little it likes more than following fresh tracks.

Posted by: ShriekingDog | December 6, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

OK, so this will completely blow my cover (and make my handle a little less obscure), but I'd hate myself if I didn't do what I could to point out this article:

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Tritium-powered auto lock illuminators have to be one of the greatest inventions of the past half century. Is this the same technology that makes the cup holders in my new Sante Fe glow blue?

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2006 9:03 AM | Report abuse

*clearing throat* Nicely done, scotty.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Going to try to join CP and Maggie in making the BPH Newbie Night. Hope we don't kill the chemistry...

Posted by: Raysmom | December 6, 2006 9:19 AM | Report abuse

yello said "Tritium-powered auto lock illuminators have to be one of the greatest inventions of the past half century." Sure, even the blind drunk can find the lock on their cars now. It puts an end to all those happy hours-induced ugly poking scars around the locks.

Having said that this gentleman at the nyukular commission is my kind of public servant. Around here too there is a lot of people who can't wait for the day when there will be nobody able of performing any kind of calculations. In their mind, government should be only populated by people with silver tongues, pointy shoes, Gucci suits and minor degrees in political "science" (an oxymoron of the umpthieth level).

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | December 6, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse


I kinda think those are LEDs... Less regulation involved, yanno?


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2006 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, 'Mudge.

*removing dust mote from eye*

Raysmom, never fear. BPHs are a rather hypergolic mixture and cannot be dampened... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke - That is a wonderful article. It really highlights what I have long believed - that what makes or breaks an agency isn't its org chart or vision statement, but the hiring and promoting of good dedicated people.

For some civil servent spend their spare moments doing great things. While others surf to places like this and try not to laugh too loudly:

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 6, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

>*removing dust mote from eye*

Really... nice to know there's a counterweight to all the stuffed suits.

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 6, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse


I'm shocked they didn't list tritium-powered auto-lock illuminators!!!

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't tritium the stuff all those tribbles ate aboard the Enterprise, when they got into the cargo hold? It was some kind of special wheat grain, IIRC.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2006 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Quadro-triticale, 'Mudge...


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

No Mudge, the Tribbles ate the "quadrotriticale".

Posted by: Error Flynn | December 6, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Very nice article Scottynuke. He is in my prayers.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

New kit.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, dr.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Good work there, Scottynuke.


Posted by: bc | December 6, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Devil of outside, the content of the angel, return hesitant what?

Posted by: power | December 7, 2006 10:27 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: CTVeNpIItWTMSnnBf | August 15, 2008 6:44 AM | Report abuse

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