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28-Item Agenda For New Congress [Updated 3 p.m.]

Rattling with credentials, I'm on the Hill, witnessing history. Actually I'm in the Library of Congress, but plan to rush back to the House chamber to see the historic transition of power, though I might take a side trip to the big protest by the Left. There are a lot of options, because the one thing that's certain is that over the next hour and 40 minutes or so, not much will happen in the House chamber itself, since protocol must first be observed fetishistically. These people have rituals. Here's what's on tap at this very second:

1) Clerk calls the House to order.
2) Prayer offered by the Chaplain (almost typed "payer" but that's going to be banned).
3) Clerk leads the House in the Pledge of Allegiance.
4) Clerk caused Quorum Call by States [annotation by press officials: "approximately 30 minutes"].
5) Clerk reads statement of credentials for Resident Commissioner and Delegates. [??]
6) Democratic Caucus chair nominates Pelosi (D), CA for Speaker of the House.
7) Republican Conference chair nominates Boehner (R), OH for Speaker of the House. [I don't like his odds.]
8) Clerk appoints Tellers. [So everyone can withdraw cash.]
9) Roll call for election of Speaker of the House [press annotation: "approximately 1 hour"].
10) Clerk appoints members to escort Speaker-elect into House Chamber.
11) Committee escorts Speaker-elect into Chamber.
12) Minority Leader presents Speaker-elect Pelosi and addresses House ["approximately 15 minutes"].
13) Speaker-elect Pelosi addresses House ["approximately 20 minutes"].

So by my calculation that's a full 90 minutes just to get to the point where they can escort Pelosi into the room.

Plus there are another 15 items on the list, culminating in the enigmatic "27) Chair declared the whole number of the House" and the extremely ominous "28) Special Orders."

What about the fabled "100 Hours"? You know, when the Dems will enact their legislation. A friend in the press gallery tells me (can this be true?) that the 100 Hours doesn't begin until next week. If so, this is all pre-game. This is still the exhibition season. Pomp and circumstance.

On second thought I may check out a book and read for a while.

3 p.m. Update:

Harry Reid, who, with all due respect, has the charisma of a turnip, must have had at least 8 or 9 Senators listening to his opening speech as Senate Majority Leader, and in that total I'm including Warner and Levin chatting face to face in the back of the chamber. Reid pledged bipartisanship ("We must turn the page on partisanship, and usher in a new era of bipartisan progress") and, even more radically, said the Senate would work a full five-day week ("factory workers, schoolteachers...miners, welders...work at least five days a week...Shouldn't we do the same?").

Things were hopping on the other side of the Capitol, where Nancy Pelosi gave a solid, stateswomanlike speech, and many times raised the gavel triumphantly in a pose reminiscent of Thor with his hammer. Her use of children as props surely set the new indoor record.

She spoke of the historic ascendancy of a woman to the office of Speaker of the House: "It is a moment for which we have waited over 200 years....Today we have broken the marble ceiling."

She pledged bipartisanship.

The speech came two hours after the start of the protocol-fest, which left the people's chamber littered with bored and napping offspring. Best part: item 10 in the list above, in which the clerk appointed something like 70 House members to form the committee to leave the chamber, get Pelosi in the hallway, and lead her back inside amid fanfare. These committee members included everyone from the enormous California delegation, each member named by the clerk. Even Pelosi was appointed to the committee. So technically she helped escort herself back into the hall.

I believe everyone is now heading over to the Rayburn building for the individual swearing-in re-enactments in front of the cameras.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 4, 2007; 11:56 AM ET
 
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Comments

Joel, when the 100 hours starts, you'll see a little countdown window popup on your screen as if does on '24' (complete with "doonk, deenk" electronic beeps on the second counts).

On the other hand, I know Jack Bauer, and Nancy Pelosi may be many things, but she's probably no Jack Bauer.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 4, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "it", not "if".

Hoo, boy.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 4, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty clear this war IS legal--everybody voted for it. Whether they were stupid to do so, or misinformed, or lied to, is irrelevant.

This is the whole point, the honesty, and because it is the entire issue, it IS relevant. Just about as relevant as all those sidebar issues that I enumerated and you repeated. And since war and the military are such penis issues I have every right to bring up the womb.

Posted by: Loomis | January 4, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

What? There is no Usher of the Black Rod ! They sack the guy or what?
oops!, sorry the Black Rod is for the Canadian Senate only.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 4, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, protocols. And I think the Senate is even worse. I think Byrd has spent his entire 150 years in the Senate writing the arcana by which that august body works.

Posted by: ebtnut | January 4, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

If this is just the pre-game show, who is on tap for the half time extravaganza? Neil Young? The Dixie Chicks? Broooce?

I only watch for the half-time show. And the beer commercials.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 4, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if any ants are going to get trampled.

On the subject of womb-vs-penis, an article that explains how hawks tend to have inordinate influence in policy arguments --

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3660


Posted by: LTL-CA | January 4, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

bc, heads up, AP, 12 minutes ago:

Harriet Miers, President Bush's failed Supreme Court nominee, has submitted her resignation as White House counsel, the White House announced Thursday.

Posted by: Loomis | January 4, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

OK, Loomis, OK. I'm laughing here. Truce? Just don't come after me with the broadsword.

Joel, will they have a halftime show with drum majorettes and a marching band (like, say, the Bennington-Johns Hopkins gridiron duels of yesteryear)? Unless I badly miss my guess (and as every good reporter knows instinctively), somewhere nearby there must be a couple of credenzas filled with tureens of cold, boiled shrimp, trays of canapes (many of the cruciferous vegatable variety, I have no doubt), and free booze. Why don't you graze until the big show starts?

Yes, the "100 hours" starts Tuesday morning. (I think it's some kind of Verizon marketing program having to do with their Blackberrys--the Congress can call any other Congress with Blackberrys without charge if they are on the Friends and Family Plan.)

I've Googled it, but so far am unable to come up with what exact time on Tuesday the egg timer gets turned over, though. 7 a.m.? 8 a.m.? Noon? Maybe it's just a Y2K problem, I dunno.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Wazzat Loomis? I didn't vote for no war, and you can't say I did. I demand a congressional investigation on who's making such accusations about me.

I know a marine who got out of active duty just before Afghanistan but had 5 years of inactive duty in which he could have been called up anytime. So, he goes and marries a woman who has disabilities. they have a kid. Now, this woman does need his help to take care of the kid, she can't work either, so going to a soldier's pay would be a hardship etc.

All this while, until the very last day his inactive duty expires, he's worried about being called up for Iraq.

He's proud to be a marine, but he served his tour of duty, and he disagrees with Iraq. He wouldn't have stood up in defiance of authority, though.

He'd have took his druthers and busted up his kneecaps with a bat rather than go. Even though, taking all the facts in, it would seem likely he could beg off due to family circumstances, he wouldn't take any chances.

I say this guy is a coward, not in disagreeing, but in how he has chosen to approach this issue. It's too bad he's not arguing that the contracts are illegal for every soldier serving out there.

We already know as much, thanks to the backdoor draft. But what he doesn't get is those guys are not going to leave their good buds in the lurch by opting out once they're already in Iraq. That's the democracy of suffering in the military. One for all, all for one, whatever.


Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh, channeling Tom fan again:

10) Cleark...
13) ...Pelosia...

Posted by: omni | January 4, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

More from the White House

http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/485561p-408789c.html

Posted by: Anonymous | January 4, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I say the officer and no-gentleman in the story is a coward, not the marine who would rather take a bat to his knees (ouch!) rather than enjoy the backdoor draft.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

And another thing for 'Mudge. I promise you, you could make Lebanon Bologna yourself and not be at all grossed out. It only has wholesome ingredients.

But on the other hand I know all about Hotdogs and Scrapple and still eat those on a semi regular basis, so your mileage may vary.

Posted by: omni | January 4, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Should have been a SCC: That's what I get for opining on a situation that would never apply to me since I am 4-F.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you totally forgot to mention the Feats of Strength and Airing of Grievances.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Bless you, omni. I am sore relieved to hear it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Oct. 11, 2002 Congress authorizes an attack on Iraq.

March 20 2003 coalition forces begin the attack.

Watada enlists March 2003 (can't find the specific date).

Posted by: omni | January 4, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Joel, you forgot to write down that they had to secure the Four Watchtowers and shrive the Trouser of Sancity, and the windows fastened with the Red Cords of Intellect in accordance with ancient prescription before the Supreme Grand Master could begin the House meeting.

Very important that, and the ritual password and handshakes, too. We can't have any knowlessmen running in and out of Congress (other than the rightfully elected ones anyway.)


Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The American rituals are the essence of efficiency and practicality, compared to what goes on in England at the State Opening of Parliament--they have some serious theater in their traditions.

http://www.army.mod.uk/ceremonialandheritage/household/parliament.htm

Posted by: kbertocci | January 4, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting kbertocci!

Now I understand where the parody of the ritual of the Keys at Unseen University comes from (Terry Pratchett's discworld series). I knew England had lots of weird rituals, but Parliament, gosh...

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

If this is just the "pregame" then somebody wake me up when they're about to show the nipple during half time.

And by god let's all hope it isn't Dennis Hastert's nipple.

Posted by: Awal | January 4, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

*reposting from previous Kit*

Where to begin, where to begin...

First of all, a disclaimer. I have an automatic bias against someone refusing to deploy, dating back to the first Gulf War. A co-worker in the public affairs office I served in suddenly developed a case of asthma AFTER our division was picked to go to Saudi, and was "excused." During my deployment, his religious fervor convinced him the world was ending, so he attempted to "save" my daughter and wife. So yeah, outright refusing to go gets my dander up.

'Mudge has already covered much of what I could say, and said it better than I could. There are a couple of things, however.

1 - "The Watada defense: Questioning the war publicly is not "conduct unbecoming" but an exercise of freedom of speech."

Oh, how I wish we didn't have the Wirty Dird Filter, so I could say more than... Bull-F-S!!!!! The First Amendment has absolutely no bearing here! The article doesn't make clear where and when the "subsequent statements" occurred, but unless he was given permission to speak by a superior officer or was on leave and off-base and not wearing a uniform, he had no freedom of speech to speak of. That's right folks, those wearing the uniform cannot exercise the First Amendment as it's commonly understood. You're ordered to do something, the most you can do is ask for clarification of the order.

2 - "He walked into a recruitment office in Honolulu and said he wanted to go to officer candidate school."

This is a tough one. If he'd been through ROTC or West Point, I'd have had absolutely no sympathy with his attempts to resign, since those programs are taxpayer-funded and lead to a diploma, which is kinda hard to "give back." So OCS doesn't equate to a "free education" in this case. It's still a significant investment for the taxpayers to make, however, and a specified term of service is the repayment the officer makes. Resigning a commission is not a trivial matter, given an officer's myriad responsibilities to subordinates, superiors and the military in general. Attempts to resign have to be supported by some sort of definable hardship, be it medical or familial. "I now conclude the war is illegal" is not a hardship one can claim.

Bottom line, I don't have any sympathy for him. Please note the Army didn't ship him off "against his wishes," since no soldier wants to deploy beside someone who has fought not to go. They simply left him at Fort Lewis until the wheels of military justice could grind exceedingly slowly. If he wants to make a stand against the war, he pays the price.

And I still don't get why a Style reporter covered this. *shrug*

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, our opening of Parliament is somewhat similar to Britians. One of the rare occasions for full pomp and goofiness is this country. (disclaimer I am not much for pomp and ceremony).

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/cdngovernment/

Omni, thanks for the info, I have a little less sympathy for the soldier now but I do know that much of the info being promoted at the time by the US government and broadcast repeatedly by the media was false. Perhaps it is my lack of understanding the military but I can't think of anywhere else when all the evidence is shown to be incorrect where you wouldn't change the course of actions - i.e. medicine, law, teaching etc.

Posted by: dmd | January 4, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone attend this event?or is it just by invitation only?

I remember going to see the Congress as a kid.I am sure there is security up the wahzoo.

For that matter,driving down to DC is probably the bigger hassel.

I bet there are some good deli's around the Capitol.Maybe I could find the perfect Reuben there.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 4, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Well then 'Mudge; here it is:

http://www.recipecottage.com/preserving-meats/lebanon-bologna.html

Just to be sure:

Prague Powder #2 (for curing): sodium chloride, sodium nitrite (6.25%), sodium nitrate, FD&C red #40 (.0040%) with no more than 1% sodium carbonate.

and:

Fermento: a starter culture (a dairy based product) that produces a tangy flavor immediately in semi-dry cured sausage.

Posted by: omni | January 4, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Fermento also have a late-night radio program with wacky songs?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

In my google searches, I discovered Fermento is everywhere in the universe, so yeah he (or she?) probably did have a radio program with wacky songs...

Posted by: omni | January 4, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I believe that was DOCTOR Fermento to the likes of us. He didn't spend long years in evil DJ school to be just "Fermento".

Or even "Demento", as it were.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 4, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod,
You're late to the party. If you go back to the previous Kit, you'll see that a statement that you attributed to me, really was penned by Mr. Curmudgeon.

I think the bigger story of the day, one that I heard several sentences about this morning on NBC's morning show, got picked up by Froomkin as his lede--the right of the federal government to now open your mail without your knowledge. Welcome to the the continuing machinations of the National Security State and the demise of the republic:

Froomkin:

And sadly, most of the questions about signing statements that I raised in a Nieman Watchdog essay last June still remain unaddressed. Foremost among them: Are these signing statements just a bunch of ideological bluster from overenthusiastic White House lawyers -- or are they actually emboldening administration officials to flout the laws passed by Congress? If the latter, Bush's unprecedented use of these statements constitutes a genuine Constitutional crisis.

Posted by: Loomis | January 4, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

It sounds as if the Achentourage wouldn't have had a very interesting time of it this morning. It is just as well we're still in formation stage. However, someone has to watch the festivities with a critical and humorous eye. You go, Joel, and we're with you in spirit.

Where's that BoodleCam?

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 4, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

>the right of the federal government to now open your mail without your knowledge.

I actually saw that on Slashdot. "The signing statement directly contradicts part of the bill he signed, which explicitly reinforces protections of first-class mail from searches without a court's approval."

So we've go that going for us.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 4, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

omni, you could try 25 grains of Prague powder behind a 120 grain Hornady bullet for a nice handload in .260 Remington.

I see that the Canadian Pomp and Ceremony is a diluted version of the British one. There is no hope as we have no Beefeaters and the supply of gold plated horse drawn carriage is pretty tight too. Being Sargeant-at-arms and Guardian of the Mace (the blunt instrument, not the nasty stuff in a can) is a very much sought-after job for retiring senior army NCOs but the uniform is a little too much IMO. http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/process/house/report2005/ph7-e.htm
The best name remains the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod. http://www.ctv.ca/generic/WebSpecials/michaelle_jean/gallery1/image02.html
I will note however that the GG Michaëlle Jean (seen smiling on the left) is easier on the eye than ER II.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 4, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

S'nuke, I sure can understand your resentment right there. What a chickenhawk (and bordering on flaky-mentally ill).

Ten years or so ago, I was talking to a deaf refugee from Sarvejo about Zlata's diary (a book by a 12 year old girl in Sarvejo about her war experiences).

She said simply and wearily: "She's not the only one."

And that's what bothers me about this story. He's not the only one who's been asked to go to Iraq, and 3,000 American soldiers have already died there. And he picks... NOW (after what, 5,6 years?) to complain it's illegal?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Mudge,
When Brit gents duelled with broadswords, bruises and cuts were fairly common, but not many fatalities. When rapiers became fashionable, the casualties soared. (from a remarkable book on 18th century England. Title, I think, is "Riot, Rising, and Revolution" by Ian Gilmour.

I think the English naval commander who subdued Blackbeard used the newfangled rapiers, drilling his crew relentlessly until the big day. At first, the pirates appeared to be winning with their heavy broadswords and cutlasses. But their wrists got tired. The remaining Navy personnel won.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | January 4, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, it starts when Nancy Pelosi says, "I'm Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and today is the longest 100 hours of my life. The following takes place between [time] and [time] during the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress. Events occur in real time but behind closed doors, out of sight of C-SPAN cameras."

Doonk, deenk.
Doonk, deenk.

Good to know that Miers is singing "I Want to Break Free" to herself (her personal theme song, no doubt) and looking for a good therapist. She's probably going to need it.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 4, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I've always thought that the standard in all governments was to check the Red Cords of Intellect at the door.

If a soldier is allowed to choose who or what orders he follows, you have a soldier or soldiers who by the power of their choices, can decide the fate of nations. All you have to do is look at Pakistan and any number of African and South American nations where military leaders stage coups and juntas successfully because they have the support of the boys (and girls) with the toys. To allow a soldier the choice is to BE so far down the slippery slope that you may never climb back.

ditto what Mudge said, and what Scottynuke said about the fellow in question.

Posted by: dr | January 4, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

dr, it is a slippery slope both ways, absolutes are never good. I fully agree to the need for discipline, teamwork.

But there is a line, you follow orders only to a point. We have a duty to our soldiers to honour them by providing the tools they need, and to carefully weigh the battles we wage. It is their lives we are risking and it should only be done when absolutely necessary.

As for the other countries how many of those soldiers are volunteers, how many are children forced to fight, how many are asked to slaughter their brothers and sisters in order to obey. That is where I draw the line.

Posted by: dmd | January 4, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Child soldiers in Africa.

http://web.amnesty.org/pages/childsoldiers-africanchild-eng

Posted by: dmd | January 4, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Didn't think I'd be reading about a paranoid Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist trying to escape a hospital in his jammies . . .

http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/01/04/rehnquist.files.ap/index.html

Note that he had been hooked to Placidyl for "at least 10 years." I loved the quote that he suffered from a "disturbance of mental clarity." Shoot, that happens to me every five minutes.

Note also that the Reagan Administration used the FBI in a very Nixonian way to attack Rehnquist's critics when he was up for Chief Justice in 1986. Sure glad that couldn't happen today . . . .

Posted by: bill everything | January 4, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "disturbance in mental clarity" not "disturbance of mental clarity." See?

Posted by: bill everything | January 4, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

It's not that I am not agreeing with you about absolutes dmd, at all. Absolutes generally suck.

The thing about this is, if a good soldier says no this is wrong, and disobeys the order he would fully expect the punishment that would follow. A good soldier knows he will pay a price and is willing to put it all on the line to defend. Its the same code of honour that he lives by when he goe out to do the duty asked of him.

This particular instance I see no such honour, no such code. He wants his cake and he wants to eat it too.

Posted by: dr | January 4, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I think I understand what you're saying, and I'm thinking about you 2:29 in the context of the American Civil War.

billeverything, I read that article on Rhenquist earlier, and found it interesting - and a little scary - too.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 4, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

My only hesitation in fully agreeing with you dr, would be perhaps giving him the benefit of the doubt at being so disallusioned at the revelation of the truth about the evidence the led to the invasion of Iraq.

Were it me I would have taken him at his word and sent him to Afganistan and you and I both know - a very dangerous place. If I recall it is not uncommon to request a transfer in the military (am I wrong?) certainly appears in enough movies!

I think he should not have joined in the first place for sure - but I am a softee so I will go easy.

Posted by: dmd | January 4, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

There's a kind of hilarious photo on the WaPo home right now showing Hillary being sworn in by VP Cheney, and Bill is standing there, and everybody is smiling like cheshire cats, and you just KNOW Hillary and Cheney are looking at each other and thinking the worst possible thoughts about each other.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

FYI, I have updated this kit. Please see additions.


This is an intriguing part of the Rehnquist story:

In one previously secret memo from 1971, an FBI official wrote, "No persons interviewed during our current or 1969 investigation furnished information bearing adversely on Rehnquist's morals or professional integrity; however ..." The next third of the page is blacked out, under the disclosure law's exception for matters of national security.

"It would be nice to know what is still classified, three decades later," Charns said.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 4, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

No offense, Joel (he said, stifling a yawn), but zackly how many Post reporters were covering this, ah, thrill-a-moment breaking news event?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Little-known-but-true-although-completely-made-up fact: Part of the blacked out portion of the Rehnquist document included the assertion that he was once spotted singing "I put on women's clothing/and hang around in bars."

Posted by: byoolin | January 4, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Was that him? I guess the size 11 FMPs should have been a give-away.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 4, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The redacted part of Rehnquist's FBI memo is just meant to give wise guys a chance to deliver the punch line, to wit:

"however, it has been alleged that Rehnquist throughout the 50's would haunt the Sarah Lawrence College campus dressed as a woman, going by the name Mary McCarthy. It is also further believed he (or she) may have been used on one or more occasions as a ringer on the Lawrence football team."

The real wits will, I am sure, do better.

Posted by: bill everything | January 4, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

byoolin, I was thinking,

"Guess what? I don't wear *anything* under my robes!"

Mudge, I chuckled at that pic myself, was thinking that Cheney wanted to invite the Clintons to a little hunting trip in Texas.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 4, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Economist style guide --

http://www.economist.com/research/styleguide/

(Hope you can see this without being a subscriber.)

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 4, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Getting a strange feeling of deja vu on that 3:53 post, bill everything. Don't know why.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Senor Curmudgeon, to paraphrase something said here previously, "great writers steal."

Posted by: bill everything | January 4, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Is Bush in Spandau Prison yet? Or is that for the 2nd hundred hours?

Posted by: Jumper | January 4, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

That Economist Style Guide is potentially hours of diversion. The most entertaining advice I've found so far is:

"Use Dr only for qualified medical people, unless the correct alternative is not known or it would seem perverse to use Mr. And try to keep Professor for those who hold chairs, not just a university job or an inflated ego."

Posted by: yellojkt | January 4, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I had to laugh at this, yellojkt. "Use Dr only for qualified medical people, unless the correct alternative is not known or it would seem perverse to use Mr.

Since I use dr, and have posted about mrdr, I can confirm once again that I am breaking every rule in the book. Perverse? Yes that's me.

Obstinately persisting in an error or fault; wrongly self-willed or stubborn? check

Marked by a disposition to oppose and contradict or arising from such a disposition? Check

Cranky; peevish? check

I think it would be safe to say mrdr would agree.

Posted by: dr | January 4, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh, great. Now there's a photo of Pelosi arm-wrestling with John Boehner on the WaPo front. So much for bipartisanship.

Wow, dr, you sound like your handle ought to be something like...Curmudgeon.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

From the Economist style guide, on Americanisms(hehehehe):

Other Americanisms are euphemistic or obscure (so avoid affirmative action, rookies, end runs, stand-offs, point men, ball games and almost all other American sporting terms). Do not write meet with or outside of: outside America, nowadays, you just meet people. Do not figure out if you can work out. To deliver on a promise means to keep it. A parking lot is a car park. Use senior rather than ranking, rumpus rather than ruckus,and rumbustious rather than rambunctious.

Posted by: Slyness | January 4, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

oh great - we are above the fold again!

Posted by: mo | January 4, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

True enough, mo...but it took me 5 minutes to find us, so maybe it won't be so bad. In any event, I'm running for the bus shortly, so will get the bunker all prepared with the usual: playing cards, soda crackers, cans of Dinty Moore, flashlight batteries, caipirinhas (just in case it gets really ugly)--the usual.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

does anybody else find this amusing?:

by lois romano

Call it the McDonald's clause.

Underpaid Hill aides who have long relied on journalists' expense accounts for pricey meals and fine wines better start thinking fast food.

The proposed ethics package, crafted by Democrats and first up on the House calendar, bans legislators and staffers from receiving gifts and meals not only from lobbyists but also from the organizations that employ them.

So, to spell it out: Any news organization that employs a lobbyist -- and there are many, including The Washington Post -- no longer will be able to court congressional sources over an expensive steak, or even cheap fries.

The new ban and how to interpret it has caused much confusion on the Hill. There is a long list of "common sense" exemptions, which would suggest that Hill folks will need to carry a laminated copy of the bill with them at all times.

Posted by: mo | January 4, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

and for us non-pointy geek types (you know who you are, error flynn...)

Programmers blamed for complex software

http://au.news.yahoo.com/070103/2/11y2v.html


Posted by: mo | January 4, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm back! Funerals are never good, they drain you, but families need help during that time, and it all part of mission work.

Tangent, we need math books if you have some, basic math. Anything that talking about kinds of numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. And the rules that apply to those applications. And thanks for asking.

College, I liked your post, and the thinking that goes with it.

Lostinthought, I laughed so hard at your 10:25 in the last kit. The word "resourceful" certainly is not what women would be called if they did such things.

Mudge and Scotty, not familiar with that story, but your comments regarding it sound on track.

What's up with the body parts words, Loomis? You certainly make a valid point even with those choice of words.

Slyness, just trying to hang in there. I don't know how much good I'm doing, but hanging in there for the long haul.

Ivansmom, Miss Winfrey does have a point, maybe not the whole point, but a little bit of it. But for me, it doesn't stop there, and not just me, but for a lot of parents. Just don't know what to do sometimes. Feel at a loss so much of the time.

Congratulations, Joel. You really are moving up in the world. Told you so, didn't I?

Error, are you upset? I hope not, I'm so glad you're back with us. I missed you a lot when you took that break. And thanks for calling Jesus sweet because He really is.

I'm a little tired, going to rest for a little bit. Have a good evening, my friends. History was made today with the swearing in of the Speaker of the House. I'm glad for her. It is a step in the right direction. The White House is next.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 4, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Mo I loved your elf by the way. Strangely, you sound just like Yellojkt. And amen, amen, amen on software that is set up with to many software designer assumptions.

Mudge, first thing I saw your nom d plume, was, darn that would have worked. Kerric, sweet child of mine that he once claimed to be, told me, I need to use my inner monologue more often, and not just my outside voice.

Posted by: dr | January 4, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

oh great - is everyone already in the bunker?

Posted by: mo | January 4, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

hehehe - spoke too soon!

cassandra - how bout the first african american president?? *wiggles eye brows*

Posted by: mo | January 4, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, we should definitely just go ahead and delete stuff when someone accidentally lets the mouse button go over that menu item while they're looking for "Save". And when you just exit the program without saving an hour's work we should definitely not remind you to save your work because your bed doesn't remind you to go to sleep.

Excellent use of poor auto analogy too. After all, it's really easy to accidentally put a key in the ignition right? I mean, you could just be passing by someone's car and BAM there you go starting it. Maybe Amazon can add a "Do nothing to buy now" to make an easier user experience, and send you whatever your mouse happens to be over at that moment.

And obviously, typewriters are everywhere today. You certainly want the PC to ask for a new ribbon before you can start typing.

I guess there's no question that StarBucks should run a database search on every single store in their company when you won't go more than two miles, because that would never affect the processing time, right? You'd be happy to wait for a complete list of stores from San Fran to NYC when you've got 10 minutes to get coffee before a meeting. Multiply 30,000 people searching against 50,000 stores vs. 30,000 people searching against 3 stores. It does sort of make a difference.

Some of my user favs:
User: "Hey, I saw a window on all the PCs this morning that I haven't seen before, what does that mean?"
Me: "What was the message?"
User: "Oh, I didn't look at it."
Me: "So you dismissed the window on 8 machines without looking at it?"
User: "Yeah"

User: "Hey, I got an error message that says this file can't be exported before 9am, what does that mean?"
Me: "That means it's 8:30."

I once had an operator delete a file after working for 4 hours on it. I spent three days proving there was no way the file could delete itself. Now I log EVERY single thing they do.

"Hey, there's a file missing!"
"From what day?"
"Thursday at noon."
"Uh, huh, let's see... user Fred Delete file requested. Delete file confirmed. Are your really sure? Yes. Are your really REALLY sure? Yes. File Deleted."
"Ok Fred, that was you deleting your file. Have a nice day."

Humans... feh. Inconsistent, unreliable, cannot be programmed.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 4, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Cassandra, I missed you too. I'm fine - I'm not the one grinding my teeth. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 4, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I have a theory (throat clearing). The reason that the British Parliament has so many obfusc rituals (and of course Canada just apes them) is that traditionally, the seats were held by the landed gentry, and therefore public (private) school boys. It all comes out of the long tradition of late night japes while the housemaster sleeps. And the poor things never really mature past the 12 or 13-year old obsession with clubs and mysteries and high-falutin' language signifying nothing.

I have some evidence for this position because I once ate in the Members' dining room at Westminster; it was all stogy English nursery food (at a time when the English dining scene was moving well beyond it) and the MPs were absolutely delighted to be eating mushy vegetables and overroasted meat and bread pudding.

Deeply pathological.

Posted by: Yoki | January 4, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Error, four days of dealing with an irrational relative squewed my perception of the point you were making. I've ordered a larger umbrage bucket which should prevent splash over.
I still think that woman is a crook.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 4, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

"And the poor things never really mature past the 12 or 13-year old obsession..."

Does this apply to all men? Never? Never Ever? Not even when the cows come home? Say it's not so! There must be one....perhaps some freakish anomoly who would be instantly identifiable by all?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 4, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Sorry that was me.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 4, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

>Sorry Error
No problemo. Even rational relatives can be a strain.

>I still think that woman is a crook.
Well I guess if you believe it, yeah. If you're going for the theater, I'm not sure it was a bad deal. It was a night out in the city on my birthday. Like I said, I could see the fans blowing the drapes around, I had no illusions they were winds from the beyond!

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 4, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Getting in your face was hypocritical for someone who's enjoyed playing with a ouji board. Maybe I was channeling Penn Gilette without knowing it.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 4, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

error - you and i could write a book - how NOT to be a user!

user: i saved my documents to this floppy and now there's nothing on it p- how did they disappear?

me: did you delete the files?

user: no

me: did you have it near anything that may have a magnet in it?

user: no

me: ok - well, you HAD to have done something?

user: no, nothing - they just disappeared!

me: ok - let me run some diagnostic software on the floppy
(runs diagnostic software which indicates that the user deleted all files and the time and date) um... this says you deleted the files!

user: can you get them back?

me: (inner voice) yeah, cuz i'm a freakin magician! you need harry potter not the IT dept. (outer voice) i'm sorry, those files were not recoverable. maybe next time you should burn them to a disc, it's a lot more stable than a floppy.

Posted by: mo | January 4, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Point taken, Error, L. If I worked in your office you would like me. Honest. Sure you would.

The kind of problems I have are that the programs I use, ie specific small business accounting software where things that have been working for decades (I know because I have been here that long) now don't work because someone new and improved it. Its like the new Coke or the new Tide. Suddenly its two clicks and 4 tabs to do what one enter used to do. Suddenly what is vital to processing your project costing is closed to you because of a date which is not your fiscal year end, just one they thought would work for you better. I am sure they have a reason, but what once was a rock solid software is now anguish for me and thousands of other low level accounting types, who play the what won't work after the update game.

Just don't tell me you work for the company that sells the best selling small business accounting software in Canada, or I will cry. And then I'd have to consider serious torture.

Posted by: dr | January 4, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, you get 10 points for using the word "obfusc." Nicely done.

Nobody in the bunker so far, mo. Doesn't seem to be any Rovestorm on the event horizon.

OK, time to don my chef's hat and put ten (not nine, not eleven) Gorton's fish sticks in the toaster oven. (I lead such an exciting life.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

>channeling Penn Gilette
There you go. It's all about the performance.

I tell ya what my pet software peeve is, Open and Save dialogs that don't remember the last location. It's easy to do and saves a huge amount of time navigating around the drive.

Also dangerous is the ability to rename and move files a file dialog. I've seen people lose whole folders that way.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 4, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

no wait - my FAV is when they store e-mail in the deleted items folder in outlook - and then complain that outlook is running slow or isn't running - so you go to empty their (1 gig) deleted items and they say "no! i need those e-mails!" um... ok so WHY do you store them in the deleted items folder (esp when the microsoft default is to empty the folder upon exiting) - do you store your necessary hard documents in the garbage can under your desk? no! because it's called GARBAGE!!! ACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: mo | January 4, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Error... I've been there (as far as stupid users go).

My favorite was the night I was trying to walk a client through an upgrade that required inserting a CD into the server... you know, like IN the CD DRIVE?

Anyway, I'm telling the guy to push the little button under the drive so it'll pop the drawer out and he says that he did, so I tell him to stick the CD in there (assuming he had done what I told him to do and that the drive bay opened up). Of course, he didn't push the button, the bay didn't open, and instead of saying anything he lets me take him through step #2... put the CD in there. So he did. In the gap between the drive bay's face and the tape backup unit. He even got out a letter opener to push the dang thing all the way in.

Meanwhile, back in Mayberry, I'm trying to mount the CD remotely and can't figure out why it won't work. Then he asks "was I supposed to wait for the tray to pop out before I stuck the CD in there?"

Grrr...

My only consolation is that he IS the client -- owns the company -- so we ended up with some nice extra billable time that came directly out of his pocket because he was incapable of following detailed, slowly spoken instructions.

The same guy had us chasing our tails one afternoon because his server was down. First thing I asked was to check that the thing was plugged into the wall. "Oh sure" he says. What I forgot to have him check was that the POWER STRIP the server was plugged into was actually plugged into the wall. Two frustrating and profitable hours later, we had him back up and running.

Posted by: martooni | January 4, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Sky update for Pat.

The night sky was still very much in evidence as I drove in to work at 6:30 this morning. It was as usual, very dark and night like even though my clocks were telling me to go to work. Some quirky low level clouds in the western sky were reflecting the city lights in colors of purple, and pink and orange on their bottom side. From the tops those same low level clouds were touched by the light of mostly full moon creating the most amazing vision of light and dark, night and day, as if it were a sunset on a planet with a black sky.

Just kind of neat.

Posted by: dr | January 4, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

See, this is why I try never to have to call an IT personnel for ANY kind of problem... and try hard never to work in IT, either. I'd be shopping for the best, biggest, and sharpest razor blades in no time flat.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I'm afraid to ask what you meant by "I'm trying to mount the CD remotely". I assume this relates to drinking at work?

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 4, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey all,

I just wanted to pipe up about orders (better late than never). Sorry, chum, you can pick your nose, but not your orders.

From Queen's Regulations and Orders (probably very similar to the US law on this point):

"19.015 - LAWFUL COMMANDS AND ORDERS

Every officer and non-commissioned member shall obey lawful commands and orders of a superior officer.

NOTES:

...

(B) Usually there will be no doubt as to whether a command or order is lawful or unlawful. In a situation, however, where the subordinate does not know the law or is uncertain of it he shall, even though he doubts the lawfulness of the command, obey unless the command is manifestly unlawful.

(C) An officer or non-commissioned member is not justified in obeying a command or order that is manifestly unlawful. In other words, if a subordinate commits a crime in complying with a command that is manifestly unlawful, he is liable to be punished for the crime by a civil or military court. A manifestly unlawful command or order is one that would appear to a person of ordinary sense and understanding to be clearly illegal; for example, a command by an officer or non-commissioned member to shoot a member for only having used disrespectful words or a command to shoot an unarmed child."

doonk, deenk,
doonk, deenk

*nod to bc*


Posted by: SonofCarl | January 4, 2007 8:01 PM | Report abuse

I used to share an office with a guy who could never figure out how to turn off those allegedly helpful formatting defaults in Microsoft Word. It's kind of hard to concentrate when your office-mate periodically screams "F***-You Bill Gates! F***-You!"

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

You know, I think I'm going to like this retirement thing. I went to see my brother today and had a pleasant hour and a half talking to him. I have to do that often, because I always learn important things when I see him. Today we talked about our grandmother and how she came to Charlotte as a young widow with three children and made a good living for herself, running a boarding house and cooking lunch for the workers at the Ford factory in what is now downtown Charlotte. She did well enough to send all three kids to college, when not many went that far.

Nope, don't miss going to work at all.

Posted by: Slyness | January 4, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

mo, EF, I'm the front-line IT guy for the office (they ask me before they call the help desk) and I know the truth you tell.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...

DVD Trivia time!!! Hold your applause, please.

Having received, as a Christmas gift from my delightful GF, the entire first season of SNL, I have made more astounding discoveries...

The third episode of "NBC's Saturday Night" included a performance by "The Lockers," a dance troupe specializing in the early breakdancing genre of pop-'n'-lock. One of the members was rather rotund... I'm sure it was Fred "Rerun" Berry.

And those of you who remember the Muppet contribution to the early episodes... You can't possibly deny 'Mudge was the inspiration for The Mighty Favog, now can you???

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

No, Scottynuke, I have to respectfully disagree. Although, as I recall, Favog clearly had Mudge's dry wit and aura of omniscience, I fear there was a distinct lack of perkiness.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

"I would like to feed your fingertips to the wolverines."

Man, they just don't write classic stuff like that no more...

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

RDP;

He was pretty perky for a stone idol, fer cryin' out loud!!

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 4, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

In truth, Scottynuke, you are quite correct. The resemblance is uncanny. But please don't tell him I said so.

http://muppet.wikia.com/images/d/d1/Mightyfavog.jpg

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 4, 2007 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, I loved (indeed, nearly worshipped) the Mighty Favog, and when I was in Mexico last week I saw a Maya statue that had a face just like Favog, so I bought it, and it is now on my desk in the office.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of puppets I'm on my 2nd disc of Stingray. Talking stone idol puppets in underwater temples are becoming a daily occurrence here.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 4, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

"Hello, my name's da Mighty Favog. I'll be yer diety this evening. ...that's my name, wisdom's my game. Talk ta me!"

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

FYI, all the SNL scripts of Favog and the land of Gorch are at http://www.toughpigs.com/anthgorcha00.htm

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 4, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Not to be tedious, but since the Watada story is local, here is a link to The Seattle Times article today (which has links to previous articles):
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003508558_watada4m.html

I don't know that there's any evidence that he sent his mother to Washington, DC, for help - I suppose she's doing what she thinks she can to help him avoid time in prison. He seems sincere to me - but who can tell? I don't think he has any chance to win his case.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 4, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

RD, great pic at that link.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 4, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Ahh the IT troupe woes. Here's one of my own.

User: Help my computer won't turn on.

Me: Is your system plugged in?

User: Yes, but when I push the button nothing happens!

Me: Nothing? Does the power button light turn on?

User: Well it goes yellow and the computer flickers....

Me: Wait... flickers?

User: Yeah like it turns on but it doesn't do anything.

Me: When did this start?...(inner voice: Dont try to turn on the monitor use the freakin computer. I bet its a new system and its not even connected.)

User: Ever since I got it.

Me: Ok did you hook everything up when you recieved it?

User: Well I took it out of the box and there was a wire that I wassn't sure about so I didnt do anything with it.

Me: Did you connect the monitor to the tower?

User: What?

Me: Sigh.... OK here's what you do.....


That was a pain. Its not even my job

Posted by: Kerric | January 4, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

The guy who handles my IT problems must cringe when he sees my name. I just send the tower to his office and try to sound pitiful when he calls.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 4, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I used to support IT stuff many years ago, and oh, the stories I could tell.

Keyboards that didn't work turned out to have a half gallon of coffee sloshing around in there (or a half pound of cigarette ashes), floppy diskettes jammed into seams between drives (as martooni described), computers, monitors, and keyboards that "didn't work" because they were plugged in, all kindza stuff. Had one that the user claimed "smelled funny" and emitted smoke. Turned out to be a mouse that had met an untimely demise chewing on power supply insulation. How it got in there, I still have no idea.

We kept a baseball bat around the workspace, calling it a "User Attitude Adjustment Tool."

bc

Posted by: bc | January 4, 2007 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey Cassandra,
Sorry, I don't have any math books on me, not even basic ones. I gave that discipline up as soon as I could :). The book program that you have going is really amazing, and I admire and respect you a ton for it. Um, I just thought I'd say, I think it wasn't me that asked the question on the last boodle, but someone else, (maybe College Parkian?), the post at 8:57. All that being said, although I can't provide books for you, I will be praying for you, your physical, emotional, and spiritual health, it's the least I can do. I don't personally know you, but you seem to be a truly amazing person, God Bless you.

(Apologies for the carry-over from last boodle. I really am living up to my handle, huh?)

Posted by: Tangent | January 4, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

a happy and healthy new year to everyone!

joel, the european reading room is a great place to read in the loc (spent the week before christmas there). it's nice, quiet and out of the way.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 4, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Just got back from the hospital and am catching up, mo and Error you have me laughing. I was always the front line person people went to before they called IT, sadly for those people I very little patience with people who repeatedly can't figure out simple things (terribly judgemental I know one of my vices).

Dad is starting to improve a little more, off the ventilator and was sitting in a chair, he is pretty confused still but I hope that will improve in time. Funny how some of the instincts are still there even though the mind is fuzzy, he tried to get up to walk us to the door when we were leaving. For a man who always had a bit of the mad scientist look he is truly fitting the bill at this moment just in a sweet way.

Night all.

Posted by: dmd | January 4, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

dmd, that's good news.

Interesting job opportunities - requires math, no doubt:
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2003508449_rocket04m.html

http://public.blueorigin.com/index.html

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 5, 2007 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Good to hear that your dad is improving dmd.

It's another long night in the office for me here. Just had to explain to a user that downloading pr0n, while being the basic use of the internet, is likely the reason that he has virus and spyware problems.

Posted by: Kerric | January 5, 2007 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Sorry Tangent, I thought you asked about books for the program. I can't remember anything. Dmd, glad your dad is on the mend, will keep praying.

Slyness, it sounds as if you are truly enjoying your retirement, good for you. I love listening to stories of my family from long ago.

Loomis, although my earrings aren't the real thing, I wear them according to my mood, and perhaps that is what Miss Winfrey did, just felt like that pair. And sometimes I try to match them with whatever I'm wearing.

I have a question for the lawyers here. A preacher here in my county offered a plea deal for killing his wife. The first plea he offered was not acceptable, don't know the details of that. The second plea was accepted. He admitted killing his wife, and the plea was for manslaughter, and the judge said that it was okay. This morning in the paper the prosecutor attempted to explain why the plea was acceptable.

The preacher killed his wife and put her body in the trunk of her car. The following Sunday he goes to church and preaches his sermon, and when asked about his wife, he said she was sick, although she was dead in the trunk of the car.

The prosecutor said that it was manslaughter because he admitted killing her, but it was without malice. In other words the evidence did not present malice, although manslaughter admits hatred, passion, and all that other stuff that we supposedly have no control of. My question, doesn't malice come with hatred? I mean don't the two kind of work together? This preacher has been in jail for two years and some months. The prosecutor said the family wanted closure because of the children involved. And I believe the county wanted closure too, because the case is ugly. Also this wife had informed her friend that she thought her husband wanted to kill her about two weeks before it happened. They had separated, but I think they were back together when the killing too place.

Needless to say this killing has rocked our small community, and the three neighboring counties. I think many people wanted it to go away, and perhaps this was a way for it to do just that. What does one need to prove malice? I don't know anything about legal issues, and I can imagine many of us are so lost with this, the legal aspect of it and the moral part of it too. And there are children involved which makes it even more complicated.


Have a good day, my friends. I'm off to wash clothes. And remember that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Oh, I believe in the plea deal he gets five years, two of which he's already made, so we're looking at three years with good behaviour. Not much time for killing another human being, and your wife at that.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 5, 2007 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Morning Cassandra! *waving*

I don't claim to understand plea-bargaining all that well. The only thing I can say is the DA has as many facts as possible to determine what's proper. Whether the DA has the mental acuity to do the determining, however... *SIGH*
________________________________

'Mudge, we know you bought that statue to fill in for you when you leave the cubicle...

http://www.monkeyview.net/id/2480/xmas_bph/Favog_Mudge.vhtml

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 5, 2007 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all!

I wonder if the preacher's wife who killed her husband a little while back will get as good a deal.

I read that Oprah felt wearing a gown and diamond earrings would signify to the girls what an important occasion she thought the opening was. Maybe it's because I work someplace where everyone wears them every day, but I thought she looked nice. I think she does a lot of good in the world and if she wants to dress up, she should go for it. YMMV. :-)

Work. Gotta go.

Posted by: dbG | January 5, 2007 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra,

Would the workbooks available for drill review on multiplication facts help? Sometimes they are titled "Fourth Grade Math" and the like. I am sure that people here would be happy to buy you a selection of such books. If there is a set you like and need more of, then we can send money.

Let us know how to help.

I liked these review books. You can either consume them as you go, or trace over the problems with light paper. One daughter did this, and I had a entire set of review books for the boy.

I also find that grid paper is really good for math practice. Some children, especially boys wrote so badly that they lose track of number alignment.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 5, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

(Posted the following on the Robin Givhan's fashion op-ed this morning. Thank goodness the Achenblog has grafs. What I wrote--three short grafs--got lumped into one long running graf there--via the op-ed's comment section.)

When I was a member of Teacher Corps, an LBJ Great Society program in Pasco, Wash., three of the interns and the coordinator, a Mrs. [Ramona] Sifuentez, decided to offer a makeup session to improve the self-esteem of junior high girls involved in the program. Our local leader of the project, a Mr. [Dick] Green, became seriously ill almost as the two-year endeavor kicked off. Had he been well [and it was more than a year before a replacement leader was installed, we all thinking and hoping that Green would recover], I wonder if this makeup self-esteem workshop would ever have grown legs. I was the fourth intern, and refused to participate in this offering--preferring to expend my energy elsewhere.

The primary thrust of our project was to improve the English skills of junior high students in the two middle schools in Pasco. Eye makeup would not improve the students below-average language skills. Foundation and blush would not prompt the junior high girls to pick up books. Lipstick would not help them master basic grammar or learn to write a decent paragraph.

Robin, sorry to say, but this article of yours about Oprah is simply ridiculous. It gives a blessing to social promotion--and potentially job promotion, based on looks, not skills and brains.

(I think it would have been better to use the funds to build ten more modest schools--sans beauty parlor.)

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Before we all get our expectations too high for our National representative bodies, I heard Steve Inskeep interview with Senator Barbara Boxer (head of the Senate Committee for Environment) regarding environmental issues this am. There was a quote that gave me pause (I'm doing this from notes I furiously scribbled in my car at a stoplight on Old Georgetown Road):

"Experts tell us there are about 15 different ways we can solve this Global Warming issue. So, look, if we can't do all 15 maybe we can do 8 or 10 or 12 (laughs)."

Congress can Solve Global Warming by legislation? And all we have to do is 15 things? 8 or 10 or 12 of which can be done by Congress? Wowee wow wow.

I'm glad that she wants Congress to get serious about this, but I think she's underestimated this Global Warming thing a bit. It's probably going to be a little tougher than 8 or 10 or 12 bills. Might take all 15 pieces of legislation...(not)

Waiting for the legislation rescinding the Industrial Revolution and bannig Milankovitch cycles. That should be a doozy.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 5, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Here's one of those medical-dilemma stories that you could argue round or square all day and all night long:

http://articles.news.aol.com/news/_a/surgery-to-stunt-girls-growth-sparks/20070104173509990018?ncid=NWS00010000000001


Also, Cillizza has a typically excellent line today on the prez contest:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/thefix/2007/01/the_friday_presidential_line_1.html#more

Only thing missing is the Gore factor.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 5, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

SCC: among many, "banning".
Ah, me.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 5, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

You still think he's running, Joel?

bc

Posted by: bc | January 5, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra,
Sorry, the issue is not department store costume jewelry. I regret that you, like those who don't subscribe to NYT Select--most here, were unable to see David Brook's op-ed yesterday, which has more to do with millions than Monet faux baubles:

I have a dream that Pelosi, who was chauffeured to school as a child and who, with her investor husband, owns minority shares in the Auberge du Soleil resort hotel and the CordeValle Golf Club, will look over her famous strand of South Sea Tahitian pearls and forge bonds of understanding with the zillionaire corporate barons in the opposing party.

It pains me to see plutocrats fight, because it sets such a poor example for those of us in the lower orders who fly commercial. It pains me even more because politicians from the rival blueblood clans go to embarrassing lengths to try to prove they are most authentically connected with working Americans.

Think of John Kerry visiting a Wendy's or Bill Frist impersonating a Bible thumper. This week, witness Pelosi going on her all-about-me inauguration tour, which is designed to rebrand her as a regular Catholic grandma from Baltimore. Members of the middle classes never have to mount campaign swings to prove how regular they are, but these upper-bracket types can't help themselves, and they always lay it on too thick. [just like Oprah]

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

bc, it makes me so happy that Barbara Boxer has taken over that committee chairmanship from James Inhofe--Inhofe being a guy (from the great state of Oklahoma) who thinks global warming is a "hoax"--and probably thinks the same about Darwin's theory of evolution. Boxer has been a voice of reason through all these recent difficult times. I hope she can achieve her goals in the House of Representatives. I wish she could be President.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 5, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, I open that link, and there I am, twice. It's spooky. Almost like looking in the mirror to shave.

'Morning, Cassandra. I'm not only NOT a lawyer, I've never played one on TV, either, but I've covered a fair number of trials, including murder trials, and I know a bit about plea bargaining. It may not help, exactly, but at least it may explain the theory.

First, the DA has to consider exactly how much he thinks he can prove in court. Yes, they got the guy, he's in jail, they got the wife's body, so there's no question of who did it, so that's the major hurdle. Now, the next step is to "prove" what was in the preacher's mind. That's a heckuva lot harder. Yes, we may make some assumptions, and there may be some evidence suggesting he was planning it for a while (called "malice aforethought")--but is that evidence strong enough to constitute proof "beyond a reasonable doubt"? That I don't know.

Next, he (or she, as the case may be) has to consider cost and trouble. He's almost certainly got a full caseload of other stuff, so one consideration is, how much time and effort should my staff and I put in, just to bump up the charge from manslaughter to Murder One? We've got the guy, he's gonna do time, let's just move on to the next case.

Next question: if the DA wants to bump it up and go for Murder One, what's a jury trial going to cost the taxpayers? How much court time for all the parties? A week? Two weeks? Is it worth it to the taxpayers to spend, (I'm guessing) $300,000 just to get the sentence increased from 7 years to 10 years? It's a very fair question.

Next: Yes, obviously killing one's spouse involves a certain degree of malice, all right (and who among us hasn't pondered it from time to time? OK, just kidding...sort of). But the truth is, killing one's spouse is generally considered "a crime of passion," and always has been treated differently and somewhat more leniently than all other kinds of murder: liquor store robberies, murder-for-hire, wacko serial- and spree killers, murder/rapes, political assassinations, etc.; all of these we acknowledge are much much "worse." There is a general societal recognition that otherwise "normal" human beings once in a while go a little nuts and murder their spouses in a rage, due to jealousy, cheating, whatever. While we don't condone these murders, at least we understand them on some human level. And take a lot of pretty famous cases where the husband has been an abusive b@st@rd for years and years, and finally one day the wife has had enough, and cuts his throat while he's sleeping. Yes, we know that's murder, and we don't explicitly condone it, but there's a certain part of us that says, "Good for you, lady; the SOB had it coming."

Next element: in these kinds of cases, there is a general acknowledgment that the husband-or-wife killer is pretty much unlikely to ever commit that crime again, whereas with the liquor store robber, the rapist/murder, the drug dealer gangbanger, etc., is VERY likely to commit the same crime again, if not over and over. So society has a vested interest in trying to keep the repeat murder off the streets for as long as possible, whereas, there's no particular reason to keep a crime-of-passion murdered off the streets forever, unless (in rare cases) the crime was especially heinous.

So ask yourself: after this preacher serves his 5 or 7 years, or whatever he winds up with, and then gets out, is he likely to be any threat to society? No. Is he likely to commit this crime again? No. (Not unless he's some kind of "Bluebeard" serial wife-murderer or "Black Widow" serial husband murderer, but those kinds of cases are extremely rare to the point of being apochryphal Hollywood stuff).

Final element: if they go to trial on Murder One, the sentencing can be a bit flukey anyway. The Da would have to file for Murder One, but also lesser charges: Murder Two, and Manslaughter, etc., just to make sure he has all the bases covered. This is in case the jury decides, no, it isn't Murder One, and if they have no lesser charge they can agree on, the preacher walks. So that's no good.

So let's suppose the jury convicts on Murder One, but it is the judge who does the sentencing, and depending on what state you're in, there are all kinds of guidelines which he may or may not have to follow, etc. So it's perfectly possible for the judge to say, "OK, you may have convicted him of Murder One, but I think you went overboard, jury, so I'm only gonna give him the seven-to-ten." And you're right back where you started, having spent $300,000 for nothing that the plea bargain already didn't get you.

Last element: this guy's a preacher, theoretically an upstanding member of the community; in fact you CAN'T GET any more upstanding than that (in theory; let's not think about priests abusing choirboys). So that means this guy would bring a zillion character witnesses to the stand, all testifying to what a great man he was and he only made this one little slip, and he's repented, and yadda yadda yadda. Nobody is going to send that guy away for very long. That's just the way it is.

So, yes, all things considered, I think the DA is thinking, "This is about as good as I'm going to get, and the bad guy is going away for 7--I'll take it and move on to the next case."

And on the whole, I'd say that was a pretty good decision.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

>Congress can Solve Global Warming by legislation?

I don't know bc, but it's going to be 71 here tomorrow so I'm hoping if they can solve it they wait until April.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 5, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of environmental issues, we *cough, hack, wheeze, cough* have a local issue that is growing legs newswise, and is impacting us personally.

The story made it today on our local paper below the banner on the front page and above the fold. The story has moved from Metro to the front page below the fold, and today it got bumped higher.

Two miles from our home and just outside San Antonio's city limits *sputter, wheeze* we have a mulch fire burning out of control. Not just a dinky ol' mulch fire, but a mulch fire of Bunyanesque proportions. *hack* The mulch pile is 400 feet long and 80 feet high (eight stories!) and sits on property owned by one Harry Zumwalt. Wonder if he's related to Elmo?

The Helotes fire started about midnight on Dec. 25 and Zumwalt suspects arson. The pile sits only 2,000 feet from a reasonably new high school, and not far from the town's elementary school. *hack*

Given the holidays, people, meaning government, were slow to respond. Now the Helotes City Council has met, and the blame game is escalating. The neighboring community leaders have pointed fingers. San Antonio said that the fire is not in its jurisdiction. Bexar County officials have pointed fingers at the state, the governor, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The state has pointed fingers back at the county and property owner.

A Red Cross emergency center was opened for a day or so after Christmas--and closed just as fast, in Helotes. But an air monitoring station *cough* 16 miles from the smoldering fire, and inside San Antonio City limits, has picked up dangerous particulate levels. Did I mention that at the rate the mulch pile is burning, the fire is expected to burn for a YEAR!

Today, state environmental crews will be placing four new air monitors at various sites, one at the reasonably new high school, another as close to the fire as possible. A phone line has been set up by Metro Halth for inquiries. The schools I mentioned are offering temporary transfers for students to other area schools. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, also a former mayor of San Antonio, is taking a proposal back to Commissioners Court on Monday to set up a hotel for people to go to if they *hack* need to get out of the smoke.

Scotty or slyness, would you mind faxing a surgical mask? *sputter, wheeze, hack, cough*

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

That's a good point, kbertocci.

My point is not only should we be trying to *mitigate* Global Warming (I don't think many experts think we can "solve" it at this point), we should start to prepare for dealing with the effects.

I think we can do more than just moving the National Cherry Blossom festival up to January.

For one, should we consider revising building standards for construction near shorelines where the ground is less than 1.5 meters above sea level?

bc

Posted by: bc | January 5, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, would you accept a faxed Sikorski Skyhook complete with forest fire-fighting attachements?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 5, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

*Faxing Loomis a self-contained breathing apparatus with CBRN (chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear) protection*

A surgical mask won't cut it, Linda. Is the responsible fire department doing anything about it? They could put it out eventually, though it would take time and LOTS of water.

I was going to ask who allowed the pile to come into existence, but never mind, it's Texas...

Posted by: Slyness | January 5, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Loomis... you get to fly commercial?

You must be loaded.

The last time I flew, I had to ride with the luggage. I'm not complaining, but that was a major step up from hanging on to the landing gear.

Posted by: martooni | January 5, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Goodness gracious! Our local mulch fire, now being dubbed "The World's Biggest Barbecue" has now made it to YouTube! I'll have to go out and buy some pork ribs pronto!

http://www.mysanantonio.com/specials/weblogs/weathervane/2007/01/worlds_biggest_barbecue_in_hel.html

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Joel, I saw that article on the so-called "pillow angel" last night and it really disturbed me. My initial reaction was horror at the idea of mutilating a child just to make her easier to handle. Yet, with a little thought, I see that the underlying premise isn't entirely new.

Severely emotionally disabled children are routinely given powerful drugs to make them more tractable. Such drugs are, in fact, sometimes the only thing that allows such children to live in a loving home environment. Although more extreme, on some level this is the same thing. And, although it seems a bit callous, the daughter isn't going to know any different.

Further, I do not find the slippery slope argument very compelling. I would rather consider a specific situation, and not what foolish people might infer from it. Finally, I am profoundly sympathetic to the needs of caretaker parents when dealing with disabled children. Such parents should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Snuke and slyness,
ALL offers graciously and gratefully accepted!

The Dig Deeper blog really tells the story of the blame game, so I have discovered moments ago, and really dishes the dirt.

http://digdeepertexas.com/?p=188

martooni,
I think the last flight I took was 10 years ago. But this fire may make me consider local flight of a sorts.

Slyness, got that right. *w*:

I was going to ask who allowed the pile to come into existence, but never mind, it's Texas...

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

In my neck of the woods, setting fire to piles used to be highly amusing. Especially when said piles were deposited on a neighbor's porch and immediately followed by ringing the doorbell.

Of course, we thought knocking cows over in the middle of the night was funny, too...

Posted by: martooni | January 5, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

SCC: forgot the "running away and hiding" part after ringing the bell... not very funny if you don't do that.

Posted by: martooni | January 5, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Simon Jenkins in The Guardian on newspapers vs blogs, editors, taste, and so forth...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1983347,00.html

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 5, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

One hesitates to ask if they are calling it the Mulcho Grande down your way, Loomis.

Of course, if it was only a small fire, it'd be just a mulchaco.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

There is something inherently funny in the whole idea of cow tipping. Or maybe it had something to do with cheap wine. Either way, memories that make ya smile.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 5, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

bc, I'm with ya. Every day I do my commute parallel to the Florida East Coast Railway, and on a regular basis I see trainloads of gravel/sand/mystery material (I think yellojkt knows what it is for sure) leaving South Florida. It seems backwards to me. If our coasts are threatened, we should be hauling that stuff IN, piling it up, raising the land level--I realize that might be a very dumb idea, but still it's something I think about every time I see one of those trains go by. Anyway, dumb idea or not, I agree with you that we need to be thinking about mitigation, instead of waiting for the catastrophe to overtake us.

Did you hear Barbara Boxer when they asked her about "requiring sacrifices" from the public? She almost sounded like me: "Conservation is not sacrifice." She didn't quite get to the life-improving and happiness-inducing benefits of lower energy consumption, but that's okay; she's addressing a wide variety of people, she is staying on the middle ground as much as she can. I'll keep the fires burning over here on the leftwing fringe. (oh, dear, that is an unfortunate metaphor, but no time to rewrite, I've got work to do...)

Posted by: kbertocci | January 5, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

SCC: mulchacho

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I have never participated in cow tipping.
although I did have some friends who tried to tip over a Bull,that they thought was a normal cow......Those poor city boys...when will they ever learn.

Our biggest farm mischeif past time was driving through corn fields.Also a lot of fun until the farmer confronts you with a loaded shotgun......

When will I ever learn

Oh good Morning all

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 5, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Gary Larson, the cartoonist who did "The Far Side," used to claim that cows are intrinsically mirthful. I think it's partly the name. It's just really fun to say "cows."

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Interesting column by Ellen Goodman in the Boston Globe about Nancy Pelosi:

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/01/05/nancy_pelosis_powerful_first_act/
(free reg may be req'd)

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 5, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

At least your friends didn't try to milk it, GWE. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | January 5, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

At least your friends didn't try to milk it, GWE. ;-)

Posted by: martooni | January 5, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Movable Type is giving me fits again. Anyone else?

Posted by: Mighty Favog | January 5, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Krauthammer channeling Hitchens, only taking the next logical step and saying we shouldn't "surge" (escalate) in order to help the deeply sectarian Iraqi government:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/04/AR2007010401347.html

Posted by: Achenbach | January 5, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I think Krauthammer is right in this case, although the underlying "Blame the Iraqis" implication is a little disingenuous.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

http://eed.llnl.gov/flow/02flow.php

That's a D.O.E. graphic that ought to be of interest to most. It explains all inputs and outputs in our energy consumption. It does not seem to preclude vast savings that might be accomplished by, yes, legislation.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

http://eed.llnl.gov/flow/02flow.php

That's a D.O.E. graphic that ought to be of interest to most. It explains all inputs and outputs in our energy consumption. It does not seem to preclude vast savings that might be accomplished by, yes, legislation.

Posted by: jumper | January 5, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

http://eed.llnl.gov/flow/02flow.php

That's a D.O.E. graphic that ought to be of interest to most. It explains all inputs and outputs in our energy consumption. It does not seem to preclude vast savings that might be accomplished by, yes, legislation.

Posted by: Jumper | January 5, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Oops.

Posted by: Ashamed | January 5, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else ever noticed the screaming incongruity between "the Iraqis will welcome us with open arms" and "fight 'em there so we don't have to fight 'em here?"

That is, if the original plan was to make Iraq a battleground for fighting extremists, do the Iraqis not have a good reason to loathe us and not support us?

Posted by: Jumper | January 5, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Interestinkgly enough Krauthammer mentions the Shiite massacres, the attempted genocide of the Kurds and the murderous reprisal against the Marsh Arabs but let the war against Iran slip. In sheer number (about a million on each side) Saddam's worst crime was certainly to attack Iran unprovoked. The thing is that absolutely nobody, except maybe Iran, was interested in investigating the details of how that war was initiated. Rumsfeld most certainly wasn't, as the main US link to the man at the time.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | January 5, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, perhaps the Muladar Grande, muladar in Spanish meaning rubbish pile, dump, or dunghill. Mula means mule, but taken a step further it is what I would like to do...echar a uno la mula--give someone the dickens or scold someone--for this conflagration. Fire someone up (agitar)about this fire (fuego), perhaps a fireman (un bombero) or fire a gubbie guy (expulsar).

Hey, you're a sailor--ever been past Tierra del Fuego?

http://geography.about.com/library/misc/uctierra.htm

Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to visit this land in 1520 as his expedition made its way around the globe. He named it 'Land of Fire" for the beach fires he observed the aborigines building as a means of keeping warm and for cooking.

Later, Charles Darwin, too, was amazed at the size of the fires and the scant clothing the people wore in this cold place. On one occasion Darwin and crew were near a good size fire and still quite cold, while the aborigines were some distance away and perspiring heavily. Charles noted this with great interest. Consequently, Tierra del Fuego influenced Darwin in several of his thoughts about the development of life. He was impressed with the vast differences between the aborigines and the "civilized" people back home.

To the north of the main island is the Strait of Magellan and to the south is the Beagle Channel -- named for Darwin's ship the HMS Beagle. Tierra del Fuego is a 28,500 square mile archipelago shared by Chile and Argentina, though Chile has the greater share of the land -- almost two-thirds. Originally inhabited by aboriginal groups depending on hunting and gathering for their livelihood, it is a cold, windswept, and rather inhospitable place. The scenery is absolutely supreme! Fjords of the Andean coastline along the Beagle Channel and Strait of Magellan are said to rival those of Scandinavia.

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Jumper, the official line is that there is a distinction between the good peace-loving Iraqis who welcome our presence and the largely-foreign "terrorists" who wish to crush the glowing flame of the nascent Iraqi democracy because they, you know, hate freedom.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The important thing to keep in mind when interpreting US policy towards either Iraq or Iran anytime between the end of WWII and the end of the Cold War, is that the overwhelming driver was the Soviet Union. All decisions were dominated by issues of Soviet containment. Sometimes we forget that nowadays.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

No, never been "round the Horn" nor ever hope to. Read too much about it, in tales of the great clipper ships: Too cold, rainy, miserable, isolated, and -- Darwin and Magellan to the contrary --nothing much there to see. You can pass through the fog-shrouded straits almost without ever seeing land, or what little you do see ain't worth the ticket. And if I want to see a big bonfire, I can always go to a Bennington-Johns Hopkins homecoming game pep rally.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I once wanted to go round the horn, but my girlfriend would have none of it.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Shriek,
Seems to me the way I remember it, we encouraged Saddam's war against the Iranian mullahs--who reacted in response and as a backlash to the repressive regime of the Shah, whom was the CIA and Kermit Roosevelt put in power in order to overthrow the democratically elected prime minister Mossadegh. We gave Saddam a real big green light to fight the Iranians. Then, when Saddam crossed over into Kuwait for a few filling stations, the light changed from green to red as far as foreign policy goes and our oil concerns (and catching Saddam off guard) and we, George H.W., went bezerk and ballistic, so to speak. Think Saddam wasn't aware of the shifting sands in our foreign policy. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Mudge, I'm so glad that you surrendered to me utterly, completely, and sweetly yesterday. Didn't have a chance to respond to you in the p.m. as I had found some books on the first and second British campaigns in Afghanistan at our half-price book outlet a mile away, realized that they are hard to come by, and now cheep-cheep-cheep, so swung back in the afternoon to get them. The clerk who waited on me admitted he was eyeing them himself as he's heading to UT Austin, with a major in foreign affairs, specifically British imperialism. Smartest and most charming young fella I ever had wait on me in a bookstore!

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

SCC: working toward a *masters degree* in foreign affairs, with a focus on British imperialism

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

RD, I agree. There are many decisions made 1945-89 that can only be understood in that context. Whenever I read Chomsky et al about events during that era I think back to the Allies' greatest ally against WW II: "Uncle Joe Stalin". Talk about the lesser of two evils.

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 5, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Or, as the Kingston Trio put it (in a shanty that appears to have been written or at least resurrected by Burl Ives),

Shipmates listen unto me, I'll tell you in my song
Of the things that happened to me
When I come home from Hong Kong

CHORUS:

To me a-weigh, you Santy, My dear Annie
Oh, you New York gals, Can't you dance the polka?

VERSE TWO:

As I walked down on Chatham Street a fair maid I did meet
She asked me please to see her home, she lived on Bleeker Street
Now if you'll only come with me you can have a treat
You can have a glass of brandy and something nice to eat

CHORUS:
VERSE THREE:

Before we sat down to eat we had several drinks
The liquor was so awful strong I quickly fell asleep

CHORUS:
VERSE FOUR:

When I awoke next morning I had an aching head
My gold watch and my pocket-book and my lady friend had fled
In looking round this little room nothing did I see
But a woman's shoes and apron which now belonged to me

CHORUS:
VERSE FIVE:

Now dressed in the lady's apron I wandered most forlorn
Till Martin Churchill took me in and he sent me round Cape Horn

CHORUS: (Twice)

To me a-weigh, you Santy, My dear Annie
Oh, you New York gals, Can't you dance the polka?


I'm guessing the KTs cleaned up the song a mite, because there is a variant (and probably more authentic) verse:

When I awoke next morning,
I had an aching head.
There was I Jack all alone,
Stark naked in the bed!
With a flour barrel for a suit of clothes,
I went down Cherry Street.
There Martin Churchill took me in
And sent me around Cape Horn.

And there's a version of the same called "Chatham Street" and another musch, much longer version called "Patrick Street" that omits Churchil and sailing 'round the Horn altogether, but the last verse is:

So come all you young sailor boys, a warning take by me
And always keep good company when you go on a spree
Be sure and stay clear of Patrick Street or else you'll rue the day
In a woman's skirt and jumper they will ship you back to sea

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Linda - That view of history, although popular, misses several important subtleties. First, Mossadegh was nuts, (Remember Hitler was once a Time "Man of the Year" too).

There was a huge amount of domestic opposition to him in Iran. As far as "installing the Shah," although some would love to take full "credit" for this, the truth is it is still unclear to what extent the US "caused" this, or if the Eisenhower simply instructed all available resources to attempt to make the inevitable popular uprising evolve in a way that favored US interests.

Interests, of course, dominated by the proximity of Iraq to the Soviet Union.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

SCC: too many - but I meant, of course, the proximity of IRAN to the Soviet Union.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

When I was 13 or 14, I joined a candystriper type program at the local hospital. We took water round to patients, books and magazines, straightened pillows, delivered meals, whatever the nurses asked us to do, for a couple of hours after school once or twice a week. We also had to feed and change the girls.

In Saskatchewan in the 70's, as they closed the old mental institutions (looking for a better word, but unable to find it), many people were had nowhere to go. They were the developmentally and physically disabled, the unwanted and abandoned, the hidden of society. As the institutions closed, the province moved these people to small hospitals all over the province. Our hospital had 3 girls, Mary, Jessie, and Caroline.

Mary was severely handicapped. Her only responses were the most basic of responses. She did not smile, and when you looked at her eyes, it was like looking into terror. Only ever fear. Nothing else. She was about 5 feet tall, but I doubt she weighed more than 80 pounds. Her arms, her legs, were just skin and bone, no muscle tone at all. She cried almost all the time. Not tears, never tears, but a haunting keening crying that went straight to your soul. Mary was in her 30s. To the best of my knowledge, Mary never left her bed.

Jessie was 12 or 13. She was a big girl, strong, well muscled. Whoever her family were must have been people of amazing stature, the kind of people who when they walk down a hallway, simply fill it with the breadth of their shoulders. If she was upset, she used to flail her arms, and if you weren't careful her strong arms flailing about, could land you on your butt. She laughed at that, who wouldn't, but she responded, she interacted with the world. She loved it when you sang the alphabets and nursery rhymes, and if you laughed with her, she liked that best of all. Not a lot of the girls liked working with her because of her physicality, but it really was her way of being in the world. As she got older, she was rougher and rougher on people till it became a real problem, and she was often sedated. In her world that misbehavior made people acknowledge her, look at her, talk to her. My heart was always heavy at how the world did not listen.

And then there was Caroline. Sweet, charming, pretty Caroline of the bright blue eyes. This delicate angel was a normal child in the womb, but in a tough delivery, she arrived on earth with cerebral palsy, and was left by her parents for the province to take care of. She craved people, you could see there was so much more behind her eyes, that even a 14 year old knew that it was a crime that this physically handicapped but mentally alert aware and normal child was housed and stored in a place where all she really received was physical care. To Caroline's great good fortune, the hospital was run by nuns who lived at the backside of the building, and she became their special person. The nuns quickly learned she needed more and advocated for a better placement for her in an environment where she could be all she could be. She lives in a group home last I heard and is still visited by the surviving nuns.

To my 14 year old relatively sheltered self, it was a hard to deal with people so terribly handicapped. But I learned that all people, even the most damaged among us, exists and lives and deserves to be loved and cared for, not locked up, not just stored away from all eyes till we die.

The world has changed so much in the way it handles these sadly damaged people. There are some resources out there for care assistance for parents, but not enough. I can only imagine the stress parents of severely handicapped children face. A father went to jail in Saskatchewan in the 90's for murdering his severely handicapped child, a truly heinous act, but I can understand how a good dad got there, and in a lot of ways, I think the legal system didn't quite find justice for any party, not Tracy, not her family, and not society.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/latimer/

This family did not throw their daughter away and dammit that earns my respect. If this keeps that girl where she is wanted and cared for and loved and responded to, then it is just and right in my eyes.

Posted by: dr | January 5, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank God Reagan kept the Ruskies from marching on Washington through Nicaraugua, Guatemala, and Mexico. Now that Negroponte is back at State he can go to Iraq and get contol of the death squads. He knows how to run them so he might know how to combat them.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

dr - that was really beautiful. I am so glad you posted that.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Briefly boodling with an answer to Cassandra's question. "Malice" is a technical term in criminal law. Used in the context of murder, it means you intended to kill the person with your act. For manslaughter etc., you may have committed an act in the heat of passion or other some other overwhelming influence, which resulted in death, without consciously meaning to kill. Bar fights, domestic disputes, etc., often have this characteristic. Malice may be formed in an instant, and juries usually find it if a case is presented in which there is any question. Manslaugher is a usual plea bargain where murder one is charged and there is any remote evidence which may suggest the situation just got out of hand and the defendant didn't mean to kill right at that moment, with that action. Whie in the real world the word "malice" is connected with hatred, evil will, etc., this isn't the case at law. That is why it is possible to kill someone with malice when you've never met them and have no idea who they are, such as during a robbery or convenience store killing. Yes, those are often charged as felony murders, but usually charged as malice too, since the triggerman knew exactly what he intended when he shot the guy in the head.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 5, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Dr, yes unfortunately people physically or developmentally disabled to that extent are suspectible to abuse and premature death and manslaughter from neglect.

This can be a higher risk if living in a normal situation because if you can't move to remove blankets or other clothing, you are prone to overheating or freezing without anybody noticing. (Ditto for dehydration, starvation, etc.)

It only takes one major mistake over the years and forgetting to be sure a person is secure and has needs met. I've heard of cases of such developmentally disabled teenagers and adults dying from simple neglect.

Part of me revolts against such major surgery on a girl so young without her consent for the simple point of managing her without any alleviation of her symptoms expected. Still, they're doing their best.

I think cerebral palsy is a touchy issue. I have friends who have it, and they are very much alive and intelligent. And I know there are people with such severe cases they have never been given the chance to have a normal education.

Treatments for cerebral palsy are limited, but botulism toxin has been used to help relax the worst-affected muscles.

There is a high need for occupational therapists to provide intensive physical education and mobility assistance to people with cerebral palsy and other developmentally disabled, as well for the elderly recovering from strokes and other impairment. (ditto for service dogs, but that's another story).

The simple ability to move a bit more can make a great difference in the worst cases.


Posted by: Wilbrod | January 5, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

What should be on congress's agenda is sparing more needless deaths in Iraq: both our soldiers and Iraqis. That means one of three options:

1) impeaching and removing both Bush/Cheney

2) Invoking the War Powers Act

3) Cutting Off Funding.

I'd prefer options one or two. Anything else at this point is empty platitudes. Real human beings are dying or being wounded for life.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | January 5, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

dr, you brought tears to my eyes, that was beautifully written.

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

dr, that was so wonderful. The detail in your description is powerful. We need to read more stories like that.

Mudge, everything you said made sense. And the county I live in is a poor county, so finance was probably a first consideration. Thanks for explaining. I fail to mention that this is an African-American couple.

Loomis, did not quite understand everything you posted, but I'll stick with my comment. I'd rather give the lady the benefit of the doubt.

Did anyone see the news item where the little kid hung himself imitating the hanging of Saddam?

College, if you have math books, that would be fine. The teachers gave me a list of books and places to find them. I can get them or you can send them, whatever works best for you. And the graph paper is wonderful because you're right about the kids keeping the numbers in line. So many common mistakes are made because the numbers don't line up. Thanks, College.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 5, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

What should be on congress's agenda is sparing more needless deaths in Iraq: both our soldiers and Iraqis. That means one of three options:

1) impeaching and removing both Bush/Cheney

2) Invoking the War Powers Act

3) Cutting Off Funding.

I'd prefer options one or two. Anything else at this point is empty platitudes. Real human beings are dying or being wounded for life.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | January 5, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

dr, you brought tears to my eyes, that was beautifully written.

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Lakes of methane make Titan appear more similar to Earth?

Did I miss a bulletin about the extent of pollution on Earth or something?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070103/sc_afp/spacesaturntitan_070103193516

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 5, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I laughed when I read that too. I'm afraid I'm not ready to build a summer cottage on Titan quite yet.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Some more on those lakes on Titan w/ pictures

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/04/science/space/04titan.html?_r=1&ref=science&oref=slogin

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"Mmm, I love the smell of methane in the morning." -- Full Metal Spacesuit.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 5, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

First person to make a joke about Congress and the methanic lakes of Titan wins an imaginary prize.


Posted by: Wilbrod | January 5, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Padouk,
Couldn't agree more with you re your 11:45--all decisions being dominated by the issue of Soviet containment.

Mind expanding on why you call Mossadegh nuts?

This tale from Evan Thomas' 1995 "The Very Best Men: Four Who Dared: The Early Years of the CIA" comes to mind", p. 125:

Howard "Rocky" Stone, one of Kim [Kermit] Roosevelt's young operatives and later a legendary figure at the agency, told the story of how he had to button Zahedi's [military commander installed as interim head of Iran while the Shah was flying back from Europe] uniform collar on the morning of that successful coup [against Mossadegh]. Zahedi had been too nervous to dress himself. "We're in! We're in!" Zahedi exclaimed to Stone after the coup had made him prime minister. "What do we do now?"

Also, Padouk, why don't you explain what happened to the Iranians and instititions in Iran, such as the press, under the Shah's regime?

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that the discussions of Iran skipped the best interests of the Iranian people.

That governments would use a fair amount of opposition to the government seems a little weak, about the only time you get a government that is overwhelmingly popular there are usually some funny tricks going on with the election. Heck here our government is only supported by roughly 30-35% of the population (currently depending on which poll).

One of the saddest elements of the cold war is all the people who had to suffer in order to ensure the best interests of the powerful governments.

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Here's a breakdown of where the Earth's atmospheric methane comes from:

Origin CH4 emission (Teragram/yr)
Natural emissions
Wetlands.......225
Ocean...........20
Termites........15
Hydrates........10
Natural total..290

Anthropogenic emissions
Energy.................110
Landfills...............40
Ruminants (Livestock)..115
Waste treatment.........25
Biomass burning.........40
Anthropogenic total....330

Second largest contribution comes from burping cows.

Posted by: omni | January 5, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I try not to let the blankets cover my head while sleeping.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Of course, there's always Liz Phair's "Hello, Sailor" lyrics, Mudge.
Parental discretion advised.

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

One of these days I'm going to discover an unobtrusive character that will let me post a table with numbers that line up correctly. sheesh

Posted by: omni | January 5, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Omni, where did you get that information from? I'm writing a blog right now on methane, because flatulent burping cows are just funny.

Rice paddies also contribute a lot of methane-- maybe that falls under "wetlands", but recent research has shown that plants naturally release methane even when not decomposing.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 5, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Mossadegh was crazy enough to believe that the natural resources in Iran belonged to the Iranians. That's what got him overthrown. What a nut!

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

from wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane

The contribution from rice is included in wetlands (I pulled that parenthetical from the table for space).

95% of ruminant produced methane is from belching. Not as funny as farting, according to some, but there you have it.

Posted by: omni | January 5, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. I think Huygens landed on Titan about a year ago, and we discussed the shorelines, rivers and lakes then (including some sly political stuff):

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/achenblog/2006/01/titans_partisan_atmosphere.html

The new pics are a lot nicer.

dr, that was nice. I was unable to think of anything cogent to say about the "pillow angel", I'd dread to have to face something like that.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 5, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

SCC: I should make it clear that I meant "a situation like that." That little girl is not a "something".

bc

Posted by: bc | January 5, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Concerning methane emmissions, a percentage of those anthropogenic emmissions would occur naturally anyway, even if we weren't here (100 million burping bison...)

Posted by: Dooley | January 5, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

That's why it's very important that farmers do not allow their livestock to smoke. Chewing tobacco is A-OK though.

Posted by: omni | January 5, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Concerning methane emmissions, a percentage of those anthropogenic emmissions would occur naturally anyway, even if we weren't here (100 million burping bison...)

Posted by: Dooley | January 5, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Say what you want about the Shah of Iran, at least he was a snappy dresser.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mohammadreza_Shah.jpg

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 5, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

That's a good point, Dooley, but on the other hand, the bison are gone now and the cows are here by our choice. So we now have the option of trading some of those cows for nice soybean fields or windmill farms--Americans, for instance, probably consume about 5 times the amount of beef that would be recommended for an ideal diet (that's a number I just pulled out of the air). So that livestock factor is one where we could have a positive effect on the climate change model.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 5, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I think the llama guarding the sheep next door likes a nice chaw. She keeps spitting on my dog.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The two-year anniversary of the Huygens Probe mission will be in 8 days.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 5, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Kinda tough to sing that one when you're trying to weigh anchor and heave the ol' capstan 'round, Loomis. I think I like "New York Gals" better.

dmd, "the best interests of the Iranian people" is a tough thing to define, even in the era of the 1950s. An argument could be made that keeping Iran out of the Soviet sphere, if not outright control, sure as hell WAS in the best interests of the Iranian people (nevermind our own admittedl self-interests. (And whether we might agree on that now, that certainly would have been the argument back then.)

As for the Shah and his administration, Loomis, I know you have a bias against it, but notwithstanding that, I'm not sure it was all that bad, considering the alternatives. What would you have rather had as a realistic (and I'm emphasizing "realistic") alternative? A "true democracy"? as though such a thing were possible either then or now. We've seen what happens when we try to impose a democracy on a place like that. (You hapopy with the democracies in Lebanon and Palestine at the moment? Hamas and Hezbollah?)

So, unfortunately, I suspect that Padouk and I would reluctantly agree that a sectarian dictatorship run by the Shah (yes, "our guy") was the better (if not best) outcome of a bad set of choices. (And leaving Iran alone wasn't a viable option.)

The trouble with re-fighting the Cold War and invoking a lot of revisionistic theories about what we now think "should" have been done is that many of those ideas just wouldn't have worked back then. Were we the "good guys" in the white hats back then? Hell, no. But our hats were generally (though not always) still a lighter shade of gray than most everyone else's.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Here's more on Titan.
Thought I'd check the source.

http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA01942

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Upon close inspection of the shorelines of those Titan lakes I think I detect the hand of Slartibartfast.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, those comments were aimed at all sides, as I am sure the Soviets thought they were saving other nations from the "evil westerners".

I will admit to having a bias though I still fail to see how a government whether hard left (communist) or the other extreme (dictator) are any different - it is only those who benefit most who differ.

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Slartifartbast?

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

No argument about Iran under the Shah. The Shah was corrupt - and in far more complex ways than is well known.

That Mossadegh was increasingly mentally unstable is, I believe, not especially controversial. Yet it is true nevertheless. And it had implications for the United States far greater than his pink pajamas and crying jags.

Look, the point isn't to defend decisions made by Eisenhower, who, of course, called all the shots. The point is to suggest the need for a bit of humility when presenting "The Truth."

Consider the huge ambiguities that are inherent in the interpretation of even well-documented historical events. I simply seek to dissuade anyone form believing that this tidy little narrative of dark forces unilaterally overthrowing a beloved ruler to defend the US oil industry is an uncontested historical fact. It's not.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I'd agree with you that the Soviets thought THEY were the good guys, dmd, and we were the "evil westerners." So here's your problem: pick a side. (And you're not allowed to "be neutral," or "non-partisan," or any other cop-out. So who's it gonna be, us or them?)

Pretty good summary here on Wikipedia (which by the way indicates the overthrow of Mossadegh was heavily British-inspired):

"Operation Ajax (1953) (officially TP-AJAX) was a covert operation by the United Kingdom and the United States to remove the democratically elected nationalist[1] cabinet of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh from power, to support the Pahlavi dynasty and consolidate the power of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The idea of overthrowing Mossadegh was conceived by the British. They originally asked President Truman for assistance, but he refused. When Eisenhower became president in 1953, the British proposed the idea once again, and this time, the Americans agreed to help.

"Rationale for the intervention included Mossadegh's socialist political views and his nationalization, without compensation, of the oil industry which was previously operated by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (which later changed its name to The British Petroleum Company) under contracts disputed by the nationalists as unfair. A particular point of contention was the refusal of the Anglo-Iranian Oil company to allow an audit of the accounts to determine whether the Iranian government received the royalties it was due. Intransigence on the part of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company led the nationalist government to escalate its demands, requiring an equal share in the oil revenues. The final crisis was precipitated when the oil company ceased operations in Iran rather than accepting the Iranian government's demands.

"The newly state-owned oil companies saw a dramatic drop in productivity and, consequently, exports; this resulted in the Abadan Crisis, a situation that was further aggravated by its export markets being closed. Even so royalties to the Iranian government were significantly higher than before nationalization. Without its own distribution network it was denied access to markets by an international blockade intended to coerce Mossadegh into reprivatization. In addition, the appropriation of the companies resulted in Western allegations that Mossadegh was a Communist and suspicions that Iran was in danger of falling under the influences of the neighboring Soviet Union. But Mossadegh refused to back down under international pressure.

"For the U.S., an important factor to consider was Iran's border with the Soviet Union. A pro-American Iran under the Shah would give the U.S. a double strategic advantage in the ensuing Cold War, as a NATO alliance was already in effect with the government of Turkey, also bordering the USSR.

"In planning the operation, the CIA organized a guerrilla force in case the communist Tudeh Party seized power as a result of the chaos created by Operation Ajax. According to formerly "Top Secret" documents released by the National Security Archive, Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith reported that the CIA had reached an agreement with Qashqai tribal leaders in southern Iran to establish a clandestine safe haven from which U.S.-funded guerrillas and intelligence agents could operate.

"Operation Ajax was the first time the Central Intelligence Agency was involved in a plot to overthrow a democratically-elected government. The success of this operation, and its relatively low cost, encouraged the CIA to successfully carry out a similar operation in Guatemala a year later.

"Widespread dissatisfaction with the regime of the reinstalled Shah led to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and the occupation of the U.S. embassy. The role that the U.S. embassy had played in the 1953 coup led the revolutionary guards to suspect that it might be used to play a similar role in suppressing the revolution. [My footnote: this raises the interesting question of "who lost Iran" back then? Adn why? And was that a good idea, in hindsight?]

"The leader of Operation Ajax was Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., a senior CIA agent, and grandson of the former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. While formal leadership was vested in Kermit Roosevelt, the project was designed and executed by Donald Wilber, a career contract CIA agent and acclaimed author of books on Iran, Afghanistan and Ceylon.

"As a condition of restoring the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, the U.S. was able to dictate that the AIOC's oil monopoly should lapse. Five major U.S. oil companies, plus Royal Dutch Shell and French Compagnie Française des Pétroles were given licences to operate in the country alongside AIOC."

So yes, it was mainly all about oil. Anybody shocked about that?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Joel wins for making a joke about Congress and Titanic methane a few kits ago.

Posted a blog on methane with some bad puns and links (Omni, I'm wary of Wiki's accuracy on many matters.)

http://wilbrodthegnome.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 5, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Let me clarify one point. The extent of the Shah's corruption, indeed the state of affairs in Iran beyond what the Shah wanted the US to know, was not well understood in the West until after the Iranian revolution. And there are good reasons why this was the case, again, having to do with the overwhelming importance of the Soviet Union and certain specific decisions made by American Presidents.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Mudge - there was a lot more involved than oil. But I'm going to have to retreat from the field of battle now.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

It's actions like the Iranian adventure, and the interventions in Central America that provoke howls of derision whenever the US Govt. tries to portray itself as an ex-colony bringing freedom and democracy to the world.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Mudge I will say this how would you feel about a foreign nation actively undermining the US government (current admin possibly excluded).

Now how would your reaction be any different if you were and Iranian, Nicaraguan, Afgani and insert nation here were attempting to influence your government?

There are times it is justified but they should be applied not just for economic reasons but how about simple humanity?

The west has ignored many nations that have ruthless governments as helping them does not serve out economic or foreign policy interests therefore it is not a priority.

Yes I would favour democracy but if not in the past hopefully moving forward we will learn the ends do not justify the means.

I would give Canadian examples but well there aren't any :-) Does Hockey count?

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Padouk's 2:28 and Boko's 2:30.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Gary Trudeau had the Shah's number. When a cartoonist depicts the regime as the torturing, murdering swine they were, I think claiming it was not well understood is a bit weak.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I believe those Trudeau cartoons were post revolutionary. Remember that Jimmy Carter loved the Shah. Ever wonder why?

And remember my fundamental point. There are many versions of history. It is tempting when your boss wants rain to take total credit for a thunderstorm.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

CNN is doing a story On Galludet U. They'll probably repeat it during the aft.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

In the Mossadegh story, I think the stupidity of the British is an important factor. The BP (Anglo-Iranian) paid more in British taxes than paid Iran in royalties. If they had offered a 50-50 split of the profits, like Aramco, the dispute might have gone away; that was approx the arrangement arrived at after Mossadegh's departure. Then the Brits had the Suez debacle. No wonder Churchill was hesitant to retire in favor of Eden, who was Foreign Minister then, even though WSC had delusions of empire himself.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 5, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I beleive I'm right about the timeing of those cartoons.
Whether you're right or not about Carter, his compassion for the Shah started, him on the road to his own downfall.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, maybe I should actually watch CNN. Nah. ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 5, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

How different things could have been if those who were paid to know had only noticed the Soviet Union was a house of cards that would fall of its own accord.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 5, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the Soviet Union knew it was a house of cards ready to fall.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Slartifartbast?:Slartibartfast!:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slartibartfast

Posted by: omni | January 5, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Joel's Rough Draft joke about "not elf enough" did not go unnoticed by other deaf bloggers.

http://www.deafdc.com/blog/?p=704

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 5, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Let me provide some detail (and humility?):

When Truman wouldn't pop for the plan of overthrowing Mossadegh, Christophr Montague Woodhouse was sent to Washington to present the British government's case to John Foster Dulles, Ike's Secretary of State (and whose brother Allen headed the CIA beginning in Jan. 1953). The Brits knew that their argument of overthrowing Mossadegh because he was nationalizing a British oil company (and the oil the Brits coveted was primarily to fuel the British navy)--wouldn't stir the Americans to action, so they had to find another plan, which took no deep thought--paint a picture of Mossadegh as leading the Americans toward Communism.

Two secret agents, Donald Wilbur of the CIA and Norman Darbyshire of the British Secret Intelligence Service, are the men who coldly calculated how to cut Mossadegh away from his people. How much did it take, roughly?

To bribe journalists, editors, Islamic preachers, and other opinion leaders to "create, extend, and enchance public hostility and distrust and fear of Mossadegh and his government" $150,000. General Zahedi was given a sum of $135,000 "to win additional friends" and "influence key people." About $11,000 per week, a good sum in those days, to bribe members of the Iranian parliament. Thousands of demonstrators were to be paid on coup day to converge on Parliament to demand that it dismiss Mossadegh. It was Kermit Roosevelt who spent lavish amounts of money and created an entirely artifical wave of anti-Mossadegh protest. The Parliament, clerics and newspapers towed the line and fabricated the lies. Would you like more detail here?

The shah still didn't know if he wanted to risk his throne by joining the plot. Roosevelt arranged to fly home from the French Riviera the Shah's twin sister to lean on her brother. She received a large sum of money and a mink coat. The family approach failed. Finally, Roosevelt summoned General Norman Schwarzkopf, a dashing figure who had spent years in Iran running an elite military unit, to close the deal by making quite clear to him that the power of both Britain and the United States lay behind this plot. The son Schwarzkopf would lead an invasion of Iraq four decades later. (The grandpappy policeman Schwarzkopf plays a minor role in our family history.)

Once Mossadegh was gone, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, renamed British Petroleum, resumed its old monopoly, to make a long story short. British Petroleum took over Altantic Richfield, for whom my father worked for more than 40 years, some years ago and has paid a portion of my mother's medical bills over the years. I had an Iranian lover who hated the Shah. And my best friend's youngest son, Staff Sgt. Ryan, was in the gunbattle in Mosul, during which Uday and Qusay Husssein were killed.

This is the story in short.

(Do you know what American company began to first strip Nicaragua, and unfairly, of its resources?)

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

The Marshall Plan.
Eisenhower stopping the British, French, and Isrealis during the Suez Crisis.

These were good things.

Posted by: MathaStewart999 | January 5, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

SCC: leading the Iranians toward Communism

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

United Fruit Company?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

All I am asking is how do you know all of this to be the unvarnished truth? Because it was in a book?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Here is a small interesting fact about methane. You will notice that most art galleries no longer serve cheese or raw vegetables or bean dip at show openings. Why? Because they discovered that one of the top pollutants degrading the paintings was methane released by the patrons when they ingested and imbibed. The top museum-type galleries in Britain and Canada now serve only non-gassy snacks. Isn't that a hoot?

Posted by: Yoki | January 5, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

*snort*

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 5, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh oh.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Oh, man, Yoki, there goes Joel's cruciferous-veggies-only strict diet! He'll have to contemplate Bosch's "Garden of Earthlet Delights" while chomping Beano.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Yoki that is great.

Saw this article on cold war era spies,
the newly appointed Archbishop of Warsaw has admitted to being a spy.

http://www.thestar.com/article/168283

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

That explains all the pastel colours in our local Mexican restaurant.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Yoki,

Sipping wine at a gallery (with cheese)
I admired a landscape (with trees)
The way the leaves float in the air
It's like I'm standing right there
Including a mysterious breeze

Posted by: SonofCarl | January 5, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I knew the Archbishop was a spy when he made me say penance in code.

Posted by: byoolin | January 5, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Catching up on the Boodle, I have the phrase "methane and the Shah" running through my head to the tune of "Bennie and the Jets". Thanks y'all.

Maybe we could combine methane and the Shah in a discussion on biofuels.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 5, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I am laughing so hard I can hardly see the monitor. What would you people do if you couldn't tell these "f" jokes?

And Mudge, beano? Y'all need to lighten up on JA. Mudge, you just finished me up with your comment. Oh, my stomach hurts so bad.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 5, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm just trying NOT to modify the following verses to "Sea Fever" and add them to the blog.

I had already parodyed

"I must go down to the seas again,
to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship
and a star to steer her by,"

But I chickened out at:
....

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song
and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face
and a grey dawn breaking.

(And the beans' kick and the wind's song....)

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 5, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

One weeps for the fate of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. (Methane rises, doesn't it?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Ivansmom, for the explaination concerning the word "malice". It does help me to understand a little bit. I do believe the main concern was the cost of going to court. And after he admitted killing his wife, I suppose most of the work was done anyway? I just find it incredibly sad that according to his sentence for the killing, her life did not have much value. And I know that just one way to look at it, but that kind of stays with me. I know there were other issues to consider, but it just points me to the fact that women according to law and other opinions still don't have value in our society, even a preacher's wife.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 5, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

BC -- CB knew that I knew you. She thought it a hoot about the digital relationship.

Cassandra, I can send you some of the workbooks, and so can others here.

You would like math workbooks on

addition
subtraction
multiplication
division

Right?

What about the specific texts the teachers want?

AucheNetizens! Let's send Cassandra the books she needs, which may mean that we offline-boodle in some way.

Didn't someone here coordinate a book drop?

I say offline, because I will propose that some of us send cash or Amazon money for the specific books she needs.

Math: It's what's for dinner.
Brought to you by the American Math (not methane) Council.

Math: Does a Body Good.
Brought to you by the American Math (not dairy cow-methane) Association.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 5, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I guess Michelangelo had to be careful about what he ate for lunch when he was up there on that scaffolding. And I found an example of a methane-damaged painting, at

http://www.angelfire.com/ego/dali2k/full/daddylonglegsoftheeveninghopefull.html

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I gave up and finished the whole parody of "Sea Fever". http://www.bluemoment.com/poetry/seafever.html

If I have erred on the rhythm in any line, let me know. This is one of my favorite poems, which is why I am aghast that I thought this parody up.

http://wilbrodthegnome.blogspot.com/

Reposting (copyright mine).

"Sea Flatus" by John Methanesfield

I must go down to the seas methane
...to the smelly lake in the sky
All I ask is a small ship
and a star to steer her by
And the beans' kick and the wind's song
and the belly's shaking,
And an odd mist out of my space
and a grey jet breaking.

I must go down to the seas methane,
for the call of the flowing stink
Is a wild call and a clear call
that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day
with Titan's clouds flying,
And the bung spray and the blown fume,
and the ship-jets crying.

I must go down to the seas methane
to the vagrant Titan life,
To the fuels gay and methane's way
where the wind's like a whiffy wife;
And all I ask is some beano
from a gagging fellow rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
when the long rumble's done."

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 5, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't let this pass, even though it is off-topic (but then, where would the Boodle be without going off-topic?).

France issues guide to understanding rude Parisians: http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2007-01-04T162826Z_01_L04395243_RTRUKOC_0_US-FRANCE-TOURISM.xml&WTmodLoc=IntNewsHome_C2_worldNews-7

Posted by: ebtnut | January 5, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, hard to tell if that link was from Reuters or The Onion, ebtnut.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod | V. funny. Parody is a form of homage. There's no reason for you to be agassed.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, just when I thought I could get some serious work done.

There are some things I wish I could tell you about that picture that are going through my mind...

Suffice it to say that flatualence combined with ungulate means a whole lot more around the R house than just a problem of deer, bison or other ungulate and its personal emissions. The effect matches that painting exactly. You, sir, are brilliant.

Posted by: dr | January 5, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

CP, of course. I was just meeting with Mr. CB a couple of minutes ago. He's a great guy.

Mudge, you could easily make a case for Dali being addicted to Beano. Though I still don't think it explains "Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog)." Or maybe it does.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 5, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Serious work at 4:30 on a Friday? C'mon, dr, who we kiddin'?

Speaking of which, I'm outa here and running for the bus. Later, dudes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

dr, your work wasn't interupted by the hockey game today?

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Only my lunch.

Posted by: dr | January 5, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but your 4:30 is my 1:30, and drat it all, if I don't get something done by 5 I'll just have to face it all Monday. This is when most everyone else is gone or cleaning desks, and its finally quiet enough to get some work done. Unless I am boodling.

Posted by: dr | January 5, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

sheesh! i actually had HARD IT work to do today!

one more IT hell scenario:

me: type your username and your password

user: it's not working

me: ok, i'll try resetting your password. now try it.

user: it's still not working

me: what are you typing for your username?

user: username

me: ok, tell me exactly what you are typing letter for letter

user: u-s-e-r-n-a-m-e

me: no, type in YOUR username. ok, tell me exactly what you are typing letter for letter.

user: y-o-u-r-u-s-e-r-n-a-m-e

me: um... ok, i see the problem. can you tell me your last name?

user: smith

me: ok, and your first and middle initial?

user: jc

me: ok, now, in the username box can you type smithjc? and then your password?

user: oh! it's working now. Thanks!

Posted by: mo | January 5, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

sadly, i am not joking about that scenario - it actually DID happen to me...

Posted by: mo | January 5, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

and you all thought that was cud they were chewin' on...

'nicoderm for cows' (or any other variation on that theme) would not be a good name for a band...or a boodle handle for that matter...

my lame attempt to revive the boodle.............

Posted by: omni | January 5, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

and i thought we came to a conclusion wayyyyy back when that you can't ACTUALLY tip over a cow???

Posted by: mo | January 5, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

*SIGH*

I hate to say it wasn't just a power outage in the office that took precedence over Boodling this afternoon:

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2007/07-002.html

:-(

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 5, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Padouk writes:
All I am asking is how do you know all of this to be the unvarnished truth? Because it was in a book?

Well, Padouk, I'll settle for your version. You do have a version, don't you?

Posted by: Loomis | January 5, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

mo, of course cow tipping is a myth. Lots of people believe it though; "cows can only stand." Oh please, like you never saw a small herd of dairy cattle lying down in the shade of a large elm or beech, taking their ease of a summer afternoon.

When I see them disporting themselves on the sward, I always expect them to pull out a sumptuous picnic of cold roast chicken, marinated vegetable salad, tabouleh, champagne and strawberries, all served on fine linen with silver, china and crystal. Sort of the opposite of the famous Larson cartoon.

Oh wait, that's my picnics! Silly old cow.

Posted by: Yoki | January 5, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys! Sorry to be AWOL. Been hanging with the newborn for the last 3+ months, and trying to fend off the three older children, 2 dogs, and spouse who want to tickle, lick, and teach her five languages respectively. I'm more into the basics: napping and watching football.

Joel, loved this line, but I think you left off a great opportunity for humor: "She pledged bipartisanship."

Umm, that's it?? How about: "She pledged bipartisanship. And then she jammed a pair scissors into Boehner's left
ear. Republicans were then told that they would not be necessary, and all committees were disbanded."

Posted by: Kane | January 5, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Linda, my "version," to the extent I am comfortable sharing it, is what I originally said. And my sources, I assert, are pretty darn reliable.

I apologize that I can't go into this more. I realize that it is unfair. I guess I really should simply not say anything about such matters at all. And I think in the future it is best if I don't. But as I pointed out to Cassandra, I am defensive by nature.

I was really just trying to wave you off. To indicate that hey, you might want to rethink some of those assumptions. That the history of shadows is far more complex and ambiguous than what one gets from an open source book.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Padouk, I understand this, and that is the reason I sometimes don't post at all. Because of the work I do in developing countries, I am often privy to certain information that has not, and will not, make the press (not because we're big into conspiracy, but because if some information were really known, it would endanger individuals who are doing good work).

So maybe you are right, and it's best not to post. You will read a lot of stuff you know to be both drawn from public (often outdated) sources, and often just plain wrong, but heck, you weren't really going to change anybody's mind anyway, right?

Posted by: Yoki | January 5, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Yoki and RD I really respect your replies on this, but as someone who studied history I find it frustrating.

I have always felt the best way to keep from repeating errors is to learn from the mistakes, but if they are kept quiet how can that be done?

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Lurked on and off today, but I'm going to jump in for just a minute. The nature of the historical beast by definition includes those murky areas of what is truly known, what is gleaned, what is surmised, or suspected, etc. Even tossing together the myriad nuances, hindsight still might not have 20/20 vision. What might seem an insignificant factor may well have had vital importance.


Posted by: LostInThought | January 5, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

dmd - I am profoundly influenced by fear of incarceration. Perhaps one day, when I am really old, a book shall be published.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

RD I do understand and don't expect any different reply from you or anyone, nor would I ever expect or desire disclosure that could cause harm to others.

That said I think governments (in general) have a tendancy to be somewhat paternalistic, an attitude that drive me crazy.

In all industries there are rumours, half truths and misconceptions, Yoki is correct you will change few minds with information but the minds that may change could be influential.

I was thinking back to the cold war and our fears (as they were shared north of the border as well) of communism, we assumed the worst that if we did not act, then this scenario would happen, but we do not know as history took a certain course and we can only sumise what may have happened otherwise.

I have said many times I am an optismist so I have difficulty even believing or understanding the darker side of life - that tends to colour my opinions and beliefs greatly.

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Yoki you are absolutely right. And about that book! I was just kidding! Ha Ha Just a joke!

'Scuse me while I go hide.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

RD, make it a childrens' book just to be safe.

I'm often surprised you post at all, but really appreciate your insights.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 5, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I too studied history, and I know that the tiny stories I am withholding now will be told in plenty of time for future historians to ponder the role of individuals making small but dangerous changes within their societies.

I have never risked incarceration. Now we'll all need to live to be really old (even older than I am now!) to outlive Padouk and learn what cards he's been playing close to his chest.

Posted by: Yoki | January 5, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

dmd - I agree profoundly that far, far too many things are classified. It makes my job 10 times harder than it should be. But it's not my call. And I fear it is a political impossibility to change in the present environment. For what politician wants to be known as the person who reduces security.

In the extreme this kind of thinking contributed to the death of the crew of the Russian Sub Kursk. Fear of revealing secrets may have delayed the sub captain from seeking help.

It is a nasty dilemma because leaks really have killed people in the past. Yet, I assert, that the pendulum has slid too far the other way.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Yoki I hope those stories come out in time to turn small changes into big ones!

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

No fear RD none of my comments have been directed at you or any individual, I am going after the "collective" :-)

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Strange thoughts happen when strange minds are left to their own devices -- especially when a strange mind is left alone in the office on a Friday night (11 minutes to go!).

So I was thinking...

What if instead of just tipping a cow, you first set a bag of burning dog poo next to it?

Would the cow then stomp on the bag and moo at you to get off his pasture?

(7 minutes... can ... almost... taste... beer)

Posted by: martooni | January 5, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you EF for that kind comment! Might I say that I was delighted when you returned. Who else will catch all my SciFi references?

Although I am disappointed you didn't catch "protein from the sea" a few days back. But perhaps there are some quotes that are too obscure even for a master such as yourself.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

martooni - none of my business, but I thought that was something you avoided? Just asking out of concern.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Not to worry, dmd.

I can give you an outdated example or two. Very early on after the Taliban took control in Afghanistan, I was working with a local womens group to first offer secret schooling to girls in private homes, and then to ready schools for a time when girls would be educated publicly. To have blared it about would have risked the teachers' lives, so we kept quite. Once the Taliban fell, the media was full of good-news stories about girls education. That only happened so quickly because the ground work had been laid well in advance. Sadly, of course, we now have to get right back to work. I'm an optimist; if we take three steps back, I'm pretty sure we'll take four forward sooner or later.

Similarly, there was a big stink in the Canadian press and internet community a couple of years ago about an Iranian woman who was deported from Canada, and was imprisoned in Terhan when she landed. I (and a couple hundred other people both here and there) knew there was much much more to the story than was circulating, and what was circulating was far out of date. Rather than trying in vain to correct the information, I sent a couple of private messages to people I trust telling them to back off! Just let it go; it will be far better for everyone. And it all worked out fine in the end.

Not, of course, that my private messages had much effect except to muzzle the loudest activists. Even Yoki cannot affect the 'net to that extent. The whole kerfuffle only died down when people went on to the next big email circulating out- of- date outrage, to get their indignation fix. I just wish I could tell people to *calm down* and not believe everything their friends send them by email, fwd fwd fwd fwd fwd. Um, internet people, look at the date on the bottom message and open your header info and perhaps even assume that if a message is six months or 3 years old, perhaps circumstances have changed?

Posted by: Yoki | January 5, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

>"protein from the sea"

Thanks, and sorry I missed that one... strain of actually returning to work possibly. It was pretty funny, my boss called at 11:30am on the 2nd (hope you were off!) and asked, um, when I might be coming back to work. :-)

Turns out both our Oracle guru (how's that for self-reference) and I both convinced ourselves we had the day off. And, so we did!

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 5, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

I do try to avoid tipping cows, RD.

As for the beer, well... let's just say that absolute abstinence was causing more problems than it solved, so I've been practicing "moderation".

So far, so good.

Other than falling through the ceiling.

But that could have happened to anyone.

Posted by: martooni | January 5, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

SCC: quiet, not quite.

Quite quite, dahlin!

Posted by: Yoki | January 5, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I get called a MATLAB guru sometimes. But the standards of my coworkers are kinda low.

Yoki great story. You know, now that I think about it, many professions require some degree of secrecy. Doctors, lawyers, and certainly journalists all have things they must keep to themselves.

Now I think I need to go convince a preteen girl that it is time to get ready for bed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

martooni - whatever works best. Just wanted to let you know, that, and I think I speak for the whole boodle, we, like, care and junk.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 5, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

RD, which is harder convincing the preteen or your job, as the mom of a preteen I sympathize.

Yoki awesome stories, I have been following the stories when I can of the Afgan women, theirs stories I think are so under reported.

We have some political background in the family so I do understand the need at times for secrets and also how stories get miscontrued in the public and press.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I think I have greater success helping underground social activists in repressive societies than RD will *ever* have persuading preteen girls on vacation to go to bed.

Not to mention pharmacists in small towns!

Posted by: Yoki | January 5, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

College, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and the rules governing those applications.

Workbooks are good, where the the kids get a chance to practice the applications.

Just anything pertaining to basic math. I find so many of the kids don't know their multiplication facts. Anything that talks about mediums, ratios, the metric system. Also a little geometry, different shapes and the names of these shapes, circumference of a circle, radius, triangles, a little bit of it all. And if you have it, the language of math, words relating to math. In addition, sum, division, divisor, dividend, multiplication, product, multiplicand, that sort of thing.

I hope this isn't too much, College. If you don't have these things, just send what you have. I don't want to be any trouble. And thank you again.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 5, 2007 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Martooni. I noticed a change in the timbre of your some of your posts about a week ago and thought, 'this lads off the wagon.' From previous posts I had gathered that your job had been at risk from the booze. While I don't subsrcibe to the all or nothing school of consumption control, I am concerned that....
Hell I don't know. Countdowns?
Sorry.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 5, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

RD, a dear family friend was in management at Cape Kennedy during the heyday of NASA in the Sixties. I remember him saying that they often classified documents, not because they needed to be classified, but so they would get the attention they needed in Washington. Typical bureaucracy, in other words.

Yoki, thanks for sharing that story! Yes, I would say we all have to use discretion with information in our jobs. OTOH, good employees are generally well-connected and know more than their supervisors suppose. I didn't know everything that went on in the fire department, but there wasn't anything that I couldn't find out if I wanted to know...Good managers are aware and make sure there are no surprises for those whose jobs depend on information. And yes, managing the information that goes public is a very important task.

Posted by: Slyness | January 5, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

RDP: //You know, now that I think about it, many professions require some degree of secrecy. Doctors, lawyers, and certainly journalists all have things they must keep to themselves. //

Then there are those of us in IT who must keep everything secret! (We get blamed anyway). Sometimes it's hard being a specialist in a thing everyone has come to regard as *simple* as electricity.

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=technologyNews&storyID=2007-01-03T131952Z_01_N22270966_RTRUKOC_0_US-SOFTWARE-PLATT.xml&pageNumber=0&imageid=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage4

Job update: The position I turned down is still vacant, so now our prophecy has come to pass. They're divvying up the job between 4 of us, no extra money or title. At least I'm certified in and interested in the sections I've received, so the extra work will be good resume material.

Gordon, the foster dog, is coming in tonight instead of tomorrow. I need to set up his crate. I think after his prior life and the trip from Louisiana that my labz may scare him to death.

Posted by: dbG | January 5, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, I'm posting as a (now bare-naked) high-functioning alcoholic myself.

How're you doin'?

Posted by: Yoki | January 5, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Yo, Gordon!

We're two rescues, we had a few issues coming in, and Yoki and family like us plenty well good.

Love,
Libby (rescue), Broc (rescue)

and Yeoman (lily of the field)

and in memory, Tod, Lucy, Cleopatra ['da Queen of Denial], Reba and Gus {rescues all!})

Posted by: Yokisdogs | January 5, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

dbG, that article seems to have legs.

It's true of course, but even more: programmers are to blame for ALL software.

I also note this guy's flogging his book. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 5, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

yoki - i've actually never seen a cow in such repose - as i've said many times i'm a city girl... tried and true... cows come in sections in saran wrap in the grocery...

dmd - many of us DC residents have to be extremely careful of what we post in public. nature of the beast here in lanyard wearing gummint job world... and they make sure to constantly remind us of such! *sigh*

Posted by: mo | January 5, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

hey dbG - i posted that article yesterday! *sheesh* no one pays attention to me!!!!!!! *WAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!*

Posted by: mo | January 5, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

My dad was a gunrunner for the shah. When he was a Air Force pilot in the mid-70s, he ferried an F-4 jet to the Royal Iranian Air Force. He came home with a really cool samovar.

For all I know the plane is still in service. Avionic spare parts were part of the hostage deal Reagan says he didn't make.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 5, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

mo, I understand all my summer jobs in university were with the government, even had to get a security clearance (although a minor one).

Posted by: dmd | January 5, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

RD, thanks for the "insider" views. A couple of questions and/or rejoinders from a different viewpoint:

So Mossadegh was nuts. So what? How about RN or GWB, who don't/didn't seem to be entirely rational in certain areas? Does that mean it's okay for a junta to overthrow and/or kill them? How about the UK response that forced the issue? To continue with that, because M had internal opponents, therefore it was okay to unseat him? How about GWB after the 2000 election, where Gore got more votes? IMHO the basic issue is investing too much in status quo, leading to being overly fearful of any sort of change, rather than negotiating with the new state of affairs. In the "new economy" we're expected to deal with the job we are skilled in going out of existence. The corollary is coping when the leader we are attached to (Batista, Marcos, Shah, whoever) is overthrown.
You say the corruption of the Shah's government wasn't known. I knew someone who consulted for a couple of years for the Shah's own Inspector General looking into "waste and corruption" and he didn't have much trouble spotting plenty. Did the CIA do their job?
As for the Sov Union not knowing they were a house of cards, certainly Gorbachev knew, and probably his predecessors. The nuclear missiles were a real issue, but that was managed successfully thru cooperation between US and SU (while GWB refuses to speak with those he considers enemies). I'm reminded of the old joke, Which country is surrounded by 13 hostile communist countries? We were told it was the US, but really the answer was the SU. Why didn't the decision makers know that? It was pretty obvious to me, from the mid 70s onward (viewed from Oz, where I was then).

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 5, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

helloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Posted by: mo | January 5, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Helloooooooooooo back, mo. Whassup, girl?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

T'sup, yo?

Posted by: Bob S. | January 5, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

i'm home
i'm all by meself
i wanna talk to me imaginary amigos
but nadie que querie ablar!

Posted by: mo | January 5, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I apologize in advance. I've been doing some catching up, and I'm going to take up some old business. I'm just in that kinda mood.
-----------

GreenWithEnvy posted the following, but it doesn't exactly ring true. Aren't Reuben sandwiches treif? (Technically, I suppose, the term here is "asur", but at any rate, I'm pretty sure that corned beef & swiss cheese sandwiches are not served in many authentic Jewish delicatessens!)
:
[[ I am always on the constant search for the perfect "REUBEN". I have tried the higher class places, the mid-level ones, but the better Reuben is always found in a bar or a deli.

My favorite spot (where I have found the best yet)is a small Jewish deli next to the Wilmer eye clinic at Johns Hopkins.
I don't know the name or phone #. But I sure know where it is and their hours of operation. I don't get there much, but they know my name and what I want as soon as I get in the door.]]

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 4, 2007 11:01 AM
--------------

Posted by: Bob S. | January 5, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Whatcha wanna talk about, mo? Anything in particular?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 5, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

btw gwe - if you happen to be on virginia and 23rd - there's a coffee shoppe that has a darn good rueben!

Posted by: mo | January 5, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Mo, my apologies!!! All too often, I have to boodle skim.

Yoki, Gordon is in amazing emotional shape--I'm so pleased. 1/2 hour introduction in the yard with Emz and Cutter, he's more than holding his own, and starting to play a little. All tails up and wagging, comes to me when he feels in a little over his head.

Best Jewish deli (and they serve Reubens) around here is the Famous 4th Street Deli.

Good night, all!

Posted by: dbG | January 5, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

treif? asur? Treif I Googled, but asur? I really like corned beef and Swiss on rye, with a good mustard, which I used to get at a deli run by a Jewish South African couple near where I worked maybe 20 years ago. To me it had no particular ethnic character -- it was just a great sandwich.
Foods like that sandwich, or sausage and kraut, are mainly excuses to eat a lot of mustard.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 5, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I was mostly just amusing myself with trivia knowledge. Meat & dairy aren't served together in a kosher establisment, I don't think. The prohibition of cheeseburgers has always been my primary philosophical objection to Judaism. (I come from a long line of fairly moderate Methodists myself.)

Here's a link for a little info on kosher/treif/asur:
http://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/234/Q3/

Posted by: Bob S. | January 6, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

For the fans of this sort of thing, here's a short treatment of the subtleties of "asur":

http://torah.org/advanced/weekly-halacha/5760/vayishlach.html

Posted by: Bob S. | January 6, 2007 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I have discerned that Hawaii is a lot less fun when working at high altitude, in the cold, with a nasty cold coming on. Right now, I have no voice.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 6, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

My Dad worked on upgrading Iran's (and the Saudi) phone system. His boss was invited to the Shah's coronation and brought home silver salt and pepper cellars which he gave to Dad. I've got them now and still use them.
Mustard. Mmmmm

Posted by: Boko999 | January 6, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra - I'm pretty sure that I understand the point you were trying to make when you said earlier that "funerals are never good," [ Posted by: Cassandra S | January 4, 2007 05:49 PM] but you are, of course, entirely incorrect. People die, and that's neither good nor bad, it's the way life works.

Funerals are as good or bad as the people who make them. (Not, you will note, as good or bad as the people for whom they are made!) I have attended a very few funerals which were among the most richly rewarding experiences of my life.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 6, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

And the last bit of old business:

Error Flynn - I think that you were having more fun MAKING fun than you were considering the software issues. It would be easy to have auto-saving of successive versions of documents implemented, with older versions accessible when needed, but without the constant input from users who almost never need the feature. (And by the way, a 70's Chevy of mine DID essentially ask that I verify that I hadn't accidentally inserted the key in the ignition switch. I had to use my thumb to depress a small lever as I turned the key in order to start the car. And nearly all cars now require some combination of proper gear selection and/or brake deployment in order to verify that the turning of the key is REALLY, REALLY intended to start the car!)

And it wouldn't be very difficult for the Starbucks folks to design the algorithm such that it lists the closest five or ten stores , makes a note to itself of the distance to the furthest of them, and then provides an option for the search radius to be expanded, rather than asking for search radii up front.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 6, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I would just like to make clear that my Dads boss didn't pinch the Shah's silver. The cellars were meant to be a souvenir of the coronation banquet.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 6, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Boko - I left a formal function one night with a small bouquet of Wedgwood porcelain roses (in a Wedgwood vase, natch!) and noticed a woman giving me a nasty ["You cheap little thief!" was the not-so-subtle message] look as I wandered out to my car. I walked a bit past her, and then (emboldened by feelings of high spirit and the imbibement of hard spirits) turned back to ask her if she had been present when the hostess had urged the guests to take the centerpieces home with them.

It probably won't surprise you that she was nonplussed by the question, and that the answer was not in the affirmative. I casually gave her the arrangement, and then worried about how I was going to afford to actually purchase something similar for my wife, who hadn't attended that evening.

I DID get the sly pleasure of seeing her perplexed look as I waltzed away after remarking, "Well, then, aren't you fortunate that I gathered them for you?"

Posted by: Bob S. | January 6, 2007 12:58 AM | Report abuse

SciTim - I remember wandering up to the Keck site in 1987 or 1988 (hey, I'm getting older every year. These things blend together sometimes!) and being freshly reminded how cold it can be on top of mountains, even when it's darned warm just a short car ride below! It wasn't shocking (Pikes Peak had already taught me that lesson more than once, and Sacramento-to-San Francisco [with no elevation change whatsoever!] had reinforced it repeatedly), but it was still a bracing awakening.

At the time, the dome for Keck 1 was recognizable, but not yet complete. Obviously, the installation of the instrument was yet to begin.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 6, 2007 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Mo I make take you up on the offer for the rueben in DC.

Bob I am just stating that the best reuben I have found so far to date was out a jewish deli in Baltimore.Also a rueben is so much more then corned beef and swiss cheese.It is the sour kraut that makes the rueben and the sauce.

As LTL-CA stated in is not an ethnic thing....Just a sandwich....

I will continue my search and hopefully I may find the "perfect" one

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 6, 2007 1:37 AM | Report abuse

By the by (or is that by the bye?) there's a new Molly Ivins column out dated Thursday at
http://www.creators.com/opinion_show.cfm?columnsName=miv
for all who might be interested.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 6, 2007 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Green:

It's critical that we be clear about someting here... I LOVE a good Reuben! Like you, I've sought out the jewels. Oddly enough, one of the best I ever had was in the late 70's at a joint in the Dallas airport! Alas, after stopping there four times in two years, I didn't get back for over a decade, and the vendor had changed, and the good Reuben was no more.

Earlier, I was just pointing out that the traditional sandwich is definitely not traditionally Jewish (or at least not eaten by those who keep kosher). I was exulting in my knowledge of trivia, not berating the noble sandwich!

Posted by: Bob S. | January 6, 2007 2:02 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy - re: Ivins

Well, it's certainly heartfelt! I think that it's kind of a throwaway piece, letting us know that Mol's got some good ones on the way.

I've never been sure whether I prefer the madly passionate Ivins (it's seldom the best of her writing, but it's powerful) or the more playful Ivins. But the great thing is, I don't have to choose! Because she doesn't get to choose. She is what she is.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 6, 2007 2:21 AM | Report abuse

Best Reuben (if you happen to be in the Youngstown area): Irish Bob's, South Avenue (but only if Judy is cooking). We're talking a sammich that is so loaded, you'll need a fork (or a forklift) to eat it. The rye bread is fresh-made that day by the local Italian bakery (figger that one out), the corned beef is lean, thick-cut, almost no grissle (sp?) (or whatever you call that unchewable (sp?) stuff), and just melts in your mouth.

In other words, dang yummy.

I gotta get a resume off to the "Style" section (don't they do restaurant reviews?).

Siskel and Eibert had their thumbs up/down thing.

I got "dang yummy".

:-)

Posted by: martooni | January 6, 2007 5:50 AM | Report abuse

*Tim;

*jaw drop* I know SciTim can get by on the written word alone, but StorytellerTim's gotta be hurtin'!!!

*faxin' some voice synthesis software to get StoryTim over the hump*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 6, 2007 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Low Level Sky Report -- ok, really a ground report -- for Pat.

The pointer end of the earlier daffodils are now two to three inches about the ground. The green of the tips is unremarkable but touching, actually, are the paper thin, dry "jacket" of the bulb at the base.

This is, about two to three weeks early, when I check my notebook. (Yes, I keep a gardening notebook. I forget what-is-where in the dig-fests of fall and spring.)

The big shaggy forsythia is still restrained, but two families have camelias blooming in the canyon between their homes. This is VERY EARLY. The waxy blooms are happy for two weeks, when floated in a shallow bowl and one inch of water. No scent, but the translucent petals in shades of ivory, ballerina pink, and on one bold tree -- bordello! magenta -- say "spring" just as well.


Spring is a shedding of sorts, each year.

----
Cassandra,

Where do we send the books? I will buy a few sets of the practice books for you.

To others: these drill books are available in grocery stores and drug stores.

If you prefer a cruciferous-free New Year's practice, then send some math books Cassandra's way. I believe I read an article about the heart-protective quality of good deeds. Charity and altruism contain polyphenols, etc.


Posted by: College Parkian | January 6, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

CP I have always wanted to keep a garden book but never got around to it, now that I am started from scratch again you have reminded me to start one.

Things are confused up here as well, last night the temperature only dropped to 11c (50F approx.). I have some bulbs in a garden with 1-2 inches showing, now that would not normally happen until March here and I fear they will not make it.

There was an article yesterday about how confused nature was across Canada. Trees in Vancouver blooming too early, birds that have normally gone south being spotted etc. In fact the grass up here is still fairly green. Goofy year.

Posted by: dmd | January 6, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

DMD, try this on your notebook. Buy plastic sleeve protectors. Slip the labels or seed packets inside. Post it notes work, in the protectors. And a Sharpie marker. Use a large, plastic coated three-ring binder. WowLA! Easy, practical, NOT PEFECT, garden note book.

"The enemy of done is perfect." Said my dad and grand da. But I am sure they quote some fine thinker.

El Nino pattern in the Pacific shapes the pattern, path, and intensity of the jet stream.

"Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get." Say a number of climate-focused colleages, quoting some -- again -- fine thinker.

Today, I will drill and place, with sand due to sogginess of sod, more species crocus. These last 48 at 90% OFF.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 6, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

DMD -- the bulbs will likely make it, since it is the nature of bulbs to bloom in the vageries of spring. Daffies, fine. Crocus, fine. Tulips? Trickier since they have been hybridized until the cows came home. Some vigor is lost in the quest for color, bloom, scent, and other flowerly manifestations.

I bet you know this, but fun to say that bulbs will survive, since so much news in the world is bad.

Garden harder!
Laugh heartier!

Posted by: College Parkian | January 6, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Just returned from NYC and haven't had time to catch up on the A-blog, but...

I just want to report that nelson's sister emailed to tell me that nelson's surgery went fine. She should be home by Monday.

I hope she'll be up and boodling soon.

OK.. now it's time to do some serious boodling of my own....

Posted by: TBG | January 6, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

>Error Flynn - I think that you were having more fun MAKING fun than you were considering the software issues.

Bob, I think the gent in question was having more fun making issues than actually considering them himself. For instance, if you're going to auto-save versions (which is hardly unknown, DEC's editor would save successive version back in the 80's if I recall) you have added complexity which the user may then have to deal with, i.e. turning off/on, locating, restoring, etc. If it's a sensive document having multiple versions around may be the last thing you want. Look at all the Word and PDF docs that come out and have embarrassing revisions made along the way which are still hidden inside.

This all goes against his basic premise of keeping it simple, which I heartlily agree with. But it shouldn't be any more simple than it needs to be.

Your car example actually contradicts his point, and might be useful in a family where the 8 yr old has grabs Mommy's keys to go for a ride. In a GUI environment it's very easy to accidentally click on something. If it can't be easily undone it needs to be confirmed. UI design is an exercise in limiting choices to ensure valid results.

Again I want to know who is accustomed to working with a typewriter in the year 2006. You have to do more than turn out one cheesed-off retired biologist to make a valid point. I work with a lady who is an absolute genius but came up in the mainframe world. She hated PCs until I gave her a few tips and a screen with enough resolution to see what the heck she was doing. She often lost her place, and lost her files. She would constantly navigate in a window, copy something, then close it entirely and open another. Then re-navigate to the first place, etc. Running at 800x600 on a 17" display she couldn't get her bearings and got confused. Then I got her a 24" 1600x1200 widescreen LCD and showed her how to open one Explorer window for where your files are and another for where you want them to go so you can actually see what's going on. Problem solved.

As far as it not being OK to hit the back button on his browser, I'd like to know would he prefer to have the last page re-post the data and inadvertently buy another widget? They're warning you about something that requires a warning.

Perhaps he'd prefer the button text to say "P1ss off - request denied"?

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 6, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

*extremely congested this morning, tear ducts burning, strong winds blowing in from the north*

I'm beginning to be amazed by the interconnectedness of this blog. Less thatn two weeks or so ago, Cassandra mentioned Vidor, Texas and tales she had heard of racism there.

I went to MapQuest to find it, to the east of Houston, almost on the border with Louisiana. I've never been east of Houston, so wasn't too interested in her topic and query at the time. I suggested Cassandra Google the town's history.

Well, the local paper reports this morning that a fire company from Vidor, Texas may be brought in to quell our local mulch fire. So, bingo, thanks to Cassandra's inquiry, I know exactly where Vidor is and how many hours approximately traveling time those specialists may take to reach us.

http://www.macraesbluebook.com/search/company.cfm?company=519152


All the issues are still present today that I mentioned yesterday. How long to quench the blaze? Will fire retardant chemicals be used and if so, will these chemicals go into our Edwards Aquifer and our drinking water, since the mulch pile sits directly above the recharge zone. How dangerous is it to ingest these chemicals? Cost--the estimates to contain the blaze are between $1 and 6 million. How soon can they contain the fumes and ash, let alone get the entire conflagration under control?

There's the promise of a county meeting open to the public on Monday, but time and location details of said meeting are extremely sketchy at this point. Also talk of the federales getting involved, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency. It's been about two weeks now since the blaze erupted, and bureaucrats are still doing the Texas two-step around the issues.

Posted by: Loomis | January 6, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

EF - point well made.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Wheezy | thanks for the heads up on Molly.
Loomis | I haven't been able to find a photo of that mulch fire. How on earth did the authourities allow the pile to become so large? Fear of communistic regulation? Would rules violate someone inalienable right to pollute? This kind of fire is not unknown, heck there's one burning in Pennsylvania right now. Heat and gas must be vented or a fire is inevitable. Shirley they'd know this in an agricultural communty.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Oops, sorry.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 6, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Here's Molly Ivins new column.
http://www.creators.com/opinion_show.cfm?columnsName=miv

Posted by: Boko999 | January 6, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

>EF - point well made.

Thanks RD, but I probably should've just pointed out that real users ignore all of our error messages anyway. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 6, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

There was a mulch fire in the Baltimore area maybe 10 years ago that burned for over 6 months.

The problem was that the mulch was in a large hole...very deep and the fire slowly worked it's way down.I remember hiking all that summer and fall and I could smell it from miles away.It finally burned itself out

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 6, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

How on earth did the authourities allow the pile to become so large?

Boko999, that's THE question everyone is asking right now. Where was the oversight. An eight-story mound doesn't grow to that size overnight. Property owner Zumwalt says he can contain the blaze himself but no one is taking him to the bank on that. Some people with really serious health problems nearer to the fire than I am are threatening lawsuits. The powers-that-are have also mentioned to the local paper that they are also considering turning to a California (as much as it must rattle Texans) fire consultant-instead of or in addition to--the Vidor Texas fire extinguishing firm.

I just want to tell you, Boko, how much your 2:30 p.m. post yesterday had me laughing. Your other post makes me curious to see the old Trudeau cartoons. I was thumbing Trento's book last night about the secret history of the CIA, specifically the section about Bissell and Operation Mongoose against Cuba. I got a little depressed and had to put the book down. The Mafia connections to the Havana casinos. Castro's bargain with the Mafia. Our CIA assassination squad. Bissell's involvemnt. Kennedy's affair. CIA's lack of knowledge but Hoover's knowledge. The strange Dr. Gottlieb, I think it was. Scanning the later chapters of the book was even worse. Osirak reactor, etc.

Tim, get well. Come down off the mountain, lay for a while on the beach. Don't burn, but bake out that bug. Sleep. Have a tropical drink or two.

Posted by: Loomis | January 6, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I was watching TV the other night.A story about the guy in NYC that jumped on top of the man that fell into the subway tracks.The man that fell was having some sort of seizure.Quick thinking on the man who jumped on top of him,to cover him from the oncoming train.

His main concern was he left his 2 daughters alone in a NYC subway station.

Afterwards he said to a reporter and himself I guess,that was a pretty stupid thing to do.

Building an 8 story mulch pile is stupid.

Saving another person's life with split second thinking is not.

Sometimes stupid is good.

Well there is hope for me after all.

Posted by: sometimesstupidisgood | January 6, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Wheezy and Bob, for the link to the Ivins column. Boy, that picture makes her look old. I never thought of her in those terms.

Loomis, do keep us posted on the *progress* with dousing the mulch fire.

TBG, good to hear that nelson's doing well. We also want a report on the NYC visit. Has Son of G come down out of the clouds yet?

Posted by: Slyness | January 6, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

College, I don't want to put my mailing address on the internet, but KB, and many of the boodlers here have that information. Can someone give College, my address information? And I think the Post has my mailing information. Just about everybody has it. College, send what you have, that will be fine. We're starting back this week, on Thursday.

Bob S, for me, funerals are difficult because they remind me of my son's death. I know, as we all know, that we did not come here to live forever, and that we are going to die, not matter what. And you are correct in your assessment of some funerals, they are not all the same, but many of them are sad events because someone is losing someone they love, and that is just a fact, and many of us relate to that fact in different ways. I am getting better with my loss, but it just never really goes away, just not as "front and center" at times.

I've done all this talking, and did not say good morning. Good morning, friends. I am moving slow this morning, as I guess you can tell from the comment. I do hope all of you have a good weekend, are enjoying a good weekend. It seems the week does go by pretty fast at times. It is suppose to be really warm here today. I am going to go out for a bit. So far, it is a little chilly to me, but maybe that will change as the day moves forward.

I guess my greatest desire is please Him whom I love, and that is Sweet Jesus. He knows that I cannot do this without Him, He knows my needs. He wants me to know my needs, and to seek His face in all things. Yet I believe what He wants me to know most is that He loves me dearly, as He loves all. And that my friends is our Peace in this world, and the world to come.

Have a good weekend. Give God some of your time, show your family that you love them, and try and get some rest. And remember that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 6, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I studied real property appraisal and assessment at the community college in the paper mill town/city of Cornwall On. in what had been a seminary on the banks of the mighty St. Lawrence River. The company the ran the mill had for years buried bark and unusable waste in low lying areas and ravines surrounding the mill and covered it with soil.. Gas from the decomposition of the material migrated downwards towards the river and accumulated below and around the basement of the seminary building. Somehow the gas ignited and blew off the western stairwell. Another fun consequence of this waste disposal practice was that the foundations of homes built over the buried material would shift and crack. My 'Building Materials and Methods' teacher awarded extra marks for correctly identifying these properties.
The company now maintains an approximately 5 story waste pile with a 3 acre footprint. Gas is vented and is under the supervision of the Ontario Government. They installed a T-Lift and it makes a lovely ski hill right in town.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 6, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Thinking it over the pile probaly covers around 6 acres. It's right beside a shopping centre next to land rendered valueless from the poisons deposited from munitions manufacture during WWII.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 6, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

MOM! MOM! I think it's dead. Did I kill it?

Come away dear, leave it alone. And wash your hands

Posted by: Boko999 | January 6, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

It's a glorious day outside, not that I'd know as I sit here at my desk trying to polish off a story about how it is a glorious day outside. Look for it in tomorrow's paper or right here at the Achenblog. No column this weekend -- no magazine. Rough Draft back next weekend.

Now everyone get outside, unless, of course, you're someplace unpleasant, or in a submarine, or whatnot.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 6, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I have to try serious work late on a Friday afternnon more often. I solved a bugger of a problem, and I have to think pure desperation to be out of there before supper had something to do with it.

SciTim, put on your sweter and close it tight round your neck. Don't catch a chill. That's what my grandma always used to say and I'm pretty sure it still works.

Today I must put Christmas away. Putting up the trees is always kind of a rush. I'm anxious and eager to see the house in all its finery. Taking things down is reflective and in some ways more fun than putting things up. I find myself really taking the time to look at all the ornaments and pull out the memories attached to them. Its almost as good a day as a cold wintry afternoon with a book in front of the fire.

Its also a day where all the normal stuff goes back on the shelf the books, the pictures, the rocks. The time magically appears to think about all the rocks, and geodes, and cool crystal things we seem to have gathered in the course of our lives.

Its a good tea afternoon, which blends into a great wine evening, as slowly oh so restfully slowly I pack things and put them away.

See you on the flip side folks.

Posted by: dr | January 6, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

>Now everyone get outside
I've been putting in quality time at my backyard tiki bar.

Just in for a refill. (I don't usually keep the frig on in JANUARY!)

It's great to be alive.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 6, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

'Tis Three kings day. Or is it Tree kings day?

Wishing everybody a good epiphany about their lives, etc.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 6, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hi, folks. Glad to hear the nelson report. dmd, hope your dad's doing well.

I'll probably be lurking a bit more, as befits my name, for a while. A good friend of mine in Wichita lost her 26-year-old son to a car accident on Thursday. She seems to be coping ok for now - has lots of support - so that's good. I thought, though, that in light of Cassandra's similar loss, that I would just mention it here. I met this friend through a work connection, and she and I clicked immediately. We both love gardening and music and have kids of similar ages (she has one other son). She has a wonderfully sweet and sensitive nature - much less sharp and cynical than I am!

I read Elizabeth Edwards' book, Saving Graces, recently. They lost their son when he was 16, and the chapters where she speaks about her grief are powerful. She used online support groups which helped her a great deal. But of course it's something that you never "get over".

CP, if you email me at scomstoc "at" nwlink.com - I can give you the contact info. You have inspired me to actually keep a gardening journal this year.

See y'all in a bit - I'll be reading and in need of a chuckle. And I'll take Joel's advice and get outside during our brief interlude between storms. (I want our El Nino back!)

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 6, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm in shorts and a T-shirt today, driving around with the window down. At least I didn't have to turn the A/C on... yet.

Then again, me in a T-shirt and shorts in the midst of winter isn't all that unusual...

http://www.ez2chat.com/nrcguy/Snow_feet2.jpg

TBG, thank for the nelson update! I'm very happy to hear everything went well. *G* And congrats again to "g" on getting accepted.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 6, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Don from I-270 said he's too swamped to boodle for awhile-- work took over, but should be back sometime.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 6, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

mostlyluking - what a tragedy. A neighbor of ours lost a son in similar circumstances last year. Little to do but just be there when they want company, and leave them alone when they don't.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "mostlylurking" Sorry, must be crazed from the heat. I think I am going to exchange this flannel shirt for one of my Hawaiian ones.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Y'all enjoy your warmth wave. It is only chilly here, but I think it is colder than when I went out to run errands this morning. Yesterday one yard was full of cardinals (birds, that is). It was lovely.

I had to go to the bank because just before Christmas I forgot my ATM PIN number. I can admit this now that I have a new one. Boy was that embarrassing. It was assigned to me years ago and I knew it by rote, but one day I hesitated before punching the numbers. And, as we all know, she who hesitates is lost. I knew what numbers were IN it, and tried many combinations thereof, but no. Perhaps I only thought I knew the numbers.

Dog update: We shored up the fence, including extra wire around the bottom covered with rocks and dirt. Extended confinement and leash time seemed to have humbled Evil Dog, and we spent more time with them as well, so for several days he was okay. Then he started digging again. He taught himself to bend the fence wires, even at the cost of injury, to make holes. He's inside again while we ponder our next step. Perhaps we could sell tickets to watch the Magical Escaping Dog.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 6, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Voice is back, but I'm using it judiciously. While you folks back home swelter in a winter heat wave, I am enjoying the weather in Hawaii. We struggled up the observatory driveway in low 4WD to get over the black ice and found a door that wasn't iced in, so we can work on our instrument today and have it ready for tonight, when we are supposed to observe -- although the weather report suggests that we will spend most of the night web-surfing. There's a thin film of snow and ice. It's below freezing, humidity is 99%, and fog is gliding across the ground.

Mostlylurking, I'm very sorry to hear about your friend's loss. It's my greatest fear as a parent.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 6, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Ivansmom, I've had that hesitation moment several times on PINs. Luckily for me, my youngest daughter is freakily observant and she quickly, with much glee, tells me what my PIN is. Simply from observing me using it so often. She lives for these moments, I fear.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 6, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, your friend is in my prayers. As SciTim says, it's my biggest fear also. Younger daughter left this afternoon to return to school, I told her to call me when she got there. You never outgrow the need to be sure they are safe.

Lovely day here also. We're just back from a walk, and Hubby is mowing the grass, just to make it look good. I spent an hour after lunch sitting on the ground and making a start on getting the weeds out of the periwinkle bed. Only a start.

Posted by: Slyness | January 6, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, I too, am sorry about the loss your friend has suffered, it is not easy, but it helps to have good friends.

Nelson, hope everything is going okay with you. And dmd, the same thought for you.

Slyness, so very true about our children.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 6, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Mostly so sorry to hear about your friends child, we had friends who had a child seriously injured in a car accident and it has been a great fear of mine ever since.

Dad is slowly making progress.

Good news about Nelson, I was thinking of her this week.

Boko your story explain the odour when travelling through Cornwall?

Posted by: dm | January 6, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

mostly, I'm sorry to hear of your friend's loss. *Tim and nelson, glad you're feeling better.

An absolutely beautiful day for gettin' things done outside: taking down Christmas decorations, washing cars, shoveling dog poop, etc. Looking forward to some stargazing this evening (not like *Tim, though) between football games.

An oddly ugly game underway at Indy with the Colts leading 9-0 in the 3rd quarter.
Manning has thrown 3 pickles (to to nemesis Ty Law), and KC's offense looks like it's comprised of mannequins wearing Chiefs unis.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 6, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "two"

Me so dummy.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 6, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "two"

Me so dummy.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 6, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the irony.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 6, 2007 6:32 PM | Report abuse

The game has gotten a little more competetive 16-8 now,but the Irsays(Colts) are driving.

It is a hard game for me to root for.I on one hand would love to have the Irsays come to Baltimore to play My Ravens(hate game#6)But I also find it hard to root for them.

But as it looks now(the Irsays) just scored
they will be coming to Unitas Stadium next weekend.That should be fun.The ravens #1 defense against The Irsays high potent offense.I will thouroughly enjoy that game.

I may have to start tailgating 5 hours before hand.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 6, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Green, I am confused by Irsays? Is that a local expression?

Posted by: dmd | January 6, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

ML -- so sorry, as the sorrow of burying a child is so unlike what grief patterns families expect to endure.

I have two upstairs windows open, sans screens. The air is balmy and ants are swarming from the West side of the house. Ants with wings, just ordinary black ants of average size, not mutant ants. In JANUARY!!!!!!!!!, in what was formerly horticultural zone 7.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 6, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes that is a Baltimore expression.I grew up in Baltimore and was a Baltimore colts season ticket holder.In 1984 Robert Irsay moved the Colts out of town after He swore over and over he would not.

I can not recognize the Indiannapolis Colts,so instead of calling them the Colts,we call them the Irsay's.I also have a hard time recognizing any records that the current Colts set.Peyton Manning is a Great quarterback,but I choose not to recognize any records that he breaks from my colts.Johnny Unitas is still my main man.

I grew up in Baltimore and the Colts were just like part of the community.They were just like regular guys.My Dad would take me to bars and meet the players.Back in the late 60's and 70's( oops I am dating myself)The Colts were the kings of Baltimore.Back in those days the players all lived in Baltimore and work regular jobs in the offseason.

After they left It was a tough time for us Colt's fans.I ended up getting season tickets to the Ravens when we stole them from Cleveland.Been a season ticket holder ever since.

Boy I am rambling.Doe's that help explain it dmd?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 6, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Ha. greenwithenvy, I haven't heard "Irsay" used in anything even remotely resembling a positive sense in... I don't know, certainly not since the Mayflowers left Baltimore, that's for sure.

The Colts in the 70s, ha! Oh, for Bert Jones...

Well, the Cowboys at Seahawks game is about to kick off.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 6, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, are your hummers still around? We have had a strange occurance. I'm sure ours was an Anna (two tone grey-green with a dark throat patch.) Remember it told you that I think it was alternating with us and someone else nearby with a feeder? Last week a male briefly showed up late in the afternoon, took a sip from the feeder and was gone. The next day it was back and he and our female jossled for rights to the feeder but both rested in the walnut tree out front. Then the next day the male was gone.
Now I don't know if our female Anna changed colors or a differnet bird has taken up house keeping here. I snowed off and on two days ago and everything had a white coating yesterday. Our bird now has a near white chest and white bars on the shoulders. Could it be Anna changed colors to blend in? It has all the same mannerisms (sp) as before and rests on the same perch right in from of my monitor.

Nothing like losing a son. We lost ours ten years ago. Right in the prime of his life, 33 years old.

Getting ready to watch the game. Even though a 49er faithful, I hope the Seahawks devour the Cowboys. Hate them. They ruined so many of our team's seasons (before the Seahawks came into exitance.)

Posted by: bh | January 6, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

bc

Yea the late 70's were tough...but you are right Bert jones was our gun slinger.Our biggest nemisis then was the Madden led Raiders.I went to that one playoff game in Baltimore....Jones vs Stabler....back and forth....us up them up....a Great game we lost but Memorial stadium was rockin in those days.

Hey bc who are your pics for the Super Bowl?National Championship?

Here is my email if you ever want to talk football or anything else

joeboo41@earthlink.net

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 6, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Yes Green that explains it well. Thought of all kinds of things but not the owner (former). I remember well when they packed up and moved. Must be honest I was a huge Dolphins fan when I was young, there was a time I knew most of the relevant stats in the NFL, even had the friends of my older brother calling me to pick the games they were going to bet on.

I was a 14 year old female wonder at the time. The strikes in sports took their toll though and I lost much of my interest in professional teams sports, but still enjoy watching the odd game.

Posted by: dmd | January 6, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Wow... I started this Kit and Boodle when the last post read 6:53 PM and by the time I finished reading it was 8:15.

Fun!

GWE.. you failed to mention that Irsay snuck the team out in the middle of a snowy night. It is a little ironic that the Ravens came to Baltimore the same way when Modell pulled them out of Cleveland. But who's counting?

College Parkian.. you can email me at boodler [at] mac [dot] com and I'll get you the connection you're looking for (and maybe a few extras, you never know!).

I had a great time in NYC. Saw Wicked for the second time; Mama Mia for the first time (when we returned to our hotel room that night we saw one of the main characters from Mama Mia on Law & Order).

My best celebrity sighting though: Tony Danza walking down 44th Street, heading toward the theatre where he is playing in The Producers.

We also did plenty of shopping, eating and of course walking. The best part? I'm returning with my family at the end of the month for four days.

Cassandra... I know what you mean that funerals bring back the memories of those we've lost in the past. We made a point of having my dad's funeral NOT in the same church where we grew up and where we held Mom's. That made all the difference to us.

Of course, I'm talking about burying my parents, which is in the natural order of things. I can't imagine--and don't want to even think about--losing a child like you did. That goes on an entirely different level of grief I'm thankful I don't know. I'm sorry that you do know it, Cassandra, and think of you often when I still get to hug and kiss my son (much like you thought of me when you were with your dad--that's a nice thought, actually).

Posted by: TBG | January 6, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, Ivansdad is watching the Cowboys game now so the Boy & I have to amuse ourselves (as a diehard fan, traditionally it is better if he watches in solitude). Working together, the three of us literally laid down a lot of extra fence today, trying to discourage digging, to the dogs' vast amusement.

Mostlylurking, I am sorry to hear of your friend's loss, and to remember yours, Cassandra and bh. I'm with ScienceTim - that is my greatest fear. Every time I send the Boy off somewhere I have to conquer that little "what if". I do, though, because it wouldn't be fair to him to restrict his life based on my fears.

Time to look for math workbooks! thanks for the reminder, College Parkian.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 6, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

What's the name of that movie set in maybe 60s Balmer where the prospective bride had to pass a test on the Colts? In the 80s I had a boss who stepped right out of that movie -- accent, interest in sports trivia, Colts fan.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 6, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I did not have a problem with taking the team from Cleveland.We did everything that was asked of us by the NFL to get an expansion team.Sold out meaningless nfl preseason games,we had the CFL for awhile,actually won a CFL championship as the Baltimore Stallions.We Jumped through hoop after hoop to get an expansion team.But Mr. Tagliaboo didn't think we were a first class city. and gave the expansion teams to Jacksonville and Carolina.But it was funny that as soon as Cleveland lost the browns to us,they got an expansion team two years later.

Yes Mr Tagiaboo is not a Baltimore fan favorite either.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 6, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

That would be Diner

A friend of mine,his 56 chevy belair was used as an extra car in that movie

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 6, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Is this conversation gonna go back around to Nancy Pelosi's beehive again, hons?

Posted by: TBG | January 6, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

The genius behind many a late-night college snack has passed. Oh Momofuku, we hardly knew ya.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070106/ap_on_bi_ge/obit_ando

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Late-night college snack? We call it dinner here in the G house.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Momofuku Ando. I'd say about 10 for a dollar.

Posted by: TBG | January 6, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

You know, I would be watching football except those commercials for the Hitchhiker movie are terrifying.

Who needs to see those? Leave it to the moviegoers to be scared, not the TV watchers. This is why we watch everything on Tivo.

Posted by: TBG | January 6, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Even less at BJ's. And with a little Tabasco sauce they make a remarkably tasty lunch. Or, like, so I've heard.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

TBG
I know those commercials scare the heck out of me too and I frequently pick up hitchhikers.

And I enjoy talking about anything Hon!!

Also I enjoy the noodles too,just not the flavor pack that comes with it.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 6, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

The Boy thinks of Ramen as "Chinese Noodles", an acceptable substitute for an otherwise steady diet of pasta. Alas. Ando-san truly changed the world.

Posted by: Ivansmom | January 6, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

greenwithenvy - If you skip the flavor pack you can do some clever stuff with those noodles. I used to add soup mix. Probably drove the sodium level into the troposphere, but I still liked it. Nowadays I usually just go with the packet. Age has made me lazy.

Ivansmom - I called them Chinese Noodles too until a college classmate born in Japan threatened violence.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

There are various packets of flavor. A korean brand I sometimes eat is basically 90% pure chili pepper. It certainly gets the salivary glands flowing.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 6, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Did I mention I love my new notebook computer? Internet access from the living room couch! Heck,this afternoon I even boodled from the backyard. Of course, nobody else was posting, and if one boodles alone too much in our development, the neighbors will eventually complain.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I know I have experimented with just about everything in there....whenever there is something cooked in my frig it goes in with the noodles....sort of like making soup....just a lot quicker.

I am off to work....everyone enjoy their evenings

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 6, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod - sounds great. What brand? I must admit to a serious capsicum addiction.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

RD, I am jealous, I am here alone in the house and thought now was my chance to boodle from the laptops, while sitting on the couch and watching TV. Unfortunately both my husbands laptop and my daughters have new passwords, I am locked out and once again relegated to boodling in the kitchen, which is my computer and not portable and generally being used by everyone but me.

Just so I feel better, the older daughter likes the noodle packets for lunch (uncooked). Please someone tell me there is something nutritious in them?

Posted by: dmd | January 6, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, dmd, I am afraid they aren't terribly nutritious. However, I find them very filling, so when I have one for lunch I end up not snacking in the PM too much.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

greenwithenvy, I'll get to you.

Still thinking about the National championship, leaning towards the Buckeyes, but wouldn't be surprised if the Gators pulled it off.

The Hitcher looks like a remake of the 80's Hitcher with C Thomas Howell and the very creepy Rutger Hauer.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 6, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, you can pick them up at korean markets or sometimes japanese stores. I wish I could remember, the packet is basically red-orange with a white panel with pictures. I know they're vegetarian.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 6, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

bc - the 80's version terrified me. The paranoia, the pennies on the eyes, that poor unfortunate girl. Way scary. And now that I have dredged up such frightening memories, I bid you all good night.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 6, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I'll go to bed and leave you all with one horrifying image...

*Cue the scary music*... The house that still has a Christmas tree! Mwaahaaaaa!

(At least that's how I see it when I think about taking all this crapola down tomorrow.)

G'night all...

Posted by: TBG | January 6, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

G'night, TBG.

bc, green, you guys still watching that Seahawks game? Did you see that incredible play in the end zone? Jeez, what a heart-stopper.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 6, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

The calorie count on those little packets of noodles will kill you. Or maybe its the fat count. I don't know, I just know that its bad. They put me to sleep. Seriously, I can't eat them unless I have time for an afternoon nap.

RD, it just occurred to me. You are carbuckable, you lucky feller, you. Here I sit literally tied to a phone plug and unless I spring for a satellite connection the dialup is all I am going to get. Oh the humanity.

Mostly, I will keep your friend in my thoughts. Losing a child is so so sad.

Posted by: dr | January 6, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

How sweet it was!

Posted by: bh | January 6, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

bh, I was a nervous wreck.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 6, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

'night, RD, and TBG.

Mudge, that was a heckuva 4th quarter, wasn't it? It looked like Romo's finger was bleeding before the botched hold for the figgie try. Mighta had something to do with it.

I think the first thing Parcells is going to do in his off-season (which just started) is to call in a priest and 53 gallons of holy water to perform an exorcism on the Cowboys' players' hands.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 6, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

greenwithenvy, Been gone during the game.
As I'm sure Curmudgeon agrees: EAGLES!!!

Posted by: bh | January 6, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I should add here that in TO's case they should perform an exorcism on his whole self. Though his hands could definitely use some remedial demonic deworming or something, too.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 6, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey, RD, I bet you're not going to have any french fries soon, either.

You can thank me later, bud.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 6, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

*chanting* IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES! IGGLES!

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 6, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

RIGHT ON!, Curmudgeon.

Posted by: bh | January 6, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Was the comma supposed to be before the !?

Posted by: bh | January 6, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

With the caps, you can probably leave the ! for the end.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 7, 2007 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Apparently there is a card game called Tech Support!

http://cgi.ebay.com/Tech-Support-card-game-Kenzer-Co-sealed-Board-Game_W0QQitemZ290064870432QQcmdZViewItem

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 7, 2007 1:00 AM | Report abuse

It's a little puzzle to me why "I" nicknames are so prevalent for the superbowl contenders this year-- Irseys, Iggles, etc.

Maybe the Redskins should change their nickname to the Iceskins. They might have a shot then.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 7, 2007 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Seems I mmissed the best part of the game.I am quite happy Dallas lost.

I would be happy with a Ravens vs Eagles Super bowl

I think the Buckeyes will win the national championship......my problem is I have no one to watch it with.....

Maybe I will head out somewhere

Posted by: greenwithenvy | January 7, 2007 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Indigederms might be more PC.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 7, 2007 1:21 AM | Report abuse

LOL at Boko999's Indige(nous)Derms...

They'd be called Ingy Dermits in no time, and from there to Dingy hermits it's only a short spoonerism.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 7, 2007 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it's just me, but "Momofuku" sounds like one of those words/phrases that can only result in trouble (or having your mouth washed out with soap).

My personal favorite ramen noodle concoction is to drop an egg into it after it reaches boiling -- poor man's "egg drop soup". My second favorite is to cook it up as instructed, then drain the "broth" off and fry up the noodles with a can of tuna. Sprinkle with grated Parmesian cheese, a little basil, and serve.

I'm not much of a football fan (at least not since my "heros" of the 70's-era Pittsburgh Steelers retired), but the Ravens are basically a stolen and relocated Browns. New plates, new paint job, dodgy title transfer. Even a non-sports-fanatic like me knows that it just ain't right to take a city's football team and set it up in a new town with more attractive tax abatements under cover of night.

So here I find myself again in the just-past-wee hours, drawn like a moth to a flame (or a Raven to shiny baubles, or Donald Trump to publicity) and I'm Boodling.

Dang you, Joel. I used to sleep the night through, but now... now... no more. No. I find myself compelled to add my two unworthy cents by the fridge light. Speaking of which... there's some left-over chicken... Mrs. Martooni's famous "baked chicken with rice", no less.

Later, dudes... gotta munge.

Posted by: martooni | January 7, 2007 5:09 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Just wanted to pop in and say good morning. I am running late for Sunday school, haven't even dressed yet, and I've been up so long. Hope the day is good for everyone. Yesterday was just beautiful and warm, today rain.

I was studying my Sunday school lesson, and took a bit too long with that. Now I must rush and find something to wear. That shouldn't be too hard since my wardrobe is pretty much skirt and blouse.
What's on the agenda for you folks? Is anyone cooking dinner today? Plans for church? I hope so. God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ. Peace.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 7, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Achenbach stars in "Being Willard Scott" this morning:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/06/AR2007010601215.html

I wonder if Joel broke down and smoked a cigar during his quick nine at Hains Point yesterday, nattily decked out in Bermuda shorts, Hawiian shirt, and flip-flop golf spikes; his Genius Flyaway Hair tacking at jaunty angles in the breeze.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 7, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

IIRC Gregg Easterbrook used to refer to the Washington NFL Franchise as the "Potomac Basin Indigenous Persons", or just "Persons" for short.

'morning Cassandra.

martooni, you made me laugh with the stolen vehicle stuff. In order to get them away from their abusive owners, fans should put a mechanic's lien on the Raiders, Lions, Cardinals, and of course, the Persons.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 7, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

From Achenbach's piece (which only uses a form of the world "guilt" once that I detected: "And yet it's all a guilty pleasure. Weather is both a physical and a psychological phenomenon. Meteorology, meet eschatology."

We should pe partying like it's 1999, shouldn't we? At least the weather will make thongtastic public celebrations much more comfortable.

bc

Posted by: bc | January 7, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

bc, "thongtastic public celebrations", now there is a visual I didn't want so early in the morning. :-)

Our local paper had the obligatory picture of someone golfing the other day (one local course is open year round - even when there is snow) along with the outdoor rink that was closed due to the warm temperatures. We didn't come close to 70 but it was the overnight temps that were so unusal (high 40's - low 50's), things are more normal this morning but by mid week we will be back to above normal.

Saw a map the other day of Canada showing where the temps for the period had been above normal, it was the whole country except for a small portion of the artic. El Nino may explain this year, but there is now doubt that the climate where I live had changed over the years, perhaps not dramatically but here a few degrees makes a big difference between above and below freezing. One of the ski resorts a couple of hours from here had to lay off 1300 workers, as it has been so mild that even making snow isn't possible.

Posted by: dmd | January 7, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning All
Hey Error, Joel mentioned your tiki bar in his article.
I didn't know you lived in Antartica.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Sorrry that was me.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 7, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Boko,

What's scary is he even got the music right!

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 7, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Yup, bc... a mechanic's lien is almost as powerful as an act of Congress. I remember the Browns "move" fairly well as I was working in Cleveland at the time. Can't remember if it was the city or the State of Ohio, but somebody ended up passing a law that prevented them from keeping the Brown's name (or maybe it was the NFL?). In any case, it was kind of a bittersweet situation -- no football for a couple of years, but got to start from scratch building a new team with new owners (which was needed anyway, as they sucked so bad they made gravity envious).

dmd... we've been talking about the climate changes here in Ohio as well. As of yesterday, we had daffodils starting to peek up. But then the temps dropped last night (right now at 28F) and everything is coated in frost. I know the apple growers around here are nearly in a panic. Apparently quite a few of their trees are budding and they're afraid that unless it cools off significantly and stays that way for a while, they may have nothing but firewood on their hands this spring. I'm not a big fan of cold weather (and I have been taking advantage of the unseasonal warmth), but I'm also not a big fan of mosquitos, fleas and other little biters that seem to reproduce exponentially unless the top six inches of soil freezes solid for a couple of months. That, and I really don't want to have to mow the lawn in February.

Posted by: martooni | January 7, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

...and btw...

I'm not adverse to "thongtastic" visions in the morning (or any other time of day). As long as Mudge isn't one of the thongtastic models.

Posted by: martooni | January 7, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Just in case someone shows up here.
There's a new kit

Posted by: Boko999 | January 7, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

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