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Does Global Warming Cause El Nino?

As you know, my weather story in Style the other day was in the noble journalistic tradition of breaking fluff, which is to say, it was a rapidly produced piece of piffle meant to serve as a "section-rounder." Ideally it contained a few nuggets of useful information and helped clarify the difference between weather and climate. But some readers were aghast that we would dare be even moderately jocose about a subject of such import. And several readers and one well-known website took issue with the following quote from National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Feltgen: "We're in an El Nino, which has absolutely nothing to do with global warming."

Reader Brad Johnson wrote, "Feltgen is woefully misinformed, being deliberately misleading, or flatly lying when he says that El Nino has nothing to do with global warming."

But, as Johnson (who said he has a master's from M.I.T. in climate science) noted in a subsequent email, there's actually no consensus on the relationship between global warming and El Nino. One might affect the other, but the research is pretty tentative. You can read all about Global Warming and El Nino (and the purported inaccuracy of Feltgen's comment) on the site, which I've used many times for background info (see my story, for example, on Bill Gray and the climate change deniers).

Excerpt from Realclimate:

'As we are fond of reminding our readers, one cannot attribute a specific meteorological event, an anomalous season, or even (as seems may be the case here, depending on the next 2 months) two anomalous seasons in a row, to climate change. Moreover, not even the most extreme scenario for the next century predicts temperature changes over North America as large as the anomalies witnessed this past month. But one can argue that the pattern of anomalous winter warmth seen last year, and so far this year, is in the direction of what the models predict.

'...It is possible, in fact probable, that climate change is actually influencing El Nino (e.g. favoring more frequent and larger El Nino events), although just how much is still very much an issue of active scientific debate.'

I called Feltgen this morning to share the reaction of some readers. His response:

"El Nino is a short-term, naturally cycling occurrence. We get these things on an average of every four to five years. Climate is, of course, something that is much longer term - we're talking decades and centuries. The warm weather that we experienced this past weekend is directly attributed to El Nino. El Nino has altered the upper air pattern to the extent that very little cold air has been getting into the East, particularly the Middle Atlantic and Northeastern states. Without the polar air coming in, the air masses that we've been getting have been from the Pacific Ocean."

Feltgen did note that global warming may have created a warmer temperature base from which El Nino could operate (which is what today's front-page Post story says, too):

"You can't completely rule out that if we didn't have this global warming, we might not have reached 73 degrees [on Saturday]. We might have only reached 70, or 68."

He also noted that he's seen research indicating that El Ninos could be more frequent due to global warming. How might that happen? How could increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane, etc., cause a dramatic (and cyclical) warming of a specific region of one ocean (beyond the more modest increase already observed in sea surface temperatures in the tropics)? That's unclear. Dare we say, no one knows.

Here's an earlier post in Realclimate that discusses some possibilities, though I confess that it is rather over my head ("If we look into the ocean, then changes in the vertical temperature profiles may plausibly affect oceanic wave propagation, thus perturbing the conditions to which the delayed mechanism is sensitive. Furthermore, a deeper upper layer of warm surface water may weaken the cold tongue if the Ekman pumping doesn't reach down below the thermocline to bring up colder water, and weakened trade winds would have a similar effect through reduced Ekman pumping near the equator....")

Roger that.


Politics dept:

Here's a good piece by Clara Bingham on women in Congress, in the Washington Monthly.

And in The New Yorker, Jeff Goldberg reports that Evan Bayh dropped out of the presidential race in part because he didn't think the Democrats were ready for someone as hawkish on foreign policy as he is. There's also an interesting, if rather enigmatic, set of quotes from Sen. Clinton, who at one point tries to distinguish herself from both the idealists (represented in this case by neocons) and the realists (the Jim Baker crowd):

"... if you entered the world arena and see it just as a series of Realpolitik transactions, you also miss the larger picture. We can critique the idealists, who have an almost faith-based idealism without adequate understanding or evidence-based decision-making, and we can critique the realists for rejecting the importance of aspiration and values in foreign policy. You know, I find myself, as I often do, in the somewhat lonely middle."

[Yeah, it kind of makes climate science seem simple by comparison.]


Great to be a Gator dept:

I see in my inbox this message from Von Drehle:

"You realize that you are not, actually, a Gator.

"Your theory that somehow you attended U Florida simply by growing up nearby and attending the University's prep school is, uh, delusional.


[Someone's just jealous....And it wasn't a prep school!]

[A colleague points out that the Gators now have the national title in three major sports: Football, Basketball, and Dancing With the Stars.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 10, 2007; 10:39 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: All Gators All The Time
Next: Your Thoughts, Please, on the "Surge"


I have a funny feeling this one is going to go above the fold.

I checked my calendar. Its Wednesday. Who moved Global Warming Tuesday and or Thursday to Wednesday? Is this a short term phenomenon brought about by Gator related activities, or is this a sign of real change in the climate of the blog. Can we apply for a grant for weather related research?

Posted by: dr | January 10, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Did I ever tell you guys I met El Nino when I was on vacation in Cancun? Yeah, met him in a Mexican bar on a back street in Cancun City. Nice guy. I may be able to post a photo soon.

Now, a slight amendment to Loomis's post a while ago quoting a book that mentions Winston Churchill's role in adapting the British Navy to oil and away from coal in 1911. That quote was generally accurate so far as it goes, but it kind of omits something important. Yes, Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty at the time, and this being an administrative position, he signed the papers the book mentions, and of course approved of and advanced the policy and switch to oil, etc. But what the paragraph neglects is that the British Navy's switchover to oil was even more to be credited to Churchill's colleague and mentor, Adm. Sir Jackie Fisher, who was First Sea Lord of the Admiralty. It was Fisher who almost singlehanded dragged the entirety of the British Navy kicking and screaming into the 20th century, beginning with the creation and construction of the battleship "Dreadnought" (from which the generic name of dreadnought, meaning "battleship" comes). Like Churchill, Fisher was a highly charismatic, if not to say eccentric, genius and the two of them generally worked well together for years, two peas in a pod, Fisher running the operational side of the Navy (which is what the First Sea Lord does) while Churchill ran the political and administrative end of things (which is what the First Lord does).

So yes, the paragraph was generally correct, but it leaves the impression that it was Churchill acting alone who started the whole Anglo-Persian oil thing, and it wasn't. It was Churchill and Fisher working as a team.

(Fair disclosure: I'm a big fan of both Fisher and Churchill, and in the book I'm writing about WWI antisubmarine warfare I have unearthed some declassified cable traffic between Churchill and Fisher that no one has seen before. Pretty cool stuff -- at least to the three or four arcane specialists in the Northern Hemisphere who are remotely interested in this stuff.)

OK, you can all return to the all-Gator/all-globular warning El Nino festival. (Whose turn was it to bring the grilled gator burgers and the nacho chips? scotty? bc?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 10, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

With respect to weather, western Canada is experiencing a real honest to goodness blizzard of the can't see the hands in front of the face kind. We have not had that in years. My brother-in-law called here to say that he could not see his cattle this morning, so he thought he should go out to look for them. Once outside, he realized he could not see his hand either. The cattle will wait.

Posted by: dr | January 10, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

What if Urban is his middle name? First name Su?

Sorry, that's all I got.

Posted by: omni | January 10, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

First Sea Lord... now THAT's a title.

But then I've been watching "Stingray" for a week, so...

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 10, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

dr, you posted your comment about ten seconds after I saw this,

Stay safe out there! Aren't weather extremes/increases in storm intensities all part of climate change?

Martooni, you are correct many more children today have asthma, including one of my children I have read articles that state part of the problem is indeed cleaner homes, but also allergies, not just to the natural environment but all the chemicals we add to it, everything from the products in our homes (carpets, VOC's, etc., to increases in air pollution, smog, I have even heard suggested that the rubber coming off tires from cars and trucks has been looked at as a source).

Posted by: dmd | January 10, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

*raising hand above cubicle wall to point the nacho-providing finger at bc*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 10, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The relationship between weather and climate are compelling and real, but also the object of many misconceptions. With reliable meteorological data, we can predict tomorrow's or next week's weather, but predicting climate change is more tricky. This is because weather occurs on a much shorter time scale that short-lived creatures like you and me understand intuitively.

On the other hand, climate change operates on the scale of geological time, something a little harder for us to fathom. We would need daily and decadal data on the order of what we get from NOAA today for millions and millions of years to draw an accurate pattern of climate change. We get good data from ice cores and the like, but this is nothing like precise temperature, pressure, and humidity data from sources around the globe like we have today. Our hard data only extends to the mid 20th century. Prior to that, it is all anecdotal and subject to much disagreement.

The misconceptions arise when people assume that the small amount of data from the last one hundred years that we possess must translate to the much broader scale of time on which the earth bides its time.

Posted by: Gomer | January 10, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

mudge, you met baby jesus in a cancun bar?

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 10, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "point the Flying Fickle Finger of Nacho Gathering at bc*


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 10, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone read this by Garrison Keillor?

Newspapers give us style all our own,0,6633837.column?coll=chi-ed_opinion_columnists-utl

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 10, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

This should clarify everything:

Posted by: CowTown | January 10, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) did in fact become Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in 1935, and another name change in 1954 to British Petroleum Company (BP). Eventually merging with Amoco in 1998 and renamed BP Amoco, until it was renamed yet again right back to BP in 2000.

Posted by: omni | January 10, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

This should clarify everything:

Posted by: CowTown | January 10, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Lurker, all I can say is, it was Christmas, and I musta swallowed that worm in the bottom of the tequilla bottle.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 10, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

So... the British Navy invented Dreadnoughts.

Somehow I can't picture Churchill wearing tie-dye and smoking a fattie, let alone having rhythm.

Dread-NOUGHTS, not dread-LOCKS?

so sorry... I go back to quiet now mon.

I must need more powerful glaucoma meds.

Posted by: martooni | January 10, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Please add my name to your very short list of arcane specialists in the Northern Hemisphere who are remotely interested in your stuff.

Navy stuff, that is. (Before somebody turns this into a wisea&& crack.)

Not your blue bottom.

Not your naval.

Ships, boats, paint punts, etc. you get the idea. If you ever have to visit the Navy History Center at WNY, let me know.

Posted by: Don from I-270 | January 10, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Churchill always had that cigar, you just always assumed it was tobacco, right? Take a good look at some of the pics. Could be spleef.
But sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 10, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Had to Boodleskim between meetings.

*sigh* I'll bring the burgers and chips, boys.

Gotta run to another meeting (my 7th and last of the day) (I feverently hope and pray, that is).


Posted by: bc | January 10, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I always thought that "Dreadnought" was a really cool-sounding word. Maybe that's why they named Cobra Commander's squad of badasses from G.I.Joe the same.


Posted by: Gomer | January 10, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I always thought that "Dreadnought" was a really cool-sounding word. Maybe that's why they named Cobra Commander's squad of badasses from G.I.Joe the same.


Posted by: Gomer | January 10, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I always liked the word "Dreadnought". Sounds ominous. Mebbe that's why Cobra Commander named his squad of badasses after it...

Posted by: Gomer | January 10, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the multiples. Computer keeps dorking up, and I felt very strongly about my post.

Posted by: Gomer | January 10, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

My mother, who lives in Olympia, Washington, tells me that they are being hit with yet another snowstorm. Some suspect it is divine retribution for closing down the local brewery.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 10, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

LiT... (what an appropriate acronym ;-) )

Speaking of smokes and politicians...

I see Pelosi has banned smoking in the Speaker's Lobby off the House floor. Good. If I can't light up a cigar in a cigar bar, for FSM's sake, then they shouldn't be able to light up there.

I see they're still able to smoke in their offices, though. Hmmm... aren't those considered "public spaces" as well, being they're financed by the taxpayers?

As a smoker who has always gone out of his way to accomodate and be polite to non-smokers (even when it wasn't required by law), I find this double-standard particularly offensive.

I will now walk the obligatory 100 yards away from the entrance of my building, uphill (both ways, and it really is snowing) and light up a filterless Camel in protest. I then hope that the trace residue of smoke on my clothing offends the guano out of any perfume/cologne drenched non-smokers who have the nerve to fake a cough when I walk by.

And if they fake cough a second time, I will stick their face in the exhaust of their car and tell them to breathe the fresh air that THEY are emitting and shut the heck up.

Posted by: martooni | January 10, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Can't go into all the details, because of Rule 6 (and because I haven't published it yet), but I've seen what looks like evidence of El Niño events in 4 million-year-old sediments in Peru. I'd be willing to bet that they go back to the late Miocene.

Of course, that says nothing about their frequency or intensity--warming trnds could have an impact there (I'd be shocked if they didn't).

Ocean vertical circulation issues is something I've been thinking about a fair amount, because it could be a potentially devestating effect of global warming that isn't discussed much.

The ocean is pretty dramatically stratified thermally--water gets colder as you go deeper. This is always the case, but it gets amplified because we have Antarctica producing massive amounts of cold, dense water that sink and flows out along the ocean shore.

Ekman pumping, without going into all the gory mathematical details (which, frankly, I only partially understand--come in from the beach, ScienceTim), essentially causes a wind-generated ocean current which moves at right angles to the wind direction. When this occurs with the right geography, it produces upwelling of that cold water, which also happens to be nutrient-rich. This produces a bloom of marine critters, which humans harvest like mad, supplying a huge part of the world's population with food. Areas that don't have upwelling tend to have a very low productivity.

Now, three things could theoretically cause upwelling to become less prevalent. One, if Antarctica got a lot warmer, it would produce less cold water, reducing thermal gradients and meaning that Ekman pumping would bring up warmer water that is poorer in nutrients. Two, if the upper layers of the ocean are getting warmer (because of warmer air temperatures), the ocean is warm to a greater depth, so, again, cold water doesn't reach the surface. Third, if the winds that produce Ekman pumping (which are largely generated by thermal gradients in the air) weaken, then the Ekman pumping itself weakens, and cold water doesn't reach the surface.

Numbers 2 and 3 are important in El Niño events (IIRC). In upwelling areas like Chile and Peru, the upwelling largely stops, and you get big sea life die-offs. The Peruvian beaches are littered with dead dolphins and sea lions in El Niño years.

Notice that these three factors are not mutually exclusive--all of them could potentially occur as a result of global warming, albeit on different time scales.

Posted by: Dooley | January 10, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

That must be the same stuff hitting Vancouver north of the border, RD. Stanley Park was on the news last night. In December and January storms decimated the old stand of trees. It will be a whole different park from here on in.

Posted by: dr | January 10, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Not those great old trees! I used to love visiting Stanley Park as a kid. The penguins were legendary.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 10, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: omni | January 10, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

You have a pair of shoes all to yourself Martooni?
I've always tried to be polite to non-smokers too. I don't toss cigs out the car window, either. And if I did put one out under my shoe, I pick up the remnants and throw it away. But smokers are social pariahs. Even though sin taxes pretty much pay for everything around here (Virginia..home of tobacco farms, corn mash distilleries, and the religious right).

DC has now gone non-smoking in bars! The lunacy of it! That would be like saying no beer with pretzels. No dip with chips. What's next?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 10, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

You work at the WNY, Don? If so, cool! And in that case we're going to be nextdoor neighbors, since my outfit is moving in right next to you in a few months (no, not the ball park -- the other direction).

Yes, I've done research there, and have much more to do, in the historical ships section.

Oh, and as promised, here's that photo of me and El Nino (and thanks to TBG; you're the best).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 10, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Omni - you are really on top of things today. Yep, those were the little guys.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 10, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

You work at the WNY, Don? If so, cool! And in that case we're going to be nextdoor neighbors, since my outfit is moving in right next to you in a few months (no, not the ball park -- the other direction).

Yes, I've done research there, and have much more to do, in the historical ships section.

Oh, and as promised, here's that photo of me and El Nino (and thanks to TBG; you're the best).

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 10, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Omni - you are really on top of things today. Yep, those were the little guys.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 10, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

We saw Humboldt penguins at las Islas Ballestas in Peru last summer (it's a wildlife preserve). According to the tour guide, it's fairly rare to see them anymore.

Posted by: Dooley | January 10, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Had to Boodleskim between meetings.

*sigh* I'll bring the burgers and chips, boys.

Gotta run to another meeting (my 7th and last of the day) (I feverently hope and pray, that is).


Posted by: bc | January 10, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Dooley - that was a great post. In fact, I liked it so much there is a chance you may see this twice.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 10, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Yup, decimated, RD, I could cry.

These photos show the first December storm only but I think that as of today there have been 3 major tree felling events in Stanley Park. Last evening they showed one of the major tourist lookouts, and it was missing almost all of the trees. The sewall is in deep doo doo too.

Posted by: dr | January 10, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Saw an article saying up to 3000 trees were damaged RD. Tough winter in Vancouver this year.

Posted by: dmd | January 10, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry LostIn. Next? All those self-rightous non-smokers who just *have* to make a crack (even though we didn't blow smoke at them, or anywhere near them) will have to contend with the fat police and the fast-food monitors.

Once you decide that people should be persecuted by random members of the public for bad habits, you have the thin end of the wedge.

I have no problem at all with people who don't want to be smoked at or around, but the need to say something even when they haven't been inconvenienced in any way will come back on their heads, one day.

I'm thinking of starting a new rightousness brigade; we should start snarking at people who do not speak respectfully to small children and wait staff (and in fact, anyone they perceive to have less power than they do).

Or, of course, we could go back the days of courtesy when being well-mannered meant minding your own darn business and not commmenting on other people's habits and behaviours.

Nah, it'll never fly.

Posted by: Yoki | January 10, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm a major league multi-tasker today RDP: Working on two projects simultaneously and a little boodling here and there.

Posted by: omni | January 10, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

And omni... you don't even work for the government!

Posted by: TBG | January 10, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Here's the link to the article, as it seems almost hard to believe that 3000 trees could be damaged. Also updates on the latest storm to hit Vancouver and Pacific NW.

Posted by: dmd | January 10, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, danghippie:

The New York Times reports that thousands of lives have already been saved by the smoking restrictions there. How do you do the math comparing the lives saved with the liberty lost?

I'm all in favor of liberty, think the War on Drugs is misguided, think people should be able to do what they want with their own bodies. But those lives saved are a powerful argument to me. I hardly know WHAT to think. I'll listen to any opinion.

Posted by: kbertocci | January 10, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to talk to one of my managers about one of my projects but she is in a closed door meeting with my other project manager, and it is fifteen minutes past my COB. The nerve. Well, achenara boodlers. Achenmañana...can I say that?

Posted by: omni | January 10, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who has ever worked in the service industry knows what can happen to the food of those who are rude to waitstaff.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 10, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Replying to LTL-CA from last boodle: I must disagree with Lennard Davis on the "not a minority angle".

He tagged all the issues relatively well, but if he doesn't know that deaf people DO in fact have an "oreo" equalivent (the sign means "thinks hearing"), I must question how fully he understands the diverse deaf community attitudes. I've been in nearly all settings and befriend deaf from all identity backgrounds.

Here's why I believe minority identity and community dynamics are suitable as a partial or total model. What we call "hispanic" consist of people from over 20 countries whose lone characteristic is a shared language (and not even that, in case of Brazilians and native south Americans who never learned Spanish), and the history of that language's establishment.

It is only when they come to America they find themselves pigeonholed in a "minority" called Hispanic and treated as such on that basis. They can be all races, all ethnicities, all religions, really, and it doesn't make a single difference to the passerby. "Hispanic." They find themselves having to check off that box, identify themselves as "hispanic" when they really want to say so much more about themselves.

Likewise, many deaf people have found direct parallels to black community issues, especially in the "degrees" of blackness/ deafness even though the identities are very different.

In fact by now, black people should have been throughly integrated as Americans. Laws set by whites held them back. In the last 40 years since the civil rights movement, we have seen a lot of progress for individual black people-- and a greater fragmentation of what it means to be black, especially as their cultural resources keeps getting marketed and fed into the general culture.
This will continue until black people are no longer a full minority with their own fully distinctive culture-- like Irish americans, Italian-americans, etc.

Many factors have held deaf people back from participating fully in all levels of society. In many countries, deaf people are still banned from driving, voting, or other marks of full citizenship.

Even in America, deaf people are still not quite a significant influence at all levels of society, but not for lack of trying. You have deaf editors, veternarians, lawyers, doctors (very few), scientists, professors, and so on. Yet so many fields of work remain an employment struggle. Educational opportunity can be grossly unequal.

There are deaf pilots, but unless FAA guidelines establish captioned radio and other devices that permit deaf pilots to use airports with radar control of air traffic, they will die out. There used to be many more than there are today, because the demands of air traffic control have closed almost all major airports to deaf pilots.

In the past, and even now, technology is too often designed primarily for an adult male of normal size with all limbs and senses intact. This creates considerable barriers for others.

Dr. Davis is mistaken in thinking a minority is exclusively defined by within the minority itself. The majority tends to define who is a minority.

Today we, the majority, could all declare redheads a minority to be treated differently. There doesn't have to be a very logical basis for defining minorities, just a perceived difference. This is where Dr. Davis errs. He is trying to apply logic to human attitudes.

I was discussing what I consider deaf culture with a friend. I said: "Deaf culture, whatever form it takes, is based on self-acceptance as a deaf person."

This self-acceptance is extremely difficult for many, but it is KEY to developing a healthy and successful approach to life. Participation in the deaf community and other aspects of deaf culture (language, history, literature) flows from that self-acceptance.

Of course, many deaf people who don't accept themselves fully are involved in the deaf community anyway.

Sometimes they do come to accept themselves through meeting other deaf people who accept themselves. In short, deaf culture is a support system, like most minority-only cultural activities are.

Sometimes they fail to accept themselves.

Then they use the culture as a power base to make themselves feel superior by proving to themselves they're better than SOME other people anyway. They do power plays. They try and "dictate" to others. They enjoy control. This feeds their esteem briefly, but it's never enough-- because the same person does not fully accept other deaf people as full people.

In this context of lack of self-acceptance, you can see how "not deaf enough" can be profoundly disturbing.

It can mean a level of alienation and near-sociopathic perspective of deaf people that shouldn't be acceptable in a leader advocating for the deaf community.

That said, life's too short for regrets or self-loathing on the basis of things that are unchangeable about yourself. Just BE yourself. Make people see you as an individual, not a stereotype...or a victim of stereotypes.

We are making good progress.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 10, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Yoki and other chimneys-
You may not blow smoke in peoples' faces (or maybe don't realize that you have), but plenty of your compadres do. As I sip my brew down the bar from you, I do not slosh it all over you, but I have had a plume directed into my face more times than I can count. Now, if you are smoking a twisty cig, please pass it over, but keep the cancer sticks outside.

Posted by: Gomer | January 10, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I wrote this long comment about how today was one of those days...the phone rings early in the morning and it changes the whole day because someone has died, and someone needs your help...

but the blog ate it.

My mother's best friend's husband committed suicide last night, leaving behind his wife and their 3 kids (ages 19, 17, and 8).

Posted by: PLS | January 10, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Popping in momentarily.

We're glad for El Nino here--December and January storms have given us rainfall rates for these two months slightly above normal after 21 months of drought. No easing of water restrictions announced yet.

Already own Von Drehle's "Triangle," but not autographed. Ummm, could you make the prize a little more appealing? Is Fisher's radio book really that good--worth it?

dr--yes, as far as asthma, I would have to say Helotes is new and upscale, built on a town, or village--if you will, formerly rural. The new high school has classes, still or currently, devoted to animal husbandry (wifery?).

However, the local situation was not helped when the county, knowing the mulch fire was burning, issued 60 (count 'em!) more burn permits for the area. "A pile of incompetency" is about right. And a little irony is that we put our secular Christmas tree curbside today for city pickup so that it can be turned into what? MULCH!

I'm on a little bit shakier ground here because I can't source it (nor am I going to take the time to try at the moment), but I thought I read that Zumwalt's mulch pile was three times the level permitted by the state, in part because he flaunted his permit but also because builders have brought what they clear for new subdivisions to Zumwalt--a case of the rate of stripping land locally of vegetation (laws here for tree protection are very lax) for the construction of new homes--rapid deforestation, if you will.

Posted by: Loomis | January 10, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

RIP Yvonne De Carlo.

"Lily Munster" to y'all.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 10, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't "hombre" or "amigo" be much more appropriate for the caption of your photo than "nino"? Or perhaps "marido", such as "marido y mujer"?

Your caption harkens back to that old racist or supremicist habit of calling a full-grown black man a boy, methinks.

Posted by: Loomis | January 10, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, RDP *blushing*

I got so caught up writing it I was late picking son of D up at his swimming lesson.

Posted by: Dooley | January 10, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

*banging head against keyboard*. That was way too long. Please continue boodling after your nap.

Majority decides the minority. Minority doesn't even have to be cohesive or want to identify itself as such. Nuts to Dr. Davis.

Minorities, when it comes to most of the laws concerning discrimination against minorities, are defined by being treated as such-- as different from the majority.

Otherwise a minority label is just a spice in the mixing bowl of America, like "Mad gardening irish-italian-polish naval architect" is a meaningful minority.

Yes, very few people fit that description, but is it a minority that gets discriminated against, unless they go potty and illegally turn people's boats into garden planters? (or glaucoma med factories).

(Psst, I think Mudge might be one of THOSE. We gotta watch him carefully around any trowels and seed packets in case he creates any more Mr. Stripeys.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 10, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Where'd you come by those oil company facts?

Posted by: Loomis | January 10, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

PLS, I am sorry to hear your sad news.

Posted by: dmd | January 10, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

LiT... I do have two shoes, but they're both "left" shoes (imagine that), so according to the laws in my great state of Ohio, they're not a true pair. It's just not fair. Who cares if they both point the same way? It's not like they're loafers.

We also had a similar smoking law passed... about the only place you can smoke anymore is in your home or your car, and they're even making it hard to do that. But they love our tax money. Just can't get enough of it.

Posted by: martooni | January 10, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, someone posted a Google Earth link to Helote. Being local, perhaps you can answer my question. Between said pile and the School there is some blue run off. That lovely colour on the map usually means some not good stuff is in the run off. Is that runoff still there, or long since dried up, and is it properly contained to catch whatever effluent may be coming off the mulch pile?

Posted by: dr | January 10, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Re: Minorities

The wife took a class recently in which I learned vicariously about personal identity (racial, cultural, gender, etc.), and I realized that I have no racial identity. A classic melting-pot mutt, there are too many hyphens in my pedigree for me to connect with any of them in any meaningful way. I came to envy members of minorities for this. They have a bond with others of their race and/or culture that I could never share. Unless you want to count me as part of the white male elite that has kept everyone else down for so long. Even so, I didn't personally steal land from aboriginal peoples nor freedom from Africans, so I don't even identify with those from whom my genes were amassed. But I do feel a certain amount of guilt over these acts perpetrated in my name.

So is that guilt my racial identity? Please say no...

Posted by: Gomer | January 10, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

PLS..I am so sorry.
The other day, someone said something (don't you love how specific I can be) about how there's not much to do but be there. I thought then, but kept it to myself, that I know what I found really helpful. See to it that the family's funeral shoes are polished. It's one of those mundane tasks that needs to be done, but you just can't manage a mundane task at that point. Bring stamps. The thought of going to the post office, standing in line, risking running into a neighbor -- it's just too much. And there are so many thank you cards to get out. Everyone brings food. Bring gladware and freezer bags. Just a few ideas.

Posted by: LostInThought | January 10, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Loomis! Joel and Raw.. ahem, Marc are coworkers and buds. You can't really expect him to say "nah, not worth reading, I fell asleep reading it, why do you think I'm unloading it?"

Nor for him to enjoy hearing Marc dissected on this blog (well, who knows, but it's HIS blog, and Marc has his own blog which you can read).

I don't want the book because it's about radio and rock n roll. My interest in radio is confined to radio play scripts from "the War of the Worlds" and "the Bob and Ray show."
Rock-- for me I like only some MTV videos and lyrics, no "performance" or industry gossip or history.

Therefore the book would not interest me even with the best of writing. I'm just not the intended audience by any means.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 10, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

PLS - I am so sorry. How horrible. Good thoughts for you and all those involved.

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

PLS-- I'm sorry for your mom and her best friend's family.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 10, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

How about a signed copy of Gene Robinson's Cuba book?

Posted by: Achenbach | January 10, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I think of el nino as being the climate variety of am radio.

It's a short term change riding on the larger variance of global warming. You're still going to have short term changes, but the highs and lows will be riding the general climate change.

That's why the National Arbor Day Foundation changed it's zone hardiness maps which indicates long term trends.

Posted by: Dons Blog | January 10, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

PLS, I'm so sorry. I know you'll provide comfort and help to your mom and her friend. LiT had some really good suggestions, too.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 10, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

PLS, I'm so sorry. That must be very hard for the loved ones.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 10, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Compared with what PLS' mom and friend are dealing with this is nothing, but I have the need to whine.

(start of whine) Due to a teammate leaving for another assignment, we're short-staffed on financial people. Wanting to be a good team player, I offered to help. Now I remember why I am an EX financial analyst. I can do the work, but it tires me out to the core. (end of whine)

Thank you.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 10, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, as a non-smoker *cough* I try to only go to restaurants or bars that are non-smoking (by choice in VA) *cough* or that have a good non-smoking section. If they don't have seating *cough* in the non-smoking section *cough* I leave and eat somewhere else.

Unfortunately, it's hard for me to get other non-smokers to follow me *cough*. WE'RE TALKING PRINCIPLES HERE! They'd rather pass laws *cough* to make businesses accommodate them, but if all non-smokers *cough* would do what I do then pretty quickly *cough* most restaurants would be non-smoking anyway. This would *cough* apply to most service businesses *cough*. No laws needed *cough*--business owners can run their businesses how they like *cough*

Public places *cough* are a different matter *cough*; people often have no choice but to go there *cough*. Same with *cough* workplaces and employees *cough* (offices, factories...)

Fortunately for me *cough*, museum collections and smoke *cough* don't mix.




Posted by: Dooley | January 10, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused.. you mean you can have a mulchness of mulch? Why can't you just spray good smelling cat poop on it and send all the fire dogs to roll on it and put it out?

And isn't Texas Bush country? Did he do bad again? Somebody needs to get him in for retraining again.

Maybe Woodpile and Burnstein will find the connections and then bring down the presidency.

Then, the book and movie would be called "All the President's Mulch", right?

(I just had to bathe again after some backwoods perfume application, so this caught my interest. But tell me more about trees and hydrants, please. Mulch piles are so hard to mark satisfactorily.)

Posted by: Wilbrodog | January 10, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrodog, I hear you. And don't get me started on marking all the fallen tree branches!

Posted by: Ray | January 10, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

PLS... yes, I'm so sorry, too. Your post made me cry here at my desk. What an awful thing and what an awful thing for those poor children to bear as well.

I second LIT's advice and add to it a pre-funeral dry-cleaning run. For the teenagers, maybe even a shopping expedition for appropriate clothing. Showing up at the house with shirts, ties, dresses, jackets, etc. for them would be a huge help.

(Also.. if you bring food, bring it in disposable or well-marked containers.)

Please know we're thinking of you and the family and let us know what we can do to help, too.

Posted by: TBG | January 10, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh those are so hard-- I always run dry just trying to get them scent-foo'ed properly.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 10, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

LL, look up "BP" in Wikipedia.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 10, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I and most of my colleagues worked from home today because of the *threat* of wind and snow! Not much snow here at my house, and the sun is shining now - I can see its wonderful glow! But it's cold - 36 degrees - and supposed to stay cold through the weekend, which is a long time for this area. Hope my Tasmanian tree fern and New Zealand flax make it ok. I'm debating whether to bring the bonsai trees in, as well as the stray cat.

I heard about Stanley Park last night. Had to look up "hectare" after reading the Canadian article.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 10, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry for your loss, PLS.

Posted by: Dooley | January 10, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Ever take a really good look around at the beach? Notice how many people tend to choose a bathing suit that highlights their worst attribute? Will global warming/el nino give us this passing parade all year round instead of just in the summer?
My eyes!

Posted by: LostInThought | January 10, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm so very sorry.

A suggestion for the day of the funeral.
Organize a group of friends to stay at the house during the funeral to put the house together, and arrange and serve food, and clean up during and after the day of funeral events. (Is there a word for the feasting, reminiscing, passing of pictures etc after a funeral?)

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 10, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, I think it's the American version of a wake.

Mt Rainier was "pulverized" in the November storm:

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 10, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

There are some great ideas here for practical help, PLS. What a hard thing to leave your loved ones with. My deepest sympathies to the family.

Posted by: dr | January 10, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually shocked that there is anywhere that still allows indoor smoking. Even Calgary is entirely smoke-free indoors (and within 3 meters of a building).

I obviously wasn't talking about not asking people not to smoke around you. I was talking about those people who feel it necessary to correct me when they learn that I smoke (which they didn't know because I don't smoke indoors or, for that matter, anywhere where it can offend). It's that kind of busybody-ness that I object to, and think will come home to roost when other bad habits get the social treatment that smoking now does (which is just around the corner, in the case of over-eating).

Posted by: Yoki | January 10, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I understand 'wake' to mean the vigil that people take over the corpse for a day or two before a funeral, not the 'party' that takes place after the burial, but as they say about mean,"often wrong, but never in doubt."

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 10, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Me, not mean. Note to self: next time, preview.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 10, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, we call it an Irish Wake when there's a lot of alcohol involved. Maybe the food-fest version is an Italian wake?

Posted by: LostInThought | January 10, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Maggie, I know an Irish wake is before the burial (and I even looked it up!) - that's why I said the American version, because I don't know of many folks who do that here, these days, what with funeral homes, etc.

Sad stuff - inevitable, but sad, especially when death comes too early or suddenly.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 10, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

You know, somewhere out there SciTim is enjoying an unscheduled sit on a beach with one of those little umbrella drinks.

Posted by: dr | January 10, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

dr, I was just thinking that I should plan something like that for January from now on.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 10, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Has the storm made its way to your area yet dr?

Posted by: dmd | January 10, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Mostlylurking - Mt Rainier loomed on the horizon like a friendly god when I was young. As a kid my parents would bundle us into the station wagon each spring and drive up to Paradise Lodge.

Although the mountain was overwhelming, what I remember where the fields covered with flowers. There were rumors of something called an "ice-cave," but we never made the hike. Inside the lodge there were buttons you could push to learn interesting things about the wildlife. The drinking fountains were fed by melting snow and could crack your teeth.

In high school bunches of teens would make the drive up to Paradise in the winter and go sliding in four person inner-tubes. We would spend the afternoon so entertained until we were giddy from the cold and excitement. (For some of those tubes were co-ed.) We would then wander into the lodge and experiment with static electricity by shuffling our feet and shocking each other.

I hope that they manage to repair the park. I am sure they will. It is too wonderful of a place to let go of.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 10, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Its pretty much thorugh here now. I was just looking at the weather office and it says Edmontons blizzard warning will be lifted this evening. The crew is out in the parking lot moving snow as we speak, but I think there is supposed to be more snow.

Mid Saskatchewan, where my brother-in-law of the no hand blizzard resides, looks like they are in the thick of it till tommorrow morning.

mostly, when I get to Slyness's stage of life, I intend to do the same, months of it!

Posted by: dr | January 10, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Dooley... point well taken.

That said, I know quite a few bar owners (having worked both sides of the bar over the years) and every single one that I've talked to is saying that business is down -- way down -- since the ban went into effect. We're close to the Pennsylvania border, so smokers are taking their smokes and dollars to where they are not considered outlaws.

In this area, anyway, it seems that smokers are more apt to frequent bars than non-smokers and do so on a more frequent basis (not that we're all a bunch of drunks, or that non-smokers are tee-totalers). It also seems that non-smokers tend to be more health-conscious and socially responsible -- unlike us smoking terrorists with our cancer-bombs -- so they go out to bars less, drink less when they do, and (from what I hear from reliable sources) tip less.

Not trying to stereotype here, just reporting what I am hearing on the street (actually from barstools).

I know that in more "metropolitan" areas, many restaurants and bars have reported better sales. But I live in what's left of the rust belt. The percentage of smokers here is very high (something like 27%). The percentage of smokers among bar patrons is even higher (well more than double). I don't know how many times I've been asked for a smoke from a "non-smoker" who "only smokes when they drink". Those "occasional smokers" would push the percentage up even higher.

And what about cigars?

Many bars and restaurants were already banning them, so certain bars and restaurants opened up to cater to cigar smokers -- even put "Cigar Bar" on the door. No false advertising there. But guess what? Even those establishments now have to ban smoking.

I know many non-smokers who enjoy a fine cigar now and then. Heck... they got magazines dedicated to it -- of coffee table quality, no less. Nothing like a fine cigar and glass of good Scotch to wind down a busy day.

But where? In the garage? On the back porch? Hiding in the bathroom with the fan running?

I thought we had this all worked out. Us smokers would refrain from lighting up in health clubs and churches and hospitals and nurseries and if politely asked in a public setting, would gladly put our butts out or take them to an area where they wouldn't offend.

But noooo.....

That wasn't good enough.

I feel like a crusty old methane-emitter, but stay the heck off my lawn. The people who wanted this law *say* they'll go out more if there were more smoke-free establishments, but around here they're not.

Case in point:

My boss and his wife are non-smokers. Before this law was passed (which they say they voted for), they used to complain that they would go out more if only they didn't have to deal with smoke. You know what? They go out with the same frequency they always have. No more, no less.

Now they complain that the very same places they used to visit once or twice a month are "boring" because nobody is there.

Case in point 2:

A couple of friends of mine own a bar -- a bar with a lot of history in this town (the very first liquor license issued after Prohibition). They both smoke. The entire bar staff consists of smokers. Probably 90% of the clientelle are smokers, a mix of blue-collar, white-collar, academics and street thugs (we joke about it being "Little Switzerland"). Now all of a sudden, nobody is allowed to smoke in the bar. Not even the brothers who own the damn building, nor the workers who work there, nor the customers who have supported the joint for years.

Technically, you're not even allowed to smoke in your car in the parking lot because it is within 40 yards of the entrance.

It just ain't right.

If I gotta smell your cologne/perfume/methane/bad breath/body odor, you can put up with a little smoke in a bar that was obviously not established as a health spa. Go to the freaking health spa if you want to bathe in untainted oxygen.

What really ticks me off is that I'm a liberal, and it's liberals behind this guano.

Makes me want to burn my Birkenstocks.

(sorry for the rant, but if you want to swim in my toilet -- and think you can tell me what I can and can't do in it -- don't get mad if I pee in your pool)

Posted by: martooni | January 10, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I really enjoyed that link earlier to Stanley Park - even if the loss of trees is heartbreaking. Vancouver BC is one of my favorite cities. I wanted to honeymoon there, but my fiancee insisted on someplace with warm sandy beaches.

And if climate change continues, perhaps there will be beaches like that in Vancouver in time for a second honeymoon. But I hope not.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 10, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

RD- what a great way of referring to Mt. Ranier (a friendly god). So true. It was always an awe-inspiring view for me when I lived in the area, though some of the awe may have stemmed from the fact that when I could see it there was likely no rain.

Posted by: lurkgineer | January 10, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

>Nothing like a fine cigar and glass of good Scotch to wind down a busy day.

Bloody right. Commencing winding down.

>But where? In the garage? On the back porch? Hiding in the bathroom with the fan running?

One of the few actual perks of being a bachelor - in my bloody LIVING ROOM in front of the vid.

I don't smoke cigs and don't like the smell, but I've managed to deal with them in public (i.e. bars) for a long time. In general smokers have become much more considerate over the years. Before the ban in NJ I used to choose the smoking section when I went out because I found I preferred smokers to screaming kids.

I think it should be up to the owner, and non-smokers can patronize non-smoking establishments. You know, "market forces" and all that.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 10, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

lurkingeer - A semi-famous Seattle joke:

Q: What does it mean if you can see Rainier?
A: It's going to rain.

Q: What does it mean if you *can't* see Rainier?
A: It's raining already.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 10, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

PLS, I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

I see it's 7:00, time to read with a little blond 6 year old I know.

Back later.


Posted by: bc | January 10, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"If I gotta smell your cologne/perfume/methane/bad breath/body odor, you can put up with a little smoke"

...except that those things aren't health hazards (well, maybe my bad breath, according to Mrs. D...)

What gets my hackles up is when someone lights up in the non-smoking section and the staff don't ask them to stop, or restaurants that place non-smoking tables 2 feet from the smoking section; we have one in Martinsville that does that.

Of course, in my case it's worse--I'm allergic to menthol (really). Makes working in Peru tough--EVERYONE smokes there.

But, actually, I agree with you--it should be up to restaurant owners, in my opinion. Even here, in smoke-laden RoVa, there are smoke-free restaurants that are very successful.

I usually have no faith in market forces, but in this case I think they would work. If non-smokers REALLY didn't go to smoke-filled restaurants (instead of just complaining), someone would start opening smoke-free restaurants. Then you wouldn't have ridiculous scenarios like your Case 2 above. I have no problem with having smoking and non-smoking restaurants to choose from--but I don't think it should be a legislative issue.

Posted by: Dooley | January 10, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

As Error said while I was typing.

Posted by: Dooley | January 10, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

And another Hollywood death to note - Yvonne De Carlo. She was born and raised in Vancouver (Canada):

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 10, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

>Yvonne De Carlo

Beat ya to it babe - see my 4:04.

What surprised me was how many different roles she had over time... although I suppose it might be hard to recogtnize her w/o that crazy Munsters makeup.

Another lady like that was Carolyn Jones of The Addams Family.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 10, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Once correction Dooley perfume is a health hazard to people like me that are very sensitive to it, here it is often requested (I do not think banned) in hospitals, health clubs etc.

I am attempting to be an ex-smoker and agree with just about everything else you say. Laws are very strict here and I do not regret them, I think our law that includes not smoking outside on a covered patio is over the top but it is in a public place so I won't argue.

Rd this is for you, Kitsilano Beach Vancouver, I believe there are also others including a clothing optional beach.

However if you truly want a second honeymoon I recommend Tofino, on Vancouver Island

Is Mt. Ranier the mountain that would be most visible to the south flying into Vancouver - spectacular sight.

Posted by: dmd | January 10, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

martooni, its really not about the smokers, its about employees who work in smoky places. I'm not sure what kind of laws and regulations you have down there covering safe work enviroments, think OH&S, but up here its Worker's Compensation. WCB is now accepting claims for diseases which arise from smoke filled work places, including cigarette smoke. That means that every bar owner here could be forced to pay those claim costs through rate increases (based on a percentage of dollars earned by all employees).

That is not all. Here in equal opportunity healthcare covered Canada, when a WCB claim is in place, all costs go to WCB rather than provincial health care plans. No one knows better than Americans the costs of some of these diseases. I have no idea the real cost, but I do know a woman who husband died 2 years ago from cancer. His 3 year struggle cost them a quarter of a million dollars out of pocket, after their benefit plan coverage. This is with hospital costs, and most treatment costs covered by government healthcare.

Yes its a one of those liberal things that interfere with some of our perception of freedom, but the greater good must also be served in a free and healthy society, and no smoking in public places is the greater good.

Posted by: dr | January 10, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse


My thoughts are with you, your mom and her best friend's family. *hugs*



You could always ask your imaginary friends to help with the analysis, right?


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 10, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Thank you dmd for those great links! And yes, Mt. Rainier is the closest peak to Vancouver and is truly a spectacular sight from the air - or most any place else.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 10, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

>but the greater good must also be served in a free and healthy society

Yes, well here's where it's going: Please make an appt. to hook up your treadmill to the Internet to verify the 4 miles per day you're walking, and please submit your daily caloric spreadsheet on time or no more health care for you.

Also I'd like to see all this sports nonsense stop because sports injuries are driving up the cost of my health care as my fellow Boomers try to prove they're still 23 even though the clock reads 50.

There are many jobs which have a toxic or dangerous component. No one is putting a gun to someone's head and forcing them to be on the wait staff in a smoking-allowed bar. If smoke is an issue then get another job. I stay out of metal smelting factories for the same reason.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 10, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Actually many bars are in restuarants that do have nonsmoking sections during the day. And they don't always work too well, I must say.

The ventilation standards are unclear, and sometimes the only way to have an nonsmoking section in a restaurant that actually works is to make the WHOLE restaurant nonsmoking.

And maybe there's no gun held to your head, but the thing is, there has to be a CHOICE for the nonsmokers so they can stay smoke-free.

Free market hasn't won yet, probably because so many restuarants advertise nonsmoking sections and only it's after you order that the smoke noticeably drifts your way when a smoker has seated himself in the SMOKING section.

And screaming kids? Immune to 'em. Get earplugs. That's easier to find than noseplugs that filters out smoke.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 10, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

lostinthought, your 3:52 is so correct. Not saying it is right, but it certainly can happen. You have to be good to folks that serve you food. And guess what, everybody benefits.

PLS, I am so sorry that happened to your mom's friend and their family. I will keep you in my prayers, and the family.

Off to bed, so tired. Too tired to listen to the President. Would probably fall asleep while listening. It has been a long day, but a good day. Sleep well my friends. Peace.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 10, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - I have essentially no opinion on these matters (and I smoke!), because it's all pretty trivial. Smoking is a dying (yuk, yuk!) habit, and I'll accept it when government finally has the gumption to make sale & possession illegal. I lost all respect for government as a protector of my right to do as I please somewhere around the time of Prohibition, and laws pertaining to seatbelts, motorcycle helmets, and 55-mph speed limits on highways built to carry people at 75-plus mph have merely reinforced my opinion that reason and liberty have nothing to do with governmental rule-making.

But your argument ("And maybe there's no gun held to your head, but the thing is, there has to be a CHOICE for the nonsmokers so they can stay smoke-free.") is rather suspect logically, since any business owner is free to make the location smoke-free, any employee is free to find another job, and any patron is free to patronize elsewhere.

Posted by: Bob S. | January 10, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Can you imagine what this smoking/nonsmoking discussion would be like on the Mommy Blog?

Talk about toxic.

Posted by: TBG | January 10, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

EF, I must have missed your post or forgotten it...Thanks for naming the actress in The Addams Family - I could not remember, or remember which came first. From what I can google, the 2 series ran at the same time.

I was a smoker and my husband still smokes, and it doesn't bother me. We have had no-smoking laws for quite some in bars, etc. What irritates me is the law that bans smoking at bus stops - I'm sure the diesel fumes are great for your lungs. That just goes too far, as do the bans against smoking in your car or home. I'm not sure I accept the second hand smoke argument - seems like there are lots of other bad things in the air (but I guess I'll find out eventually). Oh, and this is interesting:

And poor Barbaro:

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 10, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey! You've got Global Warming in my El Nino!

You've got El Nino in my Global Warming!

Two great oceanic-atmospheric phenomena that taste great together...

Since Global Warming and El Nino are so huge right now, can we come up with a celebrological name for them as a couple like Brangelina or TomKat? Howzabout GlobalNino? el Warmo? el Globo? el GloWa?


Sadly, I've been wanting to post that junk for hours, and have not had enough time. Speaking of which, timing *is* everything with a joke, isn't it?

Yvonne DeCarlo; we'll miss you, Lillian.

I don't smoke, but growing up around DC (MD and VA) there was always plenty of it around, and I've never minded being around it.

Oh, now to watch another catastrophically destructive global phenomena, "el Arbusto".


Posted by: bc | January 10, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Bob S. - funny you mentioned seat belt and helmet laws. I have a brother-in-law who's a cop and he says it's just like laws against smoking, because it affects not just the person who makes the choice, but him too. He doesn't want to have to carry the mental pictures around forever of people he's had to help after accidents without them. I kinda see his point. BTW, I smoke.

Posted by: Wheezy | January 10, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

>And maybe there's no gun held to your head

Wilbrod, I was referring to employees, not patrons. Patrons have even less excuse. Call and ask if they're really no-smoking.

I'd like to say in no way am I pandering for 2008 votes to the majority of the small bar and restaurant employees and owners now standing out in the cold trying to catch a butt, or the HVAC union boys who would make a good living from installing ventilation systems, or saying what an excellent steady job state air inspector would be, or even thinking about the still fairly large percentage of disaffected smokers, a percentage which would've surely thown the last 10 elections.

I would never do that.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 10, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

PLS, thinking about your mom's friend's family. A terrible loss.

Here's a thought for everybody: in this jurisdiction (and I'm sure many others), the most common cause of fire fatalities is smoking, especially a combination of smoking and drinking. Sooo, smoke and kill yourself slowly and painfully, or smoke and kill yourself fast and painfully. These fatalities always occur in the victim's home. Martooni, don't smoke and drink to excess around Little Bean. Pleasepleasepleaseplease.

I'm not for making tobacco illegal (see Prohibition), nor do I wish to impinge on people's right to do as they wish in their own (single family) homes, but I am glad the trend is to ban tobacco use in public places. I hope tobacco use will continue to drop, because I watched my oldest half-brother die of lung cancer and my mother die of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and neither is a pleasant way to die. I also hope that my cyberfriends will succeed in quitting, not only for themselves but also for their loved ones.

Posted by: Slyness | January 10, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

And it's snowing again here, making another nightmare commute. So glad I'm not in it. My husband just asked me if that meant I'd be home tomorrow too (he did not have a happy face).

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 10, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, your Ga Tech basketball team is making someone in my house verrrry happy.


Posted by: TBG | January 10, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Error... you lucky dog, you. Mrs. Martooni smokes but I'm banished to my workshop if I want to smoke a stogie. But she's an otherwise easy-going gal and she does kinda like me, so I go with it.

Non-smoking Boodlers... I respect your choice and right to a smoke-free environment. I also understand the arguments for healthy workplaces and public places. I also happen to like you, my imaginary friends.

My point was that some public places are not intended nor designed to provide a healthy and wholesome environment. Like Vegas. Sure, they have a few places that provide "family friendly" entertainment, but if the sign on the door says "Girls, Girls, Girls" are you going to take your kids there? Are you going to protest that you can't take your kids there, even though you really really really want to go in? (feel free to substitute "Boys, Boys, Boys")

To me, dark seedy bars are sacrosanct and should only be subject to raids by the vice squad -- not the health department. I've found these places provide much better music than "T.G.I.Fridays" (even if it's just a jukebox), they're much more tolerant of f-bombs (though some keep a collection jar for charity when you drop one), and nobody batts an eye when you sidle up to the bar with muddy boots and sawdust in your hair with a McDonalds Egg McMuffin wrapper duct-taped around your bleeding thumb (long story).

If we didn't have these places, we wouldn't have had Bukowski. We wouldn't have had Kerouac or Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg or Burroughs. There would be no "Howl". There would only be...

Walt Disney's frozen head and Martha Stewart.

I, for one, would not welcome our dangerously happy animatronic overlords -- especially if they carve soup bowls out of freshly picked pumpkins from the garden.

I agree that smoke doesn't go well with a Big Mac if you're dining in, but I really resent not being able to have a smoke with my draft beer and shot of hootch at "Tony's Hideaway".

Posted by: martooni | January 10, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Searching desperately to get away from Arbusto, I came across this at --

Ahoy, Mateys! Want to be a pirate? Apply for the next big reality adventure show from CBS and executive producer Mark Burnett. Download the CBS' PIRATES application form now.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 10, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

>McDonalds Egg McMuffin wrapper duct-taped around your bleeding thumb

martooni, I hope you at least got to eat the McMuffin. And trust me, I'd take my cigar out to the workshop for a good woman.

But y'know, UNTIL then... :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 10, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

The thing about cigarette smoke is that the less a nonsmoker is around smoke, the more sensitive to it they get. This makes for a nasty feedback loop for smokers.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 10, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

To a dog's nose, there's no such thing as a smoke-free establishment. It diffuses, and gets mixed into non-smoking air.

A nonsmoking human, I think, can maybe smell smoke from a cigarette burning for a minute from over 50 feet away. That's a lot of air because the smoke diffuses in all directions.

Smokers don't know all this because they smell even less than the average human can. (I know I smelled the pentagon burning from over a mile away. I try not to remember.)

Just apply the good 2 Pi R squared rule to figure out the volume of air so affected. It's a lot more than smokers realize.

And like many odors, it doesn't disappear. It just clings to fabric, seats, walls, and lingers in the air. Some of it rises up above where we breathe, but not enough.

And a dog can smell it even further and more deeply. My uncle smokes like a chimney and he tried to make friends with Wilbrodog, who was pretty bewildered by the intense cigarette smell and wouldn't touch any food handled by him.

When I went out with my uncle, I'd have to endure massive smoke exposure because my uncle has this need to smoke with meals. My dad was an ex-smoker, and not in a position to complain.

Where's the choice in that for me, as a child, teen, or young adult?

I like my uncle. He can kill himself by cigarette if he likes, but a mealtime with him is far more cigarette exposure than I otherwise tolerate in an entire year, worsened by the fact that restaurants have rotten ventilation.

I have no real status to tell my esteemed elder uncle to stop smoking for a meal.

So you can talk about choice, Bob S., but unless you're a non-smoker who has grown up and lived with smokers smoking indoors all the time, you don't get to tell me that I shouldn't INSIST that I have the choice to have a restaurant that is completely smoke-free just because 1-3 people in 10 want to light up with their meals.

Sometimes it takes the law for people to see what the alternative could be like and to start preferring that.

Think about all the children who've been used to smoke-filled meals and who are on the way to addiction themselves. Don't they get the right to choose not to endure smoke? Who listens to them?

I was told India had lots of smokers and I was expecting smoke in restuarants. I never saw a single smoker smoking indoors with their food the whole time I was in India.

Apparently, it's not actually necessary to smoke when you eat even for addicts. No laws, no nothing that I could see about cigarettes. It was just not the cultural norm to do so.

So I don't understand this issue about "choice" in restuarants. It seems to me the only choice is for smokers, not nonsmokers. If smokers would just not light up in restaurants, there wouldn't be a need to ban smoking.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 10, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse


My deepest sympathies to your mom and her friend and her family. Such sad news to receive from a dear friend.

Posted by: pj | January 10, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I lucked out - I stopped smoking cigs in my teens. Got caught drinking and did it as penance.

But I still like a good pipe or cigar now and then. I really enjoy it. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, OK? Doesn't say anything about no smoking in there.

I think the legal precedents set by well-meaning crusaders are more dangerous to our basic freedoms than either al Quaida or the adminstrations wire-tapping and mail-opening.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 10, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Maggie if you want goofy reality shows, there is a new one with "celebrities" going through Police training. Two "celebrities of note that I remember from the commercial, Eric Estrada and Janet Jackson. I am trying desparately to block the memory of that commercial.

Anyone got a guess on what the lowest point will be in reality shows before they fade away (at least the lowest hopefully will fade away as I do watch some). Just a little perimeter neither the US or Canadian governments apply!!

Posted by: dmd | January 10, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, if it were analysis, I wouldn't go home at night with my pupils counter-rotating. Instead, we're still at the stage of "Here's two lists of account codes. Figure out which ones are common to each list and which are missing." I'm becoming the (unwilling) master of the vlookup.

Mostly, thanks for the link on Barbaro. He's been through so much; it's such a shame about the setback.

On the smoking thing, I'm really glad it's banned in restaurants. On the other hand, I just can't picture bars without smoke. Martooni's right--it will probably work here in DC, but in other parts of the country not so good.

But then, I do smoke a cigar myself from time to time. Mostly when at NASCAR events (Dooley's neck of the woods). There's so much cigarett smoke going, I figure I might as well return the fire.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 10, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Error I wish I had been as smart as you and quit when I was a teen. I grew up with a smoker, in house with smoke, restaurants, bars, even at university in certain classes.

As much as I agree with the right to pursuit of happiness I believe there needs to be a boundary when my person pursuit of happiness infringes on others. For example were I to smoke in my house I endanger my husband and children, not just with the second hand smoke, but with the chemicals left in the fabrics, on the walls etc. My children simply can't go elsewhere were I to smoke at home. Then there are the affects we do not think about, here it would be health care, the costs are shared through taxes, the costs increase with smokers, or those who get in accidents without seat belts, while drinking etc. It also affects insurance costs for many.

I don't believe in prohibition, but reasonable limits to me are understandable.

Posted by: dmd | January 10, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, I do not want 'goofy reality shows'. I just wanted to point out here that those who like to talk like pirate might want to know about this.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | January 10, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I dont know why there is so much focus on Bush "taking blame" when his admission of error was in the classic "mistakes were made" formulation:

"where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."

Any thoughts out there on Bush's speech?

Posted by: Achenbach | January 10, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

dmd, I think that's how most reasonable people deal with it, and that's the way to go. TV is full of ads that say "hey, don't smoke around your kids". It's classic public education.

I don't complain when a visitor says "hey, let's go outside I want to have a smoke". I'm glad they've been trained to not smoke in my house, because I can stand cigar smoke but cigs really stink. All those chemicals.

But I think if I'm running a business I have a right to allow it, and workers and patrons can decide on their own whether they want to be associated with the place.

I'd like to see some studies of what gets de-funded if there were no more tobacco product taxes.

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 10, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Error... yup, I got to eat the sammich. But when the 2x4 I was ripping did a back flip on the table saw (lucky to still have that thumb), the McMuffin wrapper was the only thing available, and... well... y'know... duct tape fixes everything. And since there was no medic on site (or first aid kit, this being my workshop), I headed for the nearest clinic that could "treat my wounds". It was really just a nick, but you know how blood is -- gets everywhere, makes things look worse than they really are. A few shots of Canada's cheapest made me forget I nearly cut that digit off and I was playing pool in no time and the duct-taped McWrapper surprisingly improved my game.

Wilbrod... again, doing my best not to be offensive, but even smokers have a sense of smell. It may not be as sensitive as a non-smokers, but what you describe would make a shark envious. I'm not well versed in the rules of diffusion, but if you're that bothered by a cigarette burning for 60 seconds at 50 feet away outdoors... I dunno what to say. Also, I love dogs (my first best friend was a Collie named Penny), but if they can stand licking their own bottoms, drinking from toilets and eating from garbage cans, they can put up with a cigarette being smoked 50 feet away.

As for kids and smoke... might as well call Childrens' Services on me and Mrs. Martooni. We smoke in the house and in the car. Little Bean has never had any respiratory issues whatsoever. Unlike all the asthmatic kids in the well-off neighborhood Loomis mentioned. My mother smoked while she was pregnant with me and both of my parents smoked while they raised me. My whole family smoked. Grandpa is now in his late 80s and has smoked 2 packs a day since he was 12. Grandma never smoked, but she has lived with Grandpa for 60+ years and she has no breathing problems. A broken hip and the need for knee replacements, but trust me, she's got healthy lungs. Mrs. Martooni smoked while pregnant with Little Bean and guess what? Healthy, beautiful baby girl. No problems.

I'm not saying that smoking is healthy or conducive to bearing healthy children... just saying that from my perspective, the anecdotal evidence shows that you won't fall dead if someone waves a cigarette at you or you unwillingly inhale air with 1 particle per million of tobacco smoke.

Posted by: martooni | January 10, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

OK, since no one watched Bush, I'll summarize:

More war and hope for the best.

(On CNN, there was a kind of interesting pecking order of responses, with the lead-off position held by Obama, followed by Edwards and McCain.)

(Two more words for you to chew on and then I'm out of here: "President Dodd.")

Posted by: Achenbach | January 10, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, just so you are clear - my decisions are my personal decisions, and I do not expect everyone to live like I do.

It is a very interesting topic though to see where people put the limits on personal freedom, it is one of those tough issues where everyone (at least those stated here anyways) have valid points.

Posted by: dmd | January 10, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Manana, Joel, manana.

Posted by: Loomis | January 10, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

>OK, since no one watched Bush, I'll summarize:

Well Joel, we were busy discussing limiting freedom here while he was talking about sending another 20k troops and billions more to bring freedom to the Iraqis.

Glad you're on the job though. :-)

Posted by: Error Flynn | January 10, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I heard it on radio (wouldn't Fisher be proud...Wilbrod, I know they're buds. Roninson might be tempting...) NPR had a response by their own Pentagon correspondent, followed by remarks by Kerry and Kagan. But too tired even to do the tilde thing tonight.

The book panel was good--five authors, five subjects--French cave paintings; capital punishment and death row; fictional Austin politics; Alaksan missionaries, reindeer and whalers; and the looming tower (best in my estimation.) Wright had some interesting observations about national security, including the presence of al Qaeda in southern China.


Posted by: Loomis | January 10, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I took notes from Bush's speech and I'm transcribing them now.

Seriously, Joel, did you hear anything that hadn't been leaked or suggested to the press over the past week (including "clear, secure and hold")?


Posted by: bc | January 10, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

My strategy to avoid the speech was to boodle and to watch the snow fall. We got 2 inches of snow in 2 hours - very wet, slippery snow. Very pretty - I'm not looking forward to days and days below freezing.

My husband's summary of the speech: "He's crazy!"

And yeah, when I saw the headline about Chris Dodd, I just shook my head - but I'm hoping he'll make Edwards and Obama look even better.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 10, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

As a Canadian smoker, I'm sort of laughing at the personal freedom discussion. I totally think indoor smoking bans are fine! (That's the Canadian bit -- peace order and good government over life liberty and the pursuit of happiness). Even in bars! (And boy, would I love to find an establishment in which I could have a coffee and a cigar at the same time, in warmth.)

Wilbrod's "I don't like the smell of smokers" argument falls flat for me, because there are *lots* of things I don't like to smell or hear and find offensive or even noxious, but because we are all citizens, I put up with. I get a migraine from heavy scent (and in the case of some perfumes, even hives), but if a person wants to wear cologne, I can move away. And Wilbrod, even I will say that we are not, in fact, dogs.

Loud music and flashing lights also bring on unwanted physical effects in me. So I don't go to special FX-heavy movies and I stay out of clubs and away from car race-tracks.

If something comes on the television or radio that offends, in language or graphic depiction of the earthier side of life, my delicate lady-like sensibilities, I turn it off.

If I attend a live performance that unexpectedly offends, I leave, even if I've paid good money for a ticket. I don't expect to shut the production down.

If I am in someone's presence who has bad body-odor, I will leave the room.

Simple! Govern yourself, instead of trying to govern others.

Posted by: Yoki | January 10, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Yoki says, "If I am in someone's presence who has bad body-odor, I will leave the room."

That's why I stopped going to the gym, I guess!

G'night all.

Posted by: TBG | January 10, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Too little too late. Start the troop withdrawl Mr. Bush. Stop our chaos.

Posted by: RC | January 10, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Smokers in a household with young kids perform a kind of child abuse. Yes, they're making the kids inhale the smoke, and they're making them smell like smoke all the time (to others), but perhaps most important, they're teaching them it's okay to smoke, which I would think would make the kids more likely to become smokers, too. I remember when I went bowling every week a couple of decades ago. For some reason, an extremely large percentage of bowlers were also smokers, some sort of cultural syndrome, perhaps. I'd take off my clothes immediately upon getting home, and they would stink up all the other clothes in the laundry basket. Taking kids to church when they're too young to interpret and critique the message (before let's say age 15) is another commonly practiced form of child abuse, for the same reason -- makes the kids more likely to adopt something they would reject if they learned about in an objective manner when older.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 10, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

joel, i think the fubar label still stands.

pls, my mother's best friend from college committed suicide, leaving behind two children. it's such an awful thing for a family to go through.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | January 10, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

With all the messages kids get about how bad for your health it is to smoke, it's more likely that they'll try to get their parents or grandparents to quit. Well, that's based on a couple of anecdotal cases I know about personally - have no idea if there are studies about that. I'm old enough to have grown up with the Marlboro man and all the commercials and movies and TV shows that made smoking look cool - which I succumbed to, for awhile.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 10, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Tom Shales review of the new reality show Armed and Famous:
I love this:
"Muncie is quite different from L.A.," observes [LaToya] Jackson, who insists on a tablecloth and a finger bowl when her partner takes her out for peanuts at the Texas Roadhouse.

I didn't watch the actual show, thank goodness, because I watched the new Canadian show Little Mosque on the Prairie - which I thought was pretty good.

Posted by: mostlylurking | January 11, 2007 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for smokers' dens. It's not a problem with me. I don't personally go to these places.

A well ventilated restaurant can have smoking area without problems, by directly installing fans right over the smoking areas. I've been in some. Just not enough.

Most restaurants just don't really have the capacity to handle both smokers and nonsmokers. They probably shouldn't have to just to accomodate their clientele. People smoke when they drink, and drinks make big money. Therefore smokers' dollars do drive restaurants' decisions.

And no restaurant is going to say honestly to somebody calling: "hey we have a nonsmoking section, but to be honest, the smoke could asphyxiate an ox anyway."

I am going to discuss some example of smoker behavior that I DO mind.

Take a trail, for instance. I believe smoking should be banned on trails.

Trails not only have flammable mulch, they also have a windtunnel effect-- being downstream of a smoker means there's no way to avoid smoke, the smoke flows faster downwind and doesn't disperse to the sides as much. Also there's not often an easy exit.

I came to this warm, open-hearted conclusion after this one:

A smoker, exercising his god-given right to smoke, took 2 drags over 1 minute in front of me and trailed his cigarette the rest of the time.

I was downwind of him all the time, a few paces back and trying mightily to pass him so I could breathe fresh air again.

I inhaled more of his cigarette than he did, and I didn't choose to. Pure and simple. And no, I couldn't choose to leave the trail. I even tried to call him to stop so I could freakin' pass him. Even my coughing (honest) didnt attract his attention.

If a smoker gets addicted off his first few drags of a cigarette, think, what is all that unfiltered secondhand smoke doing to me? It's not about lung cancer. It's about the fact I am getting enough to make me experience symptoms of cigarette addiction and withdrawal-- against my will.

And smokers wonder WHY non-smokers are so irritable about their smoking.

The same trailing smoke effect happens to me all the time on city sidewalks whenever I'm unlucky to be behind a smoker, too.

I do not understand this walking with lit cigarettes. Put it out or smoke it.

I mean, I never saw John Wayne waddling along dragging a cigarette 6 inches off his hip for everybody else to enjoy but him.

No, he hunkered down, bent over, enjoyed the warmth and SMOKED that cigarette. He wasn't gonna share it with half of the world. It was all HIS. That's the cowboy way.

Another point where smokers make their own bad PR: littering lit/semilit/unlit cigarette butts everywhere.

Once, this guy was photographing cigarette butts on campus as I was cleaning up after my dog. Where he was photographing, there were over 100 butts-- all within 2 yards from a trash can.

Hey, it takes all kinds, what gives him the jollies.

He said he was doing a documentary and observed: "Dog poop is far more gross than cigarette butts, but you're picking yours up, and these people can't be bothered to trash their butts properly."

Gosh... when he put it THAT way. .

Hey, if smokers do not show respect for others and fail to encourage appropriate smoking behavior (such as not walking on sidewalks with cigarettes), they shouldn't be surprised when non-smokers attempt to do it for them.

Everybody's saying nonsmokers should do this and that instead of passing laws.

As far as I am concerned, it's the smoker's responsibility, not the nonsmoker's responsibility to do emission control. Dmd has a good example of responsible smoking and why she does it.

The opposite argument is criminal ("hey, bub, you fix YOUR problem of being poisoned") if we were talking large businesses who are capable of large-scale pollution.

"Hey, you had a choice to live next to a nuclear plant or not."

"Hey, you choose to work at and live near my factory which handles lots of nasty chemicals. You can't blame me if your little girl rotted from the liver out from 10 different cancers. It was your choice, even if we didn't tell you we weren't bothering to dump toxic waste properly."

"Hey, we're building a dam right there. It's our land, our right. It's your fault you're poor and won't move from the only property you own to go starve in the city without any marketable skills. When we flush the dam, bye-bye goes your town."

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 11, 2007 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I hate myself for two rants today. Must be the nicotine withdrawal.

By the way, I didnt even know self-extinguishing cigarettes existed.

(The answer is simple-- tobacco companies don't make cigarettes that extinguish easily because they want to sell lots of cigarettes.)

40 kmph translates to roughly 25 mph-- a pleasantly breezy day.

Posted by: Wilbrod | January 11, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Thats it I give up every time I try to boodle, Hal give me the ol' boot and I can't even lurk for ten minutes. I guess I can only go into lurk mode for now

Posted by: Kerric | January 11, 2007 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Is this for real? Is this my government?

Washington, DC -- Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

"In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is 'no comment.'"

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 11, 2007 1:05 AM | Report abuse

In some countries carp is considered a delicacy.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 11, 2007 1:15 AM | Report abuse

We watched George while listening to "The Best of Spike Jones."
Guulliyoc gung

I didn't realize until tonight that the Knights of Nic refered to the Goons.
Nic, FaTang, Newweee Bong.
Pure Spike Milligan.
How could I have been so blind?

Posted by: Bluebottle999 | January 11, 2007 1:34 AM | Report abuse

My goodness, I'm coming down with dreaded lurgi just thinking about it.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 11, 2007 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Posted my notes from the speech:

Stayed up too dang late doing it, too.


Posted by: bc | January 11, 2007 1:47 AM | Report abuse

The tabacco companies treated their product with an additive to keep it burning. Its been removed up here in Soviet Canuckistan so an unsucked cigarette soon expires.
In the old days considerate smokers rolled their own in the bush instead of enjoying tailor mades. There were as many forest fires but fewer filters lying about.

Posted by: Boko999 | January 11, 2007 1:54 AM | Report abuse

// The tabacco companies treated their product with an additive to keep it burning. //
I have an almost wonderful cashmere blanket, inherited from father-in-law who used to smoke in bed -- three or four neat little holes about 2 inches in diameter. Because of the cancer, nobody bothered to break him of the habit.

Posted by: LTL-CA | January 11, 2007 2:10 AM | Report abuse

What's lurgi?

Posted by: Boko999 | January 11, 2007 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Today BuisnessWeek online.
Tomorrow Editor&Publisher

Posted by: Boko999 | January 11, 2007 2:42 AM | Report abuse

y ddi ppl make this webby? its a lot of rubbish, no 1 will be bothered to sit down n read this lol only reason im on this is 4 a school project lol=(

Posted by: scott | January 11, 2007 6:24 AM | Report abuse

And if Scott does well on the project he'll advance next year to fifth grade.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 11, 2007 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Mostly, saw your note about watching Little Mosque on the Prairie, I watched it as well and quite enjoyed it. Such a refreshing change, if it lssts it could go far in helping to build a window into a culture I personally do not know a lot about. The ratings were huge here, curling numbers!!

Wilbrod I feel guilty when you call me a responsible smoker, I appreciate it but the reality is I smoke (although working on quitting) but I take no pride in it at all.

Posted by: dmd | January 11, 2007 7:14 AM | Report abuse

bc, thanks sooo much for your notes on the speech. Basketball was on the TV at this house, of course! (And what an excellent night: Duke lost and Carolina won.)

Anyway, I do appreciate your heroism in listening to the entire event so that the rest of us didn't have to. I prefer to read about it in the morning, and you did an excellent job of summarizing.

Oh yeah. Good morning, everybody!

Posted by: Slyness | January 11, 2007 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. Just popped in to say that, and hope everyone has a good day. I'm so glad I don't smoke anymore. It really is a nasty habit, and all I got for it is asthma. It took me a long time to realize that I needed to quit, but God is good, and oh, so, merciful.

Did not walk this morning, got up hurting real bad, will try tomorrow. And it's really, really, cold, but I'm loving it.

Morning, Mudge, Slyness, and all *waving*

Have to go out this morning, and check on the hearing aid.
I cried so this morning while praying, and I don't know why, just felt really bad, and not about me so much, more about our country. I did not look at the President's speech, just "heart hurt" for mothers and fathers of young people that serve in the military.

Got to go. Remember that God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ. Let us all pray for peace.

Posted by: Cassandra S | January 11, 2007 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, not to harp on you, but it's not one smoker, one smoke trail once in a while. There are those of us who try to be considerate non-smokers too. :-) I consider anything but light perfume/aftershave wearers in the same category as smokers.

And, although I hesitate to type this, I will. I grew up in a house with 3 heavy (adult) smokers. My mother smoked when she was pregnant (she and my step-father died of lung cancer). We grew up healthy, then all got hit with bad allergies mid-teens. They've gotten worse as we've gotten older, branching out to asthma. I hope little Bean continues well, but you just don't know what continued exposure will do.

Posted by: dbG | January 11, 2007 7:41 AM | Report abuse


*faxin' Dramamine, cotton balls for the bloody nose and a new TV*

Why am I not surprised the speech avoided the word "reinforcements?"


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 11, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Alreting bc & yellojkt!!!

Page D1 today:

Too Casual To Sit on Press Row?
Bloggers' Credentials Boosted With Seats at the Libby Trial

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 11, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

SCC: Alerting

*SIGHHHH* Where's the darn coffee?

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 11, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

bc, thanks for the summary. I'm glad I wasn't drinking coffee at the time, or I'd have residuals in my sinuses right now. Gates still has to implement this mess; maybe the beans still have market value.

Off to my day in spreadsheet land.

Posted by: Raysmom | January 11, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt, congrats on the victory over Dook. (I have to stop procrastinating).

Posted by: Raysmom | January 11, 2007 8:38 AM | Report abuse

There's always time to stop procrastinating tomorrow, Raysmom.


Posted by: Scottynuke | January 11, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Woke up with a shiner this AM.
Everything hurts. Shirt's ruined.

Glad folks enjoyed my nose, er, notes.

The 'ol Zenith still works, Scotty, plus I have a box of old spare tubes just in case.
But you're welcome to surge on over to my house to help me clean up.

Duke lost, and I have a friend I need to taunt at some point this AM. Well done, yelljkts.


Posted by: bc | January 11, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Boodle skimming: I watched Bush last night, and I have just one comment. He said a lot about "holding the Iraqi gov't accountable to benchmarks, yakkity-yack." I'm kinda curious how he intends to do this: what, withdraw support from them? set up a different gov't? It was a lot of "what" but no "how," except send in more troops. It was a lot of other stuff too, but I'm not allowed to write that.
Oh, and his tie was terrible too (IMO)

scott: your ability to articulate is truly dizzying.

Posted by: Tangent | January 11, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

New kit, peeps.


Posted by: bc | January 11, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

scott, I think there's a future for you at the NYT Select as a blogger when you finish that Journalism degree.


Posted by: bc | January 11, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

(In and out of town)
Hellowwww out there,in a Tigger-sort of voice.

From last boodle: Gomer! You are right about the serious problems when k-12 education jettisons vocational and career track options. What is wrong with the dignity of all work? Besides, a skilled craftsman or artisan -- electrician, plumber, mechanic, etc. -- will not be outsourced anytime soon. Working at Target means you wear a red uniform polo shirt and have clean hands at the end of the day. But where is your autonomy and perhaps sufficient moodle for a mortgage?

To Mudge and others: Yes, the college drop-out rate in the first two years ESPECIALLY among boy-men of all races and economic backgrounds is a quiet national scandal. Middle-class kids have a better chance at finishing college within the next ten years, while poorer cohorts usually don't have the flexibility or support to re-enter.

(Don't worry, TBG, your mileage may vary. Apply love liberally, whatever the outcome.)
JA, thanks for the pointer to RealClimate. This venue is one of the best applications of multiple-author blogging The knowledge base there is huge. Like Mudge on steriods and replicated.....sprinkle in Wilbrod, too, for the gnomic factor.

I still think that climate modeling should be viewed more like econonomic modeling than rocket science. HUGE MULTIVARIATE systems that darn it, respond to positive and negative feedback loops: enough to boggle the boodle.

Look at the response of some businesses to pattern changes that likely signal climate change outside of the background "noise" of natural variability.

*plantspeople, now selling tender perennials to me, in the plant-hardiness-zone-formerly-known-as-SEVEN.

+insurance and reinsurance companies refusing to underwrite coastal homes and businesses (yeah! take back the beaches and coastlines as a public good.)

Back out of town. GOODBYEEEEEEEEEE in there, in a Tigger-sort of voice.

Posted by: College Parkian | January 11, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Raysmom, If you had PERL I could send you a program that would do just what you need in seconds (or less). Or I could send you an executable file...

PLS, so sorry to here about your mom and her friends loss. You know all your imaginary friends are here for you.

bc, my goodness. I have a really cool drinking game for arbusto speeches that has not failed me yet: I start drinking as soon as I get home. Alternating Becks and shots of Blorph (AKA Jim Beam). By the time the speech starts I've passed out. Wake up when it's over and watch a good movie.

Posted by: omni | January 11, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I'll add this comment here. don't want to muddy the water regarding the presidents speech.

Error, your point is very valid. The conversation actually happened up here already. I should say it began up here already, because I don't think its dead yet.

Last year in disscussing what to do about obesity, the minister or health talked about making people with that problem pay, and the conversation went on about how obesity was a 'lifestyle choice' until someone mentioned smoking was a lifestyle choice. The dissucssion mysteriously ended after that. Seems its fine to make people with other lifestyle related health problems pay, but not smokers. It hit the politicians where it hurt, they are allowed to smoke in their office building though that may change with the new premier. The issue is going to be different here, with federally funded health care, but the disscussion will be the same.

I don't smoke, mostly because I could not inhale as a teenager, and gagging did not strike me as cool, but I have never had problems with smoking in restaurants, or most public places. Having a smoking section and keeping places well ventilated, seemed to do deal with it. At work, I was lucky that no one in our corner of the building smoked, so it was never an issue. The only place that smoking was an issue for me before the ban, was the bingo hall (a whole other issue) where it seems like drinking, smoking was part it.

The WCB thing is what I observe, and gleaned from things I come across in my work. Times are changing, and this is just my take on why.

Posted by: dr | January 11, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

It's strange that nobody has yet addressed the fundamental assumption of the "surge" bringing "victory" (whatever the hell Bush envisions that as ain't some Friday night lights game where there's a final score and, well, finality...does that fool think he can eradicate all terrorists, just like we've eradicated roaches???)...the assumption being...there's some mythical, endless supply of Iraqui males who are dying (literally and figuratively) to line-up and be in the Iraq army or police force. Has W (Witless) spent the pre-requisite $500 million for a study to ascertain he's got his imagined pool of recruits???

Posted by: Ron | January 11, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

we should do our best to stop polluting .I am saying this because it causes global warming and then there would be no world for children in the future.

thank you!

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